What Invincible Means to Me

Another Step On My Journey From Invisible To Invincible

Over the past several years, I’ve been enjoying my business and my life immensely. I felt like I had hit my stride in my business, my health and my life recently. I’ve been coaching and training more people and loving every moment. I've enjoyed watching my clients transform right before my eyes. I’ve lost about 75 pounds and find it much easier to move and I’m enjoying being able to purchase clothes off the rack in regular sized stores. Every day I look at my husband and fell more and more in love with him. All was going really well.

And then it happened....

I heard the dreaded words. “The results of the biopsy are positive. You have a cancerous lump. You have breast cancer.”

Whoosh. The breath came out of me all at once. I was shocked and yet a small part of me was prepared. You see, I have a history of breast cancer on my mother’s side. My grandmother died of breast cancer in 1943, my mom’s sister had breast cancer in the 1970’s and died shortly after she had a mastectomy and my mother had a lumpectomy when she was in her 60’s. By the way, Mom is still alive and doing great.

So, I’ve been diligently going for a mammogram every year. This is how they saw the lump and how I was diagnosed so quickly.

I had surgery on April 9th and they removed a 1.3 cm mass and 3 lymph nodes. All the margins are clear and the 3 lymph nodes were negative. All good news.

Why am I telling you all this?

Many of you have heard me speak about my journey of moving from Invisible to Invincible. It’s the title of my talk and my book.

My natural tendency is to slip into being invisible. When something like this happens, it’s natural to want to turn inwards and hide. Sometimes, you want to pretend it’s not happening. While, I am good at putting on a mask to the outside world and pretending that all is well, I realize that this is not transparent and not in integrity. So, I’ve decided to “open my kimono” and share my journey with you.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve definitely felt more invincible in my mindset and outlook on many aspects of my life. The dictionary definition of invincible is “to be impervious.” I can tell you that I don’t believe that we can nor should we be impervious. It wasn’t until after I met with the surgeon and he shared that all my results were negative that I could fully wrap my hands around the feeling of invincible.

Being invincible to me, is about handling negative news and being able to bounce back up. It’s about your mental strength and having the fortitude to know when you need to rely on others and when to stand tall.

Over the past several months, I have leaned on many people to help me stand tall when I need to and whose shoulders I’ve needed when tears came. I’m blessed to have a loving and supportive husband, family and friends.

A friend of mine went through her journey of breast cancer exactly one year before I did. She told me that we just have some larger steps to climb. Of course, they’re pink. I credit the amount of therapy, training and positive outlook that continue to help me climb these big steps every day.

The Power of a Label

Recently, I was gifted with a Pandora charm with the breast cancer ribbon on one side and the word “Hope” on the other. When I received it. I cried. You see, just like the label of “battered woman” I never wanted the label of “breast cancer”. And yet, here I am. I have these two labels.

I will tell you that I have changed their meaning. I choose to believe that these experiences have happened for a reason. As my coach told me, “This is not happening to you, this is happening for you.” With that short and simple reframe, I have been able to go through this journey with an invincible lens, rather than a victim lens.

I loved that the doctors told me that they are impressed with my positive attitude. To me, this affirms that I’ve been doing all the right things by clearing up the negative emotions from my past, focusing on what I want and taking action. These are all the things I tell my clients. And, today more than ever, I practice every day.

What Helps Me

1. Play out the "what if" game to it's fullest. Talk to someone about your deepest fears and then you'll know that you can get through anything.

2. Share with your loved ones and seek support from those who have been through the journey you're on. Their strength and wisdom will inspire you.

3. Be gentle with yourself and love yourself. Count your blessings and focus on the positive all around you.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. Unfortunately, we all have a story of cancer to share. It may have affected you or a loved one. My wish for you is that you are inspired by all the stories of people who have climbed these big pink steps and kicked cancer in the butt. I know that this is what helps me every day.

Setting Boundaries

The only people who get upset about you having boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.
— Louise Hay

How many times have you heard the importance of setting strong boundaries for yourself and yet you're still resisting? Or, perhaps you've set some boundaries only to have people cross the line repeatedly.

Are you ready to set boundaries for yourself or do you believe that they are selfish? Pay attention to your answer and be honest with yourself. If it's yes, then skip down and I'll share a great formula with you to set and hold boundaries for yourself. 

