Tidy for Joy

One of my go-to activities when too tired and uninspired to do anything else, is tidying. Tidying my surroundings is deeply relaxing and satisfying to me. It gives me peace of mind, knowing that things are in their right place. – And that I put them there!

Especially after a stressful day at work, coming home and putting my shoes, purse and work-clothes back in their designated places feels like a great accomplishment. It gives me a small confidence boost, knowing that although work didn’t go as planned, I still accomplished something.

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I am well aware that not everyone enjoys tidying (my boyfriend included) as much as I do. And if you don’t mind living in mess, there is really no reason for tidying. Except if you have an obnoxious girlfriend like me, of course, who forces you to close the kitchen cabinets and reuse your glas, instead of taking a new glas every time you get thirsty – leaving a million glasses scattered around the apartment… sorry, I almost got carried away there for a minute!

Unlike my boyfriend, however, it seems like many people despise mess. They just don’t know how to get rid of it properly. Enter my new hero: Marie Kondo, a “Japanese organizing consultant” nonetheless, according to wikipedia!

The KonMari method describes tidying as a logical and structured process, which should leave your home clutter free – for good! What is unique to the method is the focus on tidying as a means for transforming your life. In an interview with Arianna Huffington, Marie Kondo explains: “Central to the KonMari Method is envisioning one’s ideal life prior to tidying. This establishes a goal for tidying and sets the practice into motion.” As such, the method is rooted in a single question: Does the item spark joy? 

Here are my main take-aways from the process of tidying described in the book:

  1. Collect every item of a group (e.g. shirts / cosmetics / books) in a big pile
  2. Go through every item in the pile, and toss everything that doesn’t spark joy
  3. Once you have gone through the pile… go through it again!
  4. Decide on a designated place for the remaining items (meaning only the items that spark true joy) in the group (e.g. all shirts to be located in the top drawer)
  5. Place all joyful items in their designated place

Once you get into the habit of returning your joyful items to their designated place, your home will always be clutter-free and tidy. How neat? (ba-dum-bum-chiii)

Happy tidying, guys!

Silicon Valley Girl

Marina Mogilko is an entrepreneur and founder of linguatrip.com, a booking site for language courses and language home-stays all over the world. LinguaTrip helps people travel the world and learn languges from native speakers. Marina herself speaks 4 languages, which she learned during “linguatrips”.

Marina founded her first company in 2011 at the young age of 21, while still studying in Russia. In one of her videos she even explains how she in the beginning had to run out of class to take business calls, trying to sound mature and professional.

Although accepted into several major U.S. universities to do an MBA, she instead decided to move to Silicon Valley and chose 500 Startups, a venture capital firm backing promising startups, to grow her business. By 2014, she had grown her initial $300 to revenues reaching $1.5M+, and by 2018 she manages 65+ people internationally.

Marina started her first youtube channel in 2015. Today, she is running no less than three youtube channels, with more than a million followers:

  1. linguamarina, and English teaching side,
  2. Marina Mogilko, her Russian channel; and
  3. Silicon Valley Girl, my personal favourite

On Silicon Valley Girl, Marina discusses the insides to being a young, female entrepreneur. Her enthusiasm and continuous drive is very inspirational and affirmative to watch, especially considering the competitive and male-dominated start-up environment in Silicon Valley.

Click on the links in the text above, if you are interested in learning more about Marina Mogilko or LinguaTrip.

Know Your Worth

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No one will ever pay you what you are worth. They will only ever pay you what they think you are worth. And you control their thinking.” – Casey Brown

The above quote from Casey Brown’s TEDxColumbusWomen talk is one of the most eye-opening statements to me. First, because it forces me to accept that a pay raise is something I have to negotiate for myself. No one else will negotiate it for me, no matter how great my work is. Second, it empowers me to take charge of the negotiation by clearly defining and communicating my own value.

The second lesson is definitely easier said, than done. But think about it for a minute. If you don’t know your own value, how can you expect someone else to? Especially someone who is busy with maintaining an ever tighter budget, company KPIs, work/life balance… Oh, and negotiating his/her own salary with someone even higher (aka scarier!) in the organization.

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Whether you have a salary negotiation coming up or not, I do believe everyone can benefit from considering their own value. As suggested by Casey Brown, this can be done by considering key value questions, such as:

  • What do my clients need, and how do I meet their demands?
  • Do I do anything that no one else does?
  • What value do I add to the organization?

These questions may seem overwhelming at first, especially for someone new to the work place. Personally, they initially terrified me. I did the mistake of comparing myself to the many great people around me – with a lot more experience than me, may I add. As a result, I did not feel I contributed anything unique or special to the organisation, which made my first salary negotiation extremely terrifying.

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What helped me overcome this insecurity was to compare these key value questions to my job description. This helped me understand what was required from me, and provided a benchmark to compare my qualities with. Subsequently, I discussed the questions with people around me, to understand what they considered best practice for someone in my position.

This exercise serves as a confidence boost, because you start appreciating all the things you are doing right. At the same time, it also provides a lot of opportunities for growth, which you can use to develop in your position. And with that confidence and achieved development areas along the way, I am confident that we can all find our own voice and use it to communicate value.