If Not Now, Then...Later!

Most of us have realized, or at least acknowledged, that life and careers are no longer linear, predictable, plan-able. We are told to be opportunistic (in a positive way) because we never know if the moment will be right again, hence the ever used adage, "Timing is everything." Timing is everything AND timing is not fixed!  Sometimes the answer to, "If not now, when?" isn't Now! Sometimes the answer is, "If not now, then... Later!"  

If not now, then... Later!

This hit me in a discussion with a former student, a few years out of college, who had two amazing opportunities to choose from.  One led to a potentially lucrative exit leaving him financially set to pursue his passions and the other was the quintessential embodiment of his passions with serendipitous timing and uncertain financial stability.  After some long, blunt conversations challenging his assumptions and self-construct, we realized this wasn't an Either/Or, an "if not now, when?" but an And/Both, an "if not now, then...later!" decision.  It was, what he called, sequencing (and urged me to make it part of the Life by Design work). He realized he'll have many more opportunities to gain financial security, so it was an "If not now, then...later!" decision and embracing this unique opportunity to pursue his passion was an "If not now, when?" moment.

The Human Connectome Project: White matter fiber architecture of the brain. 

The Human Connectome Project: White matter fiber architecture of the brain. 

The decisions we make today, while having an impact on our future, do not have to prescribe our future! It is not fixed, immutable... it is not irrevocable! Life is a set of creative acts, branching out in many different directions, in circuitous paths that we consciously and subconsciously design.

What if we are sequencing the doors we open, close and re-open over our lifetime?

If we haven't yet learned that life is And/Both, not Either/Or, we should now.  It's all around us. What if we aren't permanently closing and opening doors? What if we are sequencing the doors we open, close and re-open over our lifetime? Wouldn't that dramatically change our outlook? Wouldn't that make Life by Design more powerful, meaningful and fun?

Many many thanks to my incredibly wise, loving, bold students who teach me so much every day!!

3 Key Questions #LifebyDesign

There's tons of questions we can ask ourselves to assess our lives, careers, goals, etc.  Studies have been done and courses taught on scientifically proven methods to do this assessment.  For me, questions should get us to think, to dig deeper and to look at possibilities - not to lead to quick, "do this and you'll be happy" answers.  So here are the 3 questions I ask to start a Life by Design.

What do you like/love to do and are good/great at doing?

Make a list! These can be hobbies, skills, work, stuff you like learning or doing, anything - don't restrict yourself, take a holistic approach of you - personal, professional, academic, etc. And, if you want, try prioritizing them.  You want to do a lot of these things in your life.

What DON’T you like/love to do and are good/great at doing?

Make another list.  Same guidelines as above -  hobbies, skills, work, learning, etc. and try to prioritize them.  The goal is to minimize these - maybe you can even eliminate doing some of them, but we all have to do things we don't like so at least do less of them.

What do you want to learn, explore, discover, experience in the next 2, 3 or 5 years?

A few years ago, one of my students asked me to help her lay out her 10 year plan.  I told her to write it down, put it in a drawer and then we'd talk about the next 2-5 years. Our world is changing too fast to plan what we will or want to do 10 years out, but we can plan, to a degree, who we want to be, what we will stand for, and what we won't stand for. 

Think about the next 2-3 years, maybe 5. What do you want to learn, explore, discover, and/or experience? Learn how to code, make bookshelves, do graphic design, become a product manager for 3D-printed products, understand the Patagonian ecosystem, discover biomedical uses of Antarctic sea anemones, para-sail?  Here's mine ->

Start thinking about the steps you can take to start! What does it entail? Who do you know who can help or inform you? What 1 or 2 small things can you do tomorrow to start? Go for it!

The Lego Kit of Life (by Design)

What if I said that life was a set of Lego® bricks ~ all sorts of sizes, shapes, colors with a few bricks fixed together, unbreakable, but mot of them easily taken apart and rearranged?  If you're like me, you love (yup, you still do, face it!) playing, building, creating with lego (that's why I hang out with engineers and makers).

Life is a set of legos, all sizes, shapes, and colors. What will you build today?

