Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WHY IS MONEY SO GOSH DARN STRESSFUL...



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Why is it so stressful?  I have always had a really hard time with money.  Either I spend too much, I don't save enough, or I am paying off large amounts of debt.  Now that my debt is under control, I still have regular bills and some loans to pay back.  That said, I find myself so stressed!!!  Why am I so stressed?  For years, I have been racking my brains to figure out an answer to this question only to discover that I am terrified of losing everything, being a failure, and returning home to my parents, broke, at thirty-four years of age.  That would be my worst case scenario. (My parents would never let me sleep on the street or starve.  Knowing that does honestly make me feel better.  Because, even that's better than nothing.)  My goal is to distance myself from that worst-case situation rather than grow ever-closer to it.  And over the past few weeks, I have been feeling the imminence of the worst-case-scenario.

And some of you might say, but you have your book coming out...or three books coming out in the next two years.  Believe you me, that definitely keeps me alive and kicking, but it's not making me money now...and I cannot rely on that money as my source of income...unless I sell 100,000 copies.  Then, I can definitely stop the temp job, and focus on my other books and aspirations.  But, living in reality, as challenging and disgusting as it has felt recently, I need to keep my big pants on...and get to fucking work already...perhaps even get a second job.  Yikes!  I hate being an economic statistic!

What am I going through now?   I have very little money in my bank account.  I am anxiously awaiting not only an incredible full time position, but also the release of my book, which hopefully will be within the next two months.  More about that later...   Anyway... I need to contribute to my household, to my relationship, and pay all my bills.  Therefore, I must work NOW and it took me six weeks even to get this temp position.  Good news is I have been on probably 2-4 interviews per week for the past few weeks.  Bad news is, I am either overqualified or not "seasoned" enough.  I am probably applying to anywhere between 15 and 30 great positions per week...looking for jobs three to four hours per day.  I must admit...I am exhausted...and am so tired of searching for jobs.  It's hard.  And it hurts at times.  My emotions are a daily roller coaster with one second being extremely disappointed in myself to the next being extremely excited and enthusiastic about my next job.

I struggle with this.  A lot.  Lately.  Yesterday, I was sick.  I stayed home.  Even though I was at home, watching CNN and Sandy, all-day-long... (as all of my family lives in the Northeast), as if Sandy wasn't enough, I was also stressed about losing one full day of wages.  Ugh.  On a happier note, today I started my new temp job.  It is an HR Assistant role at KornFerry.  Good company, right?  The problem is after being a Senior Management Executive in HR/Operations for several years now, it takes an enormous amount of humility (or something) to enter into this new situation.  Today, I was asked by four different people if I had ever worked in HR before.  That's when it hit home the hardest.  I had to literally bite my tongue, swallow my snide remarks, and gently reply in the affirmative.  I see no reason to tell anyone yet about the fact that I used to run HR, am accustomed to having 7-8 people report to me, and if we were in different circumstances, they ultimately would be reporting into someone else, who would then me report into me.   It was difficult, but I kept a smile on me the whole day long.  I think I'm just happy to be working and knowing that money is on it way.

No matter what the situation, you must make the best of it.  Today, I literally FILED for the vast  majority of the day.  Aside from the silly paper cuts, the time flew by and I just found myself happy in my organizing and chronological bliss.  I strive to always leave companies in better shape than when I started.  That doesn't change whether I make $20/hr or $100/hr.  Today, the file room went from super disorganized to uber spic and span...and to be honest, I cannot wait to return tomorrow, so I can finish and Wow them with my organization skills.  Who knows...anything could happen, right?

What's my solution to it all:  I have decided I'm just gonna enjoy myself.  I'm going to enjoy the menial tasks and enjoy not having mega-responsibility.  I have also decided I am going to look for  great opportunities to learn new HR thingies and be grateful that I even have a temp job given today's market.  Further more, I am going to do everything in my power to make a certain amount of money per month, even if that means getting a second job for $12/hr.  The more I work, the more money will come in, and the less time I will have to worry about it.  Listen, I'm not saying it's easy.  It's not.  But i'm doing the best I can.  I'm doing the work that needs to be done.  It will all pay off in the end.  (Man...my book better make me millions!!!)

