Why Integrity Matters

As I get older, The idea of living a life of integrity is starting to fade. I miss being “green” and wanting to do the right thing all the time.

But I know that that’s not how the world works. Why is that? Because of greed, selfishness and ego. This is what drives our world.

Integrity, according to Webster Dictionary, means a firm adherence to an exceptional code of moral or artistic values.

As a child I was always concerned about doing the right thing, making sure everyone got their fair share. But even then, I noticed the lack of fairness and integrity in my fellow students, teachers and other adults. I saw the most talented athletes get chosen first for sports teams at gym and given the most floor time. Students that wanted to participate were left to the sidelines. And I’m not even talking about organized school sports. Teachers spent the most time with students who were already very smart, had tutoring and helicopter parents to support their performance. So children who had less were expected to produce more to keep up.

I always thought adulthood would be a lot easier when dealing with moral problems. I thought people are honest. Naively, I wondered why would adults lie? I had thought that my fellow students were opportunistic liars and cheaters because they were immature. But the reality is that these children would grow up to be adults who continued to lack important characteristics like honesty, integrity and virtue. The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has a ring of truth.

The childhood version of me imagined that I would grow into an adult that was confident, sure, honest and willing to fight for what’s right but now I’m not sure I’ll ever be those things. Some days I can feel myself shrinking, barraged by the screams of people playing politics and those fighting for themselves.

From the time I was 20-25 years old, I was very optimistic. Truly believing that the world would sort itself out and that what’s right will prevail, but that’s not necessarily the truth. It feels like the older I get, the more “woke” I am about how things work.

I’ve been burned a few times. I’ve written a few posts on that.

The Horror of Dealing With Mold In My Apartment

Dealing with Toxic Work Culture

From friends to work to even my landlord now. They’ve all burned me. When it comes to benefits, money and status, a sense of doing what’s right goes out the window.

I came to realize that there are people who will only interact with you when it benefits them financially, politically or socially. It was a hard pill to swallow, to realize that there were a lot of people who were disingenuous.

But I grew up.

And sometimes when I’m looking at a situation, I now think how can I profit from this, how can I benefit? I hate to admit it but I’m becoming one of those people who are selfish, egoistic and greedy. It’s almost like I can’t help it. Intrusive thoughts enter my mind like, if you don’t take advantage, someone else will or you have to take your share of the pie.

I’m ashamed because deep down I know these thoughts are wrong. I’ve grown to distrust other people to the point that I’m becoming untrustworthy and I hate that.

Am I growing up and becoming less naive? Or am I becoming jaded and callous?

If the young and optimistic version of me met 30 year old me today what would she say? She’d say I’m becoming everything she hates about this world and that I’ve given up. But fighting to keep my integrity and resolve to be an upright, unselfish human being sometimes feels like swimming against an impossible current.

I can count on my one hand the amount of people outside of my family who I respect for their character. Everyone else would easily resort to dishonesty if they knew they could benefit from it.

Maybe that’s why I have no friends… I just can’t accept a friendship that’s false.

So what to do?

I still think that being a good person is important. I want to hold on to that childish hope that as a human being we can care for the good of others without gaining anything for ourselves. Without even a few good people in our society, we’d be living in a literal hell where society is built on bullshit, lies, deception and selfishness.

The truth is I’ve met people with integrity and I hope others can look at me and see that I aim to be a person of good character as well.

So hopefully the child I knew isn’t as disappointed as I feel in myself sometimes. As I aim to be a person who’s better at standing up for what’s good and right for its own sake, I need to learn to not have such high expectations of other people.

Integrity and character matters because at the end of the day that’s all we have.

Check out my other posts

On Gratitude…

The Power of Positivity

The Power Of Change

Pretty Privilege: The Power Of Beauty

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Photo courtesy @longlifephotography

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And for the most part it is, I’ve never been one to believe that beauty played a major role in whether you can maintain a relationship. Like attracts like. With marriage and relationships, they aren’t reserved to the most beautiful of us, though it can help.

Being attractive, as studies have shown, can help in many different ways. Attractive people are considered funnier, more likable, and smarter than Plain Jane or Joe Shmoe, regardless of whether those attributes are true or not. This boost in perception is often called pretty privilege, the belief that attractiveness can open doors and better treatment. There are all types of privilege- white privilege, male privilege, rich privilege etc. But pretty privilege is unique in that any gender, race, ethnicity can have it. Some people don’t even know they have it since beauty can be subjective. I spent many years being confused and didn’t know I was considered pretty. If you look in the mirror too many times, you start to see the flaws.

