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10 Things I “Accomplished” In 2012

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At this time of the year, I start making promises I know I won’t keep for the coming year. All the things I failed to accomplish during the current year, I pile up into a nice little list and hope that this time, I’ll actually follow through on all my resolutions.
I’m not saying I wont do it…in fact, I’m looking forward to doing it. I cant help myself. There’s something about writing down my hopes for the next 12 coming months that gets me just a little bit excited. That’s partly because I know I have the power to manifest everything on that list. I can immediately start putting several things in place to get on track to achieving those goals.

Like most fellow resolution makers, however, follow-thru is where I fall flat. Either life gets in the way or I lose interest entirely, which I think says more about my lack of real desire than it does my inability to finish.

If you want something bad enough, you’ll do anything to get it. I hate the feeling of disappointment I feel at the end of the year when I look back at that list and can only cross off one or two things. So this year, I think I’m going to do something different.

Rather than focus on what I wish to accomplish the next year in 2013, I think I’ll reflect on the things I have accomplished for current year. I think it will be a far better motivator than the previous method. We’ll have to see. In light of this new strategy, here are 10 things I have accomplished in 2012.

1. Transitioned from an Entrepreneur to a business owner.

It took some time for me to understand that there’s a difference between working for yourself and having a business. Working for yourself can sometimes be worst than working for an employer.

I know a couple who started a Dental practice and can’t understand for the life of them why they’re not sipping Piña Coladas in Mexico for most of the year. They weren’t willing to take a lifestyle hit early on in order for bigger gains in the future. As a result, their clients own their time and they’ve been cutting their way to profit.

If I didn’t fail big from my first business venture, this basic concept would have eluded me to this day. It’s a game changer and the benefits are already showing.

2. Increased the amount of quality time I spend with my kids.

I’ve had the privalege of working from home. My kids don’t go to daycare so you’d think there’d be plenty of time for rolling around in the grass. Not so.

I spend half my day strategizing, another good portion actually putting in work and then I want to veg. As I write this, my 3 year old is pushing his little sister out of a toy car he can no longer fit in and I’m feeling a little guilty about not engaging with them.

Then I start to think maybe I’m depriving them of fun they could be having at a day care . Perhaps the play ground isn’t enough.

I’d definitely have more time if I shipped them off for a couple of hours everyday, but they have so much fun at home as well.

My biggest failure has been with letting the television do the baby sitting. No tv means the need for increased activity and engagement. Since I’m not comfortable with day care and I don’t want Mickey Mouse doing all of the teaching, I had to step up the QT. They’re happier lot for it and I don’t feel as guilty.

Ive been able to teach my son some phonics and now he can sound out and actually read (not memorize) basic words at only 3 years old. He’s also learning to add as well. He in turn teaches his little sister. Surely, I should earn a mommy badge for that!

3. Started my healthy lifestyle journey.

Most importantly, I learned to love working out. It sort of just clicked for me.

Having been skinny for over half my life, I started putting on weight faster than I was shedding. I’ve been a carboholic and didn’t even realize it.

I hate diets however, and refuse to do it. My obsession with bread, rice and sweets always got the best of me though. Working out without eating right is like throwing good money after bad. Foolish. The key was changing my lifestyle.

Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour body is sort of genius and I can’t ever eat the way I did before. Even when I fall off the wagon, I simply get back on. My journey to health is not a race…more like a marathon. I’ll get there on my time.

4. Learned to meditate.

I never got the point of meditation, but so many of my ‘virtual’ mentors indulged in the practice that I couldn’t ignore it.

It seemed almost impossible to clear my mind for more than 15 seconds. Try doing this with two sleep deprived, hungry, clingy kids. Even when its quiet, so much stuff goes on in there, I found it nearly impossible to shut off my mind.

Practice does make perfect. In two weeks, I was able to shut off crying, phones ringing, and random crazy thoughts…and I stopped falling asleep too. I started with 10 minutes and now working towards 20. Meditation makes me feel good.

5. Wrote a book.

A real book, with data and facts. It is called relationshipDNA , Why You Love the Way You Do and I slapped it on Kindle. So now I can call myself, an Author!

Riding on this accomplishment, I’ve started 3 of 5 novels I’ve wanted to write since…like-forever! It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever imposed on myself, but I’m so glad I did it.

6. I stopped writing story lines.

Question mark right? This one is really about the realization that people thought less about me than I previously imagined. I learned that perceived slights are mostly my perception.

This was important because I constantly got my feelings hurt, which many times caused more issues and problems for me than necessary.

The point is, I no longer harbor resentments or stay angry with people. This has has done several things for me.

1. I’m no longer driven by what people think of me.
2. My self worth doesn’t take as many hits as it used to…
3. I stay in line with what matters to me.

