Because I am brave…

Happy Friday!

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

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

I think we’re onto something here, folks!

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

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

And you know what I’m learning?

It’s not a one and done kinda thing.

It’s a practice. 

It’s contagious. 

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

But because I am brave, I did it. 

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

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

Here is a mini excerpt to peak your attention:

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

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

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

Here’s what else I’m learning.

Fear ‘aint going anywhere any time soon. 

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

The way I see it, we have two choices. 

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

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

Go ahead, I DARE you. 

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

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

Be BRĀV enough to share your comments below!

Have a FAB week!!!

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

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

I didn’t win. And I’m still alive!

I like winning. 

I mean, who doesn’t, right?!?

But maybe it’s not always all about winning. Maybe it’s about doing the thing. Period. 

That was certainly the case and the lesson I needed to learn this week. 

And that thing I am referring to, was the fact I competed in an event called Speaker Slam. 

Now I love speaking. Speaking is my profession, and I take it very seriously. But I have never spoken to compete (well, unless you count reciting poetry for our annual middle school competition!) 

So, when I was first asked to participate at Speaker Slam – an event sharing inspirational stories around a monthly theme – as a competition – I was somewhat reluctant. 

I think the organisers are fab, as is the community they have built. It’s extremely supportive. However, I had been a judge for this event a few times, including at Grand Slam (the annual event that brings in all monthly winners to compete on a massive stage with at least 500 in the audience…) and wasn’t sure how it would feel to be on the other side. And besides, I am already lucky enough to speak for a living… what did I have to prove?!?

But here’s the thing… I’ve kinda been trying to prove myself in some ways most of my life. 

And the truth is, the real reason I was hesitating was because I was scared. 

I was scared to compete, and to be honest I was scare to lose. 

And that moment I got honest with myself as to the real reason I was saying no, was the moment I knew I had to say yes. 

If I wanna practice what I preach, I have to get my own brāv on and do the thing that scares me!

And so that’s what I did. 

I said yes to speaking and competing. 

And I am so grateful I did. Because Tuesday night something magical happened. 

I didn’t win!

Now I know what you’re thinking… ‘WHAT?!? You’re celebrating the fact you DIDN’T win?!?’

Well, sorta. 

Allow me to expand.

In all honesty, I told myself before the event it really wasn’t about winning. Because the goal was to say yes in the first place, and then honour the theme of courage, and be brave enough to be more real and vulnerable than I ever have been in a talk.

And I did, and I was. 

So no, I wasn’t actually as disappointed as I thought I would be! (until the next day, when between you and me, I found out I went overtime which is what prevented me from getting a place on the podium! So now I’m only mildly upset with myself for talking too much… I knew I was cutting it close in rehearsal!)

In any event, it unfolded exactly as it was supposed to. 

‘If I Were Braver’ ... 

This is a phrase I often ask audiences and the people I work with to complete. 

Yet I wasn’t doing it myself. 

And so, a few months ago I created my very own ‘If I Were Braver’ list… and have slowly been making my way down the list ever since. I shared some of these items from the stage. (If you’re curious, you may just have to wait for my video to come out ~ let’s hope I’m brave enough to share it with you at that point!) 

The feedback I’ve received made the vulnerability hangover, as Brené Brown would call it, totally worthwhile.

So many folks came up to me after my talk, or have messaged me since, saying how much it moved them. There were lots of tears, lots of people saying the story resonated with them, and even more exciting lots of brave stories being shared in return. 

Being brave has nothing to do with getting it right or wrong, succeeding or failing, winning or losing.

We need to stop trying to get things right, stop trying to be perfect, stop living in a binary world. 

Being brave is about doing the thing in the first place. Regardless of the outcome. It’s about the experience. 

So in my mind, it was a big win on Tuesday. And yes, I am celebrating that!

And now, I have an important question for you, and an even more important challenge. 

QUESTION:

If you were braver, what would you do that you aren’t already doing?

CHALLENGE:

Identify the first, small brave step you want to take. And then DO IT! (And then PLEASE tell me about it so I can cheer you on!)

I want to hear from you in the comments below.

AND, some exciting news to share! We are getting ready to launch the next cohort of our Brāv Leader program at the end of September!

