Tag Archives: world

Embrace Joy


With the holidays upon us and the end of the year approaching, I wanted to set an intention for this holiday season. Over the past few days, I have had a few experiences that have reminded me to embrace joy. While Thanksgiving last week encouraged me to pause, reflect, and express gratitude next to family and friends, the Christmas season is inspiring me to embrace joy.


Source: The Dill Loop

On Monday, I had dinner with my university’s director of corporate and foundation relations, who is like the brand ambassador for joy. She lights up every room she enters, finds connections with those who surround her, and shares joyful stories that express her love and hope for the world. With the life experience that she has, it could be easy to be cynical and pessimistic, but she has reminded me that a joyful attitude can surpass any life circumstance at any age. She has become one of my role models and mentors who I aspire to be like now and into the future.

Last night, I attended my favorite hot yoga class in Columbia, SC, and my yoga instructor encouraged me and the other yogis to find joy in our daily lives. She reminded us that the first step in finding joy is letting go of what doesn’t serve us or what brings us down, and then to be grateful for everything we have. She invited us to set an intention for a yoga practice, which inspired me to set an intention not only for the class, but also for the coming weeks. My intention is to embrace joy. Thinking about the past few decades of Christmases, I have found that this season reminds me each year that magic exists. I think back to my childhood days of making a Christmas list for Santa Claus, singing Christmas carols at school, decorating Christmas cookies, and spending the holidays with loved ones. While many of the traditions have changed, the feeling of magic and joy still remains. So far, I have embraced joy by decorating my apartment for Christmas to help brighten the gloom of taking final exams over the next couple weeks. I look forward to attending a Cookies and Kegs party this weekend for a study break with my classmates. I am trying to find little ways to embrace joy each day to help me get through the daily grind of the student lifestyle before my holiday break begins.

As we all face our daily routines over the next few weeks, I hope that we can make an effort to embrace joy and let the holiday season be as magical as it was when we were children. Regardless of whether we celebrate any of the December holidays, the festivals and decorations can remind us to take the time to find joy in the world around us.


Source: etsy.com



inspirNational Music: Under One Sky by the Tenors


Next up on the inspirNational music playlist is Under One Sky by the Tenors. My boyfriend introduced it to me tonight and we have been singing along to the lyrics all night.

The song reminds us that we are all united throughout the world under one sky. The music video captures people from around the world singing the song, “under one sky, our dreams come alive.” It is so powerful to watch and reminds me of my one of my life missions to connect the world. Traveling the world reminds us that we have so much to learn from those who seem different than us. To many people’s surprise, one of the main lessons we can learn from others is how similar we are in our core values, our purpose, our basic needs, and our joys in life.

Watch the video below:

I hope this song leaves you feeling as inspired as it has made me feel. As I begin my last year in my International MBA program, I am excited to embark on my career journey throughout the world, ready to face the opportunities and challenges, and comforted by the fact that we are all under one sky.

25 Reflections of my 25 Years on February 25th


On the 25th day of my birthday month of my 25th year, I wanted to reflect on 25 things I have enjoyed and not enjoyed about the world. This reminds me of the newborn baby posts we often see that describe what babies like and don’t like about the world each month. In some ways, I think it is interesting and helpful for all of us (not just newborns) to reflect on what we like and don’t like throughout our lives. The reflection process will help us do a pulse check on how we feel in the moment and will help us make decisions about the future. Below I have listed 25 things that I like and don’t like about the world. I combined both serious and light-hearted topics. I look forward to reviewing this again next year to see how my interests have changed and how I have grown over time.

25 Things I Like About The World:

Family, Friendship, Love, Travel, Mindfulness, Passion, Literacy, Social Media, Democracy, Running, Yoga, Fresh Air, Nature, Sunshine, Free Time, Winning, A New Outfit, Big Hugs, Naps, Hope, Faith, Trying New Cuisines, A Warm Shower, Certainty, Rewards for Hard Work


25 Things I Don’t Like About The World:

Losing Loved Ones, Terrorism, Stress, Fatigue, Disrespect, Liars, Bullying, Pessimism, Inequality, Miscommunication, Gray Skies, Rushing, Poverty, Doing Laundry, Anxiety, Uncertainty, Cancer and All Diseases, Food Poisoning, Poor Hygiene, Itchy Sweaters, Laziness, Dirty Homes, When My Socks Fall Off My Feet, Self-Pity, Entitlement

Completing this exercise made me realize how difficult it was for me to find 25 things that I don’t like about the world. I believe this is a good sign, as I have a more optimistic outlook on the world at this point in my life and I hope to continue to be that way. I encourage you to try this exercise to see what you learn about yourself and if there is anything you would like to change about your life or the world!





How Do You Want to Enter the World?


Over the holiday weekend, I asked my dad a simple question about what to wear when we were going out to dinner. He responded, “it’s up to you how you want to enter the world.” At the time I took the response for what it meant and chose an outfit. Later on, I thought further about the significance of choosing how I want to enter the world.

Every day, we have a choice about how we enter the world. We can be optimistic or pessimistic. We can be happy or sad. We can be nice or mean. We can be ethical or unethical. We can be a friend or an enemy. We can be open minded or close minded. We can give or we can take. With each of these choices, we adjust our actions to align with how we feel, how we are perceived, and how we impact the world.

My Alex and Ani bracelet is one way that I answer the question about how I want to enter the world. The bracelet serves as a constant reminder for me to make my mark on the world. My goal is to have a positive impact by helping the world foster intercultural acceptance and understanding. I wear the bracelet often and remind myself of its meaning:


Source: Make Your Mark Bracelet, http://www.alexandani.com

“You have the ability to leave a positive imprint on the lives of others. Inspire others with thoughtful actions. Discover your passions and act on them. Lead a life that you can be proud of. Make your mark to better the world and leave a legacy of love for generations to come.” -Make Your Mark Bracelet, Alex and Ani

Symbols like my Alex and Ani bracelet keep me focused when I  enter the world. I encourage you to challenge yourself by asking: How do you want to enter the world? What symbols do you have that will keep you focused as you answer this question every day?


Source: scoutmob.com

10 Reasons to Become Fluent in Sustainability


In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share with you the importance of sustainable thinking throughout the world. When I first entered the world of sustainable business, I wrote an article, 10 Reasons to Become Fluent in Sustainability. Years later, the same reasons apply for businesses, but I wanted to update you on additional reasons that inspirNational readers should become fluent in sustainability.

Sustainability Defined

sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty (noun): the capacity to endure; the successful meeting of present social, economic, and environmental needs without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs (derived from the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development); a universal language that successful people speak; the way of the future

Source: EcoWorldReactor

Source: EcoWorldReactor

10 Reasons to Become Fluent in Sustainability

1. Prepare for the future: A sustainable mindset is a long-term mindset. It broadens your perspective to think about how you impact the community and the environment now and into the future, through your career, your purchasing decisions, and your daily behavior. It encourages you to plan ahead and take the necessary steps to create a sustainable future for yourself and society.

2. Become aware that the world’s resources are limited. We are already seeing the impacts of unsustainable actions of previous generations, such as unusual weather patterns, shifts in the distribution of wealth, and increased pollution that is harming public health. It is important for us to be aware so that we can change our behavior today and protect resources for future generations.

3. Protect your health: By purchasing sustainable products, such as organic food and goods without toxic chemicals, you will prevent illness, ensure the longevity of your immune system, and promote personal and community wellbeing.

4. Be active in the community: Sustainable behavior encourages you to get involved and volunteer in the community. By giving back, you will be contributing to society and your own wellbeing.

5. Cut costs: Energy and waste create costs. By purchasing products that rely on renewable energy or produce less waste, such as electric cars or recycled paper, you will help reduce waste and emissions and therefore reduce costs in the long-term.

6. Be hip: Socially responsible investing is in style (both from a consumer and a business standpoint). It is not a fad, but rather as timeless as a little black dress. The “cool kids” are sustainable; you should be too.

7. Earn tax incentives: Environmentally and socially-responsible activities give individuals and companies income tax credits for investment, production, or consumption, accelerated depreciation for some capital expenses, exemptions from state or local sales taxes, and cash grants (Learn more from Business Insider).

8. Make your mark on the world. Every dollar you spend is your vote for consumerism. By purchasing unsustainable products, you are encouraging the continuation of their production. By purchasing sustainable products, you are making the statement that you value sustainability, such as labor rights, environmental protection, animal welfare, and community development. Dollars are like words, as they communicate to companies and communities where you would like the world to go now and into the future.

9. Collaborate with your peers, favorite companies, local politicians, and community organizations. Sustainabilty is a global language and fosters collaboration across sectors. Sustainable solutions are cross-sector in nature, and need to include the ideas and opinions of several individuals and organizations in order to have a lasting impact.

10. Find your purpose. Sustainability engages people’s roots, what they truly value and how they want to change the world. We all have a cause that matters to us, so the broad, sustainable mindset enables us to prioritize that cause and make a difference.

Do you have other reasons that you think with a sustainable mindset? If so, please share them in the comments below. I hope that Earth Day reminds us all to appreciate and care for all that our planet offers.

Can You Travel to 25 Countries by Age 25?


I am excited to share the inspiring story of my friend, Lisa McElhenny, who proves that you can travel to 25 countries by the age of 25! Lisa works as a fundraising consultant in Cleveland. I met her out-of-the-blue last year at a mutual friend’s house, and we were excited to find out that we were sorority sisters and both new to Cleveland. We instantly bonded, especially about our love for travel, and now Lisa has become one of my best friends. When not working or serving on our sorority alumnae executive board, we both love to see the world. One day I decided to ask her about her amazing travel ambitions. Check out her responses below!

How did you decide to travel to 25 countries before you were 25?

When I was a kid visiting my grandparents in upstate New York, one of their friend’s mentioned that their grandson had just completed his goal of visiting 25 countries before turning 25. I might have been 8 or 9 at the time and it sounded like an incredible adventure. I thought, if this kid can do it, so could I! It was a pipe dream for a long time. In fact, it was not until I was in college that I really committed to the pursuit. When I studied abroad in France my junior year, I was able to visit six countries by bus, train, or cheap plane tickets. All of a sudden I realized I had visited more than 20 countries and this fantasy felt possible. I was so close to 25, I just had to do it!

Interlaken, Switzerland

Interlaken, Switzerland

Where have you traveled and where do you plan to travel before you turn 25?

Most of my travels have been to Europe, North America, and the Caribbean. My family spent a couple of years living in Canada when I was a child. I also had the chance to visit several relatives with my grandparents in Sweden in 1998. From there the trips were over holidays with family. We went to Costa Rica, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. Then when I was 17 I went to Nice, France for a semester-abroad program. While I was there I traveled to Monaco, the Vatican, and Italy. I think it was at that point when I started to count the number of countries I had visited. When I was 21, I was living in France and found a classmate who was as eager to explore Europe as I was. We took trips to Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, and Morocco. Most recently, I went to Iceland with that same friend.

My family and I in Rome

My family and I in Rome

On Friday, my family and I are heading to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands – that will be number 24. We will be flying into Quito and then taking a cruise through the islands. This is a lifelong dream for the four of us to see the islands and the unique wildlife, especially the sea turtles and blue-footed boobies.

Finally, my boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Prague in the Czech Republic in May. That will be the 25th country before I turn 25 in September. I am looking forward to learning about the history, exploring the small markets, and seeing the architecture.

What were your favorite places or memories while traveling?

I have countless memories of these trips that I will always treasure. Good and bad! With my family there are crazy boat stories where we thought we would never make it back to land in the Caribbean and I have some war stories of battling jellyfish in Costa Rica. With friends, I think back to live music and lots of dancing in Ireland and getting lost and accosted with marriage proposals in Morocco.

On my recent trip to Iceland, my friend Emma and I had an incredible time pairing outdoor adventures of hiking and glacier trekking with city explorations in Reykjavik. I have never seen anything like the landscapes of Iceland. Driving along the highway you will see steam oozing out of the earth. There are no forests and the way the grass grows makes it look like it is in constant motion melting down the volcanic hills. What made this trip even more special was seeing the Northern Lights. We were in awe of their beauty and true majesty. I will never forget how giddy we were watching the pale blue dance across the otherwise black sky. Iceland is definitely one of my favorite places I have visited.

Emma and I in Iceland

Emma and I in Iceland

What have you learned from traveling?

I am just a drop of water compared to the ocean. I mean that in the most positive way. We are all just a small part of this world and it is humbling to realize that again and again. We lead lives that are so self-centered. But when you travel, when you see the massiveness of the world, you realize that it is not about you at all.

Look at this map. With my 25 countries, I have barely made a dent! We live in a world that is so big, so diverse, and so inspiring. I am so grateful for the experiences I have had to explore different cultures and the opportunities that have led me to these countries. I am even more eager to see where the world leads me next!

lisa map

What advice do you have for aspiring travelers?

  • Stay in a hostel. Hostels are not only a great way to travel on a budget but also an opportunity to meet new people. Some of the best adventures my friends I had in Europe all started by meeting another young traveler in a hostel.
  • Don’t hesitate to find a park, or coffee shop, or bench to just sit and take it all in. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, because I am a big fan of planning activities. But, if you are willing to just sit, relax, and observe, you will be able to pick up on the nuances of a culture.
  • Go! Now!

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your inspiring story and insights on inspirNational!

If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would you go and why?


Please fill out the poll below, and include a specific country and your reason for choosing the location in the “other” section.