Victoria Doda is a big part of the OutGrowth community. Back in 2018, Victoria was one of our very first participants in OutGrowth's Legacy Internship Cohort. This was the first program that OutGrowth launched, where students earned college credit to put their majors into practice through living and working within a sustainable farm operation. It was true immersive experience, mixed with project-based learning, life design, cross-sector leadership and purposeful community engagement. Victoria was an all-star participant, to say the least. Since then, she has done great things. That's why we like to bring her back so that she can share her story of growth with our readers, and with anyone out there who may be considering taking that first step into the unknown.
Enjoy our rapid Q+A with one of the OutGrowth Originals, and be sure to check out Victoria's latest feature in our September issue of En Root!
Tell us about your dedication to personal growth. What has been your approach to self improvement?
For my own personal growth, I try to focus on my mindset. I check in with myself and make sure I am not letting fears or hesitations cloud my mind. I try to set very attainable long-term and short-term goals to keep improving my skills and provoking my thoughts.
At OutGrowth, we are committed to giving access. Tell us about some of the tools or methods you have utilized that could help others on their paths to personal growth?
Journaling is a big thing for me. I like to write down my goals and my thoughts and just have a record of what I am thinking or feeling. It allows me to go back and truly see how far I have come. It might not seem like it would change your perspective that much, but it makes a world of a difference to me.
Tell us about a pinnacle point or moment in your personal growth journey.
I wrote about this in my article, but for sure my internship with OutGrowth. Taking the small step of living on a farm for a month in 2018 really changed the way I see new experiences. Now I jump at the opportunity to do something new, whereas before it truly scared me. Giving myself that little push opened up a whole new world.
How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook?
This experience changed the way I view experiences as a whole. It made me realize that the things I know and have experienced are just a small fraction of what this world has to offer. It gave me the drive to want more for my life and my career and honestly gave me the confidence to just go for things, even with the fear of failing. Because even from a failure or a disappointment, you learn something.
What are your top three pieces of advice for students and professionals who are looking to translate their personal growth into professional growth?
1. Don't be afraid to mix personal and professional goals! Oftentimes, I try to keep personal and professional separate, but the two are one in the same. Of course, there is a time and place for both, but I feel in order to be successful professionally, you have to be successful personally and vice versa. One without the other will leave you feeling unfulfilled.
2. Don't doubt yourself! It is SO easy to think that you can't do something, and to let that mentality stop you from trying something new, applying for a new position or learning a new skill. It can be challenging but have confidence in yourself. Know your strengths and your weaknesses and just go for it!
3. Take breaks! It can be so easy to get very involved and want to push yourself professionally once you have made up your mind about a certain goal. But remember you are only human, and you need to take a break sometimes. Don't overwork yourself or expect too much from yourself.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Do the things that scare you. Don't let your fear stop you from trying something because you'll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish!
What is your favorite quote?
"Creativity is intelligence having fun."- Albert Eienstein
Based on your professional experience, what are the top three career competencies that you believe can be gained/developed as a result of remaining dedicated to personal growth?
Communication- It seems like a simple one, but I think it is very easy to lose the skill of being able to communicate well if you do not actively focus on bettering yourself and your ability to communicate.
Teamwork/Collaboration- Being able to work well with others is a BIG one. Not only being able to collaborate with people in your circles, but also being able to use the ideas and experiences of others who have different skill sets is so beneficial. You can gain new skills and new insights just by being open and willing to learn from others, and listen to their ideas.
Confidence- By being dedicated to your own personal growth, I believe you find your voice and become more confident in yourself as a person and in your work as a professional.
Victoria Doda is a fun-loving, go-with-the-flow city girl born and raised in South Baltimore, with a passion for all things creative. She loves learning new things, meeting new people, and wholeheartedly believes in the power of positive thinking.