Monthly Archives: October 2007

Brand yourself tomorrow

What could be called the bible of personal branding is coming out tomorrow, Thursday, November 1. It’s the Personal Branding Magazine and you should go purchase it now. I worked with founder and personal branding expert Dan Schawbel to proof and edit the first half of the magazine, which was worth it just to get a sneak peek of the articles from the thirty-seven different authors. The length makes it encyclopedic at times, but every article has value.

If you’ve been following Dan’s progress on the internet, you know that he’s one of the hardest workers around. His efforts to bring personal branding experts together in the magazine are unparalleled. And the profits from the magazine are benefiting the American Cancer Society. So far, he’s raised more than $1,000 for the cause.

I know, you want me to stop talking and let you know how to buy. It’s just $12.95 for 4 issues/year. And did I mention that I contributed an article to the magazine as well? Go check it out.

Branding bible.

What I’m reading

What I'm reading

First and last time

First and last time

Halloween leftovers

Halloween leftovers

Halloween in Madison – 34,000+ celebrate.
In other news, I’m starting a new photo series on the blog. Enjoy!

Are you ready for success?

Success is like a game of dominoes. Don’t go after it unless you’re ready, because it tends to fall into place all at once.

This post is a tribute to Devin Reams,, and to Hercules, who only reads the highlighted parts of my blog.

Domino effect.

Generation Y breeds a new kind of woman

This post is an opening argument to the question, “Do women need men and/or children in order to be fulfilled?” Check out the opposing viewpoint from Justin Sanders here. This post was also published at Damsels in Success.

Update: This post was also published at Huffington Post.

Women need men. Just not like we used to.

While career guru Penelope Trunk insists that we will find deeper fulfillment from relationships over work, others like Hannah Seligson wonder why we can’t talk about “young women and careers without talking about the hunt for a husband?”

Generation Y women don’t relate to either. We don’t live container lives, with work and family and play muffled under air-tight lids. Our life bleeds together, and instead of a singular goal of family or career, we lead our lives as a continuum, family and career ebbing and flowing.

The reality of young women’s lives today is that we want it all, despite the warnings. While coming of age during 9/11 reinforced that family is deeply important to us, we were also raised to believe we could do and be anything, especially equal to men professionally.

It’s not about prioritizing one over the other, nor is there a single answer that works for everyone; there are extremes at either end. What remains consistent in women, however, is their sense of increasing independence.

Whether we check off men, children, career, or all of the above, the fact is that we have a choice, and what fulfills and limits us is not created by society and media, but increasingly our own desires.

As a result, our roles are changing. Women are becoming the leaders, and men the supporters. Even in relationships where children are the priority, and the woman chooses or is able to stay at home, women take on the dominant role, commanding a deeper respect than any time in history.

Many view the shifting roles as threatening the very basis of our biology. But it isn’t. It is simply uprooting the traditional western viewpoint.

Indeed, while spouses and children still rank as a source of fulfillment for women above careers, one’s personal fulfillment is increasingly not just augmented by, but necessitated by professional fulfillment as well.

Bored with motherhood and marriage, we savor the challenge of work. Michelle Obama said in a recent interview, “I love losing myself in a set of problems that have nothing to do with my husband and children. Once you’ve tasted that, it’s hard to walk away.”

Women don’t need men or children for fulfillment. They might get on okay with a cat, or their career, or another woman. But really, Generation Y doesn’t need much. We’ve been coddled and spoiled, and have long surpassed what we might need, and are instead creating what we want.

And what we want is to define a new kind of woman, a “compassionate alpha.”

The Generation Y woman has leadership and strength, and promotes community and empathy. We don’t dismiss motherhood, but embrace our strengths and use those to change the workplace, reaping from it a greater sense of fulfillment than ever before.

It is not a coincidence that at a time when power-hungry hierarchies are being broken down, women are leading and infiltrating the workplace. It is our skills and talents that have created such an influential shift.

Generation Y women are high-achievers, shrewd, well-dressed, and possess an emotional intelligence that far surpasses our male counterparts. We don’t rule by insecurities or fear, but by knowing ourselves well, and seeking connection with others.

In short, we’re women. We strive to be who we are, in our sexual identities, and in how we construct our personal and professional lives. We acknowledge our own complexities.

Our personal and professional lives are blurred more than ever before, and a woman’s strength in today’s society is the fact that we are true to ourselves — more so than any other generation — because past generations fought for our right to do so.

Ruthlessly beautiful.

The top 3 things you can do to save the world. Literally.

This post is part of Blog Action Day. I do not have any advertising on this site, so I cannot donate the revenue. Instead, I am donating .25 for every subscriber I have today and splitting the donation between my favorite online environmental charity and my favorite local environmental charity.

1. Ditch the car. I know a guy who drives a couple blocks from his condo to the bars. It’s one of those things that gets under my skin and makes me go crazy. The single best thing you can do to help the environment is to not own a car. Instead of driving, you can walk (gasp!), ride the bus, or carpool and carshare.

At my last job, I rode the bus to work every day. Now, my workplace is only a three minute walk away (the coffee shop and my cubicle both), and I actually miss the bus. There’s something relaxing in having someone else serve you, drive you, and being able to people watch, look out the window, read, listen to music. It’s a good way to start the day.

2. Live in a trendy location. If you live downtown, you’re probably doing this already. Living downtown in a city usually means that you are living in a small footprint . My apartment is 450 square feet and my new condo is 650 square feet. A trendy location is also close to farmers markets, the grocery store, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, bookstores, libraries, fitness clubs, and shopping! I.e., the places that have a good walkabilty score. My walk score is 97 out of 100. That’s good for your health and good for the environment.

It’s easy not to own a car when you live in such a great location. It also means that you’ll always be only steps away from the best things happening on any given day. You will pay more in rent for living in such a location, but with no car costs (up keep, gas, insurance, parking costs, etc.), choosing the right neighborhood will ultimately be cheaper.

3. Eat yummy food. No chain restaurants. Keep it local. Avoid food that you don’t know where it came from. And for goodness sakes, please stop going to Starbucks. Here in Madison, there is a Starbucks on both ends of State St. It’s ridiculous. You probably live where you do for a reason. Why go somewhere that is the same everywhere across the world? Celebrate the uniqueness of where you live and who you are. Of course, even local restaurants don’t always have local food, but just try your best. When you eat food that is local, it tastes better and is better for you. And you shouldn’t settle for anything less to take care of your body.

Being good to the environment is not about living with less. It’s about living with more. Living better. It’s about quality over quantity. And it’s definitely the Modite way to go.

Greener pastures.

The best thing for self-management

On Saturday afternoon, I bound out of my apartment, anxious to press the reset button. A few seconds later, I inhale the smell of rubber and metal and new carpet as I walk into the gym next door.

I go to my usual spot, the corner on the second floor where there are large views of the parking lot across the street and the Capitol building up the road. There are new elliptical machines today, and I stop short.

I remember the delivery truck a few days ago now, outside my building, the shape of the logo, the name lost in my memory. I was walking home in high heels when I saw it, and the arches of my feet hurt from the recollection.

The new machines are much taller and I step onto one carefully. I press the “Start” button. Nothing happens. I press it again, three, four times. Nothing. I look around me. Everyone else is running and moving and sweating. I push the “Start” button on another machine. No better. I come back to my machine, push all of the buttons, push them sequentially over and over, as if the machine will magically wake up to my prodding. Nothing. Finally, I think to move my feet and the machine lights up with a message. I smile a little.

I’ve come in the middle of the Badger football game, and the score hasn’t changed since I left my apartment. I’m acutely aware that I am watching a dead man walking as the Badgers move across the field, quietly falling from their pedestal.

I notice there are only two guys in the room now. One is on the elliptical two machines over. The other is behind me, diagonally, pounding on a treadmill. They’re both wearing Badger red. The color bounces in and out of the corner of my vision.

After a few minutes my whole body is screaming for me to stop after staying up so late the night before. I want to crawl back into bed, so I push harder, fighting myself. Fighting the Badger’s losing score. I look past the television and out the window. It is cloudy out. Groups of people walk by below. I start to push harder and harder so that there are moments where I am only thinking of my body moving past its limits, where I am only thinking about breathing and nothing else.

After awhile I go into the aerobics room, grab a mat, and sit in front of the huge wall of mirrors, looking at my sweaty face without makeup. My cheeks are flushed the color of raspberries, and I bend my head down towards my knee, watching myself in the mirror. There is a small window in this room that looks onto the charcoal-colored bricks of the building next door, and a triangle of gray sky. I look at it from upside down, and wish it were sunny outside.

I rotate onto my back and watch the fan above me, turning slowly, the emblem “Big Ass Fans” written in large white block letters in the center. I wonder how “Big Ass Fans” exists in today’s world without a swarm of offended protesters. A woman is outside of the room and she is taking longer than necessary to put on a black hood, a pair of black gloves. I watch her in the mirror and don’t allow myself to switch positions until she leaves.

It is quiet, and my shirt is sticking to my back. I am done stretching, and sit on the mat just staring at myself. I wonder if there are cameras behind these mirrors, or if it is a two way mirror, someone watching me watch myself. I stand up, pick up my towel, press next on my iPod. I feel my legs and shoulders preparing to ache later on in the day.

I walk out of the building. I feel good. Like nothing can go wrong again. The kind of good that only comes when you push against yourself, and there’s you and no one else, and you win.

Healthy habit.

The real Generation Y work ethic

I’ve been in my new job for almost two months now, and there’s something I’ve noticed on the face of the hundreds of young professionals I’ve encountered.

Exhaustion. Our generation is tired. Really tired. Me too.

One of my favorite young professionals is a member of our Entrepreneurial Committee. He works for a Fortune 500 company here in Madison by day, and by night and by weekend, he runs two companies that he founded. Two. He calls it straddling. A leg in the corporate world, a leg in the entrepreneurial dream. His eyes and cheeks and mouth though, they are suffocating in exhaustion. The guy needs a pillow. Seriously. He needs to get some sleep.

