Career 18 July 2017
People are always asking me if I think there’s a “formula” for success [side note: I have a formula for everything: how to get the most out of being stuck in traffic, how to never spend unnecessary time at an airport, etc. so this question isn’t as random as it seems].
While I believe that success is not a neatly definable idea, and think that people can expound it differently, these are three tools that will help you on your way to whatever definition of success you are striving towards.
Tips on finding mentors as awesome as mine? Choose a mentor whose life, and not just their career, you are inspired by.
I've been extremely lucky to have a small group of impactful mentors who both inspire me and give me the honest feedback I really need to grow. You’re never going to find one mentor who can be everything for you. They each have different and equally helpful sets of skills that can help me as different obstacles get thrown my way. It's rare for me to use a sports analogy, but it really fits here so think about baseball; you have your coach, and you have individual trainers for specific things – a batting coach, a pitching coach, etc. That’s exactly what you need in mentorship.
Find people who have values aligned with yours. Some may have done amazing work that they are proud of, but have they managed to balance their health? Do they have a supportive family? Do they attend their children’s football games? Have they also explored their interests outside of those things? Human beings aren’t linear – I won’t ever be making a decision just as a businesswoman. I’ll also be making them as a sister, a mentor, a partner, and a designer. You want someone in your corner who can help you see the big picture.
The relationships you have with your mentors are ones that can (and ideally should) span many years, and likely several careers. The best way to ensure longevity is to make sure that you are giving back. Just because you are younger and earlier in your career, doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to offer them. What are you better at than everyone else? Can you help them with a certain technology? Can you help their kids with an introduction? Don’t forget to take the time to ask them what they need.
Having a coach is actually vastly different from having a mentor and I'm a big believer in both. Coaches help you with proactive development on a more micro level and are trained and certified to help with things like management and strategy.
I’ve been working with my coach, Tim Porthouse, for over a year. We meet twice a month in person or on FaceTime. He helps me define (and redefine!) my goals and then make sure I’m held accountable for taking steps to achieve them.
Tim will often prescribe specific exercises in order to help me both understand what it is I really want and then assess opportunities that will help me get there as well as beat the obstacles that I need to move past them.
My sister, LisaMarie, who is also my business partner and best friend, is always joking about my powerful manifestation practice. I say I want something to happen and she's like, "You are so crazy, did you write it down? You'll definitely get it then!" She's right. For a long time I plan something that doesn't seem like you can plan for it, I write it down and then I find it in my life. As a way of tying the above together, as well as working in my more personal goals, I create vision boards. Usually once a year (around my birthday) I sit down and map out what I’m trying to accomplish. The result of every goal, whether it be eating less sugar or decreasing my email response window, aligns with a longer term value.
Whether you define success by pennies, moments, growth, or something else altogether, I hope the above formula can help you determine who you need to have in your corner to help you get there.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist