Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today ~ Benjamin Franklin

IMG_2221
Trevi Fountain ~ Rome, Italy

We have all heard this quote many times. Never has it meant so much to me as it has in the past six weeks!

One of the biggest lessons that I am taking from this period of self-isolation is that going forward I am going to do things, get things done when I have the opportunity. 

Why did I procrastinate getting my hair done? Now the salons are closed and it’s going to be months before I can get another appointment. Why didn’t I get things done around the house while contractors were still working? This one is key when you are trying to sell your house through all of this! Why didn’t I go to the dentist, especially after they called… for the third time! Why didn’t I keep a stash of toilet paper at home before everyone started hoarding it? Ok, that last one is a joke, but living through this period where only essential businesses are open has made me realize that being prepared is actually really important. I think many people who are experiencing this will, for years to come, appreciate the things that we have immediate access to that much more. I think (hope) we will take less for granted.

When presented with opportunities we often say, not this year, maybe we’ll do it next year. But as my coach often says, “Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised”. There are obviously other factors – mainly money – that prevent us from doing everything now but I think in many cases we put things off thinking we have all the time in the world, or that we will always have the ability to do things.

Last year at this time our family was getting ready to fly to Europe. In 2019 we planned a family cruise for our parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. The thing is their anniversary isn’t until September 2020. The decision was made primarily around my nephews’ busy schedule. As it turns out, it was a great decision and I am extremely grateful that we went a year early. Had we planned to go in May 2020 instead of May 2019 the trip would have been cancelled. It was an amazing family trip that we are fortunate to have experienced together.

I will think of these times in the future when I want to procrastinate doing something, when words come out of my mouth like – I’ll do it later, tomorrow, next year. I will remember these months that we are living now, when later, tomorrow or next week aren’t options.

IMG_2341
Happy 50th Anniversary!
IMG_2240
Lunch in Sorrento, Italy

You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside. ~ Wayne Dyer

 

IMG_3478
Cherishing memories until we can be with family & friends again

As we continue into another week (month) of self-isolation I am focusing on controlling what I can control. It is very easy to get caught up in feelings of frustration, anger, fear of the virus, the uncertainty, the state of small businesses. As these feelings start to surface, I am stopping myself. I can’t control what the government is mandating, what new rules are in place this week or how other people are reacting. I think it’s this last one that I struggle with the most. When people are scared they react, often in negative ways. This has been very upsetting to me, but I decided to start focusing on what I can control. 

I can control how often I workout, I can control what I am eating (although sometimes this one feels a little out of control!), I can control how I spend my time, I can control getting enough sleep and I can control how I react to other people’s comments and actions. To emphasize that – I can’t control the comments and actions of others but I CAN control how I respond to them.

A good friend of mine regularly says “Love is always the answer”. Rather than starting an argument, or giving in to the negativity – I choose love. I change the subject, I choose to talk about something positive, I remind myself that their comments are made out of fear. What we need now, more than ever is to support and love one another. We don’t need to shame people for their decisions, we need to focus on controlling our own life. Eating good foods, exercising regularly, getting outside for walks, doing things that are good for our mental health. For me that means doing puzzles, reading and talking to friends and family. I maintain my daily routine as much as I can. I still get up at 5am to do morning time. I don’t need to get up that early right now but I know when I do this my day goes much better than when I don’t. 

We purchased a new house back in February and listed our current house the day that non-essential businesses were forced to close. How’s that for timing! I can’t control that the real estate market came to a screeching halt. I could have gotten upset about it, I could have been very angry but I chose to pray on it and put things in place with the expectation that it wouldn’t sell as quickly as I had anticipated. Getting angry isn’t going to change anything and it’s certainly not going to make the house sell any faster. So I chose to control what I could control and create an alternate plan.

When we first started self-isolation, a friend sent me this list of Daily Quarantine Questions. I have been doing this every morning and I it holds me accountable to move my body everyday, check in with people, let go of unrealistic expectation and get through this period of time in the best way that I can.

DAILY+QUARANTINE+CHECK-IN+QUESTIONS

Life’s greatest difficulties always happen right before life’s greatest breakthroughs ~ Billy Cox

IMG_2006
Vacation planning now for a time when we are able to travel again

I was reminded recently that I should start writing again. More now than ever, people need to read positive messages. 

In this time of non-essential businesses being closed, being isolated from our family and friends and being exposed to so much fear-based messaging it is so easy, it is the default, to have negative thoughts. Worry and fear can consume us. The first few days of self-isolation I was very upset. I cried multiple times a day. I was scared and I didn’t know what to do, the uncertainty was overwhelming. I had conversations with friends and realized that this needed to change. 

I limited my social media time, I started watching videos with positive messages (like Message of Hope from Dave Ramsey https://youtu.be/z2Bq7gcB35M) and I started to focus on what I could take away from this time.

