Like most people, I’ve wanted to be many different things in life. At four, I wanted to be a ballerina. At age seven, a veterinarian. When you’re a kid, it’s kind of fun to decide what you want to be. You can simply change your mind whenever you want! (For example, I found out vets have to watch animals die, so that was a deal-breaker for me.)
As you get older, the question, “what do you want to be?” becomes a lot more stressful.
Writing has been a constant all my life but my career uncertainty didn’t stop when I realized that’s how I wanted to earn a living. In fact, that’s when the uncertainty kicked in more than ever. I wondered what kind of writer I wanted to be. I searched for neat little titles I could label myself with: technical writer, screenwriter, essayist, blogger. Even now, I earn a decent income and have a neat little title on my business card, but I still struggle to find focus in my career. It’s something that’s been on my mind quite a bit this year, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts. Keep reading…
Most of us have a pretty complicated relationship with money. We hate it because it keeps us from doing things we want to do, like travel. Or pay rent. And we love it because it allows us to do things we really want to do, like travel…or pay rent.
It’s understandable because money is a complex topic. I try to support any initiative that helps people navigate those complexities. That’s why I’m a big fan of The Road to Financial Wellness. It’s a financial literacy tour that helps people all over the country build a better relationship with money. Author Jason Vitug launched the event last year, and this year, I’m so excited that I get to be a part of it! Keep reading…
After years of friendship, you get pretty close to a person. You’ve both revealed your quirks, exposed the darkest, most disturbing parts of your personalities, and probably shared a few tears. After that level of intimacy, you know your friend pretty well.
Until you take a trip with them.
Travel can make you see your friend in a totally different light. For example, my friend Dara always knew I liked Bob Dylan. But she had a whole different perspective on this fact after a seven-hour road trip with my playlist blaring. After about thirty minutes, she said, “I guess I don’t really like Bob Dylan.” And after an hour, “Okay, that’s enough.” Then we listened to her electronica and I wanted to shove chewing gum in my ears.
There’s nothing like co-travel to show you how obnoxious, inspiring, whiny, and hilarious a person is. I love traveling with friends, and I also want to strangle them at least once during a trip. Here’s how I’ve learned to make the most of it. Keep reading…
When I was 15, my parents taught me how to drive. It was a terrifying, stressful experience. I swerved in and out of lanes, slammed on the brakes, and sucked at the whole process in general. I still feel bad for putting them through that.
I knew the rules. I’d read the guidebooks. I watched how they did it. But when I got behind the wheel, I felt completely out of control and I didn’t really get anywhere. Sure, I could drive around a parking lot (barely), but at 15, I couldn’t imagine ever getting on the highway or taking a road trip.
Money works the same way. You can follow all the rules–pay yourself first, set up the right bank accounts, draft a seamless budget–but if you don’t feel in control, you won’t get very far. Keep reading…
It blows my mind to know that people know of its existence but barely tap its potential. I was like this for years myself. I created an account, looked around, and didn’t use it again for months.
Then I came back, realized my profile was really bad compared to other people’s, tidied it up… and went on another six-month vacation from LinkedIn.
Once more, I came back, only to see no one had messaged me except people trying to sell me stuff or spam me.
LinkedIn is an incredible platform if you know how to use it. In the past, your choices for finding and connecting with successful people were:
- Contacting them with snail mail.
- Driving to their physical address and arranging an appointment.
- Calling in via phone.
- Going to a meetup event for some association and hoping you’d meet someone useful.
- Using your network in college to try and get introduced.
I’ve always had few friends and a small network, so it would have been very tough for me before the Internet.
So how did I actually learn to successfully leverage LinkedIn? It started when my career was suffering. I needed to learn how to use it to develop my professional identity and increase my job opportunities. After reading many books, articles, a couple of courses on the topic, I could suddenly see clearly.
I was able to talk to over a hundred experienced leaders in my digital marketing and social media field by reaching out cold. This includes leaders of well-known companies that everyone recognizes (think fast food brands and viral buzz-worthy websites).
LinkedIn can really help you meet incredibly successful people with opportunities. It’s a huge avenue to find great mentors and develop yourself. If you know how to use it properly. I’m going to show you how. Keep reading…