How to create your vision board in seven simple steps

vision board

How many goals and desires have you repeatedly put off until tomorrow, next month or next year?

If you’re like most people, you have at least one or two things on your list that have been there for a while now. Sometimes we put things off due to procrastination. Other times, it is a lack of organization or confidence that keeps us from working toward our goals. Although we should chip away at our goals all year long, the new year is a great opportunity to assess where you are and where you would like to go.

It’s a well-known fact that writing your goals down increases the chances of you reaching them.  A Harvard Business study revealed that:

  • 83 percent of the population does not have goals
  • 14 percent have a plan in mind, but they are unwritten goals
  • 3 percent have goals written down

The study found that the 14 percent who have goals are ten times more successful than those without. The 3% with written goals are 3 times more successful than the 14 percent with unwritten goals.

Some people take it a step further by creating a vision board. The vision board is a creative visual representation of what you want your life to be. There are many ways to approach it. Below is a seven-step process to walk you through it.

  1. Write a list: Create a list of things you want to accomplish or focus on in your life. These can be tangible goals like “get a promotion at work” or “work out three times a week.” They can also be intangible goals that revolve around themes like “more happiness” or “increased creativity.”
  2. Gather supplies: Create your vision board on a large poster board, sketch pad, large sheets of paper or cork board. Search through magazines for images that represent the life you want. You can also use lettering and other arts and crafts to help bring your vision to life. Get creative with it!
  3. Determine a time span: Decide how long you want to give yourself to accomplish your goal(s). It can be several months, a year or longer. A year-long timeframe is a favorite among many because it takes time to cultivate and recognize change, but choose whatever duration works best for you.
  4. Set targets: Create a few milestones that will challenge you along the way.
  5. Make your goals public: Another way to help ensure that you are successful is to share your goals with the people in your life. Once you share some or all your intentions, you have people who can keep you accountable.
  6. Keep your vision board visible: Place your vision board somewhere where you can see it regularly as a constant reminder.
  7. Evaluate your progress periodically: Check in with yourself regularly to evaluate your progress along the way. Are you doing as much as you can be doing to reach your vision? Are you doing what you said you would do? If not, don’t beat yourself up; just get to it. If so, congratulations – you are on your way to making this your best year yet.

Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your success. Once you accomplish the goals you set for yourself, remember to pause for a celebration. You deserve it!

Happy New Year.

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Workplace Etiquette: Don’t be “that” person

istock-office-whispering-gossip-640x360Life is not a sitcom.

When we go to work, we are not checking in on the set of The Office, or Mad Men, or Parks and Recreation. If life were a sitcom, the inappropriate things some of us say and do at work would be OK. But this is reality. We don’t get to take our makeup off and step out of character. In real life, we have to come back to work, day after day, as ourselves, and face the coworkers who we may have offended or annoyed just the day before.

Sometimes work place etiquette is fuzzy. People are different, born into different cultures, subscribe to different values and have different personalities. This is diversity that should be welcomed and embraced in the workplace. I am not suggesting that everyone in the workplace behave the exact same way. I am suggesting that we all be more aware of our actions and how they may affect others. What impression are you making each day? What is your workplace brand? These tips below will help make sure that your reputation and relationship-building stay in tip-top shape.

  1. AVOID GOSSIP.

Sigh. This topic. Again.

In general, gossip is bad. But at work, it’s even worse. Successful, productive people don’t spend much time entertaining gossip because they are too busy making moves, and making an impact. Think about it – when you look around your office, who are the gossipers? Are they the ones doing good work, getting recognized and getting promoted? Sometimes yes, but usually, no.

When I started this list of workplace etiquette blunders, gossip was the first thing that came to mind. No surprise there. Survey after survey places gossip at the top of the list of peoples’ workplace pet peeves. With that many people against it, why is it so prevalent in the workplace? One reason may be because oftentimes there are one or two gossip ring leaders, and a whole group of people who go along with it just to go along and not make any waves. Don’t be the “go-alonger.” Make waves by not participating. Eventually people will notice that when the gossip begins, your participation ends, and they will stop coming to you with it. Do know that you may be less liked by some for your lack of participation in their gossip fest – but that is OK.

2.   RECOGNIZE WHEN PEOPLE WANT THEIR SPACE.

Recognize when people are not in the mood for talking. If they constantly glance away from you, back into their book or magazine, that’s a clear sign. If they are ON THE PHONE, that is a CLEAR sign.

3.  TALK LESS.

In meetings, be aware of who is talking the most, and who has yet to utter a word. If you notice that you’ve done all or most of the talking, take a step back and give others a chance to participate.

During one-on-one conversations, practice active listening to fully absorb what the other person is saying. You’ve probably heard that most of us “listen to respond” instead of “listening to understand.” This is true. Oftentimes we are so focused on saying the right thing or the smart thing that we’re twenty steps ahead trying to craft a response.

4.  DON’T OVERSHARE.

I once had a coworker casually reveal to me that she had an STD. Outside of that, I knew nothing else about her. We were on our very first lunch outing.

While you may be proud of your life (you should be), and you may believe that honesty is the best policy, there are some things you should keep to yourself or wait longer to reveal at work. As proud as you are, sharing personal details make many people feel uncomfortable, which in turn may cause them to avoid you.

Besides, you want to be known for your stellar work, not for your juicy stories

5.  DON’T BE EMOTIONALLY DISCONNECTED.

We get it. You’re busy. There’s so much going on, right? But you should never be too busy to exchange a “hello” or “good morning.” That stack of paper your head is always buried in won’t go anywhere if you look up to acknowledge your coworker or – God forbid – engage in a short conversation with them.

Or perhaps you are a private person who likes to keep work peers at an arm’s length. In this case you should select a couple of topics that you deem to be safe topics to discuss. Make it seem personal without it really being anything too deep.

The more disconnected you are from people, the more disconnected they will be toward you. You may prefer it that way most of the time, but one day you’ll look up and realize you have no one to swap a joke with or even run a workplace challenge by. This is not a good position to be in.

THE END.

When I started this list it quickly grew to 30+ items. In the interest of keeping it short I chose to share the first five on my list. I will share more in the future, but in the meantime, feel free to add your own workplace pet peeves or etiquette tips in the comment section.

Cheers! Let’s keep it classy.

How a hashtag changed my life

kangoo

It was December 31, 2016 – New Year’s Eve. I sat sprawled on my living room floor. The ball was an hour away from dropping as I rushed to glue my life goals onto a white poster board. This was a vision board party featuring me, myself, and I – a party of one. I was surrounded by images of people laughing and hugging. All around me were cut-outs of affirming statements about love, faith, and health. I glued these items to the board and called it my future.

For much of 2016, I had given up on optimistic thinking. Failed jobs, failed romances, failed friendships, failed everything, had whittled my optimism down. But in a last-minute push as the new year loomed, I committed to taking control in 2017.

I picked up the sheet of paper that listed my 2017 goals and read them aloud to my mom, who was in and out of sleep on the couch nearby. Her job was to help me add or eliminate goals. When I got to “More me time,” she woke up. “More me time? But your whole life is me time. You work from home, travel alone, workout alone, go out to eat alone, pamper yourself – alone. How much more “me time” do you need?”

I laughed.

She was right, so I crossed “Me time” off the list and replaced it with “Be more social.” This revised goal got her full support, because more social might lead to a romantic relationship which might lead to grandkids – but I digress.

While all the goals featured on my vision board were important, I zoomed in on “Be more social” – which eventually became #MoreSocialIn2017 – as the flagship goal around which much of my time and energy revolved. It began as a nudge for me to stay connected to the world and to loved ones, but turned into a life changing experience.

#MoreSocialIn2017 is my “life hack.” It’s a challenge to myself to say “yes” more (thanks, Shonda Rhimes). I dove head first into hot yoga, rock climbing, patio lunches with strangers, music festivals, helicopter rides, speed dating, kickball, online dating – you name it, I did it. And it was fun; but amidst the excitement, I realized that it was more than just fun. People started asking about it. “Tell me about your year of socializing,” they’d say. “I’ve never seen anyone transform their life and mentality so quick.” Not only were they watching – they were cheering me on and looking to me for inspiration for their own lives and goals. They also approached me differently.

Everywhere I went, people were drawn to me. Young and old, preppy and hipster, black and white and everyone in between. People went out of their way to engage in conversations, invite me to events, and invite themselves to my comings and goings. That was my confirmation that this 2017 theme was having a positive impact on my life. A fact which I’ve always theoretically believed came to life in a real way:  sometimes how people treat us is a reflection of the energy that we project. Sure, some people are just plain mean – or disinterested, but my #MoreSocialin2017 experiment confirmed that the more receptive and positive we are, the less likely we are to attract the negative types.

My eyes were also opened to just how much of life I was missing out on. Being an introvert, I took pride in my Friday evening dates on the couch with myself, enjoying a home cooked meal while cheering the Shark Tank contestants on. When friends joked about me being a hermit I laughed, because I am who I am, right?

Wrong.

The truth is, my hermit lifestyle grew to be a literal shell. I used it to protect myself from disappointment and vulnerability. Sure, I often just really enjoyed relaxing at home with a meal and a drink, but sometimes that was just the safer choice. The more I avoided people and the places people frequented, the more I avoided potential awkwardness, disappointment, rejection, regret – the list goes on.

The more I avoided people, the more I could throw myself into running, working out, traveling (solo, of course), reading, writing and other things that required little or no human interaction. I told myself that these were healthy activities (and they are). But how good was it to be only committed to things that required zero participation from others?

Once I allowed myself to open up to people, my life opened up, as well. Not only did I create new possibilities and experiences, my former relationships where strengthened, too. #MoreSocialIn2017 allowed me to make room for love – my love for life, people, myself, and experiences.

I made new connections, dived into a few new experiences, met a potential life partner, and found myself (again) because of #Moresocialin2017. Yes, a hashtag changed my life. Will these things last? Maybe, maybe not. But the memories and experiences garnered along the journey of openness and adventure will.

As I write this, it is October. Little kids and big kids alike are getting their Halloween outfits together. Everyone knows that once the trick-or-treating is over, the other holidays are close behind.

I’m trying to live in the moment, yet I can’t stop thinking about what’s next. What happens after #MoreSocialin2017? Is it #EvenMoreSocialin2018? Or more “something else” in 2018? I have no idea. Perhaps it will come to me as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, like it did last year. While I try to figure it out, I encourage you to find your “theme.” More fit, social, bold, joyful, adventurous, calm – whatever it is –  commit to it! Do the thing that scares you the most. As you choose your focus for the new year, remember that we often resist what we need most. Go ahead – be more _______________ in 2018.

You’ve got this.

Click here for your copy of the “Be More” eBook – a document that lays out the 10 steps I took to making #MoreSocialin2017 a success.

Author Bio:

Rashida Powell is a marketing communications professional based in Metro Atlanta. To learn more about the hashtag that changed her life, search #MoreSocialin2017 on Instagram where she shares updates as @rashidathechameleon.

 

Kicking the hell out of Option B when Option A disappears: Insight into Sheryl Sandberg’s latest book – Option B

Eavesdroppoption bing.

We’ve all done it – either intentionally or because we were within earshot of a conversation and there was no avoiding it. This is how it felt reading Sheryl Sandberg’s latest book, Option B.

Option B is Sheryl’s account of becoming a widow, mourning the loss of her husband, and coming to terms with her new life as a single mother. She began writing the book less than a year after the sudden death of her husband, Dave. He collapsed on a treadmill while they vacationed at a Mexican resort.

Option B is no page turner, nor is it entertainment. At times I felt like I was prying – stepping into a part of someone’s life I had no business being in. It felt like I was witnessing a therapy session, a never-ending experiment with catharsis, a trail of painful tears. But after months of pushing through, I finished the book and walked away with lessons on resilience. She describes her latest work as an account of “the capacity of the human spirit to persevere.”

The premise of Option B is that our first option, Option A, may not always pan out, so it is up to us to make the best out of Option B. In Sheryl’s case, Option A was a life with her husband Dave as she’d known it. Unfortunately for her, life had other plans.

If you’ve experienced traumatic experiences you know how challenging it is to take the next steps. And if you know someone who’s experienced trauma, you know how hard and uncomfortable it can be to find the words and actions to comfort them. Sheryl takes her experiences and learnings and provides guidance for people in both categories.

For those who experience trauma, Sheryl shares research and ideas on what gets in the way of recovery. One of the concepts she shares was developed by psychologist Martin Seligman. Martin believes that the “three P’s can restrict recovery:

1)      Personalization: the belief that we are at fault

2)      Pervasiveness: the belief that an event will affect all areas of our lives

3)      Permanence: the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever

“Recognizing that negative events aren’t personal, pervasive or permanent makes people less likely to get depressed and better able to cope.” In addition to addressing resilience in our personal lives, she discusses the resiliency of teams and companies. The lessons in Option B apply to many scenarios – from grief, to illness, to job loss and beyond.

In the case of people trying to find ways to comfort loved ones, she recommends not avoiding the topic. Address the elephant in the room. Let people know it is OK to talk about their feelings. She also suggests being more active in our attempts to help; instead of saying “let me know if you need anything” just show up with a pot roast, or whatever else would make that person’s life a little easier in that moment.

What I enjoyed about the book?

It is raw and honest. She has so many thoughts on her mind and she does not care to organize them because this is her personal account and seemingly part of her healing process. I commend her for coming out with this story as soon as she did. In addition, I appreciate that it is research-based. There is a lot of emotion, but she backs her thoughts, ideas and experiences up with facts.

What I dislike about the book?

Parts of the book read like an apology. Sheryl made several attempts to apologize to the Lean In critics who felt that she was being insensitive to the average working woman (average as in “not rich” like Sheryl). Now that she’s a single mother facing adversity, she realizes that it’s not always as easy to Lean In as she once thought it was. This is growth on her part. Though an account of this realization has a place in Option B, there were too many attempts made to apologize. I’ve mentioned the disorganization and the cramming of so many ideas into one work, but given the circumstances, she gets a pass from me.

To end things on a positive note, realizing there is a need, Sheryl created an active, online community where people can find others who are going through or have gone through similar painful experiences. The site, optionb.org, allows people to see stories and testimonials, and join groups for grief & loss; health, illness & injury; discrimination, incarceration and more.

Check it out and share with others who may need it. And remember, there is healing in sharing – not only for yourself, but for others as well.

You can’t heal what you hide!

Q & A: What is your go-to dating activity?

friends-with-ex

Everyone has a preference when it comes to first date activities. The following responses to the question: “What is your go-to first date activity?” may give you a few new ideas.

QUESTION:

letsgojames One of my first dates a while back was brunch, followed by indoor rock climbing. It was fun. She wasn’t an active person. She enjoyed it because it was something different.

_.quiet.storm._ Dancing, live music, comedy. Anything fun.. I’m NOT going to your house. I’d LOVE an active date!!!!!!!

rachaelblulotus I like the idea of an active first date! But if it doesn’t allow for a chance to talk then that’s a no go. I avoid the movies on a first date…boring and no convo. But dancing, comedy, poetry lounge, rock climbing, paint & sip, hiking…I’m up for it 😊

Ed Kim Probably coffee or drinks to get to know the other person.

the_social_introvert Something fun and light!! Definitely not a movie!! I’d do something like a museum, bike ride in the park with picnic, a sporting event, a menu tasting, an art show, etc.!!

Brent Gaston Myself I’d like something simple like dinner and just talking. Doesn’t have to be fancy. When you try to do something like walks in the park women don’t respond well to stuff like that.

@ianreee I prefer the outdoors.. Such as walking, park, mountain climbing.. You’ll be more engaging, yet have more fun & share lots just in a day.

@CarltonHargro First date should always be coffee/tea/drink — something easy, inexpensive + made for conversation. Let me see where your head is 1st.

Adam 1. Usually eating, but not a full blown dinner.  2. That actually sounds like a lot of fun (an active date). But I know most people wouldn’t like that.

@LBrothersMedia 1. I don’t really have one go to plan. But it’ll probably include dinner.

@taut_7  those types of first dates are dope. you can learn a lot about a person doing stuff like that.

This Q&A was the most popular of them all. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts and keep the ideas coming!

If you haven’t already, snag your tickets for “Gwinnett Gets Matched” single’s mixer.

Event Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/get-matched-in-gwinnett-singles-mixer-tickets-35763189663

Event Description:

Enjoy cocktails, conversation, and real connections with eligible singles in a no-pressure setting. With The LONA Art Gallery as a backdrop, you’ll experience music, spoken word, a comedian stand up set, interactive activities to help break the ice and more.

Admission price: Includes one free drink ticket and hors d’oeuvres.

Dress code? There’s no strict dress code, but come dressed to make a good first impression.

 

Q & A: “Fellas – what makes you more likely to attend a social event?”

cigar bar

I’ve been picking the brains of my friends about various dating topics and compiled them for you to see. The more we talk, the more we’ll understand! 

Question: Fellas – What makes an event more appealing? What elements make you more likely to attend a social event?”

Answers:

Brent: …having an event at a cigar bar would be nice and I think that would draw a nice crowd. Free will always be a winner for these events because no one wants to pay to meet someone. I like the art galleries and things but I think you’ll get a better response at a cigar bar.”

Desmond: “I can’t speak for others, but I like going to cigar bars, sports bars to watch games, and go to museums and parks. These aren’t places where I’m actively looking for a mate, and I’d feel uncomfortable if my regular hit spots turned into meat markets.

Dennis: “You can never go wrong with having an old school house party with good food. No expectations except that everyone get along and have a good time. The club scene is played out.”

And there you have it folks. It sounds like the men just want a laid-back experience, and they prefer not to mix their dating life with their leisure life. 

If you haven’t already, snag your tickets for “Gwinnett Gets Matched” single’s mixer.

Event Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/get-matched-in-gwinnett-singles-mixer-tickets-35763189663

Event Description:

Enjoy cocktails, conversation, and real connections with eligible singles in a no-pressure setting. With The LONA Art Gallery as a backdrop, you’ll experience music, spoken word, a comedian stand up set, interactive activities to help break the ice and more.

Admission price: Includes one free drink ticket and hors d’oeuvres.

Dress code? There’s no strict dress code, but come dressed to make a good first impression.

A book review: “i hate the internet”

i hate the internet cover

I hate the internet too, sometimes. With all its intrusiveness, and filtered-ness, and make-everyone-disconnected-ness – my feelings toward the internet have long been conflicted. That’s why, when I saw the book “i hate the internet” in an airport bookshop I bought it. I thought we would be kindred spirits. I imagined myself reading the booking and nodding into it like: “Yaaaaassssss…soooo true.” Wrong. Instead, I found myself squinting in disbelief as I read through the most farfetched storyline I’ve ever come across in my life. I wish I could tell you that Jarett Kobek’s “I hate the internet” was the best read ever – but it wasn’t.

The story begins with Adeline (she’s kind of famous), who’s received a threatening message on Twitter. The threat: “Dear slut, I hope you are gang-raped by syphilis infected illegal aliens.”  Crazy, right?

The story then backs up and takes us through the events that led to this scandalous Twitter threat.

Jarett weaves in historical facts so outlandish you will think they are made up – but they’re not. I stopped at least eight times to Google various facts and sure enough, there it was. Truth and Consequences is a city in New Mexico and what’s his face really was a Google exec who had an affair with one of the company’s managers. The scandals of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious men and women support his notion that the internet and those who help propel its current state of upmost importance in our lives are the problem with society.

His main characters go on rants about why the internet sucks, and why the people who helped build it and those who help keep it going suck more.

While I relate to the premise of this piece, the storyline and characters are so bizarre they become a distraction away from the main point.

In short, here’s the rundown:

Plot?  There is none.

Humor? There is some.

Character development? For this to be a shorter book (a little over 200 pages) with many characters, Kobek did a great job developing his characters. Readers get to know them and their peculiarities.

Lessons?  This book will help you get a few extra questions correct on jeopardy.

Grit? Yes. Criticisms aside, the author offers social criticism with no filter.

While I didn’t enjoy “I hate the internet” from an entertainment standpoint, the book does make accurate observations about race, gender, feminism, and morality.

I walked away questioning and revising my own actions. When the time came for me to blast a celebrity for one ignorant action or another, I thought twice. Kobek makes you think twice about doing anything that will advance the pockets of already rich strangers as you gain nothing in return.

Before I blasted the rapper, the president-elect (he was just the president-elect when I first began drafting this post), the reality show star, etc. – I thought about the effect my typed words would have. I asked myself if I was OK being used as an advertising tool by posting this content. Ninety percent of the time I was not OK with that and either refrained from posting or revised my words accordingly.

So no, the book was not a thriller, but it did open and re-open my mind to a few social constructs. As President Barack Obama said: “Not everything’s supposed to be inspiring.” If some sliver of insight is gained, I’ll take it!