How to create partnerships in your work environment

Partnerships:

Creating partnerships with people is a crucial part of the human experience. You might be thinking, “but I don’t own a business why do I need a partnership with someone?” Well, partnerships transcend across all aspects of life. From social interactions to the workspace, creating partnerships provide platforms for our success. Here’s an example on how I have been creating partnerships at work:

-As an Assistant Manager at an apartment complex, I have several roles. From auditing files, to creating leases, to simple mathematical calculations, I really do it all. And as we all do, sometimes I feel complacent with my job. One day I sat down and really thought about my role in property management. I do my job, and I do it well. Even though this isn’t my dream job, I thought, “How can I positively affect change within this environment?” If you are going to do something, do it with all your passion. Give it 100. Put your full efforts into everything you do and see how you are rewarded. Because this apartment complex is geared towards college students, I knew there was a lack of community present in our complex. I began with small steps such as updating the bulletin board every month with a calendar of events. I included cool instagrams to follow, including local eats, shopping, and farmers markets. But I also want residents’ time here to be fun and vibrant. I realized we needed something bigger. So I created weekly contests that the residents can participate in to win prizes. How was I gonna get prizes to align with our budget? Well, I decided I was going to ask local businesses to donate prizes.

As I have posted in a previous blog, the one thing that stops us from pursuing careers, dreams, or even simple tasks is vulnerability: more specifically the fear of rejection. As weird as it sounds, I was nervous to ask for prizes. But I realized that I wanted to do some proactive things in order to influence change in my work environment. I contacted Salut Kitchen, Hungry Howies, Jimmy Johns, Hazelrock Cafe, Noodles & Co, and Infusion Tea & Coffee to see what they could do for me. The conversation started something like “Hi my name is Natalie, I’m the Assistant Manager at The Mark Apartment Homes. We are looking to build new partnerships with local eateries and were hoping to include you in that. We are hosting weekly contests for prizes and would love to feature you a couple of weeks in the semester. We will feature you on our instragram and facebook pages, tag you, and tell residents about the contest. You guys would be the featured prize for that week, so whether its providing a free _________ or giftcard, the winner of the week will receive that as a prize.” Most places were super receptive to that. They were more than welcome to participate. Some said they would get back to me but didn’t 😦 But that’s okay! Rejection is part of the experience. Well after a couple of conversations, visits, and emails, I ended up with 4 free pizza coupons, 4 $25 giftcards, 4 noodles for a year giftcards, discounts on coffees and teas, coupons for free appetizers and entrees, and many other small victories. At over $500 in value, I just upped our resident game up by 100%. But it wasn’t just about getting these free items, but about creating partnerships with these businesses. They can now put a face to an apartment complex and build a relationship with local businesses. I help them out with marketing and they help me build a better office-resident relationship at The Mark. Now I know not everyone is in the realm of property management. But how do you create partnerships in other careers? I’ll give you a map and some general examples:

  1. Goal – What is your goal? What do you want to accomplish? i.e Resident-management relationships and a fun environment
  2. Tools- What tools will you need? i.e prizes, stronger presence at the complex, etc.
  3. Interaction- What is your move? How can you attain #2? i.e ask local businesses to sponsor prizes
  4. Results- What did you receive from your interactions? i.e prizes
  5. Reflection- What could you change up to keep ideas/actions fresh? What could you improve? Cast a wider net and also find clothing shops or spas that will offer gifts or discounts. Build stronger relationships w/ my partnerships like “meet the staff” etc.

If you need help or advice on creating partnerships, let me know. I’m here for you 🙂

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Colors and Stress: Why you should invest in a coloring book

mandala

According to an article in the Huffington Post, coloring generates wellness, quietness, and stimulates areas of the brain related to motor skills, senses, and creativity (Santos, Elena, 2014). You may not know that coloring has been applied by psychologists as a relaxation technique (see Carl Jung’s work). The power of coloring lies in its mindfulness characteristics. Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment, not allowing thoughts or worries to affect your present state. There are different ways to practice mindfulness including meditation, yoga, and music. Coloring is a fun way of practicing mindfulness while reminding you of childhood bliss. You can use adult geared coloring pages such as the ones featured in Huff Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/27/coloring-book-for-grownup_n_5717281.html   You can browse adult coloring books here http://www.hachette-pratique.com/collections/art-therapie

However, a great way to start coloring involves Mandalas. Mandalas are a series of geometrical figures centered in one central pattern. Often beautiful in design, they have their origins in India and meditation. Mandalas are said to help one meditate, by encouraging one to focus on the intricate patterns of the mandala, instead of bombarding thoughts. More so, mandalas help you access energy and imagery of the unconscious mind. Here are two pictures of my mandala. It took me a couple of weeks to actually color in the whole mandala, but it was definitely worth it. Look at this beauty! Mandalas are accessible online, simply google “coloring Mandalas.”

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A Conducive Work Space

Desk Spac

There’s nothing like a clean, simplistic, and well thought out work space to accomplish your daily tasks. Spending a lot of time at work and school, I don’t really spend much time at home working on assignments or work-related tasks. Honestly, I get home and dive into bed, lounging and relaxing with some Netflix. However, with the semester starting up at the end of the month, I know I will be extremely busy with school –> work –> work –> school. Not to mention completing my Masters thesis. That being said, I have told myself over and over to create a small workspace in my apartment to channel my inner desire to succeed! I bring you Natalie’s work space titled: Enlighten me with Positivity. I tend to hoard things from small trinkets friends have given to me from abroad, to old receipts dating back 6 months. I got rid of a lot of things and created this simple, and affordable layout. I often see amazing work spaces and apartments on Pinterest, only to discover that the items I want are ALL vintage and nearly impossible to acquire. I got all of the pictured items at the common person’s stores. The gold, industrial lamp was purchases at Target for approximately $38. Stylish, urban, with a new age sophistication, I definitely thought it was the perfect accent for my work space. Not to mention I need proper overhead lighting for late night sessions. I got the white candle for about $10 at Target as well. The Buddha head was also from Target (I love Target -___-  ) for about $12 in the gift aisle. The lotus candle holder is from Michael’s (about $3) and the orange candle in it is a 12 pack set from World Market. The golden hands print is from Etsy. It was a gift from my roommate so I don’t have price details! Lastly, I made the glitter “N” from a series of supplies. You can pick up a cardboard-like letter from your local craft store. I then purchased scrapbook paper in this gold-red glitter style from Michaels, cutting it to fit the “N” proportions. I used super glue to bind the paper to the letter.

Three things guiding my work space design:

1. Simplicity (my life is too hectic. Keeping a simple layout helps me stay grounded in my high paced, hectic life. I chose one statement piece, the lamp. Its clean, urban design reminds me to focus and to remember that less is more.)

2. Inner peace (even though I have 100000 things to do everyday, I need to remember to breathe and stay calm. the buddha and incense remind me of this… Stay grounded and happy)

3. Passion (with my research, I sometimes get stuck. I forget my motivation and drive, and get into ruts. The glitter “N” reminds me that I can accomplish anything I start. When I accomplish tasks and goals, beautiful results come, just like the “N” I created. It is an original work that wasn’t just purchased, but made.)