Invest in Yourself

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They weren’t kidding when they said every dream has an equivalent cost. Just like any asset, it needs to be worked on and built up. Costs doesn’t equate to sole monetary value, it may also mean having to spend hours,days, weeks, months or years before a dream unfold. It requires effort, research and a whole bunch of experience.

Gone are those days when careers are on unilateral path. The new generation has been blessed with more options, specializations, and owning an expertise. Careers are even more defined, and de-boned according to task as a focal point.

Oddly, the more it’s been identified, all the more people have been glorifying themselves as a workaholic. From 8 hours shifts, we’ve become occupied and au fait to 12-14 hours (or more) work hours mistakenly calling it as an acceptable trait called ‘passion-driven

Do you really think that having to spend so much hours, beyond required work hours could take us to the throne we’re trying to sit on? We’ve been victims of this perception.

Do we really need that much time on being in front of the screen, typing away our thoughts, exchanging correspondence and probably being on our stiletto or suits to gain the success we wish to achieve? Would having more money define us or our career stature?

Although, I’d have to say, we all have our own perception on how we define success and investments. Lest not forget other things that matter.

Invest in YOURSELF for YOURSELF

Face it, money matters however if we live paycheck to paycheck; it may not be as sustainable as we thought it’s been. Most would say, it’s always best to build your own business, heck, if you can, your own empire but to those who still don’t have the luxury to do so – it’s time to work on that goal. pay yourself at least 3%-10% of your salary into an investment account, there are also auto-debit programs which can help you without even having to notice from your payroll.

Health is Wealth

Life is short. While you still have your youth, or at your prime, take good care of yourself. Eat clean, exercise, sleep well and give yourself time to breathe. Make time for yourself because nobody else will for you. Don’t let all the bad habits catch up and make the rest of your life filled with pain rather than spending more time with your loved ones playing at the park, chatting with your future grandkids or probably cruising the world.

It’s easier said than done but with effort, it can be done.

It’s never too late nor wrong to invest on Education

Kids typically take this gift for granted. If only I could bring back time, I would tell myself to take education more seriously and ace every test with full understanding of each topic discussed. With the kind of diversified options we have for our career, continuing further education may also bring more good to validate your practice and interest. Having to attend to further education may also help you have a better perspective.

Pause and Breathe

When you’re all dedicated to what you do, we all tend to say YES to everything without rationalizing if it can be done within timeline. Honor your day offs and stay away from your email, and work obligations. It’s the only day wherein your colleagues and the majority would understand. This also applies for your mini-breaks within work shifts.

Avoid getting burnt out and simplify your life. Not only will you be able to manage stressors and exhaustion, it will also make you have sense of time management according to tasks.

Balance

Our bosses may call us a machine but in reality, we’re only but humans who also needs to recharge and get to have a time-off. Just like a computer, it needs its reboot, system upgrade and ample rest.

Going for the full-throttle can be impressive, sure, you may opt for this direction however once you reach the finish line; Don’t forget to give yourself some slack and a pat on your back for a job well done. Attend to your family, laugh and live. You deserve it.

Dreams do have a cost but each dream needs its healthy supplements. Let’s celebrate each achievement as we see the fruit of our labor and at the same time, having to know we enjoyed the process. Success should be fulfilling, satisfying and gratifying. Make that dream worth every minute and effort without neglecting our well-being.

Getting into the Big Picture: Zoom in to the Path

You’ve chosen the course you’d want to take, took your internship and earned experience. Somehow, it gave you clarity on which route to follow. However, in a competitive world, it can be challenging to be what or where you do want to belong. What do you do? you follow your heart, convinced by what the elders say “Explore. The world is an oyster” and then all these opportunities get laid out. Instantly, it’s easy to get skewed from the big picture.

Even in business, with all opportunities one can devour on, distractions away from the little things could zoom you out from bigger, more meaningful career or business goals.

If you’re the type who get swayed and get disconnected from the ‘bigger things’ you’re destined to or called for. There are ways on how to fight the battle and zoom back in. There may be frustrations and humps along the way but re-focusing and doing what needs to be done can be and will be rewarding.

If it’s our decisions that define who we are, than this is who I am

1. GOAL: Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing

We’ve been taught and reminded about setting S.M.A.R.T Goals for ourselves, but have you really been practicing it? Setting timelines is as important as how you strategically reach the goal – the little things in order to claim that eye on the prize.

If you want to write a book, how can you publish one if you haven’t written nor have thought of the content you’ll be working on? Once you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a time off and hop straight back once you’ve recharged.

Visualize the end goal, feel and breathe the next steps. Nothing worth while is easy to achieve but once done, it’ll be the sweetest reward.

