Remembering Robin Williams

“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.” ~José N. Harris

It’s natural to feel sad when someone close to us dies.
To feel a great sense of loss when someone whom you have never met dies, makes that person very special.

Monday afternoon, I got online to check some news. I can’t explain the shock I felt. I was totally stunned and really hoped it was a hoax.
How could Robin Williams be gone? I got on Twitter in tears. Sadly, it wasn’t a hoax. The world’s most beloved comedian, talented actor and beautiful human being, the genius Robin Williams passed away. I was heartbroken.

Like the rest of the world, I am completely devastated. His gifts to us span four decades. From the stage as a stand up comedian to actor of the big and small screen, he was insightful and brilliant. He was Mork in Mork & Mindy, the Radio Jock in Good Morning Vietnam, the Professor in Good Will Hunting, the Genie in Aladdin, Peter Pan in Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire plus many others. His role as an English teacher in Dead Poets Society still inspires people to become teachers.

I have never seen such an outpouring of love and support from friends, adoring fans and the media. The tributes coming in from family, friends and fans only confirm what we already knew. He was a gentle and generous soul. He was kind to all.

Robin Williams has a special place in our hearts. He was the world’s honorary uncle. His immeasurable talent(s) touched something deep inside of us. That is what true artists do.

My heart aches for his family and friends. I hope the media including the social media will allow them to mourn and grieve in peace.

We hope you have found the peace and laughter you gave to us all.
Gone from this world yet never forgotten.
Farewell, yet not goodbye.
We will miss you, Uncle Robin.

Here are little pearls of wisdom from Robin Williams: 50 great quotes

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world!” ~Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society

PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE ~ Food For Thought

PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE ~ What does it mean?

John D. Mayer, PhD defines personal intelligence as “the capacity to reason about personality and to use personality and personal information to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experience.”

Personal intelligence is simply the ability to understand ourselves and know who we are. People who possess personal intelligence have a better foundation to evaluate others as well as acknowledging their own flaws and limitations. If you possess personal intelligence, you’ll have a better understanding of other people’s behavior. You also have a pretty good idea how others perceive you.

Of course, our perception of people is different than who they actually are. Personal intelligence is the key to distinguish between them.

If you believe you already know the answer, you will not be able to judge the evidence objectively. Instead you will accept the evidence that supports the opinion you already hold. If you are an employer, you’ll most likely hire someone you are attracted to before even viewing the candidate’s resume and professional skills because you’ll perceive the candidate in a positive light. And if you don’t like the candidate at first sight, you’ll reject him or her because you’ve perceived them in a negative light. Both can have unpleasant consequences. Our perceptions determine our own reality. It all depends on how we choose to perceive.

Seeing ourselves clearly isn’t an easy thing to do.

John D. Mayer, PhD says: “Personal intelligence allows to see ourselves and others with greater fidelity – and this fidelity includes an understanding of our own fallibility. Seeing ourselves clearly isn’t always easy. Information about who we are is “hot” and emotionally charged – that heat can warm or scald us. We may focus on a personal flaw so much that we lose perspective on the broader contours of life. Its easy to turn away at times, and indeed, we all do. Yet if we work over time to learn a bit about ourselves we may become more accurate at self-understanding and this, in turn, can help us change for the better. Because although many aspects of our personalities persist over time, there is also opportunity for change.”

Human beings must try to acknowledge their errors (errors that may harm others) if they really want to improve themselves. This also applies to those who like to play the victim and lash out at others (including those who try to help them). They live in fear, bombarded by painful memories that they now regret. They should acknowledge that humans are fallible (including themselves) instead of targeting and harming innocent people.

“There is something to that old saying that hate injures the hater, not the hated.” ~Peace Pilgrim

The answer is honest self reflection. That person you see in the mirror is the only one responsible for your negative state of mind. Hate only breeds more hate. It’s a downward spiral of self destruction. It’s never too late to change, to become a better human being.

The way we treat others is a reflection of our souls.
Karma is real and it will visit you in the manner you deserve.

Spring is a time for renewal and new beginnings. Begin now!

https://twitter.com/LovinShmay
PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon May

“This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” ~Peace Pilgrim

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