LearnSkills

“A single fixed identity is a liability today. It only makes people more vulnerable to sudden changes in economic conditions. The most successful and healthy among us now develop multiple identities, managed simultaneously, to be called upon as conditions change.” – Gail Sheehy, New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time

After reading One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Work Model for Work/Life Success, the once overwhelming and seemingly unfeasible concept of multiple professions turned into an attainable, practical, and unifying option in life. Author Marci Alboher is proof of living out a “Slash Career.” Upon leaving a career in law, she is a regular contributor to the New York Times, as well as a renowned speaker and writing coach. The book is chock-full of real life examples of the journey to slash careers and guidelines to follow when considering a slash for yourself. To start off, here’s a list of some featured slash-ers and their chosen professions.

Dan Milstein, computer programmer/theater director
Karl Hampe, management consultant/aspiring cartoonist
Grace Lisle-Hopkins, Assistant Dean of Admissions/photographer
Robert Sudaley, teacher/real estate developer
Sally Hogshead, branding expert/author/consultant

GROWING A SLASH

The people in Alboher’s book did not find the way to their slash(es) all in the same way. It’s different for everybody. Sometimes people have a solid foundation or experience in one thing, such as having a degree in a certain major and getting a job in that field. Having that background, they are able to sustain themselves financially while garnering more skills for a second career. Think of this as already having a tree to live in, but then planting a new seed right next to it, watering it as it grows. You’re preparing and consistently attending to this second interest. “Watering the seed” can look like taking photography or writing classes on the side, training for yoga instructor certification, or spending weekends traveling and blogging on a personal site.

These side projects are essential to growth because you can choose the amount of hours you spend cultivating your slashes and can tweak your journey if you realize certain aspects aren’t working. Alboher sums this up well when she explains that “the place that something occupies in your life – the paycheck, the gratifier, the giveback, the passion – is all up to you. In a slash career, you can control what goes where.” Forming multiple identities through slashes is in your hands. The choice to add or subtract slashes can allow you to feel more in control of your biggest interests. You’re testing out a menu of careers before you order.

USING A SLASH TO CHANGE

Sometimes slashes help people transition from one job to the other, even if they are completely different. Two things every transitioning slash-er needs: 1) Self-awareness and 2) Preparedness. This is especially true for individuals who have started careers that are time-sensitive. For example, athletes and dancers cannot and should not rely on their physical abilities to sustain them forever. Pursuing slashes during their starting careers will safeguard the switch. And before you think otherwise, it can be done. Tim Green, former NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons, worked on earning a law degree during his off-seasons. It took him eight years, but he did it and secured post-football work. He has also written best-selling suspense novels so if you need a slashing muse, he’s a good fit.

LITTLE SLASH NOW, BIG SLASH LATER

“The fact that an opportunity presents itself isn’t enough of a reason to take it on. It has to fit in with the rest of what you want to be doing. At that moment.” Alboher talks about the importance of being aware of a slash’s place in the now. Let’s say someone is an accountant or lawyer, but they volunteer as a firefighter or police officer on evenings and weekends. Volunteering may be the only channel at this time to successfully balance the slashes. However, upon retirement, placing more precedence on community safety will be the best time for that commitment. The different stages in life are wonderful places to revisit slashes. It’s an on-going path so there is no need to feel confined in how or when you add or change careers.

GET STARTED

Alboher urges her readers to think about their lives and distinguish their anchors and orbiters. An anchor is what she defines as a job that you’re getting your health insurance from, or a steady income, or a place that requires you to show up in person or travel on behalf of a company. Orbiters are the slashes that you find are able to orbit the anchor activities. She shares that typical orbiters could be writing, building websites, or anything that can be done at any time of day.

Now it’s your turn. Create a simple chart with a Column A (anchors) and Column B (orbiters). Writing out this list is the first step into the world of slashing.

The slash is a reminder that there are no excuses to limit yourself. It is also a call to action, to reflect on what you want the big picture of your life to look like and to work through the details now. If you’re seeking wholeness or dynamism in your work/life, living out a slash may be just what you need.

Image: Unsplash

EducationSkills

As much as we hate to admit it sometimes, we can’t all be Superman or Superwoman. Finding the time to get daily necessities done, as well as doing things just for pure enjoyment and relaxation, can be difficult. Here are some ways I multitask with my busy college schedule!

