Stop pleasing the teacher!

Happy Friday!

On Monday morning, my alarm went off at 4:45am. 

Now I enjoy mornings, but I wouldn’t really call myself a morning person per say. And while I have quite a few friends and colleagues who are a part of the 5am club, I am not one of them!

But I got up at that time because I’ve signed up for swim training again. And, well, it begins at 5:55am. And seeing as how the pool is about 40 minutes away, I was already cutting it close. 

On the way there, I was feeling a tad anxious. 

So I tried to ask myself where it was coming from. 

Part of it was due to the fact it had been a long time since I’d been in the pool…

But another part of it, as embarrassing as it is to admit, was me feeling worried about what the coach thinks of me! Because I was off for a large part of last season due to breaking my foot, and because I missed our first session last week, I kinda have this belief she thinks I’m not dedicated enough, not good enough, or she simply doesn’t like me!

I’m a grown woman, and I am still worried about pleasing the teacher!

Indeed it’s a bit ridiculous. 

Growing up, I was a bit of a people pleaser. And although I’ve come a long way, I still do certain things in an effort to make others happy. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that, mind you. I mean, it’s nice to be nice to people. We all like nice people. And I do try my best to be a nice person. But there is a difference between wanting to be nice, and needing to please. 

Now people-pleasing, as I’ve shared before, is one of the Big Bravery Killers

And it’s one of the things that can prevent us from doing what we truly want to be doing, and what we’re truly meant to be doing with our lives. 

We like gaining approval, recognition, validation. We like being liked. 

But sometimes, we can go to great lengths to please others. And to our detriment. 

I’m sure you can think of a time you said yes to something or someone, when perhaps you should have said no. And every time you do that, you are then saying no to something, or someone else. And all too often that is you

Yes, it’s about creating strict boundaries, honouring your limits and taking care of you.

But more that that, it’s about pleasing YOU, above all. 

In the famous article, Top Five Regrets of the Dying, which I’ve expanded upon in a past blog, Bronnie Ware shares what she discovered over the years through her work in palliative care. The number one regret of the dying is wishing they had had the courage to live a life true to themselves, instead of a life others expected of them. 

And if we’re going to live a life that is truly true to who we are, we may have to do a little less pleasing of others, and a little more pleasing of ourselves. 

Now perhaps it’s worth examining the motivation behind this pleasing.

Why are we wanting to please? To make others happy, or ourselves happy? Are we doing things we don’t even really want to be doing sometimes merely to please? And are we ever going to be truly happy if we are only ever doing things thinking and hoping they will please? 

Maybe we need to focus less on pleasing, and more on serving. 

And I think there is a distinction that needs to be made between the two. 

  • Pleasing others may elicit actions we don’t actually want to do. Serving others more often elicits actions from a genuine want to do so.
  • Pleasing others elicits actions motivated by a desired outcome. Serving others elicits actions motivated by a desired behavior.
  • Pleasing others may not stem from us being our most authentic selves. Serving others requires us to be our most authentic selves. 
  • Pleasing others may not necessarily leave us, or others, feeling empowered. Serving others is all about empowerment.
  • Pleasing others may lead to exhaustion, burn-out, failure. Serving others is invigorating, energizing, inspiring.

Perhaps it’s time to switch the narrative… perhaps it’s time to trump service over pleasing. 

Because so long as we are looking for others’ approval or validation, we will never get it. Whereas if we are truly operating from a place of service, we’ll likely be operating from our most powerful, authentic, bravest selves. And moreover, wanting to serve means we’re dedicated to making a difference… both with the people around us, as well as in the world. 

Perhaps it’s time to re-think. Life is short. Better to spend energy and time with those that already get you, like you, love you. 

Maybe I’m going to have to be okay with the fact my swim coach may not like me. I think I’ll survive. 

Maybe it’s time to focus on those who get me, and those who I want to serve in my life, instead of those I want to please.

So it’s time to get honest. 

Is there a ‘teacher’ in your life that you are trying to please? Perhaps it’s a boss, a parent, a colleague, a sibling, a friend. Are you trying to get them to see you? To give you their approval? To offer validation?  

I want to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Is more, better?

Happy Friday!

You may recall the story of Oliver Twist.

And more specifically, do you remember the part where young Oliver, still ravished after his first small bowl of oatmeal gruel, innocently asks in his lovely little boy British accent:

“Please, Sir, I want some more…”


Well, he was not met with a positive response, and in fact was thrown out of the workhouse as a result!

