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Better with Congruence

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It's said that one of the key elements of trust is congruence.

When I think of the word, I remember my high school geometry class, when I learned about angles and exchanged tips on playing The Sims with classmates.

Congruence, it turns out, is an element of trust too. It's about "saying and doing what you believe, walking the talk, being straightforward, and being consistent." (Find out more in this link: https://www.leadershipmastery.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/understanding-trust.pdf)

Easier said than done? Perhaps. But let's think about this for a moment:

1. Being trustworthy means saying and doing what you believe.

If you say one thing and do another, how will people believe what you say, or think that what you're ding is genuine?

Others can tell if you're sincere with what you say or do. Call it an inborn BS-detector, but people can sense this stuff.

2. Being trustworthy means doing what you say.

You'll say you'll do it, but don't. Will people want to work with you? Will they believe you when you tell them something?

They'll most likely go with someone who is consistent with what they say and what they do.

3. Being trustworthy means being straightforward.

Do you tend to beat around the bush?

Do you tend to not say what you really think?

These type of actions do not promote trust.

4. Being trustworthy means being consistent.

If you consistently show that there is a match between your words and actions, then people naturally will trust you more.

They may or may not like you, but because they know there is consistency between your word and deed, they know what they can expect from you.

So, the big question is, are you congruent? Remember - there's always room to further grow in your ability to be so!

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(Photo from GoRaydar)

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The Value of Hard Work

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When I was starting my career as a speaker in mid-2015, I worked smart by strategizing how to make my work sustainable.

But what made me move forward on both good and bad days was hard work.

There are lots of good and bad folks in the world. Sometimes, there’s an occasional not-so-awesome client. It happens in every job and industry.

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There are days when I feel so frustrated and heartbroken that I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.

Now how do you know when to continue working hard or to give up?

Here’s a quick guide for any situation:

1.       What is the goal? If there’s no goal, it may be pointless continuing down this road. Goals are very important.

2.       How do you measure success?

3.       From whom can you get objective feedback?

4.       What can you get out of this experience?

5.       What is something you can look forward to after this?

People can find fault in you for being a quitter, but no one can ever fault you for working hard!

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(Photos from GoRaydar)

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Treat People Right

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Interpersonal relationships are one of the foundations of a personal brand.

It goes without saying that we need treat others well, but it's also something often taken for granted.

Treating people right may be a fair and just thing to do, but even when they treat us poorly, treating them well speaks highly about who we are and is reflected in our personal brand.

In fact, it's sometime wiser to avoid those who treat us poorly rather than go into retribution mode.

We sometimes get tempted to act superior since it makes us feel mightier and more powerful.

Unfortunately, this can badly backfire.

When we behave in a superior manner, we may earn fear from those around us, but rarely their loyalty, support and respect.

It also communicates that we have a need to feed our ego, instead of communicating that we that are professional; as well compassionate and kind.

Kindness and empathy help us connect with others on a heart level.

While we would like to believe that humans are logical creatures, studies have shown that we're really still more emotional ones.

So treat people right not to build a great personal - and professional - brand (let that be the secondary benefit); but because you owe it to others and to your emotional and mental well-being to do so!

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(Photo from GoRaydar)

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Be #superwithcooper from Head to Toe

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New Year; new life - we often say.

But how can we really start to take better care of ourselves?

Here are the ways I make it a point of giving myself some quality self-love:

1. Take care of your hair

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Since I don't usually have the time or patience to work with bad hair days; I go with the route of preventing them from happening.

I proactively help my hair feel lighter and look better by going to a great hairdresser; using a lighter and natural shampoo for my hair type; doing home hot-oil treatments twice a month; and avoiding hot styling tools.

Try: Avalon Organics Shampoo

2. Your skin needs tlc, too

My skin type is oily and that means white heads and break outs. Apart from using a skincare line for my skin type, I also make sure I get a monthly facial to clear my pores. It hurts, but it's worth it!

Try: The Belo Clinic for their facials

3. Comfy shoes bring you to places

I don't know how my younger version did it, but I now have 0 tolerance for uncomfortable shoes. In fact, I choose wedges over stilettos and go for the more expensive yet comfortable for my daily shoes. I walk a lot and I only have one pair of feet, so I'm making sure they get treated the way they deserve!

Try: Fitflops

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4. Express yourself the best way using the clothes which fit you best

When clothes are uncomfortable, it shows. In fact, you'd love much better with something older if you're comfortable in them, as opposed to something newer you're fidgety in.

