How to Build Inner Strength

I am going to tell you one way to build your inner strength.  There is a certain mistake that most people, even you, use in your everyday life, and it is like kryptonite stealing away your inner strength. But before I tell you what it is, I need you to time travel with me to 25 years ago.  I was working for a non-profit foundation, and we had a grand event to appreciate our donors. In the event program, the name of one of those donors was spelled wrong. And this was a super-important, big-money, deep-pockets member of the board donor, too. It was not a good situation. The day after the event, the phone call came in, and we knew that that call should be patched to no one else but Miss Patricia who was the queen of communicating with the donors.  From down the hall, we eavesdropped to hear how she would handle the situation. That was the day I learned to use her technique and I have used it for the past 25 years.  In her sweet and happy voice, she said, “Oh! Thank you so much for letting me know!”  

The mistake that I mentioned at the beginning of my talk is saying “Sorry” instead of saying “Thanks.” Here are some examples: If someone has to wait for you while you are finishing up with a previous appointment, you say, “Sorry for the delay…” You should be saying, “Thanks so much for your patience.”  How about if someone corrects a mistake you’ve made.  You shouldn’t be saying “Oh I am sorry about that.” You should be saying “Good catch!  Thanks for letting me know.” See the difference between  “sorry” and “thanks?”  Sorry indicates that you are inferior, while thanks makes you look like a kind and generous person offering recognition for someone else’s value.   

The words you use make a difference in your attitude, your energy, and your connection with others. I read this quote yesterday, and I love it: “Be careful what you say around yourself …because YOU are listening.”

Be Odd and Be Great

I am odd, and I been odd since I was born.  Odd means unusual and beyond the usual or expected. As a Filipino being born in New York City and growing up in Florida, I was different than what the usual American looked like. My odd life included different food, different family activities, different church life.   I was the only Filipino in my elementary school, beside my siblings. It took a long time for me to get to a point where I embraced my differences from the typical American.

If you are different in any way: really tall, really short, speak with a lisp, look different than others, can’t sing, don’t understand football, or anything that is different than the people around you, realize that you are you. You are odd (beyond the usual) and you are great.

I remember the one day I would officially introduce my Filipino-ness to the world. I was asked to do a Filipino dance at the multicultural event in college, and I was ready for my walk of Filipino pride across the college campus wearing my beautiful ethnic costume.   I remember SO VIVIDLY when this girl came up to me and said, “What the hell are you wearing?” I am not sure why I reacted this way, but my heart was crushed and I felt ridiculous.   For years after, I stayed involved in Filipino events but continued to keep my two lives separate. I wish someone had come to my past self to tell me my differences make me great and amazing and extraordinary!

Now, I use this look to be different. I am not just like any other person that comes across your YouTube screen. This is the amazing me – I am Filipino – I am loud – I am odd – I am me! 

I want you to be YOU. Be odd and be great and Shine Already!

Wear Your “Y”


This week, I had the best little parmesan bread pieces that are slightly crispy when you bite the outside and perfectly soft on the inside. And the parmesan!

Oh my goodness, they are the best! They are a game changer! You cannot find anything else to compare!!!! Don’t you just want to taste these little bread bites now??

Listen…when someone really feel and knows in their heart of hearts that something is the best in the world, don’t you feel it, too?

One reason people are not getting what they want in this world, like a job, promotion, a partner, that big sales deal is that they are not truly shining. They are not feeling and showing they are the best there is, better than anything else out there!

Today I’m going to share something I learned from one of my favorite celebrities, Jennifer Lopez!

But first I want to see if you have heard of Simon Sinek’s famous message telling us that we all need to Start with Why.

 It is so important to know the purpose behind your actions if you want to be successful.

I am here to tell you that Starting with Why will not work if you can’t wear your Y. Wear your Y..what is that?

Okay, well here it is! I learned this from Jennifer Lopez, not   personally, but I was looking at this photo of her and it spoke to me..not literally! Just look. When she comes out on a stage, she can do this. Like yes, it’s me. I have arrived. I am here and I am amazing. I looked at this picture and said, I could never do that! How many of us can really rock that Y pose? It feels very strange.

