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.

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!