Our life's lego bricks are made up of family, friends, pets, hobbies, curiosities and interests, experiences, physical-mental-emotional-spiritual health, knowledge, education, street smarts, common sense (or lack thereof), culture, rituals, beliefs, values, skills, talents, accomplishments, places lived and visited and more.

Take a look at your Lego set.  What bricks do you want to toss, just plain get rid of? What bricks do you want to get more of or even create (a new color or shape or size!)?  What bricks do you want less of? How would you like to rearrange your bricks for tomorrow, the next 2 years, or maybe even the next 5 years? I'm serious, think about this.  There is so so much you can do with your bricks and very few of them are permanently connected together!  

What did you learn from pondering and organizing your bricks? What's holding you back from tossing some bricks, adding new bricks, rearranging bricks? Why? What are you afraid of? We're all afraid of something.  What would you do if I took away those bricks and gave you the ones you wanted? What would you do if you weren't held back or scared anymore? 

lego astronauts.jpg

What would your best friend, significant other, colleague or mentor advise you to do with your bricks? How would they arrange them for you? What if you looked at yourself that way?  

Here's my challenge to you - try thinking of your life as legos.  Decide which ones you want to keep, toss, rearrange for now and the next couple of years.  What does that look like? What could it look like if you had not brick-limitations? And hey, if you need to go buy a set of bricks, this is your excuse! Take it! 

 

 

How to Create an Amazing Life by Design ~ 5 Fundamentals

From the floorboards of Jackson Pollock's studio in the Hamptons, NY. The paint spatterings can be traced to specific pieces of his art.

From the floorboards of Jackson Pollock's studio in the Hamptons, NY. The paint spatterings can be traced to specific pieces of his art.

Two and a half years ago, I was invited to share my story, Life by Design, at Brown University's Creative Mind Lecture series.  Since then, it's taken on a life of its own with my mentees who now use it as a noun.  They've asked me to formalize it in case I get hit by a bus, so here's the start.

After several years of mentoring and advising, I've discovered 5 (at least) fundamentals to creating an amazing Life by Design (through very non-scientific methods).

1. Very little you do in life is irrevocable.

Aside from dying, very few of the choices we make in life are permanent and can't be undone, redone, mitigated or benefited from.  Even losing a limb is no longer necessarily life-altering.  Once we view life that way, opportunities are endless sources of learning and exploration.  We don't need to be afraid that if we do X today, we're stuck doing X for the rest of our life.

2. There are many paths, solutions, answers, right choices - not just 1.

Following #1 above, rarely in life is there just one way to do something - there are many ways.  Many times we feel the path a role model or someone we admire took is the only path to get to the same place. Unfortunately, our education system reinforces the one way - there is THE right answer or way not A right answer or way.  Well, guess what, rarely is that the case.  Life isn't binary.

3. Your major or job isn't destiny.

The world tells us that our college major and even our current job is destiny.  Engineers should only look for engineering jobs, not design, product management, etc.  English majors should only look for writing or PR jobs, not design, product management, etc.  Drop the "should" - it's a horrible word!  Our job or major is not our destiny.  By looking at how that major or job has taught us to think, approach problems, communicate, see connections and patterns, apply to different situations, we can use our experience in so many ways!

Kandinsky - Composition V1, 1913

Kandinsky - Composition V1, 1913

4. "Man plans, G-d Laughs"

This age old yiddish proverb is so true.  A student came to me a few years ago asking for help laying out her 10yr plan. 10 years!!!! I told her to write something out, put it in a drawer and then come back and we'd discuss the next 2-3 years.  Think about life in 2-3 (maybe up to 5) year chunks - what do we want to learn, experience, explore, discover over the next 2-3 years, why, and what are the best places and ways to do that! Yup, it's that simple... but not easy.

5. Experiment -> Learn -> Apply -> Iterate

At the age 99.5, my grandmother said, "The day you stop learning is the day you die." Life, personal and professional, is a continuous experiment - we try things, we hopefully learn, we apply those learnings and experiment again - til we die.  Learn to be curious, love to learn, try stuff - often, question your assumptions, question your questions, as why, why not, what if, and one of my favorites, where is it written (e.g., is it a rule or guideline?). 

