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!

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 

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

Happy Friday!

Okay, confession time. 

I enjoy positive feedback. 

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

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

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

Think about it. 

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

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

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

Easier said than done, I get it. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

A few reasons.

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

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

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

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

So here’s what I’m learning. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a FAB week!

Carol

It’s time to get outside!

Happy Friday!

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

Thank goodness I love traveling!

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

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

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

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

I think dogs have the right idea. 

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

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

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

Being outside offers lots of perks and benefits, too.

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

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

It makes you feel happy!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a FAB week!

Carol

Is it time to lift the instagram filter from your life?

Happy Friday!

Happy March 1st! 

Happy new month, and happy spring-is-just-around-the-corner (at least here’s hoping!)

This week I attended Speaker Slam, a monthly event where 10 brave speakers share their story around a particular theme. This month’s theme was overcoming adversity – and each and every story was deeply moving, super inspiring, and required some real vulnerability. Moreover, they spoke from their hearts and touched mine. I may have even shed a few tears. 

It certainly shifted my perspective on some of the so-called challenges in my life. 

Yet these brave individuals stood strong, shared from their scars and not their wounds, and are making a bigger impact in the world as a result.

One of the speakers included this line: it’s time to remove the instagram filter from our lives.   

Oh so true!

And it got me thinking.

We are currently living in a crazy epidemic of filters, false pretenses, and faux lashes, tans, breasts – you name it. 

But even worse than the fact a friend recently suggested I use some filters and editing to up my online dating profile (yup, being brave here and admitting to the fact I finally got online!) is the fact we’re hiding something even bigger behind those filters. 

I’ve had quite a few deep conversations recently about what is really going on behind those perfectly posed and primped photos… and it’s never what it seems. 

Now I’ll be the first to admit I use filters, too. 

I answer ‘fine’ when I don’t really feel like getting into everything. 

And I look at others’ lives and make assumptions and judgements about how they must have it all figured out. 

Here’s the thing. 

Filters may change how things look on the outside, but they do not negate what is actually going on behind the scenes. 

And when we compare our reality to everyone else’s highlight reel, we can end up feeling pretty awful about our life.

It’s time to have braver conversations. It’s time to get real with ourselves, get real with each other, and get real with what’s actually going on. 

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” 
~ Brené Brown

And when you are brave enough, vulnerable enough to be seen exactly where you are, as you are – the authentic, imperfect, beautiful being that you are – only then will you truly connect with another. Only then will you truly show up in your power. And only then will the world truly benefit from all you have to offer. 

 

Putting it into action:

If you’re ready to let your guard down, and allow your real self – your whole self – to be seen and to shine, try on one or more of these ideas this week:

Be the first.

Be the first to share something a bit more uncomfortable, a bit more vulnerable, a bit more real. When you self disclose, you give permission to the other person to do the same. And self disclosure is the birthplace of true connection.

Take a selfie.

Take a selfie, don’t use a filter, and share with someone you know. Or, take it up a notch and share on social media. Feeling even more daring? Post without any make-up. You are beautiful exactly as you are. Remember that.

Answer honestly.

Next time someone asks you how you are, answer a little more honestly. I know, I know, ‘you’re fine’ ~ but more than likely there’s something you’re struggling with, or something you’re celebrating! Big or small. It’s all relative. Let them in. Don’t be ashamed to share the bad stuff and the good stuff. 

Use your voice, share your story.

You have one. We all do. Perhaps it’s time to come out of hiding. Because every time we use our voice to share a little bit more about who we are and the journey that got us here, we have the power to help another. And likely it’s someone who is only a few steps behind. Maybe it’s with a colleague at work, a sibling, a neighbour. Start small, and you’ll see how liberating it is. 

Don’t get caught in the trap!

If you find yourself getting caught in the social media vortex, comparing your reality to someone else’s highlight reel, or getting down on yourself, STOP THE INSANITY! Turn it off, breathe, shift your perspective. Remind yourself there’s more than likely one or more filters on that stuff! 

 

This morning I put this idea into practice. I gently, but intentionally, opened up and shared one of my current struggles with a colleague. And then BOOM! out came the tears! EEK! I wasn’t expecting that to happen! I immediately turned around and went for the door. But instead I stayed. He held the space, and we’re now closer as a result. Plus, he ended up sharing an extremely helpful tip that may actually be a gamechanger.  

