Motivated by Inspiration #AskHerToRun

I have a new found love relationship with Saturday’s. Saturday’s, for some time, have been my least favourite day of the weekend. I love the feeling that Friday night’s give me of the excitement for the weekend ahead. And if you’re a regular reader, you know I love my Sunday’s, period.

It wasn’t until recently that I’ve tried to learn to re-love my Saturday morning’s – whether it is taking in a quiet morning with Blake and a cup of coffee; walking through the dairy barns back home on the farm; listening to the Top 40 countdown at the cottage; or attending an event that tugs on my inner nerd personal development heart strings - I’m slowly learning to fall back in love with my Saturday’s.

This past weekend, I attended the first-ever #Guelph Women’s Campaign school, aimed at enticing women to learn more about politics, especially municipal politics, with the goal of motivating more women to run in politics. It was my type of Saturday morning– a little early morning action to talk politics surrounded by like-minded women #MyJam.

It was a day full of learning with so many great key messages and take-aways, and such tangible resources were shared for those interested in potentially running in politics and/or those who want to help support more women to run.

To say I left inspired by my profession of politics and motivated to want to do more is an understatement.

When the sold-out room of 50+ women were asked, "who was interested in running in the upcoming Ontario municipal election?", more than 15+ women stood up. The other half of the room stood up when asked if they wanted to help a fellow women run. Throughout the day, we shared ideas on why more women should run in politics, how campaigns work, what the rules are that govern something like a municipal election, and talked communications strategies. It was a brilliant day for those who may know nothing about the political process or for those who needed that little bit of kick ass inspiration to push them to run.

My 4 big key takeaways from the day were:

  • It is healthy to attend events like this, even if you think you know everything about politics. You never truly stop learning about the political process. It is an asset to understand how our political processes work at all levels of government.
  • The proper campaign has purpose – platform – people – and a plan.
  • Find your reason WHY to run – it the basis, foundation and purpose for everything you do in politics (it also reminded me to re-read Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why’).
  • Men are assets for women and want to help and support us in being successful, if we ask for their help in the first place. It was why the hashtag #AskHimToHelpHerRun was started the day of our event!

It was one of those Saturday’s that reminded me of why I chose to work in politics - why I am so passionate about wanting to make a difference in public service and the lives of other especially now that I have a son.

It was a Saturday that gave me all the feels – I left motivated to want to do more, thanks to the inspiration that a room full of brilliantly smart and motivated women left me with. A special note of thanks to Ashley, Maureen and Alicia for a super fun Saturday together 😉

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Small Gestures, Big Impact #BellLetsTalk

On a day like today, where we celebrate #BellLetsTalk day, it’s one day of the year where we are reminded to share both the good and bad around mental health.

Today is dedicated to sharing our stories, so we’re not alone in the struggles we almost all face daily in keeping a healthy mental health. If we looked at mental health the way we looked at physical health, our world would certainly be a different place.

I wanted to share a story from last week in hopes that today, we can be reminded of the good.. the good stories, good moments, and good human beings that are out there, who help contribute positively to our mental health and well-being.

Two small moments last week that took place in my local Balzacs coffee shop reminded me of just how powerful small gestures can be in leaving a lasting impact... by complete strangers.

When I entered the coffee shop, I wasn’t surprised to see the place was packed.. buzzing with people meeting, writing, studying, reflecting. A mom in front of me in line had, what appeared to be a newborn baby and a young toddler.. and here, there were no tables or seats available for this busy mom to sit down and enjoy her coffee with her fam.

What happened next was a small yet subtle reminder that good people DO still exist. A man kindly stood up and offered to give up his table for the young mom. Thank god, good people really do exist. As a new mom who finds one baby a lot to handle, I was so appreciative for this man and his kind gesture for the mom who had her two hands full.

The second moment in the coffee shop was personal for me - one of the most random yet most powerful moments. A middle aged woman happened to come over to my table as I typed away (I was probably working on the ol’ blog!) and said how she didn’t want to appear weird but that she had noticed my smile, how infectious it was and how it lit up the room when I walked into the coffee shop.

What?

I didn’t know this lady. Hadn’t noticed her in the coffee shop. Nor had I even realized I was smiling?! Maybe I was smiling while I was writing and I didn’t even realize it?! I'll never know. I kindly thanked the lady and said how wonderful it was of her to come over and share something like that with me, as I blushed.

