Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars

Shooting for the Moon

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” Many believe that this is an overused and somewhat cheesy quote, and perhaps they are right. Yet, it remains as one of my favorites for the truth that is conveyed in it. No one ever found their true potential by aiming for eye level. Feeling the need to explore and push further is what breeds new discovers and capabilities. It is that drive that propelled me into grad school. I would have been fine if I had continued to move forward in my career without pursuing my MBA. There is a good chance that I would have led a successful and hopefully fulfilling career without the added stress of getting a post graduate degree, but that isn’t what I wanted. I have high ambitions for my career, and while a MBA may not be necessary to reach my goals or guarantee success, I believe that it increases the likelihood. I will leave Wayne State with a deeper understanding of the areas of business that I do not regularly operate in and how their functions impact mine. I will have also gained valuable lessons in time management and balancing a career with the demands of life. Finally, I will have accomplished the goal I set for myself when I first graduated from undergrad. I did not choose to rest on my laurels, accept where I was heading as good enough, and forget what I had set out to do. I accepted the challenge head on, knowing that it would be a lot of work and lead to less sleep than I probably should be getting. I know that it will help me become better at what I do and even teach me more about how I can expand my interests and expertise.

Reaching the top is something that I think about everyday, and I am not necessarily talking about the top of the corporate ladder. Yes, that would be nice and I have goals to climb high, but my focus is more on being at the top of my proverbial game. I have an ever present desire to absorb information and utilize it in a way that makes me better, whether that be better at my job or better in that it challenges me to think and evaluate the world around me. This drive comes with some caveats though. In some ways, my desire to do well is a source of stress, something that I have had to work on as I have progressed through work and school. It is very easy to get tunnel vision and become so focused on the end goal that it makes it difficult to unwind and enjoy the ride. I have to remind myself that I do not have to accomplish everything in one day, and that bumps in the road are merely that, bumps. If I have learned anything through my adventures, it is that things do not always go according to plan. Some of my greatest challenges in life have arisen from being thrown a curve ball on a play that seemed straight forward.

As I said, the quote may be a little cheesy and overused, but the message is strong. There is nothing wrong with missing your target, as long as you keep moving forward. Sometimes, the target you were aiming for is only the catalyst that steers you in the direction you were meant to take.

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Monday Highlights

Sleep: 9 Hours woohoo!

Work: 8.5 Hours

Workout: 30 minutes of POP Pilates, 20 minute walk at lunch

Study: 1 Hour plus 3 Hours of class tonight (Project Management)

Soundtrack: Sigala Pandora station

 

Music to my ears

I Can Hear the Music

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

 

If you spend any time with me, it is pretty easy to figure out that music is an important part of my life. I hate driving without music, I carry my iPod (yes an actual iPod not just my phone) with me everywhere, and despite being well past my high school years, I still identify as a band geek. Whether I need to pump myself up, calm myself down, or create background noise for better focus, music is my go to. I even tailor my playlists to specific times and activities. Playlists for running are designed to keep me on pace or change it up to make it tougher, work playlists are often a little more chill and sometimes only instrumental. Classical is awesome for studying and of course I have my pumped up, loud playlists for getting ready or cleaning the house. It is still amazing to me even after all of the time I have spent around music the impact that it can have. Music can be empowering, calming, thrilling, comforting; and the impact of the same piece of music can differ greatly person to person. It can suck you in or transport you to a different time or place. I for one am someone who becomes totally absorbed by seeing the symphony live. I have been told that I don’t move for the duration of the entire piece. I can’t say for sure that I don’t move, but I do often become mesmerized by watching the instrumentalists play and allowing my mind to wander with the music.  Other shows have sucked me in with songs that remind me of a person, time, or even a dream. I recently had the opportunity to see The Piano Guys live (I highly recommend them) and it was incredible how even the songs that I had heard from them before completely pulled me in. It is not just live music either; there are songs that as soon as I hear them there is a memory or feeling that is triggered. There are other times when a particular genre is exactly what I need to put myself in the appropriate mindset. When it comes to keeping things balanced, music is an important tool in my kit.

