Should I Stay or Should I Go? — You Vote!

August 9, 2012 at 7:40 am | Posted in Life and Living | 6 Comments
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This past weekend I observed my half birthday.  Yes, I realize as an adult it is not typical (or arguably, appropriate) to recognize a half birthday, but what can I say?  I like finding silly excuses to celebrate even in minor ways, and honestly, it’s just a hard habit to let go of. :::takes off party hat:::

But this half birthday actually does matter, at least to the life and future of this blog.  This means that in six short months I will no longer be technically pushing thirty.  What ever is a girl who blogs about life leading up to turning 30 to do?

Of course, this is not a surprise.  I always knew this day would come, and I’ve thought a lot about what I would do when it did.  In fact, it’s the most common question I get when talking about this blog. Will I rebrand? Will I start a new blog?  Will I stop writing all together?

I didn’t know where this blog would take me when I first started.  I didn’t know if it would be the right format for me, or if I would feel accepted in the blogger community.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle at times with my self-imposed deadlines and the occasional writer’s block (do you have any idea how hard it is to have 2 new ideas a week?)  but in the end I did find that this format works for me, and I did feel accepted into the blogger community.  And as a writer who has found a home in the blogosphere, I won’t stop writing anytime soon.

Still it begs the question, once I am thirty — no longer pushing — should I abandon this space I have called home for the past 3 years? Is it misleading in some way to be 30 and a half and still talking about life lessons learned at my age?  Have I reached a point where my perspective or life situation has changed enough to warrant a URL and brand move?

I have my thoughts on this, and with six months to go, I’d like to open it up to the readers.  What do you guys think? Vote below!

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Can’t Take the Heat? Get out of the Board Room

February 10, 2011 at 7:34 am | Posted in Career Moves | 8 Comments
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photo via drewjpowell.wordpress.com

As I may have mentioned in passing, I work for an organization focused on preparing high school students for college and career success. So every so often I actually get to see what we preach in action.  This week, I was invited to attend and judge presentations students were making in order to recruit other students to attend events.  As a communications pro, I’ve done many a presentation and of course have studied the art of presenting through sources including Andy Goodman’s Why Good Presentations Happen to Bad Causes. Public speaking is certainly an important skill for anyone to learn and the fact that these kids have real business people to provide feedback certainly gives them the edge.

So some of the presentations were pretty good, and some could use improvement.  But what really surprised me was the students’ capacity to take criticism.  There was one girl in particular who had something to say about everyone’s work.  She said it tastefully for the most part, but many people would still have taken it as a personal offense.  Not these kids. These kids were handled it with poise and grace.

In my career, I have had my work torn apart time and time again.  I used to have my emails edited before I contacted clients.  I’ve had articles come out completely unrecognizable on the other side of the editing process.  In college, when I got my work critiqued, it got to the point where I would give up on pieces where there seemed to be no end to the editing process.  I have learned in my career how to take criticism.  I know many who haven’t.

The problem with not being able to take criticism is that you will never get better.  You think that you know everything and that’s it.  You can’t learn from others and thus, you can’t really teach anyone anything.  You become a non-expert and can even become obsolete.

I have worked with all different types of people – inspiring people that you want to learn from, tough bosses, people who don’t really get what you do, slow learners, fast learners.  But it is the people who whine that get me the most.  I just don’t get it.  You never see whiners become CEOs, even if they whine their way into getting a promotion.  It just doesn’t happen.

Let me be clear in saying that there have been times in my professional career where I have gotten emotional over criticism.  It happened once recently and it was because I felt as though my toes were being stepped on and it was out of the blue so I wasn’t prepared.  But I don’t get upset when someone critiques my work (unless I know they have no idea what they are talking about).

The important thing to remember is that they are critiquing your work and not you.  Just because you completed an assignment that wasn’t up to par with the standards set forth doesn’t mean I don’t want to go to happy hour with you.  We’re adults. Let’s deal with this like adults.  If a bunch of high school kids can, can’t we?

Embracing Your Name

January 20, 2011 at 7:34 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 12 Comments
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photo credit: exponentialprograms.com

I don’t know if there is something in the air or what, but I can name five women I know who are currently pregnant… and another two who just had babies… and several others who became moms in the past few years.  It’s just that stage in my life I guess.  Whatever it is, there is always several initial questions on the minds of the friends of the pregnant — one being what the child will be named. And with my first nephew just a couple of short months away from entering the world, I can’t wait to find out what we will call him!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a bit of an obsession with names.  I have a name book that interprets names that I used to create characters in my early short stories.  Like any writer, the characters are typically based on someone you know, but you don’t want to simply use that person, so you come up with a similar persona and a name to match.  I cast myself as “Molly” in my short stories.  I’m not quite sure why.  I think of Molly’s as sort of shy, deep thinkers, hidden beauties.  I am definitely not shy, though I do think of myself as a deep thinker.  Perhaps I just always felt like I was waiting for someone to discover something great in me, and this is the way it manifested.  Who knows? I was like, 13.

Whatever my thought process, the idea is the same when you name your child.  You are creating the character you hope your child will be.  The only difference is that this is a real person who has to make that name work for them for their whole lives.

I always liked my name.  There weren’t a lot of Dana’s in my school so I was able to feel fairly unique growing up, which was important to me.  I did not really like my middle name.  To me, Blair sounded very old.  It took me a long time to grow into that name.

We live in a time where people are becoming very… unique with their name choices.  As someone who is all for unique I am surprisingly not likely to follow this trend when I enter into mommyhood.  A person needs to be able to live with their name, and be able to make it their own.  Kids will always make fun of each other and giving a kid a tough name can make them an easy target.  I feel like there are so many beautiful names that have deep roots in history, names that aren’t always thought of and in that way can become unique.

But it’s all up to the parents to make that major decision about how their children will be first presented to the world, what every first impression they will make will be like.  And all parents want something different for their children.  I think the most important idea overall is to have a name that you can make your own.  Your name becomes part of your identity so you need to embrace your name to embrace your identity and come into your own.

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