On Leaders (Short and Sweet)

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It is easy to feel insecure at any level of leadership. Whether you are leading up, or leading a team, it is an intimidating path. Do you ever second guess speaking up, making decisions, or just generally battle imposter syndrome? Same 🙋🏼‍♀️ 

“Great leaders aren't always the smartest or most advanced people in the room. They are the ones who have the courage to not only recognize the problem, but also step out and take charge of the solution." - The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast 

What a reality gut-check. A little sweat equity never hurt anyone, right? 

8 Qualities Of A Truly Great Boss

 

"There’s nothing worse than working for a bad boss." 

The opening sentence of this paragraph alone is immediately relatable. Who hasn't had their run-in with a boss that was difficult to work for? Managing a team was a big adjustment for me, and it has definitely made me acutely aware of my leadership flaws. I'm sure my team can attest that I am still a work in progress! Here are a few take-aways from this morning's read on The Zoe Report.

Here's to getting better every day!

 
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They Recognize Their Employees' Achievements

This one is obvious, but there are caveats—recognition is best when it happens right away. The longer a manager waits to applaud his or her employees for an accomplishment, the less it matters. Additionally, it's important that employees be recognized in an authentic way. Rather than a monthly award, for example, a good manager recognizes achievements in a specific way that feels genuine.

They're Sensitive

Sensitivity may have gotten a bad rap in the workplace, but a manager who treats you like a machine as opposed to a human is just plain awful. Well-liked managers understand their employees have complicated lives. In turn, they are attuned to their employees' moods, so they can sense when there's a dip in morale or when someone is unhappy with a particular scenario in which they've been placed.

They Shield Their Employees

At one point or another, we all have bosses who throw us under the bus when things go wrong. Good managers don't do this—instead, they assume the blame and then work with those who report to them to correct the issue.

They Don't Micromanage

We can all agree being micromanaged is the worst. A good boss trusts his or her team to do their work without needing to be privy to every step in the process or weigh in on minutiae.

by Erin Nicole on The Zoe Report. Read the full article here.

 

Femaleness

 
I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We should all be feminists TED Talk
 
 

10 years ago this summer, I had the privilege of meeting Chimamanda Adichie while she was on the book tour for "Purple Hibiscus." Her work has continued to have a profound impact, but even more so lately. If you haven't listened to her TED Talk on feminism, it is life *clap* changing *clap.* 

While the implications of the gender gap can be broad, more often than not, they are subtle. One day, the inequality will have evolved so that no one will need to worry about it at all, but for now it unfortunately but certainly exists. I love the way Ms. Adichie explains women's roles over time when she says:

 
...A thousand years ago because human beings lived then in a world in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival. The physically stronger person was more likely to lead, and men, in general, are physically stronger. Of course there are many exceptions.

But today we live in a vastly different world. The person more likely to lead is not the physically stronger person; it is the more creative person, the more intelligent person, the more innovative person, and there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, to be creative, to be innovative. We have evolved; but it seems to me that our ideas of gender had not evolved.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We should all be feminists TED Talk
 

There are so many stereotypes around this word that I really haven't considered myself a part of "the feminist group" in the past. However, I have never broken down these concepts; I've never thought about it the way she describes. The term "feminist" seemed so abrasive and argumentative, and for those who know me, I do not fit into the category of either of those adjectives. Now I'm thinking this word fits me more than ever. Chimamanda has inspired me to look beyond my "I'm sorry's" and "it was just luck" excuses, and to begin owning what makes me unique -- one of those things is that I am female, and will not apologize for my femaleness.

 

 

From TheEveryGirl.com: How Successful Women Tackle Mondays

 

I just love TheEveryGirl.com. Just when I start letting myself have the mindset why am I the only one feeling like this, they publish an article that feels like it was written especially for me. I have about 2 out of 9 on the list checked off... so needless to say, I have room to improve. Hope you enjoy the dose of inspo this morning!

Read more here: http://theeverygirl.com/how-successful-women-tackle-mondays


How Successful Women Tackle Mondays

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Kat Boogaard

Oh, Mondays. Yes, we can hear your collective groan from here. Let’s face it—very few people actually look forward to the arrival of Monday. It typically means you need to wave goodbye to the comfort of your couch and the fun of those social gatherings you enjoyed over the weekend, and instead say hello to hours spent at your desk dealing with an overstuffed inbox you neglected for the past two days.

While the idea that there’s some sort of magical advice that will have you tossing back the covers and leaping into the office every Monday morning is probably farfetched, that doesn’t mean you absolutely need to dread it either.

In fact, there are quite a few things you can do to tackle Monday with poise, strategy, and a few less exasperated sighs. Check out these nine tactics successful women implement, and you’ll no longer have to live for the weekend (well, mostly). 

1. They prepare ahead of time. 

We’re all familiar with that Monday morning rush. After two days of sleeping in and living on your own schedule, you’re thrust back into a rigid workday where you have places to be—ideally on time, no less.

Needless to say, the more stress you can save yourself on Monday morning, the better. So, reserve some time to set out your clothes, figure out your lunch, and pack your workbag before your Monday alarm rings. 

By taking just a little bit of time for those basic things, you’re sure to set yourself up for a successful (and hopefully less hectic!) week. 

2. They switch their perspective. 

Think about this: What if instead of looking at Monday as the end of the weekend, you flipped your perspective and viewed it as the beginning of a brand new week?

This is exactly the sort of mindset you should adapt. Thinking of Monday as something that signifies the close of something you really enjoyed will cause you to dread it—and resent it that much more. 

INSTEAD OF VIEWING MONDAY AS THE END OF THE WEEKEND, VIEW IT AS THE BEGINNING OF A BRAND NEW WEEK.

