Personal Development and Business Books I’m Enjoying Right Now: GRIT

Here’s a fun metric. I’ve increased the total books read (this far) in 2018 by 500%.

Your next question is likely, “How can you increase you’re reading by so such a large percentage?”

Well…It’s easy to do when I’m unable to recall completing a single book that I started in 2017.

BAM

I know I’m not the only guilty person that picks up multiple books and puts them back down without reading the final page.

But, at a certain point in time the internet becomes boring, nothing new is on Netflix, my eyes glaze over upon opening Instagram, and the dust is piled so high on my bookshelf it’s now a hazard to my respiratory system. So, I blew off the first layer of dust and swiffered off the second layer, and finally reopened my books.

If you read my completed books list you’ll notice a theme – all of them are some form of personal development (aside from Gail Honeyman’s novel). Business skills, personal growth, leadership are on my mind now, and it doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon.

Book Review:

I most recently finished Grit by Angela Duckworth (here the link to her TED talk.) She’s studying what exactly is grit, how some have grit, what does it take to grow grit, and how can we measure our personal grit.Image result for grit duckworth

When asked if hard work or talent is more important the average person will respond “hard work” but studies show that deep down we still believe it’s talent. When the going gets tough it’s easy to say, “I’m just not any good at (insert activity here)” and halt any further progress. Angela studied Olympian athletes, National Spelling Bee champions, and NFL teams (Seattle Seahawks) and found that, yes, some of them were naturals, but many had to learn grit along the way. Talent will only take you halfway across the finish line, it’s the deliberate practice that pushes the person to the finish.

You can have talent and effort that grows the skill. But! Talent x Effort X Effort = Achievement. The deliberate practice has a more impactful outcome than pure skill/talent.

One way to stay motivated to improve your goals is incremental goals that build upon each other to meet your long-term goal. DING DING  DING.
Commonsense, but how many of us aren’t working toward a single goal? You go to work, come home, occasionally enjoy a night with friends, rinse and repeat. It’s easy to roll through life on autopilot, complacent, when you’re not growing. Those goals become little magnets that help pull you through these ruts.

The other personal takeaway from Grit is choosing your Choosing Your Hard Thing. Grit is grown when you pick one personal “hard thing” and continue to pursue and grow a skill. It is one thing that is difficult that you must work on daily to improve. You can quit the hard thing, but not until the season, semester, membership, etc is over. It’s a nice reminder to try new things, fail at them, maybe a few times through the season, but see it through until the end. A small way to flex your grit muscle.

All in all, the book is a compelling and quick read. It provides what I see as tips you can use to improve your performance at work or skill at home. It shows us why we see some succeed and others stagnate.

What is your “hard thing” that your currently working on?

or

What would you like your “hard thing” to be?

 

In case you’re curious……

Completed Books:

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
  2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine : A Novel – Gail Honeyman
  3. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth
  4. High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard
  5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

In – Progress Books:

  1. Smarter Faster Better
  2. How We Learn

Virtual Coffee Date [4]

If we were having coffee…

I’d tell you that  I’ve recently started drinking many more homemade Matcha Lattes.
I’ve followed the blogger trend and will blend my matcha to achieve optimal foam. One part water, one part oat milk, a dash of sweetener, and one teaspoon matcha powder. Blend it up for 30 seconds and pour into mug. It really does make the best foamy at-home matcha.

Allergies in Seattle this year are insane. I once swore I did not suffer from seasonal allergies, but there’s no escaping the pollen, grass, tree, and EVERYTHING that is floating in the breeze.  I’m not feeling so “Claritin Clear” this year.

Jumpsuits. I’m really digging the return of the jumpsuits for similar reasons that I adore wearing dresses; you don’t have to take time to match an outfit and you appear as though you spent great time putting yourself together. Do I look like Audrey?

 

Jumpsuit

 

We just returned from a wedding in Davis, CA. A long weekend with all of my favorite people from college under one roof was a treat. Five years later and we’ve all changed, but have largely stayed the same.

 

I’d tell you that Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again is a much higher quality movie than Mamma Mia 1. This movie is most enjoyed in theaters while wearing a jumpsuit to really immerse yourself in the era. We sang and danced and had a really, really, really, good time (name that song!)

 

Cheers!

 

Iceland in Three Days

How to plan a trip to Iceland – Our Way:

  1. “Can you get time off work for a long weekend to Iceland?”
  2. “Well…only three days…sure, let’s go!”
  3. Book tickets
  4. GO

And that’s how we took an extended weekend to the Nordic Island where, in the summer, the sun never sets.

