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 

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

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

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!

What a Stranger On The Beach Taught Me About Love

Happy Friday! 

So I was running along the beach yesterday, (yes, indeed I’m very blessed, and currently enjoying a lovely beach holiday with my family…) and said good morning as I passed by this same gentleman I’ve seen walking most mornings this week.

On my way back, he stopped me. “I just have to tell you, you are the most beautiful woman on this beach!

I smiled awkwardly, very aware of the perspiration now dripping down my face. And then I said thank you, and what a lovely thing to say, especially being Valentine’s Day.

He proceeded to comment on my positive energy, and said I looked like I could be right out of University. HA! We had a brief little chat, and it turns out he’s a sculptor on the island. He was jokingly trying to convince me to move here.

Now I have to say, it’s nice to receive a compliment. 

And seeing as how it was Valentine’s Day, it was all the more welcome. 

Because even though I tend to believe it’s a bit of a Hallmark Holiday, it can still be a little tough for single women (I gave a special ‘Shout Out To All The Single Ladies’ yesterday with an important message you can check out HERE.)

But at the same time, I realised I was allowing another’s opinion to affect my own feelings about myself. 

I shouldn’t need a compliment from a random stranger to feel better on Valentine’s Day! 

And moreover, we don’t need a special holiday to experience, feel, and celebrate the love that is all around us, and available whenever we want. 

So whether yesterday included chocolates or flowers, a romantic dinner out, or staying in to watch reruns of Sex In The City with popcorn and ice cream by yourself, it doesn’t matter. And here are some other ways you can show the love to yourself, and others, any day of the week. 

Because regardless of your situation, we could all do with a little more love in our lives. 

“Love doesn’t make the world go around. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” ~ Franklin P. Jones

 

1. Write yourself a love letter. 

When was the last time you wrote yourself a love letter? Have you ever written one?

No doubt you’ve written some in your time (I actually have an antique trunk where I keep old love letters and special cards from folks over the years…), however as important as it is to spread and share the love with others, it’s arguably even more important to show the love for yourself. 

So go on, get out a piece of paper or a card – or splurge on a fancy piece of stationary – and start waxing poetic to yourself, about yourself…

You can write it to yourself today, to your younger self, or to your future self. 

2. Write a love letter to someone else

Everyone loves a good love letter. And now that we’re older, or gotten too ‘busy’ – we’re not making time to express our love for other important people in our lives. And I’m not just talking about lovers or significant others. Love notes can be shared with friends, family members, colleagues, neighbours…

Share some of the reasons you love and/or appreciate someone. You’ll make their day, and yours too. You can do it spontaneously, or anonymously, or even pretend to be a secret admirer.

3. Take yourself out on a date

I used to take myself out on dates all of the time. I’d even get dressed up, and choose a nice place to treat myself to. 

Far too many women are too afraid to take themselves out… to put a fancy outfit on, to sit at the bar, and to simply enjoy her own company. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to go out on dates with other people, too – but it can be just as special to show yourself enough love to take yourself out.

Don’t want to go out? Order in and watch some Netflix in your pajamas. You may just find out you’re pretty good company!

4. Do a random act of love 

We’ve all heard of random acts of kindness… but what about random acts of love? Perhaps similar in nature, however random acts of kindness often have to do with strangers (or friends you haven’t yet met.) Whereas random acts of love could be considered random acts you do for people you already know. Put a love note into your child’s lunchbox. Send your sibling tickets to their favourite concert. Or say yes to watching a movie of your friend or significant other’s choice, even though it wasn’t first on your list. Love doesn’t have to be limited to romantic love. You can show small acts of love to anyone who means something in your life. And no doubt they will be open to receiving the love. 

5. Buy yourself flowers

There is something about having a fresh bouquet of flowers. It freshens the air. It freshens your home. It freshens your soul. And it’s almost like you’re giving yourself a special treat. We do it for our guests, but how often do we do it for ourselves? Well, you’re worth it.

6. Give up something you love

This may appear counterintuitive, so hear me out. Sometimes we do things that aren’t good for us, because we are very good at rationalising or justifying why we deserve it. A Netflix marathon until 2am in the morning. A second bowl of ice cream. A 3rd glass of wine. Maybe it’s time to love yourself enough to give something up. 

So next time you have a craving for a little extra indulgence, when you know it’s not going to be good for you in long run, say no. Because deep down you know even though in the moment you may think you’re showing yourself some love, ultimately, saying no may show you actually love yourself even more.

7. Donate to a Charity in honour of someone you love

It could be in memory of someone who has passed, or someone still living. It could be in their name, or given anonymously. Although it is nice to have our love received, arguably it’s even more important for YOU, as the sender to know you are expressing it. And it’s not always about what you may get in return.