Recently, my musical needs have been rather eclectic. I’ve been super busy at work and thus been hooked on Pandora stations like Lindsey Stirling and The Piano Guys that provide a nice soundtrack without being distracting. On the contrary, when I get home and need motivation to get my butt into gear for a workout, I’ve been blasting songs like Demi Lovato’s “Confident,” finding that a pumped up beat with catchy lyrics is what I need to push through. I may be tired, but I know I will feel better after a workout.

As confident and determined as that sounds, I have to admit that the past two weeks have been draining. It took me several days to recover from San Diego and the red eye flight back; days that were filled with big projects at work, trying to stay on top of Accounting, and getting the everyday chores and responsibilities out of the way. I also agreed to participate in the Tone It Up Bikini Series with a group of friends and I have found that combining my Blogilates schedule with the Bikini Series is tough. This is not helped by how busy I have been this week, making me feel rushed through my workouts so I can get everything done. Weeks like this are where the importance of balance are emphasized. I fell out of balance last week, not getting enough sleep and stressing about work and my Accounting final. I needed a little time to reset. Luckily, I was able to play golf both Sunday and Monday and while I was working and studying I kept a steady stream of good music pumping through my headphones. I can see the light at the end of these crazy few weeks. My Accounting final is tomorrow and while work is still hectic, a few big speed bumps seem to be disappearing. Life is good.

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Let me know what makes up the soundtrack to your life!

 

 

Friday Highlights

Sleep: 7ish Hours

Work: 8 Hours

Study: 1.5 Hours

Workout: Tone It Up Daily 5, 2.5 mile run, walk the stairs at work (16 flights), Blogilates Stretching

Current Soundtrack: The Piano Guys Pandora station

 

Find Your Path -Overcoming Being Overwhelmed

Breathe In, Breathe Out.

Overwhelmed. This is a feeling that many a grad student is familiar with. Overwhelmed with that amount of work to get done, overwhelmed with choosing classes, overwhelmed with figuring out what they want to do with the rest of their life. Some students, particularly some MBA students, are already well established in their careers and are set on where they want to go. They may be pursuing their MBA as a step to reach the next level or maybe just because their company will pay for it. Others, like me, are at an important point in their career, experienced enough to know what they like and what they’re good at, but maybe not so experienced that they know exactly where they want their career to go over the next 10 years. I’ve been asked several times in the past few months what I want to do, where do I want to end up. I used to know for certain what my answer was to that question. I wanted to work in the Marketing department of a professional sports team with the goal of becoming the Director or Vice President of Marketing. My dream job was Vice President of Marketing for the Detroit Red Wings. That job is still incredibly appealing, but as I’ve expanded my skill set and experienced the professional world outside of sports, I have found other paths that are also appealing. I have found that I am good with data and analytics, and turning the insights from data into a story and then a strategy. I have found that I am incredibly passionate about digital media and finding new ways to connect to fans and consumers in a meaningful way. I was never much of a techie, but my fascination with how tech is developing and how it can be used to communicate and make lives easier is ever increasing. While these expansions in interests and skills are great, they also make the decision of what path to follow more complicated. No longer am I 100% sure that sports marketing is where I should end up and where I will thrive. Long term goals could keep me in the agency world or see me switch to the brand or even publishing side of marketing. The possibilities are exciting but at times intimidating. I am a point in my life where a choice of direction could impact the rest of my career. While it is possible to change direction a year or even several years down the road if I feel as though the path is no longer the right fit, it becomes much more complicated as I commit time and energy to developing my expertise in a given area. I chose to switch my concentration in my MBA from Marketing to Information Systems Management because I believed (and still do believe) that the classes in that track are more closely aligned with the digital marketing skills I am most passionate about enhancing and pursuing. I am confident that digital marketing is a field that I can build a happy and successful career in and requires skills that are applicable across the industries I am interested in. My question and choice comes when I decide which area of digital marketing will become my home in the short and the long term. Some of the pressure I feel is self imposed; I worry about making a “wrong decision” and ending up in a situation that is very different from what I was looking for. I worry that I will choose something that I may be qualified for and even good at, but that does not make me happy. Now, I have been in similar spots before and know that all big choices in life come with some risks, whether they be career choices or not. I took the risk to go away for college where I knew no one, I took the risk to move back to Michigan for a job knowing I was leaving a certain comfort and life I had built in St. Louis. There were some bumps in those choices, but I have come out on the other side and know now that those were risks worth taking. I will never know for sure if a path is right until I start down it, and that is a risk I will have to accept. The alternative is to stay where I am which, while comfortable, will eventually become unsatisfactory as I will be leaving my potential unfulfilled.

