11 posts categorized "Lifestyle"

06/21/2013

Unconditional Love Try it Sometime

Love quote picIt’s been four months since my last article and for those of you who have been wondering my existence, I took a spiritual sabbatical to find my life’s true purpose and calling. Throughout that time I discovered and found God in my life and since then, I been striving to be the most thoughtful, loving and giving person I can possibly be, simply because my heart tells me so. While the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body it can also pump volumes of love that can penetrate deeper than the deepest ocean. In my opinion, this hollow, cone-shaped muscle approximately the size of your wrist with the weight of 10 ounces is the most powerful, resilient and multidimensional organ in the human body. http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/human-biology/heart1.htm

As humans we all have felt the feelings of love, praise, betrayal, isolation, disappointment, faith, rejection, joy, anxiety, pain, hope, acceptance and trust just to name a few. For some people, their lives are filled with joyous memories and events yet for others their lives are filled with unexplained and continuous hardships too difficult to endure and bear. Sometimes these hardships are too painful too share so we decide to face it on our own and hope our joy comes in the morning. As far as I can remember, my life consisted of trials and hardships that consumed every fiber of my being allowing me to drown in worry, pain and insecurity for numerous years. I often wondered why do bad things happen to good people? Why me when my heart is full of endless love and compassion? No matter how many times people disappointed me I always forgave, I kept my eyes above the water and I turned the other cheek. Deep in my pain, I continued hoping and praying that the grace I bestowed upon them will one day remind them to bestow grace towards others. Love is more than a word that comes out of your mouth, more than what is printed on a card or on a frame and more than what is seen in a movie.

Love is the selfless act one can give to another through acts of kindness and placing people’s needs first instead of yours. Unconditional love often seen between parents and children are one of a kind and absolutely precious. How about applying unconditional love with friends, family, relationships, neighbors, strangers and the “outcasts” of society? In a world where status, wealth, titles, physical appearance and other baseless “qualifications” set the tone on how to treat people we should shift our focus by examining people’s hearts and actions. Life is short so why does tragedy need to occur for people to finally wake up and change? Take a chance and start loving people unconditionally now. For example, if your spouse cheated on you (as difficult as it is) learn to forgive and don’t let anger and pride destroy your marriage, remember that love is the root and the reason that brought you and your spouse together. If a friend or a colleague betrayed you, learn to forgive and extend an olive branch because living in peace although in pain is greater than hate. If you see a homeless person have compassion and buy him a sandwich or a beverage because in their eyes you are their angel. If you see someone being picked on at work or at school, befriend and invite her in even if doing so may severely undermine your reputation. If someone is crying for help, make time to listen, offer him a hug and lend your support. My parents used to tell me “life is an ocean and until you enter someone’s life you’ll never understand nor appreciate the magnitude and depth of that life”. Over the years, I have read numerous self-improvement, leadership and historical books to gain inspiration and enlightenment; however, the positive takeaways from those accounts were always short-lived. Since the sabbatical, I now grasp the essence of unconditional love by having read the story of Jesus Christ. Having accepted Christ into my life exactly two months ago, I’ve made it my purpose to live each day by extending grace, mercy, favor and love to all those around me because unless your life is perfect we all need it sometime.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but a croaking rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, 'jump,' and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere.

So no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

I Corinthians 13:1-3

02/08/2013

Welfare – A Safety Net or a Hammock?

Carli eli

Why is that every time I buy groceries I see another person paying with EBT (electronic benefit transfer) or WIC at the register line? Before I glance at them down from head to toe, I tell myself “relax, I’m sure this person must appear to be in dire need of it and nothing else”. Well was I wrong once again! These so called “poor-folks” have not one but two carts filled to the top with grade “A” meat and brand name food products while me the working taxpayer buys the generic brand and pays with cash. What is wrong with this picture? Time and time again, these are the same people who dress in designer clothes, own the latest smart phone and drink a high-end bottle of tea or juice at a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. http://foodstampguide.org/using-food-stamps/ With food costs rising managing my budget is mandatory and I have no shame in driving to the other side of town where I can get a decent bargain and save some money. This awful recession makes it very difficult to save when my taxes are being raised to expand government entitlements. I’m not opposed to welfare but I do condemn the abuse and corruption that exists within the system especially when I see my tax dollars being spent on strippers and porn shops. http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2013/01/07/your-money-at-work-welfare-cash-spent-on-stripper-booze-and-porn-shops-n1481993 I know people are in need but to label them as poor is ridiculous especially when my eyes have seen real poverty in 3rd world countries. Living without water and electricity, driving on unpaved roads and seeing children sell soap or apples in street corners for 12 hours straight is real poverty and no American can attest to that.

