Posts Tagged ‘sandra dawes’

You own your time!

I was watching a show on the weekend where Harry Belafonte was being interviewed. He was being asked for advice on how to be a social activist today. Of course, Mr. Belafonte has had a lot of experience as a social activist from his work during the civil rights movement to fighting apartheid in South Africa. The person who was speaking with him thanked his and he said something that has stuck with me – he said the pleasure was his and that time is the only thing can give anyone since it’s the only thing he truly owns.

I believe that’s a powerful statement. Do you feel like you own your time or do you feel like someone else has control over it. I know that my greatest points of frustration were times when I felt like my time wasn’t my own. I wasn’t consciously choosing where my time was spent. I was doing things that other people wanted me to do, or things I thought they wanted me to do without considering whether it was the best use of my time. By the time I figured out it wasn’t time well spent, I had already too far gone.

When I’m at my most fulfilled, I’m doing the things that are important to me. They’re either things that bring me joy, or things that are going to bring me closer to achieving my goals. The sweetest spot, is when the things that I’m doing that help me get closer to my goals are things that I enjoy J

I believe there are three things you need to do in order to really own your time:

  1. Get clear on the mission and vision for your life
  2. Know what your priorities are and why they are important to you
  3. Set boundaries based on your priorities

When you have these three points covered, you have clarity on the activities that are a good use of your time. You know what to say yes to and what to say no to. You reduce feelings of frustration and overwhelm which has a positive ripple effect on your relationships!

Regardless of how much control you feel you have over your time right now, the good news is that things can always change for the better. You want to take back control of your time? Get comfortable saying no. Create a plan for how you want your day to go and be mindful of interruptions and distractions. Ask for help.

Want some help getting started? Schedule a 30-minute complimentary, no obligation call with me today!

Doing things differently

Today is the 14 year anniversary of my father’s death. If you’re new to my blog this might not mean much. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I’m an unapologetic Daddy’s Girl and his death is what started the journey that I’m on today.

In the past this has been a melancholy day for me. I tend to isolate myself, thinking about the day it happened, reminiscing about good times spent with him, and feeling very sad. This year, I decided to change things up a bit.

If you knew my dad, you knew that he didn’t make excuses not to show up. Even when he was doing radiation the first time around, he went to work every day for the first 4 weeks, doing half-day shifts and then driving to the subway to go to his appointment.

So today, instead of throwing myself a mini-pity party I’ve chosen to honour my father’s memory by doing what he would do – which is do the things that make me happy and allow me to be of service to others. He’s probably watching me and wondering why it took me so long to figure it out 😉

I don’t know if there will ever be a time where I don’t miss my dad. He was such a huge part of my life for a long time. I’ve come a long way in the grieving process. I have good days and bad days. I will be forever grateful for the time I had with him, and even though I would have liked more, I have come to accept that everything happens for a reason.

A couple of week’s ago I talked about breaking cycles and I’ve decided to practice what I preach. Sitting at home, taking a day out to feel sorry for myself has stopped serving me. I’m not getting anything positive from doing it. There was a time where I felt I needed to take that day, and that time has passed.

Instead, I’m choosing to honour my dad’s memory in a different way. I’m going to dedicate everything I do today to him. I’m going to keep on truckin’ like one of his belt buckles used to say, confident that he’s cheering me on. ♥

Breaking with tradition

I remember hearing a talk where the speaker was talking about traditions. They share an example of a woman who had always seen her mother cut off the ends of a roast before putting it in the baking pan and placing it in the oven. When she started making her own roasts, she prepared them the same way. One day, while doing her prep, someone asked her why she cut the ends off the roast. Her response was “that’s how my mom always did it”. After being questioned, on a visit with her mom, she decided to ask her mom about it and her mom replies that it was the only way to get the roasts to fit in her pan!

I think that story sticks in my mind because I’ve done the same thing in my own life. I’m not talking about cutting the ends off a roast, since I can’t remember the last time I prepared, never-mind ate a roast! I’m talking about doing something because that’s how it’s always been done in my family without ever asking the reason why, simply assuming there had to be a reasonable explanation.

The truth is that we don’t have to do things the way they’ve been done in the past. So much has changed in the last 5 years, so when we think about 10 or 20 years ago, it can feel like a whole new world. When so much has changed, why would we think that we can’t or don’t have to?

I’m not saying that we have to get rid of all traditions and customs. I do believe that if the traditions or customs no longer serve us and our evolving beliefs and understanding, why do we continue with them? I think that it is possible to adapt our traditions and customs to changing times.

