Keep Swimming.

The #CreativeSoulsChallenge, Day 5 is to blog about 3 ways that I stay motivated and I love chatting about motivation so this one’s a treat. I’ve been able to do two presentations on motivation this year at the College Panhellenic Conference and Vanderbilt’s The Leadership Studio.

I’m a fan of Daniel H. Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. As luck would have it, he provides 3 ways to motivate yourself and others that are a departure from our classic extrinsic motivators of money, food, and stuff. When you want people to do higher level work and be creative, you’re going to have cater to their intrinsic motivators–things that come from a personal and internal space.

A.M.P

Autonomy–Am I able to self direct my time, task, technique, and team?

Mastery– Am I getting better at something?

Purpose– Am I doing something meaningful and relevant for my life or the lives of others?

When I read this book, I could clearly reflect on moments when I’ve had a lapse in motivation, and how it was connected to one of these factors.

Drive new

A= Pink states that one of the “t’s” might be more important for you than the others. Perhaps you don’t care if someone tells you how to do something (technique) but you want to be able to choose when you do it (time). For me, time and team, are important to maintaining a high level of motivation.

Time= I don’t like anyone to be in charge of my time. Only my boss (sparingly) and my boss’ boss (sparingly) are able to put meetings on my calendar. If I feel like I don’t have control over my time, I’m not happy and I will not be motivated to get the work done.

Team= I  really like to choose my team. Inherited teams are hard for me.

Do you have autonomy over the areas that matter to you? How are you providing autonomy in these areas to those you supervise? Or are you micromanaging the motivation right out of the room?

M= I’m an achiever. I have to know that I’m getting better at the work I’m doing in my full-time job as well as my side hustles and community work. Improvement is highly motivating for me when I speak or host educational programs. Have I gotten better? Have we improved as a team? On top of that, for me to be truly motivated, I have to want to get better at the skills utilized for a project.

In general, people want to develop and grow as a person and a professional. How is this work helping them to move toward mastery? How are you helping people track their growth? Are you celebrating their improvement? Recognition is good.

P= The WHY is critically important for my motivation. What is the purpose of the project? Why does this task matter? How is it contributing to the bigger picture? “Because I said so” doesn’t work with me at the age of 33. I have to know if I’m making a difference. Knowing the Purpose really helps motivate me when I’m engaged in tasks that I don’t enjoy. I hate the financial pieces of my current job BUT I have to do those things so that we can continue offering great programs. Now, if I don’t find a WHY or if the WHY I find is ridiculous then I’ve totally discovered the root of my motivational hardship. If it doesn’t matter then stop doing it. No one has time or desire to do meaningless work.

People have to know that what they are doing matters. Why are we raising this money? Why are we painting this wall? Why are we stuffing these envelopes? Take them back to the WHY when motivation declines.

 

Those are my three ways that I stay motivated. I think through these elements before I begin a project and when I can sense myself hitting a wall, I tap back into this knowledge and do a quick assessment of what I’m missing. Perhaps I need to take more control over a certain area, remember how what I’m doing is helping me become better at a desired skillset, and remind myself that what I’m doing matters.

Do an A.M.P. assessment the next time you experience motivation issues.

Want to watch an animated version of the book? Go.

Daniel H. Pink’s TED Talk? Go.

Thanks for reading!

Krystal

 

Love for 30 Project: Tis the Season of Enough

I’m fortunate to have a second guest post over at Erin Kennedy’s, MyThirtySpot.com. Tis the Season of Enough is the latest addition to the Love for 30 Project. Take some time to check it out today. Remember, you are ENOUGH! You are enough just as you are today. As we move into the holiday season, many of us in some way will feel as if we haven’t done enough. A family member will make a grating comment, your turkey isn’t as juicy as when your sister made it last year, you can’t afford all of the fancy gifts you’d like to give your family, perhaps you’re a student and you already know that your grades for the semester just aren’t going to turn out as you hoped they world, and for many of us we’re looking at the 2014 to-do list with a clear understanding that 2015 is staring us in the face. STEP AWAY FROM THE LIST! Breathe and think about ALL that you have done and all that you’ve overcome this year. Think about the effort, reflect on the process, and hold on to the understanding that whatever you did was enough and that most of that stuff on your list doesn’t really matter anyway. We’ve got to stop trying to pour ourselves into a receptacle that is not meant for us. What’s enough for me might not be enough for someone else or it could be too much and that’s fine. Many of the things we look to with the hope of becoming whole are actually toxic and will never be able to fill that void. So stop! Look around you. I am Enough! I do Enough! I have Enough! Let’s internalize this message and get on with the show.***

enough-purple

***Believe me, I know there are people in the world who actually don’t HAVE enough. As we move into the holiday season, I encourage you to step outside of your own world and help those in need. There are ample opportunities to volunteer to make the holidays a better time for orphans, the homeless, people with disabilities,  prisoners, senior citizens, single parent families, and people who have a low socioeconomic status. If you’re in Nashville, check out Hands On Nashville for their Holiday Volunteer Guide. Working with those who actually don’t have enough will shine a light on all that you have. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and others while giving back in a time of great need. I promise serving others will give you pause before you launch into your dramatic lament about what you don’t have at this time in your life.

Thanks for reading!

Lata y’all.

College…Ready or Not?–College & Money: Too Much and Never Enough

College is a lot of things but one thing it can never claim to be is cheap.

One of the things that I’ve noticed college students often have issues with is money. We’re living in a time in which the vast majority of students are receiving some type of financial aide whether that be scholarships, grants, work study, and/or the dreaded loans. Room and board, books, student fees, and tuition all have to be paid. Costs vary depending on the institution. Private schools are often more expensive than public and going to school out-of-state will often cost you more than in-state. Community Colleges are a less expensive option and there is a movement of students who are starting out at the CC and then transferring to a four-year institution after completing their first two years of coursework. This helps save money while the student pays cheaper tuition, lives at home, and works to save up for the greater costs of a four-year college/university.

 

college money

A source of stress that is rearing its ugly head on campuses is that many students are able to find ways to be able to afford “going to college”. They get what they need to be a student. What they don’t get covered in their financial package is what I call ” [insert name of college/university] Plus”. This is all of the other “stuff” that college students want in order to take full advantage of the college experience.

This might include:

– Fraternity/sorority membership

– Participation in certain clubs/organizations/teams

– Spring Break/Fall Break trips

-Beach Week

– Study Abroad

– Alternative Spring Break

– apparel

-late night food, coffee runs, frozen yogurt, smoothies

– money to spend on the weekend excursions (cabs, festive beverages, dinners out on the town with friends, movie tickets, concerts)

and anything else that costs extra beyond basic college expenses.

This creates a class bubble and can lead to some destructive financial habits including the dreaded college credit card trap. Stay away! If needed, get one card! Only one! Emergencies ONLY! Pay it off immediately! Money also serves as a determinant of how and if students participate in extracurricular activities and it can dictate who they choose to include in their circle of friends.

Here are some financially healthier ways to figure this out:

1. Get a job! There are always offices on campus looking for student workers. Ask your Career Center about resources on campus to help you find openings. These are also usually in the school newspaper, on flyers around campus, and some schools even have Employment Fairs for on-campus jobs. The great thing about working on-campus is that your employer will make sure that you honor your identity as a student. At many of these jobs you can even do your homework during downtime and still count those hours on your timesheet. It’s convenient and you’ll learn about another aspect of the university as well as basic skills that can help you later in life. You won’t get rich BUT you’ll earn extra pocket change for those “plus” opportunities.

Of course, you can also work off-campus. Studies have shown that it is actually beneficial for a student to work 20 hours a week as it helps establish time management skills. Be upfront with your employer about your schedule as a student. Think about the proximity of your job to campus. Unless you absolutely need to, try not to work to the point that you’re actually missing out on your college experience. If you have to work, I get it, but you don’t want to resent your job and you want to make sure that whatever you’re paying for that you actually have an opportunity to be an active participant. Don’t forget, you’re in college to get your diploma. Make sure that you’re not working to the detriment of your academics.

Babysitting is often a clutch role that many students pick-up as a college student.

Check out the Psychology or Sociology department as they are often holding non-threatening and non-invasive studies in which students can serve as subjects and make a little extra money.

A great deal of students work extremely hard over the summer to bank their income in order to serve as their bucket of funds for the upcoming school year. This isn’t a bad idea and will certainly help you to develop and manage a budget.

