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!

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

If it’s not a ‘Hell YEAH!’ perhaps it’s a no.

Happy Friday!

If it’s not a ‘Hell YEAH!’ it’s a no. 

I remember first hearing that phrase a few years ago… and it really resonated with me at the time. 

You see, I’m not always the best at making decisions. And yet I’m pretty fortunate in that there always seems to be a plethora of options and opportunities at any given moment.

It’s a blessing and a curse, really. 

Fun to know there are so many things I could attend, take on, get involved with… and yet all the more difficult to know which to say yes to, and which to pass up. 

And so, if I’m honest, I’ve been known in the past to say yes to it all, or take on a tad too much. Until it really becomes too much, and therefore is no longer enjoyable. 

Choices are exciting. And choices are tough. (And if you’ve never heard of Barry Schwartz and his book and accompanying Ted Talk, ‘The Paradox of Choice,’ I suggest you check it out!)

And so, it’s often useful to have some filters to help with the decision-making, and determine what makes the most sense for you at given moment in time. 

Here are some questions I ask myself when trying to put ideas or opportunities through a filter of sorts:

  • Does it excite me?
  • Do I have the capacity to take it on at this moment?
  • How much time and/or energy will it require of me?
  • What are the potential rewards?
  • Is it something important to me?
  • Is it in alignment with my values?
  • Examine the real reasons I would want to say yes – Am I doing it for me? To prove something to myself or others? To please someone else? To be liked? To fit in? 
  • Will it bring me closer to where I want to be, or farther away?

And now, regardless of how rational we may be, despite any fancy test or vetting process we take ourselves through, I have one question that can more often than not bypass it all:

“Is it a HELL YES?”

Because if it’s not, perhaps it’s a no. 

We have SOO many projects and people and options and opportunities competing for our time and attention, all the time. And so why would we give up our precious resources to something that is less than extremely exciting to us?!?

Is there something you are currently facing that requires a decision to be made?

Get honest, and ask yourself if it’s a hell yes. And if it’s not, perhaps it’s a no, and maybe it’s okay to pass on it this time around. 

And there is NO harm in admitting that! 

You will only be doing a disservice to yourself, to others, and ultimately the world wasting your resources on something that doesn’t totally light you up. That doesn’t fuel your fire. That doesn’t get you going deep down in the core of your belly.

Life is short enough as it is. It’s worth passing on the ‘good’ in order to make room for the ‘great.’ 

And it’s worth waiting for the ‘Hell Yeahs!’ Otherwise, it may be time to get your brave on and say ‘Hell No!

Where in your life are you facing an important decision? And what’s it going to be? I want to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol 

Before you bring on 2019, do this ONE thing.

Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

Happy Friday!

The Christmas music is still playing off in the distance.

The last morsels of turkey made for yet another delicious cold turkey lunch.

There are half-eaten boxes of chocolate in the pantry, an impressive amount of empty wine bottles, and the recycling boxes are full to the brim with cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, greeting card envelopes.

All evidence points to a lovely holiday of entertaining and enjoyment by all.

And that it was indeed.

And now we enter into this weird time when a part of you is likely still in festive mode, a part of you is back thinking about or diving deep into work, and yet another part of you is busy looking ahead and strategizing all for 2019.

I’m not quite sure where I am, but I did show up at my girlfriend’s house this morning in my Christmas onesie with breakfast pastries and one last gift, trying to hang onto this special holiday for as long as possible! (also learned a valuable lesson… if your gift requires batteries, you better be sure to have them in tow! Clearly an amateur!)

For me, this time of year has always been about spending time with friends and family and all loved ones, and likely always will be.

And so somehow I can justify my procrastination on the overflowing inbox and strategy sessions by surrounding myself in good company.

At the same time, however, my mind can’t help but wander to a few days from now, where I’ll likely be watching the ball drop, toasting with a glass of bubbly, and if I’m lucky enough enjoy a few kisses and cheers with some of the special people in my life.

And all of a sudden it will be a new year.

A new start.
A fresh opportunity.
A blank page.

And as much as I love thinking and dreaming up all the possibilities for the year ahead, I also tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to have all of these ambitious goals figured out and planned out exactly what it is I want my year to look like before it’s even arrived.

Well, I’m not quite there yet.
And you may not be, either.
And that’s okay.