Four friends, one digital guidebook, a rental car, and a hunger for adventure we set out on three packed days our touring.

Our itinerary went something like this:

Day 1: Reykjavik

  • Take a 3 hour nap to off-set the zero sleep
  • Walk around Reykjavik downtown and pop into any museums we find of interest
  • Drink espresso, eat lamb hotdogs, try local beer, and hit the hay early to prepare for our driving tour

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Day 2: The Golden Circle

  • Drive the scenic route, through the “mountains” (foothills compared to the PNW)
  • Stop at Gullfoss, Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area,  Secret Lagoon
  • Stay out until 4am at the bar singing-a-long to American songs

 

 

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Day 3: South Coast

  • Wake-up at 1pm and begin our day
  •  More Waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi, Skogafoss
  • An Iceberg you can walk on and around
  • Vik’s Black Sand Beach
  • Drive until we are too tired to do anymore and then head home. Arrive home at 12:30AM (and it’s still bright as day outside)

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Day 4: Blue Lagoon and Fly Home

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Highly recommend. Would travel to Iceland again. 14/10

Zagreb,Croatia and Plitvike Lakes [3]

We left off the last Croatia post as we boarded the plane from Munich to return to Croatia, this time landing in Zagreb. Zagreb is the polar opposite of Dubrovnik, it’s a fast paced metropolis that slows down in the evening only to continue business meetings over dinner and drinks. I enjoyed the hustle of the scene, but was ready to head back to the slow old city feel of Dubrovnik.

We stopped over in Zagreb for two nights and after four nights sharing a room with four strangers in a hostel we decided to splurge for a 4 star hotel. Chocolates on our pillows and beer in the fridge was the ultimate warm welcome.

We walked around and enjoyed the city views, breakfast off the square with the freshest eggs I’ve ever tasted, and many prosciutto platters.IMG_20171013_080300-PANO.jpg

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We rested up and after two days rest began our drive out to the Plitvike Lakes National Park. After taking an electric boat off the main entrance visitors choose to take one of five routes. We opted for a shorter hike, approximately 5 miles due to starting later in the day and still having a long drive to go. You can expect to see dozens of waterfalls, birds, and beautiful lakes that are essentially untouched.

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This hike was the highlight of my trip. If we’d known to plan for more time around the park we would easily have spent an entire day and gone for a longer hike. If you visit Croatia, this national park should be a must see on your list.

Where’s The Food Club {WTF} Fried Chicken Sunday: A Restaurant Review

We kicked off  WTF 2018 with some good ol’ southern style fried chicken. We have a few folks with hometown roots in Kentucky and Texas and they take their fried chicken seriously. “Ain’t nothing better than a good ol’ piece of fried chicken to warm the soul in the middle of Winter,” said our native Kentuckian.

A new restaurant, JuneBaby, opened in Ravenna, a neighborhood just north of the University of Washington campus. JuneBaby boasts of a nightly dinner special paired with a quality southern side. Chicken fried steak, roasted turkey leg, brisket, and mac and cheese are just a few of the authentic daily main specials. Our table made reservations specifically to indulge in the Sunday night fried chicken. We ordered a few appetizers to tame our appetites while we awaited the main course.

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Crispy Fried Pig Ears 

If you’ve been itching for a taste of frog legs or crispy pig ears, have no fear- JuneBaby’s crew can fry a mean pig ear. Having never tried pig ear before, I was impressed that frying something makes everything taste great. If pig ears aren’t the appetizer you’re looking for, the charred okra should suit you just fine.  The okra is dressed in a smoked chili vinaigrette with peanuts and is a lighter appetizer to start your evening.

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Sunday Night Fried Chicken

Our table  exclusively ordered the fried chicken this Sunday evening, as word on the street is they run out by 6pm,so it must be something special. Half a chicken each, a buttermilk biscuit, and diced yams appeared 20 minutes later and we were not disappointed.  Those with lighter appetites were able to bring home some chicken, but easily gobbled down their biscuit and yams. The biscuit was drizzled with cane syrup and was lighter and fluffier than your best homemade biscuit. The diced yams, equally  great as the biscuit, were mixed with diced pineapple and tossed in a light honey habanero sauce. The sides balanced the salty fried chicken perfectly and left everyone content and satisfied with their JuneBaby dining experience.

