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

25 Easy Ways to Make More Merry This Holiday Season!

Happy Friday!

Still on a high from an incredible CAPS convention in beautiful Vancouver, BC, learning and connecting with fellow speakers from all over the world… however there is no rest for the wicked, especially at this time of year!

After a serious leak from the condo above, I’ve had all new floors and baseboards put in, and the whole place repainted. So I’ve had no home for a few weeks (thank goodness I do love hotels!) and was finally able to move back in. Just in time, too, as I’m co-hosting a Christmas party tonight for the amazing Dovetail community of female entrepreneurs, and throwing a tacky Christmas sweater party for other friends and colleagues tomorrow night… because, well, why not?!?

I do love this exciting season, however perhaps you can relate to the to-do lists taking on a life of their own?

So I’m reminding myself, and you, to take a moment to slow down, and connect with what this season is really about.

And as I’m all about small, do-able, fun activities that can make a BIG difference both for you and for others, and we’re now knee deep into this festive season, I have some ideas for you!

Here are 25 easy ways to add a little extra merry and joy to you and yours and others this holiday season:

  1. Make a snow angel ❄👼❄ (ideally right on the sidewalk for all to see!
  2. Donate to your local food bank or fill a Shoebox for The Shoebox Project
  3. Send yourself a Christmas Card 📭 (why not?!?) and then give your postman (or postwoman!) a card while you’re at it 
  4. Buy yourself a poinsettia
  5. Shovel a neighbour’s driveway or sidewalk
  6. Invent a Christmas Cocktail
  7. Spend a day in your robe and just do nothing 
  8. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line ☕ 
  9. Get a sparkly festive manicure 💅
  10. Go to the movies to watch a vintage holiday classic 📽 (or stay in your jammies and watch Love Actually!)
  11. Learn a Christmas tune on the ukulele or the nose flute (talk to me if you’ve never heard of the nose flute, and I’ll introduce you to my good friend David Gouthro, who also happens to be the founder of the Vancouver Nose Flute Ensemble!)
  12. Treat yourself to a comfy onesie… be it a cheesy Christmas themed one or a snuggie!  
  13. Go to a fancy store, and try on a ridiculously expensive fuzzy, furry item… just ‘cause! (Or go to Value Village and buy a tacky Christmas sweater!)
  14. Build a Snowman ☃
  15. Visit your local Children’s hospital or hospice and enjoy some meaningful moments
  16. Buy chocolates for an old teacher, a mentor, or yourself
  17.  Go ice skating ⛸ or tobogganing 🛷 !
  18. Put on a pair of reindeer antlers and walk around town as if all is normal.(Maybe even make some ‘neeeiiigghh’ sounds!)
  19. Indulge in an obnoxiously large and fancy hot chocolate or other holiday beverage (I’m talking like Venti Gingerbread Latte styles!) 
  20. Bond with a stranger and turn them into a friend
  21. Spend some time out in nature. Go for a walk and if you’re lucky to have snow where you are, listen to the crunch sound under your feet as you walk
  22.  Bake cookies 🍪
  23.  Make an easy holiday craft (I always found reindeer candy canes the easiest!)
  24. Get a few friends or neighbours together and go Christmas Caroling 🔔
  25.  Crank up the 🎶 Christmas tunes 🎵 while driving, while cooking, or whenever… and get your belt on! 

 

Lots of ideas there… I hope you take on just ONE this week!

And then please do share your stories  below ~ and also feel free to add your ideas to the list! Always on the lookout for new fun things to do.

Remember, it’s not about simply adding more to your to-do list, rather to offer a fun respite of sorts, and get re-connected with what this holiday season is really about.

Have a FAB time making merry this week!

 

 

 

 

P.S. My friend Warren Leppik at Cognition Productions made a holiday card on my behalf for y’all… check it out HERE!

What it REALLY means to be productive.

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Although not necessarily an early riser by nature, I’m in the process of a bit of a transformation (and it’s a process, I tell ya!) as I’m up a few times a week at 5am to swim 🏊‍♀ with the Toronto Triathlon Club. ***I actually just signed up for my first half ironman in July… EEK 😳!*

So I may have been up a little too late on Tuesday evening, may have slept through my alarm ⏰ (or subconsciously hit ‘stop’ in stead of ‘snooze’!) and instead of reprimanding myself, may have committed in my half awake state to my instructor to join the Thursday am group to make up the missed session.

Well, yesterday I made sure I got up right away when I heard that buzz, even had time to make coffee ☕ for the first time (which I proceeded to spill as I locked my door behind me, HA! 🤣and arrived at the pool with a whole minute to spare… only to find out Thursday practices start at 6:30am, not 5:55!

After coming to terms with the fact I could have enjoyed an additional 30mins of sleep, I decided to maximise this bonus half hour and found a coffee shop a block away to journal and make lists. However, after a good swim, making some new friends, and enjoying some good conversations, I had a big epiphany about what it really means to be productive.

 

Watch this week’s video🎥 to learn my new definition of productive, as well as three easy ways you can reframe your relationship to productivity today…

It’s time to feel GOOD about what you ‘accomplish’ each and every day, regardless of how much you get done on the to-do list!

SO… what does PRODUCTIVE mean to you?

I hope you take on at least one of these  ideas, and stop trying to create ‘large amounts of commodities’ and instead enjoy large amounts of moments that matter.

And please, SHARE your thoughts and ideas in the comments below 🙌 ! 

Have a FAB week!

 

 

 

 

P.S There are still TWO spots to join our EPIC once-in-a-lifetime experience volunteering in Tanzania 🇹🇿 and then climbing Kilimanjaro 🏔!  More info HERE

Don’t Let These Confidence Killers Get You!

They (whoever ‘they’ are!) say confidence is one of the most attractive things you can wear. And it’s true. 

Some people just seem to have ‘it’ naturally. 

The X factor, the gravitas, the ‘je ne sais quoi’ that makes them stand out in any room. The thing that makes them unafraid to take risks and make things happen. 

It’s not competence, folks. It’s confidence. 

AND, it’s available to all of us.

In preparation for my upcoming talk at SHRM next week (I’m delivering a mega session to 2000 people… EEK!) I’ve been doing more research recently about confidence ~ what it is, what it isn’t, what kills it, and what builds it. 

I came across an amazing book, The Confidence Code, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, who share some incredible insights. 

It turns out both nature AND nurture affect our confidence. 

Some fascinating research exists on the fact women and men’s brains are actually wired differently, we produce different hormones, and we each have an individual genetic make-up – and all of these play a role in terms of how confident we are naturally.

And, there are also thoughts and behaviours that are learned through our experiences, upbringing, and society. (Did you know that in a Harvard study looking at gender effects on performance, girls who had to write out their gender on a math test before completing it, performed more poorly than those who did not have to write it out?!? Crazy!)

There was also mention of this idea of ‘confidence killers.’ And that’s where I want to dive into today. Because, as it turns out, I’m noticing some of my own confidence killers that I admittedly employ on perhaps too regular of a basis.

Perfectionism 


A study showed that women want to have approximately 85-95% of the qualifications on a job requirement before submitting an application. Versus men, who apply when they identify as having 15-25%!

We wait until there is very little likelihood of failure before taking action. 

We also tend to over-prepare, if anything… in wanting to ensure we get things right, we look good, and we avoid looking bad. 

We want to be perfect, appear perfect, and perform perfectly, all too often. And because it’s an ideal that doesn’t exist, we often feel bad about ourselves when we fall short.

Or, we live in perfectionist paralysis, and don’t put ourselves out there at all.

People-Pleasing

Ah-yes, people-pleasing. 

Yup, I still do that, too. 

Now in my defence, women have a more active hippocampus in our brains than men do, and so are more wired for connection and empathy. While this can be looked at as a good thing, we also have to be careful.  It’s a proven fact women are more interested in being liked than being respected, and as a result we often care too much about what people think.

At times our behaviours are more motivated by not wanting to ruffle any feathers, or by wanting to be liked, instead of doing what is right for us. 

Procrastination and/or P-a-u-s-i-n-g (and over-analysing!)  

Sometimes tied to perfectionism, the idea here is we tend to spend FAR too much time thinking and analysing. Waiting to feel ready or good enough or for the perfect moment to arrive before taking that first or next step. 

We hesitate. We pause. We ruminate. We procrastinate. 

And when we get too caught up in our heads, we tend to imagine worse-case scenarios, listen to the negative voices in our heads that tell us we can’t, we’re crazy, or our idea will never work. 

And as a result, we often don’t take any action at all. 

 

Okay, so how do we move past these confidence killers?

Awareness, Insight, Action. 

First, you need to identify what confidence killer is coming up for you in the moment.

Gain awareness, and get real. Are you taking on a behaviour or an action because it feels right to YOU? Or because you are trying to get someone to like you? 

Are you finding an excuse as to why you’re not taking on a behaviour or an action because you’re stuck in your head? Are you listening to those negative voices? Are you wanting to be PERFECT before you even begin?

Notice what is happening. And examine why it may be happening for you. Look inside yourself. Insight brings clarity. 

And finally, it’s time to take ACTION! 

The only way to build confidence is through action. PERIOD. 

You’re not going to think your way into being more confident. You have to act your way into being more confident.  

Action builds your confidence muscle, even if the action isn’t related to the area you may be lacking confidence. 

And both action and confidence are contagious. That first, small brave move is all you need to take!

If you were even braver than you are right now, if you were even more confident than you are right now, what one small action would you take? 

And WHEN are you going to take it?!?

Today seems like a pretty good day to me! Go ahead, I DARE you!

You don’t need to learn any more, get any more qualifications, do any more prep work.

I truly believe each and every one of us is here for a greater purpose. And when we are holding back or letting our confidence killers get the better of us, we’re not showing up in the biggest version of ourselves. And we’re not going to make the biggest impact we can make. 

Which confidence killer holds YOU back the most? And what is that one small action you are going to take (maybe even today?!?) to move you forward?

I want to hear from you in the comments below. 

Have a FAB day!

The tale of the wallet with the silver lining.

…Because there is always a silver lining. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel Big

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

Connect Big 

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

Appreciate Big

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

 

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

…Because there is always a silver lining.

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

Have a FAB week!

The ONLY question you need to ask yourself.

Is all you’re doing right now, all you have going on in your life – making you happy?

In her brilliant book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,‘ Marie Kondo shares the single most important question to ask when de-cluttering your space (and your life!) is this one: DOES IT BRING YOU JOY?’ 

Simple, yet POWERFUL.

And I think we can use this very same idea when looking at all  we want to create in our lives – this year and beyond! Continue reading “The ONLY question you need to ask yourself.”

How to Achieve ALL Your Dreams in 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

“New Year, New YOU!”

“Let’s make this your BEST YEAR YET!”

“Achieve ALL your dreams in 2018!”

No doubt you are bombarded with messages like these at this time of year. (and my apologies, as that last one came from ME!)

While it makes sense – as we have a blank slate, a fresh page in front of us – it can also be pretty overwhelming!

And even though I love setting goals and making resolutions, I don’t always stick to them, and there is a scary stat that states 90% of people who set resolutions fall off the bandwagon by February. EEK! Continue reading “How to Achieve ALL Your Dreams in 2018”

The ONLY Message You’ll Ever Need to Hear.

MY WEEK IN PICS: Connecting with friends (and making new ones!) and learning a ton at the CAPS (Canadian Ass. of Professional Speakers) Annual Convention… and honoured to sit on a panel following a talk with the amazing Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Executive Director for UN Women, and the founder of HeForShe movement; Christmas lunching with friends…

There are some pretty important messages out there, however there is only ONE big message you’ll really ever need to hear. 

It may sound like a pretty bold statement, and it’s true.  Continue reading “The ONLY Message You’ll Ever Need to Hear.”

It’s not about buying presents, it’s about being present…

My week in pics: Family wedding, catching up with girlfriends and amazing members of the women living big – Tribe community, attending the CAPS Christmas party, and taking in the magic of this time of year… 

Happy Friday!

If you’re anything like me, you love this time of year. However as exciting as the hustle and the bustle and the lights and the Christmas Carols can be, it can also be a tad stressful!

This week I’m keeping it short and sweet, simply wanting to share some important reminders as to what this time of year is really about.  Continue reading “It’s not about buying presents, it’s about being present…”

Wanna Learn the 3 Pillars of Happiness?

My week in pics: Seeing monkeys and sloths at the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, sneaking in some beach time in Costa Rica, and saying goodbye to all of my Remote Year adventures and coming HOME!

Happy Friday!

(And happy 1st day of Advent!)

And greetings from where I’m back on Canadian soil, in home surf, and in cold weather!

It’s been a bit of an adjustment these past few days I’ve been home, however I must say it also feels good to be back. 

Although it’s been so fun to experience adventures all over the world, ultimately, I’m realizing happiness doesn’t necessarily come from the epic moments in life.  Continue reading “Wanna Learn the 3 Pillars of Happiness?”