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Unbox Yourself

Boxes, oh how I’ve grown to very strongly not like them. Partly because I’m literally claustrophobic and although the reference here is figurative, a great part of my personal growth over the last couple of years has also been me unchecking boxes that either I put myself in or someone else put me there.

We mostly get into boxes as a reaction to how people treat us or listening to words spoken about us.

I once read somewhere that words are like seeds. This statement although very popular, is widely underestimated. This fact, I learned the hard way.

You see, we humans love to talk. Our voices must be heard and unfortunately not every word that is spoken has a positive impact. Quite frankly, I am as guilty as the next person if left unchecked. I like to talk and might I add, always have an opinion. However, what I have learned to do is try my best to know what opinion needs to come out and what opinion needs to stay under lock and key.

“if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything”

In the spirit of sharing, one of the boxes I’ve struggled with getting out of for a really long time is ‘being lazy’ (I speak about this at length in the video below). Would you believe it took someone telling me in my late 20s how they didn’t understand how I could be so hardworking to realize I wasn’t a lazy person? I lived more than half my life thinking I was lazy, and though that made me constantly push myself to go above and beyond, it left me with a negative mindset that held me back from acknowledging my strengths and drawing from that positivity. Crazy right!

Anyways I started thinking more about boxes recently after coming across a video on social media that starts with the phrase “there are three types of people in this world” It goes further to divide real people with real situations, into three boxes (Watch the video below to learn more).

At first I watched the video and moved on, but one of my acquaintances posted the video on Instagram with a caption that broke my heart. I have had the pleasure of knowing her personally, but only a little of her struggles, and It made me sad to watch her let someone who knew nothing about her invalidate her experiences. I decided to share and discuss said video with one of my best friends and after a lengthy conversation on the topic, we decided I needed to say something about it.

You are more than you think you are. You haven’t even unlocked a fraction of your abilities. And as you continue to explore and discover yourself, I urge you to take yourself out of any boxes you might have found yourself in, because all they do is mentally put you in positions that limit your abilities.

I hope this post inspires you to not only acknowledge your strengths but to use it as a boost to propel you to your next level.

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21 Questions with Emily

Emily is one of my best friends and I am very happy that she’s the first to grace this new segment with her presence.

Today she answers 21 questions about her life and experience in the hospitality industry here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Please tell us who you are and what you do?

My name is Emily, I’m from South Korea. It’s almost been 2 years since I came to Canada as well as joined the hotel business.

What inspired you to go into the hospitality industry?

I used to be an English teacher back in Korea which bored me a lot as I had to meet the same people every day and say the same things all year round. This job was totally the opposite, and it helps me have fun at work.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

I take part in check-in shift, so I go to work at 3 pm and get off at 11 pm which is perfect hours for night owls like me. During my shift, I check-in people(of course), take tons of phone calls and make group reservations as requested from the sales department, clean the lobby, organize and restock our market and coffee station. 

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your work-life balance? 

9. Of course, you have to work on national holidays and everybody’s working when you’re dying of boredom on your days off. But, that doesn’t bother me as my family’s in Korea. Thankfully, I have quite a few friends working flexible shifts like me.

What would you say is an important skill to have, working at a hotel? 

Being prompt and accurate. Your service becomes meaningless if it’s not offered at the right time, no matter how perfect the service itself was.

What’s a unique skill you have that has come in handy? 

A great smile and fast typing (It helps you to boost up the speed of the urgent tasks).


What’s the worst habit to have in the hospitality industry? 

Putting off your tasks. Don’t believe in stickies, notifications, anything you think will help you to remember and finish the task ‘later’. Nothing can help you when you have surging guests.

What’s your favourite part of working at a hotel?

The moment guests smile back at you. My guests are usually very tired whenever I see them because of a long flight, unnecessarily long business meeting, traveling with little kids etc. But when they start talking to me, they find themselves smiling at one point. It’s more fruitful than anything to see them feeling better after a short conversation with me.


What’s your least favorite part of working at a hotel?

None. I think this must be my calling(haha).

What keeps you motivated? 

When guests smile, give me good reviews, and my paycheque.

Books or TV shows? 

Books.

What’s your favourite book? 