Poor guy… (I actually had to refresh my memory with the story, and it turns out because all of the boys were starving, decided they would choose one boy to speak out and ask for seconds… and Oliver was the unlucky winner of the lottery!) 

Now in this case, he wanted more because he was truly starving. 

But why is it we almost always seem to want more?

When is anything ever going to be enough?

And is more even better?

I’m asking myself these same questions as I pose them to you.

Because the truth is, I often find myself with a feeling of wanting more. Or automatically focusing on what I don’t yet have. 

And I know I’m not alone! 

A few days ago I was having a lovely conversation with a special family friend, who is somewhat limited with what she and her husband are able to do, due to the fact he is in a wheelchair. 

And while she was sharing it’s tough not to always be able to do the things she wants to do, not even a moment later she wisely stated:

“But I’m happy with what we have.”

Yes! Gratitude and appreciation for what we actually have right here, right now. It made me smile big. 

A few nights ago I was at a fireside chat for female entrepreneurs. And I had a lovely conversation with one of the panelists – who not only has a very successful business, is also very humble and happens to be a friend and generous mentor. She was wanting to congratulate me on some of the things I’ve been up to recently, to which I replied ‘Yeah, but, I’m not ____  yet. I’m not doing _x_ yet. I haven’t figured out _y_.

She quickly responded by saying, ‘but maybe you have!’ And maybe you do!’ Then she brought up the word insatiable, and began to challenge me on it. 

In a follow up chat, she wisely said it’s okay to be insatiable, ‘just as long as you give yourself permission to live your current life just as it is, just as you are.’ 

WOW. I needed to hear those words. 

I’m aware this idea is not a new one, however it’s an important one.
And as with all important ideas, they deserve repeating in different ways. 

It’s okay to be ambitious. It’s okay to want to grow. It’s okay to have goals.

But not if you can’t also be happy with where you are now.

It’s often too easy and too tempting to look at where we want to be, or what may be missing from where we are, instead of focusing on being grateful and celebrating what we’ve got.

This week I’ve had some pretty big successes, and yet before I really gave myself an opportunity to take them all in, I’m already looking ahead to what’s next!

And how will we ever be truly fulfilled or satisfied if we live that way?!?

More is not always better. 


I think it’s time for a little shift in perspective. 

So, I have a few questions for you to answer this week:

  • When was the last time you made a gratitude list? If you can’t remember the last time, perhaps it’s about time!
  • What is one thing happening in your life right now worth celebrating? 
  • What would it mean to ‘give yourself permission to live your current life just as it is, just as you are?’

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Perhaps in the case of oatmeal gruel, we would want more (they must have been REALLY hungry!)  

But when it comes to most other things we’re continually chasing, maybe more isn’t always better. 

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

It’s not about the summit…

It was 11pm. And it was cold.

Although we were strongly encouraged to go to bed after dinner, knowing what lay ahead, most of us hadn’t managed to sleep. 

Perhaps it was the temperature, or the timing, or the sheer excitement. 

I had barely got my mitts on, and was still adjusting my poles to the proper length, before we were off. 

‘Duende!’ 

(‘Let’s go!’ in Swahili)

One by one, step by step, in single file line, we began our final summit night ascent up Kilimanjaro.

I looked up from the path and the carefully trodden footprints to the women in line ahead of me, and to all of the guides on either side of us – with two more than normal there were seven altogether – and I felt both proud and protected. 

‘One team, one dream!’ Hemedi, one of our main guides, had declared our first night together. And it had quickly become our slogan, our proclamation, our lifeline. 

We were one team – and a powerful force at that – with one dream… to make it to the summit.

We continued to climb, but it somehow felt more serious, more somber than before.

Six days earlier we’d begun our climb up Africa’s largest peak.

We’d conquered rain and snow, the famous Barranco wall, and even Lava Tower – our day 3 destination – who’s high altitude had affected the majority of our group leaving many ill and worried they wouldn’t be able to go on.

Although at times challenging, and despite long days of nine plus hours of hiking, I never doubted my ability to get to the top. 

And although physical fitness doesn’t guarantee one won’t be affected by altitude sickness, l was still pretty confident I’d be able to make it happen. 

Until I wasn’t. 

Just then I began to feel it. 

Not only were my hands freezing, my tummy was turning. And then came the gurgles. 

I began to feel it. The altitude. 

It was hours before our first short break. 

And not a moment too soon.

