Happy Holidays from inspirNational!
Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with inspirNational memories. See you again in 2015!
Throughout my life, my peers have called me optimistic, cheerful, perky, and “so happy all the time.” While I most often take this as a compliment, I also get annoyed because I am not always happy and want to make sure that I come across as genuine. One of my goals when interacting with others has always been to bring people up, inspire them, and not transfer negative energy from my stress or worries to them. We all have life challenges, and it is important to me to avoid complaining and instead focus on what is good and keeps us all moving forward. With this goal in mind, I always attempt to see the glass half full and bring positive energy to a group.
Challenged with the thought that I have a perception of always being happy, I decided to write about insights I have found to help me in my pursuit of happiness:
In the spirit of Christmas, I also found an article, 10 tips for a happy life, according to Pope Francis. As the word Catholic means universal, the Pope provides universal tips for happiness, which apply to anyone regardless of religious or spiritual background. He reminds us to “respect nature,” “work for peace,” “be giving of yourself to others,” and let go of negativity, among other tips.
I hope you feel inspired to continue the pursuit of happiness and I would be grateful to learn how you go about your daily life in order to be happy. May the holiday season and the new year be filled with happiness for us all!
Business travel is commonly perceived as glamorous. I’m writing this as I am bumped up to first class on my way home from a business trip, so it seems contradictory for me to argue otherwise. After all, business travelers get to visit new places, stay at elegant hotels, and dine in nice restaurants. In the meantime, they are able to escape the day-to-day office setting, learn about new business cultures, and meet new people.
Seasoned business professionals often express that business travel is anything but glamorous. Travel to them means time away from family, an interrupted routine, crowded airports and delayed flights, and less sleep.
Going into two years of business travel as a consultant, I can see the argument to both sides. First starting to travel for business, I couldn’t wait to go to different cities, with the hopeful anticipation that I would have time to explore the destinations. With more and more trips, though, I have learned that business travel involves busy days full of meetings and evenings spent dining with clients or colleagues and preparing for the next day of meetings. Rather than be pessimistic though, I was determined to make the most of my business travel, and inspirNationalize it, focusing on the fact that business travel involves limited time. Below I have captured some tips that have helped me inspirNationalize my business travel, and I invite others with more business travel experience to add their insights as well.
Quick note: inspirNationalize is my latest term relating to an inspirNational mindset, which inspires me to take action! It means to seek opportunities, be worldly, explore, and make the most of any situation.
How can you inspirNationalize your business travel?
Try local food. In my experience, food has been the main special occasion of business travel and is the most common “break” from meetings. You will likely have three square meals a day, so this is your chance to learn about your destination’s culture through cuisine.
Open the blinds of the windows in your hotel or meeting room and watch the sunrise/sunset or the skyline of the place you are visiting. It is challenging for those of us with wanderlust to not get out and explore where we are traveling, but at least we can admire the scenery from a distance.
If you have time to exercise, go outside (weather permitting, of course). Take a walk around the company premises or near your hotel. Ask your hotel concierge about exercise paths throughout the city, which is a great way to multitask (or call yourself a business traveling tourist athlete ;)?) and get a quick tour of your destination.
Read local newspapers or tourist magazines provided in your hotel room. This will increase your awareness about the current happenings, customs, and traditions of your destination. This will help liven and personalize your business conversations in the local area as you will be “in the know” about the latest news and can relate to your business counterparts. It will also provide you with ideas for leisure activities should you have free time or decide to return to the destination for vacation.
Talk to locals. Learn about what they like to do and their lifestyle. For those with extra free time, ask the locals for best restaurants or activities to do while in town. The locals will help you avoid tourist traps and give you a more genuine taste of the location.
Learn about your client or company’s involvement in the community. Their involvement will tell you more about key issues and unique cultural aspects of your destination. In my line of work, this is a natural conversation with my sustainability and corporate responsibility projects. Regardless of your line of work, these conversations are becoming more and more common (in the U.S., and are already common worldwide) as several companies are releasing sustainability reports and integrating corporate responsibility efforts with their overall corporate strategies. You’ll experience a win-win in this case—you’ll learn more about your destination like a traveler with an inspirNational mindset and you’ll also develop a deeper understanding of your business.
With every business trip I have learned something new and have felt more inspirNational. I know that we all have our own ways of making the most of our work trips, such as visiting friends in the area or purchasing souvenirs only available in the location. I look forward to building this list as I gather more insights and experiences. How else do you inspirNationalize your business travel?
Is it just me or is Christmas approaching way more quickly than most years? The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year, with holiday brunches, gift exchanges, community festivals, shopping, wrapping, baking, and enjoying time with family and friends. While I have enjoyed all the hype before Christmas, it has taken a lot of preparation and I’m sure I’m not alone in that I almost want a “holiday” from the holidays.
