It was a Tuesday afternoon.
You were visiting the local coffee shop
Sipping on your cold brew
And like magic...
You and an IDEA totally connected.
You didn’t see that coming.
Barely anyone noticed.
But the chemistry was undeniable.
Now, I bet you’re wondering...
I know I would be!
My advice -
Date your idea.
Give it a chance.
Spend some time with it.
Get to know it a little better.
Be open to the possibility that this could really be something.
Date your idea.
It’s okay to write down how you really feel about it.
Fill your diary with little hearts and doodles.
No judgement (we all do it)
That’s part of the fun!
Date your idea.
Have you noticed any good signs?
Any red flags?
Go ahead - write those down too.
Both are very important to consider.
Date your idea.
Now, I know you two have been spending a lot of time together…
I mean, you haven’t been apart for more than an hour.
Try not to get so attached that it clouds your better judgement.
Talk about it with trusted friends & mentors.
Date your idea.
Listen - I really hope it works out!
I mean that.
But there is also a chance that it won’t.
And that’s okay too.
I promise another one will come along
Right when you least expect it.
And when it does, you should date that one too!
We can’t predict the future. We never know what our ideas will become. So let's keep dating them, and remaining open to the possibility that with lots of time, effort and attention, they could really turn into something special!
(Date Your Idea written by Stasia Rose)
To the Fatherless Daughter,
You’re not alone, my dear. Every young woman is born with a strong and sacred love for her father. From birth we have an unexplainable desire to trust him, lean on him and believe the best in him.
The role of a father in the life of his daughter is a sacred one. There is no doubt of the importance of this relationship dynamic. Truth is, every daughter desires to have a special bond with their father; regrettably, not every girl has the chance.
Whether or not your father is absent voluntarily or involuntarily, similar struggles can often present themselves as you move forward and learn to navigate life without him.
Sixteen years ago, I lost my father. As I write this letter, I have lived the majority of my life without him. I was eleven years old when he passed and I was completely unaware of the unique set of challenges that it would create for me over time because of such a heartbreaking and confusing loss.
I, too, have felt the impact of being a fatherless daughter and have seen the ripples of it in my closest relationships, greatest successes and most difficult seasons.
You may not know it now, but one day you will come to realize that this heartbreaking experience will become yet another beautiful and brilliant part of who you are.
My story has created in me a passion for helping other women navigate this shift. I am writing you this letter with the sheer hope that a few of the life lessons I’ve learned along the way will guide you in navigating your own unique journey.
Learn to forgive your father. Learn to forgive yourself.
Do this by remembering the small and perfect moments you spent together. If you were not able to create these memories with your father, I encourage you to write down the lessons that you learned from his legacy instead.
If at all possible, seek out ways to honor your father.
Dedicate one day a year when you meditate on him, spending more of your energy thinking about the things he did right. This can be Father’s Day, or another date that holds significant meaning. You can donate your time to helping other young men and women with similar experiences, write an encouraging letter to your father (even if it’s one you never send) or recreate a sentimental moment that you both shared (like building a bird house or visiting a park).
You may not know it now, but one day you will come to realize that this heartbreaking experience will become yet another beautiful and brilliant part of who you are.
Try to avoid using sarcasm as a shield or a defense mechanism for dealing with the pain.
Instead, speak truth into your life and circumstances. Always seek out the beauty in life and in others. Watch as this begins to chip away at the walls around your heart and lead to greater joy and happiness.
Truth is, the world needs you! The real you. Make the choice today and every day to do the hard work of digging deep and being vulnerable with yourself and with others who seek to understand more you. Learn to identify your feelings and emotions. Call them out. Learn how you feel sadness, anger, loneliness, joy, happiness, contentment and love. Seek out a mentor or counselor who can help you work through these emotions. I did and it made all the difference!
Your vulnerability is what will draw people to you. It’s what makes us all human.
You are lovely. You are simply magnificent. And your scars are a small part of the beautiful mosaic that makes you who you are.
