FWB – Unconventional Brainstorming

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

Although I decided NOT to pursue the masters degree in entrepreneurship from USF I DID learn a few tricks from one of the courses I completed.

A little bit of creative brainstorming that seemed unconventional at first ended up getting a lot gears turning in my own and my classmates’ heads.

Pick a business that you think is good and use 5 words to describe it.  Once you have those 5 words, come up with the antonym of each to create a list of 5 bad things that the business is NOT.

Once you have those 5 “bad” words, you must create a new successful business idea that they would describe.

Another exercise my professor had us do was in groups and each group had to come up with the worst, most unprofitable business that we could think of.  I came up with shoes for fish – because, how could that be a good business?  Another group came up with reusable condoms (which causes that kind of knee-jerk reaction of “eww!”).  The groups then had to switch ideas and make their new “bad” business idea into a good one.  My group got the reusable condom and turns out, that’s really not a bad idea!  We came up with different options and ways to make it safe and profitable then presented that to the class.  The group that got my idea, shoes for fish, interpreted it in a way where they created pills/water additives that you could use to change the tail and fins of a fish in a tank to different colors.  How cool is that??

So you see, when you think in unconventional ways it can help you see the options that aren’t obvious at first glance.

Take a stab at this practice yourself!

FWB – How Will You Measure Your Life?

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

On a recommendation from a peer, I watched the TED Talk by Clayton Christensen which you can check out here.  It was a little tough for me to follow at times but I did get some nuggets of wisdom that I’ll share with you!

We as humans are always in the pursuit of achievement.  We will do what results in the most immediate evidence of achievement rather than work on that more long-term intangible goal way off in the distance.  As soon as he explained this tendency I realized that I am in fact doing it right now – I’m writing a blog post (which I can hit that Publish button and see immediate results!) instead of working on my website (which I hate and won’t actually be up and running for a while. . . probably because I keep procrastinating like this. . . crap. . .).  What I got from Clay’s speach was that I should work on the harder intangible things that will result in greater success further in the future.  Ugh.  FINE!  I’ll work on my website!

A few other points were made in the video but I’m too tired to formulate thoughts on them right now so I’m off to bed!

FWB – National Women’s Leadership Conference 2014

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s this awesome organization called the American Business Women’s Association which I’ve been a part of for 5 years now (an honorary member since I was a kid, thanks to my ma) and every year they host a conference in a different city for women (and men, actually) in business.

This year’s was in Overland Park, Kansas because we were founded in Kansas 65 years ago – so it was the 65th anniversary celebration – a pretty big deal.

I won’t go into the details of the conference because I’m here more to help than to blog (though I really want to talk about my league’s costumes for the Halloween dance!) so I’ll get into the good stuff.

The conferences are broken down into three tracks for seminars.  You have Track A which is the Kansas University MBA Essentials program, Track B which is the fun one with different and diverse speakers every year, and Track C which is Park University’s Women as 21st Century Leaders.  This year I tried out Track C.  I wasn’t particularly impressed.  If you want to train the 21st century leaders, it should be with the most current information and technology.  This track fell short of that – at least according to this millennial.

We learned the tried and true basics like four key elements of leadership: internal (sense of self-worth), interpersonal (how we deal with conflict), structural/organizational (how we deal with the systems around us), and external/global (everything outside of us and “the system”).  The very basics about public speaking and how to prepare were covered – which, having been in ABWA for 5 years I’ve already learned those, and more advanced techniques as well.

We broke out into groups a lot during our sessions which actually led to more epiphanies than any of the material brought about.  I figured out that to market my league to younger members (I am currently the only one younger than 40) I need to offer them what we have – which is MENTORSHIP.  I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to get younger members – then I looked around at the mostly-retired members and realized that they are an untapped wealth of information for younger women in business.  Bingo!  marketing strategy unleashed!

A really great segment they presented was the difference between 20th century and 21st century leadership approaches.  That was very illuminating – in the 21st century we’re more about unleashing others’ potential, connecting and integrating, welcoming resistance, adapting fluidly, and creating sustainable change.

We watched this video – I suggest checking it out, it’s worth the 8 minutes!  Did You Know 2014

The women professors who presented the material were older – they frequently talked about how they weren’t used to Power Point so when they talked about change and what it means/how it should be embraced I couldn’t help but think it a bit of a contradiction.  One thing that bugged me was at my table, and I could overhear conversations at surrounding tables, older women were talking about millennials just aren’t respectful or hard-working.  It was annoying to hear someone say something that when you replace millennial with a minority group, would be incredibly offensive.  So I posted on the shared forum members can access and explained how that belief is harming the organization in its efforts to recruit younger members.  I got a message from the executive director who agreed with my sentiment and commended me on speaking up.  How cool is that??

We did some personality tests and did some self-assessments meant to help us create our own goals for the future.  It was a fluff activity that didn’t really impress me so I didn’t really complete it whole-heartedly.

I do have to admit that in my negative review of the track, I did miss a big chunk of one session because while going to get lunch, my group got rear-ended in our rental van – that sucked!  We’re all ok – it just kept us from some good ol’ Kansas BBQ!

All in all it was a really great experience and I’m so glad I went.  If you haven’t been yet, I would highly recommend checking out ABWA and reading up on 2015’s National Women’s Leadership Conference in Albuquerque, NM!

I hope this helped in some way!

FWB – Oops. . . I did it again. But this time, I learned something!

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

Holy geez I did exactly what I promised myself I wouldn’t do.  I disappeared for far too long and got lost in the game of trying to maintain my mental normalcy while balancing all the life stuff.

A lot has happened in the time I’ve been gone.  I started lithium with AMAZING results!  Holy crap!  Is this how it feels to feel normal?  Where’s the lengthy depression, agitation, and pointless sadness?  Gone?  Alright, cool!  I feel 100% myself for the first time in a while – and thanks to the balance of medications I know it’s not just a manic swing disguised as happy times.  This is genuine happiness.  I still feel stress and anxiety and some restlessness, but none of that can stop me like it used to.  I simply pause to reflect on the feeling then move on.  I can’t tell you how great that feels.

I have a lot to write about but in order to prevent any readers out there from losing interest in this post I will say the one point that has me on my laptop instead of playing solitaire as per my usual weeknight tendencies (what?  solitaire is awesome!).

Ladies and gentleman. . . I have. . . a direction!  Now, I say “a” direction because I’ve never been at a lack for direction – quite the opposite – I’ve had a million directions all at once pulling me every which way and thus resulting in getting very little done toward any one single direction I wish to go.  But now!  Now there’s focus and clarity and I feel this urge deep within me to get this one thing started.

So I’m gonna do it!  I’ll be blogging regularly again (like, actually writing it in my planner!) (PS – have you seen this thing??  I’m totally getting one!  www.passionplanner.com) and I will be working on my upcoming website – www.fourthwavebiz.com – a place for girls, teens, young women, and women to find resources for deciding and navigating their own career paths.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.

Definitely stay tuned!  I hope to be sharing with you all along the way and maybe asking for you to contribute your own advice – because it’s incredibly valuable, believe it or not!

See you soon!  (No, seriously.   SOON!)