The Hidden Power of Yes

Hi all,

Many times in my life, whether it was in a personal or professional situation, I’ve hear about “knowing how to say no”. Often laced with a bit of judgement (“You’re working too much, you should learn how to say ‘No’ and push back.”), we are taught to set up boundaries and clear limits.

Recently, I was telling my brother who recently moved back to our parents’ (and struggling a bit with the adaption), that when it comes to parents it’s all about love and limits: I love you Mum, but could you please knock before entering my bedroom?

Door

Setting limits are a good thing, they help channel the millions of little things happening in our life, they help protecting ourselves from harm and perhaps to be a bit more serene.

However, in some occasions, limits are there to be pushed.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about today. In a previous post, I was talking about the Blank Page starting a new life abroad was giving you – that you could decide to make everything out of it. Well, t’s still true but what I’m realising is how much that blank page is also influenced by the people I’ve met and how often I said ‘yes’ to them.

I was chatting with one of my colleagues recently and when he told me he was thinking at some point to move abroad to try something new, I was like “DO IT!”. I was very talkative about how much fun this experience would be because he would end up doing things he never thought he would.

When everything is possible, the set limits are a bit more fuzzy and it is probably the best opportunity we’ll get to push them a little further. In the past months, I’ve picked up activities that I had never done before, and never imagined I’d do, just because I said ‘Yes’ to friends.

  • “Do you want to go rock climbing?”
  • “Sure, why not!”

Saying ‘yes’ in those conditions felt like a tiny push of my limits. I was just trying something different once… It’s not a big deal, right?

But saying ‘yes’ also felt like it unlocked a part of my imagination. 

I mean, if I can go rock climbing, I can certainly learn how to paraglide!… Or mountain bike! That tiny and safe ‘yes’ had much more to it than I expected and I’m now wondering where it’s going to take me.

I want to continue to say ‘yes’ to people, to crazy plans and to more quiet ones (like that Philharmonic Concert). I want to continue to trigger my imagination and push a bit more my limits.

How about you? Do you like to push your limits? Do you like to say ‘yes’ to new things? How far are you ready to go?

Speak soon!

ML

Advertisements

Change is an Emotional Roller-Coaster

Hi all, and Happy New Year!

I wish you a fantastic year, filled with new adventures, love and joy to you and your loved ones.

For the last couple (5!) months, I haven’t been as dedicated to this blog as I wanted to be. You probably guessed that I finally found a job here in Calgary and have been swallowed whole in the process. I suppose that, like with any change, I needed the time to find my new rhythm.

And finding one’s rhythm is not easy. In my last posts, I was telling you I was seizing as many opportunities as possible to try new things to shape and re-shape my life. I was trying to find the balance between keeping the things and activities I love, resettling the habits that makes me who I am but also finding the new twists that will help me grow into the woman I want to be.

Over the last months, I’ve tried (along with the significant other) so many different things that were so far away from the life I had in Europe it’s dizzying (you would be too after going to the Calgary Stampede!) Some were phenomenal (like that day hike at Rawson Lake), some were puzzling (like the day we were caught in a hail storm wearing shorts) and some tasted like brand new traditions (like our Thanksgiving Orphan Dinner *trademark*)

Bolg

And, man, was it intense!

All these experiences, good and bad (the hail did hurt a lot!), were the highlights of my new life in Calgary. And I’d love to be able to tell you my new life was just that: a high. But that wouldn’t be the whole truth.

In reality, for each of my “high”, a “low” was lurking around.

I suppose everybody had those at least once in their life. Mine usually starts like this “But in my previous <whatever>, I could <whatever>” or like this “I wish Bob & Janet were there, they’d love this…” or “You know what we need? That thing we could find in that little place near…” etc. etc.

It starts with a bit of nostalgia and then, it hits me, or rather, it sinks me. It’s like a stone in my stomach and I feel heavy and stuck, constrained almost. I can’t quite put my finger on it, really, after all, I’m having a good time too! And here starts your emotional roller-coaster… Yahoo!

RollerCoaster

What I’ve noticed is, that with the time, the oscillation between “highs” and “lows” is less and less pronounced. I suppose that as I grow used to being here in Calgary (or in other words, as I’m starting to have my new habits here in Calgary) the “lows” get less impactful and I get more used to the “highs” as well. Part of me is quite reluctant to let the “highs” go, I mean, I want to continue to be amazed and excited about things. But, Reason tells me that sustaining such big oscillations is not healthy either (meaning, I’d probably end up having a nervous break-down).

I guess it’s an exercise everyone should practice in their own way: what can we do to stay amazed whilst letting go of the “lows”? Or at least, not beating ourselves up for these “lows” and accept them.

After all, they’re the testimony of the great people in our life and the great experiences we’ve had.

And we should be grateful for these, right?

That’s what I’m trying to do. I try to keep an open-mind to stay amazed by what’s surrounding me (and, truth be told, when you are in Banff National Park or Kananaskis Country, it’s not that hard!) and when I miss home, I remember that I’ll be back there and to be kind to myself.

And you? What do you do to let go of the “lows”? How do you balance them with the “highs”?

Speak soon!

ML

Changing identity and fitting in

Hello there!

After a month in Canada, the least I can say it’s that it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. Between the excitement of finally being there and embracing the new life unfolding in front of me and the loneliness of being far away from my friends and family, it’s been quite a journey.

Fitting in a new country, city or environment is challenging. More that one would expect because some elements you’d take for granted no longer exist…
In my case, I felt I was going through a change of identity. Yes, that big!

Just imagine: a couple of months ago, I was this French girl living and working in London. I was living with my 2 flatmates, commuting to my client’s office everyday,  having a bit of a challenge negotiating with them, fitting in drinks and dinners with friends and colleagues as well as my fitness routine in quite a packed diary. I was a bit of a social butterfly with a good network of friends. Life was fast and good!

Now I’m still this French girl but I’m living in Canada with my fiancé, I’m unemployed and I don’t know that many people here either. Hum… I guess you spot the differences?
Although I’m convinced in my guts that moving to Calgary was definitely the right thing to do, part of me felt something was wrong.

Because that new way of life wasn’t me, didn’t fit with who I am. 

And fitting in a new life when the person you’re currently presenting is not exactly who you are, that is tough. How can you find your place and be genuine to others when you don’t feel genuine to yourself?

Last time, I was explaining how moving to a new place was an invitation to re-invent yourself in perhaps a better way.
What I hadn’t realised then was that generating the new me would be a full-on process. After all, what makes my identity, my character or personality?

Meme_-_You_Must_Be_New

So you leave room to grow and find substitute activities to pave the way for when you’ll be your 100% again.
I re-centre on the things that I value the most: people. I try to meet new people through various activities: dinners with strangers, yoga classes, charity work etc. I keep busy and an open mind. And I remind myself that the situation I’m currently in, is just temporary.

I realised that being myself is not something I should take for granted, it’s actually hard work and at times takes its toll on your morale.
What about you? Did you find it challenging to become yourself again after a big change? How do you cope with that transformation?

Speak soon!
ML

The fear, the excitement and all the indescribable feelings

Hello from Canada!

Yup, I’ve done it! After a couple of weeks of holidays spent travelling between France and the UK, I’ve finally boarded the plane that would take me on this one-way flight.

How do I feel?
Good question!

In all honesty, it all depends on when you ask me!
When we boarded the plane, sheer excitement and joy: “It was finally happening! Bring on the adventure!”
When I said goodbye to my family and my friends, hum… it was more like a lingering doubt laced with sadness: “Why am I doing this again? When are we going to see each other next?”

And now that I’m in Calgary?
Well, it’s a bundle of mixed feelings. I feel like there is a blank page in front of me and that everything has yet to be done.

