Who Inspires You To Be More Of Who You Want To Be?

She calls me Pretty. I call her Pretty too. We don’t know each other’s names but have silently admired each other for over eight years since we first saw each other periodically at the gym. I admire her gorgeous, lean, sculpted muscular body – she is the envy of every woman who works out at the gym. 8 years ago she looked aggressive and I felt intimidated by that strength and aggression she exuded. Unknown to me, she wanted to like me – calm (as she says).

I  started working out again at the gym and so we meet each other…same gym after 8 years! Now, we talk to each other. She is calm. She smiles at me and my intimidation of her melts away. She looks happy. I want to look like her – sculpted and tough! I am curious about her and asked her about life. She shares with me that she is a single mom and raised 4 boys who are all young adults now. She told me that working out regularly kept her sane in the midst her own problems. She told me that 12 years ago, she was over 200 lbs and people teased her about her weight. She left an abusive relationship 10 years ago and she decided to get in shape.  She has kept her routine for 10 years – running and doing weights 5 times a week. She models for a magazine, is a certified hairdresser and a security guard. She loves the combination of things she does and does not feel that she has to choose only one career path.

“I am pretty…” she teases herself as she looks into the mirror. “I am 49. I have to take care of myself – as I get older, I realize more and more, my health is all I have… I am pretty…” I am amused by her teasing herself. She slips on very simple but sexy clothes. When she is dressed she looks 20 years younger. She is not the typical image of “Pretty” but somehow, the way she says it, she OWNS it! She OWNS who she is.

“You are pretty too,” she teases me too. “When you work out, you get even prettier!” She has this gorgeous smile!

It is a nice exchange. As we shared our own life journeys and our impression of each other 8 years ago, we both laughed at our own judgements of each other. She looked aggressive back then because she was fighting trying to save herself and her kids. She was unaware that she left that aggressive impression on others.

It is always interesting to mw how our body language communicated our thoughts without our awareness.

I look forward to seeing her at the gym. When she runs next to me on the treadmill, I push myself harder. I realize that I have “wishy-washy” goals about weight loss and working out but I am not consistent. Pretty makes me think of being consistent and keeping at something, even when I don’t feel like it. We laugh at each other when we both arrive at the gym and express how we did not feel like coming. She says “I come because I know I will feel prettier when I am finished.”

Everyday she reminds me that I look prettier after my workout. She looks prettier too. Exercise has that calming effect on our bodies….I feel prettier!

Maybe one day we will get to know each other’s names. For now, just thinking of myself and her as Pretty, pretty much does it for me.

Who inspires you to reach for more of what you want to be in your life? Sometimes, our heroes are the ordinary people in our midst.

TuneIn to see the support system  that you attract  to yourself. StepUp to be a support for someone who needs you.

Love,
Magdalene

The Power Of A Cup Of Tea…

She walked into the meeting room and offered us a cup of tea. She greeted us with a friendly smile and spoke with a calm and soothing voice. As I sipped the tea from the tall and beautifully decorated mug, my mind lingered, thinking of the small gestures that we engage in to add pleasurable moments when we meet with others – be it at home or at work. Just holding the beautiful mug was a treat – that someone cared enough to pick mugs that were beautiful to look at and to hold. Was this a company policy that she offered the tea? Was it part of her job? Was it her own initiative?

How many of us even notice the small gestures that others make to make us feel comfortable?

Woman Holding Decorative Tray with Espresso Cups

Although she works in an administrative role, she sees her job in a bigger capacity. She is the face of the company. She knows that when meetings are taking place, people are sometimes tense. She knows that sometimes executives are stressed from the day-to-day rigours of decision-making and tight schedules. Most importantly, she knows that if people feel special and are relaxed, there is a greater chance of a productive meeting which can generate new ideas, business opportunities and partnerships. This type of attitude is an example of authentic leadership – the type of leadership which does not need a title or position to perform. She adds value to the company and naturally makes herself a valuable employee.

As I write this blog, I think of small things I have seen in offices which adds positive energy. For example, I know a social worker who always has a bowl of dried fruit and nuts and fresh fruit for her visitors, most of whom are moms and colleagues. As her visitors munch on the fruit, it creates a feeling of trust and relaxation which provides a safe space for sharing. Recently, one of my staff brought a bowl of organic chocolate cranberries to our team meeting. It was a wonderful treat during the meeting. At our organizational bi-weekly meetings, someone is always generous enough to bring in cake or cookies – something easy to munch on. Just taking an extra minute to ask the other person “How are you?” genuinely and to genuinely listen to the answer, can add a burst of care that can quickly strengthen relationships.