What I started to see, is that this is a time of huge opportunity. Over the years I have talked to a lot of people about their dreams and goals and when asked why they haven’t worked towards them, the resounding answer is – I don’t have enough time. We are in a strange time where we have nowhere to go and for most of us, we have more free time. 

I truly believe that coming out of this, things are going to grow fast. Having this time is a huge opportunity to get a solid foundation set to be ready for growth. I don’t want to be sitting here a year from now thinking I should have done this or that while we were self isolating and I had the time. Everyday I am focusing on something that I can get done now, so that when businesses reopen, we can travel again and we are able to be with our loved ones I am ready for whatever our new normal will be. 

I am taking online courses that I had the best of intentions of getting to but couldn’t make the time for, I am reading the pile of books that I really want to read but haven’t gotten to, I am cleaning up by inbox – which has been on my list for years and we are planning vacations that we don’t when we will be able to take, but we will be ready when we can. And one of the key things we are looking at is understanding how to get things done in a different way. In our business most of our team works remotely on a regular basis so we are fortunate that this wasn’t a huge disruption for us. That being said there are still areas that we are reliant on a physical location. This is an opening for us to further make improvements in the way that we do business. Our team is working on projects that will help us scale and grow, doing things that we were never able to get to before.

Everyone is in a different situation and what is working for me isn’t necessarily what will work for you, but there is certainly the opportunity for everyone to look at the fact that things have changed and how you can use that to your benefit.

Please don’t read this and think that I’m not worried, scared and sad. I am worried what this isolation is going to do people’s mental health, I am scared of the damage that these shutdowns will do to our economy long-term and I am sad that I can’t hug my family and friends. And while I have all of these feelings everyday, I try not to focus on them. I choose to focus on Hope.

In this stormy season of our civilization, it is essential to shift from victimhood to leadership. To lead is to free yourself from excuses, protect your positive focus and raise the spirits of all around you. ~ Robin Sharma (excerpt from The War Measures Manual by Robin Sharma )

Stop letting your head talk your heart out of it ~ Rachel Hollis

IMG_3146
Húnaflói Bay

When you are in a taxi in Barcelona and you get a text from a good friend who asks “Would you consider going to Iceland in October with me?”, the correct answer is Yes. Yes, book the flight.

Having just returned from this trip to Iceland, I was reflecting on this quick decision to go. It’s really easy to come up with reasons that I can’t go… or shouldn’t go. Money, afraid to make the commitment, maybe for you it’s who will watch your kids. For me it is time away from work. I will tell you this past week was NOT a good time for me to be away from work, there is a lot going on right now. But there is always a lot going on.

The reasons not to do something will ALWAYS be there. I decided a long time ago that I need to make the time for the things that I want to do. So it’s crazy busy before and after the trip. I work long hours and go in on the weekends. The people in my life are the most important thing in the world to me and I have to make them a priority.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find I lived just the length of it. I want to live the width of it as well ~ Diane Ackerman

Iceland has been at the top of my list of places to see for years, many years. The text from my friend was an opportunity.  We are given opportunities everyday but we get caught up in our everyday that we don’t always see the opportunities for what they are… they are the chance for us to make our dreams and goals a reality. I seized this opportunity because I know what my goals and dreams are. I write them down and review them regularly. This opportunity allowed me to make my dream a reality.

There will always be a reason not to do something, there will never be a perfect time when you have the money and free time and someone volunteers to take your kids. If you truly want to make your dreams a reality YOU need to make it happen.  Get a side gig for a couple of months to make the extra money, take the favourite aunt up on her offer to watch the kids (she really does want to… trust me!), work extra hours to get things done at work. MAKE. IT. HAPPEN!

IMG_3219
Friends for 27 years!
IMG_2814
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
IMG_3058
Grjótagjá Cave & Hot Spring
IMG_2852
Fjaorarglijufur Canyon
IMG_2838
Eldhraun Lava Field

Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion – Bill Hybels

IMG_1375
Rocky Mountains – Travel always allows me time to be in Vision

I haven’t written in awhile. To be honest the ideas aren’t coming to me like they did when I started the blog. Most writers would say that you need to work at it and ideas don’t necessarily just come to you. I don’t disagree with that but I also don’t want to write posts just for the sake of writing.

Today though, I wanted to share. 

In January I created a Vision Board as I do every year. It is a reflection of what I want the current year to look like but also my dreams for the future. They are things that I imagine and think about but have NO IDEA when or more importantly HOW they will happen. I don’t want to lose sight of those things even though they seem unachievable at the moment. The idea of a Vision Board isn’t to create a to-do list, it is to have vision.

One of the items on my board this year is an office. I have office space that I use now. But this picture was what MY office would look like. My personality, a space that inspires me. I don’t want this office space in my house, as I am more productive in an office. I live in a small town and I didn’t know where I would find a space the right size. I also work with a group of companies and my proximity to them is very important. So I put the picture on the board with the hope that one day it would happen.

