on being relentless

I think of the word relentless and I think of a character trait that women have been socialized to avoid. We never want to seem harsh or inflexible. The very thought of a woman being incessant in the pursuit of her goals almost automatically brings up the B word. Not to me. But to many of us and to society at large, this is true. So my question is…

Is being relentless necessary?

To be honest, adopting or teaching this skill had never crossed my mind until I came across the book Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover. In a nutshell, the man responsible for the sports performance and motivation of Micheal Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and other high calibre athletes wrote a book on what it takes to achieve that kind of success. THAT KIND OF SUCCESS. You know what I mean right? I’m not talking about a few wins, I’m talking about winning over and over again. I’m talking about winning so much that losing is a surprise to you. THAT KIND OF SUCCESS.

I picked up the book and could not put it down but by the end of it I understood 2 things very clearly:

  1. By saying that being relentless is only socially acceptable in men, we are doing a tremendous disservice to women and girls.
  2. I have not even scratched the surface of my potential and neither have you. Trust me. {gulp, it’s a tough one to swallow}.

The book was intimidating, motivating, useful and certainly not for the faint of heart. The book is a cold hard slap to the ego. If you think, as I did, that great should be good enough than this book is not for you. If you are interested in the extent of what is possible for you, and are not anxious about what that says about where you are right now, then brace yourself, and read this book.

Some important takeaways from Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover:

  • crave the end result so intensely that the work is irrelevant
  • do the hardest things first, just to show there’s no task too big
  • you can’t commit to excellence until your mind is ready to take you there
  • you keep pushing yourself harder when everyone else has had enough
  • you make decisions, not suggestions

And to answer the question, YES! I believe that being relentless in the pursuit of your highest potential is necessary for women.

Now more than ever. Get the book HERE.

am.xo

Maya Angelou’s words hold a special place in my heart. I began my love of her work with the book “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” followed by many more, then her poetry brought light to some of the darkest parts of my youth. For which I will be forever grateful. I went on to see her dynamic spirit live in Toronto every time she came and recently enjoyed her wisdom on one of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episodes. She was brilliant. Sharp as a knife. And one helluva a woman. We lost an icon today, not just for women but for humanity. RIP Dr.Maya Angelou.

Luxury is not a necessity to me,

but beautiful and good things are.

― Anaïs Nin

Persuasion works by appealing to certain deeply rooted human responses. Robert Cialdini, author of the book Influence, has identified 6 of those responses:

  1. LIKING – if people like you – because they sense that you like them, or because of things you have in common – they’re  more apt to say yes to you.
  2. RECIPROCITY – People tend to return favors. If you help people, they’ll help you. If you behave in a certain way (cooperatively, for example), they’ll respond in kind.
  3. SOCIAL PROOF – People will do things they see other people doing – especially if those people seem similar to them.
  4. COMMITMENT AND CONSISTENCY – People want to be consistent, or at least to appear to be. If they make a public, voluntary commitment, they’ll try to follow through.
  5. AUTHORITY – People defer to experts and to those in positions of authority (and typically underestimate their tendency to do so).
  6. SCARCITY – People value things more if they perceive them to be scarce.

{excerpted from The Uses {and Abuses} of Influence, the Harvard Business Review, June/July 2103, p.79}

I also believe…

Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.

-Aristotle

power pose: how to own it with your body language

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

{source credit: www.ted.com/talks}

a little healthy hubris is good for you

hu·bris • (h)yo͞obris/noun | a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence; it is a failure to recognize your own defects

Yes, I am asking you to embrace the concept of having a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence. Only I don’t think it is foolish at all. I believe it is necessary. I believe for us to have a fighting chance at success in all aspects of our lives, we need to go beyond the propagated idea that excessive humility and self-denigration are useful characteristics for a woman. They are not. In fact, I believe there are too many voices telling us directly and indirectly to stay small.

And I say f*ck that noise.

We have to believe in ourselves and our own abilities before anyone else can or will. We have to do this regardless of what we’ve been told to believe, raised to believe or expected to believe. Period. “Fake it until you make it” is not just a catchphrase for the self-help or sales industry, it can be a lifeline from a bumpy past to your very bright future. You have to believe in yourself. Or at least begin to try to believe, that you are the greatest thing to ever happen to your life. Because YOU ARE.

Healthy Hubris looks like:

  • asking for what you want
  • self-advocating
  • just saying thank you for a compliment {instead of explain it away}
  • prioritizing your self-care
  • celebrating other women who make it happen {until you join them}
  • challenging yourself to leap across your fear
  • trusting your instincts
  • saying NO when you want to
  • checking your negative self-talk
  • learning to praise yourself daily
  • self-love in bad*ss new way.

When was the last time “you failed to recognize your own defects?” 