Originally, welfare was created to lift low-income families out of poverty but with lenient regulations currently set in place, corruption and long-term dependency are common symptoms from most of its users. http://www.welfareinfo.org/history/ For far too long I’ve seen welfare abuse and corruption by many so called “single moms” who have 3-5 kids and continue to procreate because to them each kid is an additional check.  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=400023 Where are the fathers or the “sperm donors” of these children and why aren’t they paying for child support? The repetitious statement of many women saying “my baby’s father has left me” continues to fool the legal system and the taxpayer equally; however, no politician has the nerve to put a stop to this madness because it’s not politically correct and God forbid we put people to work and hold them accountable for their actions. Welfare should be an opportunity for many of these moms or dads to set a structure in place so they can liberate themselves from the government’s plantation. For the most part, Hispanics are the most hard-working people in this country and to see the government purposely destroy their entrepreneurial spirit by enticing them with welfare is appalling and disturbing. According to the Gateway Pundit, the Obama administration has been  targeting minorities through TV and radio ads promoting the “benefits” of food stamps http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/07/obama-administration-uses-spanish-soap-operas-to-push-food-stamps-to-illegals-and-us-citizens-video/

I remember growing up in New York, when my family worked hard to put a roof over our head and food on the table and not once did we ever consider going to the government for help. In my family we valued hard work, we lived within our means, we sacrificed and yet we successfully survived to this day. I don’t understand why people on welfare should demand and complain why more isn’t done to meet their requests. The fact that working taxpayers (both blue-collar and white-collar) put food on their table gives them little space to talk and no right to complain. The day an individual can handle their personal affairs with accountability and responsibility will be day they can have a leg to stand on and a voice to be heard.

With our country’s deficit at 16 trillion and growing, our leaders need to be honest in telling us that these entitlements are no longer sustainable and that welfare reform must be mandated immediately. http://www.usdebtclock.org/# In addition to being fiscally responsible, when will justice prevail for hard-working Americans who find themselves powerless when their taxes are being raised for government handouts? For many middle-class families whose paychecks are slashed and their savings extinguished this is the most despicable injustice I’ve ever seen. When retired seniors are considering going back to work just to make ends meet and then you see a perfectly healthy adult living off the taxpayer’s dime makes my stomach turn. When you see the average working parent penny-pinching their family’s expenses while the welfare recipient lives in a luxury home it’s a travesty. The American working class needs to stand up against  politicians and demand their taxes back. Government should obligate welfare recipients to start clocking in their “fair share” of hours worked in the labor force and start paying taxes. 

America is the land of opportunity where one can find freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and contrary to popular belief depending on government entitlements counters those rights. In Genesis Chapter 1 verse 28, God said “Be fruitful, and multiply” not multiply and be the parasite of that fruit.  

 

 

 

 

01/27/2013

5 Ways to Define Success on Your Own Terms

Success2

If you were to strip yourself of titles, job positions and education, what would there be?  Under all those layers of accomplishment would there still be a person considered to be successful?

Society has taken great pains to define success not just by a person’s riches, but by the many accolades an individual possesses. Very often this definition is one-dimensional and equates to material possessions, fancy titles and wads of money.  Think about all of those celebrities who have this and more, yet deep inside suffer from depression, engage in drug abuse and have legal problems.

So how exactly does one define success?  Who determines whether or not you are successful?  Whose validation do you need?  Success means many things to many people and should never be a form of validation by others, but more about how you feel about yourself.  Here are five tips for how best to embrace the meaning of success and help you move forward.

  1. Let Go of Pre-Conditioned Beliefs – Many Latinos have been conditioned either by their families or society (maybe even both) to believe that their heritage is a disadvantage.  What this has done is subconsciously prevented Latinos from dreaming and doing big.  Know that despite those “labels” and prior struggles, you have what it takes to be successful.  Challenge those beliefs.  Challenge yourself.  Find your inner strength and go out and do what it is you want.
  2. Define Success On Your Terms – What does success mean to you?  Answering this question may take some self-examination and deep digging.  Update any prior definition to mean what it should mean to YOU.  Don’t mimic that of someone else’s or let it be defined by others.  We often get caught up with believing that unless we have overcome some tremendous challenges, our success is not as fruitful as someone who has endured hardship.  Everyone has a unique story and when it comes to success we need not compare whose struggles were greater.
  3. Declare Your Success & Envision Yourself There – It is not enough to just “think” about how you want to succeed. Declare it!  Shout it out!  Write it down!  Think about what you have accomplished and what more you’re able to do.  Declaration allows you to see life from a broader perspective, see possibilities and help you understand what you need to change or improve upon.
  4. Break It Down, Set Goals and Create an Action Plan – In order to reach that next level in your life, you have to know what you’re working towards.  You have to set goals.  What are you hungry for?  What do you envision yourself becoming?  How are you going to make it happen?  Answer your questions by making an outline of where you see yourself and creating a timeline.  While you are encouraged to be as clear as possible with those goals, they don’t have to be perfect.  You can always tweak them, but at the very least it will give you a sense of direction.
  5. Fail – Some of the most successful people say that failure has contributed to their success.  The same can hold true for you.  Learn from your failures.  Avoid getting caught up in the all the reasons why you failed.  Analyze the situation, identify the lesson and move on.  The experience of failures makes us smarter, stronger and more than often mad enough to get up off our butts and make the impossible possible.