It takes a little effort to merge small gestures of kindness and care into our daily work. However, if done in a true spirit of generosity, those small gestures can infuse positive energy and reduce stress in our work environments and homes. Just imagine the power of a simple cup of tea shared in a true spirit of partnership!

Little does this woman know that she left such a strong impression on my mind, that if I ever have the need to hire someone in a similar role, I will be considering her!

TuneIn to the impression that you leave on others or others leave on you. StepUp to incorporate small gestures in your daily routine that can bring peace, calm, care, compassion and a genuine feeling of concern for others.

Love,
Magdalene

How To Destroy Opportunities That Can Give Us A Career Break, A Better Relationship….

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It is easy to destroy opportunities that could give us a great career break, a promotion or a better chance at having a great relationship with a co-worker, friend, neighbour, child or partner. Even though much of world has gone digital, the human connection is still at the heart beat of making or breaking us. I take a deep interest in observing human interaction around me and very often I see situations that I think could have been dealt with differently, if only we are a bit more aware. Sometimes we think that how we behave at home is different from work but I think it is hard to separate the core of who we are. A happy person will carry that feeling of happiness everywhere they are. An angry person will carry the energy of anger whereever they are, even if they are dressed in the best garments.

From a soul perspective, I know that our souls are longing for expansion, advancement and to be filled with light. It longs to feel good about what we do on a day to day basis.

This list is not inexhaustible but here are a few things that can make or break the deal:

a) Not paying attention to who has influence and power to make or break you.

A few years ago, in the middle of a work crisis, a wise older woman wrapped her arms around me and said, “Magdalene, pay attention to every single person in the company. Acknowledge the smallest worker, for he or she has influence which is bigger than you may realize”. How true that was! Shortly afterwards, the person who opened the door to a specific opportunity for me was the cleaner who got to know more about me and was connected to the head of another organization who was looking for a person with my skill set. I was very surprised at the turn of events in this specific case. Sometimes we think that only our boss has the power to promote us – WRONG! Think of all the people who can talk to your boss or partner or child about you! I have seen cases where so much negative information was fed to the decision maker that it ruined any possibility of promotion for the worker, even when he had all the skills and could do the job. I have also seen people get promoted simply because others spoke about them in such a positive way. The more people who you have good relationships with – the better!

b) Lack of self-awareness:

Sometimes we have no idea of how our actions, body language, words and general energy comes across. I once interviewed a woman who looked so tired that even though she had an impressive resume and I believed that she could do the job, her low energy level simply drained me. Another time, someone else was so bubbly and excited that she too drained me because it was hard to keep up with her extremely high energy. I was once interviewed and did not get the job because I came across as being too confident! Since then I have learnt how to be a bit more humble and to also match my environment so that I fit in and not to stand out in the “wrong” way. Now, from a cross cultural perspective, this is very sentitive as behaviours from one country may be completely misunderstood by another country. It is important to educate yourself about other cultures, ask lots of questions if you are not sure of how you come across and be observant about how business is conducted around you.

c) Insecurities:

People who are insecure in themselves feel that others are constantly against them or attacking them. This results in a constant inner battle which makes them guard against others to the destruction of establishing productive and positive relationships. If you are constantly complaining about everyone or feeling attacked by others, it is likely that you need to do something different to change that around. Exhibiting “smart-ass” behaviours, making rude remarks or making statements that put another person down sets a RED alarm, makes others feel inadequate and immediately begins an upspoken “battle”. I recently watched one person rolled her eyes and exchanged a dirty look with someone else, while their colleague was speaking and even though it was not targeted at me, I immediately developed a dislike for the person’s behaviour. I could not help but wonder if I worked with these people, whether I would be treated in a similar way.

d) Lack of gratitude for the simplest to the grandest things:

By nature, human being like to be appreciated and the more we can say “thank you” to others, the more we attract positive energy our way. By simply not acknowledging the good in others, we diminish the light around our own soul. Find ways to show your gratitude to others. Send a card, call to express your sentiment, send an e-mail, treat a person to lunch or coffee, buy a small gift… I try to express gratitude to at least one person each day and it always creates an uplifting energy!

Imagine if each one of us took individual responsibility to touch everything we do with gratitude, generosity, good intentions, love and sincerity. The best part of it all, is that the moment we become aware of the behaviours that can cause destruction in our lives, we have the power to change it around. Our soul loves nothing more but to expand and grow in a positive light.

TuneIn to what is causing destruction in your life and StepUp to make the change required to attract amazing opportunities.

Love,
Magdalene

Do you deliver 70% or 100%?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Don’t expect others to do things exactly as you would do it yourself. If you can deliver at least 70%, it is o.k.” These were the words of my mentor advising me on how to deal with a project several years ago.

Why was 70% o.k for him? It was not good enough for me. At that time, I had high expectations of myself and others plus the need to control the results of the project which added additional stress on my mind and the team. I couldn’t understand why others could not put as much effort in getting things done as I was.

Wisdom kicked in over the years. I have lost several committed friends to illness and death who wished they had a more balanced approach and had spent more time enjoying the journey of life. I still aim high but I know that most importantly when managing projects and my life in general, each person involved can make or break the targeted results. For excellent execution, 80% of problems are solved by simply having the right people in the first place who also understand the true value of a team and how to balance each other. While we all want our visions to materialize perfectly, we need to consider other factors that life throws at us and continuously work at risk management. My mentor’s suggestion for delivering at least 70% of my results allows me to cater to the days that someone is ill; a few moments to enjoy and celebrate something special; a few moments to breathe a little better; a few moments to connect at a deeper level with someone; a few moments in between to simply let life lead me down paths I would not think about before. 70% allows me a few moments do nothing sometimes.

My 70% helps me to manage my expectations around other human beings in my path and acknowledge that they too are their own soul journeys with their dreams and challenges. Managing these expectations significantly reduces my stress level which increases my ability to manage everything around me better. Surprisingly, my 70% is becoming a restful and enjoyable 90% of living life generously, gracefully and with a sense of well-being. I actually prefer to live life with this balance than the stressful drive to getting things done perfectly well. Sometimes, we get to 100% with the least effort simply because a space has been created to be at ease with each other and to feel happy. When expectations are managed, we feel happier and life opens up more and more opportunities for us to live in this ideal space of well-being.

What is your % in meeting your life/soul deliverables? If going for a full 100% works for you, don’t limit yourself. We all have different approaches to work/life balance. TuneIn to how you balance your life and StepUp to create a space of well-being around you and those around you.

Love,
Magdalene

Valentine’s Day – How Will You Celebrate It?

?????????????????????????????????????????????? Valentine’s Day! Hummmm, how do I celebrate it? As you read this, imagine this bouquet coming straight to you from me, with all the love in my heart. You can accept it and keep it or you can accept it and give it to someone you love!

The last year has been a bit sticky for Sara and Hucks relationship because of unfulfilled expectations last Valentine’s Day. He gave her a vacuum for Valentine’s Day and although she uses it every single day, she has not forgiven him for not celebrating Valentine’s Day properly. He is baffled – simply does not get how a vacuum cleaner was not a proper gift! Sara on the other hand organized a spa day for the two of them which he had no interest in. She ended up doing it by herself and felt and quite loverless at the spa.

What did she really want for Valentine’s Day?

Red roses, wine, candles, perfume, to be taken out for a romantic dinner, some more time cuddling and making love, dancing to some sweet lovers music, a spa day! She wanted to be romanced. Guys – Take note – I don’t think you can ever go wrong with roses and chocolates, especially if you send them to her workplace. (so I have been told)

What did he really want?

Nothing for himself but he wanted to give her something useful that would last for a long time so she would always remember it… and of course some great sex. He thinks the Valentine’s Day “thing” is just too much! Ladies – Take Note – Intimacy is the way to a man’s Valentines’ Night. (so I have been told!)

When you analyze it more logically – it seems almost senseless that unfulfilled expectations in one day could have such an impact on their relationship for the entire year. They both did something for each other – it is just that they did not meet each other’s expectations. A vacuum cleaner is 100 times more expensive that a dozen roses and a 1000 times more useful! How could someone not grab it and be ecstatic! How could Huck not know his wife would love some flowers instead? A day at the spa is quite heavenly just thinking about it but Huck does not like his body being touched by anyone except his wife. How could Sara not know that?

How do we manage each other’s expectation around sensitive matters like this? Maybe we should have a conversation instead of assuming we know what will turn on the other person?

There is quite a hype around those celebrations that it creates expectations for fairy tales that can’t always happen – and when the fairy tales don’t happen, someone gets disappointed. What breaks a person’s heart is not feeling “thought about in a special way” and if you don’t know your partner/spouse well enough, you may not hit the target. When we do not feel validated or special, it manifests into other “unspoken” problems.

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon – TuneIn and StepUp to your partner’s desires and do something that will mean something special for him/her. Give, not what YOU think is a useful thing but rather what represents a simple gesture of romance that you know will make him/her feel special. The “Feeling Special” part is the key! Sometimes, just a simple evening walk or a note/card to say “I love you”,taking her/him out for lunch, adds an extra light touch to the relationship. I used to cut hearts, write a message on it and pin it to my husband’s shirt and to the kid’s school uniforms in the morning as they left the house. They all loved it.

Living in Canada, I can see the cultural issues that can arise from these celebrations, as Valentine’s Day is not celebrated in every country or culture. My simple but not necessarily correct view is to acknowledge it as an opportunity to celebrate love and create another beautiful memory for our soul journey. Who does not want to be loved? Who does not want to add more joy to his /her partner’s/loved ones lives? And guess what – it is not all about lovers! Celebrate it with your kids, family, girlfriends, guy friends,colleagues, parents – it all about spreading love and adding a bit more flavour to what could be another ordinary day! I will be baking a heart-shaped cake for my family and we will have a wonderful dessert. I can’t wait!

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? How do you celebrate it? What is your best and worst memories? Do share with us.

Here are a couple of articles about Valentine’s Day gift ideas and saying “I love You” without words, which I enjoyed reading.

http://www.rd.com/advice/10-great-valentines-day-gifts/ http://www.rd.com/advice/relationships/10-ways-to-say-i-love-you-without-words/?obref=obinsite

Plan a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Maybe it does not have to be a day – why not a week of giving love to as many people as you can! It will all come back to you…

Love, Magdalene

“I Am Off To Travel Across The World” – Her Dream Came True!

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“I am off to travel across the world with my husband and two sons,” she told me excitedly. She explained how the last few weeks had been hectic as they tried to rent their home, arrange plane tickets and accommodation and all the logistics required for the trip across several continents.

Her story intrigued me. “What inspired this great plan?” I asked. I had just met this woman a few hours before and we connected instantly. We were having lunch together and this came up because she was explaining why she could not take part in one of our work initiatives.

“We have planned for the last two years,” she said. “It has taken a bit of savings – I worked an extra evening job – but it is happening.” She told me that they had been learning Spanish as well and learning about some of the various cultures that they would be experiencing.

Her story was a true Valentine story of love at first sight. She met her husband at a bar several years ago and he asked her what her dream wish was. She told him that she wanted to travel across the entire world. He told her right there and then that he would make it happen if she married him. She laughed at him at first because she had just met him and thought he was joking. They got married three months later and travelling has been a huge part of how they chose to live their lives.

This story affirms that we have the capacity and intuition to make important life decisions quickly if we are TunedIn to who we are and what we want. There are several myths about life that dictate responses to our situations and we must be aware of those myths that hold us back. For example, “Do not talk to strangers” – Well everyone starts off being a stranger. I met some of the greatest people in my life right off the streets as strangers. We attract similar energies to our own regardless of where we are. Another myth is “It takes time to get to know someone” -I think we already know all to know about someone within seconds of meeting them. Time only confirms more specific things about this first gut feeling which most of us ignore because we have no evidence to prove why we would be drawn or not drawn to someone.

What is your dream wish? Can you say it out loud?

How do you choose to live your life?

Is the life you are living now the one of choice or the one you think you have to live because there is no other way?

If a stranger came off the street and could make that dream wish come true for you, would you grab the opportunity and look at it as a miracle? Or would you start doubting and think that the stranger has ulterior motives – that this is too good to be true? Look back at your life and see how you have embraced the “illogical” things that have happened to you and see if you also missed a great opportunity because you did not have the courage to act quickly.

Our heartfelt dreams inspire the way we chose to live our lives. This woman had a dream to travel the world, she met a partner with the same interest; they chose to live a lifestyle of travelling and then started propelling their dream forward by acting on it.

Maybe more of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to dream and to OWN our dreams. When the dream ignites our soul, life presents the opportunities to make them come true. We too, must have the courage to TuneIn to those opportunities, StepUp to take our own risks… and live our dreams.

Revisit your dreams and dream wish – some dreams die simply because we don’t OWN them and are not willing to take a risk.

Love,
Magdalene