Even then, there was no time to dawdle. It was hurry up and do your business if you must, grab some water, and get back in line.

(Although I certainly felt better afterwards, having to do your business on the side of the mountain, where it was very difficult not to be exposed somehow, and in the middle of the night when the last thing you feel like doing is taking off all of your layers, is not so much fun let me tell you!)

By the time I was back, we were immediately off again in our single file line.  

There was no singing, no laughing, no bubbly conversation as there had been the days previously. 

‘This isn’t fun anymore!’ someone from our group proclaimed. 

My heart sank. I’m sure she wasn’t the only one feeling that way. In fact, I’m pretty sure we were all beginning to feel that way.

Perhaps I’m making it out to be a bit more somber than it actually was. I mean it wasn’t all that awful – at least at first – but it was also no walk in the park.

At first, I was quite enjoying the rhythm of our steps.

I was enjoying the quiet. The nature. The team we were a part of.

I was beginning to realize we were now on a mission that became bigger than any one of us.

But after a few hours, the first in line peeled off. And then the next one. And the one two behind me. 

I was also beginning to realize we may not all make it. 

As a team leader that’s tough. And when you’re not allowed to get out of line yourself to check in on your people, and when you yourself aren’t feeling so hot, it makes it even harder. 

I began to recite a mantra in my mind:

'we will summit, 
we will summit, 
and we’ll be,
warm again.’

It had a distinct rhythm and tune. And I must have recited it several hundred times before we finally made it to the crater rim of the mountain, Stella point. 

And by that point, my stomach had settled a little bit. We had been going for almost 8 hours. 

The next 45 minutes of the climb, also the last 45 minutes of the climb, although not overly physically demanding, lasted an eternity. 

However as the sun slowly began to offer its morning light, I felt hopeful. 

My fear that I may not make it, which was pretty real at some point during the ascent, subsided. It was happening. 

It was freezing, we were freezing, and a few brave members of the group – who had declared more than once they were ready to turn back, and who had been persuaded more than once to keep going – were barely hanging on. 

It was no longer about me making it to the top, and more about making sure all those still with us would make it.

I knew this sign had better show up sooner rather than later!

We began to pass fellow climbers coming in the opposite direction, big grins on their faces (or occasionally very white in their faces!) heading down the mountain.  

‘Congratulations!’ they shouted. And I knew we were close. 

And then off in the near distance I saw her. 

The sign. 

The official post that marked the summit. 

We began to quicken our steps. 

And suddenly, there we were. 

We made it. 

We had reached the peak, summited to the summit, achieved our goal. 

So we took the picture, dug deep to smile big, and then just like that, the moment was over and were already on our way down. 

Blink and you could’ve missed it. 

And if I’m honest, it was almost a bit anticlimactic. 

Now in all fairness it was snowing and very cloudy and there was no beautiful sunrise to be seen. Perhaps that would have made a difference. 

But still, this big summit reaching moment wasn’t what I thought it would be.

And as I began the descent back down, I realized although we may have made it to the summit, it wasn’t about making it to the summit at all. 

It never was. 

And it never is. 

Whether a summit, a destination, a goal… 

Here’s the thing. You’ll never get ‘there’ – yet you’ve already arrived. 

It really is about the experience, the journey, the steps you have to go through in life order to get to where you want to go, and more importantly the person you have to become in the process. 

And that was certainly the case for our climb up Kilimanjaro.

The actual moment of reaching the summit paled in comparison to all of the special moments we enjoyed leading up to it.

The singing and dancing and cheering we did with all of our guides and porters at camp. 

The deep discussions we’d get into in our dining tent on life, love and diamox (to take, or not to take?)

The sharing of our roses and thorns at the end of every evening, which ended in laughter or tears or powerful breakthroughs.

Hard to believe this epic experience of a lifetime has come to an end. But the learnings and the connections are only just beginning.

And these special moments will truly last a lifetime. 

And I am so freakin’ proud of what our ‘one team, one dream’ accomplished. 

So although I will continue to set goals and climb mountains and may even  attempt to once again reach the summit – and hope you do too – I’m going to focus on enjoying the journey (hopefully with less gurgles next time!) 

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that maters, in the end.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin 

Indeed. 

Have a FAB week!

Lessons from Africa on the power of connection.

Africa is everything you’ve ever imagined it could be, and nothing like you ever could have imagined. 

Granted I haven’t been all over Africa – I haven’t even been all over Tanzania yet – however in the small bit I have seen and experienced, I can honestly say there is something magical about this place.

