How I Got An Article Published on Forbes.

Two weeks ago, I had an article published on Forbes! When I received the email with the link to my piece, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I remember making a list last year of 100 things I want to do before I die and this was one of them. I couldn’t believe it happened before I’d imagined! Needless to say, I shared the post everywhere – my email list, social media networks – and with basically everyone I know.

The news was well received! This was one of the highlights of my writing career. A lot of people asked how I landed the opportunity so I decided to answer it in a post.

Here’s the story of how I got an article published on Forbes.

This may surprise you, but it happened in the most unexpected way. I was browsing my LinkedIn feed one day when a notification popped up. I mindlessly clicked on it then jumped out of my seat when I realized what it was about. A friend had recommended me under the status of an editor from Forbes. She was looking for millennial writers to contribute to their website and I was listed as a potential candidate. I immediately thanked my friend and affirmed my interest in the opportunity. Next, the editor reached out to me via email. She had actually checked out my website and found my contact information on there. I was over the moon.

What followed was a mini-interview where I had to craft a pitch and suggest some new posts. I didn’t hear from her until the following two weeks as she had to vet multiple writers. I was starting to get discouraged thinking there was a chance I’d get rejected. She eventually got back to me. They wanted to move forward with my piece.

And there it was! A few emails and a round of edits later, my article went live on Forbes! Although it happened unexpectedly, the steps I had previously taken led me to that moment. If it wasn’t for my work and my habit of showcasing it online, my friend would’ve probably never thought to recommend me. It may seem like no one’s watching when you share your work, but people do notice and this helps you stay top of mind when an opportunity comes up.

Whether you’re looking to take your writing career to the next level or grow your personal brand, you can apply my story to your particular situation. Here are the main takeaways:

Talk about your work online

Let people know what you do. Better yet, show them. Have a blog post, a cool graphic or an app you’ve worked on? Share it online! When people frequently see what you do, they will come to know you as an expert in your particular field.

Take care of your personal brand

Invest in your professional development by building a brand. You can think of it as your footprint. It tells the world the story of what you do and what you stand for. Entertain opportunities that allow you to expand your brand and reach new audiences. This can mean speaking at local events, contributing to different publications or being featured on podcasts. Be sure to always document your process along the way.

Check out

3 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

4 Brilliant Ways to Brand Yourself Online

Leverage social media to build relationships

Just like you can make friends on Instagram, you can build authentic relationships with potential mentors, employers, business associates and colleagues. You just have to use each platform to its full potential. For example, don’t just passively scroll through your LinkedIn feed. Find new people to connect with and send them a message. Read about the news in your industry and repost relevant articles. Write a blog post that demonstrates your expertise. On Twitter, see what recruiters or people you admire are posting. Interact with them and eventually, ask them out for coffee.

You may not hear from everyone, but if someone takes the time to respond, be sure to follow up. A lot of relationships are left unbuilt from people not following up. So be sure to carry out the plan and take your connections offline. Your network is a crucial factor in your career development. Don’t neglect it.

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3 Ways to Practice Your Negotiation Skills

This post is the first of my Negotiation Series, where I’ll share real-life anecdotes and tips to help you build the confidence to ask (and get) what you want.

For some people, the thought of negotiating is just as scary as public speaking. They’d rather hide under their shell than do it. I know because this used to be me.

Whether you’d like to have a higher salary or enjoy more flexibility, asking for things is awkward. It’s easier to hope the other person will magically meet your needs, but how likely is that to happen? Hoping is passive. Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy that guarantees your desired outcome, but taking matters into your own hands is a more proactive (and promising) approach.

Negotiating may be uncomfortable, but the struggle is just as real as being underpaid or unfulfilled. Put this way, getting through the difficult conversation doesn’t seem like as big a deal. Yet, it doesn’t make it easier.

The hardest part of a negotiation is initiating the conversation. It takes a mix of self-confidence, fearlessness and detachment from the outcome to push yourself to bring it up. So doing that alone is a sort of victory.

So how does one build the courage to negotiate? These 3 strategies will help you develop the mindset and boost your confidence to go after what you want.

Get in the habit of asking for help/things

As humans, we generally tend to try to figure out everything on our own because we often feel too embarrassed to admit we need help. Sooner or later, we realize that there are things we simply cannot do on our own.

Asking for help can be just as awkward as negotiating a new salary. Both scenarios make you feel vulnerable, but you can train yourself to get over it if you start by asking for smaller things or negotiating less important details. Here are some real-life scenarios where you can practice:

  • Email the CEO of a big company and offer your help. Challenge yourself to find what you can contribute to their company. Then follow up. You might never hear from them, but the point is to be bold enough to send the email. This will make you more comfortable engaging people with a big title at networking events.
  • At a street fair, ask a vendor if he’ll give you that bag for $150 instead of $200 because that’s all the cash you have. Pretend to walk away if he says no.
  • Ask for a refill at a restaurant (knowing they’ll say no). You don’t really care for that refill anyway because the point is to drive yourself to initiate the conversation. You’ll also get used to being rejected early on so that you can better craft your argument when you eventually decide to negotiate with an employer.

