It was on a calm, sunny Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco. The birds were chirping, people were bantering on the streets, and here I was, sitting in my room, literally shaking in my chair.
I had just received a job offer for an engineering position in San Francisco, and in about fifteen minutes, I’d have to negotiate a job offer with the CEO of the company — a prospect that made me sick to my stomach. As much as I despised it, my friends told me I’d be leaving money on the table if I didn’t get on the phone and negotiate. I just had to suck it up and do it.
There was one small hitch in that plan, though. I’m a terrible negotiator.
Thankfully, I knew better than to try and enter into a job negotiation unprepared. After receiving the initial offer, I quickly read Getting To Yes, based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project. I then devoured as many blog posts as I could on negotiating salaries for an engineering position.
I felt ready as I’d ever be, yet I was still nauseous and jittery. The phone rang and my heart dropped right into the pit of my stomach. I took a deep breath, picked up the phone and got started. Continue Reading…
I used to think that embarrassment was a bad thing — a sign that something was wrong. Now I believe it’s an important tool for personal growth.
What changed my mind? A thought from writer and philosopher Alain de Botton: “Anyone who isn’t embarrassed by who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”
When I think back to what my “healthy diet” looked like last year, especially compared to now, I cringe. (Hint: last year’s healthy diet included ramen and hamburgers.) It’s in these moments that I understand exactly what de Botton is talking about. Continue Reading…
Great ideas need simplicity to thrive.
Telling a story? One of Pixar’s top recommendations is to simplify and refine your storyline, and then simplify some more.
Selling something? Advertising legend Paul Arden recommends selling clients a simple idea, rather than a completed, nuanced work. They’ll feel more involved as you flesh out the details together.
Managing others? People perform at their best when they don’t over think things. Simplicity in the workplace makes a difference.
Steve Jobs championed simplicity when he said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Unfortunately, simple is easier said than done.
Here’s a little secret about how I force myself to simplify: If the idea cannot fit on a sticky note, it’s not simple enough. Continue Reading…
Five years ago, I downloaded Evernote with glee. As someone with a terrible memory, I had long been searching for a great digital notebook, and Evernote fit the bill. Searchable notebooks? Checklists? Syncing with all of my devices? Yes please.
Nowadays, that feeling of glee has been replaced with overwhelm. When I open Evernote, I see an anxiety-inducing grand total of ~800 notes (see the image above); it dawns on me, I have no idea what’s in most of them.
Was I receiving any benefit from these long-forgotten notes buried in the proverbial basement of Evernote? Were these simply records, or actionable information I should be aware of? It’s a question I’ve shrugged off – until today. Continue Reading…