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Adventure vs. Insanity

It's a subtle difference…

Every Journey Begins With…

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for quite a while, so I’m finally taking the leap!  My life has been pretty interesting (even if I do say so myself) up to this point, and I don’t see that changing anytime in the near future.  I get so many questions about what I’m up to and how I’ve navigated different parts of both my personal and professional lives that it seems like sharing my experiences might be useful to others.

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” ~Bill Nye

As I start this journey, I plan to write about how I navigate the fun and the not-so-fun parts of life.  You’ll learn a little about everything I learn about, and I learn something new EVERY day.  I’ll share my personal and professional evolution, occasionally talk about my past (it’s inevitable), and throw a little bit of random in every now and then.  Quotes, books, and technology will be major themes, but you won’t read much about TV, what I ate for any meal, or know every intimate detail of what I did with my time all day long.

Join me on the journey and engage how you want.  If there is a topic you want me to cover or a story you want me to tell, use the contact form to request it.  “Like” away on my posts and feel free to share with your own networks if you think information is useful.  I’m naturally an introvert, so this is an excellent way for me to broaden my circle without social anxiety!

In the next several days, I plan to write about:

  • The Desire Map
  • Being an INTJ
  • Designing your life
  • StrengthsFinder
  • The role quotes play in my life

Welcome and thanks for reading!

Featured post

Unicorn Assholes

The “Unicorn Asshole” is the affectionate term I use to refer to my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  I am an INTJ which is evidently one of the more rare combinations and even more so in the female population.  Pinterest got me interested in the whole MBTI thing and it’s answered a whole lot of questions about why I am the way I am (it’s also where I found the image). My favorite sources from the big P around the INTJ type are:

If you don’t know your MBTI, I highly suggest taking the free quiz found at https://www.16personalities.com.  The quiz is fun, but their website is full of information an it’s graphically AMAZING!  I promise you won’t be sorry you took the time to explore yourself using the tool.

Once I started hoarding knowledge about being an INTJ, I’ve become adept at identifying them, and it turns out, we tend to attract each other!  We’re not everyone’s cup of tea because we see opportunity for improvement EVERYWHERE.  We have very direct communication styles so we aren’t going to tell you how to do your thing better in a sugar coated way either.  We move forward, even when we’ve made a misstep, but you’ll probably never know we made a misstep in the first place.  We are the (wo)man with the plan in all situations, but we can, and most of the time prefer, to lead without authority.  It’s that whole introverted thing that probably saves us from being tarred and feathered on a regular basis.

The significance of being an INTJ plays out in so many elements of my life, so there are definitely going to be more posts illustrating the point.  The key takeaway for today though… Know your MBTI and embrace it!

 

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The Joy of Harry Potter

Last fall I discovered the book Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans of the Stanford Design School.  I found it after I went through the Desire Map [link to post] process and it was the perfect mechanism to pull together two years of serious work to define who I am in this phase of life. Learn more about how they can rock your world on their website.

One of the early activities in the book has you make a dashboard of the status of your life in four different areas.  One of those areas is joy and when I read their definition and reflected on my life, I had to put that one at zero.  It was shocking to me that I literally had nothing in my life that I did purely for unadulterated joy.  It also made me a little sad…

If you’ve been following me, you already know I’m an INTJ [link to post] and that my top strength in StrengthsFinder[link to post]  is learner.  These two things are part of the reason I have such trouble with joy.  I don’t see value in activities unless they are helping me improve or gain knowledge.  Unfortunately, those activities = striving and that is NOT part of Burnett & Evans’ definition of joy.

After making a geographical move and changing jobs at the end of 2016, I decided I needed to be more intentional about seeking joy.  It was SO much harder than I expected it to be!  One day in March, though, I found it and it was staring at me from my very own bookcase.

I have been a rabid Harry Potter fan since 1998.  I avoided the books because I was in college majoring in English education when they first came out, and I was taking 24 credit hours a semester.  Not conducive to reading for fun.  My mentor gave me the first one for my birthday and it was all down hill from there.  I had an entire room in my house decorated with Harry Potter everything for years.  It was even in the paper!  When the first movie came out, I got my hands on four tickets to the sneak preview and I held auditions to determine who was worthy.  My mentor and her daughters won and the four of us set off in full Hogwarts costumes to the event.  We were the only people dressed up because the rest of the tickets went to an orphanage, so we were interviewed by a local news station.  You may be thinking I must be nearly as famous as “The Chosen One,” but alas, I am merely infamous for being a little too in to a franchise that continues to define my generation.

Now that I spend most of my time “adulting,”, I have fallen in to the habit of watching the movies repeatedly.  When I first saw them, I loved them, but starting in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, entire characters and/or plot lines were missing from the movie versions.  It didn’t make me love the movies any less, but this March, I decided it was time to remind myself of what I’ve been missing from the books.  I’ve just started Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) and I have to say, with the end of every book, I feel the same sense of sadness I felt on the very first reading.  Getting lost in those novels has brought me back to the joy of a much simpler time in my life and I will forever be grateful to J.K. Rowling for creating such an amazing world where I can find my joy.

If you haven’t discovered it yet, be sure to check out http://www.pottermore.com where Ms. Rowling is continuing to create new content related to the world of Harry Potter!

