Thursday, October 27, 2011

Want to love what you do? Do what you love!

The best employees are those that are highly motivated.  That motivation can present itself in many forms.  For a lot of people, it is the pure desire for a paycheck.  For others, it is praise of a job well done.  Some, however, are intrinsically motivated by the pure fact that they LOVE what they do.  They want to get up in the morning and get to work because they have found the career that suits them.  These employees are the ones that can have the biggest impact on a company, not because of their education or their connections, but because they care about what they are doing.  These are the employees that commit themselves to a job and take ownership.  While they may not be the fastest or the most educated, they are bound to be the most reliable and effective.  They are the ones who, when faced with setbacks, will power through.  When times are tough, they will be the people you look to for your own motivation. 

They key to loving what you do is to make sure that you are doing what you love.  If you have the opportunity to turn your hobby into a sustainable career, do it!  YOU will then become the intrinsically motivated one.  YOU will find that you are committing yourself, taking ownership, powering through setbacks, and people will look to YOU for their own motivation.  Ironically, as a result of your newfound intrinsic motivation, that will be secondary in importance to you.  What will really matter is that you are loving what you do because you are doing what you love.

 ***(Please, don’t take this as advice to suddenly quit your day job.  Time, patience, and persistence can be required to turn your hobby into something SUSTAINABLE.  In the end, it will be worth it, but make sure you do your homework first!)***

Finding Fraser: Hypocritical Romance

From the archives...

Hypocritical Romance    - Thursday, August 16, 2007

All kidding aside, I'm a hypocrit and just found out.

I was recently polling some friends and family on what they considered to be "grown-up romantic". Let's face it, I'll be 30 next month. The days of puppy eyes, hand written love poems and all other things gushy are behind me. Even when I do find Fraser, it's not going to bring them back.

I needed to bring myself into the reality that, Fraser or no Fraser, I'm a grown up now. No matter how many layers I peel away, scars I shed, or trees I climb, I am a grown up. To accomplish this snap to reality, I did a poll. I got lots of the expected, "Honey, I'll take out the garbage" "Honey, I got KFC for supper so you won't have to cook" "Honey, let's watch a movie after you put the kids to bed," etc. But I also got this: Romance is...

"doing special things for your special someone that you don't really have to do but you do them because you know they'll appreciate & enjoy them. It makes them feel special.:)"

Bingo. Slapped in the face by my own sister.

How many days/months/years have I walked around hoping I would be romanced? Far too many. How many days/months/years have I walked around trying to figure out how to romance my partner? Far too few. My job is to figure out the best way possible to show him (not tell him) that he's special, and appreciated. That doesn't mean I go out and wine, dine and candlelight dinner him. It means I actually take time out of my day to stop and think about what it is that would make him feel like he's the most important person in the world. Then I'm supposed to do it. Have I done that today? Doubtful. Do I know how? Well, I think I know where to start. Am I afraid he won't notice? Terrified. If he doesn't notice, will I try again? Hopefully. If he does notice? Then maybe I'll get romanced too.

Ah, and there lies the crux. Selfish and hypocricital. I think human nature leads us to want to be special and appreciated. But the point of doing these special things for your partner is supposed to be purely to show THEM how much you care, not to want it in return. So, knowing that you want to be romanced in return, do you not romance at all, to avoid the hypocritical crux? Or do you just give in, and light some candles?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The "Mac" Legacy

Inspiration comes in many forms.  I am lucky enough to have married into a family that has a very firm grasp on that.  EVERY member of my extended "Mac" family will whole-heartedly agree that Inspiration comes from those you choose to surround yourself with.  Now, different members may interpret that differently, but they ALL (and I'm talking 26 first cousins here, plus all of the married-in's like me) look to each other whenever they are in need of a laugh or a shared tear.

I was six months pregnant with my first born when Grandpa Mac passed away, 10 years ago today.  While I only knew him for a short time, I see the difference he has made in this world every day.  My extended family has been molded by his leadership, dedication, and ultimate devotion to family. 

Whether it be unfaltering dedication to bid euchre, fishing for damn nuisance sun fish, or crazy talk around the campfire, Grandpa Mac is always there.  Thank you, Grandpa Mac, from every generation.


 (Yes, family, I realize it's actually Mc, but I didn't want it to be "Golden Arched" in reference)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Everyone is Inspired by Something.

Everyone is inspired by something.  A lucky few have figured out what their inspirational triggers are.  An even smaller few have developed ways to harness that inspiration and feed off of it.  My family is competitive.  I grew up competing with everyone in everything.  I ALWAYS had a goal and I usually missed it by “just that much”.  Now, I know that every time I see a child achieve their goals in any type of competition, I will cry tears of joy to celebrate their success.  I was once at the hockey arena watching my childcare providers’ eleven year old son win the league championship.  The parents of the children on the team smiled and applauded.  I cried.  I was at the national science fair awards ceremony for my adopted teenage daughter several months ago, I cried when she won her research scholarship to Israel, of course, but I also cried when other students whom I’d never even met won their dream awards as well.  Yes, I am an equal opportunity crier. 