We are not tourists here… and that makes a big difference. 

We’re staying with a local family in their guest house, we’re cooking with the local ‘mamas’ from the Dare Women’s Foundation while on site (it’s quite amazing watching a small area covered merely by a tarp be transformed into a full on kitchen…) preparing some of the most tasty and memorable meals ever, and our volunteer work in this remote village is building a fence around a property that will one become a community home for women in need.

We pass children in their uniforms on their way to and from school, flashing the whitest of smiles, screaming ‘Jambo!’ while running after our bus, impressively keeping up with our pace. 

We get welcomed by the village mamas in their beautiful brightly coloured dresses and kangas (traditional wraps) with singing and dancing and shaking of hips and whistle blowing (I have never been greeted with such genuine warmth and excitement…) It really does bring tears to my eyes every time.

And we’ve seen giraffes walking along a ridge in the distance, while hearing hippopotami (is that the plural of hippopotamus?!?) snort in a lake right next to us, as we share big dreams and big fears taking the ladies in our group through my ‘Spark Your G.E.N.I.U.S.’ program.

I feel so incredibly fortunate to be experiencing what I’m experiencing and learning what I’m learning right now. 

And, you don’t necessarily have to go to Africa (although I will say, if and when you get the chance, GO! It is INCREDIBLE and so hard to describe…) or another part of the world to shift your perspective or learn important lessons. 

But one of the biggest things – takeaways, highlights, learnings – is not really a new lesson at all. 

I’ve long since understood the power of it, yet being here it’s become even more evident to me.

CONNECTION.

Despite different backgrounds, regardless of various upbringings, beyond obvious language barriers, I continue to truly connect with so many of the local people I meet and have the honour of working with.

And it brings so much more meaning to every interaction.

Connect with others. 

Connect with yourself.

Connect to the moment. 

Last week I spoke about people, experiences, and moments making the world go around. 

Well, continuing on that theme, the next step is to truly CONNECT. 

If you are not connecting with these people, experiences, or moments, you will miss the mark, and the magic.

And so with respect to people specifically, here are three easy ways to more powerfully connect. 

1  See people.

See people for who they truly are. Get to know them. Be let in. Place yourself in their shoes whenever possible. Learn their names. Learn their story.

2  Share Yourself. 

Don’t be afraid to self disclose. Let them in. When you open up, you invite them to do the same. And vulnerable sharing is the birthplace of deeper and more meaningful connection. 

3  Smile More.

Don’t underestimate the power of gestures. Making eye contact, extending a hand, or offering an embrace goes a LONG way. Especially when there may be a language barrier. Smile. A smile is truly worth a thousand words. Smile and the world smiles back at you. 

 

When you want to more powerfully connect with someone, use these three tips and you’ll be well on your way.

After all, human connection is important, and people, experiences, and moments make the world go around.

It’s been an incredible first week here in Tanzania, and tomorrow we head off at 5am towards the mountain to start our climb up Kilimanjaro. 

Wish us luck!

2 trains🚊 down, 2 flights ✈ to go, 1 epic experience awaits…

I’m pretty sure it hasn’t hit me yet. 

Luckily I have about 15 hours ahead of me between the two flights and a layover, and so it may begin to at some point in there!

It’s been a whirlwind the last little while to say the least. Many a tear shed, plenty of laughs shared, and lots of special memories both relived and created. 

We had a beautiful tribute for my stepmother and our dear Eveline in her family’s quaint home town in northern Germany, and now she is in her final resting place. 

And may she rest in peace. 

I’ve wanted to be in the moment, feeling all the feels, and so the fact I’m about to embark on what I’m pretty sure is going to be an epic experience of a lifetime hasn’t quite sunk in yet. 

It’s been in the works for well over a year. And conversations with my partners in crime for even longer than that. 

Women Living Big and UGO Travel For Change have joined forces, and 12 brave souls will all be arriving in Arusha, Tanzania over the next 24 hours where we’ll all finally meet in person as a group for the first time. 

We’ve been on the journey for the past few months together… meeting over zoom calls sharing dreams and fears and lots in between, exchanging equipment lists and packing woes and pictures of ‘she wees,’ and getting to know one another through hilarious what’s app conversations and way too many bitmojis!

We’re going to be volunteering with the Dare Women’s Association for a week, getting down and dirty and building a fence, and then we will make our way to Mt. Kilimanjaro, attempting to reach the summit. 