1. Work Out Between Loads of Laundry

Believe it or not, having to do your laundry can actually be a useful way to manage your time. Instead of being that one person who leaves their load in the washing machine for hours on end until you’re finally out of class, set a timer for each load that you do. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in a 30-45 minute load. Personally, it’s usually a toss-up between napping and working out, but I usually like to try to get a little exercise into my day which can be difficult when piles of homework are calling your name. Try splitting up your workout to give you plenty of time to get a few sets done and take a breather. I try to split my workout into sections and do legs during one load and abs during another!

2. Brew Your Coffee While You Get Ready

The simplest trick is the book is over-looked way too often! I can’t survive my 8:30 AM class without a hot cup of coffee, but it can be difficult to find time when you’re rushing to get there because you wanted to sleep late. Instead, make your coffee first and go about your daily routine. This will also give your coffee some time to cool off so it isn’t boiling when you go to take a sip!

3. Call Your Family While Walking To Class

That 15 minute walk across campus can really make a difference. It can be difficult to find the time to keep your family up to date on your life while being away at school, but a quick catch up here and there while walking to class can easily make your day and their day and fit into both of your schedules. It also makes the walk there a little less lonely!

4. Your Cell Phone’s Speaker Is Your New Best Friend

Whenever I’m in my dorm room eating takeout, cleaning, or doing homework, I’ll try to call or FaceTime a friend to catch up! It’s the easiest thing to do and is multitasking at its finest. Plus, if you don’t understand something on your homework you can ask away!

5. Review Notes While Catching Up On Your Favorite TV Show

We all dread that night of studying before the next-morning-quiz. To make it a little more bearable, try binge-watching that show you’ve been meaning to catch up on and review your notes at the same time. During breaks you can quiz yourself on what you just went over!

Image: Startup Stock Photos

HealthSkills

  1. Start thinking positive
  2. Try out a new hobby
  3. Write a book
  4. Make a promise or follow through with a promise
  5. Start eating healthier
  6. Create a bucket list
  7. Go after your soulmate
  8. Quit smoking
  9. Forgive somebody
  10. Start a business
  11. Learn a new language
  12. Start exercising
  13. Engage in adrenaline-pumping activities
  14. Learn about other cultures/religions/traditions
  15. Embrace your flaws
  16. Read that neglected book
  17. Earn a degree
  18. Do something spontaneously
  19. Find and pursue your passion
  20. Start a family
  21. Listen to or read a different genre
  22. Learn to cook
  23. Make new friends
  24. Accept foreign ideas
  25. Move somewhere else
  26. Change your major
  27. Take advice
  28. Make a decision
  29. Make a second impression
  30. Apologize
  31. Set goals
  32. Leave your comfort zone
  33. Say “I love you”
  34. Pursue new endeavors
  35. Make changes
  36. Say “no”
  37. Say “yes”
  38. Let go of grudges
  39. Apply for that “I’m-never-getting-it”-dream-job
  40. Reconnect with old friends and/or family
  41. Face your demons
  42. Start a meaningless collection
  43. Dream
  44. Fall in love
  45. Inquire
  46. Explore other parts of yourself
  47. Get a new haircut
  48. Leave a harmful relationship
  49. Confess or admit to your mistakes
  50. Fight for a cause
  51. Defend what you believe in
  52. Observe and appreciate the little things
  53. Make time for yourself and the things you love
  54. Appreciate beauty sleep
  55. Make sudden plans
  56. Donate
  57. Go on a mission trip
  58. Break brand loyalty and try something new
  59. Open your mind up to new ideas and/or beliefs
  60. Focus
  61. Break routine
  62. Think differently and agree to disagree
  63. Read the dictionary and learn new words
  64. Find your sanctuary
  65. Paint something
  66. Take a new course in life
  67. Face your deepest fears
  68. Give advice
  69. Be kind to somebody
  70. Take an extra long hot shower
  71. Change your attitude
  72. Say what’s on your mind
  73. Join a social media platform
  74. Quit your job (you know, the one you that is making you unhappy)
  75. Visit loved people and places
  76. Throw a dart on the map and go there
  77. Celebrate
  78. Start a conversation
  79. Learn from your mistakes
  80. Take a yoga class
  81. Become a fan girl/boy
  82. To come out
  83. Reminisce
  84. Jot senseless things down
  85. Begin journaling
  86. Redecorate
  87. Indulge in coffee or tea
  88. Buy/pick flowers for something or someone
  89. Fill up a piggybank
  90. Go to the beach/climb a mountain/hike/walk a desert/dive in a river
  91. Take action
  92. Learn a new skill
  93. Switch schools
  94. Adopt a pet
  95. Say “thank you”
  96. Motivate yourself
  97. Appreciate chaos or stability
  98. Follow your gut feeling
  99. Live life on your own terms
  100. #SeizeYouthYouth

