The first thing that I remember when I woke up was, can I move my toes? Can I move my toes? I could not see, I could not move, I was trying to understand what was happening to me. To my relief, I could move my toes, but they hurt.
What a day! I had graduated from Queens the day before and said goodbye to my family. There were 8 of my friends driving west in a Dodge Ram van (aka tank) heading out to tree plant for the summer. After stopping to watch the hockey finals, one of the guys had a great idea that we could time seeing the Badlands at sunrise if we drove all night – we were so excited! For the record, we had a responsible driver and passenger tasked with keeping the driver awake.
The Badlands at sunrise never happened. We hit black ice and went off a bridge into a steep ravine in Minnesota. My parents got the dreaded 3 am phone call that I had been in a serious accident. Miraculously — everyone survived but for some, there was a long recovery. I ended up with facial plastic surgery, multiple surgeries and a six-month recovery that forced me to be still.
Thankfully, I do not remember most of that night, but I do remember a man’s calm voice who stayed with me the entire time holding my hand and telling me he would stay with me as they were trying to get me safely out of the van. I do not know his name or what he looked like, but he was one of my many angels that night that helped me get through a crazy time.
This experience was the first time I had any significant adversity. In my six months recovery, I struggled with being so dependent, being patient, trying to understand why this would happen and letting go of some of my lifelong dreams.
Hold On! The plan was to tree plant out west with my brother for the summer, to travel with my best friend for as long as the money would last in the fall and then fulfill a lifelong dream of outdoor guiding or bike touring and leading others. Time was the only answer to heal both physically and mentally. I had to start over and build new dreams.
I learned many things during this experience, but 5 KEY LESSONS, which you notice are my 5 THRIVE CHECKLIST continue to shape my life:
- Love nurtures your mind to accomplish anything. I was incredibly loved and supported through the kindness of my family and friends which helped heal me physically and mentally.
- Despite circumstances, you can build new dreams. Due to physical constraints, I was no longer able to pursue a lifelong dream of outdoor guiding and took the time to refocus.
- Live each day to the fullest, with designed purpose and intentional kindness. I realized life is fragile and precious. How I fill my time is critical to me.
- Being present in the present moment. Each day there were small steps to recovery. I had no choice but to be still, patient and grateful for where I was at that moment.
- Stressful experiences strengthen your spirit. I felt like I was invincible. I had survived an accident that could have very easily taken my life.
These lessons have helped me make decisions for most of my adult life. When I follow these lessons, I thrive in all aspects of my life. However, there had been times in my life when I did not follow them and instead moved along in survival mode.
One of those times was when my husband and I had a traditional business that was destroyed by the US financial crisis in 2008. Needless to say, we were in survival mode for about five years learning how to forgive ourselves, and the mistakes we made, paying the monthly bills, and raising our three little kids. It was a stressful time, and I stopped following the lessons I had learned above. FEAR had taken over.
Finally, I got tired of being afraid.
It was time to start building a new dream, so I looked at my roots. I have spent my entire career in the health and wellness industry. I also come from a family of entrepreneurs surrounded by books, research, and highly valued knowledge. See My Influences below.
I started my company Thriving By Design, which is an umbrella, of projects that I am working on that help people THRIVE. It is a perfect combination of starting my CURATING RESEARCH company and being a distributor of a more established company!
I LOVE books. I love the feel of the page, the smell, how they feel in my hands, the pictures and fonts used. Everything about them! My love for books is no accident, as I have been, immersed in them right from the beginning. I think it may be a genetic trait in our family! ☺ My grandmother in 1967 with five young children opened up the first bookstore in the west end Toronto called The Book Mark, where each of us worked from the age eight and up. My grandmother’s influence was extraordinary. Her ability to curate earned her the name ‘reference grandma’ because she knew about so many subjects and she had an incredible personal library. The love of books and research grew into the next generation – my dad had a book distribution for libraries. My father worked very hard and as an entrepreneur worked 24/7. To see my dad, my mom would bring my brother and me to the office, and we would have dinner on the showroom floor surrounded by books. My grandma and my parents have a huge impact on who I am today and continually guide and lead me by example.
Being a mom, hanging with family and friends, good books, beaches, health, hiking, forests, skiing, travel adventures, learning something new every day, nice paper, tennis, belly laughs, drop-ins, meeting new people, podcasts, cold glass of wine and any cheese, people who avoid the ‘b’ word, fresh bread, smoothies, and building a business that fuels my life.
I want to help people thrive at all stages of their aging. We only have one chance to have an awesome life.
As children, my parents always encouraged us to find something we loved to do, where there was no separation between work and play. I try to live by my 5 THRIVE LESSONS above.
I want to live an extraordinary life every day – where:
- I have my family and friends around me.
- I have my health.
- I have control of my time.
- I am not trading wages for hours.
- I have no financial worries.
I have spent my entire career in the health and wellness industry in Canada and the USA. I have had multiple entrepreneurial adventures that have come to various endings! I love network marketing as a business model. I think it is brilliant. You do need to pick the right company for you and your passions, systems and, of course, most importantly the people. I am driven to help people thrive and age well in all stages of their lives. I am non-negotiable when it comes to my or my family’s health. I am open to learning about alternative and natural products in conjunction with the more traditional medicine. I love to information into digestible bits of knowledge and connect people that can benefit everyone.
My Odds and Ends
My Habit tendency is obliging.
My love language is Quality Time.
My pet peeves are a sharp tone of voice, lack of action, line-budders, and no responses.