Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Feel the Fear

Remember that book by Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway? That’s how I feel about 2011.

I have decided in my infinite wisdom that this is going to be THE year of growth, and in order to achieve the goals I have set for us, I am going for broke in hiring the staff and experts to make that happen.

Scary stuff I can tell you. But deep down I know, that if we are going to grow and succeed, I have to take a risk and staff up so we can handle that growth. I’ve also farmed out some of the staff responsibilities to outside service providers, so that in the office we can concentrate on what has to be done and what we do best.

Well, we will either be super-successful or hunkering down at the end of 2011. Time will tell and as a gambling woman, I’ve decided it will be the former, as the other option just doesn’t figure in my plans.

But you have a part of play in this plan. Are you a member? Why not? Now is the time to become part of our dynamic community of women. So my advice - first join Company of Women – it is worth it, I promise, second make sure you participate. Like anything else, you only get out of it, what you put in. So if you don’t attend events, you can’t really expect people to use your product or services – they don’t know who you are.

As Jeffers reflects, “not only am I going to experience fear whenever I am on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.”

We’re in this together.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Just one more sleep. Are you excited? I have to confess the Christmas season brings out the kid in me. I love getting the perfect gift for everyone on my list.

I’m ready and as I look out my window at the farm, with snow deep on the ground, the festive scene is set.

My children and their respective partners will be arriving Christmas morning and then the fun begins. Like many families we have our traditions. First it is the stockings, when I like to sit back and watch everyone and their delight (I hope) at what Santa has brought them.

Then rather than have a free for all, one person opens a gift, and then someone else, and so on until all the parcels under the tree are opened and admired. My eco-conscious daughter will then gather up and carefully fold the wrapping and tissue paper so we can use it again.

Each year we receive a cookie jar, complete with cookies, from someone in my husband’s office. So we have fun speculating what the container will be and who will get to take it home. We have quite the collection let me tell you. I had no idea you could get so many different types of cookie jars!

Christmas is a time of family. It’s a time to remember Christmases past and give thanks to those who are no longer with us, because they have shaped our lives and while they be may gone, their love stays with us.

Have a good one.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Are you ready? Just nine days to go. I am quite proud of myself this year – I have stuck to my commitment not to overdo it. It’s a promise I make to myself every year but this is probably the first time that I have managed not to get carried away with the gift giving. We all have way too much stuff and I didn’t want to add to it. Instead, with some friends for example, we are donating to the charity of our choice.

We’re also hosting a couple of big parties over the holiday season, and again, I am feeling pretty laid back about it all. With one party, I didn’t even ask for people to let me know if they were coming or not. It was actually an oversight on my part, but you know what, it doesn’t matter because the people who show up are the ones who are meant to be there and I will have enough food, I am sure. And if I don’t, well it’s the people I want to see, not how much they can consume in two hours.

Now this really is a new attitude for me. In the past, I would have been double-checking with people to see if they were coming, perusing my cookbooks to plan the menus and cooking for weeks in advance. Not this year. I plan to actually enjoy the parties, rather than being stuck in the kitchen, cooking up a storm.

Why the difference? After a couple of stressful months waiting for test results to learn that it’s nothing too serious, I’ve realized – again – what’s important in life – and it’s presence, not presents.

So my gift to myself is to lighten up, enjoy the moment and treasure those I love.

Monday, December 13, 2010


One of the constant debates in rural communities is when, just when, are going to get high speed Internet?

Remember dial-up? That’s our reality in the country. What you may have forgotten is just how slow it is. Downloading material is just out of the question, and if all of us in the area are online at the same time, forget it. Plus you are tying up a phone line.

In a recent editorial in Harrowsmith Country Life, I chuckled as I read the editorial, in which the country-living editor bemoaned the fact that despite numerous promises of high speed, he no longer believed companies that said they would deliver it.

Tired of waiting, we switched to satellite, but it’s an expensive option and if the weather is stormy, you are out of luck. It’s also not high-speed, so downloading is still a challenge.

Only a month ago we were told that high speed was coming to the neighbourhood, and I came home early to meet up with the installer. He never came. And this is a fairly typical scenario.

I am often asked why I don’t work more from home, especially with modern technology. But the truth of the matter is at the farm we don’t have the benefit of that technology.

When I talked to a young phone salesman, he explained that in some rural areas, we don’t have a “cable footprint.” Well it seems to me that it is time we did.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Removing the mask

I wasn’t sure whether to post my blog last week. Should I be revealing that I sometimes get bogged down in my business, that I was running ragged and ready to pack it all in?

But my daughter encouraged me to put a face to the trials and tribulations of running your own business. And while I felt a bit vulnerable at revealing some home secrets, I have been touched by the response from people congratulating me on sharing my truth, and in some instances, their truth too.

We sometimes feel we live in a vacuum and no one else feels the same as we do, but we would be wrong. And sometimes when we drop the mask of perfection, we learn that we are not alone, and we are valued more for our honesty.

Well let’s hope so because my book is about done and it sure is honest, as I share the pitfalls I have fallen into as well as the successes we have experienced. I believe we can all learn from each other.

Right now some colleagues are reading it. If I felt vulnerable last week, that is nothing to what I feel now. I’m scared they will say I have wasted my time, and I should forget it and stick to my day job. Or that they will judge me, because I have put myself out there.

But I guess that is what leadership is all about – being prepared to stick your head out above the crowd and speak to what is important to you.