Make your bed. Being a “visual” person who appreciates organization, making my bed reduces my anxiety levels and gives me a sense of calm; I breathe easier. It gives me a feeling of neatness and order. Plus, it’s a small victory, a way to start the day with a “win”.
Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, unchallenged, and have nothing to look forward to? It doesn’t have to be that way. One idea that I always advice my clients is the concept of “Stop pushing the pain away and see it as the guide to your life purpose”
As a society, we are hardwired to sit on our tush in a comfortable lethargy. I invite you to start EXPERIENCING your life, rather than observing it, getting used to the uncomfortable and finding the deepest inspirations in your pain. We grow from the dark much more and faster than we do from the light and often our deepest gifts (and the source of our passion, pleasure and joy) are located where it hurts the most. Life purpose is a waltz between pain, pleasure, play
For me, all my trials and tribulations resulted in the most incredible outcome- finding my life purpose and aligning my entire life around it. Once I did that my business took off, my lifestyle changed and, most importantly, I started living a passionate, joyful life. I started TRULY trusting myself. While before I outsourced my reasons for happiness outside of myself to online courses that promised to give me love overnight or make me rich in a click of a button, to gurus that were telling me how to live my life and lead my business, to magical objects or juju, now I use these means as supplementary help, not as my guide as I have found my own internal compass that is never wrong and is ALWAYS working for me.
As a part of our series interviewing experts on how to live a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lily Rodriguez. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Lily Rodriguez, 35, is a labor and employment attorney who now lives in Miami with her husband Miguel, who is also a lawyer. When they’re not practicing law, they run The Rich Miser, a fast-growing personal finance and lifestyle website where they share tips and life hacks on living well for less. Lily and Miguel are expecting their first child (a daughter) in a matter of weeks, and dream of adopting a French Bulldog soon thereafter.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Of course! As a kid, I was nerdy, fascinated with learning, and a perfectionist. I’d get distressed if I got a B in school.
At home, my parents would reward me with TV time after I got done with my homework. For some odd reason, My Cousin Vinny kept showing up, and I would watch it and enjoy it. I think that movie sparked my first interest in the law, and in adult subjects. I would frequently eavesdrop on adult conversations, even as a fifth-grader.
I quickly realized that I was good at seeing both sides of different issues. For example, when I overheard my parents disagreeing on something, I would try to understand their different points of view and put myself in their shoes. (Obviously, they never found out about my eavesdropping or that I was analyzing their viewpoints!)
After I found out that lawyers were professional advocates and defenders, I settled on that career path, knowing that I wanted to speak and argue on behalf of others.
As I grew up, my desire to go into law only strengthened. I’ve always had a way with words, which somehow led to me frequently defending my schoolmates who got in trouble. I was their “lawyer”, often advocating for them at the principal’s office.
So, I worked very hard to become an attorney and am proud to be the first in my family to obtain a professional degree.
What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?
It’s too easy to fall into an “automatic path” in life. For instance, you can study a profession and go through an entire career without ever really asking yourself if that’s what you truly want to do, if it’s what makes you happy and gives you purpose. Or, you can just fall into the comfort of routine so much that you stop exploring the world around you and learning new things and meeting new people.
To live “on purpose” means, to me, to challenge yourself to frequently think about whether you’re truly fulfilled in life, and whether you’re on the path you want to be. It means that we must have honest conversations with ourselves to determine what our calling is, and whether we’re truly pursuing it.
If the answer is “no”, then I believe that we must create realistic plans to make the changes needed so that the answer becomes “yes”. My worst fear is to look back decades from now, and realize that I didn’t live up to my full potential.
Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?
My father owns a tow truck business, and has always had to work so hard that it seriously affected the time he had available to spend with my mother, my brother, and myself. My husband Miguel and I moved to Miami (where we have no family) from Puerto Rico in 2015, and my dad has only been able to visit us once in all that time. I miss him.
Since I was a young girl, seeing how little time he had because of work helped solidify my interest in labor relations (and later labor and employment law), since that career path meant that I could help employees and employers get along better, with working conditions that are fair to both.
Also, the platform I’ve found at The Rich Miser allows me to share tips and life hacks that help readers save time and money. Ultimately, I think that having more time and money gives you “breathing room” to increase your focus on your family and friends.
The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
To me, one of the main reasons is that, as a society, we seem to be forgetting the importance of friends and family, with an excessive, counterproductive, and narrow focus on work and making money.
Of course, one’s career and finances are monumentally important. Still, when they become all-encompassing to the detriment of spending quality time with our loved ones, I believe a necessary balance is lost, and we risk having a deep emptiness set in.
Also, I feel that there’s an ongoing deterioration of common good faith and humanity, which is being replaced by a “win at all costs” attitude and a belief that one must take every small advantage in every situation, even if to the unfair detriment of others. This has led to a need to be constantly on the defensive, which is exhausting and demoralizing.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As a labor and employment lawyer, perhaps what I’ve relished the most is the public speaking opportunities I’ve had, and my role as a counselor to clients. As opposed to my duties as a litigator (which I only perform after a dispute has formally reached the justice system), the role of counselor and speaker has allowed me to help resolve disagreements before they devolve into litigation.
What I’m trying to say is that my greatest satisfaction as an attorney has come from helping people avoid disputes and misunderstandings in the first place, and resolve differences amicably. Every problem that was solved with a handshake and every case that was kept out of court is a bit of good that’s been put into the world. It means less people have been hurt, perhaps someone kept their job, and the employee, employer, and judicial system saved time and resources.
