How to Learn to Trust Yourself

It's a piece of time-honoured wisdom, and there are many ways to express it.

Trust your gut.

Follow your nose.

Listen to your heart.

You know that your instincts are a critically important guidance system when you are making any significant decision, such as:

  • whether to change jobs (or careers);
  • what to do about a difficult relationship;
  • how to deal with financial stress. 

But, how often do you actually pay attention to those instincts? 

Do you sometimes second-guess yourself about what to do when something doesn't feel right? Do you often end up following the advice of family or friends, rather than taking the action to which you are personally drawn?

The facts of a situation can themselves make decisions seem complex and overwhelming. And we also have an unfortunate tendency to add to the confusion, by imposing layers of our own hang-ups: self-doubt, insecurity, fear, shame, guilt, worrying about other people's opinions, and so on. These layers make...

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What Gord Downie Taught Us About Life

If you knew you only had a few months to live, what would you change about your life in the time you had left?

It’s a question often posed by life coaches to get a client to root out their deepest desires, goals and dreams, as well as the fears and reservations that are currently holding them back.

For Gord Downie, the frontman, lead singer and lyricist for The Tragically Hip (a Canadian rock band whose music was the soundtrack of a generation in this country), the answer to the question, it seems, was “I wouldn’t change a thing”. Gord was a man who lived his values, who knew his path and never wavered from it. He left us 3 years ago, on October 17, 2017.

After his diagnosis of a glioblastoma (brain cancer) in December 2015, Gord continued to write and record music. He went back into the studio, recording enough material to produce two solo albums before his death, as well as a number of tracks recorded with the band, which have yet to be released.

Gord...

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Giving Thanks EVERY Day

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!

If you're not in Canada, you may be confused right now, especially if you are American. It's quite simple, really. 

Thanksgiving is traditionally centered around the harvest - we give thanks for nature's bounty. At least, that's how it started, as I understand it. 

And in Canada, the harvest comes earlier than in the USA, by virtue of us being further north and having a colder climate. That's really the only reason our Thanksgiving is celebrated a month earlier.

But it's always struck me as a bit sad, that so many of us need a special day to remind us to acknowledge how blessed we are. 

Studies show that people who get in touch with feelings of gratitude on a daily basis have better quality of life, both physically and mentally. I share several links at the bottom of this blog that will help you explore both the benefits and the ways you can implement a daily gratitude practice, and I hope you'll check them out.

...

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What's Fueling Your Negativity?

Things are getting really ugly in our society; I don't think anyone who pays any attention at all to the media would dispute that.

And I'm not just talking about politics, although certainly that is very much front and centre right now. But everyone seems to be divided these days, on a myriad of issues - pro mask vs. anti mask; pro vaccines vs. anti vaccines; send your kids back to school vs. keep them home; Carnivore Diet vs. Veganism; and on it goes.

We like to think that we are "above all of that". On Facebook, or whatever our preferred platform, we share memes filled with platitudes, and we pontificate about how nasty everyone else seems to be. But all too often, we catch ourselves getting sucked into it, too.

Has that happened to you? Have you ever wondered why? Have you been thinking to yourself lately that you're turning into someone you don't recognize, or don't want to become?

It certainly was true for me. So, I took a step back, and analyzed what was going on. I realized...

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Stop Limiting Yourself

Do you know what you are truly capable of?

I'm guessing the answer to that question is a resounding NO.

How can I say this with so much confidence?

Simple.

Yesterday, I walked 65 kilometers (a little more than 40 miles), almost all of it within a span of 12 hours. 

Understandably, I'm rather exhausted from this activity, so I'm going to keep this blog post relatively short. But that doesn't mean it won't be impactful - or at least, I hope so.

You see, if anyone had told me, even a week or two ago, that I would achieve that distance in the race for which I'd been training since the early summer, I would have laughed hysterically at them. 

My goal was to walk 50 kilometers. I didn't care how long it took - the race course was open for 24 hours, so I literally could have shuffled my way to the end. 

But a funny thing happened... I reached my goal, and realized I still felt fine. I decided to keep going, to see how far I could push my limits.

And ended up adding another...