Because before we jump ahead to dreaming and scheming up the sensational storm that will be 2019, it’s important to do this ONE THING:

Pause and Reflect. 

It sounds simple enough, but it’s not always easy.

All too often we’re in a rush to get to the next thing before reflecting on what just happened.

We experience a breakup, and we’re back on line or swiping left looking for a new mate within days (or even hours!)

We arrive home from a trip, and before we’ve even unpacked we’re thinking about the next one.

We leave our job or position for whatever reason, and we’re jumping into a new project or applying for a new position almost immediately.

When was the last time you took the time to actually pause and reflect on what just happened? On your learnings? On how your perspective may have shifted? On what you want to be different next time? On what worked, and what didn’t?!?

Before we look ahead to 2019 – and all we want to experience, achieve, and feel – let’s first take some time to properly pause and reflect on this past year.

Now there are lots of questions out there and journal prompts and workbooks available for you to complete, but the last thing I want to do is add another something to your to-do list.

So I’m sharing 10 questions with you here… of which you may choose to answer all or one or even none. There is no right or wrong, nor does it matter if you answer with fancy gel pens in a fancy new journal, or simply in your head while enjoying a bubble bath. But I do suggest you at least read the following… as even doing just that will allow you to pause and begin the reflection process.

(And then stay tuned, as next week I’ll be offering my annual ‘Intentions, Resolutions, & Goals, OH MY!’ workshop to get clear on all we want in 2019. Good news? It’s going to be taking place ON LINE… so all y’all can join! *Registration opening soon.)

Reflection Questions for 2018:

  • What are your BIG celebrations?
  • What were your proudest accomplishments?
  • What were the highlights? Lowlights?
  • What is the most important lesson(s) you learned?
  • What do you want more of? Less of?
  • Where were you playing smaller than you know you could have?
  • Who were the big cheerleaders and supporters in your life? (and how will you acknowledge them?)
  • How did you stretch yourself to live BIG in 2018?
  • What do you need to let go of in order to live even bigger in 2019?
  • Who did you need to become to get here, and who do you need to grow into to get where you want to go? 

May you take a moment to properly reflect on 2018… all that it was, and all that it wasn’t. All you experienced, and all you learned. How you grew and who you became.

Take a moment – if only a moment – to pause and reflect, celebrate, grieve, acknowledge, accept.

(And then please share some of your reflections in the comments below! I want to share in them with you.)

And when you do, you truly will be ready to ring in, and bring on 2019.

May it be all you desire and more.

xo,

 

 

 

P.S. THANK YOU for being an important part of my year… your reading, following, supporting, and commenting means more than you know. And I continue to be honoured and grateful to be in this together…

Cheers to continuing on the journey in 2019!

 

Is it time to let your hair down?

I had the honour of speaking in Ottawa last week at a Professional Development Week.

And when my schedule allows, I love being able to stay and actually take part in the event, versus simply flying in and flying out. It gives me a chance to get to know the members and staff of the organization or association, meet the delegates and ask about their challenges and what they’re looking to learn, and connect with fellow speakers. 

As it happened, I was sitting on a leadership panel on Wednesday, was giving a presentation on Friday, and was able to take part and digest much of the week’s program and activities before and after. 

But when I was invited to stay to attend the President’s Ball on the last evening… I found myself in a bit of a predicament. 

One.

I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. (I actually really liked the organisers and staff and everyone I was meeting… and want to be asked to come back next year!)

Two.

I actually had an event in Toronto I was supposed to get home for. 

Three.

I wasn’t sure how professional it would appear for a speaker to be busting a move on the dance floor (I do have some pretty good moves!)

Well, I contemplated both sides. 

I ran it by a friend.

I got clear on what I really wanted to do.

And finally someone said: ‘Why don’t you just stay and let your hair down?!?’

And in the end, I did. And I had a great time.

But it got me thinking. 

Now I can be very spontaneous, but it’s not always without analysis, over-analysis, or serious judgment. 

Is that the ‘right’ thing to do? 

Is that what I ‘should’ do?

What would others think or say if I were to do that?

How many of your actions are motivated by what you think is the right thing to do, or what you feel you should be doing, or out of comparison and/or fear of what others may think or say?

Sometimes we gotta stop caring, over-analysing, or doing the ‘right’ thing. 

Maybe it was time to let my hair down. 

Maybe it’s time to let your hair down, too.

