The good

I realized yesterday that I tend to only write when I’m unhappy, or there is something nagging at me. It’s a tactic I employ to get things “out there” and therefore out of my head, but the cumulative effect, and the lasting impression it leaves is one of sadness and frustration.

In fact, my life is (mostly) anything BUT sad and frustrated.

So this post is about the good. The amazing things in my life I am fortunate enough to enjoy, and the amazing things I am looking forward to enjoying in my future.

I am super fortunate to live in Canada, where we are largely insulated against many of the world’s woes. And as a woman, living in a country like Canada makes me feel super fortunate that my struggles are not those of women in many other countries.

But more small-scale, and I suppose, more selfish, are the other good things:

  • my husband, with whom I have an amazingly honest and supportive relationship, and without whom I would definitely be a different person.
  • my amazing mother-in-law (who can say that?) who is super supportive of everything her son and I are doing as we navigate this next baby-making journey, the troubles with his ex and his children, and countless other obstacles.
  • my job, which challenges me to be a better human, as well as a better communicator and leader, every day
  • my body, which is about to undergo some more amazing changes as it prepares to bring a baby into the world.
  • my personal emotional resilience–something I really didn’t know I had, but becomes apparent each and every time there’s a hurdle I need to jump. I’ve overcome so many things in the last few years that I never knew I could. It’s amazing what happens when you lean on your determination instead of your fear.
  • my “bump squad,” a term coined by Rosanne Austin and one I now use to describe the team behind my baby-making project: the doctors, naturopaths, counsellors, acupuncturists, pharmacists and all the people in my life who have been supportive of my dreams along the way.
  • and of course, my family, with whom I have a much better relationship now than ever, and who have gone their separate ways with all the dignity and respect they can muster. They remain, individually and together, my personal litmus test for my life (basically, if I know they’ll think whatever I’m about to do is crazy, I know I’m on the right track).

The list isn’t comprehensive, but it is indicative of some pretty great things.

Now, off to conquer the rest of this day!

My AND list

I have just started listening to the RISE Podcast hosted by the inimitable Rachel Hollis. On one of the episodes, Rachel was interviewing the creator and co-CEO of Noonday, Jessica Honneger, and something she said really resonated with me (the episode aired a few years ago so you may have to search for it if you can’t find it).

Jessica said that she really had to embrace the tension of the “and” in life. While she struggled to find funding for her international adoption, she created a company, making her a founder AND mother. She had to struggle through the hardships that entailed but also faced the judgement of others who said things like “you have to choose which one you want to be,” a sentiment I hear often, and mostly about women as it comes to their family and professional pursuits (no matter how far we’ve come we still never hear men asked how they’re going to choose between work and their family…).

As women, we are barraged with images and unsolicited advice that tells us how we should look, be, feel, act….etc. But it’s very binary. We are taught that success is necessary after sacrifice, that we can’t have it all (I’m not sure if this is true…you just have to pick the bits you want most), or that we can’t be more than one thing at a time.

And really, that’s why I started this blog, and that’s the whole premise behind the admittedly awkward title. A doyenne is defined as a woman who is the most respected or prominent person in a particular field. But I would argue that as women, we are forced to step up and become immediate experts in a number of subjects and skills. Life does not often allow us to find the best positioned expert to tell us what to do. We must figure it out and learn and teach–all at the same time.

In short, we become impromptu doyennes.

My bio intimates at a few of my “ands,” but I thought I’d take the time to write them out here, also. They don’t always contradict, but they do overlap and sometimes, I need to prioritize some over others.

I am

  • a woman and a feminist
  • a wife and a stepmother
  • fiercely independent and needing of intimacy
  • a fighter and a lover, with equal passion
  • an introvert and someone who can talk to anyone, for hours, about ideas
  • a book lover and an outdoor fanatic
  • a driven career-person and resistant to fixed schedules
  • achievement-oriented and goal-driven
  • a voracious learner and voracious eater. Also in equal measure
  • a lover of wine and committed to my health
  • a second-wife and wannabe mother
  • going through IVF and trying to grow in my career
  • learning everyday how much I can do and how much I need to celebrate
  • a lover of small things and big gestures
  • determined and self-conscious
  • perfectionistic and self-critical
  • enthusiastic and exhausted

That’s a few to start with.

How to win at webinars

Whether you’re making a presentation to your work colleagues on the other side of the country, or pitching your product to a prospective client, chances are you’ve had to develop content for and present a webinar. And if you haven’t yet, I’m sure you’ve attended some.

Here’s a few tips on how to make sure you’re effective and engaging when you can’t see your audience.

Continue reading “How to win at webinars”