Monday, May 22, 2017

Your Critics Will Never Be in the Ring

“A critic is a man who knows the way
but can’t drive the car.”
-Kenneth Tynan

In my family, we follow many traditions throughout the year. One tradition that we have during the summer is to get together for a barbecue and watch boxing. I am not fond of boxing. I think it is a brutal sport, but I love connecting and catching up with friends and family. Last week we got together for the Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chaves fight at a friend’s house. Usually, I keep myself busy with other things when the fight starts. I find any excuse to leave for a while. I run to the store to get some wine, dessert, or anything else that comes to mind. But this time I did something different. I stayed. Yes, I decided that I would stay and not just watch the fight but observe my family and friends watching the fight. I wanted to discover what all the fuss was about and why we have not evolved from the ancient Roman times. Just like in the Roman colosseum, family and friends yelled, and cursed when the boxer they favored was not meeting their expectations. It appeared to me that they transformed from being spectators to being boxing coaches.  They became the experts and the critics. For the most part, everybody wanted Canelo to win. Everyone yelled and cursed at him when they thought that he was not giving one-hundred-percent. And they all laughed at his opponent and his performance. Then I got it! We all had become harsh critics, even though we would not make it through one round in the ring. This experience made me think about the harsh critics that we encounter as we follow our dreams. People that are not in the ring will tell you how crazy and stupid you are for going after a life goal or passion. Here are three tips for overcoming harsh critics.

There is a reason that your harshest critics are not in the ring.
I have had many harsh critics on the road to my dreams. Just like the critics in your life, the people that are yelling at the boxer couldn’t be in the ring because they don’t have the drive or passion to pursue such a lofty ambition. From the outside of the ring they become experts because being a critic does not require great skills. On the other hand, it takes special talents and abilities to be a boxer. Only the athlete in the ring knows the strategy for when to punch or not to punch that we see in the ring. If we compare life to boxing, we find that our harshest critics think they know what our fight is about. But they have no idea. It’s easy to yell and curse at the boxer for not punching enough, or for avoiding a punch, when we are not in the ring. And it’s easy for others to criticize you. But remember, they are not in the ring. You are.

Only listen to people that have your best interests in mind.
When I think about the boxer, the only one that has the right to be a critic is the boxing coach. Only the coach knows what the boxer is capable of and what the strategy is. Even people that love you may want to discourage you from pursuing your dreams and goals. They believe that they are incapable of acquiring their dreams so they assume you can’t either. This belief exists because of who they are. It has nothing to do with you. People who love you may have the best intentions, yet know who your true coaches are, listen to them with care, but always take the advice of your soul because it knows the true fight you must win.

When all else fails, ignore them.
If you can’t delete your harshest critics from your life, simply ignore them. Don’t give them the power to hold you back. Ignore what they tell you and move on. I ignore those who doubt my dreams and ambitions by incorporating humor. I can laugh doubts away by not taking everything to heart. For example, when one of my harshest critics once told me that the world already had a Latina Oprah named Cristina, I told her that the world never had a Latina Oprah named Nancy Salmeron. I let it roll and laughed it away.

Boxing champions in the world are few, but the arena is filled with thousands of spectators and critics. There is a reason they are in the arena and not in the ring. Remember, you can’t listen to those that don’t know who you are or have lived your journey. Ignore those who doubt your dreams and don't forget that champions of the world are few. Be the champion of your life by not listening to outside critics and staying in the ring long enough to see your dreams come true. Until next time, Believe. Change. Become.

Sending blessings your way,

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Fulfilled Life and Passion

“Always go with your passion.
Never ask yourself if it’s realistic or not.”
-Deepak Chopra

There is a big debate on whether following your passion equates to a fulfilled life. When I share with some people that I gave up my career as an educator to follow my passion of personal development and inspirational speaking I get many different responses. Sometimes I get the, “Wow that is amazing!” stare. Other times I get the, “Have you lost your marbles?” stare. What is better: To go into the unknown, experience uncertainty and chaos, and be the creator of your life; or to be content with a life that you did not purposefully create? Today I want to look at these two viewpoints because they both have validity.  Here are three points to consider if you want to follow a passion-filled life.

Passion vs. Comfort.
To follow or not to follow your passion. That is the question. Following your passion is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. For some people like myself, it required giving up the comfortable, content lifestyle of a teacher.  It meant giving up a secure salary, a 401(k), summers and holidays off, and wonderful relationships. The first year was the hardest. I felt like a fish out of water. I mourned my old life, which had been practical and effortless. My daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly routine was gone. I cried at times. I wondered if I had made a mistake. But despite all of this I felt I could not go back. The idea of going back felt suffocating. I have wonderful memories of my life as an educator, but they are that—memories. I know that my soul would not let me go back.

