Invest in yourself

“Invest in yourself. How you invest your time determines your return on life.” – Jullien Gordon

T’is the season of giving and thinking about others in need. While giving to others is important, don’t lose yourself in others so much that you forget to take stock in yourself. Invest in yourself personally by buying yourself a gift or treating yourself to a massage. Invest in yourself professionally by taking a class or starting a side business.

The year is coming to an end and many will embark on setting new year resolutions. Personally, I’ve never set new year resolution because I believe goals should be set throughout the year. October seems to be my main month of renewal and I already have a plan for ways I’m going to invest in myself professionally and personally. I also bought got myself a few early gifts.

I finally bought a DSLR camera, signed up for photography classes, bought a beautiful necklace, scheduled a massage and made dinner reservations three months out for a restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to. Merry Christmas and happy (early) birthday to me! Do the same for yourself.

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Go ahead and decide!

Go ahead and decide.

Making a decisions will not get easier by putting it off until later. When a decision is called for, go ahead and make it.

If you keep your options open for too long, those options will no longer be available to you. Choose one option based on the best information you have at the time and go with it.

Give sufficient thought and consideration to your decisions, but don’t drag them out endlessly. The sooner you get started taking action on a decision, the more effective you’ll be.

Accept the fact that you won’t make the perfect choice every time. And remember that you’ll have opportunities to adjust your approach if things don’t work out the way you planned.

You cannot predict the future yet there is much you can do to intelligently and effectively prepare for it. Instead of agonizing over what might or might not happen, get busy creating value that will be there no matter what happens.

Go ahead and decide. The sooner you decide, the more time and energy you’ll have to make the decision work out the way you intended.

— Ralph Marston

What are you doing with your risk?

RisksToday I decided to share a post from my friend Detavio’s blog. He has an amazing website and great commentary on brand building (personal and professional).  You can visit it here: http://detavio.com. The topic is personal risk and it’s top of mind after having brunch with some classmates. One asked, “Would you recommend that everyone took time off from work like you did?” Myself and another person there had both taken 8 to 12 months after leaving a job. We both traveled, pursue new interests and shared the sentiment that it was one of the best things we’d ever done. This is not to say it’s for everyone, but it did involve taking a big risk and that is something we all need to explore. Detavio’s post provides a prospective on how to make the process less scary and minimize the potential downside. Enjoy!

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what are you doing with your risk? by detavio samuels

our fear of taking risks is a killer.  it kills dreams.  it kills hopes.  it kills expectations.  and, ultimately, it kills true happiness.   so here’s another post on why you should learn to love to take risks, right?  wrong.  the answer does not lie in learning to love risk but rather in changing what we do with the identified risks instead. what do i mean?  our typical thought process probably goes something like this:

  • step 1: dream/imagine/hope/believe
  • step 2: contemplate the risk associated with those dreams
  • step 3: eliminate the dream because it’s too risky

in this case, “what we do” with risk is use it as a reason not to pursue our dreams (find true love, start your own company, write a book, etc).  but what if you do something different with the risk you uncover?  what if, instead of using risk to eliminate the dream, you eliminate risk in order to  accomplish the dream.  our revised process would look something like this:

  • step 1: dream
  • step 2: contemplate the risk associated with those dreams
  • step 3: eliminate the major risks that will prevent the dream from becoming a reality

what does eliminating risk while keeping the dream look like?  it’s the philosophy behind most entrepreneurs; it’s what they focus on  everyday when they go into the office.  it’s what  phillipe petit did when he perfected his craft over the course of decades before he chose to walk a tight rope from one twin tower to the other.  it’s what tiger woods, michael jordon, lebron james and any other superstar athlete you can name does when they practice the same shot over and over again until it becomes automatic.

the truth is, very few people love risk and you don’t have to be one of the few.  the secret is in focusing on ways to eliminate risk that could stand in your way. what things are you doing today to eliminate potential risk involved with pursuing your dreams?  are you getting that degree?  are you meeting with the right people?  are you saving money so that you can survive for a year without pay?

Detavio Samuels
http://detavio.com
Please don’t forget to vote for him in this blogger contest. He’s in the running to below the “Good Mood” blogger for Sam-E : http://www.sam-e.com/job/profile/94

Employment update

“You can’t reject the life preserver God has thrown you because you don’t like its color or shape. It may be just the thing you need to bring you back above water.”

I took a brief (unintentional) hiatus from writing and I miss it. You may have noticed a change in the name of the blog from Laid off. Now what? —> Employed. Now what? The name seemed appropriate and I imagine that it will continue to change as I, and this blog, evolve.  I am celebrating my one month anniversary in the land of employment and couldn’t he happier.  This place is very different than my life in consulting. I have balanced hours, the work is interesting, I’m learning a ton about a new industry, the people are great and the culture is unique. A few months ago, I remember posting a status on Facebook that read: “Looking forward to the day when I have a job that I am excited to wake up for”, well I got it. I can’t explain how comfortable I feel at work even though everything is so new. What this makes me realize is how on edge I was at my last job trying to be something I wasn’t. For the first time, I am able to be the same person at work, that I am at home because they care more about me being authentic than fitting into a cookie-cutter mold. I didn’t believe it 100% at first so I asked a few questions to confirm.

Friday, I had my first 1:1 meeting with my Director and asked her, “Why did you hire me?”. I wanted to know what she saw in me and if I had done a good job communicating who I was and what I wanted in the interview. She gave me a very thorough answer that included the following: “You are introspective and slow to respond, which will be a good balance for the more expressive people on our team”. After she said this, I knew that she understood who I was and wanted me to be that person. And so far that has proven to be true.

The people at the company are great and I feel like I’m becoming a part of a supportive learning environment. Today I was out with a friend walking around taking pictures and I heard a guy call my name as he was walking by. It turned out to be a Director from a different group, who I had met with earlier in the week. He stopped and we chatted for a while. When he left, my friend commented that he remembered my name. We’d only met briefly and he’d remembered my name. This sounds simple, but it was a good feeling that brings my one month of employment full circle.

The quote above is one I made up (I think) to convey how deceitful packaging can be. Sometimes we’re so blinded by the packaging, that we never consider the gift inside the packaging. I hemmed and hawed for about a month over whether or not to accept this job because I had a vision for what my next job would look like. I tried to find things that were wrong with it so I’d have reason not to accept it. I was blinded by the packaging. The gift inside turned out to be so much more than I could have asked for. All I needed to do what get out of my own way and open the box.

Unemployment Top 10 List

Those of you who watch Dave Letterman are familiar with his nightly top 10 list. Every night he does a top 10 list making fun of something. Sometimes they’re funny, other times not so much. As I prepare for work in a little over a week, I want to remember all the good things about being unemployed. So here are the Top 1o things I will miss about being unemployed.
  1. My bi-weekly Teleserve calls filing my unemployment benefits where I answer the same questions week after week only to have Uncle Sam pay me a whopping $410/week!
  2. Paying $150/month for COBRA. (Thank God Obama passed the COBRA subsidy or I seriously would have been one of the million uninsured people in the country. Sad.)
  3. Drinking a glass (or three) of wine at 11:30am, 1:30pm or whenever I feel like it.
  4. Watching every possible TV show that comes on during the day. You name it, I’ve seen it.
  5. Being available to do whatever, whenever like spending days at the museums, attending morning tapings of The Judge Mathis show, standing in line at Hot Doug’s for two hours waiting for sausages Friday at 1pm, being available to tape the Black Eyed Peas group dance for The Oprah Show, kicking it hard four to five nights a week with my other laid off friends.
  6. Being told, “Your background looks great”, then two days later, “we’ve decided to move forward with another candidate”. Great.
  7. Attending my Movie Days when I go to the movies and watch three (sometimes four) movies in a day all for the price of one. I’m a rebel, I know!
  8. Hearing the surprise in people’s voices when I say that I’ve had a busy day.
  9. Having an active dating life because men actually liked the fact that I was homeless and jobless because it meant I had time. Who knew my stock would go up by simply losing my job?
  10. Getting crazy looks from people trying to understand my logic for traveling for three months when I had no job and then seeing that look turn to envy minutes later once they recognized my genius.

It’s just starting to sink in that my new found lifestyle is about to change. I guess I will have to mourn this loss like I did the loss of my job, but until then I have 10 days to rock on.

Employed. Now what?

I knew this day would come, but it feels a bit anti-climatic. I got a job! Well, I haven’t started work yet, but I got an offer and accepted on Monday after a few weeks of debate.  At one point, I was not sure if I would accept the offer because of a few reasons. One being, that I didn’t think this was “amazing” enough. After being laid off for seven months and traveling to Europe and Africa for three, I was hoping for some epiphany or amazing opportunity. You know like you see in the movies. I’m eating lunch at a cafe in Madrid and a handsome guy approaches me. He joins me for lunch and we end up talking for hours. Turns out he’s the owner of a chain of hotels around the world and offers me a job as the VP of  Customer Connections where I’m responsible for evaluating the service level of all the hotels. I get to travel around the world, meet new people and stay at the finest hotels all while getting paid. Well, I woke up from that dream and realized that I liked this position enough to give it a try. I needed to stop standing still and move forward. It may or may not be the perfect opportunity, but I’ll never know if I continue to wait for something that may not come.

I apologize to anyone I haven’t told yet, but it has only been three days. I won’t mention the name of the company because this is not the place to do so. Similar to the way I never mentioned my former employer, I will not be discussing this one. I will say that I am transitioning from professional services/management consulting to industry. I’m curious to see how this goes. I start October 5th so I have a little over a week to live it up before I’m back to real life. Let’s just hope corporate life doesn’t turn me into the next Dwight Shrute on The Office.  See photo above. 😐

I guess I will have to update/change the name of this blog now that am no longer laid off. I’m a little sad about it as being employed isn’t as interesting as being “fun-employed”. Oh well, I did my part to help the economy and lower the unemployment rate. I imagine the name of this blog will continue to change as I continue to evolve. Hence, the Evolution of Tanisha.

Kenya videos: Circle of Life

Here are a few moments that I caught on video. I call these the circle of life.

Elephant saying hello.

A leopard killing baby warthog on nest. This was one of the most disturbing moments when a leopard found a baby warthog nest. After the mother warthog ran off, the leopard went to town killing the babies. I won’t go into details here, but those I have talked to have heard this story. So sad.

Cheetah killing baby impala. This was another crazy moment when a cheetah was killing a baby impala. The impala was alive the entire time until the cheetah finally suffocated it. Sigh.