I read a lot of magazines and recently I read an article that really inspired me - "10 Ways to Become a Stronger Woman" by Maria Shriver in the November issue of Fitness Magazine. Now I'm not this ueber-feminist who's totally into girl power. I'm all for equality for woman, but the reason I like this article so is because it promotes a well-balanced lifestyle...and I think it should be called "10 ways to Become a Strong Person." Let me quote the ones that I really like and add a few "aha's" of my own:

1. "Do something that scares you every day: Fear gives us wisdom. It makes us
work harder than we imagined."

I fully believe in this. Fear of any kind keeps us alert and makes us aware of our surroundings. Awareness gives us knowledge. Knowledge is power. Now if I can only muster up the courage...

2. "Eat moderately; live bountifully: Enjoy healthy foods. You want your body to last a long time."

Over the past few years, I've become more "aware" (there's that word again...) of nutrition. What's a portion size?; How many calories should I limit myself to?; What kind of nutrients should I be eating? I've learned that healthy eating is not eating like a rabbit. I've tried to discipline myself to be able make healthy diet choices. Now, some of my favorite foods are brown rice with avocado and tomatoes, apples with peanut butter, grilled salmon, and asparagus, raw almonds, etc. Mmmmmm, ono! Its an ongoing effort to stick to, but when I do, I feel so much better!

3. "Jot down in a journal one moment a day in which you felt powerful. Share your thoughts...we can all learn from each other."

Please! You're amazing and I know you have thoughts, ideas and experiences that will inspire me! So start blogging and share!

4. "Serve your community at least once a year."

The last company I worked for offered its employees the opportunity to do community service by sponsoring events that partnered with such charitable groups like the Habitat for Humanity, Second Harvest Food Drive, The Giving Tree, etc. I always appreciated these opportunities and enjoyed the experiences of helping others and getting to know my colleagues during the process. Self-less acts of service can bring great joy to our lives.

5. "Keep a record of tips and inspirational quotes that you can refer to each day."

I was first inspired to do this after watching that Mandy Moore movie, "A Walk to Remember." In this movie, her character has a journal from her deceased mother that contains quotes, stories, poems, etc. I have such things scattered about in different places but really should condense them into one source so I refer back to them more often.

6. "Stay curious. Be open-minded. Ask a lot of questions and get a lot of answers. That's information and wisdom.

I tend to get annoyed when people ask a lot of questions, especially questions that prolong too long meetings (like All-Hands Meetings). But then I usually learn something from the questions they ask - whether it be from how it was answered, to what the answer was, or even from what the reaction was to the question. I'm learning that asking questions educates which opens minds and decreases ignorance!

7. "Pledge to show up in your life as yourself, not as an imitation of anyone else."
A few months ago, I had an in-depth conversation with my friend Keala about "posers." You know, people who pretend to be something they aren't (particularly the ones who try to be Hawaiian with their fake pidgin accent and their need to know EVERYTHING about Hawai'i. Its so annoying.) They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery but we have so much to offer just by being ourselves!

These last 3 are my own personal "a-ha's" that I've learned about along the way:

8. Be honest with yourself about your financial health.

As with most of us, I've had financial ups and down. They aren't fun and can affect our physical, mental and emotional health. But I've learned that in order conquer such hardships requires that we be honest with ourselves in every aspect of our life, including our financial life. We can let finances stress us out, or we can take control and not let it control us! Remember, your net worth is not your self-worth.

9. Take Control of your Mental and Physical Health.

Life is so busy and its easy for it to become imbalanced. We let ourselves stress about work, families, finances, traffic, etc. It takes a toll on our minds and bodies. Some of us eat mindlessly to deal with the stress. Others don't believe they have enough time in the day to exercise. But just setting aside 30 minutes every day will do wonders for the mind, body and soul. Expel your frustrations from your body in the form of physical exercise. While doing so, clear your mind and get rid of the tension. And by doing so, you begin to improve your physical health. Before you know it, you're increasing your workout time to 60 minutes. And then you realize that you aren't as angry or tense as you used to be. Slowly life starts to balance out. But you have to make it a priority! We can't be strong people with weak minds and unhealthy bodies.

10. Value Your Relationships with Others

In today's world of high tech inventions, its easy to lose the personal connection to others. We depend on emails, IM's and text messages to communicate with each other. But sometimes, it makes a world of difference to call someone just to say "Hi - I'm thinking about you." Where would we be without these people? I know it makes my day a whole lot brighter when I receive a phone call from someone "just because." And I know my life would not be the same if even one of them weren't in it. I value every family and friend that I have and I am who I am because of them. I learn from them and draw strength from them and only hope I can give back to them what they've given to me.

And there you have it folks - my version of 10 things to help us be stronger people!