Try to sell someone something

Negotiating is a lot like selling something. You are marketing a product (in that case, your unique qualifications) and convincing the other party that they need to pay you for it.

Whether it be your used school books or clothes that no longer fit, challenge yourself to achieve a sale! It will teach you how to craft a winning argument and obtain what you want – which will have a direct application to negotiating with a client or an employer.

Sign up for a pitch competition

There’s nothing like a competition to practice building a solid case and defending it in front of a group of people!

I once signed up to be considered for Kevin O’leary’s sales bootcamp for fun. I hesitantly filmed and submitted a video of myself explaining what makes me a good fit for the challenge. I was surprised to find out I was selected for the second round. I was invited to come to ABC’s office in NYC and sell a 30-second elevator pitch on camera. We were literally placed in an elevator and were to say our pitch as soon as the doors opened and before they closed. To make matters worse, the whole thing would air on live TV!

I was extremely nervous and couldn’t hide that in my voice. I didn’t qualify for the third round, but it was a great exercise in articulating myself clearly in front of a lot of people.

Maybe your test doesn’t need to be as extreme as a competition to become Kevin O’Leary’s student or a one-month rejection challenge, but as often as you can, put yourself in these uncomfortable situations because you will gain a lot of self-awareness. You will experience and grow through the awkward feeling that’s been holding you back from asking for that raise.

Your turn! How do you practice your negotiation skills? Let me know in the comments!

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3 Things to Ask Yourself Before Accepting A Job Offer

If you’ve ever gone on a job hunt, you know how frustrating it can be. You have to be prepared to deal with rejection or radio silence if you’re going to continue. Nowadays, getting an interview is a victory in itself because of the fierce competition out there. It is far from easy and there’s no telling how long the process will be.

So when you go through it all and eventually hear the words, “We are pleased to offer you the (insert job/internship/gig etc)…” you might shed a tear or two before you thank your employer. Of course your first thought is to say yes right away – especially if it’s something you’ve worked hard for. It’s normal, but it’s not always the way to go.

When I was looking for my first job here in the States, I jumped on the first opportunity someone was giving me. I was afraid they’d take it away if I took too long to say yes or even tried to negotiate a better offer. So I immediately accepted and started tutoring kids from low-income families in the comfort of their home. They would send me far out in the city, but I didn’t complain by fear of losing the job. It was an interesting experience though. I became better at teaching children and I familiarized myself with different parts of the city. It also jumpstarted my teaching career as I went on to become a class assistant in college.

Nonetheless, if I knew then what I know now, I would’ve probably passed on the opportunity. The long commute combined with the emotionally challenging nature of the work weren’t things I was equipped to deal with at the time. And that didn’t reflect on the pay. I didn’t trust myself enough to know

Moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for because you might (you know how the rest goes).

So the next time someone makes you an offer, ask yourself these four questions to figure out if it’s worth it. That is after you make sure the compensation is worth it of course.

Will it teach me something new?

A lot of people act like their professional development ends once they land their dream job. So they settle in their 9 to 5 and likely stay there for years without making much progress. These people are at risk of being disposable. If you don’t offer something unique to employers and they can replace you with a more cost-friendly solution, they will. It’s up to you to stay ahead of the competition and do what it takes to climb the corporate ladder. You have to go out of your way to absorb as much information as possible both inside and outside the workplace and then execute on what you learned. This will translate into unique skills and concrete results – aka frequent raises and promotions.

Your professional development only continues with each job. Consistent learning is essential to making career moves. How else will you remain competitive in a cutthroat industry? If it doesn’t encourage you to stretch your potential by presenting interesting challenges, your growth will likely stagnate.  A job doesn’t have to be what just pays the bills. It can be part of what I would call, “The school of life”.

Will it allow me to pursue my interests?

As a multipotentialite, it’s crucial for me to be engaged at work because otherwise, I will not last very long in that position. When a job doesn’t offer variety (in the day-to-day tasks as well as the big projects), it tends to force you into a routine that can be hard to get out of.

Say you love writing, photography and graphic design. You’ll probably have a hard time at a job that limits you to doing one thing and one thing only – every day. You’d feel more fulfilled if you got to explore these interests and develop these skills on a regular basis. And guess who would be more inspired to work hard and stand out as an employee?

If you’re a multi-dimensional person, take your time to assess what a job has to offer both on a short-term and a long-term basis. Will you get to take initiative and take on new areas of learning? Will it sponsor offsite classes or provide an online library for you to constantly learn from? Will the tasks be so varied that you’ll be able to stay true to your multipotentiality? It may not seem important in the first few weeks, but it will affect your overall engagement with the position.

Will it help me reach my long-term career goals?