Following my passion has given me courage.
If you want to become more courageous, follow your passion. People who follow their passion must beat fear. Yes, it’s scary to go into the unknown and pursue something that has no real guarantees. But what in life really is guaranteed?  In a conventional job or career, you are never exempt from losing your job.  You may think following your passion is risky because you have responsibilities like children, a mortgage, and bills. To risk this is very scary, and the truth is that, in accordance with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if you don’t have basic survival needs taken care of you won’t be able to focus on your dreams. With that said, start dedicating an hour a day to your passion, and if you need more time find a gateway job that will assist you until your passion can provide for you. That was not an option for me. I took a full leap of faith and left my teaching position because my soul would not have it any other way, and I have a wonderful husband who helps with the children, bills, and mortgage. Connect with your soul. What is it telling you? Take mini-steps to follow your passion, but please—take a step forward.

You may feel lost.
Listen, Beautiful, life is hard with or without a passion and just because you don’t follow a passion it does not mean that life and its’ difficulties won’t show up. They always do and will. Remember you are strong and wise enough to overcome every obstacle that life brings.  If you conform and settle for a life that does not inspire you, you have decided to give up the fight before you even get in the ring and you lose by default. Yes, following a passion adds a little more stress to your life, but it’s that stress that makes you grow. I can’t speak for all the people who have given up on their dreams and not followed their passion. But as a past conformist, I do know that I used to live a flat-lined life that made me sad. Today, there are many ups and downs in my life that remind me how much I desire to be aligned to my purpose. I am euphoric one moment and down the next and I love it! I love it because I know that I am on the right path.

Life is a gift that you give to yourself. You decide what you put into the gift box. Will it be a life full of adventure, meaning, purpose, and passion? Or will it be a life of contentment and comfort, based on fear? Yes, I have had many doubts about where I am going and even if I will get to my true destination. But I know that I have put into my gift box a life of connections with beautiful people, courage, patience, perseverance, and determination. So, the verdict is in. When I am on my deathbed, I will look back at my life and be proud to say that passion defined what my purpose was and that I did it my way. Listen, my friend—wake up to your true potential by connecting to your soul because your soul already knows what you are truly supposed to be. My soul has guided me toward realizing that I am supposed to remind you that you can overcome fear to live an authentic life full of passion and purpose. Believe in yourself and say yes to a life of your creation. Until next Monday, Believe. Change. Become.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Follow What Sets Your Soul on Fire

"Be Fearless in the pursuit of what set's your soul on fire."
A few days ago, I had a conversation with one of my soul sisters. Her soul reminds me of mine. We both have taken a leap of faith to pursue the unknown to discover our true calling. Our newly found calling includes being speakers and writers. Using different language, we cover some of the same topics. We have a special bond because our souls reflect each other. We both believe in uncovering the true human potential. In this conversation, we talked about our dreams, current milestones, stumbles, and failures. As we focused on our passion and our purpose we concluded that we will continue to do what makes us come alive regardless of the outcome. I told her that my journey to uncovering the true human potential has been the best one yet. I told her that I would speak about living in purpose and following your dreams for free because I loved it so much. She told me that she would continue to write even if her daughter was the only one who read her material. It was then that I realized that when you follow your passion and pursue your purpose you will do it for the joy of it and not for the money. I love this woman and I know that she is a powerful writer who needs to be heard by the world. Yet, I also know that what she said is true, because just like her I am authentically living in purpose and I have discovered joy not in the material things but in my essence which contributes to my purpose.  Here are three tips for clarifying if you are living in purpose or simply existing.
Purpose is found in the things you obsess about.
Empowering people to live authentic lives makes me come alive. I am obsessed with helping people to believe in their dreams. I believe that some of the desires you obsess about can connect you to your purpose. What do you obsess about? Is it creating pretty places in your home? If so, your purpose may be in interior design. Is it upgrading family recipes? Then, you may want to become a chef. Whatever your obsession may be, pay attention to it. Your soul is trying to point out your reason for being here on this planet. Don’t ignore it because it is not practical. If you love dancing, dance yourself to becoming a dance instructor, or simply do more of it!
What are you a natural at?
We are all good at something. I am a natural at connecting with people. I love being around people and feel that communicating with individuals comes very easily to me.  My connection with people and the fact that I love to talk makes it effortless for me to convey my message of pursuing dreams. Think about the things that come easily to you. Are you a natural diplomat, networker, or leader? Pay attention to what comes easily to you because being in your purpose feels effortless.
Where do you bring value?
I believe that our soul is a gift to the world because it’s within our soul that we discover what the meaning of our lives is. You are not an accident. You are intended to contribute the gift of your purpose to the world. I bring value to others by pushing them to be effective leaders, follow their goals, and make their dreams come true. As I empower others to believe in themselves I connect more to my reason for living. Your purpose does not have to consist of changing a million lives. Your purpose may be found in impacting one life. The value you bring may consist of bringing peace, joy, or contentment to others. The value you bring is also found in the value you give yourself. So, remember to believe in yourself and know that you are no accident and that your life has meaning.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that living in purpose requires you to understand your self-worth. It also means that you must take responsibility for your life. Your life is a gift and your gifts should be shared with others. Your obsessions and what feels natural to you can point you to your true calling if you pay attention. In the end, living in purpose is about realizing that you are no accident and that your life ‘purpose will soar when you bring value to other people’s lives. Unleash your authentic self and connect to your reason for being here by pursuing your purpose.  Until next time, Believe. Change. Become.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Don't Wish for Things to Change be Patient

"Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, 
and your attitude when you have everything."
Yesterday I had one of those days that make you want to scream—a day that makes you want to crawl back into bed and stay there! I have been dealing with a bit of back pain because of stress from some issues with my house. Due to the tumultuous weather we have been having, some parts of the roof on my home have missing shingles which resulted in leaks in the kitchen, garage, and living room. I have flooring, ceilings, and a roof that needs pairing. I have been feeling hopeless these last couple of weeks because the rain has not stopped so that the construction can begin. According to my husband (who knows about these things) repairing roofs, floors and ceilings is not an overnight job, and I needed to be patient. So, I started speaking to God and asking for patience. I did not want that roof fixed or my back pain to disappear. I just wanted patience to endure what I needed to endure with grace. I felt ridiculous because I know that there are bigger problems in the world and that missing shingles or damaged flooring is something that will eventually get fixed. Then it hit me! If I had only one wish, my wish would be to develop the virtue of patience. I started to realize that all my major problems have always been solved in one way or another and that I had no reason to suffer. My suffering comes from my lack of patience—my wanting things to get fixed now! Today, I want to dedicate this post to patience. With patience, anything is possible. With patience, you will make your dreams come true! Here are three tips on developing calmness and perseverance in your life by embracing patience.

Admit that you are impatient.
The first step to changing anything in your life is to admit that you have a problem. I used to believe that I was perfect and that patience was one of my top virtues. Now I have recognized my problem and I’m trying to do something about it. When you admit that impatience is a problem, don’t mistake it for procrastination. Patience isn’t about sitting idle and waiting for things to happen. It’s about understanding that the best things in life do require work and dedication, but they won’t be done overnight.

Develop the ability to embrace waiting.
Embrace waiting by not getting caught up in your emotional impulses. I embrace waiting by being present and mindful of my thoughts and actions. For example, yesterday I needed to step back and see my situation from another angle. When you feel that you need to have something done this moment, step back and relax. Focus on your breathing if you need to and visualize things working out. Be mindful of your thoughts and actions.

Analyze the situation and decide the next steps.
As I analyze my home situation and realize that it’s not a life or death matter, I am able to relax. I know my roof and floors will get done in due time and all I can do is be patient. If you have something else that you can be doing as you embrace waiting, do it. If not, relax and let things work out at their own pace. Trust me, things will get done. When you are impatient with a person, be mindful of your thoughts and understand that everyone is working at their level.  You can journal your thoughts or feelings about a situation. Find possible solutions and next steps, and then let it go.

Life can be overwhelming, but it’s up to us to center ourselves and to surrender the idea that things must happen now. As I let go of time expectations I discover more peace in my life. Yes, things will fall apart and take you off the journey to your becoming, but eventually things will come together the way they were meant to. As I go into my kitchen and see the destruction of the ceiling and floors I also remind myself to look at my beautiful white cabinets that were not ruined. These minor setbacks that can take away our patience can also direct our attention to the blessings in our lives. I have wasted precious time and energy focusing on what is not working in my life, but these moments were also perfect. Until next Monday, Believe. Change. Become!