Each day, choose to live a life that will make you happy, a life that a true father would deeply desire his beloved daughter to live. I know it’s hard. Have courage and take heart. Never for one moment be ashamed of your story. Own it. Lean into it. You have the power to change your narrative and transform your story into a force for good that will encourage and inspire others.
I believe with every fiber of my being that we can choose to allow our greatest challenges to hold us back in fear or propel us ever forward in love.
Choose forward. Choose love.
Written by Stasia Rose. First published on www.DarlingMagazine.org on June 18. 2017
I don't need a cape or supernatural powers to be a superhero - and neither do you!
All you need is this one simple trait shared by superhero's and successful businessmen & women alike, which is:
The ability to anticipate or expect problems and trends, and then collaborate to create innovative solutions.
Over the years, I have had the honor of working alongside some phenomenal individuals and it's true, the ability to anticipate trends, expect problems and collaborate with others in order to create innovative solutions is a superpower that both hero's and successful young professionals share.
The good news about this superpower is that it's free, and you can begin practicing it today. Your boss, spouse, family, friends and coworkers will thank you for it! Sure, it may take some time to get the hang of it, but I know that you can do it!
Keep at it and don't give up! Believe in yourself, and watch as you make a positive impact on this world.
What are other superpowers that you believe young professionals should learn?
We've all been there. Fresh out of the formal education system and asking ourselves one not-so-simple question..."what's next?"
I spent 6 consecutive (and very formative) years pursuing my undergraduate and master's degree before I entered the corporate world full-time, and you know what? I still find myself asking the same not-so-simple question from all those years before..."what's next?" High school and college don't last forever (even though it may feel like it at times).
Truth is, no matter how much information I learned in the classroom (and trust me, I learned a lot), I still believe that all of the textbooks in the world couldn't have prepared me for what it was REALLY like to launch into my career and work that 9:00 - 5:00 grind. I managed to do it pretty well (with minimal personal casualties). I've learned a lot. Hell...I'm STILL learning.
I've never been more convinced that our careers, our lives even, consist largely of a series of choices - setbacks and successes that we cannot anticipate. But take heart, we’re not as helpless as we may think. Choice is a powerful thing, and the solution to successfully navigating life is simple - choose to do what's in front of you, and learn to do it well. If your bosses, coworkers, and friends are in front of you, treat them well. If a new job or project is in front of you, complete it well. If your loved ones are in front of you, love them well. Choose to be kind to yourself. Choose to take things one day at a time.
I've never been more convinced that our careers, our lives even, consist largely of a series of choices - setbacks and successes that we cannot anticipate.
So here it is. A digital space. A sanctuary of sorts that will serve as your dose of encouragement. Your very own guidance counselor. Your go-to for real world young professional advice that I hope will help you to succeed early on in your career.
I invite you to learn and laugh along with me! These blog posts are all things I have either 1. personally experienced, 2. read about 3. would like to do or 4. have actually done. You may not know which category these posts fall under, but even if you do - try not to judge me too harshly for it ;)
In This Together,
7 Tips for Hitting Life's Post-Grad Curveballs Out of the Park - Every. Single. Time. By: Ashley Winkler
16 months ago I graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. College was a blast! For four years I was joyously surrounded by some of the best friends in the entire world. College life was good, and I didn’t want it to end.
Three months after graduation, I was offered a job in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I promptly packed up my car and moved across the country without knowing a soul. Since then, life has been an exciting, challenging, scary, and exhilarating adventure. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
Question: Looking back, did you ever expect to be where you are right now in your life & your career?
Honestly, if someone were to ask me that question right now, I’d just have to laugh. I never expected to be where I am now, but I am so very grateful that I am.
Life has a funny habit of throwing us some pretty crazy curveballs. I know this first-hand, which is why I’ve included my top 7 tips to hitting life’s curveballs out of the park. Every. Single. Time.
