The Journey of a Million Steps

Musings on International Women’s Day: I was looking for something in my computer this morning, and came across this article that I  wrote (when I lived in New Brunswick) for the Telegraph Journal’s International Women’s Day Supplement.  It still seems relevant a decade or so later……….

We’ve come a long way….. and isn’t it wonderful to be a woman in the 21st Century – in North America at least (I wish I could say that for all parts of the world).  We ARE on a roll! Our journey was charted by others before us, and we are blessed to walk the path that the pioneers of women’s rights laid down for us almost a century ago.

Today we celebrate the achievements and contributions of scores of women who have fought for active participation and equality in society and passed that on to us. And for those of us with the good fortune to have achieved it? What now is our role?

Are we meant to be leaders on the world stage? In Politics? Law? Education? Social Policy? Medicine? The Arts? Some, yes. Are we meant to raise the next generation to solve the world’s ills? A noble calling. Are we supposed to carry on the heritage of sacrificing ourselves in service of others? Some would say, service yes; sacrifice no.

Or is our task to discover our purpose in life, learn how to give full expression to it, and make a difference for every person we meet?

The specific answer is different for each one of us.

What is the same, however, is this. Our role – that we have inherited from the pioneers and from our mothers and grandmothers – demands that we choose to become our best selves, that we choose to embrace life fully, and that we choose a path of meaning for ourselves and contribution to others.

With understanding, connection to our heart and gut, and commitment to our purpose, each of us can make the difference we want to make in our lives, our community and the world.

We owe it to those who walked before us, to everyone who comes after, and most of all, to ourselves.

Better than Resolutions?

Behind every New Year’s resolution, resolutely made, and all too frequently broken, are a host of good intentions! What propels us to resolve to make these resolutions, year after year? Why are they so hard to keep?

We make them because there’s something seductive about the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new. We are drawn into musings on our perceived failings or weaknesses, and at the same time inspired to be a more perfect person in the future.

Yes, the freshness and promise of the coming year! We so want to make amends. The changes we truly want to incorporate into our lives dangle tantalizingly in front of our eyes. We know we can do it!

So we resolve. To quit smoking, to be kinder to people, to be more organized at work, to clean out the basement, to exercise, to socialize with friends more often, to keep in touch more frequently with those who have moved away, to speak our mind forthrightly, to contribute to those less fortunate, and on and on. And some of us–succeed in keeping some of our resolutions.

Unfortunately, for most of us, a month or two down the road, many of the actions we started out doing with such determination and promise, have fizzled out and are soon forgotten. Our resolutions are once again in the realm of good intentions.

What happened? When you think about it, a resolution sounds so final. It implies completion, finality, a “done deed”. But the reality of making successful, lasting change is that it requires more than a promise, a prayer, and a post-it note on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

There must be, and there is, another way to become the best we know we can be.

That way requires courage, planning, wrestling with internal demons, inspiration, support, and championing! It requires encouragement from a partner, devoted friend or coach, when we are straying from the path, and also when we progress in small ways towards the goal. And celebration when we get there!

Resolutions are often lonely battles with ourselves. It’s tough to change habits, behaviours, and ways of being, all on our own. Getting help along the way can make the difference between an unfulfilled resolution – and one successfully carried out!

So don’t give up on the desire to change, to grow, to be your best self! Look to a supportive spouse, sibling, offspring, friend, and/or personal coach who is devoted to your winning that war with yourself. They can make the difference between a resolution and a reward!

Spring at Last

For a girl who grew up in the cold cold winters of Winnipeg, Manitoba (35-40 below Celsius (or Fahrenheit – it’s all the same at that temperature) for 3-4 months or more, you’d think I would be the last one to complain about all the snow and cold we’ve experienced in eastern Canada this winter.

But no, I seem to have forgotten that ‘it’s just winter in Canada”, and have been longing for it to be over for many many weeks now. And lo and behold, on the last day of March, it’s well above zero, the snow is melting, the roads are dry, and we were able to go for a long walk without a biting wind whipping across our foreheads.

Such joy to smell the freshness in the air, and anticipate leaves on the trees, birds singing, children’s voices playing in the yards (the ones that aren’t glued to their electronics that is), and neighbours stopping to say hello.

Only last week a family of deer were foraging in our snow-covered backyard for something to eat – and chose some morsels from my flower garden. I didn’t have the heart to scare them away, though I did notice they were plenty plump. Must have scavenged a lot of gardens.

