Category Archives: Motivation Mondays

Motivation Mondays: Eat, Pray, Love

“Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”

Happy Monday! You’ve made it this far in the afternoon so you’re doing great! I apologize for the lack of Motivation Mondays post lately; my weekends have been super busy, leaving me little time to write. However, that isn’t an excuse. So that’s why I made sure this post got finished this weekend.

In the spirit of getting things done, today’s post is combined with a Truth Challenge prompt:

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

I’m sure someone will laugh at me when I say “Eat, Pray, Love” has changed my views on something. I read the book one summer during college and it really did change me. For those who don’t know, “Eat Pray Love” is a story about Elizabeth Gilbert (the author) who goes through a painful divorce and takes a trip around the world to find herself again. She voyages to Italy, India and Bali to find pleasure, devotion and balance. Along the way, she meets several people who teach her valuable lessons about herself and about the meaning of life. The book makes you contemplate how you define your life and will make you laugh at Gilbert’s antics while traveling.

eat pray loveNot everyone has the luxury of momentarily quitting life and traveling around the world in order to recover from a personal disaster. We all should be so lucky. But, the story does make you realize that is it perfectly normal to take a break when necessary. It taught me that often the only way to truly learn about yourself and life is through moments of utter chaos and maybe even pain. Everyone struggles and has moments of weakness; it is normal and occasionally even healthy for you. The personal insights you gain through these struggles are invaluable.

I would recommend reading “Eat Pray Love” when you have the opportunity. I found it especially helpful and still refer back to some of the quotes from the book. My favorite is below.

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”

Motivation Mondays: The Devil Wears Prada

Today’s Motivation Monday post is brought to you by Thought Catalog. If you never visited their site, you really should check it out. They post hysterical articles and tons of random lists that are often applicable to the life of a 20 something. Their posts are guaranteed to improve even the worst days.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a Thought Catalog post titled “15 Life Lessons from “The Devil Wears Prada.” Intrigued, I clicked the link, read their list of tips and found that I agreed with all of them. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d absolutely check it out this weekend. The quick summary: Anne Hathaway lands her dream job at Runaway, an iconic fashion magazine. She then meets her boss, Meryl Streep and quickly realizes how demanding and challenging her new position is going to be. While some the antics of Hathaway and Streep are a bit exaggerated, there are some helpful pieces of advice for those starting their careers or working at internships.

My favorite points from Thought Catalog include:

1. Never Show Up To Meetings Unprepared.

– No matter how much you hate your boss, position or the work you’re doing, you must come prepared to meetings, presentations, etc. Not being prepared will ultimately cause you more stress than preparing did.

5. When Things Get Hard, Complaining Gets You Nowhere.

– Sure, there will be days when you’re frustrated, when your boss gives you the most ridiculous project to work on and the list goes on and on. Hopefully, the good days outnumber the bad ones. You can vent for a minute or two, but complaining to your co-workers is a bad decision.

10. Appearance Matters, No Matter What Anyone Says.

– This especially holds true when you work at a fashion magazine, like Hathaway does in the movie. However, regardless of where you work, your overall appearance does matter, from head to toe. You are a professional so the way you dress should convey that.

15. An Amazing Job Isn’t Always A Job That Makes You Happy.

– I’ve seen this happen to a bunch of recent graduates. You think job x is your dream job and is going to make you oh so happy. Then you come to find you hate it. Experience is the best teacher, meaning you won’t know what your dream job is until you start working and trying different things. It’s okay to admit you were wrong; it’s trial and error.

When you’re interning or just starting out, you will be asked to do things that you feel are beneath you. But remember, respect isn’t given, it’s earned. You have to prove yourself…everyone started out the same way. Some days will be better than others and you’ll work well with some bosses and not so well with others. Don’t let one experience define the rest and keep searching until you find what makes you truly happen. Never settle!

Check out the rest of Thought Catalog’s lessons from The Devil Wears Prada here. Share your own advice too!

