Category: The Art of Living (page 2 of 3)

Articles on daily life, happiness, work/career matters, relationships, aspirations, change and challenges.

Reprogram your Subconscious with a Vision Board on Pinterest




I hope last week’s tips on how to keep your New Year’s resolutions was helpful in shifting the way you think about how you go about reaching said resolutions. Because I am preparing a piece on why mindset is so important, I wanted to set the stage by teaching you how to create a digital vision board on Pinterest.

Now, last week I explained that the way a vision board works is very similar to how advertising in magazines, and/or TV works. The vision board serves the purpose of programming a desired behavior or emotion onto the subconscious mind—which by the way is the one that pretty much runs the show in your life in case you haven’t already noticed.

What is a vision board and why would I want to create one?

As I wrote last week, vision boards are a popular way to represent what you are trying to accomplish with images.  The reason they work is because the subconscious speaks a different language than our conscious mind does—the language of the 6 senses.  In this case, a vision board creates a visual and emotional representation of what you are trying to accomplish.

When you use your vision board, what you are doing is keeping your focus on what you want to accomplish.  More importantly, you are also creating that reality inside your mind… but more on that later.  For now, visit MakeAVisionBoard.com for more detailed information about vision boarding.

The important takeaway here is that if you have a certain New Year’s resolution that you’d like to really, really connect with, then you ought to make sure you are creating an environment that supports your resolution. A vision board is an excellent way to keep your resolutions in front of you at all times.

Vision board

Vision boards work! Don’t believe me? Read my article on my experiences on traveling to Japan!

Well… kind of. You see, I hadn’t been very successful at creating vision boards because depending on how you decide to create yours, they can be bulky and overall inconvenient. Check out my old vision board made out of magazine cutouts glued onto a rather large and bulky photo album.

It’s beautiful, but I had abandoned it to one of my bookshelves because it was hard to keep it in front of me at all times.

How do I create a vision board?

There is a couple of ways you can create a vision board. You can go the old-school, pre-internet way and grab a bunch of magazines and cut out inspiring pictures and arrange them onto a collage (which is what I did in the picture above). Or, you can create a new board on Pinterest specifically for your resolutions.

Enter Pinterest, the social media platform dedicated to helping you create and share collections of images of your liking and/or around a specific theme.

The benefits of a digital vision board that is hosted on Pinterest are simple. You can see your board anytime you need to, because, let’s face it, most of us are glued to our smart phones (and if you aren’t props to you!).

I mostly used Pinterest to keep track of fashion (I drool over Alexander McQueen, Elie Saab, and Japanese street fashion), dresses I’d like to make or food recipes I’d like to make someday.  But then recently it dawned on me that I could carry my vision board around with me if I created one on Pinterest.

Genious!  Doh.

So, how do you create a simple, yet effective vision board on Pinterest, and what do you do with it afterwards?

1.  Make a list of what you would like to accomplish and write keywords related to your goal.

In my case I wrote keywords that spoke to what I want to experience in my life on 2015: passion, freedom, empowerment, awe/wonder, and gratitude, just to name a few. I also wrote keywords for some of my goals, such as orca whales, debt-free living, and writing a book.

Vision board

Note to self: For future vision board, include something about learning how to take better photographs.

 

2.  Create a new board on Pinterest and label it Vision Board. You can either choose to keep your board private or public.

visionboard01

3.  Search for the keywords you selected earlier.

Using the Pinterest search function, do a search for each of these keywords and pin away! I like to pin one or two pictures for every one of the keywords I chose.

visionboard02

4. You are not limited to searching for keywords.

I always like to search for quotes. For example, I knew the quote by Henry Ford “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right” was something I wanted to be reminded of constantly. So I did a search for the quote and pinned the picture I liked most.

5.  Review your board.

Once you are done pinning, review your board as often as possible.  Especially when you are feeling down on yourself about your ability to reach your goals. The best times to review your goal, however, are right when you wake up, and right before you fall asleep.  I also like to review mine in the middle of the day sometimes.

6.  Create the experience of having accomplished your goal in your mind.

This is the most important part of the entire vision board process!  Research has found that the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between what the conscious mind thinks is real and isn’t.  In other words, whatever your imagination can conceive of is as real as the computer, phone, or tablet you are using to read my blog.

When you review your vision board and feel, smell, taste, see and hear what it would be like to accomplish your goal, you are telling your subconscious “this is real right here.”

 

Conclusion

So there you have it.  That is how I created my Pinterest board. And true to form, I make it a point to look at it early in the morning when I wake up, and at night before going to sleep.  Because the vision board is not on a “board”, I even get to review it everywhere I go (because let’s face it, my phone is glued to my hand).

All that is missing are two elements to the equation in manifesting your goals: the right mindset, and taking action—two subjects I will be writing about over the next few weeks. So, stays tuned if you want to be the first to hear about it by signing up to my newsletter below or at the top of the page.

 

I’d love to hear from you.  Have you created a vision board and found it useful in reaching your goals?  Tell us about your story with success boards!

How to Keep your New Year’s Resolutions

I’m more of a #itstartstoday kind of gal.  Therefore, I am not one who sets New Year’s resolutions. I just say “let’s get it done right now,” and thus like to call them “let’s get it done right now” resolutions.

BUT, I also can’t deny that this time of the year is full of juicy passion, excitement, and positive anticipation. Hence, making it a ripe time to ride the wave of resolution and set some goals for yourself for the year to come.

I wrote in the past about how researchers have found that only about 8% of Americans actually succeed at keeping their New Year’s resolutions.  That is an appalling number if you think about it. It reminds me of the 1% analogy popularized by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The reason 8% sucks is because it tells me that approximately 8 out of every 100 people in this country experience the satisfaction of reaching their goals. I’d honestly like to see that number be much higher.

You know how it goes with New Year resolutions… you set out to hit up the gym and you are incredibly successful for the first few weeks, but sometime around the last week of January (if you have made it that far) you… well… didn’t make it to the gym.  And it goes without saying that your New Year’s resolution goes downhill from there.

