comparison

Quitting Comparison

One of the ways I used to make myself miserable was by comparing myself to everyone around me. I spent my youth trying to be the smartest, wittiest, most talented person in the room…which probably made me insufferable to my peers. Lucky for my friends and family, I’ve removed this quality from my rolodex of ideal traits. This week I’m sharing the flaws in our competitive comparison culture and how I determine my self-worth without the input of others. 

Comparison Leeches on Our Relationships  

Comparison is like a leech. It feeds off of our fears of not being enough and encourages us to judge and rank those around us. Comparison tells us that our worth is based off of the metrics  we set while looking at others. It allows us to place ourselves as the center of a universe where everyone around us is ranked in a hierarchy. This is toxic, inaccurate and prevents us from viewing ourselves clearly. 

Once we start it’s hard to stop. When we are in deep with comparison, we build our communities around our perceived value and hold everyone in our lives to this same scale. In reality this does not serve us. Not only is it a disservice to ourselves and our self-esteem but it’s also unfair to everyone in our life that we are holding to standards that they don’t even know about. 

Comparison makes us narcissistic – we begin to believe that we are the judge and that we will never be good enough unless we are better than everyone else. To have a healthy relationship with ourselves and others we have to let it go. 

Using Comparison to Determine Self- Worth 

Back when comparison still had a grasp on me I would let it determine my self-worth. If I felt like shit about myself I would go look for someone else to compare myself to in an attempt to feel better. If someone was having an easier time than me I would come up with ways that I was still better than them. In every instance where I could have been looking at myself and how I could grow I was looking at others trying to bring them (or myself) down. 

Doing this doesn’t make you a monster – I think we all do this to an extent. We try to build our self-esteem off of the success of others because the only examples we see in our lives come from external sources. It’s also important to note that being inspired by someone is very different emotionally than comparing yourself to someone. For me that concept was a game changer. Once I became aware of this I was able to stop, evaluate what I wanted and build my self-esteem from my own scale of self-worth.

Self-Worth in a Silo 

Untangling from the comparison mentality is a lifelong journey. The first step was to become aware of when I was practicing comparison instead of self-reflection. The second step was to start actually working on self-reflection. To do this I started journaling. I began asking myself what I wanted, what I thought, what I liked and didn’t like about myself. What were the markers of success for me and what did I value most in a person. Once I was able to see who I wanted to be it made cutting back on comparison a bit easier. I quickly realized that the people I was comparing myself to are on very different life paths than I am. Through this I learned that I didn’t even want the things they had and I was able to figure out what I wanted instead. 

I hope this motivates you to look at the ways you are using comparison in your life. Comparison is truly the thief of joy – I am happier without it dominating my mental space. 

Want to work on this in a 1:1 capacity? Life or career coaching sessions are available here! Schedule your free discovery call today. 

Want to dive in deeper? Let’s chat!
reflection

Snow Storm in Spring- Reflection on a Strange Year

Let’s practice a little reflection about the last year. Why? Well, my current mental state is somewhere in between sleepy from daylight savings, a pandemic anniversary (not really an exciting anniversary now is it?), never ending sheltering in place (because I have severe asthma and am doing my best to not get anyone else sick either) and a glimmer of hope that I may get vaccinated in a month or so. This creates a unique atmosphere that exists somewhere in between waiting for the next big thing (vaccines) and trying to stay present for day to day activities while my brain feels like it’s gone mushy or been covered with snow. 

I thought it would be helpful to break up the monotony of the day to day routines and to process the events that have transpired since we began our voluntary lock down in March of 2020. A little pandemic annual review for myself and what I’ve learned over the last year. Let’s go on a journey about growth, rebirth, change and the resilient nature of us all over the last year. 

Rewind to March 2020 

Revisiting my planner and journal from early 2020 is lowkey hilarious. I had a PLAN and it was a good plan. My goals were to build my savings, start my coaching business, create a coaching program and grow my social media content to build my business. I was going to do all of that while staying at my full-time job in HR. 

In my head this plan was pretty, it involved me having time to get everything done, there was hard work associated with it and it also gave me motivation because if things went well I was going to quit my job in December of 2020 to become a Life & Career Coach full time. Cute, right? 

Building a Plan in the Storm 

Then the pandemic hit – a metaphorical snow storm in the middle of my spring of steady business building. Furloughs were announced and I went from having a solid plan to having to innovate in the moment. Being furloughed was the weirdest part of 2020. I was of two minds the entire time – part of me wanted to go back, make money, keep working towards my ideal plan for 2020 but the other part of me saw this as an opportunity to plant new seeds for my life. As I sat in career limbo I began to solidify a plan where I didn’t go back to HR and that started to look really good. 

