Posts by Sabba Daba Doo!

I am a brand builder, barrier breaker, globe trotter. I've been on a continuous growth journey, personally and professionally and I refuse to stop until I get to the top! My friends call me stubborn AND hilarious. As an immigrant in a new country, I was always so worried about being mocked (and not understanding what was actually being said due to language barriers), so I started making fun of myself. If you can't beat'em, join'em! Never the cool kid at school, you would often find me studying (dictionary in hand) at the library just so I could catch up, so I guess that worked out! I'm competitive by nature - even with things I KNOW I shouldn't attempt. Hey - if you haven't tried, you haven't lived.

WHAT HAPPENS, WHEN YOU SAY YES.

I guess I should start by stating a very important, and obvious, thing.

I’ve always been one of the least athletic people in my circle. I have fond memories of tripping and falling in grade school, and having the teacher tell my parents that I should never pursue sports. No coordination. When I was in high school, I wanted to play volleyball and tried out for the team. I was awful. But so determined that the coach put me on the bench, under the condition that during practices, I would volley basketballs. That’s right. Basketballs. I wanted it so badly that I used to do it in my bedroom, or bounce the ball off the wall. By grade 12, that ball would fly just about anywhere on the court that I wanted it to go. It was magical. Painful. But magical.

Why are these things important. I’m VERY clearly not athletic. Lord have mercy. But what I lack there, I bring ten fold in RIDICULOUS amount of stubbornness. Keep that here for a moment and let’s fast forward.

About four years ago, I went through the hardest period in my life. I had just started my own brokerage AND moved into a brand new house that I originally purchased as an investment but then had to move into because the laws changed. I worked out daily, but nothing took the edge off. I’d still come home with a tight chest, no appetite, and thoughts that were completely out of control. SO, like any millennial would do, I went and bought some crystals and tried yoga. I wasn’t there to “yoga” if I’m being honest. I was there, just to be. Escape my thoughts, soak in the heat, and move. For a year and a half, that’s all I did with my practice. Never signed up for a membership. Just dropped in here and there to escape. And honestly, there is NOTHING wrong with that.

Two years later, I moved to Burlington. Tried a class at my local studio (Power Yoga Burlington), and for whatever reason this time, I committed fully. I didn’t feel out of place. I didn’t feel judged, even though I no longer could hide in the back corner of the class like I used to. The energy in that studio was addictive. Every. Single. Instructor inspired me to show up, and CHANGE my definition of showing up. No longer just showing up just to be. So imagine my horror, when COVID shut down my sanctuary, and brought with it a ton of anxiety.

I messaged Aneta (the awesome owner of my new yoga home) and finally admitted “I’ve been resisting yoga at home, but I am going to give it a shot.” I did it in my office, on the deck, by the pool. I committed to getting on my mat every day, without judgement, and giving myself an hour of uninterrupted peace, and community.

When the studio finally opened again, I had a completely new appreciation for physically showing up in a heated studio. But what actually forced me to transform, was when they were forced to limit participation in class. Every time I signed up for a class, I had to remind myself that this spot can be ANYONE else’s. Someone else could show up and do handstands and wheels. They could be giving it 200% for this community, and if I’m going to take that away from them, I better match that, at the very least. I decided that if I show up, I am saying yes to EVERYTHING. Wheel? Yes. Crow? Yes. Gorilla? I mean…I can barely grab my ankles, but YES! During a particularly hot class, we moved into a standing split. My left leg up, my right foot planted on my mat and my knee bent. I remember VERY clearly, asking myself, what would happen if I straightened my bent leg? I’ve always been convinced I’m not flexible, my hamstrings are too tight. But as soon as the question popped up in my head, I played. I pushed..and wouldn’t you know it…my leg was straight. My hamstrings didn’t tear, I didn’t fall on my face…NONE of the scenarios in my head happened. That day I came home and, inspired, I convinced myself that if I can straighten my leg, I can do birds of paradise. No matter how imperfect. And to my ABSOLUTE SHOCK, I did! I couldn’t wait to try it out in studio. The day that I finally felt the bottom of my feet with my hands in gorilla, I panicked. My feet felt cold. And within seconds I realized, I had NEVER stood on my hands before. A year ago if you had asked me to do it, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed. And here I was, hands under my feet, smiling ear to ear. It was beautiful.