As she left, a wave of emotion came over me (it could be this new-found emotion that has come over me ever since having a baby, not quite sure?!) but I was reminded of just how amazing moments like that can completely transform your day. Just how amazing human beings can be and are.

How complete strangers can remind you of your most random qualities; how a random stranger can transform your mood in an instant; how a small moment or gesture like this can make you feel so connected to a complete stranger; and how your heart can feel so full over something that seems so trivial and small yet something that can be so powerful.

How a complete stranger can remind you, that despite all the negativity that appears to be going on in the world, good and positivity always prevails.

To the man who gave up his table and the lady whose compliment has etched a mark in my heart forever, thank you. Thank you for helping people you didn’t have too. Whose day you transformed. Whose mental health you helped without realizing.

What I hope to do on a day like today is pay it forward. While discussing mental health today, let's share everything - the good, the bad, the ugly - but let's also try and share the positive. Because that is just one of the many ways we can help contribute to this all so important conversation around mental health.

#BellLetsTalk

If you would like to speak to a professional, you can call Ontario's Mental Health Hotline 24/7 at 1-866-531-2600.

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Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

November has been an eventful month. Both unexpected and welcomed news relating to life and work has made being uncomfortable somewhat of a new norm.

Oh and just throw first-time parenthood into the mix.

I think this is something millennials get criticized for often. Perfectionism. Wanting to always do things ‘right’. Not wanting to fail. Not wanting to step outside of our comfort zones to deal with the uncomfortable. Our predecessors think this is unrealistic of us.

I say this is just human nature. We all want to be comfortable.

And the more I’m realizing, regardless of age or gender, people don’t like to be unconformable.

Its why:

  • We don’t leave our jobs, even if we may not like doing them.
  • We may talk about the same thing over and over again, because we are familiar with the content.
  • We like to eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, because it becomes part of our daily routine.
  • Its why we vote the same way every time, even though we may not understand why we really continue to vote for them.
  • Its why we continue to listen to the same music from the generation we grew up in and don’t welcome new music. (Its why I’ve also heard so many people say they don’t like Taylor Swift’s new album because people weren’t ‘expecting’ her new sound. I think its killer).

Its why a lot of people don’t go out on their own to pursue their side hustles full-time.

Becoming your own boss is a perfect example of being uncomfortable. Knowing you are inevitably the reason you fail or succeed is all on YOU. Yes, there are going to be times of being uncomfortable when you’re your own boss. Things like being turned down for opportunities, approaching new clients for work, not making what you had budgeted or ruffling some feathers from a tweet or post.

These are things I’m still learning to get better at accepting everyday. And the more books I read and the more conversations I have with people, the more I realize this is NORMAL.

Being comfortable gets you no where. Being too comfortable leads to complacency. Its why I love being a millennial because I think we’re pushing the boundaries. Some may think in a good way, others may think its too much. We’re talking about the things that previous generations found uncomfortable to talk about. We want to pursue change at a faster speed than most can handle. Remember, no great ideas or actions were done in a place of complacency or being comfortable. Steve Jobs said it perfectly when he said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

[Tweet "“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." - Steve Jobs"]

The most healthy, successful, optimistic people, both in work and life, know to expect the unexpected. They are resilient to what comes their way, both good and bad, expected or unplanned. They've learned to roll with the punches. 

They are comfortable with being unconformable.

And sometimes, when we least expect it and we’re forced to deal with something that makes us more uncomfortable than we could have ever imagined, we surprise ourselves by how we handle it. We become comfortable with it. 

I’m learning to be better at being uncomfortable every. single. day. Try it with me.

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What a Day in Toronto (with a Baby) Will Remind You

When you visit Toronto as a tourist, it is a whole different feeling than when you hustle and work in the city as I do. In July, I did what every new mama would think to do, and spent a day in Toronto with our newborn Blake. Can you sense my sarcasm? Ha!

A crazy idea as a new mom, I know or at least, I thought. But I wanted to take advantage of Blake being a newborn, manageable baby and introduce him to colleagues and friends while taking in a city that has become a staple in my daily routine the past 3 years.

Doing a day trip too by myself with our newborn was also a way to get out of the house and feel independent again. Why not take advantage of public transportation and the sunny summer weather and enjoy a day in the city to surround myself with my old habitat and take in sights that would be new for the babe.

As I wade into the waters of this whole motherhood thing, I'm realizing there are so many small details in our everyday that we do so easily and take for granted. Things that as a new mom, you quickly learn to have a new appreciation for.