I’m so grateful that I looked at a snowstorm of chaos and tapped into what I could control. I planted as many seeds as I could for my business. My ideal plan was shattered when I was let go because my role was not essential (employee engagement isn’t necessary when you don’t have employees). I know this moment could have shattered me, it could have held me back or made me panic but because I had planted those seeds and made a plan I was actually kind of excited. This left me free to pursue my new plan and help others do the same. In this moment “But Really Tho What Do You Want?” was born. 

But Really Tho What Do YOU Want? 

WDYW is my first program, it’s all about planting the seeds, identifying what we want and reworking our plan when things go sideways. It’s now available as an eBook on Amazon and over on my Etsy. WDYW is about accepting the ups and downs of life and still working on your plan for your garden even when it’s under 2 feet of snow. 

WDYW was my launching pad for my coaching business. From that moment onward I built out my sessions, my 1:1 offerings, my confidence building program (coming soon!) and my social media content. 

In summary, I’m grateful for the perspective I’ve picked up over the last year. I love that I am able to zoom out and see the big picture and the importance this pivot had in my life. I’m proud of myself for being able to look at chaos, identify what I can control and let go of the rest. I am wildly grateful for every single client I have had the privilege of working with so far. And most importantly, I’m proud of the garden that I was able to plant during the storm. I refused to let idealism keep me trapped. I was able to adapt and I am helping others learn to plan their gardens – even when all they see is the snow. 

Want to work with me? Schedule your free coaching discovery call here or purchase WDYW here. 

interview prep

Interview Top Tips

Interview tips are on the brain this week. Today I’m straying from my more blog style posts and we are venturing into an area where I am a subject matter expert- HR and interviews.

These are my top tips to help you crush an interview! Before we jump in here’s a reminder that interviews are awkward, they can be frustrating, nerve wracking and it’s a super awkward conversation style. Be nice to yourself while you prep and after the interview. Also, these are generic tips depending on what you are interviewing for these may or may not apply so use your own discretion – if you want to get more specific reach out for a free discovery call!

Ready? Let’s do it!

  1. Interview Confidence by Setting Expectations 
    1. Look good, feel good. Wear something a tad bit dressier then the normal day to day outfit for employees at the company (unless instructed otherwise). If your interview is with a recruiter or recruiting coordinator here is a reminder that they may not have any idea what your role actually does (especially if it’s a technical role). 
  2. Research the Company
    1. Do your research!!!  Go to the company website, go to the About page & find their mission, vision or values. Pick one (preferably the one that resonates with you the most) and find ways to incorporate it in your answers. 
    2. Prepare an answer for a “so why do you want to work at x company” (it’s an annoying question). My best advice on this is to incorporate a bit about the mission, vision or values into your answer to connect yours to the role. 
  3. Prep Your Answers 
    1. Google is your bff. Google common questions for interviews in your career path. Once you’ve looked them over practice by preparing answers for those questions. Prioritize creating examples for any “tell me about a time” question you see or can think of. 
  4. Pocket Questions 
    1. Create a list of questions to ask the interviewer. If you are interviewing with a recruiter be aware that they MAY not have technical answers about day to day work in the role but feel free to ask anyway; it shows them that you are interested. Try to be cognizant to not ask questions that they already answered during the interview process but you can use those opportunities to ask for more clarification. 
    2. Example: What’s one thing about working at x company that you wish someone had told you when you were interviewing? What does the day to day work look like in this role?  
  5. Know your worth 
    1. When you walk into an interview have a price in mind. Some screening interviews will ask about your requested income level and some will not. Be prepared with an ideal salary in mind. I recommend using multiple sources to pick your range. Glassdoor tends to run high (imo), Payscale tends to be pretty accurate and Salary.com also houses potential pay data. Only you know your experience and what you can bring to the role. 
    2. I personally like to use a range for this style of questions and say that I am open to reviewing it based on the benefits package. You can also ask what their budget is for the role to see what range they are playing in. 

There you have it! I hope these tips help! Please leave me a comment if you have any questions or you want to share interview tips with others. Remember that this is generic advice and you will need to adjust it depending on the type of role and industry.

accept ease let it be easy

Accepting Ease & Letting Things Be Easy

Let’s make things easy (or at least easier)! 

As the former Queen of Overcomplication I’m on a constant hunt for more ease in my life. I’m consistently looking for ways to let myself relax, receive and lessen the difficulty level in my life. My search for ease has not been…well…easy and I think this is because of the aforementioned habit of overcomplication. 

Recently I was chatting with a friend and we were digging into why we struggle to accept ease in our lives. We came to the conclusion that as women, life is harder for us, we expect things to be difficult and when things don’t meet those difficult expectations we begin to feel imposter syndrome. This week’s blog is all about this conversation and my journey to accept more ease in my life – let’s jump in! 

