Friday, January 16, 2015

Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

This was a fairly great week, but also had its emotional and draining moments. Although the day-to-day wasn't much different than most weeks, I still had to re-adjust my schedule a bit and also my attitude at times. I worked my 8-4 day job, then handled some meetings and projects for my side business, experienced an amazing In-studio opportunity that was both fun and trying, and I also dealt with personal life things. This just happened to be one of those week's that needed much more patience. For one, a flat tire and 2 rounds of car shop visits didn't help my busy agenda, but I had to re-prioritize a few tasks this week to manage it all. Life happens.

One uncomfortable part was that I had projects planned weeks in advance, and when it came down to shifting things around last minute I felt that it was harder than I imagined. I plan my schedule pretty meticulously, so when little or unforeseen things come up, I have to be patient and flexible. Additionally, I had to be understanding when the roles were reversed when the same thing happened to others that needed to readjust.

Where I struggle is in the category of trying to please others. Putting myself first isn't always easy. I often worry that if I reschedule an appointment, will that person think I'm being unreliable or unaccountable? Truth be told, I don't think or live out my actions that way, so there is no reason for me create imaginary perceptions. I do take pride in my work and my personal endeavors, which is why the ideas of "am I letting others down" crosses my mind. This can become dangerous and unhealthy if it's not well balanced. I am continuing to push myself and step out of my comfort zone to develop in this area.

Another uncomfortable part of my week was sharing my true thoughts and feelings about a project that I am working on, and also separately had to have a sensitive conversation with a collaborator. Every day this week I had to step out of my comfort zone in some way or another: asking for help (not my strong suit), sharing a thought that is on my mind not knowing how the other person will receive it, being strong at times I wanted to be vulnerable, telling someone "I disagree" or "No"...are all hurdles that I encountered this week. Some actions had immediate reactions that were taken well, and some may take more time to unfold...but all I can focus on is the courage it took for me to step up and step out of my comfort zone in that moment. Even this specific blog post is me coming out of my comfort zone, and allowing myself to be vulnerable to you.

Even though I was able to push myself to say or do something that was not the norm for me, I felt that I grew a little bit more which was a huge accomplishment. There have been times of back-to-back "learning lessons" or uncomfortable situations, and there will be many more. This can certainly be draining and discouraging at times, but each experience is a learning tool. I always want to keep growing, but not always at my own expense. How does that make sense? Is that possible? 

My advice for others that are afraid to step out of their "safe" zone or those that are going though challenges is to push yourself a little bit further and allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. It is not always easy, but it is necessary in order to develop. No matter what you do and say, just be true to who you are....and remember to be brave, be patient, and be optimistic.

As Jillian Michaels (from NBC's The Biggest Loser) once stated, "be comfortable with being uncomfortable."

Read my previous post: "When one door closes..."

If you enjoyed this post or others on HitaTalk, please click the "share" button on this page. -Hita

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hita's Top 10 Tips for the New Year

HitaTalk is turning 1 year old! THANK YOU to all who have supported, read and shared my HitaTalk posts in 2014. December 27 marks HitaTalk’s one-year anniversary, and I look forward to bringing you more fun and engaging content in 2015!

As we approach the end of the year, I usually like to take a few moments to reflect back on the accomplishments and also the obstacles I have overcome in the past 12 months. 

Around the holidays, once the lights and tree are up in my apartment, I sit down with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine), lay out my current yearly calendar and open my New Year calendar to record important deadlines, birthdays, events, and big goals I want to achieve in the coming year. Then, I make a note at the top of each page of the main 2-3 tasks for the month: car tabs due, re-new contract, book vacation, etc. There are occasions that have come up where I forgot or missed my own deadlines, but I always find a way to make it work…and reward myself in the end. No matter what 2014 has brought you, great moments or challenges, I wish 2015 to be a successful and productive for you.

Here are my Top 10 Tips for making the best of the New Year:  

1. Do it for you. Make a list of goals for the year based on elements in your life that make you happy. DO focus on areas that will enhance your well-being, health, finances, and lower stress levels. Don't do things based on what other people tell you to do. Stay true to yourself.

