Whether it's an Artist, Barrista, Freelance Writer, Retail Clerk, Teacher or Small Business Owner, the people I've met who work with a secret joy all have one thing in common - purpose.  They do what they do with love, for the love of it.  Money is not the driving force.  Sure, they need to pay the bills.  We all do. The satisfaction they derive from their work, however, has nothing to do with the monetary payback.  It's the thrill of the challenge.  The chance to put some good out into the world.  The opportunity to flex creative muscles, solve problems and remove a small piece of burden from another's day.    They choose to see what they do as having meaning and, because of that, work transforms into a meaningful experience.

That being said, I thought we should take the time to review a few awesome quotes to inspire us.  To let us know that we are not alone.  There are more than just a few of us that believe that work has value and can be more than the exchange of time and money.  

Here we go!

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of the creative effort. 
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

I believe you are your work.  Don't trade the stuff of your life, time, for nothing more than dollars.  That's a rotten bargain.
- Rita Mae Brown

Trust not what inspires other members of society to choose a career.  Trust what inspires you.
- The Lazy Person's Guide to Success

One must work and dare if one really wants to live.
- Vincent van Gogh

Never work just for money or for power  They won't save your soul or help you sleep at night.
- Marian Wright Edelman

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
- George Bernard Shaw

The belief that you can have a meaningful career is the first step to finding one.
- Sean Aiken (Author/Creator - One Week Job Project)

There is no end.  There is no beginning.  There is only the infinite passion of life.
- Federico Fellini

What is money?  A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.
- Bob Dylan

Hard work is painful when life is devoid of purpose. But when you live for something greater than yourself and the gratification of your own ego, then hard work becomes a labor of love. 
Steve Pavlina

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
John R. Wooden

The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else.  The driving force of a career must come from the individual.  Remember:  Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!
- Earl Nightingale

There you have it my friends.  Wishing you a day filled with inspired action and empowered choices!

Sharing the journey,

Image by pixtawan


We choose to go...not because it is easy, but because it is hard.  Because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills.  Because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Since the goal is to provide information and inspiration, I thought I would pause this week so we can take a better look at what we've learned so far. As I collect feedback and prepare to share these stories, I've discovered some major themes when it comes to working with love:  

  • be prepared to work hard (maybe even harder than you've ever worked)
  • get comfortable with being uncomfortable (you'll have to push yourself to try new things)
  • recognize that there are no guarantees (it's all on you - make peace with that) 

So why would someone choose to do this?  Don't we all want an easy ride? NOT. AT. ALL.  In fact, I believe the the desire for easy is a myth.  As I've stated in the past, boredom is my kryptonite and I don't believe I'm alone.  

While we don't desire hardship, we do crave challenge.  Why? Challenge provides purpose.  To work hard for something is to have a purpose to your day and, ultimately, your life.  The most miserable people I've come across in my work are the disengaged.  You know them. The people who look for ways to put in their time while only contributing the bare minimum.  I feel sad for these people.  Who wants to spend the precious hours of one's life caring about and contributing to nothing?  Just showing up is not enough.  It's a waste and, if we're all honest, it feels terrible.  Being of value and feeling you matter is essential to your well being.  It's no wonder mental health has become such a big issue in the workplace.  That, my friends, is a whole other discussion...

If you haven't had a chance to check out any of the interviews, you may want to take a peak at the following:

Lise Fiola

Balancing family, creativity and business ownership

                                       The life of a REAL working musician

Making the leap to freelance work and going back to school in your 30's

Have no fear my friends - more stories are on their way.  In fact, with so many wonderful stories to tell, there are barely enough hours in the day!  The people and the possibilities seem wonderfully endless.  With this in mind, I'm confident that one day I'll be sharing your story in this very place.    

Until we meet,

Image by siraphat


"The myth of your city becomes your city."

The above quote is one of my favourites from TEDxManitoba yesterday.  In fact, for me, that one quote summed up the entire day.  Let me explain...

As a child I remember feeling that Winnipeg was, well, quite average.  Boring actually.  For years I dreamed of the life that was waiting for me outside the confines of lame, old, have-not, prairie province Winnipeg.  Toronto, New York, London - this is where the action was.  This is where the movers and shakers of the world congregated to make things happen.  Winnipeg?  Certainly not!  Nothing ever happened here.  Even the most gifted alchemist would have to take his or her talents elsewhere.  I wanted a big life and since, from my perspective, no one ever struck gold in Winnipeg I would certainly have to escape in order to claim my riches.  Fast-forward 20 years...

It's 8:30 am as I step into the Tom Hendry Warehouse yesterday in, you guessed it, Winnipeg.  Within a matter of minutes the story of my city changes before my eyes. There is absolutely nothing average, lame or boring taking place here.  The room is electric and the excitement builds as we wait for a day of sharing, inspiration and possibility.  In this place the myth is broken.  Winnipeg IS a place of movers and shakers.  A place where people dream big, create with heart, live with courage and work with love.  If anything, our little prairie city is just holding her breath, waiting to see what awesome thing we're going to do next.  Quite frankly, I can't wait to show her.  

I quickly become friends with Marc, a local teacher, who is attending his second TEDxManitoba event.  He kindly offers to be my guide for the day, and is so much fun to chat with I can't resist taking him up on his offer.  We discuss our work, our families and agree that events like these are much needed in our city.  In fact, almost everyone I chat with agrees that we need to put fuel on this fire.

I could give you a play by play of every talk, but I won't do that. I think the best way to show my appreciation is to document some of my own learning and insights from the day.  Here are a few points to give you a taste of what the day was like:

  • Aisha Alfa and Ismaila Alfa reminded me of the power of words.  Instead of having birthday parties we need to have birthday adventures.  A single word changes the rules of the game and injects new life into an idea.

  • maamaakadendaagozi means you are awesome!  Thanks to Winnipeg Educator Jo MacDonald I now know this amazing word.

  • "We do not deliver babies.  We deliver pizza.  The word 'birth' is a verb."  Midwife Marla Gross gave me lots to consider with those few short statements. 

  • After being shot at on a bus in Mexico Brian Bowman asked "What do you do after the bullets miss you?"  Indeed.  What matters most?  What would you choose to focus on in life if you were given a second chance? How would you contribute?  

  • I really related to Pay Chen's talk as she discussed both the fear and exhilaration of charting your own path. It's definitely something that all freelance workers struggle with.  The thing that stuck with me was, "I got tired of waiting for things to happen.  I decided to go out and make them happen."

  • Winnipeg Photographer Leif Norman blew my mind with his enthusiasm for his craft.  Made me want to get out my old Pentax K1000 and take some pictures old-school style.  He was an awesome reminder of what can happen when you put your heart and soul into something.

  • I'm confident that most would agree that Ted Geddert's moving talk, in which he detailed the heartache of losing both his father and son on the same day, was unforgettable.  Many of us wept as we thought of our children and the daily, simple joys we take for granted.  His talk was surprisingly inspiring as he (along with his son Aaron who accompanied him on guitar) used music and gratefulness to transition from pain to joy.  His talk will stick with me for years to come.  It was just one of many gifts from the day. 

There were so many nuggets of awesome that I could go on and on. For those not in the audience, the best way to capture this event is to check out the live stream.  I can honestly say that our local event met the TED goal of contributing ideas worth spreading.  

So what will I do the next time someone asks if anything is happening in this city?  I'll put up my hand and proudly say YES!  I have a list of great stuff and it just keeps getting longer.

Wishing you a day of head-spinning inspiration!

