How High are Your Standards?

In this competitive world we live in it is easy to get overwhelmed and easily defeated. Once you realize that everything around you depends on how you view things and how you let them affect you, you will be able to breathe a bit easier and focus on your goals!

An important lesson I have learned in my life is to always try your best and don’t allow other people’s standards to influence yours; unless of course their’s are higher. If you work at a job that you hate or are highly unsatisfied with and work based on how much you make or who is watching, then it’s not your true self that is doing the work. If you are doing something that makes you happy, you will be so immersed and preoccupied that you won’t have time to stare at the clock, to slowly count how many hours are left till the end of your shift or when your lunch or next break will be.

I’ve been around people who know how to bring others down and have a pessimistic perception of life. I’ve also been around those who know how to lift people up and can provide some constructive criticism to their peers, friends and family. I used to think that a job was just that, a job; something I did to to pay all my bills so that I could live paycheck to paycheck and get through life. I have noticed that since I have become older, everything you do or say is a reflection of you and your standards and that when you do something you should approach it in the same manner as something you are passionate about. For example, treating your everyday job as your dream job would make it so much easier to get through the day instead of attempting to look busy when coworkers and management walk by.

Now standards can be high or low, but I have witnessed the difference in the mindset, mentality and attitudes of those who value themselves enough to base all their actions on their standards. Those who have higher standards hold themselves accountable to them on their own, no one needs to remind them, no one needs to tell them, they have made those standards a part of who they are. I strive to lead a life where my standards are high and I am able to be consistent in my level of effort, maintaining a positive attitude and forever looking for ways to improve.

Do you have high standards? What made you shape such standards? Do you do at least one thing a day that helps you improve your life?

Stay strong and beautiful!

 

 

Finding the ‘Ideal’ Tenant Part 2

This is Part 2 in my Series, Finding the Ideal Tenant. In this post, I will be sharing my experiences with next steps and eventually what we did to find our new tenant.

Next Steps

So a few days or weeks have passed and after a handful of potential tenants you now have several applications and a lot of research to do.

The next step after reviewing each (completed of course) application is to request a credit score/report and a letter of income, mainly in the form of an employment letter. With each step, you are getting a sense of what the tenant is like and how they handle different situations, through emails and even phone calls, a tenant who constantly makes excuses or does not respond in a timely manner is usually one that doesn’t have the best organization and time management skills; not an ideal tenant.

It is important to give all applicants a fair chance, by allowing them to submit their full application and all relevant documents. Some potential red flags or situations which prompt further explanations include: unemployment, declared bankruptcy, social assistance and reluctance to provide an explanation or proper documentation are things to be aware of. After all, you want a tenant who has a stable source of income and will be able to make the rent payments.

Doing Your Research

You will likely receive proof of employment in the former either a letter of employment or 3 recent pay stubs. You will have to contact the employer and ask them to verify the details set out in same letter. Once you have verified their income and employment you can proceed in asking the potential applicants for a credit score and report. Generally, you want someone who has a decent score i.e. at least 650. It is also helpful to note their credit history and understand their payment habits. Take note of any payments made late and any mentions of collections as well as declaration of bankruptcy. If the person has a somewhat decent score and has declared bankruptcy in the past but has since kept their payments on track, then you can take that into consideration when making your decision.

DIY or Using a Realtor

Alternatively if you find that you don’t have the time, energy, patience, etc. to hold the showings and look into the applications yourself, you may enlist a realtor to find a tenant on your behalf.

This route comes with its own red flags including an uncooperative agent, one that doesn’t keep you in the loop, makes you do more than you have to? which should entail minimum involvement and does close to nothing throughout the transaction. They generally charge a fee for their services which is equivalent to one months rent.

Before deciding if you want to hire a real estate agent to help you, consider your options. It was a no brainer option for us as we lived almost 45 minutes away from the house and going back and forth everyday wasn’t feasible. Our experience using a realtor was a waste of money, and we regret not doing it ourselves. However, lessons were learned and we know better for next time.

Have you ever experienced renting out a property? Did you find your tenant on your own or opt to use a realtor?

Till the next and final post in this series.

Stay strong and beautiful!

 

Finding the ‘Ideal’ Tenant

This will be my first series post and this is Part 1. In this series I will be sharing my thoughts and experiences on my journey to finding the Ideal Tenant.

My fiance recently purchased a house and initially the plan was to live there and settle down but due to personal reasons, we think it would be best to rent it out for at least a year. He took possession a few weeks ago and now we are searching for a great tenant.

Listing your Property for Rent

So the first step is to get your house out there. I opted to advertise on Kijiji, Craigslist and a few other house rental websites. Almost immediately I had people calling and emailing me requesting to see the house. Alternatively you can list your rental through a realtor and pay them a commission fee, which is usually around 1 month’s rent of your rental listing price.

Setting up Appointments

You will without a doubt start receiving inquiries about your rental. People may just ask a simple question i.e.) if there is a bathroom in the basement, separate entrance, etc. While some may include a brief summary of how many people they are, when they are looking to rent, if they have any pets, if they work in the area and why they are leaving their current residence.

To people who request a showing, I try to respond within the hour of receiving new inquiries and respond by saying:

Thank you for your interest in this house. Please note that we have showings available for {insert time and date). Please advise if this time and day works for you so that we may setup a mutual appointment.

In the interim, I have attached a rental application for your convenience.

Also, do you currently live or work in the area?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

There are some people who will inquire about your rental and then make appointments and cancel at the last minute and ask to reschedule,  after the second last minute cancellation, I do not bother with them any further. There are also people who want every single member of their family to come see the house and will ask for multiple appointments, to their convenience. These people will simply waste your time and energy; it is not worth the hassle.

Screening Potential Tenants

So it’s been a week and you have had several people come by and see the house, a few no shows – which is bound to happen, and a few tenants that try to sell themselves at the showing, all is well and good but a final decision cannot be made until the whole application process is complete. In my experience there are four types of tenants, they include:

1) Go-Getter George
This tenant comes with the rental application all filled out, their employment letter in hand and are prepared for any questions you have and are willing to . This tenant also follows up after the showing and lets you know that he will send the rest of the paperwork by a certain day. This tenant also responds to emails in a timely manner. This tenant knows they are an ideal tenant and willingly provide their references, employment letter and credit score. The thing with Go-Getter George is that he is in high demand and other landlords may want him as their tenant too.

2) Clueless Sue
This tenant just has no idea, they call you to ask for the address of the house, which is clearly provided on the rental listing. They write down the wrong rental price on the application, they say they will send their documents and you don’t hear from them for a few days. This tenant has no sense of urgency, even though they claim to be looking for a place to rent ASAP. This is the person that believes that liking the house, submitting their application and paperwork guarantees them the rental. This person stresses you out and constantly reminds you that they have given their landlord notice and that they will get you their paperwork. This is the same person who three days later hasn’t provided any paperwork. When you finally decide to follow up, they have this sudden sense of urgency and leave work to come by and drop off their forms in your mailbox. You then drive all the way from work to pick up the papers only to find out that half of the documents aren’t there. You follow up with Clueless Sue and she admits that she was distracted and have them beside her in her car. Enough said. This person is very unorganized and clueless which alludes to what kind of tenant she will be.

3) Mysterious Mike
This tenant seems quiet, makes very little conversation at the showing and seems like he has something to hide. This is the man that seems to dodge any questions you have and selectively responds to your emails. This person often has a bad credit history/score, not so hot references and is unemployed or on welfare. This type of tenant is not ideal and may create issues later on down the line.

4) Honest Heather
This tenant knows they have something that may effect their application, it may be a low credit score or poor credit history. or lack of income and will give you any relevant background information. Honest Heather is very upfront. Their spouse may not work and they prove that they can afford the rent, etc. This person answers all the questions and also has questions for you.

There are certainly other types of tenants, or tenants that are a combination of the four types I explained above, but those are the ones that stand out. At the end of the day, you as a landlord have to decide which tenant works best for you. There are obviously certain other factors that play a role in deciding who to rent your property out to.

Are you a landlord? Have you had experience with any of these types of tenants? Are you a tenant yourself?

Part 2 to follow!

Stay strong and beautiful!

 

Do What YOU Have to Do to Get to Where YOU WANT to Be

What is Life?

