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These Cartoons Show Exactly How To Be Good Leaders

These Cartoons Show Exactly How To Be Good Leaders

Indescribable magic happens when milk meets cereal, booty meets couch cushions, and a child’s eyes meet cartoons. No doubt the pinnacle of every kid’s week, cartoons offer an animated escape into a limitless world. Cartoons free our imaginations, bending the realms of possibility in the exact ways that are forbidden and restricted in our mortal world. But beyond the entrancing animation styles, squeaky voices, and reoccurring characters are underlying themes that greatly benefit our lives.

We see our favorite characters struggle, and share in their triumph when they overcome. We relate to them as children, and remember them fondly when we reminisce as adults. Yet, no matter how long it’s been, or how vehemently you tried to convince your friends that you “only watched it once,” your favorite cartoons will always be very special to you. Some of them teach us about love, others teach us about acceptance, but the most memorable, remarkable, and beneficial ones teach us how to be fearless leaders.

Here are the 15 best animated advocates of awareness, in no particular order.


Tommy

    Tommy Pickles

    Though I’ll admit I’m not the biggest Rugrats fan, Thomas Malcolm Pickles can’t be left off this list. Though he and his diaper dandies are regularly stuck in a “pickle” as a result of Angelica’s evil schemes, Tommy always puts the safety of his people over the need of his nap. In the many ways Tommy teaches us to lead, none is more strong than his adventure-seeking, positive, proactive attitude towards his associates and younger brother, Dil Pickles. [Best leader trait: Empathy]

    Arnold

      Arnold

      The only character with an purposefully unknown last name to make the list, Arnold is perhaps the strongest leader to emerge from Nickelodeon in the ’90s. Revered by nearly everyone, Arnold is always looked to for advice, moral help, and to pinch hit against the fifth graders in the vacant lot. His odd head shape is more than a funny reference and catchy tag line. It also serves as a efficient command center to house his idealist perspectives, his many dreams, and everyone else’s best interest. An interesting factoid is that Arnold didn’t start his acting career in animation, but in clay. [Best leader trait: Optimism]

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      Porkchop

        Porkchop

        Before Brian in Family Guy, Goddard in Jimmy Neutron, or Santa’s Little Helper in The Simpsons, there was Porkchop, Doug Funny’s nearly-human canine sidekick. Although he does not talk, Porkchop displays his leadership abilities through an elaborate system of gestures, cute facial expressions, and words if he can find the appropriate writing tools. With sincerity and near telekinesis, Porkchop alleviates most of Doug’s frustrations quickly, effectively, and mindfully. This dog certainly raises the bar for any other animated faithful four-legged companion. [Best leader trait: Accountability]

        Eliza

          Eliza Thornberry

          To rival Mr. Pickles above, Eliza’s yearning for constant adventure often places her and her loved ones in danger, but she always seems to manage. Gifted with the ability to talk to animals thanks to a African mountain shaman at age 10 (great parenting there, Nigel), her knowledge and ability to predict what animals can do often plays to her advantage. Her intrigue frequently gets her into trouble with predatory animals, but she’s no doubt one of the most fearless 12-year-old characters to grace the tube. [Best leader trait: Awareness]

          Reggie

            Regina “Reggie” Rocket

            Big sister to the legendary Oswald (Otto) Rocket, this purple-haired speed machine grinded and kickflipped her way past almost every extreme sports gender gap.  She often acted as the voice of reason for her friends, and refused to be silenced in the media by teaming up with Squid to make “The Zine.”  Reggie’s can-do attitude often saves the gang from losing in a last second game against Larz and his cronies. [Best leader trait: Ambition]

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            Wanda

              Wanda

              Wanda Venus Fairywinkle-Cosma, whose name is too fun not to note, is by actual age and practical wisdom the most mature on this list. Even though she’s constantly bombarded by the idiotic wish granting of Cosmo and Timmy’s nimrod antics, she remains level-headed and always manages to save her fairy godson from danger, her husband from himself, and the day all at the same time. Her deep intelligence is often mistaken for senseless nagging. [Best leader trait: Patience]

