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The Value Of A Life

Have you ever wondered why things happen? I used to ask myself that question a lot when I was little and into my teens. Every time not so good things happened, the more I’d question WHY?

I hadn’t asked myself that question for a very long time until recently due to a very unexpected event. More on that later.

Here’s something you might not know about me. I’ve been called an “anti-pet” person, but a pro-animals. What I mean by that is that I love animals, but I’ve never really wanted the responsibility of caring for one because I’ve seen it as a huge responsibility.

However, I’ve always cared about pets and as a way to help indirectly, I’ve always donated things and money to organizations that help pets.

I think I formed this mentality about pet responsibility when I was very little. I was probably about 5 or 6 years old and still living in Nicaragua. I had a doggy name Dunky.

I don’t know where the name came from. I’m assuming I was trying to say something similar to that and I just remember calling my dog “Dunky”.

Well, I remember that Dunky died and my parents buried him in the back yard. I was very sad about it, like any other kid would be. But I think I learned about the big responsibility of a life through that experience. Continue reading “The Value Of A Life”

No Secret To Success

You know when you see articles online stating topics like, “10 Things That Billionaires Do Each Day” or “Highly Effective Habits Successful People Practice”? Well, those titles grasp people’s interest because they infer that if people adopt some of those habits, they too might become very successful.

Before I went into entrepreneurship, I’d click on those type of articles out of curiosity and to be honest, I was looking for an answer about how I could become successful.

I wondered if I was doing something wrong or if I needed to adopt a new habit to get to my goal. I also compared myself a lot – which is very damaging to anyone who does it (another topic for later). While a lot of those articles are interesting and they can help you learn new ways to do things, they don’t guarantee success or wealth.

It’s kind of the same rule of thumb as, “if it’s too good to be true, then it is”.

Success Happens Gradually

No one reaches success overnight. No one! Just think about it. Think about very successful people who made it big and their stories. For example, I recently read an article on AARP’s March 2017 issue that Morgan Freeman was 50 years young when he came out in Driving Miss Daisy.

Before that, he’d been a dancer in broadway shows because he’d been advised that desirable actors where those who could act, sing and dance. So, he learned to dance. Continue reading “No Secret To Success”

Free Resources For Start-Up Entrepreneurs

“When did you realize you wanted to be your own boss?” someone recently asked me. It stunned me because I hadn’t even thought of it. It’s always felt as if I’ve had crazy ideas that no one really understood.

But as I thought of this, I started remembering my entrepreneurial attempts.

My first job was when I was 10 years old. I worked for an entrepreneur who would provide his kid employees a box of candy. He’d drive us kids around “rich neighborhoods” to sell the candy bars.

It was hard work for a 10 year old because we had to walk house-to-house and get a lot more NOs than Yeses. We’d make a profit from the sales and the kid who’d sell the most would get a bonus at the end of the day.

Then, I started working for a lady who would give my Mom patterns to sew from home. By the time I was 14 years old, my mother had become a single mom of six.

She’d try to find any way to earn money and take care of us and in a way, I think she’s who taught me to be resourceful and to use what I knew to earn a living. She’s been the best role model of survival in my life.

My younger siblings would help my Mom with minor tasks while the my two middle kids and I helped sew some of the clothes. Later, I asked my Mom’s employer for a job. So, I became her helper at her clothing boutique during the week and I’d go sell the clothes at a high-end flea market with her on the weekends.

While working for someone was not exactly me owning my own business, it felt good to work on my own terms and to chose what I wanted to do. I loved being able to go to school and being able to earn money.

Years later, when I was in the military, I became a Mary Kay consultant. I did pretty well despite the fact that I was not a good seller and I wasn’t into make-up or skin care products.

Later, as I was getting ready to leave the military, I became a Realtor & Real Estate Consultant. While I did great, my career was short lived due to the market crash in 2007.

While in college, I learned about a program called the Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) with Disabilities. I applied and was accepted.  Continue reading “Free Resources For Start-Up Entrepreneurs”

Teaching Kids The Real Meaning of Happiness

     I recently overheard a conversation going on right next to me between two people. They were discussing the outrageous amount of money that rich people throw away every day on non-sense type of stuff. One of them said that if they could only have a few million dollars, all their problems would go away.

That comment really caught my attention. It made me wonder how many kids believe that money solves all problems or that money can create complete happiness because I was that kid. I used that used to think that because I’d heard people say that around me.

But very soon after, when I became a teenager I learned that those beliefs were merely myths. Overhearing that conversation and thinking back to what I used to believe about people with monetary wealth made me reflect on what “rich” people’s hardships might look like.

I thought a bit on what it must feel like to wake up each day knowing that if something were to happen to their loved one’s health, the last thing they’d have to worry about would be how to pay the insurance bill.

Sure, they’d be devastated about a health challenge. But in a way, is their angst lessened due to their wealth?

I don’t know. I’ll never know because everyone is different. The point of this story is that we all have different views on wealth. I used to think that I’d want to grow up to become rich, own a big mansion and drive a Lamborghini.

Maybe I thought I wanted this because the first home I lived in was no more than probably 800 sq. ft. As I got older, my parents were able to afford a bigger home and as an adult I’ve had the opportunity of owning a spacious home. Continue reading “Teaching Kids The Real Meaning of Happiness”

Beating The Odds When Everything Is Against You

I’m baaaack!!! And it feels so great! I appreciate your patience and still hanging in there for me. I’ve learned so much the past month with my business challenges, which were nothing compared to other people’s more serious situations. But, if you’ve just recently subscribed I’ll catch you up.

I had serious tech issues that pretty much stopped everything I was doing in the online part of my business. I couldn’t deliver my blogs, I lost tons of material I had already prepared for upcoming social media distribution and I couldn’t even log into the back end of my website.

These issues got me thinking because I felt horrible about myself. I started to beat myself up for not being able to foresee this problem. I started to doubt that I should continue my entrepreneur path and wonder if my blogs or program were good enough.

Then I realized I was being hard on myself because I push myself to do my best. I care about the quality of my work and I always feel like I let people down (in this case, you) when I don’t do what I set out to do on time.

As I was venting to a friend about my challenges, he (thank you Gerardo) told me to create a list of successes where I’d look at my past experiences and write down every negative challenge – personal or professional – that I’ve overcome.

So, I did. And after I finished my list I realized how insignificant my current tech problem was. Accepting this, I allowed myself to relax a little and I became confident that it would all work out. As soon as I did that, things started moving a little faster and I started working more efficiently.

From that moment of self-reflection, I was inspired to write this blog about overcoming challenges. So, I began to think about people who have amazing stories of trials and tribulations that have helped me get over my pity-parties. And I remembered something that I realized I’ve always purposely kept in mind that has helped me make impactful decisions. Continue reading “Beating The Odds When Everything Is Against You”

How To Get Cool Points From Your Kids

Every time someone asks me what I think of parenthood I think of myself before kids and now.

How I Describe Parenting

I remember having the feeling of some sort of a veil coming off from in front of my face. Suddenly, I saw the world in a very different way. It was incredible!

And to be frank, it wasn’t all that great. I’m always honest when people ask me about parenthood. I’ll tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. Parenthood is a wonderful thing, but it’s not all peaches and cream.  

There’s so much joy in knowing that you’re raising a little person to be the best human being possible.

But while you think you’re doing your best, you often wonder how you’re messing up your kids. I describe parenting as internal self-induced torment because a lot of time, parents think of the worse case scenarios that could happen to them and their kids.

We do that because we wish we could control what could happen to them and while we want them to become independent we’re a bit scared to let them slowly go off on their own.

We think of all sorts of things happening, not because we’re crazy (although sometimes parents might question their own sanity), but because we think of how we’d be able to help them avoid bad situations.

I believe this has been happening more the past decade due to public shootings, bombings, the rise in human trafficking and cyber bullying. Continue reading “How To Get Cool Points From Your Kids”

One Of These Tests Can Help You Become Happier

I always knew I wanted to help others and I noticed how naturally it came to me.

When I’d hear people say, “make what you love doing your career” I’d wonder how the heck I’d be able to do that and how to know exactly what my strengths were.

Years later, when I applied to use my military school benefits, I was required to take a personality test to identify what types of jobs I’d be more likely to thrive in.

Then, while in college I discovered what the Myers-Briggs® test was and took it as a requirement of a leadership course I was enrolled in.

Then, when I attended Larry Broughton’s workshop as part of the Entrepreneur Bootcamp
for Veterans (EBV)
program I took another personality test called the Kolby A™ Index and again, throughout a job hiring process I was required to take yet a new personality test I’d never heard of.

Each test was very precise with identifying my personality and it allowed me to feel a sense of security about my own assessment. It confirmed my assumptions of what I thought I was very good at and it also showed me areas of weaknesses that I could work on.

