Tag Archives: love

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!

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I Love…

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With winter blues and the news destined to make us feel negative, it is a breath of fresh air that we have finally made it to February, the month of love. I am a little biased because it is my birthday month, but I am happy that Valentine’s Day brings us a cheerful holiday to celebrate this winter. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I wanted to share a post about some things that I love, besides of course my family and friends. Hopefully this will help inspire you to step away from the negativity in the world and reflect upon what you love too.

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I love… good health. It is so easy for me to take this for granted because I am healthy on a normal basis. A recent bout of the flu reminded me how hard it is to be sick and how refreshing it is to finally heal and feel better.

I love… cuddling. It is so simple yet so comforting and always brings a smile to my face. If we all spent a little more time cuddling with our loved ones or furry friends, I really think the world would be a happier place.

I love… sunshine. Especially in the winter when it is rare. Now that I am experiencing my first southern winter, I can tell you that it makes a huge different to see the sun regularly even when it is cold outside. The rays soothe the soul and remind me that spring and summer will come.

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Source: Pexels

I love… day trips on the weekends. So often I spend the weekends catching up, cleaning, and preparing for the next week, especially when I am at apartment in Columbia, SC. It is SO important for me to take breaks though, and one of the best ways for me to make sure that I take a break is going on a little weekend escape. Fortunately, Columbia is within driving distance of many exciting destinations. A couple weekends ago my boyfriend and I took a weekend trip to Charleston and it was the perfect amount of time away. We spent the day wandering the streets, feeling more like locals now that we have visited there a few times. We had a delicious dinner Coast, a seafood restaurant downtown. We spent the evening on King Street, going to some of the swanky bars and enjoying Jeni’s ice cream (the best part of Columbus, OH ;)). If you need a break – go on a day trip!! It makes a world of a difference on your next week.

I love… music. For those who know me well, it is rare for me to not have something playing, especially when I am at home. I listen to all genres of music and secretly love to sing along. I often say that my life is a playlist, because almost all hit songs from the past 25 years I can pinpoint to a particular life phase or moment in my life. I have also made a new year’s resolution with my boyfriend to practice playing piano again (I played pretty well for over 6 years when I was growing up). We have practiced a couple times and played duets, including songs from the award-winning La La Land movie and other love stories. A little music, whether listening, singing, or playing, goes a long way in brightening my day.

I love… free time. My yoga instructor recently inspired me to spend more time pausing, not scheduling anything, and allowing myself to simply be. Every week I am working on allowing myself free time to let my mind wander, relax, and do whatever brings me joy at that specific time. The free time helps spark creativity and refreshes me when I go back to my daily routine.

All of these things bring me warmth this winter and brighten my days when they seem gloomy. I hope that Valentine’s Day inspires you to focus on what you love about the world too. Whether it is your family, friends, home, job, new outfit or that leftover piece of chocolate cake in the fridge – we all have something to love in life!

International Love

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How are love and relationships comprehended throughout the world? This has been the fascinating topic of conversation in my French class and with my host family over the past week.

My classmates throughout the world have been optimistic about love, saying that true love lasts forever and there is no such thing as a bad ending to love. We talked about the various types of relationships in France, including a civil union, a PACs and marriage. We compared our own customs (United States, Brazil, Uruguay, Scotland, Poland, Japan, and Germany) to those in France. Each of our home countries define relationships differently: some focus on the religious commitment, some focus on the financial benefits, some focus on equality for all, and others focus on how society is organized. While we found that the semantics and government benefits of relationships vary by country, we were comforted to know that true love unites us all.

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The unity of love made me more excited to learn about the French and what love lessons I could apply anywhere in the world. I spoke with my host mom about love and relationships over dinner this week. I told her I respected her opinion as she has been married for 35 years! My host mom made love seem so simple. She said the first important test to know whether your significant other is “the one” is: when you see your significant other for the first time in a while, how do you feel? If he/she makes you feel happy and brings butterflies to your stomach, you should be with him/her. She also said that in order to make her 35 year marriage successful she looked for 3 values in her husband: trust, esteem, and having fun together. She defined esteem as her husband being respected by others and therefore is an honor to be around. With these values and an overall sentiment of happiness with your significant other, my host mom thinks that your relationship can withstand time. I plan to continue the conversation about love and relationships, as I think they are some of the most mysterious parts about life. We can all stand to learn from others about how to find true love and have lifelong relationships. What other lessons about international love have you learned during your travels?

 

Valentines To Remember

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Happy Valentine’s Day, inspirNational!

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Source: discoverexplorelearn.com

I hope that we all take some time today to say “I love you” to those who bring joy to our lives. We often focus on our significant others (if we have them) on this day of love, but there are many valentines in our lives that we should not forget.

