What They Don’t Tell You About Life After College

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, College, Happiness, Olivia

~ by Olivia Humphreys

“College will be the best years of your life!”

It’s a common phrase anyone who has spent one day in college has heard before. As graduation and the threat of becoming a true adult stares you in the face, you begin to worry that this statement is true. The days of sleeping in, taking random naps in the middle of the day and spending afternoons celebrating Thirsty Thursday are quickly waning.

All that you have to look forward to now is working for the rest of your life and trying to climb the corporate ladder. Gross.

Or is it?

As a person who has successfully survived, and thrived, in my first year post-college, I can honestly say that being in the workforce is a 1000 times better than being in college.

For starters, there’s no homework or tests. I still have several friends finishing up their college careers, and do not envy them even a little when they complain about studying or writing papers.

You also get your evenings back. I’m fortunate that my current position allows me to leave work at work. This means I’m able to disconnect and enjoy my evenings how I want; something I rarely had the luxury of doing in college since I was always worried about my next assignment.

Terrible group projects are a thing of the past (if you’re lucky). This isn’t to say I don’t have group projects at work — I most certainly do! But my boss has done an amazing job of hiring fun motivated people that prove to me not all group work is derived from the devil. In fact, my job is super fun.

It’s hard not to have fun at work when you have such great coworkers and get to attend cool events.

Another perk is that you get to become a “real person.” This is how my best friend, who is still an undergrad, refers to me now. But it actually makes a lot of sense. Obviously, I have adult responsibilities like paying for food, rent, utilities, etc., but this also means I’m viewed as an expert in my field by students and my boss.

At CCPE, there are only three of us and I’m the only one with a marketing and PR background. This means, even though my job title is only outreach coordinator, I’m treated as an outreach director because I’m literally the only person who has marketing training. I’m the point person for all things regarding outreach and communication; something I never would have expected in my first year post-grad.

Post-college life has also been great because I’ve been able to read for fun again. In college, I was assigned a ridiculous amount of reading. This actually led me to despise it, so I very rarely read for fun while in school. Now that I’m not required to read 80 pages every night, I’ve been able to rediscover my passion for reading and try to read a little in the evenings.

There are also a million things you can do when you graduate from college that you never would have had time for before. These are some of my biggest accomplishments in the last year, in no particular order:

  • Became a writer for Thrivers!
  • Adopted an adorable dog, Flora!
  • Took a road trip to Texas, where I got engaged!
  • Officially launched my freelance wedding videography business, LivFree Videography.
  • Grown professionally in more ways than I can even count!

While there are a number of truly fantastic pros to being a “real adult,” there is one con. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with money.

Honestly, it’s how other people sometimes view you because of your age. I’m fortunate/cursed in that I look younger than I am. At almost every event I’ve been to since graduating, I’ve been asked if I’m a student. In some people’s defense, I do work on campus quite a bit.

This normally isn’t an issue, but there can be times when it gets frustrating. For example, as my team walked into a luncheon this winter, an elderly gentlemen greeted my entire team with an enthusiastic and somewhat condescending, “Hey kids!” Granted, we are all under 30, but two of my coworkers have a Master’s and one even has a child!

In another instance, I overheard two ladies we share an office space with, talking about me one day. “She’s just too cute,” they said as I was leaving the room.

While these aren’t the most disparaging comments ever, they remind me that people sometimes view young professionals as, well, young and cute and not necessarily mature competent adults.

The best thing to do with comments like these is to just smile and move on. Don’t let them discourage you. Instead, let it serve as a gentle reminder that respect is often earned with experience.

At the end of the day, college was great. But being a real adult is the best.

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter










Mission 101: Satisfy As Many Passions As You Can …

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Maria, Personal Mission, Side Hustle, Uncategorized


~ by Maria Katrien Heslin

As a career coach and teacher of two career-related courses at Indiana University, I spend a lot of time helping people explore some of life’s biggies:

What matters most to you in life?
What do you do well that you really enjoy doing?
How can your strengths translate into meaningful work?
What big issue do you ache to solve?
If money were no object, how would you spend your time?
What’s your mission?

And many more …

The goal of this self-exploration is to help people identify (and then attain) the type of work that will make them feel like leaping out of bed with enthusiasm every morning, or at least most mornings!

For some, this professional bliss is just a dream, a luxury. But for many of us, it’s a delightful reality. And naturally, helping people achieve this success is incredibly satisfying work!

What’s even better is that when we feel content and fulfilled by work, we often find that our minds and energy are free to pursue even more interests either as hobbies, side hustles or purely for pleasure. Doing so can allow us to add a bit of lagniappe to our personal mission.

For me, this includes serving as a volunteer State Council member for the Humane Society of The United States (I love animals); contributing to publications such as Governing magazine, HuffPost and my team blog, Thrivers (I enjoy writing); and co-lauching a new organic T-shirt line called Quite The Tees (this one encompasses oodles of my interests!).

At first blush, a T-shirt line might sound like a pretty straightforward pursuit. But with Quite The Tees, my mother/artist/cofounder and I infuse a little humor, sass and smarts, while celebrating empowerment, education and the environment. Let me explain.

