5 Things I Realized At Setting Realistic Work Goals

I am addicted to “busyness”. Taking on too much. Not creating enough margins to breathe and prep for the next meeting I will go to.

This “busyness” translates to spreading myself too thinly, doing a little of everything. Not really appreciating what I have accomplished. 

Focusing on quick and many, instead of few and high value activities.

Such is the trap of individual contributors. “Over-operationalizing” things. Doing things over and over, not thinking how it can be done better, faster.

Being too “process” than “big picture”.

Then I realize 5 things I can do to laser-focus on BIG, high-value, high-impact work goals:

1) Think about ONE THING you need to achieve this year

FOCUS on that goal, build your daily activities around it. The rest are just “need it now” or nice-to-haves.

2) Know your role’s singular purpose

You were hired for at least three to five main tasks. Find what’s common among these five, that’s why you were hired. Keep that in mind, daily, and be strategic with your work choices – does it align with your purpose?

3) Know your company’s overall goal and build towards it

If you know your purpose but not the company’s, your halfway there. At the end of the day, if you are doing your role but not appreciating how it is contributing to the company’s goal, there’s no point.

4) Re-calibrate every day

You may have busier days than others. But think about how you can do at least 1 task each day that builds into the completion of your answer to # 1.

5) Last but not least, TRIM THE FAT

Look at your to do list. Be brutal with it. Leave only FIVE to do’s for the day. Make sure at least ONE out of the five is done for your purpose for the year. If not, either delete or delegate. There’s no in between. Say no to meetings. Or ask to reschedule. Push back work deadlines on low value activities, but don’t forget to state why. 

If you’re crystal clear on your goal and know what adds the most value to this goal, you can easily develop this 5-step habit.

In the end, it will focus your energies on what matters most, build your brand equity as a professional who knows what’s truly important and leave you fulfilled at the end of the year knowing you added value and have aligned with the company’s purpose.

Defining Sadness

We mostly think about life in terms of milestones.

  • Year of birth (and every year after that)
  • Year we graduated high school, college, Masters, MBA, PhD, Law, Medicine etc.
  • Our first love
  • Our first heartbreak
  • Our first job
  • The first thing bought with our first paycheck
  • Meeting “the one”
  • Our wedding year (and every year after that)
  • Our firstborn’s year of birth (and every year we give birth after that)
  • Our first resignation 
  • Our first house, car, or any other major purchase with our hard earned money and/ or loan
  • Our first move to another city
  • Our first life failure

And the list goes on and on and on and on…

Majority of the above entails a positive impact in our life. It consists of our noteworthy “highs” while some consists of our “lows”, those times we were in the gutter, drowning in our sorrows and pain.

Notice from the above that I wrote mostly highs and not lows. I read in an Anthony Robbins book that one of the fundamental human behaviors is moving towards pleasure and avoidance of pain.

Truly so, and for good reason. Why would anyone want to relive a heartbreak? We’d rather reminisce those kilig moments with our first ever high school crush.

It makes me think about those moments I felt the saddest, the deepest, darkest, gloomiest, roughest, soul-crushing kind of sadness where I feel the need to cry and tears roll incessantly down my cheeks…

Those moments I listen to a purging playlist over and over and revel in the downcast state of my soul, where I feel like hope and happiness no longer exist.

I feel that sadness, like in the movie “Inside Out”, is not bad in itself and should never be subverted in any way. It shouldn’t be forced out by happiness and should be allowed at the forefront, lived out to the point where we don’t feel sad anymore.  It should be made king for that particular period or moment or week or day or month or year where we feel like being sad.

As the age-old adage goes, “Time heals all wounds..” and sadness is no exception. Time heals sadness, but before time can do so, sadness should be allowed to live, live in our soul, in our eyes, in our hearts. It should be followed at all costs. Cry those tears. Scream if you must. Grieve. Just be.

Be sad.

Don’t be afraid of it. Let it flow. Let it be seen. Let it go.

For it is in sadness that we feel truly alive, that all our senses are heightened by that which made us sad. We feel more of who we are, what we need, what we have lost, what we hope to gain, where we want to go, and who we want to become.

Sadness purges us of emotions that need to be heard, and more importantly, felt. Those emotions we try to suppress thinking that we shouldn’t be sad, that its wrong to be sad.

It’s not.

And if you’re feeling that sadness is creeping up from your insides, allow yourself that moment to cry, to lock yourself in a room if you must and just let the tears flow. For it is in allowing our sadness to wash over us completely do we give justice to it.

For God made sadness too. And He made it for good reason, not to make us feel bad, but to show us our “truth”. The truth that not everything in life was made to be perfect and to make us feel happy. 

God created us to experience loss and pain and suffering and sorrow and grief, because that makes us human. That makes us God’s kind of human – one who knows how to live through the highs AND also live through the lows. The kind of human who knows how to revel in triumphs and successes but also knows how to remain steadfast and faithful in failures and heartbreaks.