Make sure to set up a checking account and develop a basic budget. What are your wants versus your needs? What is your family helping you pay for versus what are you responsible to pay for on your own? Keeping track will help you avoid those pesky overdrawn fees that I became way too familiar with in college.

2. Inquire about scholarships or payment plans. For things like sorority/fraternity membership, study abroad, and even some trips there may exist financial aide opportunities in the form of scholarships or payment plans. Connect with the person in charge of finances for the organization and be upfront about your payment concerns. I know that money can be hard to chat about with a peer but if you’re interested in the opportunity then you’ve got to do the work to figure out how to afford it. Just ask the general question, “Are there opportunities for payment plans or scholarships?” Believe me, this isn’t the first time this has been brought up by a student. Contact staff in the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life or the Study Abroad Office for more information. For many trips, you pay for it during a certain period of time and not all at once. If this is the case, figure out if the payment plan is doable for you and your budget.

3. Look for alternatives. Everyone has the ability to class pass these days. If obtaining the latest gear is important to you then it is important that you become adept at obtaining the look for less. TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Target, Old Navy, H&M, Forever 21, outlet stores, ASOS, Goodwill,  consignment shops, Charming Charlie’s, EBay, and clearance sales are going to become your best friends. Don’t let me loose in a Wal-Mart–I will make that $15.00 dress look like a million bucks. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. All you need is the look and not the label. Learn how to make that $25.00 dress from Target look like that $150.00 Anthropologie dress. There are so many blogs and Pinterest boards that can assist you with getting the look you want for 1/3 of the price. You wear the clothes. Also, become aware of all the discounts stores offer college students. The movie theatre, J.Crew, LOFT, Kate Spade, and many local boutiques over 10-15% off if you have a college ID. Go for the high/low approach to fashion. Splurge on the basics and save money on overly trendy items that will only be “cool” for 5 seconds. My current outfit includes a Target dress, belt that came with a TJ Maxx dress, Anthropologie flats that were 50% off and I used my birthday discount to purchase, Stella & Dot bracelet, Longchamp Tote,  Old Navy Cardigan, and basic pearl studs from Macy’s.  I could throw on another basic Target dress and have a whole new look tomorrow. Rock what you got! Confidence is the essence of style.

confidence

For anything that people are buying that is exorbitant in price, you can certainly find a lower-cost option including the needed textbooks. Check out AMAZON or local booksellers before you settle on the bookstore prices. There are often previous students who also will cut you a great deal on their used textbooks. Don’t forget, you can make money on those at the end of the semester. The University will often hold a Buy Back OR you can sell to fellow students. Sometimes, I would get up to $250.00 back at the end of the semester. Granted that was certainly not anywhere near the amount I spent on them but I wasn’t mad at $250.00 to help celebrate the end of the semester.

Switch up your social plan so that you can still go out, but do it differently than your peers. Perhaps you engage in festive beverages before you go out, maybe you eat dinner on your already paid for meal plan as opposed to splurging on an expensive dinner, take the free student bus and not a cab, keep coffee or chai in your room so as not to make Starbucks runs that quickly add up. Have a stash of snacks for those late night urges.

4. Scour your campus for FREE opportunities. You’re in college and there is free fun happening EVERYWHERE! Make it a game and see how many free things you can attend, eat, and take home each week. Shows, lectures, t-shirts, movies, food, sporting events, and lessons, etc. can all be found underneath your nose. Take advantage of it and take a group of friends on low budget adventures.  Perhaps create a FREE STUFF resource through twitter, Facebook, or a blog to disseminate to your peers. I don’t care how much money you have, everyone loves free stuff.

5. Sometimes, you just have to accept that you can’t do all the things. I accepted that I’d never be off to Cancun for Spring Break or Italy in the summer. I accepted that I could not afford sorority membership or full-price items from J.Crew. I learned to be happy with what I had and to fill in any perceived “gaps” with all of the free or inexpensive stuff I could find. I had an amazing college experience. I’m eternally grateful that I even was able to attend college. When it gets rough, think about the bigger picture. You’re one of the privileged few that has the opportunity to receive a college education. Praise Him!

enough gratitude

The biggest obstacle is often communicating to your friend group about your finances.

What do you say when everyone wants to call a cab to go downtown to grab dinner and festive beverages at the new swanky speakeasy? 