I know that it’s often easier said than done to adapt traditions and customs to changing times, but I do believe it’s necessary. I think that it is possible to maintain the essence of the tradition without feeling constricted by it. It’s not about abandoning your culture or your family. It’s about finding a way to hold on to what’s important in a way that works for you. Why chop off that valuable piece of roast if the whole thing can fit in your pan? 😉

I feel like communication is vital here. If you’re doing things because of tradition and you’ve never asked about the origins, the value or the importance of it, then I think you’re missing a valuable lesson and probably an entertaining or insightful story! We might not all be blessed to have access to family members that can share the history of traditions with us, but it’s definitely worth investigating, wouldn’t you say? ♥

Breaking negative cycles

Since I know that there really is no such thing as a coincidence, I knew I had my subject for this week’s blog post after having conversations with 2 different groups of people where the subject of breaking a cycle came up. In both situations, the person who brought up the idea wasn’t happy with their current situation. They both realized that if they wanted things to change, they had to stop the negative cycles that had kept repeating in their lives.

Breaking these negative cycles is often easier said than done. In some cases, we’re not the only contributor to the cycle repeating. Since we have no control over the thoughts and actions of others, then only thing we can do in these types of situations is change how we react to them.

I believe that self-awareness is a key factor to breaking negative cycles. When we know why we react in a certain way, the triggers that provoke us to act in a way that we don’t want to, we can start to create a plan to do things differently moving forward. This isn’t a task that can be accomplished overnight. It takes time. It requires us to take responsibility for our actions and being honest with ourselves. Sounds like fun, right? 😉

While getting honest with ourselves and taking responsibility for the good, the bad and the ugly of our past might not sound very enticing, it is worth it. This isn’t an exercise to beat ourselves up about the things we’ve done that we could have handled better. It’s about forgiving others and ourselves and moving forward on a positive note.

We’ve all heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If we want to make significant changes in our lives then we have to break the negative cycles that have been holding us back. It means making a conscious choice to do things differently and actually doing it! How many times have you identified a bad habit but haven’t done anything to shift it?

If you want different results, you have to be willing and able to commit to doing things in ways you’ve never done before. Remember that you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Thanks to the Internet there is an abundance of resources at your fingertips. If you want more hands-on guidance, you can always find a coach or mentor to help you. The point is, that if you want to make changes and break the negative cycles in your life, it is possible. It’s all up to you! ♥

Time to get real

Okay, we’ve got less than two months left in 2018. It’s time to get real because there are goals that you set for yourself at the start of the year and it’s never too late to check on the progress you’ve made. I know that there were probably some rough patches and things you wish you had done better. The question is, what can you do differently in the next two months to get the results you want?

It’s time to be as honest with yourself as possible. What habits are working for you and which ones are working against you? Most of us don’t have to think too hard to figure out the answers. Knowing what we need to change is one thing. Doing something about it is a completely different matter.

We face this challenge whether our goals are personal or professional. We need to take time out to analyze what’s working and what isn’t working. If you’re spending a lot of time on your goals and not getting the results you want, then it is time to rethink the strategy. Either you need to hire out for the things that aren’t in your wheelhouse, or you need to take a course to gain the skills and knowledge to do those things in an effective and efficient way!

I know that tracking our progress is something that many of us avoid. We don’t want to face the reality that we’re not on track to make our goals a reality. If you’re fearful to take a look at your progress, you already have an idea that you’re not where you want to be. The opposite could be true as well though; you could be closer to realizing your goals than you think. You’ll never know for sure until you take the time to see where you really are.

Even if you realize that you’re not as close as you wanted to be to achieving your goals, the good news is that there’s still time! You have just under 2 months to make significant things happen. All you need is clarity on the vision, focus on the things you need to do to get you there and a willingness to take daily action to get you there.

What you have or haven’t accomplished in the last ten months doesn’t have to determine your success in 2018. You can do anything you put your mind to! What are you choosing to focus on accomplishing in the next 2 months? I look forward to celebrating your successes in December, as we head into a new year get ready to see what else is possible! ♥

Living on purpose

The other night I was thinking about situations I’ve found myself in over the years and how wrong they could have gone. I came to the conclusion that I’m still here because the work I was sent here to do isn’t complete yet. That realization comes with more questions though, doesn’t it? Specifically “what am I here to do?” and “am I doing it?”

I’ve understood for a long time that I am here to help others. Do what and how took a bit longer to gain clarity around. I believe that I am here to help others achieve their goals and create the life they want for themselves. While I am doing this in the work I do with my clients, I feel like I need to continue to do the work on a larger scale. I’m still working on the execution of how to impact more clients and I’m grateful for the reminder that the work isn’t done yet 🙂

There was a time when I thought that publishing my book would be my greatest contribution to the world. Now I’m hosting a podcast and the feedback has been great so far! I’m excited to see what’s next and where the next phase of my life will take me.

One thing that I know for sure is that there will be unexpected surprises along the way. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would be an entrepreneur, an author or someone who actually seeks out public speaking opportunities I would have said they were crazy. The more time I take to be mindful, the more self-aware I become and the clearer I become about what it is I want to do and the possibilities to make it all happen.

We all have a purpose. Some of us seem to know what that is almost from birth. Others take a little longer and some trial and error to figure it out. However the realization comes to us, once we know what our purpose is, life becomes a lot more interesting.

If you need some help figuring out your purpose, or how to live your purpose more intentionally, book a complimentary 30-minute, no-obligation call with me! 🙂

If you’re already clear on your purpose and living it fully, enjoy the ride! ♥

Fourth Quarter Check-In

Just like that, we’re in the final quarter of 2018! While you may be asking where the time went, now is the time to review what you accomplished in the first 3 quarters of the year.  If you didn’t achieve all that you wanted to personally or professionally, the first thing to remember is that it’s not too late to finish the year off with a bang.  The second thing to do is make a commitment to making next year more productive than this one!

From my personal experience, I know that if I don’t write my goals down (and review them regularly), they don’t get done.  I also know that when I when I have a plan in place to make the goals happen, they actually do, even if they didn’t go exactly according to plan.  Achieving your goals is about going beyond “wishful thinking”.  Don’t hope your goals become a reality, create a plan and take action and make your goals a reality!

If this year wasn’t as successful as you had wanted it to be, now’s the time to review what worked and what didn’t.  You may need to make some minor adjustments, or you may need a complete overhaul.  Whatever it is that you need to do to get better results next year, setting the foundation now can only work to your benefit.  When January comes around, you will not only be able to hit the ground running, but you’ll also have things in place that will allow you to maintain momentum and commitment through challenging times.

Reviewing what didn’t work and tweaking the plan isn’t meant to be a self-deprecating exercise.  It doesn’t make sense to beat ourselves up about things that have already happened that can’t be undone.  When we know better, we do better, and that’s the approach that we must take when it comes to our goals. There is a wealth of information out there that can help you to gain the clarity you need and access the resources required to achieve your goals.  We just have to be willing to ask for help and remain open-minded about the possibilities that exist that can take us where we want to go in all areas of our life, business or pleasure.

Where do you want to be personally and professionally a year from today?  Once you have clarity on this you can start to develop the plan to make it happen.  Not everything is going to go according to plan, but you will have a guide that will help you to figure out whether you’re getting closer to or further away from your goals.  Wishing you much success in the final quarter of 2018!


A rising tide lifts all boats

I love the quote that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” There’s something about quotes that give me a visual that makes them stick with me more than others. I have been blessed to benefit from the rising tide of others and I hope that I have been able to do the same.

The latest example of this came after interviewing someone for my podcast a few weeks ago. She offered to share the opportunity with the women in a business coaching program she’s a part of and I took her up on the offer. I sent her a write-up with what I was looking for and sent it to her, hoping that maybe a few people would be interested in being interviewed.

Imagine my surprise when over 12 women reached out to me within day! Not only did I know have 12 potential guests for my podcast, but there was someone who saw that post, who then shared it in her own Facebook group. That share has resulted in even more potential guests! 🙂

I think that the reason for this is the intention behind the podcast. The purpose of my podcast is to share stories of struggle and triumph to offer hope and inspiration to people going through their own life challenges. The reality is that everyone is going through something at one point or another in their lives. When we are going through those dark times, it can feel like you’re the only one who understands what you’re going through. It can feel very isolating. Hearing the stories of the women I’ve interviewed shows us that we’re not alone in our struggle and that there is a way through it.

I’m grateful that there are women out there who are willing to share their struggles so that they can be of help to others. I think that there’s nothing more meaningful than hearing from the experiences of others and taking in what they learned from it as well as any advice that they have to offer. To me that’s a lot better than hearing it from some one who’s talking from a theoretical perspective rather than real life experience.

We all need support in making our dreams a reality. We don’t always know where that support will come from. When we get support, we have to remember to offer it as well. If a rising tide lifts all boats, the higher the tide, the more boats it can lift, so don’t hesitate to accept and offer help when you can!

Avoiding the midlife crisis

I’ve been thinking about midlife crises lately. Maybe because I am approaching (or in?) middle age. At 43 I have friends that are suffering what some would consider a midlife crisis, and others that seem to be moving along just fine. This has me thinking about the causes of the midlife crisis and I wanted to share my thoughts. By no means am I saying this is an original theory, but I think it’s worth considering.

I’m beginning to believe that there comes a point where we start to get disillusioned. If your someone who always played by the rules and did “the right thing” and still not living a life of fulfillment, you might start to get a little angry. Coming to the realization that going to school, getting that degree and getting the job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be can leave you wondering why you bothered in the first place.

We all have friends who didn’t do “right thing”. They march to the beat of their own drum, colour outside the lines and they are no better or worse off than we are. The difference between those friends and us is that they have a lot fewer regrets, and for that reason I believe they don’t suffer from midlife crises in the same way.

So how do we avoid experiencing our own midlife crisis? I think the key is to stop worrying about what other people think and do what makes you happy. Find what lights you up and do it! I’m not saying to quit your job and start a rock band tomorrow. What I am saying is that you can do what brings you joy as a hobby or volunteer. You can go back to school to pursue the things that people told you there was no money in so don’t waste your time. Whatever it is that’s keeping you up at night, wondering “what if” is what you should find a way to connect with.

I don’t think that going through a midlife crisis is something that we all have to go through. I think that we can avoid it by pursuing our passions in a way that works for us. It’s about giving ourselves permission to live life in the way that we want to and not worrying about pleasing others or being fearful of rocking the boat.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my 43 years, it’s that everything happens for a reason. If you’re wondering what the point of doing things by the book was because it didn’t get you where you thought it would, I would say that it taught you that it’s okay to take the unbeaten path. Get outside your comfort zone, learn something new, do something in a way you’ve never done it before. It won’t always work out the way that you want it to, but that’s okay!

Remember the journey isn’t always about the final destination, sometimes it’s about the experiences along the way as well! Safe travels ♥

What IS the meaning of life?

I was having a conversation today that got me thinking. The subject was a conflict between a couple and the issue was that one party felt that the other one had changed. My first thought was that change isn’t necessarily a problem, so the question becomes what’s it about the change that makes it a problem? My conclusion, or should I say question at the end of the conversation was this:

Why are we here, if it isn’t to grow and evolve as individuals? If we’re still exactly where we were mentally and  spiritually 10 years ago, then what is the point?

The comment that someone has changed is something we’ve all heard before. Whether it was about us, or a comment we were making about someone else, it not an uncommon statement. For some, it is just that: a statement or an observation. For others it seems more like a complaint.

If the change leaves us more empowered, confident and fulfilled than before, then bring it on! If the change means that we feel defeated, hopeless and controlled by fear, then we definitely need to put a stop to it! There’s nothing wrong with change if it’s a step forward and not a step back.

Culture and tradition should support our growth and evolution, not inhibit it. I know that it’s easy for me to say that because I was never asked, nor have I ever felt obligated to uphold a family or cultural tradition that I believed would hold me back in the pursuit of my goals. I understand how important family and culture is. I struggle to justify how anyone can ask someone to be okay with playing small, never mind loved ones.

We need to support and encourage each other to step into our greatness. How are we served by holding each other back or limiting one another? What are we trying to control? I feel like we need to spend more time figuring out how we are going to own our own greatness rather than worry about what’s going on with anyone else.

I’m constantly quoting T.D. Jakes and his words that greatness is contagious. It’s been years since I watched him say that quote (it was in a LifeClass  episode with Oprah Winfrey), but it never left me. I have experienced it in my own life. I’ve seen friends and colleagues achieve something that has inspired me to step my own game up. This is what we’re here to do. Not to share inspirational quotes on Facebook or share well-times clichés, but to actually walk our talk.

I think that we are here to experience life to the fullest. Find our own definition of success. Travel the world, experience new cultures and open your mind to possibilities you once thought were impossible! We’re here to make mistakes and learn from them. We are gatherers of wisdom that we are meant to share in ways that are meaningful to us and those who are meant to receive it.

If I’m wrong and purpose of life is to figure out how to please everyone and make everyone else happy, my excuse is that I didn’t get the memo 😉

Onwards and upwards!