20 signs you’re succeeding in life even when you don’t feel like it.

success 2Some days, it’s tempting to look at ourselves and think we haven’t amounted to much, haven’t gotten very far, or haven’t accomplished very much in life. Yes, I guarantee those days will come when we feel defeated in the midst of pursuing our goals and feel the weight of our failures behind us. In the big scheme of life, success isn’t often what we imagine it to be – it doesn’t always have to be tangible like being the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, earning a six-figure income, or even having a family of 10. Sometimes, success is in who we’ve become, and who we’re becoming. It’s our outlook, attitude, and reactions to life that’ll define who we are and ultimately, determine our success in life.

©2014 Susie Lee

20 signs you’re succeeding in life even when you don’t feel like it:

1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be.
Drama is not maturity. As we age, we should develop maturity. So maybe your relationships were drama-filled in your past, but if you have moved beyond that, then you are successful.

2. You are not afraid to ask for help and support any more.
Asking for help does not equal weakness. In fact, it is strength. No person has ever succeeded in isolation. It takes teamwork to accomplish goals. Asking or help is a sign that you have grown as a person.

3. You have raised your standards.
You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.

4. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good.
No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love is success.

5. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror.
Ideally, you should appreciate who you see in the mirror at every moment. But even if that doesn’t happen, if you do it more than you used to, then that is success. Love yourself. You are awesome.

6. You have learned that setbacks and failure are part of self-growth.
Not everyone can have success 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic. Life is about victories and losses. So look at your setbacks as stepping-stones to something better. In reality, there really is no such thing as setback. It’s all just part of a wondrous journey.

7. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.
If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who only pretend that they do, then you have succeeded. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal, you can stay away from those people.

8. You don’t complain much.
Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you really have gone through some horrific life experience and had unimaginable losses, most of what we all experience on a day-to-day basis is just mundane. And successful people know that. And they live in a space of gratitude.

9. You can celebrate others’ successes.
Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.

10. You have passions that you pursue.
You are not stagnant. You know you have something wonderful to contribute to the world. You have unique talents and gifts. Not only do you know that, you pursue it.

11. You have things to look forward to.
If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.

12. You have goals that have come true.
Even though “failures” are a part of life, you have stuck to your goals and dreams long enough to make them come to fruition. You have some tastes of victory. It fuels you.

13. You have empathy for others.
A person without empathy is dead inside. Empathy equals spreading love and positive energy into the world. Successful people know this. They love others as if they are family.

14. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.
Love is risky, and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection. If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, then you are successful.

15. You refuse to be a victim.
You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.

16. You don’t care what other people think.
You know you can’t please everyone. You know that the standard with which society judges people is many times unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.

17. You always look on the bright side.
Life can be full of disappointments – if you choose to see them that way. Otherwise, they are learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.

18. You accept what you can’t change.
Let’s face it – there many things you can’t change in life. All you can change is how you view what happens. If you can change your negative perspective on situations to a positive one, then you are successful.

19. You change what you can.
And let’s face it again – there are many things you can change in life. Successful people don’t sit around accepting the negatives that are changeable. They get out there and do something about it!!

20. You are happy.
To me, this is the ultimate definition of success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is, or how many fancy vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life. Even if you don’t see yourself in many of these 20 things, don’t fret. It’s okay. Be happy that you see yourself in just a few. In time, the rest will come. You just need to keep moving onward and upward.

Written by Carol Morgan

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success indicator

Success 12

160 Creative ideas to keep summer affordable. No excuses, get out there & have fun!

swimMy Korean name means ‘summer’ or ‘sunshine’, and fitting for me as summer used to be my favourite season when I was younger. One of my fondest childhood memories was spending the whole day at the beach with my family. We’d either have a Korean BBQ or get a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken with a bag of Okanagan peaches, cherries, or watermelon. I loved being in my bathing suit all day long – feeling the warm air against my skin, swimming in the ocean, and slowly drying off in the hot sun. My summer days were long, relaxed, and carefree – full of freedom and simplicity. At the end of the day, I’d usually fall asleep on the car ride home and climb straight into bed with my swim suit, still feeling the radiant warmth from my sun parched skin.

I’ve learned some of the best experiences in life are free and simple. Here are a few creative ideas to keep your summer affordable. No excuses, get out there and have fun!

summer list

summer definition©2014 Susie Lee

Nourish Your Soul with Alex Cuba

alexFor the last few days I’ve been listening to Alex Cuba’s music nonstop. I discovered him last Saturday as I was walking through the park and heard his beautiful voice. My soul was immediately drawn to his soothing voice and his rhythm moved deep within me. I quickly made my way to the outdoor concert and nudged my way through the crowd to see who this talented singer was. For the rest of the night, I stood there in awe as my soul was nourished by his music. I hope it speaks to yours as well.

Here are my 3 favourite Alex Cuba songs (click on the title to listen to them):

Solo Tu
De Manera Que
Unanime (I couldn’t find a good music video on this – you’ll just have to listen to it on iTunes)

©2014 Susie Lee

Heartwarming Stories: Small Acts of Kindness.

Today, I want to share with you a few of my favourite heartwarming stories. Often, giving of ourselves (and of our time) is worth more than giving of things. May we recognize opportunities to show kindness and to never underestimate the impact our small gestures can make in someone’s life – it can even be life changing.

©2014 Susie Lee

A NYC Taxi driver wrote…

ladyI arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.

‘Oh, I don’t mind’, she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.’

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left’, she continued in a soft voice.’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said.

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy’, she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

The Story of Kyle

man

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.”

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up, and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. So I jogged over to him, and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.

I helped him pick up his books and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before, but we talked all the way home, and I carried his books.

He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes.

We hung out all weekend, and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

On graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech, so I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach — but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.” I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture, you can change a person’s life.

Ugly the Cat

cat

Everyone in the apartment complex where I lived knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and shall we say, love.

The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye and where the other should have been was a hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner.

Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby, striped type, except for the sores covering his head, neck and even his shoulders. Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. “That’s one UGLY cat!!!”

All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave.

Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around your feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor’s huskies. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly’s sad life was almost at an end.

Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front. As I picked him up and tried to carry him home, I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. I must be hurting him terribly, I thought.

Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear – Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying, was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned one golden eye towards me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion.

At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly. Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful .

He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply. To give my total to those I cared for.

Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for me, I will always try to be Ugly.

Self Care in Crisis Mode

Self careLife can be challenging with deadlines, needs, and our own expectations. It can be unpredictable with what it throws our way, what our days look like, or how the people in our lives behave. But when we neglect to take care of ourselves, especially in the midst of crisis, we’ll eventually wear ourselves out to the point that even the simplest task can look monumentally impossible. We may even experience a nervous breakdown where we cry and scream in anger, and it’s ok if that happens. It doesn’t mean we’re weak, broken, or worthless – it’s just our body’s way of releasing the accumulated stress in our bodies like a pressure cooker releasing its steam. But once we release our angst and anxiety, it’s important not to stay in that place for too long – we’re just meant to be visitors passing through, not be permanent residents. Here are 5 simple ways we can take care of ourselves before, during, or after a breakdown:

  1. SLEEP: This alone will do wonders for our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It’s perhaps the only time where we consciously and subconsciously let go. We’ll usually function and cope better after a deep uninterrupted sleep.
  1. EAT: Our body needs nutrients to keep the immune system strong, ward off sickness, and keep our mind alert in making better choices. Especially during crisis mode, it’ll help to stabilize our emotions and balance our hormones. Replenish the body with healthy food choices and drink lots of water to remove any toxins.
  1. SUPPORT: No man is an island, have a few key people to lean on during this time – either talk it out, take a break from worries to have fun, or be in the quiet company of them.
  1. REST: Throughout the day either take a nap or a *tea break. Close your eyes, be still, and listen to your breathing. *I suggest staying away from caffeinated beverages as it may rattle your nerves.
  1. LET GO: Most times, our stress and internal turmoil are self-induced. Learn to recognize and let go of misplaced responsibilities, self-imposed expectations, letting others down, or what you think others want you to be. Learn to say ‘no’ to people’s request and also, to yourself – you don’t have to get anything done, it can wait.

May we find simplicity, perspective, and peace in our journey.

©2014 Susie Lee

40 Ways to Stay Creative

Creativity has usually come to me in times of relaxation, collaboration with others, and a change in my routine. Being creative exercises our mental health but it’s, also, beneficial to our overall well being. As our creative juices begin to flow, it helps us to think outside the box and see endless possibilities beyond ourselves. The result of our creativity will ignite our passion, boost our self-confidence, and increase our energy. Here are 40 simple ways to stay creative at work, home, and play.

©2014 Susie Lee

40 ways creativePoster credit: Layerform

 

Helpful Tips to Being Around Critical People

At some point in our lives, we’re going to meet people who have the tendency to highlight the negative things in life. Depending on our tolerance gauge, it might be hard to listen to their criticisms and not take it to heart. But as challenging as they may be, we can never really blame them for making us feel (or not feel) a certain way. We’re responsible for our reactions and emotions – we have the power to let them affect us. Here are a few tips to remember when we’re with the critical thinkers of our lives:

critical

©2014 Susie Lee