I am a Fundraising Consultant, working with not for profit charitable organizations. In that role I work with clients to help them: do Strategic Planning (particularly with respect to fundraising); develop a 12-, 24- or 36-month fundraising plan; conduct a feasibility study which tests what they believe their Case for Support is and estimates what level of possible support might be available to them in their future capital campaign; and, run a Capital Campaign. In the latter instance, my preference is that the client actually learns how to run, and actually does run, the campaign so that in the future they can do the work and take ownership for themselves.
How did you get there?
My career has primarily been in marketing: in politics, the marketing of (and fundraising for) a candidate; in advertising, the marketing of a product; and, in charitable work, the marketing of the charity and in turn encouraging support / donations for that charity. My first full time job was with a political party and included fundraising components. I continued to do volunteer fundraising work with charities (going door to door for donations, running special events, dinners, etc). At one point, when I was 36 and looking at a career move (in this case out of advertising), the move to work for a charity and running their door-to-door campaign was a natural one.
Why do you like it?
There are three things that I particularly enjoy: building the relationship with and getting to know the donor and their likes and dislikes, which are keys to their decision to making large(r) donations; running strategic planning sessions amongst 8 - 12 people that confirm and focus an organization’s goals and vision, and then developing plans with them that have measurable outcomes for the future; and, mentoring fellow fundraising professionals who need someone to listen to their ideas, give them confidence in trusting their instincts, and occasional direction as they move forward in their job and career.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was young and in a church choir, I thought I wanted to be an Anglican minister. Later, in my teens as I headed for university, I thought I’d like to be a mathematics teacher and guidance counsellor.
When I was going through the Education program, one of the first things they told me was to take whatever plans I had and throw them out. They were right. At the moment I teach English as a Second Language, though it wasn’t what I originally intended to do.
Because governments around North America have been slashing budgets for Education, it’s difficult to find stable, full-time employment. I decided not to try getting into the public system; because of my wife’s job I move often, and getting full-time work in a public high school often takes years. So I looked outside, into after-school ESL teaching programs, and I hobbled together a pretty full schedule from three different jobs.
The result has been surprisingly rewarding. Teaching in three environments, under three styles of management, with three different educational systems, makes you hone what you believe. And it’s changed the way I see teaching.
First, I’ve learned that playing is everything, both for me and my students. There is remarkable pressure from parents to use worksheets whenever possible. These can be helpful, and the lower the level, the more useful they are. But the most progress I see is when children are given a blank piece of paper and a crazy question, and then told to write. The key is to provide helpful feedback right away, and have them write some more. When they can play, they see the point of what they’re doing in real-time. They also have fun, which is pretty nice.
Because of this, I’ve learned that I need to play, and that often I’ll fail. I often fail in class. For the students to be creative, I need to be creative in challenging them to do more, and do better. I’ve had to defend my belief in giving students room to create, and the fear of failure is a constant nagging force in the back of my mind. But when I have the confidence to ignore it, I can watch my students thrive. I know that this is not only beneficial for their English: if they can grow comfortable with playing and failing and growing, then they’ll be better equipped to deal with whatever economy they’re faced with when they graduate. I know that if I continue to accept the occasional failure, I can make my classrooms better.
Finally, I’ve learned that a good employer will act as a constructive buffer between teachers and parents. If I want to have my students play, they need to have confidence in me. If I want to be confident, I need an environment that lets me try new things. The after-school programs are there to make money, and this can be an added pressure, as teachers try to justify how much parents are spending. It can be distracting and counter-productive, exactly because we need to be able to fail, and a good manager will help minimize that concern. At the same time, teachers and parents need to talk often, since each has invested so much time in the well being of one person. When there’s a healthy environment, those conversations are helpful to everyone.
My career definitely has not progressed as I had planned, but that turned out to be for the best. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to experiment with my style and that I’ve had employers willing to invest in me. If I do decide to move into the public school system, I am confident that I’ll be that much stronger for it, and hopefully I’ll give my students the same opportunity to fail that I had.
As a nation, we have adopted a model of judging people quickly and immediately as to how successful they are. That model is education, or lack there of. Very often in business or dinner parties, conversation can quickly turn to level of education.
"Where did you go to school?" one person may ask. "I am a Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford/Oxford 1997 alumni" responds the individual.
Immediately, as if that person has said the magic words, he is immediately given an immense amount of credibility. People automatically assume that he is successful, regardless of the field he is in. Now, if he mentions that he works for an investment bank such as Goldman Sachs in New York City, people’s eyes begin to widen. He is the definition of success in the Western world. Well educated, established in a world class city and has a well paying job is the perfect combination. That individual at the dinner party will have to work really hard to ruin his reputation.