Next week? I'll share my view of Life as lego blocks! Your comments and thoughts are welcome!

What Do Respect and Agreement Have to do With It?

If I say it louder, then you’ll agree.  If I say it more, then you’ll agree. You must not be listening or hearing me if you don’t agree with me.  And, if you don’t agree with me, you don’t respect me!

Sound familiar? Maybe you grew up in a house like this.  Maybe your management treats you like this.  Maybe you treat your employees like this. Guess what? It’s total BS.

Growing up, my parents made me read things that disagreed with my view to help me critically hone, or change, my opinions, understand different perspectives and learn.

The last several months have shown us the depth of disagreement in our families, cities, country and world.  Saying it louder or more won’t make it right and make it so. We need to listen to others respectfully and thoughtfully, and then agree or disagree, just as we want them to listen to us. Disagreeing does not and should not mean, by default, lack of respect.

So, how about trying at least once this week to really listen to someone you disagree with.  See it from their perspective.   You don’t need to increase the volume or frequency, just talk and listen.  Maybe you’ll learn that respect and agreement aren’t synonymous.  So, try it! Model it, encourage it – and let me know!

The Paradox of Noisy Silence

New Year’s celebrations are usually full of noise – parties, fireworks, noisemakers, bowl games, you name it.

The new year at work starts off with a bang too – a bang of hectivity – things that didn’t get done last year, catching up from being away (even tho most everyone else was too). 

Yet, silence is necessary and hard and at first, incredibly noisy.  Therein lies the paradox (and you know I LOVE paradoxes).  I used to be great at finding time to be silent (silence, meditation, whatever you call it) and that was when I was traveling weekly and didn't have kids.  Now I’m trying to get back to silence.  And you know what? It’s hard!!! Yet I crave it!

The music is not in the notes, but in the silence in between.

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

At first, my head is full of noise – ideas, to-do’s, reminders, errands, etc. go through my head like an Indy 500 race. It’s hard resisting the urge to write them all down – to just Let Them Go.  I’ve finally realized if they are that important, they’ll come up again sometime. Eventually, it gets easier, the race turns into a slow drive and then, sometimes, totally stops – the noise is gone, it’s complete silence. That silence is an incredible gift, a rejuvenating, calming and intellectually stimulating gift.  Yup, a paradox.

There is a lot of literature on the importance and power of silence – intellectually, emotionally, physically, spiritually.  But knowing and doing are two separate things.

So, join me in an experiment.  I’m going to try to set aside 10 minutes 2 times a week to be silent.  Not every day, not every other day – just 2 times a week for 10 minutes.  I’m going to start small, give it shot and if it works, build up.  Try it with me; tell me how it goes; and remember, this is an experiment so it’s ok to fail and try again…. 

The New Year: Going From "I-It" to "I-Thou"

Pemaquid Lighthouse, Maine © Mike Taylor & Sonia MacNeil http://miketaylorphoto.com 

Pemaquid Lighthouse, Maine © Mike Taylor & Sonia MacNeil http://miketaylorphoto.com 

2016 is coming to a close, and not soon enough for some.  2016 (well, most of the 20th & 21st Centuries) has been a year of I-It* – where the I (yes, that’s us folks) treat others as It’s – as functions, transactions, products, services – provided for our benefit and happiness. In an I-It world, our happiness, satisfaction, and worth are externally driven and temporary, requiring the next happiness "fix" and rarely requiring much, if any self-sacrifice.

So, let’s make 2017 the start of an I-Thou epoch.  In 2017, let’s treat others as Thou’s – as fellow humans in relationship with us, as people we are willing to make sacrifices for, not as functions for our benefit.  In an I-Thou world, we can both disagree and argue with each other AND still listen and value each other.  Our sense of satisfaction is intrinsically created from the breadth, depth and diversity of our relationships with Thou’s (not It’s).  This is a more permanent, fulfilling sense of, well, Joy - not fleeting and addictive as happiness.

