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

3 Ways to Bring the Joy!

Life can get all too serious sometimes.

And if you’re not allowing yourself to have some fun every once in a while, invite in some excitement, and more importantly bring the joy, what’s the point?!?

Watch this week’s video to learn 3 easy ways to bring a little more joy into your life today.

It’s short and sweet this week… gotta go get ready for white water rafting!

AND, I still wanna hear from you. How are you going to bring a little more joy into your life today?

Share your comments below!

 

Life will never be the same: An insider view at Unleashing the Power Within

Picture this. Over 9,000 people jumping and dancing and waving our arms in the air, while singing and screaming ‘Life will never be the same…’ at like, a level 50 on a scale of 10.

You forget you’re in an unbearably cold arena (it’s kept at a near freezing temperature on purpose… they even give out gloves as a bit of a joke in our welcome bag!) and the lights and lasers start flashing like you’re at a Lady Gaga concert. Except it’s Tony Robbins up there on stage, banging up a storm on his drum sticks to the beat like his life depended on it. His energy was palpable. 

‘MAKE YOUR MOVE!’ he’d scream, and the entire arena in unison would strike a power move. 

‘Say yes!’ ‘YES!’ We’d yell in reply while making a fist punch in the air. 

You really couldn’t help but get into it. 

Now I know people have mixed emotions when it comes to this giant (literally) of a man, but there is no denying he BRINGS it. And he truly is brilliant at what he does. 

Beyond the ridiculous amounts of jumping and dancing, the firewalk (yes, we walked on fire!), the surprise concert on the last night with Jennifer Hudson, there was also tons of valuable content and takeaways. 

We learned about the six human needs that drive all behavior. 

We explored the three ways we can immediately (and powerfully) change our state. 

And we went through a powerful transformational exercise that left the majority of us in tears, and our limiting beliefs behind us. 

Here were my biggest takeaways:

Throw on your dancing shoes!

I’ve taken on a new ritual of morning dance parties. 

And they actually are quite powerful!

First of all, you can’t help but get excited and bust out a smile when you’re shaking those hips. Even if it’s a small shimmy in your seat, you end up changing what he refers to as your ‘state.’ 

If you want to change your mood, your state, there are 1 of 3 ways you can do it. (Do all three and you’re golden.)

1   Change your physiology (strike a pose or move your body)

2   Change your focus (shift the thoughts in your mind)

3   Change your language (replace the words you’re using to talk        to yourself)

The quickest of the three is to change your physical state. Hence, the dance parties! You can also strike a power pose, run on the spot, or even shift your posture to a more open stance. 

Try it now and see what it does!

There’s a reason why he had us on our feet so often during the sometimes 14 hour long days! Somehow with the music going, your legs jumping and your arms waving, you can’t help but find the energy within.  

Stop thinking your fears make you special. 

Ever had a thought around the idea of ‘not being enough?’

Me too. 

Well, it turns out you and I are not unique or special at all!

There are two primary fears that ALL human beings share, even though there are numerous variations. 

I am not enough

I won’t be loved 

Once we realise fear has been hard wired in all human beings, we can surrender to the fact it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So, we need to learn how to dance with our fear. How to take it along for the ride. How to take massive action towards what we truly want to create in spite of this fear.

Fulfilment comes through progress.

There are two skills we need to master if we want to live an extraordinary life:

1   The Science of Achievement

2   The Art of Fulfilment 

With hard work and drive and dedication we can figure out the science of achievement. However mastering the art of fulfilment is a different ballgame.

No doubt you’ve had the experience where you finally reach your goal, you finally get the job, the raise, or the house. Or you run across the finish line of a race. And that feeling of elation and accomplishment lasts for how long? A few minutes? Longer if you’re lucky, but if it was just the goal you were after, chances are you’ll be off chasing the next one before you know it. 

The only way to experience happiness, to experience true fulfilment, is to experience progress. To stretch. To grow. To get out of your comfort zone and make moves towards your dreams each and every day. 

So start dancing. Stop letting your fears grab hold of you. And keep making progress towards your dreams.

The two most powerful exercises for me included envisioning what our life would look like 5, 10, and then 20 years from now if we held onto our limiting beliefs. It did not look pretty! And on the last day, we envisioned what our life would look like if we DID go after what we really wanted. Far more enticing!

Now I may have drunk the kool-aid, I may still be on a high, but I’m choosing to take on the idea that life will never be the same. Why not? It’s a choice we can all make today. What do we have to lose? 

