Two things that happened last month has fast-forwarded my life at an exponential rate.
In a blink of an eye, here I am, a 20-something adult who just witnessed my first friend get married, and started my first full-time internship in SF Financial District.
Real shit in life slapped me in the face – marriage is now a thing in my age range and right beside me, the urgent need to follow a grandma schedule so that I can wake up for my 9 am, the thought of how I want my future to look like and whether my abilities match up.
All of which, if I’m honest, has caught me off guard. I’m still unready (and yes, too lazy) to ACTUALLY “grow up”.
As I fumbled through my first two weeks of internship, I’ve found that adulting was not just what I’d always envisioned it to be – exempting from homework and exams, or holding responsibilities that more experienced adults cling onto.
Essentially, it is about the process of becoming.
You do the “adulty” things to feel, pull through, and eventually pass into the state where what you have to do is what you do.
And in the process of adulting…
I: Bonding With the Right People Is Key.
Interning at a non-profit has definitely taught me the hard way.
What we do? We host events to raise awareness for partnered charities. We bring those who can help to those who need help. To be more specific, it involves high levels of face-to-face communication, creative brainstorm, and team spirits on the daily basis.
In a setting where I have to constantly meet clients and make them believe what I believe, I’ve come to recognize similar characteristics that dwelled in those who reciprocated in the conversations, and expressed concerns in the matter.
Regardless of their final decisions, they showed respect, demonstrated proper demeanors, and responded with a dose of compassion.
They behaved this way NOT because this was all they knew. But they saw their own full spectrum of capabilities, and decide on it.
It’s vital to differentiate the right people.
“The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life, and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds. The people that believe in you so much, you start to believe in you too. The people that love you, simply for being you. The once in a lifetime kind of people.”
“I’m so lucky to have you two (´༎ຶོρ༎ຶོ`)”
I’m not naturally a people person. I’d go out of my way to ignore someone I know in the street when I’m not in the mood for a conversation. Sometimes I’m extremely socially conscious but also fiercely individualistic – wanting to fit in a group but never compromising my personality to do so. And ALWAYS having the tug-of-war between “YES, I WANT TO GO OUT” and “nah, grandma needs to rest.”
But when it comes to the right people, I’d want to, and feel the need to invest in them.
I still do things on my own terms. But I’ve come to minimize excruciating small talks. Divert the effort to people who I know would appreciate and reciprocate. Listen to and learn about their stories. And be vulnerable enough to share some of mine.
It is then I learn that as soon as I begin to pay ACTUAL attention to the right people, foster meaningful and consistently loving relationships with them,
They will respond in the exact same way and take matters into their own hands. It’s Law of Attraction 101… Duh.
II: There Will Be A Lot of Rejections.
To be frank, out of the countless pitches we delivered, the percentage of funders we converted was not too high (but close to average, though).
And as an intern, I am the first point of contact for potential clients, and inevitably, receive rejections firsthand.
“I’m on the clock.”
“I’m in a big hurry.”
By taking in all the rejections littering almost every conversation, I was reminded of the convenient elements in formulating an excuse – time, incompatibility, etc.
They exist in different forms in a relationship.
“I’m not ready.”
“Let’s take it slow.”
Human beings, especially myself, have developed a high capability to deaden feelings, and a tendency to lose one another.
We owe this skill to our mastery of empirical rejections – the power that comes from numerous trails of deciphering messages (three-letter responses, disappearing for hours, for example) and acting on that knowledge to normalize and absorb the same behaviors (keep it short, make him wait).
We reject the rejections anticipating a comeback. We play the same rules the other person set. Basically, we let other people dictate our actions.
I’m an avid believer in magnetism, the power of human aura, and its ability in influencing the things and the people around.
When facing negative energy, a skilled empath would acknowledge it, know how to discharge and deflect it, but MOST people would unknowingly absorb it.
And I was one of them.
My friend was right. I was like a robot. I was programmed to embrace the concept of give and take, only willing to put in as much effort as I received. All the toxic energy so caught up with me that even when something good happened, I questioned if they’d be better off without me.
I expected the worst, so I refused to be forward.
I hated feeling void, so I’d rather not have it at all.
All the rejections thrown at me at work brought me face to face with the lost pieces of me – my ability to crush objections. Instead of feeling defeated, I could be an initiator myself, a source of positivity and vitality for others.
I’ve come to be wiser and more patient. I stopped letting the negativity. Or the “texting rules.” Or the fear of getting rejections deter me from trying.
Continue to love and long and lust for the pleasures of life. In every single way there is to express to and experience the people around.
Be sweet. Be caring.
“But what if it doesn’t work? how do I get better?”
Annalee set down her crossword. “You should say good-bye.”
“It’s too late. He’s gone.”
“Sometimes it helps to say it anyway.”
“Can you tell me … Did he ever feel the way I did?”
“Ah, baby.” Annalee tapped her pen gently on Gracie’s hand. “Some of us wear our hearts. Some of us carry them.
– Stephanie Perkins, “Head, Scales, Tongue, Tai”
III: What You Do Makes YOU Who You Are.
As you might have guessed, working for a non-profit wasn’t my first choice.
Right, my internship decision has gotten me some slightly shocked looks at social gatherings, “that must be, umm, rewarding?” folks would say, sneaking a glance at my scuffed shoes.
It’s strange how oftentimes there is a negative connotation associated with the name “non-profit.” The public perception would link it with lower pay, fewer resources.
As real as it gets, my two weeks of experience told me the otherwise.
In this short amount of time, I met some of the most inspiring team leaders in my life. They had high stamina, tactical communication skills, and were willing to teach. And also a group of charismatic interns who came from varied accredited universities and owned big hearts.
Despite of the name “non-profit,” I was surrounded by individuals who motivated me, challenged me to be better, and I aspired to become one day.
I was at war with myself: do we choose our jobs based on what we expect to gain or who we hope to become?
I think the truth is that life is going to place you into many, many uncomfortable positions. And sometimes we don’t really get to choose. But if it matters to you, cultivate it.
Here’s the rub: it has to matter to you.
Dig it. Work on it. It’ll all add to your characters writ large.
Be kind. Be good.
My internship decision might not sound as cool as other corporations,
But I see myself in it.
Because at the end of the day, this is the type of person I hope to become.
IV: Be Patient, It DOESN’T Happen Over Night.
Conventional wisdom is that it takes 21 days to form a new habit,
And anywhere from 18 to 254 for a lifestyle change to feel automatic.
Since what we’re talking about here can mean making a fundamental change to the coding of our operation system,
Depending on your levels of commitment I’d go right ahead and triple that.
I think that’s like it all about.
Learn something you always wanted to, learn something you hate so much,
But you’re never too good at anything.
With all love,
A gloomy optimist