Monthly Archives: August 2007

Prioritize your authenticity

I don’t openly discuss the fact that I’m a tree hugger because it makes people uncomfortable. See, Mother Nature reminds us a lot of our own mother; we believe they’ll always be there for us no matter what. So I don’t talk about being an environmentalist. It would be like reminding the other person that they haven’t called their mom for two weeks. And no one wants to be reminded of their mother during happy hour.

That’s a mistake, however, because I get miffed when others claim to be environmentally concerned, and are blatantly not. Like the people who shop at Whole Foods, and think that gets them a golden ticket to the garden of earthly delights, even though they have a SUV parked in the lot. You may be one of those people. That’s okay. Just stop saying you care about the environment. Because you don’t.

Don’t act like somebody you’re not. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. People will see through it, and you will have no credibility. The most powerful brands don’t have to broadcast themselves. They are simply true by example.

Besides, it makes your life harder to keep up an image that’s not authentic. You spend a lot of time doing a lot of things to convince a lot of people that you’re something, something big, something that you’re not. That’s depressing.

You may recycle every water bottle or take an entire morning to replace all of your light bulbs with compact fluorescents. Worthy steps, sure. But they’re high-input and low-value. Like, none of those steps will land you in bed with Leonardo DiCaprio.

If you’re going to define yourself a certain way, then go for it. Use meaningful action. Don’t waste your time on little things that provide little value according to your goal. Set priorities to create the most impact, and avoid getting mired in the insignificant.

Environmental products often cost more in the beginning, but pay off in the long run. That’s how life is. It’s going to be hard in the beginning to take the first big step after years of baby steps. Your legs won’t seem long enough. But you have to stretch yourself beyond your limits. It’s worth it. Anything less isn’t authentic.

I’m an environmentalist because I don’t own a car. I don’t waste time worrying about recycling every single piece of junk mail. I don’t feel guilty for not going to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning. I’ve already done the biggest thing you can do for the environment. I don’t own a car. The positive impact of that decision is so huge, that while I do the small stuff, I don’t sweat it. I’ve got my golden ticket.

Small steps are a good start, but when you’re ready to play with the big kids, you just have to commit. Going any slower would be painful. Sometimes you just have to rip off the band-aid.

Make it hurt.

Follow the Leader – Travis from Young Go Getter

This post is part of the “Follow the Leader” series, where you get the chance to peek into the professional and personal lives of fellow young leaders to learn how they get it all done. If you would like to be the next young leader profiled, email me.

Travis - Young Go GetterTravis from Young Go Getter is a bit mysterious. He assures me this really is him in the photo to the left. I’ll assume we can’t see his face because teal just isn’t his color. No matter. Travis is crazy successful and while I was still learning my right hand from my left, Travis was already starting businesses.

Tell Modite readers about yourself:

I am a 22 year old Canuck with a nice big diploma from ad school buried in my filing cabinet. I’ve been an entrepreneur for about 8 years and a partner at YGG for a year and a half or so.

I work full-time as a freelance creative with my clients and squeeze in a bit of blogging on several different sites.

(click twice to enlarge and sharpen Travis’ to do list for this week)

Travis - Young Go Getter To Do List

Define leadership:
The ability to determine what needs to be done, who’d be best at doing it, and being able to step aside when it’s not yourself.

What does balance mean to you?
Balance is having symmetry between madness and silence. It’s when you’re able to push yourself almost to the breaking point, then punch out for the day with no hesitation.

What’s not on your calendar?
Birthdays. I’m horrible with birthdays. And the bad thing is, for most of my friends, I’ve known them for years and years, so if I were to ask them their exact birth date now, I’d look like a total ass.

How do you think we can encourage young leaders? Keep them engaged?
Make an example out of yourself. Most young go getters nowadays have all the war stories and resources they need to build an enormously successful business or create a meaningful impact on the world.

