You can’t always lead like an admiral.
The day after Thanksgiving, also known as “Black Friday”, is the first of the holidays’ shopping big waves. It is the time of the year where retailers and online stores push their products to next levels. “Cyber Monday” was originally created to make additional offers to employees returning to work. Today, with more home computers, tablets, and smartphones, consumers do not have to wait until Monday to start getting the cyber deals. Last week we were even able to dig into all newspapers’ flyers online before they were in the streets. These waves also bring “sharks” closer to us. Scams, misleading offers, and increases in credit card debt are also part of this shopping “cybersea”. Here are some tips to survive these holidays’ shopping waves.
1. Be a smart shopper. Don’t buy things that you don’t need, with money that you don’t have to impress people you don’t know. Value your money and your time. I saw people spending days camping outside stores since Tuesday to save money. This could be a saving if your productive time is less valuable. If you know how to buy the things that you really need, you do not have to expend time outside a store. You search, search, and save until you find the exact deal that works for you. I saw people waiting days in a tent to then get a laptop what was not what they expected.
2. Plan your shopping well in advance. If you know what you really need, you can plan ahead of time and search for the right product and the right deal. Make lists of things you really need, not things that you just want. Narrow your list and you will discover that you already have something in your list that it is hidden in the clutter in your garage or your closet. Most of my neighbors park their expensive cars in the driveway because their garages are cluttered with stuff they barely use. Be generous and give away things that you do no use. Prosperity is about flowing and giving to others. Be familiar with your favorite stores and learn when they have special sales or clearance racks. Everyday could be a “black Friday” if you are a good explorer.
3. Avoid the holidays’ debt tsunami. The most difficult part of surviving holidays’ shopping waves is to control your credit cards. Many people start the new year complaining about their increased new credit card debt. Controlling new debt requires a lot of discipline. It takes several years to break these habits. However, you do not have to wait for a loss of income to control this tsunami. Extra expending is just an emotional gratification. Controlling what you expend can be done by planning ahead. If you plan well in advance, you may save money and use them avoiding credit card use. Giving is an art that should be a way of life. When you give your time, talent and money to others, prosperity will follows. However, expending money that you don’t have to buy expensive gifts is not the essence of giving. You can reduce your list of gifts and buy symbolic gifts that have more meaning and emotional value than a gift that will be returned to the store after Christmas. Remember the reason for the season. Enjoy the season by starting a new year without new credit card debt. Credit cards should be used for real emergencies.
In all cases, marketers will do the effort to keep us in the shopping waves all year. After Christmas, and New Year sales, we will bombarded by Valentine’s day, Spring, Easter, Mothers and Fathers Day, Summer, Back to School, Fall, and Halloween to start listening to Christmas songs again before Thanksgiving. Plan and control your expenses to be prepared to ride all the shopping waves. Enjoy the journey.
Healthy Hearts is an advocacy and support group with the objective of promoting healthy hearts. It focuses in healthy life styles, heart diseases prevention and treatment, CPR/AED training, AED donations and resources to have healthy hearts.
Second Life Management: Surviving the Waves of Life
I have a lot to thanks today. I am managing my “second life” and surviving the waves of life. On 2007 I had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest during a Boy Scouts Summer Camp. I was saved by Scouters who did CPR for 45 minutes and by emergency responders who shocked me several times with an AED. Our Boy Scouts remained calm helping in guiding an ambulance to our campsite and praying for my health. My wife, who was in a summer camp for her first time, was calm and praying for my life. I survived thanks to God, prayers, and prompt actions by people around me who helped to have a miraculous recovery. I thank all of you today and everyday for keeping me alive. Read my survivor story here.
Every morning when I see my heart surgery chest scarf in the mirror I give thanks to God and remind myself about the new mission He gave me by keeping me alive. It is my responsibility to share this story, to educate others about healthy lifestyles, and most important to provide my tips for “Second Life Management” with the hope you will use them, not only in your second life, if this is your case, but also in your “First Life”. I have already lost several close friends to heart disease and I want to warn you about healthy lifestyles that you already know. I am sorry I have to insist. These easy tips are practical and it can be implemented right away.