But, can you challenge that thinking and look at Monday as the start of a new week filled with brand new opportunities and accomplishments? Well, suddenly it becomes a lot more exciting.

3. They don't check their phones. 

It can be tempting to scroll through all of your phone notifications before you even roll out of bed, but successful women know better than to start their days (not to mention their entire work week) off this way.

Why? Well, put simply, it increases stress levels. In a study conducted by the University of British Columbia, researchers instructed 124 students and professionals to check their email frequently for an entire week. The next week, they were asked to disable all notifications and were only allowed to check email three times per day. As you might guess, during the second week participants reported decreased stress and increased positivity.

So, resist the urge to reach for your phone first thing, and instead start with something else—like your running shoes or the coffee maker. 

4. They eat a healthy breakfast.

You already know that a healthy, balanced meal is the best way to start your day. But, that probably doesn't stop you from grabbing only a banana, granola bar, or maybe even just a quick cup of coffee while you run out the door. 

But, if you really want to start your week off right, it's important that you leave time for a satisfying breakfast—even if it's just a few eggs, some yogurt with fruit, or a bagel with a little bit of cream cheese. Plenty of research has shown that kick-starting your day with a balanced meal will not only stop that embarrassing mid-morning stomach growling, but also improve your concentration and focus.

5. They give themselves time to adjust. 

Even if you absolutely love your job, there’s no denying that Monday morning can be a brutal transition from the free and easy lifestyle you enjoyed over the weekend.

But, guess what? That’s normal—pretty much everybody feels that way. And, those successful women who seem to have it all together every time Monday rolls around recognizes this, and then give themselves the necessary time to adjust and ease back into their normal work routines.

Instead of diving right in as soon as they sit down at their desks, they start with something smaller—like cleaning through their inboxes or reading a few relevant industry articles. It takes a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things; it's understandable, so show yourself a little forgiveness. 

6. They set their goals. 

Monday brings with it a whole new onslaught of messages, meetings, projects, and urgent requests. And, it becomes all too easy to get wrapped up in the minutiae of each day, spending all of your time putting out fires that crop up—and thus spend almost no time at all on bigger things you wanted to accomplish.

The best way to prevent this frazzled (and ultimately unproductive) state? By using a portion of Monday to set overarching goals for the week.

When you take the time to establish objectives at the beginning of the workweek, you give yourself a better chance of actually finishing larger projects that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle. And, ultimately, it makes you feel that much better about everything you accomplished when your week comes to a close. 

7. They schedule meetings in the afternoon.

While you might not feel like it (particularly on a Monday), science says that mornings are when we all feel the most creative and full of high energy. Successful women know better than to waste that peak time zoning out in yet another meeting. Instead, they save morning time for churning out work—which is especially important when returning to the office after the weekend. For the meetings you have control over, do your best to push them to the afternoon and keep your morning block free. You might be surprised at how much you're able to accomplish. 

8. They don’t sweat the small stuff. 

No matter how much planning and preparation you do or how good your intentions, things happen. Perhaps you get some not-so-great feedback on a recent project or maybe you get a parking ticket and run late for a meeting.

Yes, those things are unfortunate. But, don’t let them ruin your whole week. Take a deep breath, let them go, and move on. You’ll be in a much better position to make it through the rest of your Monday—as well as tackle the rest of your week.

Not many of us look forward to Mondays. But, the beginning of the week doesn’t need to be quite so cringe-worthy. Implement these nine habits of successful women, and you’ll make Monday that much more tolerable.

9. They make time for work and play. 

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The hustle and bustle that Monday brings can be stressful. And, that’s exactly why it’s smart to leave a little bit of time for the things you enjoy—and not just work—in order to balance the scales a bit. 

Whether it’s a happy hour with close friends or an exercise class that helps you blow off steam, reserving a few hours for hobbies and passions will help you avoid viewing Monday as a wet blanket that repeatedly swoops in and consumes your life.

 

Welcome!

 

One of my resolutions for 2016 was to create my own website. It has been a long time coming! So here we are, with three weeks left in the year, and my personal website is finally up an running. Better late than never, right? 

Here’s to self-improvement and meeting goals!

In all seriousness, I have a passion for digital marketing. Through a newly found support system, I have been encouraged and inspired to get out there and pursue it. I love the projects I have worked on so far, which includes everything from nonprofits, to political campaign fundraising, to small business, and everything in between. Each client comes to me with a vision, but apprehensive about acting on it. Through a few brainstorming sessions and a bit of work, we were able to make their dreams come to live. Solving these types of problems and helping businesses thrive is the most rewarding job ever!

In the spirit of staying accountable, I also plan to share reflections, life-hacks, pep-talks, and all around beneficial blog articles in this space. Lord know, I need 'em. If anyone else reads them, bonus! Here are sources I will be calling upon for these articles, to name a few:

  • Brené Brown. If you have not read her book Daring Greatly, then your life has not really begun.

  • Heather Mansfield. The website Nonprofit Tech for Good is a bible. Seriously.

  • Dale Carnegie. How to Win Friends and Influence People has the most simple and timeless life reminders! It takes guts to be gentle and kind. Also it's $3 on Kindle.

  • Google Academy. Can I get a woot woot for online classes and certifications?!

  • Jen Sincero. In good days and bad days, the audio book You are a Badass was something I needed to hear. On repeat.

  • Elizabeth Gilbert. Her Big Magic musings on perfectionism in art and leadership cut me to the core. 

  • Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. Download their leadership podcasts and make them part of your weekly routine. Now. 

  • Life Coaching. Blush life coaching has really helped this millennial put things in perspective. A kick in the pants and a pep-talk wrapped into one package. Woof.

I hope I can help share the life skills, training, and tips that I have picked up on along the way. I am eternally grateful to those who have supported me, listened to me, and encouraged me so far. Love you all!