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A Few Words about Acceptance

mindset Sep 01, 2020

2020 has been the most unusual year I can ever recall. I’m obviously not alone.

In some quarters, it’s been said that the COVID-19 pandemic will turn out to be one of those seminal moments in world history – things will never be the same again, in many ways. 

Many (most?) of us are grieving for our previous carefree way of life, when we wouldn’t think twice about piling into a taxi or bus with strangers, sharing a meal with friends indoors at a restaurant, or attending a concert, public lecture or tourist attraction with hundreds, perhaps thousands of other human beings. Extroverts now bemoan the necessity of working from home and the impersonality of Zoom meetings.

Eventually, unless by some miracle a vaccine is developed that can provide permanent immunity, we’ll need to accept that our new attitude of caution and wariness of strangers is likely to be with us for years to come; perhaps for the remainder of our lifetime. We will adapt, and as the...

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How to Cope When Everything Feels Out of Control

life-coaching mindset Aug 16, 2020

There are always things in life that we can’t control - the weather; the economy; the way other people react to the things we say and do.

And sometimes, it feels like we have no control over anything at all - such as, when a global pandemic is killing hundreds of thousands of people, and harming millions more, or when political divisions threaten to tear our country apart. Or when we suddenly and unexpectedly experience a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or being let go by our employer.

Sometimes, life can seem utterly overwhelming, and if we’re not careful, we can be overcome by a sense of despair, helplessness, and doom. That, in turn, leads to paralysis, keeping us stuck in place, unable to take action on our goals and dreams.

But the truth is, there are things you DO still have control over, and at times like these, it’s always helpful to focus on those things. Doing so will increase your confidence, and help generate some forward momentum in your life...

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What's Your Excuse?

mindset sleep Aug 10, 2020
Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

It’s past my bedtime, on a Sunday night, and I'm just now sitting down to write.

This happens rather too often these days, and it got me to thinking about the excuses we make for our behaviour.

I’m sure you can relate: there are things you know you SHOULD do (like getting to bed at a “reasonable” hour, avoiding sugary foods, tackling that household repair job that’s needed doing for weeks…) but there’s always a good excuse. 

“I don’t have enough time to get everything done by 8 pm, so I have to stay up to finish _________.”

“Mom baked those cookies especially for me, so it would have hurt her feelings if I’d declined when she offered them to me." 

“The job will take at least 2 hours; I haven’t been able to find a two-hour stretch to complete it, and I don’t want to start and then leave things in a mess.” 

You may be thinking, these are...

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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

mindset personal growth Aug 03, 2020
Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

A good friend of mine set an extremely ambitious goal for herself this year: to walk 100 kilometers in 24 hours or less. That’s a little over 62 miles, for our American friends. 

Why, you may wonder, would someone choose to do this? 

There are any number of reasons, but the most compelling to me, and likely the one that is motivating my friend, is simply to extend the boundaries of what is possible for her. To see what she’s made of; to see whether she can push through beyond whatever limitations she might have previously placed on herself.

Yesterday, my friend walked 80 kilometers over 16 hours. She set out at 5:30 am, and completed her trek at around 9:30 pm. I have no doubt that, come September, she will complete that 100K walk, as planned.

When was the last time you set a goal that seemed unattainable? Or perhaps one that seemed attainable for others, but not for you?

I’m going to argue that you should be doing this...

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History Repeats Itself. And That's a Good Thing!

mindset Jul 27, 2020
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

A week or so ago, on a whim, I pulled a book off the shelf that I’ve never even cracked open before. It’s one of those Reader’s Digest compendiums of which my parents were ever so fond: “Kings & Queens of England – Murder, Mayhem, and Scandal, 1066 to the Present Day”. Published in 2003, it’s just a tad out of date now, but no matter.

The only reason I kept this book after my parents died, is that I learned absolutely NOTHING about the British royals in all of my school years, and I figured someday it would be good to acquire some knowledge on the subject, especially given that my mother hailed from jolly old England. 

Why, you ask? How would this knowledge help me in life?

Well, I didn’t think it would. I just thought it would make for interesting conversation at parties.

“You know, they called King Richard I ‘the Lionheart’, but he managed to go and get himself captured...

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