Yes, every job adds to your experience by default and that’s usually where most people stop at in questioning whether or not it’s worth it. But it can also hone your skills, pay for your continued education, expand your network and propel you into the next phase of professional growth.Every job you accept can play a pivotal role in your professional development. They will each provide an experience that will uniquely shape your trajectory. Remember that you can get it all! It might take longer to come, but it’s there waiting for your hustle.

When answering this question, think outside of the box because some benefits aren’t immediately obvious. For example, non-profit organizations usually expose their employees to an exclusive and diverse network of executives at their fundraising events. If you accept a job at one of them, you might not know this right away because these happenings could be few and far between, yet totally worth it. One good conversation at an annual gala can open doors to opportunities you only imagined.


If you answer yes to all these questions when considering an offer then it is worth your time and energy. So often people settle by fear that they won’t find something better. One way to avoid this is to keep going after more. Chances are, if you’ve landed one offer, you can land multiple. It might take more work, but it will be worth it because you will have options. Work hard and keep pushing the boundaries of what you think you deserve and do not stop until you reach a point of contentment.

Your turn! What do you look for in a job? What do you ask yourself when considering an offer? Let me know in the comments!

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3 Steps You Can Take to Achieve Financial Freedom

I knew financial freedom was the goal when I grew frustrated with having only one source of income last year. I had a decent-paying job, but it wasn’t enough for me to live the life I envisioned. I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck so I knew something had to change.

I started reading personal finance blogs and listening to podcasts to teach myself how to make money work for me. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The 4-Hour Workweek was a pivotal moment. Here are some key takeaways from each book:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

by Robert Kiyosaki

a. You’ll never become financially independent from a 9 to 5.

b. The way to wealth is through diversifying your income

c. Invest. Invest. Invest.

The 4-Hour Workweek

by Tim Ferriss

a. You can do more in less time (working remotely, outsourcing, delegating etc.)

b. Time is the ultimate money-making machine

Tim and Robert helped me figure out what to do to change my situation. In short, I had to become efficient at work and I had to diversify my income. Following these authors’ advice, I made a plan.

Most people say they want to be financially free, but they aren’t willing to commit to making it happen. Financial freedom isn’t something that just happens. It starts with a plan and requires determination.

Disclaimer: I haven’t arrived at complete financial freedom YET, but in the past few months, I followed a course of action that’s progressively taking me there. So I know a thing or two about what it takes. To help you get started or keep going, here are the steps you can take. We can group them within broad categories.

Living within your means

If you’re earning less than you’re spending, you’re bound to be living paycheck to paycheck. Take a close look at your bank statements. Are you always stuck with credit card debt? Do you spend a check before you actually get it? Do you make exceptions for stuff because the discount was so good you couldn’t pass?

Track your spending. Have a budget. Stick to it. You’ve heard it all before and it’s not rocket science, but it’s hard. The ideal would be to not even look at the price tag before we get something! But until we get there, we will have to adjust our spending.

If you’re really struggling with this, take these baby steps every day:

Go 2-3 months without Netflix

Can you do that? Use a friend’s account info.

Pay more than the minimum on your credit card each month

Trade a week’s worth of coffee for that extra $10 if you have to. You minimize your interest fee that way.

Put $5-10 aside every week

Make some of your disposable income disappear (in a piggybank never to be found).

To live within your means is to make sacrifices when you can’t yet afford everything you want. This means saying no to using your credit card when you don’t have that sum on your debit card. Forget that extra pair of shoes or eating out when there’s food at home. It’s skipping Uber and taking the train. It’s buying groceries for the whole week and bringing lunch to work instead of dropping $12 on a salad or a sandwich + soda combo. It’s…you get the idea!

Diversifying your income

And well, if you’re not willing to make sacrifices, but can’t afford to live the life you want, you just need to make more money. It starts with diversifying your income – which basically means making money from different sources.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know I’ll encourage you to develop a few income streams. I’m a huge side hustle advocate and I’ve been able to acquire the most skills from having them.

When you make money from just a 9 to 5, you’re putting your eggs in one basket – which is risky. You can lose your job at any moment (because business is business and life happens). Even a generous compensation can’t always cover your random splurges or unexpected bills. Instead of waiting to increase your salary by a percentage every six months or so, find other ways to make money. It’s easier and it’ll make you less dependent on your primary gig.

Where to start, you ask? I detailed the first steps to diversify your income here. Next, use these ideas to make a plan.

Get a part-time job

Bartend on weekends. Teach a class. Become a lifeguard in the summer. There are many part-time jobs that can work with your full-time schedule. Having a second steady gig might throw off your work-life balance, but it is another way to make money.

Sell a product

If you have a knack for making things (jewelry, furniture, illustrations etc.), you can earn a few extra bucks from them each month. If not, you can resell thrifted items on Amazon or buy things in bulk and offer a higher price per unit. The possibilities are endless.

Start a side business

Become an Uber or Lyft driver. Rent your apartment through Craiglist or AirBnB. Create an app that helps parents find local tutors or babysitters. Take people’s engagement photos. Start an Etsy store. Sell thrift finds on Amazon or eBay. Promote brands on Instagram. Walk dogs or house sit.

