Never Good Enough

Sometimes the greatest driver in life can also be the source of one’s weakness.

Flashback. Twelfth grade. Submitting information to get into college. South Dakota State University (SDSU) in fact.  I was sitting in Ms. G’s class thinking about how I hadn’t heard from the college yet. I walked down to the counselor’s office, without asking permission, and asked the counselor why I wouldn’t have heard by now. All my friends had. He said he would make a phone call and let me know.

He hung up the phone and said, waitlisted. I was waitlisted. I didn’t even know what that meant. How can I be something I don’t even know? All I knew was you get into college or you don’t. I asked what I needed to do and he said you need a C in your very last class in order to get in, then said, “You must have wrote one hell of an essay to stay 0eee7f8in the running.”

I ran down the hall, Ms. G had only one more assignment to grade for me, that grade would determine my future. My entire future rested on her shoulders. (When you are a teenager, nothing is in your control. It’s everyone else.) As I stood next her desk constantly begging her to just grade my homework and let me know if I got a C. She said, “A ‘C?’ That is all you want? You don’t want to do better than that?”

I said, “No, a C is good enough.”

What she said next changed my life forever.

“Don’t strive for good enough. Strive for the best.”

I have held that saying and that conversation with me since my senior year of high school. I doubt Ms. G knows she made such an impact, she probably just wanted me to leave her desk so she could do her work.

Turns out, I got a B on the assignment and got into SDSU. Go Jacks!

Because of Ms. G., I don’t live life as ‘good enough’ any more. I have very high standards for myself and sometime it is to a fault. I am never satisfied. A saying I read today said, “Be happy with what you have, as your something, is more than their something.” It made me think, I should be thankful for what I have, and the other side of me thinks, if I do that, I will never want more, never grow and continue to see where this crazy life takes me. Maybe it’s the Gemini in me, I don’t know.

I apologize that so much of this is unknown and I can’t see the true definition, but I guess that is the whole point of this blog. I want to compile all my thoughts and life lessons and see where the next chapter in my life takes me. I want more, I want better than what I have right now. I want to be able to have a life where I don’t worry about finances, I am able to take care of family, I am in love, I feel fulfilled and I enrich others’ lives. Does that exists? Is that something that can even happen? Am I chasing a dream that will never come to fruition?

The logical part of me says sit down, go to work and do your duties. The fantasy side of me says, “Go on girl. Get it!” (As much sass as you can picture).

So for right now, I am listening to the fantasy side of me until the logical side proves its point. Knowing me, I will probably still disregard the facts and keep on dreaming.

Here’s to not knowing the future, dreaming like a fool and never settling for good enough.

Cheers,

KJM

P.S. Take a moment to thank your teacher that changed your life. With their low salary and daunting task to make you a contributing member of society, this is the only return on investment they may get.

Cross your T’s and dot your I’s

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As a manager I am frequently interviewing new hires and looking over their resumes, behaviors and dedication to getting the job. Now that I have been in the director of career services position for a while, I wanted to share with you some easy tips to ensure success when job interviewing.

  1. Show up. If you no-show your interview you are essentially ‘black listed’. ALWAYS call and explain that you cannot make it. If the job isn’t a great fit, you would know than we would, so share that with us.
  2. There is a balance between confident and egotistical. That is a very fine line, make sure you stay humble while promoting yourself.
  3. I see you before you see me. I can see you walking into the office and talking with my receptionist. Your interview began the second you got out of your car. Did you spit? Put out a cigarette? Ignore my receptionist? Act rude towards others in the office?
  4. You are human. If you are nervous, don’t tell me, I can see. Sometimes I can’t see and you make it worse by saying how nervous you are. Just be confident in what you want to say and the message you want to get across.
  5. As the interviewer, I am looking for red flags and reasons to not hire you. Don’t let bad behaviors knock you out of the running before you start. (Cellphone ringing, chewing gum, acting annoyed at the questions, etc.)

You may not have all the answers or answer correctly, but if you are confident, determined to get the job and did your research you have a good chance of getting the position. Ultimately it comes down to how you will fit within the culture of the company. Don’t get discouraged if you are turned down for positions. It just means you get to move on to something even better and something that is a greater fit to who you are.

Keep pushing forward and giving your all in every interview. You can accomplish amazing things!

