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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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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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Becoming Confident

One of the top questions I get asked is how someone can become more confident.

Many people invest in their knowledge and skills in learning how to grow in this area of their lives.

If you're someone who's looking into growing yourself in this area, then this write-up's for you.

Here are my thoughts on this topic - and many more questions related to becoming confident!

1. How does one really grow in confidence?

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It's case to case. Different factors helped me grow in confidence:

a. Growing your knowledge and skills on a certain topic helps you grow in confidence.

b. Surrounding yourself with encouraging and supportive family members and friends.

c. Learning to do things on your own without depending on others.

d. Realizing that others are too busy figuring out their own lives that they don't spend as much time judging us than we commonly believe. :-)

e. Loving and accepting ourselves. Can't say this happens 100% of the time since there's always room to grow; but the more we love, care for, and believe in ourselves - truly being our own cheerleaders - makes us live lives filled with kindness.

2. How much confidence does one really need?

Confidence for me is primarily about believing in ourselves. If we don't know something, believe that we can. If we can't do something (yet), believe that someday, we can.

In terms of a scale, I don't have one. But I can say that there's nothing wrong with loving and believing in ourselves. If we don't, who will?

Be cautious about being OVERconfident though. There's nothing attractive about it. This is associated with showing off, wanting to always have the upper hand over others. Overconfidence just communicates insecurity. Instead of behaving this way, focus on finding peace, and being loving towards yourself and others.

3. Does a confident person ever have periods of not feeling confident?

YES. Everyone does! :-) It's more a question of what you do with those periods. Do you sulk or do you cheer yourself up? Do you focus on the negative or on what you can do?

Nothing and no one is ever perfect, but what separates you from being the better version of yourself is what you choose to do with your life.

4. What SHOULDN'T you do to grow your confidence?

Never step on others to feel better about yourself.  Don't manipulate others, don't take advantage of them.

5. What life changing experiences (if any) did I have which increased my confidence?

I'm thankful to have a loving family and friends who encourage and support me.

I also enjoy learning new things and exploring. Learning and traveling definitely help increase my confidence because these activities show me what I am capable of!

What other confidence-related questions do you want answered? Tell me in the comments section below!

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The 5am Club

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There's nothing like triumphing over the biggest hindrance to our success: ourselves

Did you know that a big chunk of successful people wake up earlier than most?

This is by no means a coincidence.

Not only does this give them bigger control over their day, it also gives them time to exercise. According to the book the Millionaire Mind, millionaires have a greater tendency to exercise, and exercise is directly correlated to risk taking; a trait businessmen are known to possess. It keeps them healthier and stronger both in body, and mind. It also helps them manage emotions better.

Let's be realistic though - for most of us, getting up early isn't an easy thing.

I love my sleep. I enjoy waking up between 7 and 9am. However, admittedly, I know that I can do better and that waking up at 9am makes me feel like so much has gone by, and I've wasted so much time already.

So I carefully analyzed my habits and patterns and realized which practices truly help me be more productive and wake up earlier:

1. Reduce distractions during the day

The more time spent during the day on non-important stuff, the more time you'll spend later in the day trying to catch up on things you need to finish. This means finishing work later and therefore going to bed later.

2. And reduce Netflix and Social Media before bedtime

One of my guilty pleasures is watching on-demand TV series before bedtime. I rationalize to myself that I need it to relax and prep myself for bedtime (like a bedtime story) but reality is that it doesn't. First and foremost, I usually watch suspense, action, or psycho-thrillers - not exactly the best things to watch before bedtime. Also, I keep bargaining with myself that I'll just watch for a few more minutes, and before I realize it, those few minutes have turned to 45.

It's the same with Social Media, right? Excellent time wasters different platforms turn out to be when our scrolling and browsing go from a few minutes to 15, 30, 45, 60 - and even more!

If you can't control it, avoid it.

3. Choose books over electronic devices

Multiple scientific studies have come out to try to convince us about the negative effects of electronic devices before bedtime.

Apparently, electronic devices like laptops, cellphones, and tablets emit blue light which convinces our brains that it's day time and makes it harder for us to fall asleep.

4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime

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Perhaps it's a no-brainer that we should avoid caffeine a few hours and immediately before sleeping, but what about alcohol?

Although alcohol may help people relax, research has proven that alcohol affects the quality of sleep we get!

Infusions with little to no sugar, water, and warm milk are apparently still the best beverages for a relaxing, quality, good night's sleep.

5. Sleep in the dark

Did you know that melatonin, a hormone which helps regulate sleep, is produced in the dark?

This is why, for a deeper, more relaxed state, we should sleep with as minimal lighting as possible.

6. Plan your day the night before

There's nothing like not falling into a restful state because you're stressing about not knowing what will happen tomorrow! Also, knowing what to look forward to can help get us out of the bed in the daytime.

7. Decrease late night social activities

Staying up mingling, socializing, and hanging out with friends keeps the mind engaged. Not only does it keep us out of bed, it also makes it more challenging to be able to fall asleep immediately after the interactions.

8. You are your own best alarm clock. Psyche yourself that you will get up by a certain time

I find that one of the best ways to get up and get out of bed is by focusing on the thought that I WILL get out of bed by a certain time. For some reason, setting this intention before going to sleep is hands down the best alarm clock I've ever encountered.

What helps you sleep better? What helps you get up earlier? Share in the comments below!

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(Photos from Shutterstock and Unsplash)

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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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Self-Care While You Travel!

One of my favorite hobbies is to explore new places.

Because of this, I love to travel!

The reality is though, that travelling can be harsh on my body- my skin included.

But because I enjoy travelling as much as I do, I take this as a challenge and don't let it stop my adventures!

I do have to make sure I take care of myself though, because isn't it fun to take lots and lots of pictures?

Here's a quick rundown of how I take care of myself when I travel!

1. Never leave home without a good breakfast.

If I'm going to be out the entire day seeking adventures, I need to make sure I have enough sustenance to fuel me to lunchtime!

2. Hydrate.

Water and coconut juice are my best friends. The sun can be hot and the heat can be scorching. The last thing I'd want is to be dehydrated. Not only does it show on your skin, it also increases your chance of a urinary tract infection (ouch!). 

3. Antibacterial wet wipes

You never know where you're going to end up and if they have a place to wash your hands when they get dirty. Wet wipes are also useful for almost any kind of emergency. :-)

4. Skincare for my skin type

Emphasis on my skin type. The last thing you want is your skin breaking or drying out because you used the wrong type of skin care. Oh, and always, always bring a water-based moisturizer because they're handy for sunburns.

5. Gentle makeup

When the elements drive your skin nuts, the last thing you want is to be using makeup which makes your skin flame up or break out. From your base to your powder, everything has to be gentle. One way I am able to guarantee this is by using natural makeup, such as Burt's Bees. My lips can be really sensitive and get allergic reactions to lipsticks, especially when they have lots of chemicals. I always travel with a variety of Burt's Bees lipstick shades to make sure that I have photo-worthy makeup on while still caring for my skin.

In the featured photos, I am using Burt's Bees Lipstick Shades Blush Basin, Russet River, Juniper Water, and Lily Lake.

What are you self-care routines when you travel? Share in the comments below!

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