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

Living in a Calculated World

Stories From a Country Girl

Its hard to believe it was 10+ years ago I first entered the world of blogging.

I look back on those days fondly.

{Now I know how most seniors feel when they talk the good ol’ days.. you know, those days before smartphones, technology and all this craziness}

But in all seriousness, even 10 years ago, the digital sphere was a different time.

(OK, now I definitely sound like a senior).  This may be the first blog post that ‘dates me’ as a human. Sigh.

Yes, it’s been that long since my ‘Stories From a Country Girl’ days for those blog readers who have so loyally followed me here all the way from then, to my Passionate Voice blog and now to my new home. Thank you to those readers for your continual support and readership throughout all these years 🙏 Even if there are only 6 of you 😉

I’ve been doing a ton of listening, conversing and reflecting throughout the month of January for work. It has me thinking of how we’re living in such different times than even a short 10 years ago from so many standpoints – in life, in work, with social media, technology, consumer behavior, disruption, the list goes on.

I’ve been thinking long and hard lately about the role of social media and the impact it has on our lives and our mental health. Its something that bombards us and inundates us both personally and professionally every day. We’ve never been properly trained in it and the research isn’t quite there yet to show the long-term lasting effects, yet we continue to use it at such rapid rates. I see firsthand and realize its benefits but I also see the cautions we need to talk about more, to engage productively and healthily with our social media feeds.

And this comes from someone who does social media for a living!

Even blogging 10 years ago was a completely different landscape. It wasn’t so ‘calculated’ as the entire world now is with blogging and social media. When we were blogging back in ‘those days’, we didn’t have to have well-curated graphics that had consistent branding with the ‘right’ fonts. We didn’t care about likes/followers, we just blogged about what we thought about and cared for and if the likes followed, then great but that wasn’t the end goal. We didn’t care about promoting our messages beyond our followers, trying to make our content ‘salesy’ for people to eat up and then buy from us. Hell, we didn’t even give the proper credit for graphics/photos when we searched on Google and used them for our blog posts.

Side note: If you previously read my SFACG blog when I first started, yes, the image above is my old header and no, I didn’t end up purchasing the image for $20 but I am at least giving image credit below 😉

I sometimes wish we had that type of freedom again.

To read blogs written in the ‘old school way’ of blogging. Or think in that easygoing way #FreeThinking. Or blog in the carefree way, whenever we wanted too, without the branding, the content calendar and the perfectly placed hashtags. Blogging in a world where we didn’t have to worry that if you said something that not everyone agreed with, you didn’t have to face the social media wrath you probably would today. I wish we all had that freedom to only care about ourselves and what we thought. And not in a selfish, narcissistic way, but a way that was healthy for us. A time where if you had something to say and wanted to passionately say it, you just said it (HECK YES!)

I really do wish some days we were living in a less calculated world. I miss those days of off-the-cuff randomness. Whose with me?

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Our Someday List - part I

Someday List

We all have a ‘someday’ list.

Whether that is a physical list we keep on our smartphone, a list we write down on a notepad, or a mental list we have stored in our heads.

A list of things we want to do.

Jobs we’d like to pursue or try [one day].  

Places we’d like to visit and discover.

New things we want to learn.

Books we want to read.

The goals we want to accomplish… someday.

Blog posts we want to write… and do.. and then they sit in the draft folder for a very long time (this is a huge problem for me!)

I clearly have a ‘someday’ list. I am the master of all list makers so of course I made a ‘someday’ list.

But slowly I’ve started realizing that while this list is a great idea, it sets expectations for a life I haven’t lived yet.

And so, I told myself this year; instead of continually adding to the list, why don’t I start DOING things off the list.

It’s what forced me, in a good way, to take the leap and step out on my own and start my own business. Because I’d always had that on my ‘someday list.

Its what motivated me to finally travel to Quebec City this fall with Andrew, after always wanting to travel to la belle province.

If there is anything parenthood has taught me, it’s that I want to start crossing things off my ‘someday’ list and actually start living the list rather than continually add to it.

Because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t start living life this way.

I realize there are restrictions and limitations to what we can do with our lists. Our dream jobs just don’t pop up. We can’t just all quit our jobs and go travelling. We would all love to spend money on experiences, yet we have to save money for our future.

So yes, we have to be realistic with what we put on our lists in the first place.

But the other lesson in all of this that I’ve tried to remember, is that we have a lifetime (hopefully!) to do all of the things on our someday list. So there is no point in rushing to get all the items done. We have a lifetime,  if we’re lucky to do them all. Of course, there are some things I am glad I got done sans children 😉

The point is, what are you doing now to cross that next item off of your ‘someday’ list if you have one?

Seize the day, friends!

… (and I’ll be back soon with part 2 as to WHY our someday list keeps growing instead of crossing items off).

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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