Tips and tricks for several interviews:

  1. Keep a log of who you are interviewing with and where.
  2. Do your research on the companies you are interviewing with.
  3. Have a calendar set for dates and times you are interviewing, include the name of the interviewer, company and phone number in case you are lost or running late.
  4. Color code the types of jobs you are interview for. Green for jobs in your field that you really want, yellow for jobs you would take to get income coming in, and red for jobs you don’t necessarily want, but need to practice your interviewing techniques.
  5. Interviewing can be exhausting. Don’t forget to rejuvenate each night. Recap the interview in your notes and set a follow up appointment to check on the fulfillment of the position.

Power of Cousins

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You know all my deep secrets and you are not forced to be my friend, yet you are always by my side. Now if you weren’t my family, reunions would be awkward. The power of cousin friendship isn’t something I truly appreciated until recently.

When I moved to the cities in 2008 I threw myself into work since I didn’t have a core group of friends established in the cities. Then I began to realize, it is hard to make friends in the cities as everyone already has their core established. It was a never ending circle. I then found going to work functions helped introduce me to others and I slowly started to develop great friendships there.

Not once did I think, “Hey, I have 6 cousins who live in the cities, maybe I could hang out with them?” It wasn’t until a year or two later at a family get together, I found a few of us chatting and talking and planning an upcoming event. I carried that excitement over to my other family members and found there were even more connections to be made.

Once childhood playmates are now adult best friends. I can’t imagine my life without all of them. They are such strong amazing people. Each one has a strength I cherish and admire. They inspire me to be the best me. We have all been involved in the same life circumstances, we deal with excitement and sadness the same way. They are extensions of siblings, yet feel closer than that.

If you are not best friends with your cousins, I recommend giving them a call and asking them how their day is. You will be amazed at what you find hidden in family.

Behind the tattoo: GGHJ

Dear you,
So much has changed in the last decade. The last time we talked, you were celebrating my graduating from High School. It was such a great day. Even though I got a promise ring that day, the thing I remember most is your smiles.
I wanted to write you a letter to let you know how much I have missed you. You are in my thoughts every single day. There are times where I wonder what life would have been like if you were still around. What knowledge and words of encouragement you would be able to send my way. I frequently talk to my cousin about how much I miss you and how much we wish you were still here.
I remember the special moments we had, just the two of us. The advice you gave me still sticks with me today. I live some of my life based on what you said and how I should do it. You impacted my world more than you would ever know.
I wish you were still here to help me in the next phase of life. Hold grandchildren and make milkshakes when we are sick. Truth is, even when you are a grown adult, you still need your grandma.
There are so many what ifs all these years later. What if I had told you how much you really meant to me, what if I had time to ask you all the questions I have now, what if…you were still here.
You would think several years and a million memories would fade the picture of you. If anything, it has made it stronger. It has made the special moments that I remember even greater.
Because of you, I see the sun
Because of you, I listen to the birds
Because of you, I believe in education
Because of you, I make the man come to me
Because of you, I believe in true love
Because of you, I am stronger
Because of you, I smile

Though all of our time was short lived, you made the biggest impact on me and who I am and became the basis in which I live my life. Thank you. Thank you for your guidance, your wisdom, your view on life. You have made this world better because we got to spend time with you.

Though this isn’t any of your kind of music, it speaks to me and makes me think of you…


Until we meet again,
KJM

Living with a Stranger

Whelp, I finally did it. I’m living with a man. He’s tall, athletic and a complete stranger.

In August I made the decision to move from my apartment in Burnsville where I have resided ever since I moved to the cities. Now I live in the northern part of the cities and it’s like moving to the big city all over again. To save on rent, I moved in with a stranger. Okay, my co-worker’s wife’s best friends’ 24-year-old little brother. So technically we know each other a little bit.

This was probably the best, weirdest, craziest decision I have ever made. I have only lived with girls, when I had roommates. I REALLY like living alone. A lot. I have a spot for all my own stuff. I can’t stand when people are in my bubble. Maybe reason 3495 why I’m still single. Anyways.

