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Using Technology for Good

30 Jan

It used to be that we had to travel miles and miles to send a message.

Heck, people used to ride on horses for days to deliver a piece of paper (think about just how uncomfortable that must have been).

Smoke signals.

Telegrams.

Messages in bottles.

But today we’re lucky enough to have this beautiful thing called the Internet.

Let’s face it…it’s where we get most of our information.

Yea, there’s a lot of pointless stuff on the Internet. There’s a lot of focus on celebrity gossip and drama.

But there’s also really important stuff too.

For example, I love it when I come across amazing social media efforts conducted by organizations like Rotary.

Rotary has put together an amazing campaign – End Polio Now.

They’ve put together live tweet sessions, Facebook posts, and they’ve even had a video contest.

And they’ve done all of this because they believe it’s important to share this information with the public. They want people to know that we’re so close to eradicating polio, and that Millennials could very possibly be the last generation to see this terrible disease.

Now some people might not like these campaigns. They might say, “But helloo…I have no money…I can’t donate to your cause! Stop pressuring me.”

And I get it…trust me. I’m a poor broke college girl too.

But guess what!

It only takes 60 cents to protect a child from this terrible disease.

That’s it… $0.60.You can’t even buy a soda these days with $0.60.

On top of that, the beauty of social media is that you can easily spread a message for others to see.

You can share information with just the press of a button.

And you know what makes that so awesome?

By sharing the message with others, even more people who have the ability to donate might just hear about that cause.

So you can tweet about your favorite celebrity’s new boyfriend, or you can tweet about something bigger.

And by doing that, you can make a difference.

As a Millennial, your voice does matter.

We’ve come a long way since the days of horse and buggy.

Information is at our fingertips.

So there’s no excuse.

We can keep using technology solely for entertainment, or we can take responsibility for making a difference.

Because we can and we should.

And we can use this technology for good.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/80940373″>What will your generation be the last to see?</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4516804″>End Polio Now</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Join in, Share your Voice, and Donate. Let’s make history together.

  • Generate Social Media Buzz – Share the video with your social networks and help raise awareness that we are this close to making history.
  • Give Financially – Visit EndPolio.org and make a donation. Just $0.60 can protect a child from the disease. Every $1 you donate to Rotary will be matched with $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35 million/year.

While this post has been sponsored by Rotary, I’m proud to serve as an ambassador for their End Polio Now campaign.

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To Stay At The Top, You Need to Keep Working

4 Dec

image 54

I never thought I’d be one to like sports, but hey, things happen.

Yes, thanks to my boyfriend’s weirdly intense obsession- I’ve become a die hard Alabama Football fan.

So unless you live under a rock, you’re aware of the fact that the University of Alabama lost this weekend to Auburn.

And now- because I’m admitting this- you also know that I was in tears all weekend.

In a nutshell, Alabama was well on their way to winning 3 consecutive National Championships.

They were well on their way to making history.

They’d been at the top for so long, but this game, sadly, ended their winning streak.

And broke my heart in the process.

When I think about their season this year, I can’t help but wonder just how badly they wanted to keep winning.

I can’t help but wonder if they really understood what it would take.

That in order to stay at the top, they’d  have to keep working at it- even harder than before.

Even harder than they may have wanted to.

Think about it…

It’s awesome when we reach our goals.

It’s awesome when we’re successful.

We get a promotion…we’re proclaimed an expert in our field…we win that National Championship.

It’s wonderful, and we celebrate, and we’re proud of ourselves for having achieved these things.

We made it.

We’re at the top.

Life is good.

But it’s whether or not we continue working just as hard AFTER our success…

That’s what determines how long we stay there.

So we can’t get comfortable.

We can’t just ride on our past success.

Instead, we need to keep moving forward…keep making progress…

Otherwise, we’ll lose it.

So the next time you find yourself in a great position…the next time you’re excited because you’ve reached your goal…

Ask yourself, “Do I want to keep this?”

And if you do, prepare yourself to work harder than you ever have.

Because that’s what it takes to stay on top.

The commitment to keep on pushing.

