Lessons from my First Half Marathon

It’s been a little over 4 months since my last post, and of course, things have changed since then. At the end of March, I transitioned from being an intern on one account to a “contract account coordinator.” Contract AC can be synonymous with account service intern, but it sounds better. Also, that’s what my supervisor calls my role, so I’ll go along with it. From April through October, I’ve been tasked with covering two maternity leaves – first, a project manager and second, an account executive. The workflow ebbs and flows since I’m currently just covering the project manager’s position, but for about a month, my coverage will overlap, so that should be interesting.

Now that you’re caught up to speed about my work situation, let’s talk about running. Throughout my middle school and high school career, I ran hurdles. Each track meet, I was known for coming in the top 3, or top 4 if it was a bad day. Five years later, I traded my spikes for regular running shoes and just finished my first half marathon Sunday, June 9, 2013. I ran the Wounded Warrior Half in Irving, Texas. When you’re running 13.1 miles, it’s only natural that thoughts begin running through your head. Below are a few lessons ignited by the race:

  1. Challenge yourself – Beyond physically, it is important to challenge your mind and spirit as well. This is how you grow as a person, and it adds more balance to your life.
  2. Quit trying to keep up with the Jones family – Races usually attract a lot of people. For some, it’s their first race, for others, they have multiple under their belt. As someone who was never a distance runner, I constantly had to remind myself to keep my own pace and not worry about other people passing me up. Regardless if you share the a common end goal, the route or time it takes to reach it may be different than those of your peers.
  3. Live in the moment – Contentment is a mind state I’ve been practicing over the past few months. Oftentimes, people confuse contentment and settling. To me, settling is performing or existing below your potential habitually while contentment is taking what you can from your current situation, growing, and utilizing it to prepare for the next season in your life. As a graduate of one of the top business schools in the nation who is currently not a permanent, full time employee, this lesson is a struggle for me.
  4. Celebrate the small victories – Throughout the race, I celebrated each mile ran because I knew I was one mile closer to the finish line. When you celebrate the smaller accomplishments along the route to your overall goal, it doesn’t seem as intangible.

The Wounded Warrior Half taught me many applicable lessons to different sectors of my life, and I’ve decided that it won’t be my only half marathon. Knowing that all the training you’ve spent months doing pays off in accomplishing a goal that many only dream of is a rewarding feeling.

AC Life: A Self-Evaluation

According to the acceptance letter I signed for my internship back in October, today was supposed to be my last day as an account services intern at TPN. However, my internship was extended through the end of March and depending on how next week goes, I could be transitioning to a different team for a full time position in February. Considering that I’ve been on the job for 3 months and have completed both a 30-day and 90-day review with my manager, I felt it was time for me to evaluate myself. Some of the things I feel I need to work on are birthed from conversations in my review as well as experiences I’ve had on the job.

  • Talk more – I’m naturally a calm, quiet person and at times, people don’t know if it’s because I’m satisfied with what I’m doing or if I want to be elsewhere. I’ve always been more of a listener or observer (unless a sarcastic, funny thought comes to mind). Going forward, I plan to make an effort to talk more outside of the cafeteria.
  • Attend more client calls and kick off meetings – Every once in a while, I have days where not many jobs are on the to-do list. Those are the days that seem to take forever to pass by. Instead of just accepting the meeting so it’s on my calendar, I will do my best to go to as many calls as I possibly can as long as it doesn’t interfere with my AC duties.
  • Nag earlier in the day – It would be a lie if I said that I didn’t know how to remind people to get things done; however, constantly reminding people who are more senior than I am is intimidating at times. In order to meet more of my deadlines or even get stuff out of the door earlier, I will reach out to people before we’re down to the wire on time. Why? Because staying at work past 7 pm on a Friday night isn’t fun.
  • Be a better self starter – As an only child, I definitely know how to keep myself busy, but going forward I want to figure out more ways to keep myself busy during down time that will help out my team’s efficiency in the long run.

That’s just a short list of things I plan to improve. The account coordinator position is one that I’ve enjoyed testing the waters in over the past few months. Call me crazy, but anything that keeps me on my toes and going will always be an occupation or hobby I’m attracted to. Life as an intern as been one of ups and downs, but the experience continues to teach me more about myself. I can only imagine how much more I’ll learn once I’m officially a full time AC.

Summer 2012: Lessons Learned

This is the third Monday in the row that I haven’t had to be at The Richards Group by 8:29:59 am. Of course, no one was in the office last week due to Labor Day, but you get my point. Currently, I am on the summer vacation I never had. Since Fall 2008, my first semester at The University of Texas at Austin, breaks and vacations were nonexistent. Summer 2012 as an intern in Dallas was the first summer in four years that didn’t involve summer school. Now as I am on the hunt for a full time job and/or opportunities that will lead to the career that I want, I’m in this period of time when I’m not doing much and it’s driving me a little crazy. I’m a small town girl who loves the city and is having a difficult time transitioning back to small town life. However, this post is about the lack of fun I’m having in Small Town, Texas. Instead, I want to share with you what I learned this summer in Dallas.

