authenticity 101



A few months ago, I had a long chat on the phone with Jaclyn Law, who was calling me to discuss my thoughts on stress. My curling friend Karen had suggested me as a possible source and I accepted despite wondering if I was the right fit for the topic. We ended up talking about my favorite subjects which are having a vision, getting clear on your values and learning what to keep and what to let go of in order to live the life you want. It was a great chat and at one point, I stopped worrying about whether it was about the topic of stress at all. I was just saying what I believe leads to a healthy and authentic life.

Stress is of course part of our everyday lives, whether we care to admit it or not. There are going to be days where it is more present than others. Despite some very challenging times in my life in the past few years, I have managed to not become a full-on "stress-ball". That's what my daughter Isabelle would call high strung people (including me) when she was about 6 years old. I have periods of intense stress where I needed to really focus on a task or an emotional situation of course, but thankfully my everyday life has been set up, based on my values, to minimize stress. I know when I am starting to feel burned out by too many commitments and have improved my ability to say no politely without guilt. I know when my body is craving physical exercise and I need to go for a run which magically also clears my head. I certainly do not escape the effects of stress and too often react in ways that are not positive, but becoming more aware of what my stressors are is a step in the right direction.

Jaclyn's article appeared in the Spring/Summer 2013 edition of
Expressions, Inspired by Acura which is a print-only magazine for Acura owners. I was given permission to quote a few sections and I want to share some of what I said and how Jaclyn wrote about what we discussed in relation to stress. The title of the article is The Stress Test. Long term stress hurts your health. Find relief by living truer to your values.

Combatting the effects of stress is a good move, but consider going deeper and getting to the source. That means taking stock of your hectic life and figuring out what to keep, what to let go of, and what is in fact, missing. "It's about creating a vision for your life based on your needs and values and how you perceive the world, which is different for everybody", says Lianne Doucet, a vision coach and professional organizer in Toronto. It's stressful to be something you're not. That's the biggest stressor - trying to live up to others' expectations."

As a vision coach, Doucet helps people clarify their values and decide which commitments, responsibilities and possessions are most important to them. She advises clients to light their load by saying "yes" to things that fit their vision and "no" to those that don't add value.

It was really cool to see myself quoted, and I like how she interpreted what we discussed. Now I have to remember to take my own advice!

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