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Pages tagged "Peer Advice"


Hitting pause--reflecting on a hectic week

main.jpgIt was that kind of week again. Working 10, 11, and 12 hour days, driving away from the gas station with the gas cap still open, and trying to balance writing testimony for hearings at the Capitol, thinking about media opportunities for the end of tax season, and planning a fundraiser for a board I’m on. What’s more is that I also tried to stop drinking coffee again and switched to tea. Let’s just say that I ended up drinking coffee again by Thursday.

Maybe writing this blog post is therapeutic for me and a means to vent, but I actually think there’s something important to discuss. Nonprofits, doing the good work in the world, are often full of ambitious young people willing to say “yes” to everything because it’s difficult to pass an opportunity that could make a difference and/or further a career. (I obviously couldn’t say no to writing this blog!)

Pausing to reflect over the past week, there were three important learnings that really stuck with me.

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Career power up: Professional mentor

mario.jpgI’ve been fortunate to have several opportunities for professional development in the past few years, both within and outside of my workplace. Among the webinars, cohorts, workshops and trainings I’ve pursued, working with a mentor has been the most beneficial.

First, I have to say that I can’t believe mentorships aren’t more common. I know people who have had similarly positive transformative experiences with personal and professional mentors, but it feels like an arrangement that remains massively underutilized on the whole.

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Creating a culture of vulnerability

main.jpgWe've all been there. Our anxiety goes up while we scroll down on Facebook. We think "Why is everyone else's life so perfect, while I'm a mess?" One friend just got her MBA ("I don't think I could pass the GRE"), another posted a whole album of photos of him and his boyfriend in Las Vegas-smiling and laughing in all of them ("Me and my partner are bickering a lot lately, is she the wrong person for me?"). A cousin just posted about their 7-mile jog around the lake ("I haven't worked out in 3 weeks, I'm so lazy").

Facebook updates are symptomatic of a broader cultural truth: vulnerability is not rewarded. Revealing our weaknesses and shortcomings is not wise. What we're taught to do instead is hide our faults, embellish our positive qualities and try to one-up everyone.

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Joining YNPN is the best career move you’ll ever make (& 12 other things I've learned so far)

main.jpgWhen I was a recent college grad in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I had lunch with a woman several decades ahead of me in her career. She had a job I wanted some day, and I was so grateful she had agreed to meet with me. 

She recommended many things to me that day. One of those things, however, was especially impactful.

A YNPN chapter was just starting up in Milwaukee, at that time. “Go seek them out and get involved,” she said. “You’ll really make a name for yourself.” This woman was well-respected in the nonprofit community, and her words seemed golden to me. I didn’t waste a moment seeking out YNPN. 

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What a two-person office has taught me about workplace culture

main.jpgI recently celebrated one year at my company, jabber logic, which provides marketing and consulting services for nonprofits and small businesses. In the past year, as I’ve explained to friends and family what I do — helping clients rebrand, managing social media, writing website copy — there’s one fact that seems to stand out most: I’m one of just two people in my office

My boss, Amee McDonald, founded the company with her husband, and we work with contract employees on specific projects. But, most days, it’s just the two of us in an open office. There are no cubicles to retreat to, and no hiding the fact that you just microwaved a fragrant bowl of soup. I’m not only constantly aware of the office dynamic; I’m partially responsible for it. And while that alone can be demanding, it’s also been a valuable lesson in determining the kind of workplace culture I want and what I can do to shape it.

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Realistic resolutions

letsgetreal.jpgAhh, January…. It is as familiar as vitamin-D deprivation, the sales on workout gear and closet organizers, and leafy green vegetables. Each year, about 50 percent of us make new year resolutions, but few of these resolutions survive through winter, let alone the rest of the year. According to the founder of the Canadian Obesity Network, Dr. Arya Sharma, one reason why so many people fail to keep their resolutions is because the goals are unrealistic.

In light of this, I tried to keep my resolutions for 2016 smaller both in number and in scope. I’d love to hear your thoughts on making resolutions and if you have set any specific goals for this year!

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Kindness—large and small—and how Minnesota shows it

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I’ve been thinking recently that there are two kinds of kindness: microsocial and macrosocial. I totally made these words up, but hey, I gotta use my philosophy degree for something.

Microsocial kindness is a person-to-person dedication to someone else’s wellbeing: offering someone a ride, sharing food, listening to their woes, bringing them soup when sick, and so on. This kindness is very small-scale, grassroots, and individualized. People tend to save it for their immediate friends and family. It makes sense; there are only so many hours in a day and so much money in your wallet; no one can spend every minute of every day helping others.

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The bright side of pessimism

How many times in a meeting have you said, “HEY everyone! I have the best idea….” Your boss is nodding vigorously. Your work bestie is clasping her hands in delight. You’re beaming from ear to ear. But you can’t celebrate yet.

You forgot about negative Nelly. Nelly is already scowling. She’s just waiting to chime in with, “That’s out of budget, our CEO doesn’t have Twitter, and where in the heck would we even get a trained polar bear?” Srsly, Nelly, chill!

In the working world there has been long held cultural ideal of the perfect worker: the extraverted, enthusiastic, and ambitious optimist. Inspired by the spate of articles arguing for the value of introverts, I think we need to also recognize the value of having a pessimist on our team.

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Hurry up and wait

Ticking clockDeadlines. Timestamps. Alarms. We have the world at our fingertips and have learned to tune our lives to the tick of the clock. Yet, no matter how many seconds we plan, there is always an element of surprise; one thing that is out of our control. Something that always messes up our perfectly-planned days. We hurry through life, just to end up waiting.

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3 lies we were told about how the world works

The following blog is by Jared Rendell.

Two children walk away on a sunny pathA few weeks ago, I got the chance to offer some closing words to a couple hundred high school kids after their week at BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture. I’m a camp guy by heart, so any chance to connect with youth in a focused setting like that is a chance to make an impact.  So, naturally, I started off with something really inspiring — I told them they were lied to. “What a great closing speaker,” I thought to myself, “tell them their parents are liars.”  Encouragement was dripping from my lapel mic. 

But, these ideas continue to roll over and over in my head and heart, and so I’m sharing them with you. Hopefully this doesn’t wreck your day or make you question your parents' motives.

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