Tag Archives: gratitude

The Power of Dad

I’m one of the lucky ones.  Although I seldom see my Dad (too late to teach him Skype. He’s 88 and lives 4 hours away by plane),  I can often summon up and savour moments of his love instantly.

Oh how he longs for my safety, health, and happiness as I do for him.  He expresses his love simply, clearly, and often, regardless if we’re on the phone or face to face.

He catches me off guard sometimes because his timing is not during those special celebrations anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, but when we are alone together, just the two of us.  I’d like to think my siblings also have this special time with him, too.

He tells me he counts the days before I visit them in Calgary.  And once I’m there, we would go for our morning walks on our regular route and stop in for our senior’s coffee at the Golden Arches.  We always take a selfie before heading home.

Sometimes after a drive and I’ve dropped him off at their condo, spend 5 minutes checking my phone for messages, and about to drive off again to meet a friend. I would see him standing still in the front lobby waiting to wave and see me off.

In the morning, I would ask him how was his sleep and he would tell me how well he sleeps when I’m there.

We share the same love for and watch the Raptors on TV while yelling, laughing, and cheering so loudly that my Mom would say, ‘they can’t hear you!” which makes us laugh even harder.

I’ll be calling him today and we’ll have “our talk” which is a bit of a guessing game because he dislikes wearing his hearing aid at home.  Nonetheless to hear his voice makes me happy and when I call today,  I’ll hear him loud and clear this Father’s Day and also the next.

 

 

The Power of Hope

One of my favorite things to do is write “thank you” notes, not virtual but paper notes you post by tossing them in one of those big boxes on your street corner.  They’re still there. You could say I start each day grateful for being grateful.  Another is when I talk to people, I love  to look and listen for positivity.  So you could say I hope for Hope.  And my final confession is I can easily spend an hour or two listening to convocation addresses. This “secret” pleasure helps me aspire to inspire.

Yes, I’m the annoying person who jumps out of bed every morning, not with a partner (happily single) but with hope.  When all you have is hope, you jump … you jump for joy, for love, for the next big idea, for whatever the new day brings!

However, for some and understandably so, loss and suffering make it difficult to get out of bed.  Some fear having expectations because the disappointments are too big to bear. Some are grateful just ‘having a cup” because asking if your cup is half empty or half full would hurt too much to even ponder.  And some start their sentences with “But the problem is ….”

We all have and will continue to experience loss – large losses like losing your identity, your job, your love, your business, your purpose in life and small losses like losing your car keys, forgetting a name, sometimes your smartphone (maybe that’s a large loss).  This is what we call living.

Here’s how hope transcends loss.  Listen to Sheryl Sandberg’s recent convocation address to the grads at Virginia Tech.  Listen with or without judgement.  Given Ms. Sandberg’s position of privilege and working as the COO at Facebook, some cynics refuse to acknowledge and sympathize.  But we’re all human and when you suddenly lose your life partner, well, I feel very sad and sorry for her loss.

In her convocation address, Ms. Sandberg’s voice quivered and cracked slightly as she gave us a glimpse of her heart still raw and reeling from her loss – tender, emotional, and vulnerable.   She continues boldly and brightly, wishing the graduates hope.  She showed them the way to find hope:

“Seek shared experiences with all kinds of people.  Write shared narratives that create the world you want to live in.  Build shared hope in the communities you join and the communities you form.  And above all, find gratitude for the gift of life itself and the opportunities it provides for meaning, for joy, and for love.”

The power of hope is about setting expectations and intentions, building dreams, big dreams, and believing you can make and leave the world a better place.  “Resilience is a muscle. which we need to build.” says Ms. Sandberg.  Why not exercise our resilience muscle first thing in the morning by jumping out of bed?  Jump because you’ve been given another day. Jump because you are alive and kicking.  And jump because together, we can make a big leap forward.

Hashtag Talk #8 – The Greatness of Canada

#OCanada  #freedom  #safety  #friendship  #peace  #home  #community  #gratitude #givingback #volunteer #NewCanadianCitizens #Canada #Canadian

 

20161013_120329 20161013_115657 Celebration

Today I had the honour and privilege of facilitating one of 14 round tables for  55 about-to-be #NewCanadianCitizens at the Ontario Science Centre as part of an initiative called #BuildingCitizenship  for The Institute For Canadian Citizenship. The citizenship ceremony which followed was presided by the very warm and welcoming Justice Albert Wong.  What a judge!  Justice Wong came via #Malaysia and landed in #Sudbury (as I aspire to earn more medals)!

Justice Albert Wong
Justice Albert Wong

As a co-facilitator, my role was to ensure everyone at our table had a chance to share stories on why they chose to become a #Canadian citizen.    We had such diversity in age, culture,  and profession – a father who became a citizen 4 years ago came to witness his identical twin 20+ something year olds from Lahore, Pakistan; a smiling Dutchman who has been here for 14 years with his Montreal-born spouse; a lovely Colombian fellow who also married a Canadian and has been living in Canada for 8 years; and my co-facilitator, a distinguished retiree who came to Canada in early 70’s with $200 in his pocket from Zanzibar, Tanzania and  now has a daughter and two grandchildren in Canada.

We were tasked to complete the sentence “I became a Canadian when ….” So at the end of our hour, we presented in 6 words our collective thoughts.  It made us pause to think and reflect.  The sports enthusiasts immediately shouted @BlueJays #ourmoment @Raptors #wethenorth .  Sports always unite and binds community… immediately! No language needed.   The more “seasoned” generation spoke about Canada as a land of “peace and heaven on earth” and “the beginning of new beginnings”.  The creatives focused on the scale and scope of the beauty and vastness of Toronto and the distinctive four seasons in all their colour and glory.

However, the one person who I believe said it best was “when I am at the end of my travels, I am looking forward to coming home.  Canada is “home” to me.”

Having worked and lived in faraway countries and in cultures so different from where I was born and brought up, a small Prairie town, I know this feeling all too well –  “coming home”.  Canada is home.  Is it this feeling of comfort, joy, and love with undeniable certainty?  Without a doubt, I couldn’t feel prouder to hear voices, young and old,  from many different countries calling Canada “home” , “OUR home and native land”! #OCanada!

HashTagTalks for Small Biz

Kicking off with February #s:

TheFWords:  #failure #fortune  #fun #fear #FailureFollowedByFortune 

TheGwords: #grit #gratitude

#superpowerskill

Baby_Jean

From A Micro Entrepreneur THEN   &

Jean Chow - MsBizWizA Small Entrepreneur NOW

After 10 years #grit in audit #superpowerskill and armed with an accounting diploma #grit and an incomplete final CPA #failure , I left my hometown, Moose Jaw, then Regina and Saskatoon for Zambia #fortune #fun!

Lessons learned from those Audit Years:                      a) how to count cattle #fun ; b) how to count  drums of yellow cake #fear #fun;  c) how to count my lucky stars to be paid handsomely #fortune for an African adventure #fun.

I was a Project Accountant, an aid worker, for 2 years on a wheat research project (how to count seeds, just kidding) and competed as a member of the Zambian Women’s Squash Team #grit #superpowerskills #fun. “Where are you from?” came up often in Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and on the Zambian Copperbelt: Kitwe, Ndola, and Lusaka.  I learned it was much easier to say “Konichiwa” which made everyone was happy.

I left Zambia and saw more of this wide world #fortune #fun : Down Under, Thailand, France, England, France, then landed in Ottawa.  It was time to replenish my “inventory”.  After 18 months of financial analyzing, I could see a new business language emerging.  So I quit #fortune , loaded up my Honda Civic, and drove across Canada #grit #fun to study Mandarin #superpowerskill in Vancouver, a winter with a lot of rain. #grit

Another irresistible offer came along to work overseas, this time across the Pacific in Ujung Pandang, Sulawesi, Indonesia.  Not such a tough choice – starving, not-so-mature student versus handsomely paid adventurer #FailureFollowedByFortune #fun

More lessons learned:  Losing is winning  #FailureFollowedByFortune like losing my toughest squash match in Harare #grit but leaving it my all on the court; losing is winning after marrying someone you’ve outgrown and divorcing quickly, painfully, wisely #FailureFollowedByFortune; losing is winning after left holding the bag as a whistle blower, knowing right from wrong #superpowerskill having to walk away from my home in Indonesia and personal belongings #grit and then being saved one year later by good friends, friends for life #FailureFollowedByFortune

Enter my sweet spot decade – happy days back in Canada and after a short stint as a Director of Finance , I quit to be a – wait for it – Food Entrepreneur  #fun #superpowerskill #grit Talk about making something from scratch.  No cakes, no boeuf bourguignon for me.  I wanted the REAL DEAL.  I wanted to do what I love! #fun I loved to eat great food #fun so why not make a business from scratch? Did it matter that I was not a chef, never sold a thing in my life, no contacts in the food industry?  No! “Know no #fear” became my mantra.

I designed #superpowerskill, developed #superpowerskill, and physically delivered (for a little while) #superpowerskill “Asian Kraft Dinner” as Asian DIY dinner kits (Thai, Indonesian, Japanese, South Asian) which sold across Canada, U.S. and Bermuda for 12 (10 wonderful) years! #FUN #GRIT  All caps, definitely ALL CAPS!

Loads of lessons learned:  I lived in my factory for 4 out of 12 years #grit ; wrestled with uncertainty 24/7 for the entire 12 years #superpowerskill ;  received recognition by the big ones: Bon Appetit and CBS FoodNetwork NYC #superpowerskill #fortune; blind passion can and will kill you… well, almost; unexpectedly we lost 2 major clients so cash flow stopped flowing. At the same time we had to automate production , “go big or go home” so I lost it all and went “home”  #FailureFollowedByFear  I lived with my friends and family in 5 homes for 6 months in 2 different cities, 3,415 km apart; I lived with #humility and #gratitude ; I lived with zero assets+zero liabilities = ZERO for what seemed like a very long time #FailureWithNoFortune #JustPlainFailure

So “now is the time” to adapt, to pivot, to change, to endure, to survive #grit  For the next 10 years,  I worked in big corporate led by small people who MUST hit their “numbers”, I worked in small business led by big people (read “big egos”) who went mad not knowing their “numbers”; I worked in NFPs (aka not-for-profits aka “not for me”) with dedicated people who waste time wrestling with bureaucracy and not having any “numbers”.

Lessons Learned From Lowlights to Highlights:  Nothing can defeat you when you have nowhere to go but up #GRIT; nothing can defeat you when you set aside your pride, learn to lean, and ask (sometimes yell) for help #humility ; nothing can defeat you when you can still give a lot with very little because #gratitude is still gratitude #superpowerskill; nothing can defeat you when you can make a life a “something” out of “nothing” #superpowerskill ,  when you “treat every day like pay day”  with curiosity and wonder #fun #fortune, and when you strive to be kinder each and every day. “My heart has spoken.” #superpowerskill

What’s next?  March #Talk. Stay tuned!

A Superhero for the Underdog Entrepreneur!

Pat McNamara @patapex is a PR dynamo who has found a way to give back! She’s the poster girl of  huge heart, self-effacing and ever so humble.  She is the super-hero for the underdog entrepreneur!

#Entrepreneurs sometimes fall and fall hard for different reasons and need a second chance. Doesn’t everyone? Pat mentions ever so briefly that she had a second chance and her gratitude  jumps out when you see her smile.  Pat McNamara 19NOV2015

As volunteer business judges, we spent the day listening and assessing  the top 9 pitches in 3 categories – youth, women, and immigrant – and are at varying stages of start-up.  By the end of the day, @IgniteCapital will have awarded $20k to each of the three category winners!  Where does this money come from?  From Pat’s 3 pockets for 3 entrepreneurs, $60K,  to help move an entrepreneur’s dream forward.

This is no Dragon’s Den!  Pat and her team have designed a process for cash-strapped, low credit score entrepreneurs (yep, you have to have a credit score LESS THAN 650) to be eligible.  2015 is Year 3 of Pat’s generosity and now is the time for other successful entrepreneurs to step up.  Join Pat in helping those who deserve a second chance!

A Second Chance
A Second Chance