Motivation Mondays: “This”

“So don’t be afraid to make mistakes, to stumble, to fall, cause most of the time the greatest rewards come from doing the things that scare you the most. Maybe you’ll get everything you wish for… Maybe you’ll get more than you ever could have imagined… Who knows where life will take you. The road is long and in the end… the journey is the destination”

Have you ever wondered how your life could be different if you chose a different path? What if I didn’t go to Temple? What if he didn’t break up with me? What would life be like if my parents didn’t get divorced? The possibilities are endless, right?

As the perpetual over thinker, I find myself asking all those questions too often. It goes back to over thinking the original decision I made and if it was the right one. I can be a bit indecisive and occasionally that becomes quite annoying, even to me. What will happen if I do this? Who will care? Blah, blah, blah, you get the idea.

While I do tend to over think everything, I am also a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we don’t know that reason until many years later, but there is always one. After writing Thursday’s post about my friendship with Lauren, I started thinking about what life would be like if I didn’t take that position…how different my life would clearly be. That process lead me to today’s Motivation Monday post and Darius Rucker.

Darius Rucker sings a song called “This” that talks about how if things had gone differently, life wouldn’t have led him there to this. When he says this, I believe he means his life at the moment and all the great things and people who are a part of it. He makes a good point: Would your life be this great, this outstanding if it wasn’t for the “wrong turns” or mistakes you made?

When you’re worrying about making decisions, veering off your planned out life course or questioning something that happened, listen to this song. Remind yourself that you are here at this point in your life with all these wonderful things for a reason. I know I have several times and after each listen, I realize how lucky I am to have all of this.

Motivation Mondays: One Billion Rising

One in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. 

About three weeks ago on Valentine’s Day, One Billion Rising overtook cities around the world to deliver an important message. They staged flash mobs, held dance parties and brought an important issue to the forefront. One Billion Rising is a mission, an uprising if you will that raises awareness of violence against women around the world. On Valentine’s Day, also known as V-Day, this organization took to Twitter, Facebook and every other social media site to call men and women everywhere to participate in a revolution. They tweeted and posted instructions about meet-ups around the world. They invited people to dance, to raise awareness and to challenge the norm. It is not acceptable for the violence women and girls face each day. It was time for a revolution, a time for change.

Celebrities like Kerry Washington and Eve took to Twitter as well to support the cause. Updates were constantly coming from Brazil, Poland, New York City and so many other places around the world. Videos of millions of people dancing and holding signs with shocking statistics were uploaded instantly to the One Billion Rising website. Their online presence was strong, their message was clear and their goal was inspiring. Think about the statistic above: 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten. 1 in 3 women. That’s your mother, your aunt, your best friend. It is not acceptable. It cannot be tolerated anymore. We all, men and women alike, stop this violence and use our voices. No means no. We will not be disrespected. We will be one billion rising.

Check out one of their videos below

Motivation Mondays: Life Is But A Dream

“I don’t ever want to be satisfied, that’s not a healthy way to live” – Beyonce

I have a love affair with music. It takes me away from reality and inspires me reach higher. That’s why when I hear certain songs from certain artists, I fall in love. This is especially true for the legendary Beyonce. Since about 8th grade, I’ve listened to the songstress with her powerful ballads and catchy dance tunes. So when I heard she was releasing a documentary, I was beyond excited.

Over the weekend, I hit the couch with my mom and watched the 90 minute documentary about the one and only Beyonce. Again, you don’t have to like her but you should absolutely respect her. During those 90 minutes, Beyonce wasn’t a celebrity, she was a person with fears, insecurities and ambitions. She was vulnerable, completely exposing herself and sharing her deepest secrets like the miscarriage she had about two years ago. It is hard for the average person to let their walls down. Could you imagine how hard it must have been for someone of Beyonce’s fame?

I give her credit for letting the cameras capture her at her lowest and highest points. She is extremely private so this was a big step. For me, the biggest takeaway was her humility; she is eternally grateful to her family, her husband, her team and most importantly her fans. She is passionate, does not settle and believes in the power of prayer. Some may think she’s fake but after watching her raw emotion on-screen last night, there is no way that’s true. Beyonce has stayed grounded throughout her career and I have no doubt that she always will be.

