Be Grateful

Gratitude

Gratitude is such a powerful thing. In writing my last blog post for my EMBA Personal Branding class, I can’t help but think of and be grateful for all of the blessings in my life.

The picture above kind of illustrates what thankfulness does. I had finally finished the climb up Viñicunca Mountain (known as Rainbow Mountain) and was at over 17K feet of elevation. Everyone wants to climb this mountain because of it’s famous rainbow colors but when I got to the top, I couldn’t see anything. It was snowing, windy, and cold. Sure, I was a bit disappointed but rather than concentrating on what I couldn’t see I was grateful for having the opportunity to climb this mountain and feel the cold on my face and meet a nice stranger that would take my picture at the top of the mountain. Most other people that got to the top around the same time I did had already turned back but I stayed enjoying the moment, then all of a sudden it cleared up and I got this amazing view!

It’s just like everything else I have written about, you get what you put out into the world. So be positive, helpful, and grateful!

If you are struggling to find the positive in your life, here are some Gratitude Affirmations for a Daily Dose of Thankfulness.

One of the things that I’m most grateful for are the opportunities given to me. While I have worked hard, this takes me back to my previous post of not being able to do it alone. I’ve had the opportunity to get an education and pursue a rewarding career and I have high hopes for even more growth. That’s in great part because I have an amazing mentor that has believed in me and pushed me to always do more than I think I’m capable.

We Can’t Succeed Alone

Teamwork!

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

-Zig Ziglar

One of the biggest mistakes we can make is think that we don’t need other people. We all do.

I always talk about the wonderful people I surround myself with and how lucky I am to be part of these groups. This is because I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without them. In every single aspect of my life, I have been blessed to have someone help me. More often than not, it has been family, teachers, friends, and coworkers but sometimes even complete strangers!

The trick here is that while it is perfectly okay to need others throughout our life, we shouldn’t expect the help if we are not willing to give it first. Let’s care about others and help them succeed, not because we are expecting something in return but because it is the right thing to do.

I was recently listening to someone have a conversation about how we are inherently selfish people and I couldn’t help but think about how that sounded to me that we are inherently bad. I don’t think that’s true. Sure, sometimes it’s easy to get lost in our own concerns and only think about our self-interest but according to studies selfishness appears to be learned behavior.

I think that what we are missing is that by being cooperative and thinking about the collective good, we in turn help ourselves too.

I had never thought about it this way, but I came across the following quote and it totally makes sense. “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere,” also by Zig Ziglar. This not only applies to friendships but all even work relationships. If you are always willing to help your team and coworkers, they will be happy to help you in return. Be the one that is always willing to help others out and I promise you that when you need it, help will come to you too. 🙂

Perspective

In my previous blog posts I wrote about positivity and the ability to be realistic but this time I’d like to concentrate in the power of perspective because by adjusting how we perceive different things, we are able to transform a negative into a positive and therefore manage to feel happy despite any situation.

My coworkers often poke fun at me because according to them everything is all “rainbows and unicorns” in my life! Ha, definitely far from the truth but why should they know?  Why shouldn’t I try to be as happy as possible when I’m at work (and everywhere else)? I have a great job that pays well and gives me the means to live a great life, awesome coworkers, the best boss ever, and so much room for growth!

“Happiness is not the absence of problems it’s the ability to deal with them.”

Like everyone else, I have problems and go through personal hardships but I chose not to let those affect how I perceive everything else. Instead I try to look at all the blessings in my life and how those things will keep me going through the toughest times.

I’m a bit hesitant to share the following link because I realize that a lot of problems are not easily fixed and in no way would I want to diminish what anyone else is going through, but I still think this is good advice and agree that a huge part of dealing with problems is placing them in the right perspective. 13 Common Life Problems and How to Fix Them

Experience Other Cultures

This past week I was trying to catch up with a friend through text messages and she brought up how her daughter, who is now 15, always talks about studying abroad and she likes to motivate her by telling her that I did it and loved it.  Back then, it seemed dumb because of the way the engineering curriculum was set up so that I had to take certain classes in order and they were not offered both semesters but I was determined to study abroad even if it meant an extra year in school and taking out a considerable student loan.  To this day, I think that was one of the best decisions I ever made and only wish I had done a full year abroad!

I knew that I wanted to study abroad since I was in elementary thanks to having an older sister that had grand dreams of seeing the world.  I don’t even know how my older sister knew that was a possibility, our parents had emigrated from Mexico and that was the only place we ever travelled to and for the sole purpose of visiting family.  While they always pushed for us to go to college, they didn’t really know how to guide us in that process so how to get there or do anything extra all depended on us figuring it out.  Thankfully just by encouraging us to dream big while teaching us responsibility and hard work and with the help of amazing teachers we were able to go to college and continue our dreams.  While I loved my college experience at St. Mary’s University, it would not have been complete without my study abroad semester in Rome, Italy.

I can’t even begin to explain how experiencing life in another country as I had just turned 21 helped me grow.  Sure, I had left home as soon as I finished high school but going to school 8 hours away from home was still very safe.  Due to family reasons, I wasn’t able to make it to orientation so once I finally arrived to Rome, I was supposed to find my own way to my accommodation for the night and then to John Cabot University the next day, ready to start classes.  Of course (so as not to worry them more), I didn’t tell my parents that no one from the university would be at the airport to receive me but I was confident I could figure it all out even when I didn’t know the language.

The first evening in Italy when I bought the train ticket, got off at the right place and was able to take a taxi to my destination (all with my practiced Italian phrases) is when my confidence really took off.  After that day, not only was I fully submersed in a different culture and was learning a new language, but I was also meeting people from all over the world at my new university.  One of my favorite things during that semester was that between my 4 roommates and I there were 6 languages spoken in our apartment.  This global perspective allowed me to realize that even with different cultures and languages we are all still very much the same.  

I love this post on “Why Experiencing a New Culture is Good for You” and couldn’t agree more with the following conclusion.

There’s no question that travelling to a new place and enveloping yourself in a new culture is going to change you. It’s a transformative experience that subjects you to a host of new situations. These conditions and moments changes the way you think, the way you act and the things of which you’re capable. Ultimately, there’s no escaping how these foreign experiences will shape you for the better.

JRPass.com

We Are Not Pizza

Today I’d like to share one of my new favorite quotes:

“You’re not going to make everybody happy all the time. You’re not pizza!”

-Mark Schaefer

When I read this line in Mark Schaefer’s book Known, it immediately stuck in my head because it’s so true!  We can’t be anything everyone else wants us to be, so stop trying.  Just be the best you can be while staying true to yourself. We should not have to bend over backwards to make others happy. First of all, people that want us to do so will never be satisfied. Second, it is simply impossible to please everyone.

I was recently congratulating a friend on getting a job at a new location.  After working so hard to be were she is at and as much as she loves her career, she had been miserable at her job for a while now. Her boss was making it really hard for her to perform it adequately much less put in all the enthusiasm that she still has for it. For a long time she thought that if she did everything just like her boss wanted her to that things would eventually get better but instead things kept getting worse. She was being taken advantage of and even treated badly. She finally realized that the only thing that she could do was find a position at another location and luckily she didn’t have to wait long for that to happen. While I’m sure that she will continue to go above and beyond in her responsibilities, like she always does, I had to give her a little advice. My advice to her was “don’t be so nice, set limits early on.”

While I love doing things that make people happy and also enjoy helping others, I’m pretty good at placing boundaries. I think it all comes down to understanding what Shaefer put into perfect words. 🙂

Have you ever been in a situation in which you had to change to make someone else happy? Here’s an really helpful article with tips on how to stop being a “people pleaser.” You Can’t Make Everyone Happy.

Procrastination

I’m always running out of time. Those who know me are probably thinking “Really? Of all people, Rosa is going to talk to us about procrastination?”  Yes, I am. That’s because it is something that I struggle with so much!  Don’t get me wrong, I get things done but it often means sacrificing lots of sleep.

I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t realize this was a problem and tried to mitigate it as much as possible. There are a few ways which I have learned to do so but I think I’ll always be a procrastinator. I’ve realized that it’s not all bad and learned to embrace it to a certain point because I attribute it to my ability to excel under pressure. I guess I would call myself a “structured procrastinator.”

The most important thing for us procrastinators, is to accept that it is part of who we are and work to control it and use it to our advantage. In order to do so I think asking the Procrastination Busting Question, “If not now, when?” is very important.

Why do we even procrastinate?  To be honest, most of the time my number one reason is just that I don’t much interest in doing that activity.  Writing for instance is really painful for me, I’d much rather be doing accounting homework than writing a blog.  This is because not only is it really hard for me to put my thoughts into words but I know that whatever I write will never be perfect or “correct” and that is just something hard for me to deal with.  Instead of spending a couple of hours or so writing I could spend all day thinking about my topic and rewriting a paragraph over and over. In this case procrastination works to my advantage because when I’m pressed for time I am not as concerned with getting it perfect and stop being so critical of every single word I type.

Make a commitment to others. This is by far what works best for me. Keeping my word is extremely important to me and I always do what I say I will (unless of course there’s some extenuating circumstances). Telling others when to expect certain things is a great way to motivate me as the last thing I’d want to do is let others down.

“If not now, when?” This is the question that I recently started asking myself when I try to put off doing something. It’s only been a week but I have realized it’s already making a difference. Give it a try!

While it doesn’t have to be all bad, I’m sure every procrastinator always says “next time, I’m going to start earlier.” Well, here are some tips on Overcoming Procrastination. Is there something that has worked best for you? Feel free to share.

Dream

This week, I listened to Paulo Coelho’s book The Valkyries on Audible.  This book reminded me of how important it is that we don’t lose sight of our dreams. In this book Paulo journeys thought the Mojave Desert for 40 days in order to fulfill his dream of seeing his Angel. Coelho’s note at the end of the book insists that there are only two places in which he used fiction, and whether you believe it or not, I think that the topics in this book are very real. We can certainly learn some things from Paulo’s journey through the desert. 

The main topics in this book are letting go of your past, forgiving yourself, and fulfilling your dreams.  In order to accomplish his dream Paulo first needed to let go of his troubled past and learn to forgive himself.  While he was able to fulfill his dream, the revelations really occurred throughout his journey. This brings me to the belief that the main reason for us to dream is to make life worth living. If we don’t have hope and aspirations, what’s the point of anything? My dreams may not be as wild as seeing my Angel (though I do believe it) but they are what fuels my spirit and keeps me going.

“When you cease to dream you cease to live.”

Malcolm Forbes

Are you working towards your dreams? What’s stopping you? Here’s an excellent guide on How to Follow Your Dreams!

Befriend Strong Women

Today we held a virtual baby shower for one of my best friends from college.  It was 10 of us in the Zoom meeting and I’ve been friends with these ladies for 19 years.  Needless to say, we have gone through a lot together.  We have celebrated each other’s successes and have cried with each other during difficult times. Though our lives have changed much from those early days of friendship, the characteristics of our friendship have not. Our friendship continues to grow stronger even though we are spread out between 6 cities now. We continue to be there for each other for every small and big event in our lives, even if it’s just through something as simple as a WhatsApp group message.

After the virtual baby shower, I kept thinking about how lucky I am to have such strong women in my life.  Honestly, I’ve never understood why some people think that friendship between women is complicated or full of drama. I have a few different groups of female friends and I cannot imagine life without them. When I moved to Reno, I knew that the first thing I had to do was find some amazing women to befriend. I know that meeting those women has made all the difference in my success at living a happy life here as well. These last two years, I’ve been so grateful for having met two more amazing women in my EMBA cohort who not only made the “Best Team Ever” possible but are now life long friends.

In order to have a strong friendship, we must not be threatened by others success but instead celebrate it as if it were ours and always build each other up.  I am so proud to be a part of such amazing groups of women. They are such smart, talented, hardworking, generous, and beautiful women who truly inspire me. Knowing how much value my girlfriends bring to my life, I was not at all surprised when I came across this article referencing a study that suggests that Having a Close Group of Girlfriends May Be Key to Career Advancement. I love the support network that women provide. One minute we can be acting silly and just being kids and the next we can be having serious conversations about life in general. Today was just one of those days, we didn’t just laugh about silly stuff and talk about babies and families but we also talked about our professional goals. We are super excited about one of the girls starting law school and me finishing my MBA next month!

Today I celebrate the strong women in my life!  Thank you all for being the wind beneath my wings!

Go With the Flow!

This week, while organizing one of my drawers, I came across a bracelet that one of my best friends gave me after a girls trip.  It had become our mantra during that trip to “Just go with the flow!” and that’s what the bracelet said.  Some people think that you can only be happy and have others respect you if you always stand your ground and not give in to what other’s want.  That you are weak if you are agreeable. 

Well, I have to admit, I’m one of those agreeable persons.  That doesn’t mean that I am weak-minded or that I don’t stand for anything though.  It just means that I do not think I have to get my way all the time. I’m comfortable letting others take the lead and I’m willing to try different things.  Of course there are many times in which we have to fight for what we want or believe in but most of our day to day decisions are not a matter of principle and the only consequence will be an impact on our mood.  So in that case, why not just “go with the flow” and enjoy the journey instead of stressing about little things that don’t even matter that much.

I have always loved to read those cards or bookmarks that have some advice from nature but I didn’t know where they came from. Upon looking it up today, I learned about the story of Ilan Shamir and the founding of Your True Nature which I think is truly inspiring. In keeping with the theme of my bracelet, I’d like to share the Advice from a River with you.

I do believe that we can learn a lot from nature and while a river will generally just “go with the flow” until it reaches its destination whether it be another river, lake, sea, or ocean, it can also be strong enough to carve into the soil or cause massive disruptions and flooding.  So next time you give in to which restaurant to have dinner at, what museum to visit, what trail to hike…just remember to enjoy it just the same and follow the advice of the river on the way to your goals.

I think going with the flow has served me pretty well. When I suggest something, people are more willing to listen to me and agree because they know I’m not just trying to “go against the tide” for no reason. When it comes to something that is really important to you, people will be more receptive to what you want because they know you are the first to compromise otherwise.

Surround Yourself with Those Who Motivate You

I recently saw a post that listed the five types of people we should surround ourselves with. It was the inspired, the passionate, the motivated, the grateful, and the open minded.  I couldn’t agree more with this post.  As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized how important it is to surround ourselves with the right people.  Those who inspire, motivate, and teach us.

In this post I’d like to concentrate in “Who” motivates us.  Of course, we can also be motivated by ideas, goals, and things but I think that those usually stem from someone.  Who motivates you?  That answer can change a lot throughout the many seasons of our life. Growing up the answers were my parents, my siblings (especially my older sister), my teachers.  All amazing people who still continue to motivate me in some way…but, I didn’t choose any of them. I just happened to have the good luck of having them in my life.

This 4th of July as I was hiking 12.3 miles today I couldn’t help but think about how much this friend that I was hiking with has motivated me in the 9 years that I’ve known her.  One of the things that I will always attribute to her is the motivation to get started on my MBA.  While I always knew I should go for it and my family and friends would try to motivate me as well, I needed someone that I was constantly hanging out with to give me that extra little push I needed.

Here she has done it again, since I learned about the Tahoe Rim Trail 9 years ago, I have always said I wanted to complete the whole 165 miles of it.  I have hiked certain segments of it but have never tracked it.  My friend Junko has already hiked the whole trail in segments but it was recently that she has really started to fall in love with hiking, so while hiking yesterday we said that we should complete the TRT together.  Well, I know that when we say we are going to do something, there is no question it will get done.  She is truly motivational and gets working towards whatever she sets her mind to right away!

What better day to start than today!  Only 9.5 of the miles today were part of the Tahoe Rim Trail but now I’m tracking them and we are starting to plan for how we will complete the rest. Today I’m grateful for having friends that are doers and motivate me to set and accomplish more goals!

Share a story of how you’ve been motivated recently, I’d love to hear it!
Happy 4th of July!