Image: Gratisography

Skills

Call it whatever you’d like: a talent, pastime, or your favorite leisure activity, but hobbies are something we all have. Has anyone ever told you, “that sounds more like a hobby than a career!”? I have. In fact, I turned down admission to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City because all of my passions sounded more like “hobbies.” Do I regret this decision? Sometimes, but now I’m finding ways to integrate my hobbies with my career path of choice. However, I’ve found that many of us are sacrificing our hobbies for work and they’re being left behind in the dreamy “good old days.” If you’ve found yourself victim, here are a couple of reasons why it is vital to never neglect your hobbies.

1. They make you you.

Although you’ve probably heard it one million times, you’re special in your own way. Your talents and hobbies are things that make you just that much more unique. What you do in your past time actually says a lot about who you are as a person and what it is that you appreciate in life. People know you for what you do at work or school, but showing them another dynamic part of yourself may give them that unexpected “wow” factor. They are things that distinguish you from the rest of your friends, coworkers, or classmates. Who wouldn’t want to embrace the fabulous and possibly strange parts that make you, well, you?

2. Psych benefits: relaxation, emotional, better thinking.

There are many psychological benefits come with doing what you love. The first one is relaxation. Hobbies serve as an outlet from the stresses that fog up your mind with constant daily worries. They have also been shown to improve your thinking abilities. According to Carol Kauffman, assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, hobbies allow you to go into what is called a “flow state,” which is essentially what you feel when you get intensely focused on whatever it is you are doing – you lose the sense of time and your surroundings seem invisible. Sound familiar? She notes that this actually restores your mind and energy. These states of mind that call for heavy concentration actually boost neurotransmitters in the brain which allow for a mental recharge.

3. Make better decisions.

The best decisions are always made with a clear mind and when you have had plenty of time to think. Taking the time to plunge into your favorite hobby allows you to unshackle your mind from the worries of whatever choices are awaiting to be made. It forces you to go into the “flow state” and return to your decision making process with a clear and more relaxed mind.

4. Meet other people.

What better way to meet people that have the same interests as you? Join a club, take a class, or even get together with some friends that have similar hobbies to you. This will guarantee you meet other people that share your passion. Another case could be in conversation. Discussing hobbies and interests are ways for people to relate and understand one another a little better. Who knows – you may just meet your new bestie!

5. Creativity.

Usually, your definition of success in your hobbies differs from the definition of success that is done in your work. You are the judge of your progress and achievements in your activities. Not only does this boost self-confidence and positive thinking, but this also calls for better creativity. It allows you to express yourself in your own terms and within your own boundaries. You essentially set your own rules because you are doing this hobby for yourself and for nobody else.

Making time for what you love is essential in the society we live in today. It is imperative that we make time for ourselves not only for the luxury of its pleasure, but for our own mental health.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Image: Michelle Tribe

EducationSkills

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made, what’s a sundial in the shade?” – Benjamin Franklin

Think of the most successful people you know. Some may come with a fancy job title or an impressive LinkedIn profile, but what is certain among the very successful are these three things: they excel at what they do, are established in their chosen field of interest, and seek constant growth.  Now it’s up to you how you measure success, but in this millennial age there is no doubt that happiness and purpose must coincide with any sort of big career move. This is difficult at times being in a world that says good grades and a steadfast work ethic are still not enough to break through an industry. There are many people out there with extreme creativity or academic dedication or innovative mindsets who are all suffering from an epidemic of untapped potential. One defining factor between the successful and the almost-there is the proper use of one’s talents. Those people who have made it, they are the ones who have realized and utilized their unique skills. It is possible, dear friends, to become the person that other people refer to upon hearing the word “successful.” Understanding and using your talents could be your gateway into finding the cross-section of work and passion. But first, let’s go over two common and very unfortunate misconceptions:

  1. I don’t have any talents.
  2. I do have talents, but they are useless.

People must be able to surpass these ideas and realize that everyone is talented and there are practical ways to make talents relevant. We’re not talking about the whistling or saying the alphabet backwards kind of talent (though do keep those in your back pocket, countless dinner parties await you), but rather, the particular skills and capacities that are transferable into your everyday ventures.