My internship in Dallas was my first taste of the agency life and a rewarding experience. Coming from a client background with past internships and jobs, it was great to even have the privilege to step inside of TRG. Effective multi-tasking is one of the first lessons I learned. As a dual degree student in college, I thought I had handling multiple responsibilities under control, but I was wrong.

In an agency, you have a variety of clients you are responsible for with different tasks to complete for each of them. One of my main tasks as an intern was scoping forums for questions that one of our clients could answer. Another one of my tasks were coverage reports and the audience the coverage attracted. Regardless of what the task or project was, I learned the importance of checking my work. Scanning items and writing documents were two of the places I constantly had to check myself. Although it is great to be an efficient worker, the result is equally, if not more important.

Patience was another skill I developed. Coming from a marketing background and transitioning into public relations took some time for me to get used to, yet with practice, the day to day life of a publicist became more routine. I can’t attribute all of my patience to my work environment. During my time in Dallas, I started taking Bikram yoga and the class taught me more about myself as an employee. In addition to patience, I gained understanding that there will be days where I am not able to complete everything in the time that I normally do due to last minute changes or the need of more attention to certain projects. As someone who is used to a routine, this was the hardest lesson to learn. At times, I felt I let people down if I didn’t complete a task in the same time allotment as usual, but not everyday in an agency is the same.

If someone was to ask me if my summer internship met or exceeded my expectations, I’d have to say that I didn’t have no expectations of what to expect. I knew I was entering into a well known agency, yet since I didn’t come from a previous advertising agency internship, my expectations developed during my time there. Despite interning in the public relations sector, I am still very interested in account services. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to talk to a few people from account services prior to leaving the agency who gave me some great advice.

As this intermission between my TRG internship and the next step in my career continues, I will utilize the skills developed from the past to lay the foundation for my future. I’m not too worried about what’s next in my life, but I am ready to return to the city

Ms. Wheelchair America

If you read back to some of my earlier posts, you probably recall me mentioning the Ms. Wheelchair Texas Gala that I volunteered with back in March with my organization, Texas Belles. As the communications director of my organization at the time, I was the chair of our public relations committee which wrote press releases to distribute to media outlets in the communities of each contestant and also served as another ear to hear the platform speeches. I had the opportunity to work with two wonderful women, one of whom was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Texas. Ms. Mariah Kilbourne has one of those personalities that draws people in and she is a passionate advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities. This past weekend, Mariah was crowned Ms. Wheelchair America. During my short time working with her and the other contestants, I learned so much from them about life. To read about Ms. Mariah Kilbourne, the Ms. Wheelchair America 2013, click here.

What I’ve Learned from Stan and TRG

Good evening, everyone! I am finally taking time to update you all about what’s happened since my last post about my internship. It’s still crazy to believe that I have only 8 work days left. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about what comes next, but I know it’ll all turn out well. Anyways, let’s get to the fun stuff!

Above is a picture from the intern seminar we had with Stan. The photo was taken from The Richards Group Facebook fan page. Notice how I made sure to get a seat right next to Mr. Richards; obviously, I was excited.

On Thursday, July 25, Stan shared some of his wisdom with us and how The Richards Group came to be. Imagine 30+ plus interns gathering around Stan in office chairs; it was the adult version of story time. Two of the my biggest takeaways from listening to him had to do with making time for your family and taking care of yourself.

One thing I’ve noticed in my generation and the one right above me is this workaholic mentality that we often have. We often get preoccupied by work and are too tired to spend time with loved ones afterwards. Every day by 6 pm, Stan leaves the office to make sure he’s home for dinner with his wife. If he needs to finish something at work, he eats dinner first and then returns to the office or gets to the office early in the morning instead. I’ve read stories about other people who do this and as someone who wants to have a great work/life balance when I start my career despite having a Superwoman complex at times, I know that it is possible if I work at it and plan for it.

The second takeaway that stuck out to me is taking care of yourself. Even as Stan approaches age 80, he still continues to make time to workout daily more so than a lot of people my age. From a college basketball player to a runner, Stan is the definition of a lifelong athlete. After Stan quit playing recreational basketball in his 40s, he picked up running and has logged about 48,000 miles since then. As a runner myself, I was in awe of anyone logging that many miles WITHOUT any marathons in that count. One of my struggles during college after I’d been a high school athlete was remaining consistent with my workouts. During my final semester of projects and finals, I didn’t workout for the last few weeks and it’s safe to say I nearly died when I started my running routine again. When you allocate your time so that you get your workouts and daily meditations in, you are actually more focused and can be more productive. Since this seminar, I have taken time to work out at least 5 days a week and I have noticed a difference in the focus I have at work.

Although the above two takeaways are the only two I’m sharing with you all, I’ve learned a lot these past 11/12 weeks. If you want to know what you can learn from Stan, check out his book, The Peaceable Kingdom. There are also many articles about him and The Richards Group everywhere. I’m so glad I had the privilege of being a grouper for the summer, and I truly believe the skills I gained and the passion for the industry that grew within me will help me in my future endeavors.

Updates to Come!

Happy Monday, everyone!

This past month since my last post has been busy, but stay tuned for updates! I plan to write about what I’ve learned and been up to lately either tonight or by the end of the week. I have four weeks left at my internship here in Dallas and then I will start another chapter in my life. What does that chapter include? You and I both will have to wait and see!


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