Make sure you choose clothes which bring out the best you; instead of trying to fit into clothes which make you feel like you're trying to be someone else.

My go-to outfit?

A cotton tank top which is around $3 (I have it in multiple colors but my favorites are black and white), and high waist pants or a flattering skirt. I usually accessorize with large earrings which I get for around $6 from stores like Forever 21.

Try: Forever 21 for costume jewelry and basic tees

5. The right gadgets make living even better

I'm known for lugging around medium to large sized bags for a reason: I like having everything I need with me.

Although I carry bigger bags around, I don't want to be bringing unnecessary weight around which can hurt my shoulders and arms.

This is why I prefer great quality all-in-one gadgets like my Smart Phone.

If I can have it all in one place, well, why not?

Try: Samsung Note 8 for phone, camera, Microsoft Office, a note app, and much more.

Hope these lifestyle tips help make 2018 your #bestyearever!

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Things You'll Want To Do This Year!

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1. Think like a winner

Do you know people who believe they're going to fail at something before they even start doing it? I do.

Does it help them? Absolutely not.

As much as you want to help someone, if that person believes that he or she will fail or disappoint, then they'll most likely take actions to prove that they WILL fail or disappoint since they're already conditioning their mind to behave that way!

It's just how things work.

In the same way, if you realistically assess a situation and how you can succeed; then take concrete action steps towards achieving those goals, then you will, in one way or another, SUCCEED!

One of my mottos is "If you shoot for the stars, you at least land on the moon."

If you reach your goal, AWESOME! If you don't, you'll at least get farther than if you never tried at all, or believed you would fail.

2. Learn from the best

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There's something intimidating from being around the best.

I've met a crazy amount of people who've told me that the Toastmasters* club I attend is intimidating.

My response: Take it as a challenge.

If you had a chance to learn, wouldn't you want to learn from the best?

If you had a chance to succeed at something, be affiliated with someone, or be mentored; wouldn't it strongly benefit you that it be with amazing humans?

No one is perfect; we're all just human beings who are working towards our dreams and goals. But if you have the chance to learn from the infinite knowledge, skills, and wisdom of those who are really good at something you want to be good at; you can't go wrong.

3. Be Wrong (Sometimes)

There's something immensely gratifying from being right. Read: EGO

But you learn most from being wrong.

I used to hate being wrong until the day I realized I was more relatable, more likeable, more human, and gaining wisdom from being wrong.

People like to be right, but it's rare to find someone who is happy to learn from being wrong.

So if you get to be wrong, embrace it; learn from it; and make sure you share the knowledge you gain with others.

4. Look Back

At the end of 2017, I did strategic planning for 2018 and did one things which turned out to be really good for me: I looked back at the year that was.

2017 was a challenging year. It was filled with twists and turns, challenge after heart ache. I felt like I was in the wrong place and achieving nothing with my life.

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And then the looking back happened and boy was I incredibly wrong.

I had learned and done so much since January 1, 2017!

We're usually singular in what we see: the here and now; that we fail to look at the bigger picture and how we've progressed.

So my suggestion is to dedicate an hour at the start of each month to look back at how you spent and what you did the month before.

You'll be inspired at how far you've come.

Which of these tips is your favorite? Share in the comments below!

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(Photos from GoRaydar)

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Be Visually Interesting

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I once heard someone say, "People look at what they like to see" in reference to how we style and present ourselves to the world.

There is something beautiful in our choice of how to present ourselves to the world.

Whether we consider ourselves stylish - or not, the effort or lack of it in terms of how we present ourselves speaks volumes about how we want to be perceived.

I grew up with a grandmother who valued her curls, heels, and red lipstick.

We may not all be professional stylists, but here are a few quick and easy tips to look and feel our best.

1. Low waist pants look best if you have a flat tummy. Otherwise, go for something that goes around the belly.

 Pants can be tricky. High waist ones, like the one I'm wearing in the photo is more forgiving than the many low-waist styles out in the market.

Pants can be tricky. High waist ones, like the one I'm wearing in the photo is more forgiving than the many low-waist styles out in the market.

2. Tucking in your shirt = An instant way of looking more polished

 Once you know which pants look good on you, a quick & easy way of looking more put-together is by tucking your shirt in!

Once you know which pants look good on you, a quick & easy way of looking more put-together is by tucking your shirt in!

3. Wearing two items in the same color instantly ups your style game.

 The earrings I wore had blue and green beads. The blue beads perfectly mirrored the blue dress I was wearing!