The search is on: Discover & Develop

Everyone is bent a certain way and because of this, we each fit into our own niches in life. The crucial first step in engaging your talents is to find them. Here are a few thoughts to ponder to start your very own talent search:

  • What’s something that you find yourself thinking about and getting lost in thought?
  • What activities do you excel in or wish to excel in?

Being able to answer these questions may help you pinpoint certain interests that you can develop through practice. One of the best books about unlocking creativity is Austin Kleon’s “Steal Like an Artist.” As an artist and New York Times Bestselling author, he advises his readers to “write what you like” and “not what you know” and emphasizes the importance of everyone having side projects. Hobbies and side projects are the best ways to foster your interests and ultimately serve as tangible examples of your talents. Whether you are into photography, calligraphy, producing music, planning events, coding, blogging, analyzing movies, or whatever it may be, dedicate time to produce that kind of work. As Kleon says, “Take time to mess around. Get Lost. Wander. You never know where it’s going to lead you.”

Real use in real time: Harness & Employ

Sometimes people have talents that directly align with their studies and jobs. Sometimes they don’t. Either way, it is important to utilize them. Once you have identified your talents, spend time to create ways to share them with the world. Perhaps those photos you take on the side are the mere start of your traveling photography blog. Maybe your love for getting people together will allow you to start your company’s first-ever social retreat to boost employee engagement. With so many channels of communication through social media, everyone has the chance to appeal to the masses. Let your ideas be heard and create teams of people who share the same interests. Kickstarter.com is the world’s largest funding platform in which people can promote their ideas for a product or project to the public, gaining an audience and financial backing. It is a gold mine for ideas and the talented people behind them. It takes courage and planning to bring your talents to the forefront of situations, but allow yourself to create opportunities that not only welcome your talents but require them. You can be the person who has that certain skill, that particular edge that is needed for an upcoming project.

Today is the day to spend time with your talents and make something real with them. Sir Ken Robinson once said, “A strong passion allied with even a moderate talent, will generally get you further than a strong talent with little enthusiasm.” Translation: As long as you work with joy and resilience, there really is no stopping you.

Image: Ali Inay

HealthSkills

It’s 3 a.m. on a Saturday and we’re pulling an all-nighter and studying for our test on Tuesday and preparing for that big event and planning our next organization meeting and fixing our resume for Monday’s interview and… we’re forgetting to take a breath because we’re on our fourth cup of coffee in the last two hours. Sound familiar? It’s a lot to handle during adolescence and adulthood, when life is already throwing so many new changes and obstacles our way.

It’s a mad rush to pad our resumes, make the cut for dean’s list, or secure the best job, and while ambition is so important in these years, rest is, too. Not the kind of rest that involves lying on the couch in front of the TV, one hand in a chip bag and one hand surfing Facebook on our phone. I’m talking about the kind of rest that allows us to rejuvenate and care for ourselves.

In college, I only gave myself the potato chip kind of rest, on the very rare occasions that I actually even “rested.” I worked my butt off and tried, to no end, to be perfect and the best at a lot of things that looked amazing on my resume but didn’t even make me that happy. In fact, they brought me anxiety. Not stress; stress is normal and can be healthy. Anxiety is not, and neither is perfection. I was lost, and I refused to slow down to ask myself where this lost feeling was coming from, and if it was even real.

That strategy didn’t work. Halfway through my senior year, I became burnt out and depressed to the point that I wanted to throw everything away and hide under the covers for the entire semester. Coming from a school known for its overcommitted students, I was not the only person I knew who felt this way. I was tired of trying to please everyone but myself. I finally began asking myself what was up, which led me down a life-changing path where I made the changes that now allow me to enjoy the things I commit myself to.

You see, ignoring feelings of intense pressure or anxiety, and pushing ourselves to unrealistic limits can lead us to burn out. In order to avoid it, we can do a few things:

1. We must stop and listen.

This means that, when we feel an emotion we don’t like, we don’t push it away and run from it. No amount of ignoring will keep us from feeling what we feel. When we learn to respect our emotions and ask what is causing them, we can really get somewhere. It is this kind of questioning that slowly brings us closer to ourselves and allows us to make important discoveries and necessary changes in our priorities and relationships.

