Tag Archives: connection

Connections

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One hour to go before everything as I know it changes. Sitting here at my friend’s apartment with a piece of almond butter toast and a cup of coffee, I am pausing to reflect and enjoy the calm before the storm.

The “storm” is one of my exciting life updates that I have been waiting to share with you. Starting tomorrow, I will be Detroit’s newest resident! For the next few days I will be unpacking boxes and settling into my new home, an apartment in a historic building in Detroit’s city center.

For those who know me well, it has been my dream to live in Michigan over the past few years. I am passionate about the revitalization of Detroit and the beauty of Pure Michigan, and I couldn’t be more excited to give back to the place that raised me for 22 years. My move is an example of the power of visualization, as I have carried a purse with a Michigan-shaped Petoskey stone as a daily reminder of home. It is amazing how five years away from my home state has created a strong desire and dream for me to go back to my roots – and it is now coming true! Over the years, I have learned the significance of home and have realized it is who surrounds me that matters to me more than where I am. In a word, what I value most is “connections” – specifically the ability to connect with others. My connections with family, friends, colleagues, and the community are what energize me and inspire me to make a difference in the world.

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Image Source: SBI

The value of connections has become especially apparent to me during my last year in Greenville. I have met more interesting people and new friends than ever before in my life. For the first time, I have prioritized my time with the people I love over the tasks I have to do. What I have realized is that people are what motivate me and are what make tasks happen, so by working, connecting, and spend quality time with them, anything can become possible.

Connections are what have drawn me to my life decisions and passions – I am a language enthusiast because it opens the opportunity to communicate, understand, and connect with twice as many people and cultures. I am an experience collector – making the most of any place I visit or live by trying local foods, attending local events, trying new activities, and meeting local people to connect with the community (and be inspirNational!). I am a design thinker – listening to the people around me (customers, employees, stakeholders, etc). to understand their core needs and to create innovative approaches to meet their needs at work. I am an artist – drawn to any opportunity to create something new – whether that means a painting, a piece of jewelry, a candle, a blog post, or a new food dish. All of these forms of art are an example of instant gratification, connecting with the simple objects in front of us to make something beautiful. Check out the book, Creative Confidence, to learn more about how we are all artists. I have practiced all of these forms of connecting over the past year, which makes it difficult for me to leave such a wonderful place that has allowed these connections to happen. However, I feel grateful that I have another place to call home, which I will often visit through work. I feel a calling for my connections to Detroit, where I look forward to reconnecting with loved ones and meeting new people who are equally passionate about the revitalization of Detroit and all that Michigan offers.

Months have gone by since I have last written a post, but many reflections such as this one have been on my mind. I have mainly captured my daily inspirNational thoughts through stories and photos on Instagram (for the latest updates follow me @inspirnationallife!). Since I last shared an update with you, I have had an adventurous summer with trips to Las Vegas, Montreal, Huntsville, Traverse City, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, Asheville, Charleston and more. What ties all of these trips together, again, is connections….ranging from connections to lifelong friends who are now getting married to new connections with professionals passionate about sustainable mobility. Most importantly, the trips have prepared me to say “see you later” to my Greenville chapter and “hello” to my new Detroit chapter. I look forward to sharing the new connections with you along the inspirNational journey that now begins in Detroit.

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Saying Goodbye to 2017 and Hello to 2018!

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Happy New Year, inspirNational! Throughout the first week of 2018 I have found myself reflecting about 2017 and the goals I have for 2018. I can say with confidence that 2017 was a tremendous year of growth and change for me. I learned more about myself and what I want in life than ever before.

Key highlights were my graduation from the USC International MBA Program, moving to Greenville, South Carolina to start my new career at Michelin, and traveling throughout the country to Detroit, Traverse City, Savannah, Seattle, Bellingham, Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Charlotte, Columbia, Nashville, Asheville, and Atlanta. Another highlight that sparked this post is that I read a few introspective books that have made a significant impact on my view of the world. I decided to organize my year’s reflections based on these books below:

The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle). A common focus area for me over the past several years has been to focus on the present. Reading The Power of Now, which a great neighbor in Greenville gave to me, has put a different spin on “presence” for me. While I am almost always thinking about what happened in the past or what I’m planning in the future, I have realized that thinking about what is happening right now, in this moment, gives me a sense of peace and calm. It also makes me more in-tune with my inner thoughts and hopes – leading me in the soul-driven direction I would like to go. I am making a conscious effort to be more “now” focused than ever before.

