Tag Archives: scotland

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. 

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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.