What's one skill that you've improved in the last year? How did you do it?

In the last year I have improved my ability to use direct language. Given my education in interpreting, I have long since appreciated that subcultures develop a shared sense of meaning within language that may be perceived as esoteric to others – resulting in miscommunication. With strong family roots in the Midwest, my communication style was saturated with pleasantries and riddles derived from implied meaning. Learning to express myself with clarity and precision required an exercise of self-reflection to evaluate with objectivity if the words I said accurately reflected the meaning of my intent. There are other implications about my profile that further encouraged the socialization of my passive language or “up speak” in linguistic phrasing and tonality. The ability to context switch between implied and direct meaning linguistically -- for the sake of clarity and etiquette -- is a skill that requires practice, patience, and a willingness to take risks.

What's the best piece of advice you've received?

“Never doubt your own ability to influence.” One of my dearest career mentors taught me to trust my power and ability to advocate for positive change. I attribute many of my accomplishments to her. This single phrase is one I return to often. It prevents me from becoming complacent and motivates me to stand-in-the-gap, fighting for ‘better’.

What's one moment of success you experienced this week?

I have found that I stopped measuring success in any sort of specificity. As a “recovering perfectionist” (which I do not use lightly–but do enjoy making light of), I’ve found that taking my focus off of “success” has allowed me to feel more successful overall–ironically enough. So instead, I’ll say that this week I am grateful for the way I have remained congruent with my values despite opportunities to compromise or circumvent–living with extreme integrity is a philosophical mind game. Living in alignment within myself professionally and personally is my cornerstone for experiencing “success.”

Outside of work, what activity makes you lose track of time?

I have a rich inner world and when I indulge in unstructured time I get lost in my thoughts -- it’s where I find my power, satisfaction, and rest. The saying, “getting lost in thought” is a true reflection of my favorite past time. Nothing sucks time away like exploring my thoughts, reflecting, and realizing new discoveries about inter/intrapersonal relationships and the way the world works. I am often accompanied by a journal, number of books, or a search engine. Simply put, I lose track of time “active processing”.