Planning your career (or, your next job) can be a multi-step process that makes you feel like you wish you carried around a printed calendar, post-its and a pencil. But, sometimes we forget to forgo over planning in lieu of enjoying. Read on for three key lessons to remember when you’re feeling like a fiery manager of timelines.

  1. Remember that careers are lengthy. Think back to when you were a teenager and a bit of a brat. At the time you thought you were the bees knees and knew everything. Nowadays you probably giggle at the thought of your 14-year-old self being an insufferable know-it-all. What’s wonderful about that realization is that you’ve learned a lot since then. Apply that same thinking to your current career and it can be rewarding to realize that there will be a lot more to learn around every turn and there’s plenty of time to get even better. Sometimes that can be stressful to think about how much you simply don’t know, or, it can be invigorating to look forward to all that personal growth.
  2. Enjoy the process. Some days are harder than others and some goals more difficult to accomplish. It’s important to take your time and enjoy each step along the way. If you spend all your time focusing on finishing the marathon you’re less likely to enjoy training in the early mornings, eating weird granola bars and pushing yourself to the brink. Just think, if you only care about crossing the finish line you’ll miss waving to all your friends cheering on the sidelines.
  3. Focus internally. There’s a big world out there that’s distracting and full of noise. When you’re scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin it’s hard to remember that social statuses aren’t the whole story. Rather than getting caught up trying to untangle just how they got where they are, refocus and think about what brings you joy. It’s important to let you define your own success by your own needs. And, by focusing on your personal needs you may discover that keeping up with the Joneses isn’t for you and you’re more of a pave your own way kind of gal.

Good luck and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!


We all have to do chores and they’re rarely fun. Unless you love washing dishes (secretly, I do) it can really be a chore to take on chores. Next time you’re getting ready to work some household chores, take a moment to really connect with the chore. If you’re washing dishes, enjoy the feeling of the hot water and the circular motion and how it feels to rinse off the grime. If you’re sweeping the floors take your time to feel how your body takes one each movement. Folding the laundry? Take in the scent and focus on how each fold makes that shirt into the perfect size for your drawer. Whatever the chore is, enjoy the details of the chore. Who knows, you may discover you adore cleaning the bathroom!

Meet Madelin, who’s bringing clear information to the world of gastroenterology… and LOVES it. No seriously, read on to learn more about her work/life/passion balance journey…

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?

I’m the Senior Manager of Clinical Guideline Development at the American Gastroenterological Association Institute (yikes, what a mouthful!) Basically, in my day-to-day job, I coordinate the development and publication of guidelines for doctors in the gastrointestinal field. These guidelines are based on very rigorous reviews of the scientific evidence about how to diagnose, evaluate and treat all sorts of digestive disorders, from colon cancer to acid reflux. Our goal is to make sure doctors across the country are all up-to-date on the latest scientific evidence so that they can provide the best care possible to their patients.

As part of this job, I also write patient summaries for each guideline. These summaries take our guidelines and put them into plain, everyday language so that doctors and patients can better understand one another – the doctor can explain a diagnosis and how they intend to treat a condition, and the patient is more likely to know what questions they need to ask their doctor as well as how to care for themselves when they get home.

We’ve all had experiences when we walked out of the doctor’s office after a diagnosis or treatment decision with our head spinning with so much information, and wondering, “okay, so… what did we just talk about in there?” I hope that with my patient-oriented summaries, we can ensure that patients get all the information they need to manage their conditions effectively from the start and avoid problems down the line.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
One of the first real magazines I ever read was my father’s monthly subscription to Skeptic magazine. One of my yearly Christmas gifts was a World Almanac, and every Christmas morning into my adolescence was spent cozied up on the couch with my nose in the new edition, soaking up all the information that excited me. I have an insatiable appetite for new information, especially when it comes to things related to health and science.

Over the past year, it’s dawned on me that my career interests, my hobbies and my overall lifestyle all have two shared threads running through them: the theme of soaking up information, and the theme of applying that information to practice. Evidence-based medicine is a huge interest of mine and guides just about everything I do in my “day job” developing clinical guidelines. But it also plays a large role in my time outside of work – for instance, I love to participate in online skeptic and science advocacy forums and listen to podcasts about evidence-based fitness and nutrition. When I’m not plugged in, I’m either in the gym using science and evidence-based methods to prepare for my first bodybuilding competition, or in the kitchen experimenting with different ways to create healthful meals that satisfy my raging sweet tooth – which is almost as insatiable as my zest for knowledge!