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

It’s time to get your brāv on!

And that is all. 

Back to Summer Friday fun!

Have a FAB week!

Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Why they all matter.


Yesterday morning, I visited my grandmother’s grave.

I never met her. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I had a moment. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need all three. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So interconnected… and we need them all. 

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

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

Don’t procrastinate on joy.

This morning, I had a croissant. 

Cue gasp here.

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

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

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

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

Give into it. 

Don’t procrastinate on joy. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t procrastinate your joy.

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

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

I’m finding it quite peaceful to be honest!

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

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

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

Don’t procrastinate joy. 

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

Have a FAB week!

Let go of expectation, say goodbye to disappointment.

Happy Friday!

First of all, THANK YOU for your emails, your messages, your love notes and your positive thoughts.

Apparently the story I shared last week of watching in sheer horror as my mother’s bracelet ~ my most precious possession ~ fell into the black depths of the water below, struck a chord. 

I think because you and I both know it wasn’t about the bracelet at all. It was about the love and connection it represented. And we can all relate to that. 

The story isn’t over, and it’s time to move on. (at least for now!)

But for the first time in a while, I’ve been stuck on what to write about.

Right now I’m in Calgary, fortunate enough to be spending time with family to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday. 

So I thought maybe I could speak about family, and how special it is. Even though some days you may love them, while other days you can’t wait to get away. And how some days you feel you fit in, while others you feel like a total misfit (or maybe that’s just me!)  

Then I thought maybe I could speak about how quickly time goes by, especially in the Summer, and how it may be time to play hooky for a day, an early afternoon off, or eat ice cream for breakfast. 

And while I was pondering, I was also kinda procrastinating. 

Now I tend to clean or organise when I procrastinate. And this particular time, it was dealing with the numerous folders I have saved in my ‘Notes’ app on my phone and laptop. 

I came across the note file I began while watching ‘Finding Joe’ ~ an amazing movie about Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. And this quote stuck out:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned in order to make way for the one that is waiting for us.”

Ah yes. Now this idea is one worth discussing and expanding upon.

I alluded briefly last week to the importance of letting go. 

And I’ve written in the past about the one thing that really causes upset and disappointment: expectation.

More specifically, thwarted expectations. 

It’s never the thing itself that causes upset. It’s only when we are holding onto an expectation of how something will turn out, and then find out it doesn’t exactly pan out that way, that we end up experiencing disappointment.

Think about it. 

Chances are you wouldn’t be upset if it rained on Saturday had you been planning on staying indoors and hadn’t even bothered to look at the weather forecast.

Now imagine you were planning a big party outdoors and had gone to a lot of trouble to get your garden ready, expecting to host a beautiful event in the beautiful sunshine. Chances are you’d be pretty disappointed if all of a sudden it called for a torrential downpour!

It’s not the rain itself that would upset you, it’s the expectation it wouldn’t rain that would cause real upset.

So maybe it’s time to learn how to let go of expectation, in an effort to also say goodbye to disappointment.

It’s not necessarily that I didn’t expect to lose my mother at such a young age, it’s that I expected her to live a long and vibrant life. 

It’s not necessarily that I didn’t expect to get hit while paddle boarding and lose her precious bangles, it’s that I expected them to be safe in the dry bag and assumed I’d have them forever. 

It’s not necessarily that I didn’t expect to break my foot, it’s that I expected to be able to finish my training and compete in the ironman last week. 

And it’s not necessarily that I didn’t expect to be single at 38, it’s that I expected I would have found my match and be building a family by this point.

On the flip side, and on a more positive note, I also didn’t expect to be speaking to incredible audiences of 1000s, to have started my own business, and to have had the opportunity to live in 16 different countries and connect with incredible people all over the world. 

And because I wasn’t expecting any of those things to happen, it makes it all the more exciting and me all the more grateful. 

So maybe the trick is to detach from expectation wherever possible. 

Although easier said than done, I know! 