Be brave enough to lift the Instagram filter from your life this week. Open up a little more vulnerably, share a little more honestly, connect a little more deeply. 

Life is way more rich when we get real with one another. 

Have a FAB week!

 

 

 

 

P.S.  My interview for The Confident Woman interview series goes live TOMORROW! It’s not too late to sign up so you can listen in! REGISTER for your complimentary spot HERE!

What a Stranger On The Beach Taught Me About Love

Happy Friday! 

So I was running along the beach yesterday, (yes, indeed I’m very blessed, and currently enjoying a lovely beach holiday with my family…) and said good morning as I passed by this same gentleman I’ve seen walking most mornings this week.

On my way back, he stopped me. “I just have to tell you, you are the most beautiful woman on this beach!

I smiled awkwardly, very aware of the perspiration now dripping down my face. And then I said thank you, and what a lovely thing to say, especially being Valentine’s Day.

He proceeded to comment on my positive energy, and said I looked like I could be right out of University. HA! We had a brief little chat, and it turns out he’s a sculptor on the island. He was jokingly trying to convince me to move here.

Now I have to say, it’s nice to receive a compliment. 

And seeing as how it was Valentine’s Day, it was all the more welcome. 

Because even though I tend to believe it’s a bit of a Hallmark Holiday, it can still be a little tough for single women (I gave a special ‘Shout Out To All The Single Ladies’ yesterday with an important message you can check out HERE.)

But at the same time, I realised I was allowing another’s opinion to affect my own feelings about myself. 

I shouldn’t need a compliment from a random stranger to feel better on Valentine’s Day! 

And moreover, we don’t need a special holiday to experience, feel, and celebrate the love that is all around us, and available whenever we want. 

So whether yesterday included chocolates or flowers, a romantic dinner out, or staying in to watch reruns of Sex In The City with popcorn and ice cream by yourself, it doesn’t matter. And here are some other ways you can show the love to yourself, and others, any day of the week. 

Because regardless of your situation, we could all do with a little more love in our lives. 

“Love doesn’t make the world go around. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” ~ Franklin P. Jones

 

1. Write yourself a love letter. 

When was the last time you wrote yourself a love letter? Have you ever written one?

No doubt you’ve written some in your time (I actually have an antique trunk where I keep old love letters and special cards from folks over the years…), however as important as it is to spread and share the love with others, it’s arguably even more important to show the love for yourself. 

So go on, get out a piece of paper or a card – or splurge on a fancy piece of stationary – and start waxing poetic to yourself, about yourself…

You can write it to yourself today, to your younger self, or to your future self. 

2. Write a love letter to someone else

Everyone loves a good love letter. And now that we’re older, or gotten too ‘busy’ – we’re not making time to express our love for other important people in our lives. And I’m not just talking about lovers or significant others. Love notes can be shared with friends, family members, colleagues, neighbours…

Share some of the reasons you love and/or appreciate someone. You’ll make their day, and yours too. You can do it spontaneously, or anonymously, or even pretend to be a secret admirer.

3. Take yourself out on a date

I used to take myself out on dates all of the time. I’d even get dressed up, and choose a nice place to treat myself to. 

Far too many women are too afraid to take themselves out… to put a fancy outfit on, to sit at the bar, and to simply enjoy her own company. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to go out on dates with other people, too – but it can be just as special to show yourself enough love to take yourself out.

Don’t want to go out? Order in and watch some Netflix in your pajamas. You may just find out you’re pretty good company!

4. Do a random act of love 

We’ve all heard of random acts of kindness… but what about random acts of love? Perhaps similar in nature, however random acts of kindness often have to do with strangers (or friends you haven’t yet met.) Whereas random acts of love could be considered random acts you do for people you already know. Put a love note into your child’s lunchbox. Send your sibling tickets to their favourite concert. Or say yes to watching a movie of your friend or significant other’s choice, even though it wasn’t first on your list. Love doesn’t have to be limited to romantic love. You can show small acts of love to anyone who means something in your life. And no doubt they will be open to receiving the love. 

