5 Easy Tips for Not Looking Like a Slob in Class

5 Easy Tips for Not Looking Like a Slob in Class

Whether you’re a freshman or grad student, rolling out of bed and running to class can be a challenge—especially when it feels like all you have to do is sit in the back of lecture for 45 minutes. The obstacles of dressing well can be anything from frigid weather to hitting the snooze button too many times. Luckily—there are some fool proof tips that can help you look put together even on the worst of days.

Make a “No Sweatpants” Rule

If you go to school in a cold-weather state, it’s often tempting to reach for sweatpants when you have to schlep to an 8 a.m. class in below freezing temps. No hate on sweats, but you never know who you’ll run into on your way to class, or if your plans will change once you’re out of lecture. Instating a rule for yourself to keep sweatpants in the dorm will remind you to always choose jeans instead. Even leggings or yoga pants with an oversized sweater will be more put together than those university sweats from the bookstore.

Have a Go-To Uniform

This tip is perfect for everything from your Econ 101 class to the mid-week internship you have. We all know the “I have nothing to wear” feeling. Therefore, having a “uniform” makes getting dressed super easy when you’re running late or too lazy to put together an outfit. A personal favorite that’s really simple—the all black look: Black pants, black shirt, black blazer.

Easy Hair & Make-Up

The nice thing about being a student is that the meetings you have are usually with classmates, friends, and professors or TA’s. This allows for a low-key and often sans makeup look. However, for days when you wake up with frizzy hair and tired eyes, opt for a simple make-up and hair routine of moisturizer, mascara, concealer, and sock bun! It takes about 5 minutes and is instantly chic.

Wear your Gym Clothes

While obliging by the “no sweatpants” rule, gym clothes are getting cuter and more affordable. Wear a pair of cute yoga pants or leggings, a cotton top, and a long sleeve pullover. If it’s extra cold, you can add a puffy vest or fleece. Since gym clothes are better fitted, you’ll look more put together than if you simply rolled out of bed. Some added bonuses: You’ll be just as comfortable and more inclined to work out after class (we don’t recommend showing up sweaty for discussion)! Places like H&M, Forever 21, and Fabletics have some great affordable options!

Schedule Meetings

Try scheduling things before class that you would definitely dress up for. Whether it’s a lunch date or a meeting with your professor for office hours, if you have other things planned, you’re more likely to look your best.

Photo: Thinkstock

An Unconventional Study Abroad To-Do List

An Unconventional Study Abroad To-Do List

If you’re one of the lucky students who will be spending next year studying in a far off country, your to-do list is probably filled to capacity as you scramble to pack up everything you need for the next few months into a reasonable amount of suitcases. But there are some things that just aren’t included on the pre-made checklist your university has inevitably handed out to you.

So before you jet off to Paris or Hong Kong or Buenos Aires, consider adding these items to your list in order to make the transition in and out of the country go as smoothly as possible.

1. Plan next semester’s courses before you go.

Hopefully your school advisor has already reminded you to pick out your classes for next semester. But if you haven’t yet, now’s the time. The last thing you’ll want to do when you return from your amazing trip is plan your class schedule, especially when many of the classes may already be full. You might also want to contact different professors before you choose or ask your classmates about what courses they recommend, and that’s a whole lot easier to do when you’re not hopping around from foreign city to foreign city every weekend.

2. Talk to your roommates about future housing options. 

Depending on when you decide to go abroad, you should think about planning your future housing before you leave the country. Especially if you decide to study abroad during the spring semester, you should have a quick talk with your roommates about where you plan to live the following year. Apartment complexes and houses can fill up so quickly, and you don’t want to be scrambling to find something when you’re thousands of miles away. Decide where you want to live the following year now so you’re not panicking the minute you get back.

3. Print out a set of business cards. 

I know you’re trying to cut items from your suitcase, not add them, but bringing along a set of business cards can make a huge difference when it comes to making professional connections abroad. It’s easier than ever to design and create business cards that won’t break the bank (check out MOO and Vistaprint for two online printing options), and they won’t take up too much room in your bag. Get a small set (you probably won’t need more than 20) before you go and tuck a few in your wallet as you’re traveling along. You never know who you may run into, and who wouldn’t mind adding some international connections to her network?

