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If you can't go to Morocco, bring Morocco to you.
Hello Pilgrims, Long time, no see. I haven't really been traveling because of a pandemic and I've been trying to minimize unnecessary travel. Over the last year, I've gotten settled back in the US. At the top of 2020, I had a grande idea to go to Morocco for my birthday. Then there was COVID. So,I pushed the celebration back to 2021 because surely, I overestimated how quickly our governments/societies could get a handle on this thing. (I've never lived through a pandemic before, please excuse my ignorance.) I even tried to 'silver lining' this thing and say now I can celebrate my Golden Birthday in Morocco and make a celebration of it. For those of you who don't know, a 'Golden Birthday' is the celebration of the age that corresponds with your birthday. So if you were born on the 5th, your 5th birthday is your Golden birthday. If you were born on the 26th, then your 26th birthday is your Golden Birthday. Legend has it that the year following your Golden Birthday is supposed to be lucky... Verdicts still out on that. As birthday 2021 got closer and closer, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to go to Morocco (again -_-). I let go of those aspirations and said, 'Okay, maybe next year'. I then had an 'aha' moment. I asked myself 'why not?'. Why can't I still celebrate my Golden Birthday? Everything else has been virtual this year, why not a birthday celebration. I reached out to my friends and kinda organised a celebration at the last minute. I sent out some quick Save the Date RSVPs to give attendees enough time to schedule me in. After I got a response from the attendees, I added them to a calendar invite from which I would send periodic updates about the festivities (that I was still planning). The objective of the evening was for us to have a Moroccan immersion. So, the main event was us to do a virtual guided cooking, and then eat what we had a couple of jokes, and ended. I decided, since a lot of my friends don't regularly have Moroccan cuisine, let alone cook it, that they probably have to go out and purchase all of the ingredients. I thought it would be a goodwill gesture to send them the nonperishables instead of having my friends go on a scavenger hunt for the virtual immersion. I didn't have time to get the ingredients to Australia, but I found solace in knowing my Aussie friends are foodies and have a lot more access to the ingredients. I've never been to Morocco and I wanted to do this as accurately as possible. I did a lot of research for it (I also was an event planner and a former life). I was able to come up with a couple of icebreakers and virtual trivia for as entertainment during the evening. I also researched a couple of recipes, sent them out the recipe cards two weeks beforehand. I also sent out the nonperishable parcels to the US attendees who RSVP'd. The evening of the event. I was cooking in my kitchen. The main recipes for the evening was a lamb Tagine and couscous. For dessert, there was a simple preparation of oranges and cinnamon. I had a lovely friend James who is a chef, out of Miami who has his own personal catering business called Solful Kitchen Creations . He was gracious enough to host the guided cooking portion of night. I have another friend Stephen, who has his own career as an creator, and he's actually written and directed for the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. And he generously offered to assist with the trivia portion of the evening. I was a little bit nervous about all of my friends getting together. Not that they aren't all amazing people, but because when I travel, I get to know a different part of myself. I'm in a new environment where no one knows me an I learn so much about myself. Having these people who know me in different iterations of my life, come together I was wondered how the different parts of me would reconcile. Apparently I had nothing to worry about. Because all of my friends had nothing but compliments to say about each other, which is great because I was worried they wouldn't get along. But also, I guess I've told everybody about my zombie apocalypse survival strategy, so that was a nice joke. Also made me realize that my secret survival plans aren't very much a secret. Lol What can I say? I want all my friends to be prepared. (Meet you at the rendezvous point ;) ). Joking. ...or am I? During the event actually had a lot of people to RSVP, and that made me feel very special but it was also a little bit stressful because I had to coordinate for all these people and make sure that they are all informed and entertained throughout the event so I created a calendar that sent off the prepackaged non perishables to the American peoples, and to start the event. It started at 6pm Eastern Standard Time, We were across three time zones 14 cities and 17 attendees, And we opened the evening with our "arrival" As an icebreaker, there was a little slideshow of US landing at the Marrakech airport. Once we all congregated we took turns saying where we were all "flying in from", what our favorite travel tips are and where we want to go next. I would say my friends warmed up really quickly with it. We got some really good travel tips from our travel friends network. The main event of the evening, James lead with a prep for this evening's meals. As we waited for the food to cook, Stephen lead us through some trivia. It was really funny to hear my friends take their best guesses about Morocco. I asked questions that you would know the answers to if you lived or explored Morocco. The people who had been to Morocco before they were kind of the team leads. And so it was fun to see alliances formed based off of who'd been to Morocco before. It was a lot of genuine laughs. As I talked to my friends post event, they all enjoyed themselves (my biggest concern). Funnily enough, all of my friends actually were curious about each other. My American friends were curious about my Australian friends. My Australian friends were curious about my American friends. It was really interesting for them to finally have a face to the names and the stories that I tell. It was very cool experience, because, you know, short of me getting married, I don't know when any of these people would be in the same room ever again. So, I definitely thought that was very special and probably one of the few times that my friends have overlapped like that. #NomadProblems I still feel sad that I wasn't able to actually go to Morocco, but in the grand scheme of everything that's happened in the last year and a half, I know that this is small potatoes for me to be concerned about. I still throw them into at my birthday I'm very glad that I created an alternative action. And if you guys haven't seen the YouTube video. Please check it out. It's a lot more details about the event, and I spent a lot of time editing that because I'm so rusty. All right friends. Thanks again, hopefully I have some more updates for you soon. And until next time, Pella
Is it too soon to look back at 2020?
