Cherish Each Day

“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” ~Aboriginal Proverb

WELCOME PIC

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

It’s basic human nature that we take things for granted. Wisdom does not come easy. I believe we find wisdom in different ways created by our unique journeys in life. From personal experience, I know that we gain wisdom from hardships. Hardships create awareness and spiritual awakening.

I was profoundly touched by an email that a very dear friend sent me last week. Her loved one is battling a deadly disease. Tears were running down my face as I read her email.

For every living soul, our ultimate destination is the same. We may take different paths in this life yet we will arrive at exactly the same place.  

Our greatest power in life is to be able to see the special things in the present moment. I believe when humans face the reality of death, they’re more able to honor the people that they have taken for granted.

We get so distracted by our everyday routines that we don’t see the special things around us such as spending some quality time with our loved ones. If we go away for a few days, we miss them. It seems to me that as humans we are more capable of appreciating the people in our lives when separated from them or when we’re about to lose them.

Most people know about “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch.

Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. His last lecture in 2007 was wisdom about the life he wished to leave to his family and students. Since then millions throughout the world have been touched by his wisdom, including me. His lecture wasn’t about leaving this earth, but rather the importance of seizing every day and living in the present moment.

“Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think.” ~Randy Pausch

As we gain wisdom, I believe we’re also learning not to be afraid of death. This is probably the ultimate wisdom. I believe when we face the prospect of dying, we’re liberated. We see everything more clearly. We don’t take anything for granted anymore. We become selfless and self-improved. We honor the special things of the present moment and people who deserve our attention.

During her eulogy to Steve Jobs, his sister Mona Simpson revealed that his final words were: “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW”

Is it possible to embrace the mystery of death?
I certainly believe it is. By embracing death, we die with ease, grace and wisdom.

Somewhere in outer space, the sun shines continuously, as does our soul. The soul will return from where it came and live in eternity.

Life and death are not two, but one.

Cherish each day. Live life fully!



Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. ~Randy Pausch

SUNFLOWER

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

Giving Gives Back

https://twitter.com/maggietranquila

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Give. Remember always to give. That is the thing that will make you grow.~ Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Everything on our planet has a purpose. Our lives have a purpose.

I’ve discovered that natural givers are always happy, no matter what.

My husband and I lead a simple life. However, we’re both generous people which is the building block in our relationship. We both enjoy helping whenever and however we can.

Yesterday, I was a little tired due to just a few hours sleep yet something profound happened which gave me such energy and filled my heart with joy. Something which made me think how our lives should be about giving and reaching out to others. We donated an item to a kind soul. When this kind soul reciprocated our act of giving with the utmost kindness, my entire being was, once again, filled with the most powerful fuel: LOVE.
I noticed my husband’s joy as well.

“Giving becomes more important than getting because giving is in alignment with your purpose.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Givers are always the miracle workers. When we focus on giving as our life purpose, we seem to receive more. It’s all about unconditional giving, with no expectations in return. If you do this, you’ve aligned yourself with the universe. You’re a miracle worker and more will come your way. Believe it!

Giving gives back. It fuels the universe.

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinsonhttps://twitter.com/maggietranquila

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Social Media Friendships

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” ~Jane Austen

Social media has changed the way we communicate and connect with the rest of the world. The profound impact Social Media has had on our lives, is evident (News, Learning, Interaction, Political Awareness, Activism, Marketing).

I love my Social Media connections and do my best to focus on true friends.

If you have good friends, no matter how difficult life can be, they can brighten your day.

A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth. ~Charles Darwin

Social Networking giant, Twitter, is still my favorite Social Media Channel. I’ve met people from all over the world and age groups.

Some say social media friendships are not real unless you meet in person. I respectfully disagree. Like everything else in life, it depends entirely on the efforts people make.

I consider it a great privilege to have loyal friends. Some Twitter friends have been kind enough to send me gifts.

I received a beautiful greeting card featuring the artwork of the talented artist Baret Boisson.

