Professional F.O.M.O

FOMO

F.O.M.O or fear of missing out is something we’ve all experienced. Personal F.O.M.O gives you that annoying little pang of pity. Oh my friends are at Coachella and I’m not. Boo hoo! But professional F.O.M.O leaves you feeling anxious, frustrated and confused. The consequences are much more far-reaching when you feel like you’re missing out on your career.

First, let me state that I love my current job. The projects I work on challenge me daily, I work with some of the best people around and I’m doing work that helps people. I don’t want to leave my job, I just don’t know if I want to stay forever. Fear. Of. Missing. Out.

The plan all through college was to enter the public relations industry upon graduation. It felt (and looked on paper) that I did everything right. But the road took me elsewhere and for that, I’m beyond grateful. Still even with a great job that includes traveling, I still feel like I’m missing out. I look at my two best friends as well as pretty much everyone I graduated with and wonder about all of the what if’s. Such a short time ago, I had everything figured out. Now I have no clue where to go from here.

Admitting my professional F.O.M.O isn’t easy. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for my current job nor do I want to sound like I’m complaining. Life is good and I’m certainly developing a wealth of transferable skills. But someone please tell me how I build media contacts when I do not work with the media?

What also contributes to my F.O.M.O condition is my inherit need to plan. It’s just in my blood: the color-coding, making plans, setting goals, knowing what’s next. But right now, I have no idea what the future holds and am desperately trying to become comfortable with that.

I’m trying to manage this F.O.M.O by recognizing it’s normal not to know exactly what you want. I’ve also written professional goals to achieve at my current job. As far as keeping my public relations edge, I utilize Feedly to compile a great list of PR blogs and publications to check on my commute home. I’m also trying to network through social media to possibly set up informational interviews. Hopefully, all of this will help keep my F.O.M.O at bay!

Throughout this F.O.M.O journey, one thing is evident: comparing yourself to others will just drive you crazy. Everyone’s path is different and unique to them; it doesn’t make one way right and the other wrong. I need to figure out what I want and how to get there without worrying about what my friends are doing.

Have you experience professional F.O.M.O? How did you cope? Please please please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Fifty Fabulous Life Lessons

Over this past weekend, we celebrated my mom’s 50th birthday with a grandiose surprise party, complete with red carpet and paparazzi. We danced all night long and properly celebrated a woman who has lived every minute of her fifty years.

pic60I could be biased since she is my mom, but I haven’t encountered anyone who’s lived life to the fullest like her. She makes every moment count and learns something from every experience. In my 23 years on this earth, she’s only imparted a fraction of that wisdom on me. Here are my favorite “mom-isms” I’ve gotten from her!

1) You can never have too many people who love.

2) You have to create your own definition of success.

3) Some days you’re the bat, some days you’re the ball.

4) For every pot, there is a cover, but some people are cookie sheets.

5) Heaven Must Have Sent You is by far the best disco song of all time.

6) You can only control your reaction to a situation, not anyone else’s.

7) I am your mother first then your friend.

8) Lead never follow (not never, but you know, don’t follow the crowd).

9) Everyone is different.

10) Hard work does pay off in the long run.

11) Work hard, play hard.

12) Don’t apologize for being successful.

13) Sundays are for pasta and football.

14) Being rich doesn’t necessarily equate to having money.

15) Parenting is by far the hardest job in the world.

16) Sleep is never overrated.

17) The strike zone is armpit to knee. Don’t swing at anything else.

18) Pick and choice your battles.

19) Take your vitamins.

20) Your girlfriends, like those no-matter-what, I-have-your-back best friends, are the true loves of your life.

21) College was meant to teach you how to think, not for you to learn every last thing in a textbook.

22) There is power in prayer.

23) Your father loves you, don’t ever forget that.

24) Life is short, buy the shoes.

25) Celebrate your birthday all month long. pic107

26) A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

27) You should do your own version of the opening ceremonies every Olympic Games.

28) Sometimes you should do it yourself and others you should right the check.

29) There is such a thing as a power outfit, down to the underwear.

