CultureHealth

“I think we’d like life to be a train… You get on, pick your destination and get off. Every day, you have to see where the wind is and check the currents and see if there’s anybody else on the boat with you who can help out. It’s a sailboat ride — the weather changes and the currents change and the wind changes. It’s not a train ride. That’s the hardest thing I’ve had to accept in my life. I just thought I had to pick the right train — and I worked hard to pick the right train. And darned if I didn’t get off at the end of it and find out that was just a midway station.”

– Barbara Brown Taylor

As so poignantly said by Barbara Brown Taylor, life is not a straight shot path. And that itself is a lesson that so many of us have to unlearn. The timelines, deadlines, and benchmarks of life condition people to think that moving forward means moving in a predetermined, sequential order. Midterms to finals to graduation. High school to college to career. So when an event or decision veers us in another direction, anxiety ensues. Why are things not going as planned? Why isn’t it easy to stay on course? Some people are able to, so why not me?

The problem with these questions is that they are asked on the basis that veering off in life is unfavorable, incorrect, or negative. The funny and elusive fact about life, however, is that deviating from the expected order can be positive and beneficially life-changing.

Ever heard of “Slash Careers”? It’s when an individual with multiple interests pursues multiple careers successfully. Yeah, it’s a thing. There are people out there who start off pursuing a career that they had always planned on but additionally spend time in their already-busy lives to grow an additional vocation. Think a lawyer/filmmaker or therapist/violin maker (that’s real, check out his story and more here!). If you allow yourself to act on your interests, adding a “slash” to your life might be what you need to feel more whole. It’s definitely not something that everyone plans on, but it may just be the adjustment that binds your career(s), passions, and purpose together.

It’s ingrained in all of us to hold on to things. To hold on to plans, people, and expectations. If we always do this, we risk opportunities to create something new and our potential to live freely. Looking for a new job or losing the one you have, changing your college major, taking longer than expected to graduate, backpacking through South America, applying to graduate school or deciding not to, anything and everything that we may not have seen for ourselves, can be a possibility to reroute. We can try to live from point A to point B, but definitely not all the time. There needs to be an awareness and acceptance of life’s true trajectory. It’s not a line, it’s a design that’s yet to be made.

Image: Gratisography

HealthSkills

Wisdom works best when shared. Sometimes all we need are a few words of newfound perspective to navigate through life. Here are 10 pieces of advice that have provided encouragement and much needed clarity:

“Always assume you don’t have all the information.”

I see this as a way to not take anything too personally. When people act or react in ways that are unwarranted we are quick to judge. However, it’s nearly impossible to fill in the blanks without knowing more information. This is particularly valid during fights and disagreements. Instead of pushing your view and knowledge of the situation, question what you don’t know and instead, assume that they are seeing something that you are not seeing.

“Never pass up a chance to learn something for free.”

Our capacities to learn are endless. There are free E-courses online spanning anything from finances to interior design. Maybe a friend invites you to a free yoga session or you’re curious about slam poetry – take the first step in learning more about it and experience it for yourself. The best part about this kind of education is that it can be found everywhere, plus there’s no tuition.

“Create and maintain a morning ritual that you love.”

Starting your day with a ritual can energize you and help you be more productive throughout the day. Whether it’s brewing a cup of coffee or making tea, spending a few minutes meditating before heading out the door, or going on a morning run, take that time to activate your senses and set a happy tone for the rest of your day.

“Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.”

One guarantee in life is that it’s unpredictable. Sometimes it seems as though the universe conspires to overlap as many dilemmas and challenges for us to face all at once. When crises happen, it’s helpful to remember these two things: 1) You are not alone. We all have our fair share of catastrophes. 2) Consider it your chance to challenge yourself for the better.

“Never lie in bed at night asking yourself questions you can’t answer.” Charles M. Schulz

What is it about the moment when your head hits the pillow that ignites a flood of worries and second-guessing? Sleep is essential and we all need to allow ourselves to relax when we can. So silence the motor in your mind as you hit the hay, it’s one of the only times that thinking less should be a priority.

“What are you going to do about it?”

Advice in the form of a question, gotta love it. Whenever I hear this it’s a reminder of the fact that although I cannot choose what happens to me, I choose what happens next. We are in control of our own decisions and sometimes what we really need is to ask how we can help ourselves.

“Measure twice, cut once.”

