on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘kicking ass’

One Sentence for Today

This post is part of the #Trust30 Challenge, a 30-day writing initiate inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. To find out more about this challenge, read why I am participating or details about the pledge.

a tribute to all who helped make this day wonderful! by nathij

Prompt: Liz Danzico – Today

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

(Author: Liz Danzico)

I wrote two:

  1. Some days you are the ass kicker and sometimes it’s your ass that needs to be kicked.
  2. Actions speak louder than words.

Photo credit: Ismail Nathij Ahmed

15 Minutes to Live

This post is part of the #Trust30 Challenge, a 30-day writing initiate inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. To find out more about this challenge, read why I am participating or details about the pledge.

Real Joy, Todd Baker

Prompt: Gwen Bell – 15 Minutes to Live

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

  1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
  2. Write the story that has to be written.

(Author: Gwen Bell)

I did not write yesterday’s prompt because I have been stuck on the idea that I have only 15 minutes to live. And if I truly only had 15 minutes to live, I sure as hell wouldn’t spend it at a computer writing. (Or would I?) But I don’t think that’s the point of this prompt. The point of this prompt is for me to lay out all of the baggage that has been preventing me from “doing” what I want to be doing in my life because I’m faced with what might be the end.

The end. That’s why I can’t get this prompt out of my head, because I have never rationalized with my own death, written my own obituary, and thought about how I want to be remembered.

I have flirted with the idea that the world will end in December of 2012, so let’s live in the now, but that’s all it is, a flirtation. My husband has more experience in responding to this prompt than I do. He experienced something very close to him that made him realize his own mortality and it’s something that inspires him to consistently remind me to “live in the now” and “enjoy the journey as we’re on it.”

Because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Because we don’t know what will happen today.

I firmly believe that my future as I am directing it right at this very moment will outline a path that I will follow and will be true to myself as I am right now. But – because I am writing this blog post in this very instant and taking a break from the endless to-do’s that my time should really be focused on, I may have changed that path. And if I decide to get a coffee this afternoon instead of powering through my urge for a siesta, it may all change as well.

In these next few minutes as I write how I want to live, I would, again, not be behind a computer; I would be living. But what does “living” mean?

To me, it means to love and be loved. To be surrounded by people who I can genuinely be myself with. People who I can share ideas openly with and embrace their encouragement and their criticism. It’s living by interacting; by embracing; by growing and changing. It means listening to that little voice inside my gut that says, “You need to do this.”

That little voice is so quiet that I sometimes miss what she has to say. There are so many voices that speak to me, to us, and pull us in so many directions that we sometimes forget who we are. Think about your responsibilities and commitments you make to your boss, your partner, your family, your children, your friends, and even to strangers — how many of those things are those that you sign up for and commit to and actually want to do them?

As the clock runs out, I know what I have to do — to live, I need to make sure that the voice inside my body that speaks the most brutal truth as it is to me is heard by me as that will dictate my actions and what it means to live. For me.

If you had 15 minutes to live, how would you write your life right now and live?

(With 2 minutes to spare!)

Photo credit: Todd Baker << technowannabe

Embracing the F-word: This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Theo Kogan for Kenneth Cole

Everyone knows the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman.” And then I see an article that one of my friends shared on Facebook about the 10 women who secretly control the Internet (aka “the world”), and I have to ask – what’s with all the secrecy here, people?

The answer is obvious and it has to do with which pair of pants we put on in the morning and how we conduct ourselves in a room full of strangers. It’s the way we shake hands in public and how we introduce ourselves using only our first names. It’s the question of whether our actions are dictated by society or if it’s from the very nature of the “g” word – gender.

Learning “F”

I was 17 when I learned the “F” word. I had heard the “F” word before, but I never really understood what it meant and especially what it meant to me.

Feminist Coming Out DayIt came to me from the most obvious of places; a class called Introduction to Women’s History at the community college. I was still in high school and especially impressionable. So I did what every teenager did and I shared it with my best friend.