1. Embrace CHANGE.
Life is full of surprises. You could have the whole next year of your life planned out, but it doesn’t mean those are the plans God has for you. Learn to be adaptable. Follow where He leads. If He calls you to a new place, know that He will also provide for you in that place. God won’t call you anywhere that He hasn't been already. Remember, it’s in the midst of radical change that we have the opportunity to grow the most.
2. Don't be afraid of NEW community.
In college, it’s easy to believe that the friends you make are the only “solid” friends you’ll have for the rest of your life. The people who will stand beside you on your wedding day, help you pick out names for your future babies, talk with you on the phone every day… and for some, those things may be true. However, making life-long friends doesn’t stop after college. Allow yourself to branch outside of familiar friend group, and create new community. It takes time and effort, but I promise it will be worth it.
3. Seek MENTORSHIP.
Mentors are people who are already far along in life and have valuable wisdom to offer. Find a mentor, ask them to share their wisdom, and when they do - soak it up. Be intentional about setting up time with them to pick their brain. Find a different mentor for different aspects of your life: relationships, family, finances, career, etc. Mentors are a well of life experiences – all you have to do is ask.
4. MANAGE your finances.
Your future self will thank you. There is no reason to have five credit cards. Simplify your finances. Pay off your debt, and better still – create a budget. Taking the time to become disciplined in your finances early on will benefit you (and your family) for years to come.
5. TRAVEL. All. The. Time.
YOYO! You’re only young once. So take that spur of the moment trip to California on a long weekend. Pick up that once in a lifetime airfare deal, and don’t think twice about it. There’s so much to see and experience in the world, and it’s only one flight away. Adventure is waiting. Go find it!
6. Be PATIENT with your career.
Good things take time. That promotion won’t happen overnight. Simply work as hard as you can in the position you’re in. Be diligent in improving your work ethic. Trust the leadership above you to know what the best next step is for you in the organization. Remember, there is always more to learn in the role you are in. Always remain humble when striving for the next step on the career ladder.
7. Find MARGIN to rest.
In a society that’s always “go, go, go” it can be hard to slow down and be still. Take care of yourself. Find activities that energize your soul, and do them. Because at the end of the day, if you’re burnt out, you won’t have anything left to give. Remember to fill your mind, body, and spirit with life-giving things.
Sometimes I wish that God would just give me a quick glimpse of my future so I would know exactly what to expect. I would know exactly who I’m going to meet, where I’m going to live, what I’m going to do. Ultimately, so I can know all of the challenges I will face before they actually happen. I’m fairly confident that I’m not alone in that wish.
Truth is, there’s absolutely zero excitement in being able to see ahead, into the future. In my time post-grad, I am continually learning to enjoy life, and respond to its crazy curveballs as they come! I hope this list helps you do just that as well!
Written by: Ashley Winkler
Ashley Winkler is a Baltimore, Maryland native who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from Southeastern University. She is a die-hard fan of the Baltimore Ravens and a lover of Jesus Christ. With a heart for serving others, Ashley is living out her dream and operating as a vital member of the LifeGroups/LifeMissions team at one of Life.Church’s 25 national locations. With campuses all over the U.S, and services streaming online – Life.Church reaches people worldwide!
Well hello there! Once again, I find myself wide awake at 4AM, completely in awe of God’s goodness and favor. I am so thankful for each and every one of you who have taken the time to read these life updates of mine, and generously give your kind and encouraging support! What a blessing it is to find myself in this sincere and uplifting community. I’ll always consider knowing each of you as one of the “good and perfect gifts” in life that the book of James talks about!
If you saw my previous social media post this week, you will know that I have some pretty BIG & EXCITING news to share with you all! So…
Here it is! The BIG & EXCITING news!!!
Initially, I was going to save the BEST news for last – BUT I JUST CAN’T HOLD IT IN ANY LONGER!