First, each tee features a specially chosen word or phrase intended to prompt curiosity and discourse, and each is accompanied by a compelling, short, short story that tells the tale of a woman who embodies the word on the tee.

For example, one of our words is “bibliophile,” with its accompanying story:

So Many Shelves To Fill …

No one recalled when, but it began the first time a librarian discovered a $20 bill in a copy of An Honest Thief. Sporadically, many more $20 bills would appear on the bookshelves. As time went on it was noticed that various books were missing; a lot of them.

Across town an elegant woman is putting the finishing touch on her table for a dinner party — fine china, ivory damask linens, silver gleaming in the candlelight. She surveyed the lovely room, taking particular pleasure in the hundreds of books on floor to ceiling shelves surrounding her.

bibliophile … one who collects or loves books

Next, we didn’t want our words to grace just any old boxy, stiff tee. We looked long and hard to find T-shirts that felt soft and cool, had a flattering shape and collar, and were good for the environment. Ours are made from an all-natural blend of 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton.

Bamboo is one of those amazing kind of plants because it produces a 100% biodegradable fiber and it’s one of the fastest growing plants on earth. It also can be grown without pesticides and harvested sustainably. Bamboo requires less energy and water to grow; it absorbs moisture; provides added protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays; and it contains a naturally occurring anti-bacterial agent.

Bamboo also feels incredible on the skin. It’s an especially soft and breathable fabric — cool in hot weather and a great insulating layer in the cold — so it works year-round. What’s not to like about that? The cherry on the cake is that the shirts are Made in the USA, which holds several earthy benefits, too.

The fine art of conversation is languishing as all too often we reduce it to 140 characters or we flagrantly choose the company of our smart phones over the person right before us. This T-shirt line is designed for discerning women who appreciate colloquy. We feature little known or underused words in English and other languages because we’re one world, and sometimes things are best said in French. Or Portuguese. Or Swahili.

Wear a shirt that says “limerent,” and people will talk! You’ll look smart, you’ll inspire curiosity, and perhaps some actual communication and connection will spark.

A portion of profits from the sales of our Tees will go toward supporting the missions of organizations that benefit three of our favorite Es: empowerment, education and the environment. If you are part of such a group and would like to explore a partnership, we’d love to connect with you.

Quite The Tees is a fun and meaningful pursuit that allows me — when I’m not coaching, teaching, advocating or writing — to indulge in a little creativity; share my fondness of fashion, comfort, communication and language; and support some causes I care about deeply.

Mission accomplished.


by Maria Katrien Heslin | website | email | Twitter | LinkedIn










Cheers To The Side Hustle!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business, Career, Happiness, Stephanie, Success, Uncategorized

~ by Stephanie Harbison ~

I can’t believe it’s already mid-February, and more so that it is 2017! I had a nice reminder that my 15-year high school reunion is coming up this summer, which makes me think back to the days when I was singing along to N’Sync as I cruised around town in my little red Nissan Maxima. Those were the days!

Actually, it really makes me think of how different my life is than it was 15 years ago, or even 5 years ago! And that’s not a bad thing. I actually get really excited for the New Year to roll in so I can have that feeling of a fresh start and start drafting an ideal plan of what I want to accomplish in the next 12 months.

This year I decided to start on a new adventure in a side business, aka “side hustle” with Stella & Dot. If you’ve never heard of it, just think super cute, trendy, versatile jewelry and accessories. I never saw myself entering the world of direct sales, but then again, I have to eat my words pretty frequently.

But really, I realized I could make it about so much more than selling something or even about jewelry. I could use this as an opportunity to connect with other women and offer them something that makes us all feel beautiful! I was a little nervous as I started because it was a new industry for me, and I didn’t know how my professional skills would translate into this kind of business.

However, there are several main skills that have crossed over perfectly from the work I have done as a financial rep and as a recruiter! And I believe they transfer from any industry really.

The first one is prospecting. Any time you have a product to sell or a service to offer, prospecting for potential customers is going to be one of the most important things you do. Just as I work to identify my ideal candidate to recruit in my role at Northwestern Mutual, in my work with Stella & Dot I identify my ideal customer, then aim to locate as many of them as possible. This might be through personal connections I already have, friends of friends, or people in the community I want to meet.

Prospecting, a key transferable skill …

A great way to start prospecting is to list all the different networks you have (work, school, church, sports teams, family, your volunteer network, etc.) then start writing down as many names as possible. You will be surprised you know many more people than you thought!

Networking: fun and crucial to success

So how do you get introduced to people who you want to meet, or potential customers you don’t know yet? That is where networking comes in. The Business Dictionary defines networking as “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question ‘How can I help?’ and not with ‘What can I get?’”

In other words, this is something that takes time and is going to be based upon building mutually beneficial relationships. However, it also can be as simple as being willing to introduce one of your personal connections to someone who is able to do the same for you.

You’ve heard the phrase, “It’s all about who you know,” right? Well the more people you know, the more resources you have to help you, especially when you are willing to do the same.

The next part of building a direct sales business, that I have learned so far, is to make contact with all of the people on that big list you developed. That really can be the hardest part. We all start thinking of the objections we are going to hear, so we might make excuses for why we shouldn’t reach out. I am so guilty of this!

