Category Archives: 101 Ways to Manage a Transition

Day 101 – Pesonal Reflection

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.  ~Anaïs Nin

This journey of 101 ways of Managing A Transition was a personal reflection on the transitions I’ve lived so far. For the last eight days, I’ve had the honour of sharing with you transition stories from our guest writers.  Each one on a unique journey but with similar challenges, reminding us all of how much we actually have in common with each other.

Our joys and sorrows may not be the same but who can argue the pain we might feel in each situation. As parents, we share the same concerns for our children. As employees, we face the same challenges. As leaders, our leadership skills get tested on a daily basis with rapidly changing events and ever increasing demands.

It takes much courage to share and reveal our innermost thoughts, fears and aspirations to another.  But in doing so, we create a world that is more connected, more patient, and more understanding. In this sharing lies also our potential for self actualization.

Story telling was very much a part of our ancestors’ lives in maintaining history and gaining wisdom. It still holds the same power for the fast paced world we live in. Turn to your loved ones, neighbours or friends and seek to share in these times of turmoil to create a better world. Be there for others who might need you in their times of weakness and offer the support that you once needed… or might need one day.

I now invite you to share your stories, thoughts and ideas about transitions or transformations with our readers here. Thank you for being part of this journey!

Indra Dosanjh is based in Toronto and can be found online on Linkedin.com or about.me. You can follow her on twitter @indradosanjh.


Day 100 – Role Models: A Philosopher’s Journey

Margaret Young said it best:Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they really want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must find who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want

Why is this relevant to transitioning? Simply put, it should be the cornerstone of everything we do throughout our professional and private lives. There are things we can control; most we can’t. However, if we find out who we really are and what we are truly capable of, that will point our compass in the right direction, and show us what we must do no matter the circumstances. This way, the things we can’t control dwarf in significance compared to those we can.

This is a time of transition where old rules no longer apply and new ones have yet to take hold. The challenges we all now face may seem daunting and the temptation to say “these are the worst of times” is ever present. The truth is, every generation has faced challenges and trials. War, economic crisis and meltdowns, social upheavals, paradigm shifts, have, and will always be present. Only two generations ago, our forefathers paid a heavy price to make the world a safer place. By comparison we’ve had an easy ride.

I know what you’re thinking: ” So what? What does it matter how bad others had it, when my life and prospects are so bleak. It’s a fruitless exercise to compare misery”. That maybe so, however, where in fore-years others faced many exogenous obstacles, today our biggest obstacle is most likely to be ourselves. It is easy to find excuses and closed doors:

  • Age: “I’m too old/too young”
  • Money: “I have to hang on to what I’m doing even though I hate it because I need the financial security”
  • Duration: “Transitioning to something I love will take too long.”
  • Consent: No one is an island. You may find you need the support of a loved one to pursue what you want.
  • Location: you may need to move to get where you really want to be.

And many other reasons: physical condition, education and training, timing, esteem, fear of failure, fear of success, and perhaps the worst of all fatalism, where we believe our destiny is fixed and we’ve been dealt a hand we can’t change, (i.e. this is as good as it gets). Personally I have faced all these closed doors. My advice? Don’t open them: knock them down! If you think too long about all the reasons why you can’t do it, you won’t! Quoting Seneca: ” It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.”

Above all, remember you are one of a kind. There is no one else exactly like you. No one else has dreams and aspirations identical to yours, stands where you stand now, or end up where you will end up. It doesn’t make sense to compare your success or progress to anyone else’s or to some external checklist and timetable to fit some nonexistent average life. You are unique. That, above all else, is your greatest asset!

Finally, forget about the destination and think of the journey. As the “philosopher” Mick Jagger puts it: ” You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.”

Submitted by Joao Araujo, CEO of Barefooters Corp. and a serial entrepreneur.

Day 99 – Role Models: Filling the Gap

In 2010 I was a senior in high school completing my final year. I felt unsure about my life and and my post secondary plans. I had no ambition or motivation to be successful in school and graduate. It did not seem too important in my life at the time. My parents urged me to take a year off, but I was reluctant because I did not want to have such a big change occur in my life. Finally coming to the decision to travel and take time to figure out what I want out of life and my education turned out to be the best decision I have made. When I decided to make this transition and travel, I had no idea that along the way I underwent many other transitions that brought me to one that has significantly changed my life.