Fashion Designer George Zaharoff gifted me with a beautiful framed quote
“I invoke positives” in the form of a fabric label. This and other inspirational quotes were selected by George to be sewn into his clothing line.
Also pictured, Zaharoff pour Homme for my husband.

I received some beautiful scented candles from Kathy Ireland. Please also see my earlier blog post: Lite a candle.

STRAWBERRYSHORTCAKE

I received two beautiful Nike agenda books from the fabulous Christina Yow, one for me and one for my husband.

NIKE

The nutritious Zing Bars that I received from the lovely Stacey Fujimura, were absolutely delicious.

Thank you for your generous gifts.
I cherish your kind and loving friendships.

You can follow them on Twitter:

Baret Boisson
baretboissonart.com

George Zaharoff
zaharoff.com

Kathy Ireland
kathyireland.com

Christina Yow
krystynnsg.tumblr.com

Stacey Fujimura
zingbars.com

Sweet Tweets Everyone!

CASA TRANQUILA

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

Bring Love Into Your Life

“We are star stuff and our destiny lies in our origins.” ~Carl Sagan

https://twitter.com/LovinShmay

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

Many people equate love with (romantic) relationships. No wonder many are disappointed when they don’t find the love they’re seeking outside themselves. The same with happiness. The joy of being and happiness cannot come to us through possession, achievement, people or anything. It emanates from within us. The greater love is what we have inside.

Unconditional love is the ultimate divine source. This is the basis of oneness. All things derive from one source. We are all connected in the universe. We are all related to one another. The divine source accepts all beings unconditionally. How can we then not accept all beings as they are? When we are ruled by the power of ego/fear to separate and reject, we don’t. We can only acknowledge all beings as they are when we accept the conscious unconditional love. Love gives us energy and guides us. Fear distracts us and ultimately destroys us. Our greatest power is the acceptance and appreciation of the power of love we have inside us.

“A friend” who wronged me in unspeakable ways, was a sad image in my mind for a while. Perhaps it was more like a shock coming from someone who identified themselves as being a spiritual person. It didn’t matter how unlovingly they behaved and what they said over the months, I remained non reactive. Because I knew that their unloving behavior was derived from fear. Fear is an illusion created by the ego. It’s my understanding that people who suffer from (past) guilty emotions exhibit what I would like to call a “social hallucination”. When people behave in cruel ways, they’ve forgotten that their true power “Love” resides within them. They let their ego (Fear) control their thoughts and emotions. All we can do is keep them in our own (Positive) light hoping that they will return to their true power. Compassion is the most important thing in the world and essential for our survival.

“When they cast you into darkness, love them for helping you discover your inextinguishable light.” ~Cory Booker

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini touched my soul deeply and I highly recommend it. The heart of the novel is unconditional love.

If you feel love, it will convert into positive energy.
If you feel miserable/sad/envious, it will convert into negative energy.
It’s as simple as that.

All flowers, plants and trees are beautiful, though they are different. We shouldn’t strive to be better than others. Why do we have to compete? Nature doesn’t. We are all unique in our own way. Like Kathy Ireland says: “Beauty comes in all ages, colors, shapes, and forms. God never makes junk.”

Finally, a great reminder:

“The softest of all things overrides the hardest of all things” (Chapter 43 of the Tao Te Ching).

Bring Love Into Your Life!

Maggie's Roses

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson


Keep it positive

“Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.” ~Bruce Lee

I’ve observed three main character traits that I believe are self-destructive in social networking and building relationships.

1. Cynicism
Cynics are known as suspicious, paranoid and mistrustful of others. Scientists categorize this character trait as hostility. Cynics are not necessarily bad people. They read into people’s behaviors, calling it a gut instinct and being suspicious of even a kind gesture.

Where does all this suspicion stem from? It stems from being paranoid and mistrustful of others and has deep roots in their past experiences. I’ve learned that those with low self-esteem (disguised as confident people) display this character trait.  

2. Lack of self-control:

Some people react to every possible tweet, post and they over-analyze. Some others get angry if they don’t receive a response or if they receive a response that differs from their point of view. Then, they go into the attack mode. They say words that they will regret later, which is unfortunately too late. Most feel ashamed of it but their ego won’t allow them to apologize.

Restraint is very important for online relationships as well as in real life. However, unlike real life, what you say online is forever. Don’t think that those private messages, phone calls, Google hang outs or Skype chats are private.

3. Envy, Jealousy and Gossip

Unfortunately, some people, especially women seem to be driven by envy and jealousy. Some of them go as far as telling lies, gossiping and spreading rumors. Lack of purpose in their lives is perhaps the main reason for such viciousness. It’s self destructive and destroy others who are subjected to bullying. It hurts all parties yet mostly the person who is doing it. Yes, I do believe in Karma.

When you tweet: “Be Kind, Be Real”, extend it outside twitter and apply it in your life. Your words have little meaning if your actions contradict them.

Some friends ask me how I remain positive no matter what happens. I’ve learned that positivity depends vitally how I think. Just like life, positivity is fragile. Take a moment to notice your surroundings in social media and ask yourself: How does social media benefit me and others? What is going right for me here?

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”~Carl Sagan

Think of positivity like a beautiful color palette; love, joy, serenity, hope, inspiration, interest, gratitude and awe.

If your social media experience doesn’t seem to serve you well, maybe you weigh it down with self-doubt and cynicism. Be open. Be sincere. Be grateful. Be appreciative. Thinking in this manner can ignite positivity and puts a smile on your face. Be sure to take a few moments each day, to reply and interact with your friends. Positivity broadens our minds and outlook. Positivity enables us to attract people whom we mutually benefit from and helps us see unlimited possibilities around us. It makes us stronger to cope with adversity.

Positivity can change your life and it can change your communities. It can create a more compassionate and harmonic community.

More than once, I’ve been asked this question: How do I deal with rude and negative people? My mind doesn’t embrace combat and war like tactics. My mind simply thinks of peace. I don’t de-humanize people who wronged me as my enemies. I rather think of them as unfortunate small-minded people with big egos who are suffering and lashing out. In my thoughts I extend them love and compassion. Even though they tried to harm me, I still find qualities about them that I can appreciate. Their negativity belongs to them, not me. Last but not least, I see them as teachers in disguise. I’ve experienced this in the past year. I still came out ahead so can you. You can disarm the negativity.

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” ~Bruce Lee

Kindness and positivity nurture each other. In my experience, kind people are focused on how they can make a difference and how they can lend a hand. By boosting kindness, we also increase our positivity. We are more compassionate towards others even under adverse circumstances. By helping others you will help yourself. I haven’t met anyone who reached his or her potential by themselves. Connect with others. You’ll notice an increased positivity and in turn will attract positivity. So interact with others everyday no matter what. Open your heart and mind.

MaggiePhoto4

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Vanishing of the Bees

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
~Chief Seattle

It’s heartbreaking that the decline of the Honey Bee population continues.

When the bees are in trouble, humans are in trouble. The global population of humans is growing. The production of sufficient amounts of food is already getting more difficult due to global climate changes.

One of nature’s primary pollinators, the honey bees, have tremendous value to us humans.

“The hidden beauty of pollination”

Scientists believe that, even at introduced low levels, the chemicals used in pesticides cause neurological damage to insects, affecting their learning ability and breeding.

There is no doubt that insecticides/pesticides are harming the bee colonies but also affect the quality of the planting soil and local water supply.

Dan Rather has explored the Bee Collapse/Pesticide Connection in 2011.

Organic farmers are able to farm without using harmful insecticides like neonicotinoids. So, the big question is that why not everyone is following the organic farmers’ example?

We’re all connected. The harm humans do to bees, they do to themselves.

We can no longer keep quiet about this.

BEE

Highly recommended articles:

Ban pesticides linked to bee deaths, say MPs

BEE AWARE

Pesticides killing bees in millions

Bees to EPA: Where’s your sting?

Neonicotinoid pesticides ‘damage brains of bees’

What is the value of bees?