              Sandy

                Sandra “Sandy” Cheeks

                Sandy is the only character in Spongebob Squarepants that humans can relate to on the basis of oxygen-reliant. This karate kickin’, science lovin’, ultra friendly Texas native exemplifies perhaps the most important characteristic of leadership: fortitude. Whenever Spongebob, Patrick, or any of the other semi-relevant aquatic residents of Bikini Bottom are in trouble or feeling down, Sandy always seems to be the first on the scene with encouraging, progressive, high-ya! plans of action. [Best leader trait: Strength]

                Eddy

                  Eddy

                  In this instance, the negative sounding adjectives that describe this money grabber outweigh most of the more pleasant ones. Eddy is thought of as selfish, overambitious, power hungry, greedy, a loud mouth, and jealous, but do these not perfectly describe some of the best leaders of our time? No matter how you feel about Eddy personally, he’s one of the first toons on this list that I would call if I were starting a company. No matter how often he’s shut down, deterred, or falls short of getting a quarter (and, in turn, a jawbreaker), he’s always back in the next 15 minute segment with another harebrained scheme. [Best leader trait: Tenacity]

                  Velma

                    Velma Dinkley

                    No doubt a genius in every sense of the word, Velma is the unspoken and unrecognized hero resulting in much of the “gang’s” success. If you’ll take notice, she often has a pre-instilled sense of pride and certainty before they pull the mask off the bad guy at the very end. She’s also extremely well-versed in Morse Code and martial arts, two impractical daily skills that seem to come in handy at the right moments. [Best leader trait: Intuition]

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                    TJ2

                      Theodore Jasper “T.J.” Detweiler

                      Nothing “whomps” about this kid as a bold and brave ring leader. With a sweetness and sincerity that only a mother could love, T.J is often the voice of the voiceless when his friends are in danger, and treats each child of the playground with unfiltered equality. Far from an ‘A’ student, his intelligence and know-how is unquestionable. One is left to wonder if he’d be more like Gretchen if he gave an honest effort in his academics. Either way, this red-hat-flipped-backwards playground deviant is fit to lead, so move aside King Bob. [Best leader trait: Brevity]

                      Jimmy

                        Jimmy Neutron

                        It’s pretty common that Jimmy’s big brain gets him, and the rest of Retroville, in serious trouble. This normally requires Jimmy to invent something else to fix the trouble he caused in the first place. He’s not very well-liked by anyone, really, with the exception of his parents, and his socially outcast buddies, Sheen and Carl. But no matter his adversities, Jimmy always finds the brain and willpower necessary to keep inventing, producing, and testing his limits. [Best leader trait: Courage]

                        Brain

                          Brain

                          Say this with me: “megalomaniac mouse.” Isn’t that fun? Brain’s character can be compared to a coconut. Behind his hard, tough exterior of rudeness, short temperament, anger, and sarcasm beats a sensitive heart that truly cares about the world he so desperately tries to take over. Based of the legendary Orson Welles, Brain exhibits leadership qualities bountifully, but none are stronger than his ability to tolerate Pinky and all of his redundant questions. {Best leader trait: Tolerance]

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                          Courage

                            Courage

                            At first glance, this snaggletoothed dog’s name may seem ill-fitting, but as each episode plays out viewers can tell he fits his title. Abandoned as a puppy, Courage is easily frightened and quick to hide when monsters and ghouls show up to greet him, Muriel, and Eustace on the farm. His instinctual fortitude kicks into overdrive upon the realization that his masters (friends) truly are in trouble, particularly Muriel. Though he’s usually at odds, this pup does not allow his shortcomings to stop him from doing whatever is necessary to keep his friends safe. [Best leader trait: Selflessness]

                            Max Good

                              Max Goof

                              Anyone who personally knows me and my love for cartoons is not surprised by this pick. Playing majorly off The Goofy Movie, Max’s story of love and constant disparity is relatable to everyone. He goes to drastic measures to please his friends and impress Roxanne at the assembly, and his display of tireless refusal to back down in the face of adversity is inspiring. Though he stretches the truth by telling Roxanne he’s going to the Powerline concert instead of on an around the country road trip with Goofy, it ends up playing to his favor in his never-ending struggle to do the right thing. [Best leader trait: Poise]

