Tag Archives: unemployed

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Believe. Living fearless dream big.

If you’d told me ten years ago what my life would be like in my 57th year I would probably have laughed hysterically at you and walked away thinking you were just a tad insane.

 

I had pretty much given up on any of my dreams after a major medical setback, a business break up and the transition into being a mama with no children at home. Life sucked as far as I was concerned.

Have you ever felt like that? I didn’t know how I was ever going to find my way through the muck, to see any hope for the future. I was stuck, frozen in my tracks and ready to give up.

When I was a little girl I had dreams, lots of them, like  most kids do.  Do you remember your dreams? Lying on the warm summer grass watching the clouds floating by  taking shape as they shifted into something new. Those perfect day dreaming days , do you remember those days?

Do you have a dream that you’ve buried? A longing in your heart that just feels like a hole in your soul?  Have you given up?

Please don’t give up, just don’t. I can’t tell you when or how your dream will become a reality but if you believe, really really believe, it will come true. You HAVE to believe even when everything seems to be pointing in the completely opposite direction.

Ten years ago this year one of my dreams was to meet Oprah. I admired her  level of  integrity, her commitment  to continuing to make shifts in the lives of millions of people through her shows , her work ethic and her commitment to living  fearless and dreaming big.

As you can see by the photos my dream did come true. The chain of events that led to this were just small, random acts of kindness. The only common denominator throughout all of this dream journey was my belief in dreaming again.

My message?  Don’t ever give up, never ever ever, just don’t.

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A love letter to Oprah

Well some of you who read this may decide to stop reading these posts after this, after all, it is a love letter to Oprah.  To some people that may seem rather, oh I don’t know, hokey perhaps.

That’s ok, I get it. If you are leaving, thank you for you, go with love in your heart and truth on your tongue.  It has been a pleasure.

I’ve always been kind of a lone wolf in my world, watching from the shadows, hearing what was not said, noticing what was not spoken. It is what makes me a good life coach,I know that for sure.

Being on the shadow lines serves me well but, like any wolf, there ia a pack, a tribe to belong to, to be responsible for.

That belonging was not something that came easy for me..it’s a tough journey when the teacher of such things comes from abuse. Abuse rejects acceptance and honesty and integrity. The voice I so longed to share was just a whisper for so many years: until today.

Today, the culmination of all the lessons shared by the team at OWN on Super Soul Sunday  became my biggest AHA moment ever. Listening to Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee share his teachings as a Sufi mystic struck a chord so deep I can only say this. Today I came home to my heart. After all these years of being the lone wolf: after all these years of teaching others that their dreams counted: that they mattered: that they must never ever ever give up…today I gave in and opened my heart to the love that has always been there.

Oprah..beloved woman in this world of mine I thank you from the depths of my soul: from the centre truth of my heart: with the words on my tongue and the breath that I breathe. You have made me (along with so many other teachers in my life) the person I am. I have had to be willing to face the hard truths: to accept that this journey of mine was placed before me so that I could show others they could do it too.

The teachings today opened my heart to the confusion I was having over this “God” word…The moment I heard “Don’t stay with the image go to the Truth” my heart cracked open and peace entered. I got it! I finally got it..

And so my beloved Oprah my heart will now share the truth with other women and men who have lived in and through abuse. They can have a life of truth..that is my service to the world: to show it is possible: I did it and my life is so full of blessings there are moments when I can scarce believe it to be true. For this I am truly grateful and humbled and honoured.

 

Women on the edge. Do I look fat in this flower?

Go take yourself for a walk. Seriously go take yourself for a walk but don’t just go outside and walk without noticing what’s around you. Take the time to notice the trees that are in full bloom right now. The flowers in season, hydrangeas, roses, trumpet vines, azaleas, sweet pea, butterfly bush..so many beautiful colours and smells. The birds and the butterflies and the honey bees too. Take note of all of them as you go for your walk.

While you’re at it really listen to what all those plants are saying to you as you walk by. You know all those things that run through the mind….”I wonder if she thinks I look fat in this flower.” “I knew I should have picked different petals today, these just feel uncomfortable.” ” My petals need a manicure and my stalks really need a shave.”

Ridiculous right? Mother Nature is perfect and all of her creations are perfect. Doesn’t it just sound crazy when you think about a flower talking like that? And yet, here we are, humans, the evolved ones apparently, beating ourselves up day in and day out about how we look, how we sound, how others think about us.

