Spring forward?

This year’s #AprilDeskEscape challenge kicked off with great enthusiasm.

April 1

If you haven’t heard about it, let me fill you in!

The goal of the #AprilDeskEscape challenge is to encourage office professionals to get up, get out, and get walking during the workday, ideally getting three walks of 30 minutes in over the course of the work week.

Use the #AprilDeskEscape tag in your Twitter or Insta post and I’ll add your post into the 2019 photo gallery. You could win a custom ‘I’ve escaped!’ t-shirt courtesy of yours truly. Be sure to invite your colleagues, family, and friends to participate. The more, the merrier.

Sticking by My Motto

Good morning from San Diego.

I’m attending the Social Media Marketing World conference for the very first time. (#SMMW19). The menu of sessions is immense. I’m not sure of the exact number of attendees, but if the pre-conference meetup last night was any indication, it’s going to be much larger than any conference I’ve previously attended.

This week is all about my personal motto/mantra, the phrase that I keep close to my heart and is who I am: Keep learning. Keep Growing. It’s true for me. Even when I don’t ‘know’ what it is I’m learning, a few weeks or so down the road will bring it into focus.

Social media plays such an invaluable role in connecting people, creating networks (some for good, some for not so good out there!). Today is more about stepping into a community of folks eager to learn and to share what they know about social media marketing.

My goal is to share some of what I learn, what I see, and what it feels like to attend a conference that focuses on marketing, not administration.

PS. Check out the fabulous Full Moon tonight 3/20. Shout-out to my colleague, Michelle Herkt Simpson for sending me cool info about Super Moons.

Catch a Groove to Get into a Groove

Music plays a huge role in my life.  Music was always on in our house or a sibling was practicing their instrument.

Early on I can remember my parents introducing us to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. My brothers all played instruments: trombone, trumpet, drums. My sister used to blast Rod Stewart through the house. My late mother played the piano. My Dad loved Jazz. My father’s mother, Florence—god bless her, believed she was the next Kate Smith (aging myself here!) and had an electronic organ at her home. My father did NOT succeed in getting my sister to try the accordion!

When I grew older, I took up the flute because my father would not let me try drums. Pretty certain that was because we lived in an apartment, not because he didn’t want me to ever try.  Or, it had something to do with being Irish. Marching Band, TC Williams (yes, that TC Williams) Marching Titans—was my favorite thing about high school. For a very short stint, I got to be part of the percussion section, playing cymbals. Absolutely one of my favorite memories of high school.

Off to college, and soon enough I was a deejay at WMWC 540am—though my good friend JaneEllen, who actually works in broadcasting, reminds me that it’s called an ‘On-Air personality’. I had two shows. One focused on Funk music and the other focused on album-oriented rock.

What in the world does this have to do with being an administrative professional?  In my experience, music is energy. It calms me down. It brings me joy. It changes my entire mindset. When I catch a groove, I can get into a groove. It’s that simple.  So here’s a very small sample list of the artists I utilize to change my mindset in the workplace. Would love to see yours!

Need energy?

  • Bruno Mars
  • Avicii
  • Jax Jones
  • Janelle Monae

Need help calming down?

  • R.E.M
  • Paul Simon
  • Sounds of Blackness
  • Luther Vandross

Need help focusing?

  • Stan Getz
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • John Mayer
  • David Gray

Need to change a mood fast?

  • Foo Fighters
  • Sheryl Crow
  • David Guetta
  • Janet Jackson

Each day I settle in with my coffee, open up the mailboxes I monitor, put in my earbuds and start to get my work groove on. Happy listening!

 

 

 

If at First, You Don’t Succeed…

fitbit_sharing_-1672610022The last few months have been really challenging for me. I confess is that as much as I have encouraged others to get out and walk during lunch or get exercise during the workday, I have not been taking my own advice.

But that’s okay. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I know the deal. We’re all capable of fits and starts of healthy eating, financial prudence, exercising, getting plenty of sleep.

It’s called being human.

I realized when I returned from Johannesburg that the extra weight I was carrying, really did take a toll. And, I know I have a solid week of being on my feet for work—in just about three weeks. I need to build stamina. The kind of stamina which would be the ability to handle 15 to 17 miles of walking for about five, 14-hour days in a row.