Not Just the Bees: Bayer’s Pesticide May Harm Birds, Too

Climate Change, Herbicide May Doom Monarch Butterfly Migration

Mexican monarch butterfly numbers at record low, scientists say

Butterflies suffer devastating year after UK’s wet summer
MAGGIE'S MOST BEAUTIFUL ROSE

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Enjoy the dance of life!

“To be wronged is nothing…unless you continue to remember it.”~Confucius

Perfect Flower

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

One of my social and team management strengths is observation. This skill helps me in Social Media.

I feel fortunate to be able to see the good in others. As I often tweet, I don’t look for the good in others, I SEE the good in others. This doesn’t mean that I’ve always been good in trusting my intuition.

Good and bad are part of Social Media just like everything else in life and can’t be avoided. Instead of going against the grain of social media and exhausting ourselves by abandoning our presence, we can see trolls, impostors and negative people as part of a social media cycle. I am aware who they are and what they do behind the scenes. It may take a while yet people reveal themselves sooner or later. I am blessed with a big heart, excellent memory and intuition. I’ve learned that trusting my intuition is very important in social media relationships.

We can all tweet and blog about love, kindness, honesty, forgiveness and karma. However, our actions speak louder than words. Voicing your ideals is fine, but do your actions contradict those ideals? We are what we consistently do, not what we preach. I am a firm believer of universal justice. What we send out, comes back. What we see in others, exists in us.

“Do not do to others that which angers you when they do it to you.” ~Isocrates

Life is full of misfortune; famine, flood, drought, earthquake, corruption, invasion, loneliness and FEAR. Disasters hit us without warning. People are starving and dying in wars around the globe. Family members and close friends can be abusive and exploit one another. Hard work is often rewarded with pennies and betrayal. Despite our wealth of information, ignorance prevails. Money in the wrong hands can be destructive and corrupt. Homelessness is ever present in growing rates. Many people live from paycheck to paycheck. We can’t understand life without embracing misfortune. We must find a way out of the dark and into the light. We can seek our own light which is the source of our power. As the sun shines for everyone, we can shine and let the light of good shine upon us all, even though life can be painful. We need patience and we need to know our purpose and where we’re going.

Along our social media journey, we meet and will meet many people. We meet people who see the good in us and we meet people who are distrustful, jealous and envious. Evil is inevitable. During encounters, the wisest people are careful to avoid confrontations. Restraint is best. Whenever possible avoid toxic people. Make your Social Media encounters as positive as possible.

Everything we tweet, provokes a reaction. Conflict is inevitable. Be sparing and cautious in your reaction. Take a deep breath and count to ten before responding. Remember, Anger is temporary “reaction”. Just imagine the endless Direct Message or tweet exchange if you indeed choose to respond. In this way, you can avoid excess and meaningless conversation. It’s useless to argue. Know when to advance and when to retreat. Don’t slay others with careless words.

“The superior man is slow in his words and earnest in his conduct.” ~Confucius

Social Media friends come and go as the seasons come and go. The ones who stay are your true friends. Loyalty is the foundation of a true friendship. If things are not going your way, be quick to adapt. When your Social Media experience is filled with adversity and everything seems to be against you, remember your goals, your purpose. There will be days you will be disappointed and feel sadness, which is part of being human. When we experience sadness, we have to accept it. All emotions we feel are part of our life. We haven’t learned them. We have inherited them. We control our emotions, our emotions don’t control us. Every emotion has a function and they all contribute to actions and play a role in our life.

Everything that happens in life involves choices. The choices we make change our life. Setbacks are temporary, they become permanent only because we allowed them to be. Change is scary but necessary to move forward. After all, you learn who you are by the toughest of trials in life.

What we have on the inside cannot be taken away nor destroyed by others. Just be bold and be your best self. Don’t yield to trolls. The depths of our character are revealed upon trials in life.

To care for others is to look after them. Help and support your friends, not because you will get something in return. But because it is part of who you are. First, quiet the voices of selfishness and self-gain. Don’t use words such as ‘love’ carelessly. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Think before you speak, as a word once spoken, cannot be retracted. The same is true in Social Media. When you give your word, keep it and mean everything you say. You can only develop sincerity, when you are responsible for your words and actions. Keep in mind that sincerity is not something you can pretend to have. Sincerity comes from your integrity. Be authentic!

We have a lot to learn from bees. Bees don’t compete, they work with humility and towards a common benefit. They are persistent and focused. They lead a life of selflessness and do whatever is necessary to build a happy “community”.

We all aspire to have wisdom. I believe the seeds of wisdom are planted much earlier in life than during mature adulthood. I also believe wisdom grows out of an exposure to adversity early in life. Wisdom is insightful living. So, just because someone is older, doesn’t necessarily mean he/she is wiser. In fact, some of my wisest loving friends are very young.

“Animals whose hoofs are hardened on rough ground can travel any road.” ~Seneca

When you’re in Social Media, Let go of ego. When we recognize in others the same human condition we experience, we are on the verge of knowing ourselves. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Life shouldn’t be taken too seriously and perfection shouldn’t be a goal.

Enjoy the dance of life!

Maggie's Roses

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Simplicity and Happiness

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo da Vinci

Maggie's Roses

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Have you noticed how many people are discontent and dissatisfied with their life situation? I’ve seen people throw away good relationships and jobs (in an unrealistic search for a perfect partner or job). I’ve witnessed friends buying things that they really don’t need in order to fill the emptiness they feel in their lives.

I have traveled extensively. I noticed how content those with less are. I remember the beautiful, smiling faces of people in the country side of Portugal, northern Spain and Turkey. They looked happy and healthy. They made their own bread, yogurt, butter, cheese and grew their own vegetables. I still remember the wonderful flavors of the seafood, vegetables and county bread. They didn’t have cell phones, nor computers. They were content with their lives. The women didn’t wear any make up. Their beauty was glowing from within. Happiness does that to people.

It is not easy to determine what brings joy. But, one thing is for sure: There is more to life than chasing after money and possessions.

I know this: When we are content, we are also happy. When we are happy, we have more energy. We are more productive. We are healthier. We have a stronger immune system. The best part is, happiness is contagious. You pass it on to others.

I don’t believe happiness is biologically-driven. I believe happiness is a choice. And I don’t see any correlation between money and happiness. I’ve met rich people who have it all but are not happy. During my travels, I’ve also met poor people who were the happiest people ever.

I’ve also found that people who volunteer and do good in their communities are happier. Reaching out and giving is always fulfilling.

12 ways to be happier:

Appreciation and Gratitude: Be thankful for what you have. Send out a message to the Universe that you’re grateful for your life. Appreciate the things you already have. If you have a TV and are still looking for a new one, sit back and think: Do you really need another TV? If you have a reliable car and your eyes are on your neighbor’s newly purchased car, think again: Do you really need another car?

Recharge and replenish your reserves: Whether you like spending time on a beach, hiking up a mountain or listening to music, give yourself some time everyday to boost your energy (and your spirit).

Cherish your memories: Remembering beautiful moments from your past will refresh you and put a smile on your face. I think of my beautiful travels and those wonderful people and places I’ve had the privilege to share my life experience with.

Don’t dwell on the negative: It’s counter-productive and leads to sadness and depression. Move forward not backward. Your (negative) past does not define you. The past is gone. The present is what ever you make it and the future is unknown.

Be a giver: In my experience generous people tend to be happier. It’s human nature. We enjoy sharing. We enjoy giving. I’ve been a giver all my life. I don’t publicly boast about it as it’s between me and the universe. Giving gives back. The universe rewards good deeds.

Indulge yourself with your favorite snack: I don’t know why but Serotonin levels drop considerably after noon. I found eating a snack that is rich in B vitamins, makes me feel upbeat. Dark chocolate or sesame seed toasted seaweed is an excellent choice!

Exercise: Walk, hike, bike, dance or lift weights. Yoga and Meditation seems to have a calming effect on the brain and nervous system.

Keep your home tidy, organized and clean: Your life will be more pleasant and efficient.

Declutter: Less is always more. When you clear your cluttered home, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction. It’s also a great stress reliever. Keep things simple. Simplifying your life can have a lasting and meaningful impact on your well-being.

Start cooking. Start baking: These are simple pleasures in life. One of my happiest moments is when I create different dishes in the kitchen, while listening to music and sipping a glass of wine.

Start growing herbs, plants or start a vegetable garden I know people who do this, not only do they eat home-grown organic veggies and herbs, it brings them joy. Being in touch with nature will do that to you. Even if you live in an apartment just like me, you can still have some plants and herbs on your balcony.

Invite your friends for dinner or lunch: Nothing is as more enjoyable as sharing conversation with a delicious meal and wine with your friends.

Life is not perfect. We will never understand the secrets of our world. Life is a journey, not a destination. Why not enjoy the ride?

What makes you happy?

MAGGIE'S BLONDES

PHOTO CREDIT: Maggie Rawlinson

Kathy Ireland ~ Living Life with Purpose

Achievement doesn’t come from what we do, but from who we are. Our career is an extension of our personality.” ~Marianne Williamson, from A Course in Miracles

I met Kathy Ireland on Twitter in early 2009. I was taken by her kindness and down-to-earth attitude. Since then Kathy’s multi-billion dollar empire has been growing larger each year. Kathy is the CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide®. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She empowers others and surrounds herself with talented people who share her passion.

Recently, Kathy Ireland appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine. Last year alone, kathy ireland Worldwide® grossed close to $2 billion dollars in retail sales. And it all started with a line of socks. A mom herself, the mission statement of kathy ireland Worldwide® is “…finding solutions for families, especially busy moms.”™

Photo Courtesy of Forbes

kathy ireland Worldwide® founded in 1993, offers designs in Home, Office, Weddings, Fashion, Fine Jewelry, Baby Products, Destination Properties and More. Kathy is also Chief Designer for Window World, America’s largest window replacement company. Fairchild Publications names her one of the 50 Most Influential People in Fashion. Kathy Ireland Skincare products are incredible and affordable. These effective skincare products are from the Dead Sea.

Recent TV appearances include co-hosting “Oscars 2010 Red Carpet.” Prior to the live broadcast, Kathy had recently returned from a humanitarian trip to Haiti.
On February 29, 2012, she was guest co-host on ” The View.”

Kathy has also written six books and produced several fitness videos. UCLA acknowledges Kathy as one of the top 10 Women’s Health Advocates in America.

Kathy Ireland recently added bridal fashions to her product line empire with a mission statement “…finding solutions for people in love.”™

Kathy is a dedicated Philanthropist. Her philanthropic work supports several non-profits including the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation, Feed The Children, the Alliance for Christian Education and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Kathy reminds me everyday that one person can make an enormous difference.

One of my favorite quotes of Kathy Ireland is: “Don’t just work for the money; that will bring only limited satisfaction.”

Kathy Ireland is and will always be a special friend to me.
Thank you for leading by example, a life with purpose and inspiring us all, Kathy!

Follow Kathy Ireland on Twitter
Visit kathyireland.com and kathyireland.org for more information

Meet Fashion Designer George Zaharoff

Photo Courtesy of George Zaharoff

I was fortunate enough to meet Fashion Designer George Zaharoff on Twitter. He is humble and down to earth. He found his passion (his life’s purpose) in fashion design. He understands that the source of all abundance in life is not something you search for. It’s a resource you tap into from inside yourself. I believe this is what makes him successful along with his love for life and his popular dog Piccolo.

George traveled extensively all over the world throughout his life. Traveling and living in other cultures bring balance, serenity and wisdom. George recognizes the beauty, the kindness and the goodness in all things. He gives every element of life his fullest attention. His enthusiasm is contagious. That is the “fuel” for a successful life. You can feel his passion in his writing.

“Georgisms” are sayings he has written from the time he was 19 year old. They are beautiful sayings such as: “I am in control of my own destiny” and “I Look Within Myself for the Answers”

George Zaharoff is inspiring. In his own words: “Zaharoff isn’t a just a label, it’s a lifestyle.”

George accepted my request to interview him. I am thrilled to share my interview with all of you.

SHIRE: Dear George, Thank you for allowing me to interview you.
Was fashion your first business idea? Have you considered others?

GEORGE: The fashion house was my very first business idea, I was 18 years old and a sophomore at DePaul. What I am doing now is what I wanted to do when I was a child. Every time I have tried to do something else, the Universe would throw me back on this track. After failing miserably in Milan at age 20 (twenty!), I remember being in my third interview with Anderson Consulting and being told when I meet the big managers to dress a little bit more conservative. Now remember, this is 1994-ish. I said, “but Valentino Couture is conservative.” While that was happening, I thought of going to YALE to do my MBA. And I remember I was wearing this beautiful Rene Lezard white and black checkered double-breasted sport jacket with a pair of black pants, a shirt and a floral Chanel Tie – gorgeous. I walked into this room and everyone was wearing these boring BORING black pin-striped suits. I was the only one, in the entire room, wearing a sport jacket. There are so many other stories like that – but for some reason, I was always “pushed” back on this track.

SHIRE: If fashion design hadn’t been your “calling”, can you imagine doing anything else?

GEORGE: I don’t know what else I would be doing. If I can tell you how much I love LOVE what I do – words can’t describe. When I am creating, I feel like I am one with the Universe. I feel like I am in flow.

SHIRE: I believe we can become better, wiser even stronger through hardships. Have you gone through some hardships?

GEORGE: I don’t think words can say the hardships I have been through. BUT I’ve never felt alone, I never once thought, Dear God, where are you? And my immediate family, my parents and my brothers and sisters, were also always there for me. I do feel like I am Dante from Dante’s Inferno – I have come from the depths of hell and I am back to talk about it. As long as you have your health, including your mental health, everything else can be dealt with…and never give up, never ever ever EVER give up.

SHIRE: How does an entrepreneur recognize a good idea?

GEORGE: There are people out there that come out with a constant flow of ideas, incredible ideas. Entreprendre is Old French for “undertaker” – the act of undertaking “x”, in this case the idea. To undertake takes a great deal of chutzpah – it’s a scary world out there and for someone to take money from their savings….or to take money from someone else to go after their dreams isn’t easy. An entrepreneur just knows…and if a road block comes, they find their way around it. There’s no such thing as failure, just “what’s next”.

SHIRE: What attributes do you think are important in becoming a successful entrepreneur?

GEORGE: In 2004, I remember an executive from Nordstrom asked me, “how does it feel to be successful?” And I stopped for a minute and said exactly what my thought was, “I never considered myself successful.” I am so much into the “game” with my eye on the ball, I don’t think about “oh I am successful”. With that little thought I just shared, people equate success with money, and it’s not right. Success is taking an idea and bringing it to the marketplace and have people use their hard earned money to buy it. We equate success with Donald Trump, but was Mother Teresa successful? Success comes in different ways.

SHIRE: What is the main key ingredient to your success?

GEORGE: The main key to Zaharoff being successful, no doubt, number one – the Zaharoff team. With the right team in place, everything can be dealt with. With our team, it’s about the brand – what is best for the brand. Not about Joe, Jane, or Steve. When you come with that perspective, it is easier to make decisions. Then there is the product and service; it has to be world-class otherwise customers will go elsewhere. What we do at Zaharoff is give the same fabrics as the Italian brands, equal or better quality than them, at half to 70% less the price. How are we able to do that? We don’t mark up our goods as high as our competition. And our clothes are made in a brand new state-of-the-art factory outside of Boston.

SHIRE: What was your biggest challenge to become a successful designer?