I’m pretty much obsessed with all of Beyonce’s songs. From her empowering “Run The World (Girls)” to everyone’s favorite dance song “Get Me Bodied,” there isn’t a song I don’t know all the words to. But, “I Was Here” is different; it is a song that captures Beyonce’s ability to convey her raw emotion. The song also reminds each of us to be here, to be present each day and leave our mark on the world. Listen below and tell me you weren’t moved.

Motivation Mondays: Whitney Forever

In honor of Whitney Houston’s passing one year ago today, I am dedicating my Motivation Mondays post to the iconic songstress who left this world too soon.

Regardless of your personal feelings towards Whitney, she must be recognized as one of the great pop voices of all time. Her range was out of this world and her talent surpassed many before and after her time. Her talent was natural, her passion was obvious and her smile contagious. Unfortunately, her life veered off course and ultimately caused her time on Earth to be cut short. Despite her fame and talent, she fell victim to an addiction that affects so many others around the world.

Whitney’s hits were endless and it’s hard to just choose a few to share in this post. For me, The Greatest Love of All will always leave me feeling empowered and like I can take on the world.

No matter my mood, Your Love is My Love will brighten my day. The lyrics remind us how powerful love can be. I have vivid memories of singing it with my mom as a young child.

And of course, no Whitney tribute is complete without a dance anthem. I Wanna Dance With Somebody is probably one of her most famous songs. I don’t think it will ever get old. My friends and I have been accused of singing this song at the top of our lungs. We’ve played Whitney’s Greatest Hits album well into the night writing papers. But, that just goes to show her music was timeless. We will always love you, Whitney!

 

Motivation Mondays: On The Power Play

Hockey is a way of life in my house. My dad has coached hockey for pretty much my entire life. My 8 year-old brother was born with a stick in his hands and now plays. We’ve been going to New York Ranger games for as long as I could remember. So I’ve come to know the game pretty well throughout the last 22 years of my life.

When I was job searching, my friend and mentor Jason Mollica described my situation as being on a power play. For those who don’t know, a power play is a hockey term that means one team has more players on the ice then the other. This is usually because the shorthanded team has a player in the penalty box. The bottom line is one team has the advantage over the other. When Jason used this metaphor to explain my predicament at the time, I wasn’t sure I understood. However, his words have stuck with me during the last few months.

When I was job searching, I was networking with industry professionals, researching jobs and giving my resume to anyone with a reputable job and a pulse. I worked hard to make myself stand out from the millions of other recent college graduates looking for a job. I gave myself the advantage; I was on the power play.

Now that I have a job, I haven’t been as aggressive in terms of networking and talking to professionals. As I sat at the Rangers game a couple of weekends ago, I thought about how I used to be on the power play. Why did that advantage have to go away just because I found a job? In that moment, I decided to be on the power play again; to distinguish myself as an enthusiastic young professional always looking for new ways to grow personally and professionally. To start the process again, I am finding more ways to network and want to start reading more. Baby steps, right?

Hockey teams use power plays to capitalize or in hockey terms, score a goal. All of us, especially young professionals just starting out, should be on the power play. We need to make ourselves stand out and give ourselves the advantage. Share your ideas for how we can do this!

Motivation Mondays: Evita on Broadway

About two weeks, I went to see Evita on Broadway. Growing up, I was lucky enough to attend shows and have grown to love seeing them live. But, this performance was different. My fabulous cousin Christina was playing the lead Eva Peron aka Evita. I was so excited I could barely sit still during work that day, anticipating nothing short of an amazing performance.

playbillI’ve seen Christina perform before on Broadway in Sister Act. I saw her in the Marvelous Wonderettes, an off-Broadway show as well as several of her performances at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. My favorite was watching her play Belle in Beauty and the Beast, my favorite Disney movie. She was also beyond awesome as Glinda in the National Tour of Wicked. The list of fabulous accomplishments goes on and on but the best role Christina plays is cousin.