It Can’t Be Easy for ME! 

Until 2020 I subscribed to a limiting belief that for me and me alone everything must be hard. Other people can have ease but I was not allowed to let myself enjoy the things that were easy for me. If something was easy I struggled to feel like I achieved it. I felt like I was getting away with something or that I hadn’t somehow “earned” the ease. As if ease meant that I was cheating life or getting away with something I shouldn’t. I felt shame around a lack of perceived hard work. 

I have intentionally looked for ways to make things harder because I doubted the validity of anything that was easy. My inability to accept ease had me doing mental gymnastics to find reasons why I couldn’t have things that were available to me. A surplus of self doubt and questions were abundant with every easy moment. 

“Who am I stepping on to get here?” “How is my presence preventing the success of another?” “What right do I have to find ease in this?” In my mind everything had to come at a cost and the cost of ease must be negative. 

Inability to Accept Ease 

In short, I have spent the majority of my life worrying about breaking a “rule” that didn’t exist. A rule that unfairly declared that life has to be hard for ME. In hindsight not only is that stupid but it’s also a little narcisistic – as if the universe has time to sit there and actively plan against me. To undo the damage of this limiting belief I now tell myself the following. 

Things don’t have to be hard. 

Things can be easy sometimes. 

You are allowed to accept what is offered to you. 

Things do not HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED.

You are allowed to want and ask for more. 

Silly little reminders but they were crucial to my newfound acceptance of ease. 

Accepting Ease 

If something goes your way, even if things are going sideways for everyone else, it’s ok to accept the easy route. When life hands you an easy option and it works for you – TAKE IT! If you are not hurting anyone else; you are allowed to take the short cuts. 

Life is hard enough, shit hits the fan whether or not you accept ease. 2020 taught us that even when we think things can’t get stranger, worse or wilder – they actually can. So when the option arises take the easy way, accept help if you want to, allow yourself to enjoy the ease and save your energy for the fights that don’t have an easy option. 

Coaching 

I hope my personal take on ease reminds you to let yourself go with the flow from time to time. If you want to chat more about ease, life planning, career goals or how to make a plan that is easy to stick to you can schedule a free discovery call here

If you need help figuring out wtf you actually want to do with your life you can purchase my self-paced program here. 

And if you want to boost your confidence and say yes to ease with gusto you can check out my confidence journal prompts here

Love you! See you over on Tiktok (my handle is emilybrucesky) or Youtube <3 


say no

Say No More Often

No is the most powerful word in my vocabulary – I’ve learned to love to say no. “No thank you” is a complete sentence, a way to get men to (hopefully) leave you alone, it’s a boundary, and it’s empowering to use and say. 

Unfortunately, no can also be REALLY hard to say. It’s alleged that as a toddler I was pretty damn good at saying no but as I got older the people pleasing requirements of being a woman kicked in. Boundaries and saying no got harder because being easy going was expected and requested of me. I allowed people pleasing tendencies to kick in which meant I was queen of yes and limited on my no’s. People pleasing sucked the life out of me so eventually I had to build boundaries, confidence and in turn learn to use no again. As an adult I’ve brought no back into my life with gusto. 

Now that I am the queen of NO let’s chat about the power behind the word in hopes that it inspires you to say no more. 

**Before we start a disclaimer. I am not responsible for your life decisions. You are the subject matter expert in your own life. This is general and generic advice based on lived experience. I am a Certified Life Coach via Universal Coaching Institute and a Professional in Human Resources via HRCI. I am not a therapist or medical professional. Please work with a medical professional when it comes to your physical or mental health. 

Misconceptions About No 

Before I share my use case for no, let’s talk a bit about the reputation it has been given. A misconception I had with no is that no = negative. Apparently I am not alone in this. While researching for this post I found a Psychology Today article that also talks about this. (I’ll link it here if you want to check it out). 

In my personal viewpoint no is not a negative it is neutral.  If I say no to something because it does not align with me then I am remaining true to myself. If I say yes to something because I feel bad about saying no then I am compromising on myself. With this perspective yes is more likely to have a negative impact than a no.

What if I Say No and People Get Mad?

Can saying no get us in trouble? Yes. Some people do not appreciate our boundaries. In some scenarios people will get really mad or offended if we say no. But can yes get us in trouble and cause us to over extend ourselves? Also yes. 

My suggestion to this is to say no in a smart way. Do not start just saying NO NO NO to everything. Start small, set a boundary, make it clear and explain it only when necessary.

