This post is the sixth part of a series of blog posts, reviewing my time in the Praxis program. Want to start at the beginning? Check out My Praxis Experience: Pre-Program and Month 1.

October 24th marked my one month anniversary of working at my Praxis Business Partner: Mission First Operations. Review in a sentence:  It was a fantastic career decision! Not only do I love my new job and the people I work with, but it has also been an adventure right out of the gate.

What is Mission First Operations?

“MFO” helps non-profit companies with expense management, payroll, other HR items and more. We help them with these items so they can focus on their missions. Ergo “Mission First”! 

Funny enough, I have always loved “background job positions” where other people have the big ideas and make movements happen while I am in the background helping set them up to execute on their goals successfully. (That’s why I loved working as an Operations Analyst so much in my previous job. It’s the same structure.)

On top of all of that, I enjoy our clients and their goals! Although I cannot disclose who they are, I can say that they are working towards some fantastic things that I’m happy to be able to support!

My Adventures in Utah and Attending SPN Anual Meeting

If I could give any advice to another Praxian or individual looking to grow in their career, it’s this:  

Learn to identify amazing opportunities and DO NOT SAY NO TO THEM!

My boss, Denise, reached out to me and asked if I wanted to go to a big conference that is relevant to our industry called “State Policy Network” – which I had never heard of until then! Anyhow, she gave me the option to skip out if I wasn’t interested. I mean, it was all the way out in Salt Lake City, UT and with a bunch of meetings and professional business attire. Ugh, right? WRONG! Of course, I had no idea what to expect, but I did know that this was an opportunity to learn more about an industry that I was entirely new in.

So what did I do? I told her heck yes! How could I say no to something that would both be an adventure and a way to become a more valuable employee for her! Don’t get me wrong – I recognized that it was an intimidating trip. I’d be talking to potential clients, have to make sure I was the right balance of professional and personable, ensure I dressed appropriately, and… oh god, I’d even have to network with people in general.

I learned SO MUCH and even found out that networking is not as complicated as we tend to make it. Just care about people and ask questions, boom, networking. (I was very nervous about networking, so shout out to T.K. for his advice and the suggestion to read Dale Carnegie. Also, another shout out to Tricia (whom I met at SPN) for telling me that “strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.”)

Diving in at Mission First Ops

A massive chunk of my first month was learning our processes, searching for ways to simplify operations and diving into all of the software that we use. Now that I’m going into my second month, I feel much more comfortable with our software and understand where Mission First Ops fits into the non-profit world. 

Learning to Work Remote

I have never been a remote worker before, so this was very new to me! Although I think I am doing pretty well in my new environment, especially with these two tips that help my day to day:

Toggl: Track your time, even if it’s not required! Toggl is a handy tool to track the work you did earlier in the day and see how much time you are spending on individual projects. This tool has helped me with the next tip!
Daily E-mail Summaries: Send daily or weekly e-mail summaries to your direct manager. I use my time tracker app (Toggl) to look back and see what I worked on for the day. Sometimes by the end of the day, I will forget if I worked on a particular project that same morning or the previous day! Having it tracked in Toggl helps me see what I worked on without questioning myself. These daily e-mails also give my remote boss a clear picture of how I’m spending my time, and it helps keep me accountable when I say I am going to work on certain things the next day.

Office Hours (Praxis Podcast)

As of a few weeks ago, I began listening to episodes of the Praxis is Podcast “Office Hours” with Isaac and T.K. on my lunch breaks. I have learned so much about being a young professional and how to apply specific tactics to my day-to-day. It’s a fantastic podcast, and I’m so much better off having caught up with all the episodes from both season one and season two. Highly recommended!

Reading Assignments

I had two reading assignments this month: The intro and chapter on the professional life of Mindset by Carol S. Dweck and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

I’m now on part three of How to Win Friends and I see why it’s such a highly regarded book. So many of the suggestions are genuinely the golden pieces of guidance that we hear from our parents during childhood and often ignore. It’s astounding how using these little tidbits can improve a single conversation in such a dramatic way!

Mindset intertwines very nicely with How to Win Friends because it shows how much your perception can alter an interaction. Mindset is about more than just relationships though, and I’ve found myself more aware of when I’m in each of the mindsets there Carol talks about: the “growth” mindset VS the “fixed” mindset.

Previous Months Project: Last Month, I spent a lot of time updating process documents for MFO and showcase what I’ve done in the portfolio post:  

https://laceylanzo.com/project/process_documents/

Plans for November:

  • Continue to watch/listen to videos from the Praxis youtube on my Wednesday lunches.
    • This includes Talkin’ ‘Bout Praxis, the Praxis Daily videos, and T.K.’s College Tour of Bad Arguments.
  • Spend my time on Thursday’s on Excel video outlines.
  • Record, edit and post one Excel video per weekend.
  • Read five pages of How to Win Friends and Influence People every day.
  • Complete training from Expensify and bill.com
If you are interested in learning more about Praxis, check out DiscoverPraxis.com.

If you are already thinking about applying, then just jump in and apply! It helps you understand the program even more and there is nothing to lose. If you use my Personal Application Link, get accepted and confirm you will begin the program then you will get $100!

~ Lacey Jade Lanzo

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