The Year of Glow, Teach, Learn, Grow & Give

And a Few Surprises Too!

Reflections on 2018

My focus in 2018 was self-care, trying to get healthier - mind, body and soul. Man, it is never-ending, isn’t it? I also continued my quest to teach, learn, grow and give. Things happened organically last year and while I had a few plans there were many surprises along the way. I continued with the theme from 2017, the importance of family and friends and staying true to yourself. As I reflect back on 2018, much of that remained the same and I added a little more.

Everyone can keep learning and trying out something new at any age. Take the challenge up, get out of your comfort zone and do it!


Glow



End of year Glow in Key West, FL
My year started out by attending a meditation workshop where we reflect, meditate and learn about our nervous systems and bodies. Then from this, a Word of the Year arises and we painted what came from that. This was something new for me, and very fun. I went in with a word in mind (to be honest I can’t even remember what it was now) and yet I came up with something completely different. The word was GLOW. Maybe I needed to get my mojo or glow back - who knows? Edita, who ran the workshop, said I already “glowed”. Perhaps that was the lesson, find my Glow, believe in it and work on myself. There is a light within all of us that wants to shine through.


The theme of Glow continued throughout the year as I found excitement in trying out different things. There were so many firsts for me in 2018. In January I started a creative writing workshop, something completely unique and not like business writing. The facilitator, Roxanne, was amazing, and yes at times a bit direct, but that’s the point, to learn how to write better. She pushed me to challenge myself, to write emotionally, deeply and honestly. Perhaps I’ll share some of those pieces later this year. I took some ski lessons and that was phenomenal; I felt so healthy and strong and definitely had a glow after that! Mainly, I think glow was finding joy and happiness in each moment and letting that be reflected in my presence.


Teach



I had no idea that in 2018 I was going to finally teach formally, a lifelong dream that started when I was young. My mom said I talked about being a teacher forever, and she doesn’t know where the lawyer idea came from. Well, I guess there was a reason that I didn’t end up staying completely in the legal profession; it wasn’t what I was meant to do. I absolutely loved the opportunity to teach at two community colleges - Centennial and Sheridan. Students from all over the world were part of my classes - from India, Pakistan, Brazil, the Philippines, China, Jamaica and many more places. Having this diversity within the classroom made for an enriching dynamic environment.


Summer ADR Class

While I hope the students took away some lifelong lessons on how to manage conflict (Alternate Dispute Resolution) and the breadth of the human resources function (HR Management), I want them to know that I also learned so much from them. For example, “deep” at the end of a name such as Jagdeep, Sandeep or Rajandeep, means “light, lamp". I learned about cultures all over the globe and how they differed from Canada. There is definitely something you can teach a person,  as a mentor, coach, teacher or giver. Education is one of the most cherished gifts one can provide in whatever form it comes. Knowing that I made a difference in a few young people’s lives feels awesome.


We can teach every day, just as we can learn every day.


Learn and Grow



Growing is something I will never stop doing. I love to learn. I love to read. Continuous development personally and professionally is something you can start at a young age and keep doing well into the last years. I made a goal to read 55 books last year. I lost track later in the year and I didn’t reach my goal but last I checked I made it to about 35 books. That is pretty amazing! I didn’t reach the 55 (and I still don’t know how Claire Diaz-Ortiz can do 200 in a year) but I reignited my reading passion that was dormant for some time. There was so much growth and learning from those books, and I’ll share some of that in a future post.




I also did a few online courses and attended some development retreats and the WorkHuman conference for the first time. That was unbelievable! I met so many wonderful people from all over the world! I was able to see some fantastic speakers and continue to learn. Later in the year I also attended Brendon Burchard's High-Performance Academy in Arizona, learning some high-performance habits and having an opportunity to hike and spa in beautiful Sedona.


