So You Want to be a Leader…? Recap of Elton’s Leadership Talk.

Reposted from Jacksonville, FL (October 22, 2013) by yours truly.

Recently I’ve been attending different conferences, and I would like to share my most recent experience with you all!

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the UNF Leadership Summit (SWOOP). I enjoyed listening to the panel of leaders that morning, winning tickets to the San Marco theater (when I say I enjoyed winning tickets, I mean I screamed and everyone else stared in silence), and even my breakout session focusing on outliers, but I took away the most from the last talk by keynote speaker, our co-founder, Elton Rivas. Here are the 9 main points I picked up about how to be a great leader. (Sorry it’s not a more catchy number like 5, or 10)

1. “The world needs more GREAT Leaders, not good leaders, GREAT leaders.” I make this point first because Elton opened up with it, but also because it’s very important to first realize the NEED for great leaders in our world.

2. Platforms are built for great leaders, not the other way around. Cities, industries, technology and academia today are platforms. These platforms are built so leaders can grab the opportunity, and do whatever the heck they want to do with them. Elton went on to describe how so many people get it backwards. The world, or at least the platform, is your oyster!

3. Follow your “gut.” Elton shared his stories about having a mango stand in Miami with a man named Manny (alliteration, anyone?), opening a cat bed and breakfast, following a girl to school, and working for “corporate.” After his corporate job stuck him in a back office facing a wall, he finally realized that corporate was not for him, so he got out of there! Later, a deal went bad and his ego plummeted, so he thought about jumping into the corporate world again- but he had a bad gut feeling about it. Luckily he didn’t take the job, because 6 months later the company went crashing!

3. Make time for yourself, and don’t apologize for it. As a leader,  you need time to be in your own head. Elton shared his love for triathlons, but your hobby can be anything. It can be anything that brings you to your “happy place,” a true time for you to be alone with your thoughts.

4. Jacksonville is the best city in the world! No, but seriously. Realize that where you are currently is the platform for you to be a leader; you don’t have to be halfway across the world to do something great. You can start right here in Jacksonville, the gateway to Florida! Hello: CoWork Jax, One Spark, etc… HOW WONDERFUL! Jacksonvillians are known to be open minded and brilliant – we are go-getters, changers for the good. As Jen Jones said at the #welovejax event: “The negative perception of Jacksonville is all smoke in mirrors. Be the change you wish to see in the community.” My love for Jacksonville is a post for another day! 🙂

5. Solve the Need. Elton, with a few other co-founders, opened CoWork Jax. There was a need for a safe spot for people to conspire and build. That was the first piece to the puzzle. Then he and a few other co-founders struck again with One Spark, and created the world’s first crowd funded festival. There was a need for a rallying crowd, a positive ego booster, a place to make people first.

6. Understand that there are 4 different types of leaders, and identify accordingly.

  • Chaos Charger: this person thrives in an open ended unstructured environment, creates their own mold, has the ability to get a group of people behind a cause.
  • Boundary Definer: this person needs some kind of parameter. Are they leading people to change Jacksonville or the entire world?
  • Directional Leader: after you tell this person what they need to be doing, they are going to create teams, delegate and organize a project. They have the ability to give direction.
  • Critique: this person can be positive or negative. One critique is mad that they were not asked to be a part of your project and will criticize from a distance, and the other critique, the loving type, will tell you how your project could go better in an objective way and why.

All 4 leaders are important to have, and they all work in entirely different ways.

7. A Leader must understand the following elements:

  • Every great leader runs into a wall of fear before making that first move. Instead of letting it cripple you and your dreams, turn fear into the flame under your behind and let it ignite you to take a step in the right direction.
  • Love is the most important thing there is. You must love what you lead. How else will you persuade others of its importance, or motivate others to rally behind you as you pursue your dream?
  • Know when to say stop. Say stop when your project is going the opposite direction of the greater goal; Say stop when you physically can’t add anything else to your to do list. (See #3)
  • Lastly, have a burning passion. Elton put it this way,”If you’re really passionate, eventually something good will come out of it.” And I can’t help but think of the quote from the Apple Commercial (cheesy, I know, but I LOVE it). Leaders are innately curious beings.

