Most of us dream of living a fulfilling life, filled with love, joy, good health, and financial security.
In episode 3, I shared what it took for me to live the life I wanted on my own terms. And I briefly mentioned addressing my “self-worth” issues by looking inward.
Now I’m going to share with you my journey of discovering why I wasn’t getting the results I was seeking, which was more time, more money, and freedom of expansion.
Throughout my whole life, I’ve either had too much time on my hands, but not enough money to go anywhere, or I’ve had some money but no time. Yes, there was a period in my life when I was working over 60 hours, six days a week. I was working in a textile factory as a laboratory manager. And guess what? I thought, “Wow. I’m important. I’m indispensable. The company needs me. The company cannot run without me.” I thought being paged 50 times a day, or reaching for my pager on my day off, was glamorous.
THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY TO DO THE THINGS WE DON’T LIKE TO DO.
Where did I learn that being busy and allowing my time to be used in that manner was the best thing I could offer to this world? In reality, I didn’t know any better. I thought it was what I was supposed to do. It was the vocation I had chosen at 15, thinking it would be cool to put color on textiles. I grew up with the principle of “go to school, get good grades, then find a job in your field and enjoy life the best you can in-between.”
I also grew up with the idea that you have to be self-sufficient – the idea that “you are never better served than by yourself.”
My views changed after giving birth to my son. I wasn’t so willing to work 60 hours a week or be paged 50 times a day. It was then that I started questioning the status quo.
IF YOU ARE SEEKING FINANCIAL FREEDOM – THE ANSWER IS WITHIN YOU.
So if you’re wondering how to have more time and money, just know that I’ve been asking the same question for more than 20 years. And only now can I say that the answer is inside all of us if we choose to dive in and discover it.
Let me illustrate what it looks like when we look outwards, or look to others to fix our problems. As an employee, we might wish to receive a bonus or a salary increase. We wait until someone sees that we deserve more and gives us more. I’ll admit, it was easier for me to work long hours than to ask for a salary increase. I feared hearing “no.” Or worse, what if I rocked the boat and lost my job? Thinking like that made me worry about how I would pay next month’s bills.
WHEN YOU LET OTHERS DECIDE ON YOUR WELL-BEING, VERY SELDOM WILL YOU GET WHAT YOU SEEK.
When I worked as a textile engineer, I noticed several things that I didn’t like. Where I worked, some great engineers had caps on their salaries unless they were designated as managers. If you were the lucky one that the company saw as having good potential, you became a manager. If you were not so lucky, or never stood out, you were put underneath one of these supposed managers. And if the manager was, in reality, a “technician,” focused on his CAD drawing, you had very little chance of moving forward. I happened to have a manager who was a technician with some self-worth issues. When it came time for my review, instead of focusing on the good I did throughout the year, he focused on the two things that I had done wrong (one time) and he asked that I improve.
I reminded him about a huge project that I had brought to fruition. Wouldn’t it be worth mentioning in the review? He said, “Oh! I didn’t think about that. Maybe I’ll add it next year.” I felt small and insignificant for two weeks until I got the guts to share what had happened with another coworker, only to find out the manager had done the same to her. No wonder the moral of that division was low.
What’s the point in telling an employee that they have to improve in “this area”? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for everyone if the manager took 15 minutes to find out what the employee’s big “why” is and go out of his way to do something about it? Once you reach a person directly in their heart, that person will be there for you when you have an urgent request and will be inclined to put in her best effort every day. A person that feels appreciated will achieve more in one day than a resentful person will achieve in a whole week.
However, I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has experienced going to work with resentment. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the job. Throughout my life, I’ve just happened to have managers who were more concerned about protecting their position than overseeing their employees’ needs. And in some way, I think it was a case of like attracting like. I lived in fear of losing my job. So I ended up working for individuals who also had the same fear.
All that said, Corporate America has all the right in the world to create all the rules they want in their companies, including choosing to create fear and uncertainty if they want to. This is a centuries-old tactic to keep individuals small, obedient, and fearful, so they don’t dare to ask for anything.
IT’S UP TO YOU TO STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE.
On the other side, it’s your job to stand up for what you believe and put “your ask” out there. The problem is knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, what you excel at and how to make yourself be understood.
THERE IS NOTHING MORE POWERFUL THAN TOUCHING SOMEONE’S HEART.
I’ve worked enough hours to know that the power of a company resides in having great employees who look forward to work. The best way to accomplish that is by reaching the person’s heart and meeting them where it matters the most: in their home. Taking the time to understand them is powerful.
I was at Digital Footprint, an event produced by Ken Courtright. One of his guest speakers was Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of Priceline.com
During Jeff’s talk, he explained that whenever a new employee was hired, he would ask what was important to them. In the case of Jose, his big “why” was to be able to afford a home for his mom. Growing up, Jose’s mom worked three jobs to take care of him. His dream was to see his mom be comfortable. Jeff truly cared about Jose’s dream. He did that for all his employees. There were times when Jeff would be working long hours. One particular evening, as people left to go home, one of them asked Jeff why he was working so late. Jeff responded that he was working on Jose’s mom house. People stayed and rallied around Jeff’s mission.
Jeff concluded his talk with a compelling statement: his company has very little turnover.
WHERE DO YOUR FALSE BELIEFS TAKING YOU?
Now, let’s look outwards as an entrepreneur. I’ll admit that when I got started with the skincare business, I abdicated anything that had to do with the financing of the business. I assumed it was the “man’s responsibility.” Where did I get this false belief? Growing up, my mom taught me to be a good housewife. She taught me how to cook, sew, make repairs, take care of things like kids, homework, pets, plants, and maintain the house while the husband went to work and brought money in. In short, the man’s role was to provide while the woman’s purpose was to nurture.
This ideal situation got further reinforced when I looked up to Céline Dion and René Angelil’s business model. Céline focused on singing and being a public figure while René took care of the finances and creating alliances. In short, he managed her career. What caused their success was love, faith, and believing in each other. They were both driven by the same burning desire: wanting success and being willing to do whatever it took to produce a good show. They took the time to master their craft and pave their path. They made sacrifices. They pushed themselves out of their comfort zone and took risks.
ONLY YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR GIFT IS.
I’m bringing this up because if you expect better results in your life, either as an employee or entrepreneur, you cannot depend on others to know what your true gift is. You’ve got to be willing to look inside yourself. Both Céline and René had to look inside themselves to figure out what was best in each of them. At one point, Céline said she wanted children. And René went along with her wish. What if he had said, “No, we have no time for children”? Instead, they teamed up together and helped each other grow.
As I mentioned, both Céline and René took the time to look inside themselves. So let me share what I discovered when I started looking at my inner self, too.
I remember one day that I passed by the family room. The TV set was tuned to the news. Something rose up inside of me. Why do we watch the news? Why do we look at people’s lives from the sidelines? Shouldn’t we aim to be on the news, rather than watching it?
I felt that instead of living my life, I was sitting on a park bench waiting for something. I wanted to be on the bus, going somewhere. I wanted to live. And yet somehow there was never enough money or time.
WHAT IS YOUR LEGACY?
Watching my son grow up gave me new insights. What would my legacy be? However, those thoughts got buried with the hustle of life, especially when I was frantically trying to be in revenue with the skincare business. At one point, I was no longer thinking. I was only functioning.
What woke me up was a simple text from one of my trainers on Mother’s day. It said, “Hope your mother’s day honored the you.” I knew my role as a wife, mother, friend, and CEO. But I didn’t know who I was. I asked what my purpose in life was.
Just like a hamster in a wheel, I got so caught up with doing without thinking. I remember getting out of my wheel, looking up at the sky, and asking, “Where am I going?” What am I doing this for?” “Am I happy?” In that instant, I realized I didn’t know where I was going. I knew I wasn’t happy.
THERE IS ALWAYS A CHOICE
I remember feeling empty. In some ways, I had started drifting and had accepted my reality as “I have no other choices.” I asked deep questions. Why did I expect others to make me happy? And where was that bad habit taking me?
THE TREE OF YOUR HAPPINESS.
Let’s use an analogy. Let’s say I’m a tree. My tree produces only two lemons per year, and I don’t like the results. Notice that I said I don’t like the results. If I had said that I’m happy with my two lemons per year, I would call it being happy with the status quo. And if you’re happy right now, that’s perfectly fine. Since I wasn’t happy with my results, I looked outward for answers.
WHAT IF I LOSE MY LEMON PROVIDER?
I started asking others to provide me with extra lemons. However, one day I thought, “What if I lose my ‘lemon provider’?” So I learned that depending on others wasn’t a viable long-term solution. Of course, I could have seen a doctor and told him how bad I felt about my poor lack of results. He would have given me a prescription to soothe my feelings. That somehow didn’t feel right to me. It seemed I was only addressing the symptoms. For a while, though, I started venting to my friends about my lack of results and blamed my environment for my situation.
After a while of that, without seeing any improvement, I realized that if I didn’t do something about my situation, nothing would change. My need for better results was now more important than anything else. I was willing to ask “deep questions.”
During that time, I wasn’t proud of myself. Continuing with the lemon tree analogy: to make myself feel better, I started going to the store at night, and in secret, I would come home and put some lemons onto my tree branch and pretend that all was well. I felt like a fraud, trying to keep up with the Joneses. I pretended to be happy and successful.
MY LACK OF RESULTS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH OTHERS.
After meeting with many coaches and trainers, I realized my issues had nothing to do with others. It was all about the story I believed to be true in my head. I had to be willing to dig inward to see what was going on with my inner-world.
At one point, I attended a video training class with Joel Robert. The three-day seminar was designed to sharpen our communication skills and teach us how to be camera-ready with our delivery if we ever got interviewed. I had big plans, and I sought to invest in professional coaching.
At one point Joel said he wasn’t in the language business, he was in the “being” business. He taught people to communicate with their heart.
To elaborate further, he read a passage from the bible — Genesis 12:2.
God said to Abraham: go for your own sake, from your country, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing.”
Joel then took some time to go deeper into the meaning of this message:
“Your Father’s house is the story you tell yourself about yourself. It’s your identity, or what you thought was your identity. It’s your internal dialogue.
God says: ‘Go for your own sake.’ Leave behind your country, your home town and most of all, leave behind your inner dialogue and leave behind who you have defined to be to yourself.
The promise made to Abraham is made to all of us. God is speaking to all of us. Bring your being into the picture, and I will make of you a great nation. This is the promise, but there’s a price. Be a blessing. In short, go forward, follow your destiny, and be a blessing to people.
I came out of the seminar with a spiritual awakening. These words spoke to me deeply. This was part of my excavation. I asked how I wished to define myself. Was I who I wanted to be? Or was I what others expected of me?
Going back to the tree analogy, this made me think, “What is preventing me from producing more than two lemons a year? What was I nourishing my roots with?”
- To be honest, before asking that question, I didn’t know I could nourish my roots with anything different. I assume this was it. I didn’t know I could do better by asking others. I could have asked a lemon tree expert what I should nourish my soil with to produce better results.
- The false belief behind this was being raised in the country; there were not that many people around to ask. You had to be resourceful and do things for yourself. There was also a belief that paying for advice or services was a waste of money.
- I didn’t value my time. For anything that needed fixing or improvement, in order to “save” money, I had to fix it myself.
- I didn’t count my knowledge and time as being valuable.
- I also thought I didn’t deserve to have things. Growing up on welfare, every time I wanted something, the first thing that came up was, “We cannot afford this. This is not for us; it’s for rich people.” Over time, I started believing that only others deserved things and I stopped expecting more.
After analyzing all these thoughts, along with Joel’s comments – “leave behind my inner dialogue, and leave behind who I have defined to be to myself” – a more profound question came to me.
KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW, DID I STILL WANT TO BE A LEMON TREE?
And the answer was NO! However, I didn’t know what kind of tree I wanted to be.
This became serious. I had to be willing to excavate and cut away old unsupportive roots. I had to plant new seeds and be prepared to wait for the new roots to grow before seeing new fruits. I had to accept the timing of the universe.
This was the price I had to pay to become the “new me.” And it all started with my thoughts. Our thoughts produce a particular type of feeling. That feeling propels you into action to create change.
YOU’VE GOT TO BREAKDOWN BEFORE YOU BREAKTHROUGH.
I had to break down the old before I could break through. What I mean by that is break any old habits that were no longer supporting my goals. I decided I wanted to be a world-class skincare brand and help women increase their confidence. To do that, I had to regain my self-confidence. The tricky part of this process was that I didn’t know if what I was doing would yield the results I was seeking.
That is why it’s not just about taking action. You have to take action backed by faith and belief that what you do will yield the results you seek. You have to see the results in your mind before they materialize.
It’s important to know that everything starts with your thoughts. Whatever you say to your mind, it will be so. If you say, “Oh, I can’t do this because it’s too hard.” Well, guess what? You’ll never do it because you believe that it’s too hard. Notice that if you keep telling yourself something like, “I’m so exhausted today,” over time you’ll be so tired that you’ll find it difficult to function.
POSITIVE THOUGHTS WILL YIELD POSITIVE RESULTS.
If you keep a positive mind with positive thoughts, you’ll generate positive feelings, giving you the energy to take action. You’ll get up and look forward to taking action.
Another precious lesson I learned is to be grateful. Appreciating and saying “thank you” for all the things you receive will open a portal in the universe, giving you more of what you are grateful for.
THE POWER OF VISUALIZATION.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Michelle Young, a fantastic coach, and she shared with me her technique to visualize your life. This technique, if applied correctly, will provide anything you desire. It’s like “Open Sesame.”
Here’s how it goes:
You say to yourself, “It’s now March 5th, 2020. I live the perfect life. Everything is amazing. And I am so happy, now that I have _______________.” And fill in the blank on a piece of paper.
And if you desire something short-term, just change the date to suit your needs. This is what I did, and it allowed me to move into a beautiful apartment. I did this visualization around the beginning of June, and I signed a lease on July 1st. There is something essential in this formula. You must have unwavering faith and believe that it is happening as you say it.
For a long-term goal, you can ask the same question in regards to your health, relationship, career, or money. You can have four or five different goals per category. After all, they’re your wishes, and there are no limits!
BE BOLD — YOUR GOALS SHOULD SCARE YOU.
Be bold with this process. These goals should scare you. And when you do this exercise, follow your heart. Create a story, as you would if you met an old friend and told him all that had happened to you. It’s a future story, but you say it in past tense as if it has already happened.
THE UNIVERSE PICKS UP ON HOW YOUR WORDS MAKES YOU FEEL.
And watch with amazement what this exercise will do for you. Suddenly you’ll start aligning things so that you can become a little bit more focused. The universe picks up on your words and how they make you feel. Creating a story about where you’re going to be in 2020 can change your life for the better. Michelle also suggested adding this at the end of your story: “I desire all these things or something even better.” Let the universe surprise you!
To know if you’re on the right path, see what kind of feedback you’re receiving. Are you receiving serendipity, like a call from an old friend who brings you a little closer towards your goals? Or are you receiving drama? Drama is anything that drains your energy or increases stress and worry.
It’s sad to say, but some people don’t have goals in their life. And to keep themselves occupied, they create drama. Trying to prove that you’re right is a form of drama. In time, you can become addicted to drama. Like I mentioned earlier, thoughts produce a feeling. This feeling releases chemicals into your body. When you’re angry, your body releases adrenaline, and when you’re stressed, it releases cortisol.
When you receive or give a hug, your body releases oxytocin, and when you feel loved, you get a dose of dopamine and oxytocin. I know I’m “addicted” to oxytocin, which is why I hug people. 🙂
Just know that wherever you are today, it doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever. You are the master of your own tree.
The first step is to decide to be happy. You deserve to live your life on your own terms. Just watch. People will change according to your changes. Trying to change someone doesn’t work.
You can take small steps each day that will bring you more happiness. If you haven’t felt great for a long time, one of the best medicines is to do something nice for someone else.
WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU PUSHED YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
One day, I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone. An employee at the grocery store asked me if I needed help. In that instant, I said, “Yes. I would like to give you a hug to thank you for all the work you do.” He was touched and didn’t quite know what to say. So, he graciously accepted the hug.
I’ve noticed that when I do errands, people are smiling at me when our eyes meet. Some say hello. I must have an “inviting face.” And it’s no accident. I fill my mind with happy, positive thoughts.
NOBODY CAN MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER BUT YOURSELF.
What I learned from this experience is that nobody can make you feel better but yourself. That’s why it’s important to look into your roots and your being to see what it is that you desire in your life.
Nobody can tell better than you. And if you don’t know, take some quiet time and allow answers to come from your heart.
To conclude this episode, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from Napoleon Hill:
Isn’t it amazing that a woman with definiteness of purpose goes through life and watches how the world steps aside and comes beside her and even helps her with her aims. ~ Napoleon Hill