Arghhh…just stop it ok? Mother Nature didn’t make any mistakes and neither did your mama: you are perfection: you are absolutely stunning, you do not need to change you BUT you may need to change your thoughts ’cause for a very long time you’ve been listening to those old thoughts.

Goddess that you are, step into your truth and accept that, right now, at this very moment, you are nothing short of awesome!

I love you, I am proud of you, I want you to know that and to believe it yourself.

And tonight, if your skies are clear where you are, check out the awesomeness of the full moon, yet another miraculous creation from Mama Earth. Enjoy!

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Women on the edge: What I did this summer

I don’t know about you but when I was a kid and when my kids were kids the beginning of a school year often began with an essay titled ” What I did this summer.” I was thinking about that over the weekend as I watched a couple of pretty interesting things evolve.

Scenario #1. This little guy arrives at our local beach with his mama, her mama and her dad. They’re all decked out in swim gear and they’re chatting, a lot, about how fun the water is. Really sounded like a sales job to me but hey, it’s their kid not mine, so I just kept watching.

They tried all kinds of tricks to get him into the water and he wasn’t buying any of them until: he was ready to listen. As soon as he had made up his mind to join his mama in the water he ran over to her, took her hand and ducked his head under the water. Suddenly this kid who could not swim was swimming! It was great to watch but the most fun for me was his reaction afterward.

He came running out of the water and yelled out loud “I’m so awesome. Grampa I am so awesome! That was just awesome. I’m great.” and he was all of those things and more. I love the enthusiasm of children and their willingness to play, just because, no reason just because. Remember this?

Scenario #2.
I’m watching a lot of the swimming at the Olympics. I love swimming and am really inspired by the tenacity of all of these champions. Watching Lochte’s face when he won the gold: priceless. Really just priceless. You could just tell that all those hours and hours and hours of swim practice had paid off, this was the reward. Bliss…Look at this smile! Pretty much says it all.

Imagine what the September stories would be like from these two amazing guys if they were writing their own “what I did this summer” essay.

So, what’s your essay going to be? What will you do this summer? Will you challenge yourself to move beyond your limits like these guys did? Will you push yourself just a little harder and then a little harder still to achieve that goal you’ve always wanted to reach? I know that’s my goal this summer and I promise I’ll write about it too!

Go for the fearless ask of yourself. You’re worth it, you deserve it, you’ve worked really hard for this dream it’s almost there: just stretch a little further. You can do it, I know you can.

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Super Bowl: Super Food…

I’m not a fan of big game tv shows. Apparently there is a big one on today and apparently I am going to a Super Bowl Party. Truth be told those collection of words were not something I ever thought I would put together. “I’m going to a superbowl party..” Nope never would have imagined it but hey old dog new tricks and all that stuff.

So I decided to do what everybody seems to do for parties such as these. I prepared food to take over to the hostess. Somebody was bringing chili so that was out. I got a call from somebody else who told me they were bringing sandwiches so that was out. Well beer is always an option right? Ok so maybe not just beer. Taking a quick scan of the ingredients available in my kitchen I decided to make dumplings: the kind you get at dim sum.

Rice paper: check. Smoked salmon: check. Sticky rice: check. Cilantro: check. Garlic: check. Sesame oil: check. Eggs: check. I pulled together all the ingredients and crafted the most amazing yummy dumplings I have ever made. Seriously they were good. I use the word were because the dumplings are (pre Super Bowl party) a thing of the past.

Hubby came in hungry after his shift at the firehall.

Hungry and tired actually and those dumplings were just sitting there all warm and yummy on the counter as I was making them.  He had worked pretty hard and he was pretty hungry. My first inclination was to tell him to eat something else: that this food was for the party but geez there he was and the food did look really good.

 

We will celebrate our 33 anniversary this summer and that is part of the reason why we have been together for so long. Sometimes you just have to let go of the rules and make new ones. Sometimes the best choice of action is to go with the flow and with that thought I grabbed two very pretty plates and two sets of chopsticks and had a lovely meal with my husband.

Sorry Super Bowl friends…now back to the kitchen. Quinoa: check. Cranberries: check. Avocado: check…sleeping hubby: check check and check.

 

Lady in waiting? F*** that…Waiting for what?

 I’m showing my age and I don’t give a  bleep…

Here’s why.

