Don’t be a Worry Bug

One of the things that we waste most of our energy on is worrying.  I get it, everyone is going through their own challenges and these days just trying to stay healthy and the uncertainty of the economy are probably adding to your typical worries.  But what good does worrying do? There are already not enough hours in the day to do everything we want to do and worrying not only drains our energy but also damages our health!

I’m typically really good at controlling my worries and may even seem pretty care free during the day but when it’s time to go to sleep I start worrying about everything and have a very hard time getting to sleep. :/ So yes, I do understand that we can’t help to worry sometimes. It is completely normal but most of the things that we worry about are things that we can’t control or have a very slight possibility of ever happening. So why are we wasting so much energy and possibly even damaging our health doing so? 

The best thing to do is to acknowledge whatever it is that has us worried. If it is something that we have control over, then we need to stop worrying and do something about it. We must channel that energy into something positive and useful! If it is something that we have no control over then we must accept that and have faith that things will turn out well and that if they don’t that we will be able to overcome whatever comes our way.

Worrying can affect us in so many ways, take a look at “How Worrying Affects Your Body” to learn more. The article shares some lifestyle changes for helping “excessive worriers” but I think most of those tips are great for anyone.

Aside from being conscious of my worries like I mentioned above, I know that what helps me the most are the following:

Being active – You don’t have to have a boring exercise routine, just find whatever gives you energy. I have a really hard time getting myself to go to the gym but I’ll never say no to hiking/snowshoeing, paddle boarding, or dancing if I have the time for it. The point is that if you stay home all day not doing anything what else is there to do but worry?

Relaxing/Meditating – To be clear, I can’t actually meditate in a traditional way. Seriously, I’ve tried! Luckily my favorite activities are hiking and traveling and those things relax me. Whether I’m taking in the beauty of a mountain or sitting at a cafe in the middle of a busy city, instead of thinking about any worries I may have I am able to just appreciate the moment and be grateful for it. I think it’s my way of meditating.

Having a strong social network – Another thing that is super important to me is interacting with my friends and family. I think the reason why a lot of people are having more worry and anxiety right now is because we have been really isolated for quite sometime due to the pandemic, we are social beings and need others. I know I do!

How do you deal with worry? Feel free to share any tips!

Stop Waiting for the “Right” Moment!

What’s stopping you from doing the things you want to do?  Not having enough time or money, fear of failure, or it’s just not the “right moment” are very typical answers. I am guilty of giving those excuses too.  Whatever it is though, don’t let it hold you back.  Do you really want to look back when you’re old and wish you had gone after your dreams?  I know I don’t!

What Are Your Dreams?

Upon moving to Reno, I fell in love with hiking and the outdoors.  If I could go on a hike every day I’d be the happiest person ever. But of course, I have to work and there’s always something else that makes time very limited.  I do however, get out as much as possible and sometimes I’ll agree to a really hard hike despite not having been very active for a few months (which is not the smartest thing ever) but finishing that hike is worth all the exhaustion….and I haven’t died yet! 😉

I follow a few travel bloggers and I’m always inspired by all of their adventures. One of my favorite bloggers, Kristin (@BeMyTravelMuse), posted about hiking the Santa Cruz Trek in Peru solo! I had been to Peru a few times and since my best friend is from there I feel like I really know the people and their culture well but I was missing out on truly experiencing its mountains which is one of the most amazing things about Peru. I always wished I was the type of person that could go on real hiking adventures but never imagined I could take a 4 day hiking trip, I mean, I’m really not that outdoorsy!

Find the Courage and Go For It

One of the things that I love about Kristin’s blog is that she explains things so well and gives great tips. By going into details of her hike she made me feel like even I could do it!

Okay, so now that I thought I could do it the next step was to figure out when I was gonna have the time and money, and start training for the strenuous hike right? Maybe take that trip after August of 2020 when I would be done with grad school…Well not for me!

I’m not saying that those are not good ideas but I could not wait that long. I learned a while back that if I want something to happen, I need to build up the courage and just go for it. Otherwise, I can let fear creep in or something else may happen in my life that could prevent me from doing that thing (enter COVID-19).

You Don’t Have to Be an Expert, Get Help

I knew I was not prepared to hike by myself so I did some more research and found a good company that would take care of everything and all I needed to do was show up and hike. I planned the trip for May of 2019 during the break between spring and summer semesters and I booked my flight to Peru. That spring semester ended up being extremely tough with way more than just work and school going on and the timing ended up not being the best, but I had already planned it so I just went.

Here I am in this picture after finally making it up to the highest pass of the Santa Cruz trek. I know I could not have made it on my own, I was by far the slowest in my group of 8 but I did it! I am so grateful for the wonderful guides and for the awesome group of people that I got to hike with.

Finally at Punta Union at an altitude of 15,583 ft

What’s Next?

