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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Toastmaster Leadership and Communication Expo 2017

Have you ever felt inspired after attending a conference? 

Let me share with you a little bit about the today’s Toastmaster Leadership and Communication Expo (LACE) that got me inspired and kept me up all night!

What I enjoyed about LACE is that not only did it provided great speakers, but the amazing energy that I received from other participants there. Everyone I met were so positive and friendly.  I mean they are Toasties!  This means they are people from Toastmasters.  I created my own word, "Toastie" because everyone from my club is so warm and friendly.  We are as close as toasts in the oven together.  

Most people I chatted with had some kind of service that they want to offer to the world.  And as for me?  I thought it would be a great opportunity to hone my leadership and communication skills.  Little did I know, I gained much more!

My take-ways are learning about the Five Ways to Get Paid written by Christopher Duncan and the live improv show by National Comedy Theatre.  Chris provided eight ways to create your show and get paid for it! Some of these strategies include: to entertain, teach, interview, research, using social media, and also use case studies.  He explains that these strategies, and more, will provide you audience members. You need an audience to start your show.  You might be asking yourself, “Is building an audience the key to getting paid?” Chris says, “Definitely.” Now, go and create your own show!

Another workshop I enjoyed about LACE, learning the cheapest way to get your book published.  I learned that this is through an e-book! 

Additionally, a key phrase I kept hearing throughout the day is “Take Action!” For instance, I was so inspired after this talk that I upgraded my yoga business though research and marketing.  You can do the same!

I also discovered that I love live improv shows!  The National Comedy Theatre segment at the end of LACE was entertaining.  I found myself laughing my heart and eyes out! 

However, LACE had a few minor downsides.  For instance, one downside was that I was able to find two things that I was disappointed to hear about and I hope that LACE San Diego will improve on not encouraging their speakers and instructors to sell their business.  From the speakers to the instructors for the workshops, they were either selling their products or want you to sign up for their workshops.  The second downside, I would say, is LACE did not provide enough food for their participants.  I am not sure how many people did not end up getting their lunch, but I had a conversation with one of them and gave him my granola bar.  He was disappointed and hungry.  Poor guy. For the future, LACE needs to order more food than they expect so this won't happen again.  

Overall, I really enjoyed LACE and I thought they did a great job by providing a variety of leadership and communication activities.  I was so pumped that I ended up writing about it later!  I haven't written an entry for months! 

Meanwhile, here is some information for those who are interested in attending future Leadership and Communication Expos.  I hope you enjoy these pictures!

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Leader within Me

It only takes one person to make a positive impact on a child.  My seventh grade teacher saw something in me that forever changed my life.  Excited to learn English, I found myself looking up every words in the dictionary, but avoiding math.  Learning math was like forcing a child to eat their vegetables at an ice cream store.  As my eagerness to learn English grew, I came to find that math still was not my favorite subject in middle school.  I stayed after school for many hours until I learned basic Algebra.  Another challenge that I came to accept as a newly arrived refugee in America was that I now needed to fit in to the social norm.  After my first and last fight at school, my math teacher, Mrs. Kelli, encouraged me to join a student-led organization calls ASB.  I remember this experience being a punishment for me.  I had to plan dances and organize events.  As time went by, I learned to enjoy the experience.  The skills and friends I made kept me out of trouble and kept me from my personal worries.  Little bit I know, that was just the beginning of my leadership journey.  I soon found myself going from being a high school representative to representing my college’s Student Union Association and later holding leadership positions in my career.  These experiences allowed me to gain leadership skills while helping others along the way.  Time and time again, I found myself back in taking on more leadership opportunities and roles.  I am happy to have recently accepted my true calling of being a leader. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I am imperfection…

I am imperfection...

That was how I thought of myself for many years.  I might not be perfect in English, and I’m not a model. Despite my height and English not being my native tongue, I was taught that I had to be a certain person in order to be accepted.  I found myself craving to be something that was not my true self.

For most of my life, I was taught to improve my weaknesses.  Then recently, a wise person told me to dig deep, focus on my inner self, and mediate on it.  After I took that advice, I discovered a new practice and it has informed my every thoughts and actions.  So instead of focusing on what is wrong with me and/or why I am not perfect in English or taller, I decided to explore a new way of thinking, which was to focus on my strengths. 

Soon, I realized that I could start conservations with strangers and feel connected with them.  On one occasion, I even became best friends with a complete stranger by the end of our flight.  (I wonder what this strength would be…Networking perhaps?) 
I also examined my habit of maintaining three different to-do-lists and my ability to remain focused by getting ‘in the zone’, especially when I am planning activities and goals for the day, week, and month in my Passion Planner, yes, that includes weekends.  (This sounds like, according to the Strengthfinder 2.0.)

Also, when there is an uncontrollable life event, like a funeral, I would maintain my composure, and be the one to take charge and plan it even though it is emotionally challenging.  (Resilience, it is!)
I  can now easily identify the strengths within me.  One might say these strengths evolve from life situations and experiences, while others believe they exist at birth, and that one was born with these talents.  

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still going to put my energy into development.  However, for years I neglected my talents.  Now, I am nurturing my strengths and talents by choosing to embrace them! I challenge you to do the same!  Afterward, I guarantee you will feel as I do:
I am enough.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Foodie; Who Me?

I always try to learn something new everyday; whether it is about myself or it is something about the world that I currently live in.  Today, I learned something new about myself.

