A Fork in the Road…

I’ve been radio silent on this blog since March of this year, the details of why I’ve been delinquent in updating this space with my thoughts will be sprinkled in my posts coming up in the very near future. However, in the most non eloquent terms: a bunch of stuff came up and many things in my life blew up, a bit of a roller coaster ensued and I had to make some decisions and deal with it accordingly. Some things were great….some things heart breaking to deal with. The biggest piece that effected me this year was a family health crisis. I mentioned my father’s change in health earlier this year. Well…things got worse…..the diagnosis was worse than expected but we’re getting through it. I’m happy to say his treatment is going well and as always his attitude continues to blow me away. He truly is an amazing man who inspires me more than he probably knows. I’m slowly getting back on track here, much to say and get out ‘on paper’ so I am going to resume blogging very soon. Just wanted to publish a quick update as I’ve had a few folks ask where I’ve been.

So hello, thanks for stopping by and I’m wading back in to publishing my thoughts…..stay tuned.🙂

The Matrix

I’ve never been a huge fan of the movie the Matrix per say, but if it’s on TV on a lazy Saturday afternoon or random week night….I’ll catch myself watching the whole thing. All of them too…doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the third installment, I always watch. I’m not sure if it’s because Toronto’s hometown boy Keanu Reeves is the star, the special effects or the content but there am I am 2 hours later wondering if Neo will survive/save everyone!

I bring this up because as I network with fellow entrepreneurs the analogy of the Matrix comes up quite often. I never really gave the movie much thought before but when you speak to folks who work for themselves whether it’s as a business owner, artist, writer what ever they ‘get it’ when you refer to the movie’s theme. We’ve seen what’s on the other side and what’s on the other side can be scary, exhilarating, challenging, rewarding, frustrating, disheartening, and wonderful at various times or all the time…going back to where we were is perhaps even more terrifying then anything else. I used to watch that movie and think: ‘just get plugged back in to oblivion, it’s seems more peaceful and frankly more picturesque…there’s daylight at least on that side!’  So maybe I never really got into the deeper message of the movie. It can feel like that on this side. I do remember back when I was in the 9 to 5 race. Yes, at times it was brutal, Mon to Fri, 6:30am wake up, pack breakfast and lunch, change of shoes, grab book for subway, run for subway, meetings all day, run for subway again, go home, have dinner, bed, repeat. It could also be quite carefree…reading or sleeping on the subway, lunches & coffees with friends on company time, laughs in meetings, gossip in cubicles, impromptu drinks after work with colleagues, epic Xmas parties, leaving work at work, free time in the evening and weekends, paid vacation and sick days. Things were pretty good. (I used to see the move ‘Working Girl’ and smile) My company for most of my 12-year tenure treated me very well. I wouldn’t say I was miserable I would just say I was getting paid well, getting through life and not really thinking about where I’d be in another 12 years. In fact 12 years (15 total in corp) went by in a heartbeat. I’m sure another 20 to retirement would go just as quickly. Should we go through life passing time though? Is that why we’re here?

Around 2008 things started to change…some of which I’ve already mentioned (i.e.: getting packaged out in 2009), but also I went through a big break up and started to read some personal development books, started to questions things, and think about where my life was going. This is when I started to get a glimpse into the other side….into this Matrix if you will. J I started setting some goals for myself and as I’ve documented in earlier posts I met a person who made me sit down and really map out what I wanted out of life. Once I did that things start to change, there was no turning back.

By 2011 I was introduced to Arbonne, the Swiss/Vegan certified health and wellness company that I would not only build a business with (one I plan to build into a very lucrative business for me) but this venture would see me stepping firmly on the other side of the Matrix and not be able to come back. My introduction to network marketing is what gave me my gateway out of the corporate 9 to 5 life I was leading. I devised my game plan and in rather swift succession here I am in Jan 2014 in a very different place then I was less then 3 short years ago. I’ll be writing about network marketing more as we go on but what I’d say for now is that it’s a different business model from the traditional one I came from. That doesn’t mean it’s of any less value it’s just different (I’d argue it’s the smarter business model). One phrase I hear a lot in network marketing is ‘if you want to be different you need to do different’.

So….how is it here on this side? I could write about that forever and will at length on this blog! Some days (most days) I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Some days I think back to my ‘carefree’ 9 to 5 existence and think: “was that really so bad? I could go back, put in another decade and check out…right?”

“Or am I just romanticizing it now that I’m out of it and facing challenges”.