8. Know your personal definition of success. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What is the purpose? What should the end result be? Then share your success with other people.

9. Stop talking about what you want to do, and DO IT. Elton mentioned that he got to meet one of his role models, Alan Webber of Fast Company Magazine. Webber told him about the first time he talked to Steve Jobs – Jobs said “Verbs beat Nouns”

“Leadership becomes the bi-product of action. Commit to something you’re really passionate about for a year, give it your all, and see what happens. Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, find that and then GO DO THAT, because what the world needs is for more people to come alive.”

STOP TALKING, and START DOING. Cheers to the crazy ones.

Thank you Elton for your talk, I truly enjoyed it. For everyone else, what are your thoughts on leadership? Any advice?

Until next time,



Be Fearless. Be You.

As a twenty something, there is so much pressure to know exactly what you want to do AND DO IT as soon as possible. The question I wish I got paid for answering is, now and probably will forever be (maybe it will stop when I’m 30?), “So.. what are you doing (after college, with your life)?

“The single most important ingredient to success is perseverance” – Allison Arden

Publisher of Ad Age, Allison Arden, speaks briefly on being FEARLESS in the work place and to not loose sight of what you want. Know who you are, what you want to do and go with it.

It all starts with that first hand shake, first email, and first interview. GO FOR THE GOAL. Don’t give up!

In what ways have you been/ are you fearless?


Happy Word Vomit Wednesday!

If you’re wondering what DA HECK I’m talking about… check out my first official “word vomit.”

1. I have way over ten different blog drafts saved that I’ve started and haven’t finished… mainly because I go back and forth in my mind a million times wondering if it’s appropriate to post on the internet… or how could I make it appropriate? Some people’s whole career is based on being inappropriate. Chelsea Handler… for example. And then there’s Paula Dean, who obviously wasn’t in a position to speak her mind. Sorry Paula.


The untitled draft is about my duck killing ventures…*LEAK*

2. THIS. Down Town Vision Inc just posted this article about a stair case to no where found in underground Downtown Jacksonville. Thoughts?

3. Pub Subs. I have so much love for Pub Subs, and Publix in general. Now they’re an official sponsor of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Do I need to say anything else? NO. Shopping truly is a pleasure at Publix, but now shopping at Publix is a mind blowing experience thanks to their new TOASTER. That’s right, if you didn’t know, now you’ve heard it from me. Publix is now able to toast your sub. Think about the Boar’s Head Turkey heated under the freshly sliced Gouda Cheese melted to perfected on a just baked loaf of bread. I’m salivating, bye.

4. Dirty Martini’s are my favorite drink right now. My previous “favorite drinks” were, but were never limited to: Bloody Mary, White Russian… okay fine that’s all I got.

5. Can watching movies be a hobby?

6. I ordered my first audio book yesterday (not including my Disney cassette tapes read along books that I stuck in my fisher price cassette player with a micro phone). It was something about surviving in your twenties after graduation. I need all the help I can get.

**End Vom Sesh**


Growing up, I’ve always loved Disney movies. I mean I was born into a Little Mermaid room…Today, I still love Disney movies. I didn’t need an excuse to see Monster’s University, I just went. I LOVE DISNEY.


Continuing on the Mermaid Legacy.

The difference between watching Disney movies, like Toy Story or A Bug’s Life, then and now… is finally getting the punch line. If you’re a fellow 90’s babies, LIKE ME, think back to hearing all the moms and dads crack up laughing at a certain part of the movie, and you asking, “Mom, why is everyone laughing? I don’t get it.” Now looking back, you probably see the hidden innuendo… So inappropriate Disney, and genius!

Walt Disney, such an innovative and creative man. How could he have possibly known that a drawing of his would later turn into an empire and a house hold norm? Disney Channel, Disney World, Disney Land, The Disney Store… The list goes on and on. Unless crystal balls are real, as hinted by a few Disney Classics, I’m pretty positive he didn’t know… he just kept on keeping on.

