You can’t see the forest for the trees.

These words hit the nail on the head regarding the proximity to aspects that make up our lives. Because we live so closely with these aspects, we can’t see our choices and decisions, only their resulting effects. These ‘blind-spots’ stand in the way of our personal, career and business lives, casting a long shadow over our best intentions and potential. 
A recent opportunity popped up, allowing me to slide away from daily life for a week. Here was a chance to crack open space for fresh clarity to find its way in.
It was my delight to discover the 10 following eye-opening treasures hiding in plain sight during my time away. They dispelled a lot of the ‘blindness’ that had crept its way into my experience.  Who knows, maybe they’ll help blow new life and insights your way too.

1. People Are Watching

That’s right, eyes are everywhere. To be exact, more eyes are watching what you do than you realize. With the frenetic activity we subscribe to on social channels, the feedback we receive through likes and comments are only a minuscule indicator of those that are actually watching you. Most won’t jump in and acknowledge their presence, but they’re watching.
During a recent trip to Toronto, I was invited to chat live with the incomparable Victoria Lorient-Fabish. Through a FB post of my travels, she discovered I’d be in the area and took the opportunity to reach out and connect, then presto, we were mixing things up live on Facebook a few days later.  Visit FB interview here or view on Youtube here. Another similar invitation found its way to me all the way from Bangladesh, South Asia!
What are people seeing and learning about you? Your online footprint will invite action or not. Are you adding value and influencing your followers or are you watching silently from the shadows?  There’s no right or wrong answer, but understand you have the ability to manage your narratives and ethos. People are watching. How do you plan on showing up?

2. There’s No Place Like Home

Dorothy had it right, there is indeed no place like home. 
The big city was of course exciting. Rife with possibilities, it fired my imagination to new heights. I was swept up with the hustle and bustle and visits to renowned eateries and waterfront vistas.
However, as the days went on, I found myself longing for my simple life at home. The glitz and glam has its place and holds purpose for many as it once did for me, but it finally dawned that I had moved on.
Home, for me, is a sense of belonging and I’ve found that, finally.
Sometimes we long for new, more exciting experiences, especially when we see others living the life of our dreams. Take a moment and consider your own life as it is. Perhaps all that’s missing is a new way of looking at things. Travel of any kind, allows us the space to see and appreciate what we have.

3. People Love, Differently 

My impression of love came from viewing my parents, watching movies, and reading too many romance novels. I witnessed parents of friends, loving them in varying degrees and learned that much of what passed off for love was actually quite conditional.  I concluded that love looked a certain way and when it arrived, would be familiar and distinguishable.
I was wrong.
During my trip I had the opportunity to spend time with my daughter and other family members. They taught me a great deal about love.
Love appeared as someone going miles out of their way in a torrential downpour to lend a helping hand, without question.
Love was a special needs child grieving for a far-away loved one.
Love came as unsolicited hugs during awkward moments.
Love was uncomfortable but present in the midst of every moment. 
Love said yes when fatigue should have said no, but didn’t.
Love, I discovered, was the recognition that resistance and resentment could not survive in the same space.
With all I presumably knew about love, this time away showed that love comes in varying degrees and its depth can be breathtaking, if you have the eyes and heart to see it.

4. Your Environment Counts

It was a secret pleasure to help my daughter organize her funky, urban apartment. It brought back memories of setting up my first place after leaving home. She, however, managed to do so in grander style.
Being part of her sleek, downtown style, enlivened my energy. After freshening up her surroundings, even she had to admit she felt better.
We sometimes forget that our environments; home, body, mind, require occasional dusting and reorganization to wash away the lassitude we sometimes fall into. Where and how we live, play a major role in our outlook. Taking time to mindfully engage in cleaning, clearing and decluttering what no longer serves us is ongoing work, if you choose to do so. I hope you do. It gives spice and power to our ability to take meaningful control of our lives.
You don’t need ‘a deluxe apartment in the sky’ to feel good. Managing your current space and circumstances works too!

5. Gratitude Is The Secret Sauce

I’ve postulated on the benefits of gratitude for a long time. From time to time, we pay lip service to its invisible magic. However, I quickly re-learned its power this past week.
All I will say to you is, recognize those constantly working to help better your experience.  It’s the little things, and people that go out of their way for you that tend to slip through the cracks. 
Give thanks in all instances and watch what happens next.

