5 surprising things I learned from #pamelasperiproject

Periscope hearts
Nothing is ever as it seems.

I just wrapped my 21-day Periscope challenge on Monday, and it turns out this thing I committed to was actually all about integrating the “stuff” I was wrestling with — stuff that was keeping me small and hiding my purpose from the world. As though my gifts and talents were meant for hoarding in the private attic of my soul, rather than to be shared with humanity.

The 21 days went by in a flash. After the first week, I really settled into a groove where scoping became a daily activity as given as brushing my teeth. Some days were awesome; I had other days where I had absolutely no inkling of what the hell I wanted to say.

I definitely haven’t mastered the art of scoping — half the time I forget my hashtags (#duh) — but the Peri Project was an awesome challenge for me, personally. Whodathunk something as silly as a daily social media practice would be so enriching?

  1. Consistency
    This one’s the obvious one. I mean, you don’t do a 21-day challenge on anything without teaching yourself about consistency. But like, seriously? Consistency is the key to success in anything. ANYTHING!There’s this quote I love:
    Zig Ziglar quote on motivation and bathing Is there anything else to be said about this you haven’t heard a million times before? Here’s a great one I got from Alex Beadon: Be the 1% of people who follows through. Really, the difference between the excellent and the outstanding (e.g., between gold and silver medals) is often just a millimeter of a difference (this one’s from my homeboy Tony Robbins). I’m learning, firsthand, a new level of esteem for myself simply thanks to finishing what I start. (This was why I began my weekly Style Tip Tuesday video series, and as of this writing, I now have 20 videos! BAM!) All that a painting is is a collection of brushstrokes, added one at a time, over time.
  2. Keeping my goal at the forefront
    I can’t emphasize enough just how much of a difference I felt by keeping myself accountable to doing this daily. Sometimes I’ll blow hot air and say something noncommittal, like, “Oh, I should tidy my room.”Yet, months later, my room will still (mysteriously) not be clean. This is because I don’t spend my entire day in my bedroom — it’s totally out of sight, out of mind. I definitely kept my Periscope challenge metaphorically in sight. This made all the difference, especially on days I had no idea what I wanted to say. Because I had a daily scope on my mind every day, I’d find something to say!
  3. I had the right to speak up
    Right at the end of week one, I had an ingenious idea. I’d been tuning into a scoper named Ian’s show — as a Ph.D student in neuroscience at UPenn, he broadcasts about four times a week on the topic, which I love as a young stroke survivor-turned-brain-enthusiast. One day, he scoped about the “neuroscience of free will,” which was both intriguing and difficult for me. His argument was that free will is just an illusion — and that everything we do is the result of what he calls “the conspiracy” between nature (brain chemistry and health) and nurture (our experiences). This didn’t sit well with me, and not for obvious reasons, but because, as a person to whom her spirituality is of utmost importance, I felt that free will was absolutely essential to higher consciousness and self-actualization. I realized that somebody needed to voice “the other side.” (As an atheist and primarily a neuroscientist, Ian did not leave much room for disagreement on the topic the first time around.) Once I started noticing where in my life I had been afraid of being seen, I stepped up and allowed myself to be that voice. No apologies. Of course, I often felt as though I’d thrown myself to the lions, as I jumped in rather off the cuff — which leads me to . . .
  4. Imperfect action is better than no action.
    As a recovering perfectionist, I know intimately the internal pressure to do outstanding work whenever it comes to creating something out of nothing. I still face my inner Bitchety Cricket every day — and sometimes, she wins. (This is partly why I still love blogging and writing, because I get to proofread, edit, and even re-edit already published content.) But Periscope is raw. It’s unedited, it’s “What you see is what you get,” and it’s downright scary sometimes.
    imperfect action better than no actionNow, I’m saving this for a much more in-depth post, but Gay Hendricks has introduced me to a concept that doesn’t sit well with Bitchety Cricket: It’s an idea that takes the whole “Be gentle with yourself” concept to another, altogether foreign, level. It’s the practice of being playful with your imperfections. Bitchety Cricket is not a fan of this practice, and to be honest, I’m not even sure what that could look like in my day-to-day life. But something tells me therein lies the cure to perfectionism (and therefore emotional self-flaggellation).The beauty, and the darkness, of Periscope is that it is unforgiving in its realness. And fortunately, if you mess things up really badly, there’s always DELETE. :)

  5. Success Begets Success
    I celebrated the fact that I’d made a voice of myself in my response scopes on free will. I actually surprised myself by creating a second Periscope account so that I could start an entirely new show called #STROKESCOPE. Not only did I now have double the Periscope fun — apparently I am officially a full-fledged addict! — but I now had a clearer purpose.

    I also found that the momentum I gathered by scoping daily also had other side effects: There were networking opportunities. Like-minded scopers and viewers started talking to me (my Twitter account hasn’t seen this much action since, well, ever) and following me. I’ve met some wonderful people through the platform, and there’s a new sense of pride and accomplishment that wasn’t there before I began the challenge. I see the results of this seeping into other areas of my life, too. People I once wouldn’t speak up to, I now do (graciously). I’ve become more assertive; no longer do I cower in the back of rooms or swallow the thing that really needs to be said. I feel more true to me.BONUS:

  6. The end is just the beginning
    Now that #PamelasPeriProject is over, I do feel lighter. Lighter because I’ve had a taste of success, discipline, and possibility, and now it’s like dropping a to do list on the ground — that piece of paper with all the shit begging to be done isn’t necessarily left behind. I can always pick it up again.It’s a beautiful balance of push and pull, and it just amazes me that all this Periscoping was actually a big lesson in self-care.

You haven’t seen the last of me yet!

Has this inspired you? Which of the five lessons rings truest to you? Leave me a comment and follow me on Periscope and Twitter! My usernames are @ciaoPamela and @strokeduplife.

Pamela Hsieh signature

 

#pamelasperiproject week 1 reflections: the importance of being seen

Pamela Hsieh birthday 2012

My birthday (2012) — the one day a year I felt safe to be seen.

I didn’t think I’d be guilty of this.

