Luis Luz – What makes me smile

Luis LuzOnce I was asked about the kind of things that excite me the most in my professional life. I pointed out three things:

  1. Gaining the preference of our target market, as the result of both our positioning and reliable relationship created with our clients;
  2. Establishing strategies (and tactics) that conduct growing and good lasting results;
  3. Working in a company is lead in a way that all the team members pull in the same direction, no matter how hard it is in terms of the business context.

All the above depend on our response facing several challenges in any business administration and are internally manageable, i.e. controlled within the company’s plans and actions.

However, there is another detail that really makes me smile: is having the opportunity to spread these three aspects into organizations, where the hope is already lost and all the ideas to keep the business shinning are gone. The only thing that is constant is change! As a result of time evolution, of whatever kind of crises that we face, any business model must be adjusted or even radically rethought; and not to mention the company’s culture? But, as we all know, our deep “dive” in our daily concerns frequently requires the necessary creativity and broader vision to move further… So, “the cherry on the top of the cake” is to experience the changes seen on staff’s faces, get energized and be happy as the time goes by and bring them positive results that they thought were lost forever.

Hopefully, our world does not end in ourselves and we can solve practically anything if we act both in anticipation and with an open mind approach. Think about this.

Enjoy our World! Enjoy everything you DO!

Luís Luz

There is always time to smile

ThanksGivingRecently I was writing about tough subjects that I had to reflect on. There are many difficult events going on in the world and we have to know about them and help others understand, accept and raise our voice against them. However, while I was writing about it, there were people around me who were supporting me and our friends by sending the most amazing letters and pictures of events that are also happening in the world and they are not noticed by media or by so many people.

These events are simple, they don’t attract attention, they are taken for granted, but they do exist and they are precious. People keep fighting for their place in the industry they are working in, they keep creating amazing things that we could never even think of, they love their families and enjoy every moment of their incredible lives.

I know this is poetic, but maybe this is exactly the time for us to reflect on our lives, to start appreciating people around us, to stop taking for granted their love, support and encouragement and at least to say “Thank you!”. Several happiness gurus, lifestyle trainers and coaches are talking about self-reflection, gratitude and appreciation.

I would like to say THANK YOU to all my followers and readers in anticipation of Thanksgiving day. I wish you a wonderful day tomorrow with people you love and enjoy being with.

The year 2015… will be remembered

flags-of-the-world-2-page-002
It’s not only Paris, guys… It’s the whole world. Beirut, Baghdad, France, Russia, Ukraine… You name it! So why are we still against “different” people?! We are all suffering and also suffer more by adding “enemies” in our target list. Religion, political views, race and so many other small details in other peoples lives drive us away and bring negativity towards them. We are all the same after all. It’s actually pretty simple. If you are buying an ice-cream and you want a vanilla one while your friend wants a chocolate one… You won’t stop talking to him, right? I think we just have to learn to accept the difference. In business we always talk about being different. So why are we not accepting it in real life?
Start small. Start with your family, with your neighbors, with that guy who turned into your lane when you were driving. Start with people who live in your city, country. Maybe then we will be able to accept people in other countries. I am heartbroken when I see the violence towards innocent people. They don’t deserve that, their families don’t deserve to lose them.
We are all the same, we are all made of blood, bones, some water… We all breathe, dream, learn, work, love… So let’s be more patient towards people around us, and maybe we will see something we never noticed. I know there is nothing to smile about here, but I can’t stay away from what’s happening in the world. Maybe if we start being more kind to each other, we continue smiling more and will be doing that more often…
My thoughts are with all the victims who lost their lives and lost their close people around the world. This year will be remembered in history!
Here is the information about different incidents that happened recently: http://bit.ly/1PtCKGd
The original thoughts were published by me on my Facebook page.

Kazakhstan, a discrete market (for now)

PicYesterday one of the Portuguese newspapers published my article about Internationalization to Kazakhstan. Well, I decided to share this article with you in English. Hopefully, there are enough entrepreneurs following me here to use this information for their business.

Kazakhstan is a country that doesn’t appear so much in the media, that doesn’t attract as much attention of the public as some of its neighbors, but from my point of view it deserves a closer look by some companies seeking new markets to internationalize.

Kazakhstan is getting ready to hold a major Global exhibition – EXPO 2017 in Astana (www.expo2017astana.com). There is an area of around 170 hectares that will be used for the event and currently there is a heavy construction taking place.

Kazakhstan is an interesting market with its specifics, different mentality and particular way of negotiations. Let’s not forget that this country was under control by several different tribes, countries, empires and republics. People, business and development of the country was influenced by those nations and we can’t deduct it when we are thinking of doing business there or investing in this market.

I’ve been following this country for quite some time and now I can say that this is a good potential for internationalization of industrial producers, construction companies and service suppliers.

When you think of trying this market, I would suggest to learn about the history of Kazakhstan. It was influenced by Russia, Arab countries and Asia. This mixture of tendencies in Kazakh business negotiations left a significant mark on the negotiations style. One will need a lot of patience to get a partnership there, but it will be rewarding in the end. The translation of the word “Kazakh” (The nationality in Kazakhstan) from ancient Turkish is “free and independent nomad”. Business negotiations in Kazakhstan is a long process where Kazakhs are checking the reliability of the counterpart and evaluating the potential of doing business with them. They are interested in long-term relationships with their partners, therefore get ready for a long-run.

There is a lot to take into consideration when going to Kazakhstan, but there are no easy markets. Therefore, Kazakhstan is definitely worth paying attention to within the next several years.

The original article was published in Portuguese by Diário De Aveiro on Wednesday, November 4th. The Portuguese version could also be found on the Market Access’s web-site.

To smile or not to smile

SmileI started this blog to share with you the moments that make me smile. Well, there are some, for example, discovering or learning something new, reading a great book (I share my comments through Goodreads, so here you won’t find posts dedicated only to a book), meeting my great friends or incredible people, getting an interesting project and many other events that are happening in my life. However, there are some sad moments in the life as well and not noticing them will be a lie to ourselves. We all have to deal with some issues and we can’t skip it. The only way to keep smiling is to look at our problems from another point of view, to share them or to even laugh at them. That’s how we go through tough times. That’s why I share some stories with you that one could see as a sad and devastating and others will see as an opportunity to challenge ourselves, offer a shoulder to others (or to help) and move on.

We have different types of smiles (some social media platforms know it very well, eh ;)). There are sarcastic smiles, lovely, funny, cheerful and there are kind smiles. I think that during our tough times we need one of those. So here I am offering different type of smiles to you, guys. I am glad to share and I am glad I have people around me who are ready to accept and offer it back.

Keep smiling! It’s a great tool to live happy!

I am 18 again…

2015-10-24_23.52.03I have been trying to post this on the day of my birthday – a couple of weeks ago, but then I was busy and actually already thought of skipping this post, but… well, I am back to writing it and I think there is a reason for that.

In Russia we usually don’t ask a woman about her ages after she turns 18, so if she doesn’t want to tell that, she will be 18 years-old each year 🙂 So I am 18 again. I have a nice experience behind and I have the whole life ahead of me. My friends were telling me that I was entering an era of “growing old”, my background in psychology said that I would have a crisis or that it would be difficult for me to go through this time. Well, so far so good! My 10th were cool, my 20th were great and fun, I hope my 30th will be even greater, but with a glimpse of wisdom 😉

Usually people make some sort of list of things they have done to date when they go through a milestone in their lives. I was going through that and I think it’s quite a list… At 17 I moved to Moscow from my small town and entered the University, at 19 I started working, at 21 I graduated and became a teacher in the State University, at 24 I moved to Europe and at 25 I got my MBA degree, then I started my business and have been managing it till today. There were some love affairs, dating, great and some not-so-nice people on my way and I learnt from all of them. It’s important to see what you have already done to move forward.

Each day starts a new life, exciting, entertaining (can’t live without it) and full of great challenges, each year brings me knowledge and experience, each decade brings me new understanding of myself. I am looking forward to everything that this decade will bring me. I always remember that life is precious and I live and enjoy everything that it brings me. Sometimes there are amazing days full of life and incredible people around, sometimes there are dark days and they are also a part of my life. I appreciate all of them. Each of them teaches me something that I will keep and share.

The value of relaxation. Vacations in Portugal

2015-08-23 18.56.12I always thought that I had to work hard to be successful in life and get what I want. I felt guilty for having a rest, if I had to stop and relax during public holidays or weekends, so I used to find a job for myself during those days. After 7 years of work without vacations with small breaks for weekends, when I was not fully stopping, but reducing the pressure on myself (and I remember how great they were for my future productivity), I finally eloped for 3 wonderful days in the “middle of nowhere”, somewhere between Atlantic Ocean and Spain (still in Portugal though). I turned off my PC and didn’t even touch it. Yes, have to admit I still posted pictures on Instagram and Facebook, but I didn’t even check the feed which was a great achievement for me 😉

2015-08-23 22.09.26

MeeWell, I couldn’t stay in one place, even though I spent a couple of hours near the swimming pool taking a sunbath and swimming to stretch and refresh myself. I went to visit the nearest towns which happen to be very old medieval towns in the North-East of Portugal – Bragança and Mirandela.

I climbed the old stairs of the Medieval walls of the old town of Bragança, visited the Military Museum that is inside old town, where I checked the old weapons and went back in time to visit some Portuguese kings and noble men.

2015-08-23 22.01.44I had lunch in a hidden place right in the center of the city, where the owner spoke Russian just because he liked that language, where he taught my friend to say: “Ne ebi mne mozgi” (which means, – stop pissing me off)… My Russian-speaking friends will understand how funny it was and hopefully forgive my writing this in my blog. It was actually very funny and I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard that, because I just couldn’t believe my ears.

I slept in a rural house with the view over the field with Olive trees and mountains, where there was so silent that only the rising sun was indicating the arrival of another day.

Before going there I knew I needed a break, but I didn’t know how hard I needed it. Now, refreshed and ready to move on, I understand the value of the break. I used to be that entrepreneur that didn’t have free time, but now I think that this “free” time should be put in everyone’s agenda as a task. When you have a 2-days-break you will be more productive and creative. Don’t waste the opportunity to be more efficient in your business!

Become the best friend of yourself

20150816_191002Today I read an interesting article about love. The author is asking there to imagine that we would never find our true love. If so, what would we do? It made me think a lot. Truly, I dated and was happy with my friends, though I’ve been always trying to find THE ONE. I was not sure, what I wanted from him, but I always wanted HIM to find me and take care of me for the rest of my life and I knew I would take care of him (and I am sure he’d love it… or maybe I watched too many Disney movies).

Since he never appeared, I decided to focus on myself, I started my own business, I got all the projects I could possibly take during a particular period of time, I started doing sports, taking care of my friends and their children (seems like they are luckier than me in this particular area :)). I started reading… It became my hobby and passion – while I am reading, my imagination brings me to another place, I meet new people and discover new worlds. This is incredible!

I started relying more on myself, stopped wining (you can’t complain to yourself much, only maybe a bit). I became the best friend for myself and I am happy to have such a friend. I know that I can help myself, I can rely on me. When I am depressed and I know I don’t want to be in this condition, I’d go running or go through some funny videos or articles, I’d think of some fun activities. I understand myself better than anyone else and I think this is precious.

I have many friends, I am extremely happy and honored to have them. I know though that there is one person who will always be with me and that’s – me. If I am not a friend of myself, it will be hard to live with me… 😉

I think, sometimes we should look in the mirror and see the best friend there, a person who will take care of us whatever happens and give them a SMILE!

Fake it till you make it. Smile as well

Woke up grumpy. Yes, I am not a morning person. Even though I am seemingly cool, active and energetic in the mornings, actually I feel this way inside:

Garfield

Yes, this is me in the mornings and I am fine with it, because my energy, smiles and care about people and business usually take me away from it already by lunch.

MeToday I couldn’t manage to do so. I knew I would need to find a smile moment to write about it, but I couldn’t. Sure, I was smiling and I was happy enough to be professional so nobody would notice that I was not actually into smiling. Though I didn’t feel like even searching for the special smile moment. As a psychologist I know that sometimes you should just let it be. I tried, but it didn’t help. Then I forced myself to go through my photos and see those ones, where I remembered I was happy.

It helped. I found one picture that was a bit nostalgic, a bit friendly, beautiful, thoughtful and memorable. This picture was made in one of the museums in Porto by my friend. It shows that even if you are in the darkness, there will always be a window that will show you another side, another life, that will make you feel differently. This window now is in my heart, I look outside and see the life from a different perspective. I don’t remember, what I was thinking on this photo, but I remember it was a great day with an amazing person. So I brought it back to my “today” and it helped me feel better.

I love that we have all this technology, photos, videos etc. and I like to know that it helps me, when I need it. When you are down, try to do something with it, don’t be stuck in this condition. Allow yourself to feel bad and then take it under control.

It was a bit philosophic today… Maybe it was the thunderstorm that came by. I just want to be honest, that I am not always smiling, but I always want to be happy and I do everything for it!

The discovery of the day – Museum Escal’ Atlantic. Saint-Nazaire

photo-634904915376959381-2If you are ever, I mean ever, somewhere near Saint-Nazaire, I would highly recommend you go to visit the Escal’ Atlantic Museum. If you are interested in history, in shipyards, ship building, navigation and cruises… If you are generally interested in history of the world, this is the place. This is not quite the usual museum. Don’t be scared away by it’s facade, it’s an incredible sight inside. Go and check the cabins of the 1st and 2nd class passengers that were travelling by Normandie cruise line or by France cruise line. You can go down and visit the working areas of the cruise lines and then upstairs – to visit the captain’s bridge. This is an exciting journey to the mid 19th – late 20th centuries. To say the truth, we were stuck on the “upper deck” of the cruise line with the huge screen that was showing us the icebergs that we were “passing by”, polar bears sitting on them, dolphins and wales. When the “storm started” and became very cold, we had to leave 🙂

At the end we watched the 7-minute video about the end of the cruise line era and its replacement by the commercial airlines. I enjoyed it and I am sure I won’t forget those old video-shots. I am still a business lady and I am extremely interested in how one industry is being substituted by the other one and what the first one can to survive… If you are not that interested in the movie, you can always go for a nice cup of coffee in the bar of one of the liners.

At the end of your visit you will be put in the lifeboat and brought to the exit by it. It makes the big end to the big journey. This was an unexpected trip to the old days to travel across my beloved Atlantic ocean and I am glad I made it!

photo-634013907077741445-2

Unfortunately, it’s forbidden to take pictures inside the museum, so I found these couple of pictures in the Internet.

Photo by www.en.camping-le-ranch.com

“Always look at the bright side of life”

Did you know, what was the most popular song on a funeral in UK??? I definitely didn’t and THAT was quite a surprise to learn, that Monty Python’s Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life was the one! Seriously, Britain????

20140713_191146I woke up tired and grumpy today, thought my day would be just awful without any smile moments. Well, it doesn’t happen… Ever! I had an appointment with my friend whom I hadn’t seen for ages and I knew she was that kind of woman who would manage to put a smile on my face whatever mood I was in. And she did! She is full of energy, she does yoga, dancing, she goes for crazy bike trips around Europe, she tries everything she could possibly try, and always with a huge enthusiasm and sense of humor! She is quite a bit over 50, my dear young followers, and that always inspire me to move on, to stop whining (when it happens), and to forget about everything that brings me down (like my thoughts, for example :)).

Today we played mini-golf, where she was running around the wholes with such excitement, saying: “Ohh, this is so incredible, this is so much fun!!!” I shouldn’t mention that she won, eh? At one point on the 15th hole she turns to me and with such big eyes says – by the way, do you know what’s the most popular song on funeral in Britain???? Hm, I didn’t… So Monty Python made my day today by creating the song that helps British to go through their tough times. I thought it was actually great! If you check the lyrics, you will see that everything is so right there.

So let’s be a little bit of British and “Just remember that the last laugh is on you” and “When you’re feeling in the dumps, don’t be silly chumps, just purse your lips and whistle”! lalalala

Vindimas in Douro Valley. Can’t wait!!!

DouroPortugal is an amazing and diverse country. There is sometimes snow in the North and Center and there is almost never snowing in the South. Portugal is divided into several regions geographically, as well as according to the wine production. There is even the oldest region in the WORLD that was demarcated for the production of Port – Douro Valley. This territory was demarcated in 1756 when the well-known Champagne region was officially formed only in the beginning of the 20th century.

Douro Valley is something special for me. I go there for work, I travel there for pleasure. Riding a horse in the eucalyptus forests and being lost in between the vineyards, – is an unforgettable feeling. I love Portuguese wines and the wine industry itself. I think that people who work with the wine are honest, hard working, very open and kind. You can’t make good wine if you are a bad person, the wine will show that! When I go to Douro, I always have fantastic time with smiling people around me.