As I overlooked the beautiful Pacific Ocean from Mexico, my mother-in-law told me that I’m a “Foodie” kind of person.  When I asked what does that word mean, she told me that she enjoys eating food and curious of their taste.  According to my mother-in-law, “Foodie” means that I am passion about food and curious of them.  Before I took it as a compliment and to make sure that it describes me towards food, I Googled it.  Google states, “a person with a particular interest in food.” Well, I guess my mother-in-law is right!  I’ll add “Foodie” on to my list of self-discovery about myself.  

I am curious about food and not only I enjoy the taste of it, I also love the smell of it.

I have to admit, most of the pictures that I took, either on trips or just for fun are food…

Acceptance of Oneself…

Once you learn to accept who you are and love the person that you are, you will no longer suffer because you won’t let other hurt you through the feeling of rejection.  Remember, you are not the victim here because you are responsible for your life through making choices (good or bad) everyday.  You accept who you are and in the end, that is all you need.  The one person that loves you and accepts you just the way that you are…

You are the only person that has the power and control of how your life looks like and turns out to be today.  So, take the time to tell yourself that you are sorry and forgive yourself for any mistakes you had in the past, and move forward.  Tell yourself to not worry about the future because it is not here yet, and there is no need to worry yourself for no reason and stress yourself out.  Of course, tell yourself to enjoy this moment because you have choices of how today would look like.  You made the choice to be on Facebook or when to wake up… Why not make the choices to help towards your future and accomplish your dreams by living in the now?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Airbnb; is the way to go, anywhere!

When I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I always enjoyed the aspect of living with a host family.  I lived with a single Costa Rican woman in a remote village.  I found my experience was very rich because everyday we would talk about the simplest things in life such as the weather, nature, people, and culture.  I wouldn't get the local experience, if I didn't live with a host family.  This was a great way to emerge into a culture.  Few years later, who knew that this concept became wide spread virus as they calls it, Airbnb! 

When my husband and I travel, we would either camp out along the coast or stay with friends and family.  We are not the hotel kind of people, not yet.  I think one, because we enjoy spending time with our friends and family when we travel, and two, we enjoy the local experience.  However, as we get older and our friends and family got bigger, we thought it would be nice to maybe give them some space when we visit… 

Although I enjoy staying at a hotel, don't get me wrong, I sometime find it a bit pricey, especially for someone that is on a budget such as myself.  As we were planning our trip to San Francisco few months ago, we noticed the prices for lodging were expensive! Meanwhile, my husband loves to research about stuff before he makes decision.  So he did some research and found Airbnb from an article! We signed up, became a member, and booked our first Airbnb trip!

I got to say, even though it was a bit pricy in San Francisco; it was a bit cheaper than any hotel in the area! We found a very cute, simple, and small room. It was interesting that someone would rent out their space to a stranger that they don't even know and/or have met! The person that we rented from gave us great instructions on how to access the key, and left us a list of places to go to eat out. Overall, it was a great experience, and we were hook since then! 
This is taken from Airbnb's Website
Recently, we used Airbnb again!  This time was in Los Angeles, CA! We stayed in Boyle Heights area to get the local experience of the city. The person we stayed with had a private room that she rents out of her house.  She was so sweet and provided us some dinner, which was BBQ and breakfast! She also gave us information regarding the neighborhood's history and culture.  Right then, I felt as though I was back in Costa Rica with my Tica’s host mother sharing her story and experience with me. 

Hands down, Airbnb has been treating us well and we have been very fortunate to gain rich experiences with the places we stayed and the people we have met along the way. It is true Airbnb motto said, "Be anywhere and welcoming people into your home."  We are excited and look forward to traveling via Airbnb again.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Turn Off the T.V. and Put on Your Shoes!

It is easy to take your shoes off, change your clothes to pajamas, and turn on the T.V., especially after a 9-hour workday! Once you sit on your couch with some snacks, you are done for the evening! There goes the idea of going for a nice evening walk or jog.  

I find it challenging to start a new routine, especially the kind that requires effort.  I realized, as I get older, I find myself welcoming laziness in my life.  I find myself enjoying a nice evening movie or catching up with my favorite shows.  Next thing I know, it is 10:00pm and I’m heading to bed.  Then, the next day it starts all over again.

I had set a goal to start jogging again.  Although I have not been successful at sticking with my goal, I need to be patient with myself. So far, I have been jogging once a week for three weeks.  This is a great start, especially I went from not jogging at all for the last six months!  

Today, instead of going straight to my comfortable couch and watching my favorite show, I put on my shoes and walked out of the door.  The entire time, my thoughts were debating against each other.  My chatterbox of excuses such as "OMG! My belly is jumping up and down! How embarrassing. I should go back home."  Then, there was the motivation side of me telling, "Imagine how you would feel like after you have a nice jog…  You'll be proud of yourself. Don't forget to tell yourself that you're awesome when you are finish!"  This constant debate chattered in my mind as I jogged passed the sidewalks, stoplights, shopping centers, cars, and people.  Then, 30 minutes later, I made it back home and I told myself, "I am awesome!" 

Today was a good day.  I just told myself to get my shoes and go for a jog.  I tried this yesterday, and I ended up watching a romantic comedy movie instead.  So the lesson here is that, you lose some and you win some.  Most importantly is that our mind is very strong.  If we challenge ourselves and allow ourselves to make mistakes and accept that is going to take few tries, we will be more acceptable to putting effort into things that are good for our body and mind.