  • Ourselves. Remember to send some lovin’ to yourself today! On the day of love, we often think about everyone else but ourselves. We put ourselves through a lot each day, whether we are working or in school, experiencing life’s changes, maintaining our health and happiness, or staying in touch with loved ones. Let’s be grateful to our minds and bodies for carrying us through the journey of life! Take a nap today, pamper yourself, do your favorite hobby, or reward yourself with a treat to remind yourself that you love “you.” After all, if we don’t love ourselves, it is hard for us to give and receive love from others.
  • Our parents. Remind your parents how grateful you are for all that they have taught you and helped you with throughout your life. By living with a host family in a new country, I am constantly reminded how lucky I was to have such supportive parents while I was growing up. My parents taught me how to always do my best, to make smart decisions, to cherish each day, to explore the world, to respect others, to say “thank you,” to save money, to take care of my belongings, to be tidy and organized, and to welcome guests into my home (and have awesome parties :)). Living in a new environment reminds me that my family values do not exist everywhere, which makes me grateful for the expectations my parents had (and continue to have) for me.
  • Our faith. We all find faith through different outlets, but where we can relate is the little voice coming from our soul. That little voice comforts us, keeps us going each day, reminds us that we can get through life’s challenges, and helps us find hope and love in our lives. I have noticed while in Paris that I am drawn to churches and feel overwhelmingly emotional when I enter them, thinking about all of my loved ones and reflecting on my life. While I am not a devout churchgoer, I am grateful for the strong morals, endless hope, and faith in the world that the Catholic church has provided me throughout my life.
  • Our friends. Think about all the people who have helped you celebrate the joys of life, who have wiped the tears from your face, and who have just sat and listened to you share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about life. I strongly believe that our friends are our chosen family and in many ways deserve the most of our gratitude. Being thousands of miles away from my best friends, I am so grateful that they continue to stay in touch with me while I embark on this international adventure. I am also grateful to the new people I am meeting in France who are willing to start new friendships. It is very rewarding to share travel experiences with new friends!

I hope these thoughts inspire you to be grateful for all the valentines in your life. May you find peace, joy, and love on this special day!

The Truth Behind Sweetest Day

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Just a few more days until Sweetest Day (don’t worry, boyfriends and girlfriends, you have until Saturday, October 18 to buy something for your sweetie)! Most people don’t know what Sweetest Day is. Skeptics call Sweetest Day a Hallmark holiday or a “concocted promotion” to increase the sales of candy, greeting cards, flowers, etc.

The romantic in me likes to acknowledge any holiday that celebrates love. So, I decided to look more into the holiday…what is its real purpose? Who celebrates Sweetest Day? Is it really a gimmick?

Sweetest Day takes place on the third Saturday of October every year. Friends, families, and couples express their love for each other by sending sweets, flowers, greeting cards, or other tokens of love. It turns out that Sweetest Day is most often celebrated in the Midwestern United States. To my surprise (and how ironic), Sweetest Day originated in my new hometown, Cleveland! The first Sweetest Day was October 8, 1922. The Cleveland Plain Dealer stated that candy maker C. C. Hartzell chaired a committee of 12 confectioners to plan the first Sweetest Day. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee distributed over 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor” in Cleveland. According to Mt. Vernon News, “the original theme of doing a good deed and spreading cheer to those less fortunate still applies, [but] the holiday has broadened to celebrate love and romance for significant others while still including friends, neighbors and co-workers.” Several candy makers tried to declare that it was Candy Day as well. So if anything, Sweetest Day was originally promoting candy sales.

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The Cleveland committeemen who planned Cleveland’s Sweetest Day, published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer on October 8, 1922.

While often cited as a “Hallmark holiday,” Hallmark didn’t make Sweetest Day cards until the mid-1960’s, and now has 151 different versions of greeting cards (80% are romantic). American Greetings, whose headquarters are in Cleveland, began making Sweetest Day cards in the 1930s and now has 178 different kinds of cards. Sweetest Day is not as impactful as Valentine’s Day, but it does boost business for greeting cards companies.

Skeptics, you may be right that it is a commercial holiday. But why not remind your significant others, family members, and friends that you love them? While the holiday may seem narrow in scope (as it is often only celebrated in one part of the United States), the premise to acknowledge the ones you love can be celebrated anywhere. So, this Saturday, why not spread the love or be romantic? Below are some sweet quotes about love that may inspire and remind you why love matters. Happy Sweetest Day!

“Love has the power to cure, to heal, to calm, to change, and to unite. Use this power often.” -Anthony Douglas Williams

“Where there is love there is life.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“Angels have no philosophy but love.” -Terri Guillemets

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