Having a roommate has taught me so much in the last few months. I have a new found outlook on how I see the world and have learned a lot of patience. I like explain my roommate as Sheldon from Big Bang Theory with a look of the best friend from Ferris Bueller’s Day off. He is also wicked smart like Sheldon on the show as well. So you could say I am like Penny. Minus the skinny body, blonde hair and energy. J

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Here are reasons why I think my roommate is not excited I moved in:

  1. I give him ideas just to put his brain in overdrive. “What if we had a drone that brought us beer from the fridge?” He is currently working on logistics.
  2. I don’t put my dishes away in a timely manner.
  3. I question is thought process which stresses him out even more on a project. And yes, there is no point to my point I make.
  4. I give him small jobs around the house because I know it will take him a few weeks to complete them and keep his mind off of making me pay utilities.
  5. Calling him Friday night when I can’t make it home to let my dog out because I’m at the library. So he lets him out for me.

I am 100% sure he knows this. So on the flip side, here are some things I have learned while living with him; aka, things that make me mad:

  1. He’s actually a really good roommate. All the things that annoy me actually make me love the little kid even more. He will make a great husband to someone someday. He truly has a big heart, an open mind and welcomes everyone with open arms. I couldn’t have been placed with a better roommate.

It also works out very well that he likes to hang out in his room when he is home, and that he loves to be busy so he’s never even really home.

If you have to live with a roommate, good luck! Determine what it is that bugs you and turn it into a positive. For example, he is anal at cleaning the dishes. So I leave mine for him to clean. Problem solved.
Much love, KJM

Samalama

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There are certain things you do because your family says so. I.e.; take out the garbage, do the dishes and … buy a dog. I am a very strong independent person, but when 5 people in my family say, “hey we think you should get a dog.” You consider it.

It’s not until its Christmas and they picked out a dog for you AND you are on the way to the animal shelter do you realize, oh my gosh, I’m about to get a dog.

Getting a dog isn’t like little pet hamsters when you were little. My sister Jessie was notorious for killing every pet within days of receiving it. Hamsters and especially fish did not live long in our house. You have to live with your dog for as long as it lives. So many years. I’ve had two dogs in my lifetime, one named Patch (Patcharooni) and one named Buddy Fritz Jr. Marthaler. Little dogs have always been part of my world. It wasn’t until my family said I should get one did I realize I had been missing out.

Turns out getting a dog on Christmas was the best choice I ever made.

Lesson’s I’ve learned owning my own dog:

  1. Dad won’t take it out for you.
  2. You DO have to feed it twice a day.
  3. If you don’t let it outside, it will find somewhere inside to go the bathroom.
  4. It makes you think of more things than yourself.
  5. Constant companion.

I have learned several more lessons, but for the sake of this blog I will keep it short. Now let me share with you why my dog, Sammy (Samalama, Sammy Sosa, SAMMY!, Sam, Samalamadingdong, SamSam, dude!) is the coolest dog there is.

  1. He learns tricks when his owner and friends have been drinking, AND remembers them the next day.
  2. He’s a dick. He runs the show and he chooses who his friends are. Sometimes he is your friend and sometimes he is not. He will let you know.
  3. He has the biggest heart when I’m feeling sad, he will crawl on my lap and nuzzle up close.
  4. He likes to drink. Preference is screwdrivers.
  5. He has an amazing ability to hide every toy in the house. Not usually under the couch. All over.
  6. A gnat can toot down the hall and he will hear it and start barking uncontrollably.
  7. He’s a really good nap-er.
  8. He is deathly afraid of anything that moves around him or touches him without his knowledge.
  9. He knows the second he is in trouble and punishes himself.
  10. He is amazing at hide and go seek.

So, if you are single, and contemplating having a dog. Do it. (Only if you will truly take care of it). It is a long term commitment. You do have to plan taking them out in your schedule. But they are so happy to see you when you get home, they love cuddling and they are your biggest fan. They are also great listeners with whatever you want to talk to them about.

Listening to my family about getting a dog was one of the best decisions I have made.

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Love KJM

Brutal Honesty

IMG_1907    We have all had that moment when a little kid tells you the brutal truth. It’s one of those truths that is so real it makes you laugh when they say it, but deep down it really hurts your heart.

When I was in High School it was my little cousins who asked if I had a baby in my tummy. Ok, time to stop eating ho-ho’s I thought to myself.  Another time I asked my nephew, who was 5 or 6 at the time, to hand me my phone. His response was, “Why so you can take more selfies?”

Sometimes no response is better than saying what is on your mind when you are dealing with a little kid. A clench of my teeth I smiled, grabbed the phone and walked away.

