Learning for fun.

Are you going out of your way to become the best version of yourself?

Every day you have the potential to learn something new, whether that be a new skill like coding or a new language so that you can connect with a wide variety of individuals. Today, I am going to provide you with three different resources that will make learning a part of your everyday life while also keeping your professional goals in mind. The main opportunities that you have for becoming a profession that continues to grow intellectually would be to attend conferences, taking courses on Lynda and learning others cultures.

Living the conference lifestyle. Conferences can seem like an overwhelming challengeScreen Shot 2017-04-10 at 11.05.02 AM.png for many young professionals because of networking with other professionals or being able to grasp so much information in a short amount of time. Do not fear, I have already suffered through my first ever conference and I have some tips to give to you so that when you walk through those doors you will be prepared for anything. I attended the University of Florida’s Retailing Smarter conference in June 2016. This opportunity was given to me by the David F. Miller Retailing Education and Research Center within the University of Florida’s Heavener Business School. The annual Retail Smarter Conference “brings together a diverse group of retail and industry participants for two days of speakers, panels, round-tables and networking,” while also providing insight the world of retail. There are some tips to remember:

There are some tips to remember:

  1. Research, research, research. There is nothing more awkward than meeting a presenter and not knowing what company they represent. Most conferences will give you an agenda with the speaker’s name and company so that you have the chance to research more about them.
  2. Bring the correct items. Laptop or phone charges, enough business cards and proper business clothes.
  3. Stay organized. Once you have the itinerary you should have a game plan for what you want to attend and the amount of time you should allocate to getting there. Between the multiple breakout sessions, you will come away with more notes, names and numbers than you can possibly remember.

To help you find a conference that is best suited for your interest, here is a link that will connect you to any conference in your area.

Utilizing Lynda. The definition directly from Lynda.com states that it is a leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 12.42.24 PM.pngskills to achieve personal and professional goals. Through individual, corporate, academic and government subscriptions, members have access to the Lynda.com video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.” Recently I finished an online course through the University of Florida called Solving Problems with Computer Software and this course used Lynda to become familiarized with products like Microsft Excel and Word. We also needed to explore the different applications it provides such as learning how to code and using Photoshop. This could create a wonderful extension to your resume with the skills you will learn through the different lesson plans.

International learning. The photo towards the title of this blog is a snapshot of me and an international student from Taiwan studying Mechanical Engineering to obtain her masters degree and is learning English at the same time. I participate as a conversation partner for the English Language Institute a the University of Florida. This is an opportunity to learn something about a culture you do not identify with and to build a connection with someone who can give you insight on international customs if you decide to venture abroad for a career.

Overall, your goal should be to always prepared to learn and establish new skills in order to further pursue a passionate career.

Here is a quote to leave you with about the importance of learning.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

– Mahatma Gandhi

 

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Finding your purpose.

Do you know what your purpose is or how to find it?

Today, I will go over how to not only find what drives your passions but how to use that momentum to pursue your purpose. The three main lessons I have learned about finding your passion would include taking a new perspective, learning from the past and having bravery.

Start With the Right Perspective. Growing up, I believed finding your passion would be just as easy as finding out what you want to eat for breakfast. it is not. This takes time and experience to discover what makes you want to get out of bed and save the world. I also realized that my perspective is shaped by the individuals that I accept into my personal life. This lead to the decision to surround myself with people who would influence me to become not only the better person I inspire to be but also establish the profession mindset that will allow me to reach my goals. Here is a ted talk that explains how not having a passion is totally acceptable. Terri Trespicio is a branding strategist who helps visionaries, experts, entrepreneurs, and businesses communicate with power and precision across media platforms. She consults with a wide range of experts, everyone from surgeons and social media celebs to startups and brand managers. She makes some interesting points about the work passion and why searching for it could potentially stop you from recognizing your destiny.