And on a side note,

ROLL TIDE.

you mad

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What We Can Learn About Work From The Hunger Games

21 Nov

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Because I’m beyond excited to watch Catching Fire this weekend, here’s a post in honor of my role model in life, Katniss Everdeen. In case you missed it, I wrote this post over at University Ave last year. This is why the Hunger Games series is my absolute favorite… only after Harry Potter.

***************************************************************************************

So by now I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing about the Hunger Games. But too bad. I’m still going to write about it. Yea, there are a lot of people annoyed by yet another teen love triangle but I have to say, I picked up some essential business lessons while watching the movie and paying $17 for popcorn and a soda.

Here are some of them:

Get people to like you, or you’ll die

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie or read the book, the main characters in the movie have to compete in a fight until the death. Yes, children, because their ancestors rebelled against the capitol, are selected to enter an arena and kill each other in hopes of having one remaining victor. How lovely… Sponsors however, while watching the tournament, assist the tributes in providing them with medicine and food to help increase their chances of winning. But who do they help? THE PEOPLE THEY LIKE. And that’s how it is in the business world. We do business with people we like. We help other people who we like. We do favors for people we like. Is it fair? No. But that’s how it is. So if you want to survive in the workforce, do yourself a favor and make sure people like you.

Be yourself so that people like you so you don’t die

The goal is to get people to like you. We’ve established that. But how do you do that? In the movie, Katniss Everdeen (the main character that has the oh so terrible misfortune of having to choose between two deliciously good looking men) says that she doesn’t know how to make people like her. That’s when her advisor tells her to just be herself. To not try. Look, most people know when they’re being BS’ed. Most people don’t like it when they have to interact with people that are fake. So just be yourself, be relatable, be friendly, and you’ll find that people like you a lot better like that than if you pretend to be someone you aren’t. Besides, being fake takes too much effort.

Be memorable or you’ll die

Before the tournament begins, each competing tribute has the opportunity to show off their skills in order to attract Sponsors. In this case, twenty-four tributes compete for the attention of the Sponsors. So how do they get that attention? By being memorable. Katniss understands this. What does she do? She shoots an arrow into the food that the Sponsors are eating. Catches them off guard… Shocks them. But one thing is for sure, she gets noticed. She gets their attention. In the workforce today, there are so many people competing for the same positions, competing for advancement, etc. The only way to get yourself to stand out of the crowd is by being memorable. By taking some risk. Which leads me to my next point…

Some people will like your guts but others won’t

After Katniss almost decapitates the Sponsors with her arrow, her group of advisors fear that she won’t receive a high rating from the Sponsors. However, she does. For some reason, it appears the Sponsors liked her courage and how out of the ordinary her performance was. She was memorable and they liked that. But at the same time, President Snow (the president of all the districts) was not amused. When he realizes the impact Katniss has on the members of the districts, he feels threatened by her. He understands that she poses a threat to the way things have always been in their society. What does he say? “A spark is fine as long as it’s contained.” You’ll encounter in the workforce that some people are open to new thoughts and ideas. Some management will like that you are the kind of employee that takes risks and thinks outside the box. But some won’t. Some managers will feel threatened by this and will do everything in their power to contain that spark. Don’t let them.

A good mentor will help increase your chances of survival

Each of the tributes competing in the games is given a mentor to help train them and guide them through this terrible process. Each of these mentors has already been in the games and has managed to survive. So they use their past experiences to help these new tributes in hopes that maybe one of them won’t end up crushed by a rock. I don’t think that there’s anything more helpful than finding someone in the workforce that is willing to help guide you during your career. Someone that will push you and help expose you to other people that will help you. The workplace is hard. That’s something that I learned at a very young age. So find yourself a mentor and that should make it a little easier. Or don’t. But then, as a drunken but quite attractive Haymitch says, “embrace the probability of your imminent death.”

Good luck to all of you entering the workforce and may the odds be ever in your favor :D

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How To Make Better Decisions

16 Sep

When I was younger, I almost killed my sister.

And that would have been a shame, because I really LIKE my sister.

Here’s how the story goes…

I was 7….she was 5… I was bored…and I had a GENIUS idea!

