Question: If You Were To Invite Three People to Dinner Who Would They Be? – Alive or Dead

Upon recent conversation with my significant other, we had discussed the three people (alive or dead) we would want to invite over as a dinner guest. I’m sure throughout life these choices have changed and will change, as if it were a lifetime- long game of musical chairs. Currently, off the top of my head, at this time of in life, I have selected—Barbara Corcoran, Brene Brown, and Oprah (though, originally chose Tupac Shakur for somewhat similar reason).

Although it seems like a strange pairing of people, I feel each of them add a unique perspective given their life work and experiences.

Barbara Corcoran is a notable real estate businesswomen and investor on the popularized show, Shark Tank. My own real estate interest aside, Barbara Corcoran’s mindset, creativity and street-smarts is what is most admirable. Her success story tells a tale of a fellow Jersey girl from modest beginnings rise above challenge and build a real estate empire through her creative wits and lessons from her mother. This crediting to her mother has been especially interesting, paralleling the manner in which her mother raised Barbara and her 10 siblings with her own future business achievements. One story in Barbara’s memoir, Shark Tales, which stood out to me had been her mother’s ability to single-handedly get all of her children washed and clothed in assembly-line fashion. The efficiency of her parenting presented the impression that being a parent was her business and she treated it as so. Furthermore, as someone whose mother is also a great motivator in my life, I take to this accrediting on a sentimental note as well.

One Question to Ask: Being someone who is very much an action-taker, what would be your advice to someone who is alternatively learning and preparing for action but is struggling to make the leap? What can they do to begin closing that gap between learning and taking action?

 

Brene Brown is an American research psychologist and story-teller. I am a newer follower of Brene Brown, having listened to my first book of hers, The Power of Vulnerability, a few months ago, but have followed her work quite diligently thereafter. Brown’s psychology focus is in that of shame and vulnerability. Such topics are definitely a hard listen, but Brown makes light of much of these topics through her own personal stories and kind-hearted nature in her delivery. It is important to have Brene Brown at the dinner table because of how much of an impact her work has had on truly becoming more comfortable with myself, my past and my relationships. Her work has allowed me to forgive myself for not being perfect and, conversely, and somewhat ironically, soak into the opportunities that come with imperfection. Her good-natured delivery has allowed me to laugh off things that have brought me worry and feel more normal in feeling a certain way by exposing the folly of us human beings in believing it’s “just me” or “I’m the only one” feeling this way. It’s not just us.

One Question to Ask: What do you do when you feel you are taking something too seriously?

 

Oprah is an American journalist, media-mogul, businesswomen and motivator. In reflecting on why I would want Oprah to be at my dinner table, I think back to the book report I did on her in the 5th grade. It shook me. The trauma and tragedy Oprah had endured herself at a similar age was something I could barely read about and she had to experience it. Through all of the abuse and loss she experienced as a child, she grew up to now be one of the most influential and wealthy women of our time. What she was able to achieve in her life, never discouraged by her failures, is a testament to her mental strength. Furthermore, I have always been fascinated by the way Oprah conduct an interview, from the linguistic quality of the questions she asks to her genuine engagement with her guests. As a writing creative myself, it is interesting to dissect the reasons behind the pairing of words, and how Oprah has been a master of this to intentionally prompt her guests to share intimate experiences. This is a masterful craft, not a skill that can be executed by just anyone. Oprah has made such word-play her expertise, just as a musical artist does so similarly to prompt listeners’ emotions.

One Question to Ask: How can we ask better quality questions to enhance our connections with one another?

 

Ask yourself this question! Who would you invite

Stand the Rain

Looking up at the sky, I search for answers.

I wish to calm these racing thoughts, and grip these wild emotions.

I ask God to help me, for I knew there was reason for it all.

What is wrong?

I am lost.

I am fearful.

I am confused.

It is silent.

I ride through the neighborhood,

The wheels of my bicycles were cranking a mechanical sound

As it grooved along the pavement.

It is enjoyable, for I am present.

I feel free from thought.

I look at the sky as its now grows dark.

Suddenly, a downpour of rain hits my thighs,

And soon drenches me from ponytail to sneaker.

I initially feel this discomfort and itch to rush home to shelter.

In withstanding the storm on my wet ride back home,

I am flooded with joy, beauty and appreciation for this warm summer-like rain.

What was once a feeling of discomfort was now joy?

I continued, peddled and peddled,

Wet as a dog.

Finally, the gray sky cleared back to blue.

It was time to go home.

I had completed my journey

And all of my questions were answered.

 

Xo.

You Are the Average of the Five People You Spend The Most Time With

This age-old saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” is typically used in the context of financial wealth. The assumption is that if the five people you spend the most time with are each worth $1 million, average of ($1 million x 5)/ 5 = YOU. Yes, I kept the math very simple mostly because I didn’t want to do it (lol).

However! Some people seem to take this expression quite literally, and turn a blind eye to a more important component of the make-up of your social group other than monetary success… Character.

Throughout my life I have worked with people in executive positions, knowing that if I show up for them, I can get to their status one day. Conversely, I have worked with people in lower-grade positions, knowing that if I show up for them, I can be as generous as them one day.

Now, I ask you… Which is better? Of course the answer is the latter, but sometime the latter is hard to come by. So what do you prioritize? I’ll leave that up to you but just remember that a dollar figure may equal income but it does not equal character.

I think about this concept as I think about the five people I surround myself with most often on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis. Who are these people? What would their association mean for my personal wealth? What about what it means for my personal character? Do all of these people belong? If not, how can I change my circle?

These are questions I truly do reflect on periodically and throughout the years I have distanced myself from some circles and associated myself (often uncomfortably) with others for the better.

Two personal examples are those of friends and work colleagues at previous jobs.

Once in a while I would get lunch with a girl who loved to gossip. She always wanted attention and to talk about herself, so I would get lunch and appease her in this regard. After while I began to ask myself these simple questions about the relationship. If I am associating myself with someone who never asks about me, always talks about themselves and, even worse, only has negative things to say about others, what am I? Using this concept of “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” I would say this person was dragging my average down (regardless of income). So, let’s just say I no longer agree to lunch anymore.

Another example can be seen in work environments. One commonality many of us share is that of the work environment and its competitiveness. It is no fallacy that those who have close associations with one another, move up with one another. I have worked in environments where I pretended to be someone else because I knew that would be the way to fit in and move up in company status. After a while, I realized, yes, the status and income of the people I am surrounded by might move me up the ladder but did I ever consider their character in choosing this association? We cannot pick and choose to average their monetary income, only! No! Character must also be computed into that average, so again I ask you, “Are these people who you want to be like in five years? Are these people you admire?” That can be a tough question to answer when you reflect on your own actions and those you choose to surround yourself with. After having concluded I did NOT want to be like those I was most frequently surrounded by, again, REGARDLESS of income, I went on a search to find a new environment.

This is my final suggestion, then. Find an environment in which you are surrounded by those you genuinely admire. Ask yourself, “Is this person who I want to be like and where I want to be five years from now?” or even “Is this someone I want to have in my circle five years from now?” In this quest, consider their character, their business and their value in your life. This is a time to be very selfish because you do not have an obligation to show up for ANYONE but yourself. The people you surround yourself with is your choice and your choice alone.

Personal or professional… Improve your environment. Improve your average. Improve your life.

To be Impressive Vs. To be Admired

When thinking about striving to be admired and to be impressive, one may assume them to be essential the same. Many want fame, fortune, and to be looked up to but read this one more time… Do these aspirations really fall in parallel? Does one always admire someone to whom they find to be impressive?

In this day and age, many of our role models are those who are celebrities, sports athletes, even models, but why? What do we truly believe equals success? Most of the time it is just this… Fame and fortune. Those people must have all of the answers, right?

Well, let’s pose another question to dig deeper. Are these people impressive in their accomplishments? Most definitely. Are these people to be admired for their accomplishments alone? I am not sure that is a black and white answer. I think when it comes down to the question of admiration, perhaps it extends beyond ones accomplishments. Here is where it becomes tricky because we now have to do this scary thing and consider ourselves. What are our values? What do we wish to accomplish in life? Who have accomplished such feat? What are their values? Is this someone we want to be like in the future?

When considering the word “impressive,” it is truly just a perception of another one’s accomplishment. This compliment is outward-looking, all about the observation of another, from a far. But did this person’s accomplishment cause you to “admire” them? When admiration comes into questioning we now ask ourselves, “Was I inspired by this person’s accomplishment?” “Did this person’s accomplishment have me strive to be better?” This now becomes an inward-looking observation. How did this person’s accomplishment impact you and your motivation? Most likely, if you felt more driven, more motivated and more inspired by this person’s accomplishment, you feel admiration, for this accomplishment had aligned with your values.

To summarize this thought, I will take an example of young girls looking up to Victoria Secret models, and considering them their “idols.” These young girls are impressed by these women and believe they admire them, but do they? To consider it admiration, I would have to assume these Victoria Secret models are exactly what these young girls want to be when they are older. They strive to walk runways, travel the world and pose for various lingerie photoshoots. However, in experience, this is often not the case (But , if it is, ok. Do you, girl!). Young girls (and boys, men, women, everyone!) often find themselves looking up to celebrities such as Victoria Secret models because of the more surface-level desire for fame, fortune and yes, a kick-ass body, but how shallow an impression being mistaken for admiration.

Personally, I have recognized the difference between “being impressive” and “being admired” by an advancement of someone close to me in their line of work, which had then prompted this very post. I had initially expressed how “impressed” I was by them. Yes, a great compliment, and I am impressed but still, this expression fails to convey how their accomplishment had rather inspired and motivated me FAR greater. The more meaningful and accurate expression is that I “admire” this person, for their accomplishment impacted me in a more profound way then just being something I was impressed by. Furthermore, to be someone who others admire is a much greater compliment and an accomplishment in and of itself.

To convey the conclusive thought of this post, I truly wish to encourage us to consider ways we can strive to be admired rather than be impressive to others. And also, consider the people we admire and what values are cause for our admiration for them.