Leadership: The Keys to Instilling Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose In Your Team

In 2012, a Georgetown University computer science assistant professor named Cal Newport published his third book, entitled So Good They Can’t Ignore You, which offered a unique perspective regarding career advice. Newport argued that “follow your passion” is the worst career advice you can ever subscribe to. And yet, it’s probably one of the most pervasive nuggets of job wisdom around. Even Steve Jobs was a believer:

In his book, Newport argues that passion comes after mastery, that love for the work happens after committing to learning all you can about it. He lays out how satisfying careers are only built by doing rare and valuable work, which can only be done if you have mastered rare and valuable skills — and these are acquired through deliberate practice of your craft. The best advice then, he summarizes, is to adopt a craftsman mentality: one where you deliberately put in Malcolm Gladwell’s theorized “10,000 hours” (though research argues it is less) to learn and master a skill. Only when you master your craft can you acquire the necessary “career capital,” which can then be exchanged for more autonomy (control over how you accomplish your work) or for a mission (finding a higher meaning in your daily tasks), both of which lead to a fulfilling career.

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How to Communicate with Stakeholders: Why Gilmore Girls Got it Wrong

If you’ve never heard of Gilmore Girls before, here’s the 5-second intro. It’s an American TV drama/comedy that started in 2000, lasted seven full seasons, generating 153 episodes, featuring strong female characters (girl power!), and creating stardom for its two main actors Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel. In those seven seasons, the show became well-known for its “walk-and-talks” (scenes where characters exchange important dialogue while walking), the non-stop pop culture references, the rapid-fire banter between characters, and the obscene amounts of coffee (and other foods) that the characters consume. Underneath it all though was a warm, comforting story about familial ties between three generations.

In 2016, Netflix filmed and released a sequel to the series, called Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, made up of four episodes, taking place five years after the TV series left off. And the response to it has been nothing short of phenomenal.

So what in blue blazes does this feel-good TV show have to do with project stakeholder management? And how exactly did they mess up their project stakeholder management?

I’ll get to it. But first, in true Gilmore Girls style, you need to grab a cup of coffee.

Life is better after a cup… or four.

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New Work Rules: What You Need to Know to Welcome the Future

In just a little over a decade, the corporate office has transformed from being the de facto location where work is done into just one of several venues where one can choose to work. Anyone starting a new job today faces a very different set of work “rules” from someone who started work five or ten years ago. Change is swift. And technology has truly disrupted how we work.

At the risk of massive generalization, I’ve condensed the various ways work has changed and in the process stumbled upon 10 succinct work rules which should aid anyone trying to navigate the modern workplace. Welcome to the 21st century!

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So You Want a Job in Content Marketing?

I met with two young interns in July who wanted to find out more about content marketing and what it means to be a writer in a corporate setting. I shared what I knew, answering their questions and giving them a tiny view into my daily process and interactions with my content team. And then I went home and realized their questions would make a pretty good blog post. I decided to jot down what I could recall from the interview in the hopes that it may help encourage others looking to enter the field.

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Sound Advice: Listen While You Work

Getting things done with your headphones on isn’t as simple as pressing play. Here are some tips backed by research studies on what sounds are best for focus and productivity.


“What is the best music to listen to while working?”

It’s one of those questions I get asked often, whether in the office or online. And since I enjoy producing audio and music in my spare time, and am constantly researching productivity topics in my role as a blogger for Wrike, I figured I should write this stuff down.

Obviously, the answer will depend on your audio preference. I can’t force you to listen to downtempo electronica if you like film soundtracks, or if you prefer the ambient sounds of a restaurant. I can however provide you with some guidelines surrounding audio and work, backed by science.

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Animated GIF of fingers typing on a keyboard

The 10 Essential Content Marketing Tools I Use Daily

This article was originally posted on Medium: 10 Essential Tools for a Content Marketer.

Update 2/5/2016: Over time, tools change. I revised 3 tools. Took out Haikudeck,  revised my start tab extension in Chrome, and revised my tab focus extension. All the rest stay the same.


As a content marketer, I’m on the computer all day doing one of three things: researching for an article, actually writing the article, or promoting past published articles. To accomplish these things, I have a set of tools I rely on.

So in response to Tobias van Schneider‘s “My Top 11 Essential Tools I Could Not Live Without,” here’s the list of the Mac and web apps I absolutely need in order to get my content marketing work done.

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Flipboard on a mobile phone

Using Flipboard as a Content Curation Tool

Let me start by saying I love Flipboard. There’s much to enjoy about it.

It’s a mobile app and web-based news curation platform that allows you to consume large streams of information really quickly. Even more, it gives you the ability to create your own magazines, if you so wish.

Content that you “flip” from across the web is automatically collated and displayed in magazine format that can be read in any browser or via mobile. And true to its name, part of the fun is flipping through the pages like a physical magazine. But before you jump onboard the curation train, you’ll need to strategize and consider several different ways you can organize content with Flipboard.

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Why Every Business Needs a Blog

Blogging is no longer simply an avenue for prepubescent teens to expose angst about school and relationships (that’s more social media than blogging anyway)– these days blogs are the lifeblood of any web property. They inject fresh, relevant content to your website, helping your brand be more visible in search engines to your prospective customers.

Blogging isn’t merely for interesting stories about what you had for lunch. It’s about establishing credibility, thought leadership, and search engine ranking.

Here are 5 important reasons why you need to build and maintain a blog for your business:

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Skyping My Team at Midnight in a Tropical Beach Resort: How Work Has Changed For Me

AKA: How Work Has Changed for Me in the Last Two Decades

AKA: You’re Not Really Working Remotely ‘Til You’re Skyping Your Team at Midnight on a Tropical Beach Resort with a Shotgun-Toting Security Guard By Your Side

It was midnight in the open-air dining hall — the only place in the beach resort that had wifi. No lights. No staff. Just the glorious sound of waves crashing on moonlit sands.

I had woken from a short sleep in order to attend the weekly team meeting via Skype. 8:00 AM Pacific meant midnight in the Philippines. But I needed internet. So I walked from the resort villa where my vacationing family slept soundly and crept like a villain to the empty dining area. Cracked open my laptop. No wifi. Uh-oh.

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