Discovering Yourself

Sometimes, we just need somebody to say a phrase to us, or we just need a positive or an adverse event to discover our strengths and abilities. Sometimes, we live without knowing exactly where to go or what to do and then it lights up and your life changes.

Yesterday, I saw Alex’ –a classmate- branding video and she mentions that during the process of recovering from heart open surgery she has discovered that creating beauty is her passion and that she wants to focus her career in decorating. By the way, she is really very creative. If she has had not the heart surgery, she might have not discovered what she wanted to focus her life in.

Then, I saw Heather’s branding video; she also had some events in her life that made her discover some of her strengths. She became a mom! As a young mother of a little boy and with her daughter in the way, she has discovered her passion for saving money. She is now blogging about creative things on how to spend less money while spending more time with her family.

I also saw Amy’s branding video. Amy, through her college experience, has discovered that she didn’t want to become a lawyer as she first thought. She also discovered that there is no need to rush through college but instead students should enjoy such a unique experience. Her experience as a student has also made her discover the value of money.

Another of the videos I saw was from Rebecca. She has discovered that we need to enjoy the little things in life. She had some tragic events in her life, like the death of some of her friends that made her discover that instead of focusing in the negative, we need to look at the beauty of life.

Indeed, discovering ourselves sometimes take a shake in our life to make us realize what we are able to do, or what we want to do, or what we need to change in our live. In a previous post, I talked about embracing change and certainly discovering ourselves sometimes requires a change. So overcome your fears and go for your goals.

I invite you to leave your comment.

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Your Big Title Doesn’t Mean You Are a Leader

A leader is that one that is able to recognize opportunities for a better future and capable of influencing others.  Unfortunately, not all the people that are in decision making positions are leaders. Often times, we see people occupying a chief position within an organization but they lack of those traits and behaviors that make a person a true leader. Then, what it happens in those cases is that the subordinates end up being weak and unhappy followers affecting the outcome of the organization.

Until recently, the stereotype of leaders was that they were something different and that perhaps they were superior to others. But in reality, a leader has the same skills and qualities than many other people; the difference is that a leader uses those skills and qualities to make a difference. With globalization, leaders are now facing new challenges and more pressure and the new leaders’ abilities should be according to these new challenges.

When you interact with a true leader, you can promptly recognize it; his or her personality attracts like a magnet. A true leader is honest, humble, kind, amicable, determined, good listener, open mind, confident, driven, and collaborative.

I think that one of the main characteristics of a true leader is that he or she is a risk taker. To better describe it, I’ll use one of my favorite quotes: “To try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard of life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, and love.” Leo Buscaglia.

I believe that some of the leadership skills are innate with the person but other skills can be learned. Can you imagine how different organizations and governments would be if those who are in chief positions were willing to develop those leadership skills that they might be lacking of?

I invite you to leave your comments.

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It’s Not What You Say; It’s How You Say It

Be careful with your words, they are powerful.  Words can create, can be enlightening, can lift you up, and can indulge you. But words can also destroy, can be bitter, can hurt you, and can take you down. The ability to express our emotions, our feelings, and our opinion through words is a gift that most people give for granted. We don’t realize the great power of our words.

Words are the vehicle that we use to communicate our feelings, our thoughts, our ideas, our emotions, our expectations, and our desires. . As I’m writing this post, I’m grateful that I can use some words to reach out to you and to transmit you my thoughts.

Words are influential; they can change people’s life. When you express your opinion, you don’t know how much impact you might have in others. Sometimes, we just say the first thing that crosses our mind, nothing wrong we that, I love spontaneity- but it’s important to remember that the interpretation of your message is what remains, “Words have longer lives than people.” Mary E. Pearson.

Pay attention to how you talk; the meaning of your words depend on how you say them. I have heard people saying, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that.” well, if you didn’t mean it, then, why you said it or why you said it in that way. There are many ways to say one thing; so it’s not what you say but how you said it.

I think that nowadays more words are said but not all those words have a substantial message. We have more media tools to communicate: e-mails, text messages, blogs, videos, Facebook, Twitter, etc… and sometimes we forget the huge effect that our message may have in people; so it’s your choice whether you want to have a positive or negative impact.

I invite you to share your thoughts.

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Ten Words of Wisdom

I’ve been very fortunate in life to meet many people that have made a great impact on me and have been of inspiration for being a better person.  One of them is my friend “Zorro” -this is the nickname that I use to call him.

One of the things that I have admired on him is his dedication to his family; particularly, the relationship with his daughter. The day that his daughter turned 25 years old, he sent an e-mail reminding her of ten words of wisdom that he has given her when she was still living at home. He shared those thoughts with me and now I’m sharing with you.

