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Know people who are stuck in the nineties? Who really think that Melrose Place being on the air was the pinnacle of good times? That somehow they were part of that campy troupe of styling blondes saying drivel like “nothing like a cold chardonnay on a hot summer night” with zero trace of irony? Melrose Place is coming back…and I fear for those who think it will be the same. Because it won’t be. Not even close. The actors are different, the writers are different and here’s the kicker, like it or not, the viewer who’s been pining for its return is different.

Our ten-year wedding anniversary is coming up on Friday. It has been a beautiful marriage with lots of laughter and love on the one hand and some pain AND growth on the other.  There is so very much to celebrate and as life would have it, for lots of reasons, we aren’t able to celebrate it in the way we’d like to…we WILL make the space and time to do it up right, it just won’t be next weekend.

So it was with a LITTLE bit of a heavy heart that I went back to the scene of the wedding reception. You see, Coach Buffet Toronto is coming up on November 17th and we need just the right place for our unique venue needs: three distinct spaces for the one-on-one coaching, workshops, and mingling to happen.  I had not as yet found the perfect spot.

I walked in the room with a slight bit of uncertainty…I didn’t really know what to expect. Would I be greeted by the happy ghosts from 10 years ago…the jazz trio’s music wafting through the halls, the laughter and excitement that only a happy occasion like a wedding brings and the air of expectations for a perfect life?

In a way, I guess I was kind of afraid to go back…because I don’t ever want to live in the past. And as I walked through the virtually unchanged space, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror that I fixed my complicated ‘do in 10 years earlier. I am no longer that young bride filled with dreams of how happily ever afters work. And that’s good. What I saw in my reflection was a different woman…still confident in the inherent goodness of the world, a steadfast believer in the power of positivity, and filled with a different brand of dream, but slightly more pragmatic, slightly more wrinkled and a hell of a lot more empowered. And that is even better.

Our wedding day was a beautiful day. As is today. As will tomorrow be. There is no need to go back to capture that beauty.

So, I am happy, nay, thrilled to announce that Coach Buffet Toronto will be held at University of Toronto’s Faculty Club. A beautiful space with neither too much pomp, nor circumstance, but with the right peppering of Group of Seven paintings and a cool academic vibe.

Moreover, I am thrilled that 10 years later, my husband will be there with me, by my side. We are different now, and that’s good.

And for you hard core Melrose Place aficionados, that lousy smug Michael may not be back, but enjoy the new and different show.

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Start, continue and stop

You are glorious, do you know that? I just thought we should get that right out in the open. You are beautiful, creative, resourceful and whole and there’s not a thing wrong with you.

No truer words have ever been spoken. For real.

So, given that we know the above to be the truth, why do you figure that you aren’t achieving the results in your life that you seek (and results here can mean bucks, acknowledgment, mojo, enlightenment, peace, flow, joy, a grammy, tranquility or whatever your guiding force may be)?

Upon completion of all of my Board of Your Life programs and at the end of a coaching relationship (when the birds fly from my loving nest to soar…sniff), I ask for feedback. Why? Quite simply, I like to hear what rocked my clients (so I can continue to do the same for others…AND because it sounds so nice). I also *want* to learn what wasn’t so impactful. And that part is hard…no matter how “non-attached” and zen-like I intend to be.

I was introduced some time ago to the simple method of gleaning feedback: “Start, continue and stop”. What should I start doing? What should I continue doing? What should I (…inhale deeply…) stop doing?

Peter Drucker once said, “Half the leaders I have met do not need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.” Yup.

Starting’s easy when you have a good reason to get going. Continuing is dead simple if you’ve got momentum working for you. It’s the stopping that is terrifying. What happens when you stop doing something? The fear of having to start something new to replace the stopped something can be brutally scary. Few people like change…and fewer still like to change.

To get where you know you want to go, what do you need to start doing, to continue doing and to STOP doing? (And, here’s the trick..you can do it all and still be your glorious you.)

Coach Buffet

As long as I can remember, I’ve been experimenting with food. Some flops – I seem to recall an ill-fated melba toast in the toaster (yup, flames and all) and some winners for my grade-school palate (chocolate ice cream sprinkled with iced tea crystals; grapefruit stands with any topping you could think of; fresh fall apples with molasses). All of my experimenting was done with equally culino-curious friends.

The joy was in the collaboration, the excitement of trying something new and the anticipation of the results.

And so, I am thrilled to be in the kitchen (so to speak) yet again with my dear friend and colleague, Lisa Chandler. She conceived of the idea for an innovative coaching event and asked me to help tweak it. With a dash of this and a pinch of that, Coach Buffet was created…in the most delicious way (and with a delightful logo, thanks to Stephen Caissie).CB-logo-horizontal

Coach Buffet is a fun, innovative event that was concocted to bring a dozen powerful life and business coaches together with participants for meaningful one-on-one coaching conversations in a social evening format.

Sampling different types of coaching styles = buffet…get it?

This event is perfect for professionals and business owners who feel stuck in some aspect of business, career or life in general and who are hungry for possibilities.

Our first ever will be in Montreal on October 15th and will be followed up in Toronto on November 17th.

For Montreal, our array of coaches is sumptuous (by mid September, you can read all their bios on the site) and our venue is exquisite. I can assure you that powerful coaching will take place and strong relationships will form. As we say at Coach Buffet:

We are serving possibility….Are you hungry??

Register now at www.coachbuffet.com. Spaces are limited!

Zen and the art of Fimo

Last Friday, I was introduced to a practice of mindfulness and supreme focus by my friend Adam. While he IS a wise old soul, he is neither a yoga master nor a Buddhist monk. He is an 8 year old boy who likes Doritos, Ben-Ten and modeling clay figures of Spider Man and he suggested that I give Fimo a whirl. So I did.

Let me preface this by saying I’ve made it a bit of a mission to find wee food items for my daughter’s dollhouse (custom made by my Dad to look like our house…wall colours and all). I pretend that I’m seeking out the cutest foods for my daughter, but when I’m being honest with myself, it’s a quest for me…something unrequited there, I’m sure! Last week, I spent a WHACK of money at the Ex on dainty teeny-tiny foodstuffs (and felt a little bit like a crazy old cat lady for the experience…miniature doilies, anyone?).

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Fun with Fimo

So when Adam implored me to take a jaunt with him to our nearest art supply store and shell out some bucks for Fimo,  I was in…though just for him. I never thought I’d manage to create something worthy of adorning the dollhouse. Fourteen dollars later however, my mind boggled with the endless possibilities: ice cream cones, sushi, meatballs, cookies…oh my!!!!

We nimbly worked it with our fingers, talked about life, love and bullies. We listened to the rain fall and shared jokes. We counseled each other on our creations and championed each other’s good work.

Given that this delightful afternoon occurred during my working hours, and in honour of my value of hard work, I’ve decided to apply what I learned about the afternoon to my business…and my life. And what did I learn? A lot.

  • Be open to new endeavours…whatever it may be.
  • Want more play in your life? Listen to children…they know how it’s done.
  • Letting go of preconceived notions about how something should be done can give you lots of room for expansiveness. And a quieter mind. Very good for your innate creativity in all you do.
  • Taking time away from business is a good thing…besides, as the one and only Danielle LaPorte tells it, you’re not that important
  • Paying attention to details can make the difference between something being unpalatable or sumptuous. A little more effort can be rewarding…even if it feels fussy and awkward.
  • The only person that expects me to be perfect is me. AND, given that I’m imperfect, what the hell do I know about perfection anyways!
  • There is certain deliciousness in variety. And FURTHER to this, stay tuned for an event that I’m co-hosting with my dear colleague Lisa Chandler. It’s all about sampling a delectable variety of coaching styles…in 15 minute increments. You’ll be AMAZED how a good coach can help you cut to the meat of an issue in less time than that.

I’ll not be doing this for a living any time soon, but was pretty pleased how my little smackerels turned out….fingerprint imprints and all.

So, I ask you to try something new, fearlessly and with no attachment to the outcome. You may surprise yourself…and even clear your mind while you’re at it. And if you don’t know what that could be, ask a kid. They’ll let you know how fun’s done.

Magic

Believe in magic or not, we all know what it’s about. The awe-induced experience of witnessing something momentous…and wanting to be a better person because of it. No matter what it is.

