Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Success Magazine - A Great Alternative to Gossip Mags!

In an effort to streamline my life, I don´t watch TV and limit my magazine-reading to those that cover subjects that are of real interest to me. That´s why I subscribe to Success Magazine and The Writer. They are a monthly reminder of what I find important and I don´t have to actively seek them out – they come to my mailbox, often when I need them the most.

Success magazine is not only about being a successful entrepreneur, but about overcoming the mind-blocks and road-blocks that prevent the majority from living their dream life. And by dream life I don´t mean being rich and famous, but living the life YOU want, whether it entails writing novels in a garage, homeschooling your kids or owning a beachfront house.

Success magazine features hot-shots such as Steve Jobs, Rachel Ray, Oprah and Magic Johnson and not your average Joe. Some potential readers may be turned off by that, thinking that they will never be able to achieve their level of outward success. But, don´t be daunted – the upside of Success magazine is that it presents the real-life challenges and the dark moments all these outwardly successful icons had to overcome to reach their current status. They are human too.

The publication always includes a CD/DVD with interviews and speeches with the outstanding people featured in each issue. If you´ve never read it, no matter where you stand in life, I suggest you give it a try. There is always something to be gleaned from those who´ve made it and you can apply it to your life to reach the level or kind of success that YOU want.

Reading about successful people is empowering, whereas reading about their break-ups and mess-ups just feeds our lower spirit. Now the choice is up to you: the latest gossip on Brangelina, or the inside scoop on Magic Johnson´s success on the basketball court and as an entrepreneur.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Don´t lose sight of your main life-goal!

Do you make plans or set goals and then get side-tracked because a new business idea or hobby crossed your mind? Do you find yourself daydreaming about future what-ifs and maybes? Well, you are not alone.

My primary life-goal is to be a published author, which I am, and STICK to it, eventually making a living ONLY writing what I want to write. A couple of days ago, however, I found myself wondering if I should take up beading and making jewelry and spent some time researching the prices of silver, silver beads, classes … the works! Another day, not having indulged the dancer in me for a while, I wondered if I should get recertified as a personal trainer and have that as a side-business (and wasted time finding information on that) and just today I was thinking of becoming a life coach!

It´s great to daydream of course, but not when it involves hours of surfing the web or entertaining thoughts that take me away from what I should really be doing which is writing my next novel!

I don´t know about you, but it helps me to have a list of my ongoing goals and my priorities and to revisit them often, especially when my mind starts to drift. I am also lucky to have a pacing partner who reminds me often of what my primary goal is and to STOP entertaining side-tracking thoughts.

The best way to STICK to your guns is to streamline your life and do away with everything and anything that does not contribute to your primary goal. You may need to do work you don´t like for a while, or go to a day job, but if you spend the rest of your time nurturing your passion and not allowing yourself to flit around from one hobby to the next or from one goal to another, once you have pinpointed your big dream, then you will be on track.

How do you stay focused?


Friday, July 23, 2010

Recession-proof your freelancer status!

A few days ago, someone asked me how I´m able to successfully freelance with two young kids in tow and in the midst of a global recession. Well, in my case, I´ve had to reinvent myself and change the type of services I offer. I used to make a good living as a language interpreter and translator until that field was hit by a struggling economy. Then I wrote for a newspaper for almost four years, until 2008, when newspapers started letting go of freelancers and insiders alike.

I now write content for business websites and I copyedit in English and Spanish, aside from the occasional translation. Writing copy for websites wasn´t my idea. A business owner asked me to write the text for his site. He liked the result, and now I get clients by word of mouth. I have since learned a lot about writing for the web, which is very different from traditional journalism. I still pen books and they are published, although publishers and agents say that the future of books looks bleak. But, they´ve always said that and besides we all know it´s difficult (but not impossible) to live off of royalties, unless you´re a household name, which I am not (yet!).

I am grateful to have enough work to cover expenses in time when my friends are losing their jobs. I don´t work 8 hours a day, because it´s summer and my kids spend more time at home, and this entails more work than work itself. But, at the end of the week, I somehow manage to get projects done so I can take on more. I´m not yet at the level of workload and income that I had before the recession, but I´m slowly getting back on my feet …

My humble suggestions to other freelancing moms and dads during these tough financial times:

- Make a list of all your marketable skills. Look at the market´s needs and tweak the nature of the services you offer based on that. Don´t pigeon-hole yourself from the get-go. I know someone who used to work in a restaurant and is now making good money designing web pages

- If you´re making enough to cover expenses, count your blessings, and enjoy your time off with your kids

- If you aren´t making enough money, then cut back on your expenses and enlist help to care for your kids so that you can spend more time promoting yourself and working

- If you live in the U.S. take advantage of the fact that this really is the land of opportunity. In other countries it is not so easy to change careers, switch gears or temporarily take on menial jobs if that´s all you can get

- Do your best to keep in touch with others in your situation, so that you can support one another and share tips and ideas

If you have any other suggestions, please share!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Marissa PYNK Monteilh shares her personal success as an author

I met author Marissa PYNK Monteilh online three years ago and even though we have not yet met in person, I feel like we would get along swimmingly. Monteilh is an author and her Facebook updates often include questions about relationships – for her steamy novels no doubt – that elicit streams of responses from her followers. I asked her to share her success story with me, and well – she did.