Every time I took a test, I was provided with a printout or email of the results. Over the years, I’ve compared all of them. I must say, it’s amazing that they all have consistent results.

I’ve met people over the years who have taken a personality or strengths test, but they have not known how to read them or what to do with them.

The results are usually pages long. So, I’m not sure if people are discouraged from reading such long results or if it’s simply that they don’t have any interest in reading them and learning how to implement the results.

I learned to do that because Larry did an excellent explanation on the purpose of theses tests and he went over a few people’s results and broke them down.
Continue reading “One Of These Tests Can Help You Become Happier”

7 Tips For A Good Friendship

Friendship is not about how long you’ve known the person. It’s about those who have been a constant in your life. It’s about those who were there for you in good and bad times and about the ones who remain true to you behind your back. Friendship is loyalty and honesty, even when you don’t want to hear the truth. That’s real friendship.

In my early 20s I had a couple of friends who were always around when they’d break up with their boyfriends or when something rough was going on in their lives. But as soon as there was a new love interest or things would improve in their lives, they’d grow distant again.

I wouldn’t hear from them unless I’d call to check up on them, and I did this for quite a few years.

I’m sure some of you have had a friend like this at one point or another. You know, that friend who only comes around when they’re feeling lonely or when things aren’t going so well for them.

Years later, I realized I was giving more to the relationship than I was receiving and it was kind of hard to accept that because I felt that my friends had taken a advantage of my willingness to always be there for them.

The day I decided to start setting my worth was when one of my two friends called me after almost a year of no communication. She sounded excited to speak to me and just as I’d expected, she was going through a break up and wanted to talk to me about it.

She had asked to meet up and I declined. I remember telling her that I wasn’t a seasonal friend for her convenient times and I expressed how hurt I was that she hadn’t taken the time to call to simply check up on me or to ask to spend time together without any of her drama attached to it. Continue reading “7 Tips For A Good Friendship”

Are You Underestimating Your Kid’s Talents?

     This past weekend, I was at my daughter’s 6th grade orientation. It was exciting for her because she’s entering a new phase of her life and she’s been on cloud nine about being the bigger kid and moving onto bigger, better things.

The purpose of the event was to get kids and parents excited about networking and getting involved at school during their middle school years. They were drilled with the idea that their end goal was to go to college so that they could get a great job doing what they love.

The Principal urged the kids to aspire to do something meaningful and productive to society instead of becoming a YouTuber! She kind of mocked YouTubers and it annoyed me.

I was annoyed about that statement because it shows how closed minded schools can be about stepping outside the box and doing something different that contributes to the world.

She mocked YouTubers and judged them as if they were just playing a game. She made it seem like it’s a joke of a job that doesn’t use intellect, technical or very intricate skills. Continue reading “Are You Underestimating Your Kid’s Talents?”

Travel: The School of Culture

When I was a kid, I’d watch shows that depicted families taking long trips during their spring breaks or summer vacations. They’d travel to different parts of the country or to foreign lands. Most of the families were middle class white people who’d get into their minivan or RV and explore amazing places.

The first time I traveled was when I was 12. I went to Florida because my parents were calling it quits and my mother and us kids were supposed to make Miami our new permanent home. After I was there for about a month, they reconciled.

But having flown on a plane was an amazing experience for me because for the first time EVER, I saw people that looked like me and that was eye-opening.

I used to think that people who could afford to get on a plane were super
rich. When I took that flight, I didn’t fly first class, but I was upgraded because the flight attendants knew I was flying alone and they took caring for an unaccompanied minor very seriously.

I remember they kept a close eye on me and I got to eat a HUGE piece of chocolate cake with a glass of milk (1st class perks!). I was stoked!

You see, traveling to nearby places from my home was a challenge for my family of eight (six kids, mom and dad). My parents worked a lot and we didn’t have much money. We couldn’t afford to stay at hotels and we couldn’t afford an RV.

Camping was not something Nicaraguans did. I don’t even know if my parents knew what that was when I was a kid.

Our vehicles were also not reliable, so the summer we traveled from Chino to Silverwood Lake was the highlight of our year…. actually, it was the highlight of our decade.

Then, right after high school, I joined the Army. I ended up at Fort Jackson, S.C. with people with all sorts of dialects, shades and backgrounds.

A few months after I had graduated from training, I was put on an enormous three aisle airplane bound for South Korea (my first duty station) never giving it a second thought about what a big deal it was for an 18 year old who had hardly traveled to go so far from home. Continue reading “Travel: The School of Culture”