After graduating from University, I moved back in with my parents, while looking for a full-time job in marketing and advertising, and teaching Pilates on the side. I had always excelled in school and whatever I chose to do, but the move from student to career person was a tough and challenging transition that left me depressed, confused, and lost. During this time, I ended up having an opportunity to travel to Egypt with a friend that worked in the Airline industry. On this trip, he advised me to apply for a job as a flight attendant. Even though I had grown up in a family with an aviation background; dad’s a corporate pilot, brother flies for a cargo company, and I had soloed a private plane when I was 16, I had always thought that I would HATE being a flight attendant. I wanted to do something different, make my own way.
Well, I took my friend’s advice, and applied to all of the airlines that I found to be hiring at the time. I really had no idea what I was getting into, and although I was nervous for my interview, I felt like I had nothing to lose, so I displayed the bubble and outgoingness that is a signature of my personality. And I got the job! I was lucky enough to be based in Southern California, close enough to family, but far enough to be independent. I’ve had the privilege of developing deep friendships with my colleagues, have a schedule that allows me to see many new places and meet incredible people all over the world, and been able to share that through a website that I started, chronicling the tales of a life as a flight attendant.
Why do you like it?
There are so many reasons that I love my job. I love working as a flight attendant because the schedule is always different. I have time to pursue interests outside of work, one being that I am IN LOVE with travel. I like that I am not at a desk, and that I get to meet new people every day. I even like the customer service part of flying, and the job has developed more patience, assertiveness, and communication skills within myself. I have matured as a person, and although I feel that working as a flight attendant is not my life long dream career, as I hope to pursue more in the area of volunteer work writing, and learning languages, I believe that somehow, the universe landed me right where I needed to be, now, and that’s when I didn’t even know that I would like to fly! Because, becoming a flight attendant has been the answer to my lostness, sometimes I promote it as the answer to everyone’s life direction solution, but it’s not for all. It was, and is, my answer to opening a life that is better than I once ever dreamed, and if anyone asks me, I still bubble in delight that I love my job and gush that “I just spent twenty days in Vietnam and Thailand.”
This job has made me dream on an entirely different scope, and I’ve been forever changed. Traveling to Haiti, Costa Rica, Istanbul, Slovenia, Portugal, Guatemala, Czech Republic, and the list could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs, in the time span of less than four years, will do that to you.
I have never been big on New Year’s Resolutions. As Renee mentioned in her recent post, resolutions are monthly, weekly, or even daily occurrences – I make them when I feel that I need to.
For the last five years, I have been a student, so twice a year I would find myself making a truckload of resolutions: January and September. My first year of university was a shock for me. I was still applying the work ethic I had in high school – that is, pretty much no work ethic at all – and when grades from my first semester rolled in, they were not up to my standards. I quickly set resolutions for the following semester. I would go to every 8AM class! I would do all of my readings before discussion! I would meet with my professors in office hours! Similar to many New Years Resolutions, my behaviour changed for a week before I went back to my old habits. Another set of grades came in April, and again I was unhappy.
I repeated this pattern for two years before deciding to take a year off to figure some things out. Looking back on it, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself. I knew something wasn’t working, I knew I was unhappy, but still I found myself unable to make the necessary changes to fix it. I took my time off to ask myself a lot of questions. Was university the right choice for me?
Three months into my gap year, I had the answer: yes, it was, and I had been taking it for granted for two years. I found myself missing school constantly. I missed learning. I missed surrounding myself with smart people who disagreed with me. And instead of setting relatively superficial goals about my behaviour, I tried to get to the root of my problem and change my perspective. Why was I in school? What did I want to get from the experience?
When I went back to school after my year off, I began to approach my classes from a truly groundbreaking perspective: I was in school to learn! For two years, I had perceived school as the means to an end: a degree. Suddenly, school became the end in itself. I started seeing my readings as learning opportunities, instead of words to study and memorize. As soon as I started caring about the material, I started actually learning the material. I thought about it outside of class, I talked about it with my friends, I started connecting it with all of my other subjects. I didn’t need to set an arbitrary goal of speaking to my professors during office hours; I was so engaged with the material that it became a natural thing to do.
This ties in with the Triad of Change: that to fix a problem in your life, you need to make a change to your behavior, your perspective, or your structure. In changing one, the others should more easily follow. Semester after semester, I found myself unable to change my behavior. When I reflected on this, I realized this applied to almost every area of my life: my health, my relationships, my education. The only thing that has worked for me is to change my perspective on each of these areas, and my behavior and life structure followed quickly. I have friends who can snap their fingers and change their behavior: for them, it may be better for them to start by setting behavioral goals, such as creating a study schedule or meeting regularly with professors. Structural changes may include changing your school schedule entirely: taking fewer classes, or starting class later in the day. A lot of change comes from trial and error: but goals are meaningless if you abandon them, so start by making the changes you know are within your capacity.