*TRANSPARENCY ALERT: Some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links which means I may make a little money if you purchase something linked from this post.

My Super Power

I currently find myself in a bit of a financial mess after sticking my head in the sand about money for my entire adult life.  I made some big bold decisions a couple of years ago to help my family, but that’s not what landed me in the hot water.  My mess is 100% created by me!

I consider this my “coming out” statement to the world.  This is one of those panic attack inducing topics for me and the past couple of days have been hard as I’ve really worked to come to terms with it.  BUT, yesterday, I was having a conversation with a close friend and as I was talking, I realized that no matter what kind of situation I land myself in, I ALWAYS make a plan.  Making a plan is my super power and that was what I wrote about in my gratitude journal for yesterday.

Making a plan is my super power!

Most of the time, I’m developing plans for others… sometimes because I’m asked, but more often than not, I do it because I just can’t help myself.  I’m addicted to continuous improvement and I may be a little hard for some people to love me because of that trait.

I’m still baking my financial plan, but the first element is to lay it all out and call a spade a spade (done).  The second is to investigate options I might pursue.  Yesterday was dedicated to that endeavor and here was my ah-ha moment: At first glance, a debt management plan (DMP) seemed like the way to go.  The offer was to save $150 a month by combining all my payments in to one and pay a lump fee every month for 4 1/2 years.  Sounded like a win to me, but I couldn’t get the credit counselor I needed to speak with to return my call all day long.  Sometimes, the universe throws a wrench in my plans and slows me down.  Two years ago, I would have charged right on demanding someone speak to me and getting the thing in place, but yesterday, my spidy-sense kicked in and I took a breath.  When I looked at things again, I realized that if I used the resources I have, I could save more than $500 a month in payments and have a few things paid off within two months!

I had a few other revelations yesterday too that are helping me to get my shit together.  Between that and the fact that I’m a smart girl with a lot of skills and determination, I know I can whip things in to shape quicker than I can even imagine as I write this post.

Don’t Let it be the Enemy

I was fortunate enough to have the chance to work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for three years.  Jeff Rakes  was the CEO while I was there and he frequently quoted Voltaire;  “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  The Foundation was a place comprised almost entirely of type A overachievers, so perfectionism was truly an issue we struggled with as an organization.

I personally fit the mold in every way, and I find myself wrestling with this issue on this very blog.  This is a space I created not only to share my expertise in the areas where I’m really skilled, but I also want it to be a place I can talk about the things I struggle with.

I’ve spent the last two years making some monumental changes in my life and I’ve been taking a good hard look at myself in the process.  My MBTI (find yours here), my strengths as identified by StrengthsFinder, writing through The Desire Map and Designing Your Life, doing a couple of Brene Brown’s workshops on her website, and reconnecting with my family and my “roots” friends have helped me discover who I really am at this point in my life.  I’ve been able to see how I tend to get lost in certain roles I play in my life, and now, I’m seeing the parts I’ve been sticking my head in the sand about for all of my adulthood.  I’m getting to the really hard stuff, but it’s also going to be the stuff that helps me grow the most.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

So my commitment to myself is to write every day.  I learn, I struggle, I grow, I live this crazy life every single day… But I’ve got a lot to say and writing is how I process, my most articulate form of communication, and essential to my happiness, so I’m going to stop being afraid of it and just do it.  More on each of the tools above to come… Thanks for coming along on my journey!

 

 

Why I’m Qualified

Job hunting advice is the thing I get asked about most often, so I’m going to focus on that for a while and see where that takes us.  You may be asking, “what makes you qualified to give job hunting advice, Kerry?”  There are a few things actually…  First, I’ve done a LOT of it for a multitude of reasons and second, I’ve been pretty successful at finding amazing opportunities.

I graduated from college in 1999 and started doing something I knew I was going to hate before I spent one minute actually doing it.  Did I ever dream I’d have the career path I’ve taken at that point?  Of course not!

I quit teaching high school English after one semester without a new job to go to or any kind of a plan.  After laying on the couch wondering how I’ll ever find meaning in life again, my husband came home from work one day and said, “I don’t care what you’re doing as long as you get paid for it.”  I got the message loud and clear and the next day, I set out in my car looking for temp agencies (remember, this was back in the day).  The first one I walked in to had me take a basic Word and Excel test and they told me, “Charlie is looking for someone.”  I didn’t know who Charlie was, but I was game. The next day, I went to an office building in the industrial park where my parents had their business all my life and I walked inside a building that all but had tumbleweeds rolling through the halls it was so deserted.  Three days later, I started what would be a six year journey with a cocktail mix manufacturing company where I would find one of my callings in operations.

That company still has the record for my longest tenure, and it laid the foundation for my ability to take risks and see the world differently when things just aren’t working for me.  Sometimes you can change your circumstances within a company and sometimes you have to look elsewhere.  The main takeaway here is that you DO have the power to change your situation when your job isn’t serving you or your needs anymore.

Since the glory days of the cocktail industry, I’ve worked in insurance, education technology, big philanthropy, higher education, and now I find myself in international law.  I have a lot of strategies, tools and tips that have been key in the moves I’ve made over the years, so stay tuned as I dive in to those in my next post.

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