Let’s compare that to another individual. A person may ask the same question, “Where did you go to school?” Except this time, the second individual answers, “I didn’t go to university, I actually moved to Paris to become an artist” The immediate reaction now will be “Uh huh”, and the conversation will move on. That second individual at the dinner party will have to work really hard to improve his reputation.
Why is this? Why do we measure people’s level of success on where they went to school? Isn’t it about the person and their unique happiness? While it may seem not, that is because most people assume that there is only one type of education in the world. We begin to believe that intelligence is defined by education. Of course, this is not true.
In fact, we believe that there are three levels of education: 1. Formal Education 2. Self-Taught Education 3. “The School of Hard Knocks.” By separating education into three types, we can directly define what each of them represent and how people fit into each one. Let’s take a look at each in more depth and try to understand where people go wrong in judging people’s intelligence based on level of education.
1. Formal Education The most common form of education in the Western world, formal education is the process of going from elementary school —> high school —> bachelor degree program —> and possibly a graduate degree. While going through this process, the students make connections, join extra-curricular activities and prepare themselves for the workforce. After going through high school, students can choose to go to college (usually for more hands-on education) or a formal university (usually more theory and academic work), depending on the career path that they have chosen.
Formal education is perfect for students that want a professional career, whether wanting to become a lawyer, accountant, doctor, psychologist, project manager or something similar. In order to become one of these professionals, very often a bachelors degree is not enough, a graduate or doctorate degree is needed. At the top of the mountain of formal education is university professors, who almost always require a PhD and teaching experience. What about the rest of the students? What about those students that want to become entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, artists, dancers and other things that are not traditionally taught by formal education? Should they still go through formal education just because the system says to? This comes down to what is known as the “hierarchy of subjects”.
As a culture, we have a predetermined list of subjects that are deemed more important than others. At the top are math and science. In the middle are the languages and social sciences, and at the bottom are the arts. Dance is hardly ever included in a list of academic subjects, and visual arts and music are just above that. Why is this? Why, in formal education, do we treat math and science as the be-all-end-all? The system was built in the Industrial Revolution in order to produce educated individuals for the workforce. Today, those who want to be educated into a formal professional can get their degree, but what about the rest of the professions?
2. Self-Taught Education The second kind of education is not that well known. I believe that in the coming years, self-education will become ever more important as more and more people get generalized degrees, and inflationary education sets in. Self-taught education is simply learning from books, seminars, mentors and the internet under one’s schedule and time. Most great musicians, artists, athletes and entrepreneurs go through this method in order to become the best in their field. That painter that I referred to at the beginning of this article would have been self-taught through books, the internet and mentors she may have met in Paris. She is learning more than the majority of people do in a lifetime.
What are the downsides to going with this method? Well, unless you are quite structured and have a love for learning, it can be difficult at times. In formal education, we are used to the structure of predetermined classes, bells to signal the end of periods and set timelines for each day. With self-taught education, we must set our own schedules, be motivated to learn and discipline ourselves to put in the necessary amount of time to make it work. This becomes very easy if you love what you do. Basketball players that want to improve will gladly go out to the court and shoot hoops for three hours. If we analyze this activity, it is self-teaching because it is improving their muscle memory, abilities and intelligence about the game. To the basketball player, it’s just fun. It doesn’t feel like learning.
To the up-and-coming musician, playing the drums when he gets home is not a chore, it’s a gift. He loves playing his drums day and night. (mind you his family may not like these drums day and night). To the drum player, self-education is something he loves to do. The same thing can go for entrepreneurs. How many stories have you heard of entrepreneurs choosing to forgo formal education in favor of self-teaching? With the power of the internet, we literally have any piece of information that we need at our fingertips. And if you don’t like the way that it is presented online, there are millions of books, magazines and audio files available to purchase. Some great websites for online video learning include:
Academic Earth actually includes some full courses at some of the top universities in the world (Havard, Yale, Stanford) that you can listen to online. I am currently going through the psychology course at Yale right now, all for free. There is no better time in history to get a self-taught education. However, there is still another class of education that we sometimes refer to as “the school of hard knocks”.
3. “The School of Hard Knocks” Many times we read stories of businesspeople or actors that don’t go to college, don’t self-educate continuously and yet still become successful. Why is this? Those people have been through the school of hard knocks. Another way of putting this is education on the fly, or building a plane after jumping off a cliff. No matter what you call it, usually it’s a long journey. Many people that are successful did not start out with this burning vision of success in their minds. In most cases, they just started working at a job and began to grow.
I like to use the example of the restaurant owner that started as a dishwasher 20 years ago. When he was just a kid, fresh out of high school (sometimes not even) he simply needed a job. So he got one as a dishwasher at the local restaurant. Unlike most kids that get a job, however, he began to notice the inner workings of the restaurant. He began to observe how the the food was ordered, all of the prep work that went into dinner service and how the waiters and managers interacted. What started out as a job soon became a free education (that he was actually getting paid for!). Soon, he moved up to bussing tables, working late into the night. Keep in mind, however, that he made plenty of mistakes along the way, and this is a lengthy process. However, fast forward 20 years, and that same individual now owns his own restaurant. By graduating from the school of hard knocks, he knows what to do, what not do to, and how to run a restaurant properly.