Kinda crazy if I think about it. 

Kinda crazy to think about all that has transpired over the last few weeks. 

Welcoming a new baby into the family, having to say goodbye to another member of the family, and a whole lotta miles being flown the process.

And so if I’m honest, no, I haven’t quite processed it all yet.

But then again, when life is happening so fast all around you, do you ever actually process in the moment?

Well, perhaps not. but I’m taking a small moment now to begin to think and reflect. 

Without getting too philosophical, what is it all about in the end anyhow?

Well, I’ve realised I couldn’t have gone through what I just did without so many special people in my life. Having my friends and family around for support and to experience it together has meant everything. And sharing special moments, both laughs and tears. And talking about special past experiences, as well as looking forward to more special experiences to come. 

People. Moments. Experiences. 

That’s really what makes the world go around. 

And so as you and I embark on all of the adventures that await us in 2019 – planned or unplanned – may they involve special people, special moments, and special experiences. 

They make the journey worthwhile, and give life meaning. 

Short and sweet this week, as I’m getting ready to board!

Have a FAB week!

Before you bring on 2019, do this ONE thing.

Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

Happy Friday!

The Christmas music is still playing off in the distance.

The last morsels of turkey made for yet another delicious cold turkey lunch.

There are half-eaten boxes of chocolate in the pantry, an impressive amount of empty wine bottles, and the recycling boxes are full to the brim with cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, greeting card envelopes.

All evidence points to a lovely holiday of entertaining and enjoyment by all.

And that it was indeed.

And now we enter into this weird time when a part of you is likely still in festive mode, a part of you is back thinking about or diving deep into work, and yet another part of you is busy looking ahead and strategizing all for 2019.

I’m not quite sure where I am, but I did show up at my girlfriend’s house this morning in my Christmas onesie with breakfast pastries and one last gift, trying to hang onto this special holiday for as long as possible! (also learned a valuable lesson… if your gift requires batteries, you better be sure to have them in tow! Clearly an amateur!)

For me, this time of year has always been about spending time with friends and family and all loved ones, and likely always will be.

And so somehow I can justify my procrastination on the overflowing inbox and strategy sessions by surrounding myself in good company.

At the same time, however, my mind can’t help but wander to a few days from now, where I’ll likely be watching the ball drop, toasting with a glass of bubbly, and if I’m lucky enough enjoy a few kisses and cheers with some of the special people in my life.

And all of a sudden it will be a new year.

A new start.
A fresh opportunity.
A blank page.

And as much as I love thinking and dreaming up all the possibilities for the year ahead, I also tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to have all of these ambitious goals figured out and planned out exactly what it is I want my year to look like before it’s even arrived.

Well, I’m not quite there yet.
And you may not be, either.
And that’s okay.

Because before we jump ahead to dreaming and scheming up the sensational storm that will be 2019, it’s important to do this ONE THING:

Pause and Reflect. 

It sounds simple enough, but it’s not always easy.

All too often we’re in a rush to get to the next thing before reflecting on what just happened.

We experience a breakup, and we’re back on line or swiping left looking for a new mate within days (or even hours!)

We arrive home from a trip, and before we’ve even unpacked we’re thinking about the next one.

We leave our job or position for whatever reason, and we’re jumping into a new project or applying for a new position almost immediately.

When was the last time you took the time to actually pause and reflect on what just happened? On your learnings? On how your perspective may have shifted? On what you want to be different next time? On what worked, and what didn’t?!?

Before we look ahead to 2019 – and all we want to experience, achieve, and feel – let’s first take some time to properly pause and reflect on this past year.

Now there are lots of questions out there and journal prompts and workbooks available for you to complete, but the last thing I want to do is add another something to your to-do list.

So I’m sharing 10 questions with you here… of which you may choose to answer all or one or even none. There is no right or wrong, nor does it matter if you answer with fancy gel pens in a fancy new journal, or simply in your head while enjoying a bubble bath. But I do suggest you at least read the following… as even doing just that will allow you to pause and begin the reflection process.

(And then stay tuned, as next week I’ll be offering my annual ‘Intentions, Resolutions, & Goals, OH MY!’ workshop to get clear on all we want in 2019. Good news? It’s going to be taking place ON LINE… so all y’all can join! *Registration opening soon.)

