Life’s journey reveals a truthful real yearning
A chance to be you, to fall, but keep on learning
As storms arrive stronger with each passing year
Integrity to prevail, to thrive, does not disappear.
Life’s journey reveals a humanistic real yearning
A chance to succeed, to embrace a new beginning
Oh but what strife, fighting naysayers in the night
Restless, anxious, excited for a new day’s plight.
Life’s journey reveals an encouraged real yearning
A chance to grasp what’s realistically in sight
Unlike a worn out Eagle with no vigor for flight
Let strong winds, pounding rain force you to fight!
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No matter where you are in your life right now, remember there will always be a time when you are forced to face an unfortunate or unexpected adversity. That’s life! Yes, we can all agree. Sometimes you may be faced with a dilemma in which you are not prepared for and wrong choices or bad decisions are made due to a lack of preparation, thought and consideration, or inability to solve problems.
What is intriguing is how the basic notion of uncertainty may dominate how you think, plan or react to things. Uncertainty can be masked in the form of insecurity, indecision, and lack of confidence, and may consume you if you allow it. The reality is that uncertainty has a funny way of creeping into your mind, getting very comfortable, while affecting your ability to resolve challenges. You begin to lose enthusiasm in what you were initially doing and as a result, uncertainty overwhelms you and the things which were once significant are no longer important. Since enthusiasm is very relevant to your state of well being and success, nurture and embrace it because once you lose it, your eagerness and passion disappear too.
Losing enthusiasm when facing adversity is like a slippery slope. Obviously, everyone has a different way of dealing with things. But, just know that having enthusiasm can help you to live a happier and more productive and successful life. The best part is that you always have a choice — to be or not to be enthusiastic. Learning to approach your individual quandaries within your own respective capabilities is key. I suppose that’s one of the best things about life and having the ability to be self-aware and allow your enthusiasm and positive energy to influence your decisions.
As they say, “life is short,” and I know that I choose to be influenced by positive people and things and allow my enthusiasm to be my main source of inner power. Do not be afraid of any challenges that life throws at you and embrace your enthusiasm and zest for life while going forward in all that you do. – Author Wendy Oliveras of “Let’s Play SHESS”
A few months ago, I had a very interesting conversation with a colleague of mine regarding a few dilemmas and business ideas. At one point, he said “I am only going to allow you to have one pity party, but that is it.” WOW! This statement made me think hard about our conversation, myself, and what was really behind that message. As a result, I realized that we can celebrate birthdays, Christmas and all other holidays and events, but why not throw ourselves a “Happy Pity Party” to help move on from self-pity.
Sometimes circumstances consume us and we may think we have all of the answers, but we find ourselves doubting, misunderstanding, or not appreciating our own capabilities. Sometimes we lose faith in ourselves and in making decisions or fear taking some form of action. Regardless of the situation, self-pity can creep up on you and you have to catch it before it spreads all over your body like cancer.
Self-pity is a sneaky feeling of sorrow which often is self-indulgent and pertains usually to our own sufferings. If we are not careful, self-pity can consume us and we lose our focus on what really matters. So, I suggest the next time you are going through some heavy stuff and feel sorry for yourself — why not throw a “Happy Pity Party” and shake that funk off. It’s time to move on!
Here are my five tips to having a great and Happy Pity Party:
1. Create a list of the top 10 things you want to say which represent why you feel sorry for yourself. You have to be really honest because otherwise your party will not create the results you want. (Length of list is discretionary.)
2. Call or send an Evite to 5-10 of your closest friends and/or family members. Tell them you are planning a themed “Happy Pity Party” on such a date and be prepared to laugh or cry if things get too sad. (Amount of guests is discretionary.)
3. After all of your guests have arrived, begin to read and discuss your list of sorrows early into the party and state the changes you want to make for the better. In doing this, you have launched your celebration of acceptance and self-empowerment.
4. Buy plenty of colorful balloons and spread them throughout the room. Just in case, have a box of tissue handy as well and plenty of wine and cheese. You can also opt for a more sophisticated event and have it catered. The point is to make it fun.
5. Make sure to have your favorite kind of music playing in the background because you are celebrating a new beginning. You are having a party, so dance till you drop!
Your “Happy Pity Party” represents an opportunity for you to come to terms with what is stopping you from accomplishing your goals. You are celebrating your willingness to not wallow in self-pity or sadness, but instead rejuvenate your thoughts, spirit and life force. This is a great way to jump start your new journey towards positive thinking and leaving self-pity behind. Be creative! The truth is that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will.