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JuneBaby is open 5 days a week for dinner and lunch on weekends, closed Monday and Tuesday. Reservations are available for parties greater than 10 guests.

WTF Club gives JuneBaby 12/10 for Sunday Night Fried Chicken, cocktails, and an overall terrific dining experience.

 

 

Basic Coding is to 2018 as Basic Typing is to 1997 [and other ‘Friday Thoughts’]

It’s another Friday and we’re two weeks into February, six weeks into the new year, only 319 days until Christmas (better start shopping now).

First, a few housekeeping items, how are your goal sheets coming along? They aren’t? Well, feel free to download your copy of “Champion Your Life” the bullet journal gone digital here. I’ve knocked one item off my list and see being able to check one more off this weekend.

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Second, have you checked out the “He Says, She Says” section?

If not, take a peek at some of our comical takes on life ranging from commuting, reading, and computer usage. This series is still up and coming, but we’d love your feedback!

Now, onto High-Five Friday Favorites/Thoughts:

    1. After numerous conversations with friends in varying career paths (psychology, marketing, teaching, and tech), we’ve decided that going forward basic coding will be an essential skill in life. Knowing any HTML, CSS, or Python, might be useful in the future. Kids are already taking programming classes in 3rd grade, many millennials may need to up their skill set to stay current in the near future.  What are your thoughts on this?
    2. Boats that are actual hot tubs AKA hot tubs boats are amazing. Everyone should give it a try, AKA something new I tried last Sunday.
    3.  Housing is so expensive to rent or buy in Seattle, I’m going to be poor the rest of my life. #shouldHaveBeenAnEngineer #iWishIwasBetteratMath #maybeI’llFranchiseHotTubBoats? 
    4. Old Friends are Gold. Even across time zones. I’m grateful for having friends near and far.
    5. We had a Girls Night Out and watched the latest 50 Shades of Grey. I’d never seen any of the others, so my expectations were LOW. This movie turned out to be a little funny and have some action. I was pleasantly surprised, I’d give it 1 out of 5 stars.

 

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What’s one highlight for you this week?

Are you teaching yourself to code?

On This Day: 1, 3, and 9 Years ago- Cuba, Little Si, and Vancouver, B.C.

It’s a Tuesday that feels like a Thursday with a Monday that felt like Friday.

That’s what happens when your friend matches with her Med School Residency program on a Monday and there’s glitter EVERYWHERE. I shook a little glitter out of my hair during a meeting on Tuesday and said, “No, I wasn’t at a Ke$ha concert, just a residency program reveal party.” They nod as though they understand, but to be honest, I also didn’t know what to expect until we were at the party. It looked a little something like this…

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Aside from this week taking on the state of molasses, I wanted to take a peek at what was happening on this day the past 1, 3, and 9 years ago.

2/7/17: The last day we were wandering around Havana. When we learned the difference between the Spanish word for tortilla and its translation in Cuba are different. Think eggs.

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2/7/15: Hiking around the Seattle area at Little Si while wearing the largest gloves I owned at that point. They still froze.

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2/7/10: Adventures with high school friends around Vancouver and conquering fears of suspension bridges. Taken with a high quality iPhone 4(?)

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That’s all for today.
What were you doing the past few years on this day?

Bullet Journal Monthly Goals: Digital Edition

I’m taking my bullet journal and going digital.
I know, I know, the whole point of BUJO is the physicality of the book. But, I’m no Martha Stewart when it comes to crafting. I still love to plan and craft, so I turned to PowerPoint to make things colorful, neat, and easy to track. We loved the gold start system as kids, so why not use it as adults? #Millenial.

I’m building off last month’s theme and use of the Self-Care Bingo card.  Combining the inspiration from my bullet journal and the easy to read digital format I’ve shifted the Bullet Journal monthly spread on to a PowerPoint slide.

Personal Self Care Bingo

The previous card had 25 target goals to complete, but that turned out to be a bit lofty when some required multiple days or hours. I’ve take the card this month and cut it down to 16 items that vary in time, energy, and thought. The idea of the running list in the bullet journal is to eliminate any weekly items that roll over at the end of the month. I have a couple items that I’d still like to complete by the month’s end, so you’ll notice a few repeats. If you’d like to use this template for your own purposes, feel free to download it and edit in PowerPoint.

BUJO Goals February

 

Aside from the monthly goals, I have a few Friday Favorites to share.