20150502_143154A couple of years ago I started the tradition of Vindimas – the wine harvest. Because of my tight schedule I can’t be there for the whole period of Vindimas, but I do my best to be there as long as I can. I already miss this time and am desperately waiting for this year’s harvest. Today I was going through my articles that I wrote about Douro and Vindimas and was surprised that I had quite a few.

Here is the article about Vindimas and my first experience. That was something I will never forget. I wrote it for the Internations‘ community in Portugal, when I was an Ambassador there. I suggest you read this one as this is a full review of the activities you can have in Douro during your stay as well as my learning of the Port production process.

And here is a short version of my trip with a cruise to Douro. There are some nice pictures from the cruise there 🙂

If you are in the North of Portugal, please never miss the opportunity to visit this magic place. I am sure you will fall in love with it from the first sight as I did!

Market morning. Saturday in Bolhão

20150801_105228I love markets. I love bargaining and I love the quality of the products I can buy there. Today was a market day. We decided to buy good eggs, but ended up buying half of the market… At least, that how it felt on the way home 🙂

The Bolhão market in Porto was built in the 19th century and it is one of the oldest markets in Portugal. Even though it’s popular in Portugal and it’s suggested to visit by all possible guide books and there are lots of tourists all the time, the prices are way lower than in supermarkets.

The eggs (already tried them) are real eggs, with YELLOW yolk, really yellow yolk. The market is unbelievable, with lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

If you are a meat lover, you will also have some fun there as there are lots of typical Portuguese sausages and meats being sold there.

20150801_110935

If you are with a girl, you should look at the flowers. I am sure she will be happy to get a bunch of fresh flowers. Girls, if you like to treat yourself with flowers, you can save some money and get any flower you want!

IMG_20150801_124001

If you are tired, you can have a rest on the stairs, like this tiny dude did!

20150801_110327

20150801_135140

The market day was great and the last touch was this bunch of berries and flowers that are comfortably living on my kitchen! The nutritious day is guaranteed!!! Well, with a little touch of Portuguese white wine 🙂

Friday in Portugal or a night with Blue Moon

Julia Ormond in the remake of “Sabrina” once saying to Harrison Ford – “Paris is always a good idea!“. This phrase is always with me and whenever I think about it I do smile, as Paris is definitely always a good idea. I have just came back from this city, and, except of some strange people, I have very good memories from there. I like to use this phrase in many other different occasions, for example, on Fridays, because, I am sure you will agree, Friday is always a good idea!

2015-07-17 19.40.08Here in Portugal, where I happen to live, one can do many different things, – you can do sports, go for an exhibition, spend great time with your friends, have a nice dinner with sea food and amazing Portuguese wines (yes, we do have wines in Portugal and they are incredible)… There are lots of bars in Portugal. Usually in big cities such as Lisbon and Porto there are whole streets with different types of bars and clubs where you can dance and have a drink. I live in Porto, so Baixa area is the place for us! Rua das Flores, or Galerias do Paris (yes, Paris is here as well), or Aliados – all places will be full of people having fun and enjoying the time with their friends. If you want to spend some time with your loved one or maybe with your beloved yourself, you can go to the ocean and have a glass of wine with a fresh air and unforgettable view!

I don’t know yet what I am going to do today, but I am sure it will be a great time!

Don’t forget to finish your work and then, yehoo!!!! Friday is always a great idea, so don’t waste it! And at some point at night just look at the sky, it will be Full Moon, or a Blue Moon tonight.

You see what you want to see. “Impressive” moments of life

20150726_230432Once, a famous actress was standing in Louvre and enjoying Mona Lisa. There was a guy next to her who was complaining and the conversation was as following:

The guy: I don’t understand, nothing special here, nothing exciting. She is not impressing me at all.
The actress: you know, my darling. She is here for so many years that now she can pick whom she wants to impress and whom she doesn’t!

Everyone sees what they want to see! After visiting France I can say that it’s impressive and no one will change my opinion!

This is the article I read today about people from Trip Advisor who are weirdly commenting there about famous monuments and places of the World. This article made my evening today!!!

The article: http://ind.pn/1JsLDfE