friday check in: great advice.

you never know where or when you will receive some advice that will stick with you. it can come from big or small moments, but sometimes you get those great nuggets of wisdom that you turn to over and over. last week’s question had to do with just this:

what is advice you have received that has stuck with you?

i had two answers. the first is from my first year of undergrad, when i was slogging my way through professor mcmahon’s economics 101 class. no matter how hard i tried, i could not grasp the concepts we were discussing, and i only became more disheartened as others in my class seemed to pick them up effortlessly. i spent hours in professor mcmahon’s office for extra help, and finally one day he asked if i wanted to major in economics or take one of the higher level courses. i gave him an emphatic no, and then he said the words that have stuck with me for over 19 years: “your final grade in this class will not determine your final worth in life.” my mind was blown. anytime i have gotten stuck on something in the years since i have reminded myself of this, and i have shared it with friends far and wide. it has been a great reminder to take a step back and think of the bigger picture when i allow myself to get bogged down in details, and it reminds me to not sweat the small stuff. i will forever be grateful to professor mcmahon for these words, and for that c that i’m not entirely sure i deserved.

running views. memphis, tennessee. june 2019.

the other words of wisdom came from my friend kendall at the beginning of summer 2019. i posted the above picture on instagram with a caption about how i was making an effort that year to take care of myself during conferences that year, that i was prioritizing my physical and mental health so that i could be my best self for my service members and students. kendall commented and said the following: “glad you’re listening to what serves you. hard to keep giving to others if your own cup is empty.” again, mind blown. i hadn’t heard it put quite that way, but that was exactly why i had been rundown the previous year: i was trying to be everything to everyone and wasn’t refilling my own cup. it’s only been a little over a year since she shared this with me, but as with professor mcmahon’s advice, i have passed it along many times [including last week to a friend who needed to hear it].

my friends had lots to share as well:

you have to put your oxygen mask on first before putting on others’.

‘when you come to a fork in the road, take it.’ – from the great yogi berra

no matter how stuck you are physically, you can always trick yourself into thinking you’re somewhere else by changing little things in your immediate environment.

‘do your best, then, the hell with it.’

never settle.

stop apologizing.

comfort doesn’t equal happiness.

we are only two variables from anyone’s situation.

take time to remember to do things, even really small things, that bring you joy. be mindful of the patterns and routines that help you thrive and put those things into practice.

there are times when you’re passionate about something and others aren’t, or they are ready to try something new. it’s better to support them in their new endeavor than to try to convince them to stay.

when in doubt, always ask. [with an addendum — unless you’re not sure if they’re pregnant. then definitely do’t ask]

keep a gratitude journal.

it doesn’t cost a thing to be kind.

if you want to get the most out of people, you need to make sure they know they are appreciated. you can’t just think it. you have to say it and show it. people who feel appreciated always go the extra mile and it creates team chemistry.

ask for forgiveness, not permission.

‘better late than ugly.’ – from walshie’s grandmother

you have 100% responsibility for how you react to things. it’s the only thing you have control over.

‘i know several lives worth living’ – mary oliver

‘it’s one thing to carry your life wherever you go. it’s another to always go looking for it somewhere else’ – barbara kingsolver

*feel* your feelings. so if you’re sad, or happy, or angry, or whatever, it is an important thing and you should go all in on it. there’s something to be said for really honoring how you’re feeling, and recognizing how those feelings are valid, and letting them out. if you do it right, it’s pretty cathartic.

‘thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. happiness never decreases by being shared’

what great advice have you received that has helped you when you most needed it?


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