I used to be a cheerleader on my school’s spirit squad — which meant that at halftimes and at pep rallies, the crowd had their undivided attention on my team and me. I’ve performed onstage in many capacities, from dance to piano to flute to musical theatre. As a high school senior I found solace in drama club, and I was nominated by the members of my public speaking class to represent them in front of the village.

It might be a natural conclusion to make that I have no problem with standing center stage — all eyes on me.

Before my stroke, perhaps that would have been the case. But once I felt myself turning inward as a protective response from the attack on my brain that was the stroke, I found a safety there that I still to this day return to when I need a little grounding.

The unconscious decision to amble through my young adulthood more internally than I ever had before hasn’t provided only safety and grounding, though. It has come with a price, and that price is pretty steep.

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It’s cultivated a newfound fear of being seen. What does that look like?

It’s when I find myself in a crowd and choose not to speak up for a need I may have. A need for the people standing in front of me to move so that they no longer block my view. It’s never asking someone not to smoke while we’re outside together, internalizing my discomfort at the smell and effect to my health. How I’ll find a seat in the back of a classroom or training audience even when I voluntarily chose to be there to learn. Trying to blend in and not be noticed — not speaking up in classes or Facebook groups or against emotionally manipulative people. Or even not mentioning past accomplishments or experiences — when they would contribute to the flow of conversation — for fear of bragging or out of glorification of being low-key.

It’s any time I mute myself or when I subconsciously believe the authentic me might be “too much,” and I trade that natural me for a diluted, quiet version of myself I don’t recognize as me.

And this fear of being seen absolutely manifested when I did my first “real” Periscope broadcast on Monday afternoon (i.e., me speaking directly to the camera). My heart was racing; I felt the flood of overwhelm as I saw the anonymous viewer count go up — and go down — as though any of that actually mattered.

fear of being seen

This first scope was flawed — it probably took me the first three whole minutes to get my phone set up on the tripod and you could feel my nerves running through my body — but at least I did it.

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I’d rather imperfectly and unapologetically express myself than continue to play small in my little corner of the Universe. It’s the only way humanity can flourish, if the voices for good and for personal power gain strength rather than getting shut down. Shut down not only by “the other side,” but by themselves and their own fears! Which is what playing small is all about.

It’s what the other side counts on — that our Higher Selves become silenced without intervention. It’s their most insidious secret weapon against us.

I’d had this mounting frustration, this nagging theme running through my life — a voice saying, “Why doesn’t anybody know how awesome I am? Or what gifts I have to give to the world?”

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This whiny voice of the martyr could have defined me, but my Higher Self wouldn’t have any of it. The reason why no one knew was because I had cowered in the corner, played the People Pleaser, worshipped humility at the expense of my authentic self.

I believe we all are entitled to generous self-expression, and this fear of being seen can kill so many good fricking ideas. It can numb people from their dreams.

Quieting down our passions helps no one. I, for one, know firmly that I want the world to be better because I lived in it.

That isn’t possible if I don’t up the game. So terrifying myself by forcing myself to be seen — to create, to put myself out there — in order to make myself stronger not only serves me,  but gives you permission to do so as well.

Periscope heartsYou can follow #PamelasPeriProject on Periscope, live, and you can catch my replays on Katch.me. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter; I’m @ciaoPamela.

Did this resonate with you? How do you struggle with being seen? Leave a comment and let’s explore this some more.

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#pamelasperiproject launches this sunday!

Periscope-Twitter

Psst. Did you know there was a new social media platform in town?

Even though the last thing I needed was a new social media distraction to sponge up all my spare time and get me off track, Periscope is actually really something special.

It’s a live video broadcasting platform — and because it’s owned by Twitter, it’s already widely available to many of us. The amazing thing about the livestreaming is that people participating in your broadcast are able to directly comment in realtime. What a great way to develop a relationship with all of you!

So I was a bit skeptical at first. “Really? But why?” Then I tuned in to some people’s scopes and fell in love. I could search scopes by location, and my first time poking around the app, I was able to sit in on a Second City performance or even hang out with some Italians in Tuscany and Rome. I hitched a ride to work through the rolling hills of England with a guy who walks his mile commute every morning.

OMGTHISISLIKEFREETRAVELICANGOBACKTOEUROPE

WHENEVERIWANT. 

And then the floodgates opened. But besides being a great way to get value, whether from the “free travel” voyeurism aspect or from fun thought leaders and entrepreneurs sharing lifehacks in their scopes, I quickly realized that Periscope is significant to me for other, less obvious reasons.


 

It actually represents certain levels of discomfort that I need to break through. As surprising as this may sound, I have a slight block against being seen.

Seen and recognized in the world for the gifts I have to give. I first noticed this manifesting on Periscope when I found myself hesitating any time I wanted to comment on someone’s scope.

What? I had no problem leaving comments on Facebook or people’s blogs — why the stage fright all of a sudden? It was because scopers were responding directly to commentary in realtime, interacting with viewers as in conversation.

I got over it. Soon I found myself commenting whenever I felt called to — and leaving streams of hearts! (Periscope hearts are addicting — they’re basically social “currency” within the app, like applause.)

Periscope hearts

And then I hit a sort of standstill. I felt like I needed to progress. How else could I participate in Periscope besides simply consuming the content? How could I become a content creator? Of course, I could do my own broadcast.

I dipped my toe in by broadcasting my local fashion show last Monday, which debuted the new fall jewelry line in my business, but it was a bit of a flop. Which was fine — because I made a very last-minute decision to broadcast it, I knew very few people would be able to attend live. However, because I hadn’t prepared exactly where to scope from physically, the viewpoint wasn’t the best. It also ran pretty long. (And interestingly, I did have a small number of live viewers!)

And although Periscope allows people’s replays to stay up for 24 hours, the cool thing is as a scoper, you can also save the footage from your scope. The great thing about this is you can then repurpose your scopes for something else — blog posts, podcasts, Facebook, Instagram . . .

So all isn’t lost! But . . . I did kind of feel like I cheated myself of the Real Periscope Experience.

