Category Archives: Personal Development

Reset, Recharge and Restore

HELLO! I’m back from my indefinite hiatus. Although I thought about doing this numerous times in the last 3 months, I avoided it because I didn’t know what I could possibly write given what was happening in my life.

To keep it short: Since my last post, I had been hired by a remarkable marketing agency in the Flatiron district (with whom I continue to work remotely) where I encountered my own version of growing pains, took my first leadership role as a Live Your Legend Meetup host and “revived” the existing NYC Chapter, got really sick, went to WDS (World Domination Summit) where I made lifelong friends and learned lifelong lessons, met many inspiring people, and sadly lost a dear mentor and friend, Scott Dinsmore. Around the time my health took a turn for the worse, my emotional and spiritual stress was too much to bear alone and I decided to move back to California where I could recharge, reconnect with my support system of close friends and family, be in a relaxing environment and concentrate on healing.

Enjoying The Serene Mountains

To my utter delight, I’m thrilled to say that it was the right decision! Apparently I needed to put myself through through the beating of moving across the country to a buzzing megatropolis without any local social ties, job or structured program (like school) to give me some guidance. What is most unfitting is the fact that my outdoorsy self chose NYC.

I had clearly drifted so far out of touch with myself that I didn’t foresee being so affected by the lack of nature, green, friendly weather that I had grown to love living in California. I would never take back my year in New York City as it has been the biggest Turning Point in my life.

Given all that, it’s been such a positive and enriching experience being back and soaking up all that I missed when I was in New York feeling homesick, feeling nature-deprived or shivering under a blanket nursing my 4th sore throat during the harsh winter last year.

Through the many fun and downright difficult trials and tribulations during my year in New York, I learned more and more about myself and what I needed to do in order to avoid the same failures and to attract more success and happiness in my life.

In other words, New York City brought me closer to my authentic self, whom I abandoned somewhere along the road.

I’m so glad I did it and I’m so glad I’m right where I am. It’s good to have the words and voice back.

 

 

The One Thing That Might Be Controlling Your Life More Than You Know

Fear vs Us

Fear vs Us

It wasn’t until last month when I started having problems at my restaurant job and had a moving conversation with my mother on the phone last month that I realized how much fear was controlling and ruling my life.

It was a conversation that turned me very introspective and gleaned the truth that “fear really had me by the neck.”

This fear was very subtle, career-related, based on past traumas and linked to limiting beliefs.

Me: “Oh my gosh mom, I’m not a fearless person after all. I’m full of fear and it’s not helping my case right now. It’s probably going to bring about exactly what I don’t want! Shit, I’m going to read that book about the Fear Cure!”

Momma Dearest: “Yes you do! It looks great and I’m going to read it too.”

In Lissa Rankin’s The Fear Cure, Fear is found out, defined, discerned, and used to find places in ourselves that need healing. Fear is said to be at the very core of all-things bad in our lives. It contributes to:

  • Self-sabotage
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • phobias
  • insomnia
  • disturbing dreams
  • missed opportunities
  • lost love
  • diminished confidence
  • fatigue
  • and even illness!

“However, the type of fear that causes the above is defined as False Fear.”

False fear exists only in our imagination and results from the stories we tell ourselves about the things that happen in our lives. It’s when our body is stuck in the stress response when cortisol levels and heart rates are high-ready to help you in a fight-or-flight situation.

True Fear is the fear that can save you or your loved one’s life in a real threatening situation involving possible starvation, an attacker, or even a close call on the highway.

“Nowadays it’s rare that life or limb is genuinely threatened but our amygdala in the primordial brain can’t tell the difference.”

So it’s up to us to give ourselves a break and take the time to discern the fear and remind ourselves that it won’t be the death of us to give that presentation or bomb that interview. You’d do better without all that extra stress and lack of sleep anyway.

I found it fascinating that our culture shames the idea of fear but at the same time is totally fear-driven through press, policy, language, and advertising.

False fear is sneaky and wears many disguises. Stress, worry, and anxiety are also versions of fear.

Think about it. Lissa lays it out beautifully in the following passage:

“When we’re stressed at work, are we not actually just afraid? Afraid  of making mistakes, of disappointing our bosses, of harming someone we’re responsible for helping, of being perceived as unprofessional, of speaking up for what we believe is right, of killing the patient/losing the bid/letting the deal slip through our fingers? Aren’t we afraid of getting passed up for the promotion, losing our relevance, getting demoted, being fired, and winding up unable to support the family? Aren’t we afraid to demand shorter hours? Aren’t we terrified others will discover that we’re vulnerable and imperfect, when we expend so much energy trying to prove we’re professional superheroes? Many of us wear work stress as the most acceptable badge of honor but we also liberally admit that relationships are stressful. Parents are stressed with the kids. Spouses are stressed by each other. We’re stressed out whether to get married or have kids or break up, and we’re really stressed when we’re hopelessly in love with someone who doesn’t love us back.”

There is so much to talk about but the biggest takeaway from the study was the realization that I had a pessimistic explanatory style that was fertile ground for negativity! I never thought I was pessimistic but I did the exercises and realized the truth and that the subconscious mind is wired to produce whatever you put in. Most people I know tend to catastrophize events in their mind and worry constantly.

Worry is essentially negative visualization. Whatever it is you consistently visualize and focus on will eventually manifest. That’s powerful stuff we need to constantly remind ourselves to give ourselves a break and enjoy the pleasure that comes from imagining all the love and prosperity you desire.

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It doesn’t matter where on your journey you are, reading The Fear Cure is a must! Controlling fear and our thoughts is the best thing you can do to take control of your life and your decisions. Don’t let that love escape, miss the chance to make an impression or be afraid to ask for what you deserve. The risks are always worth it when you’re following your authentic self/gut/core/truth.

Next time you worry, ask yourself if it’s life threatening and where it’s coming from. It should be more soothing and less scary when you question it.

Happy discerning,

-Nicole

 

Writer’s Block Over And Done With

I’m back! Now that was the longest case of writer’s block I’ve encountered in a while. I almost feel guilty for it although I refuse to post content unless I’m absolutely certain that it’s great reading material.

In the past month there was a lot of change, thinking and inner work being done. I wasn’t sure what to share so I let myself stay quiet and process it until I could find the right way and time to express myself..

In a span of a month I have started a cutting edge transformational coaching program, got elected to be a Live Your Legend Meetup Host and got offered a position at a wonderful agency where I will embody an entirely new role for myself. It’s been exciting and terrifying to say the least.

Good things have started to manifest and I’m not sure exactly what and who is the cause since I started doing all this inner work at the same time. Last month, I started reading Lissa Rankin’s The Fear Cure, The Game of Life And How to Play It, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, exercising more regularly, following Carl  Harvey in THE BIG LIFE, researching more and focusing on what I want.

These actions taken over time synergized together to create better outcomes in the long run. Personal Development rockstar Jeff Olson would call this “The Slight Edge” which is the power of taking consistent positive actions over time.

I started reading these books and learning about the Law of Attraction because negative patterns have been repeating themselves over the years and I realized that I had to start doing things differently, thinking differently and talking differently. Essentially, I HAD TO DO EVERYTHING DIFFERENTLY if I wanted more. So there’s my welcome back from the dead and I’ll be covering more of my findings in the following post.


So glad to be back and thanks for reading!

Getting To The Heart Of The Matter: What’s Holding You Back?

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Finally, I find myself with an extra hour to spare. There’s no better time to share life-changing information than when a blizzard’s unfolding outside your window.

After being referred to Napolean Hill’s Think And Grow Rich for about a dozen times in the last year, I made the move to finally purchase his book on my kindle. I try to read it everyday in the subway.

I want to share with you his list of the 30 Major Causes of Failure because if you’re not exactly where you want to be right now, the first step is to determine what is standing in your way to success. I’m obsessed with getting to the source of things so this is my little treat for me and for you if you need a little push.

