Posted in Health and Wellness, Inspiration, Leadership, People who inspire others, Women, Work

The question which inspired her career change…and enabled her to meet her financial goals…

IMAG3227“Life is about ebb and flow… and it is about being self-aware enough about what is going on in your life to know when you need to change something. Ask yourself, ‘Is this where I want to be? Where do I want to go?’ By thinking more about those questions, you will be inspired to make the changes you need to make to allow your life flow again.” Shaundra Oelsner, Senior Associate, Sunlife Financial.

Shaundra and I reconnected again after several years of not seeing each other.  This woman inspires me with her contagious laughter, big heart and the courage she had to make a major career change a few years ago when she transitioned from her 20 year career in Nursing. One day, she asked herself, “Will my salary as a nurse – even at it’s maximum – enable me to see my kids through university?”  Her  answer was “NO”.   This awareness caused her to explore an opportunity in the Financial Services Sector with Sunlife Financial.  She is now a Senior Associate and a Recruiting Manager and she has never regretted making that change.  She is thrilled that she tuned in to her financial needs and had the courage to step up to pursue a new career path which has enabled her to meet her financial goals.

By taking that one step several years ago, Shaundra started living her future.

What inspires you?  What change do you need to make?  What motivates you to make that change?

Live your future  NOW by taking a simple step to move yourself forward.

Love,

Magdalene

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He has held 31 different jobs – a few tips on embracing life’s unexpected journeys…

“If I can put a smile on two people’s face each day, I will give back to my parents what they did for me.” This is the philosophy which Kyle Wannermaker lives by and which many of us in our neighbourhood have experienced with him. A single dad of three daughters for a good part of his life, although he is now happily married, he has faced several challenges in his life but his upbeat and positive attitude about life can’t help but give hope to others. His constant message is “Don’t give up!” His mom was a Mohawk and his dad a German – an interesting combination which has had a strong influence in his love for the earth and his entrepreneurship spirit. Kyle’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances especially with the workforce is incredible.
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His first diploma was in electronic engineering and he worked back then with Nortel until the crash which forced him into new career pathways. He has another diploma in recreation management and in festivals and community events management from Algonquin College. He showed me his folder which has business cards of about 31 different job titles he has held over the years ranging from being a mason’s helper, a plant specialist, running a taxi service, the owner of three retail flower stores, staffing supervisor, marketing director, landscape, event manager, property manager, banker, auto sales and repair and so many others. He has done all combinations from having a full-time job to having two jobs at a time, to being his own boss and to sometimes having no work at all! When I asked him what his best job was, he asked me “Economically?” And so I was surprised when he said he netted $78,000 as a flower delivery staff for a flower store. I would have never imagined there was so much money to be made in delivering flowers… this was what led him to owning three flower stores later on. His experience in life is so broad and varied that he also describes himself as an “old fashion encyclopedia” and encourages people to ask him anything!

How can one shift from so many jobs? In North America, I have learnt that it is normal to change careers 3 – 5 times, but Kyle has far broken that record. His response to that is to embrace the journey. “Every time I search for a new journey, I meet amazing people. However the key dominator is gardening!”

Interestingly enough, it was his garden that ignited my interest in wanting to talk to him. He has a passion for gardening and you can feel it immediately as you look into his yard which is very close to the bus-stop where many of us catch the bus in the morning. His garden is usually the topic of conversation because of the combination of flowers and vegetables in there but more importantly, the people in he area feel connected to the garden because he has opened it up to us to use whatever vegetables he has growing. Last week, a neighbour was joyfully telling us that she had picked about 20 lettuce leaves the night before. He gave a few of us some tips about harvesting the lettuce by pulling the leaves from the outside of the plant and not pull out the entire plant. This allows the plant to continue producing more leaves from the centre.
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“I try to put a positive spin on the eco system as well and use what people throw away into something useful.” This is clear in the many recycled things he showed me in his garden from the stones he used to create his walkway to the flower pots and my favourite one was the small tomato plants he rescued from a neighbour who was throwing them away. He created a lovely row of tomato plants at the curb.
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Kyle also shared with me that he took thrift management courses which has also helped him to be wise about how he uses things as well as to think more carefully between needs and wants. Over the years, he has learnt that he does not have to buy everything. For example, most of the plants in his garden came from “somewhere” or “someone”. He shared one story of being able to get about $6000 worth of plants from a person who was changing his front yard to interlocking bricks. Kyle took all the plants which would have been discarded and beautified his cottage property. Similarly when someone else was changing his front yard and Kyle received six truck loads of topsoil for this garden. He also gives back a hundred fold to others from this garden or if someone gives him a plant he would happily be of some service in their garden. Instead of buying plants full price, he waits for them to go on sale and then buys them. He starts plants from seeds in his small greenhouse in the basement – so from a packet of seeds which cost $2.49, he can get up 19 plants which could cost as much as $60.00!
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It is hard not to notice the deep gratitude that Kyle has for everything in his life and the compassion which he has for people. Regardless of the challenges he has faced, he seem to attract good things to him and I could not help but ask him how he does that. His simple answer was “Give back to others” He feels blessed and that feeling of gratitude and trusting that life will offer all that he needs as he also plays his part in making an effort to move forward, is really the key to personal success.

For those of us who think that we don’t have a green thumb to start a garden, his message is “Can you care for a seed?”