The fact is, you are going to hear “NO” in sales … A LOT. But for every “no” you hear, you are one call (or text, or email, etc.) closer to a “yes.” It is the same way working in the financial industry, recruiting or trying to schedule a jewelry party. Objections are a part of selling a product or service, but you’ll never hear “yes” unless you muster up the courage to make that call!

For anyone who ever has thought about entering the world of direct sales, you may be surprised to find out you are joining 20 million other Americans as well. You can see why! It allows people to work from home, on their own schedules, and experience a virtually unlimited income.

However, it also doesn’t come without its challenges. While it’s been a great way for me to transfer my skills from other industries and experiences, it’s also hard work. But I’m super excited for the challenge, I love meeting and connecting with new people. Plus, I have so much fun every time I get to share Stella & Dot’s amazing style with someone new. Cheers to the side hustle!

by stephanie harbison | email | linkedin








A Crack In Everything …

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Career Change, Health, Mary, Uncategorized, Wellness

by Mary Yoke ~

I’ve decided to write about something this time that is rather personal: the physical challenges I’ve faced in my life and my struggles to overcome them. I don’t know if anyone reading this has endured similar difficulties. If so, perhaps my words will help.

I consider myself to be a thriver, even though I’ve had a great number of physical issues. It always has seemed to me I’ve had an unfair amount of suffering and pain. In fact, I spent a large portion of my life feeling sorry for myself as it always seemed no one else has had to endure as much pain and disfigurement as I have. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that everyone has to go through some pain in life. It just seems as if, for some, those trials don’t show up until much later.

My pain started at age 2, when my parents discovered I had a genetic defect. Odd reddish blots began appearing on my right leg, which eventually were diagnosed as a cavernous hemangioma, or blood tumor. I had my first surgery at age 2, followed by another at age 4, then age 6, and then three more surgeries before I was 21.

At first, my doctors weren’t sure whether the tumor was a malignant cancer, so apparently, for the surgery at age 4, I was prepped for an amputation of my leg. My mother has told me how overjoyed she was when the surgeon appeared in the waiting room after the operation and said they hadn’t had to amputate my leg. However, my leg remained in a full old-fashioned cast for several weeks, and I remained in the hospital.

Sadly, the hospital climate in the 1950s was not what it is today. Parents and visitors were allowed only 30 minutes per day to see their children. That meant I was alone for 23½ hours per day — for several weeks at a time over the course of each of my six surgeries.

Later, in my 40s, I was diagnosed with medical Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as I tried to come to grips with the pain and suffering and feelings of abandonment in my life. Many physicians, nurses and other medical personnel in the 1950s and ‘60s often were cruel, unsympathetic and impatient with the cries and demands of small children.

I had a number of traumatic experiences that involved medical personnel yelling at me, cutting me and telling me I was a baby and should not be crying.

Speaking of being a baby, a different type of scarring occurred in elementary school since I was forced to wear “baby shoes.” In those days, baby shoes were white, lace-up, ankle-high affairs — worn only by babies. I had to wear these shoes all the way through 4th grade. Plus, I had a limp.

I know we’ve all heard about the cruelty of children to each other, and I was a recipient of that meanness all through elementary school. No one wanted to be my friend; I was not invited to any parties. I was cruelly ostracized at recess; after all, I couldn’t play kickball (the most popular game) or any other physical activity enjoyed by my peers. I literally had NO childhood friends.

Luckily for me though, in 7th grade my small country school had to reorganize and become part of a larger school system, so I was bused 15 miles away to a new middle school with all new peers. By this time my limp had more-or-less disappeared, and I was no longer wearing baby shoes, so I was accepted and actually invited to some parties — and a modest social life amazingly evolved!

As I went through adolescence and young adulthood I still had some negative experiences related to my leg: I was never permitted to take gym class, and people pointed and stared at me on the street.

Once, when I had had it with the insensitivity of strangers, a woman in a clothing boutique saw me from across the room and very loudly exclaimed, “OMG, what happened to you?” causing everyone in the store to stare. I gathered the courage to reply loudly, “I was born with a birth defect, okay?”

As an adult I’ve learned to dress in such a way that my leg is always covered (pants, high boots, long skirts, etc.). But naturally, since my leg is seriously disfigured, it always has been a source of embarrassment at the beach and when starting a romantic relationship, and I have to say this aspect still persists today.

Every single day of my life I had woken up in pain (which usually went away after I got up and moving) until recently. Five years ago I had two pulmonary embolisms (potentially fatal blood clots in the lungs) that were determined to have come from my leg. I found a new doctor, who immediately put me on Coumadin, a blood thinner, which dissolved the clots. I now will be on Coumadin for the rest of my life. The good news is that my leg pain is, for the first time in my life, almost entirely gone.

Unfortunately, I have had many other physical challenges aside from my leg. I was in a car accident when I was 21 where my face smashed into the steering wheel (this was before seat belts had shoulder straps). One of my cheekbones and the bone under one eye were broken, so I had to have plastic surgery on my face.

I had a tonsillectomy and then a separate adenoidectomy at ages 27 and 28; these were attempts to help solve the problem of my vocal hoarseness (as I was then a successful young opera singer).