I am blessed to say that I have officially accepted a job as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Lead Project Manager at We Are Curio! I am completely in awe of this amazing opportunity, and haven’t quite stopped pinching myself! I get to serve alongside two of the most fun, encouraging, uplifting, life breathing Leaders that Lakeland has the honor of holding. I just can’t tell you how blessed I am by that simple fact alone! Hillary and Jason DeMeo have brought something unique to Lakeland that, I am 100% convinced, will strengthen the creative pulse of this entire city. If you haven’t heard of We Are Curio, take a second and check out this website! Seriously, I don’t mind waiting here for a few minutes until you do...
Welcome back! We Are Curio is a Design Thinking consulting company that helps clients solve their toughest problems. No matter how tough!
What exactly will I be doing, you ask?
I love that my new role at We Are Curio is 100% in line with two of my life mottos “Love people” and “Make things happen!” I get to work closely with some of the coolest, most dynamic creators, collaborators and contrarians from all over the world, and become a small part of their incredible journey to success. I’ll also have the opportunity to write creative content for people just like you to want to launch/grow your businesses, solve your toughest problems, and move forward with confidence! Cue the pinching!
QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT STILL BE ASKING...
1. "What about the dream job you wrote about a month ago?"
My time working with YLakeland has since come to an end. The time I spent building the program that I had dreamt about and written down just three years before was undoubtedly one of the coolest experiences, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to begin building it. YLakeland will continue to roll-out the internship program so stay tuned! If you have any questions you can reach out to their team via the YLakeland website or via social media!
2. "Can you give us an update on your e-book 'Blog Like A Boss'?"
I cannot begin to thank each of you enough for the love and support you showed me (and continue to show me) after launching my very first e-book Blog Like A Boss: The beginners guide to next level blogging on any platform! I received so many texts, emails and phone calls from friends and family who had purchased and Blog Like A Boss on the Amazon Kindle store! If you haven't yet picked up copy, there's still time! Huge THANK YOU to Daniel Barcelo for expertly designing the cover!
During the first week of its launch, Blog Like A Boss reached three of Amazon’s best sellers lists, and it was #25,926 overall in the Amazon Kindle store! I was so shocked at that number, I literally had to take a screenshot so you guys could see it too!
I have seen God do some amazing things since publishing my Blog Like A Boss. Both people I knew, and people I didn’t know, have since read it and successfully started blogs of their own! What a dream come true!!!! I have quite a few amazing blogger friends who I plan on featuring on the blog very, very soon so stay tuned! Feel free to contact me if you too want to be featured! I love highlighting people who are working hard and doing what they love!
3. "How do I subscribe to your blog again?"
Yes! Another great question! ;) Subscribe below and never miss a beat!
TO SUM IT ALL UP!
In this season of my life, my heart is experiencing God’s goodness and His infinite grace first-hand. It’s amazing just how our own definitions of success and accomplishment are just so small in comparison to God’s amazing plans for us! Every day, from the very moment you open your eyes, surrender your day and your plans to God. Don’t let your plans burden you a moment longer. Just give them up! And rest assured that God will take those plans, and turn them into something even more beautiful and fulfilling that you will ever know!
If you have time, check out my recent post 7 Ways to Survive Change (and bounce back better than ever).
The We Are Curio team would love to guide you and your business through solving your toughest problems! We have a limited number of spots left for each of our Fall 2016 CO.horts, the Lakeland Leaders CO.hort (for the locals) and the Online Google Hangout CO.hort (for the non-locals)! APPLY HERE! And if you’re wondering what a CO.hort is, LEARN MORE HERE! We simply cannot wait to work with you!
As the earths seasons transition seamlessly from one epoch to the next, so too do we find ourselves inevitably shifting and changing throughout the personal seasons in our lives. These unforeseeable changes can tend to trigger dramatic personal responses, at least initially; but overtime, we come to learn that these changes are more than necessary - these changes are good! Our ability to respond, not react, to change is what marks our level of maturity and stimulates profound growth.
When you find yourself in the thick of a season of great transformation, I encourage you to make a conscious effort to use the experience as a tool for personal growth and continual development. We’ve all experienced seasons of radical change, some more difficult than others; nevertheless, we must choose to use these experiences as fuel, and allowed it to drive us to even greater destinations. Even when we are not exactly sure where that destination will be, we must trust in the Lord, and do our best to enjoy the ride!
