Tag Archives: Inspiration

Family Fridays: Reverse Mentoring

Within the last week, I’ve spoken with some of my younger friends who were seeking advice. The schoolinspire year has ended and many of them were contemplating next steps to take during the summer. I enjoyed our conversations and they generated some mentoring concepts that inspired today’s post.

Sometimes mentoring can seem like such a formal process. In my opinion, mentoring is a fluid process, a mutually beneficial relationship where both individuals, who are proactive in bettering themselves and each other. Taking this into account, anyone can be a mentor. It is true that someone older than you might be of more help. But everyone has different experiences to share. Case in point, my almost sixteen year old cousin, ToniAnn.

TonToniAnn’s Sweet 16 is tomorrow night and I know she is extremely excited. So I am! ToniAnn and I have a great relationship: we trust each other and can talk about almost anything. I pride myself in having this type of relationship with all my younger cousins. Within the last several months, ToniAnn has lost forty pounds and looks incredible. She has inspired me to get healthy and it never give up no matter how hard life gets. While seven years younger than me, my amazing little cousin has mentored me and called me to take action in my own life.

Sometimes we don’t look to younger people for advice because we don’t think they’ve had the necessary life experience to understand our situation. This could be true in specific situations like I’ve never been married so I can’t give my married friend specific advice on her marriage. But I can listen, which can be almost just as helpful as providing advice. If we restrict ourselves to only using older people as mentors, we will limit the guidance we receive. We need to be open to all perspectives including ones of those younger than us. ToniAnn has proved that age is just a number; anyone can inspire.

Hero Material

I’m not giving up on this Truth Challenge! There’s just been so many other things I’ve wanted to discuss! That being said, let’s keep it moving on to Day 14.

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

I won’t give you a detailed list of all the people I consider heroes. Lucky for me, the list of people who inspire me is long and constantly changes. My parents, family members, friends, professors and colleagues can, at times, be considered my heroes. I admire my parents’ ability to raise their kids together despite getting divorced. My friends inspire me every day with their ability to overcome adversity and walk to the beat of their own drum. My current colleagues are truly heroes for how they’re mentoring me while working on multiple projects and raising their own kids.

I am a believer in everyday heroes, ordinary people who do the extraordinary. Sure, there are some celebrities that could be considered heroes. For me, it’s people like Ellen DeGeneres and Cory Booker, who stay true to themselves and are always looking for ways to help others. That’s how I define my heroes: people who stay true to themselves, who believe in paying it forward and who are passionate about what they do. I know it doesn’t sound too remarkable, but to me it is.

The one thing about heroes is that sometimes they have no idea how much other people value them and their opinions. When you consider someone your hero, you value their opinion and almost hang on every word they say. They have been placed on a pedestal without even knowing it. If you put someone that high up, they only way they can go is down. It sets everyone up for failure. With heroes, be transparent and talk to them about why you place them in such a category. Managing expectations is very important and will create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Who are your heroes? Why do you consider them heroes? Please share with me!

Girl Power Anthems

Music has always played a huge role in my life. So today’s Truth Challenge prompt is somewhat difficult because I don’t think I can narrow it down to one artist.

Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days

I’ve selected a few empowering anthems that have absolutely gotten me through some rough days. I find successful females singing about empowerment to be especially inspiring and motivating. See my selections below.  

Alicia Key’s hit “Superwoman” reminds all women that there is an inner strength deep inside that when channeled can give each of us exceptional power.

“I’m Every Woman” often provides much-needed motivation and leaves me feeling like I can take on the world.

This selection is a bit of a silly one but is inspiring nonetheless. It comes from the movie The First Wives Club and highlights every woman’s struggle to be brave.

My song selection above shows how important female empowerment is to me. We are in charge of our own destiny and need to recognize the inequalities that are still present. Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks discussed the idea of women’s equality in her post today. Her message is clear: we are our own worst enemies and if we want the C-suite, we must address the problem head on. I completely agree with her message. The songs above reflect the idea of women banding together and finding their inner strength and voice in order to overcome any problem. If we want it, we must go get it, period end of story.