Just yesterday, my son participated in the regional cross country finals for his school board.  The top 90 students from 95 different elementary schools across the region were competing.  I was so proud for him to come in 26th.  Just moments before his race, however, came my true moment of inspiration.  Ten minutes after the girls race had apparently ended, the bicyclist that trailed the final runner in the race came into view over the crest in the hill.  Beside him, in an awkward combination of running, walking and hopping, a young girl was bound and determined to ignore her disability and achieve her goal.  The course that had just moments before been crowded with teachers and parents that were eager to wish their boys well was suddenly cleared.  This little girl received the largest and loudest standing ovation.  Everyone present was buoyed by the courage it took to finish the race when everyone else had come and gone so long ago.  Parents, teachers, officials, and other competitors applauded her effort and her spirit.  I cried. 

With Career Number 4, I have a new goal.  It should be fairly obvious.  When everyone else has come and gone, I intend to finish the race.  Missing so many things by “just that much” can do severe damage to your self-confidence.  But it can also serve as inspiration.  I have been given the opportunity to try so many different things in life, and have had the support of so many people, encouraging and allowing me to attempt so many things.    Just as the coaches and organizers of the cross country finals had faith that including this young girl in the regional finals was the right decision to make, so many coaches, teachers, and others have had faith that including me in their teams, groups, organizations, etc. was the right decision as well.  That is something I will always carry with me as personal inspiration.  Being at a crossroads in my career, I am now competing for employment.  Every time I rewrite my cover letter for a particular position, I am competing for an interview.  I was raised to compete.  I am competing again.  This time, instead of watching others succeed and win, shedding tears of joy to celebrate their victory, I would like it to be celebrating my own.  I will finish this race, even if by "just that much".

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thankful for Happiness

My book of recommendation for October is most definitely, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Not everyone needs, wants, or has the ability to take on something so ambitious as to spend an entire year "test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier", but thankfully, Gretchen has done that for us.  Now, we can each look to her experiences, take a few small nuggets of inspiration, and grow on them.

To me, the biggest lesson held within the pages of Rubin's book is that it is actually okay to want to be happier.  We are often left feeling like there could be more out in the world for us, even when life and circumstances have blessed us with many things.  Just as frequently, we are told (either directly or indirectly, by society and ourselves) how guilty we should feel for wanting to explore those opportunities. 

Well, guess what?  My name is Dana Nokes and I am very thankful for the many wonderful people, places, and opportunities I have had in this life.  But I want more.  I want to write.  I want to inspire.  I want to travel.  I want to entertain.  I want to enlighten.  I want to teach.  I want to grow.  I want to make a difference.

I am thankful for my current happiness, but even more thankful for the freedom and ability to pursue dreams and goals to become even happier.

Career Number 4 should be, um, happy?  (yeah, that doesn't really work, but oh well.)

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Top 10 things everyone MUST do in their 30's

What are the top 10 things you must do in your Thirtys?

10 - Play with food -  Try to cook your way through any cookbook (Julie & Julia style, of course...), or atleast dabble in "sustainable living" (you know, live local, buy local, eat local)

9 - Buy a Feng Shui book - attempt to Feng Shui your home and quickly give up when you realize your chi just ain't cutting it.

8 - Join a gym -  quit the gym, and then complain about how much you need to go to a gym.

7 - Drink wine -  even if you don't like it.  (And if you like it enough, you can relocate your entire family and career so you can live closer to it...)

6 - Manage your childs sports team - I could have said... "Dabble in Politics", but really, what's the difference?

5 - Run your own business - A legal business would be a bonus... you know... Partylite, Scentsy, that kind of thing.... but, who am I to judge?

4 - Two words... Man Cave.

3 - Two more words... Road Trip! - Ok, a lot of people may think this should go in the "twenty's" category and that "travel" would be more accurate for thirty's.  But... too bad.  make your own list.

2 - Change your career -  atleast twice.  (Make sure to blog about it atleast once... don't forget!)


1 - Buy a mini van - That's right!  Everybody, parent or not, needs to own a minivan.  If you managed to escape your twenty's without one, now is the time to pimp yourself out, soccer mom style... 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Cricket Won't Stop Chirping

The cricket won’t stop chirping.  In the crisp autumn air, sweet with the scent of dew, I stop to listen to the beauty of nature.  But, I can’t hear it.  The cricket won’t stop chirping. I see the tree branches swaying and long to hear the melodic sound the maple leaves make as they hurry past each other in the wind, only to hurry back again, in a never ending cascade of sound.  But I can’t.  The cricket won’t stop chirping.  The gentle plink of dew droplets, slowly tumbling to the ground, thankful for anything that slowed their descent.  But I can’t.  The cricket won’t stop chirping.  Hundreds of birds have passed by, each on its own mission, yet flying together in a synchronized wave, music choreographed in the sky.  A few yards away, the gentle ripple of the river, restlessly fighting with the rocks that have refused to budge in haste.  I want to listen to the beauty of nature around me, but I can’t.  The cricket won’t stop chirping.

