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

You’re invited…

Happy Friday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me

what you do for a living.

I want to know

what you ache for

and if you dare to dream

of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me

how old you are.

I want to know 

if you will risk 

looking like a fool

for love

for your dream

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me

what planets are 

squaring your moon…

I want to know

if you have touched

the centre of your own sorrow

if you have been opened

by life’s betrayals

or have become shrivelled and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know

if you can sit with pain

mine or your own

without moving to hide it

or fade it

or fix it.

I want to know

if you can be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you 

to the tips of your fingers and toes

without cautioning us

to be careful

to be realistic

to remember the limitations

of being human.

It doesn’t interest me

if the story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear

the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your own life

from its presence.

I want to know

if you can live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand at the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me

to know where you live

or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up

after the night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me

who you know

or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand

in the centre of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me

where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know 

what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know

if you can be alone 

with yourself

and if you truly like

the company you keep

in the empty moments.

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

So this week I invite you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carol

It’s time to get outside!

Happy Friday!

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

Thank goodness I love traveling!

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

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

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

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

I think dogs have the right idea. 

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

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

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

Being outside offers lots of perks and benefits, too.

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

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

It makes you feel happy!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a FAB week!

Carol

Anxious or excited? You get to choose.

Are you anxious, or perhaps just excited? 

Did you know that feeling nervous and feeling excited are actually the same thing?

Well, at least according to our brain they are. 

You see, psychologically they bring on the same chemical release within our brains. So the only real difference lies within our interpretation of what is happening. We label one as a negative experience (anxiety) and the other as a positive experience (excitement.)

Seriously?!? The only difference between the two is the label and interpretation we give it?

Yup.

The choice is yours. 

Last week when in Calgary, I’ll admit I was a little nervous going into that talk. (Speaking to fellow speakers can be a little intimidating!) However, I decided to tell myself I wasn’t feeling nervous, I was simply feeling excited instead. 

Did it work? Well, sorta.

I mean, just knowing I could choose to feel more excited was empowering. And it did help a little. I was pumped!

And, I was still a tad nervous. 

Well, luckily we have our whole lives to be a work in progress!

(On another note, I will likely always still get a little anxious/excited before my talks. The moment I’m no longer nervous is the moment I’m no longer fully present or eager to give it my all…)

And, it’s actually not bad to feel this way.

Feeling anxious or nervous or uncomfortable means you’re growing. And if you want to grow, you better get used to feeling uncomfortable.

Comfort and growth cannot co-exist. 

So, we gotta be willing to get out of our comfort zones – be willing to get our brave on – and push through the nervousness (or excitement!) and do the thing anyway. 

Because that is the only way you’re going to grow. 

We can either be willing to get uncomfortable, or we can stay stagnant, play it safe, and play it small.

Again, the choice is yours. 

Hmmm… I wonder if I can change my feelings of anxiety to excitement over other things in my life. Say, taxes? 

Am I the only one who gets a little anxious when it comes to my accounting? And tax time of year can be overly, well taxing (pun intended!)

Okay, maybe there are some things I will never be ‘excited’ about! 

That’s life. 

It’s not always going to be fun. It ain’t always going to be easy. And if we want to grow, we gotta be willing to get uncomfortable and get our brave on!

Are you up for it?!?

I hope the answer is yes. Because you’re worth it. 

Short and sweet this week… it’s Easter after all!

So ‘HOP-py’ Easter, and even if you’re not celebrating, it’s still a great excuse to eat some extra chocolate this weekend!

Have a hoppin’ week!

Carol    

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…

T

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