Let’s make 2017 the start of an I-Thou epoch.

While the I-It of 2016 will greatly influence 2017, we don't have to let it control our personal and professional lives.  Join me in making 2017 the start of the I-Thou era in all aspects of our lives.  I believe - I know - that the beacon of light from a few I-Thou’s, actually from many I-Thou's all over a county, a state and a country, will light the world.

Shalom,

 

Living in the Fast Lane

I'm honored to have Frank Sonnenberg guest post an excerpt of his Must Read book, BOOKSMART - which you have to get. See Frank's bio at the end of the post and again, get the book - it will change how you think, lead, behave, live. 

Living in the Fast Lane

In today’s wonderful world of time-saving technologies, you’d think we’d be beneficiaries of an improved quality of life. More time for friends and family, more time to pursue personal interests, and more time to follow our dreams.

Wrong!

Despite these continuing advances, time saved has become time filled. Bombarded with added responsibilities, working families are faced with greater demands and obligations, increased stress levels, and tough choices to make between personal and professional commitments. In many cases, instead of living life to the fullest, we’re living life on the edge — cramming as much as we can into a day, scrambling to get ahead, and running rampant on what sometimes seems to be a never-ending pursuit of the almighty buck.

This is life now that hyper-speed Internet communication has connected us to the demands of a hyper-speed world. One where tomorrow is not good enough for answers needed today. One where the pace of life that we once knew has changed forevermore, slamming us into high gear — full rev…with no time for idling. And often, no time for breathing.

Too often, our “must-do” lists do not include doing something for ourselves. Like hamsters, we live on a non-stop treadmill running pointlessly to nowhere, as moments pass us by. The scene of the “Norman Rockwell family” gathered together around the table has, in many instances, been replaced with that of working parents struggling to make ends meet. And children are being raised by others while we embrace a frantic daily work ritual. In short, we are becoming “absentee parents,” losing opportunities to spend quality time with our children.

This is life.

Or, perhaps better stated…this is life?

booksmart-cover w large name-300.jpg

Sadly, we are losing the priceless things that we once treasured. An extra hour or two to putter around the house, the joy of watching a child’s first steps, or taking time to make our favorite chocolate chip cookies from scratch using grandma’s recipe. And — home-cooked meals? Who has the time?

Today, those home-cooked meals we once enjoyed have been replaced by take-out dinners or a quick stop at the drive-through window. Family meals around the table have been reduced to grabbing a bite with anyone who happens to be home at the time, rather than “being a family” at least once during the day. Family conversations are fast disappearing, and what once was quality family time has now evolved to a drone-like fixation on a mega-sized TV screen, fighting for possession of the remote.

Even those special occasions we once anticipated and celebrated have been reduced in significance. For example, many holidays have become over-commercialized, and we find ourselves looking at them as “days off,” rather than pausing to reflect on their true meaning and sharing them as a family, as a community, and as a united nation. And the care and time once spent thinking about buying, or making, just the right gift has, in many cases, been replaced with gift certificates — that is, if we can remember the occasion in the first place. These pleasures are often lost in the blur of living life in the fast lane, gone because we fail to hit the pause button and put our lives back into perspective. In many cases, we’re becoming worker ants with tunnel vision.

The sobering fact is that there will come a point in time when we sit back, or more likely collapse in exhaustion, wondering what we’ve gained from this frenetic race called life. And in those moments of retrospection, will we really regret that missed promotion, the rejected proposal, or not being able to buy the bigger house? Or will we ponder our failed relationships — the feelings left unshared with someone we love, or the precious time lost with our children? Sadder yet, will we find ourselves living in a society where future generations accept these values as the norm?

Attention, Fellow Homo sapiens!

This is your wake-up call before it’s too late — the early warning signal to get a perspective on the things that matter.

Make time for yourself — if only just a few minutes — to reflect and regain some perspective — where you can redirect, realign, and realize a better, more rewarding life.

As authors, we find that we, too, are very much a part of this hyper-speed lifestyle that we’re all living. We’re no better than the next hardworking parent or individual trying to keep it all together. But, in our quieter moments, we do realize that there is a need to slow down…to put on the brakes and consider those values that are most important in life.