Life is about taking risks, making decisions and giving it your all. Life is just too precious and short so NEVER let ANYONE, including yourself, stop you from achieving your dreams and make your dreams a reality.

Money, Money, Money

Money makes the world go round and I used to think that I wouldn’t be happy until I had more. It’s true that money makes life easier but it isn’t everything. It definitely makes life more enjoyable but I believe that spending time and making memories with the people you love and care about is more important. We all deserve to be happy but there is more to life than working for someone else and stressing yourself out to the point of exhaustion and not enjoying life.

Everybody has a Story

I have reached the point in my life where things are getting really real. House hunting to buy a house and planning a wedding are quite expensive and have taken up much of my time…As overwhelming as it has been, it has motivated me to really take the time to think about what kind of future I want to live and gets my creative juices flowing. Instead of stressing out about what I don’t have or wishing that things were different, I am learning to accept the things I cannot change and getting excited about new ways that I can thrive and create my own success.

Faith

When things seems like they are ‘not going right’, be confident and thankful. Trust that you have the strength and patience to handle anything that comes your way. Challenges in our lives often present themselves as hurdles of adversity but turn out to be little blessing’s in disguise. However, you often feel stronger and come out wiser after having gone through it. How you decide to proceed is up to you.

Five things I have learned:

Every conversation is an opportunity;

Every opportunity is a lesson;

Every lesson serves a purpose;

Everyone has a purpose; and

Everything happens for a reason.

So work your ass off and be thankful, you will get to where you want to be.

Keep your head up and be happy because your reward is just around the corner.

YOU were born with everything you need to SUCCEED!

Stay strong and beautiful!

 

Life Decisions

Welcome to the year 2016! Where oil prices and interest rates are falling and everything else is rising and life just seems more expensive overall.

I wonder how those who are married, have a mortgage AND have children, do it. I suppose there are sacrifices to make it all work,  we just have to find the right formula that works for us.

What’s Next?

While being engaged is an amazing feeling that I want to enjoy and feel so special that I have found the man I truly want to spend the rest of my life with, that is not the end goal…it is the highly anticipated, exciting yet financially dreaded ‘Wedding‘.

I quite enjoy spending hours and hours on Pinterest gaining ideas and inspiration about themes, colours, photography, cakes as well as browsing and researching countless venues but for now a home takes priority and there will be plenty of time to plan once we get a place.

Type of Wedding

At first I thought it would be the most convenient to have a destination wedding with our closest friends and family in either Hawaii or Jamaica and then throwing a dinner with our family and friends. However, after much research and hearing stories and reading reviews, I felt it would be more intimate and personable to just have a small wedding all at once.

We also considered getting married at City Hall and having a dinner for our guests to announce our marriage. However, I thought about it long and hard and established that I want a wedding, since it only happens once in a lifetime and there are experiences that come out of planning a wedding that cannot be attained otherwise.

We have still not finalized a date and are thinking about what would season would work best for us.

Getting our Priorities Right

For my fiance and I, a wedding is something that we both want however, we are both thinking long term and feel that the timing for us to buy a place to call home couldn’t be better, and we want to take advantage of this great opportunity. After many discussions with my fiance, we have decided that the time to return to Ontario has come. Living in a city that is literally driven by oil and gas price with prices as low as 68.4 cents and a layoff, made our decision that much easier.

To Ontario We Go…

One thing that I can say is that the pace in life between Alberta and Ontario is very different; I never experienced the hustle and bustle of Toronto in Calgary. Everyone is so friendly and very laid back. Most of the people I worked with were just content with what they were doing. The drive and determination that is seen almost everywhere in Toronto is just not found in Alberta. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that people are lazy or not hardworking, there just isn’t the same level of stress, pressure and sense of urgency that I feel many Torontonians possess.

Although I am extremely excited and looking forward to moving back to Ontario, the 34 hour drive back will be quite the adventure! There are so many things about Alberta that I will miss dearly, especially the breathtaking views of the mountains on a mild, clear day.

I’ve finished packing most of our stuff and it’s a bittersweet moment. I will spend my last few weeks here taking in all the scenic views of the mountains that I can, the fresh air and the brisk but beautiful weather. I would like to thank Alberta, for the friends I have made, the places I’ve seen and the experiences that have made me into a stronger and smarter person today.