Well, social psychologist Amy Cuddy says that our nonverbal behavior governs how we think and feel about ourselves. Power poses like this Y pose changes hormone and cortisol levels that affect our brains.

This pose says I am the best. I am the best at what I do. I am the best wife any man will ever find in the whole world!

I offer the best product or service to you. If you can feel that world will not be complete without you and what you bring to the table, then the world will think the same!

When I walk out of my bedroom each morning, I do the pose across the living room to the kitchen..sometimes I say Ba Ba! It makes me laugh, but I feel so different each day. I want you to try the Y, wear it, and feel the confidence. That is a good place to start!

Go wear your “Y” and Shine Already!

Confidence to Ask

If you don’t ask for things, you won’t get them. Today I just want to share some wins that people have experienced because they asked. If you hear these things, you can realize there is more out there available to you than you thought.

I know someone who wrote a certain dollar amount on her application, and when the employer realized that they wanted nobody else, they had to find an additional $5000 beyond their established budget to be able to afford her.

I also know someone else who went to a company that was not even hiring and he told the hiring manager that they needed to update and step up their marketing. And the person didn’t even have any marketing experience, just A LOT of confidence to say HE had a perfect marketing plan. After the interview, he had to google How to Make a Marketing Plan.  Not only that, when a salary was presented, he asked for $10,000 more than they offered, and got it!

I personally have experienced so many little victories from asking. Just recently, our company made a large purchase of food for our students, and my boss told me to ask for a discount. They gave us 10% off and offered to deliver the food even though they don’t usually do that.

When I recently completed my dissertation, I ended up with 995 People who agreed to do my survey just because I found them and asked them on LinkedIn.  I once found the CEO of a company on LinkedIn and message him to ask for a time to talk about the job. I got that job!

Some people fear that they will look foolish. Foolish guy asked for $10,000 more. Crazy girl asked for 10% off discount on her food order. Foolish person expected me to hire him for a job that doesn’t even exist. Crazy lady thinks she can just message a CEO and get a job!

Mark Twain says he who asked is a fool for five minutes but he who does not ask is a fool forever. AND  when you have that extra $10,000, that day off, the 995 people for your survey, can’t you say to yourself the risk I took to be foolish for five minutes really paid off. The other thing too is that if someone’s going to think bad of you for asking for something, maybe they’re just upset that they didn’t get what you got!

You are just a dignified happily assertive honest good human being. You asked a question. If the answer is no, the answer is no. And all these cases the answer was yes WHICH IS AWESOME! You can also think about it this way  -the people who said yes also benefit. The employer who made that offer felt great about their decision to hire that marketing person. The company that gave me 10% discount got a large order. And so on.  It is a WIN – WIN!

I want you to see the benefit of finding your voice and asking so you can Shine Already.

Confront If You Care

We have a flickering ceiling light at my house right now. Sometimes it is fine, but sometimes it is like a strobe light. We keep putting off getting it fixed. We don’t take the time or the effort to call the electrician or pull out a ladder to check it. We really need to. Who knows? It could spark and make an electrical fire in the ceiling and burn the house down.

This is how it is with relationships. Assertiveness is saying what you want, need, or feel.  So many people think – I love my husband – I love my son – That is why I don’t want to confront them about spending too much money or not helping out in the house or leaving the door unlocked  – YOU DON”T WANT TO CONFRONT THEM – then I am telling you that you don’t love them!   By hiding your feelings, you RUIN the relationship because now you are hurt and you start resenting them. That does not sound like a LOVING relationship.

If you really love them, you need to talk to them in a proper assertive way.

Two choices: Would you like to have relationships with resentment or would you like to take the effort to communicate and have a healthy relationship?

Try this: Next time you experience something negative in your relationship, tell yourself that you LOVE this person enough to communicate, and then do it!

This is one way you can Shine Already!

What Other People Think

I heard this quote, and it is so profound I need you to take out a piece of paper and a pen and write this one down: “The version of you that other people have in their mind is not your responsibility.”