2. We must be ok with what we are feeling.

We have to stop judging ourselves. One of the greatest contributors to adolescent and young adult stress and confusion is the need to be perfect. The thing that can be so difficult to realize is that when we fail, when we’re angry, when we react poorly, and when we screw up, we’re being humans, and we need to try to be ok with that. Otherwise, we will be unable to let go of our fear of failure, preventing us from genuinely, passionately devoting ourselves to what we love.

3. We need to take naps.

Why do they only happen in pre-K? We all need them. A short 15 minute power nap can really do wonders for our bodies, which sometimes need a chance to unwind, regroup, and chill. And getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night, if we can swing it, is key.

4. We need to discover what it is that we love, and make time to do it.

This can be a process, so don’t freak out if you don’t have a clue what it is. Taking a few minutes, even just once a week, to try out something new or deepen an existing hobby is a good first step. It may be trial and error, but soon we realize we can actually make time for these little moments.

5. We need to learn to say “no.”

I know that this one is tougher than it sounds. We’re taught to work and work and work, more than anyone else in the office, even if it means 10 hour days with no lunch break or accepting yet another position as president of yet another campus club. When we spread ourselves thin, we don’t allow ourselves to give our best to any one thing, and that isn’t fair to ourselves. Saying “no” when we aren’t able to take on a commitment is not bad, insulting or mean. It is responsible and smart.

Burnout is so very common among young adults, and it’s important to recognize when it may be happening to us. It can be scary and foreign to admit to it and attempt to change things, but addressing it can bring us a sense of peace, along with the energy and motivation to be our very best.

Do you have any tips for staying motivated and avoiding burnout? Let us know below or tweet to us!

Image: Mike Hoff

HealthSkills

Maybe you’re having a bad day or maybe even a bad week. It can be hard to stay positive when life just seems as though it isn’t ever going to go your way, but here are some tricks to keeping an optimistic mind!

1. Reminders

Having inspirational and motivational quotes as a daily reminder to maintain a positive attitude can be extremely helpful! Whether that’s putting Post-It notes on your mirror that you can look at as you get ready in the morning or having an alert on your phone for a middle of the day pick-me-up, adding positive sayings to your daily routine can brighten your day!

2. Exercise

Exercise is proven to make us happier. Not only does it relieve stress, but the results of exercise cause us to feel better about ourselves on the inside and outside, giving us a feeling of accomplishment and an attitude that wants to accomplish more!

3. Your Diet

Yes, that chocolate cake may give us temporary happiness, but eating healthy has a similar effect on us as exercising! Taking care of ourselves on the inside makes us feel better on the outside and gives us a more positive outlook!

4. Socialize

Spending time with people will boost your mood as well. We love to be around company, and being around others to talk and laugh with is an easy way to put a little pep into your step.

5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

If you’re with people who have a positive outlook on life, it will help you to do the same. Being around negative people can cause us to be negative as well. Of course, it’s important to be there for your friends, but being around people who are negative 24/7 will only do harm to yourself.

6. Take Time for Yourself

Take time for your own hobbies and interests. Try learning a new song on the guitar or pick up the book that’s been sitting on your bedside table. As important as it is to be around other people, it’s just as important to take time to do the things you love.

7. Pamper Yourself

Sometimes a thing as simple as changing out of your pajamas and putting on a pair of jeans and a cute shirt can boost your mood. If you look good, you feel good. Feeling put together on the outside makes us feel put together in other aspects of our life and gives us the boost of confidence we need to conquer other activities.

Image: unsplash

EducationSkills

I recently came across the question, “What is something you learned even though it did not benefit you?” I think all knowledge is beneficial, but it was an interesting question to reflect on. 

In college, I almost always took courses that were required. I had to commute and consequently did not want to “waste time.” However, in my senior year I took a bowling class. It was something I always wanted to do and I finally had the time. Bowling class was my favorite part of the day.

Another thing that became part of my free time was cooking. I never cooked when I was younger. Now, every recipe I learn fills me with pride. Plus, cooking gives you instant gratification with a delicious meal. If you make a mistake with the recipe, you can learn and improve. I find cooking relaxing, and it also brings independence as you do not need to depend on others for food. 

Since graduating, I have thought about learning how to sew. Sewing is just something I have always found interesting. Maybe it will become useful if I ever need to repair clothes, but for now it is just a new mountain to climb. I love that I don’t need to be assigned this hobby in order to pursue it – I can do it on my own.

The world is full of new things to see and do. Is there something you ever wanted to learn not because it was your major or because it was required? Go out and do it. You won’t know how much you like it until you try.

Image: Roger Nelson, Flickr