We have SO many self imposed limitations that guide our lives. You’re told something when you’re young and you subconsciously let it guide you. You try something once and you fail, and the thought of failure again just holds you back from trying again.

What yoga has taught me, is that saying YES to YOURSELF (as much as we say yes to others), opens you up to a WORLD of possibilities. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. I truly believe that. And the only way we can actually understand our power, is to stop denying ourselves of our fullest potentials. By accepting the AWESOMENESS that lives within us and is just waiting for OUR permission to shine through.

I’m so thankful that Aneta and her incredible team saw my potential, and give me the tools to get there, every time I show up on my mat. It has changed how I view yoga, myself, and my purpose, beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. And for that I am forever grateful.

Say YES. Do something you haven’t done before. If you’re inspired, come and flow with us! At home, with your fur babies, and a community that supports you from the tip of your beautiful head to the bottom of your awesome toes.

COvID: Compassion vs. Ideology

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past few months. Every once in a while I find myself covering my face with my hands, just at the thought of where we have landed. Not economically, not socially (although I do reminisce about concerts and basketball games with my friends as much as anyone). But as people. Humans. Communities. Neighbours.

We all giggled when we heard toilet paper was out of stock everywhere, but that quickly changed from a “haha that is hilarious” kind of giggle, to an uncomfortable and awkward giggle as the behaviour rolled over onto sanitizer, wipes, chicken! (I bet there are still freezers full in some houses) Who remembers the story of the guy that bought loads of sanitizer, and turned around to try to sell it for a profit? Or the guy that loaded his cart with beef, clearing out the store’s shelf?

As time has gone by, I’ve started to think about COVID differently. There is no doubt that it is out there, it is real, and many people have lost loved ones because of it. But what is also very clear, is that with every day that goes by, tolerance, and compassion, are slowly chipped away at. Instead of being for each other, more and more, we have become about ourselves. Not intentionally for the most part (I hope). But because we are left with ourselves. Our social cord is cut off. The interactions we need to be reminded that we are all connected are completely eliminated. Everything about COVID triggers fight of flight. And so we fight. With ourselves, with each other.

But, what if instead of getting triggered every time we see “COVID”, we use that to serve as a reminder, to be about people as much as we are about ourselves:

Compassion, Connection and Consideration

Versus

Ideology and individuality.

What if, it becomes a symbol of everything we should strive for. A reminder of what we need, together, to survive.

Because we do need each other to survive. Whether we realize it or not, we are connected, and our humanity and future are dependent on our collective effort to be positive and empathetic (now more than ever).

I beg you to reconsider. Take a deep breath, every time you feel the urge to argue, bash, shout. Treat everyone like they are your sweet grandmother, smile with your eyes, and above all, be kind.

That Time We Said “Still”

Almost a decade ago, I worked in a very rigid, structured (slightly uptight) office. I say that with a lot of love (and PTSD). That job taught me more than I could have ever learned in university.

Structured organizations are interesting – you either love them or you hate them. I was too young to know one way or the other. I just knew that my job was stressful. There were multiple levels of approval for everything I wanted to do, regardless of how big or small. My team and I were once told that our ad, laid out on a black background, needed to be 25% more black. That was a head scratcher, and not the last time I would hear something like it.

Structure. Routine. People want what they want.

One Friday at this place, my friend M had to follow up with a customer. We had been working on a time sensitive project – maybe a product launch or a promotion – I don’t remember what exactly but we needed answers. After having left a voice mail and following up with an email, she found herself following up again a few days later. Something to the effect of:

“Hi buyer,

Pleasantries go here. Blah blah blah. I still haven’t heard back regarding the (project) we had discussed. Can you please let me know how you’d like to proceed?”

