Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So I Can't Just Pray and Wait Passively?...

At work, we always tell associates to be proactive. You want to get involved but don't know how? Be proactive! You're unassigned right now and need to get staffed quickly? Be proactive! You're unhappy with your schedule or team? Be proactive!

It took me a couple years to truly learn the meaning behind this "be proactive" catchphrase we so often throw out at staff. It took me a couple of tries to really understand navigating "proactiveness." There's a fine line between being proactive - healthy energy and eagerness to reach out to others, define one's own goals and work towards them... and an unhealthy and often even dangerous aura that comes from being a bit too over-eager and coming across as impatient, annoying and obsessed.

In my mind, healthy "proactiveness" consists of a few steps.
1) Research - Whatever you may want to do - whether it's joining an organization or getting to know the right people, you can't just openly ask someone to assist you without doing some of your own research first.
2) Ownership - Taking ownership of your own goals means defining them, understanding them, going after them and measuring yourself once there. Do you have a goal? Do you know how to get to that goal? Did you go after it? How do you know if you're there?
3) Positive attitude - Tude is so important. How many times does a bad tude annoy you and make you look the other way, make you pretend you didn't hear something and in the end, make you an indifferent bystander? I often analogize (is that a word?) this with interns. Bright eyed, young and in shape (I kid you not - so obvious when there's a group of hot interns versus wise and experienced auditors), the interns all have the same skill set. I wouldn't expect them to know more as for many, this is their first job. So what matters? The tude! Are they excited and grateful for every task you give them - small or not, do they take it on with a passion that shows they will do great with ordering lunch, copying papers or participating in a client meeting?
4) Patience - Results don't always come as quickly as an acidity pH science experiment. Part of understanding how to be proactive is to work towards your goals and then realize, not everything is immediate and waiting is okay.

When it comes to prayer, it often feels like I need to kick myself in the butt and say ... don't be so overly proactive with your prayers!

I have been trying to move out of the Mom and Pops wonderful home and find a place for myself so I can
a) cook in my own kitchen
b) decorate my own living room
c) organize my life into boxes inside cabinets
d) host and have others over
The cooking reason might sound funny because my parents do have a kitchen, but until it's your own - there's always the constant frustration of where is everything put, why is it not more organized and then Momma Chou's rebuttal of - when you get your own kitchen, you can do things however you'd like! Noted. The decorating thing is just my way of expressing myself beyond my bedroom. The organizational analness is just part of who I am and playing hostess has always been fun and rewarding for me so I patiently await that opportunity once more.

In anticipation of having my prayers answered, I became slothful. Having moved from the Westside to Pasadena then to San Jose then back to Arcadia and then down about a mile... I have remnants of each move carefully situated in the office, my bedroom, the garage, and the old house. My clothes are dispersed into four closets (two at the new house and two at the old), some of my old photo frames have broken during the move while others sit inside boxes and my current wardrobe is normally scattered across suitcases and stuffed inside drawers. This might sound normal to some, but for me, it's highly unordinary. In fact, my brother once told me he thought all girls were neat because of me and then he realized, I'm just really uncharacteristically anal beyond belief.

The same happened with my finances. Thinking I would move soon, I kept putting off opening my mail (everything's online anyway) and as a result... still have not closed my Washington Mutual, now Chase Manhattan account nor my zero balance Charles Schwab account (which has interest on your checking account with no fees but you have to transfer the money in bi-weekly - and which seemed like a great and fantastic idea at first but my laziness overcame that one), still have not moved my IRA account to my financial planner's institution and still have not checked my 401K balance lately (I'm really scared to look.. it's probably 50% down?), still have not updated my monthly budget and spending trends (I looked last night - the last time was October 2007..eek), and still have not figured out how much I should be spending. I attribute such laziness to the fact that I'm quite thrifty and knowing that I can save without paying finite attention to my budget puts me at ease. Unfortunately, as of late, I have been spending money on a personal trainer, updating my work wardrobe (them slacks from 2004 still look good though!), and a new car (the initial downpayment really hurt my bank balance).

Praying that God would help me find a house... I waited patiently. And my room became messy. And my finances became even messier.

I guess God found an answer for me.. in the form of reawakening my organizational and financial saavy-ness because I had an epiphany on Sunday night. Momma Chou triggered it by asking me how long I was going to let me room fall apart and why I was so messy lately. I caught myself before answering, but I was seriously, insanely and completely about to say - because I'm waiting to move.

What are you doing Daisy? Are you kidding me? You don't have a house and your room and finances are falling apart while you wait patiently for it to happen!

God has a sense of humor. Why? you ask? Coincidentally, a friend sent me some talks about timing, patience and the law of increasing returns (get it, instead of diminishing returns) and I chuckled in response because two of those talks, he had sent me before but forgotten. So almost as a way of God reminding me... I recalled the useful counseling from those talks. Isn't He amazing?! He's always got my back!

You see...I can't just wait pray and wait passively.... or even patiently... but actively. Similar to being proactive, there's a fine balance - but either extremes should be avoided and middle ground should be what I aim for. A piece of advice given to men during Priesthood Session in Conference was as follows... Pray feverently. Study diligently. Live righteously. What I like about it is... the last two pieces of advice come after the first. It's not okay to JUST pray... you have to also study diligently and live righteously.

So I cleaned up my room. I have a huge bag of clothes to give away, my hanging work clothes are by slacks, skirts, and tops and all color coordinated while my drawers are by work out pants, work out tops, casual tops, socks, undergarmets and tights. The funny thing is...I've only started with one room of clothes. Three more to go.

And I cleared up my finances. I still have a ways to go but at least now, all my account transactions are updated on Quicken (the last time I synced was ... March 2009... eek!) and I just have to build a basic budget for myself to monitor (I didn't like the automated ones Quicken generated).

And I thanked God. Thanks for the angels. Thanks for the kick in the butt. It didn't hurt physically, but it hurt a bit mentally and now.... I am back. Hooray!


Ian and Gena Hopper said...

Ha, I only know guys like this! (who organize their clothes by color)

Dennis Phillips, Ph.D. said...

I can't imagine who sent you those talks. I have received so many and they all get me back on track.

So one question to think about. Why wasn't Oliver's proactiveness in DC9 not rewarded? I think you have stated the answer, but you made me think a bit about the process. Thanks for sharing.