Originally given as a workshop presentation for Davis Women in Business (DWIB).
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When Zoe first approached me about hosting a workshop, I was… honestly, a little scared, and definitely not ready to give a speech to so many of our members at DWIB. However, I’ve set a commitment last year to say “YES!” to opportunities that align with my value and adds to me as a person– because honestly, you’re never really “ready” to do anything.
“Instead of focusing on what we’re not getting, focus on what we’re not giving.” – Tony Robbins’
This quote not only helped build my mindset, but it also helped me be more conscious of situations when I’m blaming others about things that didn’t happen as expected.
This is especially common when we’re applying to jobs. You know you’re good enough; you have the qualifications; you really DO care about the company’s mission, but you don’t ever get a callback. Then, you blame the ATS system for throwing your resumé away or blame the recruiter for not reading your cover letter.
What if we stopped blaming and started thinking about what we’re not giving them?
How can we use this story we tell ourselves to CREATE SITUATIONS for us to be the BEST VERSIONS OF OURSELVES?
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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “creative”?
“Creative” is not a term exclusive to the art students. Creativity is all around us. No matter where we are, we have the power to create. But first, we have to be able to differentiate CREATION from CONSUMPTION. This is no stranger to all of us– we consume massive amounts of content from Netflix to YouTube videos, blogs, podcasts, movies, etc. An average person consumes up to 10.5 hours of media per day. If you’re awake for 17 hours, that means you’re a consumer for more than half of your day!
However, as you can see from some examples above, not all consumptions are bad.
In fact, consumption is imperative to the creative process. It acts as our fuel. For example, you consumed this article on LinkedIn about an underrepresented student who climbed her way up the corporate ladder and you feel inspired to do the same. But what’s a good ratio? It is entirely dependent on the actions you take post-consumption. Otherwise, they fall into the passive consumption bucket.
The trick is to consume consciously. In other words, be intentional with what you’re consuming and think about how you can apply it to your creative process: whether it is to start a conversation with someone next to you about the topic, run a marketing campaign based on the ideas you extracted from it, etc.
For example, instead of spending all my time marveling about HustleCon’s conference to myself (link to Quora), I took an approach to stand in a circle with three other men and women who looked miserable. Yes, it was awkward. I managed to squeeze in an introduction for myself and started asking questions I was most curious about: “How do you like the conference? Why do you look so frustrated?”
A series of events followed.
I found their pain points (lackluster networking scene in San Francisco compared to New York and Chicago), talked to my business partner with the same goals to aid this problem, started a community, gained leadership skills by leading conversations… and also materialized into an event I can speak about at work or on my resumé.
a good ratio
Brad Stulberg, the co-author of Peak Performance suggests netting out 33/33/33 breakdown among consumption, thinking and connecting ideas, and creation. It’s important to look at these activities in a bigger picture. Instead of asking ourselves “how much have we created today?”, we could map it out over the course of a month or a year. This is done so because there’ll always be periods where basically all we do is to consume or connecting ideas, and there comes an extended period of time when all we do is creating them.
Be, do, have
How many times have you rolled your eyes when an influencer says, “If I can do it, you can, too”?
Well, it’s true! Just because they’re speaking to us via screen doesn’t mean they’re any more (or less) than us.
Think about it: The reason influencers are influencers is because they put themselves out there to help us solve our problems by giving us what we need, whether it is job advice, fashion advice, knowledge about a particular field, etc.
I encourage you to think about: What do you have to offer that you’re not giving yet?
anticipate the fall
Similar to what Nicole mentioned in the last general meeting, it might be scary to call someone you don’t know on the phone, but once you realize that you might not even see the same person twice, that thought might not be as scary anymore. In other words, you detach yourself from any intimidation and put your best foot forward to execute and take a step closer to your goal.
A good way to tackle an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation is to anticipate the fall. What’s the worst case scenario?
Map out the possibilities, research for ways to tackle them, keep them in mind, and GO FOR IT! Once you fall, you will see that it actually isn’t that bad! In the process, you’ll slowly generate a greater sense of self-assurance knowing that you can do whatever you set your mind to, including gaining enough confidence to introduce yourself to the CEO of the company you really want to work for by first believing that you have the skillset to do so.
FAKE IT til’ you make it
This is a little quote that often circulates around in DWIB. However, if you wanted to put it in a more tangible context, imagine a case study for yourself. In order to create the best possible opportunities, we sometimes have to act the part.
And here’s an example that was happily approved by Zoe:
Next, I encourage you to think of someone who can hold you accountable.
Ideally, you want someone who you can trust to put you in your place when you need to. This is an important part of the process to help keep you on a regular schedule to prevent a loss of momentum. It also helps that you’re putting your words out there and therefore have fewer incentives to back out even if you really wanted to.
Opportunities don’t often knock our doors twice– and when they do or when you have created these opportunities– you want to be ready to say “YES!” to them.
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If you ever need an accountability buddy, I’m always happy to add you on in my thread to keep you going by conducting weekly check-ins and chat about what we’re excited to create in the following weeks.