Iron girl.

At some point earlier this year some friends of mine casually mentioned doing a triathlon. Eventually the conversation turned serious and I found myself signing up for Iron Girl at Sandy Hook

From here I started buying triathlon gear, joining the local pool club, fixing up my sister's bike and spending my summer working on my fitness. The big day crept closer. Finally, yesterday morning I found myself standing on a bay beach near Fort Hancock at sunrise waiting for my wave to get called. 

The swim did not go exactly as planned since some foul weather moved in Saturday night making the bay super choppy. On top of that the tide was coming in pushing the athletes and swim angels toward the rocks. In spite of this, I pushed on and made it across the cove without stopping albeit slower than I had hoped. From there I flew through transition and hopped on my bike, traversing Sandy Hook twice for a total of 15 miles. After that I ditched my bike and took off running. The last leg of the race taught me some valuable lessons as a triathlon newbie (i.e. drink more water!). In the end I crossed the finish line, passed on breakfast and went on with my day. 

My expectations weren't super high going into this race, I just wanted to finish and if possible do so in less than 2 hours. Check and check. Now, what's next?

Mudderella.

You have to wonder about humans sometimes. We work more than we should, eat things that we know are terrible for our bodies and subject ourselves to all sorts of nonsense. Take for example, the recent trend in athletic races. All over the country people are signing up to participate in races that involve mud, color,  dangerous obstacles and more. Clearly this was a bandwagon I needed to jump on. 

So a few weeks back I joined a group of friends to get down and dirty over the course of 5 miles through suburban New Jersey. And funny enough it was the most fun I've had in awhile. I jumped in pools of mud, climbed over walls, meandered through the muck and flew down a few slides all for a good cause

Next up? A 10k complete with wine tasting, a 5k course dotted with inflatables and maybe even my first triathlon. Guess it's time to get swimming. 

Here are a few outtakes from the mess that was Mudderella

(Repost) Gone girl.

About two years ago I deleted my Twitter account. A few weeks later, I dumped my Facebook. I had burned out. Recently, after a long conversation with a mentor, I reactivated my Twitter feed. I made it about a week before I shut it down once again, thinking to myself, “Nope, can’t do it.”

While this may not seem all that shocking to some, this is practically unheard of for a marketing professional in 2015. Especially for someone who spends much of their time curating social media campaigns. And yet, that’s exactly why I decided to get away.

Sure, my personal brand is important. I recognize and embrace that. But here’s where I’m at: I’m a marketing professional, born near the beginning of the millennial generation. In college my face appeared in newspapers around the world in an article that began “Kate Achille grew up with the Internet.” I was in the first wave of Facebook users, activating my account sometime in late 2004. Before Facebook, I was an avid user of MySpace, Friendster and LiveJournal. I picked up Twitter sometime around in 2007. I’ve spent my career tracing the development of social networking, building accounts and developing a presence for different companies and clients along the way. I firmly believe that social media marketing and social networks are a crucial part of brand identity – while I’m at work.

This is not to say that I shun all social networks. I check my Instagram more than I’d like to admit, keep myLinkedIn profile up-to-date and even have a Pinterest board or two. However, in the years since I decided to disconnect from two of the world’s biggest social networks, I have used time previously spent refreshing my Facebook feed to keep my free time free. Whereas I used to click through photo after photo of someone I barely knew in high school’s wedding to someone they met at a college I didn't go to, now I explore new but related fields to keep my skill-set sharp and current, rather than use my brain cells to think up some witty repartee in 140 characters or less. That’s what I do from 9 am – 5 pm. 

The point is, I am still very much the marketing professional I was two years ago when my life was plastered across every social platform known to man. Now I’m just a bit more selective, and perhaps protective, of keeping my main asset, my brain, in tip top shape. And I’m more than OK with that being my brand. 

This post originally appeared here

(Repost) The Personal Is NOT The Professional

By now it’s no secret that I work for my mother.

That’s right. I see, speak to and take work direction from my mom on a daily basis. When people hear this, the most comment reaction is “I don’t know how you do it. I could never work with my family.” For me, it’s a piece of cake. First of all, despite our age gap, she’s pretty cool. More importantly, here’s why: the personal is NOT the professional.

At my first job out of college, my boss had a terrible personality but good business sense (think The Devil Wears Prada). While I didn’t want to emulate her lousy people skills, I did see an opportunity to learn. From day one, the experience working for her instilled in me that it’s absolutely critical to keep your personal life out of business. That doesn’t mean that you have to limit interactions with coworkers or avoid company events. However it does mean that your boss is not your friend so don’t friend your boss on Facebook. Or Twitter, which I think by now we all know that can come back to haunt you.

Furthermore, I learned that work life is not social life. Your coworkers are not your family (unless like me, they actually are). Work is what you do to support your lifestyle and make the most of your talents. Your colleagues are there for the same basic reason that you are: a paycheck. Sure, you can strike up a conversation around the watercooler or go out for the occasional happy hour on Friday but at the end of the day, we all need to prioritize when to leave our work life behind. I see so many people neglecting to build connections with people outside of work. Gone are the days of taking a class, joining a gym or networking for the sake of making friends. Too much reliance on your job as your social life makes Jack a dull boy.

Keep your game face on, your head down and I implore you, don’t pass out drunk in front of your place of work. The personal is not the professional.

This post originally appeared here