Learning important business lessons from yoga…how downward facing dog can help you double-down on your professional life.

 

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Hand painted YOGA pose rocks @ OM on Locke

Last night I went to a workshop on “Eating for Energy” at a great local Hamilton, Ontario establishment called Om on Locke Street. I found that though I knew a lot of the points that were covered in the workshop my visit really started to make me think about the side of me that likes to explore yoga, clean eating and the “spiritual” side  of myself.

One of the things that really sparked my thoughts flying was when the Health and Nutrition coach Kim Ruzycki noted that one of the things that “Taking time for yourself”, was key to getting more energy.

Despite my usual mantra being “Namast’ay in bed” I do thoroughly enjoy yoga. Yoga draws parallels with fundamental lessons we need to be successful in business. Here are the top things yoga has taught me that I have found important in my career adventures.

 

  1. Patience is key.
    There are some difficult poses out there. Personally, I had crow pose when I was practicing more frequently, then I lost it…. it’s more of a “NO” pose now (seriously, I just fall over). There aren’t many balance poses a beginner yogi can master on the first shot, it takes patience, practice and commitment to the task. A little bit of work each time gets you there. This is the same in business. Right out of the gate you won’t always know the answer, the company’s process, or the right forecasting method for that project. If you have determination and a bit of patience, you will become an indispensable asset. Stay teachable and all of a sudden everyone will ask YOU for advice, because you took the time to practice and master your craft.
  2. Comfort Zones get you nowhere.
    Such is true in networking, such is true in yoga. If you go to the same teacher and only want to do the same flow over and over again eventually you will become stagnant. In business, being open to the “art” of networking is key to survival. So many stories of ” someone who knew someone got the job” or “elevator pitches” leading to a crack at a tough project exist out there for a reason. It’s scary shit to try something new, but if you don’t you will be in the same place today you were 5 minutes, months and years ago. Take control. Further to this point, the best freakin’ buzzword ever Innovation is a key component in both yoga and business. It is pretty obvious that without innovators in business we wouldn’t have new products, new inventions, or new ways of doing things. Hell, you wouldn’t be reading this blog on a computer, because without innovation we wouldn’t have those! Innovation is a cornerstone in yoga also, through which you can deepen your practice. Changing up breathing patterns, flow sequences, and mantras can yield surprising results so long as you stay open. In addition, our minds are powerful and need to be fed new information on a regular basis. Get the fuck out there already!
  3. You are your greatest asset, take care of yourself.
    Much of the time yoga is viewed as a restorative addition into life. You take time to sit with yourself, your thoughts, and dive deeper into your own rhythms. Yoga also is a compliment to a healthy lifestyle, and can improve both strength and flexibility. In the end, you cannot do yoga without your body, so it is important to take care of it. The same goes for business. Performance is hindered when we are unhealthy, tired, and unable to find passion. Literally you have one body, and one brain with all of those amazing business ideas so take care of it! Eat something green, take a deep breath, and take over the world.
  4. Stay authentic.
    When two identical candidates are left on the table of a hiring manager, oftentimes it comes down to a gut feeling of who would best get along with the team. As humans we are drawn to authenticity, and if you are not being your true self, trust me it will come out in the end. Stick to your principles, back up ideas you really believe in, and be yourself. I promise you will love your career so much more. Furthermore, as people discover inauthenticity, they won’t trust you, ruining your chances of imparting change in your chosen industry.  Yoga also requires us to stay authentic, as we answer to ourselves. We need to be honest about our successes and challenges to learn new abilities and deepen our practice.

Some other key learnings that coexist with yoga and business:

  1. Group energy can be truly awakening (don’t be afraid of teams!)
  2. Start strong
  3. Quiet time is some of the best creative time
  4. Clarify your intent, then set your goals

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Interested in some wellness coaching? Give Kim a try! She actually CAME from a corporate background, how cool is that?? Find her at her blog, Picky Diet.
http://pickydiet.com/

Interested in OM?

Visit them at https://www.omonlocke.ca/
They have some killer shirts that I am in love with such as the one pictured below, and host fantastic workshops for the community!

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Inner Fire brand yoga tank @ OM on Locke

 

ALERT TO ALL FELLOW BASICS (and anyone else who gives a shit) MERCURY IS IN RETROGRADE!

Today I posted on my Instagram (@businessbasic) a photo of yesterday’s wine because even though I have a list of blog topics to discuss, I couldn’t get those creative juices flowing. Well low and behold a new (yet already dear) friend of mine posted on Facebook today “Mercury in retrograde needs to retro-gtfo of here.” and everything just fell into alignment.

 

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I don’t know about anyone else but I have been in a funk. Nothing is working right, I can not seem to remember an appointment to save my life, I have been down in the dumps, and plans keep crashing down around me. WHAT GIVES?!