In the 55 years, almost 56 now that I have been wandering around in this body women are still ladies in waiting.
I’m not talking about the medieval romantic image of a lady all dressed in her finery waiting to be saved by her great crusader: nope not that kinda lady in waiting. I’ m talking about the kind of waiting that includes pay equity, pension equality, financial equity, educational equity…yeah that…
For 56 years I have been listening to women, and men, say that we should be making an equal wage.

 I,and you too, have been reading about the disparity between men and women in their career options.

I, and you too perhaps, know women who work harder than most, who get up before sunrise and work all day for no financial gain at all…we call them mothers. In this day and age, in North America, the job of mother is still undervalued and not compensated for financially. In fact, women who make that sacrifice, and it is most definitely a sacrifice, will be penalized for taking time away from their careers by making less money, moving slower up the ladder and accumulating less pension benefits upon retirement. Geez…55 years later and I am still hearing the same sh** well fed up with it I am so I’ve decided to stop waiting for anybody else to make changes…
As a life coach I know for certain that life is all about choice. Some of it is stuff we take on from our family, our culture and our peers. Some of it is just passed down, from generation to generation, for no apparent reason but tradition. I grew up in a household where sexual abuse was part of the dynamic. I had choices when I had my kids and I chose to step away from that generational tradition.


Some things are easier to walk away from than others…not impossible but not easy. So here’s what I have come up with to get you thinking about change.
1. Money is not scarce or limited
2. You can make money and be rich and be a nice person, all at the same time.
3. You can do what you love and make a living doing it.
4. Join a network of like minded people to support your goals
5. Hire a life coach to help you stay focused and accountable
6.If money is tight, keep your job, sell stuff, and have a year of savings before you jump into your small business
7.According to John Carroll, personal factories, aka self- employed folks, are going to save the global economy
8. If not me then who, if not now then when?
9. Taking a page from my sources of inspiration, Oprah, Arlene Dickinson,J.K. Rowling…do what you love,never stray, be honest, speak your truth, be kind and stay focused and you will become successful
10. Success has many definitions, pick yours and do not apologize because you achieved your goal.
11. We women in the world, make up 53% of the world’s population yet we hold only 1% of the wealth. Well I am not going to let another 55 years slide by and not change that.
12. Helping millions make millions is a global initiative I have created to empower women around the world to step up and create change in their own lives. Give a woman a job feed her for a day, let a woman run her own small business feed her, and her entire community, for life…
Come join us…be part of the change that 2012 is bringing. No more waiting…

Lessons from the dog park. Know your tribe.

Today I took my two girls to the dog park. Yup I’m that person you may have talked about in the past…”Geez she’s always with her dogs. She never goes anywhere without them..” Truth…We do travel with our girls a lot and we do spend a lot of time with them. That’s partly because I work from home and partly because they’re huskies and they love company and exercise.

Today when we got there we met a friend with a husky so there was a three pack. After a few minutes two more showed up so we had a five pack of huskies. Have you ever watched huskies when they pack up? Mine know for absolute certain when another dog is a husky. They will play with all sorts of dogs but once another husky comes into the area they will pack up together and play. They run and they jump and they chase each other around in a different way when the pack is together.

I find that really interesting and fascinating. Here’s what I make of it: my girls know who their “people” are: they know who their tribe is and they feel most comfortable with them. They don’t mind being around others but the absolutely fall into their own essence of who they are when they are with their own kind….

Do you ever notice that with people? Some folks you just feel more comfortable around. You may not know why but you just feel more like yourself around them..the interests are the same or the energy feels right. Whatever it is I encourage you to find your tribe because that’s where you will shine the brightest: that’s where you will be the best person you are meant to be: that’s where you will step into your own essence of joy and power: that’s when you learn the heart of being fearless..in a group of people who think most like you. If you want to shine in 2012 take the step and find your tribe. Not sure how to do that?

Here’s a tip: sit with yourself for an hour or so and write down everything you love about the people you feel most comfortable with….athletic/ funny/ musical/ artsy/fashionista/writer..whatever it is write it all down. Tip #2 find a group in your local area that has a program where your tribe will be. There’s always somewhere to find your tribe and if you haven’t found them yet/ if you haven’t connected up yet it’s just because you’re not sure where they are. These two tips are a great way to get you started. Now go be fearless.