                              Dexter

                                Dexter

                                Known for his intelligence, Dexter fears no risk. Despite his projects often backfiring because he’s either overanxious or overconfident, Dexter is highly skilled at using quick reflexes and problem solving to get the job done. Even though his clueless parents are obviously American, he speaks with a distinct Russian accent which makes me believe that there’s more of an “off screen” life of his that the viewers know nothing about (my wager is on spy). Regardless, Dexter always has his hands in projects and is determined to invent the next useful thing. [Best leader trait: Focus]

                                Tito

                                  Tito Makani

                                  As the ancient Hawaiians say, “The most important races are won in the ocean of the soul.” An endless source of baffling, meaningful quotes like these, Tito is the fry flingin’ burger bandit who runs the Shore Shack with Ray(mundo). He’s always quick to offer the kids “useful” advice and is very eager to listen and help everyone he comes across. His teddy bear-like stature makes him easily approachable, and rumor has it that his burgers are worth missing the incoming swells. [Best leader trait: Compassion]

                                  It was tough to narrow it down to 15, as there were a lot of solid characters that lead me through my childhood. I’m curious to hear what you think. Who did I miss?

                                  Featured photo credit: Cartoon Collage/@WeAre90sKids via twitter.com

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                                  Last Updated on July 13, 2020

                                  15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included)

                                  15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included)

                                  It’s hard to describe the frustration you feel when your professional goals keep falling flat. You’re floundering and you’re not where you want to be professionally, which bleeds into your personal life and causes you to get upset and sad easily.

                                  You need a system, a way to set goals that makes them attainable 100 percent of the time. When you establish your system, it takes the guesswork out of goal achievement and makes it a matter of completing specific steps.

                                  Where would you be right now in your life if you had followed such a system from the beginning of your professional career and stuck with it? Would you be owning and running your own business, would you be working for a company you love, or would you be independently creating great work that keeps you in high demand?

                                  This is where it gets good. The following tips will cover the most actionable ways to set professional goals (with professional goals examples included). If you follow these tips and do your absolute best each step of the way, you’ll have no choice but to launch into a new, exciting period in your professional life.

                                  Start with tip number 1 — this tip is essential to any and all of the other tips on this list. Although you’re starting with 1, this is not a linear list. You can take each tip by itself and run with it, or you can implement as many as possible — the choice is yours. That said, the more action you take, the closer you are to making tip 1 a reality.

                                  Ready to grasp the very essence of what it is to succeed? Keep reading.

                                  1. Identify What You Love — and Make a Statement

                                  This is it — the single most important word is not career, it’s love. Your primary, overarching, life-defining career goal must center around what you love.

                                  You figured out what you love when you were young, and then somewhere along the way you lost it in the noise, the pressure, and the clutter of everyday life.

                                  Billions of people exist on this Earth, and things aren’t what we wish they could be because we succumb to fear instead of doing what we love.

                                  How can you take what you love and serve this love with your career?

                                  • Create a statement, a single sentence that encapsulates your overarching career goal. Make it specific.
                                  • Write the love-of your-life career goal sentence down and pin it to the wall where you’ll see it every day.
                                  • Make sure this sentence informs all your other objectives.
                                  • Make sure your primary career goal is the result of what you love to do.

                                  Example:

                                  “Be a successful nonfiction author: Write nonfiction content — books, poems, essays, blog posts — to help people realize the priceless importance of love and the imagination, and get your content published.”

                                  2. Don’t Just Create SMART Objectives — Be Ultra-SMART

                                  Now that you have your ultimate career goal nailed to the wall, it’s time to get SMART. That is, use the SMART acronym to create objectives:

                                  • Specific
                                  • Measurable
                                  • Achievable
                                  • Relevant
                                  • Timed

                                  Your SMART objectives are micro-goals that fit all of the above criteria. They are not nebulous, vague, and tough to complete. They are daily objectives you know you can handle, and they’re necessary.

