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!


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!

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.

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!

When to have faith, when to let go…

Standing in the wings before I would go on stage to perform, I knew my Mum was out in the audience. I could hear her by the sound of her bangles. 

If ever I got lost from my Mum in the grocery store when I was young, I knew I would eventually find her. I would hear her by the sound of her bangles. 

And when she passed away, I knew her signature bangles would keep me connected to her. There were three interconnected – yellow, white, and rose gold. And my father surprised my two sisters and I with the most beautiful gift when he separated her original and made three matching sets for all three of us. We each have one of her originals, engraved with her name on it.

I have worn these bangles on my wrist almost every day for the past 13 years. 

And then last Monday, while paddle boarding on Toronto Island, I decided they would be safer in my dry bag around my neck, instead of on my wrist. 

As luck (or fate?) would have it, at the exact moment I thought to take a photo for my friends as we had a perfect view of the CN tower in the background, and therefore opened up my dry bag to get out my phone, I got bumped without warning from behind. 

I fell off my board, and so did the dry bag. The phone was still in my hands, now in the water, and I watched as if in slow motion as my Mum’s bangles slipped out of the bag and into the black water below. 

I was in shock, denial, and utter disbelief. I began sopping. I mean, it was embarrassing how hysterical I quite quickly became!

I’m still in disbelief as I write these words. 

I immediately went under, and it was black. We then sourced a mask, which took about an hour, and went back down. By the time I got to the bottom of the lake, I could only hold my breath for a few seconds before I had to come back up. And being emotional I had even less breath. 

I figured I needed an oxygen tank. And so while I never thought I’d be able to leave the spot, I did knowing I’d be back. That night we did some research. By the next day I had sourced scuba rental gear and my incredible cousin offered to come with me to search after work.

I was hopeful. 

We went back out to the island. With the flooding that’s taken place we had to wade through water up to our knees along the road with our gear before then bush wacking to the edge of the lagoon. We took turns going down.

Alas, nothing. 

We agreed we needed better light ~ so it was back to the scuba shop to buy an intense underwater flashlight. That would do it.

I was hopeful once again. 

We went back at it the next day, taking turns scouring the bottom, with the help of a giant net thanks to the fireman at the hall just down the road. 

Alas, nothing. 

We were told there was a local on the island who did some diving, and another who did some metal detecting. We managed to find them both, and they said if I could somehow locate an underwater metal detector they would be willing to help me. 

And so our next mission was to source a metal detector, and fast. Within a few hours we were off the island and doing a deal with the guru in metal detecting in an interesting to say the least outskirt of the city. 

My hope returned. 

I met the boys at 6:45am the following morning. They had everything ready, even borrowed their friend’s boat. We went down again, this time with the flashlight and the metal detector.

Alas, nothing. 

They mentioned there was this directory online of ‘Ring Finders’ ~ people who searched for lost rings and other items, and they kindly connected me with someone who knew how to find them. I found a guy in the Toronto area, whose picture looked so friendly, and I immediately had a good feeling about. I contacted him, and within an hour Steve had called me back, and it turns out my gut was bang on.

We spoke on the phone for over 20 minutes, and he could tell just how much it meant to me (he later told me the fact I was still in tears 4 days later had something to do with it! Now ironically I was in the fracture clinic when we spoke, and had just been told my foot was still broken and so only minimal activity for another 6 weeks ~ which also likely contributed to my emotions! Bless the patient in the curtained exam room next to me for bringing me a box of tissues…) 

So even though he was out of town, he cleared his schedule, and agreed to come out the very next day with all of his professional equipment and top of the line underwater metal detector. He was the real deal, and has been ring finding and bringing so much joy to people this way for almost 10 years. 

My hope had returned. 

We met the next day first thing in the morning, and he even brought his treasure hunter intern (who knew!). We rode the ferry across once again, made our way out to the spot, and underwater he went. He went down numerous times, gave it his best shot, until he ran out of air.

Alas, nothing.

He then told me if there was ANYONE else who would be able to find it, it was one of his best friends and the best diver he knew, and together they would be the dream team. The only problem was, his friend didn’t do this kind of stuff anymore, and he’d have to work hard to convince him. And it would cost a pretty penny. 

At this point, it didn’t matter. If he was in, I was in. 

Luckily, he was. So it was on!

The dream team was confirmed – Steve and Ryan – and it was agreed we’d go back out a few days later. 

Once again the tears turned to hope, and this time it was stronger than ever. 

