Advice To My Younger Self

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When I was 20, I thought 30 was really, really old. As in, 30 may as well have been 80 to me back then. HA!!! I was so naive and immature. Of course, the older I get, the more I realize that age is just a number. If I could turn back time and be 20 again with all the knowledge and lessons I’ve acquired, that would be amazing.

But, that’s impossible, obvi. I don’t have a problem with aging. It’s taken me a long time, but I know what I want for my life. The thing is, it’s always been what I wanted, but I didn’t think it was possible or that it was okay for me to want these things. I’ve been living in a fog for so long and uncovering it has been incredibly liberating and scary.

We put so many limits on ourselves and allow other people and things to tell us how to live that it’s so easy to lose sight of what we want for ourselves. Or, to even figure out what that is. If I could give my 20 year-old self some advice, I would tell her to go after what she wants and not worry about what anyone thinks.

Here is a fun age test I found: http://www.age-test.com/

What do you think? Are you as old / young as the test indicates? What advice would you give to your younger self?

Procrastination Disguised as Perfectionism

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I was listening to Jess Lively’s podcast (have you heard of it — it’s pretty awesome) with Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, the other day and something Gretchen said really stuck with me. Something along the lines of using perfectionism as a way to procrastinate. I have to say, I agree.

While I can be a bit OCD at times and tend to details so things are just the way I want them to be, I realize it can be really crippling at times. Take my blog, for example. I was into the whole blogosphere when it wasn’t even considered a profession (you know, back in the day of Salon and the beginnings of Dooce).

I kept waiting for the “right” moment. And then last December, I came to the conclusion that there was no right moment. That this moment is always the right moment because this moment is what we have. So I started blogging and was pretty consistent until April when I decided to switch hosts.

It pained me to learn to navigate my way around my new hosting site (and I am a person who believes in lifelong learning and love to learn new things). But, for some reason, I came up with one excuse after another. Oh, I have to wait until I perfect photoshop. I have to wait until I can build the perfect site. I have to wait until I can share the perfect life. LOLz on all of that.

The thing is, while there is nothing wrong with wanting things to be perfect, things will never be perfect by waiting. So, as of now, I am unhappy with some things in life that i would like to work out. I decided to start back up again because I miss the blogging community and I thought maybe, while I’m learning from others, I could teach and be inspiring to others as I share in all the trials and tribulations that will certainly come from getting zone and learning the best ways (for me) to be healthier, happier and all-around bad-ass.

So, here I am again sharing and not caring if anyone reads this, but hoping that my community will come together again and we can all learn from each other. Happy FriYaY!! :)

Soul {Food For Thought} Sunday

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{Lake Michigan}

There are always going to be people who will try to bring you down, even those who are closest to you. Just remember that it’s not about you, but a reflection on their own thoughts. If it gets to be too much, then know you have the power to step away. It’s not worth having negative people in your life. Have faith in yourself and follow your guts, more than likely it will lead you in the right direction. Even if you can’t see the forest for the trees. You are enough and your dreams matter. As someone once told me, “It’s none of your business what other people think of you.” Word.

“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity.

It’s your place in the world; it’s your life.

Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”

{Mae Jemison ~ Physician, astronaut and the first black woman to travel in space}

How to Solve Problems in 5 Easy Steps

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I was having a pretty bad start to the week on Monday, but it got progressively better early one. One of the reasons was because I received an award at work for quickly resolving an issue.  I remember when the situation happened (just a couple of weeks ago) and how I resolved it. As it is, I do lots of problem solving so I have a good grasp on how to handle things. Funnily enough, my client (who is a CFO) said “Lourdes, I create problems and I solve problems and what matters most is how you resolve problems.” I think that is so true because we cannot escape life without problems. Problems will always present themselves no matter how great things are going. The important thing is to come up with a solution instead of complaining. Here are a few steps I take to resolve issues:

  1. Identify the problem quickly and own it – No matter what you are doing, whether at work or at home, you are bound to run into issues. Sometimes, it may seem easier to ignore the problem until it gets out of hand, but trust me, the sooner you deal with it, the easier your life will be (well, until the next problem presents itselfJ. Maybe you are throwing a party and the caterer is not going to make it, or maybe you have deliverables to show at work, but you are not ready. Whatever the case, identify the problem quickly and decide what is the most important outcome.
  2. Break down the solution and keep your focus on it – So many times, we tend to get caught up in blaming and focus on the problem instead of the solution. Who can take place of the caterer? Make a list of other restaurants/sources you can contact. How quickly can you get your work project finished? Who do you need to contact to help you? In my case, I jotted down some names and numbers and different processes that needed to be done.
  3. Take action – Now that you have broken down the solutions, start taking action. Make the calls, write the emails and delegate what you can. When I was dealing with my issue, there were many people on board. We all had the same goal – resolve the customer’s issue as quickly as possible. I took action and kept track of the items that needed to be done.
  4. Communicate clearly and often – Make sure you communicate clearly and keep everyone in the loop at all times. If it’s a customer you are dealing with and the issue could take hours (or maybe days, heck even if it’s just minutes) make sure you always keep them in the loop. They do not need to know every little detail, but always let them know you are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue.
  5. Learn from the mistake – Once you have resolved the issue, take a step back and evaluate it. We are not perfect. We are human beings. Even when we do our best, something can (and usually will) go wrong. The important thing is to take it into account and learn from it. As long as you put your best efforts forward, know that mistakes happen to everyone. And, remember, it’s not the problem that is important, but how you resolve them.

How do you solve problems? Any tips and tricks are welcome in the comment section!

