Introducing The Growth Mindset. Game Changer!

I’m a fan of audible. Books on tape (or rather, digital books, same idea!)

While driving, running, or pottering around the house cooking, doing laundry, tending to the dust bunnies, it’s an amazing way to ‘read.’ 

If you haven’t heard about it, or ever tried it, I highly recommend it! 

My most recent download – and it’s HIGH time as it’s been recommended to me numerous times, and been sitting on my Wishlist for a while now! – is Carol Dweck’s Mindset. 

Although I’ve come across her work numerous times in my research, it’s explained so much more powerfully in this book. And I’m only halfway through!

I have a feeling it just may be a game changer for me.

And it may be for you, too.

In fact, I’m definitely choosing to adopt what she calls the growth mindset (more to come on that – read on!) to the talk I’m delivering tomorrow. 

You see, by the time you read this blog, I’ll likely be boarding or already in the air on board another flight, this time to Calgary. 

I have the honour and privilege of speaking to the Calgary chapter of CAPS – the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. 

Now I mean it when I say it’s an honour and a privilege… AND, it’s also going to be pretty freakin’ scary speaking in front of fellow speakers!

Luckily all CAPS members are lovely and supportive. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a tad bit of pressure speaking vulnerably in front of my peers.

So of course I want to give a kick-ass presentation, and deliver a ton of value. And, instead of looking at it as a potential success or a potential failure, I’m choosing to look at it as an experience, and a learning one at that. 

The premise of Carol Dweck’s work and this book Mindset, is centred around the idea there are only two mindsets out there:

  1. Fixed Mindset
  2. Growth Mindset

A person with the Fixed Mindset believes the skills, talents, and abilities they have today are the same they will have tomorrow, and cannot be changed or improved upon. 

A person with the Growth Mindset, on the other hand, believe the skills, talents, and abilities they have today by no means determine what they can turn into tomorrow, and can absolutely be improved upon. 

Those who hold a fixed mindset are often afraid to try new things, in case they don’t display innate talent. They are afraid to look bad, to get it wrong, to fail. 

Those who hold a growth mindset love trying new things, look at it as a learning opportunity, and welcome a challenge. They are not afraid of failure, as they see it as a necessary step on the road to success. 

As much as it pains me to admit, as I read (or listen!) to this book, there are areas of my life in which I can relate to having more of a fixed mindset than a growth mindset.

And I’m realising it’s got to stop!

In full transparency, 

I like to know I’m going to be good at something.

I enjoy positive feedback when I’m good at something. 

And I tend to be more hesitant to try something if I’m not sure how it’s going to go (except when it comes to cooking…  I never know how it’s going to go, and I’ve given up any and all expectations to ever create something à la Julia Childs!)

You’ve heard me speak about ‘Confidence Killerspreviously ~ and how perfectionism is right up there. Well, people who have more of a fixed mindset tend to be perfectionists… they want things to be perfect right out of the gates. And yet that is near impossible – especially if you are doing something for the first time!

And unfortunately perfectionism is what prevents far too many women from speaking up and standing out more powerfully, starting the thing they really want to start, bringing their big dreams into reality. 

What’s more, far too many women take pride in being perfectionists! 

And yet what I’m finding so fascinating in Dweck’s book is the vast research that exists proving those with a growth mindset, who are anything but perfectionists, get further, and faster, than their counterparts.

People who demonstrate the growth mindset love the personal challenge of the thing, are willing to put in the work, don’t rely on their natural talents, and don’t judge their performance or abilities based on grades, feedback or external validation. 

Sounds pretty freeing, right?

And the good news is, it’s available to ALL of us. 

We’re very quick to look at the ‘Greats’ – whether it be the incredible athletes, scientists, or business moguls of our time and assume they were born with it. Well, 9 times out of 10 they were not!

Success doesn’t necessarily come to the folks who are born with some incredible talent. It comes to the ones who simply STICK TO IT. 

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. His mother encouraged him to keep practicing. And so he did. Every morning ridiculously early before school. For YEARS. And so it continued long after he became the basketball star he was and still is.

Thomas Edison experienced thousands of ‘failed’ attempts when trying to invent the lightbulb. And yet when his friend and confidant asked “Isn’t it a shame with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?” He replied with a smile “Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!” He never saw his attempts as failures at all!

The famous ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ book series full of inspiration stories was rejected by 144 publishers before it was picked up. And Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times, and J. K. Rowling was told “not to quit her day job.”

