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

Happy Friday!

Okay, confession time. 

I enjoy positive feedback. 

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

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

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

Think about it. 

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

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

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

Easier said than done, I get it. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

A few reasons.

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

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

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

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

So here’s what I’m learning. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a FAB week!

Carol

You’re invited…

Happy Friday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me

what you do for a living.

I want to know

what you ache for

and if you dare to dream

of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me

how old you are.

I want to know 

if you will risk 

looking like a fool

for love

for your dream

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me

what planets are 

squaring your moon…

I want to know

if you have touched

the centre of your own sorrow

if you have been opened

by life’s betrayals

or have become shrivelled and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know

if you can sit with pain

mine or your own

without moving to hide it

or fade it

or fix it.

I want to know

if you can be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you 

to the tips of your fingers and toes

without cautioning us

to be careful

to be realistic

to remember the limitations

of being human.

It doesn’t interest me

if the story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear

the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your own life

from its presence.

I want to know

if you can live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand at the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me

to know where you live

or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up

after the night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me

who you know

or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand

in the centre of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me

where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know 

what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know

if you can be alone 

with yourself

and if you truly like

the company you keep

in the empty moments.

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

So this week I invite you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carol

It’s time to get outside!

Happy Friday!

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

Thank goodness I love traveling!

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

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

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

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

I think dogs have the right idea. 

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

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

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

Being outside offers lots of perks and benefits, too.

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

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

It makes you feel happy!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a FAB week!

Carol

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!

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!

25 Easy Ways to Make More Merry This Holiday Season!

Happy Friday!

Still on a high from an incredible CAPS convention in beautiful Vancouver, BC, learning and connecting with fellow speakers from all over the world… however there is no rest for the wicked, especially at this time of year!

After a serious leak from the condo above, I’ve had all new floors and baseboards put in, and the whole place repainted. So I’ve had no home for a few weeks (thank goodness I do love hotels!) and was finally able to move back in. Just in time, too, as I’m co-hosting a Christmas party tonight for the amazing Dovetail community of female entrepreneurs, and throwing a tacky Christmas sweater party for other friends and colleagues tomorrow night… because, well, why not?!?

I do love this exciting season, however perhaps you can relate to the to-do lists taking on a life of their own?

So I’m reminding myself, and you, to take a moment to slow down, and connect with what this season is really about.

And as I’m all about small, do-able, fun activities that can make a BIG difference both for you and for others, and we’re now knee deep into this festive season, I have some ideas for you!

Here are 25 easy ways to add a little extra merry and joy to you and yours and others this holiday season:

  1. Make a snow angel ❄👼❄ (ideally right on the sidewalk for all to see!
  2. Donate to your local food bank or fill a Shoebox for The Shoebox Project
  3. Send yourself a Christmas Card 📭 (why not?!?) and then give your postman (or postwoman!) a card while you’re at it 
  4. Buy yourself a poinsettia
  5. Shovel a neighbour’s driveway or sidewalk
  6. Invent a Christmas Cocktail
  7. Spend a day in your robe and just do nothing 
  8. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line ☕ 
  9. Get a sparkly festive manicure 💅
  10. Go to the movies to watch a vintage holiday classic 📽 (or stay in your jammies and watch Love Actually!)
  11. Learn a Christmas tune on the ukulele or the nose flute (talk to me if you’ve never heard of the nose flute, and I’ll introduce you to my good friend David Gouthro, who also happens to be the founder of the Vancouver Nose Flute Ensemble!)
  12. Treat yourself to a comfy onesie… be it a cheesy Christmas themed one or a snuggie!  
  13. Go to a fancy store, and try on a ridiculously expensive fuzzy, furry item… just ‘cause! (Or go to Value Village and buy a tacky Christmas sweater!)
  14. Build a Snowman ☃
  15. Visit your local Children’s hospital or hospice and enjoy some meaningful moments
  16. Buy chocolates for an old teacher, a mentor, or yourself
  17.  Go ice skating ⛸ or tobogganing 🛷 !
  18. Put on a pair of reindeer antlers and walk around town as if all is normal.(Maybe even make some ‘neeeiiigghh’ sounds!)
  19. Indulge in an obnoxiously large and fancy hot chocolate or other holiday beverage (I’m talking like Venti Gingerbread Latte styles!) 
  20. Bond with a stranger and turn them into a friend
  21. Spend some time out in nature. Go for a walk and if you’re lucky to have snow where you are, listen to the crunch sound under your feet as you walk
  22.  Bake cookies 🍪
  23.  Make an easy holiday craft (I always found reindeer candy canes the easiest!)
  24. Get a few friends or neighbours together and go Christmas Caroling 🔔
  25.  Crank up the 🎶 Christmas tunes 🎵 while driving, while cooking, or whenever… and get your belt on! 