4. Find out about the area’s conditions, not just the weather. 

I’m sure you’ve already looked up your destination’s seasonal weather, but make sure to also research online or ask someone about the specific area’s conditions. I’m headed to Brussels in the fall and was warned about the city’s ubiquitous, uneven cobblestone streets. This being said, I’ve decided to leave all my heels at home in favor of flats and wedges. Find out if the town you’re living in is especially hilly or easily walkable so you can make sure you’re packing exactly what you need.

5. Search for a Local Levo event! 

It’s so easy to stick with your university friends when you’re traveling to a new place, but it’s also important to branch out and meet the locals in your area. The whole point of going abroad is to immerse yourself in new culture and this starts with the people! Check out if there are any Local Levo events in your city for an opportunity to meet inspiring, amazing women who will make you feel right at home.

And above all, remember to bring an open mind—you never know what awaits you!

Photo: Thinkstock

4 Ways to Improve Work-Life Balance Through Health and Fitness

4 Ways to Improve Work-Life Balance Through Health and Fitness

Working late nights and early mornings can really take a lot out of us working women. From organizing events to being on call, having a demanding job requires a lot of focus and effort. In addition, you want to be socially available and not miss out. We stay out late with our friends, all while calculating the number of hours before we have to be back at the office. It can be exhausting.

While you may feel like you’re burning both ends of the wick, don’t feel like you have to sacrifice your quality of life. We deserve to have a social and healthy life. It’s possible to maintain it all, but not at the expense of your health and wellbeing. Sounds strange, but some days we have to put ourselves first. After all, we’re helping our companies, our coworkers, family and friends, so why not give ourselves a little TLC every now and then?

Take a step back, and improve your life balance through health and fitness the following ways:

1. Take a “mental health day.”

If you’re feeling worn out, set aside a weekend, or a personal day if you can, to not do anything. We call them “mental health days,” and they’re exactly as they sound. Do something to put your mind at ease and to de-stress. It can be anything that resets your mindset, from visiting your esthetician to simply sitting outside and enjoying nature. Treat yourself to your favorite thing that rejuvenates you, and carve out that time just for you.

2. Pair fitness with a social setting.

If you’re not a gym rat, try attending a group fitness class. By pairing a workout in a social setting, it creates motivation to keep yourself healthy with likeminded people. Not to mention, you can learn from people outside of your typical social circles. It’s a little known fact that people push themselves a little bit more when working out in groups as opposed to doing it alone. So sign up for that yoga class, join a walking/running club to get some cardio or get back into a routine that best fits you. Who knows, you may make some new friends while you’re at it!

3. Schedule a doctor appointment.

When we get busy, we sometimes forget about our bodies. But ignoring the signs of stress and doing too much can lead to other health issues. Knowing that our health is in good order sets up everything else we do for success. For your own sake, check in with a medical professional to make sure all is working and in good order. In addition to identifying any potential problems, it will also take a lot off of your mind to either know you are in good health or to get yourself there.

4. Eat something in the morning.

Not eating breakfast is a huge mistake. Why? Because your body is running on empty as soon as the day starts, which means you’re really limiting yourself. Don’t be a trooper by trying to stick it out till lunch. Eat something that will stick with you (and no, a cup of coffee alone does not count). Try prepping some fresh fruit for complex carbs or oatmeal with nuts. If you’re not a fan of waking up early for the whole scrambled eggs routine, make it the night before so it’s ready to go. Check out our other tips for eating healthythroughout the day.

Whatever you do to work toward balancing health and wellness, the key is to listen to your body and respond compassionately. We are complex beings with complicated schedules and busy lives, but it’s ok to unplug every now and then to tend to your health and fitness.

How do you balance work and play through health and fitness?

This was originally published on Your Coffee Break.

Photo: Glen Carrie / Unsplash

3 Killer Ways to Impress Your Boss

3 Killer Ways to Impress Your Boss

Let’s face it, sometimes the workplace can be a dog eat dog world. While you’re working hard climbing the career ladder, the fact is you’re often one in a pack of degree waving, excellent resume bearing, stylishly dressed women who are all vying for your boss’s eye. So before you consider a fight to the death to secure the corner office, there are three simple things you can do to make a killer impression and get yourself noticed.