Earlier in my life I spent so much time wondering what to wear: Dress or Jeans? Dress or Jeans? What are other people going to think? If I wear jeans, it will look too bummy, but if I wear a dress, it will look like I am trying too hard. I considered other people’s opinions in all that I did. Who should I date? What should I major in? What care should I drive? Even what color of lipstick I should wear!

There’s a psychological concept called reflective appraisal process, and it is all about how we imagine how other people see us.

Think about that: how we IMAGINE how other people see us.  It doesn’t even matter how they see us, it’s how we THINK they do. Then we start making decisions based on that.  We change our entire lives based on something that might not even be real that we think someone else is thinking about us: what to wear, how to act, and even major decisions. Soon we don’t even know who we are.

I’m going to tell you right now: DO WHAT YOU WANT! Do what is right for you. I like dresses, and if someone wants to think that I am trying too hard when I wear my dress, that is just them being judgmental or insecure or having nothing better to do in their lives. I actually feel sorry that they have to fill the valuable seconds of their lives judging my outfit. Hmmm. The version of you that other people have in their mind is NOT your responsibility. You are responsible for your own amazing and extraordinary self, so go out there and Shine Already!

Finding Your Miyagi

In the movie Karate Kid, Daniel Larusso needed the confidence to stand up to bullies, so he found Mr. Miyagi, a wise karate master who taught him the skills, the specific detailed moves.

Earlier this week I spent some time talking to Cynthia, a retired Filipino-American high school administrator and former biology teacher. One day her teaching partner left a rude note in her box.

She went to her boss and complained that this was inappropriate, in hopes that the boss would take action and reprimand the employee. 

Instead, Cynthia’s boss told her to go to the other teacher and say, “I do not appreciate this note, and If you want to communicate with me, you need to change your tone.”

Cynthia have never talked like that to anybody before. She didn’t understand why her boss need just fixed the problem, but she follow her boss’ instructions and expressed these words which were completely foreign to her.  She felt very uncomfortable.

Imagine her surprise when the other teacher responded well, and that was the beginning of a very good working relationship.

I love sharing that this was part of what made Cynthia so much stronger, and she even moved on to become principal of the school. She needed that boss to be a role model to her and to give her the tools to stand up for herself. That boss was her miyagi. That boss told her exactly what to say. There are great mentors who will tell you those assertive words, and when those words come out of your mouth, you will feel strange, but you will be victorious in that situation AND GROW STRONGER.  Who do you know that could help you? We all need mentors. Who is your Miyagi?

Find your Miyagi and Shine Already!

What is Your Super Power?

If I came up to you and said, “This is not the best lemonade,” would you try it? “This is not the best lawnmower” – would you buy it? 

Change lenses now. “This is not the best college… not the best girlfriend for your son… not the best car” Would you say, “Count me in!”

So now you are out there in the world, and you want someone to hire you, promote you, date you, buy something from you. Are you the best? Well, they only want the best.

There is no way you can be the best everything in the whole world – you’re not superman…or God!

But you can offer the bestness of YOU. There is only one of you, right? You should be able to say, “You can buy the life insurance from anyone else, but what I bring to the table is one-of-a-kind: the way I care, the way I explain things, the way I understand you, the way I help you.

You can also add knowledge to the bestness of yourself: I studied the human body… I know a lot about social media… I read a lot about blockchain…I attended seminars on real estate…I have watched every single YouTube video about the Google Pixel!

Figure out what creates your bestness and show the world. Put it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. Make sure people know you as “that guy who knows a lot about SEO optimization, websites, finance, construction, etc.

Create your own Superhero emblem. What does it include – Then wear it like a superhero because you are a superhero, and you are about to save the day for someone out there when you bring them the BEST of You!

Go Shine Already!

Shiny Insights

Stay Tuned for Shiny Insights, starting December 1. These are short reflections about speaking up and being confident to SHINE in this world. The ONLY way that we can change our way of thinking is to put all this information out there – talk about it – learn about it – think about it – apply it. Let’s Talk – because it’s time to SHINE! Follow me on Facebook: Shine Already with Dr. Abby!

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.