Monday, September 30, 2013

WHY IS GRATITUDE SO DAMN HARD THESE DAYS...



If you don't know, last week was my birthday, the 25th of September -- thus the reason I didn't write/create a post.  

I turned 35.  Yikes.  I decided to turn it into my birthday week because birthdays should be more than just one day, perhaps a week, or why not the whole month, don't you agree?  To be honest, it was one of the best birthday weeks I have had in many years.  Considering I cried on my 30th birthday because I was not remotely close to my ideas of where I should be at 30, married, kids, and TONS of money in the bank; turning 35 was a piece of cake.  I still want to get married, have kids, and I am working on the TONS of money in the bank.  I believe I just have consciously dropped the need to plan it on MY terms.

It's so much easier to be ungrateful, like I was at 30, than to be in a place of gratitude like I was this past week.  I have realized that it's easy to complain and it feels so good, rather AMAZING, to commiserate with others about what you don't have, what you don't want, and what you feel like you need.  At the end of the day, though, that attitude and that behavior will prohibit learning, growth, and evolution.

This past week, I made a concerted effort to live in a place of gratitude and appreciation.  Everything seemed a little bit easier, a little bit more fun, and a little bit happier.  As most of you know, my vision is to Inspire the World, one-by-one, to Smile From The Inside.  It's about living an easier life, being more productive, and living a more balanced life.  One of the keys to do that, after you have accepted and dealt with your past and your past hurts, is this:  to be grateful and appreciate that which you have.  It sounds so simple, doesn't it?  It's not.

Can life still be annoying?  Yes.  Will we still be tested?  Of course.  Rest assured, just because we live with more gratitude and a bit more appreciation, we will still have moments of angst, upset, and hurt.  It's all part of this one-time experience we call life.  The key is how we accept, surrender, or defy current obstacles, hassles, and other daily nuisances as they occur.  

Choose another way!  Dare to be different!   

For my birthday, instead of sitting down with the nominees and winners, we sat above them to the left in the Private Boxes.  Much better views, we could walk around, and my personal favorite, there was pently of champagne to go around.  It was amazeballs!

I don't often share indulgent pictures, but here's a little sneak peak into my fantastic BIRTHDAY week.


BFF/ME - BLACK TIE



MY VIEW (END OF EMMY'S)


The #ELLEN Taping


INCREDIBLE HIKES...


DINNERS WITH GOOD FRIENDS...


I was truly blessed this past week.  Notwithstanding, I was also very emotional.  I missed my family, a little, but was happy I made time to spend with them at the beginning of the month.  I am in a much better place now than I was 5 years ago AND I am starting to understand the more you tell the universe what you REALLY want with CLARITY, it starts working on overtime.  Of course, you also have work your butt off at the same time...and take ACTION.

Birthdays are a reminder that we really don't have that much time on Earth.  Know better.  Be better.  Do better.  You never know when you might inspire others!


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A Smile From The Inside Production :)


Monday, September 16, 2013

WHEN YOU'RE DOWN... AND TROUBLED...


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SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA FIND YOUR "HAPPY PLACE"!

I don't know about you, but lately, I've been a little down and troubled.  When you are feeling down and out like I have been lately, try the following:

1.  Take Some Deep Breaths.  

Don't ever underestimate the power of a deep breath in and an equally deep breath out.  No matter what's going on, after three exaggerated breaths, I always feel better, more grounded, and/or ready for whatever lies ahead.

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2.  Find Your "Happy Place"!

Even when you are a little sad, sometimes, just sometimes, if you imagine your "Happy Place", the energy surrounding that "Happy Place" can be too much to maintain your frown.  You'll know it's your "Happy Place" because no matter what you are feeling, a tiny little bit of hope can be restored in your heart.  For years and years, my "Happy Place" was the Power Tower at Cedar Point (the world's tallest vertical descent and ascent ride).  I like the drop.  It's incredible.  Lately, however, all I have to do is think about my 3-year-old nephew eating Honey Nut Cheerios next to me in Boston and everything just seems better.  Find your happy place!

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3.  There's Magic in Your Smile.  

I recently read that smiles are actually magic.  Read the great article above.  It contends that when you smile, neuropeptides are released and transmitted throughout the whole body through neurons, therefore releasing happy and natural endorphins and serotonin into the body thereby lowering stress, lowering the heart rate, and immediately calms the body and elevates the soul.  I've also read that even if you FAKE your smile, the same response happens.  So, you see folks, smiling is great for you.  And, don't forget, that smiles are contagious too.  So, you never know, but you might just help someone else.


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I thought everyone could use some flavorful and much-needed advice right about now.  Much love to you all.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
1.  My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of today's Navy Yard shooting tragedy.
2.  Just a little plug about my book, "How I Learned to Smile From The Inside".  If you haven't bought it yet, do it now!

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A Smile From The Inside Production :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

IF NOTHING ELSE, THEY SHOULD HAVE TAUGHT ME THIS IN HIGH SCHOOL...


