Monthly Archives: July 2013

Courage Abroad.

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Looks safe to travel on, right? Photo credit: lostliners.com

Safe travels? Photo credit: lostliners.com

I met a lovely woman last week who made an impression on me. We had a conversation about her young life (she is over 85 years old now) and what I heard spoke of great courage and bravery that is so rare today. In Canada, I am lucky enough to live a safe life. Low risk, high opportunity and so I often hear of courage but cannot identify with what it truly means to me. Her story started me thinking more about it.

She had grown up in Germany and fell in love with a young man when she was 18 years old. The love was true and so compelling that when he had to move to the west coast of Canada for work, she decided to travel across to be with him. By herself. She spoke of her mother’s great distress over this prospect. At the time the only way of crossing was to take a ship and then train. The journey would take weeks.

As a mother myself, I cannot imagine the anxiety that this would create. Wanting what was best for your child and struggling not to be selfish. The mother told her daughter that she would go with her blessing if it was truly what she desired. Such courage in two forms.  The young woman’s ability to speak her heart and put her feelings ‘out on the table’ for scrutiny. Her commitment to the relationship. The mother’s willingness to consider losing her daughter to a foreign country and placing her in the care of the young man.

The bravery required for such an exhausting journey into the unknown is amazing to me. This young woman travelled unescorted across the Atlantic ocean on a freighter vessel that was retro-fitted with a passenger hold.  This was not the Mauritania. The ocean travel would take about 2 weeks and the land travel another week across all of Canada. She knew what she wanted, spoke her mind and set to it. There was no turning back.

I have recently heard of two distinct definitions of both courage and bravery that I thought were worth sharing. Courage is finding the strength to speak from your heart. Bravery is shown when you are putting your life on the line.  (Brene Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection). So there is quite a difference. In truth, we can show great courage on a daily basis by sharing our ideas, our hopes and our dreams but by doing so, we place ourselves in a position of great vulnerability. We must face fear and risk shame.

So, how does this translate to our daily lives? To allow ourselves to truly be creative and shine through with inspiration, we must allow ourselves to be in vulnerable situations. Perhaps we do not act bravely every day (it’s quite a relief that we are not required to) but courage can be shown in any small moment of the day. In the waking moments of the dawn beside your spouse. On the hazy street corner with a stranger. On a early coffee meeting with your boss. Our moments to live fiercely and courageously present themselves every day.

Find your strength, gather your courage and live those moments.

The story I heard was that of a happy life lived for so many years. Risk taken and rewarded with love, marriage, children and grandchildren. She had promised her mother that she would be back in one year to visit. It took her 11 years to get back.  She made it just after a stroke had rendered her mother non-verbal. Such a happy story but not without sacrifice. I thanked her for sharing with me, a stranger, since even this required some courage in itself.

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Car Crazies!

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So unexpected. Such a feeling of freedom in an unexpected place. I crank up the music and roll down the windows.

I am a Mom with NO KIDS in my car!

Rev up that engine...it's ME time!

Rev up that engine…it’s ME time!

Dear God, what has it come to? The mere thought of driving sans children makes me giddy. How could I have ever taken this for granted?

I can sing at the top of my lungs. I can listen to WHATEVER I choose! I am relaxed and eager to do errands, buy groceries, even run this baby through the wash!!!

It only took 5 years of driving with infants and young children in my vehicle to get here. Those uninitiated to baby/car or kid/car situations cannot empathize. Nothing will allow you to feel the anxiety, the dread and the hell that is infant transport. The buckles and tears and fussing and crying. Oh God, the crying! Like an electric current up my spine, instantly inciting neurologic chaos. Can I reach the soother? Where is the soother? Ok, just stay on the road and reach for the soother behind you. Make it stop!!!

No longer is a day running errands an opportunity to explore the town and rest my brain. Now I shuffle children in and out and in and out of buckles and belts with the remnants of little orange cheesie crackers crusted in the cracks. Nevermind the incessant nap schedule. Can I make it out before she sleeps or will she fall asleep in the car and then wake when I move her and then be crazy until I go crazy and then not sleep at night and on and on and on…?

But not today. Today, for 30 whole minutes, I have my car-time back. There are no words for this luxury. This is heaven. I will enjoy every last second of my music and even stop for a latte. Hell, I might even go really crazy and stop at a shoe store!

Look at me! Oh yeah… I got this!

P.S. Get out and go inside the Starbucks. Drive-thrus are for Moms.