It may well be that what you are looking for is the very thing standing right in front of you.  Does that mean that I stop searching for career number 4?  No.  But neither will I dismiss the validity of the “influence” that I can have in the various roles I embody on a daily basis.  Thank you for being my tree branches, maple leaves, rain drops, and birds in the sky.  

Career number 4 should be focused on my community.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding Fraser - Setting the Onion Precedent

Several years ago, I began a blog, Finding Fraser. A few weeks ago I was overcome with the feeling that I had grown older and wiser, and therefore took it down. Here I am, barely weeks later, reminiscing about onions and other things oddly referred to whilst I desperately sought Fraser. Guess what? Neither my thoughts nor my purpose have changed. I am still me. While I may no longer be searching for my "original self" as I had been, I am still on a quest, looking to create a bit more of myself everyday.
Finding my thoughts and banterings just as twistedly relevant to my life circumstances now as they were then, I will be reposting several of these entries over the next little while.

Here it is, the first of firsts, my original blog post...

Setting the Onion Precedent        -        Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't you hate it? Starting something new on just the right foot. There's so much pressure, so much to think about. Look at me. Look how high I've set the bar for myself. I've yet to even write a complete paragraph, but the title alone indicates that what I write will be deep, meaningful, and, essentially, so profound that I will find the core of my being.
And all of that, right here, for you to see. Ha!

It is true, I am lost. But, I'm sure you are too. I am a mother, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a wife, and potentially, some other title I have completely forgotten. But, before all that, I was just Fraser. Hmmmm. I suppose by rights, I was always a daughter and a sister. But then, I consciously decided to become a mother, a step-mother, a friend and a wife. With every title, came additional layers of responsibility. So, maybe I'm not lost, I'm just wrapped up in layers that have gotten so thick, I have no idea where the core of me lies anymore. Oh, there I go again, talking about the core of my being. This could get interesting.

I've recently begun a quest. I'm on the hunt for Fraser, my original self. Now, I obviously can't erase all of my chosen titles, nor am I wanting to, I just need to tidy them up a bit. Thinking of the movie Shrek, I'm thinking of an onion... are you with me? Onions have layers, (and yes apparently Ogres do too, but that's irrelevant at this point in time) and if you peel them all away, you get to the core of it. People, in my opinion, should NOT be like onions. Hey, I warned you this would not be profound stuff here. People should be like trees. They should be grounded on the root of their being, with each additional title being a different branch. The bigger they are, the farther they reach. All the while, the persons true self is still quite visible. It is the foundation on which they stand. Obviously that is not the case with an onion. With every additional layer, the core of the onions being gets hidden a little deeper.

I'm tired of being an onion. Besides, they stink.

"Life isn't about Finding Yourself..."

While spending time at home in Nova Scotia this summer, surrounded by nature at its best, I was presented with the words of George Bernard Shaw, "Life isn't about finding yourself, Life is about creating yourself."  and couldn't help but be compelled to look at myself in a whole new light.  I know who I am, I know what I like, and I know what I am good (and conversely not good) at.  Why keep searching for what I already know?  Instead of puttering around thinking about what I have already done, it was time to shift gears and focus on what there was still to do.  What have I always wanted to do, but have never done?  Is there a life calling I have yet to explore?  Is there an influence I can make on a person, society or culture?

When looking to make a change of any kind, it always helps to have a strong team of influential people around you.  "Influential" can come in many forms. Whether it be your teenage children influencing what you wear by giving you the you-can't-seriously-be-planning-on-wearing-that-outside-the-house look over breakfast, your spouse supporting you through everyday ups and downs, or co-workers pushing you to go for the big promotion; each of them have an effect on YOU in a way completely different than they would on someone else.  Many of my influencers were specific high school teachers.   True to form, being somewhat of a nerd, I held several teachers in very high esteem while other students would rather walk on hot coals than walk back into the classroom for a "chat".  One in particular, Mr. C, was my physical education teacher for the majority of my junior and senior high school years.  He taught me infinitely more than sports skills.  His influence stretched to cover perseverence, patience, faith, and giving. He had high expectations for you and you felt compelled to perform out of fear of letting him down.  You busted your butt for him because he expected you to, and you knew that that was the right thing to do.  While in Nova Scotia this summer, I saw Mr. C for the first time in 16 years.  My nephew wanted to take me to the cool, new, state of the art track and field facility in town.  It was really not surprising to see Mr. C there with a group of teenagers, training diligently on a beautiful Wednesday evening in the middle of the summer.  It was even less surprising to learn that it was Mr. C himself who had spearheaded the entire initiative to raise money for and create such a beautiful facility.  Mr. C is a man who has dedicated his life to serving his community one teenager, and inadvertently one family, at a time.  While he may be a talented athlete, his true gifts and strengths are those he tries to pass on to others; perseverence, patience, faith, and giving.

I walked away from the track that evening with a renewed sense of purpose.  I would not stand around trying to find myself.  I am who I am.  I must instead find a way to continue to better myself and find a way to use my skills to help better any one around me who feels they may need some bettering too.  Career Number 4 shall be influential.

"Life isn't about finding yourself, It's about creating yourself."   George Bernard Shaw