I Can Still Go Outside

Snowing Snowfall Blow Snow Woman Cold Winter

Listen to the podcast: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/I-Can-Still-Go-Outside-e17a206

I have never been an outdoor person. My strong affinity to computers, books, and warmth has tied me to the inside of the house since as long as I can remember. But when I was fortunate to have 2 little rambunctious boys, I realized that my proclivities could no longer dictate our world.

Thus, I am posting this as a way to hold myself accountable.

Meghan – There is such a thing as a coat, gloves, and a hat. Layers are easy enough to put on. The inside won’t be too far away. You can still go outside when the weather turns.

But the snow and freezing temperatures! How can this possibly be enjoyable?

First of all, Meghan, this isn’t about you. You’re doing this for your children – boys who despite the winter months, still need to expel energy and stay active.

Second, while you’re out there, you are also benefiting. Going outside, even in freezing temperatures, can boost your mood, memory, and immune system.

Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with exploration and play. Just because you’re an adult with loads of responsibilities, it is mentally fulfilling to be in nature with no true agenda. Plus, if kids are around, they are expert adventurers and wonderers – follow their lead!

With that, I expect you to at least go outside a few times per week, all year long. No more excuses. Breathe in the fresh air and let the nip of Old Man Winter remind you that you’re alive. Maybe you’ll even have some fun?

*Sigh*…Ok.

Our Path Series: Lindsay Surmacz

Lindsay is an emerging Pittsburgh artist, creator of The Starry Messenger, Punk & Pie, and the Storybook Circus.

She specializes in STEM, literacy, and circus arts as a way to promote children’s education.

Listen to her interview here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Our-Path-Series-Lindsay-Surmacz-e16qpmp

Check out Lindsay:

https://www.facebook.com/starrymessengerpgh

https://www.starrymessengerpgh.com/

https://www.facebook.com/drumclownchic

https://www.punkpiecircus.com/

IG: @punkpiecircus @starrymessengerpgh @starrysurmacz

5 Tips To Improve Your Resume

Contact for details

Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/5-Tips-to-Improve-Your-Resume-e16ba33

Finding a job is a job in and of itself. A lot of time and effort goes into searching and applying for the job. After all of that, it is incredibly frustrating to not get an interview. According to Balance Careers, the number 1 reason folks are not chosen for an interview is because they’re not a match for the job. And match doesn’t mean you’re not qualified – it simply means the screening system, whether that be automated or via a hiring manager, did not find the keywords on your resume.

This notion of keywords is incredibly important when you’re composing your resume. With technology and the overwhelming amount of resumes gathered by a lot of employers, it is rare to have your resume screened by an actual human. Instead, it is put through software that scans the document for words that align with those stated in the job application. Once you make it through that screener, it is more likely that a living person will then review the resume in more detail.

Therefore, drafting a resume is a two-fold process. You need to consider the screening and then the detailed review.

Here are 5 tips to help you improve your current resume:

  1. Thoroughly review the job application. Highlight keywords in the job application that could be utilized in your resume. Fully note the requirements for the job. Attention to these details will help craft the resume.
  2. Write your resume using some of the keywords. Your work experience should highlight what you have done previously in a way that is most applicable to the job you’re applying for.
  3. Make sure each item under your list of experience starts with an actionable verb and includes quantitative results. For example, ‘Prospected 20 global clients with an 85% success rate’ instead of ‘Specialized in prospecting clients from multiple countries.’
  4. Keep your resume short (1-2 pages maximum). If you have a lengthy resume, first see if you can reformat to 2 columns to minimize the page count – but don’t reduce the font size to something unreadable. If columns don’t help, remove any experience that is not relevant to the position. A full work history is not necessarily required.
  5. Update and fine-tune your resume for each job application. One resume does not work for all positions. You will need multiple versions to ensure being considered for the job – hiring managers are very keen and can easily spot if you have copy/pasted your resume from another application.

Overall, resume building is quite time-consuming, but it is a critical step to ensuring an interview. Put in the effort and consider asking someone to review it. You can reach out to me – I’d be happy to do so. You’ll also be happy you did.

You Can Only Change You

Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/You-Can-Only-Change-You-e15m98g

No matter what we may want for another person, we can’t force that person to change. This was a hard lesson growing up, especially when I saw friends and family members not living up to their full potential – at least, in my eyes.