These are the two attitudes that come up like clockwork every time a new year is celebrated. To me, there seems to be two camps of people that verbalize how they feel about the annual word “resolution.” Those who feel that the time has come back around when we can reflect on choices we’ve made and decide upon a new goal to reach, and those that feel that first of January is as significant a day to make a goal as April 13th, November 25th, or any pick of the 365 days we get in a year.
I recently read an article from zenhabits called "The New Rules of Fitness for 2013." We live most of our lives online; which means that much of the day is spent moving from app, to website, to text, to email. It’s fast, it’s now, and rarely a lengthy process.
Personally, I know that gearing up for a jog is not a habit that will stick with me in the long run (pun delightfully unintended). If you can exercise in a way that works in bursts, just like the way your day moves, that’s a more sustainable way to fit exercise into your life.
Let’s apply this way of goal setting to the everyday. It’s usually expected that New Years resolutions will be dropped.
Not surprisingly, the spikes in the google trends for “resolution” always peak in January.
For some people, it may be a habit to create a beautifully optimistic goal in the New Year only to be dropped by the time Valentine’s chocolates hit the shelves.
Make a goal right now. Just for the day. Hell, maybe even for the next minute. If you create a day full of goal-making, your habits will eventually begin to take over and you won’t know how to stop making goals.
Here are some ideas:
Strike up a conversation with a stranger Organize that junk drawer Floss Call that friend Make a To-Do List
Drink 2 glasses of water Make someone laugh Walk around somewhere new Complete this blog post you’ve started
Sprint to the bus/car Take the stairs over the elevator Help that person with all the bags Jump as high as you can to reach that thing hanging just out of your reach
(As you can see these are all spur-of-the-moment and completely situational)
Make you own lists. Surround your life in post-its (I love ‘em) and make every day the first day of your New Year.
Passion Profile: Holistic Health Practitioner & Aesthetician
What do you do?
I am am award-winning board certified holistic health practitioner and wellness educator. I work with clients individually and in groups in the Philadelphia area, and nationwide via telephone or video conferencing. I am also a holistic aesthetician and I make all-natural skincare products. I teach natural skin care classes in the Philadelphia area, hold free monthly webinars on various health and wellness topics, and write the popular blog www.holisticallyhaute.com. I also write for a well respected aesthetics trade journal, as well as other online publications, and speak at national aesthetics and health-related conferences.
How did you get there?
It’s been a long and winding road—I began my college education as a design major and ultimately graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies with a minor in Humanities. I liked architecture, but I realized that my interest was more in the history and theory behind it rather than the actual design work. I had a sales background from working years of retail jobs through high school and college which helped me land my first job after graduation as an advertising sales rep for a healthcare publishing company.
I moved from sales into marketing and copywriting, and from then I moved more into editorial writing and editing. I continued my writing and editing work on a freelance basis for several years (and still continue) for one of the best known medical publishers in the world. I became a mom in 2004 and again in 2007 and continued to freelance while staying home with my kids. Skincare and makeup were always strong interests of mine (much of the retail sales I did was in the beauty industry), so I decided to go back to school for aesthetics. I realized I needed to set myself apart in the job market to try to find the perfect part-time job, so I used my writing and editorial skills and began writing www.holisticallyhaute.com. My focus within the realm of aesthetics leaned more towards the holistic and more natural approach.
Personally and professionally, I began to see the connection between a healthy diet and having great skin. I decided to go back to school again for nutrition, to enhance my education in this area and open more doors for my career. I started taking health coaching clients and quickly realized that the importance really lies more with overall health and wellness rather than just having healthy skin—but great skin is a bonus you get from taking care of yourself on the inside. I had no idea I’d be doing the work I do now because of it.
Why do you like it?
I love my work for SO many reasons. I help people improve their overall level of health which greatly improves their overall happiness and quality of life. I help people feel great about themselves. I empower people to take control of their own health and their own lives and become educated consumers. I spread the message about the importance of making healthier diet and lifestyle choices as well as choosing skincare products with safe ingredients. My work is incredibly rewarding and I feel that I make a difference in the lives of individual people, and help to broaden the minds of larger audiences with my writing and public speaking.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A model or a performing artist on a Broadway stage…maybe in my next life :)
Going into the new year, it might seem appropriate to talk about the old clichés—your resolutions, new fitness plans, giving up smoking or some similarly bad habit—but that seemed a little, well, cliché. Resolutions can be all well and good, if you go about them realistically, but in all likelihood you’ve probably already been resolutioned close to death by this point. Instead, I thought I’d do some pondering on life transitions, and how to make changes in your life successfully (which is a similar train of thought, but different).
