Tag Archives: Passion

Thank you Summer 2013

With most children starting school today, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on my summer. Obviously, I was pretty busy! The end of summer is just the right time to look back on what you accomplished and set new goals for the fall.

When I was a Resident Assistant at Temple University, at the start of the spring semester, we did an exercise called “stop, start, continue.” As a staff, we listed out activities or behaviors we wanted to stop, to start and to continue.  I thought I’d organize all I learned this summer into those categories.

Stop:

  • Spending money: While it’s perfectly fine to believe in the phrase, “work hard, play hard,” I have to limit how much I spend on extra things. I am still living at home so it’s the opportune time to save. The fabulous ladies at Levo League posted a great article about when to dip into your savings. Wish I had read this sooner!
  • Feeling guilty: More to come on this topic later in the month. But I’m learning to feel less guilty about having a good job, making money, spending time with my friends over my family and vice versa. My life, my time.
  • Freaking out about work: As important as a job is, it’s just a job, not a life. While I love my current job, it doesn’t have to be forever. As the perpetual over thinker, I have to stop obsessing over the future and just keep moving forward

Start:

  • Traveling more: I am fortunate to travel for work frequently but this is different. I want to plan weekends away with my girlfriends and cousins; to visit new places, explore and be curious.
  • Being confident: Expect a post about this soon as well. I tend to downplay my abilities both at work and in my personal life. At almost twenty-three, it’s time to own my awesomeness instead of shying away from it.

Continue:

  • Blogging: I thoroughly enjoy writing and updating this blog weekly. Over the summer, other things took up my time. However, starting now, this blog will be my area of focus. Writing and sharing my thoughts is something I am passionate about so I have to make it a priority.
  • Running: I started running back in March and completed two races. It felt great and I saw its benefits in my body and in how I felt. It’s time to restart and get back into the healthy lifestyle groove.

As you can see, I learned a lot this summer and am so glad I used those sunny Saturday afternoons to grow and better myself. What did your learn from your summer? Do you have any goals for the fall? Please share!

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Motivation Mondays: Feel Again

Happy Monday! I’m glad to be back blogging after an amazing week in California. As always, I return from this business trip renewed and with more ideas and goals to accomplish.

As I’m sure you’ve come to learn, I am a people person. I gain my energy by being near people, having thought-provoking conversations and learning from others. So, OneRepublic’s song “Feel Again” completely resonates with me, especially after this week and weekend.

I headed out to California last weekend tired and lacking motivation of any sort. It felt like nine million things were going on in my life and that I just couldn’t keep up. I felt a little numb, like I was just going through the motions. That coupled with a wealth of uncertainty, a feeling I do not like or handle very well, made for an interesting few weeks personally and professionally.

Then I got onsite and spend 12-hour days with my team, a group of people from all over the country who join up live in living color a couple of times a year for a common purpose. Their passion and energy was contagious, their advise genuine and overall presence comforting. I could feel again.

Upon my arrival home, I headed to the suburbs of Pennsylvania for my friend’s bridal shower. I spent both Friday night and all day Saturday with my favorite girls from Temple. It was so great to catch up, share in their laughter and make new memories. I could feel again.

Sometimes it takes your people, your own personal army of rejuvenating forces, to bring you back to reality. Of course at times you’ll have to be your own motivation. But lucky for me, my people helped me to feel again. My sense of purpose both at work and personally is clear and I’m more determined than ever.

Have you ever felt numb and needed help getting unstuck? Share how you feel again!

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.

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!

Loyalty Versus Opportunity

I think I’ve accidentally created a mini series on my blog: Random thoughts from a young professional. I’ve shared a few posts about the questions I’ve been thinking about since starting my career in November. From dressing professionally to the concept of telecommuting, lots of ideas have crossed my mind lately. Today’s post is no exception.

opportunityAs young professionals, all of us should be looking to better ourselves and for ways to advance our careers. Actually, all professionals should be doing that, regardless of the field they are in. That began my thinking about loyalty versus opportunity: You have a certain responsibility to your company but you also should be on the lookout for opportunities that will challenge you and help to advance your career. So what do you do if a great opportunity presents itself but you’re happy with your current position?

First off, let me state for the record that this post is no way reflective of how I feel about my current position. I am very happy at my job and am not looking to leave anytime soon. This post is just about an issue I’ve seen many individuals from entry-level to senior management face.

Unless you absolutely hate your job, you feel a certain sense of loyalty to your company, team andloyalty managers. This is especially true for young professionals who are just starting out. I would imagine it to be very hard to leave your first job, the place that gave your career its start. That being said, it is your career, not your manager’s or your team’s. You have to do what’s best for you and know how to handle the situation appropriately. You give advanced notice, you do not burn any bridges and you remain as transparent as possible. It more than likely won’t be easy, but will absolutely be worth it.

Knowing yourself and what’s best for you can be hard at times. If you like your job, if you feel challenged and can financially support yourself, then why would you ever leave? Only you will be able to answer those questions. In my opinion, these are some other questions to consider:

1. Can I continue to grow within this position? If so, how?

2. Do I look forward to going to work most days? Am I passionate about what I’m doing?

3. Is the work at my current position challenging and helping to better my skills?

I’m no expert but these are just some thoughts I had on the whole ‘should I stay or should I go’ concept. Reach out to your mentors, get their opinions and ask how they’d approach the situation. At the end of the day, the choice is only yours. However, sometimes the push out of your comfort zone is exactly what you need.

How did you approach this situation when changing jobs? Share your thoughts!

The Devil’s in the Details

Four days. 400 participants. Over 40 facilitators. A dozen different locations on one giant property. Countless amounts of materials. Chaos could easily ensue.

All of the statements above were true aspects of the event I worked in California last week. It was a mega event with lots of components. Now, I’ve worked events before but nothing like this. It was unreal how my team operated like a fine-oiled machine. Literally, everyone knew where they were supposed to be, what was going on and what was happening next. How does such a large-scale event go off without any real catastrophes? Here’s my take on that answer.

  • Prep Work: Before anyone stepped foot on the beautiful grounds in California, we reviewed a lifesaving document that broke down the week day by day. Each day listed the sessions occurring, who was in charge, who was helping, the materials needed, the location and the time frame. This thing was the Bible for the week. If you had a question, you just checked the spreadsheet to find the answer. No need to bother anyone else. It was the main reason why our team functioned so well.
  • Plans on Plans on Plans: There was a contingency plan for technology issues, weather issues and anything else you can think of. We even had ponchos for every participant ready to go in case the skies opened up. Every ‘what if’ situation was considered and possible solutions were evaluated all before the event took place. A detailed crisis communications plan was sent to the entire team the week before as well. Everyone was familiar with protocol and knew what steps to take in specific situations.
  • Devil’s in the Details: The attention to detail was evident in every aspect of the program. From the type of seating at open session, to the layout of each dinner, everything was intentional and was thought about beforehand. It was also clear who the target audience was throughout the program. You knew you were dealing with millennials based off of songs played, topics discussed and games selected. In my opinion, this was the most crucial part of why the program was/is successful. Conscious decisions were made in order to deliver the best possible program for attendees. Without every detail, small or large, the experience would not be the same.
  • Common Purpose: Our entire team, internal and external members, believed in the goals of the event. Each member was passionate about executing a meaningful program that would impact participants. That passionate was contagious and kept everyone motivated and energized.

I am so fortunate to have worked on such a giant event this early in my career. There were so many things I learned; the above list is just the most important. What do you think makes large-scale events successful? Add to my list!

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