Never Lose Faith!

After many months of trying and pitching blog ideas to Huff Post, I just about gave up hope of ever hearing from them.  A few weeks ago, I emailed Arianna Huffington a short letter of gratitude for her book, “Thrive”, which is one of many that have helped me on my Journey to Awesome.

My note was short but truly heart-felt.  Before I clicked “Send”, I honestly whispered “Thank You” as if she would truly hear it, somehow.

Since I never got responses for my previous blog pitches, I didn’t expect much from this email that I sent.  There were no “cherished outcomes” on my end.  All I could hope for was that someone in her team would forward it to her, because really, does Arianna Huffington have time to read all the emails sent to her Huff Post account?

Well, this morning, I write to tell you that not only does she read them, but she replies to them!  Arianna was quite thankful for my letter of gratitude, as you can see in her response…

Dear Caroline, many, many thanks for the kind note. We would love to
feature your voice on HuffPost about your own journey if you are
interested. I’m forwarding your email to our blog team to send you a
blog invitation directly. All the best, Arianna

I’m not sure what happens next, but this is more than I could have ever hoped for.  Stay tuned!

MBSR, Here I Come!

It’s been a while, awesome peeps.  School, work, and just life in general, have been keeping me busy, but I know that if I want to get better at writing, then, well, I HAVE to make the time to write.  I worry so much about what to write about because of the following nagging and unhelpful thoughts…

Who really cares?

Is this relevant?

Does this flow well?

But I’ve decided that I have to stop worrying about all that and just WRITE already, for Chrissake.

I’ll keep this short, but I’m happy to report that my journey to awesome has led me to MBSR training starting in January 2016!

Mindfulness Based Stressed Reduction (MBSR) was started by Jon Kabbat-Zinn in 1979 at UMass Medical School.  My way of describing it is bringing your full attention to the present moment.  I start with focusing on the breath.  Sounds simple, but it’s not easy, especially when I have crazy thoughts running through my head all the time.  After training and much practice, I hope to be able to use this in highly stressful situations.  What do I mean?  Well, normally, when something bad happens, what do I try to do?  I normally try to run away from the discomfort.  I try to avoid pain or discomfort if at all possible.  The problem with that, though, is that whatever is bothering me will then become the focus of my thoughts for hours, days, weeks, sometimes years to come!  That’s A-LOT of baggage to carry around.  However, with MBSR, I hope to one day finally be present in truly painful situations, accept the situation for what it is- something that’s crappy at this moment, but then also realize that this too will pass.

We need to feel the pain and sadness so that we can let it go.

Anyway, I’m very excited about this course.  I had the pleasure of listening to a talk by and meditating with Jon Kabbat-Zinn last week in NYC.  That was enough for me to say “Sign me up” for the training.  I look forward to sharing with you how it’s all going.

Free Work

What Type of Work Would I Do for Free?

In my journey to awesome, I’m always asking myself, “What should I be doing with my life?”  Yes, I’m back in school because I need the education to get into a different area of the drug development process in the pharmaceutical industry, but really- what would I do for FREE?  In no particular order, here are things I would love to be involved with at no cost.

  • Spreading the idea of Arianna Huffington’s Third Metric. We need to start the dialogue of redefining success so that people SLOW DOWN and enjoy what they have at this moment.
  • Educating upper management in large corporations such as the one I currently work in on introversion. The extrovert-ideal has been upheld for too long, and it’s time for introverts to get their fair share of representation.
  • Spreading awareness on the benefits of mindfulness meditation. We live in a society that is constantly on the go.  We are always connected to the internet, checking Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds, etc.  Our minds are squirrels’ nests full of thoughts.  We’ve forgotten how to pause and enjoy the moment.  I would love to follow in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s footsteps and educate people on the benefits of mindfulness meditation.
  • I would love, love, love to help people in their personal development. Granted, the internet is a great resource, but sometimes, people need a nudge.  I can give that nudge.
  • And of course- writing! Writing about my personal development, my journey to awesome, in the hopes that my stories help at least one person out there.

OK- so there’s my list… Now how to go about actually doing these things (except #5, which I already happily do)?

How My Quiet Nature Has Helped Me on My Journey to Awesome

Being an introvert in a very extroverted world has always been a struggle.  My earliest memory of my preference for being alone was in first grade.  During recess, I would spend time with one girl who would later be my best friend, but if more children joined us to play or talk, I remember feeling uneasy, and I would go back to my desk to be by myself.  This pattern would repeat later on in my high school years where we would have retreats with the intention of getting to know one another better.   While I loved the moments of quiet reflection where we could read and journal, I hated the part where we would get together in one big group and be asked to “share” what we had reflected upon.  These large group activities were the absolute worst because having to interact with more than twenty people at a time absolutely irritated me, as I had no interest in sharing my thoughts and ideas with a group of people that I really wasn’t close to.  What was interesting, though, is that I had no problem sharing my reflections with the one or two people in my class that I considered to be friends.  In fact, I loved sharing my thoughts and opinions with these two ladies, and I equally enjoyed hearing their ideas and opinions as well.  There was just something about sharing the deeply personal stuff with such a big group of people that didn’t sit well with me.  Now that I’m educated regarding the benchmark characteristics of introversion, I understand that back then, I only wanted to share my reflections with a few close friends. So being forced to share with a large group of people that I wasn’t close to just wasn’t in my nature.  I remember being so exhausted after these retreats because I had expended so much energy interacting with more than twenty people, so that on the bus ride home, while all the other girls were happily chatting away about how much fun they had, I fell right asleep, drained from the day’s activities.  These retreats were held at least twice a year, so when the date of the next retreat was announced, I would feel dread at the thought of going.  I think this was probably my first experience of social anxiety.  Isn’t it funny how the original intention of the retreat was to bring students together, help us “break out of our shell” and get to know one another, but in reality, it was that very thing that caused me terrible anxiety so that from the moment we arrived, I couldn’t wait to go back home?

In college, my aversion to large group-gatherings only expanded.  If I was  invited to a party, I’d ask if there would be a-lot of people, and depending on the number of people, I would either accept or decline. It was almost as if I had to do actual research on each event before making an informed decision on whether or not to attend. This was an especially difficult time because while I wanted to be socially accepted among my peers in college, I just couldn’t bring myself to be overly social.  I could barely bring myself to a party, let alone try to be the life of the party.  I had taken the Myers-Briggs test and knew that I was introverted, but back then, there was a sort of negative stigma associated with introversion, so I felt awful when I had to retreat and be by myself.  I truly thought there was something wrong with me…   That I WAS a social retard or some sort of science experiment for everyone to gawk at. Plus, it wasn’t exactly common when being invited somewhere, to respond with: “Oh, I’d love to come to your house party, but I’m an introvert and going to your party will most likely send me into a full-blown panic attack. You understand.” No. They didn’t understand. That was the problem. Nobody understood.   I wanted so desperately to be the social butterfly that could light up a room, but I was the complete opposite.  I could only bring myself to talk to a handful of people at a time, giving them my undivided attention, after which I was so drained and exhausted that I would have to leave.

Fast forward to my life today.  Replace the high school hallways and the college dorms with a modern day office working environment, and there  you have my current job. And let’s face it – the atmosphere of most office-type jobs is really not much different than high school or college. Same politics, different walls. In order to “fit in” with the cool and socially accepted people at work, I pretended to be someone I’m not.  This meant reluctantly engaging  in the gossip and negative conversations that took place in our open cubicle area.  After many weeks of sleepless nights, I finally admitted to myself that being part of the “cool and fun/social” group was draining me both emotionally and physically.  Rumors about impending layoffs were worrisome, and making nasty comments about the office “mean girls” really didn’t make me any better than the mean girls themselves.  Every time I took part in gossip… every time I passed on the negativity, a little piece of me died on the inside, because deep down I knew that this wasn’t who I was. I hated myself for pretending to be someone I wasn’t, just so I would be socially accepted at work. So one day, I decided enough was enough.  I showed up to the office, said a quick hello to everyone, and proceeded to put on my headphones and quietly work at my desk.  On the rare occasion I didn’t have my headphones on and conversations drifted from work to gossip, or whenever snarky comments about people were made, I would quietly slip away, put on those headphones, and dissolve into my beautiful world of SILENCE.  Initially, the headphones were used for noise reduction, but then I realized these headphones were my gateway to not only peace but inspiration as well. Inside those headphones, I could create whatever world I wanted to for myself. It didn’t matter what was being said and talked about just a few feet away from me, because I was now able to choose to let in only what I wanted to hear.  I found beautiful meditation music that would help me focus as I was doing my work.  I then took it a step further and listened to positive and inspiring talks or interviews by people such as Susan Cain, Brene Brown, and Liz Gilbert.  Somewhere between the meditation music and inspiring talks, I reached a moment of clarity, my AHA moment, where it became clear to me that I had to do what was best for me.  Sounds so simple, but was so difficult for me to do because I was so worried that I would be disliked because of my introverted nature.   I believe people mistook my silence as arrogance or being anti-social.  Little did they know it was more for self-preservation.  J   Regardless of what they may have thought, I finally understood that for my own health and well-being, I had to be true to myself, and if being quiet brought me peace and made work a little more bearable, then that’s what I’d have to do.   From that moment on, I decided to work quietly and peacefully with my headphones on… ALWAYS with my headphones on.

This deliberate act of not engaging in the senseless conversations around me, the simple act of being quiet, has had a profound impact on my work-life.  I am much more focused, I am much calmer, and I get my work done.  I no longer go home complaining about office rumors and gossip, and I actually sleep better at night because I don’t stress about the latest he-said, she-said at work.  Interestingly enough, another colleague, a fellow-introvert, has observed the changes I’ve made and has decided to follow suit because she too was getting stressed-out from all the mindless chatter, gossip, and negativity.  After just a week, she said she noticed an improvement in her mood, and was thankful that she wasn’t the only one who longed for peace and quiet.

Being true to myself and embracing my introverted nature is the best thing I could have ever done.  What used to be intolerable has now become a non-issue, simply by being quiet.  There’s no need to fit in.  I am quiet.  I am introspective.  And I am at peace with myself knowing that these are blessings and not something to be ashamed of.  I finally figured it out. My place of sanctuary was sitting inside of the quiet, all along. I just had to stop and listen.



What My 40-Year Old Self Wants Her 20-Year Old Self To Know

As my 41st birthday approaches, I am amazed at the life I’ve created, and am excited about where I have yet to go.  I sit here in gratitude for the woman I am now, and ache for the woman I was 20 years ago, so insecure, so unaware, so “unconscious”.

To the woman I was 20 years ago, here are 10 things I want you to know:

  • You are good and deserving of joy, abundance, and love just as you are at this moment.
  • Let go of other people’s expectations. Stop worrying about other people’s happiness.
  • You don’t owe your parents your life. There is no shame in admitting   you want more than what they had planned for you.
  • You are responsible for your own happiness.
  • Happiness is so much more than a promotion, a new job, or whatever money can buy.
  • Be grateful for everything because there are lessons to be learned, even in the most heartbreaking moments.
  • You are awesome and can chart a whole new path for yourself. Rewrite your story!  Don’t settle for the story that was written by someone else.
  • You are not arrogant or ungrateful for wanting more out of your life. You are growing and finding your way.  Don’t be afraid of changing things up a bit!  Change is good!
  • Let go of people who are not helping in your growth (you know deep down these people exist). Instead, surround yourself with people who inspire you to live the best life you can.
  • Love yourself. Choose yourself.  Be kind to yourself- always!


Feeling Pretty Awesome for the Simple Reason that I am Here Writing

I write this from my deck in the early morning, listening to sounds of nature mixed in with sounds of urban living (passing train, cars driving by in the distance).  I cannot tell you how awesome and blessed I feel.  I met with my meditation meetup group last night, and once again, I left feeling at peace with myself and the knowledge that all is well.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  The journey to awesome requires, among other things, being with like-minded people.  Say no to the people who bring you down, discourage you, and are always fearful or negative.  It hurts to break these relationships, but trust me, you’ll be all the better for it.

The journey to awesome also requires you to choose yourself.  To me, that means prioritizing what is right for me in all aspects of my life- physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual.  The idea of choosing myself comes from James Altucher.  After reading his books “Choose Yourself” and “The Power of No”, I decided it was high time to do whatever it would take to reach my true potential.

Which brings me to my next requirement to being awesome- overcome your fear.  It’s so easy to stay where it is comfortable.  “Yeah, this job sucks, but it pays the bills, and it’s too late for me to switch careers”.  I’ve been using the bullshit excuse for years, but after reading Jen Sincero’s book, “You Are a Badass”, I realized I had what it takes to change the course of my life.  I’m still at the job that sucks, but I’m doing all the things I need to do to get a different position.  Now, things don’t seem so hopeless.

And look, just because I’m saying my job sucks doesn’t mean I’m an ungrateful bitch.  Here’s the thing- my interests have changed.  I don’t find what I do even slightly interesting anymore.  So while I am forever grateful for the opportunity I’ve had in this current position, it’s time for me to move on.  There’s nothing arrogant about that.  That’s called GROWTH, people.

Speaking of being grateful….  The next awesomeness requirement is GRATITUDE.  Holy shit- once I changed my perception from “I don’t have the job I want… I don’t have the car I want… I don’t have blah blah blah” to “I am grateful for just waking up today…  I am grateful for this beautiful sunrise on my way to work…  I am grateful for my husband, my home, my adorable dog…  I am grateful for the inspiring people I now surround myself with or follow…”Once I changed my perception from a feeling of lack to a feeling of gratitude, life just GOT BETTER.  It’s almost as if the Universe saw how grateful I was for everything in my life and decided to give me more?!?!  How so?  New opportunities at work became available…  I met new people who continue to help me on my journey to awesome…  Physically I was and continue to be the healthiest I’ve been in years….  Emotionally I was less stressed…  It’s hard to explain, but being in gratitude leads to abundance.  I guess it makes me realize how blessed I am at this moment, regardless of how much money I make or what my title is.

So the truth is, life is pretty grand for me nowadays.  On the days that I struggle, whether it be with working out or not completely losing my temper in a highly charged situation at work, I don’t beat myself up over it.  My wish for you, awesome-seekers, is that you choose yourselves, love yourselves, and do what it takes to reach your potential.  It can be done.  I am living proof.


“Eat, Pray, Love” Made Me Do It


“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert is the little miracle that saved my life.  It also taught me how to finally take charge of my life, and since I bought it in 2006, I’m STILL awakening to new lessons from Liz Gilbert’s story. I had hit rock bottom right before I found “Eat, Pray, Love”.   I was in a severe depression after breaking up with the love of my life, the “one”.  Believing life was over without him, I thought about suicide.  I couldn’t imagine life without him, and I was tired of being such a depressing burden on my friends that I believed everyone was just better off without me.  Then one day, in a fog, I went to the bookstore and came upon “Eat, Pray, Love” in the “Recommended Reading” section.  The moment I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down.  I stayed up the whole night going through all the emotions of my breakup all over again because it was as if Liz Gilbert was writing about MY PAIN, not hers, but MINE.  I wept until I felt like I had no more salt in my body to produce one last tear.  I was heaving as I sobbed on my floor.  I was a certified mess.  Then, just when I couldn’t take the pain anymore, I became silent, and out of nowhere, my inner voice said, “Go to Bali.  Find Ketut Liyer.  Heal.”  So, after spending the whole night reading the book, I then proceeded to get myself a ticket to Bali!  Now, for someone who used to be afraid of doing things alone, this was remarkable.  For someone who took a-lot of time when planning a vacation, this was insane.  This book made me do what was then unthinkable for me- buy a ticket to a place where I would be traveling ALONE.  I didn’t discuss this WITH ANYONE.  I didn’t even bother to think about what was going on at work on the week I booked for my trip.  All I knew at that moment was that I was going to Bali to heal and hopefully find purpose again.  After securing a ticket to Bali, I passed out and slept.

When I woke up and realized what had happened, the fear and doubt settled in.

I can’t go to Bali by myself.  I don’t know anyone there.  I have no place to stay. 

What about work?  What if I have important stuff going on the week I plan to be away?

How the hell am I going to find Ketut Liyer? 

I know nothing about Bali.  I don’t even know where it is on a damn map.  How am I going to get around by myself?

With worry setting in, I started to rethink the trip.  Then I started thinking about why I was going in the first place, and the sadness hit me once again.  When the crying started (for the millionth time), I realized I couldn’t go on like this anymore and that I had to go.  Even if joy was a far reach, then I was hoping that this trip would somehow numb the pain.

As it turns out, all the worry about work was for nothing, as my supervisor was happy for me to go.  My work colleagues knew I was in pain and thought it was a great idea.  My friends, although worried about me travelling alone in the state of mind I was in, were encouraging.  And so the day of my departure came.  Excited and a little nervous, I got on the plane ready for some much needed healing.

Although my stay I Bali was brief, the next few days were life changing for sure.  Why?  Because of the following experiences and life lessons.

Lesson number one: I had to let go of fear and let trust in.  In order to find a place to stay and find Ketut Liyer, I would have to ask for help.  All the worrisome thoughts I had before the trip were so unnecessary, as I was able to find a lovely place to stay and a driver who would help me find Ketut Liyer!

Awesome experience number one: If what happened in the wee hours of one particular morning was a meditative or spiritual experience, then I knew I wanted more.  Before “Eat, Pray, Love”, I was skeptical about meditation.  I didn’t quite understand how to meditate, and I found it hard to believe that it could create the inexplicable bliss Liz Gilbert described in her book.  However, one early morning, when light was just breaking through, I heard beautiful gamelan music playing. It was so lovely and somehow magical that it put me in a sort of trance or meditative state.  And while I lay there in bed listening to that lovely music, time stopped, if that makes any sense.  Once the music ended, I came out of my “trance”, and felt calmness in my body that I hadn’t felt in a long time.  While I didn’t feel joy, I certainly didn’t feel sadness.  I think I had finally reached a “neutral” state, and it was such a welcome relief.  No more anger, no more resentment… just calm.  I believe that was my first step towards healing.

Awesome experience number two:  Meeting Ketut Liyer!  I was immediately struck by how peaceful, gentle, and soft-spoken he was.  Too embarrassed to go into all the details of my breakup, I did express to him my heart was broken and that my spirit needed healing.  He listened with compassion, always smiling.  He then proceeded to give me a blessing, a kind of short prayer of his wishes for me.  I was overcome, then, by this rush of gratitude, because out of nowhere, I realized that in time, my heart would be whole again.  Whereas just a few weeks earlier, I saw no point in life, here I was, sitting with this gentle soul, being wished a life of love and joy.  I cannot express how overwhelming the experience was, but what I know for sure is that this man’s compassion healed me.   And so this experience brings me to…

Lesson number two:  I can be alone, travel alone, eat alone- and be COMPLETELY FINE.  Before Liz’s story, I had NEVER considered traveling by myself, let alone being by myself.  For a long time, I was involved in a series of monogamous relationships, never really being “single” for an extended period of time.  However, “Eat, Pray, Love” and my trip to Bali introduced me to… MYSELF- and I really liked being with her, and only her.  So “Eat, Pray, Love” made me enter a serious relationship with myself, if that makes any sense, and in doing so, taught me how to love, respect, and honor ME.  Why was this such a crucial lesson?  Because I believe, now, that until I learned how to be alone and truly love myself, I wouldn’t be able to be a good partner in any relationship.  From her story, I saw that when Liz finally learned how to take care of her needs did love- the “right” love, come her way.

“Eat, Pray, Love” helped me find a strength I never knew I had.  It introduced me to meditation, a spiritual practice that I continue to this very day.  “Eat, Pray, Love” helped heal my spirit and make me whole again.  It made me embark on a trip to Bali where I began the process of mending my heart and appreciating myself… being kind to myself.  I saw not only the value of my life, but I relished in it.  This book made this previously cynical and jaded woman see the possibility in EVERYTHING.  I was blessed enough to meet Liz Gilbert at a book signing shortly before I left for Bali, and she wrote, “To Caroline- who is on her way!”  God bless her, because she had no idea the journey her book took me on and continues to take me on this very day whenever I re-read it.  “Eat, Pray, Love” has been crucial in my personal development, and I am forever grateful that Liz made such a deeply personal story accessible to us all, for we are all the better for it.

My Ideal Cover Letter

As I think about the “next step” in my career, I just WISH I could use THIS as my cover letter.  Can you imagine???

To My Future Employer/Boss,

In addition to what is on my CV, here are a few more things about myself you should know that aren’t covered by the” traditional” CV.  Here’s why I should be a part of your group (and the 1 reason why I SHOULDN’T):

  • I’m extremely focused. Whatever the situation, I am able to stay focused on the immediate task at hand.  I have been in highly charged situations where most of my colleagues just stopped whatever they were doing to react, but I remained calm and just kept plugging through.
  • As an introvert, I abhor office gossip and small-talk and prefer to work quietly. While you might mistake that for arrogance or aloofness, I assure you I am neither of those things.  I am someone who likes to put her full attention to the task at hand… someone who likes to produce quality work and deliver it on time.
  • I don’t know everything, but I’ll sure try to learn whatever I need to learn to get things done! I’m not going to try to impress you by saying I know a-lot of stuff.  If anything, I have a-lot to learn.  But I promise you, if I don’t know something, I have no problem saying “I don’t know how to do this” and reaching out for help rather than trying to figure it out all by myself and risk missing a deadline.
  • I’m proactive rather than reactive. You gotta love that! Why?  Because I think carefully before I speak rather than blurt out the first thought that comes to mind.  I’m slow to anger because… well… I’m too blessed to get stressed about anything.   I’ve worked a LONG TIME with a bunch of different characters, and if there is anything I learned from that, it is this- lashing out at a colleague will not get anything done.  However, pausing to take a few deep breaths before speaking is the best solution I’ve found to dealing with highly charged situations where everyone is under stress.
  • I’m here to help you out and get a job done. I’m NOT here to be your buddy.  If you think our personalities don’t “click”, ask yourself what you REALLY want from a candidate- friendship or a job well done.  I think you should aim for “job well done”.  Now, please don’t mistake that as me saying I wouldn’t WANT to be your friend.  I just want to keep things PROFESSIONAL.
  • I have an AWESOME life outside of work. I’m very active and have hobbies/passions.  Therefore, I believe in work-life balance.  If you’re looking for someone who is constantly answering work e-mails, even after hours or while on vacation…  If you’re looking for someone so dedicated that they CAN’T unplug from work, then I am not a right fit for your organization.

8 People with Lessons That Added Value to My Life and Will Add Value to Yours

Shortly before I turned 40, I took a look at my life and admitted for the first time that I wasn’t happy about where I was. Make no mistake, I was thankful I had a job, and I was and continue to be grateful for my amazing husband and my beautiful home. From the outside, it looked like I had it all.  But something was missing.  I didn’t enjoy what I was doing at work at all, and I would leave work completely exhausted.  I dreaded going to work so much that I would sit in my car in the parking lot, asking God to help me get through the day.  Finally, one day, I decided to do something about my situation rather than wallow in pity and depression.  First off, I had to address what was wrong with me.  Why was I so miserable at work?  Why was I so exhausted all the time?  After much googling, I  found talks and books that SAVED me.  Seriously- I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the following people.  If you’re in a rut, if you’re in pain, if you’re depressed, if you feel like you should be doing something else with your life, look to these people for inspiration.  I did, and my life hasn’t been the same since.

  1. Susan Cain

After reading her book “Quiet- The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and watching her TED talk (, I finally understood there wasn’t anything wrong with me.  All my life, I knew I was introverted, and I struggled suffered being outgoing in an extroverted world.  As an introvert, I lose energy when in a group of people but re-energized when I am alone.  So it’s no wonder I was so exhausted after work.  I work in an open-space cubicle area, where at some times during the day, there is constant chatter.  In order to fit in, I would try to engage in the meaningless chatter, not realizing that I was depleting my energy.  Now that I know meaningless conversations deplete my energy, I no longer engage in such conversations, and it has made a world of difference in my well-being.  Even if you’re not an introvert, I’ll bet anything you know someone who is, so Susan Cain’s book and talk will help you understand the introverts in your life a little better.

  1. Jen Sincero

I was tired of being miserable at work.  Reading Jen Sincero’s book “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” was the kick in the pants I needed to do something about my work situation.  Because of that book, I decided to go back to school and am pursuing a shadowing opportunity in the group that I’m interested in working in.  Jen’s writing is brutally honest and equally humorous.  She taught me that I’m responsible for my situation, that I can either do nothing and stay where things are miserable but familiar, or I can jump into the unknown and feel alive again.  I don’t know about you, but I want to feel alive again.

  1. Brene Brown

Trying to be outgoing and part of the socially acceptable group at work was exhausting.  After reading Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are”, I knew I had to stop pretending to be someone I’m not.  Once I stopped engaging in the gossip, complaining, and unproductive conversations that took place in my cubicle area, I was so much happier.  I wish I had embraced my true introverted nature a long time ago.  Thanks to Brene Brown, I am quite happy with myself and make no apologies for who I am.


  1. James Altucher

His book, “The Power of No”, is my bible.  I now say “No” to things that really aren’t good for me.  This covers all areas from food, to friends, to relationships, to work…  ESPECIALLY work.  I used to be a “yes” girl.  I’d say yes to projects that my gut told me wasn’t a good idea because I was afraid of pissing off my manager.  But when I said yes to projects that I knew in my gut I should have said no to, you know what- the project suffered, and even worse, I suffered.  So now, even if it pisses off my manager, I only take on projects that I can handle.  The result?  I get quality work done in time.  And as I mentioned earlier, I now say no to unhealthy behaviors at work, such as engaging in gossip, complaining, and unproductive conversations.  Ever since I stopped being part of that nonsense, work hasn’t been so bad.  I truly focus on my work, get my assignments done, and go home.

  1. Oprah Winfrey

Need I say more?  I watch her videos on Super Soul Sunday because they are absolutely uplifting and inspiring.  If you want a short book with lots of wisdom, I highly recommend her book, “What I Know for Sure”.  I believe to live an awesome life, you need to surround yourself with awesome and inspiring people.  The people Oprah interviews on Super Soul Sunday are the kind of people I want to surround myself with, so I try to watch them as often as I can.

  1. Kamal Ravikant

I love Kamal’s story because here’s a guy who hit rock bottom, and the only way out of the darkness was for him to love himself.  Sounds so simple, but it isn’t.  And to give a talk on how loving himself saved his life to a bunch of entrepreneurs takes guts!  After watching his talk, I really appreciated how important it is to love who I am and to let go of other people’s expectations.  Hmm…  I see a recurring theme here of love and acceptance of who I am and letting go of people’s expectations.

  1. Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert ever since “Eat, Pray, Love”.  However, when I watched her Oprah interview on Super Soul Sunday, I fell in love with her all over again.

It really is OK for me to say “I’m not cut out for this.  I want something different.”  She taught me that I don’t need “Permission” to address what my true needs are.  Here’s an idea.  What if we took all the service we provide for our loved ones and turned that on ourselves?  We are trained to give, give, give, but what about our own needs and happiness?  I used to feel so guilty about wanting more out of my job.  I thought in an economy where a good-paying job with nice benefits was hard to come by, I should just be happy to be employed, and accept that I’m not meant to do something that interests me.  But Elizabeth Gilbert has taught me it’s OK to question if a paycheck really is enough, and if not, what else can I do that fulfills me.  Because of her, I have found joy in writing!  And while it doesn’t pay the bills, it brings me a joy that my current job doesn’t, and for that, I’m grateful.

  1. Arianna Huffington


If I could have anyone as a boss, I’d want Arianna Huffington!!  While I’m sure she has high expectations from her employees, this is a woman who gets it.  She sees the importance of unplugging and slowing down in a culture that is constantly on the go, remembering we can’t control everything and letting things happen as they should, being truly present, and meditation.  Everyone should watch this video.  There are so many important life lessons here.

These people, through their books and/or talks, taught me important lessons that have added so much value to my life.  They are why my blog was started and why I continue to write.  Just as they have helped and inspired me, I too hope to help and inspire people who need encouragement and guidance on how to live lives of joy, fulfillment, and gratitude.


Why All of Us Can Learn a Little Something from Arianna Huffington


Are you putting in ridiculous hours at work, taking on more than you can comfortably handle?  When you go home, do you put in a little extra time by checking and answering e-mails?  How are your “vacations”- those few days you look forward to in order to “get away from it all”?  Do you really get away and unplug, or do you occasionally check work e-mails?   Have there been times when you had to put out fires at work while you were on vacation because you JUST HAD TO check those voice-mails?  As a result of putting in all this time at work, how is your health?  I’m not talking just physical, but mental and emotional too?

Well, I USED to be that person I just described, so I guess it’s no surprise that after two years of overworking myself, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally a hot MESS.  One day, I had finally had enough and decided to prioritize ME.  With a new-found focus, I took charge of all aspects of my health- physical, mental and spiritual.  I started exercising, eating better, and practicing mindfulness.  I took on only as much work as I could comfortably handle, which meant that I had to say no to some projects.  Gasp!  How could I say no to more work when everyone else was grinning and bearing it?  Then I started feeling guilty because I really wasn’t stressing as much as I used to about work while the rest of my colleagues continued on their self-destructive paths.  Just when I thought I was being selfish for prioritizing me, I came upon this gem of an interview.

It was as if the Universe was reassuring me that my new path to health and well-being was NOT a mistake, and it certainly wasn’t something to feel guilty about.  I think all of us could benefit from watching this video.  A few pearls of wisdom that I took:

  • Rethinking how we define success is long overdue. Money and power, which tend to be synonymous with success, are ultimately hurting us.  My deteriorating health and well-being were proof of that.
  • Checking and answering e-mails after work hours or worse yet, while on vacation?   Just stop it already.  The e-mails aren’t going anywhere.  However, the time you could be spending on yourself or your loves ones?  Slipping away with each moment spent on work e-mails…
  • Anything that is important is worth your undivided attention.  I love how Arianna’s mother berated her for checking e-mail while talking to her children.  She took it a step further by declaring “I ABHOR multi-tasking.”  Hey- Mom’s always right.
  • Make it a point to find just a few moments a day to be still/mindful/grateful. It’s easy to get caught up with e-mails, deadlines, and never-ending to-do lists.  However, from my own experience, when I take a few minutes to be mindful, the resulting calm and peace I feel are unbelievably rejuvenating.
  • Are you living YOUR dream or someone else’s dream? People may have their best intentions when giving us advice on what we should be doing with our lives, but we must always ask ourselves, is this truly what my heart wants?
  • We can’t make everything happen the way we want. At some point after declaring our intention to the Universe, we just have to let go, and not be so attached to the outcome because it isn’t entirely up to us.  You may have heard some people refer to this as “surrender”.
  • Failure is not the opposite of success. It is the stepping stone to success.  I wish someone had told me that in my 20s.  It would have saved me a-lot of tears of frustration.
  • People may not always remember what you did or said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. When all is said and done, no one is really going to remember or care that you raised third quarter earnings, or that you increased market share by thirty percent.  What people will remember?  How you comforted them in their times of loss or sorrow.  How your smile would light up a room and lift people’s spirits.  How your laughter was contagious.

Share this video just like I did on my blog.  My wish is that everyone watches this video because if we continue the way we are going, it’s not success that will be reached, but misery.  Our bodies, minds, and relationships suffer the more we pursue money and power, but it doesn’t have to be that way if only we redefine success and include the Third Metric.  Can you imagine how different things would be if people embraced the idea of a third metric for success?  All I know is that ever since I started living this way, I’ve experienced more peace, joy, and gratitude in one year than I ever have, and I wish the same for people who are currently caught up in the trappings of success.