Speak up or Stand Up: Your Voice Matters

Last night I went to a late dinner with a group of college students as part of my volunteer work weekend. As we were sitting down at the sports restaurant, one of the female students leaned over and whispered, “Well that’s uncomfortable.”

I asked her to tell me more about her statement and it turns out that a guy (not part of our group) said some rude and inappropriate comments to his buddy about the student.

At that moment, I had a decision to make. I asked our group to stand up, got our severs attention and told her we needed to switch tables and move into another area of the restaurant – far away from our current table.

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Teach Yourself to be Assertive: Be Prepared & Aware of Opportunities to Share Your Voice

Your voice matters. We need to hear it.  

And even if it’s terrifying to present in front of superiors, share information in large groups or speak at all – you are better for it when you are assertive and speak your mind.  In fact, you safeguard yourself from tough situations by building the confidence to stand up for yourself. And when you look around at the opportunities you have in your life, and in your day, you’ll realize that you have many opportunities to practice this talent and make it a strength.

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Don’t wait for perfect: Why progress matters no matter what

Recently, I was traveling with a friend and she shared a bit of wisdom that has stayed with me.  It’s what I’ve been thinking about in my free time and helped me gain perspective on something I’ve been struggling with for a while. She was telling me about how she’s been burned out with an area of her life – a necessary area of her life – and she realized she had to make a plan to work on things a little each day.  She told me, “I knew it wasn’t my best work, I knew my heart wasn’t in it.  But I kept going because I knew I needed to.  And I’m glad I did, because now I’m in a much better place and my work has improved.”

I couldn’t believe it – it was exactly what I been struggling with too! I love spending time writing, but lately my results and readership have exploded (I know, #firstworldproblems) and I felt like I needed to share that perfect post with the world – I mean it’s what 10,000 people per month are expecting.  And it was overwhelming, I mean what do you say to a crowd that big?

You can’t wait for things to be perfect.  You have to start somewhere.

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The real lesson of Confidence – what I learned this year about total failure

I had a great idea for my theme this year. Confidence.  And what better way to celebrate this theme than to set challenging goals and crush them.  Except, failure alert.  I was crushed by many of my goals, and trying to achieve unrealistic goals made me lose much more than I thought.

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I sacrificed my health, my personal time and my sanity to try to make everything work this year.  And it didn’t work.

What I learned in my year of confidence is that you build more confidence when things don’t go right and you learn how to work through it.  You learn to be unshakable. Here’s what I learned:

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18 days of perspective – your big problems may indeed be small

I’ve worked the last 18 days in a row, I haven’t yet had a day off this month, I’ve missed important family events and I am tired.  I was ready to post it to the world on social media with the clever “Stick a fork in me. #ImDone” phrase, but then I stopped. When I pulled up a social media account, I noticed a friend had posted about her travels and being away from her family.  For 8 weeks.  And in that post, she mentioned how excited she was to be home, how much she missed her family and how thankful she was to have these experiences.

And then I remembered that my problems are small after all.  I’ve got a good job, I’ve got people who depend on me and I’m a necessary part of the world I’ve created.  Plus, I had to be alive for those 18 days anyway – might as well have been productive and working. It was just what I needed to see at the right moment.

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Nope, #YouDeserveThis

No. Nope. No Thanks.

You don’t have to say yes to everything – in fact, it might be doing more harm than good.  Learn to say, “No” and learn to be OK with saying it. Really. #YouDeserveThis

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Learn the difference between essential, immediate and important. They are not the same. What do you need to do right now? Really. Exactly right now.  Important things can wait, and may not be as important as the moment suggested.  Essential items will come up soon.  Focus on the immediate items – and make sure they’re really immediate.  I’ve started making multiple to do lists.  Madness or Genius? You decide.  I have a list of what I have to do right now (or over the weekend) and what needs to be done, but can wait.  Stress level zero – love it.

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Professional experience everyone needs

Ever wonder what it takes to be really successful? Sometimes it’s the right experience at the right time. I’ve learned a few things throughout my professional career and the more I speak with others, the more I realize there is valuable professional experience that everyone needs. If you’re beginning your career, look for these opportunities. If you’re where I am – you probably realize your valuable work experience too.

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