“Brittney!!! Come here!! I’m going to put you in the laundry basket and push you down the stairs! It’s going to be so much fun!”

At that time, she did whatever I told her to do, so she happily sat in the laundry basket and I then pushed her to her probable death.

About 2.3 seconds later, I had one of those “OH-CRAP” moments.

And as she nearly flipped upside down, she looked like this.

britt

(Yes, that’s my sister, and yes she’s going to kill me for posting that.)

Luckily, I was somehow able to stop her from flipping over.

Then I panicked and I did what kids do when they know they’ve done something awful…

I turned to my sister and pleaded, “DON’T TELL MOM.”

So in light of my failure to make a good decision that day, I’ve put together a few suggestions for making better decisions… and I hope they’ll be helpful.

1. Take Time to Think Things Through

Alright guys. Face it. A lot of us tend to make rash decisions. Not always, but sometimes. We have these lightbulb moments! and we think our ideas are fabulous! and we act, usually, without thinking too much about them.

Had I taken some time to think about pushing my sister down the stairs, I probably would have come to the conclusion that playing with our Barbies was a much better afternoon activity.

2. Seek Advice from People Who Matter

Now this is a big one. Had I gone and asked my mom what she thought about my wonderful idea, she would have ever-so-nicely told me that I was a crazy lunatic.

When we’re making decisions in life, no matter how old we are, it’s not a bad idea to seek advice from people who matter. From people with good opinions and insight. It’s a great way to get some additional perspective just to make sure we’re not missing anything.

3. Think About ALL Possible Consequences

Now I’m not completely positive, but I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of my super-wonderful-great-fun idea.

The only thing on my mind was:

YAYY! This is going to be AWESOME.

So before we make decisions, it’s probably a good idea to consider ALL possible consequences.

What can possibly happen?

Who can this possibly affect?

What is this going to cost me?

Taking some time to answer these questions will make sure you clearly think about the possible negative consequences. Then, you’ll be in a better position to make a sane decision.

4. Ask Yourself WHY You Want to Do Something

Why you want to do something is a very important part of making a decision. So go ahead and ask yourself why you wanna do it.

If your answer is, “Oh, I don’t know. Because I’m bored.”

That’s a bad answer.

So don’t do whatever it was that you were thinking about doing.

You don’t make big decisions just because you’re bored.

Instead, go make yourself a sandwich or something.

5. Follow Some Kind of Basic Decision-Making Model

Although you might find it a bit dorky, it’s extremely helpful to follow a basic decision-making model.

Here’s one that I just learned in my leadership and decision-making class taught by the best professor I’ve ever had:

a. Define the problem.

b. Generate alternatives.

c. Decide.

d. Implement.

e. Evaluate.

Following some kind of logical reasoning when making decisions is a whole lot better than just doing things because you think they’ll be fun. Or because it’s the first thing you can think of. Or because you’re bored. Or just because it’s what everyone else is doing.

So from now on, whenever I have a big decision to make, I’ll think about the time I almost killed my sister and I’ll use some of these tools to make better decisions.

Because again, I do like my sister.

I’d be really bored without her.

Picture1

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Finishing What We’ve Started

29 Aug

finish

I want you guys to think about something for a second…

Over the past year, how many projects have you left unfinished?

How many super-awesome ideas have you had that you’ve just kind of forgotten about?

How many times have you said that you wanted to do something…and yet you haven’t gotten around to doing it?

It’s not a fun feeling, is it? Thinking about all that wasted energy…

That’s one of the things that most annoys me about people in general. It annoys me that we have a general tendency to not finish what we’ve started.

At work, we go to meetings where we brainstorm and throw out ideas about how we can make things better. And then you know what happens?

Nothing.

Nothing happens. We go back to our usual day and function as we normally do.

In our personal lives, we have dreams and goals and every once in a while, we have one of those light bulb moments. We figure out how we can change our lives for the better.

And then you know what happens?

Nothing.

Nothing happens. Or, sometimes, SOMETHING happens…for a week or two. And then we go back to our usual day and function as we normally do.

