It’s been over two years since I wrote my first blog, just before embarking on a life-changing women’s trip to Israel. It’s been a fluid process and experience – and in some ways the subjects I cover are too. Ultimately, the content reflects me – and like the rest of us – I’m complex, multi-dimensional, and most of all, a work-in-progress. My blogs touch on a variety of topics, both personal and professional. I reflect on everything from self-compassion and multi-tasking to leadership lessons from sports and career development.
I was recently perusing old posts and was pleased to see a large portion of my “ink” dedicated to featuring amazing women and their inspiring stories. I didn’t necessarily plan to skew my content in this direction; but as a proud, professional woman, and a mother to a daughter and two sons, I guess that’s what naturally happened. Sometimes nature just takes its course.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’ve compiled some of my favourite lessons and words of wisdom and comfort – ranging from strong to sweet (and often a mix of both). I hope you enjoy these passages from past posts, featuring a diverse and talented group of women.
To all the women reading this – and everyone who support us and lifts us up – Happy International Women’s Day! xo
Aspiring writers will often tell me, ‘I have an idea, but I’m afraid it’s already been done.’ Well, yes, it probably has already been done. Most things have already been done- they have not yet been done by you. By the time Shakespeare was finished with his run on life, he’d pretty much covered every story line there is, but that hasn’t stopped nearly five centuries of writers from exploring the same story lines all over again. (And remember, many of those stories were already clichés long before Shakespeare got his hands on them.)
So how do you shake off failure and shame in order to keep living a creative life? First of all, forgive yourself. If you made something and it didn’t work out, let it go. You don’t need to conduct autopsies on your disasters. Forget about the last project, and go searching with an open heart for the next one.
The human brain easily wanders and it wanders more to worries than to happy musings on what a blessed life you have. Such ruminations steal happiness. If a child wants to snuggle with you, it is madness to ponder the laundry that needs to be done and all the work necessary to get everyone out the door. You can think of that later. Nothing need exist but those little pyjama-clad arms wrapped around your neck.
Jacob’s appreciation for the little things in life gives me huge perspective on everything life has to offer. He expects so little and is always surprised by what he receives. Lucky for me, I get a front row seat to view pure gratitude in action. He is forever grateful and due to this he is always smiling. I follow suit.
I rarely let myself feel ungrateful. Negative thoughts only cause damage and produce more negativity. But, there are times when I do feel defeated and low, like the world is against me. It’s at those times that I go and lay down beside Jacob. I hug him tightly and feel his kind energy. He always gives me the warmest reception and biggest smile and I can’t help but perk up and feel grateful once again.
Ellen Schwartz, founder of Project Give Back and Jacob’s Ladder, devoted mother to Jacob, who was diagnosed with a rare genetic neurodegenerative illness called Canavan Disease at four months old; A Gratitude Triple Threat, Part 1
Focus allows you to:
- A: Do away with distractions (which literally detract you from moving forward towards your goals).
- B: Know which projects are a clear-cut “yes” and a definitive “no.” (I love how Tim Ferriss puts it: “If It’s Not a ‘Hell, Yeah,’ It’s a No.”)
- C: Become an expert in one thing rather than be average at a variety of things. Focus is why Adele said “no” to the Super Bowl halftime show (it’s simply not part of her brand), and why Taylor Swift focused on making a pop album with 1989 instead of releasing a pop album that would also feature country songs. (I love this quote of hers: “If you chase two rabbits, you lose them both.”)
- D: Eventually achieve more, by doing less. This is the basis of one of my favourite books, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown.
Focus leads to another “f” word: fulfillment.
My dear friend, a talented writer and champion of women everywhere, Karin Eldor; Final Spotlight: 3 More Traits for Success and the People who Rock them
Positive thinking may sound cliché, but it’s a terrifically powerful tool. There are times when you may think you’re entitled to that ‘pity party’. Don’t go there. The sun will come out tomorrow or the day after. You know it will. Remember that. And always count your blessings. You likely have more than most. Enjoy them, treasure them…and while you’re at it , make more, find more. They’re there…if you look hard enough.
Life lessons from my amazing mom, Cheryle Gertner; A Tribute to my Amazing Mom
Over the years, I have gained confidence, developed the courage to take risks, and I consistently set audacious goals I’m committed to achieving. People ask how I could possibly have started a movement to change the face of tech in Canada, or how I will raise $100 Million for Sickkids Hospital as part of the Capital Campaign Cabinet to raise $1.3 Billion over the next 5 years. My response: it’s not that hard. Dream. Plan. Go get – with GRIT.
My trailblazing friend Jodi Kovitz, Founder & CEO, #movethedial; Spotlight: 3 Traits for Success and the People who Rock them
So today and every day, let’s shine as brightly as we can and be the best we can be…and more than ever, let’s lift each other up!
This day is for US!