So take a moment to replenish your energies, re-establish your priorities, and re-introduce yourself to those things you once held close to your heart. There’s more to life than increasing its speed.

This is excerpted from BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness By Frank Sonnenberg © 2016 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.

# # #

Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author. He has written six books and over 300 articles. Frank was recently named one of “America's Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts. Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Additionally, FrankSonnenbergOnline was named among the “Best 21st Century Leadership Blogs” and among the "Top 100 Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs." Frank’s newest book BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness, was released November, 2016

How to Interpret Truth From Facts

When is a fact true? This is a major question we’re asking given the pre/post-election. Sometimes, the answer isn’t a simple yes it’s true or no it’s not true. Sometimes the caveat “it depends…” provides critical insight into the context, constraints, veracity and therefore, applicability of the fact.

Let’s take 2 seemingly contradictory facts we’ve heard this past year:

  • Violent crime is up
  • Violent crime is down

According to the FBI and other studies, overall violent crime in the USA is at historic lows over the past 30, 10 and 5 years.  Yet, when you examine the data in the same studies, it becomes clear both statements above are true:

  • There is a 5.5% rise is violent crime from 2015 to 2016 with half of that coming from LA and Chicago and yet, the overall rate is still at the “bottom of the nation’s 30-year downward trend.”
  • Chicago accounts for almost half the increase in murders from 2015 to 2016 with decreasing murder rates in Baltimore and Washington D.C. and New York as one of safest big cities.
2-lane rural road.jpeg

Bottom line? Both facts are true.  What you do with those facts depends on the questions you ask about those facts. What you ask with the subsequent iteration of answers and questions, is critical for making wise informed decisions.  So try asking:

  • What is the timeframe?
  • Are there outliers?
  • What did/didn’t these facts (and underlying data) take into account (what’s missing)?
  • What do these facts assume?
  • How long will these facts be true?
  • Who did the study and who paid for it?
  • What other questions arise from this fact?
  • What would it mean if this wasn't true? Who would benefit or be harmed?
  • etc.....

The ability to interpret truth from facts is a critical skill for success - in business and in life.  So starting today, or okay, tomorrow, ask questions when you're presented with facts - sales, recruiting, efficiency, inventory, market trends, anything - just start and see what you learn!

 

The Awe of Gratitude

This year, despite the past few weeks and all it implies, I am in awe of all that I have to be grateful for.  I am free, I am safe, I live with abundance and joy, my worries are for all intents and purposes, quite trivial.  I'm blessed with amazing people in my life - from family to friends to students to clients.  This is not the case for much of the world.  So in this week of thanksgiving, and through til next thanksgiving, let those around you know how much they mean to you, how they make your life better, and how precious their relationships is.  Stuff doesn't matter - it's fleeting, it's temporary, it's just stuff.  People do - so let them know the depth of your gratitude for their presence in your life - and cherish the awe of it. 

How I Found Myself in Berlin

Lessons for all ages at all times - from a 21 year old taking an 'experience' year (I'm trying to stop use of the word gap!!).  Samanee Mahbub shares with honesty, vulnerability and truth - read, think, apply. 

