Graduation day revisited… it’s never too late for your dreams!

4 Jun wpid-img_381102180266.jpeg

I graduated from mechanical  engineering many moons ago with the wide-eyed dreams of youth backed by a zest for the future and a century’s worth of wishful thinking.  For the next few years, life was a dream… jobs were plentiful,  I was a newlywed and new mother,  and even though finances were precarious (my husband went back to university to pursue a new career in a new city when my daughter was 4 months old) I had nothing but optimism for the future ahead.  What was woefully missing, and I never realized it, was a sense of self (as in self-acceptance, pride and self-love.)  While my business sense of self was intact, my personal worth and persona was based on the views of parents, husband and friends. As such, I found happiness only when others accepted me and I was making them happy.

Fast forward to today with grown children,  grandchildren, years of experience, age and financial uncertainty.  Jobs in my niche are scarce, ageism is rampant, savings are small and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to retire… hardly the image of success according to the “others” in my past, BUT, that’s all secondary to the fact that I’m truly happy.

Life has had many twists and turns, highs and lows, successes and failures, and I  finally realize that all of the external success and acceptance by others in my life was a red herring.  Happiness comes with self-acceptance and self-love, and without those, happiness is fleeting. Certainly love, parenting, friends, adventure, money and other things are important,  but not when it comes at the expense or with the exclusion of self.

Good things from others in my life are the icing on the cake, but the cake is a foundation of self-love and self-acceptance.

Today as I see so many celebratory posts about parents and graduates, I find that I am revisiting, with new eyes, the dreams and hopes of graduation.  The difference this time is that the hopes and dreams are based on being in love with myself first… and others second.

I’ve included below some of my favorite motivation/graduation style sayings. They resonate with me and I hope that a few will do so with you – no matter where you are in life and in love.  Celebrate who YOU are and reach for the stars!









Is it just me or do we thrive on missed connections?

21 Aug

I’m old school and seemingly a dinosaur today…  I like intelligent one-on-one conversations, phone calls that connect, seeing people in person, in other words, connecting on a personal level.  Does anyone else still value these things?

Two-way communication used to be so much easier. I don’t know about you, but I’m wondering what’s happened to make communication as difficult and complicated as it is today.

Today’s frenzied, busy busy world of over committed parental family units, the quest for maximum productivity, and cramming more work into every day, is, in many ways disconcerting.

Certainly technology makes instant contact a possibility, but it is also more screened and more pretentious than ever before.  It is common place to send emails five or six times before you get a response. Text threads that are initiated by another abruptly stop without reason, seldom to be picked up again. Voicemails go unattended and unreturned.

Is not communicating the new societal norm?

As an extrovert who works from home without the support of an office group, and as a single female whose friends have younger children and busy lives, I find that the smarter our phones and technology become, the dumber our relationships become.

I like people and it gives me energy when the connections are genuine, but I’m finding so many misinterpretations and disconnects today. I am a happy, communicative, upbeat person who values relationships but I’m feeling a bit frustrated.

Here’s some examples of why:

– friends/family send and receive multiple texts then simply stop mid-conversation, despite further attempts to continue.  Sometimes the conversation never picks up again despite retries. Interruptions are inevitable, but sometimes contact lapses for days;
– male friends text me on a moment’s notice on a Fri or Sat to go out on a date and become offended when I say I’ve already made plans. Often they never ask again or refuse to ask me in advance and do the last minute texts again and again;
– friends won’t pick up the phone and despite voicemail, are too busy to call back, even about mutual plans;
– meeting times are fluid and people seldom call to say they’ll be late. Some arrive (if at all)  consistently 2 hours after the pre-arranged meeting time (even if they’ve set it). When they do sour up, the cir a litany of things they had to do first;
-emails to business associates go unanswered despite clear subject lines that they created.  Sometimes the urgency of the topic is critical (high) but it doesn’t change their (lack of,) response. Certainly priorities change, but there is no follow-up to let others