I hadn’t really put myself out there. My audience never even saw my face! (If you follow my Style Tip Tuesday videos, you know from my slogan, “When you know you look good, you feel good.” And I felt good on Monday. :))

Truly putting myself out there has been a painfully slow work in progress for years. It began with my itty bitty Rehab Revolution blog in 2010, and then gradually, expanded to this blog and to YouTube thanks to Marie Forleo’s demanding (worth it!) video scholarship contests. Back in March, I challenged myself to begin a weekly video series for my jewelry business, and as of the writing of this post, I now have 17 Style Tip Tuesday episodes up. (Woohoo!)

So I told myself, “Good job, you scoped once. But you have to step it up — do it for real!” And then . . . crickets.

What would I even scope about? 

You know where I’m going with this, right?

I have this great habit of forcing myself through discomfort (remember my series on networking?) — which I understand is fairly uncommon — so naturally, I’m declaring the need for a #PamelasPeriProject challenge.

I’ve written down a broad list of topics I could scope about, and I’m committing to broadcasting myself on Periscope once a day, every day, for an indeterminate amount of time. Or, more accurately, for two days.

Why only two days? Because I’m keeping it as unscary as possible.

If I told myself I’d scope daily for a month, I already feel myself withdrawing into my little Pamela cave — as the most introverted kind of extravert, when I feel myself being “too seen” too quickly, I go into hideout mode.

Let’s skip all that, shall we? I’ve already (half-)scoped once, so to do myself one better, I’d like to scope once a day for two days. And if I enjoy it (which I believe I will), I’ll extend the challenge to three days.

To be honest, the number of days I have in mind is 21. But I’m starting small. Two it is.

Is there any structure to #PamelasPeriProject?

This is really just an experiment. After brainstorming possible Periscope topics, I’m just going to test them out on my broadcasts to see what the response is like. You guys get to tell me what you want to see or chat about. :)

I’m so excited! We can have coffee/tea/brunch together — go to events (with wifi) together — have masterminds together. The possibilities are endless . . .

Will you help me? You can join Periscope on your iPhone or Android — be sure to do it with your Twitter account, not your phone number — or even tune in on the web!* #PamelasPeriProject begins this Sunday the 26th. (Why? Because we’re going to a bunny spa day and I want to scope that.)

As of today, my plan is to scope at different times — my sweet spot will most likely be during the afternoons, but I’d like to play around and see what times work best. (If you miss one, remember, you get 24 hours to check out the replay and you can still give hearts!)

If you’re interested in doing your own #PeriProject, I’d love to support you with my own share of heartstreams and comments — please comment below if you’d like to come play with Periscope with me.

“See you” on a broadcast!

Pamela Hsieh signature

 

 

*You can watch replays from the web, you will not be able to give hearts unless you are watching from the app.

red tent revival returns 17-21 May

Shakespeare mug

Today I heard a woman named Kristin Sweeting Morelli say something that rocked my world.

“Shame can only live in darkness.”

She said it in the context of people — of women in particular — keeping to themselves the things they were most ashamed of about themselves and their experiences, whether they were at fault or not.

Shame doesn’t belong only to the miscreants, the cheaters, the liars, the politicians. Everyone carries shame about something in their lives, and in our world today, women feel shame surrounding so much.

Shame for being fat. For being old. For being educated. For being a stay-at-home mom. For having children — for not having children. Being divorced. Staying in a relationship that’s bad for you. Being successful. Not having a job.

And, pretty much universally, women are shamed about that which makes them fundamentally who and what they are: feminine beings who come into this world as highly sensitive and sensual creatures.

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It isn’t until women are able to feel safe in their communities (whether these communities are friends, family, a partner, or an organization) that they can begin to shed that shame. Safety is the foundation of vulnerability — which is one of the most powerful forms of connection and healing there is.

I’ve been part of Kristin’s special tribe of women since its inception in late 2013. I’ve witnessed the unfolding of countless women into something so sacred and beautiful that I’m struggling coming up with the words right now.

As an invitation to catch a glimpse of what this tribe is about, Kristin hosts an immersive, radiant online festival celebrating what it means to be a woman . . . what is the Potent Feminine, and how to access her. Because every woman has it, inside. But in a culture of to do lists, multi-tasking, carting children around from activity to activity, business, eating junk, and generally feeling like we must be Superwoman, most of us have lost touch with her. We’ve settled for toxic relationships and environments and neglected our own self-care, wearing this as a badge of honor.

How many of you reading this would actually take me seriously if I asked you to take a 15-minute break between your workday (or watching your kids) for yourself to just get in your body and dance?

I feel like so many of you just rolled your eyes and muttered your own version of, “Yeah right. After I cross off A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H . . . from my list, maybe I might get around to it.” Like any other modern-day woman, there are times I feel like this too.

Let me tell you about Kristin. She was a self-made multi-millionaire by the age of 30. Do you think she might know something about that go-go-go lifestyle?

She has also overcome a number of physical and emotional trials that I won’t get into right now — challenges that no human being should ever have to face, let alone as a child. The fact that she has been able to rise above these challenges and shed the shame that came with them is for me a shining light of hope for the rest of the world.

So about this online festival. It’s called the Red Tent Revival, and this is how it works: each night, for five days, Kristin livestreams an hour of dance. Dance, for me, has played a significant role in my own freedom as a woman and as a young stroke survivor who was once paralyzed on a half of my body: After the stroke, I stopped dancing for about eight years. When I started again, I felt like I had liberated myself from a prison of my own making.

This time it runs from 17-21 May at 8pm Eastern.

What kind of dance do we do in the Red Tent? Every installment is slightly different, but I had the privilege of joining Kristin in Boulder this March to attend the Revival in person, so this particular iteration of the festival is especially sacred to my heart. (She is rebroadcasting it because back in March she was going through some really intense personal issues.) The first day, we kicked off with some drumming and allowing our bodies to respond to the beats.

Day 2: CONSCIOUS BURLESQUE

Photography by Kat Bartell at Eye of the Kat Boudoir Photography

Photography by Kat Bartell at Eye of the Kat Boudoir Photography

We started off with burlesque, led by Mad Ame Merci, a beautiful soul who teaches Conscious Burlesque.

Conscious Burlesque is not just about stripping off your clothes and teasing the audience. I’m a frequent audience member at various cabarets and burlesque shows here in the city, but Conscious Burlesque is a different art form.