1. Over-deliver.

It’s two small words, but they will go a long way. Let’s say your manager has asked you to put together a report on 10 new campaign ideas and wants it finished by the end of the day. Get a perfect document with 15 ideas in her inbox by 1:00 p.m. and your name will definitely be front of mind. This is not to suggest every girl should work every hour available, but instead you should aim to be clever and efficient in the little ways that you can feasibly over-deliver.

2. Be assertive.

No boss wants to come over to chat about your latest assignment, only to find you swamped and your desk piling up with papers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with colleagues’ requests that take way more than “just 15 minutes,” you need to find a way to prioritize your assignments. While it’s admirable to want to help out, your boss won’t appreciate that the tasks she gave you are suffering. Learn to be assertive and to say no. Remember, your manager is the one who will be signing off on your pay rise, not Kenny from the mailroom.

3. Never stop learning.

Not sure how the latest crisis in Ukraine is related to your career as a graphic designer? Complacency is the first step toward getting overlooked for the next promotion. Knowledge and learning are things you should never take for granted. Even if the only time you’ll use the latest state budget figures is in an offhand conversation with your superior, I guarantee they’ll remember you for being switched on. So turn off Bachelor Pad and become a little more friendly with CNN.

Photo: Thinkstock

7 Women In Comedy You Must Know About

7 Women In Comedy You Must Know About

Today is Kristin Wiig’s birthday.

The comedian, actress and writer (her screenplay for Bridesmaids was nominated for an Oscar) turns 40 today, and what better way to celebrate then by talking about her competition in comedy. Just kidding. There’s plenty of room for more women in comedy as we all know. The list below is a really talented group of women who will soon be household names–whether on the silver screen, television, the comedy club, or on the page.

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Kate McKinnon

McKinnon could really be the next Kristin Wiig since she’s also on Saturday Night Live and is known for her very odd characters that often become show stoppers. “You really go for it on air in a way that none of us have seen,” Seth Meyers told her when she appeared on Late Night. “It’s the rarest of things at SNL, which is that even at air, I think, the cast and the writing staff is like, ‘Oh we have to make sure we’re on the floor for this because Kate’s going to put her tongue places it hasn’t been.’”

And McKinnon is keeping quite busy when she isn’t at 30 Rock. In addition to co-starring in The Nest, a film with the other reigning queens of comedy, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, she may be part of the most exciting thing ever: the Ghostbusters remake STARRING WOMEN. That’s right. Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids, is rebooting the classic comedy with the ladies carrying the proton packs. We know Kate is definitely somebody we’re gonna call.

Nassim Pedrad

Pedrad just took a major career risk. She left her excellent gig at SNL (known for her hilarious impersonations of Arianna Huffington and Kim Kardashian) for a job on a Fox sitcom Mulaney with SNL writer and standup comedian John Mulaney. But knowing the talents of these two (as well as a cast that includes Martin Short and Elliot Gould) and executive producer Lorne Michaels, she probably made a pretty safe bet.

She told SplitSider, “Obviously there’s nothing like that show and I was lucky to be there for five years. At some point you have to leave, and I can’t think of a better reason to leave than for this particular show and this particular cast.” She does attribute SNL for giving her great skills. “What’s really cool about SNL is it really does prepare you for anything. Things are done so quickly there. You have one night to write the show. It’s live, so things can go wrong. Things can change last minute. To be able to pull that off prepares you for complicated situations. It makes you that much better.”

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Jenny Slate

Another SNL alum (but only for one season), Slate is most known for her work on Girls, Parks and Recreation, and Marcel The Shell With Shoes OnAnd a very entertained group know her from her awesome film that came out this summer, Obvious Child, which she also co-wrote. The film actually centers on a very heavy topic, but still manages to keep you laughing the whole time. “The character is at once really gentle, and very bold and sweet, but [she] also can be rather bawdy at times,” Slate says. “I do a lot of comedy work, but have yet to do real vulnerable stuff.” Read the rest of her great NPR interview here on her work in the film, and overcoming stage fright to return to stand up.