God gave me a second chance to survive the waves of my first life. I am sharing these best practices and tips to help you to survive your waves of life. If you are living your “second life”, you are a survivor and I want you to use your second chance wisely. If you are still living your “first life” then you have the opportunity of using these tips as a warning to reduce your risks.
Living a Second Life means more than your health and personal life. When something happen to you and you have to make a decision, your are going to impact the lives of many people around you. Your family and friends are going to feel the influence of your decisions. When you lose a family member or close friend, when you loss a job, when you move from a city or country to another, when you change careers, or when you change relationships, you are going to make decisions that make you start a new life, a second life. It is time to drop your anchor and evaluate your options. If you are an adult, it is possible that you have spouse and children. Your “second life” decisions are going to affect them too. Managing the waves of life is going to be instrumental in helping you making the best decisions. In any case, a “second life” decision, voluntary or involuntary, is going to make you go back to a starting point. It is time to start all over again. It is time to give thanks for your past experiences, adjust your sails, and go underway again. You do not have time for lamenting and “why this is happening to me” thoughts. It is time to keep moving.
The following are five best practices that I have used in Second Life Management. They are not only related to health, but also to professional, family, personal, and cultural practices. I believe that these practices are useful for your “first life” too.
1. Give thanks every day. Every morning when I see my scarf in the mirror I give thanks to God for giving a second chance to live. I thank Him for being my lighthouse. He guides me in the valleys and peaks of life. When I loss a relative or friend, I give thanks for the time we were together and I ask for the life lessons that the missing person is teaching us. When a door is closed, we give thanks for the time, the experience, and the memories. They are part or our past like wakes at sea. I have friends who give thanks because they can walk, they can see, they returned from war, they survived cancer, they have a job, a house, family, friends, and more. Thanksgiving is not just a day, it should be a daily practice.
God provides the lighthouse to guide us. We should have a vision to find this lighthouse. We should adjust our sails to go with the wind or against the wind to find the right way to accomplish our goals surviving the waves of life. We should use the lighthouse for guidance to reach to a safe port. A “second life” normally starts when we leave a port and sail to another port. In our journey we have to deal with uncertainty, ambiguity, and unknown waters. It takes time to settle down into our new life.
Give thanks for who you are, what you know and do, and what you have. There is a reason to be who you are. You have a purpose in life and your mission is to find out what it is. Sometimes, although you are in the bottom part of your life wave, you have to give thanks and see the positive side of your life. You have strengths that you have develop surviving the waves of life. These strengths are going to be vital in your new life. Give thanks for the “positive” will reduce your stress and it will clear your mind to think about new opportunities. I changed careers several times in the middle of storms when I was able to assess new opportunities without complaining about the present.
2. Follow your personal vision. Row your own canoe in the direction of your dreams, your vision. You have to know where you are going in life. Find out who you want to be, what you want to know and do, what you want to have, when are you going to accomplish it, where you want to live, and how are you going to help others. Remember that the more you give, the more you receive. Include giving, time, talents, or treasure, in your personal plans. Focus on your vision and row your own canoe in the direction of your vision.Your beliefs, values, and priorities will help you find the proper vision.
I changed the metaphor because sailing is a collective effort. You adjust your sails of life using the wind provided by God and the infrastructure and support from your family members. Rowing your own canoe implies that you use your individual strength as the force that make you paddle and move yourself. You have to row with your own body, mind, and spirit in the right direction. Then, you can sail with others and survive the waves of life, especially if you are living your “second life”. God provides direction and the wind, you provide your strength and example to others.
Write down your personal, family, and professional vision. Ready it every day and remember, it is yours. You do your part. He will do His.