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiously keeps leading us down new paths.” -Meet the Robinsons

I’ve read this quote over and over again, and it seems so much simpler said than done. What’s the hidden meaning here Disney? It’s sounds pretty straight forward…

People who are successful in their field always seem like they just woke up one day, and BOOM! they are the CEO of a huge company, bringing in bank, but it’s not typically true. Someone give me a statistic here.

So my advice (to you if you want it and mostly myself):

Look back, but not for very long. We need to remember the bad to hold onto the new found good. What’s bad now, wasn’t always bad then, and what’s good now wasn’t always good then. Remember the mistakes that made you who you are today, whatever chapter in life you may be at.

Be curious. Curious enough to break down new walls, to surprise yourself daily, and to wonder why.

Keep moving forward. As long as you’re holding on to the old, you can’t grab on to the new. This is a sick reality that’s hard to embrace, but feels sooooo good.

Watch Disney Movies, and one day when you have kids, make them watch Disney Movies. I love Disney Movies.

Failure isn’t the end, it’s a new beginning. There’s nowhere to go, but up!


Give me feedback! I haven’t lived it all yet, I’m just telling it how I see it. What do you think about this quote? What’s good advice you’ve been given for moving on or taking a scary first step? Do you love Disney?

Actual Word Vomit.

Cheers to new adventures, new discovers, and new ideas. Happy Wednesday to anyone and everyone that graces my site with their presence. After naming my blog “Word Vomit” last week I came up with the idea to have Word Vomit Wednesdays. Word Vomit Wednesday will be exactly that. It will be anything that’s going on in my life or in the world. It can be this week, next year ideas, or about my favorite song lyrics. It’s just a spin off of brainstorming.

With that said…

nfl_jaglogo_gb1_6001.Today I am almost brought to tears of happiness after watching THIS CLIP. Everbank Field posted it to Facebook… It’s a video of Josh Scobee visiting a die hard fan. Scobee gave him the shoe he wore when he kicked the ball in the field goal from 59 yards. Yes, I was there. Chills. So Proud. The best ending to a game ever. I feel a hash tag coming on. #STANDUNITED

2. My whole life I thought that caffeine doesn’t effect me, and energy drinks don’t make me hyper. I actually HATE the word hyper. I rarely use it, unless I’m quoting someone. The past few times I’ve bought iced coffees (mainly from McDonalds or Chamblin’s) I feel like this weird buzz of energy take over my body and shake a little and at the same time I still want to take a nap. It’s really weird. Basically I’m saying I think coffee effects me now…

3. I am now employed as the Space Pilot at CoWork Jax. I feel very weird about it, but I really like it. In fact- I LOVE IT. Looking forward to updating my LinkedIn Account! Shout out to everyone who believed in me!


My dad came to visit an event I planned at CoWork& here’s me MCing!

4. I’m really loving all my friends and family in my life right now. I can’t get enough girl time. My life consists of girl time with20130724-144511.jpg an occasional best guy friend here and there. Not complaining. This is why you will never see me caption my facebook check-ins “GNO” – my life is one big GNO, or GNI for that matter. *GNI sounds like an STI, sorry. I have really great best friends. And funny. (2 nurse friends looking awkward with a palm tree- see right)

5. I’m graduating in 9ish days, probably. I say probably because I’m not sure if I’m actually graduating, but regardless I’m walking with a cap and gown August 2, 2013 at 10:30am. I’ve also decided I’m not going to explain this to people any more. I’m just going to say “I SURE AM” when people ask me if I’m graduating.

6. I almost got spit on today. I was walking from Chamblin’s when this women hocked a loogey and barely missed me. I’ve never been able to “hock a loogey.” Where’s Jack when you need him? Anyways, I jumped to my right almost into a tree to dodge it, but dodge it I did. She didn’t apologize. I didn’t care.

7. My previous post, “2 Girls. 2 Weeks.” is longer than 2 weeks, consists of more than 2 girls and the list is mediocre-ly coming along. I’ll update it today soon!           

8. Also… THIS SONG has been stuck in my head for the past week: “When I’m Gone.” I love love love her voice. I’m talking about replayed so many times, most people would already be sick of the song.

Thanks for sticking around for my very first WORD VOMIT. Ew.

