Priorities, sometimes they get screwed up, sometimes they’re in perfect alignment. I have always been a fairly level-headed person (no comments from the peanut gallery). What I mean is that I have always tried to think about the consequences of my actions. Putting into perspective the “bigger picture”. It’s helped me make better choices.
When I was 19-years-old, I went off to SIU. I joined a fraternity, I blew off class, I enjoyed the bar age in Carbondale being 18. Bottom line: I took in all the college experience. After one semester, I was on told that if my grades didn’t improve, I would be booted from the School of Business (SOB). I came back in the spring and picked up where I had left off; Thursday Night Club at the Tap, the weekend begins on Tuesday, FAC (Friday afternoon club), etc, etc, etc. At the end of the year, I got my grades, along with a letter from the SOB telling me that I was officially in the category of “Undeclared Major”, as I had been kicked out of their group. Then I got the letter from SIU that said, “If my grades did not improve in the next semester, I would be asked to leave campus.” Wow, kicked out of my major and put on academic probation, I’m making good choices now.
I will never forget getting that letter. I showed it to my dad and in typical Russ-fashion. He said, “Son, there is no shame in coming back and working at the bank. If you want to be a teller all your life, that is your choice. If you want more than that, you have some work to do.” That’s my dad. No, red-faced, “What the hell is this letter?” No sobbing. Just tell it like it is. The choice I made right there and then is that I didn’t want to be a teller all my life (no offense to career tellers, you are the most important people at any bank).
I went back to school, watched “Where there’s a will, there’s an A.”, got a job on campus, pleaded with the dean to let me back into the SOB (she did), studied, and made the Dean’s list every semester after that. My dad put it in perspective for me with one conversation. I’m forever grateful that my parents always helped me put things in perspective. In a small part, I think that’s what my blog has become. I am amazed at how many of my friends read this and tell me they get something out of it. I’m thankful to all of you.I was approached by three different people last night that told me they enjoy what I write. That tells me to keep writing (no surprise I’m posting the morning after those kind words).
Life gets crazy sometimes. We all have careers, kids, kids activities, houses to maintain, bills to pay. But don’t be afraid to take a step back, and think about things and make some big picture choices for your betterment, down the road. Be it a diet, quitting smoking, ending a bad relationship, or moving forward on a good one (as afraid as you might be). It won’t always work out as planned, and guess what? That’s ok. But you at least gave it a fighting chance by thinking it through and moving forward on what’s important for you.