Consistency and effort… as simple as that.

Yes.  Life is as simple as that.  So are relationships – platonic, romantic or otherwise.

 

When we are younger, a little bit of effort or even small gestures can keep us happy for a long time.  In fact, some of us end up with friends or lovers based on one or two strategically-placed gestures that subsequently taper off and amount to zero effort.  However, as we get older, it becomes apparent that effort has to be applied consistently: to one’s life, one’s friendships, one’s relationships, one’s business dealings, one’s education – to virtually anything worth attaining and keeping.  At the end of the day, the most important pieces of your life won’t be easy to get to and will be equally as difficult to keep – especially if you decide that the effort can dissipate once you’ve gotten it.

 

So yes. Keep being consistent.  Keep putting some effort.

Keep giving it what you got.  Every day.

Show your loved ones that you love and care for them.  Every day.

Be there for your friend in that time of need or in that time of celebration.  Every day.

Push towards your business dreams or scaling up that visionary project you have on that table.  Every day.

Keep striving towards that degree or diploma or certificate.  Every day.

 

Trust me – the rewards are worth it, and if you felt that it was worth attaining in the first place, keeping it is just as worthy of your time and energy.  Delayed, sustained gratification requires consistent effort – take it from the Book of Lessons Learned.

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Milestones should be celebrated, no matter the size.

It happens sometimes.  You feel low – been feeling low for a long time.  Maybe it isn’t a downfall of sorts; it may just be that you just feel like nothing is really happening with you, you’re in a rut long-term, or things in your life have been at a pregnant pause.

 

Suddenly something happens – you get a call about a job interview you’ve wanted, you get into that school programme you’ve been looking at, your certificate from that online course you did comes in the mail.  You don’t really think much about it, but your inner circle – be it mentors, friends, family members, loved ones – make a big deal over it for you.  And you’re still steadily downplaying it.

 

But go ahead – celebrate it!  It’s a milestone, a step in the direction you are meant to be going in, whether it’s diminutive or gargantuan in size.  It might be getting a new job offer, publishing an article you’ve worked on or even just losing that first pound in a weight loss journey.  No matter how big or small, every monument that brings you closer to your purpose in life deserves a celebration.

 

So go ahead – make yourself a nice cup of coffee (or tea) and do your happy dance for yourself – because you earned it.

Friends and True Friends – know the difference. Or learn it fast.

Now this one may need a sour or bitter taste in many mouths out there, but I’m gonna say it anyway – when you know what kind you are, go on ahead and swallow your mouthful, cupful or bowl-ful of sour or bitter and learn how to shape up and be genuine or gracefully embrace your place as one of the fairweather variety, for whatever it’s worth.

 

There is a very stark difference between friends and true friends who become your family.  Some of us take longer than other to learn that difference, but I’m putting it out there in hopes that us slower learners get it that much faster.  Comedian Steve Harvey said it one morning during the first 12 minutes of his radio show, where he inspires only and reminds himself of life’s lessons in faith and other important qualities (forgive the paraphrasing but you’ll get the gist):
“you want lots of friends, go hit the lotto.  you want real friends, go get you in some trouble.”

 

It’s true: you can and will have lots of friends who show their pride when things are going well.  But when you hit your lowest lows, it’s the people who stand in the gap for you – whether it’s just checking up on you with a message, email or missed call – that are your true friends.  Experience the difference – or learn through those of us who already know.

Pressed for time? Top three (well, four) strategies to maximise short workouts.

What is the most common – and annoying, by the way – excuse for not working out or at least incorporating some activity into a routine? “I don’t have any time”.  We’ve all heard it at least once in our lives.  Sometimes from our own mouths – trust me, I’ve pissed myself off with that one.  But there are ways to get around to being physically fit when you have an hour or less to spare.  These are my favourite three strategies:

 

Grab your timer.  Or your timer app – whatever you’ve got, whatever works for you.  Interval training protocols are your best friend when your workout time is tight.  Whether you opt for reps for time, every minute on the minute, Tabata or metabolic conditioning (where your rest time intervals get shorter and shorter – insert short panting breaths here!), your body will thank you later for the shortest workouts you can eke out.

 

Be ready to move – a lot.  Compound movements are paramount for maximum effect when time management and workout efficacy are your priorities.  Whether you’re mixing body weight with free weights, plyometrics with weight machines, cardio machines with stability workouts, make sure your moves incorporate multiple muscle groups so that your short burn has a lingering effect long after you’re finished.
Now is the time to go all in – every single minute.  You have 30-45 minutes to work up a sweat – this is not the time to half-ass any of it!  Set your timer app to block interruptions from other apps, set your phone to “Emergency Calls Only”, do what you gotta do.  If you’re only at it for a tight time period, you have to use every single second meticulously.

 

There you have it!  When you have the right principles in mind for your workouts, time is no issue.  Speaking of principles, here’s a bonus tip that I’ve relied on throughout my adulthood:

 

Aim for 20 (minutes, that is).  When I first started training in the gym almost two decades ago, one of the trainers at the gym on my college campus told me that I should aim to keep my heart rate elevated for a minimum of 20 minutes in a session – several years and a number of careers later, I have worked with that as a principle when I hit the gym.  It’s true, my gadgets have gotten more fanciful since then, but I always carried that with me: any gym session must mean that for at least 20 minutes of a session, I cannot be able to respond to a question in more than 3-5 words (my measure of heart rate elevation when my heart rate monitor is either dead or missing in action).

 

 

What are your strategies for working out on a time crunch?  I can’t wait to find out what you do!

Boss Chic, Naturalista Style – Top reasons for being a leader in style.