When people think about starting a business, they tend to picture themselves building the next Facebook or Tesla. It’s cool if you have an idea that can change the world, but entrepreneurship doesn’t stop there if you don’t.

Related: 75+ Ways to Make Extra Money


Become really good at something then get people to pay you to do it for them. Whether you write for magazines, shoot weddings, direct editorial photoshoots, build people’s websites or design company’s logos, freelancing is a great way to monetize a skill. It’s more flexible than a regular job as it gives you control over your schedule.


Saving as an extra income stream? Who would’ve thought?! Put your savings in a high yield savings account and watch your money grow passively!


Buy stocks. Purchase properties and rent them out. Collect antiques. Fund a company. It doesn’t matter how you invest, but that you do. You’re basically saying “See you later” to your money. These investments will generate more cash for you in the future. A lot of people don’t invest because they don’t think long-term and they’re afraid to lose their money. Investing is risky, but money comes and goes. To learn more about it, visit Investopedia.

Your turn! What have you done/are you doing to achieve financial freedom? Let me know in the comments!

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3 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated College

College was fun! I got good grades, did a few internships and had a social life outside of studying. You probably heard that your experience is what you make of it and let me tell you – it’s true. I wasn’t the “come to class then go home” kind of student, so learned a lot beyond the classroom. I attended career workshops, networking events and pretty much did my best to make the most out of it.

Still, college didn’t prepare me for the real world. My introduction to the real world was brutal. I was scrambling to land a job after the company I thought I’d work for withdrew their offer. And I had to figure out ways to make money while waiting to hear from employers. I vividly remember this stage. It was a rough rite of passage.

Eventually, I realized what made this transition so stressful. There are things I know now that would have made it easier, had I known that then. I wish someone would have pulled me aside and told me everything I needed to know before graduating. Since that’s not how life works, I can only reflect on these lessons and share them with you.

There’s no better time to start something

Especially at the beginning, when things aren’t too intense yet. Most people spend their freshman and sophomore years figuring out what they want and taking general ed classes. It’s the best time to pursue a passion alongside doing schoolwork!

Some students have to juggle homework, internships and odd jobs throughout their undergrad years, which gives them less time to pursue other interests. If you happen to not NEED to work when you’re in college, you’re in the best position to start something – anything. A business, a side hustle; any outlet to express your curiosity. Chances are, you don’t have a lot of responsibilities (mortgage, children, student loans) to worry about then, so you can take risks and not face dire consequences. It’s a unique opportunity to test some ideas and see how that pans out. If it’s successful, it will also create a job for you when you graduate.

I wish I started my freelance writing business in college. I regret not launching my blog sooner or offering to do pro bono work until I built a portfolio. So if you have time (actually, make time), invest in the pursuit of a passion and you’d be surprised where it can take you.

Grades aren’t everything

I used to stress every exam because I didn’t want anything less than an A. I put so much pressure on myself to achieve the very best that I became very familiar with sleepless nights and coffee-fueled cramming sessions. It’s not a bad attitude, but it can take a toll on your health if you don’t watch out for that. I’m not saying you should get by with minimal effort and procrastinate until the last minute, but remember not to kill yourself over an imperfect GPA. You should always strive for excellence, but only when it doesn’t come to the expense of your health (physical, mental and emotional).

In reality, grades only matter if you plan on going to grad school and have to live up to your target university’s standard. Otherwise, you just need to do your best! Had I known this, I wouldn’t have stressed so much like I did over a B in organic chem and even a C+ in microeconomics (yeah, not my forte). Your GPA doesn’t in any way indicate the levels of success you’ll achieve. There’s a growing trend of not including it in resumes because employers don’t care so much about it anymore. So just remember that next time you feel like the world is falling apart because of an exam.

You don’t need to have it all figured out

A lot of us dread the, “What’s next?” question that comes with the prospect of graduation. It’s probably because we feel like we need to have an answer. If you have a plan and things are going your way, more power to ya! But if like most recent grads you don’t have a clear idea, don’t you worry. I can tell you for a fact that you’ll learn the most from not over-planning and being open to detours. I didn’t know what I would do after the company withdrew their offer. I figured I’d just find another job and work. Had that not happened, I wouldn’t have learned how to brand myself professionally and hustle. These are skills that will serve me throughout the rest of my life.

Post-grad life can be intimidating. You have all this free time and you might feel overwhelmed at times. But you will figure it out. Embrace the changes and welcome the lessons! It won’t be easy, but you will look back and want to do it all over again. It’s a worthy part of the growth process.

Your turn! What do you wish you knew before graduating college? Share them with me in the comments!