Our job is not to embrace success in a way that is limited by the conventional definitions spit out by society nor by accolades, but rather by the choice to do exactly what makes us happy.  When you are excited about your existence, challenges and all, success is easier to attain. Success also involves having a positive impact on others and leaving a legacy of leadership.  Whether that is your family, friends, colleagues or a segment of society, inspiring others is truly a testament of success.

I could not finish this piece without adding my perspective of what success means to me.  I first need to share that my goal in life was to emerge from the obscurity and poverty in which I  was born and rise to a state of affluence.  I then wanted to show and encourage others how to do the same.  I did this through education and by taking on some pretty tough jobs as I developed my career in Investment Banking.  To that extent, my definition of success is a mixture of failure, struggle, survival, change of gears, ultimate performance and blood, sweat and tears (literally) – experienced all at the same time.  At the core of my existence is a happy person who is excited about future possibilities.  I don’t compare my success to anyone else’s nor do I go by what someone else thinks.  Neither should you.  Success is a unique journey, not a destination.  It is your journey and therefore can only be formulated, executed and defined by the person whose opinion matters most:  Yours.

 

10/05/2012

Why the Liberal American Woman is the problem

Carli eli

Weeks from a crucial presidential election there’s no question that the women’s vote will have a major impact in deciding who’s our next commander-in-chief. The preposterous, laughable and embarrassing dialogue about the war against women is an insult to the many women around the world who are constantly fighting for their rights or for their lives. At the Democrat National Convention, the obsession with birth control, abortion and the uterus were the staples of the convention’s platform that brought many viewers, including myself wondering who are these women and where are their values?  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dnc-2012-sandra-flukes-speech-at-the-democratic-national-convention-full-text/2012/09/05/891a642a-f7ac-11e1-8253-3f495ae70650_story.html There’s no doubt in my mind, that most of these women who care so much about their uteruses now, didn’t care so much when they philandered their way all throughout college and during their 30s too. Trust me, I remember those college days well and believe me when I tell you a lot of these “ladies” try their hardest to delete those memories from their past by trying to rebuild themselves in the present. Have you ever heard the phrase “a tiger can’t change his stripes?” For a lot of them, well this is true.

If the “uterus” is the common theme to alarm women to get out the vote or at least get them riled up, how about we focus on the numerous women who are victims of rape in South Africa, victims of the sex slave trade in Asia and victims of female genital mutilation in Egypt?  My friends, this is the real war against women and I hope to God these victims never read, hear or watch our ludicrous version of this “war” because its offensive and disrespectful to their trials and tribulations.

The era of the liberal American woman took shape in our country’s politics nearly fifty years ago and its negative repercussions of this movement still affects us today. Promiscuity has replaced decency, sassy has replaced classy and being liberal in every sense of the word is accepted, endorsed, promoted and celebrated because being a conservative will get you expelled from today’s society.  If our family values have diminished, if the divorce rate has escalated exponentially and if fidelity has become a rarity then look no further in putting most of the blame on the liberal, American woman.  It’s no surprise why American women are classified as “easy, selfish and mischievous” overseas.   http://www.examiner.com/article/stereotypes-the-easy-american-girl

Chelsea

When you have TV shows like Sex and the City, The Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives displaying and glorifying women’s behavior without compunction it sends a negative image about our society and sets the example for others to emulate. Just the other day as I was browsing for books at Target, I noticed the very liberal, unhappy, used and abused, alcoholic Chelsea Handler whose books on the shelf promoted her collection of one-night stands.  I immediately thought to myself, what message is she sending to other women or young girls? Do we ever have a liberal woman admitting and regretting her reckless past with the hopes of encouraging other women to not do the same? It’s safe to say the answer is “no” and what worries me the most is that this type of behavior is setting people up to expose themselves into a world of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, unwanted abortions in addition to the damage against the woman’s body and spirit. Why aren’t we protecting that? Two weeks ago, I was verbally attacked by two liberal feminists wearing Code Pink t-shirts because I was distributing Romney bumper stickers at a street festival with my fellow volunteers and I wondered to myself why are they so angry and aggressive? I didn’t let them get to me in fact I told them “have a great day and God bless you!” and then I continued with my task for the remainder of the event. Growing up in a very liberal city like New York with a high population of liberal women is the main reason why I left New York three years ago.  At first, liberal women come across as independent, successful, intelligent, opinionated and self-reliant but once I started finding out who they really are I soon discovered a side of them that led me to question whether or not I wanted to have them as a friend, acquaintance or colleague.  Of course we all have different upbringings, cultures, languages, backgrounds but no matter how different everyone’s lives might be the one thing that usually doesn't falter are the person’s values and I was looking for people whose values closely matched mine. When I saw and heard liberal women expressing their disdain towards marriage, relationships, men and children I immediately begged to differ and for doing so I became a victim of their hurtful vitriol.

When I saw their obsession and worship towards their careers, corner offices, six-figure salaries, designer clothes and lofts instead of their parents, partners, spouses, friends and children that is when I decided to abandon ship. From personal experience, women whose values reflected the statements above were not the best wives or the best mothers because they lacked the patience, the compromise and most importantly the love that glued their family together. Their complaints and resentments as to why their children loved the nanny more or why their husbands gave them the cold shoulder when they arrived home late at night became the common rhetoric from the water cooler to the hallway.  For far too long our society has been taught to believe that being liberal is the ideal way of living one’s life but what they fail to recognize is that in the real world most conservatives live a happier, longer, prosperous, balanced life because our moral compass points due north most of the time.

Recently, a political ad supporting Obama was launched and Hollywood liberals like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Julianne Moore urged voters to support Obama because he supports women’s rights. http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/beyonce-jennifer-lopez-support-president-obama-in-new-campaign-video-2012210 Although I admire their passion for the president and their talent on the big screen, I do not take them or their message seriously. Why you may ask? In my opinion, a person with weak values and character in my book has minimum credibility and influence to convince me about any particular issue. When you have Jennifer Lopez who’s been engaged four times and then invites a boy toy into her home weeks after her divorce, when you have egocentric, materialistic, out-of touch with reality Eva Longoria, when you have Julianne Moore saying that a Republican in office will “set different opportunities and rights for her daughter” represents cynicism at its finest!  Instead of shopping at Rodeo Drive, dining at the Ivy or wearing couture that’s worth more than someone’s rent or mortgage in this country then perhaps they have earned the right to be listened to with veracity and empathy. At the end of the day whether a Republican or Democrat wins in November, these millionaire actresses will not be affected and they will carry on to their next script, concert, record or shopping spree. In our celebrity saturated star-struck society, it’s unfortunate that we look up to these icons for inspiration and enlightenment when we should be looking towards our communities and looking at ourselves in the mirror instead. We all have God-given talents and we all have a purpose to make a positive contribution to this world and as a conservative woman our contribution can be a lot greater when the human heart, body and spirit are connected and balanced simultaneously. If we want to see happier children, spouses, family and friends then it is our duty and obligation to prioritize our values and fulfill them through our words and actions. 

“Woman is the salvation or destruction of the family. She carries its destinies in the folds of her mantle”- HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, journal, Dec. 11, 1872

09/26/2012

Balance Is A Myth!

Yesi Morillo-Gual

In my office is a tall figurine of my favorite super hero:  Wonder Woman.  My staff members gave it to me as a birthday gift.  When I received it, one of them said, "No one can see that cape you have on, but we truly admire how you balance it all".

Daily I manage my career, handle an intense workday, care for two children, and run a small business.  Then around 11 pm or so, I try and get in some work for my doctorate dissertation.

Like many women with similar loads, I get asked how I manage to "balance it all".  I too have asked the question of others, both men and women.  Every single person eludes that this demon called "balance" can actually be tamed.  

It can't.  Balance is a myth.  Bull.  A fallacy.

A perfect day at work means no drills, drama or interruptions, and I get to eat at a reasonable time in a relaxed setting. On the really good days, I may get to the gym.  Home is also easy.  We get through homework, dinner and everything else smoothly while still having time to relax and get to bed at a descent hour.

Ha!  There are no perfect days. Each day is unique in delivery and challenges. I hardly get to eat at a descent hour, sometimes not at all.  There's always some urgent matter, a fire drill, people behaving badly and many things beyond my control.

What stays constant however, is my approach:  I don't expect, nor do I strive, to be balanced. Instead I work on prioritizing, staying flexible and focused, and not sweating the small things.

We have all bought into the concept that we can only be successful if we learn to balance; yet in the process of attempting to balance we drive ourselves into insanity, overwhelming guilt and just plain exhaustion.  The more we force ourselves to be balanced, the more challenging it gets.

Here are a few things that may work, not for balance, but rather for building a strong sense of accomplishment and a life where you're productive and robustly active in all that you do.

  1. Schedule Your Day - Make a to do list but don't overload it without a thousand things.  Instead try to carve out what your day can look like, leaving room for those unexpected interruptions.  If you find that you're left with some time (probably rare), use it to prepare yourself for the next day.  Personally, I make a list of the top five things I wish to accomplish in the coming week so I can stay focused on what needs to be done.
  2. Schedule "Me" Time - This sounds almost ridiculous, but I have to put "Lunch" on my to do list, in order to mentally recognize that I need to eat.  Do the same for any activity that helps you destress and refocus.  From getting a manicure to working out, it’s important to disconnect from the hustle or you will soon crash.
  3. Prioritize and Delegate - We waste a lot of time doing things that are not important, because we simply get distracted or engaged with someone else's problems.  Before you jump on the unexpected make sure you know why you're doing it.  Don't be afraid to push back.  Take a closer look at your responsibilities.  Is there anything that can be outsourced or given to staff?  Women are not good with having others do things for them, and as such, take on more than they should.
  4. Get Rid of The Guilt - In the past, if I missed a day of work, or an event at school I would carry the burden of having disappointed someone for days.  Let it go!  It is never your intent to be absent, but sometimes the unexpected has to be addressed.  I may miss a game but I've never missed a championship, graduation or performance and when I am there, I am fully present.
  5. Say No and Set Boundaries - Others can be quick to dump on us, or we often raise our hands for projects we simply have no time for.  Every time you say yes to one more thing, you are saying no to your priorities.  Let people know what you're willing to do and what you're not.  Never allow anyone to make plans with your time, space or money.  People tend to assume that because you're capable they can commit you without permission.
  6. Talk To Your Family - My children and husband understand my job (well just a little), my business and why I am seeking a PhD.  They are always willing to chip in and help.  Whether it's letting me sleep a little longer or helping around the house, our motto is "We're doing this together because your success is OUR success".  I respect and do the same for what's important to them.
  7. Ask For Help - Women in general are nourishers and the first to raise their hands to save the world, yet, are too prideful to say they need help.  It's okay to ask.  Never see it as a sign of weakness or inability.  You don't have to do and be it all.   
  8. Embrace Reality - Don't think about how hard it is, but rather how accomplished you will be.  Anything worth accomplishing is worth working hard for.  Roll Up your sleeves.  Quit complaining.  Suck it up.  Get moving.
  9. Stay Positive - It's easy to feel beat up by the end of a tough day.  We can start again tomorrow.  If your day goes bad, have some wine, put on some comedy and destress.  Vent with a friend or find any other positive outlet.  Try your best to discuss and let it go.
  10. Set Goals - If you know what you're working towards, and how you're going to accomplish it, setting priorities and staying focused becomes easier.  Embrace your higher purpose.

I will probably get asked time and time again, how I balance.  My response:  "I don't balance.  I live in the moment, with a higher purpose in mind, while prioritizing, staying flexible and doing the very best I can.

Your peace of mind comes not from attempting to balance, but rather from doing the very best you can.

09/10/2012

Why Immigration Might be the Salvation for America

Carli eli

With the presidential election less than 70 days away it’s just a matter of time when the heavily contested topic of immigration will be debated by political parties to persuade potential constituents and voters. In the end, whether or not laws are reformed or introduced the action itself will significantly impact the people but more importantly the future of the United States. 

If you’re a world traveler like I am then you will immediately agree that the hardships in a 2nd or 3rd world country have taught many of their citizens to confront life with a keen sense of survival, work ethic and sacrifice. The old cliché “I came to America with zero dollars in my pocket” really isn’t a cliché after all, it’s actually the modus operandi for many immigrants that come to the United States.  Of course, there are exceptions to this rule and for those that come here to exploit the American taxpayer and mooch off I will not support you or your lifestyle.  What type of immigrant should America welcome and retain? Well, how about the talented and gifted A+ students who dream of becoming doctors, engineers and neonatal nurses? Unfortunately, for many of these overachievers their illegal status is getting in the way of their success. 