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Why didn’t they teach my this in high school?

Goal-setting and Goal-achieving!

How come we never learned to set goals, let alone achieve them in school?  I have asked myself this so many times throughout my life.  It would have been extremely helpful to pull that bag of tricks out of my “buttocks” whenever possible.

Some people know what they want to do when super young.  Sometimes I sigh after learning this, feeling a crazy combined sense of envy and jealousy.  Other times, however, I feel compassion.  Wow!  Doing the same thing for years and years and years. Alas, I have found, through research, the majority of “my” generation prefers to continually seek happiness in one position after another, eventually finding success on their own terms and through their own journey. 

Who knows if it’s more challenging to stay in the same job for twenty-five to thirty years OR to hop around from position to position every few years in a search to find true bliss and success all-in-one?  I’ll leave that question unanswered.  We all have to make these decisions on our own!

That being said, the only thing I’ve known my whole life is that I have a pretty big mission and that I will spend my entire life making sure the whole world listens to whatever it is I have inside of me and possess an inexplicable need to say.  I know that might seem vague, but I have truly, madly, and deeply had this same feeling my entire life.  When I am in alignment, success follows easily.  The further away I find myself, the more stagnant and scarcity follow.

Clearly, this is my stuff and my journey, but I cannot be the only one who A) feels similarly; and B) would have benefited from learning how to create, set, and achieve goals/objectives.


Grounded, I am not.

If you know me, you know that I am anything but grounded.  Love it or hate it, that’s who I am.  I am ambitious.  I want to do this and I want to do that.  I always have the same long-term goals in my mind, inspiring the world, one by one, to smile from the inside, however, the approach and what’s next shifts and changes often enough to irritate me from to time.

I wish I could be like Jim Carrey, who wrote himself a check for $10 Million, placed it in his wallet, carried it around with him everywhere, and then two years later, was offered his first big movie for $10 Million.  Again, I wish I could be like that.  I even, funny enough, wrote myself a check for $5 Million dollars and put the date of January 1, 2016.  Really?  I mean, that’s just crazy.  Sure I have income from my first book, but it’s not pouring in yet.  So what can I do?

I once read, in order to earn $50 Million, I need to put $50 Million dollars of value into the Universe.  Sure, it could be the myriad of books I have brewing in my mind, or one of my various TV treatments in development, or my eventual Oprah-like TV Show.   Realistically though, I need to shift my focus or objectives and take smaller steps to achieve greatness.


My Epiphany - Long Term Goals vs. Short Term Goals

I was sitting with my friend/Life Coach, when she and I both arrived at the same epiphany.  If I continue making long-term and lofty plans, I will never get anything done AND I may just be a little disappointed over and over again.  I’m much better at short-term and more reasonable goal-setting - three-month goals and/or six-month goals.  Any more than that and I become easily clouded like I have been from time to time over the past eight years since I started coaching and declared my vision in this life.


Have you heard of SMART Goals:

Now, we’re talking.  Here is something I wish they had taught me back in Highschool.  I call it Life 101 Skills.  It is essential if you want to get anything done.


Specific – Are you specific enough in your goal/objective?
Measurable – Is there a tangible to measure your goals within the time period allotted?
Attainable – Are your goals attainable?
Reasonable, Relevant, and Resources - Identify the resources/tasks necessary.
TimeLine - What are the target dates?


Conclusion:


To each their own, right?  Don’t you wish we had learned the above basic yet extremely necessary skill?  As for me, it goes without saying, I will keep you apprised of my own journey.  As for you, re: success and goal-setting/achieving, you have to find and do what’s right for you.  AND, as in all life, take what resonates and speaks to you, discard the rest, and make up the rest on your own.

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A Smile From The Inside Production :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHAT I LEARNED THIS WEEKEND...WITH MY PARENTS!!


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I love my parents.  I have spent the last few days with them down in their beautiful condo near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Myrtle Beach, why Myrtle Beach?  I asked myself that same question... many times.  They are East-coasters, and East-coasters are more drawn to the southeast in their later years. The same can be said for West-coasters.  West-coasters tend to be drawn to the southwest.  Who knows why?

I really needed a few days of R&R with the parents.  Within one week, I transitioned into two new roles within two new companies.  The details of which will follow shortly in another blog post.  (You have my word!)  Very interesting learning and growing opportunities for all involved.  But, I digress.

From time to time, throughout my life, when I was "warring" with my parents, I sometimes joked about the basic and primal fact that I must have been adopted.  Unfortunately, I look way too much like my sister to have been adopted.  For that matter, every where we went over the past few days, it was obvious to anyone and everyone that we were family.  I'm happy to report that I am not adopted.  I'm also happy to report that I could not love and appreciate my parents any more than I do now.