Learning from the past through journaling. Recently, I purchased A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel. The explanation for this journal states that it “is an interactive journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, mindfulness, and Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 9.39.35 AM.pngself-motivation. It helps readers navigate the confusion and chaos of daily life with a simple reminder: that by taking the time to know ourselves and what those dreams are, we can appreciate the world around us and achieve our dreams.” I chose this journal so that I might be able to right down lessons I have learned through personal experience and professional tips that will continue to inspire me. I personally need motivation to write about my day and would have no idea what to write without a guided journal like the one to the right. 

Some of the reasons you should journal include:

  • Encourages you to write out your goals.
  • Permanent record of our progress.
  • Think beyond the obvious.
  • Provides accountability.

Here is the link to purchase this Self-Exploration journal or a search engine to find one that best suits you.

Being brave to step outside of your comfort zone. personally, I have a social butterfly characteristic that makes going to networking or socializing events enjoyable. Unfortunately, I have a very difficult time articulating what I want to accomplish in life or what path I hope to move towards when focussing on a career. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by john Walsh, an executive at Walt Disney World, shared his secrets to finding a purpose and making the statement into action. Walsh stated that finding your purpose consisted of understanding your values, having individuals with the same goals and being confident in what you want to do. When I say “what you want to do,” I mean understanding how you will affect others through your actions and career.   Overall, do not be afraid to not know what you want but be prepared to find it at any moment.

Please know that it is ok not to know what makes you passionate. It takes time to evaluate what set your heart on fire.

Here is a quote about finding passion and branching out into the world.

Finding ballet gave me passion for the first time in my life. I was always very shy and just wanted to fit in; I never daydreamed about what I wanted to be when I grew up. But dancing gave me a connection to my personality that made me grow.

– Misty Copeland

Thrive, don’t just live.

What constitutes a thriving lifestyle?

Today, I am going to explain the principles of having a thriving career like planning your path, recognizing potential and Triangulation. What does thrive mean? The correct definition of thrive is to prosper or to flourish. This verb is what will set you apart from all other professionals only seeking a paycheck and not looking to make a difference in the world. This is how you can take the leap to be the profession you want others to see while also having the soul of an adventurer.

Planning your path. Many individuals believe this is associated with finding your passion but I will discuss in a later post why not. This includes many different factors of your life like location and career goals. Starting with your location, you cannot thrive in a place that you are not fully committed to. Lifestyle weighs heavily when it comes to wanting to wake up every morning and begin a new day on your best foot and not living each day in a place that does not inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Next, let’s discuss career goals. Do you have any? If not, let’s define the difference between short-term and long-term goals. Short-term would include being employee-of-the-month or getting a higher ranking position that is one or tow levels above your own. Setting long-term goals takes time to fully comprehend and you must plan out while using the S.M.A.R.T. Method. The S.M.A.R.T. Method stands for specific, measurable,  achievable, realistic and time-bound. These characteristics will help you keep on track to reach that goal in the amount of time you put forth towards the challenge. Here is a link that provides multiple goal-setting worksheets from financial to workout objectives.

Recognizing the potential in every opportunity. Not saying that you should not be skeptical of must ideas, but without being open to a new way of thinking could diminish your chance of building something new and wonderful. Let’s look at Andrew Carnegie for example. By recognizing the potential that steel has in reinforcing railways and bridges he would have never capitalized on the steel industry which then made his life’s fortune. Money should not be your only goal when taking on an entrepreneurial spirit but rather the impact will have on others and society as a whole. Multitasking plays a large part in recognizing the potential of either people or possibilities. Emotional intelligence also makes a new opportunity beneficial and down the road will help your professional life thrive.

Triangulation. Triangulation takes focus on two ideas:  looking at a problem from more than one direction to see if the answers line up or disagree, making testable predictions. I received this knowledge from the website VisionCritical. This organization’s slogan is “collective wisdom starts here.” When reading about the topic of Triangulation a thought came rushing through my head, what if we looked at an issue or a problem in the same way a scientist would. Growing up I will attempt to introduce the scientific method into my daily chores such as washing a stain out of my clothes or deciding what to make for dinner. Going through the process of creating a hypothesis or theory, doing the experiment, refining the idea, afterward I would reproduce the experiment and then come up with a working theory. This can be used when creativity in your professional life is starting to become harder to generate.