Sharing the journey,


"I didn't anticipate how much work one must do to stand out and get hired!"
- Shauna-Jean Kluz

This is part of a series of interviews with people who have been identified as those who "work with love." These are individuals who are daring to create success on their own terms and, in the process, teach us valuable lessons about work and life.  They are proof that there are many paths to career satisfaction and happiness.  There is a "lessons learned" section at the end of each interview.

Age:  39

Occupation:  Proctor, Make-up Artist, Owner of SJ's Little Dragonfly Make-up Artistry, Part-time hairstyling student

Location:  Winnipeg, Manitoba  (actually, all over!)

Number of years: 5 years

When you first told me that you were starting a business focusing on make-up artistry, my initial thought was, “of course!”  Knowing you for many years, it seemed so natural.  It was, in my mind, a perfect fit.  Was it something you had always hoped to pursue or did you just stumble upon a passion and recognize that it could be something more?  How did it all begin?

Well thank you for the compliment Anna!  How it all began...

Well it's a bittersweet story really.  My husband and I suffered a tragic loss and, after all the "dust settled" for lack of a better phrase, I took a major inventory of what made me happy. I had always loved the beauty industry, did make-up for friends, etc., so I thought "let's try to do this professionally!"  Went back to school, got certified and went from there!

To my knowledge, this is the first time you’ve stepped into the self employment arena.  What things have you discovered and/or learned from this experience that you didn’t anticipate when you started?

Yes it is! 

The first two years I was all over the place, taking whatever job I could to get myself out there.  It was madness.  I didn't anticipate how much work one must do to stand out and get hired!  Once I realized that it was easier.  I "pimped" myself out (laughs) and took some jobs I'm not proud of but, at the end of the day, they paid the bills.  It was a learning experience for sure!

I think that many people have romantic notions about business ownership, specifically, that it will be easier/less work than their current day job.  What would you say to that and what advice would you give to others pursuing self employment?

Having just touched on that, I would definitely say it's not easier by far! You have to pound the pavement, get yourself out there, take all jobs offered and be prepared to do some things for free. Owning a business makes it all on you!  So my advice is outline your plan then and get yourself out there!

Like many people I’ve interviewed and worked with over the years, your career hasn’t been a clear path from A to B. That being said, I want to ask you about other jobs you've had. How have those experiences influenced the work you do now? Although the work may have been different, are there common themes/lessons that have helped you in your business?  How so?

I certainly went in the complete opposite direction for sure!  I was in the field of developmental services, and worked in every position in that world from Education Assistant to Employment Coordinator. The common theme would have to be empathy and the ability to communicate as those are skills that are needed in all fields. A lesson I've learned: don't burn too many bridges!

Are there others in your industry that inspire and/or influence your work?

Where to start!  I have huge influences in this industry.  Too many to name, but I will make this statement:  my influences are the stylists, artists, designers, models, etc., that get up everyday to create and make people feel and look their best!

As with any career, no matter how much we love it, there are days and tasks that can just frustrate us. What things have you had to work through, and what things have you discovered on this journey?

Oh the drama!  Yes, for sure.  There are always opportunities for miscommunication with photographers and waiting for models can stress everyone out.  There can be drama with brides and wedding parties. The list goes on.  Keeping a light attitude and trying to bring out some humour has always worked for me!

What sacrifices and/or trade-offs do you feel you’ve made in order to pursue what you love? When all is said and done, has it been worth?

Biggest trade off has been time but, when I think about that answer a bit more, it occurs to me that I use that time to get closer to my goal so it really isn't a sacrifice.

I love that, in addition to being a business owner, you have also decided to become a student again!  What are you currently studying and what inspired you to return to school?

I am in hair school and I'm the oldest one there!  I always wanted to do hair but was discouraged until I finally I gave myself permission to go for what I want!  (With great support from my husband of course!)

What have been some of the best and most challenging aspects of running a business and attending school?

Scheduling, for sure, as I can often overbook myself.  Making a schedule and sticking to it has helped a lot.