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. 

Make it count!

Why it’s time to be ALL IN.

As you read this blog post, I’m currently ‘Unleashing The Power Within!’ with Tony Robbins in Chicago!

That’s right, I’ll be in the middle of what they say is an incredibly intense 4-day program, and no doubt fully immersed in the action, dancing up a storm, and trying to soak it all in. 

Now I’m definitely excited and open, and yet I also want to ensure I go into this experience without too many expectations. And at the same time, I want to ensure I’m fully present, and go ALL IN for whatever is supposed to unfold.

I remember listening to a motivational speaker years ago share wisdom he received from an old pop can: ‘No deposit, no return.’ And it’s true. What you put into something, is what you’ll get out of something.

Unfortunately, however, being the humans that we are, it’s not always easy to detach from expectations. And with the busy-ness of life, it’s also challenging to be ALL IN on whatever we’re doing, and whoever we’re with, considering the crazy number of distractions competing for our time and attention.

Yet when we do, we experience greater fulfillment, greater success, and greater JOY!

When you drop expectation, and you commit to being ALL IN, anything is possible. 

Here are three areas of your life where you can be all in, and the difference that it will make.

1. Be all when when it comes to the task at hand. 

In the book ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport, he talks about the power of focusing on going deep in one area of work, on one important task, and being ruthlessly disciplined in eliminating distractions. When you go deep, you move forward.

In this age of distraction we live in, it’s growing increasingly difficult to retain our focus on one thing – and as a result we spend a lot of our time doing ‘surface level’ work. And jumping from one menial task to another. 

When you’re able to be ALL IN on the work you’re doing, and with each and every specific task, you will no doubt produce some pretty powerful work. Not to mention get a lot more satisfaction while you’re at it.

2. Be all in when it comes to the person you’re with.

I hope you’ve experienced what it’s like to speak with someone who makes you feel as though you are the most important person in the room. It’s pretty darn powerful. And YOU have the opportunity to be that for someone else, too.

When you are fully engaged with the person you’re speaking to, giving them your full attention, and treating them as though they are the only thing that matters in that moment, you make them feel important. And people always remember how you make them feel.

Not only will you get noticed and stand out, your connection, trust, and overall relationships will deepen and become even more meaningful.

3. Be all in when it comes to the present moment. 

I know, I’ve spoken about this before ~ as have so many. The power of now. It’s not always easy, but there is a reason why yoga and mediation and any kind of mindfulness is all the rage right now.

The majority of people spend time feeling guilty about the past – which is over – or anxious about the future – which has not yet arrived. 

However the true power of experiencing life can only come from living in this present moment. And that is the only place where real joy can truly exist. 

Can you imagine what your life would look when you choose to be ALL IN when it comes to your work, your conversations and relationships, and this present moment?

I’m guessing even more powerful, fulfilling, and joyful than it is right now.

That is living BIG, and that is what you deserve.

Have a FAB week!

P.S. If you’re ready BE ALL IN when it comes to your work, your relationships, or another area of your life, let’s TALK! 

Looking Beyond The Selfie…

I tend to get a bit of flak on occasion for the fact I take my fair share of selfies. 

I’ve gotten the eye roll on more than one occasion with friends and colleagues when I deem it ‘selfie time!

And when people call me the selfie queen, I’m not always sure it’s intended as a compliment!

It’s true, I do enjoy taking selfies. 

But I want to make one thing clear.

I am not about taking selfies of myself in front of a bathroom mirror!

To me, selfies are not about selfies at all.

To me, selfies are all about connection. 

I’ve been fortunate to have travelled extensively and lived in various parts of the world. And I’ve snapped selfies with individuals and groups in all kinds of interesting situations.

With strangers while on motorbikes in Colombia, with food vendors in Croatia, and with a whole lotta airline representatives and ground traffic controllers from goodness knows where! And I’m pretty sure I’m over  1,000 folks in one selfie captured from the stage. 

And you know what I’ve found to be true in every occasion?

People may not always like having their picture taken, but they love being a part of something. 

Ultimately, you and I want to be seen, we want to belong.

And if only for a brief instant in time, selfies can be a way to do just that. They connect people together.

And ideally, conversation is then sparked which goes deeper than the apparent surface level selfie. 

And that’s where the real fun begins!

You see, I genuinely love people. 

I love talking to people, connecting with people, and hearing their stories. 

Whether in an elevator, in an airplane, or in line at the grocery store, it’s not uncommon to find myself in deep conversations about someone’s story, their philosophy, or life in general. 

