Stop pleasing the teacher!

Happy Friday!

On Monday morning, my alarm went off at 4:45am. 

Now I enjoy mornings, but I wouldn’t really call myself a morning person per say. And while I have quite a few friends and colleagues who are a part of the 5am club, I am not one of them!

But I got up at that time because I’ve signed up for swim training again. And, well, it begins at 5:55am. And seeing as how the pool is about 40 minutes away, I was already cutting it close. 

On the way there, I was feeling a tad anxious. 

So I tried to ask myself where it was coming from. 

Part of it was due to the fact it had been a long time since I’d been in the pool…

But another part of it, as embarrassing as it is to admit, was me feeling worried about what the coach thinks of me! Because I was off for a large part of last season due to breaking my foot, and because I missed our first session last week, I kinda have this belief she thinks I’m not dedicated enough, not good enough, or she simply doesn’t like me!

I’m a grown woman, and I am still worried about pleasing the teacher!

Indeed it’s a bit ridiculous. 

Growing up, I was a bit of a people pleaser. And although I’ve come a long way, I still do certain things in an effort to make others happy. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that, mind you. I mean, it’s nice to be nice to people. We all like nice people. And I do try my best to be a nice person. But there is a difference between wanting to be nice, and needing to please. 

Now people-pleasing, as I’ve shared before, is one of the Big Bravery Killers

And it’s one of the things that can prevent us from doing what we truly want to be doing, and what we’re truly meant to be doing with our lives. 

We like gaining approval, recognition, validation. We like being liked. 

But sometimes, we can go to great lengths to please others. And to our detriment. 

I’m sure you can think of a time you said yes to something or someone, when perhaps you should have said no. And every time you do that, you are then saying no to something, or someone else. And all too often that is you

Yes, it’s about creating strict boundaries, honouring your limits and taking care of you.

But more that that, it’s about pleasing YOU, above all. 

In the famous article, Top Five Regrets of the Dying, which I’ve expanded upon in a past blog, Bronnie Ware shares what she discovered over the years through her work in palliative care. The number one regret of the dying is wishing they had had the courage to live a life true to themselves, instead of a life others expected of them. 

And if we’re going to live a life that is truly true to who we are, we may have to do a little less pleasing of others, and a little more pleasing of ourselves. 

Now perhaps it’s worth examining the motivation behind this pleasing.

Why are we wanting to please? To make others happy, or ourselves happy? Are we doing things we don’t even really want to be doing sometimes merely to please? And are we ever going to be truly happy if we are only ever doing things thinking and hoping they will please? 

Maybe we need to focus less on pleasing, and more on serving. 

And I think there is a distinction that needs to be made between the two. 

  • Pleasing others may elicit actions we don’t actually want to do. Serving others more often elicits actions from a genuine want to do so.
  • Pleasing others elicits actions motivated by a desired outcome. Serving others elicits actions motivated by a desired behavior.
  • Pleasing others may not stem from us being our most authentic selves. Serving others requires us to be our most authentic selves. 
  • Pleasing others may not necessarily leave us, or others, feeling empowered. Serving others is all about empowerment.
  • Pleasing others may lead to exhaustion, burn-out, failure. Serving others is invigorating, energizing, inspiring.

Perhaps it’s time to switch the narrative… perhaps it’s time to trump service over pleasing. 

Because so long as we are looking for others’ approval or validation, we will never get it. Whereas if we are truly operating from a place of service, we’ll likely be operating from our most powerful, authentic, bravest selves. And moreover, wanting to serve means we’re dedicated to making a difference… both with the people around us, as well as in the world. 

Perhaps it’s time to re-think. Life is short. Better to spend energy and time with those that already get you, like you, love you. 

Maybe I’m going to have to be okay with the fact my swim coach may not like me. I think I’ll survive. 

Maybe it’s time to focus on those who get me, and those who I want to serve in my life, instead of those I want to please.

So it’s time to get honest. 

Is there a ‘teacher’ in your life that you are trying to please? Perhaps it’s a boss, a parent, a colleague, a sibling, a friend. Are you trying to get them to see you? To give you their approval? To offer validation?  

I want to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Is more, better?

Happy Friday!

You may recall the story of Oliver Twist.

And more specifically, do you remember the part where young Oliver, still ravished after his first small bowl of oatmeal gruel, innocently asks in his lovely little boy British accent:

“Please, Sir, I want some more…”


Well, he was not met with a positive response, and in fact was thrown out of the workhouse as a result!

Poor guy… (I actually had to refresh my memory with the story, and it turns out because all of the boys were starving, decided they would choose one boy to speak out and ask for seconds… and Oliver was the unlucky winner of the lottery!) 

Now in this case, he wanted more because he was truly starving. 

But why is it we almost always seem to want more?

When is anything ever going to be enough?

And is more even better?

I’m asking myself these same questions as I pose them to you.

Because the truth is, I often find myself with a feeling of wanting more. Or automatically focusing on what I don’t yet have. 

And I know I’m not alone! 

A few days ago I was having a lovely conversation with a special family friend, who is somewhat limited with what she and her husband are able to do, due to the fact he is in a wheelchair. 

And while she was sharing it’s tough not to always be able to do the things she wants to do, not even a moment later she wisely stated:

“But I’m happy with what we have.”

Yes! Gratitude and appreciation for what we actually have right here, right now. It made me smile big. 

A few nights ago I was at a fireside chat for female entrepreneurs. And I had a lovely conversation with one of the panelists – who not only has a very successful business, is also very humble and happens to be a friend and generous mentor. She was wanting to congratulate me on some of the things I’ve been up to recently, to which I replied ‘Yeah, but, I’m not ____  yet. I’m not doing _x_ yet. I haven’t figured out _y_.

She quickly responded by saying, ‘but maybe you have!’ And maybe you do!’ Then she brought up the word insatiable, and began to challenge me on it. 

In a follow up chat, she wisely said it’s okay to be insatiable, ‘just as long as you give yourself permission to live your current life just as it is, just as you are.’ 

WOW. I needed to hear those words. 

I’m aware this idea is not a new one, however it’s an important one.
And as with all important ideas, they deserve repeating in different ways. 

It’s okay to be ambitious. It’s okay to want to grow. It’s okay to have goals.

But not if you can’t also be happy with where you are now.

It’s often too easy and too tempting to look at where we want to be, or what may be missing from where we are, instead of focusing on being grateful and celebrating what we’ve got.

This week I’ve had some pretty big successes, and yet before I really gave myself an opportunity to take them all in, I’m already looking ahead to what’s next!

And how will we ever be truly fulfilled or satisfied if we live that way?!?

More is not always better. 


I think it’s time for a little shift in perspective. 

So, I have a few questions for you to answer this week:

  • When was the last time you made a gratitude list? If you can’t remember the last time, perhaps it’s about time!
  • What is one thing happening in your life right now worth celebrating? 
  • What would it mean to ‘give yourself permission to live your current life just as it is, just as you are?’

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Perhaps in the case of oatmeal gruel, we would want more (they must have been REALLY hungry!)  

But when it comes to most other things we’re continually chasing, maybe more isn’t always better. 

Have a FAB week!


It’s None Of Your Business!

Happy Friday!

It’s true, it’s none of your business. 

Not everything of course, but only your business is your business. It’s not everyone else’s business, nor is anyone else’s business your business. 

Allow me to expand. 

So my most recent video was picked up by Power of Positivity and went ‘viral’ – whatever that means. (Well, I guess it means it’s been seen by a lot of people, almost 600,000 so far, and getting lots of shares and comments.) 

Now, many of the messages coming in are lovely. And I have to say after sharing my story pretty darn vulnerably, and then disclosing a few items on my own ‘If I Were Braver…’ list and being very nervous about it to boot, it’s good to know the talk is inspiring others to also be braver. 

And then there are some of the messages that are not so nice.

One of the most recent read: “Wow, she looks a lot older than that, life must’ve been rough on her!” (after I admit in the talk being worried about being single at my age and still wanting to find my match and have babies… so not really what I needed to hear!) 

Now luckily, it only made me laugh when I read it, however nasty comments don’t always float off my back so easily.

And for whatever reason, our human brain is wired to focus on the negative, even if it’s one small negative comment to way more positive!

Why is that?!?

In his best-selling book ‘The Four Agreements’ (great read, by the way…) Don Miguel Ruiz proposes four beneficial agreements that if made for yourself, will have a significant and positive impact on your overall state of well-being. 

While expanding on argument two, ‘Don’t Take Anything Personally,’ he goes on to say what other people think of you is simply none of your business.

And he’s right!

Often easier said than done, of course. 

Yet this is exactly what causes us so much pain!

This week I was listening to an interview with Oprah and Byron Katie, who is the author of a book and philosophy called ‘The Work.’ And one of the topics they were discussing, which really resonated with me at the time, was this whole idea of whose business is whose anyway. 

Katie talks about the three kinds of ‘business’ that exist:

  1. Your business
  2. Other people’s business
  3. God’s business (or the Universe, or a higher power, or whatever you believe…)

She goes on to say your own business is a full time job! And there is no room, and no need, to get into anyone else’s business. And God – is doing what they need to do, and it’s out of your control. 

The idea is that if we only concern ourselves with our own business, we can control what we can control, and change what is no longer working for us. 

All too often the problem lies in wanting to change something that is out of our control. And that is what causes suffering. Yet, we’re bringing it on ourselves.

So, it’s time to stop it!

Here’s the situation that immediately came up for me. 

Sometimes I can be pretty hard on my Dad. 

I want him to eat healthier, be a bit more active, and have commented on more than one occasion on some of his habits. 

It always comes from a place of love, of course, because selfishly I want him around for a long time to come! However, it’s not my job to tell him what he should or shouldn’t be doing. Moreover, whenever I do pipe in, we all lose. He gets frustrated, I get frustrated, and nothing changes anyhow!

And then it dawned on me. 

The choices my Dad makes for himself are simply none of my business!

And suddenly, I felt a wave of relief come over me. 

It’s true, simply taking care of our own business is hard enough! So I am going to stick to that ~ do the best I can to be the best version of me for me ~ and then not worry about anyone else. (Well, at least not too much, anyway!)

I mean, let’s be honest, I’m human and so are you – so it may be a tad more difficult to simply stop caring all together. But perhaps we can start by caring just a little bit less. 

Stop caring about what other people think of you, because it’s actually none of your business. 

And stop trying to change the behaviours of others around you, as again it’s none of your business.

Imagine how freeing it would be to stop caring so much!

So this week, I dare you to get your brāv on, and start caring a whole lot less. 

Let me know in the comments below, one area of your life, or one person in your life, you are going to apply this idea to! I can’t wait to hear all about it. 

Have a FAB week!

You’re not too old. And it’s not too late.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

~ Chinese Proverb

When I was younger, like, I’m talking Carol in her very early teens, I realised I loved musical theatre. The problem was, I wasn’t a dancer. And I wanted to learn.

My immediate thought: I’m too old to start now!

And so I didn’t.

The following year, the feeling came back… I mean I really wanted to pursue musical theatre and I really wanted to learn how to dance.

My next immediate thought: “But I’m too old to start now!”

And so I didn’t.

And so it continued for a few years… until I just couldn’t take it anymore. 

I found myself at theatre camp, where I was having such an incredible time, I ended up staying for an extra two weeks. To do an intense dance camp. Yup, I finally started. 

At that point, it was the Summer before going into my junior year of high school! (Oh man, and to think I thought I was ‘old’ back then?!? Hilarious…)

And you know what, I LOVED it!

So when I got back to school, I decided to actually continue and enrol in dance classes. But not just one class, no no no ~ I was told if I really wanted to get serious about dancing, I needed to study all forms. 

So I signed up for ballet, jazz, modern, and tap. 

Almost every night of the week I was in dance class. 

Picture a 17-year old Carol, awkward enough as it was, in beginner ballet class where I was double the height and twice the size of these pre pubescent little girls, wearing a mandatory pink leotard and white tights. (And you should have seen the shiny bright turquoise unitard number that I had to wear for modern class! My roommate would literally roll around on the ground in hysterics every time I put that thing on!)

I digress.

So there I was one day in ballet class, and I was told I needed to work on my turn out. 

Now being the ever keener and people pleaser I was, I became obsessed with impressing the teacher and earning her affection through what I decided would become an incredible turnout. 

So during one of my next grand pliés, I turned out so much that while my thighs turned outwards, my knee popped inwards. 

Yup, I had popped my patella right out of place. 

I basically fell to the floor, but not wanting to appear weak in front of all the much younger girls I held back the tears as best I could and got back in position.

And then it popped out again. 

Perhaps I wasn’t cut out to be a dancer after all. 

I never went back to ballet class, and not long after that I gave up all of my dance classes altogether. 

Just as well, as it would have been ridiculously embarrassing to be in the recital with girls half my age and half my size dancing circles around me!

Or, perhaps it would have been ridiculously brave of me to stick to it. 

In any event, my dancing career ended before it ever began. 

Until it started again. 

You see, I did eventually get back to dancing, as I ended up pursuing theatre in university, which meant there were lots of dance classes. Now I was never going to be a Radio City Rockette (although how cool would that have been!), and remained scarred from that terrible experience in ballet class for quite a while mind you, but eventually I connected to the joy of what it felt like when I first explored dance. 

And I will have you know, after all these years away from it, I just signed up for a new 10-week dance program (for people my age thank goodness!) starting next month, including a mandatory recital!

So, what’s the moral of the story?

Never enrol in dance classes with children half your age and size if you actually want to stick to it! 

Just kidding. 

The moral of the story is you are never too old and it is never too late to start something you’ve always wanted to do. 

Be it dance classes, cooking, a new language, a new sport, writing, speaking, etc… 

And if ‘too old’ has never been your thing, get honest with yourself about what your driving excuse is. 

Which of the following are you saying to yourself?

I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too busy. I’m too in debt. I’m too disorganised I’m too out of shape.  I’m too _____

Name your poison.

And then STOP IT already!!!

The more you say it, the more real it becomes. 
And the truth is, it is NOT the truth!

Besides, it will never be the perfect time, and you will never be any younger than you are today. And it’s only going to get harder the more you put it off!

And if you really want something, that desire is never going to go away. 

So, it’s time to identify:

  1. What it is you REALLY want?
  2. Which of these lies have you been telling yourself?
  3. What is the first next step you can take to start making it happen?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Chinese Proverb

I challenge you to get your brāv on and answer these three questions in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!

AND MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!! There are two exciting LIVE EVENTS coming up for all of you in the Toronto area!

1. Sept. 19thLinkedIN Local Meetup– How to be BRĀV through career transitions 

2. Sept. 26thGet Your BRĀV On!Lunch and learn for female leaders at The Verity Club!

I hope to see you there!

Have a FAB week!

I felt like an imposter… Here’s what happened.

Have you ever felt like an imposter? 

I certainly have, and on more than one occasion. 

In fact, I totally felt like one just this week. 

You see, I was honoured to be interviewed by a special friend, talented singer-songwriter and creator of the dHarmic Evolution podcast, James O’Connor (you can check him out here! And stay tuned as our episode goes live Sept. 13!)

The interview itself was pretty powerful (he never sends questions in advance, and has a way of pulling things out of you in the moment that make for a pretty real, vulnerable conversation) but the post-interview was arguably even more powerful.

At one point he was waxing poetic about me and the important work I was doing in the world.

Now I was first on his show shortly after we met at an event over 3 years ago, and he was commenting on how much I’ve grown and evolved since then. And the more he was showering me with kind words and kudos about how impressed he is with how far I’ve come, the more I shrunk further down into my seat and the more awkwardly uncomfortable I felt. 

Because the truth is, in that moment,

I didn’t feel I deserved the praise. 

I felt very far from having it all figured out. 

And I felt like a total imposter. 

His words made it sound as if I had somehow ‘made it’ ~ and in my mind, that couldn’t be farther from the truth!

So I got honest with him, and shared what I was feeling. 

At which point, being forever the empathetic person and good listener he is, reminded me that while I may sometimes look at people around me and think I am not ‘there’ yet, there are also people looking at me and thinking the same thing. 

He then reminded me we are all on our own path, our own journey, and to spend energy looking at what others have achieved instead of focusing on what we are here to do is futile. 

And of course he’s right. 

It got me thinking, what does it even mean to ‘make it?’ 

Because if I sometimes feel I have not made it (at least yet!), which at times I’ll admit causes frustration and worry, I had better at least know what I’m talking about!

So, what does it even mean?!?

Similar to what it means to be successful, it depends on how one defines it for him or herself, instead of prescribing to the popularly held definition of society.

‘Making it’ is subjective, and really should mean something very different to each  one of us. 

I think it’s time to create my own definition. 

And so here’s what I think. 

To me, making it is when you wake up happy (at least most days, we’re human after all!) knowing you are living a life in alignment with who you are, your values, and when you engage in meaningful work, make meaningful connections, enjoy meaningful moments. When you try each day to make someone else’s world just a little bit better, and when you try to be just a little bit better version of yourself today than you were yesterday. 

Here’s what else I think.

There is only one way you will ever ‘make it’: 

When you choose to adopt the belief you have made it already. 

You get to decide. You get to choose. 

And when you choose to believe you’ve made it, it becomes real. 

All too often we measure success, happiness, being ‘good enough’ according to and/or against others’ standards. 

And how is it even any of their business?!?

It is YOUR life. And you, only you, are the expert of your own life. 

So you get to choose what ‘making it’ looks like for you, and therefore ultimately when you get there… if you even care at all!

I think where I’ve been going wrong is thinking in order to ‘make it’ I have to have arrived somewhere I’m not. 

Yet I don’t actually believe we have anywhere to arrive at or get to, at all. 

Because so long as we’re living and learning and stretching and growing, there isn’t one place we’re going to! And if we’re already ‘there’ today, where are we going tomorrow?!? 

Maybe it’s time to stop thinking we’re not there, and start realizing we’ve been there all along.

So I am going to be brave enough to choose I have already made it this week.

And I dare YOU to do the same!

Because the truth is, the moment you choose to believe you’ve made it, is the moment you will have made it.

It’s as simple as that. 

And now I want to hear from you. What does ‘making it’ mean to you? And if you were to shift your perspective and perhaps your definition, what would that do for you?

Get your brāv on and please share your thoughts and comments below.

Have a FAB week!

P.S. I was honoured to be a featured guest this week for an on-line series entitled ‘Unleash Your Purpose-Driven Life,’ created by friend and fellow yogi Lauren Golen. It was another really exciting conversation, and you can listen to the interview, as well as learn from all other experts, for FREE, HERE!

Because I am brave…

Happy Friday!

Well, it turns out I’m not the only one who wants to be braver!

Thank you for your thoughts and comments and answers to last week’s blog, ’If I Were Braver…’ 

I think we’re onto something here, folks!

I did this exercise earlier today with a leadership group within the Nanaimo Ladysmith District School Board, where I am now (such a great group and such a beautiful part of the world!)

It made for some very powerful conversation, and some even more powerful brave action commitments!

And you know what I’m learning?

It’s not a one and done kinda thing.

It’s a practice. 

It’s contagious. 

And so even though I shared my very own ‘If I Were Braver…’ list from the stage last week, speaking live in front of a group is one thing. Sharing the video online is quite another!

But because I am brave, I did it. 

I posted it for all the world to see on social media, and the response has been overwhelming. 

And so I am going to continue to get my brāv on and share it with you now. (EEK!)

Here is a mini excerpt to peak your attention:

‘What if courage isn’t an act of doing, but an act of being?

Of being brave enough to take on our lives. To declare what it is we really want, even if we’re terrified it may never happen. 

Of being brave enough to be you, and brave enough to be me. With all of our flaws, fears, and foibles. And in a world that desperately wants us to be someone else…’

Here’s what else I’m learning.

Fear ‘aint going anywhere any time soon. 

Yet if we continue to give into it, neither are we. 

The way I see it, we have two choices. 

Stay where we are, stay comfortable, and stay safe – OR – be willing to take that first step, to be uncomfortable, to be brave IN SPITE OF our fear.

If you were braver, what would you do that you’re not already doing? And who would you be that you’re not already being?

Go ahead, I DARE you. 

For those of you who already took a step of brave action last week, WAY TO GO! What did you do? And what happened as a result?

And for those of you who are still in Dr. Suess’s ‘Waiting Place,’ ~ what are you waiting for?!? It’s not too late to re-commit and start again.

Be BRĀV enough to share your comments below!

Have a FAB week!!!

P.S. Our next cohort of Brāv Leader program begins on Oct. 15th! 

If you’re interested in learning more about this powerful 6-month transformational development program, let’s hop on the phone! 

I didn’t win. And I’m still alive!

I like winning. 

I mean, who doesn’t, right?!?

But maybe it’s not always all about winning. Maybe it’s about doing the thing. Period. 

That was certainly the case and the lesson I needed to learn this week. 

And that thing I am referring to, was the fact I competed in an event called Speaker Slam. 

Now I love speaking. Speaking is my profession, and I take it very seriously. But I have never spoken to compete (well, unless you count reciting poetry for our annual middle school competition!) 

So, when I was first asked to participate at Speaker Slam – an event sharing inspirational stories around a monthly theme – as a competition – I was somewhat reluctant. 

I think the organisers are fab, as is the community they have built. It’s extremely supportive. However, I had been a judge for this event a few times, including at Grand Slam (the annual event that brings in all monthly winners to compete on a massive stage with at least 500 in the audience…) and wasn’t sure how it would feel to be on the other side. And besides, I am already lucky enough to speak for a living… what did I have to prove?!?

But here’s the thing… I’ve kinda been trying to prove myself in some ways most of my life. 

And the truth is, the real reason I was hesitating was because I was scared. 

I was scared to compete, and to be honest I was scare to lose. 

And that moment I got honest with myself as to the real reason I was saying no, was the moment I knew I had to say yes. 

If I wanna practice what I preach, I have to get my own brāv on and do the thing that scares me!

And so that’s what I did. 

I said yes to speaking and competing. 

And I am so grateful I did. Because Tuesday night something magical happened. 

I didn’t win!

Now I know what you’re thinking… ‘WHAT?!? You’re celebrating the fact you DIDN’T win?!?’

Well, sorta. 

Allow me to expand.

In all honesty, I told myself before the event it really wasn’t about winning. Because the goal was to say yes in the first place, and then honour the theme of courage, and be brave enough to be more real and vulnerable than I ever have been in a talk.

And I did, and I was. 

So no, I wasn’t actually as disappointed as I thought I would be! (until the next day, when between you and me, I found out I went overtime which is what prevented me from getting a place on the podium! So now I’m only mildly upset with myself for talking too much… I knew I was cutting it close in rehearsal!)

In any event, it unfolded exactly as it was supposed to. 

‘If I Were Braver’ ... 

This is a phrase I often ask audiences and the people I work with to complete. 

Yet I wasn’t doing it myself. 

And so, a few months ago I created my very own ‘If I Were Braver’ list… and have slowly been making my way down the list ever since. I shared some of these items from the stage. (If you’re curious, you may just have to wait for my video to come out ~ let’s hope I’m brave enough to share it with you at that point!) 

The feedback I’ve received made the vulnerability hangover, as Brené Brown would call it, totally worthwhile.

So many folks came up to me after my talk, or have messaged me since, saying how much it moved them. There were lots of tears, lots of people saying the story resonated with them, and even more exciting lots of brave stories being shared in return. 

Being brave has nothing to do with getting it right or wrong, succeeding or failing, winning or losing.

We need to stop trying to get things right, stop trying to be perfect, stop living in a binary world. 

Being brave is about doing the thing in the first place. Regardless of the outcome. It’s about the experience. 

So in my mind, it was a big win on Tuesday. And yes, I am celebrating that!

And now, I have an important question for you, and an even more important challenge. 

QUESTION:

If you were braver, what would you do that you aren’t already doing?

CHALLENGE:

Identify the first, small brave step you want to take. And then DO IT! (And then PLEASE tell me about it so I can cheer you on!)

I want to hear from you in the comments below.

AND, some exciting news to share! We are getting ready to launch the next cohort of our Brāv Leader program at the end of September!

If you’re interested in learning more about this powerful 6-month transformational leadership program, let’s hop on the phone!

It’s time to get your brāv on!

And that is all. 

Back to Summer Friday fun!

Have a FAB week!

Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Why they all matter.


Yesterday morning, I visited my grandmother’s grave.

I never met her. 

And I wish I knew more about what kind of a person she was. Yet I felt more connected to her than I ever have before…

The last few days I’ve taken a lovely little trip down memory lane. 

After a beautiful wedding at Chateau Thanvillé in the Alsace region of France, a few of us spent a perfect afternoon in Strasbourg, then on to a memorable afternoon and evening in Paris. Good conversation over a glass of wine along the River Seine… it was magical. 

But even more special was taking the train north through France and Belgium to spend some nostalgic time in Holland.

I biked along the famous canals in Amsterdam, singing out loud as I did.  And then I visited my cousin and family including my Goddaughter just outside of The Hague, where my Mum was from. 

We walked along the famous boardwalk in Scheveningen where I have so many special memories from as a child, had dinner on the beach where I used to love to play (and watched as my cousin’s kids were doing the same) and witnessed a glorious sunset over a nice little borreltje (drinkie.)  

We ate poffertjes and bitterballen ~ two traditions and dutch musts. 

And then we visited my step grandmother, the only grandparent figure I remember as a child.

Although she married my grandfather later in life when my Mum was already an adult, growing up when we would go and visit my mother’s family in Holland, it would always include a stop to our beloved Bommie’s place. And because we wouldn’t see her very often, she would always spoil us rotten when we did. A visit was never complete without a trip to the local toy store!

She’s now well into her nineties, in a home and in a wheelchair, and although she still looks great, she’s not quite the same Bommie I remember. 

And then we went to go and see my Grandmother’s grave… 

Again, while I never knew her, I felt more connected to her than I ever have. 

Strangely enough, the anniversary of her passing falls on the same day we buried my mother. I didn’t realise until that moment. 

I also realized for the first time my mother was 24 when she lost her mother, the same age I was. 

Yes, I had a moment. 

I spoke to my grandmother, I spoke to my mother. 

I expressed gratitude, love, and tears, as I asked them both to continue to guide and watch over me. 

This short, but very special visit to Holland couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. 

At first I was disappointed I wasn’t going to be able to hike any of the Camino as initially planned, given my broken foot. 

And yet maybe everything unfolded exactly as it was supposed to. I’ve felt more connected to my mother recently, and being in her hometown was even more comforting than I imagined.

It got me thinking about my past, my present, and my future. 

Now I know we’re only supposed to live in the present – in the here and now – and yet I don’t think that means we have to ignore what has come before this moment, nor what lies ahead. 

In fact, I think if we want to live in the here and now as powerfully as possible, we need to acknowledge our past and at the same time look to our future. 

We need all three. 

While at times some people can be tied too heavily to what has already happened, and are not able to truly be where they are, we can’t ignore our past, either. 

And although constantly looking too much into what may or may not be in our future sometimes prevents us from being here now, it’s also important to look ahead from our current view. 

We’re now entering into the second half of Summer. (Is it just me or is it going by far too quickly?!?)

There are still pools to jump into, patio conversations to dive into, ice creams to indulge into. 

So enjoy each moment as it comes, knowing it’s okay to get excited for all that is yet to come, while also reminiscing on good times already had. 

Just don’t spend too much time ruminating you end up living more in your head than you do in reality. 

It’s important to live in the present, yes. 

And it’s also important to acknowledge both the important role the past has played in bringing us to this moment, as well as the important role this moment will play in how we choose to live into the future. 

Acknowledge the people, too. Important figures and relationships are everything. And if there is someone you haven’t been in touch with as much as you’d like recently, reach out to them. Even if they are no longer with us, you can still talk to them. 

Yesterday, today, tomorrow. 
Past, present, future. 

So interconnected… and we need them all. 

How’s that for some light Friday philosophical thoughts as I get ready to hop on the plane and head back to the other side of the pond, eh?!?

And now I’m curious… how is your present moment touched by your past or by what is yet to come? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

Don’t procrastinate on joy.

This morning, I had a croissant. 

Cue gasp here.

Now it’s not that croissants are all that bad – everything in moderation as my mother would say. It’s just that I unfortunately have certain food intolerances and knew I would pay for it later (which I did!) and yet I couldn’t help myself.

I had just landed in Paris and it seemed like the right thing to do. 

When in Rome, when in Paris, or even when you’re at home or perhaps sitting on a patio, porch, or balcony. 

Wherever you may be – physically or energetically – sometimes the moment calls for something. 

Give into it. 

Don’t procrastinate on joy. 

It’s summertime, after all. And I don’t know about what it’s like where you are right now, however in Toronto these Summer days are both beautiful and short lived. And so we need to ensure we are experiencing, enjoying, making the most of the moments. 

One of the things I’m working on is my ability to trust, let go, and simply go with the flow. And to be here now. And to notice all of the amazingness that exists right here, right now, instead of looking ahead to the next thing or moment. 

I spoke at a women’s conference a few months ago, and one of the other speakers was the incredible Sam Horn. And one of the lines that really stuck with me was this one:

“These are the golden days. These are the golden days.”

A friend recently introduced me to the law of diminishing returns. Now in economic terms, where it is readily used, in simple terms refers to investments you make that begin to diminish as soon as you make them. 

However when it comes to living your life, it basically means when the moment you’ve been looking forward to finally arrives, or the moment you get something you’ve really wanted for a while, or achieve something you’ve been working towards for some time, it slowly begins to lose it’s lustre. 

And this theory also explains why more often than not, as soon as you arrive at your destination or achieve what you thought you wanted, you’re already looking toward to the next thing. 

Be it the degree, the job, the car, the raise, the promotion, the man, the house, the dog, the baby. 

Don’t procrastinate your joy.

I’m writing to you from the beautiful Alsace region of France, typing on a computer sitting in a random park I came across where I spotted some shade. We’re in the middle of a heat wave. I’m staying in a beautiful old chateau where my friends’ wedding will be held on Saturday. And, there is no AC nor wifi. I walked to the nearby restaurant hoping to be able to get a little bit of work done,  only to find it was closed until dinner time. 

My initial reaction was one of frustration. But then I chose something different. I threw off my flip flops, threw in my headphones, sat in the grass and started writing. 

I’m finding it quite peaceful to be honest!

You only live once (YOLO!) and indeed these are the golden days.

Perhaps as soon as we stop looking forward towards the next thing that will bring us joy, we’ll be able to experience the joy available right here in this moment. 

So whether the moment calls for a croissant, gelato, or being barefoot in the grass, say yes. Indulge. Give into the moment. 

Don’t procrastinate joy. 

