Wednesday, December 19, 2012

when to compromise

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

I've spent the last fifteen years in a marriage of give and take. Both my husband (an actor and writer) and I are highly ambitious and during each stage of our marriage and careers we've managed to create new goals and benchmarks. And, it hasn't always been easy. After all, our goals don't necessarily coincide. My interest in finishing a doctorate right as we were planning a cross-country move, or his interest in checking out the west coast scene as I was taking advantage of new professional opportunities in New York didn't necessarily work out. The truth is, going through life two-by-two is great but decision-making for two can be a headache.

Relationships aren't the only catalyst for compromise. At any point in your life, you may be faced with the following decisions:

salary vs. experience
longer commute vs. time with your family
out-of-state job offer vs. staying put
school vs. work
a home you love vs. a home you can afford

In many cases, the decision doesn't have to be an either/or. Rather, you can find a place, where you're comfortable somewhere in the middle. 

Some will argue that you should never compromise; that doing so is an abandonment of self. But that's unrealistic. At some point, for you to maintain your relationships, lifestyle, integrity, security - something or somebody's got to give. So the questions are: what and when are you willing to compromise?

And, there are no right or wrong answers, but again it comes down to knowing your values. If you don't know who you are and what you want, you'll have a difficult time making the right decisions for you and the people you love.

Friday, November 23, 2012

transcripts tell a story

I can't count the number of conversations I've had over the years with students who want to "change" their transcript. Most have a list of somewhat compelling reasons why that withdrawal or failing grade doesn't represent who they are as a student, much less an individual. Many are concerned by what someone will think when they see their grades in print.

My first question is, "Who is this elusive someone?" In my fifteen years as a college administrator I've been asked to show my transcript to an employer once. That's right, once. With the majority of my jobs (held at five different colleges and universities) I merely had to show proof of my degrees. Now, of course employers have a great deal of interest in how a student performs in college, it's why I recommend students with high grade point averages include the GPA on their resumes, but rarely is your average employer going to study your transcript.

Now, to be fair some industries may be more compelled to look at the transcript than others. I've heard from graduates and college career offices alike that finance firms are very interested in a student's academic success and progress. And that a GPA can make or break a student's chances at getting an internship or entry-level job. But I guarantee you the majority of students I see are not clambering for finance jobs.

In many cases students identify the elusive someone as a representative on a graduate school admissions committee. But again, despite the number of students that tell me that their next step is graduate school, I have to wonder how many really decide to go that route.

So again the question is who are we concerned is going to see this transcript we so desperately want to change.

It's also important for students to realize that a transcript tells a story. If I look at my college transcript  today (as yellowed and frayed with age as it may be), I can immediately pinpoint the timing of personal highs and lows in my life. Ah yes, this is the semester I broke up with my high school sweetheart. Ah yes, this is the semester I studied the work of Federica Garcia Lorca (and I've never been the same since). Ah yes, this is the semester I met the love of my life. Just as I can't erase those experiences, I can't erase the manifestation of those experiences in the classroom.

So kiddos guess what, you can't change your transcript it is what it is. What you can do is either a) stop fretting over it or b) think about the story you want it to tell.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

building an "old school" social network

It's easy to friend, tweet, and comment in your pajamas from home. I certainly do it. But it's important to not only build an online network, but a live, what I call "old school" network as well. Check out the following Simply Defined presentation for my thoughts about old school social networking.

Read. Comment. Follow. Share.

Friday, November 9, 2012

exercise: identifying potential mentors

Hopefully, you're starting to understand the importance of having good strong mentors in your life. But you may still be wondering, "How do I go about identifying these potential mentors?" Below is an easy 6-step exercise, with one goal in mind: to define your network and identify potential mentors.

So grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair. It's time to work.

Would you like a pdf version of this exercise? The exercise will be sent to Simply Defined Subscribers on Monday, November 14, 2011. So, subscribe to my email list today!

Friday, February 17, 2012

the learning curve is worth it

Don't forget that today's new technology is tomorrow's good ol' standby. So, the learning curve is worth it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

my mentors

It's no secret that I appreciate the value of mentorship. How often have I encouraged you to identify and connect with potential mentors? Given this, I too have spent a great deal of energy over the last few weeks developing my own connections and creating a circle of mentors. Specifically I joined one of Lisa Work's Visionary Mom teams. Lisa Work is this wonderfully creative and energetic single mom who has built a business with one purpose - to empower moms so they can do amazing things with their life. My "team" is made up of moms from the US, the UK and Canada all of whom are working on self-defined projects. Our calls and online interactions have been invaluable in defining my vision and goals as a wife, mother, and educator. In addition, I have responded to life coach, Tim Brownson's call for a new mentee. If chosen, I anticipate the next twelve months will be a time of radical self-assessment and calculated risk-taking. So exciting!

I practice what I preach, folks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Simply Defined has been on hiatus the last few weeks. Not because, I've ran out of things to say, quite the contrary. Rather, I've been working with one of Lisa Work's  Visionary Mom Teams (yes, I'm the mother of a two-year old son) to solidify the "why?" associated with what I do. I've been working on defining my personal and professional vision and the results have been extraordinary. For example, I am moving forward on specific projects:
  1. A co-facilitated type and movement retreat (see "what's brewing?" for more details)
  2. Clear and focused content for this blog including entries on community, your work's worth, and energy (vs. time) management.
  3. A yet to be named project for learners who are "settling" for public higher education (here's a hint - you're not settling!)
  4. And an  early exploration of type, learning style and ideal movement  practice. 
So  I hope you'll forgive my absence and join me over the coming weeks and months as Simply Defined picks up where we left off and moves forward in an exciting direction.