Fucking Mercury, the sneaky little SOB went into retrograde on the 12th of August. Why does this matter? Well for the planet itself it means that there is a perceived reversal in the planet’s West to East movement through the stars and other celestial bodies (1). This means that instead of moving around the sun in the same way all the other planets do, it does the exact opposite. Why is it perceived? Well it isn’t actually changing at all, but the way you would see Mercury move around if you were standing on Earth does. Mercury’s orbit is smaller than Earth’s, and also faster. When it catches up with our planet’s orbit, and subsequently passes it, the illusion that Mercury has changed direction commences. (1)  Neat eh?

So what the heck does this have to do with me and every other latte sipping, yoga pant wearing basic babe freaking out and WHY am I now sitting here as I write this listing out everything that has happened that can be attributed to this perceived shift to my boyfriend like a nut?

If you’ve heard of astrology, then you know that Mercury in retrograde is a constant yet unwanted house guest that passes through our lives, drinks all our almond milk, steals our favourite top, and then bails. In astrology Mercury rules communication, clear thinking, travel and truth so when it looks like its going backwards, our lives turn upside down(2).  People cannot seems to get where they need to be, say what they need to say, and our devices? Yeah they don’t want to communicate either. Not to mention communication with the self can face a serious breakdown. Some things you may notice at this time:

  • Traffic SUCKS more than usual
  • You lose all your data for that big project
  • Electronics, appliances, or vehicles just keep breaking down
  • Flights are delayed or cancelled
  • You forget important documents like a passport or health card at home
  • If you’re like me…. you show up on the wrong day to see the doctor even though you had it in your planner
  • You want to get out your mermaid blanket (wait…. you don’t have one of those? You are missing out), switch on the Netflix and hermit away from the world
  • You feel stuck in a rut that you just cannot escape

So what can we do in this time of confusion? Below are some tips to make the best out of the crazy time we face.

 

  1. BACK UP YOUR DATA. Seriously just do it. Save yourself the headache, and triple save your hard work on that project or else you may find it lost before the deadline.
  2. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. This rut will not last forever, this is not the normal you. Use this time to breath, reflect, and be thankful for some of the things that have gone great recently. In addition if you find you just are not able to get your point across during a discussion (or argument) take a breather, and calmly state your point again. You’d be surprised how much conflict can be avoided when this is done.
  3. REVISIT OLD PROJECTS. As Mercury “moves backwards” it is a good time to circle back to unfinished business. You will find yourself more able to pick up where you left off, and cross those things off of your to do list. Don’t have any? Reach out to old friends you have not talked to in a long time. The backwardness of this communication period facilitates those conversations more easily.
  4. JUST ACCEPT THAT THIS IS A CRUMMY TIME AND TRIPLE CHECK EVERYTHING. I know as a busy businesswoman I am often too busy to read all of the details as I am off to take over the world. Now more than any other time however, lines can get crossed. Making a big purchase? Read every inch of the warranty to make sure if something is wrong you can bring that sucker back. New contract? (though you should read it anyway) read it over and make sure that when you sign on the dotted line it is exactly what you signed up for. Going away? Write a list of what you need to bring, and check each item off the list as you pack it. Then check again and put another checkmark beside that item on the list. You aren’t going anywhere without a passport.
  5. EMBRACE IT. This is traditionally a time where creative people thrive due to different patterns of thinking and new directions popping up all over the place. Tune out the complaints from other people by taking your creative side for a spin. Want to paint? GO FOR IT! Rearrange your office space? Absolutely. OR see if you can generate some great new business ideas, flesh them out really well, and when you’re good and ready, grab a coffee and dominate the industry. Hang in there, you’ve got this.

 

 

Citations

(1)Kubota, T. (2016, May 09). Mercury in retrograde: What it really means. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-truth-behind-mercury-retrograde-affect-human-lives/

(2)Mercury Retrograde: How to Survive A 3-Week Communication Crisis. (2017, August 15). Retrieved August 17, 2017, from http://astrostyle.com/mercury-retrograde/

Real Talk: The Secret to Success in Business (Hint- it isn’t a 4.0)

As previously spoken about in my last musings  article, sometimes we feel behind. It is important to remember we are exactly where we need to be, however when advice from “experts” suggests you’re not…. what do you do?

My first chosen passion is to break into the Bay Street lifestyle and work in finance after graduating my MBA.

My second is to live an amazing life and help others along the way, which is why I own my own online business. We will chat about this another time though, as this post focuses on passion number 1: being a professional woman in Capital Markets.

Full disclosure: I DO NOT HAVE A 4.0 GPA. Not at all. It does NOT mean I am not smart by any means, I really have trouble on tests. Put me in the job however, and I guarantee I will knock it out of the park (or your money back :p) because  I learn best hands on.  That being said, industry standard is to have an MBA and be a superhuman,  so I am at least trying to achieve half of that. My secret weapon is so cliché you might cringe a little.

Are you ready?