So, which of these are you going to take on this week?

I wanna hear from you in the comments below.

Don’t wait for a compliment from a stranger in order to feel good about yourself. Be brave enough to be the first to show some love to yourself and to others, and watch it grow.

Have a FAB week!

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!

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!

 

5 Easy Ways to Avoid Overwhelm (and stay sane!) This Holiday Season

Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

 

Happy Friday!

And greetings from on board AC flight 103 🛩 from YYZ to YVR!

Calgary to visit family last week, Vancouver to attend our annual CAPS convention this week – thank goodness this jetsetter loves flying as much as I do! Although I have to say it’s also taking a toll on my holiday preparations 😳.

I’m diligently trying to write my Christmas cards on the plane 💌 , making lists for two back-to-back parties I’m hosting next weekend, and getting a wee bit stressed about the fact I only have but a few small stocking stuffers so far in the gift 🎁 department. 

I do love this time of year, yet as exciting as it is, it can also get pretty busy and pretty stressy pretty quickly. 

And it’s all too easy to get caught up in feeling the need to decorate à la Martha Stewart, make home-baked goods better than Betty Crocker, or show up at every holiday party perfectly primped in a new frock 👗 like you’re like the biggest socialite on the block (with a bottomless bank account, to boot!)

I don’t know about you, however it makes me a tad anxious just thinking about it!

Isn’t this time of year supposed to be the most peaceful and joyest of all 🤷‍♀?!?

In order to avoid the overwhelm and maximise the merry, here are five tips that might help:

1. Detach From Expectation.

It’s tough not to have some vision in your head of what the holiday season is supposed to look like. You have your family traditions 🛷, your special rituals, your festive 🎄festivities. That being said, don’t be too attached. 

Be okay with going with the flow this year, and being open to however the season unfolds. 

2. Keep it Simple  

So you haven’t been able to get 200 home-made Christmas cards out there yet? It’s okay! Perhaps you send a digital card, a personalized video, or boycott cards altogether (you can blame the postal strike!)

Maybe you opt to buy pre-decorated cookies 🍪  instead of making them yourself. Or you choose to recycle a dress from last year. No one will hate you, promise! (they likely won’t even notice…) 

3. Just Say NO!

You do not have to be invited to all of the fancy 🍾 galas, festive mixers or holiday potlucks. And even if you are, you certainly don’t have to attend them all. Not only will you drive yourself crazy trying to be everywhere at the same time and all things to everyone, chances are you won’t even be present enough to enjoy yourself, anyway!

And with respect to anything additional that’s being asked of you, be honest and get real with yourself. Is it necessary? Is it a priority?

Be okay with saying NO (even if it’s to your family or closet friends!) and start saying YES to yourself and your needs. 

4. Get Clear on Your Priorities

Don’t succumb to the pressure 🤦‍♀ to entertain and decorate better than you see in the magazines or on TV, or to do either at all!

Make a list of your non-negotiables, and be realistic about what’s possible. Who do you really want to connect with this holiday season? What activities will you actually enjoy doing? Schedule who and what’s most important, and look at anything or anyone above and beyond as a bonus. 

5. Take Care of YOU!

Put yourself at the top of the food chain. Seriously though! 

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Enough fresh air. Enough vitamins and greens. 

And then book in some ‘ME TIME.’ Get a massage. Go for a walk. Reserve a spot on your fave couch and curl up with a cup of tea ☕ or a nice book. Get your nails done 💅. Have a bubble bath 🛀.

Choose something that relaxes you, makes your heart smile, that is only for you. It’s NOT overrated. It’s important. And even moreso than ever at this time of year. Even better, schedule weekly ‘me time’ and treat it like a serious appointment.

 

🎶🎵 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” 🎵 🎶  Or at least it could be! So let’s ensure it is, and it stays that way!

If you’re serious about avoiding overwhelm and saying no to competing with Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker, detach from expectation, keep it simple, just say no, get clear on your priorities, and take care of YOU. 

Let me know which of these ideas you’re going to take on!

I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

How do you say, and DO, thank you?

Perhaps I’m riding of the coattails of Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, but I’ve definitely been aboard the thanks and gratitude train this week.

I’ve been feeling pretty grateful, expressing lots of thanks and gratitude, and also seem to have received a whole lot in return. 

And so, I felt it a good time to talk about the power of giving thanks.

Thank you. Merci. Gracias. Danke schön. Bedankt. Grazie. Hvala. Spasiba. Khup kun kah. Obrigado. Takk. Mahalo. Xie xie.

However you say it, thank you means thank you in every language. 

(**prize in store for anyone who can name each language above without looking any up!!! Simply COMMENT below!)