My best friend and I were revolutionaries without a revolution. We were like every single teenager on the planet who was looking to be a part of something but we weren’t too sure what that ‘something’ was. (This was also before Facebook.)

To us, feminism was an identity that we could wear proudly on our arm and let it stand that it stood for being who we as it is true to ourselves. It stands for knowing that we are strong, represents the gutsy, and tells us it’s not only okay to strive for what we want out of life, it’s required.

How this Feminist celebrates International Women’s Day

As a girl and a woman growing up in the U.S., a glass ceiling has never prevented me from achieving what I want to accomplish in life. But I know that’s not the case for everyone.

Give2Girls on JolkonaThe role of women and girls in the world is constantly on my mind. I am fortunate to work for an organization that holds these values close to the core of their business. But there is so much left to be done and so much to do. Which is why today, on the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, I’m proud to help power the launch of Give 2 Girls, a campaign that turns activism into action by empowering the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today.

Seriously, you should check it out the campaign and see how the Jolkona community is supporting this movement.

So as I clean up my desk, load this blog, and head to one of the few celebrations of International Women’s Day in Seattle, I need to send a few text messages to the women in my life who helped inspire and support me throughout my budding “F” word years. These are women who share their strength, knowledge, and beauty when I needed and when I didn’t know we needed it.

Happy International Women’s Day, Feminist Coming Out Day, and good ol’ Tuesday!

I’m going to celebrate with 100+ ladies and gents in Seattle. What are you doing to celebrate this momentous day?

Photo Credit: ego technique

Show, Don’t Tell: How do you show success?

Secret Love, Thomas Hawk

Whether you celebrate Single Awareness Day, Love Safely Day, or a new one this year, Generosity Day, it’s still February 14th in my book. In my world, Valentine’s Day represents the first time that I kicked ass and proved myself in a work environment.

My first job story

Valentine’s Day is the number one holiday for the flower industry. But it’s an even bigger day if it falls mid-week as lovers from all walks of life need to send something to their loved one on that day to build up for the big date on the weekend.

In high school, I worked at a flower shop. It’s a local empire that has a retail arm plus it’s own wholesale business that produces bouquets, elaborate vase arrangements, potted plant baskets, and more. A friend of mine got be the job and we started by only working on Sundays in the warehouse, processing flowers that came in boxes locally and internationally. From there I moved to the “Cuts” department, making bouquets for the retail stores and distribution to local grocery chains.

Valentine’s Day means “all hands on deck,” and in 2003 V-day fell on a Wednesday. Picture this chaos: a rent-a-cop was on duty doing parking control so that frantic customers wouldn’t just pull up, hop out of their car, rush into the store and rush out.

I was working in the warehouse at this time, but was asked to help at one of the stores. My role was to tame the buckets and buckets of bouquets and cut flowers on display outside in front of the store and consolidate the display as merchandise was purchased. I spent the entire evening running out the back door of the shop to the front and back again, pulling more bouquets from the cooler, and discretely dumping out the water of the empty buckets. I saw the store manager maybe once the entire evening.

Lines and lines of people poured in and out of the store. Piles and piles of petals went out, wrapped neatly in tissue. Money was exchanged, receipts tallied, and at the end of the evening there was nothing left.

Before closing for the night, the store manager made her first trip to the front of the store. Everything was under control. I don’t remember her exact sentiment, but she was absolutely shocked by how she didn’t have time to even check the front.

It was a success and my first impression with her.

If you have to buy flowers on Valentine’s Day

For the love of all things retail, buy local.

I received an email from friends about the abusive practices of 1-800-Flowers and how workers on flower fields in Central and South America do not have any rights at all. It’s crazy and I didn’t realize that fair trade extended to this industry (but why shouldn’t it?).

I’m not saying boycott the flower industry, just be smart. If you have to buy flowers, purchase from your local flower shop and at least make a ripple in your own economy. Or do research and find a shop that supports your own values and ideas.