In September, I embarked on a volunteer program In Costa Rica. The program allowed you to choose whether to volunteer for as little as one week, or as long as three months. I decided that three months would be most beneficial, since I wanted to volunteer in more than one project during my stay. The two volunteer projects that I attended, was a day care in La Carpio, and turtle conservation in Playa Ostional.

My first transition was travelling by myself. I can still remember the nervousness and fear, as I said Goodbye to my aunt and Mom at the airport. As I was preparing to say my farewells to my family for 3 months, my mom handed me my binder with all my important documents, what I need to have with me at all times, and what I need to do once I arrive in a foreign country all by myself. My emotions got the best of me, and I burst out crying at the gates. My Mom had always taken care of everything when we went on family vacations; I always depended on her as my safety guard. I had also never been that long away from home, not seeing my family and being unsure if I would have contact to them frequently terrified me. I felt like a big child as I grasped onto her and bawled my eyes out, not wanting to leave, let alone let go of her. But she calmly helped me get it together and sent me on my way. Once I walked through those gates all by myself, for the first time I knew I had no one to rely on but myself, no giving up, because there wasn’t anyone to fix it for me this time. After that I became very independent, very fast. I learnt how to stand my ground when I arrived in Costa Rica with cab drivers trying to take my luggage to their car. I learnt how to travel and commute publicly in a country that I knew very little Spanish. I learnt how to use my instincts on how to know who to trust, and most of all; I learned how to hold my own ground.

After successfully transitioning from a terrified lost traveler, into a confident, some-what Spanish speaking member of the community, I was really able to start observing my surroundings, and how different my new home was from Canada. If you asked me what I thought about my living situation the first week in Costa Rica, I would have said it was torture. No hot showers, beans and rice for breakfast lunch and dinner, no cable, and no high speed internet. It was not until I started my volunteer project the following week at La Carpio.

The only knowledge I had about the project in La Carpio before arriving there was that it was an impoverished area with orphaned children. But as the street bus entered La Carpio, nothing could describe, or hide the real truth of what was going on there. It was in fact a temporary childcare for parents who could not afford or provide for their children.

Carpio has about 40,000 residents, with half of them who are immigrants from Nicaragua and other Central American countries. Most of these immigrants come to Costa Rica looking for a better and safer way of living, but unfortunately end up in Costa Rica’s landfill. Carpio is a small area of 296 square kilometers, which is surrounded on two sides by rivers. Since most of these immigrants came and started living here illegally, the government has done very little to assist these refugees into making a life and real home. Instead, they made the most inhumane trade off with the people of Carpio which ultimately turned their homes into a big junk yard. After repeated pleas by the residents to the government, the government finally relented to pave one road to the impoverished area, so automobiles could get there and back easier. Conveniently, the only road they paved was the route for the garbage trucks to dump garbage in the resident’s home. This has left the area, dirty, unsanitary, and squeezing out valuable living space for families.

In an attempt to stop the poverty and starvation for kids and adults, our program started a soup kitchen that was held every Wednesday for the town. We would arrive in Carpio around nine a.m., buy food necessary to make a meal, such as rice, beans, and some sort of meat at a local store, and start to prepare a meal to feed 50 people, at the least.

I, along with other volunteers, learnt a couple of new things while cooking this meal. First, a fancy kitchen is not necessary to prepare a meal, of any size. All you need is heat, a grill, and a cooking pot.
Secondly, we realized that to make a big meal and deliver it to its destination does not need any caterers, or trucks. All you need is willing and determined people to make a difference, even if it’s only a temporary fulfillment. And lastly, the most important thing we learned was that, you don’t need expensive meals, fancy dining areas, to truly enjoy a meal.

After leaving that project and realizing how simple it is to survive, i started relating that to other parts of my life. Will we die if we cannot use the internet? What will happen if we had to hand-wash our dishes instead of using our dishwasher? Why is it so easy to buy a pack of cigarettes for $12.00 to satisfy our needs, but so hard to donate or spare change for a homeless person on the street? This culture shock and change helped me to see how grateful and thankful I am, and we all should be about the lives we live. If you are complaining about how hard your life is because your blackberry broke, or the wrong food was given to you at a restaurant and you demand a new plate, remember that your problems could be way worse, and be happy with what you are given. When you are happy with the things and people in your life then that positive energy can only bring in more good events to you.