One of the biggest paradigm shifts I’ve had in my life. Thanks Tony!

7. Made it through another year without having to work for the man.

Shutting down our only source of income before getting our new business off the ground was probably a mistake we wouldn’t make again, but flying without a net had its advantages. It has been sh*t my pants scary sometimes, but we’be gone through another 360 something days without lending an employer my time for pennies.

8. Got rid of the last few crabs in my bucket.

And then I got rid of the bucket altogether. I didn’t realize just how small my world actually was. Ignorance is a bitch, if you desire more out of life than what you were given. The minute you try to reach for something better, something more, you’re reminded at every waking moment that you don’t have the right to want for more.

‘Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Just stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.’

Well, that’s just not gonna work for me. Anyone who clashes with this crazy, big dreamer is directed to the exit. Come back and visit when you get some hootspa.

9. Made Family a Priority

Ever since my brother passed earlier this year, I realize just how fleeting life really is. I didn’t get to say good bye to him, but I think I was okay with that because I spoke to him two days before his life was snuffed out of him.

It wasn’t a great conversation, but he wasn’t in the greatest state of mind. I’m just glad I have some of his messages. They all go something like this.

‘Hey sis. Everything good? Tell mom to call me. Love you.’

I have those only because we communicated often. I listen to one every week. Lesson learned. As a result, I try to communicate with my mom at least every other day and I’m also trying to be a better older sister to the only brother I have left.

10. Figured out what I “really” want for my life.

I used to say I wanted to drive a certain type of car, and wear this brand of clothing, all the superficial crap we want to make our lives seem significant in some way.

Now I say things like, I’d like to travel, by my mom the house she’s always wanted and run a crazy marathon.

I don’t want things…I want a rich life. It’s taken about 30 years to get to this point, and I can honestly say the journey was well worth it.

Everything I do now has to have some kind of point and meaning to it or it won’t get done. This year has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and I’m so glad the new year, 2013 will be starting off in a kick ass way.

My theme for 2013: Carpe Diem.
What yours? And what have you accomplished for 2012?

Why I Love To Love Christmas

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I was raised as a Seventh day Adventist and one of the first things I learned in church was that all things that seemed remotely fun was totally off limits to me, especially Christmas. I learned it was just another pagan Holiday that claims to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ when it really celebrates the sun god, which is just about as blasphemous as blasphemes go. None of that ever mattered to me though. All I ever saw was how spectacularly awesome my neighbors tacky inflatable decorations were. Christmas trees lit up living rooms and all those presents were just sitting underneath beautifully wrapped and waiting to be ripped open on Christmas morning.

I was never allowed to believe in Santa Clause, which I actually don’t regret. One less fictional character I wasn’t tricked into pinning all of my hopes on. Still, I wanted to believe in Santa, not because of what he did for a living, but rather, what he represented. A big, fat, happy guy who left his house once a year to drop off gifts and eat all the cookies he could stuff in between his rosey cheeks. That must be the life. An entrepreneur of sorts, spending his time clearly doing what he loves; but I digress.

For me, all I could see was deprivation in my parents’ chosen faith. Hypocrisy was alive and well and I was a little okay with it. It was the weak points that allowed for a little fun and sanity to slip in. The same organization that preached against the observance of the sacreligious pagan Holiday would allow the exchange of gifts within the church. They just didn’t say Merry Christmas. Talk about confusing, but I get it. It seems kind of cruel when I think about it, depriving a child of Christmas, whether you like its origins or not, but then I’m not a guardian of tradition. I’ve always had a habit of challenging what “is” and has “always been”. I drove the Sabbath school teacher nuts with my annoying, “we’ll that’s rediculous!” questions, that somehow always remained unanswered.

It doesn’t matter now. I have been free from its rigid rules and ideals now for years and with that freedom comes the ability to enjoy things like Christmas. Not because I celebrate what many consider to be mankind’s savior day of birth, but because it’s the one time mankind seems to slow down. That permits us think about others and at least for the most part, promotes civility and happiness to the fellow man…and wo-man. It is the one time of year most people “want” to be nice to each other.

I live in Miami, so there’s hardly a change in the weather, but I love my hot cocoa and enjoy snow through my favorite Christmas movies.

I love the idea that production at work runs at its lowest with workers doing their holiday shopping online during company time, and attending Holiday office parties become part of the job.

And I absolutely love the music…all of it, classic, blues, jazz standards, r&b, it doesn’t matter. I can listen to all of it, all day long. Something about the words and sentiments just sets my mood permanently to “comfy and cozy.” It is absolutely the hap-happiest season of all, and I find always too short.