What do you say when your girls have invited you to Vegas for Fall Break? 

I would encourage you to do this, TELL THE TRUTH.

If peeps walk away from you because of your financial situation then you might want to find new friends. College is hard enough without hiding your economic situation from people and lying your way through the day by making excuse after excuse about why you can’t do things with the group. The truth also trumps unsurmountable credit card debt that could haunt you long after you graduate.

“Y’all, that’s just a bit too steep for my budget. Would you consider [insert option here]?” 

“The old bank account doesn’t feel good about this one, y’all go ahead and I’ll see you in the morning for brunch at the caf.” 

“You know, this event is happening on campus tonight and that makes more sense for me financially right now.” 

“I’ll meet y’all there. It’ll be best for me to take the bus.” 

“Thanks for inviting me along for the trip. I’m all about it and can’t wait to celebrate with y’all, but I’m going to look into making my own travel plans.” 

“I’m going to eat dinner here and then I’ll be able to take the cab and grab a celebratory beverage.” 

“I’m planning next Thursday night. We’ll have a fun and low-key game night with my home cooking.” 

Once again living your truth invites others to do the same and it creates a learning opportunity for those that are completely oblivious to financial struggles of other students. Unfortunately, when money is not an issue for students they often assume that those around them –especially when you attend a prestigious institution that has a reputation of attracting economically privileged students–come from the same economic background and that money is not an issue for anyone and certainly not those they call their friends.

Don’t expect your friends to change their lives entirely for you but instead make the adjustments that will allow you to participate at whatever level makes you comfortable. A good friend will get it and will support you in your practices.

Money is something that we’ve been taught in the South to not speak about at the dinner table, but I think it demonstrates a great deal of maturity for a student to authentically address this matter with those who are important in shaping their collegiate experience.

Developing this practice now will also help you to not become an adult who struggles to “keep up with the Jones'”. This family has caused us all so many issues. The goal isn’t to keep up with anyone but yourself. Remember, money and stuff, will never bring you lasting happiness.

enough money

Class has to become a topic that college students become more able to discuss. College is the place to strengthen the skills to have what have been deemed “awkward conversations”. The more students can relate across class lines the better.

How are you managing your finances in college?

Hope the first year is going well. Thanks for reading.

Lata Y’all.

 

Donate to Girls on the Run Nashville during The Big Payback!

Help us reach our goal of $3,000.00! Donate here: The Big Payback

We need your help with a really fun task. Girls on the Run Nashville is participating in The Big Payback! The Big Payback is a community-wide, online giving day hosted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and it starts today! This charitable giving day will help our organization raise much-needed unrestricted dollars and celebrate the good work of all Middle Tennessee nonprofits.

We have 24 hours from today, May 6th, 6am to May 7th, 6am to make a great impact on Girls on the Run and we want to flood social media with messages urging the community to get involved! Our goal is to raise $3000, which could help us:
•Provide proper running shoes to 120 low-income girls!
•Provide training and support on the use of our evidenced-based curriculum to 100 volunteer coaches!
•Offer our program to 15 new girls in two new sites!
•Provide snacks for 8 sites for an entire season!

WATCH the Video to see a familiar face!

Good Deal.

Greetings…

Long time no see…

Well, let’s just say that life as it often does, got the best of me and my blog fell to the bottom of my priority list. No apologies, just a statement of truth.

I am taking a bit of time to refocus my blog and center it around my current values system.

1. Education
2. Professional Development
3. Community Engagement
4. Faith
5. Personal Development

Fashion and cute little things will no longer be a part of the equation. Music will only be covered in connection with community engagement–I still live in Nashville. I want to concentrate on lessons learned and action steps. What? So what? Now what?

As I’m working on the launch, please follow me over on Tumblr at http://peculiarpearl.tumblr.com/. Follow my daily adventures and my new #100happydays journey.

So…are we cool again? I’ll get back to writing and you’ll get back to reading? Deal! Good Talk!

good deal

Photo Courtesy of http://www.leelacyd.com/.

The Hannah Project

I enjoy getting myself involved in causes throughout the city of Nashville. I’ve been incredibly blessed and I want to pass those blessings on to our less fortunate Nashville community members.

I’ve recently taken a great interest in The Hannah Project. Check out this program at https://www.facebook.com/TheHannahProject.