The downside of this is that you are training yourself to not trust yourself when you make a decision in the future.

So, instead of hating on the 8%, or the 1% for that matter, focus your attention on asking the right questions, like… how do I become one of the 8%?

How do I keep my New Year’s resolutions?

Ok, first, I recommend that you go read my friend Susan F’s tips on making your New Year’s resolutions stick—she’s got awesome tips!

But, if you feel like you have failed at keeping your New Year resolution, you may want to keep in mind my 5 tips for keeping your “let’s get it done NOW” resolutions:

  1. Know that you can.

ford

Last year in January, I made the decision that I was going to travel to Japan.  I had doubts whether I was going to be able to pull it off—between raising the money for the trip, getting the time off from my day job, and re-learning Japanese, I wasn’t sure I could make it happen.

But I kept my focus on the idea of making this trip happen. Soon, things started to fall into place and my doubt was replaced with excitement and butterflies (the kind you get in your stomach).

You have surely heard the saying “energy flows to where attention flows.”  Had I focused my attention on the obstacles in front of me that could limit me from going to Japan, I probably wouldn’t be writing about it right now (or have written two blog posts of my experience traveling overseas).

So, as Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”  So you might as well know that you can.

  1. Have a plan to make it happen.

goalsettingjpg

So don’t just declare you are going to run a marathon and sit on your couch in front of the TV all day.  I don’t know what it takes to run a marathon (I’m not much of a runner after all), but you’re going to have to have a plan if you want to be motivated to get off the couch.

One of my resolutions this year is to publish a book.  In fact, I have wanted to publish some sort of book for many, many years now.  And it is only until recently that I joined NaNoWriMo that I realized that if I wanted to make it happen I had to take small steps towards the ultimate goal.

So what did I do?  I found out the average length of a novel:  50,000 words?  No problem.

I broke my 50,000 word goal down into a writing schedule I felt was reasonable and realistic for me to accomplish considering all of my other obligations.  I have been writing for the last two months and have now completed 2/3’s of an unedited manuscript.  That is about 30,000 words in two months.

What is the next step? Edit my manuscript sometime in mid-February after I reach my word count goal.

  1. Get in the habit.

jimrohn2

Of course, saying I was going to write every day was easier said than done.  In fact, I only wrote about 30 out of the 60 days.  But even though I skipped weekends, my productivity kept increasing.  I started out writing 500 words daily and increased my word count to 1,000 words daily—sometimes more.  I would even dare say that my writing skills have improved because of this effort.

But creating new habits or destroying unwanted habits (like that ^*&%@ bad cursing habit I have) is not as peachy as it seems.  It is a process of trial and error that requires that you understand how habits work.

  1. Have you set the right resolution?

motivation

Did you set your New Year resolution to get a better paying job because you want to have more financial freedom, or because dad will be proud of you?

This is most certainly one of the trickiest things about achieving our goals: knowing why we want what we want, and why we answered that question the way we answered. In case that sounds like a tongue twister, what I mean to say is that self-awareness goes a long way in reaching your goals. And having the right reasons to reach your goal is the only motivation needed to get you there.

Tweet this:  Having the right reasons to reach your goal is the only #motivation needed to get you there.

So, when in doubt, ask yourself why you want what you want. When you have an answer, ask yourself why again, and again, until you can no longer ask “why”. I promise you this, you will be in awe of your answers.

  1. Do you have a vision board?

Vision boards are a popular way to represent what you are trying to accomplish with images.  The reason they work is because the subconscious speaks a different language than our conscious mind does—the language of the 6 senses.  In this case, a vision board creates a visual representation of what you are trying to accomplish.

Think of all of the TV and magazine ads for cigarettes and/or alcohol, and ask yourself for a minute what the advertisement is trying to accomplish.  Is the advertisement trying to communicate that if you consume the company’s product you will feel sexy, liberated, and exciting?

In my case, I grew up with commercials of people enjoying coffee drinks early in the morning. These commercials depicted men and women experiencing such satisfaction when they drank their coffee that I couldn’t help but be curious about coffee since I was young. Needless to say, I found that I drink coffee purely out of enjoyment, not for the caffeine.  And I do it to emulate that warm and fuzzy feeling of satisfaction that was programmed into my subconscious.

That, my friend, is the power of advertising and using images to program a desired behavior.

A vision board works in a similar way.  Again, it is a visual representation that communicates to your subconscious what it is you want to experience in your life.  Constantly reviewing your vision board is a surefire way to keep your resolution in the back of your mind.

You can use magazine cutouts and poster board to make one, OR you can create a digital vision board with Pinterest.  In fact, check out the one I created over at my Pinterest account.

So there you have it.  Happy pinning and happy New Year!

Conclusion.

I hope that 2015 brings you much joy and that you find the satisfaction of accomplishing the goals that you are so looking forward to accomplishing. And if you are scared of setting resolutions because you are afraid to fail, know that by getting started you have won half the battle already.

As for my New Year’s resolutions for 2015, I’m proud to declare that I do have several this year:

  • Travel to Friday Harbor, WA to see Orca whales in their natural habitat in September.
  • Read all of the new books that I own that need to be read (and re-read some old classics).
  • booksFinish and publish my book.
  • Continue having “the perfect morning”.
  • And keep this plant alive because I am not one to keep plants alive for very long—but I intend to change that:

lavender

And the way I am going to accomplish my goals is by trusting in my ability to succeed, having a plan, getting in the habit of success, keeping in mind the reasons I want to accomplish my goals, and mentally rehearsing success.

 

What about you? What are your New Year’s resolutions and how do you plan to keep them?

How do you Measure success? Hint: Comparisionitis is NOT the answer!

One of the major themes that comes up during coaching sessions with other entrepreneurs is that of success. My clients often want to know “how do you measure success” and/or “how do you become successful”. I always tell them that the answer, of course, is always up to you, the entrepreneur or undertaker.

Truth is that measuring success is not quite the black & white process we wish it would be.  So when my clients answer this question for themselves during our coaching sessions, they would always, inevitably compare themselves to other successful entrepreneurs.

