Category Archives: Blog Series

Develop Your Hustle

“Nobody’s hustle is like anyone else’s” – Robert Downey, Jr.

I’ve been very open about how much of a fan I am of Robert Downey, Jr. He can act, sing, and he’s pretty good with a crowd. He’s also someone I derive inspiration from.

A few months back, I watched Downey on “Off Camera with Sam Jones.” It was a great look at how the Academy Award Nominee prepares for a role and how he views his impact on the world. Downey said something during the show that really hit home for me.

I think the greatest gift anybody can give anyone is the opportunity to develop your hustle. Sam, you didn’t
wind up with these great pictures on the wall and documentaries in the can because it was all handed to you. You have to develop that, and nobody’s hustle is like anybody else’s you know?

Think about that for a moment. You can’t fit your career goals, ambitions, and dreams into someone else’s box. 20140731-075807-28687361.jpgSo, while you may look to people for inspiration, your trip in this life will not mirror what they have done. Nothing is ever handed to you.

In 2010, I landed hard after getting let go from my job. But, I didn’t expect any handouts and wanted to work for everything. That is absolutely what you need to do, as well. Focus on your hustle… Make your hustle like no one else’s.

Over the coming weeks, I am going to focus on people who have developed their hustle. These will be folks that haven’t been given a handout; they’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into their careers.

I’m excited to feature these hard-working and great folks.


Be Inspired

“People who achieve great things that the world will never forget, start out by accomplishing small things that the world will never see.” -Tom Coughlin.

Last week, I blogged about how it is tough, at times, to spark your creative juices. We aren’t always creative and we need to be honest with ourselves about that, I wrote. However, just because you don’t feel incredibly creative does not mean that you can’t be inspired. There’s inspiration everywhere and the above quote from New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is a perfect example of that.


There are two people who really have a knack at being inspiring: Matt Cheuvront and Jessica Lawlor. I’ve been lucky to know both for some time now. Matt is the founder of Proof in Nashville, Tennessee. Not only is he an outstanding entrepreneur, Matt is also the genius behind Life Without Pants. His newsletter, “The Hustle” is the jolt you need to be inspired (it’s better than that first cup of coffee). His blog, though, is always a great way to set off that inner flame towards inspiring you to be better. Case in point, here’s an excerpt from a blog earlier this month, titled, ” Redefine Normal. Act Accordingly. Be Remarkable.

You’re hustling. You’re working hard. You’re trying new things and coming up with new ideas. You’re writing blogs, pouring your heart out for others to see. You’re starting amazing companies. You’re inventing new ideas and improving upon existing ones. You’re traveling the world and experiencing new things. You’re falling in love. You care. You do. You matter.

It was exactly what I needed that day to realize… I MATTER.

Jessica Lawlor is as wise as an Owl. She should be… she graduated from Temple University, like me. I’ve been lucky enough, though, to mentor Jessica from time to time. But, on many occasions, she’s actually mentored me. Her website,, always has something to make you stand up and say, “I can do this!”

She challenges her readers to “Get Gutsy” and it works because Jess inspired me to do the same. Her post “How Saying No Helped Me Open Up To a World of Yes,” was a game changer for many reasons. This quote encapsulated what I’ve felt, but could not put into action:

The moral of the story here is that sometimes you need to say no. You need to recognize when enough is enough. You need to recognize (and respect) your boundaries in order to reach your goals.

We sometimes find it tough to say no (me included), but to read what Jess did and how it opened up new ideas and new opportunities helped me do the same.

Now, while I recommend that you check out what Jessica and Matt are doing and writing on their blogs, there are many others out there that inspire. We all have ways to do it; in actions and in words. You can find inspiration right around the corner. But you have to open your mind to it.

Inspire Series: Having a goal puts you ahead of the game

by Carlotta Zorzi

If there is something that I have learnt so far during my academic and work experiences is that having a specific goal makes it much easier for you to succeed in whatever you’re trying to do – rather than being ‘open to anything’. Given that this is a rule that should not just work for myself I thought it was interesting creating a discussion around it to see what you think – particularly on the topic of getting a job. However, when I explain this point of view to my friends and acquaintances at times they struggle with one main point, which is to identify their passions in order to turn them into a job.

Why identifying your passion? I’ve seen too many people working for companies they do not like or respect, or who have jobs that are not up to their abilities and that leave them frustrated. Even Forbes said that 70% of the employees hate their jobs! However, I don’t think it’s only the employers’ responsibility to make you like a job, but it’s (often) also our duty to make sure we become selective and focused in order to ‘Find a Job We Love and We’ll Never Work a Day in Our Life’. And let’s be honest, who wants to get back home at night all stressed and frustrated? I can’t see anyone raising their hand! Is it the society that makes you think that you can only get to a certain level/job? Or is it you who prevent yourself from getting that dream job?