Annoying, isn’t it?

I mean, sometimes I can’t help but wonder why we even start things if we don’t push ourselves to finish.

Now sure… there ARE some things that you really shouldn’t finish…like bad books and whole tubs of ice cream.

But for the most part, we really should make every effort to finish what we’ve put into place.  

That’s one of the reasons why I admire Rotary so much.

Through their efforts to completely eradicate polio, they’ve been able to reach a 99% reduction rate.

Some organizations would be happy with that. For some organizations, that would be enough.

But not for Rotary.

They know that they’re SO CLOSE to their goal, but they recognize that they’ve still got that other 1% to go.

And that means something to them. They’re not stopping until their done.

They’re not stopping because recently there have been outbreaks in Somalia and parts of Africa that were previously polio-free.

And for that reason, as long as polio still exists, children everywhere are at risk of being affected by the disease.

Because if we experience a resurgence of polio, 10 million children could be affected throughout the next 40 years.

And we don’t want that.

Rotary and its partners in the global initiative have already put so much work and effort into helping this great cause. They’ve helped immunize 2.5 billion children – yes – BILLION, and as a result, they’ve prevented more than 10 million children worldwide from being affected by polio.

So now it’s time to finish what they’ve started.

Now it’s time to tackle that last 1%…and they’re committed to doing so.

So today, I’m making the same commitment to finish the things that I’ve started. Or at the very least, to give these things my all.

Because if everyone were to leave their efforts unfinished, what would we really accomplish as a society? How would we make life better?

We’re creative, we’re passionate, and we’re too full of potential to let it go to waste.

So make things happen.

Finish what you’ve started or start something worth finishing.

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5 Really Simple Leadership Lessons from Bar Rescue

26 Aug

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This weekend, I did nothing.

I mean, ZERO. Nada. Zilch.

It was awesome.

I just sat on my couch and binge-watched TV shows.

I was trying to take advantage of some quality TV time, given that starting this Saturday my TV will play one thing and one thing only…  Alabama Football.  Roll Tide, everyone. My man friend WILL hide the remote, for sure.

So anyway, one of the shows we like to watch is Bar Rescue.

It’s a highly-entertaining show where disastrous bars and nightclubs seek the advice of nightlife-expert, Jon Taffer, in order to make a come-back.

Some of these bars have maybe 3.5 customers.

Others are, like, $100K in debt.

The worst ones have fungus growing on the walls.

And that’s disgusting.

But what I really love about this show is that the cause of most of these problems is poor leadership. 

Yep, even the fungus.

So here’s a list of 5 leadership lessons I’ve learned by watching the show. Sure, Jon Taffer nearly punches people, but hey…he gets his points across.

1. You can’t lead if you’re never there.

On the show, a lot of bar owners have been in tears. They’ve cried because they owe so much money and they’ll have to close their doors in a month if things don’t get better. And then when Jon asks them how often they come around to their business, they usually respond, “Oh, I don’t know…once or twice a month.”

OMG and your business is failing? What a shocker!!!…not.

In order to lead a successful business, you need to know what’s going on. And you can’t do that if you’re never there. It’s that simple. Employees need a leader that they feel comfortable talking to and they need someone who’s actively engaged.

Visibility is crucial.

2. If you don’t care, your employees won’t care either.

A lot of times, these bars have closed due to an overwhelming sense of apathy. AKA… no one really cares. There is ZERO passion. There is ZERO pride. And most of the time, it’s the owner’s fault.

If you own a business and you yourself don’t have a sense of pride in your work, guess what?! Neither will your employees. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it’s hard for your employees to want to give 100% all the time. I mean, think about it? Why would you work extra-hard at your job if your boss doesn’t even care?

So as a leader, it’s up to you to develop a culture of wanting to give 100%…a culture of pride in your business…a culture that leads to success.

3. You should be able to pick up the slack when your employees are drowning.

I love the episodes where Jon and his team set up “test-runs” to see how the bars usually function- or well, DON’T function. Most of the time, they end in complete failure because EVERYONE is doing EVERYTHING that they shouldn’t be doing. Hence why they’re on the show.

