Tag Archives: personal development

All grown up…?

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Harness more life energy: Boost your EQ!  Photo: www.ppswest.com/blog/

Harness more life energy: Boost your EQ!
Photo: http://www.ppswest.com/blog/

Just wanted to share this great article recently posted by another website.

Emotional Intelligence has profoundly shifted to the forefront of my awareness over the past decade and this article gives a great recap of what ‘EQ’ entails (i.e. what we are striving for).

The real work lies in getting from where you are now ‘in your head’ to where you want to be. Unleashing more EQ. Prepare for emotional blood, sweat and tears because this is the real work of life. Shifting through the thoughts in your head and your reactions to people and events to trace back to the base human emotions that were evoked. What do you fear the most? What causes you shame? Where do you search for love and acceptance? Emotional intelligence effects your search for love, your joy in life and your everyday behaviour. It allows you to have empathy and truly connect to other people.

Realizing your potential, your joy and passions as well as the same features in everyone around you are some of the rewards of an improved emotional intelligence! Don’t wait. This is some of the most important work you will ever do.

Confessions of a Slasher – life choice or economical necessity?

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I keep hearing this great ‘new’ term: Slash Careers. You’ve heard of them before but probably labelled it offhand as a bizarre life choice for that eccentric fellow you met at your spouse’s Xmas party last year. You remember the lawyer/musician/life coach? Or your odd girlfriend from university, the hairdresser/lab tech? Who are these curious oddities? How can they be living a life with more than one primary occupation? I was confused. Until I became one of them.

I discovered firsthand… there is name for my incessant need to delve into new careers and explore my unique abilities. I belong to the odd. I belong to the undecided. I belong to the unique. Or at least I did, until slash careers started to became almost the norm after our most recent economic decline. The world is moving at a fast pace. So I figure, I’m going to grab on,dig my fingernails in and go for a good ride while I’m here!

My slashing began a few years ago when I started training to teach ballroom dancing. I had already established myself in a career as a Respiratory Therapist for 6 years, so when people asked me what I did for a living, I had always said I was an RT. After I began to teach dancing, I started to find it frustrating answering the dusty old question, “So what do you do?”. Do I answer them from a perspective of pride and accomplishment for my established health care career or do I speak of my passion for dance?

My slashes appear to follow a trend of left brain intellect vs. right brain creativity (Respiratory Therapist/dance teacher). Others follow a solid-income/life-passion pattern (engineer/activist). Some just do what they have to in order to survive (entrepreneur/medical office assistant/yoga instructor).

What a fantastic way to ensure that you have something to ‘fall back’ on if one career suddenly takes a nose-dive. This is the very best kind of insurance policy…one that you use and enjoy! If your teacher/musician/writer gig doesn’t offer enough security, you can always decide to take that amazing skill of rock-climbing and love of tourism off into a new direction with an adventure travel-guide business.

But here is the ultimate question: Are people that have slash careers happier? Is this some new methodology for self-expression? Is this a way for us to live our lives with more choices, feeling as though we can have a balance between what allows us to survive and what keeps us thriving?

For myself, I say: absolutely. All of the above. I keep adding to my slash titles every year or two, simultaneously expanding on my ability to cushion another economic downturn while experiencing great satisfaction in new-found talents.

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My happy place…critical care. Stressful but awesome.

My happy place. Photo credit: Christine Bacon 2010

My other happy place- on the dance floor. Dance is my biggest passion by far. Photo credit: Christine Bacon 2010

Some people will argue that by spreading your interests too widely, you remove your ability to become great and excel in your ‘field’ . I will argue that your renewed energy and vigour for life will keep you most able to rock out any chosen career. Shaking off the mundane daily grind with variety will give a unique perspective and likely make you better at all of your careers. My personal experience was that my public speaking ability in the critical care medicine world soared after teaching full classes in ballrooms. My confidence in my physical presence and my energy to attack and perfect my presentations were at all-time highs.

So whether you are feeling the urge to ‘Lean-out’ at your go-to workplace and try something new (part-time chef-school anyone?) or you already love doing what brings home the bacon, but cannot help but yearn for a creative outlet (sculpting class?), becoming a slasher may be just perfect for you. It’s not an odd occurrence anymore to interact with a construction worker/english tutor. In fact, it is steadily becoming the norm.

Related articles:

Marcy Alboher’s website – author of One Person/Multiple Careers

Blogpost on BreatheandSmile:  Unleashing Your Many Job Identities Through the Slash! One Person / Multiple Careers

Amy Gutman’s article: – Why Have One Career When You Can Have Three? Or Four? Or More?

CB

Pride – In the Name of Love

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Hold on tight, or better yet….let go. You are worthy of this and so much more.