The secret to success in business without a 4.0 is:

cohen

Yeah that’s right you heard me, good old fashioned confidence. So today I am going to share 5 ways to pump yourself up before that big interview/life changing sales pitch. Keep in mind that YES you do need some level of ability. If you KNOW deep down you can do the job, then use these tips to remind yourself you are the B-O-M-B est #bossbitch out there and you absolutely can do this.

  1. Write it out The name of the game with this tactic is anticipation. I have a special notebook I write everything in for interviews, meetings, and presentations. I also have a section in this notebook where I have written a bunch of quotes I find inspiring or that amp me up for the task at hand.In this notebook I anticipate questions/what ifs and let my mind go on a wild brainstorm. THEN I pull out most likely questions or ones I am most worried about,  and write out my answers to them. By doing this I have the ability to review my answers before the big show, as well as adjust for any gaps that might leave a client/interviewer confused with my initial answer.Sometimes the questions I have are a bit crazy, but that is ok. Let yourself get creative here, and then you will feel confident enough to answer any curve balls thrown at you.
  2. Mirror timeAs much as I don’t want to admit this, practice does indeed make perfect. I do personally perform better under pressure, but I never EVER wing it. My biggest challenge recently was securing a Co-op placement as part of my degree. Going over potential questions and answers, and really perfecting the answer to “tell me about yourself” which is probably my least favourite question in the world of interviewing definitely was a key to success. I settle in, close the door to the room I am in, and post my answer that I had written out up on the mirror. Next I read it a few times in my head, then read it off the page out loud.Finally, I take the paper down, and look myself in the eyes, and answer the question. “tell me about yourself”. This also has worked for giving presentations, in which the question is “why should I do this business?/join  your team” for my side hustle, or “what is important about this analysis” when I am in the boardroom.

    Believe me, we are our own worst critics. If you can get over the self doubt you see in the mirror when answering the tough questions, you will come across as cool, calm, collected and competent when communicating in a professional setting. This makes you trustworthy, and your point comes across clearly.

  3. Dress for warEspecially in my industry, I really do NOT mean that you require a trip to the army surplus store to feel good enough to seize the day. I mean wear something appropriate, that makes you feel like a badass. TBH, if I could wear my dad’s old “YES” tour shirt and my high-waisted lace up jeans into these situations all the time I would, however, I cannot. Instead I focus on what makes me feel like a CEO.
    With three “standard” interview/presentation outfits for the financial world, I simply have to choose skirt or pants, and colour  and away I go. I slip on my favourite heels strike a very silly pose in the mirror, usually take a selfie of how much of a #bossbabe I am that day and head out the door. This makes me feel good so I do it. I also look polished and professional, but stay true to my own personal style. When you feel good, it shows through, wear something professional and comfortable that you absolutely love to see yourself in.
  4. Designated freak out timeAlso a great tactic for test taking, I let myself freak out. I allot roughly 15 minutes to thinking about all of the what-ifs, potential terrible things that could happen, obsessively checking the weather/public transit/route I plan to take, re-save my pitch deck/excel sheet 50 times and then I stop. As someone who has a mood disorder, I have come to accept that I can’t bury my anxiety away, so I may as well work with the cards I have been dealt. Between this and the writing tactic mentioned in point number 1, I  am able to get the majority of my nerves out before the big show. Sometimes I need a bit of extra motivation to stop this freakout time. I find promising yourself a small treat (ie; that super expensive green juice you just can’t get enough of, or a latte, or a new book) if you stop at the 15 minute mark can help keep goals in sight. Sometimes, after the big event is over,  you don’t even need that treat that you promised yourself in the first place.
  5. Zen ritualIt has taken me a few years to get this right, and I always adapt it as I change and grow but having what I have dubbed my “zen ritual” is a great way to ground myself, and remind myself just how amazing I am.  Part of this is to smash an intense workout the day before, and listen to some badass, pump up music. That can be whatever it is for you. The reason why I workout so intensely the day before (if I have the time) is to only focus on content for the day of.I am not a morning person so if I have a choice, I like to schedule interviews/ big meetings etc 11 AM or later. Then, I once again use music, and my ever-present favourite, coffee to get my mind on track. Getting dressed and ready I pull out the pump up music again, get really excited, and go over my elevator pitch for the day, and once ready, head out the door.  At this point I use either classical or acoustic music to bring myself to a more calm headspace. I try to arrive early for meetings to sit with my coffee, hopefully in a space I like the best such as a café, or my desk, and read those quotes and affirmations in the back of my book. I sit with either a citrine or white quartz crystal in my hand, and really concentrate on knowing that I am the best person for the job or that I worked really hard on this pitch and I know it is good. I personally find having the crystal as a tactile relaxant very useful, but you may not. I choose citrine or white quartz to promote clarity, manifest abundance, promote optimism, promote success, and be present in the moment. Then, I know I am ready to take on the task. (Hey guys, I warned you in the About section there might be some crystal healing in here 😉 )

After many co-op terms, many presentations, and amazing feedback from my mentors the one thing that has rang true is that when I have confidence, I preform extremely well. As someone who struggles with confidence I find a need to boost myself up before diving in, and that is totally ok. Hopefully some of my above tactics give you some ideas about harnessing your confidence to crush it in the business world. Always remember however, stay humble. Don’t be a jerk and act like you know it all, or your answer is the only right one. Sometimes the greatest learnings can come from crushing the presentation, and then getting valuable feedback.