Perhaps the problem is back at the beginning: You may still be at the stage of ‘what do I want to do with my life’, which may discourage you from defining a specific goal. Well, I think there is a simple way to find out what your new and exciting goal could be. With the hope that you all have something you’re interested in, something that you love to do in your spare time, this picture may help you understand what I mean:

Copyright, Carlotta Zorzi

Copyright, Carlotta Zorzi

Clearly, this is an extremely simplified way to explain my reasoning into words to let you understand how I think. There are obviously many levels of jobs, as well as many external factors that can impact on the success of your ideas e.g. current market health or market request for specific goods or services. However, thanks to the Internet, no one stops you from creating your own online business which would allow you to work with clients that are far from your location. And why not starting your own blog/vlog on your favorite subject? Quality content is likely to raise followers and, who knows, maybe even a job offer from your dream company as a consequence of the passion and expertise you put into your blog. Furthermore, the examples given are strictly casual: no one stops you from going into gardening if you hold a nursing degree, no one stops you from going into films if you hold a religious studies degree. You may need to work on your skills, but if your goal is defined and your passion is real, that should not be an issue – but a pleasure. On the other hand, there are jobs that require a specific education e.g. law, engineering, and for those you may need to consider going back to the academic life for a while if your current skills don’t grant you access to such positions. But that’s another story.

Furthermore, some jobs will pay better than others. It’s always been like this and it will always be. But what is it a job that pays well but that stresses you out, leaves you unsatisfied or demotivated? As this graph gives a simple idea on how to identify your passion and so your goal, the main thing to me is being able to do something that I enjoy. I am personally working towards becoming part of a team that work around the release of movie trailers and related projects. I’ve always been passionate about films and cinema, so everything I’ve done so far has been with such goal on mind. It’s not going to be easy, especially because I am willing to relocate overseas, so there are visas and bureaucracy involved, but if there’s a will there’s a way and this is just the beginning.

It’s all about getting out there, spending and unreasonable amount of time on the internet learning about the industry you love, filling in applications, scanning documents, sending mails, keeping up with replies and learning something every day. It’s not an easy way, but from my humble point of view I am convinced that believing in your passions and making them your goal will take you to where you want to get. Because what’s better than making your hobby a job that can pay your bills?

602320_10201263486890595_406455678_nOriginally from Italy, Carlotta Zorzi graduated in 2013 from Edinburgh Napier University with a BA (Hons) in Communications, Advertising & Public Relations and spent a year at San Jose State University, California. Carlotta has been managing Scent Sciences Corporation’s marketing & PR since May 2011 and she is about to start her MSc in International Marketing & Brand Management at Lund University, Sweden. She speaks five languages and her dream is to work for movie trailers and film promotion.

Inspire Series: Being the Shaper of Change

Jas’ note: It’s a great honor to have my wife, Michelle Mollica, RN, MS, OCN, as my next guest in the Inspire Series. Michelle recently gave an address to nursing graduates of D’Youville College, which was called “inspirational” by a number of those in attendance. An edited version appears here.

Firstly, I want to say congratulations. You have made it. For some, this has been a long path. Many of you have come from different fields, changed educational paths along the way, or changed careers entirely. You have gone from a scared student, afraid to do a physical assessment on your own classmate, to a confident, mature, professional graduate nurse, ready to take on the world. You have made it through the long nights of studying for exams and skills testing, preparing for clinical rotations, and balancing your home and family lives. You have made sacrifices that have finally paid off. You are now graduate nurses from D’Youville College, and you should be extremely proud of yourselves.

As you go out into the world of nursing, remember that in all ways, you are now a representative of D’Youville College’s School of Nursing. In your clinical rotations, you have seen different types of nurses; there are some who made you question the reasons you went into nursing in the first place (we’ve all met them, and we know they are out there), and then there are the nurses who are extraordinary. They seem to light up a patient’s room with just a few words. They are a patient advocate in every sense of the word. These nurses go above and beyond the basic tasks every single day. You have the potential to do amazing things, and I have no doubt that you will.

I urge you to consider what you can do to improve the face of nursing in the future. You are entering this new phase of your lives at a time when the world of healthcare is changing…. changing in ways that will call upon each of you…each one of us…to think differently about nursing…how and what you can contribute, not only to caring about individual people, but what you can contribute to the good of your community.

You can become a shaper of change! You can be the one who changes the face of nursing! Embrace this incredible opportunity! And when opportunities knock, open the door, accept the challenge. You might surprise yourself!

I would like to share with you a few things that could be of use to you as you transition into your role as a nurse:

  • Understand and always remember why you went into nursing. When times get tough, and believe me, they can, this is your “go to pill.” It will help ground you.
  • You need to have passion. Do what you love to do……and take your heart to work. And on that note, when you lose your passion in whatever field of nursing you are in, consider a change. The amazing thing about nursing is that you can go anywhere and do anything as a nurse. This leads me to my next point…
  • Embrace opportunities and challenges. They will make you stronger and wiser. And they open doors. I promise you.
  • The next is one that I know you’ve heard, but it rings true especially in nursing: Always do the right thing, especially when no one is looking.
  • Set goals. Know where you’re going and what you want to do. Life is never a straight line and that’s okay. But always have a vision of what and who you want to be.
  • Always keep a sense of humor.
  • Never stop learning. I hope that we as your faculty have shown you that you will never know everything about everything. You will become experts in your field, but the education never stops. You should always strive to learn more and continue to grow.

Thank you so much for allowing me to take a small part in your celebration.

Michelle Mollica

Michelle Mollica, RN, MS, OCN is the coordinator of the RN to BSN Online Program at D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y. and an Assistant Professor in the college’s School of Nursing. She is also completing her PhD in Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Inspire Series: 4 Tips to Stay Motivated and Inspired

Jas’ note: I’m beyond thrilled to have Heather Whaling as the first poster in this Inspire Series. She’s one of the hardest working pros around and she has plenty to share, as you’ll see.

When I launched my own company in 2009, I had no way of predicting where the journey would lead, but I stayed focused on a core purpose: I was 100% committed to building a PR firm that people would want to work for and companies want to work with. Three-plus years later, we’re well on our way. I’m fortunate to work with an amazingly talented team and clients that I truly believe in.

So, how do I keep from slipping into neutral and just letting life progress as-is? If you’ve reached a point in your career where you feel like you’re doing what you set out to do, congratulations. But, don’t stop. Don’t get comfortable with status quo.

When Jason asked me to write about what motivates and inspires me, I spent some time reflecting. Here are my four tips for staying motivated:

Define your all. What matters most to you? There’s a lot of debate right now about “having it all,” but what does that actually mean? In PR – a professional where we often feel like we’re always on the clock – how do you blend personal and professional goals to create the life you want? At work or at home, you need to set your priorities. (If you don’t set them for yourself, someone else will.) If you take time to define your “all,” then you’re equipped to proactively make decisions that will move you toward those lofty aspirations. Living life on your terms is motivating.

Act like an owner. In her book [Re]Frame: Little Inspirations for a Larger Purpose, Sarah Evans encourages readers to act like an owner. As she notes, “We are more likely to take better care about something when we ‘own’ it. Even if it’s merely changing how we view what it means to us. If you want to be happier at work, change how you think about work.” Even if you’re not technically the company owner, shift your mindset. As Sarah says, “own your work, or go find something worth owning. There is no option C.” When you feel personally invested something, you’re naturally more motivated to make it succeed.

Embrace the crazy. This has become the de facto motto in our office, as well as my own life. A career in PR, while fulfilling, can lead to some unavoidable chaos. Plus, personally, I’m embarking on a new adventure, as a small business owner and a mom-to-be, both of which are demanding, unpredictable situations. Instead of stressing about it, I’ve decided to simply embrace the crazy. As I’ve learned, the less you dwell on the impending “crazy,” the more you can enjoy wherever the road leads you.

Find your energy. During the next couple weeks, pay extra attention to those moments when you feel incredibly energized. What happened? Did you land a major media placement for a client? Create a piece of content that resonated with online communities? Land a new client? Mentor someone? Volunteer in your community? Whatever it is – and whenever/wherever it occurs – take note. After a couple of weeks, you’ll spot emerging patterns. Then, you can start to purposefully recreate similar situations. As you infuse activities into your week to generate this positive burst of energy, you should become an even more motivated self-starter.

Your turn: How do you stay motivated and inspired so you can apply your best self to whatever you’re doing at home or at work?

Heather WhalingAbout Heather: As president of Geben Communication, Heather Whaling (aka @prTini) leads new business development, client relations and strategic planning for the firm. An avid Twitter user, Heather can trace 75% of Geben’s business back to relationships that began online. This ability to turn social networking into business outcomes has helped Geben evolve into a highly respected, sought-after, award-winning PR firm. Want to learn more? Connect with Heather: BlogTwitterInstagram

New blog feature- The Inspire Series

Earlier this year on the blog, I did a five-part series detailing how to help your career. It received some terrific feedback from many of you. Today, I’m beginning another series that I hope is a little longer than five parts.

Man_of_Steel_TIt’s called the Inspire Series and we’ll feature folks that make an impact. These people could be students, new and experienced PR/social media pros, or just regular people. My goal is to show the positive and inspiring things that are going on in our world.

We see plenty of negativity and biting commentary. Of course, things aren’t always rosy. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help give you more of a glass half-full approach. Who inspires you? Think they should be featured in the series? Drop me a line at Jason[at]JRMComms[dot]com or use the contact form.