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How to Leverage Your Side Hustles and Advance in Your Career

Your side hustles – At best, they give you the chance to explore an interest, develop a skill and earn some additional income. At best (that’s right, I can’t think of a single downside to having one), they make you more marketable and help you score more gigs.
You’ll hear that nowadays everyone has a blog or some sort of passion project. Someone once told me it doesn’t make you competitive anymore since everyone else does it. While it’s true that most millennials have some sort of side project, that doesn’t mean they can’t set you apart from others. The question is, how can you use them to get ahead?
Most people tend to keep their side hustles secret. They’ll never make it on their resume or LinkedIn profile. It’s a mistake. Your personal projects are just as relevant to your career as your primary job. Here’s how you can leverage them to achieve your professional goals:

If you want to land more gigs

Perfect your craft then sell your services
Consider your existing skill set and think about ways to upgrade it. You can monetize everything you know these days. You just need to make yourself an expert first. If you write poems, maybe you can learn how to write copy for websites and products as well? If you play guitar, perhaps you can learn how to write songs and perform your pieces at open mics? Perfect your already existing talents then figure out how to take them to the next step. Tackle a new area of knowledge and apply yourself to learning. Wouldn’t a marketer be more competitive if they knew how to design websites too?
Once you turn yourself into an expert, create something. Build an app or a website if you learned how to code. Launch a blog to showcase your writing, YouTube channel for your shooting and editing skills. Let your online portfolio speak for itself. Once you reach a certain level of success, you can make more money from your project itself or by selling your services (usually the easiest way to go). Include our side hustles on your resume, post ads on Craigslist, promote your work to your network and send cold emails.

If you want to get a promotion and/or a raise

Prove your value with numbers
If your side hustle aligns with your job, it makes sense to documents the milestones you reach from doing it. I once worked for a food brand doing community management. After reaching the goals my boss and I had set when I was first hired, I tried to position myself to ask for a promotion. Since I have a side hustle (fashion storytelling) that was directly related to my job, I documented the growth of my personal pages and put down the numbers in paper. I turned them into an easy-to-read file and presented them to my boss when I was making my case. It not only helped that I had exceeded the goals and delivered a great performance, but my boss was also impressed that I was able to do the same thing on my own. Doing this won’t necessarily guaranteed you’ll get a raise (as that depends on many factors that are sometimes outside of our control), but it will definitely put you on their radar when the opportunity arises.
Make a new proposal
As part of my argument to get the raise, I drafted a proposal detailing the things I could accomplish for the brand within a time frame. Since I had increased my Instagram engagement in a few weeks for my personal brand, I suggested doing the same thing for the company. One of the bullet points read, “Gain over 100 followers per week and double the engagement in a month”. I was confident in my ability to deliver and since that matched their expectations, I was given the benefit of the doubt.

To continue your education and move up the ladder 

Seek every opportunity to learn 
“I’m done learning now” – said no one ever (or should no one ever say). No matter where you are in life, your education should never end. It’s part of what keeps you competitive and helps you make better decisions. If you’re employed, try to get your company to sponsor some classes or provide tuition reimbursement. Even if you can’t get these benefits, make that investment in yourself. It can be the difference between you becoming a manager in a short amount of time as opposed to 4-5 years.
If you’re still hesitant to start a side hustle, ask yourself What is there to lose? Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to pursue a passion, make money, advance in your career and become more fulfilled.
Your turn! Do you already have side hustles? What are they and how have they helped you in your life and career?

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5 Important Career Lessons Most People Learn Too Late In Life

Study hard and get good grades. Everything else will fall into place. That’s what we were taught to believe about our professional life. A lot of us have internalized this advice and probably realized that that’s not really how things work.

You can achieve a stellar GPA and graduate from one the best universities and still find yourself unprepared for the real world. That’s because some lessons aren’t taught in classrooms and knowing them early on can make a huge difference in our careers.

If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. Here are some important career lessons you can benefit from now.

a. Success is not linear. Most of us have an idea of the path to follow in order to reach our career goals. The traditional view of success looks like this:

1. Go to a good school

2. Graduate with a stellar GPA

3. Get a good job and do well

4. Get promoted

5. Go back to school

6. Climb up the ladder

7. Live happily ever after

Sounds simple right? In reality, we don’t arrive at our goals by following a straight path. More often than not, we take detours (in the form of breaks, setbacks, moments of regression etc.) and figure out how to get back on track.

Take Chris Sacca, American venture investor for example. He turned down the opportunity to invest in Airbnb and Dropbox, thinking they wouldn’t be successful in the long run. Seeing how these companies went big, many would consider these moves to be a failure. Yet, Chris is now a billionaire with investments in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Kickstarter etc. He’s the perfect reminder that you shouldn’t let your mistakes define you. You don’t need to have it all figured out from the start. There are external forces that will often interfere with your trajectory. Fret not. You can always recover from a setback. What is important is developing an attitude that embraced change and knows how to turn “failures” into learning opportunities.

b. Your career is what you make of it. No one is going to give you anything unless you earn it. As an intern, you may get hired if you show you’re a team player and hard worker. Want that promotion or raise? Make sure you’ve exceeded your supervisor’s expectations and continue to align yourself with the company’s goals. Some things may be outside your control, but you have a say over your performance and the amount of work you do – which ultimately will bring you closer to your goals.

