Thinking & Operating in 'the Gap'

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I’ve always disliked short work weeks. We’re all trying to cram the same amount of work from a five-day work week into four. This week is no different - lots of deadlines, projects to get done and last minute demands that are making me wish tomorrow wasn’t Friday.

I know, I said it (and I love my Friday’s!).

I AM working on some fun branding projects though this week, as well as content strategy and content creation for clients that I’m excited for. So there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

The one thing I did for myself this week was get the chance to sit down with someone from a leading tech organization in Canada’s ‘silicon valley of the north‘ aka. Kitchener. I’ve always loved the Tannery area of KW, in Guelph’s backyard. There is something about knowing the ideas that are being cooked up behind the walls of the buildings in the area that gets me excited when visiting.

The one thing the meeting made me realize, besides how fortunate I am to meet the people I am in my journey, is how not having the answer to all the ‘big ideas’ or ‘big questions’ I have is also part of this journey of this little thing called life. Right now I’m feeling so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by people from different backgrounds, experiences and who think differently, who are all excited to tackle big world problems and come up with solutions. Especially when many of these people seem to have one thing in common that we want to find solutions for: food/agriculture. One of my true passions.

It reminded me of this recent newsletter I read (thank you for the continued amazing content, Sarah!) and this idea of the gap:

“I call the space between having a question and knowing the answer, the gap. The gap is the unknown, the fear of making a change in your life when you don’t know what the outcome will be. Humans are really bad at the gap, we are terrible at operating in spaces where there is an unknown.”

I feel like I’ve been operating in the ‘gap’ for a few years now. Having ideas and not knowing exactly how to get to the answer.. but enjoying the process or journey to get there aka. the gap.

Its how I felt last summer when I was between my political job and starting my own business - again, the gap. I continue to operate in the gap even now that my own business is almost a year old.. the questions I have: what to do next, where to take things, should I scale, how do I scale. I’m operating in the gap.

Not to get too philosophical here for a Thursday but isn’t that really what life is all about anyways? Trying to think and operate ‘in the gap’ between the two things we know for sure are to happen to us, birth and death?

Sorry to go all deep on this rainy Thursday, it just felt necessary to share :)

What’s the other thing I learned in that meeting this week (among so many other awesome things)? That Jeff Bezos of Amazon writes a press release for every idea he has, as a way to work backwards from the idea to know how to make the idea a reality. How cool is that?!

Bottle It Up

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I’ve recently been on the road for work for what feels like weeks and weeks. When in fact, its only been two weeks of travel. The travelling life is not as glamourous as Instagram makes it out to be. The airport shots of our luggage, the Starbucks coffees, the perfectly manicured nails…. yea, it is far from that. I don’t take for granted the opportunities I’m being afforded with my business and how travelling makes me feel (when there are no snow storms and flight delays/cancellations which has been my travelling life as of late). I really do love travelling. Just the right amount of it.

I get some of my best ideas when I’m travelling. I’m not sure if its because the time on the plane without a phone allows my brain to fully relax. Or because when I travel, I’m taking in new sights and experiences so my brain is on creative overdrive.

In my recent trip to Ottawa, during a snow storm around dinner time, I put on my winter parka and went for a walk and man, despite the blowing snow in my face and the crazy looks I was getting by drivers passing slowly by me, were the ideas ever a swirling around in my head.

I find this too whenever I’m travelling with Andrew down the 401 in our hauls from Guelph to the farm. The long stretch of highway, knowing how far we’re going and how much time I have to just ‘be’ makes me feel at ease. The ideas come rolling out of me when I have time to process my thoughts.

I (finally) have time to read all those open tabs on my laptop, read 100+ pages of a book in one sitting or take in hours of a podcast that I’ve been dying to listen too.

I wish I could bottle up this energy I seem to harness when I’m travelling. I wish I could also bottle up all of these ideas I have floating around in my head since I started my business late last summer. The notes pages I’ve ended up scribbling down are far too many and its not the ideas I come up with that I’m in love with – it’s the action I want to take out of them. I want to actually DO something with all of these ideas I’ve seem to have bottled up.

Anyone else with me?! #BottleUpmyBrain

Side note: this highway photo above is one I snapped from a recent trip to Mont Tremblant with Andrew. MT is one of our most favourite places and this was one of the BEST trips we’ve taken in years. There is just something about those Laurentian mountains that sets our souls on fire and makes us feel at ease. 💕

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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