Preparing for Spring: Lessons Learned from New York – New Jersey Too! (Part 1 of 3)

statue of liberty ellis island

I just got back from an amazing trip to New York City – and New Jersey too! Hence, the lack of posts in the last week or so. What an awesome trip. My husband and I killed three birds with one stone: 1) We volunteered for a self-development seminar, 2) we explored New York City, and 3) my husband networked with some of the best in his industry.

Our vacations are usually planned as relaxation trips – go to the beach, sit around, soak in the sun, sleep in until noon – or family trips – run to one auntie’s house, eat, run to another auntie’s house, eat again, hang out with cousins. This time we decided to make it a productive trip by planning it around events of giving and self-investment.

It was 10 days of non-stop action, and throughout those 10 days I had many epiphanies. Besides learning that “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signs are merely suggestions, that you better “move in” on the subway during peak time, and that I could never drive in Manhattan without killing someone or getting killed, I had a few “aha” moments related to health, fitness, and mindset that I thought I’d share with you.

Lessons are everywhere, as long as you’re open to seeing them.

So, this is Part 1 of 3 of my New York City/New Jersey vacation diaries. Here we go!

Getting Ready for the Spring
We flew into Newark Airport, and damn was it cold! The residents of New Jersey and New York City just had tons of snow dumped on them, and remnants greeted us on the sidewalks and side of the streets. Winter was definitely in the air.

Remember, my husband and I are from Seattle, where it rarely ever gets colder than 33 degrees, and we walked into 20-degree weather. After wandering around Jersey City, we finally found our friends’ condo and got ready for a long first weekend in New Jersey.

The first part of our trip was spent in Jersey City. We volunteered to be on a coaching/support team for an awesome self-development seminar which teaches you how to live your life with passion and purpose, and how to maintain harmony among all areas of your life. It was high-energy, highly purposeful, deeply moving, and extremely conscious. I learned things about myself and others that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Five hundred people flew in from all over the world for this event. Twenty-two volunteers flew in from all over the world as well, on their own dime, to help. I looked around at the sea of faces in that hotel ballroom, and thought to myself, Recession? What recession?

I was glad to be surrounded by people who weren’t afraid to invest in themselves during these “tough economic times.” It takes some kahones to see beyond the world in constant worry, bombarded by negative messages from the media that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket and doomed for starvation and pillaging, and understand that it’s part of the regular cycle of our economic world.

I recently read in the latest edition of Success Magazine that some of today’s largest and most successful companies were founded during our nation’s toughest economic times. For example, Microsoft began during the 1975 recession, and HP began during the Great Depression. I once heard that Warren Buffet made his fortunes by investing when everyone else was holding tightly to their money.

These people, along with the 500+ I spent time with in Jersey City, understand that in times of struggle, there is opportunity. And when we’re on a downturn, it must mean that there will be an upturn to follow.

This is our winter. The trees are bare, ice covers the ground, and all looks baren and desolate. But if you look hard enough, you can see the beauty in the snow, and the sun just might peak out from behind the clouds. And no matter how dark and gloomy it looks, you know that spring is coming, when everything will be born anew, and all will flourish.

An optimistic view? Yes it is. Did you know that research has shown that a high level of optimism is a vital component to predicting high achievers?

The lesson I learned from Jersey City? Now is the time to study, invest in yourself, and prepare to take full advantage of the spring when it comes. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that understand this. We are encouraging people to invest in themselves, get training, build their skillsets so they are able to take advantage of opportunities today and so they can flourish when we get through these tough times. And we will get through them.

It’s scary, I know, but we must trust that the spring is coming. It has to. The lower you crash, the higher you’ll rebound.

The weekend was packed with information, memories, and lots of love. I was inspired by those around me and by myself as well. Our days started at 6:00 in the morning and ended at 12:30 in the morning. But it was well worth the 2 hours of sleep, the time, and the money we put into it.

By volunteering for this event, I learned a lot and helped myself by helping others. I invested in myself, which is one of the best investments you could ever make.

Our weekend in Jersey City came to a close. I made some new friends and got to know some old ones better. I invested in myself, in others, learned that the New Jersey Light Rail system is awesome, and that ShopRite has some great deals on Greek yogurt. And then after a fulfilling and enlightening three days in Jersey city, we set out for New York City.

I leave you with a picture of our amazing group of volunteers, the “Dream Team”, and a question: What are you doing to prepare for the Spring?

The Dream Team

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