And this week, while having the honour of speaking at the SHRM conference in Chicago, I met some incredible people and had some incredible below-the-surface conversations. 

With Richard, one of my uber drivers, whose agency of 500 almost folded after the market crashed in 2008, and hasn’t shaved his beard since the day he was forced to sell his beloved sailboat. 

With Deborah, the cashier at Hudson News, who has done her hair in the same impressive princess braid for over 30 years and whose pride and joy are her grandchildren.

With Ryan, who was sitting next to me on the airplane, and with whom we got into a deep discussion on life, love, and the state of the world today, and before I knew it we were landing!

Connection – true connection – is powerful, and it doesn’t take too much effort to get there. 

I know life gets busy. Yet I have never engaged in a conversation, even when I had intentions to be ‘more productive,’ that I later regretted. 

People want to be seen, to be heard, to belong, to matter. 

Today and this week, I challenge you to go out of your way to connect. Whether with people you already know, perhaps on a deeper level, or with people you have yet to meet. 

You never know who you may bump into, or how you may make someone’s day. 

So take the time to smile. To say hello to a stranger. To give a compliment to someone you cross paths with. Or, dare I say it, get some folks together for a selfie!

And be open to the beautiful connections that may unfold as a result. 

Have a FAB week!

The tale of the wallet with the silver lining.

…Because there is always a silver lining. 

The night before last, in a sheer moment of panic, I realised my wallet was gone.

It had been taken from my bag while crossing a busy street in Toronto.

Seriously?!? Again?!?  (After all, I had my entire backpack taken not too long ago while on an overnight train in Croatia…)

Well, I went through the whole gamut of emotions… denial, anger, utter frustration, sadness, guilt… not to mention violation. And I played the ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ games WAY too many times. Hindsight will always be 20/20.

There were a lot of tears shed, let me tell you!

However after cancelling all of my cards, spending way too much of the day yesterday going to get a new driver’s license, health card, replacing my bank cards and trying to block all of my gift cards… I knew I had to get out of the ‘woe is me’ place.

We all go through shitty situations. And many are out of our control. But we can control how we react to them. And it’s an opportunity for us to step up, show up, and shift our perspective. 

It may not have been a very productive ‘work day,’  but it was a very productive ‘fill my soul’ day. 

I had some very heart-warming conversations with my special girlfriends and family members. I treated myself to getting my nails done. I sung Happy Birthday to a good friend whose birthday it was. I enjoyed a special moment with my stepmum, who unfortunately doesn’t have much time left. I went for a great run, which always brings clarity and inspiration and makes me feel better. I wrote a card and dropped off a plant for an old friend who is going through a very tough time. I watched my cousin’s son debut as a flying bat in his school production of Wizard of Oz. She and I shared a delicious Indian dinner afterwards. And then I went back to the police station I was at the night before, where I filed the report, to drop off some flowers for my new Aunt Jo (the lovely constable who totally calmed me down and had been so incredibly kind with me the night before…) She was clearly very moved. 

As I was driving home, I realised it was going to be okay (obviously!).  I was going to be okay. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s a wallet. Most of the cards can be replaced, it’s only money, and it could have been a lot worse. 

In my reflecting, I realised it’s important to do few things when a shitty thing happens.

Feel Big

Bad things are going to happen. It’s okay to be upset, to feel whatever it is you may be feeling. In fact, I would argue you gotta go through all of the emotions. You can’t skip steps. So don’t be afraid to feel what you’re feeling, before you are ready to shift your thinking. But don’t wallow too long. It’s also important to eventually come to a place of acceptance and be ready to move on. 

Connect Big 

I count my lucky stars every day to have the people in my life that I do. When you’re having a tough day, or facing a difficult situation, reach out to others. Seek support. You don’t have to face it alone. And, speaking to others will not only help shift your perspective – because we’re ALL going through something – it may also allow you to make new friends, or connect on a deeper level. Take it away from you for a moment, and be there for someone else who may need you. 

Appreciate Big

Appreciate all you have. Take it one step further than feeling gratitude, and get specific about what you appreciate. Reach out to people to let them know you appreciate them and why. Shift your perspective and think about how much worse it could be. Appreciate and be open to the learnings about what really matters.

 

So next time you find yourself in an unfortunate, unexpected, or uncontrollable situation, remember to feel big, connect big, and appreciate big. 

…Because there is always a silver lining.

And now I want to hear from YOU! What are you going to take on?

Have a FAB week!