How to think bold and dream big, and a realization

‘Tis the season for annual dinners and last night was another one. When the keynote speaker took the stage and began his litany of jokes, I turned to my friend and asked, “Is he drunk?” My friend’s eyes got wide as he raised his eyebrows and cocked his head.

Better drunk then boring, we shrugged.

But as the speaker went on, his short stature quickly filling up the two big screens on his left and right, and then the entire room, I realized that he was certainly not drunk. He was Texan. A Texan State Senator and former Mayor of Austin to be exact – Mr.

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No co-workers a challenge for the twenty-something boss

You’re more likely to enjoy your job if you make friends with your coworkers. But if you don’t have any co-workers, the challenge to not only enjoy your job, but to perform successfully in it, becomes immense.

That was one of the first things I noticed as I transitioned from being an employee to running an organization. There wasn’t anyone to talk to.

As many of us are taking the plunge from cubicle prisoner to being the boss, we’re stumbling over the entry gate. Support is the number one desire of newly-minted leaders and entrepreneurs. Who can understand the situations we’re in?

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What gives you the right to be a young leader

My friend Nick asked me first. Then Marci said the same thing. And then today, one of my favorite creatives posed a similar question. They all wanted to know, what gives you the right to be a young leader? What gives you credibility?

Wait, what? What do you mean what gives me the right? I must admit that I didn’t have a good answer, even the third time around. To me, it’s like asking what gives women the right to work?

It seems to me that if I want to do something, then I should do it. This notion that young people have something to prove, that we must pay our dues, is outdated.

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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.

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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.

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Know thyself. Or get a psychic.

Hercules and I recently visited Janet, the Psychic. The Psychic Gallery has bright red carpets, a strange mix of leather couches and plastic lawn chairs, and the fee is $35 to get your palm read. She also offers tarot card readings and full on what-is-your-future readings sans the crystal ball. The entire atmosphere screams rip-off, and it is located a short block from the State Capitol. Only in Madison.

No matter. It was just the entertainment Hercules and I were looking for on a rainy afternoon.

I didn’t want my palm read, but humored Hercules inside. After Janet the Psychic finished a surprisingly accurate reading of Hercules, and told us, in detail, about the zit beneath her eyebrow, Hercules decided that I should get my palm read too.

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Follow the cool people

Sam DavidsonThe handsome guy to the left is Sam Davidson, the co-founder and president of CoolPeopleCare, Inc.

Sam offers an incredibly unique and talented perspective to the Follow the Leader series:

“Telling the stories that need telling in order to motivate others to change the things that need changing, Sam is a social entrepreneur who believes in the power of local communities. He has spoken and written on the power of the Internet to change the world for the better, and specializes in studying new and emerging trends within the nonprofit sector, especially as they relate to younger generations. His first book, “New Day Revolution: How to Save the World in 24 Hours” will be available in October.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What it means to be a Gen Y leader

This post was originally published at Employee Evolution.
Update: You can also find the post at The Industry Radar.

It’s a myth that the workplace is turning into one big leaderless state. Just as decisions made by committee often require head banging, life without leaders would be one big headache. Yes, leadership has changed and decentralized organizations are here to stay, but there will always be leaders. We want success. We want to win, and winners have leaders.

Once you’ve tossed aside the crutch of hierarchical authority though, “knowing how to build relationships, use influence and work with others is crucial to achieving the results you seek,” according to Valeria Maltoni, a specialist in connecting ideas and people.

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Advice from top Executives, Presidents, and CEOs

We won’t all be Steve Jobs, but many of us will be the top executives in our respective cities. I recently met with seven of the top Executives, Presidents and CEOs in Madison, Wisconsin. Here are their keys to business and leadership success—

Share your success. It is incumbent on the person being promoted, according to Mark Meloy, President and CEO of First Business Bank, to pull others along with them. Make sure that as you become more successful, your leaders feel that their careers are moving forward as well.

Network to problem-solve. Finding groups that help you problem-solve will save many a headache, according to Brett Armstrong, CFO of the IT company Trident Contact Management.

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