But my favorite thing to watch is when the staff is completely drowning at the bar. There aren’t enough glasses…there aren’t enough bartenders…there are tons of people waiting on drinks and food…and the owner is just hanging out… leaning against a wall…doing NOTHING.

So Jon screams at him….with good reason.

As a leader, you should be able to help your staff when they’re overwhelmed. Okay, so you own a bar. Does that mean you can’t wash dishes? No. You have hands. That task is not beneath you. When employees see that their leader is willing to help them out, even with the smallest of things, it’s always appreciated. And more often than not, the difference between successful organizations and those not-so-successful, are leaders who aren’t afraid to clean fungus off the wall. 

4. You ultimately set the example.

One of the things that I’ve learned from this show is just how much alcohol goes to waste at a bar. If bartenders don’t pour drinks correctly, they spill the alcohol all over the counter and there goes a lot of money. On top of that, there are a lot of bar owners who just give away tons of drinks to customers.

I guess they think it’ll make them seem cool.

So I love it when Jon shows the owners footage of the bartenders giving away free drinks. Then he shows the owner how much that costs his business. Then the owner freaks out and has a drama-queen tantrum.

“THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!”…  “HOW CAN YOU BE GIVING AWAY MY MONEY??”

And then Jon shows footage that they’ve captured on hidden cameras showing the owner giving away free drinks all night. Shots…champagne… to everyone.

You can’t hold people to a certain standard if you don’t even hold YOURSELF to it. As a leader, you set the example, like it or not. So if you’re behaving poorly, guess what?! Your employees are going to think it’s okay. And they’re going to behave just the same…. or worse.

The good news is that as a leader, you CAN set the bar high…you just need to know that the bar is for you, too.

 5. Empower your employees for better results.

Some of these bars have epically failed JUST because the owners refused to listen to their staff.

Because, well… if you’re the owner, you obviously know everything, right? Your ideas are obviously the best, right?

Definitely not.

Sometimes, Jon makes a suggestion and the staff says that they had recommended that years ago…but the owner wouldn’t listen.

The staff had taken the initiative to change something that wasn’t working… but then the owner changed it back to how it used to be.

As a leader, you have to know that the greatest asset you have is your staff. So you need to learn how to use their knowledge…and their talent…and their ideas…to make your business better.

Essentially, they’re the ones doing the job on a day-to-day basis. They know what works. They know what doesn’t work.

So empower them to make decisions, and you might see much better results.

I could ramble forever, but I won’t bore you today. What else, though? What other simple leadership lessons do you wish that more “leaders” would learn?

For more on leadership, check out these posts.

Leadership and Influence at All Levels

8 Jul

When you think of leadership, what comes to mind?

A senior manager?

A CEO?

A closet full of perfectly-tailored suits?

I guess the notion of leadership often coincides with this pretty crazy idea that leaders are always at the top.

Leaders are the ones who go to meetings…

Leaders are the ones who tell us what to do…

Leaders are the ones with fancy titles…

But really, it doesn’t work that way.

Because it’s simply just not true.

Leadership has absolutely nothing to do with position.

Leadership has nothing to do with age.

And because of that, leaders can be found at all levels.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that best leaders are the ones that don’t even realize that they’re leading.

They don’t have a corner office.

They don’t attend hundreds of meetings.

And they don’t wear the perfectly tailored suits.

But they DO want to make a difference.

And they inspire OTHERS to make a difference.

And because of their passion and determination, they’re successful.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m a huge fan of Rotary.

Because they believe that everyone can make a difference.

Through their youth programs that emphasize service and leadership, they focus on building the leaders of tomorrow.

And I think that’s really cool.

Because they acknowledge the fact that even young professionals can be leaders.

And they give young professionals the opportunity to make this world a better place.

Take Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, for example.

We’re SO close to completely eradicating polio.

To date, Rotary and its partners have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent worldwide and only 3 countries remain polio-endemic. 

Now, a 99 % reduction is huge! A 99% reduction is significant!

But it’s not 100%, so we’ve got more work to do.