The 30 Major Causes Of Failure Are:

  1. Unfavorable hereditary background (Such as a deficiency in brainpower)
  2. Lack of a Well-Defined Purpose In Life
  3. Lack of Ambition
  4. Insufficient Education
  5. Lack of Self-Discipline
  6. Ill Health
  7. Unfavorable Environmental Influences During Childhood
  8. Procrastination
  9. Lack of Persistence
  10. Negative Personality
  11. Lack of Controlled Sexual Urge
  12. Uncontrolled Desire For ‘Something For Nothing’ (little effort-big returns)
  13. Lack of Well-Defined Power of Decision
  14. One or More of the Six Basic Fears 
  15. Wrong Selection of a Mate in Marriage
  16. Over-Caution
  17. Wrong Selection of Associates in Business
  18. Superstition and Prejudice
  19. Wrong Selection of a Vocation
  20. Lack of Concentration of Effort
  21. The Habit of Indiscriminate Spending 
  22. Lack of Enthusiasm
  23. Intolerance 
  24. Intemperance 
  25. Inability to Cooperate With Others
  26. Lack of Possession of Power Acquired Through Self-Effort
  27. Intentional Dishonesty
  28. Egotism and Vanity
  29. Guessing Instead of Thinking 
  30. Lack of Capital

So which of these are standing between you and your success?

I determined that eight of the above tend to stand in my way. Identifying the causes that keep us in a rut is the first step, then the most important things to do is be PERSISTENT and develop a PLAN backed by ACTION!

“Good things come to those who ACT!”

-Nicole

 

Birthdays And Insights

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So my 26th birthday just passed this Monday on December 1st and along with it came many different emotions. I think this tends to happen around “important” dates and holidays when people’s expectations tend to run higher than any other time of the year.

I say this because this Thanksgiving and 26th birthday is the FIRST time I wasn’t surrounded by a single family member or close friends.

For those of you who have been through this, you understand how unsettling it can feel. I’m new to this and this is why in the past I never imagined I’d move away from family. The funny thing is, my brother Michael is going through the same thing for the first time too. Amazing, similar experiences with completely different circumstances.

Despite this shock I joyfully express my gratitude to the people who have made their way into my crazy life in NYC and have welcomed me with open arms.

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I send a “thank you” to Roxy’s family for having me in the defining month of September and inviting me over for Thanksgiving. And I also send a “warm thank you” to Aleksandra, Giovanna, Jinna and Wendy for being good friends to me in the short time I’ve known them. I would be eccstatic to share another Peruvian feast with you again and again.

After my birthday dinner, me and a friend decided to go out until very late and ended up having a foolish scuffle. The next morning, I was left with a terrible hangover, aching body and some post-birthday blues that were facilitated by the hangover. The foolish scuffle caused me to feel negative emotions and turn introspective.

I’m going to commit to getting to sleep earlier and to stop drinking alcohol because I realized that I HATE the resulting hangover/blues much more than I love the short-lived high of being buzzed.

What’s worse, these negative habits grossly diminish productivity. There’s not a chance I’m going to work out, eat healthy or be alert after those late nights.

I’m afraid this is going to alienate me a little bit because people here generally like to drink outrageous amounts of alcohol and stay out until the sun rises. Either way, I have to do what’s best for me and am confident that I will find people that think and act similarly.

One of the biggest reasons for this resolution is my reading of Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge and the idea that every single little decision you make is either working FOR you or AGAINST you.

An example could be every time you decide to eat that cheeseburger instead of a nutritious meal, hit the snooze button and skip your early workout, or worse – have a long night and lose half of the next day. Basically, it resembles the “compounding” of good or bad choices that end up resulting in your failing or improving health, relationships and finances.

There couldn’t be a better book to read for my current situation than the Slight Edge. The reason why this concept is so treasured by me and all of Jeff’s readers is the simplicity of it all.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”

The 95% majority of people that are struggling are motivated by quick results and instant gratification. The successful 5% are those who use the slight edge to take action with a vision of where they will be and a confidence that their consistent good decisions will make a difference.