I read The Power of Now at an opportune time when facing uncertainty in my previous relationship. The book helped me identify that I was in a toxic love-hate relationship where I was dealing with lies, sneakiness, and hurt. All of this was first of all, unhealthy and harmful to me, and second of all, holding me back from being in the “now.” My gut and my closest peers knew this all along, but reading the advice in a book is what hit me the most. I had an “aha!” moment, realizing I needed to let go in order to live in my “now” and achieve my fullest potential and destiny. This “aha!” moment and my willingness to share some parts of the story with you are inspired by the Time’s Up movement in Hollywood. I am proud of the celebrities who are standing up against harassment and abuse of women. I, too, feel the need to share my “aha!” moment as it has only helped me realize what threats women face and how we often feel stuck in toxic situations. Thankfully I felt empowered to leave and I hope to remind any of you who feel stuck that you are never truly stuck. There are always ways out, solutions, and people there to help you! Don’t lose faith! I am grateful that I have grown from my own situation and realized what qualities I am looking for in others, especially my future relationships. I can tell you with confidence that the number one value I have for people I bring into my life is character. My closest friends and family model good character, and I plan to only date those with good character in the future. By practicing being in the “now,” I will be more in-tune with my gut and will be able to identify more quickly people who should and should not be in my life. I highly recommend that you read The Power of Now, and you may also have unexpected realizations that help you grow as a person.

No Greatness Without Goodness (Randy Lewis). 2017 marked the beginning of my post-MBA career at Michelin. My first rotation in Michelin’s Global Leadership Program presented me with awareness about the challenges that people with disabilities face when trying to enter the workforce. A colleague at work gave me No Greatness Without Goodness, which discusses Walgreens VP of Supply Chain’s experience raising a son with autism and leading the initiative at Walgreen’s to hire employees with disabilities at its distribution centers. I am proud that Michelin is mirroring Walgreen’s efforts and has committed to hire people with disabilities at its distribution centers and beyond. In the fall, I had the opportunity to learn sign language and perform the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance in sign language at the Upstate Salute event in Greenville, honoring veterans. This experience at the beginning of my career at Michelin has inspired me to always seek opportunities for goodness as I develop into a leader. I aspire to be a servant leader, always thinking about how I can help others in my daily work and in my community. If you are looking for inspiration in your career, particularly related to helping others, check out No Greatness Without Goodness.

Toward A True Kinship of Faiths (Dalai Lama). I received this book as part of Michelin’s new Interfaith Group forming in 2018. The Dalai Lama shares his perspective of different world religions and how we can develop empathy for others who may be different form us. Empathy for diversity has been one of my passions, particularly since studying abroad in Spain and France. I strive to learn from others – the more different people are from me, the more I want to talk to and learn from them. Throughout 2017, I traveled to many beautiful cities throughout the United States from coast to coast, which made me realize the beauty in the diversity of the US landscape and people. What makes America so special to me is the variety of people (backgrounds, religions, cultures, perspectives, etc.) who can live and thrive in our country and who make the most of whatever landscape and environment that surround them.

While the year brought a lot of political turmoil and what the media portrays as division between people, I found through my travels that we are much more connected than we think we are. We are especially connected by our desire for community, as Mark Zuckerberg eloquently describes here. I was fortunate to have two incredible communities in 2017, first as a Gamecock throughout the beginning of the year and second as a resident in the best apartment complex in Greenville. I had an amazing experience cheering on the Gamecock basketball teams in the Final Four and attending Darius Rucker’s free student concert in honor of the Gamecock football team making it to a bowl game. I was reminded how important it is to me and how much fun it is to be part of a school with great spirit (especially now as both a Michigan and USC alumnus). Also graduating in the middle of a historic campus (USC was founded in 1807!) and attending the law school graduation was surreal. The next time you are graduating, I recommend that you also attend a graduation ceremony at your school – it is amazing to have the experience from both sides of the podium! My second community through my apartment complex was the best decision I made when moving to Greenville. I couldn’t be more grateful for the international community that surrounds me – at any given occasion I hear 3-4 languages exchanged! The almost weekly social events have introduced me to some awesome new friends who have helped me feel at home in Greenville as we have explored the town and often been the “newbies” together. As inspired by the Dalai Lama, I look forward to continuing to have an empathy for those different from me, especially when joining new communities in 2018.

 

Having reflected on 2017, I can now officially welcome 2018. An astrologist in Sri Lanka shared with me that 2018 starts the best 10 years of my life – and I can already feel the positive energy in the air! One of my best friends gave me a “love bell” that she bought in Greece where she got engaged, and as a slightly superstitious hopeless(ful?) romantic, I look forward to seeing what it brings for me in 2018. I also look forward to attending more planned runs throughout the year (hopefully the Charleston Bridge Run!) and I am committed to doing a push-up! My year of travel will be focused on some of my best friend’s weddings in Alabama and Chicago and also some exciting work trips (San Francisco and Montreal to start)! I will continue to share my reflections from my travels and daily life and bring new ideas to you. I hope the new year brings you much happiness, love, new experiences, travel, and inspirNational reflections!