IMG_1769

For example, not too long ago I was honored to attend the 2nd Annual Dream Scholarship Award Ceremony hosted by the Dream Project-VA and perhaps after you know more about its purpose your thoughts on immigration may change.  The Dream Project-VA http://www.dreamproject-va.com/ is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing scholarships for talented students who pursue a college degree or a higher education. In order to be considered for this award, each student must exemplify excellence in academic achievement, leadership and community service. Even though the fourteen Hispanic students had a very unique and inspirational story about overcoming their challenges the one thing they all had in common was their gratitude towards America and their desire to contribute to their community. Each individual’s bio on the event program, started with, “I was born in Buenos Aires/Bolivia/ Colombia and I came to the United States as a child because my parents thought I could have a better life and opportunity; however, my journey has been difficult because I am not a US citizen”. Financial hardships and limited opportunities usually accompany most immigrants whether they are legal or illegal. Interestingly enough the one thing they can relate to is their resiliency and perseverance for success or survival.  Ever wonder why some immigrants with limited English do a lot better than a 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation American? Perhaps their strong work ethic, living within their means ideology and their unyielding focus and determination are the secrets to their success. Instead of being on the victimization bandwagon, maybe it’s time Americans should take lessons and start applying it themselves. Our country is in a national state of a financial and an educational emergency and the moment  to take action is now.  With the national debt reaching 16 trillion dollars http://www.usdebtclock.org/  and where our educational ranking in math is 25th in the world, http://broadeducation.org/about/crisis_stats.html

this country needs to be run like a shop. I’m not an economist or a politician just a regular citizen who’s concerned with the direction my country is headed and what we should do to get it back on track. As a pragmatist, here’s my solution to the immigration issue and why I think every person citizen or non-citizen should be vetted for in America, yes I said vetted. First and foremost, we must remind ourselves that being an American is an honor, a blessing and a privilege because America is the only country on earth that stands for freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and as Americans we should never take that for granted. 

If I had to define the “ideal” American for example someone I would want as my neighbor, my client, my teacher or leader, I suggest they match my code

1) pay your taxes,

2) don’t commit heinous crimes,

3) you are an entrepreneurial or productive individual who’s an asset not a burden to the economy/country and

4) respects our culture, history and learns the English language.

If there are immigrants from any part of the globe either legal or illegal who meet these tenets I think this country should do whatever they can to facilitate the paperwork for them to stay here. With that being said we also need to vet every American citizen, US born and naturalized. There’s no sense in having US citizens living here if they are unpatriotic, been on welfare for decades, commit heinous crimes or don’t pay taxes. For those who commit multiple infractions, we should install a system of reversal citizenship. Yes, reversal like your citizenship status will be demoted from a citizen, to a green-card status, to a worker’s permit to eventually an outright self-deportation via a one-way first-class ticket to your country of choice. Millions of people would risk all their savings and even their lives to have a shot at the brass ring in America. These Hispanic students are no exception and for those who may be in a similar predicament they should be considered to stay here as well.  Our country needs all the talent we can get in order to catch up with the rest of the world and perhaps this is a starting point to get our domestic human resources up to par. Here’s to our future and may the bright and talented take us there. 

"Remember, the saddest thing in life is wasted talent. You could have all the talent in the world but if you don't do the right thing, then nothing happens. But when you do right, guess what? Good things happen." Memorable quotes for A Bronx Tale

 

07/30/2012

Puma moms- The Latin version of the Tiger Mom

Carli eliIn my field of work where I am exposed to working with the community all the time,I get excited every time I see Latina moms establishing their authority between themselves and their children. It takes me back to when I was a child and it was crystal clear who was boss in our household. In the Latino culture, we practice old-school values of respecting our elders and to never question, negotiate or demand in an aggressive, vulgar or disrespectful tone at risk of getting a “chanclaso”. According to urbandictionary.com, a “chanclaso” is an Hispanic term used when a flip-flop is tossed on your head as a form of disciplinary action the minute you crossed the line. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chanclaso Ask any Latino what that is and they will start off with a personal story of their own. Nowadays with so many regulations, laws and political correctness in our communities, “spanking” or being strict with your kids has been eradicated as an instrumental form of parenting. Unfortunately, this leaves many parents frustrated in child rearing because they fear that 1) the police may get involved or 2) fear of being ostracized in public by other adults or parents because disciplining your kids is “uncool” in our laissez-faire hip and modern society.

What are parents to do when their child is an unruly one? Is “time out” really effective for a child with a rebellious and difficult personality?http://www.parenting.org/article/time-out-guidelines-parents  Now let me be clear that I’m not in favor or support of abuse of anyone much less of a child but I do support and believe that parents have the absolute right to practice corporal punishment against their children in their homes. With so many kids who are taught in school to call 911 should their parents lay a hand on them, many parents refrain from doing so and the power ultimately lies within the child. Perhaps if corporal punishment was brought back into the home and in the school we wouldn’t see so many kids engage in unruly and abusive behavior against their peers and against their elders. In my opinion, all people need discipline and children are no exception and when done correctly the outcomes of a happy, healthy, structured, self-controlled child is often the result. Discipline, setting expectations and challenging children is the ideal model to raise stable, confident, dignified citizens of the world. Recently, I finished reading Amy Chua’s book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in which she reveals the secrets to her daughters’ success credited to her tough Chinese style of parenting and as a Latina I wholly applaud, endorse and promote her leadership as a woman and mother. http://amychua.com/  I remember when her book was released, many American moms criticized Amy for her tough stance and dismissed the practice of being a “Tiger Mother”, and I asked myself why the criticism if Amy’s daughters were highly successful? The establishment of rigorous, academic and extracurricular standards followed by high expectations allowed her daughters Sophia and Lulu to be accepted to play at Carnegie Hall and to study at Harvard and Yale. After reading this book, I asked my own mother “why weren’t you stricter with me as a child”?

Don’t get me wrong, 13 years in a Catholic school with already strict, conservative parents was enough to handle but at the end of the day I was an Honor roll student and a decent athlete; however, looking back I wish I could of done more! Had my parents demanded more of me perhaps I could have had an opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall or something similar with significant achievement or value. As a daughter, I am blessed to have had two amazing parents who have done everything in their power to raise me as a solid human being and professional.Values such as respect, character and dignity followed by love and a great education has allowed me to be the woman I am today. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many of our young Hispanics whose futures are bleak due to the alarming ropout high school rate. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 15% of Hispanic students are dropping out compared to 4% of Asian-American students. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16 Could this be attributed because Tiger mothers in Asian households are more stringent and exigent with their cubs? I think so and imagine what Latino moms can accomplish if they take a few notes and put this philosophy into practice? As Latinas, we should channel our love, our resiliency and our determination to strive towards excellence for ourselves as well as for our children. Because we value hard work and family so much, I think our time is now to be the new feline of the pack known as the “Puma mom”. I’m not an expert, not yet a mother but one thing is certain when that day finally comes, you’re looking at one!

A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary. -Dorothy Canfield Fisher

 

07/20/2012

E-mail and Modern Manners

LourdesI think it’s safe to say that most of us in the business world rely heavily on e-mail communication – and tons of it.  For some, it’s a primary source of communication and interaction with employees, clients, and other business associates.

As a communications professional who is constantly communicating with people throughout several time zones, e-mail is critical to my business.  Like many of you, I personally write and respond to more e-mails a day than make phone calls or meet people in person.  According to The Radicati Group, Inc Marketing Research Firm, the average number of emails sent and received per day is 192 (for the record, today I received 317 e-mails and probably responded to about 60% of those). It’s a job on its own.

With so much of our daily communication dependent on the magic of e-mail, I started thinking about what makes a good e-mail and why some e-mails just don’t receive the intended responses and reactions. After all, I see e-mails that run the gamut from short, sweet, brief, very specific, disorganized, unclear, exciting, disheartening, happy, “winky” and sometime downright rude.  Could a little e-mail etiquette be in order?  

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind from a person who certainly sends and receives plenty of e-mails on a daily basis.

To start off, I think it’s okay to splash an email with a little personality.  After all, if I’m reading about 300 of these a day, I want at least some of them to entertain me or make me smile. But you do have use your judgment and decide whether it’s the appropriate time and audience. If you are not sure, err on the side of caution and keep it on the straight and narrow.

Before you get started, ask yourself why you're sending this email. What's the purpose? What’s the intended response from the recipient? Sounds simple enough, but if you really think about it this way, it should help you organize your thoughts.

At minimum, all e-mails should always have:

  • A subject line that is relevant to what you are addressing in the e-mail
    • Make it easy for the person you are emailing to be able to reference this e-mail
      later. Chances are the message will get lost if you combine a separate request into
      another topic’s email chain.
  • A greeting
    • Consider the formality of the greeting based on who you are communicating with. For those who also work with international clients, keep in mind which country this person is from. Avoid any slang or informal greetings to maintain a professional tone.
    • A simple “hello”, “hi”, or “hola” will help set a positive tone
  • A purpose and full description of why you are writing

    • If you are forwarding a document or email, don’t make the recipient work to figure
      out what you are trying to say or request.
    • Be nice.  Use “please” and “thank you” and avoid any negative innuendos or accusations.If you have a gripe with someone, take it offline. Chances are that if
      you send an email with a negative tone, you will receive negative response, and
      things can escalate from there.
  • A gracious response for any information that may have been sent to you

    • Even if you did not receive exactly what you wanted, always be sure to be
      appreciative of that person’s time and efforts. And, yes, go ahead and ask
      again for what you really want (but nicely).
    • When asking someone for something, you should also always include a due date (specify time zones, if necessary) and include as much information as possible about what you are requesting so that it is easier for that person to the complete the task in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
  • A courteous sign off

    • If there is something to be thankful about, make sure to include a “thanks!” Some of my personal favorite sign offs include “Best” and “Regards.”

Just remember that the majority of the people who you make contact with on a daily basis will respond to you in either a positive or negative way based on a written piece of electronic communication, so be nice, be clear about what you need, say thank you, give a deadline, and of course always spell check.

Now, hit SEND!

I’d love to hear about your best and worst e-mails.  Please comment below or Tweet me
@lourdesmateo

04/27/2012

The unheard voice of infertility: A Latina’s story

(CNN) – My mother, a Cuban immigrant, had three expectations of me as a child:  To graduate from college, get married and become a mother. So far, I have fulfilled two of them. I became a high school teacher and a wife, but at 40-years-old have yet been able to conceive a child. It is an awful predicament to experience: the stigma of infertility plus the expectations - from my Latino family and community– to become a mother. Being the only Latina in your family without children makes you feel ashamed and isolated.  Watching your friends experience the joy of motherhood leaves you feeling empty and forgotten. As a Latina isn’t it my God-given right to be a mami?

Learn more…

 

04/26/2012

My First Job: Fledging Reporter, Internal Ethical Dilemma

I remember it was November of 1995 when I got the call from the People Magazine Miami Bureau Chief to skip my next few days of class, trek down from Gainesville to South Florida and assist them on a story. I was finishing up my last semester in college after interning at the popular national magazine the summer prior. That summer I had not only snagged the distinction for being the only Spanish-speaking reporter in the bureau in Miami – yes you read correctly – but I was the only intern during that three-month stint who had worked on a national cover story (the sudden death of budding model Krissy Taylor).

With only one month before to go until graduation and no pending job offers, I gladly agreed to jump on a 10-row commuter airplane and head to my hometown. After all, they needed me!  Yes, it was because I was a good journalist but more importantly because I was Latina and spoke Spanish – critical attributes the editors in New York had concluded were necessary to land the breaking story.  Just the day before, Maryling Flores, a 13-year-old 8th grader of Nicaraguan descent, and 14-year-old Christian Davila, another 8th grader, whose parents were Mexican, had reportedly held hands in the wee hours of a November Sunday morning and leapt into a 15-foot deep canal. Neither one could swim. They were found two days later.

It was a terrible tragedy yet in the journalism business misfortune, disaster, and heartbreak sells. So it was my task, along with a fellow reporter, to attend the funerals of these modern-day Romeo and Juliet lovers, whose parents had forbade them to see each other, and persuade family and friends to open their hearts and lives to us in the wake of such immense grief.  I wrestled with the assignment. It was my opportunity to shine at the magazine but at what expense, I thought? They buried the teens together and as the girl’s mother sobbed and collapsed into the arms of family members at the graveside, I was placing business cards on the windshields of the mourners’ cars – scribbled on the back with words to coax them to speak with me.

With the magazine going to press a day and half later, we didn’t have much time to convince these families to speak with us about their children. In the end, we had to develop a write- around piece about the tragedy using quotes from other sources and news reports.  A few days later, I was still reeling from the whole experience, when Maryling’s father, Marlon, called me. He was ready to speak with me now about his daughter.  Unfortunately, the editors in New York had already moved on to other stories for the next issue, so I had to find some way to kindly tell this man, who had just lost his only daughter the week before, that we would not be doing another story.

Almost 17 years later, I think about this man, these families, these lovesick teenagers, whose lives affected mine and strangely enough helped my career when I was starting out. I am grateful that our lives intersected but still feel guilty that I somehow gained when they had lost.

I share this story for several reasons.  For me, this is a classic example of how being Latina, bilingual and understanding the Hispanic culture made me a unique asset for a multi-million dollar company, but it is also testament to the  difficult choices and compromises we, as fledgling professionals, often have to make in order to advance our career.  We may not always want to highlight such situations and explain how we may have leveraged our uniqueness to move ahead but we should acknowledge its power and harness it for the greater good.

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20102211,00.html

 

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