If any of the above were you, would you have kept going? To be honest, I’m not so sure that I would have!

The moral of the story here folks, is that ‘failure’ is a part of the process. Persistence, perseverance and consistent hard work pay off, and so long as you’re growing, you’re winning. 

So, I’m going to go into my presentation eager to give it my all, but without wanting it to be a success, nor afraid it will be a flop! 

I’m going to be eager to learn from the experience. I’m choosing to look at the experience as the win, and moreover a great opportunity for growth. 

Can you recognise areas in your life where you perhaps hold the fixed mindset, and would benefit from adopting a growth mindset instead?

It’s scary to put yourself out there and not know how it’s going to go. 

I get it. Trust me. 

But the alternative is you never try, avoiding the potential of ‘failure’ at all costs, only to still fail simply for lack of trying!

And then there’s the potential of regret. And no one wants to make it to the end of their life full of regret. 

You’re better than that. You deserve more than that. Your ideas are worth more than that. 

So, it’s time to get your brave on, and get your growth mindset on!

(And if you’re not quite ready yet, perhaps your first step is to look into audible and Dweck’s amazing book Mindset!)

Try the growth mindset on for size this week, and then let me know how it goes! I want to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol 

Excuses, excuses, excuses!

Happy Friday!

Confession time. 

This morning, I pressed snooze. Twice!

And I didn’t even have a good excuse to do so. 

Sure, I may still be suffering from the tail end of jet lag after my trip to London, but I was in bed well before midnight, didn’t have a glass of wine, and should have been ready to jump out of bed when my alarm went off. 

But I didn’t. 

And instead, my mind began to wander. 

It started to go through everything I needed to do today. It started thinking about the workout I needed to get up for and the fact I’m behind in my ironman training. It started thinking about how I’m behind on my emails. It started thinking about how I was behind on numerous things! And then it started making me wrong. It started to judge me. It started to send my mind and my thoughts into a vicious negative tailspin!

Oh man when my mind begins to wander it’s game over!

Perhaps you can relate?

The trick is, you gotta get up before your mind has a chance to catch up!

But the truth is, some days I wake up even before my alarm, ready to start the day, excited about what’s to come. While on other days, it’s a challenge I tell ya! And I don’t always feel like getting up (especially when it’s grey outside!) 

And such as it is with many things we’re facing. 

We’re not always going to feel like it. Especially when it’s a habit we want to break or a thing we want to change.  

In fact -— NEWS FLASH—- you are NEVER going to feel like doing the thing you need to do in order to change the thing you want to change. 

It’s just never going to happen!

And so more times than not, we don’t do it. 

And that is exactly why the majority of folks spend the majority of their lives living in their comfort zones. 

And instead of choosing to be brave enough to take the first step, we come up with some pretty darn good excuses. 

We are very good at letting ourselves off the hook.
We are very good at being right in making ourselves wrong. 
We are very good at convincing ourselves and others why we’re just not capable.

And we are very good at self-sabotaging. 

And it’s got to STOP!

Because the truth is, we are FAR more capable than we give ourselves credit for. 

And when we REALLY want something we can, and we will, find a way to make it happen.

Here’s the harsh truth:

We will never feel ready. 
We will continue to be right by making ourselves wrong. 
We will always be able to find a justifiable excuse if we want to. 

And we can change all that!

Inspired by a conversation I had with one of my most fave people in the world last night, we have the power to do just the opposite.

Because here’s the good news:

We can choose our desires over our excuses. 
We can connect to how important that thing is, and how good we’re going to feel afterwards.
And we can start setting ourselves up for success, instead of self-sabotaging.  

So here’s your challenge. 

Identify one small habit or pattern or behaviour you want to change. 

Something that, if changed, would make a big difference. (and here’s another news flash – it really is the small things that always make the biggest difference!

For me, it’s going to be getting to bed by 11pm Sunday to Thursday. And getting up when my alarm goes off. (Publicly declaring it… making it real!)

What’s it going to be for you? And when are you going to start?

Stop with the excuses. Stop making yourself wrong. Stop self-sabotaging. 

Start believing in yourself. Start setting yourself up for success. Start getting your /brāv/ on!

Change will never happen overnight. But if you started today, imagine where you’ll be one week, one month, one year from now? 

You deserve it. Your dreams are worth it. And I believe in you. 

So now, what’s that one action or one habit going to be? 
I want to hear from you in the comments below – once you publicly declare, it becomes REAL!

