What’s the Rush? And opening up about Remote Year…

Happy Friday! Feliz Viernes! (Although not too sure that is a thing here!)

 

Week two into my new adventure, and starting to get into the rhythm. Working in a space with 77 other ‘remotes,’ the climate (there’s a weird cold front going on, so you go from sweating outside to using heaters inside!), and the street tacos (both delish and dangerous… beware of the green sauce!)

I’ve been wanting to hit the ground running in terms of work, as well as in terms of exploring the city… and yet I feel I haven’t really been doing either!

And then I had an epiphany the other night…

What’s the rush?!??

I’m on this journey for a YEAR. And we are on the journey of life for, well, a LIFETIME!

If life is to be enjoyed and it’s all about the journey, then perhaps I can slow down in an effort to allow myself to do just that. And also to allow the experience to unfold exactly as it’s supposed to, at the pace it’s supposed to.

I truly think that will be one of my biggest lessons this year.

 

Trust you are exactly where you’re supposed to be in this moment, doing what you’re supposed to be doing in this moment, and moreover trust all will unfold exactly as it’s supposed to, when it’s supposed to…

 

Yesterday I experienced a Shaman Ritual as part of our cultural track. It was pretty powerful. It was also the full moon, and we were welcoming in the four paths (east, west, north, and south) from the rooftop, and all that each represent, as a way to cleanse and centre ourselves. And in that moment, I was totally in the moment, and had a moment.

I look forward to more moments like that this year. Because I truly feel that’s what it’s all about.

 

Some of you have been asking about this whole Remote Year thing I’m doing. And so I thought I’d share a little bit about the program, my reasons behind doing it, as well as how I was feeling going into it.

Full disclosure here, folks!

 

What is Remote Year?

An initiative where 75 people – initially strangers, from all over the globe – live and work together in a new city every month over the course of a year. Some may already hold a remote position or have negotiated how to make their current work remote, some may be exploring this digital nomad lifestyle for the first time as either entrepreneurs or techies, and others may be perhaps taking a sabbatical or working on a special project.

It’s an opportunity to be able to work, and not only see the world at the same time, but experience the local cultures along the way, while no doubt forming some pretty cool connections and bonds with folks from all over…

 

Why am I doing it?

When I first heard about this organization, I got pretty excited. An opportunity to work and travel the world? You certainly have my attention! And then I found out it was a pretty rigorous application process. So I put my best foot forward, worked hard, and low and behold was offered a spot with this current cohort called MERAKI.

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Although pumped, once the offer was there, it wasn’t necessarily an immediate and obvious yes… and yet I want to walk my walk and talk my talk, and so yes, this is getting me out of my comfort zone!

 

So, how am I feeling? (please keep in mind this is what I wrote in my journal before I arrived!)

A plethora of emotions, to be honest.

Excited, absolutely. Nervous, you betcha. And a lot of other feelings, too.

Have I made the right decision? Did I pack what I needed to pack? Will I connect with the other ‘Remotes’ as we’re referred to? Will I be able to focus on my work? Will I be one of the oldest? Am I clear enough on what I want to get out of it? Have I set the right intentions?

 

What are my Intentions for this Trip?

To connect with people all over the world. To embark on an epic adventure. To experience some amazing experiences. To take Women Living Big globally. To be able to work and travel and live and somehow find some kind of semblance of balance. To gain further clarity on who I am and what my purpose is in this world. To find focus. To learn to trust the process and the Universe.

So I had these grandiose plans to have my entire strategy planned out, speaking engagements lined up in the first few cities, and women living big events in each city all mapped out.

And while I didn’t quite make that happen, as one of my intentions is to trust the process and the Universe, I’m going to choose to do exactly that.

 

Here’s to an EPIC year ahead, whatever that means, and however it unfolds.

And cheers to you and to YOUR epic year ahead, whatever that means to you…

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P.S. If you’re ready to play bigger this year, and want to be involved in a powerful community of women who are dedicated to doing the same, there are a still a few spots open for ‘The Tribe!(Registration closes on January 27th…)

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Got questions? Let’s talk! Book a call with me HERE.