Bring it On

So while the wedding is still very much on my mind, I can’t help but shift some of my focus to the Ontario Real Estate Market. We have been preparing for the joys and disappointments of house hunting and hope to find our home soon.

We are both very happy and determined, so let the bidding wars begin…

Stay strong and beautiful!

Do you have any wedding tips, tricks or advice?

Do you think the real estate bubble will burst?

You ARE Good Enough

There will always be distractions and people that bring you down in life. Does it ever feel like you have all the motivation in the world to take a task head on and achieve your goals only to find that once you start, you begin to doubt yourself. Or worse, voices of people telling you can’t, fill your head and discourage you.

Do you then convince yourself that the voices are right, and that you probably can’t do it, so there is no point in even trying and play the ‘victim’. This is something that I have done for a very long time but I am getting better at replacing the negative voices with positive, encouraging words. When I was younger, I was told over and over again, by certain people that I was stupid, that I was a loser and that I would be a failure in life. I don’t know about you, but if I hear the same thing over and over again enough times, I will begin to believe it. For most of my life, I grew up thinking that I was never good enough and that I wouldn’t accomplish anything.

It only makes sense that another area where I have struggled with my whole life, is confidence. Whether it be about my body image or my ability to do things I have a ‘behind the scenes’ attitude.

If I looked at my life up a few months ago, I would have agreed that I had very low confidence, no drive, no motivation and I was in a rut, lazier than ever. I didn’t have many friends to hang out because I moved to a new province and it seemed like all my other friends back home were busy living their lives. It was depressing. Even my long term relationship was in trouble and it seemed like I had an excuse for everything. Nothing was ever my fault and if it was, I would make promises that I couldn’t keep, just so that everything would be ‘okay’ again. I just didn’t want to deal with anything or take responsibility for it.

Looking back, I realize that the reason I am reluctant to change is because I am so used to how things used to be and I am living in the past and my stubbornness doesn’t exactly help. I used to convince myself that I can hold onto our relationship and that everything would work out. I was in for a rude awakening, while my other half was changing and growing to build a better future for us, I was just hiding in the background, hoping that I could get through life without making any drastic changes. Reality hit and I knew that I had to make a decision, to change for the better. I want to be able to grow and change alongside my significant other. A decision according to Anthony Robbins is when you cut off all other possibilities and make a commitment with every you’ve got and taking action.

I may still have a lot of issues and problems that I need to constantly work on and fix, but I think that hitting that threshold at least in my relationship was a real wake up call for me.

Never let anyone tell you or make you feel like you are not good enough. Only you have to believe and have faith in yourself. If you believe that you are willing and are able, nothing can stop you.

Stay focused and keep your eye on the prize.

Stay strong and beautiful!

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Perspective Makes All the Difference

So after I created my Life List, I studied it and pondered about which goals or more specifically which area of goals I wanted to achieve first. I decided that it would be those goals related to Finances/Freedom. After setting up a strict budget using the smartphone app Mint and some self-discipline, I successfully paid off all my credit card debt, which I talk about in my post entitled: Accomplished: #157 on My List of Life. I have decided to continue on the path to becoming debt free. Next on the docket is paying off my student loan and my line of credit.

To help me pay off my debt, I picked up a job where I work overnight hours, in addition to my job during the day. Given that the job is nothing glamorous, there are a lot of people who just don’t show up, thus screwing up the whole schedule. Since I already work full time during the day, I work three shifts a week. I had a discussion with my manager who explained that my shifts on the next schedule, would change to more reasonable hours, so that I would have time to sleep before heading off to my day job. I appreciated her concern and was looking forward to a more balanced sleep schedule and some time to just relax. Imagine my surprise when I went to work only to find that I had been scheduled two extra shifts at the same crappy hours.

Needless to say, I went a bit crazy, negative thoughts filled my head and I started to complain. I was blaming everyone and my attitude did a 180; I was falling into my old ways. I went from being cheerful and working hard to yelling and slacking off. Then I remembered the commitment that I had made: I  told myself that I would do whatever I could do to achieve my goals and make my dreams come true; that there would be no more wasted opportunities.