When you find one season ending, and a new season beginning, here are a few things that you can do to bounce back better than ever!
1. Count Your Blessings
This is #1 on my list because a spirit of thankfulness is not only contagious to those around you, but it is the mark of true leadership and maturity. Even if you are having a hard time understanding why a change is taking place, allowing you heart to meditate on the good and perfect gifts you have been given can do wonders for the soul. So grab some paper, a pen, and start writing your blessings down until all the pages are filled!
2. Dream Big
When you recognize your seasons changing, do what you can to dream even bigger dreams for the fabulous future you have ahead. Whether or not you know exactly where or what that future is, learning to verbalize the desires of your heart will lead you in the right direction. Once you verbalize your dreams, you can start creating actionable steps to accomplishing them.
3. Find a Mentor
No one wants to do life alone. Better still, no one needs to. There are people all around you who would be delighted to act as mentors and guides through our reinvention process; affording you new perspectives and wisdom through the lens of their own personal experiences in life. Find a mentor who is many steps ahead of you, and has already been in a place where you desire to be too one day. If you don’t have access to a mentor, contact me! I would be glad to help you!
4. Change Your Look
This one may seem a bit surface level, but I am firmly convinced that intentionally changing aspects of your look can do wonders for the soul. It requires a vulnerability and creativity that can be healing when tapped into responsibly (key word – responsibly). Now, don’t take this advice and go spending thousands of dollars on new clothing. Instead, go out and try on an outfit you would never normally wear, and then ask for a sales clerks feedback. Just give it a try and see if you like it! For those of you are unable to hit up the store, I find Pinterest fashion browsing to be an adequate substitution (you can follow My Style board on Pinterest here).
5. Read. Read. Read.
This one is also important. Inspiration can come from reading about other leaders and individuals who have experienced similar seasons as you are going through now. Mentors and leaders aren’t only found at work/church, but mentors can also be found within the pages of books written long ago. Take time to read up on these historic individuals, and use their experiences as tools to build upon your own experiences.
6. Take Some Time
Take time to simply be. Seasons of great change have a way of filling up your schedule with meetings and added deadlines. They also have a way of making you crawl into a hole and completely unplugging from reality. In the midst of your seasons changing, allow yourself time and space to unplug. Travel, explore and discover someplace new. Use this time to reconnect with the Lord. Aligning yourself once again to the foundation of your soul will give you an unexplainable clarity and freedom moving forward. Take some time, but don’t let the time take you. Use the time wisely, and then move on. Get back out there because there is a world of good and perfect things waiting for you to sprinkle your light all over it!
7. Write it Down
In the midst of reinventing yourself, you are bound to experience moments of deep reflection and insight. This is good! When you do, take a few minutes and write them down. In fact, write down as many of these insights as you possibly can. There is a comfort that comes when you realize that your experiences, no matter how difficult, can be used to guide someone coming after you. Write it down to better remind yourself of the details in the future, and be self-confident enough to share it with others when the time comes.
Now it’s your turn. Comment below with other ways that others can reinvent themselves. Check out another blog post titled: 4 Things You Need to Know About Opportunity, and subscribe to periodic newsletters below (don’t worry, I won’t clog your inbox with annoying emails).
I Bought A House // I Wrote A Book // I Landed My Dream Job (...including the craziest story that you can't help but believe)
To My Dear Friends & Family,
Please forgive me. I have been intending to write this letter to you for quite some time. I find myself wide eyed at 2:30 a.m. with a heart full of love and gratefulness and I just have to share what’s been going on in my life with you. To say God has been too good to me is a gross understatement. I wish there were words to express just how much I love him. Trying to produce those words, even now, brings me to tears. So instead, I will share with you all He has done in my life over the past two months. Get ready, as this post is sure to be a long one ;)
I have included headings, in a potentially failed attempt at making this post easy to skim.