I’m sure this battle in my head will go on for a while as I build my business, stabilize my cash flow and grow. The only thing I can do is keep my vision of what I wanted in the first place front and centre…continue to build on that….and stay focused. When I look back at how far I’ve come I realize that going back is the wrong way—for me. They say (statistically speaking) only 3% of the population will travel down the road I’m on. I’m finding I am more then comfortable with that these days. I always felt like a square peg in a round hole for most of my life; why not embrace it?

There is only way I can go now…forward….on this side of the Matrix. It’s a brave new world, often scary but it’s where I’m meant to be.

 

 

Headlines: Bell “Let’s Talk’ Campaign vs. Drug Addiction

This post doesn’t necessarily fall under my general blog theme of being an entrepreneur/my journey out of corporate but since it’s my blog and I can say what I want I figured I’d post it anyway. Plus a lot of what I do now in my professional life has to do with being very authentic with clients, team members and sharing my story….warts and all. At a team meeting last night for my health & wellness business one of my colleagues shared her hysterical and bravely honest journey of highs and lows over the last couple months with her own business and that inspired me to put my honest thoughts down on paper too/share with the group.

Last week was Bell’s Let’s Talk day (Jan 28) for a mental health awareness campaign. This campaign was started several years ago with a celebrity endorsement from Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes who herself admits to suffering from depression/mental illness. A few days later on Super Bowl Sunday the Internet was flooded with reports of yet another celebrity death due to a heroin overdose (Phillip Seymour Hoffman).  After reading rants or commentary on my FB/Twitter and online news sites I came to writing my thoughts down on this subject because of the almost completely opposite themes over the airwaves about these two events. I was taken aback at the almost 180 degree flip across the airwaves.

My Twitter on Jan 28 was filled with all sorts of awesome, heart warming, supportive tweets and re-tweets to support the issue of mental health.  Famous people, regular people, everyone seemed game to re-tweet as much as they could to support the cause. As someone who has loved ones in my immediate family and close friends who suffer from often debilitating depression, it’s a cause I not only support I feel very strongly about and am impacted by. I want to see the stigma erased from this issue, I want people to realize it probably impacts people in your life right now…..perhaps even your partner, child, parent, boss or best friend. I want to encourage people to speak up as speaking up may encourage someone else to get help. Most folks suffering from depression suffer in silence, many go through their entire lives without seeking any help and/or hiding their condition as best they can from everyone around them. As I said, I am describing my own personal experience here and I’m referencing in particular to 4 very brave souls in my life (3 family members and a close friend) who have had the courage to not only admit out loud they suffer from mental illness but they have sought help in the form of therapists and/or medication. As I share the story of my family with other people I find more and more families suffering from the same thing. I’ll continue to share as long as people are open to it because at the end of the day depression effect all of us.

My Twitter/FB/general browsing of the Internet on the day Philip Seymour Hoffman died did not result in the same heart warming results. Yes, many celebrity friends, journalists, general population made respectful comments talking about how talented he was and how much they would miss him. That said, a very large part of the ether had often vitriolic commentary on how this guy who seemingly had everything could be so selfish and stick a needle in his arm and die of an over dose. I don’t personally know PSH, and I wouldn’t say I’m a diehard fan but he was an undeniably talented actor (Almost Famous & Pirate Radio are 2 of my favourite movies of his).  I was saddened to hear of his passing but was really drove me to write my thoughts down were the a for mentioned comments and the fact that he leaves behind 2 young children and a partner who is likely going to go through the most heart wrenching guilt trip over the next few years. Particularly because (from what I understand) Mr. Hoffman was living in the apartment he died in because his partner had kicked him out for relapsing (A decision she probably struggled with but due to their young children and her own sanity likely something she felt she had to do).  I sympathize for that woman I don’t know and those children who aren’t going to know their father. Within the comments I read online there were several people who pointed out what I’m about to say: Happy people do not become drug/alcohol addicts. They were already dealing with hidden demons (aka: mental illness) when they turned to what ever vice they chose to numb them from what they felt and/or were trying not to feel. Desperation has hit at an all time high when you’re turning to heavy drugs or alcohol to ‘escape’. You’ve gone past the point of logic; you only want some comfort for a short time, which in turn often turns to an addiction that controls you for a long time.

Why do I feel so strongly about his/have this opinion? Remember those 4 brave souls I spoke of? One of them is my father. He doesn’t just struggle with mental illness he’s a recovering alcoholic. It doesn’t just end with my dad; I come from a family with several addicts in our midst. My brother’s in-laws are also filled with addicts (like attracts like I suppose). I’m intimately familiar with what Mr. Hoffman’s family has struggled with for the last 20 odd years he’s struggled with addiction. I understand the questions his children will have down the road. I understand what his partner was/is going through. It can be very easy to get angry when you see this situation “what an idiot, what a waste, how selfish can he be with all that money, fame, wife and kids?” When you see homeless people strung out on the street pan handling for money in big cities it can be easy to think: “get a job, I’m not giving you money you’ll just drink it” and walk away.  Often it’s easier to just pretend you don’t see them and walk by.

Do you want to know what my father does when he sees them? He gives them money…even though he knows they might just use it for drugs/alcohol etc. He always says the same thing to me when he does it (in his Glaswegian accent): “Well hen, they could’ve just as easily have been me. Your ma could have flung me out on the street”.

My “Ma” didn’t. She (like my Dad) is a devout Catholic who takes her vows of until death do us part seriously. She stuck by him even as she struggled with her own demons (She’s also one of the 4 loved ones I mentioned above). 15 years ago thanks to the support of my sister in law and her recovering addict Uncle my Dad got the support and help he needed. And this May we are gearing up to celebrate his 15 years of sobriety.  This is nothing to be sniffed at let me assure you. My father is on the low end of the statistic; most people end up like Mr. Hoffman. My father is the first one to admit that if he didn’t get help he wouldn’t be alive today. He wouldn’t have lived to be the much beloved grandfather to his two nieces that he is, or the father I needed him to be for the last 15 years (perhaps making up for the first 25 when he wasn’t always there present and focused) and the husband my mum needed all these years.  He also admits it’s still a struggle all these years later; you are never ‘cured’.  Now that my mum is also getting the help she needs for her own bouts with depression they are enjoying their retirement a little more. My parents have their up and downs on a daily basis, our story isn’t over and we as a family grow and deal with the issues as they come.

I’m very grateful for the second chance my family has been given. I’m grateful for the support available in this country for my family. I’m grateful we’re one of the ‘lucky’ ones in all of this. So as my own words cross through your Internet browsing today and as you come across more stories of mental illness or addiction I would just say this: Compassion. Empathy. Keep these words in mind.

You’ve heard my story and why I have the viewpoint I do (perhaps I’m still going to be considered a ‘bleeding heart’ after this).  Not all stories are the same and I really do wish most of you never have to go through some of the stuff my family has gone through. Does all mental illness result in addiction? No. But as the changing tide of mental illness moves over to a new found compassion and openness to discuss are we open to doing the same thing about the dirty subject of addiction to drugs or alcohol (or gambling or whatever?)?

Consider this: the next time you see a homeless junkie on the street, read an article in some (left wing?) paper about programs to help addiction or mental illness, read about a person losing all the family money at a casino, or read about yet another celebrity overdose……I want you to imagine that person is your father/mother/brother/sister/son/daughter/family member/work colleague/ and/or friend….and lets talk.

New Year. New Perspective. Galloping Forward.

So it’s been well over 6 months since I posted last to my blog. My best laid plans would have me posting at least weekly and I even wrote ahead at first to get that going but alas….life got in the way. What in life got away exactly? Well, that’s what this blog is for…to discuss just that.

 I’m officially 18 months into entrepreneur existence. No more corporate role, no more daily commute, no more wardrobe rotation of J.Crew, Club Monaco, Banana Republic business Barbie outfits, no more 9 to 5/Monday to Friday life. Does that mean I’m completely zen in my yoga teaching/work from my kitchen island wearing leggings new lifestyle? (Retirement as my old colleagues like to say) Again..it’s not that simplistic. It has been a ride to say the least! Terrifying (often). Amazing (often). Deflating (sometimes). Testing (always). Challenging (always). Satisfying (often…and must remind myself of that more often). Most of all: I’m learning all the time and I have to repeat what I said as I entered university back in 1992..I still have a lot to learn.

 I come back to posting now for many reasons but mostly because along with the challenges of my business journey in the last 18 months there have been personal challenges and most recently some issues with my family and health. I made the decision that (despite limited funding) I’d spend most of July of 2013 in the UK visiting family driven by the fact that my uncle was very ill. I have a large family on both sides and I’m quite close with many of my extended relatives so spending time there is very enjoyable, in fact my pipe dream is to own property over there in the future to spend even more time there. Again I can write later at length about the experience as quite a bit happened but I will forever cherish the weekend I spent with my uncle because it was precious time getting to him 1:1 and sadly by Nov 2103 we would lose him. Come Jan 2014, we’re now dealing with a health scare with my father….a health issue causing us more anxiety then it should simply because the uncle who died is my father’s brother. Fingers crossed we find out in a few weeks that my golf loving/gym rat/life of the party father is just fine. Fingers crossed he’s truly as healthy as he feels. In the mean time….all we can do is wait.