It’s fascinating and exciting, what will I discover? Who will I meet? What will my new hobbies look like?
Everything is possible and I know there is no limit. I’m not tied to any previous history (that 10 yoga classes voucher I bought before realising I didn’t like the place…) or old habits (that one bar we always used to go to just because, even though there was a better one just round the corner).
My wishes are my command (or nearly), I can shape my life according to my updated criteria  not as my younger self’s ones or as “life happened”. This blank page is a great opportunity to do what I love and what I want.

But… Because, there is a but!
A blank page is also that: empty and big and scary and perhaps a bit lonely too to start with. There is no instructions booklet and it can be very daunting. Where is the start square? Is there a start square?
And with a reduced supporting team, that blank page can become overwhelming…

If I put the two on a scale, I’d say the excitement wins. Flat out.

Because, I would not be scared if it wasn’t worth it.

Yes, I miss my friends and I’m not entirely certain as to where to start, but the “Blank Page Opportunity” is just too appealing. As Jodi Picoult said:

Post 03 - Edit

I like to read it as an invitation to try, to test and to adjust. The blank page allows you to do that, so why not make the most of it? And soon, that blank page will be filled with things I love and care about.

What about you? How did you cope with your “Blank Page Experience”? How do you manage to sort out all the conflicting feelings?

Speak soon!
ML

Playing by ear

Hi there!

As I’m writing this post, I’ve got less than 2 weeks left at my current job. 9 working days to be precise. The excitement is getting stronger and I keep going over the list of things I have left to do to make this move happen:

  • Buy one-way plane tickets: check!
  • Book the shipping company: check!
  • Organise leaving do drinks: check!

Everything seems under control. But is it really?

Every time I go over my “to-do list” with people, I’ve noticed that the same questions always come back:

“What are you going to do over there?”

“How long are you guys planning to stay?”

In all honesty, I don’t know and I don’t want to plan this part.
Perhaps it sounds strange or a bit risky, but I don’t know what Canada and Calgary will be like. All I know is that the life I knew in Europe will not be possible over there exactly how it was.

So I’ve decided to play it by ear, to follow the flow of what’s going to happen and to listen to how I feel.

kcpe

I’m always saying to my friends that I don’t want to force myself to stay for a set period of time if I’m miserable just because we said we’d stay for 3 years. And I don’t want to force myself to leave if I’m happy just because the set time is over.

I won’t experience this new life at its fullest if I’m setting limits.

As for what I’m going to do, well… I don’t have a job lined up yet and that is going to be one of my first objectives when I arrive over there.
The market is different and the needs are different in Calgary, so I’m going to put my CV out there and see what happens. I see it as a great opportunity to try something new and get out of this nice comfort zone!

Reflecting on this decision to play it by ear, I’m feeling completely serene and relaxed. I suppose it’s a sign that this is the right decision for me.
What about you? Have you ever decided to embrace the changes as they come? Do you prefer to plan everything? How does it make you feel? What would you do differently?

ML

Welcome to my blog!

Hi!

I’m Marie-Laure, I come from Montpellier in the south of France and I’ll turn 30 in a couple of month.

I’ve decided to start a blog as I’m about to go through one of the biggest change in my life.

Over the next 12 months, I’ll leave good ol’ Europe where I’ve spent my whole life, move to Calgary in Canada, say goodbye to all my friends and family…
I’ll also quit my management consulting job, look for a new one in probably a completely different industry and build a brand new professional network.
Oh, and I’m getting married as well.
And did I mention I was turning 30?

What a change, right?
The thing is, change is scary. And whether we want to admit it or not, we – human beings – do not like change. So you can imagine that with the many changes lying ahead of me, I’m quite curious how this is going to affect me: How am I going to cope? What am I going to learn? Is there a “good way” to go through change?

So here I am, telling you about my change journey, sharing my impressions and experiences. And I can’t wait to hear about yours as well! I’d like to see this blog as a way to gather ideas – or better, life hacks! – to embrace the changes in our lives!

So what are we waiting for? Let’s shake things up!

ML