I cannot say for sure where I will be in 5 years, life throws curveballs at you on a regular basis, I can however choose to make the most of the opportunities I am given and go after the moments that will propel me upwards and onwards.

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

 

Everyone’s morning routine has a few consistent elements no matter the day, that is what makes it a routine. Breakfast may change, the order may fluctuate, but there are those tasks that always happen. Part of my routine is filtering through my emails, discarding ones I do not need or have no interest in reading. Along with the ridiculous amount of promotional emails I receive, I subscribe to several publisher newsletters including theSkimm, HubSpot Marketing, and Fast Company. A few days ago one of the headlines in Fast Company read ” 5 Words and Phrases That Can Transform Your Work Life.” The argument of the article is that by changing a few common phrases in our lives we can change our outlook and behavior, and thus our level of success. Sounds an awful lot like the inspiration clichés of “think it, do it” or “success begins between your ears.” While we tend to tune out cliches, the article’s main point is true none the less and the changes Professor Roth recommends are all changes that I agree should be made to our daily vocabulary.

The two swaps that jumped out to me were swapping “can’t” for “won’t” and “have to” with “want to.” As as general rule, I agree with the advice that the word “can’t” is one that should be limited in its use. The swap for “won’t” is fitting as it speaks volumes about the reality of many situations. “I can’t” do something is often an excuse foe not wanting to do something. “I can’t workout because I don’t have time,””I can’t go back to school.” How many of these are situations where we are fully capable but unwilling to exert the extra effort required to see something through? “I won’t trade TV time for the gym.” “I won’t commit the time and money to get my Masters.” While there is nothing inherently wrong with deciding not to pursue school or (sigh) workout, blaming that decision on an inability to do so is letting yourself off a little too easy. As for “have to” and “want to,” this swap focuses on trading the negative connotation of “have to” for a positive. If you approach something with apprehension or distaste, it will undoubtedly affect your experience and likely your success in seeing the task through. I don’t necessarily want to do my accounting homework, but I do want to complete my MBA and that homework is part of doing so. Looking at it another way, I want to get my accounting homework done so that I can enjoy my weekend. These swaps in language play a large role in changing a mindset, which is known to be connected to success rates.

It is easy to say that changing your mindset will help you achieve. Like many things in life, it is easier than said than done. There will always be days when you “have to” get things done and days where you would rather collapse on the couch than continue to work. Life as a grad student brings many of those moments and they can seem overwhelming or down right crushing. These are the moments where your mental strength and the decision to maintain a positive mindset will make all of the difference. Sometimes the first step is changing your daily language to reflect that mindset.

 

Are there any language swaps you make to change or maintain a positive mindset?

 

 

If you are interested in reading the original Fast Company article, follow the link                 —>http://bit.ly/1pp8SAc

 

Best,

Katherine

Study Abroad: To Go Or Not To Go?