Soon the crocuses will peek out, the rest of the perennials will follow in due course, and spring will be in full bloom.

At this time of year, I always feel re-energized and newly inspired to do more of what I love to do in life.

What do you notice when Spring comes calling? What’s in the air for you?

A New Year’s Wish

Last week I read a great blogpost by a coach who recounted that instead of creating resolutions, she chooses three words that represent what she would like to bring into her life in the coming year.    That’s a good idea, I thought.  And up popped my three words from that intuitive place in me.  They were:  Health, Wealth and Joy.  That’s what I am intending for the coming year.   (‘wealth’ standing not so much for money but for a steady stream of awesome clients who light up my life).

What I liked about this idea was that it was so easy to call up the words, and that they are not laden with ‘must do’.  Not that there is anything wrong with ‘doing’… it’s just the ‘must’ that seems to burden me, being that I am a kind of go-with-the-flow person. Well, that’s another topic.    By the way, apologies for not giving proper credit to whomever it was that gave me this idea, as my recall has left me in the dust of last year.

A question for you:

What 3 words would you like to be the focus of your intentions for the next 12 months?

Until they pop up for you,  I wish you mine. May good health, wealth (however you define it), and much joy be yours in the year ahead.

Moving Past Blocks to Creativity and Productivity

I’ve had a remarkable year (well, 11 months to be accurate).  I’m only realizing it now.

Besides coaching many wonderful clients this past year, I’ve been on a learning and discovery journey as I engaged in and completed Marlena Field’s Legacy Program in Body Mind Spirit Coaching.  I know my clients – and hopefully my family and friends as well – will be the beneficiaries of all that I have absorbed and integrated from that experience.

I started a newsletter – Tips, Trends & Tidbits: For Developing Leaders – which I have been publishing faithfully almost every month (though once only in the summer and once in the early fall). I discovered that I do enjoy putting that out to the world.

And now I have designed and written an e-course called ”9 Savvy Steps to Success in Career and Life” that I am going to make available free on my website (and if you are already receiving my newsletter, I will make available to you as well).

It feels SO good to be creative and productive.  It feels great to get past the blocks that kept me from expressing myself in this way all these years.  (The exceptions are my website which I mostly wrote myself, and this blog, which although I started it several years ago, have only written in sporadically or in spurts).

I’ll let you know when my e-course is ready to roll.

So…. does anything resonate for you in this post?  Are you being blocked from expressing yourself creatively?   Or has it always flowed for you?  Or have you been blocked but moved past it?  How did you do that?

I’d love to hear your answers… or your curious questions.

Connecting in 2013

This morning I came across an interesting statistic – namely a report of a survey saying that 60 percent of employees use a mobile device for work, with an anticipated increase in number of devices per employee.   The post on the website Smart Data Collective, suggests that the number of devices will rise from 2.3 per employee in 2012 to 2.8 in 2014.

Well, seems I’m ahead of the trend, having this week made an indulgent purchase – an Apple iPad Mini!   I have used a desktop iMac in my office for several years, have an iPhone to carry with me, and a Macbook Air to use in the family room in the mornings and evenings, and have resisted the tablet until now – but the mini was way too attractive to ignore for a travelling companion – especially with the Logitech keyboard doubling as a cover.  So now I have, count ‘em, FOUR devices, all beautifully integrated courtesy of iCloud!

So what does this have to do with Coaching HeartTalk?  (It’s not meant to be a plug for Apple, though I do love Apple products and service – can’t help myself).  It’s more about the fact that I coach from my heart, and anything that helps me do that, is worth the investment.  My ‘toys’ as I like to call them, help me connect with my work, my ‘people’, my life.

Do I use them to the exclusion of human contact?  I like to think not, because I am all about connection with others – though one (including me) does have to be vigilant about the attachment to the device when others are nearby.

So some questions:  How does technology entice you?  How does it help or hinder your ability to connect from your heart with what matters to you and the people you care about?

I would love to know your thoughts.

How Stories Connect Us

Last evening I attended the monthly meeting of a women’s networking group I belong to in Kingston, Ontario where I live. Instead of the usual dinner and speaker, the evening was entitled All About Us. Whoever felt so moved, got up during dinner and told a story from her life tthat illustrated something about her that likely few in that group knew.

One woman told a story about being adopted and searching for her birth parents, one about how she met her now husband on an island in the Caribbean, one introduced her sister who was her guest and spoke about how much they and their siblings meant to each other having survived, and perhaps in spite of, a difficult childhood. Even I told the story of my connection with my ‘special friend’, a young boy who was abandoned by his mother who I became a ‘big sister’ to when he was 3, and is who now a grown man and part of the family I have with my life partner.

