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!

Lessons from Africa on the power of connection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONNECTION.

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

And it brings so much more meaning to every interaction.

Connect with others. 

Connect with yourself.

Connect to the moment. 

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

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

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

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

1  See people.

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

2  Share Yourself. 

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

3  Smile More.

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

 

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

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

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

Wish us luck!

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

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

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

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

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

And may she rest in peace. 

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

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

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

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

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

Kinda crazy if I think about it. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People. Moments. Experiences. 

That’s really what makes the world go around. 

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

They make the journey worthwhile, and give life meaning. 

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

Have a FAB week!

Before you bring on 2019, do this ONE thing.

Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

Happy Friday!

The Christmas music is still playing off in the distance.

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

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

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

And that it was indeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pause and Reflect. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reflection Questions for 2018:

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

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

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

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

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

May it be all you desire and more.

xo,

 

 

 

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

Cheers to continuing on the journey in 2019!