Monday, February 28, 2011


A guidepost is a sign, often placed at a crossroad to help travelers on their journey.  Guideposts in our life can help us on our journey through life.  When we reach a fork in the road our guidepost will help us know which path to travel.  

Do you have guideposts for your journey in life?  

We often go through days, weeks, months or even years without following any real guidepost. We go to work, or school because we are suppose to, but we are not sure that we are fulfilling our purpose in these activities.  We blindly travel the road of life hoping to reach some destination, without knowing where we want to go or what path we want to take.  The shortest route may be important or maybe the scenic path to your goal may be more desirable.  Either way, you’ll want those guides to help you make the choices that are right for you.  These guides may be called your life purpose or mission statement, but when you have a decision to make, it will help you continue towards your goals and dreams.  We all make wrong turns at times, but when you come to the next crossroad, look at the guidepost and choose the path that follows your desires.  

Before setting goals, it is helpful to know the direction you want to take.  We all know people who have spent years in a job, unfulfilled and they don’t know why.   We spend a third of our days working, but don’t we really want to do more than make money?   Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel ultimately fulfilled and the income is just an additional incentive instead of the only reason for those 8 hours a day?

Your Statement

How do you discover a life purpose or statement that will guide you on this sometimes challenging journey?  Sometimes the idea of trying to figure out your own purpose can be overwhelming.  Interesting questions to ask are –What is the purpose of our society or of humanity?  Why are we here?  What are we meant to do as a society?  What could we, as a species be doing?   What should we be doing to have the "perfect world"?  Sounds big, but it will give a perspective on your view of the world and what it should be.  This will be different for everyone, but will give you a sense of our purpose, as a society, from your perspective.  

When I was trying to refocus my own life, I found these questions were the most difficult to answer, but once I came up with my answer, it really helped clarify things.  I think we are all here to help one another become more and live better lives.  This led me to know that my purpose would help others be more and experience more in life.  My personal life statement is “Let me help others experience more, enjoy more, be more.”  

When you reach a fork in the road and need to make a decision, look to your guidepost, your life statement and let that guide you down a path that will give you purpose.  

I’d love to hear your life statements or purpose.  Send me a message to or comment on this blog or on Facebook.    
 Thank you and live each day with purpose.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Crow away!

I have a good friend who recently posted on Facebook that she made the Dean’s Honour List, but then added that yes, it was bad form to crow about it on FB. This is a 40 something woman who decided to go back to school and start a new career that will really help people. She’s been working her butt off and the results are testament to that. I think she is courageous and inspirational and I am so happy for her.  What I found interesting is that we have come to a point where we are shy about talking too openly about our accomplishments.  We fear looking conceited, when in fact we should be proud.  What’s wrong with being proud and shouting from the rooftops about it?  

I started working on my degree in 1997 and didn’t graduate until 2010.  Yup, I did the 13 year degree!  At first I didn’t talk much about it because I was a bit ashamed that I hadn’t already gotten a degree like so many of my high school friends.  But when I found Facebook, I started posting occasionally and found the replies were encouraging and helped me get through some of those long study sessions while the kids bounced off the walls around me.  Did I post when I wrote my last exam, when I got an A, and when I graduated?  You bet!  I found that the community of people I’d collected on Facebook encouraged me and helped me, and I wanted them to know I’d finally done it.  Was it conceited to think that people cared what I was doing at school?  I don’t think so and maybe in some small way my graduating when I was 37 helped someone who thought they were too old take the leap of faith and go back to school.  

In a world where we are exposed to so much negativity, I want to see the good things that my friends and acquaintances are doing.  I’d rather hear about a high school friend running their first marathon than hear about the latest Hollywood drug induced psychosis of some movie star.  I’ve been inspired by friends on Facebook and started running, well jogging is probably a better word for it, but hey, I got off the couch and laced up my running shoes and proceeded to lose 15 pounds in a few months.  That’s more than any television news show did for me.

When you accomplish something be proud of it and crow all you want.  Your friends will be happy for you and will encourage you through the good and the not so great moments.  They’ll remind you of all you’ve done when you’re down on yourself, because they’ll know what you’ve done.  Never feel like you’re bragging or boasting; think of it as inspiring others.  We can watch people on television do great things with their lives, but we know they probably had access to the best trainers, coaches and facilities to get to that point.  They are primped, made up and touched up to look great on camera and we know that isn’t reality, even when they call it reality TV.  It is when we see real people in our community, that are part of our lives, accomplishing astonishing things, that we know ordinary folks like us can do it too.

So this weekend, stop and look at everything you’ve done!  Look at all your successes!  Be happy and be proud of everything you have accomplished and brag a little.  You might just inspire someone.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How do you work when you’re not at 100 %?

There are many reasons that you may find yourself at less than 100%.  Sometimes you are distracted by things going at home or maybe you are getting a cold.  It may also be a reoccurring or chronic illness.  

I have the usual family issues that come with having an 18 year old away at school in another city, a 15 year teenage boy who finds sport in challenging me, a 6 year old who is smarter than her parents and a very active 4 year old boy who bounces off the furniture regularly.  But my biggest problem is the migraine headaches that I inherited and have plagued most of the women in my mother’s family.  I am lucky that they are not as severe as when I was younger and that I have learned ways to minimize them, although it doesn’t always work.  But the fact is I still have to go to work some days when I’d rather hide out in a dark room with a cup of tea and a couple ibuprofen or acetaminophen.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting you go to work when you are sick.  I am a firm believer in taking time to be healthy, but particularly with chronic reoccurring illness, sometimes you have to go to work despite the pain. 

How do you plod through a day when you feel awful? 

First, you must find ways to relax and minimize what you are feeling. If it is stress from issues at home, then ten or twenty minutes of meditation may help you refocus.  And if you think you don’t have time to meditate, let me tell you that the increase in productivity will far surpass the time spent relaxing and refocusing.  Relaxation exercises can also help you release some of the pain or discomfort from chronic illness.

Even with meditation and relaxation, you may still find yourself at less than peak performance.  I always suggest having your next day planned out the day before.  The last thing you do as you are getting ready to leave the office for the day is to make a list of the top 5 things that you want to do the next day.  With this practice, when you’re having a less than stellar day, you can easily look at your list for the day and reschedule anything that is not urgent.  I also suggest trying to reschedule anything that will require intense focus, because this may be challenging.  Next, try to keep a list of simple things that are not urgent and do not require too much thinking.  It may be a good day to do a bunch of short follow up emails to ensure work is moving along.  That way when you are back at 100 % you’re not wasting productive time waiting for others and following up.  Do not send big emails that require careful wording.  You can draft them if you wish, but hold off sending until you have reviewed them with a clearer head.  Imagine writing an email to a client that you are having difficulty with right after you’ve had a disagreement at home.  I suspect the tone of the email may reflect a little of your current frustration. 

Sometimes there is a tendency to surf the internet, play internet games or follow your social networking sites when you’re not up to par.  Avoid this, because what starts out as a ten minute break will become a two hour waste.  If you’re going to do that, you might as well have stayed home.  Instead, look at work that needs to be filed, or emails that need to be archived.  Maybe you have FYI files to review, or maybe this is the day you can sort through the trade magazines or clean your office and purge.  

Whatever you do, reward yourself with more frequent breaks where you stand up and stretch.  When I have a headache I tend to go from my usual 2 cups of tea a day to 4 or 5.  It gives me the mental break from my computer, the physical break while I make my tea and well…for me a good cup of tea is like comfort food; it always makes me feel better.

You can be productive even when you aren’t 100%, just choose your tasks wisely.  Maybe you can even embrace the idea of clearing up some of those small to-dos that were hanging over you.  Today was one of my less than 100% and so I took a moment (ok-20 minutes) to write this piece.  But I might wait to review before posting to save you from my awkward sentences and horrible headache grammar. 