Whatever I’m reading at the moment. So for now, ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ by Oliver Sacks.

On a scale of absolutely yes to don’t do it, what would you say to someone looking to work in the hospitality industry for the money? 

Don’t do it. You can tell by the fact that I keep saying ‘Guests smile’ is the best thing you can get from the job.

On a scale of  1- 10 rate your job security ? 

10. But, it depends on the management. I’ve never seen anybody fired from my hotel so far, regardless of the job performance.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to work at a hotel?

Have problem solving skills and offer good service. 

How do you like living In Edmonton? 

Love it! Perfect density, perfect weather(except for the two weeks in February), perfect people.


What’s your favourite thing to do here? 

Learning new recipes. I was only used to Korean and a few kinds of western food, but now I’m trying Greek, Ukrainian, Nigerian, Indian, and so many different kinds of delicious food since I came to Canada.

Who’s your biggest inspiration? 

It’s like the image of Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. There’s this ideal girl in my mind, who consists of the best parts of the people I’ve met so far in my life. She whips me to be the best of myself every day(Not that I listen to her all the time :).

Here’s a time capsule, what message would you send to your 5year old self?

There’s nothing for you to do except for being happy every second of your day. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Hopefully, I’m a general manager of a hotel by then and, have the guts never to get nervous in any circumstances.

If you had to do it all over again would you choose to work in a hotel?

Definitely. I wouldn’t waste my precious 5 years looking for my calling and would get right into the hotel business.

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Let’s talk about #CancelCulture

I made a podcast recently on reasons why I do not support the idea of cancelling someone and it got a lot of positive review. I think I can say it definitely is my most reviewed post and that’s comparing it with my posts across all platforms.

If you’re wondering what cancel culture is, I’ve got you 🙂 

Cancel Culture simply put is, someone famous does something the society or even just a large group of people disagree with, so they decide that this famous person does not deserve to be famous or influential or get jobs anymore.

Sometimes the “reasons” to cancel someone are valid and I am not trying to undermine people’s feelings, but it is my opinion that the dangers the cancel culture poses to a society far outweighs whatever wrong this person could have done.

Forgiving someone does not mean you have to stay friends, It means you don’t become enemies.

Tracy F. Thomas

Asides the obvious wrong in playing GOD over someone’s life which I’m sure we don’t want to do, right? I spoke about other things such as:

  1. It goes against the principles of forgiveness.

Cancel culture takes us centuries back to an era of an eye for an eye and you know what comes with that. Yes, the whole world  goes blind!

I found that when I used to struggle with forgiving someone, it came with a lot of unhealthy feelings, not just towards that person, but towards other people in the form of transferred aggression. 

Forgiveness is often more important to the offended than the offender because it helps YOU move forward. A lot of times the offender forgets (or simply doesn’t care) about what they did or said. It’s the offended who remembers and keeps it in, either for the rest of their lives or until they forgive. I am not interested in letting someone live rent-free in my mind, are you?

  1. It is a pushback against growth.

When you cancel people, especially when you cutoff their source of livelihood,  you take the learning process away from them. What you have essentially done is not only prevented someone from learning and growing, but also successfully pushed out negativity into the world. Congrats, you’ve played us all!

The most dangerous people, I find are those with nothing to loose. 

Tracy F. Thomas

3. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

I personally cannot afford to cancel someone because I have made a lot of mistakes LOL. There are things we have all done that if we had half the following of these celebrities, we would have been cancelled for. And before you justify your wrong doings as not comparable, remember there’s no such thing as a big wrong or a small wrong. Wrong is wrong.

To round this off, I think it’s important to expressly state that I am not saying it’s okay to keep unhealthy people in your life, because it totally isn’t. It is okay to disagree with people’s opinions and, it’s okay to distance yourself from people you don’t want in your circle. However, what I don’t subscribe and strongly advice against,  is pushing hate towards anyone because that hate will have to come from somewhere inside you, and that is your heart.

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4 THINGS SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO THAT YOU SHOULD TRY

Success means a lot of things to a lot of different people, some people describe it as having money or power or both. While those may be true, they are only so to those whose goals were to achieve money or power or maybe both. In other words, whilst success is peculiar to each person, It can be generally defined as the achievement of one’s desired goal.

