So, we have come to the end of the year. Let me tell you, this year has been the best year of my life.
My dreams came true.
I am in the best place emotionally in over fourteen years. I’m having a good time and my life is finally loving me back.
I came into the year with a lot of questions:
In January, my new house was getting renovated. At the same time, my best friend Patrick Saylor was getting ready to move down here. This will be the first time since college I had moved out of my parents’ house. Pat came down from Lake Tahoe on Super Bowl weekend and we went to Vegas. When we got back, I saw that my bed was moved into my house. Almost a year before, I was at my friend Artin’s housewarming party where I asked myself if I would I ever be able to buy my own house.
During the first part of the year, I was more than a little bit obsessed with finding a...
I lost one of my best friends: Brent.
He passed away the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I’ve known Brent since high school. We started hanging out about seven years ago through my friend Arash. Arash and I would go to his house about twenty minutes away, where we would barbeque and just hang out. I would often crash on his floor.
One of his favorite stories about me
Brent used to be a caretaker for a quadriplegic. He assumed that like his employer, I had no control of my legs. One morning, he woke up and saw me already sitting in my chair and wondered how I got up there. A couple of weeks ago, we were sitting at my kitchen table and he turned to me and said, “Sourena, I need to stand up and stretch my legs.” I turned to him and said, “Me too.” He turned bright red and said, “I’m sorry.” Then I laughed. That was Brent. He was a considerate, funny, and gentle guy.
This year I moved into my own house for the first time. My roommate Pat and...
As I wind up the year, I am already thinking about next year. Mainly because I’m getting ready to go on a speaking retreat with Larry Winget and Joe Calloway.
One mistake that I have made in the past is that I didn’t put the business paramount to everything else. In order for me to take my business to the next level, I need to put my business above everything else. I have so many expectations from my business. I want to have fun, I want to make money, I want my business to show me the country, and I want my business to introduce me to fascinating people.
In the past, I have been focused on the list. What is going to make this all happen? Focusing on making sales and marketing paramount to everything else, even my own desires? In the past, I tried to have my cake and eat it too. That didn’t work. I was focused on hanging out, watching football, meeting the media, and other activities. It’s like being in a relationship. There are times when your own wants and...
For the last few years starting with the USC blog then this blog every year I’ve made a list of everything I’m thankful for. I am so happy to report that this has been the best year of my adult life. The reason that I say “adult life” is because there’s nothing like being a kid. The ironic part is no matter how much you tell kids that, they don’t believe you. Then one day around the age of 25, everybody says, “Oh yeah.”
One of the problems I have is I am not consistent.
I have so many ideas going through my head throughout the day.
As I look back on my career, I find that my biggest weakness is that lack of consistency. It’s a very challenging thing to admit your weaknesses, especially in a blog post, but this week I admit that I am horrible at being consistent. This is one of
the reasons I am very particular about tweeting four or five times a week and adamant about writing this blog and getting a new post up every week. (Except on Christmas, because I need a break.)
The way I see it, if I skip a week because I don’t have the time, that would lead to skipping two weeks because I don’t feel well, which would lead to I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say would lead to I had a late night out with my buddies, which would ultimately take me somewhere like I’ll just do it when I feel like it. I don’t want that to happen. I need a place to vent, to create, and...
This year, since I’ve been taking it easy writing, moving into my new house, and reevaluating the next chapter in my professional career, I haven’t had the need to send out any press materials for a while. I recently signed up for an event hosted by Larry Winget (who I will finally get to meet in person!) and Joe Calloway, a business speaker. I want to learn the right way to market myself. I filled out an extensive questionnaire so Larry and Joe can better understand where I am and where I want to go.
They asked me to send a press package and copies of my book.
To my disappointment in myself, it took me an hour to find my new speaking DVD and another fifteen minutes to find the printable files I wanted to send them. I blame no one but myself. The DVD should have been on my desk and I should have had multiple copies of my press kit ready to go. It should have taken me one minute to get everything together instead of an hour and a half.
The lesson here is you should always...
There are days in our lives we wish could be a model for every day our lives. Saturday, October 22nd was a model for how I want to live my life. It was the day after my 34th birthday.
On the 21st, I went to the game, had dinner with my family and my roommate Patrick, then went to bed. I woke up at 6:00, took a shower, ate breakfast, and met my manager Kristi to go to the TED event in Pasadena. We arrived around 8:30 at TEDx and met my speaking partner Rich and his girlfriend Anne.
Throughout the day we heard speakers, watched some videos, and because the elevator was broken, I could not get my electric chair onstage. The organizers wanted me to do my speech from the floor, but Rich and I would hear nothing of it. We explained that I could walk with help, so Rich got my other chair from the car and helped me onto the stage. We had been working on the speech on and off for about a month and we could not wait to give it. We were still tweaking the speech right up until we got on stage....
On Sunday night, after a weekend of speaking and celebrating my birthday, I went to bed, turned on my DVR, and put on 60 Minutes. The first segment was about Steve Jobs. His biography came out this week and they were interviewing his biographer Walter Isaacson.
I always study successful people and I was reminded who I am as a business man. For the last several months, actually all of this year, I have been taking a step back to reevaluate where I want to take my professional life. In that time, I have been also focusing on me as a person.
A few attributes about Jobs reminded me about who I want to be, who I am, and what principles I want to keep near me.
First, there was a clear dichotomy of Steve Jobs being a business man and a true artist. He understood that if he wanted to be a success, he had to be hard-nosed, but above all that, he wanted to create slick products that would help people. Like Jobs, I love the business end of things but I never put anything out there that I...
Playing isn’t just for kids.
Everyone plays. We play with our food, we play with the car radio, we play fantasy sports, and so on.
For the last couple of months I have been taking it easy…I’ve been thinking about playing. I love to have a good time. I’m always cracking jokes, I love my gadgets, my house, and just having a good time. However, one of the things my disability affects is the way I play. As a child I couldn’t put together a puzzle, ride a bike, or run in the park. Yet, I had a very happy childhood. My parents took my sister and me on trips. We used to go to Disneyland at least a couple of times a year. When I was younger, I was a lot smaller, so my father and my mother would just take me out of my chair and plop me on the rides. I used to watch my friends play basketball in the street and it didn’t really bother me to be on the sidelines.
I didn’t feel like I was on the sidelines.
As I grew older, I started to think about the...
I love to write with music on in the background. It calms my nerves. I also like to listen to music before I write. I know that I would not exercise unless I have a set schedule. That is why I meet my trainer Larry three times a week. There are days when the last thing I want to do is exercise, but since I had an appointment with Larry I had to go.
What is your ideal mood for doing the things that you want to do? What is stopping you from doing it? How can you put yourself in a better mood?
Before I started working with Kristi, I used to have an intern come to my house and I would write for an hour and a half. There were times when I could not write. I didn’t want to write. In the hour before she’d come, I would be stressed out because I had no idea what to say. She would come and I would get something on paper. It wasn’t always my best work, but it was something. And for writers, something is always better than nothing.
When we have things such as that business...