My magical top 7 (in no order whatsoever)

1. shooting stars – to see one means that you’ve a) been patiently keeping your gaze up and not at your feet or b) you’ve had dumb luck.
2. dumb luck – this happens…a lot. Sadly, it’s the hope that this will befall us that can keep us small…think lotto dreams. Then again, think lotto dreams and replace “lotto” with “blue sky”…and now what’s available? Now what is your subconscious working on? If it’s real and authentic, you’ll find a way to make it happen…clarity is the key.
3. love – can’t see it, hear it, taste it, or touch it…but man, can you feel it when it’s real and genuine.
4. new beginnings – there’s always a chance to turn the bus around….especially if you have the right people on your bus.
5. music – for me, there is nothing like music to lift me up if I need to be lifted, or brought to earth if I need the grounding. I love it all…except for rinky-dink noodly jazz…that just makes me mad. But make a recommendation and I may turn that around too…may be another new beginning.
6. coaching – working with people committed to making real, tangible and significant changes…for themselves and ultimately, the world around them…sheer inspiration and an honour to witness.
7. the smell of oleanders – poetry in a fragrance

Why only 7? I love the magic of having room for more. I intend to keep adding, so please send me some of your thoughts…magic is to be shared.

Dare to be Free

This weekend, I was fortunate enough to have assisted 21 people brave enough to dare to be free. Of self-limiting beliefs. Of self-imposed judgments. Of holding back. Of being small.

It was an honour to witness and a privilege to be in their midst. Courageous people ripping out the tap roots of what’s holding them back and filling that void with new, fertile and brilliant truths about their essence…it was sheer joy and beauty.

I felt like a bit of an interloper at times, because here’s the truth…I haven’t really dared to be free of my own self-limiting belief. Mostly because I didn’t really know what it was. But with the help of the masterful L.A. Reding (the co-creator of this unbelievably powerful program Dare to be Free), the incomparable Elisa Palombi and the knowing Paulo da Silva, I’ve discovered what the mother of all my self-limiting beliefs is: I fear…nay BELIEVE, that I am a fake. Which REAAAAAALLLLY sucks because one of my major core values is authenticity.

Hence the proclamation here: I want to be authentic about the fact that I fear I’m a fake.

That’s a risky proposition for a coach who claims to be powerful and runs the risk of publicly admitting weakness. But I do so in honour of those brave enough to dig deeper this weekend. And in service of those who have a story made up in their own minds that I have it all together. Nope. And I’m okay with it.

Now that I know what’s truly been holding me back, I have some work to excavate it. Back-breaking work given that those roots are pretty deep…they’ve been gaining power for 36 years.

I’ve committed to myself and to the group that I would eradicate it. So I will. And I’ll let you know how it goes…but I think you’ll just feel it.

Last night we spent a perfectly lovely evening at the Beaches International Jazz Festival. The weather was ideal, the crowd was energetic and appreciative and the music somehow seemed better than we’ve enjoyed in previous years (in my humble opinion). Some nights are just like that.

One of the many musical highlights for us was seeing The Disease…a young “7-piece funk machine” from Toronto. They were (in the words of my drumming husband) “tight”. I don’t know much about that, but I do like to think I know talent. And they really had it going on. While they didn’t pull the same size crowd as other bands doing jazz standards, the crowd that they did have appreciated the talent too.

Ok, so you don’t visit my blog for musical critiques. Here’s what I really loved and appreciated about this group—they “felt it”. Every last member. I was particularly mesmerized by the guy on the keys – David Atkinson. He would not, COULD not stop dancing. He played on his tippy-toes for goodness’ sake! He couldn’t contain his jubilation…his sheer joy of doing what he loved doing. It was infectious and to me it epitomized that quote that we’ve all been e-mailed ad nauseum: dance like no one’s watching.

Now I know what that means…really means. Had that wildly talented young man put a cap on his groove, the notes would have been flatter, to be sure, but more criminally, we the audience would have been cheated out of a display of unbridled excitement, energy and joy. Which I know I really inspired me.

Kids do it. They run, jump, play, sing, dance and twirl with no concern about appearances (at least until pre-puberty, and then, I’m told, it’s hell in a handbasket). Why does watching kids sing the national anthem off-key bring tears to my eyes? Because it is sung with heart, intention and purity of soul.

It’s not too late for us as adults to do the same.

So, I challenge you: give like no one’s watching; worship like no one’s watching, play like no one’s watching; love like no one’s watching; cry like no one’s watching and laugh like no one’s watching. Go on and even let the milk pour out of your nose. Those that are watching will celebrate the moment right alongside you.

Thanks David, for the reminder.