Forgive me if I sound a little cliche, but spending time with family and those I’ve learned to tolerate is by far the best part of it all. My family is like watching one huge comedy sitcom, never a dull moment so I definitely look forward to it.

The gifts, I really don’t care about. No, really, I’m not lying. This is probably because in my history of receiving gifts from all kinds of well meaning souls, I have never walked away thinking…God, this was perfect! Or…this was just what I wanted!! I can tell you that I have been able to do that for someone else and every year, people pray that I pull them out of the secret Santa hat. I’d rather buy one awesome gift I know someone will absolutely love, than pass around $10 crap to a hundred different people, who really don’t need anything. This year in fact, I plan to give to several people I know can’t give back. I personally don’t need anything. I’m living a life of abundance and trying to free myself of taking in people as well as things that don’t serve to make me a better version of myself…so please, keep your fruit cake, the crazy sweaters and dollar store gifts to yourself.
Christmas is all I need.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa!


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Searching for Friends

 

Have I been living under a rock? I just discovered Zig Ziglar and the fact that this is the case explains why it’s taken me this long to get to this place in my life.  Apparently, my husband knew about him, (because somehow he seems to know everything) and was rediscovering him with me.

I love a good what I like to call, ‘mind f*ck,’ the kinds of mental jewels that get my mind racing, connecting and flipping my world inside out because of its simplicity and depth. They usually come in bite sized beautifully wrapped quotes that make you think, “I knew that, but I have never heard or thought of it like that. Well, mister Ziglar gave me a couple of those, but the one that struck a chord for me was this particular quote on the subject of friendships.

If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.

This was poignant for me to come across because I’ve learned trying to live a life of true happiness and abundance is a road less traveled. Not too many people want to take the journey with you and they don’t understand why you would want to. I’m talking about family and friends you’d just assume would be there to cheer you on through your scary and bumpy ride, suddenly forget your number. Worst yet, laugh and ridicule you when you’re not around.

I’ve learned early on the the term friend is probably one of the most abused words in the English language (second to love). We throw it around and use it to classify people that haven’t proven themselves worthy of the title. When I use the term friend, I expect a whole lot from that person I assign it to because I know what I am prepared to do if I’m considered “a friend.” I’m likes German Shepard, with a willingness to learn and can become overly protective of loved ones.

I find it a little difficult to find that same standard for friendship I hold myself to and continually get disappointed at the motley crew I’ve had the self-inflicted pleasure of surrounding myself with because of my choices and happenstance. Real friends are absolutely as scarce as Zig claims they are.

I’d like to say I’ve “lost” many friends for various reasons, either because of jealousy or duplicity, but I came to the realization that the only real way to lose a friend is if they’ve passed away. A “friend” that stops being my friend was never a “friend” in the first place. To this day, I have never been the one to cut off a friendship. Not because I’m a sap, but because I don’t believe there’s a problem that can’t be resolved through honest and open dialog. Sometimes we get lost in the story lines we create for ourselves, especially in those times where we feel slighted. We think, “so and so did this to me” because of this or that, but more often than not, people’s actions and choices are made based on self preservation, you’re just a casualty in the bigger scheme.

Real friendships are built on solid foundations of trust, mutual respect and reciprocity. If one of us don’t share that between us both, then we’re just people who like each others company most of the time.

My husband is my last standing friend. All the others have been reassigned to family or acquaintences, because that is what they’ve proven themselves to be.  For the past few months I’ve been wrecking my brain trying to figure out where I should go to make new ones. I joined meetup.com, attended some events with like minded people hoping to make a deep connection with some new people. It proved to be harder than I thought. Just because you share similar thoughts and ideas with someone doesn’t mean they see the world through your eyes. I had a 20 minute conversation with someone and I think at least one of us walked away thinking, “well, that was a waste of time.”

If I heed Ziglar’s words, I’ve been going about this all wrong, which for a very long time, has been the story of my life. Sayings like, “show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you” are poignant, but Jim Rohn’s, you are the average of the five people you spend your most time with begs you to immidiately think of the people you’ve chosen to keep in your company. They are your friends, at least those you voluntarily spend your time with.

Some people will think about this question, think about those five people, freak out a little, and then go on with business as usual. I certainly didnt realize I was slumming, untill i realized that only one of those five people I chose to orbit around was on the same path I was. Most of them were content to live within the saftety net of the barricaded cattle fields.

 

I was easily fooled. The right things were said because it’s cool to talk about the things you want, but real actions were few and far in between. The minute my husband and I decided to jump off the cliff, we realized no one jumped with us although they said they would. It was a crushing reality and honestly stirred some bitterness within us.  No time for sulking though, and that jump landed us in a place that forced us to realize that we were living in the Matrix, the one we built for ourselves. Our so called friends did nothing to propel our cause or enhance our lives. We were constantly dragging them around because we didn’t want to go it alone. They were dead weight and it literally explained why our endeavours, no matter how strong our efforts or intentions would only go so far. Those friends were now the crabs in a bucket we thought we had gotten rid of years ago.

I don’t blame them though. The blame is all mine.  I’ve come to the realization that not everyone is willing to do what it takes to get what they say they want, so I should go find people that do. And in the process, understand that these new friends have no duty to me to be anything, but who they are. If our values, mind set, attitudes and goals align, all I have to do is be a friend. That makes life so much easier.


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Questions That Got Me Thinking

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So, I was stumbling on Stumbleupon when I stumbled upon an interesting post that was all about asking questions intended to expand your mind. Out of 50, three questions inspired this post. Perhaps you can ponder and reflect on your own answers to these fun and thought provoking nuggets.

1. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

Wow, right? One of my biggest fears has always been to live a life chosen or expected by others. For instance, a friend of mine became a Dentist because her father wanted to be one and transferred that dream on to her. She ended up hating everything about it even though the money was good.

On the other hand, my cousin became a Pharmacist for similar reasons, but the difference was, she was very specific about what kind of environment she wanted to work as a Pharmacist. She was absolutely adamant about not doing retail pharmacy and she didn’t. Today, she works as a Pharmacist for the VA system, consulting and counseling veterans who are discharged from active duty. I truly believe she’s the kind of person that would go back to work the very next day even if she won the lottery. She finds purpose In what she does and that is part of the recipe for happiness and higher existence.

That is also how I measure my level of happiness in the work I do. If I were to win or be given a wind-fall, would I still continue to do what I’m doing? If my answer is yes, then I am doing what I believe in.

2. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?

I asked my husband this question and he said, no, because one, he doesn’t want to be famous and two, he said, “I’m already extremely attractive”. I laughed at this because he was absolutely serious. Though I personally find him very attractive, he wouldn’t make People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People…perhaps in an alter universe. He ‘believes’ he is attractive however, and that is one of the things that attracted me to him. He’s extremely confident and thinks very highly of himself, something I have struggled with my entire life on account of my daddy issues. When a little girl doesn’t have her father to tell her that she’s beautiful, it makes it hard for her to believe it.

Ask me this question 10 years ago and I probably would’ve said yes. Ask me this question five years ago and i’d probably still would have said yes. in my mind, losing 10 years of my life for happiness would be an excellent trade off.

It strikes me as sort of sad now, however, because the only reason I’d take that deal was because I wasn’t happy with my life and who I was. When you’re not happy with who you are as a person you’d be willing to trade places with anyone at anytime especially when the grass seems greener. It’s only since my recent quest to self enlightenment, freedom, success and happiness that I have learned to embrace myself in the now, and accept my flaws not as flaws, but as the little details that make me unique.

Now it just seems foolish to lose 10 years of my life. Extraordinary things can occur within a span of a decade, and that is 10 years of missing out on helping others, 10 years of not eating and laughing with loved ones, 10 years of lost living. When I think about it, there are millions of attractive and famous people who would gladly give up 10 years of their life for a crack at happiness, because having those things don’t guarantee anything.

3. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

Early on in our lives we learn that getting too close to the fire will get us burned, and if we ever get burned, we try to stay from anything that could start a fire, including matches, gasoline or anything possibly flammable. We avoid anything that could ever cause us to feel that kind of searing pain again.

Well, mistakes can feel like a burn sometimes. The more severe the mistake, the more painful and the more we are determined never to feel it again. The safest thing to do is to not put yourself in that position again.

Most of us live in the space of fear, relegating ourselves to a life of safe bets, security and mediocrity. The problem is there are no real safe bets. The security you think you have isn’t security at all and everything you do has you running right there in the middle of the herd.

Nothing extraordinary can be gained if you haven’t ever fully committed to walking through the fire. Yes, you may get burned, but once you’ve come out the other side, a stronger, more resilient and empowered version yourself, you’ll be astonished by your invincibility. I truly believe that for myself and living it as I speak. It’s hot and sometimes it hurts like hell, but not so much that I cannot endure it.

I have a few questions for myself that I will try to answer during my journey. Here they are:

1. Are the things I desire and wish to acquire for my own happiness, or do I want them because of what people will think of me?

2. Am I living the life that will have people saying the things I wish for myself at my funeral?

3. Is the truth worth saying if it hurts the receiver more than it frees you?

4. What extraordinary task can I accomplish today?

5. I’m I really being different, or just being stubborn?

I’ll keep adding to this list and come up with my own list of 50 questions. Questions are a great way to get the answers we didn’t even know we were seeking.

Have a great weekend!