So remember, every decision you make counts. Think twice before you decide to skip that seminar, neglect to call your friend who you haven’t talked to in a while, or get that extra drink.

You’re either on your way down or on your way up, I know I’m on my way up.

-Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

Making The Right Kind Of Investments In Yourself

9239547017_da455d0098_z  Oh my goodness I just did something HUGE!!!!!!!

I managed to buy a $500 ticket to the annual World Domination Summit for Summer 2015 just a few hours ago! For those of you who don’t know what WDS is, I’ll explain:

It is an annual gathering of interesting people (who are doing great things or destined for great things) from all over the world. It takes place in Portland, Oregon and thousands of people come for an immersive experience in life, work, and travel. The four-day event consists of main-stage events with keynote speakers, many of which have delivered TED Talks; workshops that focus on specific topics, and lots of meetups, parties, and informal engagement. It was founded by Chris Guillebeau, the author of The $100 Startup and The Happiness of Pursuit. The event’s slogan is “living a remarkable life in a conventional world.”

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WDS bings the world’s movers and shakers together

This was a good investment because I know the importance of environment and “putting the right people in your corner.”

Another way that I re-framed it was thinking about how much I could spend in less meaningful activities:

  1. $200 for a 3-day festival in which most attendees are partying and under the influence of (insert here)
  2. $200 for a 1-time Skydiving experience
  3. $500 for 1 week at Burning Man or a few days at Coachella where most people are also under the influence
  4. Or $500 for a weekend of irresponsible spending on “fun” which many young people in New York City are in danger of doing under specific circumstances

I’m in no way condemning the people who choose these activities, I’m saying that they aren’t necessarily good for networking or have a high return on investment. I am prepared to feel uncomfortable now so I can experience the rewards later.

I know it won’t happen until this coming July but I have already been working on surrounding myself physically and virtually with people who bring me up and encourage growth in NYC and through the Live Your Legend community. I even managed to arrange a mini-LYL meet-up in Manhattan. I met two lovely ambitious ladies who are just as determined as I am to make a dent in the world. We also provided important knowledge to each other about other do-good groups and people.

I have to thank Scott Dinsmore for bringing this yearly event, and many other “movers and shakers,” to my attention. If it weren’t for Live Your Legend’s online tools, articles, and group participation, I wouldn’t have known about Jonathan Fields, Simon Sinek, Blogging or Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.

I just realized that the author of the book I’ve been enjoying is also the founder and ringleader of the World Domination Summit! Things in my world are finally starting to connect and come full circle!

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It’s a great feeling when all the stuff one has gone through starts to make sense. For a while there I felt like I was running in-place. I wonder if others have felt similarly.

Moreover, Chris’ Happiness of Pursuit is about his quest to visit every country in the world before the age of 35 and about the many other “questers” he met along the way. Through his interviews with hundreds of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, he reveals how anyone can bring meaning into their life by undertaking a quest.

I’m very excited about what’s to come.

An Update On Last Week’s Goals

Fall-Inspired Self Portrait done with colored pencil

Fall-Inspired Self Portrait done with colored pencil

So last week I undertook the project of publicly sharing six ambitious tasks for me to accomplish between Thursday 10/23 and Saturday 11/01. This was an experiment to test the effectiveness of perceived accountability. I say “perceived” accountability because I have no idea how many people or if anyone is consistently keeping track of my blog and its progression. This is fine because its visibility is still public and that puts pressure on me to deliver.

Unfortunately I didn’t complete most of my “weekly big six” because I forgot to consider my mom’s visit to NYC! I am by no means blaming it on her, I am acknowledging the fact that I GROSSLY lacked perspective while planning. I also didn’t know that I was going to be so over-scheduled by my employer.