Raise your hand if you studied abroad while in undergrad. Where did you go? Europe? Asia? Australia? I had planned on studying abroad (I wanted to go to Australia) while at SLU but in the end chose pursuing internships that I thought would help my career in the long run. Those jobs did help me, but there are times that I wonder if I should have taken another look at spending time abroad as a student. Now that I am in the student seat again, study abroad has once again become an option and I find myself wondering if now is the time. I have not traveled as much as I would have liked; the only international adventure (other than Canada) on my books is Austria and Germany with my sister’s hockey team in 2012. That was an amazing trip, and I would love to go back and explore even further, but I also have plenty of other places on my checklist. So, when at orientation they released some of the study abroad programs for 2016, I listened and felt that itch to travel start up again. Not only are you able to travel and see business in an international setting, but the two weeks you spend abroad count for a full 3 credits. Travel and reducing the time spent in class? Not a bad combination.

I was initially intrigued by Wayne State’s program that takes students to Italy but the dates overlap with my sister’s college graduation. Other programs go to China (not high on my list) and Poland this year. Reading through the brochures and material my first blush answer was “Yes! I want to do this!” However, this isn’t undergrad anymore and taking off to travel has become a little more complicated. First issue, the trips are two weeks long, which covers all the vacation time I get in a year. While I would love to do this, I have prior obligations this year that prevent me from doing so. But what about next year? Same question arises, can I/do I want to use all my vacation time at once? Maybe, I don’t have anything concrete planned for 2017 so I won’t eliminate the possibility. Second issues, will my work schedule allow me to take two weeks where I am basically unavailable to my coworkers and clients. In an ideal world, vacation time means vacation time and no work, but in reality, that is often not the case. These trips all take place in the spring and summer which tends to be a busy time for my office. Leaving would require approval from my boss and a lot of planning ahead to make sure any questions that could arise could be answered without me. Might be a bit of a pain, but if approval was given extra work before I leave would not be a deterrent. Third issue, and if I am honest this one is the biggest hurdle, is the cost of the trip. Not only do you pay for the cost of being in another country with the program, but you pay for airfare, a majority of meals while abroad, and oh yea, tuition for the 3 credits. At minimum we’re talking $5000-$6000, and it is likely to be higher. Not an exorbitant amount, but not chump change either, especially for someone who is paying for school on their own. To go on the trip costs as much as tuition for a full semester with two classes. Granted, I am getting one class credited for the trip, but is that enough? Can I justify spending that money right now? I don’t have the answer for that at the moment, and if I decide to pursue it next year circumstances could be very different which makes thinking about an answer now difficult. I know I want to travel, and I know I want to do it while I am young and have fewer responsibilities. So what are my tradeoffs between saving for a shorter self planned trip in the reasonably near future, studying abroad through school, or planning a longer trip but having to wait? That is a question that I will have to consider as I balance and consider my options.

If anyone has any sage advice, I am all ears!

 

Best,

Katherine

 

 

 

Why I Run

I’ll come right out and say it, I hate running. I don’t understand people who want to run marathons and I think the runner’s high is a myth runners tell non runners to get them to run. I love the way I feel after I run, I love feeling strong and healthy, but I hate running. Unlike swimming or biking where I can lose myself in my thoughts or music and go forever, I am acutely aware of how far I’ve gone and how much farther I have to go when I run. This hate for running isn’t dominant in my family, quite the contrary. My mom ran 8 miles every day and my sister is training for a marathon and an ironman. Less extreme but still a runner, my brother runs regularly and enjoys it. Then there is me. I am the one that wears a “Running Sucks” shirt while I run. So why if I hate it do I put myself through 2-5 mile runs several times per week? As I said, I love feeling strong and healthy and when I run, I feel just that. I also like having a variety of workouts in my routine, especially when weather and logistics limit my options. Right now I do not have easy access to a pool, so swimming laps is out. Biking is great but often I feel like my stationary bike does not give me the same intense workout I get when I’m cycling outside.