Top Ten Ways to Waste Time and Never Create Positive Change

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Tick tock. Are you getting younger? Make your days count! Photo credit: timemanagementninja.com

Tick tock. Are you getting younger? Make your days count!
Photo credit: timemanagementninja.com

Here’s a Top Ten List with a twist. How to recognize everyday actions that are wasting your time or serving against your hopes of achieving your goals.

#1 – Keeping a little too ‘busy’. Have you noticed that when you ask how people are these days, more often than not you will hear ‘Busy’. I too, am guilty of this one. This is really not an acceptable answer. If someone asks how you are and you deflect by telling them the state of your current social and professional calenders, we have a problem. Try looking them in the eyes and giving an honest answer for a change. Try telling them the truth. Maybe you will create a real human connection for a change. Running around town with a crazy schedule,booking your children in class after class teaches your little ones nothing about life except how fast Mom can drive and what words are acceptable curse words. Slow down. Have a picnic. Talk to your children. Play with them and model true engagement and socialization.

#2 – Over-organizing. Put the double-sided tape away Martha. Back away from the laminator. Have you ever explored exactly why you need to perfect things like you do? What awful things will happen if you don’t align those pamphlets…again. I too love every thing in its’ place, but sort it out and get on with it!

#3 – The rules of zero engagement.  Are you guilty of general busyness without any attempts to create connections in the form of meeting new people? How many times have you had your children in classes and by the end of 6 or 8 weeks you still have not even spoken to any of the other parents? Same goes for adult classes. Example: that yoga class where everyone sits in their own little zen bubble and pretends that they are oblivious to each other. Not to harp on Yoga classes, but Namaste means ‘Salutations to you.’ or “Not for me…but for thee.” as a statement of service to others. Get connected. Engage. Start by using a casual statement about the class, weather, class size, whatever! Just put down your cell phone and drop your barriers.

#4 – Keep doing what your doing, even though you hate it. There is a great quote by Albert Einstein that states “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If you don’t like where you are, who you are or what you are currently doing daily, change it. Change your direction right now. Make the choice and follow through.

#5 – Never write down your goals. Do you even know what you want? Have you established where you want to be in 3 – 5 years? If you do not have a clear intention, it is no wonder you feel lost. Nothing like trying to win a race that has no finish line! Make your short term (daily, weekly, monthly) goals and set your intention and vision for your future. Write down what you will achieve. Make yourself a vision board and clearly display what is important to you. Family. Time. Security. Debt repayment. Travel. This is as individual as you are. Make it yours.

#6 – No vision, big problem. If you do not bother to set a clear vision for what you want or where you want to be in a few years, you cannot begin to reveal the path to get you there. Example: I was struggling with my career choices the other night when my husband reminded me of the creative process. What do I want to create? Where am I now? What steps do I need to take in order to get ‘there’. Big decisions become easier when you set your vision.

#7 – Go it alone. By not engaging the power of two or even many,  you are making the journey harder. Use your spouse, best friend, mother, whomever you connect to the best. I have been sharing exciting things that I have learned in success coaching and using the creative process with my husband lately. It is really helpful for me when he recognizes opportunities to use what I’ve learned when I cannot. We are learning about change, both personal and professional, together and by doing so, are reinforcing new behaviours and habits as we go.

#8 – Keep your old habits. If you have made great effort to learn, grow, understand and change but then do not practise what you have learned, you are wasting your time. New habits need to be created and that takes a change in practice. Daily practice. To begin a new, creative, positive behaviour, you must cease other established behaviours. This takes focus and continued effort.

#9 – Consort with people that do not share your values. You read every night and have no idea what PVR stands for. Your friends recount episodes of the Bachelorette like their lives will be altered if their favorite guy is chosen. Maybe you get along famously despite this? However, some people may not want to watch you grow and become who you really are. They may feel threatened by your goals since your current life is no longer ‘good enough’ meaning that what they are doing is not good enough either. You have a couple of options here. You can either explain what you are trying to achieve and hope they don’t look at you like you grew a third eye or you can change your network of friends. Follow your instincts.

#10 – Fly ‘by the seat of your pants’. If you need to get something done, set aside the time. In writing. Do not assume that you will sneak your work into the day somewhere. If you need to read, set aside time in the morning before everyone else is up. Schedule it in, set your intentions and create the time.

So, if you like where you are (on the couch, being a victim with nothing positive to say about your life), then by all means, keep doing these ten things. If you are ready to achieve your full potential, make the choice and never look back!

CB

Worn raw… and thriving.

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I found this passage on a pamphlet the other day. It is too good not to share.

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The Road Between

To stand up and be worn to something deeper

Is a pledge that living forces us to keep.

I drove 500 miles down the California coast with the mountains on the left and the ocean on the right. For days they spoke to me of standing up and wearing down. Of course, I was driving down a road we have made down the middle. During the fourth day, the road became a ribbon. It was here it was most beautiful.

I found the world out there all in here,  and now I know; The current of life requires us to stand up, again and again, and we are not defeated when we are worn down, just exposed anew at a deeper level. We are meant to live in between the two.

In this way, life keeps getting more and more precious. It is a natural law like gravity or osmosis: Stand up to be worn bare. It is how everything in the way is thinned, so that we can feel just how thoroughly alive we are.

The Book of Awakening  – Mark Nepo

Belief

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 Photo credit: flikr.com

Can you forgive yourself as much as you forgive him?
Photo credit: flikr.com

You’ve been there. The relationship that feels one-sided. It feels like you just keep believing and giving and finding ways to try and make it work. If we were able to believe in ourselves as much as we persisted in finding ways to believe in others, can you imagine the possibilities? Keep mulling it over how much you mean to them. Dig deep and find the good. Ignore their harsh, rough edges.

Can you imagine forgiving yourself as often or as much?

Some great lyrics below…

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

Someone like you makes it hard to live without
Somebody else
Someone like you makes it easy to give
Never think about myself

If I gave you time to change my mind
I’d find a way just to leave the past behind
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

Tim Hardin- A Reason to Believe.

(Popularized by Rod Stewart)

Check out a great cover of this song. And he has a great hat.

CB

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Terrifying Joy

I have had a book on my shelf for over a year. The first time I tried to read it, I felt like it did not make any sense or that it was not written so I could easily read or understand its’ messages. I put it away at the back of the shelf.

Time lapse to 2 weeks ago and my life has taken me down a completely unexpected road. I caught a post on Facebook and watched my first Brene Brown video on youTube. I remembered that had been given that book…one of her’s – ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’. I started reading and it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear at that point in my life’s journey.

I am so thankful for instinct and learning and for finding the strength to make bold changes.

Enjoy the video. Lean into your moments of joy.

CB

The vulnerability factor – MLM can change your life, not just your income.

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Put yourself out there. Risk and find reward.
Photo credit: Gary Trent Photography

Whenever I see a site or post about Multi-level Marketing(MLM), the common theme goes something like this: “Make your dreams come true!  Make more money than you ever imagined possible! Own your life!”

OK, let’s examine. I am all for owning my life. I work in the Canadian healthcare system. I am subject to union negotiations and that alone is enough to drive anyone into the land of entrepreneurship. Yes please, it would be nice to have some control.

Make my dreams come true. Huh. What dreams? You mean the dreams of just making it through the week and ending up with enough money to pay our debts AND have a little left for dinner out? Are those dreams? Because if not, then I know not that of which you speak. Wow…really sad, but true. What the heck ARE my dreams?

Make more money than I ever imagined possible through MLM. Well, easy enough because I really did not think you could make more than $300-$500 a month selling a product by word of mouth advertising. So any more than that is more than I imagined!

After only 6 months working as an Arbonne Independent Consultant, I truly believe all the above statements are entirely possible. However, these things cannot be achieved simply by ‘joining in’ with a company and just letting everyone know. You can buy into the product a little or a lot, but the more you spend on you initial purchase STILL does not determine how well you will do as a consultant or how well you learn to ‘own your life’.

When we step out on a limb and start a new business, we are putting ourselves ‘out there’. We become subject to criticism from all angles. This is an extremely vulnerable position. Some people cannot manage feeling so exposed. They cannot tolerate the repetitive sound of ‘No’ when the offer of their product or business is declined. They react to hearing no and the resultant feeling of shame by getting aggressive, or simply losing faith in the business as a whole. They quit and walk away, making sure to tell every single person they encounter what a ‘scam’ MLM is.

Timing can be vital. Personality is key. Are you the kind of person that has the confidence to withstand hearing ‘No’ again and again? I personally loved the analogy of the waitress/waiter offering coffee to diners.  They are employed to walk around to each table and ask that complex question: “Coffee?” If you tell them “No thanks.”, do they get upset? Do they feel rejected? Do they question whether they are truly made out to be servers? No, of course not. They ask again and again unfailingly. They circulate and play the numbers game, surely SOMEONE is going to want coffee? If you treat your business the same, asking everyone and simply moving on without an emotional reaction when you hear ‘No’, you can succeed.

This is a simple concept, but when we examine the strength of character required for this persistence, it is NO wonder that 90% of attempted MLMers fail. Show yourself some compassion. Allow some time to read, learn and study how to succeed in this business before you judge it. Do you really believe in yourself and your ability to create a successful business? Do you really believe that the products are outstanding and have a unique solution to your clients problems? Do you understand and believe in the model of multi-level marketing? Do you believe in your company and their values?

You MUST have concrete belief in yourself, your company, your product and the dynamic system of MLM to succeed. The ability to create something fresh and new that is entirely your own places you out front and centre. As vulnerable as it gets. Embrace this space of fear and push through. Allow your mistakes to become your pivot points, turning you toward your goals daily.

To understand the structure and goals of Multi-level Marketing…read The 45 Second Presentation That Will Change Your Life by Don Failla.

For a simple explanation of how MLM works, fill out the contact form below and I will email you some fantastic reading material free of charge!

Inspiration abounds – Start living authentically right now.

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You haven’t seen a post from me in a while. I won’t force my writing (can I call this writing?). I  grow tired of my own voice, so you will very likely tire of it too if I post uninspired crud. So, on that train of thought, I am going to speak on inspiration. Where to find it, why some of us cannot see it, why it creates different motivation and action for all of us.

I am in the midst of witnessing a rare thing for the second time this year. A child growing up and in that process, seeing, feeling, hearing, touching and doing things for the very first time. There is no better way to appreciate our surroundings than to watch someone experience them for the first time. Just standing in the breeze makes my daughter giggle. She feels the sun on her skin and asks “Ohhh, dat nice and warm?” She will hear a bird tweeting away long before I notice it. The sound has been drowned out from my senses by all the thoughts buzzing around in my head. To watch her revel in touching the fur of a soft animal with a questioning look and a slow smile is pure heaven. There is such joy and purity in these moments, so many times lost if we do not slow down to notice them.

IMG_1674   My son experiences crawling on grass for the first time!

Looking for inspiration? My suggestion is to hang out with a toddler for a few hours. Goodness knows their parents could use the rest! Take them for a walk. Know that it will be a slow, meandering trail and that the intended destination may never be reached. This is ok. Let go of the need for a path. Slow down and see the journey. Seek out things that are achingly beautiful in their simplicity and mere existence.

A fair warning. In order to slow down to the suggested pace, you will very likely have to clear your schedule. This includes setting aside your dopamine-inducing smart phone that bleeps and flashes joyful, round, red numbers at you; inferring loving words of inclusivity. Ditch it. I do not deny the benefits of technology but we must have boundaries if we expect to become more than mediocre.

Back to the point – I often write about living authentically. What does that really mean? By definition, something authentic is of undisputed origin, something genuine. So then, to live an authentic life will be something unique for us all. Not a cookie cutter lifestyle out of a magazine. Not a life of ‘success’ defined by a megamillionaire. A life lived from the heart, where you connect to your inner child who can guide you toward beauty and simple joy, this would be authentic. A life that uncovers your passions and unique connections to allow every day to be one where you help others to find the same. To find their own authentic life inspiration.

So, if we live by the ideals of others, can we find inspiration? I believe it is far more difficult. We will wait to see what inspire others first. Those that lead us. Those we believe we aspire to be. We will tend to sit back and be entertained until these ‘leaders’ find THEIR inspiration. How perfectly sub-par. Think for yourself. We have been given this basic right, so exercise it.

Inspiration creates different motivation for us all…and what a beautiful diverse world this creates. Some are inspired to move their bodies, some to build, some to show us what they feel in pictures, colors or sounds. Others may be inspired to lead or teach. They are following their passion. Living their journey in a very solid, joyful way. Doing what they love and loving what they do. How many of us find great peace or energy in the music we listen to on an iPod? We are enjoying the fruits of what was created when the musicians were inspired but also by the creation and vision of Steve Jobs!

So get inspired! Find your way to your authentic life and start making small changes today. If you have no idea where to start, contact me and I will gladly guide you toward some resources.We all deserve to experience what touches your heart and inspires you.

CB