LCL .- What do you consider to be your personal success story?

MM.- My ten-year long career as a published author is my success story. I’ve been a commercial actress, Fox News reporter, model, relationship talk-show host and also worked in banking and in human resources, yet I always yearned for a profession that would allow me to explore my passion and my gift of writing. The same gift that my seventh-grade teacher acknowledged many years ago. In 1998, I penned my first book, May December Souls, which was semi-autobiographical. I shopped the manuscript around for two years and it seems it was rejected by more people than I submitted it to, however, at the recommendation of Michael Baisden, I self-published the book in 2000. By 2001, I had an agent, and thirty days later, I had a book deal with a major publisher. Thankfully, I’ve been writing at least one book per year since then. I love words. I was determined and encouraged and I’ve worked hard to learn how to write, and to complete my works. I am doing what I love to do – write.

LCL.- What are the traits that you believe helped you achieve your goal or overcome your obstacle?

MM.- My parents were both entrepreneurs and actors/entertainers with very intense creative energy. My father was a well-known tenor saxophone player and my mother owned a real estate company, among other careers. I inherited the daring, fearless natures of my mom and dad, and I always remember their encouraging words, telling me that I can do anything, and that all ideas are gifts from God, that it all depends upon whether or not you allow yourself (and others) to talk you out of the blessings. My strength and determination is in the blood.

LCL.- What people in your life have been key to your achievement?

MM.- Throughout my writing career, the people in my life who have been key to my achievement are, first and foremost, my three children. For more than a decade, they’ve believed in my writing and supported me, and they’ve been patient and understanding of my passion. Also, a great friend named Vicky Rice, who challenged me to start writing and became my discipline-coach back in 1998, held me to my promise to myself that I would finish my first book, and I will always be appreciative to her for that.

LCL.- How did you cheer yourself on during your “down” or doubtful moments?

MM.- I still have doubtful moments when I wonder if I should continue writing books. There are times when I wonder if the love I have for penning novels is requited. But still, every time I say I won’t, I do. I continue to birth another idea and the fever in me that fuels the excitement to start writing that book burns on, and so, I continue to pump out the stories. Along the way I do remember to be grateful, stop, and think back to what it was like making a living doing what I did not enjoy, and somehow, I manage to continue. I don’t know how long I will write, but for now, the little writer-light in me is still shining bright.

LCL.- In one sentence, sum up what you would tell another person who is having a hard time and would like to achieve a goal of any kind, or who is going through a difficult moment.

MM.- I would say that the hard times are actually a good sign that not only is a learned-lesson ahead, but the fruits of the labor will be so much sweeter once the storm is over - sunshine is ahead.

LCL.- Anything else you may want to add?

MM.- I’d like to add that I admire and appreciate Lorraine Ladish, not only for her accomplishments and successes, for following her dreams and doing the hard work, but also for her beautiful spirit. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Success Diaries.

LCL.- (I blush)

Please follow Marissa's blogs on Novel Spaces, where she contributes along with ten other authors, and on her crusade website Just Say No to Married Men


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Don´t Forget to Celebrate the Small Stuff!

Success can be a daunting word.

Many seem to equate success with making a 6-figure income, becoming a celebrity or achieving an apparently insurmountable goal. But, what if you make a lot of money and you hate your job? You look successful to others but you may feel like a failure.

We forget that personal success is just that - personal.

Also, any large accomplishment or success is usually the result of a lot of smaller accomplishments and successes that often go unnoticed, until you cross that finish line, which is visible to the world. Nobody sees what the runner had to go through, by training daily for months, nursing injuries and overcoming exhaustion, before he made it to the end of the marathon. You are the only one who knows what it took to tame your insecurities, to overcome writer´s block and show up at the keyboard for years – the others will see the published book and perhaps exclaim “you´re so lucky!”

We need to be our own cheerleaders and we need to acknowledge our milestones even when nobody else does. We must own our successes large or small, because they all count.

We know what success looks like from the outside, but here´s what it can look like from the inside:

- Facing a problem instead of running away from it

- Doing something that scares you

- Resubmitting a story for publication that got rejected 20 times already

- Being a rock for your kids even though the funds are low and life is tough as nails

- Getting on that treadmill when you really feel like eating 10 doughnuts instead

- Making a budget and sticking to it

- You name it …

Being there for yourself makes you an instant success. Only you see it now, but eventually, others will too.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Coaching for Latinas, with Sheila Morataya

Sheila Morataya, 47, is a life coach, speaker, columnist and writer besides being a proud wife and mother. Originally from El Salvador, she arrived in the U.S. 15 years ago, and became an American citizen. She survived one of the most bloodthirsty and longest wars in Central America. Always passionate about women and their world, she eventually obtained a Masters in Marriage and Family by the University of Navarra. She is a specialist in logo therapy and graduated from The Coach Training Institute. She has a blog in Hola.com entitled Sheila Morataya, The World from a Woman´s Point of View and will soon launch a new blog - Only Coaching, also at Hola.com. In fact, that is how we met! We are fellow bloggers in the popular Spanish magazine.

In her new blog, Only Coaching, Sheila will deal with subjects such as “Who needs a Life Coach?”, “How can I use coaching to help my children?”, or “How do I know if someone is a good coach?” Sheila mostly deals with the Latino community, both in the U.S. and abroad. Her upcoming blog, in Spanish, promises to be of interest to every woman who wants to be the best version of herself and improve one or all aspects of her life.

Sheila believes her biggest success is “having become an advocate for women and their self-esteem, after having overcome my own struggle with my self-image due to my history of sexual abuse.”

Her persistence and the help from her parents, her husband and her readers, helped Sheila become a coach and help other women, after first having helped herself.

Sheila overcomes her down moments with prayer and a strict inner life plan, but she is open minded and helps anybody regardless of religion, sexual orientation or anything else.

“By using your brain and the power of your human spirit you can move mountains”, says Sheila.

Her tag-line at the end of every blog entry is: “Together, we are headed towards success!”

To contact Sheila, visit her websites:





Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Being Open-minded

I never was a fan of soccer. I never wanted to watch those little figures on the TV screen kicking a ball. I turned my back on soccer matches, fans and stadiums. I don´t feel comfortable in crowds and I´ve always equated soccer to violence. After all, they had to fence soccer fields in Europe because of violence. Referees and players have been killed because of a bad game.

On the other hand, I declare myself to be open-minded. Hmm, I suppose that is contradictory.

As some of you may know, I´m half Spanish and half American and I live in Florida. By chance I saw the last part of the World Cup match that put Spain in the semi-finals. I couldn´t believe how excited and even moved I felt watching them win. I almost cried. Then I realized that soccer can also generate good feelings. It made my Spanish blood flow and I made a mental note of the day when the semi-final would take place, which was yesterday.

Not knowing much about soccer, at 2.30 pm ET, I just checked out the players. On Facebook my girlfriends and I joked about which player was the hunkiest. I liked Capdevila and my friends rooted for Xavi or Villa. Is this frivolous or what, but … it was fun.

Gradually my interest shifted from the guys to their moves, and I found the game exciting. They were playing beautifully, and every time the Spaniards nearly scored a goal, I held my breath. All of a sudden I was one of those who screamed and rooted for their team. I cried when Spain scored its GOAL. Ah, my dear Spain! I wrote patriotic status updates on my Facebook page, I chatted with my lexicographer dad who usually prefers to have his eyes poked out than watch soccer (but watched the match too), and when Spain won, I called my 9-year old daughter who is still in Seville, watching it all and most importantly, feeling it! For a moment, I felt like I WAS in Spain!

Yesterday soccer moved me, it brought me closet o my friends, my family, my fellow Spaniards and I feel good because I was able to be open-minded and enjoy that. I felt a small success – overcoming my aversion to soccer, and having been moved to tears when listening to the Spanish National Anthem, enjoy a well-played game and feeling closer to all my Spanish friends who are scattered around the globe.

And on Sunday, I wish I could be in Spain on that historical day when it will play the FINAL in the World Cup! My daughter will be there, my sister too, and I´ll be in Florida, connected with by Facebook, by phone and in spirit, with La Furia Española.

So today, I´m a bit more open minded than yesterday, more alive … and that´s a good thing. I highly recommend it.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

TuffCooki is fashionable, whimsical, fun and classy

I believe the in sisterhood of like-minded women. Seeing the result of the vision and the collaboration of these two artists was fascinating to me. Especially since they met through Facebook, they live in different countries and even so, they´ve managed to converge their talents to create something great together.

Mónica Kennedy has a Bachelor in Business Administration and is the founder of Tuffcooki.com that designs handmade handbags and clutches. Marián Muñoz has a Masters in Fine Arts and is an illustrator. They have both created a new handbag collection for Tuffcooki called The Girls, which features four types of women.

I´ve observed Mónica and Marián ¨cook¨ their ideas in the cauldron like two good fashion witches and it is inspiring to see the result of their art and know-how.

Here is what the two brave, creative and persistent women have to say about:

How they met and launched their project -

Marian Muñoz - We met thanks to the serendipity of Facebook, through a common contact. She had posted something on her wall about Tuffcooki handbags and when I saw it I made a comment, because I thought they were pretty and original. Mónica replied to my comment and that´s how the back and forth started and when we considered doing something together, that has finally come true.

Mónica Kennedy – The creative process was easy, because of the way we work. Communication is important. We know what we want and we talk everything over. In the end we always come to a middle ground. There is distance between us and we are on different times, but that is not an obstacle. She sleeps when I work and vice versa. It´s taken us many hours to decide on colors, styles, create illustration, print textiles, but the reward is worth it. The fact that a textile can turn into such beautiful and original designs is very fulfilling.

The inspiration for The Girls collection, by Tuffcooki -

Mónica Kennedy – This collection is inspired by women and their lifestyles. Every handbag has been carefully designed to tell a story, combining quality fabric with enchanting illustrations that make these classic styles one of a kind.

Marián Muñoz – When it comes to inspiration for illustrating, I find that in everything that surrounds me: passersby, friends, fashion magazines and trends, trips, art from all cultures and times, movies and fashion photography which is perhaps my greatest inspiration.


Mónica Kennedy – Everything is possible if you want it badly enough and you are willing to keep on going until you get it. I had a wish, a dream, and I made it true because I was so passionate about it that I was unstoppable. I’m no better than anyone else, but perhaps I have a fierce desire to do things and the get-up-and-go to do them. I’m persistent, a fighter and, at the end of the day, what fulfills me the most is to see where I started out in 2004 and where I am today. I love to think that the best is yet to come and that Marián will be a part of that journey.

Marián Muñoz – Mónica and I have had a very strong connection from the very beginning. We think alike and we are in sync. As Moni says “where there is a will, there is a way”. I have a quote on my Facebook profile: “When you don´t want to do something you find excuses and when you do, you find reasons.” In my case, I´ve always found reasons and, just like Mónica, I´ve always had a desire that started out as a hobby when I was a kid.

Mónica Kennedy and Marián MuñozWe are proud that we can make a living doing what we love!

Visit Tuffcooki and also the world of Marián Muñoz to know more about these successful women and to purchase their creations. I hope you like them as much as I do and that they inspire you!


Follow me on Facebook.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Adaptability Breeds Fulfillment

When hurricane Wilma blew through Southwest Florida in October of 2005 my family was left with no power for a couple of days. I felt lucky that nothing had happened to our cars, our home or to us. The days were cooler than is usual for that time of year in Florida, so we were able to grill outside and spend time in the pool. Kids were out of school and we spent the time reading, playing, talking and taking advantage of this impromptu vacation from the pressures of modern life. We had no generator, so I was unable to work on my laptop or do anything that required electricity.

Granted this was nothing like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina or others like it, but it was a glitch in the usual state of affairs. I remember feeling lucky and relaxed those few days. Other families had been hit hard!

Some time after that I recall a conversation at a party with people from the neighborhood I lived in back then. Someone asked if we had been around for Wilma, and what the experience had been like. I was very surprised when a nearby neighbor said it had been awful!

“Oh, the kids were bored, we couldn’t watch TV, it was hot, we couldn’t cook … It was bad!”

I certainly did not remember it that way, and we were just a few houses apart! We have become so used to having commodities such as A/C, electricity, wireless phones, internet, etc. that when one of those is lost, we feel lost! Perhaps because I lived in the south of Spain where temperatures surpass the 100’s in summer and few houses have central air-conditioning, because I don’t jack up the A/C in summer, or simply because I do cherish the commodities of modern life, I actually enjoyed not having them for a few days.

In poor countries people make do with what they have – they don’t have to experience a hurricane to have no power, no hot water, let alone an internet connection!

Today a transformer blew in the neighborhood, and my plans for the day were suddenly intercepted. After all, I work on a laptop and use the Internet all the time for my work. But here I am, taking advantage of the couple of hours that my laptop battery will hopefully last. It’s getting hot, but it’s not unbearable. I’m grateful that I can write longhand on paper. I’m grateful that I can take a break from my own plans.

Adaptability makes for a much more enriching and successful life …