The art of setting big goals... and then letting go of outcomes

I am gratefully sitting in the Maple Leaf Lounge at YVR, waiting to board the plane. Desination: Santiago, Chile. The day has arrived! We - Jeff and me - have been planning this epic awesome amazing adventure for a year: cycling Patagonia and then hopping onto a boat to meet the penguins of Antarctica.  How amazing is that?!?!

So, here is the thing about setting a goal and then being okay with the outcomes. My big goal? To ride my bike on every continent. This trip to South America and Penguinville would be five and six (Africa will come in a few years). Why is this important to me? 

Having put down two wheels on four continents so far, I have found being on the bike to be such a simple yet powerful way to connect to others. The curious school children who surround me as I roll into a rural Indian village, fascinated and wanting to try it out. The young Nepali monks-in-training who stop their game of 'skiing' down a frost-covered hill on plumbing tubes to find out who I am and where I am going. Or the mom - gracefully balancing three of her children on her bike - smiling at me as we ride through farmland in Vietnam. The world is a big place and yet it feels smaller when I experience these moments of pure connection with another human being. Humanity in action. And it's just not the same in a car! :-) 

So, this is why I have declared it. Riding on South America is a done deal.  Yay! Antarctica is not. A tiny percentage of the world's population as travelled to the white continent, and a tiny tiny percentage of those have brought a bike. I am bringing a bike. And I will share my story with whoever will listen with the intention of inspiring enough people to say 'yes' to taking my two wheeled partner onto the snow and ice for a wee little ride around. Fingers crossed. Committed big time. Not attached (not really). I may 'crush' this goal this time. Or I may fail. The really important thing to remember is that me failing in this endeavour does not make me a failure. Side note: where in your life are you potentially calling yourself a 'failure' because your vision or goals didn't turn out the way you wanted?  Well, stop it. Going after something that you really want with all your heart is courageous. So keep doing that. I will to. 

*ps this photo is from our cycling trip through Northern India where we were super fortunate to connect with this family, from Pakistani descent and living in what is now India. We were curious about them. They were curious about us. We are all human. 

The Secret to Building a Vibrant (Start-up) Culture

This is a great article from Jillian Evin at growing food delivery company Foodee. "If culture is about inviting engagement and facilitating a sense of ownership and belonging which inspires people to contribute, then the moment we try to pin it down and start saying things like 'it's really important that you're a culture fit', we've already shot ourselves in the foot."  If your leadership drives your culture, which drives your brand, then the best thing you as the leader can do is set clear expectations on what is and is not accepted in your organization - your core values can be great guardrails - which creates an environment where people feel safe bringing their talents and whole selves to work.  Then you bring your talents and whole self to work.  The most impactful leaders in my career not only mentored and coached me in business and leadership, but also inspired me with their love of singing, their talent for kayak making and their obsession with Halloween. Do this, and you'll get your people bringing their quirks, loves, talents and passion to work - that will create an inspiring culture.

Enjoy Jillian's article.  


Am I living it right?

I am here in my kitchen listening to John Mayer’s “Why Georgia”, from one of my favourite albums Room For Squares.  Regardless of what you all think of him, I think he’s brilliant, and the words “am I living it right?” sound like they’re on repeat.  “Am I living it right?”  It has been 1.5 years since I left my ‘dream job’ at lululemon athletica.  And, as I am writing this, lululemon is hosting its annual leadership conference, the time when everyone who is anyone at lululemon congregates in Vancouver for 2.5 days of inspiration, perspiration and libation.  This year, the keynote speaker happens to be Seth Godin, one of my very favourite people in the world.  And I am not there.  To say I am envious is an understatement. I am Kermit-green. It is a super cool event with super cool people. The Facebook and Instagram posts would indicate that there is absolutely nothing more important happening in the world.  My inside saboteur is shouting loudly and provocatively – you suck for not being part of it.  Am I living it right?
The short answer is- yes, I am living it right.  I am likely always going to butt up against brief periods of FOMO (fear of missing out) as groups/teams that I was once a part of continue to experience awesome things. Who wouldn’t want to experience Seth Godin live?  (if you don’t, don’t bother telling me. I don’t want to hear it). I will be compassionate towards myself for missing being part of something that was amazing. And, be grateful for the fact that I have an awesome life with the opportunity to contribute to others' awesomeness every single day.  I love what I do. I love the people and organizations I work with who inspire me with their courage, brilliance and aliveness. I may not always get to show up to meetings in luon - hey, I actually love wearing suits again.

So, whether it be a former job, or relationship, or life. If you're asking yourself "am I living it right?" Great question! Periods of missing what you had is natural, because it was likely great, at least a big part of it. However, are you living it right in that you are being true to yourself today, right now? Only you can answer that.

In the words of Seth Godin,' “Life's too short" is repeated often enough to be a cliche, but this time it's true. You don't have enough time to be both unhappy and mediocre. It's not just pointless, it's painful. Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don't need to escape from.'