                                  You have to complete SMART objectives in order to meet other, tougher goals, which ultimately contribute to your main goal.

                                  So how do you make your SMART objectives ultra-SMART? Push yourself. Don’t settle for the same level of output every day. Don’t hold yourself to low standards. Think about quality and do your absolute best.

                                  Example:

                                  SMART: “Today I will write 500 words about the power of love between 10am and 2pm.”

                                  Ultra-SMART: “Today I will write 500 words about the power of love between 10am and 2pm, and will find 3 accredited, scientific sources to backup my argument.”

                                  Note that “Ultra-SMART” is not about writing more — more isn’t necessarily better, and if you’re just starting out, may not be achievable; rather, ultra-SMART is about focusing on quality within a reasonable framework.

                                  3. Identify an Absolutely Essential Stepping Stone and Step to It

                                  No one realizes their ultimate goal without finding a job that will push them in that direction. Jobs pay, and you need money to survive, but you don’t want a job that has nothing to do with your career goal. Pinpoint a job that is like an apprenticeship for what you ultimately want to do.

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                                  Example:

                                  When famous author Neil Gaiman delivered his commencement address[1] — which, by the way, is phenomenal — to University of the Arts in Philadelphia, he said something that makes perfect sense:

                                  “I wanted to write comics and novels and stories and films, so I became a journalist, because journalists are allowed to ask questions, and to simply go and find out how the world works, and besides, to do those things I needed to write and to write well, and I was being paid to learn how to write economically, crisply, sometimes under adverse conditions, and on time.”

                                  Note that Gaiman’s goal was to be a creative writer, but he took a position in journalism, which isn’t creative writing; it’s about facts, writing them well, and having discipline. For Gaiman, journalism was a stepping stone towards achieving his overarching goal.

                                  4. Get Really, Really Good at Crafting Your Resume

                                  You’re not going to settle, and there are multiple stepping stones towards your final destination. But here’s the clincher:

                                  Crafting a great resume is about more than landing a job.

                                  Crafting a great resume is about learning how to think from someone else’s perspective. If you can imagine what someone else wants to see in a great resume, you can view other things from their perspective too, and that’s important in the professional world.

                                  To do a resume the right way, consider the mistakes you should avoid:[2]

                                  • Avoid disorganization: Provide your name, work experience and corresponding titles, education, relevant skills.
                                  • Avoid irrelevant information: Consider the position you’re applying for carefully and focus on information relevant to it.
                                  • Avoid length: A one page resume with just the right wording is a thing of wonder.
                                  • Avoid showy fonts and words: Be basic but let your personality shine through.
                                  • Avoid sloppiness: Check for typos, misspelling, and grammatical mistakes.

                                  Example: Here’s a great resume example, courtesy of Shayanne Gal from Business Insider:[3]

                                    5. Ask Yourself the Most In-Depth Questions

                                    Throughout your educational career, you heard teachers say, “There are no bad questions” or something to that effect.

                                    It’s true; however, this mantra ignored the fact that some questions are better than others.

                                    Asking, “How can I do x in a unique and interesting way?” is better than asking “How can I do x?”

                                    You can set professional goals that you might accomplish, or you can set professional goals you’re highly likely to accomplish because you went in-depth with your questions. This goes very well with SMART goals. Specificity and detail are the hallmarks of achievable goals.

                                    Example:

                                    Say, for instance, you’re at the point where you feel you can start your own business from home. The Hartford offers pertinent questions you should ask before doing so:[4]

                                    • Will your house accommodate your business?
                                    • Can you find work-life balance?
                                    • When you interact with customers, how will you showcase a professional image?
                                    • Are there city zoning ordinances you need to consider?
                                    • Do you have the insurance and tax liabilities covered?

                                    6. Use a Digital Assistant to be Insanely Efficient

                                    Executives and bosses have personal assistants to help them with scheduling, organization, and other time-consuming tasks.

                                    You may not be at the point in your career where you can afford to hire somebody, which is why it helps to have a productivity assistant to help you be more efficient.