Your efforts to have this pity party are to acknowledge why you feel the way you do and what you plan to do about it. Make it worth your while. Really enjoy and celebrate your life with friends and family, embrace their love and support, and then let it go! – Author Wendy Oliveras
As a SHESS player, you are a woman, regardless of age or background, who has a strong interest in self-improvement, playing chess, and business development. This article is specifically written for women in business and provides 10 creative tips for business success which are analogous to basic tips for playing chess.
In general, the word “SHESS” represents “she” for female and “chess” for the game. SHESS becomes your game of life and as a SHESS player, you must observe your opponents in your marketplace and keep abreast of new trends in your business field. You must also keep a watchful eye and an open mind as to what other business owners are doing so you stay ahead of the game. Pay attention to what is written about other entrepreneurs and relevant business news because their advice may teach you lessons for success in your business.
Remember, as a SHESS player, you need to stay focused on your goals and learn from others. Researching what others do in your marketplace gives you an idea as to what you are confronting. It helps to prepare you for the unexpected — just like when you play a game of chess. It is equally important to pay close attention to mistakes other business owners have made in their industries because these errors are also very useful lessons.
With that said, below is a list of 10 SHESS Tips for Business Success, which I have put together to help you develop strategies in business as indicated in my book “Let’s Play SHESS.” (http://www.playshess.com)
10 SHESS TIPS
- Observe and focus on what your opponent or competitor is doing directly or indirectly in your marketplace. Research and identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Think before you act. Anticipate, plan, and assess the situation or options before you decide on a best cause of action.
- Prepare a solid business plan for guidance, development, financing, and future growth projections. Think of your business plan as a changing road map with milestones to force you to consider important issues and help you reach your goals.
- Know and understand your position and responsibilities as a leader in your company. Know the value of your employees/consultants. Hire top talent to stay ahead of the game.
- Ensure your business has an edge in your marketplace and stays competitive. Know who your client/customer base is and what you are offering. Are you keeping up with the current trends in marketing and technology?
- Stay true to your company mission, vision, values, and culture while protecting the core of your business. Be consistent with customer service and don’t lose sight of what is important.
- Your “business entity” is your “King.” It is what you built and you need to defend and protect it at all costs, including safeguarding your reputation in your industry.
- When compromising something, determine if what you are giving up is worth less than what you are gaining. Know when it is the right time to keep, change, or get rid of something in your business.
- Consider what possibilities you have once you have established your business. All actions and decisions have consequences. From the start of the business, every decision you make reflects on your reputation and the success of your company. Don’t stop planning for the future. Consider where you want to be in 5-10 years from now.
- Stay sharp and vigilant. Never take anything for granted. Be on the lookout for those external obstacles (opponents who are a person, place, or thing) orinternal resistors (how you think and feel about yourself) on your battlefield. These impediments have a tendency to sneak up on you and can jeopardize everything you worked to build.
What is important is to anticipate, plan, and be at the ready for anything that comes your way. A woman who owns her own business is a powerful force to contend with. So, do not stop analyzing your market, customer base, and competition. Best of luck in all your business endeavors! – Author Wendy Oliveras
Welcome to the SHESS Revolution! This is the first of many inspirational interviews I will be conducting with accomplished women chess players throughout the world! Each woman offers a unique perspective on culture, struggles, sacrifices, as well as opinions on how chess has played a significant part in their intellectual and/or professional development. I hope that while reading these interviews you get motivated to learn to play chess and start taking advantage of the invaluable rewards and benefits chess offers. What is fascinating is these women have diverse backgrounds, yet share a similar fate — regardless of external obstacles, their love of chess prevails, and chess has changed their lives for the better. As an avid chess player myself, I certainly can relate to this.
Carla Heredia Serrano, WGM 2012, WIM 2008, Bachiller 2008
Carla: I started playing chess at eight years old by chance. My parents decided to put me in two different extracurricular activities at school, gymnastics and chess. My family does not play chess. Neither my father nor my brother can barely move the pieces. My father wanted me to play two different sports and that’s how I ended up in chess and gymnastics. The same year I started to play chess, I won my first rookie tournament, and this was my first big motivation. Who knew that by chance, starting to play chess was the beginning of my 14 year chess career, and now I have reached Grand Master. It’s almost unbelievable.
Wendy: What was that experience like for you learning to play chess and realizing you were good at it?
Carla: Well, I used to assist in my chess classes while attending school and then I started assisting in the Concentración Deportiva de Pichincha, which had the best players in my city. There I made friends for life and have retained an excellent relationship with them. As a child, I had won many national tournaments, but unfortunately I went to two Pan American competitions, but did not compete in the world chess competition for lack of support. That disappointed me because I wanted to represent my country and prove my knowledge to the world.
