How would your life change if you were happy?

As one male student wrote to me: “I’ve been to a ton of leadership conferences that taught me how to get good grades, find a good job and make money, but your presentation was the first time someone taught me how to be happy.” When you develop a happy, strong sense of self and purpose as a leader, you may be surprised to find that everything else naturally falls into place. True growth happens from the inside out.

-Maria Pascucci
Founder & President
Campus Calm®

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Today’s leadership lesson…

You can teach young women that it’s empowering and loving to affirm your worth in relationships and in the workforce as you’re learning to do it yourself as long as you take positive action steps on your own journey. You don’t have to be perfect to be a leader. Walking the talk means allowing yourself to be vulnerable and flawed as a human being. Confidence grows through continuous imperfect action. “Like” it or “Tweet” it if you agree and spread the message to your friends!

Remember all it takes is one step at a time…

-Maria Pascucci
Founder & President
Campus Calm®

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Mondays with Meg: The Power of Choice


Whenever I open up my daily planner, I see frantic scribbles accented by multiple underlines and exclamation points. Lists, lists and more lists: school assignments, appointments, errands, “Things to Think About” (aka things I’ll never think about), house chores…With the amount of Post-It stacks and paper pads circulating in my apartment, you would swear I’m a professional list-maker. If writing to-do lists was an Olympic sport, I’m pretty sure I would take home the gold.

But instead of providing some type of relief or sense of organization, my lists usually serve as hair-raising reminders of all of the things I have to do. Things I need to do. Things I should be doing instead of making dinner or sleeping. All of these obligations, lined up in a row, leave me feeling overwhelmed. I find that my typical to-do list is never ending: once I cross a task off, I can find three more to tack onto the end. I’ve become a slave to my responsibilities. I feel those shackles tighten around my ankles as my chain of chores grows longer and longer. When my daily tasks feel like burdens, it makes my bed so much more appealing in the morning. I found that I let my responsibilities control me rather than me having control over them.

These past few weeks, I’ve been training with Maria as she works toward her iPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching) Life Coach certification. I’ve been her guinea pig as she tests out her life coaching skills and it’s been a huge eye opener for me, especially for my personal and professional development. During our weekly chat on Friday, she made me realize perhaps one of the most important aspects of my personality: I look at so many responsibilities in my life as anxiety-ridden tasks, as a “must do, need to do, have to do…or else.” Using her intuitive listening skills, Maria stopped me after I expressed my fears and concerns of my internship and job search, fretting over all of the things I absolutely “had to do, right at this moment, at this very second…but where’s the time?! What about that assignment/chore/other crazy task on my to do list?!” Then she asked me:

“Do you realize that you don’t have to or need to do anything? Whatever you do is your choice. You have the power to choose what you do. How do you feel about that?”

Whoa. I just stopped dead in my tracks, phone pressed to my ear and jaw hanging wide open. I had choices. I have the power to choose what I do with my life. While this may seem like an obvious insight, this concept totally blew my mind. I have spent so much of my life looking at my responsibilities–from folding laundry to attending school–as do-or-die commitments, things that I needed to do in order to lead a successful life. I always felt as though there was a specific formula I “had to” follow in order to succeed–personal choice be damned. I “had to” do what was expected of me, what I thought others expected me to do.

But when Maria introduced this concept of making personal choices, I felt such a sense of volition. Looking at projects and duties through this new perspective is empowering. Not only am I excited to take on the things that I choose to do, but I take pride in the tasks I can accomplish. Viewing school as my own personal choice to better myself–rather than holding onto the “Oh no, not this class again” mindset–allows me to appreciate my education so much more. As Maria is constantly reminding me: “Success is doing what you say you’ll do, regardless of the outcome.” The power of choice, of choosing what is truly important to me, allows me to be successful.

