OG Tuesday Issue #94

The Assist Newsletter
July 12, 2022


Be Assertive, Be-Be Assertive!


Imagine you’re in a meeting with some of your org’s leaders — big-time leaders.

You’re a little intimidated but also passionate about the meeting topic. You weigh the pros and cons of sharing your treasure trove of ideas vs keeping quiet.

We believe people at all career levels should feel empowered to share their ideas and opinions with colleagues at all career levels. We also understand that sharing can sometimes be nerve wracking.

Here are some tips for speaking out when you’re a little nervous about the reactions you might get:

Connect your opinions to a shared goal.
Example: I found a few grant opportunities that could help us plan the conference we’re hoping for. 

Preface criticism or negative comments with a few positive or appreciative words.
Example: Thank you for being so thorough in your research for the report so far. I would like us to work together to fill in a few remaining gaps I’m almost certain the client will ask about.

Go ahead, be assertive. And don’t conflate assertiveness with aggressiveness. According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, “Being assertive shows that you respect yourself because you’re willing to stand up for your interests and express your thoughts and feelings.”
Example: I would like to talk more about the pros and cons of the idea I introduced. 

Take conversational responsibility instead of casting blame and pointing fingers by using “I” statements instead of “you” statements. 
I disagree. vs You’re wrong. 
I would like you to help find a solution. vs You need to take care of this problem.

Swallow your qualifiers (add-on words and phrases such as “maybe,” “kind of,” and “very,” which sometimes enhance but often diminish other words).
Example: I just think maybe we should get some feedback from other teams before we make a decision. vs I want to get some feedback from other teams before we make a decision.


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Mastering the Art of Note Taking

Tips and tricks for the helpless, the disorganized, and the overwhelmed.

Note-taking woe: I took so many notes that it would take at least an hour to read and process them all. 

Try the Cornell Note Taking format, which involves a space for notes, a sidebar for questions and keywords, and a place for summarizing key points.

Note-taking woe: I don’t know what qualifies as note-worthy material, so I just take down everything. 

Try pinpointing the reason you’re taking the notes, the reason you’ll likely access them later, and let that determine how you structure them and what you capture. Some common reasons to revisit notes include remembering assignments and responsibilities as well as key decisions and the reasoning behind them.

Note-taking woe: I remember writing down a great idea, but now I can’t find it in the midst of all my other chicken scratch. 

Try leaving lots of space around (above and below and on either side of) ideas or takeaways you want to remember. Some experts even recommend putting golden ideas alone on their own page. (It seems extreme, but at least you’ll never risk missing out on the next big idea because skimming through your notes was a nightmare.)

Note-taking woe: I underlined an action item (“Follow up with Regina.”) but I can’t remember the actionable details (what I’m supposed to follow up about).

Try rereading and cleaning up notes immediately after you make them, while points you might need to clarify and holes you need to fill are still top of mind.

Note-taking woe: I don’t have the time or energy to read through the notes I took.

Try challenging yourself to capture concepts via mind maps or sketches instead of novels. This will stop you from writing down every word like a robot and also inspire you to capture key points as elegantly as possible.


Streamline Your Work With Templates


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We’ve compared monday.com to the Swiss army knife of project management softwares — and they’ve taken it up a notch by launching industry specific templates.

Here are some of our fave templates that you can use today (for free) —

For HR & Recruiting:

For EAs/Admins/Operations:

See more templates


Laid Off? Words of Wisdom for Your Epic Comeback


“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”  — Steve Jobs
  • Takeaway: Reflect on what you’ve always wanted to do but always had some reason or excuse not to do. This career transition is your excuse to do it.
“What is learned out of necessity is inevitably more powerful than the learning that comes easily.” — Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
  • Takeaway: Not only will you figure out how to get through this, but getting through this will also make you stronger, will also allow you to see there’s nothing you can’t handle.
“What the meaning of this period of unemployment is, now. One way to get at that definition is to ask ourselves, ‘What is this time for?’” — Richard N. Bolles, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2012: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
  • Takeaway: Focus not on the loss, but on the opportunity gained, the opportunity to take a breather, a step back, and see your life and career from a new perspective.
“You have power in how you react to setbacks, and being able to move on is a skill worth cultivating.” — Evy Poumpouras, Becoming Bulletproof: Life Lessons from a Secret Service Agent
  • Takeaway: No matter how down you may be feeling, remember that this experience is in itself worthwhile and potentially more skill-building than a year of on-the-job comfort.


Let’s Do Some Confidence


You hear the word “confidence” and assume you know what it means, and you probably do, conceptually. But what you need in order to cultivate your confidence—to start trusting and stop second-guessing yourself—is a practical understanding of “confidence” as a verb instead of a noun.

Yes, confidence is something you do, not something you “are” or something you “have.”

Here are a few helpful confidence “dos.”

  • Make yourself uncomfortable. “Confidence is ultimately about being comfortable in a wide variety of situations that would make most people feel uncomfortable,” says Charisma on Command author, Charlie Houpert.
  • Positively judge your abilities and positive results will follow. (In other words, believe you can.)
  • Focus on things you know (or truly believe) can happen. As Ian Robertson puts it in the introduction to How Confidence Works: The new science of self-belief, why some people learn it and others don’t, “For confidence to work its full-blooded magic, it requires a potent combination of can do about the inner world and can happen about the external world.”
  • Monitor and bend your state of mind, by performing seemingly superficial behaviors such as cultivating good posture, accepting compliments, and learning new things. (Doing all this can lead to observable changes in your brain.)


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Riddle me this: A woman shoots her husband, then holds him underwater for five minutes. Next, she hangs him. Right after, they enjoy a lovely dinner. How is this possible?

⭐ Answer here.

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