In the same sense that “you have to see it to believe it,” product demos have molded our acceptance in the marketplace. Leading by example will always have a much more encouraging effect than words on paper.

Seeing the results of entrepreneurial action and quotations proving themselves true, always seem to get my ass in gear.

How much time do you devote to blogging and promoting your blog?
I spend a lot more time developing and promoting our blog than I do writing, which is changing in the coming weeks. But for YGG, I spend an hour or two on most days developing new features or fixing bugs — and about two hours either writing content, participating in the Forum, or talking to some of the people I’ve been able to meet thanks to the site. Kind of like yourself, Rebecca.

Last words of advice?
Life isn’t as difficult as they make it out to be. Heck, you can Google any issues you face, chances are others have as well.

Do your best to get that big picture out the door and let the details handle themselves.

Go Young Go Getter, Go!

My new job

Update: This post was also published at Damsels in Success.

I started a new job on Wednesday. At 23 years old, I am now the Executive Director of a young professional organization whose mission is to attract and retain young talent and leadership in my area in order to contribute to the regions’ economic, civic, social, and public policy futures. Can’t get more Gen-Y Princess than that.

After one of the best first days at work ever, a day that left me dazed at the possibility of it all, I sat with my friend Hercules at his condo. His condo is trendy and beautiful, and immaculately clean, like in a commercial, the kind of clean that makes you feel dirty even if you’ve just taken a shower.

I was admiring the lack of spider webs in the upper corner of the wall, thinking about my new job, about what exactly I had gotten myself into and how I would be able to pull it off, when Hercules asked me an interesting question:

“If the worst happened, would you be okay? Can you accept the worst case scenario? Can you fail and survive?”

I turned to face him and nodded slowly. Yes, I thought, I could fail. If young talent left the city in droves, and everyone in the city hated me, if I bankrupted the organization and it tumbled down in flames, if I ruined my reputation and only rodents of the squirrel variety would talk to me, I would be okay. I would survive.

“Because if you can envision failure,” he said, “and you know that your life would go on, and you would still wake up every morning, and get out of bed, then life is at your feet.”

“Yes,” I said, out loud this time. “I’d be okay with failing. Life would go on. I would still wake up and get out of bed every morning. Well, five days out of the week, at least.”

“Good,” he said. “Then you’ll succeed.”

Fearless = Victorious

7 concessions and a challenge to the Gen-Y naysayers

Cynics have decided that I’m a “Gen-Y Princess” floating oblivious amongst the clouds, here and here.

More specifically, that I’m a high-maintenance spoiled brat. But who’s counting.

I appreciate criticism, even if it’s lackluster on the constructive side. I want this blog to recognize and appreciate the foundation that previous generations have laid and build upon it. To greatness. I want it to be about dialogue and community. And kicking some major butt. This includes realizing when I haven’t given the full picture. Here are seven concessions to the Gen-Y naysayers:

1) Gen-Y will fail. Miserably. We won’t change the world straight away. You have to fail to succeed. When you haven’t wiped the crud off your shoes, you can’t develop emotional intelligence, which is an important factor for career advancement. Only experience will help us learn. Let us take the reins quickly so we can learn quickly.

2) We’re idealistic and naïve. We want to believe in the dream of changing the world a little longer. Why are other generations so intent on crushing the dreams of idealistic youth so swiftly? What sense is there in bringing us to the dark side? Don’t break my knees just as I’m training for the marathon.

3) You have to play the game to win. I know that. I’ve talked about it here. But guess what? The current game sucks. So, along the way, we’re going to break every rule and change what it means to win.

4) Patience is a virtue too. Millennials are an impatient bunch. We want to change things right away, right now, this instant. Patience is crucial in this process to avoid burnout. We understand change takes time, and don’t mind, as long as we’re taking action. Gen-Y patience is about perseverance.

5) You have to pay dues. No one gets to skip paying dues all together. I didn’t like my first job, but I moved on. Good things are learned from bad experiences. The key is to learn those things and move on as soon as possible. The real world isn’t all that great sometimes. Young workers shouldn’t have to pay dues to a workforce that is often dirty, unethical and shameful.

6) We can’t all be leaders. Not all of us are suited to be leaders. True. But the last time I checked, we need leaders to encourage positive change. Most movements today – political, environmental, social – all greatly suffer from lack of visionary leadership. The more quality leaders we can cultivate, the better.

7) Loyalty is important. Gen Y plays the field of careers. It’s not good. But it’s not bad. We’re twenty-somethings; loyalty means something different to us. It’s not about time, but the value that the company and the Gen-Y employee offer each other.

And now the challenge…

The discussion surrounding Generation Y should center on how we can leverage our weaknesses into strengths and how we can use our unique talents effectively in our professional development, entrepreneurial, social, public policy, and philanthropic endeavors.

So please, tell me:

How can Generation Y show respect and learn from previous generations so that we may fully engage in meaningful interactions to our mutual benefit? How can we work together to fulfill our dreams?

Really, I want to know the answer.

Come together.

Mark your calendar to unite!

Update: Obviously, I do not have any advertising on this site, so I cannot donate the revenue. Instead, I will donate .25 for every subscriber I have for the blog on October 15th and will split the donation between my favorite online environmental charity and my favorite local environmental charity.

I’m participating in Blog Action Day on October 15th. Are you?

Young Go Getter summarizes:

“It’s called Blog Action Day, and the blogging event is scheduled to take place on October 15th. The idea is simple: 1) Write a post about about an issue or solution that relates to the environment. 2) Donate your advertising earnings from that one day to an environmental charity of your choice.

Some large blogs have already hopped on board (GigaOm, Copyblogger, Reddit, and YGG of course [and Modite too!]), and we’re sure, at the end of the day, the list will be gigantic and feature every celeb-blogger you can think of, including yourself.

Take a look at the website for Blog Action Day, watch the video, then immediately register to have your blog participate in the event. As I said, expect the event to have thousands of participants, and hopefully have an impact on our media, government, and personal priorities.”

Blog Action Day

Blogging green.

4 lessons in selling yourself

1) A few days ago, at the urging of a reader, I attempted to figure out why the comments section on this blog was a big cluster freak on the page instead of separated into paragraphs like you good readers intended. After a useless twenty-seven minutes of poking around my stylesheets, twenty-seven minutes that I will never get back, I got fed up.

And by “got fed up” I mean I emailed my friend Mic Funk, also known as “funk in your junk,” “funky hunk,” or “thebestwebdesignerintheworld.” It took him all of two seconds to find the problem. Easy, I guess, when you know where to look.

I turned to him because thebestwebdesignerintheworld makes hazy subjects clear. He humors me as I explore numerous side projects, and we have been working together on a website to raise philanthropy awareness that will be publicly launched this winter in my area.

When we meet, thebestwebdesignerintheworld patiently explains what RSS means and the difference between AJAX and scripting languages. Thebestwebdesignerintheworld makes apples into apple pie, and turns blueberry pie back into blueberries. He’s that good.

He un-complicates the complicated.

2) I have been working with my real estate agent for almost a year, and the condo I bought with him won’t even be finished until next May. Which gives me more time than the average homebuyer to ask an incessant number of questions. That’s why I like my real estate agent. I ask a lot of questions. He has a lot of answers.

My real estate agent was so good at answering my questions in the beginning that when the time came to finally sit down and sign papers, I was ready to blindly sign by the “x” without reading the papers.

Which was stupid. Really stupid.

And you know what he did? He made me sit for an extra thirty or so minutes, and painstakingly explained each page before allowing me to put pen to paper. So I would know. So I would be informed. TIME IS MONEY! I wanted to yell, but when he was finished, I understood. I understood it was good to know about the biggest financial decision of my life. His behavior allowed me to trust him. And it’s really good to trust the person who has the biggest financial decision of your life in their hands.