Whenever I have the opportunity to visit a new country, the first words and phrases I immediately learn are hello, goodbye, please and thank you (and then ‘cheers’ too!) And you can actually get a LONG way on these alone.

Although I’ve come to realize it’s not just about knowing how to say thank you, it’s about how you actually show it and express it. 

AND, finding some fun and unique ways to do it!

Watch this week’s video to learn not only WHY it’s so important to feel and express gratitude, but also get some unique ideas as to how to do it!

What are your ideas for some different and meaningful ways you’ve either sent or received a thank you?

And which one are you going to put into practice this week?

I’d love to hear from you below!

Bring On The B.I.G.GEST You! Here’s how.

Happy Friday!

And greetings from Chicago, where I’m still on an inspired high after speaking at Paylocity’s ELEVATE Conference.

I was fortunate to have been participating in the action over the last few days, connecting with delegates, Paylocity team members, and fellow speakers – not to mention busily prepping my presentation – hence the reason I’m a tad delayed in getting this blog out to you today!

Today’s session was entitled ‘Bring on the BIGGEST You: How to Step Into Your Power.’  And the room was a-buzzing!

You likely know I’m all about empowering people – female leaders and professionals especially – to step up, stand out, and bring all of themselves to the table.

Too many of us are playing smaller than we know we can.

And, at our core (as with every living organism) we are wired to grow as BIG as we can and live as LONG as we can.

So why aren’t we doing it?!?

Life. Responsibilities. Limited resources and competing demands. Expectations. FEAR. ALL kinds of fear… 

You and I both know there are as many fears out there as there are ice cream flavours (maybe even more) and at one point I had to stop the audience because hands were being raised left, right and centre sharing types of fear… we simply had too much juicy content to jump into!

Here’s the thing.

Because of our fears, we tend to overcompensate.

We read MORE books, 

We listen to MORE people. 

We get MORE certifications, qualifications, letters after our name.

We want to prove ourselves good enough, capable enough, successful enough ~ when we don’t already feel ourselves good enough, capable enough, successful enough.

YET,

Success doesn’t exist so long as you’re chasing it. 

Success exists the moment you realize you’re already there.

 

It’s not about getting a raise or a promotion,

it’s about putting your name in the mix.

 

It’s not about having more letters after your name,

it’s about continuing to learn and grow.

 

It’s not about crossing the finish line.

it’s about signing up for the race.

 

So it’s time to STOP.

  • It’s time to stop listening to the experts,
  • It’s time to stop reading Success Magazine,
  • It’s time to stop doing what everyone else is doing.

It’s time to stop chasing the carrot. 

It’s time to start chewing it. 

 

What do I mean by that? 

Whether you’re seeking success, happiness, or another rung on the corporate ladder, you’ll only arrive once you realise you’re already there.

You already have all that it takes to bring the BIGGEST you to all you do.

Fear ‘aint going anywhere any time soon.

And so we may as well invite it along for the ride, and learn how to play BIG in spite of fear.

Having had the privilege of speaking to and working with thousands of women over the years, it really comes down to three things.

The biggest part of you is the part of you that is:
(I’ll even share some slides from today!)

BRAVE

 INSPIRED

GETS INTO ACTION

And this is what today’s presentation was all about.

  • We looked at what it means to be BRAVE at work, and how to be braver.

  • We explored what it means to be INSPIRED at work, and how to be more inspired.

  • We discovered what it means to GET INTO ACTION at work, and how to get into more action, one step at a time.

 

When you bring the BIGGEST you to all you do everyone, and everything, becomes BIGGER. And you’ll be able to enjoy:

Bigger risks

Bigger ideas

Bigger action

Bigger results

Bigger connection

Bigger satisfaction

Bigger fulfilment

Bigger fun

Bigger growth

Bigger experiences

Bigger joy

Bigger insights

Bigger buy-in

Bigger opportunities

Bigger influence

Bigger impact…

The list goes on. 

Life becomes, well, BIGGER.

You start to play a bigger game of life, and in return create a bigger life for yourself and all those around you.

And who doesn’t want that?!?

If you want to learn more about the content and the ideas discussed during this presentation, simply reply to this email and I’ll be happy to share!

And if you’re ready to GET INTO ACTION now, I shall leave you with these questions:

  • How are you brave? How will you be BRAVER?

  • How are you inspired? How will you be MORE INSPIRED?

  • How are you getting into action? And how will you get into more action? 

Choose ONE action to take on. 

Commit to ONE action to take on.  

Take on that ONE action. 

And then SHARE your action in the comments below; I wanna hear from you!

Because it’s time for you too, to bring the BIGGEST you to all you do.

Have a FAB week!

P.S. For all of my fellow Canadians, happy gobble gobble weekend! Be sure to be extra thankful this weekend! Wanna learn more about the power of gratitude? Read my post HERE