Any questions? Hit me up ❤

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Product Review: Cookies for Breakfast?! Hell yeah!

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Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie in Snickerdoodle aka: BREAKFAST 😀

 

Quick product review comin’ at ya!

I am not a breakfast person, and have a lot of trouble getting food down in the morning, but it is nice to have something in your tummy before you rush your boss butt out the door.  Also full disclosure: I am allergic to eggs, lactose intolerant, and eat vegan 5/7 days a week so I am a bit of a pain when it comes to breakfast.

Enter: my saviour pictured above, Lenny & Larry’s complete cookie! I LOVE IT! Not only did this fantastic cinnamon snickerdoodle taste like heaven in a soft, chewy cookie, the complete cookie kept me satisfied until lunch. Like anything though, read the label to make sure this meets your nutritional needs. I wouldn’t have this for breakfast everyday but if I am in a rush and looking for a treat I would definitely reach for one of these bad boys! Plus, what basic b doesn’t want to have cookies for breakfast? Be honest with yourself.

Pros:

  • vegan
  • 16g protein per cookie
  • 8g fat per cookie
  • kept me full
  • tasted like a dream
  • can order online
  • no artificial sweeteners (you’re sweet enough already!)
  • many other flavour available (birthday cake, lemon poppyseed, white macadamia nut… the list goes on)
  • not chalky like a protein bar

Cons:

  • price – expensive if buying individually
  • not gluten free (has wheat gluten)
  • calories – 360 per cookie… then again… it IS a cookie for breakfast
  • may not meet your macro needs

Overall; totally worth it if you’re craving sweets and in a rush. I recommend you give these babies a try, especially if you  want to cut your morning coffee and a donut routine!
Want more info? Visit Lenny & Larry’s at https://www.lennylarry.com/

Note: This post is not sponsored by Lenny & Larry’s, it is my own review

When will I feel like I am “adulting” right?

Against everyone’s best advice I decided to go straight into my MBA.

My mentors said “work first, it allows you to apply to more schools”, “you can always go later”, “maybe you can get a company to pay for you to go if you start out working”, “most people in an MBA have career experience”. It was almost like they were afraid to see “their little girl” grow up, or worried since that really was the norm that going against the grain would hurt me in the end.

I went for it anyway, and made my dream come true. So why do I so feel behind in my life? Why do I feel some days like I have accomplished nothing at all? Why does the word “adult” scare me so much that I have turned it into a verb – adulting so I can make jokes about how bad I am at it?

Is it because friends who didn’t make the same choices as me are buying homes, while I am buying courses? Is it because I still get anxiety about spending money out, while others don’t even think twice? Is it because friends are getting married and having children and my boyfriend and I, together for so long, live with his parents?

Yes.

and no.

It is all of those things, and it is the pressure society puts on young people to  be freakin’ super humans. With Top 30 under 30, next big scientist, started 5 tech companies worth a billion  bucks, sat on 5 honour rolls, double degree, yada yada yada McGee being the norm in the news these days it is no wonder people feel behind even when working towards their goals. We are always told that when you hit certain milestones (house, first raise, car, wedding, kids) THEN you are doing it right. What about the first time I truly beat my own mental demons? What about the first time I ever asked for help at school? What about pushing past what I keep telling myself I can’t do, to do it 5x better than anyone else? What if the creativity just won’t come?

Well the answer to my constant worry is that I need to make a conscious choice to get out of this crazy funk, which at times can be completely debilitating. A big case of “well if it’s not happening fast enough maybe it shouldn’t happen it all and I will just hide in bed”. This is just not productive to achieving your dreams, and what I need to do, and you might too, is to give yourself permission.

You are the writer of your own destiny, the author of your own novel, blah blah blah. YOU make the decision to get up in the morning, or sleep in because you need it. YOU decide if your body needs R&R or if you need to pull an all nighter to let your imagination run wild (or crunch out a paper). So I have decided after much introspection to give myself that permission. Permission to be wherever the fuck I want to be and need to be. I will be showing up as best I can, with as much as I can, and doing life my way, to be the best badass business woman I know I can be. I deserve it, don’t you?

If it’s not the fucking time right now, it’s just not the time. EXPERIENCE your life. Do it in the order that makes sense for you. You will find yourself at peace, and more motivated to succeed. Once you finally do succeed, that glass of champagne is going to be the best tasting glass you ever fucking had in your life, because you did it in the best way for you. You are not behind.

 

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You are in the exact place, at the exact speed you need to be. If it doesn’t feel right, move to where you belong, and then list out the gratitude you feel when you get there.

