Live & Travel

Good Leaders Go to the Unknown.

Do you travel? Do you travel for the pictures and posts? Or do you travel for the experience and culture? Are you a tourist or a traveler?


Airplane Island View- Maui, HI

On a trip to Maui, I remember watching the horizon of whales and the shore where the sea turtles rested. Knowing whales have a migration pattern throughout the year. I noticed how even at a large size moving slowly, whales took their time but made great progress across the waves. Not worrying or having a care in the world if they would make it to the Hawaiian islands on time, but traveling thousands of miles at their slow pace.

A slow pace can have great progress.

Taking notice of sea turtles having a daily pattern. At the end of the day, these calm and powerful-jawed creatures rested. The saying in Hawaii is “Don’t turn your back to the ocean.” These creatures brave enough to swim through waters of unknown dangers (sharks) and powerful waves of Hawaii, rested at the edge of the shore, sleepily stared down the ebb and flow.

Do you, Leader, rest after your brave endeavors of leadership?

Every moment brings a learning and teaching experience. Traveling is an exciting and relaxing way to not only grow as a leader, but to live. Sometimes a leader has to step away from the routines, schedules, and deadlines and go to an unknown place. A place that holds uncertainties, both good and bad.

Traveling, when done right and in a healthy manner, has purpose. With traveling, a leader can get out of their element and experience the unknown. It allows room for relaxing growth. It allows a leader to evolve on matters such as cultural awareness, different cultural behaviors, and creates an open perspective.  

As leaders it is healthy not only to serve, build, and lead but to also live. Take a step away from the screen. Be present. Absorb the atmosphere around you and the ambiance it speaks. Breathe fresh air, even if it is a different kind in a different place.

Because a burnt out leader has no influence.


Where do you leaders travel to? And why do you travel? Leave a comment below.


Lead: Out of Vision Not Just Passion

Passion Needs Vision

Were you ever passionate about something, but then the feeling went away? The passion for it died? Maybe a hobby’s excitement fizzled out? Or an idea you had and chased doesn’t look as glamorous and shiny anymore? Maybe the passion is still there but not as livened up as before. Not bouncing off the walls with vitality as it was previously.

Have you ever been to a different place with no sense of direction for this foreign land? Or been on a guided bus tour? On a past trip to Maui, a new adventure awaited with a guided bus tour for the road to Hana. This curvy road brought you into a thriving


Road to Hana- Maui, HI

Hawaiian town untouched by tourist resorts, but flourishing with Hawaii’s natural scenery. The local bus driver, familiar with the route, skillfully drove the bus on the cliff side of Hana roads.

You may have the “want” to get there (passion=gas), but if you don’t have the guidance (vision=local bus driver) to know how to get there, you will be lost and may never find your destination. As leaders it is good to have passion but vision is needed. The call of adventure stirred up a passion, but the visualization of being in Hana was the vision. The vision caused an action, while passion fueled it.

But passion needs guidance and direction.

Passion needs vision.

Passion is just a feeling, an emotion. It may move you on the inside, but alone sometimes it doesn’t translate into outer action. Or maybe it does for a while, but then it later dissolves or turns into a directionless mess. It is vision that calls us to act, to move forward. It is vision that causes us to have guided action about something.

Vision draws us to anticipate the future. It causes us to prepare for the future and gives us a blueprint on how to get there. With vision it is not just passionately picturing yourself but visualizing a future. A future with a foothold of foundation.

The thing about passion and vision is both is needed as a leader. Without passion, a vision cannot function in a thriving matter. Without vision, a passion will not have longevity and be short-fused. You need both to lead.

Vision is the directions, steering wheel, and GPS, while passion is the fuel.

Does your passion have vision? Do you lead out of both?

Truth is you can passionately picture yourself anywhere doing anything. But where do you visualize yourself with solid ground in anticipation for the future?


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Lead: Without Comparison but With Visual Sound

The Comparison Mindset is a Dead Sound

Have you ever observed how someone talks? Or even eavesdrop on another person or group’s conversation?  How did they talk? Was it all about them or about someone else? Did it make you lose a bit of hope for humanity or inspire you? Did it put life into you?


Lombard Street- San Francisco, CA

If you ever lived in a large city you understand that the city carries its own melody. Its own transforming growth.

Call it Visual Sound.  

In large cities, a city is always active. Always moving. Always thriving. Always communicating. If you look around you will see individuals constantly headed somewhere with their schedule in mind. If you listen closely you can hear melody of a city and the rhythm that it brings. A certain engine vibration of a bus coming at a specific time of day. The sound of rush hour traffic filling the street. But in some parts of a city, this melody can be a clashing noise for rundown streets. A noise filled with lack of growth and hardship.

Digital noise surrounds us and can influence our mindset and the way we speak. This digital noise can create a comparison mindset. This noise can choke the melodic sound of your thriving leadership. Having a Comparison Mindset is like hitting the wrong note during a musical recital. It can throw off the entire course of your performance. As leaders we are called to not leave a digital noise but an imprint of Visual Sound. The way we communicate and the way we think becomes Visual Sound.

Visual Sound has influence.

Though competition, measuring efforts, and evaluating those efforts is good within professional reason, a readily comparison mindset can be a danger towards your growing leadership.

Why is the Comparison Mindset unhealthy?

  • Creates Bias– You end up giving a label towards many aspects- people, situations etc. But individuals have layers and every situation calls for different approaches.
  • Creates Discontentment-You will be dissatisfied with every step you make in your growth.
  • Underlooks Growth-Your perspective will be redirected and too focused on what you’re not and rather who you are.
  • Overlooks the Root of Issues– You’re more aimed at the resolve than the root. Weeds that aren’t fully pluck grow back stronger.
  • Creates Insecurity– You should be confident that you are a leader-in-progress, constantly growing.
  • Creates Rushed Building-Some building and development needs small steps and a process. The building of a bridge that is rushed can overlook small details, causing major issues in the long run.

What is your visual sound? Does it have the dead sound of comparison?

Follow me on Twitter @GabrielleAbacan

Lead: Out of Humility

Humility is Louder than Bragging

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San Rafael Park- Reno, NV

Have you ever done hands-on labor and gardened? Prepare the soil, by weeding out the bad. Plant a few plants here and there. Cultivate them with fertilizer and ensure growth by regular watering. Uproot dead plants, something that is not functioning. Make sure pests do not kill your growth. You are responsible for your yard and garden. The same goes for leading. We prepare soil (build), but we have to make sure that what is flourishing (leading) out of our garden is not unhealthy junk, but healthy growth.

Nothing is more poisonous than arrogant pride and a place of entitlement that corrupts your thriving leadership. As you grow as a leader it is good to be confident in your skills, but never to the point where arrogance takes over like unhealthy, cocky weeds that choke the growth of healthy plants. When a person governs from a place of entitlement, this space is empty and short lived. It is a place of unfulfillment of meaning and objectifies leadership, making leadership lose its transformational value.

There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence.

When the masses scream out the same familiar noise, what makes an individual set apart from the rest? What makes a leader, not only relatable, but more respected?

Humility is like a breathe of relief in a world that constantly puffs up pride. The role of a narcissistic boss who belittles his employees has already been taken. What is different to individuals, what draws them in and appeals to them is a leader who encourages and empowers others. When individuals experience this in a leader, employees see themselves not apart of a hierarchy but respected and level ground. Individuals see value in this and as a leader you have the role of influencing with positive or negative impact on generations.

Even research agrees.

Humility is not to be used as a manipulation, power tool and there will be few that do not respond to it. Still be genuinely humble anyways, as individuals will recognize the difference between genuine humility and counterfeit humility. Individuals will recognize a strong leader.

Check this out if you’re wondering what ten characteristics make a humble leader.

More to come! Follow my blog.

Build: Flexibility & Hill Country

Be Always Ready to Adjust and Adapt

Have you ever gone on a hike? Maybe you enjoy forest hikes and how the trees surround you, enclosing and interlocking above. Maybe you prefer the edgy, openness of coastal trails to gaze upon the far ocean horizon to try to see beyond it. Maybe your flat and vast open land is what you appreciate. Or maybe you like the hikes that give you a clear and distant view of the place you live in, giving you a feeling of escape from society.

In a past coastal hike, there was a large hill at the edge of the ocean that visitors were welcomed to trail on. There was two ways to hike to the top. The side where most visitors entered for a gradual and level trail and the trail where a steep incline scared off others. Seeing an elderly couple head towards the steep and edged trail, I followed. Straying back, I watched how this couple climbed the incline with careful ease, taking their time, not in a rush, stopping every once in awhile to admire their progress; as if they knew that the view at the top will still be there for them. While my lungs were trying to adjust to this new altitude, this couple was not afraid of this cliff edged trail, nor of the energy or effort it would take from them.


Muir Beach Trail Head- Marin County, CA

What hike are you on?

Sometimes the hike that you are on has an easy trail of leveled meadows. While other times these easy flatlands can turn into an inclined battle, bringing you into an unmarked trail. Or even have a choice between flat trails and inclined hikes. Though all of these trails have growth surrounding in them, their detours can bring you to a different perspective or even a better destination.  Do you have the flexibility to adjust for hill country, that brings unleveled and uneven ground?