Drinking coffee - while holding a newborn in your arms. Getting ready quicker than before - with a newborn (impatiently) waiting. Realizing that not forgetting diapers and wipes is as important now as not forgetting your purse/keys when you leave home.

A day trip to Toronto also quickly reminds you to be grateful for these small details.

My recent trip to Toronto restored my faith in humanity.

It reminded me of the kind gestures that can mean so much to someone, including this new mom. The ladies on the train who offered to help me. The man who helped get our stroller off the train. People on the sidewalk who helped to make it easier to navigate a stroller in the city. Complete strangers smiling when they saw me with the baby. Striking up conversations in checkout lines with people I didn't know, but who were inquisitive and interested in Blake.

The day trip to the city reminded me of so many little things to be grateful for.

How much I love Toronto. How kind the people are. How revisiting places like the CN Towner, Hockey Hall of Fame and St. Lawrence Market to introduce them to your baby can feel like your experiencing them all over again for the first time. How smiling is such a strong form of communication. How good it feels when a complete stranger smiles at you and you know why. The feeling you get as a new mama when you realize that you CAN and in fact DID navigate the 'big smoke.'

And does it ever feel good to know that even while navigating the new world of motherhood, a day trip to Toronto can make you feel independent again and remind you that you CAN do anything if you set your mind to it.

Thanks for the time Toronto, we'll be back again soon.

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It All Begins With a Lemonade Stand

With a newborn, you can find me most days outdoors, gallivanting  around with the baby in the stroller, enjoying the summer sun. I always love seeing what adventures I'll get up too or things I'll encounter.

Last week, I was out for a walk in our neighbourhood when I came upon a young girl selling lemonade.

I looked like I was going to be her next customer as I was walking closer to her. It was then I realized I didn't have $$$ on me so I quickly turned around to run back home and grab change. I can only imagine the look of sheer disappointment on this girls face thinking she was losing a customer as I ran away from her. I was happy to return a few minutes later to buy a cup of her homemade lemonade.

There was nothing better than watching the pride on this young girls' face when I returned and asked her 'How much?' With the biggest smile on her face, she confidently said, "$1 please." She had all the right things going for her - a well-written, visible sign with the $1 per cup cost; she had the cute little table and chair; she had manners and spoke well; and she genuinely looked like she loved what she was doing.

And to top it off, she was so pleasant when I approached her with the baby - she even asked questions about me and the baby, the customer. Who taught this girl proper marketing etiquette at such a young age?!

It was one of those moments, as a random stranger, that you take so much pride in doing what you did to help encourage this person.

It also brought back so many memories for me as a kid... because I did the exact same thing! I held many a rummage sale and (tried) to sell lemonade to no avail.

The difference for me was that growing up in the country, trying to sell things on a random weekday in the summer, half way down a long driveway was not that financially viable or successful. There aren't that many customers who probably think stopping in a car and walking up to a young child in the country looks OK to those driving by. I get it now, but it was hard to swallow at the time.

Clearly my entrepreneurial spirit was evident already at a young age.

The acts of this little random stranger last week was an amazing reminder of what we're all capable of and how it all begins at a young age:

  • The ideas we have that spark within us;
  • How unafraid we are of big, hairy, audacious goals (and we don't even know what 'goals' are yet);
  • How we take a pretty basic product and only because of how we sell it, the product becomes a hit;
  • The complete, random strangers we are OK with meeting in order to make a sale (and a buck);
  • When we realize we can make money doing something we love or at least enjoy doing;
  • And ultimately, we have the guts to do something we have never did before (and don't know the outcome of as to whether we'll be successful or not) and we still go ahead with the idea and sell the lemonade!

It takes some serious guts as a young kid to have the motivation, confidence and persistence to want to do something like sell lemonade, while other kids are out playing with their friends.

At what age or stage in our lives do you think we lose that self-confidence and belief in our abilities that so many of us clearly have as young kids? When do we lose that entrepreneurial mindset of fending for ourselves and running with our own ideas, only to worry what others think of us and our skillset to land a job that may not be for us?

As a quote I found perfectly says, "When life gives you lemons, you build a lemonade stand and profit."

[Tweet ""When life gives you lemons, you build a lemonade stand and profit.""]

As the young girl packed up after selling me her last cup of lemonade, I encouraged her to make sure she sets up shop more this summer because I'd be sure to be back. She said she would.

I better start saving my loonies now because she has a repeat customer that will guarantee her sales for her young start-up venture (or college education) ;)

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