The email had barely left her outbox, when we got called into the manager’s office. We’re thinking, ok we need to tell him what plan B might be. A million thoughts went through your head when a manager asked to see you in their office at this place, one of which was, very often…am I losing my job today?

As we stood in the doorway of his office, email still on his desktop, he turned over and said “why would you say STILL in this email?”. Well, because we are, in fact, still waiting to hear back! And so began a 15 minute lecture about why “still” should have never been used.

M & I joked about it for years after. But fast forward a decade later, I get his point. It could have been made more clearly, or communicated differently. It could have been used as a teachable moment versus a moment of discipline. But I get it.

Here’s a little Seinfeld to help:

Did you say “Jerry I didn’t think you’d show” or “Jerry I didn’t think YOU’D show”

You see?

Same as “Hey there I’m still waiting (normal tone)” or, “I’m STILL waiting (frustrated tone)”. We already have a hard enough time dissecting verbal communication. Now eliminate tone from it completely, add in the receiving party’s emotions and state of mind that day, and you can see why someone might feel like their back is up against a wall.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this more times than I’m comfortable admitting. Sometimes people come across harsh, sometimes their intended harsh message isn’t exactly received. It’s like receiving a text message you’re not quite sure how to respond to. “Hey do you want to read this and tell me what you think?” How many of us have done that with messages that come through, trying to decipher a secret code.

Here’s the point.

You have to pick your words carefully. It sounds silly, but that’s the world we live in now. Less face to face, more finger to keyboard. I’ve said this to almost every team I’ve ever lead. Pick your words. If you’re heated, STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. Try to receive the message from the other person’s perspective and see if it feels like a punch in the gut.

I once sat through litigation, where the opposing side pulled out one of my emails from a couple of years prior and questioned me over my use of “grrrr”. I am not kidding. They had a separate argument prepared over the word “subjective”. Words are no longer JUST words.

Communication is an absolute art. Most of us can do better. You have to consciously work at it. Now, before I send an email, I tend to read it at least twice. If I’m frustrated or trying to get a point across, I might get a friend to give me some honest feedback. And, because I’ve lived through it, before pressing send, a little voice in my head asks if I think what I’m saying in an email would cause another “grrr” discussion with a lawyer.

Words are precious. Take a pause before you use them. I mean it. Even face to face, they can be twisted and your intentions can be misinterpreted. And, icing on this complicated cake, you cannot take your emails back. They’re there. In the abyss. Even if you delete it, delete the deleted, and restart your computer, they are out there. Someone is printing it, showing it to their boss, complaining to YOUR boss.

OR

They read it, they acknowledge your message, they appreciate how it was communicated, you guys get along and you live to see another inbox.

Your Career, and Your Gut.

It’s been some time since I’ve posted. Honestly, I have been less motivated, and more overwhelmed. I’m sure most of you feel the same way. There’s a lot happening, majority of which tends to feel out of our control. So, I’ve given myself permission to stand still, which in and of itself is anxiety inducing for me.

Me. When I force myself to stop.

Not doing much has left a lot of time for reflection for me. On my life, my actions, and my career. I’ve been blessed with career progression. But now, looking back, I can tell you that there have been a LOT of flops. I can’t say that I have regrets, because through those flops, I’ve made incredible connections.

I met my mentor (and friend) through one such flop. He believed in me from the moment I started working with him. Literally, by lunch that day, he just left me to do what I do. Although that gig was short lived, I’ve followed him for the remainder of my career. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And in this case, what I gained far outweighed the challenges.

I could go on and on. If I look back at all of those “flops”, they all had one thing in common – I didn’t listen to my gut. I went through the interviews, I asked all the questions, and the answers I got all seemed to make sense. But I can remember very clearly, as I was signing contracts, something nagged at me, and I couldn’t figure out what. And within a month, I could see clearly why it wasn’t the right fit.