  1.  This Is Us
    The build-up to this episode has me on edge, I’m so anxious to see what happens during the house fire!
  2. Taking a deeper dive into what it means for automation/machine learning as part of the workforce as project I’m researching for one of my leads.
  3. Celebrating birthdays with friends as they all begin to enter their 29th year (I still have one more until that birthday!)
  4. The Christmas tree in the living room that is now a “Valentine’s Day Tree” with red and white lights
  5. Going on my first run in 8 months with 5 girlfriends that we followed with dinner and watching The Bachelor.

Here’s to the weekend! Let me know if you like this goal tracking format or have one that you enjoy using.

Virtual Coffee Date [3]

If we were having coffee, I’d share with you…

  • The Christmas tree is still up and there are no plans to take it down until after Feb. 14th. It’s now been dubbed the “holiday” tree.
  • Global warming seems real right now; it’s 55 degrees in Seattle in the middle of January. But, I’m not mad about it at all…look at this afternoon sun lighting up our plates!

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  • The first full week back at work is rough, I’m not the only one feeling this, right?
  • I’m plowing through my Self Care Bingo and I’m getting down to the items that will take more time than a couple hours. I think I’ll have to start planning these a bit further in advance.
  • The Annual Cookie Exchange lives on and the 4th annual party was held a bit late this year, Jan 7th. I’m glad it was thrown together last minute, our friends brought their A-Game. Surprisingly, not a single cookie was repeated! Here’s a before and after picture.

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  • The book High Performance Habits is still on my bookshelf and I’m still loving it and having “ah-ha” moments every chapter.
  • Just listened to the RD Real Talk podcast and learned a little bit more about one of my favorite bloggers.
  • I’m attending a career workshop this Saturday that came highly recommend from a friend. I’m eager to learn more about resume tips and always having a prepped Linkedin website. We’ll see how it goes!

Are you looking forward to anything this weekend?

Book Recommendation: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*

We’re about a third of the way through January and I’d like to invite us back to this month’s theme, Self-Care. There are many articles, posts, tweets, InstaLives, etc regarding what self-care is and is not. A few key points that everyone seems to agree upon are:

  1. Self-Care is NOT simply a candle, book, and alone time
  2. A social support group is key (deepening meaningful relationships)
  3. Taking a moment to recognize if an activity is building you up or wearing you down

These points are woven in and throughout Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F* This book may already tell you what you know, but he also provides the WHY. The WHY we care, WHY we shouldn’t care, and WHY it’s important to make some changes if you want to move through life happily. It’s a dose of realism, not self-help. It’s tongue in cheek, but serious points within the chapters.

Take responsibility for everything!

We may not be responsible for what is happening or happened to us, but we are responsible for how we respond. You can take the stress out of your response, but always aiming for positivity itself is stressful. What’s the better response and more realistic approach to moving forward?

“With great responsibility comes great power.” The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them.

Give a F* about the right things.

Is this meaningful to you? Are you wasting brain-space worrying/thinking about XYZ? You can only give a f* about so many things.

“Developing the ability to control and manage the fucks you give is the essence of strength and integrity.”


The “Do Something” Principle: Motivation


Oftentimes a task seems overwhelming or you’ve set the bar too high and you never do anything, therefore, you never feel motivated. But, you’ve just found yourself in a toxic cycle.
How do you find motivation?
Action–>Inspiration–>Motivation —> repeat

Manson states, “If we follow the “do something” principle, failure feels unimportant. When the standard of success becomes merely acting– when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prereq- we propel ourselves ahead. We feel free to fail, and that failure moves forward.”

I chose to pull out these three points that we all grapple with on the daily. How do I find motivation, if nothing seems to be going right take responsibility for what you can and turning it around, and deciding if this worry is worth your energy.
Figuring out how to fine tune your reactions and responses to these questions can lead to greater insight into your well-being and how to happily trot through daily life.

How is your bingo card coming along? If you still need to download it, head back to this link and save the image to follow along.  This is where I’m at this month!Personal Self Care Bingo

If you skipped everything and just skimmed to the bottom, here is the takeaway:

Everyone has asked for a manual to life, living for dummies, how-to navigate life, at some point in time. THIS is the book that provides you the loose guideline you’ve needed. Unlike  when you’re putting together your IKEA table and end up with unexplained extra screws, Mark covers the bases and won’t leave you with more questions than when you started. 
I highly recommend this book, it’s a quick read that packs a punch.