#007—🛑 stop, please
Hi all, we’re officially in the second half of 2020—even though it feels like we packed a couple years into those first six months… So much is going on right now, both in our personal lives and in the world at large.
I wanted to kick this week off by reminding you to stop, take a few minutes, and check in on yourself.
Ask yourself: How are you really doing?
What’s better for you today than it was at the start of the year?
What’s been bothering you?
How will you feel by the end of the year if you continue on in your current headspace?
I did this reflection earlier this week, and the last question was a big one for me. Asking it made me hyper aware of my current state and helped me clarify the vision I have for my future self. More on this under Final Thoughts.
I’d also love to hear how this reflection goes for you, and how you’re really doing. It helps me understand where everyone is at right now and how I can be more thoughtful and intentional with my email updates.
If you’d like to share, just reply to this email. I read and reply to each and every one.
And as always, feel free to forward this to anyone you think could use it! And if you’re interested in getting more insights on life and work from some truly incredible people, check out the Edvolution podcast!
Now, on to the resources for this week 🎉
💼 CAREERS, JOB HUNTING, MEANINGFUL WORK
I read this article recently by Charles Duhigg, and it really got me thinking about how little we’re encouraged to explore in life—both as children and adults.
I wrote about this earlier on my LinkedIn and wanted to dig deeper here. Basically, Duhigg went to the 15-year reunion for his Harvard MBA class, and he met a number of his classmates who were incredibly successful by societal standards, but also really unhappy.
What really struck me is that many of them also thought it was too late for them to find another path. They felt stuck with what they’d done up to that point. But that’s not at all the case. Not for them, and not for you, either.
Everyone has transferable skills that can make them an asset in a wide variety of industries and roles. What holds us back is that lack of encouragement when it comes to exploring new careers or new fields.
If you want to make a change, start by seeking out mentors, contributing to projects outside your job, or simply volunteering. All of those actions will get you experience and put you in contact with people outside your traditional bubble.
And as you connect with new people, here’s a free Networking Tracker to organize your connections, remember conversations, and nurture your relationships. You can use this or create your own with any task or relationship management software
Drive-thru hiring events are now a thing…here’s an article that discusses this trend so you can stay in the know and see if there are local ones happening near you!
This is an awesome guide to help you be more productive, specifically to set up your phone to be your best friend (and not your enemy that tempts you to look at Instagram every 5 minutes)
Here’s a directory of thousands of online remote jobs
And the Future Careers Slack Community - I haven’t had a chance to check this community out yet but had a community member recommend it
👋 SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL HANGOUTS
I’ve been an evangelist of upskilling for years now, and given everything that’s going on, there’s been a renewed focus on helping people get the skills they need to switch roles or careers.
The basics of upskilling are pretty simple:
If you’re looking at job descriptions online and you notice they keep asking for certain skills you don’t have, then start writing down what comes up most often. Those are the skills that employers are telling you are in demand right now.
Then, it’s just a matter of finding free tutorials or classes online to teach yourself the skills. You might need to pay for some of them, so talking to people within the industry/field to verify in-demand skills can give you the confidence that the investment will be worthwhile.
Simply googling “upskill in field” should populate a bunch of information, but I can’t reiterate this enough: the best way to know what skills are in demand, and what’s worth upskilling in, is by talking to people within the field.
Here are some tech/business courses by General Assembly that are free - check them out and see if any apply to your goals. 👇
Programming for Non-Programmers
July 9th, 7:00 p.m. PDT
Are you a creative or entrepreneur that wishes you could speak tech with your web development team? Maybe you wish you could code a bit yourself? Programming for Non-Programmers is a workshop designed to help non-programmers communicate more efficiently with developers or to help aspiring developers get started. More details here.
Content Strategy 101
July 14th, 6:00 p.m. PDT
Learn the basics of content strategy in the context of digital strategy and content marketing. In this workshop, we’ll review and create documentation that serve as the foundation for digital projects with impactful messaging and good storytelling. Details here.
July 16th, 9:00 p.m. PDT
Do you keep hearing the word ‘SQL’ buzzing around and want to find out more about it? This workshop will provide an introduction to fundamental concepts in relational databases and using the query language SQL. Participants will learn how to work with data that is stored in a relational database. By the end of the workshop, you will be able to use basic SQL commands to pull data to answer business questions. This workshop is for people who have never used SQL or relational databases and want to learn more about these topics. Details here.
Digital Marketing: Key Concepts + Metrics
July 30th, 7:00 p.m. PDT
This class covers the fundamentals of digital marketing, and introduces you to the key channels, concepts and metrics. Grasp online marketing basics, get your head around the technical jargon and determine how and where your business fits into the digital world. Details here.
😎 COMMUNITY CORNER
One of the reasons I moved my newsletter to Substack is that I’m really enjoying the communities the platform facilitates. There are so many talented writers and thinkers out there who are finding their niche on Substack, and it’s really gratifying to see them getting the recognition they deserve.
I believe a long-form platform like Substack can thrive right now because of a backlash (conscious or unconscious) to the overwhelming presence of social media. It can be great to get a lot of quick hits of information if you’re just trying to keep up with what’s happening, but to really understand anything takes some time and effort.
Are you subscribed to any other Substack newsletters you really enjoy? Send me your recs and I’ll check them out + share them with our community.
And if you’re already writing your own, let me know 🙂
Here are some of my favorite Substacks that I subscribe to:
The Pomp Letter - financial markets, investing; I appreciate his analyses and ability to communicate complex dynamics at play. Also does strong interviews.
Everything - productivity, tech, products; This is one of my favorite “bundles” of topics I’m personally passionate about (organizing knowledge, product case studies, etc)
Wellness Wisdom - mental health, self-care; Patricia does an incredible job here - I love reading these. She usually chooses one main topic a week and shares helpful resources, reflections, and interviews with folks in her network.
Lenny’s Newsletter - product, consumer tech; for my product/tech nerds, Lenny does a great job sharing his observations, experience and research.
Letters From An American - history; I recently subscribed to this one and have been enjoying it so far. I’m a big fan of unlearning what we were taught in school and relearning it from a holistic perspective, so this one has me interested big time.
⭐ FINAL THOUGHTS
How many of you practice visualization when setting goals and making decisions?
Visualization is a technique I care deeply about that keeps me focused and aware of my goals, so I wanted to take some time to share it with you here.
And that plays a big role in the decisions we make in the present. It’s a lot harder to make choices that benefit our future self if our brain is telling us that the person is a total stranger.
But visualization can help ease that disconnect.
First, visualize your future self in an ideal state.
What are you doing?
Who are you surrounded by?
Where are you expending your energy?
Then, reverse-engineer how you’ll get there from the present. In order to get to that ideal future state:
What will you do now?
Who can you surround yourself with?
Where can you expend your energy?
What can you focus on?
By clearly picturing and describing your future self, you’re actually helping your brain develop neural connections to that image. The more real it feels to your brain, the more motivation you’ll have to get there and the easier it will be to act in your future self’s best interest.
Keep in mind, visualization isn’t about setting deadlines for yourself. You don’t have to hit a new milestone every six months. It’s more about setting a direction and understanding that there’s a path to be aware of in order to get there.
Once you know where you want to go, it’s easy to check in with yourself every so often to see whether you’re on the right path.
Try it out this week, along with the reflection I discussed at the beginning of my email, and if you want, let me know how it goes. 💜 Regardless, I hope you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing, and if you’re not, I hope you find your way.
Choose to be happy,