Important tip to fellow global citizens – check and protect your spine.

 

In the spirit of living an informed life, I wanted to share a helpful tip as a fellow citizen of the world that I unpleasantly learned on a recent trip to Sydney, Australia: check and protect your spine (not just your back, let me explain).

 

With the advent of electronic passports and the variances in vendors for such specialised paper products, one can forget that the most frequently handled pages of a passport are the cover and the pages adjacent to it.  Unfortunately for frequent travellers, this also means that wear and tear increases the probability of severe damage (in my case, the cover and pages decided to divorce during my trip).  To cut a long story short and to save yourself from an unexpected fiasco in transit, remember to check and protect the spine of your passport.  And from now on, I know exactly what part of my doc to take care of – and now, so do you.

 

A Note on Angry Birds. Smartphone and social media games apply too.

Note:  This is in no way a slur or character defamation on the game, the game creator or the video game company.  Everyone enjoys a good game every so often.  This is to the rest of the general population who eats into large pieces of their time to play these games.

 

Angry Birds is a FRIGGIN WASTE OF TIME!!!!!! The inventors are making a financial killing at the moment regardless, while your wages depend on whether or not you actually get work done.  In the same vein, your life and your safety depends on actually knowing your surroundings and not how many points you’ve racked in while driving, biking, canoeing or getting around on foot.  The inventors or gaming companies will not be paying medical expenses or funeral bills for any life or livelihood infringements incurred while playing any of their games.

 

Same goes for Farmville, Candy Crush and any other games that cause mass distraction during generally accepted office hours.

 

I'm going to hazard a guess and say none of it.

I’m going to hazard a guess and say none of it.

 

A Word on the Sycophant aka Ass-Kisser.

Time will not be wasted on them – generally they’re not worth the symptoms they bring about – but here are two brief warnings on the all-too-common sycophant.  Also known as the kiss-ass.

 

Do not directly watch this act, as witnessing a person kiss another’s ass causes symptoms resembling food poisoning.

 

In general, this population of individuals – unfortunately, a very large subspecies of the Homo sapiens race – get far.  But only for a while.  Until you puke on their shoes.

 

Food poisoning and kiss-ass exposure.  Know the risks.

Top 3 Types of Shock Everyone Studying Away from Home Knows About…

So you got accepted to a school away from your hometown.  Fees are paid, scholarships are awarded, you’ve travelled the distance and touched down in your new second home for the next 2 years or so.  Whether you enrolled in a small junior college or a university with multiple campuses, you are bound to relate to at least two of the three types of shock in your time away from home.

 

Culture

Culture shock from being in a new locale is one thing.   The natives probably not understand your customs, your habits or your language; hell, they may not even understand the colour your eyes, hair or even skin (yes, I said that – and meant that).  And the same statement applies to the international population – in all its diversity; they may not get you or relate to you very often, despite the locale also being foreign to them.  And sometimes in that regard, the people you may feel like you can relate to the most – people from your home country or as close as your home city – will surprise the mess out of you.  They will find some ways to adapt that seem very odd at first, they may think differently than you, they may be brought up with different ideals or morals than you.  Needless to say, it will be very unnerving at times; sometimes frustrating, infuriating, disheartening, discouraging and even depressing.  In fact, for some people the prospect of forming many generalised ideas (some very outlandish and some right on the money!), become a recluse or run for the green green grass of home can seem very tempting.

 

Currency

Switching to a new currency or simply a new price of living can be a true shock, not just to your wallet.  On one end, switching to a lower cost of living sometimes means that spending habits are underestimated – constant comparison in your home currency runs the risk of the notion that “oh it’s not that expensive, so I can afford to buy more/splurge” and the inevitable money management problems in the long term.  On the other end of the spectrum, switching to a higher cost of living sometimes makes expenses tough to maintain.  This is especially true on a scholar’s stipend, no matter where your scholarship takes you.  In one way or the other, the potential to feel overwhelmed by the cost of life in your new surroundings is lurking, sometimes palpable.

 

Cache

You’ve just moved to a new city, new state or new country.  You’ve got a new set of customs to adapt to, a new set of rules to learn, a new set of responsibilities to adjust to.  And that’s before you even get on the flight to reach your new destination!  You still have yet to get your orientation package when you touch down in your new city – or enter the gates of your new school.  Then that package arrives – and that’s pages upon pages to read, whether it’s on paper, USB drive, online, mobile app, wherever it lies.  Then there is in-campus orientation to school – that day (day, days, weeks, depending on where you go to school) is pretty much flooded with more terabytes of data imaginable, most of which will be lost on you between the first 3-6 hours.  If you’re blessed with a large attention span.

Oh, then there’s the new things on the checklist that you now have near-full responsibility for.  Choosing courses? Picking extra-curricular activities?  Knowing class pre-requisites?  That’s on you.  Which textbooks to digest to deal with in which order?  What time class starts?  What class you’re supposed to be in?  Oh, that’s you too.  Any medical woes?  Pharmacy run?  Dental check-ups?  Your call again.  Traffic tickets?  Any other run-ins with the law?  Oh yeah, there you go too.

 

Stress over Shock

 

… Calm Down

Okay.  It is possible that I may have shocked you.  So while you find something lighter to read about, I’ll leave you with a short note – there are bright sides to all this.  More about that in another post.

 

 

Slave to the People Life.

Men, sometimes the ladies you date will think that they were born royal and will, occasionally, act spoilt.  Nothing too fancy – things like brushing hair, holding a purse, putting sugar in a mug of coffee.

 

Men: refusal to do such things does not make you less of a man or any worse a boyfriend than you already may or may not have proven to be.  Women: unless you’re an upper limb amputee, fix your own damn coffee.

 

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See. Do. Teach. Reach. A shift in approach.

“See One. Do One. Teach One.” It’s an adage that’s been used in the medical industry for eons. Anyone who’s been through medical school or through a hospital rotation has heard it at least once along the way. Having been studying and working in the industry for a little over a decade, I’ve personally heard and employed this approach to my experience at least on a weekly basis. While still relevant in the current climate of the field, it is in definite need of a change. Passing on the knowledge only goes so far and there is no continuity; our industry needs to rethink its approach to medical and healthcare practice and add to it while simultaneously forming a continuum, constantly closing the loop. “See One. Do One. Teach One. Reach One.” feels more like it.

Seeing a procedure, a process being performed helps to familiarise oneself with the process. Seeing it done not only helps us to realise that what we may have deemed difficult can be done, it also serves as an impetus to learn more about it and topics related to it. Reading instruction manuals and textbooks are limited by static images and depictions, and video footage in their optimal form merely the scratch the surface of the visual dimension of a procedure. Witnessing a procedure engages all the senses of the observer and allows him/her to interact with the operator, ask questions and glean as much as possible from the encounter.

Doing a procedure brings an added dimension to the experience. Personal encounters with a new process or new procedure brings with a heightened awareness – having to know for oneself the indications, alternative options, risks and benefits helps broaden our knowledge base and gives us drive to knowing our target audience. Having to learn the procedure through available channels such as text, video and/or past observations brings some visual familiarity and puts the steps of the process in the forefront of one’s mind. The actual execution of the task turns the gleaned theories and observations into a live engaging exercise, cementing one’s research into memory and then into learning and simultaneously bringing a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.

Teaching a learned procedure further engages the mind as a professional; drawing on read knowledge and personal experience to counsel a fellow colleague refreshes the mind while challenging us to examine the procedure from a different perspective. The shift from student to teacher helps us to find ways to impart one’s expertise on a fellow colleague and challenge his/her understanding before, during and after the procedure.

Reaching out to one’s younger colleagues closes the loop and encourages continued learning and growth for oneself and for those in our tutelage. Through the offering of mentorship, support and counsel, the medical/healthcare community encourages a sense of solidarity and helps us to nurture our upcoming generations. In the same way, the culture of mentorship fosters that same form of unity in our juniors and promotes their love of the profession, which also helps to bring future generations to the call of our growing, changing industry.

The medical and healthcare industry, although steeped in centuries of tradition and axiomatic principle, is now experiencing major changes along with other industries in the world. These changes make it necessary to break the box in which our industry has been perpetually enclosed, which means our fundamental approach needs to be modified. See – do – teach – reach encourages the circle of learning and perpetuates it across our current and future generations of industry professionals. With all the changes that our industry has seen and will continue, it feels like this small tweak in our approach may be the ideal fit for our field.

See. Do. Teach. Reach.

 

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Not sure where to start on your work out? Just be yourself!

Whoever said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (I’m paraphrasing and it was 老子 [Lao Tzu]) said a very correct mouthful –  and a very full one when it comes to diet and exercise.
Practically though, we’re not all naturally athletic or even physically active, for that matter. The sad fact is, a lot of journeys to physical fitness and wellbeing are derailed before they begin simply because there is no hard or fast rules on where to start. My suggestion: start with being yourself.
No, I don’t mean putting your pyjamas back on and replanting yourself on the recliner. I mean look at your personality, your interests and hobbies. From there, you can find any number of ways to get active. Here are my top few examples:
The Music Connoisseur. Of course I’m gonna suggest a dance class! Zumba, salsa, rumba, bachata, ballet, hip hop, burlesque… the list continues and the classes usually speak for themselves. Regardless of the genre you enjoy the most, there will be a class for you.
The Type A. You need to dispel the aggression and tension that fuels your personality. What better way to do that than with boxing, karate, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai or mixed martial arts? The balance between high impact, full contact sport and the need for discipline may be just what you need.
The Beach Bum. While swimming is an obvious choice (well the water’s right there), cardio and calisthenics would also suit you well. The resistance naturally provided by the sand is a great tool for getting the heart rate up and working on balance and stability.
The Philosophy Lover. I hate to break it to you, but pretty much anything involving walking or climbing might be your ticket. Looking for the answers to life’s big ironies? Get yourself to the top of a climbing wall or work your way across a climbing. Fascinated by the wonders of the world? Find a good trail and start hiking. Just make sure you’ve stretched well and have got on the right shoes!
What about you? What does your personality tell you about your ideal workout?

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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.

© Konstantin Yuganov | Dreamstime.com - Girl with red heart

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.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Get moving, no excuses!

It’s true: even the most active people can get a bit unmotivated at times.  And unless your profession entails a high level of activity, you have to make time for getting in some form of physical exertion.  On any given day, you’re going to wonder why you should even bother to move a muscle after you get home from work, especially if you spend the day stuck behind the computer – your eyes are tired, your brain is tired, sometimes even your heart is tired (emotionally, not physically).

 

But there’s good reason why you have to do away with the excuses and get yourself moving to the point of sweating at least 30 minutes a day – and if you can’t get it done daily, at least not miss more than 3 workout days consecutively.  It gets your mind clear and helps you mentally organised – if you get moving at the beginning of the day, it gets you decluttered to start your day.  If you get it in during lunchtime, it helps get your head ready for the remainder of your day.  If you get in your workouts in the evenings after work, it pushes the frustrations and drama of the day off you and helps you boost your endorphins to celebrate the good things that have happened throughout the day as well.

 

Bear in mind, I know it can be a tall order to fill.  But even on your droopiest days, working up a good sweat makes things feel so much better.  So of the million excuses you can find not to exercise, the best after-effects – clearer mind, endorphin boost, gaining strength, getting in better shape, and who can forge the power of the after-burn (with some workouts!) – are more than enough to beat them all.  So get on your gym kit and start sweating!

Naturalista Boss Chic on a Budget – top three tips to put your best self forward at any income bracket.

Okay, real talk time – being a naturalista boss chic can be tiring as hell but oh so worth it! Figuring out the how-to is crazy though, am I right?!

Remember a couple weeks ago when I reminded you fellow naturalista boss chic’s to always put your best you forward regardless of circumstance? I know it’s not always easy to do so whether time, money or energy is on the lowish side so here are a few popular and personal favourite pieces of advice on how to make that happen.
Start from within – mind, body, spirit. For some of us, it’s a daily connection with our Creator. Some of us need some serious high-impact exercise or some extra-quiet yoga sessions. Some need to read  a new book or learn a new skill at regular intervals. Some of us need a combination of measures. However it works for you, attaining and maintaining wellness on a holistic level is the foundation.

 

Incorporate the key parts of your signature style into your budget. We can all agree on one thing: some parts of our style cannot be done cheaply. So plan ahead and make sure you include it in your priority planning – not just with money, but time and energy. Is being fit and strong part of your trademark? Do people know you by a distinctive hair style or effortlessly flawless skin? Is your artwork or culinary skill part of your imprint? Make sure it’s carved in the bank balance and the calendar!

 

Be prepared every time you exit your home/flat/hostel/hotel. We all have that one oversized satchel that has what we need to maintain our boss chic self over the course of a long day. On a more targeted level, there are a few things that never leave our clutch, minaudière, briefcase, backpack or satchel because they keep us particularly put-together whatever the occasion (a few things in mine: a small stash of emergency medication, an emergency kit especially packed by the label J. Crew and the minimum requisites to keep my lip and foundation look in place). Whatever those items are, keep them in mind and don’t forget to slip them in your bag before you shut your front door!

 

 

What are your favourite strategies for keeping your naturalista boss lady sense of style on your budget?  What can’t you leave the house without putting in your bag? Tell me in the comments – I can’t wait to read them!!!

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!

Others’ behaviour towards you is a reflection of them, not you.

A good friend of mine (who also happens to be a fellow Bahamian and citizen of the world), Kendrick D said something very powerful to me recently:
“You should never discount yourself based on other people’s behaviour.”

 

It’s absolutely true: there comes a time when introspection is necessary after the same behaviour is repeated towards you by multiple people around you.  But when you know that you’ve been a positive influence (or at the very least, a source of support) to those people around you and the pattern is the same, there’s no need to hurt yourself and believe that you are the problem anymore. Only you know your true worth and when you are your genuine self, sometimes people will take advantage of that and still mistreat you because of various reasons that usually have nothing to do with you.

 

It is extremely unfortunate that our current society has so blurred the lines between genuine and counterfeit, perfect and real.  But you can’t lose sight of your true you, your true value, the realness that you give to your world around you and the greater world out there.  In gospel singer Donnie McClurkin’s words, “After you’ve done all you can… just stand.”

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.