Gap Year: How I Found Myself in Berlin (And everything I learned along the way) Part of the gap year was writing about how it’s not impossible to do if you’re open to adventure and serendipity. So this post is about how I got my current job, the wonders of connections (and why you should keep everyone in touch), the bigger wonders of amazing friends (and friends of friends of friends), my first 48 hours in Berlin, and how I think I may have found a job that’s an actual fit! TLDR; just check the takeaways (particularly my close friends) :) It’s a long post. How I got my job: the wonders of old connections Sometime in October, I decided to leave my first job but didn’t have much of a plan of what to do next. Lucky for me, the universe did! Kidding. Sort of. See, about a month before I decided to leave my job, I met up with a good friend of mine in Venice Beach. He could see I wasn’t the happiest. He planted the idea that maybe I should start exploring some of my contacts. I messaged another friend who had taken his own gap year. His words were the push I needed: “Don’t stay in a place during your time off that you know isn’t right” Two days later, I messaged an old friend I had met two years ago in Bangladesh. He was working at a company that had a strong startup alumni at the time, and he was from Germany. “I could move to Germany,” I thought to myself. I asked if he would be willing to pass my resume to some German startups. He was more than happy to help. Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Don’t sell yourself short either. Seriously, no-one is 100% qualified for the job. Takeaway: Try to keep in touch with people. You never know who can help you down the road. I’ve had lots of examples of this in my life. I hadn’t heard back though for a month so I forgot about it. Then suddenly on “The Day” (aka the 24 hours where I decided to leave LA, cried most of the afternoon cause I didn’t have much of a plan, didn’t think I was cut out for this crazy ass adventure…ya it wasn’t great), my friend replied back apologizing for not getting to passing my resume, did it, and 12 hours later, the place where I’m currently working reached out to me. Takeaway: What’s that quote? “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Guess it works for not having plans either haha. I think the point is things can happen when you least expect it. But you can also make an effort to make it happen.

Gap Year: How I Found Myself in Berlin (And everything I learned along the way)

Part of the gap year was writing about how it’s not impossible to do if you’re open to adventure and serendipity. So this post is about how I got my current job, the wonders of connections (and why you should keep everyone in touch), the bigger wonders of amazing friends (and friends of friends of friends), my first 48 hours in Berlin, and how I think I may have found a job that’s an actual fit!

TLDR; just check the takeaways (particularly my close friends) :) It’s a long post.

How I got my job: the wonders of old connections

Sometime in October, I decided to leave my first job but didn’t have much of a plan of what to do next. Lucky for me, the universe did!

Kidding. Sort of. See, about a month before I decided to leave my job, I met up with a good friend of mine in Venice Beach. He could see I wasn’t the happiest. He planted the idea that maybe I should start exploring some of my contacts. I messaged another friend who had taken his own gap year. His words were the push I needed:

“Don’t stay in a place during your time off that you know isn’t right”

Two days later, I messaged an old friend I had met two years ago in Bangladesh. He was working at a company that had a strong startup alumni at the time, and he was from Germany. “I could move to Germany,” I thought to myself. I asked if he would be willing to pass my resume to some German startups. He was more than happy to help.

Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Don’t sell yourself short either. Seriously, no-one is 100% qualified for the job.
Takeaway: Try to keep in touch with people. You never know who can help you down the road. I’ve had lots of examples of this in my life.

I hadn’t heard back though for a month so I forgot about it. Then suddenly on “The Day” (aka the 24 hours where I decided to leave LA, cried most of the afternoon cause I didn’t have much of a plan, didn’t think I was cut out for this crazy ass adventure…ya it wasn’t great), my friend replied back apologizing for not getting to passing my resume, did it, and 12 hours later, the place where I’m currently working reached out to me.

