Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reminder: We've Moved

Just another quick reminder for those of you who may have missed this in your RSS feed or Reader. After three years of Blogger posts on Minneapolis and Chicago Career Girl, we're moving on to bigger things! From the blogs has been born a national online media platform, Career Girl Network.

Come with me to where you'll find news from around the web, the career journeys of the Career Girl Founder and CEO and other influential women around the world, tips and tricks to get ahead in business, and much more. Stay with us as we expand and grow.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Mac Attack

I have long been a PC user. My father was a PC user, my brother was a PC user, so I trusted in my trusty HP laptop for years. About 2 years ago, though, my poor HP laptop died a pretty horrible death. And it didn't make sense to buy a new computer, because my husband had two decent MacBooks in his possession. So I reluctantly moved over to the Mac.

Then....came the iPad. I bought it the day it came out, and my life was never the same. Soon after, I converted to an iPhone. And just a week ago, I officially became the owner of a shiny, light new MacBook Air (pictured above - boy, is it pretty). When buying this MacBook Air, I confidently told the sales guy, "I'd also like to buy Microsoft Office, please." Being trained as he was, he asked if he could just show me the capabilities of the Mac version - Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and Mail respectively. I let him demo the products and I realized, wow, this might just work.

The past week has had quite the learning curve - how do I tap vs. click, not having a "see desktop" button, and moving from a dependence on Gmail and Google Docs to having my own computer to carry around and rely on. But truthfully, I've been going back and forth - sometimes on one platform, sometimes on another. And frustration certainly ensued., I've realized I need to divorce myself from the old ways and throw myself 100% into the "Mac Attack."

I'm now checking Gmail only on Mail and using Numbers and Pages rather than Google Docs. I'm even converting to the iCal function instead of my trusty Google Calendar.

The moral of the story? This is going to be a learning curve. But I guess, when you marry into a Mac-loving family, you've got to jump on board eventually. Here I come, Mac Attack!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Leaving a Legacy

My husband and I, for the last ten days, have rested with love in the arms of family and friends as we said goodbye to a phenomenal man in all of our lives. This man, this amazing man, was one who watched my husband grow up, who taught everyone around him how to love more deeply and give more freely of themselves, and who touched my life personally in a deep and profound way. Last summer, my husband and I were privileged to have him perform our wedding, bittersweet with the fear that we may soon lose him to pancreatic cancer. That fear became a reality on Friday evening at 6:00pm. And while our sadness is real and painful, I take great comfort in knowing that his legacy is long-lasting and ever present in the lives of everyone he met.

Yesterday, we celebrated his memory, surrounded by his friends and family - relationships built over the course of a beautiful and full life - I looked around and learned a little about what's really important in life. At the end of the day, it's about the relationships you create, and the legacy you leave. He will always be remembered as a man who gave of himself to others, who healed the pain of his patients, who loved with reckless abandon, and who lived life to the very fullest.

We work all our lives...for what? For money? For recognition? For promotions? No. We work so that someone will say this, "I am inspired to be a better person because of you. I believe I will live a better life for having known you. I have learned more about myself because you have been in your life." Those are the things I heard yesterday, and that is exactly what I want to take into consideration when making choices in my life. I hope we'll all consider our legacies when making choices in our lives, and to fill our legacies with love and kindness (and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of ambition).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Instant Momentum

Momentum is an incredible thing. And even more incredible when you didn't realize it was coming. Just Monday, I completed my last day at my full time job, and let me tell you, the momentum it has provided over the last three days is phenomenal. It's as if the Universe said, "Alright, you asked for it, you got it." Everything I've said over the past three years about my dreams for this blog, this business, my writing - it's all coming together with frightening synchronicity. People I shouldn't be running into, I am, and they're giving me amazing insight. Individuals I've meant to contact are calling me and saying, "How can I help?"

Leaving one situation, and moving into another, has provided momentum in this journey I am so thankful for and graciously holding on to. I just want to be sure it keeps going. I know I'll encounter obstacles and naysayers along the way, but it has been fantastic that in these first few days, I haven't. All I've felt is love, support, and excitement for my choices, and readiness for the opportunities I'm going to create - not just for me, but for all women and girls.