But pretty privilege has an expiration date. Most enjoy this privilege from their late teens to their early 30s, some are blessed to have it even longer.

And when you think about it, pretty privilege gives an advantage for certain jobs like make up artists, instagram models, dancers, actors, hairdressers and any sales positions, etc. First impressions are everything. When you’re going to a job interview the first thing a person knows about you is how you look. That could set the mood for the whole interview and even determine whether you get the job.

I really understood how powerful pretty privilege was when I was helping two supermodels find an apartment. They were in their early 20s and looking for an apartment in East Village, NYC. Talk about a trendy place to live. They were gorgeous people. These women were incredibly beautiful, tall and svelte; I could see why they were super models. One of them did runway shows for fashion week in Paris and the other had a campaign with Gucci. There’s no better example of how pretty privilege can truly change your life because these two women made so much money, more than I will make in half my career. High six figures kind of money, just to take pictures and be beautiful, not to mention all the free stuff they got from the designers and free food they get on set. It seemed like an amazing lifestyle and all based on their beauty and attractiveness. Personality-wise these girls were like anyone else. They were introverted, nice enough, and friendly. Yet I felt drawn to get to know them better, helping out these top models was so cool!

My own experience with pretty privilege was not nearly as all-encompassing. I was actually a very ugly child; scrawny, short, and kind of man-ish. It wasn’t until my late teens and early 20s that I realized that I was conventionally attractive. Youth seems to do that to people, you’ll see older people bring out their photos of when they were young and it’s like wow I can’t believe they used to look like that! That was me in my early 20s, sort of blossoming.

Initially, it felt a bit awkward to have men and even women want to get to know me based on nothing but my appearance. I was conventionally beautiful, but because I was an ugly child for what seemed like a lifetime, the attention seemed fake and false as a young adult. Where were these people when I was plain? I used to try and make friends and it didn’t work since I wasn’t as attractive, now all of a sudden I was interesting to people.

Over the years, people’s kindness became more normal to me. I recognized that had I been less attractive I probably wouldn’t get the same amount of attention, but I figured I might as well take advantage while I can. Youth only happens once.

Things people would do that they probably wouldn’t have had I remained unattractive:

1. Give me seats on public transportation when its standing room only.

2. Free food: sometimes as an add on to what I ordered.

3. Free drinks.

4. VIP admission to clubs.

5. Offered to study with me in college (I wasn’t particularly smart or outgoing)

6.. Buy me stuff from small trinkets to tickets to shows.

The attention was really intense from 19-24, then started to level off at 24 after I married, and definitely has leveled off at 30.

Over time I realized that being considered pretty did have some pitfalls. It’s hard to be pretty.  It was hard to feel close to other women, there was a sense of competition from them and sometimes jealousy. It was also hard to know whether someone was being really generous out of the kindness of their heart or whether it came from a place of attraction. After a while, I just started to assume attraction was the motivation for male kindness; I had met too many men who held expectations in return.

Beauty is also fleeting. I always knew that and never had my self-esteem tied with my outward appearance. Now that I’m 30, it’s clear to me that my most beautiful days are behind me. Everyone in this world gets older; they get a little more tired, they get wrinkles and their hair starts to gray. And though good looks last only a while, it’s taught me to value my other qualities and aspects of my personality above my physical appearance.

Pretty privilege is a gift that you might’ve been given, no different from being born to the right family or in the right country. But just like any other opportunity, it’s what you make out of it that counts. And though it lasts only a short time, a lot can be done in those years you’re considered most beautiful. So consider your beauty a gift, whatever beauty you have, and seize the day to build a future ahead.

Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

What Does It Take To Be Charismatic and Likeable?

My Experience Shopping High End Luxury

Tags: How to be pretty, look pretty, how to be prettier, being gorgeous, you look pretty, pretty girl problems, pretty sucks, become gorgeous.

This is 30: Turning 30 Year’s Old

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I’ve been reflecting on my age. This year I turned 30 and was expecting some sort of wow moment but it hasn’t happened yet. I remember being 20 and looking towards my 30th birthday with distain. Wouldn’t that make me middle aged? But 30 definitely isn’t as bad as I would have thought. It’s kind of like being in your 20s but with more confidence, money and grace. There’ll be some things I would miss from my 20s, but 30s has been pretty awesome so far.

