Note to Self

Dana Finley - Delta Chapter, Boston University
Dana Finley – Delta Chapter, Boston University

As I write this blog post, I am sitting in my apartment in Myrtle Beach, beginning to contemplate the next four days–days in which I will pack up all my belongings and move back to Ohio for a few months until the next leg of my leadership consultant adventure begins (this time, as a Senior LC!).

It will not surprise anybody who knows me that I have already made several lists to prepare for this move–emails to finish, boxes to pack, people to say goodbye to. But over the last few weeks another list has been quietly accumulating itself in my head–all of the things that I have learned about myself, about Sigma Kappa, and about life since I accepted this role last April.

In the last year, my entire life has been turned upside down. I moved from Massachusetts to Ohio and then from Ohio to South Carolina in the course of a few months. I said some goodbyes to people who no longer fit in my life and said hello to a new home at Coastal Carolina University within a chapter of 130+ collegiate women. I bought my first car. I worked on three colonizations, one installation, and traveled from one coast to the other visiting Sigma Kappas. I made a new family out of the 16 other leadership consultants and learned how to communicate with my biological family when we are spread across three states. I got stuck in one tropical storm, one snowstorm, and missed a few flight connections along the way. I laughed, I cried, and sometimes I laughed and cried at the same time.

So in the last few weeks, that quiet list in the back of my head has become a note to myself–a note that I can look at and remind myself how far I have come, how much I have accomplished, and how much is still left in front of me to experience.

~

Saying “no” is a complete sentence.

Sometimes you want a kale salad. And sometimes you need a Cookout tray with a cheeseburger, hush puppies, onion rings and a milkshake. You don’t have to fit into one category or the other.

Trust your gut. It’s usually correct.

You can love someone with all your heart and they can still not be the right person for you–and that’s okay. It’s also okay to still miss them sometimes.

Don’t be mean to the airline employee, it’s (usually) not their fault. Instead, try to be the one kind person that they remember after a hard day at work. This logic also applies to pretty much all customer service representatives.

Try not to say “sorry” so much for things you shouldn’t be sorry for at all.

We don’t always get what we ask for, but we will often get exactly what we need.

It is still totally socially acceptable to sleep with a stuffed animal (or four…) when you are 23.

Say please and thank you. Tell people you appreciate them, that they are important to you, that they have made a difference in your life. These are the things that you will never look back and regret saying.

Golden retrievers > boyfriends.

When in doubt, the jean jacket and statement necklace are always the answer to any outfit dilemmas.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

TSA Precheck saves lives (right up there next to coffee).

Do one thing a day that scares you, and relish the feeling of triumph that comes after you realize that you are still alive after. Realize that you deserve to feel that way more often.

Most of all, believe that the best is always ahead of you, that the people put beside you are there for a reason, and that this moment is meant to be enjoyed. I am so blessed by my last 365 days, and I look forward to what year #2 holds for me!

Until next time,

DF

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The Seven Phases of Fitbit Fever, As Told by a Leadership Consultant

Dana Finley - Delta Chapter, Boston University
Dana Finley – Delta Chapter, Boston University

Many members of the leadership consultant team this year have Fitbits–otherwise known as a magical bracelet-like device that tracks your steps, level of activity and even sleep. Even when we are scattered across the country on different assignments, we are bound together by a promise–a promise to try to out-step each other in our LC Workweek Hustle.

What is a Workweek hustle, you ask?

I looked it up in the dictionary and found this:

Workweek Hustle: Noun. [Werk whee-k huh-sell.] A to-the-death competition of wills to accrue more steps than your teammates over the course of a five day period ranging from Monday to Friday.

Used in a sentence: I think my coworker is cheating in our Workweek Hustle because she took 18,000 steps in one day. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

In all seriousness, I have determined that there are seven key phases of Fitbit Fever.  Unlike a regular fever, there is no cure for a Fitbit Fever. I am here to educate the masses so they can go forth and step with #knowledge. Without further ado…

  1. When you buy your Fitbit and put it on for the first time and feel like a million bucks (PS: if you want to spend a million bucks too you can buy the Tory Burch Fitbit):

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2. When you get your first step badge:

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3. When you add all your friends on the app and feel popular:

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…but then you accidentally add someone you don’t really know and feel real awk (sidenote: there is no way to rescind a Fitbit friend request. I think this is a heinous oversight, Fitbit developers. Get on it.). 