Let’s go over what you can do to make a thriving career and not a barely surviving one. Start by planning a well-defined path that is reasonable and achievable, then focus on every opportunity while seeing the potential behind the idea, last but not least attempt to implement Triangulation so that you do not have to place you life n hold for every problem you face. Trying to meet the bear minimum will not work in the world of professionalism anymore.

Here is a quote that sums up the meaning to thrive.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

– Maya Angelou

 

 

Getting your foot through the door with the​ help of internships.

What is an internship?

The complete definition of an internship is the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification. Now you may be thinking, but what can an internship really offer me and where do I even start to apply? Today, I will cover the tools you need to land the internship you want and the reason behind why an internship is so important.

The benefits. This is an opportunity to do acquire many different skills like establishing relationships with a mentor or a chance to network. Having an internship can also include college credit and an introduction to the field’s culture so that in the future you know what to expect when applying for jobs. I recently spoke to Dayana Falcon, the Sales Marketing Manager within the office of Consumer Products and Interactive for Walt Disney World and had the chance to ask her a question about internships.

Why should a student complete an intership?

“Internships are very important because it allows students the opportunity to get real world experience in the professional world, network and step out of their comfort zone,” said Ms. Falcon, “And out of those three I would stress that networking is the most important, ask those you admire to breakfast and lunch multiple times during your internship and invest into creating that relationship.”

This then provides hands-on opportunity to work in the field you want and applies your studies to the real world and build valuable experience so that when you apply for jobs you will be a candidate that stands out from the rest. Now let’s move on to how to create a plan for getting the internship you desire.

 

The four main tips and tricks to landing an internship.

  1. Let’s start off with talking to your professors and mentors. These individuals typically have unlimited information to other professionals in your field. The best way to build a relationship with your professor is to step into their office hours so that when an opportunity pops up they know who to pass that along to.
  2. Next would be to network with your fellow students. Many people have either participated in an internship or they know someone who does. If you know someone who holds an internship that you wish to complete then it is important to head straight to the source so that you receive correct information about the process of applying and the atmosphere of the company.
  3. Once again, friends make great resources but there is another outlet most people tend to forget and that is their family members. If you know a relative that holds a career that you aspire to also have then the best chance of you securing a job within that field would be to speak to them about how they built their network.
  4. And the most underutilized, check out internship sites on the internet. The place where everything can be searched is an amazing device to help you not only find the internship of your dreams, but also assist you in the application process.

Another opportunity to help you decide where you would like to have internship would be to participate in a job shadow.

mj

The photo to the right includes me, another individual to the far right who is also a student and an employee who graciously showed us the ins and outs of what it’s like to work in a small boutique firm.

 

Here is a link that includes the 10 coolest internships to help you get ideas of where to start.

To continue with the theme of speaking to individuals who work for Walt Disney World, I had the chance to speak with Christina Oakes, a student at the University of Florida studying business and administration with a specialization in travel and tourism. Ms. Oakes recently was accepted into the Disney College Program which is a semester-long paid internship at the Walt Disney World® Resort near Orlando, FL or the Disneyland® Resort in Anaheim, CA, in which students work in a front-line role at theme parks and resorts, participate in college-level coursework and live in company-sponsored housing with other students from around the globe.

When I asked her about the skills she needed to guarantee success when applying for this internship, she replied,

“A skill I think is very important to get it interview is to research about the company you are applying for. Also about the position you’re applying for. Speak with people that have had that position and what they thought was important in that position. I also think it is very important to explore yourself before your interview. Make sure you understand what makes you different from every other applicant. This can be done by doing personality test or talking to friends and family and asking them what makes you unique,” said Ms. Oakes

Now that you know why you should get an internship and how to find one, what is stopping you?

Here is a quote to inspire you when completing your next internship.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

–  Walt Disney

Building your brand over multiple media platforms.

First things first, what is your brand?