Now, just because a brand new year is just around the corner does not mean your life has to go through some great upheaval. That’s one of the classic pitfalls of resolutions, after all; starting a new calendar page doesn’t necessarily indicate that anything will be any different. That being said, many of us want things to be different, and we often use the New Year as a launching point for our planned life alterations. Maybe you’d like to make changes in your lifestyle, work on some problems you’ve been having, change your outlook on life, or maybe find your dream job (that is why you’re here after all, isn’t it?). Of course, I would encourage you to pursue these things year-round and not just in January, but if you are planning on making some modifications to your life, here are a few useful things I’ve learned about lifestyle transitions.
How to Transition
William Bridges is a transitional guru. Google him, you’ll see. One of the most important things I picked up from his writing was the difference between (how he defines) change and transition. Now, I’m not stuck on semantics, but as he puts it, change is fast and transition is slow. Change is situational, whereas transition is something that runs much deeper. Again, sticking with his definition, I’d feel that most of us would be looking to make meaningful transitions rather than quick-fix changes. I could promise myself to spend 30 minutes a day on a treadmill and change my lifestyle starting tomorrow, but to actually transition into a healthy lifestyle (which would be my ultimate goal) I’d have to see that change take effect over a long period of time and implement other changes in my life to complement it. Slowly, my body would adapt. Eventually I’d stop craving sugar as much I do, start stocking my fridge with healthier options, have more energy (which would make running on the treadmill easier), and generally live better. Of course that makes it sound easy. Anyone who’s tried to transition into a healthy lifestyle knows it isn’t.
Bridges describes first of the three stages of transition as “Ending” (loosing, letting go), wherein, as you’d imagine, you have to let go of what you’ve been hanging on to. This is difficult, unpleasant, and often painful. You then enter the “Neutral Zone,” which he describes as a period of confusion and distress (which, going back to my analogy, is exactly how I feel whenever I do physical exercise). The advice that follows during this period is to paradoxically go against your natural instincts. He says to go with the flow and stop fighting the change. Let it come to fruition. Ride out the discomfort. The rewards are sure to follow. That doesn’t mean to stop caring about what’s going on, but rather that at times we can be our own worst enemies, fighting against progress.
I think this is pertinent advice to anyone undergoing transition in their own life, be it now or any time of year. Relax. Embrace the transitions you want to happen. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Don’t just look for quick changes either, but allow things to happen slowly. Be patient with yourself.
Whatever you find yourself doing in the days and months to come, I wish you the best of luck and a very happy new year.
Anyone who has met me for five minutes, regardless of the season, will learn quickly that Christmas is my favourite time of year. I buy in to every aspect of it. I am an advertising executive’s dream. I’m obsessed with the music, the food, the traditions, the shopping, and of course, spending time with the family. Naturally I’d like to share the holiday joy, so here’s a collection of some of my favourite things.
Anyone who says they don’t like Christmas music is probably just looking in the wrong place. This is why, every year, I take it upon myself to make about 5 Christmas playlists so that I can instill Christmas spirit in every Grinch. 8tracks is a particularly great place to find these gems. One of these playlists should do the trick for you: there’s a jazz playlist for a nice relaxing evening by the fireplace; a pop Christmas for those of you who secretly (or not-so-secretly) love Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey; an indie playlist for those of you who are just too hipster for the mainstream; and of course, a classic playlist for all the traditionalists.
TV & MOVIES
My family and I literally have to schedule our time down to the hour sometimes so that we can fit in all the Christmas movies and TV episodes we watch every year. Some of my family’s favourites include It’s A Wonderful Life, Love Actually, and all the Christmas episodes of The West Wing. I also love the abundance of Christmas specials that take over my television.
I don’t mean to brag (except I totally do), but earlier this month I made candy cane brownies for the office and they were pretty much a work of art. For a long time my favourite part about Christmas food was eating the Christmas food, but it turns out making it can be just as much fun. Here are some tasty recipes for you to try over the holidays:
I don’t think a holiday is a holiday without some obscure facts, so here’s some fun information to send you off – Merry Christmas, everyone!
In Canada, Santa Claus has his own postal zip code, H0H 0H0.
Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold. Approximately 30-35 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
The world’s largest Christmas stocking was made by the Children’s Society in London in 2009, and measured 106 feet and 9 inches long, and 49 feet and 1 inch wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents.
In the age of the internet, many new “micro-celebrities” have been created. Just head on over to the Twitter Most Followed list to see the current rankings. What does this list tell us in terms of popularity? Not much - seeing as the top people on the list are all musicians and celebrities that we already know and love. But what becomes more interesting is when we scroll down to the ~50th position, where we can start to see some unknown names. Have you ever heard of Pete Cashmore? If you aren’t in the tech industry, probably not. How about Tony Hsieh? No? Going further down the list, somebody like Gary Vaynerchuk may pop out at you - seeing as a bald guy that tweets a lot has over 800,000 followers. Impressive right?
So is this what we define as influence? Probably not, seeing as we have had influential people since the beginning of man. The bigger question, I believe, is what constitutes influence? And how do we interpret it? Realistically, there are very few influential people on this planet, but we are affected by many more. I believe this is because there are multiple forms of influence upon each person, and we will attempt to take a look at some of them here.
The effect that something or someone has on your cognitive processes. With this broad definition, simply going for a drive every morning results in you being influential to everyone around you. But of course when we talk about influence, we are talking about a person and who they are. The problem I see is that we lump everyone into the same boat. Your teacher may be influential on you, but so is Bill Gates. But do we classify them the same way?
When you go to school or work, you begin to develop a relationship with the people around you. It doesn’t matter if you have passed these people on the street a thousand times beforehand, when you are forced to interact and collaborate with them, a bond is formed. Thus, friendships are a result. I’m sure that everyone reading this still has a close group of friends from high school and university, as well as another set of friends from their workplace or social place (gym, etc…) These people that you know very well are called “strong-ties”, and have a pretty powerful effect on you. In the context of the internet, these are the people on Facebook that you add first and interact with the most.
Whether you think so or not, you have a very strong influence on these people, and vice versa. If one of them moves up the corporate “ladder”, you will begin to feel differently about them. Does someone get better marks than you, yet doesn’t seem to try as hard? This may change your behavioural patterns when it comes to school. And of course in terms of morals and ethics, our strong-link network strongly influences our decisions. But the reality is, zooming out to a 20,000 foot view, is very, very few of these people are influential on anyone but your core group. Do you have a boss that you can’t stand and you complain about to your friends? That’s fine and dandy, but almost 100% of the time that boss has no influence on your friend whatsoever. And this is where we can fall into the “small-minded” trap.
Take the example of a high school. You are a math teacher that does the best job you can every single day. You play by the rules, donate your time after school and genuinely care about your students. But your principal, the boss, is not correctly allocating your budget so that you can purchase new computers. Naturally, you are upset. And so who do you turn to in order to complain? Your co-workers, family and friends. The principal has a massive influence over your life each and every day, which is negative in this case. But once again, zooming out to the 20,000 foot view - that principal is a mere speck in planetary system. To other humans, he is not influential at all. So we can determine that he has a large personal influence, but a very poor global influence.
The next level up the ladder is people that interact with you on a very rare basis. In the case of the teacher, this may be your superintendent or maybe the minister of education in your province. Obviously, this person holds a lot more power, as he or she is responsible for whole batches of school districts. Accordingly, no matter what school you go to in the region, everyone has heard of this person and follows their decisions. Every time they pass a new bill in parliament, you think that it is a massive influence in the world. What if a new bill is proposed to add five minutes to the school day. Does this influence you? Of course! You may join a protest, sign a petition or send an email to the minister himself. This person, while not being a strong-link, is a very powerful industry-link.
The problem with this level of influence is that people believe these people are mini-celebrities. In the land of the technology world, bloggers like Michael Arrington have a lot of influence. But in reality, 99.99% of the world has no clue who Michael Arrington is, and don’t care to know. They don’t care that Yuri Milnar is giving every Y-Combinator team 150k, or that Quora is growing like a weed. In fact, all of that is like space language. But if you are in the technology industry, the Ontario minister of education means nothing to you whatsoever. And the dentists association? They have an association? you might ask. You see, the issue with the internet is that we get trapped in our “worlds” rather than realizing that industry-influence is very limited. Sometimes we need to step back and look at the broader picture.
Weak-Link Influences (Global Power)
The last category of influence is the furthest away from you personally. Going back to the teachers example, a person of global influence may be Michelle Rhee. Is she involved in education? Yes - she is trying to do many great things. Does she influence your career? Probably, seeing as if you are a good teacher you will stand by her philosophies. Do you know her personally? Not even close. But the thing is, not many people do, but many know who she is. Her influence not only extends into the education industry, but also technology, finance, health-care, sports, entertainment, etc… Why? Due to the national media coverage she has gotten (ex. Oprah) and the success of Waiting For Superman - she has transcended her industry.