Today’s young professionals have the chance to help finish this fight. Within the next five years, we can make history. We could possibly rid the world of the second disease ever to be eradicated and that, my friends, would be awesome. Because at the end of the day, by joining initiatives such as End Polio Now, and fighting for causes that we’re passionate about, we can all be leaders.

Fancy title, or not. So today, I’m being a leader.

I’m joining the World’s Biggest Commercial because I believe in the cause and it’s my way of making a small difference. I’m officially one of over 31,000 participants from 149 countries!

Look!

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And now it’s your turn.

Find something that you believe in and fight hard for it.

Be a leader and make a positive impact.

Because the world needs good people and the world needs good leaders. And they’re not always on top, they’re at all levels.

YOU can make a difference, so get to it.  

Here’s How You Can Help:

  • Make History. Visit EndPolio.org and take part in the World’s Biggest Commercial in a show of solidarity and raise awareness for the complete eradication of polio. People around the world are uploading their photo making a “this close” gesture to join the commercial, and sharing the news with their blogs and social networks to make sure that we finish the fight to eradicate this terrible—and completely preventable —disease.
  • Generate Social Media Buzz. Tweet using the hashtag #EndPolioNow and including the EndPolio.org URL to help raise awareness.
  • Give Financially. Visit EndPolio.org and make a donation. Just $.60 can protect a child from the disease. Every $1 you donate to Rotary will be matched with $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35 million/year.
  • Share the good news with your community. Inform your social circles that we are “this close” to ending polio, encourage them to join the World’s Biggest Commercial and make history, and share these actions items with them for ways in which they, too, can help.

While this post has been sponsored by Rotary, I’m proud to serve as an ambassador for their End Polio Now campaign.

 

Be The Little Fish! (Why It’s Good To Be Around People Who Are Better Than You)

10 Jun

do better

I’m kind of a failure sometimes.

Like today… I wanted to work out.

So I went to CrossFit only to remember that the class I was planning on joining had been changed to an advanced session.

For ADVANCED CrossFit athletes.

No…let me rephrase that.

For ADVANCED ninjas that can somehow lift 300 lbs and make it seem ridiculously easy.

And that’s just their warm-up.

Now, I am NOT a ninja.

I just want to work out so that I can keep eating all the time.

Because eating makes me happy. And I like being happy.

So I decided to join in on the class despite the fact that I was obviously the LEAST advanced person in the room.

I mean, one of the coaches came up to me and asked me specifically…

“You’re doing this class?”

To which I responded…

“Ummm…yea…unless you kick me out.”

But he’s nice and I like him so he didn’t kick me out.

And  I started the workout.

And the workout was harder than anything I’ve done in a really long time.

And it was embarrassing because while everyone was easily lifting 150+ lbs, I was lifting like, 75 lbs.

It sucked, because I wasn’t the best.

And I really like being the best.

At everything.

I mean, I really thought about leaving more than once. I knew this class was way out of my league and I hated feeling like the weakest one in the group.

I was super intimidated.

But then we attempted back squats. And since we had to partner up, I kind of just tried to keep up with the weight that my partners were using.

Normally, I would have stopped at 100 lbs.

Because that’s the most weight I’ve ever successfully back squatted.

But today, I wanted to push myself.

Because everyone else was doing so awesome.

So by the end of the movement, I had reached my personal back squat record of 125 lbs.

And it felt amazing.

I felt so accomplished.

Driving home, I thought about how happy I was that I didn’t  leave the class early. I was glad that I pushed through. Because even though I wasn’t the best in the class today, being surrounded by athletes who are much better than I am, made me strive to be better. And I WAS better. Better than I’ve been in a long time.

In life…in our jobs…in our careers…we have a tendency to want to be the best.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But sometimes, we tend to put ourselves in positions where we’re the “big fish in the little pond”, so to say.

We’re comfortable in our environment, it’s familiar, and we’re the best at what we do. There’s no longer any competition.

We’ve reached the top and it’s time to move on to the next level.

Only, sometimes, we don’t go to the next level. We stay where we are because we know that going to the next level means that we’ll be at the BOTTOM of the next level.