 

Lots of ideas there… I hope you take on just ONE this week!

And then please do share your stories  below ~ and also feel free to add your ideas to the list! Always on the lookout for new fun things to do.

Remember, it’s not about simply adding more to your to-do list, rather to offer a fun respite of sorts, and get re-connected with what this holiday season is really about.

Have a FAB time making merry this week!

 

 

 

 

P.S. My friend Warren Leppik at Cognition Productions made a holiday card on my behalf for y’all… check it out HERE!

Is it time to let your hair down?

I had the honour of speaking in Ottawa last week at a Professional Development Week.

And when my schedule allows, I love being able to stay and actually take part in the event, versus simply flying in and flying out. It gives me a chance to get to know the members and staff of the organization or association, meet the delegates and ask about their challenges and what they’re looking to learn, and connect with fellow speakers. 

As it happened, I was sitting on a leadership panel on Wednesday, was giving a presentation on Friday, and was able to take part and digest much of the week’s program and activities before and after. 

But when I was invited to stay to attend the President’s Ball on the last evening… I found myself in a bit of a predicament. 

One.

I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. (I actually really liked the organisers and staff and everyone I was meeting… and want to be asked to come back next year!)

Two.

I actually had an event in Toronto I was supposed to get home for. 

Three.

I wasn’t sure how professional it would appear for a speaker to be busting a move on the dance floor (I do have some pretty good moves!)

Well, I contemplated both sides. 

I ran it by a friend.

I got clear on what I really wanted to do.

And finally someone said: ‘Why don’t you just stay and let your hair down?!?’

And in the end, I did. And I had a great time.

But it got me thinking. 

Now I can be very spontaneous, but it’s not always without analysis, over-analysis, or serious judgment. 

Is that the ‘right’ thing to do? 

Is that what I ‘should’ do?

What would others think or say if I were to do that?

How many of your actions are motivated by what you think is the right thing to do, or what you feel you should be doing, or out of comparison and/or fear of what others may think or say?

Sometimes we gotta stop caring, over-analysing, or doing the ‘right’ thing. 

Maybe it was time to let my hair down. 

Maybe it’s time to let your hair down, too.

(and for those who don’t have hair, maybe it’s time to loosen your tie a little, or take it off altogether…!!!) 

Now what does that mean?

Perhaps it means saying yes to something you would normally say no to. Perhaps it means saying no to something you would normally say yes to. Perhaps it means you try something you’ve never done before. 

Perhaps it means you… 

Share your big dream aloud. Say hello to that cute boy or girl in line or sitting next to you at Starbucks. Stop playing the game. Stop doing what you think you should be doing. Stop comparing where you think you should be to where you are. Get rid of the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary once and for all. Sleep in past your alarm. Don’t even set your alarm. Play hooky for an afternoon or even a whole day. Sign up for an open mic night. Sign up for a 5km race. Take a tap class or a salsa class or a Bollywood dance class. Dance in your kitchen. Dance in your birthday suit. Dance like nobody’s watching. Sing in the shower, in your car, or out loud somewhere, anywhere. Commit to doing something even if it scares you. Especially if it scares you. Do something a little crazy, something out of the norm, something totally unexpected. 

 

Now I’m not talking about doing anything dangerous or overly rebellious or ridiculously scary that it puts you in your panic zone. 

But I do think it may be time to let loose, just a little.  

So what would letting your hair down or loosening your tie look like to you?

And what is one small action you could take on this week to do just that? 

Go ahead. I dare you. 

(And let please let me know what you did! I wanna celebrate with you! Share in the comments below…)

Have a FAB week!

Bring On The B.I.G.GEST You! Here’s how.

Happy Friday!

And greetings from Chicago, where I’m still on an inspired high after speaking at Paylocity’s ELEVATE Conference.

I was fortunate to have been participating in the action over the last few days, connecting with delegates, Paylocity team members, and fellow speakers – not to mention busily prepping my presentation – hence the reason I’m a tad delayed in getting this blog out to you today!

Today’s session was entitled ‘Bring on the BIGGEST You: How to Step Into Your Power.’  And the room was a-buzzing!

You likely know I’m all about empowering people – female leaders and professionals especially – to step up, stand out, and bring all of themselves to the table.

Too many of us are playing smaller than we know we can.

And, at our core (as with every living organism) we are wired to grow as BIG as we can and live as LONG as we can.

So why aren’t we doing it?!?

Life. Responsibilities. Limited resources and competing demands. Expectations. FEAR. ALL kinds of fear… 

You and I both know there are as many fears out there as there are ice cream flavours (maybe even more) and at one point I had to stop the audience because hands were being raised left, right and centre sharing types of fear… we simply had too much juicy content to jump into!

Here’s the thing.

Because of our fears, we tend to overcompensate.

We read MORE books, 

We listen to MORE people. 

We get MORE certifications, qualifications, letters after our name.

We want to prove ourselves good enough, capable enough, successful enough ~ when we don’t already feel ourselves good enough, capable enough, successful enough.

YET,

Success doesn’t exist so long as you’re chasing it. 

Success exists the moment you realize you’re already there.

 

It’s not about getting a raise or a promotion,

it’s about putting your name in the mix.

 

It’s not about having more letters after your name,

it’s about continuing to learn and grow.

 

It’s not about crossing the finish line.

it’s about signing up for the race.

 

So it’s time to STOP.

  • It’s time to stop listening to the experts,
  • It’s time to stop reading Success Magazine,
  • It’s time to stop doing what everyone else is doing.

It’s time to stop chasing the carrot. 

It’s time to start chewing it. 

 

What do I mean by that? 

Whether you’re seeking success, happiness, or another rung on the corporate ladder, you’ll only arrive once you realise you’re already there.

You already have all that it takes to bring the BIGGEST you to all you do.

Fear ‘aint going anywhere any time soon.

And so we may as well invite it along for the ride, and learn how to play BIG in spite of fear.

Having had the privilege of speaking to and working with thousands of women over the years, it really comes down to three things.

The biggest part of you is the part of you that is:
(I’ll even share some slides from today!)

BRAVE

 INSPIRED

GETS INTO ACTION

And this is what today’s presentation was all about.

  • We looked at what it means to be BRAVE at work, and how to be braver.

  • We explored what it means to be INSPIRED at work, and how to be more inspired.

  • We discovered what it means to GET INTO ACTION at work, and how to get into more action, one step at a time.

 

When you bring the BIGGEST you to all you do everyone, and everything, becomes BIGGER. And you’ll be able to enjoy:

Bigger risks

Bigger ideas

Bigger action

Bigger results

Bigger connection

Bigger satisfaction

Bigger fulfilment

Bigger fun

Bigger growth

Bigger experiences

Bigger joy

Bigger insights

Bigger buy-in

Bigger opportunities

Bigger influence

Bigger impact…

The list goes on. 

Life becomes, well, BIGGER.

You start to play a bigger game of life, and in return create a bigger life for yourself and all those around you.

And who doesn’t want that?!?

If you want to learn more about the content and the ideas discussed during this presentation, simply reply to this email and I’ll be happy to share!

And if you’re ready to GET INTO ACTION now, I shall leave you with these questions:

  • How are you brave? How will you be BRAVER?

  • How are you inspired? How will you be MORE INSPIRED?

  • How are you getting into action? And how will you get into more action? 

Choose ONE action to take on. 

Commit to ONE action to take on.  

Take on that ONE action. 

And then SHARE your action in the comments below; I wanna hear from you!

Because it’s time for you too, to bring the BIGGEST you to all you do.

Have a FAB week!

P.S. For all of my fellow Canadians, happy gobble gobble weekend! Be sure to be extra thankful this weekend! Wanna learn more about the power of gratitude? Read my post HERE