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Posts Tagged ‘values’

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.

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Years ago, while on maternity leave, I read in a parenting journal about the mompreneur phenom, Jennifer Torres, Founder of Salsa Babies.

Jennifer and her inspirations

Jennifer and her inspirations

Back then, I was a budding entrepreneur myself (cf: my fleeting attempt at product development). I recall reading that this powerhouse of a woman started her company with the purpose of staying home with her kids after her maternity benefits had ended and that her intention was to generate the same revenue that she was receiving from EI. No more, but certainly, no less.

I too, wanted to stay home with my daughter and also develop a business. When I read those simple parameters, it seemed viable and …inspirationally… attainable. I felt moved to set the same goal for myself.

Our paths have crossed a couple of times over the past year, and I’ve always wanted to hear more about her. Yesterday, we shared an hour of great conversation about business, balance, goals, dreams, and why folding underwear is a time suck. She is every bit as vibrant, dynamic, energetic and warm as you’ve imagined. And she has it together.

I was hooked the moment she uttered her opening remark:

I’ve learned to follow what interests you and what you’ve loved doing throughout your life.

Bingo.

Her story

Jennifer always knew that when kids came along, she’d want to stay at home with them. So, when she was pregnant, she took ESL certification in the hopes of finding a job flexible enough to be home with the babes. Nothing came up. While on mat leave, she asked her employers if she could work part-time when she came back…and they said no. She was miserable and felt pretty desperate at the notion of leaving her babies in childcare to go back to job that wasn’t overly fulfilling. It just didn’t seem right. (And as I’ve often written…if it doesn’t feel right for you, it probably isn’t right for you. But I didactically digress.)

One fine day a friend handed her a tissue and pointed out that she could maybe integrate her well-known love for salsa dancing into a business. Jennifer was resistant at first…after all…salsa’s about heels and less about babies. Or was it?

The Birth of Salsa Babies

The idea percolated in her head for a while…and when she found herself dancing around her house to soothe her colicky baby in the carrier, the idea really started to heat up in the most picante way. What happened to turn the idea around from a ho-hum one to being her life’s passion? In a word: RESONANCE.

Before long, her network of support rallied around her and helped her get her idea off the ground. A logo was created; a plan developed; flyers distributed; a web site launched; and, since then, thousands of new moms have shimmied their way to slimmer waists and happy babies. Thanks to Jennifer’s vision.

In some ways, Jennifer’s story is a study of what is possible is you simply believe in yourself. Is there any way she could have known that 8 years after the ESL thing didn’t pan out that she’d be co-writing children’s CDs, writing books and having appeared on TV more times than she can count? As she pointed out in our discussion:

My goal was not to be a million dollar industry…but now as I look back, I could have thought bigger. I just didn’t want to be too cocky.

Familiar, huh?

S-U-C-C-E-S-S

What excites me is the fact that she THOUGHT she was thinking small, but in fact, was setting herself up for success. A business idea aligned with her values, interests, strengths and abilities? A network of support and boundless energy and acumen? That to me is a fool-proof recipe for success.

Is she successful?

Well that depends on your definition, of course, but beyond the professional accomplishments noted above, Jennifer points to two things that she’s most proud of:

  1. The fact that she has built a business that enables (at last count) 30 licensees to be doing what they love (teaching salsa) while being with their kids. This wasn’t a goal per se, but what an amazing by-product!
  2. Her girls are looking up to her in a new way. Jennifer points out that in her lottery win dreams she always saw herself at home with them and acknowledges that this may well be the right path for many…but now sees how flat that could have been for HER. Her girls see her on TV and know that she’s doing what she loves and is happy. By example, her girls are learning the value of developing something for yourself:

My 8-year old daughter started a book club and was so organized about it all. She wrote up a proposal, did up a flyer, planned the space, talked to the principal and handled all of these other details. My husband looked at me during the flurry of activity and said: ‘that’s you!’

Like all success stories, there have been some bumps in the road. She has been targeted for her great ideas and has had them ripped off (in one case, a copy cat took words verbatim from her web site). And there’s no question…like most business-parents, Jennifer knows too well the constant struggle of maintaining that elusive “balance”. “How much TV is too much for the kids? What am I missing if I don’t spend the day with the kids? What could I have gotten done if I had worked today?”

At her annual licensees’ meeting, she delivers a segment about finding balance in being a business owner. Some good rules of thumb?


What’s next for Jennifer and Salsa Babies?

She has some pretty exciting plans for the company….market expansion, program development and some new offerings and packages. You’ll just need to stay tuned. Trust me…you’ll be hearing lots more from this beautiful woman who just bubbles exuberance and energy.

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New term alert…“weisure”. Well, it may not be new to you…I JUST realized that “yard sale” was the new “gong show”. In any case, it references the blurring of the line between work and leisure. Clever…even if it does sound like a slacker band name.

I came across an article on CNN about the phenomenon. It reads:

Many who haven’t already abandoned the 9-to-5 workday for the 24-7 life of weisure probably will do so soon, according to New York University sociologist Dalton Conley, who coined the word. It’s the next step in the evolving work-life culture.

