Hello fellow learn-it-all,
Greetings from Chicago!
I'm excited to share an idea to make my annual review more entertaining. I am going to compile all the sections from these past 38 letters this year into a table of contents. This would be a rewarding experience for readers new and old among the 170 of you.
This process will serve as a vehicle to help me go through the breadcrumbs my past self left me. Typically all the sections were current problems I was trying to solve (especially the question to ponder) or felt inspired by. The words to define could make for a neat dictionary. I haven't started this yet, and I am all ears to what you would find most valuable as I go down my own rabbit hole of archives. Let me know by leaving a comment:
Here's a preview of what's ahead in this letter:
- Findings on my creative process from shipping for 100 days
- A course update I helped to I co-create on solving career growth frustrations
- A review of my 2018 Christmas present
- A glimpse into the profound thoughts of a great American writer
- Some festive tuneage
- A Japanese slang phrase for buying books you never read
- A quote to help fight resistance and procrastination
- A question to get you thinking about being intentional over the holiday
- A fun picture being the interviewee on a creative’s podcast
If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love it if you signed up below:
Now, let’s dive into letter 39 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
Some things I’ve learned through…
🚢 Shipping It Reflection
In last week's letter, I said I'd have a reflection of since completing my 100 days of shipping. As ironic as it is, I am becoming hesitant to force shipping. I still want to create a comprehensive reflection on this project. I've enjoyed having time back to myself to simply think and walk without immediately using it to write something.
Here are some findings I’ve discovered about my creative process:
- I like to plant seeds and let the ideas develop subconsciously in my head. The writing comes smoother to me with less friction. For this reason, I am considering changing these letters to every other week in the new year.
- Writing a bunch of words makes me feel productive but isn't actually productive. Setting a time limit is much better than a word count.
- Most of the time I felt like it was all rubbish. I would come to terms with that, scrap it, and move onto the next idea that my energy liked.
- I loved the spontaneity of leaving the idea up to whatever was on my mind. This could be from journaling, reading, or a conversation, but it wasn't reliable. I kept saying I'd plan out my week's theme but that felt suffocating to force something.
- If you don't carve out time, it won't get made. This happened to me over Thanksgiving with my 1-week hiatus. I felt guilty but it was a period where I was about to give up for good.
All in all, I have even more respect for Seth Godin who has published an article every day for 20+ years. He is such a prolific creator. Kudos to him for taking this craft so seriously. He is truly an inspiration.
🧑🏫 Building a Bootcamp
This past week, I've been working diligently with the Vitalize Talent team to get the sales page ready to go at Revitalize your Career. I've helped to build this 3-week Bootcamp as the course manager.
If you are frustrated with your career growth as a supply chain or procurement pro, this is for you. It begins on January 18 with the promotion starting this upcoming week. It's been my first-time hands-on building a course and I am excited about what I've learned so far. The promise we make in the course is to help unleash career and financial possibilities.
As this is the first one the team has built, I highly value any and all impressions or suggestions you have of the page. I want it in tip-top shape and believe there is always room for improvement.
✏️ Dale Carnegie Leadership Review
Speaking of boot camps, this experience got me reflecting back on a Dale Carnegie Leadership Course. I asked for Christmas back in December 2018. It was one of the first ways I pursued additional education after college. I thought this 3-day immersion sprint was the bee's knees and was hooked after. I got to fill the void in my identity as a student again. I felt like myself again.
It seemed like a no-brainer to level up my soft skills and gain confidence being backed by such a credible legend. In hindsight, this course was not really all that great. I didn't think twice about begging my parents to take it for the student price of $1,295. I was in-between jobs at the time of working at Ally Financial and Korn Ferry. All my relatives over Thanksgiving kept going on and on about how amazing it was.
When the course date came, it was different than anything I'd ever done. I felt like I didn't belong in the room being the youngest there. Major imposter syndrome sank in when I didn't know how to introduce myself. Most corporate individuals in the room with me were forced to be there to become a better manager. Their company reimbursed the resources needed to pursue the course. I could tell not everyone was fully enrolled or engaged.
From what I now know about learning, a 3-day sprint is not an effective way to learn. It was way too condensed and didn't allow for enough time to process. Sure, the cost included the famous 1936 best-selling self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. However, we never actively discussed it. There wasn't enough time.
I was asked to come up with a vision statement for my life purpose during that Bootcamp. The 2018 Jen wrote in her workbook: “I am confidently optimizing and learning from every opportunity that I seek out while keeping a positive growth mindset to become a better leader.” This statement served me at the time as I sent out email after email and job app after job app trying to figure out who would give me the time of day.
Key takeaway from this? Deep introspective learning about oneself does not happen overnight. The seed was planted and is still being watered today to find what I would call my Simon Sinek "Why".
American author David Foster Wallace gave such a timeless commencement speech in 2005 called “This Is Water”. The English platitude is referred to how we are oblivious to the most obvious things in our lives just as a fish is to the fact that they swim in water.
It's quite challenging to sum this all up without writing an essay. I'll leave these key points I’ll be thinking about moving forward:
- We need to choose what we pay attention to and come off of our default setting.
- The world seems to revolve around us. While we are stuck in traffic or waiting in line at a supermarket, we are a part of that same annoyance others have. How can we think beyond ourselves and see that everyone is a walking story?
- Learning how to think really means exercising what you think and how you exercise experience.
- Everyone perceives reality differently based on our value system. How can we create less certainty around our implicit beliefs in order to question them?
I've saturated my input of music to be purely listening to Christmas music: driving in my car, skipping around the street, walking past lit houses, running along the lakefront, singing in the shower.
I curated a Christmas Spotify playlist that you can find here.
My top five favorite songs this year have been:
- Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney
- Last Christmas by Wham!
- I'll Be Home by Meghan Trainor
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra
- White Christmas by Bing Crosby
I'd love to know yours as I realize the expiration date for this music approaches WAY too quickly. I am open to suggestions as I drive 5 hours back to Michigan on Wednesday.
🔎 Word to define
Tsundoku: the act of acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in your home without reading them. Also used to refer to books ready for reading later when they are on a bookshelf. The art of buying books and never reading them.
Etymology: The term originated in the Meiji era between 1868–1912 as Japanese slang.
Example: This holiday season, let's avoid tsundoku. Start visualizing where, when, and what you'll be reading. This helps me overcome the resistance.
🌟 Quote to inspire
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” –Dale Carnegie
💭 Question to ponder
What is your favorite holiday tradition that you are looking forward to?
(If you don't have many, start thinking about new ones to start like I am)
📷 Photo of the Week
I was interviewed for Paul LeCrone's Penguin Latte podcast. It was my first time ever being a guest on a podcast. It was a free-flowing interview about all things creativity and writing. I am excited to share it once it's out this upcoming week.
- To Paul LeCrone for hosting me as a guest on his podcast - my first time ever being a guest of a podcast
- To Julia Saxena for being the GOAT with helping my team set up our sales page
- To the Vitalize Talent team, Naseem Malik and Aaron Cleavinger for the constant ideation these past several weeks and the momentum this course curriculum has created
- To Andrew Barry for his course coaching support and being the shepherd
- To fellow altMBA grad Dan McGlinn for inspiring the word to define
- To Ben Bradbury for sharing This is Water back on the day I met him in June 2019 in the Big Apple (even though it took me years to actually watch it). Recommendations don't expire folks.
I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet.
Never stop learning 😁
Until next week,
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