Then I had a number of surgeries around reproductive issues: a C-section at age 38, followed by an ectopic pregnancy at age 40, four miscarriages, and a laparoscopy on my fallopian tubes that did not turn out well (my physician accidentally nicked an artery). This was a very painful time, both psychologically and physically, as I was unable to have the two biological children I wanted.

And, as if that weren’t enough …

In 2005 I was attacked by two dogs, who punctured one of my lungs and took a large bit of flesh out of one side of my torso. In 2007, I had a near-fatal ski accident on the top of a mountain in New York. I crashed into a steel snow-blowing gun and ruptured my spleen. That resulted in a prolonged emergency surgery and a week in intensive care followed by another week in a regular hospital room. Suffice it to say I have many, many scars of all types!

So, what have I learned? Well, this lengthy history and my attempts to deal with it all caused me to seek therapy. Fortunately, I found a wonderful woman in New York who was immensely helpful for more than 10 years. I will be forever grateful to her.

I also found yoga and meditation, and these practices have pulled me through many dark times and helped me have some compassion for myself. In essence, that is the journey: to move from self-hate (I aggressively hated my leg) to self-compassion.

Although I’ve had many major physical issues, on a day-to-day basis I’ve always been robustly healthy — almost never sick in any way. I tell myself I’m never going to have surgery again, but obviously there are unknowns.

Being in my 60s now, I am aware of joint pain and bottom-of-the-foot pain (in both feet) that seem to be rather normal for people my age. However, as a former exercise physiologist and current health behavior academic, I am determined to stay fit for the long run.
My leg has taught me to be resilient. Suffering and pain are transient; there is always a strengthening of the pain, and then a lessening. It almost always passes, and we must let it go.

And it’s important to let go of how you think the world should be. In my case I needed to let go of the idea that life was unfair, that I somehow had gotten a bad deal, and that my body and childhood experiences were not as good as everyone else’s. This caused me to be flooded with self-pity and to feel like a victim for many years.

Is there value in suffering? Well, I think the long view is that it’s important to be compassionate, and my own challenges have helped me be more understanding of the difficulties of others. When we have pain, we have two choices: we can either bemoan our condition (this is where I was stuck), or we can accept it and use it as a vehicle for transformation and personal growth.

I have long loved the following poem by Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring.

Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything.

That’s how the light gets in.

What a radical idea — perhaps accepting the brokenness and imperfections of our physical condition, the brokenness of our past experiences — perhaps that is how we can be filled with light and move forward and upward to full thriving.

by Mary Yoke | email | facebook | linkedin





The Case For Gratitude

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Career Change, Communication, Happiness, Kelly

~ by Kelly Bush ~

Please, sir, I want some more… some more please and thank you, that is.

If there is a buzzword as we transition from 2016 into 2017, I think the case can be made that it is gratitude. For the past few years, discussions about gratitude have infiltrated popular culture. Even the packaging on products such as tea and chocolates exhort us to take a moment and focus on gratitude. Articles proclaim the health benefits of expressing and feeling gratitude, and in recent yoga classes I find my teachers are referencing its role in our well-being more and more.

So if gratitude has become ubiquitous, why then does it seem to remain somewhat elusive in the work environment?

If gratitude helps us thrive in all aspects of our lives – and is even good for our health – then why isn’t it on the rise at work? After all, saying please and thank you to our colleagues costs nothing but a bit of thought and a moment of time. It is essentially free and yet possesses such great value. So why isn’t it being distributed more generously? And what can we do about this?

First, you have to look for it.

Stressed business woman
When I decided a few years ago to change careers, one of the many things that influenced that decision was my frustration with what felt like an almost complete lack of gratitude in my then-profession. There was a pervasive culture of over-work, one-upmanship and unreasonable expectations combined with inadequate reward/recognition that was incongruous with my values and happiness. It left me feeling trod upon and resentful and that is NOT how I thrive.

When employers fail to recognize the value of their employees appreciably – whether in words, with compensation or by giving growth opportunities – they lose talent. Losing talent means losing the resources invested in developing that talent and even if nothing else here resonates, in simple terms it means a hit to the bottom line. If that doesn’t wake people up … well …

While not every role or organization I now pursue will necessarily be a hive of graciousness, I have found that because I now prioritize gratitude, I am better able to find it. For more than a year I recently had the privilege of working for someone who said please and thank you for nearly everything. I knew that when I went the extra mile to achieve a result that my manager saw my efforts and appreciated them because he always said thank you.

When leadership acknowledges your contribution to the organization, it is an incredible motivator to continue to perform at a higher level. It cost him nothing to let me know my work was appreciated, but that had great value to me. (Thank you, Richard.)

So what do I do when gratitude isn’t forthcoming?

A common piece of career advice is to model your hours/style/attire/practices on those of your supervising managers and to look to them as exemplars. If gratitude isn’t a noticeable part of their professional arsenal, and leadership hasn’t incorporated gratitude into their professional practices, then what? I don’t advocate jumping ship straightaway – because gratitude goes both ways – and walking away without a plan isn’t usually commendable. (There can be exceptions.)