3) This Sunday, my little sister and I went to the grocery store that doesn’t take credit cards to buy ingredients for a homemade pizza. The grocery store that doesn’t take credit cards doesn’t remind you of this fact until you’re in line, because they assume you’re not a freaking idiot. I, however, did not know this; it was only once we had carefully chosen the mushrooms and the pepperoni that I stood in line, realizing I had no cash, no debit card, and no good sense. A lonely credit card sat useless in my purse.

The cashier dialed the customer service office to put our cart on hold, while the couple behind us let out one of those “I can’t believe you freaking idiots didn’t know this grocery store doesn’t take credit cards” kind of sighs. To which I darted my “I can’t believe you’re so lame that you’re buying pasta IN A CAN” kind of looks.

Simultaneously, our bagger walked over to the cashier and asked how much our grocery bill was. The cashier showed him our receipt for $29.93, and then the bagger walked over to the customer side of the check out, swiped his debit card, and paid for my groceries. He PAID for MY groceries. And he makes what? $5 an hour?
These vignettes each hold a lesson on how to sell yourself successfully:

Lesson #1 – Make complicated things uncomplicated.

Lesson #2 – Instill trust through action.

Lesson #3 – Go the extra mile.

… and a fourth lesson that they all have in common:

Lesson #4 – Make others feel smart. Or, at the very least, less stupid.

(And yes, later that afternoon, tucked inside a hand-written thank you card, I paid the grocery bagger back, plus tip.)

Sell without the pitch.

In a quasi-anonymous world, success is nothing without friends

Johannes and I get together about once a week when he’s bored and I’m stressed. He’s one of those people that has only two emotions, bored or happy, and is never stressed because he never has anything go wrong. Really. It’s not normal.

I saw Johannes last night after a long day and an even longer meeting, and started talking as we sat down at the restaurant. I told him the recent gossip. I talked all about my latest success. I described how I got in trouble for my recent post. I told him who had called me, who I had seen, who was annoying the heck out of me. Mostly, I just dumped. Dumped my entire life on him. For fifteen or twenty minutes straight. I talked and he listened. Then, far from finished, but eager to eat the food that was placed in front of me, I said:

“Okay. You now.”

“What?”

“Yeah, go, you talk now.”

He looked at me smugly as I waved my fork through the air. Then slowly, calmly, he explained to me that normal people didn’t have conversations this way. Normal people ask questions of the other person that solicit more than yes or no answers, and then they ask follow up questions to show interest. Oh. Is that how it works, I nodded, half-smiling, half-chewing, and waved my fork again.

“Okay, but really,” I said, “you talk now.”

Success means nothing if you don’t have someone to share it with. Someone who understands you’re too tired to engage in a normal conversation. Someone who not only understands, but will protect your neurosis. Good friends are irreplaceable.

And in a quasi-anonymous world this is increasingly important for Gen-Y, whose social circles are shrinking and whose loneliness is increasing.

In his book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida argues that “weak ties are critical to the creative environment of a city or region because they allow for rapid entry of new people and rapid absorption of new ideas and are thus critical to the creative process.” We even choose where we live, in part, by how easy it is for us to maintain our quasi-anonymous lifestyle.

In such an environment, it is all the more important to have real friends, because “family and significant others don’t count when we talk about the benefits of friendship,” career guru Penelope Trunk reports.

Not the acquaintances that fill the photos of your “friends” on Facebook. Real friends. Acquaintances could care less if you need to sit on a certain side of the table or that you snagged ten subscribers in one day. Acquaintances care about themselves. Friends care about you.

“Friendship is to people as sunshine is to flowers,” says Ben Casnocha, young entrepreneur and author of My Start Up Life. Corny. But true. It’s not just nice to have friends outside of your professional life, it’s absolutely necessary. You can’t be successful without friends, and if you are, your success will be meaningless.