So, it’s back to loading up my gym bag in the morning, getting those walks in at lunchtime, and making certain I stretch well every single night. It means more water, less coffee (boo hiss!)—at least until the end of the conference. It means trying to ease back off the sugar.

Even though I stopped doing all the right things health-wise for about six weeks or so, doesn’t mean I can’t start over at any point, any day.  And, so I did.  You can, too.

For me, I need to get out of my head and get outside on my feet. Progress, not perfection. Here’s to getting back out there!  ~ K.

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Johannesburg #ExecSecLIVE

 

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It’s taken almost an entire week to get my head clear after my trip to #ExecSecLIVE Johannesburg—Jet lag and a persistent sinus infection kept me from posting much on Twitter during the trip and work kept me from writing after returning home.

Where to start? Well, let’s say it is a long, long, long ways away from Washington, DC. We’re talking approximately 8,100 miles away and about 18+ hours of flying, not counting layovers and such.

Was it worth the trip? Damn skippy! it was.

Arrive in Joburg and meet up with my former co-worker and a really good friend,  Rachel. That night, a group of the speakers went to dinner to catch up, to get to know one another, and oh yeah.. eat some Springbok.  No, friends. I’m sorry. I am not that adventurous about eating.  But all reports were that it was a tasty option for dinner. I honestly cannot remember what I ordered. Seriously.

Our Trip to the Lion Safari Park.

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File this under, ‘I didn’t react the way I thought I would’

This guy.. .this lion cub. I gave him a good pet. I was scared to death. He’s not dead, he’s sunning! and he and his brothers were quite snuggly with one another.

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We also saw a lion pride, giraffes, ostriches, a panther, a leopard, wild dogs, and of course a meerkat or two. It was quite the experience.

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This giraffe is named Purdy.  Photo courtesy of Lucy Brazier.

But the most important parts of ExecSecLIVE? The learning and the networking.

Photo credits to Jon Lawrence for Executive Secretary Magazine 2018

As for my own experience, I was thrilled to attend the launch of IMA South Africa, present to colleagues from all over Africa, learn even more! cool tips, best practices and new insights from my fellow speakers. I was incredibly grateful to Susan and Cathy and all the Discovery folks for their hospitality.  Very appreciative of the concern shown for my health by attendees and colleagues alike. Superbly happy I made it through both of my presentations without losing my voice! Honored to meet the fine young women that have come through the ISIPHO bursary project. Looking forward to all those LinkedIn connections that are coming!

Still not able to put into words what this particular journey has meant to me. To put it best, I’ll borrow from the amazing Diana Brandl, #We’reAllInThisTogether.

 

Why is it so scary to go after a dream?

I don’t know about others.

I only know my life.

I know why I’m scared to go after my dreams.

No one enjoys being harassed by bill collectors. (Do they?)

No one wants it to take a long time to get there. (It takes time.)

I know my father raised me to believe that once I got a good job, don’t ever. EVER! leave it unless you are fired.  Double-down on that if the position has excellent benefits. Didn’t matter if your boss was cruel or the company was corrupt or whatever. You just didn’t leave a job. Period. End of Story.

When I began pursuing my dream of becoming a public speaker, I never seriously considered doing it full-time. Afterall, we have a daughter in university. And, we need to save more for retirement, and fighting that tape in my head that ‘it’s never gonna happen anyhow.’

I’ve learned that the fear won’t stop me from pursuing the possibility. I pretend that the anxiety I feel is standing in the corner across the room from me. I wave at it. I speak to it. I tell it, I see you over there. Standing in my space. But I’m still here and so are you. I’m just going to keep going. You can just stand there and watch.

So I acknowledge the fear. Accept that getting to where I think I want to go is going to take time. I read about, listen to, speak to other speakers. Learn from them.

Most importantly, I look back. I measure just how far I’ve come since 2006—an afternoon when I stood in a conference room after an IAAP certification study session and confided my dream to my friend, Pat.

All my life I’ve known I’m supposed to share stories. I just wasn’t sure whether it was supposed to be through writing, singing, or speaking.  And, that day after the study session, I knew. I knew I was supposed to tell those stories out loud.  In September 2018, I am headed to Johannesburg, South Africa to relate my experiences as a career administrative professional at Executive Secretary LIVE.  Who knew?!

When we can take a look back and see how far we’ve come, that dream pursuit is not quite as scary.