Spring is Here! Time for a Self-Renewal

Bill Evans
Spring is here!

It’s been about a month after the first day of spring. But it sure hasn’t felt like it, at least not in Toronto. Worse if you are in eastern Canada…BUT with May just around the corner, warmer temps are coming.

With spring, it’s usually a time to do the annual spring clean. Clear out the garage, sub-out your winter clothes for brighter, lighter colours. Whereas New Year’s day is about the new year and new goals, Springtime promotes within us a feeling to renew and rejuvenate yourself. To be socially upward, it’s a great idea to ‘spring clean’ your surroundings, your body and your thoughts. Here are some tips to get you on your spring clean cleanse rejuvenation regime:

  1. Cleaning up

Gawd, isn’t it easier to just procrastinate on cleaning up? After all, the moment you re-order or tidy up (e.g. emptying out clutter), it seems to create more clutter.

Tactic: To combat the clean-up procrastination, go in spurts. Ten-minute intervals, to be exact. So spend TEN minutes tidying up (getting rid of paper, putting away winter clothes, etc.). This allows you to feel accomplished and it’s quick.

2. Mental cleanse

It’s no wonder that mental wellness has gained mainstream near-acceptance. We live in anxious times, full of worries, self-doubt, and such. I am my own worst enemy and you are probably too.

I am starting meditation and really trying to keep it simple. No pizzazz, no freaky cultish stuff, no over-the-top over-priced meditation sessions (like at tm.org). Instead, it’s learning to zone in and let my thoughts drift away.

3. GET OUT AND MOVE

Now that it’s getting better to go outside, let’s take a moment to use our lunch time to walk outside. When it’s cold, we tend to make excuses to stay indoors. (“It’s too windy, it’s grey out…). But now that it’s sunny, NO EXCUSES.

Sitting is the new smoking, they say. To combat this, make sure you move. Walking is so easy, free and hey, it’s time to check out the ladies baring their skirts!  😉

NEXT STEPS

So take a look at the three points I raised in this post. The aim is to just START. You gain momentum by starting small. In doing these three areas, you will get your spring cleanse and pave the way to a more socially upward lifestyle!

Not First Place…Can Work Out

Being first place is what successful, social upwards should strive for. Right? There are some tried and tested aphorisms like:

  • Being First to market when creating a new product
  • “Winners get the prom queen…” (as per The Rock film)
  • Silver sucks” (because it means you lost to the person who got the gold!)

And of course, there’s famous race car driver Ricky Bobby who explains why FIRST is the best:

I agree that being first can be great. But not always, though! After all, sometimes the person who is first is the one who is really the ‘canary in the coal mine’.

Arrows, pioneer, first
The problem with being a pioneer…and being first…

I like the cartoon at the top of this post. Rather than giving participation medals, we should encourage trying and getting your foot in the door. It’s like Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss one hundred percent of the shots you DON’T take.”

We have a real, human need to be chosen. To be the first choice. Look at sports drafts, like in NFL football or the NHL. There’s all this hype about being the number one pick. Sometimes they pan out, sometimes they don’t. But being number one is what people strive for.

Being successful and socially upward isn’t always about being number one. I like the story of Julia Roberts. Her big breakthrough came when she starred in Pretty Woman. Was she the first pick to play the hooker character? NO! In fact, her role was first offered to many others. Including Molly Ringwald (the 80’s starlet of teen films). Julia Roberts wasn’t first, second…not even fifth. And yet she OWNED the role and, to this day, is an A-lister.

I’ve probably been second, or third (or worst) choice for a job. In the end, it doesn’t matter what place. Who cares about what rank you are. What matters is what you do once you get your shot.

So be sure to be socially upward, be sure to:

  • Get your foot in the door.
  • Get started.
  • Get going.
  • Try.
  • Fail.
  • Learn from the failure.

I’ve had co-workers remind me how I wasn’t first choice for a job. It was their way to bring me down. Probably to their (low) level. Sure, it rubs hard. But I used the job experience to get skills, build experience and parlay that to greener pastures. You must do that too.

Be wary of Personality Tests

Personality
We don’t always show our true face or personality.

 

The most popular and well-known personality test is the ‘Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test‘ (MBTI in short). You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever used an online dating site and (mainly) women list some four-letter acronym in their bio.

The four letters are from the MBTI test. Invariably, it will either start with an “E” (for extraversion) or “I” (for introversion).

I’ve never really liked the MBTI test. Workplaces, though, love the hell out of MBTI testing. I also noticed women loving MBTI testing. I guess it comes down to trying to un-lock what a person is like. It’s empowering (to think) you know what makes a person tick.

But is the MBTI fool-proof? My own experience is that I’ve taken the test via the book, “Do What you Are“. (Aside: I know some who take an online variant of the MBTI, so the book version is at least more comprehensive.) I found that I can have different ‘personality designations’ depending on what day, what month and even what time I took the test!

I like Sir Ken Robinson’s take about personality tests. That you cannot boil down a person into one of the sixteen personality profiles put down by the MBTI system. In his words from his book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes EverythingRobinson writes that rather than a few boxes of personality types, there are about SIX BILLION personalities. He’s riffing on the world population estimate and that each person has his/her own personality quirk.

For what it’s worth, it’s worth knowing about the MBTI personality test if only because a) your friends/co-workers will talk about it and b) you may be forced to take it as part of some management/executive training program.

But don’t let it box you in. It would stunt your path to socially upward greatness to think that you’re stuck as an “INTJ” or an “ENFP”.

 

From Socially Awkward to Socially UPWARD