2. Stick to the Game Plan and Revise the necessary

Technology has its perks and downfall in productivity. With everything else a click-away, you’d hardly recognize you’ve been surfing, scrolling and reading articles or catching up on your friends social media accounts. Once this happens, or even before it does, have everything you need to do written on a task list, analyze what you’ve written and prioritize. Have those that are far from the goal parked on the dump list for later.

Gantt charts (a popular excel sheet commonly used for monitoring projects according to weeks, months and project management) weren’t made to bore us or to call it as ‘old school’ practice, the strategy on keeping tabs on the pulse of the tasks you’ve done has proven to be a guide on reaching the big picture.

3. Give yourself a pat on the back: You’re a work-in-progress!

Self-affirmation do work wonders! Having to see on your timelines and having to see those tick marks on your to do lists is the proof of your achievements. Be patient with yourself, stick to the game plan, and you’ll get there.

Remember, “Rome isn’t built overnight?” well, the world is yours to build.

4. Dig Deeper and Go back to Step 1

There are hindrances that may bump along the way but most of time, these are self-inflicted crossroads one need to fight. Factors such as procrastination or fear. Think back and remember why you’ve started and review where you are now from where you once were. If it’s fear of success, or fear on what other people might think or say about you – there’s only way but to block those thoughts and go on.

Write a journal, get your emotions out in the open. Instead of allowing such hindrances, turn it as a motivation for you to get better. You’ve gone this far, would your rather waste all the time you’ve worked on?

Emotions are there for you to manage and asses. You are what you believe in, and what you work on.  You’re almost there!

Feed the Curiosity: On Bitcoins and then Some.


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Quasi-knowledgeable and naive of what Bitcoins are and the Blockchain; curiosity caught me in this industry.

When the husband of my former boss (and my first marketing mentor) asked me if I know of anything to do with Bitcoins, naturally, I had to google it within a few seconds in order to get back to him. (I bet you’re as guilty as I am for researching through something you know nothing of instantaneously on Google)

To be honest, it took me awhile to understand what this cryptocurrency is. We had lengthy conversations on mobile, had ‘bar’ dates and chats on Facebook before I finally jumped in. I can’t say I’m well in-depth knowledgeable of this digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security wherein peer-to-peer exchange through technology operate with no central authority or banks is all about — I eventually fell for it and got my ‘hidden’ tech side slowly accept that this is where the future is heading.

Yes, there are still tons for me to understand.

For starters, let me walk you through what I have understood and learned:

What is Bitcoin? Just like what you think of paper money, it’s the same as what Bitcoins are. It has a unit of account, medium of exchange and store of value. The only difference from cash is the visibility of an actual paper trail. However, in comparison to paper trail — transparency is more viable as it connects through peer-to-peer exchange via internet interface portal.

Just like how you invest on Foreign Exchange. You can store wealth. If you’ve been storing a block of Gold, it’s the same thing principle. You may have the block of Gold, but you just can’t use it (to almost anything anymore) to pay for goods however with Bitcoin; in time, as the market is vastly growing in the world — you may, you would, you could.

How do you get Bitcoins? Start from downloading your own Bitcoin Wallet on your ios or Android (Personally, I’m using Blockchain on Android). You can get bitcoins by accepting them as a payment for goods and services or by buying them from a friend or someone near you. There are trustworthy sites who render services for you to exchange your current currency to Bitcoins, such as BuyBitcoins.com or get to read more through Bitcoins.org on how to get you started.

Where do you get to spend it? Locally in Manila, Philippines, I get to spend my Bitcoin through Bitmarket.PH’s listing or shop through online shopping sites who already accept Bitcoin as payment option such as Ebay.com

How will you be able to have your Bitcoin exchanged into your local currency? It’s non-debatable that Cash is king. If you’re a merchant, the local listing from Bitmarket.PH would have your Bitcoins exchanged into your currency without any charges by having it deposited to your desired bank account (e.i PHP 1.00 to Php 1.00) . Of course, you have an option to keep your Bitcoins on your wallet for your own personal (or business) transactions.

There are no middle-man charges. Remember, it’s a peer-to-peer transaction. Straightforward.

Read more about my Bitcoin learning on this blog.

 

 

 

 

Aura Athletica: Maiden issue

On the 18th of April 2013, Aura Athletica launched their newest yoga apparel by Zobha and the maiden issue of Athletica wherein yours truly was privileged to contribute.

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The launch had a short fashion show sampling the new designs and introduced the avid shoppers turned yoga ambassadors.

Join the Aura Athletica campaign by contributing through social media sites: What moves you?

We were fed by such sumptuous healthy vegetarian treats from PINO restaurant and left the launch with a huge smile on our faces as we were gifted the bobble bottle together with a performance headband fit for our yoga practice.

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You may visit Aura Athletica stores at Rockwell center or along the middle strips of BGC.

7D’s That Ignite Passion

Last Friday, I was invited to attend a financial business seminar on how one can increase their success rate on achieving their goals at the same time, get to spread financial education as an advocacy.

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John C. Maxwell Trainer, Ruzette Pineda-Cadungo who was also Avon Philippines Sales Director then amongst other things was our speaker. She is presently a top achiever, seller and business manager of one of the many units of Sunlife Financial Philippines.

It was a whole day event filled with motivation, inspiration and passion. Let me share to you her success formula:

The 7 D’s that Ignite Passion

1. Dream
2. Desire
3. Decide
4. Develop
5. Discipline
6. Delegate
7. Dedicate

Dreams are goals with deadlines and these dreams usually are departmentalized according to the 10 areas of your life.

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Together with every dream, there’s a burning DESIRE to make ways, and get your dreams worked on. It is important that you get to DECIDE the direction of your focus,
stand firm and get to categorize your priorities.

Through constant education and associating yourself with like minded individuals, You get to DEVELOP the DISCIPLINE that would challenge your excuses not to out-win you.

Don’t be afraid to DELEGATE tasks.
Focus on DEDICATING time management for a balanced lifestyle.

We were reminded to stay humble and be obedient to our superiors regardless of age.

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Although there may be situations wherein you may disagree, it is important that you voice out respectfully.

Love what you do and it will love you back. Be sincere and always have your heart applied to every task or engagement.

Pursue. Just keep on going.

The formula may sound easy but it sure takes a lot of work and practice. The discipline may be tedious at first but if you want results, nobody reaches the finish line by just standing.

We asked our speaker how she schedule in engagements, balance her time management and what her priorities are.

1. God
2. Family
3. Business

She plotted out an empty calendar and filled out according to priorities.

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She blocked out her bible study and church day, dedicated her children and husband’s travel time (home/school), date night with her husband, and then her client engagements. Errands were scheduled in between.

What inspired me most was that she starts her day as early as 7am with her clients, ends the day at 5PM to make sure she will be with her family and yet still get to log a productive 6 hours each day, 10 faces met each week for her to produce results.

She reiterated that excuses should be challenged by how firm and goal-oriented you are. Never let procrastination and time killers take away your chances.

Nobody reaches the finish line by just standing but rather by taking one step at a time, one foot after another.

I hope somehow this post motivated and inspired you. Go ahead, revisit your goals and start making things happen.

New Year, new goals to achieve.

Business Mirror Health & Fitness Supplement January 5, 2012

New Year resolutions may have gone passe in recent years. Many would say they don’t stick as days, weeks or months go by. However, it can be done. We’re all too familiar with statements such as ” I will quit smoking… I’ll start my exercise program on January 1… I’m never going to eat rice, sweets or pasta ever again…,” and yet you end up having a stick, missing that date and had unlimited servings from your favorite buffet. However, the New Year gives us another clean slate and that’s by having this “fresh start” mindset to change any deep-rooted bad habits or at least what have been trying to get rid of or add to your life.


“Resolution” is derived from the world resolve: to determine or find an answer, to adhere to a goal. It is a key to reach your dreams or undertake small steps towards success.

You actually can set goals anytime, but it will be more special at this start of the year. Take inspiration to spend time and purposefully design the next 365 days of your life.

The key is in the goal worker: If you’re like me who depends on a planner, congratulations! If not, time for you to use your smartphone’s calendar, notifications app or perhaps go use that coffee shop planner you’ve collected during the holidays (other than being for display). It’s intended to be used; have your days organized and planned. You may start on a separate sheet of paper and write in your personal, physical, financial and material goals. Connect them on due dates.

You must see the big picture as you narrow down your goals. Set them each New Year and revise them every three or six months. Go ahead and add, edit or simply mark them once done or what added steps do you need in order for you to achieve them. Revisiting your goals will inspire you after on the changes in that amount of time. It also lets you have a logical and strategic approach on your plans. “SMART” goals (setting measurable, achievable, realistic and timely or tangible) help, but what matters most is that each inspires you to take action.

Set the goals: Goals that work are ones which give you butterflies in your stomach even while imagining achieving them. The feeling of wanting it so bad yet you turn up a little confused, bothered and thinking.

If your goal’s purpose inspires you to act on it, that’s it. That’s where you should be heading on to – you’re on the right track.