And as I continue to define sadness, I think about God. And I thank God. For if He did not give us this beautiful emotion of sadness, the kind of sadness we feel all the way to our core… we may never really know how it feels like to truly live.

Bad Ass, Wonder-ful Superhero Hotness: Wonder Woman Movie Review

SPOILER ALERT

I’ve never done a movie review in recent years.

Like any other movie buff, I enjoy the two and half hour experience, banter with my husband right after the movie it is was “really good” or if it “totally sucked”, rant or rave about it a few times after, give my two cents if it comes up in conversation, and watch it again on HBO.

But with Wonder Woman, I make an exception.

I won’t bore you by retelling the story, as other reviews go, just google the synopsis or watch the trailer.

What I would give you, though, is 5 reasons why it is THE BEST superhero movie this year, so far:

1) Authentic, hardcore, badass Amazons

Its the female version of 300. Stunts are beautifully shot. Scenes of women shooting arrows at glorious angles, long, muscled legs abound. It is enough to make you want to be an Amazon, girl or guy alike.


2) Gal Gadot’s magnetic screen presence carries the movie awfully well

I don’t think this girl has a single bad angle. Those beautiful eyes and supermodel bod coupled with believable stunt work and sincere, “I will save the world” kind of spirit shines through in every scene. A-lister magnetism and screen presence. I love her.

3) It has a storyline that actually works.

It is a story of Wonder Woman’s journey from blissful ignorance and a storybook concept of war and mankind to an awakening of man’s worst and best side, realizing that it is what makes man truly human.

4) Chris Pine

‘Nuff said.

Seriously, Chris’ portrayal of a handsome, American spy that wishes to do good and ends up sacrificing his life to save lives is cry-worthy. And their chemistry is so real. 

5) A girl power movie that does not try TOO hard.

If this statement makes sense to you, it is exactly what the movie is. An opening shot of an island with only female inhabitants riding horses and training hard in meadows with swords and arrows is enough to make any girl’s insides inexplicably proud, cheering, “Heck, we can do that too!”.


In the end, it is a solid superhero action movie that tells of a goddess’ coming of age towards knowing mankind she vowed to protect at all costs – starting out naively hoping that war will end by killing Ares (god of war) and eventually discovering that it is not in putting a sword in the villain’s chest that would end the war, but love, in its purest form, given selflessly, is what prevails in the end.

What If Money Wasn’t An Issue?

I had a massage yesterday and naturally, my mind went in different directions as I was savoring the muscle reboot. 

One of my thoughts went into the beach, on a lounge, sipping iced tea and writing my memoir.

I could freeze that thought forever.

It got me thinking, that’s what I would do, if money wasn’t an issue.

It’s interesting to hear how people would answer the phrase “If money wasnt an issue…”.

Simple phrase, yet it forces you to self-reflect and think about what the “dream life” looks like:

It forces you to confront a “mirror” and realize your:

1) Widely audacious goal

2) Your “ideal” self

3) Your end-game after so-called corporate / entrepreneurial rat race

And it made me think, are we really living opposite lives because we need cash?

Frankly, yes.

To dilute it a bit, we are living our “forced” lives. 

“Forced” not in the sense of slavery… but more (en)forced

Disciplined. Goal-driven. Purposeful.

Enforced like traffic rules, company policies and doctor’s orders.

People do not necessarily want to follow them, but they are enforced to yield positive results, for the common good.

And for us living in the rat race, our “common good” – the answer to “why we work” are borne of 2 things:

1) Love for family

2) Incessant quest for self-actualization

The former being self-explanatory, to put food on the table and care for our loved ones until we can physically and mentally do so.

The second more psychological, and maybe to some, highly logical, in our quest to self-actualize.

How do we actually attain the highest state of self-actualization? 

It comprises mainly 4 things:

– what were good at

– what we like doing

– what makes most sense to our current life situation and

– what would pay us best

Then, we pick a job that would adequately match all of the above, at varying degrees, yes, but still addressed one way or the other.

Given that we have followed, so far, a somewhat logical approach in finding a job that can put food on the table and match closely who we are, it is not necessarily the same (logical) approach we use when answering THE perennial question…

What if money wasn’t an issue?”

Again  we are forced to think big

And I mean BIG

Widen our considerations, tap to the heart, and really think about what would make our soul happy.

Answering this question forces us to be selfless, illogical, even whimsical to a degree since we are not limited by circumstance, our bank accounts and obligations.

We think freestyle. 

What do I really want to be doing?

It surfaces underlying wants subverted by logic. It pushes out suppressed desires and frees us to picture a life unbound by structure, logic nor reason.

It is exhilirating and suprising at the same time, knowing what we truly want. 

It may not necessarily be the most logical thing to do at this time, but at least we get a glimpse of that “unlived life”.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying our “lived” lives are worse, I am just saying it would be radically different.
And I would encourage you to think about this question every now and then, in your random idle time and daydreams.

Give yourself that chance to peek into what your soul feels like doing, and little do you know, you may be closer to it than you think.