                                    Use an app to keep track of mundane scheduling and other minute details so you can free up your mind for creativity.

                                    Example:

                                    See this list of task management apps . Out of all of them, Any.do has one of the best interfaces, and it will give you the reminders you need to stay on task.

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                                      7. Create a Vivid Mental Picture

                                      Discouragement can and will happen — it’s a part of life, whether professional or personal. Don’t wait until you get discouraged to visualize yourself doing well.

                                      Practice your mental picture of success even at the times when everything is going so well it’s unbelievable, but you’re not quite at the end-point yet.

                                      When things aren’t going well, it’ll be the much easier to remain in a positive mind-state because you practiced being there.

                                      Example:

                                      Social scientist Frank Niles provides a perfect example of goal visualization:[5]

                                      “Former NBA great Jerry West is a great example of how this works. Known for hitting shots at the buzzer, he acquired the nickname ‘Mr. Clutch.’ When asked what accounted for his ability to make the big shots, West explained that he had rehearsed making those same shots countless times in his mind.”

                                      Note that West visualized sinking the exact shots; again, specificity matters.

                                      8. Express Your Professional Goals Positively

                                      This goes directly with the visualization process. Goals can seem like chores, which is why it’s important to use positive, proactive wording when you’re vocalizing or writing things down.

                                      Through positive expression, you’re training your brain to take a certain path whenever you think about your professional goals. This translates into forward, positive momentum whenever you take action.

                                      You’re more likely to take action if you associate that action with positive thoughts and feelings.

                                      Example:

                                      Instead of, “It isn’t that hard to type 500 words in 4 hours,” say, “I like taking advantage of the time I set aside to zone in and really have fun with what I’m doing.”

                                      Note that the specific goal — 500 words in 4 hours — is implied because you already know it.

                                      The point of this statement is to associate a feeling of enjoyment with commitment and focus.

                                      9. Build Your Network with Passion and Purpose

                                      A professional network will help you hit those stepping stones necessary to achieving your ultimate goal. But you don’t want to network with just anyone.

                                      Build a network with other people who share your passion, build it based around your specialty, but also look for people from outside your usual sphere who can help you gain a different perspective.

                                      Demonstrate your passion by helping other people, and listen more than you talk.

                                      Example:

                                      Find a mentor — it’s perhaps the most critical networking move you can make. MileIQ provides some examples of where to start:[6]

                                      • The SCORE Business Learning Center
                                      • Small Business Development Centers
                                      • Women’s Business Centers
                                      • Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers
                                      • Minority Business Development Agency
                                      • A trade association through your SBA district office

                                      10. Benchmark a Competitor Like a Boss

                                      If you’re freelancing or running your own business, this one is particularly applicable to you.

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                                      Is there an exemplary freelancer or small business owner with whom you’re impressed? Analyze what this person has done to get where they are, find a metric to serve as a benchmark of their success, and aim to do better.

                                      Example:

                                      Benchmark social metrics — say, for example, you’re writing an article on cryptocurrency for a finance website. Buzzsumo[7] provides a tool you can use to benchmark the number of social shares a competitor has earned for this topic:

                                        11. Master Time Management

                                        Here’s the thing about professional goals:

                                        You must master time management to accomplish them. Understand how much time to set aside for each objective; and when you’re working on objectives, use your time not just efficiently, but mindfully.

                                        That means immersing yourself in the activities that are essential to completing objectives. Focus on what works best to achieve your desired outcome.

                                        Example:

                                        Life and business strategist Tony Robbins recommends “chunking your goals,” otherwise known as compartmentalization:

                                        • Write down tasks you need to get done during the week.
                                        • Group different tasks together based on their categories, e.g. “Consult SCORE about a mentor” and “talk to Ted about job opportunities” would be categorized under “Networking.”
                                        • Set aside time for each category.
                                        • Work on the tasks for a single category during a specific chunk of time.

                                        12. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses — and Get Strategic

                                        As you move toward accomplishing your primary career goal, you’ll note that different objectives fit into different categories, and you’re better at some categories than you are others.

