Fall off the wagon? Time to get back on!

Hello fuzzbutts!

How’re those good habits coming along? Start drawing more? Eating better? Exercising more? All those good things? Did life get in the way?

Sometimes you’re eating better and then the convenience of lousy or fast food overtakes your new habit again and you’re back to eating some terrible food. You got active and healthier but then you got sick and had to stop. You’re all better now but it’s hard to start again and you feel like you’re starting from scratch again.

Well I have good news! Just because a good habit (or anything replacing a bad habit) has stopped doesn’t mean you’re starting from scratch again! Stopped exercising? You’re still healthier than you used to be and you know what to do the next time you hit the gym. Stopped drawing? Well all those extra hours or days of experience you built up before you stopped still have you as a better artist than before you got into the habit.

Imagine how awful it would be if you stopped drawing for a month and suddenly all your ability devolved to how good you were when you were 3Ick! 

So, since you were closer to your ideal life before, you just need to pick up the ball and run with it again. Resume working on those skills! Keep working on losing that weight! You’re further along than you think and you already did the hard work of starting the first time. Starting it up again will be easier this time. So dust off that list of good habits you stopped working on and give it another go!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

You’re okay the way you are… or are you?

Hello fuzzbutts!

Happy to be here to bring you another post! Hope you’re all doing great. I’ve been having a good time but I’ve been thinking about something a lot of furries tend to do that pretty much self-sabotages us.

Something in life isn’t going the way we want. It might be something about the job or our bodies or something in our own behavior. We recognize there’s an issue and we get down on ourselves about it. Sometimes we share this with a friend. Our friend, well-meaning, responds with “You’re fine just the way you are.” You don’t actually feel any better about it, but you decide to push the problem away for now. Later, you’ll think about it again, seek validation that you’re still okay the way you are, and then avoid doing anything to help yourself.

However, if the problem is something that would improve the quality of your life like you want to get more fit, stand up for yourself more, be more patient with your friends, etc, then it’s a problem worth addressing. Blow up at somebody over something little? Overweight and think you need to get healthier? Feeling useless or like you’re a drag on your friends? Then you’re NOT OKAY THE WAY YOU ARE! You have some self-development to work on. Don’t let yourself settle for staying the same. You are the lead character of your own story and it’s a FACT that the best stories involve character development. I enjoy reading and nothing is more annoying than a main character who doesn’t evolve and grow as the story plays out. Same for movies. So many of the best stories involve a flawed main character who works to overcome their weakness and become the hero or heroine the observer can respect. That’s supposed to be YOU.

I want you to be the best you can be. I want to see you evolve and grow as people and fuzzbutts alike. You can’t do that if you stare at your own flaws and then say “Well I guess I’m fine the way I am.” Nobody is perfect and nobody will be perfect. On the flip-side, everyone can grow and do better.

Fall in love with your self-development. You know the things you’re doing wrong already. If you can’t think of it right now, stop for 2 minutes to think about it. You’ll come up with a pretty big list of things you could start to work on in very little time!

I love you and I want you to get on this journey to become the best you can be. Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Planning to get Unstuck

Hello Fuzzbutts!

One thing that has stuck out to me in some of the conversations with people I’ve met is how many of them seem to fall into a mindset that they are just stuck. They hate where they are but they can’t move from there because one of reason or another (usually it’s a job situation and they can’t move out of it because they need the job for money). Other times, it’s a weird relationship issue where they want to leave but they stay for whatever reason is most difficult for anyone else to understand.

While I can’t help so much on the relationship front, the job situation and the feeling of being stuck is something that can be dealt with. We feel helpless to the moment and the way we’ve led our lives that we’ve made mistakes along the way and don’t see any way out. We’re so busy we don’t think to take a breath and assess the situation. Yet, that’s exactly what we have to do. Take a step back and start reviewing where you are and where you want to be.

Have a lousy job and want to take on a job in a field you’re more interested in? Find what skills you’re lacking and start learning. I don’t get paid by Udemy but I love recommending their online courses. Computer skills, singing, drawing, whatever. You’ll learn more about the subject and learn if it’s something you actually want to do vs whatever you think it is. A computer job might sound lucrative and cozy but are you prepared to stare at hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code trying to fix whatever is broken with a deadline quickly approaching? Dip your toes into the water. If it’s fine, then start gaining the skills you need and make that transition. I know a couple of people who dropped out of college, got entry-level biotech jobs, and are doing great without a degree because they were determined to get their feet in the door and then picked up the skills they needed.

What if you’re stuck because you hate your job and don’t even know what to do? Well your problem is you don’t even know what you want to do. Start writing up a journal! Brainstorm like crazy on a sheet of paper about the possibilities. You don’t have to figure it out in one sitting. Every time you sit down and start popping off ideas, you might not know what you want to do but you’ll learn what you DON’T want to do. When you do figure out what you want to do, start assessing all the aspects of it and then weigh the pros and cons.

