From the Web: Bullet Journal - An Analog Note-Taking System for the Digital World

From the Web: Bullet Journal - An Analog Note-Taking System for the Digital World

My organization basically amounts to a form of "organized chaos."

My desk is covered with various notebooks, each containing meeting notes, brainstorm ideas and assignments. There are sticky pads of all shapes and sizes littered throughout my space.  

The walls of my "cube" are covered with quotes, reminders and checklists. And this trend continues in my apartment too--mini notepads filled with knitting designs and recipe ideas. You get the idea. 

During my morning ritual of Fast Company + coffee, I came across something very valuable: an analog note-taking system for the digital world.  

Amazing! 

Why is this so amazing, you might ask? Because I'm just not one of those people who effectively uses technology to keep their life organized. Beyond a calendar and email, the only application I find useful is Pinterest (inspiration!). 

I've tried and tried to task myself with using technology to maintain a sense of organization--to no avail.  

I prefer analog, and that's it. There will be no changing me. I love doodling and writing lists with a paper and pen. However, I do myself no service by filling random notebooks with random ideas, never to be easily located again.  

But this note-taking system, the Bullet Journal, offers an analog gal like myself a way to corral the messiest of notebooks.

Maybe you'll find it useful too?

New Experiences for Continued Learning

In my Get a Life Objective class, I brought up the idea of continued learning as a way to inspire creativity and new ways of thinking about your life and your career.  

Let's get clear about what constitutes "continued learning." 

What continued learning is NOT: 

  • Reading the same newspapers, magazines and books you always read
  • Having discussions about the same old topics with the same two friends or colleagues
  • Attending classes and conferences where you already know most of the content being presented
  • Half-watching documentaries on Netflix while eating greasy snacks

What continued learning is: 

  • Breaking out of your comfort zone and feeling uncomfortable
  • Being a complete novice in something new
  • Challenging your brain to grow, adapt, work in different ways and make new connections

I have been doing a lot of "continued learning" this month, mostly in the form of workouts. I'm learning the ways of yoga, including a hot power fusion variation (see sweaty evidence below). I even tried a mixed martial arts class at the UFC gym--boxing gloves and all!

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I noticed that immediately afterward I am exhausted but exuberant. My brain has come alive in new ways.

With the extra energy I've created, my inspiration to knit, read and write has returned.  

And I am inspired to get better at the things I've tried so far (balance is not a strong suit for me!). 

How do you engage in continued learning?

Margaret Thatcher says...

Being a leader is like being a lady. If you have to go around telling people you are one, you aren’t.

Brand Partnerships Add Strength to Company Value & Values

Brand Partnerships Add Strength to Company Value & Values

Originally published on the Health Brand Group blog.

A trend I’ve been watching emerge is that of true brand partnerships.

I know, brand licensing and partnerships have been around for a long time. You’ve probably enjoyed ice cream made with Reese’s peanut butter cups or Girl Scouts Samoas cookies inside. And your Cole Haan shoes might have Nike Air soles.

Traditionally, this type of arrangement has been used to solidify positioning with a focus on strengthening a brand’s value proposition. And, at times, brand partnerships of this type can be used to influence consumers when making commodity purchase decisions for items like ice cream or toothpaste.

Emerging today, I see a new type of brand partnership–one that improves brand value while also adding strength to the brand’s values.

Yes, values.

Values are fundamental beliefs that individuals, groups of people, companies and even brands hold steadfast. Values provide guidance as we make decisions and evolve, as people and as brands. Values are our standards, and values are inherently human.

The adage is true: “You’re known by the company you keep.” And for brands, there is no exception.

Where before brands would partner on specific products, now they are partnering on a business level. A perfect case study is Starbucks. In recent years, Starbucks has established several partnerships with other brands, such as Square and Google.

Starbucks partnered with Square to revolutionize the payment processing aspect of its business, allowing customers to pay with their mobile phones. In this case, it is important to note that the partnership equally benefited Square by expanding its business to an entirely new level, obtaining access to Starbucks’ freelance customers (ready-made users for Square’s mobile payment application), and allowing the company to rapidly scale its business to reach local and small businesses across the country.

Starbucks’ partnership with Google will upgrade its free Wi-Fi for customers in stores across the country. In addition, the company will work with Google to co-develop the next generation of the Starbucks Digital Network, an in-store content platform serving up uniquely branded experiences for Starbucks customers.

These brand partnerships do what brand partnerships have always done. They work to increase the value proposition of Starbucks’ offerings to its customers. But they also go a step further.

They create an interconnected “lifestyle web” of affiliated brands.

Each of these brands own similar core attributes: innovation, unique experiences, disruption of typical models, etc. They also recognize that Google, Starbucks and Square share similar core customers and brand ambassadors.

If you take a moment to think about the implications of this last statement, you see that this type of brand partnership is an evolution from the former model.

While these partnerships do increase the value of all parties involved, they also bring together a vast group of customers and users who share the same human values that these brands embody: quality, speed, ingenuity, simplicity and passion, to name a few.

This allows consumers to begin to view these companies or brands as something much larger than a product, service or purchase. Instead, they add a new level of value to a distinct lifestyle and experience, creating an interwoven, overlapping community of advocates.

This is something much bigger than Girl Scouts cookies in ice cream.

Rethink & Reframe: Tips From The Web

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Fast Company's new section, How To Be A Success At Everything, has a bevy of fantastic articles relating to career, work/life and purpose. Several recent articles directly correlate with concepts I teach in my Get a Life Objective class.

Concept: Reframing

Shifting how you view your past experience, skills and knowledge (as well as your current situation) can help you rethink your future career options. 

6 Simple Mindfulness Practices To Reframe Your Perspective

Concept: Break Your Routine

In order to start seeing things in a different light, you actually have to start DOING things differently. Changes as simple as eating lunch away from your desk or rerouting  your commute to work can help you see new things. Your brain will appreciate this, I promise. 

How To Design A More Serendipitous, Creative Life

Concept: There Is No Perfect Next Opportunity

One of the questions asked during my last class: What if all of the job postings are only part of what I think my next position could or should be?

A great question.

Today's workplace calls for hybrids--expert generalists that can bring their whole selves to work, turning job descriptions into a thing of the past.

Also, a great place to look for your next job is at your current workplace. Check out the article below for more on this (which I actually did in my current workplace - so it is possible!)

How To Turn The Job You Have Into The Job You Want

You're Not An Imposter

You're not an imposter.

And other people do not possess some greater knowledge that you do not.

Pause for a moment and realize that we are all on this learning curve together.

Bring your A game.

Get a life objective (a career driven by your core purpose).

And quit questioning yourself.

 Image Source  

On Creativity: Dan Pink

Giving the world something it didn’t know it was missing.
— Dan Pink on creativity

From the Web: The Sharing Economy Comes Of Age

Back in April I wrote about disownership as a trend--how people's purchases that were once physical products, like cars, are now being bought as shared services, like Zipcar. 

As reported in Fast Company, the LeWeb conference chose to focus on the theme of a "Collaborative Economy",  a new movement in which consumers have "decided to share and rent rather than own things in a dramatic reversal of 50-year trends."

In the past year, 52% of Americans have rented, borrowed, or shared things they used to own, and 83% of people are willing to do it.

My favorite part of the article: 

The new generations, committed to sustainability and social purpose, have learned from us that choice and income don't bring happiness, but community, trust, and purpose might. It's a new consumer mindset that values transparency, participation, and collaboration. In this atmosphere, the new brand is no brand, and intrusive branding and advertising had better stay out of the way.