(and for those who don’t have hair, maybe it’s time to loosen your tie a little, or take it off altogether…!!!) 

Now what does that mean?

Perhaps it means saying yes to something you would normally say no to. Perhaps it means saying no to something you would normally say yes to. Perhaps it means you try something you’ve never done before. 

Perhaps it means you… 

Share your big dream aloud. Say hello to that cute boy or girl in line or sitting next to you at Starbucks. Stop playing the game. Stop doing what you think you should be doing. Stop comparing where you think you should be to where you are. Get rid of the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary once and for all. Sleep in past your alarm. Don’t even set your alarm. Play hooky for an afternoon or even a whole day. Sign up for an open mic night. Sign up for a 5km race. Take a tap class or a salsa class or a Bollywood dance class. Dance in your kitchen. Dance in your birthday suit. Dance like nobody’s watching. Sing in the shower, in your car, or out loud somewhere, anywhere. Commit to doing something even if it scares you. Especially if it scares you. Do something a little crazy, something out of the norm, something totally unexpected. 

 

Now I’m not talking about doing anything dangerous or overly rebellious or ridiculously scary that it puts you in your panic zone. 

But I do think it may be time to let loose, just a little.  

So what would letting your hair down or loosening your tie look like to you?

And what is one small action you could take on this week to do just that? 

Go ahead. I dare you. 

(And let please let me know what you did! I wanna celebrate with you! Share in the comments below…)

Have a FAB week!

No deals, just questions…

(images taken from my hotel and last night’s run!)

Happy Friday! And Happy Black Friday to boot!

And greetings from Gatineau, Quebec, a little outside of Ottawa, where I’ve had the honour and privilege of speaking for the Financial Management Institution (fmi) Professional Development Week.

I spoke on a leadership panel a few days ago, and this afternoon was the first time I spoke in a massive theatre (with a green room and all!) and the first time I had my slides and presentation translated.

Apart from the fact my session was the last slot on the last day of a 5-day conference, and on a Friday afternoon no less, it went well!

Black Friday has been the furthest thing from my mind, however my inbox is now flooded with deals galore, not-to-be-missed-sales, one of kind ‘ACT NOW!’ opportunities.

It’s come to be expected.

Black Friday is any retailer, credit card provider, consumer’s dream.

But is it, really?

Do we really need any more STUFF?

I’m going to generalise here a little bit, but we seem to be a culture chasing stuff, things, something.  

Whether it be the dream, the job, the man (or woman,) the house, the kids, the latest gadget or gizmo that’s now on sale at Best Buy.

Well I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

NONE of those things are going to bring you the happiness that I dare say we’re all so desperately seeking.

So, I’m going to boycott Black Friday.

Instead, I’m going to take this opportunity to reflect on where I’m at, what’s real, what’s not, what’s working, what’s not, and who I need to be in order to get to where I want to go.

Care to reflect with me? Here are some questions to ponder… (and I dare you to actually answer at least a few!) 

  • How did you show up today?
  • How do you want to show up tomorrow?
  • Where in your life are you brave?
  • Where in your life could you be braver?
  • What are your unique gifts?
  • Are you bringing all of your gifts to the table?
  • What are your non-negotiables?
  • Are you sticking to them?
  • What brings you joy, really?
  • How can you bring more of the joy?
  • What words would you like others to use when describing you?
  • What are you grateful for today?
  • Who are those special peeps in your life you can’t live without?
  • When was the last time you told them so?
  • What courageous conversation, that if you had today, would make all the difference?
  • What one thing, that if you started doing (or stopped doing) today, would make all the difference?
  • What is your proudest accomplishment?
  • If you could wave a magic wand and make one change to your current reality, what would it be?
  • What is your one big message you want to share with the world?
  • How are you sharing it? And if you’re not already sharing it, when are you going to start?
  • What does living BIG mean to you?
  • Where could you live even BIGGER?
  • What is your first next step to start you on this path?

Perhaps a little deep for a Friday evening.

But then again, is there ever going to the right time to ask the tough, reflective, important questions?!?

(And if you have any other questions to throw into the mix, I’d love to hear from you!) Please feel free to share your comments below.

Happy Black Friday!

 

 

The power of spontaneity.

Photo by Alejandro Alvarez on Unsplash

As much as I try to deny it, I tend to sway closer to last minute planner than I do uber organised advanced planner. I wonder if I’ll ever change! 

