I want off this damn treadmill. Where do I start?
Start here. Get the weekly Inspo straight to your in-box, and watch for our 5-Day Challenge coming later this year. I also want you to start walking – but, like, not on the metaphorical treadmill. Get outside at least three times/week, and walk for an hour. Anywhere… in your hood. At the local park. Drive to the Tree Farm. Just put one foot in front of another for one hour, three times this week. And message me to let me know how that’s gone. I know you’ll have to shift some responsibility to others. I know your time is at a premium. It’ll feel foreign at first. But you need this.
Why did you leave your career as a financial advisor?
Because after 16 years, I finally figured out I wasn’t being true to myself. The tricky part was I had everything to be grateful for – wonderful clients, a solid income, and the chance to work alongside one of my favourite people, my Dad. I was lucky! On the inside, though, I crumbled. I longed to speak my truth and break free, but the industry made it almost impossible. I felt controlled and under continual pressure to produce. I had become a well-dressed little hamster, chasing dangling carrots at the end of an ever-turning treadmill. But I was oblivious to the slow and steady erosion of myself. It took some time to rationalize where my real values lay. I had to come to terms with what matters to me most: purpose and intention. I also realized that if we don’t like something in our lives, there is always another choice to make if only we can see clearly.
Why did you start SWTW?
Women today are pulled in competing directions with an expectation to nail it all. We are often exhausted and unfulfilled, but would honestly rather endure a back-to-back root canal/PAP smear than admit our dissatisfaction. We’ve come so far, and we worry that to face any of this could potentially unwind all our progress. Besides, who wants to hear us whine when we’ve achieved so much already? Speaking personally, I felt trapped in a life I dove head-first into. They were all my choices, but I felt somehow cheated. I had devoted myself to becoming the woman who had it all and in the process lost myself. Women shoulder an abundance of guilt and shame for second-guessing their choices. We’re often disillusioned by the bill of goods we were sold – weren’t we taught we could have it all? So why aren’t we happy? I’ve been fortunate to find my way onto a new path, one I’m creating exclusively on my terms. My mission is to teach exhausted career women how to write their own rules to happiness. I illuminate their other choices. And help them find their way back to themselves
How would you describe your superpower?
Two words: courage and conviction. I’ve never shied away from anything just because it’s scary or seemingly impossible. And once I make a decision, I own it, live it, and follow through. I use these gifts to help other women break through the limiting belief that they’re powerless. There are always other choices available when it comes to our happiness. But these alternatives can be unclear when you’re running on the damn treadmill. They can also be daunting. It takes a shi**load of courage to make a change. And, it’s often easier to just maintain the status quo. I call out the ‘status quo thinking’ and flip it upside down on its head.
Isn’t it selfish to prioritize your own happiness?
No! (Though I hear this all the time.) The challenging bit is that our DNA as women has literally wired us to nurture and serve. This alone requires a sacrifice of self to pull off. But in the process of caring for the people we love and finding our equal footing – which should honestly just be a given by now – we can end up suffering. And when we fall apart, everyone else suffers, too. Selfishness is a lack of consideration for others, to want only what’s most pleasurable or profitable for yourself. The pursuit of our truth, of happiness on our terms, is not a luxury. It’s vital if we want to carry out all the other roles we’re in service of.
I don’t have any flexibility with my schedule right now. How am I supposed to take time out for myself?
Sorry, girl. I don’t buy it. There’s a way through anything if you prioritize it I’m not denying all the responsibilities you’re laden with. (I know you try and squeeze seven minutes out of every five. I have that T-shirt, too!) You just haven’t convinced yourself that you’re worth it. Yet. Once you believe this, it’s easier. You’ll make a plan to get buy-in from the people you support. And all of a sudden, there will be small pieces of room in your schedule. Pieces of time you’ve reclaimed just for you. I also teach how to uncover time filled up with ridiculous fluff that doesn’t add one iota of value to your life.
When will your G’WAs (Global Walking Adventures) begin?
Not soon enough! But our number one concern is your safety, and things with COVID-19 have required us to hit the pause button. Hopefully by spring 2021, we’ll have rolled out all official G’WA programming for the next twelve months. A current challenge is the varying travel restrictions from country to country. As government mandates and quarantining requirements begin to loosen, you can be assured that our green light is coming. If you sign up for notification of this “green light”, we’ll let you know as soon as our Gwas are formally launched! (Space will be limited so getting on the list is a solid idea.)
Why are you so obsessed with walking?
I’ve always been an adventurer and I’m happiest when high up in the mountains, away from the din of high-pressured society. I actually come by this honestly; my family’s roots trace back to Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton! But walking, in and of itself, changed my life. The 800-km-long Camino de Santiago pilgrimage was the longest, most physically demanding challenge I’ve ever undertaken. (Also, the most emotionally and spiritually uplifting one.) When I returned in June of 2019, I began the process of transitioning out of my career, but soon found myself sucked back into what I call ‘the vortex of responsibility.’ It wasn’t until Canada went into lockdown mid-March that I really found my stride (pun intended). With COVID-19 spreading and a nationwide order to hunker down, I felt panicked. But I soon discovered that while I couldn’t control the pandemic, I could control my reaction to it. So I started walking. I mean, why not? The gyms were closed and the walls were closing in on me! I’d walk in my neighbourhood, down country roads, on trails. I’d walk to my parents’ house some 25 kms away. I became obsessed. And as a result, I fell in love with the simple joy of putting one foot in front of another. I’ve logged almost 1,500 km since the end of March. I feel fit. Mentally clear. Creative. In touch with myself, nature, and my spirituality. Walking is the medicine I never realized I needed.
So what about shoes? And socks? What combination is the best for long walks?
I’ve been wearing North Face Hedgehogs since I started training for my Camino last year. They’ve logged nearly 3,000 km and are still supporting my gnarly feet in an amazing way! I bought one size up to allow for the inevitable swelling that happens. These shoes have seen all kinds of terrain – from pavement to fields to gravel to an old Roman Road. They’re a mixture of waterproof/breathable and I swear by them. I also have never suffered from blisters. The key to this is finding the right combination of socks and shoes for your feet. I’m a huge fan of the double-lined Wright socks and Ininji Toe socks.