Janice and I at HPA in Arizona
Beautiful Sedona
Getting some personal coaching both online and in person is something that everyone should do in their lifetime. I met many new people who are in the coaching world and also worked with an amazing coach Jenna who helped me with my spiritual side, clarity and being. I also dived deep into some counselling as part of a research study using Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) allowing me to tap into left and right brain (and neuroplasticity). Here I found new strength and courage and did a lot of healing. I highly recommend doing this early in life rather than trying to untrain patterns that have been in place for decades. All of this growth has been immensely impactful and I recommend that you start early in life dealing with your past or any self-doubts or trauma that you may have experienced. Support is critical regardless of the form it takes. Find those networks, community and individual cheerleaders and be open to receiving support. In order to give to others, you need to be ready.


Give



I have always been a giver. Give time, give money, give knowledge, give support, give love. I did a lot of giving in 2018. Our family supports a number of charitable organizations, such as Jack.org (young people revolutionizing mental health) and we participate in the annual event Everesting to challenge our own mind and body. We also give to the United Way and many causes at Cullen's school. And I love Me to We (a purchase of Rafiki bracelets made by women in Kenya also give water, food or education in other countries). Our extended family takes turn choosing a charity at Christmas time (in lieu of expensive gifts for all) and this year I chose Pathways to Education in Rexdale. We also try to exchange local or meaningful gifts that have a social giving aspect to them. I am also in a number of reciprocal mentoring relationships, and also as a Mentor. This has been a powerful way to give. The gift of giving is so good for the soul.  As long as you give to yourself as well as sometimes giving too much can burn you out. We’ve all been there, especially as women who tend to be primary caregivers. I’m happy to see this is changing in the world.


When I was with ADP Canada, our Marketing team went through an exercise using Marcus Buckingham’s Standout 2.0 approach. You complete an assessment and then determine your two core strengths and build teams focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses. My two strengths were Teacher and Provider. Now it seems to make sense. I ask "what did we learn from this?"

We interrupt this blog so I can vent about trying to figure out why my spacing and fonts, and all that Sh*t isn't working. I am not an HTML expert! And Blogger kept asking me to either Kill or Wait for the page all day... time to get this baby out! Help - maybe a good goal for 2019. So I'm giving up on perfection and posting as is. Okay back to 2018!!!



Surprises

My friend Juanita and I catching up!


As I think about all that I learned in 2018, I realize so much of it involved meeting new people and forming new relationships. I rekindled some old childhood friendships and we had a ton of belly laughs together. I continued to meet more amazing women through SheEO and a self-formed mentoring circle (a work in progress), WIBN and joined the Women’s Chamber of Commerce. I met and started with a new mentee through Futurpreneur. I spoke at the HRPA’s annual conference on Reciprocal Mentorship with Lauren (we still have an ongoing friendship and mentorship relationship) and at DisruptHR in KW on DeMentors vs. Mentors. These surprises were super and surreal - travelling to unexpected and familiar places like Grand Cayman, Arizona, Florida and closer to home in Ontario, Caledon, Prince Edward County and Hockley Valley Resort. At a retreat in Hockley Valley, I met another group of wonderful women many of whom are coached by Eleanor Beaton who is a great inspiration.


Lauren and I at TIFF
Other surprises, including trying out new activities, was a movement to include creativity. One of the beautiful things about last year was bringing the arts back into my life. I love music, and visual art and poetry.  Although I’m not an artist, I enjoy attending AGO exhibits and last year the Infinite Mirrors were gorgeous. My mentee is Diliana and her company Artichoke is going to be one to watch out for this year! I was able to attend two movies at TIFF with two wonderful friends. Art is such an important part of ourselves and many of us push it aside.



The most incredible surprise by far last year was adding a new member to our family. Our new puppy Joey (JoJo) is so precious (almost a year now!). She has added such joy and love to us and everyone she comes in contact with.

Adorable Joey at around 12 weeks old

Jeepers -- how the heck am I going to top that? I think I probably forgot a ton of stuff. Oh yeah, work and career stuff continued. It was a superb year and I can’t wait to keep going.

2019 A Year to Create

As 2019 begins I will take many of these firsts with me and continue to try, explore, to build and create.

My word of the year for 2019 is CREATE. I can’t wait to share my journey with you as the year unfolds. You are the one who creates your life. You are the one who makes choices. Create freely. Choose wisely. Live an amazing life. It is never too late to make it happen!

May 2019 bring all that your heart desires. And may you create all that your heart desires.

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