After my chat with Maria, I wrote a little note to myself in my journal. I’d like to share it with you here:

Remember, every action, decision and thought is a CHOICE. You do not “need to do.” You do not “have to do.” You have the power to choose what you do with every moment of every day of your life. Unexpected things will happen. Emotions will affect you. You cannot plan what happens in life. However, you have the power to choose how you respond. You have the power to choose flexibility. Never forget that the power of choice lies within you. No one, thing, act or event has that power. It is your choice.

Share your thoughts on the power of choice with me below.

Happy Monday!

-Meg Rindfleisch, Lead Her Intern, Campus Calm®


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Mondays with Meg: Ambition vs. Aggression


“Be Confident.” Love these inspirational quotes

Like many college students searching for internships and jobs for the summer, I’ve begun that torturous process of revamping my resume and writing cover letter after cover letter. Knowing that I’ll be up against hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants makes me sick to my stomach. I look down at my resume and sigh. Is it enough? Are the internships and software skill-sets enough to impress an employer? Is my education good enough? Will I have to settle for a minimum wage job after grad school?

As a recovering perfectionist, I realize that the little nagging voice in the back of my head is completely bogus. I know that I’m qualified for the internships and jobs I’m applying for, but in such a cutthroat field (communications) during a very sensitive economy, I might need to take whatever I can get. However, I’m trying not to let these facts get me down as I send out applications. I know that I just need a confidence boost at times like these.

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to feel confident when I’m considering my future career, especially when I begin comparing myself to my classmates. I know that I’m an ambitious person. If there’s something I really want, I’ll go for it and put all of my effort into it. But when I hear classmates, especially female student, bragging about their skills and belittling others in order to get ahead, I have to ask myself, “What’s the point? Is it worth humiliating your classmates to prove your so-called superiority?”

I’ve been reading up on this subject as I struggle to come to terms with the idea of ambition versus aggression. One blog post from really resonated with me, specifically on the subject of women’s ambition. The author, Nisha Chittal, addresses the alleged “ambition gap” between men and women, citing the huge gender gap in leadership roles as “proof.” However, she notes that it isn’t women’s lack of ambition that holds them back–we’re just as ambitious as men–but it’s something else:

What I do notice every day is that most women have been taught from an early age to be nice, above all else. To watch your tone. To not be too aggressive. To not be too greedy. To share the credit for their achievements. To be modest. And as girls grow into women, they internalize those messages and carry the “nice girl” message into their careers. Most women I know constantly wrestle with how to reconcile their high ambitions with the conflicting messages they’ve received to be likeable, and not too aggressive.

I have to agree with Chittal here. I struggle with my need to be liked and my desire to accomplish. How often have I felt that calling up on an application seems “too pushy” or “too forceful”? How badly do I want to be perceived as nice more than qualified? Something struck a chord with me as I read this. I’ve noticed that men who take an aggressive stance to their careers are perceived as ambitious, while women who do the same are considered heartless and cold. Why shouldn’t a woman be able to pursue their careers openly with ambition? Why do we feel that we should be considered “nice and sweet” above all other things?

The more I write on this subject, the more conflicted I feel. How far is too far when it comes to aggressively pursuing a career? While I consider myself a “nice person” (but even I have my bad days), I need to let go of this need to have everyone like me, especially if it means that I am settling in my professional career. I struggle watching my female colleagues tear each other down in order to get ahead professionally. Women need to start supporting one another in the professional world while also letting go of the need to be liked by everyone. These conflicting ideas fail to advance our careers, our friendships and our own happiness.

Have any advice? I would love to hear your views on pursuing careers, especially the ladies out there! How do you balance the ambition vs. aggression line?

Happy Monday!




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In Defense of Relaxation

In a culture which encourages us to be constantly busy, we can feel that relaxing is unproductive and lazy. Even when we want to unwind, we often experience guilt and shame and continue to stress about our obligations and deadlines.

In busy living we resist reconnecting with ourselves. We resist answering hard questions. We move restlessly, but fail to realize that we’re not going anywhere.

Don’t be afraid of moments of stillness and silence. They are tougher than busyness, but invaluable in uncovering our deepest truth.

Exhale, observe and invoke serenity.

Lead Her Intern, Campus Calm®

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