Have a FAB week!

Carol

Mind The Gap, Mind YOUR Gap!

Happy Friday!

And greetings from London, UK, where I’m excited to be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE this week!

London is an exciting city to say the least, and it is MASSIVE! 

And as I’ve been riding the ‘tube’ quite a bit to get around, I’m going to take inspiration for this week’s post from London’s transit system. 

Mind the gap!’ is the famous phrase that a woman with a delightful English accent announces on repeat as you’re waiting for tubes and trains or the underground and the overground (tubes = subways; overground = subways above ground, not to be confused with the regular trains that also travel over ground… it may sound very confusing, however I have to say it is an extremely efficiently run system. And I just did some interesting research – they service 1.35 billion passengers annually!)

The gap, in the context of London’s transit system, is the space in between the platform and the train. And if you’re not careful, you could potentially slip or fall in that dangerous gap, which would not be pretty!

But there is another type of gap – a few actually – that I would l to talk about today. And arguably equally as detrimental. 

Last week you heard me speak about the gap between our thoughts and our actions. And it’s where a lot of people live… overanalysing, looking for clarity to come, waiting for the perfect moment to magically arrive, waiting to feel confident enough. 

And what all too often happens, is we end up spending a whole lotta of time waiting, and not a whole lotta time taking steps towards where we want to go.

According to John C. Maxwell, the gap has to do with our growth. The more we’re willing to grow, the smaller the gap becomes.

In his 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth 

https://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/dont-trip-over-these-growth-gaps/) Maxwell speaks about 8 different specific types of gaps that could be preventing us from growth, and preventing us from taking action:

The Assumption Gap (I assume I will automatically grow)

Especially when it comes to your personal growth, you can’t assume it will simply happen by default. You have to be proactive and choose to take responsibility for your own growth process. 

The Knowledge Gap (I don’t know how to grow)

Even if you don’t know where to start, don’t let that stop you. Ask around. Find resources. Don’t give up and a way will present itself. 

The Timing Gap (It’s not the right time to begin)

You may never feel it’s the right time to grow, or the right time to begin. And yet ask any parent and they will admit they didn’t feel ready before they had kids, but they had no choice when they arrived! 

You will never start the thing you want to start if you’re waiting to feel ready before you begin. And there will never be a better time to start than now!

The Mistake Gap (I’m afraid of making mistakes)

Too many people are worried about getting it wrong, or worried about looking foolish. And so they don’t want to begin the process. If you want to grow and improve, making mistakes are simply par for the course. 

The Perfection Gap (I have to find the best way before I start)

Again, this goes back to so many people wanting it all to be perfect right out of the gates. And that is simply never going to happen! How can anything be perfect the first time you are trying it?!? And how are you going to find the best way before you start? You have to start somewhere, and the best way will present itself.

The Inspiration Gap (I don’t feel like doing it) 

You may want to wait for that ‘aha’ moment to strike. And, you may be waiting a long time for it! Inspiration and clarity do not come from waiting, they come in the doing. And there will always be reasons or excuses we can find, if we so choose, as to why it’s not a good time. Simply start, and inspiration will come along at some point in the ride. 

The Comparison Gap (Others are better than I am)

This gap can be pretty detrimental. Because the truth is, there will always be people ahead of you, or closer to where you want to go, or already there. And, nine times out of ten we are comparing our beginning or middle with someone else’s middle or end game. And that’s not fair! Every single person is at a different stage… and so it simply doesn’t make sense to compare. You are where you are for a reason. And, you don’t have to live there forever!

The Expectation Gap (I thought it would be easier than this)

Not only do we take on expectations other people in our life have for us, we often have big expectations for our own lives. And then we have all kinds of expectations based on how we think things should be versus how they actually are.

Enough with the expectations already!

Things are likely going to be harder, and take longer, than expected. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start. Because even though you may not arrive overnight, if you start today, you’ll be further ahead than you were by tomorrow. 

Now these are only 8 types of gaps that another person – as brilliant as he is, especially when it comes to leadership and growth – has discovered on his own journey. The truth is, some may resonate with you, some may not, and others that are true for you may not have even made the list.

The point is, only YOU know where your gap is, and what is really going on in that gap.

Whether it be fear (and that becomes a whole other list in and of itself!) busyness, comparison, excuseville, self-sabotage, expectation, procrastination, lack of clarity, people-pleasing, over-analysis… figure out what’s really going on in your gap. And then MIND THAT GAP!