3 Ways to find comfort OUTSIDE of your comfort zone!

I was still a little teary when I walked up to Sherry at the Westjet check-in desk at the Calgary airport on Monday evening.

 

After I explained I had just said goodbye and was starting my Remote Year adventures, she must have felt for me, as she didn’t charge me anything for my baggage being slightly overweight!

 

I’m now in Mexico City, the first stop on my Remote Year, where I’ll be living for the next month.

 

It hasn’t totally hit me yet.

 

Not sure I know exactly what I’m getting myself into… and as ready and excited as I am, it’s also a little bit uncomfortable, I’m not going to lie!

 

It’s a new city, new language, new culture.

 

The currency is different, the roads are different, the routine is different.

 

I didn’t know anyone before I arrived, and now I’ve met just about every one of the 79 ‘Remotes’ (as they refer to us!) in this cohort, as well as a few locals, and lots of friendly uber drivers (YES, they have uber here, thank goodness!)

 

I’m living in a cute little apartment with a new roommate, and commute to the communal workspace every day, about a 25 minute walk away.

 

I’ve only been here a few days, and so it’s expected not everything is going to feel comfortable. But then again, any time we’re out of our comfort zone we’re going to be uncomfortable.

 

And yet, it’s outside of our comfort zones where the magic happens, where the game of life truly gets played, and where you find yourself really growing.

 

Here are three things you can do to find a little more comfort within the discomfort:

 

  1. Feel it out, and talk it out.

 

Allow yourself to fully experience what you’re feeling. It’s important to go through it, to feel all the emotions. And then find someone you trust who you can talk to about it. Share your feelings, get them out.

 

  1. Reflect on past times you were uncomfortable, and identify your successes.

 

Take some time to identify some of your past accomplishments, or other times in your life when you were experiencing similar feelings. What did you do to get through them? Celebrate your achievements, and acknowledge yourself for getting through uncomfortable times in the past, knowing you will again this time.

 

  1. Do something that lights you up, and shift your focus away from yourself

 

When I was having a moment yesterday, I decided to get out and join a few people for lunch. Meeting other people, and hearing their stories, allowed me to focus on something other than myself and how I was feeling. And because connecting with others and good conversation makes me happy, I felt totally different afterwards!

 

 

This year, I’m committed to walking my walk and getting out of my comfort zone. However that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy!

 

So when you find yourself in a place of discomfort, talk it out, reflect on past successes, and do something that lights you up.

 

And remember, Life is not supposed to be comfortable when you’re out of your comfort zone. (Click to tweet it out!)

 

Have a FAB week!

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P.S. It’s not even a week into the New Year! Still LOTS of time to think about what you may want to create in 2017! Join my FREE Live Online Training entitled ‘Intentions, Resolutions, and Goals, Oh MY!’ on Tuesday, Jan. 10th, 7pm EST!

 

How to get upgraded, extra leg room, and free wine while traveling! (In 3 Easy Steps…)

How to get upgraded, extra leg room, and free wine while traveling!

Happy Friday! 

 

I love traveling. I love flying. I love airports.

 

I love watching the hellos and the goodbyes, witnessing the comings and goings, and experiencing both the stress and the excitement that comes along with any kind of traveling.

 

(And it’s a good thing, too… as I’m about to be doing a whole heck of a lot of it come January 1st!)

 

Although I’ve only ever missed a flight once — a layover from Bangkok to Chiang Mai… I read the times wrong, and was quite enjoying the company of the Irish Bloke I had just met on the long haul flight across the Pacific! HA! — I’ve cut it close a few times, including this past week.

 

I like to say I’m optimistic when it comes to how much time I have; others like to say I leave it all too close to the last minute.

 

As traveling can be stressful for many at the best of times, adding in a serious time crunch can take it to a whole other level.

 

Both on my way out, and coming home from, my flights to and from Vancouver last week, I could have perhaps left more time.

 

And yet, I knew I’d be okay.

 

Not only did I make my flights, I was also brought to the front of the security line both times, upgraded to an emergency row, and given two bottles of wine on the house on my flight back.

 

How did I mange that?!?

 

Her name was Geri. (ALWAYS greet the person helping me by name!)