So here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Start small – let go of all you expect to accomplish in one day! 
  • Gain an awareness as to any and all expectations you may be placing on certain events, certain people, even yourself 
  • Try to live in the present moment as much as possible
  • Have faith things will work out exactly as they are supposed to
  • Trust the Universe has your back
  • Let go of certain timelines and practice going with the flow
  • Express gratitude for all you have right here, right now
  • Connect less with big expectations, and more with what truly matters

Now I don’t have it all figured out, trust me! And I’ll be the first to admit it’s HARD to put into practice. Luckily, we have our whole lives to be a work in progress :-).

And awareness is always the first step.

So notice when you may be putting expectation around something or someone this week. Catch yourself in the act, and try as best as possible to be brave enough to let it all unfold how and when it’s meant to unfold.

When you learn to let go of expectation, you also let go of potential disappointment.

And life is too short to live in the land of disappointment. Wouldn’t you agree?!?

Listen to Joseph Campbell:“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned in order to make way for the one that is waiting for us.”

What thoughts come up for you when you read this quote? And what idea will you be brave enough to put into action this week? I’m curious to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

When to have faith, when to let go…

Standing in the wings before I would go on stage to perform, I knew my Mum was out in the audience. I could hear her by the sound of her bangles. 

If ever I got lost from my Mum in the grocery store when I was young, I knew I would eventually find her. I would hear her by the sound of her bangles. 

And when she passed away, I knew her signature bangles would keep me connected to her. There were three interconnected – yellow, white, and rose gold. And my father surprised my two sisters and I with the most beautiful gift when he separated her original and made three matching sets for all three of us. We each have one of her originals, engraved with her name on it.

I have worn these bangles on my wrist almost every day for the past 13 years. 

And then last Monday, while paddle boarding on Toronto Island, I decided they would be safer in my dry bag around my neck, instead of on my wrist. 

As luck (or fate?) would have it, at the exact moment I thought to take a photo for my friends as we had a perfect view of the CN tower in the background, and therefore opened up my dry bag to get out my phone, I got bumped without warning from behind. 

I fell off my board, and so did the dry bag. The phone was still in my hands, now in the water, and I watched as if in slow motion as my Mum’s bangles slipped out of the bag and into the black water below. 

I was in shock, denial, and utter disbelief. I began sopping. I mean, it was embarrassing how hysterical I quite quickly became!

I’m still in disbelief as I write these words. 

I immediately went under, and it was black. We then sourced a mask, which took about an hour, and went back down. By the time I got to the bottom of the lake, I could only hold my breath for a few seconds before I had to come back up. And being emotional I had even less breath. 

I figured I needed an oxygen tank. And so while I never thought I’d be able to leave the spot, I did knowing I’d be back. That night we did some research. By the next day I had sourced scuba rental gear and my incredible cousin offered to come with me to search after work.

I was hopeful. 

We went back out to the island. With the flooding that’s taken place we had to wade through water up to our knees along the road with our gear before then bush wacking to the edge of the lagoon. We took turns going down.

Alas, nothing. 

We agreed we needed better light ~ so it was back to the scuba shop to buy an intense underwater flashlight. That would do it.

I was hopeful once again. 

We went back at it the next day, taking turns scouring the bottom, with the help of a giant net thanks to the fireman at the hall just down the road. 

Alas, nothing. 

We were told there was a local on the island who did some diving, and another who did some metal detecting. We managed to find them both, and they said if I could somehow locate an underwater metal detector they would be willing to help me. 

And so our next mission was to source a metal detector, and fast. Within a few hours we were off the island and doing a deal with the guru in metal detecting in an interesting to say the least outskirt of the city. 

My hope returned. 

I met the boys at 6:45am the following morning. They had everything ready, even borrowed their friend’s boat. We went down again, this time with the flashlight and the metal detector.

Alas, nothing. 

They mentioned there was this directory online of ‘Ring Finders’ ~ people who searched for lost rings and other items, and they kindly connected me with someone who knew how to find them. I found a guy in the Toronto area, whose picture looked so friendly, and I immediately had a good feeling about. I contacted him, and within an hour Steve had called me back, and it turns out my gut was bang on.