So why did I ignore my gut? I regularly found myself wondering if its my gut telling me something isn’t right, OR, am I just avoiding something that I know is going to be challenging, because it is new. I know true growth only comes when you really embrace the unknown – that awkward, uncomfortable feeling – and power through. So for me, in those instances, the lines blurred.

Can I say I regret them though? Not really. I would have saved myself a ton of stress, that’s for sure. But all of these made me better, they rounded me out professionally. In some cases, they gave me a huge boost of confidence. “if s/he can be an executive/ own a company/ launch a brand, then so can I!” Would I have learned the same things had I trusted my gut? I don’t know. It might have set me on a completely different path, but I believe, I would have ended up in the same place (as a person) sooner or later.

I know a lot of you are out there searching for your next adventure. Be open minded. If something is nagging at you through your process, be inquisitive. Ask questions – of yourself, your recruiter, your potential new boss – as bluntly (and politely) as possible. We forget sometimes that the interview is meant to be a two way selling process. You need to show that you’re capable of doing the job, but the hiring manager also should show you why this job, and this company, is a good fit for you! I’ve compiled a list of questions I’ve asked over the years during interviews. If you’d like to hear about them, shoot me a message.

If you, like me, decide to go against what your gut says, trust that all is well.

Remind yourself that there is no such thing as failure when it comes to selecting a job if you’ve done your due diligence and based on what you know, the job seems like a good opportunity for you. Take it from someone who has fumbled a few times through this process. As long as you’re open to learning, and professional development, there is always something to be gained.

Above all, remind yourself that you’re exactly where you’re meant to be in your journey, right at this moment. It might feel uncomfortable, it might not fit the vision you had for your path. But trust. This. Is where you needed to be, right now. It will spark change, growth, and stepping into your full potential.

Breathe through it. I’m with you. Breathing in the good shit, Breathing out the bullshit. And enjoying one hell of a ride!

I Hope You Act. And Reflect.

I have spent a lot of time over the past week reflecting. I moved to Canada in 1997, straight into grade eight. My school was very multicultural. Making friends was hard for me, only due to my introverted nature, which at the time was amplified thanks to the language barrier.

We moved from a country that for the most part was not multicultural. My interactions, from what I recall, were only with people born and raised in Iran. So I cannot for the life of me remember how I integrated into a multicultural community. I don’t know if I had questions, or if my parents had given us lessons about equality before we got here. I do remember I chose to write an essay about racism that year, yet I can’t remember what would have provoked that. I do remember being genuinely confused by the concept though. How can you possibly judge someone based on the color of their skin?

My friends welcomed me with open arms. I got along with everyone and within my group of friends, there was no discrimination. We were so young. Acceptance came naturally. It was pure and beautiful.

Reflection, especially on things like this, often raises a lot of questions that we don’t always have answers to. So I had to ask my mother, “Did you teach us not to judge others based on race?” She was initially confused by my question, concerned that I thought she had reservations about my group of friends. After some clarification, she finally said, “I taught you about people’s rights, no matter their race. I taught you not to judge, and to appreciate humanity”. I can look back at my life and see that this makes sense, and yet, I don’t remember these lessons.

We have a lot of work to do. Myself included. And despite educating ourselves to the best of our abilities, we will never understand. But I do hope that all along, we also take the time and explore the source of our thoughts, the root of our beliefs, and triggers for our actions. Whatever those might be, I hope we actually take the time to discover them, and adjust them so we behave from a place of compassion. I hope we recognize that we are all connected. That, as Desmond Tutu says, our humanity is caught up , is inextricably bound up, in others. And, maybe most importantly, I hope we ask of each other “how can I do better”.

Our words, our thoughts and actions, are rooted in something. A seed that was planted in the pure garden of our minds long ago, either flourishes into beautiful flowers or spreads like weeds. I hope you water those flowers daily and pull those weeds out from the roots.

What Are You Worth

Worst kept secret: I LOVE Moneyball. The book. Although watching Brad Pitt didn’t hurt my cause either.

It is hard to argue with what is written between the lines. Everything, comes down to a single number. In baseball, the story goes, that number is your on-base percentage. Doesn’t matter what else you’re doing. Did you get on base?  Wins, come from runs, and runs happen if you’re getting on base. Simple right? Now, what is that number for your business?

If you’re in the business of selling a tangible good, I would argue, the number is shipments. How much did you ship? (Not just sell, but ship to the customer. And there is a difference) Shipping would suggest you invoiced and got paid, it means you had products in your warehouse to fill a purchase order, and that your account would have had pull at the shelf and needed to restock.

When I build a strategy, I often spend some time identifying what my number is, before anything else. What would define success in my space? In a selling environment, for me the number is always units per store per week. I can tell a rep to make sure his region sells through $10,000 a month, or we break it down to an easy to track number. “Your goal is $10,000, you have 50 stores, so each store needs to bring in $200 a month, or $50 a week. Their cost of the product is $10 so each of your store needs to sell 5 units a week.” Much easier pill to swallow, isn’t it?

This concept applies to almost everything. Even your career. I call that your currency. Not what you charge your clients, not what your salary is, or even your net worth. Although those need to be addressed too.

What are you trading every day? What is in exchange, as specifically defined as possible? Have you thought about it? For a sales person, it might be a sales trend, or contribution to an organization’s bottom line. You’re in marketing? How about a track record of positive ROI, brand launches you’ve worked on, the portfolio you’ve managed over your career. Whatever it is that has made you unique – the winningest part of your professional past. Your professional worth. What does an employer HAVE to know about you. Why does anybody need to hire you.

Without being clear on that, it is impossible for you to effectively plan a career progression, a raise, your next move. If you haven’t really thought about it before, that’s ok! I hadn’t either.

When I first started my brokerage, I could not figure out what to charge people. Not because I hadn’t done my homework on what others in my field were billing, but because I couldn’t stand firmly on my professional currency. I had a small idea of what my work could do for others, but not really. And you know how I know this? The first person that received their quote from me signed on immediately. No questions asked. IT WAS A BARGAIN. He could see it, clear as day. Me – I was just hoping I’d get paid. The next guy, I raised a bit, but then somehow ended up taking a 20% haircut because they thought I was quoting them in Canadian dollars and I was too nervous to correct them to the USD. Again – people grab a good bargain when they see it.

Finally, I found my balls (and figured out my professional worth) with my third client. I remember sending a quote and having the CEO ask if we could discuss my fee. He went through line by line and finally he said “You mean to tell me you’re worth more on part time hours than someone else’s full time salary??” My palms were sweating. I could feel the blood rushing to my face. I found literally two seconds of courage and I replied “Yup!”. No explanation. He replied with “I think you are too”. From that moment on, I never settled for less than my quote.

There is a number, for everything. And your number is so closely tied with what you’re bringing to the table. Think about it. Define it meticulously. And trade it like Gold. Whether it is for your business, or at a job interview. Be clear. Ask for what you deserve. The worst thing anyone can say to you is no thank you. But if you’ve communicated your worth clearly, they will likely negotiate.

You are gold, baby! Don’t you forget it.

The One About The Shoe

Someone asked me last week how I ended up in sales. Honestly, I never intended to be a sales person. What I did always chase after though was career advancement, continuous education and improvement, and like many women, breaking the glass ceiling. That naturally put me on a long selling journey.

Fast forward to a decade later, and I’ve achieved more in sales than I ever did as a marketer, a field that I am to this day extremely passionate about. That’s what I went to school for. That’s what my skill set makes me great at. At least that’s what everyone used to tell me, because I’ve always been creative. “You’re a shoe, you’re a shoe, you’re a shoe!”

The truth is, until you force yourself out of your zone, you won’t really know. I’ve been fortunate enough (choosing that word carefully) to be pushed out of my zone a few times.

Once a few years ago, when in a desperate attempt to broaden my horizons, I landed a job as an alcohol sales rep. Had it not been for that experience, I would still be the most introverted person you have ever met. I would have been stuck behind a desk, barely speaking to clients on the phone, never travelling the World. But most importantly, I would have never fully stepped into my light, aware of what I am capable of and how much of a change maker I can become.

Then again, eight years ago, I agreed to run sales for a US brand attempting to launch in Canada. ALL of Canada. Plot twist: I’m scared of flying (or at least I was at that point). AND, my only sales experience had been the alcohol gig, for the cottage country in one territory. What do I know about the rest of Canada. Friends talked me through this. Selling is selling. Just go for it and see what happens. And I did. I flew in for an interview over dinner. I had to take drugs to get myself on the plane. When I landed, I had an hour or two to get myself ready -groggy and all. I was so nervous I spilled water all over my dress shirt.

It is scary. Trust me, I know. I used to call my bestfriend every morning during the alcohol gig and cry. I’m not ashamed of that. I was terrified. I don’t know if I can do this. What if they reject me. I know nothing about alcohol. (that part was a legitimate concern. Up until that point, my definition of alcohol was a fruity white zinfandel) The list of fears ran deep. Three months after that gig had started, my territory was one of the fastest growing in our region.

A year after that, not only had I helped launch a brand into Canada, and establish it as the fastest growing in the market within a matter of months, I was leading the global development of that business. If you had told me ten years ago that I’d get to be a VP by the time I was 30 and travel the world, I would have laughed. And laughed and laughed. Who are you talking to?? Me, fly for a living? NOPE!

It is incredible how we limit ourselves with our words, our thoughts, preconceived notions and extremely flawed understanding of our capabilities and limits, and how much we can achieve if we just tell the little negative voice in our heads to FRO.

Have you caught yourself doing that? In sales I was taught to address an objection with “What would happen if you did x”? It is highly effective, if you’re willing to listen and support. But it is even more effective when you use that same statement every time you put an obstacle in front of yourself. Every time you tell yourself no. Every time you think it cannot be done. What would happen if you did it anyway?

I beg of you. Cover your ears to block out the negative, open your eyes, and Leap. Out of your typecast. Out of your comfort zone. Out into the unknown. I promise you, there will be people ready to catch you if you fall.

Balance.

I read a review on Glassdoor the other day that confused me completely. “The Work/Life balance is next to none. Even on your day off, count on working.”

When I think of Work-Life Balance, I think of one’s ability to prioritize between his work, career and ambition, and his life – think health, family, friends, leisure, personal growth. It is absolutely a lifestyle choice.  Your choice. And while a lot of companies work very hard at encouraging a balance between the two, the execution comes down to you, your ambition, your life goals.

The problem, I would argue, is that most of us (even myself from time to time) have failed at clearly define what that balance looks like. This is not an exercise in window shopping for balance either. You cannot just look at a co-worker and think “He has a great career. He has a loving family. He is fit and healthy. I will take one of those please.” The moment you start down that path, you minimize what that person has sacrificed in the past to achieve that balance. You judge a very narrow window of what is likely a long winding road. If nothing else, you set unrealistic expectations for achieving balance.

I have been sitting on a seesaw that is heavily loaded on the career end.  I have certain goals I need to achieve in my career, and I understand that comes at the sacrifice of a life fully lived at times. (More work, less leisure, less time with friends and family, etc). I prioritize one end more than the other. That is my balance. I also know that if I power through that phase, the weight on one end will eventually lift off and I will achieve absolute equilibrium.

Dig deep and think, not only about what a balanced life looks like to you, but what you have to do to get there. Accept that imbalance in the short term is necessary for a perfectly balanced life long term. Particularly if you are ambitious. And most of all, take control of that seesaw. All any employer can do, is to press down on one end.  You and only you can prioritize one side over the other. So take control – either plant your feet down firmly on one side, or just go along for the ride for a while.

You’re Not Rejected. You’re Redirected.

Someone said this to me the first time I got fired. Yup. I’ve been fired more than once. Not many people know this. Perhaps because I was ashamed to admit it (even to my parents). But, it is time for some honesty here, because I think you will find it relevant.

The first time, it was simply because the organization I was with just couldn’t proceed with the initiative I was brought on for. They had to restructure, and my division was part of that. Keep in mind, I had never had a bad performance review in my career. Everyone knew me for being a hard worker and passionate. I mean, every single box of a good employee checklist had been checked off as far as I could tell. So I was immediately confused. Why wouldn’t you give me something else to do in the company, as an example? Why wouldn’t you involve me in the conversation? SO. MANY. WHY’S.

So much so, that when my boss sat me down to tell me what was going on, I couldn’t help but laugh. (That’s a normal reaction, right?) I just didn’t get it. Laughter turned into tears shortly after, followed almost immediately by an unshakable feeling of being lost. I had dedicated years of my life to building my career. It truly was my identity. And without a job, I genuinly could not figure out who I was. Added to that, was the sheer panic around the lost source of income. I was lucky that I was living with a friend at the time. But I had recently purchased a house and I couldn’t help but think about failed mortgage payments, then trying to find a rental property, and then oh my goodness who is even going to want to hire me. aaaah! Adulting – nobody told me it would be this way.

The frustrating, and beautiful thing, about all of this, was that I was forced to slow down, and think about what I wanted to do. It actually is a beautiful thing if you can get past all the why’s. For a limited period of time, someone pays you to do nothing else but to figure out what you want to do. Where it became frustrating for me, was that I had no sense of identity or self.

The whole process of getting fired ended up triggering a self discovery journey for me, that to this day continues. I picked up a few books. Ego is the Enemy was a great reminder for me, that my frustration (and let’s be honest, anger) really stemmed from my ego being bruised. It wasn’t “why did you fire me”. Maybe it was more “How dare you fire me after everything I’ve done”. Like I said…it is time to be honest.

I read Daring Greatly. And not even half way through it, I decided to sign up for Landmark courses – begrudgingly I might add. BUT, I had free time, it was only a weekend course, and whatever path I had been on up to that point was clearly no longer servicing me and my purpose. (Without having a clue what either of those were, by the way).

When THAT was done, I found a therapist. For months, I drove an hour each way, twice a week, just so I could figure out myself, and my worth. It was painful. Everytime I was done our session, I felt exhausted. But it slowly got easier. I learned that there is never a bad time to define, or redefine yourself. You can reinvent who you are, as you choose! Isn’t that exciting?

OK. What is the point of this story exactly. I can tell you that I’m a fundamentally different person today than I was the day that I got fired. I’m still as driven (and goofy) as ever. And I do associate my worth to my professional success to a certain extent still (hey man, nobody said that would be fixed overnight), but I found my voice, and my power. And that, for sure, would have never been possible if I didn’t have the opportunity to pause, and reflect.

Here’s what I learned.

I learned that there is no shame in asking for help. I encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, seek out a therapist. Life is hectic, it has ups and downs, and challenges that on most days can be tough to handle alone. Family and friends, while amazing and supportive, might not always be objective. I found I needed someone to call me on my bullshit, tell my ego to chill, and tell me to smarten up. Every major athlete and every successful person you’ve heard of has therapy in one way shape or form. It might be just mindset coaching, but it is still an outlet to help them adjust, and adapt. There is no shame in it.

