Friday, 30 September 2016

How to Set Goals like a Boss need to feel invigorating, exciting and challenging - otherwise they aren't worth having. They are like anchors, or a compass that reminds us of what direction we are going in.

Often times, we set goals for the wrong reasons. If its just for the money or to please our parents, it's not coming from our unique set of values, desires and vision.

When I made the decision to drop out of university to pursue the goals I really wanted to engage in - travel, volunteering, independence and moving out - it was hard, but at the same time I would never take that decision back because it was the right one. I wasn't ready to put thousands of dollars and time into a degree I didn't feel any sense of connection to. It took a massive amount of trust in myself and support. Following the guidance of my inner compass has never led me astray.

Each and every one of us is so different and therefore we will all have a different vision and goals for our lives. These goals will evolve, change and sharpen. That's why its important that we revisit our list regularly.
"Do I really want this?"
"What's important now?"
"What am I willing to do to be happy and reach my potential?"

Asking ourselves these questions can be scary, but what becomes clear is very valuable information.
Because goal-setting can be such a broad, ever-changing process, I'll outline three points that really help me when I sit down to get clear on what I want- usually with some good music and coffee :)

Identify Your Values First
Writing specific goals down can sometimes be an overwhelming and confusing process. This is why identifying our values first can be clarifying. Start with your values and then ask yourself, "If I'm living in alignment with this value, what would my life look like? What would I be doing?"
Then go from there.

Forget the Rules
There is no "right" way to set and have goals. Worrying that maybe our goals are either too small or too big, or how they will be perceived by others doesn't work.
The key is to focus on how the goals feel and sit with us, rather than how they look.  
If it matters to you, then it's worth having. 
If it lights you up, makes you smile and feels important, then it deserves attention.

Make Time and Space

Yes, life is short and our time is valuable, but life is not a race. If we rush our decisions without giving ourselves time to rest and check in, it can actually be counter-productive.

We need space and time at home (or away from home) to get clear and gain perspective. Deep down we know what we want, but distractions and stress can blur that clarity. When we take the time to slow down and leave room for mystery and uncertainty, what comes up naturally may be exactly what we're looking for.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

This is Exactly Where You're Meant to Be

Today started like most others; with a cup of coffee, a pair of headphones and some reflection on my goals and dreams. For some reason, this morning struck me with a higher than normal level of clarity. Everything just made sense. All the things I’m doing and experiencing now are necessary to get me to where I need to be in the next five years. Costa Rica is happening this December, with another trip (I’m dreaming about Chile..) scheduled for later in the winter. I’ll also be taking the next coaching course I need to become certified. Going to school to study social work is in the works for the next 1-2 years. I’m blessed with amazing people in my life and my travels have led to many wonderful relationships. Working in the hospitality industry has funded my travels and given me the flexibility to focus on my personal growth.

Of course this is where I'm meant to be.

Sometimes when we’re exhausted, broken hearted or stressed, it’s as if our whole life is falling apart and its hard to see the big picture. We doubt ourselves and the always present power within. I’m very familiar with this feeling. Like all of us, my path has led to many road blocks where I’ve felt discouraged and frustrated. 

“Am I doing the right thing?” “What if following my heart doesn’t work out?”

What I’m realizing is that the “road blocks” are actually part of our path and success. They provide very important lessons to prepare us for what’s next and give us the opportunity to grow and see things from a different perspective. 

It’s not supposed to make sense all the time. It’s supposed to be messy. We’re supposed to want to give it all up to find clarity in the surrender, strength in the pain and confidence in the uncertainty.
Because somewhere down the line it all just makes sense.  

“You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.” (Steve Jobs)

I love this quote because it reminds us that navigating our path with trust and faith is the key. It won’t always make sense, but when it does, savor that delicious clarity.

Monday, 8 August 2016

One Step at a Time
Ever so softly, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
There is so much still to share, so much yet to experience,
but the next step is the one we take.

Staying present, listening to wild calls only heard in silence,
moving patiently,
while the world awaits.

Breathing deeply,
staying open,
trusting the process.

This too, shall pass.

Seasons to move through,
each one a lesson and gift,
all woven together,
creating wholeness.

Coming back home to the present moment,
the place where hearts live,
all knowing silence,
ever so gently,
to move again more wisely.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

"Dear Travel: You've Made me a Better Person"

There's no doubt most of us dream of traveling, being free and going on adventures. When we make these dreams happen, it is one of the most exhilarating feelings. I am still processing the two months I spent in Southeast Asia this past Spring. They changed my life. Not because they were easy or comfortable or glamorous, but because they showed me things about myself that I would only learn through being uncomfortable, in a different environment (often getting lost!) and being exposed to the unknown.

For those of you who who want to make travel happen, or heck, make more of it happen, I hope this article will provide just a little bit more perspective into what this is all about.

I remember being in Pai, North Thailand, about two weeks into my trip. I got sick and had to take a few extra days to rest and recover. I was very weak and my body was also adjusting to the new climate, time zone, language, food and culture. Until then, I was used to a more secure and comfortable environment when traveling, where medical care and support are always readily available.

This was new. And I actually seriously considered going back home.
"Maybe I can't do this. Maybe I'm not built for this. I thought this was supposed to be fun and empowering",  I thought to myself.

During this time, I also met a soul sister, someone who I connected with immediately, where the conversation just resonated. I explained my situation and her reply was full of faith and confidence, exactly what I needed. (This happens a lot when traveling- meeting the right people at the right time)
The message I got was clear, "Don't give up. Trust the process. This is exactly where you're meant to be."

These were big lessons.
So instead of wanting to be somewhere else, I embraced the moment I was in. 

And because of that, I got better and continued traveling with a more open mind and less expectation. My plans changed because I found more joy in not knowing and just being in the moment. I was able to let go of the need to control every outcome and enjoy the experience and growth in the process.

Trust in ourselves and in the process is built through letting go. We don't find it in certainty or routine, we find it in the unknown. And boy, I can't tell you what is more scary and vulnerable than that.

This is why traveling has been such a wonderful teacher to me in this. It's given me the opportunity to face the unknown and practice courage. There is no price to the experiences that make us who we are, they are beyond the cost of a plane ticket or buying the stuff we need for our next trip. There is no doubt that growth can happen in so many different ways, but I must say that traveling is pretty high on my list.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

5 Ways You're Here to Kick Ass and Be Enough

One of the biggest lessons I learned while on my most recent trips abroad in Southeast Asia for two months is that we are not here to play small.

When was the last time you did something that completely took you out of your comfort zone?

Sometimes we get caught up in our routines and pleasing other people more than doing all the things that set our hearts on fire.

Traveling in Thailand and Vietnam gave me gifts that being comfortable could never provide. 
A higher tolerance for the unknown and more faith in myself and my ability. This was big.

It was when I found myself on my own, seeing different places and meeting different people each day while facing my own strengths and struggles that I realized it didn't matter what the world put in my path, because I would handle it every time. And I did. I learned to trust myself by seeing, through hands on experience, that I could handle the challenges where I previously had doubt about.

So why did you come here to kick some ass?

We don't know what we are capable of doing, until we try. And this goes for each one of us. For whatever reason, we all have limitations and stories around what we can't do or what we are not worthy of. The amount of human potential, power and badassery within each one of us is seriously limitless. Give er' a go.

Doing scary shit is how we grow.
I remember being in a hostel in Bangkok watching the TED talk "100 Days Without Fear". Michelle, the speaker talks about how each day, for 100 days, she did something she was scared of. And what happened? Growth. Power. Overcoming perceived obstacles.
If your sweating, your knees are shaking and you feel both afraid and excited about it, it means you need to go do it.

In the beginning of this past May, I ended my backpacking trip with a hike up the tallest mountain I've climbed so far. 10,310 feet. Holy shit. What was I thinking?
Fansipan mountain is located in the northernmost bit of Vietnam, and sits as the tallest peak in Indochina. (comprised of Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam)
Deep down, I knew it was doable, but I struggled to trust that I would have the physical and mental strength among a group of mostly Vietnamese hikers. It was cold, my body hurt and we stayed halfway up the mountain overnight through the craziest thunderstorm I've ever experienced while rain came in through the roof in the tin cabins we slept in to wake up at 3am for the final climb to the peak. Challenging? Yes. 
Worth it? 100%.
Most of us, if granted we give ourselves the permission to risk, desire adventures. Maybe we each have our own definition of what that means, but the desire to go beyond exists in all of us, I believe.
Listen to your call for adventure.  