So, go – find friends that are normal where you are crazy, that are honest and trustworthy, who love you no matter what. And if you’re lucky enough to have those kind of friends already, get up in the middle of dinner, walk over to their seat, and give them a big hug. I’m sure they will tell you to go sit back down immediately, but they’ll smile at you, amused. That’s what friends do.

‘Cause you’ve got a friend in me, playa.

Follow the Leader – Manage your life like other young leaders

Tiffany MonhollonGen-Y does a heck of a lot. This is the first post in a new series called, “Follow the Leader,” where you get the chance to peek into the professional and personal lives of fellow young leaders to learn how they get it all done. If you would like to be the next young leader profiled, email me.

When I wrote my first post, it was Tiffany Monhollon (left) who contributed the first comment. Which made me giddy for days upon days and gave her instant status as my first bona fide blogging buddy. It only made sense to feature the talented writer of Little Red Suit as the first young leader to be profiled for the Follow the Leader series.

Check out the week of Tiffany Monhollon,
Writer and PR Professional, 25 years old:

(click twice to enlarge and sharpen Tiffany’s calendar and to do list for this week)

Monhollon - Calendar Monhollon - To Do List

Tiffany says:

How to generate ideas
“I listen for themes in my life and let them speak into my work and my writing. I carry a notebook with me at all times and keep track of story, article, blog and graduate project ideas over dinner, while I’m sitting in traffic and when I’m shopping. I have anywhere from 15-30 ideas in progress pretty much all the time. I’m very curious about everything, so that helps.”

Balancing priorities is inherently lopsided
“My priorities often set me, to be honest. In theory, I should set priorities based on what I want to get the most out of in life – relationships, personal interests, family, and then spend my time focusing mostly on those things, right? But truthfully and frustratingly, I find that whatever is taking up my time finds its way to the top of my priorities in practice.

A lot of workers are faced with this reality. That’s why we talk about work/life balance so much. Our work dictates our priorities because it takes the most of our time. I try rather than to ‘set’ priorities, to just take an honest assessment of my time, and adjust that when it gets too lopsided. Otherwise, I would drive myself crazy and feel guilty all the time.

When I spend four hours instead of two on my blog, and ignore the important people in my life, I have to be honest with myself that I’m being really stupid. I have to look at where my priorities are right now by seeing where my time is invested, and then make decisions with my time to shift my priorities to what I want them to be ideally by spending time on them.

People who say family is their biggest priority and spend 70 hours a week working aren’t being honest with themselves.”

Time-management is a myth
Though I talk about it a lot, time management is really a myth. It doesn’t exist, because you can’t control time. It passes, at regular intervals, despite us. Oh, how I wish this weren’t true! But it is, so we have to learn to manage ourselves in time. It’s really all about self-management.

I can’t tell you how many times in life I’ve heard or said some version of: ‘I don’t have enough time.’ But really, the truth is, you can plan on having the same 24 hours each day that everyone has, plan for your plans to be interrupted, and figure out how to manage yourself in that time that remains. That’s really the way it seems to work in real life, all theory aside.”

Aww…
What does Tiffany look forward to the most? “Spending time with my wonderful, supportive boyfriend any time I get to see him.”

What do you think?
Do you relate to Tiffany? Do your priorities set you? Are you constantly on? Do you like the Follow the Leader series idea? What are your ideas to improve it?

Follow the footprints, yo.

When everyone gets in the way of changing the world – my blogging paralysis

I’m going to start something new and exciting soon. As a result, “everyone” has been talking to me. Or rather, at me. They talk. I sit. They have opinions and advice and information, and it doesn’t matter if they have credibility or experience, they tell me what to do regardless. “Everyone” knows better than I do.

And, as a result, I’m paralyzed. I’m scared to do anything. I can’t even get dressed in the morning without thinking about what “everyone” will think.