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4. When you start a Workweek Hustle with your coworkers and are pumped to show off your step skillz: 

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5. When you see that your coworkers are beating you–by a LOT–in said Workweek Hustle and you start doing laps during executive council meetings to catch up (this is a real thing I did this week…):

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6. When you hit your 10,000 step/day goal:

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7: When your battery on your Fitbit dies after a long day of stepping. Time to recharge (both you and your trusty Fitbit!):

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Happy stepping!

Ten Little Ways to Spring Clean Your Spaces

Dana Finley - Delta Chapter, Boston University
Dana Finley – Delta Chapter, Boston University

I am a firm believer that I am more productive when my work spaces are clean, streamlined and clutter-free. With spring upon us, I’m more inspired than ever to spruce up my spaces. While I recently did a deep cleaning of my apartment, I also find it satisfying to do a few little things each day to maintain a sense of calm and balance around me. Here are 10 little tasks you can do to make a big difference around your home, your work space, and even your inbox!

  1. Wipe down your window blinds: Real talk: a whole lot of dust accumulates very quickly on window blinds. It might take a little more time to go over every last blind, but give them a good wipe down with a microfiber cloth or a Swiffer duster.
  2. Vacuum your car floor mats: If you’re not hitting up a car wash anytime soon, graba-place-for-everything-in-its-place-organization-quote1 the floor mats of your car. It’s pretty gross how crumbs, loose change, and other fun surprises can pile up fast! I use this vacuum and it’s easy to stash in my car between cleanings.
  3. Create a master file box: I am pretty guilty of putting random letters, papers, and receipts aside because I know I need to keep them, but until recently I did not have a system for organizing them. I recently bought a plastic file box to organize all my important documents so I no longer have random little piles of papers around my apartment.
  4. Unsubscribe from pesky newsletters and retail emails: My biggest pet peeve is an inbox full of promotional emails. I’ve used an online tool called Unroll.Me for a few years that “rolls up” all my subscription emails each day to one master email. Now when I login to my personal email each morning, I have less than 10 emails waiting for me. If there are stray promotional emails sitting in my inbox, I will either go ahead and unsubscribe from them immediately or add them to my “roll up.”
  5. Clean your makeup brushes: Makeup brushes get dirty really quickly and it’s super unsafe to use tools on your face with tons of bacteria on them. Make a habit of cleaning your makeup brushes with baby shampoo or another mild soap regularly.
  6. Change your air filter: This is something I didn’t know was a thing until I lived in an apartment by myself. Make sure you know what size air filter you need for your HVAC system and check out this tutorial that can probably explain the process better than I can.
  7. Wipe down the inside of your fridge and ice box: Use a non-toxic disinfectant (I like a combo of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle) to get rid of food remnants on the surfaces inside your fridge and to clean out any unwanted crud inside your ice box.
  8. Freshen up your garbage disposal: Over time your garbage disposal can start to smell funky. Every few months, make sure to give it a refresh by pouring some baking soda down the disposal and rinsing with cold water while the disposal is on. I usually throw some lemon rinds too for a pleasant citrusy smell. (PS – did you know you should only use cold water when running your garbage disposal? I learned this recently!)
  9. Dust your ceiling fan blades: You guys, don’t look at the top and edges of your ceiling fan blades up close. Just trust me. It’s pretty gross. Gotta dust those things regularly–think about all that gross stuff those blades circulate through the air.
  10. Sort through your closet: When I was in college, I would always do a big closet clean-out at the end of each school year. My rule of thumb is anything I haven’t worn in the last six months has got to go. I like to try to sell my clothes and accessories to secondhand stores for a little extra cash, but if I don’t have luck there, I always donate to Goodwill . Don’t forget to get a receipt of your donation so you can get a tax write-off!

Happy spring cleaning!

You Are Not For Everybody.