HEALTHY HUBRIS. I want you to try it. 

am.xo

 

My life didn’t please me,

so I created my life.
― Coco Chanel

I have to open this post with a bit of an explanation. When I was in my early twenties and beginning my career as a real estate agent, I could not get enough of the personal development movement, all of these talented speakers spoke directly to my timid heart; they taught me how to shape my perspective, the power of my own mind, how to cultivate self-confidence and in the cut-throat world of  sales, how to grow some b*lls. Here is one of my absolute favourites:

{the video is 14 minutes and pretty dated in its aesthetic + economics but every bit the wake up call you might need right now}

What Jim Rohn Believes:

  •  You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
  • The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.
  • Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
  • Let others lead small lives, but not you.. Let others argue over small things, but not you.. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you.. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.
  • Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.
  • Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.
  • Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book.
  • Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.

Jim Rohn was the first person that said, “if you invest in your job you will make a living but if you invest in yourself, you will make a fortune.” My mind was blown and then completely changed. My fortune has manifested in many different ways throughout my life, but because of this man’s work I never wake up feeling anything less than abundant and blessed. And my hope is that you do too.

am.xo

how to live with mistakes

I have learned to like my mistakes. Definitely not in the moment, but in retrospect things were never as bad as I thought they were. And believe me, things were {felt} really awful at the time. We all feel it don’t we? That our mistakes somehow define us and that it is impossible to see ourselves in a positive light again? It can feel so limiting {and even hopeless}. But the truth is, as women, our ability to deal with mistakes is tied rather tightly with the idea that we have to be perfect.

Striving for perfection is crippling and can paralyze you. But progress, now that’s totally doable. If our lives were composed of one perfect moment after another, we would be robbed of the feeling of true success, the bliss of finding real love and the beauty of a rainbow. Things would be truly blah. My mistakes have made it possible to be grateful for all the wonder and joy in my life. My mistakes have helped me reach higher and push harder for what I want. And to do this. To be okay with your mistakes. You need to know a few things…

{an abbreviated excerpt from The Beauty of Getting it Wrong by Bonnie Tsui for O Magazine, January 2014}

Our minds are highly attuned to focus on what we’ve done wrong, not what we’ve done right. With regard to mistakes most of us fall into one 1 or 2 categories; the fixed mindset or the growth mindset. The fixed mindset tries to shut out the mistake all together and not acknowledge it. This is unfortunate, because according to recent research, acknowledging our slipups is critical to recovering from them. The growth mindset, identifies what went wrong and then adapts accordingly – it’s easier for these people to get back on their feet. The key: self-compassion. “Several studies show that when we practice a new way of approaching failure, it can change an error from something we fear into something we embrace,” says Kristin Neff, PhD, associate professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas at Austin. “The hardest part is giving yourself permission to relate to the mistake differently.”

“We found that people who were taught to be kind to themselves felt more motivated to see their mistakes as a chance for growth,” says lead researcher Juliana Breines, PhD. “Outside validation didn’t seem to matter as much.”

Talk to yourself from the perspective of a caring, problem solving friend. No excoriation necessary.

{for the entire article, click HERE}

So there you have it, another invitation to shift your perspective on things. I know it’s not an easy feat, but if you begin to apply self-compassion to your little mistakes, you will find your ability to deal with big mistakes has dramatically improved. By then you’ll be okay with not being perfect and maybe even a little thrilled by your progress.

am.xo

A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.

― Jacqueline Bisset

{background photo credit: gianni lee x mike blud}

 

By nature, I am inspired by images and other people. I love a well curated blog, a thoughtful post and perfectly photographed pretty things. I am interested in how other people look at the world; I’m curious about what they see, how they interpret things and how they share it with the world. I’ve put together a list of my favourite blogs for you, they range from pure fashion to how to lasting wellness and a few things in between. All are beautiful.

Elin-Kling

This Is Glamorous

A House In The Hills

Garance Doré

The Chalkboard

Danielle LaPorte

Some of my very talented friends…

Brigid Dineen

Nada Minkara

Lifestylephile

Love As A Verb

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

am.xo

how to let go of a girlfriend + be okay afterward

I have been thinking about that thing people tell you when friendships change or come to an end. I’m not sure who wrote it; do you remember it? Just in case you don’t, here it is…

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real…But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

What they don’t tell you about this poignant reminder is that the ‘reason’ or ‘season’ friendships become harder to stomach over time.  As you get older you realize just how difficult it is to let go of a friendship that once meant so much; the value of all those memories, the laughter, the deep understanding and the vulnerability that comes from trust all packaged into a period of time – a seemingly brief chapter in the story of your life. But still. It hurts.

So how do you let go of a girlfriend?