Oh hey pilgrims, How are you? Longtime no sojourn. I've did my best to reclaim 2020 and have had a lot of personal developments (including starting a business). I haven't been doing much traveling so I haven't had much to update you on. As people get back to traveling, borders start opening up, and people are adjusting to a new normal, I thought that it would be a good opportunity to look back at 2020. Boy, was it a crazy year, is it too soon to look back at it? Oh well, we're doing it anyway. If you don't follow me on Instagram, you should. I give opportunities you pilgrims to be a part of the journey and be featured in posts. This and the next two posts were opened up to my fellow pilgrims via Insta Stories. These are my TFFs from different locations that they want to answer a few questions about how 2020 was for them in their respective countries. Introducing (some of) my TFFs: As most of you know, last year I was in Australia on my working holiday visa and on my own journey of self-reflection when tragedy struck. I was living the 'que sera' life enjoying the freedom that comes with travel... Which is all fine and dandy until a global pandemic hits and you are literally across the world alone and without a plan. That freedom suddenly felt like a free fall. Covid-19 began to spread at a disastrous rate and I couldn't count on anything. So much was out of my control-- I hated it. I mean, that 'what ever will be, will be" is still true, but as we move forward, what have we learned from last year? I thought it would be a good time to look back at how 2020 shook us up and how we will move forward from here. Until Next Time, Pella
Pilgrims! We made it! Can I say that I’m so glad we are here? I can remember when we started and there was some hesitation to commit yourselves to a challenge for 12 weeks. For those of you who are just now joining my journey, no worries. Many of the tasks can be quickly executed. I broke down my birthday ritual to a really slow pace for those among us for whom this is a new experience. For the sake of 2020 ReFocus challenge I did reorder some of the steps. I arranged them in a way that flowed logically. Now that you have been introduced to these concepts, you can always remix the order in a way that is most beneficial to you. 1) Focus – Deciding what you want. Set your SMART Goals 2) Insight – Reflecting on your motivations. Understanding why you want these things. Appreciating all you have. 3) Perception – Understanding how your unique life experience shape how you perceive things. 4) Scope - Establishing the context of your goals. 5) Examine – Understanding your strengths and weaknesses and finding the tools to help you. 6) ReFocus - Adjusting your vision based on the progress that you have made. 7) ReView – Reviewing all of your progress so far. Honing any concepts that previously escaped you. 8) Target - Putting in the work. Executing the plan and vision. 9) Perspective – Evaluating how your position can impact the opportunities you see. 10) Illusion – Removing any self-defeating habits or ideologies. Overcoming any limitations imposed upon yourself. 11) Hindsight – Looking back on the progress that you have made. Appreciating the journey and forgiving yourself any missteps you have previously taken. Not going to lie. There were times when updating this blog week to week was a challenge (see what I did there?). I kept at it though. This was definitely a lesson in patience. I am used to knocking things out in one fell swoop. For this challenge as I promised I would give updates in real time, required routine and consistency. When I started this challenge, I didn’t know where it would lead. When I decided to do this challenge I was still living in Melbourne with a fast-approaching visa expiration, and I was at a loss for what to do next. I really wanted to continue traveling, but every country I made plans to go to closed their doors. Finally, I stopped resisting and booked my flight to America. When I left Melbourne, I was focused on avoiding the Rona on my 42 hour sojourn back to the States. I was fortunate enough to have a place to quarantine and regroup for a few months upon my arrival. Since I was returning to a very different circumstance that when I left, I wasn’t sure of what the next steps would be. I was coming back from abroad to find a job in a down economy with more than 20 million people unemployed. My background is in hospitality, which is one of the hardest-hit industries. I didn’t know what to expect. I was fortunate to have several opportunities come to me in my time back in the states, including finding employment really fast. With all of the readjustments, it has been a major effort of mine to keep updating regularly and not let this fall to the back burner. I won’t lie. 2020 has still been throwing some really doozies at me, but as with this challenge I have had to focus on the things within my control. Next week is a bye-week. A weekend where I won’t give you another task, but I hope that you are still consistently working on your routine and your goals. The following week will be the SUMMIT!!! I’m very excited to talk with all of you. Until Next Time, Pella
Hindsight and Regret: Break the Cycle.
Hello pilgrims Welcome back. How crazy is this year? Anyone remember when the world thought Kim Jong –un died? NASA basically confirmed UFOs, Beyoncé sent boxes to her clique, people lost their minds over Popeye’s chicken sandwiches. That was all this year. I'm sure, I’m not the only one who wished they knew at the top of the year, what they know now. But as they say... Hindsight is 20/20 (or 2020 in our case). That’s the topic of this week’s segment. Hindsight. Looking back is fine when you are gauging your journey to see how far you’ve come. It’s also okay when you remember some things that you’ve overcome or to better understand your journey. Where you’ve been has shaped your perspective and your perception, but we should not get so stuck on the things that are behind us and we can appreciate how they made us the people that we are. We have got to continue on our growth and not get stuck on that hindsight is 20/20, because that might be the only thing that is clear is hindsight. So as we go forward. I want us to continue on with our reflection, scope, self-examination, and all the other techniques we have gone over in this challenge. Types of Hindsight Biases Cognitive: People tend to distort or even misremember their earlier predictions about an event. It may be easier to recall information that is consistent with their current knowledge. Metacognitive: When we can easily understand how or why an event happened, that event can seem like it was easily foreseeable. Motivational: People like to think of the world as a predictable place. Believing an outcome was "inevitable" can be comforting for some people. 1 Regret. When you look back on your journey, it may be easy for you to pinpoint particular moments that ‘changed everything’. Do you lay awake at night thinking about what could have been if you hadn’t done that one thing? Do you wish you could go back and try that thing you were too afraid to do? Are you ashamed of what you said, and you wish you could take it back? I know that people often say that you should have no regrets, but I don’t think that is a fair edict. If you have regret, then you are feeling sad or disappointed about something that has passed. Which are normal emotions to feel. Too often, we are asked to suppress or downplay our ‘negative’ emotions. While we shouldn’t dwell in negative emotions, we should allow ourselves the proper time to grieve and process our traumas. There’s some stuff I wish I could go back and change, and I know I can’t. I’ve made my peace with it with accepting that it is, what it is. At the same time, If I had the opportunity to change it, I would do so in an instant. While guilt can eat you up, I would like to offer a new perspective.: "Regret is an indication of growth." The regret you feel says that if that same situation were to arise again, you would do things differently. You can have regrets and acceptance. Acceptance We’ve all had that moment. That gut-clenching moment, when something irrevocable has happened. The instant regret. The mind-racing thought of how you can go back 10 seconds. If you could only go back this otherwise insignificant amount of time. Looking back now that you know what outcomes are is natural everybody feels it thinking that if this would have happened if that would not have happened things would be perfect things would be okay, things would be different. Ultimately, we have to realize that we can’t go back. And though we can see the past so clearly from our perspective right now. Forgiveness The alternate timelines that we imagine are just more illusions. Our focus should be on not allowing them to prevent us from being happy or achieving our goals. A part of hindsight is forgiveness. To forgive is to relieve of any obligation or debt. (See my self-care Sunday blog about forgiveness for more details.) We should forgive those who have wronged us, we should forgive the circumstances we found ourselves in, and we should forgive ourselves. In each of the types of hindsight bias, we must forgive ourselves for not knowing then what we know now. You made the best decision that you could, based on the information that you had at the time. You are no longer the same person. You have a new perspective and understanding. If you constantly look backward at things that you can’t change you will miss the opportunities around and ahead of you. And the moment, and the opportunities that exist in this exact moment right now, because we’re so focused on what could have been instead of what is and what could be. I’m sure that all of us at some point wished we could go back to a particular point and changed something. If we could go back to January 1st, we would have bought stock in Purell and 3m, traveled more, stocked up on TP, warned that person not to go. We all think about that one butterfly that would flutter its wings and fix everything. Alas, in this timeline we all don’t have access to the time machine that would fix everything. I do rejoice in knowing that somewhere in some parallel universe, I am having the best year ever. I can't change what has already happened, but I can, at this moment, make decisions so that I have less regret tomorrow. Until Next Time, Pella Did you enjoy this read? Be sure to join us November 22nd to discuss with fellow pilgrims your favorite segments of the 2020 journey. References Featured in this article: 1 How Hindsight Bias Affects How We View the Past by Kendra Cherry https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-hindsight-bias-2795236
Three things you need to know about illusions and goal setting.
Welcome back pilgrims, I hope your journeys are coming along well! This week's topic is going to be about illusions. I feel like it is appropriate as you didn’t see it coming, and it’s also a good exercise. Remember, I told you guys that I am doing this in real-time with you. Usually, when I do my yearly reflection, it only takes about two weeks. Those two weeks include a variety of these steps and a lot of self-reflection. For the purpose of this challenge, I have spread out many of my techniques and practices over 12 weeks. Reasons for doing this include: 1) Jedi-mind tricking you into creating a habit 😉. 2) I understand that everyone is in different spots on their journey so I slowed the pace down so that others don’t get left behind. I have tried to stick with the original itinerary as closely as possible, but sometimes I have needed to improvise. Usually, I can sneak the amendments in there, this week wasn’t one of those times. Illusion was originally a subtopic under the perspective umbrella. As I started to write about it, it took on a life of its own. What should have been a few paragraphs became a few pages. Suffice to say it was significant enough for its own week. What is an Illusion? Definitions include A thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses. A false idea or belief. When I think of illusions, the first things that come to my mind are the childhood cartoons where the character was in a desert and would see a desert oasis only to find it was a mirage. You have the want/need to have something so badly, you see it in places they aren’t. I would like to acknowledge that the converse is also true. Sometimes we allow fear, uncertainty, or self-doubt to create barriers that are not there. I don’t mean to call you out, but I do. If you are standing in your own way, I kindly (but firmly) ask you to move. Wait! Before you get all up in arms and defensive, I want to point out that I don’t think you are doing it consciously. If you are aware of your actions that directly undermine your goals and you don’t have any plans to change them, then that is a deeper-seated issue and something for you to sort out (preferably with a trained professional). I’m talking about that subconscious level denial and/or self-sabotage that may not be obviously linked to your goals. Examples of destructive Illusions 1) Outdated Coping Mechanisms Once upon a time, you developed a coping mechanism to deal with adversity. Congratulations, you got through it! When we have success, we may try to replicate the results by repeating the actions. Unfortunately, there is no panacea when it comes to adversity. What fixed one situation may exacerbate another. Example: You have defense mechanism, because it's what you needed at that time to get you through what you were going through. But once you've made it past that situation. Sometimes your defense mechanisms and your protections and these boundaries that you put to keep everyone and everything away, are actually keeping you limited to your own situation as he's tying your hands, and they're also more of a limitation for yourself. And I, again, am tasking you to see what's real versus what is a perception or an illusion. 2) Subconscious Need Fulfillment I read last summer The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and I enjoyed the read as it gave me new things to consider. One of which was how sometimes we stand in our own way because the thing that ‘is holding us back’ is actually fulfilling a greater desire of our own. For instance, if you suffer from procrastination. You know putting off what needs to be done, doesn’t help anyone. Procrastination often creates additional pressure as the awareness of procrastination brings its own guilt and anxiety. Why then do you do it? It’s not difficult to manage your time so that you aren’t rushed. Kishimi surmises that maybe your procrastination fulfills some other need of yours. Maybe you have a fear of failure and procrastination gives you the ‘out’ that this wasn’t your best work because you were rushed. Maybe you like the adrenaline that comes with racing to meet a deadline. Either way, if there wasn’t a benefit to your negative behavior, then you would try in earnest to remove it...especially if you are cognizant of the setbacks. If you continue a behavior that affects you negatively, you might want to ask yourself what benefits do you get? 3) Fears, Doubts, and Inhibitions...oh my! Remember the ending of The Wizard of Oz? (Spoiler alert warning***, but shame on you if you haven’t watched it by now). After all the perils they went to get there, the Wizard sends them on a fool’s errand to get the witches broomstick. After Dorothy et al complete the task, the Wizard tells them to come back on the ‘proverbial’ tomorrow. Then Toto pulled the curtain back to reveal the Wizard was actually a regular guy who’d gotten stranded in Oz via a hot air balloon. Dorothy and her friends called him out to fulfill his promises to them. In a heartwarming scene, Tinman’s compassion was what gave him his heart. The Cowardly Lion re-framed the way he saw his actions from ‘cowardly’ to wise acts of self-preservation. Scarecrow realized (after receiving an honorary degree) realized that he was always as intelligent as he’d wanted to be (#message American Educational system). Glinda the Good Witch of the North famously tells Dorothy that she has always had the power to go home herself. Scarecrow asks, ‘Why didn’t you tell her before?’ (Good looking out, Scarecrow. We all need a friend like Scarecrow). Glinda says that Dorothy wouldn’t have believed her. Dorothy needed to figure it out for herself. This is a great metaphor for how illusions can sometimes work against us. How does the way you look at yourself impact how you operate? Are you waiting for someone ‘great and powerful’ to grant you the things that you desire? Are the problems in your way really wicked or can they be melted away with a bucket of water (see what I did there)? As we continue on our journey and focus on our vision, we will see many things. The goal is to distinguish what is real from what is perceived. My initial approach to 'illusion' was the style of art that revealed more and more the longer you looked at it. How appropriate, because the longer I thought about how illusions factor into our goal getting journey, the more its relevance revealed itself. Next week, we discuss hindsight. Because... you know hindsight is 2020... Until Next Time, Pella PS. The
5 Benefits of Perspective
Welcome back pilgrims, How are your routines going? How do you find your progress so far? A friendly reminder that our focus should be on these actions. I hope that you are finding the motivation to push through to what you want. This week, I want to address some things that might be preventing you from pushing forward. We've previously discussed perception, scope, and why vision is so important to realizing our goals. Now I want to talk about perspective. A lot of people think that scope and perspective are interchangeable. While they do have a lot of similarities, they are still distinguishable. Perspective It's the act or faculty of perceiving or apprehending by means a sense of the mind cognition and understanding the immediate, or the intuitive recognition or appreciation as of moral psychological or aesthetic qualities insight intuition or discernment. 5) Decreases Anxiety Have you ever heard the phrase can’t see the forest for the trees? It’s when you are so focused on the details of the situation to appreciate the grander view. Understanding Perspective gives you the opportunity to reframe the situation before you. Sometimes there will be setbacks, but if you focus on the negative you will undoubtedly give undue relevance to the setbacks. Accepting that setbacks are inevitable, but framing it in the context of the entire situation can reduce anxiety. 4) Increased Empathy Each human experience is wonderfully unique. In each of our lives, there are different experiences that mold us, that shape how we see the world. There everything that happens to us, we decide its impacts. If you grow up in seeing a particular behavior in your family, you can decide that this is the way it is and emulate that in your own life, or you can resolve to break the cycle and do the opposite. Everybody has a life full of experiences and beliefs that shape who they are and what they value. Once I realized this, I became a much more understanding person. I found it easier to work through issues because I had removed my preconceived notions of what the other person’s agenda was. When you acknowledge that everyone has a different perspective, it allows you both to question things that you previously would have assumed about. Once you have the answers to your questions, you can go forward and make more informed decisions. 3) Less deterred by criticism Due to the laws of physics, no two items can occupy the same space at the same time. rationally, no one else will have the same perspective, because no one else can stand where you are standing. If you don't understand your vision, that's fine. Remember their vision is limited by their own perception, and where they're standing. If they don't understand your vision, that's fine. Remember their vision is limited by their own perception and their vantage point. You have your own vantage. If the vision is clear to you then you must walk steadfastly on your path. 2) More receptive to advice Perspective is a great tool to use when you are receiving criticism or feedback. Like everything else in life, it’s all about balance. Opening yourself up to advice so that you can improve has it’s advantages. You don’t want to be distracted from your vision because you hold the opinions of others too high. I have been advocating for you to understand your vision to understand what it is to fully understand the scope of your vision. Someone may have a perspective that you could benefit from acknowledging. Any type of limitations that you might have to your vision because once you can identify what it is. You can operate without being doubtful. Because you understand it fully. And when it comes to perspective. Sometimes people will offer you something that you didn't know because you can't see it from where you're standing, but at the same time. You have to understand what you're looking at completely, that when you don't get discouraged or led astray from people who don't have your vision, whose visions, don't align. You can choose whether or not to take their advice, but at least your decision is informed. 1) More confidence in your mission. When you understand your perspective, you know very well you know exactly what to do. But if you give someone else who doesn't have that expertise who doesn't have that understanding. They won't know what to do with it. You have the ability to realize your vision and allow others to see the opportunities. Until Next Time, Pella
Habits Are The Building Block to Achieving Your Goals
Welcome back, pilgrims As we continue the #2020Refocus Challenge we are going to work focus on hitting our targets. Seven steps ago, we created SMART goals. We've made them Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely. Now, we're going to execute those SMART goals. I've mentioned repeatedly that action is an important part of attaining our goals. You can think and plan until the cows come home, but until you start to do the work you are ultimately playing pretend. Everybody, even the most carefree person, has a routine somewhere in their lives. Patterns of behavior are just a part of human nature. Whether it's taking a family holiday every winter, getting ready for work in the morning, or how you do the dishes. Whether cognitively or coincidentally, you have routines in place for yourself. Next we are going to create the tempo of our lives. Yes, every once in a while, we can do something extraordinary, but we want to make our goals sustainable, not an outlier. Our lives are shaped by what we do every single day. There's a famous quote by Aristotle: “Excellence is not an act, but a habit”. If your goals are to change way you live, then you must change the things that you do day in and day out. There are three tasks for this week. Before we go any further I want you to do the first task now: Write down your daily/weekly/monthly routines. There's this saying that everyone has the same number of hours in the day. While that is true, not everybody has the same resources, nor do they have the same style of life. We are going to establish a routine that allows you to be as productive as your circumstances allow. Maybe you look at your routine, and you think, “wow, there's a lot more that I do that I didn't realize”, or maybe you think “I’m not as productive as I thought I was...where does all my time go?” Ultimately, the goal is to find out how you are spending your days and where we can incorporate your goal getting tasks into your routine. Now that we know what your routines are, answer these questions as honestly as you can: To what I ask what takes most of your time during the week? What do you wish you had more time for? What puts you under the most pressure time-wise? What do you seem to never have time for? The answer to these questions should provide clarity on how to rearrange your routine. Let’s start with the largest immutable in your life. For most people, this will be work or school. Most days of the week you need to be somewhere by a certain time. This is something that you have to do but, you don’t have control over the terms. Whatever issues that you feel like you're having, whether it be punctuality or follow through or whatever else, we're going to take the pressure off of you from active choices. When faced with decision anxiety can cause you to think about all of these things that go into accomplishing your goals. Fear and self-doubt can creep in. Anxiety and procrastination set in and prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Choices, Choices, Choices... Every time you make a decision, you are actually making two. I learned the concept of opportunity cost in an economics lecture, but I have found it resounds in many different aspects of my life. Opportunity cost is the lost benefit of making a decision. If you say yes to something, you are saying ‘no’ to everything else. Example: the decision to stay up late. It’s not only saying yes to finishing this movie, but you are saying ‘no’ to sleep you would have if you had gone to bed on time. If that wasn’t overwhelming enough, there is a thing called ‘decision fatigue’. Here in the 20th century, you have plenty of options. From types of cars to drive, to the television to watch, to music. We have so many more options than the generations that came before us. Of these choices, there’s not a ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ answer. If you choose one streaming service or the other, it’s simply a matter of preference. You must find the thing that works best for you. The fact that there's not a wrong answer can sometimes be overwhelming. You can become preoccupied with choosing the best decision. That weariness you feel when it comes to making a choice and you simply pick something just for the sake of picking it, that’s decision fatigue. Let’s say you go to the grocery store to pick up some cereal and milk. There are a plethora of combinations. Milk: you have skimmed, 1%,2%, whole milk, organic, long-life milk. Then you have nondairy alternatives. When you multiply these selections by the 17-foot-long cereals in the aisle, the combinations abound. However, if you go to the grocery store, you don't typically spend too much time deciding what cereal and milk you're going to get. Why? Because you know before you get there what you want. Even if there are sales to consider, it won’t take you too long to compare your options. This is the type of discernment that you need to apply to yourself and your goals. Remember wayyy back in step 1 when we created our vision and our mission statement? Those are the core of our desires. If the options before you don’t fulfill your vision and your mission, you don’t even have to consider them as an option (much like Kix, I don’t know what kids tested it or why their moms approved, but I have always had a beef with them and their poor taste). If you haven’t yet created a mission and a vision statement, I’m really disappointed. You had an additional two whole weeks to do it, after being assigned the task from the beginning. I mean, no pressure...but pressure. The same way that you are able to run in and out of the store quickly because you have already made up your mind, is how we are going to establish your routine. We're going to apply that logic to the decisions that you have to make with your routine where you've already made up your mind as to what you're going to do and now you just have to do. Establishing A Routine Task number one is to write your routine out your daily routine. But you’ve already done that from earlier in the blog right? Remember when I asked you to write it out? You did it right? I mean I don’t mean to call you out for not following instructions... but then again, I do. Accountability! Do it now. Before you read any further, write down your daily weekly and monthly routines. This isn’t the cute rhetorical request. I mean it. Stop what you are doing and write out your routines. Don't read any further until you write your routine out. I’ll wait... Okay thank you for writing out your routines. Next, we are going to identify any time-wasting activities or gaps. Identify any time wastes or gaps that could be used to be more productive or some multitasking. And then Task three is to when you're incorporating your new habit to establish a trigger, assign an action and reward for your behavior. When we set the SMART goals, the reason that I went needed you to set the tasks because that is the lowest common denominator. I know that goal setting and making a change can seem dauting, but consistency is key. What simple thing can you do regularly to make a big change in your life? Well I’m impatient, and I want it now. You may wonder why you can’t just uber-focus and get it done right now. I’m not saying that you can’t, but just as with sprinting, a short burst of full out running may get you there quickly, but how far is the finished line? You can’t sustain that momentum for extended periods of time. If your goal is short, and not something that requires longevity and you have the determination, I'm sure you don’t have to create a routine. If your goal is something that you want to last, then creating a routine will not only help you get it, but it will help you sustain it indefinitely. In SCOPE, you read how your goals don't exist in a microcosm or on an island. You need to adapt yourself to environment that sustains your goals. Benefits of Routine and Practice Practice is important because it takes the scariness out of it. Performance anxiety is real, but once you've actually done something, a lot of the stigma is removed. Another reason that practice is important is it allows repetition. I remember when I took a computer class in school. One test was for us to remember the entire layout of the QWERTY keyboard, and roles and functions. Now I’m a bit rusty between ROM and RAM, but that QWERTY keyboard?... I know that like the back of my hand. Because in the years that have followed, I went from having to look at the computer to see where the next key was that I needed, to only having to glance once or twice. To now being able to touch type 50wpm with very few errors. Why? Practice. I spend a lot of time typing 😉. Where once I was very aware of which keys I was typing, I’m amazed even now, while writing this that the letters are on the screen faster than I can think to type them. This is because of muscle memory. It’s another amazing little thing that our brains can do. Once we create a routine, the brain actually adapts to do the action more quickly and efficiently with less cognitive energy. This is the same principle applied to “riding a bike”. (If you are someone that ever learned how to ride a bike and relearned, I will say that though you never forget, your skill level may diminish in long periods