Be Excellent. Celebrate. Repeat.

If there’s a young child in your life, I want you to try this experiment or do an observation (in a non-creepy way) of a healthy parent-child interaction.

EXPERIMENT: Watch the child do or say something that makes others laugh, smile, or offer a lot of positive reinforcement and celebration. Make note on whether or not the observed behavior is then repeated. Ponder why or why not.

What am I getting at here? In Lisa Nichols’ powerful book, Abundance Now, she uncovers a truth that shook me to my core:  Continue reading

Claiming Your Expertise: How to Choose a Dissertation Topic

This topic is close to my heart, because as a Ph.D. Candidate these are the crossroads that I currently find myself at. I’ve done a little research to save you the time, dear reader, and help you on your journey. However, lest I remind you that I am but a lowly Ph.D. Candidate, my unsolicited advice is best taken with a dash of salt and a hearty conversation with your advisor/reading committee members. Below, please find information broken down into three main categories: 1) things to know upfront before starting, 2) potential sources for “free” dissertation topics, and 3) criteria to evaluate topics selected. Continue reading

How I Got Into Stanford…I Think

This is the age-old question that I ask myself and constantly gets asked of me. I would like to believe that it was my strategic foresight, research and leadership experiences, and all of  my ambition. And while that may be part of the story–a large part–it it still far from complete. When I originally wrote this post, I started by listing all of my accomplishments, things I had done,  started, and won. The ways I had forged this path ahead of myself on my own. Upon reflection, I think it could be more useful to emphasize a different perspective; a maxim I learned from my improv class, “Dare to be Average.”

Disclaimer: this post is not a short-cut substitute, or alternative for hard work. It does not contain mystical wisdom about the admissions process or the formula for the perfect introductory email. These are my compiled mistakes, blunders, and near-regrets that also contributed to me getting where I am today–a Ph.D. Candidate at Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering. I won’t, however, make you wait too long for the answer to the post title’s question. I got into Stanford…I think because of Continue reading