This weekend, Twitter Husband and I head to Minneapolis for a very short trip. For any friends we don't see, we'll catch you next time. This one is all about family. It's been a long time, sadly, since I've been excited to go to Minneapolis. But now, knowing that I'm taking Career Girl to the next level and will be focusing my efforts in MSP as well, I'm excited to go back and enjoy the weekend. I hope it will be filled with love and joy of family, and of course, I hope my momentum will continue and send me launched even further down this wild and beautiful path I'm creating.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm Coming Alive!

A dear friend of mine has the quote above on her desk, and frequently reminds me of its importance. It is her mantra, her creed, and I hope she won't mind that I've adopted it today for the purpose of this post.

Some people spend their lives asking themselves this question - pursuing a dream of doing something that makes them come alive. I've been blessed to know for most of my life what makes me come alive. I knew when I posted pictures of Hillary Clinton in my room instead of the Spice Girls. I knew when I babysat for the next door neighbor and wanted to teach her about environmentalism instead of playing Barbies. I knew when I took my first women's studies class in college. My mission in life, and the thing that makes me come alive, is changing the world for women and girls. It's in my blood, my soul, and my hands. And as I posted a few weeks ago, when you find your mission, you will feel its demand.

With that said, the big announcement from the Career Girl world is this - I've decided to leave my full time job and pursue my mission full time. There will be huge changes coming from Career Girl - events, a new website, opportunities to connect nationwide. And you'll see a lot more from me personally as well. I'm writing, I'm pursuing speaking opportunities and exciting freelance work as it comes. I have never been more resolved or ready to tackle something in my entire life.

Minneapolis Career Girl and I have always connected over the Broadway show, Wicked, and I guess you could say I'm "Defying Gravity" today. I'm taking a huge leap and determined to show the world what makes me come alive. I hope you'll stay with me through this journey and become even more engaged with Career Girl Network as time goes on. Cheers!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Power of Peer Pressure

As you all know, I've become quite a yoga addict. What I haven't blogged about yet is my other "very expensive habit" developed in the last month or so - spinning! And not just any spinning, FlyWheel. I've tried spinning a few times in the past, and never really hated it. But I never really loved it either. But I love love love FlyWheel. They crank up the music and turn the lights down, so it's just you and your bike and the teacher. You don't have to worry about what you look like, or how much you're sweating. It's phenomenal.

So the past few weeks, I've averaged 2-3 classes per week, a combination of yoga at numerous studios, and FlyWheel. But what I've realized is that my newfound love of class-based fitness has made my regular old gym workouts damn near excruciating. On Tuesday night, I did probably one of the hardest workouts of my life at FlyWheel - 45 minutes of hell on wheels, literally! But I didn't want to give up, I didn't back down. I worked harder and harder and it paid off. Why, then, was my 30 minute treadmill "run/walk" last night at the gym the most painful workout in months?

I think it's the peer pressure! We all hear peer pressure as a bad thing, but when it comes to workout classes, it's a good thing. It's why I finally decided to try to "flip my dog" in yoga. Because if everyone around me was doing it, well then damnit, I should too. It's why I push myself harder at FlyWheel. They have a "torque board" that compares everyone in the class, making you want to go harder to beat that person right above you. It's peer pressure at its finest. There is something to focus on, something to strive for, people to compare yourself to (don't lie, you do it too).

But with working out at least 5 days a week, spending the money for 5 classes a week probably isn't the most financially sound decision. So I need to figure out a way to make my regular gym workouts work for me. Maybe it's trying classes at my gym (they don't have a great selection, but I could try to swing it). Maybe it's writing more clear interval workouts. Who knows? What I do know is, I don't want to have another agonizingly painful and boring treadmill workout like last night again!

So the verdict is, peer pressure works for me! Ha!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Becoming a Yogi

For years, I've been a perpetual yoga "trier". I try, and I try, and no matter what I do....I still hate it (evidenced well in this post from August of last year when I actually left a yoga class because I hated it so much). So a few weeks back, my husband cringed when I said, "I'm going to yoga tomorrow." My dear husband sat patiently waiting for me to come home, cry a bit about how much it sucked, and lament about how I was never going to purchase a Living Social deal for a yoga studio again! But alas, a smiling happy wife walked in the door that day and exclaimed, "I LOVE YOGA!" (Mind you, this was after I called my mother-in-law, the most dedicated yogi I know, to tell her how much I love yoga. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.)

