One month down. Two to go. Hopefully by the time this little countdown ends, we will all be able to move about more freely than we are at the moment.

I will admit to you… I have to dig some days to find that positive mindset. I too am prone to anxiety, fear, depression.

But feeling compelled to continue these posts – even though I’m certain no one is reading any of this – actually helps me to shake it off.

So in my own uniquely steadfast, determined, British-descended stereotypical fashion, I shall keep calm and carry on.

Day 60: Create Something

I saw a post on Facebook a few weeks ago by my niece, saying something to the effect that with this self-isolation thing going on, “I realize my only hobbies are dining out and shopping”.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have about 25 years worth of arts and crafts supplies in my house. I’m golden.

When was the last time you made something? We’re not talking about switching up from beef to ground chicken for Taco Tuesday.

Have you ever thought “I’d like to try…”? Perhaps it’s an art or craft or painting. Perhaps it’s building a bookcase or side table. Maybe you even have a lot of the tools and supplies at home but, like me, never carved out the time to “go play” because you are “too busy”.

Put some thought into this. It doesn’t have to be art or music… Could be you create some new means of operating your business with this about-face we’re going through. That’s creating something too.

And if you are interested in a new hobby of some kind, or want to explore something different to do with your business, go back and view Day 87 for links to some cool training sites.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Day 59: Communication is Key.

This is the “9” day where we address business related mentions, but thanks to the Travel Alberta webinar last week, we covered that one pretty thoroughly! You can get the link to the webinar and review the key notes we posted on our blog post “Unrolled”.

So since business is covered off… how are your personal communications going? Have you called people you’ve been meaning to call? Done welfare checks on elderly friends and relatives?

How are the conversations in your own home going? If things are tense, it’s time to have some heart-to-hearts.

If you need help with communicating with your loved ones, or there are problems flaring up, the Alberta Government just increased their investment in Mental Health supports in the province.

Find all the information you need on the topic here.

100% Responsibility
Day 58: Take 100% Responsibility.

If you have ever read Jack Canfield’s “The Success Principles” you will know that one of the first things he talks about is how we have to take 100% responsibility for our lives.

This means that whether we are in good physical condition, if we are financially secure or up to our butts in consumer debt, if our relationships are healthy… we have to accept responsibility for the role we played in getting there.

Certainly, there are always going to be factors that are beyond our control, which this virus-induced shutdown clearly illustrates. How we respond to the situation, and even to a degree, how we are impacted by it, is ours to own.

This is a bit of an extension of the post from Day 71, “Observing Your Thoughts”, but this goes a little further in the sense that you can tie actions and decisions – or inactions and indecisions – directly to the outcome that you are experiencing, be it a desirable result or not.

It’s easy to take credit for something if it’s a success. But have you ever noticed how quickly people will start pointing fingers at someone else the second the fertilizer hits the fan? All you have to do is watch politics. It’s in that arena that the Blame Game has been personified.

If you play the victim card or move your piece around the Blame Game board, you disempower yourself. You cannot change an undesirable situation from a position of powerlessness. Claiming responsibility and determining how to change the outcome puts you in the drivers’ seat of your life.

Responsibility is accepting that you are both the cause and the solution of the matter at hand. What a powerful place it is from which to move forward.

Integrity

Day 57: Stay in Integrity.

The definition of integrity is:

  1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
  2. the state of being whole and undivided.

When you meet someone that makes you feel a little on edge, or you see a picture of — oh I dunno, Bill Gates perhaps — and you find your skin is crawling, that’s a good indication that this is not a person of integrity.

We’ve all met them at various stages in our lives. The person who says one thing and does another. The person who seems to be ever-so altruistic but has a self-serving agenda. The person who you catch bald-ass lying to a group of people and gets away with it. (Typically the “thump” you hear when that happens is the sound of the bus tire rolling over your butt.)

You don’t want to be like those kinds of people. Sooner or later, they will have to answer for their behaviour.

We found a meme while looking for inspiration on this post. It read, “Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain.”

