Archive | August, 2009

Must Read Book of the Week…

27 Aug

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Close your eyes and think about the most successful people you know. Got em? Now, estimate how many books they read per week. Chances are it’s at least 2- and that doesn’t include the many articles and blogs they are reading regularly.  So time to start reading! Each week,  we’ll be reporting back on a new book or article we’ve read.

A book came in for my boss yesterday afternoon called “Mindset” by Carol S. Dweck.  I snuck it home last night and read it until the wee hours of the morning, and can say with conviction that my life won’t be the same after reading it. It’s a quick read (about 250 pages), and discusses the “growth mindset” vs the “fixed mindset.” Basically I realized that I had been living my life in the fixed mindset.  I was brought up thinking that your intelligence is fixed- you either have it or you don’t. I’d say things like, “I just wasn’t born with the art gene” or “I’m not very athletic.”  People with the growth mindset, look at themselves more as clay that can be molded and change shape. If they can’t do something, it’s not because they “just aren’t intelligent enough” but because they haven’t developed the necessary skills yet or put enough effort into learning.

To illustrate this further, Imagine playing a game on your phone with different levels.  Do you prefer to stay at the same level you are good at so you feel great about yourself? Or do you like to challenge yourself and take it to the next level even if you might not pass it? Growth Mindsets will do the latter- they thrive on challenges and learn from their mistakes so that they can constantly grow.

I won’t give away too much of the book, but this really is a great book to read as it discusses something that applies to every aspect of your life- relationships, work, parenting- pretty much everything.

Even today I saw my mindset change. When given a difficult task by my boss, instead of thinking ” I don’t know how to do this, I’m going to need to ask for help.” I looked at it and said, “Awesome, this is a challenge that I will learn from!”

You can buy this book here on amazon.

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Breaking the Routine

27 Aug

We have all been there; you get into a position that requires a lot of time and energy. Especially these days it seems everyone I come across is putting in a lot of overtime every week. You are exhausted and come home stare at the TV or even at the computer for a few more hours until you attempt to pass out and toss and turn thinking about all the work that needs to be done as soon as you wake up.

For a while many can get by with this way of life, in fact it becomes mindless and your days blur into months. I for one have been guilty of this. Having only been out of college two years and in my second job I remember thinking to myself when I started my current job I am going to take on new things with this new job and strive for change. After being in my new role for six months and almost turning a year older I got to thinking what have I done in the past six months to break this redundancy that clouds my life.southern-adventure

Yes I joined a new gym and some new networking groups but other than that what do I have to show for every 24 hours in my day. Once we start a job and begin to see it as a career it is easy to forget about the endless possibilities that come with being young. This is a time when we are still figuring it all out and we can try new things and fail and get right back up. This is the time when we can explore new career paths or think about going back to school, volunteer, relocate to new cities and learn a new language.

Although work often time can seem like it is taking over your life I would ask you all to take a step back and ask yourself, how do I fill my 24 hours a day? Am I satisfied going to bed feeling like I am living my life to the fullest? I personally am publicly committing to do this and I hope that soon I will have something exciting and inspiring to share you with. In the mean time how do you break your routines? What are the things that drive you outside of work?

Keeping your Eye On The Ball…

25 Aug

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When I was younger nothing drove me crazier than my softball coach telling me to “keep your eye on the ball!” Okay coach, I think after 11 times I get it. But the truth was, I needed that reminder because a lot of times I’d get distracted. I’d look at the pitcher, or stands, or my mind would wonder to the capri suns after the game- and sure enough I’d miss it. When I did keep my eye on the ball the entire time, I’d get a great hit. Who would have thought that this lesson would apply many years down the road at work?

When we first start off in our jobs, (if we are truthful in the hiring process) we are amped with enthusiasm for our product/services. We network, try to learn as much as possible and can’t wait to use or sell the product ourselves. However, sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily tasks, that we lose site of the company goal/product.

I know this happened to me recently, at my job. When I took a step back and thought about why I had lost that passion,  I realized it was because I was doing my daily tasks- scheduling, organizing, project managing, but I wasn’t really using the product. I wasn’t reading up on the latest news in the industry, networking, trying to further my education on the subject, and knowing the ins and outs of the product. Instead of this improving my performance, it hindered it because I lost my passion. I took my eye off the ball, and sure enough was missing it. Spending more time trying to increase my knowledge of the product,  sparked back up that energy I needed to run around the bases and get those grand slams.