Basic quote of the day :”You are exactly where you need to be”

Remember it. Be thankful for it. Push yourself to achieve exactly what you  want to. You’re not “adulting” wrong at all. You are exactly where you need to be. 

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BusinessBasic Product Review: Hidden Crown Hair Extensions!

 

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These extensions make me feel awesome and ready to take on any challenge!

In the quintessential definition of “basic bitch” I have always wanted beautiful, disney princess-level mermaid locks. That being said, the experiments I have conducted on my hair since my early high school days finally took their toll and in April of this year I had to make the decision to chop my hair. 

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My bleach blonde Mother of Dragons hair at the World Biomaterials Congress 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After channelling my inner badass and maintaining Daenerys Targaryen level blonde for a solid amount of time, I switched to rose gold until securing my first professional co-op placement in my MBA. Though the rose gold was subtle, it was not the most welcomed colour in a hospital administrator role.

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Rose Gold hair, January 2017

 

 

 

Furthermore, having no experience in the industry, I really wanted to make a good impression on my new potential professional network, and bleached my hair back to its natural blonde state (not white blonde). After all of this turmoil my hair gave up. It started splitting right up the shaft, clumps coming out every time I ran a brush through it. No matter what mask I used or supplements I took, I could not reverse the damage I had done. Fried hair is NOT cute, not at all. I looked frazzled at all times, and gave off the impression that I could not handle the tasks assigned to me due to my disheveled look. Though I am a HUGE believer than anyone is capable no matter what they look like, I also recognize that we are judged on our appearance every day. Between that, and being a newbie to this  professional world, and seeking to break into the finance and banking industry it was time for a change.

Then the chop came, and my confidence plummeted along with my dead ends straight to the floor at my hairdressers’ place. She did a beautiful job with a professional cut but I no longer felt like myself. It may seem silly, but we all have our confidence boosters and hair is a big one for me. Women look amazing with whatever hair makes them feel best!

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My reaction after chopping my hair: DA FUQ?!

After being lectured on the potential risks of gluing, bonding, taping and clipping extensions to gain back some confidence, my hairdresser with a brilliant stroke of genius suggested crown extensions. Removable, and not bonded in any way to my current hair, this style could easily provide me with length, while protecting my current locks as I grew them. Since no weight is placed on the hair shaft, there is very minimal breakage risk to my own hair.

Upon launching into a flurry of research I found Hidden Crown hair extensions online, and saw that they offered free colour matching. Honestly, I am a huge proponent of online shopping so this sat super well with me as I could have a yoga pants and tea party in bed while fulfilling my princess hair dreams.  Hidden Crown provided an extremely speedy response, and even suggested which set of extensions was best based on my description of my hair type. I was thoroughly impressed with the customer service, as well as the resources provided online with regards to placing and styling the hair piece, and decided to go for it.

In short, OH MY GOD best decision I have ever made! 100% human remy hair (highest quality on the market), the Hidden Crown Daydream weft matched my blonde perfectly. I may have gone a bit crazy on length, but watching the styling videos has helped me turn this amazing new addition to my life into both a business and pleasure staple piece. Below I am going to outline some pros and cons of the extensions for easy reading.

 

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Princess hair side shot

PROS of using HiddenCrown:

  • Wide range of colours available
  • Can dye darker if need be
  • Well made and secured to lace weft
  • Speedy delivery
  • Low maintenance
  • Style like your own hair
  • Many tutorials provided
  • Considering bonded extensions can be thousands of dollars I considered these an affordable option
  • 100% REMY human hair: hair cuticles remain intact for a natural look
  • Double drawn or tapered options for both thin and thick haired users
  • If secured with bobby pins, can be worn during a workout (but it gets fucking hot, so I would not recommend this)
  • Lowest price per gram of hair ($1.82) compared to top competitors
  • Colour matching service very accurate
  • Clear wire is practically invisible on the head

 

CONS of using HiddenCrown:

  • Price point may be high for some
  • Must remove for sleeping/swimming/exercise
  • Must adjust fitting to style into high bun/ponytail
  • Bead that is used to secure the wire at a specified width is difficult to clamp down without using pliers
  • Cannot be bleached lighter
  • Possibility that the hairpiece may fall out as it is not secured directly to hair shaft
  • Having to put them in every morning does not take long, but is an extra step in the routine
  • You MUST wash and condition these yourself about once a month or every other depending on use. Since the hair is not attached to the shaft, natural oils produced do not permeate the extensions, and they get ratty over time. Just take care of them and you’ll be fine.

 

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Hidden Crown even whips up into a comfortable ponytail for casual exploration days!

Overall I wanted to thank HiddenCrown immensely for giving me my confidence back, and providing an amazing product that can be used again and again with excellent results. Though hair this long may not scream CEO to everyone, it does to me. I am on the ball and have the confidence to take on new business and personal challenges. No matter what my hair looks like, it is polished and I am ready to take my next co-op term by storm!