Dana Finley - Delta Chapter, Boston University
Dana Finley – Delta Chapter, Boston University

Ever since I can remember, I have been fixated on the idea of being perfect. Much of my childhood pivoted on whether I felt like I had it “all together.” My favorite toys as a little girl included my American Girl day planner and the Palm Pilot I received as a Christmas gift when I was 10 years old (What? You can’t relate?). My life thrived on order, organization, and routine. This mindset followed me through my adolescence into high school, college and now…adulthood. I don’t think it really dawned on me until I became an adult that not everybody is necessarily as type-A as I am. (What do you mean you don’t have a daily to-do list? You’re not going to unsubscribe to all those junk emails you’re deleting? Why isn’t your closet organized by sleeve length?)

Today, I am able to self-identify as a perfectionist.

Hello, my name is Dana, and I am very hard on myself. 

I have friends who are in the club too, and we commiserate together about h75320580746a953d6fe3b094f6c5fab0ow hard it is to adjust our expectations of ourselves. I think we as women put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We expect more of ourselves. We impose the “should haves” on ourselves and dwell on the “could haves.” We hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations that we don’t always hold others to as well.

Another piece of being a perfectionist is being a people pleaser. This may not go hand-in-hand for everyone, but for me, I know that I strive for the same level of perfection in my relationships with others as I do in the other areas of my life. Being a people pleaser can often make you say “yes” when you would rather say “no.”

Being a leadership consultant has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging journeys I have ever been on. For the last six months I have lived in a state where I knew virtually nobody before moving, far away from my friends and family, and most importantly, my Golden Retriever. But this role has taught me so much about myself and about working with others. It has given me the gift of being comfortable with recognizing that I will never be able to please everybody all the time.

Something I often talk about with the chapter officers and leaders that I mentor is this idea that you cannot please everybody. This is undoubtedly one of the hardest lessons that collegiate officers learn during their term. They often come into their roles feeling excited and motivated, and are quickly taken aback by opposition from their peers. Well friends, I can report, that unfortunately this phenomenon is not exclusive to sorority life. It exists in the real world too. There will be times when you cannot make everybody happy. And while that may be a very tough pill for you to swallow now, I can promise life is a whole lot better once you let go and accept that you can still be a good person, a good sister, a good friend and ultimately, a good leader and still have some people who are unhappy with your decisions.

I’m still a perfectionist today, but I work actively each day to remember that it’s okay to be flawed. We as humans are not meant to be for everyone. The minute that I let go of my desire to please others and focus more on giving my best self and best efforts to my work, my relationships and my well-being, was one of the most relieving moments. I hope that if you find yourself in the same shoes as me that you’ll give yourself the same gift.

 

 

The Language of Love

Dana Finley - Delta Chapter, Boston University
Dana Finley – Delta Chapter, Boston University

Since I’m writing this blog post right around Valentine’s Day, it only seems appropriate that I’ve been thinking a lot lately about love languages. What is a love language, you ask? A relationship counselor named Gary Chapman wrote a book in the ’90s about the five love languages. In the book he claims that there are five definitive love languages–quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, and acts of service. Chapman argues that in interpersonal relationships, one shouldn’t use the love language that they prefer but rather the love language preferred by the one they are communicating with.

During leadership consultant training, all of the leadership consultants took the Love Languages test to determine what our love language is (mine is words of affirmation!) Since then, the consultant team exchanged results and compiled them into a document for each other’s reference. Even though the leadership consultants are not in a romantic relationship, we recognize that we all prefer to receive affection and express love in different ways, and I think it has really helped me understand my

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co-workers in a new and nuanced way. By sharing our test results, we are more well-equipped to communicate with each other and work as a team.

This Valentine’s Day, I found myself reflecting on my preferred love language and how it impacts my relationships with those around me. Because my love language is words of affirmation, I feel more connected to my friends and family when I can exchange text messages, emails or even phone calls with them quickly and often throughout the day. For me, it is not about the physical presence of a loved one, but rather knowing that they are only a phone call (or FaceTime away) when I need a boost or check-in.

Better understanding how I prefer to be communicated with has also helped me understand my relationships with others and why some are more difficult than others. Reflecting back on past romantic relationships, I can see where disconnect occurred because we were trying to reach each other using different love languages. While it’s sometimes hard to think about relationships that aren’t what they used to be, it is helpful for me to understand where our love languages played different parts in our relationship and how I can improve upon communication in future relationships. (#Personalgrowth, am I right?)