Wendy: What barriers or obstacles did you generally face in your efforts to become a Woman Grand Master in general? What lessons have you learned from those obstacles to succeed?
Carla: When you are a girl and you are told you can’t compete in a world chess competition because there is no support, it is totally discouraging. In those years of my childhood, I learned that without my parents, I would not have gone ahead because they supported me to go to various tournaments and were emotionally with me when I cried so many times because I could not go and compete in a world chess competition. My parents and I appreciate many people who gave me the encouragement to continue when I wanted to retire from chess because of the injustices.
But the opportunities that I did not have as a child came to me when I became older. At age 15, I made one of the most important decisions of my life. I did not go to school. I studied on my own subjects, and I was given monthly exams so that I had more time for chess. In 2009, I competed and won and obtained my South American Champion International Master title, and my city began to support me in my dream of becoming the first Grand Master of Quito and the second in history. Currently, the Ministry of Sports Ecuadorian is supporting me.
Wendy: Can you describe what it personally means to be a Latina Woman Grand Master in such a male-dominated chess arena, and can you describe how chess has affected your life and why women should also learn to play? As you know my book “Let’s Play SHESS” empowers girls and women through the game of chess. Please share with the rest of the world why it is so important for a woman to learn to play chess and what rewards and benefits you have gained from playing.
Carla: I am convinced that feminism should reach all areas of society, including sports. Chess is one of the few sports where men and women compete in tournaments, but it is also true that the vast majority of entries in tournaments, as well as teachers are men. Women are a minority in chess. But you have to give a “check” to equality and continue to create opportunities for more girls to reach chess, offer equal awards, and create the right conditions for women so they do not withdraw from chess.
As a Latina and Ecuadorian, I feel proud of my origins. I identify with my people who fought for their sovereignty and independence. As a woman, both on the chessboard and as in life, I stand for equality and respect. Women can achieve what they set out to accomplish.
Chess is a sport that can transform lives and minds. When children interact and share through chess, they learn to respect each other, namely that children are capable of what we propose. Chess creates beings who reflect and think before they act and, therefore, can contribute to the formation of a better society. I hope more women learn to play chess because it will create more visibility in sports science, and chess gives us tools for life such as patience, planning, visualization, and decision-making responsibility.
Wendy: So, what is next for Carla Heredia Serrano, WGM?
Carla: In sports, I would like to reach the top 100 in the world and become an International Master Absolute. I also dream of getting an Olympic medal for my country, Ecuador. I know this is difficult, but I have to dream big and work hard to accomplish this. Yes we can! Beyond sports, social causes move me and that’s why I conduct chess simulations and give motivational talks at schools. In August 2013, I organized the Hotel Quito International Workshop which focused on chess, values, communication, and psychology lectures.
But I want to keep doing more. I am convinced that chess can change people for the better. My idea is to use chess as a tool to promote equality between women and men, respect, and promote nonviolence. Chess is inclusive and that is why I love to work hand-in-hand with chess foundations to reach more people.
Well, there you have it. A true SHESS-timony on how chess is so important in a woman’s life regardless of her age or background. Thank you Carla for your great feedback and best of luck in all your future endeavors! – Author Wendy Oliveras
When you have to make a decision about something, how do you think and react to that particular situation? Do you take the time to analyze why you made that exact decision afterwards? Are you a quick decision maker and do not take the time to think things through carefully and then wish you had? I have always found that making decisions based on emotions is not a good way to approach problems. One of the things most people are guilty of is having difficulty understanding how to solve their own problems.
The truth is all decisions have consequences, whether good or bad, but how you think, react, solve your problems, and make decisions is what transcends into a more positive outcome. With that said, a good plan to help you make better decisions in life is learn to play chess. There are three main reasons why playing chess is so important in making better decisions. First, chess requires you to utilize particular cognitive skills, which specifically relate to thinking, analyzing and planning. Second, chess provides the foundation in which to focus, memorize, recognize patterns and learn to strategize your next moves. Third, chess teaches you to learn from making mistakes or making wrong moves, yet learning to lose with grace and dignity.
If we compare playing chess and making decisions in life, those same skills you utilize in playing chess are exactly the same skills you use in everyday activities. Chess emphatically helps you to develop your analytical reasoning, critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. For instance, when you have a problem and you need to make a decision, you should first:
- Analyze your opponent’s move (Note: An opponent can be a person or thing.)