But instead of minding it in the way the London Underground suggests, which is to ensure you step OVER it, you AVOID it, I want you to do the opposite. 

I want you to face it head on. Get honest with yourself. Know your gap, own your gap, and then take the first step THROUGH your gap, so it no longer exists at all. 

It’s time to take your power back over the gaps that exist in your life. 

It’s time to get your /brāv/ on!

And then just wait and see what opens up for you… (and please let me know what you discover in the comments below!!!)

Have a FAB week!

Carol 

Why you might want to start taking cold showers…

Happy Friday!

This morning, my shower was cold. 

But you don’t have to feel sorry for me – it was actually on purpose. 

In fact, I take a cold shower every morning. (Well, if I’m honest, I first take a lovely warm shower…) And then when I’m about ready to get out, I turn the dial all the way to freezing and proceed to force myself to stand under there for a minimum of 60 seconds. And let me tell you, some days it is BRUTAL! (especially during our crazy Toronto Winters!)

Now I do this for two reasons: 

1. It’s good for the body, mind and soul.

(So I was told it was good for you, however wasn’t entirely sure on the actual benefits it provided… until a friend very kindly sent me this article…who knew?Worth the quick read!)  

2. It forces me to be brave right out of the gates!

While I do think it’s important to do things for your health (hence the reason I’m currently drinking hot water with lemon and apple cider vinegar, and was pretty excited to read that article,) I’m actually more excited by reason #2.  

You see, just before I go to turn that dial to the right, I have a moment of hesitation. It’s the exact same feeling you and I get before we do something that scares us a little, or will take us out of our comfort zones. It’s called the ‘The Hesitation Trap’ – and it’s a legit thing! (And if you’re interested in learning the science behind it all, watch this video with Mel Robbins explain in more detail!)

But then I say to myself, if I am brave enough to get under freezing cold water, where else in my day could I get my brave on? 

And so I do it. 

And even though I’ve been doing this now for years, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve gotten more used to it! (Although I will say once you’ve gotten into the habit of doing something, it does get a little easier – which speaks to the power of habits!) That being said, it never ceases to make me feel more awake, more refreshed, more alive. 

It’s a small action, and yet it can have a big impact on my day. 

And isn’t that always the case.

You see, too many of us are waiting to feel confident enough, or competent enough, or ready enough to go after what we truly want or to do the thing we really want to do. 

The truth is, we may never ‘feel’ confident, competent, or ready enough to start anything. 

And so we don’t.

We don’t do the thing, sign up for the race, apply for the position. We don’t take the first step. 

And yet here’s the thing:

You don’t need to feel confident before you choose to be brave. 

Being brave means you take action before you feel ready, even when you’re full of fear… especially when you’re full of fear. 

And the interesting thing is, once you take that action, the confidence comes!

Don’t wait to feel. Simply do. 

In the amazing book ‘The Confidence Code’ by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, they define confidence as shortening the gap between your thoughts and your actions. 

Totally makes sense. 

But instead of shortening the gap, you could choose to ignore it all together and just DO IT!

Because in the end, it’s the action that is going to build the momentum you need to feel more confident, competent, ready. 

And all it takes is one small brave act. 

Like taking a freezing cold shower. 

So, if you’re ready to get your brave on this week, I invite you to do one small thing that makes you just a little bit uncomfortable, scares you just a little bit, brings on just a little bit of the butterflies.

Here are some examples:

  • Say hello to someone in the elevator. 
  • Be the first to smile at that cute person in the cafe.
  • Have that difficult conversation you’ve been putting off.
  • Try something new – be it an activity, sport, instrument or dish.
  • Shake up your daily routine, try decaf instead. 
  • Dare to try a new flavour of tuna.
  • Send that email.
  • Apply for that position.
  • Share your big idea. 
  • Volunteer to help with that project. 
  • Say no to something you would normally say yes to.
  • Say yes to something that freaks you out. 
  • Take a cold shower!

Have fun getting your brave on this week.

And then I want to hear from you in the comments below… let me know what you choose to do, and how it makes you feel afterwards!

Have a FAB week!

Carol

Reflections on The Regrets of the Dying…

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Do you know the most common regret of the dying?  “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Bronnie Ware spent years working in palliative care, caring for patients at the end of their lives. She wrote an incredibly moving article – which has now become a best-selling memoir – entitled ‘Regrets of The Dying.’ And her experiences and findings are moving, thought provoking, powerful.