“I’m not doing this right and he/she is.”

“My website sucks and his/hers is the bombdotcom (literally).”

“His/her life looks like it’s all in order, I’m such a mess.”

Etc.

Does this look, sound, and feel like you?

Do you often ask yourself “how do you measure success?” and find yourself beating yourself up over not being able to live up to the standards other people have set?

Let me guess: then, after beating yourself up, you experience incredible resistance and lack of productivity. Consequently, you beat yourself up again, but this time over not being productive.  And there you are, caught in a vicious cycle of “I’m not good enough” because you compare yourself to others, and because you don’t do what needs to get done.

It’s quite the conundrum, isn’t it?  It really is no surprise you are not moving forward in the direction of your goals.

Story time:  How I went from “proud seamstress in training” to “worst seamstress ever” in less than a fraction of a second.

If you’ve read my about page then you already know that I take Fashion Design classes at one of the Art Institutes. Making clothes has been something I have been interested in since I was young and I am very fortunate that I get to pursue this dream of mine now.

As a side note, you need to know that most people have NO idea about how much work the process of creating a garment entails. In fact, more often than not, people see Fashion Design for what the media wants us to see: the glam, the red carpet, the beautiful people; when in reality, Fashion Design is a creative process that involves a lot of hard but rewarding work.

The class I just completed was an advanced class in which I learned the process for creating a custom fitted dress. Truly a dream come true, as through this class I created a custom-fitted pattern (known as the basic sloper) that fit me and my body type perfectly.  Mind you, when I say I was taking an advanced class I do it only because I haven’t taken the classes in order, which has contributed to some of the mistakes I make in the process.

Anyways, the final project for this class was to model a dress that you designed for the class. Well, with my brother’s graduation in Albuquerque, NM this last weekend, I didn’t have time to completely finish my final dress. Nonetheless, I was super proud of the progress I had made and how great the dress looked despite the setbacks.

That is until another student’s model walked in with a gorgeous, completely finished, open-back, white dress. In less than a fraction of a second I went from proud seamstress in training to worst seamstress ever.

Answer time: How do you measure success when the grass looks greener on the other side?

I shared my story with you because I wanted to illustrate the idea of accomplishments as a process that involves hard work and dedication.  How you see this process, the end result, and the feedback you take, is what I would say answers our question:  how do you measure success?

I also want you to know that I can totally relate when you feel bad about your accomplishments because someone else has set the bar high.  Comparisionitis is a deadly disease that kills many dreams and confidence anywhere it goes.

Fortunately, I did learn a thing or two (ok, five things) that I want to share with you as a remedy for Comparisionitis.

1.  Stay present

Truly the only way you will ever be able to keep yourself from comparing to others is by staying present. Do not, under any circumstance, entertain thoughts of failure. As I mentioned above, thoughts of failure will only take you on a landslide of other problems that will result in resistance.

Take a deep breath and ask yourself “what will I choose to focus on?”

2.  Set your own standards for success

Be realistic about what you can accomplish. One of my clients loves freediving and can hold her breath for five minutes. To supplement her accomplishments, she has a wonderful nutritional plan to help her achieve the results she’s getting.

Realistically speaking, there is no way most people could hold their breath for five minutes anytime soon. Arriving at that success marker is the result of hard work and dedication.

Ask yourself, what small incremental step can I take on a daily basis that is realistic for me to accomplish?  Can I hold my breath for a minute?  Two minutes?

3.  Set the bar low

Uh, excuse me? What?

Yes, set the bar low, and then challenge yourself.  This is kind of a mind hack that works well for a lot of people because not everyone has learned to confidently go after and accomplish their goals.

I’m going to sum this up with a quote by St. Francis of Assisi:

Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible (Tweet this out!).

When you set your bar high and you do not achieve the results you wanted you are likely to feel down about not accomplishing what you wanted. This could result in negative self talk and could potentially derail you from your commitment to achieve the results you desire.

When you set the bar low and you accomplish small tasks, you feel accomplished and want to do more. But that is exactly why it is important that, as you accomplish small tasks, you also push yourself to the next level. You will eventually be doing what you initially thought impossible.

4.  Honor the progress you’ve made

Going back to my own example, it is way too easy to say/think/feel that my dress was an absolute horror compared to the other student’s.  WAY TOO EASY.  But I felt confident that, in the last three years that I have been sewing (I also taught myself how to sew) I have refined my craft exponentially.  I may not be where I want to be just now, but I know that with small, incremental steps, and constant practice, I can, and will get there.

5.  Comparisionitis begone!

That being said, if you are going to look up to someone else (say, perhaps a mentor) to accomplish more in your life, then don’t compare yourself to them. Period.  Like, Ever. Why? Because, as I said above, any accomplishment is the result of hard work, dedication, and sometimes, yes, luck.

Your story is different and your perception of the world is unique. Comparing yourself to how others are only sets you up to fail because you do not know what this person has had to go through to achieve the results they have. Besides, you are not them, you can only be you.

 

Conclusion

In the end, how you measure success depends on how you want to work with you. Think of yourself as your own boss. When you work for somebody they train you in such a way that you will yield the best possible results. So as your very own boss, learn about your patterns and work with them in such a way that it allows you to get the work done in the most efficient way to become successful.

In the end, the most important thing you can do is to redefine success as a journey, not a destination. What do I mean by that? Think of success as incremental progress towards a desired goal!

And if you are still struggling with this new idea of success, run over to my blog about success quotes or read about the formula for success.  This is all written with you in mind!

Remember to share this article with others who may be in need of re-framing their definition of success!  I am on a mission to help others create an epic mindset and I can’t do it without you.

And if you liked what you read, sign up to my newsletter below for future updates on success, productivity, and living the life of your dreams.

10 Success Quotes to Welcome 2015 with a BANG!




I love inspirational success quotes and sayings. I mean, who doesn’t? They deliver bite-sized pieces of valuable information with a BANG.

So I created this as my Christmas present for you: a collection of my favorite quotes about achieving success in your personal and business life.

Pin them, tweet them, share them on Facebook, or simply write them on note cards… whatever you decide to do with them, make sure that you keep them in mind when you are in need of some pick me up words.

Without further ado, enjoy.

  1. Start today

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one” Mark Twain (Tweet this).

I’ve written about the #itstartstoday movement before, so I wanted to include a quote about getting started TODAY because the simplest thing you can do towards achieving your dreams and goals in life is to get started.

  1. #NoFear

desireforsuccess

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure” Bill Cosby (Tweet this).

I’ve also written about how fear is nothing but a signpost showing you the limits of your mind. I love Bill Cosby’s quote because it forces you to think about what you’d rather focus on, the fear of failure, or your desire for success. Which one will you focus on?

  1. Keep your eye on the goal

oneidea

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life. Think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea. And just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekananda (Tweet this).

I love this quote by Swami Vivekananda because it is an invitation to immerse yourself with an idea or your goal and nothing else. Like Bill Cosby’s quote, it asks that you focus on what you desire, and it also forces you to pay attention to where else you are using valuable focus.

  1. Develop habits that support your goal

excellence

“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” Aristotle (Tweet this).

YES! If you haven’t noticed, I am on a “habit” kick, and am about to launch a FREE mini e-course on kicking procrastination in the ass by helping you develop habits. My favorite thing that I have learned from this project is that habits aren’t just about what you do, but also about what you think.

  1. Be successful

want2succeed

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful” Eric Thomas (Tweet this).

My intention with sharing this quote is to invite you to step into “success” mode every single day of your life like your life depended on it. In the end, when you look back, you will ask “was I successful?” and you can only answer “yes” or “no”… so why not plan ahead and make it a point for that answer to be a loud and resounding YES!

  1. Take responsibility

“It’s lonely at the top. 99% of people in the world are convinced they can’t do great things so they aim for mediocre” Tim Ferriss (Tweet this).

Taking responsibility isn’t so much about paying the bills on time as it about owning where you are at in your current journey. Taking responsibility it is about saying “my life is the way it is because I did this, this, and that” instead of playing victim to your circumstances. It is about taking back your power and being great.

  1. Turn failure into feedback

failureiswiser

“Failure is often a wiser teacher than success” Gerry C. Starnes (Tweet this).

When we succeed the first time we may become entitled. Failure on the other hand, allows us to look at what we did that did not yield the results we desired, adjust accordingly, and try again. In which circumstance did you learn the most?

  1. Get your priorities straight

jimrohn

“If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse” Jim Rohn (Tweet this).

I am a huge advocate of this success quote and saying because, like personal responsibility, it puts you back on the driver’s seat and forces you to re-assess your priorities.

  1. What is your plan to get there?

“Stop setting goals. Goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them” Stephen Covey (Tweet this).

I agree, goals are great and all. But when you don’t have a plan to achieve your goal, how do you expect to get there? I may be biased because I am a planner, but the truth is that without a map, you are going to have a much harder time arriving at your destination.

10. Be passionate

buddha

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it” Buddha (Tweet this).

This is something that I am still working on. Mostly because self-discovery is a journey and not a destination, but also because I still find myself disliking certain aspects of my life, rather than loving what is. I am a work in progress after all.

11. BONUS: Surround yourself with successful people

jimrohn02

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” Jim Rohn (Tweet this).

I don’t think I could emphasize this idea enough. I’ve met many people throughout the last 28 years of my life. Some are still in my life, some no longer in it.

Those relationships that have fallen away recently are largely due to the different priorities in our lives—the kind of person who laughs in your face when you share your dreams and aspirations and encourages you to settle for what you have instead. There is nothing wrong with this attitude, but it is certainly not going to help you reach your goals and dreams.

I am lucky that I have been able to meet a circle of wonderful entrepreneurs who have encouraged me along the way.

This quote forces you to question whether your relationships are serving you or holding you back. So what is it?

 

Conclusion

Next time you are facing a moment of self-doubt, remember to look at these inspirational success quotes and sayings as anchors for a positive mindset. I hope you enjoyed them and they have given you the opportunity to re-assess and re-focus your energy in self-serving ways.

Please share this collection of success quotes and sayings with others whom you think may be in need of reading about success. I am on a mission to help others develop a mindset of success and I can’t do it without you.

BANG!

 

p.s. Thank you Baisha C. Kreuzer Photography, your guide to life in Houston and everything Texas, for allowing me to use some of your pictures!

Thanksgiving 2014: A Mexican from Mexico’s Thanksgiving

If you have been following my blog for some time now, and In case you didn’t notice, I have been on a “let’s re-define and achieve success” kick lately. This kick is partly due to a focus on studying and understanding procrastination, productivity, success, and setting goals that work for you instead of against you.

Seeing as Thanksgiving 2014 is right around the corner (ok, more like tomorrow), I thought it fitting to explore the subject of gratitude and its direct relationship to success.

But alas, we have a problem… I have never celebrated Thanksgiving in the traditional American sense.

You see, unless you have read my about page, I don’t think you understand where I’m coming from. Literally speaking: where I am from.

Growing up in Mexico

Although I was born in the good ‘ol U.S. of A, I was actually raised in Mexico up until I was 15 years of age.  Thus, my formative years as a child were spent watching my mother watch Novelas (Mexican soap operas) in the local TV stations TV Azteca or Televisa, watching my family go crazy over futbol (otherwise known as soccer), and breaking piñatas at birthday parties.

SO… when friends and acquaintances my age speak of American pop culture from the ‘80s and 90’s, most of the time I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.  I simply had a different experience growing up.

When Audrey Hepburn was the rage in the US, Maria Felix was her equivalent in Mexico.  If my American friends grew up watching Home Improvement or Family Matters, I was watching Don Francisco or El Chavo del 8 on Saturday nights with my family.

… And let’s not forget getting spanked with a chancla.

My experience growing up was not limited to experiencing pop culture with a Mexican flare, but it also included the Mexican perspective of holidays.

For example, Halloween was kind of a weird holiday not many wanted to partake in because Mexican culture saw it as a devil-worshipping sort of holiday… and god forbid good Catholics celebrate devil-worshipping holidays—yet children of all ages parade down the streets of Mexico in their Halloween costumes every single year.

Christmas was more or less celebrated across the board, but mostly because Jesus was born on that date, not because Santa Clause would squeeze down our non-existent chimneys to deliver gifts.  I understand that the birth of Jesus Christ is mostly the reason why people celebrate Christmas in the U.S. too, but man, do advertisers milk the Santa Clause story for what it’s worth, or what?

Then there was Easter.  Growing up Catholic I had no idea what Easter is.  Don’t get me wrong, I was supposed to know, I just didn’t have a clue because we hardly ever stepped inside a church.  Fortunately for me, the American culture has done a grand job at making Easter more memorable for me by including pink rabbits and colored eggs into their celebrations.

Then there is Thanksgiving.  I had never even heard of this holiday until I moved to the US.  And even after all the time I have spent in the US I still call it Turkey Day—the day one eats lots of turkey and cranberries in honor of the day a bunch of pilgrims supposedly had dinner with the local native Indians.

Conspiracy theories aside, I love the concept of Thanksgiving. You gather with the people you esteem around a table full of food (namely turkey and cranberries), and you share the experience of gratitude, fulfillment, and nourishment with them.

…And then you go shopping and trample other people for the sake of cheap electronics.

How beautiful is that?

In all seriousness, a day that previously had no meaning for me because it didn’t exist in the holiday calendar has now become a reason to celebrate who I have become, another year of life, and the lessons I have picked up along the way.

So how does a Mexican girl raised in Mexico adjust to practicing gratitude on Thanksgiving 2014?

She finds reasons to be grateful.

EVERYBODY should be finding reasons to be grateful every. Single. Day.

On Success and Gratitude

Because it is so much easier to focus on the bad stuff, working out your gratitude muscle is a way to learn to re-focus your mind away from what is no longer serving you and into what is actually working for you. Remember, personal development and self-improvement is all about mindset.

If you want a surefire way to change your thoughts in order to change your world and become successful, gratitude is the best place to start.

To be honest with you, I am not exactly a pro at keeping a daily gratitude journal.  I must admit I don’t practice gratitude often enough.  But that is just it—I am too focused on how I don’t practice gratitude enough instead of appreciating when I do practice gratitude.

Think of gratitude as a way to re-focus in the present moment. Instead of always wanting more, more, more, MORE, or focusing on “never having or doing enough,” gratitude allows us to look at all that we have already accomplished or have, and appreciate and cherish it.

Gratitude creates space for mindfulness and satisfaction.

Conclusion

It’s been nearly 15 years since I’ve moved to the US.  My formative years as a young adult have now been spent watching my mother watch Novelas in Univision, people go crazy over the Super Bowl, and you can now find me playing beer pong or flip cup at parties (no more piñatas for me).

In the end, all I can say is that I am infinitely grateful for every single minute of my formative years as a child spent in Mexico, and even more so for every single minute of my formative years as a young adult in the U.S.

What are YOU grateful for?

Tweet this and tell me what you are grateful for: Today I am #grateful for….

 

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Thank you for reading and Happy Thanksgiving 2014 to you!

Living your Unlived Life: How to Have No Regrets in Life

Carpe Diem, seize the day, no regrets… we all want success, a life of passion, the life of our wildest dreams, and a life that is meaningful. But somewhere along the way we settled for plan B… or could it be that the life of our dreams became plan B for the sake of the sense of security that comes with a bi-weekly paycheck?

We could all blame life. Life gets in the way. You go to college, get a job, buy a car, you gotta pay the bills, and next thing you know it’s been two years and you didn’t accomplish any of the dreams you had in mind.

The novel you always wanted to write is no more than a mere 400 bytes of information in your computer’s hard drive and the vision you had for a life of adventure is now relegated to living vicariously through the life of others—don’t we all love people who break the internet with their butts and reality TV anyways?

What the hell happened to us?

Well, according to super genius teens Willow and Jaden Smith, we have forgotten what we once knew as babies—to breathe. But that’s a can of worms that need not be opened right now. Suffice it to say that these two are onto something and could perhaps show the rest of us what having no regrets looks like.

Speaking of no regrets, what does “the unlived life” even mean?

The unlived life is that life you always wished you had, the relationship you always wish you had, the person you always wish you were—but that alas, due to unforeseen circumstances, you do not have the life you wish you had, you are not in the relationship that you always dreamed of, and you are nowhere near becoming the person you wish you were. Hence the term “unlived.”

The unlived life is a jerk. It beckons you with promises of greener grasses but never quite delivers.

But I am not here to beat on you for not having this so-called-life-of-your-dreams. I am here to throw my arms around you and to tell you that it is ok that you have an unlived life—most people do.

I know I do. I am a work in progress after all.

#itstartstoday

I don’t know how, why, or when it happened—in fact, it has been more or less of a journey, but one day I just woke up and decided to get my shit together. I was going to have that life: carpe diem, seize the day, no regrets.

Armed with the knowledge I had on self-improvement, neuropsychology, and Jungian psychology, I set out on an inner journey into the depths of my very existence as a human being.

That fateful day when I set off into creating the life of my dreams has been today for as long as I can remember. That means that every single day I wake up with the purpose in mind of creating this life of my dreams, forging the relationships I want to be in, and being that person I wish to be.

Every. Single. Day.

It isn’t always peachy (in fact, I have come to accept and cherish this about life), but I make it a point to show up to life regardless. In fact, it is always the nasty stuff in our lives that points us in the direction that we have to go on.

And since we’re on the subject of no regrets…

I recently uncovered a regret I had about my life. I realized that enrolling in graduate school to put off paying the student loans I acquired through my years as an undergraduate student wasn’t the best idea. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED grad school, and my regret isn’t that the interest on the loans was accruing, but rather my regret was that I realized I was running and hiding from the responsibilities of “growing up.”

This regret weighed on my shoulder for quite some time. Ironically, my studies in graduate school helped me mature in such a way that I can now look forward and say “ok, I am facing this problem I have instead of running from it.”  In case you are wondering, yes, the loans are all taken care of as you read this.

Another example is a relationship that I was in many years ago. I was so crazy in love with this person that I let fear consume my mind because I didn’t want my heart to be broken. I was so self-centered that I didn’t even notice that in running from my feelings I was the one who broke my own heart.

In the end, I’ve realized that if I want to have a life of no regrets, then I must take a good look at the life that I wish to have and to run towards it instead of away from it. After all, my philosophy is and has always been: What’s done is done, and what remains is what is ahead.

Seriously, no regrets.

In the end, it all comes down to this one simple formula:

If you want to have no regrets in life then you better get your priorities straight

One of the most important lessons I have assimilated into my life is that of getting my priorities straight. I realized that if I have an excuse for not making something happen, then it must not be a priority in my life. It really is as simple as that.

It’s all in the mindset, and before “never writing a novel” becomes a regret, I decided to do something about it…

Scenario #1

If in the moment I am watching TV, then my priority and intention must be to watch TV—and that is certainly true if my favorite TV shows are on. But it is also true that if I am watching TV because I don’t feel like writing, then my priority is not to write that novel I have always wanted to write.

Scenario #2

If in the moment I am sitting at my computer writing, then my priority must be to work on that novel I have been dreaming of for ages.

You see the difference?

I promise you this, when you get your priorities straight everything falls into place (Tweet this!).

“To hell with circumstances I create opportunities” Bruce Lee (heck, tweet this too!).

This is why I created a program to help you become productive and overcome procrastination to get on and actually create the vision of the life you had in mind for yourself. If you want to be the first to find out about this little project of mine, sign up to my newsletter at the top of the page or right below this article.

Conclusion

The point here is, if there is anything that you take away from this week’s article it is to start today to live your life unlived. Don’t procrastinate, don’t make excuses, and more importantly, no regrets. And no regrets means starting today.

The life that is outside your fears, outside your pain, and outside your accomplishments, is your life unlived. And it has been patiently waiting for you to take notice of it. It may be scary to take a leap into the unknown, but hopefully I have been able to inspire you to realize that the fear of this life is not worth the tradeoff.

So, with all that being said, what is it going to look like to have no regrets and to live your unlived life every single ducking day for the rest of your life? And, what are you doing today to actively create the life of your dreams?

 

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AND, if you too want to help transform this world one person at a time, please share this article so that others can benefit from its message and so they too can improve their life.

Thank you for reading and bestestest of wishes to you!

An Unconventional Formula for Success You Need to Apply TODAY

Everyone wants to have a quick fix for success, but not everyone understands that the formula for success is a wee-bit more complicated than that. Many will argue that the formula for success will result on achieving one’s desired goals, when in reality the formula for success is about more than achievements.

The formula for success is about how you learn (tweet this!).

Not too long ago I wrote an article about the entrepreneurial mindset to allude to the fact that everyone has entrepreneurial skills as part of their skill arsenal. Then, after writing about how to become successful last week, I thought it wise to continue exploring the topics of success and entrepreneurship.

To recap that article about the entrepreneurial mindset in one simple quote:

“Being entrepreneurial is essentially about thinking and doing something that we have not done before in order to achieve a desirable goal or outcome” Donna de Carolis, PhD.

I love this quote because it demystifies entrepreneurship and makes it an achievable goal. In other words, to be an entrepreneur you do not have to own or operate your own business. It just so happens to be that entrepreneurs more often than not choose to become their own bosses.

So what does this have to do with success and this so-called formula for success?

Self-awareness + action = success (Tweet this!)

Allow me to elaborate.

The role of self-awareness in this so-called formula for success:

Ultimately, the formula for success is as simple as developing self-awareness. For the sake of simplicity, we shall think of self-awareness as the thoughts you have about your thoughts, behaviors, and emotional states.

As I wrote last week, becoming successful largely depends upon your ability to do three things: honoring where you are at, keeping your eye on the big picture, and defining success in your own terms. But in order to fulfill any of the above requirements, you have to know yourself, and you need some sort of awareness of your thoughts, behaviors, and emotional states.

One of my old bosses used to say “to think outside the box you first have to know the limits of the box”.

Self-awareness, as the sole foundation for the formula for success, is the difference between going off on a tangent of doom inside your head, and knowing when to stop this inner-conversation because you know that this pattern is not self-serving of whatever goal you have in mind.

I am going to be writing a lot about self-serving thoughts, behaviors, and emotions as I am on a “what is going to help me accomplish my goals today?” kick. And in order to figure out what is and what isn’t going to help me accomplish my goals today I need a certain degree of self-awareness.

For example, I joined the NaNoWriMo movement because I have always wanted to publish a book, and because I wanted to beta-test a program I am developing to overcome procrastination and increase productivity (sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page or below this article if you want to be the first to find out more about this program or even becoming a beta-tester yourself). As I was developing a plan to achieve my goal of finishing a book I decided I could easily write 500 words daily over the next 90 days.

If I want to accomplish my goal of finishing my book by the end of January I have to get really honest with myself.

Is watching TV going to serve my purpose of writing 500 words today?

Is my low self-esteem going to serve my purpose of writing 500 words today?

Is not being in the mood to write today going to serve my purpose of writing 500 words today?

By now you have probably guessed that the answer to these questions was a big, fat HELL DUCKING* NO (in case you are not familiar, iPhones autocorrect the F-word+ING with the word “ducking”).

But in order to know if any of these issues are self-serving to my goal or not, I first have to become aware of how I am using my time, what I am afraid of, why I have low self-esteem, or why I am not in the mood to write.

So far I’ve written 4800 words out of 5500 that I should have written by November 11th. I consider this a success—but that’s another conversation that shall be continued in weeks to come.

The role of taking action in this so-called formula for success:

Now that you understand the value of self-awareness to success, you will want to take action on what you learned about yourself. You can think of it as a feedback loop in which your awareness of yourself provides you with the information that you need to implement in order to make the desired changes that can help you achieve your goal.