No in Action

So how do we use it? No is my boundary setting bff. I would recommend starting slow but your relationship with no is unique to you so use it how you see fit. Some of my favorite examples of no in the wild are: 

Beginner

Your boss calls you on your day off and asks you to come in. You are tired. You requested this day off. You do not want to go to work or make the extra money so you say “No, I can’t come in today. Thanks for offering me the hours but I’m going to have to pass”. You do not have to explain further. It is not your job to find someone else to cover that shift. After you hang up the phone celebrate – you just used no!

Intermediate

A coworker has quit and your boss asks you to handle a portion of that role while they look for a replacement. You agree because 1) they didn’t really ask they just told you to and 2) you are a team player. Months go by. They put searching for a replacement on the backburner because you are so “good” at handling both roles. You are personally burnt out. Working both roles has left you feeling stressed, overwhelmed, always behind and that energy has seeped into your personal life. In your next 1:1 with your boss they ask you to take on additional work to help out. This might be a great time to try saying no. “I’m sorry but I cannot take on any additional work until we replace the coworker that left” or “No, I cannot fit that additional work into my schedule with x and x project, work, etc”. You can say no without saying no if you’re afraid of coming off too strong or you can be bold and pull out a no with an example. 

BONUS EXAMPLE

Advanced level from my college years:  A man approached my friend and I at a bar (back when bars were still a place to go and be) and he tried to talk to us. We were not interested and made that very clear but he stuck around. My friend looked at him and literally just said “no thank you”. Deadpan. No smile, no sorry, no apologies at all. Just “no thank you”. He walked away. The power of no is limitless if you say it with conviction. 

No Thank You to Yes

Taylor may have been on some new sh*t but I personally will not be saying yes instead of no. I say no to bachelorette parties because I don’t enjoy them (but I love my friends). I say no to speaking engagements that do not align with me. I will even say no to potential clients (nicely of course) if I don’t think I’m the right coach to help them. 

No is my power word, it helps me stay within my integrity and it shows me that I trust myself to know when to walk away. I hope this inspires you to add a little more no into your life! Want to chat it out? Coaching sessions are available here – discovery calls are always free for new clients!  

self-care is not selfish

A Not So Selfish Self-Care Recap

On January 13th I embarked on a 30 day #notsoselfish self-care journey on TikTok. Why? To be honest I was feeling a bit *meh*, the monotony of the everyday sheltering in place was making me feel a bit out of it and I wanted to commit to bringing a little joy back to my everyday life. To do this I dedicated a small portion of my everyday to just me and I recorded it to put on TikTok. 

Self-Care Defined 

Self-care is unique to all of us so part of my process with this 30 day challenge was to figure out what worked for me and what did not. For me, self-care must fill my cup. I must mentally or physically feel better having done a self-care activity or it’s not really self-care. I’m a big fan of baking little moments of self-care throughout my day so some days my self-care was a mixture of things like listening to music, reading or creating something just for me. Other days my self-care was more like slothmode – some days I just physically needed to turn off my brain and my body. 

I know everyone says this but just as a reminder – self-care does not have to be bubble baths, champagne or face-masks. Sometimes self-care is saying no to things we don’t want to do, saying yes to things that scare us a little or taking a mini-break to go outside and stand in the sun. You get to decide what self-care looks like for you. If you want a little help figuring out what fills your cup check out my self-care journal prompts over on Fiverr. They are designed to help you dig into what works for you! 

Not So Selfish Accountability 

The TikTok part may seem silly but for me knowing that I had to post what I did kept me accountable. In my coaching business I pride myself on leading by example. This means that sometimes I don’t want to do the things that I say I’m going to do and some days I lack motivation. But this also means that I have the tools and insights to coach myself through the process. Posting everyday forced me to stay consistent and it reminded me that I needed to carve time out of my day for me to actually take care of myself.

This leads into a commitment and self-trust building quick tip – tell SOMEONE that you have committed to doing a thing. You can tell a friend, post it on social media, share it with your Grandma or if you’re really struggling to stay committed to taking care of you, work with a coach. Telling someone what you are doing holds you accountable. Just make sure that you tell someone who is going to be honest AND kind. You may miss a day, make a mistake or forget and you don’t need to feel bullied by your accountability partner about it. It’s human to make mistakes just keep recommitting to build that self-trust. 

Self-Care is not Selfish 

To wrap this up I’m going to leave you with a reminder – self-care is not selfish. Take a timeout to take care of you, schedule a little self-care time in your day (especially if you are feeling meh) and rekindle your love for yourself in the process. 

I thoroughly loved relearning what works for me and what doesn’t, digging in to what fills my cup and what drains me and I am so grateful that I got to share my self-care rekindling journey with all of you! 

**I am a Certified Life Coach via Universal Coaching Institute and a Professional in Human Resources via HRCI. I am not a therapist or medical professional. Please work with a medical professional when it comes to your physical or mental health.