3. Climb your own mountain. Now it is time to add another metaphor. Once you have a clear vision and you see your self at the end, you have to establish your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Write down each goal that will take you to your vision. Test them to be sure they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). If they fail any of these tests, then you need to keep narrowing them until you feel they are right. Reaching your goals is like climbing a mountain. You make an action plan to accomplish your goals. You start climbing and overcoming obstacles. You struggle to reach the top until you finally make it. You arrive to the top of your mountain and then…what? Nothing. You accomplished your goal, you celebrate and then…watch your next mountain. It is time to enjoy the moment, enjoy the view and keep moving. You have to go down. Like waves at sea, life is about valleys and peaks. You cannot reach your next mountain without going down. You cannot be in two places at the same time. You have to go down, walk in the valley, and climb your next mountain, your next goal, your next vision. This gives you time to think, to readjust, to renew yourself. Enjoy the valleys and peaks, they are also the waves of life.
Share your goals with your spouse, family, children, partners, friends and coworkers. When your share your goals, people around you know where are you going. This is the reason you need the next tip.
4. Get a support group. You are not alone surviving the waves of life. You are part of several teams. You may have spouse, partners, children, relatives, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors around you. They are rowing their own canoes, climbing their own mountains, and adjusting their own sails. They are part of your world and you are part of their worlds. They can be part of your support group. Share your goals with them and you will find different reactions.
Some of your close group will attempt to discourage you. Their way of thinking will resist to your new ideas. They will be barriers to overcome. They will give you new strengths to solidify your arguments or valuable feedback to make adjustments. Others will play your game and will encourage to pursue your dreams. Both groups are important as they provide additional valuable feedback to assess and validate your decisions. At the end, remember that you are the owner of your decisions and slave of the consequences. You can get advice from others, but the final decision is all yours.
Surround yourself with positive people who are going to lift you. if you find people who put you down, evaluate their thoughts, apply what is useful, and try to make them change their views with positive thoughts. Find at least five people who are pursuing similar goals. Support each other and check them from time to time. Encourage them to accomplish their goals. They will do the same for you. They will help you to overcome your obstacles and your feedback will help them to overcome their obstacles. Remember that you are not along on this journey. “Together Everyone Achieve More” (T.E.A.M). You are part of a successful team. Synergy is the keyword here. Celebrate all accomplishments with your support group and with your detractors. They also need to know that you had success. You need to inspire them to follow your example. My wife and children are my best support group.
When I see a friend with bad eating and health habits, I am very direct about my feedback to them. I encourage them to change habits. Some of them will follow but others still need my next tip.
5. Embrace change. Be prepared to adjust your sails unexpectedly. The only constant in life is change. Like waves at sea we all live our waves of life. When we are in the bottom part of our wave, not matter how bad you feel, due to a family loss, job loss, or any other critical event, you always are going to go up. Life is a wave in cyclical ups and downs. You have to believe that something good is going to happen to you. Look at your past, analyze your previous waves and believe. When a door is close, God always open a window. You will find an opportunity window to change, adjust your sails, and keep going. Waves are going to bring you up.
At the same time, you have to be careful when you are in the top of a wave. Do not let ego or greedy actions controlling you life. Be prepared to go down too. Be prepared for emergencies, health issues, downsizing, natural disasters, and other unexpected events. Have savings, continuity plans, emergency plans, insurance, backup your memories, hard drives, and important documents. Share important information with people you trust. Be prepared to stop. One day, no matter what you do, you will stop and others will take care of your legacy. Planning is key. We all are going to reach a finish line. Everything is going to change for others after your last wave of life.
These “second life” practices have been helping me survive my first and second waves of life. I always remind myself that we are not alone. We all have God who is guiding us. We are part of a family who love each other. We are part of several teams who help each other. We give our best to others as servants. We should give thanks today and everyday. Life is a continuous learning adventure where we are enjoying changes and the waves of life.