Introspection and learning more about yourself and how you communicate best with others can only make you a better partner, friend and family member. I would love to hear what your love language is and how you have applied that information to your relationships. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself with your results!

 

 

Snowed In Essentials

Dana Finley - Delta Chapter, Boston University
Dana Finley – Delta Chapter, Boston University

Last week, I visited Washington D.C. to help with our colonization at American University. As you may or may not have heard, D.C. was absolutely slammed with snow storm Jonas for four days. We had to put our big girl pants on to trudge through two feet (!) of snow. After attending college in the Northeast for four years, I felt well equipped to prepare all the essential supplies for being snowed in. Cabin fever aside, I think we survived.

Here are my top five essentials to have on hand when a snow storm hits:

  • Bottled water: If for whatever reason the water supply gets contaminated, it’s always a good idea to have a case of bottled water on hand. It can come in handy for cooking, drinking, and in dire circumstances, personal hygiene. Stay hydrated, my friends.
  • Portable USB charger: #1 rule of blizzards–make sure all
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    We had to brave the cold for a few minutes to get a good snow selfie!

    your essential electronics are charged up in case an emergency (or boredom) strikes. But if the power is out for extended period of time and your precious iPhone runs out of juice, have a backup portable charger like this one on hand to give it a boost.

  • Non-perishable snacks: This one’s big. If the power goes out and your food in your fridge and freezer goes bad, you’ll want some safe snacks to eat! Our faves during Jonas were kettle cooked Lays, Cheez Its, and Pirates Booty.
  • A Netflix or Hulu+ account: I think one is pretty obvious. If you’re going to be stuck under the same roof for days on end, it’s the perfect excuse to binge watch some quality (or not so quality) TV. We took Jonas as the perfect excuse to start Making a Murderer. No spoilers please!
  • Candles: Aside from making your home smell good, they double as a light source if the power goes out. Just don’t forget to extinguish them at bedtime.

Stay warm out there!

New Year…

Dana Finley - Delta Chapter, Boston University
Dana Finley – Delta Chapter, Boston University

New me. How many times have you heard that line facetiously since the ball dropped on December 31st? I certainly have been guilty of saying it once or twice. And while I’m not a big New Years Resolution lady myself, I’m trying to convert myself to the belief that now is the best time to make some small changes in my life that will (hopefully) add up later.

  • Eat less fast-food and takeout and pack more lunches || Let’s just say that the South and all its Chick Fil A is not been doing any favors for my waistline. Though it’s been a goal for me to meal plan and prep for each day I’m on campus, this week is the first time I’ve actually executed it. I even bought my first lunchbox since probably elementary school to keep all my foods cold! I’m so excited.
  • Try to hit 10,000 steps each day on my FitBit || I don’t particularly enjoy exercise but I like keeping track of my daily activity with my FitBit. I like the daily and weekly challenges to keep things interesting with friends and coworkers--my SKLC fam and I keep each other accountable.
  • Make at least a dent in my reading list || I keep a running list in my phone of books that I read reviews about and recommendations from friends and coworkers. It’s getting pretty long so I want to get to the local library soon to register for my very first library card in the state of South Carolina. The last book I read was Andy Cohen’s latest memoir (I’m a Bravo addict). A few books on my list are Dear Alice, Me Before You, and The Girl on the Train.
  • Color more || I received not one but TWO beautiful coloring books from friends and family for Christmas and I’ve found them to be super therapeutic. I am not one of those people who can just sit and watch TV–I have to be doing a second activity while watching–so these will be a great way to zone out at the end of the day when I need to stop checking my email.
  • Drink at least 1,800 mL of water every day || Whenever I get sick I realize just how little water I drink on a daily basis. I’ve been forcing myself to carry a reusable water bottle around with me everywhere I go so I can hydrate often. Fun fact – you can track your water consumption using the FitBit app–it even calculates how much you need to drink per day based on your height and weight.

So here’s to hoping that I can make some small changes that will make a big difference in my life. What are you hoping to accomplish this year?