Tag Archives: Dream

Birthday Resolutions

This past Wednesday was my birthday. Since I put a list of birthday resolutions I made last year here, I decided to follow up on how it turned out as well as writing new ones.

birthday-cupcake<Last year’s Birthday Resolutions>
1.    Fully graduate from my current day job
2.    Complete Evolution Series Instructor Training
3.    Live my ideal day at least 3 days a week
4.    Meet with Chris Guillebeau in person
5.    Create more music, including learning to play guitar
6.    Learn to cook better & more often
7.    Learn to meditate

I accomplished #1, #2 and #4. Chris and I have since become friends. Through him,  I  have expanded my circle of good friends. I met Leslie in person when we went to Japan this past March, and I’ve been working with Masa on a project together after meeting with him on twitter. I am grateful about these “en”, or 縁 (a Japanese word meaning “chance meeting”).

As for other items, it’s a work in progress – I didn’t make the time to play guitar – I became pregnant in October of 2009, and I made getting enough sleep a priority. I remember telling my friend Henry that I am too tired to stay up and learn the chords, and he jokingly told me that he understands – “having a bun in the oven does that to you”. My youngest son, Miroku was here on Monday, December 7th, leaving delicate foot prints in our hearts. He left us that day.  Come to think of it, I haven’t touched my guitar or piano since then. His story can be found here and here. Maybe it’s time to start playing piano again.

Learn to meditate and learn to cook – I’m working on it too. I have to admit that after leaving my full time job, making the time to cook became more challenging, which was surprising to me. Working from home has its own challenges. Being able to set your own schedule is definitely one of the advantages but it could also be a disadvantage if you are not highly disciplined. Charlie Gilkey dispelled the myth about having more time when you work for yourself when he said that “Don’t think that work/life balance issue will disappear when you become independent and start working for yourself.” I have now experienced it first hand. In a way, the line between work and play blurred. On one hand I “get to” do this for living now, and it doesn’t feel like work when I write a blog post or chatting on twitter or being on a Skype call, and because of that, I tend to do that any time of the day. However, I have realized that I need to balance that with the family time, couple time and time for myself. I suppose that it’s a challenge that self employed people all face and I will be better at creating more balance as I continue this path.

So what are the new birthday resolutions?

1. Publish books
2. Create more balance in daily life
3. Practice yoga and meditation on most days
4. Be fully location independent in my business
5. Express myself more fully and freely to the world

I know some of it might sound vague…#2 and #5 are more like the state of mind I want to keep working on. #1 & #4 are related to my business, #1 is also a way of doing #5. This past year I learned how much I put myself in a box with self-imposed rules, and how much I filter my thoughts and not say things that come to my mind. As an adult, having a filter is a necessary social skill, but in my case it could be limiting myself and get in my way of how I relate to other people. It seems to be limiting my intuition also. I’m hoping doing #3 will help me with that.

OK, your turn! What are your resolutions?

“The End”

The final episode of the TV show “Lost” aired last Sunday. (Spoiler Alert! Stop reading now if six-feet-underyou don’t want to know the ending) Even though I was not a rabid fan who religiously watched the show weekly over the last 6 years,  I did watch many of the  episodes this past season on-line. For the most part I was satisfied with how it ended, and was happy to see the last scene. Depending on your point of view, it was a happy ending. It made me think that dying is not at all a bad thing. It also reminded me of the last episode of my all time favorite HBO TV show “Six Feet Under”. Everyone dies sooner or later, no one escapes from it. But if you have come to terms with yourself as who you are and have made peace with what you have done, or what has happened to you or to people you care about, you can move onto what comes next after you die. The possibility of reuniting with people mattered to me most is definitely something to look forward to when it’s my turn to cross that bridge.

It was interesting to read people’s reaction in the comments section of abc.com where I watched the last episode. Some people were not happy at all about the last episode. It seemed that there were lots of questions unanswered especially about the secrets of the Island. Some expressed their frustration by saying things like “I wasted six years for this ending!?” While I understand their sentiments, I wondered if those who felt cheated really did not enjoy this past 6 years watching the show. I hope they kept watching it not just to learn what happens in the end, but also because it was entertaining, thrilling, or touching. It’s like anything in your life. Like the spiritual teacher in the movie “Peaceful Warrior” said, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”. If your eyes are only looking at where you are going and not paying attention to the surroundings, you might be disappointed when the view at the destination is not as pretty as you had expected. But if you have immersed yourself in the experience and fully enjoyed the process of getting there, what’s in the end matters less, if at all. In a sense, we all know what happens in the end at this life – we all die – so it should make sense to most people that it’s not what happens in the end but how much you experience in the process of getting there. The last episode of “Lost” also suggested that how you live your life dictates how you die or who would be around you when you die. Did you live your life fully today? Make it count as you never know when you get there.

What Have You Done With Your Life?

