Blog

I've always had a tumultuous relationship with money. I have had an attitude that I would always have money, and always assumed I would be able to afford pretty much whatever I wanted to do or have at any time, without always knowing how I would pay for it. Not the best approach.

In the past, this relationship with money resulted in a lot of excess and wasted money, and also some big amounts of debt. There, I said it, the D word. My relationship with money is evolving, and as a recovering spendthrift, I do occasionally relapse.

In the last year especially, I have taken time in the moment while shopping (online and at the mall) to ask myself if I really need what I'm considering buying and also what the desire to have the item is rooted in. Am I having an emotional day? Did I just take in an epic social media binge and see all the shiny beautiful things the shiny happy people were wearing that made their lives so shiny? Did I fail at something and I'm about to partake in some retail therapy to make myself feel better now only to have buyers remorse later?

I once heard someone say that "women dress to impress other women". And I gotta admit that I have 100% (on many many many occasions), either been buying something or getting dressed in the morning with thoughts of how good it will feel when/if one of my friends - or even a stranger - compliments my outfit or a specific item I am wearing. WTF right? This deep seeded little voice is the nagging voice of lack saying "who you are is not enough, but perhaps these sweet new shoes will help". Hello old friend, you sonofabitch. 

The conversation about lack vs. abundance is not a new concept for me, and I am always learning. It's not so much the tangible things involved with this that interest me, but the perspective (the roots) that shape the resulting behaviours. Spend. Blip of enjoyment. Regret. Round and round we go.

While reading The Soul of Money last month (shout out to Novel Grapes book club!), I was elated to learn more about the epidemic perspective of scarcity and find ways to shift myself to a mindset of sufficiency.  Here's just one of the many insights that struck a chord:

"for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is 'I didn't get enough sleep.' The next one is 'I don't have enough time.' Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don't have enough of."

BOOM.

My word of the year for 2017 was abundance, and we did experience a great deal of that! I am grateful for what it brought into our lives, but more so for what it taught be about the difference between abundance and excess. Excess for me is rooted in the belief that more is always better. Abundance is rooted in the belief that there is enough for everyone.

So my word for 2018 is sufficiency. Not too much, not too little, just the right amount of everything. I am committing to less, letting go of the belief that more is always better and trusting that what is needed will come. Some of the actions associated with this comittment:

No new clothing purchased in 2018

  • if I sell old clothes I can use the $ toward new clothes

Live debt-free

  • if I am making a purchase, I only spend what I actually have
  • if it is Sunday or a week day, I eat home cooked meals
  • if I feel like a warm drink, I make myself a coffee at home

Plan ahead for family time

  • if it is Saturday, we are doing something outside as a family

Each of these actions help sustain my lens of sufficiency and create contingency plans for decision making. The new perspective: I have enough resources to be, do, and have all that I desire this year. If you see me in in the next year, ask me how it's all going, because you know, accountability is key.

Onward,

xo Syd

Each holiday season in December, my husband and I take time to reflect on the previous year to appreciate and celebrate all the milestones, challenges, and achievements.

In 2017 my word for the year was "abundance" and boy did we have a lot of that in the last year. There was also a lot of newness in 2017, which meant lots of transition periods and adjusting to how we spent our time and having new responsibilities. It also made for an abundance of lessons learned and required times of reflection throughout.

Here are some of the major events and milestones I am celebrating and appreciating for 2017: 

  • I set out the intention to get back into Learning and Development work and landed a new job 3 weeks in to the year.
  • I got pregnant (after a lot of trying), grew a baby, and gave brith to a healthy baby boy - this alone brought so much generosity, support and love into our lives this year!
  • I impacted over 100 women through fitness and goal-setting.
  • I read more books than the last 4 years combined (thank you Novel Grapes)
  • I bought my first new car.
  • I travelled less and enjoyed my home more (nesting is for real).
  • I collaborated with many of my incredible peers to create some impactful events (a speaker series, special classes and workshops).
  • I donated money and time to more important causes and helped raise funds for several charities and other individuals.
  • I was of service to my closest inner circle and my community in new and deeper ways through showing up in support and having soul-baring, truly meaningful conversations.

In taking time to look back, I am really proud of what I created this year. I can say with certainty that this year was filled with real growth through life experiences - not through formal learning which is my normal go-to strategy for having "tangible" growth.

Overall, I learned that the best life lessons don't come from a book, and it's more important to leap, take action, experience, keep moving and use the tools in your toolkit. Rather than reading more self development books, and surmising about the theories within them (although I love that too!), this year I really dove in and lived the work in a major way, which is perhaps what I am most proud of.

In 2017, what experiences shaped your life? What intentions did you set out with and honour? What felt really good? What are the moments of joy that stand out? What challenges did you overcome? What are you most proud of?

