Tag Archives: life

Business Card Giveaway!

29 Mar

There’s many ways to stay connected in our digital age- LinkedIn, Facebook, phone applications like Bump. However, when it comes to networking, nothing replaces a good ol’ business card. I feel like this is something every young person starting out in their career should have. Whether you’re interviewing, at an event or dating, having your contact info easily accessible is very useful.

The kind folks at Uprinting are giving away two sets of their awesome Die Cut business cards to two lucky readers. For a chance to win, leave a comment below with how you plan to use them. Two winners will be chosen at random Friday, April 1st. Details Below:

1.  2 readers will be getting a set (250pcs each) of Die Cut business cards (Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded Single-Corner, Half-Circle Side, Circle); 14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated on a 6 Business Days Turnaround; Front Only or Front and Back printing

2. Restriction: Limited to US residents 18 years old and above only.

Don’t forget to  Like UPrinting on Facebook and share the love with your friends! (http://www.facebook.com/uprinting)

[This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given. For more information about business cards, please visit http://www.uprinting.com/business-cards.html.]

Good luck!


Commencement Speech by Jeff Bezos

3 Aug

I came across this Graduation Speeh today on TED, by Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon. The whole speech is wonderful, but the end (pasted below) really struck me.  I think these are important questions to ask yourself at any point of your life.

How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?

Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?

Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?

Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?

Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?

Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?

Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?

Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?

Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.

Two-Word Poem

24 Jun

I came across this great site SoulPancake created by Rainn Wilson, one of the funniest men alive (Dwight Shrute anyone?).

“Soulpancake is a place to speak your mind, unload your questions, and figure out what it means to be human”

…I’m in!

I was browsing around on the site tonight and found this thought-provoking post, “What’s your two-word poem?” After a lot of “soul-pancake” searching, I came up with mine: SPEAK UP. I think this is the greatest thing I’ve learned in my 25 years of living. In order to have successful careers, friendships, relationships, marriages, you need to speak up and say what you are feeling. Too often, we forget that unlike the sorting hat in Harry Potter, people don’t always know what we are thinking.

What’s yours?

The Fun Theory

16 Jun

Volkswagon’s latest campaign “The Fun Theory” is pretty amazing. The description on the site says:

“This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.”

It’s a great idea when you think about it. I mean, who would have thought that simply adding a sound to a hand sanitizer would triple the amount of people using it? Or that attaching tiny magnets to tshirts can get your kids to clean their rooms?

I love love love the winner (shown above). We’re always notified if we do something wrong by the dmv, but how about when we do something right? Check the site for more of the incredible entires.

This has made me think a lot about how I can make mundane activities in my own life more fun.

Real Life 101

6 Feb


I came across this link today that I couldn’t resist sharing. Now let’s just hope this link somehow lands on the desk of college administrators and inspires them to have courses that are applicable to the real world. (Although memorizing 200 notecards while munching on Cheetos, downing a coke and dreaming about the weekend DID teach me how to multi-task)

[Come across Links you think our readers would enjoy? Send them over to themadgrad@gmail.com]

Must Read Book of the Week…

27 Aug


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.

Keeping your Eye On The Ball…

25 Aug


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


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.

Taking Initiative

8 Jul


It’s strange that at 24 years old, I finally found the genius behind Nike’s slogan, ” Just do it.” It never seemed much more to me than a slogan that got a few snickers on the elementary school playground and was just plain obvious.  Recently, however, this slogan has taken on a whole other meaning to me- one of taking initiative and making decisions yourself.

At my job, I assist the Founder of my company who is understandably very busy. When I first started my job a couple months ago I would ask permission for everything. “Would you like me to send this email?” Where should I make reservations?” I didn’t want to go ahead and do something and get in trouble if I made a mistake. That’s when I realized- it’s better to go ahead and do it instead of asking permission and waiting around for his answer. After all, if he had time to answer all of my questions- would he really need an assistant in the first place?

Being young in a big company is hard. We are hired with the expectation that we have a lot to learn and will be asking lots of questions- which don’t get my wrong is good to an extent! But to prove our maturity and ambition, we need to learn when to ask questions and when to go ahead and take initiative for ourselves.

I heard a quote recently by Grace Hopper that said, “Its easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.” If I heard this quote 3 months ago, I’d probably disagree- but now, I could not agree more. There’s going to be times when you go ahead and do something, and end up making a mistake and getting in trouble.  However, a mistake here or there, from someone who takes initiative and makes decisions for themselves, is going to be forgiven a lot faster, than someone sitting around and waiting for someone to make decisions for them.

So next time you’re in a situation where you aren’t sure if you should take a risk and go with your gut, go ahead and “Just do it!”

Guest Post by Author and Entrepreneur Robert Tuchman: Embracing Entrepreneurship

7 Jul

Young Guns Cover

Graduation from college carries such ironic emotion: you have spent four years yearning to graduation, but as soon as you do, you spend your remaining days nostalgic about your school days.  College is a great time, but with graduation comes reality.  You are now armed with all that you need: you are the fuse and your diploma is the match.  Let the fireworks begin!

Many leave college and send out applications to tens of corporations looking for a job. But there are others who take a bit more of a risk: they seek entrepreneurial pursuits.  Know that what lay behind you and what lay in front of you is trivial compared to what lay within you.  Have courage.

If it is entrepreneurship you desire post graduation, there are several thing you must consider.

An entrepreneur needs to be someone who can both visualize and actualize.  He needs to be able to visualize something—and once he has that “something”, he needs to see exactly how to make it happen.  In order to make it happen, there are several steps that you as an entrepreneur must take on your way to entrepreneurial success.  Do not just enhance what is, but advance towards what will be: keep the long term in sight.

It is essential that you are able to marry your work and what you love. When in sales, there is no right or wrong way to sell: all you need is passion and enthusiasm for your product. This passion will ignite the minds of your potential client, facilitating connections, and connections between will be made.  Your passion and enthusiasm for your product will be what encourages the sale—not the rote duplication of someone else’s selling system. It takes courage to grow up, form your own philosophy, and become who you really are. What you do to sell and promote your business has to be a reflection of what you are already willing to stay up late for and get up early for.  It has to connect to your “why” and be a part of your own experience.

Second, you must start working your plan, whether you are ready nor not.  Know the four good things that you are about to do: first, that your business is going to be built on a great idea; second, that great idea is going to connect you to a market; third, that you will create a plan based on what you learn, on an ongoing basis, about that market; fourth, that you will adjust that plan over time.

After you have visualized your plan, find the right partner… and avoid the wrong one!  You will have a significant advantage over one-man businesses if you come together with another person regularly to make important decisions.  Find someone with whom you have good chemistry, someone who fills your blind spots.  Successful partnerships are based on the idea of taking different perspectives in a discussion and having different talents.

Once the groundwork has been established, set priorities for the absolutely crucial first year. Concentrate on why you are doing something—not how.  Your “why” will keep you closely connected to your company and your product.  As soon as you lose sight of “why,” you will also lose sight of your driving force and your motivation.

Through your first year and beyond, court clients—and keep them coming back! In order that you become a successful entrepreneur, it is essential that you are the person who is willing to pick up the phone and call people to talk about making deals and doing business. When you make this phone call, make sure you are absolutely certain about the product that you are selling.  With this certainty, you can use confidence to build up a network of contacts.  The network cannot be established overnight—it is going to take a lot of phone calls.  You cannot just wave your magic wand over a corporation and change them into a profitable client.

In order to keep your client base, you need a great team to work with.  Make sure that your company has shared values, that there are rewards for quality improvements, and that there are strong internal and external relationships.  Empower the best, lose the rest!

Inevitably, there will be failure.  You must learn from failure: use it as a stepping-stone.  Do not forget what mistakes you have made, but do not allow yourself to dwell on them.  Take from your failure: take the lesson learned—do not let it take anything from you: not your energy, not your time and not your space.

Finally, in order to keep your company going and keep your clients happy, maintain good relations with your vendors.  It is essential that you support the people who support you.  If you are making a big commitment to a client, make sure you have a solid relationship with your vendor.

In the end, take energy from taking risks.  Live in the spirit of the entrepreneur!

Robert Tuchman is living as an entrepreneur and has recently published his first book Young Guns where he gives young people guidance on taking your dreams and making them into a reality in this step by step book that will arm you with the tools you need to take your idea and make it a career.Check out Robert’s website: http://youngbusinessexecutives.com/