Knowing What We Need to Do

Nita Lake Lodge BC

Long weekend, you’re finally here. I can’t wait to take you in, from the comfort of the cottage and the farm. I’ve been away from country air for over a month now, my soul needs to return STAT :P

Most days I love this hustle I’ve created.

But after experiencing BC and the outdoors as much as Andrew and I did and the conversations we had around what all this ‘hustle’ is for, since returning from our trip, I’ve been looking at ‘hustle’ differently. I’m trying to learn to set healthier boundaries for myself so the hustle doesn’t own me.

Is the hustle really as appealing as we all think it is?

It was this video that I actually watched while on holidays that really opened my eyes to what we think all this hustle is for.. and what it really can do to us if we don’t decide ourselves, how busy we want to be.

When I had time outdoors in BC and no emails or tweets to worry about, it was refreshing to let my brain wander. Something it doesn’t really get to do often anymore with how busy my business is. Everything is so scheduled now, down to the hour - back to back client meetings, client work, emails, social media, ideas brewing, projects, etc, etc, etc….

There is always something to do.

But that’s the point.

There will always be something to do, a conversation to be had, people waiting - business and life will always be there for us to ‘do.’

But I’m reminding myself now, that I only have a small role to play in the grand scheme of things. I alone will not change the world- who would have thought?! I know right!

Its only now that I’m realizing I’ve let my big hairy audacious goals, dreams, visions and ideas get the best of me sometimes in an unhealthy way, so I’m trying to scale things back and do what I can in a more realistic way.

I can only do my part.

I can only help with what I’m good at.

And I can only do even my ‘small part’ if I’m healthy enough to do it.

Its not my role to fix the world and all its problem… even though I SO want to for Blake’s future and all the other children out there. That’s just the ‘protagonist’ type of personality I am. I wear the weight of the world on my shoulders. But I can’t wear this responsibility in the way I have forever.

All I can do is my part to help make change.

Learning (and adjusting to this) has been empowering for me the last few weeks.

Our time away from Blake while on our 2+ week trip also reminded me how much I actually do thrive on routine and schedule as much as my two year old son probably does. I’ve been so happy to be home again, getting caught up on life and all things client work (but in a healthier way of course!) Some of my clients, we’re already preparing our Christmas social strategies, which blows my mind, considering summer just started, but that is the way the marketing world works. And life works. Another season is already upon us before we want it to be.

What have I done to set healthier boundaries for myself and my business?

  • organized my calendar to put more ‘white space’ in but also have set more ‘regularly scheduled events’ in my calendar so I’m doing the same tasks at the same time each week for better consistency and meeting planning purposes.

  • organizing my internal business infrastructure to be more user friendly now that the business is growing more than I could have ever dreamed of. What worked last September when I started my business isn’t quite working the same way now. I’ve outgrown this infrastructure already, the growth in my business is an exciting challenge I’ll need to address and something I am SO grateful for.

  • I’m starting to say no to projects if I don’t have the time or capacity to do them, especially this fall while we start a house reno. This has been a tough one for me but something I’ve had to learn. I don’t want my quality work to slip because I take on too much. Sacrificing opportunity as a self-employed business owner is a tough pill to swallow but recognizing what you can (and shouldn’t!) do is so so important.

  • I’m getting frustrated with always being behind my laptop with way too much screen time. I’ve started an ‘idea black book’ as a way to organize all my thoughts, ideas or tips from books and articles I read while I step away from my computer. It feels good to have that type of order to my thoughts after I’ve tried SO many different ways to keep all things organized. I just can’t get into organizing my ideas with my laptop through yet another program or app. This has also helped me start sketching out a system to capture content creation for myself and my business. Content creation for my own business is a priority I’m making this fall. Here I’m preaching ‘consistency is king’ with my clients (maybe even more so than content!) and yet, I don’t do this myself for my own business.

The last month with travel, work and life has made me realize that if we can’t find time to make our meals, eat supper with our kids or let our brains relax when we’re supposed to be ‘turned off’ enjoying time with family and friends, then is what we’ve created really as appealing as we originally thought or had intended? Or what the hustle life told us it would be? Is that the point where you realize the hustle is owning you not the other way around?

I totally understand what hard work and hustle is all for… that is the dairy farmer’s daughter in me.

But learning to work ‘smarter not harder’ is where I’m trying to go with my business and life in general.