Say you want to make fursuits. Do you have the skills to make them to begin with? Can you afford all the materials to just get started? Do you have customer service skills appropriate for dealing with furries? Can you take criticism in case you get a bad review? Can you set up the boundaries necessary so you can do your job without being micromanaged by your customer while also make sure you can hold up your end of the deal? How much should you price your fursuits and accessories to be able to compete with better-known brands? How will you maintain your schedule and social media presence? Can you figure out a tracking system that won’t become a huge mess when you have a dozen orders or a long queue?

How about a non-furry related job? You want to work in electronics? What kind? Sound systems, displays, robotics, etc? Are you making things or repairing them? What companies would be interested in those skills? Are there any do-it-yourself projects you can do at home as examples to show off when you interview? Are there certifications you can acquire that would help you land work?

How about just stuck in your position at your current job? What does it take for a promotion? Is there a different career track at your company that they might even enable you to take? Are there other companies nearby that do the same sort of work but would give you new experience (and probably an increased income? Sometimes they will even if you end up with the same title)? Is it time to update the resume?

None of what I said matters until you can sit down and take the time to think about these things. You don’t need a lot of time. Take 10 minutes in the evenings or even during your break at work (just don’t show anyone at work you’re working on changing careers!). The point is you’re not stuck. You just need to settle your mind, take a breath and a step back, and review everything going on. You can come up with a plan and come up with a direction for your life. You’ll gain a sense of control almost right away as you shift gears and you’ll realize you can handle this.

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Deliberate Practice!

Hello Fuzzbutts!

Today we’re going over the concept of deliberate practice. It’s a very general term that is intended to apply to anything you want to learn. It’s not just doing repetitive actions like memorization or drawing circles constantly, but it is focused on establishing and performing specific tasks to improve your performance. You find your weaknesses and look for ways to fix them. You look for specific ways to improve and follow those techniques.

Since I like talking about my own goals of drawing, I’ll start with that. I could spend hours upon hours drawing circles  and a few lines to represent heads. Unless my weakness is being able to draw a circle, this actually isn’t going to help me out. However, if I’m not happy with the way a muzzle or the eyes turn out, that’s something I could practice more. Not only just me practicing the eyes I draw, but looking at references and images that I admire and trying to imitate that process. I practice the eyes until I’m very happy with the way they are. I also practice variety since there’s so many types of eyes out there. It has a clear intention for me- draw better by drawing prettier eyes. If I eventually feel ok about eyes but now find I don’t like the way I draw hips, then I apply the same exercises I established and proceed from there to improve my art.

If you want to improve math skills or something more school-related, you can still apply deliberate practice. Study the problems and the solutions to them in the book. Then practice a few problems on your own and check the solutions. If you made a mistake, review where it happened. Try again and see if it works correctly this time. Unfortunately, in many math textbooks I’ve encountered, many practice problems have only some of the solutions and zero explanation of how the solution was even reached. In that case, a classmate or tutor might be able to shed light on where things went wrong in your thinking.

A good read on the principles of deliberate practice along with a ton of great examples can be found at James Clear’s Website and I recommend you look into it even just to get some ideas with regards to things you could apply the idea of deliberate practice to.

 

Good luck Fuzzbutts!

The Mortal’s Disadvantage

Hello mortal fuzzbutts!

As we are such furry furry little mortals, we need to keep that one little fact in our minds. We’re all going to die at some point, some sooner than others. There’s so many things we want to do. There’s even more things that some of us hold ourselves back from or we wallow in something from our pasts that keeps us from moving ahead in life. That is our disadvantage.

This is just a reminder that we don’t have all the time in the world to do the things we want to do. It’s not about being a hedonist where you indulge to excess, end it early, or being irresponsible about rushing toward your dreams. It’s about YOU getting YOURSELF in gear, finding the things that provide meaning in YOUR life, and working toward accomplishing what you can. Do you want to be an artist? You’re not going to do it by playing video games all day. Want to travel? Don’t wait until retirement when you’re old and creaky when you can scrounge up enough money to do it sooner (Being responsible, of course).

I want you to put yourself out there some more. Write down your dreams. Settle on some goals. Finish the things that are your current priorities and free yourself up for your real priorities. Narrow down the scope of your life. It may be fulfilling to try and work on a ton of things at once but you can paralyze yourself. Look at those people around you who are the most successful. Chances are, they’re really amazing at just a couple of things.

So the bottom line of today’s advice is to realize you’re going to die eventually. Whatever your belief system is, please make the most of it. Remind yourself every day whether it’s a post-it note, an app, whatever that you don’t have forever. So how are you going to spend today?

““If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll be right.”

Good luck, fuzzbutts.

Change of Plans!

Hello fuzzbutts!

So my last post, nearly 2 weeks ago now, was about making the changes you need. I described my job situation as my example and all the stuff going through my brain. Well! Change of plans again! I got the new job, showed up, and knew instantly in the first 5 hours that this wasn’t going to work. I finally got the tour of the location I was supposed to work at. It was way worse than the place I had originally toured. I, unfortunately, thought the labs were consistent. Not so much! Even before the end of the first day, I knew this wasn’t going to be acceptable for my ambition. Stability is one thing. This place was soul-crushing. Most of the people I met at that place were already in the process of quitting because of how bad it was. I already left my last job and now I had to leave this brand new job. Disappointment all around!