My paralysis has been especially prevalent on this blog. I feel I can’t write what I want to write because it might offend “everyone.” Swirling through my head are should nots and better nots and other such niceties that make small talk boring.

“Everyone” wants to make sure they don’t show up in my blog. The guy that I’ve been dating tells me with a stern and expectant look that he doesn’t want to see any allusions to our relationship in my blog. Whatsoever. Which is a shame, because I could really be quite flattering to him if you catch my drift. My ex-boyfriend thinks I should make less such references to sex, because it’s not professional, he says. As if sex didn’t exist. As if it wasn’t one of the main forces behind everything a twenty-something does. A fact I guess he’s not thinking about when he calls me at 2:16 am, “just because,” a call which I ignore.

Other people are beginning to preface conversations with, “You’re not going to put this in your blog, are you?” to which I shrug as my stomach tightens, because this usually means they are about to say something incredibly boring, and not at all blog-worthy. Such occurrences are happening so frequently I am seriously considering investing in a high quality helmet to protect my tender head from the many times I’ve had to bang it against the wall. Then there are the brave few who will start a conversation with, “You should put this in your blog,” and tell me how Star Trek is really, really cool. Really.

I don’t want to limit my writing to what “everyone” wants me to subtract or add. I want to write about how many blogs in the blogosphere are so impressively mediocre. I want to write about how if you want to be good-looking and successful and powerful, you should hang out with good-looking and successful and powerful people. I want to write about the nice things too. Mostly, I want to write about how to really change the world, no holds barred.

I shouldn’t, however.

Because if I wrote about those things, “everyone” tells me, two-thirds of our population might have a heart attack at the same time, and the world would fall off its axis, and life on earth as we know it would end. It would be that bad.

I shouldn’t write about the realness of the real world, “everyone” says. So, as you may have noticed, I haven’t written much of anything recently.

But no longer.

It’s not that I don’t care about “everyone’s” opinion. I do. I have the reputation of a do-gooder for good reason; I believe in the goodness of people. I really like people. All of this talk and opinion has made my life much more interesting. Truly. I’ve learned a lot, and for that I am grateful.

Instead, I blame myself for getting caught up in “everyone’s” opinion, for becoming so self-absorbed that I thought I was a BIG DEAL, and not remembering the big picture. Not remembering starvation in Africa and lack of quality education in the U.S. and the fact that we’re all just doing the best we can.

And that’s okay. When life gets in the way of changing the world, you should probably stop and listen. Just don’t let what other people think paralyze you from taking action.

I forget sometimes that you have to fail to succeed. The longer you wait to take action, the higher the edge will seem from the ground. You must take the jump, and trust the parachute will open eventually.

Of course, with an audience comes responsibility and accountability. But to me, being a leader means being unfailingly honest and transparent. Stay true to who you are. The rest will follow.

The Real World.

The W (and M) List – Promoting Quality Bloggers

Valeria Maltoni graciously included me in a list of power women bloggers yesterday, and suggested to everyone that they return the favor by recognizing quality women bloggers. This is a wonderful project, and I’m honored to be included and happy to add:
Dooce by Heather B. Armstrong
Lindsay Pollak by Lindsey Pollak

The W List – Women who blog

45 Things by Anita Bruzzese

advergirl Leigh Householder

Back in Skinny Jeans by Stephanie Quilao

Biz Growth News by Krishna De

BlogWrite for CEOs Debbie Weil

Brand Sizzle Anne Simons

Branding & Marketing Chris Brown

Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk

CK’s Blog CK (Christina Kerley)

Communication Overtones Kami Huyse

Conscious Business by Anne Libby

Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni

Corporate PR Elizabeth Albrycht

Customers Rock! Becky Carroll

Deborah Schultz by Deborah Schultz

Diva Marketing Blog Toby Bloomberg

Dooce by Heather B. Armstrong

Email Marketing Best Practices Tamara Gielen

Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim

eSoup by Sharon Sarmiento

Flooring The Consumer CB Whittemore

Forrester’s Marketing Blog Shar, Charlene, Chloe, Christine Elana, Laura and Lisa