I definitely miss being young and flirty. Life got serious for me early when I had my first daughter at 24 and married; but I still enjoyed being carefree, managing to grow my career and being free to move around.

I’ve enjoyed the benefits of being considered conventionally attractive and now that I’m over 30, I definitely notice I’m not as much on the radar. I don’t really need to be as noticed anymore, as a mother and a wife, but you can’t help but miss the days when your whole future was ahead of you and possibilities seemed endless. I’m not someone chasing after my youth but keeping up my appearance was so much easier in my 20s. There was more free time to look after tweezing, waxing, and shaving; beautifying was generally easier. Nowadays, I can go weeks looking like Godzilla. I’ve also cut back on the makeup time. I used to blend, sculpt and contour every day and, goddamn, I was able to look extra flawless after 20 minutes of caking it on. At 30, with 2 kids in tow, I can barely manage to throw on mascara and lipstick.

I don’t miss being broke and unestablished though. That was the worst. For the longest, I could barely maintain a balance of $500 in my bank account. It was so stressful not knowing if I was ever going to make it. I spent years going into debt. Sometimes, I would imagine what my life would be if I had a job that was stable. I always imagined I’d have more in my life; a bigger apartment in a better location. But things aren’t too bad. I’m now more established in my career and could job hop to most comparable companies.

I recognize that the next 10-15 years I’ll be the most marketable based on my experience and age. Just trying to capitalize on that and make as much money as I can, while I can. Then I’ll probably get an masters or law degree if I feel I’m aging out of being competitive. Or I can start a whole second career; to be honest, real estate is starting to feel tired.

Compared to my 20s, the relationship side of my life is pretty stable. From 20 to 23 it was fun to date. Parties and meeting people seemed so exciting like I can meet the love of my life at any time. Nothing happened because I actually met the love of my life at 18, who I married at 24; but the idea that I wasn’t settled yet and living spontaneously was amazing.

I also hadn’t mastered the concept of “all in good moderation” when it came to drinking. I was drinking garbage $5 vodkas like Smirnoff and watered down wine coolers. 30 year old me would prefer Grey Goose and Cranberry or an aged wine.

Being 30 years old, parties are fun. I mean, not in the same way they were in my 20s, but I finally learned how to relax and just enjoy the moment, and that’s pretty amazing. I also learned how to small talk. I’m not socially awkward anymore and I no longer have high expectations that I’ll either be meeting my partner for life or my new best friend. I can just enjoy people as they are and that is a gift.

On the other hand, I don’t miss being naive and unexperienced about life. I spent a lot of time in my 20s not knowing how life works. I couldn’t accept that life was unfair and I wanted to correct it so badly. Questions like: why are there homeless people, why are people so greedy and selfish, and why does that guy ignore me but like her? Now I can accept the answers as they are: the world is complicated and imperfect, not all problems can be fixed and the world doesn’t revolve around me. The world’s darkness doesn’t disturb me like it once did. I guess I’ve gotten used to imperfection.

I have a good handle on what’s happening around me and feel confident that I have enough life experience to handle confrontations/disagreements at work and in my relationships. I used to feel like I didn’t have much to offer and constantly allowed others to walk all over me. I can stand up for myself better now. I’ve also learned how to let things go when they aren’t going my way and not to dwell on the negativity that other people bring. That’s a skillset I wouldn’t trade for anything.

For me, my 20s was about being independent, learning about myself, enjoying my youth and beauty, and trying to get established. My 30s are going to be about gaining security, growing in self-confidence, gaining perseverance and taking my life to the next level. Looking forward, I finally have the resources and experience I need to do those things. There are really no excuses. The next 10 years are going to determine whether I spend my 40s in a midlife crisis or whether my 40s will be the most exciting years of my life. But overall I feel like my best years are just ahead of me.

So this is 30. I’ve made it to the 30 club.

Check out my other posts:

Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

How To Make A Change in Your Life

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The Power Of Family

 

 

 

Tags: Life after 30 years old, 30 year old girl, important life lessons, over 30 years old, 20 years old, turning 30 year old woman, almost 30 years old, I am 30.

