My Advice?

Earlier this week I sat on a panel to share professional advice to a group of aspiring law school students. The panel consisted of myself, a judge, Dean of Admissions for a law school, and a second year law student. At one point we were asked to share key tips with the students about workplace behavior and professionalism. Check out a small excerpt of the press release that includes my words to the group:

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  1. You cannot cheat the grind. You’ll have to do the research, you’ll have to take the long route, and there won’t always be someone there to answer your questions. Don’t be lazy, just get it done.
  2. Working smarter doesn’t meant that you won’t have to work hard. We give ourselves permission to give up when we assume that there’s always an “easier” way to do something. Sometimes, working smarter does mean working harder. Get it out of your mind now that the two are mutually exclusive.
  3. Don’t get comfortable; you haven’t “made it” yet. Your boss has earned their stripes, so they can stroll in later and leave earlier. They can dress more casual and be more informal in meetings. You, on the other hand, are still trying to work your way up there. Don’t think that you can get away with anything – instead, keep showing up with as much energy and enthusiasm as you did your first day.
  4. Never stop trying to become qualified for the job. Consistently find a new way to grow and develop your skill set. Be your own competition and be able to see your results increase every year.

Leisurely Living: Part 1 (Pictures Inside!)

Last week, Brylon and I returned from a much-needed 6-day Carnival Cruise vacation. We enjoyed a beautiful trip to Mexico that included climbing Mayan ruins, swimming in an ancient sinkhole, snorkeling in Paradise Reef, and massages on the beach. It was magical, to say the least. The best part is that we didn’t have cell phone service and even when we did, we knew we had to avoid racking up hundreds of dollars in roaming charges. Internet on the boat even came with a price tag of $.75 per minute or up to $149 for 480 minutes. This meant that as much as we wanted to check emails and respond to text messages, we would have to fight the urge to tend to matters back home. We were completely free from our day-to-day lives; 6 whole days of nonstop adventure and relaxation!

Of course when we returned, every wanted to hear the stories and see pictures. And it seemed like the more we shared the details of the trip, the more it started to sound like a whimsical illusion. The way people’s eye’s lit up, you would’ve thought we had to slay dragons and lasso unicorns to get there. The reality is that I just so happen to catch a flash sale on the Carnival Cruise website and we had been daydreaming about vacation for months.  We’ve been saving for an unplanned trip and had accumulated enough vacation days to leave without worry; so we jumped on the opportunity. Nothing crazy; we just said ‘yes’ to the chance.

A common misconception is that we enjoy vacationing so much because we can be responsibility and worry free. Not true, because even in Mexico we still had imperfect days. We still had to make it to the dining room by a certain time or else we’d have to have a late dinner (which happened so we had to eat pizza from the 24-hour station), we got seasick, sunburned, and Brylon lost his iPhone. Vacation wasn’t perfect but we’d go back in a heart beat. So what is it about being on vacation that we miss out on in our daily lives?  Well, I think its:

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Back to Work!

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I’ve been on vacation for a little over a week: 6 days on a cruise to Mexico and 3 days visiting family & friends in Louisiana. Needless to say, my daily routine is completely shot! Between the soothing rocking of the boat putting me to sleep at the most random times and the 24-hour pizza and ice cream stations, it’ll be difficult to mentally and physically prepare for my usual Monday. That’s why today’s (Sunday) routine is even more important than normal. Here’s what I’m doing to get ready for a busy week back in the office:

Head to the gym. The physical activity will help me rest easy but also get my blood flowing so that I’m more energized tomorrow morning.
Get next to godliness. That really just means ‘clean up’, because “cleanliness is next to godliness” (am I trying to hard to be clever?) Anywho, dishes, laundry, and other piles of clutter must go! Just in case I hit a mid-week slump, I won’t feel so guilty about crashing on the sofa after work.
Get back to my beauty basics. I’m sunburnt, I also have eczema so fun in the sun equals severe breakouts. Tonight I’ll be using my favorite coffee scrub, moisturizing with an additional splash of Vitamin E oil, and rolling my hair so that I don’t have to wake up any earlier.
Go grocery shopping. Lemons for my morning water and groceries for the week. Okay, groceries for at least the next few days; I’m sure I’ll be making another trip later in the week.
Get a glimpse. Peak at my calendar and build my to-do list of appointments, meetings, and assignments I have coming up this week so that I can ease in with a clear set of expectations. Nothing worse than returning to work with surprise deadlines.
Affirm and Envision. Being on such an amazing vacation was a nice reminder of how much and how often we should be enjoying life. A fresh affirmation and new mini vision board will be a great visual representation of the luxuries that life can afford you when you work hard.