You’ll know how a goal is too ambitious if you can’t even get excited about it.  For instance, you’re not in the Biggest Loser camp and didn’t have the luxury to spend five hours in the gym, three hours to analyze your eating patters and to prepare your meals, plus you have kids and household to take good care of…Do you think it’s plausible  for one busy bee to lose 50 pounds in three months? that’s setting yourself up for trouble…

Make realistic goals, analyze your lifestyle and see how you can alter and make time work for you. Cut big goals to chunks, instead of hoping to lose that much weight in a short span of time. How about losing 5 pounds in a month and enjoying activities you’ve planned to do? Explore and try new activities, engage and embrace change. Before you know it, your goals will vary and you can say to yourself that “losing the weight” and the bonus are the healthy benefits.

Remember: lifestyle change.  The scale may say what the numbers show but you still have that goal to achieve. You’ve found the activity that made you feel good, better and healthier. It’s  time to alter other departments of fitness and see how you’re going to lose excess pounds all together.

What about your diet? Just like how you plan your finances: write it down, monitor each day and review your choices. you’ll be surprised how you just decided to quit on unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and late-night bar hopping just because of that one goal you’ve wanted to achieve.

Which brings up anothe rpoint: It’s fine to set a goal and then fail, but only to realize you’ve even resolved more than what you aimed for. So in that sense, you failed every year trying to lose 50 pounds, but you finally did just because you enjoy what you’re doing and you gained more than trying to shed extra weights in months.

Five steps in setting goals:

  1. Write down everything you want in life
  2. Of the goals you’ve listed, prioritize them by placing an asterisk or with an “1” next to any of them that you’re committing to.
  3. Branch it all into small steps on how are you going to achieve them.
  4. Write a paragraph after each goal on why you want to (or have to) achieve them.
  5. Revisit your goals every now and then. Feel free to add or write down new things you’ve accomplished.

Happy planning-and achieving-for the year!

Start your business with a plan

By Entrepreneur Staff

 

Before undertaking your dream business, closely examine if you are up it. Here’s a guide to help you to do just that.

A would-be entrepreneur often starts with a great idea popping in his brain. He sees the idea very clearly in his mind and feels the urgency of translating the idea into reality. Depending on his passion for the concept, he could even taste the sweet success that his idea would bring.

Then it becomes apparent that he would have to put into motion a series of actions and events that would lead to this success. He could react to this realization in two ways: amuse himself thinking that all he has are mere ideas, or make a decision to act and see his idea not just in his mind, but also in reality. The former is simply a dreamer, and the latter, an entrepreneur.

“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit,” says Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotels chain. There’s the rub: It’s not how big or small you think your idea is but what you do with it, and how you deal with yourself as you go about turning your idea into your reality.

How do you go about turning your ideas into gold? Do you go out and tell the next person you meet on the street? Do you call your best bud over the phone? Or do you take out a pen and a piece of paper and start writing the heck out of your mind about that grand design in your head? Time’s up!

First things first: Keep in mind that your ideas will turn into dust if you don’t put them into writing.  How come? For the simple reason that writing about it gives it a physical presence—letters in ink on paper. Your idea is now real because it is already taking up space.

Psychologically, this also gives you perspective. But that’s enough space we are going to give to time-space mumbo-jumbo. It’s time to tell you how to put this business idea into writing.

This exercise will give you the opportunity to focus and plan what you need to do to turn these ideas into your dream business. Having a well-written business plan will also allow you to seek and engage investors who could give you that much needed funding to jumpstart you business.

A typical business plan consists of three parts:

1. The Business—Include in this section the following information:
a. Description of the business
b. Market
c. Competition
d. Location of business
e. Management
f. Personnel

2. Financial Data—Among others, this is what you should include in this section:
a. Sources and applications of funding
b. Capital equipment list
c. Breakeven analysis
d. Income projections

3. Supporting Documents:
a. Personal résumés
b. Personal financial requirements and statements
c. Credit reports
d. Letters of reference
e. Job descriptions
f. Letters of intent
g. Copies of leases
h. Contracts
i. Legal documents
j. Other relevant documents

Hopefully, after going through this exercise and organized your thoughts, you would have enough knowledge and information about yourself and the business environment, which you can later use to come up with a complete business plan ready for scrutiny by investors, lenders and venture capitalists.

This article was originally published in the May 2010 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.

TOTAL FITNESS: Burn calories without working up a sweat

Published in this month’s issue of TOTAL FITNESS magazine. Grab a copy TODAY!

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If men can just cut out on beer and steak and lose five pounds instantly, women, on the other hand, may burn off the same number of calories (or more) as they would on an hour of aerobics class or intense 30-minute circuit training simply by changing their daily habits one at a time.

