What I’ve learned from Maya Angelou

One of my favourite writers, Maya Angelou, had some incredible quotes and life lessons. I was so privileged to have seen her via satellite in 2006 at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. She is truly a remarkable woman.

Here are some of the things Maya Angelou has learned.

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Source: StoreMyPic

I’m loving the line, “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision“.

May your heart be open and light today. And keep an eye on your loved ones detangling the Christmas lights – it will reveal a lot.

Main photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Which job application letter got me the interview?

I’ve been in the job market for a few months and have been going through the motions of writing application or cover letters.

The general consensus is that you should write an application or cover letter when you’re applying for jobs. There is a lot of advice great advice on how to write a cover letter and on how a good letter can give your application an edge over other candidates.

When I first started looking, I was in the mode of wanting to overly impress my future employer through a formal application letter. My letter addressed the key job criteria and why I was suitable for the role. I thought it sounded pretty good.

Job application letter 1

Re: Digital Copywriter | Ref: 12345678

Dear [company I want to work for]

It was with great interest that I read your advertisement for a Digital Copywriter, as I’m a creative problem solver who is passionate about customer experience and digital content.

At IAG, I developed the content and user experience for a redesign of their retail-branded websites and wrote copy for their web applications, games, banners, campaign landing pages and websites.

I write compelling copy that converts. New account openings at Macquarie increased by 60% with copy that truly addressed business and customer needs.

I have experience with copywriting for SEO and I ran an SEO Guild within the Marketing team at Macquarie. I created my own website – www.iamlindalouse.com – using WordPress and I compiled analytics and insights for websites, campaigns and content hubs at Macquarie. I’m an excellent communicator and build strong and enduring relationships with my stakeholders.

If you feel my skills match the experience needed to provide the next world class content for your market-leading client, I look forward to meeting with you and your client to discuss the position in greater detail. I can be contacted on…

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Linda Woodley

After sending this off as my standard cover letter for weeks, I started to think about the person reading this. They couldn’t really get a sense of my personality and it didn’t seem all that confident. Even though I was addressing all of the job criteria and it sounded impressive, it didn’t really give them a true sense of me. With this in mind, I wrote job application letter number two.

Job application letter 2

Re: Senior Creative Copywriter | Ref:123456

Hello [company I’d like to work for]

I’d love to apply for the role of Senior Creative Copywriter that I spotted on LinkedIn as it sounds exactly like me.

Here’s why I’d be awesome for this role…

  • passion for all things creative and an exceptional creative problem solver
  • over 12 years’ experience helping big brands achieve their digital goals
  • experience across all formats in the digital world – social, email, websites, games and more
  • seasoned communicator and love pitching ideas to stakeholders and clients
  • proofreading is my middle name (well, it’s technically Louise) but I do get excited about a good quality check before go live
  • a love of arts, music, travel and eating

…and many more reasons that I’d love to chat to you about in person.

I’ve scanned your skills and experience bullet list and I get a 92.3% hit rate. That’s a pretty good percentage.

I’ll throw out the elephant in the room now. I don’t have agency experience on my CV. However I have worked with several creative, advertising and design agencies over the years and I believe I have a solid understanding of what makes them tick.

I would welcome the opportunity to have a chat to you further about the role. I’ve attached my CV and a recent example of some long form copy. My portfolio and samples of my creative work can be found at iamlindalouise.com.

Can’t wait to hear from you.

Kind regards,

Linda

So, which application letter was the winner?

The answer my friends, is neither of these application letters landed me an interview. However I felt a hell of a lot better about myself after I wrote the second one.

If you’re out there applying for jobs, my advice to you is to keep some of your personality in the letter and in the profile on your resume. It will give prospective employers a real idea of you. If they don’t like it, then it’s not the job for you.

You want to go somewhere you can feel you can make a difference and where you can wholeheartedly be the confident, fabulous, wonderful self that I know you are.

Do you have any tips to share about writing job application letters? Any letters that have nailed you the interview? I’d love to hear your comments.

Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

 

9 inspirational quotes from fabulous fashionistas

Ready for a fabulous weekend? Or feeling a little flat?

Here are 9 inspiration quotes from my favourite style and fashion forward icons to kickstart your weekend and get you feeling like a stiletto in a room full of flats.

1. Iris Apfel

2. Marc Jacobs

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Source: QuoteLoad

3. Vivienne Westwood

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Source: Pinterest

4. Yves Saint Laurent

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Source: Etsy

5. Karl Largerfield

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Source: LinesCafe

6. Kate Spade

7. Paul Smith

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Source: AZ Quotes

The last two are technically not in fashion, but boy did they have style.

8. Audrey Hepburn

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Source: herinterest

9. Marilyn Munroe

So readers, put your best glitter foot forward, get out there and have an inspirational weekend.

Photo by Robert Metz on Unsplash

Follow the cracks and they will lead you to the light

This morning I got up at before dawn to experience the sun rise. I watched for an hour as the light of a new day filtered through the cracks in the clouds.

It got me thinking about cracks and the lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

There is the Japanese art of kintsugi, where flaws in pottery are not hidden but embellished with gold. These broken objects are celebrated and cherished, rather than being thrown away.