Never limit your vision based on your current resources – Michael Hyatt

Yesterday, 2 months after putting the picture of the office on the board, I found out that the tenant DOWN THE HALL from the group of companies that I work with is moving out. She has a 2 office space available immediately. It is bright with big windows overlooking our cute downtown. Guess what, in my picture, in my vision, the space had lots of natural light! The size is perfect, the location is amazing. 

I can’t wait to make this the inspiring space that I dreamed of! I can’t wait to see what amazing things happen being in a space that inspires me.

While I am very excited about the space, what is even more exciting is the idea that vision is so important…. and it works! Had I not had this vision, the opportunity would have appeared but I wouldn’t have necessarily seen it is an opportunity.  So I will continue to dream and have vision even when those things seem impossible.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase just take the first step ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake – British Columbia

For a long time I have had a dream on my heart but had no idea what to do with it. I think this is common of many people. We have dreams, we know WHAT they are but have no idea HOW to make them a reality. And that’s usually where it ends and why people stop short of achieving their dreams, especially the big scary, messy ones. The ones that we don’t fully understand.

It has always bothered me that people struggle with money. Personal finance isn’t taught in school, it’s a topic that just isn’t talked about and people are left to struggle silently. I worked in Finance for many years. My job was to create budgets. I have always thought I have this knowledge and interest, I should do something to help people. I wanted to do something but I had no idea what to do. 

The crazy thing about dreams is, once they are put on your heart, they never go away. Months would go by and I wouldn’t really think about this dream to help people but it would always come back. A few years ago I started talking about it. I started telling people about this dream. I would tell them that I wished there was some way I could help people. This knowledge to improve their financial stewardship would save people’s lives, it would make their lives better. 

 Despite the fact that I had NO idea how to make this happen I would talk about it and think about it. Last year I even put it on my vision board.

If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it

And the beauty of acknowledging my dreams is that once I am mindful of them, the opportunities appear. The timing is never known and the opportunity may look entirely different from what I had imagined but the opportunities do appear.

Last year, my brother, who I had talked to about this dream, called me to tell me about a program new to our church – a Money Course. As I was very mindful of wanting to educate others on personal finance I saw this as my opportunity and jumped on it.

After a year of meetings, planning and training. Our first Money Course happened last weekend!

To be honest, as much as this is something that I have always wanted to do, as the days approached I didn’t want to do it. I was hoping it would be cancelled, I was hoping something would happen so that I wouldn’t have to go. That’s the thing about working towards dreams, it’s not easy. It’s called a comfort zone for a reason. But I know that I need to step out of it to make great things happen and so I showed up on Saturday morning and the day was amazing!

I don’t know what the next step is but I am grateful that the opportunity appeared and more importantly that I took action!

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world ~ Harriet Tubman

 

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

This past Sunday I ran my 6th half marathon in Ottawa. As I was running I was writing this post in my head. The weather was great, much cooler and less humid than what I had trained in this summer. I felt strong and my first 5K was faster than I expected. The story was going really well and I couldn’t wait to write it… and then I hit kilometre 16! In all of the runs I have done I have never “hit the wall” like I did at kilometre 16, and it was literally in front of the kilometre marker sign. My head was telling me I only had 5K left but my legs were telling a much different story. My hip flexors stopped working, the forward motion of my legs was barely happening. I had no idea how I was going to finish those 5 kilometres. I did finish but it was S L O W. 

So, as much as I couldn’t wait to write this post at the beginning of the race, by the time I finished I had zero interest in writing it. Why? It wasn’t because I had a tough race or because I hit the wall. The reason I didn’t want to write about this – EGO. I was very unhappy with my time and I didn’t want to talk about it, I didn’t want you to know. I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be a personal best but this run was significantly slower than any other half that I have done. My ego didn’t want me to write this post because people would know how slow I really was. I thought, if I just don’t write about it I can just forget about it. 

The other night I was putting my nephew Alexander to bed. He did really well in his recent cross country meet. As I was leaving his room I said “Good Night Mr. Third Place” and his response… “Good Night Miss Half Marathon”. 

As the week has gone on, I have been a little kinder to myself about the run, thanks in part to Alexander.

I RAN 21.1 kms.

I pushed my body when it resisted.

I had a difficult run and got through it.

I know most people have tough runs at some point. I’ve witnessed others go through it and thought more of them for facing the adversity than I might have if they had an “easy” run. And so I’ve decided to be proud of myself and stop beating myself up. 

So what was my time? 2 hours and 23 minutes.

When you run the marathon you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time. ~ Haile Gebrselasie

Thank you to everyone who is reading this. Having this avenue to express myself helps push me out of my comfort zone. I would have much preferred to ignore how I felt about this run, it would have been easier. But the result of being uncomfortable and writing this is that I gain better perspective, I am less angry and I realize I can run another one anytime and the next one WILL be better.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Mahatma Gandhi