I’ve been asked before how I motivate myself to go running, especially when it gets colder. I actually enjoy running more when it is chilly. Once it get above 65-70 I feel like my body has to work a lot harder to keep me moving. My ideal running weather is in the 50s. Warm enough to not have to bundle but cool enough that I don’t feel like I am melting. So motivating myself, I won’t lie, it’s tough some days. Not only to get myself to run but to work out in general. I either have to wake up early to get a run in before work, which is usually what I do in the summer so it is not as hot, or I have to do it after a long day at work. Both of those options require physical activity to happen at a time where I would rather be curled up with a blanket. However, I know from experience that once I get moving, I will feel more awake and I always feel better after a workout than I do knowing that I skipped. That feeling is largely what gets me up and moving. There is much greater satisfaction in sinking into the couch after a workout than there is after sitting all day. For someone starting a workout routine, or even for those who have one but need a push, I recommend finding quick workouts, 3, 5, or 10 minutes, that can get you moving even when you feel tired. If you enjoy Pilates I recommend Blogilates with Cassey Ho; she has 3 and 5 minute series that are great for squeezing exercise in. If after that first burst you’re still exhausted and not feeling it, maybe your body really needs the break. On the flip side, that quick burst to get the blood flowing may just be the kickstart you needed to get into your full workout. Either way, you know that you gave it a try and made the effort for some physical activity.

What is your favorite workout? Are there any that you hate but force yourself to do? Let me know!

 

Super Bowl 50…Hmm

I hate to be a downer, but did Super Bowl 50 underwhelm anyone else? The game was less than spectacular, the halftime show, while entertaining enough, was average, and a lot of the ads fell flat. For such a milestone of one of the biggest sporting events one would think there would be a little more oomph. The ads in particular, I would wager more than half of the viewership’s main reason for watching, paled in comparison to many of the ads from years past. Perhaps it is because the commercials I enjoyed most were pre released and thus not a surprise to me, but the commercial breaks were not what I was expecting. In fact, two of the ads, Avocados of Mexico (their second year in the game) and Apartments.com, only stood out to me because of my surprise at their ability to afford a Super Bowl spot. Even Budweiser, who has long been known for some of the best Super Bowl ads, failed to impress, with spots that echoed the messages of previous ads with less flair or entertainment value. The original macro-brewed spot was bold and made an impact, you can argue for or against that tactic’s value to the brand, but it was talked about after the game either way. This year’s spot felt a bit lazy, like they were hoping playing that card again would deliver the same impact. The Helen Mirren spot had the right idea, and I fully approve of the message, but it also lacked the impact that their previous anti drunk driving ad created (though how do you really compete with a sad looking Golden Retriever?).

It wasn’t all disappointments though. Heinz’s Meet the Ketchups was just as cute during the game as it was on Twitter last week, and the reactions of those in my party who had not seen it only made it better. Avocados of Mexico’s ad was weird but funny and the faceoff between Baldwin and Marino for Amazon made me chuckle. For anyone who enjoys Marvel movies, which I do, Coke’s mini can commercial also brought a little lighthearted fun.

Overall, last night did not deliver quite the show I was expecting for the Super Bowl’s 50th game. However, there were some funny moments and despite the let downs, the Super Bowl will still be the most talked about topic at the water cooler today.

What were your thoughts on Super Bowl 50? Did you have a favorite ad?

5 Years Since Undergrad…

Yesterday I got this lovely email from my alma mater…

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 9.32.57 AM

First thought: I’m still not sold on the new logo. Second thought: Holy crap it’s been 5 years!

As of May it will have been 5 years since I was deemed a “Daughter of Saint Louis University forever!” For anyone who has ever been to a SLU graduation, you know what that means. For anyone else, it is what the President of the University says as each school is addressed as a final flourish for Commencement.

5 years… 5 YEARS. In the grand scheme of things 5 years is nothing, a flash of time that goes by more quickly than we would like to think. Graduation day seems so long ago and yet, the fact that it has been 5 years is still mind boggling. I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that my sister is graduating in 4 months so a reminder that it has been that long since I was an undergraduate is not particularly welcome.