While we haven’t grown up together since day one, Christina has been a part of my life since I was about ten. She grew up in Long Island and attended Wagner College in Staten Island, where my other fabulous cousin also went to school. She was and always will be one of us, which is why are stardom is even better. She is a living, breathing example of hard work paying off. She took her dreams and made them a reality. She is humble, always thanking her family and friends for their support. She is everything all of us can hope to be one day: successful and living out our dream.

Watching Christina light up the stage as Eva Peron was nothing short of magical. She was absolutely amazing and left me speechless. This is my cousin, who I goof around with at family parties. There she is, singing her heart out on Broadway and signing autographs for a huge crowd outside the theater. What a completely surreal experience.

As you can tell, I am super proud of my cousin, of all her hard work and of her ability to staychristina real and humble. I didn’t write this post today to brag (well, ok maybe a little), but to remind everyone that dreams do come true when you believe in them. Christina embodies that statement and proves that with passion, dedication and hard work, anything is possible. I am so proud of you Christina and cannot wait to see what’s next!

Motivation Mondays: Faith > Fear

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in the words he preached. He was a man of faith, of passion and stood firmly behind his ideals. He was a visionary who changed a nation and impacted millions even after his death.

faithIn the spirit of MLK Day and the 57th Inauguration, I am dedicating today’s post to a mission of making my faith bigger than my fear; a concept I believe both Dr. King and President Obama embody.

Many think faith has a religious connotation but in reality, it is more of a personal belief. Everyone defines faith differently. For me, it is believing in something you cannot see; walking head first into the darkness without knowing what to expect. With every new opportunity, there is a level of risk and a level of faith you must have in yourself and in the process. Faith can help you get through the day or can completely wreck your expectations. You are the only one that can decide.

I often find it hard to have faith that things will change. When you are so used to a certain way of life, how could things get better? What could possibly be done to fix an exceptional amount of damage? I bet you’re thinking how can she be so negative and I agree with you. When you read the statement above, said by a man who faced an uphill battle his entire life, you must change your mindset.

Add this to my 2013 goals: Let me faith be bigger than my fear. I want to take more risks, be more spontaneous and live life to the fullest everyday. I need to realize that life will always present its challenges but everyone must have faith in the future.

While I am not trilled to be working today, I know that this is part of growing up. I do plan on volunteering within the next few weeks, but today I will volunteer to change my attitude to be more positive in honor of Dr. King.

MLK

Motivation Mondays: One Day You Will

I don’t like gray area. Either it’s right or wrong, no ambiguity, no in betweens. I guess you can say I am an extremist. I go one way at 100 miles per hour. When I pick a route, I become overly dedicated to it and usually don’t factor in changing paths or directions. You could see how this mindset might present a few problems.

Life has a way of making other plans, throwing curveballs into my perfectly defined path. For a while, those curveballs would send me into a tailspin. I was (and still sometimes am) inflexible and became very irritated when things didn’t go the way I planned. That deal sort of worked in high school, but for college, it wouldn’t do. It became especially true when I started my job as a Resident Assistant in one of Temple’s residence halls. Plans would be changed constantly, schedules would have to be flexible and so on. Thanks to this experience, I started embracing the gray area that filled my life.

For me, trying not to live in any shade was the hardest part. The choice shouldn’t be black, white or gray. It was just a choice I had to make. Some were small, others were more important. I focused so much time on defining how extreme my choice was that I didn’t actually focus on the positive aspects of the decision I was making. Gray area means uncertainty and that scares me. But, every choice comes with some level of uncertainty. I’m beginning to feel more comfortable with uncertainty since sometimes, it leads to great experiences.

I am a huge country music fan (sorry!) and look to music to motivate me. Thanks to a good friend, I came across a Lady Antebellum song that helped me embrace the gray area in my life. One Day You Will brings a message of hope for the future and that every decision has a silver lining. Enjoy the song below and share your thoughts with me! Happy Monday!

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