She is one example of somebody who is influential across the three level. Her actions can determine changes in your day-to-day activities, effect your industry due to changes made and globally influence education leaders. Other examples of global powers can include people like: Bill Gates & Steve Jobs in technology, Michael Jordan & Tiger Woods in sports, Barbara Walters & Oprah Winfrey in media, etc, etc… These are people that have not only reached the top of their industry, but have transcended into all other industries. When this happens, true influence is reached.
World-class individuals are very rare indeed, but very important in the global sphere. They are heavily scrutinized and always in the limelight. Every action is watched and analyzed closely (usually by non-influential people). Books are written about them, websites dedicated to them. All of these are measures of global influence.
Are these people influential to you? Like we mentioned before, probably on some level. They are definitely nowhere near as influential as your strong-link connections, but they still affect how you think and act. The balance is remembering that usually the people that affect you the most are the people that have the least amount of influence. It’s a tough balance, but I believe that we need to learn to balance all three levels in order to continue along the path we need to.
I’m a voice over talent. I read and record scripts for every type of project from documentary narrations to on-hold messages, commercials to training videos and almost everything in between. Video games and cartoon voices are on my project wish list and with deep respect, I don’t narrate audiobooks.
Armed with a quiet, professional studio and an Internet connection, I voice twenty or more projects everyday and send them to clients all over the globe. I’m excited to go to work everyday!
How did you get there?
The biggest misunderstanding about becoming a voice over talent is that simply having a good voice is enough to have a successful career. It’s not. More important than having natural talent is taking the time to learn and practice the skills required to become a professional.
The first time I stepped behind a microphone to record a radio commercial for my employers, it felt like home. I was terrified and my voice cracked, but I knew right then, that becoming a voice talent was what I wanted to do. I quit my job, found a voice over coach and never looked back.
I worked with my coach for two years taking private lessons and weekend workshops. She taught me the fundamentals of voice over including how interpret a script, how to avoid popping my Ps and how to deal with a sore throat. My teacher set the bar high for skill and professionalism making sure I would be ready for any project no matter how complicated or challenging. She taught me the importance of practice both in and out of the studio and pushed me to take more classes in acting and improvisation, along with singing lessons to strengthen my voice.
Becoming a voice talent isn’t about being good at only one thing – it’s about having a variety of skills that have been honed through practice and the ability to put them all together when you need to, like in front of a room of eight casting directors just waiting to be wowed.
After cutting my first demo, I created a marketing strategy to land projects. When I started, it was cassette tapes, outside recording studios and the only available projects I could get were where I lived. Now it’s Mp3s, home studios and a global market. I record from a home studio and email finished audio to my clients around the world. It’s really cool and never ceases to amaze.
Why do you like it?
It’s fun. Don’t get me wrong – it’s hard work every single day, but I have such a great time every day I step into the studio and hit record that it’s worth it any struggle to keep going. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a French speaking marine biologist, a la Jacques Cousteau, a family court judge, a dancer, a gymnast and an international business mogul. However, when no one was looking, I read the back of toothpaste tubes out loud and watched British comedies so I could practice my British accent.
A professional voice over talent with more than eighteen years experience, JoJo Jensen has recorded every type of project from short, snappy television commercials to YouTube marketing videos, long form documentary narrations to on hold messages thanking you for your call. With a background in sales and marketing years before ever standing in front of a microphone, JoJo runs her voice over career with a sincere dedication to customer service and satisfaction! Listen to JoJo Voice Over demo samples at www.jojojensen.com!
You’ve likely gathered from my last blog post that food makes up a very important part (or parts) of my day. I’ve found that what I eat really affects the way I feel all day long; there’s nothing worse than being too full from lunch and too sleepy to work, or having a salty lunch and being thirsty all afternoon. As a result I’ve made a point to stick to a food routine for most workdays, and pick foods that will boost my energy and keep me feeling fresh. I’ve found a few things that work, and a few that don’t for workday lunchtimes.
Bring plenty of snacks: snacks keep me going and I always bring an assortment to work. Yogurt, fruit, veggies, and nuts are all great options and they are perfect for in between meals to keep energy levels high
Make extras: something I like to do is make a few things on Sunday to have ready to go for the first few days of the week. One of the easiest recipes is a quinoa salad; they’re easy to make and very filling. You can find one of my go-to recipes here. It keeps for a few days in the fridge and is great cold. The same can be said for dinners; if you add a bit to whatever you’re making for dinner you’re sure to have enough for the next day’s lunch and the work is already done.
Keep spares: I keep some extra granola bars in my desk drawer just in case. It’s a great solution on days where there weren’t any snacks that excited me for lunch at home. It also gives you the opportunity to be a savior for a hungry coworker!
Tomatoes on the side: I absolutely hate soggy sandwiches. When I make my sandwich I pack sliced tomatoes on the side in some tin foil so my sandwich isn’t wet by the time I eat it.