- Think about what your opponent is threatening
- Consider if this threat is important to you
- Consider what options you have in making your next move
- Anticipate your opponent’s next move after your move
- Consider if the move or decision you are about to make will benefit you
- Consider all possible outcomes
- Structure your plan of response, consider your options, and then execute your next move.
The key in making better decisions and solving your problems is to prepare for unexpected situations and develop your cognitive skills by playing chess. Recognizing the problem at hand and identifying an element of change, weighing your options, and then making your best decision to make your next move is what matters the most.
Learning to think, react, and make better decisions in life takes practice – just like in playing chess. Practice helps you to stay focused and keep your intellectual weaponry sharp. The bottom line is sometimes we make good decisions and sometimes we make bad ones, but that is acceptable. Nothing or no one is perfect. Just learn from your mistakes and then move on from there! – Wendy Oliveras
CNN’s great new pilot program “Girl Rising” featured several stories of young girls who yearn to obtain an education and get out of poverty. They live in different countries and fight everyday to overcome impossible odds to realize their dreams. This is a cry for help. I consider them all beautiful, harmless, and “global pawns who are Queens in the making.” For these millions of girls, life is brutally hard and extremely painful and difficult. I have to ask what sins have they committed to live in such unspeakable living conditions, relentless abuse, and shamed for just being born female? I cannot put my head around this.
“Girl Rising” has helped me to put things in perspective. This documentary represents the reality that their stolen innocence is the catalyst which sparks their innate sense to become more than they are today. Their silent resiliency in most cases only reveals to the world they dare to have a dream even if those dreams live in a make believe world in their heads. The point is these girls live in constant fear, struggle each day to survive, and cry each night for someone to save them and help them get out of their miserable situation. But they still dare to dream. Whom can they turn to when they live in such poverty, illness and degradation?
As analogous to a pawn piece in a chess set, global pawns may be perceived as weak females, dumb and not worth much, but they possess an incredible unspoken power of inner strength and resiliency, which lies within their very own ability to promote themselves to a Queen status in life or business, if they dream hard enough. Through obtaining an education, these girls will embark on a new path of independence, confidence, hope and inspiration. They in turn pave the way for others to follow in their victorious foot steps.
My message is loud and clear. The importance and value of girls obtaining an education and empowering themselves through knowledge and wisdom regardless of their obstacles and opponents in life is what all women in the world need to support! What is happening to these little girls on a daily basis is a world crisis. Yet, there is strength in numbers and we should no longer close our eyes and ears to this devastating way of life for these girls. They silently scream for help and I am listening! I am raising both hands to support education for all girls in every corner of the world. So, what can we do? Let’s start by supporting and partnering with global organizations which advocate and support these efforts such as Raise Your Hand Now, the Bisila Bokoko African Library Project, and UN Women. “Think, plan, react…be the SHESS player, not the chess piece… from Global Pawn to Queen!”
Ever wonder what it is about chess that men love or why men play it more than women? Statistically, there are only three percent of women competing professionally in chess worldwide. This is an extremely low percentage. Women are missing out on the great rewards, benefits, and skills inherent in this fascinating game. Skills such as focus, memorization, pattern recognition, analytical reasoning, critical and logical thinking, as well as anticipating your opponent’s next move are but a few.
One reason there are so few women playing chess in the world is because historically society has dominated the perception that chess is a man’s game. Thus, most women shy away from chess and have bought into this old fashion thinking and perceive chess as being too difficult, boring and time consuming. The good news is there is hope for every woman to get inspired to learn chess, empower themselves to become better thinkers, strategists, analyzers, and become more confident in their abilities.
“SHESS” offers a new solution for women of all ages and backgrounds to utilize chess as a catalyst to set and accomplish their goals in life and business development. It is not about winning or losing a game, but rather how you play your game. For instance, “SHESS” is a play on two words “she” for female and “chess” for the game. It represents “your game of life” and all of the circumstances which occur in your life and/or business are considered your battlefield.
The creative metaphor “from Pawn to Queen” represents the pawn piece in the chess set which is the weakest piece but has a special move to be promoted to a Queen, which is the strongest piece in the set. With that being said, in life, every female born into the world is considered a “pawn in life” and only she can promote herself to a Queen status in life or in business. A “pawn in life” means you are an extraordinary woman who has unbelievable capabilities, but only you can invest in and promote yourself to something more than you are today. So, sharpen your intellectual weaponry by learning to play chess, transfer those cognitive skills into real life activities and business development and begin your SHESS journey to make strategic moves from pawn to Queen. As a result, you will make better decisions and solve your problems with more focus and logical clarity.