of inactivity. But that’s a LOL story for another time.) Practice allow you to do things in a simulated or safe environment that you may not have the ability to do in real life. In a game, you only have one chance to take the shot, to make the catch, to block the goal. While in practice, you are in an environment where you can repeatedly run the drills until you have it perfect. You can go back and redo without any penalty. You don't have the time constraints of the game clock to work against. You can stay as long and you can go as hard you need. Practice conditions us and strengthens us for be able to carry the weight of our goals. You may have a coach (or mentor); practice is great because you're receiving active feedback. Or, if you are an individual contributor, you can create some type of metric where you self-assess your performance. Practice allows you to develop skills. If you have people that are going to be taking this journey with you, this is great because it's a place for you to provide feedback for each other. It's a place for you to learn skills and to develop weaknesses. Luck is when opportunity meets preparation, so if you stay ready, you don't have to get ready. A few weeks ago, I suggested the Power of Habit by Gary Duhigg. I don't know how far you have gotten with this book, but I definitely want you to give the book a read. It was very integral in the way that I changed behaviors of my own. I will be honest the changes have been gradual, but that’s the point isn’t it? Small consistent change over time? I want you to succeed, so I’m not going to suggest a book that won’t get you to where you’re trying to go. The book gave great insights on creating physical and mental space for the things that you want to add to your life. It also has great information about removing or minimizing things that do not serve you (aka bad habits). Creating a habit Habits tend to get a bad rep. That’s because people often only talk about bad habits. Good habits don’t get enough props. A habit is rooted in a craving. A craving is psychological or physiological urge that is the motivator for your actions. A craving can be triggered by a situation or a stimulus. Once triggered there is an act that is done in an effort to fulfill the desire created. The reward is the alleviation of the craving. This is called the habit cycle. Good or bad we all have them. What is considered a trigger varies from person to person. You may or may not be able to remove the triggers, but one of the easier ways to end a bad habit is by replacing the behavior with something more beneficial. The triggers and the reward remain the same, but the actions taken are adapted. The behavior you are replacing should be something that you can do with relative ease. For instance, let’s say you are an emotional eater and you want to replace the negative behavior of comfort eating. You may think to replace the behavior of binge eating with some push-ups or HIIT cardio. This may work, but it really does depend on your level of motivation. A simpler substitution could be a low-calorie alternative to the snack that you currently turn to. Whatever the replacement behavior is, it should be one that isn’t difficult for you to execute. The reward should also be at the same level as the reward for the bad habit. If you aren’t replacing a bad habit, and wish to create a good habit for yourself, the same rules apply. Find a cue to trigger your habit, create a behavior, and reap the reward. Achieving your goals requires discipline, but positive reinforcement is a great motivator as well. Our brains are wired to crave what makes us feel good. The reward shouldn’t be abstract in a way that it puts into a bigger goal. Each habit should have a direct and immediate reward. That is how the habit will stick. Okay pilgrims, go forth and practice. Until Next Time, Pella ***The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute clincal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. The content of this article are general assessments and should not be followed instead of seeing a professional regarding your mental and physical health.
Review and Refocus to Better Reach Your Goals.
Welcome back pilgrims, This is Review part deux. Last week we discussed the importance of review. This week I want us to take a second look at our goals (get it re-view?). The purpose of this exercise, not only do we want to look back at what we've done, what we've been productive about, we should also take a moment to reorient ourselves based on where we are right now. I am now in a completely different space than I was when this challenge started—literally. I am a new hemisphere, I've started a new job, I’m getting settled again in America...it’s been a lot. Since starting this challenge six weeks ago, I’ve gained some clarity. I couldn’t have planned for the opportunities that have risen, but it’s pretty kismet, that I already had this week scheduled for reflection and review. Lord knows I need it. I've taken the time last week and this week to incorporate the new developments into my routine. At the beginning of the challenge, I asked you to make sure that the goals you set aligned with your purpose. To confirm that the goals you are setting are your own and aren’t the result of pressure from other people. You can be stubborn with the vision, but flexible with the plan. During week 5, we revisited the areas of our journey to reinforce the lessons and also to complete any parts of the journey that needed more attention. Week 1: First things first, you need to make your goals SMART. Week 2: The Importance of PERSPECTIVE when pursuing your (SMART) goals. Week 3: How establishing SCOPE can rescue your goal setting. Week 4: How self-EXAMINATION can help you reach your goals. Week 5: Review and Refocus honing our objectives. This week's review is more 're-view' (as in look again). There so much more to be gained when you take a second look. Have you ever seen one of those optical illusions where at first glance, you see one thing but the longer you look at it, you begin to notice other images in the picture? I want you to look at your situation to see if anything emerges from your circumstances that you may not have noticed at first glance. "There are two sides to every coin, but the value of the coin remains the same. Whether it’s heads or tails, it’s up to you to decide how you will spend it." Don't kick yourself too badly if you didn’t notice the other things right away. As I’ve stated before, our perspectives shape how we see the world. The great thing about perspective is that it can change. We can move ourselves to get a better all-around understanding of our situation. I’m sure that you are familiar with the age-old question ‘Is the glass half empty or half full?’. This question has always bothered me. How can you expect me to answer when you’ve given me so little information about the glass? I’ve got some questions of my own. What is the objective, are we filling or emptying this glass? What was the previous state of the glass; was it ever full? Sooo many questions! Then as I got older, I realized that regardless of people’s perceptions of the glass, an indisputable fact was the glass was half. Half is a state of being. ‘Full’ or ‘empty’ is dependent on the person’s objectives and perspectives. The cup is analogous to situations that we find ourselves in. Our objectives and perspectives will determine how we perceive the situation. If your view of the world is 'bad things will happen', 'you're unlucky', or people are out to get you...your belief will set the tone for every interaction you have, and that is what you will see in every situation. The converse is also true. If you believe that everything is working for your good, if you believe that people are generally good, that too, is what you will experience. There will be things that happen outside of your control, but your outlook will set the tone for your actions and reactions. Your actions will determine what happens next. There are two sides to every coin, but the value of the coin remains the same. Whether it’s heads or tails, it’s up to you to decide how you will spend it. So with that being said, reviewing. We're going to look at some things to focus on. Now if you've ever heard the saying ‘you find what you look you're looking for’? It's because when you go searching for something, you are actively making efforts and actions. So if you are looking for evidence of something you're going to find it. It's also a type of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirm one's prior belief. When we are in a scenario, it's great to shape the way that our brains are looking for things, because if we go into a situation thinking, I'm not good enough or there's going to be a bunch of setbacks that I can't handle, then guess what...you are going to find those things. I hope that you take that to heart if your outlook isn't helping you, but I just wanted that to be said. And the activities and the tasks for this week will be to rewrite or review all of the goals that you set from the beginning. You now have an additional five weeks' worth of experience to support you. I'd hoped that I’d given you knew things to consider and that you now have a different outlook. Alright, this has been a great breakdown. And I hope that you've enjoyed this week's message about reviewing. The next half of the journey is ACTION based. If you aren't already signed up for the pellathepilgrim newsletter be sure to do so now so that you can gain access to the Members Only section where there is bonus material regarding the #2020refocus challenge. Until next time, Pella
Review and Refocus Part I
Welcome back pilgrims this episode is a continuation of Review and Refocus. We started this challenge six weeks ago, Isn't that crazy? Review. Let’s break that down. RE-View. Let’s look again. What do we see? After 6 weeks, let’s look with new eyes at what we want. To many of us, 'Review' means to go over what we have done. That first connotation is what we will be doing this week. How has your progress been going? Let’s take stock of where we are in comparison to where we started. What have we learned? What have we excelled at, what have we struggled to do? This challenge isn’t just about accomplishing our goals, but also building ourselves up so that we can maintain our goals as well. Each week the goal has been to hone our efforts so that we slowly get more and more efficient in achieving. Week one: Set SMART goals. Specific Measurable Actionable Relevant Timely. This is the core of everything we are doing. We set our goals and made them actionable. We should constantly and consistently be acting on our goals. Week two: Practiced Gratitude This objective is to embolden us to strive for more. Giving us the momentum to continue on our paths of excellence. Week three: Established the Scope The purpose of this exercise was to clear the field so that we can better execute our SMART goals. Week four: Refraction Test/Examine This exercise was to identify our own limitations so that we can look for the proper tools to reinforce some of our weaker areas. Week five and six: Review and Refocus We review our previous efforts and make sure that we are all still aligned. Why review: Reviewing helps with retention. Once we know better, we can do better. Understanding During my time abroad, I had a lot of time to self-reflect. One day this thought came to me and profoundly changed how I saw things: There is a difference between knowing and understanding, and yet there is still a difference between believing. It was such a simple yet profound moment for me. (I was a STEM kid once upon a time so bear with me) The best way that I can explain it is this: We’ve have known since we were in grade school that trees provide oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide. Somewhere down the line as our knowledge of science advanced, we learned that plants don’t simply exchange our CO2 for O2. It’s an entire photosynthetic process in which the plant processes CO2 sunlight and water and expels oxygen as a byproduct. Maybe if you were a Science major in college you delved a little deeper into the anatomy of the plant and realized that there are all of these little openings on the underside of the leaf called stoma that regulate the gas exchange of the leaf. (I don’t know why but that is something that stuck with me from biology). Your knowledge expands your horizons. Understanding the depth of which we know things. When you understand a concept when you learn or encounter new information (opportunities) you know what to do. But before you can learn or understand, you must believe. You could never have learned about the intricate processes of plant life without first believing in the information you are receiving was true. When you believe something, you have the confidence and trust that it is true. Belief is often unshakeable and is a pillar of who we all are. Beliefs are the bedrocks of our morals, thought processes and values. I know photosynthesis isn’t a day-to-day knowledge that you must call on, but when it does come up it’s not something that you have to research to discuss. For example when you buy that house plant, or when you explain to a child why the leaves are change colors, or when you discuss the importance of deforestation's impact on global warming. While you may not recall the process as readily or thoroughly as when you were in school, your belief in the process has remained. Your belief has arguably a greater impact on you than your understanding ever could. I just wanted to share the realization with you all. I know it hit me like a Mac truck when it settled on me. With us setting our sights on our goals and doing this challenge we need to believe. I know that it’s a big ask. Hopefully, after the first 4 weeks, I’ve given you enough information to consider buying in. Thank you for taking this journey with me. I know that life is busy and some things may have been ‘unforeseeable’, but our dedication is what is going to keep us focused. There may have been some modules that you just passed over because you didn’t have the time that week, or you said that you would double back at a later date. Okay. Now’s later. Before we go any further, I want you to try to (if you don’t already) believe that everything we are doing is going to be fruitful. I’ve said it before, your outlook determines your outcome. I need you to focus on all the opportunities. Inevitably, there will be situations where we are encounter setbacks, but that we will take those in stride because it’s not the first time and it probably won’t be the last. We must persist. This week’s tasks are to review the previous exercises and complete any tasks that you feel deserve a bit more of your attention. Next week we will continue to discuss refocus and review, but for now, I will leave you here to reflect on the process so far. Until Next Time, Pella
How Self-Examination Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
Welcome back pilgrims, As the 2020 refocus challenge continues, I'm glad to see you all here and participating. How are you doing with those action items? I'm excited for what you guys have shared with me as far as what your goals are, and how your perspective has changed on some of these things. This week's topic is ‘Examine’. To keep with the “20/20 Vision” theme, the initial title was ‘Refraction Test’, more commonly known as an eye exam. Refraction refers to the way the eye bends light, which in turn determines eyesight. For those people who have 2020 vision, I just want to say… you're weird. As someone who's worn glasses since adolescence, I'm a little intrigued by those of you have 20/20 vision. You mean you don't need anything to correct your sight? You just wake up in the morning able to see things near and far? The metaphor goes for the people who've come through 2020 unscathed. I'm jealous. Those of us who sometimes need assistance, this blog is to address issues that may compromise our vision. Our sight is determined by how light bends in the eye. If eyesight is a metaphor for life, then how well you view the world your opportunity depends on how light is bending. Your Goals are about you, and how you can achieve them from where you stand. that's pretty much what we'll be doing the rest of this #2020Refocus challenge, we'll be diving into you personally. Self-awareness is integral to understanding where we are, where we want to go, and how to get there. That's what this challenge is about. with the refraction test, it's once you identify the type of vision you have you find the best tools to provide clarity. going back to actual vision. If you are nearsighted, farsighted, or you have astigmatism or night blindness, whichever ailment befalls you, there are adjustments that can be made that you can correct your vision or at least not improve it enough that you don’t run into things. if you have nearsightedness, that means that you can see things that are really close. But when things are a little bit farther away, they're harder for you to discern. Let’s review some common vision impairments and how that may apply to our figurative vision for the future: Farsightedness: You can see things that are far away, but things that are close to you aren’t as easily discernible. Nearsightedness: You can see things that are close to you but focusing on things far away is a struggle. Night blindness: Difficulty in seeing in poor light or night. Once you identify what type of vision you have, you can choose the correct tools to correct the impairment. Just as in literal vision issues, there isn’t a panacea that will fix them all. There are unique tools and procedures to treat the different types of vision. Someone who is nearsighted will have a different shaped lens than someone who was farsighted. Even with the different types of vision that you have, there are different magnifications as well. Two people could be nearsighted but to varying degrees. This in turn changes the power of the tool (magnification of the glasses) as well. Remember when we discussed peripheral vision? It is important to be aware of the other things happening around you, even when you are focused on your goal. How well are you assessing threats that might be coming up on the side that may need your attention? The same goes for opportunities that may not have been visible at the outset, but as you get closer to your goals, are you seeing things in opportunities that arise for you? That's the importance of making sure that you have the best vision. Once you understand what type of vision that you have, you can use tools best suited for you. Rather than trying to make yourself into someone else where the person who you are modelling your success after or modelling yourself after their successes. If you're using the tools that Vega had, it may or may not be best suited for you and your circumstances. Optometrists advise against using glasses that aren’t prescribed as it may cause more damage than harm. An example to show the importance of using the correct tools at the correct time: I broke my glasses frequently in adolescence (as an adult now paying for my glasses, I appreciate my mother for not letting me go blind), in the interim I either did wear glasses, or had to wear on old pair until my new frames came in. Most days I was stuck between blurry vision and selective sight because wearing the old glasses gave me a headache and caused a strain on my eyes. I would only wear them when I had to. It was like magic every time I got a new pair of glasses after going without for an extended period of time. Perfect sight might seem like a luxury that you don’t need because you are making due in your current circumstance, but once you’ve experienced clarity, there is no going back. As we pursue our goals, we want to make sure that we're giving ourselves the best tools for our journey. When we set up this challenge, we established what our goals were. We made them SMART, we gave ourselves tasks. Then we checked our PERSPECTIVE, where it's just the how we're going to approach this. Then we did our SCOPE to take in the entire field of vision. Now that we know what we want, where it is, and all that circumstances that surround them, let's try to close the gap between us and our goals. Resources to Consider: - People in our network - Books to read - Courses to take - Skills to develop - Technology/ Computer If you have signed up for the mailing list to Pellathepilgrim.com to get access to the bonus material for the challenge. Until Next Time, Pella
Intercontinental Flight From Australia to US during COVID
Welcome back, This is a blog about my return to the United States. On my Instagram I posted a vote as to whether or not you guys wanted to hear about my 42-hour journey back to the States from Australia. If you don’t follow me on IG, you may miss the next vote. This is my journey, but I’m open to taking direction 😉. Far From Home For the last two years, I’ve been living in the South Pacific. I started off in New Zealand what was supposed to be a one year Working Holiday. That became the second year in Australia because YOLO. That year became 16 months because of the Corona Virus. I had made plans to continue my travels, but you know what they say about making plans… I tried to wait out COVID, but the longer I stayed in Australia, the less likely it looked like this would be quickly resolved. I had to return home. As I have said before, I try to be optimistic and accept the things I cannot change, and all that jazz. I chose to see this is as a new adventure for me, one that I did not see coming. I am trying to navigate, as best as I can. My return to America. My birthday was at the end of August. Despite the craziness that was being locked down to Melbourne, I had probably one of the best birthdays on record. We didn’t even have to leave the house! My flatmates and friends were so considerate and so amazing. They took me on a little ‘journey to Spain’. I brought in 30, not in Barcelona as I’d hoped but I still partook in Sangria. I dined on tapas. I danced to the songs of the Spanish Guitar playlist on Spotify. I had a photoshoot. We did my birthday tradition of Karaoke. They made my favorite cake and it looked MasterChef quality. It was great. I was also the last hurrah as my time in Melbourne was winding down. The COVID-19 Impact Because Victoria (especially Melbourne) had a spike in cases, travel restrictions were pretty stringent. The last 4 weeks that I was there were Level 4 lockdown restrictions. Key points of the Melbourne Lockdown: Stay inside, only leave when necessary (essential workers/shopping) No visiting other residences except to administer care No socializing with anyone outside of your household One hour of exercise allowed each day Do not travel outside a 5Km radius of your home 8m-5am curfew Masks must be worn whenever in public Only one person can go to the stores from your household each day. was that you can’t leave more than five kilometers from your house. In order for me to leave, Victoria, I had to fill out for a permit to enter New South Wales which is a layover for my flight. Everything was touch and go for a while there as Australia would implement new restrictions/procedures with little notice. Lucky for me, the process didn’t change before my flight, but just to be sure I contacted several agencies and documented the instructions and advisement from each. The permit for entry into New South Wales could only be applied for three days before departure. My flatmates were driving me to the airport so I sent them a copy of my permit so if they were stopped on their return home, they wouldn’t be fined $1,500 for breaking quarantine restrictions. We still went to the airport the recommended two hours before because though, I knew the airport was less busy, I wasn’t sure if the staffing levels were decreased. With the situation as it were, I didn’t have enough chips to gamble so I erred on the side of caution. We had to say goodbye in the car because they weren’t allowed to get out of the care at the airport. It was like a ghost town. There were empty airline queues. Lights were off in much of the airport. As a non-Australian traveling international, I had to check-in with an attendant. I ended up needing the two hour cushion time as the attendants were busy and I had to finagle all of my stuff because I had a 23 kg(50 pounds) weight limit for two checked bags in addition to the personal item and the carry on item. My checked bags 17 kg and 30kg, respectively. For 30 minutes, no matter how I rearranged the two, I couldn’t get them to be 23 each. I reluctantly got them as close as possible threw some stuff away and stuffed some stuff in my carryon. I had a feeling I would be over so I had already made my piece with disregarding the stuff. I can live without it. I’ve been trying to ‘Marie Kondo’ my life, asking myself does this spark joy? I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. I had already donated a lot of my belongings prior to packing. THE FLIGHT Itinerary Melbourne to Sydney (overnight Layover) to Sydney to Los Angeles (three-hour layover) to Los Angeles to Orlando. After checking in, an attendant checked my temperature and asked me if I had any flu-like symptoms. Then another attendant asked to see my permit. They checked it against my ID and I dropped my face mask for them to verify. Then I went through security. In boarding, the airline asked passengers in the back of the plane to board first. They even opened up the tarmac so that people could enter from the back of the plane rather than having to walk from the front to the back. The airline gave out packets that had masks as well as Purell wipes. The plane was moderately full even with the empty middle seats, but I still felt distanced all things considered. The flight to Sydney was a short hour and a half flight. Deplaning in Sydney, we were asked to do so from front to back. Those in the back should remain seated until those in the front had deboarded. I do hope this is something that stays after this whole COVID-19 thing is under control. Once off the plane, they tested my temperature again. The attendant asked if I was arriving in Sydney or just connecting, I said connecting. I was shown to a section of seats near the baggage claim. There were two sections for passengers to be processed. 1) for connecting flights 2) Those arriving in New South Wales (NSW) who would have to do a mandatory 14-day quarantine. If I were in Sydney to stay, I would have been put in a hotel to mandatory quarantine for 14 days. That would have been at my own cost. At the beginning of quarantine, the Australian government was footing the bill for their citizens as they returned home from abroad. After the first three/four months anyone returning to Australia would have to pay at their own cost. Because I was just transiting through, NSW put me up in a hotel for the night. Police officers were walking around this area as NSW Police were in charge of this operation. They checked my permit to enter and they gave me a lot of paperwork to fill out. This process of documenting and sorting everyone took about two hours. I had wifi and didn’t have anywhere else to be so it wasn’t the worst situation and the process was relatively smooth. Once I finally got my bags and permits, the other passengers and I were put on a shuttle to a hotel. The shuttle was actually a rather plush charter bus. The Australian military were the ones helping us with our bags. With everything that I’d seen on the news during the weeks/months prior it was jarring to see the juxtaposition of how Australia uses their military during the pandemic versus how America deployed military during the pandemic. Moment of honesty… I was not excited to come back to America. Once at the hotel, it was near the heart of the city and very nice. I was expecting a budget hotel, but I was glad it wasn’t. We left the bus in groups of 6 in order to keep a social distance while checking in. Once inside we first had to hand our paperwork from the airport to the NSW police who were set up in the lobby. They processed my passport, flight, and permit information. They informed me of the process to get back to the airport in the morning then they allowed me to check-in. Once I was checked in, I pointed my luggage out to the military man who was helping with the bags and he escorted me to my room. He had a master key that he used to open the door as I wasn’t given a key at check-in. Once I was in the room, I set to wiping down most surfaces with the antibacterial wipes I was traveling with. You can’t be too safe out there. My mother is compulsive about germs, so I did my best to immolate her (no flu-like symptoms 14 days later so I guess I did alright). I took a shower and waited for my dinner to be delivered. The next morning, I received a wake-up call and went to the lobby where a shuttle was waiting to take me and others to the airport. There were 4 other people on my shuttle, and they’d all been on my flight from Melbourne the day before. We stopped at another hotel to pick up another passenger. Weird, but true travel story, two of the people on this shuttle ended up being from Florida. Relatively close to Orlando (my destination) and my hometown in South Florida. I found it interesting that had it not been for COVID procedures, we probably wouldn’t have ever known that our journeys had so much overlap. Getting on the plane in Sydney was a lot smoother than the day before. There weren’t as many international travelers and my suitcases were already at their desired weights. The night before I had to renew my permit just as an extra precaution as it expired on the 4th, and I didn’t want any stumbles at the finish line. Going through security they checked my passport. I was pulled aside as they took a deeper look at my passport. Turns out they were just double-checking the legitimacy of my stay in Australia as my original e-visa had expired 5 months prior. Subsequently, they found my second visa and I was able to continue on. After realizing it was my visa they were checking, I second-guessed if I could have been deported for free instead of paying for the plane ticket…I joke, I joke, the ticket price was a really good deal. Going through the international terminal all the shops