The same story is applied over and over again in business. An entrepreneur one day has a brilliant idea that pops into her head. She decides to quit her job and dive full bore into this venture. She has no previous business experience, no contacts and no capital to get started. But she is an entrepreneur, and she will do whatever it takes to succeed. She will go through the school of hard knocks for years before she finally has a company that is profitable, successful and creating jobs around the world. A great story that outlines this is the story of Five Guys Burgers And Fries.
So what have we learned from examining the three different types of education? Well for one, we must observe that one is not better than another. Just because someone decides to go through the formal education system does not make them any more intelligent than someone that decides to open up their own art studio. There are millions of different ways to learn a plethora of activities, and there is no set path to success. Education is completely personalized to the career that you want to achieve.
Here is a great quote to illustrate learning: “For learning to take place with any kind of efficiency students must be motivated. To be motivated, they must become interested. And they become interested when they are actively working on projects which they can relate to their values and goals in life” - Gus Tuberville, President, William Penn College
When you become interested in what you are working on, it no longer becomes work. It becomes something you love to do. Learning should not be a chore, and neither should education. You should learn because you want to, not because you have to. Finding your passion is the key to doing this successfully. Intelligence is not determined by education, because as we have learned, there is more than one type of education. Each type is unique to the career path and the individual taking it. In the end, education is just a means to an end, with that end being success. Success in any field, in whatever way you define it. Remember, success is just another word for happiness.
"I was an intern before I started working at Sokanu. #14 is spot on - even though I sometimes feel like my questions are silly, they rarely are and I always learn something" —Renee Masur, Content Manager
Balancing work and school is a skill I’ve been honing since high school. I took on my first part-time retail job at the beginning of 11th grade, determined to save for a trip I wanted to go on. Now seven years later, I’m working at an accounting firm while taking CPA courses (and maybe still saving for some trips I’d like to go on). I think I’ve come a long way considering I’m no longer folding t-shirts and am rather auditing companies; however, the same balancing act is still required. Along the way I’ve found a few things that have worked, and some that haven’t.
1. Evenings are not my most productive study time: nothing is worse than getting home from work at 6, eating dinner, and then having to think even harder than you did all day at the office. I’ve come to terms with the fact that most nights it’s quite likely that no productive learning is going to take place, and that’s to be expected.
2. Working out helps me keep my sanity: giving myself the time to go to the gym or take a walk helps clear my head and is a huge stress-reliever.
3. To do lists are crucial: albeit slightly old-school, I live by my Filofax and sticky note to-do lists. They keep me on track and help me plan ahead. There’s also nothing more satisfying than crossing out a list of tasks once they’re done.
4. Setting out rules helps: I make sure not to force myself to study late at night when I have work the next day, and I make an effort to not stay at work late on nights I have class or do need to go home and get some school work in.
5. The Internet is a really easy way to get distracted: when I finally do sit down to study, I’ve often found myself perusing Facebook, Twitter, Foodgawker, or news websites that I haven’t had a chance to take a look at all day. As a result, I’ve taken to turning off the wifi on my computer when I study and keeping my phone in another room. Less distraction helps me get through that to-do list faster, and I don’t feel bad about wasting as much time.
6. Enjoy the work day: while I’m at work I don’t think about or do anything school-related. I find it’s important to keep the two separate so when I work on one I’m not distracted by the other.
I recently had a chance to sit down and chat with an old friend of mine named Fran. I find Fran’s story to be very inspirational, and I thought it might be a good idea to share it here so that more people can benefit from his wisdom.
Up to a just over a year ago Fran had spent his life working in a kitchen. He is an excellent chef. He had been working in the food industry since he was a teenager, studied at culinary school, and was generally doing well for himself in the restaurant business. The problem was, he simply wasn’t happy. Now, Fran is a very pragmatic person. Even though he wasn’t happy in his job he knew he wasn’t exactly suffering either. He made decent money and worked with good people; cooking just wasn’t satisfying him on a personal level. It led to an important decision in his life; should he remain a chef, living a decent life, or should he take a risk and change his career, possibly achieving something better but taking on a great deal of uncertainty in the process?
Now, this isn’t exactly a novel story, but what I found really fascinating about Fran was how his positive outlook made all the difference for him when he decided to make a change. Instead of being scared of altering course after he’d been doing a certain job for most of his life, he saw it as a fresh beginning and really embraced the change. He left the kitchen and started reorganizing his life. He said he wanted to go through each aspect of his life and find out what was important to him so he could start living the life he wanted.