Getting myself into the right frame of mind, I slowly began to think about where I was and the reason I was there and the promises I had made to myself. Soon enough I began to think about the end goal and that the hours of work and the sacrifices that I have been making in terms of sleep and any leisure time, would translate into money, which would ultimately help me pay off my debt even faster.

So I basically had two choices, I could either complain and be miserable or I could be grateful and appreciate the opportunity that I had been given. I realized that I was blessed enough to have the ability to work two jobs, because there are people out there who would do anything for even one job. So this is my experience about perspective and the difference it can make. This is to remind you that in any given situation you have the choice and the power to decide how it will effect you. I chose to be thankful for the opportunities that I have been blessed with and to make the most out of every situation. I am a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, that says …you attract what you think about, and the more that you think about something (you are putting it out into the universe), more of it will come back to you. I first learned about the Law of Attraction in detail when a friend recommended the film by Rhonda Byrnes entitled The Secret. This film opened my eyes about the power of our thoughts and taught me about having an attitude of gratitude.  I also believe that short term pain is definitely worth it for long term gain.

Even though at times it may be hard to see the light, keep at it and slowly your hard work will pay off and you can live your dreams and make them your reality!

What are you grateful for? Is there something in your life that would improve if you changed your perception of it?

Stay strong and beautiful!

The Hardest Part is Getting Started

Have you ever said you were going to do something and then did everything in your power to not do it? Chances are you have and you are not alone. This delay or act of not doing something is referred to as procrastination and could be caused by several factors including: a lack of motivation, poor planning or even fear. Procrastination is something that affects everyone sometime in their life, more often than not. It’s funny how important cleaning your room (something you normally dread) becomes when you need to study for an exam or complete an assignment; you shift your focus and look for every excuse that will help you avoid doing what it is you said you would do.

Think about it. How would you feel if you told someone you would do something and left it to the last minute, or worse how would you feel if you all you ended up doing instead was waste valuable time and not complete the task at all? I have done this too many times in the past and wrote about it in my recent post entitled: The Importance of Following Through.

Break it Down

When thinking of how to complete a task, some people tend to look at the big picture and the task as a whole and quickly become overwhelmed and discouraged. An interesting and important concept that I learned from Anthony Robbins Personal Power II series is that every action is based upon which option helps you avoid pain and gain more pleasure, at that moment in time. So when people procrastinate, they tend to associate fear to the task and feel overwhelmed, i.e.) they view it as more painful to complete the task, then they do pleasure. They start to think of other things that would cause them more pleasure and less pain, thus avoiding the task at hand. The more manageable way to complete any task is to break it down into smaller, less daunting subtasks. Make sure to take it one step at a time and reward yourself along the way.

Make a schedule

Now that you have established your subtasks, make a list in your calendar or planner, either paper-based or digital to organize yourself and give yourself a visual of what needs to be done. Some of the apps that I have found helpful and use on my phone are Google Calendar, which allows you to enter tasks with reminders and Color Note, a sticky note apps that allows you to add customizable (to-do) lists/widgets to your home screen.

Focus and Relax

In this technology crazed world sometimes it is nice to just unplug and ignore the hustle and bustle of social media. For the past week or so I spent some time on my well-being by meditating, reading a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and just taking some time to relax. I can honestly say that I am feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or need to recharge your inner self, take a step back to relax and in turn rejuvenate yourself.

Next you have to think about your goal/task and embody the way you will feel once you have completed your task. If you are looking for some unique motivation check out Eric Thomas aka ET the Hip hop Preacher. I started watching his videos a few years ago on YouTube. However, it wasn’t until this year that I actually used what he had taught me. The series that I am recommending is his (Thank God it’s Monday) TGIM series. He is not only motivational, he is also relatable and does not sugar coat anything!

Increase Your Productivity

Once you have recharged and are motivated, you are ready to get to work! If you need some help, there are many apps that can help you with your productivity, such as the ever popular Pomodoro. This timer based app enables you work productively in 25 minute intervals and then rewards you with either short  or long breaks, 5 to 10 minutes respectively.  For those who start surfing the internet unnecessarily and find it hard to avoid online distractions, there is a more intense version called Strict Workflow. This is similar to the traditional timer but it denies you access to certain websites i.e.) social media sites, gaming sites, etc., until you have earned a break. Kanban Flow is another great tool that is helpful in increasing your productivity and keeping you on track to meet all of your deadlines.