The best thing about realizing your dreams sooner is that it opens up the path for more dreams. This was such an amazing experience and I can’t wait for my next long distance hiking trips. Unfortunately this year’s trips had to be cancelled but that only means that this is the time to take advantage of my own backyard and discover new trails in the area.

I’d like to encourage everyone to seize the moment, take chances, and live your best life now! Don’t live with regrets. What if the “right” moment never comes?

Stockdale Paradox

While my last post was about me being an optimist, I am also very pragmatic.  Some may think that you can only be one or the other and not both, however, it is actually not uncommon and there is a popular concept for this paradox, it is the “Stockdale Paradox.”

“You must never confuse unwavering faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Admiral James Stockdale

Stockdale, said these famous words after having endured seven years as a POW in Vietnam and being asked by Jim Collins, for his book “Good to Great,” how he managed to stay alive during all that time.  Of course, I’ve never had to endure anything remotely as difficult as Stockdale and hopefully most of us never do, but his wise words are some which can be applied to every aspect of our lives. 

While we have to be positive and believe that things will work out in the end, it is not just a matter of having faith that things will just fix themselves or are going to happen because we wish them to.  Having the “discipline to control …your current reality” is very often realizing that you are in a position in which things can very possibly go badly.  If we accept this, we can keep our hope alive even when we experience failure and possibly take the appropriate actions to mitigate that risk. 

My pragmatic optimism often comes out when I have to give my family and friends my honest opinions, which can sometimes be a harsh reality check, but are necessary to hear because blind optimism can be detrimental.  I’ve also learned from my mentor to apply this same thought process to scenarios at work.  For example, when we are in a time crunch or we want to implement a new feature, while it is good to have confidence in our team and trust that they will do a great job it is important to account for all the things that could go wrong and be ready to work extra hours or say no to things that are just “nice to have” but could potentially derail the project.

Don’t mistake pragmatism for negativity though, there is a huge difference between them, pragmatism is essential to success while negativity will sabotage it!

Optimist Creed

I’ve always considered myself to be an optimist and I truly believe in the power of positive thinking.  Christian D. Larson’s famous poem “Promise Yourself,” also known as the Optimist Creed is what I strive for on a daily basis and would encourage everyone else to do as well.

Have you ever wondered how some people that have so little or have had to endure many hardships but still always seem to be so happy? Maybe it’s because they are optimists and above all else, they can relate to the last line of this very powerful poem “To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”  Those who truly believe that are probably better equipped to overcome whatever comes their way and keep moving towards their goals.

What about those that have so much yet are always in a bad mood and only see the negative in everything?  Imagine how their lives would change if they followed these promises.  These promises can not only help us live a more fulfilling personal life but also succeed in our professional life.

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. 

To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds.

To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

Christian D. Larson - The Optimist Creed

I certainly struggle to keep these “promises” but I think it’s important that we do not lower our standards and strive to fulfill these promises every day. We are not perfect and will most likely fail daily at being the best we can be but every day is a chance to try again!

I can’t think of any drawbacks to these promises, can you? Why don’t we try a little experiment and, whether you are an optimist or not, try to start each day with these promises.  Who knows, maybe you’ll start noticing some positive changes in your life.  Send me a message and share your experience with me!

I encourage you to take a look at the following video for some motivation!

The Optimist’s Creed – Denzel Washington – Les Brown Motivational Video

Set SMART Goals

This year, the HR department at my company adopted a performance review program in which we are all supposed to set “SMART” Goals at the beginning of the year.  Thinking in this format about what I want to accomplish professionally was certainly new for me.  I initially struggled with it, but once I realized that I actually set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely in other aspects of my life it became a lot easier to set my professional goals for the year.  I haven’t always been that way in my personal life either but I have realized that doing so helps me maintain a course of action and make things happen. 

After college when I started working full time and I finally had the means to travel, that’s all I wanted to do! The issue was then not having the time to do so because I was always working and I needed to concentrate on my career.  Luckily… 😉 my heart was broken in 2010 and it gave me the push I needed to plan my first trip to Asia in January of 2011.  After that trip I knew that I had to make it a priority to travel and resurrected one of my biggest goals.  To visit all seven continents. This time however, I gave myself a deadline, by my 35th birthday!

At the time I didn’t realize it but I now know that I was able to accomplish that goal because it was a “SMART” goal and had the following characteristics.

Specific.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do and I set specific rules.  I had technically been to Asia before my 2011 trip when I visited Istanbul back in 2004.  Crossing over the bridge to the section of the city that is in Asia while I spent most of the time in the European part of the city definitely did not count though.  While I could decide on what country or city within each continent to visit as I went, it was important that they were substantial visits.

Measurable.  I already had North America, South America, Europe, and Asia under my belt.  How hard could 3 more be right?  Well Africa and Australia were were pretty going to be pretty obvious and there were so many places I could visit that would check those continents off the list.  What was an Antarctica visit like though?  It was time to do some research! Turns out that the easiest and most affordable way to reach the white continent is by boat and there’s no guarantee that you will actually touch ground on the continent because the trip can be so unpredictable.