“What would make the best person I could be,” he asked me rhetorically, “I wanted to find those things and maximize them.” This started with the basic way he went about looking at his day. “At every point in your day you have a choice,” he went on, “You can either see things in a positive or a negative light.” It’s difficult, he conceded, but just like exercising your body you have to continually condition your mind to see how things can be viewed positively. He even suggested making a mantra for yourself as an easy way to remind yourself to be positive. Happiness, he said, starts on a day to day level. When you wake up, organize simple goals that you know you can accomplish, and then things become much less complicated. That was the secret to his success. It almost sounds cheesy, but I can’t argue with the results. Today Fran is one of the happiest people I know, and he’s done remarkable things in terms of his health and his career in the year he has adopted this strategy.
If you want to try to follow this approach, here’s a few tips he gave me to pass along:
- Be patient with yourself. Growth takes time.
- Exercise your body and your mind equally.
- You always have a choice to be positive or negative about your situation. Try to keep things in perspective.
- Make small, practical goals you can accomplish every day.
- It’s never too late to start making yourself happy in what you do.
Reposted from the alpha blog back in the day - from Spencer Thompson
I think a lot of the world’s problems come from the fact that we are, as a species, very poor at framing things against other things. There are multiple terms for this, including: zooming in vs. zooming out, being proactive vs. reactive, or having a micro vs. macro view of the world. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to be using the latter terminology.
What do I mean by this? If you observe most people, you will notice that the problems that they face are relatively insignificant to everyone but themselves. Of course this is to be expected. However, very often this personal view of the world limits people to a degree that is often damaging. I think that many of the problems that people have are a result of having not been taught to frame things in a micro. vs macro way.
First, some terms. Micro, or microscopic, in this context means small, or things related to you personally. Macro, or macroscopic, means large, or things related to many people. I use these distinctions because most people are familiar with them from economics, and the same sorts of principles apply to people.
Most people live in a bubble. That bubble is defined by their circle of influence. Very often that can be detrimental when it comes to making life decisions. Most of us are raised by our parents to have a very microscopic view of the world. Any hardship that falls upon us is massive in nature, because we have nothing to frame it against. A relationship ending, a job loss, or moving houses can seem like overwhelming tasks or events, even though these are extremely small in nature.
Why is this an issue? Aren’t these problems important? Of course they are, but you can’t lose perspective of where you are in the world. If you spend 3 months stressing about a move to a house down the block, you are probably making yourself sick for absolutely no reason.
One of the best principles I have ever learned is something called the “zoom out, zoom in” theory. Whenever you are facing a problem or situation, try and zoom “out” of your body to 20,000 feet, and look down on yourself. Then look at everyone else on the planet. Have a macro view on what is going on in the world. Are people facing a natural disaster? Poverty? Murder? A massive fire down the block? What is happening? While zoomed out, give yourself the perspective you need to center yourself, and then zoom back in. How important is that problem now? Probably not very.
I was once given a piece of advice, and while it may sound harsh, it is very true and is extremely helpful. The advice is - “nobody cares”. Next time you think that you are having “the worst day ever” because your local beer store ran out of your favourite beer, or because you lost a brilliant employee, or because your friend forgot to buy you something for your birthday, remember - nobody outside of yourself and your circle cares. That should give you enough perspective from a macro level to significantly decrease the severity of the situation, and should allow you to deal with it on a normal level.
This can be applied to life very easily, and more specifically - careers. Most people attack career discovery from a micro level. I want a job = I need a job right now = what job can I get right now. Very few people zoom out to imagine themselves five years from now, and see how that job will affect their life a few years from now. When approaching career development, give yourself the respect that you deserve and take a macroscopic look at your life. Ignore things that don’t align what that view and then make decisions accordingly.
Very few people understand the residual power that small actions actually have. Meeting people for coffee, building relationships, reading books, working out, eating healthy, etc… are all things that take a very macro perspective. They don’t give instant gratification, they take a very long time to pay off, if ever. If you can master the ability to consistently frame your actions against a macroscopic perspective, your short term actions actually become small long term decisions. That small shift should make your life a lot easier, because you put less pressure on every action you take right now.
Look at your decisions like you are picking a stock or portfolio of stocks. Are you going to try and beat the market by taking a micro perspective on an industry? Or are you going to plan 20 years out, take a macro perspective on all industries, and plan around that? Very few people beat the market on a short-term basis, and even when they do, they often lose in the next year. The reason? They are not in control - even though they think they are.
The lesson here is - stop craving instant gratification. We are a society that thrives on it. We make decisions about our lives like we are choosing which app to download. Actually, we often take more time to decide which Angry Birds we are going to download. Why is this? Is life not important to you? Of course it is - but thinking on a macro level is hard work. However, I think that if you can master the ability to frame all of your decisions against something larger, life becomes a lot less stressful. You put less pressure on yourself for each action you take, and you can approach life being thankful for the things you do have. Remember - we have already won the lottery - just take the time to appreciate it.
One of my favourite moments in education is when ideas, thoughts, and assignments seem to speak to one another. At the moment I am taking three classes in three separate departments: Poetry, Liberal Studies, and Interactive Communications. At several points, these classes intersect one another in harmony. Similar themes of compassion, empathy, and the industrial revolution have been brought up in every class. Each one seems to blend into the next and ideas that come up in one can helpfully apply to another. THIS is what education should be and it’s finally happened for me, serendipitously. Even better is when these themes also apply to my work.
In Liberal Studies we have been studying works from the Enlightenment: Austen, Smith, Wollstonecraft and Rousseau to name a few. This week Karl Marx was on the list. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the author of the Communist Manifesto. What surprised and delighted me was his chapter from our selected readings about “Alienated Labor.” Perhaps I am not reading quite enough to know about his entire philosophy on the life of man – but his look into what it means to have a purpose-driven life really inspired me to write this post.
“The increasein value of the world of things is directly proportional to the decrease in value of the human world.” At the time, in the industrial revolution, men were used as tools for production purposes in creating products and profits. This kind of labor has not disappeared. What really resonated with me is what kind of life this produces for the workers:
“The more a worker appropriates the external world and sensuous nature through his labor, the more he deprives himself of the means of life in two respects: first, that the sensuous external world gradually ceases to be an object belonging to his labor, a means of life of his work; secondly, that is gradually ceases to be a means of life in the immediate sense, a means of physical subsistence of the worker. In these two respects, therefore, the worker becomes a slave to his objects.”
When a man receives his wages, it feels as though it’s an apology because the work he does all day does not come home with him. He must suspend himself for hours and hours every day creating and producing for some external source. It is only outside of that work he is able to feed his family and spend time in his community. He is not working for himself but for someone else.
“The worker, therefore feels at ease only outside work, and during work he is outside himself. He is at home when he is not working and when he is working he is not at home.” This is what Marx refers to as forced labor. It is an activity not belonging to the self. In a way, it’s a loss of the self.
When we are working in a job that does not provide us with daily satisfaction, but a paycheque as a means to find satisfaction, are we completely happy?
Some of my classmates made interesting arguments: perhaps this a Darwinian way of being and humans are meant to be unequal (perhaps even miserable at times).
I am quite more optimistic than that. Of course, as long as we receive paycheques, we will always, in some way, be in this “forced labor”, but how can we make this work for us?
If we can engage in our work, find a reason to smile while we do it, our alienation may not be so out there.
Finding a career that is closest to your human nature, what moves you to do better, smile more, and feel that you could keep on giving without feeling like something is being taken, is the way to come home to your work.
Quotations from “Karl Marx: Selected Writings.” Edited by Lawrence H. Simon, 1994
We have a new plant in the office! …not to say that we have a great number of plants here at Sokanu HQ. In fact, this is the very first plant of what we hope will be many.
She’s the species Fiddlehead, of the genus Ficus, which means that she’s from the same family as the common fig tree. We’ve named her Siobhán (shivawn), drawing Celtic inspiration from her fiddle-shaped leaves.
Over the past two weeks I’ve invested a few hours here and there learning about physical-object interaction design using Arduino. It’s been tons of fun—I can picture designing with tangible things instead of pixels and code in a perhaps not-so-distant future.
With a few more hours here and there over the next couple of weeks I’ll enable Siobhán to tell us when she’s thirsty using Arduino, Twitter and a soil moisture sensor from our friends at Earth Easy. Expect to hear from her soon!
I can remember sitting in a tax season “kick-off” meeting, my first as an aspiring CPA working at an accounting firm, concerned about how I may or may not have sold my soul for the next two months and if I would have to say goodbye to my friends for the time being. One of the managers was fielding an obvious question about what expected overtime hours would be and said “don’t stop doing the things that are important to you just because it’s tax season. If there are things you like doing, keep doing them, because if you don’t you wont be happy”. The matter-of-fact way he communicated his point stuck with me, and I’ve made sure to keep those wise words in the back of my mind since.
Those words are certainly ones to live by, regardless of the season or scenario. I like to keep them tucked away and in those moments I feel pressured with studies or tired at work, I pull them out, reminding myself that I’m allowed to take some time to see friends, work out, or just make sure I’m taking deep enough breaths. What I’ve learned in juggling school, work, and some semblance of a social life, is that nothing needs to be completely cut out. My mother once told me that “you can’t dance at all the weddings”, but you can certainly make time for the most significant of them. My constant juggling act has helped me pick up a few tips and tricks along the way:
1.Prioritize. If your exam is this week, put studying first. But if your best friend’s birthday is also this weekend and nothing would make you happier than to attend, plan your study schedule in advance. In my experience, the motivation to spend time with your friends will help you get started on whatever it is beforehand and allow you those few hours off to celebrate.