It’s important to remember not to get comfortable and let your growth become stagnant. If you hit a wall at your job, find a better opportunity (only after attempting to fix that, though). Want to make a  career transition? Start doing your research and network with industry insiders. Hate the thought of working for someone and dream of starting a business? Do it while you don’t have a mortgage or a family to feed. Or, spend all your free time on executing your idea until you make enough money to be able to quit.

c. You can create your own opportunities. When it comes to making moves in our career, we tend to wait for permission. We wait for a job to get experience instead of acquiring that experience on our own. We wait to get a raise instead of diversifying our income and becoming less dependent on that in the first place. We wait until “the universe gives us a sign” to  after the very things that make our heart beat.

It’s a trap we so easily fall into when in reality, we are the only ones who can give ourselves permission to do something. You can go make videos on your own and hone your editing skills. You can take a photography class and start shooting your friend’s engagement. You can enroll in a coding course to move to the next phase of your career. Be proactive when it comes to your personal and professional development. You can accomplish much more in a team than by yourself of course, but do not let the absence of help handicap you.

d. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. I was at an event a few weeks ago and wrote down a very powerful piece of advice. One of the panelists said, “The answer to the questions you never ask is always no.”

A lot of us don’t get what we want because we don’t know how to ask. Or rather, we’re too afraid of rejection. It’s cliche, but the worst case-scenario is hearing no, then you just find someone else to say yes. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to go to people and express what you need help with. Together is better than alone. Of course don’t be one of those people who only know how to take. Make sure you’re contributing to them just as much as they are contributing to you. But do not let your pride get in the way of your progress. You’d be surprised how people are open to sharing their experience and giving advice.

e. You should always update your skills. Whether you’re an intern or a senior executive, your education never stops. Your dedication to learning will be the difference between you staying stagnant and you moving up the corporate ladder.Think of yourself like a smartphone. Upgrades maximize your performance. Don’t get comfortable with a job that you forget to make yourself marketable. Nowadays, job security is obsolete. Technology is disrupting the workplace, replacing jobs and creating careers. I wouldn’t be surprised if robots eventually replace bank tellers just like self-driving cars will replace bus or taxi drivers. You can’t afford to be left behind. Always think about learning new skills and adapting to current times. Like Robert Kiyosaki from Rich Dad Poor Dad would advise, invest in yourself so that you stay ahead of the market.

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What I Learned From Doing a One-Month Rejection Challenge

Whether it’s in our professional (for a job or for a promotion) or personal life (by our significant other or a prospect), being rejected sucks. It’s hard not to take it personally because it puts our ego on the line. My, mine’s been bruised so many times I’ve lost count! Hate it or love it, it’s an inevitable part of growing up.

I used to get frustrated when someone would tell me no, especially when their reason didn’t make sense to me. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to know why, and other times, you just have to carry on without closure. People say no for different reasons and it’s healthier to focus on the only thing we can control – our reaction.

Rejection challenge

So, I’ve learned how to deal with the word no through a one-month rejection challenge. Basically, I intentionally put myself in situations where people were likely to reject me. For four weeks, I did something outside of my comfort zone that forced me to go talk to people.

Week 1 – I invited strangers out for coffee.

Week 2 – I volunteered to speak at a workshop in front of a big crowd

Week 3- I asked my network for help


Week 4 – I competed in a poetry slam.

The outcome? 2-3 people accepted my invite. The audience at the workshop was really supportive and gave me some great feedback. Most people in my network didn’t end up helping me, but a few of them did, and I didn’t win first place in the poetry slam but made some great friends that night.

Here are 3 important lessons I learned from doing this one-month rejection challenge:

There is ALWAYS a silver lining

I wanted to win first place at the poetry slam, but that night, I gained something much more valuable – public speaking skills and a few more people in my network. You’ve heard the cliche, “When a door closes, another one opens” and probably rolled your eyes at it, but it’s true. Sometimes, you work hard for something only to find out it’s not what you really want. Your dream company might not end up being the right cultural fit after all and that’s okay. The important thing is to learn to look on the bright side because there is always a silver lining. ALWAYS. Even when it doesn’t immediately manifest, it’s still there. Also, just because it’s not something tangible (say a job, an opportunity etc.) doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable. Self-awareness is key and every experience – at the very least – serves the purpose of providing more of that.

Help is always within reach – an email or call away

After doing the rejection challenge, I realized that I used to underestimate how much people were willing top help. Truth is, receiving help is simply a matter of asking. You might feel weird about it like you’re bothering them, but it can be worth the interruption. You might find that you’re not alone in a particular situation. At any point in time, there’s always a community of people experiencing the same difficulties as you and coming together usually just takes one person reaching out. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If someone says no, chances are, four other people will say yes. You just have to find them.

Take it from me, I used to waste time thinking of multiple ways to solve a problem – when teaming up with someone would’ve been more efficient. Be willing to contribute to other people’s growth too. Just remember, together is always stronger than alone.