6. Reinvention Is Necessary

Until you step away from your habits, you can’t see how much of what you’re up to is out of sync.
The moment I arrived in downtown Toronto, I  knew I had fallen into a rut. Luckily, I had an ‘expert’ (daughter) on hand to help move me past the ‘blindspots’ blocking the view of my current reality.
She spared no time updating key elements; hair, makeup and clothes.  What a difference it made to my energy reserves. 
Re-inventing your style and look and even business message is necessary if you wish to keep pace in today’s arena. Nothing stays the same, so why would you?
If you require assistance discovering the ‘blindspots’ clogging up your view, chat with someone who can help hone in on those areas that require a fresh update. 

7. Ask – Always

Yes, it’s freaking tough to put ourselves on the line and ask for what we want.
We want to feel safe. We learned very quickly during our formative years, that rejection and sometimes even ridicule, walked alongside the act of asking. Of course we don’t want to feel the angst of rejection. We don’t want to feel hurt. Instead, we tiptoe around life, hiding ourselves behind masks of security, yet secretly hurting because we don’t have what we want or need.
How do you feel right now as you go without that ‘thing’ you desire? Not so great I bet.
I was privileged to see and experience the art of ‘asking’ in all its glory. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath during this lively exchange between two bold and courageous beings. Not only did I see the power of asking but the energy and expectation that it imbued was a beautiful thing to witness.  Not only is asking important, how you ask is equally crucial.
Ask. What do you have to lose?

8. Change Is Perpetual

Although change is unfailing, none among us like to feel its effects.
In the same manner that parents don’t see their children sprouting up, we also don’t see life shifting like quicksand below our feet. Not until we leave our familiar sandboxes and return do we then recognize how much we’ve evolved and how things around us have transformed. Travel is a wonderful clarifying tool in that way.  It helps us recognize the ebb and flow of our life. We get to view and examine how far we’ve come as an individual and if you’re lucky, how incredibly fortunate you are to live the life you’re living.  Its ability to shake up our present world-view is extraordinary.
This past week allowed me to see my life from a distance. I discovered that I had more going on than previously thought and I’m lucky in numerous ways.
So if you’re in a rut or feel stuck in life, create an adventure that requires leaving your circumstances for a day or more. Time away may very well be the elixir you’ve been searching for.

9. There’s Value As You

Funny thing, although I mentor clients, helping them build their personal PR which includes strategies to enhance their confidence and courage levels, I left on vacation feeling slightly less confident than normal. Shocking, I know!
Strange as it sounds, this past week allowed me to experience the value and bigness of being me.
It’s not egoic to see the power of your existence. You matter, my friend.  We either forget or didn’t know this fact at all.  The cache of energy and ideas we bring to the world holds power and importance. We are here with purpose and its your journey to find out how it plays out for your life.  Stop hiding under the illusion that it’s selfish or self-absorbed to know this about yourself.
Time spent agonizing and ruminating about lack of confidence, self worth and courage manifests nothing other than a entire host of neuroses. In the meantime, your life slips away.
This trip gave me the boost I needed. It injected a fresh dose of awareness, power and purpose about myself.
Recognize the value you bring to those around you and of course the value and power you bring to yourself, then own it. 

10. Perspective Requires Boosting, Time & Again

I moved out to the West Coast before Uber became an entrenched part of Toronto’s landscape. Not only is it the name of the company, it’s now an adjective. Many in the city ‘Uber’ their way around town.
I was quite skeptical about this service until the opportunity arose for me to ‘Uber’ about town.  The driver was amazing, his vehicle clean and his manner highly efficient. I was sorry the trip ended so quickly. 
We need to suspended disbelief or contempt for the new things around us. Take more risks. Step out and experience what once seemed absurd only a few years ago. The beauty of engaging with a twenty-something living in the big city helped bounce me out of the staleness of daily living and thinking. Stepping into the new and quickly experiencing varying points of views goes hand-in-hand with the territory.
So there you have it. I encourage you to step out of your life, if only briefly. Expose your habits to excitement, light and fresh air. There’s a big chance, your world-view will expand, your hair might change and Uber-ing about town will be part of the bargain. And if you play your cards right, you’ll never be the same, again.
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