That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet ~ Emily Dickinson

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I spent the last few days visiting my Aunt and Uncle on Georgian Bay. It felt strange being there as I knew it would be my last visit. They sold their house and are moving at the end of the month. I was 5 years old when they bought the place and I have been up there almost every summer since.

As I was out in the water I was thinking about how much I have enjoyed being there over the years. I realized that this is one of those things that could easily be remembered as a great place where I longed to return, somewhere I wished I had spent more time. I am happy that I didn’t take it for granted, I didn’t say “I’ll just go up next year”. I went… every year!

One of my traditions while up on Champlain Road was to run to the convenience store and back. Some summers the store was open, other years it was closed. I never actually went in. It was 8kms there and back. Some summers it was a regular training run and other summers it was an incredibly painful experience but either way I always did it.

Do you think the new owner would mind if I just parked in the driveway and ran to the store and back… for old time’s sake?

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened ~ Dr. Seuss

I am definitely going to miss this place but it’s time for a new adventure! Where will I start make new memories next summer?

 

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames ~ Rumi

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Find you tribe, love them hard. I love this quote. A lot of the work that we do in growth, either personal or professional, is internal. We are the driving force behind our own changes. This is true. However surrounding ourselves with amazing, inspiring people allows us to have even bigger growth. Watching others do great things makes us want to be great. People providing encouragement as we break boundaries gets us that much further. Knowing that people have our back and provide a judgement-free environment allows us to jump out of our comfort zone.

Who is your tribe? Who are the people that you surround yourself with? Do they encourage you to reach for the stars or do they tell you all the reasons why your ideas won’t work? Do the people that surround you want you to live a life of greatness?

We are all different. We all have our own dreams and goals. Each of our tribes are unique. If you are a runner, or want to start running – find your local running club. You will be encouraged to run further and faster. You will have accountability to show up. You will be inspired by those around you. If you are a mother and feel like your doing this alone – go find other mothers, join the PTA, meet parents in the school yard. You are not alone, you just need to go and find them. Whatever your thing is, there are people out there for you. (Hint – you’re not going to find your tribe while your watching Netflix on the couch).

For years I wanted to try open water swimming. But I didn’t do it because I didn’t know anything about it. (It’s really as simple as getting in the lake and swimming). So finally 4 years ago I “searched it up” as my nephew says and found a group in Oakville. There was an entire group of people who love open water swimming! And not only do they love it, they are amazing. Olympians, Ironmen (and women), swimmers who have done the English Channel, Lake Ontario and Catalina Island crossings and people who swim “naked” (without a wetsuit) despite the water temperature. Wow! Talk about finding a tribe to inspire me. These are the people that I want to be around. These are the people that are helping me to become a better open water swimmer, convincing me that I WILL become acclimatized to cold water and showing me that there are no limits. They are doing this for me. Had I just gone to the beach on my own and started swimming it would have been good. But having this tribe has pushed me to race, swim farther than I ever would have on my own and inspired me to get into 65F water without a wetsuit.

I have tribes for all different aspects of my life. The one common theme among all of them is that they all raise the bar, encourage, motivate, inspire and support me. I have had success in many areas of my life because of the people I surround myself with. I would love to list all of your names but there are too many. You know who you are! xo

Be around the light bringers, the magic makers, the world shifters, the game shakers. They challenge you, break you open, uplift and expand you. They don’t let you play small with your life. These heartbeats are your people. These people are your tribe.

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My tribe kayaked with me while I swam 4kms in this beautiful lake.

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate ~ Oprah Winfrey

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Cobourg Beach

It was my birthday last week. Some people, when they get to my age… you know, 29, ignore their birthday. They don’t want to make a big deal about it, they want to forget that they are a year older. I am the complete opposite!

It’s the one day a year that is MY day. I block my calendar and don’t go into the office. I plan the day to do the things I really want to do. I spend time with people I enjoy being with. I am going to be a year older whether I ignore it or not so why not celebrate it?

At a recent seminar we talked about celebrating everything. I love this idea. Why not? Why do we put away the good stuff for “special” occasions? Everyday is a gift, everyday is special so use the good stuff. Use the crystal glasses, eat the good cheese, drink the expensive wine, wear the fancy dress, use the “guest” towels, wear red lipstick, have dinner in the dining room. We put these things away and they collect dust. We rarely use them, yet they make us happy when we do. Think about it, what item do you not use because it’s the “good stuff”… what are you saving it for?

Celebrate we will because life is short but sweet for certain ~ Dave Matthews

Celebrating big things is easy, weddings, graduations, a new house. But celebrating the little things doesn’t come as naturally… it should. By taking a moment (or more) to celebrate little things, life becomes better. When you appreciate even the smallest accomplishment you will feel more fulfilled, you will have joy in your life and you will be more mindful of positive things. Life happens in small steps and if you are waiting to only celebrate the big things, there isn’t going to be a lot of celebration in your life. Any time you do something that you are proud of yourself for, celebrate it. Did you get up without hitting the snooze button, did you get through the day without a cigarette, did you finally sign up for that race. Whatever small thing you do today, celebrate it! You don’t need champagne and streamers to celebrate, although not a bad idea, you can make a toast at dinner, say a prayer or just take a moment to appreciate yourself and your accomplishment.

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My birthday at Cobourg Beach with my 2 favourite people!

 

 

 

 

You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.

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Candace & I in the ocean, in our running clothes, after the Miami 1/2 marathon.

Some days it’s just not your day. The other day I went out for a run. As soon as I started I knew it wasn’t going to be good. Each leg felt like it weighed 100 lbs, I was hardly moving. The beginning of the run is always the hardest so I kept pushing. After 2 minutes of running I realized that it just wasn’t happening today. I stopped running. This didn’t sit well with me as my plan was to run 5kms.

I remember training for a marathon a few years ago and I went out to run 25kms. I had all of my fuel, my plan, it was a beautiful day and I was mentally prepared. I managed to run 3 painful kilometres and had to stop. I was so upset. At the time I thought this was the end of my marathon training. But really what it was, was just a bad day.

These days happen. I’m not sure why, maybe I went to bed too late, maybe I didn’t eat enough the night before, maybe it just happens. What I have learned since the day that I couldn’t do the 25km training run is that it’s just one day and usually the next day my running is back to normal.

The really important lesson is that these days happen and physically I’ll still reach my goal if one training run doesn’t happen. The most difficult obstacle to overcome is accepting mentally, that it’s only one day and not to let it stop me from getting up the next day and doing it again.

This week, when I could only run for 2 minutes I walked 5kms instead. It wasn’t the workout that I had planned but it’s better than sitting on the couch. The next morning I got up and ran the 5kms and had a great run.

I think this can apply to all aspects of life. Not every day is going to be a great day. Not every day is going to go as planned. So walk instead of run. Get up the next day and try it again. But don’t let one bad day make you believe that you can’t do it, don’t give up your goal or plan.

Go live an EPIC life, even if every day doesn’t feel EPIC!

There are people who would love to have your bad days.

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When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. ~ Wayne Dyer

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The view from my room in Lake Placid, NY as I write this post.

The other day I brought my car in to have the tires changed. As I was sitting in the waiting room a man who had been there for awhile came in and said out loud “If you added up all the time you spent waiting in life I wonder how much it would be”. He wasn’t talking to me, he was just announcing it to the room. He was clearly irritated and impatiently pacing.

I went back to reading the book that I brought in anticipation of having to “wait”. It was an interesting comment and it made me start thinking. I don’t think I spend much time waiting for anything. When I go to give blood or have an appointment or have to bring my car in I bring a book or make calls or use the time to sort through emails. I have a lot of things to do and pacing around the room “waiting” isn’t one of them.

It’s all about perspective. This man considered this time wasted. He knew he had this appointment and in preparation did nothing but think about the time he would be waiting. He didn’t think about what he could do in that time to better spend it. If asked, he would probably tell you that he doesn’t have enough time to read a book or that he never has enough time to get through his emails.

I have committed to reading 30 minutes per day so I saw this appointment as an opportunity to get my daily reading in. I think we could do this more in life, take situations that we perceive as negative and see how we can benefit from them or use them in a positive way. I am going to be mindful of this and when something negative or inconvenient comes up, see if I can spin it into something positive.

Not only was I productive during this time, while the man “waiting” wasn’t. I left happy and accomplished and he left agitated and in a negative mindset.

“I don’t have time” is the grown up version of “the dog ate my homework”

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I love flying. Not only because it usually means I’m going somewhere cool. I actually like being on the plane. The thing I love about it is how productive I am. I’m flying home from San Diego right now and I’ve gotten all kinds of things done. Why? Because there are no distractions. I have a really bad habit of picking up my phone and looking at it, looking at… stuff. I’m usually not looking at anything in particular but I feel the need to pick it up. Opening and closing apps, checking Instagram for the fifth time in five minutes. What exactly am I hoping to see?

And this is why I love being on the plane. I’m offline. I know that I can’t check any of the social media sites or my email so my phone stays in my purse and I do more productive things.

I am aware of the distractions that I have and I have been working on eliminating them, but it’s a process… and it’s hard to stop. I try to remind myself of the goals that I want to achieve and that the time could be spent working on that, rather than seeing what’s new on Facebook… and there is rarely anything new.

For those of you who say “I don’t have enough time” I dare you to take a look at the things that you are doing that are wasting your time. What are you distractions? What are you giving into that is preventing you from achieving your goals and reaching your dreams?

Are you playing Candy Crush, are you looking for the latest idea on Pinterest (that you’re never going to make), or are you spending YOUR time reading about celebrities lives (people you don’t even know)?

Making small changes in your daily routine will dramatically change your life.  And the more you change, the more you want to change.

So what are your goals?

Do you want to lose weight?  Put the chips down, turn Survivor off and go cut up some vegetables.

Do you want to run a marathon?  Stop playing Tetrus (am I aging myself?) and go for a run.

Do you want to open your own catering company? Stop reading about the Kardashians and start researching what it would take to make it happen!

Distraction is the great destoyer of dreams.  Why be busy being busy when you’re built to inspire the world? ~ Robin Sharma

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen ~ Michael Jordan

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Lucky is an interesting word. It’s often used to describe successful people. Famous actors, professional athletes and entrepreneurs are all called lucky. They are viewed for where they are, at their high point, and not much thought goes into what those people went through to achieve their accomplishments. It’s assumed that they just got there… that they’re lucky.

I have this poster hanging in my office. I look at it regularly to remind myself that I can achieve anything that I want, if I am willing to put the effort in.

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I try to remember this concept when I think of successful people. I don’t want to discredit anyone’s success. I don’t want to assume that they were just given the opportunities to get them to the top, to be the best.

Rory McIlroy is one of the top golfers in the world. He fits into the category of someone people think is lucky. Golfing on the PGA tour is a dream for many, especially being among the elite. This ad was released recently and the point is made – he is not lucky – he made this happen. He is up when most are still sleeping, he pushes himself physically when most would prefer not to be that uncomfortable and he fuels his body with healthy options when most would prefer not to restrict their diets.  When you see this video it becomes apparent that he’s not lucky, he’s doing what most aren’t willing to. It’s one thing to want something, it something much different to do what’s necessary to get it.

Watch this – Enjoy the Chase!

Pitcher Roy Halladay routinely puts in a 90 minute workout before his teammates arrive on the field.

Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi worked as a receptionist on the midnight shift to earn money while she was completing her Masters degree at Yale.

Henry Ford, H.J. Heinz and Walt Disney all filed for bankruptcy but didn’t allow their failures to stop them from working hard and eventually creating incredibly successful companies.

In the book Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin he talks about Jerry Rice, who some consider to be the greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL:

In team workouts he was famous for his hustle; while many receivers would trot back to the quarterback after catching a pass, Rice would sprint to the end zone after each reception. He would typically continue practicing long after the rest of the team had gone home. Most remarkable were his six-days-a-week off-season workouts, which he conducted entirely on his own. Mornings were devoted to cardiovascular work, running a hilly five-mile trail; he would reportedly run ten forty-meter wind sprints up the steepest part. In the afternoons he did equally strenuous weight training. These workouts became legendary as the most demanding in the league, and other players would sometimes join Rice just to see what it was like. Some of them got sick before the day was over.

Now, I know you are probably reading this and thinking that these people are intense and focused and doing things beyond what you are willing to do. And that’s ok. But just know that they aren’t lucky. They are doing things that most won’t. They are doing things that maybe they don’t always want to do, but know that it’s required to be the best. They deserve their success.

What are you willing to do, to give up, to suffer through to reach your dreams?

At first they will ask why you’re doing it. Later they’ll ask how you did it.

 

 

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – these photos were borrowed from the internet – I was still using an old school camera with film when I visited.

Previously I mentioned that I signed up for a travel writing course. I am three quarters of the way through and it’s been an encouraging experience. I really had no expectations going in. I thought it would be something interesting to try, combining two things that I enjoy.

When I received marks in the 80’s on my first two assignments, I was shocked, and then excited. And then the third assignment came along…. This one was a literary article. The first two had been consumer type pieces. Writing about a place or an experience. I am much more factual than I am creative so the literary piece scared me! In fact, I thought well this was good while it lasted!

I wrote the literary article and honestly didn’t expect much. I was pleasantly surprised when I received my instructor’s comments which included “nice sense of storytelling” and “this kind of quirky little travel anecdote is something you will find is often sellable – publications often look for short, interesting pieces like this”. Well those certainly weren’t responses I was expecting.

Don’t be afraid to try something new, you never know how it may change your life.

So in keeping with my own advice, I am stepping out of my comfort zone once again and sharing my literary article with you…

Elephants, Buffalo and a Mammoth Waterfall

I arrived at the lodge and was greeted by the South African innkeepers. “Is this your first time in Zimbabwe?” the husband asked. “Yes” I replied. “Great, welcome. There are a few rules which we should go over”. Interesting, I’ve never been given rules upon check-in. He started to brief me on the lodge and then started discussing the rules. I was only half listening. I assumed it would be standard information. I’m not really a rule breaker so I didn’t think there would be anything that applied to me.

The first rule – absolutely no walking to town at night alone. It struck me as odd. Maybe because I was a bit nervous being in Africa for the first time and traveling solo, but I had no intention of going to town by myself, particularly at night. I joked, “Yes, that would be dangerous”. He looked at me with a very serious face. “It’s the elephants”. Seeing the confusion on my face he continued, “The elephants walk through town at night, you could be trampled”. I didn’t know how to respond, “Uh, ok” I mumbled.

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After hearing about the elephants I will admit I was concerned about going outside at any time of the day. I set out to make the trek to town, but following the directions of a fellow traveler, I got lost. I was unsure where I was, unable to speak the local language and in a country with it’s share of political issues. My heart starting racing. I approached a woman. She was kind, she provided directions to town and followed them with, “Be safe”. That certainly didn’t increase my confidence of the situation. I made it to town and started to feel drops. As I walked further it started “raining” harder. Only it wasn’t rain at all, the spray from Victoria Falls could be felt kilometres from the edge.

The spectacular rush of “The Smoke that Thunders” made the trip worthwhile, despite the apparent dangers. The awe-inspiring view is captivating. A massive volume of water flowing into the Zambezi river provides a breathtaking view, dividing Zimbabwe and Zambia. I was enticed by the magnitude of both the unfathomable quantity of water and the immense beauty of this natural attraction.

After staring at the grandness of the descent for hours I made my way back to the lodge. It was dusk as I walked to the edge of town. A taxi driver approached me and asked if I would like a ride. “No, it’s ok I will walk” I replied. “No, you shouldn’t walk, the buffalo will be out soon. It’s not safe”. I got into the taxi with visions of a parade of animals marching down the road after dark.