We spoke on the phone for over 20 minutes, and he could tell just how much it meant to me (he later told me the fact I was still in tears 4 days later had something to do with it! Now ironically I was in the fracture clinic when we spoke, and had just been told my foot was still broken and so only minimal activity for another 6 weeks ~ which also likely contributed to my emotions! Bless the patient in the curtained exam room next to me for bringing me a box of tissues…) 

So even though he was out of town, he cleared his schedule, and agreed to come out the very next day with all of his professional equipment and top of the line underwater metal detector. He was the real deal, and has been ring finding and bringing so much joy to people this way for almost 10 years. 

My hope had returned. 

We met the next day first thing in the morning, and he even brought his treasure hunter intern (who knew!). We rode the ferry across once again, made our way out to the spot, and underwater he went. He went down numerous times, gave it his best shot, until he ran out of air.

Alas, nothing.

He then told me if there was ANYONE else who would be able to find it, it was one of his best friends and the best diver he knew, and together they would be the dream team. The only problem was, his friend didn’t do this kind of stuff anymore, and he’d have to work hard to convince him. And it would cost a pretty penny. 

At this point, it didn’t matter. If he was in, I was in. 

Luckily, he was. So it was on!

The dream team was confirmed – Steve and Ryan – and it was agreed we’d go back out a few days later. 

Once again the tears turned to hope, and this time it was stronger than ever. 

We met before 7am in the morning, and they were serious. They had a plan, they were ready, and they gave it their all. I mean, they brought 6 tanks with them, and were prepared to go all day until they found them. 

Well, they were there all day – we didn’t leave the island until 5pm – and only then because they were out of air. They really gave it the old ‘college try’ as one of them said. The poor guys were cramping up and utterly exhausted. They worked harder than they ever have on a ‘ring find.’

Alas, still no bangles. 

And I can only imagine it being equally as disappointing for them as it was for me to not be victorious after all that. 

But I have to say, it was a special day. We really were a team. I did some cheers for them, we had an all hands in ‘goooooooooo team!’’ before we started, we shared stories and shared lemonade at the end of the day. They saw me praying on my board – literally I was on my knees – and doing a lot of bargaining as to all I promised to do if the bangled bracelet were to be found. They said they had never met someone so connected to something and so passionate about finding it. They also said I was so sweet and kind and even have offered to come back again to give to one more go… 

I just don’t understand it. And oh man the amount of times I’ve replayed that very moment in my mind. Or thought about the hundreds of other ways this situation could have played out differently. And yet of course I know that game is futile and a waste of energy. 

Now I know what you may be thinking, ‘Carol, it’s only a bracelet!’ and in some ways it’s true. But it’s not the material possession. It’s what it meant to me. 

You see, nothing is anything save for the meaning we place on it. Whether that be material possessions, experiences, incidents, words.

And for whatever reason, those bangles represented my mother and our extremely special connection. And in some ways I felt as though I was grieving her all over again. 

I’m not sure I know why just yet, but I’m pretty sure there is some deeper reason this is happening right now… 

First of all, I have met some amazing people over this past week who have helped and extended such care and support and compassion – it’s been incredible. 

From Janet, the local who was gardening and kindly lent us her snorkelling mask on the first day. To Brant at Aquarius Scuba who allowed me to keep the equipment for a little bit longer and told me to keep him posted as to how the story ends. To John the man with the wagon attached to the back of his bike who kindly offered to carry our tank that first day. To Chris and Chris and Brad and Tony and all the fireman at the local Firehall who looked after our stuff while we were in the water, lent us their paddle board and fishing net and rope and weight… even offered us coffee. One of the guys is still texting and checking in on me to see how I am. To Warren, the island supervisor who granted us special permission to take a vehicle across on the ferry when we had 6 tanks and all of the diving and metal detecting equipment. To Jason at security for letting me park my car at the ferry terminal when going across with all the gear. To Caitlin at Starbucks who made my day when someone accidentally took my personal cup and she then gifted me with a new one, as well as a gift card, bringing me to tears. 

Not to mention all of my incredible friends and family and people in my life who have been helping and checking in and praying and sending the love. I feel incredibly blessed. 

And then there are the lessons.

Maybe everything happens for a reason, maybe it doesn’t. Have a little faith. Know when it’s time to let go. See all of the good in people out there. It takes a village. Nobody will die if you’re not on top of your inbox. Trust that when you’re on a mission, you’ll figure it out. And a small act of kindness goes a long way.