Reflection Questions for 2018:

  • What are your BIG celebrations?
  • What were your proudest accomplishments?
  • What were the highlights? Lowlights?
  • What is the most important lesson(s) you learned?
  • What do you want more of? Less of?
  • Where were you playing smaller than you know you could have?
  • Who were the big cheerleaders and supporters in your life? (and how will you acknowledge them?)
  • How did you stretch yourself to live BIG in 2018?
  • What do you need to let go of in order to live even bigger in 2019?
  • Who did you need to become to get here, and who do you need to grow into to get where you want to go? 

May you take a moment to properly reflect on 2018… all that it was, and all that it wasn’t. All you experienced, and all you learned. How you grew and who you became.

Take a moment – if only a moment – to pause and reflect, celebrate, grieve, acknowledge, accept.

(And then please share some of your reflections in the comments below! I want to share in them with you.)

And when you do, you truly will be ready to ring in, and bring on 2019.

May it be all you desire and more.

xo,

 

 

 

P.S. THANK YOU for being an important part of my year… your reading, following, supporting, and commenting means more than you know. And I continue to be honoured and grateful to be in this together…

Cheers to continuing on the journey in 2019!

 

May you enjoy a moment of awe and wonder…

Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash

Happy Friday!

Awe and wonder.

That is exactly what I felt looking into the cutest, innocent, most precious eyes of baby Harris.

I’m a proud Auntie once again!

My Dad and I flew out to Calgary as soon as we caught word things were happening with my sister, landing an hour after the newest member of our family arrived into the world. 

And he is simply perfect. 

There is just something about holding and cuddling with a newborn baby…
The innocence. The softness. The scent.

I know babies are born every second in every corner in every part of the world, but that doesn’t take away from the miracle that is in each and every birth.

It is indeed magical and a miracle. 

And it got me thinking; that is exactly what this time of year is all about. 

So regardless of what you believe, what you celebrate (or not) I hope you take a moment or two to experience the magic and the miracle of the holiday season.

Amongst the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking, the baking;
the entertaining, the decorating and the holiday pie making…

May you experience a moment of awe and wonder. 

In fact, may you experience many special moments.

Adopting from a previous blog I shared around this time of year, instead of 12 days of Christmas, I wish you 12 moments of Christmas:

May you enjoy a moment of joy. 

Real joy… when your heart is smiling. When time stops.

May you enjoy a moment of laughter. 

Catch yourself next time mid-laughter. Milk it. Indulge in it. Laugh until your cheeks hurt. 

May you enjoy a moment of gratitude.

There is always something to be thankful for. Choose one thing you are especially grateful for. Inhale it in.

May you enjoy a moment of connection.

Allow yourself to be fully in somebody’s presence. Engage. Really see them, and let them see you.

May you enjoy a moment of peace.

Perhaps in silence, perhaps amidst the noise. Take a breath, and be still. If only for a moment.

May you enjoy a moment of love. 

Maybe in giving, maybe in receiving. Experience a moment where love exists. Allow it to make your heart sing.

May you enjoy a moment of fun.

Whether planned, or unplanned, ensure you bask in a moment of full-on fun. I dare you.  (perhaps you’ll need to borrow your friends’ or sisters’ kids like I did! Nothing is more fun than playtime with Auntie Carol!)

May you enjoy a moment of reflection. 

‘Tis also the time of year to look back on all that has transpired over this past year (or even this past week!) and look forward to all there is to come.

May you enjoy a moment of excitement.

Whether experiencing the season through the eyes of a curious child, or putting yourself back there (I still kick my legs under my sheets every Christmas morning in sheer excitement! You’re never too old!), invite yourself to feel what it’s like to get truly excited. 

May you enjoy a moment of giving.

It doesn’t have to be all about gifts at this time of year. You can give with your heart through your time, your words, your thoughtful acts, your presence.

May you enjoy a moment of presence.

Amidst all that’s going on, take a moment to just be. Notice the world around you, notice your feet planted firmly on the ground, notice your heart pumping. 

May you enjoy a moment of awe and wonder.

There really is so much to be in awe and wonder of at this time of year. Whether looking into the eyes of a newborn baby, watching the lights sparkle, or watching the world go by, take a moment to notice and appreciate just how wonderful a feeling awe and wonder is. 

No need to force any moments… I only encourage you to be open to invite some moments in, and indulge in how they make you feel.

Nothing to do, simply to be this holiday season. 

‘Tis the season for… moments. May you experience lots of special moments, enjoy lots of special moments, make the season count. 

(And then please share some of these moments in the comments below! I want to share in them with you.) 

Wishing you and yours an awe and wonder-filled season!