Be adventurous: I often put almost anything I can find in my salad; canned corn, chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, tons of vegetables, olives, tabbouleh, and anything else that may be in the fridge. It keeps my meals from getting boring and makes each lunch a little bit different. Don’t be afraid of strange combinations; you might be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with!
By Spencer Thompson (original post from Sokanu Posterous blog)
Life is an eternal education. We are almost always students of life, learning more every day. Every person we meet, show we watch and book we read - we are learning. Part of the problem with our society is that we seem to define education as the standardized years in which we go to “school”, when of course this is not the case.
What most people don’t realize is that we are also teachers. For every person we are influenced by, we in turn influence others. Our actions cause other people to stop and question why we did what we did. Our actions show kindness and compassion towards others. We are always leaving an impact, day by day. Our circle of influence grows along with ourselves.
The way that I try to see life is as a giant classroom. In that classroom there are teachers (your mentors, parents, and influencers) and there are students (the people you influence). Your job is to learn and to represent both sides. If you are constantly growing, your platform for teaching will grow. Your words will become more powerful, and your influence will spread further.
One of the things we must realize is that the world is completely open. You are influencing others whether you believe so or not. We are all teachers now, more than ever. We all tell stories every day. Remember:
Every life has a story. Stories are made up of experiences. Your experiences make up the lesson plan for your life. Use your life as a class.
I am a Professor in the Chemistry Department at the University of Massachusetts. I have a group of 30 researchers working on biomedical applications of nanoparticles, including new anti-cancer strategies and diagnostic tests for cancer and other diseases.
How did you get there?
Undergraduate and graduate school, a postdoc, and a lot of hard work!
Why do you like it?
It’s like running a start-up company focused on making peoples lives better. I work with a great group of students, postdocs and visiting scientists, and have the ability to move in new direction—as long as I can get someone to fund it.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a chemist—I’ve always liked making things, and that’s what we do now.
Get Energy for Your Work Day with a Breakfast Belly
By Sara Halickman
Anyone who knows me knows I love to eat and cook (also a reason why anyone who knows me also knows that I am a very regular gym-goer). I’ve always been an adventurous eater thanks to a pact my parents made with me at the age of three when I swore I would try everything once and only once I had could I decide what I did and didn’t like. I have to say it worked; there are very few foods I turn my nose at.
Lately I’ve become more and more aware of how important what I eat is during a workday; it dictates how tired I am, how productive I am, and how well I feel. There’s nothing worse than feeling sluggish after a big lunch and too tired to get anything done all afternoon, or being distracted by hunger and on a hunt for food (which generally doesn’t end well). I’ve found that it is incredibly important to eat properly for a workday to make sure I have enough energy.
I have always been a huge proponent of breakfast being the most important meal of the day. I can’t understand how people go through an entire morning without eating anything and somehow muster up the energy to get a morning’s worth of work in. I love breakfast. I have been one to admit that upon finishing dinner I start looking forward to the next morning’s breakfast. I’ve gone through a lot of breakfast phases, and the meals that stick tend to be ones that actually keep me full from breakfast until lunch .
A vegetarian friend of mine introduced me to a website devoted to vegan recipes over the summer and recommended something called Vegan Overnight Oats. I was intrigued. I’ve always been a fan of oatmeal in the morning and once I tried VOO (as the website’s creator affectionately calls them) I was immediately hooked. The recipe extremely filling and is one of the few breakfasts that can get me all the way through until lunch. It’s made with rolled oats, almond milk, chia seeds, and a variety of other ingredients that can be used to customize it to your tastes. The secret is in the chia seeds; they act as a binding agent and by some miracle of chemistry absorb the milk into the raw oats and make everything moist but not soggy.
It is my current favorite breakfast to start a workday with, along with a nice cup of coffee. I usually prepare mine when I make my lunch the night before, which is not surprisingly when I start looking forward to eating it.
The Five Things You Need to Know About Finding the Work You Love
Written by Leo Babauta from the blog Zenhabits
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers … If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” - Steve Jobs in a Stanford commencement speech
One of the keys to happiness — as well as productivity and effectiveness at work — is finding work you love, that you’re passionate about. Work youwant to do, instead of just have to do.
If you really want to do it, it barely seems like work at all.
I’ve finally found that work, in blogging here at Zen Habits and with writing in general. I don’t drag my feet to go to work anymore — now I can’t wait to get up early and start working.
And I’m just one of many who’ve done that — there are people all over the world pursuing their dreams, working with passion, losing themselves in their work. Are you one of them? Do you want to be?
The difficult thing for many people is finding what that work is in the first place. They don’t know where to start, and it seems a hopeless cause.