Do you know what you need to do?

Happy long weekend, friends! ENJOY the well deserved rest. I’m going to be outdoors in the water or with my cows allll weekend long.

It's Been a While

BC Trip 2019

Oh hey there! Happy Tuesday! A lot has been going on, on both the personal and professional fronts since my last blog post in June. I’m {trying} to get back into the swing of things after a two week trip to BC at the beginning of July for one of my best friend’s weddings, some of the trip which is captured in the photos above.

I had so many more photos I wanted to share but I knew you didn’t have time to stick around and see them all :P I think these perfectly sum up some of the magical views we took in and of course, my worlds of food and cows followed me on our travels :) Some of our trip highlights you ask?

  • An encounter with a grizzly bear mama and her 3 ‘teenage’ cubs 50 feet away while hiking on a trail in Bella Coola, BC. Hands down, one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever experienced. You can plan all you want for moments like that about what you would do when you see a bear, but until you’re in the moment, it’s completely different. And no, I didn’t get a photo!!!! (that is the last thing you’re thinking of doing in a moment like that!)

  • After the most beautiful wedding in the mountains (congrats Coll & Luc!), we took a helicopter ride the next day to take in Bella Coola and the pilot just happened to land upon a mountain top where we got out and took in the views! Seriously stunning! The mountain wasn’t named so we appropriately named it after the bride & groom #TremShea. [I also happened to bring a bottle of prosecco with me that we enjoyed atop.. figures that is what I would bring with me right?! ;) ]

  • The 13+ hour drive from Vancouver to Bella Coola was one of the coolest drives - we saw so many different terrains and landscapes, which meant we made so many photo stops along the way. We were also surprised by how many cows and wild horses were just roaming the roads as we got more north which led us to read about Douglas Lake Ranch, the largest privately held cattle ranch in Canada and one of the largest in North, which we think we took in on the way.

  • We took the ferry over from Bella Coola to Vancouver Island and the 10 hour ferry ride was like a marine wildlife tour that we couldn’t have planned better… we saw a pod of orca whales, a school of dolphins and watched a humpback whale jump out of the water. I also devoured Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead from start to finish on the ferry ride ;)

  • We took in the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, BC when we started our trip in Vancouver. We then ended up visiting Whistler for a few days, where we got to see the Olympic rings and had some fun white water rafting. I had so much more fun than I thought I’d have rafting.. thanks to Andrew for pushing me t o do it!

  • I think my favourite view of the entire trip was from the Clayton Falls Recreation Site in Bella Coola (top middle photo). I can’t describe the feeling of taking in water so blue and trees so green and lush. It honestly looked fake and the photos only capture a small part of how beautiful it really was. I really do hope we can get back there one day again.

So, yes, its been hard to get back into the hustle after a completely different way of living for two weeks. They really do take it easier on the west coast. How could you not when you have views like that to experience at any moment?!

If there is one thing this trip reminded me, its that we’re so damn fortunate to live in a country as free, big, beautiful and diverse as Canada. Looking for a place to escape? Try exploring in our very own country, you may be just as surprised as I was, what you’ll discover (or what bear you’ll run into!) #ProudCanadian

Daydreaming and Boredom

Daydreaming and Boredom

These are two words you won’t hear a busy person say together very often. Or a parent.

I read these two words recently in an article and it hit me – just how much I wish I could pair these two words together in my life after a very busy fall.

I have never been a fan of ‘boredom.’ I was never that child that was ‘bored.’ I always found something to do.

And that translated into the rest of my life. I have never been bored and I never want to be bored. Period.

But it’s something that motherhood has made me wish for now. Those days as DINKS (double income, no kids) where we could get up at whatever time we wanted and do with the rest of our day how we wanted. Not on anyone else’s schedule but ours.

I miss those days of freedom pre-kid when we could let our brains ‘wander’ and daydream. Where if you got groceries and watched a movie, it was a ‘big Saturday.’ I never really appreciated parents saying this to me before kids. Now I completely get it.

The new mother in me craves these days. Especially recently. I wish I could let my brain have days where I was bored so I could only daydream. On days like Sunday’s before children, where I would get the best ideas because there was no expectation for my brain to ‘be on.’

If anything, becoming a mother and now an entrepreneur, I’m trying to train myself to daydream but in a more regimented/routine way. (Does this even make sense when you’re trying to daydream?!)