In so many words: // I Bought A House // I Wrote A Book // I Landed My Dream Job
...and I share one of the craziest stories that you can't help but believe!
I BOUGHT A HOUSE!
On April 25th, as a 26-year-old single-female, I closed on my very first home! It’s a lovely 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom townhome. The process of finding it was very smooth, and didn’t take long at all. I believe it is because God’s timing in all things is perfect, and I had an awesome mortgage broker and relator.
Paige Wagner was my relator and is truly a gem of a woman. Her kindness and friendship made the whole process so smooth! She knows her stuff and if you are looking to buy a home in Lakeland, or anywhere near Lakeland, you should definitely get in touch with her and tell her I sent you! (firstname.lastname@example.org)! If you need a mortgage broker, Correa Insua is the absolute best one in town! No point in shopping around for one, she got me the absolute best interest rate and was so kind throughout the whole process! Send her an email, she is super responsive (email@example.com).
My favorite stories to tell took place during my closing! Just to preface, the amount of the paperwork I signed during my 45-minute closing was more paperwork than I have ever signed in my entire life. The stack was, no lie, 2 inches thick.
Just one of the papers had a little typo on it, and said “…Anastasia R. Jones-Downing – a married woman…” I cannot tell you the joy and pride I felt when watching that woman scribble out that phrase, and replace it with the correct one – A SINGLE WOMAN. God is so good. And a single woman buying a house is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE! All those other single women out there, you don’t have to wait for a husband to do it! Just do it!
I WROTE A BOOK!
And so I did.
I am excited to announce that in the next couple of weeks, I will be releasing my very first book in the Amazon Kindle store! It is titled “Blog Like A Boss” and is packed full of advice on starting and maintaining a blog, based on my personal experiences. I get really vulnerable in there, and share the REAL story behind what propelled me to start a blog (you really don't want to miss it!)
I can't even count how many people have pulled me aside to ask me questions about starting a blog! Those are some of my favorite conversations! I love blogging, it is such a passion of mind and seeing the desire to start a blog in someone else’s eyes brings me all kinds of happiness and joy! And THAT is why I wrote this e-book. To help people create blogs of their very own!
I will keep you all updated! My book will be released toward the end of the month!
I LANDED MY DREAM JOB!
You may or may not already know that I have recently accepted a University Development Director position at YLakeland, and have fully transitioned out of my position at Southeastern University. In my new role, I will be working with the amazing team at YLakeland to launch a city-wide internship program for Lakeland! It is LITERALLY my dream job (keep reading, and I will tell you exactly how so!)
You may be asking yourself “Wow, a new job already? Didn’t she JUST start working at SEU?” The answers to those questions are, yes and yes!
Exactly one year ago (crazy how time flies), I was working in Baltimore, Maryland for a company specializing in Healthcare IT. This government contractor was a subsidiary of a multi-billion-dollar company. I had always wanted to work in corporate America, and this company allowed me to do that at a young age. I learned a lot, and was very good at what I did; however, as the years passed I felt as if I was only operating at 25% of my natural gifting’s and capacity. There was a lot going on in my personal life at that time. I felt a new season approaching, but didn’t know what that looked like. Shortly thereafter, a contact from Southeastern University reached out me about a position in the Student Development department. I knew that was the change I needed, and I welcomed the new opportunity with open arms!
Recently, I officially accepted a position at YLakeland and am honored to be serving this beautiful city as the University Development Director. YLakeland is a program run by the Lakeland Economic Development Council (LEDC), that both tells and shows college students all the reasons why Lakeland is the best place to live, learn, work and create (totally my bread and butter)!
To give an even broader overview, the LEDC is a privately owned 501c3 tasked with stimulating the economic development of Lakeland, FL. One of the largest programs they run is CATAPULT. Catapult is a think-tank for budding entrepreneurs, and is also located in Lakeland, FL! They provide resources and a super cool, creative space for entrepreneurs to grow their amazing ideas into concrete businesses! I like to say that; Catapult helps make dreams come true ;)
Here it is: