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What it really takes to love ourselves

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Have you ever been disappointed in yourself?

So disappointed that you ended up blaming yourself for an unfortunate incident or experience?

There are times when we let ourselves down for a variety of reasons. And the truth is, it hurts.

But it doesn’t help to give ourselves a hard time.

I can be really hard on myself too.

But part of having a better body image is loving and accepting ourselves for who we are.

It’s good to aspire to improve ourselves, but for us to truly love ourselves, we must:

  1. Speak our Truth. See ourselves for who and what we really are. Be realistic with the person we are and see exactly what is in our reflection - the good, the bad, the ugly. It is, what is is. It is what we are. And that’s what makes it true.

  2. Learn to Accept that person. It has to start with ourselves. Accepting that everyone has beauty and flaws. Realizing that what we are matters. And who we are can make a dent in the footprint of mankind by starting with our circles of influence. That’s how special each and every person is.

  3. Have Faith that we can continue to love, accept, and improve ourselves. That we can be bigger than ourselves when we choose to be part of something bigger - such as being of service to others.

You are special. You are loved. And what’s most important is that you choose to love yourself, too.

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(Photo from GoRaydar)

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What I Need for Career Success

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Many of us dream of becoming successful.

Are you putting in the necessary work to be so?

Some of us get people’s attention from the get-go, while others toil quietly away.

Whichever path you might be on, many of us need the following things to go further in life and in our careers:

1.Flexibility

We are often thrown into situations we don’t expect to be in.

From greater demands and changes in direction to temporary setbacks, so many situations in life require us to be able to adapt, and be flexible.

Flexibility allows us to adjust well, and it enables us to do things even when they weren’t in our original plan.

It also helps us to broaden our skill set and build bridges with others - especially with those whom we didn’t expect to be in those unexpected circumstances.

2.Grit

In the recent years, a book has come out on grit and how this characteristic helps make people successful.

Grit, as a characteristic keeps us standing when we life tries to knock us down.

It also helps us get on our feet - or our knees - whatever is required for us to succeed in situations.

It drives us, keeps us focused, and reminds us that we are able.

Grit doesn’t just keep us going, it also gives us the courage to do so.

3.Humility

A huge ego is one of the greatest things which can keep us from success.

It makes us neglect or take others for granted as it wants us to highlight ourselves.

In contrast, humility helps us work more effectively with others and positively influence their lives.

It also enables us to do things which we wouldn’t be willing to with a huge, inflated ego.

Humility allows us to understand the needs of those around us and respond to them.

At the end of the day, there are many things we need to build a successful and sustainable career.

I strongly believe though, practicing these three qualities will allow us to go further than if we were just to build on our knowledge and technical skills!

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(Photo from GoRaydar)

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Embrace Change in Life & Career

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It was a rollercoaster of a year.

I worked hard on something, then got disappointed. It happened over and over again.

I’m talking about 2017. Compared with my heartaches, my successes seemed rare and small.

A common saying from an unknown author is that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you look at things.

Perhaps. But I also believe at looking objectively at things and using our experiences to learn what to do next and how to move forward.

But maybe that’s my 90%.

I think, at the end of the day, what 2017 was about for me was change.

Life is filled with it. Sometimes it’s the big, beautiful, welcome gift we want; while sometimes it’s disguised in an ugly package, bringing with it hurt, tears, and disappointments.

Either way, the only time we can escape change is when we die because life is filled with it.

At the end of 2017, I decided to roll up my sleeves once more and get to work - at writing a book.

I thought it would be a shame to not share my learnings with others.

So here are the things I realized were helpful in proactively doing to help us deal effectively with changes in our personal and professional lives:

  1. Build Skills - In good times or in bad, what you can do to add value to others’ lives matters. It’s can also help you have options to earn from.

  2. Build Your Network - What they say is true - it matters whom you know. I get more business from people I already know than from random strangers who’ve just heard of me.

  3. Mind Your Finances - You never know when you’re gonna need it so choose to save it.

  4. Put Yourself First - Never take yourself for granted. Choose to care for yourself.

  5. Work Your Butt Off - No one can ever fault you for working hard. It helps keep your reputation intact.

I expound more on each point in my upcoming book, ‘#Adulting: 5 Secrets to Embracing Change in Life & Career‘ which comes out in October. If you’d like to learn more, please kep an eye out for announcements under the ‘Services’ tab of this website!

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(Photo from GoRaydar)

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Rediscovering Career Passion

For most of us, working has periods of highs, lows, and steady states. We can sometimes feel like we're stuck in a rut. This week's #superwithcooper vlog is all about reigniting your career passion to help you gain greater happiness and success!

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Skills You Need by 2020

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A few years ago, some business leaders came together and were asked to forecast what it would take to succeed in one’s career by the year 2020.

These top honchos got together at the World Economic Forum.

They were asked to share their thoughts about what was needed to get ahead in one’s career back in 2015, as well as their predictions on what would be most valuable to be skilled at in 2020.

Fast forward to today, 2020 is just over a year away, and the world’s business climate has been changing.

What hasn’t changed though is the need for skilled leaders, and you can be one of them.

Here are the top 10 skills you should start developing today to get ahead in 2020:

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If you’d like more information on these skills, you can also check out this business blog:
https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/the-10-top-skills-that-will-land-you-high-paying-jobs-by-2020-according-to-world-economic-forum.html

Here’s to you and to positioning yourself for the future!

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Photos from Shutterstock and blogs.edweek.org

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To stand out, I must start with myself

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It's fascinating to think about how we can stand out in our different social circles.

Whether it's at work, with family, or as part of various extracurricular circles, it's good to be someone who stands out for good reasons.

There are many ways we can do that - we can dress well, smile more, do more; but I took a step back and really thought about how we can stand out in a sustainable manner.

So here, my friends, are some suggestions:

1. Find ways to add value.

Don't be one of the many who find ways to take, take, take.

Instead, find ways you can add value to other people with your time, skills, and/or financial resources.

It can be as simple as contributing helpful ideas on an online forum or volunteering to help sponsor a charitable event.

This will expose people to see what you have to offer and will also tell them that you aren't just another person who's looking for something to gain from a situation.

Be cautious - people are smart enough to know if you're just in it for the money, the praise, or the popularity.

Look for ways you can give, give, give.

2. Listen with your ears & your eyes.

In order to stand out, we need to be able to respond to others well.

And in order to respond to others well, we need to listen.

Listening is an activity which requires full focus.

It's not just about engaging our ears; it's also about observing others.

After all, people might be saying one thing, and yet be communicating something very different and yet very clearly through their body language.

So be sensitive to others' behavior and adjust yours accordingly to respond properly to them.

3. Be holistically trustworthy.

It's been said that there are 4 elements to be a trustworthy person: Reliability, Acceptance, Openness, and Congruence (find out more here: http://www.becauz.com/wp-content/uploads/Tips-for-Using-the-Trust-Behaviors.pdf)

We're usually strongest in one or two areas, which is perfectly normal.

However, to really stand out, we need to be able to speak everyone's trust language.

That means we have to develop strength in all four areas:

Be reliable by being true to your word and showing up and submitting things on time.

Be accepting by respecting differences and trying to understand others' perspectives better.

Be open by being honest and by clarifying things.

Be congruent by not playing games and not having hidden agenda.

Why develop all four areas?

Well, we never know if the strength of the person we'll be dealing with tomorrow might be something we're weak at.

We need to be able to show everyone that we are people they can work with because we can be trusted.

Whether it's by listening, adding value or being trustworthy, we stand out by putting others' needs at high priority.

What can you do more of today?

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(Photo from GoRaydar)

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5 Tips for Responsible Traveling

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I love traveling and have met a lot of people who do, too.

A huge part of the experience are the people we come across on our trip, and it's only respectful to not just make the most out of our own trips, but to be mindful of others as well.

Make travel a more pleasant experience for both you and the next person with these tips:

1. Don't make too much noise. Some local cultures are sensitive to sound and dislike loud tourists. It's better to be on the respectful side.

2. Check for CLAYGO. Known as an abbreviation for Clean-As-You-Go, we can't always assume that there are people around to clean up after our mess. Exercise mindfulness by observing others' behavior (sometimes it's an unspoken rule) and keeping an eye out for CLAYGO signs.

3. Do your own lining up. We've all seen it before. The sacrificial placeholder holding the line for their companions which range from one person to a whole pack of tourists. We've also all experienced getting annoyed with those who do this. So please don't follow suit.

4. Turn the backpack into a frontpack. Crowded areas attract a lot of thieves. Make it a bit more challenging for them to steal from you by keeping handbags low (it's easier to do pickpocketing when it's on easily accessible arm-level) and putting backpacks in front.

5. Don't inconvenience others with your selfies. Doorways, walkways, public areas - name it, and it's probably been used as a setting for a photo. Instead, be mindful of the dynamics of a place and ask yourself questions like: 'Am I allowed to take a photo here?', 'Should I walk to the side before taking a photo?', and 'Will I inconvenience anyone when I snap a picture?'. If you do go for that snapshot, take one, take two; but not tons just to have the most IG-perfect angle.

Remember, the world may be a playground, but it's meant to be a shared space with others. Treat it, and others well!

Enjoy your next trip!

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(Photo from Unsplash)

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You are Priceless!

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We all have different sets of values - things which are important to us.

Independence has always been a priority to me, and I've recently been reflecting on how I feel more independent when I earn, and how I question myself and my capabilities when I don't.

The latter part is, of course, wrong.

But I also discovered that it wasn't just me who felt that way, and other people did too, whether on a conscious or subconscious level.

Not earning at times doesn't make me any less of a person.

Reality is, that it also happens more often when you're an entrepreneur like me - that sometimes, for whatever reason, money doesn't come rolling in.

Although my income has increased over the years, there is, for example, one month this 2018 when I didn't earn anything.

And it's not like the expenses stop when you stop earning.

You still eat, you still need to occasionally go out, you still need to buy groceries... the list goes on and on.

To make matters worse, this happened during a time I had MAJOR expenses: I needed to pay for printing and launching my book; making my usual expenditures blow up into six figure digits.

It was a long and painful journey until I one day realized that whether or not I earned that month and the succeeding ones, I was still myself - someone loved and treasured by many.

I was still the person my family had raised, and the person who had gone through various life experiences.

I was also still the person who had served others through my work, and provided support to different friends I've made.

I was still a combination of all the successes and failures; joys and disappointments I had so far lived through.

Simply put, a dip in my earnings did not mean that my worth as a person had gone down too.

In the eyes of those to whom I mattered, I was still priceless.

We sometimes go through rough patches in life - some worse than others - but nothing can ever make us any less worth than what we truly are.

It just so happens that we, at times, make the conscious decision to not be very kind to, or value ourselves much.

But no one anywhere is every exactly like you.

No one has your personality, dreams, goals, and experiences rolled into the exact package that you are.

And that makes you incomparable. That makes you special. And that, makes you, unique.

You're priceless. Nothing anyone can ever say or do can ever change that.

So why do you sometimes treat yourself less than that?

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(Photo from Shutterstock)

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You are Enough

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Young(er), hungry and ambitious; I went from goal to goal - both short term and long term ones.

I collected medals and certificates, but never bragged about them. The feeling of achieving them was more than enough.

I was raised with a drive to achieve. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that as long as it's done with honesty, a spirit of fairness, and hard work.

For a long time though, I didn't realize that it had become like a band-aid solution to one of the biggest challenges all of us are susceptible to.

The one thing I was, without a doubt, suffering from, too.

The fear of not being enough.

From since I was in pre-school, I enjoyed recognition from being an achiever.

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Put in this amount of hard work, and you get a medal. Do this, and you get glowing words of recommendation for your next year in school.

The older we get, the fewer those words become. Also, the older we get, the more distractions seem to find their way to us, which at times successfully get to us keep our eyes off the goals we've made.

What I didn't realize earlier on was that just like every other person, I had a need for relevance. A need that I had long fueled with achieving titles and winning various competitions.

Along the way to realizing this, I also learned that we have different ways of trying to fill up this gaping hole of needing to have impact, relevance, and make an imprint.

Others try to prove they're bad-ass by breaking rules, and going the 'this is my world and you're just in it' route. Others help and help and help and help others hoping to one day be noticed from how much of themselves they put out there. Others find comfort in being social butterflies; flitting from one group to another a couple of days or nights a week.

The thing is - as long as we are able to stand up for our own rights, respect others, and be blessings to them; I don't find anything wrong in achieving, making goals, having friends, and going out of our way to help others.

The problem begins when we start using our various exploits and activities to cover up the need to feel that we're enough.

Because with or without makeup on, with or without having the latest clothes, with or without being friends with the 'It' crowd, with or without the medal that says you finished first, with or without lots of money, and with or without the ability to speak your mind 24/7; you are enough simply by being yourself: There's no one else in the universe who is exactly like you.

So go out there and shine like the rockstar that you already are.

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(Photos from Unsplash)

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