30) Find your own voice.

31) Manicures and pedicures are worth the money. Also, don’t go to work with chipped nails.

32) You’ve earned that vacation, take it.

33) Sometimes your friends will need a hug and sometimes they’ll need space. Know the difference.

34) Always have a “go-bag”

35) If it’s a priority, find a way to get it done.

36) Men are only a part of life, not all of it.

37) Don’t spend money you don’t have.

38) Pay it forward anyway you know how.

39) Laughter really, really, really is the best medicine.

40) The delicate setting on the washer and dryer is cheaper than the dry cleaners.

41) Lease your cars.

42) You can’t write a recipe for meatballs: you’ll know they’re right based on the texture and smell.

43) Turn the radio up if a good song comes on. Who cares if it’s 6 a.m.?

44) Wherever you are, I’ll be there too. Mom ranks as #1.

45) Learn as many ways as possible to get from a place to your home. Back roads save lives.

46) Smile even if you have no idea what’s going on.

47) If the music is good, you better be dancing.mombd

48) Go to the doctor and the dentist regularly.

49) A mother’s love is unconditional even when you do something stupid.

50) It’s all about the journey.

I’m so lucky to have my mom as my role model and friend. No one compares to her!

A Knowledge-Filled Saturday

As a young professional, I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge and grow my industry expertise. This is occasionally challenging because I do not work within public relations. While I love my current job, I still want to maintain a breath of public relations knowledge and keep up-to-date on industry trends.

The schedule for the day!

The schedule for the day!

Luckily for me, I was invited back to Temple University this past weekend for the TU Invitational hosted by Temple PRSSA, one of my former student organizations. While the event was for students, I am so glad I attended. There were four speakers, each with a different PR specialty. Below are the “quick tips” I learned from each.

  • Cassandra Bailey from Slice Communications was the keynote speaker. You couldn’t have picked anyone better to kick-off an event! Cass was energetic, passionate and real. My biggest takeaway from her presentation was to break the process and be different. You shouldn’t change yourself to fit within a role or company. People want someone authentic, interesting and who challenges the norm. I adored her ideas and hearing that being different is a positive when hiring people.
  • I then went to Jessica Lawlor’s breakout session about personal branding and blogging. I read Jess’ blog religiously and worked with her during our PRSSA days at Temple, so I was really pumped for her session. Jess managed to pack so much info into her session without overwhelming us. She walked through various social media sites, outlining what essentials we should focus on to help build our personal brand. I was also beyond thrilled to hear the you don’t need to have a niche blog to be successful. I like to write about a lot of topics and according to Jess, that’s a good thing, as long as you are providing useful, fresh content. Overall, it was an awesome session and now I have a ton of ideas for my social media profiles and my blog!
  • After lunch, Steve Cameron from Air Products spoke to the group about a variety of topics. Steve has been in his role for several years so it was interesting to hear his perspective on how the industry has changed. Obviously, social media is the biggest advancement for PR professionals. Steve presented a social media decision tree for both personal and business use. This visual was so helpful in articulating the questions that need to be asked when figuring out how a company can utilize social media. The personal portion of the tree provided insights on the company’s social media policy; much easier to read than several convoluted paragraphs!
  • Our final speaker was Scott Tattar from LevLane, a PR agency in Philadelphia. Scott spoke about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how it is now an essential for companies. CSR is the bottom line and should serve as a marketing tool. I found it interesting and refreshing to hear his insights because not all companies think like that. A good CSR program is focused, so even if you are a large corporation, you shouldn’t support a million charities. It also empowers the customer (or employee) to do something rather than to just write a check. Lastly, it should be in line with the company’s mission. For example, Coca Cola should not back a cause like childhood obesity since their product is soda. Scott’s session was my favorite of the day because it was a topic not addressed frequently.
All of the PRSSA alum with the chapter president.

All of the PRSSA alum with the chapter president.

We all went and celebrated a successful event after it was over. I was so proud of my former student organization for putting on a great event where I learned so much. My day reinforced the importance of continuing to learn even as a professional. Hopefully, I’ll get to go back to next year’s TU Invitational!

Our Obsession with 20-Somethings

Everywhere you look on social media, there are articles about the 20-somethings. From Thought Catalog to Elite Daily, there are lists of fun activities to do in your twenties and others filled with thought-provoking lists of goals to never give up on during your twenties. I, along with every other 20-something, retweets, prints and highlights these articles. My question is why?

twentiesYour twenties is the decade where you do the most soul-searching. Typically, you’re just starting your career, haven’t found that special someone yet and certainly do not have kids. The responsibility of adulthoood is overwhelming and you’re barely breathing some days. How could you ever be responsible for another life?! But that’s how I see my twenties; it doesn’t mean the rest of the world does or should view it like me.

The millennial generation, myself included, is obsessed with defining the 20-something. We read, post and beg for a definition, a plan for each of us to follow. I don’t know if it’s insecurity or uncertainty but there is something there. For me, I am unsure of the future, what exactly I want and how it’s all going to play out. I read these articles across every social media forum searching for the exact answer on how to proceed confidently into the future.

Well guess what? No one, no article or Twitter account can provide me with the right way to take my journey. Sure, reading them is harmless enough as long as you don’t define your life by them. It is perfectlylife ahead fine to be 30, single with a kick-ass career. In the same breath, it’s great to be 24, married and wanting nothing more than to raise babies. Bottom line: It’s your life, own it and make choices based on your happiness, no one else’s.

The 20-somethings are an interesting group whose perspectives are constantly evolving. We have a lot to say about the world and our place in it. So if you’re a 20-something, own your twenties in whichever way you want. If you’re not, have a conversation with one and share your knowledge with them. They will appreciate it!

How Do You Define Success?

Lean In” and Sheryl Sandberg have permeated every news channel, major corporation and magazine cover during the last couple of months. The book has been wildly successful and Sandberg has led an army of mainly women in the charge for equality in the workplace. While her book is very helpful and it’s great companies want to aid women in the work/life balance struggle, “Lean In” is not a gospel for every woman out there.

The work/life balance is such a personal issue for men and women alike that no one prescribed way can be applied to everyone’s situation. In reality, it comes down to how you define success. Is is a c-suite office, a certain pay grade, or having happy, responsible children? I can’t answer that question for you and neither can Sheryl Sandberg. What we can do, as women fighting for a better tomorrow, is lift each other up rather than bring one another down.

acsuccessSuccess is one of those obscure topics like happiness. There’s the dictionary definition but that can’t possibly capture everyone’s feelings on these sometimes lofty out-of-reach ideas. A co-worker recently shared a Harvard Business Review (HRB) article that eloquently addressed the topic of success saying “You have to define what success means to you—understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time.” I experienced this epitome earlier in the week when I made the conscious decision to attend my fitness class instead of staying later at work. As a young professional, my career is top of mind, but since the start of 2014, my health has become a top priority too. Right now, being successful means taking time for myself, whether that is a yoga class or a manicure.

It is easy to define success right now as a single, young professional with no responsibility to anyone but myself. However, I know it will gradually become harder, when I add a significant other and children to the mix. That is why I enjoyed the HBR article so much; it is okay for your definition of success to change as your grow and figure out what you want from this life. I look at others my age and occasionally question their lack of ambition. But who am I to define success for them? I can’t want for others what they don’t want for themselves. We can’t define success for anyone else but ourselves.

I think that having a clear definition of success and sharing it with your board of directors is important. Of course,definesuccess you can change this definition whenever you need to, but keeping it top of mind will help you make tough decisions. If you define success as being home with your children by 6 p.m. three nights a week, write it on a post-it, share it with your team and make it happen! I doubt it will always be easy and sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice, but keeping your definition of success top of mind should help.

How do you define success? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section!

 

London is Always a Good Idea

Have you ever wanted to just get on a plane and go, not caring where you went? That was my mindset earlier this year when my friend Lauren suggested we go to London to visit our Temple friends who were studying abroad. After some planning (I’m lucky, Lauren did everything), we were off on our London adventure earlier this month.