I could go on for days about how many people and experiences helped transition me into the person I have now become; but some things remain the same. I bawled my eyes out when I was leaving Canada, and I also bawled my eyes out when I left Costa Rica. This time, the tears were filled with happiness and love.  I was filled with a feeling of accomplishment; a feeling that I understand who I am now. What started out as something so scary, turned out to change me for the better. I left for Costa Rica trying to find myself, and what I want in life, and I came back alive, and ready to put all my plans into action. My mom has quoted one of my favourite quotes in her earlier blogs by Martin Luther King junior, that I live by every day. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Article submitted by my daughter, Priya Hecktus, a part-time student based in Toronto with plans to go back to college in a few months to pursue Hospitality Management.

Day 98 – Role Models: Life of Transitions

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. ~ C. S. Lewis

Transition and change is as natural and inevitable as the sun rising each morning and setting each evening.  In the midst of my latest transition, I have come to value Indra’s counsel and her example.  And so, I was truly honoured when Indra asked me to contribute to her blog.

My life has been one of transitions.  As a six-year old immigrant boy from India, the snow and cold of Canada was my first transition I remember. Learning to fit in in small town Northern Ontario was a significant transition.  Moving every two or three years across Canada for my dad’s job and going to three different high schools in four years were also transitions.  I had to learn to adapt, learn to trust what worked in previous settings and learn to have the courage to change what didn’t.  Sure, I was nervous; of course, I had self-doubts, major self-doubts; but at some point, I started to treat these transitions as an adventure and as a chance to reinvent myself – and then it got easier.

Going on to university and then grad school was a transition.  There was no longer the familiar to grasp onto.  I met my wife-to-be in grad school and starting to think as a couple rather than as an individual was the next transition.  Moving from student to professional and then moving to England for a new career were other transitions that required courage and an appetite for adventure.

By far the best transition I have had to make was from husband to father.  And in that transition, I have learned what is truly most important to me and to change myself in ways I didn’t think was possible.  I learned to be much more patient, I learned to stop and watch a bird catch a worm or stop and smell the flowers.

Another job change and a move back to Toronto was a transition that made me think about what I wanted from my professional and personal life.  From a professional perspective, I discovered that I was no longer satisfied with only personal career success but that I truly wanted to build something.  So I took on a role where I was tasked with building out a new business line and building up a team.  Learning to manage people, motivate people and discipline people with different personalities, different goals and objectives was a transition.  And one lesson that I learned is that in this, as with all transitions, there is no map, no manual.  You learn by doing, by making mistakes and by, hopefully, not making them again.

From a personal perspective, I wanted more balance in my life.  So I try to spend quality time with my wife and daughter every day.  I have committed to a healthier lifestyle and now get up insanely early every morning to go work out and I watch what I eat. I have nourished my desire to learn things outside of my professional life and I have become certified as a personal trainer and as a spinning instructor and kettlebell instructor.  Why?  For the first time in my life, I do this because I want to and I am interested in it, not because I expect to use it for my day job.

I guided my team successfully through the credit crisis and the challenges of the last few years.  I held people’s hands, I soothed clients’ fears and I led with an energy and strength that was not always easy to muster.  So when I found myself “made available” by my company a few months back, it was a roller coaster of emotions.  I had been unhappy at work for some time and was thinking about a way out.  But while I had left companies before, this was the first time that the decision and timing was not mine.  Resentment, hurt ego, relief were some of the many emotional states that I passed through and, to be honest, still pass through at times.

A friend recently said to me: “There is no bad experience.  Just think about what you can take away from what has happened and how you can benefit from it going forward.”  The lessons I have learned from all of my previous transitions resonate loudly in my head:  Adapt, trust what has worked, and have the courage to change the things that didn’t.  The relationship I have built with my wife and daughter; the focus on my workouts and my non-professional interests now provide the familiarity, the stability and the support that I need.

What I have learned from Indra and this transition is that too often we take things for granted. We assume that we know what makes us happy, what is truly important to us, who is there for us, who lifts us up and who tears us down.  I have learned that there are some truly amazing people out there who will go out of their way to help you even if they don’t know you that well.  And the people that perhaps you expect the most from can be the ones that let you down the most. Learn to accept that everyone has a role to play in your journey – don’t try to change bit players to leading roles.  Trust yourself, put yourself out there and, as I keep learning from my daughter, make sure you take time to enjoy the journey and stop and smell the flowers.