So then I did what any good overachiever would do....I signed up for a two day hot yoga class (yup, when I'd only done yoga twice...I signed up for 14 hours in a 90 degree room). Despite the big bowl of crazy that choice was, it was a fabulous choice. While I had to modify many many poses and wanted to jump out a window during downward dog about a hundred times, overall, I learned an extraordinary amount about myself, and a little bit about yoga, too.

Last week yielded no yoga for me, as I was bombarded with issues at work. But last night, I returned and was, I'll admit, a little nervous. Would I still like this? What if the old "I hate yoga" girl came back? But she didn't. In fact, I felt strong, capable, and poised (except in balancing poses, when I mostly just laugh and fall over). I was happy, and for the first time, didn't hate downward dog so much.

And my biggest accomplishment - I "flipped my dog", a pose that during my first few classes, I rolled my eyes at. But last night, I did it! For those who don't know  much about yoga, examples below of:

Downward Dog
 and the (new favorite pose), coming out of downward dog
The Flipped Dog

I was so happy when I left yoga last night, I spent most of the evening jumping and dancing around the kitchen - happier than I'd been in weeks, forgetting about the crap at work, forgetting about my 7am phone call, cooking, hanging out with my husband, etc. I didn't even turn on the TV last night to relax into the Kardashians. I had already found my zen state.

Who knew? I could become.....a yogi?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pick Your Battles

I've been working through, with my leadership coach recently, a number of issues with setting appropriate boundaries in the workplace. For my entire career I've been a "whenever, whatever, no rest when you're climbing the ladder" kind of person. But since marrying a man I love to be around, developing friendships I want to nourish, and finding a renewed dedication to my own health both physical and mental, working the kind of hours I've been working just isn't sustainable (or enjoyable) anymore.

My coach said, "Any idiot can work 25 hours a day." And it was enlightening to hear. I was running myself ragged trying to do what no intelligent, thoughtful person should do. So I've begun to set some important boundaries in my life. One of those is working an appropriate number of hours in a week.

Then, however, comes the hard part....pick your battles. Boundaries are boundaries, right? Or is it not that easy? Boundaries aren't so easy when you realize someone else is going to get yelled at for the boundaries you needed to set. Boundaries aren't so easy when you feel like you're not doing your job if you set them. Boundaries are hard, I'm learning. Incredibly hard. But I guess, sometimes, you have to pick your battles. And this weekend, working on a Sunday is a battle I'm not going to fight. Boundaries apparently aren't working well for this career girl.

Comment or send me an email - what do you do in your career to set appropriate boundaries and stick to them?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What would you sacrifice?

I recently read a book about Mother Theresa. Most people don't know that while Mother Theresa was a beacon of giving and love to hundreds of thousands of people around the world, she was also a Catholic sister who struggled greatly with her faith. She called it her "dark night" - difficulty believing in God, difficulty justifying her actions. It's surprising when you hear it, that someone so devout and selfless could be so conflicted.

Mother Theresa is the world's picture of self-sacrifice. She gave of herself freely and willingly all her life to affect the lives of those who were the poorest and most destitute in the world. She did so, without reservation, because it was her calling.

So I asked myself, reading this book, was Mother Theresa happy? She always wore this simple smile. But knowing how she struggled with her faith, I wondered, deep inside, did her work make her happy? (The true answer here is that Mother Theresa would say that happiness is something only God can provide, and that we shouldn't focus at all on human happiness, but go with me here....)

Then, I asked myself, Would I be willing to make the kind of sacrifices Mother Theresa made?.......for anything? Would I make those sacrifices for my family, for my nieces and nephew, for my husband? Sure I would. I would sacrifice everything I had, believed, wanted, to ensure their safety and happiness. But then comes the questions I asked about Mother Theresa....what about my happiness?

There's the question, then. What would I sacrifice for my own true happiness? My job? My home? My expensive gym membership? What if all of those things disappeared but I was sublimely happy?

I hate when I write posts that have no point...this one doesn't, really. Just a question being asked. What would I sacrifice to be happy?