I also believe there’s a therapeutic effect when people have a chance to talk things out or resolve disputes amicably. It can provide closure and eliminate mental burden, which can be so taxing. So, I find great joy whenever I have a chance to be a part of this.
In my other role as a writer at The Rich Miser, I’m passionate about sharing useful tips and hacks with our audience, to help readers improve their lives on a very concrete, everyday level. Not every achievement has to be grand and lofty; when I help a struggling reader save $10, I find great satisfaction in knowing that she or he has $10 more to buy their kids schoolbooks, or even just to have a well-deserved movie theater outing.
In the same way, when someone discovers one of my “life hack” articles on a subject such as reducing anxiety, I find joy in knowing that even if they find just one of my tips helpful, then maybe that person had a better day. If they got home from work in a good mood and avoided a fight with their spouse or were a kinder parent, then I think I’ve contributed some good to this world.
What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
Sure! Here’s what I try to do as often as I can:
I love listening to podcasts that inspire me and make me want to make the best of my day and of life, such as Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations or How I Built This (With Guy Raz). When I wake up anxious with thoughts of work or my to-do list, I find that these podcasts go a long way in terms of breaking that anxiety loop and helping me look forward to the day as something full of possibilities and opportunities.
2. Do a 5 or 10 minute meditation.
A short meditation centers me. It helps put me in a relaxed mood, and makes it less likely that everyday annoyances such as traffic or rude people rattle me.
3. Listen to upbeat music while you take a quick shower.
I’m energized by happy tunes! They get my blood flowing and make me want to dance, getting rid of that morning grogginess and putting a smile on my face.
4. Avoid morning frustration by having what you’ll wear pre-selected from the night before.
Outfit problems are an unnecessary hassle in the morning. That’s why I avoid aggravation by putting out my clothes the night before, and making sure that they’re free of lint and wrinkles. No one wants an outfit emergency at 6:00 AM (although I have my fair share of funny fashion mishaps, like a ripped skirt right before a trial).
5. Make your bed.
Being a “visual” person who appreciates organization, making my bed reduces my anxiety levels and gives me a sense of calm; I breathe easier. It gives me a feeling of neatness and order. Plus, it’s a small victory, a way to start the day with a “win”.
6. Avoid negativity by avoiding the news until later in the day, and refraining from calling or texting negative people in the morning.
Every other strategy can be for nothing if bad news or negative people ruin your mood. So, I make a point of avoiding the news for the first 2–3 hours of my day, and try not to call or text negative people until I don’t have a choice.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
Absolutely! My favorite podcast is Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, where Oprah interviews amazing, accomplished, and inspiring people such as Amy Purdy, who went from losing both her legs at age 19 to becoming an actress, Paralympic medalist, speaker, and fashion designer, among other accomplishments.
Listening to SuperSoul Conversations always makes me feel inspired and hungry for life; I want to “seize the day” and become the best I can be. It can be the difference between having a glum, uninspired day to one of striving and achievement.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” — Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
This goes back to what I was saying before about living “on purpose”. It’s a reminder to avoid falling into that “automatic path” or “automatic living”; it reminds me of the need to stop often and take stock of what’s going on in my life, and where I’m going.
In my own story, it’s directly related to my role as Creative Director and Lifestyle Blogger at The Rich Miser, in that, despite being happy with my legal career, I realized that I have a calling to communicate with more people than a traditional legal career would probably allow.
And that’s why I decided to write for the site, since it enables me to speak to, literally, the world. Outside the confines of legal practice, I have the freedom to say what I think needs to be said on a wide variety of subjects, whether it’s a quick money-saving tip or a deeper statement on life and living. After about a year of writing, I’m extremely proud of the fact that over 60,000 people worldwide have seen my articles.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes — the most exciting thing that’s happening in my life right now is that I’m about to become a mother! We’re overcome with excitement and anticipation, but also a great sense of responsibility in terms of raising our daughter. Every day we learn something new about parenthood, but still feel as though we’ve got a long way to go.
In terms of our business, The Rich Miser is growing fast and reaching a bigger audience every day. There, we feature multiple articles every week that focus on providing practical advice and tips that help people live better.
Of particular note, we’re writing more health, wellness, and happiness articles now, with upcoming posts on topics such as insomnia reduction, self-care during pregnancy, and how to improve your morning routine with better breakfasts.
I truly believe that each one of our articles offers useful tips and advice that can help readers better their lives, whether it be by saving a little money or changing the way they do something to finish it up quicker and free up more time.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
A movement to return to a reasonable work-life balance and strengthen our relationships with family and friends. I think we need, as a society, to make a greater effort to take our eyes away from our screens, and spend more in-person time with others. Not only will this make us happier and healthier, but it will make us better workers, since I’m convinced that a well-rested worker with a balanced life is better at his or her job.
About The Author:
Dr. Marina Kostina is a life and business fulfillment coach. She uses research and energy work to help professional women find their purpose and turn it into a profitable business. Dr. Kostina incorporates innovative marketing strategies and the creation of engaging, lucrative online courses to scale their businesses. As a result they enjoy what she describes as a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic. Her book “Find the G-Spot of Your Soul” is available January 2018. Download a free gift from Dr. Kostina- an MP3 Meditation Album “Find The G –Spot Of Your Soul” and get unstuck.