So maybe it’s a cautionary tale about change, you’re thinking. “Don’t make change! You’ll end up jobless!” No. Still not what I’m saying. One thing I will say I would not have made the change if I had just asked for/put pressure on them to let me tour the lab I was going to actually work at. Lesson learned for me before accepting work ANYWHERE.

Granted, this situation is not ideal. I’d prefer to be working right now. I’m not entirely sure where I’ll find other work in a place that I won’t find soul-killing. However, I will take solace in the fact I have money saved, a good living situation, and freedom to explore more options with more time, catching up on some things I fell behind on (like this blog).

So, given this situation, I decided to explore my options. I didn’t burn my bridges (see earlier post about that) with the old company so I might be able to just ask for my job back. However, maybe this was the boost I needed to explore even more places. It’s hard to decide. So I went seeking advice.

My old mentor suggested it would be ok to ask for the old job back if I was clear about what happened with the new job. Recent former boss said the situation was already pretty precarious for the group even before I left so, assuming they take me back, I’d be in a bad spot since they might not even want people of my level. Maybe. I know the things they were working on and that I would be pretty important to get those going. Still, the trust is broken.

Speaking with other friends, I feel like there’s ways to proceed. I’m reaching out to other contacts to see if they have anything going on at their locations. I know how slowly the old job hires so I don’t expect to be replaced and I feel like I left on a high note so, unless they were moving in a different direction already, I don’t expect to get turned down if I wait a little while to try my other options. Ideally, I want something new and research based. Research is never 100% stable but I think I would prefer some instability over the depressing routine that I almost volunteered for.

So what about you? Well, even if things suddenly fall apart for you, my point is to gather up as much information as possible and start weighing options again. I felt like I was having a panic attack at the new job. Usually I’m good about keeping cool but this blew me out of the furry waters. However, a good night’s sleep later, I feel much better about this uncertain situation and started gathering the data I need to make an informed decision. While I’m not happy about dumping the old job to just become temporarily unemployed, I feel like I can still make a move in the positive direction. I hope it works out and I hope you get something out of my blog.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Change Change Change

Hi Furries!

Well I made my own leap recently and got a new job! Notified my current employer and training people to take over for me. In less than two weeks, I’ll be working in a new industry (for me). Recent post from me was avoiding Burning Bridges! So now I’m trying to make this transition as smooth as possible. They appreciate it because there’s a lot on the line if things would stop. So I’m still doing my best with less than 2 weeks to go.

I’m excited for this new job but there’s a nagging feeling at the back of my mind. Am I going to actually enjoy this new job? It’s probably really different from things I’ve done before. I know the job and I know the people I’m leaving. It’s one of those “the devil you know vs the devil you don’t” situations. I have no idea how the new situation will be and yet I know how bad the current situation is. Will the new one be worse, better? It’s hard to change! You can actually get comfortable being unhappy when you’re not sure if things will get better by taking the leap. Writing this blog and working on myself for the past almost-year now has led me to the following: Changing a lousy situation is always better than staying in the same place.

So what drove me to make this change? I knew I wasn’t pleased with my current job. After almost 5 years there, I was busted back to doing the same job I did when I was first hired. Granted the pay was better (I had been promoted twice), but this job was becoming stagnant. On top of that, I had survived 4 mass layoffs at this job and every time, the CEO or management comes out and says “This is a good thing. We’re getting more focused. You’re all safe.” After so many rounds of that, there’s a reduced sense of security. So maybe I’ll get cut eventually. So I wasn’t developing professionally and I didn’t see the place improving. Does that justify switching to a new industry and employer? Well it’s time to weigh the option to decide if change is right.

I don’t know the people I’ll be working with. They could be cool or way worse. What about the environment? It won’t be as pristine as the lab I used to run and the instrumentation might not be as fancy. Maybe not but there’s definitely a certain instrument there that is new to me and I would love to get experience with. What about money? Well it’s the same for the moment but in 6 months I’m guaranteed a significant raise so yeah the money will be better too. Commuting distance ? Well it’ll definitely be shorter and I will avoid freeways now so that could mean a lot more free time to do things! Advancement? Well it looks like maybe 2 years to become an official manager. I’ve been a mentor for years already and was recently passed over as a manager for somebody who already had official experience at my current job. I don’t see any changes coming within the next 2 years that would allow me to become a manager so I guess it’s better to change. Can I take the experience elsewhere? Yes. I’m going to be working in a place that is part of infrastructure and will allow me to move wherever I want! That’s awfully nice for somebody, like me, who plans to leave SoCal someday.

So I came to the decision that change is needed. I’m anxious, sure. I don’t feel great about it. I’m finding myself needing to do a little more meditation more often. It’s definitely uncomfortable but that’s how you move on to bigger and better things. It’s not incredibly different from changing my diet to improve my health or working out more or reading more books. I hope you can find something to improve in your own life. Pick one thing at a time and make the changes you know you need!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!