Of course sometimes, when you come to that point that you realize you are empty of passion, you realize it’s time to move on. The company/product just isn’t motivating you to want to devote your time to it. Other times though (as in my case) it takes finding the balance between doing your daily tasks, and spending extra time gaining insight into your product. “Keep your eye on the ball, and your head in the game”

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

21 Aug

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Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves… for growing up.”- The Wonder Years


We all come to that point in our lives, when we realize it’s time to grow up. This happens at a different time for everyone. For some of us this happens at a very early age when circumstances force us to take on responsibilities and face challenges others don’t. Others happen after they graduate, and are on on their own. Yet for some (like myself) this happens a little later.

I don’t know what it was today that made me realize I hadn’t grown up yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Will Ferrell from Wedding Crashers. I graduated college early, went right into working full-time and moved into the city with roommates. I guess I realized, that acting like a grown up is more than just going through the motions, it’s taking responsibility and control for everything in your life. Below I’ve listed what to me defines being a “grown up.” Some of these may seem obvious, but they can easily be overlooked.

1. Taking control of your finances- Unfortunately, ignoring your debt won’t make it go away. As we enter our early- mid twenties we have loans, payments and costs that don’t magically sort themselves out. It takes really sitting down, and making a budget for yourself to have your money work. Mint.com is pretty awesome in that it shows you graphs of your spending and balances automatically everyday so you can see where your money is going. In college, we have time to bounce back if our credit score falls, but as we get older this prevents us from huge things- like buying houses and getting loans.

2. Partying responsibly-  In college, day drinking with friends and dancing on tables was funny. As we get older, it’s not- our strikes are up. When we are older, not only does drinking take a toll on our bodies, but one bad night out can cost you your reputation, relationships and job. Drinking like a grown up, means a drink or two with friends- not shots and beer bongs.

3. Admitting fault- when we were younger, it was so easy to place blame on others- the dog, our siblings, someone else in our class. But now, the mark of a grown up is being able to admit when you are wrong, and except the consequences. In relationships at home and at work, sometimes we need to take a step back and realize how we affected the situation. If we made wrong, then it’s our responsibility to make right. If you mess up, take responsibility and go above and beyond to make it better.

4. Getting healthy- In high school and college, we could eat pizza late night, and skip weeks at the gym and have banging bodies. Now, the weight and health problems creep up on us. Exercising, eating healthy and getting regular checkups aren’t optional, they’re required.

5. Following through- When I was younger, I’d get so sick of my coaches telling me to “follow through” when I played sports. But you know what- it paid off every time. It’s no different now as we live our lives. If we made a promise in college or high school it was okay to brush things off if we didn’t feel like doing them- we are young and aloud to change our minds often. But now, we are accountable for our words and actions and must follow through with our promises- even if it’s something we don’t want to do.

6. Being confident- as we figure out what we want to do in our lives and in high school and college, and as our bodies change, naturally we lose self esteem. But when we actually grow up, we realize that not having confidence becomes an anchor holding us down. It gets us in bad relationships, prevents us from being the best at work and loses the respect and trust from others. Feeling confident in our abilities, and self is essential to growing up.

7. Realizing it’s okay to not be perfect- I’ve always (as I’m sure many other bloggers out there are) been a perfectionist. Even in elementary school I’d never settle for anything less than a A on my report card. If I didn’t feel that my weight, hair or outfit was perfect, I’d get really depressed. But as you get older, it gets draining. Growing up, means realizing that it’s okay to not do everything perfectly. It means realizing your strengths and weaknesses and focusing on what you are great at. It means not beating yourself up for a pound or two, and wearing what makes you happy.

8. Cleaning up after yourself- I know what you are thinking, this is an obvious one right? Well, for me I’ve always been super cluttery. In college, my roommate and I would clean our rooms once our sides joined. (gross I know) Eager to move on to the next thing, it’s easier to just to drop a shirt on the floor and clean it later. But growing up, means taking care of what you have, and spend your money on. It means picking up your clothes, cleaning the house daily, doing dishes and vacuuming. It’s understanding that you have to sacrifice some of the fun stuff to do chores once in awhile.

9. Deciding a career path- in college and highschool, even after graduation it’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life. But, as we enter our mid twenties (yikes!) it comes time to pick something and run with it. This might mean going back to school and taking classes, having a mentor, or networking to decide. There’s no rule that says you can’t change your career path along the way, but mastering whatever you are doing at the time (and makes you happy) is necessary. Growing up means sticking with our commitments to work, excelling at whatever we are doing and not giving up when things get hard.