Is my transition complete?  No.  Have I mastered my emotions and approach the future with a zen-like calm?  No (but I am getting better!).  But, and perhaps most importantly, I know, with absolute certainty, that I will successfully complete my transition and that where I will end up is where I am meant to be.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~ Winston Churchill

Today’s role model article is  written by Sam Sivarajan, a Toronto based global wealth management expert. He is a personal trainer and as an avid climber has trekked expeditions to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu and the Eastern Himalayas of Bhutan. Sam is also actively involved in  local communities and has fund-raised for the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation and the Ride to Conquer Cancer among other charitable causes.

Sam is currently on the Board of The Arthritis Society (Ontario). You can follow Sam and his adverntures on twitter @SamSivarajan

Day 97 – Role Models: A Moment of Awareness

The busiest place to be is in your own mind. ~ Anonymous

Experiences often depict lessons in our journey of life and living. Some experiences are so rich in substance they bring light to lessons equally as rich. Such experiences brought about my transformation. I have come to learn that I define my life in terms of my energy.
When my energy is high I am enjoying what I am doing and how I am spending my time. When my energy is deflated, usually so is my mood. Therefore to
effectively live my life with ultimate happiness I have come to realize that I needed to make some life changes.

This reality came to me when at work. My company resembles an envelope to me for it holds tightly all of my passions. I built it as a means to express my passion for life and my love of humanity. It holds the means to express myself in a way that I have not discovered
before. It allows me to relay a message of hope, love and excitement in a meaningful, rewarding way. My Company, which is evidently my passion and life’s purpose was
derailed and considerably compromised. This took a complete toll on my energy and I was suddenly in overactive mode. The busiest place to be is in your own mind.

Fueled by the fighting for survival and to protect what was mine I was using vast reserves of harvested positive energy for negative purposes. At first it wasn’t the fight that bothered me but the awareness of my depleting energy and will to fight. Fighting
regardless of the cause was just not in me. Fighting does not breed passion. It dawned on me that this was the reason that I was losing steam. I was fighting for my will to help others through my company vision and mission and now this was at stake. If I don’t have energy for my passion, what did I have energy for? I ended up losing the fight, my company, my house, and my car along with all of my personal possessions. Although material possessions were a comfort they were never the be-all, end-all for me. It wasn’t about losing my ‘stuff’ as much as it was feeling like I was removed from the stage of purpose I had created over the last 13 years.

Contemplating this entire situation required months of deep self discovery, quiet time, alone time and then reaching out. Having faith and love guided my thoughts and kept me searching for ways to rebuild my energy and zest for my life’s purpose. I had to let go of the control that resided in me. No one person can take my passion away or my freedom to live my life with positive purpose. This rests in my hands and is up to me to figure out a way.

I began Contemplating:
My awareness was a troubling reality. What had happened to my life?

The answer came to me in a painting. I paint in dialogue; creating colors that resemble thoughts and composed together create messages, thoughts and inquiries. The end result is the answer. My answer was clear. Crystal.

I had lost focus of my passion long ago. In running a business with inflated growth caused me to divert from what I set out to do in the first place: make a difference in the lives of others. With focus shifting to financing the business in a recession to the financier calling their loan I was no longer working from a place of passion but a place of obligation and survival of financial realities.

The goal of the company was changing to survival instead of living with purpose. I allowed the challenges to swallow up the passion and dull the energy. Later discovering that not all people that offered guidance were working from a place of integrity and honor but of a dark place, there was no way around the closure. I was in over my head. Intelligence can offer ulterior motives. I wanted my dream to live my passion so badly that I failed to see the light of what was taking place around me. I witnessed being willfully blind in the face of living my dreams and the thought of helping others. I didn’t accomplish either in the end.

This crucial and most valuable lesson caused me to look deep within myself and discover who and what I am truly made of. This caused a moment of realization and confrontation of where and how I fell off my journey of living with passion and making a difference to others. I became vividly aware that my future actions needed a greater inner power to sustain what was up ahead.

This moment of truth led me to understand what I would do in the face of survival. I allowed distractions of money, power and control over what really mattered. I could not allow this to happen again for it possessed an unimaginable greed that I never wanted to witness near my life’s passion again. Greed has no place in my ultimate purpose in this life.
Without this experience I may not have come to realize the magnitude of my purpose and passion for life, what I am made of and the opportunity to discover how to make it right. I must live with passion or face living with music left within me. I will strive to allow my moral compass to guide me in all of my pursuits and endeavors choosing integrity and community above all possible emptiness.

There are songs that live within me that are yet to be heard, just as there are many winds of change ahead that will attempt to derail another journey. This time around, I know what it takes to stay on track and keep my focus on what truly matters. I am willing to embrace life with the energy of my passion and forge ahead bravely for no one else can sing the song that belongs to another.

Written by a Toronto based Artist who chooses to remain anonymous and is on a transformational journey after recently battling corporate legal battles and losing all personal possessions.

Day 96 – Role Models: Giant Leap

Life is not how perfectly you do. It’s about doing it. ~ Shelagh McNally

When I was 40 years old, with my nose firmly pressed against the corporate glass ceiling, I sold the entire contents of my house, packed my 8-year old daughter into our Ford Festiva and drove down to Mexico.

This was a dramatic solution for the malaise of my life. But, I had stalled change in my life for so long that I had reached a critical point. Instead of having to make a small jump, I had to make a giant leap.

I wish I could say I approached it with grace and style followed. I didn’t. All I felt was fear—deep in the gut I’m-going-to-throw-up fear. I looked for every excuse for not moving knowing that was a stance that no longer served. It was leap now or fall asleep for the rest of my life.

My family disapproved of this huge change. I had a good job, a rented townhouse in downtown Toronto, my daughter enrolled in a decent school. Why would I throw all that away?

The only confirmation of being on the right path was the deep feeling of calm elation as each box was packed and each piece of superfluous belonging sold. I also lay awake at night frozen with doubt wondering if I would pay for my stupidity and for being a bad mother.

If I had let my fear stay dominant, I would still be sitting in that townhouse with even more belongings piled around me. My daughter would be a very different person. The other voice as louder, the one with her eye on the goal saying “GO, Just GO.”

We left later than scheduled but I got us across the US-Canadian border. It was an El Nino year, so I drove through the USA in torrential rain. White knuckled, I grasped the steering wheel, navigating with a map and my cheery eight-year old. I pretended we ended up at Graceland in Memphis, Tenessesse at 10 pm on a Thursday night. I still have that Elvis magnet bought at Graceland and memories of how much my daughter loved his Las Vegas period.

We spent our first night in Mexico in the border town of Juarez. The next morning, while we were on our way out of town I got lost in a barrio. While reading a map at the stop sign, a car pulled up and grazed my car. Men jumped out and pointed to the gaping hole in the side of their car. They surrounded my car. One casually opened his pocket to show a gun. They wanted $600 for the damages. I gave them $150 US—all the money I had at the time.

They let us go and I turned around to head back to Canada. My daughter looked at me in astonishment. “Mom, we’ve come all this way. Why turn around? The fun is just about to begin!”

She was right. We continued on our journey and ended up staying in Mexico for six years. There were still moments of fear, depression, sadness and doubt. Also present were feelings of excitement and confidence, renewed faith and sheer blessed relief that I had let my comfort zone to be stretched. Life is not how perfectly you do. It’s about doing it.

When I was 40 years old, with my nose firmly pressed against the corporate glass ceiling, I sold the entire contents of my house, packed my 8-year old daughter into our Ford Festiva and drove down to Mexico.

This was a dramatic solution for the malaise of my life. But, I had stalled change in my life for so long that I had reached a critical point. Instead of having to make a small jump, I had to make a giant leap.

I wish I could say I approached it with grace and style followed. I didn’t. All I felt was fear—deep in the gut I’m-going-to-throw-up fear. I looked for every excuse for not moving knowing that was a stance that no longer served. It was leap now or fall asleep for the rest of my life.

My family disapproved of this huge change. I had a good job, a rented townhouse in downtown Toronto, my daughter enrolled in a decent school. Why would I throw all that away?

The only confirmation of being on the right path was the deep feeling of calm elation as each box was packed and each piece of superfluous belonging sold. I also lay awake at night frozen with doubt wondering if I would pay for my stupidity and for being a bad mother.

If I had let my fear stay dominant, I would still be sitting in that townhouse with even more belongings piled around me. My daughter would be a very different person. The other voice as louder, the one with her eye on the goal saying “GO, Just GO.”

We left later than scheduled but I got us across the US-Canadian border. It was an El Nino year, so I drove through the USA in torrential rain. White knuckled, I grasped the steering wheel, navigating with a map and my cheery eight-year old. I pretended we ended up at Graceland in Memphis, Tenessesse at 10 pm on a Thursday night. I still have that Elvis magnet bought at Graceland and memories of how much my daughter loved his Las Vegas period.

