Tag Archives: being your best

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Fearless Connection

My work is global, my dream is global, I support local: here’s why. I believe that everybody, almost, in all the world desires one thing more than anything else. I believe that most people desire to be connected to the people in their lives. Not just “hey how are  you” connected but, “I care how you feel,”  connected. I believe there is a huge transformation in this world from fearful to fearless when it relates to being connected.

Look, it’s a big, huge, small world. What happens in one corner of this magnificent world can no longer be ignored. Think “99 %” and Malala Yousfzai and the recent tragic gang rape of a young woman in India. Or Fearless Felix aka Felix Baumgartner  who jumped out of a space ship while live streaming the entire jump.  I sat on the edge of my chair the entire time this streamed: it was so breath taking to behold.

Everybody can get access to news and events now: well almost everybody. With almost 7 billion people living right now in every corner of the world.: that’s billion with a “b”  Billion : how can we NOT be connected?

Here’s the thing about being connected through social media in my humble opinion. It is hard to turn your back/to close your eyes/ to cover your ears/ to silence your voice when good (or bad) things happen miles away because you are witness to it in some fashion. I believe (with all my heart) that this will be the beginning of a new way for humans to “be.”

Fearless Connection is what I call the work I do. I have worked with people all around the world: I know I’m changing their lives because they tell me so. The bigger picture from this work is that they (in turn) change the lives of other people they come in contact with. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

My belief is that if somebody is in need and I have a way to be able to help them I will.  It’s just who I am and I know that to the depths of my soul. I am happy to connect people up/ to suggest they meet up with somebody I know to help them out/ to contact somebody I have met to share knowledge with them/ to ask questions from  a colleague of mine who can help with their dilemna. I see it as a fine tapestry: each person I meet is a thread in this tapestry and together the fabric of life is beautiful and warm and cozy.

Through this fearless connection I have made many many new friends. In 2012 I have to say that the connection with my OWN Ambassador group of friends has had the biggest impact thus far. It was through them that I went to LA with Shelley Harris and  Nada Smith and other Canadian OWN ambassadors to OYOU 2012. It was through them that we all met the US OWN Ambassadors including Lia Kieth Taurence Armstrong and Sandy Abrams. We even met up with Megan Castran another OWN ambassador from Australia. All of these people are creating amazing lives for other people besides themselves including these. http://www.doitinadress.com/ fine organizations. http://www.sisterbration.com/ (there are so many folks I truly would fill the entire page with them all. Each one is worthy and honest and helpful.)

It was because of one fearless ask by Nada that we all were invited to a private lunch with Oprah and her team during the conference in LA. O magazine hosted the conference and they did a fantabulous job. The entire Oprah team was involved in the private lunch and/ to be sure/ every detail was finely tuned. The event was exquisite and life changing for all of us. That I know for sure.

It was through this group that I was invited to share a story on OWN Canada Life Story Project which has just hit the airways. One of the hosts Dale Curd  interviewed me on the day I sat on the purple couch at Sunnyside Park in Toronto. Dale doesn’t know this but I spoke to a rather nervous woman who was also going to be on the show. She was there with her husband Devon. Her name was Marie. Marie shared a story of hope with me and then she shared it with Dale on the purple couch and soon it’ll be shared on the airwaves on OWN Canada through the Life Story Project. In that short conversation I had with Marie we had a fearless connection. We shared heart stories. In two days we will share a meal and some great stories and a whole lot of love because Marie is coming to my town.

That’s the power of Fearless Connection: somewhere what you are doing is making a difference and somebody is thinking of you and saying “thanks for stepping up. Thanks for helping me believe that I matter in this world” ( a quote from my most beloved mentor Oprah)

My wish for you is that you take these words and you share them out: begin your own Fearless Connection with people you meet. Offer to listen deeply, to not judge, to be honest and open and truthful and, when you can, no matter how small the act may seem to you, offer to help. It is often the smallest of things that make the biggest difference.

Now go be fearless!

Live Your Best Life

I Am Because We Are

I love random acts of kindness. I love that there is an official Random Acts of Kindness Day. I love when I hear stories about people who, in their own storm, stop to help another. This great storm of 2012, Sandy as she has been named, has brought much joy amidst the sorrow. people stopping to help others, food being cooked for those without power, shelter being offered to those who have no place to go. This is what being human is all about, in my humble opinion.

When I was in LA a while ago I saw first hand how love works. I traveled to Santa Monica Pier with a few of my friends for a beach day. We went to Bubba Gump’s Shrimp House. That’s the setting for Tom Hank’s film Forrest Gump. ” Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates” was posted on the walls and on T-shirts. Way too much delicious food for this girl so I packed it up for a late afternoon snack.

As we headed to the beach we passed a bunch of traveling kids and their dogs. I see travelers like them everywhere I go, busking to make enough money to feed their dogs and themselves. They’re usually really great musicians and are very polite if you stop to take the time to chat. These kids were no exception, they had some great stories and we shared a few laughs together. They’re always hungry and I had my extra food still so I offered it out. Three kids, two dogs, one meal..they all shared. I loved that. Nobody was left out.

We walked a little further along the beach enjoying the sand in our toes and the surfers in the water. I stopped to watch a group of, obviously, rookie surfers. They were just learning and their teacher was being very patient with them. Love in action my friends.

We all have choice in our lives, it is what makes us human. We get to choose how we be who we be. I choose love. I choose joy. I choose compassionate. I AM grateful and, as my mentor Oprah says, ” I am because WE are..” So it is.

O You

O YOU 2012. Live your best life

A week ago today I was anticipating the culmination of a dream I had been holding onto for many years. I did not know how this dream was going to come true and it did not matter. I was not attached to the “how” I was attached to the fulfillment of that dream.

OYOU 2012. The OWN ambassadors converge on the LA conference centre for a gigantic meet-up. We will all be having lunch with Oprahduring the conference. A private lunch in honour of the work that we have been willing to do to see her network grow attended by Oprah’s “tweeples.” (Her new word for us)

There is much to say about this day, about the entire week, but for now, GRATITUDE is the only word I will use. This small town girl from a place north of Toronto in Canada never ever ever gave up on the dream to one day meet Oprah, to talk to her, to hug her and to share a photo with her. All that and more, the dream became the truth on that day.

My message to you is this. If I can do this so can you. I do not have connections that got me to my dream, I do have a strong belief in holding the dream, no matter what. My wish for you? Never ever ever give up on your dream, just don’t.

More to come soon!

Shut up and whine

I have a confession to make. This week a Facebook friend won a very very  awesome prize. I was happy for her but also felt some sort of uncomfortableness in the joy: it wasn’t feeling authentic.

I was taken aback by this feeling and knew I had to explore deeper to uncover the “why” of  it.

“How could you not be happy for her? Geez what an ungrateful b*** you are Jan. C’mon are you kidding me, look at what she’s been through, she deserves some joy, ” All these thoughts, and more, ran through my head.  Alternately, sitting on my other shoulder, ungrateful gremlin kept saying stuff like “Well I’ve been through a lot too. I work hard, I deserve it too”

Welcome to the pity party that was in my head. Geesh. Thankfully, because I’ve learned so much from my coaching, I recognized my insecurity and called it out fairly quickly. “ok pity party’s over folks, move on, nothing to see here” That was basically the conversation in my head after I took the time to process my feelings.

Flipping the perspective allowed me the ability to share in her joy and to be grateful for her gift. I was putting negative energy out into my world and it was coming right back to me like a magnet because, of course, what you reap you sow.

I felt rather ashamed of myself for my feelings but, hey, I am a human being human and there will be mistakes.

My big take away on this whole thing? The universe is a most glorious place and every breath we take offers us a choice on how we want to show up. Me, I want to be authentic, mistakes and all.

How about you?

The elephant in my room.

My mom’s name is Joy. When I was a little girl I was completely surrounded by Joy but I never experienced real joy until many years later. I have a great mom and she did her best but it wasn’t enough to keep me protected from the abuse that was to become part of my life…that would become the elephant in my room…I blamed my mom: my Joy: for years because she didn’t protect me. I was so hard on her: I was so angry and hurt and confused and traumatized and all I wanted was to be protected by Joy….It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized that my Joy was my choice. It was time to let go of the anger: the fear: the frustration at not having a “good enough” mom.

 

I’m lucky: my mom is 77 and she’s still healthy. I now realize that I do have Joy in my life in more ways than one and it’s my choice to accept or deny that truth.

 

I accept with open arms the gift of joy that is given to me…Joy is all around and I am grateful.

 

My hairdresser made me cry today.

Today the fabulous Tracy of Beauty in the Beach squeezed me in for a quick trim. Grateful is an understatement. Have you ever been at that stage in between short and long hair? Do you persist with the mess a little longer to finally style your long hair or do you give in to the mess and cut if all off: again. So then you know where I’m coming from with this: I was at the “geez I can’t stand this hair any longer” stage and was ready to shave it all off. Thankfully I thought that one through this time and went for a good trim instead. I’m going for shorter just so you know. Here’s the thing though: while I was at the salon waiting for my turn Tracy quietly came over to me and asked if I could wait a few minutes while she squeezed somebody else in. “She’s just learned her husband is not expected to live past this weekend.” Um yeah Tracy I can wait. Geez how could I say no to that request?

So as I wait I listen in on the conversation: it’s a small space and it’s kind of impossible not to overhear conversations. Tracy is asking the woman how she is feeling: what her plans are for her company arriving this weekend and Tracy is listening and remembering past conversations with this customer. “You honoured his final wish. You kept him home and you cared for him as long as you could” At this point this lovely woman says to Tracy “Did you know yesterday was our 49th anniversary? I always wondered if we’d make it to 50: I guess I know the answer to that now.” At this point Tracy is not sure what to say so she speaks from the heart “you did all you could and he knew that. ” And then I quietly sobbed in my chair while I waited in the salon for my turn to sit with Tracy and get my hair cut.

I left that salon feeling a little lighter with the new do and truth telling now absolutely in awe of those two women sharing a conversation straight from the heart. That is fearless conversation my friends.

Here’s what I  learned today: life is one big relationship with yourself. It is absolutely a choice to be fearless or not. Choosing to be fearless is scary as hell and it can be alienating. People won’t like it much if they’re used to you being a certain way. Who cares ? Be fearless anyway because those folks don’t want the best for you.

What would you do if you found out you weren’t going to make it to 50 years like this lovely woman? What would be different? What’s stopping you from doing that right now this very moment?

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends. I am giving thanks for my ability to have choice and to speak my truth in all of my relationships. That’s what I wish for you too. Now go be fearless.

Simple is not easy but it sure is fun!

Wow, done the move and now we’re unpacking boxes. The day of the move could not have been better, sunny, warm, lots of good help and plenty of laughter. My husband is a firefighter and his entire crew came up to help us for hours.  I love the camaraderie that they share and had never had a chance to witness this part of his life before. It’s a pretty special relationship in a whole lot of ways, you better know how to communicate, how to take a joke ( or three) and be able to drop everything you’re doing if the alarms begin to sound.

The next day my entire family dropped up for an “unpacking party.” How fun is that? I left the organizing of the kitchen to my mom because that’s her thing. When I have to find something in my kitchen I always ask myself “where would mom put this?” and it’s usually right where I think it will be.

My sisters helped move furniture, move it again to a better place, unpack boxes, make food: all the things that help lighten the load. Even my dad, at 83, jumped in to help. Gosh I am one lucky woman. This week my kids are in town specifically to help us settle in. They’ve brought their beautiful dispositions, their instruments, their singing voices and their willingness to help. My house is really beginning to feel like a home and we’ve only been here a few days.

You know what I’ve come to realize? Ease is good, simple is good and it takes effort to remember that. Moving can be stressful for sure but, during the whole time we were transitioning from one area to the next, I kept having to remind myself that this move was all about simplifying life, to let go of the stress and bend into the ease, to let it flow. As my husband likes to say “it is what it is.” Indeed.

We had a very beautiful home on a few acres in the country and it was lovely. The dogs ran a lot in open fields and we grew much of our own food but we were lonely for people. We were spending a whole lot of money on upkeep and mortgages and higher bills and insurance and we weren’t having much fun because the money kept getting in the way.

I’m a life coach, I teach zoomer women to empower themselves financially so this may sound hypocritical when you read it but here’s the thing. We could have worked a lot harder,  could have added more people to my coaching roster to keep paying the bills but I didn’t want to. What kind of quality of life is that? What lesson was I teaching my kids, my friends and my clients if all I ever did was try to play catch up and have no balance anywhere else? That felt really hypocritical to me so the choice to move was actually pretty easy…and that’s where the ease began…

Life is choice…transition is inevitable, whether you believe things will be easy or hard you will be right. Choosing easy can feel really strange and uncomfortable for a lot of people because it’s just not what they’re used to but, trust me on this one, once you get the hang of it life sure gets interesting.