A bare naked Halloween? Maybe..

Once a year folks of all ages and sizes seize the opportunity to dress up in a scary (or not so scary) costume and go trick or treating. I have always liked getting dressed up not because it meant there’d be candy at the end of the night but becauase of the creativity. Sourcing out second hand shops and thrift stores to find just the perfect accessory or finding something at a garage sale in the summer that I knew would be “just perfect” for a costume some day. I was usually right and I have to tell you my kids had a great trunk full of costume stuff to play dress up when they were little.

It’s great to dress up and have fun for one day. It’s fun to pretend that you’re some swashbuckling pirate or a princess or a jedi warrior or a beastly beast or a monster or a vampire or a ……

Yesterday I presented a workshop to a group of amazing women who were helping to raise funds for the Arthritis Society of Canada. We talked about the elephant in the room for each of the ladies …Slowly those elephants began to appear as the fear of speaking up fell away. “Making mistakes.” “Failing” “Not trying hard enough.” “Not being good enough” “I’m too fat.” ” I feel like an imposter most of the time..” There were a lot of elephants in that room yesterday. As the workshop progressed I asked each one of the attendees to stand up: close their eyes and declare (out loud or not) one dream that they would commit to realizing. Then I asked each of them to draw an imaginary line in the sand  and if they were willing to jump over it to do so. The point of the line is the sand is the difference between ” I can” and “I will”…”I can” is just that…you can but you might not follow through. “I will” is a commitment to yourself that you will find a way to make this dream come true…a step toward making that elephant find a new place to live. That’s awesome! Do you know what happened after that? Every single one of them took the step: some jumped: some walked: some gingerly tiptoed over that line but they all did it!

I’m so excited to watch the unfolding of the dream for these glorious women…

You know what’s scarier than any Halloween costume? Not having a costume and pretending to be something you’re not. If you’re wearing a mask pretending to be something you’re not isn’t it time to let it go? Halloween is one day a year: masks are meant to be worn just once….put them away and let people see the real you. You deserve it and so do they! Now go be fearless. Jan

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.

Lessons from a Dragon’s Den mother.

One of my favourite shows on television is Dragon’s Den on CBC. I think the reason I enjoy it most is because of the lessons I learn from both the panel and the entrepreneurs who are selected to pitch to them. Arlene Dickinson, the sole woman on the panel of five, has just had her new book Persuasion published. I picked it up right away and, quite frankly, have had a difficult time putting it down. I’ve also read Robert Herjavec’s book Driven and it’s a good read but Persuasion speaks to me in a different fashion: it’s probably a woman to woman conversation that I’m liking about it. The book is very honest and frank and helpful.

What I have found most interesting, thus far, is that Ms. Dickinson, like so many other women, struggled, and continues to struggle, with obstacles in her life that could, if she allowed it, stop her success. This is a quote directly from the book…” A negative internal monologue can be so compelling that you block out anything that contradicts it. For instance, for the first half of my life, I told myself  I just wasn’t very smart. There was evidence to the contrary, I’d figured out how to support myself at 16, and as a young mom strapped for cash, I’d learned how to do everything from growing vegetables to shingling a roof. But I ignored facts that didn’t fit my theory.

Why? Well, strange as it seems to me now, I was pretty attached to my poor self-image. Feeling bad about myself didn’t make me happy, but it was comfortable. It gave me the perfect excuse not to try things that scared me, like going to university.And, there was another benefit. I didn’t have to experience the discomfort of trying. Let’s face it, attempting something new when you’re not confident of success is really hard work. ..”

Here’s what I know for sure, if you have a bazillion dollars or fifty cents in your pocket you will, at some point in your life, experience the discomfort of uncertainty. The “not knowing” in a situation can immobilize a person, no matter what their status is. The difference between those who move forward and those who don’t, in my humble opinion, is a choice to accept failure. Yup, you might fail, and that’s ok. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. ( misquote from Alfred Tennyson “’tis better to have loved and lost”)

I am going to go see Arlene Dickinson tomorrow at the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce. She’ll be the keynote speaker. I’m taking my book with me and perhaps she’ll sign it. Either way, I am loving the lessons I’m learning from the Den Mother.

And, a confession, I’m kinda petrified of walking into a room where I  will probably not know one single person but, taking my lessons from the Den Mother, I am going anyway and facing fearless.

Now go be fearless!