Ted Talk Friday: The way we think about work is broken

I have heard so many peers and friends echo the same bleak outlooks about their jobs and sense of meaning about the work they do. I completely agree and I often fall into the same trap myself. I spin my wheels on one task or frustrating outcome and get caught up in the details. I lose sight of the why, the purpose. Schwartz provides a positive reminder about what it means to work and feel fulfilled.

 

 

 

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Do you fall into the same patterns Schwartz describes?

My Trip to Australia: Part II

I arrived in Airlie Beach and my amazing Airbnb host picked me up from the bus stop, gave me a quick drive through tour of the area, and after dropping my stuff off, I began a fun day of wandering the beach town. I had a wonderful picnic lunch on the water and walked along the shore for hours.

That evening I took an insanely fun speedboat tour around the area. I got there early and after talking with an employee there, I learned she lived in Nashville (my hometown) and went to Vanderbilt, not to mention she nannied for a family from my school. What a small world! Times like this are the perfect example of how interconnected we all are–it just takes a little bit of friendliness! It was a roller coaster on water–such a fun 30 minute ride! I even got to see some of the turtles the area is famous for.

I got back to my Airbnb around 6, ate dinner, and promptly fell asleep about 10 minutes into reading my book. I woke up the next morning, and after a bit of confusion, made it to the right dock to catch my beach/hiking/snorkeling day trip around the Whitsundays.

We started out the day at Whitehaven beach, one of the best beaches in the world (and I can see why). The perfectly white sand is soft because it’s made of silica (the result of the volcanic eruptions that made the islands), which also means it does not retain heat. After lying on the sand, I decided to take advantage of the paddle boards our boat offered. I’ve always wanted to paddle board, but I haven’t because 1) I’m afraid I would fall 2) I didn’t want to pay 3) living on the Pacific Ocean, the water is FREEZING. So this was finally my chance! I would say it went pretty well for about 5 minutes:

And then…

Now I can say I’ve tried it! I definitely want to try it again.

After the beach stop, we made our way to a short hike with incredible views.

The hike was gorgeous and I relaxed on the beach after. After a quick lunch on the boat, we set off to our snorkeling location. The Captain was awesome and decided to take us to a location slightly further away because their usual spot was spot was too crowded, which meant the wildlife would be overwhelmed and it wouldn’t be the best experience for us or the fish!

Don’t I look cool while snorkeling? LOL

This was actually the most awesome wildlife experience I caught on camera while in Australia. I felt like I was a part of the school of fish–it was such a bizarre experience. The fish had no fear!

The one and a half hours snorkeling and exploring the reef flew by and I was back on the boat riding back before I knew it. I was dropped off about a mile from my Airbnb and took about an hour exploring a local grocery store (one of my favorite activities!). I found tons of interesting things and walked out with $40 worth of chocolate and ingredients to make dinner.

I make it back to the Airbnb, cooked dinner, chatted with my host for a few hours, and put my laundry in. I went to shower and immediately passed out in bed. I woke up the next morning and my host had folded up all of my laundry–how sweet is that? I really lucked out. If you’re traveling to Airlie Beach/the Whitsundays, you’ve got to stay with Chris & Glenn.

After a relaxing morning, I took a shuttle to the Proserpine Airport to catch a flight to Sydney and begin the next amazing leg of my journey.

 

Ted Talk Friday: How to build (and re-build) trust

Trust: Logic + Empathy + Authenticity. I agree so much with Frei’s analysis of the difficulty of being different, and how that difference can get in the way of authenticity, and hence trust. If you listen to nothing else, fast forward ten minutes in and listen; her advice to individuals and leaders is pure magic. As a young professional, her advice hits an interesting point. Many of my colleagues play on phones during virtual meetings (we are mostly in our 20s), and I found myself occasionally distracted as well. While some people can fake it, I agree that it indubitably detracts from both professional and personal interactions.

 

 

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Which area do you wobble in?