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Hair long AF and feeling on point!

Visit HiddenCrown at https://www.hiddencrownhair.com/halo-styles/ for your own beautiful new look. Note: HiddenCrown DID NOT contact me for this review. I just am a happy, confident, basic business woman and customer!

5 “Basic” books for #Bossbabes

 

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Currently, I am a student  have been a student for as long as memory serves. You could almost say I am a professional. One thing I have never been good at however, is being a student of the self. You know, that self-improvement “rah rah” be your best self kind of sentiment that comes from the WELLNESS section at Indigo.

Truth is, for the longest time I thought it was a load of crap. How could “loving yourself”, and “being your best self” put me in the corner office? After taking the first leap into the self-improvement world I can definitely say there is advice that should make anyone feel board-room ready. These 5 books have me ready to strut down Bay Street (Canadian Wall- Street if  you’re curious) with my long, blonde, basic hair and dominate the board-room while working my side-hustle from my rose-gold iPhone.

  1. #GIRLBOSS  – Sophia Amoruso I KNOW shocker right?  One of the trendiest Instagram hashtags, millenial pink cover, woman crushing it in fashion. How much more cliché could I be? Truth is, probably quite a bit, but regardless this book is a great injection of unapologetic confidence into your psyche, and a joy to read.The number one thing I love about this book was not even intended when it was first written. #Girlboss chronicles Amoruso’s ascent into the fashion world via her empire NastyGal after starting off selling vintage clothes on eBay out of a garage. No formal education, constantly going against the grain, Amoruso crushed it and was on prestigious lists such as Inc magazine’s 30 under 30. Now however,  NastyGal,  went bankrupt, and Amoruso has gone through a divorce after a one year marriage. The book ends before this point while Amoruso is still on top.One of the key themes that Amoruso lives by is”when to roll with the punches and when to throw them” and she has definitely proven through the demise of her company that she does just that. She has started fresh with a new digital media company Girlboss, and played to her strengths.With the key message of this book stating that you have to do the dirty work to come out clean on the other side, and that in the end it if what you’re doing is not true to do you don’t do it I think it is a good read to get you fired up! Know when to break the rules, so that in the end, you can be the one making them.

    nastygalgirlboss
    #Girlboss @ Indigo

  2. You are a Badass at Making Money – Jen SinceroI LOVE THIS BOOK. There, I said it. Roll credits, review over. Never mind, I suppose I should explain a bit about why.  Jen Sincero is the #1 NYT best-selling author of a little yellow book called “You are a Badass” which is easily found by searching #Badass on Instagram. I read it, and I enjoyed it but I love this sister book even more.  It is branded as “A life-changing guide to making the kind of money you’ve only ever dreamed of”, but I think it provides some valuable lessons about business and career success too.One of the first things I loved is that it jumps right into crushing the notion that wanting to be wealthy is bad. The whole “money can’t buy happiness” mantra was certainly taught to me growing up, and boy did I ever believe it. Sincero covers a couple other common thoughts such as “You can’t be rich and spiritual”, “Never go into debt”, “If you get excited about making money it means you’re shallow”. HELL NO. Money in this western society is definitely a cause of stress, but it opens us up to freedom. Transactions to put towards experiences are based on it, and we have one life to work with so filling it with experiences is pretty dang important.Instead of thinking that “money can’t buy happiness” reframe it as “money supports my happiness” as it is the vehicle that allows you to do what you want to do. People who have money are not shallow, shallow is a fundamental characteristic of the individual. Many wealthy people start charities, donate millions in seed funding, and give until it hurts. They couldn’t do it however, if they weren’t rich. Think about it.Briefly, my second takeaway is that “working hard” and keeping your head down are not the keys to wealth. You could go into work every single day, work until your bones ache and your fingers bled, but if you are not willing to take a risk, you will be stuck in routine. Sincero rightly notes  “We’ve been raised to believe that you have to work hard to make money, and certainly there are times when this is true, but the real secret is you have to take huge, uncomfy risks”. Key message: GET UNCOMFORTABLE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Our world is constantly evolving, and the only way to keep up is to change with it. You never know unless you try, and if you keep doing the same shit, you will be in the same place 5 years from now.51ygnmuvwtl-_sx329_bo1204203200_
    You are a Badass at Making Money @ Indigo
  3. The Magic of Thinking Big – David J Schwartz, PH.D.YES I love the idea of thinking big, manifestation, visualization, relaxation, you are what you eat and you are what you think. I never used to though. This was the second book I ever read in the self-improvement spectrum, and honestly I only read it because the author, David Schwartz, had a PH.D. and a consulting firm specializing in leadership development. He came across as an expert, and frankly at the time if I was going to give into this mindset garbage I may as well try to learn from the best.The key takeaway of this book is right on the back cover “Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals, and win big success”. Sounds easy enough right?  Well let me tell you this book put me through the ringer in terms of self-evaluation and I sure am thankful for it.  Though the cover has some of the key advertising lines that make it sound like a scam (“acquire the secrets of success” for instance) it has a surprisingly large amount of merit and useful information as you grow into a leader in your field. For instance, Chapter 2 “Cure Yourself of Excusitis, the Failure Disease” puts it all in perspective. Yes you have to dream, yes you have to want it, yes you have to try and sometimes you will fail but they key to success truly is to stop making excuses for your failures. P. Your case is not different, you do not “attract bad luck”. Preparation, planning and learning are key. When faced with a setback,  successful people assess it, learn from it, and prepare and plan a new tactic to rectify it. Others succumb to the idea that they “just can’t” and do not take the time to sit back and evaluate. It is a hard thing to do, and takes lots of practice, but Dr. Schwartz is right when he says you are better for it in the end.  With lots of self-reflection questions, excellent life anecdotes, and good action plans for moving forward there is a reason 6 million copies of this book have been sold.

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    The Magic of Thinking Big @ Indigo 

  4. 201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions – Linda MatiasAlright, now it is time to get a bit practical. Since this book is actually 201 questions and answers there won’t be many musings from me regarding it. Why I love it though, especially as a woman new to the workforce, is that 201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions helps you through competency based interviewing easily and effectively.One of the mandatory components of both my current Master’s degree and my Undergraduate degree is to complete co-op placements to gain real-life experience. These are paid positions, and if you do well, you can end up with a lot of responsibility and a really amazing network, on top of some cash to pay your next semester. How though do you stand out when everyone interviewing for the position is doing the same dang degree? THE INTERVIEW! Sometimes, it is just based on a feeling the recruiter has about you, but it is also based on how you relate your experience to the task at hand, and how you display confidence answering questions.Especially in my case, and the case of many new graduates (or those switching careers) you may not have the experience in your current industry of choice. Competency based interviewing allows for recruiters to watch you demonstrate core skills and problem-solving techniques that will be key to your job. Often, hard skills can be taught but these “soft skills” are harder to evaluate, which is why relating previous job and life experience effectively to your potential new role is the key to being the winning candidate.Matias’s book was an excellent jumping off point for me preparing for co-op interviews. It walks you through in-depth logic behind competency based interviewing, highlights key skills such as Project Management, People Skills, and Personal Motivation, and even has industry-specific questions to help you along your way. Work through the book, take it all in, and practice the worksheets that come enclosed. You will walk into that interview confident in yourself and able to back up your confidence with some concrete examples of how awesome you are. That my friends, is half the battle.

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    201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions @ Indigo

     

  5. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch AlbomNow you may think I have lost it as this book is a fiction novel but sometimes  you have to dig a little deeper to uncover some great lessons. Every single one of Mitch Albom’s books has taught me something. Who knows, maybe I will do a strictly Mitc Albom post. I love his books, and I love him as a human being. He uses his WEALTH and SUCCESS to give back to the community, and has started 8 charities in Detroit as well as founded an orphanage in Haiti.So why The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto? It is a fantastic story about rising to the top of course! Narrated by the voice of “Music”, the story follows Music’s favourite disciple and most beloved creation, Frankie. He was a Spanish war orphan raised by a blind music teacher in an attic. At 9 he arrives in America via the bowels of a boat, with nothing but a guitar with six precious strings. Each time Frankie touches someone’s life, one of the precious strings turns blue, indicating that he has altered their life path. Frankie became a rock star through some of the most amazing musical decades, his musical prowess affecting the likes of Elvis and Duke Ellington. When Frankie passes on, those at his funeral reflect on him with fond memories, and speak of his magic “Je ne sais quoi” and the profound impact he had in their lives.A key business/success learning in this book is that everyone joins a group in life where they begin to build their network. This could be your family, your workplace, your friends, your dance group, anything. The connections you make in these situations have the ability to change the world if you accept that you have the ability to do it. Yes, it is difficult, and sometimes, much like Frankie, we do not feel good enough for the situation that we are in, but we are. Each connection we make is going to shape us, but it is also going to shape someone else. Take time to make good, meaningful connections. Treat others with respect and dignity, and always stay true to who you are. Those you meet in your life will appreciate your authenticity, as long as you appreciate theirs, and you never know where that appreciation will take you in life. In Frankie’s case: it came in the form of accolades from the likes of Paul Stanely, founding member of KISS, and a chance to meet the Beatles thanks to making a connection with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Roger McGuinn. Treat your connections with respect, and value your network. It will be worth it, I promise.

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    The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto @ Indigo

    So that’s my 5 book round-up. Something annoying I read in an article the other day was “A girl who’s a basic bitch will make you a better person. You’ll browse the Self Improvement aisle at Barnes & Noble together and buy books that stand half-read but colour-coordinated on a Pottery Barn bookshelf in your condo.”