This is the message you are conveying to the rest of the world who you are and what you are passionate about. The actual description of personal branding is “the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.” Now that you have a clear view of what a brand is, let’s talk about four easy steps to build it.

  1. Becoming your most authentic self. The brand is a second image of who you are as a person and a professional. People prefer to make connections with individuals who are also real, so if you appear fake or have a separate persona that you do not identify with on a personal level it will show that you are not comfortable in your own skin. Being completely authentic is considered an understanding of your truest self while being able to deliver this to the entire world.
  2. Public Speaking. This is my favorite. In order for other professionals to hear you must not be afraid to speak. This will not only develop your communications skills but also exhibit confidence in what you say and who you are. It is ok to start small because no one is expecting you to have your own TED talk the moment you start your professional career, but you do need to keep pursuing the high-quality speaking engagements so that you build a following.
  3. Recognize the rate of change for your industry. Technology is constantly changing and in order to be a successful profession in this day-in-age, you must be able to keep up. For example, do you know about Venmo? This is an app that “allows you to pay and request money from your friends. At its core, Venmo provides a social way to pay your friends when you owe them money and don’t want to deal with cash.”I am not saying you will be able to be on top of this game all of the time, but this is another way to capture the attention of other influencers and keep up with what is going on with this generation.
  4. And the most important, to build a presence online! I will speak about this subject in more detail later on.
Business Card Back
Backside of my business card.

Here is a list of 10 Unconventional Ways to Build Your Personal Brand by Entrepreneur. Tips like being silly, starting your own community and doing an ‘AMA’ (ask me anything). Do not forget that items such as a resume and a business card should also reflect your personality. Here is a picture of the back of my business card and it captures my optimistic view of growth in professionalism through a succulent.

Now let’s go over social media and your brand. This is a spin on traditional marketing. If you want a client of a future employer to find you without any issues, you must make the search easy. The three main points of using social media to expand your personal brand include understanding the value of each platform, the purpose of LinkedIn, and the writing styles of twitter.

Respecting each platform. This is when you decide which social media outlet you will decide to pursue. Whether it be on Instagram or SnapChat, you must be able to see the value that each platform holds when creating and distributing your brand. Instagram is perfect if you are a traveler or chef looking for an outlet that will not only showcase what you see but also can provide links and a description of what you are experiencing at that moment. Snapchat is a great platform if your life is constantly on the go and if you attend multiple showcases such as conferences or other public speaking events that may be limited. Next would have to be Pinterest. This is the most underutilized social media platform because it is hard to gain follower and connect to a population when it is more common for females to use the site, but you do have an advantage if you know how to pin and create captivating boards that will place your brand on a new level of interest. Now we can move to the most vital point of distributing a personal brand professionally, LinkedIn.

LinkedIn: why is this so important? If you live in the world of business then you know about LinkedIn. This site connects you to CEOs, popular influencers such as Arianna Huffington and Nicholas Thompson, and can help you find the job of your dreams with the incite of people or organizations you follow. For example, I have a passion for making dreams come true and Disney is a major player in the world of having a personal and delivering the ideal vacation to every family who walks through their doors. I recently became acquainted with a Sales Marketing Manager at Disney who has agreed to help me find the best position to develop my skills set and this is because of networking and also utilizing my LinkedIn profile to follow other Disney professionals and connect with the individual who can make my career. Make sure that when creating your profile you take the time do write your own captivating profile and have a professional headshot as your profile picture. Next will be twitter, the real game changer.

blog 33Twitter, also known as a journalist dream! Within 140 characters you have to establish a thought that will not only reflects your own opinion but contains important information that you feel needs to be shared with the rest of the world. At the same time, you need to make sure that you are consistent on you thoughts not only on this platform but on all others. Here is a photo of my professional twitter which contains the same profile and background picture as my other accounts so that my brand has the same theme throughout the multiple platforms.

Let’s review what you need to remember about distributing your brand over social media. First, you need to understand yourself to create a brand that represents your unique self. Next would not be afraid of public speaking, understanding that technology is always changing and so is your industry and last but no least, your online presence serves a second business card to the entire world so it is imperative that you create a professional presence on the sites that you respond to the most.