Achievable.  Knowing that Antarctica was going to require more effort, I knew I could definitely do it.  This was something that was important to me and I had no problem giving up material things that I definitely didn’t need for the experiences that traveling to these places would bring me.

Realistic.  Living far from my family means that I have to spend some of my time off from work visiting family rather than going on new and exciting vacations and even though there were only 3 more continents that I had yet to visit I already had plans to return to South America and Asia.  I knew that setting an earlier deadline would just force me to miss it and move it further out and I didn’t not want to start on that path.

Timely.  I was already 27 years old when I decided I would make this happen and giving myself the deadline of my 35th birthday was by far the most important part of setting this goal. I stepped foot on the Antarctic continent on January 3rd, 2018 at the age of 34.

This is just one example of how using the SMART goal setting criteria can guide us in setting goals both for our professional and personal development. What’s one of the accomplishments that you are most proud of?  Did your goal meet this criteria?

Let Go!

I used to be the shyest person ever and everything embarrassed me.  Growing up, I admittedly missed out on a lot because of fear of looking silly, or dumb or of being judged.  Even though I always wanted to break out of my shell and not worry so much about what others thought about me, this carried on all the way through high school.  I was always the sweet, quiet (in other words, “boring”) girl. Sure my friends would never say that I was boring, but that’s definitely what I thought about myself. I couldn’t wait to go to college and start all over and be a different “Rosa,” one that was not afraid to be herself!

To a certain degree I still have a bit of that shyness but I constantly push myself to let go of whatever fear I’m feeling and embrace every chance I have at trying new things, meeting new people, and just having fun.  While it’s a lot easier for me now, it still doesn’t come naturally to me.  I’m always amazed at people who can spark conversations with complete strangers after standing next to them for just a minute or those who have no problem jumping in mid-conversations with a large group of people.  While I might never be there, that’s okay.  I have learned to be more confident and have fun and that is enough for me.  There is nothing wrong with being shy as long as it doesn’t stop you from living the life you want to live.

If you are struggling with shyness, here are some of my tips for overcoming it.

  1. Leave your comfort zone. I haven’t moved many times in my life, but the times I have are the life events in which I have grown the most.  Leaving a place where I know a lot of people and putting myself in the situation in which I need to make new friends is really exciting for me because I kind of get to reinvent myself.  My last move was to Reno and while I definitely missed my family and friends back in Texas, the move provided me with the opportunity to meet people with different interest and experience new things that I otherwise would never have.
  2. Act confidently. Sometimes you need to trick yourself into it, but I think it really does work!  Start by doing things that you would typically be timid about.  I love to travel and often do so by myself.  I wasn’t always so confident about it but when I started traveling solo I acted like if it was a normal thing for me as much as possible and now it really is.
  3. Make an effort to start a conversation with strangers. This is by far the hardest thing for me to do, but I force myself to do so.  Now I’m even comfortable enough to go to networking events by myself and always leave having at least one good conversation!
  4. Just “Let Go!” Yes, it can be scary to put yourself out there but I promise that if you just let go, the ride will be worth it. Don’t be afraid to try new things. 🙂

What is something you have overcome and how? Would love to hear your stories!

Juarez Family

Family

Juarez Family

Using the analogy of a rose seed, I’ll have to say I was extremely lucky to grow in the best soil possible, that being my family.  During my growth, my family has provided me with all the “nutrients” I could ever need in order to reach my potential; unconditional love, support, and motivation.

In memory of my grandfather, who passed away early this morning, I’d like to share how my huge, crazy, loving family has influenced me.

In my opinion, big families are the best!  Both my parents come from big families who are very close and they have instilled the love of family into my siblings and me.  I have often said that I don’t know what I would do without my siblings and it really is true.  We have so many differences but no matter what has happened in our lives we always have each other’s back and come together to overcome any situation. 

In the most difficult times like today, I am reminded that I am so blessed.  My grandpa passed away with his wife of almost 70 years and 10 of his 12 children at his side, the other two were able to say goodbye via video call.  His legacy will always be the love that the whole family has for each other (all 12 kids, 32 grandkids, 26 great-grandkids, and 1 great-great-grandkid).  While it is always hard to say goodbye to a loved one, our family is comforted knowing that we took advantage of the time we had him with us. 

Of course my family loves parties and we don’t need any excuse to have them, but one of coolest things about cousins’ Quinceañeras (15th birthday party) or weddings was always taking those pictures in which our grandparents were surrounded by all 12 of their kids while all the cousins admired how strong that family bond was and pledged to keep it alive.  Last year we even threw a 15th birthday party for my niece (over a year early) as an excuse for a family reunion.  Grandpa had been dreaming about being at my niece’s Quinceañera since she was a toddler, the picture above is from that party!