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Pages tagged "Personal Development"


Selling your idea by never owning it

By Libby Stegger

How many times have you heard someone say, “Own it”? It’s motivational - go forth and spread your ideas! Be confident and powerful!

But leadership is not necessarily about projecting this kind of forceful power. At last month’s Emerging Leaders Network LunchSusan Campion reminded us of the importance of not owning our ideas. Campion, a consultant and change agent, spoke to the group about what it takes to get our ideas heard. Asking how to get my idea heard, she says, is actually the wrong question. It is too egocentric and closes us off to hearing and incorporating other ideas that could improve or trump our own. If we really want change, we need to innovate and listen.

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Battleground Office: How to disagree with your boss

main.jpgIt's inevitable. No matter how well you work with your supervisor, there will come a time when you simply do not agree with her or his approach. This can be a tricky situation: do you bite your tongue and go with the flow? Or do you speak up and risk seeming uncooperative or unwilling? I've found that by following a few guidelines you can navigate this territory and strengthen your working relationship with your boss in the process:

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Trading what you do for who you are

Suit wearing dogTell me honestly: is there any question worse than “What do you do?” I mean, I can think of a couple. Like, “Why is there an atrocious green thing oozing out of your ear?” or “Do you smell that toxic death smoke, too?” but that’s probably about it.

I get it. “What do you do?” is an easy question, and it makes sense. When you meet someone for the first time it’s totally natural to try and find common ground by inquiring into a generally neutral aspect of a person’s identity—their work. And, as a bonus, it leaves the intent open to the questionee’s interpretation and allows the questioner to avoid any awkwardness if that person is unemployed. It’s totally possible that you could just be asking them what they do for fun or what, as a human, they like, do, man. But we all know that you’re not.

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(Almost) Everything I need to know about nonprofits I learned from the X-Men

SupeherosSummer is coming, and so are the superhero movies. This gets me thinking of my favorite ‘90s cartoon, X-Men. The X-Men are all “mutants,” which means they were born with “x-tra” powers built into their DNA. (The writers came up with this idea because there are only so many times ordinary citizens can fall into vats of toxic waste.)

The group was formed for the same reasons many nonprofits are – to build community and work for a better world. It is a constant battle against fear, prejudice and hatred – and it’s hard (though rewarding) work, much like nonprofit work. To stay motivated, the X-Men focus on some key ideals: standing up for their values, teamwork, and community.

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Time Flies When You Waste It

main.jpgThe old saying goes, “Time flies when you are having fun!” It’s true, but time goes at the speed of light when you waste it. There are many professional and personal examples of time-wasting: Ineffective meetings, constantly checking email/Facebook/Twitter/websites, having arguments and making complaints to get your point across, watching bad television, and more. Any of these activities can make a precious hour or two vanish in an instant—time you will never get back.

What's the solution? It’s not as simple as just stopping the activity. The ways we waste time are often habits and routines. Habits and routines are our default response to moments where we haven’t made a choice about what to do next. Habits are broken when we make conscious choices to spend our time on something more valuable.

For example, if we have not made a choice about how we will start our work day, we will likely check email, Facebook and Twitter, and then an hour later make some progress on our task (and then check email, Facebook, and Twitter again). 

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This Valentine’s Day, Take Care of Yourself First

As young professionals, it's in our nature to constantly push ourselves to achieve. Working for nonprofits makes it even easier to get motivated by our organization’s mission (great) and forget to take care of ourselves (not so great). Though being driven is a major asset, lack of self-care can easily lead to burnout. We may never be able to shut down our engines completely, but finding ways to channel our energy and creativity outside work can create greater balance and harmony in our lives. 

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Reflect and Repeat: Describing Your Internship

main.jpgAs an intern, I’ve researched seemingly obscure topics, tweeted, blogged and “Facebook-ed,” and taken on other mundane tasks that few people dream about. Most young professionals in the nonprofit world have all had our share of internships. And it has been worth it, right?

Yes, definitely! But just as important as the experience is finding a good way to describe an internship or temporary work experience, aiding in your transition from part-time installment to full time employment.

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Why Resolutions Fail

It’s January 1st. You’re in your comfiest chair, a blank page in front of you, and a few crumpled pieces of paper strewn about. You’re asking yourself: “Who do I want to be this year?” Once you finally jot a few things down, the hard part starts – actually making change happen.  Here’s the good news - the difference between success and failure isn’t complicated. In fact, it comes down to one word.

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A Look Back At 2012

Last week, I did 108 Sun Salutations at my yoga studio to ring in the Winter Solstice. It’s a strenuous practice moving through the same sequence of yoga poses. Over. And Over. And Over (albeit in various states of modification and states of form) all the way to 108.

As I made by way through the sequences alongside a friend—hoping for that elusive zen moment of awesome awareness at the end of it to make up for an exhausted body—I had a moment to reflect back on the year’s milestones: nabbed my first full-time job, learned how to can tomatoes, became a YNPN blog editor, rode the St. Paul Classic with a new colleague and dear friend, and grew personally, professionally and spiritually. 

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How to be a quitter

Hockey sticks and helmets on the iceGrowing up playing hockey, calling someone the Q-Word was akin to insulting their mother, stealing their Gatorade, and throwing in a breezer wedgie to boot. In my hyper-competitive and melodramatic adolescent mind there was nothing lower than giving up, literally the last step before death. Needless to say, I never imagined I would become exactly that.

In the past year I’ve quit four major occupations, three of them jobs and one a labor of love organization I co-founded with two close friends. While I didn’t exactly set out to become a quitter and none of my decisions to quit were easy—some were much harder than others—I don’t regret it.

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