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Ellie Kemper

Princeton grad Ellie Kemper didn’t join The Office until 2009, but she made a place once she got there.  She also co-starred in Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street, and had a memorable recurring role on pal Mindy Kaling’s show, The Mindy Project. Next she will star in Tina Fey’s new pilot The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which is about a woman trying to normalize herself after being in a cult for 15 years. ”I adore 30 Rock,” she says. “I’m a huge fan of hers. She could not be a more welcoming, warmer person with fabulous hair.”

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Amy Schumer

“My girlfriends are my best friends. I can tolerate guy time, listening to fantasy football or Call of Duty talk, but I hands down prefer being with the ladies—hanging out, questioning our parents’ skills, or dressing incognito to see Twilight or Spring Breakers. Yes, I’ve seen them all.” —Amy Schumer

Though she’s been working the stand-up circuit for years, Schumer is really having her moment right now. Her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, is a hit, and frankly, it makes me laugh out loud. Schumer’s take on those crazy things women do is really brilliant in my opinion (her recent sketch on how women can’t take a compliment EVER is amazing). And her take on the ALS Ice Bucket challenge was particularly memorable.

Morgan Murphy

If you’re a fan of 2 Broke Girls then youre already a fan of Murphy. She currently writes and produces the CBS sitcom, and before that, she wrote for Jimmy Kimmel Live!Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (where she was part of the original writing staff), Crank Yankers, and consulted on Human Giant. Earlier this year she released her first standup special, Irish Goodbye. She told SplitSider, “I applied for an internship at Conan O’Brien at eighteen, and I got it. So I went out to New York for a summer to do the internship, and I ended up watching a lot of bar comedy. I’m still friends with a lot the people I met that summer. They were super nice and welcoming. I was just this nerdy kid hanging out, lingering, and watching.”

Lliza Shlesinger

You may not know the name, but chances are you’ve heard her standup. Schlesinger is the youngest and ONLY female winner of Last Comic Standing. Her rants on women in groups’ eating habits (“I’ll have a bite of a bite”) and hobbies (Pinterest is truly porn) are hilarious and insightful (watch the video below). As for the gender gap in comedy, Shlesinger says, “It’s a glacially-paced movement for women in comedy. Very slowly, each girl does their part to open the door for another girl, whether it’s women in late night, women in movies, women being allowed to have funny parts in movies… I think we’re in the middle of a pretty cool movement in comedy where girls are getting to act like guys and are being treated on the same level.”

Photo: Jeff Bottari / Getty Images

Bling Bling: How To Wear Jewelry in a Professional Setting

Bling Bling: How to Wear Jewelry in a Professional Setting

“My mother says I didn’t open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked.” –Elizabeth Taylor

Like Elizabeth, most of us were also hooked after we discovered jewelry (though hopefully we were less into the getting engaged constantly and more into the actual jewels). But wearing jewelry in the workplace can be a bit tricky, as you can quickly go from classy and sophisticated to costume party. We talked to a few experts about the best styles and tactics for sporting a little bling at work.

Alana Blank, CEO and designer of Phyllis & Rosie Jewelry, a gorgeous contemporary jewelry line, told us, “Depending on where you work, you can play with different jewelry options. If you work in a conservative setting, one long pendant necklace or lariat necklace can add to your outfit without taking over or being too distracting. A shorter necklace, like our bar necklace or V necklace, works well too.”

“Our hammered cuffs are great for any type of office setting and are completely professional and wearable. If you’re in a more creative field, layer it on! Play with different lengths and textures of jewelry, mix metals, and stack up your rings in fun and creative ways. At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable and feel confident in your jewelry choices. So take a temperature check and then jewel accordingly.”

Bling Bling: How To Wear Jewelry in a Professional Setting

Another good rule of thumb is to always remove one item before leaving the house (not clothing!). But if you’re wearing a necklace, rings, earrings, and bracelets, you can probably spare one unless a pirate is your style guru.

Plus, remember you want people to see you, not hear you. Kat Griffin of Corporette wrote, “Noise is never good. Clinking bracelets, tinkling earrings… if anything you’re wearing makes noise when you type or when you’re walking down the hallway, then think twice before buying it for or wearing it at the office. I always think of that scene in Working Girl when Melanie Griffith’s character is wearing way too many clanky bracelets.”

Photos: Sam Teich / Levo League

My Power Outfit: Founder of Carolina Alvo

My Power Outfit: Fashion Designer Carolina Alvo

Name: Carolina Alvo

Job title/company: Founder, Designer of Carolina Alvo

What does that mean? Helping petite women have great shopping experiences and feel beautiful. Alvo is so passionate about helping her fellow petite women shop (which is roughly 50% of the population) she has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise money for her company.

What are you wearing?

Kathleen dress by Carolina Alvo, wedges from Just Fab, earrings from Alexis Bittar, necklaces and rings bought in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.

My Power Outfit: Founder of Carolina Alvo

Why does it make you feel powerful?

I tend to feel most confident, and therefore powerful, when I wear something classic, like this little black dress that I know fits me really well. But no outfit of mine is complete unless I mix some statement jewelry into it. A little color and personality is always necessary!

How does fashion give you confidence?

This may sound counter-intuitive, but when your clothes fit right and feel so good that you forget what you’re wearing, it gives you the ability to focus on the other things you’re doing in your day and brings out the most confident you. I’ve felt the opposite way one too many times where I didn’t feel right in my outfit and I was constantly adjusting my dress, suit, etc., which made me self-conscious and less confident as a result.

What made you want to design specifically for petite women?

My brand, Carolina Alvo, was born out of a very personal frustration. I am as Petite as it gets; at 4’9” I’ve never had a shopping experience that wasn’t teeming with frustration. Pant legs with 8 inches of extra fabric and tops I could wear as dresses are my norm. I found that my friends also shared the same complaints, so I did a bit of research and discovered that half the female population in the United States is Petite (5’4” & under). I decided that if no one was making the clothes we needed, then I would take matters into my own hands and make them myself.

Any advice you can give petite women about dressing their body type?

I don’t really believe in Petite fashion “do’s and don’ts”. For me, it’s all about proportion. The challenge is finding clothes that really do fit you right (easier said than done for Petites), but you just have to be extra meticulous when shopping. I follow these 8 basic shopping rules to find the perfect fit:

  1. Prints – Don’t be afraid of prints, just keep away from oversized prints that can throw off your petite proportions.
  2. Armholes – When shopping for tops and dresses, make sure that the armhole doesn’t expose your bra.
  3. Shoulder placement – Make sure the top of your sleeves sit on your shoulder, rather than drooping down the arm.
  4. Neckline – Watch out for plunging necklines that expose more than you intended.
  5. Waistline – Tops and dresses will often taper in or have a detail on the waistline, so make sure it lines up with your actual waist.
  6. Hemline – Ideal hemline length is very dependent on the style of the skirt or dress you’re wearing, but in general petite women tend to look best with hemlines at or above the knee (with the exception of tighter-fitted skirts and dresses).
  7. Pant inseam – Stick with pants that come with an inseam length as close to your correct inseam. Otherwise, you’re forced to hem off several inches, chances are you will have fit issues with the rise, the knee placement, and any details on the bottom of the pant leg.
  8. Shape – Avoid anything too boxy or with loads of excess fabric, unless you can add some shape with a belt.

Photos: Sam Teich / Levo League

Public Speaking Changed My Life and It Can Change Yours Too

Public Speaking Changed My Life and It Can Change Yours Too

Close your eyes and think of the first word that comes to mind when you hear ‘public speaking.’ If you’re like who I was growing up, terrified, nervous, sweaty palms, and no thank you would all be pretty accurate reactions.

According to the Forbes article, “Why We Fear Public Speaking And How To Overcome It”, about 10 percent of the world’s population love public speaking. These are folks who experience a serious adrenaline rush from commanding the stage and inspiring large crowds with their thoughts. Another 10 percent are terrified by the mention of public speaking, and the middle 80 percent are not completely sold on the idea, but wouldn’t mind delivering a presentation when and if required (think: at work).

The goal is to graduate to the top 10 percent of folks who have an infectious passion for public speaking. I will confess to you that as a child growing up, I was painfully shy. But in middle school, something amazing happened. I discovered public speaking and it changed my life.

From being an inhibited child, to becoming a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Top 10 National Finalist in Public Speaking, to finally capping college off as the student commencement speaker at Georgia Tech, I have indeed come a long way. Public speaking has transformed my life, and if you give it a chance, I promise it will revolutionize yours too. Ready to make it happen? Let’s do it.