Wedding favors
What helps me thrive in these situations is to take back my agency. Because regardless of a manager’s choices, I am free to be gracious and grateful at work. Whether or not other people engage with gratitude, I am always free to do so. That means say please. Say thank you. Say these things when a colleague does something you appreciate or need. Thank your supervisors when they spend an extra minute teaching you something, or give you an opportunity or help expand your skill set.

Literally be the change you wish to see. It may not change how leadership operates, but my experience has been that I feel more satisfaction at work and thrive more professionally when I know I have expressed gratitude to my colleagues. Upholding my own personal code of conduct has little to do with the choices made by others.

Gratitude for the imperfect.

Sometimes it becomes clear that even after bringing your own gratitude to the table and having served it generously, there just isn’t enough to go around. And that may mean that after thoughtful consideration, it is time to look for a new opportunity or to simply leave.

In my experience, this has been a difficult decision and usually involves disappointment, frustration and sometimes, anger. It is at this point that gratitude becomes absolutely necessary. Because whatever the reason for which I chose to part company with an organization, there are things for which I am grateful – and must express gratitude – in order to thrive in my next role.

There are things I learned. There are things I learned to avoid. There are skills I honed and experience on which I expanded. Sometimes learning that something is not right for me is the lesson I take away from something. And while it may not have been pleasant to learn, I find I am grateful for the knowledge afterward.

Happy woman meditating in a beautiful setting.
In finding gratitude for what an experience taught me – however imperfectly – I am able to recognize its value and role in my career. I am better able to see what was positive and when moving forward, to see its merit and integrate it into my own professional arsenal. Because as the many articles, advisors, teachers and gurus have been proclaiming, gratitude is good for us. It has become essential for me to thrive at work (and life).

by Kelly Bush | LinkedIn

Kelly Bush





Don’t Let The Big Dogs Scare You

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communications, Interview, Olivia, Public Relations, Skills, Uncategorized

by Olivia Humphreys ~

A Tale about Communication, Adoption and The NFL

My boyfriend and I recently adopted the world’s sweetest dog, Flora, from the Clay County Humane Society. According to the shelter, she is a lab/terrier mix, almost two years old, and was brought in as a stray by the police.

She’s actually as sweet as she looks!
She’s actually as sweet as she looks!

Now that we’ve had Flora for a few months, we know what she likes and what she doesn’t like.

What she likes: snuggling, terrorizing the cat, chewing on bones and sticks, Puggles (her best friend at the dog park is a Puggle named Roxy), and playing chase and wrestling with small dogs.

You don’t even have to be sitting down for her to want to snuggle.
You don’t even have to be sitting down for her to want to snuggle.

What she doesn’t like: being left at home, retrieving balls, being introduced to new people, when new people try to pet her, and big dogs.

For the most part, she gets along just fine with bigger dogs. But about once a month, typically when she’s chasing a Puggle, a few big dogs will start to join in the fun and Flora’s reaction is to become incredibly submissive, roll over and cower.

When this happens, the other dogs will pick up on her energy, begin nipping at her and refuse to let her run away. There’s typically a lot of barking, yelping, teeth baring, and people trying to corral their dogs when this happens.

So far, she’s come out of each attack unscathed physically. Mentally, she’s set back a few weeks and it takes a lot of coaxing and interactions with nice big dogs to get her comfortable with them again.

So at this point, you’re probably like, this is a nice story, but what does this have to do with me?

If you’re a person who can go through life completely confident in every social situation you’re ever in, then absolutely nothing. You can stop reading now because you probably won’t learn anything else.

But if you’re like the rest of the world, chances are there are situations that make you wish you could cower and run away to your happy place.

For a lot of people, this situation occurs when you do something Flora doesn’t like to do either: meet new people for the first time.

Going up and talking to someone is incredibly terrifying. Trust me, I know. But if you’re a person working in the communication industry, you have to learn how to overcome it in order to start networking.

There’s one experience that helped me overcome my fear of talking to people, and it didn’t happen in college. It happened at Super Bowl Media Day in 2012, when I was a senior in high school.

Me with the other contest winners.
Me with the other contest winners.

I won a competition for high school sports journalists that enabled me to go to Super Bowl Media Day. I assumed it would be set up like a regular press conference and I would sit there and watch all of these professional journalists interview Tom Brady and Eli Manning and a few of the other players and coaches.

Man, was I wrong.

Basically, the event takes place on the entire field. There are booths set up for the star players to sit in and everyone else on the team wanders around the field with all of the journalists.

Andre Brown from the NY Giants
Andre Brown from the NY Giants.

So, picture this in your head. I’m an 18-year-old tiny girl surrounded by these giant football players, a lot of them stars, and I can just walk right up to any of them and start talking to them.


Brian Waters from the NE Patriots in one of the special booths
Brian Waters from the NE Patriots in one of the special booths.

Much like Flora is now, I was a terrier in a pen full of German Shepherds, Great Danes and Rottweilers.

It was positively terrifying.

Until I realized one extremely important detail: they were people, just like me.

They were all just as excited to be there as I was and were so happy to talk to me. You can see how excited and friendly they were in the video I made for my internship at D3TV at DePauw University.*

Danny Woodhead may have been the only player on the field who was my size
Danny Woodhead may have been the only player on the field who was my size.