Quiet by Susan Cain: Summary and Review

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I’m an introvert and my husband is an extrovert. For some reason we’ve always felt like ying and yang. But for the longest I always felt in a way inferior to my extroverted counterparts. Like there was something wrong with me for not being as pumped as they were about a weekend full of parties or not immediately knowing what to say in a social setting. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I realized my personality had a lot of other gifts, that being an extrovert wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and that being an introvert wasn’t half bad.

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, pretty much captures the plight of introverts. The book is amazing at explaining the differences between introverts and extroverts, how we became a society that rewards extroverted tendencies and how introverts can hone in on their gifts and embrace their introverted nature.

Apparently our society was not always extroverted happy. We used to be a country built on rewarding those with value. It wasn’t until the 1920s, when salesmanship became increasingly important, that the extroverted personality became highly sought after.

With several case studies, from Rosa Parks to Rick Warren, Cain describes the differences in management style for extroverts and introverts. Turns out that introverts are just as capable when it comes to rallying people. Whereas extroverts tend to inspire action from those who would otherwise been passive, introverts are more likely to take good ideas from the group and implement them to increase productivity.

Cain then goes to discuss working habits. Creativity, she says is directly related to introversion since creativity requires independent contemplation. Have you ever seen an artistic masterpiece completed from a group? Extroverts prefer group work and introverts prefer independent work. In my own personal opinion this is true. I try to avoid the group work environment as much as possible. Unfortunately that’s near impossible, since most jobs love meetings, group projects, etc. I would be more than happy just doing something on my own.

Groupthink has become an increasingly integrated way of working. Many companies are using groups to get projects done. Groupthink relies on the premise that the ideas of the group are greater than that of the individual. Open floor plan work spaces are becoming the norm. Brainstorming eventually caught on as a way of group thinking without judgment. Cain points out many flaws including social loafing-group laziness, production blocking-only one person can create ideas at a time, and evaluation apprehension- fear of looking stupid.

Quiet then goes on to question whether extroversion and introversion have physiological roots. After looking into many studies, she suspects it does. She also questions whether environment plays a role in this. It does, but only to some degree. I find this to be a relief since I had spent my late teens and early 20s trying to be extroverted to no avail. I became a salesperson as a way to break this ingrained habit. In some ways I became extroverted from this, wanting to meet people and feeling more confident, but I was still introverted and wanting my alone time.

The last few chapters she discusses how an introvert is supposed to survive in this extroverted world. She points out a lot of introverts play extrovert when the occasion calls for it. She reflects on a few clients and friends that would put on a show when they needed to. They relied on social cues and body language to navigate appearing extroverted for the sake of others. She also mentioned that this was optional, there were introverts that opted out of faking it til they made it. She acknowledged that some introverts find acting contrary to their natural inclinations as a lie or a falsehood. This really resonated with me because I felt like I had been playing extrovert for so long. Not only that but I was failing at it. Other times I felt like giving up and that I needed to stop lying about who I was. It’s a relief to read that other people experience the isolation of being an introvert and misunderstandings around it. I spent so long trying to fix my “lack of confidence,” not really understanding I was just very introverted and I had other strengths like self-awareness and empathy.

Chapter 10 really piqued my interest. It discussed how introverts and extroverts get along. Of course my husband and I are the typical introvert/extrovert couple. Everything she said in this chapter had hit the nail on the head for us. Our fights were very much as described, with me pulling away moody and him belligerently trying to fix the problem. It could be a match made in heaven or the relationship from hell. One that could only work for with lots of compromise since the two very different styles of communication often led to some sort of conflict long term.

Overall I found this book to be pretty awesome! It was nice to find out I wasn’t just some unconfident, quiet weirdo that couldn’t socialize. I would say it’s not really a self help book, more like a really well researched informative guide to introversion. Susan Cain really did her research as she cited many case studies, personas and personal experiences that help her get her point across about the introverted persons experience. This is one of the most bought book on Amazon and I can see why, she is the expert on the introverted/extroverted personality discussion. This isn’t a very light book though, like one of those self help books you’d pick up as an afterthought at the airport, but one that is highly intelligent, thought provoking and honest.

Buy Now

Check out my other book reviews!