It’s true.  A lot of startup company founders decide that the need to put a proper face (or at least a washed face!) forward is less than a priority when working towards realising the realities of a business, particularly with a constantly-evolving business model.  However, it is important for a business leader in any capacity and on any budget to always put his or her best face forward.  For us naturalistas, this is particularly imperative and here are the top three reasons why:

 

You should always be prepared for your window of opportunity.  Opportunity can strike at any time on any day.  You can look like a number of startup cofounders who choose to dress all the way down or you can at least look put-together, with your business cards organised in your handbag.

 

Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.  I know, I know, I know – people are quick to point out that a lot of the world’s ultra-wealthy business founders are the dress-down types but let me point out something that is practical albeit sexist: do you ever notice that the ultra-wealthy business founders that are female always look polished and well-dressed no matter what stage of their business?  It’s sad but true – the same rules for men in the business don’t exactly apply to us because of our triple threats: we’re female, we’re confident in our natural beauty and we’re ambitious.  So you’re striving to be a boss but not quite there yet – why are you dressed like you’re living in a refrigerator box?

 

Your company, your story, your brand = your style.  Whether it’s your personal blog or a startup aiming for corporation, as the founder and original leader of the company, you are the face of your brand.  Even in the early stages, no startup wants to be seen as sloppy and careless so there’s no need for your appearance to look that way either.  Remember, as the founder you are one of the first symbols of your company’s brand that your potential customers, prospective partners and even investors see.  A little effort does wonders for your first impression on them.

 

In a lot of ways, all three of these reasons relate to one another but each has a distinct feature that makes it relevant in its own right.  Just because the health and well-being of your business mean more to you than anything else in life at the moment doesn’t mean that your personal appearance (or hygiene!) should also be sacrificed along with everything else.

 

 

Can you think of other reasons why naturalista chic as a boss should be a priority?  Write your comments below – can’t wait to read them!

“What others think of you is none of your business.”

Deepak Chopra first said it as written. Since he put it so eloquently, many others from spiritual leaders like Joel Osteen to pop singers like Lana del Rey to little-known bloggers such as myself have echoed the same sentiments, either verbatim or in paraphrase.

 

Yes, sometimes people’s opinions of you actually get back to you on paper, in sound bytes or in personal conversation – sometimes it’s flattering, sometimes it’s unflattering and other times it’s just plain malicious.  The latter two are usually the hardest to shake away but regardless of what the opinion is, it’s actually none of your concern.

 

The only opinions that truly matter are your own – as long as you can look yourself in the mirror and feel that you and the God that you serve are pleased with you and what you do, everyone else’s opinions are just… white noise.

The risks and complications of adulthood, Volume 8.

Stress over Shock

Pain.

 

Whether physical or emotional, it comes in a lot of shapes and forms – it may be treatable or untouchable or even unresolvable, depending on where it comes from.   People may ask you to rate it on a scale from one to ten, when in a lot of situations the numerical rating isn’t worth a damn.

 

Some of us walk around bearing it with a smile on their face.  Others are crippled by it and are reduced to a human tear drop by it.  A school of thought believes that the absence of pain is the absence of growth.   Another believes that a lack of pain is a sign of disease.

 

Sometimes it’s a sign that something is changing.  Sometimes it’s a sign that something is wrong.  Regardless of why it’s there, it’s usually there for a reason.

There will always be many details, but don’t forget the big picture.

 

It happens to all of us at one time or another.  During this journey we call life, we get overwhelmed by little things, lost in the tiny details or tripped up by the baby steps we’re in the middle of.  Sometimes we realise it and correct ourselves right away, but there are a great many of us that don’t even notice when we’re starting to become engulfed in the minutiae that comes together to form a larger picture in our lives.

 

But remember that:  there’s a larger picture once you breathe, take a few steps back and observe.  So yes, there will always be a million little details that can distract us or tempt us to beat ourselves up at any given time, but never lose sight of your bigger picture.  Because that’s always there, too.

The risks and complications of adulthood, Volume 7.

Living.

 

Something that most adults end up taking for granted from the first heavy workday.  In fact, it’s something that humans tend to take for granted sometime after puberty kicks in as responsibilities grow more and more plentiful and as aspiration and making of a livelihood become more and more of a perceived priority.

 

Bottom line: living is the one thing you have to always be mindful of doing as you become older and more successful and accomplished in your goals.  Plain and simple.

Top three things to check before planning a vacation.

The world is more connected than ever. But some still don't want to be connected.  We all have that choice.

 

I’ll be honest – I love a great getaway, whether it’s just a quick weekend escape or an extended stay to get a break from it all.  And as a person who has been travelling since childhood, I think it’s safe to say that I have a lot of relevant experience when it comes to travel safety.  While some travel-related tasks are things I perceive as common sense, there are a few key things that may not be second-nature to those who don’t travel very often but need to be considered before planning a trip.

 

Do I need a visa to go there?  Some of us have heard about the Passport Index but personally, knowing how powerful your passport is tends to be mainly for bragging rights.  While VisaHQ has some fairly up-to-date information on country-specific visa needs, You should always check with the embassy or consulate of your destination and with your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out about visa requirements.

 

Can I get a visa on arrival (VOA)?  Your most up-to-date information on this will always be with the embassy or consulate of your destination, but be sure to keep your home Ministry of Foreign Affairs on speed dial in case there’s no ready answer from them.

 

What do I need to get a visa for my trip?  If you do need a visa in advance, pick up a form from your destination’s local embassy and see what you need to apply for your visa.  If you are eligible for visa on arrival, make sure that you have checked with the embassay and that whatever you need for your VOA is packed in your carry-on or personal bag.

 

Let’s face facts: everyone could use a break from the usual scenery but making sure you can get to your desired destination is the first on the list of priorities.  Once you make sure you know what you need to actually get there, then you can enjoy your getaways with ease.  Happy Travels!