5. Buy yourself flowers

There is something about having a fresh bouquet of flowers. It freshens the air. It freshens your home. It freshens your soul. And it’s almost like you’re giving yourself a special treat. We do it for our guests, but how often do we do it for ourselves? Well, you’re worth it.

6. Give up something you love

This may appear counterintuitive, so hear me out. Sometimes we do things that aren’t good for us, because we are very good at rationalising or justifying why we deserve it. A Netflix marathon until 2am in the morning. A second bowl of ice cream. A 3rd glass of wine. Maybe it’s time to love yourself enough to give something up. 

So next time you have a craving for a little extra indulgence, when you know it’s not going to be good for you in long run, say no. Because deep down you know even though in the moment you may think you’re showing yourself some love, ultimately, saying no may show you actually love yourself even more.

7. Donate to a Charity in honour of someone you love

It could be in memory of someone who has passed, or someone still living. It could be in their name, or given anonymously. Although it is nice to have our love received, arguably it’s even more important for YOU, as the sender to know you are expressing it. And it’s not always about what you may get in return.

So, which of these are you going to take on this week?

I wanna hear from you in the comments below.

Don’t wait for a compliment from a stranger in order to feel good about yourself. Be brave enough to be the first to show some love to yourself and to others, and watch it grow.

Have a FAB week!

It’s time to get your brave on.

Happy Friday!

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

That was a big theme in the conversation I had yesterday with one of my brave coaching clients.

There are numerous things you could do… today, this week, this lifetime.

But that doesn’t mean you should.

Now there are some things you absolutely should do. And, there are likely a whole lot more things you shouldn’t do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about saying yes. Saying yes to opportunities, yes to things that scare you, and yes to life. It takes a brave person to say yes, especially when it’s something that’s going to make you uncomfortable. And, it also takes a brave person to say no.

And when there is something you could do, but know you shouldn’t do, it requires you to dig a little deeper and be a little braver, speak a little louder and stand a little taller, and say NO.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be brave.

Having just been to Africa with an incredible group of women to spend time volunteering with the Dare Women’s Foundation, and then a week climbing Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, I have to say these 12 ladies were absolutely displaying what it means to be brave. (Read more about our epic night to the Summit HERE!)

But you don’t have to go to Africa, or even go any further than your front door for that matter, in order to be brave.

I’m pretty sure there are lots of areas in your life where you are braver than you give yourself credit for. I also bet your bottom dollar there are areas in your life where you could be braver.

Today, I’m more interested in the latter.

Could you be braver in your work? In your relationships? In your commitments?

Where have you been playing small, and where could you be playing a little bigger, a little braver, this week?

Here are some ideas: 

  • Get in touch with that person you’ve been avoiding
  • Have that difficult conversation you don’t want to have
  • Apply for a position or an opportunity you might not get
  • Tell that person you find them cute
  • Start that thing even if you don’t feel ready
  • Say yes to something that scares you
  • Say no to something that you could do, but know you shouldn’t do

When was the last time you got your brave on? Perhaps it’s time to get your big girl pants on, and your big girl brave face on.

And if you’re looking for some inspiration, check out my friend Jana Stanfield’s song, ‘If I Were Brave.’

Cheers to you getting your brave on this week!

And then tell me how it went! I want to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB, brave-filled week!

Lessons from Africa on the power of connection.

Africa is everything you’ve ever imagined it could be, and nothing like you ever could have imagined. 

Granted I haven’t been all over Africa – I haven’t even been all over Tanzania yet – however in the small bit I have seen and experienced, I can honestly say there is something magical about this place.

We are not tourists here… and that makes a big difference. 

We’re staying with a local family in their guest house, we’re cooking with the local ‘mamas’ from the Dare Women’s Foundation while on site (it’s quite amazing watching a small area covered merely by a tarp be transformed into a full on kitchen…) preparing some of the most tasty and memorable meals ever, and our volunteer work in this remote village is building a fence around a property that will one become a community home for women in need.

We pass children in their uniforms on their way to and from school, flashing the whitest of smiles, screaming ‘Jambo!’ while running after our bus, impressively keeping up with our pace. 

We get welcomed by the village mamas in their beautiful brightly coloured dresses and kangas (traditional wraps) with singing and dancing and shaking of hips and whistle blowing (I have never been greeted with such genuine warmth and excitement…) It really does bring tears to my eyes every time.

And we’ve seen giraffes walking along a ridge in the distance, while hearing hippopotami (is that the plural of hippopotamus?!?) snort in a lake right next to us, as we share big dreams and big fears taking the ladies in our group through my ‘Spark Your G.E.N.I.U.S.’ program.

I feel so incredibly fortunate to be experiencing what I’m experiencing and learning what I’m learning right now. 

And, you don’t necessarily have to go to Africa (although I will say, if and when you get the chance, GO! It is INCREDIBLE and so hard to describe…) or another part of the world to shift your perspective or learn important lessons. 

But one of the biggest things – takeaways, highlights, learnings – is not really a new lesson at all. 

I’ve long since understood the power of it, yet being here it’s become even more evident to me.

CONNECTION.

Despite different backgrounds, regardless of various upbringings, beyond obvious language barriers, I continue to truly connect with so many of the local people I meet and have the honour of working with.

And it brings so much more meaning to every interaction.

Connect with others. 

Connect with yourself.

Connect to the moment. 

Last week I spoke about people, experiences, and moments making the world go around. 

Well, continuing on that theme, the next step is to truly CONNECT. 

If you are not connecting with these people, experiences, or moments, you will miss the mark, and the magic.

And so with respect to people specifically, here are three easy ways to more powerfully connect. 

1  See people.

See people for who they truly are. Get to know them. Be let in. Place yourself in their shoes whenever possible. Learn their names. Learn their story.

2  Share Yourself. 

Don’t be afraid to self disclose. Let them in. When you open up, you invite them to do the same. And vulnerable sharing is the birthplace of deeper and more meaningful connection. 

3  Smile More.

Don’t underestimate the power of gestures. Making eye contact, extending a hand, or offering an embrace goes a LONG way. Especially when there may be a language barrier. Smile. A smile is truly worth a thousand words. Smile and the world smiles back at you. 

 

When you want to more powerfully connect with someone, use these three tips and you’ll be well on your way.

After all, human connection is important, and people, experiences, and moments make the world go around.

It’s been an incredible first week here in Tanzania, and tomorrow we head off at 5am towards the mountain to start our climb up Kilimanjaro. 

Wish us luck!

2 trains🚊 down, 2 flights ✈ to go, 1 epic experience awaits…

I’m pretty sure it hasn’t hit me yet. 

Luckily I have about 15 hours ahead of me between the two flights and a layover, and so it may begin to at some point in there!

It’s been a whirlwind the last little while to say the least. Many a tear shed, plenty of laughs shared, and lots of special memories both relived and created. 

We had a beautiful tribute for my stepmother and our dear Eveline in her family’s quaint home town in northern Germany, and now she is in her final resting place. 

And may she rest in peace. 

I’ve wanted to be in the moment, feeling all the feels, and so the fact I’m about to embark on what I’m pretty sure is going to be an epic experience of a lifetime hasn’t quite sunk in yet. 

It’s been in the works for well over a year. And conversations with my partners in crime for even longer than that. 

Women Living Big and UGO Travel For Change have joined forces, and 12 brave souls will all be arriving in Arusha, Tanzania over the next 24 hours where we’ll all finally meet in person as a group for the first time. 

We’ve been on the journey for the past few months together… meeting over zoom calls sharing dreams and fears and lots in between, exchanging equipment lists and packing woes and pictures of ‘she wees,’ and getting to know one another through hilarious what’s app conversations and way too many bitmojis!

We’re going to be volunteering with the Dare Women’s Association for a week, getting down and dirty and building a fence, and then we will make our way to Mt. Kilimanjaro, attempting to reach the summit. 

Kinda crazy if I think about it. 

Kinda crazy to think about all that has transpired over the last few weeks. 

Welcoming a new baby into the family, having to say goodbye to another member of the family, and a whole lotta miles being flown the process.

And so if I’m honest, no, I haven’t quite processed it all yet.

But then again, when life is happening so fast all around you, do you ever actually process in the moment?

Well, perhaps not. but I’m taking a small moment now to begin to think and reflect. 

Without getting too philosophical, what is it all about in the end anyhow?

Well, I’ve realised I couldn’t have gone through what I just did without so many special people in my life. Having my friends and family around for support and to experience it together has meant everything. And sharing special moments, both laughs and tears. And talking about special past experiences, as well as looking forward to more special experiences to come. 

People. Moments. Experiences. 

That’s really what makes the world go around. 

And so as you and I embark on all of the adventures that await us in 2019 – planned or unplanned – may they involve special people, special moments, and special experiences. 

They make the journey worthwhile, and give life meaning. 

Short and sweet this week, as I’m getting ready to board!

Have a FAB week!

5 Easy Ways to Avoid Overwhelm (and stay sane!) This Holiday Season

Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

 

Happy Friday!

And greetings from on board AC flight 103 🛩 from YYZ to YVR!

Calgary to visit family last week, Vancouver to attend our annual CAPS convention this week – thank goodness this jetsetter loves flying as much as I do! Although I have to say it’s also taking a toll on my holiday preparations 😳.

I’m diligently trying to write my Christmas cards on the plane 💌 , making lists for two back-to-back parties I’m hosting next weekend, and getting a wee bit stressed about the fact I only have but a few small stocking stuffers so far in the gift 🎁 department. 

I do love this time of year, yet as exciting as it is, it can also get pretty busy and pretty stressy pretty quickly. 

And it’s all too easy to get caught up in feeling the need to decorate à la Martha Stewart, make home-baked goods better than Betty Crocker, or show up at every holiday party perfectly primped in a new frock 👗 like you’re like the biggest socialite on the block (with a bottomless bank account, to boot!)

I don’t know about you, however it makes me a tad anxious just thinking about it!

Isn’t this time of year supposed to be the most peaceful and joyest of all 🤷‍♀?!?

In order to avoid the overwhelm and maximise the merry, here are five tips that might help:

1. Detach From Expectation.

It’s tough not to have some vision in your head of what the holiday season is supposed to look like. You have your family traditions 🛷, your special rituals, your festive 🎄festivities. That being said, don’t be too attached. 

Be okay with going with the flow this year, and being open to however the season unfolds. 

2. Keep it Simple  

So you haven’t been able to get 200 home-made Christmas cards out there yet? It’s okay! Perhaps you send a digital card, a personalized video, or boycott cards altogether (you can blame the postal strike!)

Maybe you opt to buy pre-decorated cookies 🍪  instead of making them yourself. Or you choose to recycle a dress from last year. No one will hate you, promise! (they likely won’t even notice…) 

3. Just Say NO!

You do not have to be invited to all of the fancy 🍾 galas, festive mixers or holiday potlucks. And even if you are, you certainly don’t have to attend them all. Not only will you drive yourself crazy trying to be everywhere at the same time and all things to everyone, chances are you won’t even be present enough to enjoy yourself, anyway!

And with respect to anything additional that’s being asked of you, be honest and get real with yourself. Is it necessary? Is it a priority?

Be okay with saying NO (even if it’s to your family or closet friends!) and start saying YES to yourself and your needs. 

4. Get Clear on Your Priorities

Don’t succumb to the pressure 🤦‍♀ to entertain and decorate better than you see in the magazines or on TV, or to do either at all!

Make a list of your non-negotiables, and be realistic about what’s possible. Who do you really want to connect with this holiday season? What activities will you actually enjoy doing? Schedule who and what’s most important, and look at anything or anyone above and beyond as a bonus. 

5. Take Care of YOU!

Put yourself at the top of the food chain. Seriously though! 

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Enough fresh air. Enough vitamins and greens. 

And then book in some ‘ME TIME.’ Get a massage. Go for a walk. Reserve a spot on your fave couch and curl up with a cup of tea ☕ or a nice book. Get your nails done 💅. Have a bubble bath 🛀.

Choose something that relaxes you, makes your heart smile, that is only for you. It’s NOT overrated. It’s important. And even moreso than ever at this time of year. Even better, schedule weekly ‘me time’ and treat it like a serious appointment.

 

🎶🎵 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” 🎵 🎶  Or at least it could be! So let’s ensure it is, and it stays that way!

If you’re serious about avoiding overwhelm and saying no to competing with Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker, detach from expectation, keep it simple, just say no, get clear on your priorities, and take care of YOU. 

Let me know which of these ideas you’re going to take on!

I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!