My best friend is an expert in calculated risks. He seems spontaneous and fun-loving but is actually extremely careful and a ferocious planner. Through him I’ve learned the value in being able to safely execute decisions. Approaching important situations with thorough research and credibility will allow for life’s big moments to go a lot more smoothly.

“Never offer advice just to appear concerned.” Jack Gardner

We all need to hear this. Although we always want to say the right things and help people when they’re down, be mindful of what it is you’re saying to them and why. If your advice is mere conversation filler, it’s better left unsaid. People have a tendency to project their own versions of help from their personal histories that often don’t reflect the person in need at all. So be wary of “saving the day,” sometimes the best way to help people is to just listen.

“Being in a relationship doesn’t entitle you to anything. You don’t get what you expect, you get what you create.” Steve Maraboli

Having a relationship is having an on-going learning experience. One of the biggest things to learn is to never mistake having a relationship with possessing a relationship. It is not an opportunity for an individual to control another with their expectations but rather, an invitation to grow with someone and share the same effort towards happiness.

“Go in the direction of where your peace is coming from.” C. Joybell C.

This one is from my all-time favorite poet and kindred spirit. Life’s pushes and pulls lead us to places and decisions that don’t always work out. The only thing we can really try to be consistent with is finding our purpose. Whatever it is that provides you with that feeling of peace and wholeness, follow it and rest assured you’re doing life right.

Image: Picography

Health

Sometimes we all need a few words of wisdom. Whether they come from someone famous or anonymous, these quotes are sure to inspire you to seize the day and Seize Your Youth!

“The higher your mountains are, the deeper your valleys will seem.”

Unknown

Sometimes we have a pitfall or two in life and we feel like it’s the end of the world. I love this quote because it reminds me that when I feel as though I’m at my lowest point, it only seems so low because I have so many high points in my life. It reminds me that the good comes with the bad, and that if the bad seems horrible it;s because I have a really great life.

“There are two days in every week which we have no control over: yesterday and tomorrow. Today is the only day we can change.”

– Unknown

Sometimes we all need a daily reminder to live in the present. Stressing over the past and future keeps us from living right now. It’s helpful to be reminded that it’s never too late to seize the day!

“Don’t allow your wounds to transform you into someone you’re not.”

– Paulo Coelho

Our past is just that: our past. Sometimes it’s hard to put it behind us, but in order to stay positive and take every opportunity that comes our way, it’s important to remember that the past doesn’t define who you are today.

“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

Buddha

I’ve read few words wiser than these. Sometimes we need to be reminded to stop thinking so much and just live and remain positive.

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Bertrand Russell

In such a busy world, we tend to always be going and going and going. When we take the time to do the things we enjoy and pursue our hobbies and passions, we often feel guilty for “wasting” time. Never feel guilty for doing the things that make you, you.

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

C.S. Lewis

In simpler terms: what’s on the inside is what matters most. Don’t forget to let who you are shine through!

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

Melchor Lim

The best is yet to come. All of your hard work will pay off in the end!

“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it.”

Jonathan Winters

This quote reminds me that you can’t just follow your dreams, you have to chase them.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” 

– Seneca

When good things happen in life, remember that it’s in large part due to your own hard work and efforts.

“It’s okay to be a glow-stick: sometimes we need to break before we shine.”

– Unknown

Our struggles and mistakes have value shape us into who we are.

“Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.”

–Imgur

Never allow your potential to be trumped by other people’s jealousy. Shine as bright as you want to!

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”

Lemony Snicket

Most importantly, never forget to seize the day and seize your youth! There’s no better time to start than now.

Image: Picography

EducationSkills

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu

As someone who has both led and been led, I have found this quote to be true in every situation.

The thing is, many leaders believe their job is to “tell” their team what to do, and to create and stick to their vision.

While it is important as a leader to have a strong vision and communicate it clearly, it is also important to keep open ears and an open mind, allowing team members to creatively and collaboratively contribute their own thoughts to the group vision. Inflexibly telling everyone what to do is a waste of the unique mind power each team member possesses.

Instead, I’ve compiled, from my experiences, six ways to ensure open communication and creative collaboration, and they’re pretty easy:

1. Make your team a communication “safe space.”

Be sure to actively listen, encouraging input and questions. This means showing appreciation for ideas, even when they aren’t great. This will keep team members unafraid to contribute potentially stellar ideas and ask important questions. Never talk at, always talk with. Remember, your leadership position should never have you on a pedestal.

I was training as a host at a restaurant. During a weekend night when we were absolutely slammed, the manager welcomed all of my questions. Because of that, the next night when we were even busier, I was able to handle the finicky crowd gracefully on my own, much more so than if I’d been afraid to ask her questions in the moment the night before. As a result, she was able to pick up the slack for a brand new server, keeping the customers much happier. Be patient and welcome all communication from your group, even if you’re stressed. It will pay off.

2. Provide continuous feedback (positively).

Show your team members you hear them and see what they’re accomplishing. Sometimes, people can be blind to our own strengths. Pointing them out can give members the confidence to take those strengths and run (a win for you). Be sure to also share things you expect them to improve, letting them know you believe they can do it and providing suggestions as to how they can.

I worked at a PR agency under a great CEO. When I got strong media placement results, he would take the time to stop by my desk and let me know he saw I’d been getting good results that week, and to keep it up. It kept me intrinsically motivated to keep improving my results.

3. Ask for your own feedback.

Good leaders must not be afraid to hear criticism. Anonymous surveys are good for receiving candid answers about this. Ask questions that will lead to honest and productive answers.

Honestly taking feedback into consideration creates a level of trust and mutual respect between you and your team. It also allows you to improve yourself as a leader and a person.

The best professor I’ve ever had checked in several times throughout the semester with anonymous surveys, and also asked for feedback on the fly if he felt something was off. He used it to improve his teaching methods, resulting in higher student test scores and retained knowledge.

4. Hold everyone accountable (yourself included).

When people are assigned tasks, tell them their deadlines and when you will check in with them. Then, do it by asking about their current progress and next steps. I’ve liked doing this via email and during team meetings. Just be sure everyone knows they’ll be asked about it during meetings so they don’t feel put on the spot, and can address concerns with you beforehand.

Update everyone on your own activity, too, so that they also know you’re all in it together. Set examples by meeting your own deadlines.

As the director of my university’s Children’s Miracle Network dance marathon, I often met one on one with team members to discuss individual progress and determine where we could tweak or add things. I created Google docs with each member’s proposed timeline, which we edited together as the year progressed. I also set aside about five minutes to begin our meetings by providing updates on my own activity. It kept us on track in exceeding our main goals.

5. Remember your team members are humans.

This sounds obvious, but it’s important; people will make mistakes. They’ll encounter personal roadblocks that drain them. Be sure to show interest in these things. If someone’s performance has dropped, don’t assume anything. Ask if they’re ok and listen to their concerns. Be sure also to recognize what motivates or discourages your teammates individually, as different people respond to different things in different ways.

In high school, my basketball coaches saw I’d been playing poorly for several games in a row. Instead of getting harder on me, they pulled me into their office after practice to ask me what was going on. They came to find out a personal stressor had been weighing me down; they showed their constant support and understanding. I was back to normal within a few games. They recognized that, while other teammates responded better to tougher love, I responded well to more gentle feedback.

6. No micro-managing!

Offer your help and provide advice, but trust your team to complete their tasks. They may mess up, but it’s better than keeping them from improving and learning. They also may do things their own way, which could turn out to be better than yours!

As the director of our dance marathon, we ran into some roadblocks with corporate sponsorship. We needed about $6,000 in less than two weeks, which my faculty director could have easily secured on her own. Instead, she put the trust in me to do it. I ended up applying for and securing all of the funding and grants we needed, and gained tremendous confidence in the process. She likely had a plan B on hold, but she let me grow and learn through the process.

In the end, your and your teammates’ personal and professional growth should be just as important as the project results. Don’t forget that you’re all teammates, regardless of titles, and that happy people do the best work!

What tips do you have for quality leadership? Any stories about good or bad leaders you’ve encountered?

Image: D I, Flickr

Skills

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” There is no proof that Mahatma Gandhi ever said these exact words, but either way, you are familiar with this quote. It was used in the valedictorian’s graduation speech, a few of your professors paraphrased it in their lectures, someone retweeted it on Twitter, it was printed across a cute shirt on the bargain rack at the mall, or maybe you’re just the kind of person who likes to collect inspirational quotes.

Whatever your story may be, there is no doubt that you’ve encountered this quote at some point in your life. However, your familiarization isn’t what’s important. This is solely because nine times out of ten people will look at that quote, think it’s inspirational enough to share on social networks, and go on about their day smiling at all of the likes and retweets and favorites they get from their friends and followers.