Although I made a fool of myself by asking absurd questions the lesson learned that day is the one that has been the most valuable to me in my career as a public relations professional. I understand that not everyone can go to Super Bowl Media Day and interview football players to get over their fear of talking to people. But for anyone in the communications industry, it is so incredibly vital to be able to talk to anyone about anything at anytime.

And when you start to see people as actual people and not their titles, it makes it substantially easier to do that.

Yes, I still get butterflies in my stomach sometimes when I talk to “important” people, but it doesn’t ever stop me from actually talking to them. It definitely takes a while to get comfortable just walking up to people and talking to them, but don’t be like Flora and let bad experiences discourage you or set you back.

So you have a choice, continue to be the terrier that cowers and only ever plays with Puggles, or be the terrier that learns to run with all of the dogs at the dog park.

*You can also read about my experience at Super Bowl Media Day here.




by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter








Thriving In Simplicity

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Mindfulness, Stephanie, Time Management

by Stephanie Harbison ~

What would life look like if things in life were less complicated? Would people be happier, less stressed, or feel more empowered to make big decisions? Would we be healthier, have better relationships, and perhaps even be more successful?

About two years ago I had to ask myself that question. “What IF my life didn’t feel so complicated?” At the time I was dealing with a recurring illness that was taking a lot of my energy and confidence; I was overwhelmed with work and had too many outside commitments; and I wasn’t making time for the people I cared about most. I couldn’t even make time for the simple things I really enjoyed, like cooking or running — they actually just caused me more stress!

Sleepovers! Cheers to good friends and comfy PJs!
Oh the days of sleepovers; cheers to good friends and comfy PJs!

This was definitely a time when I did NOT feel like I was thriving. Life just felt so complicated and I longed for the days when things were simpler; when I could just enjoy the moment. I didn’t want to worry about living up to society’s standards for success, I just wanted to be myself. I wanted life to feel simple again.

Like the days when you were a kid and you could play all day in the pool with your friends and never worry if anyone was judging you, or wonder if there were something more productive you should be doing. Or when you found the perfect pumpkin in the pumpkin patch and were so excited to carve it as soon as you got home.

And sleeping in … oh the days of sleeping in and not thinking about a laundry list of all there was to do that day. That’s the kind of simple I missed. So I started to envision what my life would look like if it was simpler, and what would I change to make it that way.

Dressing up never gets old. I knew it even when I was 5 years old!
Dressing up never gets old. I knew it even when I was 5 years old!

I envisioned being able to enjoy the things I care about without feeling distracted. Being more present, so I can be a better listener and a better friend. Feeling at peace, even when circumstances aren’t perfect. Finding purpose, even in simple everyday tasks. And making room in my life for the “good stuff,” so I could actually experience all of the blessings in my life.

I’m working on simplifying my life as I write this, but a lot of it has to do with changing my perspective. Instead of feeling unproductive for just watching football with friends and family, I want to cherish that time instead. Rather than dreading the grocery store or cooking dinner, I will find the things I like about those tasks and decide to enjoy them instead. Being intentionally positive is not always easy, but when I do it, I feel I can start to enjoy the little things a lot more.

I also realized I wasn’t dedicating enough time to the things I said were important to me; my supposed priorities. For me, these things are my faith in God, my family, and my health. I was spending plenty of time at work and with outside activities. I would offer to take the lead on any and every opportunity that came my way. Eventually, I had no energy to dedicate to what brings me the most happiness.

In order to bring life back to what makes me happy, I have learned I need to say “NO” to opportunities without feeling guilty, build routines around my priorities and “schedule” in free time. That last one is the hardest most days, but it is when I can be free to relax and read a book, go visit a friend, or say yes to an unexpected dinner invitation. The best stuff happens when you make time for the unplanned.

Chocolate is my simple pleasure, and Dove reminds me to take time for the other simple things too.
Chocolate is my simple pleasure, and Dove reminds me to take time for the other simple things too.

So what would I say about my life today? It’s a work in progress. Some days I feel energized by all that they day brings, and I feel like a multitasking queen! Other days I feel the weight of all the expectations I set upon myself. It’s on those days that I need to remember to take it one day at a time and not to feel guilty if I just don’t feel like being superwoman that day. Tomorrow is a new day and has enough worries for itself. Today, I will choose to live simply.

by stephanie harbison | email | linkedin

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My Third Act

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Career Change, Education, Mary, Uncategorized, Wellness

by Mary Yoke ~

It’s hard not to ponder the strange path my life has taken. Both personally and professionally, I’ve had so many unexpected twists and turns. Career-wise, I’ve definitely had what can be divided into at least three acts — something I would have never imagined in my 20s, 40s or even in my 50s. And who knows? Maybe there are more acts to come. Life, for me, has been so unpredictable.

In my 20s, I thought I had it all mapped out. I was certain I was destined to be a famous opera singer. Every indication led directly to that conclusion.

I earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in voice performance, won every vocal contest I entered, and won two large cash prizes at the culmination of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program in 1978.

Me singing Mimi in La Boheme at an outside performance in San Francisco, 1978.
Singing Mimi in La Boheme at an outside performance in San Francisco, 1978.

Famous impressarios, conductors, voice teachers and opera coaches all were convinced I had a magnificent career ahead of me. I lived — diva-like — for music and art. This was Act One, and, like any act in a theatrical play, it came to an end — and an unfortunate end at that.