Looking back, my 4 years at SLU were amazing. From the friends I made, to what I learned, and even the struggles that I faced, I can honestly say that being at SLU helped me grow into the person I am today. I know, I know, that is super sappy and basically the most cliche thing I can say about my college experience, but sometimes I get a little sappy and I do genuinely miss those days. While I’m looking back, I can also appreciate the years that have passed since I left SLU. They were not as fun as the SLU years, and to say that struggle was a common theme would be an understatement, but there were good times too and though I considered myself a strong person before, I know that I am even stronger now. I grew up, I faced challenges head on, and I found that even when major points in life doesn’t go as planned I can make it work.

So what can I say that I have accomplished in 5 years? Well technically I have a few more months before my time is up on that, but for conversation’s sake…

  1. I moved (far) away from home and lived on my own without the security blanket of a college atmosphere.
  2. I uprooted what I had built in STL and moved back to Michigan to a city where I knew few people.
  3. I started grad school.
  4. I adopted my first dog on my own.
  5. I bought my own car (may seem minor but I know people who haven’t done this so it counts).
  6. I moved into my first house. Only as a rental, but a major step up from only taking care of an apartment.
  7. Comfort Zone – greatly expanded
  8. Professional Growth – I not only survived my first job, I thrived and in the process learned a new area that I enjoy (who knew data would become one of my strengths).
  9. Personal Growth – More than just knowing my own strength, I have become more comfortable in exerting it. I will always be polite and positive, but I know that I can push when needed and accomplish more.

As I progress through graduate school I know that there are more hurdles I will have to face and much more to learn. I’m excited to see though, in two years when I am done and then 5 years down the line, how much the list of what I have accomplished grows. The adventure continues everyday and I keep moving forward.

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Brand Storytelling – Article by Mitch Duckler

Happy Monday everyone. I hope you’ve been able to check out and enjoy my Monday Motivation post. I needed a little extra motivation to get out of my nice warm bed this morning.

I know this blog is dedicated to surviving grad school while working, but I came across an article that I really enjoyed and I thought I’d share it for anyone who works with brands and in particular marketing. The article is written by Mitch Duckler, a strategic consultant from Chicago. He examines not only the shift from one way communication marketing to the two way conversation that has emerged between brands and consumers in recent years, but how brands can do it effectively and why they need to do it. The article is a little longer than your typical marketing blog post, but it is worth the read. If you have a chance, click the link, take a look, and leave a comment or Tweet me (@KJacoby26) letting me know what you think.

 

That’s all for now!

Best,

Katherine

 

bit.ly/1S5MhFd 

This May Be A Thirsty Thursday

Can we talk about traffic for a minute? As someone who grew up in a relatively small town and walked to work for the first 3 years of her career I can say that traffic is not something I deal with well. I am generally a patient person, but as soon as the cars ahead of me slow down for seemingly no reason, my patience evaporates. Now, I understand that when there is an accident all other cars should slow down for safety reasons, but what about the general every day morning where people just refuse to drive, or worse, they’re so busy on their phones that driving becomes the secondary priority (which leads to accidents anyway). I suppose that in some ways the slow crawl of traffic I deal with everyday may be better than the alternative of full speed accidents. I was almost side swiped this morning because the driver of the car had to avoid being run over by a woman on her phone in her large SUV who changed lanes without even looking. To say the driver of the car didn’t take it well would be fair, as he proceeded to pull in front of her and stop to get her attention. This was  about a mile before my exit was impeded by an accident where a Trailblazer managed to rear end a Jeep so hard that there was no longer a grill or headlights in her front end. All before 9am and all making me crave something stronger than my morning tea.

With that, it’s back to work. Enjoy your Thursday!

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Today’s Notes:

Sleep: 8 hours (most I’ve had in a while)

Work: 8-9 hours

Studying: 3-4 Hours. So close and yet so far from the end of this 4 week course

Workout: POP Pilates