After reading a lot of books on success, talking to mentors that I consider very successful and, trying out these principles, here are 4 important tips I found helped me achieve success time and time again:

  • Making clear and achievable goals. I wrote a post on “how to set achievable goals” a while ago. To learn more about this, click here
  • Being self-motivated – Once you have properly set goals one of, if not the most difficult task is keeping the fire in you burning long enough so you don’t quit when the storms hit. Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule to being self motivated. Just as you need to keep adding fuel if you want to keep a real fire burning, being self motivated requires you to put in the work daily and never take your eyes off the prize. Good news is there are some ways to make things easier, but writing in depth about it will make this one very long post. So, I’ll write a followup post sharing some tips with you on how to stay self motivated.
  • Being prepared – About a year ago, I worked as a sales representative for one of the biggest telecommunications company in Canada. One of the key skills we were taught to develop was to be prepared at all times. Do some research to find out what skills and values are needed for that position of success you desire; Once you have that information, it’s time to do some work and start acquiring as many of those values and skills to make sure you are ready for the next step. 
  • Recognizing opportunity  – Have you ever heard the saying “success is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet”? Well it’s not a lie. The problem is, a lot of times recognizing opportunity can be just as difficult as waiting for one. Knowing when opportunity has presented itself requires you to be able to connect the dots between a situation, your preparation and your goal. Once you have successfully done that, the puzzle pretty much falls into place to reveal the big picture, and it becomes your choice to take or not take the opportunity.

If you found this post helpful or would like to share some tips on how you’ve achieved success in the past, let me know in the comment box below.

HOW TO DEAL WITH TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

Toxic relationships can be very difficult to talk about because it’s difficult to admit that someone you care for and who cares for you is toxic to you. This is why admitting you are in a toxic relationship is hard.

An easy way to define a toxic relationship is this, If a relationship with someone is physically or emotionally damaging to you, it is toxic.

There is a common misconception that toxic relationships are only associated with romantic relationships, but believe me when I say they come as friends and sometimes family. 

Some common traits of people that are toxic are:

Negative Nancy – If someone rarely has anything positive to say to or about you, is always sad or depressed around you, or every time you’re in a situation you can count on them to remind you of how bad it is, there is a huge chance they are toxic. If you can add the fact that you seem to never have a good idea (in their opinion), I have one word for you – TOXIC!

Narcissism –  There is only one director/producer/cast in the world of a toxic person, them! They don’t care about anyone but themselves and somehow every conversation has to lead back to how awesome they are.

Zero Accountability – Try telling a toxic person that they’ve done something wrong? You have better chances of getting through to rock. It doesn’t matter if there is concrete evidence, they will lie, twist words in their favor, try to manipulate you, and where those fail, they will blame anyone (including you) but themselves.

Chronic manipulators – This is possibly one of the easiest traits to spot in a toxic person. I used to have a room mate whose way of asking for a ride was “can you drop me off at the bus stop, it’s okay if you say no because everyone says no to me”. They want to have full control over you, so they turn everyone against you and you against everyone. A part of me believes they do this because they know they are toxic and feel like if you have no one else you would have no choice than to stick with them? Then again I am no psychologist. 

Jealous Joe – You can’t have a win around a toxic person, at best you have to be second best (in their mind of course). They have an ‘I’ mentality and will hoard any information that might help you grow just to make sure you are always beneath them. If you have a win around them, rather that say congratulations, they will remind you of a win they’ve had that’s bigger or better than yours, or take away your joy by reminding you of how their life sucks.

I could go on and on, but to keep this concise, let’s talk about how to deal with toxic relationships.

You are probably not going to like this solution but take it from someone who was in a toxic relationship for over 12 years (watch video to hear story), it is the only way to deal with this. CUT THEM OFF! It is not your job to fix anyone. Truth is, you cannot fix anyone just as no one else can fix you. 

To end this, toxic people create toxic environments that’s bad for both your physical and mental health. You are your priority and as such it’s important to protect your positive energy. Staying in a toxic situation doesn’t do you or them any good. I also find that sometimes cutting off a toxic person could be that jolt they need to make a change in their lives. In the long run, you will be doing them a favour.