Here’s the thing, as I wait (impatiently) for those test results I realize that going through something like this as an entrepreneur has it’s pros and cons.

Big Pro: I was able to take all day today ‘off’ to take my dad to the hospital, walk arm and arm with him to his test, chatter away about random stories to help keep him calm before his procedure, and then hit the local Ikea for lunch with half the seniors of this city.

Big Con: I’ve been a bit of a hot mess since Dad was rushed to the hospital at the beginning of the month. When you work for a big corporation you can take sick or personal days to deal with this. Or you can go in every day and just ‘get by’. When you work for yourself you don’t get sick days and there is no ‘getting by’. Especially when you’re so new to it and you have a giant mortgage (and you’re a household of one)

So what do you do? You put one foot in front of the other, you really dig deep into all the self improvement work/research you’ve done to get some positive thinking/vibes going on and you move forward. You have to. It was Martin Luther King Day recently so I think a quote from him sums it up best as inspiration for any journey (be it business, health, life) since his was extraordinary.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

 We’re a week away from the year of the Horse. The year of the Snake was certainly challenging, but rewarding at the same time. I don’t begrudge the low points because I learned so much…it’s a year I won’t soon forget. That said, I’m ready for the year of the Horse to come galloping in. My skin is currently shedding like crazy thanks to a week in the tropics at the beginning of the year. I’m molting like a snake. It’s almost symbolic as I shed off the last year and move into the new one. I don’t know what’s coming: to me, my business, my dad, my family. I do know this….I still feel in my gut that I’m on the right path. So onwards and upwards…..bring on the horses, saddle up and ride forward. 

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Just before I left my corporate gig last spring I was out visiting some extended family in the country. This couple is related to me via marriage (My aunt’s brother and partner but my aunt is my aunt via marriage…confused? No matter, family has little to do with blood in my experience). Bob and Liz are the most amazing people. They have been together for almost 40 years, they are not legally married but they are still madly in love and have built a life for themselves (including raising a daughter) in an idyllic village in rural Ontario. Both of them are originally from Scotland and like my own parents immigrated to Toronto to follow some dreams. Those dreams didn’t work out as expected so they moved to small town Ontario to start again. Bob is wood-carver, Liz is a potter, they are both known in the folk art community and they live in a restored limestone house in a beautiful village not far from Prince Edward County in southern Ontario. I always thought of them as this bohemian branch of the family, driving their big old Cadillac, Bob in his Tilly hat, Liz with her long hair/cool hippie vibe, creative and living life on their own terms outside of what society considers ‘normal’. I love visiting them and I don’t get out nearly as often as I’d like to but their house is so inviting, you never want to leave (a walk after lunch last spring resulted in freshly picked wild asparagus!).

 

As we sat down to lunch last spring just a few short months from my exodus from my job Bob told me a story I had never heard before. Bob, this Sean Connery look a like (with a Glasgow accent mind you), Tilly hat wearing, wood carving, outdoor loving man was in fact at one time just like me! In 1970’s Toronto Bob had been a salesman….in the automotive industry…..one of his biggest clients was the very organization I worked for! Bob had a company car and big sales account. Bob also had a serious drinking problem. People with drinking problems are not happy people; addiction is often a by-product of depression. (I would know, I come from a family filled with addicts but I’m happy to say one of them: my father, has been sober for 14 years, no small feat!) Life was not going as Bob had hoped and he and Liz decided to try something else.

With that, Bob drove his big company car with all the sales tools in the trunk to his office. He walked into his boss’ office and said (with his Glaswegian accent) “I’m for the offs!” Handed over the car keys and walked out the front door. Bob told me he didn’t actually even realize how he’d get back home as he was in the habit of driving to the office and wasn’t sure what streetcar to take. Bob had no plans, no idea what was going to happen next, how he was going to make money but he knew he couldn’t continue the life he was currently living. Bob and Liz found a dilapidated Ontario limestone cottage in a rural part of the province (a raccoon family was living there when they arrived) and started building a new life. They had no idea how they’d repair the house, or pay their bills, they just knew they wanted a fresh start. Bob didn’t even know he had any talents as a wood-carver; he discovered that by accident as he was repairing the house and started carving a piece of wood. Together Bob and Liz built a potter’s workhouse, a  wood shop, a home for them, their daughter and assorted pets (no raccoons) and the bills got paid/they got fed through selling their beautiful wares (Liz’s work was sold throughout the province and had a large following in Quebec, and Bob’s work is sold at rather expensive shops in downtown Toronto: I have one of his stunning Celtic crosses on my dining room wall) or trading work (i.e.: home improvement) for money.

Here all this time I thought this couple I had admired for their life of following their passion, bohemian existence etc had in fact not always been like that. They had at one time lived in the ‘big city’ and worked at ‘real jobs’ just like me! I was obviously a bit nervous about the journey I was about to embark on but Bob told me to just move forward. He said he could tell that I was ready, much like my cousin had said the year before (Her comment: it’s done, don’t worry about how….it’s already in motion) he told me just to step into this new life and not look back.

I don’t know where I’ll be in 40 years. I don’t necessarily know where I’ll be next year. I do know this: with each day that passes, with the people I meet and the opportunities that come in front of me I know that the path I’m on now is the right one. I can’t see the end destination yet and I’d rather not know, I’m focusing on enjoying the journey (a tough habit to cultivate I must admit). I also hope that one day in the future when I speak to someone who didn’t know me when that they are as surprised as I was to find out Bob’s past when they find out mine: another case of mistaken identity. That sounds perfect.

What’s in it for me?

What’s in this job for me?  How will these roles round out my resume? Who can I align myself with to move ahead in this organization? How can hiring this person make me/my team look good? Ever thought like this? I have.

As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t love my job, it wasn’t my ‘life’s work’ if you will. That said, I stayed with one organization for 12 years because the great people I worked with at times made it not only bearable but fun (I would add that it was the other folk I couldn’t stand that drove me out….but in that sense I owe them some gratitude for that) A one time colleague and now good friend called this week in mid revelation: She may not be able to stay in the corporate world either. She is about to start a new role in an area of interest to her so initially this job was an occasion to get excited and celebrate. However the start date is upon us and already she is a pawn between two senior leaders in a pissing contest over ‘turf’. A war of words over who had the authority to choose my friend and a rather unprofessional grilling via telephone to see if she can really do this job…is she really smart enough? (READ: As smart as these two ‘geniuses’ is what they really mean) Did I mention my friend already has the job? Has already signed paperwork with HR and a start date has been agreed upon? This sort of egomaniacal posturing in my old corporate world drove me crazy! This notion of “I’m the savior of this department and I will decide if you’re smart enough to work in my empire’. Did I mention this empire is often simple a product category, or a line of business and not the whole company? No matter.  It’s all about the positioning in the end. Hey, I’m all for leadership at any level, taking pride in your chunk of the business no matter how small because it does matter to the overall good. However there is a big difference in pride of work, raising a team’s spirits up to deliver their personal best/team best VS thinking you are solving world hunger by brow beating your team into double-digit returns at the expense of moral, increasing stress levels and in general just acting like an asshole. The posturing, snarky comments and raging egos: all behavior that is encouraged to get those double-digit returns (They make movies about it: see Wall Street, Boiler Room etc.). I was often met with a smirk or scowl when I made the comment that at the end of the day if you worked in the business of merchandising/marketing for retail (which I was in): You’re in the business of getting people to spend money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need. Period. No world hunger solution, no cure for the common cold and no lives were saved in the making of this week’s retail flyer. Trust. Now you can pretty this scenario up with speeches about building trustworthy brands, understanding your customer, serving your customer, blah, blah, blah. Hey I’m a happy retail customer spending money I don’t have on crap I don’t need but I recognize that and here’s the truth: if you don’t get them to buy your commodity them you’re out of business!!

 

So where does that leave you and your career? I don’t’ know. I can only tell you where it led me: A totally different approach, change in my mindset.

I love what I do now. My whole business (all three streams of income) is about how I can serve you, help you, what can I do for others. I don’t scrutinize based on your bullshit interview skills (no disrespect-I was extraordinarily good at bullshit interviewing) , or your fancy degree (I have a one of those too). Multiple degrees don’t always equal ‘super smarts’ either: some of the smartest business people I know don’t have a higher education and I’ve met a whole lot of average folks with MBA’s who think they walk on water but couldn’t come up with an original thought to save their life! I love that in my daily interaction now I come across all walks of life from all levels of education, class, and background. I love that I’m either helping people work from home & build a million dollar business or find some calm for an hour in my yoga classes or helping an old friend build a start-up company into a force to be reckoned with. I basically live to help others now. I’ve met more bright, positive people with creative ideas and had more support in this last year from so many amazing people then I had in my 15 years of corporate life. The best part…the opportunities keep rolling in and my businesses keep growing.

