Archive | May 2012

Discovering Your Strengths

My professional read for the month of May was Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

I was given the book as a gift, used my code to access the website, answered the questions – then BAM! I was presented with my top five strengths.

For those not familiar with the assessment, you are presented with questions and have about 20 seconds to answer. The questions keep you on your toes and the entire test takes about 30 minutes to complete. Once you receive your top strengths, you are presented with additional online resources that help put your answers into motion and how to build a stronger team in the workplace.

Pretty awesome. 

It’s almost like Mr. Tom Rath and his team knew me and my personality. I was extremely impressed with my results and their descriptions.

Here are my top 5 strengths.
Please note the quick summary appearing after each word comes from my Strengths Finder 2.0 book.

  1. Discipline (Your world needs to be ordered and planned. The routines, the timelines, the structure, all of these help create the feeling of control.)
  2. Focus (You need a clear destination. Goals serve as your compass, helping you determine priorities and make the necessary corrections to get back on course. You are efficient and become impatient with delays, obstacles and tangents.)
  3. Individualization (You are intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You are impatient with generalization…you instinctively observe each person’s style and motivations, how each thinks, and how each builds relationships.)
  4. Positivity (You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. You inject drama into every project and you celebrate every achievement.)
  5. Significance (You want to be very significant in the eyes of other people. In the trusts sense of the word you want to be recognized. You want to be heard, you want to be known. An independent spirit, you want your work to be away of life rather than a job.)
I would say these are pretty darn close to perfect. I am someone who loves making lists and crossing things off, I hate wasting time, I try to know the true soul of every person and – I’ll be the first to admit it – opinions of those around me do matter.Overall, a pretty good representation of my strengths.What i enjoyed about this book is that it takes your strengths one step farther. It discusses “ideas for action” and  how to work with other people who have the same strengths. All of the themes are positive in some way – you cannot have a bad or “uncool” strength.Tom Rath constantly goes back to the point that we spend almost all of our life focusing on our weaknesses, both professionally and personally. He talks about teachers and parents focusing on the lowest letter grade, instead of turning their attention on a student’s HIGHEST grade – the subject the enjoy and excel. He continually hits on the point that we will be happiest when we allow.

It’s an unique and interesting concept. 

 This is in no way a perfect representation of my personality, my work-ethic, my strengths of my true character — but I will say it rings pretty close. It was exciting to take the test and see what this assessment considered my strengths. I liked reading how other individuals in the professional world, with matching strengths, went about their daily duties.
Bottom line, this book made me think. 

“You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” – Strengths Finder 2.0

Memorial Day

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
 – Joseph Campbell

Home of the free because of the brave – we thank those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

I trained, I ran, I conquered

Approximately three weeks ago I ran the Cap City Half-Marathon.

That’s right folks – I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 47 minutes. OK, well I actually ran about 12 miles and walked (a brisk power walk, may I add) the other 1.1 miles.

finished my first half-marathon in 2:47!

And I am pretty darn proud of myself.

I only stopped once to open my GU packet around mile 9, and let’s not lie, once I passed the 8 mile marker I was thinking about quitting, simply stopping right in the middle of the street. I wanted to join the runner from the “A Corral” that had already finished the race. They were starting to come back down the course and cheer on the ret of the runners –  with delicious bagels and tasty coffee in their hands.

That’s right…I was tempted by a bagel.

However, I didn’t let the delicious Panera bagel stop me! I kept right on moving my feet: I moved them from downtown to the Lennox Town Center, to campus, down High Street, to the German Village, then to the beautiful finish line by the State House.

And I was supported all.the.way. All glorious 13.1 miles.

I think that is what made me love the half-marathon so much – the incredible support from Columbus, my friends and my social media family.

whooo-hooo! First half-marathon! Check out my nervous self at 6:45 in the morning.

My boyfriend drove me to the starting line and stayed with me until we were told to make our way to the proper starting corral. He also kept me calm as I worried about what to eat, what to wear and about not even crossing the finish line (being THAT person that was going to slow and was pulled from the race).

I had prepared for it all, everything but the amount of support and love I received in less than three hours.

Members of the New Albany Walking club calmed my nerves and we waited for the race to start, random people yelled my name and told me to keep going along the way, my wonderful friend Elizabeth gave me the much-needed encouragement at mile 5 when I was starting to feel winded, and my incredible boyfriend and amazing best friend clapped louder than anyone for me at mile 11 (and tempted me with Starbucks). My friends on Facebook and Twitter sent me encouraging posts the evening before and during my race…and every single volunteer at the water/GU stops told me to keep being strong.

The finish line was slightly emotional, so much cheering and support for EVERY SINGLE runner that crossed the finish line. Even better, look at the awesome medal I received!

I officially have the “running bug”. I signed up for the Color Run 5k in July and the Columbus Half Marathon in October. Once registration opens up for the 2012 Cap City half, I am going to register for that one as well. I am not the fastest or the steadiest runner – but I am determined to make each race a LITTLE faster and a LITTLE bit better. I am moving from Corral E to Corral D for the next half marathon – so I already feel like a champion.

Thanks everyone for your support!

Good Samaritans all around

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was:  ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’  But… the good Samaritan reversed the question:  ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him.'”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

While I’ve read the Bible Parable detailing the actions of a Samaritan to a stranger, and I’ve heard the MLK quote about the same good Samaritan , I’ve never really thought about what embodies a “good Samaritan.”

