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Friday, November 30, 2018

Thank you to the Young Man Cleaning Tables Today — Good Reminder of Doing a Good Job & Being Proud of It


I went to a restaurant by me today for a bowl of soup. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather. There was a young man about 15 years old or so cleaning tables.

He didn’t miss any detail and was fully emersed in doing his work the very best he could. Nothing else mattered while performing the task and he was happy to do the work. No spec of dirt missed. As he finished every table, he’d look it all over and smile so proudly and humbly. It meant a lot to him to have those tables clean and tidy and do a good job.

This impresses me and makes me think of the little things in life that are so great. You don’t have to have a fancy job to do a job well and be proud.

Do things well and complete to the best of your ability in all you do no matter what that is. Be proud and humble too.

Thank you to the young man cleaning tables today. You inspire and teach us all very valuable lessons.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

My Journey with Minimalism (Mindset is the Focus Here)


I’ve always been cheap and haven’t been too materialistic… or so I thought until my journey with minimalism. :-)

Back about 4 years ago, I started to really get into reading. (Shocking, I know! Nobody would ever think that about me, but it’s true. I could probably count on two hands the number of books I’d read before then.) Being a lifelong cheapass until then (ha!), the reading material I was drawn to were those about living a great life but not needing to spend a lot of money. I’ve always loved finance and accounting also. I read and read and read. A common theme I started to see was that which cores to minimalism. So, I started reading about minimalism! I got rid of a lot of things (and yes it’s still a journey — always will be) after reading about minimalism. Then, after the things went away…. I realized my mindset was still focused on materialism even though I wasn’t buying many things. This is where things became deep… real deep. Below I share some tips from my journey with minimalism. I hope to inspire you to think beyond ownership of things when comes to your minimalism journey… A mindset of materialism vs. minimalism is pretty huge I think in this journey also.

Tips for the Journey of a Minimalistic life you may not always hear (because some of them are brutally hard to hear but soo true.) 


Even if you are not purchasing physical items…. ask yourself then are you still spending your time fantasizing about physical possessions?


My example: 

I would spend literally hours on the internet looking at clothing sites awing the beautiful clothes there. While I didn’t think this was a materialistic mindset and life, it was. Even if you aren’t physically purchasing items, the mindset of materialism is still there if you’re daydreaming about material things to an excessive amount.

Lesson: 

Be intentional about when you truly NEED something and only do your browsing and looking then. Be focused and intentional about what you need and also what you want. This will help your time management and also help you with your focus and mindset. I didn’t need to spend a significant amount of my time looking at clothes online for fun. There were other ways to spend that time that are so much more meaningful.

Are the activities you do centered around materialism even though you aren’t purchasing things?


My example: 


Before my journey with minimalism I would spend literally at least half a day or more every week browsing through thrift stores (Or Big Lots! No joke!) for fun. And I always thought…. I’m not materialistic — I hardly buy anything; I just like to look! :-) Ohhhh was I wrong... Mindset, mindset, mindset. How are you choosing to spend your time and where is your focus?

Lesson: 


You don’t have to buy or have things to be constantly thinking from a materialistic mindset. Where is your mind at and the joys in your life coming from?…. Are you still bubbling and getting excited over a Big Lots store? haha. :-) Not saying that’s wrong at all though! We all choose how we want to live our lives and spend our time and what we get excited over is nobody else’s business. (I cannot say what is right or wrong for everyone. That makes no sense to me.) BUT, if you’re wanting to focus your mindset and life around a journey of minimalism then this is one subset of mindset and activities in your life to look at possibly examining.

Are the goals you have in your future wrapped around materialism?


Do you daydream about having a hugeeeeee house with a ton of things in it even though you say you’re not materialistic?… Even if it's JUST A DREAM and you’d actually be perfectly happy with way less. How about what you think about what you have in your life materialistically now vs. in the future? Is that centered in your thinking more than it should be? My example: I would dream about a garage or having a dishwasher and having a washer/dryer when I was living in my apartments that didn’t have these. Ok, so it’s something to look forward to for sure!

Lesson: 

There are certain things that enhance and make our lives better (some we think would, but honestly they don’t!). Those enhanced material possessions shouldn’t be something that kills the simplicity mindset of where you are NOW and what you find of beauty. It’s OK if you don’t have a dishwasher right now. It’s OK if you don’t have a washer or dryer in your apartment right now. Constantly thinking about wanting material possessions and daydreaming about a big huge life filled with things isn’t too minimalist centered. In all honesty, it destroys the simplicity of the life you live now. It’s ok to have some materialistic goals, but don’t allow that to destroy the simplicity and beauty in what you do have now. Don’t let it become something you constantly think about either. Let it be… write it down and say “Yes, that would be nice one day. However, until I get there this is perfectly fine and ok. Life is not a race.”

Monday, July 2, 2018

Moments of our Lives, Glimpses of the Past

Photo by Jiyeon Park on Unsplash

Lately, I’ve been finding it so odd and yet almost refreshing how we can have such vivid moments in our lives… Then, roll forward 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 60 years and have other vivid moments and present-times, but if we think back to the past we often are left with only just short glimpses of those old realities we thought so highly of and were living with so much emotion in the past.

Everything in the present is so lively and of immense focus. Yet our past is often short memories that may seem to fade with time. Though it does seem we can allow some parts of our past to remain vivid if we choose to replay those times over and over in our heads. I’m sure there’s plenty of debate if that’s good to do or not!

It’s shocking and interesting to me how the mind and memory work over the years. Life progresses despite our past no matter whether our past is good or bad.