New Jersey’s Superhero

While I wasn’t born in New Jersey, I consider myself a Jersey girl. I will blast Bon Jovi while driving down to Belmar and Seaside. I’ve always been proud to be from New Jersey like so many great others. But with shows like The Jersey Shore and Real Housewives of New Jersey, all of us living in The Garden State are getting a bad rap. In the midst of juiceheads and table flippers, there is one person who stands out as New Jersey’s superhero.

Cory Booker is the mayor of Newark and recently accepted the challenge of living on food stamps for a week. Each day, Booker blogged about his experiences and his struggle to find decent food on such a budget. Booker’s meals included sweet potatoes, canned beans and canned vegetables. He even debated mixing mayo, mustard and salsa together to make soup! He wanted to complete the challenge in order to fully understand what people who live on food stamps go through. Below is an excerpt from Booker’s blog where he shares alarming facts about people living on food stamps.

Even before Booker decided to participate in the SNAP challenge, he set the example for all New Jerseyans. He takes his job as mayor very seriously and works diligently to communicate with members of the Newark community. Booker has a very strong presence on Twitter. He responds to his own tweets with honest answers and provides correct information when necessary. During Hurricane Sandy, he gave out information about shelter locations and updates about electricity. There were multiple times when Booker received negative tweets but he always responded with positivity and tried to see the other tweeter’s perspective on that specific situation.

Many politicians lack integrity and don’t necessarily believe in what they preach. Cory Booker defies this stereotype by listening to his community, believing in honesty and communicating his ideas clearly. He also understands the value of social media by actively participating in conversations on Twitter and writing on his blog regularly. I am proud to have Cory Booker as part of the New Jersey government and hope he continues to work hard and inspire people. If we’re lucky, he’ll make a run for president in 2016!

Motivation Mondays: Empire State of Mind

For the last three weeks, I’ve gotten to walk through the streets of Manhattan on my way to work. As much as the congested streets and cold weather can be annoying, I feel extremely lucky to be walking these blocks and avenues. There is something about the bright lights of Manhattan that captivate me and bring me to life.

Since a very young age, I’ve walked (or ran on some occasions) through the streets of Manhattan. Both my parents brought my brother and I into the city, to bring your child to work days, to see the Christmas tree and to go to New York Rangers hockey games. My mother even took us to the Ground Zero memorial only three months after the attacks. I’m so glad I was raised in the city and am blessed to be a part of it every day.

Not everyone is a city person. Some don’t like the noise and others can’t stand the traffic. I completely understand that but there is something about the city of New York that rejuvenates me. When I walk through the city, passing Radio City Music Hall, glimpsing at the Empire State Building, I become inspired. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but the city speaks to me, telling me that anything in the world is possible. So many people came to Manhattan to start new lives; the city gave them the same hope and promise of opportunity that I feel everyday.

I can wholeheartedly say I am a city girl. I love the hustle and bustle of a city and find all the bright lights magical. This love affair with cities even impacted my decision to attend Temple University. As you probably know, Temple is right in the middle of Philadelphia, another city I left in love with over the last four years. The view of City Hall from Temple’s main campus was on of the best views I’ve ever seen. That being said, nothing will ever compare to NYC. Sorry Philly friends, but Manhattan will always be #1 in my book!

There have been several songs written about the great city of New York. However, I am partial to one in particular: Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Both parts of the song refer to New York as a place where dreams are made and where people are inspired. Perhaps the most inspiring part is hearing these lyrics come from two artists who grew up in the streets of New York. You can tell that the city made them who they are; their passion for the city they love is contagious.

The next time you happen to be wondering around Manhattan, take a look around and see all the opportunities that lie ahead you. I can almost guarantee that some part of the city will inspire you. Until then, both parts of Empire State of Mind are below!

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