Get Fresh Minds by Katie Konrath

Get Shouty by Katie Chatfield

Hey Marci by Marci Alboher

Inspired Business Growth by Wendy Piersall
J.T. O’Donnell Career Insights by J.T. O’Donnell

Kinetic Ideas Wendy Maynard

Learned on Women by Andrea Learned
Lindsey Pollak by Lindsey Pollak

Liz Strauss at Successful Blog by Liz Strauss

Little Red Suit by Tiffany Monhollon

Lorelle on WordPress by Lorelle VanFossen

Manage to Change by Ann Michael

Management Craft by Lisa Haneberg

Marketing Roadmaps Susan Getgood

Moda di Magno by Lori Magno

Modite by Rebecca Thorman

Narrative Assets by Karen Hegman

Presto Vivace Blog Alice Marshall

Productivity Goal by Carolyn Manning

Spare Change Nedra Kline Weinreich
That’s What She Said by Julie Elgar

Tech Kitten by Trisha Miller

The Blog Angel aka Claire Raikes

The Brand Dame by Lyn Chamberlin

The Copywriting Maven Roberta Rosenberg

The Engaging Brand by Anna Farmery

The Origin of Brands Laura Ries

The Podcast Sisters by Krishna De, Anna Farmery and Heather Gorringe
Water Cooler Wisdom by Alexandra Levit

Wealth Strategy Secrets by Money Gym author and Founder Nicola Cairncross.

What’s Next Blog B L Ochman

Wiggly Wigglers authored by fellow Podcast Sister Heather Gorringe

Ypulse by Anastasia Goodstein

… and I don’t think we would ever see a “M List” for men who blog. Or if we did, a male wouldn’t be allowed to start it (the outrage!). I’m an equal-opportunity promoter, so here are just some of the blogs I read from male bloggers (in alphabetical order):

The M List – Men who blog
15 Meanings
by Will Kern
Adii by Adriaan Pienaar
Bryper by Bryan Person
Cool People Care by Sam Davidson
Creating Your Name Brand by Adam Salamon
Cube Rules by Scot Herrick
Devin Reams by Devin Reams
Employee Evolution by Ryan Healy and Ryan Paugh
Hello my name is Scott by Scott Ginsberg
I Hate Your Job by Chuck Westbrook
Jibber Jobber by Jason Alba
Mind Your Decisions by Presh Talwalkar
More than a living by Rick Turoczy
Noah Brier by Noah Brier
OkDork by Noah Kagan
Personal Branding by Dan Schawbel
THRILLINGHeroics by Cody McKibben
Young Go Getter by Eric and Travis

Did I forget you? No worries. Just copy the list above, include yourself, and add the best women (and men, if you feel so inclined) bloggers you know who are missing from it. Then, post the list on your site.

That should keep you busy.

How video games can show us how to engage Generation Y (or anyone)

Full disclosure and necessary reminiscing: I grew up with a second-hand Nintendo (shout out to my pals Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda). Before that I played on a second-hand Atari (Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, you rock my world), and before that a really large second-hand computer filled the corner in my bedroom (Tetris- did life exist before you?). These days, I don’t play many video or computer games, but the ones that I occasionally happen upon are pretty cool, like this one, a modern day Pong/Tetris mashup addiction.

Here’s how video games can show companies, nonprofits, and others how to keep young talent engaged:

Give us a BIG challenge… Video games are not easy. They’re complex, challenging and take a long time to complete. Hours upon hours are spent wearing the skin on our thumbs down to the bone.

Generation Y doesn’t want to lick envelopes. We’re up for the challenge. Let us lead your next project.

…with small steps... Video games give us a big high-five every time we reach the next level, self-motivating us to keep playing.

