Tag Archives: Career

Don’t Talk About It, Be About It

Earlier this month, I was given the opportunity to attend an event called P3: People, Purpose and Possibilities. When I signed up, I wasn’t entirely sure what the day would bring. Let’s just say I haven’t felt this inspired in a while.

Throughout the day, we heard from numerous speakers who had a variety of experiences. Robert

Dear World Meaning

The guidelines for all Dear World pictures

Fogary, spoke to us about his Dear World project and humans’ desire to be heard. Aaron Hurst from Taproot, talked about aligning purpose with career, how all work should feel like pro bono work and that purpose is a choice we make daily. Kai Kight, a violinist, wowed us with his amazing rendition of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. He talked about ignoring the standard and creating your own path, writing the songs of the future versus playing someone else’s songs of the past. Nadine Burke-Harris, founder of Center for Youth Wellness, spoke about adverse situations impact children’s’ health, that being in chronic fight or flight leads to major health problems. As you can see, we heard from a variety of people, too many to name, who each defined purpose differently.

I’ll admit, I left feeling inspired but not sure what to do with the wealth of information I just received. It took me time to process everything I heard and create an action plan or purpose statement. We will get to that but below are my biggest takeaways from the event.

  • One of the PwC directors reminded us that finding your purpose is a journey. It is okay to not be 100% certain about your purpose statement, especially if you are younger in your career. I’m glad she mentioned that because I’m not entirely sure but plan to be more self-conscious about my purpose across all aspects of my life.
  • I know my company invests in their employees but this event was the reminder I needed. Not many companies let you spend a day in reflection around what your purpose is and how it aligns to the company’s purpose.
  • Another PwC director put purpose in the context of “what do you want to be remembered for?” That’s a big question that could cause some to be overwhelmed. If you think of that question each morning and keep it in the back of your mind during the day, you’ll create a life driven by what you believe in versus just going through the motions.
  • Aaron Hurst gave us a few examples of where purpose could come from including relationships, something greater than yourself and personal growth/challenges. Again, I drilled this down to the daily interactions I have that align with what I believe my purpose to be. It’s also about stretching yourself to try new things that could inspire others. Andrew Yang from Venture for America also said there’s no courage or challenge without risk. For me, risk makes me a bit anxious so what he said really resonated. Without any risk or new experiences, you become complacent.
  • Another PwC director reminded us that our purpose, whatever it is, should be evident across all of life’s domains. So you should bring your purpose to work, to your community and to your personal relationships. If you feel like your work isn’t meaningful, talk to someone about how to change that.

After some reflection, here is my current purpose statement: I want to positively impact people and live an authentic life. I know this will evolve over time and plan to review it often. I’ve been trying to keep this in mind at the start of each day. Some days are easier than others. When I think about my job and how this is applicable, I think about each interaction I have: something as small as a thank you email or happily answering a question. Those small things matter and are a part of the bigger picture.

Dear World PicAs for the authentic piece, take a look at the picture to the left. That is my Dear World picture, which is intended to convey my story to the world. For me, I don’t want to just say I believe in something, I want my actions to speak volumes. Saying you believe in something is much different from actually going out there and living out your values. I want to show up as my authentic self, every day in every aspect of my life. Part of this is being more intentional with my time. If I say blogging or exercising is a priority, then I must intentionally dedicate my time to those activities. If at work, I say having an eye for detail is important, then I need to spend time reviewing each aspect of my projects.

Knowing your purpose and applying it to daily life isn’t easy. You won’t always get it right. But I challenge you to think more about it and your values. Please share your purpose statements in the comments section!

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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!

Time to Transition

We’ve all felt them; that pang of guilt, fear, what have you as we shift from young adulthood to full-blown adulthood. While it may not happen all at once, the transition to fully responsible for yourself and your happiness is a rough journey for most. Growing pains seep into all areas of our life: our family, our interpersonal relationships and our professional life.

It seems that creating boundaries with family is typically harder when you’re closer with your family OR when they are more involved in your life. Some of this may be on them for wanting to know every detail or on us for sharing every detail. As I begin the process of moving out, these boundaries with my family are necessary for my survival. Their drama, insecurities and issues are not mine to take on. Everyone repeat after me: the problems of my parents, siblings and extended family are not mine to fix. I will always love my family, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.

