Covid 10%

I was only 24 years old when I opened my tuxedo rental store and I became a speaker at the same time. I look back and I realize how young I was! I wanted to showcase my tuxedos in a local bridal tradeshow and I was turned away. I thought, “Ok, I will produce my own show then.” And I did. I worked so hard to produce a show that would support our local businesses and give couples a place to start their wedding planning. It became our family business and our children grew up working at the show. My heart is heavy today to say that after 27 years, we made the obvious and safe decision to cancel the show this fall. Stupid COVID!

Like many of you, our businesses have been affected. Our lives have been affected. It can be so defeating knowing you have to give into something you have no control over. So, what are some 90%s today? My family is safe and protected. Our staff, booth participants and wedding families will be safe. My calendar will open up another chunk of time to get ready for 2021. I will use that time to continue to truly “pivot.” When this is all over, I will be ready. I never let anything stand in the way of my success at 24 years old and I am sure not going to start now. I refuse to let COVID get the better of me.

There has never been a better chance to fully practice "Focusing on the 90%". Take out your magnifying glass each day and ask, “What is good today?”

We will be back better than ever, our show will be back better than ever.

This too shall pass.

 

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When I wrote my second book, “Living the 90% - 9 Ways to Be Happier”, it took me a month. I would wake up each day and say goodbye to Darren as he went out the door to his office. Then shortly after, I would say goodbye to John as he headed to school and again when he went to his part time job. Our daughter, Jayda, was away traveling and I literally had all day and all evening to write. I wrote that book in one month, and then I went back on the road and traveled each week delivering my message.

Today I finished writing my third book, “Lead the 90% - Kind Leadership”. I thought it would take me a month. It took me almost five. I woke up each morning to write, but this time my family never left. Ever. I would find a quiet corner of the house and, as soon as I would start writing, someone would appear. I felt like we were piled on top of each other. I didn’t leave. Ever. My speaking schedule was wiped clean and I worried as I erased yet another event from my schedule. I missed wearing my dress clothes. I sighed when I would find an old boarding pass in my pocket. I missed traveling. I sighed when I found a client’s pen in my office, remembering how great their conference was. Though I have fully embraced my new webinar format, some days I really miss meeting real live human beings. I sighed as I passed pictures of family members I knew I would not see this summer.

Then I had to pull out my 90% magnifying glass. I had to change my view. So what if this book took five months? I changed my expectations and accepted what was to be. I simply love writing, so why wasn’t I focused on that? Darren and I turned fear into action and adjusted our finances and spending so we would be ok. We talked often about what we were grateful for: our health in a time when others were sick, our home and quieter schedules. I tried hard not to feel frustrated with my family. I was writing about kindness all day and some days I wasn’t feeling kind. I seriously detached from everyone’s problems. They needed to cope in their own unique way. They also had worries and their own reasons to sigh.

I am excited about our quieter summer schedule and the beautiful weather. I am detaching from worry and feeling excited to write my fourth book this fall and spend more time at home with my adorable pets (not the teenagers, the pets LOL!) I am excited about the future. When all of this is over, the world is going to need a 90% message. And it sure needs one now.

Be safe, well and positive.

Checking In

Month four. Wow, month four of a completely new normal. How are you doing? No really…how are you doing?
It is hard to see the 90%s when this 10% time in the world has been difficult for so many. I get that. These difficult times can sure reveal our true selves Despite the 10%s, can we still find 90%s in this difficult time?
It is not always easy juggling all we juggle in the Lang house a but I wanted to share something I do to reset when I am feeling overwhelmed. I know when I am starting to feeling 10% and I take action right away. Firstly, I completely unplug then I go outside. I feel my feet on the ground, close my eyes, feel the sun on my face and breath very very deeply. Then I intentionally focus on something I am grateful for. I let that feeling of gratitude wash over me. Then I pick something else I am grateful for. With my eyes closed I let that feeling bring a smile to my face. If I am not smiling yet, I pick something else. I open my eyes and I reenter the house in a kinder more loving way. Some days… I have to go out and do it again.
Check out my video to go along with this newsletter here: https://youtu.be/hIghXcISlnA

Showing Appreciation

 

 

Now that a new normal has settled in, I have been crossing off long lists at work and at home. I am living my 90% message and taking great care of my family, my business and myself. I am so grateful to be healthy.

As I work away in my business and my home there is not a day that goes by that I am not mindful of those who are not doing well. Those living in countries without the health care and financial support Canada is able to offer. Those suffering with Covid, those who are lonely and mentally unwell. I pray for those who have lost loved ones and those who are away from family. And then there are those disappointed by canceled weddings, ceremonies, graduations, trips and birthday celebrations. I pray for them too.

Every single day I think about the workers who are on the front line for all of us while are at home, safe and well.

It is National Nurses week and there isn’t a better time to honor the nurses and all of the essential workers for their selfless, tireless service throughout the world. I pray you are taking care of yourselves. I hope that at the end of your long work days you have a refuge to practice self-care. I hope you have support at home. I also pray that when the world gets back on its feet, you will be honored and revered for all you have done to put your lives on the line for us.

When you start to feel frustrated with your day and you are looking at your life through a 10% lens, stop and move that magnifying glass to the 90%. Be grateful. Give thanks that you are healthy enough to do all you are doing. And, while you’re at it, show extra appreciation to those on the front line, too. We really couldn’t get through this without them.

It Did Not Suck

 

Last year my 50th birthday was wonderful! I got a diamond ring from Darren, the garage door I have always wanted, dinner out, and presents from my teenagers. My friend said, “Wow! This year is going to suck compared to last year.”

This year my birthday was different. My family took the time to make my favourite sushi supper. Jayda made me my favorite vegan desert. We sat in the dining room, set the table, turned off technology, and had a real visit.

I smiled as I looked around the table through a new lens, reflecting on all I have to be grateful for during this difficult time.

We are all together. Last year Jayda was living away from home and John was too busy with his friends to come for supper with us.

We are healthy. I did a healing prayer for everyone who is suffering and everyone in health care.

Darren and I are doing extremely well mentally. I am so grateful for him.  We realize that we are a grounding force for our teenagers who need to know that, no matter what, they will be ok. I prayed for the children who do not have family support.  

We have adjusted our spending to have just enough to get us by for the next few months—probably something we needed to do for a very long time.

We are wasting nothing, and I mean nothing—something else this family has probably really needed to do.

We have enough. If a store I loved was open today, I would be shopping at it, but what do I really need?

This birthday did not suck at all. It was wonderful, in a new and very different way… Through a different lens.

Be safe and healthy!

 

My New Normal

 

We are all doing our best to Focus on the 90% right now in this 10% time. If you are safe and healthy that is the greatest 90%. The rest will slowly work itself out.

I've posted a new video about this on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2biPSZfhGWw

Cyber distance hug.

 

Moving Forward

 

Throughout the past few weeks of speaking, I have felt like Indian Jones in the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” during the scene where the big ball is rolling towards him. I have felt like the virus was chasing me and it was all I could do to quickly get to the next event before it was cancelled!

Today, as I sit down at my desk, it feels surreal. Every event I was going to be speaking at for the next few weeks has been cancelled. Normally my work week is an endless flow of wrapping up the last few events and preparing for the next ones. I have a new normal to adjust to for the time being; however, I will continue to find the 90%s in the 10%s.

Here are two important things I am going to do:

1. I will turn all fear into action.

I refuse to let fear run my life. I am going to view these next few weeks as a gift. I am always traveling or on the move in some way, but now I am going to use this time to cross off a very long list of what Sandra and I can do instead. We are so blessed to have videos that need to be posted, a new promo video to create, a social media campaign to cultivate, and I have two more books waiting to be written!

At home, I have already made a huge list of all the closets we can clean and the editing we can do before our beautiful summer arrives. My family is already wishing I was back on the road.

2. I will continue to build my immune system.

I have lived through H1N1 twice, SARS, and every other event that has happened in my lifetime. I have only missed one engagement in 26 years of speaking due to poor health. One. Isn’t that amazing? So, on social media over the next few weeks, I will be sharing all I do to be healthy.

Let’s start with the basics: hand washing, eating healthy, drinking tons of water, exercising, sleeping and meditating.

In my new “Living the 90%” book, I have an entire chapter on dealing with fear, and another one on taking ruthless care of yourself. I may not have any control over what is happening in the world right now, but I do have control over my reaction to it.

In the spirit of us all moving forward, I would like to offer you two books for the price of one. Order one “Living the 90%” book on my website and I will send you two! One for you and one for a friend. Then we all move forward together.

Be well!

Could we be happy anyway?

 

I am writing my third book right now called "Embrace the 90%". It challenges us to ask the question, “Could we be happy anyway?” No matter what is happening in our lives, could we embrace the great parts despite our 10%s?

Could we?

Regardless of what is happening in the world, at our jobs, among our coworkers, with our families, or within our own personal challenges…could we dig deep and still find happiness during the hardships? Could we be happy anyway?

My life has 10%s. Being a motivational speaker has taught me the power of being happy anyway. No matter what is happening in my life, 90% or 10%, I have to do my big hair, go out the door, and be happy. I am learning more and more about how other 90% people have this amazing ability to be internally happy, no matter what is happening around them. Some of the happiest, most joyful people I encounter every week have gone through, or are going through, very big 10% challenges; yet, they are still…happy.

Being a happy person in the world has taught me that if you are happy, people think you don’t have any problems. Guess what? Happy people have problems too! Trust me. The difference is, we choose to be happy. What’s the alternative? Choosing to be unhappy is not an option for me; I don’t have a job that allows me to be grumpy or miserable. I wonder how much that has trained my brain to embrace the good.

Despite your 10% challenge right now, could you be happy anyway? Could you pick up your 90% lens and embrace what is good?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Joy

 

Happy Belated New Year!

My theme for 2019 was Embrace and I truly could not have picked a better word for this past year. I embraced so many 90%s and completed the year by being inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame; however, last year was not short of 10%s. I needed to embrace some big 10%s in my personal life.

Which leads to my theme for 2020: Joy. Dealing with 10%s in life can have a way of stealing some of our joy. One of the bonuses of being a motivational speaker is that you have to show up joyful and happy! This keeps me grounded and gives me perspective. I need to be at my best in order to inspire others to live their 90%s.

This year is going to be a full one. I am blessed with a busy travel schedule. I get to spend time in the studio producing new videos. I’ll continue to post on social media. And I am being called to write a third book. Rather than feel overwhelmed, I will bring JOY to all of that abundance.

I will bring joy to my home that needs me to be a joyful person. I will not be feeling overwhelmed with what I cannot control and I will constantly ask, “What is good today?”

I will bring joy to myself and make sure I am doing things that fill my tank. I will focus on exercise, meditation, sleep and nutrition. I will ask myself, “What will bring joy to me today?”

I will share my joy with people I meet. As I sit in an airport writing this, I do not see a lot of people who look like they have joy in their lives. I will do all I can this year to be an example of joy.

 

Speakers Hall of Fame

 

Today I am speechless. Which is rare for me. I was totally utterly honored to be inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame this week at my Canadian Association of Speakers Convention. It is rare to meet a speaker who knew they wanted to be a speaker for a living. I had no idea I would be called to this career 26 years ago and am so proud to represent Saskatchewan and the Prairies with this prestigious award. Thank you, CAPS. I am grateful, and humbled, beyond words.

A special thank you to all of my clients, audience members and newsletter subscribers. Without all of you, I would not have this epic career.

So grateful.

 

A Kind Perspective

 

Meet Eugene.

It was a long travel day on a bitterly cold prairie night. I pulled up to the Co-op gas bar and was greeted by a man with the biggest smile. He had so much energy! He literally ran from car to car smiling and sharing his kindness with everyone. I watched him work his magic. I knew he had a story. I have never met anyone that kind and happy who did not have a story to go with their choice to be positive. His toque read “Kindness Wins”.

I teach my children that everyone has a story. I tell them to be kind. I want them to know it doesn’t matter how much money you make, how important your job is, what house you live in, or what you look like. What matters is that you are kind, loving people. The world needs more kind and loving people.

As I sat in my warm car, I thought about how Eugene was making the profound choice to be kind, and his toque told the story.

I paid for my gas, thanked him for his unbelievable service, and told him I would be the speaker at his staff training the next day. He thanked ME for being his customer.

Before I drove away I told him I felt bad he had to work in the cold weather. He looked me right in the eye and with the biggest smile said, “No hurricanes, no Earthquakes”. Talk about having a great perspective!

An Act of Courage

 

John was in England during the war and walked into a pub called “The Plough” where he was served by a woman named Olive, the daughter of the pub owner. He told her she was the most beautiful woman he had ever met, and she told him not to bother her because he was Canadian and she had no use for Canadian men.

He must have been very convincing since John and Olive were my grandparents. As I look at their wedding picture, I think about how difficult that time would have been—not only because of the fear and anxiety that went with the war, but because of the bravery it took for my grandmother to move away from her home country and start a new life with her husband.

Her courageous choice is the reason I have my wonderful life here in Canada.

I have heard countless stories about coming to Canada from family members, friends, audience members and passengers on the airplane. I always add to their story by saying, “Aren’t we so so blessed to live in Canada?” They always say how grateful they are to have made their own courageous choice to come here.

Who made a choice for you? Let’s never forget them.

What Are You Grateful For?

 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I like to make October “Gratitude Month”. I want to share some of the great ways my clients are implementing Gratitude Month within their teams.

In October, Erin and her team start every day by telling each other what part of their day they are most looking forward to. At the end of the day, they have another quick huddle to tell each other what the best part of their day was.

Tanya makes a “gratitude board” and the staff write on post-it notes what they are grateful for in their lives and post them on the board.

Bill challenges his team to go and extend kindness to someone in their community. They are encouraged to let people in in traffic, pay for coffee for the person behind them in the drive-through line, carry someone’s bags, cut their neighbor’s lawn, provide childcare for a friend, visit someone who is in need, and the list goes on and on. At the end of the week, there is a big cash prize for the person who shares the best random act of kindness story.

Susan asks her team to go into their personal life each week and tell at least one person they love, how grateful they are to have them in their life. They must pick someone they feel really needs to hear what they have to say because they don’t tell them enough how grateful they are. The best story for the month wins a fancy dinner out and a hotel stay.

All of my clients tell me the same story that the best part of Gratitude Month is that it not only changes people’s attitudes for the month of October, it changes them forever.

I am grateful for YOU subscribing to my newsletter and following me on social media.

What Would Your Miracle Be?

 

I have been studying motivation and happiness for thirty years now—attending seminars, reading countless books, going to counselling, listening to podcasts, and watching videos and Ted Talks. I understand that continual learning is essential if I want to be happy. Another thing I have found to be true, is that the happiest people I meet usually have had a 10% experience in their life that made them evaluate their thoughts, beliefs, and choices. The “Miracle Question” was something that has helped many in their journey.

I was introduced to a 1980s idea called “The Miracle Question.” I am paraphrasing but the concept is: “If a miracle graced your life tonight and this miracle was able to solve your biggest 10% problem right now, how would you feel when you woke up?” Take a moment to consider the possibilities.

What if…

The addiction was gone?

The job was better?

The weight was off?

The ex was kinder?

The anxiety was gone?

How would you feel?

Next, imagine that you just woke up and the miracle has occurred. Put your 90% magnifying glass out in front of you and ask, “What would be the first indication that a miracle has occurred? Would it be in how you treat yourself; how you treat the people in your home, your friends, your coworkers, or strangers? What would your morning look like? What would your afternoon look like? How would you feel at the end of the day?”

The key is that when you imagine how much better you would feel, you will set out on a path to seeing the 90%s.

I have used this exercise to help me detach from owning everyone else’s problems because—even if the miracle didn’t occur—it taught me how to treat myself and others as if it did. What if the people I love didn’t get better, could I be happy anyway if I acted as if they were? The Miracle Question helps me to see my life through a 90% lens.

What would your miracle be?

The Power of a Teacher

 

Teacher teaching how to count on whiteboard in the classroom. Woman teaching math to elementary students sitting in class. School children learning mathematics from teacher in modern class room.

Teaching is by far one of the most important jobs in the world and I feel blessed to speak to close to 2,500 teachers and support staff this month to kick off the school year.

90% of the staff I will meet will be loving, caring people who are passionate about their work. They understand that teaching and supporting students is a hard job and that in order to truly influence and motivate students, they need to be happy and motivated themselves. They have dealt with their own personal problems and they show up wanting to make a difference. They are there for their students regardless of the 10%s happening in their schools or at the division level. They show up with smiles on their faces, enthusiasm in their voices, and are ready for another year to begin.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be happy. Some will sit in my audience and not participate in any way and I worry, “Do they show up at school the same way? Do their attitudes affect their students? What impact do they have on the new teachers?” When our daughter was in grade four, I asked her how her day was and she replied, “We had a substitute teacher today.” When I asked what he or she was like, she replied, “I think she was having personal problems.” They know. Trust me. They always know.

We all have a choice on how we show up to work. Don’t let your choice negatively affect the self-esteem of another person—especially a child. Let’s be the kind of people who make others feel special, cared for and help them on their path in life.

Here’s to a wonderful school year!

Living Unplugged

 

Whew! I am very blessed to be heading into my “staycation” at my favorite place on earth—my back yard—with my favorite people on earth: my family, friends and pets. It has been one epic year so far; full of 90%s. I have had a wonderful season of speaking, and I released my second book! Thank you to all of my clients, audience members and to my admin assistant, Sandra, for your endless support.

I have spoken from coast to coast and looked after life at home for the last seven months. I have had some 10%s happen with only small bits of time to process them. I have worked around, under, and over the challenges but I have not had time to work through them. I will take some of my vacation time to journal, pray, meditate, heal and rest. The best way for me to do that is to totally unplug. To wake up, head out into the yard with a journal, a good book and a plan to be well. I will also take time to party, celebrate and laugh.

Goodbye email and social media... for a little while, anyway. Once on a winter get-away, my cell phone was stolen from my beach bag on the second day of our two-week holiday. After the shock wore off, it was awesome. It taught me how often I would reach for my phone and rely on technology for entertainment. After that totally unplugged experience, I vowed I would unplug on all vacations.

My wish for you this summer is to spend your vacation unplugged and fully present where you are. Do what you need to do so you finish your vacation saying, “That was an awesome vacation, I did exactly what I wanted, and needed, to do.""

Have an amazing summer!

 

Lessons From My Dad

 
My dad got custody of me very young. He would tell you that we grew up together. Here is what I learned from him:
 
You have a choice on how you turn out, despite your childhood.
 
When crappy things happen to you, get help and talk about them so that they don’t bog you down throughout your life.
 
Every child needs a pet to grow up with. They teach you unconditional love.
 
My dad grounded me when I was a teenager and had me work with him in his garage; but it was not for my benefit, it was for his. He wanted us to spend time together. He knew that the most precious thing a parent could give was their time and attention.
 
If you wanted a Volkswagen of your own, you had to help build it. (This was also a ploy to spend time together.)
 
If your dad didn’t like your boyfriend, he wasn’t a good guy. Dads seem to have a way of knowing this.
 
Don’t lend money to your kids, make them earn what they want because it means more and instills a sense of pride and accomplishment in them.
 
Everyone needs to know how to change their own oil.
 
Being a mechanic meant that you did a job that most didn’t know how to do. The customer who would be rude to my dad didn’t even know how to change his own oil.
 
When your 16-year-old girl calls you to tell you that her tire is flat, you tell her to change it herself. You empower your children when you allow them to figure things out on their own.
 
When the police bring them home from a party, you save the lecture for the morning.
 
When they leave home at 18 years old, you let them go. You never let them know how hard it was for you.
 
Always say "I love you".
 
Happy Father’s day!
 

Umma

I first ran this story in 2011 and wanted to share it with you again.

My mom and I never had a perfect relationship. But is any relationship perfect? We had a rough start. My mom got pregnant with me at 16 years old. My dad raised me in the early seventies. My mom remarried twice, had a family of her own and I only saw her on holidays. I always wanted to be closer to my mom but it was like we never knew how to be close. When I was pregnant with our first child 18 years ago, I knew I needed to talk to my mom about my feelings. I had never had a real conversation with my mom. I was so worried I would bring some of my unfinished "10%" feelings into my own motherhood role. I really did want to be closer to this woman I felt I hardly knew.

I invited her for a visit and a walk. I was very nervous as we started walking and I told her that my hope for this walk was to be closer to her. I wanted to get to know this woman and hear her side, something I had never heard. We walked for hours. For the first time in my life, I was having a real conversation with my mom. She told me stories of hard it was to leave me, her fears when she lost her leg in a motorcycle accident and her journey with breast cancer. We laughed, we cried, we fought and we bonded. I will never forget that walk.

Shortly after, she sent me a letter saying she would try hard to be my mom, but to be patient because she really didn't know how to be. She wrote she would give as much as she could but didn't know how much that would be. I wrote back promising her that I would try not to have unrealistic expectations. I would meet her where she was at, not where I wished she would be. I would see her through my 90% lens. It was the start of a much closer relationship. It wasn't always easy being her daughter...but sometimes it wasn't easy being my mom either.

That summer was the best. I have never felt so close to my mom. Our visits were full of love and laughter. Watching all of her amazing grandchildren in her yard made her the "happiest woman in the world". Her grandchildren all called her "Umma". I never left our visits without a hug, I love you and she ALWAYS said, "You know I am very proud of you right?" I left our last fun summer visit with a bag full of unripe tomatoes from her garden and I feeling like I was finally connecting with my mom like I always prayed I would.

A week after our last summer visit my beautiful mom died suddenly. She was only 59 years old.

There are layers of lessons I could write about. A lesson in communication and how important it is to be brave enough to say what we need to say to those we love. And a lesson in expectations. Sometimes we expect a relationship to be how we want it to be; in the meantime, we miss out on all the 90%s. A lesson in forgiveness. I wrote in my book that "My mom taught me forgiveness. Life is too short to carry around the burdens that do not bless your life or the life of others". Every time I came home from our visits this summer I would say, "Wow that is the best visit I have ever had." Thank God for those peaceful happy memories.

I went my mom's funeral feeling that nothing was left unsaid. I came home to her unripe tomatoes. My girlfriend said, "If I could choose the way I might leave this world and my loved ones, it would be with nothing left unsaid and tomatoes ripening on the counter."

Happy Mother’s day!

 

Facing Your Fears

It's my 50th birthday! And the first 50 years have been a true journey of finding the 90%s. The most important thing I have learned is to face fear. Not only have I faced fear, I have kicked its butt.

Fears in your business will hold you back. I bought my first company when I was 24 years old. They told me I would fail. They said I was uneducated. They said I was too young and too female to run my own tuxedo store. Instead of listening to them, I trusted myself. I believed I could fulfill my dreams and I transformed my fears into action. I became a student of great business owners. I asked great questions. And guess what? I started two more businesses that same year.

What if I never gave up the number one fear of most people — public speaking? I was simply terrified the first time I spoke. So I read, watched speakers, choose mentors and learned to face that fear head on. Had I succumbed to the fear, I would have missed a truly epic 26-year career.

Talking to the difficult people in your life and having critical conversations is a fearful thing to do. Once you work on your self-love and the belief that you deserve to be treated better, it will give you the voice you need. Toxic people rarely change. We have to change. We need to overcome the fear of talking to them and, sometimes, we need to walk away from them. Imagine how disappointed I would have been to look back on the last 50 years and know that those 10% toxic, unhealthy, narcissistic people won?

I had very fearful experiences as a young woman that could have paralyzed me from taking action. This is the biggest fear I have kicked. I have taken self-defense classes and learned how to be safe traveling alone. Overcoming those fears has allowed me to help our daughter grow into an independent, young woman who has moved out, is working late and traveling solo. If my fear creeps into my mind when it comes to her decisions, she will say, “Mom, you are projecting on me.”

Childhood fears can manifest into how we treat ourselves, how we treat our children, and how we treat other people. Get the help you need. Heal your wounds. I tell my teenagers, “You should be grateful for all the money I have paid for therapy, now you don’t have to pay for it later on!” (They only agree with that statement 90% of the time.)

I felt a lot of fear during my husband’s depression, our daughter’s health challenge and our son’s anxiety journey. I faced those fears one at a time and got help when I needed it. I did not let them run my life. I did not let them ruin my life. Each member of my family had to deal with fear in their own way and each of us continues to do so.

I have a reminder at our front door that says: “Let your faith be stronger than your fear.” In our household, we believe in bravely facing what life throws our way. Let your courage be stronger than your fears.

Cheers to the next 50 years!

P.S.: My second book "Living the 90%" will have an entire chapter on fear. It will be released in May 2019!

 

Living the 90%

Since March is International Happiness Month, I felt it was the perfect time to share with you the Top Nine Ways to be happier!

1. Pick a job that you love. Focus on the 90% parts of your job you DO like. It is human nature to complain and have meetings over what isn’t working. If you start to focus on what you enjoy and talk about it more, it will change the way you see your job. In turn, it could help shift the morale where you work. One person does make a difference. Be the person who makes a 90% one.

2. Avoid toxic people. I know easier said than done but, where you can, avoid the 10% people who are toxic and unkind. It has been my experience that negative people rarely know they are they problem, and quite often, they just don’t care. Believe you are worth being treated way better than the way they treat you.

3. Ask constantly, “What is still good”? Even in the darkest times of my life, I have been able to dig deep at what is still a 90%? Start with the fact you are alive and live in the greatest country in the world.

4. Deal with your 10%s. I have my three times complain rule. Throw yourself three pity parties and then lay out what you need to do to heal and get better. Find new ways to accept your current reality and your new normal. Resistance doesn’t solve anything.

5. Make someone else’s day. This is an instant way to make yourself happier. I am always looking for opportunities to put a smile on someone’s face. People deal with so many issues and traumas, they need to feel cared for and loved. By helping others, you help yourself.

6. Take ruthless care of yourself. Yes, ruthless care! We all lead enormous lives, we can’t do it all on an empty tank. Sleep well, eat well, exercise and ONLY listen to, read and watch positive 90% media. We all know how to be healthier but the bigger question is,”Why aren’t you taking better care of yourself?”

7. Change how you talk to yourself. Self-talk is so vital to being happy. See yourself through a 90% lens. Come up with great positive nick names for yourself. NEVER tell yourself you are stupid. Forgive yourself. Be gentle with yourself. You’re human. You will make mistakes and will not be perfect at everything. Nobody is.

8. Do more of what makes you smile. Write down three things you love to do that are healthy and fulfilling. Find space in your calendar right now to do all three. Go for walk, go to the gym, do something meaningful with your children — do it now! Don’t feel guilty about taking the time to do these things!

9. Treat your family like you treat your best client. Do you want better balance in your life? Then you need to apply the first eight ideas. The choices we make all day affect what we have left for our families. Quit giving the people you love your leftovers.

I am writing my second book “Living the 90” — 9 ways to be happier, right now! It will be released this spring. Stay tuned.

Celebrate Life

As we sit down to eat at a restaurant with our friends Graham and Dionne, the woman serving us asks, “What are you celebrating tonight?” Dionne says with the biggest smile and great enthusiasm, “Life!” I smiled and thought “I wonder what she would think if she knew that Dionne has just started another round of chemo?”

Dionne has survived cancer nine times.

Have you met Graham and Dionne Warner? If you have, you will never forget that you did. They are two of the most loving, generous people I have had the pleasure of meeting. I first met them as we shared a stage in 2015. I was beyond honored to be chosen to speak to their staff. Both of these amazing people have had 10% challenges that most of us could not imagine, and yet I have never heard them complain. They consistently celebrate life in the biggest, grandest way.

As we ate our meal, I asked Dionne what percentage of her healing would she attribute to her positive attitude. Without hesitation she said, “110%.”

In this month of love, let’s learn from this dynamic duo. Let’s celebrate every day we have and let’s remember the powerful role our attitude has in our life. It can truly heal.

If you ever get a chance to meet Graham and Dionne, it will change you. It will remind you that nothing we complain about is that important. It will remind you to…. celebrate life.

Embrace

I stood at the front door and choked back my tears as I hugged our girl goodbye. Actually, I spent most of the holiday season choking back tears. After our daughter’s graduation last June, the plan was for her to go to university for two years then move away to go to school somewhere else. Sounded like a great plan. She went to university in the fall and it was a 10% for her. She quit university, packed her car and moved to another province to work. Wait…what?

It was at that moment standing at the door I knew what my theme for 2019 would be… “Embrace”. I am still working through embracing the 10%s of how much I miss her (and worry about her) and I am learning to embrace the 90%s of raising a simply remarkable, independent, young woman.

The same week our son started driving and I am embracing all that is new with a teenage boy driving. Why do they have to cruise around ALL the time?

I am embracing a new marriage with Darren. After 26 years together and 18 years of parenting, driving to and sitting at our children’s many, many activities, it has all come to a grinding halt. We need to embrace the new-found freedom we have in our marriage, make sure we keep our marriage strong and not get sick of each other!

In my work, I need to embrace all that is changing in the world of being a motivational speaker. Like you in your business, I am facing lots of changes in technology and how we do things in our office. I will spend time embracing and learning about what is new. There is no sense in fighting the things that are changing and complaining about it, just do it!

I will turn 50 this year and I am going to embrace all that goes with that.

Perhaps you had some changes in 2018. Some were great 90% changes and maybe some were not so great. Pick a theme that will help you move forward in a positive way, to adjust to whatever your new normal is.

Cheers to your theme for 2019!

Thank You Ed

Ed was my bank manager at the TD Bank — the bank that took a chance on a 24-year-old woman who wanted to buy a tuxedo store. One day, Ed asked me what I thought one of my secrets to being happy all the time was. I told him I thought we all had a magnifying glass in front of us and we had a choice what we focused it on, the positive or the negative aspects of our lives. He asked me, “What percentage of your life do you think is positive?” I replied, “About 90%.” He then asked, “Would you come and share that idea at my staff meeting?” That simple question changed the course of my life.”

I remember that first speaking engagement 25 years ago. I was wearing a light blue suit that my husband (then boyfriend) affectionally called the “Matlock” suit. I stood in the bank before it opened, and the staff gathered their office chairs in the open lobby. My back was to the counter and I was grateful for that. I thought if I pass out, I will fall against the counter. I wasn’t a shy person, but I had never done anything like that before. I was so nervous.

Afterwards, a man who worked at that bank told his wife about my presentation. She referred me to a service club she was involved in and as they say, the rest is history.

Ed and I have kept in touch over the years and last week, I had a chance to visit Ed and thank him in person. I kept it together while I was there and saved my tears for the car ride home. I could not be more grateful to this kind man who gave me my start. I have a beautiful blessed 90% life.

This Christmas season reach out to someone who has shaped your life and say thank you to them. Call them, write them or pull up your chair beside them at Christmas and tell them. You might not be where you are today if it wasn’t for them.

Merry Christmas!

Everyone Has a Story

Are you perfect? When I ask my audience members that question only a very funny person will put up their hand. What right do we have to see others through our imperfect judgmental, gossiping, labeling, prejudice 10% lens when we are not perfect? And did you ever notice that those who do the most amount of judging and labeling are actually the ones who need the most “work”? How you see others is how you see yourself.

One of my many missions in life is to encourage people to take the time to see people through a 90% lens — the non-judgemental, compassionate, sympathetic, understanding magnifying glass. People have big lives filled with personal, work and family problems. Don’t we all have a story?

Look for an opportunity to make someone’s day. Open a door, give a parking spot away, let everyone in in traffic, buy stacks of gift cards and give them away, tip hugely, replace Christmas presents with charitable donations, tell people they are good because some really need to hear that. I find someone everyday to tell that they are doing a great job.

Make it your mission to go out in the world and this busy Christmas season and offer patience, kindness, compassion and understanding. You never know someone’s story. We can judge others, but I was taught not to judge others unless I was willing to help them. I can’t wait for the most depleted person in the airport to sit next to me, I always hear the story to go with the depletion and I will offer them a word of encouragement.

I had the blessing of hearing John DiJulius speak and he shares this video in his presentation. What a great reminder that everyone has a story.

Go be kind to someone today.

October 2018 - Thanks "Taking" - Are You Taking Or Giving?

 I heard two guys talking the other day. “What are you doing for Thanksgiving weekend?” asked the one. His friend responded, “Well it's more like Thanks’taking’ weekend as I am 'taking' the day off, 'taking' the family to my dreaded mom's house, 'taking' time to visit my stupid in-laws and 'taking' the lawn furniture to the garage.” The first guy's response was, “Whoa you sure sound negative!”

I smiled behind them as I thought the same thing. Where did he learn to be so ungrateful for people who feed him dinner, a family to drag around and a house that has lawn furniture?

Thanks”taking” is seeing your life through a 10% lens. Thanks”giving” is seeing it through the 90% one.

What if we stopped taking from people and gave back? I know people who expect others to take care of them but rarely, if ever, do they give back. What if you took the time to thank those who have given so much to you?

What if your work place wasn’t the place that took from you but the place that gave you the life that you have? Even if your job isn’t your dream job, it’s a job. Some of the happiest people I met this week have shared stories of being unemployed.

Do you thank your employees? I see CEOS get up in front of staff and rattle off sales reports and strategic plans. As leaders, we have to stand in front of our staff and say “Before we start this meeting, the most important thing I can say to all of you is … thank you.”

Clients are tired of us taking their money and not giving thanks. When a client walks in say “Thank you so much for coming in today.” When they call, the first thing we need to say is “Thank you so much for calling our business.” Thank them again when they leave. I sign all emails, Grateful or Thankful.

Add “please” to yes and “thank you” to no. Try it, it changes how kind you sound. Anytime you say yes add “please”, if you say no add “thank you”. Apply this to every real conversation, email and text you send - at work and at home! This is something I taught our teenagers at a very young age. Yes and no on their own can be rude. Make it a rule.

Sometimes we give everything we have to the world and take from the people we love. Go home and give your best self.

Happy “giving”!

September 2018 - HAPPY SEPTEMBER!

It seems like almost everyone I have talked with this month is stressed. People are using words like “crazy, busy and insane”. What can we do to make September a happier month?

#1. Stop using words like crazy, busy and insane. Replace them with positive words. I know I am too damn happy but I say “blessed” a lot. When people say, “Oh you must be so busy!”, they are right, but my response is “I am and that is a blessing!” Feel grateful for the abundance of work and the luxury of going to school.

#2. Sleep and eat well. Every year, I enter September realizing the need for the basics to be done really well. You can’t possibly expect to have great outcomes at work, within our schools or in our homes if we don’t feel well. Look after your whole self.

#3. Make “today”, “this week” and “this month” lists. I still write everything down…old school. There is something euphoric about being able to cross things off. Just dig in and get it done!

#4. Avoid all toxic people. I know, easier said than done. Do all that you can do to protect yourself from anyone who has the power to rent space in your head. Negative people are in every workplace, classroom and community. They rarely change. Let’s get really good at making sure they don’t win and affect our performance.

#5. Look at what you are complaining about and ask yourself,” Is this something I knew would be a stressful part of my leadership role, job or schooling?” Chances are yes, you knew. Complaining is a habit, change the habit.

#6. Unsubscribe, direct deposit and don’t touch a piece of mail more than once. Look at every area of your life and ask, “Can I get rid of this?"

#7. Set serious personal boundaries. I could work 15 hours a day but I don’t. Set clear defined boundaries around when you are done work and when you take time to stop studying.

September in our office is flat out, back to work, speaking two or three times a week in different cities now until the end of year. Aren’t we blessed?

Happy September!

August 2018 - 4 Steps To Being Happier

Compass with needle pointing the word well-being. 3D illustration with blur effect. Concept of wellbeing or wellness

“The Science of Well-Being “is a course at Yale University and it is an overview of what psychological science says about happiness.It encourages four activities that align perfectly with my Focus on the 90% message: make lists of what you are grateful for, do random acts of kindness, exercise/sleep and meditate.

Make lists of what you are grateful for

This is focusing on the 90%! The ability to focus on what you are grateful for has changed my life. Some people think 90% is just too high of a percentage and I am just too damn happy. Fair. Whatever percentage of your life is positive, focus on that.

I am grateful for: my health, my home, my friends and my family — a husband who doesn’t think “happy hour” is where problems are solved and teenagers who are on such good paths in their lives, my pets and the list goes on and on.

Do random acts of kindness

Smile genuinely at everyone. Feed people you know are hurting. Leave gift cards for people who do a good job. Leave the coin in the shopping cart. Compliment people on their sweater, how kind they are to their children and their beautiful yard. Thank people for opening the door for you, their great service and for being your customer.

Text people and tell them you love them and why you are grateful for them. Give everyone who begs for money, money or food. Don’t judge through a 10% lens, just be kind. You don’t know their story. Leave people feeling better.

Exercise and sleep

I can trace every time I have focused on the 10% to being tired and depleted. Sleep is sanity for me. The times I try to function on little sleep prove to be very unhappy and unproductive days. I find myself being ungrateful, annoyed with people and then I start a vicious cycle of looking for caffeine.

Stop watching TV late, get off of your phone, no late eating, leave unanswered emails, walk over toys and housework and get some sleep! Quit playing martyr to your life and just go to bed.

The best exercise in the world is a walk with my dog, Holly.

Meditate

I tend to be very busy and live off of adrenalin. Years ago, a naturopathic doctor told me if I kept that up I would wear out my adrenals and I would suffer with poor health later in my life. Wow. I took that very seriously.

I take small pockets of time a few times a week to just sit, close my eyes, breath deeply and focus on one great thing. This form of mediation calms me right down. I do it on the airplane, while I wait for teenagers in the car and up early sitting on the deck. Calm adds a layer of genuine to people. Grateful you are a part of my social media world,

June 2018 - Congratulations Graduates!

I was honoured this year to be asked to give the toast to the students at my girl's Grade 12 graduation. As I thought about it, I realized my advice to these young people was very much like the advice I'd give to any one reading this post. So here it is - the four top lessons I have learned:

Pick a job that you love

I am sure if you asked the parents in the room, many of us are not working in a job that we thought we would be doing when we graduated. My hope for you is that you do something that you love. Many opportunities will be presented to you. Be open to them. No matter what you choose make sure you wake up and go to a job that will make you happy.

Surround yourself with only positive people.

I believe that your friends will determine your future. If you hang out with people who want to be better and be a better version of themselves, then you too will always strive to be better. Don’t hang out with people who make you feel bad for wanting to improve. Rid yourself of all toxic people and make a choice to only surround yourself with great positive people.

Remember you can’t please everyone.

No matter how hard you try you will never please everyone and you miss out on a lot of your life trying to please them. I have a quote in my office that says, “If someone says something unkind about you, live your life so that no one will believe them.”. Build God's armor around you and focus on the great people in your life.

Be kind.

You are a beautiful/handsome, talented, brilliant group of young people. That is wonderful and you have your entire life ahead of you. Do all that you do well but don’t forget to be kind first. Being wonderful is...wonderful. Being kind is everything.

Congratulations!

May 2018 - Feed You First

My friends say to me, “I can always tell when you are doing well because you feed us!” I love hosting people but I can’t feed you unless I have fed me first.

Sandy sacrificed so much to raise me — she is a saint! She has put up with so many 10%s over the years and continues to love unconditionally. She was the first person to teach me how to see the 90%s in my life.

Physically, I look after myself by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. I have to be rested, nourished and cared for to be able to care for others. I look after me, then two-legged humans and the four-legged dog and cat in my house. Only then can I reach out and look after and feed — you. That is why some weeks it is all I can do to feed me and those in my house and go on the road again.

This Mother’s Day feed you first. Even if your mother did not teach you how to take care of yourself, do it anyway. That’s an old story. Stop walking in the footsteps of people who didn’t take care of themselves. If we learn how to feed us first, we can then teach our daughters how do to the same.

Happy Mother's Day!

April 2018 - Don't Be A Putz

I am having lunch with my aunt and she says to me, “Don’t look up, I don’t want the guy who just came in to see us.” I asked her who he is and why don’t you want to see him?” She replies, “He sells to us on the farm and he is a total putz.” Just as she finished the sentence, he approached the table. I was excited as I wanted to see what gave him the title of “putz”.

Here is what made him a putz.

My aunt is not a loud person. Instead of matching his personality to hers, he was just his loud self. You could tell it was annoying her. He needed to read the room and adjust his levels.

He did not make eye contact with her. He looked around the restaurant as she was talking as if to see if there was someone more interesting.

He hit on our very good-looking waitress…with a wedding ring on his finger.

When introduced to me, he shook my hand overly hard and insincerely and did not make eye contact. And then he handed me a business card, which I had not asked for.

He did not pull up a chair, he towered over us the entire time.

When it was time for him to leave, finally, he said goodbye to my aunt and said, “Goodbye Tracy” to me.

Many of us are in the business of relationships and the impression we leave stays with our customers, no matter where they run into us.

If this guy had pulled up a chair, smiled, looked my aunt in the eye, focused only on her, asked a genuine question and remembered my name, it would have been a completely different experience.

Take a minute when you meet people to make sure you leave a non-putz impression. 

Genuine handshake,

Darci

March 2018 - What Makes You Happy?

Do you ever stop and think about what makes you happy? Take this moment to create a list right now of what brings you joy. Now look at what you wrote down and ask yourself, “When is the last time I did something on this list?”

After 25 years of being on stage, I have learned that happiness can’t come from the outside; it has to come from within. You have to tap into what makes you truly happy and find more ways in your life to make time for those things. I know that we all have 10%s in our lives and some of your 10%s are truly affecting your happiness. Trust me, if you start doing some of the things that make you happy again, it will help you reset.

I wrote my list and there were 35 things on it. Here are some of them:

  • Waking up at home (before everyone else) after being on the road for a couple of days
  • Sipping a cup of good green tea
  • Flipping through a fresh new decorating magazine
  • Decorating with anything turquoise
  • Spending time at home on Saturday preparing meals for the week
  • Buying garden fresh food—I have paid $4.00 for an heirloom tomato at the Farmers’ Market
  • Walking my rescue pup, Holly
  • Meeting my friend (with Holly) for a walk around our amazing Wascana Lake
  • An evening alone at home
  • Having one of our teenagers say, “Do you want to do something together?” (It’s rare and I will drop anything to do it)
  • Sitting at my desk, in my beautiful office, ready to start a work day
  • Going on a date with Darren that usually involves eating sushi, checking out a big box renovation store and then watching a movie at home
  • Enjoying epic summers in our back yard
  • Having potlucks, games nights and great red wine and food with friends

Happy International Happiness Day

February 2018 - Love You

Love Yourself Be You Self Esteem Confidence Encourage Concept

The most important thing I have learned in my 48 years of being a daughter, 25 years of being a wife and 17 years of being a mother is that you have to see yourself through a 90% lens first. Nothing in your life will change if you do not change the person in the mirror. Why is self-love so difficult for many people? It’s because we don’t think we’re worth it and nothing could be further from the truth.

The greatest gift that you can give yourself this Valentine’s Day is the gift of loving yourself. Here are three ways to kick start the self-love today:

Heal your wounds. I have spent a lot of money in counselling to heal the wounds of my past. Maryanne Williamson says the wounds we do not heal in our childhood will manifest themselves in the ugliness in our personalities. Do the hard work of healing those wounds. Many of you have EAP programs at work, use them.

Change your belief systems. I was told a lot of things growing up by teachers and family members. I was too short, I was too stupid and I came from a broken home. I learned that those thoughts were ingrained in me by depleted people who did not love themselves. I have since learned to let go of the 10% belief systems. I was also told a lot of great things, which is what I focus on.

Take care of yourself. We self-sabotage to avoid what we should be working on. Stop doing that. Even if no one at your dinner table taught you how to take care of yourself, do it anyway. Do the basics: drink enough water, eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep and exercise. We all know we should but the reasons we don’t are what we need to change. If you don’t take care of yourself, you end up depleted for the people you love, and what does that teach them about self-love?

This Valentine’s Day give yourself a card and write in it everything you are great at, your strengths, your 90%s.

Love

January 2018 - Celebrate

Success and team work concept. Team of business partners with raised up hands in light modern workstation celebrating the breakthrough in their company

Rather than a New Year’s Resolution I like to create a theme for the year, and this year my theme is CELEBRATE! I have had many years of themes that were about improving, and this year I am ready to celebrate all of my hard work paying off! Last year my theme was “Letting Go” and I had to let a lot go. Now I am ready to celebrate.

Celebrate your job/company. I will celebrate my 25th year speaking this year! Wow. It is rare these days to meet a group of staff that are not totally overwhelmed by the amount of rapid changes taking place in their companies. I think it is time to take a break from change and celebrate what is good in our businesses. What are your successes as a company? What are your strengths? Rather than constantly changing, let’s celebrate what is good. Host monthly 90% meetings where people come together and talk about what is great.

Celebrate your coworkers and clients. It’s time to celebrate the great people we get to work with. The 10% people take up so much of our time and energy. I am simply tired of dealing with the 10% people. I have tried to love them, care for them and change them but I have learned that negative people are like addicts, they have to want to make the change for themselves; unfortunately, most of the 10% that I meet never do. For 2018, let’s stop giving the 10% people our energy and letting them rent space in our heads. They win when we do that, and I am tired of them winning. It’s time to celebrate the great people.

Celebrate your friends. I have spent years building a circle of absolutely wonderful friends. I have many friends on Facebook but I have a tight circle of wonderful people in my everyday life, too. I celebrate my friends who are 90% people and who strive to live their lives fully. I have had to let a lot of toxic people go, and my life is better as a result.

Celebrate your family. I am celebrating a wonderful time in my life. I’ve shared 25 years with Darren and am watching our teenagers grow up to be incredible young adults. I am celebrating this season of my life. Our family has been through a lot over the years—it is time to celebrate how far we have come.

Celebrate yourself. Celebrate you and your 90%s—your strengths, your accomplishments and all that makes you great. Then pick one 10% thing that you need to work on and spend this year working on that. Make your theme this year what you need to do the most; Heal, Nourish, Cope, Grow, Let Go or Simplify. Spend all year applying your theme to your life.

Happy New Year!