See what I did there? I added italics to the word implement to draw your attention to the fact that you have to take action. No excuses, no questions asked. You just do it.

The one thing that you can do right now that is going to contribute towards the success you wish to achieve is starting today.

Today, not tomorrow, today.

I found this little gem on the internet about a small movement dedicated to improving your life today instead of waiting for tomorrow. In fact, this is the reason why I no longer make New Year’s resolutions.  If you remember last week’s post, only about 8% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions successfully follow through and achieve what they set out to do.

So what is going on here?

What is the #itstartstoday movement all about?

The #itstartstoday movement is a call to action to take whatever step you need to take today in order to live the life of your dreams. It is a call to live an authentic life full of meaning. It is a call to engage with your life more fully in this very moment, rather than waiting until January 1st to get started.

If there is a gap between how your life is right now and how you wish your life was, know that the gap can be bridged by taking action. Success can be defined as the completion and accomplishment of that desired life. But in order to get there you have to take consistent and continuous action.

Self-awareness can only take you so far in becoming successful. That is why action is such an integral part of the formula for success.

If you have built castles in the sky, build a bridge that gets you there – tweet this.

Conclusion

The formula for success is composed of two important elements: becoming aware of your thoughts, behaviors, and emotional states, and taking action upon what you have learned about yourself.

Self-awareness allows you to tap into the very entrepreneurial mindset that allows you to do something that you have not done before in order to achieve different results (surely you have heard about Einstein’s definition of insanity). But if you want to become successful you have to take action on what you have learned through self-reflection today.

Self-awareness says: “I know that I do not feel confident in my ability to reach my goal.” And taking action looks like developing the skills that I have identified will aid me in reaching my goal.

Always keep in mind that success is a journey. I cannot emphasize enough to read last week’s article on re-framing the meaning of success.

So… what will you do today to build that bridge to the castle you have built in the sky?

 

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AND, if you too want to help transform this world one person at a time, please share this article so that others can benefit from its message and so they too can improve their life.

Thank you for reading and bestestest of wishes to you!

How to Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye

How to Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye is the first article of a series of articles on procrastination, productivity, success, and setting goals that work for you instead of against you. If you like what you read and want to receive future articles on the topic, sign up to my newsletter at the top of the page or right below this article. Thank you and enjoy.

Did you know that 45% of Americans usually make a New Year’s resolution and only 8% of Americans become successful at achieving their New Year’s resolutions?

Failure.  Let’s face it.   We all hate the pesky little word.  I mean, who wants to be that person who “couldn’t make it happen?”, or that person who “no matter how hard they try, their efforts amount to a big pile o’nothing”?

I do.  I am that person who wants to be that person who fails at everything they do.  But before you write me off as crazy, hear me out…

Becoming successful is determined by your ability to fail as many times as necessary.  In fact, I even dare say that success is a direct result of failure.

Success is a direct result of failure (tweet this!).

What I have found is that forsaking failure is actually contributing to the problems we experience around success.  For example, we tend to get bogged down by the details along the journey towards success because it may feel like we’re not reaching any milestones.  And in judging ourselves for not achieving said milestones we actually re-inforce the negative feelings we typically associate with failure that keep us from making progress.

This is something I realized yesterday when someone on Facebook asked the question: “Where were you last year compared to this year?”  It was in answering this question to myself that the last two years of my life fell into perspective right before my eyes.  While I had been chasing the idea that I had to become successful at a certain goal I had, I had missed out on all of the self-growth and progress I have made since I began this relentless pursuit of success.  I felt like a dog chasing its tail!

It was then that, in my desperate pursuit of the ideal of success and with my shoulders weighing heavy from the burden of not achieving said success, I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel and realized what it takes to become successful.   This in turn made me realize why people are 82% more prone to fail and only 8% prone to succeed at their New Year’s resolutions:

Turns out we have the definition of success and failure all wrong.  In a sense, achieving success is going to take more than willpower; it is going to require that you simply close your eyes for a minute or two and honor where you are at, keep your eye on the big picture, and define success in your own terms.

Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye Tip #1:  Honor where you are at.

One of my old college friends felt like a total failure because at age thirty she was not living up to the standard idea of success.  She measured her ideals of success against not only impossible standards she couldn’t possibly live up to, but also against what other people were accomplishing.  Thus, she continually put herself down for failing to achieve success.

So close your eyes and question everything you think you may know about success and failure.  If you think success means you should own a car, question where that answer comes from; if you think you are dumb because you don’t own a car, question where that reaction comes from, you get the point.  You could go on questioning these ideals of success all day long, but at one point or another hopefully you will realize that you have been sold a lie when you were told that you had to achieve x, y, or z to become successful.

In the end, even those royal fuck ups are a step you can take on your way to become successful.  Why?  Because you are continuously changing and improving.  The person you are tomorrow will look back to yesterday and realize just how much you have changed.

Open your eyes now and choose not to do yourself wrong just because other people’s markers of success are different than yours.  Honor where you are at and look back at how your life has changed and improved in the last year or two–even when the shit has hit the fan or you feel the need to improve your life.

Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye Tip #2:  Keep your eye on the big picture.

I get it.  You can only tolerate failure so much without seeing the desired results that let you know that success is just around the corner.  I’ve been there.  Many psychic readings later and I am still hearing that I am on the right path (remember?  honor where you are at!).  But I constantly asked myself how I could be on the right path and not feel like I’ve become successful.  That is until I asked myself “where was I last year compared to this year?”

When I look back at where I was last year I cannot help but know that I have achieved some measure of success.  But that comes with me choosing to see my progress as success instead of as failure–this is where a glass half full attitude comes in handy as you can see.

Keep in mind that our culture and media are pros at conditioning us for immediate gratification and 8-second attention spans.  We are used to fast-food, TV on demand, microwaves, credit cards, and squirrel moments (or what I like to call shiny-object syndrome)–thus making it harder to keep your eye on the big picture.

