Tuesday, November 25, 2014


All of us have investments and we invest with the hope of receiving a benefit. We purchase homes, cars, clothing, jewelry, stocks, and bonds expecting that they will provide us with use or increased value over time. In addition to financial investments, we personally invest our time and energy into others. Unfortunately, most of those investments aren't purely intentional and many of us fail to realize that who we have been devoted to has brought more detriment than benefit.

Our relationships are one of our greatest investments. Who we choose to spend our most precious assets with—time, energy, trust, care, and love—contributes to our mental and emotional well-being. While we don't consider relationships to be transactional (i.e., I do for you, you do for me), those who occupy an intimate space in our lives should add value, not diminish nor deplete it.

Are those you are closest to and allow into your space benefitting you with support, consistency, safety, reassurance, respect, and love? Or do you constantly question their intentions, have to defend your choices, fight disappointment, and need to rebuild your sense of worth after you engage with them? Does your circle of support feel strong, reliable, and genuine or does it have weak spots, holes, and conditions? As you consider your answers also reflect on what your contributions have been to your investments. How and to whom have you devoted your time and energy? Are your choices based on authentic and mutual commitment and care or have you been persuaded by guilt and obligation?

Your mental stability matters. Your emotional state matters. Your feelings matter. Anything concerning you matters and is greatly influenced by the relationships you choose. Devote your time to those who share your mission for your life, support your heart, and positively contribute to your well-being. Financial investments are intended to build wealth. Your personal investments should build you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


In addition to some minor lifestyle adjustments, living with vitiligo has required a mental shift. For a brief time, I was using this visible skin condition to explain away some things and make excuses not to do others. If I was overlooked for anything from a job to a romantic interest it had to be the vitiligo. My inclination to be outgoing and friendly would be choked by fear of rejection due to the inconsistencies of my skin tone. The confidence it takes to interview for a job would be snuffed out by the mere thought of a potentially awkward look and even more awkward handshake as people try to determine whether or not what they see is contagious. Vitiligo became the thing that I tried to not only hide, but also hide behind. Fortunately for me, life had bigger plans.

Since being diagnosed in 2006, life has taken me on an incredible journey that included relocating from the West Coast to the Midwest, traveling around the world by sea, relocating again, and more traveling, both personally and professionally. Between the moves, interviews, vacations, and conferences, I was constantly meeting and interacting with people. I was so busy living, adjusting, and readjusting to life that I didn't worry or question what others thought. I needed to think bigger about my life and that meant experiencing life as bigger than what I could see.

I am in no way suggesting that if given the choice to have vitiligo that I would have willingly signed up for it, but living with it has demanded that I become a stronger version of myself. Life has required me to step out from behind the fear and stop hiding. I have developed true confidence which does not originate from external characteristics. Confidence, like strength, courage, peace, and self-love, comes from within and it took having a big, visible skin condition to show me how much bigger my life really was.

Life will require you to step up and be bigger. Life can take what you didn't plan for and show you that you contain more strength than you thought. While you may not have selected portions of your path for yourself, it all has the potential to stretch you. Life could present an illness, a loss, the opportunity to become a parent/guardian, a relocation, the responsibility of taking care of an aging parent, or relationship changes. Once you have given yourself time to feel, accept and adjust, trust that your new life will bring with it new strength, new perspective, and new purpose. Your life cannot expand and grow until you are willing to expand and grow. Once that happens, you will understand that your purpose is bigger and contains more than you can see.