5 Tips for How to Be a Badass

As a writer with a wealth of creative talents, Rachel Youngblade found herself in a bind. She had a cool job in San Francisco with a design firm, a sweet house in Oakland where her cat can bathe in the sun, and a portfolio of clients for her jewelry but all of that was about to change. Her husband came home from work one day and announced that his company was moving to Denver, Colorado—a mysterious landlocked Rocky Mountain city she had never been to. As she pondered over what to do next, she was grounded and guided by the amazing traits that her colleagues had already witnessed in her. Below is a summary of observations from her coworkers, detailing both what makes her special and what they will miss most about Rachel.

1. Willingness to experiment

When approached with a situation, Rachel just jumps straight in. Sometimes you have to just get started, go and do something. Youngblade believes that doing is a chain in the necklace of learning. Whether it is some bonkers rabbit hole idea from a teammate or a husband with a proposition that requires you to start anew at 5 thousand feet above sea level, you gotta just get moving. “There ain’t no learning happening just sitting still,” Rachel says as she dives headfirst into the rabbit hole with alacrity and precision. Denver? Already packed the boxes and sold the house. Procreation? Bring it.

2. Superfast writing

Some say that every flower blooms at a different pace. Rachel, on the other hand, doesn’t have time to wait around for flowers because she is busy writing. In the time it took you to read this sentence Rachel has drafted a blog post and shared it with the team. Then, just before dinner, she felt a burst of inspiration and wrote two more blog posts. The key to fast writing is not thinking about the key to fast writing and just writing. If you want to write fast, stop reading this sentence because you are losing time that you could be writing.

3. Understanding of everyone's perspective

Rachel brings an intense amount of empathy to her every day and truly sees the good in all the diverse perspectives on the team. She credits her time at Yelp with forcing her to see the good in the questionable opinions of others. “After you read a few one-star reviews about ‘the bottomless mimosas not being actually bottomless,’ you start to begin to realize that everyone’s entitled to their opinion, even if they act entitled with their opinions.”


“There ain’t no learning happening just sitting still.”
Rachel Youngblade


4. Graceful, understated STYLE

Some may argue that there are tradeoffs between moving fast and making things look pretty. Those people haven’t been on a Zoom call with Rachel to notice the sweet decor and natural light that is shining in. It’s not surprising that her amazing interior design style also includes bottles of liquor to taunt her quarantined colleagues as they exit the call. In the race of life Rachel sprints across the finish line often with a scarf and perfect hair, graceful, composed, and then stands waiting for the other contenders in a non-judging, supportive way.

5. Great at organizing, planning, thinking of everything (wow, she thought of everything)

The key to everything, Rachel acknowledges, is planning. Planning permits you to schedule your editorial calendar, tackle tasks, and sprint ahead. But Rachel sees planning as a creative act. Planning your day, and planning a kickass webinar session takes a small bit of reflection. Not a ton of reflection, but just enough to identify and eliminate the unnecessary parts that might detract from coming off flawless.

Finally, a key to appreciating Rachel is recognizing her immense contribution to the team and to the creative well being of IDEO U learners. The team will not be the same without her!




Bonus Content

Tips for Maternity Leave

  • Long walks, reading while breastfeeding, watch the clouds in the park while baby Blade sleeps in the (basinet) stroller.
  • Look into what museums, parks, gardens have free days (often on weekdays once a month), perfect to take advantage of during mat leave.
  • Go on be a pillow hog. Reclaim the bed. You now get at least 75% of the bed and ALL the pillows. Spouse can survive on 25% sliver.

Binge list - Favorite shows to watch while nursing/awake with baby for hours. And hours.

  • The Bodyguard BBC series
  • Love is Blind
  • Jack Ryan series (Amazon. 2 seasons)
  • The Good Place
  • Upload (Amazon. Kinda quirky/weird)

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