GEORGE: The biggest challenges the brand has experienced were always external. The WTC attacks on 9/11/2001, directly affected the company and it took me two years to get back on track. And finally this year, 2011, we have been able to recover from the 2008 financial meltdown. To be a successful design house, a brand needs to have a very strong identity and exceptional managers, it must know exactly what it stands for. I refer to a brand as if it was a person, because it is, a brand is a living breathing entity, the managers and designers are its organs.

SHIRE: Was living abroad a beneficial experience for your business? Would you recommend it to other entrepreneurs?

GEORGE: The world was a different time and place when I lived in Europe and I am SO fortunate to have experienced it at that time. The Italians taught me excellence – what luxury actually is – and the beauty in an item we would normally take for granted, like a cashmere sweater. Yes, there is a difference between something that is well-made and something just put together for the sake of being put together. The Germans taught me the finishing of a product – the edges of a box coloured so the white doesn’t show. It changes the way you live your life. There’s a reason why the Italians are so good in what they do, they eat, live, drink, breathe fashion. They wear the clothes they make…and if something doesn’t fit right, they fix it, they adjust the pattern, etc. Over time you have the best tailors in the world. This is also why Germans make incredible cars, because they are passionate about driving.

SHIRE: Please tell me about your fragrance line.

GEORGE: Zaharoff was selling a very successful line of men’s and women’s fragrances in 150 Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus & Bergdorf Goodman doors up until 9/11 – which directly affected the company. I had no choice but to focus on my clothing. We are relaunching Zaharoff Pour Homme at Nordstrom in the Fall of 2011, which is thrilling. The cycle, for me, has never completed itself. You can’t imagine…I’m just very excited. We are going to start with the launch of Zaharoff Pour Homme and then the women’s probably some time in 2012. My dream from day one was to have an entire personal and home fragrance collection as well as beauty, such as skin care and color.

SHIRE: What stores carry the distinctive Zaharoff collection?

GEORGE: Zaharoff can be found in select Nordstrom stores and smaller specialty stores all over the country. You can go to www.zaharoff.com for information.

SHIRE: What is included in the Fall/Winter 2011 Collection?

GEORGE: As of September, 2011, Zaharoff will be doing men’s and women’s tailored clothing (suits, sport jackets, formal wear, trousers, shirts, neckwear, accessories), men’s and women’s outerwear, men’s and women’s sportswear, like items you can wear casually. Finally the launch of Zaharoff Pour Homme, men’s fragrance. Also, there are some plans with Piccolo too…yes, that’s right, my pooch has the DNA for design.

When do I get to drive?

SHIRE: What is the most important thing to you in life?

GEORGE: The single most important thing in my life is Peace of Mind. Peace of Mind means health, happiness, love, fulfillment, prosperity, etc. With Peace of Mind, my personal relationships with my family – my grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. – friends and others as well as my professional relationships with my colleagues, partners, and retailers, flow. Peace of mind brings unlimited creativity and unlimited possibilities. My Peace of Mind is the most important thing to me.
Note the key words in my life: Flow, Peace, Happiness.

SHIRE: If you could travel back in time, what time period and where would you go to?

GEORGE: We all talk about a “Golden Age”, a time where things were more fabulous. The Ancient Greeks spoke of a Golden Age, the Romans spoke about Ancient Greece as being the Golden Age….in the 80s we spoke of the 50s as the Golden Age. Honestly, I don’t think we live in a better time than today. Yes, things can always be better. But we are in a time when technology is changing so quickly and to see that is very exciting. The world is becoming one community – we haven’t gotten there yet, but it has begun, and that is exciting for me. We are also living in a time where we are living the longest we ever have in history.

SHIRE: Thank you so much for your time. Wishing you continued success and happiness.

Find inspiration in George Zaharoff’s powerful blog:
The World of George Zaharoff www.georgezaharoff.com

Follow George Zaharoff on Twitter @Zaharoff and his adorable dog Piccolo @PiccoloZaharoff.

Keep up with George Zaharoff on Facebook.

Visit www.zaharoff.com to see Zaharoff collection.

My favorite fashion designer is George Zaharoff