And that’s uncomfortable. Because we’ll be out of our comfort zone and we’ll have to work harder to be the best.

It won’t be easy.

I PROMISE you, it won’t be easy.

Because we’ll be surrounded by ninjas who can lift 300 lbs just warming up.

We’ll be surrounded by people who are better than us.

But that shouldn’t scare you. It should excite you, actually.

Because being around those people will motivate you.

Being around those people will give you a reason to push yourself harder.

And ultimately, you’ll be better.

At least, I really think so.

There’s a famous quote that I love that goes like this:

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” -Unknown

But wait…if we’re the smartest person, isn’t that a good thing? Why should you look for another room?

Because you should ALWAYS be looking for rooms with people who are smarter, brighter, more experienced, or in my case today, much stronger. Because in those rooms, you’ll grow. And in those rooms, you’ll learn. And in those rooms you’ll challenge yourself and push yourself  harder than you ever have before, and you’ll come out better than you were entering them.

So don’t be afraid to be the little fish sometimes. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Be the little fish in the huge pond and swim against the current as if the quality of your life depends on it.

Because it does.

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Being Human in the Workplace: Why It’s Okay To Tell People You Ripped Your Pants

15 May

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I have a big problem with the workplace. Well, I have A LOT of problems with the workplace, actually, but this happens to be rather high on my list.

I guess I’m sort of a creeper, to a certain extent, because I observe people all the time. That’s my thing.

I watch and I listen and I realize how ridiculously crazy people are most of the time while they’re at work.

A lot of people tend to feel that they need to put on some kind of front while at work…they can’t be themselves. Instead, they have to be perfect. ALWAYS.

So they put on their suits and they cary their briefcases and they walk from meeting to meeting, focusing on numbers and on the latest budget reports. They’re serious all the time. They can’t laugh, they can’t joke. Because that would make them unprofessional.

Now, I get that people have to work. I also understand that we have to focus on numbers and on budgets and reports.

But in doing so, we can’t forget there’s also a human side to work. Work isn’t just numbers. Work isn’t just reports. Work isn’t just about the bottom line.

Work is also about human relationships. Work is about BUILDING those human relationships.

Because without those relationships, work is not possible.

It’s okay to show that human side of yourself while you’re at work. It’s okay to have a personality. It’s okay to be nice to people.

We’re not robots.

And honestly, I’ve found that when you share that human side of yourself with others, people are more receptive towards you. People like you more because you’re honest. You’re silly. You’re NOT perfect. You’re just like everyone else. You’re human.

A little crazy. A little messed up. A little not-so-put-together.

So don’t be afraid to open up every once in a while.

For example, I was running into work not too long ago wearing my not-so-hemmed pants which I have to wear my 5 inch heels with. And so I decide to take the elevator to prevent myself from falling flat on my face. So what happened?  I got off the elevator, took 4 steps, my heel got stuck in a crack on the floor, and I fell. On my face. The best part was…I didn’t just fall, I also ripped my pants. Big time.

So I got up, continued walking to my office, and when people greeted me with the usual, “Good Morning! How are you?” my response to them was NOT, “Fine, thanks.”

Instead, it was more like “Wonderful, thanks, I ripped my pants! Isn’t that great?”

And you know what?  People didn’t look at me and scold me for being honest. Instead, they laughed and some of them even shared with me their own embarrassing stories.

So my point is, don’t be the kind of person at work who has the personality of a tree. Be true to who you are, don’t put on a front, and you’ll be much more likely to build those human relationships which are essential to career success.

PLUS… you’ll be wayyyy cooler in my book.

Gen Y, Social Media, & How We’re Making A Difference

11 Apr

I’m sitting in class and I feel really bad for my professor. No one’s paying attention to him.

I look around and everyone’s either got a phone in their hand or a laptop open. And I promise you, no one’s taking notes.

Statuses are being updated, pictures are being posted, and I’m sure that at least five people are on Twitter.

Okay, fine. Maybe we should be paying a little more attention.

I hear it all the time, when I talk about Gen Y, that we’re addicted to social media.