Here is a quote that recognizes that all of us need to understand the importance of branding.

 

“Building a profitable personal brand online is not a sprint, and something that happens over night. Don’t aim for perfection early on. Instead allow your brand to evolve naturally over time and focus on providing massive value and over deliver to your target audience. Then you will get more clear over your message and brand as well. Always remember that!”

–  Navid Moazzez

 

The importance of reaching your goals.

Have you ever set a goal and later down the road realize you would not be able to achieve it?

For many people, goal setting is a scary task that causes anxiety and an opportunity for failure. Today, I am going to go discuss the three virtues to consider when setting a goal and tips for when you decide what want to achieve. Let’s talk about values. The three main elements of having a successful chance of achieving your goals are the perspective you take, being flexible with your time and having some grit to accomplish anything.

Setting your perspective. This is the vision you associate with the objective you hope to accomplish. This should be the direction, path, and destination you envision but at the same time, you should be able to anticipate the obstacles that might get in the way. Make the path that you will follow day-by-day rather so that it is more specific and realistic to complete the task than just setting stepping stones that are generic or too broad. Calendars are a great way to follow the path you have set and foreshadow how to designate your time to be more productive. Here is a link to seven different apps that can help you organize your goals and create a calendar so that you finish them here. Do not be afraid if your goal needs to be revised because life can change and force you to follow a new path that may not align perfectly with the objective you originally set.

How far can you stretch? Take it from someone who practices yoga every week, flexibility does not come naturally. Your goals should also be able to bend with the course of your life. You should never be at the point of breaking but rather extending until you cannot go any farther. If you feel that your goal cannot bend the direction you need it to so that you are successful in school or work, it is time to revise and reset your perspective. You will also need to have the ability to step out of your comfort zone and live in the moment. Juggling multiple components of your life can be stressful, but like I said in the previous paragraph about understanding your perspectives, following a schedule or making your life more organized through a calendar can help ease the stressful nature of a busy life.

Get some Grit. The definition fo grit is to have courage and be able to resolve while understand your strength of character.One of my new favorite TED talks that I recently watched is by Angela Lee Duckworth and is known as Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Duckworth takes her knowledge of being a seventh-grade math teacher to create better understanding of what makes a student successful when comparing test scores and I.Q. She came up with the hypothesis that in order to achieve the grade that you desire, or in your case the goal you wish to complete, you must have the willpower to be persistent and have some grit. You can find the link to Duckworth’s talk is here.

sara
Sara Alvarez is in her element when completing research in an entomology lab at the University of Florida’s Entomology and Nematology Department. Ms. Alvarez is taking notes and cataloging ants so provide homeowners with more information on how to defend their yards from vexatious insects.

I spoke to a fellow student who is studying Biology at the University of Florida and getting a masters while doing research in a combined degree program.

Ms. Alvarez spoke to me about finding a path and having the determination to continue to pursue this path even when the world seems against you.

“What keeps me going is that I know I’ll be bringing myself full circle. I want to help other people or even my own children to have the same opportunity to learn everything that I learned,” said Sara Alvarez. “That’s why I would love to be a professor. I get to teach this information to students and they can decide what to do with it. Freedom of knowledge and information is what makes America so great. The fact that we get to share all these ideas with each other.”

Well-rounded, that is what Ms. Alvarez strives to become everyday.

Goals give you a focus because without objects your abilities will be rendered useless due to the fact you have no motivation to inspire to be a better version of yourself. Use the steps of setting your perspective, becoming flexible, and using grit to take advantage of your opportunities. The photo above was taken by myself in the lab where Ms. Alvarez demonstrates the work you must put in to reach your goals.

Here is a quote to help you achieve a successful, healthy mindset to reach your goals.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

–  Thomas Jefferson

Understanding mindfulness and emotional intelligence.

What is being mindful? Do you have emotional intelligence?