We met before 7am in the morning, and they were serious. They had a plan, they were ready, and they gave it their all. I mean, they brought 6 tanks with them, and were prepared to go all day until they found them. 

Well, they were there all day – we didn’t leave the island until 5pm – and only then because they were out of air. They really gave it the old ‘college try’ as one of them said. The poor guys were cramping up and utterly exhausted. They worked harder than they ever have on a ‘ring find.’

Alas, still no bangles. 

And I can only imagine it being equally as disappointing for them as it was for me to not be victorious after all that. 

But I have to say, it was a special day. We really were a team. I did some cheers for them, we had an all hands in ‘goooooooooo team!’’ before we started, we shared stories and shared lemonade at the end of the day. They saw me praying on my board – literally I was on my knees – and doing a lot of bargaining as to all I promised to do if the bangled bracelet were to be found. They said they had never met someone so connected to something and so passionate about finding it. They also said I was so sweet and kind and even have offered to come back again to give to one more go… 

I just don’t understand it. And oh man the amount of times I’ve replayed that very moment in my mind. Or thought about the hundreds of other ways this situation could have played out differently. And yet of course I know that game is futile and a waste of energy. 

Now I know what you may be thinking, ‘Carol, it’s only a bracelet!’ and in some ways it’s true. But it’s not the material possession. It’s what it meant to me. 

You see, nothing is anything save for the meaning we place on it. Whether that be material possessions, experiences, incidents, words.

And for whatever reason, those bangles represented my mother and our extremely special connection. And in some ways I felt as though I was grieving her all over again. 

I’m not sure I know why just yet, but I’m pretty sure there is some deeper reason this is happening right now… 

First of all, I have met some amazing people over this past week who have helped and extended such care and support and compassion – it’s been incredible. 

From Janet, the local who was gardening and kindly lent us her snorkelling mask on the first day. To Brant at Aquarius Scuba who allowed me to keep the equipment for a little bit longer and told me to keep him posted as to how the story ends. To John the man with the wagon attached to the back of his bike who kindly offered to carry our tank that first day. To Chris and Chris and Brad and Tony and all the fireman at the local Firehall who looked after our stuff while we were in the water, lent us their paddle board and fishing net and rope and weight… even offered us coffee. One of the guys is still texting and checking in on me to see how I am. To Warren, the island supervisor who granted us special permission to take a vehicle across on the ferry when we had 6 tanks and all of the diving and metal detecting equipment. To Jason at security for letting me park my car at the ferry terminal when going across with all the gear. To Caitlin at Starbucks who made my day when someone accidentally took my personal cup and she then gifted me with a new one, as well as a gift card, bringing me to tears. 

Not to mention all of my incredible friends and family and people in my life who have been helping and checking in and praying and sending the love. I feel incredibly blessed. 

And then there are the lessons.

Maybe everything happens for a reason, maybe it doesn’t. Have a little faith. Know when it’s time to let go. See all of the good in people out there. It takes a village. Nobody will die if you’re not on top of your inbox. Trust that when you’re on a mission, you’ll figure it out. And a small act of kindness goes a long way.

I’m not sure this story is over just yet. 

But in the meantime, I’m choosing to have faith and perhaps begin to let go at the same time, and trust there is always a bigger reason… 

Phew… that was a long one this week! Thanks for reading this story all the way through.

I’m curious to hear from you… ever lost something that was incredibly meaningful to you? How did you deal with it and what did you learn? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Carol

Is it Time For a Little Cheerleadership in Your Life?

Happy Friday!

And, ummm, I only feel it apropos to say a HUGE congratulations to The Toronto Raptors for bringing home the NBA championship for the first time in history! YAHOO!!!

Wow… 

I can still hear the echoes of the honking and the screaming and the chanting and the cheering that took place well into the wee hours of the morning.

I did watch the exciting game, and had no choice but to venture out into the streets to make my way home… and ended up getting caught in the masses for longer than intended.

The streets were packed! And people were everywhere.

Although if I’m honest I didn’t really mind having to walk through the craziness. In fact, I quite enjoyed the energy, the buzz, the celebration. 

The whole city was coming together to cheer and to celebrate the hard work and the final win of Canada’s NBA team, our beloved Raptors. They were the true definition of a high performance team, and no one can argue they were truly deserving of the title.

Throughout the season, and especially during the playoffs, this city – and country at large – somehow came together, and we were cheering for a common cause. And it was powerful. 

Sometimes I think I missed my calling. 