So as you can see, my passion for seeking out evidence and applying it to my life – and also communicating science-based information to others – pops up just about everywhere throughout my day, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I find that because my interests and hobbies complement my 9-to-5 job, it helps me make sure that I don’t get too bogged down in working. I have so many outlets through which to express my love of health and science, and my job is only one of them! I feel lucky to be starting on a career that is fed by my biggest passions in life. There’s so much rampant misinformation around health these days, and I want to be part of improving the conversation and improving lives through the spread of information that’s based in facts, not emotions like fear.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
My interests ranged from oceanographer to movie producer! Somewhere around the age of 12, I saw my first episode of “The West Wing” and instantly decided I wanted to be in politics. I loved trying to figure out what makes people “tick” – why they vote for a certain candidate and how they form their beliefs. It took me 10 years to figure out that the extreme lack of work/life balance that’s inherent in politics was not a good fit for me – I value self-care too much to go down that road. I had an epiphany while I was working 80-hour weeks and living off of pizza one summer during college that what I really wanted to do was change lives through health communication, and keep my own health and sanity while doing it. Not to mention, if what you really care about is getting the straight, scientific facts to your audience, politics is probably not the best field to go into.

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I want to be the person behind the scenes of a highly impactful public health campaign  – hopefully, several! – that will get people to change their behaviors around health. As Mad Men’s Peggy Olsen said, “I want to create something of value.” In fact, advertising and health communication are very similar – I just want to sell better health to Americans, not panty hose.

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you? – but be forewarned that you will regularly encounter gym selfies and food pics – the two most hated of all digital photography subjects.

Anything else you want to share?

I came across a quote from Maya Angelou the other day that I felt describes my life philosophy perfectly: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive: and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Leave it to Maya for that mic drop.


It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

-Leonardo da Vinci

As the days are getting shorter, weather’s getting colder and sweaters are finding their way out of storage, we start to plan our holiday travel season. One semi-regular occurrence is the High School Reunion. Most schools opt for around Thanksgiving on the assumption that folks come home for the holidays. Now, prepping for a high school, college or even family reunion can be a stressful mental task. Especially if you’re not loving your job. So, read on for some tips to survive a high school reunion. (Or a college reunion, family reunion, or just the random surprise coffee shop sighting.)

  1. Write down everything that’s going great. Seriously. Take the time to write down everything that makes you really happy about your current lifestyle. It could be that you love your job, your boss, your apartment, you started taking an improv class or just discovered ceramics is still fun. Keep writing until you have a stockpile of items that bring you joy. These are great to have in your back pocket to remind yourself that things are going well.
  2. Get your elevator pitch down. Be prepared to answer the same questions over and over by almost scripting where you live and what you do. You’ll have to say it more than once and by scripting it, you can avoid run-on sentences where you start to dive into exactly why you didn’t get the promotion you thought you would.
  3. Plan ahead and get your questions ready. Think about who you’re hoping to catch up with. If you can, send them a note before the event to let them know you’re looking forward to connecting. Also, get some questions ready for anyone you’re chatting with. There will be the usual wheres and whats, but, it’s good to mix in some different questions like asking about upcoming trips or new hobbies. It’s fun to reminisce and to learn about what’s happening in the present.
  4. Let the jealousy go. It’s going to be hard to see people who are founders of their own companies, lawyers or VPs at their companies. If you’re nervous about the jealousy, keep returning to step 1 and remind yourself that everyone works at their own pace and we all have different definitions of success.
  5. Find a buddy. When heading back to school, bring a friend or significant other. Work out a “code” word that let’s both of you know what you need. Something as simple as, “I think I’m going to switch to beer”, or, “I was thinking about purchasing a stuffed iguana.” Okay, maybe you should work that one out with them.
  6. Listen. It’s fun to talk about yourself, but, it’s also really nice to have someone listen to you. When you’re asking folks about themselves, be careful not to be searching around the room for your next mark. Be present with each person as you learn about what they’re doing now.
  7. Give in to the awkward. This stuff is awkward! To counterbalance, be sure to wear something that makes you feel comfortable and eat a big dinner to soak up the open-bar alcohol. Let it be silly but be sure to watch the drinks and keep the conversations on the lighter side. You may have a few people that you really want to dive deep – that’s awesome! Be sure to schedule time to meet up again so you don’t find yourself 2 hours into a conversation and realizing you didn’t get to see Susan.

I hope these tips help as the reunion season comes close. If you’re also job hunting, a sneaky 8th tip is to ask people about their jobs and what they like and don’t like. Don’t pull out a resume, instead, keep the conversation upbeat and follow up after the reunion to learn more in an informal setting. Also, honestly? There’s no shame in deciding not to go. There will always be another one!

Happy Monday! For this mindful Monday, we’re going to focus on tomorrow morning instead of today. Tomorrow, set a second alarm (just in case) and when you wake up, keep your eyes closed. Instead of reaching for that shiny light box of a phone you have acting as your alarm clock and checking instagram, hit “off”, and let it be a slow wake up. Take in the smells, the sounds, the feeling of your sheets. Wiggle your toes and fingers and try out some long stretches while happily under the covers. Take your time and relish in the morning hours before the busyness of your day begins.

%d bloggers like this: