Yesterday I celebrated my 34 years of life with my beloved sister in the beautiful city of Chicago. It was a quaint night starting out with tapas by Joe Garces coupled with red wine and sorbet for dessert. Joe was the very first Iron Chef winner. After the amazing dinner, we took a brisk walk several blocks to Filenes Basement, a well-known shopping destination often featured on TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” There was little time left to shop, but I did buy some great finds that are hard to come by in terms of style, fit, and price. We then finished the night retiring in our hotel room with our cozy, warm robes falling asleep to “Friends” on cable TV. It was a simple and low-key night. It doesn’t resemble a lot of birthday celebrations I’ve had in the past, but it was incredibly memorable. We shared a lot of laughs, took our time to take in the environment and appreciate the experience, and reflect on our lives, health and well-being. It was a time to acknowledge the things we were most grateful for.
Today, now one day older, after returning from Chicago to Milwaukee on the train, I had some time to further reflect on things. Today, I reflected on the life of Eugene Hoang. I wrote about Eugene, whose life expired one year ago today in an accidental drowning, in my January 2010 blog titled,. I shared how Eugene had touched my life before and after his death because of the impact he made while he was still living out his passion: inspiring and supporting others through his work as a coach, trainer, NLP practitioner, hypnotherapist, and speaker. After learning of his death, I vowed to keep his passion, which I mutually shared, alive by working even more diligently to ensure I lived with meaning and purpose creating impact and making a difference in the lives of people.
As I look back on this past year, there are many things I am grateful for. Though Eugene’s untimely and unexpected death still weighs heavily on our hearts, celebrating the memory of his life became the impetus for me to take my passions to the next level. Eugene would be humbled to know that he inspired me to evolve my business into multi-facets that expanded my service offerings beyond coaching and speaking. I’ve been attuned to Reiki level one to be a conduit of energy healing to reduce stress and increase relaxation in others. I’ve also committed myself to writing more regularly. I am currently working on my first book and plan to launch it in early 2011. I have mentored, coached and consulted a handful of individuals to support the launch of their own businesses sharing with them the tools and insight I’ve gained in my own experience after I took a leap of faith as a corporate employee and started my own business. Their underlying reason for creating such business ventures was to do something meaningful and make a difference. I’ve been featured in articles and appeared on a morning show segment to discuss topics that affect women. I took my community work to the next level and volunteered as chair of an annual fund raising event to help increase awareness and generate donations to support the needed existence of MargaretAnn’s Place, a non-profit organization in Milwaukee that is Wisconsin’s center of hope for grieving children and families. On the personal front, I’ve improved my nutrition and exercise habits and after adopting my new lifestyle I dropped over 20 inches and 15 pounds since the new year!
People often ask me how I can juggle everything I do in my life because I do so much, show up everywhere, and make a lot of impact wherever I go. I am agree that I can be a very busy person and have a lot of ambitions and goals to accomplish in what seems a short period of time. However, I have never been more relaxed in my life until now. The truth is I’ve slowed down a lot. I’ve eliminated habits, activities, things or people that no longer serve me. I’ve made a conscious decision to act in accordance keeping in mind why I exist, how I want to conduct myself, and what I want to do and be in this life time. It is simple to begin, just like with anything, but difficult to sustain. My tips are to stay focused and disciplined keeping your ultimate goal in mind, forgiving yourself when you get off course, being consistent with your words and actions, and persisting and persevering through the challenges and struggles that will no doubt come your way.
I close with words from Eugene Hoang that he left in his Facebook profile shortly before I learned of his passing:
Know thy self, and better yet… Be thy self. I am [on] a personal soul journey to India for the winter. Exciting times ahead…”
It’s a blessing to have our life and health. Make it a great one, everyone!