My Trip to Australia: Part I

My trip to Australia felt like a big eff you to my anxious thoughts & feelings. First of all, I booked my tickets only a month ahead of time with minimal ideas of what I would do. I read TripAdvisor reviews about the places I had in mind and reached out to my friends for advice.

As soon as I had the locations set, it became tremendously easier. After talking with my pre-school friend who spent nearly a year in Australia she gave me a few life-saving pieces of advice: 1) take a “On the Wallaby” or “Uncle Brian’s” tour just outside of Cairns 2) Whitsunday/Whitehaven beach are a must 3) Greyhound buses can be a good option

With places and dates, my searches became much more limited—in the best way possible.

Cairns has a few notorious party hostels, and I immediately knew I would require a less well-known option. I ended up going with a similar hostel called “Calypso Inn,” which will be called “Mad Monkey” in the coming months. It was a perfect compromise—I booked a single room and the property had a lively welcoming atmosphere with shared bathrooms, showers, and kitchen. Even with some late night partying, it wasn’t loud and the staff were always available to answer questions or help. I really enjoyed my time there—comfortable bed, clean, and solid AC.

Far more important than the accommodations: the activities! So day 1 was basically me wandering around Cairns aimlessly. Wasted day? Uh no! I loved every minute of it (aside from my heavy back pack). I strolled up and down the esplanade, went to a beautiful (free) museum, and sat in a coffee shop reading “In a Sunburnt Land” by Bill Bryson while an afternoon storm blew over. It was perfect. After my glorious day, I checked into my hotel and promptly passed out by 7pm while watching the movie “Australia” on Netflix.

The next morning I woke up even before my alarm and felt so good; chipper and ready for a day of chasing waterfalls! The “On the Wallaby” tour was a day long excursion to 4 different sites. We lucked out and had a very small group, which made it feel very intimate. Our guide, Cuz Rohan, was hilarious and kept us all in good spirits and even encouraged me to get in the freezing waterfall for a classic “sexy hair flip” photo at Milla Milla Falls.

Day 3 was a scuba dive day! I had a strange sense of fear come over me the night before. I had not been diving in years…how can I still consider myself certified? Luckily exhaustion kicked in so I had little time to worry until I plopped down on the boat the next day. A guy about my age sat next to me and I quickly learned he was in the same boat (see what I did there 😉 ) and he had not been diving in about 8 years.

We walked through some basics together and quickly became fast friends, dive buddies, and went to dinner together that night.

I signed up for the maximum three dives possible to squeeze in for one day. I quickly learned that only a few other people did the same, and most of them were highly experienced. I wanted to get the most out of my day on the reef so I’m glad I did all three, but it was intense!

My first dive was generally me mildly panicking and sticking close to the guide, but about halfway through I felt the same sense of calm sweep over me. The sense of calm that makes me love diving. The weightlessness, the quiet, the long slow breaths.

The reef itself was endless–stunning with numerous textures & colors. Beautiful fish near inches from my face. The next two dives were even better. I learned that a shark swam right by me and I didn’t even see it (I would be the first to die in real-life Jaws).

After my long day of diving, I went to dinner with my dive buddy and wandered back to my hostel to kill 4 hours before catching my 1AM greyhound. I sat down on the sofa in the hostel “lobby” (I don’t think it qualifies as a real lobby..) and awoke to the guys at the front desk discussing their sexual exploits. They had no idea I was there and their surprise was hilarious as I sleepily popped my head up.

I caught a cab to the bus stop and was greeted my the nicest greyhound bus (and driver) I’ve ever seen! I settled in and slept for a solid 5 hours before waking up to watch the views through rural Australia en route to Airlie Beach and the magnificent Whitsundays.

Ted Talk Friday: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Manipulate Our Emotions

I work in tech in the Bay Area so these tech giants are everywhere; Google buses (G-buses) are all over the place and Amazon delivers anything and everything. Galloway goes into the psychology of how these giants have taken over both the individual and the industry. Listen to his interesting, even if extreme, perspective on where these tech giants are leading us:

 

 

 

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Do you agree with Galloway? Do you consciously feel manipulated?

Ted Talk Friday: How to deal with gaslighting

I have heard the term gaslighting quite a bit frequently, and it is definitely ringing true in the political world right now. The #MeToo movement has really brought this to the forefront–for so long women have been targeted with gaslighting, but when everyone has the courage to speak up, the power of gaslighting falls to pieces. I hope you enjoy this brave, vivid experience form Ariel Leve about surviving a childhood of chaos, lies, and gaslighting–and how she copes.

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Have you ever experienced gaslighting? Do you agree with her coping strategies?

A Day on Resilience at the Greater Good Science Center

I have heard about the Greater Good Science Center for quite some time now and I’ve been curious to check them out. I finally started looking at the schedule over the holiday season and wanted to go to all the seminars–so many amazing topics and amazing leaders! Kristin Neff taught a seminar on self-compassion in February, which I sadly couldn’t attend, but I was able to make it to “The Science and Practice of Resilience” by Rick Hanson. img_9992-1I left my apartment at the crack of dawn and caught the BART from my apartment to Berkeley; luckily it was a short hour long train ride where I people watched, read, and caught up on work emails.

I caught an Uber from the BART station to the event and serendipitously ended up sharing the ride with a few other attendees. One is a student at Georgia Tech (I went to Emory–coincidence!), whose name was Jalen, and he excitedly told me about his startup, which is an app from focused on emotional awareness and self-compassion. Jalen was such a kind person and I can’t wait to see how his startup, Mind Hack, grows. His companion is a coach at Heroic Voice Academy, which is an incredible company helping individuals develop their own brave, authentic voice whether they are giving a TED talk or interviewing for a new job.

The workshop was incredible; the day was broken down into sections of lecture, activity, and practice. We learned about the neurobiology of resilience, but also why that neurobiology matters so much in the clinical, real world setting.

One of my favorite exercises came near the beginning of the day when we discussed what we see as our own personal inner strengths that we draw on as our mental resources in difficult times. We paired up randomly, and my partner was a thoughtful, open psychiatrist grappling with his recent divorce. He shared his own strengths and my turn rolled around a few minutes later. At first I was drawing only blanks, but I suddenly tapped into this beautiful place of self-empowerment and reflection. Speaking my strengths out loud made me feel powerful, strong, worthy. As Dr. Hanson mentioned frequently during the day, humans naturally focus on the negative; we have an inherent negativity bias that we have to correct for. By focusing on my strengths, rather than the daily frustration I tend to perseverate over, I wasn’t just seeing the world, or myself through rose colored glasses, I was correcting for my own bias. This was definitely a light bulb moment for me.

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Beyond the course, I had the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful, kind people. I spent about an hour getting to know a woman with such a fascinating background who is now a therapist and shaman. She was so open in sharing her story and had such helpful insight into my own future goals.

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I feel so lucky to have gone to such a fascinating, educational event. It is such a privilege to be able to hit the pause button of life every once in a while and attend an event like this. I met so many like-minded people, learned more about the neurobiology of resilience, and developed tools to cultivate resilience.

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Have you heard of the Greater Good Science Center? What do you think are your inner strengths?

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

I’ve had When Breath Becomes Air on my list for about three years. I’ve often prioritized other books or put off reading it because I knew it would be heavy and difficult. Luckily it was our book club pick for this month and I am so glad I finally read it.

This book was written by a Stanford neurosurgeon diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. He describes his life, philosophy, and reflections on practicing medicine and dying. Yes, it was incredibly sad, but it was so much more than sad. I stayed up two hours past my usual bedtime reading this–caught up in a journey even when I already knew the ending.

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The writing was so beautiful; the thoughts so insightful and grounding. His reflections made me think about my own mortality and facing death of those we love. He lived his life so fully with a dedication to his goals & values. His book is a testament to this and will continue to impact the world long after his passing.

I went to an Emory alumni dinner this past weekend, and one alum brought her husband who happened to be a neurosurgeon at Stanford. Since I just finished the book and wanted to create conversation, I brought up that I had just finished the book. To my surprise, the neurosurgeon had actually worked with Paul Kalanithi and knew him well. I was slightly shocked at how nonchalantly I had brought it up; I immediately apologized. He stopped me and said that he was glad that the book was having such a broad impact–the best possible outcome for such a tragedy.

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It also reminded me that Paul was not a mythical figure, but a real person who died only a few short years ago. His legacy lives on not only through his book, but also through the hundreds of physicians, nurses, patients, and friends with whom he interacted. A few days after finishing the book, I was listening to NPR One and a Modern Love podcast episode came on (also an essay–“When a Couch is More Than a Couch”)…it was all about a woman who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at 39. It was deeply engaging; and the twist at the end connected back to the book. Definitely give it a listen!

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#CABE SF: A weekend as an extroverted introvert

This weekend was jam-packed with social fun! If you know me, you know this sounds a bit strange…I am a deeply extroverted introvert.

*What does this mean?*

It means I love being around people, but get my energy and feel recharged through alone time–learn more about this in the book Quiet by Susan Cain. I spent both of my days meeting new people and catching up with old friend.

Saturday: I met a new friend for coffee and talked on the phone for over two hours. Yes, two. This is what happens when some of your best friends live hundreds of miles away.

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With plenty of snacks of course

Sunday: I started the day at an amazing event hosted by California Bloggers.

Look at the crazy line to get in:

Huge thanks to my friend Pauline from Sweatpink for hooking me up with the event! I met up with a few other Sweatpink ladies there (Sara and Melissa) , but also had the chance to meet some inspiring female bloggers and entrepreneurs.

Dee Gautham of @squats_and_samosas started the day with her amazing journey from unhappy project manager to entrepreneur living her dream without sacrificing quality of life. She emphasized the importance of vulnerability, which really resonated with me as I try to share both my bad and good days equally.

Danetha Doe of Money & Mimosas  talked about financial independence and how to grow your own personal business (or side hustle).

Danetha broke down her talk into the “5 P’s” for entrepreneurs:

1) know your why/purpose

2) people-getting clear on who is in your community..find your tribe

3) pricing-know what your packages are; how are you helping brands? what are your specific talents you can put a price tag on?

4) positioning- even if you have 2k followers, that doesn’t matter…it’s all about communicating to brands & letting brand know you can help them get to their goals

5) pitching yourself-brag about yourself (yes, brag!), you have skills & a unique message to share..be very clear with companies & business owners; provide a one pager vs. deck based on the conversation…and do your research!

Misha Skova of Skova talked about her development as a person and how the changes in her life have changed her brand. Having a family shifted her brand and she discussed the importance of going with that flow, while still maintaining the vision.

And last but not least the amazing lady behind @girlandthebay, Mandy Ansari. Mandy is an instagram goddess and instantly made me feel comfortable–like she was a friend. She provided her top ten tips for Instagram:

1. Know who you are—being authentic self is so important

2. Find your audience-keep to what they (and you) are interested in

3. Teach yourself how to do something—stay intellectually curious and learn about ads, design, Lynda/YouTube skills–the internet provides endless opportunities for learning

4. There’s an app for that!-look for apps that are great for photo editing to up your photo game

5. Be original (duh?)

6. Be professional-always respond to emails, be courteous, and outsource via upwork if necessary

7. Good things take time & patience; it took Mandy 7 years to grow her account

8. Invest in yourself- try Khan academy, General Assembly, skillshare.com…there are so many resources out there and you are worth the time and money

9. Stay honest

10. Tap it back-respond to everyone & share the love

Plus we got tons of adorable goodies in our gift bags thanks to the amazing sponsors!

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Thanks to…

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