2. Keep doing the things that make you happy. If you’re the type of person who thrives on physical activity or getting outdoors, make the time for it. Don’t sacrifice your well-being to stay an extra hour at work; find days you can wake up early or leave work earlier to get that time in. You’ll be happier and more productive that way: everyone wins.
3. Put yourself first. Don’t feel bad when you can’t do everything you feel you should be; if you’re tired or need a break, give you regrets to the social outing you aren’t up for. If you don’t feel well, call in sick. Make sure you aren’t foregoing your own well-being to please everyone else. Eventually you will be able to dance at all the weddings, and it will be a lot more fun when you aren’t overwhelmed.
The big day is finally here! We are incredibly excited to announce the Public Beta Launch of Sokanu. We have been working tirelessly to create a platform that answers the question from everyone’s childhood, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” We believe that every single person should wake up every morning feeling passionate about their day. Sokanu is the place to help people discover their ideal career that best fits with who they are as a person.
Our Discover page allows you to answer questions about yourself that unlock information about your personality, abilities, values, traits, and interests. After you answer the initial set of questions, the Discover page shows your top 5 careers that match who you. As you answer more questions, the results are refined. At anytime you can re-answer any question. If a career comes up that doesn’t resonate with you, you can click the “not interested” button and a new career will slide in to take its place. If a career piques your interest, you can read all about it on our career pages.
Our career pages answer the five fundamental questions of a career: what is this career? What does a person in this career do? What does it take to become someone in this career? What is the workplace like? What is the salary? Any question you have about a career will be answered here. See a breakdown of why you are compatible or not with any career. Very soon, you will be able to explore reviews from people working in the industry, future employment projections, infographics, and videos exploring aspects for each career.
Your profile page is where you tell your story and share the moments in your life that led up to your current career, or wherever you happen to be in your life. Share past experiences and describe why every moment mattered to you with text, images, or videos. Keep it short and sweet, or tell the whole story. You can read other stories and find out what makes a person unique in every career. Compare yourself with others and find your similarities. Other people can read about your past and present experiences to find out what makes you a unique individual.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Are there people in your life that are still trying to answer that question? Everything we’ve created is meant to help you find a career in life that will make you happy every day. Discover that passion.
Welcome to the most advanced career site on the planet. This is Sokanu.
For a while I went to the chiropractor regularly, not because I had any physical issues, but because the first session was a gift from a friend. At the time, my emotional well-being had been hit by a truck, and though I didn’t realize immediately, I needed healing. The chiropractor gave me a space to feel open and vulnerable and acknowledge the things that I had been avoiding that kept myself from moving on. He was not the spine-cracking chiropractor most people think of when they hear that word. He worked with energy and encouraged people to always eat well, move well, and live well. I know there is a lot of controversy about alternative medicine, I want to talk about one aspect of this process that really spoke to me.
The Triad of Change
The Triad of Change is a way of making effective choices that will benefit other aspects of your life. If one aspect of your life is suffering and you want to change, no matter how hard you focus on it, it sometimes just doesn’t turn out the way you wish it would.
For example, I have been struggling with my weight for most of my adolescent life. My behavior was making me choose all the wrong things, even though I knew that gorging on food would NOT make me feel good.
Instead of focusing on trying to change my behavior, Dr. Norm told me that I should try to change one of the other aspects of my life on my Triad of Change. Working on another side of the triangle that wasn’t as difficult, would eventually affect the other aspects. This meant I could work on structure or perception. I always find structure to be the one that needs the most explanation, but I understand it as my body movement. If I spend most of my day in one immobile position, I need to start moving more. Along with these bad behavioral issues, this meant my physical activity was also a bit of an issue. As a result, perception was the most achievable way to go.
Instead of trying to look at weight loss as a way to quit being unhappy, I had to look at it another way. Trying to avoid something still means you are focused on that thing. My perception was looking at what I didn’t want, rather than what I did want.
What do I want my future to look like? How do I want to feel?
Looking at my life this way made the other choices, concerning behavior and structure, so much easier. The other sides of the triangle shifted with me as my perception did.
This approach is a great way to deal with any issue, no matter which side you are trying to change. Identify your issue, choose a change that will take less effort, and everything else will fall into place.
From The CEO: Why Career Discovery Matters - At Any Stage of Your Life
"The past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future. - Marilyn Ferguson
I want to talk about when career discovery is important in a person’s life. I get asked a lot about whether Sokanu is applicable for people that aren’t “young”. When people hear the phrase “find a career” they automatically assume that it has to be for a student, either in high school or post secondary. Why? I’ve never understood this - even though I understand that this is the common thought.