I distinctly remember a conversation about a friend of mine. I saw so many roads ahead – she could go be an engineer, a teacher, a therapist. She has such a great personality and a brilliant mind. Instead, she got a degree but doesn’t work in the field. While there is nothing wrong with her decisions, I see her struggle now to make financial ends meet and I just wonder what could have been.

Many years ago, I would let my own regret for her outcome upset me, even make me angry. Why did she choose this path? I could have helped her.

But she never asked for my help. She chose to do things her own way. And if she’d come to me today with concerns, I would open up and give her polite advice.

But that’s it. I can’t will another person’s life for them, despite every ache and desire to do so.

And that can be a hard pill to swallow.

The only person you can change is you.

You can reframe the entire thought as you only want what is best for your friend, but she is old enough to make her own decisions. You will support her no matter what her choices may be.

But put the focus on you.

Stop dwelling on other people’s decisions. It will leave you nothing but frustrated.

Manage Your Expectations

Listen to this blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Manage-Your-Expectations-e15dpne

Do you ever have those days when you wake up already irritated? Maybe your
alarm is the culprit, but perhaps, there is an underlying, invisible barrier
adding to the stir.

A lot of my basal irritation certainly comes from a lack of uninterrupted
sleep – with 2 kids under the age of 6, I have a long time to deal with this –
but another part festers from expectations.

I am constantly expecting and then being let down.

When it comes to expectations of others, I consistently think I know what
the other person will do or worse yet, that they know what I want. I’m an
assumer through and through. I tell myself that I have good social skills and
can read people well; but more often than not, assuming gets me into some sort
of disappointment. I don’t ask enough questions or provide enough context or
blatantly communicate MY wants, and therefore, when the person acts, I’m more
often than not disheartened.

I wish they would have done this. Or wish they could have asked about that.
But if I would just inquire, I could understand where the person is coming from
and overall, better understand who that person is.

When it comes to expectations of myself, I constantly have regrets. I’m fine
when it comes to getting tasks done and goals completed, but my underlying
issues (my temper, my reclusive behavior, my parenting) continue to let me
down. I have an ill-conceived thought that if I just keep doing or reaching the
end of my to-do list, all of the other stuff will just magically figure itself
out. Surely, I’m in control of myself, right?

But these expectations are not realistic. I need to work just as hard on the
things I push to the side as I do on the tangible listed items. I can either
set incremental goals to help with my inner expectations or accept that change
is unlikely.

So, unless I want that cantankerous feeling, as so hilariously depicted by
my adorable niece’s smoosh face (see photo), I’d better get on it.

Bottom line: Inquire, Communicate, Commit, and Accept.

Expectations managed.

The Tube Obsession

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Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/The-Tube-Obsession-e14mshq

I recently bought a used book called ‘365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child’ by Steve and Ruth Bennett. While I’ve only made it about 10 pages in thus far, my underlying concern with how much my older child watches TV instigated this purchase.

From a parental standpoint, he’s glued to the TV because I introduced it in the first place. Starting before age 1, Daniel Tiger was consistently on the tube. I felt validated knowing that he would possibly learn something from this PBS/educational program; however, he became quite attached quite young. And a relatively same approach with my youngest has not (yet) resulted in the same magnetism.

I’ve beat myself up and continue to beat myself up over his growing obsession. We ask him to play and he’d rather watch TV. We ask him to go outside and there are times he chooses cartoons.

But…the more I think about it, I can’t help but take a human standpoint instead of a mother’s. Maybe he is attracted to it for other reasons?

For example:

  1. He could be using TV to cope. As a budding young boy, perhaps he is dealing with internal stressors – fitting in at school, dealing with all of the new information he is learning, or simply feeling hormonally ‘off’. TV can serve as a nice constant, an escape that is a sure thing and will certainly ground you.
  2. He could view TV as his rest. At the age of 5.5, he has long since given up nap time. While I truly believe he would fair well with some sleep during the day, school and he himself does not agree. A growing kid needs a break. And exhaustion is evident when the whiney voice comes out that is only rectified by 30min watching his favorites. I get it – the days can be pretty long and tiring.
  3. He could get pleasure out of the novelty of TV. As recently studied by a group at the University of East Anglia, certain kids crave new stimulations, mostly because they get bored easy. This is not to say this his attention span is the problem (he would sit in front of the TV for hours if I let him) or that technology has ruined him (he has a tablet and video games he barely touches), but instead, he seeks novel stories, engaging content, and perhaps a challenge here and there. While this may factor into the first 2 examples of coping and resting (since TV can be a great de-stressor), it also paints a picture of a kid with a big imagination.