Been reading a lot lately about how we can shape and transform our memories. Maybe that’s why I’ve been noticing this lately? Funny how what we read can allow us to create meaning and contemplate life.

Monday, June 18, 2018

3 Tips for Grant Managers

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Over the years of my grant management career, I have found the following to be most useful to do my job the best possible. Hope these prove to be 3 tips you can take back to your office and/or share with those you know involved in Grants Management.

1. Anything and Everything you need to do or others need to do for effective grants management…Put it on a calendar.


In grants management, there are multiple deadlines. Those deadlines which are externally created AND those of which you should create yourself in order to keep yourself and others focused and on-task for completing the many duties you and others have to effectively manage grants.

If you do NOT have a calendar of some sort, you more than likely will be disorganized, miss deadlines, be rushing and in turn create stress for yourself and others, make errors, and you might stand a chance of ruining your reputation as a reliable grants manager.

I personally recommend Google Calendar as opposed to paper calendars or other types of electronic calendars. You can easily share the calendar(s) you create with others and if you use Gmail, of course, it integrates EVERY well with it to make your life as a grants manager so much easier and cleaner.

Look at your calendar every day and use it as a strategic planning tool for understanding what it is you should be focusing on due to many time-constraints. You want to be in the know of upcoming deadlines and plan your work accordingly.

Multiple articles could be written about strategic planning for grant management professionals, so I’ll leave it at this for now… Look at your calendar and plan accordingly.

2. Create structure and deadlines for all involved in effective grants management.


In grants management, you will often have to work with many stakeholders to achieve multiple objectives. DO NOT just sit back and think everyone knows what they should be doing, what they need to do, or when they need to do it. Of course, that statement depends on a lot of factors, but ultimately as the grants manager, things fall onto YOU to manage grants.

Thus, you want to be CLEAR AND CONCISE about what everyone should be doing and by when. This might include verbal communication as necessary, but one thing I’ve found over the years is that people forget if you stick only to verbal communication for grants management.

Therefore, write an email noting a list of things for each person to do (if there are more than one) and when they need to be done by. Give specific deadlines. If they miss a deadline or are nearing a deadline but you haven’t heard anything from them, FOLLOW-UP.

All of this creates structure and clear communication for all stakeholders involved in the grant management process.

3. When someone asks a question about grant policy and guidelines, PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND RESEARCH. It’s also helpful to send a follow-up email with a link and/or picture of the direct source of where you found the information.


Grant managers WILL get many questions from multiple people regarding grant policies and guidelines. It’s important to always do a double-check of the answer before providing it to others. This is because in the grants management world…. things can change. You may THINK you know the exact policy and guidelines word for word and you’re a top grant manager in your field so why look, but don’t make this mistake. RESEARCH.

FIND the exact policy and guideline and send this to the person who asked you a policy and/or guideline question. You show that you know what you’re doing, you aren’t just making things up all on your own, and it can be used as a great means to teach others.

It’s important in grant management to always stay on top of the newest policies and guidelines and it’s important as well to ensure that others know that you do your job by the books. Grants Management is a very policy and guideline-driven career.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything without doing your homework first.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Discovering Dance — A Student’s Discovery of the Beautiful Art


Personal Aesthetic Statement -

I believe what I like about dance is it can be about anything and doesn’t always have to make sense to everyone. It can be something very personal.

I think a person can look at the movements of a dancer and see their emotions. These emotions might be that portrayed by the dancer, but also could be their own emotions because everyone can interpret something different about a dance.

I like Dance as a whole because I believe every part of dance (the dancer, the music, the choreography, etc.) has something to do with what the whole idea of the dance is.

The thoughts on the dance of that of Martha Graham closely match my ideas of dance because it was her idea that dance begins with your idea and the movement makes you feel the emotion. She made dances about inner movements and what you did.

I feel like emotions can have certain movements to them that can be quickly realized.

Also, I feel that my personal aesthetic of dance has changed throughout the course because I was unaware of how in-depth you can interpret dance and how dance can be sought of so differently by each individual.

I guess I never paid that much attention that one dance can spark many different thoughts. I remember at the beginning of class I said I liked dances with a lot going on. I have a better understanding of why I like dances such as this; it is because when I see a dance filled with a lot of variety I can think of many different emotions and thoughts of the dance.

I like dances that can have a lot to discuss or compare. I like to analyze things in my life. I have known this for a long time about myself, but I never really thought that would be why I like certain kinds of dance as well. I’m a very analytical person, and I like to find the key factors of why some things happened or happen. It is said as well that Accountants are very analytical, and like to find things like a detective. My major is Accounting.

I feel like I might interpret dance like a detective in a very analytical way; I always wonder what the key source or emotion of the dance is about.

More on Martha Graham: https://www.biography.com/people/martha-graham-9317723

Please note: Martha Graham is a true artist and not to be limited by the short, novice description noted in this piece of writing from a previous student’s perspective. I share the above link so that you can learn more about this artist’s great work.

Below is choreography by Martha Graham -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv9r8-bq_FQ&feature=emb_title

Audio Clip I recorded 10 Years Ago on My College Leadership Experiences, Goals, and Life Lessons from Humble Beginnings


Dear Readers,

I found this audio clip from years ago (probably recorded around 10 years ago) where I recorded about my college leadership experiences, career goals, and shared some of my life-story and lessons learned. I thought this might be inspirational for some even though not a typical post. I hope you enjoy it.

Sincerely,
Aleesa

https://soundcloud.com/user-448559620