– misconstrued texts that incur offense, disdain or anger based on assumed meaning (I’m as guilty as any in misinterpreting texts.) Then when time passes between texts, the emotion escalates unnecessarily. People seem reluctant to pick up the phone to clarify what they think they (mis)understand;
– plans fall flat or change without notice and the other person neglects to get in touch.  To  compensate for this, I routinely make plans to either do something I can do alone (when others cancel) or make backup plans for no shows (or they find something better to do);
– conversations end because a device dies and there’s no charger around. I’ve made plans to meet up with friends where I’m essentially stood-up because the other’s phone died and they didn’t attempt to find me;
– people bring tablets or smart phones and then do emails or Facebook when we’re out in groups (not posting pictures or checking in.) One friend ignored me entirely one night (on his day off) because he said his work was “blowing up” and he was buried in his smart phone doing emails;
– many more examples of non-connection…


Is the world changing, am I too tolerant (or sensitive) of others, or is it something else? What is your experience communicating today?

For me, I’m happier than I’ve ever been before, but (mis) communication seems to translate into others not caring (at least that’s what I was taught.)


Hope you have an uplifting week of great connections and wondrous experiences.


GE was wrong, puppies and cartoons bring good things to life!

17 Jun

Marketers throughout the world know how to make money and gain attention – involve puppies (or cute kittens) or make people laugh (through cartoons) and you can move a nation.

YouTube videos that go viral usually center around the cuteness factor (puppies, kittens, adorable babies or wild animals doing cute things,) or hilarity (which can be country specific…)  And, even more so, when our emotions can be stirred about either one, a mass outpouring can occur.  I just realized this today, when a news story was aired about a childhood cartoon character’s demise (Calvin of Calvin and Hobbs.)

In life, we want to feel connected, to be accepted, to be happy in our human experience, whether through real-life-human contact or stories about it.

Here’s a couple of examples…

What stirs YOUR emotions today?

I’ll bet it has nothing to do with technology or TV, but rather human relationships, puppies (or kittens) or childhood memories.

Am I right, or out to lunch?

I learned today, and I believe, it’s puppies, cartoons, and living that bring good things to life!

Have a great day!



The Grand Illusion of online… Who are We?

12 Jun

Humanity has always struggled with the question:  Who am I and where do I fit in the world?

100 years ago, this was easily answered – identity was based on social status (rich or poor), infamy (Bonnie-and-Clyde), profession (you’re the town doctor/undertaker/barman), or  relationship (you’re so-and-so’s mother/father/sister/wife/brother/husband/friend/lover, etc.)

Today, with the “Grand illusion of online connectivity,”

it’s so much harder to figure out what the world thinks of us.  You might say, who cares?, but no one, outside of hermits living in complete isolation in the woods, can truly say that outside opinions don’t affect their well-being.

In our online, connected social/not-so-social, 24 x 7 world, we are infinitely judged by everyone for anything we post/blog/utter/comment online.  I say “infinitely” because once words are pressed into digital media (texts, posts, blogs, comments, emails, etc.) there is a permanent, accessible record.

And judged we are – 24 x 7 – no matter if we recant, remove, erase the words, our persona online becomes what others perceive us to be.  We are judged by people we may never meet, by people in other countries, by people who gain a snippet of our life as we allow them to see online, and our image of ourselves can be forever altered.

I’ve thought about this… Facebook reaches over a billion members worldwide.  People of every facet of global society are on Facebook and pass judgment based on the two-dimensional words, photos, friend lists, and associations we make (our likes, dislikes, comments, etc.):

fb stats





Online affects kids AND adults…

Who we are and how others view us is critical to both kids (who are finding their way in the world based on social media, YouTube videos, online comments, etc.) AND adults.  I see this as a looming crisis as we, the civilized 1st world, pretend doesn’t matter.  We comfort ourselves by saying that our kids are connected and safe and loved when we give technology gifts instead of spending our time and energy connecting with them one-on-one.

Our news media is filled with reports of cyber-bullying and intimidation with sometimes dire results (depression and even death, sadly.)  Yet, others profess that online friendships have rescued their lives (the infirm and home bound.)  Ultimately, time will tell what a generation of children raised mostly online will give us.  (Hopefully they will be able to talk and connect to each other as human beings!)


I’m connected almost 24 x 7, but who am I?

I’ll be the first to admit that I spend  most of my waking hours “online.”  By that, I mean, essentially tethered by an electronic umbilical cord to my smart phone, my laptop (now), or my tablet and am constantly accessible to the world through Facebook, e-mail, text messaging, Facebook messaging, or Skype.

My professional work is home-based and on-the-road based (I teach project management and speak at conferences worldwide) – and when I work from home, I have the luxury (and the bane) of not ever having to step outside my front door, yet I find that my true identity is when I go out and interact face-to-face with other people.

I am confident and secure with who I am, yet I hear of other adults (and youngsters) who struggle to find their place in the outside world – mostly based on their online interactions. One poll stated that over 2/3 of Facebook users BLATANTLY LIE with their  posts – yet the posts are legal and have the power to be used for/against people in court!  (It goes against who I am to lie online… just saying.)

On behalf of friends (and myself), I’ve agreed to conduct a short experiment (that I’ll publish the results of) to gauge if who you think I am matches in any way who I truly am… will you take part (please?)


Who do YOU think I am (an online experiment…)

Here’s the challenge:  give me a three word description (no profanity please!) based on what you’ve read on this blog or on my other blogs or on Facebook that you think best describes me (I know I’m opening myself up by leaving it free format here.)

To make it easy, here’s a template:


Regardless of the Grand Illusion – Go Offline to really connect and stay true

I created a National Offline Day (it’s a Facebook event) as a global way to for people to reconnect with real people in your real life.

Won’t you join in?

I’m committed to reconnecting with the people in my life and my neighborhood for 12 hours – for the sake of my real-life sanity.  Let’s get back to who we really know we are… for real and in-person without the grand illusion of online personas. 🙂

Have a great week!

National Offline Day – August 3, 2014

27 May

I traveled back from London, UK to Toronto last Friday, May 16 after a week of working, and I was dismayed to read the headline article in the Daily Mail about a recent study linking heavy internet to negative outcomes for our youth (click on the image that follows or the link beneath it to read the article.)

Not that I hadn’t been hearing rumors about the negative effects of online and the lack of good, solid communication skills prevailing in North America and Europe (and not just in our young people) … I just didn’t expect the widespread results found in this latest research.

So, I’d like to declare Sunday August 3, 2014 as National Offline Day!  (Here’s the link to the Facebook event page I created:

The intention is to unplug for 12 hours from social media and be a day for families, friends, and especially children to reconnect with each other and meet people the old-fashioned way – in person!

Here’s what I propose:  Sunday August 3, 2014 from 9am to 9pm (in whatever time zone you are) commit to go offline and unplug for 12 hours!  (After 9 pm, post photos of your experience and add comments to the Facebook event.)

You can use your cell phone to MAKE CALLS only – no texting, no Facebook posts, no tweeting, no email – for 12 hours.  Spend time through direct one-on-one contact with your kids, your friends, meet new people, get in contact with your fellow human beings (or connect with the good in yourself!)

Have a picnic, a beach day, a craft brew bottle share, a bbq – anything you normally would do – but without any online exchange.  Will you support this – what do you think?

Share the idea around, and let’s just do it!  Can we make National Offline Day August 3, 2014 happen?


Here’s the article in the Daily Mail May 15, 2014 you can read for yourself, the Headline speaks volumes!

daily mail web use

While I don’t agree that the Internet CAUSES mental illness (in the same way that the internet cannot cause weak ankles, poor vision or the like) – I do agree that we have nurtured unconscious alienation from each other through “the advancements in communication” technology.

Kids are the first to suffer from a lack of physical love and words of affection – exacerbated with technology. Kids need connection, hugs, kind words of affirmation – in other words direct human contact!

That’s the reason behind National Offline Day August 3, 2014.

(Sidenote, I do agree that the internet has many positive results such as creating community among those who feel alienated in offline life, but bear with me for a moment.)

Online technology has become an excuse for poor one-on-one communication – regardless of age!

Communication experts note that messages received rely on body language and tone, with only 7% of the message getting through based on the chosen words.  With today’s instant messaging and other online forms, 100% of the message relies on words (or stupid acronyms like Laugh Out Loud – LOL.)

Let’s make a point of getting in touch with each other this one day a year (to start) and maybe create it more often too!

Have a great week (as you read this post online!  And probably were alerted to it by Facebook or Twitter… LOL!)

– Carol

Everyone can use a little “pruning”…

13 Jan

By the title above and the fact that I live in Florida, you might be led to think this post is about regularity… thankfully (at least from my viewpoint) it’s not!  It’s about making room in your life for new growth, new experiences, new insights – no matter how old you are!  In fact, today is the youngest you’ll ever be again in your life, and if you’re reading this post, it is so much better than the alternative…

It’s probably obvious to you that we’re all born into the world completely pure, unadulterated, fresh, … we are like an oak seedling just sprouted. We are ready for nourishment, sunlight and warmth (love), and ready to take on the world. For most of us at this point, life is good.

By mid-life, we’ve weathered seasons and storms and our branches bear witness to years of events.  Our heads are filled to the brim with memories of experiences, hurts, biases, judgments, opinions of right and wrong, conditions, critiques and rules — so much so that there is barely room for anything or anyone new.

oakWe find that we are now solid oak trees, each of us bearing a customized pattern of branches forged through a unique set of events, circumstances and relationships. These branches bear witness to our life experience and often form a mismatch of uneven projections shooting out in myriad directions. During warm summers (the good times in our life), these imperfections stay hidden, obscured by bountiful leaves and we can fully bask in our beauty.  When winter sets in (the less than perfect times of our life), as it invariably does, our branches and scars are exposed bare leaving us feeling vulnerable and bare.  Over the years, our “branches” build up layers of  moss and hide skeletons of dead wood – emotional baggage – that can impede our natural growth. Sometimes this buildup happens overnight (such as a lightning strike or other stressful event), but more typically it accrues over time, seemingly unnoticeable as we go about our daily routines.  That is, until something jolts us to observe that dead wood and moss impedes our  future growth.

A colleague once told me (after a tumultuous time in my life):  “You really need to prune your life – get rid of the dead branches (the toxic relationships and ways of thinking that no longer serve you) to make room for new growth.”

The analogy was “bang on” (as we say in Canada) and her advice came flooding back to me today as I read the following:

1003924_560500844040225_309166825_nIt hit me – to accomplish ANY of these things means getting rid of dead wood in our heads… taking out the rote programmed reactions and ways of thinking.  Replacing the emotional baggage and dead end thinking with considerate, thoughtful, intentional responses to life.  One at a time…

“Learn to love without condition.”  Wow, this means I need to be conscious of and lower the biases (and judgments) that lead me to love others with conditions.  (The conditions are like a wall intended to protect me from future hurt – but ultimately it limits potentially great relationships!)  I need to consciously CHOOSE to accept and simply love people as they are, without conditions, (just as I would like to have happen to me.)  This sounds like a good habit to adopt.

“Talk without bad intention.”  Sometimes I reassure myself that I already do this, but if I am brutally honest, sometimes the good intentions are skewed when I am talking to someone with whom I have an imperfect past.  If there has been some mal-intention on the part of the other (even perceived) some mal-intention back could occur.  To talk without bad intention requires me to clear my head of judgment, before I speak, so that the words come out pure and the tone is positive.  This gives the other party the chance to simply be and respond without their defenses being up.  Sounds like another good habit to practice.

“Give without any reason.”  If you’ve grown up with a scarcity mentality like I did (there’s never enough money, food, jobs, time, energy to go around), giving can end up being biased and giving ends up with some sort of expectation.  Giving without reason means letting go of the need to get anything back in return (today or any day!)  Giving without any reason, just because I can – this is another habit that will enrich my life!

And “Care for people without any expectation.”  For me, this one hinges on my childhood learning of the “Golden Rule (do unto others as you’d like them <expect them> to do unto you.)”  This learning always set me up for failure because it implied that there would be reciprocity – that kindness begets kindness, generosity begets generosity, and so on.  The reality is that when I expect (not hope) something of others, I am imposing on them MY rules/code of behavior, my background, my need to  control – and that is simply not fair.  Letting go of the dead wood that expectations bring allows me to care for others as I can, while first taking care of my own needs (first.)

Pruning the dead wood in my  life takes concentration and work to properly trim (not chop) so that I remain whole and healthy.  Too much pruning at once or in the wrong season can be worse than not.  Figuring out new habits, such as those above, is a journey to remove the old (negative) habits of judgment, bias, reaction, and reliving old hurts, and replace them with new (positive) habits of acceptance, love, response and openness.

While old habits die-hard – I realize that this old dog can learn new tricks and the added bonus is that my new life is enriched, full, and thriving!

Wishing you a great week!



Finding motivation amidst the Doldrums… Just Imagine

20 Aug

Has your life turned out exactly as you had hoped and dreamed when you were a kid?

Becoming your own cheerleaderIf you are like most people over 25 today, your life is likely a mixture of ups, downs, work you like and work you have to do, chores, children, demands and taxes.

How did life become so mundane?  What happened to the motivation and drive you once held so passionately?

The not-so-good news is that in the pursuit of happiness through working and earning an income, your dreams likely moved to the back burner and lower on the priority list.  One day at a time, work and family and obligations took over until you find yourself in the middle of an everyday, ordinary, rat race life.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be your future and you can change the course of your life beginning now.  No matter what your current life situation involves (and too often it might mean foreclosures, unemployment, isolation, lack of finances, dead-end thinking), you already have one of the most powerful inertia-overcoming tools at your disposal – your imagination!

As adults…

The imagination process often ended in college or earlier when teachers, colleagues, parents, partners and even children encouraged us to “be responsible, be serious about life, get a job and a career” and we did.

We wake up as rote rodents, spending day after day working towards someone else’s goals or marching to an internal drummer that is without a lot of creativity.  If we are in a crisis and fighting to pay for food, shelter and clothing – or if we are struggling for stability and safety in life (so many are!) – it can seem impossible to rekindle our dreams or imagine a different future.


But just imagine

what life might be like if you had a clean slate and could do it all over – what would your perfect day be like if you could be doing anything you want in 5 years?  Would you be doing the same thing as you are today?  What would your “ideal dream” life be like?  What would you spend your waking hours doing? What are the things you love to do that you would do if you didn’t need to worry about money?  What would you envision your life to be like that would make you bound out of bed with enthusiasm in the morning?

Most likely it’s been a long time (or forever) since you allowed yourself to dream your dreams.  Take time today to envision how you want to live life in 5 years, commit your imagination and your passion to the universe (or God or whatever you may believe in) and watch the universe deliver in its own time.

For me, this has worked wonders – and especially when I feel demotivated by detractors, an unfriendly work environment, or am challenged with financial strife.  Every single time I’ve envisioned a positive, productive future (with how I will feel when the future delivers!) – it has come true.  Not every detail has manifested with the timing or financial profits I requested, but often the results exceed my dreams.

For me, (and maybe for you), the key is to stay motivated in times of crisis and stress by visioning and self-encouragement.

Do I know what tomorrow will bring?

Today I have an uncertain future (nothing new!) with no solid idea of how I’m going to find my next contracts or break through into a new career path (or stay on this one but earning a better income), but I continue to envision and dream.  The past brought me speaking engagements and work in over 30 countries, friendships all over the world, and a life with beaches, wonderful weather and solid, loyal friendships.  Today I enjoy the fruits of what came about through imagination and visioning and even on the days when I feel a lack of motivation, my imaginative daydreams pull me out of the doldrums.

Just imagine where they might take you! Perhaps beyond YOUR wildest, rekindled dreams.

sPEND TIME CREATING Be well, dream big, and allow the universe with abundance to create the life you WANT!

– Carol

p.s. I LOVE these two related posts I just discovered:

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