Nearly every single person will at some point be faced with the choice - “what do I do for work?” For a large percentage of people, this choice may be forced or pigeonholed due to circumstances. But ever-increasingly, this choice is becoming more and more open. No longer do people decide on their career based on what their parents did (or do). In today’s world, people have a plethora of choice as to where to go and what to do.
However, this is causing some serious problems. The theory of Paradox of Choice comes into play here (more choice is actually worse for us). There are tons and tons of careers, each with their own characteristics and unique nature.
How do we choose? Where do we start? How can we learn more about each career? This is, by definition, career discovery. It is the process of starting from ground zero, and establishing three things:
Who am I as a person?
What are the characteristics of each career? How can I learn about “what” each career represents?
How do I match or “fit” with each career?
These questions should arise whenever your “work” state of mind changes. Of course, you can have a state of mind shift from a student to a working person, but this is just one case. Some others can be:
Making the decision early on as to what career to go after, and how that affects your school choices (both high school & post-secondary courses)
Transitioning from being a parent to entering back into the workforce after 20 years
Being laid off from a position and trying to enter back into the working world
Not being happy in a current career and wanting to switch
Each of these targets a different age and situation - but all have one thing in common. The mindset shared by the person is the same. The question - “what do I do next?” is the most important question. This is what career discovery represents - a starting point. A place to come to evaluate that mindset and then leap to another point. While your education, family circumstance and age may differ - the way you should approach your career should be the same. The “next steps” after that is what differs.
If you’ve ever had to travel for your job you know that it can really be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you get paid to travel, which is an awesome opportunity to see some new places. On the other hand, your stay is often brief, you still have to focus on work, and airports are not exactly the most comfortable places in the world. Here are a few tips to make traveling for work a breeze:
1. Pack light. This is essential. Don’t check bags unless you absolutely have to. Bring one jacket and one pair of (comfortable) shoes that you can wear on the plane. This will save you from losing your luggage, save you time, and decrease strain on your body from hauling a heavy suitcase.
2. Do a little research beforehand. Find things that are close to your hotel—attractions, sights, etc—that you can visit if you have a little downtime. It’s nice to fit in even one or two indulgences when you’re on the road if you can.
3. If you’re too strapped for time to take in the sights, try to at least enjoy the food. You will have to eat sometime! Whether it’s at a nice restaurant with a client or at a food cart for a quick lunch, enjoy what the city has to offer. Every city prides itself on some kind of cuisine, so check it out while you’re there. Even try to be a little adventurous.
4. Use Skype. One of the biggest drawbacks, especially if you’re gone for more than a day or two, is being separated from your friends and family. Even just calling to say goodnight makes this infinitely easier to bear.
5. Work smart and stay organized. Having a clear travel plan and clear outcomes for your trip will take a lot of stress off your mind.
There is a certain wisdom that only comes from experience, as any traveler can tell you. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of travel tips, but try to keep them in mind next time you head out of town on business. They could make all the difference for your job and for mental wellbeing.
What’s most important in your life that contributes to the happiness of your own country? This index takes a look at what is valued most, like education, safety, housing, and 8 other areas in 36 countries.
This interactive tool lets YOU contribute to your country’s index so that it represents what you believe is important in leading a happy life.
Recently, dealing with road rage has become a part of my every day commute. I don’t like myself when I get angry at the back of people’s heads or their profiles as they drive past me. “Idiot” is a term I mutter (or yell) much too frequently.
It wasn’t always this way. Bussing around Vancouver, or even meep-meeping around town in a Car2Go during rush hour, never upset me as much as some of this Vancouver Island traffic can. But now, if someone merges lanes too quickly, or doesn’t respond to a green light as fast as I think they should, they get branded with a mental “idiot” stamp. What is this ridiculous notion that I am the only sensible driver out on the road? I know I make mistakes (leaving the blinker on too long or day-dreaming at a red light that suddenly turns green). All the mistakes I make are the same that I judge, though when it’s me, and a driver gets aggravated, I just give them the “relax” hand gesture. (It’s like you’re going in for a slap but never commit)
I spoke about this briefly on my vlog the other day, and after promising myself I wouldn’t get upset, I felt myself raging this morning about a girl behind me on the highway powdering her face in the review mirror! “Woman, watch where you’re going!” My rage was as red as ever.
Most of the posts I’ve read about road rage are about ways of preventing road rage, or diagnosing yourself as a rager. I want to talk about the source of our pissed-offedness. I think it comes down to a power trip.
Really, we give ourselves way too much credit. When you are a teenager you are allowed to read a book that will tell you most of the things you need to know about dealing with a vehicle. Then if you do well, with some supervision, you are allowed to take that power to the roads. And from there we grow. And our driving ego gets bigger and bigger.
But let’s look at this power. We get to sit in a (somewhat) protective metal box, dictate our direction and speed, and decide when we want to come and go. This is a crazy privilege that we just got! I’m 23 and have been driving since I was 14. My dad would take me on the back roads to steer when I was even younger, and a couple years later, would let me make the gear shifts from the passenger seat. And while I can feel incomplete or even unsure of myself in many circumstances, on the road, I am all powerful. Nope.