And Generation Y workers are intrinsic motivation junkies. According to Richard Florida, author of the Rise of the Creative Class, Generation Y “values intrinsic rewards more so than salary and benefits.” Extrinsic factors such as money, promotions, rank and prestige don’t do much for us.

We’ve been “suckled on the principles of intrinsic motivation,” argues Tamara J. Erickson at Harvard Business Online. We would prefer to have careers that make us feel good and do good for the planet. Shiny external bribes may turn our heads, but intrinsic factors keep our attention long term.

Employers can retain young workers by recognizing “smaller steps are far better than big infrequent increments” according to Erickson.

…and celebrate often! With each new level passed in a video game, there is a celebration. It’s rare that people get tired of playing video games. That’s because it’s fun to make it to the next level. Fun and celebration are essential to avoiding burnout. Too many workplaces just focus on the pot of gold, not the colorful journey to get there. Small successes should be shared and merit party-time.

A recent New York Times article reported that “the polling firm Roper Starch Worldwide did a survey comparing workplace attitudes among generations, 90 percent of Gen Yers said they wanted co-workers ‘who make work fun.’ No other generation polled put that requirement in their top five.”

These three steps create an addiction, and if you work it right, it’s an addiction that will help your organization reach new heights.

Welcome to the next level.

Three workplace weaknesses that are really Gen Y strengths

When asked in an interview, “What do you think are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?,” I always find it difficult to answer because I feel my strengths and weaknesses are intrinsically linked. Generation Y has three such instances where our perceived weakness are really our strengths:

1) Selfishly entitled. Guilty. Generation Y believes that we deserve everything the world has to offer. And we do. Paying dues when we enter the workforce is a joke. Not only have we already paid dues in high school by working harder to advance our standing in college, but we then work even harder in college to get ahead once we dive into the real world.

We’ve worked hard. We’re willing to work harder. We deserve success.

Being entitled allows Generation Y to avoid much of the stress and aggravation that comes along with the responsibility of making a difference and moving up the career ladder. We take care of ourselves through exercise, travel, socializing and volunteering in order to do the best job possible. We’re more productive and happy that way.

We want access to opportunities. We spell it out. We make it clear about what we need to succeed. We’re the best girlfriend a company can have; we never make you guess what we’re feeling.

2) Impatience. Impatience is a virtue. Trust me. When I’m stuck on a charter bus full of strangers and have to pee really bad and have successfully made it through my entire life never having used a public bus restroom, I am grateful for the impatience the bus driver shows in navigating as quickly as possible through rush hour traffic. I adore him for it, in fact.

We need a sense of urgency and impatience to solve some of the world’s biggest problems within the next few decades. Fundraisers have spent entire careers trying to figure out how to instill this very sense into potential donors to empower action. Now here comes Generation Y, urgency coursing through our blood. No waiting here. We’re ready to get things done. Just show us how, or let us take the reins.

3) Commitment-phobia. Our lack of loyalty has made employers mad. They have a generally negative view of us, in fact, believing the only thing we’re good for is fixing the faulty computer. Employers invest in our talent and potential and we usually quit on them within two years of starting.

From their viewpoint, Generation Y looks a lot like their 28-year-old son who refuses to make a commitment to a girl, any girl, and settle down already. Employers are dying for a marriage between themselves and Generation Y.

Alas, Generation Y is skeptical of marriage. Our parents have the highest divorce rate out of any generation. After observing such rifts, we want to get it right. We want to avoid the divorces of workplace layoffs, scandal and general all around crap.

For Generation Y, commitment-phobia is more about being realistic about a situation than the lack of desire to work or be loyal. We don’t see the point in staying in a relationship that isn’t mutually beneficial. We’re practical about the extent of our abilities and reach. Millennials approach projects with an attainable goal within reach. There is no long-term commitment, but rather we’re involved with the project to achieve that goal, and don’t find it necessary to stretch it out further.

Just that good.