March 25th, 2008
How you present yourself can directly affect the way people think of you. Here are some of the lessons I learnt over the years.
- Dress appropriately My first job in the creative industry was with a company that that pitched projects for a lot of big corporations. I had no prior experience yet I find myself constantly being asked to be present at client meetings. The reason given was because I make a very believable designer as apposed to “X, who looks like he got just got out of bed, got ran over by a bus and then rolled himself in dirt” or “Y, who looks like a frazzled soccer mom though she’s only 23″. I assumed this meant that I looked like one of them:
(Stylish Carmen, Edgy Christian, Cool Kit from Project Runway)
On the other hand, it could also mean that I looked like him:
(Flamboyant, Colourful, Crazeh? By the way, I love Chris, he’s such a great character)
In any case, it was the way I presented myself that influenced the exec’s decision. I was barely 20 and inexperienced, yet because of the way I dressed, I got the opportunity to network with a lot of people, contacts that proved useful in my career later. Lesson: Don’t come to work looking like you’ve been rolling around in dirt.
- Dress for success. A year later, in my second job, I decided that I’m ready for bigger things and want to be taken more seriously. I switched to aspiring creative director mode and dressed the part. I got promoted twice in the space of 14 months, one of the reasons being, “You look like someone I can trust to lead a project.” Was I more competent than my fellow colleague who had 2 years more experience? Maybe, but my boss also let on, “He doesn’t look like he’s up for it. I don’t have the confidence in sending someone looking like that to the world. He doesn’t look like a leader.” Being an introvert, I didn’t think of myself as a natural leader. I just dressed like one. Interestingly, when I dressed like winner, I felt like one too.
- Say it like you mean it. A lot of inexperienced designers(this applies to other jobs too) tend to share the problem I too had when I was starting out. We may have the talent to create but we don’t have the skill to sell. One of the main problems lies in not sounding confident enough. There are a two things you can do to instantly improve this. Speak up. You need to get yourself heard. Clearly. Do not rush or mumble your sentences – you’d either be constantly asked to repeat yourself, or your points would be lost. Don’t end sentences with a rising inflection. Some people have the habit of ending statements with a rising tone? Like this? I’m trying to tell you something but I sound like I’m asking a question? This gives the impression that the speaker is unsure of him/herself. Or you might sound like a teenager?
- Stop over-qualifying your statements and accept credit when it’s due.
A talented designer I know likes to qualify every statement she makes with “But that’s just my opinion” or “It’s okay, it’s only my opinion” instead of simply saying “In my opinion”. Do not devalue your own opinion. If you don’t take your own opinions seriously, chances are no one else will.What’s even more annoying is the fact that she finds the need to qualify her “thank you’s” too. Instead of just saying “thanks” when complimented, she’d be saying things like “Oh, this crap? It’s not that great actually” or “It was nothing. I didn’t do much”. It doesn’t always come across as being modest. Too much self-depreciation also shows that you don’t value your own contribution.
As simple as it sounds, it took me a long time to realise that a smile can indeed go a mile. I spent years trying to find out why a friend of mine, J, is so magnetic. Strangers come up to talk to her and she always get served first. At first, I didn’t even know why I love hanging out with her so much. Then I realised that she smiles. A lot. It’s nice to be around someone who is the picture of positivity. I smile a lot now and it’s true, I do get served faster and people tend to open up to me more.
March 24th, 2008
Monday! Monday! Monday!
So full of newness and excitement.
Don’t feel the same way? You’re doing it wrong!
Here are 20 ways to help you beat the Monday Blues:
- Procrastinate feeling blue. Is a gloomy cloud forming above your head? Ignore it – you’ll give your attention to it later, not now.
- Wear your best clothes or the cheeriest colour from your wardrobe. You’d be surprise how much your clothes could affect the way you feel about yourself.
- Early start - bad things happen when you are late, the tension level is high, you are in a rush, you don’t have time for breakfast, when you arrive at your office, people are shoving work into your face. It may seem like a punishment to wake up earlier on Monday but trust me, when you have enough time to organize yourself, you’ll feel like you can conquer the day easier.
- Treat yourself in the morning – Sit down and eat. Enjoy your food. Monday is Pancake Breakfast day for me, so I actually look forward to Monday mornings. But eat well - although it’s ok to treat yourself, make sure you eat well. I have a good serving of fruits along with my pancakes. Have enough to drink too - your malaise could be a sign of dehydration.
- Have a list of why you’re having the blues – you might be surprised that there will be things on the list that you can easily work on to make your Mondays better. My problem used to be a completing work from last week (very difficult to gain momentum after a weekend break) which brings us to the next point:
- Complete as much work possible on Friday – you’ll have less work to worry about on Monday, which lead to the next point:
- Have everything laid out the day before – your clothes, files, etc. Saves you a couple of minutes in the morning so that you can concentrate on other, more important things.
- Plan your day in small gentle steps. Apply micromovements throughout the day. You can use a GTD system or simply divide your day into of 1/2 – 1 hour chunks with a goal for each time unit.
- Talk to a friend – it’s most likely he/she is having the blues too. Keep your conversation short. Remember this is about taking comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone in this, not an hour-long bitchfest about XXX from marketing.
- Listen to happy songs – a tune can affect your mood. Let cheery, happy songs be the soundtrack to your Monday.
- Dance - just move that body! Jog in place, stretch, do yoga. You’ll feel less lethargic.
- Laugh and smile. Recall happy memories or a good joke. If you can’t think of any, do it anyway (fake it till you make it) Some research is saying that even the thought of laughing raises your endorphin (feel-good hormones) levels and a fake laughter provides similar benefits to a real one.
