Tag Archives: big decisions

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. 🙂

May 2011: A Decision

I’ve often heard that you have to decide before you do anything, decide how you want things to be then commit to action. Those comments never really resonated with me in the past if I’m being very honest. In my business there is a legendary woman named Debbie Neal (Google her: Millionaire Mom, Arbonne consultant extraordinaire) who always talks about this, she often starts her extremely inspiring public talks with the comment “Decide to be the bar for you and your team, decide to be successful. Excellence is not a skill, it’s a habit, it’s a decision you make every day to be better. ” I was about to learn how true these statements were. As I’ve already explained, I didn’t really thing about putting a plan in place for my life or even really give a lot of thought to how I wanted it to look. I wasn’t living by design….who would have thought a conversation with my boss and some templates on paper would change all that?

I took those career/life coach templates I talked about away with me as instructed by my coach. I went over to Scotland for a family wedding. A large chunk of the trip was spent out in the beautiful highlands of Scotland (put that on your bucket list if you’ve never been) staying with an Aunt & Uncle. I have an aunt who herself defies the laws of aging/society etc. She’s turning 74 this year, looks about 20 years younger and can do things people 40 years younger struggle with (ie: running half marathons with impressive finish times, hill walking, yoga, traveling etc), and her views of life have always been out of the box. This would explain why we’ve always gotten along. I lived with her and my uncle for a short time with I was 18 and in the years since we always have the best conversations–we keep in touch via email often now as she lives an ocean away. I think one of the reasons we get along is because she’s always ‘seen me’. What do I mean by that? She has always encouraged me to just be me, do what I want to do, not what I’m expected to do (that will be a theme in this blog….you’ve been warned). In fact one of the most hysterical quotes I have by her is this: “You know dear, I’ll always support any decision you make but you’ll never fulfill your full potential as a human being if you decide to get married”. I laughed my head off when she said that and when I tell people the response varies from hysterical laughter to crickets…..depends on the person really. Any-who, I do think that being around her, climbing my first Munro (any hill in Scotland over 3000 ft up) and just being away from the grind of my stressful career gave me the clear head to fill out the templates with complete honesty. I was also able to define what I wanted out of life and actually put it to paper…..something I think we’ve firmly established I didn’t do much of before.

So what were the results?

  • The clear message from all the tests, templates and conversations was that I should be in the health and wellness field (no surprise to anyone who knows me well)
  • A role out of the confines of the 9 to 5 corp structure, something with more flexibility would be a better fit for me.
  • Something where I get to physically move as opposed to sitting at a desk all day.
  • Working with people was key
  • Doing something on my own (entrepreneur) was a better fit for me..Not being tied to one geographical area was a clear desire (see point 2)

I didn’t really know what to do with these results (the only advice the career coach had given was “research the health and wellness industry”…gee, thanks.), but I did know this, it was time to make a decision and put a plan into place. I decided (pretty much when I got to the top of my first Munro ever with my Aunt) that I wanted a different life. I wanted out of the corporate grind, I wanted to get into my own venture, I wanted something under the health and wellness umbrella and I wanted to work with people/help people to do the same. I decided then when I got home I would start looking into how to make this all happen.

A funny thing happens when you decide, things have a funny way of falling into place. While I was away cousin of mine (who made a similar leap in her own life-expect more on her in future posts) had been told me this while we were at our cousin’s wedding. I told her what I was thinking and her response was “It’s done, I can see it in your face, don’t worry about how it’s going to happen–it will”. Was she ever right, after I got home the opportunities I would end up pursuing presented themselves to me…….

1) An old friend who I took and annual surfing trip with contacted me about her new home based business. It was with a company I’d never heard of but they were a health and wellness company, Swiss, vegan certified, with some very impressive people at the helm. This company is Arbonne (Pure, safe, beneficial–google them). They have a product line of over 450 items spanning from skin care, baby care, cosmetics and a whole wellness line of protein shakes, vitamins etc. The company is headed up by a woman named Kay Napier who had an impressive career with P & G and McDonald’s and the head of research & development is Dr. Peter Matravers, the man behind the Aveda brand. The company is a networking marketing/direct sell business, and it was an industry I knew little about other than other brands from that area (Pampered Chef, Avon etc). I had preconceived ideas (is that a pyramid?) but I learned quickly it was a low risk/high return, perfectly timed (network marketing is predicted to produce the next round of billionaires for a variety of reason I won’t go into right now), incredibly ethical and it fit right on it to my desire to get into the health and wellness industry.  I started by business (on the side of my corp career at the time) in the fall of 2011.

2) Another old friend (ironically this one hired me into the corporation I was working for!) contacted me while I was away about a side project of his. A mobile marketing company that was still very small but had a couple high-profile clients–including a competitor of the retailer I worked for. They had a need for someone who had business experience to client manage/project mange. They had no real office, work from home was the reality and it would be as flexible as I needed it to be. The only catch was that they couldn’t pay me much so I’d need other streams of income….see point 1! We met as soon as I came home to start talking about timing and how we’d make it work….I didn’t actually start with them until July 2012 as I still had my corp full-time gig but the decision was made that I work with them in May 2011.

3) My yoga teacher/mentor was doing his first ‘intensive’ (teacher training) at his studio (my local studio that I practiced at regularly). It would be a month-long on top of my regular long hours at my corp gig but it was the first step towards entering the realm of teaching….I signed up as soon as I got back from Scotland.

