Because I am brave…

Happy Friday!

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

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

I think we’re onto something here, folks!

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

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

And you know what I’m learning?

It’s not a one and done kinda thing.

It’s a practice. 

It’s contagious. 

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

But because I am brave, I did it. 

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

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

Here is a mini excerpt to peak your attention:

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

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

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

Here’s what else I’m learning.

Fear ‘aint going anywhere any time soon. 

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

The way I see it, we have two choices. 

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

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

Go ahead, I DARE you. 

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

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

Be BRĀV enough to share your comments below!

Have a FAB week!!!

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

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

Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Why they all matter.


Yesterday morning, I visited my grandmother’s grave.

I never met her. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I had a moment. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need all three. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So interconnected… and we need them all. 

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

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

Don’t procrastinate on joy.

This morning, I had a croissant. 

Cue gasp here.

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

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

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

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

Give into it. 

Don’t procrastinate on joy. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t procrastinate your joy.

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

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

I’m finding it quite peaceful to be honest!

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

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

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

Don’t procrastinate joy. 

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

Have a FAB week!

When to have faith, when to let go…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was hopeful. 

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

Alas, nothing. 

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

I was hopeful once again. 

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

Alas, nothing. 

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

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

My hope returned. 

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

Alas, nothing. 

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

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

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

My hope had returned. 

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

Alas, nothing.

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

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

Luckily, he was. So it was on!

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

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

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

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

Alas, still no bangles. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then there are the lessons.

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

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

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

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

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

Carol

Conversations & Connections. Why they matter.

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

It’s been an amazingly full week. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1. Be The First

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

2. Give a Compliment

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

3.  Get Curious

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

4. Engage in Active Listening

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

5. Be Present 

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

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

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


Have a FAB week!

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!


If it’s not a ‘Hell YEAH!’ perhaps it’s a no.

Happy Friday!

If it’s not a ‘Hell YEAH!’ it’s a no. 

I remember first hearing that phrase a few years ago… and it really resonated with me at the time. 

You see, I’m not always the best at making decisions. And yet I’m pretty fortunate in that there always seems to be a plethora of options and opportunities at any given moment.

It’s a blessing and a curse, really. 

Fun to know there are so many things I could attend, take on, get involved with… and yet all the more difficult to know which to say yes to, and which to pass up. 

And so, if I’m honest, I’ve been known in the past to say yes to it all, or take on a tad too much. Until it really becomes too much, and therefore is no longer enjoyable. 

Choices are exciting. And choices are tough. (And if you’ve never heard of Barry Schwartz and his book and accompanying Ted Talk, ‘The Paradox of Choice,’ I suggest you check it out!)

And so, it’s often useful to have some filters to help with the decision-making, and determine what makes the most sense for you at given moment in time. 

Here are some questions I ask myself when trying to put ideas or opportunities through a filter of sorts:

  • Does it excite me?
  • Do I have the capacity to take it on at this moment?
  • How much time and/or energy will it require of me?
  • What are the potential rewards?
  • Is it something important to me?
  • Is it in alignment with my values?
  • Examine the real reasons I would want to say yes – Am I doing it for me? To prove something to myself or others? To please someone else? To be liked? To fit in? 
  • Will it bring me closer to where I want to be, or farther away?

And now, regardless of how rational we may be, despite any fancy test or vetting process we take ourselves through, I have one question that can more often than not bypass it all:

“Is it a HELL YES?”

Because if it’s not, perhaps it’s a no. 

We have SOO many projects and people and options and opportunities competing for our time and attention, all the time. And so why would we give up our precious resources to something that is less than extremely exciting to us?!?

Is there something you are currently facing that requires a decision to be made?

Get honest, and ask yourself if it’s a hell yes. And if it’s not, perhaps it’s a no, and maybe it’s okay to pass on it this time around. 

And there is NO harm in admitting that! 

You will only be doing a disservice to yourself, to others, and ultimately the world wasting your resources on something that doesn’t totally light you up. That doesn’t fuel your fire. That doesn’t get you going deep down in the core of your belly.

Life is short enough as it is. It’s worth passing on the ‘good’ in order to make room for the ‘great.’ 

And it’s worth waiting for the ‘Hell Yeahs!’ Otherwise, it may be time to get your brave on and say ‘Hell No!

Where in your life are you facing an important decision? And what’s it going to be? I want to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol 

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

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!