When I arrived at the check-in desk, I found out my window seat had been changed for a middle. NO!!!

 

Although a bit upset, I calmly explained (with a smile) I’d purposely checked in early, to ensure I had a window seat. (love looking out the window while working!) I then asked, using her name, if there perchance happened to be another window seat available?

 

“Let me see what I can do…” she said kindly. “Stay close to me!”

 

I did. And was basically the last one to board the plane.

 

Alas, there was no window seat. She did, however, give me an emergency row (gotta love that extra leg room!) and was very apologetic.

 

Although missing my window seat, I didn’t complain, and made friends with the people in my row, as well as the Flight Attendant sitting across from us during take off.

 

On the flight, I was put in contact with Flight Director Sandy, who was quick to ensure I’d get vouchers and bonus airmiles for the ‘trouble.’

 

Let’s be honest, folks, It wasn’t ‘trouble’ ~ it was simply a preference that didn’t come into fruition (albeit for the first time… I travel so much and never do I NOT get my beloved window seat!)

 

And then, before even asking, I was slipped two bottles of wine to enjoy.

 

I’m not going to lie, I felt like a little bit of a rockstar.

 

It’s not the first time I’ve had exceptional customer service at the check-in desks and on the flight, and it won’t be the last. I’ve been upgraded numerous times, been escorted to the front of the security line on more than one occasion, and had a few extra bottles of sparkling and wine slipped my way before.

 

Why?

Because YOU can control more than you realize.

How?

 

Here are 3 tips to receiving exceptional customer service:

  1. Always show up with a smile. Greet appropriately with a ‘Good morning’, ‘Good afternoon,’ and Good evening.’ Kindness goes a LONG way.
  2. Notice their nametags, and refer to them by their first name. If they don’t have a nametag, ask for their name early on in the conversation. As Dale Carnegie famously said “The sweetest sound in any language is the sound of your own name.”
  3. Don’t assume you’ll get special treatment, however it certainly doesn’t hurt to put the vibes out there. And then be VERY appreciative (I’ve given Starbucks gift certificates to check-in attendees who have worked their magic for me before!)

 

I love traveling. I love flying. I love airports.

 

And even though it likely won’t be the last time I show up a wee too close to my take off time, I know I’ll be okay.

 

When it comes to customer service, an act of kindness as simple as a smile goes a LONG way. (Click to tweet it out!)

 

Have a great week!

Carol - high res

 

 

And now I’d love to hear from YOU! What are YOUR tips and tricks when it comes giving, and receiving, excellent customer service? I’d love to hear your comments below. 

 

What NOT to do when volcano boarding… 7 lessons learned from Nicaraguan Retreat

What NOT to do when volcano boarding… 7 lessons learned from my Nicaraguan Retreat

So many experiences, so many moments, so many take-aways. Hard to sum it all up here, however I have compiled a few key lessons from my retreat in Nicaragua.

 

Simple life is happy life.

The Nicaraguans I met were all lovely people. They may not have much as compared to our standards, or the norm in our consumer world, and yet they are happy. And they practice the art of gratitude.

We really don’t need much to survive. A few clothes, some good food, a roof over our heads, and good company. A lot of us committed to de-cluttering our environment and de-cluttering our lives. Where could you maybe live more simply?

Ditching digital devices can be a good thing.

It didn’t take me long to get used to not having wifi or phone service. In fact, truth be told, I kinda liked it. Once I made the commitment to do a full digital detox for the week, I loved not feeling that constant pressure to be connected.

We experienced some pretty powerful moments. We enjoyed conversation. We watched the stars. We were in bed shortly after the sun went down and woke up to the roosters around 5:30am. It was pretty neat. When was the last time you disconnected?

 

Doing good feels good.

Volunteering at the local school, built by the resort’s own non-for-profit ‘Waves of Hope’, was a powerful experience. There’s something to be said for getting down and dirty (I even mixed concrete for the first time!). We weren’t there long, and yet we painted, we cleaned, we poured, and we made a difference… however small.

I have embraced this new idea of ‘making waves.’ Creating lasting ripples through the work you do and the actions you take. May you make waves in your own life, too.

 

Don’t take the temple that is your body for granted.

We spent a lot of the week in activity… from surfing, to stretching, to sweating it out. It felt good (until my knee injury at least!) to be able to use our beautiful bodies for fun and strengthening activities.

Even after the little accident, I was even more so reminded of the fact our bodies should not be ignored nor taken for granted. They should be celebrated, used, and respected.

 

You really can make your own chocolate!

So we did a chocolate making workshop. Amazing! Real cocoa beans are pretty darn cool. Like a nut, you can roast them, and then gently crack open the shell to get at the glorious looking bean inside. We put the beans through an old school grinder, worked with a variety of ingredients from ginger to chilli to mint to nuts to rum… and then presto! Who knew?!?

These little chocolate balls, although nothing like Cadbury, were quite delicious. And pretty cool that we made them on our own. There’s something to be said for making something from scratch. Something that perhaps you never thought possible.

 

There’s something powerful about being in community.

Being involved in a community in general, and especially in our case a group of empowered women is just, well, powerful. When I was leading the workshops, and we were engaging in important dialogue, I felt blessed to be able to do the work I do.

One of the participants shared how amazing it was to be around such ‘nice’ and real women. She just wasn’t used to it. And I couldn’t agree more. Through conversation the walls come down, and we find out we all have both our strengths and our struggles. And our highlight reels on social media aren’t always our realities!

 

What NOT to do when volcano boarding!

So I’m sitting here in an immobilizer, using crutches, after a little volcano boarding accident! Perhaps I gave in to my dare devil ways and thought it would be fun to really try to go as fast as I could down the active volcano. Um, yeah, maybe I should have listened when they said start slow until you get a feel for it!

Life is not a race. We can pace ourselves. I am grateful for this harsh reality check I was given, as it is literally forcing me to slow down, stay in, and check-in.

 

Simple life is happy life. Doing good feels good. What NOT to do while volcano boarding. … 7 lessons learned from a Nicaraguan retreat. (Click to tweet it out!)

Carol - high res

Which kind of Champion are you?

My week in pictures… from L-R: Photos from ‘Women Living B.I.G.’ ~ Day of Empowerment (one of our amazing sponsors, Sparkplug Coffee, created a personalized blend called ‘Dream Big. Play Big. Live Big.’ and we all got sample packs!!!), road trip to Ottawa with Marissa McTasney in her moxie Trades jeep, StartUp Canada Day on The Hill, snapping a pic of Sean Wise in the infamous pink work boots, yoga class at Fotographia Boutique studio.

cham·pi·on/ˈCHampēən
noun

  • a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition, especially in sports.
  • a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else.

Every time I hear the word champion, I can’t help but have Queen singing around in my head! (as an aside, our last night in England at the lovely Buxted Park Hotel last week, we had ‘Freddie Mercury’ in the house… never seen so much energy from a live impersonator entertainer type person in my LIFE… he was amazing! And Hilarious :-)  )

Perhaps you, like me, first think of ‘winner’ when it comes to the word champion. However, this past week I have been exposed to a LOT of the second meaning ~ and in my mind, it’s a whole lot more powerful.

Coming off an event-filled weekend (Women Living B.I.G. ~ Day of Empowerment was a huge success! I hope you enjoyed the pics above), I was excited to take it somewhat easy this past week. And then I got a surprise invitation by Marissa McTasney, founder of Moxie Trades ~ if you don’t know who this incredible woman is, go check her out. Seriously. Like, NOW. Well, actually, finish reading this happy friday first and THEN go check her out! ~ to join her at StartUp Canada’s ‘Day on the Hill’. Yeah, in Ottawa.

At first I thought – can I hack it?!? And then I thought, how can I NOT?

I’ve confessed before I’m a bit of a YES girl ~ sometimes to my detriment. However there are ‘yes’s – and then there are ‘YES’S! This invite was the latter. An opportunity I simply could not pass up.

All I can say is OMG! (first time EVER using that in a Happy Friday. Only appropriate response!) It was an opportunity on steroids… I will forever be grateful for the experience, and forever grateful I said yes.

First of all, StartUp Canada is an incredible organization whose mission is to support entrepreneurship across Canada by bridging the gap between the entrepreneurs themselves and the government. Pretty cool. What’s cooler, it was founded only two years ago, by an incredible mover-and-shaker of a woman, Victoria Lennox. At only 30, she’s shaken hands with the Queen (first Canadian and one of the youngest to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion) and will likely be Prime Minister of Canada one day.

Over 1,000 entrepreneurs, sponsors and government employees across Canada met for the second annual event at the gorgeous Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Amazing keynote speakers (like Frank O’Dea, co-founder of Second Cup), roundtable discussions, and inspirational panels. During lunch, Sean Wise, The Naked Entrepreneur, was interviewing a women’s panel including Marissa and the Honorable Minister Dr. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and the Status of Women.

Here is where our theme of champion comes in.

Towards the end of this inspirational panel, Minister Leitch issued a challenge. She asked each of us in the room to find someone to be a champion to. Someone to believe in, stand by, fight for, mentor, empower…

Those folks who champion individual persons or individual causes are the folks that really make a difference and really can change the world.

Who, or what, are YOU going to champion?

I am happy to say not only have I found the person I am going champion (because although my intitial thought was, ‘I’m not successful enough to champion anyone!’ we ALL have something to offer), I’m also super pumped about my new champion. I’m super pumped for the work ahead of me. I’m super pumped about the Ideas that are a-brewing. BIG time. I have a new-found confidence in how I want to move forward. I’m ready for action ~ and 2015 is going to be an exciting one. And yes, a lot of it comes down to knowing I have someone rooting for me.

We all need champions. And we can all be a champion for others. And when you champion someone else, or a cause greater than yourself, everybody wins. (Click to tweet it out!)

And then, “We Are the Champions” (cue Queen here!) indeed.

Have a FAB week, << Test First Name >> !

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Do you have someone you are championing? Do YOU have a champion? What are your thoughts on this idea? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below :-).

today, celebrate love

Valentine's Day

So perhaps it’s a little predictable, but I feel it’s only right to touch on the subject of love today. I know, I know, Valentine’s Day has become a bit of a Hallmark holiday, and yet it’s a good excuse to talk about it (not that we should ever need an excuse to talk about love, mind you!)

And I’m not just talking about sweetheart love, butterflies in your stomach love, secret crush on the boy who sits next to you in math class love. I’m talking about the love that we can feel and experience every day – the kind that makes the world go around. Besides, some of us unattached folk can still appreciate love today even if we don’t have a secret valentine!

So, today I want to discuss this thing called love, share some thoughts from others, and offer you all a special love challenge.

When brainstorming myself, here was my free association stream of consciousness:

love is… happy. hearts. hersheys kisses. candy. sweet. sweetpea. pet names. lovey dovey. cheesy. good cheese. wine. bubbly. sparkles. sprinkles. ice cream. melting. head over heels. fairytales. romance. special occasions. any occasions. smiles. laughter, play. fun. together. celebration. others. caring. sharing. adventure.

It’s kind of fun actually to see where it takes you! Perhaps you may want to play too?!?

And now at the risk of sounding uber cheesy (even for me!) I created an Valentine’s Day acronym for you.

love is…

Living to enrich the lives of others

Observing life’s magical moments

Valuing and cherishing real connection with others

Embracing those feelings that make your heart smile

Time to hear from you. A big thank you to all who were willing to partake in sharing your own thoughts about what love is…

  • unconditional
  • peace and contentment
  • sacrifice, selflessness, and grace
  • family members getting together to celebrate anything at the dinner table
  • treasuring moments
  • making a difference in people’s lives
  • being able to sit comfortable and peacefully in silence
  • patience, forgiveness, commitment
  • my favorite person
  • connection to the people in your life that bring you joy
  • loving someone even when you don’t like them
  • loyalty, trust
  • compassion and caring
  • wholesome
  • sex
  • uncompromising
  • patience
  • safety
  • beautiful

Now for my love challenge…

Tell someone you love them today, and really mean it.

Show someone you love them today, without saying it.

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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As per usual, I’d love to hear from you! What comes to mind when you think of love? Please share your loving comments below.