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.
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
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.
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.
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.
I’ve always been an adventurer and I’m happiest when high up in the mountains, away from the din of high-pressured society. 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. Walking is the medicine I never realized I needed.
I’ve been wearing North Face Hedgehogs since I started training for my Camino in 2019. I continue to go back to them and my last pair logged nearly 3,000 km! I advise you to buy 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.