The thing is, whenever I see him, I feel energized. He makes me smile because he comes to the meetings. He has great ideas. He contributes. He’s one of the last to leave. He’s insanely passionate. And I know he doesn’t sleep. I know he works ridiculously hard. I also know he’s going to be incredibly successful.

I’m not advocating a no-sleep schedule. I personally need seven hours of sleep. Exactly. If I go to bed at 11:58 pm, my alarm is set for 6:58 am. Exactly. But really, I’m not advocating it, because it’s already happening. For better or for worse, Generation Y is working with our hearts on our sleeves, straddling our work and our lives, straddling our dreams and our reality.

The excitement on the line is palpable. It’s everywhere. The exhaustion is merely a comma in the sentence of changing the world. It’s exhaustion of the status quo. It’s working hard, playing hard. It’s our generation pushing all together in one direction and only moving an inch. A mere inch. But gosh darn it all, we moved that inch forward. And that’s something to celebrate.

At my last job, I worked with some of the top business people in Madison, the CEOs and presidents, and movers and shakers. They inspired me. Now, I work with the next generation of CEOs and presidents, and movers and shakers. Except, we’re already doing it.

We’re already leading, changing, doing. We’ve been moving and shaking since we put one foot in front of the other for the first time. It’s something more than inspiration. It’s exuberance.

I invite the naysayers to come and spend time with the young leaders in my community and tell me I’m wrong. Tell me that the resilience and passion and willingness to do whatever it takes, that the gut-wrenching work of pushing forward against all odds, is not occurring every day, every hour, in the lives of these young professionals. Because I promise it is. We are laid off, or dumped, or abused, or hate our jobs, or are involved in shootings, war, or tragedy, and still we show up. We have great ideas. We contribute. We’re the last to leave. We’re insanely passionate.

That’s the Generation Y work ethic. That’s happiness raw and exposed. That’s what it means to be part of this generation.

Work it, homie.

All better now

My blog is back up! For those of you who didn’t get to read the most recent post on Friday, it’s anxiously awaiting your eyes here:

Life as a Gen Y Leader – Week six

For those of you who have read it already, you’ll notice it’s a lot shorter than the original post. That’s because I like to edit. And while I’m pretty sure that’s against the rules in blogging world, I like to edit, and it’s my blog. Something I learned fairly quickly to mean that it’s actually everyone’s blog. That’s why I like blogging. The connection between me and you. It’s like a novel in real-time, a few pages written each week, and you know the ending just as well as I do. And let’s face it. My dream is to one day be featured on Oprah’s Book Club.

Moditely yours.

Life as a Gen Y leader – Week six

I went out on a date last night. A real date. A lot of the time I go out for dinner or drinks, and the guy thinks it’s a date, but it’s really not, and I’ve yet to figure out how to handle those situations gracefully. I usually smile the smile that says you’re quite lovely and nice, but I don’t think so bud. Usually, they get it. I think.

But last night was a date. I know it was, because we discussed it beforehand. As a Gen Y leader, that’s what you have to do. Your life is in the spotlight, much more, and in some ways, much less, than I would have ever imagined.

As such, dating is a dangerous ingredient to add to the work/life blender. Friends and work and business associates and drinks and family all mix quite nicely. But the moment dating comes into the mix, people get all crazy. Seriously. Many in our generation would prefer not to even talk about it. A foreign concept to me because that’s essentially all my best friend Belle and I discuss.

Belle and I also talk about our sisters and our jobs. We talk about how her mother has breast cancer. Again. We talk about our goals, and dreams, and what to wear on Friday night. But mostly we talk about our respective relationships. Because uh, it’s not like they doesn’t exist, and I have trouble ignoring things that are so basic and integral to our life.

Big Brother likes to keep such things hush-hush, and recommends that I don’t date anyone in my organization. An odd bit of advice, because our membership is made up of young professionals in Madison, and the ones that aren’t part of my organization, well, it’s my job to recruit them. That pretty much cuts out, oh, I don’t know, every good-looking young bachelor in the city. Every young, single, and eligible man in Madison is off-limits. It’s an impossible situation.

So, I went out on a date last night, and he happened to be a member of my organization, and when I tried to explain my hesitance with this fact, he just laughed, like “Is this really what keeps you up at night? You are so lame.” And I laughed back nervously, like “Yes, cute young professional bachelor, I am totally lame. You’re absolutely right.”

I guess I tend to take work too seriously at times. I work hard. It doesn’t stop. From the moment I wake up, I am working, until the moment I close my eyes in bed. And because I can work from the coffee shop, home or at the bar, and not just in my cubicle sans windows, I do. Which means when it is 8:24 pm, I’m usually working. And when it’s 10:02 am, I am working. And when it’s 3:35 am in the morning, well, I am sleeping, but I am working then too. Really. I have productive dreams.

Honestly though, I don’t know how other people do it, and I am beginning to think that I must have some serious health issue because I am not the Energizer bunny of Generation Y. A disappointment that is greatest to myself, because I look good in pink.

So, I am trying my best, which seems to be working out, mostly because your best has to be good enough, and I love myself enough to realize that my best is really quite amazing.

Work/life blur.