Learning from The Stories of Others...

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I recently finished an eye-opening read that reminded me of the power of words and how eloquent they can be in writing a story that changes your perspective on matters of life.

I found the time to read ‘When Breath Becomes Air,’ the first hand account of Paul Kalanithi, a young neurologist who goes from doctor to patient when he is told he has terminal lung cancer after treating cancer patients. The book was recommended to me by a colleague and after hearing her description of the book and how it made you look at things differently after reading it, I went out and purchased the book, knowing I would dog-ear most of the pages as I normally do with most books.

A quick but thought-provoking read, it only took me 3 sittings to finish the book. And after reading it, it reminded me of how valuable it is to learn from others' wisdom; others' journey's and others' stories. Unlike the story behind this book, you don’t need to be dying of cancer for your story to resonate with others but the way in which Paul told his story is so courageous and admirable and knowing the outcome of the book at the beginning, it truly changed how you saw things as you read Paul's first hand account of his unimaginable experience.

It reminded me why people have passions and side hobbies - why people pursue ‘callings’ and don’t just have jobs - and why people devote time outside of their 9-5 to be better, do better and make the world better.

Paul's story reminded me that no matter what story we’re trying to tell, the act of telling our own story with the world is so powerful.  His message reminded me of every reason why I started ‘The Passionate Voice’ and why I remain committed to telling my own story in hopes that it too resonates with readers and people who follow along in my journey.

'When Breathe Becomes Air' reminded me that life is too short to NOT be doing something you love (especially after weeks like last); that the time we spend on earth must be fulfilling; that life is too short to engage in the negative or question others abilities.... we shouldn't waste time on anything but the positive.

A highly recommended read!

Book Review: 'Our Turn'

Book Review- Our TurnWhile enjoying a spa day on holidays in Mont-Tremblant last weekend, I hit an individual milestone. I started AND finished a book in one day, in ONE sitting. 'Our Turn' by Kirstine Stewart was an easy page turner which provided just the right amount of insight, research, and thought to make it a really enjoyable read. Stewart is a Canadian business figure that I've always admired (and follow on Twitter) and after reading her book, I have a new found appreciation for just how experienced and talented she is. Her take-home message of "there is no better time in history for women to have 'our turn'" made for a really motivating after math that inspired me to share my favourite take-aways from the book. Enjoy some of the take home messages from 'Our Turn' - its certainly a read I would recommend to women and men of all ages and business backgrounds!

Of course, one of my favourite quotes from her book had an 'agricultural' feel to it when she discussed the now 'knowledge economy' we're a part of and how we should grow our ideas as leaders: "You have to grow ideas and that first means clearing a field, planting the seeds and then nurturing them."

On the Business World

  • "The knowledge economy is upending business models. Qualities essential to modern leadership includes anticipating events/needs of others, listening, collaborating, multi-tasking, and being flexible"
  • "Our customers have become our bosses and we need to manage 'out' not down."

On Women

  • "Traditional feminine traits are now at the core of successful/modern leadership (mult-tasking, empathetic, communicator, listener, anticipating the needs of others)"
  • "A Pricewaterhouse Cooper report said women will make up a third of all CEO's by 2040."

 On Leadership

  • "You don't have to be the boss to be a leader."
  • "Changing landscape of tremendous opportunity for those who are willing to listen, learn and adapt."
  • "Leading today is not about what the boss thinks, but how the boss responds and the more input a  leader can draw from a dynamic and electric team, the better that response will be."
  • "Personal capital is your currency."

On Social Media and the Web

  • "Through social media, everyday people, regardless of status or station, have an unrivaled ability to inform and be informed, to praise and to punish. Its a power that drives customer reviews, boycotts, protests, revolutions and web uprisings."
  • "Information as power has lost its currency. Today its not having all the information that counts, its what you do with it."
  • "When it comes to technology, understand your limits, know when to floor it and when to put on the brakes : flow, not balance."