Autobiography August: Monthly Challenge #8
Write 3 Pages a Day & Own Your (Professional) Narrative
Ready or not, August is here! 2019 is flying by, and so is the time to tick off your New Years Resolutions.
That's why we've got a fresh challenge to keep you feeling focused and fulfilled as fall approaches.
Enter Autobiography August.
We've talked before about the importance of owning your professional narrative. At PowerToFly, we believe in the power of storytelling.
Whether you're trying to sell your product, your vision, or your experience, it all comes back to a good story. Struggling with imposter syndrome? Scared to career pivot? Try shifting your narrative.
When we write about our past, we take control of it. We see our weaknesses up close, and then we can reframe them as the learning experiences they were always meant to be.
So this August, we're not really challenging you to write an autobiography. But we are challenging you to spend at least 10 minutes a day journaling about you.
You can focus on personal or professional experiences, but try and craft a narrative that spans your professional life.
The goal is to get comfortable answering the "innocuous" questions that throw so many of us for a loop: Tell me about yourself, walk me through your resume, what're you up to these days?
You might use some of the following questions as writing prompts:
- What was your first job? Why did you leave it? What did you learn from it?
- How many jobs have you had since you started your career? Which taught you the most? Is there anything you really miss about a past job? Why do you miss it?
- Jot down each job you've worked at and identify the number 1 thing you learned at each – how did each of those lessons help you along your professional journey?
- What is a weakness you had when you started your career that you feel you've overcome? What's a weakness you're still working on?
- What would 20-year-old you have to say about where you are now? Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
- How does your professional life jive with your personal life? Do you have the work-life balance you'd hoped for? How does one area impact the other?
- Do you feel fulfilled by your career? Do you think career fulfillment is important? If not, which areas of your life make you feel fulfilled?
- What's your elevator pitch? Try writing 5 different 3 sentence responses to "Tell me about yourself." Which one feels the most "you"?
Play Professional Narrative Mad-libs
If you're struggling, try filling in the blanks in the following template below to design an elevator pitch that is LinkedIn-ready. It's like mad-libs for your professional life!
- I am a (adjective), (adjective) (noun) experienced in (noun) and (noun). With a passion for (noun), I'm looking to (verb phrase) and (verb phrase).
WORD BANK (just for inspiration — feel free to use whatever words speak to you)
- Adjectives: dedicated, enthusiastic, energetic, data-driven, collaborative, results-driven, people-oriented, relatable
- Nouns/Noun phrase: problem-solver/problem solving, , cost eliminator, storyteller/storytelling, engineer/engineering, writer/writing, manager/management, optimization, decision maker, analyst/analysis, team building, process improvement, social impact, communication, explorer, connecting (people/companies/countries), environment, continuous improvement, learning
- Verbs (phrases): challenge myself, add value, make change, build (systems/brands/teams), optimize (processes), manage people, inspire, lead, develop, invent, create, fix, learn, grow
So get to work:
Write for ten minutes a day and reflect on how your experiences have made you the professional you are now. At the end, you'll have 31 days worth of insights to look back on. I promise you you'll be a better writer and a more self-aware, confident person for it.
You might even have learned to love telling people about yourself.
Tackling the challenge? Tweet us what you're writing for #autobiographyaugust @PowerToFly!
How to stay productive and positive while working remotely
With the outbreak of COVID-19, scores of people are finding themselves working remotely for the first time. Trying to stay productive while at home with so many distractions can be overwhelming, so we asked women tech leaders what they were doing to work from home successfully. Along with getting a great pair of noise canceling headphones (game changer!), they have 10 excellent tips to help you thrive in a work-from-home environment.
I've been thinking about women's ingenuity a lot recently; after all, crises like the one we're facing now fuel innovation. They especially fuel innovation from those who are on the frontlines, in desperate need of solutions.
She’s Paving the Way for Women in Cybersecurity: How She Went from First-Generation College Student to IT Leader
A Conversation with Freddie Mac's Stephanie Johnson
When Stephanie Johnson, currently an Information Security Manager at Freddie Mac, was just starting her career as an IT professional, she found herself sitting in her car one night after work asking herself, "Why am I not being heard? Should I adjust my tone? Posture? What I'm saying?"
For when you can't read one more bad-news story.
I would never argue that the novel coronavirus is a good thing. COVID-19 has or will cause many deaths, a long-lasting global economic slowdown, and rampant general stress and anxiety.
As schools across the nation close, and the majority of businesses mandate remote work, working parents are now faced with the ultimate challenge - how to balance their families and jobs under one roof while COVID-19 still remains a concern.
PowerToFly is bringing thought-leading professionals (and working moms!) to speak about balancing our new realities and how to best optimize your time at home. In this panel, we'll discuss maneuvering the difficulties of working from home from taking conference calls to juggle homeschooling/ childcare.
Don't feel the pressure, your children, partner and pets are welcome to join this virtual chat!
Join us for this live Q&A to learn new tips, strategies, and hear personal anecdotes from our panelists that have shaped these women into the incredible founders and mothers they are today. You will have the opportunity to ask questions during our free, virtual conversation and have the chance to snag a giveaway sponsored by PowerToFly and our panelists!
Meet the Panelists:
Christine Michel Carter, Creator of Mompreneur and Me
Featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, Christine Michel Carter is the #1 global voice for working moms. Christine clarifies misconceptions about working mom consumers for brands and serves as an amplifier of their personal truths.
Mary Beth Ferrante, Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360
Mary Beth Ferrante is a mom of two and advocate for creating inclusive workplaces for parents. She is the Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360, a career development platform designed for working parents and managers to help companies support, retain and recruit working parents. In addition, she is a senior contributor for Forbes and her work has been featured in Today, Thrive Global, Working Mother, FairyGodBoss, ScaryMommy, and other leading publishers.
Amy Henderson, Founding CEO of TendLab
Amy Henderson is the founding CEO of TendLab, a consultancy addressing the challenges and opportunities parenthood brings into the workplace. TendLab's research-based approach reveals how parenthood can unlock career-critical skills--such as resiliency, courage, and the ability to collaborate--skills which are especially important during this COVID-19 pandemic.