Also, skip the roses. Wholesale prices for flowers get jacked up in the weeks leading up to February 14th and your local flower shop has to pass on the price to stay in business. And most often than not, these roses are not top quality due to the season and demand.

Get creative with a lily or Gerbera daisy ensemble. Bonus, buy something that’s not red. Or get even more creative and splurge on something like a cactus.

And for the love of the green thumb, never, ever get baby’s breath.

Back to my point

By doing what I felt I needed to do that day to get the job done inspired the store manager to request that I work at that store on a regular basis. It was the best interview and impression I could have left.

When given the opportunity to prove yourself—be it through a project or a simple task—just do it. Results speak louder than words.

Make it your goal to leave the only impression, the best one.

Do you remember the first time you kicked ass at work or in a professional environment?

Share your story.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk

The Big News I Have Been Waiting to Share

Be the Change
The funny thing about living your life online is that when something big happens, you can’t wait to share it. And even when something hasn’t happened yet or is about to happen, you can’t wait to translate that giddy feeling inside of you into 140 characters of sheer glee and excitement!!!!!

And then, when something EVEN BIGGER happens in your life that’s a game-changer, you hold off and wonder what the best way to deliver the news is—Is it to be Tweeted about and risk losing it get lost amongst the noise of what everyone else had for breakfast? Shall it be a status update on Facebook that will encourage 10 or so “Likes”? Or will it be delivered in person, where you can give the maximum amount of details and receive the most amazing support from those who know you the most and how hard you’ve worked for it?

That’s what’s interesting about this whole ‘social media’ thang: social media is a form of marketing and now, more than ever, you have to act as your own brand manager. You are responsible for calling your own press conference. And you are the one managing your communications effectively to get the results and secure the ‘placement’ within your friends’ minds that you desire and deserve.

Read all about it: Laura is off the job market!

Nadia & Laura selling raffle tickets at SMC

For the past three weeks I’ve been elusive in my tweets and in my status updates, but it’s all for good reason. In the beginning of January, I started work as Jolkona Foundation’s second full-time employee.

For Jolkona, the startup nonprofit that I have been volunteering with since February 2009, hiring its first two employees means that the organization has reached a pivotal point in its life. I will be working closely with Nadia Khawaja Mahmud, who is the co-founder of Jolkona and the new CEO, as well as the volunteer leadership team and the 20+ volunteers who support them.

As the Director of Communications & Social Media, I’ll lead Jolkona’s marketing and outreach efforts, which include managing my own team, PR/Marketing/Social Media, and the following volunteer teams: Campus Outreach, Events, and Corporate Partnerships.

When I started with Jolkona, I signed up to run their social media with the goal to gain real-life experience that could bridge my way into a full-time, paid position. And it worked, as it landed me multiple contracts throughout the past year. But when co-founder, Adnan Mahmud, mentioned that in the ideally, they hope to look to their volunteers when hiring, I had no intention that that could be my reality.

You can read more about everything that Jolkona accomplished in 2010 and where we’re heading in 2011 in this blog post written by Adnan.

What makes this newsworthy?

For me, signing on with Jolkona full-time is a big deal, not only because I’ve been on the job hunt for almost a year-and-a-half and doing the job for almost a year, but because it’s something I’m truly passionate about. To friends, family members, and even in interviews with other employers, I always talk about how with Jolkona, I get to work with the most incredible, inspiring, and passionate individuals, working towards goals that are more strategic and more smart than any of my paid positions before. Mind you, this is a pitch I started saying last spring.

When I approach a new employer, I always say, “Give me a challenge, and let me show you what I can do.” It’s probably not the best strategy, but it’s the honest truth. And I’m incredibly honored and thankful that Nadia and Adnan have given me the chance to show them just what I can do for Jolkona.

We have a big year ahead of us, and I’m ready.

Photo Credit: Feggy Art