This is where I got with them:

  1. (Check) Start doing some form of cardio or strength exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days a week
  2. (Check, more work needed) Seek out events and interest-focused groups to attend in Bushwick (probably through Meet-up)
  3. Seek out and attend some exercise or dance class in the area
  4. Buy more towels, a window curtain, trashcans (Check) and recruit my  mom as a decorator (In Progress)
  5. Reach out to at least 2 different resources each day for getting work in my field
  6. (Check and In Progress) Do some awesome things with my mom because she’s visiting and I’m SUPER EXCITED

Although I didn’t put this in my to-do list, I AM very happy with the art piece I created last week. Revisiting my identity as an artist will become the new theme of the year for me, especially now that I’m in New York. This has been unexpected, as art is the last thing on mind when I find myself stressed and I anticipated being highly stressed in New York. This new urge to get back to art has been an utterly pleasant surprise that I am welcoming with a huge embrace. What’s even better? The fact that winter is almost here and the weather is going to be more conducive to me staying in and contemplating an empty canvas.

I’ve also been getting urges to expand my understanding of art into the realm of technology. I know that I’m “young” and expected to really “get” the tech world and all its tricks but I have never been a fan of “screens.” It’s time, it’s time I accept that I can’t run away from these things anymore and I need to learn to conquer them and use them for my benefit in means of graphic design, photography, editing and whatever else I should learn.

Keep Creating!

-Nicole

LYL Blog Challenge: What Do People Thank You For?

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Day 3 of blog challenge writing prompt: What do you people thank you for?

I would say that people thank me most for my enthusiasm, honesty, affection, integrity and fearlessness (I’m not really fearless). Many times it has come to a shock to me when people make it a point to say that I’m honest and actually listening to them. It makes me sad that this isn’t a more common thing happening in people’s interactions with each other. Of course I’m listening, otherwise, why would we take the time to be together? It’s the bare minimum.

Then, when it comes to honesty and integrity, I know no other way to be. It’s so natural to me to do what I think is right. If not, the guilt eats away at me. I guess my parents did something right, being cursed with a healthy conscience can’t be such a bad thing.

I have also been told that my “fearlessness” and go-getter attitude inspires people to act which pleases me because I’m not actually fearless. That’s just me pushing past my fear and doing what I must. I think the worst things that have happened in people’s lives is a result of fear and being ruled by it:

  • Destroyed relationships
  • Lost Opportunities
  • Boredom
  • Unwarranted aggression
  • Wars
  • Cruelty

I can go on and on about how fear flat out SUCKS! It’s okay to be scared, just don’t let it stop you. You have probably read over and over about my decision to move to NYC despite my uneasiness before and during the transition. It has been my best decision despite the “unsexy” moments of stomach aches, lightheadedness, overwhelm, loneliness, trepidation, tears and sweat.

-Nicole

 

Live Your Legend Blog Challenge

Just two days ago I signed up for the free Start-A-Blog Challenge with Scott Dinsmore from Live Your Legend. It comes with a free 7-day course to help build a successful writing habit and a private community of over 1,200 writers. You can access the free course and join the challenge here: http://liveyourlegend.net/start-a-blog-challenge-2015/. I strongly recommend that you take this challenge on whether you’ll share your ideas with the public or simply write them in secret. Either way, it is an extremely effective tool for exploring your passions and figuring out your world. Daily writing also inspires people to get out and live because it gives them more material to reflect on and write about. Face it, writing is something that everyone needs to be familiar with in this day and age. With practice you’ll become good at it and then you’ll have a huge leg up in life!

I skipped Day#1 of the blog challenge because I already started my blog  in July. So here I go with the 2nd one:

Day#2 of Blog Challenge: What makes you most angry about the world?

Alone Together

Alone Together

  • Apathy/Alienation
  • Silence
  • Complacency
  • Cruelty

Apathy upsets me because it is the cause of inaction in the presence of horror and it seems to be a big issue for the way many Americans react or don’t react to global affairs. Another thing that infuriates me is how people are letting technology alienate themselves from each other. From my viewpoint, it looks like people are becoming apathetic about the lives in front of them because they’re spending most of their time looking at their computer, ipad, or smart phone screens. Nothing breaks my heart more than when I see a couple in a nice restaurant ignoring each other or a group of friends consumed by their phones. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and be engaged or just go home.