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson

Tags: Susan Cain books, The power of quiet, the power of introverts book, quiet book review, quiet book Susan cain, quiet power, Susan Cain introvert book, introvert to extrovert book, best book for introverts

20 Shocking Sales Stats That Will Change How You Sell

Businessman talking on cell phone and writing in office

I came across this post years ago on LinkedIn. I found that it really helped me to get a sense of where I was going and how I could make better sales. This was definitely something I needed during my brokering years, when I was only making commissions as my source of income.

Those were the good old days.  Nothing makes you a better sales person than when you’re forced to sell or not eat.  It’s a hard knock life out there and honestly most jobs require that you know how to sell, at least in some capacity.  The key is to be persistent, use follow-up, be creative and use all avenues to generate income.

So whether you are a novice, or are a seasoned sales person, this is a good cheat sheet to help you keep your priorities in line.

I’m leaving the link at the bottom, but here it is summed up:

  • 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone.
    • Yes, making phone calls is probably the best and most efficient way to get new business.  I make an effort to call all my clients.
    • If I have bad news or if I have something urgent, I’ll make sure to do it over the phone.
    • I’m not sure if this includes text messages, but I’ve found text messages to be highly efficient for an immediate response.
  • It takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect.
    • Follow up, follow-up, follow up.
    • I take it a step further and follow-up via text, phone and email.
    • If someone isn’t ready to buy now, I always ask, “when will you foresee that you’ll be ready.”  I don’t let people go without a timeline of when to call next.
  • The best time to cold call is between 4:00 and 5:00 pm.
    • I personally find, 5:00pm-7:00pm is also pretty productive.  People are done with work or are finishing up and are more likely available to take calls.
  • 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first
    • OMG, yes! This is probably the most annoying thing about sales.  When people are shopping to buy something, it’s usually very urgent, so they call everyone who sells what they’re looking for.  Being the first person contacted and responding WILL help your closing ratio.
    • My issue is that you always have to be available to cater to clients that need immediate attention.  Don’t forget about work-life balance.
  • 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow up.
    • If you were able to get a meeting, you should be able to do 5 follow ups minimum.  The effort to get a meeting is hard enough, quitting after 1 followup makes the meeting wasteful.
  • Thursday is the best day to prospect, Wednesday is the second best day.

 

  • Nearly 13% of all the jobs in the U.S are full-time sales positions.
    • Pretty much all the work I’ve ever done has been sales. Perfume sales, product sales, real estate sales.  Sales isn’t for the faint of heart.
  • Over one trillion dollars are spent annually on sales forces.

 

  • In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions

 

  • 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers.

 

  • Email is almost 40X better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter.
    • Email is king in terms of converting sales.
    • Don’t forget the power of an email newsletter or subscription list.  I’ve gotten some really great clients from my subscription list.
    • Just remember you need a large email list before you can see it work its magic.  I think I had 1000 emails before I started getting people reaching out from the list.
  • Salespeople who actively seek out and exploit referrals earn 4 to 5 times more than those who don’t.
    • Hell, some of my best opportunities have been from referrals.
    • Don’t underestimate the power of “word of mouth”
  • 91% of customers say they’d give referrals.  Only 11% of sales people ask for referrals.
    • Referral clients are king!  It’s a free way to grow your business, I say why not!\
  • Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs.
    • The client always thinks they know better. It’s our job to manage expectations and explain what we are selling.
  • 55% of the people making their living in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful
    • A lot of people do it part-time!  A lot of people don’t treat it like a job or assume they have the right personality.  You have to learn the skills first!
  • Continuous training gives 50% higher net sales per employee

 

  • The average company spending $10K-$15K hiring an individual and only $2K a year in sales training

 

  • It takes 10 months or more for a new sales rep to be fully productive.
    • So don’t change companies every time you go through a downturn, it just hinders you from being productive.  You need to work through it and find out how to make your business work for you.
  • Retaining current customers is 6-7X less costly than acquiring new ones.
    • Maybe you’re current customers are needy and time-consuming.  Giving them up, would mean putting 6-7X more effort to finding new ones.  Stay the course!
  • The average company loses between 10% and $30% of its customers each year.
    • Losing customers is normal.  That’s why it’s important to keep building your customer base through different avenues.
  • After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics.

Here’s the link to the original website I found.  The general gist is that you have to be persistent as hell when you’re in sales.  Your sole job is to sell people products or services that they need or might not even realize they need yet.

Happy Selling!

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