Takeaway: What’s that quote? “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Guess it works for not having plans either haha. I think the point is things can happen when you least expect it. But you can also make an effort to make it happen.
The bigger wonders of amazing friends (and friends of friends of friends) I have the BEST friends in the world. Seriously, I challenge someone to say they have better ones. At 12pm, I told my best friend at Brown that I was showing up at his apartment the next morning at 10am. I gave him less than 24 hours to prepare for me. And he welcomed me with open arms (and a very comfy futon). I was supposed to stay for 1 week tops. I ended up staying almost 3 weeks.Apartment hunting in Berlin was harder than I expected. But in those 3 weeks, I found so much love, support and comfort amongst my friends.From 5 minute hugs to 5 hour conversations, my friends were the boost I needed to prepare for my next adventure. Takeaway: Tell your friends you love them. So Anthony, Blake, Spencer, Sophie (and Adam sort of), thanks for letting me bum around the apartment in my pjays all day and reminding me I’m trash. Alex for always knowing what to say. Caroline, Ian, Derek, Max, Matt, Bas for being the best OG squad and making me almost puke at six flags and sleep on your couch. Ali and Julia for being two badass women. Emma, Isabel and Lacy for being unicorns. Minoshka and Anna for being so damn brilliant and being my mothers. Shivam for being crazy but somehow making it work. Taylor for being so wonderful. Manny for making me laugh with your life (it’ll be just fine). Adi for your own self discovery stories and keeping salon going. Priyankar for that little bit of home and big brother love. Ali for doing all the things you wanted to do. Valentin for letting me believe that I can dream big. Lauren for your warmth. Miki for really being one of the best people I know. Abel for the words of wisdom. Cherry and Rosa for the dose of love and adventure. Rohan for your inquisitiveness. Aaron for being one of the greatest spirits I’ve ever met. Xiao for being a dreamer. Timmy for being such a bundle of joy. Nathan for letting me be “international”. And so so many more that just said hi, gave me a hug, laughed at my life and said keep at it. You’re all loved ❤ The friends of friends of friends Apartment hunting in Berlin is HARD. I’ve learned I’m really naive. I’m scammer’s ideal prey. Luckily my friends aren’t as stupid and stop me from booking an apartment when the person doesn’t live in Germany and wants a wire transfer. I was very fortunate that one of my friends at Brown connected me with a friend of his in Germany (also a Brown alum. #Brunonia) who then connected me with her friend who’s apartment I’m currently living in. Yay friends! I’ve already hung out with one friend of a friend, and another friend of a friend tonight. And I’ve only been here for 48 hours. Yay friends! Takeaway: If you like your friends, you’ll probably like their friends too. And when you’re new to a city, reach out. Chances are somebody will know someone in the city you’re going to.

The bigger wonders of amazing friends (and friends of friends of friends)

I have the BEST friends in the world. Seriously, I challenge someone to say they have better ones. At 12pm, I told my best friend at Brown that I was showing up at his apartment the next morning at 10am. I gave him less than 24 hours to prepare for me. And he welcomed me with open arms (and a very comfy futon).

I was supposed to stay for 1 week tops. I ended up staying almost 3 weeks.Apartment hunting in Berlin was harder than I expected. But in those 3 weeks, I found so much love, support and comfort amongst my friends.From 5 minute hugs to 5 hour conversations, my friends were the boost I needed to prepare for my next adventure.

Takeaway: Tell your friends you love them. So Anthony, Blake, Spencer, Sophie (and Adam sort of), thanks for letting me bum around the apartment in my pjays all day and reminding me I’m trash. Alex for always knowing what to say. Caroline, Ian, Derek, Max, Matt, Bas for being the best OG squad and making me almost puke at six flags and sleep on your couch. Ali and Julia for being two badass women. Emma, Isabel and Lacy for being unicorns. Minoshka and Anna for being so damn brilliant and being my mothers. Shivam for being crazy but somehow making it work. Taylor for being so wonderful. Manny for making me laugh with your life (it’ll be just fine). Adi for your own self discovery stories and keeping salon going. Priyankar for that little bit of home and big brother love. Ali for doing all the things you wanted to do. Valentin for letting me believe that I can dream big. Lauren for your warmth. Miki for really being one of the best people I know. Abel for the words of wisdom. Cherry and Rosa for the dose of love and adventure. Rohan for your inquisitiveness. Aaron for being one of the greatest spirits I’ve ever met. Xiao for being a dreamer. Timmy for being such a bundle of joy. Nathan for letting me be “international”. And so so many more that just said hi, gave me a hug, laughed at my life and said keep at it. You’re all loved ❤

The friends of friends of friends

Apartment hunting in Berlin is HARD. I’ve learned I’m really naive. I’m scammer’s ideal prey. Luckily my friends aren’t as stupid and stop me from booking an apartment when the person doesn’t live in Germany and wants a wire transfer. I was very fortunate that one of my friends at Brown connected me with a friend of his in Germany (also a Brown alum. #Brunonia) who then connected me with her friend who’s apartment I’m currently living in. Yay friends!

I’ve already hung out with one friend of a friend, and another friend of a friend tonight. And I’ve only been here for 48 hours. Yay friends!