Without wanting to brag or boast, I’m pretty sure I would’ve made a pretty amazing cheerleader! 

I wouldn’t have liked the outfits, but I do love me a good cheer (and luckily I find ample excuses to bring them out ~ especially my all time fave, the banana cheer!) 

Yet in all seriousness, there is something powerful about the idea of cheerleading, and what it represents. 

I’m even working on a concept called cheerleadership, as I think a very big and important part of leadership is lifting up and championing those around you. 

Yesterday I had the honour of attending the WNORTH conference in Toronto – for female leaders in the corporate world. As they described it, a global gathering of women on the rise. And it was an inspiring and impactful day. 

One of the panels was on sponsorship. They explored the differences between mentorship and sponsorship, and had a conversation around why sponsorship is so critical especially for women who want to advance in their careers. 

According to a Gallop survey, when you have someone at work who has your back, who you can trust, and who will support you – you are happier, more productive, and the organization also ultimately benefits. 

We all need champions and cheerleaders in our life. 

And we can all be champions and cheerleaders for each other, as well as for ourselves. And we need to be.

So I shall keep it short and sweet this week, and leave you with these three questions to ponder.

  1. Who do I know that I could be a cheerleader for?
  2. Do I need more cheerleaders in my life? And if so, who do I know that would make a good cheerleader for me?
  3. How can I be a better cheerleader for myself?

Perhaps it’s time to get your BRĀV on and start shaking those pom poms!

May you continue to celebrate the Raptors big win this weekend, and may you continue to find reasons and people to cheer on this week!

Carol 

Why it’s time to give yourself your own gold star.

Happy Friday!

Okay, confession time. 

I enjoy positive feedback. 

I love hearing how my talks or presentations had a positive impact on someone. 

And I admit I’m a recovering gold star junkie.

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, and also a self-proclaimed gold star junkie, speaks about how wanting or needing gold stars for our work, our actions, or our behaviours, can be pretty darn dangerous!

Think about it. 

So long as you are relying on others to give you a gold star (ie tell you whether they think you’ve done a good enough job to warrant recognition and approval) you are living by their standards and measurements of success, and from their perspective. 

Why should it be up to someone else to decide, anyhow?

Not only does it mean we’re giving up our own power, it also means we’re putting our bets on others’ abilities to know better than ourselves how well we did, or how good we are.

Easier said than done, I get it. 

Especially if our work is rooted in wanting to help others, impact others, bring happiness to others. And if we are in any way in the creative space, it’s even harder. We rely on reviews from our audience, or our end users, as they are the folks it was ultimately created for. 

And yet, there will always be people who resonate with your work, and those who do not. A lot of it is opinion, after all. 

Indeed there is truth to the idiom: ‘different strokes for different folks.’

On Tuesday, I had the honour and privilege of delivering the opening keynote at the Company of Women annual conference. This year’s theme was ‘If Not Now, When? Make Your Someday Happen.’And my talk was all about how to get your brave on, and make your someday today. 

It was a great crowd, I got a standing ovation, and received some very kind words and positive comments from numerous women throughout the day. 

And yet, for some reason I didn’t walk off that stage feeling like I had knocked it out of the park. (I will admit I felt better after receiving some of the feedback mind you…) 

Why?

A few reasons.

In my wanting to hit a home run, I became too obsessed with wow-ing the audience, I moved away from what it was all about in the first place.

I was making changes to my talk up until the last minute, and forgot some of the lines I intended to use. 

I was somewhat embarrassed at the fact I was delivering a keynote on an aircast for the first time (broke my foot… boo!), and there were moments I was in my head and wasn’t fully present. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so open with you – however I gotta practice what I preach – and there is power in honesty and vulnerability. 

So here’s what I’m learning. 

Instead of the goal being to knock it outta the park, maybe the goal could be to give it your all, to do your best, and to be present enough to enjoy the experience.

We have to change how we measure success, and how we determine whether we did a good enough job or not.

While I do appreciate positive feedback from others after my presentations, I need to learn to create my own internal barometer for success.

And so, I’ve come up with a few different measurements I am going to use, and invite you to use, also. (now this does somewhat refer to delivering presentations, and yet you could adapt to work for any potential project you’re working on…)

  1. Did you put in the effort? How hard did you work and did you sufficiently prepare for the thing in advance? 
  2. How present were you during and in the moment?
  3. How have you grown through the process – did you perform better than the last time you did x? Was there learning?
  4. Did you make it about your audience or your end user? How connected were you?
  5. How do youultimately feel about your presentation (or project?) If you ignore any feedback you did or didn’t receive, what rating would you give yourself?!?

