Chosing fulfillment from the start

While most of us spend our days the stuck in the office, Nicole is busy wearing flip flops, getting covered in whip cream or running a cookie business.

No, she’s not your typical NYU grad.

When Nicole graduated college one year early, summa cum laude, with a pocket full of job offers from prestigious New York corporate companies, she headed west to take her place as camp director.

Faced with the crushing pressure to be awesome (and to pay off student loans), Nicole listened to the advice of her favorite professor–always make room for fun. She chose fulfillment from the start.

“I couldn’t do the same thing for 365 days of the year,” she said. “I couldn’t do it. I would be bored out of my mind. I think I’m lucky in that I recognized that pretty early about myself. I graduated a year early because I paid for it myself and because I was bored.”

Well there’s nothing quite like running a day camp and managing a brand new cookie shop to keep things from being boring! Whether it’s making a presentation to the city counsel, fixing the cash register, or helping a 5 year-old who misses her mom, being in charge means that Nicole is problem-solving all day long.

“I want my career to entail not just being successful but being fulfilled. I think that often times those things are confused,” said Nicole. “I want to know that when I go home from work everyday that I have done something that makes some kind of difference to someone, that it’s not just me earning my paycheck.”

As Nicole crafts her place in the world, she knows one thing for certain: it’s not just about where she is going, it’s about how she is getting there.

Nicole’s 3 tips for finding balance:

1. Admit your limitations

2. Find a job that fits within them

3. If you’re not having fun, something has to change!

What are your tips for staying sane and preserving your quality of life? Share it in the comments.

Real women, real romance

Real women share the most romantic thing someone’s ever done for them… And you’d be surprised at how much of an impression the little things make.

My 4 secrets for staying happy

Aymee, happiness expert and soon-to-be doctor of psychology, said she found her calling at a pivotal moment in college when she realized that she just wanted to help people be happy.

Discarding traditional forms of psychology, and a negative approach to diagnosis, Aymee favors focusing on what is right with people instead of what is wrong. “I probably have a disorder, and you probably have a disorder, everybody has a disorder, you know, so what good is that going to do?”

By some twist of fate, before Aymee found her chosen vocation, she would have described herself as a pretty happy person in general. But soon after, in her twenties, she found herself facing hardship and tragedy.

Aymee says the number one problem that people have with happiness is placing responsibility on to people places and things, instead of taking responsibility for their own happiness. If you are ready to take responsibility for your happiness, Aymee can give you three recommendations, right off the bat.

Express Gratitude

Write down five or ten things that you are really grateful for every day.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Practice five random acts of kindness a day. It can be something as simple as telling your coworker, “That outfit looks good on you.”

Smile!

There is one crucial element to happiness—taking the corners of your mouth and putting them up toward your cheek bones and repeat after Aymee: “My smile is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“Happiness, if not now, when? When you are experiencing a happiness challenge, reach for your happiness helpers, look on the bright side, go for gratitude, practice random acts of kindness and don’t forget to do your happiness home work.”

Visit Aymee’s happiness hub for tips on finding – and maintaining – a happy outlook.

Do Something
At the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, learn how to pass it on in a small way that has a big impact.

Spirituality from A to Z
No matter where your sense of spirituality, Of Spirit can tap you in to everything from aromatherapy to Zen meditation.