This all happened within weeks of me landing back on Canadian soil (really). I had no idea whatsoever at the top of that mountain how I’d change the course of my life, I just knew I wanted to change it. I made a decision. Someone listened, the opportunities presented themselves to me right away…what was the difference? This time, I was ready for it, looking for it, and able to recognize the opportunity when it came in front of me. All because I finally made a decision…step one.

Okay, decision made, opportunities in place, now what? Action. A plan needed to be put in place and executed upon…sound familiar? (go back to my first post) This is ironically exactly what I was getting paid to do for a corporate initiative in my day job! They say God/the universe has a sense of humour…yes, it certainly does! I had just spent a year planning and monitoring the execution of a major project, now it was time to apply those skills to a new project..a new life for me.

Spring 2009 vs 2013: Perspective

Today is the first day of spring and since I’ve been delinquent on getting this blog up and running I figure today is a good day to start. A new season, the days are getting longer, people are coming out from a long winter of staying inside, eating too much, wearing a ton of layers…everyone is ready to shake it off and get out there. Well….except where I am today….it’s currently snowing, -8C and windy for the first day of spring here. I like to think of it as a good sign, get the last blast of winter out-of-the-way now and move on to a nice spring (at least that is my thought!). I also think it’s a good segue for this post: My journey into this new realm of entrepreneur world started in the spring of 2009, and wow….have things ever changed for me since then?

Here’s a little story about how the worst thing to happen to me (I thought) turned out to be the best thing to happen in terms of my career. 

For everyone working everyday in their day-to-day job/career/9 to 5 grind what is the worst thing you could imagine happening to you? Usually the answer in these times is ‘loosing my job’, especially since the crash of 2008 when we saw the market implode in front of all of us. I had a relatively stable progressive career for a major Canadian retailer and through my first 9 years with the company I moved up on a pretty regular basis with progressively more senior roles. I went from being someone who didn’t want/know how to play the corporate ‘game’ (aka: say what they want to hear, network your heart out and say yes) to someone who got pretty good at it. I was rewarded for my behaviour with progression in my career which resulted in a healthy salary, which enabled me to travel, buy expensive clothes/shoes and buy myself into the real estate ladder in my dream neighborhood (a condo in 2006). Things were running pretty good…I wasn’t particularly challenged or thrilled with my middle management job but I had a great social life outside of the company, like the team I worked with and the bills were getting paid. I didn’t necessarily have a 5 or 10 year plan, I was just going through the motions of life I suppose.

A funny thing happened in the spring of 2009 that wasn’t so funny: I got laid off. Well, technically I got a package put in front of me, thanked for my 9 years of service and told I had 2 weeks to find a new job. Thanks for coming out. Lots of people dread it, think they know what it feels like but I can tell you that until it happens to you it’s a whole different story. It’s rejection on a whole new level! You immediately jump to “how will I pay my mortgage, bills, buy groceries?” You may know in your gut that you’ll find another role, all will be okay but that sinking feeling when you’re told “you have no role with this company as of March 31” is not something I’d wish on anyone. My boss at the time who had to deliver the news is a very lovely man and I could tell how hard it was for him to tell me, made worse a few days later when I almost cried on him in the mailroom. (Note: never cry at the office! Awkward to say the least!)

Luckily thanks to my years of getting good at the corporate game, being a natural/born networker (I have always maintained a wide network of friends from school, co-workers, team sports, neighbours etc) and years of experience in retail, a senior leader from another team had brokered a ‘off the record’ deal with my current boss to bring me to another team. Formally they had to go through HR red tape (post the role, interview me blah, blah, blah) but the job was mine for the taking. It wasn’t just any job either, it was a one year contract (which was good because it was with a team I had tons of experience with but didn’t really want to go back to so the limited commitment was great), it was a step up (aka: raise) and it meant I got more vacation time and an extra bonus. Awesome. Despite all of these benefits the real benefit was this: I made a decision that spring of 2009…I was never going to let someone else decide my fate. I was never going to put myself in a position where someone else had the kind of power to not only threaten my ability to pay my bills/live but tell me what my next step was going to be if I wanted to pay said bills. I guess you could say this was my ‘TSN Turning Point’.

The next year in the new role was challenging but a couple great things happened. A) I got to work with 2 people who would become very good friends (my boss, and a fellow manager), the 3 of us got into a habit of drinks or dinner after work every couple of months where the lines of our corporate roles were removed and the conversations were always interesting. It’s a tradition we continue to this day. There’s nothing like a great conversation with like-minded people, and if the conversation gets challenging over differing view points–even better! B) This job put in the right spot/right time for my next role…and my next role would put me in front of the person who would drive me to move into this new life.

It’s a journey, and often while you’re in something you don’t see it but what you’re doing right now may not be the best role, life changing etc…but keep in mind it could be a piece of the puzzle to get you to the right spot/person/opportunity you’ve been looking for. That was spring 2009 for me. It wasn’t the life changer role, but it was a step towards it. So on this first day of spring, looking back at that horrible day when I got packaged out….I’m actually very grateful. Sounds strange to say this now, but getting laid off/packaged out has turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Next up…spring 2011 vs 2013.