There’s no doubt that the ability to successfully and confidently articulate ideas to a room of eager listeners is rare and highly desirable. But, research shows, as per this article from Daily Mail, that far more women are comfortable with the idea of an early impending death than they are with standing in a room talking to an audience. It’s this idea of looking imperfect that’s keeping many of my own girlfriends from storming the stage and blowing the audience away with an amazing speech.

Public Speaking Tip #1: Be confident in yourself and know that you’re knowledgeable and an authority figure in what you have to say. Then, write a speech keeping your audience in mind. Make sure you cater to their backgrounds, and include a specific call to action.

The minute I began trusting myself as an authority figure on the topic I was speaking on, I became increasingly self-assured and self-confident. Trust yourself and the knowledge you bring to the table, and watch your confidence grow exponentially!

With this newly found confidence, you’re now ready for the next step. I was once told that public speaking is really a series of one-on-one conversations, which is a novel way to think about it. This skill is a muscle, which needs to be exercised as much as possible in order to grow.

Public Speaking Tip #2: Find and nurture as many opportunities to public speak as possible.

At work, locate the nearest Toastmasters chapter, and make yourself the most active member. I guarantee you will see results. The way Toastmasters works is they give members ample opportunities to practice getting up in front of people and speaking on various ‘table topics.’ It’s a great exercise in extemporaneous as well as prepared speaking. In addition, will you do me a favor? Volunteer for as many office presentation gigs as possible. This is critical to you developing your new found power in speaking.

Finally, with a revitalized sense of self-confidence and ample practice comes the most difficult part of mastering public speaking: choosing your content. It’s the key to ensuring that your audience relishes the experience. Every speech is characterized by riveting substance and equally riveting style (think: your favorite orators, chances are they exhibit both each time). What makes you move? What are you most passionate about? What is that one idea you want to share with people around the world? The balance of substance and style is so huge in making or breaking a speech.

Public Speaking Tip #3: Select your speech content effectively, incorporate several aspects of research, include your personal story, and relate it to your diverse audience. Then, focus on delivery: mind your voice projection, eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to create a winning combination.

I’ve always thought substance and style each represent 50 percent of a superb speech, and one without the other creates only half a speech.

In our society, the biggest fear, according to the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, is public speaking. And 15 percent of Americans dramatically fear it. What really hurts me is that people have rejected job offers and students have dropped out of classes because of an inability to successfully communicate their thoughts. Today, our success is directly correlated with our ability to communicate effectively. Whether you’re the CEO making a pitch to venture capitalists, or just quite simply giving a pep talk to your co-worker after a rough week, you will surpass the standards of success if you’re able to master public speaking.

Photo: Thinkstock

Getting out of Your Mind and into the World

Getting out of Your Mind and into the World

Another major obstacle to following a meaningful career path is getting stuck in your mind.

We all do it.

I have often been trapped in cycles of over-thinking my options. My strategies for gaining more clarity have been talking about it with people, asking for advice, researching zealously on the internet and in academic databases, and watching others as they do today what I want to do in the near future.

Though these are all forms of preparation, I have also found myself tipping into the unhealthy side: paralysis, procrastination, and distraction.

In social science research, the strategies I mentioned above are forms of secondary data collection — they come from other people’s experiences.

I truly believe the best way to gain clarity is through primary data collection — data that comes from our direct experience as we engage with our environment.

For example, if you’re interested in switching career tracks, talking about it with someone is great, but how do you actually get a feel for it?

You could make that piece of jewelry and try to sell it to at least one acquaintance. See what happens. It’s a baby step. But it will give you real data.

In earning my Masters in Design, I had the opportunity to experience design thinking at the Stanford Design School — which has hugely informed my work with women today.

Design thinking is a methodology that helps us get outside of our minds and actually test whether an idea will work.

I love to encourage my clients to test and experiment their idea.

Here’s what I ask my clients:

  • How can we experiment and test your idea (or belief) in small ways? and/or
  • How can we get real data from our environment, instead of spinning these ideas in our head?

This kind of thinking is golden on the entrepreneurial path.

Our tendency is to want to act in a big way. But it’s better to dream in a big way and act in a small one (IMHO).

Then we begin to build our creative confidence.

When we have an experimental attitude, we’re less attached to the results.