Today, I would like to discuss the importance of understanding mindfulness and how to become emotionally intelligent. I fell upon this subject soon after my first week of midterms began. Wanting to excel in all of my classes should be my number one mission while in college, but in doing so I neglected myself and the people around me. My grades began to show the damage I was causing to myself and my friends, who depend on my support on a regular basis, became worried that I was I was not acting like my usually happy, positive self. So I took matters into my own hands and reflected on the things my success depended on. That is how I came into contact with being mindful and acknowledging emotional intelligence.

Mindful is defined as being conscious or aware of something. There are two main components that encompass being mindful: your body and your time.

Mindful of the body. When I first though of this I imagined the physical aspects of my body. Flexing my muscles, doing yoga to increase flexibility and participating in cardio to increase heart-rate are all wonderful activities to start the journey of being mindful of the body. But why should you workout? Christopher Bergland, a reporter for the online publication of Psychology Today writes that scientists have discovered a molecule by the name of irisin and when it is produced inside the brain while exercising. A chain reaction begins and has been proven to activate genes that involve learning stimulation and memory retention. Being active is not the only part of being mindful of the body, eating the proper nutrition also matters. “You don’t need another degree to boost your brainpower at work. According to one author and neurologist, if you want to work smarter, you have to eat smarter,” said CNN reporter Katie Pisa when discussing how different foods create the perfect balance so that your body and mind can function properly. Here is a more in-depth view of the article here.

Mindful of time. Being effective at work or in school can seem like an unreachable goal but with the use of the Pomodoro Technique, you can be on your way to having a productive life. This technique is designed to help limit the amount of time you need to complete a project while also limit the number of distractions you are faced with on a day-to-day basis. Here is a video with an overview of how to use the Pomodoro Technique. How here are the ___ steps to become a master of the Pomodoro Technique:

  1. Find out how much effort an activity requires.
  2. Learn how to avoid distractions.
  3. Make an accurate estimation on how much time it takes to complete the assignment you are working on.
  4. Use the time not just for the work but for a recap of the material and a review of the work just completed.
  5. organize your work based off of your schedule.
  6. Once original objectives are completed, set your own personal objective.

Master each objective then move on to the next.

Recognizing emotional intelligence. The final portion of staying connect to yourself through a positive professional life would be to understand how others respond to you and how you connect to others. At the business school on my campus, there are many workshops that students can participate in to build on their personal professional portfolio. One of these training courses is known as Actualize. This is a student-run business organization that is sponsored by a Fortune 500 Company and has the goal of empowering students to reach their full potential. The three components of emotional intelligence are Self-Awareness, Situational-Awareness and Systems-Awareness.

  • Self-Awareness: Prepare yourself for business by knowing what you want and why you want it.
  • Situational-Awareness: See the needs, problems, and opportunities of business by developing critical skills.
  • Systems-Awareness: Achieve your business goals by knowing how to inspire, influence, and align your network.

All of this information can be found on their website located here. I attending the first meeting that consisted of fun icebreakers to learn the other participant’s names, which actually turned out to relate to the component of being self-aware. Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.29.28 PMThis was an understanding of what makes yourself you and how others also have their own characteristics that can support your abilities and talents. At the end of the meeting, I was able to speak to a participant of the program. Brenna McKeown is a third-year Marketing major at the University of Florida with a minor in retail and a passion for innovation.

 

Why you are deciding to take the step of becoming emotionally intelligent?

“It’s not only important to know what you do, but why you do it,” said McKeown, “being aware of your self and situations your in are the first steps towards being a great leader, and ultimately making a positive impact on the world.”

How Actualize is helping you succeed in your goals?

“It is like no other organization I have been apart of (in a positive way). 70% of this program is comprised of active challenging activities. The other 20% and 10% are made up of developing relations with other members and content. Actualize is also helping me be more accountable toward improving myself, I’m not doing it alone, but with other motived students,” said McKeown.

In the end, understanding how your body functions, how precious your time is and how to be more aware of your own intelligence and others emotional status can break the barrier from you reaching the peak of your own success.

 

Here is a quote to leave you with on how failure only lasts a moment of your time, not your entire lifetime.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

–  Winston Churchill