Silence in the face of injustice is another thing that drives me up the wall. I have a strong belief that the worst thing to happen in the world is the “silence of good people.” Sure there are more compassionate and reasonable people than there are psychopaths but the few psychopaths that exist will not not be stopped if the “good” majority stands idly by. I always make it a point of mine to stand up for someone if it’s in my ability to help them, it is the best gift you can give a stranger.

Lately, I have been surrounding myself with people who are constantly challenging themselves and I feel SO much better. People who have embraced routine and complacency in theirs lives are boring to be around. I have to thank a few of my friends: Reyes, Spencer, Ola and the Live Your Legend community for sharing that similar view on the importance of enjoying life and lifelong learning.

And last but not least, cruelty is another thing that makes me angry enough to stay up at night. More than anything, it is the complete opposite of compassion which is supposed to be the natural disposition of humankind. It was actually a means to our survival as a species so it doesn’t make sense to me when our own kind continues to commit such heinous acts on humans or animals. This can relate to the recent beheadings committed by ISIS; the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan; bear bile farming in Asia; rape, shark finning and the countless other horrible things that humans continue to do. If I have any supreme purpose on this Earth it is to take part in obliterating many of these.

What Makes You Most Angry About The World?

Feel free to share.

-Nicole

 

 

 

Discovering The Culprit (Part 2)

In his book, Shad Helmstetter talks about the importance of the things we say to ourselves and the directions we give our subconscious, our self-talk. Through studies and personal observation, he determines that people can’t make any lasting positive changes in their lives without changing their mental programming that has gotten them there in the first place.

This is evident in the fact that there are countless self-help books that hold the “keys to success” and yet, have caused change in only a handful of the tens-of-thousands of individuals who have read them. These best selling success solutions would work for a time and then the average person would revert to their old ways.

This is because: The old programming controls the habits, so the old habits take over once again.

“As much as 75% of everything we think is negative, counterproductive, and works against us. And medical researchers say that 75% of all illnesses are self-induced.”

Can you believe that?! We can literally talk and think ourselves into failure and illness. It’s not all our faults, we have all heard around 100,000 “NO’S” up until the age of 18. It’s obvious that we have received a staggering amount of programming from the day we are born. We have been told how we look, what we’re good at, what we’re not good at, and what we can’t do (40). Our computer is pre-programmed to hold us back because of self-doubts and bad habits we have formed without our knowing.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of visualization and the picture you have of yourself. Helmstetter says that we can “override our old programming and replace it with a specific word-for-word new program”(26). And since the subconcious mind believes anything you tell it you can use that to your advantage. It’s as simple as changing this common phrase:

“I’m terrible with remembering names”

to “I’m great with remembering names. My mind is sharp, alert, and excellent at retaining information.”

I know it sounds nutty if it’s not true yet but it makes no difference whether you believe it or not. Your brain simply believes what you tell it most. “What you tell it about you, it will create” (26).

Just think about it, how do you expect yourself to be graceful if you have been telling yourself for the past 20 years that you’re clumsy?! That wouldn’t make sense. Oftentimes, it takes someone outside of ourselves to change our self-perception. Seriously! When I had a banker tell me that I’m “financially literate and I GET the financial picture” something awesome shifted in me.

You start to focus on those encouraging words and look for evidence to support it. Before you know it, you feel better about your ability in XYZ and become more competent as a result.

A really strong tool to help is recording yourself using the self-talk that the Author provides in his later chapters related to different areas in your life. According to him, if you listen to these positive self-talk recordings daily (even when you’re busy doing other things). you will see a change in as little as a week.

* Just yesterday I started using his scripts for motivation, greatness, solving problems, money, and self-esteem and I felt very uplifted.

Remember: Whatever thoughts you have programmed into yourself or have allowed others to program into you are affecting, directing, or controlling everything about you…so why not take in your own hands and choose what is in your mental program?

(I’ll keep you posted on my progress with self-talk in the days to come)