If you haven’t already read this article, you need to. And even if you haven’t yet, I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve read or heard or thought about the shift in perspective that takes place when people are facing the end of their lives. (And if you really want to be moved, check out The Last Lecture with Randy Pausch, it’s also pretty darn powerful…)

Not to go all morbid on you or anything, but one day you and I will be in this exact situation, looking back on our life and reflecting on how we chose to spend it. 

And I really hope neither one of us will have any of the following most common regrets that came up:

  1. I wish I had lived a life true to myself, instead of one others expected of me.
  2. I wish I had worked less.
  3. I wish I had allowed myself to be fully self-expressed.
  4. I wish I had stayed better in touch with my friends. 
  5. I wish I had allowed myself to be happier.

Sharing vulnerably here, one of my own biggest challenges is living my life true to me. Not only because of others’ expectations, or others’ expectations I have chosen to take on, but also because of the expectations I have placed on myself. 

Yup, I thought I would be in a very different place in my life right now. 

I thought I’d be married. Have a couple of kids. A dog. Maybe even a house with a white picket fence. (Actually, I’ve never really wanted a white picket fence, but I did want a front porch with a swing… still do!) 

And yet, I have very few regrets with how I have chosen to live my life up to now. 

And I hope it remains that way for the rest of my life.

But in order for that to happen, I have to live my life my way. I have to be me, and attempt to be even more me every single day. 

I had a conversation with my female entrepreneurial mastermind recently, and one of the wise women shared with us her daily goal that sits on a sticky note on her bedside table:

To be authentically me in a world that is constantly wanting me to be something else. 

YES.

It may sound simple, but it’s definitely not easy. 

And yet, to me, that is what being brave is all about. 

Brave enough to be YOU.

To show up in the fullest expression of YOU. 

Boldly, bravely, unapologetically YOU.

Not trying to be anything other than you, for anyone. No pleasing. No pretending. No pretence. 

What would that look like?

What would you be doing that you’re not doing now?

What would you not be doing that you’re doing right now?

How would you be feeling?

How would you be spending your time?

Who would you be spending your time with?

What fears would you be facing?

What dreams would you be dreaming? 

What dreams would you be fulfilling?

What one action would you be taking today to move the dial forward in the direction of your dreams? 

And if you can identify that one piece of action – why are you not doing it now? Will you do it?

The harsh truth is, tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

And tomorrow never comes, anyhow.

All we have is today. 

And today is the first day of the rest of your life. 

How will you choose to be even more you, to live your life even truer to you, today? How will you be even braver today?

Big questions. Big life. 

Have a FAB week!

Carol

 

Do you know how fabulous you are?

Happy Friday!

And Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, and every day, I celebrate YOU.

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

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

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

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

We’ve come so far.

And maybe we still have a long way to go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you DO! So go ahead, I’ll wait.

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

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

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

You need to KNOW that. And believe it.

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

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

I shall leave you with some inspirational quotes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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!

It’s not about the summit…

It was 11pm. And it was cold.

Although we were strongly encouraged to go to bed after dinner, knowing what lay ahead, most of us hadn’t managed to sleep. 

Perhaps it was the temperature, or the timing, or the sheer excitement. 

I had barely got my mitts on, and was still adjusting my poles to the proper length, before we were off. 

‘Duende!’ 

(‘Let’s go!’ in Swahili)

One by one, step by step, in single file line, we began our final summit night ascent up Kilimanjaro.

I looked up from the path and the carefully trodden footprints to the women in line ahead of me, and to all of the guides on either side of us – with two more than normal there were seven altogether – and I felt both proud and protected. 

‘One team, one dream!’ Hemedi, one of our main guides, had declared our first night together. And it had quickly become our slogan, our proclamation, our lifeline. 

We were one team – and a powerful force at that – with one dream… to make it to the summit.

We continued to climb, but it somehow felt more serious, more somber than before.

Six days earlier we’d begun our climb up Africa’s largest peak.

We’d conquered rain and snow, the famous Barranco wall, and even Lava Tower – our day 3 destination – who’s high altitude had affected the majority of our group leaving many ill and worried they wouldn’t be able to go on.

Although at times challenging, and despite long days of nine plus hours of hiking, I never doubted my ability to get to the top. 

And although physical fitness doesn’t guarantee one won’t be affected by altitude sickness, l was still pretty confident I’d be able to make it happen. 

Until I wasn’t. 