So even if you’re at your full time job, I bet there is one baby step you can take today to experiment your idea, calling, dream, passion…

Do it. Be a bad ass.

This was originally published on Maria Molfino.

Photo: Seda Arslan / Unsplash

The Worst Advice I've Ever Gotten: You're Too Stubborn

The Worst Advice I’ve Ever Gotten: You’re Too Stubborn

I can be extremely hard-headed.

You wouldn’t necessarily know this just by interacting with me on a day-to-day basis. In fact, I don’t even think some of my best friends would describe me this way. It’s a hardheadedness that lurks under the surface and chooses to pop up sporadically. And by “sporadically,” I mean in a completely predictable pattern—when someone tries to tell me what to do for reasons I don’t believe in.

Maybe another word for that is arrogant. Or obnoxious.

When I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I was anxious to get out of the state. As a native of Wisconsin, I had lived no farther than 1.5 hours from where I was born. We traveled a lot when I was younger, but I was eager to live somewhere else—to be somewhere else for more than ten days.

For a long time, I had my sights set on NYC. Toward the end of my senior year of college, however, I pivoted and began looking at San Francisco. This was quite the departure for me as I had once said I would never live in California. But, SF isn’t really California, right?! Not the beach blonde LA-type California I knew I couldn’t handle. (Or so I justified my 180.) (Of course, my anti-Californianess also didn’t extend to the Katy Perry song “California Girls,” which I would happily dance to in the weeks before my move.)

My parents had been okay with the NYC move. It scared them, but they knew NYC, and they knew people there. They had connections. It was familiar.

My parents were not okay with the SF move. It scared them, they didn’t know SF, and they didn’t know people there. My mom had one connection to someone who lived in the South Bay. It was completely unfamiliar.

I planned to move regardless of whether or not I had a job. I knew it might be hard to get a job living in Madison while applying to jobs in SF; there are plenty of talented recent college graduates in the immediate area—unless I was aiming to get a job somewhere like Google or Apple with the money to pay for relocation, it wasn’t looking good. (And I was not looking at Google or Apple. I studied psychology! I wanted to work somewhere that directly impacted people’s lives! Non-profit or bust.)

This all came to a head with my parents one night. I still remember exactly where I was standing in our house as I was told I was being too hard-headed, too stubborn, and too ridiculous to see the insanity of this move. Naturally, I rebuffed their accusations, may have shed a tear or two, and continued on believing that I could do this. I wasn’t going to be told otherwise.

Two weeks later, I landed in SF.

Two and a half weeks later, I had a job.

Three weeks later, I signed a lease.

I’ve been called hard-headed a lot. I can be stubborn when someone tries to tell me I’m doing the wrong thing or not making the right choices. I double-down and stick out whatever it is that I’m doing. But that’s because a lot of the time, I think accusations of hardheadedness come from a belief on the part of the other person that what you’re endeavoring to do is difficult or new or challenging. Of course my parents were right that I was being slightly ridiculous by moving to the west coast with only a sublet to my name. But where would we be if we never did “ridiculous” things?

Whenever I’m called hard-headed, I try to take a step back: are they telling me this because they don’t believe I can do it, because what I’m about to do is hard, or because I really am making a choice for the wrong reasons? It’s only when the last question is true that I reconsider my actions.

It’s not bad to be hard-headed. It can indicate passion, self-confidence, or any other number of positive qualities in a person looking to do something new. It is, however, bad to be hard-headed for the wrong reasons. I can tick off the names of many people I know who made decisions that were wrong for themselves because they refused to consider alternatives. I think we all know someone like that, and we’ve all probably come close to being that person, too.

What’s important is to know the difference between the two and to be able to identify when it’s okay to cave in and stop being so goddamn hard-headed. So when they told me I should get my undergraduate degree in-state and attend graduate school wherever I wanted, I caved. Ultimately, they were right, UW-Madison is a great school for a steal (in state), and it wouldn’t hurt my future to have a degree from there instead of some name-brand private school. And they were right; that decision hasn’t hurt me one bit. It would have hurt me to stay nearby after graduation. And, years removed from that blowout fight, I don’t think my parents would disagree with that one bit.

This article was originally published on ProfessionGal.

Photo: Cole Patrick / Unsplash