Rejection is rarely personal

You might kill yourself trying to figure out why you didn’t get a job – thinking maybe you shouldn’t have worn that blazer to the interview or shouldn’t have asked that question – when the company could have just not had the budget for it anymore. People are weird. They harbor biases and fears that influence the way they interact with others. And this is why you shouldn’t assume every rejection is your fault. This attitude can not only damage your self-esteem, but it can make it harder to deal with the many instances of rejection.

Sure, you can think about what you’ll do better next time, but just know that rejection often has to do with factors outside of your control. So it’s best to focus on your circle of influence (as Stephen Covey from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People would say) – your thoughts, attitudes and actions.

Doing the rejection challenge was an incredible learning experience. Truth is, it was more about me building up the confidence to put myself out there than it was about these people’s reactions. It desensitized me to the effect of the word no. I used to hate it, but now it’s my motivation.

So, are you up for a challenge?

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3 Ways to Channel Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

The internet is flooded with stories of people who quit their 9 to 5 to follow their dreams. You remember Tiffany who left her day job as a lawyer to explore the world and become a travel planner or Myles, the director of sales who gave guitar lessons on the side until he made enough money to do that full-time. There isn’t a shortage of guides that show you the steps to take towards becoming your own boss. Entrepreneurship is in vogue these days. The influence is so ubiquitous that you might start to feel like you’re doing something wrong if that’s not your goal.

When most people think about it though, they picture the end result before they even consider the journey. They imagine a CEO laying on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean and making money while she sleeps, but not the long nights she spent couch surfing and testing prototypes. No one can deny the perks of owning a business – unlimited income potential, freedom to travel and decide how to spend your days etc. The strongest appeal is the control it gives someone over their own time, but that all comes with a fair share of sacrifices and hard work.

One thing is clear: entrepreneurship is not for everyone. The constant hustle and bustle is a challenge only few are willing to take on. Maybe you prefer having more structure in your days or you’re more of an enabler. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to work for someone – though mainstream media might make you feel differently.Self-awareness is key to figuring out what works for you. And this is why this article will also speak to my multipotentialites with regular jobs and who don’t necessarily want to start their own company.

Deep down, I believe everyone is an entrepreneur. It doesn’t necessarily take running a business to manifest that. As Doug McCormack once said, “No matter what your profession, you are a business owner. Your business sells labor and manages assets to support the spending needs of your family. Labor is likely your largest asset and must be actively managed just like your finances.” If we think of ourselves as startups, we are all in the business of developing our abilities. And in the words of Bertie Forbes, “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.”

Channeling your entrepreneurial spirit

More than anything, entrepreneurship is a growth mindset, a proactive attitude that anticipates change before it happens and always looks for ways to innovate. As FlexJobs CEO Sara Sutton Fell puts it, “an entrepreneurial spirit is a way of approaching situations where you feel empowered, motivated, and capable of taking things into your own hands.”

Most importantly, having an entrepreneurial spirit can help one realize their full potential. It’s a driving force that pushes you to think like an owner and continuously learn.

How do you develop that mindset?

At work

Use your expertise to streamline a process or creatively solve problems

Few companies give you the opportunity to take initiative as often as startups do. At my old job, one of the interns stood out by creating a database that kept all our records in one place. It was much needed, but no one had the bandwidth to do. He used his knowledge of Excel and coding to build the tool. It was all within his area of expertise. By championing the idea, he demonstrated leadership that eventually got him promoted.

If you’re sitting at work frustrated with the speed of the internet, maybe you can work with the IT guy to find a solution? Or if your boss always makes you manually look for contacts at a specific company, you can probably create a spreadsheet that stores all their info in one place? Whenever you take the initiative to fix a problem at work, you are acting as an intrapreneur and making yourself more indispensable to the company.

Look for opportunities to train or manage a team

Being in a leadership position can help you flex your entrepreneurial muscles. If your role doesn’t allow you to do so, volunteer to train the new hires or supervise their day to day. You might take some load off your boss’ shoulders and stand out as an employee. Most importantly, you will learn how to deal with (or prevent) crises, roll with the punches, improvise solutions and develop your interpersonal skills. You will feel overwhelmed at times and ask yourself why you signed up for it in the first place, but the lessons will be invaluable in helping you better work with people.

In life

Tap Into Your Creativity

You probably never thought you could make art on a canva until you went to that paint & sip event or write a poem until you attended that workshop. Within all of us exists the infinite potential to create. It’s just a matter of experimenting with things until some of them stick. And once they do, focus on honing what you already know. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Take a chance on yourself!

Did you notice that more people are coming to you for fashion advice? Maybe it’s time offer styling services or start a YouTube channel! Do you know more about something than the average person? Think about how you can share that information with others and maybe monetize it! It could be as simple as a blog or an event series. An entrepreneurially minded person is essentially always looking to start something. They’re always observing, noticing problems, questioning what already is and figuring out how to make it better.