Monday Musings: Acting Like the Person You Want to Become

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I overheard a conversation the other day that turned from general TV watching (How to Get Away With Murder was deemed too unrealistic for the law-school student present) to politics. Because, you know, politics (like religion) is always a good idea to discuss. Anyway, one of the comments I heard was “Act like the person you want to become.” Just so you have context of the conversation, this was in relation to someone’s friend who wanted to get into politics and how your entire life history is investigated when you do that.

I’ve heard/read this phrase before and in many different iterations (e.g. “Dress for the job you want and not the job you have.”). It is great advice, but one that can often be overlooked or forgotten.  I believe it to be true in any context. Maybe you are happy and content with your job/life and do not want to change anything. That’s ok, too. But, for those of us who are looking for something different or looking to improve our current situations/better ourselves, then it’s advice that should be practiced often.

What do you think? Is this something you practice or believe in?

{top graphic via here}

Monday Musings: Making a Morning Routine

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Two confessions: I am not a morning person and I don’t like routine. However, I have enough awareness to realize the importance of those two things, which is why I want to change my thoughts and practices around them, starting with my morning routine.

I have always been a nocturnal person since I was a little girl. I used to share a bedroom with my sisters and would stay up late reading with my flashlight in hand. It took the entire household plus an army to wake me up the next day.

My current practice goes something like this: First alarm goes off (I have as many as five alarms set at any given time). Press Snooze. Second alarm goes off. Press snooze on that also. Third alarm goes off. Hit snooze again. First alarm snooze goes off. Hit snooze again. And finally, after all the snoozing, I wake up and rush to hit the shower, get dressed, grab my bag and rush out the door to get to the office. On some days, I share dog-walking duties with my husband and other days, I’m lucky enough to work from home. As you can imagine, this “routine” is pretty insane and makes for hectic days.

I want more peace and calm to my mornings and came up with a plan to establish a routine that will provide me with such an environment. First of all, the reason it is so hard for me to get up is because I stay up late. I have a really hard time falling asleep (though Bikram yoga is helping somewhat). I’m going to tackle that as well. Here are some things I plan on making my morning routine:

  • Set one alarm and wake up at 6:00AM without hitting the snooze button
  • Have a glass of room-temperature water with lemon
  • Meditate for 15 minutes
  • Do daily affirmations
  • Go for a walk / run
  • Have a green smoothie
  • Read a page of daily devotionals (I’ve been trying to get through Yoga Vasistha for the last few years now)

How about you? Are you a morning person or a night-owl? Do you have a morning routine or just fly by the seat of your pants? Have any good advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

Monday Musings | You Are F*ckin’ Awesome and Don’t You Ever Forget It

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One of the best things I read last week was this:

“As women, we feel insecure for the things we don’t do or cannot do, but we need to start feeling secure about the things we’re really good at.” ~ Joy Cho of Oh Joy!

Well said, Joy! I couldn’t agree more. I admit, I’m guilty and have been plagued from time to time with insecurities. And, it’s been crippling and not fun. Are there things I could do better? Sure. Are there things I’m f*ckin’ awesome at? Absolutely. And the point is, to focus on the latter.

As Joy pointed out, we make time for the things that matter. And, whatever that may be to you is your choice. Don’t live life according to someone else’s standards and don’t judge someone else for the way they live their lives. One thing I want to be really conscious of is to live life by my standards. I’ve had so many moments of doubts and insecurities (which, let’s be real, in this age of Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook “lives”, it can make it really easy to have those feelings), but I know what I want. I may not know the exact route to get there, but I’m confident in myself that I can keep trying and picking myself up no matter how difficult the road is or if someone is trying to steer me in another direction. I’m a late bloomer, but the positive in that is that I’ve had so many trials and tribulations and failures and I’m still here. I’m still standing and I’ve learned so much!

So, all of that to say, if you don’t know what you want in life, take time to figure it out and while you’re at it, keep reminding yourself of everything that you’re good at. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you. Tell yourself — your voice is validation enough! And, if you find you are lacking, know that you can learn just about anything. We are living in the information age! Don’t get bogged down by life (problems with money, relationships, etc.) because that stuff will always be there anyway. Wouldn’t it be better to have those problems when you know you’re living the life you want for yourself?

Lastly, there have been people in my life who may mean well and have tried to steer me in other directions, but time has taught me that this is my life to live and not theirs. So, if you have anyone in your life like this, cut them loose and if you can’t cut them loose make it very clear that you are going to live your life the way you intend to. And then go keep finding ways to grow and be awesome!

Monday Musings | Life Lessons From Two-Year Olds

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{Two little monkeys jumping on a bed. One fell off and landed on the floor, but she’s still smiling.}

I have a niece and nephew who are 2 years old and were born 9 days apart (they have different baby mommas) . I call them “twin” cousins sometimes. It’s fun to watch them grow. They each have their own unique personalities, but there are so many similarities due to their age. Here are four things I’ve observed that perhaps we can all learn to live by:

1. They live in the present moment – No matter what happens to them, whether they fall or fight, they may cry or throw a tantrum, but they snap out of it (almost) immediately and get back to the present moment. They don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future (except maybe if they’ve been promised a treat and are anticipating it).

2. They practice joy all the time – Though they may not be aware of it, they live to be joyful. The other day, one of them started laughing for no reason, which caused a domino effect to have everyone laughing for no reason. I believe inherently they know it just feels good to be happy and choose to do so.

3. It’s the little things or moments that make them happy – Give them an ice cream cone or read them a book and watch them squeal with delight.

4. They easily forgive and forget – They are two, so of course they will fight or may throw tantrums. However, as easy as it may be to rile them up, they just as easily forgive and forget and begin to live in the present moment again.