    Well screw that, I read every single one of these books, some more than once. When I am at the top one day, and some judgey bear is asking what some of my keys to success are, I guarantee you that it’ll be “Reading the books that I bought in The Self Improvement Aisle cover to freaking cover and actually learning to be a better business woman”.

    ….Oh, and treating myself to a good Rosé after a long day.

    So call it “basic” all you want, you can only get better if you learn and grow.

 

Finding inspiration from rejection – the positive power of no.

Thinking of a child who hears “No” sometimes can be one of the saddest images in my mind. I mean, they just wanted the ice cream! But in all seriousness, it is sad when a child hears “No” regarding their dreams. Kids should be encouraged to dream big, yet from an early age, “No” is a common response from parents, peers, and figures of authority. When you’re 4 and want to be a dinosaur, everyone should stop crushing your dreams and let you just imagine it!

Yet, as we get older the big N-O becomes even more prominent from those we love and trust. Teachers, friends, mentors, elders, they all use it with the best of intentions, to shield us from embarrassment or guide us in the right direction.

As we begin to grow into our own person, the word becomes pretty much a staple in our lives. Hearing “No” you don’t have enough experience for that first job, “No” only people that look a certain way can model, “No” your grades are not high enough for that, “No” that career path isn’t realistic, “No” we do not want what you are selling, “No” we as a bank do not think you will ever be able to afford it. We begin to become a product of the negativity bestowed upon us.

Sometimes “No” is the answer, and that is that. In those cases, it is my opinion that the Universe is just simply trying to redirect us to a path that will suit our happiness much better. In those cases, even when the “No” is not what I wanted to hear, I usually over time could see the benefit of being turned down. Other times however, “No” was just not an acceptable answer, and it would sit really poorly down in my gut. The hardest part about this, was overcoming the negativity to turn it into something wonderful.

 

The first instance I had of this being a real problem for me was in high school. I had tanked on a calculus midterm, which was uncharacteristic of me. After being called in by the teacher, he looked at my grades, where though I was doing well in math and science I was excelling beyond belief in English, history and art. He then told me with extreme conviction that he knew I wanted to go to engineering school but “No” he didn’t think I would ever be successful, and I should go to university for something my grades showed I had talent in.  At first, since I valued his opinion I left pretty dejected, but something didn’t sit right with me. Since I was younger and a lot more defiant, I simply went “FUCK THAT” and applied to various schools anyway. Slamming down the acceptance onto his desk for the school I chose to go to was one of the most glorious moments of my high school career. I remember saying something along the lines of “and you fucking said I couldn’t” and storming out.

Since that time I have definitely not been as bold, and the word “No” has certainly stifled my confidence, however there are a few exceptions to that. 1) Getting into an engineering masters with a learning disability 2) Turning down that masters for my MBA, after the MBA admission committee had initially turned me down and I just couldn’t stand it 3) Changing to a finance major 4) Seeing that high school teacher 6 years later at my boyfriend’s celebration for his engineering ring ceremony, and telling him my team had written a thesis that was being presented in Montreal that year at a quadrennial (once every four years) biomaterial conference. (The look on his face was so priceless!).

What was it about those times that really got me, whereas others, I have just let that word crush my spirit? I honestly can say I just went into a state with blinders on, and didn’t stop until I exhausted every possibility.  There have been smaller victories along the way as well, where the blinders were definitely used. After much soul-searching, introspection, and welcoming a new way of thinking into my life, I have realized just how positive rejection and “No” can actually be.

Sometimes it gives you that extra push to keep trying, other times, it is a signal to re-evaluate your current strategy towards an end goal. In my side business, we are often told “…those who have reached the top have just heard a lot more “No’s” than you”. I am just now starting to realize that this is actually a very powerful statement. Why? Well because they have heard more “No’s” sure, but they have KEPT GOING. They have pivoted their tactics, pushed past their insecurities and decided that one person saying “No” to them isn’t going to crush their dreams. THIS is the key of why “No” can be one of the most powerful motivators.

In conclusion, what should you do when you hear the big N-O?

  • Listen to your gut. Is something in you saying that this can’t be the end? That you’re on the right path? Keep going
  • Evaluate your options. Maybe you haven’t been talking to the right people, maybe there is a different path to the same desired outcome. Identify it, and set the plans in place to travel that path.
  • Ask for feedback. In the professional world especially, rejection is quite common. One of the only ways to get better is to see where you went wrong, and work on it. In my experience, even if it is just a few lines, most people are willing to guide you on improvement areas if you just ask!
  • Yes, it didn’t happen on your first try, but no one is perfect. It can be extremely difficult to be rejected. If you can move past the negativity and sadness of the initial reaction, you can begin to flourish, and succeed in your goal!
  • The Universe doesn’t say No. It doesn’t even have that in it’s vocabulary. It looks directly at us an says “Yes”, “Not right now”, or “Hang on a sec, I have something better”.

 

In the end, though “No” is traditionally used to give a negative response. For those out there looking for more out of life however, it truly is one of the most positive and inspirational words in the dictionary.

 

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