Hill country is always a harder trail but worth every step of its steepness. The thing about hills is do we have the flexibility not only choose, but adjust to them even if you have to gradually and steadily climb up. Just as leadership there is only so much you can do to prepare for it. Your hill can be anything-a choice, a decision, a person, a situation.

As a leader, do you readily adapt to the unexpected when things are off their routine and schedule?


-Are you flexible in situations?– When things don’t go as planned don’t scrap everything. Evaluate things. Adjust and make use with what you have.

-Are you flexible with people?– Accommodate with individuals and their professional and behavioral needs within reason. Don’t try to figure someone out and label them off, just guide and let them grow.

Be flexible. Take the inclined trail.


Leave some comments below on how you practice on being flexible.

Build: Traffic & Patience

Sit in Traffic. It’s a Good Patience Strengthener.

Horns honking. People yelling. Cars cutting you off. Braking too early or too late. Do you feel the heat of the stress yet? Maybe you even thought of a specific place like California or New York.


Cannery Row- Monterey, CA

What type of person are you when your patience is tested? Do you lash out and get angry? Or do you shut down and harbor it in? Or are you one of the few that it takes a lot to get under your skin?

Frankly, I enjoy traffic and working customer service. I understand that is a weird thing to enjoy and at the top of the list for unusual. But think of traffic or even waiting in line as a patience strengthener. Or better yet have a mindset shift of “how can this patience tester become a patience strengthener?”

Now I’m not saying that you have to take your emotions and shove them down. I am emphasizing to think before you react and respond. Ask yourself, is this aspect you are stressing over worth the loss of character? Just like the Internet, once you put it out there, it is out there forever.

When we start to have this mindset towards trivial things such as traffic, it roots and leads to a healthier response towards major things on an emotional, relational, or professional level. Starting with the small issues prepares you for major obstacles. The journey of being a leader and as a leader always is going to demand more of you along the road. But don’t be scared of that “more” there’s hopeful anticipation and strength within the path of leadership.

Why Practice Patience

  1. There are always difficult people– There will always be individuals that need extra patience from you.
  2. Patience has a ripple effect– It leads into a stronger sense of understanding, strengthens flexibility, and shapes emotional consistency and emotional integrity.
  3. People become a product of their environment– Observation and influence is stronger than we acknowledge.
  4. It teaches us how to serve others better– That cranky customer that you just served and came with their grumpy storm, now has peace in their eyes.

The way a leader responds to patience testers is noticed by surrounding individuals. Are you a leader that not only pushes boundaries but also shows restraint?

For more good stuff follow me on Twitter @GabrielleAbacan


Serve: Breaking the Introvert & Cultivated Roots

To Serve is To Lead

The core and foundation of leadership is serving. If we do not know how to serve others with respect or without willingness, how effective will your leadership be when you have several individuals depending on you on a professional level? No matter how small the task is, it can amount to a larger role. If you are not content with the “now,” what will you do when the “more” comes, demanding greater requirements of you on many levels. For example, if you have impatience for group projects and the people in your group, will you later have the patience with collaborating with individuals of different levels of a company?

The best way to start leadership development is to do volunteer work. Simply serve others and not in a self-serving way but with a serving mindset, focused on others.

Though I am naturally an introvert, I have volunteered in several different areas that called for different forms of leadership including mentoring, teaching, and collaboration. Two experiences that have impacted me as a leader is my time as a volunteer at Crisis Pregnancy Center and being a student project manager for a service learning project.

Crisis Pregnancy Center Supply Closet

As a former Crisis Pregnancy Center volunteer, I organized donation supplies that were given by community members to the Center and assisted expecting mothers in the Center’s Boutique. This might sound very basic, but quite often two supply rooms would be flooded with unorganized donations, and anxious mothers needing a friendly face for shopping assistance or even therapy shopping. As a volunteer, I saw counselors freely serve these expecting mothers. Take time out of their day to mentor them, offer them rides to/from appointments and work so these young moms did not have to take the bus, run errands for them, and be there for them emotionally and physically throughout the whole process of the pregnancy.

What I Learned

Are we entirely willing to be there for someone’s process?

Service Learning Project-Community Garden Build

As a former project manager of a high school service learning project, our team collaborated our high school students with middle school and elementary students to build a community garden not only for the community program but for the STEM program as well. We interacted, encouraged, and taught our younger peers the importance of what we were doing as a team. Seeing these younger peers excited and motivated of their contribution, is a breathe of air for a leader.

What I learned

Do we take the time to pass on guidance and encouragement?

Volunteering Insight You Can Apply

  • Anyone Can Serve
  • Everyone Needs an Extra Hand
  • Not Quantity but Quality
  • Work with What You Have
  • There is No Age Discrimination for Delegating Duties

Break the introvert/anti-socialness within you and get out there and find ways to serve!