Corvias Regional Alumni Summit 2018

Somehow it has already been three weeks since our first regional Corvias Alumni Summit! Over the weekend of October 13-14, a small group of Corvias Alumni were able to come together for a weekend of networking and personal, professional, and philanthropic development. It is amazing to think that we could accomplish so much in only 2 days…but I mean, come on – we are Corvias scholars!

Our sessions started on Saturday morning with a group breakfast and our first session with Dr. Jermaine Davis. Our first task was to settle into our seats and get our bag of Grits to inspire us for the session entitled, “Gettin’ Gritty: Finish What You Start”. Prior to our gathering, Melissa sent out a packet for us to fill out that focused on our goals, whether they be personal or professional. Upon starting our conversation, we all went around and explained what goal setting looks like for each of us – and we had a mixture of people who love goal setting and marking things off of their list and people who do not like to set goals (though they ultimately came up with some!). Although all of our goals were different and personal, we were able to recognize similarities in effort, tasks to complete to get us to our end goal, and ways that we could utilize each other to ultimately achieve them.

While it is impossible to give a complete recap of Dr. Davis’ talk with us, I hope to include his main points and a few key quotations that he used to inspire our group. Our first session was focused on goal setting and setting yourself up in the best way possible to achieve your goals. After learning the “Good Job” song (ask a local Corvias member that attended the summit to teach it to you – you won’t regret it), we went straight to work. He stressed three points when setting and achieving your goals – the principle of slight edge, complimenting the effort, and practicing the knowing àdoing gap. In summary, it is important to do what you can to give yourself a competitive advantage, always celebrate reaching the small steps that make up your journey as they are happening, and making sure that we understand the difference between knowing what to do and actually doing what we know. All of these are essential to actually reaching the goals that we set in our lives both short and long term.

One piece of information that Dr. Davis stunned us with was the statistic that we have the majority of our conversations with ourselves, and that 77% of all internal dialogue is negative. This seemed to surprise every one of us – and gave us a realization that we need to change our mindset in order to change our lives. In order to view our goals as realistic and through a positive lens, we must have a greater percentage of positive internal dialogue.

We finished our first session with conversations about things that interfere with our goals and our fears. We have internal and external interferences and we identified some as money, negative relationships, imposter syndrome, and self-sabotage. We continued to talk about imposter syndrome as many of us had felt that in our lives – the feeling that you are where you are by mistake or that it is a fluke, and that you are unworthy of successes or accomplishments in your life. It was amazing to see a group of accomplished individuals identify so strongly at some point or another with this idea. Lastly, we talked about our fears; Dr. Davis put fears into four categories – fear of the unknown, fear of success, fear of rejection, and fear of failure. We all identified where our fears lie and how irrational they can sound when we verbalize them.

Our second session focused on debilitative vs. facilitative emotions, plate management, and the role of other people in your life. Debilitative emotions prevent effective performance and facilitative emotions contribute to effective performance. While debilitative emotions can be helpful in the short term, they become dangerous when they increase in duration and intensity. While we were speaking about this, Dr. Davis asked us to name as many of these emotions as possible – it was amazing how many debilitative emotions we could come up with in comparison to facilitative. When thinking of debilitative emotions, we talked about fear, doubt, disappointment, frustration, anger, etc. When we named facilitative emotions, the only one that came quickly was gratefulness. I guess that shows a little bit of proof for how 77% of our thoughts are negative!

Another topic was plate management – or rather, what do you put on your “plate” and how well do you manage all of your responsibilities. We found that many of us overload our plate to the point where we actually don’t end up doing the things that are actually important, while others don’t place enough on their plates. He asked us to identify 5 core values in life that we would like in order to live a values based life; from there, we identified that we have 168 hours in a week and subtracted our hours of sleep and work from that total. From the amount of hours that we had left, we were able to analyze our own lives and determine if we actually put proper weight on, and allotted appropriate time for, our core values and goals. If we looked at these hours and realized we didn’t place our time in those categories or used our time to reach our goals, we were able to reevaluate how we spend our time. I challenge each of you to do this – it can truly open your eyes to areas of personal improvement and illuminate areas of your life that you can take some hours from to better use for achieving your goals.