Having been a student in your teens, your 20s and now again in your 30s, can you share with me how each experience differed? What advice would you give to someone making the decision to return to school and/or try something new?

I have to say I'm a much better student at this point.  I think it's because I'm more mature, but also because I am hungry for this - I want it!  My advice is you are never to old to jump back to school, so go for it!

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?  Why?

You know that's a tough question.  Part of me wants to say that I would be working in the previous field I was in, completely miserable, but the other part of me wants to say I would still be searching for something to challenge me and make me happy.

When I approached you about doing this interview, I stated that it was because I had identified you as somebody who “works with love.” What does that mean to you?

To me it means being excited to do what you do, spreading joy to the people you are working with and sharing your love of it! Waking up with a sense of calm because you have found your peace and joy.

I love a good quote. Do you have a favorite you would like to share? 

For sure my favourite is and always will be:  “Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” be- Joseph Campbell

Anything else you want to share? 

I would love to say thank you so much Anna! I appreciate being asked to share.  If anyone would like to connect, feel free to join me on Facebook!

Thank you Shauna.  Wishing you continued success!

so my friends, what have we learned today?

  1. There are no rules!  When it comes to changing careers, learning something new or carving out a new life you only need permission from one person: you!  (Although support from others is certainly nice!)
  2. Change is messy at the beginning (yes, even if you are super passionate about your goal) but can provide tons of learning and growth.
  3. When in doubt, hustle!  When it comes to running your own show, it's up to you.  Hard work alone won't cut it.  You have to be willing to put it all out there, seek out opportunities and try new things.
  4. Stay hungry!  Learning is a lot more fun when you are an eager, active and engaged participant.

Wishing you a joyful day!

Sharing the journey,

All images are by Charmanie Mallari  (Submitted by Shauna-Jean Kluz)


" can never complain about being bored or unfulfilled or sitting there with cobwebs in your brain.  I can't imagine that."
- Robyn Dell'Unto

This is part of a series of interviews with people who have been identified as those who "work with love." These are individuals who are daring to create success on their own terms and, in the process, teach us valuable lessons about work and life.  They are proof that there are many paths to career satisfaction and happiness.  There is a "lessons learned" section at the end of each interview.

Age: 27

Occupation: Songwriter, Producer, Teacher, Performer

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Did you always know you wanted to be a singer/songwriter?  

I knew I wanted to be a writer of something. I always loved writing and making things. Singing and performing followed, but definitely weren't the driving forces!

What inspired you to pursue this path?  

I can't say I woke up one day and thought "okay self, let's do this." I think I just couldn't seem to stop.  Every time I thought about taking a break, a door would open and I'd get very excited. The whole thing is a long chain of terrible and great events.

This year you released your second CD entitled Little Lines.  How do you think it differs from your debut album I'm Here Every Night? Did you find the process different and/or easier this time?  

I wouldn't say it was an easier process as I was pretty committed to producing as much of it as I could by myself and that was a giant learning curve. For my first record, the producer and I were basically locked up in a recording room for three months with a looming deadline. This record was completely the opposite and totally self-directed. Sometimes I was afraid I'd never finish it, and then the next day something I thought sounded really great would fall into place. I think I had maybe...12 heart attacks.

How would you describe your music?  What do you believe are your influences?  

It's pop or indie pop or folk pop.  Some kind of pop I think. The kids on social media say things like "earthy" which makes me feel like a woman of the people who eats organic. I'm most influenced by songs that ride the line between heartbreaking and totally carefree. I want to feel cured and entertained.

What are you currently listening to?  

I've been a bit obsessed with Tove Lo and FKA Twiggs lately. I'm always listening to country, both cheesy and non-cheesy pop country. I'm having a bit of a The Dudes revival lately too.

We first met in 2012, you were touring with Craig Cardiff. Was that your first tour?  What was that experience like?  

I did a short tour in the fall of 2008 and a few short runs through 2009, but 2010 was the first time I went out West.  I toured Western Canada twice with my pal Sean Pinchin. It was so insane. I don't think I'd seen a mountain in my life. I'm happy I got a bit of that dumb-struck awe out of my system before those tours with Craig or he may have tormented me (more-so).

Will you be touring again this year?  If so, what are your plans?  

I would like to tour in the fall but am currently taking a break to focus on recording projects and finish up a composing/songwriting residency at the Canadian Film Center.

If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?  

I feel like I have about 5 million jobs in the industry right now, so I'd probably attempt to actually focus on just one of them for longer than 5 minutes. The past few years I've had such an amazing experience developing my songwriting-for-kids-and-youth workshop A Song Of My Own. I feel like I'm always 1 foot in, with records being released and shows to play, but I would like to expand A Song Of My Own someday soon and hire a team to assist me in taking over the world.

Tell me more about A Song Of My Own (SOMO).  

I started SOMO in September 2012, but I'd been sitting on the idea for a few years. I wanted to give kids songwriting and recording experiences that felt comfortable and rewarding and AWESOME. We sit, talk, explore, write a song, edit it, practice it, record it, produce it together, sometimes make a video for it, and tackle just about anything else of interest. My clients are 99% girls between the ages of 8 and 22. They are perfect, brilliant young creatures. I run private and group workshops at a few different music schools and school boards across the GTA, as well as, privately in students homes. SOMO is my favorite thing. I can't remember how I made it through life before it.

When I approached you about doing this interview, I stated that it was because I had identified you as somebody who "works with love." What does that mean to you?

I feel very lucky to have built a career in music. I grew up feeling really skeptical about whether that was even possible. I gained so much insight to working with artists like Craig Cardiff - he really identified his strengths and figured out how to monetize. It takes a lot of strategy to stay afloat sometimes, and you may not be the richest chick on the block at first, but you can never complain about being bored or unfulfilled or sitting there with cobwebs in your brain. I can't imagine that.

As with any career, no matter how much we love it, there are days and tasks that can just frustrate us.  What things have you had to work through?  What things have you discovered on this journey?  

I've discovered the power of not listening to music. It's genius. No music for a whole day. I listen to comedy podcasts, story podcasts or podcasts in which wildly successful people are expressing how small and frustrated they feel or felt. It reminds me that everyone is pretty much the same. That's very comforting.

What sacrifices and/or trade offs have you made in order to pursue what you love?  When all is said and done, has it been worth it?  

I usually stay quiet during the "let's have a girls weekend in Vegas" conversations. It's not even about cash, it's just that I work all the time - weekends, holidays, etc., because there's no time off when you're trying to juggle a bunch of stuff at once. Also, working makes me feel very happy while other things are emotionally unreliable.  Like, for example, music festivals. What if I step in mud? What if I'm not wearing the right fashions and I forget my earplugs? I don't want to go to music festivals.

We live in a culture that tends to believe that overnight success (fast fame and fortune) is the only path to sustaining a career in the arts. That being said, if you could give only one piece of career advice to someone starting out (regardless of age) what would it be? Why?

I think there has to be heart in what you do. I feel like everything else is so transparent and makes the consumer feel awful or cheap or manic. But when there's heart, and you're doing your best thing to your best ability while being honest about your intentions, you might have the tiniest chance in hell of making life easier for someone. That's the whole point of stuff...I think?

I love the good quote. Do you have a favorite you would like to share?  
"Wash up as far as possible. Wash down as far as possible. Then, wash, possible." - Mom (sung)

Thanks for sharing Robyn.  You're a doll!

To connect with Robyn, visit her HERE

So my friends, what have we learned today?

  1. Never stop learning and growing.  Life-long learning is important for strengthening abilities and fueling creativity.
  2. Helping others recognize talents and dreams can be an important part of our own work/life satisfaction. (May also help us tap into other talents we didn't even know we possessed!)
  3. Work we love often requires hard work and compromise but, at the end of the day, the rewards are many.
  4. Putting heart into your work can help you stand out from the crowd.  People crave authenticity.

Wishing you an inspired day filled with heart!

Sharing the journey,

All images supplied by Robyn Dell'Unto


"...I’m finally taking much better care of myself and gaining great satisfaction from pursuing my dream."
- Lise Fiola

This is part of a series of interviews with people who have been identified as those who "work with love." These are individuals who are daring to create success on their own terms and, in the process, teach us valuable lessons about work and life.  They are proof that there are many paths to career satisfaction and happiness.  There is a "lessons learned" section at the end of each interview.

Age:  36
Occupation:  Fashion Jewellery Designer, Owner of Peridot by Lise Fiola
Location:  Winnipeg, Manitoba
Number of years:  2 years

I have to tell you that the first time I heard your name my initial thought was “wow – that name belongs on a perfume bottle or jewellery collection.”  I was pleasantly surprised when I heard you were making and designing jewelry!  Have you always tinkered with jewelry design?  What inspired you to get started?
I started several years ago, by accident.  A friend dropped me off at home after work and I had forgotten my house keys.  I had some time to kill before my husband came home so I wandered into a jewellery making supply shop and ended up signing up for some courses.  Learning new techniques, finding beautiful stones and creating new designs have become my obsession ever since.

Did your business start out as a hobby?  When you started, did you intend to start your own business?
I have always been drawn to stones and their mystical properties.  I also love fashion but found that fashion jewellery looked too “costume-y” so I started creating my own pieces using real stones instead of the acrylic or resin beads used in most fashion jewellery.  The thought of starting my own business never crossed my mind.  

Are there other jewelry designers or “Creatives” that inspire and/or influence your work?
Coco Chanel is a huge inspiration to me.  I love her story.  I admire how she had the courage to rise above her circumstances and create a life she loved.  She also has been credited for popularizing fashion jewellery.

I love that your career isn’t a straight point A to point B journey which, if people were honest, is becoming far more common these days (i.e. it is both possible and desirable to learn about and reinvent yourself as you grow). That being said, I want to ask you about other jobs have you had.  Did any of those experiences influence the work you do now?  How so?
I have held a variety of different jobs.  My first job was serving meals to the elderly in a nursing home.  I also worked as a museum tour guide, for a women’s rights advocacy group, as a university instructor, an insurance underwriter and in career counselling.  I have a strong need to keep moving forward, to try new things and stay engaged.  The advantage of trying different things is that it gave me more clarity about what I value and enjoy, and what I don’t value and enjoy.  At this time, I love flexibility, creativity, fashion and business.  My current occupation incorporates all of these.

I think that many people have romantic notions about business ownership, specifically, that it will be easier/less work than their current day job.  What would you say to that and what advice would you give to others pursuing self employment?
Quitting my day job was extremely scary for me.  Being self-employed, you have to step up to the plate and make things happen for yourself.  This requires courage, confidence and focus.  It has really forced me to face my demons so that I can remain strong and focused, physically and emotionally, to pursue a path that is somewhat uncertain.  I also see this as a great gift as I’m finally taking much better care of myself and gaining great satisfaction from pursuing my dream.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?  Why?
I have no idea.  I’m really focused on my current goals at this time.

When I approached you about doing this interview I stated that it was because I had identified you as somebody who “works with love.” What does that mean to you?
It means being engaged, focused and passionate about what you do.  Sometimes this requires conscious effort, sometimes you have to “bring it” to the table, it doesn’t just magically happen.  I also believe life gives you more of what you focus on so even if you don’t particularly enjoy your current occupation, I would recommend trying to bring engagement, focus and passion to what you’re currently doing anyway to see where that takes you…  You never know...

As with any career, no matter how much we love it, there are days and tasks that just frustrate us. What things have you had to work through?  What things have you discovered on this journey?
Juggling parenthood and starting a business can be a bit of a challenge.  I’ve had to compartmentalize my life where, if I’m with my family, I focus on them.  When I’m working, I’m focused solely on the work.

What sacrifices and/or trade-offs to you feel you’ve made in order to pursue what you love? When all is said and done, has it been worth?
Leaving the security and stability of a job wasn’t easy for me.  Now however I enjoy increased flexibility, creativity and fun.  I see much more potential and opportunities in self-employment.  It is much more rewarding and empowering.  It is definitely worth it for me.

As someone who has had a variety of experiences, and has also worked in the field of career development, what one piece of career advice to someone starting out?  Why?
For years, people would come to me and ask for direction.  It’s nice to act as a sounding board and guide people by asking questions to  find out about what they value and enjoy but at the end of the day, each person has to make their own decisions.  They are the true experts on their own lives.  Getting in touch with your instincts, your gut feelings is extremely important to me.  It’s actually why I named my jewellery line Peridot; because it is a stone that is said to enhance your inner guidance.  Sometimes my choices have seemed illogical but they have always been right for me and I can only fully understand them in retrospect.

Out of your collection, do you have a favourite piece?  Why this one?
Right now I love working with druzy stones (see photo below) - they are tiny crystals that form on top of colourful minerals.  I find them to be just as beautiful as any precious stone, even diamonds.   There’s something about stones and crystals that evoke a sense of awe about the natural beauty of the universe. 

As a parent of young children, have you found it easier or more difficult to find balance as you prepare to “go to work” from your home each day? How does this experience differ from going to a workplace each day?
I have chosen to have my youngest son attend daycare.  Even if I work from home, my occupation requires several hours of focused attention.  He is spending fewer hours in daycare than when I was working in an office, so I feel good about that. 

I love a good quote. Do you have a favorite you would like to share?
In any given moment you have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”-Abraham Maslow

Great quote and very fitting.  Thank you Lise.

Check out Lise's Spring/Summer Catalogue or visit her Facebook page for more inspiration!

So my friends, what have we learned today?

  1. Self employment, or any dream that we desire to make reality, will require us to take risks and step out of our comfort zone.
  2. Working from home does not necessarily guarantee work-life balance. Realistic structures and goals, for both life and work, need to be considered to ensure success.
  3. Passion is important, but the ability to fully focus on and engage with our work may be even more important.

Wishing you "courage, confidence and focus."

Sharing the journey,

All images provided by Lise Fiola.


Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
- Neale Donald Walsch

Throughout my career, 2 themes have emerged from almost every client conversation I've ever had.  When all is said and done, people ultimately want to be:


If you think about it, these are 2 sides of the same coin.  When I'm happier, I am less fearful and therefore more empowered to make good decisions. When I am less fearful, I am happier because I feel strong enough to do the things that make me happy.

To be honest, the solution is so simple that we can't believe that it has been right under our nose the whole time.  You see, most people think that these feelings can only be achieved by doing big, news-worthy challenges such as climbing a mountain, jumping out of a plane or chaining themselves to a tree. (Which is probably why most change feels too overwhelming.)  In truth, it's the small, day-to-day moments that provide a ton of opportunity to develop our grit.  Unfortunately, since these opportunities are cloaked by simplicity, they often slip by unnoticed.  I'll give you an example...

Years ago when I was facilitating job search workshops, I would start the day by going through the regular steps:  welcome everyone, invite them to grab a coffee, introduce myself, start off with a topic or two and then take a break.  Most people, having been to at least one workshop before, were fairly comfortable with this.  The format was predictable, didn't challenge them and they felt pretty okay with that.  That is until the REAL work began. After the break, everyone would dutifully march back to the same seats they had claimed when they first arrived at the session. Once settled, I would turn to the group, smile and casually ask them to get up and select a new seat. If they had arrived with someone, they were also asked to move next to someone they didn't know. You would think that would be fairly harmless but let me tell you - people were NOT loving me.  They questioned if I was serious.  They asked why.  They rolled their eyes.  They slammed bags and binders on the table.  They huffed and threw themselves back into chairs. After the big shift took place, I would let them in on the secret:  "So far, you haven't been able to secure a job.  What you're currently doing isn't working. You came here for my help.  My help is going to require you to do things differently so you can get a different result (aka land the job).  If you're not willing to do something as simple as change chairs (it's not laborious, painful, cruel, costing you money, etc.) how on earth are you going to do what is necessary to change your strategy and get the job?"  The room would fall silent.  Some people would grin with realization.  Others would blush with embarrassment. Regardless, my point was made.

In other words, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  If you want life or work to be different, you have to challenge yourself to do different things. Simple, everyday things, that are within your power TODAY.  I'll give you some simple examples to help you get started:

No mojo to start the day?

  • Try waking up early to go for a walk, workout or write in a gratitude journal
  • Play some great tunes while you eat breakfast
  • For heavens sake - eat breakfast!

Commute to work boring? 

  • Play music, listen to a fun morning show on the radio, play audio books, etc. 
  • Skip the car all together and take a bus so you can ditch the stress, do some people watching, read a book or plan your day instead

Co-workers a drag?  

  • Bring flowers or fresh ground coffee for all to enjoy. (This is a good way to get people to gather for a conversation too.)
  • Decorate your own work space to communicate your personality and inspire others to do the same.
  • Put pictures on your desk. (This usually invites conversation about the things that you value.)
  • Email a "quote of the day" to others.  You may be surprised by the response.
  • Squish playdoh, do a puzzle or enjoy a brisk walk during coffee break.  Again, you may be surprised.
  • Get to know people as people.

Job search wearing you down?  

  • Engage with people outside of your field/interests.  This may force you to look at things from new and uncomfortable angles.
  • Listen to great (upbeat!) music and go to the gym.  A good workout can take you out of your own head space for a while and improve your mood - a positive mental game is your greatest asset.  Trust me.
  • Write out all of the efforts you've made towards your goal.  The reality is that you'll probably find that you haven't done EVERYTHING possible.  Great news - there's hope yet!

Boring life?  Stuck in a rut?  

  • Change your routine.  (No.  You do not need to leave your family and run off to Tahiti.)  
  • Challenge yourself to have tea instead of coffee today. (I'm still twitching about this one.  Guess that means I'll have to do it!)
  • Invite someone you don't normally chat with to lunch.  
  • Download tunes from an artist you've never listened to before. 
  • Visit the indie business down the street instead of the big-box commercial store you normally go to. 
  • Send someone a surprise letter or gift in the mail. (It's fun to get "you made my day!" phone calls.)
  • Make art.  (Don't think, just create!)  
  • Go to the library (yes, these still exist!) and take out a book you've never considered before.  
  • Start a small business.  (I think everyone should have multiple streams of income.)
  • Develop a new skill.  (You don't need to got back to school. Look on the net for tutorials and ideas.)
  • Get into an elevator and face forward instead of turning your back towards the others inside.  Go on - I dare you!

There are endless ideas and possibilities.  Give up the fear of judgement and you are limitless.  (Warning:  You may actually have some great stories to tell your grandchildren one day.)

Still not sure where to begin?  You might want to try Joel Runyon's 30-day Cold Shower Challenge.  You may also want to check out Tyler Tervooren's Tedx Talk about How Adventure Makes You Smarter, Stronger and More Attractive.  (You get to hear his most embarrassing moment - the talk is worth this alone. Priceless!) Both are great examples of how a simple choice can stir up so much resistance yet, ultimately, push us out of our comfort zone so we are better equipped to practise the art of leading our lives. Inspiration is everywhere if you're ready.

So what's our new motto?  Crush the comfort zone!

Wishing you a fearlessly happy life!


Photo Credit - Imagery Majestic