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.

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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!