Simple Moments. Lasting Memories.

cropped-cup-of-coffee-and-book1.jpgFrench-born novelist, Anaïs Nin expresses this special bond beautifully when she said, “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

Making and maintaining a friendship takes energy and time. While some people prefer to spend time alone, others like to socialize and be around other people. There is probably nothing more enjoyable than spending time with them. With a new hometown every 2-3 years meeting people become harder as an adult and keeping one close through the distance is even tougher. There is an incredible weight placed on friendship in the complex age of the Internet and life lived on social media.

Creating a social network both in and outside of our comfort zone or the office gives us value to the meaning of care, commitment and belonging.

For me, the personal interactions, the porch sittin’ moments and strangers who turn into friends are priceless.

I had a chance to spend some rare moments with some friends recently to do just that! My day at the office can be hectic and unpredictable so being able to take my mind off of work is a pretty big deal. I admit, I love to work and I am a work-a-holic! But living where I live now, I find joy in the simple things like catching up with our neighbors and playing with their children. I have learned to appreciate dirt from a little boy’s point of view — I always get a handful whenever I see him and I think it is so adorable.  And, of course gardening and the art of porch sittin’.  The good ‘ole days of real conversations – a way to disconnect from technology, watch cars drive by, kids playing and a cup of tea or coffee in hand.

12046808_10206478963206431_5711440536957089313_n

Sharing an evening latte at Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop – Monterey Cannery Row.

As I enjoyed my cup of Joe, I realize successes and triumphant moments is about celebrating the little moments as much as the big events in your life. There are unexplainable simple moments shared over  a cup of evening latte at Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop, planting a new plant or eating a hub cap size pancake at Loulou’s. It is a great feeling when strangers evolve and become good friends or an extended member of your family.

IMG_0142[1]

Chocolate chip hub cap pancake at Loulou’s Griddle In the Middle.

My view of life is a continuous journey of evolution and progress – like climbing a ladder. The most important quality to have to be a good friend is copious conviviality. I value friends who share the same journey, or someone who can help me reach for the next rung.  A team or a partnership sort of speak. These inter-connected relationships have a way of turning an ordinary moment into lasting memories.  Regardless if you’re a military family or not, be relatable, open your heart and keep in touch with the people who awakens your inner livelihood and bring you a sense of belonging in a new hometown. Let’s face it, we live in a fast pace society with a schedule to keep, homework to finish and chores to do…But First coffee

Treasured Times.

It’s been a while since my last blog post. My friend April wrote a blog ‘A Good Tribe Makes Life Happier‘ and it inspired me to share and add to it.  Having a group of friend you can count on for laughs and conversations makes life more meaningful and it’s great food for the soul. Read more of April’s blog in the link below.  Here’s an excerpt:

Just today, I was at my friend Brooke’s house, thinking how much more I smile when I’m visiting with her or any of my friends or my mom, just a friend who accepts you for who you are.

My husband and I have moved many times and lived in many different places. With every move and every new hometown there is a renewed sense of excitement and adventure. For some people the move can be a daunting and frightening experience. During our time in Monterey, California I was fortunate to live close to some amazing neighbors. I introduced them to my culture and strange cuisines —-and they became my friends! Hahahaha….they were brave!

There were five of us, we shared good times and many front yard conversations while the children run around and play with the other neighborhood children. These simple moments are my most treasured times. It is true “Some people come into our lives and touch our heart so deeply that we will never be the same again.”  —-that they did.

This is the lovely Amy and Tegann. They were our friends in California, we were beyond excited to visit with them recently! Right when you move is always at the exact moment that you’ve finally made close friends. In California, we were lucky enough to have a whole group of them. My California neighborhood crew…

via A Good Tribe Makes Life Happier — Stories of Our Boys

Love Hurts

 

Love hurts…only if you want it to.

Cupid is coming to town and he or she will seduce everyone in the ‘arse’ with that darn arrow of love. February 14th is Valentine’s Day. It is an annually celebrated day of taking time to shower our loved ones with flowers and gifts, woo our secret admirers, and even pamper our fur-babies!

Love is a complex and complicated web of unexplainable emotions and relationship between people, their pets and their community.

In an image driven culture from Facebookers to Instagrammers, it can be tough to decipher what is real and what is ‘missing’.  This blog piece is for those of you looking for true love, falling in love or falling out of love.  So what is love? No one knows better than you.  There is a no right or wrong answer. Everyone has a unique set of needs and circumstances. You get to choose what’s good for you.

The truth of the matter is falling in love is easy. Staying in love is an endless work of give and take along with a huge dose of understanding and a load of patient. But falling out of love is tough, and much tougher on the person who didn’t see it coming.

Sometimes we look so hard for the perfect person that it causes you to miss out on what’s in front of you all along. I was looking in all the wrong places. When they say love is blind, it really is. While there are a trillion signs of a bad relationship, love can be intoxicating and despite the red flag of a bad relationship your decisions are unclear and blurred. Selena Gomez says it so well in her song ‘The heart wants what it wants’:

“…Save your advice ’cause I won’t hear
You might be right but I don’t care
There’s a million reasons why I should give you up…”

There were times when I trusted too much and it backfired. Everyone at some point in their life has experienced this. I too have had my fair share of relationships gone wrong. I was a big skeptic and I thought true love was impossible to achieve. At one time, I was at rock bottom. Life was just unfair and nothing I did was right.  I was ready to live the rest of my life alone. But He had other plans, so He brought into my life the man whom I now call my husband. Our relationship is not perfect but it’s pretty close. On that note I want to share what I have learned so that you may one day find the same:

  1. Find Someone Who Inspires and Challenge You. You’ll know when you meet the right person because your life is enriched by their presence instead being more complicated. You’ll be inspired to take risks and be a better version of you. Likewise you have to do the same for your partner.
  2. Expect Change and Adapt. Much like anything else in life, change is the only constant. People change and so does relationship. Life happens, it is inevitable. While the beginning of every relationships feels heavenly in a cloud of champagne, chocolate and a bed of roses — it takes effort from the both of you to keep it this way. Change with each other and practice more tolerance instead of anger moments and fill your heart with resentment and hate.
  3. Build Trust and Have Faith. This is the most important because it applies to in your search for love, during your relationship and after finding your life partner. Although love is great. Trust is the most important because once you lose it, love doesn’t matter. In every relationship building trust in each other and having faith that despite your struggles it will work out. We may not always know the reason right away but one day you’ll look back and have a “ah-ha” moment.
Christina Arriaga

“The First Dance” -Christina Arriaga. Photo by Ailyn La Torre Photography

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a love doctor and most definitely not Cupid Chann!  All I know is, life without love is bland so you have to keep an open mind and expect that “every once in a while in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.”

Each of our relationship is a journey with our own combination of compliments and challenges.  Until then just press reset and love a little deeper, speak a little sweeter and forgive a little more. Don’t give up, just open your heart.

 

Isolated Leadership: Dangers and Solutions

Failure is just part of life and the risk we choose to take on a daily basis. I am not perfect. I make mistakes as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife, as a friend, and yes, as a manager — plenty of it!  The key to all of this madness is to learn from them. Trust me, I am still working on many of my flaws.

As I browsed for something meaningful to read, I tend to read a lot of Dan Rockwell’s articles and watch his videos. This one resonated with me specifically Dr. Cloud’s quote about how “Leaders need outside voices to provide emotional and functional support…”

Often times I am asked to bring solutions to complicated problems at work and quite honestly, I don’t have all the answers. Instead of isolating myself, I rely on my sphere of mentors, staff and service experts for their insights and opinions. Here’s a great excerpt from the article, click below to read more on how you can better connect with your co-workers and colleagues.

dr-cloud-on-failing

 

All leaders have “special” built in over-reactions, biases in perception, and instinctual responses that don’t work. Acknowledging “special qualities” opens and strengthens leadership.

How can leaders overcome the tendency to isolate?

What behaviors help leaders connect?

Read more about Dr. Henry Cloud, Isolated Leadership: Dangers and Solutions .

6-Steps of Decision Making Process

Creating value and making decisions on complex business problems is crucial in all leadership position whether it is in private enterprises setting and government organizations. Decisions made by leaders are implemented globally throughout the company and have a huge impact on meeting operational goals and successful business continuity.

Identifying a working decision making model plays a key role in figuring out the problem, finding solutions, choosing the best solution and then apply and assessing the solution.

Tough Decisions Ahead

One decision or action affects another, thus making critical thinking of corporate leaders vital to every business transaction; and knowing the mechanics and understanding consequences of their actions are invaluable assets. In response to Samuelson and Marks (2012), Chapter 1, problem #3 on page 22 regarding how a soft drink company can apply the decision making model to introduce a new product into the market. Demonstrated in Figure 1.1 on page 6 as my guideline, the soft drink company can apply the basic six steps as part of their planning and decision making process (Samuelson & Marks, 2012, p.6):

  • Step 1 – Define the Problem: This initial step is identifying the situation and examining the context of the issue and methodically going through the questions related to: who? What? When? Why? and How? Also determine whether soft drink is new, imitation or substitute product inspired by something another beverage already in the market. By defining the problem, management can begin developing a holistic plan inclusive of various conditions and both known and unknown variables that might have an impact on the product demands, production and sales.
  • Step 2 – Determine the Objective: Figuring out the objective or strategic goal is critical, especially in forecasting future profits. In this step, management need to contend with questions related to building brand equity, value creation and whether or not there are attributes that would differentiate the product from its competitors. Additionally, being able determine if the product will align with the company’s existing product or will it satisfy other strategic goals.
  • Step 3 – Explore the Alternatives: The third step is generating solutions. Being able to devise a “plan B” or have on hand an alternative solution is equally important to being able to identify the purpose of the product. Management will have to consider the logistic of product distribution and introduction into the marketplace. In addition to that, the company would have to figure which variety or drink flavor to spotlight, and determines geographically when and where to produce and introduce the drinks; and developing and designing strategic marketing campaigns that will produce the biggest impact.
  • Step 4 – Predict the Consequences: This step aims more on being able to forecast the financial consequences of decisions made or course of actions. In this step of the planning, management is expected to make certain assumptions of their production and profit level and at a determined frequency, i.e. monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual, annually, 3-year plan, 5-year plan, etc. Other assumptions include revisiting and modifying the plan 1, 2, or 3 year after launching the product.
  • Step 5 – Make a Choice: Once the problem has been identified, the objectives are determined, generating solutions and forecasting the future outcome is done, Step 5 involves selecting one or more of the best solution for the product. In this step, management decides which of the possible solutions, predictions and benefits-cost analysis will maximize their ability to profit.
  • Step 6 – Perform Sensitivity Analysis: In the final step of the decision making model, management have to revisit their original plans and make modifications as needed. Strategic plans take on-going maintenance. It has to stay fluid and adaptable.

Decision makers and senior managers apply critical thinking on a daily basis.

Their ability to solve difficult problems and lead the company and staff in the right direction is essential to the viability of the company as well as success in launching new products into the marketplace. Effective and efficient launching of a product such as soft drinks can be achieve successfully provided the managers implement and properly analyze the existing market conditions for risks, threats and opportunities. By completing a thorough analysis of all the conditions and elements that influence operational objectives, the company can make a more calculated decision that is the most appropriate and most effective.

 

Source:  Samuelson, W.F. & Marks, S.G. (2012). Seven examples of Managerial Decisions. Managerial Economics, 7th ed. John Wiley dan Sons, Inc. New York.

New Year. New Beginning.

Increase Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Eat Less Calories

I have not written a blog in a few months and there’s so much to share! Twenty-fifteen was an adventurous year academically, personally and professionally.  Without having to go into details, the New Year is now upon us and we are blessed with another new beginning. Some people have set New Year resolutions while others have not. I do not have New Year’s resolutions per se but rather a theme. A great example is put into action random acts of kindness to a complete stranger monthly, weekly, daily, etc.  In 2016, I will embark on a new adventure with new neighbors, a new hometown, and a new job. On that note, my theme for the year is increase my Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and the art of portion control, i.e. eat less calories!

Increase Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Building on what I learned this year at a management meeting. In an effort to perform and lead more effectively under pressure this year’s goal is to increase my EQ.  Most of us is familiar with the meaning of IQ, but do you know what EQ is? And why is it important?  The term was coined by two researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and made popular by Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.”   No matter what industry you work in or background you have, the ability to manage your emotions and skillfully connect with others is important.

dumb-question

From a practical perspective, Emotional Intelligence is understanding that our behaviors and reactions are a direct result of our emotions (either negative or positive) can impact those around us.

Being able to skillfully manage your emotions and others can help you in negotiations or diffuse a conflict situation.

For example, how to handle criticism from your boss or rejection. It’s also imperative to note, someone with a high IQ doesn’t necessarily have a high EQ which makes being attuned to both an essential tool for both personal and professional growth.  Go be awesome and increase both your EQ and your IQ, and make 2016 your best year ever!

Portion Control. Eat Less Calories.

You thought I was kidding! Nope, it’s true for personal reasons. However not for the obvious reason of weight control but more about living and eating healthier.  BUT I’m not giving up my cupcakes! Just eating fewer than last year.  Being unhealthy can be the root cause of a number of health problems such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  The number of caloric intake should complement with your activity level. Eating more calories and doing less equals stored fat cells.  So this year, get on the “live better” wagon and take care of yourself. Check your health status and take the necessary preventative actions to limit your health risks.

So…keep it simple. Set a theme for yourself because sometimes keeping track of your many resolutions can be a daunting task in itself!  As for me, I may not know where I’m going but I know as long as I have my sailor by my side I will set sail, and the wind will carry me through. Remember whatever you encounter this year —you are in charge. You are in control. The circumstances do not define you. How you deal with them does.

Architecture

For the love of art and design…

There is a profound love in the complex art of architectural design that is directly linked to the mind of its creator. In the perfect lines of each drawing lies an underlying meaning of something much greater than just blueprints. From the sturdy foundation and infrastructure that keeps a building standing to the roof that shelter its occupants from the sun and rain, the architect is thorough in his/her thought process for each project. We are surrounded by all of this but yet, it is not visible to all who sees them. I suppose if the architect was to have a blueprint of his/her soulmate, it would be captured in Jonathan Tulin who expressed it nicely in his music…

“There are a million mountains that I’d like to climb…To get a glimpse of the heart of your design.”

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. Like love and passion, at first glance it isn’t always obvious nor is the level of appreciation. Enjoy!

 

Jonathan Thulin
from the album The White Room
Buy on Amazon | iTunes

Lyrics:
There are a million mountains that I’d like to climb
To get a glimpse of the heart of your design
So here I stand, here I stand on what You build
You are surrounding me and the walls will never, ever, ever come down

You build me up like a city of gold
The battles rage but I’m standing tall
You formed my heart like an empire
The wind and rain can’t stop this fire

If only I could see it from Your perspective
The beauty and the grace of Your architecture

There are a million trees blowing in the wind
Witness of lives already led
So here I stand, here I stand on what You build
You are surrounding me and the walls will never, ever, ever come down

You build me up like a city of gold
The battles rage but I’m standing tall
You formed my heart like an empire
The wind and rain can’t stop this fire

If only I could see it from Your perspective
The beauty and the grace of Your architecture

Of Your architecture
Your architecture
Your architecture
Your architecture

Here I stand, here I stand on what You build
You are surrounding me
Here I stand, here I stand on what You build
You are surrounding me
Here I stand, here I stand on what You build
You are surrounding me and the walls will never, ever, ever come down
No, the walls will never, ever, ever come down

You build me up like a city of gold
The battles rage but I’m standing tall
You formed my heart like an empire
The wind and rain can’t stop this fire

If only I could see it from Your perspective
The beauty and the grace of Your architecture

Your architecture
Your architecture
Your architecture
Your architecture