Stripped Strengths

All of these days you’ve spent on earth have taught you many, many things. Things you’ve learned, witnessed, and developed. These things equate to education and experience, some tangible and some not. They have shaped you into the person you are today and the influence you have had on others and the planet.

All of these things you’ve achieved – education and experience – can never be taken away from you. No one can strip you of your strengths. Hold on to your power and stay true to yourself. Remind yourself of your strengths and keep working toward achieving more. Always learning; always growing. Never stagnant.

If someone doubts your strengths or influences you to question your own, they don’t deserve to have you in their life. Surround yourself with people who make you see the world differently, who push you to be a better person, who show you more beauty in the world than you thought existed, who support you, and who are so confident in themselves that they aren’t afraid to acknowledge your strengths, to you and others.

That is the most admirable strength – recognizing the strengths in yourself, and others.

That to me, is sexy.

 

Openness


Let go of the shackles. Unrestrict your mind. Be free of chaos. Speak with your heart. Act with integrity. 

Because when your heart is open and honest, the answers you were looking for come directly to you. You start to drive on a smooth street instead of a bumpy back road. And quickly realize that you needed little force to receive what you need. The answers come organically. And with that, comes fulfilling action.

Don’t hold back – because the more you keep instead, the bumpier the road will be.

Openness.

Differences

From one of the most insightful authors, Seth Godin’s blog post “Differences” is one that stands out from the rest. It resonates with me because I find his message reflective in myself and others. Becoming aware of the similarities, not differences, you have in other people is the first step to empathizing with them, and ultimately leads to a non-judgmental environment. This is what I am working on…

Check it:

If you’re sharing a cab to the airport with a stranger, what happens if he’s two inches taller than you? Probably nothing. There’s nothing to distract, or to cause discomfort. You make small talk.

What if he’s a little shorter than you? Or left handed?

Perhaps he’s not from your town, but from Depew, about twenty miles away. Probably nothing to consider…

What if he has shoulder-length red hair?

At some point, most people reach a moment of discomfort. What if he’s 7 feet tall? Will you mention it? Or if he’s under four feet? What if he’s from a different country? Or a different race or speaking with a significant accent (or, more accurately, an accent that’s different from yours)?

For as long as we’ve been keeping records, human beings have been on alert for the differences that divide us. Then we fixate on those differences, amplifying them, ascribing all sorts of irrelevant behaviors to them. Until, the next thing you know, we start referring to, “those people.”

It seems as though it’s a lot more productive to look for something in common. Attitudes and expectations. Beliefs in the common good and forward motion. A desire to make something that matters…

~Seth Godin

The Expecting of Expectations

When you do something for someone, do you expect something in return? When you’ve worked hard, do you expect praise for your performance? When you’ve gone out of your way to secretly please someone, are you fishing for acknowledgement?

All of these expectations raise your bar so high, they are bound to fail you at some point. Probably more often than you hope.

Recently I’ve discovered how hidden expectations can shatter relationships and it is a preventable pity. If you feel enthused about doing something for someone, it shows your caring, kind character. But if you draw in your needs and focus on what you should gain, then the magic is lost. Doing selfless deeds is the most rewarding and yet, most challenging because it is hard to calm your inner self and not desire something for you, too. When you drop your expectations and just do something for someone, this I believe will bring you the most happiness. Good intentions included! It may not show right away, or tomorrow, or a month from now, but good deeds do not go unnoticed. Even if they aren’t talked about.

If you do something for someone without an expectation, only then is it considered truly selfless and will bring you fulfillment. Keep spreading your love in whatever ways possible that are genuine and speak the truth about your character, and let those deeds be completely focused on the person(s) you are directing it to. This shows your confidence in yourself, which is noticeably attractive.

The need for praise, acknowledgement or an outcome is your insecure self feeling hungry. Don’t feed it. More harm than good will breakout…

“The best moves in life are made quietly. Don’t talk about it. Just do it and let everyone else talk. Move in silence”

Travel + Brand

Recently I ran into my high school musical theatre teacher and he invited me to speak to his Grade 9-12 musical theatre class. I was excited to do it but thought…what would I say? Why did he ask me? He said “Well, teenagers look up to 20 something year old adults and actually listen to them!” I laughed and thought about it. Made sense and that was how I was at that age. So, I agreed to it.

Then this week I visited the high school theatre where eleven years ago I played the wolf in the musical Into The Woods. Memories flooded my mind when I entered the room. It was a real rush and I loved it! About 20 students showed up and gathered around with eyes bulging and ears intently listening. Public speaking doesn’t make me nervous but my presentation content does. I need to be confident and knowledgeable about what words and concepts I am about to share, otherwise I will doubt myself and lose the audience. So for this presentation I decided to speak about traveling and branding yourself. I had jotted down some points beforehand but I find the best, most influential speeches come from the heart and are not scripted. Being prepared Vs. being a robot.

I showed some photos of my recent 6 month internship in Jamaica and spoke about the organic beauty of traveling. To me, traveling is necessary because it pushes you outside of your comfort zone forcing you to adapt to unknown circumstances, allowing you to experience new excitement, and to meet extraordinary people. Sure you can read about Portugal, listen to reggae music and eat Thai food, but if you visit the countries where things originate, you will learn more than you would any other way.

Branding yourself means you recognize your uniqueness and establish a significant presence in the world. To do this you need to know who you are and what ignites you. In other words, reflect upon yourself. One of the biggest life exercises I’ve come to realize and appreciate is self-reflection and I believe it is the backbone to learning, growth and positive development.

The takeaways? Try new things. Travel. Do what feels right to you, not what others recommend for you. Stay true to yourself. Talk less, listen more, and keep asking questions. Jump. Act on your curiosity. Show lovingkindness. And make no assumptions.

After 30 minutes of speaking to and chatting with the kids, I left with a happy heart. Unforeseen opportunities like these have always been the most rewarding and I hope more will appear in the future.

Positively You

Finding those things that make you feel at ease and truly yourself, is a beautiful thing. Pay attention to things that bring fulfillment into your life and take advantage of them. Listening to what others suggest for you to do, or competing and comparing yourself to others, will only suppress what it is you actually feel. Do what you want and live in the moment. Define your own life.

Music, conversation, spontaneous adventures, dancing and bubble baths fill my soul with love, to name a few. There are many! And these are all things I am in control of and don’t find any shame in doing. Resisting the mold others have for you, is a powerful practice.

So do the things that make you positively “you” – and only you can truly know that as long as you are honest with yourself. No justification needed.

Check out my magical playlist this week that makes my heart shine.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”
― Allen Ginsberg

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”
― Harvey Fierstein

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience 

“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”
― Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass