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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Are you a woman of influence?

Perhaps the question is better worded by asking 'who have you influenced today?". In the late 1920's did Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, and Nellie McClung have any understanding of how they would influence the leaders of the day and in fact CHANGE the world? Did Senator Elaine McCoy know when she graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA and LLB how her life path would affect Canadian Women in the near future? How many of us really realize how we affect the world around us? As mothers and wives, sisters and daughters - each choice we make and each step we take we are making changes to the world. For those of you who are entrepreneurs or have started businesses that help you to follow you passion - you are making a difference. When I was a police officer, for eight years I loved my job. I loved driving fast with the lights and sirens on - I loved helping people - but I never saw myself as a woman of influence. (Although with a gun on my hip - others would have disagreed!) However the stress of the internal politics depressed me and stressed me out to the point I took stress leave and eventually quit. I left feeling like a failure - unable to take the pressure. Unable to harden myself to the politics of the workplace. I left broken. It was several years later that I learned that a woman I had contact with - and given a harsh lecture to, had resurfaced. I still remember asking her what she was doing with her life - telling her that she had incredible potential and value and to do something important with her life. At the time of the lecture, she made the decision to do just that - change her life. Today she is a police officer - hopefully influencing other young women as I once did for her. The funny part of all of this was that although I vaguely remember the incident I had with this young woman - what I had said to her had a profound and direct influence in her life. I and did not even know it. When I found this information out - it changed my entire life. Suddenly, those eight wasted years on the police service had meaning. There had been a reason for me to be there. Despite the emotional turmoil and disappointment that I felt when I left - I knew then and there that there had been a reason. How many other people had I influenced in a good way in my career of policing - or for that matter in my life? It was then that I realized that I was a woman of influence. In fact all of us carry that distinct honour. Many of us however do not realize it. You affect people every day. And even more so when you are doing what you believe in and love. When you have passion for a cause - be it helping another woman by being a child care worker, or by working as a nurse or firefighter, you are changing the world. Recognize your value and influence in all that you do. When you are able to see your own value - you are then able to join with other women in claiming our power and using it for the betterment of our world. We are changing the world ladies. We are making it a better place. We may not wear medals, or march in celebration often, but we are changing the world - and we must teach our daughters to do the same. We are all women of influence. Mandie A big thank you to Senator Elaine McCoy for giving me the honour of attending the Women of Influence Luncheon in Calgary November 8th in her stead. We all send our wishes for a recovery from her illness. She has truly been a Woman of Influence. This blog has been a version of the short keynote I was able to offer.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

An interview with success

I discovered this interview while pouring myself a cup of coffee. I was plugging along on Saturday morning - my favorite day of the week. I always get so much done on a Saturday because few know I am working. And I can allow myself to be creative. And so into my head and out my fingertips flew the following interview with success.

The reason I wrote it was mostly for me - as I have been interviewing success for quite some time. I have been asking Success what it is I need to do to be like him. What I have learned is that I was not yet ready to say YES to success would ask of me. What I do know now is - that decision will have to be made very soon. I know what I will say to the question "are you ready" - I just hope I get the courage to say yes before the door of opportunity swings shut. I hope you too can do the same.
Interview with Success

Q: Well Success, where have you been? It has been so tough to catch up with you and make an appointment with you! Success: (Chuckle) Why that is such a funny question to ask. I have been here all along. You might even say had you asked for me by name I would have been there in a twinkle of your eye. I have been in you all along!

Q: Hmm. Then why is it that very few can ever find you?

Success: The truth of the matter is I am usually right in front of people. They often claim they see my backside (laughter) which they identify as failure – but we are really one and the same. And the reason they see failure is because he is picking himself up off of the ground. I always drag failure up and around with me. Sometimes I get impatient but I pick us both up and we continue on our way.

Q: Why is it then that people see failure and not you – Success?

Success: People are often so preoccupied with their thoughts of little things – that they are looking down – as if they have lost something. Well Failure is often down there on his butt – of course there I am always picking him up. Anyway – people feel they can identify with failure because they have been there – or so they say. And they spend so much time identifying with failure – you know talking to him – commiserating with him so to speak that they don’t even see me.

Q: So what can people do to see you more often.

Success: Well first people need to know that failure is the backside of me – Success. Together we are often called learning and some have associated us with risk. But in fact sometimes I am risky business! If people would only encourage failure instead of commiserating with him – well they would see the front side of failure - me – Success. Because we are one and the same people do not realize they look right past me every day.

Q: Tell us then Success – can we go with you – can we follow you?

Success: Absolutely! I have so much to offer all of you. What people need to do is to risk grabbing on to a little failure or what they see as failure – you know like his jeans pocket - as I (Success) am lifting him up. Together we can run forward. Unfortunately most people are afraid to touch failure for fear they too will fall. And because they never touch failure - well I cannot take their hand.

Q: So what is your final advice to us Success?

Success: Well I would tell people if they want to find me stop looking at the ground and look up – look at the big picture and they will see that Success is right in front of them. Failure is such a small part of me that focusing on him only makes him seem bigger. And of course focusing on failure attracts more of him. If they would only understand that failure is part of me – and such a small part they would accept him and call my name. When you call me - I will stop and turn around and extend my hand. It really is all about perception and how people see me. If they think I am close by – well they are right. And I answer those who call me. I am right in front of you and have been all along.