Gold stars are nice to receive, there’s no doubt about it. 

And, maybe it’s time we re-evaluate what is gold star worthy. Moreover, maybe it’s time we give ourselves our own damn gold stars! Because if you put in the effort, if you gave it your all, you deserve it.

Where in your life are you waiting for a gold star from others? And how could you give one to yourself today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol

You’re invited…

Happy Friday!

I don’t know about you, but I love receiving invitations.

Invitations to fun gatherings, experiences, play dates. Invitations to weddings on beautifully designed paper that arrive by mail. Invitations via phone calls for spontaneous coffees with friends or emergency girl nights.

And then there is another type of invitation. One that doesn’t always show up via the mail or phone or email. And it’s not necessarily an invitation to show up somewhere at a specific date or time at all. Rather it’s an invitation to simply show up. Period.

This week I’ve been in beautiful Tofino, British Columbia, attending the Dovetail Summit for female entrepreneurs, masterfully curated by my good friend Alexis Dean.

And on the back of the program and schedule, she shared her favourite poem, The Invitation.

And so I am going to share it with you now. (Apologies if it’s a little deep for a Friday afternoon… but I invite you to – pun intended – to read and be open to what it may mean to you.)

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me

what you do for a living.

I want to know

what you ache for

and if you dare to dream

of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me

how old you are.

I want to know 

if you will risk 

looking like a fool

for love

for your dream

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me

what planets are 

squaring your moon…

I want to know

if you have touched

the centre of your own sorrow

if you have been opened

by life’s betrayals

or have become shrivelled and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know

if you can sit with pain

mine or your own

without moving to hide it

or fade it

or fix it.

I want to know

if you can be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you 

to the tips of your fingers and toes

without cautioning us

to be careful

to be realistic

to remember the limitations

of being human.

It doesn’t interest me

if the story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear

the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your own life

from its presence.

I want to know

if you can live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand at the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me

to know where you live

or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up

after the night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me

who you know

or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand

in the centre of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me

where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know 

what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know

if you can be alone 

with yourself

and if you truly like

the company you keep

in the empty moments.

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

So this week I invite you.

Instead of waiting for permission to fully show up, to share your ideas, to take that first step, know you already have the invitation.

I invite you to dream. To try. To fail. To fly. To do it right. To do it wrong. To be real. To be brave.

I invite you to throw out old beliefs and stories that are no longer serving you. And I invite you to try on new thoughts, new ideas, new possibilities.

I invite you to be grateful. To be imperfect. To be scared and hopeful and trusting all at the same time.

I invite you to be who you are, where you are, with all of your gifts and talents and flaws and idiosyncrasies and questions and curiosities.

You’re invited. All of you. To attend the best party or event or playdate you’ve ever experienced.

And when you arrive in all your glory, let me know how it feels. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Carol

It’s time to get outside!

Happy Friday!

And greetings from where I write to you on board flight AC 181, seat 14K. Yup, in the air again. First to Vancouver for a night, then tomorrow off to beautiful Tofino on Vancouver Island where I’m pumped to be a part of the Dovetail Retreat for female entrepreneurs (think hiking, kayaking, surfing...) And then next week I jet off to the UK again where I’ll be speaking for Unilever. 

Thank goodness I love traveling!

I have to say the highlight of this week was delivering the closing keynote for the first annual #AdminsRock conference – such a fun group and an amazing day! – closely followed by the splash of sunshine we enjoyed yesterday. I even saw some folks on patios. 

Being outside in the sun always brings a brighter smile to my face. 

And so, it made sense I was all set to talk about how important it is to get outside (also in honour of Earth Day!) and then typical, this morning as I left Toronto it was absolutely POURING with rain! 

Well, even despite the rain, even in the rain, it’s still fun and important to get outside.

I think dogs have the right idea. 

I used to babysit one of my neighbour’s dogs on occasion. Every time I walked in the door he’d be waiting to loyally meet and greet me with the biggest tail wag and some kisses, and one of his paws would already be practically out the door. I mean, he was just desperate to get outside! And who can blame him? Besides likely having to burst, there was a big, bright, beautiful world out there just waiting to be seen, sniffed, run around in and yes, peed on.

There really is a lot going on outside. So many sights and sounds and smells… it’s like a giganic playground. Everywhere you turn there is something new to discover, and even scenes or routes that have been trod on before will never appear exactly the same again. 

I don’t care how impressive your 52-inch LED or LCD or whatever diode-type flat screen complete with surround-sound and other fancy features you can boast about – there is no way you’ll ever be able to see the crispness and depth and the multitude of color tones you can experience in real life – from a pixilated image.

Being outside offers lots of perks and benefits, too.

You can breathe in fresh air. It exposes you to Vitamin D, which we all need. It allows you to be active. To feel the sunshine on your skin. To smell nature – and the roses. To see green.

It creates space in your mind. It helps to breed fresh ideas. Make friends out of strangers. Grow. Explore. Discover. Play. It gets the creative juices flowing and stimulates your seratonin levels.

It makes you feel happy!

And beyond getting outside in the literal sense, there is also something to be said about getting outside of ourselves… out of our comfort zones, out of our heads, out of our routines, and out of our expectations and ideas of how things are supposed to go, what should or shouldn’t be, what is and isn’t possible. 

All of the amazing inventions we simply cannot live without, wouldn’t have been invented if it weren’t for people who were willing to think outside of the box, the norm, the easy, the expected.

Innovation cannot exist if you are not first willing to take a risk.

SO, depending on where you are in the world and what the weather may be like – get your brave on and go grab your wellies or your flip flops, lace up your runners or dust off your bike – and get outside and into that wonderful, wide world out there. Something magical happens when you allow yourself to be out and fully present in nature. And it’s yours to discover.

(And once you do get outside, let me know what you did and how you felt afterwards!) I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol

Do you know how fabulous you are?

Happy Friday!

And Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, and every day, I celebrate YOU.

Even though I hope we don’t need a special day to realise how fabulous we are.

(And you know what, I don’t necessarily want to exclude the men today. I really don’t think today should be about a battle of the sexes. There are so many incredible men who have supported, encouraged, been our cheerleaders on the sidelines, and continue to be.)

But it is a day to recognise the incredible achievements of women, and to empower each and every one of us to continue to go after our dreams, to help us see and believe that anything and everything is possible.

There have been some incredibly brave and extraordinary women in our history that paved the way. Women who believed in the power of their dreams. Women who didn’t take no for an answer. Women who were prepared to fight for what they truly wanted. Women who really did make things happen, despite their circumstances, their age, their sex, their naysayers, their sometimes extreme battles.

We’ve come so far.

And maybe we still have a long way to go.

But I think it’s time to focus less on what we don’t have, and more on what we do have.

And moreover, less about seeking external validation, and more about realising we have all the power to achieve whatever we want within.

It’s about being brave enough to be ourselves in a world that all too often wants us to be something else.

In past blogs around this time of year, I’ve spoken about how fabulous women are. And let’s be honest, we ARE!

If we’re lucky enough, we can give birth and create new life. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, aunts, girlfriends, powerful professionals, caregivers… and sometimes all at the same time. We can rock it in anything from leather pants to yoga pants, from short cocktail dresses to jeans and a tee. We have big hearts. We nurture. From suffragettes to style icons, women inspire others to fight for their rights and go after their dreams. We have vision. We come from a place of love, compassion, and caring. We put others before ourselves. We have spirit. We have grit. We are beautiful. We have the power to bond pretty profoundly with one another. We take care of each other. When we see someone crying, we sit with her and find out what’s wrong and we comfort her. We have a natural ability to look after those needing comfort, support, love, friendship. We care. We are strong and capable yet gentle and kind. We come together and help each other. We are each other’s cheerleaders. Women fill up each other’s buckets. We can roar. We are brave and vulnerable and real. We can raise society up to a higher level by making value-based choices. And we women empower other fabulous women to step into their fabulousness.

Now you may not resonate with each and every idea above, but chances are you’re feeling you deserve a good ol’ pat on the back right about now.

And you DO! So go ahead, I’ll wait.

You really are pretty amazeballs. I hope you take a moment to realise it.

But you don’t need me to tell you that, your boss to tell you that, or the world to tell you that.

And we don’t need a special day to remind us of that.

You need to KNOW that. And believe it.

However, it is International Women’s Day. So take a moment to celebrate YOU today. And take a moment to celebrate the other special women in your life today, too. Reach out and tell them what they mean to you, and express how fabulous they truly are. And then reach out to the special men in your life, and let them know what their support means to you also.

I shall leave you with some inspirational quotes from some pretty inspirational ladies.

I shall leave you with some inspirational quotes:

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” – Helen Keller

“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn

 

Have a FAB week, you fabulous woman (or man!) you!