The stories were heartfelt – some were very amusing, some hilariously funny, some touching, some quirky, some sad yet uplifting. What they had in common however was that they all opened a window to seeing someone in a new way, a pathway to perhaps a different kind of conversation with people many of whom had been just acquaintances before.

And it made me think about how often we cross paths with people, and say something not much deeper than ‘hi, how are you? nice to see you’ and about what we miss when we don’t take the time to chat longer and learn more.

What would be possible if we took the time to inquire a little deeper? How could a story enhance that connection?

Reminder to self: Next time, spend more time with acquaintances in a real conversation, share a story, look for the story, and be open to a new and rewarding connection!

Giving Thanks

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It’s Canadian Thanksgiving, and there is so much to give thanks for. Today I am grateful for my wonderful life – for my generous-hearted, loving husband Rick, for my growing families (my first family and my acquired family through Rick); for finding my passion as a coach and the very special clients I have been privileged, and are privileged to work with; for my health; for my amazing friends, for the opportunity to travel… and so much more.

I have just come back from a week in beautiful British Columbia, participating in the beginning of a year-long intensive program with Marlena Field and 7 other amazing women, as we immerse ourselves in body-centered coaching, developed and taught by Marlena.

I am grateful for being able to continue learning in this way and trust that what I gain from this immersion will benefit me personally and professionally, and by extension everyone I interact with.

Today the sun is shining in a beautiful clear blue sky, the air is crisp and cool, the trees vibrant with fall colour….. Life is good.

What are you grateful for today?

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all.

Joy of Summer

Maybe it’s because I live in Canada, where winters can be long, and oh so cold, and the days sadly short. In winter we hibernate, though that has its own benefits – to be explored at another time. However, there is something about Summer that brings warmth to the land and to each of us who partake of all it has to offer.
What I love is the languidness of it, the slower pace, the gatherings of friends and family when kids can run and hide outdoors and let their imaginations run free. Even though there is warmth (sometimes) in April, May, June, and for sure in September and October, somehow summer seems just to be July and August (shades of school-days?). And how swiftly it goes by. Here it is the beginning of August and with plans already made for September, I can see its end, not far ahead.

But why do I project to its end? Why not just enjoy and revel in each long day to its fullest?

Wise people over the centuries have encouraged us to live in the present moment. That in truth is the only moment we have. Of course there is value in recalling the past (both sweet and painful memories) and imagining and anticipating the future. But today, this moment, is what I have now.

Sitting here in the morning light as the sun rises out my window, reflecting, appreciating and being grateful for all that is good in my life.

Ending the Struggle

I always surprise myself when I (re)learn something I already knew.

Playing with my new business Facebook ‘page’, I begin to define and refine what I am about as a coach, as a person.

For years, I allowed myself to struggle with how to ‘brand’ myself in my business. I say ‘allowed myself‘ because it didn’t have to be a struggle. Clearly I chose ‘struggle’.  Or maybe I was just evolving – slowly 🙂  I wondered why it’s so easy for others; so hard for me (maybe I made it hard?  ouch.)

A good friend, Jeannie Campanelli is the The Inner Confidence Coach.  I admire her ability and commitment to reach into her heart and soul, see clearly and define her path in service of others.  She tells me that I try too hard to be perfect. (she’s right of course).  Or another coach friend, Thea Sheldon, The Prime of Life Coach (who was my own coach for a few years and whose website reflects the wonderful, wise and adventurous woman she is), is also clear about who she is and the service she provides.

Both of them and many others I have observed, have been successful by tapping into their own core values and life experiences – the very thing I encourage others I coach to do.  Except I forget how to do it for myself.  ‘The cobbler and her shoes’ perhaps?

I finally, finally listen to myself and realize that I know deep down that my path is helping others find theirs. It’s that simple, that easy. I know that because of how long it took me to see and believe in my own.  And I know the peace and joy that comes from having powerfully chosen, as Thea used to remind me ‘to do it my way’.

So if you noticed the two-year hiatus in writing in my blog, know that was the period of ‘struggle’ or the time of resistance, or the fallow time, where everything evolved as it was meant to.  I’ve got my mojo and my inspiration back. It feels awesome.

A question or three for you.  What do you know about your own path of discovery? What is possible if you just let it happen in its own good time? What are you making hard that you could make easy?