Related: How to embrace your entrepreneurial spirit

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3 Things Multipotentialites Should Look For in a Job

Finding a job is hard. Finding a job you love is even harder, especially if you’re someone who can do many things and have different interests and passions. It’s no wonder millennials switch jobs more often than previous generations. In fact, 42% of us change jobs every two to three years with 60% of us constantly open to new opportunities. This might have to do with the fact that only 29% of millennials reported being engaged at work, according to a Gallup study. Yet, our expectations aren’t very different from those of older workers.

I would imagine multipotentialites account for a big portion of the remaining 71% of millennials who aren’t engaged at work. It’s harder for us to be satisfied with our job mainly because we can’t picture ourselves doing one thing forever. So it’s not uncommon to find ourselves in Steve Jobs’ shoes when he said, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Whether you’re gearing up for a career change or looking to move up the corporate ladder, here are five important things to look for in a job that will nurture your mutlipotentiality and lead to your growth and satisfaction:

Related: 3 Actionable Tips to Leverage Being a Jack of All Trades and Land More Gigs

You have the opportunity to wear different hats

A cross-functional role will allow you to exercise your multidimensional personality and develop a wide range of skills. It will challenge you to stretch your potential and discover new options. The startup I worked at in 2015 had a rotation program which gave interns the choice to work in different departments after each quarter. I first joined their Operations team, switched to sales then settled in the marketing department. Yet, we still had a multidisciplinary approach when it came to problem solving. It was very challenging, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone and think outside of the box.

Startups or small companies tend to foster a more collaborative environment. Say you work as a social media manager of a digital media company. Maybe you can take the initiative to work with the editorial team on certain projects? If your day to day slots you into a routine, it’s up to you to be proactive and expand your portfolio. You will also become more marketable as a result.

You fit the culture

When it comes to your career, it is not enough to love what you do. It’s crucial to be in the right environment, surrounded by people you can learn from and contribute to. The best companies don’t just have employees. They have mentors and coaches, people who are genuinely there to support each other. And they can only do that if the owners share these principles. Culture is the personality of a company. It’s what keeps employees engaged and gives them a reason to brag about their job.

Tech startups are known to have a very laid-back culture: casual dress code, cross-functional roles, beer parties on Fridays or exclusive concerts, nap rooms and ping pong tables…you name it. It’s no surprise these jobs are so competitive! Still, it’s not for everyone. You could be doing what you love and getting paid all the money in the world, but if you’re not comfortable in that kind of workplace, you will not be happy. So it’s all about identifying what you’re a fit for. At interviews, ask questions that pertain to the office culture. What is your boss’s managerial style? What are the people like? Do they work together? If you could get a tour of the office or chat with different employees, that’s cherry on top of the cake!

Here are key characteristics to keep in mind:

a. A spirit of innovation and an openness to ideas

As multipotentialites, we have a lot of ideas. We are constantly challenging ourselves to think creatively and merge our interests. So it’s important to be in a working environment that embraces new ideas and encourages employees to take initiatives.

Ever heard of intrapreneurs? Investopedia defines them as inside entrepreneurs. In other words, they are “employees within a company who are assigned to work on a special idea or project, and they are instructed to develop the project like an entrepreneur would.” If a company trusts you to the point where they invest in you like that, you have a golden opportunity to carve your own path – without the risks associated with going out on your own.

b. Flexible working conditions

Does the company put their employees first? Then their policy will reflect that. Sometimes, you’ll want to work from home and other days you’ll feel like going to the office. Can they accommodate that? When you’re juggling multiple projects, having the flexibility to work from anywhere is a huge help. You’ll likely be more efficient since you’ll save time on commuting.

c. Talented and supportive team – aka “friends”

Humans thrive on social connections, so naturally, we gravitate towards the people around us – classmates, colleagues, teachers etc. There’s nothing like having friends at work! How many times have you heard someone say that getting to work with some people is the best part of their job?  When you’re part of an awesome team, it affects your engagement, productivity and overall happiness. In fact, in a LinkedIn study,  57% of 18-24 year-olds reported being more happy when they have friends at work. 50% of them said it makes them feel more motivated and 39% of them felt more productive as a result. This shows that career happiness is linked to the relationships you have at work.

 They invest in your education

Suppose you struggle with a particular area of your role and would like to improve, you would benefit from your company putting in place a library of resources to help you hone that skill.  Whether it be online courses, tuition reimbursement, paid off-site seminars and workshops or training sessions, educational opportunities at your job will help you excel in your career. They also pave the way for horizontal mobility, which is intrinsic to professional development. My old startup used to host bimonthly lectures on a topic that was relevant to the industry. They had also purchased a library of courses for us to use if we wanted to master a particular skill. Their prioritization of employee success made me feel even more connected to the company.

Don’t trade your time for just dollars. Cultivate experiences, grow as much as you can and build valuable relationships. A job is what you make of it. As Earl Nightingale said, “Jobs are owned by a company. You own your career!”

When considering your next job offer, remember this from Brian Tracy, “If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.”

Do you have advice on other things to look for in a job? Let me know in the comments!

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