If you answered no, then congratulations for being honest with yourself. Let's spend some time delving into this further. I love the quote above from Louise Hay. How does it feel to you that you when you refuse to set boundaries because you don't want to upset someone means they are benefiting from you? Simply put, they are using you. To be even more dramatic, they are draining your power. Does this change your mind about setting boundaries for yourself?

If your answer is still no, that's okay. Are you concerned about how other people (or a specific person) will feel if you set up some boundaries for yourself? Perhaps you're worried about making them mad. If the other person has been using you and draining your power for years, then, of course, they won't like it and they may not react well the first time. Here's the thing, they know that they are using you. Of course, it's not something that they will admit to readily, deep down, they know they are using you. Often their reaction is because you've changed the terms of the relationship and they don't like it. Their reaction is because you've finally stood up for yourself. Reasonable people will calm down quickly and come around to your needs. Unreasonable people may decide to go and find someone else to use. It's your decision now if you want this unreasonable person in your life.

If you are still deciding the answer is no, then I have one more thought for you. Do you enjoy having drama in your life? If you do, then the best way to keep the drama going is to not set boundaries. When you set strong and clear boundaries with communication, the drama will disappear. 

When you're ready to set strong boundaries and honour yourself, here's how to do it.

1. When someone asks you for your time or your money or your energy, the first and most important step is to realize you have a choice of answering either yes or no. People can only take from you that which you give.

If you've decided no, then tell them. Remember, "no" is a complete sentence. There is no need to explain. If you decide you do want to give a few more words, then just tell them that your focus and priorities are elsewhere and as such, the answer is no. Make sure you don't apologize, there is no need to say sorry.

2. If you've decided you want to give to them, then you need to ask yourself if you have it to give. If you don't have the time or money or energy, then you will say no. 

If you have the time, money and/or energy, then you can provide the terms of how you want to give to them. Ask yourself what you want to do and how you want to give.

For example, if you own a pickup truck and someone is asking to borrow it to move, then you let them know that they can borrow the truck on a certain day at a certain time and that it must be returned with a full tank of gas by a certain time. Reasonable people will agree to these terms. People who were hoping to use it for as long as they wanted and use your gas will be annoyed. Do you want these people in your life anyway?

3. Now it's time to outline the consequences. This is where I find so many people have the most difficult time. If someone has asked you for a favour, then they will treat your time, money and energy just like you will, right? Nope, that's not always the case. They may have other challenges and commitments to deal with and they know that you're always so accommodating, you may be the lesser of their two evils. So, make sure you objectively set up reasonable consequences if they do not honour their commitment to you. 

Going back to the example above, you would let them know that if they don't fill up the tank with gas or there is damage to the truck, you will not lend them anything ever again. 

4. Here's the really important part. You MUST stick to the consequences. If they don't honour your boundaries, then you must hold the line. This is where I observe people waffling. If you waffle here, then you'll find setting boundaries a challenge every time. 

The first time you set a boundary is the most difficult. It becomes easier and easier every time you do it.

Start with an easy boundary and work your way up. You can do this. Your life will change for the better. 

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Information & Implementation

Do you ever have one of those moments when someone says something so simple and yet so profound it rings in your brain for days after?

This week I was in a meeting and someone whom I respect greatly for their success in their business said this:

"Information doesn't grow your business;

implementation does." 

In that moment of clarity, I could see how so many entrepreneurs can get stuck in overwhelm and information overload.

Today, there is so much information that is available so easily and so inexpensively. Sometimes, even for free. Because of the vast quantity of information available at our fingertips, so many entrepreneurs swirl in their desire for more information and more knowledge. 

This desire for more information creates a feeling of inadequacy and feeds into the dreaded imposter syndrome. 

While some information is helpful, information overload without implementation will lead to feelings of overwhelm. It's a simple and very avoidable process.

So, what do you do to overcome this?

Take Action! Implement!

It's more important to take action and implement something than it is to get all the information you'll ever need before you act. 

I love the analogy of sailing. (I love being on the water on a sunny day.) Think of a sailboat. When it's tied up to the dock, it is impossible to steer. When you untie the sailboat and start to move, it's simple to correct your course because you are moving. 

So, next time you catch yourself wanting more and more and more information, think of steering the sailboat. Take action and start to sail. It's easier to course correct once you're moving than it is to steer while the boat is tied up.

What have you been putting off implementing? 

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Do You Feel Like You're Missing Something?

Do you believe that if you were just smarter or faster or just something that you could have more success in your business?

Did you miss school that day in grade two when they gave every child the key to success in life?

Years ago I read an article in which the author stated that she went through life believing that she had missed receiving the manual on life that they handed every other child but her in grade two because she was home sick that day. Do you feel like you missed out on receiving that life manual? I know that I felt this way for years. 

I spent so many years wondering what was wrong with me. I wasted so much time worrying what everyone else thought of me. When I think of the time and energy that I wasted I just cringe. 

If you too feel this way, I'll share the secrets that I've discovered to help you to move out of this negative spiral.

1. Know Yourself

Spend time getting to know and understand who you are. You can do this by taking the many assessments that are available free online. I'm not talking about the cute little social media quizzes. I'm talking about assessments that are credible and have scientific analysis behind them. Then, reflect on what the assessments tell you about yourself. Go inside and see if they are true.

2. Ask for Feedback

Ask your loved ones for feedback. Ask past clients and colleagues to share what makes you remarkable. Their answers will delight and surprise you. Having said that, you want to watch out for "Perception is Projection". This is when the person giving you feedback tells you something negative that you know in your heart is not true about you. When this happens, it's because it's actually something out of balance in the person giving you feedback and it's not about you. So practice discernment.

3. Get Involved in a Community of Like Minded People

When you spend time with others who think like you do, you feel less alone and more confident in what you're doing, saying and thinking. You'll also love that these people will lift you higher than you can on your own. You may decide to join a group of volunteers or a networking group. Just get involved with others who think like you.

4. Hire a Coach or a Mentor

Of course, I'm going to tell you to hire a coach or a mentor. This was what made the biggest difference for me in my business. Just make sure that you like and respect your coach or mentor. As for testimonials before you hire them and make sure that they do what they promise. Even more helpful for you will be finding a coach who leads a community of like-minded people that you can connect with.

So, what action will you take today?

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Pink Clarity

My favourite colour is orange.

All my life, I’ve loved the vividness and energy of the colour orange. And yet, I’m known for my passion for pink. My brand is hot pink, my networking group is called Pinkpreneurs. Today, I get a lot of joy and energy from pink. As I sit here writing, I can see pops of pink all around my desk and I even chose to wear a pink top today.

Today, I have people whom I have not heard from in a while, send me a quick note and picture and say that they thought of me when they saw something pink.

It’s a lot of fun being associated with the colour pink today.

What’s really fascinating to me is that ten years ago, I would never have associated myself with the colour and energy of pink.

It was other people in my life who pointed out how much I loved pink. When I met my husband on a blind date I was wearing my favourite pink sweater and my pink running shoes. Later, when we were together, and I was deciding on the colour of a product or clothing article that I wanted, I would reach for the orange item and he would always say, “get the pink one”. I remember the first time he said this, that I had a negative reaction to that. I don’t want the pink one, I would think to myself. I couldn’t figure out why he kept telling me to get the pink one.

Pink Picture.jpg

"It had to be Pink..."

A year or so later, a dear friend of mine commissioned a beautiful painting for me. She told me as I opened it that she didn’t know why, but her intuition told her to tell the artist to paint me a pink picture. At the time, my home was decorated with bright red and fresh green walls. I remember being touched and delighted to receive this beautiful painting and again wondering why the heck the people closest to me kept telling me to buy the pink ones and giving me pink gifts.

I was working with my first business coach and mentor in 2011 and she said something that was so profound and so helpful, that I’ve shared it with my clients repeatedly over the years. She told me that “you can’t see what’s written on the outside of your box” and therefore everyone needs a coach. It made so much sense to me. As I was coaching my clients, listening to their words and watching their actions, I could clearly see what was written on their box. It was so obvious and clear to me. I would reflect it back to them and they thought I was an absolute genius. I have to tell you this was very gratifying at the time.

Then, I looked at myself. I realized that the people closest to me were reflecting back to me what was painted all over the outside of my box. I love the colour and energy of pink. I looked at my wardrobe and could create a whole section of pink clothes and shoes. That’s when I knew that I loved pink as much, if not more than orange. Orange will always have a special place in my heart, but pink now takes up more space.

Do you have people in your life who are continually telling you something about yourself? Are you paying attention or are you ignoring them? You’ll know the truth of what they tell you by going inside and checking in to determine if it feels right, you’ll see if it rings true.

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