Thinking back to my childhood, I was similar in my attraction to TV. I couldn’t wait to see the next episode of a drama (back when you couldn’t binge and had to wait a whole week to see what happened between Dylan & Brenda!) or what the latest music video countdown contained. I definitely viewed TV as a warm blanket and still do, to an extent, although the time I get to watch nowadays is limited.

So, perhaps I’m being a little too hard on him. I will continue reading my book of TV-free activities. And I will still make many many attempts to engage him in the room full of toys upstairs or going outside to play, but as long as he is not significantly altering his behavior, mood, health or grades, I need to view it more like a part of him instead of something that takes a part of him. Besides, I turned out ok…right?

If Missed, Add It Back

Artist Artists Visualization Art Artistry Painting

Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/If-Missed–Add-It-Back-e144q1u

We all go through the motions of everyday chores and responsibilities. Whether we are working or caretaking or administrating, we are doing what we think we need to do. We are making it work. And we slowly turn into robots…with pieces of us potentially fading away.

But how many times do you sit back and consider what you WANT to do? In particular, what you wish you could do…again.

For example, maybe you were once really invested in rock climbing but life has gotten in the way. Do you miss it? Do you find yourself pining for the time when you were high in the air, the sky above you?

Or perhaps you loved to paint. It was more than a creative outlet for you, it was a passion. You couldn’t wait to see what would appear on the canvas after a few hours of free brush strokes.

These pieces of your previous life are not hindrances or bad habits. They shouldn’t be shoved aside to make way for the monotony of 9-5. They are restorative, they are rejuvenating, they ARE your self-care.

Close your eyes and envision a moment when you were completely immersed in an activity you love. You were likely in a state of flow, where no matter what else was going on in the world, you remained focused. Do you feel joy in picturing this moment? Does your heart begin to sting when you consider the hours spent NOT doing this activity?

If so, now is the time to add it back. Anything that brings you happiness is worthwhile. It balances life’s stressors and gives you purpose outside of your job and your family. It doesn’t have to be associated with income or accomplishment, just for your sake.

Carve out the time, no matter how small. You deserve it.

Stop Them Early

Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Stop-Them-Early-e13jaou

I know I’m a bit protective of my boys, but I didn’t realize the extent of the mommy- bear gene until G’s first bullying experience. He was playing with a group of boys when one of them (who at age 5 already walks around with a scowl and a puffed out chest) decided to push him and make a comment to the effect of ‘come at me, bro’ – I’m embellishing a little.

To my unsurprise, G ignored the kid and turned his attention to the rest of the group. The boy tried one more time, and I ALMOST jumped to action, but instead, let G walk away. I was proud of my boy for being the bigger person. And I didn’t bring it up again.

But this certainly got me thinking. I was shocked that we were already experiencing these sorts of encounters. G already had to make the decision to rise above. He was being picked on and didn’t cry or retaliate, but I’m sure he felt strange or belittled. At the age of 5!

I’m sure some would say “boys will be boys”, but I don’t take that statement lightly. First of all, bullying happens with girls too. And second, boys will only be bullies if they are not taught how to be caring.

We often circle back to the story “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” where they talk about boosting morale (filling buckets) versus being a bully (bucket dipper). We can pretty much recite it at this point.

But more importantly, we don’t tolerate bullying in or outside the household. While brothers will certainly fight, we always tell the defender to take the high road and correct the offender. If we are in an external setting, we encourage taking turns, showing empathy, and overall, being kind. We have often told both boys to go introduce themselves to another child at the park who seems shy or is having trouble fitting in.

While I do not know if that boy has been corrected at home or if he is a work-in-progress, I do feel like he could use a little more intervening…especially since his dad was sitting not 15 feet away from me and said nothing.

It all starts at home.

Adult Up with 3 C’s

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Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Adult-Up-with-3-Cs-e12r6v2

Think back to your fondest childhood memory. Perhaps it was a family vacation or playing with friends. Likely, you were carefree and happy…and more than likely, you had people to take care of you.

