Friday, October 31, 2014

Life can change in a second

Clearly I have to stop bragging that I can blog about anything, because no sooner had I told my girlfriends about my disastrous fall, than they said, well there's a blog!

But in some ways, they are right.  This whole incident reminds that our  lives can change on a dime.  I'd had a great evening, with three award- winning entrepreneurs sharing their stories to a group of women business owners.

It had been a wonderful event, with the panelists being real, honest and generous with the information they shared, both to the group and one-on-one with the women in the audience.

I think it would be safe to say that everyone left inspired and motivated to make a success of their business.  I'd had an uneventful drive home, and reached there around 11 pm, walking up the path laden with all my "stuff" from the event.

I probably only had about three steps to take before I was safely through the front door, when boom, I slipped on some wet leaves, propelling myself, and my gear forward.

My head hit the sharp edge of the step.  My glasses - yes those lovely teal ones, snapped and broke, along with three glass vases that we 'd used that night. But the major casualty was my face, with blood just everywhere.

To turn a long, gory story short, I ended up with a doozy of a black eye, two cuts to my head, and a body that was all shook up.  Later the next day, we discovered that I'd broken some small bones in my cheek and we are still waiting to hear if I will need surgery.

So I went from a real high of an event well done to a low where I'm in pain, finding it hard to read or move quickly, all in the space of seconds.

But we all know that stuff like this happens, we just forget or we don't think it will happen to us, and let's be honest, this wasn't life threatening (been there) so in the scheme of things, I will survive and get over it.

However it does serve to remind me that I have been pushing it, cramming 26 hours into the day.  Going here, there and everywhere without much consideration on the toll it was taking on my body.

So I hear you.  Today I have been taking the drugs, dozing and not fretting (well not too much) about the work to be done.  It will get done, but maybe not right away, and I suspect the only one who really cares about the schedule, is me.  And right now I don't.

One bright light in all of this, I am actually ahead of schedule for Halloween - I'm ready and I don't even have to apply any make up:) who am I? Rocky, of course.

PS. Not that it's a competition, but my eye is way more colourful than the one in the photo. Today it is fuscia, yesterday it was purple - two of my favourite colours, just not how I like to wear them :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The journey from darkness to light

In a week when Canadians are still reeling from the shock of the attacks and murders in Montreal and Ottawa, it almost seemed ironic but fitting, that I should visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights during my visit to Winnipeg.

Still not officially declared open, I was fortunate enough to be in Winnipeg when limited tours were allowed to either see the galleries or to understand more about the architecture.  It was the latter tour that I was able to take, and as someone who likes to use analogies, the symbolism of the structure was not wasted on me.

Standing tall in the middle of Winnipeg, you really can’t miss the building.  As you enter the museum, you first  notice the dark, earth tone walls which represent the roots of the museum and out of respect to indigenous people, there are several symbols to acknowledge their culture - a drum shape on the wall, a bronzed footprint and a circular theatre.   

On the far wall, the word welcome is written in 36 languages, with animated screen shots of the different people writing the words, including someone in a wheelchair.   Also on the ground floor is a piece of stone from Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed and donated by Queen Elizabeth.

The symbolism carries on throughout the building, with the walls and ramps made out of alabaster which with its see-through properties, allowing light to shine through.  Then you reach the Tower of Hope which is made completely out of glass, and was especially shipped in from Germany because it keeps the cold out and the warmth in, which given this is located in Winnipeg, is an important consideration.

In one gallery, a beautiful beaded structure hangs on the wall, with thousands of beads that were sewn on by hand by individuals, to represent the millions of people who share this earth. 

The idea is that as you take in the different exhibits, you reach a point of understanding, and it becomes clear about what needs to happen in the world to achieve human rights.  To further demonstrate the transparency that is needed in the world, all the offices in the building are open and can be viewed from above.

In the basement of the bulding, are large rocks that from a distance look like logs, with water ponds and plants.  Here the idea is that you can rest after your tour and contemplate on all that you have seen.

We didn’t see the different exhibits, but were told it will focus on different infractions of human rights – such as the Holocaust,  different genocides around the world, as well as the vision for a peaceful world and the actions Canadians are taking against bullying, for example as well as stories of Canadians who have worked to make a difference.

One person on our tour observed that the top of the Tower of Hope seemed unfinished, and the guide also pointed out that there are holes in different parts of the building, and that she explained is because the work of human rights is never done.  We are a work in progress.

The Museum offers a journey from darkness to light.  It will be officially opening on November 11, 2014.  Let us hope that its message inspires us to take action and work together towards equal rights for all.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Our tipping points

Do you remember Malcolm Gladwell’s bookThe Tipping Point, in which he observes that in business there is often a certain point when everything changes and suddenly you have a success on your hands?

I am beginning to think there’s a tipping point in our lives too, but with a different outcome.  One minute we’re fine, juggling all that we have to do and then bang, one extra task/event/problem comes our way, and suddenly we are not doing so well; we’re not coping.

For women it is often the family responsibilities – such as a sick child or parent; a move or a cancelled babysitter, that throws everything off kilter.

It’s when life happens that there is a domino effect and where once you were “just about” managing, that one event, trips you up.  Whichever way you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day, and there is only so much we can do in that time.

This week I attended a lecture at Rotman School of Business, about dealing with Overwhelm and the Motherload.  The audience was packed with young women who were juggling career and parenthood.

As the panel shared their war stories, of bought muffins for school vs. baking them from scratch, going to the wrong place to pick up a child or having to dash from work to deliver a child to a ballet class because the sitter cancelled, it struck me that not much has changed since I was the young mother with two children, trying to juggle it all.

Except in some ways it has, in that women get fewer breaks for themselves because with technology they can reached 24/7 and the working hours do seem longer.   Dads are perhaps a bit more involved, but that isn’t a given, and children seem to be over-programmed, creating even more stress as someone has to get them to the classes, etc.. As for the traditional family dinner where you sit and eat together, it seems like something from the past. 

Personally I think we need to cut ourselves some slack and let go this need to do everything perfectly.  It isn’t feasible and we end up doing ourselves in trying to achieve perfection. 

This fall seems to have been extremely busy, with little time to pause and I don’t think I am alone in this feeling of overwhelm, of having too much to do, and too little time in which to do it. 

So something has to give, and before I reach my tipping point, and much as I hate to, I have started to say “no” to requests to meet, participate or volunteer – because if I don’t take charge of my time, no one else will.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I love this time of year.  The skies today are blue, not a cloud to be seen.  The air is crisp, but not cold and the colours of the trees magnificent.  How lucky we are.

How appropriate that this weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving.  I decided to come up with just three things I am grateful for and it was hard, as I have a lot – both big and small – that have blessed my life.

1.              Family and friends
I am so fortunate to have wonderful people in my life – my husband, my daughters and their partners… and yes, even the dog, Brodie who I love and curse at the same time.  Friendships are important to me and I try to keep connected to people who matter to me – both new and old friends. When the chips are down, these are the folks who rally round to support me.

2.              My health
I’ve had my share of health hiccups, so it is good to be feeling well and doing well.  Without our health, our quality of life is seriously impacted and often we take it for granted, until something goes wrong.

3.              Living in Canada
Had we stayed in England I am not so sure we would have enjoyed the lifestyle we have now.  Canada has been good for our entrepreneurial spirit and we are fortunate to live in country that offers freedom.  Freedom to choose your own destiny. Freedom to be who we are meant to be.

So what three things are you grateful for?  Let me know.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Sharing the wisdom

I recently attended a four-day conference with Brendon Burchard.  It was an intense and amazing experience, packed full of information, and now my challenge is to turn the knowledge gained into action. 

He gave us a 90-day challenge and while 10 days have now passed and nothing concrete has happened on my part, I am determined to succeed.  It’s a case of scheduling off time, getting over my fear all things technical and just doing it.   

Meantime, what I did want to do is share some of the sound bites I gained from the conference.  They are short and thought provoking and perhaps will prod you into action too.

1.              In three years there will be three billion more people on the Internet. Now is the time to ensure you have an online presence and material.

2.              If a skill is important to your overall success, master it.

3.              Pick one thing.  Do it well, and then move on to the next thing. Don’t try to do too much at the same time.  Just one thing.

4.              If you knock on the door of opportunity, don’t be surprised that work answers.

5.              If you don’t love your website, change it.  It is the face of your business.

6.              Never let your small business be small-minded.

7.              You need to build creative time into your day and stick to it.

8.              Look at your top three revenue streams and focus on them.

9.              When you question your self worth, it impacts your net worth.

10.           Your personal financial reality should not be a factor in your pricing.

He also advised that what you want to do doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to start.  So I am.