Stop pleasing the teacher!

Happy Friday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed it’s a bit ridiculous. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So it’s time to get honest. 

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

I want to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Is more, better?

Happy Friday!

You may recall the story of Oliver Twist.

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

“Please, Sir, I want some more…”


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

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

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

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

When is anything ever going to be enough?

And is more even better?

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

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

And I know I’m not alone! 

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

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

“But I’m happy with what we have.”

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

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

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

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

WOW. I needed to hear those words. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

More is not always better. 


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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a FAB week!


It’s None Of Your Business!

Happy Friday!

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

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

Allow me to expand. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is that?!?

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

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

And he’s right!

Often easier said than done, of course. 

Yet this is exactly what causes us so much pain!

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, it’s time to stop it!

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

Sometimes I can be pretty hard on my Dad. 

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

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

And then it dawned on me. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a FAB week!

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

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

~ Chinese Proverb

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

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

And so I didn’t.

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

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

And so I didn’t.

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

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

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

And you know what, I LOVED it!

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

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

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

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

I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

And then it popped out again. 

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

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

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

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

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

Until it started again. 

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

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

So, what’s the moral of the story?

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

Just kidding. 

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

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

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

Which of the following are you saying to yourself?

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

Name your poison.

And then STOP IT already!!!

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

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

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

So, it’s time to identify:

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

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

Chinese Proverb

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

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

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

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

I hope to see you there!

Have a FAB week!

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

Have you ever felt like an imposter? 

I certainly have, and on more than one occasion. 

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

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

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

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

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

Because the truth is, in that moment,

I didn’t feel I deserved the praise. 

I felt very far from having it all figured out. 

And I felt like a total imposter. 

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

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

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

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

And of course he’s right. 

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

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

So, what does it even mean?!?

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

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

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

And so here’s what I think. 

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

Here’s what else I think.

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

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

You get to decide. You get to choose. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I dare YOU to do the same!

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

It’s as simple as that. 

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

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

Have a FAB week!

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

Because I am brave…

Happy Friday!

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

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

I think we’re onto something here, folks!

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

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

And you know what I’m learning?

It’s not a one and done kinda thing.

It’s a practice. 

It’s contagious. 

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

But because I am brave, I did it. 

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

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

Here is a mini excerpt to peak your attention:

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

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

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

Here’s what else I’m learning.

Fear ‘aint going anywhere any time soon. 

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

The way I see it, we have two choices. 

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

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

Go ahead, I DARE you. 

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

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

Be BRĀV enough to share your comments below!

Have a FAB week!!!

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

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

Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Why they all matter.


Yesterday morning, I visited my grandmother’s grave.

I never met her. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I had a moment. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need all three. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So interconnected… and we need them all. 

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

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

Don’t procrastinate on joy.

This morning, I had a croissant. 

Cue gasp here.

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

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

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

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

Give into it. 

Don’t procrastinate on joy. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t procrastinate your joy.

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

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

I’m finding it quite peaceful to be honest!

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

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

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

Don’t procrastinate joy. 

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

Have a FAB week!

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

Conversations & Connections. Why they matter.

Happy Friday! (And Happy Friday before the long weekend!) 

It’s been an amazingly full week. 

And by full I mean my bucket is full, my mind is full, and my heart is full.

I started the week off in Las Vegas, as I had the honour of speaking at the SHRM 2019 International Conference.

Sunday had a lovely evening with the inspiring HoF speaker Barbara Glanz, followed by a gondola ride in our beautiful Venetian Hotel with another fellow speaker friend. 

Monday morning began by listening to – and learning a ton from – Brené Brown. Pretty darn amazing. And that afternoon had the privilege of delivering my session to an incredible audience. Now I love speaking to all crowds of all sizes, but when there is standing room only in your room with over 1000 chairs (we even filled the overflow room bringing us to 1250 in all!)there is an energy exchange that is pretty powerful. 

That evening, I was in awe as I watched Le Rêve, an incredible show in water put on by one of Cirque du Soleil’s directors. It was truly breathtaking and magical. 

Tuesday was travel day – which I surprisingly love – and was met at the airport back in Toronto by a friend and whisked off to see Hugh Jackman live for his AH-MAZING musical show.

Wednesday enjoyed an intimate dinner party with some other special speaking colleagues – and friends – and then went home to visit my Dad and his best friend who just arrived from Wales. 

And finally last night was invited to attend a very special Mess Dinner at The Canadian Forces College and met some extremely fascinating and inspiring individuals. 

Now I’m not sharing to brag or boast. First of all, this week was a bit of an anomaly ~ my weeks are certainly not always as full! (And it looked very different than last week I assure you!)

The reason I’m sharing is because as amazing as some of those events were, what actually made my week so full were the people, the connections, and the conversations I enjoyed. 

An experience isn’t truly an experience unless shared. Even if you take part in an experience on your own – which I often do – what makes it meaningful is sharing about it through conversation after the fact.

The dinners, the shows, the traveling, even the speaking was made so much more meaningful through the conversations I enjoyed with the women after the talk. And plane rides wouldn’t be nearly as fun if I didn’t engage in conversation with the people sitting next to me. 

A lot of my learning and ideas and ahas take place while in conversation with others. In fact, I was taking notes about what I wanted to say in today’s blog while sitting on my hair stylist’s chair, as we were ironically in conversation about the importance of conversation!

Think about it. It’s only through connection and conversation that we can truly make meaning about what is happening to us and all around us. 

For me, that is how I define whether my days are full.

As I’ve mentioned before, most mornings I write in my five-minute journal. One of the questions in the morning is ‘What would make today great?’ and one of the questions at night is ‘3 amazing things that happened today…’ 

And almost everyday, both answers have something to do with a connection or conversation with another I hope to experience or was able to experience.

So this week I invite you to be brave enough to engage in more connection and more conversations.

Courageous conversations. Meaningful conversations. Deep conversations. Curious conversations. New conversations. Transparent conversations. Generous conversations. Spontaneous conversations. Real conversations. 

Here are some tips to engage in more conversations that matter.


1. Be The First

Be the first to say hello to a stranger, to ask someone’s name, to ask how someone is, to begin the conversation at all. 

2. Give a Compliment

Not sure how to begin a conversation? Who doesn’t love a compliment? It’s a great way to break the ice and build instant connection. 

3.  Get Curious

Ask good questions. In order to be a great conversationalist, it’s actually less about how up to date you are with current affairs, and more about your willingness to ask good questions and to be curious enough to listen to the answer. 

4. Engage in Active Listening

Listening does not always mean hearing. Active listening means you are really in the conversation, and by using both verbal and non-verbal cues you show that indeed you are right there with the other person. 

5. Be Present 

It’s hard to turn our minds off, I get it. Work hard to be present in your conversations, avoid distracting thoughts or making your grocery list in your head, and choose to be all in. Only then will truly meaningful connection take place. 

I hope you engage in some meaningful conversations this week, and enjoy some meaningful connection as a result! Let me know which tip came in handy and what happened…

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.


Have a FAB week!