I’m not saying everyone is like that but how many people do you think will actually be the change that they wish to see? Now, that quote is obviously open to interpretation because we all want to see different things. We all have our own definitions of change and what we’d like to see change. But if there is one thing we all have in common, it’s this: we all live in an imperfect world. It seems like every time I go on the internet or turn on the TV, something horrible is happening. Even if I’m not aware of it, I still know that somewhere in the world someone is living in poverty or trying to survive in a war-torn country.

If you’re reading this article, that means you have access to the internet, which means you have a computer (or a smartphone), and that already makes you a little more privileged than a lot of people around the world. This is not to say that we don’t all have our own life struggles or that we’re all well-off, but I am saying that we have a duty to fulfill. Because while we all might not live in war torn countries or have to deal with poverty, it doesn’t mean that those issues will go away if we don’t think about it. The horrible things in this world aren’t fairies. They won’t disappear just because we say we don’t believe in them or because we aren’t forced to encounter struggles in our everyday lives.

So what is the point of all of this? Well, to put it simply, as young people (it doesn’t matter if you’re in high school or in college), we owe it to future generations to set a good example for them and to be the change. All change is change, so if you wish to see less animal abuse in the world, volunteer at an animal shelter, help fundraise for organizations whose missions are to end animal abuse. Whatever cause you’re interested in, find a way to become a part of it, because chances are there is a way that you can contribute. If you’re not really into joining any causes, you can still volunteer and make a difference in your community.

Look for local chapters of Habitat for Humanity. Put in time helping restore or build a home for a family in need. Pick up trash around the neighborhood, clock in some hours at the community center or an afterschool program or anything your heart desires! I’m not saying that doing any of these things will put an end to all wars or get rid of poverty forever, but as I said before, we live in a world that is imperfect and bad things happen everyday. Why not try to do something good to counteract the bad?

Volunteering is important because not only will it impact your life, but it will ultimately have a positive impact on the lives of others. No act of service is too small or too great. Poverty will not go away in one day and neither will famine or sickness. I don’t expect it to but I do expect to try to work at doing what I can, as a young person, as a college student, to make sure that I do things that honor the change that I not only wish to see but the change I want to see as well.

You have the power to influence others in a positive way. If you start to volunteer for a cause or an organization, one of your peers or family members might be inspired to get involved or to tell other people about it. That’s how movements are started. That’s how change happens.

If you’re like the queen from Alice in Wonderland and you don’t want white roses, paint them the color that you want them to be. In other words, if you don’t like the way things are, do something about it. Paint all of the things that you want to change red!

Also, the next time you come across the quote “be the change you wish to see in the world,” forget about liking it or sharing it or retweeting it; choose to live by it instead.

Image: morguefile

Culture

Happy 4th of July! Take a moment out of your day BBQ-ing, laughing with friends, parades, and watching fireworks to truly remember why this day is celebrated. July 4th is about patriotism and honoring the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, a day when our country’s founders declared independence from Great Britain. These powerful quotes remind us why we are proud to be Americans.

1. “Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus 

2. “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

3. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” – Maya Angelou

4. “Freedom lies in being bold.” – Robert Frost

5. “The magic of America is that we’re a free and open society with a mixed population. Part of our security is our freedom.” – Madeleine Albright

 6. “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” — William Faulkner

 7. “Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” – Albert Einstein

8. “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

9. “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Image: Timo Kohlenberg, Flickr

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Whether it is a role in the theater, on a television show, or in movies, Caroline Lindy will seriously impress you with her talent. A graduate of Kenyon college with a focus on Drama, Caroline not only has incredible acting skills, but she adds depth to her work with her study of dramatic literature. With diverse experiences on the sets of an operetta, Law & Order: SVU, Liberal Arts, and most recently a music video, Caroline is learning a lot and excelling in her career. Despite her success, Caroline also experiences self-doubt every now and then, but her positive outlook keeps her motivated. Continue reading to learn what advice Caroline has for youth interested in acting, what she has learned from being a working actress, and how she determined what to study in college.

Name: Caroline Lindy
Age: 24
Education: B.A. from Kenyon College
Follow: IMDb

How do you define ‘seizing your youth’?

I define “seizing your youth” as taking full advantage of these years where anything is possible and nothing is off limits. It’s about being open to everything and everybody. When you’re young, it’s your job to never stop learning, growing and figuring out what you want and need from life. It’s a time to take risks, fail, and as corny as it sounds, reach for the stars!