GOAL SETTING – THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, was probably the most famous quote from my teachers in high school. The reason for this obviously was because when you are in high school, your priorities are very different. Our teachers had to remind us of the importance of setting goals and putting in the required efforts to achieve it. If you are anything like me, I memorized the quote, wrote down “get all As this term” and went about living life as usual. I did not get all As if you were wondering.


Take a little trip down memory lane with me. How many goals did you set  last year? How many of those goals did you achieve? If you answered all, then you might not need to keep reading this post. If you answered some or none, then by all means give this a try.

A lot of times when we right down goals, a closer look at them reveals they are mere wishful thinking. What sets both apart is this: Goals are SMART. How can a goal be SMART? I learned this principle from a book I read a while ago Leadership and the one minute manager by Ken Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi and Drea Zigarmi.

SMART as you might have figured out is an acronym. Let’s see what it actually stands for.

S stands for Specific. Your goals have to say what exactly and when it will be completed. A good example: I am going to be a superstar Wishful thinking; I am going to be a professional actress in two yearsA goal

M is for Motivating. If you have no real interest in your goal, then chances are they become unachievable. I personally have zero interest in becoming a medical doctor so, if I set a goal to become one and don’t get admission into medical school, I will without thinking twice apply to something else. Goals are often set because they require a plan and a lot of times things don’t go exactly as planned- that’s life. What keeps you going when this happens, is the motivation to see it through.

R stands for Relevant. An achievable goal is always part of a bigger picture. Let’s call that the end goal or your dream. Referring back to my previous example, If my dream is to become a famous Hollywood star, then that goal is probably the first step to get me there. There will be of course be subsequent goals like finding an agent or moving to LA, but I am knocking out obstacles one at a time.

T is the final word, Trackable. For your goal to be achievable, it has to be measurable. There has to be a way to track your progress. Again, using the same example. Knowing that I have two years to be a professional actress, I can track and evaluate the goal at various points such as; when I get admission to film school or how well I’m doing in a semester etc. 

Now that we have learned how to properly set achievable goals, let’s go kick some goals a$$!

If you enjoyed this post or want to share how you set your own goals with me let me know in the comment section.

FLIP THE SWITCH ON A BAD DAY

Two months ago I had it all going for me. A brand new job at a company that I actually liked, an ongoing application to study Journalism (which has always been my dream) and a new relationship. Then gradually it all started to fall apart. Relationship didn’t become what I had hoped it would be, a hiccup that popped up and threatened my admission and COVID19.

In two months, my life had changed from this wonderful dream that was unfolding into a complete nightmare, so like most people I panicked! Pulled back into my shell and completely fell into a routine of sleep, eat, Netflix, repeat! 

I woke up a couple of days ago feeling like a bum and it sucked! Mainly because I had become a bum not out of necessity, but by choice. I remembered a quote that I have said a million and one times over, “ If you don’t like it, change something”. As if the universe was trying to tell me something, my timeline was filled with posts of businesses and individuals who have found new ways to survive the times and ended up making more profit than they made before the outbreak of ‘“the virus”. It occurred to me that life had thrown me lemons and despite the VERY obvious choice from the popular saying, I couldn’t figure out what to do with them.

I work in the retail industry right now and my goal is to become a journalist in the next four to five years. Journalism is a very competitive industry, it always has been. I put my brain to work, did some research and found a solution to my little hiccup and got the admission to school, which working a full-time job might have made very difficult to do.

Researching this, I realized another problem.

in a couple of years, I am going to have a degree in journalism with zero experience. How will I get a job?

Since no one would hire me as a journalist right now without a degree, and it is possible no one would hire me as a journalist in the future without experience, what better time than now when I have almost nothing to do, to gain that experience?

So I went back to the table and  and figured out a way to not only build experience but to work on my skills in written and oral communication with proof which could be used on a resume. Haha, there’s my lemonade!

Your situation may seem different to mine and you might be thinking your lemons are different to mine. No it’s not, it’s all in the perception. As John C Maxwell said “People need to change their perspective, not their problem”. My challenge to you today is to think about the lemons on your desk and figure out away to turn those lemons into the best lemonade you could ever make.