The earrings I wore had blue and green beads. The blue beads perfectly mirrored the blue dress I was wearing!

Style is a fun, easy way to be visually interesting and express ourselves to the world. Hope these any-season tips making upping your style game easier!

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When You Feel Like a Failure

If you've ever felt like you've failed at something, this episode's for you:
Sometimes we devote ourselves to our work, but we still don't get promoted.
Sometimes we give a relationship our all, and it still doesn't work out.
Sometimes we fail even after working hard on something.
#superwithcooper

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How to Seek Mentorship

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Mentoring is one of the things which can help us grow exponentially in life and career.

Some of us have a notion that mentorship has to be a committed, long-term thing.

But it doesn't necessarily have to be that way, especially because not everyone wants to commit to that kind of set-up, and we are asking someone for a favor, after all.

You also don't have to have just one person as a mentor. It's great to have multiple resources to get different perspectives.

Ultimately mentoring is about getting thoughts and ideas from someone who is more experienced in a particular field than we are. It's also having a sounding board, having someone to test ideas with.

Mentoring is not at all scary. It's about having a hunger to learn and grow.

Mentoring is about being open to hearing what we can grow and improve in.

Before seeking out a mentor, consider these things:

1. What areas do you want to focus on in terms of growing?

2. What are your goals and priorities?

3. Who do you think would be a great person to learn from in those areas?

4. Why do you think he/she is a good mentor to have?

Make sure to mention those things when you reach out to your potential mentor. Wishing you all the best as you go mentor shopping!

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(Photo from Shutterstock)

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How Social Media may be Hurting you

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Love it or hate it, social media is here and here to stay.

As a kid born in the 80's, the closest thing I had to social media then was spending time on a landline at night and seeing my friends at school to talk about what they did after we called each other up.

It's no secret that social media offers a lot of advantages, yet more and more people look into the negative effects it has on our lives.

This blog entry is about that - and how it may be affecting your road to real life success.

1. You compare yourself to others (whether consciously or subconsciously)

Emma Stone described it best: "It seems like everyone's cultivating their lives on Instagram or on different forms of social media, and what pictures look best of their day," (http://www.instyle.com/celebrity/celebrities-who-dont-use-social-media#1232836).

It's very rare that we find people posting about their daily struggles and day-to-day life online. One reason may be because people do have an idea that anything that gets posted gets immortalized in one way or another.

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We can't blame ourselves for wanting to put a best foot forward. Unfortunately it also leads to unhappiness and dissatisfaction when all we see are the best things happening in other people's lives. Because those #couplegoals, #selfies, #goals and #yolo moments are often staged, at best; and yet they're mostly envy-inducing posts.

2. It takes up too much of your time

"The average person will spend more than five years of their lives on social media, according to a study by influencer marketing agency Mediakix." (from http://www.adweek.com/digital/mediakix-time-spent-social-media-infographic/)

That's 5 freakin' years which could be used for study, work, and real life socializing! But it's not unrealistic. We go online in the early morning, during breaks, after work, and before sleeping. Others go online in between those schedules. And we're not just talking about Facebook - Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter all count.

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It's so easy to get sucked into the world of swiping, pressing and returning to the previous page that it reprograms how we think: I've met people who've tell me they've thought of going 'back' a second before they realized they couldn't because it was real life.

3. It distracts you from more important things in life

How much time do you end up using on Facebook before realizing you should've been asleep a long time ago?

How many times have you eaten out and realized you and your loved ones are all on your phones instead of talking to each other?

Social media can be so distracting - and tempting - that we sometimes forget that we're living through other people's posts instead of living our own lives.

4. You end up absorbing negativity from toxic people you follow

Admit it - there are guilty pleasures online.

It can be someone who complains online about everything, someone who keeps doing a #humblebrag, and someone who seems to have EVERYTHING he/she wants in life - things you wish you had.

All of these - I classify under 'toxic'. Why? Let's break it down:

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That person who complains about everything: Some people may feel like social media is an extension of their real lives, but that doesn't mean you should feel the space with toxicity. That person who seems to always find the glass half empty is looking for attention from kindred souls who want to talk about how much life sucks. I have bad news for you if you follow people like this: absorbing negative energy from them can have negative effects on you biologically. The solution? Unfollow.

#humblebrag: We know it's really just a brag. The way these people look for attention varies, but the bottomline is, they don't really want to talk about how #blessed they are; they really just want people to talk about how #amazing homo sapiens they are.