We all make mistakes. Yet it bears saying during a time when you may be feeling a little (or a lot) desperate:

Stay true to your values.

Note the second part of the definition as well: to be in a state of wholeness, undivided.

If you step away from your values for personal gain, you fragment your spirit. The internal conflict begins. Part of you is lying.

As the saying goes… if you lie, there will always be one person who knows.

share stories

Day 56: Share Stories.

One thing I miss is hearing stories from my grandparents and parents about their lives when they were young.

I am fortunate in that when I was in school, I had to do a report on my grandparents experiences during “the War” (WWI and WWII in my grandparents’ lives) and their immigration to Canada, homestead life, and so forth. On a trip to BC to see them, my father popped in a cassette tape and recorded their recollections for me to gather the data to make my report.

I still have that cassette.

I have listened to it a few times over recent years when my own kids were doing their genealogy projects in high school. (Yes, I still have my cassette player too!) I now wish that I had done the same with my own father before he passed.

Humans are story tellers. It’s how we passed on knowledge, entertained one another, informed each other about what was happening outside of our “village”.

Share stories with your kids, or friends, or your friends’ kids! Stories of when you were little, when you got that scar, sibling squabbles, family trips, and — if the kiddies are old enough to handle it — some of your “wild life days”. And when all this is over, sit down again and talk about this time period, and how you all got through it, recording for them what it was like to live through this, and your interpretations of what happened.

Kids will always poke fun at how “old” you are. “…Oh yeah, when you were living with DINOSAURS! Did you even have cars back then?”

Trust me. The day is coming when they will want to hear those stories again. Start sharing them now.

And make sure the ‘recording’ light is on, so you know the stories are being captured.

Stay in the Moment

Day 55: Stay in the Moment.

In this situation, it can be a challenge to not get wrapped up in worry.

However, as we are reminded, “worry is wishing for things you do not want”.

Do your best to stay in the present moment. There are a multitude of mindfulness websites and apps with tips that can help you maintain this Zen objective.

You are best to not be mind-full (of task lists and fears and worries) but to be mindful – aware of what is happening around you right… now…

And if you can’t do that, follow this guy’s advice. Eat a cookie.

Me eat cookie

Growth comes with Discomfort
Day 54: Growth Comes with Discomfort.

Whenever I think of growth, I think of how plants start their life. A tiny little seed buried under what must feel like a mountain when to us, it’s a half-inch of dust.

And yet, that seed sprouts new growth. A tender little shoot that could easily be crushed between my fingers pushes up toward the surface, working its way around rocks and debris to break through to reach the sunlight.

Once there, it faces even more risks, from insects that can cut it down to nothing, to hailstorms that can pulverize it to a pulp. All events well beyond the control of this little bit of greenery.

Regardless, it pushes on. It doesn’t stay beneath the surface, afraid to leave the comfort of its shell. It grows. Because it must. It is programmed to break out, to grow despite the perils, to flourish in the light and blossom in its full splendour.

The same is true for all of us.

We cannot grow into our next best selves if we stay small in our nice, “safe” lives. Growth will almost always involves some kind of pain. Whether it was aching bones in our teens or broken hearts in our twenties or loss of loved ones and friends in our forties. We grew through the pain.

We cannot grow in the ‘comfort’ of our shells. We cannot really live life clutching to a false sense of safety, believing: ‘This is what I know, and I cannot leave because I am afraid of what might happen if I do.’

As the Good Witch said in “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy asked, “What if I fall?”…

“Oh my dear, but what if you fly?”

Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone. You can get through this period of pain, and when you look back at the growth you will have experienced from it — in spite of it — you just might be amazed.

where the magic happens


Day 53: Make a Photo Album.

Imascrapbooker.

Actually, I have two hobbies in that regard: Making scrapbook pages, and collecting scrapbook materials. (Every scrapbooker will tell you that.)

