In learning to ‘better love myself,’ I attended the third and final session of Single Edition‘s “Live the Life You Love” series that was held on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 at the Saks Fifth Avenue 8th floor lounge. Hosted by Spark Network, the parent company of over two dozen dating sites, such as HurryDate.com, JDate.com, BlackSingles.com, MoretoLove.com, and many more, I prepared myself for more lessons on living life to the fullest.
After the second session, as chronicled previously, I learned quite a bit on health, fitness, and sex topics. For this seminar, there was focus on relationships: with work, food, and new connections. The host, Sherri Langbert, founder of Single Edition Media, put together another great panel of speakers to talk about improving our quality of life through seemingly small changes.
Single Edition is the “premier lifestyle destination for singles,” offering an array of topics to help manager our lives, but I have learned that all of these life lessons can be helpful for everyone!
The first speaker of the evening was Beth Schoenfeldt, a business start-up adviser and co-founder of Ladies Who Launch, a resource for women entrepreneurs, and Collective-E, a community of entrepreneurs that pool together their resources to help each other out.
Schoenfeldt shared with us her experiences of starting her own businesses, when she was a single woman as well as when she was married. She advises that as an entrepreneur, sometimes being single can be advantageous: you have more time and energy to truly dedicate yourself to your project, and you can really focus in and work as hard as you need to get everything done. The hunger in entrepreneurs is the fire that gets it all going!
It goes without saying that any entrepreneur must have passion in what they do and love doing it. But the one thing that single people must ensure is that they build a support system to get them through the tough times, whether it’s family, friends, or other businesses-minded people that share in your beliefs of your project. You need to create a community that will foster your dreams and ideas. And for you married people out there, it should be a warning sign if your spouse does not support your ideas and help you with your goals.
Additional, you should always start with the end in mind. Easier said than done, of course, but there are some key questions that you need to ask yourself about your goals. What do you want to accomplish? What do you hope to achieve? Do you want to have the company be self-sufficient and sell it, or do you want to work in for a long while? Another tough issue to think about is how to be financially prepared. Understand your tolerance for risk, evaluate and prioritize things that you may have to sacrifice.
While this all may be daunting to rush into a new business head-first, remember to start in a small way. You don’t necessarily have to decide right away to put your entire life savings into this brand new investment and risking it all at once. Whether it’s setting aside one hour a night to just think about your project, take small, manageable steps to move towards your goals.
FOOD AND COOKING
The second speaker, Karine Bakhoum, may be familiar to some people, as she is a regular judge on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America with her palate insured by Lloyd’s of London. Clearly, we can take her advice on food and cooking pretty seriously!
She used to speak about “cooking for one,” but revised the title to “cooking for number one,” insinuating that you should put yourself first when it comes to eating experiences. Most people cook only for company, but Bakhoum encourages people to cook for yourself as kind of a practice for important events and to show off your skills.
Single people often feel that it’s troublesome to cook for just one person and resort to ordering in, which more often than not results in a less healthy diet. Cooking for yourself, however, you are more in charge of your products, and by selecting wholesome, natural ingredients, you can really enhance your diet by cooking what you enjoy.
It’s difficult to get started cooking for yourself, but Bakhoum assures us that it’s not as difficult as it seems. Make your kitchen cook-friendly with all the essentials to make a quick meal. Have smaller pots and pans that would make for smaller servings, or else make bigger proportions and save the extras for future meals. In addition to your spice rack, she advises to keep special key elements on hand at all times to add some flair to your cooking: lemons, limes, ginger, EVOO, and tapenade. (Don’t worry, I had to look up what tapenade is, too!) Bakhoum left us with some “food porn” imagery that left us all drooling for more.
In all this talk of the economy, it’s no wonder that most people are concerned about their jobs. Alyson D’Anna, a human resources consultant with over 15 years of experience, spoke specifically about women in the workforce today, being that women are the largest economic force in the world today. D’Anna addressed some points on how to create a personal marketing strategy, and some inter-office concerns that often arise.
How do you marketing and promote yourself? Well, just like any other company with big brand clients, you need a marketing strategy. Enter your personal marketing strategy, in which you build yourself up to your audience and promote yourself in a positive light.
You should not only think about this when you’re looking for a new job, but maintain this at all times and constantly re-evaluate your goals and where you are currently. Think about your reputation: the past has a way of haunting you, for better or for worse, so be sure that your actions today affect your future self positively.
Take a self-inventory and make an accurate assessment of your skills and past accomplishments. Next, do a situational analysis: think about your environment, your boss/co-workers/subordinates and how you interact with them. This includes harping on your communication and leadership abilities on how well you work with others. Finally, you can assess your career tactics by seeing how you can apply your skill sets to your future goals, and what are the necessary sets to get the results you desire.
D’Anna emphasizes the importance of preparing an “elevator speech,” a 2-3 sentence, or one minute, speech in which you create your first impression. This is especially important if you find yourself awkward standing next to a superior at work, you have something prepared to make a lasting impression.
On that note: as awkward as holiday parties and forced company social time may be, ir is prime time to mingle and consider it a networking opportunity. Also, D’Anna suggests that everyone should find a mentor, a person that can coach you and help you guide you in your career assessments. There is “no power in silence,” and by speaking up people are able to bounce ideas off one another and come up with a better result in the end. And you have someone to help you work on your elevator speech!
Lastly, Brad Berkowitz took the stand as the alleged “Mr. Right.” Formerly working in a hedge fund, then moving on to sports business and marketing, and then to writing about dating, sex, and relationships, he’s a Renaissance Man that gave us the male’s perspective.
In addition to his book, The 21st Century Guide to Bachelorhood, he described his experiences as a single guy in Manhattan. Of all us desperate women he must have encountered over the years, he gave us some tips on what guys look for in a w oman.
They key takeaway for me was that a woman should stand up for herself early in the relationship to be treated well. There are tons of things women do to “make a better first impression:” being overly nice to the point of fakeness; dumbing themselves down to not seem so aggressive; and even extravagantly dressing up to the point of discomfort.
While these disguises entrap a man to like you at first, the facade will start to fade before long. In order to have a lasting relationships, the foundation first needs to be built on who you really are. If you’re true to yourself, the right Mr. Right will find his way to you and adore you for who you are.
The four experts graciously stuck around after the seminar to answer more personal questions. Attendees were given goody bags: discount to The Vitamin Shoppe and to Saks Fifth Avenue; Go Smile travel kit with teeth cleaning products; Reviva Labs seaweed soap; and some healthy snacks from Vitamin Water and PopChips.
Once again, I learned a lot and will hold on to all the advice by these great speakers. While it takes a great deal of effort to organize such a panel covering all these different topics, I can only hope that Single Edition will come back to us with more seminars soon!