Enjoy a productive day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Acting as if…

We spend so much time worried about what might happen.  What if?  People worry about everything now and although I believe in being prepared for catastrophes and even the day to day nuisances of life, we need to stop focussing on the negative.  

We act as if our business will not succeed.  We act as if our first client won’t see value in our work.  We act as if we’ll be ridiculed for speaking up at a meeting.  We act as if the world will come to an end if we don’t get an A on our term paper.  We act as if the government or our boss or our teacher is against us.  We think we are too old or too young, too fat, too thin, too unattractive or too attractive to be taken seriously in our endeavours and the pursuit of our dreams.  We don’t try to launch a new business, or speak in meetings, we procrastinate on midterm papers.  We blame others and use that as an excuse to not even try.  

This focus on the negative can paralyse many people and keep them from even trying.  We are too afraid of what people will think of us or what they will say about us if we try or say something different.  

What if instead we started acting as if things will go our way?  What if we assume people want to help us achieve our goals and dreams?  What if we didn’t worry about what others thought and just tried anyway?  Why not start acting as if you are successful?  What harm can come of it?  It can be as simple as starting and ending your day with a few moments of meditation or self affirmations or even just thinking about the possibility the day may hold.  

Nothing is impossible until you say it is so.  

My challenge to you is the following:  For two weeks become aware of your negative “impossible” thoughts.  Keep a list of these thoughts and then once a day review and re-evaluate these so-called “impossibilities”.  Think of one way that it is possible, even if that one thing seems far fetched.  Maybe you want to send your child to private school but you think it’s impossible because of the cost.  What would make it possible?  Winning the lottery or well…now that you think about it, maybe they have a scholarship program.   Stop and consider what is possible and act as is if it can happen.  You’ll be surprised at what appears or what was there all along, but you never saw because you thought it was impossible.  

Enjoy a day filled with possibility!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Drive through self esteem-Your morning boost

Do you drive-thru for your morning coffee to get that little boost to start your day?  People try the drive-thru once or twice when they are running late or for a treat.  Soon, many start going regularly for that little boost of caffeine and sugar, or for that little reward.  We hear so much about taking time for ourselves, which is a good thing, but now marketers have latched onto that idea and are suggesting that our morning latte or our lunch burrito are something just for us to savour and a time to enjoy a moment to ourselves.  

I ask you, do you need caffeine to start your day or a fat filled product to take a moment for yourself?  Is there a better way that you could take a moment that would start your day with a boost and not involve unhealthy food or sitting in a drive-thru line-up spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for a caffeine jolt. 

This drive-thru self esteem boost of treating ourselves because we are special can be achieved in other ways that won’t add inches to your waistline and won’t cost a cent.  

On my drive to work there is one intersection where I almost always hit the red light for my left turn.  I love this spot (yes I said I love the red light) because you can see the sunrise over the horizon and I always make a point of savouring the view.  I take a deep breath and say to myself that today is going to be a great day.  It’s a little thing, but the sight of those sunrises reminds me to stop and savour the beauty of the day and of the world around us. 

There are many opportunities to stop and say something positive and uplifting to yourself.  How about when you first get in the car?  Before pulling out of your driveway, take a few deep breathes and think of something you are grateful for or something that will be good today.  I guarantee that no matter how much traffic there is in the morning, a moment of pause will make it easier to handle and will do more for your day than a coffee or donut.  

Pausing to take a moment for you isn’t about buying and or consuming something to make us feel more relaxed.  Taking a moment for oneself should be about self reflection and gratitude.  

So skip the drive-thru, that in the long run will take away from your self esteem with weight gain or the mid morning caffeine or sugar crash, and create your own drive-thru boost.  Take a detour through a beautiful neighbourhood and enjoy the trees instead of counting out your change for another jolt that will only last until mid morning.  Savour the little things that are around us everyday!