As an aside to the ease story today I want to take the time to acknowledge the passing of a great and wonderful Canadian politician. Jack Layton you will be missed by millions of people, you were a true leader and your spirit of compassion lives on in those who mourn your loss.

With gratitude to all my wonderful people who helped with this move..I love you all.

Now go be fearless.

Why I’ve spent much of this month bursting into tears

Good grief, here we are, mid-way through August, and summer is still so very present in my part of the world. It’s hot, sunny, breezy and, yuck, humid. Sounds so perfect doesn’t it? So why the heck am I wandering around this house bursting into tears at the drop of a hat?

Here’s the scoop. I’m in the process of moving, yet again, third time in 5 years. In that 5 year span I’ve turned 50, had a friend murdered, lost my father-in-law, watched my best friend’s son get married and have their first child, met a bunch of very lovely country folk, watched my children blossom into full adult hood and into their own lives, had two husky dogs agree to own us, built up my coaching practise and listened to friends and family tell me I was “crazy” to move to the country: that I’d be too lonely. Well partly they were right, it can be lonely here..

Every time I pack another box I am reminded of the goodbye, poignant moments, and the tears start all over again.Menopause is probably adding to this emotion too. I’m ok with this though, it’s not a bad thing, in my humble opinion. Change is process, transition is a process, it must be acknowledged.

I have come to notice that in this culture there are not any traditions for saying goodbye, for acknowledging the process of grief, the change that is most certainly occurring. I think that’s wrong personally and I don’t really care if anybody happens to see me start to sob, yet again, as I pack away more memories. I have called this the Summer of Leaving. I could also call it the summer of A whole bunch of new things happening I suppose.

So, today, two days from the date I will no longer be living in this magnificent home, I acknowledge the joy, the sorrow, the laughter, the grief, the time for reflection and the time to put down, and then re-pot, the roots we’ve set here.

 

If you are going through a transition, and who isn’t, I hope that you take the time to notice the feelings, to acknowledge all of them, and to process the feelings. I really wish that for you, to face fearless, as you move forward, no matter what.

Now go, be fearless.

 

 

Fearless living lessons from a fire fighter.

Ok, I admit it, I’m quite a bit biased by the title because I’m married to a fire fighter. He’s been fighting fires, and a whole lot more stuff, for almost 26 years now and he has seen just about every horrible thing, and every beautiful thing, you could imagine. He’s just one guy in a firehall who works with another group of people who choose to do this work and they are part of a group around the world who choose to do this work. Being a firefighter is not something someone is told they “have” to do it’s something they choose to do, they want to do, they live to do,  now that’s honouring a fulfilling career choice for sure.

I have had people say to me “oh firefighters are seriously overpaid for what they do. They get to sleep at the hall when it’s not busy, they can watch tv, they just sit around all day and get paid for doing nothing.”  All of that it true, there are days when they don’t get called to a fire, they may watch a bit of tv and, when that alarm rings, they run as fast as they can, don their gear, hop into the truck and go to a scene that might be tragically sad. Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, children in the water, accidents on the train tracks…they don’t ever know until they get there and then they just go into action, they do what they’re trained to do with professionalism, expertise and compassion.

And then, once in a while, when everybody else is running out of a burning building they’re running in. They’re running into a building that may collapse at any time, they’re running in to search for people who may be trapped, animals that may be trapped…and everybody else is running out. Now that’s a hero in my opinion. That’s fearless.

So, why did I write about this today? Because I’ve learned a lot from my fearless fire fighter husband and I’m sharing it with you now.  To all of you who are working on creating a fearless life here’s a message: it won’t happen over night, you must take  your time to learn the right way to do this, you must have a support system to encourage you when you are faced with the hard stuff, you must keep training and stay current with what’s new, you must accept that this is your choice, you must be doing something you love or it’s not going to work, you must be honouring your values or you’ll lose your edge. Have you ever seen a firefighter lose their edge? That’s not a good thing to see and it’s because they got scared, they started to question their reason for doing what they do. You don’t want somebody like that trying to rescue you, it won’t work.

Firefighters are heroes, no doubt, and so are you. You are a hero because you’ve made a choice to be fearless, not jumping off a cliff fearless, stepping into your truth fearless..honouring your life, honouring your reason for being here. If you’re not sure where to start, or how to start, that’s ok. Be life the firefighters, go to your support person, a life coach is a good resource, to keep you on track.  Now go be fearless!