Now, don’t look at me like that! I try every day to do the right thing. A woman in the grocery store drops an item, I reach down to help her. See a family leave their baby’s zippy cup at Applebee’s, I’m running after them to give it back. Sitting the bus and see an older woman standing, offer her my seat. Walk out of a door first, hold it open for the people behind me. I simply never considered this being a good Samaritan, just behaving how my  parents taught me. Being polite and doing the right thing. (side note – thanks mom and dad!)

This weekend gave me reason to think about what makes a good Samaritan, and how people will drop everything and put themselves in *slight* danger to help a stranger.

Let me set the scene: on Friday night, my boyfriend, one of my best friends and I were chatting at Mouton, one of my new favorite places in the Short North. Mouton faces High Street and was decently packed. We had just arrived and placing our order when this horrific sound  from the street – and I whipped my head fast enough to see a woman fly through the air and smack down on the pavement. A bike, carrying two passengers, had crashed and both passengers were on the ground.

My friend and I didn’t even hesitate. I don’t even think we looked at each other. Before I could blink my phone was to my ear and I was looking around for cars as I dashed across High Street to the wreckage. The person driving the bike was on his feet and heading back to the woman, and I was yelling not to move her.

Now, I am certified as a lifeguard/first-aid/CPR – but I am out of my element when you pull me away from the pool. My friend is a med-student, but still years away from being a doctor. But we couldn’t just sit there and watch. There had been an accident – we had to help if possible. As I talked to the emergency personal on my cell phone, about 10 more people came to the scene. They helped keep the area safe as cars continued to pass, made sure the victim was covered with a light jacket, and a volunteer firefighter and a LPN worked together to put the woman into in-line stabilization while we waited for help.

To let everyone know – the woman, after a very scary few minutes, opened her eyes and was able to tell us her name. She said that she was in a lot of pain, but was able to move her feet.

Simple kindness made a difference. Those with the right training immediately appeared to lend their service. People cared, people stopped to help. Why? Well, why wouldn’t you help?

You hear so many negative stories these days – people not caring, world falling to pieces, crime and sadness growing.

Well, I don’t know about the world, but I can say that on a random Friday night in May, when a horrible situation occurred, good, average-joe people RAN to help. After the police/EMT arrived and everyone began to head back, I was so proud of everyone around me. Such a blessing to live in this town, city, state, country and world surrounded by good people, and those willing to help.

New domain – same Disney sparkle

It had to happen – but change is a good thing!

This is my first post at (drum roll please…) www.JessicaLeeReynolds.com!

Yes, you’re here already. But this post celebrates the change! That was needed, right?

Thank you to everyone who helped with my brand transformation. I am very excited to see where my journey takes me as a young professional in the good ol’ buckeye state. 

Things to (make sure I) know before I’m 30

We’ve all seen the Glamour article (well, at least a lot of the girls have read it).

It talks about boyfriends, bosses, dates, dumping, pride and purses – “30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30″. In was originally published in 1997 and still circulates around magazines and the web today! It was turned into a book featuring essays from famous woman (some a little famous, some a lot famous) that continues to see today.

Last month I saw an article tweeted about what you should know before you’re 25 and blogged about my thoughts. I am proud to say at the ripe ol’ age of 22, I am crossing things off that list!

I found this Huffington Post article a few weeks ago that talks about the Glamour list and wanted to share it on my blog. As a woman I couldn’t agree more… and this gives me some things to work towards in the next eight years.

Glamour’s “30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30” 

1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.

2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.

3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.

4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.

5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.

6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.

8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account — all of which nobody has access to but you.

9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.

10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.

13. The belief that you deserve it.

14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.

15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.
By 30, you should know …

1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.

2. How you feel about having kids.

3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

4. When to try harder and when to walk away.

5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.

7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.

8. Where to go — be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat — when your soul needs soothing.

9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.

10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.

11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.

12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.

13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.

14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.

15. Why they say life begins at 30

So I’ll admit, I’m working on the address that’s just mine, the decent piece of furniture not owned my mom and dad, the suitcase and the retirement fund. Well, actually my suitcase is just fine – but I think it would be cool to have a complete set (not a random piece given to my by the mercy of my parents). I would also like to know if the “ridiculously expensive” item I am to buy because I deserve it, needs to pass the dad approval test…because, if not, I think I deserve some more Burberry in my closet. Right? Ok, I’ll save my next splurge for a kick-butt power suit… perfect when I am conquering the business world.
And who are we fooling? My important mail still goes to my parents’ house. I don’t really know (yet) how to quit a job or ask for raise, and I apologize way too often for my own good. BUT this list shows me that I am maturing and finding my way.
I may not know how I feel about kids right now, but I don’t have to decide today, or tomorrow, or in one year. However, it is something that I will need to really start to contemplate in the next few years. I am figuring out my relationship with my family, friends and with my boyfriend. Even better, I am learning that I can do things alone. I ran the Capital City Half-Marathon by myself (and a few great supporters at mile 11 and the finish line) and I am get myself up, ready and to work/gym/friends’ houses on-time. Slowly learning what it is like to be a “grown-up”.It can be easy to want to call someone when life gets tough – and you’re allowed to ask for help. But, you need to know who is the right person to call and that no matter what, you could take care of a situation by yourself.
Here are five things I think should be added to the above list:
  1. If a car gets you from Point A to Point B – you’re lucky
  2. Not having fabulous weekend plans is ok (every now and then)
  3. It doesn’t matter the size of the clothes you’re wearing. Squeezing yourself into a size 0 doesn’t make you look skinny
  4. Brands are simply brands – there is more to life than comparing labels and designers. Keep clothes pressed and clean
  5. No matter what, life goes on