                                        Once you know what you’re good at, focus on it. Spend as much time as you can concentrating on your strong-points.

                                        When it comes to your weaknesses, ask for help.

                                        Forbes contributor Elana Lynn Gross reveals that asking for help the right way can advance your career. “Ask targeted questions that will allow you to set your strategy,” Gross says.[8]

                                        Within any category, work on what you’re good at first, and then ask your network for help with blind spots.

                                        Example:

                                        Christine Wallace, VP of Branding and Marketing at Startup Institute, told Fast Company how she ended up dropping her first venture:[9]

                                        “I took a train from the Valley up to San Francisco and met with two mentors, who agreed that it was the end of the road for Quincy [Apparel]. After it was all over I spent three weeks straight in bed. Then after 21 days of sleeping, crying, I put on my big girl pants and rejoined the world.”

                                        In Wallace’s case, she needed to ask her mentors for help to understand when to move on.

                                        Don’t be afraid to ask for advice when something isn’t working.

                                        13. Take Advantage of Awesome Resources at Your Disposal

                                        When it comes to setting professional goals, tunnel-vision and short-sightedness are big problems for many of us.

                                        We think there’s only one way to complete an objective. The truth is there are multiple ways to approach any problem.

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                                        This implies taking a moment to step back, view your objective from a distance, and survey your options. Think differently, use your imagination, and do a thorough search — online and off — for resources.

                                        Example:

                                        Get a library card, scour the shelves, AND crowdsource ideas from social media — you may find something unexpected.

                                        14. Be a Brand That Stands Out

                                        Believe it or not, your brand is a very important part of your overall career goal. There are two aspects here:

                                        • How you appear via any published format
                                        • How you appear in person

                                        It’s more important to have a quality brand than it is to be prolific, so don’t publish anything — on social media or elsewhere — that you will regret.

                                        You will make mistakes in your endeavors, and in fact it’s important to take risks and make mistakes.

                                        There are good mistakes. Good mistakes are the screw-ups that show you’re striving toward your goal. Anytime you set an objective, think about how it aligns with brand and overall goal. In other words, know when to say “no” to projects that don’t compliment your brand and overall mission.

                                        Example:

                                        View yourself as a thought leader, be one, and make content that showcases your thought leadership:[10]

                                        • Videos: Post on YouTube, your website, and social media
                                        • Podcasts: Learn how to start podcasting.[11]
                                        • Workshops or meetups: Look for a community space and invite others to join you in discussion.
                                        • Blog posts and newspaper op-eds: Share your knowledge and opinions.

                                        15. Steal Ideas from Your Competitors

                                        This is the one truth that’s hard to stomach. Great ideas come to those who steal. You may not be sure of your next step, your next objective, and time is precious.

                                        Observe what other great professionals are doing, capture the core of their objectives, make them your own, and craft them into something new.

                                        Example:

                                        Steve Jobs, the visionary behind Apple, fully endorsed the Picasso quote, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”[12]

                                        In 1989, Xerox sued Apple for stealing ideas and incorporating them in the Macintosh and Lisa computers, but lost the lawsuit. That’s because Apple made something new.

                                        Here’s a simple way to go about this. Say you’re writing about freelancing, and the Freelancers Union blog is one of your top competitors. Pop the URL into Buzzsumo. You’ll see that the top articles are about taxes:

                                          In that case, you can write a “Definitive Guide to Taxes for Freelancers” or “Definitive Guide to Tax Breaks for Freelancers.”

                                          It’s About Passion and Practicality Combined

                                          Your primary career goal must be about what you love to do. Otherwise, why would you want to do it?

                                          To reach your goal, you must make small, practical steps. Don’t expect everything to go perfectly along the way, and don’t eschew hard work that isn’t exactly exciting.

                                          Too often, we get caught up in the excitement of the dream, and when the step-by-step isn’t nearly as exciting, we quit.

                                          Learn how to do the boring, rote tasks with joy because you’re doing them to achieve greatness.

                                          Always remember why you set out on a mission to begin with, and let your brain follow your heart.

                                          More Tips for Setting Professional Goals

                                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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