20 somethingLooking at interpersonal relationships is probably where the sharpest growing pains are felt for the majority of transitioning adults. You have your group of friends from all parts of your life: childhood, high school, college and beyond. You believe this group of friends will be with you forever. But then life happens and people mature and experience life phases at different speeds. Some friends are married right after college while others go off to graduate school. Just because everyone is at a different phase doesn’t mean friendships have to end. It means everyone needs to keep in perspective that we are experiencing things differently. It is not always easy but is absolutely worth it. Significant others are a whole other ballgame. Bottom line is you need to find someone who will grow with you, who loves you for all you are today and everything you will become tomorrow.

In the workplace, growing pains are felt in a completely different way. For me, almost all of my colleagues are older than me so they’ve experienced this transition already. Some are sympathetic and remember what it felt like to find their first apartment. Others can’t be bothered. In this time of change, it’s important to remain confident (not cocky) at work. You may not have it all figured out (no one does), but you must be willing to learn. Age is just a number; don’t let it or others intimidate you.

Everyone goes through the transition from recent college graduate to adult at different times and at different speeds. The fact remains that this is the time to be selfish, live your life for you and no one else. Find what makes you happy and do it as often as possible. Book that trip, run that 5K, but whatever it is, do it for you and no one else. As always, a Beyonce song is all too appropriate for this phase of our lives. While “Grown Woman” gives off a cocky vibe, the meaning behind the song is a good reminder for all of us struggling with this transition. We are adults and can do whatever we want. Have a listen below and share your thoughts with me!

Owning 2014

It’s the beginning of January, which means two things: people are dieting and people are blogging about their New Year’s resolutions. It’s the time of year when everyone joins the gym and lists out everything they want to do (or stop doing) for the upcoming year. The new year is also a time to reflect and set goals for the next 365 days.

confidenceI’ve already told you some of my goals for 2014 in my previous blog post. This post is not about New Year’s resolutions but rather about the main quality I want to embody this year: confidence. For me, confidence is something I’ve always struggled with, often second guessing myself and not owning my ideas. Well, that is going to change starting right now.

Within the last couple of months, I’ve read plenty of blog posts and articles about confidence. Five steps to build more confidence and why confidence is important headlines have flooded my inbox. This makes me suspect that many people struggle with confidence. The million dollar question is why? Here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with:

1). In general, our society relies on what people think far too much. We ask for second and third opinions for every decision we make. We need to trust ourselves more and go with our gut.

2) Fear of failure absolutely plays a role in lack of confidence. People assume failure is negative and should be avoided. While failure may have negative consequences, it is the best teacher. If you don’ try, you’ll never know what a success you could be.

3) The balance between cocky and confidence is hard so people are afraid to own it. If you act over-confident, people see you as arrogant, inflexible and unwilling to learn. But if you don’t own it, people own itcould see you as weak. The challenge is striking the balance between the two.

Confidence is one of the most important soft-skills that could make or break you in any life situation. At work, it’s tricky to strike just the right balance. For women, if you’re too sensitive, you are seen as weak. If you are too confident, you are seen as a bitch. A man who acts the same way is seen as a leader. It is another challenge all working women face and have to focus on. Seeking advice from more seasoned professionals and being self-aware of your level of confidence could help.

My plan for 2014 is to own it! I want to continue to learn and grow while not being afraid to highlight my areas of expertise. Join me in the journey to becoming more confident. How will you own 2014? Is confidence something you struggle with? Share your thoughts with me!

Leaps of Faith in 2013

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.

Jumping fire during my first 5K

Jumping fire during my first 5K

When I think about the last year, two words come to mind: comfort zone. 2013 was an amazing year filled with many successes, a couple of failures and several leaps of faith. I am not one to readily jump out of my comfort zone to try something new. I like things a certain way; routines are a way of life for me. But, what I learned this year was that I can keep my routine while trying new things that provide a different perspective on life.

The biggest leap outside my comfort zone for 2013 had to be running my first 5K. Not only was it a 5K but it was a mud run complete with about 20 obstacles. Go big or go home, right? If you would have asked me a year ago today if I’d run a 5K, I would have laughed in your face. I said I never liked running without actually giving it a try. Now, while I am not an avid runner, I do enjoy running to clear my head and relax. I ran two 5K races in 2013; the goal for 2014 is to run three including Mudderella.

My next leap of faith was taken in New York City when I decided to go after a permanent job at the company I had be contracting for during the last year. When I started this job in November of 2012, I was unsure of what the future would hold. After contracting for nine months, the specific job I wanted posted on our company’s internal website. I applied instantly, knowing that this job was right for me. The job itself is outside of my comfort zone; it is not what I had planned nor it is a strictly communications job. But right now, it challenges me daily and allows me to build a variety of skill sets. The professional move outside of my career comfort zone has paid off tenfold.

Getting gutsy and making decisions outside of my comfort zone does not mean my routine or life has to be drastically altered. I was so scared of the unknown but found it can be an eye-opening experience. The last 365 have been packed with new experiences, memories and goals. My plan for 2014 is to keep pushing myself to the outer limits of my comfort zone while growing and learning during the process. This blog will see a complete overhaul in the coming weeks and I plan to travel to Europe in the early spring. These goals and others will help me stay gutsy in 2014.

What have you done recently that was outside your comfort zone? How was that experience? Please feel free to share with me!

Reflections: 365 Days Later

gradHappy 100th blog post to me! I can’t believe this is my 100th post OR that I graduated college a little over a year ago. As I walked through Manhattan yesterday, I saw crowds of new alumni, taking pictures and waving their tassels in the air. I was instantly taken back to my graduation only one short year ago. Two of my friends and fellow bloggers already revisited their graduations through detailed and touching blog posts. Lauren gave a recap of her last year that did in fact bring me to tears while Jess provided solid advice for recent graduates. Their posts have inspired me to reflect on my last 365 days instead of crying about them.

Within the last year, I’ve divided my life into four major areas, listed below, in order of their current importance. While I strive for balance, I recognize that life will never be perfectly balanced; there will always be competing priorities. Here is my synopsis of the last year and the lessons I’ve learned within each of the following areas:

  • Career: Perhaps the most important part of your postgraduate life, my career still doesn’t seem steve martinreal most days. I am not in the industry I studied in school nor do I get to write as often as I expected. However, I am learning more each day while enjoying new projects, like building social media sites, something I never thought I could do. I also work with amazing people who challenge me, respect me and help me better myself. In reality, there is no such thing as the perfect job. You must be passionate about what you do but it’s ok to admit if your passions have changed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Personal: This is probably the hardest area of my life and where the most change has occurred. My family faced some challenges in the last year, battles that weren’t mine to fight. I’ve seen a new side to family members I thought I knew best. My family doesn’t feel as close as it once was and that’s hard for me to accept. BUT, I also have the extended family known as my friends, who have been the best support system. My friends are always there if I need them, but physically seeing each other and coordinating schedules can be, at times, a nightmare. I am SO proud of my friends, their own accomplishments and our ability to make it work. Truth be told though, I miss the close proximity a lot. I’ve also learned to let go of relationships that aren’t healthy anymore. People should add value to your life not continuously stress you out.
  • Self: The last year has been a journey of self-discovery and soul-searching. I know that sounds like a giant cliché but it’s true. I’ve figured out a lot about myself: my interests, my dislikes, how to manage my emotions as well as my relationships. The biggest lesson? I can change my path if I want to (or need to) as long as I am constantly bettering myself. I’m also trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone more. Example #1: Running a 5K in July.

be-in-love-with-your-life-every-minute-of-it

  • Community: In college, there were so many opportunities to give back to the community. In the last year, I haven’t volunteered or mentored as much as I would like to. I’ve always enjoyed mentoring younger people and would love to find a program close by to do that. My goal for the next year is to volunteer at least once a month.

Overall, I’d say it’s been a great first year in the real world. There were (and will always be) moments of uncertainty, doubt, fear and resentment. You can’t prevent these types of moments, though I’ve tried. I can’t go back to college no matter how many times I cry about it. Embracing this monumental change still challenges me.

For the first time in a while, I am extremely proud of myself for taking chances, being honest with myself and others and living my life for me. It’s been a year of change and adjustment but it’s also been the most trilling ride of my life.

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