I arrived on Friday morning, after a brutal red-eye flight (I might just be getting too old for those), feeling a little under the weather.  My parents immediately started to cater to me from that moment on and for the rest of the entire weekend.  It was amazing.  They doted on me.  Through their doting and extreme kindness, they actually allowed me to see where I learned some of the most fundamental qualities that I cherish in life. 

Be Generous-
It was after our first breakfast, the first time I offered to pay for them, that they informed me that they constantly take my sister out, they help her out, they buy gifts for my nephew, etc...and that this weekend, except for my mother's birthday dinner, they wanted to treat me without question.  Even after they advised me of their desire to cover everything, I still offered to pay every single meal, every single stop, everything.  Of course, my generous offers were always declined.  At the end of the day, that's what they taught me to do and that's what I did.  Always be appreciative.  Be generous.  Give.  Give to others.

Shirt Off Their Back-
I know for a fact, and it was displayed many times throughout the weekend, that my parents would give me their last piece of "challah" bread and would rather starve than deprive me of anything.  They made crystal clear to me several times that they wanted to me to order/purchase anything and everything I wanted, whether it be at Whole Foods or The Waffle House, even if they had to compromise their order/purchase to do so.  I only hope I can be half (1/2) as good of a parent as my parents were/are to me.  They still continue to inspire me to be a better person and a better mother/father, rather parent.

Humility and Appreciation-
MIYABI's is a Japanese Steakhouse where the chefs cook right in front of you. It is always awesome food, although I couldn't really taste the awesome-ness this time (due to my cold), but my parents enjoyed it.  We got the bill and my mother leaned over to me and expressed concern it was too expensive.  It was the cutest thing.  She vehemently requested that I let my dad pay the tip, at least.  FYI - My parents live in rural New Hampshire (most of the year), however, frequent the Boston area often to visit my sister.  I literally had to hide the bill from my mother.  She was adorable.  It gave me so much pleasure to spend the $100 bucks or so for three of us to have an incredible Japanese Steakhouse dinner.  Some of you are probably laughing at this point, and just know that I have tried to explain to my parents on multiple occasions that 100 bucks for three people is amazing and cheap.  That night, I only felt it necessary to say, "Happy Birthday" and "Thank you for all you do for me."

Be Proud-
My decent and proud father, has taken to wearing his Vietnam Veteran cap anytime we left the house this weekend.  It certainly is a badge of honor and, considering her rarely talks about his days in Vietnam, I understand and know this is absolutely huge for him.  My father has always taught me to be Proud.  Be Proud of what you've done and what you've accomplished.  Be proud, even if, at times, it might feel like nothing to you OR it may be controversial in some way.  It is yours.  Be proud.  (P.S., we even got a Military discount this morning at The Waffle House!  It was awesome!)

I'll Do Anything for a Friend or Family-
Last night, it was pretty bad.  I was coughing and "crooping" to no end.  My mother had, earlier in the night, suggested that we stop by CVS on our way home.  I, still in denial, was insistent that I would recover without this cold turning into a cough.  Well, I was wrong.  At 10pm, I was still coughing rather consistently.  My father advised me that I should take the car and run to CVS, not five (5) minutes down the street.  

To be honest, I was not doing well and I really could think about nothing else other than crawling into my bed.  At 10:10pm, after hearing me cough once again, my father insisted that we go together.  I said, "There's no way I'm going to make you leave the house now.  It's way past your bed time."  He was determined and persistent.  Two other qualities, which I value in myself.  I have never doubted from where I learned those behaviors.  We went, picked up the cough medicine, then came back -- all within about twenty minutes.  I was in awe of my father.  How amazing is my dad?

Always Help Others in Need-
Today, as my dad and I were finishing up hitting some golf balls at the golf range, a huge tent nearby rolled over onto its side.  One little worker attempted to turn the tent right-side up when I curiously stopped hitting balls and looked over to my dad, who noticed as well.  I was just about ready to go over there and help, when I called over to my dad saying we should help them.  Funny enough, my father said, "They will send someone else to help him!"  I chuckled inside because I knew that my dad would help anyone in a second, but today, he was focused on hitting his last few balls.  Sure enough, within a minute, there were two other guys helping the original worker.  I LOVE my dad.  In all seriousness though, he (and my mother) taught me to help others in need.  It's always appreciated and you would appreciate the help yourself, right?

Conclusion:
It hasn't always been easy.  Trust me.  And we might have many more battles to come.  Now that I have embraced my parents for exactly who they are (with years of therapy under my belt), our relationship has never been better, more meaningful, and, to be honest, more enjoyable.

Mom and Dad, thank you for everything you have done and everything that you still do for me.  I love you!


FINAL THOUGHTS:
1)  I'm currently in NYC and LOVING it.  I miss NYC every day.
2) After you accept people as they are completely and without judgement, there is no telling to how much you can continue to learn and grow from them.  I am living proof.
3)  My favorite (and only) nephew is having his third birthday party this weekend and I for one, cannot wait.  Yay!!!

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A Smile From The Inside Production :)