2. Keep it simple. Take on a reasonable number of projects and tasks that will not overwhelm you or cause you unnecessary stress. Try to calculate how much time to dedicate to each commitment, so that you can plan accordingly. No need to say yes to everything that comes your way. Chances are that it won’t be the last opportunity.

3. Be clear. Communicate well with others by listing your exact objectives, goals, deadlines, and mention preferred methods of communication ahead of time. Ex: Let’s meet next week. How does Tuesday at 7pm or Thurs 7pm look for you? I will send an email with details, and you can let me know which works best. Rather than: Let's touch base soon - This will lead to extra back and forth.

4. Budget and Save. Making a budget seems daunting for most people. Plan to spend the necessary amount on your expenses, and set aside a small portion for entertainment and leisure activities. Check out this link for how to manage your budget. If you plan to brew your own morning coffee at home, you can save approx. $25/week. Create a simple weekly or monthly budget to monitor your spending, and try to cut back on little splurges. Take the $25 you saved on Starbucks this week, and deposit it into your savings account. It adds up quickly.

Save- save yourself time and money by being proactive. Think ahead. "What do I need for groceries this week, events, upcoming celebrations? Ex: Shopping. Make a list and check it twice. I suggest you not to walk into a Target store and roam the aisles until your cart is full, and $150 later you’re leaving with more than the toothpaste and shampoo you originally planned to buy. Jot down a few necessities on your mobile To Do list or note pad, and stick to what’s on that list. It will save you time at the store…and money! Then, if you need to make another run a few days later to pick up something you forgot, make another list.  Ex: wrapping paper, juice, detergent, dad’s birthday card, and Dove chocolate for Hita.

5. Make a plan. A wise friend of mine once said, "plan your work, so you can work your plan." No need to overwhelm yourself with big “Action Steps.” Instead, write down (and literally write it or type it out- it is proven to resonate better when mental thoughts are put on paper/mobile note pads) a few long-term goals and a few short-term goals.

Long-term goals: tasks and projects that you’d like to work on-going or that you’d like to accomplish within the next 6 -12 months. Ex: Save $2,000, Run a marathon
Short-term goals: tasks that can be completed within 1-4 weeks. Ex: save $200 each paycheck, run 3 miles Mon/Wed/Fri this week
Your short-term goals can be mile-markers on your way to achieving your long-term goals.
6. Be adaptable to change. One of the leading causes of failing to meet a commitment or goal is due to people not willing to change their bad habits or lose motivation. Finding a routine that works for you is important because it helps structure a schedule and priorities. However, things can come up that might detour your progress or pose a challenge, and you have to be positive and willing to adjust to the minor change. Remember, we won’t grow by doing the same thing all the time.  Step out of your comfort zone frequently. It doesn’t have to be every day or every week, but at least once a month try to do something that is out of the norm for you. It will force you to change your mindset, conquer a fear, or may show you a better way of doing something.

7. Keep your list of goals handy. Write down your goal for the week or month at the top of your calendar, post it on the side of your computer monitor, or keep it on the fridge so that it’s visible to the eye. Constantly seeing your list of priorities and goals will stay in your subconscious, and keep you on track.

8. Be accountable: We all need a little help in this area from time to time. It’s up to you to set a goal and to accomplish it. However, we can’t always do things on our own. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, or for their insight. Tell a buddy! Having someone hold you accountable can be effective and motivating. Share your ideas and goals with a friend, and ask for their support to check-in on your progress.

9. Go easy on yourself.  No one is perfect. We all make mistakes, lots of them. If you get derailed or lose track of your time and goals, just take a moment to re-evaluate the great things you have already accomplished. We will all fall down at times, but it’s important to get back up and not be so hard on yourself. We can only handle one task at a time, so pace yourself, don’t take on too much, and be sure to toot your own horn from time to time.

10. Have fun. Seriously, life is way too short to be stressed out. You have to enjoy what you do. If you’re in a miserable situation (trust me I’ve been there), do what you can to make the best of it until you are able to manage an alternate situation. Don’t let others put you down or “rain on your parade.” Love what you do, enjoy the people you interact with, and keep a positive attitude. Define what happiness means to you, and focus on those elements.

