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Archive for October, 2011

As I mentioned in my previous roadSIGNS Column, I have had the opportunity over the last six weeks to travel across Canada. I have learned that it takes a certain discipline to get up each morning, check-in at the airport, travel to a new city, arrive at a new hotel each night and remember what room I have been assigned and finally, show up every evening with and enthusiastic and engaging presentation. As a result of my
observations of myself and others, I have learned many lessons which of course, not only apply to travelling but to life in general. It’s just that travelling puts everything under a microscope.

Lesson Number One: Stay in the Moment.

As someone who is notorious for thinking about what’s next, or what is happening next week, I have learned that this is not an effective strategy when I am travelling. Staying grounded and living in the moment however, is. The routine of changing locations everyday has forced me to wake up, ask what city and hotel I am in, assess where I am travelling to that day and upon arrival, focus on that evening’s program. Thinking ahead too far only creates confusion and distraction.

Lesson Number Two: Be Patient and Smile a Lot

When you have to go through airline security for several days in a row, it is very easy to become annoyed. I have never taken jackets, boots and belts off so many times in my life and I feel constantly embarrassed about undressing in public. The key to surviving this daily assault is to be patient, to joke with the security guards (imagine having their job!) and to smile a lot. That smile changes everything and lights people up along the way. I have learned that airport security is simply a job that has to be done and not to take it personally.

Lesson Number Three: Inspire Others

As I travel through these airports, I hand out attractionCARDS, inspiring messages which we produce here at roadSIGNS. This may be the agent at the check-in desk, the server at Starbucks, the occasional flight attendant, waiters and waitresses or shop keepers. What I have noticed is how a small thing like offering someone a message for their day makes a difference. One server at the airport in Halifax shared with me that travelers
are not nice people. They are always in a hurry and chronically grumpy. After offering her and her colleague an attractionCARD they lit up and stated that I had “made their day!” It’s not difficult to inspire others.

Lesson Number Four: When I Inspire Others I am Inspired

I have also noticed that when I take a moment to be pleasant, to smile, or tooffer a message, the same energy returns to me. As I leave an interaction with anotherperson, I frequently see them smiling and sharing the message I offered themwith someone else. And that lights me up. I realize that if I stay lit up and inspired it has an impact on my being, my work and my relationships. Energy given; energy received.

Lesson Number Five: Stay Rested

A constant change in time zones, a new hotel bed every night and evening programs which keep me awake thinking, make staying rested a real challenge. I developed the habit of meditating before each event, 15 to 30 minutes, of quiet reflection and breathing. It is interesting that I don’t afford myself that luxury when I am not travelling even though I know the benefits and how it allows me to be ‘on’ during my evening workshops. It is important ME FIRST time, that opportunity to serve myself first so that I can serve others well.

I am sure there have been other lessons as well – these are the principle ones. They apply to all of our days not just the travelling ones. And so I invite you to join with me and practice being present, being patient and smiling a lot, inspiring others and as a result, being inspired and staying
rested with a daily dose of ME FIRST time. These simple lessons can change your life in so many ways.

 

Until next time…

Betty

Betty Healey is the roadSIGNS Coach, coaching people back to life! Her new book, The ME FIRST Playbook, is now available at
the roadSIGNS website, www.roadSIGNS.ca

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CBC is definitely my preference for radio listening. I especially enjoy the morning show with Jian Ghomeshi, although I don’t always appreciate his taste in music. In listening to radio shows like Jian’s Q, I frequently hear something that is a roadSIGN for me or something that triggers a train of thought or a new understanding. I love that roadSIGNS come in so many different forms.

On Tuesday of this past week, as I started the five hour drive to Toronto, Jian was interviewing well known Canadian dancer Margie Gillis. Many of you may not be familiar with her work – I was not until living in Montreal. She is not only a talented dancer – she choreographs dance works around the world and she is also a recipient of the Order of Canada. All that to say, she is an impressive figure.

At the age of 58 she continues to dance and perform. It was this aspect of the interview that intrigued me as I realized that, despite her age, despite having arthritis in her knees and the limitations this could bring to her dance, she continues. Certainly she has modified her approach and she admitted that she did not dance with the same vigor or style as she did in her twenties. What she does is she listens to her body, and the spirit housed within that body, and adapts her choreography accordingly. To quote Margie, “ Our bodies are a wonderful metaphor for our souls”.

This was the part that intrigued me. It was perfect contrast to a comment which arrived the other day on my blog  from someone who had just turned sixty. To quote her, “I just turned 60 too. It’s so horrible because I am over the hill. I don’t enjoyed the stuff I used to …” You can see where this was going. Obviously it is a point of view to which I do not subscribe, as I believe age is largely based on attitude and the choice you make every day for living your life. Hence my attraction to Margie Gillis’ vitality.

Through these two sources what has become clear to me is that I do not want to make age an excuse for not doing things. I want to listen to my 61 year old body, ask what it is telling me and be guided by its wisdom. I want to be grateful for the road this body has travelled, the places it has taken me, and for standing up with me through all types of weather. I want to adapt my dancing, as Margie is doing, and learn the steps that serve me well at this point in my life. I want to refute the limitations and use them simply as a guide for moving forward and choosing a new choreography.

The ME FIRST message that I embrace and teach specifies that whatever it is you want to change out there, in your life, begins on the inside, with ME first. As you read this, I encourage you to check in with yourself and wonder about your approach to life. Do you embrace everyday as a new opportunity or do you moan about growing older? Are you curious about life and what lies before you or do you focus on the things you can no longer do? Are you learning new dance steps or feeling badly that you can’t jive the way you did in your twenties?

Here is where I want to play and I am inviting you to join me. I plan to start playing my music again. My choices these days are different – I love the uplifting words of Karen Drucker and the jazzy tones of Diana Krall. I can dance to these songs, slow fluid steps around my living room. They are different from the upbeat choreography of the aerobic dance I once did, but they are in tune with my body, my spirit and my soul.

Will you dance with me?

Until next time…

Betty

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