Lastly, we talked about how people in our lives can be adders, subtracters, multipliers or dividers. Adders push you forward, subtracters push you down, multipliers push you up, and dividers move you away from your goals. It is extremely important to identify the people in your life who fit in each of these categories. Once you identify who is who, you can re-evaluate your relationships with those who do not push you towards your goals.

Quotes from Dr. Jermaine Davis

  • A goal is a target where you aim your efforts and energy.
  • Information + Application = Transformation!
  • We don’t ask for help because we are weak, we ask because we want to remain strong!
  • Goals – Interferences = Success
  • When you know your why, you can withstand any how.
  • The opposite of motivation is not laziness, it’s complacency.
  • You can live a life by design or default.
  • The antidote to negative thinking is an attitude of gratitude.
  • All dreams and goals have a price tag.

For the rest of the day on Saturday, we spent time creating an agenda to reiterate what we had learned with the current scholars that would be joining us on Sunday, spent time “connecting or disconnecting”, and eating dinner at The Raleigh Times.

Sunday we were able to join together and learn from one of our favorite women, Maria! She led us in a conversation on financial identity and how to determine who we are from a financial standpoint. She stressed that though money isn’t everything, it is important and it is something that we need to think about. We came together and had a great conversation that we always wish could be longer!

One of our favorite events of our time together was our connect time with the current scholars in the Raleigh area. We were able to reiterate the information we learned from Dr. Davis in small groups where we could incorporate the scholars and learn from them while they learned from us. It was a great way for us to continue connecting with each other and show the current scholars what they will be joining when they eventually become alumni. They were inspirational to us and we learned a great deal from their perspective as current students, as many of us have been out of school for a number of years.

Our last group event of the weekend was a conversation about mindfulness and meditation led by our very own Kris Brooks. She led us through a guided meditation, taught us information about mindfulness including tips and tricks and how we could start, and sparked a conversation about how each of us interpreted the provided meditation. We all realized that we could use meditation and mindfulness as a way to center ourselves throughout every experience in our lives that may be stressful or difficult, or simply just to ground ourselves throughout our day.

Overall, our trip to Raleigh, NC and our first regional gathering was a huge success. We were able to chat and network with each other, learn from people who are professionals in their field, and realize just how achievable our goals can be if we continue to appropriately pursue them!


The Arts of Timing & Comparison

Sometimes it is difficult to think of a blog topic that may interest, or draw the attention of, many people. I honestly thought about and started writing intros for a few topics and quickly lost interest or realized I didn’t have much to talk about. However, something that has been on my mind & heart for the last few weeks is the importance of timing and not comparing yourself to others.

Whether it be in terms of when to have an important conversation, when to make your next move career wise, when to start a family/relationship, when to get a pet, when to go back to school, or anything in between, proper timing is essential. The outcome often depends on whether the timing is correct – and this is something that I’ve personally struggled with. Most often, the struggle comes from comparing my life to someone else’s, though our stories are always 100% different.

Over the last few months, I’ve fallen victim to comparing the timing in my life to the timing in other people’s lives. As I’ve heard and experienced myself, what others show you via social media and often what they tell you via their words tends to be a “highlight reel” or a culmination of the best things happening. When people are celebrating the victories that you wish you were celebrating for yourself, they often leave out the specifics about the hard work, pain, and suffering that may have gone on in order to achieve these victories.

When people get a dog, they don’t post pictures on social media of the accidents the dog has inside, the 4 am wake up calls to go to the bathroom, the chewed up furniture/clothing items, or the times when the dog just won’t leave them alone despite them spending all day with them. Instead, you get cute pictures of a precious animal that makes it seem like that is how they are 100% of the time.

When people post pictures of their newly-earned diploma, they may caption it with words that allude to the idea that it wasn’t easy, but there isn’t enough space for them to write about all of the things they went through over the 4+ years it took to achieve it.

I believe that our Corvias family should be a group of people who embrace individuality instead of comparing ourselves to each other. It has been so refreshing to see people’s vulnerability and accomplishments through posts in our Facebook group, and to see other people genuinely congratulating them. However, if you are one who sees accomplishments and milestones happening for seemingly everyone else in your life and have been wondering why these things aren’t happening for you – I encourage you to evaluate whether or not the timing is right. If it is – think about how you could better your chances. If it is not, don’t worry – continue to believe in your abilities without comparing your situation to others.