However, I could look at it as being a bad thing, or I could simply reframe, and choose to say I enjoy being SPONTANEOUS.

And I do! 

And actually, there is power in spontaneity. 

Don’t get me wrong… it’s nice to have plans. To have something to look forward to, something to work toward. (And if you’re a Mom, running a household, or have certain responsibilities at work, you kinda HAVE to be on top of your planning game!)

At the same time, natural planner or not, sometimes it’s okay – and necessary – to be able and wiling to throw your plans to the wayside.

As great as plans may be, they don’t always happen ‘as planned‘. Sometimes plans change. Sometimes plans fall through. 

Back in the day when I was young and innocent, (of course I’m still both, let’s be honest!) I had big plans for my life. I thought I’d be married at 21 and have 8 kids by now. I’m not even kidding! I also thought I would be living on a farm and have a veterinarian clinic across the street. HA!

Alas, someone had other plans for my life… (funny as the weekly quote on my wall reads “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell)

So while it’s good to have plans, sometimes it’s equally as important, and powerful, to allow yourself to be spontaneous. To go with the flow.

To say yes to something that scares you, to say yes to something that appeared totally out of the blue, to say yes to something you never in a million years could have imagined for yourself or your life.

Looking back, some of the moments I’ve been most spontaneous in my life have also brought me the most joy, the best adventures, the biggest growth. 

For example…

Being spontaneous had me applying to Remote Year while in the same conversation I was first learning about it. I mean, within minutes. 

Being spontaneous led me to resigning from a good job in Toronto over email to accept a job offer while traveling in Australia… only to meet an amazing man and move into his van and go apple picking in New Zealand a few days later.

Being spontaneous meant some pretty cool work opportunities locally and beyond ~ from serving tables in fancy bars and restaurants (even facilitated an engagement!) , to playing a bartender in Space on TV (because why not?!?), to working in ski rentals (ie dancing on the ski and board adjustment tables and having the time of my life in Queenstown), to working at Club Med Crested Butte in the Kids Club, (I was visiting my best friend who was working there… and had an offer, a visa, and a return plane ticket within a week!) to selling yoga apparel and soon managing people (I was simply looking for a fun job just after my Mum passed… and to this day credit lululemon with the start of both my personal and professional development journey), to teaching French to kindergarten kids at a Russian school (boy did I learn a lot!), to working as a Communications Instructor at The University of Illinois while completing my Masters degree (will forever be grateful to my Springfield and Communications Department family!), to creating a yoga community in Wrexham, Wales… and I could go on!

Being spontaneous meant saying yes to a dare to go bungee jumping in Greece (if you wanna hear this crazy story, I’ll actually be sharing it from the stage at MoMondays Toronto in a few days!)

Being spontaneous led me to meeting some pretty amazing people all over the world, hearing some pretty inspiring stories, and experiencing some pretty amazing cultural experiences… like living in Ashrams and riding on camels and throwing both buckets of water and dump trucks of tomatoes all over thousands of strangers.

Being spontaneous has led me to numerous random events on random occasions, not knowing anyone, where I would end of meeting some of my now closest friends and entrepreneurial sisters… Oh, and my partners for our upcoming program and trip to Tanzania!

So although structure and planning is certainly an ‘area of opportunity’ for me, I will also say my ability to be spontaneous has led to some pretty amazing events and happenings and current joy in my life. 

Okay enough about me!

Wanna be more spontaneous and not sure where to start? 

 

 

1. Say ‘YES’ to something you would normally say ‘NO’ to.

 

And vice versa. Saying ‘NO’ to something you would have normally said ‘NO’ to may be equally as powerful. Dare to throw your norm out the window!

 

2. Quiet down, or better yet, turn OFF the ‘SHOULDS’ in your head.

One of my friends and colleagues runs an extremely successful pole dancing for fitness studio, and all because she ignored the voice that said ‘But good mamas don’t do pole!’ When she was first invited to attend a class. There is no one way you SHOULD be… as a Mom, a professional, or as any part of you for that matter.

3. Ask yourself honestly, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?

Sometimes we jump to conclusions or make assumptions or run down the rabbit hole of worse case scenarios WAY too quickly, or way too unrealistically. Take a moment to explore all possibilities, and then trust. You regret the things your DON’T DO way more than the things you DO do. 