Wishing you a very happy New Year!

 - Hita

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

T is for Thanks

11 months ago we started the New Year with hopes and goals of having a successful 2014. Some of you have had an amazing year with many achievements, happy news, and exciting surprises. Some of you may have had one of the most challenging years yet with more disappointments and unforeseen circumstances than one could imagine. It may seem odd to think in such a way, but today I encourage your to Be Thankful for it all. It is how we set our minds and outlook that helps keep us stay grounded through all the ups and downs of our life journey.

I came into 2014 with a list of goals I wanted to accomplish, and as ambitious as I am to complete them all by 2015 (and so forth) it has not all been a smooth ride. The moments of turbulence left me feeling down and overwhelmed, but thankfully I have had the ability to persevere through the thick clouds. Fortunately, this has also been one of my most accomplished years yet (and it came with a lot sleepless nights, tears, and mini-successes). I can't help but to sit back and think of all the facets of my year that I am truly thankful for...well, all of it. Take a peek at my previous post on ways to B.R.E.A.T.H.E in all that you take on.

I share this with you in hopes that you can reflect back on your 2014 moments, and be thankful for where you are now and those that are around you. For starters:

Be Thankful for waking up today. There is only one day that matters, Today. Yesterday is done, and tomorrow hasn't arrived, so be grateful you have Today to start fresh. Be thankful for second chances. 

Be Thankful for your health. You're alive and breathing, plain and simple.
Be Thankful for your senses..sight, touch, smell taste, sound.

Be Thankful for your family. 
Be Thankful for your friends and peers.

Be Thankful for your supporters and advocates
...for those that are by your side at your best times but also through hardships.

Be Thankful for your significant other; your #1 fan!

Be Thankful for help. We can't do everything on our own. Be happy that others want to contribute to your success and well-being by offering a hand. Be Thankful for your ability to ask for help- not always easy to do.

Be thankful for love. Whether if it's unconditional, passionate love with your sweetheart, or the love you share with your family and friends. 
Be thankful you have love in your life.

Consequently, Be Thankful for the heartbreaks you have experienced and the lessons you have learned. Sometimes a let down from someone that is closest to you can be the most painful feeling in existence, but be thankful you have felt such great heights and realized your heart is too big to let yourself feel hurt for long. Allow yourself to regain that level of love and care, and be thankful for your strength to carry forward to the future.

Be Thankful for the laughs.

Be thankful for your intuition
...for your positive outlook
...for good judgement that allows you to think clearly and honestly.

Be thankful for your vulnerable moments that have challenged you to demonstrate courage 
... for overcoming your fears.

Be Thankful for the adversities you have endured
...for moments of confusion, but also for the moments of clarity.

Be Thankful for the unknown and the journey that lies ahead
...for your dedication to your commitments.

Be Thankful for your wisdom
...for your patience
...for your faith.

Be Thankful for your goals & aspirations
...your drive to succeed.

Be Thankful for your generosity
...for your ability to listen and help
...for your contributions to others.

Be Thankful for your milestones, big or small, and be thankful for your experiences.

Be Thankful for your meals
...for clean water
...for the shirt on your back
...for shelter and heat.

As many of us gather around family and friends during this holiday season, I ask that you take a moment to think about the facets of your life that you are truly thankful for, and the people in your environment that have contributed to who you are today. 

Giving thanks can come in multiple forms: verbally saying Thank You is one.
Show thanks through a random act of kindness, a text or call, letter, send a card, a hug, or write a note.
One of my favorite ways of giving Thanks is by giving back to those who have helped me, or to pay it forward to those who are less fortunate.

Of course, I must add...
I am Thankful for my HitaTalk readers :)

Friday, November 7, 2014


Our world is moving at a fast pace, and our interactions seem to be evolving to "auto-pilot." Many of us continuously seek ways to manage our busy lives, but also tips to help demonstrate proper communication along the way. I hope my 7 tips can remind us of the power of our verbal and non-verbal communication. Sometimes we just have to slow down and BREATHE:

B- Take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale, then take a step back. You
don't always have to be the leader of the pack, but be confident in sharing your thoughts and let your voice be heard. Surround yourself with an appropriate network. The key is to dedicate your time to the right people/projects and attract the right audience that can help you grow.
Be Bold. Make a statement, and set yourself apart. Your hand shake is a great first impression! Introduce yourself with a firm yet brief hold. Let your counterpart know you are genuinely interested to meet their acquaintance. No one likes a soft hand shake.  
Be Brave. Demonstrate courage and speak your mind. Don't let fear stop you from saying or doing what feels right, but be sure to gauge what's appropriate.

R- Build Rapport and Respect. If you network with people to make a connection, don't just jump to asking for a favor right off the bat. Show respect for the person's intellect and skills by taking time (it may take 2-3 conversations) to learn about them and establish a foundation. I can't imagine most people enjoy being approached by others who are constantly looking for favors. A business deal is different if you are purchasing a service. Assume everything comes with a price tag, and expect to pay for that person's time and resources. People will volunteer their time/talent at their discretion.Take the time to build rapport with your potential collaborators.

E- Educate. A teaching license is not required to educate others. If you have an expertise in your field of work or passion, then share the experience and information you have acquired. Knowledge sharing can be empowering to both parties. Be willing to help share valid information-- even the basics: who, what, where, when, why, how. People feel great learning, and they value a topic/person when they can take something away from the situation. Ex: Provide information on your non-profit's background and purpose, tell people about how your product will enhance their life rather then just selling them the product/tool, explain why someone should invest their time and money into you and your business. The why is one of the most important elements to educate someone with.

A- Associate. Share information try to demonstrate your level of understanding by discussing your experiences.When possible, try to relate to what others say. Associate yourself to their story by sharing your personal examples to help build rapport. Acknowledge them and their efforts, Appreciate the material discussed, or Ask questions to learn more.

T- Be Thoughtful. Try not to comment just for the sake of saying something. Put some honest thought into  it. If you're not sure what to say then simply state, "I hear you" or "I understand." Show your audience that you can provide advice or suggestions AFTER you are done Listening. Provide facts -instead of always stating opinions. (FYI-it doesn't hurt to ask "would you like to hear my thoughts?). I have practiced more "story sharing." I share an example of a situation similar to what the other person is telling me, and I share the situation positives, frustrations, and lessons learned ...aka indirect advice that can be relate-able. And be Thankful. Thank them for sharing information and for dedicating their time to speaking with you.

H- Offer a hand, how can you help? Is there a way you can help others grow and evolve in their personal and professional endeavors? Can you offer an ear to just listen? Can you suggest a new connection/network? Can you help offer information, tips or tricks? Can you help encourage them by praising/reassuring them? Sometimes all you need to do is just ask "how can I help?" 

E- Entertain. I don't mean hop on a stage and be the center of the show, but rather just be yourself, enjoy the people you meet, and have fun with your projects. Bring your humor and personality to the table; don't be a bore. OR entertain in the sense of "consider" one's attempts or ideas. Try not to shut down a thought or suggestion before weighing the pros and cons.

Communication DOs and DON'Ts: 
DO Speak in "Bullets"- Keep your objectives short, brief, and thorough. You don't want your audience to get bored and tune you out with too much information flying around.
    • When speaking on a topic, try to have 2-3 main thoughts that you want to to address in your conversation. Speak clearly with concrete examples, and provide factual content.
DO engage in the conversation without actually having to speak. 
    • Eye contact, nodding, upright posture, arms uncrossed, and an occasional smile doesn't hurt.
DON'T speak in monotone...Unless you're telling a bedtime story Zzzz. Bueller?
    • Imagine you are speaking in sentence format with commas in place. Use those imaginary punctuation marks as a chance to take a breath, pause, smile, and allow your audience to soak in your words...aka no rambling on and on. Avoid "run-on sentences"- again speak slowly and clearly, and try not to jumble all your thoughts into one sentence. 
DON'T Use a lot of Ums, Ahs, and other "filler" words such as "like"  or "you know."

Life is busy. Trust me I know! However, we have yet to invent teleportation or human cloning, so don't forget to slowdown and allow yourself to "B.R.E.A.T.H.E."