2 Girls. 2 Weeks.

Happy Mid- Summer! One of my berry best friends just got into town, and we made a bucket list…  and I’m posting it so that I will maybe feel some sort of obligation to attempt at finishing this weird list. Let’s see how far we get. I’ll be updating it with pictures and stories along the way (maybe bullet points too)… HANG ON TIGHT GANG. IT’S GOING TO BE A  BUMPY ONE! We’re attempting at making some sort of events calendar tonight.


Introducing Rita and Rachel

  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Camping, preferably Little (Lil’?) Talbot Island
  • Kayaking
  • Ropes Course
  • Nature Trail
    (This nature trail turned into a treck across Hodges Blvd.)
  • Conspiracy Theory (attempt #3) – details to come
    (attempted rumoring in St. Auggie)
  • Pottery World/ Planet (Painting Pottery Somewhere)
  • Introduce ourselves as “Dolphie” and “Merna”  (This actually happened and turned out pretty great if you ask me. Dolphie explained she was German and her parents were really into marine life.
  • St. Augustine Staycation
    (Whale- we didn’t stay the night, but we did go down for a full Sunday and had a Fun day. We even went to conch house)
  • Fernandina (Affectionately known as the “Dirty Dina”)
  • Explore Downtown (more of it… as opposed to the beach)
    (Downtown bars etc…)
  • Avoid Beach Bars as much as possible (see previous statement)
  • Team Building Ropes Course (Still looking for a team! Any takers?)
  • Create Summer Drink (Maybe using my mom’s margarita machine?)
  • Slip n Slide (home made)
  • Speed Dating (My mom told me no…)
  • Paint Balling
  • Sunrise over the beach and sunset over the river
  • Hole in the Wall Downtown bar
  • Hiking
  • Bike Riding
  • Grow Tadpoles
  • Mudding
  • Zoo
  • Hang out on a Roof
  • Paint
  • Throw food at each others faces and video tape it
  • Golfing range
  • Create a “real life” picture that is actually a video
  • Cause a scene in public (Nothing violent)
  • Art Walk
  • Dicks Wings& Cruisers. I crossed out Dicks, but it will happen probably 10 more times. YUM! Shout out to Branham and Danielle for being at our favorite hot spot… very nice surprise!
    (Cruisers happened in St. Auggie, and was delicious. Cheese fries and big salad, do I need to say anything more? My mouth is salivating just thinking about it.



  • Karaoke
    (Surprise, Surprise… This happened Sunday night at Monkey’s Uncle. We sang “Country Roads” by John Denver, and no one could here is so the DJ sang. It was a FAIL .
  • Ginnie Springs
  • Movie Date
  • World of Beer (New to Jax!)

Donations, suggestions and friends (old and new) welcome!

I Got 25 Cents.

20130712-123632.jpg   20130712-123354.jpg  20130712-123242.jpg

After telling my friends and family for a few months now that I’m in the middle of a quarter life crisis, and having NO ONE believe me… I came across a buzz feed article that is titled: “10 Signs You’re Having a Quarter- Life Crisis.” And guess what happened? Just Guess.

I scrolled through the article and every “sign” of a quarter life crisis is happening in my life right now, and has been happening for a year now.

GREAT. Is there a help center for this crisis? Still not sure.

The truth is upon me, and Google shut down the other morning for 30 minutes. The world could very well be ending.

I am a self-diagnosed victim of the quarter life crisis, and a peer-diagnosed dramatic. I also make up my own words to describe my true feelings.

On that note… My symptoms are as follows:

Comparing My Life:

I am 22 years old (I’ll be 23 in exactly 5 months), and my parents got married at 22. Not engaged… MARRIED. Who am I engaged to? No one. And while being single is fabulous, and I love being an “independent white woman” … I’m not getting any younger. And I seriously can not wrap my mind around the idea that I could ever be married right now… but just saying.


My 3 best friends being “independent white women” Circa 2009.