The I-have-it-all: These envy-inducing social media-lites use social media as a platform to show off how their lives are better than everyone else's. Different from the #humblebrag, the i-have-it-all is insensitive to the feelings and needs of others, except when it's to cultivate a desire to wish others were them.

5. You put too much of yourself out there

Did you know that employers are known to research applicants online? Same goes for potential business partners and service providers. Before you're hired, your digital footprint is checked.

It works best to keep some things private. Being authentic online doesn't mean you have to reveal every thought and share every video. It's always nice to leave a bit of who you are to face-to-face interaction.

Occasional unplugging is optional, yet healthy. Use social media responsibly!

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(Photos from Shutterstock)

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Brands I Trust: Fino

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A great bag is, to a career woman, more than an accessory. It's a necessity.

Sturdy, reliable; and on more than one occasion a convo piece; the career woman has learned the inner structure of this companion: which pocket her keys are in; which side her wallet is on; where she has kept her pen.

The great bag is a partner and constant presence in her life.

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My Fino bag has been with me through many precious moments; from the first solo consulting assignment I did overseas, to buying the first piece of furniture I did on my own.

Functional and stylish, I love how they have options for soft and lighter leather bags and accessories. The colors are breathtaking and instantly glam up my outfits.

I have one for my necessities; another for my laptop. I also have, on more than one occasion; purchased accessories to give away as gifts to those who are important to me!

I look forward to using these bags (and my future purchases from this brand) for many more years! Such a joy that it's a Filipino brand, too!

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Brands I Trust: Swarovski

Personal style evolves as one gets older. I may have tried to fight this on more than one occasion, but between my changing body, lifestyle, and preferences; it was only natural for my style choices to follow suit.

In my 20's, I was fond of large, dangly earrings in different colors. It spoke of being fun, confident, and well, being at the peak of my youth.

Now, a woman in my early 30's, I find my style to be simpler, and more refined.

One of the massive changes in my style came in the form of accessories.

Because I'm often on the road and taking the MRT, a jeepney, or an Uber; I want to make sure that my style is never sacrificed for my safety. This is why Swarovski is one of my go-to accessory brands.

Swarovski lends that much-needed sparkle and sophistication, while not being too expensive that I'd be afraid to use it on family trips, while partying with friends, while I facilitate a training session, or while out on a commute.

For the past years, Swarovski has been a huge part of my life; having been with me as I transitioned from my corporate career to my current one as a professional speaker, vlogger, and blogger.

PS: Is there a particular type of accessory you feel naked without? That's my relationship with earrings! Check out the gallery above to discover the moments I've shared with Swarovski studs!

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Choose your Story

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This is probably one of the most important and toughest challenges I've had to continue working on ever since I became a freelancer / entrepreneur. (Because there's always room for refinement + improvement!)

Choosing your story means choosing which areas or details of your life to highlight. Will you talk about your educational background or your work achievements? Will you bring your volunteer work into the picture? How much do you talk about your background and family?

At the beginning of my career as a professional speaker, a marketing practitioner gave me this piece of advice. I had no clue how valuable it was. What I did know was how hard it was. Imagine - all of your years of living on this great big planet, and you have to choose a few details to play up so people remember you, and your brand? These stories are extremely important because they not only pave the way towards where I want to go as a speaker, they also tell the world whom exactly I want to hear my story (a.k.a. my audience).

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What I didn't realize before was that we're constantly in the process of choosing - and telling - our stories.

If you're an employee, you choose which stories and details to share during a job interview. You also choose what to share with co-workers if you get hired. 

As an entrepreneur, we also filter and play up the details we want people to know about us and our business.

Bottomline, we choose how we want others to perceive us, regardless of wherever we are and whatever we do in life!

In choosing your story, consider the following things:

a. Whom do I want to listen to my story? (i.e. Human Resources? College Students? Senior management?)

b. What is the one thing I want these people to remember after hearing my story? (i.e. That you're hardworking? That you're the best choice for the position?)

c. How do I want these people to feel after hearing my story? (i.e. That they can relate to you? Happy? Moved?)

d. What do I want to achieve from my target audience after hearing my story? (i.e. A job offer? Getting booked for a business project?)

e. What are the best ways to tell my story so I can reach my audience? (i.e. A website? A formal letter? A presentation? A curriculum vitae?)

Remember, your story may be about you, but you've got to consider your goals for telling it, and the people you're trying to tell it to!

Enjoy choosing your story!

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(Photos from Shutterstock)

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