We spent our first night in Mexico in the border town of Juarez. The next morning, while we were on our way out of town I got lost in a barrio. While reading a map at the stop sign, a car pulled up and grazed my car. Men jumped out and pointed to the gaping hole in the side of their car. They surrounded my car. One casually opened his pocket to show a gun. They wanted $600 for the damages. I gave them $150 US—all the money I had at the time.

They let us go and I turned around to head back to Canada. My daughter looked at me in astonishment. “Mom, we’ve come all this way. Why turn around? The fun is just about to begin!”

She was right. We continued on our journey and ended up staying in Mexico for six years. There were still moments of fear, depression, sadness and doubt. Also present were feelings of excitement and confidence, renewed faith and sheer blessed relief that I had let my comfort zone to be stretched. Life is not how perfectly you do. It’s about doing it.

Shelagh McNally is Montreal based writer who describes herself as an out-of-touch writer living in her own world who sometimes likes to kick ass. You can follow her on twitter @SHEwhoMUSTbeHRD

Day 95 – Role Models: Journey of Hope

Journey of Hope by Cid Palacio

When I left a thirty three year career three years ago, to look after my mom who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, I discovered painting.

When lightening struck twice and I lost my Dad to cancer within fifteen months of losing my mom, my painting became even more so, my escape and means of relaxing and expressing my feelings. I truly believe that in addition to the love and support from my family, creative expression through painting, was the glue that kept me together, during a very difficult time in my life.

When I first picked up a paintbrush three years ago, I could not have imagined that that moment would pave the way for a personal mission and what I’ve come to refer to as my ‘Journey of Hope’.

Through this journey, I’ve become an artist with a cause “To raise funds through my art to help fight cancer”. (www.artbycid.com)  On this journey, I brought together over 300 artists from around the globe to also donate to cancer charities, through the creation of the ART for Cancer Group (www.artforcancergoup.com). More recently through this journey, I launched a charitable organization, The ART for Cancer Foundation (www.artforcancerfoundation.org), where heart connects with art for creativity, healing and hope.

On this journey, I became keenly interested in learning more about the creative process as a means to help healing.  The role of art and the creative process in emotional healing has been documented since the early 70’s.  Art Therapy is evolving and becoming more and more accepted as part of an integrated approach to healing of body and soul, particularly with cancer patients. Research suggests that participation in creative experiences can reduce anxiety, promote relaxation and improve the overall quality of life of people living with cancer.

In terms of embracing creativity as an integrative part of healing, European countries and the US appear to be more advanced than in Canada.  Several creative programs are offered in these countries, either in collaboration with the medical community and/or on a stand-alone basis.  This knowledge became a further impetus to develop the next stage on my journey, The ART for Cancer Foundation.

The creation of the ART for Cancer Foundation, is a culmination of the journey I’ve been on for the past three years, and brings together two key elements:

  • Through our FREE creative programs we offer people living with cancer, an outlet for creative expression through the arts. It’s about helping them cope with today.
  • And though our support of cancer research-, we offer a ray of hope for a cancer cure tomorrow.

I am now running the ultimate small business!!  I now have a deeper appreciation for all those small businesses I dealt with during my career at BMO. The notion of wearing many hats is intimately familiar.  The fear of not having sufficient cash flow to meet obligations is real, as is the daunting bureaucracy of dealing with large organizations and the government.   And….. I’m loving every minute of it!!

Since launching earlier this year, we have delivered a number of painting workshops with Cancer Patients and their families. Our flagship program “Creating from Within” has been very well received.  The attached video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-KCnowuc9w, highlights one of the workshops we held with youth with cancer.

Our free painting workshops for cancer patients and their families,  run regularly and are held at arworks art school in the West end as well as other locations throughout the city. To find out about our next workshop date/location and to register please visit our website www.artforcancerfoundation.org.

I am fortunate to have the support of an amazing group of people who volunteer their time and expertise to help us deliver on our mission. We are a non-profit charity that is 100% volunteer run.

I am honoured to be among the individuals profiled and very thankful to Indra for the opportunity to get word out about our organization. I will shamelessly use this opportunity to reach out to all to let you know that we need your support!  Please join us, talk to friends who can benefit from our programs, make a small donation, volunteer some of your time, or simply help us spread the word.

Day 94 – Role Models: Setting New Directions

Setting New Directions by Lori Deschene

When I chose to study writing and acting in college, I assumed that it would all work out when I graduated. Once I was in the real world, my confidence started to falter. I realized I’d have to struggle, and I began talking myself out of my dreams.

In my first job out of college, I provided respite services for adults with developmental disabilities. I’d pick them up, take them out for a recreational activity, and then bring them back home. When I switched to a residential environment and one of the clients tried to stab me with scissors, I decided the job wasn’t for me.

From there I fell into sales. I sold countless overpriced vacuums by convincing customers the $500 investment would preserve their carpets and save money in the long run. After a while, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t spend that money on a vacuum. Overnight I developed an up-sell constricting conscience that limited my earning potential.

In my mid-20s I fell into mobile marketing, which allowed me to travel around the country with promotional campaigns. After my sixth tour I realized I couldn’t make it a long-term career if I wanted to put down roots and maintain relationships.

I asked my friend who owned a yoga studio how she knew what she was meant to do. I’d worn many different hats, but none of them gave me a sense of purpose. She made a Captain Obvious observation that seemed unhelpful at first, but was actually reassuring.

“You’re figuring out what you don’t want to do, and that’s progress.”

I realized then that if I was ever going to feel fulfilled by my work, I needed to change my thinking on a few levels:

1. I had to stop assuming the work I’d love would be impossible to get.

2. I needed to take the pressure off finding the “perfect job.”

3. I had to accept that finding a situation that felt right might be a long-term project–one that might involve a lot of trial and error.

I’ve been trying and erring for years and my purpose and desires continue to evolve.

Since I started writing professionally in 2006, I’ve realized I don’t want to write full-time. I’m eternally grateful that I’m now able to write about ideas that matter to me, but I’ve discovered that I also want more.

That realization is progress.

It started as “I want to be a writer.”

It turned into “It’s too hard to be a writer–what else would be fun?”

That became, “I will write, even if I have to take every unpaid Craigslist gig I can find.”

That evolved into, “Now I’m a writer, but something is missing.”

And right now it’s, “I’m writing full-time but I’d like to spend more time engaging with people and doing physical activities.”

I’ve been on a long journey of do, adjust, do, to create a work life that feels balanced, meaningful, and satisfying. Just being on the journey with intention, courage, and commitment feels like a major success.

Finding your passion isn’t about identifying a concrete vision and getting there as fast as possible. It’s about jumping in, exploring, paying attention to how you feel, and then making changes as you go if necessary. Some of those changes will be minor adjustments; some might be major life decisions.

What matters is that we do. That we’re honest with ourselves about what we want, take strides to create it, and then have the courage to change courses if and when it feels right.

Satisfaction is in the doing and adjusting. Meaning is in the journey itself.

Lori Deschene is the Founder of tinybuddha.com and @tinybuddha, a daily wisdom Twitter account with more than 210,000 followers. She is also the author of the eBook Tiny Buddha’s Handbook for Peace and Happiness, and Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hardest Questions, available in stores in January, 2011.

Day 93 Role Models

Nothing is so infectious as example. ~ Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)

This blog is approaching its conclusion. For the past 3 months, I’ve touched on all aspects of transitions and transformations as presented by the Transition and Social Change Organization using William Bridges 3 point transition framework. You can read more about it on my  blog post of Day 23 Phases of Transition.

As we approach the conclusion of 101 Ways to Make a Successful Transition, I am delighted to introduce you to a few special guests who are on an amazing life journey of their own. Some who are living their dream, a few who have just emerged from a major transition; some are still in transition; and yet another who has faced endless challenges in the past 4 years and still manages to ‘show up’ for his part in life in spite of it all.

Our guests range in age and from all walks of life. I respect and admire every one of them and I hope their stories inspire and lift you in your own life journey.

Stay tuned for these amazing life stories.

Day 92 – Your Life

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. ~ Carol Burnett

This is so true! I thought this was an appropriate quote to close the discussions around “New Beginnings” and taking action to emerge from a transition.

Often we think our lives will change simply because we are in a new place, new relationship, new job even a new dress and so on. Oddly enough, if you bring the same inner self to these situations your life will also remain the same but with a different set of imagery.

As human beings we carry a lot of baggage and unless we are ready to unburden it, our lives will bring up the same issues over and over. Whether in our relationships or in our jobs.

Only you who can change your life.

Does this ring true for you?

Are you ready for your life?