Take the time, write it down, tell someone. Feel the accomplishment of this year in your life. Acknowledge it as a stone on the path of your journey. Know that it is leading somewhere. Your legacy is happening right now, always.

Onward into 2018!

xo Syd

I saw a meme the other day that said something like "there was a day when you and your friends played outside for the last time and none of you knew it". It made me sad at first, but also had me reflect on how we could bring more "play" into our lives now.

Read More

In the past couple years, my husband and I have adopted the tradition of taking time over the holidays to look back at the year and take stock of all the experiences we had and goals we accomplished before looking forward to the new year and setting our sights on what's next.

Read More

2017 Gift Guide

December 11, 2017

Heyo! I'm back with a bunch of killer gift suggestions for this holiday season. If you're stuck on what to get someone or for what to put on your own wish list, look no further.

Fitness

QALO Rings - These babies are rings for the gym-lover. If you lift weights, you know how annoying and potentially painful it is to workout with rings on. My hubby and I love these because we don't have to worry about taking off our wedding bands and losing them, or damaging them in the gym. I own several of the, because they have so many options I couldn't decide on just one!

HEMM - Locally owned and awesome, this online store has a ton of brands that are typically not available to us in Canada. They also have a store in Britannia Plaza in the central SW of Calgary if you want to try before you buy!

S'Well Bottle - These have blown up over the last year or two because they are amazing water (or wine) bottles. They can keep your hot items hot and cold water very cold for hours and have so many beautiful colours and patterns to choose from.

Nike Metcon - My fave training show of all time. These can take you from the weight room to the treadmill and are styled so well, you may not want to take them off.

lululemon Go Lightly Rucksack - I recently changed out my gym duffle for this pack and am loving it. It has also been a handy "diaper bag" to keep my hands free and shoulders more comfortable.

Personal Development

The Soul of Money - This book will transform the way you relate to money and may even help you feel better about the way you spend your bucks. Every holiday season we spend and accumulate, so it's a timely read to crack open with a hot tea by the fire over the holidays.

Braving the Wilderness - Brene, I love you. Her new book is a game-changer when it comes to standing in your truth. Always a page-turner, Brene Brown dives into what it means to "brave the wilderness."

Rock Your Bliss - 7 Weeks to Bliss - Jacki Carr is a friend, mentor, and fellow Lightyear Leader and will rock your world (and your bliss) in this course. #goalsalive

Danielle Laporte Daily Planner - For those of you who like to calendar and schedule as much as I do! Danielle Laporte is all about letting your feelings guide you to the life you want to create. Put pen to paper with a focus on the good feels in 2018!

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

xo Syd

Respond/React

December 06, 2017

Goal Setting   Goals   lifestyle  

Ever been in a conversation and tuned the other person out because you were busy crafting your reply? Ever felt like you're having the same argument over and over again? Ever played out a fight "scenario" in your mind even before you have entered the conversation? (ie. "they are going to say this (point), then I am going to say that (counterpoint)") Ever been pissed off and called a friend to vent, and nattered on for 10 minutes without taking a breath? You're not alone.

Our bodies are smart. We have primal instincts and pre-programmed strategies (fight or flight) for avoiding danger that have kept us safe from harm for centuries. It's what has allowed us to survive and evolve. In this day and age, where most of us in the developed world are safe, (as in, we won't be eaten by a lion any time soon) these instincts that have historically worked as survival mechanisms for physical danger now work to keep us safe from emotional, mental, and social distress. For example, when you were a kid (or adult), were you ever so embarrassed you thought you might actually die? *nods head*

The reality is that our body is giving us signals and messages all the time. We just aren't always listening to it. What we are often listening to is that small voice in our head that tells us not to go down that dark alley alone at night, and that also tells us if we aren't wearing the right outfit to the party that we aren't good enough. #whytho

What if we paid attention to our bodies more? What if you could turn down the chatter of the small voice, slow down, and truly listen? To yourself, and to others? This is the difference between reaction and response. Reacting is a knee-jerk, shoot-from-the-hip way of handling biz that usually ends with a result you hadn't intended. Responsiveness is when you are truly listening - letting others finish a thought, paying attention to how you're feeling in your body, taking time to let the small voice chatter wash away and then bringing your true thoughts to the table (not the auto-reply that comes up fast and furious). Reaction uses a part of your brain that is automatic - no new solutions are made here - which is why you may be having the "same fight" with no resolution at the end.

When we listen (to ourselves and the other) with the intent to fully understand, we can create new outcomes, solve problems, collaborate effectively. In order to do so, we've got to draw awareness to when we are in reaction, stop it, and create a new way forward based in choice. There is no better feeling than standing in your truth and being clear, and when you listen with the intent to understand, you give others the space and the opportunity to that too.

The responsibility can be with the listener.

xo Syd

For a deeper dive into this and more concepts and tools to help you communicate better, create clearer goals, and live your life on purpose, check out the Lightyear Leadership Level 1 course I am offering in 2018.

Lightyear Leadership (formerly called igolü), is a body of work that leads you through a series of four sessions and provides you with tools and support to create a clear vision and goals based in possibility and choice. #NBD Read More

If you didn't already know, I am very into personal development and growth and I have to admit, I am a total podcast junkie and love a good inspirational YouTube video. My morning routine consists of a hot cup of coffee and an inspiring book to set my day off with new perspective. This week, I thought I'd share 3 things that I found inspiring. Check 'em out!

Rock Your Bliss Podcast -  Episode 7: Creating Rituals

Glennon Doyle Melton - First the Pain, Then the Rising

Brene Brown: Braving the Wilderness

On Showing Up

September 19, 2017

Goals   lifestyle  

This past weekend I had the opportunity to be a part of back-to-back experiences doing what I love: using conversation and connection to share  and generate new perspectives that cause more creativity and possibilities to emerge. On Saturday, a small group of women came together for a goal setting workshop where we discussed and defined personal values and shared what things we are looking to create in the coming months, year, and in our lives in general.

On Sunday, I was honoured to sit as a panelist to wrap up a speaker series put on by my friends and Kit + Ace, and Saje Wellness. Myself and four other speakers were asked several insightful questions and offered our unique perspectives, strategies, and commentary. It was interesting to be put so explicitly in the seat of "subject matter expert", a seat I have always wanted to be in, but never felt worthy of occupying. And yet there I found myself.

One of the participants asked us how we overcome the fear of judgement of what other people think about us and my honest response was I haven't figured that out yet! Every time I put anything out in to the world (writing, a new program, a social media post) a whole slew of fearful thoughts go through my mind before I hit send or post. And I keep showing up anyway. 

Another question we were asked was what we do to get uncomfortable. My immediate thought was "this right here", sitting in front of a group of strangers and saying what's true for me, allowing myself to go off-script and stumble and be imperfect. And I keep showing anyway.

As I sit here and reflect on these experiences, I have a hard time not becoming very critical of myself, picking apart each piece of conversation, wondering if I could have said or done something different - been better. The answer is "yes", but I feel as though my internal dialogue is asking the wrong question. Underneath all the discomfort and self-criticism, what I'm really hanging my hat on at the end of the day is the answer to this: "Did I show up, and was I myself?". If the answer is yes, then none of the other stuff matters. So I keep showing up anyway. 

Today, whether you interact with only a few people, or you put yourself in front of an audience, show up, be yourself. There's no better feeling.

xo Syd

BE. DO. HAVE.

September 14, 2017

Coaching   Goal Setting   Goals   lifestyle  

 

There are many routes to get to the same end. This is true for fitness and for any variety of results you'd like to achieve in your life. Often times we set goals that are attached to achievement and acquisition, which focuses us mainly on doing things to make more money and spend more money. For example, we want to get that promotion, to get the money to buy the house/car/clothes we want, assuming that getting the things we want will make us happier. The driving force is the having.

In my experience, life is much more joyful and easy when I am focused on being myself throughout the process of getting to a certain aim. When I focus on what works for my life, the results seem to flow naturally. Rather than begrudgingly hustling, head down, toward a goal, when I'm taking care of the things that make my life better, I am able to think more clearly and creatively, see opportunities, shift gears, rest appropriately, and do more of the things that I need to do to have the things that I want. The driving force is the being.

There is no one right formula for creating the life you want and feeling fulfilled, purposeful, and happy. That is ultimately up to each individual person. While some may really thrive in a goal practice that is motivated by achievements and milestones, others may base their success on a feeling or deep knowing they are on the right path for them. I have tried many different tools and practices to set myself up for my best life and will continue to try new things, practice new habits and rituals as life tends to ebb and flow.

"You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world"

-Oprah Winfrey

For myself, the fundamental skill that underpins everything related to my personal growth is self-awareness. Many people never take the time to really get to know what makes them tick. They look externally to what others are doing, consult self-help books, 3 steps to 'X' articles etc. and never really do the work to practice self-awareness. Most often, we look to these places assuming that if we are unhappy that we are 'broken' and need to be 'fixed'. I like to take the approach that you have all that you need already within you to experience joy and create your best life. You know best. It's why I called my business MAVEN. You're the expert.

This Saturday, September 16th from 1-2:30pm at OPEX Calgary Central, we will work through some practices that help you build self awareness, and uncover what works for you. You will walk away with actions to implement practices that help you be more yourself, so you can do more of the things you want, and have what you desire. I'd love to have you there!


Date: Saturday, September 16th
Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: OPEX Calgary - 4038 7th St. SE [MAP]

Participants will each receive a copy of the MAVEN 35-page Goal-setting workbook and a MAVEN x Wrinkle & Crease Weekly Planner Notepad (total value of $45).

SIGN UP HERE