We are living in times where our ability to adapt to change is critical for survival. More importantly though, is our ability to embrace those changes as part of our journey but to also stay rooted in our values and who we are at our core. One of the things that Kyle has learnt about himself, regardless of all the career/job changes, is that being with the earth matters to him. “When I am with the earth, I feel I can get access to higher powers within me… it is my inspiration.”
TuneIn today to that inner place within you. What would you need to remain connected to in your toughest moments in life? StepUp to offer something to someone… giving and receiving is the continuous natural cycle of life which keeps all things flourishing. Sometimes, we perhaps don’t need more money… maybe we need to re-think the difference between our needs and wants and how to better use what we do have!
Love,
Magdalene

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Would you give this man a hug?

Since moving to Ottawa 10 years ago, the number of people on the streets with signs asking for something or the other have grown tremendously. “Help me get home” “Coffee please” “I am looking for a home” “Need change for travelling”. Sometimes I walk past, other times I give a donation. There are times I feel quite conflicted between wanting to help and thinking that they need to get a life and get off the streets.

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Yesterday morning, I saw a different sign “Free Hugs”. It was a young man maybe in his mid-twenties. A woman ahead of me had just given him a hug. Being a huger myself, I opened my arms and gave him a hug.

“Why are you giving free hugs this morning?” I asked.

“Oh…I got up this morning and was not feeling good. I feel I need hugs and I am here asking for them. Hugs will make me feel better.” He replied with a bit of stammering.

“So have you been getting lots of hugs today?” I asked.

“Yes” He replied. “I met a woman this morning who hugged me and cried because her husband had just left her and she does not know what to do. She needed a hug too.”

We chatted for a while and he told me a bit more about his life. He gave me permission to publish our photo.

My kids think I am crazy talking to people that they call “strange” people. However, I am constantly humbled by other people’s life experiences and how unfortunate circumstances can make a person go from “having it all” to “having nothing”. A few years ago, at the end of a workshop a woman from the class fell into my arms and started sobbing. I remember holding her for several minutes quite confused about what had brought on this strong emotion. At the end, she said something to this effect: “I am so lonely here. I have been here for so many years and have no close contact with anyone. I needed to be held.” The sense of touch and connection is so important in our lives… it is hard to imagine a life without close physical contact with others.

My main reflection after speaking with this man, was that he had the courage to ASK for what he wanted or needed. How many of us can get up on a morning and ASK for what we need? Watching my own little mind whirl around with its thousand thoughts, I realize that I don’t ask for what I need… I just go around in circles, sometimes not feeling worthy to ASK. Kudos to this young man who needed to be hugged and asked for hugs!

TuneIn to what you need in your life. StepUp and have the courage to ASK. The universe is there to provide all things to us. We need to do our part. ASK!!!

Love,

Magdalene

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The Security Blanket of Money or Happiness? Can you have one without the other?

Last spring I was inspired by an unusual sight as I walked home. I saw a black woman with a white dress dancing in the rain with her red shoes in her hand. It was a very hot day and every drop of rain that touched my skin felt wonderful but I would not have the courage to dance in the rain! She radiated with light and her spirit was alive. The happy smile on her face brought an even happier smile to my face. I felt like joining her and dancing with her – how cool that would be! Being able to feel so alive in just that one moment – is a beautiful gift. Unaware to her, she had lifted my spirit tenfold and ignited a deeper feeling of happiness in my soul and at the same time she made me reflect on why most of us cannot simply find that sense of happiness and joy.

That absolute feeling of happiness is not something given to another. That feeling of happiness comes over us when we create a space in our hearts to embrace ourselves lovingly. It is a choice we make consciously regardless of the circumstances around us.

Imagine the magnificence of our lives if we decide to be happy regardless of all that happened around us.

Imagine how our lives can be stuck if we decide that we will only be happy when we win the lottery, pay all the bills, have the perfect body or job or partner and perhaps solve all the injustices which we fight for…

Someone said to me, “People think I am depressed or lonely or sad but all those emotions can change in the blink of an eye, if only I had the money to live the lifestyle I want to live. My problem is not having money…. it is the root of all the other problems”

My response to this was, “Can you be happy without having the money? Can you find things that can make you feel happy that don’t need money?”

He replied, “No… to have the experiences I enjoy, I need to have money. What can I do without money?”

How much of our happiness depends on having money?

Having and not having money is a constant in our lives. I used to worry about not having enough until I learnt that money is only energy and it comes and goes. It provides a superficial security which makes us feel at ease when we have enough of it. Without enough, our brains go crazy and we can easily sink into feelings of worthlessness and scarcity. This vulnerable state can actually lead into depression. Depression leads to low energy, low motivation, low self-esteem…. all of which does not help with the creativity required to draw more abundance to us.

What if our internal security lie in something way beyond having money and it requires us to listen to the still voice of our soul that identifies the things that make us feel happy. Do you know what makes you happy without a reason? Can you feel happiness, joy and gratitude from within? Walking in the rain is one of the things that has always made me feel happy since I was a child…going back to our childhood days can give a good insight into the things that sparked happiness in us and which we lose along the way.

To feel joy is like touching the spirit of life … and when that spirit is in you (the feeling of joy and love) is there anything that will not be provide to you? Have faith that all you need is already provided for you.

Affirm to yourself “I attract love, happiness, money, wealth and peace to my life. All is well in my world and my mind is in perfect peace. I feel blessed to experience this earthly journey and I welcome all the ups and downs as part of my earthly sojourn.”

Love,

Magdalene