Five Things I've Learned as a Comms Coordinator

Reporting back from 120 days at Aspiration, here's how I've kept my sanity and grown into my communications position:

1. Little victories

    I need momentum to get things done. I tried diving into a six-month strategy plan first thing in the morning once. Not fun or productive. Now, I start the day with things that have clear end-moments and affirmations (like posting event announcements I planned out the day prior). Gradually, the momentum builds and accelerates, peaking in the afternoon.

2. Yoga

    One of my favorite books, The Tao of Pooh, says that the best ideas come from nowhere. So every day, I spend my lunch hour at Yoga to the People upstairs, taking sixty minutes to tune fully into my breath, forgetting about comms and why my web analytics are sad. When I come back downstairs, I feel thirsty and refreshed. The art of breathing gives me distance from the weeds of the day-to-day, making things like six-month strategy planning easier to visualize in my head.

3. Coping as an introvert in a collaborative environment

    Being an introvert means I'm easily distracted and drained by external stimuli like cars honking on 16th street and having a mess on my desk. So to find focus, I need solitude. And to find inspiration, I need to look inward. This proves hard when there's so much going on in our space. I'm still working on finding my sweet spot for solitude. But one thing that's helped tons with focus is accepting that "multi-tasking" is just my front for procrastination. The fewer tabs open, the better.

4. Process-flavored Kool-Aid

    "Process" is a routinized, replicable way of getting a task done so that it doesn't depend on spontaneity or a staff person. It's also Aspiration's favorite word. Fostering process takes practice and repetition. For example, all my social media follows a process. My content comes out of a living strategy that includes what kind of content to post, how to best engage people, and when and where I should publish. So even if I go AWOL, my social media can easily be taken over by Misty or Jess. This means that when I am actually present, social media comes out deliberately and on time, freeing up spontaneous energy for live tweets and real-time updates that planning can't predict.

5. Confidence a.k.a. "fake it 'till you make it"

    My Twitter experience pre-Aspiration was a janky account with seven followers. On March 26th I got handed he keys to a Twitter machine broadcasting to over 274,000 followers, and I felt anxiety about saying the "wrong thing" to such a large following. But I tweeted anyway. There's this proverb that I kept in mind as I tweeted my way out of timidity: "A bird doesn't sing because it has the answer; it sings because it has a song." In other words, I tell myself to be candid, be real, and not presume to "know". I found confidence in acting effortless. And the more I've grown to trust my own song, the easier it's become to deliver communications on the fly.

What keeps you focused and inspired? Let's talk: comms@aspirationtech.org :)