Start and Finish

Now that you have a toolbox that you can utilize, you should feel more prepared and establish what you need to do. The only thing left to do is start! Once you finally complete the task, you will feel so much better and relieved. This means that you will be less stressed and have time to do other things, with ease and without guilt. So fight the urge to procrastinate and pass by the delay and excuses and just do it. Once you take that initial step to completing that task or goal, you will start to enjoy the work. You will also have more confidence in your ability to deliver and feel happier. Procrastination means the difference between success and failure, when you procrastinate, all you do is waste precious time that you can’t get back.

From the words of Tony Robbins, “We can do whatever we want, but what counts is what we WILL do.”.

Go forth and achieve your dreams.

Stay strong and beautiful!

How do you get motivated? How do you beat procrastination?

The Importance of Following Through

In my life, I have been burned several times, mainly by repeating the same mistakes, making excuses for and blaming others for my problems. I used to think that running away from my problems was the best way to deal with them; I thought out of sight, out of mind. I began to accept my life and became comfortable with the circumstances and quality of my life. When people close to me told me that I could be doing something better with my life and that I should stop being such a failure, I said that I would make it in life and I would (insert list of lies here).

There were too many times that I said I would do something and failed to follow through and complete what I said I was going to do. Pretty soon people near and dear began to lose faith in me. They treated me like I could not be trusted with even the simplest things, I felt horrible and useless. I was being babysat about everything I did and was asked too many questions; I was pretty much being monitored by my own family and friends.

The fact of the matter is no one wants to hear that they can’t do something, nor does anyone want to be lectured about how they are lazy and how they are not going to go anywhere in life. It was hard to hear and I got all defensive, because it was the truth. I had just been avoiding my problems and just going through life without actually living. Needless to say I didn’t get very far in life.

After I graduated with my undergrad I moved to a new city. Shortly after, I broke down and started crying hysterically filled with anger, sadness and regret. That day I truly felt the deep impact that my failure to act on what I said had. I reached a point where I was so fed up with my life and my circumstances and sick of feeling sad and throwing pity parties about where I was in my life, I decided to make a change and my attitude. More importantly I apologized to all those that I had let down and took personal responsibility for all my mistakes and all the times I didn’t follow through.

After facing the obstacles that resulted from my poor choices and repeated mistakes, I have begun to set goals and construct a plan of action to achieve those goals. I have made the decision to work hard everyday so that I can get one step closer to achieving my goals. It took me quite awhile, but I now know more than ever that it is important to do what you are going to say. Speaking from experience, if you don’t, you start to lose credibility, and get associated to words such as being a liar, unreliable, a failure and that you’re all talk and no action. I can also tell you that complaining doesn’t help, it just wastes precious time.

A few months after moving I had a lot of time to think about my thoughts and I noticed that most of them were negative and self-sabotaging. Since then I have taken a new perspective on life. I vow to work towards repairing and rebuilding the relationships that I have ruined by giving my all whenever performing any task as big or small as it may be.

My new found motto is “don’t say it, just do it“, and let everyone see the results for themselves. This is based on a results oriented thinking that stems from knowing what I need to do in my own mind without involving others in the process. Simply put, my only enemy, is me.

I have made so many mistakes and have regrets about decisions that I have made in the past. I feel like I am paying for them now but I am not going to sit here and complain about it. I have realized that the only thing I can do moving forward is to learn from my mistakes to ensure that I don’t repeat the same ever again. I used to view being a failure and constantly failing as one of the worst and scariest things ever. Now, I have changed the way I think about failing and view it in a more positive light; I have discovered a way but there is a better way, so I must try again.

What added to my positive, new outlook on life is Tony Robbins. I have started listening to Anthony Robbins Personal Power II series and can say that this has been really helpful. I recommend it to everyone and anyone who is looking for the fundamentals to becoming successful. Tony keeps you accountable and motivated, he gets down to the roots of success and how you can reprogram your thoughts and mind to live your dreams.

Remember: Don’t be afraid to admit your wrongs, failures or mistakes, after all acknowledgement is part of the learning and improvement process!

Have you ever felt this way? Please comment and share your story.

Stay strong and beautiful!