Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"You excel at FIO. You are adaptable, smart, courageous, and always figure it out!"

My daughter just shared a link on FB that made me want to share a little about adaptability...

In my world, the world of Mary Kay, in the Future Richter National Area, we have a lot of little phrases and initials and things to keep us going, or so that we can identify traits in each other, etc. One of them is FIO: Figure It Out. It's that little thing that says "okay, I don't know enough people to make a million dollars tomorrow... how am I going to make that happen..." (I'm exaggerating for comedic purposes*, but you get the idea.)

So, these three letters identify and remind us of the concept of adaptability. Things are not turning out the way I planned. This isn't going how I want. My life is a mess. My house is a mess. My dog needs an eyeball-ectomy**, and I could probably use some cranio-rectal-inversion therapy. FIO. Figure it out, Rachel. What are you going to do to make this work? How's that bill going to get paid? How's that goal going to be met? Who's going to be your next offspring sales director?

The thing is, I excel at adaptability. I started this whole adventure because things weren't going the way I thought they were going to. So far, I've kept myself afloat (with minimal financial friction from the Schmoogie, who has gracefully accepted the duty of what we might call "putting [me] through school"), kept the doors of my business open, and figured out a way to even move forward step by step because I am a champion at adaptability. I want everyone to be a champion at this, but it's an incredibly difficult concept to grasp, apparently.

Life is messy. Life is uncertain. Life is full of all of these little disappointing things, and all of this stupid little bullshit, and there is always something that can stand up and give you an excuse to quit. Sometimes those excuses are really compelling too: pain, loss, grief; joy even. Sometimes they're people who think you're doing something unwise because they can't separate their reality from yours, and they don't understand that your brain works differently; or they fear that whatever comes next in this adventure might take you away from them; or they're jerks, that happens too.

You NEVER run out of excuses for things. Doing them, not doing them; putting them off until tomorrow. But, if you're adaptable, if you take up the mantle "LIFE IS MESSY: FIGURE IT OUT" and decide that that is how you're going to live, then those excuses become less compelling. Eventually, all excuses look exactly as they are***, and you learn that the thing you were going to do that had to be changed because some circumstance wasn't perfect ended up working out better than you had hoped in the first place.

A personal anecdote to make that last point a little less obtuse: I had been working in an office (and I loved it there, the people were great, my boss was cool, and I got to go buy beer every Friday at 4:30 on the company dime), but the bottom fell out of the economy and as the last hired, I was the first let go. It was cool though, because I had this business sitting in my lap not really doing anything. My last day was February 5th, 2009, and I took the LSAT the next day. Two weeks later I had had 6 or 7 fillings and a trip to the emergency room because it felt like I was giving birth out of the side of my face; and I had shingles... and I had to get 5 or 6 MORE fillings because my dental insurance was about to run out. My first party of the new stage in my business was the following Saturday. Guess what I did?

I put on my damn pantyhose (and my shingles were on my leg, too), and I sold over $200 at that party. I interviewed the hostess (who remains a life-long BFF, but decided MK isn't for her), booked the guests into events, and moved forward with my plan. I figured it out. 

It also turned out that the whole LSAT thing was unnecessary because I decided that being laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me (11 fillings and shingles not withstanding), because it forced me to figure out some other way of realizing my dreams. I wasn't happy about it, I liked that job. I liked the laziness I was allowed in working for someone else, and all of the perks that were offered because that business was solid and able to offer benefits to its employees. But I was support staff, under-utilized, and had a really bad attitude to boot. Being laid off forced me to see my situation from another perspective. It forced me to FIO. It forced me to adapt, and it doesn't matter how much discomfort I have experienced since, because that discomfort forced me to adapt and grow and I think it saved me.

And I'm not exaggerating that time. 

*I do that.
**Exaggerating for comedic effect again.*

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