It’s not. You can find that work, but it’ll take some effort. Here’s what you need to know about finding the work you love:
It won’t find you — you have to seek it. Doing the same ol’ thing everyday isn’t the way to find the work you love. Sometimes, you get extremely lucky and it just lands in your lap. Most people, however, aren’t that lucky — you’ve got to take action, and you’ve got to seek it.
You can’t stop looking until you find it. As Steve Jobs said, never settle. If you find something that’s just a bit better than your current job, that’s better … but don’t stop there. Keep looking. Don’t give up the search.
You’ll have to look in lots of funny places. Really explore. Try new hobbies. Talk to new people. Read articles on different blogs, in different magazines and books. Inspiration might come from someplace you never imagined.
You might not love it completely until you get good at it. Most likely you’ll know that you love something once you find it … but at that point, you’ve got to work at getting better at it, with all your might. Once you get good, it’ll be something you can’t stop doing, because you’ll get a thrill at doing something great.
Once you find it, you have to pour yourself into it. If you find the work you love, you’ve been given a gift. Don’t spoil it — truly pour yourself into that work. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the other loves in your life, including family and friends, but when you’re working, you should devote yourself completely to that work.
Here’s how to go about seeking your passion:
Break out of your routine, and dare to ask. You’ve got to stop what you’re doing (maybe not at this moment, but today, or tomorrow, not next week) and be bold enough to ask yourself if you love what you’re doing. And if you don’t, then what is it you really love? And if you don’t know, then are you going to look for it?
Spend time thinking about it. It’s good to take an hour or two to really think about the question. It’s worth the investment. Really think about what you love, about your life, about what you want to be doing.
Think of what you already love. Do you have hobbies you’re passionate about? What do you like reading about? What do you talk about with others? Is there something you always wanted to do but forgot about, or were too afraid to pursue?
What are your dreams? Is there something you’ve always wanted to accomplish in life? Almost everybody has some dream like that, sometime in their lives, but often they don’t think it’s realistic. Give it more thought now.
What are you good at? What are your strengths? Do you have any talents? Is there something you’ve always excelled at? Pursue these things.
Take action. If you don’t actually do anything, you’ll never find it. Start doing research, start making calls, make appointments, take career assessment tests. Take action, now.
Explore new things. Try out new hobbies that sound interesting. Read about new things. Find new ways to explore — break out of your patterns.
Once you find something interesting, pursue it. Read about it. Learn, and try it, and do it, and get better at it. Don’t be afraid to pursue it — fear is what stops most people from finding this happiness.
Then take action – again. Now that you’ve learned about it, give it a try! You might be able to pursue it within your current job, or do it as a side job or just as a hobby at first. Write to people who are doing it to find out how they got started. Check out a few books on the library and do some research online to find out about the first steps you need to take — and then take them! Pursue your dreams!
“Getting up in the morning and having work you love is what makes life different for people. And if you get into a position where you really don’t love what you’re doing, get off it. It’s easy to be on someone else’s track or something that sounds like a safety play.” -Bob Woodward
By Spencer Thompson (original post from Sokanu Posterous blog)
The world around us moves at the speed of light. With planes, trains and automobiles we can travel to far corners of the earth. With the Internet we can access any piece of information we want. With the advent of social networking, we can connect with virtually anyone we want. But through all of this innovation and the new ways that we can connect with one another, is there really any difference in the way we interact? Humans have always had very poor judgement systems when it comes to meeting other people. Our interactions with one another are interesting simply because of the multitude of ways that we judge instantly.
The world would be a lot simpler if humans were built to be the same, or at least very similar. We would understand how one another are thinking, our paths to get to a certain point in life would be the same and our opinions would be non-existent. But of course, uniqueness is what makes the world go round. I am not going to get into the philosophy behind perspective, as that could easily become a book-length blog post. Instead, due to the nature of Sokanu, I am going to focus on how perspective affects us when it comes to careers and career choices.
Growing up in the Western world, most of us are used to the luxuries that we receive on a daily basis. And no matter how hard we try, we still take these things for granted. If we truly appreciated what we had, each and every one of us would wake up and start jumping up and down because we are living with shelter, have instant access to electricity and can eat anything we choose. A lot of the world does not have the basic necessities of life, and therefore their perspective is based on the first level of Maslow’s pyramid. I will not be talking about that today, as it is extremely difficult to understand the perspective from that world.