Takeaway: If you like your friends, you’ll probably like their friends too. And when you’re new to a city, reach out. Chances are somebody will know someone in the city you’re going to.
My first 48 hours in Berlin My first impressions are gorgeous city, cobble stone is pretty to look at, not to walk on, the public transport here is AMUZING, everything is so CHEAP (€1 falafel people), nobody believes in debit/credit cards (cash is imperative), my German pronunciation is abysmal, I love the people I work with, there’s so much to discover, the rain sucks, Uber sucks here, mytaxi is better (but that public transport tho. I got a monthly pass for €30), can’t wait to travel elsewhere and explore Europe, cats aren’t so bad (as a dog person), still a dog person, I’ll take a small room if I get a big bed over a big room with a small bed, EVERYONE SHOULD VISIT ME IN BERLIN. And that’s it. Takeaway: Travel. Explore. Observe. Experience. VISIT ME IN BERLIN. I think I may like product management? I won’t go into explaining what product management is. This article does a great job if you’re curious to learn more though. I’m more concerned with addressing the fact that it’s often a tech job that has the assumption that you need to be a computer science or related major to be one (heck, even Google’s Associate Product Management internship has “Minimum qualification: Pursuing a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD in Computer Science or a related field”). As a liberal arts major but a pretty firm lover of the tech industry, I’ve been finding it difficult to find a function within this world. I had heard of product management before but because of the CS requirement I was used to seeing, I didn’t think I was fit. UNTIL I read Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Product Managers written by a CS major, HBS lecturer, former product manager, and entrepreneur turned VC. Please please please read that article if like me, you’re not a coder but are interested in tech performing a cross-functional role that leverages multiple skill sets (sorry for the buzzwords). I’m still in the early stages of my product management internship. However, just looking at how my other product managers work, what type of work they do, and seeing how other non-tech roles function (Sales, Marketing, Ops, Biz Dev, Finance, Legal), I think I may have actually found a job that feels right. Takeaway: Keep trying things even if you’re not qualified, have the minimum requirements, or whatever arbitrary barrier someone else has put in your way. It’s the only way you’ll know if something is truly a fit for you.

My first 48 hours in Berlin

My first impressions are gorgeous city, cobble stone is pretty to look at, not to walk on, the public transport here is AMUZING, everything is so CHEAP (€1 falafel people), nobody believes in debit/credit cards (cash is imperative), my German pronunciation is abysmal, I love the people I work with, there’s so much to discover, the rain sucks, Uber sucks here, mytaxi is better (but that public transport tho. I got a monthly pass for €30), can’t wait to travel elsewhere and explore Europe, cats aren’t so bad (as a dog person), still a dog person, I’ll take a small room if I get a big bed over a big room with a small bed, EVERYONE SHOULD VISIT ME IN BERLIN. And that’s it.

Takeaway: Travel. Explore. Observe. Experience. VISIT ME IN BERLIN.

I think I may like product management?

I won’t go into explaining what product management is. This article does a great job if you’re curious to learn more though. I’m more concerned with addressing the fact that it’s often a tech job that has the assumption that you need to be a computer science or related major to be one (heck, even Google’s Associate Product Management internship has “Minimum qualification: Pursuing a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD in Computer Science or a related field”).

As a liberal arts major but a pretty firm lover of the tech industry, I’ve been finding it difficult to find a function within this world. I had heard of product management before but because of the CS requirement I was used to seeing, I didn’t think I was fit. UNTIL I read Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Product Managers written by a CS major, HBS lecturer, former product manager, and entrepreneur turned VC.

Please please please read that article if like me, you’re not a coder but are interested in tech performing a cross-functional role that leverages multiple skill sets (sorry for the buzzwords).

I’m still in the early stages of my product management internship. However, just looking at how my other product managers work, what type of work they do, and seeing how other non-tech roles function (Sales, Marketing, Ops, Biz Dev, Finance, Legal), I think I may have actually found a job that feels right.

Takeaway: Keep trying things even if you’re not qualified, have the minimum requirements, or whatever arbitrary barrier someone else has put in your way. It’s the only way you’ll know if something is truly a fit for you.