- Affirmative statements – Today is a great day. I will complete my report today. Stick positive messages around your monitor and take them seriously.
- Choose to feel happy. If you don’t already know, being happy is a choice, so choose happiness!
- Buy something new for Monday – it doesn’t have to be big or expensive – a pen, a sketchbook, fancy post-it stickers. Monday is like a birthday for me- I get a present for myself nearly every week. I got myself a sticker for $1 today.
- Try something new - you’d be surprise how easy it is to feel energized by doing something you’ve never done before. A new dish, a new song, a new route to work.
- Start working. The thing about work is, it’s usually not the work that makes us tired, it’s the thought of starting work that makes us procrastinate and go into a cycle of unproductivity. Quit thinking about starting work and just work instead!
- Take short breaks – too much work can be overwhelming and when this happens, it is easy for you to give up. Remember to take short breaks to recharge. If your schedule allows it, you can also take a 10 minute nap after lunch.
- Plan something special for Monday night – meet a friend for dinner, rent a DVD. The day will be easier when you have something to look forward to.
- Do not get distracted. Youtube, Facebook, personal emails. Once you allow yourself to get distracted you will be sucked into hours of time-wasting activities. If you don’t have the discipline to limit your distraction to 10 minutes, don’t attempt to do it at all. Reading blogs like this is another time-sucker so now that you’ve reach the bottom of the list, why don’t you get working! :)
March 23rd, 2008
After looking at the cute stuff from Re-Ment, I found myself craving for a lot of things. The sad thing is, I got myself a lot of junk food and ate them in one sitting:
1 garlic butter bread
1 bowl instant noodles
1 coffee-filled chocolate bar
3 slices of white bread with chocolate spread
1 bag of salted nuts
1 can of Pringles chips (oh oh!)
Not too proud of myself. I’m having a bit of a tummy ache. I wonder why…
March 22nd, 2008
My favourite answers from “Kids’ Answers to Life’s Big Questions” by Steve & Ruth Bennett.
Q. What makes rainbows?
A. Pieces of sunset.
Q. What should you do when you feel like hitting someone?
A. Ask them if they want to be hit.
Q. What kinds of things make people happy?
A. John Lennon.
Q. What are some things to be sad about?
A. Running out of coffee. < True
Q. Why do countries fight wars?
A. Because they don’t like cats and the other country has cats.
Q. What does the vice-president do?
A. He golfs.
March 21st, 2008
At 630pm yesterday I realised I had not spoken to my black cat, Spooky Angel, the whole day. She’s a very talkative cat who can answer most of life’s important questions, sometimes, with great wisdom, wit and intelligence, so it was unusual that a day would pass without us engaging in serious conversation.
She was sleeping beside me when I was reading a publication at 8 in the morning. Being the affectionate lap cat that she is, she’d wanted to sit well, on my lap, but I wasn’t in the mood to entertain the fuzz ball as I had to concentrate on an article, so I nudged her away.
A few minutes would pass and I’d fallen asleep sitting. When I woke up, I found the little Angel asleep, beside my right thigh. Aaaaw… I felt a little guilty for not letting her take a nap on my lap, especially when I was more asleep than doing anything else, but then she woke up and looked at me with the look — yeah-you-know-you-want-me look– anticipating that I’d take her and place her on her rightful human cushion. I thwarted her happiness by pushing her off the couch! Ha ha ha! So evil of me!
Anyway, it was 630pm and I’d not seen her since then so I called her name. There was no answer. I looked around the house. Under the couch, in the kitchen, in the bathrooms, under the beds, on top of cupboards, everywhere. She was nowhere to be found. And then it hit me that she might have slipped out when I went out at about 10am.
I went to search for her outside, bracing for the worst – she might have been ran over by a car, eaten by a pack of wild dogs or was taken by someone – someone better, someone who wouldn’t mind her sitting on his/her lap all day. Strangely, only the last thought made me wanna cry.
I got very worried because she’s a black kitty and it would be very difficult to find her in the dark . And then all that I felt was guilt. Guilt. Guilt. GUILT. Am I being punished for being mean to her? Will she forever remember me as the evil witch that pushed her off the couch?! Do I have to live with this guilt forever?!!!
It took me all of two minutes to find her. She was asleep at my neighbour’s steps. When I called her name, she just opened one eye, and looked slightly annoyed, like “Wha? Don’t be disturbing my sleep, woman”.
She was very calm when I carried her back home. I smothered her in kisses and showered her with words of love but when I tried to put her on my lap, she sneered at me and went off to eat instead. Oh well… Thank God I found her. I’ll never deprive a cat of my lap again.
I can has cheezburger
Tablet Do’s and Don’ts
Pencil Thief and A Little Faith
March 20th, 2008
Ok, so the high-calcium soya(soy) milk diet I’ve been following religiously for a month didn’t work. I’ve been sitting in my chair for the past, oh, 10 hours, craughing hysterically while trying to maintain enough sanity to get some work done. Enough whining for now, I need to review what went wrong and plan what to do next.
“New research suggests that a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D may help prevent premenstrual syndrome, or PMS.”
Could it be that I’m not getting enough vitamin D to absorb all the calcium I’m consuming(the soya milk is not fortified with vitamin D)? But a few minutes of sun a day should’ve been enough, no? In any case, I am thoroughly OVER with soya milk to go through this experiment another month with a vitamin D-fortified version so I’m thinking of trying something else, I dunno, fortified juice, cod liver oil or chocolate milk? Chocolate milk sounds good.
Calcium & Vitamin D for PMS – CBS
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D
Get the Glass! Game
Testing Out Theories
There Must Be A Better Alternative To This
Still Wishing for a Happy Period
Wish: A Happy Period