Am really not sure what to make of this. Intuitively, I believe *strongly* that work and leisure should be very well separated. However, I am “guilty” of checking my BlackBerry during play time with my daughter, and dabbling on Facebook when I should be doing accounting (though my abhorrence of accounting is well documented).

The article points out that this reflects that work has become more fun. Work being fun = good. Ignoring my daughter for the sake of an email check = bad.

The article points to the flipside in that fun has become “work”…think social technology.

Weisure has been fueled by social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, where “friends” may actually be business partners or work colleagues.

True true.

I’ve been tripping over “weisure” for a while now in my own life. I have a value of being present in whatever it is that I’m doing…especially what I feel very important in my life: coaching clients; playing with my daughter; practicing yoga; and, enjoying time with my husband. By allowing my thoughts (and even actions) to deviate from what I’m focused on, I feel like I’m letting myself down…as trampling on one’s values often does.

In the end (of this posting anyways), I guess I DO know what to make of this….for my own life. I’m redrawing the dividing line in the sand between my work and my leisure. I love them both too much to not be focused 100%.

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A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend the launch of SoloMag, the brainchild of Jacqueline Parker. More on that cool woman in a later blog posting.

I am drawn to people who glow. Call it the law of attraction, call it what you will. As such, I was drawn to Monica Graves. (more…)

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Ever had what you thought was a brilliant idea? Ever spent a whole lot of time talking about it but not actually DOING anything about it? Ever spent so much time waiting for some sort of divine intervention that someone else bypassed you with the same idea because it was too good NOT to do?

No? Well, I have. I called it a “Coffee Cuff”, which was an unclaimed name at the time. Aaaahhhh, the coffee cuff. So simple…so smart.

My husband actually came up with the idea back in 2001 on a long drive to the family cottage. “Why are coffee sleeves only intended for a single use and why can’t there be a non-disposable version?” This begat a cloth version in my mind which begat a beaded funky version (also in my mind) that people could wear as accessories. Distribution channels, market research, packaging, logos, pricing, marketing all became quite clear and crystallized (again, in my mind).

One problem…I know not thing one about sewing or beading. We bought a $300 sewing machine. I threw a piece of hemp at the machine, but low and behold, it simply wouldn’t make itself.

In the interim, I talked about the idea with anyone who would listen: Who knew what about patents? What were the market trends for coffee? How much would you be willing to pay for a coffee cuff? How would you distribute this? Who do we know at Starbucks HQ?

And still, no prototype. And then I got bored of talking about it…and the idea just kind of died away.

SHOULD you find yourself in the position of having a great idea that you want to get off the ground, you now have the luxury of living in the age of “micromanufacturing”. Create your design, upload it to a site like Ponoko, tell them what material you’d like it created in and they’ll produce it (to 1,000th-of-an-inch precision). You can then set up a store and sell it with Ponoko even taking care of credit-card billing and shipping.

Go ahead…check out “Coffee Coat”. I’m not bitter, really!

No need to cry in your latte for me. I’m wise enough to know that if I’m not moved to fight for something, there is an excellent chance it wasn’t really worth fighting for…likely because it wasn’t in sync with my values. My life purpose is less about innovative creations and more about helping people make powerful and transformative changes in their lives.

I’m right where I need to be right now.

But…if YOU are moved to innovate but lack the means to create…strike that off the list of why it can’t be done. It may not be divine intervention, but it is a kick in the butt.

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I celebrated the return of neck function by getting busy in my garden with my husband and daughter yesterday.  Other than the “champagne problem” of getting sunblock in the eyes, it was a painless, productive and rewarding day. And fun!

This morning as I enjoyed my coffee on the back deck and reveled in the rewards of several jobs done well, I realized why it was so satisfying to me. Pretty much every task spoke to my values. (more…)

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Goal-tending

We’re coming up on February 1st, so I thought I’d reflect on my Jan 1st resolve.

Another New Year’s Eve came and went. So too, has the annual dump on the idea of resolutions. We’ve all grumbled about unrealistic expectations of ourselves for the year to come that will be long forgotten by Jan 17th. But really, is it so very wrong to will out the old, and will in the new? And if not on January 1st, then when?

This year, my husband and I did our annual quiet reflection of the previous year and forward-thinking for the next, in part aided by Lululemon’s goal-setting program. I say “in part” as this 1 and 5 year approach to the health, career and personal realms of our lives has been the focus of my husband’s and my quarterly assessment of our own goal-tending for a number of years now (though the 10 year plan is new). I love that the program has you discerning your own values and doing some blue-sky thinking…both are exercises that I am well-versed in as they are cornerstones of the Board of Your Life program. Critical first steps in revealing underlying potential for great peace (or happiness…whichever speaks to your personal objectives).

So I am clear about my 1, 5 and 10 year goals…and have the plans in place. But step 3? To check in every day that I’m staying the course…in health, business, relationships and spirituality. It reminds me of the simple yogic principle about each breath being a new chance to get the next one right.

So far so good.

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