10. Ending the booty calls. With thousands of young people partying, drinking and living next door to each other, hookups in college weren’t looked down upon. But as we get older, we have to have respect for our bodies, and seek relationships instead of random hookups. Growing up means expecting to be courted- to go out to lunch/dinner, talk on the phone before 12am, and avoiding the “text-only” relationships. It means that if you aren’t being treated with the respect, being comfortable enough to be on your own.

As I look back on this list, It sure doesn’t look fun to be a grown up 🙂 But, as we get older if we don’t do these things, it makes our lives a lot harder than necessary.  As Winston Groom said,If your gonna screw up, do it while you’re young. Older you get, the harder it is to bounce back.

What Does Your Wake Look Like?

20 Aug

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First, off apologies for majority slacking on the blogging lately. As Jenny posted earlier, this has been a whirlwind of a summer! I had the chance to finally relax the other day and picked up one of the many books I’ve been dying to read lately: “Integrity” by Dr Henry Cloud. I only got around to reading the first chapter, but he brought up a very thought provoking topic that I thought was worth sharing.

He talks about how one of his favorite things to do, is sit on the boat and watch the wake that it leaves behind. He said that you can tell a lot about the boat from the type of wake that it’s leaving- if its choppy, smooth or rippling all depends on how the boat is being driven. This brings me to the point we should  all ponder- what type of wake are we leaving behind? Are we making it an enjoyable experience for the people behind us, or are we sending them flailing and screaming for mercy?

At my last job, my coworker gave me excellent advice- he said no matter how long I am there, to be sure to make change and add something to it. He was right, because in every interview there was always one question- “What change did you bring to the organization?” (aka what was your legacy?) Stop for a moment and think about what change you have brought to yours. If you can’t think of anything, you are probably just gliding along with no concern for the wake you are leaving behind. If you aren’t making things easier for people around you, and really contributing and building others, why should any company hire you or keep you?

Just as if you want to change the wake, you have to change how you are steering the boat, to change the wake you leave behind in life, you need to first look at yourself and how you are “steering your course”. If you are believe in hard work and building people around you up, your wake will be smooth and enjoyable for everyone in your path. If you are lying, cheating and being lazy, chances are your wake is going to be bumpy and not something that anyone wants to be in.

This is definitely something to think about. I know this inspired me to be a better captain!

Been There, Done That: The Value of a Mentor

18 Aug

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I recently went to a dinner party with some very intelligent women who all work in social media, online community management and social good. We all discussed the commonalities of working in these fields and the also the joys and struggles we encountered in our jobs. One common theme that everyone separately brought up at one point throughout the night was the value of a mentor. All the women I was with said that the one thing they wished they had when looking for a job and even today after working for a few years is a solid mentor.

A mentor can mean many things but to me it isn’t necessarily someone holding your hand and writing your resume, it is someone who understands where you are coming from and where you are heading. A mentor can use their seasoned expertise to advise you on many career lessons. When starting a career or even a new job there are so many things to learn and that are expected of you, being able to ask questions and seek advice from someone who has been there is priceless.

Until my job now I never had a boss who was available to share knowledge and advice and criticism openly with me so I had to just make mistakes and learn from them. It is not likely that your boss will have time to be your mentor and give you guidance outside of work so it is important that you seek out someone who will. I am not sure there is any methodology to finding a mentor but people that have been there for me I have met many people through networking, family friends and different experiences working with other companies that I have been able to gain valuable insight from.

In order to maintain a relationship or build one with someone who can help you and give you direction there is just one key thing you need to do: ASK QUESTIONS! If you don’t ask questions you cannot expect to receive any kind of help or guidance. You would be surprised but people are actually quite flattered and are more than willing to give you a couple minutes if they know that you are looking to them for advice because you respect and look up to them. In turn it is a symbiotic relationship because you are gaining information and they feel accomplished in being able to offer it up.

So don’t be afraid to reach out for some help and guidance in the crazy working world I promise you will not regret it!

No We Didn’t Get Shipwrecked on a Deserted Island…

17 Aug

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I am ashamed of our lack of posts in the past two months and anyone who blogs knows that you need to set aside time to write a good post. We have been traveling, working and entertaining guests all summer long but, excuses aside feel like we have been letting down our readers and have a lot of good posts coming your way so please stay tuned and forgive us for our slump…