Possible? Yes.

Pay attention to these tips on how to make your body work as efficient as a burning machine without breaking a sweat.

Calorie Burning Tip #1 : Stand More

The average calories burned for a 190 lbs male weighing is 252 calories for an hour. meanwhile, a female weighing 140 lbs can burn 127 calories in an hour by just showering and toweling off. You may also burn as much as 76 calories in an hour just by attending a church ceremony, standing quietly. Imagine how much calories you can burn if you`re standing in line waiting for your license renewal or the next train at the station.

So, the next time you’re on the phone, stand up and walk around that tiny are of your cubicle.

Calorie Burning Tip #2 : Calories in, Calories out

What many of us don`t realize is that we`re constantly moving and that every movement helps. Tapping your feet when you’re in your cubicle, stretching,moving your hand in circles, and even the mundane filling of paperwork make a difference–specifically, 5 to 20 calories burned per hour. Every muscle fiber moved becomes energy, which increases your body`s temperature and metabolism.

Calorie Burning Tip #3: Use the Stairs

Use the stairs on your way to your apartment unit, on your way to your third office floor office, or even when you’re heading to the next floor at the mall. This is great not only for burning calories but also for shaping up those bums, hamstrings, and thighs.

Calorie Burning Tip #4: Eat small meals

Rather than cursing the genes you were born with, why not train your body to burn more calories by making your metabolism work in your favor? How? Don`t skip meals. Eat 6 to 7 small meals every 2 to 3 hours. These in-between snacks will curb your cravings and keep you from over-indulging.

Calorie Burning Tip#5: Stretch as soon as you wake up

Bend and touch your toes within the first 30 minutes upon waking up — when your metabolism is at its peak. Take advantage of the magical first 30 minutes. Extend your arm when reaching for your clothes, stretch while taking a shower, sway each leg when you’re brushing your teeth. Without noticing it, you’re actually done a simple workout.

Calorie Burning Tip #6: Breathe

Breath. Tuck in that belly. When properly performed, the rhythmic contraction of the abdominal blood vessels during inhaling and exhaling help circulate blood and enhance oxygen uptake and metabolic rate.

Deep breathing while seated, driving the car, or even just relaxing can fire up your metabolism and burn the fats in your belly.

Time is your friend – ‘Run’ it

WE all are busy. A 9-to-5 job, a school schedule to fit, kids to help assignments with, cooking for the family, feeding the dog, and then training to top it all off, can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.

How do you get to squeeze training in a whirlwind schedule?

Sit down on it, and plan it. Extra short runs will keep you going. Come race day, you will appreciate all the training you managed to fit into your hectic schedule. If ultramarathoners and triathletes were able to train for hundred milers, what makes you different?

Here are some tips to help you find time to go for a run, a swim or a bike ride out for a route, even if it’s only 20 or 30 minutes.

Time management: Write out a schedule. When you have written out the plan, you are much more likely to follow it than just being a thought hanging on top of your head. Post the schedule everywhere. Broadcast it for the world to know through a blog, put a copy on your desk, another near your dresser, on your door, purse or gym bag – even in your car if you must. Constant reminders are effective – it’s just up to you on how you’ll reciprocate. Forgetting will be close to impossible – it’s now your turn to act on it.

Visibility: Keep your running shoes and clothes in your car at all times. You wouldn’t know when time suddenly permits for you to head out to a gym visit or get blessed to take a route out in the park. Every so often, you may get a short window of time during lunch, a sudden cancelled meeting or when you’re through with the day early. If you have your gears with you at all times, all you have to do is change to those outfits and get out there.

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Essentials: Apart from your running shoes, keep handy baby wipes, extra clothing and your comfortable flip-flops. When your BlackBerry suddenly informs you of a meeting, no one else has to know about the sweat you just broke into. You’re ready for any battle.

Wake-up motivation: A cliché goes: wake up a little earlier than normal. The most difficult thing to do, especially for those who struggle to get up from their beds every single morning, is to run before work. It can be one of the most stress-relieving activities. It also helps elevate endorphins for more energy and focus. Once you’re done with the early morning route, you need not to worry all day if you’ll be able to squeeze in a run after work. What a way to tick-off an important engagement for yourself early in the morning.

Tag another one: If you’re the type who’s into a lifestyle change and needs a little motivational push, tagging along or being with another friend would work tons of wonders. Make plans to meet a friend for a run, treat it as an important meeting (canceling is not an option!). Make yourself accountable to someone other than just yourself.

Best of all, be sure to make running fun, too!