Society teaches men dominate the business arena, but reality teaches success means different things to different people. In my opinion, success means having a focus on what matters to me and achieving my personal and professional goals — not based on a title, or how much money or material things I have accumulated. A sense of satisfaction consumes me when I have done and accomplished something with interest, passion and dedication. Whatever path I choose to take in order to succeed at something is relative to how I think, plan, and react to the goal at hand. Success is also an achievement, which I enjoy sharing with other women because mentoring others is part of my overall success as a SHESS player in my game of life.
With that said, there are many women who perceive success as ultimately holding a high position in a Fortune 500 company, earning or having lots of money and living in a Mansion. That’s great! But, while this is a valid perception of success on the surface, the truth is many women do not personally wish to be CEOs or be part of a corporate structure. Perhaps this view is attributable to countless women not being educated about confidence, business, how to achieve success in their lives, or understand finances. The truth is women have the right to feel complacent with where they are right now in their lives. The beauty of choices is that there is something for everyone. Success should not be a product of the stigma of a gender war, but rather an individual pursuit of happiness and achievement of personal and professional goals.
In SHESS, your game of life, being a “pawn in life” metaphorically means as a woman, only you have the ability to promote yourself to a Queen status in life or in business. There is no one judging or pressuring you to do something. For instance, you may have dreams of entrepreneurship, seek a job promotion, or simply desire changing something within yourself for the better. What matters most is identifying your need for change, planning and taking proactive steps towards moving from a pawn to a Queen status in life or in business. As a result, you have consciously begun to create a changed image in your mind while preparing to make strategic moves towards something positive.
I believe there is a clear distinction between what success is and how you get there. For example, success usually occurs after you have set and achieved your own personal goals. Some people have had the privilege to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths while others have been born into poverty and struggle. Either way, success is always achievable. The difference is in knowing what SHESS moves you need to make to help you get there.
Remember, titles are for those who aspire to earn it, and your perception of what success means stems from a personal place in your mind and heart. What you decide to do with your time, life and money is entirely up to you. So, consider my question: “As a woman, what does success mean to you?” Think about it carefully and if you desire to step up your game of life and improve your current situation, then read “Let’s Play SHESS” and go for it! Do not focus on titles. Learn to play chess,your game of life – your way – and at your own pace. Your efforts to set and accomplish your individual goals means success will be yours if you want it bad enough! – Wendy Oliveras
As a woman who loves and plays chess for fun, I am about to embark on a controversial issue. In general, and in my opinion, I have seen some photos of women chess players who were dressed too sexy at a competition. How a woman dresses for a professional chess tournament or even a business meeting is relevant. Should there be specific rules on what to wear – maybe. Whether you are male or female, chess has a rather sophisticated and intellectual message to the world that should be respected. There simply is a place and time for everything. For example, wearing a miniskirt and top that is exposing lots of cleavage should be worn any other time but not for a chess tournament, a job interview, or a business meeting. The same goes for the men. Men should be mindful of what they wear to tournaments as well. No stinky shirts, baseball caps, holes in pants or sneakers either. Now, I am referring to a certain type of sexy look that is simply inappropriate and is more suitable for other circumstances – like going to a club. If you are a female chess competitor then you should consider that what you are wearing may be inappropriate and just too sexy for the occasion. All I am saying is to be mindful of what you are wearing and be comfortable. Yes, it’s your choice, but don’t go over board.
Consequently, why should what women wear to a chess tournament matter to anyone or be an issue? Well, the reason may be because it is a direct distraction to your opponent and others. Of course, don’t get me wrong, we, as women, have the right to wear whatever we want — whenever we want, but we still have an obligation to represent ourselves with a respectable appearance in public. Depending on the occasion, what you may perceive as comfortable and acceptable may just be observed as improper, tasteless, or unprofessional.
European chess officials do not find it favorable for a woman chess competitor to wear a tight-fitting dress with a very low neckline because they consider this to be one way to distract your opponent. As a result of some women who turned up dressed as if they were going to the beach and provoked comments among the men, in March 2012, the European Chess Union introduced a dress code to ensure the competition maintains its modesty. More particularly, female players must wear skirts that are no shorter than four inches above the knee and only the first and second buttons on a top may be opened, to hide cleavage. Note that these rules also include provisions for men and spectators.
Whether or not we as females find these respective dress codes to be fair is not the point. Obviously, what matters is what is worn and what is shown or revealed. Perhaps, without rules and regulations, who knows what scandalous revealing outfits will be worn just to get attention and/or unintentionally distract opponents. Any thoughts? – Wendy Oliveras