You’re not too old. And it’s not too late.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

~ Chinese Proverb

When I was younger, like, I’m talking Carol in her very early teens, I realised I loved musical theatre. The problem was, I wasn’t a dancer. And I wanted to learn.

My immediate thought: I’m too old to start now!

And so I didn’t.

The following year, the feeling came back… I mean I really wanted to pursue musical theatre and I really wanted to learn how to dance.

My next immediate thought: “But I’m too old to start now!”

And so I didn’t.

And so it continued for a few years… until I just couldn’t take it anymore. 

I found myself at theatre camp, where I was having such an incredible time, I ended up staying for an extra two weeks. To do an intense dance camp. Yup, I finally started. 

At that point, it was the Summer before going into my junior year of high school! (Oh man, and to think I thought I was ‘old’ back then?!? Hilarious…)

And you know what, I LOVED it!

So when I got back to school, I decided to actually continue and enrol in dance classes. But not just one class, no no no ~ I was told if I really wanted to get serious about dancing, I needed to study all forms. 

So I signed up for ballet, jazz, modern, and tap. 

Almost every night of the week I was in dance class. 

Picture a 17-year old Carol, awkward enough as it was, in beginner ballet class where I was double the height and twice the size of these pre pubescent little girls, wearing a mandatory pink leotard and white tights. (And you should have seen the shiny bright turquoise unitard number that I had to wear for modern class! My roommate would literally roll around on the ground in hysterics every time I put that thing on!)

I digress.

So there I was one day in ballet class, and I was told I needed to work on my turn out. 

Now being the ever keener and people pleaser I was, I became obsessed with impressing the teacher and earning her affection through what I decided would become an incredible turnout. 

So during one of my next grand pliés, I turned out so much that while my thighs turned outwards, my knee popped inwards. 

Yup, I had popped my patella right out of place. 

I basically fell to the floor, but not wanting to appear weak in front of all the much younger girls I held back the tears as best I could and got back in position.

And then it popped out again. 

Perhaps I wasn’t cut out to be a dancer after all. 

I never went back to ballet class, and not long after that I gave up all of my dance classes altogether. 

Just as well, as it would have been ridiculously embarrassing to be in the recital with girls half my age and half my size dancing circles around me!

Or, perhaps it would have been ridiculously brave of me to stick to it. 

In any event, my dancing career ended before it ever began. 

Until it started again. 

You see, I did eventually get back to dancing, as I ended up pursuing theatre in university, which meant there were lots of dance classes. Now I was never going to be a Radio City Rockette (although how cool would that have been!), and remained scarred from that terrible experience in ballet class for quite a while mind you, but eventually I connected to the joy of what it felt like when I first explored dance. 

And I will have you know, after all these years away from it, I just signed up for a new 10-week dance program (for people my age thank goodness!) starting next month, including a mandatory recital!

So, what’s the moral of the story?

Never enrol in dance classes with children half your age and size if you actually want to stick to it! 

Just kidding. 

The moral of the story is you are never too old and it is never too late to start something you’ve always wanted to do. 

Be it dance classes, cooking, a new language, a new sport, writing, speaking, etc… 

And if ‘too old’ has never been your thing, get honest with yourself about what your driving excuse is. 

Which of the following are you saying to yourself?

I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too busy. I’m too in debt. I’m too disorganised I’m too out of shape.  I’m too _____

Name your poison.

And then STOP IT already!!!

The more you say it, the more real it becomes. 
And the truth is, it is NOT the truth!

Besides, it will never be the perfect time, and you will never be any younger than you are today. And it’s only going to get harder the more you put it off!

And if you really want something, that desire is never going to go away. 

So, it’s time to identify:

  1. What it is you REALLY want?
  2. Which of these lies have you been telling yourself?
  3. What is the first next step you can take to start making it happen?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Chinese Proverb

I challenge you to get your brāv on and answer these three questions in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!

AND MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!! There are two exciting LIVE EVENTS coming up for all of you in the Toronto area!

