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Inspirational Stories to Fuel Your Weekend Fire

A splash of Friday LinkedIn(inspiration) featuring an underserved community, a brave gymnast, and a motivated father

We’re bringing Fridays back, folks!

I don’t know about you, but in our house, Fridays simply haven’t felt the same since the pandemic started. Before COVID, Friday was a day of jubilation. My wife and I spent the day wrapping up work and looking forward to a bounty of weekend activities.

We might pack the kids up for an adventurous getaway. Maybe head uptown to do some window shopping at the mall. Or catch a movie at our favorite Alamo Drafthouse down the road. Even if we were just planning to hang out all weekend, Friday carried a sense of fun and opportunity.

Now — after a year of spending almost every weekend at home — Friday has lost a bit of its luster. It’s been easy to see it as just another day. It’s been easy to feel down and depressed.

But, lately, as I’ve been scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, there have been several posts that caught my attention. Several that forced me to stop what I was doing and pay attention. Several that were worth returning to, reading over and over again, and screenshotting for later consideration.

These posts lit my inspirational fuse, as it were.

Hence the “LinkedIn(spiration)” pun.

You’re welcome.

So, without further ado. I hope your Friday is awesome, filled with positive thoughts. And I hope you find a spark of inspiration in these amazing posts.

1. Happy Kindness Week!

See the original post here.

This post gets double points for inspiration.

For starters, the Town of Gilbert — just a stone's throw from my backyard — launched its Gilbert Kindness Week back in 2017. And the town has spent the years since highlighting local individuals and businesses that are doing the important work of spreading kindness.

One such business is Not Your Typical Deli. This deli features some amazing-looking sandwiches, but it’s not their tasty eats that have them featured. No, it’s their unique hiring practices that focus on training and employing young adults with developmental disabilities.

As the post notes, the unemployment rate for segments of this population is nearly 90% in the state of Arizona. And, if you look nationally, you’ll see similar figures. A report from the Special Olympics found that 28% of adults with intellectual disabilities had never had a job and their unemployment rate was double that of non-disabled counterparts.

Not Your Typical Deli is trying to change those stats. As their website states, the companies mission is to provide disabled individuals with “comprehensive training that will qualify them to work in the restaurant industry.”

Not only is the deli providing employment today, but they’re also setting their workers up for careers in the future. Bravo!

2. Defying Convention

See the original post here.

It’s not every day a 21-year-old woman stands up to an entire sport.

And yet, that is exactly what German gymnast, Sarah Voss, did by wearing a full-body suit at a recent championship competition. According to Voss, her decision was based on personal discomfort and taking a stand against the “sexualisation in gymnastics.”

“We women all want to feel good in our skin. In the sport of gymnastics it gets harder and harder as you grow out of your child’s body. As a little girl I didn’t see the tight gym outfits as such a big deal. But when puberty began, when my period came, I began feeling increasingly uncomfortable.”

Voss is not alone in her feelings. As she notes, many young gymnasts give up the sport because they don’t feel comfortable in the traditional leotard. And for those who press on, the combination of youth, gymnastics culture, and immense pressure to compete can make it incredibly difficult to speak up.

This discussion around the vulnerable position of young female gymnasts brings to mind the recent sexual abuse scandal of former U.S gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar.

In 2018, Nassar was convicted of sexually assaulting almost three hundred women during his tenure at Michigan State University and the U.S. Olympic team. And it wasn’t until women began to come forward that Nassar, and others like him, were finally put behind bars.

It’s clear that the dynamics of the gymnastics industry leave many women vulnerable to predators and hyper-sexualization. So to see Voss take a small step forward to recapturing the sport is amazing.

As one gymnast put it, wearing a full-length suit “gives the power of choice back” to the athletes and could “open the door” for more women in the sport.

3. She’s My Motivation

See the original post here.

Oliver Swan is a dad. And he’s motivated.

Swan’s post this week is a tell-all about what motivates him, and why he’s working to build his marketing and branding company. He does it for his little girl. Seeing her persevere through hardship — as he describes in painful detail— gives him perspective for his own abilities. And it drives him to succeed.

To provide some context, Swan is overcoming huge obstacles just by showing up to work each day. Nearly 40% of American parents with a disabled child have to leave the workforce to become full-time caregivers. And for the other 60%, it is nearly impossible to continue to work without accommodations.

But, paradoxically, it may be the exact challenges these parents face that turn them into great workers.

As one neuropsychologist put it, “When people become parents, they become more goal-directed and better able to prioritize . . . They become more conscientious employees, more focused and get more done in less time.”

More done in less time. That sounds like a win.

So, to end this week’s LinkedIn(spiration) article, let’s celebrate parents like Oliver who are overcoming work and life challenges each and every day. And let’s embrace stories like this that give us context about what (and who) is worth working for.

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Career Resources. Pro-Tips. Discussion. Made for Millennials and Gen Z.

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Stephen Mostrom

Stephen Mostrom

Program Manager @ BofA | Obsessive Learner | Professor | Talking about Work, Career, and Education | Featured in The Startup, PGSG, and Entrepreneur’s Handbook

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