We are each worthy of all the experiences we desire and crave. Period. Not if or when, but now. Just as you are. You are enough to go for it, be it, receive it, ask for it. 

Because at the end of the day, the point of everything is love. It's to do what you love, fall in love and infuse the love we have within us into everything we do and say.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Empathy is the Way Home
There is not one empowering relationship I can think of in my life where empathy didn't strengthen and deepen it further.

Empathy is such a powerful practice and way of being that no matter what the relationship, whether personal or professional or the relationship we have with ourselves, it becomes a key building block.

Simply said, it is a vehicle of connection, which we all need and want. Connection is why we are here and the purpose behind everything.

If I honestly take a moment to reflect on all the people who have inspired me, who Ive felt seen and understood by and who have supported me on my journey, they practice empathy.

They practiced their ability to understand and share the feelings of another

Think back to an experience or emotion you've had. It can be a time of struggle or a time of overwhelming joy. Empathy says:
“Me too. I hear you and Ive been there.
These words given honestly from a place of grounded presence and compassion can literally change someones life. They are incredibly powerful and healing.

According to Dr. Brene Brown, when we practice empathy, we are actually doing these four things:

1 Perspective taking the ability to see the world through the other persons eyes 

2 Non Judgement the willingness to put down our own stories, thoughts and criticisms that may arise when someone shares their experience with us. Often we resort to judgement when we feel uncomfortable. Non Judgement requires us to be okay with the discomfort.

3 Recognize Emotion this one is all about identifying the emotion behind the experience the other person is sharing with us.

4 Communicate Emotion once we are aware of the emotion behind the experience we are hearing, we can then remember that emotion within our own experiences and communicate it back. No two individuals have the same experiences, therefore we are not required to identify with the circumstances of the experience, only the emotion behind them.

Whether at work, in our personal relationships, when we are on the go and traveling or perhaps in the meeting of a perfect stranger, we have the opportunity to be empathetic and kind.
The truth is that we can never know what a person is really experiencing, unless they share it with us. So if they do, knowing what we now know, we might just listen a little differently.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Life is Always at Your Fingertips came here with the power to choose. Every single damn day.

Life is here to give you everything you want and you get to decide how it goes.

You came here to be selective.
To say hell yes and fuck no!

You didn't come here to settle or accept something that doesn't resonate with your soul or values. Or anyone who discourages you from pursuing your goals, dreaming big and living your vision.

You didn't come here to play small.

You came here to choose the experiences that cause you to grow into a stronger version of yourself. You came here to travel the world, eat delicious food, drink coffee, watch sunrises, make love and express your truth through a million different ways that make you come alive.

You came here to try and fuck up a hundred times. To fall down, embrace every emotion, fail and get back up. And to understand that the whole process is part of your success because what matters at the end of the day is that you are growing, staying present and becoming a stronger version of yourself as you engage authentically and wholeheartedly with life and the people around you each day.

You came here to practice love, share love and be love. Because as it turns out, the love we are able to give comes first from the unconditional source of love we cultivate within ourselves. The most important  relationship we have is with ourselves. When we learn to be with ourselves just as we are, we naturally emanate unconditional love for those around us.

You came here to take risks, face your fears, kick ass and be courageous. The most important thing becomes less about getting it right and more about doing the thing you fear and simply see what happens.

As you start making the decisions that push you outside of your comfort zone, your world opens up. You meet the right people who change your life. The connection between what you choose to do and what feels right becomes stronger in the process of experiencing what might both scare and excite you.

Living a life based on making empowered choices takes awareness, courage and the understanding that by simply being here, we are all deserving. You came here worthy. Maybe certain expericnes made you think differently, but that doesn't change the fact that your worthiness is not dependent on anything.

You are worthy, now, no matter what. 

And you came here to shine and grow in your power by making choices that line up with how fucking worthy you are.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people wont feel insecure around you. 
- Marianne Williamson

Being the best version of yourself is the greatest service you can give to the world. When you realize that you came here to shine and choose to step into your greatness, life is always at your fingertips.