Suddenly, in my late 20s, I was beset with unexplained hoarseness. I tried everything: a month of complete vocal silence; 100 shots in my back to see if I had allergies; and a tonsillectomy, which was followed a year later with an adenoidectomy. I changed voice teachers and voice coaches; I moved to different climates. I studied the Alexander Technique. When experts said it must be psychosomatic, I entered therapy. All to no avail.

During the subsequent and devastating entr’acte, I unhappily supported myself with a number of different jobs: waitress, bartender, line cook, pastry chef, legal aide, bookkeeper, receptionist in a large car dealership, salesperson in music and clothing stores, and as a church organist.

Eventually, I chanced into the world of fitness. And so the Second Act began.

Luckily, after teaching group exercise for a couple of years (back then, we called it aerobics), I met an influential person who recommended I return to school for a Master’s degree in exercise physiology, which I achieved in 1988.

Fitness has been good to me. Not only were jobs available, but I was able fairly easily to juggle the demands of new motherhood and maintain a flexible and accommodating work schedule. Plus, a great side benefit of a career in fitness is that staying in shape is actually part of the job.

I worked first in cardiac rehab and as a physical therapist assistant, then in corporate fitness, and then in commercial fitness, all the while teaching one academic class per semester as an adjunct professor.

In 1986 I became involved with a major international fitness certifying organization, and for 30 years this company has provided me with amazing opportunities for teaching, writing, and traveling around the world to present a wide variety of fitness workshops and certifications.

I’ve also presented at hundreds of conferences and have made several online videos on a Hollywood sound stage. I’ve been so very fortunate and I’m tremendously grateful to all those who’ve helped me and inspired me. The fitness world is full of people who motivate others for a living — they’re an enthusiastic and passionate bunch!

The bizarre thing is, I never could have predicted this entire career back in my 20s. Who’d have thought I’d become a fitness presenter, educator and writer? This was SO not on my radar during Act One!

Teaching at Indiana University.
Teaching at Indiana University.

And now, surprise!, I’m in Act Three. My fitness credentials helped me land a Visiting Lecturer position in kinesiology at Indiana University. I entered academia full-time and found that I loved it.

After decades of cobbling together a full-time income from multiple fitness jobs, I’ve now decided it’s good to stay more-or-less in one place and have some job security. I’ve found that I love developing longer-term relationships with students over the course of several semesters. I am inspired by my students, other faculty, and partners within the community. I love the vitality of a college town, the vibrant action on campus, the idealism and questing of students, and the golden bubble of learning, which is the academic world.

I have a strong sense that this is where I now belong. When the Visiting Lecturer position ended, I found I was finally at a point in my life where a PhD could become a reality, and so I’ve moved into health behavior research and will receive my doctorate by the end of 2016.

I hope to stay in academia, do research, inspire students, collaborate with inspiring colleagues, and continue with my writing and presenting. I am filled with purpose and feel as if I’m on fire!

Seriously, every single day is exciting and amazing for me. I’m being challenged in new ways I couldn’t have imagined ten years ago. Even though I’m at the age where some of my friends are already retiring, I feel as if I’m just getting started on a new and amazing path.

Retirement for me? No way! I have zero interest in retirement — I feel as if I’m good to go for another 20 or even 30 years. There’s so much I want to learn and accomplish.

I guess the reason I felt compelled to write this post is that I am continually surprised at my own career path (and don’t get me started on all the personal life changes I’ve experienced) and I’d like to put forward the idea that this is possible for others.

I’ve come to believe that, in fact, we can have multiple careers within one lifetime. Perhaps this can be an important way to stay vital, energetic, curious and productive. If you’re floundering in uncertainty or in a dead-end job, take heart that life can hold something better for you that may be beyond imagining.

In my own case, I can assure you that my unorthodox and unexpected journey has nevertheless caused me to thrive in ways I could have never foreseen. Who knows what lies ahead?

by Mary Yoke | email | facebook | linkedin

Mary's photo






I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends … I Thrive With A Little Help From My Friends …

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Kelly

by Kelly Bush ~

In 1967 The Beatles sang about friends who tell you when you sing out of tune, stick by you even when you’re off-key and who will continue to listen to your song despite the dubious quality of your performance. It’s a cheery, happy ditty with a contagious tune but it’s also sage advice. We thrive with a little help from our friends — not just in life — but also in our work.

I know some would say it’s not the best idea to mix business and friends. And I can appreciate that there are risks. I’ve been burned with this myself. Once, when I introduced a social acquaintance to a professional contact, she made a fool of herself, and I was embarrassed to learn about it later. But that isn’t really what I’m talking about when I think of integrating friends into one’s career. Our friends can be one of our best professional resources simply by being in our lives and by being themselves.

Over the decade+ since I earned my undergraduate degree, I have watched my friends grow into incredibly talented professionals. Some of us went back to graduate school. Some are now Managers or Directors, some are now Creatives, some are Career-Changers … and all of them are people that if I step back and consider from a professional standpoint, are amazingly talented. If these weren’t my friends and I met them now as clients or colleagues, I would be wowed. And since they ARE my friends, I have the opportunity to study the successes of these incredible people from an excellent vantage point.