Gen Y… addicted to social media…can’t put their phones down.

How awful.

But is it really?

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m addicted to social media. I know that one of these days I’m going to leave my phone on my bed and I’m going to head into work and that day is going to be terrible. I repeat…terrible.

Because whether we like it or not, we have this constant need to be connected.

To everything…all the time.

Everything is in our face.

Always.

And that’s not going to change.

So we can do one of two things.

We can either focus on how awful social media is because back in the day people used to actually play outside, etc. etc. etc.

OR

We can embrace the fact that it’s here to stay and figure out how to use it for the better. We can look for the positives. We can figure out how to make the world a better place by using it to its fullest potential.

Companies and organizations that are smart, are choosing the latter….because it makes sense.

Take a look at Rotary International.

They have an amazing campaign to help end polio.

Even though they’ve been active in ending polio since the 80s, right now they’re focusing on raising awareness through their innovative End Polio Now campaign. Since the global initiative began over 25 years ago, Rotary International and its partners have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent worldwide.

That’s pretty impressive.

You see, it used to be that foundations and organizations could only raise awareness through face-to-face events. It used to be that in order for these initiatives to be successful, thousands of dollars had to be spent on direct mailings asking for donations. It used to be that the only people who took interest in philanthropy and good causes were wealthy individuals, who were usually older.

But that’s not the case anymore.

And I’d argue that social media has played a pretty big role in that.

Because today, it’s cool to make a difference. We see it all the time.

Every time I go on Facebook, there’s a post from someone I know asking me to help them raise money for some kind of marathon they’re running. And so I donate because it’s for a good cause (and because dear God I have no idea how anyone can run 26+ miles without losing a lung).

And when I’ve done this, I feel good about it.

I feel good about it and it makes me happy.

It makes me happy because I see that young people are making a difference.

For that reason, organizations like Rotary International make me really happy.

I mean, you just can’t help but be interested when you hear that they’re putting together the World’s Biggest Commercial to end polio- and create a Guinness World Record- and that you can be a part of it.

First of all, I think it’s awesome that we’re so close to eradicating polio. In 1988, 125 countries were polio-endemic. Today, due largely to Rotary’s efforts, only three countries in the world- Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan- have not eradicated the disease.

That’s a huge deal.

But although we’ve come a long way, the fight won’t be over until polio has been completely eradicated. The disease isn’t fun. It’s a cruel disease that cripples children. It’s highly contagious, and until it’s 100% eradicated, polio remains a worldwide risk. If we don’t finish the fight right now, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed by polio in the next 40 years. And I don’t want that.

So let’s help end it.

How?

By spreading awareness.

That’s why I’ll be participating in the World’s Biggest Commercial.

Nearly 14,000 people in 144 countries have joined to date!

I’ll be joining other individuals and celebrities worldwide by uploading my “this close” photo.

I’ll use my new wonderful photo app, Picfx, to edit my photo until I look decent.

And then I’ll post it on Facebook

And Twitter…

And Instagram…

And pretty much anywhere else that people can see it.

Because I want people to know that it costs just $0.60 to vaccinate a child.

Because I want people to be educated.

And because more than anything, I want everyone to know that us kids, us young people… we can make a difference too.

Here’s How You Can Help:

  • Make History. Visit EndPolio.org and take part in the World’s Biggest Commercial in a show of solidarity and raise awareness for the complete eradication of polio. People around the world are uploading their photo making a “this close” gesture to join the commercial, and sharing the news with their blogs and social networks to make sure that we finish the fight to eradicate this terrible—and completely preventable —disease.
  • Generate Social Media Buzz. Tweet using the hashtag #EndPolioNow and including theEndPolio.org URL to help raise awareness.
  • Give Financially. Visit EndPolio.org and make a donation. Just $.60 can vaccinate a child from the disease.
  • Share the good news with your community. Inform your social circles that we are “this close” to ending polio, encourage them to join the World’s Biggest Commercial and make history, and share these actions items with them for ways in which they, too, can help.

While this post has been sponsored by Rotary International, I’m proud to serve as an ambassador for their End Polio Now campaign.

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