I learned that this happened FOR me, not TO me. That’s super important. My dear friend Jenna bought me a book called The Universe Has Your Back. It is beautiful, and I think you will find it fascinating. Judith, my therapist, also had similar beliefs. It simply suggests, that the Universe has an incredible way of putting you into a direction that fuels your fire and feeds your soul. The last time I was fired, I had been miserable at my job for months. MONTHS. I refused to make a change, because I thought things would get better. So when the time finally came for me to pack my bags, I knew it was because this wasn’t my path. (Clearly. Miserable sabba can be funny and all, but my goodness is she ever cranky)

What I had been resisting to do, the universe created for me. I just had to listen, and allow myself to be redirected.

I learned, oddly enough, to listen. Listen very closely to what your gut, and the unvierse, has been screaming for months. And to look back and, as Steve Jobs puts it, connect the dots. Everything that has ever sucked about my career, has propelled me into something else that I could have never achieved had I just remained stagnant and stubborn. I can tell you, having been fired multiple times, that everything does happen for a reason, if you can be open.

When I got fired, and was done crying about it, I incorporated my business. I sat with myself and thought about what I’m capable of. I talked to friends, old bosses, coaches, anyone I could get feedback from, and I made a plan. Within two months, I got my first client, who on a contract basis, paid me more than I had ever been paid full time. By the summer of the following year, I had to stop accepting new clients. My roster was completely full. I made my own hours, I went at my own pace, I got to travel, AND…I managed to pay my mortgage on time. Would ya look at that.

I know it is stressful. I know it is hard to sleep. The pressure you feel in your head and in your chest is overwhelming. Sometimes there is nothing to do but to sit and stare at a wall, or in my case, sit alone in a room and sob. I’ve been there. But I want you to repeat this to yourself everytime you get down on yourself:

You were not rejected. You are being redirected, and you just have to open yourself up to the possibility of what that new direction can be.

It didn’t happen TO you. It happened FOR you. And believe that you will look back at this in a few weeks, and you’ll see very clearly why things happened as they did.

Chin up, buttercup. You’re talented. You’re worthy. And you’ve got this!

Lipstick and Politics

A friend and I got to talking about office politics the other day. He mentioned he, like most of us, hates it. Playing that game is of no interest to him. As someone who did not get the hang of this concept until much later in my career, I completely get what he’s saying.

Go back a year ago, when at the peak of burnout hell, I walked into a MAC Cosmetics store, pointed at my face and said “THIS…needs help”. As one of the staff started assessing the situation (and believe me, it was a situation), she asked why I hadn’t considered using makeup before. My response flew out of my mouth like I had rehearsed it a million times. “I look young. I take care of my skin. I always figured I could just get away with not wearing any make up”, to which she replied “just because you can get away with it, doesn’t mean you should”.

Here’s why that shocked me and immediately gave me an “aha!” moment. For years I believed, it is what’s on the inside that counts. Inner beauty. Your makeup will wash off, your face will change, but your inner beauty will always shine bright. These are statements I, like many women, still believe. But the catch is, to get someone to see your inner beauty, you often need a hook. You “dress to impress”, you wear a cologne that you think will do the trick, you get a car wash, you shave, you shove your feet into 6 inch heels that are guaranteed to destroy your feet later in life. Dating politics, or, life!

It is perfectly fine to not want to participate in office politics. It is also absolutely OK to just wash your face, put on some moisturizer and walk out the door. But you must adjust your expectations based on your behaviour. You will not score a slam dunk if you’re satisfied with being a bench warmer, plain and simple. I would love to tell you that you will go far in the corporate World without playing that game, (or you will meet the man of your dreams one day standing in your dirty sweats without a hint of make up on your face), but the sad reality is, you need to step into the court. You need to dribble the ball a little before passing it on. To get into the spotlight, you have to get in the game.

The good news is, you can still do that with integrity and staying true to your values. In fact, I insist that you remind yourself of those daily. Then and only then will you be able to flawlessly balance the art of dancing around the politics, and the wonderful thing which is the true, authentic you.