AND, if you’re TRULY ready to be spontaneous, SAY YES to coming to our   ‘TAKE THE LEAP!’ event happening tomorrow at iFLY Toronto! Women Living Big is turning 3 ~ and without giving too much away, I’m just about to go and pick up the rose gold balloons!

YES, there will be a little bubbly… (of all sorts…), and YES we’re also going Indoor Skydiving!

And, if you’re not ready to physically take the leap (at least not yet!) you can still come to the IGNITE! Workshop portion of the event, and learn how to get OUT of your comfort zone and into your ‘B.I.G. Zone!’ 

(As a loyal Happy Friday reader and member of our community, I have a special offer… you’ll come as my guest for less than 50% … because EVERYONE loves a celebration, right?!? Use Promo Code HAPPYFRIDAY!)

Even if you’re not able to come out tomorrow, I would still LOVE to hear of you doing something a little spontaneous this weekend. What do you have to lose?!?

Test out a new restaurant or sample a new flavour of ice cream.
Get into the spirit of Halloween and buy yourself a crazy costume.
Try out a new activity or hobby (I hear crocheting is pretty amazing for the mind!)

And then TELL me all about it in the comments below. 

Have a FAB week!

 

 

 

 

P.S. I’ve had fun interviewing some of the members of the WLB Members of our community on what it means to ‘Take The Leap!’ Check out my interview with Jill Valentine, founder of UGO Travel for Change HERE, and Ashley-Ann Pereira, author, speaker, creator of The Key To Happiness HERE.

How do you say, and DO, thank you?

Perhaps I’m riding of the coattails of Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, but I’ve definitely been aboard the thanks and gratitude train this week.

I’ve been feeling pretty grateful, expressing lots of thanks and gratitude, and also seem to have received a whole lot in return. 

And so, I felt it a good time to talk about the power of giving thanks.

Thank you. Merci. Gracias. Danke schön. Bedankt. Grazie. Hvala. Spasiba. Khup kun kah. Obrigado. Takk. Mahalo. Xie xie.

However you say it, thank you means thank you in every language. 

(**prize in store for anyone who can name each language above without looking any up!!! Simply COMMENT below!)

Whenever I have the opportunity to visit a new country, the first words and phrases I immediately learn are hello, goodbye, please and thank you (and then ‘cheers’ too!) And you can actually get a LONG way on these alone.

Although I’ve come to realize it’s not just about knowing how to say thank you, it’s about how you actually show it and express it. 

AND, finding some fun and unique ways to do it!

Watch this week’s video to learn not only WHY it’s so important to feel and express gratitude, but also get some unique ideas as to how to do it!

What are your ideas for some different and meaningful ways you’ve either sent or received a thank you?

And which one are you going to put into practice this week?

I’d love to hear from you below!

When to say GO, and when to say STOP!

Did you ever play the ‘GO, GO, STOP!’ game when you were a child?

Similar to ‘What time is it Mr. Wolf’ or ‘Freeze’, someone at one end of the room, with their back facing the others, would say ‘Go, go, go, go….’ as many times as they’d like, and then suddenly throw out a ‘STOP!’ Everyone at this point would have to freeze, as this person quickly spins around. And, if anyone was caught moving, they were OUT!

I loved that game. (Although I’m pretty sure I loved ALL games growing up!) 

This game can also be used as a metaphor for life, and it’s actually a reflection of what I’m feeling and experiencing around me these days.

Sometimes it’s time to say go, and sometimes it’s time to say stop. 

Watch this week’s video to learn when and why it’s important to simply STOP, and how to do just that. 

Remember,

You are the expert of your own life. 

You already have all of the answers. 

And only YOU are going to be the best in the world at being YOU. 

 

 

Sometimes it’s time to go, go go… and sometimes it’s time to STOP, ignore everyone else, re-evaluate, and gain the clarity and confidence we need to go forward even more powerfully.

And if you’re ready to do this, and yet don’t know where to start, I invite you to attend one of our upcoming workshops, IGNITE!  taking place on Wednesday, Sept 26th at The Village Hive, or ‘Live B.I.G.G.E.R.’ (PLUS PoleFit Nation Dance & Mingle!) taking place on Friday, Sept. 28th.

 

You’ll get clear on what you want, your values, your needs; learn how to break free from the ‘not enough/in-action trap’ and create a customised action plan for YOU!

I hope to see you there!