That’s right. I’m saying that I look at what my friends are doing and let it influence me. Sounds crazy, right? I know. BUT hear me out.

Meeting Discussion Communication Brainstorming Concept
Moving from my twenties to my thirties, I came to know myself better. Which has meant that the friendships that lasted, or the new ones I formed, were more and more in line with my values. These are friendships that run DEEP. These are people whom I admire and trust. “Friends” almost seems an inadequate label for some of these special people. They are integral to my success and comprise a major portion of my happiness.

Given that I value and admire these good friends, I cannot help but notice and celebrate their successes. When a girlfriend of mine recently advocated for herself in an annual review and subsequently received a fantastic promotion and raise that she absolutely deserved, I was ECSTATIC. I was also seriously impressed. She knows her worth and insists it be acknowledged.

Another friend left a stable role at a major corporation to take a chance on a small organization run by people he respects. He subsequently found himself with new professional freedoms and opportunities that have reinvigorated his career. And you better believe, I took note!

A third friend took a title and pay cut to join an organization that offered stability and the benefits her family needed. Watching her find satisfaction in a different way reminded me powerfully that needs can change and that flexibility is a critical component of career success.

And it isn’t just from the successes that I learn. Seeing friends’ professional struggles from up close can be enlightening too. Listening to a dear friend talk about the impact it had on her to be in a job where she was not given the tools she needed to succeed made me think about how important it was for me to address this in my own job.

Listening to another girlfriend express frustration that her employer would give her a pay increase only when she got an offer somewhere else – subsequently making it clear to her that they knew what she was worth and hadn’t been honoring that – was eye-opening.

Sometimes in hearing friends talk about a challenge they are facing, I realize that the same challenge has previously or is currently presenting itself to me. Or through their search for a solution, friends come up with options I had not considered. And it all happens because two friends were chatting about life.

Looking then, for inspiration for our careers, to those people in our lives whom we respect and admire as friends makes perfect sense. My close friends are people whom I trust, value and enjoy. My own career benefits from their role in my life. Because I get by with a little help from my friends. I thrive with a little help from my friends.

by Kelly Bush | LinkedIn

Kelly Bush







Two Months In And Thriving

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communications, Hannah, Internship, Job, Success

By Hannah Goodwin ~

After two full months I feel I can properly and efficiently tell you all about my new job. Well, at least I can tell you how I came to get this job as that is a pretty good story, if I do say so myself.

Now, I am sure you all have been hanging on to the edge of your seats since my last post, which was all about my number’s game strategy. But just in case you haven’t, in short, in that post I shared that the job/internship hunt is a number’s game, meaning that the more people you reach out to, the better your chances are at achieving success. I utilized this strategy once again when it came to finding a full-time job.

I reached out to as many public relations, marketing, communications, etc. companies I could find in Indianapolis. Much like previous experiences, I heard many “Thanks, but no thanks” and “We are looking for someone more experienced,” in addition to the multitude of crickets that did not get back to me at all. Thankfully, the positive responses I got boosted my self-esteem and boosted me right into the interview process.

One of my positive responses came from a communications company owner who said that while his company was not currently hiring, he would be happy to meet with me anyway. I took him up on that, as I am not one to turn down the opportunity to make a connection. By the time we met up, a former colleague of his from the Indiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office had reached out to him inquiring if he knew anyone who’d be a great fit and available to apply for a communications role that had become available.

Signs on the wall right above the reception area depicting the agencies housed in the office.

Lots of emails, several phone conversations and one influential, mutual connection later, the job was mine! I will now get to the point of what this job actually is. I am Communications Manager for two of the five agencies that fall under Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb; these agencies make up the “Family of Business.” The two agencies I work with are the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Office of Defense Development (IODD).

I will be the first to say that I never pictured myself working in the public sector, but the way this position presented itself to me, I knew it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Because of the way I came to hear about and then interview for this job, I had not seen the actual job description until after I had been offered the job. I was very pleasantly surprised when I was offered the job, but slightly wary as I did not know what all it included. Upon reading through the description, primary duties and qualifications, I was instantly reassured. I thought, I have been studying for this, practicing all of these duties in my internships and this is what I want to do!

I have my own cubicle with my boss’s office on one side and the OCRA project managers next to me. I am along a wall and can see out a window, with a parking garage taking up most of my view. But, as I look to the left, I can see the dome of the State House. My boss and I comprise the communications team for the Family of Business, placing us in high demand and causing me to dive right in to my position.

Panorama of my desk. It can always be found with 3 screens, 2 phones and 1 hardworking me.

Being an integral member of the centralized marketing and communications team, I am constantly in contact with members of the agencies I work with, the communications staff within the other agencies and many others. I get to do everything from coming up with communications strategies to managing the social media and creating internal and external newsletters as well as all things press releases, media alerts, talking points, etc.

I am doing the kind of work I knew I wanted to do upon graduating. It feels like work in the sense that I have to work hard to get everything done and to have my work be the best quality possible, but the work itself is interesting to me and fun. Two months in, and I think it is safe to say I am thriving in my new position.

by Hannah Goodwin | email | website | linkedin | instagram