Close your eyes and make it a point to visualize every step that has led you to where you are now, and see every one of these steps as a success story of its own.  Then open your eyes again and realize that every time that you failed and you fell, you always got back up again–and that, my friend, is true success.

Become Successful at the Blink of an Eye Tip #3:  Define success in your own terms.

Rule #1 of Success Club, don’t compare yourself to others!

Rule #2 of Success Club, celebrate the small victories.

Rule #3 of Success Club, don’t compare yourself to others!

So you want to become successful? Know what that means.  Have a plan.  Define this plan based on your own journey.  Avoid the comparissionitis trap and keep an eye on out for the progress you are making.

Choose to think that “I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Become your own scientist and be curious about the journey of success, as opposed to the journey to success.

 

Conclusion.

If you want to become successful, all you have to do is close your eyes for a minute or two and re-frame the meanings of success and failure.  Remember to see success as a journey, and choose to experience failure as indispensable to success.  In the end what is left is your understanding that success is a mindset, and it can be experienced at every single step along the way, even when you fail.

Achieving your Dreams: The Fool-Proof Formula

One of the things I love about Tim Ferriss’ book, the 4-hour workweek is that he argues against the case of a deferred life. What is a deferred life, you may ask? The deferred life is that one that you put on hold “for the time being” as you wait for the planets and the stars to align so that you can start living the life of your dreams.  Achieving your dreams means putting this “deferred life” back in your priority list.

Thoughts like…

“I don’t feel ready to take action because x, y, or z.”

“I don’t have time to take action.”

“I’ll just wait until I retire.”

“I don’t have what it takes.”

“Only a very few get to make their dreams come true.”

“I am a failure, why try?”

Guess what, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT… and I can relate.

Just yesterday I was experiencing a fleeting moment of self-doubt. One of those windows of darkness that once you go through it you may never come out. My mind was in whiny mode wondering if I could make my ideal life a reality. That is until I read this fabulous quote:

The only real limitation on your abilities is the level of your desires. If you want it badly enough, there are no limits on what you can achieve (Tweetworthy!).

I have read and heard a lot about Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map but had not taken the opportunity to see what it’s all about… needless to say the book will become part of my collection as I am most certainly triggered by the idea of “desires”.

Achieving your dreams just got a hell of a lot easier

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I will continue saying it over and over again:

The path to follow your dreams depends on your commitment to focus only on that which supports your goal (Tweetworthy!).

The formula to achieving all of your dreams is simple. What is not so simple is actually stepping outside of your comfort zone and into greatness. As I wrote last week, fear will hold you back only if you allow it to do so, as its main job is to let you know where your greatest areas for opportunity are.

The formula:

Identify your dream + focus on how you can make it happen + honor the obstacles in the way = success in your own terms.

Remember, achieving your dreams is a journey, not a destination!

You see, I know I am not the only one who wants to change the world for the better. You can change the world too! Share this article by tweeting, liking, or emailing it with those who need to read about it most. Together, you and I, can reach our fullest potential and change this world, one person at a time.

AND, if you liked what you read subscribe to my newsletter below to receive yummy tips on developing a rockstar mindset straight to your inbox!

Thank you for reading and bestestest of wishes to you!

Facing your Fear and a Podcast Interview

I think what I love most about the mind and its power is that you always have a choice. Should you chose to take responsibility for your thoughts, the meaning you give to your world, and the direction your life is going on, your life could turn around completely.

If you are experiencing fear around anything in your life:

  • being judged by others,
  • not feeling good enough to put yourself out there,
  • fearing that despite your best efforts you won’t be able to succeed at what ever you set out to do.

I GET IT.

Yes, fear sucks.  It’s paralyzing, it’s yucky, and it’s near impossible to ignore.  And don’t you dare ignore it because it will find a way to creep up on you again.  But you have the choice of how you deal with fear.

I’ve come to think about fear in a completely new way.

What if fear was simply a signpost meant to remind you that you are on the right path?

(tweet this)
Think about it.  The experience of fear typically arises precisely when you are trying to push beyond the boundaries of your self-imposed limitations.

For example, when you fear that despite your best efforts you won’t be able to succeed at what ever you set out to do, what you are really saying to yourself is that:

1. You acknowledge that success is a possibility, but…

2. You choose to focus on failure as a greater possibility.

3. WHAT? WHY?

So, next time fear creeps up on you, make an effort to remember that what you are facing are simply the inner-demons guarding a treasure so grand that your mind cannot begin to comprehend it now.

Facing my own inner-demons

I had to face my own inner-demons not too long ago.  You see, I am not particularly fond of the sound of my voice, and although I love public speaking, I am camera- or voice recorder-shy.  But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from putting my message out there so that I could reach and help more people.

I had the beautiful opportunity of recording my very first podcast interview with Angela Wilkinson over at The Goddess Next Door.  She was so awesome at just getting me to calm down and relax a little bit (I was seriously both super nervous and excited) and the conversation ended up going so well I couldn’t have planned it better.

I faced my inner-demons and the best part is that after facing my fear head on absolutely nothing happened.  No one judged me, and if anyone did it’s ok because I still love and accept myself fully.  No one has told me my voice is weird, and if anyone did it’s ok.  The only thing that did happen is that I got to record a wonderful interview full of useful tips to help you achieve your goals.

So, without further ado, if you are experiencing resistance and procrastinating about your goals in life and business, listen to the podcast as I share great tips on how to push forward even when you are facing your biggest fears.

You can find the iTunes link here, and the podcast’s page here.

Here’s to many more podcast interviews in the future, facing fear, and to you achieving your goals!

Now, in the comments below, share with everyone what you are doing today to overcome the fear that is holding you back from achieving your goals?
You see, I know I am not the only one who wants to change the world for the better. You can change the world too! Share this article by tweeting, liking, or emailing it with those who need to read about it most. Together, you and I, can reach our fullest potential and change this world, one person at a time.

AND, if you liked what you read subscribe to my newsletter below to receive yummy tips on developing a rockstar mindset straight to your inbox!

Thank you for reading and bestestest of wishes to you!

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