Mad Ame Merci performed a gorgeous piece she created to show us the sad unfolding of a stifling relationship she had gone through, and it sent chills through me (through all of us). I loved the contrast of the ugly (smearing her lipstick off as she pulled off her gloves, for example) against the beautiful choreography. It was raw; it was real — it felt to me like the tragic love story so many of us have lived.

Day 3: SENSUAL DANCE

My first experience with sensual dance under Kristin’s guidance was on my first day in her tribe. I was so moved as she led us to consciously choose parts of our bodies to love. It started simply: begin with a part of your body you find easy to love, like your hair or your smile . . . but then gradually moved to loving the parts that are more difficult.

For me, this was my left arm — at the time, I was still holding grudges against the left side of my body for betraying me after the stroke.

It was like the first day I started writing my memoir. A barrier had been lifted, and the tears began to flow. Forgiveness and love began to replace the resentment and disconnect that once existed between me and my body.

Attend the Red Tent Revival here.

Day 4: BELLYDANCE

Photography by Art of Seduction Chicago

Photography by Art of Seduction Chicago

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found myself mesmerized by Shakira music videos. It’s less about the music to me and all about her movements. In my early 20s I vowed to one day move like Shakira, and while I’m not there (like, at all), experimenting with bellydance is always a fun ride. The isolations and the undulations make me feel so sensuous.

Kristin brought Sadie Marquardt, one of the bellydance global community’s most prominent figures, to guide us in some basic bellydancing movements. She was incredible!

In the spirit of full disclosure, though, I have to admit bellydancing has always been a bit of a challenge for me (especially in the presence of others) because it exposes the part of my body that I’ve spent a lifetime trying to cover up. (Shame lives in darkness, right?)

But Kristin created an environment in which every body type, any kind of belly — reminding us that women’s bellies have life-sustaining qualities and that that’s where our power lives — is wonderful and accepted.

Hearing this made me feel safer in the presence of my own self-judgment, even when I was participating in the Red Tent from the privacy of my own home.

Day 5: SAMBA

Samba is a sort of street dance they do in Brazil. My favorite part is the costumes: full plumes of giant feathers, feathers, feathers! As a student of ballroom dance, I have had quite limited exposure to samba personally, since it’s a slightly different animal altogether.

On the final day of the Revival, Sadie returns fully covered in beads and feathers. It’s fabulous — and then we learn a basic routine. (It’s a cardio workout!)

THE INTERVIEWS

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After the live dancing sessions each night, two virtual “stages” will open up: the Aphrodite stage and the Kali stage, each containing an exclusive RTR interview for you to watch and learn from for the next 24 hours. These interviews are the meat of the Revival because it begins our “coursework” into the Potent Feminine.

Back when I was going through a dark, painful breakup, I helped myself through it by learning from relationship experts. In that journey, I always resonated with a lady named Alison Armstrong. To my delight, Kristin invited Alison into the Tent with her brilliant work on The Queen’s Code. This groundbreaking work has shattered what I — and most other modern-day women for that matter! — have always believed served us in the world. . . . Through Alison’s Queen’s Code work, we have learned a completely new, counterintuitive way of operating with (and not against) the men in our lives. With Alison’s insights on the strengths and weaknesses of both masculine and feminine energies, we have learned how to empower ourselves as well as men in the world at large. No longer do we as women need to put men down in order to feel safe — and I believe this is the newest chapter of feminism.

Within the Red Tent Revival, Alison was gracious enough to share a four-part series on how to be the queen of your own life. The final day was especially powerful, as she and Kristin took us through a sacred ceremony to end the war between the sexes for good. It was epic.

Besides Alison, Kristin invited other cutting-edge experts to discuss their areas of expertise: Sheila Kelley, the phenomenal creator of S Factor, who demystifies the Erotic Creature within every woman. (As an aside, please take a look at her TED talk, which I adore.)

There’s Dr. Debra Wickman, a gynecologist who specializes in reconnecting women with their own anatomy and shedding light on the years of darkness we women often have with our lady parts. For me, this was absolutely amazing and sacred.

It was then in her interview with Laura Silva (daughter of the man who brought us The Silva Method), Kristin said, “Shame can only live in darkness.” I believe this to be the fundamental belief under everything we do in the Red Tent Revival and the Pleasure Tribe — to bring the thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, unconscious patterns we brought with us out into the light so they no longer live in darkness and can finally heal.

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OWN THE REVIVAL/JOIN THE RED SISTERHOOD

Throughout the Red Tent Revival, you will have access to not only the dance sessions and the interviews, but you’ll have the chance to enter Kristin’s “WOOHOO” contests, and you’ll receive some exclusive Secrets of the Red Tent.

own it

If you decide the material you’ve seen in the Red Tent is valuable and you want to keep it forever, you will have the chance to own the Revival and all its videos as well as some divine bonus content Kristin made especially for us. You can also choose to join me and my sisters in the Pleasure Tribe and the RED Sisterhood — it’s a yummy community of beautiful connection, exploration, and celebration. I’ve been part of the Pleasure Tribe for 18 months and counting, and I would never go back.

I’ll address what you may be wondering . . . I am part of Kristin’s Impact Posse, which means I’ve volunteered to help spread the word about her work. The Revival is completely free, but if you opt to make a purchase, I do get a commission.

Back in March, I committed to helping raise funds for one of my R.E.D. Sister’s Red Mastery journeys, so if I do make any commission from this promotion of the RTR, half of it will go to my friend’s fundraiser. I believe in Kristin’s R.E.D. movement with every cell in my body (R.E.D. stands for “Radiant, Erotic, Divine.”) — so my question for you is, will you have the courage to discover your inner R.E.D. goddess?

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in the Red Tent!

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what reinvention means to me (or, refueling my purpose)

Confession: I started writing this post today originally with a completely different intention. I’m familiar with the practice of letting my words carry me somewhere I never thought I’d go in the moment — welcome to writing and the art of conversation — so I surrendered to it. I promise this post has a point, so please be patient and let it unfold.

fleur de lisAfter my junior year in Florence, I decided to change my major to Italian (that way, the culture classes I’d taken wouldn’t have been for nothing — this was an attempt to speed my degree along, though we obviously know that didn’t work). And then I declared myself pre-med, which was ironic considering the fact that my dad had been trying to coerce me into becoming an MD since I was six and I was always all, “I wanna be an artist! An author! A teacher!”

No. This time, I wanted to become a doctor because I’d been overcome with gratitude for the doctors I’d had at the University of Chicago Hospitals, who had saved my life and my spirit when I’d been hospitalized for the stroke. The staff I met there was so genuinely heart-centered, so beautiful in their service that I loved them all and thought of them often. I felt that if I could touch a single person in my life in the way they had touched mine, it would make my time on Earth worthwhile.

Anyway, I toiled about being an Italian major and pre-med, not knowing if that was going to be okay. So naturally, I added creative writing to the mix.

I’d been writing since I was 10. The first “book” I ever wrote (and I’d do nearly anything to find my one and only first edition copy!) was, for lack of a better term, fan fiction. My favorite book growing up was Roald Dahl’s Matilda, to which I wrote my own sequel . . . illustrated — wait for it — in the style of original Matilda illustrator Quentin Blake. (Seriously, if I ever find it, I will have it coated in something to preserve it forever.)

from http://www.the-platform.org.uk

from http://www.the-platform.org.uk — man, this makes me nostalgic!

And ever since, I’d written story after story. It was a self-imposed discipline. My first completed original work was a novel called All That and A Cup of Milk, which I wrote at 16 and “self-published” in a binder covered in magazine cutouts of models I’d used as representations of my characters. (I was 16. ’Nuff said.)

This was my bliss. I used to come home every day after school, and like clockwork, would type away at the computer (you think I type fast now with my one superhand! I believe I even have video footage of me writing at the giant box that was my old-school desktop back in the day) working away at my stories. But . . .

To this day, I haven’t completed another book. Something anti-magical occurred during undergrad. My writing degree required what I fondly call half an English major’s worth of literature classes. (Ironically, I’d spent a few years as a kid believing I wanted to become an English teacher. HA!)

When I first learned how to read as a child, all I did was read. I used to go to the bathroom reading. I recently dragged myself to the eye doctor — one of my least favorite things to do — because I carry a hefty -10.5 contact lens prescription. This was the first year the eye doc had ever told me one of my eyes had stabilized and not gotten worse since my last visit.

Anyway. I’ve been nearsighted since I was six, and I’m sure all the 100,000s of hours I’ve spent with my little nose in a book was a heavy contributor.

When I was a creative writing major, I pretty much quit reading for pleasure. (The U of I might revoke my hard-earned degree for this.) I would come home from the school bookstores at the beginning of each semester with a stack of books as tall and thick as I was.

Meanwhile, all my scientist and numbersy friends/roommates would be all, “Why don’t you ever study?”

Italian came easy to me. After a year of forcing Florentine shopkeepers and residents to talk to my Eastern face in Italian, I had done the impossible: I’d returned to the States not only proficient, but fluent, in the language.

Because of this, I had pretty much placed out of any language courses U of I could have offered for my major, and all that was left was cultural courses. I may have been a wizard at rolling my Rs and conjugating verbs in any tense, but history is a different beast to me.

This is Dante.

This is Dante.

And then there was Dante. I spent a semester reading and studying his entire Divine Comedy (that’s three canticas — not just Inferno, but also Purgatorio and Paradiso). Let’s not forget that as a writing major I also had to dive deep into Shakespeare . . . If you escaped the education system with only an overview of Romeo & Juliet, know that for a writing or literature major, that sounds like graduating from high school with only a proficient knowledge of basic arithmetic.

And then there was Nabokov. Who to this day I still can’t say I fully understand, other than appreciate his genius.

So pretty much, “studying” for me was reading. All the time. And besides the stories I had to write for my actual writing classes, I quit writing for fun as well, after a terrible blowout that had gotten me in trouble with a roommate I had as a sophomore.

The period of pre-med lasted only a couple years at most. Physics took over my life so much that I even found references to Newtonian laws in my writing(!), and I had no social life. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am naturally an extravert, despite the fact that I have consciously chosen a very solitary pastime as my favorite vessel for carrying my voice to the masses.

Pre-med made a total nerd out of me, and it soon became apparent that I’d been trying to mold myself around subjects that I merely found interesting, but wasn’t passionate enough about to shape a career out of. (Is anyone surprised that the Italian-CW major wasn’t dedicated enough to chemistry and molecular biology to pass the MCATs?)

I think what really drove that home was the semester I was lucky enough to get kicked out of a writing class (more on that later) and then into an independent study in the creative writing department with one of its chairs. Prof. Madonick (or “Mike,” as he insisted I call him) inspired me to start my memoir.

When I wrote the first several pages of this memoir, I found five years’ worth of pent-up emotions release for the first time. Things I didn’t even know I’d been processing came out of my fingertips and onto my screen. I could barely see the words as the vision of them blurred through the tears. There were so many tears. They created a waterfall.

I was 19 years old when the stroke happened — so I was pretty much just a punk kid in the world believing I was invincible and capable of anything I could dream up. (Heck, I’m 31 today and still believe I’m capable of anything I can dream up.) But when I was 19, I both knew a lot and nothing about myself. Any self-exploration had been only at the surface level, and it wouldn’t be until I graduated that I really leapt into the vortex of personal development and self-study, because that was when I decided to give entrepreneurship a shot.

So the memoir really helped me process a lot of what I’d been feeling and experiencing underneath the façade of “everything’s just fine, and I’m just like everyone else, just a bit more gimpy.”

It had been precisely that façade that had kept me denying a lot of my own feelings. Things weren’t “just fine,” and I certainly wasn’t just like everyone else. “A bit more gimpy” looked like regular accidents and spills, anger and resentment, and an inability to do what I wanted to do how I wanted to do it.

(Hey — wearing heels is as worthy a desire as it is to not want to drool on someone while kissing them.)

The memoir had become so game-changing for me that I decided the world needed it.

I’ll say this again: The world needed it.

And I believe this is why my memoir has been incomplete since I began it in 2008. Who was I to dare provide the world with something it needed?

Two years later, I created Rehab Revolution, so that I could get a head start on creating a community of people who needed my voice. Since then, a small number of young stroke survivors have indeed reached out to me to thank me for what I’ve done for them. They truly warm my heart — and if any of them are reading this today, please know that you guys are why I write.

Four years ago, I sent myself to the UW-Madison’s Writers’ Institute conference for the first time, and I experienced a misplaced sense of shame.

Shame that I was willing to put money on the line, invest the dollars into myself as a writer, but not willing to finish my manuscript before I came.

There were what felt like hundreds of writers there, of all kinds, backgrounds, and genres, most of them there preparing to pitch their manuscripts to agents and editors who had traveled there to pick up new authors, and there I was, reeling.

What? There were people there who could potentially propel my little 34-page-and-counting Word document into an actual, tangible book? I — the twentysomething stylish girl with a limp — could actually launch this dream of becoming a full-fledged author at this conference?! “Next year,” I told myself. “Next year I’ll have it ready.”

“Next year” came around and I said the same thing. And again, and again.

In retrospect, I don’t blame myself for freezing. I had no idea what I was getting into going to this conference in the first place, so that first year was a learning experience. I discovered that the conference, rather than focusing solely on the craft, taught the side of writing I’d never learned as a writing major — it taught the business side of writing.

How to pitch. Practice your pitching. Writing a query letter. Networking.

If you remember my networking posts from 2013, that was my first year learning to network. And the first Writers’ Institute I attended was in 2012. #forshame

I remember finding myself seated next to an agent (who was looking for memoirs to sign! *facepalm*) at the (ahem) networking lunch and spiraling out of control in my head.

Ohmygodit’sanagentlookingformemoirsIshouldreallytalktohim.

I told myself that this was the Universe’s way of handing me what I wanted on a silver platter, and that if I passed it up, it would not happen again.

I forced myself to start a conversation with him . . . right as the lunch started wrapping.

He was gracious enough to indulge me for several minutes, and he even gave me a little feedback and advice before he had to run off for someone’s pitch.

I remember something he said was along the lines of not rushing my memoir, that it would take as long as it had to take. This encouraged me.

I kept repeating the “Next year I’ll have it ready” and even signing myself up for non-traditional participation in NaNoWriMo a couple of times, but I found myself somehow blocked.

Next month, I’ll be going to my fourth Writers’ Institute conference. My manuscript still sits at 34 measly pages (though to be fair, they are single-spaced). I honestly thought I’d written more.

But the truth is, that’s only because of my blog. To this day, I’ve published 209 (210 if you count this one, which I am posting there too) articles — most of them completely original content by me or by my guest writers — and while I am so happy to know that my posts are helping a small number of readers, it’s both a blessing and a curse.

It’s a curse because it fools me into believing I’ve made more progress on my book than I actually have, but it’s a blessing also because it’s deepened my resource of exploration into what my memoir could include.

On a slight aside, I totally believe in Divine Messages. What these are are repetitive whispers from the Universe, gently guiding me to what I need to embrace right now. These whispers often crescendo into outright declarations spoken by actual people I see in my day-to-day existence, and then if I’m not receptive (I’ve grown to become very receptive — the Divine always knows what I need), I have to learn the hard way why I should’ve listened in the first place.

I’ve been consistently reading Mastin Kipp’s Growing Into Grace and religiously following author Danielle LaPorte online these days, and both of these leaders (who run majorly successful businesses in spiritual and personal development work) have been through and come out on top of some major upheaval that makes my current “I’m starting my life over at 31! What to do?!” sound like major #firstworldwhining.

Mastin started out his brand, The Daily Love, with nothing but a Twitter account and an e-mail list of friends and family. Danielle got out of a humbling, bad business deal with nothing but her blog and 60 followers.

That the two of them now are spiritually fulfilled and serving the world in the ways they know best is so inspiring to me. They’re both graduates of Marie Forleo’s famous B-School, which I FINALLY signed up for this year after standing at the sidelines like a wannabe for five years.

(I did enter the scholarship contest again for the last time — once you’re a B-Schooler, you’re forever a B-schooler. Here’s my video entry.)

When I first began rebooting myself and my business, I started networking again like it was my job. (I mean . . . it totally is.) A virtual assistant that I’d met a year or two ago at a different networking group, Mary, started talking to me about my book and began supporting me in a significant way. I told her that if I didn’t finish my book now, I was never going to do it. Rather than just “being excited” or giving me verbal encouragement and then forgetting about me, she’s been nudging me and keeping me accountable to my commitment to get my memoir out there.

Have I written anything yet? Well . . . this counts, doesn’t it?

Seriously. I’ve learned that sometimes pushing through resistance just makes the resistance stronger. The fact that I’ve had my memoir actively on my mind this month and that it is sitting open on my laptop right now are already big steps if you consider my manuscript’s distinct absence from my radar for the past few years.

Here’s a screenshot of a Facebook status I posted two weeks ago. (Mary suggested I post it.)

Facebook accountability status

I also promised Anthony that I’d make a super honest effort this week to work on my memoir. He kind of thinks I should save the time, energy, and money this year, sit out the conference, and buy myself another year.

But I know better. Enter more Divine Messages: Yesterday, I came across a blog post by one of my favorite friends and leaders, success coach Kris Britton. It’s about having the courage to go “all in.” (Funny sidenote . . . she actually featured me in this post!!)

(I think the whispers are getting louder.)

B-School starts on 9 March, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to start. (The conference is on the 27th.) The year 2015 may have begun nearly three months ago, but I can feel it in my soul — this is the best year yet. I feel the culmination of everything I’ve ever done and everything that’s ever happened for me bubbling up in this moment.

I’ll be posting on my progress and anything else that comes up as I go. March will be a busy month of more reinvention, more exploration, more leaps and dives into the unknown.

The Universe will give you everything you want — and more — as long as you show that you are committed.

Thank you for reading this and allowing me to speak to you the way I know best. I love each and every one of you — even if you disagree with me and/or think I’m off my rocker. :)

Questions or comments? Leave a message below!

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coming up for air – a return to what matters

*crickets* *crickets*

I’ve taken a seemingly infinite hiatus.

This has been a problem — not only for you, my cherished readers, but mostly, and ironically, for me. I mean, have I seriously not posted a thing since 2013?! Wow.

The truth is, I’ve been going through a heavy period of transition. As cliché and overhyped as “I’m finding myself” may sound, it’s honestly been what I’ve been doing.

It’s still too early to go into much detail — kind of like touching too much after having just applied nail polish — but I recently parted ways with a job that I was convinced I was in love with for a good year and a half.

treefrog

But the truth has its way of revealing itself, and it was that my blind devotion to this job was unsustainable, and that it had changed over time. A lot. Much like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, slowly coming to a boil, I found myself drowning in a hot mess. It was so bad that there would be days I would wake up and find myself in a panic because my phone was blowing up with work-related emergencies.

Mind you, I wasn’t a paramedic. There was no such thing as a true emergency within the confines of that job. As time slips into the gap between my time there and now, I become a little more sober, a little more capable of understanding exactly what went wrong. It’s too soon to dive into it now, as I still feel rather vulnerable and I’m still processing the emotions.

But you know what’s really exciting? This means I now get to focus on me and my purpose for real. Which means that I now will be making the time to write: write for you here, write on Rehab Revolution, finish my memoir, launch my podcast . . .

A lot of really amazing things stirring up in the creative vortex that is my mind and my heart. I have a lot of ideas in the works. As a multi-passionate person, I struggle a bit at focusing on one thing at a time, but that’s exactly what I’ll have to do.

Baby steps. I feel called to finally raise my voice and start working on my message, my mission. I’ve broken the silence. It’s time for me to be seen and be heard.

It feels more than good to relaunch. My past does not have to define my future — take this and apply it to whatever you need.

Whatever your soul’s been urging you to do all these days, weeks, months . . . do it. Even if it’s just a single step.

That’s what I’m doing. Are you in?

Tell me what action you’re going to take today to take you just that much closer to an inspiring future — leave a comment!

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(By the way, I plan to redesign the blog so it isn’t so boring.)

[repost] 13 things mentally strong people don’t do

Howdy, everyone! My personal trainer posted this Lifehack.org article to Facebook today, and I thought it appropriate to share. :)

dumbbell-weights

Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can behappy alone.

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

wealth week is now wealth month

I’ve decided to extend Wealth Week into Wealth Month — how convenient that we’ve just begun a fresh new month! Coincidentally, November is my birth month, and I definitely feel my financial story looking up! (Overwhelmingly, November is also NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month — so I’ve got tons to write these days.)

cha-ching! Gold coins

via crazywm-cazino.com

I’ve taken a few days off from writing because I’ve begun customer service training at Argentina Leyva Portrait Photography (Art of Seduction). This should take place on weekends during the day (Fridays and Saturdays), with the exception of this week as Argentina is shooting a wedding, and Anthony and I are going to Los Angeles for the stock trading seminar by the folks who put on the Millionaire Mind Intensive. Pardon my sudden radio silence, which was mostly due to the sudden influx of work (Art of Seduction and otherwise) . . . holiday season is indeed upon us! Part two of the spirituality/money conflict will be released shortly.

In other news, as tax laws have recently changed, I’ll be forming an LLC; it’ll be an umbrella company that encompasses both my Premier jewelry business, my freelance writing, as well as this customer service position at the studio. As of now, the LLC’s services will include marketing (writing, photography, social media) and customer service. I still have to meet with the CPAs I’m considering for taxes, so stay tuned for more details.

Speaking of taxes, Tony Robbins advises that in order to become financially successful, we must become intimately familiar with the tax system. Granted, it is very difficult to keep up with as a non-accountant, but you could potentially be cheating yourself every year by overpaying in taxes simply because you didn’t understand the rules.

I’m on my way to Los Angeles tomorrow morning, so I’ve got to run for now — wanted to check in so you knew I didn’t disappear. The day before a flight is always unchained chaos, so be very impressed I was able to post this. 😉

Catch you on the flipside!

Onwards and upwards,

PamelaHsieh signature

 

[wealth week] the spirituality/money conflict, part 1

Is abundance a “must” for you?

Yesterday we talked about the difference between “shoulds” and “musts.” Unfortunately, a lot of us nowadays “should all over ourselves.” How many times do you hear things like this in everyday situations?

workout

via homeworkoutexercises.com

  • I really should start working out more, but I just don’t have time.
  • I really shouldn’t eat that, but I just can’t turn down a good burger.
  • I should be saving, but those shoes are SO cute.
  • I should really get to the meeting on time, but I have so much to do before I leave.

When we “should” over ourselves, it’s often a precursor to our excuse(s) as to why we aren’t doing whatever it is we should be doing.

Right?!

In contrast, I find that we very rarely see people saying, “I shouldn’t watch one more episode before bed” and turning off the tube as soon as they say it. It’s uncommon to witness a person earnestly saying “I should” or “I should not” and then following through with a congruent action. If you’re one of these people, congratulations, you know what verbal integrity is! (I’m being serious, despite how sarcastic that may have come off. I really respect people who do what they say and say what they do.)

All this said, rather than thinking we “should” save money or invest or use T. Harv Eker’s jar system for money management, changing that should to a must is, well, a must.

But this is where things get hairy. We as a people tend to have some pretty mixed feelings about whether money is a good or a bad thing. When we have conflicting feelings about anything, the results tend to be pretty conflicting, too.

Shakespeare

from cmoh.blogspot.com

So first . . . I want to dispel the myth that wanting plenty of money is unspiritual. A lot of people associate spirituality with the swearing off of all material goods. To me, this makes zero sense, and I’m going to be a literary nerd here and allude to Shakespeare.

In his play King Lear, one of the quotes that always stood out to me as truth is this one:

 

 

O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars

Are in the poorest thing superfluous.

Allow not nature more than nature needs,

Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s . . .

What this means is “humans would be no different from animals if they did not need more than the fundamental necessities of life to be happy” (as explained by SparkNotes — yes yes, I know. I may be out of high school, but I still think it’s a legitimate source of literary analysis).

But isn’t it true? We humans appreciate so many things beyond just feeding ourselves and seeking shelter. We celebrate art, whether it be in film, on canvas, or (thankfully) in the written word. No critter I know has ever reaped as much joy out of a good novel than I have, and I’ve been caught admitting that if I ever had to choose between a bed and a bookshelf, I might have to think about it. (No joke.)

Beyond life’s little pleasures, who draws the line between what’s “enough” and what’s “too much”? Why is the pauper who only has a bed and one blanket more noble than the person with a canopy and four decorative pillows? And isn’t there always worse? For every person who only has X, Y, and Z, there are people who only have X and Y, and perhaps someone with only Z. Who gets to say who’s more spiritual than another simply based on material possessions?

Not to mention, when your financial situation provides you enough to not have to worry, it creates this wonderful situation — one in which you can easily take care of your loved ones, give to the causes you believe in, and create that which you’re most passionate about. (I have more to say about this, but that is reserved for tomorrow.)

I think the problem lies in the bad examples of the wealthy that are out there. People mistakenly believe that the more money you have, the worse a person you must be — but that’s simply not true!

Money only gives you the ability to be more of whatever you already are (this is an MMI principle). There are douchebags and shining stars in every income bracket, and the greedy people who made it to the top have only created the option to be greedy on a larger scale.

That said, do I agree with most of the things the leaders who earn top dollar in corrupt industries do? No! But the reason we need to raise money to match their financial power in order to right their wrongs is because the less money we have, the less options we also have.

Let me repeat that. Money gives you options.

I’m not one to claim that wearing designer clothes or driving sports cars is the best way to spend your millions — not at all. But if you’re honoring yourself and your finances by splitting up your assets into the six categories in the jar system (financial freedom, long-term savings, education, necessities, play, and give), you’ll see that there’s nothing immoral about splurging on things you simply enjoy.

jars

from crateandbarrel.com

For example, for me, before I got my serious DSLR camera, I always felt like my photos fell short. I had the good eye for decent photographs, but the effect I always wanted was something my simple point-and-shoots couldn’t provide. I even invested in a small camera that was very good, and had far more options in terms of manual settings that exceeded most point-and-shoots, but ultimately, my demand for photos with an aperture setting won out.

So a year ago, I got my first DSLR, and I’ve never been happier taking pictures. Since I feel writing (blogging, for me) comes hand-in-hand with photography, it was an investment in my freelance work as well as an outlet for creative expression. Now that I’m the blogger for Argentina Leyva Portrait Studio, further expanding my photography repertoire may certainly be part of my job description one day.

In short, what may be considered a “luxury” item to one person (e.g., someone who knows nothing about photography) may be a very good investment to another. My boss Argentina certainly looks at her pieces of professional equipment in a different way than I do my own.

I also own a Mac. There is pretty much no one out there who can convince me to not have a Mac, no matter how many people grumble about a supposedly high price tag. To me, my Mac offers me value no other computer does.

Herein lies the rub! Money is simply an expression of value — it is what we trade for services and products that we alone can’t (or won’t) produce ourselves.

Picasso

via www.richhainesgalleries.com

Consider the Picasso parable (I don’t remember from where in my studies of wealth I came across this, but I know I’m not imagining it, as I found this article online.

It seems a woman came up to Picasso and asked him to sketch something on a piece of paper.

He sketched it, and gave it back to her saying: “That will cost you $10,000.″

She was astounded. “You took just five minutes to do the sketch,” she said. “Isn’t $10,000 a lot for five minutes work?”

“The sketch may have taken me five minutes, but the learning took me 30 years,” Picasso replied.

The thing is, while every business does mark up its services and/or products, these things have cost the business owner (or whoever created them) countless hours of education, practice, and practical experience to get them where they are. Money is simply an expression of that energy, the efforts put in to create something salable, rather than just an arbitrary figure someone thought up to “rip you off.”

I recently had an experience very similar to this. While I was with my business team down at our Premier Designs headquarters, we visited manufacturing. Seeing all the manpower involved in creating molds, electroplating, and manually setting gemstones into the jewelry gave me such a newfound respect for the end product. To the consumer, this may just be a simple bangle or ring, but it was the result of how many workers putting in how many hours to create? Not to mention the electricity or whatever else it takes to run a huge brick-and-mortar establishment or the cost of materials and semiprecious metals! (Let’s not forget, either, the creativity of the design team or what their educations cost them in time and money.)

I’ve learned to never question too hard why something costs what it does. (Exceptions to this include things like selling Dasani water bottles at a tourist attraction for $10.) Sometimes, I’ll ask, “Why does this item carry the price tag it does?” and more often than not, I find out that oh, there’s silver in the threads in the material of this shirt, or hey, it took five years to produce this by hand . . . or whatever the case may be. Jumping to conclusions and just saying, “That’s too expensive” is just a lazy way of saying, “That’s out of my budget for this widget, and I’m choosing to direct my funds elsewhere.”

That said, I do understand that sometimes you don’t feel the need to invest in a gym top with silver embedded in it — and that’s fine. If your needs require a run-of-the-mill, off-the-rack cotton T-shirt, then it is your prerogative to write off the value in that silver-threaded top!

Value is relative to the consumer. For me, I’d rather spend the money on a Mac and everything being a Mac owner entails. I recognize and appreciate the service I get at Apple, and I utilize the crap out of Apple-exclusive programs. Macs hold a lot of value for me. And the beauty of a capitalistic market is that there’s usually something for everybody, and if there isn’t, well, no one’s stopping you from creating it yourself and profiting from it!

Returning to the $10 Dasani water, don’t you think your perspective might change if you were stranded on a desert, desperate for hydration? Heck, you might even throw thousands at that bottle of H2O! Value is relative. If you don’t see value in something, no one’s forcing you to buy it.

Just don’t stick your nose up at someone who’s asking you for more money than you think it’s worth. They’re in business for a reason, and if making money is that reason, you can’t fault ’em for that.

This post has gone on far longer than I anticipated . . . so I’ll have to conclude it tomorrow in part two. I hope some of this gave you food for thought! I leave you tonight with this video of one of my favorite business mentors, Marie Forleo:

Until tomorrow,

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happy hallowe’en from the grammar police

Happy Hallowe’en!

Though it’s rainy and most have already celebrated last weekend, I still greatly enjoy the festivities! Wanted to interrupt Wealth Week with a brief Grammar Police PSA appropriate for today:

importance of using commas

Thanks to my fellow writing colleague Mariana for sharing this. (You can check  out this self-proclaimed “crunchy mom” at marianacotromanes.com.)

Have fun and be safe!

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