Puppy Love

So, I’ve officially experienced both kinds of puppy love – my 14-year-old “wow, I will never break up with this wonderful boyfriend and if I do I’ll never get over it because we are meant to be 4 ever” love (spoiler – he was not that great & I did get over it) and now, REAL puppy love with our new dog Bear. I’m going to focus on the second kind for this post!

Warning: this post contains a LOT of absolutely adorable puppy pictures.

A lot of thought went into getting a dog. When my husband Zach & I first got married, we adopted a dog a week after our honeymoon. We were married and the next logical step in our heads was to start a “family”. He was a really cute 1-year-old german shorthaired pointer and we named him Moose (we realized after naming Bear that we apparently like to take an animal and name it after a different animal??). Moose was super sweet & friendly but we realized we made a big decision in a very short amount of time and after a few emotional conversations & long days, he ended up going to live with a family friend. As crazy as the world is, the family friend moved and last week my in-laws adopted him, so he is back in the family! However, Moose taught us that while we were grown ups, we were not ready for the responsibility of a dog, no matter how badly we wanted one.


Moose in 2013

When we moved to Chicago almost 3 years later, getting a dog felt further away than ever. We had no time & no space in our apartment, and we couldn’t come to an agreement on the size of dog we wanted. Though we both love big dogs, Zach wanted a smaller dog since we were in an apartment, and I was very stubborn in my ways of wanting a big, cuddly pup. So we were at a stand still, and that was okay.

A few weeks after I graduated nursing school, Zach randomly asked if I wanted to get a dog. We were going through a transition between school & work and I was going to be at home a lot studying for my NCLEX exam, and nursing has a pretty nice schedule where I’d be home quite a few days a week. We decided to sit down & research the price of different breeds, what resources were around us that we could utilize, and how it would change our day-to-day lives. Let me tell you – no amount of research will show you just how different your day-to-day life will be.

We went to many shelters and saw SO many adorable dogs, but never found “the one”. In addition, one of my dreams has always been to own a Bernese Mountain Dog, but they come with a very hefty price tag that we weren’t willing to pay. The search kind of died down, and though it was a bummer, we were at peace with the fact that nothing was working out at that point. However, one Friday afternoon in January, Zach sent me a listing for this sweet little 8 week Bernese Mountain Dog/Blue Heeler mix puppy and I could feel in my gut that he was meant to be ours. His owner had named him “Pippin” which was my nickname for my childhood dog that had unfortunately died a few years earlier, and I felt some kind of sign that he had picked this pup for us. I went to a friend’s house that night and showed her this little puppy and told her that I KNEW he was going to be ours.

We met him the next day & immediately fell in love and reserved him. He was one of 13 dogs in his litter and was the last to be selected (which we still have no reason why – we may be biased but he is LITERALLY THE BEST). We picked him up the day after I took my NCLEX but went to visit him multiple times because I was afraid he would forget who we were (I was already a crazy dog mom!).

Our first time meeting Bear! He was soooo little. ❤

Pictures from one of our times visiting him before we took him home.

He has been a LOT of work. He peed on the floor 4 times in the first 30 minutes we got him. I’m pretty sure Zach & I looked at each other with immense regret during those 30 minutes, but we have only looked at each other with immense gratitude since. He has brought SO much joy, laughter, and surprise into our lives. He is cuddly, adventurous, extremely stubborn, and full of personality – just how we like. However, he is also expensive – I am pretty sure dogs need as many vaccines as children and for some reason I can’t put him on my insurance plan 😉 – and very time consuming. He is young and learning so much and constantly needs to be touched or talked to or even looked at to feel comfortable.

Bear’s First Day Home!

Thankfully, a lot has changed since his first day at home. I am not ashamed to share that I have actually cried while reflecting on the last 9 weeks we’ve had him – he has doubled in weight but probably tripled in stature. He loves going to dog daycare & playing with others at the dog park. We are still working on the whole “don’t choke yourself while on the leash” part but have a harness now so that we don’t look like bad parents when he’s literally choking himself when he sees another dog on the street. I don’t know how it is with human babies, but I feel like he is growing up in front of me & I can’t get enough!

Some random pictures because why not? 🙂

I think it is important to pursue the things that make you happy, but don’t force anything. I am thankful for our experience with Moose because it taught us to wait and really critically think before putting ourselves in that situation again. He was definitely worth the wait & was without a doubt meant to be our dog. ❤