A shift in mindset is a powerful thing. During my whole corporate career it was a focus on ‘how can I get ahead’, ‘what’s in it for me with this role’, ‘how can this person help me’? By shifting gears to supporting others, helping them succeed-you will be amazed at what happens.

The American (Canadian) Dream?

Been travelling and teaching a ton so I’m delinquent on my posting—good thing I always write so I have a couple posts to go up (already written) and more to come.

I just came back from the global training conference for the health and wellness company I am a consultant for (I am building my own business selling their amazing products). It was my first time at their global conference (in sunny Las Vegas) and I learned a ton, had an amazing time but most importantly I noticed a very big difference in the overall vibe/message/people at this conference vs the conferences in my old life working in a traditional corporate setting. What an amazing weekend, what an amazing company, and I’m so sure now that this is where I’m meant to be.

 

The term “The American Dream” (insert Canadian dream for me and other Canuck readers….it’s basically the same thing): What does that mean to you? It might vary a bit from person to person but what I think of is: 9-5 steady/stable job that pays for the house in the ‘burbs, car (maybe 2), 2.5 kids, maybe a dog or cat where you work hard all week, dream of the weekends and your 2 to 3 weeks of year of vacation time.  In those hours from Sunday night to Friday check out time you’re usually running around like a chicken with no head: packing lunches, running for subways, dropping off kids, picking up kids, figuring out what to make for dinner, grocery shopping, trying to squeeze in gym time, usually collapsing in front of the TV or into bed each night trying to figure out how you’ll get through another day/week/month/year.  You’re probably in a half dream state (and not the good kind) most of the time where thinking about the dreams you may have had as a child are long gone from memory. Is this supposed to be ‘the dream’? Is this supposed to be what the years in post secondary school prepared me for? Stressed out, trying to figure out how to pay your next bill? Is this ‘success’? Here is a definition of success from the mighty oracle Google:

 

Success (Noun)

1.The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

2.The attainment of popularity or profit.

 

 

Does this sound the same as the scenario described above or what you’re living? It wasn’t my life that’s for sure. I hadn’t found my purpose, or did I even know what my ‘aim’ was other than to get through another week.

 

Do you know what was so amazing about this past weekend? The folks who are building their own health and wellness businesses alongside me have a very different version of success. Obviously the Mercedes-Benz car program our company generously rewards us with is a goal, and the ability to work from home and still pay the bills are big reasons to do it. Here’s the thing….the theme of this past weekend’s conference? Giving back. Finding a purpose so that when you reach that level of success where you are making more money then you dreamed of or at the very least have money in the bank after all your bills are paid…go back into your community and volunteer or donate time/money to a cause that means something to you.  I hadn’t thought much about this until this past weekend, but I made some decisions as I listened to various inspirational speakers from my company speak: a) I am going to hit the highest level of the company b) I need to set my bar even higher c) once I hit these levels I’m going to focus on giving back. I’m not sure to what cause yet but I’m pretty sure it will have to do with either folks struggling with addiction or something related to inner city kids since both area relate back to my own childhood experience.

 

In the mean time…the American Dream? I was supposedly living that last year, well my version of it. I made quite a bit of money in my corp gig, had a wardrobe to rival that of Carrie Bradshaw’s, just myself bought a cute little house in my dream neighbourhood. I was also completely stressed out, getting sick all the time and losing a bit of myself bit by bit every year in my career that I didn’t love, it was my passion. My life looks very different now: I don’t work 9 to 5, I can’t buy $800 shoes on a whim and paying a mortgage while still building your business/no big salary for the first year is a bit scary. But….yesterday when the sun finally came out after a long winter I went for a quick run on the beach at 2pm. I taught my yoga class in the AM and hung around after chatting with my new students who I’m getting to know more and more each week. Yes there are times I’m met with nay sayers (dream stealers we’ll call them) but I remind myself that the life I’m living is not the status quo. Challenging the status quo can be scary for some people, that’s not my issue to figure out, I let share their thoughts but then remind them it’s my life, not theirs. They are free to their version of a dream: what ever that is. I’m following my passion…I’d say the life I have now IS the Canadian dream and it’s nice to know that the 15, 000 people who spent the weekend at the conference with me not only agree, but will cheer for me all the way. That’s a dream I can believe in.