and duty-free stores were closed. There were only one or two little places to get something to eat. There were a lot of hand sanitizer stations and the masks were mandatory for us to wear. Before boarding the plane, they again have people board from back to front (I love this process). They check my temperature again, give out masks and wipes. The flight was so empty. Saying it was 15% full is a generous estimate. Middle seats were reserved but everyone ended up having an entire row to themselves. Nothing too crazy happened during the 13-and-a-half-hour flight from Sydney to LA. LAX international terminal felt like a private airport there were so few people there. I blew through customs and baggage claim. It was a three-hour layover but it took me about an hour and a half to get to my next terminal between customs, baggage claim, (getting a little lost), checking my bags for the next domestic flight, and going through TSA. I’m not going to lie. In this entire trip across the world, the 5 and a half hour LAX to MCO flight scared me the most. I had left a country where the majority was doing the socially responsible thing and following clear direction from government to …? The flight was full with exception of the empty middle rows. (L-R Syd- LAX seat options; LAX-MCO options; dinner on long haul Flight) When I arrived in Orlando, I was able to go through security, collect my bags, and catch an Uber all very quickly. Already I could see the difference in the American approach. Nobody checked my temperature, nobody asked if I had any flu-like symptoms, I didn’t register with anyone to say that I would quarantine for any period. They just let me into the country. No worries, I am self-quarantining for 14 days just in case. I will also continue to practice social distancing when and where I can. So, that was my journey back to America. A 42 hour journey door to door. Until Next Time, Pella
How Establishing Scope Can Rescue Your Goalsetting
Welcome back pilgrims, This is the third installment of the #2020Refocus challenge. I have had an eventful week. Since last week, I have returned to Florida from Australia (jetlag is putting a hurting on me like I haven’t had before. This is a pivotal moment in my life…the next direction in which I am headed, I don’t know. In this time of uncertainty, I am actively practicing optimism as I choose to focus on the positive and be grateful for my wins. So far this challenge, we have established what our goals are and made them smart and we have a positive outlook based on gratitude. Did you know that tunnel vision is a bad thing? I didn’t. I’ve always equated tunnel vision with hawk-like focus. As science classes will tell you, peripheral vision is key to survival. That’s why we are going to look at the SCOPE of our goals. Now we take a step back and look at what achieving our goals all entails. Scope, for this challenge will require us to define our goals. Harking back to our SMART goals, let’s take Specific and Measurable and dive into them by naming the features and functions of each of our goals. Example: You want to learn a language (Spanish). Specific: Have an advanced understanding of Spanish. Measurable: be able to watch and follow along with a Spanish language tv program Action Based: Requires active listening skills to be applied. Relevant: Conversational Spanish with idioms and jokes Timely: By Next Cinco De Mayo. SCOPE In real life. If you have tunnel vision you can’t see things on either side of you. I never thought too heavily on that. I just thought that tunnel vision allowed you to have hawk-like procession on things you want. When you think about tunnel vision and all the things you miss out on because you didn’t see a potential threat or even a better opportunity, you realize the importance of peripheral vision. Eye placement has evolved over centuries. The further apart the eyes are set, the lower they are on the food chain. A greater field of vision allows the creature to readily identify threats coming from multiple directions. Apex predators usually have closer set eyes as they don’t have to worry about as many threats. I’m a nerd, I know. I admit this readily. (Sidenote: I’d like to point out that sharks have a nearly 360-degree field of vision, so my question is… what else is down there!? That after millions of years of evolution, sharks still need to see what’s coming up behind them. I say all this to say my fear of the ocean is legitimate and I don’t want to hear otherwise). We should avoid tunnel vision. We should remain focused on our goals, but understand the importance of expanding the vision to better access the circumstances that our goals exist. Applying Scope Answer these questions about each of your goals What are the boundaries of your goals? Are there any aspects of your life that you don’t want the pursuit of these goals to affect? Example: Do you not want to lose family time, or dip into your savings. Which and how many resources will be necessary to achieve this goal? Example: Are there individuals in your network that you want to involve? Is this truly a solo project? Have you researched the market to establish the true cost of the goal? Example: Do you know about opportunities of the nature of the business you want to get into? What factors is success dependent on? Example: Is there something that would prohibit you from reaching your goal? By this point, you have probably been pursuing your goals for three weeks now. How are you with your progress? What are somethings that you expected? What are some things that surprised you about working on your goals? In project management, there's a thing scope creep. If we don't set the boundaries of our goals, sometimes we can exceed the resources that we have to make them happen. I want to encourage you with this challenge, but more than that, I want you to achieve your goal. I honestly believe that everyone has a calling and I a part of my calling is to help others answer theirs. Scope helps close the gap between expectation and execution. It forms the basis of every action and every decision of a project. When you try to define the work that needs to be done, we establish boundaries of this goal. We have to know what the true cost is of chasing these goals and if we are willing and able to pay. Scope is the clear identification of the work that is required to accomplish the goal. This scope establishes the responsibilities for everyone if this is a team effort. It also sets up procedures for how you're going to work on it. Scope is about realizing where your goals are most likely to occur, where they thrive the type of environment in which your goals exist. Once you know that, you can put yourself in the proximity of that. Networking is can be a part of establishing the scope of your goals. You might be thinking that you can get your goals just where you are. To that I say, maybe you are a Golden State shooting guard, but statistically, the closer you are to a basket, the more likely you are to sink it. But hey, what do I know, maybe you are a missing Splash Brother. Maybe you can make that half-court shot. So if you are not willing to go to a place where your goals are, then you must be willing to create an environment in which your goals be not only attained but maintained. If your goals are to have a lot of money, or increase your financial standings in life or to have opulent things. The scope of that goal is financial education. A lot of lotto winners lose their money and are back broke, or in worse situations not long after because they never learned money management. Scope is about realizing where your goals are most likely to occur, where they thrive the type of environment in which your goals exist. Once you know that, you can put yourself in the proximity of that. So, when you're taking into consideration what you want to achieve please remember that most goals are pitstops, not destinations. If you want to get married. After the wedding is a whole marriage. Have you decided what that will require to maintain? That is the importance of scope. We are laying the foundation on which we are building our dreams. SWOT Analysis SWOT Analysis is probably my favorite project planning tool. It’s used to access how to improve and be more efficient. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths. Strengths are things that you have currently mastered. Weaknesses are areas of improvement within your current state. Opportunities are things outside of your control that you aren’t yet doing that can be done. Threats are things outside of your control that could hinder your progress. June 2020 I did a personal SWOT analysis and man! Changed my life. Literally. I was in a crossroads and anxiety was high, so instead of focusing on things outside of my control (like COVID-19 shaking up the world and my countries complete bumbling of the process while I’m abroad with an expiring work visa not knowing what will happen and should I go home to mounting cases of a pandemic in a country with ridiculous medical costs and I don’t have American health care and that same system plays it fast and loose with what is considered a pre-existing condition), I chose to focus on things that are in my control (like this blog 🥴). I’d like to touch base with those taking this journey. Back at week one when we established the SMART goals… the A was about Actions. I want to make sure that everyone has implemented their actions. All the topics that I discuss are about strategy about achieving our goals, but the achievement is heavily reliant on Action. I highly recommend you read the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s a great book I read; and it really helped me reframe how I saw habits. Okay Pilgrims, that’s all for this week. If you haven’t already joined the mailing list you can always subscribe to have access to the bonus material in the Members Only section. Don’t forget to like, comment, or share this blog with someone that you think it would benefit. Your engagement provides me with feedback that will shape the direction of this blog. Next week’s topic is EXAMINE. See you there 😉, Pella