Sometimes, their honesty turns to sweetness. This last weekend I was traveling with my nephew, who is now 8. He loves telling me about school and life and the zombie apocalypse. It’s coming in about a year for your information. Get prepared. We are. Thanks to my nephew.

Back to topic. Sometimes kinds innocently tell you the truth you need to hear. As we were driving, he kicked the floor of garbage in my car. Looked down stunned and confused, picked up a red and white bottle and said, “What is this? Slim Fast? I have NEVER seen this in your car before.”

Thanks buddy. “It’s to start losing weight. I’m trying to drink that to be healthy.” His response was simply, “Huh…” smiled at me and went back to telling his stories. His confusion and quiet response told me, nice work Kristin, you need to do this. I know he has such a big heart that he didn’t want to hurt my feelings by saying it wrong.

I cherish every moment I get to spend with him and cherish his honesty and big heart. He means the world to me and makes me want to be a better person. His heart is so big it reminds me to let down some of my walls and let people in. He is also the most creative little boy I have ever met. I mean, we have a zombie trap in the woods at the farm. What kid do you know has one of those? It also has a rope that leads to a little hut he can sit in to watch the farm for us. He is set!

In regards to the diet. It’s not going so hot. Didn’t gain any weight in the last two weeks, but haven’t lost any either. Just stayed flat. So frustrating!

I did break down for a slight moment at work this week. Mainly because it was what I like to call, “Middle Finger IMG_2250Monday.”It’s one of those Mondays where regardless of how happy you are, it wins, and if it were human, I would flick it off.  So, as habit, I ordered pizza to make myself feel better…but I ordered a salad as well. Then only ate half of the Jet’s Boat pizza that I am now addicted too. Thanks Brent. And that salad was bomb! So there is improvement…right?

Today was another crazy busy day, combined with the frustrating moment of no progress, I usually make myself feel better with a pizza or binge eating all the snacks in the house. Tonight, I chose to write down my struggle and ask for advice to keep going. So lay it on me.

The great thing about having tomorrow is there is always another opportunity to start over, to re-do. Just make sure you live the fullest today you can, tomorrow is not a guarantee.

Love KJM

Open Letter to my Mentor:

Your actions, words and behavior speak volumes to me even when you don’t say a word. I watch the way you lead in your life, the passion you show for others and effort you put towards being better. I am constantly envious of your ambition, zest for life and flat out exuberant nature.

When you make a decision or analyze a situation, I have a careful eye on what you do. What you do matters to me, how you act matters to me, how you live makes me believe.

This world is so full of ups and downs, it’s during the low points that everyone looks to their mentor and leader. Thank you for being there, thank you for showing the way. Thank you for giving me the guidance I needed to move forward.

I guess the point of this letter is to let you know, I notice. I notice the small things. I notice when you check in, when you contemplate your next move and when you always lend encouraging words. I notice.

Continue to be amazing, creative, strong and confident. I believe in you! I hope you believe in me.

Love,

KJM

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Show up, then show out!

In order to conquer the world, first you must show up.

My biggest frustration in the world is people who don’t show up when they say they are going to. If you are going to meet me at 10 a.m., meet me. If you aren’t, call me or text me. It’s not that hard.

Why is it so hard for some people?

Why is it hard to show up to work? To come in on time? I was raised to show up 15 minutes before you are supposed. Respect other people’s time.

Yes, we were always late as children. (Totally my mom’s fault!) I can’t tell you how many times we snuck into church and had to sit in the very last pew. Or those couple times when church was packed and we had to do the 5-minute-late walk of shame to the middle row. (And yes mom, it had nothing to do with you getting three children and a husband ready first. J )

But you know what, we showed up. At least we were there. We sat through the service, listened to the sermon and did our part.

I violate this in the worst way. I get that. I would totally rather sit on my couch then show up. It’s hard. I get that. But I am trying.I know it’s an issue and I’m trying to fix it.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you don’t show up, you don’t know what could have happened if you did.

If you frequently are getting called for missing events, or people asking where you are, show up next time. It’s never too late to change. You can ALWAYS change your behavior. You don’t have to live up to what people’s perception of you is. Every Monday is a do-over. Every Month is a do-over. There is ALWAYS time to make a change. First you just have to show up and do it.

– KJM