These past few weeks gratitude has been on my mind heavily. To me gratitude is overlooked. We tend to focus on the failures never really appreciating the journey that takes us to our destination. These days I have a lot to be grateful for. The one thing that I am most appreciative of is my life’s story. I’ve shared a piece of my story in the #lovenotes mission statement (see website). The whole reason that I began the campaign is because I have lost a best friend to suicide. I went through a really rough period in my life where I also felt that suicide was an escape. Today, I am grateful that I am alive and able to tell my story to help others.

In terms of my own life’s struggles, I am glad that they existed. I had a rough life, I survived where others generally don’t. I am grateful that my life’s experiences have developed a warrior’s spirit within me. I have overcome the victim mentality which has helped tremendously in being resilient through adversity, something that I face daily as an entrepreneur. Lately I have about 3-4 events a week and do not have a car. Public transportation in this city is not the greatest. I have been relying on amazing people to help me get by. I did not have a phone for about 2 weeks, in this business it’s hard to respond to customers and confirm meetings without one. The difficulties have been tough, but not once did I miss a meeting, a deadline, or an event. When you are grateful for what life has to offer you can get through anything.

All too often we fall into this happiness trap. The idea that we are supposed to be happy all of the time. Constant happiness is a fallacy. We experience an array of emotions as a human. These experiences and emotions allow us to truly feel happiness when it does occur. Yes, it is easier to sit around, sulk and play the woe is me game but that’s now how we grow. Real growth is when you stand up in the face of adversity and say, “Not today, I will not be Defeated. I will Survive.”

Despite whatever circumstances you are facing, there are plenty more to be grateful for. Put some gratitude in your attitude and watch the world around you change. Take some time today to stop and smell the flowers, unless they are edible, then eat them!

Make everyday your masterpiece

One of the fundamental keys to success is time management. Time is one of the most valuable resources as once it’s lost its gone forever. How we choose to use our time has a direct effect on everything that we accomplish. Staying organized helps significantly. You either run the day or the day runs you. Every hour of my day is planned out months in advance, meetings, clients, writings, emails, events, family time. I personally like to use Google Calendar, to stay organized.

I once read that in terms of an 8 hour work day, “Everything that you have to accomplish at work should be able to be done within those 8 hours.” Which is true. When you learn to prioritize your time and make it work for you, the possibilities of what you can accomplish are endless.

The biggest factor in terms of time management is EFFICIENCY. When we work efficiently we accomplish a whole lot more. All too often we try to “multi-task” and fail epically. Every. Single. Time. The problem is that we cannot fully engage in two tasks at once. One of the tasks will receive less attention.

We have to schedule our priorities. I always select one task that I MUST accomplish no matter what, that is typically my priority for the day. Then I follow my commitment to myself, self-growth. On a typical day I allocate 3 hours to reading. 1 in the morning and 2 at night before bed, or I accomplish a majority of my reading while on the bus. Generally multi-tasking is inefficient but it works in this case, what else would I be doing? The other 11 hours are used to their best benefit. I prioritize by allotting a certain amount of time per project, whether it is prepping for an event, writing a blog post, or cooking for a client. I plan my day according to what needs to get done. I set a time limit for each project. I figure out how long I think it will take then I add an additional 30 minutes to an hour depending on the level of difficulty required just to be safe.

When we prioritize we factor out all the bullshit. Once you begin to prioritize your time you will see how much is wasted on minor things that probably are not doing anything to help you reach your goals anyway. Let’s be realistic, balance is also important. We can’t be all work all of the time but when you prioritize your time, you have more time for yourself. I schedule at least one task a day that I enjoy doing, swimming, hiking, listening to music.

I first learned the value of time while working in the kitchen. Time is very important, everything you prep, cook, plate and clean in a kitchen has to be done with efficiency and that is achieved by prioritizing. You almost have to plan every move to make sure that you are operating with the highest level of efficiency. If you need to grab two things at once you always reach for them with both hands simultaneously. If you don’t manage your time in prep or cooking you can quickly put yourself in the weeds and bring the entire line down.

I also learned to be punctual in the kitchen. It is better to be two hours early then one minute late. Typically you are expected to be in the kitchen dressed and ready to go 15 minutes before your shift. When you have a pre-shift meeting it is pretty obvious when you are late. When everyone comes back from family meal to scrub the floor before dinner service, it is obvious when you are late. Being late also shows a lack of respect.
When it comes to achieving your goals prioritize your day put first things first and make your everyday your masterpiece.