What did you major in at Kenyon College and how did you determine what to study?

Kenyon College has great Drama and English programs, and I was originally interested in studying English. Ultimately, I realized I was more interested in the process of analyzing and physicalizing works of dramatic literature rather than exploring works of fiction and non-fiction. I continued to take English courses but chose to focus on Drama more intensively, and it became my major.

What or who inspired you to become an actress?

I grew up in New York City, and I was lucky enough to have parents who took me to plays and musicals and made me watch Hollywood classic films. I danced next to the television set while watching Singing in the Rain and recited Shakespeare along with Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. I loved everything about the theater and the screen from a very young age. That exposure is what probably inspired me to pursue a career in the field.

Did you always know that you wanted to act professionally?

Yes, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself for a long time. I was too embarrassed to really audition for any plays until my senior year in high school. Entertaining people is scary territory, and it took me awhile to develop the confidence to be able to sometimes fail and embarrass myself in front of an audience.

What was your first professional acting role, and how did you go about securing it?

My first professional acting role was when I was in the sixth grade. I took an after-school musical class where we sang show tunes, and I performed with great gusto. The teacher knew the director of the Bronx Opera Company, and I landed my first role in their production of “Boccaccio”, an operetta. I played one of the village children and sang in the chorus, and I was totally delighted. It was the most exciting thing that could have happened to sixth grade Caroline Lindy.

You were in an episode of Law & Order: SVU. What was that experience like and what was your biggest take away?

The experience was very exciting! SVU films in NYC, but I got the email about an audition just as my plane landed back in Los Angeles after a visit to NYC. I quickly filmed my audition and sent it to the NY casting office. I got the part, and had to turn right around and fly back east. Filming only took a day, but was a total blast. Everyone was warm, welcoming and professional! I felt very lucky to have been given a role.

You are in the new Dizzy Bats music video, GIRLS. What was it like shooting a music video, and how is the process different than filming for a movie or television show?

Most music videos require actors to focus primarily on expressions and gestures as opposed to text and dialogue. I actually find shooting a music video to sometimes be harder than shooting a scene for screen, because you are provided with less information about your character and have to be comfortable just being yourself with a camera right on your face.

What was your favorite scene to shoot in the GIRLS music video? What was the hardest scene?

I really enjoyed the scene that we shot on the Ferris wheel.  The views of Los Angeles and the Malibu mountains off in the distance were truly breathtaking! The hardest scenes were the driving scenes. Connor [Frost] was driving and I kept on distracting him, almost causing us to get into minor accidents. Luckily we made it out alive. Don’t film and drive!

Caroline Lindy

What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned from being a working actress?

Stay a student. Never stop learning from people who have been in the industry for longer than you.  Don’t be afraid of rejection – it’s inherently part of the profession, so learn to accept it and move on. Once you stop being afraid of hearing the word “NO,” then you can start having more fun at auditions, and start showing casting directors and other industry folks your true artistry.

What advice do you have for youth who want to be professional actors/actresses?

Being a professional actress demands that you throw yourself into an incredibly competitive group of people with giant egos and enormous amounts of talent. However, it is also an industry that embraces the individual. The most important piece of advice I think I could give a young actress would be to just be you. When you’re just starting out, bring yourself into every audition, because there might be a million girls who look and sound similar to you, but there’s no one who is exactly you. So show that to the world! If this casting director doesn’t love you, the next one will! As long as you’re enjoying the process of building a career, don’t give up.

What does a day in your life look like?

When you’re an actress you have to be ready to embrace an unpredictable schedule. I get auditions notices throughout the week and therefore have to keep my schedule fairly open and flexible. I usually try to start off my day with physical and vocal warm ups, followed by auditions, classes or rehearsals (if I’m in a show). I’m also constantly taking on freelance work to supplement my income.

How do you overcome self-doubt or stage fright?

There are times when I feel terrified or feel like a failure, and I say things to myself like, “maybe I should go to Medical School.” However, I remind myself that my favorite feeling in the world is being on stage and feeling the energy of an audience. I love acting because I love entertaining people, I love telling stories and I love being around other people who like to create those stories with me. It’s my favorite thing to do, and it keeps me motivated and inspired.

What motivates you?

My parents, other family members and friends. Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to pursue this career.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Dare to be different! As long as you are a considerate, thoughtful and good person, who cares what people think of you? Be yourself and have fun. Life is too short to live any other way.