  1. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
  2. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
  3. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.
  4. Avoid negative sources, people, places, and habits.
  5. Believe in yourself.
  6. Don’t procrastinate.
  7. Remember the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.
  8. Be a giver.
  9. Remember to say “please” and thank you”
  10. Give a complement a day.

Thanks my friend Zorro!

I believe that anybody has the capacity to inspire others. It may not be your purpose to do so but your words and acts always impact others up to some degree. Hope these words of wisdom can also be inspirational for you as they are for me.

I’d love to hear your words of wisdom.

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What Is Your Strategy?

“Alice said, “Would you please tell me which way to go from here? The cat said. “That depends on where you want to get to”. Lewis Carroll. A simple definition of strategy in the business environment is the art of implementing an organization’s ideas towards an objective.  I believe that like in business we also need to have a strategy in our personal life.

Vision and Mission

The first step in developing your strategy implies to formulate your personal vision and mission. The vision is basically defining what you want to be in the future, where is that you want to get to. Whereas the mission is stating your values, your principles, your potential, what is important for you, and what is that you want to accomplish. In his book, Strategy for You: Building a Bridge to the Life You Want, Rich Horwath, sustains that when defining your vision statement, you should look at your areas of “Mind, Body, Relationships, and Finances”.

Competencies

In the process of formulating your personal vision and mission, you should identify your strengths and weaknesses –your competencies. Your strengths are those particular talents that you are good at and those that you can exploit and will help you through your journey. Your weaknesses are those skills that you need to improve.

Strategy Formulation

Then, you are ready to formulating your strategies. Note that I say strategies. You need to consider that unexpected events might occur and you need to have alternative strategies. You need to think ahead so the unexpected don’t find you out of base.  Moreover, since we live in a world of constant change, you also need to be open to accept change and renew your strategies. Let your intuition and previous experiences guide you to renew your strategies.

Action Time

Now that you have formulated your strategies, it comes the implementation “action phase”. In business, this is considered the most difficult stage. To implement your strategy, you need to have discipline, endurance, perseverance, and, very important, motivation. Often times, during your journey, make a pause to evaluate the results of your strategy and make adjustments if necessary.

Creating a personal life strategy might sound like a complex process, but don’t you think it’s worth it to have clear where do you want to get to and how you can get there?

So what is your strategy? I welcome your comments.

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How Much Courage Do You Have?

The last time I had talked to my friend Roberto was about four months ago. He had some news for me, he had changed jobs. He worked for the previous employer for over five years so he thought it was time to face new challenges. He had gotten a job in the hospitality industry; oh boy, he was very excited. Then, when I called him yesterday, I was expecting to hear his story of how well things were going in his new employment; but no, that was not what I heard. He said, “I quit my job”. What?? I said, what happened. So he went on telling me how he didn’t have the support he needed to perform his work.

At first, I thought, wow he is crazy; then, I thought, no he is not crazy, he really has courage. I think no many people do what Roberto did. We tend to stay stationary in a place even if we don’t feel comfortable. I have heard many people saying -about their employers, oh well, it’s a good company, I have good benefits and, at the same time, they complaint about how they dislike their boss, or their coworkers, or other things.

In my post “embracing change” I say that people fear change. I think that people is intimidated about the unknown and about failing. This causes that people avoid change. I believe that you really need to be brave to do something like what my friend Roberto did.

I’m not saying that you should make a chance just for the fun of doing it; but if you feel that you’re not happy or that you want to improve your current situation, well, have the courage to change. The worst it can happen is that things didn’t go the way you expected and then you have to try it again. Sometimes you just need some inspiration to boost your courage. You can read a book like “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” by Susan Jeffers or listening to an inspirational speaker like Joan Brock.

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Don’t Be Arrogant, Be smart

I will never forget when in one occasion, I had scheduled a meeting with my boss at that time. I went to see him to his office but he was not there. After waiting for fifteen minutes, I started getting concern if he has forgotten that we were going to meet. I called him but no answer. I ended up waiting for forty-five minutes, and he never showed up. Later, I learned that he was chatting with some other people in another building and when he received my call, he had said that I could wait.

That sounds rough, right? It was rough. People who think that they are more important than others, people that their ego don’t let them see beyond their nose, people who don’t listen because they think they know everything are called arrogant. For me, these people show a false façade to hide their weaknesses and lack of confidence. Sometimes this behavior is trigger by the need of belonging to a group or reaching new positions. And some other times, people forget their roots when they succeed.

Arrogant people don’t realize that at the end of the day, they are simply like anybody else. They also have to buy their groceries at the supermarket, they go to bed every night like anybody else, and they also fall in love and have heartbreaks like anybody else. And what it’s worst is that the arrogant is avoided.