And now I want to hear from you… how are you going to make sure you do NOT procrastinate on joy this week?!? I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Let go of expectation, say goodbye to disappointment.

Happy Friday!

First of all, THANK YOU for your emails, your messages, your love notes and your positive thoughts.

Apparently the story I shared last week of watching in sheer horror as my mother’s bracelet ~ my most precious possession ~ fell into the black depths of the water below, struck a chord. 

I think because you and I both know it wasn’t about the bracelet at all. It was about the love and connection it represented. And we can all relate to that. 

The story isn’t over, and it’s time to move on. (at least for now!)

But for the first time in a while, I’ve been stuck on what to write about.

Right now I’m in Calgary, fortunate enough to be spending time with family to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday. 

So I thought maybe I could speak about family, and how special it is. Even though some days you may love them, while other days you can’t wait to get away. And how some days you feel you fit in, while others you feel like a total misfit (or maybe that’s just me!)  

Then I thought maybe I could speak about how quickly time goes by, especially in the Summer, and how it may be time to play hooky for a day, an early afternoon off, or eat ice cream for breakfast. 

And while I was pondering, I was also kinda procrastinating. 

Now I tend to clean or organise when I procrastinate. And this particular time, it was dealing with the numerous folders I have saved in my ‘Notes’ app on my phone and laptop. 

I came across the note file I began while watching ‘Finding Joe’ ~ an amazing movie about Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. And this quote stuck out:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned in order to make way for the one that is waiting for us.”

Ah yes. Now this idea is one worth discussing and expanding upon.

I alluded briefly last week to the importance of letting go. 

And I’ve written in the past about the one thing that really causes upset and disappointment: expectation.

More specifically, thwarted expectations. 

It’s never the thing itself that causes upset. It’s only when we are holding onto an expectation of how something will turn out, and then find out it doesn’t exactly pan out that way, that we end up experiencing disappointment.

Think about it. 

Chances are you wouldn’t be upset if it rained on Saturday had you been planning on staying indoors and hadn’t even bothered to look at the weather forecast.

Now imagine you were planning a big party outdoors and had gone to a lot of trouble to get your garden ready, expecting to host a beautiful event in the beautiful sunshine. Chances are you’d be pretty disappointed if all of a sudden it called for a torrential downpour!

It’s not the rain itself that would upset you, it’s the expectation it wouldn’t rain that would cause real upset.

So maybe it’s time to learn how to let go of expectation, in an effort to also say goodbye to disappointment.

It’s not necessarily that I didn’t expect to lose my mother at such a young age, it’s that I expected her to live a long and vibrant life. 

It’s not necessarily that I didn’t expect to get hit while paddle boarding and lose her precious bangles, it’s that I expected them to be safe in the dry bag and assumed I’d have them forever. 

It’s not necessarily that I didn’t expect to break my foot, it’s that I expected to be able to finish my training and compete in the ironman last week. 

And it’s not necessarily that I didn’t expect to be single at 38, it’s that I expected I would have found my match and be building a family by this point.

On the flip side, and on a more positive note, I also didn’t expect to be speaking to incredible audiences of 1000s, to have started my own business, and to have had the opportunity to live in 16 different countries and connect with incredible people all over the world. 

And because I wasn’t expecting any of those things to happen, it makes it all the more exciting and me all the more grateful. 

So maybe the trick is to detach from expectation wherever possible. 

Although easier said than done, I know! 

So here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Start small – let go of all you expect to accomplish in one day! 
  • Gain an awareness as to any and all expectations you may be placing on certain events, certain people, even yourself 
  • Try to live in the present moment as much as possible
  • Have faith things will work out exactly as they are supposed to
  • Trust the Universe has your back
  • Let go of certain timelines and practice going with the flow
  • Express gratitude for all you have right here, right now
  • Connect less with big expectations, and more with what truly matters

Now I don’t have it all figured out, trust me! And I’ll be the first to admit it’s HARD to put into practice. Luckily, we have our whole lives to be a work in progress :-).

And awareness is always the first step.

So notice when you may be putting expectation around something or someone this week. Catch yourself in the act, and try as best as possible to be brave enough to let it all unfold how and when it’s meant to unfold.

When you learn to let go of expectation, you also let go of potential disappointment.

And life is too short to live in the land of disappointment. Wouldn’t you agree?!?

Listen to Joseph Campbell:“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned in order to make way for the one that is waiting for us.”

What thoughts come up for you when you read this quote? And what idea will you be brave enough to put into action this week? I’m curious to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!