While I am a firm believer in revisiting those airy times whenever possible, I also realize that with adulting comes responsibilities.

Besides the unavoidable chores, bills, and maybe caretaking, there are a whole host of other duties that fall onto the shoulders of adults – most of which, we don’t typically point out until there is a problem.

For example, communication, such as stating facts, answering questions, and maintaining schedules. It is one of our most important responsibilities in both work and personal life. We may have a phone at our fingertips at all times, but how often are you waiting for a response? There have been countless instances where I am in a state of flux because I haven’t yet received an answer…to my inquiry about the kids’ school to the IRS letter to the friend who said she might be able to meet me. But I am no saint. Besides emails that get pushed to the bottom of my Inbox never to see the light of a Reply, I have dropped the ball on following up with a bill and keeping the kids’ activities in check a time or two. Nobody’s perfect. The goals here are to keep improving and be cognizant of the receiver.

Another example is commitment. And I don’t mean legally to our partners and kids. Commitment to work, friends, events, and ourselves. We sign on to do a job and we’re expected to produce. We tell our friends that we’ll make their event and then we need to act on it. We want to lose weight or save money or relieve stress and the only one that can really make it happen is us. The key takeaway here is to keep trying, no matter if you fail time and time again. And if you have never been one to follow-through, there are accountability programs out there that can help – wink wink nudge nudge!

The last example is composure. During childhood, we are expected to slip back into moments of illogical behavior, such as yelling, crying, and generally being spoiled. Biologically, this is happening because our prefrontal cortexes have not yet fully developed. However, after you’re officially part of the adult world (for the purposes of this example, let’s say early 20’s since 18-year-olds still tend to be going through brain development), you must keep a level head. One of the best ways to do this is to think before you speak. Counting down from 5 and some deep breathing may also help. If you lose your cool, it may hurt your reputation or worse. I am certainly not an expert in this department either, but I do realize that composure is like a muscle. The more you train it, the easier it becomes. Visualizing the ramifications can also keep you on the right path.

C-C-C. Three responsibilities that can really help you adult up.

Be Supportive, Not A Rival

Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Be-Supportive–Not-A-Rival-e12beq1

In our social media-driven world, we are attuned to every little opinion and change that may be going on in our network’s personal and professional lives. On one hand, this can help keep us up-to-date on the information, but on another, it can very much fuel negativity, jealousy, and competitiveness.

Let’s take 2 examples.

First example: As a mom of 2 young boys, I am a member of various Facebook parenting groups. Sure, I like to collect opinions on best practices, school/medical recommendations, and other mommy items. However, when I see a post that is showboating or worse, rudely denouncing another mother’s thoughts, I’m immediately taken aback. What is the goal of putting another person down, especially on a public forum? Making yourself feel better? Making them feel stupid? Boosting your own self-perceived power? I don’t get it. You can’t ‘win’ parenting. There is a polite way to disagree, but there is no need to throw another parent under the bus. Parenting is a struggle already; being supportive is as necessary as it was in the days of communal living. Remember, it takes a village!

Second example: With several different businesses to manage, I often gather inspiration from my peers, especially those in similar ventures. I also strongly believe in supporting their efforts – whether that means purchasing or resharing posts from small businesses. This is why it absolutely pains me to watch the competitive venom seep out. On social media, it is all too apparent who is truly supportive and who is not. As most folks are aware of Fbk & IG algorithms, with more comments and reshares comes more visibility. Sure, they will share that ridiculous meme or the story that benefits a big box name, but for some reason, the jealousy overrides their ability to hit ‘Like’ on your growing business. The rivalries that manifest, ESPECIALLY between women in similar businesses, can often lead to slander and blatant hatred. I’ve seen friendships crumble and bruised egos lead to bankruptcy. Instead, why not applaud your fellow entrepreneurs and even perhaps learn from them? No 2 people or businesses will ever be exactly the same, so it is in your best interest to be an advocate and provide utmost quality to your ability. Dragging someone through the mud or ignoring their business efforts will only spoil your reputation.

We are hardwired for survival, but when it comes to contemporary relationships, we need to hit the pause button on our gut instinct to defend ourselves and instead practice some humanity. Who knows, our supportive and inclusive demeanor may lend to us getting help when we need it in the future. What goes around, comes around.