Instead, let’s focus on the traditional path that a westerner takes through life. Grows up in a middle class neighborhood, goes to public school, has friends, plays video games, graduates from high school, goes to university, graduates from university, gets a job, gets married, has kids, advances in his career, retires, and eventually dies. This is the typical path of a person from birth to death in North America. Now, where does perspective come in? Well, between each step in life, it’s the blank space that determines what kind of person we are. It’s the non-traditional things that we learn that defines what we believe, how we think, who we talk to and how we live our lives. And the first rule we must remember is, everyone’s blank spaces are different.
Filling In The Blanks
When you take the bus or train to work, do you ever stop to listen to some of the conversations going on around you? If you are someone that just puts in earbuds and shuts out the world, try this on Monday. Check your Blackberry, read the paper, or just sit in silence. Observe the people around you. Realize that every single person sitting around you has had a unique life path to get to this point. No two people are the same. That person sitting across from you can be a banker, lawyer, doctor or he can be a pastry chef or farmer. And his path to get to that point has been totally different than yours. Isn’t that amazing? As obvious as that may sound, every single person sitting around you, at that exact moment, has had a unique life. Their blank spaces have been totally different than yours. Sure they have gone to school, gotten married and had kids, just like you. But that person is so completely different you have no idea.
I’ll explain with a story of my own. On the way back home Thursday evening, I was sitting at the front of the bus. A couple came in and sat down. The lady was older and couldn’t hear very well. Her partner was making sure to talk directly into her ear so that she could hear. As a result, the entire bus could hear exactly what she was saying. He was talking about loan sharks, politics and conspiracy theories. Normally I would internally roll my eyes and stop listening. But I was also reading The Happiness Hypothesis on my Blackberry, and had just read a passage on perspective. I realized that these people may not have gone to Harvard, may not live in a $10 million dollar house, may not have invented a revolutionary technology, but they were still entitled to their perspective on life. And my opinion on what they should or should not believe is irrelevant.
Their blanks in their lives were completely different than mine. I spend my time worrying about financial forecasts, UX mockups, hiring, marketing, designing, reading, writing and thinking about Sokanu. My perspective is generally focused on the tech world. If I had asked these people who Mark Suster or Fred Wilson was, they would look at me with confusion. But on the flip side, if they asked me any question about any other industry, would I be any better off? In each industry, I am beginning to realize certain sets of people have a very narrow view of the world through their eyes. The science world thinks that the art world is flaky, while the art world thinks that scientists just aren’t creative enough. Finance guys think that technology people don’t understand capitalism, while tech people think that finance guys don’t understand entrepreneurship. It goes on and on. We generally exist in one world in our entire lives. Our “tribe” and information is all related to that world. And because of this, all of our gaps are filled with the same thoughts, opinions and beliefs as others in that world. Thus, our view of the world begins to narrow. We begin to realize what “the real world” is.
The Real World
When you were growing up, did your parents ever talk to you about “the real world”? You know, the one where money doesn’t grow on trees, you have to work extra hard to pay the bills, promotions aren’t real, a $20,000 car is all you can afford, owning a house is the greatest achievement you will have, a university degree is a key to life, etc… And the problem is, we are a product of our environment. So whatever our parents deem as the real world, we usually accept as our own. The only issue with that is there is no one real world. There are millions of real worlds co-existing on this planet at the same time.
You create your real world. Every single action that you take determines your world. And that is why perspective is so important to consider. We co-exist with billions of other people that live in their own worlds. And when two people or more share overlapping features from their world, they form a tribe. And collections of those tribes form the industries that we know today. So when it comes to careers, we generally find ourselves funneled into a category that we live our lives in. And this is wonderful, because it allows the plethora of different personalities and talents available on the planet to shine through.
Next time you are talking to someone new to your world, or from a totally different world, don’t just dismiss them. Remember, we live in a world with multiple intelligences, and so what we may be intelligent at, others may be lacking in. But remember this works both ways. There is something to learn from everyone. Sometimes the worlds are so far apart that your perspective can’t understand theirs, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong and you are right.
Choosing a career path is tough, and the education system doesn’t make it much easier. They try to guide you towards one of these worlds that exists on our planet. The problem is that most of the time, schools don’t understand the unique perspective of their students, and they don’t adapt their needs to the situation. This is why finding your passion is so important. Passion is not the be-all-end-all, but rather the guiding force that allows us to make the right decisions as we travel through life. Finding your passion, connecting with your tribe and achieving your goals are the steps that you must take in order to find a career that you will find rewarding. But having a sense of perspective for the world around you allows you to understand that your opportunities are endless.
Never let someone with little perspective guide you away from your passion. Next time you have a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand why you are doing what you are doing, try to understand their perspective. How were they raised? What was their path in life? This will often let you understand why they are making the statements they are. By getting this, you can understand where they are coming from. People that are not in your world will very often not have the same perspective to you. Remember, that’s what makes the world so unique and wonderful.