1. Sept. 19thLinkedIN Local Meetup– How to be BRĀV through career transitions 

2. Sept. 26thGet Your BRĀV On!Lunch and learn for female leaders at The Verity Club!

I hope to see you there!

Have a FAB week!

Conversations & Connections. Why they matter.

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

It’s been an amazingly full week. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1. Be The First

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

2. Give a Compliment

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

3.  Get Curious

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

4. Engage in Active Listening

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

5. Be Present 

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

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

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


Have a FAB week!

Done Is Better Than Perfect

I want to be clear for a second here. 

Simply because I preach about the idea of being braver, doesn’t mean I have it all figured out. 

I preach what I am practicing myself. 

And being brave enough to move beyond perfection is one of those things I’m still working on. 

On Monday, it was #wethenorth day. Well over two million people attended the parade and the celebrations that ensued at our famous Nathan Phillips Square downtown Toronto in honour of the NBA Champions our amazing Raptors! (I still have FOMO as I write these words!) 

Instead of being a part of the festivities, I was at Starbucks working on my powerpoint presentation for a talk I’m giving in Las Vegas at the annual SHRM convention next week. 

Now the deck was almost complete, and yet I was making tweaks here and there, changing the sizes of fonts, switching some of the graphics. Really, I was fiddling unnecessarily.

Why? 


In that moment I allowed my inner recovering perfectionist to come out. I didn’t feel it was ‘perfect’ enough.

As a result, I missed out on a day to go down in history.

And ummm, I LOVE parades! 

Here’s the thing, I am STILL making changes to that presentation, and likely will up until the day before I present.

Is it going to get closer to being perfect the more I work on it?

What does perfection even mean, anyway?

Funny you should ask. 

Here is the definition:

per·fec·tion

/pərˈfekSH(ə)n/

Noun
the condition, state, or quality of being entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings

How is that even possible?!?

I don’t know about you, but it seems a pretty tall order to be entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings. Especially when it comes to something we want to create, the job we are hoping to land, the regular workout routine we want to stick to, the loving relationship we are striving for. How can anything when it comes to real people’s actions and behaviours be without any flaws… I mean we’re human after all, right?

And yet, unfortunately perfectionism is what prevents far too many women from starting the thing before they feel ready, going after the job they really want, doing the thing that really scares them. 

What’s more, far too many women take pride in being perfectionists! They wear it as a badge of honour. And if we’re talking about being braver, as I’ve written and spoken about before, perfectionism is one of the biggest bravery killers! 

Of course we are going to make mistakes every now and again. It’s how we learn. And quite frankly, life would be pretty boring if everyone had everything figured out all of the time!

And so, instead of aiming for perfection – which is an ideal that doesn’t even exist and therefore will inevitably evoke disappointment anyhow – let’s instead be okay with a little bit of imperfection.

Fellow speaker and friend Jessica Pettit is in town from California right now and staying with me. Her company is called ‘Good Enough Now’ (Now if perfection did exist, that name would be it!) Over the past few days we’ve had some very interesting conversations on this very subject. 

Maybe along our journey to be perfect we’ve forgotten to be real, to be human, and to recognise we are good enough now, exactly as we are. 

My presentation is good enough now.

The project you are working on right now is good enough now.

YOU are good enough now. 

Moreover, imperfect action is better than no action at all. 

And done is better than perfect!

Have you been putting off taking that first step for fear of it not being perfect, or you not being perfect?

Have you been procrastinating completing that project or thing in case it is not perfect? 

Have you been stuck in perfectionist paralysis instead of trying the something you’ve been thinking about and might end up really loving, or sharing the thing with the world that may really make a difference?

I just did a once over of my presentation, and I’ve decided I will not be making any more changes to it. 

It is good enough now.

And indeed done is better than perfect. 

What is something you are currently working on that is also good enough now? How are you going to apply ‘done is better than perfect’ to something this week? I want to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!


Is it Time For a Little Cheerleadership in Your Life?

Happy Friday!

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

Wow… 

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

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

The streets were packed! And people were everywhere.

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

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

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

Sometimes I think I missed my calling. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We all need champions and cheerleaders in our life. 

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

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

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

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

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

Carol 

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