Author: cforsythe2010

On to the next one!

But Did you Die 2If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve seen this meme of Mr. Chow [you know, the guy from the movie The Hangover, whose real name is Ken Jeong, and who in reality is also a licensed medical doctor] I would have a few hundred in my pocket.

It is often used, quite humorously in fact, to state the obvious: that in any given situation, no matter how difficult or extreme, you survived; you did not die! Obstacles are a part of life! Unfortunately, some face more roadblocks than others. We often hear the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But, this is not usually what a person wants to hear when that person feels like his/her entire world is crashing down. However, reflection after the fact, usually enables us to realize the power behind those words.

Each stage of our lives brings with it a new set of challenges. For my little brother in high school, this is the most difficult stage of his life. For my little sister getting ready to go to college, she has never been this overwhelmed. For a friend I ran into recently who graduated college and is trying to decide her next steps, she has never been more confused. For another friend in his first year of law school, wondering if he will ever make it to the second year, this is the most difficult thing he has ever had to do in his life. The interesting thing about all these people is that they believe they are going through the hardest, most challenging part of their lives. Not necessarily so.

We can all think back to a time in our lives when we felt we had been given all we could handle; and we wondered if we would ever overcome that obstacle or surpass that challenge. If you are reading this post, I say give yourself a huge round of applause because it means you have overcome! You are still surviving; you did not die! Most of us are more resilient than we think. We have more fighting power than we could ever imagine. We stumble and fall one day, but we rise to our feet the next. The next time life throws you a curve ball, and I guarantee you it will, ask yourself, “but did you die?” Then pick up the ball, and throw it right back!

Until next time,

Christine

When Passion Meets Hard Work

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

Meke in Japan 2I’m going to bet that not many of us can attest to that statement; but it is likely we know someone who can. I know such a person, in fact, I am married to one. He loves his job so much, he often quotes Confucius, much to the disdain of others who do not share the same love and passion for their job. For most, a job is a necessary means of survival; it is not fun, it is not glamorous, it is a job.

Mike is one of the lucky few; he has his “dream” job! Now, he was not always this lucky. He too has had his fair share of “means to survive” type jobs but his luck changed almost three years ago. He was given an amazing opportunity to work with Vossen Wheels, to work in a field he loves, to work with a wheel company, to work with CARS!

His story is the perfect epitome of the opportunities that can arise when hard work meets passion. To understand the depth of his passion, you will have to know a little history about his background. Mike has been a car enthusiast since he was about seven years old when his dad took him to the New York Auto Show. That was his first auto show experience, and for him it was the opportunity of a lifetime. It was amazing to see all the different cars in person and like most young boys, he fell in love. But he took this love to a whole different level. Mike is a walking car encyclopedia. Literally! His knowledge of automobiles and the history of the different makes, models, styles, and capabilities makes him a powerful force in the industry. But that knowledge did not come about naturally; it came from years of reading and dedication.

Eighteen years ago, his passion drew him to one particular brand, Lexus! Mike is what most would call a Lexus Fanatic. In 2002, he started the Southeastern Lexus Owners Club,[SELOC], and was also a huge part of the development of Club Lexus, the biggest Lexus online car forum. He has organized numerous car meets and shows, both nationally and locally. It is this passion for cars and the hard work he put in over the years for something that was just a “hobby” that made him the perfect candidate for the Marketing position he now holds with Vossen Wheels. What are the chances of that happening?

Meke with Lexus in JapanMike wakes up everyday excited about work, and approaches his job with the same level of passion he had when he started almost three years ago. True, he gets to travel all over the United States and the world, but it is by no means an easy job. It presents lots of unique challenges and does require a lot of planning and hard work. But if you love what you do, it is not considered work at all.

For some of us, it might be too late to pursue our “dream” job. For some, what we thought would be our dream job, turned out to be just the opposite. But in the meantime, let us remember to be grateful and thankful for the job we have. Even if it is just a “means to survival!” Work every day as if you are working your dream, you never know, your dream job may find YOU!

Meke taking pics of cars

Happy Saturday,

Christine

Be Like Elle in Legally Blonde

Okay, well maybe not literally, but in many ways being like Elle isn’t such a bad idea! Most of us have been underestimated at least once in our life. We have had our fair share of naysayers and those who may not come out and actually say it, but we know they are thinking it.

If you’ve ever watched the movie, you will remember the scene in which Elle told her career counselor she planned to apply to Harvard Law School. This is after she had been dumped by her boyfriend because she was too, well, blonde, and not serious enough.

Counselor: “Harvard Law School?”

Elle: “That’s right.”

Counselor: “But that’s a top three school.”

Elle: “Oh, I have a 4.0”

Counselor: “Yes, but your major is fashion merchandising. Harvard won’t be impressed that you aced History of Polka Dots. What are your back-ups?”

Elle: “I don’t need back-ups, I’m going to Harvard.”

Needless to say, Elle Woods, was accepted into Harvard. She didn’t appear to be the brightest crayon in the box, but she played on her strengths [as comical as those strengths are] and used those strengths to achieve the unexpected – not just graduating law school but graduating valedictorian of her class.

Legally Blonde

As fictional as the movie is, there are a few good lessons:

1) Believe in yourself; no matter what other people think of you;

2) Be ambitious, even if to everyone else your dreams seem far-fetched and unrealistic;

3) Be yourself;

4) Don’t take yourself too seriously;

5) Use the naysayers as motivation;

6) Be confident;

7) Work hard;

8) Seek the advice of the learned;

9) Don’t forget your common sense;

10) Don’t forget where you came from; and

11) Remember, humility goes a long way!

Until next time,

Christine

Turning Back the Clocks

I woke up this morning feeling quite overwhelmed! As the alarm went off, all the appointments on my calendar this week started spiraling through my mind. I immediately started thinking about the two depositions, two court hearings, and jury trial that was penciled for this week. I wanted to turn the clocks back to Friday. I rolled over and fell back into a slumber. Thirty minutes later, my second alarm for the morning went off, and it hit me! It was time to rise and shine; another week was here!

A part of my anxiety this morning was likely due to the several movie clips in my head at nights lately. I heard dreams, fantasies and nightmares quadruple during pregnancy – and oh were they right! In between my dream about being in my childhood home in Jamaica, and the one about being stranded in the middle of nowhere, was my dream about showing up for a mediation totally unprepared. Those dreams were unnerving, but reflected, in many ways, all the feelings and emotions controlling my mind at the moment. Feelings about being unprepared for our little one’s arrival and whether we will be good at this parenting thing are front and center and clearly dominating my dreams. Feelings about balancing the demands of our jobs with the new responsibilities that come with being a parent. I often wonder how parents find the time; it is not an easy job! This is certainly evidenced by the key piece of advice I get so often now: “SLEEP NOW, SLEEP AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.”

“Don’t sweat the small stuff” is another piece of advice I have gotten over the years from a very dear friend; one who manages to juggle so much and does it with such grace and style. It is a constant reminder, even in the moments I feel totally overwhelmed and powerless, to regain perspective and remember the big picture! At times, we get boggled down in the details to the extent we forget to focus on the important aspects of our lives; such as our health, our family, our friends!

Lisa Earle McLeod, in her empowering book Forget Perfect reminds us of the importance of “finding joy, meaning, and satisfaction in the life you’ve already got and the you you already are.” Her message is simple: forget perfect and start living! That means, doing the best we can, even when we feel our best is not good enough. It means stop worrying about every single detail because there are things in our lives we cannot control. It means living in the moment and enjoying the ride. I read that book, but I am still learning; constant work in progress!

Until next time,

Christine

6 Hours of Walking, a Water Taxi and a Shuttle Bus …

…equals one very tired pregnant lady and a tired husband, but a fun day was had by all. Today, Mike and I had one of those spontaneous, impromptu days that started off as a quiet, relaxing Sunday but ended as a “Sunday Fun Day.” It began with me looking out the glass screened door and thinking what a beautiful day it was, to Mike researching something fun to do in Miami. We had heard about the Miami International Boat Show, but it had slipped both our minds. Deciding that sounded better than a day on the couch with Netflix [though we thoroughly enjoy those Sundays], we got dressed and we were out the door.

Boat Show View of WaterIt was a magnificent day for an outing. The streets of downtown were jammed pack with people from all over the world. Some who came to the boat show to invest in a boat, or perhaps a yacht; and others like us who just wanted to sight see. I chuckled as I sat on one of the shuttle buses and saw the prices of the boats ranged from $1,000.00 to a whopping $5 million. Yes, $5 million for a yacht. But for some of us, that is merely pocket change.

Boat Show Yacht

Perhaps our most favorite part of the experience today was riding around on the water taxis on Biscayne Bay. It was as if we were tourists, visiting for the first time. I suppose we could technically still be considered tourists; it hasn’t even been a year. We didn’t mind the fact we had to wait twenty minutes in line to board. The trip up and down Biscayne was worth the wait. It was calming, yet riveting and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. We even discovered a marina we had no idea existed. All in all, it was a wonderful way to end the weekend, and now we are both pooped!

Miami Dancing Lady in BackgroundMiami Boat Show Downtown

Until Next Time,

Christine

Apple of My Eye

Love is definitely in the air this week, especially today. Valentines Day means different things to different people. For some, it is a day to celebrate love and affection. For others, it is a day of sadness to mourn the loss of love, or the loss of someone they once loved dearly. It should be a day for reflection. Yes, we should reflect on our love for others, but at the core, each of us should ask this one very important question: “how much do I LOVE  MYSELF?”

If we don’t love ourselves, we set ourselves up for a life of misery and failure. I don’t mean loving ourselves to the point where we become so self-obsessed and self-absorbed we have little room to love anyone else. But, the lack of love for oneself often means we settle for less than we truly deserve from our spouses, our partners, our family members, and our friends. Sometimes, we have to be our own cheerleaders.

I had a conversation last night with a very special person. The moment she picked up the phone, I could hear the sadness and frustration in her voice. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She paused, and then went on to explain how frustrated she was that she kept doing things over and over for other people but they would seldom assist her when she needed the help. I had heard this oh so often. So I said, “you have to learn to say no! You have to take care of yourself otherwise people will take advantage of you and not care!” She admitted she was overextended, and I knew this was the type of person who kept on giving, without realizing her happiness was jeopardized. Last night she said, “I am learning to say no from now on!”

This Valentines Day, who is the apple of your eye? The first answer, should be “I am!”

Apple of My Eye

Until Next Time,

Christine

How Are You?

Do you really care to know? Or has that become an automated three word phrase we use without much thought?

On my way home this evening, I walked by a gentleman standing outside an electronic store with a cigarette in his hand. He smiled and asked “how are you?” I responded “I’m doing good, how are you?” “I’m blessed,” he said with a smile, “truly blessed!” Now, how was I going to top that? His question and response made me think about the significance of those three words, and how often we abuse them.

I have observed people ask “how are you?” But by the time I open my mouth to respond, they are long gone. They really didn’t care about how I was doing, so why bother? If all that was intended was a mere greeting, why not just say “hello!” That would suffice.

Last week I spoke with another attorney, an opponent. At the beginning of our telephone call I asked her how she was doing. She responded “I’m good, I won’t complain because no one wants to listen.” We both laughed at her comment, but the truth is, we are so accustomed to the phrase “how are you?” being used as a greeting in passing, we cannot possibly imagine there are people who ask the question and actually care to know the response. “Go for it,” I said,  “I can lend a listening ear today.”  Not surprisingly, she did not take me up on my offer.

Most of us, I am sure, are guilty of using the phrase like robots. We often hear people, but seldom do we take the time to truly listen. Sometimes we are in a hurry, or simply don’t want to be bothered. It is possible someone may need us to ask the question “how are you?” and really care to know the response.

Until next time,

Christine

Take Time to Smell the Roses

FairchildAs cliché as it is, it is important for us to remember the need to take time to smell the roses. We often get so caught up in the day-to-day minutia, we forget to  focus on the big picture. We cannot share our best with others, if we are not at our best. Sometimes we spend so much time taking care of those around us, we forget to take care of ourselves.

This past Sunday, I spent part of the day exploring the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida. Eighty-three acres of absolute beauty; one of the world’s finest. Three hours were clearly not enough to explore this place, and a returned trip will be forthcoming. My journey through the gardens was filled with deep admiration for the perfectly landscaped grounds, amazing plants from all over the world, beautiful flowers, a rainforest, and calming waterfalls. For three hours I was at peace, lost in my thoughts.

I smiled as I walked through the gardens and saw children actually playing with each other (instead of video games), families picnicking, and couples talking and laughing. It was a refreshing sight. I needed this.

Fairchild Tropical Gardens

Fairchild Pics

Fairchild Tropical Gardens 2

Recently, friends of mine mourned the loss of a dear friend. I didn’t know the guy but from all accounts he was one of the nicest, most genuine person they had ever met. Sadly, this guy decided he had enough, and took his life in his car in the parking lot of his job. Since his death, I learned he had just broken up with his girlfriend a few days before and many speculate that was the reason. Now, you may say to yourself, “I would never do anything that extreme.” Most of us would not. But many of us get to a place where we are so overwhelmed with life we forget the big picture: Ourselves.

Make yourself a commitment today to spend time doing things you love; spend some time doing things for you. Love yourself first!

Carpe Diem!

Christine

No Habla Espanol?

Learn SpanishStating the obvious – it is hard to communicate with someone if you do not speak their language!

One of my first encounters at a mall here in Miami, was with an employee from a major department store who berated me because I did not speak Spanish. I walked into the mall to purchase something in the home department. Since this was my first time, I was not sure where to find the home department. I walked up to the first counter I saw someone standing to get some assistance.

“Excuse me, where can I find the home department?” The lady responded “Eh?”  I repeated myself, “where is the home department?” With a look of utter disgust, she retorted “No habla Espanol?” “No.” I exclaimed, “hablo Ingles!” I realized immediately we had a problem – she did not understand one word I was saying, and with the little Spanish I knew, I would not understand her. With that, feeling quite frustrated, I walked away and found the home department myself.

If you’ve spent a great deal of time in most parts of Miami, outside of South Beach, you would understand the reason Miami has been dubbed “South America.” I would have been less surprised at the question “No habla Espanol?” if I was in a small “mom and pop” store; but not a major department store. Shouldn’t there be a requirement that all employees speak English? After all, aren’t we in America?

That is in fact the position most English-speakers have taken. But is it necessarily the right one? I suspect your response to that question will be impacted by not only whether you speak English or Spanish, but also your upbringing, your background, and the way you view the America we live in today. Frankly, the most popular language in Miami appears to be Spanish, and the Spanish speakers are asking themselves (in Spanish), “why don’t they learn to speak Spanish?”

The end result is a significant breakdown in communication, no matter which view is the right one. I can tell you from personal experience, my lack of ability to speak and understand the Spanish language fluently has affected my ability to communicate with my clients. The majority of my clients are Spanish-speaking. I cannot pick up the telephone to give them an update about their case, or ask a simple question, without the assistance of my Secretary or Paralegal. Does this inhibit my ability to practice law, of course not, but it certainly impairs the process.

I could take the approach of “they need to learn English” or I could learn to speak Spanish. I have chosen the latter approach. Besides, being fluent in another language can only help me. So I am on a mission to not just learn the language, but to master it! With the help of a few apps and a few Spanish friends, I am well on my way!

Hasta Luego Mi Amigos!

Christine

One Mile at a Time

Miami Marathon RunnersApproximately 25,000 people representing over 75 countries filled the streets of Miami last weekend for the annual Miami Marathon/Half Marathon race. Samuel Kipkosgei Malakwen of Kenya took home the prize as the winner of the male marathon, finishing the 26.2 mile race in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 46 seconds. Mariska Kramer Postma of the Netherlands finished the women marathon in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 28 seconds, winning the race two years in a row! Wow!

As I looked out the window last Sunday morning, I saw these thousands of people lined up and filled with excitement; ready to take on the challenge of doing something most people only dream of doing. Some were successful at completing the challenge set and finished the race; but the aftermath for some was grave. Loud sirens from the ambulance echoed in the streets as many were put on stretchers and taken away – some from injuries and others just pure exhaustion.

I am no expert at marathons, since quite frankly I have never done one and I am not sure I would have the guts or the stamina to do one. The longest race I ran was a 10k, and by the 4 mile marker I literally felt like I was going to die. A friend had convinced me to do that race, and when race day came I did not feel as ready as I should have been. Looking back, I am not sure how I finished that race but I did. It was more the mental determination that drove my body to the finish line. That, for me, was a huge accomplishment.

However, several of my friends run half-marathons and marathons. I have so much admiration and respect for them. There is a certain level of training, dedication, and will power that is necessary to pound 26.2 miles of pavement and finish the race. From my conversations with them over the years, the ultimate goal in doing these races is not to win the race, the ultimate goal is to FINISH!

A beloved law school professor at Georgia was often quoted for saying “law school is a marathon, not a series of sprints.” He was right. I will take it a step further and say “life is a marathon, not a series of sprints.” To be successful, we have to take life in strides, we have to pace ourselves, we have to train, we have to be dedicated, and we must have the will power and stamina necessary to overcome the obstacles we will inevitably face. We have to take things one mile at a time; one day at a time.

Most importantly, however, we have to surround ourselves with positive people who will lift our spirits. Cheerleaders, of sorts, who will cheer us on to finish this race!

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Christine