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I may not be there yet but I’m closer than I was yesterday

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Mont. Ste. Anne – March 2016

The other day I read a line in a book that said “personal growth is an organic process”. This really hit me.

I have many goals, probably too many, and when I don’t achieve them quickly I become discouraged. There are things that I want to do that I’m not yet doing and this bothers me. At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted to include strength training in my workout schedule. I really don’t like it, so January went by and I didn’t hire a personal trainer, and then February still nothing. It makes me feel like I’m failing when I don’t make a change immediately. I think what I need to be aware of is, that if I don’t reach a goal in the time that I had planned I just need to keep trying, I can’t lose sight of it. I can’t give up on it just because it didn’t happen when I thought it would. For this goal I’m happy to report that I have hired a trainer and I started with her yesterday. It was a great session, even though I still don’t like it… and I can’t go from standing to sitting in less than 2 minutes… ouch!

Reading the line that growth is organic was an AHA moment for me. I am making progress on all of my goals but some things are taking longer to change than others. And as my Aunt Janet used to say “And that’s ok”. So I am going to stop being so hard on myself that all of my goals are not achieved, that I don’t get up at 5am every morning, that all of my house renovations aren’t yet complete. I know that I will get there. I know that my goals will be achieved. Maybe I just haven’t grown enough yet to make them happen when I had originally planned.

The funny thing is, I track my accomplishments every week. I write down 5-10 things that I have done that week that I am proud of. Finally hiring the personal trainer, pushing myself to get out of bed this morning to go to the pool – despite the loud voice in my head telling me to turn the alarm off, making the appointment with the kitchen designer. Every week I track the small steps that I take. The intention of this is to see the progress that I’ve made, yet I still give myself a hard time that the change is not happening quickly. But that’s not how it works. This sentence is so true. It is an organic process and the change, the growth, will happen in due time.

Now, here’s the tricky part… the organic process can’t be confused with just sitting around and hoping things will happen one day. It’s not an excuse. I still need to work at achieving my goals, at making changes. The point is, all action is good and while it may not seem as though I am where I think I should be, I am getting there!

Action is the foundational key to all success ~ Pablo Picasso

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Live like you were dying ~ Tim McGraw

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Yasawa Islands – Fiji

I have friends in town who are here on an exchange from Australia. It is so inspiring to watch them take full advantage of the year that they have here in Canada. Additionally my friends who are on the opposite end of the exchange – Canadians in Australia for a year – are doing much the same.

They know that they are in a country, far from their own, one they may not get back to anytime soon. They are doing and seeing everything North American! They landed in Toronto, drove to Cobourg and within days were off exploring. We joke that they do things that we haven’t even done… although it’s not really a joke, it’s true… I’ve yet to visit Washington or Sandbanks, curl in a bonspiel or skate on the Rideau Canal.

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It made me realize that this is such an amazing way to live life. To have deadlines to get things done. Their deadline is a little more concrete as it involves a flight back home. I’m not suggesting that we all try to get everything done in a year. There are cost restraints, it’s probably not sustainable to do something as regularly as they are, however it is a good model, to take advantage of the time that we have.

I love Tim McGraw’s song – Live like you were dying. I mean, it makes me cry, but I’ve always loved the message:

I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.
And he said: Some day, I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dying


Like tomorrow was a gift,
And you got eternity,
To think about what you’d do with it.
And what did you do with it?
And what can I do with it?
And what would I do with it? 

Don’t let years go by without seeing the places of your dreams or trying new activities. Plan it out. What EPIC adventures can you schedule this year? Next year? We may not have a flight home booked, but we also don’t have unlimited time. If you truly want to do things, make a plan and do them!

Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life ~ Robin Sharma

 

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Lemon shark – diving in Fiji (photo credit Tim Spano)

 

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Waitomo Caves, New Zealand