Hold on tight, or better yet….let go. You are worthy of this and so much more.

It seems like it takes an entire lifetime to break some emotional and behavioural patterns. Even when I think I have one beat, it rears its ugly head merely a week later. This time around it is pride that has tripped me up yet again. ( I am defining pride as a sense of dignity or value in this post, not as the satisfaction of achievement.) To keep a sense of my own value or worth is essential. What am I if I am not worthy? I would be unworthy… and I have come very far in 20 years to a place of knowing that I am worthy of love. I am enough. This is me. Take it or leave it baby.

So to place myself out there, vulnerable and exposed is still so very challenging. Less so with friends, acquaintances or strangers since I am sure now of who I am. Interestingly, it is so much more challenging to speak from my heart with the people that mean the most to me. Why? Because to lose them, to lose their love, would be crushing. I could not bear it. I fear I would never recover.

I can hear the words that I want to say. I repeat them in my head again and again, hoping desperately that the innervation of my vocal cords, tongue and jaw will just take command and spill out what I cannot. Around and around they swirl like a mantra and just as I feel like I will overcome it the bricks from the wall that I thought I had slain fly together from out of nowhere, lodging together, tight at the seams and like that… it is done. The block is back. Frack. We’re back to this. *sigh*. Maybe next time I will be strong enough.

So what is it that I am so incapable of saying? What terrifies me so much that it seals my lips tight? Admitting that I need someone. Admitting that I love someone so much that to be without them would leave me lost. I live in fear of full celebration of the joys of love, simply because if I acknowledge what I have, it is that much more painful to lose it.

So there it is. Simply put but undeniably complicated. How many of us have great things in our lives? Do you fully embrace and celebrate them, or do you also hold back? How many of us have walked away from amazing opportunities because we feel that if we commit entirely and put ourselves ‘out there’ that there will be so much more to lose? You may not even recognize that you are making the decision to hold back. It can be instinct. Habit. Self-protection.

How do we get there? How do we push through the fear of loss of our sense of worth in those relationships that we hold so dear? I can only see a path of practice taking me to my ultimate goal. The only way to create new neural pathways and thus new behaviours is to do the work. SO back to the front lines I go, battling demons whose familiarity is stifling. Yet I brandish new hope against them, fighting every day for what is mine.

CB

Animal Nature – Extreme empathy as a method of personal growth

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Last weekend my family visited the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Our second time there, it was as enjoyable as our first, the children learning and discovering in this beautiful setting.  My daughter and I overheard a hippo laugh (did you know they made this incredible sound?), my son got to feed an elephant (maple leaves were her favorite) and we all witnessed the stunning beauty of the orangutans for the second time. This year, a female sat at the glass, wondering at our faces for over 10 minutes. She was only the distance of the depth of the glass away and it was mesmerizing. In only minutes, she changed me. I can say the same of only a handful of humans.

"…a window to the soul." to be sure. At the very least, a reflection of purity and want.

“…a window to the soul.” to be sure. At the very least, a reflection of purity and want.

She sat, still as a stone, peering at us as she likely had with so many others, so very many times before. I imagine we are her entertainment; a colorful, travelling spectacle along the one side of her home. I sat only a foot from her beautiful face and wondered with both a feeling of sadness and awe. What could she be thinking? How does she perceive us? Are we simply a distraction? How many faces can she possibly look at in a day without tiring, being irritated or becoming angry?

This face, so like and yet so unlike our own. Her eyes looking into mine unwavering and bold. This is the longest I have kept eye contact with any face in years. No expectations. No agenda. No intent to convince, deceive, argue, ignore. Just looking and seeing. I had my children sit in front of me and watch her. Yearning for them to see her beauty and be marked with the memory.

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I cannot help but hope that we can we bring this connection into our lives. I wonder at what we can learn from her?

How do we see our friends, family and those we do not know? DO we see each other or do we swirl our thoughts about in our own heads so much that we are too preoccupied to see? We CRAVE connections  but are so misguided in our half-hearted attempt at creating them. Social media has allowed great gains in finding the OPPORTUNITY for connection but not to really connect and know one another.

When I put myself in the place of this gorgeous ruddy mass of hair and muscle, I can only imagine what she feels or thinks. Is that not the same as any other relationship? To place myself in the body and mind of another with full intent to understand and experience can be a hugely revealing experience. The practice of extreme empathy has the power to calm me. It allows me a pause in reaction that I would never have attained otherwise. I yearn to know more and ask more questions. I want to understand and feel outside of my experience. I want to feel what you feel. To know and gain experience through others, not simply by my own journeys. To feel the weight of stress on another person simply by exploring their situation with my mind has been so revealing. To feel a relief and regaining of strength through a tale has me energized and full of strength.

The mind has such great power. What if we could harness this to explore each other and create connections that are stronger and more solidly based in fact than our own opinion? What if we sat and looked? What if we listened with our whole body to what we were being told? Could we have any hope to stay focused on the benefit of others, keeping their happiness and success as our primary goal? Could we be sustained by this and learn to thrive on living to help others if we did?

Moving through our busy lives, the hours of a day melting into days and then months, we keep our heads down, focusing in. Is this self preservation? Habit? Reluctance to engage? Perhaps it is self-indulgence because we deserve our time after giving so very much of our day to the task of working for others. We walk around in search of OUR coffee, OUR music, OUR space, OUR comfort.

But what if we ‘worked’ for ourselves? What if every single interaction in our day was targeted at creating the best version of us to present in every moment. To cause a stir in someone else because they felt heard for the first time in years. An opportunity to create an experience like no other. Using extreme, engaged empathy to journey beyond where we would normally go in our daily lives. Maybe then, in mere minutes, we too could change others.

CB

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

Modern Poets

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Today I had a patient quote me some poetry. It was beautiful, had a rhythmic flow and he had it memorized perfectly. It is quite sad that this is not such a common occurrence anymore. Yet we overhear poets everyday, just in a different context. Musicians can inspire with powerful lyrics. Today’s post is about song lyrics that stimulated my thoughts and emotions perfectly this week. 


“The Age Of Worry” – John Mayer

Close your eyes and clone yourself
Build your heart an army
To defend your innocence
While you do everything wrong
 
Don’t be scared to walk alone
Don’t be scared to like it
There’s no time that you must be home
So sleep where darkness falls
 
Alive in the age of worry
Smile in the age of worry
Go wild in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, why should I care?”Know your fight is not with them
Yours is with your time here
Dream your dreams but don’t pretend
Make friends with what you are

Give your heart then change your mind
You’re allowed to do it
‘Cause God knows it’s been done to you
And somehow you got through it

Alive in the age of worry
Rage in the age of worry
Sing out in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, why should I care?”

Rage in the age of worry
Act your age in the age of worry
And say, “Worry, get out of here!”

 
I am in a wonderful, positive time in my life. I am excited and building my heart ‘an army’ to allow me to persist every day in fighting for my dreams and not back down an inch. I can make mistakes and frankly, I prefer to. I am learning more about myself now than I ever have in all my 35 years. I can walk a different path. My journey is my own. 

A fine balance – Sources of positive energy.

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Energy…it flows through us and around us every day. The world is swirling, turning, and teaming with energy. So, why do we all feel so tired? Why do our days feel overwhelming and exhausting?  Is it because we are exhausting our energy stores without knowledge of  how to fill ourselves back up? Are we not making time for the things that create energy in our lives?

With this post I am hoping to give you some options. Ideas on how you may ignite a new spark of energy flowing into yourself instead of the endless river flowing out that you are likely very familiar with.

Idea #1 –Mindfulness practice. A few years ago, I was struggling with my first child as he made his way slowly and steadily into the ‘terrible two’ stage. I was a mess. He was a mess. I could not manage his random tantrums and they threw me so off-balance that I would end up on the floor beside him in tears. I looked for help. It came in several resources. The one that has made the biggest change in my life (and likely thousands of others) is Dr. Dan Siegel. If you have not yet heard about neuroplasticity…get Googling! Your neural pathways can be altered, your habits changed, your fears alleviated and your stress reduced. Books I suggest for learning about how to become more aware of your mind, brain and relationships around you are: Mindsight, The Whole-Brain Child and Parenting from the inside out. Once you begin the practice of disconnecting your emotions from your core belief of self…you can lose the negative and revel in the possibilities for good.

Idea #2 – Success and leadership coaching . There is nothing like a fantastic coach to boost your self-esteem and your drive to surge forward with energy.  Learn time management skills , how to set goals and actually achieve them, how to craft your vision for the future and how to lead without a title. I personally enjoy the teachings of Robin Sharma and think he is a GREAT place to start since he has so many free video resources on YouTube and his website. Jim Rohn’s book Twelve Pillars is a must-read also.

Idea #3 – Rediscover how to communicate. I’m just going to come out and say it. Television is toxic. Victims watch television. If you are sitting in front of the television between 1-3 or more hours a day and you are complaining about your life….then you are your own worst enemy. PUT DOWN THE REMOTE! Take control of your own life. Go out and join a class. Meet new people. Make things happen simply by engaging in conversation and participating in your own life! The only way to reap the rewards of a positive life with great energy is to do the work. Start reading and stop playing the victim. 

Idea #4 – Play, play, play. This point is especially key if you have children and feel so overwhelmed by a busy schedule. There is time for work and a time for play. Separate the two and find joy in games and play again. Rediscover fun and laughter. Swing on a swing. Race across the sand. Stop being so SERIOUS for even just an hour!! Remember that simple things can bring great happiness and good energy.

Idea #6 – Exercise the demons/You are what you eat. This one is so self-explanatory and we KNOW this by now! Exercise takes your energy to a greater level. It is necessary if you do not have  a job that requires physical labour (most of us!). The more you exercise, the more energy you will have and the more time you can commit to becoming  WHO you want to be and getting WHERE you want to be. Learn what a healthy diet looks like and make small changes every day to get you on the track for success.

Idea #5 – Choose your ‘peeps’ wisely. In my short 35 years on this earth, I am sure of only a few things. One of those things is that you cannot change other people. People can only change themselves. If you have friends or co-workers that routinely suck the energy right out of you by way of negative thoughts and comments, then you must simply choose to limit your exposure to them. Move on and surround yourself with those that do impact you positively. The negative ones WILL protest. They will call down your new choices. They will say nasty things to get you back under their dark cloud with them. Let them bray like mules and keep focused on the light ahead! You will be more beneficial to so many more people if  you find the BEST you.

Go for it!

CB

‘Arbonner’ for life: Why I cannot stop smiling lately.

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Reasons to smile… Photo credit Gary Trent Photography, Grand Forks, BC

Reasons to smile…
Photo credit Gary Trent Photography, Grand Forks, BC

6 months ago I started a home-based business with a company called Arbonne. It was not on my radar, nor did I expect the changes that it would cause in my life when I signed on as an Independent Consultant. I am on a really fun part of the ride. The part where you can see what’s up ahead and you just can’t stop smiling.

Let me break it down real quick for you why I am loving this business and what some of the benefits are.

  1. I am the CEO of my own business – HELLO! I am my own boss. If I want to work on my business for only 1 hour instead of 2 today… so be it! No emails need to be sent or manager-types consulted. It’s MY business.
  2. Tax breaks – It only took Robert Kiyosaki and tax guru Sandy Botkin telling me one time what the benefits of being a business owner were going to be. This is huge. I don’t even have to be making money…just trying to make money is good enough for the government. I am creating jobs. Cell phone, car, part of my mortgage, meals, coffee, entertainment costs when with clients or prospects… all going into the excel spreadsheet as business building necessities.
  3. No glass ceiling – I’ll say it. I like to be good at what I do. I like to be really good. But in my health care career, there is nowhere to go. Our profession is unrecognized on so many levels. So imagine my pure delight when I see how possible it is to achieve amazing things in multi-level marketing. Can I set goals, have vision and build belief? You betcha! Do I like to lead? Oh yeah! Do I love the idea of forming a team and supporting them to achieve amazing things in their own lives? Could not be more excited!
  4. Helping others starts here – My team has already started to build. We are growing together. We support each other and know that we will be relying on each other for positive energy, drive and a good swift kick if we get off track. I was BLOWN AWAY when I started to feel the supportive nature of an upline in MLM. People that work above me want me to succeed and will show me exactly what they did to be earning over $100,000 a month. Of course they want me to succeed…that’s the beauty of building a downline. But the kindness and patience is genuine. The encouragement to do the personal development work was real. And the results are fantastic!
  5. Confidence – Who doesn’t have baggage? Who doesn’t have little voices that tell them they will fail? Who doesn’t need more confidence? I listened to my upline, did the reading, set my vision and goals and found my belief. The baggage just started to fall away on its’ own. (Top ten list of personal development books to come on a later post).
  6. Wicked feeling skin and a lighter side to me – There is no denying that becoming a ‘product’ of the Arbonne products is a huge perk. This stuff just makes your skin feel and look amazing. There is a skincare line for everyone: sensitive, aging, men, babies. The health and wellness line has started to help me melt off the stubborn 10lbs that no one else seems to see. All great things especially when my husband gets to see and feel the results!!  There really IS something for everyone!
  7. Networking – Yup, this means talking to people! YES! I am really excited about this perk. I am loving the new connections. I really enjoy interacting with new people everyday and widening my ‘circle’. It’s amazing how when you really listen to people you not only hear some amazing stories but you hear the emotion and begin to understand them as individuals.

I am learning so much…learning to love, learning to listen, learning to live with a fierceness and drive that I could never have imagined. Most of all, learning that my success cannot be obtained if I do not help others succeed around me.  So sign me up as a ‘lifer’… Arbonne has truly ignited a transformational journey in my life.