In defense of certificates

Certificates, medals, awards, recognition dinners. Necessary? Perhaps not. Here in Nepal, I can get a certificate for donating blood, for giving money, for simply showing up at an event.

A piece of paper is not always meaningful. I could argue that the rate in which certificates are doled out lessens their value. But public appreciation makes everyone feel good. And when people feel good, they do their…

More...

What is your sacrifice?

If you don’t have an answer, you don’t love it enough.

If you care, REALLY care about (fill in blank with your: project, partner, job, client), you will sacrifice something. Results don’t come without sacrifice.

You might sacrifice time or quality or money or reputation or fame.

But if you don’t know what you have sacrificed, either you don’t care enough or you aren’t fully aware. And the only way you…

More...

Top 10 blog posts

Before I list the Top 10 most popular posts I’ve written, I want to acknowledge something big: Project Exponential is coming up on FOUR YEARS of existence, and I can hardly believe it.

I remember that first dinner as if it happened last month. I had to talk myself into calling friends and a few famous people I didn’t know all that well and ask them to join me for something new,…

More...

Beliefs and your destiny

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.

Gandhi

It sounds cliche, but it’s true.

Pay attention to the places your mind wanders.

(Want a “real life” example? Read my story about hard work, dreams and Learning House in Nepal.)

More...

Acceptance and a face tattoo

Last night I had a dream I got a tattoo. It was a big black tribal symbol winding down the side of my face and neck. Sometimes my hair would hide it, but no amount of accessories or clothing could conceal its dark lines. I spent most of the dream trying to come to terms with it and accept the fact I had this thing permanently etched onto my skin.

I’ve sat with…

More...

5 questions to measure success

July 14 2014    Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve been thinking about the American Dream and how we’ve come to define wealth and achievement. I’m turning 30 soon, a benchmark to pause and reflect on life’s work and progress.

Yet the ways in which I was taught to measure “success” don’t seem to apply to me.

I don’t own a house or a car. What I do own fits into a duffle bag. I sleep under a mosquito net. My…

More...

Lessons on working for free

For almost one year, I’ve volunteered my time serving a group of people I’ve grown to care for immensely. While I’ve sacrificed a lot, I’ve been granted much more in return. Some key takeaways:

1. Let excitement be your guide.

Excitement is an internal barometer letting you know you’re on track. If you’re not excited to get to work, you’re in the wrong place.

There was a time I…

More...

Who helps you find what’s next?

Throughout my work, I’ve helped professionals connect in ways that matter. By carefully assessing the talents and skills of my clients, I consider how strangers might enter a room and leave as friends. I see value in introducing individuals to those who know how to get them closer to their goals. Maybe this person has “arrived” there already, or they know how to get there, or they know someone who…

More...

selling yourself, itching, and bragging rights

You don’t need to sell yourself; you just need to create an itch.

(Unless you are famous. If you’re like me, you’re not, so you’ll need to work to demonstrate credibility and get attention.)

Show me your passion, your professionalism, your successes. Make me believe you’re friendly and approachable and confident and dependable and honest and good.

I want to know you can give me what you say you can. I want to know I’ll…

More...

Conversations that matter, organizing, and impresarios: A dinner event in March

Everyone knows bringing people together in meaningful ways has value. But what does that mean? And how do you build environments that get people to be authentic and real?

Questions I hear:

  • How do you move beyond “What do you do?” at networking events?
  • How important is a guest list, really?
  • Does the environment matter?
  • Can you prevent people from dishing out business cards like candy on Halloween?
  • Is it possible to focus discussion and…
    More...