CultureEducation

Happy Presidents’ Day! In the United States, the third Monday in February is known as Presidents’ Day in honor of the birthday of the First President of the United States, George Washington. Having become a widely celebrated holiday, many business and schools close on Monday in observation of Presidents’ Day. How are you celebrating Presidents’ Day?

Culture

When you are determined, you can accomplish anything. Having determination requires a willpower to continue doing something you want to achieve, whether it is a goal you have set for yourself, completing a tiresome task, or setting time aside to practice a skill every single day. Being determined truly shows a strength of character, and if you have the drive and purpose to achieve something, you will go far.

Skills

Being a leader – at school, work, or in your own life – involves varying degrees of risk. If you are making a huge life decision, debating whether to put yourself out there to run for student government, or deciding to transfer schools, certain choices you make require risk-taking. Risk-taking is often much easier said than done and it might not come naturally to you. That’s okay. It takes time to become a risk-taker. 

Risk is the possibility that something unpleasant will occur. When you take risks, there is the chance that the outcome you want might not happen, but there is also the chance that it could happen and be everything you wanted and more. 

***

If uncertainty frightens or challenges you, keep these 12 tips in mind if you want to be a better risk-taker…

1. Step outside of your comfort zone. Taking risks means doing something that could make you uncomfortable, scared, and stressed. However, know that this is completely normal when you are about to do something that you might not normally do or if you have important things you are giving up to take this risk. Stepping outside of the bounds that you are naturally comfortable with will give you the courage to try new things.

2. Have faith in yourself. Trust yourself. You want to take a backpacking trip across Europe? Go for it! You are thinking about organizing a trash pick-up group over the weekend? You can do it! You have the ability to do anything, especially when you have faith in yourself.

3. Determine why you want to take a risk. What is driving or compelling you to do this thing you really want to do? What are you passionate about? Why now? Figure out why exactly you want to take a risk so that you can use it as fuel to get you started and to keep you moving.

4. Baby steps. Nothing happens overnight. Deciding to take a risk is the leap you make, but take baby steps to build your dreams and achieve your goals.

5. Be comfortable making decisions. Don’t think that making one decision will be “right” or “wrong.” This is not a test. Make a decision based on facts, your gut, and experience, and then deal with the consequences from there – good or bad. You won’t know until you make the first move.

6. Have confidence. You know why you want to take the leap and do something awesome and potentially off the beaten path. Tell others with confidence and let your dreams come to life through your words and actions.

7. Take strategic risks. Don’t just do something to do something. Think through what you want to do and how you plan to accomplish it. If you take a risk without thinking about the consequences or your safety, perhaps you are taking a risk that may in fact be too risky and just plain ol’ dangerous.

8. Identify your fears. What scares you and why? When you can pinpoint what makes you scared, you can then start to overcome those fears.

9. Build a support system. Your friends and family can be a fantastic support system, and on days when you question your abilities, talk to your support system to give you the boost you need to keep going.

10. It’s OK to ‘fail.’ It might be helpful to figure out your definition of failure. Many failures can actually be great when you learn from your mistakes to make you stronger.

11. Stay positive. There will be days you doubt yourself. Totally normal. Maintain a positive attitude so that when you slip out of your funk, you won’t have abandoned your goals due to a low moment that everyone has periodically. Think about what compelled you to take a risk in the first place and use that as positive energy.

12. Stop making excuses. Just stop! It’s too easy and it will prevent you from ever doing what you want to do. Leap, make baby steps, and take it from there. Less talking, more action.

What risks have you taken or want to take?

Culture

You’ve most likely heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes time to build great things. Having patience can be hard when you want to get something done as soon as possible, whether you just want a project to be over or if you are too excited to wait any longer to show people something you’ve been working on. To build something of quality, it may take days, weeks, months, possibly even years. Websites, businesses, class projects, and personal skills and goals take more than just an instant to be created. Take Olympic athletes, for example. Every four years, athletes compete in Olympic competitions that last minutes. These athletes are truly great, and they have been training for years to get to this point. In a way it’s comforting to know that you have time to become something great, and with a little bit of patience and daily effort, you’ll get there.

Culture

It takes courage to voice your thoughts and opinions, especially when you’re unsure if others will agree. Be brave and speak your mind. If saying what you think comes easily, then it also takes courage to know when to keep quiet and hear what others have to say.

To try today: say what is on your mind or listen.

Both are courageous and just might positively change the way you interact with others.