On Thanksgiving Day…Thank you all.
Jose G. Lepervanche, PhD
Dr. Jose G. Lepervanche is a professor of management, information systems, & technology. He is a BSA National Distinguished Scoutmaster and a sudden cardiac arrest & CPR survivor. He regularly writes and speaks about life management, emerging technologies, Scouting and healthy hearts. Follow him in LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter (@DrLepervanche & @ScoutmasterJose).
This week I spent the day in Landmark middle school shadowing the principal as part of Duval County’s Leadership Exchange Program. I want to thank Duval County Public Schools for the opportunity, time and insights.
It was an interesting and hectic experience following him around during the arrival of students, channeling them to classrooms, meeting with administrators, supervising the cafeteria during lunch time, reviewing class assessments in math and literature, observing and evaluating a teacher and more. I learned a lot and now value more the effort that they are doing in middle school. After my visit, we had a debriefing with the superintendent of schools where we shared our experience and ideas to collaborate in secondary education.
As an university professor, Scoutmaster of Boy Scouts Troop 182, and past Course Director of the BSA National Youth Leadership Training I have found out that middle school is in the crossroad to the educational future of kids. They experience many changes during those adolescence years and they need the mentoring and support, not only of dedicated teachers, but also from their parents, relatives, and other role mode adults like coaches, church leaders, youth group leaders, band leaders, and scout leaders among others.
They need help to decide what road are they going to pursue in high school to prepare them for one the the tough decisions in life: what career and where to go to college. It is important to guide them to keep the focus on their personal vision and priorities. I believe that we need to: teach them basic life management skills and empower with communications skills to even train their parents to understand the importance of helping them to pass this middle school crossroad. They have to be prepared for college academic excellence and a successful and happy life journey. I am working on the ideas and I am available to be speaker in any workshop or event to parents and students or professional development events to faculty to inspire all of them to take more proactive actions, especially with parents. Visit our Family Leaders website for additional resources.
I am preparing a report titled “Middle school crossroad: be prepared for college academic excellence and beyond” which I will send for presentation at the upcoming learning and teaching conference. Once I have the draft with specific ideas and actions, I will send it to Duval County School Board.
Put On Your Pink and join Team Florida State College at Jacksonville as we participate in the MAKING STRIDES Against Breast Cancer Walk.
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011
Location: Treaty Oak Park (1123 Prudential Drive, 32207)
Time: Registration opens at 7:30 AM; Walk begins at 9:00 AM
The Making Strides event is not a race; it is a celebration of survivorship, an occasion to express hope, and a shared goal to end a disease that threatens the lives of so many people we love. When you walk or raise funds for a Making Strides event, you’re helping create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays – where breast cancer never steals another year from anyone’s life. By participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, you will provide hope and help to millions of people nationwide whose lives have been forever changed by this disease. Join us for a few hours of exercise, inspiration, camaraderie, entertainment, and most importantly, to honor someone you know who has been affected by breast cancer – especially if that person is you. To join Team Florida State College at Jacksonville, click on the following link and you will be prompted to register under our team at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/teamfscj.
Registration is FREE and all are encouraged to participate…including your family and friends!
If you are unable to participate, you can still help the cause by donating directly to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org/stridesonline. For more information on registering for the walk, please contact Dawn Swed at ext. 3018.
Your Participation and Support benefit you, your family and your community! Join Team Florida State College at Jacksonville today and remember to Make Your Health Your Priority Everyday!
“Marriage is like sailing. God provides the wind. The couple has to adjust the rudder and the sails of life”
Dr. Jose & Flor Lepervanche have been speaking at different workshops and seminars related to family since 1999 when they joined the Covenant Experience in Miami. Their engaging presentations motivate, energize, and inspire others to adjust their sails. Visit the Family Leaders website (http://www.familyleaders.org) which is intended to share online resources related to family and personal issues.
Workshop at Sea 2011. Reservations with Rasara Travel.