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."