With the theme of the giving season, it is so easy to get wrapped up in everything and everyone else, and lose sight of ourselves (including our health and overall wellbeing). Martha Beck, an American sociologist, life coach, best-selling author, and speaker, wrote an inspiring article in this month’s Oprah Magazine about treating ourselves during the holidays. She reminds us of the gifts we all want, and to not forget about ourselves during the hustle and bustle of the season.
What gifts should we ask for ourselves during the holidays? Martha Beck discusses the following:
1. Time. She reminds us to make time for ourselves, whether that is through meditation, relaxing, or simply resting. We can also save time (and therefore have more time for the things that truly matter) by avoiding mindlessly surfing the Internet or watching television. I have made this a personal goal over the past few months, making sure to give myself at least one night of “me” time per week, making sure that I reflect, rest, and rejuvenate after the constant stimulation involved in working and socializing.
2. Stuffless-ness. She discusses how we don’t always have to ask for tangible gifts. We can give ourselves (or ask for) experiences and time with family and friends. This was a theme in my holiday shopping this year – for example, I gave my brother and sister-in-law a “date afternoon” out in Philadelphia for a holiday tour. She also describes how traveling reminds us of the limited items we actually need to live our daily lives – and anything extra just adds clutter, literally and figuratively, into our lives.
3. Acceptance. She inspires us to accept ourselves and our life circumstances with gratitude. She also discusses forgiveness and permission as common topics people want for themselves. By letting go of what no longer serves us, we lift weight off our shoulders, which enables us to move forward and grow into bigger and better people.
In addition to Martha Beck’s thoughts, I’d like to add a fourth gift that I think we should give to ourselves:
4. Inspiration. It’s a big world out there with people full of wisdom and experiences to share with us. We can be inspired by their words and actions if we are willing to open our eyes, ears, and minds to learn from and get to know them. As I have mentioned before, I am constantly inspired by other people and have quoted that I am inspired to inspire others, as they have inspired me. Whether we are traveling or in our hometown, we can be inspirNational in our everyday lives.
Enjoy the last couple weeks of the Christmas season, and as you’re giving gifts to others, remember to treat yourself as well!
To start my seasonal post, I wanted to share some great news about Cleveland for Millennials – according to Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, Cleveland is one of America’s Most Underrated Cities for Millennials. Grouping Cleveland with Seattle, Charlotte, Atanta, Denver, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Manchester, and Honolulu, the article describes that:
“Cleveland caters to the younger set in neighborhoods like the bar-filled Ohio City, popular among the more than 36 percent of adults who are single. Cleveland also ranks well as a cheap place to live, coming in 15th on Forbes’ list of inexpensive cities. Men’s Health ranks its religious involvement low on the list, just ahead of Austin, which should appeal to the less-devout Millennials—unless, of course, their church is rock and roll.”
It’s exciting to me that Cleveland has made the spotlight and is compared to other well-renowned cities. For those not in the area, come visit and you’ll understand why Cleveland is a fun place to be for young professionals.
With the first (official, not according to the weather :)) day of winter quickly approaching, below I have listed some of my favorite ways to spend winter in Cleveland for all of my Cleveland followers:
During the holiday season:
After the holiday season:
While winter can seem daunting in Cleveland or any midwestern United States city, I hope these exciting upcoming events and activities get you excited for the winter ahead. We’ll get through it together and have fun along the way!
How often do we actually spend time reading our e-mails? I have to admit that given the number of advertisements I receive via e-mail, it’s easy to just skim or quickly skip through my e-mails. For some reason, this morning, I decided to read the following e-mail from Susie Frazier, an artist in Cleveland, who got me to pause and reflect today. I wanted to share her wisdom with you:
“How would you feel inside if you knew you could not fail? Say the decision maker that mattered most was already on board with your idea. Would you be assertive to present your dreams? Cool-headed when faced with obstacles? Or more forgiving of yourself when you trip up? It’s true the uncertainty of any outcome has been known to strangle my imagination (and my outlook) at times, despite being a professional imaginer.
But not today.
Today, I opened a door that I previously closed and marched myself right to the edge. I jumped at the chance to try something bold, something risky, with no hesitation and no fear of making the wrong move. All I felt was a gut rattling conviction to trust my instincts. And it was amazing.
Happiness doesn’t magically burst onto the scene because we’re committed to a certain end game. It blooms quietly within when we experience unwavering confidence in ourselves. But first, we must believe.“
“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?” -@Inspire_Us“Turn your can’ts into cans and your dreams into plans.” -@OprahQuotez“Every day you wake up with the opportunity to make success happen.” -@LinkedIn“It is not what we give but what we share.” -James Russell Lowell
I tweet inspirational quotes and articles often – follow @brittanyvb to see all the quotes and more information about my sustainability work. Also check out my new inspirNational Facebook page – “like” the page to see all of my blog updates.
I hope these quotes leave you feeling inspired and motivated to start the week. Happy Monday!