If you are being arrogant, get off that cloud and be yourself. I know that in this competitive world you want to win the race but people are not fooled. You don’t need to be arrogant to show your talents. And like Carmine Gallo says in his article 10 Ways to Tell if You’re Confident – or Arrogant, “Confidence is inspiring, arrogance is a turn-off”

I’d love to hear your comments!

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Training: Key for Business and Personal Success

This morning, I went to have breakfast at a restaurant in South Lake Tahoe. What a disappointment. First, I had to wait about 30 minutes to be seated and then, I had to wait another 30 minutes to get my order served. I noticed that a party of three that came in after me got their food first. So I asked the waitress about my order. She was not apologetic at all and just said that my food would be next. At first, I thought what poor customer service. Then, I thought maybe it’s not that but instead it’s lack of training. Maybe the kitchen personnel had not been trained to work efficiently, or the wait staff had not been trained to handle customer complaints.

Josh Bersin, Forbes contributor, reports, in his article How Corporate Learning Drives Competitive Advantage, that “one of the most important sources of competitive advantage is your  corporate learning strategy.”  I think training is crucial for the success of any business because it gives employees the necessary knowledge to effectively, efficiently, and safely perform their job.

Have you ever thought about how the lack of training your workers  might negatively impact your business? Let’s say you’re implementing new business software because you want to improve productivity. Well, if the users are not properly trained, then in the end, it will be more costly for your business. Your employees will get frustrated when they don’t know how to use it, they will even spend more time trying to figure out how to operate it, and they will be prone to make more mistakes.

Training is also very important at a personal level. We are all constantly being trained. You can call it learning new professional skills, learning how to use the new gadget you just purchased, or attending a workshop. Well, have in mind that when you are trained, you become more valuable! And like Queen Elizabeth II said, “It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.” So let’s get trained!

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Teamwork and the Amazing World of the Honey Bees

What do you think when you think about teamwork? When I started getting interested in beekeeping, I was amazed to find out what a great organization a honey bee colony is. I think we all could learn some from their dynamic colonies.  A honey bee colony like any business organization has teams and a leader.

The Bees Team in Action!

The Bees Team in Action!

In his book Beekeeping a Practical Step-by-Step Guide, David Cramp explains how the honey bees’ entities operate. The two honey bee teams -the workers and the drones- along with their queen work together as a unit to cope with the challenges that might arise. Each team carries out a number of complex tasks such as obtaining food, protecting, and maintaining the colony. And each team member knows exactly what and when to perform its tasks.

Honey bees also have the capacity of adapting if the circumstances require so. For instance, if they need more water to keep the hive cool, then, more worker bees are sent out to collect the water. Moreover, they know when to make a change. A colony of honey bees will relocate if the hive gets too crowded; they will create a new queen and the colony will divide into two. This decision of splitting is taken by consensus. The worker bees, through some sounds and a dance, will advise the queen that it is time to swarm.

I think honey bees are a good example of teamwork, cooperation, and hard work. Every member works for a common objective; they not only follow their leader (the queen) but they protect her as well. And at the same time, the queen works for the good of the colony. And ultimately, they produce a wonderful product: honey!

Try some honey in your coffee or in your cup of tea and think about teamwork!

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From Honesty to Integrity

Can you believe this? Last week, my friend Rene texted me saying “just in case anybody’s faith needed to be restored in good honest people. I was just at Raley’s and went through self-check. I asked for $20 cashback and when I left, I forgot to take it, walked away and remembered about it after going to another store. I called to Raley’s and they actually had it. Can’t believe it!”

I think that what it’s amazing is that Rene was so surprised about this episode. Why we have become so incredulous on people’s honesty? Well, we hear all the time stories about people being skimmed, companies deceiving investors, employees being dishonest, athletes doping, politicians’ scandals, and the list goes on….. I believe that a person who is dishonest is not lying to others but to himself or herself. So what is the point of being dishonest??

Moreover, if you are an honest person, you might have integrity, too.  Wait, isn’t honesty and integrity the same? No, not really. Honesty is the act of being truthful while integrity encompasses honesty, ethics, and principles.  People who show integrity are highly valued because they can be trusted; they are authentic. These people stand by their beliefs.

Integrity is not only valued at a personal level but also at a business level. Customers and other businesses look for doing business with entities that they trust. If you have noticed, many corporations have included integrity as part of their vision statement. This means that companies are looking for individuals that possess integrity as part of their team who can represent their corporate values.

So a good start to be a person of integrity is to be honest. Don’t you think this world would be much better if more people were honest? I’d like to hear your comment!

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