View from the top of the London Eye, my favorite!

View from the top of the London Eye, my favorite!

To say we were excited was an understatement. It was the first vacation we both were taking a vacation in a while and it certainly felt good to be able to afford such a trip. God bless Lauren for finding these AMAZING London passes that got us into pretty much everything: Kensington Palace, Winston Churchill War Rooms, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Thames River Tour, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We managed to pack just the right amount to sightseeing into our week. To top it off, we also made our way to Paris midweek!

I’m not sure I can put into words how amazing this journey was. We didn’t rush but we didn’t waste a single minute. Each day was spent exploring, wandering and seeing incredible, historical masterpieces. No picture could capture the expansiveness of Tower Bridge, the view from the London Eye or the perfect architecture of the Eiffel Tower. You have to see it to believe it!

I went into this vacation wanting to decompress, to remember how fortunate I was and to enjoy a week away with one of my best friends. Maybe it was that I needed this trip or that I vowed to have an open, carefree attitude throughout, but whatever it was, my little week-long trip taught me about..

- Silence: People on the Tube (London’s subway) don’t talk to one another, aren’t on their cell phones and in turn, the ride is pretty quiet, much different from a Manhattan subway. I find silence very uncomfortable; it makes me feel like something is wrong, so I am constantly trying to fill the silence. Instead this time, I just let it be on the Tube and while wandering around. This almost calming silence allowed me to fully absorb everything I was experiencing.

- Intention: I’ve written about being more intentional and intentional choices before. But, for some reason that idea hit me again while abroad. It struck me most at Tate Modern where there were floors of Picasso and Dali masterpieces that were 100% intentional. With every stroke, they gave meaning, political or otherwise, to each one of their works. Seeing that made me want to be more intentional with my time, thoughts, everything.

- Friendship: I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know this before but I’ve found such an amazing friend in Lauren.

The only picture of us that wasn't a selfie!

The only picture of us that wasn’t a selfie!

I couldn’t imagine taking this trip with anyone else. There was a level of appreciation we both had for this trip, which made it 100 times better. She also managed not to kill me (big plus!) and we absolutely laughed our way through London.

- Travel: Another thing I knew but hadn’t experience in a while: Travel is essential to growing, evolving your perspective and becoming all you can be. It doesn’t matter where you go, who you go with or what you do, just go. While I feel like London is always a good idea, truthfully ANY travel is always a good idea! I now want to plan several more vacations because I came home feeling so recharged, appreciative and that I had learned something.

London was never on my bucket list but I am so glad Lauren pushed the idea on me. It was an exceptional week filled with history, wandering and overall good times. Now I can’t wait for the next adventure!

What places are on your bucket list? Any recommendations for my next journey? Please please please share!

Outside Abbey Road Studio, where the Beatles recorded. So cool!

Outside Abbey Road Studio, where the Beatles recorded. So cool!

Wanderlust

wanderlustHappy Friday friends! I hope your week is winding down and that you have fun plans for the weekend. For me, the next week is going to be all about travel. Why you ask? Because I leave for London tomorrow night! Excited is an understatement.

Tomorrow night, my college BFF Lauren and I board our plane to London. We’ll be there for a week and plan on taking a day trip to Paris (OMG!!!). I cannot wait to have an entire week off and to wandering through Europe.

When people ask what my plan is for this trip, my answer has been to planfully wander. Sure, we have an itinerary and a list of places we want to see. But I want to get lost in the city, in the culture and absorb every moment of this experience. This will not be a vacation where I will sit and relax, but I do believe I will come back fully recharged.

Wanderlust is the state of mind I will be embracing while away. But it is also an idea I want to incorporate into my life upon returning. Sometimes being wanderlust gets a back rap. People think you have no direction or no set plan for your life. On the contrary, I see being wanderlust as being passionate to learn more about other places, other cultures. Travel is the only thing you can spend money on that will make you richer.

So don’t plan on hearing from me during the next week. However, I promise there will be a full recap once I’m back in the United States. If anyone has travel tips for London or Paris, please feel free to share!

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