Just then I began to feel it. 

Not only were my hands freezing, my tummy was turning. And then came the gurgles. 

I began to feel it. The altitude. 

It was hours before our first short break. 

And not a moment too soon.

Even then, there was no time to dawdle. It was hurry up and do your business if you must, grab some water, and get back in line.

(Although I certainly felt better afterwards, having to do your business on the side of the mountain, where it was very difficult not to be exposed somehow, and in the middle of the night when the last thing you feel like doing is taking off all of your layers, is not so much fun let me tell you!)

By the time I was back, we were immediately off again in our single file line.  

There was no singing, no laughing, no bubbly conversation as there had been the days previously. 

‘This isn’t fun anymore!’ someone from our group proclaimed. 

My heart sank. I’m sure she wasn’t the only one feeling that way. In fact, I’m pretty sure we were all beginning to feel that way.

Perhaps I’m making it out to be a bit more somber than it actually was. I mean it wasn’t all that awful – at least at first – but it was also no walk in the park.

At first, I was quite enjoying the rhythm of our steps.

I was enjoying the quiet. The nature. The team we were a part of.

I was beginning to realize we were now on a mission that became bigger than any one of us.

But after a few hours, the first in line peeled off. And then the next one. And the one two behind me. 

I was also beginning to realize we may not all make it. 

As a team leader that’s tough. And when you’re not allowed to get out of line yourself to check in on your people, and when you yourself aren’t feeling so hot, it makes it even harder. 

I began to recite a mantra in my mind:

'we will summit, 
we will summit, 
and we’ll be,
warm again.’

It had a distinct rhythm and tune. And I must have recited it several hundred times before we finally made it to the crater rim of the mountain, Stella point. 

And by that point, my stomach had settled a little bit. We had been going for almost 8 hours. 

The next 45 minutes of the climb, also the last 45 minutes of the climb, although not overly physically demanding, lasted an eternity. 

However as the sun slowly began to offer its morning light, I felt hopeful. 

My fear that I may not make it, which was pretty real at some point during the ascent, subsided. It was happening. 

It was freezing, we were freezing, and a few brave members of the group – who had declared more than once they were ready to turn back, and who had been persuaded more than once to keep going – were barely hanging on. 

It was no longer about me making it to the top, and more about making sure all those still with us would make it.

I knew this sign had better show up sooner rather than later!

We began to pass fellow climbers coming in the opposite direction, big grins on their faces (or occasionally very white in their faces!) heading down the mountain.  

‘Congratulations!’ they shouted. And I knew we were close. 

And then off in the near distance I saw her. 

The sign. 

The official post that marked the summit. 

We began to quicken our steps. 

And suddenly, there we were. 

We made it. 

We had reached the peak, summited to the summit, achieved our goal. 

So we took the picture, dug deep to smile big, and then just like that, the moment was over and were already on our way down. 

Blink and you could’ve missed it. 

And if I’m honest, it was almost a bit anticlimactic. 

Now in all fairness it was snowing and very cloudy and there was no beautiful sunrise to be seen. Perhaps that would have made a difference. 

But still, this big summit reaching moment wasn’t what I thought it would be.

And as I began the descent back down, I realized although we may have made it to the summit, it wasn’t about making it to the summit at all. 

It never was. 

And it never is. 

Whether a summit, a destination, a goal… 

Here’s the thing. You’ll never get ‘there’ – yet you’ve already arrived. 

It really is about the experience, the journey, the steps you have to go through in life order to get to where you want to go, and more importantly the person you have to become in the process. 

And that was certainly the case for our climb up Kilimanjaro.

The actual moment of reaching the summit paled in comparison to all of the special moments we enjoyed leading up to it.

The singing and dancing and cheering we did with all of our guides and porters at camp. 

The deep discussions we’d get into in our dining tent on life, love and diamox (to take, or not to take?)

The sharing of our roses and thorns at the end of every evening, which ended in laughter or tears or powerful breakthroughs.

Hard to believe this epic experience of a lifetime has come to an end. But the learnings and the connections are only just beginning.

And these special moments will truly last a lifetime. 

And I am so freakin’ proud of what our ‘one team, one dream’ accomplished. 

So although I will continue to set goals and climb mountains and may even  attempt to once again reach the summit – and hope you do too – I’m going to focus on enjoying the journey (hopefully with less gurgles next time!) 

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that maters, in the end.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin 

Indeed. 

Have a FAB week!