Isn’t the whole point of daydreaming to let your brain wander when IT wants too, not when YOU want it too?

Its hard to ask yourself to show up on Monday morning at your desk and ask your brain to ‘daydream’ as if its like a scheduled meeting.

But in this content-driven, communications world I’m living, now as a profession, I have to ask myself to do daydream in a more scheduled way.

Can other parents and entrepreneurs relate?

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6 Lessons Learned #onthecampaigntrail

When people ask what I do/did for work, a lot of people seem surprised when I told them I worked at Queen’s Park in provincial politics. I’m sure a lot of people wonder, “How the heck does someone go about getting into a job like that?” The saying ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” couldn’t be more true than the last four years of my career. I was in the right place at the right time with the right skillset that was needed. And it just happened to be in politics.

I was so honoured to serve in this capacity – serve the public and my agriculture community, using my communications skills to serve a man in politics who I was extremely proud to represent in the agriculture, food and rural affairs portfolio. This pride was evident when I made the decision to move back home to Peterborough this past May/June after my maternity leave, to help in the re-election campaign of the Minister I served, Jeff Leal. And thus began my #ONTHECAMPAIGNTRAIL journey that I shared on social media.

My campaign experience (and really, my time as a political staffer) was once-in-a-lifetime, simply because of the team of people we had. I shared my journey on social media to try and show the fun, quirky side to the campaign but also share the honest hard work, long hours and realities that are faced by volunteers when working a political campaign. And ultimately, to show people a ‘behind the scenes’ of what politics/campaigns really look like so more people know there actually is a real-life ‘West Wing.’

Disclaimer: I’ve never watched the full series of West Wing to know what exactly goes on, I’ve just been told I was the equivalent of C.J. Cregg 

And I speak so positively about the entire experience, despite the outcome on E-day, June 7th. Which was not favourable for us. Simply put, the voters practiced their democratic right and told us what they wanted. And it wasn’t our team. Despite that, I learned so much. I had 50 lessons I shared #onthecampaigntrail but I figured that may be too many to share for one blog post, so I narrowed it down to 6 lessons I wanted to share from the campaign:

  1. Respect means everything – My campaign experience was incredible because the voters were incredible. Full stop. The people of Peterborough were respectful, kind and cordial, even if they told us they weren’t voting for us. I was amazed at how many people knew about the election, knew of the candidates and the work that had been done for their city by Jeff. It was refreshing to see a city so engaged in politics and care so much for the people serving them. And yes, I was proud to not have one door slammed in my face during the campaign #goals. But in all seriousness, the same can be said for my time spent at Queen’s Park. Being respectful to anyone and everyone, regardless of party colour or role, is a simple yet smart tactic to use not only as a staffer, but as a human being.

  2. Nothing will replace face-to-face interactions with people – As much as I love social media, there is nothing more engaging then hearing what voters had to say in person and reading their body language (especially as I approached them with the red shoes I wore door knocking!) The conversations I had with voters were simply the best. I really wish that everyone had the opportunity to door knock on a campaign at least once in their lifetime. There is really no interaction like it – when you’re trying to keep things light while you’re bringing up something that a lot of people dread talking about = politics.

  3. There is no place like home – Rediscovering the city I grew up near, was magic. Walking the streets I’ve drove down so many times growing up; learning the rich history of the city (former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson once lived in Peterborough!); seeing the beautiful architecture, details and stories of the homes; and taking in the nature trails, waterfront and landmarks made the long hours of door knocking so enjoyable. Peterborough, you really are a beautiful city and gem to live in.

  4. If you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life – Moving away from Blake and Andrew for three weeks wasn’t easy at first but doing the work I was doing with the team, made everything so much easier. Having the purpose and mission we had to represent a candidate that was so widely-respected made the long days bearable. I was so thankful for the technology we have so I could connect with Blake every night on FaceTime (and remind him what his mama looked like!). And an additional perk was that this was the longest time I had spent at home on the farm since before University 

  5. Small things make the biggest difference – Brewing coffee with your team in the mornings; picking up a sprinkled donut at the local coffee shop to refuel when you needed the sugar rush; finding a free book that you love, in a library on the front lawn of a voter’s house; seeing your campaign ad in the local newspaper; watching a young person interview your candidate; seeing your Premier knock it out of the park in a TV debate #SorryNotSorry; taking the time to stop to celebrate Blake’s first birthday during the campaign –  small moments like these kept things light-hearted at times when I needed to be reminded most that life will go on regardless of the outcome.

  6. Your dreams are bigger than you – And finally, by far my greatest lesson learned was watching Jeff Leal, our candidate on the campaign trail.  Watching a person of such integrity and commitment work the long hours he did, all for the sole purpose of wanting to make a positive difference in his community, reignited my passion for public service. There is a reason we have people in public office to represent us. To serve us. To uphold our democracy. To try and make our communities better places to live all for our benefit. If our public servants are motivated by the right morals and act from the right place in their heart, you only want to work harder for them. Canvassing and knocking on doors with Jeff opened my eyes to how much of a difference one person can make in the lives of others. He knew everyone – all of the small details, and he genuinely cared for each and every person he visited with. I wanted to work hard for him and succeed because of him. It didn’t seem like work, it felt like an honour. At the end of the day, while he wasn’t re-elected, I am certain that everyone in Peterborough respects him. They respected what he did for the city of Peterborough and are thankful for the time he gave as their MPP for 15 years. Working for a man of integrity & commitment who betters the lives of others made the outcome hard to understand but, I would do it all again. It was an absolute honour, Jeff. Thank you for allowing me to serve on the team.

One of the most common questions I got after the election loss was “Do you at least still have a job?” And sadly, no. All 400 political staffers lost their job as well that day on June 7th. But its something I’ve come to terms with. What’s the saying? “When one door closes, another one opens.”

The lessons I learned not only on the campaign trail, but as a political staffer over the last four years will be lessons I’ll take with me personally and professionally forever. Thank you to the party members, MPP’s, fellow staffers, media, personnel, kitchen staff, ministry staff, #OntAg stakeholders and to the legislature herself. It was a time, QP. This isn’t the end, politics.

One final thought from the campaign trail that couldn’t be more true for the times we’re living in but really, a reminder for life: Lose with dignity & never stop fighting for what you believe in.

Make sure to check back this week as I have some big, exciting news to share! 

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A Changing of {Life} Seasons

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Well hello there! I appreciate everyone’s messages, texts and check-ins asking what the heck I’ve been up too as of late. Its hard to believe the last time I blogged was back in May. Thinking of what I’ve did between now and May is somewhat daunting. Daunting in a good way though. Let’s just say that being able to have the time to properly ‘digest’ something like an election is a healthy process to go through. I’ve needed the time since May to process what I’m only realizing now was A LOT that took place in the last four years of my life #OntheRoad #Commuting #NewBaby #Motherhood #MaternityLeave #LIFE

After watching THIS VIDEO and hearing of the notion of ‘life’s changing of the seasons’ from a fellow #GirlBoss,  it made me realize that I too, am going through a changing of the seasons in my own life. I am putting to rest, four years of my life in politics and a career I loved. Anytime I become nostalgic, I think of people like the Minister I served, who has known nothing else than serving people in a public service capacity for 30+ years.

The best part is that I am welcoming this changing of the seasons with open arms in a way I’ve never before. I really think that is why we all love being Canadian, because one of the perks is we know each year we get 4 seasons guaranteed – with each season promising something different and new for us. In life though, we don’t necessarily expect our life to change that often as the seasons come and go. But I’m learning more and more that it is in fact, a healthy process to ‘change. To adapt. To come to terms with the old and look forward to the new, all while being the same person I was before. It really is a transformational experience – this whole being unemployed thing. (And yes, when you’re a political staffer and lose an election, you do in fact also lose your job). Its a scary yet exciting feeling knowing I am the captain of my own ship, the creator of my destiny. Wherever I want to go, I can go. (I feel like I sound like a mix between Dr. Seuss or Tony Robbins, ha!)

I’m going to share a whole separate post on my experience #ONTHECAMPAIGNTRAIL. I shared a lot of my journey on Twitter and Instagram for the month I lived away from my family but the experience warrants its own post. It was an incredible experience of hustling NON-STOP. And while we didn’t achieve the outcome we set out to accomplish, I know that we did everything possible and the team I worked with was nothing short of amazing.

Here’s to the journey ahead on the road less traveled, as I experience this changing of life’s seasons. I hope you too come along and share in this journey with me.