About a week ago, I listened to Danielle LaPorte speak during a business forum hosted by Pam Slim and i_did_itChris Guillebeau. I just loved her talk, especially the part where she said “YOU ARE THE ONLY YOU”. I’ve been writing this blog about a year now, and even though I’ve gotten a lot better, I still feel much freer in writing in English than in Japanese despite the fact that English is not my first language. This is a bit of a problem as I am writing a book right now in Japanese and am about to put myself out there even further, to a much bigger audience than I’ve been until this point.

Danielle said that “Often times, people need permission to be themselves”. It might be especially true in Japanese culture. Growing up, I definitely got the messages  like “it is important to fit in”, “you might not be liked if you stand out, or talk about your own accomplishments, as you’ll be seen as bragging”. All along, people are told to put their heads down, be ordinary, don’t stand out, and fit in. You are not expected nor supposed to express how great you are. No way. Only in the 3rd or 4th year of college, people start asking questions like “what are you actually good at?” and “what have you done with your life?”, so the college students can prepare themselves for “the life after college”. That’s when people are told to come out of their shells and start taking a look at their achievements, and telling the world how they really are different from the rest. As if, it was not so before that point. I think it’s a bit of a shock to some people. It was for me, for sure. I think it’s much too late to ask them to start being a self-marketer. The traditional “be ordinary, don’t stand out, be modest and humble until the time you have to apply for your first job” part of our culture does not quite serve us.

I graduated Tokyo University, which is considered the most prestigious university in Japan. For a long time I had this ambivalent feeling about my college education. A part of me felt like I didn’t do as much as others had to do to achieve that goal. It wasn’t that I didn’t have to study really hard; I did, for a good 7 months after I came back from Germany, and a big part of that was definitely luck. Nevertheless, I always felt awkward to talk about it and when I did, I felt like apologizing, as if I wanted to make sure that people still liked me even if I was that “lucky” or “smart” or “different”, or whatever. Definitely I had that “The nail that sticks out will be hammered down” mentality. Talk about low self-esteem!

Not anymore. I want to empower Japanese people, young and old, to be proud of what they do and what they have done with their life. I want them to want to talk about it with joy, not with fear. I want us to celebrate other people’s successes, not hate them for being “better than us”. How do I do that? Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see”. I stop hiding and be my own person, and be proud of all that I have done with my life. I want you to do the same. If you have something you accomplished but felt like not telling anyone for some reason, acknowledge yourself first that you did well. Then tell someone about it! Let’s make it easier for the next generations.

Writing A Book

In my blog entry posted on Jan 22, I wrote “publish a book” as one of my goals. When I cbsntype-main_fullwrote it, I had no idea how I was going to make it happen. In the same blog post, I also wrote that “What” always comes before “How”. The first thing I did was to put it on my vision board.

I then started talking to people and asking those who have published how they did it. I went back to Japan for 2.5 weeks in March with my family, where I met lots of people. Most of them were my friends I’ve known for years, but I also met new people, two of them I discovered through social media. I continued discussing my book ideas with them. One person gave me advice on how to write a book proposal, another person shared effective presentation techniques to book editors, yet another suggested how to identify potential publishing companies for my book ideas by going to bookstores. Two days before I left Japan, I got a call inviting me to meet up with an editor of a publishing company. I met her the next day, and I presented my proposals, and I came back to San Diego. Then, just a few days ago, I learned that they liked my proposal and that they thought it was worth publishing!

I am just amazed at how quickly this whole thing is unfolding. Some might call it luck, and I certainly feel very fortunate, but I believe that this series of events came about because I put my focus on it. Now I am very excited that I get to actually write this book. I intend to enjoy the every step of this journey.

How Much Is Your Dream Worth?

I watched this movie “Up in the Air” in December last year, 2009. I like George Clooney (I’ve been a fan movie-release-up-in-the-air_articleimagewhen he was still playing a doctor in “ER”), and even though the story wasn’t as convincing towards the end, I still enjoyed it. George Clooney plays Ryan, a jet-set executive flying around the country firing people on behalf of his clients. There was a series of scenes where he told people that they are let go, and he had to handle their reaction and lead them to take a “transition package” and leave the room.

Considering how the economy has been struggling the last few years, one might say that the movie hits too close to home and the storyline is depressing. However, one of the most memorable lines also came from one of those firing scenes. Ryan fired a guy with two children, and he got understandably upset – he stated that he is old and he can’t be a superstar in sports or anything like that. Ryan then said “But you can cook”, pointing out that he has gone to a culinary school by looking at his resume. Then he asked, “For how much money did you to give up your dream?” While I forget what the exact number was (probably mid-20K or low 30K),  I thought that was a very powerful question. My husband and I talked about this after the movie. I believe some people know themselves well enough that they know what they want to be when they grow up at an early age, but there are many who still do not know even in their 40’s to 50’s. I wondered how many people can answer that question like the guy did in the movie. Knowing how much your first job paid is one thing, but what about your dream? I believe that some people don’t even know what it was – or is.

In my case, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was 21. I tried to find jobs in my 4th year of college, without knowing what I really wanted to do with my life, and naturally  I didn’t find anyone who’d hire me. I believe that I was lucky that I didn’t find a job at that time, because that forced me to look at myself and ask some serious questions. In the end, I decided that I want to work for the United Nations and took the path to pursue that goal. Now, many years later, I am on to pursue my new dream, but it was because I learned back then that it’s up to me to decide what I want to do and do what I need to do to achieve it. I hope that many people will find that to be true for themselves. To assist anyone who needs support in pursuing their dreams, I’ll start a group where people come together and encourage each other in going for their dreams. Stay turned for more information!

Crush It!

Last November, I met Gary Vaynerchuk at a tWineup in San Diego. He wrote a book “Cursh It!”, I talked to him in person, took picture and got a signed copy. I was fist introduced to 092-copyGary Vaynerchuck by my friend Alan Underkofler – he posted one of many Gary’s talks on-line, and when I watched him speak, I was blown away by how passionate he was about his subject matters which are wine and business development. People say passion is contagious, and you can experience it by reading his book; in his book, he talks about how he has been 100% happy by following these 3 simple rules: 1. Love your family 2. Work superhard 3. Live your passion. This book is a great inspiration to everyone, but particularly to those who are wondering about how they can turn their hobby into business by utilizing various tools that are now available for everyone for little money, if not completely free.

He also talks about how personal branding is now a necessity for everyone – not just for entrepreneurs, but every single one of us, even if you are happily employed. He talks about how he utilized social media in building his personal brand, and how you need to be who you are – in his words, “let your DNA lead you”.  He writes; “You may not have connections, or an education, or wealth, but with enough passion and sweat, you can make anything happen”. The thing is, even if you quit your day job to do what you love, you might be putting the same or more amount of hours you did when you were employed, but if you truly feel passionate about it, it doesn’t feel like work. Your personal life and your professional life will be meshed into one, and you’ll be the brand.

While I really enjoyed my job at the Japanese school for the past 4 years, I felt that I could not express myself fully. I started writing a blog in May 2009, but I was still filtering myself on what I should and should not do or say while holding that position at the school, because people saw me as “Executive Director at Minato School”. I started teaching parenting class called “Redirecting Children’s Behavior(RCB)” on my day off, but I felt like I was still representing the school and it started feeling like a cage. My RCB instructor friends suggested that I should try to bring in this RCB courses to my school but I felt deeply conflicted in doing so, and that if I want to continue teaching this and to start reaching as many parents as I possibly can, I could not continue working there. It was a natural course of action for me to leave. Now that I have gained the freedom to be and express myself, I am ready to take massive action in expanding my network. I’m working on setting up RCB course to be offered near LA where there is a bigger Japanese population, and I’m in the process of creating tele-classes on parenting so people can call in to take my courses over the phone. Just like Gary describes in his book, I reluctantly go to bed at night, and excited to continue with where I left off the night before. I’ll also offer my course in English this year. Dear readers, thank you always for supporting me, and stay turned for my next move. I totally intend to crush it!

Princess And Frog

A few weeks ago we went to a military movie theater with our kids to watch a Disney movie “Princess and Frog”. I was curious if our older son could sit through a 90 minutes animation film, and princess-and-frog-posterit turned out he did fine for the most part, though there were some parts where a voodoo doctor appeared which was scary for him. It was an entertaining story with so much color and music, with an unique storyline; The main character Tiana turned into a frog when she kissed a voodoo cursed frog, thinking it’ll turn him back to a prince. Together they visit Mama Odie, hoping that she’d undo the curse, but she told Tiana that she needs to understand the difference between what she wants and what she needs. Continue reading

Birthday Resolutions

This past Tuesday was my birthday. Last year on my birthday, I created a list of “Birthday Resolutions” & “Things to do before turning 40”. I was inspired to make these lists by the movie “The bucket list” and Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”. Birthday resolutions were like New Year’s resolutions and included things that I wanted to start focusing on relatively quickly, such as getting back in exercise routine, while the other list included more long-term plan such as writing a book or all the places I want to visit. The bucket list from the movie is a happy_birthday_06list of things to do before one dies. While anyone can die at any point for any reason, people generally don’t think about it on daily basis. I wanted to give the items I put on my bucket list some sense of urgency, so I modified into a list of “Things to do before 40”. A year later, some of the things from both lists have come true, including having my own business through which I can be in service to others and be inspired at the same time. Since I still work full-time, and have two young children, my time is relatively limited, but when I get to work on it, those activities – whether it’s writing a blog post, coaching someone, building relationships on social media, or thinking about all kinds of services I could offer, I lose track of time.

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