Monday, January 25, 2010

Bold For a Change

I recently decided that I have spent way too much of my life trying to please others. I remember about 5 years ago complaining to a friend who was in her late 30s about a family member who just didn't like me. I lamented that it did not matter what I did or said, this person never had anything good to say to me. My friend just laughed and said "It's funny the things you care about in your 20s that don't bother you a bit when you are older.". I thought to myself at the time: "That was so NOT helpful.", but now I understand what she meant. If you try to please everyone, you will end up pleasing no one, least of all yourself. People can't stand people who try too hard.

So I have decided to be myself at all times. How original indeed.

Slowly, I am starting a movement. This movement involves living your life according to your own dreams and values. No longer will we give in when the world says we should. We shall follow our own path blazed with passion, talent and a desire to serve others. We remain focused and surround ourselves with people who share our dream. We stay positive, work hard and treat others with compassion. We live in the moment with a clear vision of the end result. We leave room for adjustments along the way knowing that there are countless ways to achieve our goals.

Ok, so I'm not speaking to an auditorium full of hundreds of people every night. I am starting the movement by being a living example. By changing the way I live my life, I will affect others. Gandhi said: "Be the change you want to see in the world.". I will be the Bold. Bold for a change.

Danielle Boonstra

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Case For Loving Your Job

How many people do you know *love* what they do for a living? How many of them like it even? I suggest to you that loving your job is important. You spend an enormous amount of your time and energy in your work. It receives a lot of your attention, so why not give your attention to something you are good at and something you enjoy? Here are some reasons why I believe this matters:

1) You Have Gifts & Talents - We all have our own special skills and abilities, but how many of us actually apply these? You may say you cannot make money at what it is that you are good at, but is this really true or did you just give up trying? Someone out there is financially successful at the thing you are good at. What makes them different than you? The answer: nothing. By holding back our aptitudes, we extinguish our light. We shy away from all that we can offer the world. You are good at something. Share it!

2) You Are Taking Someone's Place - The truth is that even if you don't particularly enjoy your job, someone else out there would. To someone else, your job is a dream! So by working at something you do not like, you are keeping that job from someone who would. We all have our strengths. Are you applying yours right now?

3) Success Doesn't Come From a Pay Cheque - If you are working purely for a pay cheque, you will never find true success. You know I'm right. True success is born out of passion! When you follow what is tugging at your heart you are on the path to your own version of prosperity. Decide what it is you love. Declare it. Think of how you can apply it. Tell everyone you know about it. This is how to have to light the fire! You are more than a Pay Cheque.

4) Happiness Makes the World a Better Place - Just imagine if everyone in the world loved their job. What would that look like? We would have less depression, more smiles....less shouting, more laughing...less weeping, more moments of contentment. Somewhere along the way we got lost. We forgot to listen to our own heart's desires and started nodding to the "shoulds" of the outside world. There is always a way to do what you love. People do it everyday.

Be open to the possibility that you have more to offer this world than what you are currently. I believe that when we choose a path filled with passion, the money will come. I understand that there are children, spouses and mortgages to consider, but ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen? Chances are it is something that you could live through and would most likely never even come to pass. You deserve all that life has to offer. We all do.

Danielle Boonstra

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Knew What I Was Doing

I felt it in the very core of my being. As the mother of 2 beautiful children blessed to live in a country that grants new mothers 1 year of Parental Leave, I had the time to reflect and consider. I had a wonderful job, but it required a lot of my time. Where did my children fit in?

To put it quite simply....they didn't.

Monday to Friday was a mad rush from home to daycare to work to daycare and then home again. For my family, this was no way to live. We were all way too stretched. Home was calling.

And to my surprise, very few people supported our choice. "How are you going to afford it?" was a common question. My answer now is: "Through sheer intention!". What good is a job if it keeps me from what I love, what brings me joy?

I knew what I was doing.

If I was being pulled to stay at home with my children, then this was the right way to go. All that I have needed to make this work has come to me. When I let go and let the Universe step in to help it all became OK.

The lesson? Follow your joy. Follow love. It works. With faith and trust; it works.
Danielle Boonstra

Friday, January 8, 2010

How Can I Help?

Think of the places you love to shop, where love to have coffee or a nice meal. What sets these places apart? Atmosphere? Product? Service? I believe that the first two make no difference if the last is below par. Great service is always desirable. It is something integral to our success both in the business world and in our personal lives as well.

If your business is floundering, think to yourself: "What am I offering the customer? What sets my business apart? How easy/difficult do we make it to buy or even return a product?". These are important questions and they help to turn our focus away from "My Business" to your customer's experience of your business. It is helpful too to consider your beliefs about your customers, about the world at large even. Do you believe that people are inherently good or are you constantly thinking that people are trying to cheat you? Whatever you believe about humanity will be your experience in business or otherwise. Treat your customers as though they have the purest of intentions and watch how quickly things will turn around.

The same can be said about our personal relationships. When you are feeling disconnected from friends and family, feeling sad and depressed, ask yourself: "What do I do for others?". Often we become so caught up in our little dramas, we fail to notice people around us dealing with *real* issues. Yes of course we all have problems, but if you can see a way to step out of your gloominess to reach out to someone else then DO IT! Being of service gives us a sense of purpose. For some it easy to give money to a cause, but giving of time or love can seem overwhelming! Your time and your love however, are what will truly help another.

When you look at the results in all facets of your life and you see something wanting, take a step back to examine where it is that you are holding back. Where are you not giving all that you can? Ask "How can I help?". Start with the giving and everything else will fall into place.

Danielle Boonstra

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Act of Change

Change. To some the word itself can seem uncomfortable, and yet change as the Proverb says, is the only constant. It can be easy to stay in our little comfortable lives. You may have a routine and follow it everyday. Of course there is peace in that! But in order to live to our fullest potential, we must be willing to stretch and grow past what we know right now. And believe it or not, that peace you feel in your cozy cocoon life, can follow you through every change you make.

Everything good that has happened in your life, probably felt scary at first. You were unsure how you would cope, what you would do, how you would feel. And yet now you can look back with fondness at that unnerving beginning. Chances are if you fear change, then all the new beginnings in your life came to you passively. That is, you did not go out seeking something new, but something new found you. This type of change is inevitable, but active change, a change you seek and initiate is often even more rewarding!

There is something that you have always wanted to do. There is some new thing that you have always wanted to try. So what is stopping you? Fear right? Fear of failure, of disruption, of humiliation....the list could go on. What I suggest to you is that you have met with change all your life whether active or passive and you have coped. Taking control of your life, by actively seeking the change you desire, you keep the peace. The comfort of a routine comes from feeling in control. Take this control and use it as intention. Use it to change your life and to do all the things you have always wanted to do!

Life should happen through you, not to you. Change is nothing to fear, because you never cope alone. By listening to that voice inside that longs to try something new you can begin to live your greatest life. Peace may seem to come from feeling in control but that feeling is just an illusion. Peace comes from being ready...from knowing that you are guided and that your purpose is to flourish. Seek change and be an active participant in your own life.

Danielle Boonstra