The Future Freaks Me Out:

I constantly have “anxiety” attacks about my future. I’m still wondering the answers to the following questions: “When am I graduating?” “Where am I going to live?” which might be normal… but I’m still asking myself “What am I going to be when I grow up?” Which is why it’s annoying when anyone asks me “Hey Mychael! What are you going to do after college?” (Am I ever graduating college?) I want to fall to the ground and put my face in their pant leg and cry “I DON’T KNOW. HELP!” Obviously I’m very sensitive about this topic.

My Mind Is My Own Worst Enemy:

I am so indecisive it’s disgusting. Let’s say I did get offered a great job in California (hi, my dream) I would first of all pass out, call my best friend and that’s as far as I can think right now, and I mean, I can’t even order off of a menu without starting a conversation with my server every time because I can’t make decisions without considering the what ifs… “Like… What’s your favorite because I really like the quesadilla, but I’m also craving chocolate…” And then I order shrimp and grits. WHO DOES THAT?

On top of those things…

I also go through these weird waves of self diagnosed depression. It’s a vicious cycle of depression and indecisiveness (see above). Why am I not traveling the world and being swept off my feet in some European country? I relate too closely to David at the Dentist: “Is this real life, and is this going to be like this forever?” This, meaning getting financial support from my parents, only going to the bar for happy hour because I’m too poor to afford full price, never having enough time in a day… *insert your first world pain here*


If stressing yourself out was a class I would have aced it

…every semester for the past 2 years (see above statements). A year ago I went to my doctor (after my mom suggested) and explained to him that I get really “stressed” out sometimes, and get really hot and have to leave the room. He tried to put me on all sorts of depression meds, and I refused. He resorted to Xanex (the smallest dose), but when I came back for a follow up appointment, I told him I was still having these “anxiety attacks.” He laughed and said “Oh you’re not the only one. Many college students come to me with these symptoms during their senior year. It should pass.” SYMPTOMS? The crisis was upon me, and there was no medicine that could help me. Thanks, Doc!

So, GREAT. Here I am. Still going through these “issues.” The problem is myself…(I guess), and I know I’m not the only one with these feelings. Someone else has got to agree that this is an actual thing. I can’t just be making it all up.

I think sometimes my so called “anxiety” is actually bottled up excitement and confusion. It’s like this twist in my stomach when I think to much into a situation. Simple things like going to work gives me the same feeling I get when waiting to here back from a potential employer… *the waiting game* and the *i don’t know what’s next.* My quarter life crisis is a mix between “OH EM GEE I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON!” and “I CAN’T WAIT FOR WHAT IS NEXT I AM ABOUT TO EXPLODE!”

So I came up with some ways to self medicate (my 25 cents for a quarter life crisis):

1. BreatheStretch, Shake, Let it go… listen to “wear sunscreen” and feel inspired, and attempt at attending yoga classes.

2. Craft. Crafting is very therapeutic. It’s something you can never do “wrong” which relieves the feeling of “what if i fail?” You can’t fail because it’s your craft! Try not to compare it to “SouthernGirlsLoveAmerica”‘s craft on pinterest… then you will feel like a failure.


Shadow Box crafted by yours truly. (Real sand dollar I found)

3. Get Off Social Media. This is easier said then done, but it helps. Seeing everyone accomplish another milestone in their life is very exciting, but can also be a slap in the face… considering you’re still in college, your best friend is married, and your other friend just landed a rock star career in New York.

4. Write to Vent or Vent to Write. Use a Journal to release all your feelings, or call/ meet a friend and talk about your quarter life crisis and then write about. Writing can also be very therapeutic. The hardest part about having a journal is actually writing the truth, not what you wish the truth was. If you accomplish this, let me know.


I don’t have the answers to this crisis, but I do feel like I’m not alone. Anyone want to share? It’s a scary time in life venturing into the unknown… standing at the edge of the cliff before the dive (did anyone picture Bella jumping to see Edward underwater?) It’s scary, but also very exciting. I think it’s better to be aware of the challenge then to ignore it. I’m at the beginning of my twenties, and it’s about to be one hell of an adventure. I can’t wait to grab hold of this crisis and find what life has to offer and “redefine” myself over and over again.

J.R.R. Tolkien said it best: “All that is gold does not glitter., and not all those who wander are lost…”