The Hannah Project was created by Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Welch. ADA Welch also happens to be a former Nashville Police Officer, my sorority sister, and just an all around amazing woman, wife, and mother.

The Hannah Project is a program, now being court ordered, that was started by the Nashville District Attorney’s Office in an effort to educate and help women who are currently involved in prostitution, whether by choice or by force. After completing the one day program, the women can have their case dismissed and receive assistance in having the charge expunged from their record. The program is facilitated by the Nashville District Attorney’s Office (taken from Facebook).

As you all might know, Nashville is a popular site for sex trafficking and Antoinette sees women everyday who have been trafficked into Nashville. These women come to her in a variety of conditions. Overall, many are scared, unhealthy, brutalized, brow beaten, addicted, and unable to see any way out of their current life. This program helps give them resources to help move towards making a difference in their lives.

Imagine this woman being one of your friends, family members, students, classmates, or even you. I know that prostitution isn’t really a topic we’ve covered in conversation but it is a reality and it isn’t a Julia Roberts movie. I have been moved to tears listening to Antoinette tell stories of participants of The Hannah Project.

Prostitution is not always a choice and even when it is a “choice”, we as a community have failed a woman who sees this as her best option to make a living.

Please check out The Hannah Project and “like” the Facebook Page. If this piques your interest, also check out Thistle Farms. If Thistle Farms doesn’t touch your heart then I have serious concerns about you as a human being. I love Thistle Farms products and I know that every ounce of it was made by women seeking a better life. You can’t help but feel the healing that is produced by these delicious smelling items.

If you have any questions, please let me know or contact the founder at antoinettewelch@jis.nashville.org. I’m holding a mini drive right now for feminine hygiene products. If you’re interested in donating, please let me know by leaving a comment on this post.

The people of Nashville have big hearts. We have to wrap our arms around these women and let them know that there is a different life available to them. “Love heals.”

The Choice of Happy

August is about to go bye bye. The summer seemed to make only a brief appearance this year and now we are skipping right into fall things. I love fall things including football, scarves, sweaters, boots, leaves changing color, and new seasons of my fave tv shows, BUT I shall miss the summer and the way I felt during particular moments. This summer was different and there were great highs and spectacular lows. I felt more free than I have in a long time and at the same time incredibly restrained. I was surrounded by lovely people and super lonely all at the same time. Life continues to show me her complexities as I get older. Well, it has happened and there is nothing I can do about the past. Forward on, Miss Clark into September.

Since life’s been a bit interesting and my mood is still not optimal, I’m going to cope as I typically do and fill my life with moments that I hope will bring me life. Oh, don’t worry, I’m also going to see a therapist.

Bright Spots
-SEC Football begins on Thursday!!! Vanderbilt v. Ole Miss at Vandy :)-It’s a blackout game and I’m still in search of the perfect ensemble. I’m happy to wander around to a couple tailgates and cheer on the ‘Dores. Also, seeing Ole Miss play brings back great memories of my adventure to The Grove last fall. My Hotty Toddy cup is still my favorite to use at work.

– The BEACH!! I’m off to North Carolina to celebrate my friend Erin’s 30th Birthday. I get to spend a day at Duke and then I get to stick my fit in the sand and spend some time breathing fresh air and internalizing God’s beautiful creation. I also get to take a break from Nashville. I love this city but we need a break.

– The Junior League of Nashville’s Provisional Year begins! I am loving my role on Council as Provisional Co-Chair and I can’t wait to hold it down on Wednesday nights.

– I get to see Blake Shelton with my lovely friend Jana in September. The boots shall make an appearance and I shall have fun and sing until my voice disappears.

– A mixed bag of events including Live on the Green, a DDD Breakfast Club meet up, Zumba, church, and hopefully a fun benefit concert.

– I also hope to sprinkle in some 1:1 encounters with people that I love in this city. Seriously, I’ve found some of the best people here and I need to work on cherishing the time I have with them a lot better.

That’s all that I have scheduled for now but we’ll see what pops up on the calendar.

I’ve felt like a huge sloth lately. My get up and go attitude has gone. Perhaps, I just need some rest or I just need to deal with some shit that’s weighing me down. Regardless, I’m committed to pulling it back together. I’m working on choosing happy. Your support is appreciated.

Later Y’all.

Krystal

Happy Spirit