I’m not sure this story is over just yet. 

But in the meantime, I’m choosing to have faith and perhaps begin to let go at the same time, and trust there is always a bigger reason… 

Phew… that was a long one this week! Thanks for reading this story all the way through.

I’m curious to hear from you… ever lost something that was incredibly meaningful to you? How did you deal with it and what did you learn? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Carol

Conversations & Connections. Why they matter.

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

It’s been an amazingly full week. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1. Be The First

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

2. Give a Compliment

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

3.  Get Curious

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

4. Engage in Active Listening

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

5. Be Present 

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

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

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


Have a FAB week!

Is it Time For a Little Cheerleadership in Your Life?

Happy Friday!

And, ummm, I only feel it apropos to say a HUGE congratulations to The Toronto Raptors for bringing home the NBA championship for the first time in history! YAHOO!!!

Wow… 

I can still hear the echoes of the honking and the screaming and the chanting and the cheering that took place well into the wee hours of the morning.

I did watch the exciting game, and had no choice but to venture out into the streets to make my way home… and ended up getting caught in the masses for longer than intended.

The streets were packed! And people were everywhere.

Although if I’m honest I didn’t really mind having to walk through the craziness. In fact, I quite enjoyed the energy, the buzz, the celebration. 

The whole city was coming together to cheer and to celebrate the hard work and the final win of Canada’s NBA team, our beloved Raptors. They were the true definition of a high performance team, and no one can argue they were truly deserving of the title.

Throughout the season, and especially during the playoffs, this city – and country at large – somehow came together, and we were cheering for a common cause. And it was powerful. 

Sometimes I think I missed my calling. 

Without wanting to brag or boast, I’m pretty sure I would’ve made a pretty amazing cheerleader! 

I wouldn’t have liked the outfits, but I do love me a good cheer (and luckily I find ample excuses to bring them out ~ especially my all time fave, the banana cheer!) 

Yet in all seriousness, there is something powerful about the idea of cheerleading, and what it represents. 

I’m even working on a concept called cheerleadership, as I think a very big and important part of leadership is lifting up and championing those around you. 

Yesterday I had the honour of attending the WNORTH conference in Toronto – for female leaders in the corporate world. As they described it, a global gathering of women on the rise. And it was an inspiring and impactful day. 

One of the panels was on sponsorship. They explored the differences between mentorship and sponsorship, and had a conversation around why sponsorship is so critical especially for women who want to advance in their careers. 

According to a Gallop survey, when you have someone at work who has your back, who you can trust, and who will support you – you are happier, more productive, and the organization also ultimately benefits. 

We all need champions and cheerleaders in our life. 

And we can all be champions and cheerleaders for each other, as well as for ourselves. And we need to be.

So I shall keep it short and sweet this week, and leave you with these three questions to ponder.

  1. Who do I know that I could be a cheerleader for?
  2. Do I need more cheerleaders in my life? And if so, who do I know that would make a good cheerleader for me?
  3. How can I be a better cheerleader for myself?

Perhaps it’s time to get your BRĀV on and start shaking those pom poms!

May you continue to celebrate the Raptors big win this weekend, and may you continue to find reasons and people to cheer on this week!

Carol 

Why I cried in a Doctor’s Office… (and what I learned)

Happy Friday!

Have you ever felt the tears coming on at an inappropriate moment?!? 
I sure have. Allow me to indulge…

Not great timing.

I felt my eyes beginning to well up.

I was in an examination room, with only a curtain dividing me and the next patient. The doctor was just beginning to give me the prognosis.

Not great news.

PAUSE. Re-reading those first few lines, it appears I’m about to get into something quite dramatic. Which, ironically, is almost making me chuckle… as serious as it was at the time!)

It was yesterday morning. And I was with the nicest surgeon at the fracture clinic at the Toronto General Hospital, as we were examining the new X-rays of my foot together.

‘The good news,’ he said, ‘is that it’s healing. And we’re beginning to see new bone growth.

‘And the bad news?’ I asked cautiously… equal parts eager and nervous. Ready and worried at the same time. 