You don’t have to get as fancy as the scrapbooks that you see posted on Pinterest – although if you’re interested, I know a gal… 😉

If you need reminding, since the age of digital photography, all those wonderful photos you took on your digital camera over the years DO NOT ACTUALLY EXIST UNTIL YOU HAVE THEM PRINTED!

One slip up on your hard drive and POOF!! Gone forever.

Get your photos printed. Then can pick up a simple photo album and spend the day with the family inserting them into the sleeve pockets. (Be sure to write down some details on a card to insert as well – who is in the picture, the date, where it was taken, etc.)

If that’s not your shtick, you can use an online photo album service like Shutterfly or Mixbook; Pikto and Photobook are Canadian-based.

Drag-and-drop to load your digital photos onto pages, type in a bit of text, click order and viola! A completed photo album shows up at your door a few weeks later.

So worth it. Now, where did I leave that product catalog?

Day 52: Go for a Country Drive.

National parks are closed. Provincial parks are closed. Municipal campgrounds, recreational areas and playgrounds… closed. If the outdoor spaces are all closed too, what can we do to get some cooped-up people out of the house and still maintain social distancing?

The traditional Sunday afternoon drive to the country can make a resurgence during this period of self-isolation. Get the kids, pack a lunch and some drinks, charge up the camera battery and hit the road.

I went out the other day and found some pretty sights right around Olds. On my little road trip, I ventured east into the fringes of Kneehill County, and in the afternoon I wandered a little to the north and west of town. During my travels I saw a flocks of ducks and geese, a hawk, an eagle (!), two mule deer… a gorilla and a big ol’ Buddha.

(Really. I have photos. But to respect privacy, I can’t post them. I want to add that I took my photos from the road or a right-of-way/ditch, I never set foot on anyone’s property. Kindly do the same if you would like to play scavenger hunt.)

See if you can locate some of these interesting little discoveries or spy some wildlife. For most of these images, you don’t even have to get out of the car. Take an afternoon or an evening, go for a drive and explore the area! Enjoy some of the scenes that are so close to home that we never knew existed in our own back yard.

Here’s a tip if you do share some pretty pictures on Instagram: Use the hashtag #explorewhereyoulive – it’s trending heavily right now. 😉

The former EDO of Mountain View County told me that the County has nearly 3,000 linear kilometers of roads. Three thousand! That distance driving in one direction would take you from Calgary to Minatitlán Mexico!

Seriously, if you can’t find anything interesting to see with almost 3,000 km to travel, you ain’t lookin’ hard enough.

Spend an afternoon wandering the backroads of our county, and appreciate how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

(Here are a few shots I took. I’m no pro, but it was sure nice to be outside on such a beautiful day.)

                            

start a side hustle


Day 51: Start a Side Hustle.

I’ve almost always had a side hustle. It’s only been in the last 5 years I gave up doing additional paid work away from the full-time job. The odometer rolled over to one of those numbers ending in “0”, and I decided it was time to start doing things I enjoy for only the joy and not for extra money.

Yet still…I have flashes of ideas. Creations I can make. I could start an Etsy store. If I get better at this <insert current creative passion here> I may be able to start selling this sh*t. I’m what some people call a serial entrepreneur. Or a workaholic. Or plain ol’ crazy. Your pick.

Here’s the thing… odds are you already do something you love, something you could do all day long, and not get tired, and don’t care if you get paid. Maybe it’s woodworking, or sewing, or cooking, or taking photographs… something you would love to do full time but “it’s just a hobby”.

What if your “hobby” could provide a second income? What if now is a good time to give it a shot?

If you don’t have a hobby like that, there are plenty of resources on the internet to give you some ideas for a sideline business.

Despite my flashes of ideas, I know from past experience that developing a side hustle still takes some planning and consideration. Luckily, Everything Olds has an entrepreneur coach to walk you through that very process.

If you think you might have a concept for a side business and would like to investigate its viability as something you could grow, contact Harvey to set up a meeting.

 

< Days 70 – 61: Read here.                    Days 50 – 41: Read here. >

 

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