We can look at the things in our lives as negative and flawed or we can see them as opportunities to grow and learn and let the light in.

Have a spectacular day.

Main photo by Nick Scheerbart on Unsplash

5 things to help you be in the moment

It’s hard to be in the moment when life is busy. There are hundreds of articles on mindfulness. Of course I meditate (but not as often as I should) and attend my weekly yoga classes, but sometimes I find my mind is so busy that I’m not really present.

Here are 5 things that can help anchor you in the moment.

#1: Looking for cats

On my morning walk I set myself the task of looking for a particular thing. It might be a blue doors, the number 27 or red triangles. This morning I selected cats. I find that if I focus on one finding one particular thing, I’m really present on my walk.

This is to do with the reticular activating system in the brain. When you tune into a particular frequency, you only notice what you’re focusing on. It’s that whole thing of buying a red car and all of a sudden everyone is driving red cars.

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Duke Street, Balmain

#2: Taking pictures

Apart from the fact that I really love shoes, I take my #shoesoftheday on Instagram because it anchors me in the moment. I see something that might look cool with my shoes and I snap a picture. I spend the next few minutes coming up with a quirky tagline. My pictures are not staged. It’s just things I come across in the moment.

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Bird with shoes #shoesoftheday

#3: Playing on the swings

Be a kid again and jump on the swings in the park. If you have a child, you can take them to the park or simply hang out with kids. They make their own fun and are perpetually in the moment.

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Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

#4: Being near water

Go for a walk by the water or simply look at the morning clouds reflected in the water. I find that being near water really grounds me.

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Ewenton Park, Balmain

#5. Kissing

Bet you didn’t see that one coming. It’s great to have someone to kiss. But if you don’t, you can always kiss a frog (you never know) or your crafty new boyfriend.

I came across this brilliant quote the other day. It comes from Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive.

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Source: Pinterest

 

If all else fails, release time and take a deep breath. You are here. You are now. You are perfect.

I’d love to hear some of the ways that you anchor yourself in the moment.

Main photo by John Baker on Unsplash.

Are you asking empowering questions?

I’ve been watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and her interview with Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith. Michael says that when we’re going through a difficult situation we ask disempowering questions like: What’s wrong? Who’s to blame? Why me?

Michael invites us instead, to ask inspiring questions like:

  • What’s trying to emerge in my life?
  • What is my gift to share?
  • Why am I here on the planet?

I’m always changing and evolving and I try to learn at least one new thing every day.  I developed a checklist with questions to ask myself at the end of the day to see if I have succeeded in my goal:

  • Did you learn something new today?
  • Did you express your creativity today?
  • Did you smile often? Did you laugh?
  • Did you find moments of unexpected joy?
  • Did you stop and appreciate the little moments?
  • Did you take one small step towards the big picture?

Are you asking empowering questions?

Watch longer here: Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith: Manifest the Life of Your Dreams

Main photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

Get lost this weekend

The Holstee Manifesto is a beautiful reminder as we start our weekend to remember that this is our life right now.

There are so many good lines in the manifesto. I love the suggestion to ask the next person you see about their passions and to share yours. Everybody has a story and you can learn so much from the people you meet.

And my favourite line, ‘Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself’.

Get lost this weekend my friends and you may find yourself somewhere remarkable.

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Learn more about the Holstee Manifesto.

Main photo by Joshua Coleman on Unsplash

Do something different today

It is said that mixing up your routine can do wonders for your creativity.

I have a meeting over in Manly today, so I thought I’d try blogging on the beach. I’m already feeling more energised and the ideas are flowing.

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You may not be able to get to the beach, but maybe you could try leaving the office at lunchtime, walking up a different street or heading to the park. It doesn’t take much to get a fresh perspective.

What are some of the ways you like to mix it up? Do something different today and notice the difference.

Why did a grandma poke her tongue at me?

There is a busy pedestrian crossing in my neighbourhood. It’s directly opposite the Woolies supermarket, so it gets a lot of foot traffic.

As I was driving home last Friday, I stopped for an elderly woman and her grandchild to cross the street. The grandma got to the middle of the crossing, turned to my car and poked her tongue out. I know !!! I was just as shocked as you dear reader. What did I do to deserve this angry distain from someone I didn’t even know?

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Photo by ke wen on Unsplash

The incident puzzled me for the rest of the weekend. And then it dawned on me. I was singing in the car. I was belting out Seasons of Love from Rent. I was up to singing the chorus and the ‘love’ just as grandma was entering the crossing and she must have thought I was poking my tongue out at her for having to stop. Hilarious!

This got me thinking that sometimes we jump to conclusions without having the facts. Perhaps we should stop and pause before reacting.

I may never ever get to tell Grandma that I was practising for this week’s Sydney Flash Mob Choir and that I wasn’t bothered about stopping to allow her and junior to cross the street.

To avoid a similar incident in the future, I’m going to stop and pause my falsetto until I make it safely to the other side of the crossing. Next time she may come back with her cane !

Main photo by Alex Harvey on Unsplash