I am completely power-tripping. We are moving faster, for longer, and with more accuracy. And now with google maps we have even more confidence about getting to where we’re going. I think this attitude amplifies our bubble-rudeness. I say bubble, because we allow ourselves to say rude things because other people will never hear it. If I ever bump into someone on the street, my Canadian-ness cannot help but apologize, to which the bump-ee will graciously say “no problem.”
I am not a mean person, but in that vehicle I can be straight up rude. And if I think I’m powerful because I am in a car, that means everyone else driving is just as powerful—which we all know—cancels out all the power.
My sensitivity to the woman powdering her face was about my safety and the people around the two of us. I wasn’t angry about her sub-par skill in driving, I was pissed that at any moment, she could change someone’s life, and her own, from a split second of ignorance.
Take the power out of the equation and imagine you are every person in every vehicle. Imagine they are your family, your children, or someone you love. My red-face fades and suddenly it is up to my driving to keep everyone safe in their speeding containers.
I won’t waste precious time fuming at someone’s bumper. I will do better this time.
I recently finished reading the book How Children Succeed (highly recommend it) and took a few core points away from it. The point I want to talk about today is that of character, a term used in the book to explain common traits that successful children have.
Traditionally we think of the same metrics of success for a child. IQ, test scores, grades are some of the most common. These are all things we can “measure” easily and can be ranked on both a micro level (within the classroom) and on a macro level (across the country or the world). The problem with this methodology? These may determine success within the academic environment, but do they really matter when it comes to success in life?
The author, Paul Tough, argues no (for the most part). What matters equally, or more, is character, a set of traits that are difficult to measure - but make us who we are. This quote from Paul sums it up nicely:
"Absolutely, cognitive skill and IQ make a big difference; vocabulary matters. But the scientists, the economists and neuroscientists and psychologists who I’ve been studying and writing about are really challenging the idea that IQ, that standardized test scores, that those are the most important things in a child’s success. I think there’s lots of evidence out there now that says that these other strengths, these character strengths, these noncognitive skills, are at least as important in a child’s success and quite possibly more important."
I want to spend a lot more time talking about the psychology & neuroscience in another post, but I want to take this post to dive into three of the most important character “traits” and how they affect people. Since Sokanu is a human development platform focused on career discovery, many of these traits have a direct influence on the way we approach development. The three core traits I want to focus on are grit, self-control and curiosity.
In my opinion, the most important character trait a human can possess. Grit is exactly what it sounds like - a will to succeed. Persistence in the face of adversity. Running over roadblocks.
The biggest negative to achieving high grades and “success” in academia is that you don’t “learn” how to fail. You don’t know what it is like to go around an obstacle. So the first time something doesn’t go your way, you are unsure of what to do. This is why you see so many “smart” students never reach their full potential in the “real world”.
I’m a big fan of this definition in Wikipedia:
Grit in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait, based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or endstate coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual’s path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization. Commonly associated concepts within the field of psychology include “perseverance,” “hardiness,” “resilience,” “ambition,” “need for achievement” and conscientiousness.
The way I like to think of this is as a way to delay gratification or satisfaction. Most people (especially in this generation) crave instant gratification. We want apps to download in seconds, songs to stream instantly (for free of course) and responses to be sent right away. Imagine the shock then when people realize that success takes years of hard work.
This character trait is incredibly important because it goes hand in hand with grit. Understanding that you may have to delay certain things in order to have a long term gain is incredibly difficult for people. It is the difference between short and long term thinking. Would you rather have $200,000 today or double your money, every day for a month, starting at $0.01?
There is a great quote about entrepreneurship that I believe applies to self-control really nicely.
An obvious one, but it is constantly shocking how many people lack this. Having a genuine curiosity about the state of the world opens up your mind in more ways than you know. The neural pathways created or activated during this process is incredible. Reading books, traveling to new places and talking to people with a different perspective all alter the way you think about things.
Children having natural curiosity is something we should try and keep throughout life. Many kids lose this sense once they think it is “uncool” to learn. It should always be your goal to be curious. Wonder about how things are made, cultures are formed and how the world works in general.
Combined with the two traits above, curiosity completes what I believe are the three most important character traits for building successful people. There are many more I’d like to talk about in our next post. The concept of teaching character vs traditional “success” metrics is an extremely important one. We should all be spending more time building these traits in people we know and love - and understanding how early development of this extrapolates over an entire lifetime. It literally affects every aspect of your life. That is why character is so important.
There’s a list on my fridge, with all the best brain foods that I should keep stocked up in my fridge. Blueberries, salmon, avocado, flax, eggs, chocolate (no argument there)- but what are these foods actually doing for my body?