  1. ACCEPT THAT THINGS HAVE CHANGED – Some things can be undone and some things cannot. It is important to know the difference.
  2. RESPECT YOUR FRIEND’S RIGHT TO HER PERSPECTIVE – We get really caught up on the ‘rightness’ of our own point of view and we forget that other people have the same certainty of their ‘rightness.’ If we get ours then they get theirs. Period.
  3. REMEMBER THAT THE FRIENDSHIP DID EXIST – It’s easy to focus on all the negative stuff and let that replay in our minds until it hardens our hearts toward the person; this makes it easier to gossip, judge and criticize but it also warps our perspective on what made that person a friend in the first place. And that’s when things get really messy; suddenly we lose our regard for that person’s privacy to anyone that will listen because validating our own perspective becomes more important than anything else. Not cool.
  4. MAINTAIN YOUR GRACE – Now this is where things get hard and where #1 becomes obvious. When {we feel as though or} we have been wronged, it is easy to dive into the rabbit hole of self-pity and use that to justify all the bad behaviour that ensues but I encourage you to resist this urge. In the end all that negativity harms us more than the other person and it is just not worth it. You will see that person again and it just feels better if you can do so with a good conscience. Stay above the fray darling.
  5. EMPLOY COMPASSION – Your ability to heal after the end of a friendship is directly proportionate to your ability to be compassionate toward your friend and toward yourself. The truth is, if you look deep enough, you both could have done better and you need to make peace with that truly to move on.

Maybe you will be friends again someday and maybe you will not, it does not matter, what matters is your ability to recognize that the friendship was for a reason or a season and that it was filled with what you needed at the time. Be grateful for the place it holds in the story of your life.

am.xo

p.s. In the song Started From the Bottom Drake says “no new friends, we don’t feel that, f*ck a fake friend, where your real friends at?” And I get it; adopting the ‘no new friends’ attitude is so tempting right? But it is also limiting. Every time we decrease our efforts to really connect with people we weaken our ability to learn, grow and thrive. We shrink at exactly the moment we need to expand. We are turning our backs on new and different networks, potential opportunities and most important, incredible relationships with other dynamic women.

 

Sally Hogshead believes the greatest value you can add is to become more of yourself. As world-class branding expert Sally discovered a new way to measure how people perceive your communication. She helps you find out what makes you intensely valuable to others, so the world will see you at your best.

What Sally Hogshead Believes: 

  • The world is not changed by people who sort of care
  • In a competitive environment, the most fascinating option always wins
  • Stand out, or don’t bother
  • You can be comfortable, or outstanding, but not both
  • Forget what your business card says. You’re an entrepreneur
  • Live in verbs
  • Passion is the ultimate way to add value to your clients
  • If you’re not eliciting a negative response from someone, you’re probably not fascinating to anyone

To get more insight from Sally Hogshead, I recommend her refreshing book Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion & Captivation. Her writing covers the often overlooked subject of how the world sees you and how to use that information to your advantage. This book is right for you if you are reworking or questioning your identity, a brand or developing a new marketing campaign. No matter what you believe dear hearts…there is something fascinating about you and your work! 

am.xo

The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasums, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at best know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

―Theodore Roosevelt

we are social {kind of}

WE ARE SOCIAL

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twitter

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facebook

click on the image to like my public page only 

 

I do {reluctantly} have a personal facebook profile, but my feelings about it are mixed because I also firmly believe…

The past few years have levied a strange burden of proof on our backs, a burden to account for our hours and days, to prove to all who care to watch from the screens of their phones and computers that we are doing something worthy with our lives. In the meantime, we have forgotten how to be content in being present…Let us all remember now in the presence of one another, that are memories are enough. May we live to remind each other to partake of dinner without pause for a clicking shutter or a scribbling pen. Stay here, drink more wine, and let the memories of time exist by themselves within you, and between you and the others. And may your art be a sincere reflection of what already exists, not a post of projection for what we desire.”

{My thoughts exactly. Articulated perfectly by Rebecca Parker Payne for Kinfolk Magazine}

There is something more. There is something better. Yes you should have it. Yes you should pursue it. Lose sleep over it and definitely put your whole heart into it. I believe in having it all. The best health. Deeply loving relationships. Thorough compassion for yourself. Automatic peace of mind. Discipline that is not punishing. Confidence that honours the greatness within you. And rewards that are worthy of your highest potential.

At some point you have to step to the giants.

―Eric Thomas

I believe in you. I believe in everything that is possible for you. But first you have to step to the giants…

ego.   

fear. 

anger. 

The trifecta of unhappiness. These troublemakers are holding you back, keeping you up at night, eating away at your backbone and causing so much of the anxiety that is preventing you from living your best life. You know it. I know it. And it’s time for you to put an end to it. But how right? That’s the million dollar question. How do you unpack years of baggage? How do you look fear in the eye and then look past it? How do you stop trying to prove yourself and start really being yourself? How do you stop believing all the crap people have told you about you? How do you forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made? How do you stop justifying why you deserve better or more? How do you leave the unchangeable past in the past? It’s a long list isn’t it? So much to work through and so much to figure out. 

Hopefully, in that special place – between the questions and the answers – you will allow me to be your guide, your cheerleader, your resource and your game changer. I want this blog to shake you up a bit. Get you fired up. Get you ready. And then GET YOU GOING! 

 welcome to your new journey

+ welcome to the blog

am.xo

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