FINAL THOUGHTS:
1)  I surreptitiously ran into my PR guy over the weekend.  He was raving to a book critic about how excellent my book is...but I wasn't prepared with my sound-bytes and answers, so I failed miserably.
2)  Good thing is...he thinks the book is fantastic and has the potential to be something absolutely huge. Bad news is...I have a great deal of work to do to tidy up my answers, responses, and sound-bytes in order to be Matt Lauer and Katie Couric proof.  lol.
3)  My heart and prayers go out to everyone in the Northeast affected by Sandy.  Click here and it will take you to at least three ways to donate.
4)  I hope my story this week helps someone else close to me.  The range of emotions I have been feeling lately I would not wish upon anyone else.  I hope it helps.  Stay honest.  Stay humble.
5)  Smiling From The Inside is a lifestyle choice.  It is all about living a happier, easier, and more balanced existence.  Some days it's easier than others.  Don't you agree?
6)  Perhaps I am also sad because I haven't been watching RuPaul's All Star Drag Race...I can't wait!

Have a great week!

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A Smile From The Inside Production :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ME, MY VISION, AND I...WHAT'S YOUR VISION FOR YOUR LIFE?


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As you know, my vision is to Inspire the World, One By One, to Smile From The Inside.  Do you know what your vision is?

When I was five years old, I remember exactly where I was when I decided somehow I wanted to change the world.  I was in my bedroom, listening to some silly cassette tape from the 80s...probably either Madonna's first album or Mariah Carey's first album.  I kid you not.  Anyway...I remember intensely pondering what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I know I wanted to be either an attorney, a doctor, a figure skater, a gymnast, a fireman (come on, i was five), or an actor/singer.  I thought that if I could just become rich enough or famous enough, I could then spend my time, money, and resources to save the world.  Funny thing is...that feeling has never ever left me.  I still want to inspire and change the world.  I still maintain that I can affect change on a mass level.

Fast forward to 2006.  It was a tough tough year.  I had moved three thousand miles away from my family, my home, and my life in New York City.  I had just broken up with my boyfriend.  Technically, he broke up with me the end of November 2005.  So, I moved heartbroken clear across the country.  Also, I had left an incredible dog named, Parker, and a puppy named, Gracie.  Everything reminded me of either my dogs, my boyfriend, or my former NYC life.  I stopped practicing yoga, stopped coaching clients, and stopped walking everywhere.  Over the course of one year, I had gained ten pounds, gotten back together with my ex a couple of times only to break up again, and lastly, was diagnosed with the most aggressive skin cancer and had to have surgery straight away.  As I said, it was a rough year.

There's a great deal to cancer.  I'm sure we'll discuss this a great deal moving forward.  There's a great deal to being heartbroken.  And we can spend a lifetime speaking about heartache.  But today, I'm focusing on my vision.  After that incredible year of sadness, illness, and fear, an opportunity to practice more self-discovery and personal development work entered my life at the perfect time.  I truly felt as if the light inside me had grown dimmer than the preceding years.  I was in a rut.  I needed something.  I didn't exactly know what, but I needed to get my life back on track, back on my path to "saving" the world.  And it was just what I needed.  By the time the "work" was over, I felt empowered and unstoppable.

It was during one of the exercises that it became evident to me that I had never been clear about my vision for my life.  I had always had the same feelings when I pondered how to "save/change" the world, but I had never put those feelings into a clear mission statement, if you will.  It took me about three or four weeks after that moment to finalize my vision.  It felt nearly impossible at times.  It took many many hours.  Now that I have it, and it has informed each and every decision in my life since.  I just thought it could be cool to help you figure out your vision for your life.  You ready?

So, what is your vision?  Where do you even start?  Your vision is essentially your mission statement.  It is something that will lead you on your path to greatness and fulfillment. 
Step 1) You must start with an action verb.  Examples: To Change; To Shift; To Inspire; To Encourage; To Live; To Be; To Make; To See, etc...  you get my drift?
Step 2) You must briefly define what you want to do!  What do you want to do above all else in your life?  What drives your life?  What inspires you?  What desire gives you the feeling of being 100% fulfilled?  For example, To Inspire the World to Smile From The Inside; To Be the Best Dad; To Be the Best Human Possible; To Make Peace the only option.
Step 3) You must briefly explain HOW you intend to do so!  For example, One-By-One, By loving and cherishing my children and all god's children; By transforming and challenging people's preconceived notions; By promoting love and giving love in my every day life, to everyone individual I meet. 

Don't be discouraged if it takes a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks to figure it out.  I would be more than willing to support or assist you in your process.  There's no wrong or right through this process.  There is only what feels and energizes you.  There may be several options.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
1) It appears that I have found a temp position at a great company...and I start on Monday.  Yay!
2) In the meantime, I will still be searching for the amazing Director position that I feel is very close.
3) Indiana GOP U.S. Senator Candidate Richard Murdoch should be ashamed of himself and politely bow out of the race.  His comments are absolutely horrible...AND his apology was pathetic and undermines the entire public.  It's very upsetting.
4) When was the last time you looked for signs that you are exactly where you are supposed to be in your life?  It's been a while for me too.  Just notice!!!


“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”
— Ralph Lauren




A Smile From The Inside Production :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

BOY...I'VE MADE SOME POOR CHOICES...


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Today, I wanted to write about something personal.  I wanted to tell you something that is going on with me right now.  After all, you are following my journey in life through this blog, right?  Using my upcoming book's S.M.I.L.E. Method for Healing, I will take you through my current journey of dealing with being unemployed and a statistic.  It's been very very hard.

The Current Situation:  Two years ago, after I was almost kidnapped in Mexico (another story for another time), I, unfortunately, had to leave an incredible Senior Management position.  Since then, I have been consulting and have amazingly enough been able to continue paying off my debts, been able to maintain a certain standard of living, and worked on some great projects...well...for the most part.  However, truly to my detriment, I have not been able to save any money, so now I find myself "needing" to get a job ASAP.  And that feeling sucks!

Shock:  In my most recent position as consultant, I thought I would be employed throughout the rest of 2012.  I had just caught up on all of my debts for 2012, when they let me go three months earlier than expected.  I was a bit shocked, I must admit.  That's the thing about consulting work.  Here one day, gone the next.

Mock-cceptance:  For two weeks following my quick departure, I somehow believed that something greater was just around the corner.  I had two promising second interviews and was convinced that one of them would be a great next career move for me.  I was definitely in denial.  It's not that easy.

In Overwhelmdom:  Last week, both of those promising jobs were given to other candidates.  Both of them advised that it was between one other person and me, to no avail.  Next thing I knew, I was angry.  I was sad.  I was disappointed in myself.  And for the last week, I have been on an incredible roller coaster ride of emotions.  Happy one minute, sad the next.

Learning:  It's hard to find a job in today's market.  Let alone find a high-paying "day job" that you KNOW you will be leaving within the next couple of years when I hopefully become a NYTimes Bestseller, right?  So, I came to the conclusion last week that I really just need a fucking good job that I can enjoy and excel/grow my career for the time-being just-in-case.  The sadness and disappointment, I discovered, came from my lack of long-term planning.  Even while I continued in the high-paying consulting gigs, I should have continued my search for a full-time Director, HR or Director of Operations/Administration position.  I chose not to...and that's where the frustration lies.  Too bad I didn't realize this sooner, I would have chosen and done differently.  Knowing that now, that is exactly my plan.  And moving forward, I will do just that.

Embrace:  Now, I just want a friggin' day job.   I want something fun, something creative, something analytical.  If it is a temporary or a consulting position, I will indeed continue searching for a great full-time great-paying position.  It has been a crazy hard couple of weeks and I am exploring any and all options.  I still am working on "Embracing" my situation.   I do know that given today's economy, now that I am a statistic, I most likely will NOT earn what I did even two years ago.  And, that's sad too!  I have almost completely accepted where I am now, but I have not yet enthusiastically and willingly embraced my current situation.  I'm working on it.  I'm only human, right?

So, my friends, acquaintances, and family, wish me luck over the next week.  I definitely need some great prayers and good energy.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

1)  For those of you who don't know, Maine had a 4.0 (ish) earthquake yesterday.  Even my sister felt it near Boston, MA.  Craziness!  Why does the vision of the movie, "2012," always come to mind?
2)  This past weekend's Saturday Night Live spot on last week's Vice Presidential debate.  Hilarious!
3)  Last night's Presidential Debate was no help to me at all.  If I didn't get anything out of it, I can't imagine undecided voters got anything out of it.  Did anyone else feel that way?
4)  I have noticed myself taking bigger yogi breaths than usual this past week.  They always seem to help for some reason.
5)  "How I Learned To Smile From The Inside," my upcoming self-help book, is still coming along fabulously.  Completed some major re-writes and edits last week and I am awaiting next steps from my PR guy.  Yay!

A Smile From The Inside Production :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

SINCE WHEN DOES ART, EVEN BAD ART, START VIOLENCE!?!


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I believe we are in a time of need right now.  We need to keep our friends and family close.

I gotta admit I'm a little sad this week.  It may be because I am a little discouraged about my own job search, or it may be because I saw a screening of an intense documentary about the rise and fall of income inequality within America.  It may be because the Supreme Court is taking their sweet time to decide whether i can marry the love of my life (or not) or it could be because within one month, we will  know who will ascend the throne as the next President of the United States.  Will it be Obama or Romney?  I don't know about you, but I'm a little concerned either way.  Perhaps I'm having one of those cynical weeks where nothing seems to make sense and everything seems like an uphill battle.

In a world where a 14-minute excerpt from a silly and low-quality "fake art" film creates mass chaos in the middle east and provoke attacks on North American embassies, it appears that art has become more of a pretext to do harm than a vehicle to encourage and inspire others to think beyond their usual boundaries.  Even bad art.

Extremists once again are provoking more hatred, violence, and destruction for any reason.  For example, the anti-American riots that broke out around the world near North American embassies.     Apparently, it is all because of a controversial 14-minute video clip of a film entitled, The Innocence of Muslims, only available on YouTube!  I don't buy it.  I just don't buy it.  To me, extremists (of any religion) are just waiting for some "excuse" to promote their largely unfavorable agenda of fear, hatred, and war.  Did you know that on September 9, 2012, an EXCERPT of the above-mentioned film was released on Al-Nas TV, an Egyptian Islamist television station, (Innocence of Muslims Wikipedia page)?   In the name and pretext of this excerpt, all of the chaos and death occurred in Libya and other countries.  That's crazy, especially after you see one minute of this reenactment film that must have cost all of $500 to produce.

I don't believe that the majority of those protesting or causing violence had even seen the excerpt, let alone the fourteen-minute video clip available on YouTube, or the 74-minute film in its entirety.  Remember, this movie, of terrible sound and picture quality, pokes fun at the Muslim prophet, Muhammad among others.  All you need to do is skip through a couple sections and it's enough to make you laugh hysterically.  It's full of what appears to be cheesy re-enactments.  It really is a "fake" film...one of those "movies" that we used to watch in World History class, you know?  Yet, despite the fakeness of the film, I have learned that any depiction of the prophet Muhammad in art or film is considered by many to be inappropriate and just plain against the rules.   Even a film like this.  Are you serious?  I find that very very hard to believe.

There is so much active hatred for anything American or pro-Israel (in the Muslim world), it really makes sick.  It makes me question whether we (the world) can EVER change those violent anti-US perceptions and mindsets.  It is born at an early age when children are just beginning to discern good from evil, right vs. wrong, etc...  I just cannot imagine raising my children to hate people around the world, complete strangers they have not even met, simply because of their religion or belief system.  To make matters worse, this mentality is based on thousands of years of conditioning and subjective history.  

Why perpetuate and continue bad juju to your children?  It makes such little sense to me.  It bothers me so much when I think about it.  I often think what can I do to help!  What can I do to inspire as many people as possible to be the examples we wish to see in the world?  I know I do everything I can to alter people's horrible perceptions of US Citizens.  Am I alone in wanting to reframe how people view Americans?  That's probably one of my ulterior motives in writing my trilogy of Smile From The Inside books.  But it also is one of the ulterior reasons behind my vision to inspire the world, one by one, to Smile From The Inside.

I thought art, even bad art, was supposed to be a freedom of expression, a freedom to create whatsoever one feels inspired to create.  Whether it be good art or bad art, throughout the millennia, art has always pushed the limits and boundaries of our basic belief systems and limiting beliefs.  However, I don't think it has ever been used to start wars, perpetuate more violence, or used as an excuse for attacks on innocent people.  I do realize the complexity of the situation between the Muslim world vs. Israel...and I know that definitely plays its role here, but a film like this, really?  Honestly, take three minutes just to get a feel for it.  (The Innocence of Muslims).  

Bottom line, what irritates me most is that because this film is of such poor quality and bad art, it is obvious that it only takes someone to as little as sneeze for angry people and extremists to feel justified in their further perpetuation of violence, anger, and hatred.  In my mind, there is never an excuse for violence or war...EVER.  I really don't like those words, by the way...and it pains me to even write them down various times in one blog.  How do we change it?  How do we encourage the opposite?

Art is to be bold.  It is to be daring.  The beauty of art, in my humble opinion, like the quote below, evokes emotions, evokes a reaction or response from the audience.  It is not to provoke people into violence, but to make them think, right?  Or am I totally wrong?  It is a said state of affairs when in the name or pretext of art, one can justify the act of terrorism, war, and even imprisonment (as in the case of the Pussy Riot, a punk rock collective band in Russia serving two years for hooliganism).  For me, art could not be more opposite than the words of violence and war.  For me, it is up there with creation, friendship, giving, togetherness.  I guess not to everyone.

Together, let's change the world.  Let's make a pact to always be the best American citizens we can be. Clearly, if you are a friend or acquaintance of mine, you probably are already a great example of an American.  What else can do we then?  Is it handled through direct or in-direct conversations?  Is it incredible films?  Documentaries?   Is it more hugs?   I'm perplexed and am interested in suggestions, recommendations, and/or comments. 

I think the only answer is by inspiring the world, one by one, to be the change they want to see.  Oh Gandhi...you were so right on!  Don't you agree?


FINAL THOUGHTS:
1)  Believe me, I always try to keep these posts to 500 words or less, but I can never say what i want to say within 500 words.  Next week, i'll try again and succeed.
2)  Perhaps someday soon we can together figure out a way to help inspire the world for good and not for "evil".  I really don't believe in "evil"...i believe in the conditioning of hatred, a subjective history of violence and persecution, and a misguided range of emotions.  That to me could be thought of as "evil".
3) When will the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills start again?  I can't wait!
4)  Have an incredible week, filled with life, laughter, and love!!!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wanna taste of "How I Learned To Smile From The Inside"???



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Below is just a final draft blurb from my Introduction to "How I Learned To Smile From The Inside."  Enjoy!

When everything feels broken... what do you do?  How will you ever smile again?  How do you learn to Smile From The Inside?

Why is this so important now?
Life is tough!  There is no way around that.  Lately, I don’t know about you, but everywhere I turn, there is sadness, violence, and anger.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative, the gnarly and believe in all the cynicism that exists around us.  That’s why I have decided to share my Smile From The Inside approach and S.M.I.L.E. method for healing with you now. 

In all of my research, I have found that universally speaking, there are only two types of feelings in the world -- those that are on the positive side: happiness, joy, enthusiasm, passion; and those that are on the negative side: sadness, grief, anger, etc… Someone who Smiles From The Inside lives life more on the positive side of the feeling tree.   Hence, it is time for us to change that cynicism and gnarly into hopeful and life-affirming.  It is time for us to shift the world consciousness from sadness, violence, and anger into contentment, peace, and giving.  This is not an easy task.  It starts with one person (me) sharing my thoughts and feelings with more people (you).  One by one, by being the change we wish to see, we can affect change starting at home with our families, to the workplace, and our respective towns and cities, and so forth.  Let’s make it a global effort.  Let’s all walk the walk and talk the talk.

Choosing to Smile From The Inside is a lifestyle choice.  It is not an abstract state of mind, instead it is a way to live your life.  Smiling From The Inside will help you breathe a little deeper, walk a little taller, and run a little faster.  It’s living a more centered and balanced experience.  Self-Awareness is key to this choice of lifestyle.  The more aware you are, the more authentic you can be, the more confidence you carry within, and the more efficient you can deal with issues that come up.  Bottom line, we all want an easier go and we all want a more enjoyable life.  If you follow the lessons, instructions, and suggestions herein and learn from my crazy and life-dizzying experiences, it will make your life easier and bring you more joy. 

You might be curious as to what a person who smiles from the inside looks like.  Well… they look just like you and me.  However, when they smile, their way of being shines through so bright, it is impossible not to notice the depth, the hope, and the happiness within.  It does not mean they are happy 100% of the time.   The majority of the time, you can not only see the truth, giving, and joy but also the enthusiastic life energy, motivation, and empowerment through only their smile.

So, if everything you have read up until now sounds appealing and you want a happier and simpler life, read on for more details…

FINAL THOUGHTS:
1) This is just a final draft of a blurb.  Don't worry, there is much much more to the Introduction.  This is just to get people's attention.  Does it make sense?  Is it catchy?  I am open to thoughts!
2) After my meeting with the PR expert wherein he recommended about 16 changes to improve the overall quality and tightness of the book, i have been editing like crazy for the past five days.  By the way, he thinks it has great potential.  Yay!  FYI - he believes my book could be out before Christmas!
3) This past week i have been reminded to ask questions instead of making assumptions.  I thought i knew that already, but sometimes i forget.   Silly boy!
4) Lastly, I did not thank Adam for helping me out last week for my very special and intimate gathering of my friends and family in LA.  Thank you, Adam! 
5) Don't forget to watch the Presidential Debate tonight!
6) Guess what show is starting in three weeks on October 22, 2012?  That's right, bitches!  It's  RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars!  Woohoo!!!


A Smile From the Inside Production :)