‘It hasn’t healed yet.’ 

What do you mean it hasn’t healed?!?

I suppose it’s a bone, after all.
It needs time.

But I’ve never broken a bone before and, if I’m honest, I’m getting a tad impatient.

So 3-4 more weeks in this aircast. Frustrating, to say the least.

Especially as this active girl has not only had to put a stop to my training, but had to cancel my Ironman 70.3 altogether.

A few friends have compassionately offered empathy as well as valid nuggets of wisdom: ‘perhaps the Universe is trying to tell you something.’

Perhaps.

And perhaps it’s also an opportunity to buck up, realise how grateful I am it’s only my foot, that it’s temporary, and choose to once again shift my perspective.

My fave concierge and friend Eknoor (who still endearingly calls me Miss Carol, despite my best efforts trying to convince him otherwise!) must have noticed I looked dismayed when I walked in after my appointment. I shared the news, and he said, 

‘This is an opportunity to look on the bright side Miss Carol! And because you’re not used to this, it’s forcing you to get out of your comfort zone!’

Umm… you’re not allowed to use my lines back on me!

But of course you are. And I needed to hear them (I often do!) 

And so, it’s time to once again shift my perspectiveand look for the lessons. 

It’s only a broken foot. 


In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a big deal. To think of family and friends and my fellow speakers who are dealing with far more serious illnesses, have lost limbs, are permanently paralysed, or have significant challenges they face each and every day ~ a temporary broken bone pales in comparison. 

Look at a situation you are currently facing. (It’s life, the reality is we will always have stressors – some more serious than others.)And, are you making it more stressful than necessary? Is there a way to somehow acknowledge it could have been a whole lot worse?

It’s time to creative! 

One of the most frustrating parts for me is the fact I can’t train or exercise. And yet, I’m realising just because I can’t go on a run, doesn’t mean I can’t do any type of movement at all. In fact, I’m realising I was getting comfortable doing the same activities I was always doing. So, I’ve started to explore some new options. And it’s amazing what’s available on line! Pilates, intense abs, booty workouts… I may look pretty funny sporting a boot while doing leg lifts and other fancy moves ~ but the fact I’m having to adapt many of the exercises is both forcing me to get creative and keeping me on my toes. (And as it turns out one-legged planks and burpees are a lot more intense!)

Where have you gotten comfortable in your life doing the same thing, over and over? Eating the same things, taking the same route to work, doing the same activities… where could you benefit from thinking outside of the box, trying something you’ve never done before? It may be time to get our of your comfort zone, too. 

Gratitude is good.  Smiles are smashing. 

I’ve been diligently completing my 5-Minute Journal (an amazing gratitude journal created by friends and local Toronto entrepreneurs AJ Ramos & Alex Ikonn – a great place to start! And a game changer…) and I have to say it’s forcing me to get out of the ’woe is me’ and start to see all of the good in my life. Also, after recently hearing something about the true power of a smile, I did a little experiment. I threw on a smile when I kinda wanted to wear a frown instead for 30 whole seconds… and you know what? My smile STAYED! (It may have even turned into a little chuckle!)

When was the last time you gave some proper thought to one thing, or a few things, you were truly grateful for? I know there’s a lot of talk on the power of having a gratitude practice, and for good reason. Perhaps it’s time. And then I want you to get your smile on! Even holding a smile for even 30 seconds and it’s hard to not keep it on. Because in turn it tells your brain you’re happy, and then BOOM, you actually dofeelhappier! Try it now… I DARE you.)


So yes, I may be entering into summer dress and patio season making a pretty cool fashion statement, rocking the boot. Guess I’ve gotta get my brave on and pretend it’s even cooler than this season’s newest sandal style! And I’ll no doubt have to continue to share the embarrassing story of me tripping over my long, billowy yoga pants more times than I’d like. 

And, I’m pretty sure I can handle a broken foot for a little while longer. And from discomfort and frustration alwayscomes growth and learning. It’s time for a shift in perspective. 

Perhaps it’s time to shift your perspective a little, too. 


Have a FAB week!


P.S. I want to hear about what you may currently be facing, and which of these ideas you’re going to take on this week! Share in the comments below…

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