authenticity 101


Setting Intentions


Last year at this time I set my word of intention for the year as Curiosity. I found it very useful to have one word to stay focused on my intentions. I did spend a lot of time in 2012 figuring out what I want to be when I grow up! I got curious about my skills, talents, likes and dislikes. I did research, read books and tried new things. Thanks to a great conversation over lunch with my friend Joyce Curry ( last March I realized how much I enjoy organizing so I joined the Professional Organizers in Canada, got educated and successfully passed the exam as a Professional Organizer.

This year, I’ve decided it will be
Growth. It’s time to say yes to new clients, new opportunities and new experiences. Growth can also play a role in my relationships, my spirituality, my financial assets, my creativity ... the list is endless really. It’s a big word and I am ready to grow into a bigger reality for myself and my career. As part of my growth, I have updated my website to reflect the organizing side of my coaching business. There are now before and after pictures, testimonials and information about how I organize. Please check it out!

Since the biggest part of setting intentions is to write them down, I have downloaded and printed Kristine Kane’s Word of The Year Discovery Tool. It’s a great way to get clear about my word for the year and the reason I chose it. You can find it at if you’d like to set your own word of intention for 2013. (Thank you Dee for forwarding me the information!) I will be setting my intentions in detail for this year and reminding myself to grow and lean into new experiences and challenges.

I hope you take the time to choose your word for this year. I’m really excited about mine!

And Life Gets In The Way


Don’t you just love all the excuses we come up with when we don’t get to something we said is important? Part of the problem for me, and I imagine for most of us, is that if I don’t actually set a goal, or a timeline, it keeps getting dropped to the bottom of the to-do list as life gets busy and I juggle the priorities.

Blogging is not happening very often for me (and I have lots of reasons that I won’t bother listing here) as it never makes it to the top of the to-do list. The main reason being that I haven’t actually set up a goal for blogging. This Queen of calendars and time management has not written down “I will write a blog every Thursday that falls on a full moon”. Or whatever schedule I decide works for me. I am fully aware that if I don’t see it in the calendar or on a to-do list, in writing, it doesn’t exist and I will keep putting if off indefinitely.

Yet I know how powerful it is when we write things down. It makes them real and therefore possible, no longer just a thought in our head but a concrete item to do. I have had amazing things happen when I took the time to write my goals and use photos or words to embody what I wanted to accomplish. In fact, it’s a mystery why I don’t do it more often as the results are often spectacular. Maybe it’s the knowledge that it does work and there’s fear of too much of a good thing.

Well, here I am finally writing another blog entry. And I will put a note in my calendar reminding me when I need to write the next one. Let’s see if I can show up here more often in the next few months!

The Power of Being Intentional

Zip Line Family

Having a vision and being intentional about staying true to the vision can be incredibly rewarding in ways that we don’t always anticipate.

When Phil and I decided to blend our two families (my three girls and his three boys) into the Bertmount Bunch, we very deliberately discussed how to best serve the needs of our kids. As we settled into the first year of living together we realized how very rarely we spent actual time as a full family of eight. There’s always a dance class here, a sleepover there, age and gender differences and various other commitments that pull us all in different directions. We thought that a family trip was in order to get to know each other as a blended family with no outside distractions.

During one of our family meetings we asked the kids what their preference was: a family trip or a big, fancy wedding. Ha! Guess what they picked. (The wedding ended up casual and in the backyard) I had recently heard about and thought it would be the best way to travel with our large group and minimize the cost of accommodations. So we discussed the pros and cons of various destinations and picked Costa Rica. We found an exchange partner on the website and started the process of relationship building with a lovely couple who would trade houses with us for 3 weeks in July.

Our vision was to spend time together as a family in a new environment, creating memories and getting to know each other. We did that and more. We learned all sorts of things about each other, saw gorgeous flora and fauna and experienced a new culture and language. We had a great time and have fantastic memories. Was it perfect? Of course not. Even with a pool and pets, boredom set in after a few weeks of being away from their friends. Regardless of how beautiful the scenery is or how many sloths you see, at 15 and 16 you want to be with your peers. It was lovely though to see that by the end of our trip, the kids were behaving like real brothers and sisters. Annoying each other, but also supporting each other in subtle ways.

Every day that we spend in Costa Rica, Phil and I did our best to remind each other of why we were there. I worked hard to relax (yes, I know that sounds ridiculous) and just let the experience be what we intended it to be. A family getting to know each other better. I think we accomplished that. And we did it in a really awesome environment while zip-lining and playing with monkeys.

Whether you have a vision for your whole life, or simply for one event, stay the course and be intentional about it. It’s worth it.

One Step at a Time


Although I was never much of an athlete in high school, I did enjoy curling, as well as track and field. As an adult, I continued with the curling by didn’t start running again until a few years ago. I did some sporadic running and a few 5K races with a friend. But there was no consistency or real motivation.

While discussing my lack of physical fitness with a fellow coach during my coaching training, I was challenged to run after I mentioned it as a interest. Sign up for a marathon she says. I laugh and say no way. That’s ridiculous, I’ve never run more than 7K. I don’t have time to train. I don’t like it that much. However, as we continued with the conversation, I realized that actually, I did want a running goal that was outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to get fit and stop with the excuses. So I counter-offered with a half-marathon.

I ran my first half-marathon in 2009 in 2 hours, 22 minutes. On October 16th, 2011 in Detroit, I ran my second one in 2 hours, 9 minutes. I am finally comfortable calling myself a runner and I am probably in the best shape of my life at the age of 45.

The thing that I find fascinating about this is that I had lots of excuses for why I couldn’t do it when the challenge was presented to me. As a coach, I spend a lot of time telling other people that anything is possible, yet I really believed that this particular challenge was not possible for me. Then I realized that running is exactly the same challenge as every other situation in my life: it takes patience, perseverance, support from others and the willingness to do the work. There are no short cuts to achieving what we want. It’s a process, and a commitment to putting in the time and the effort to reach our goal. One step at a time.

There were plenty of mornings I didn’t want to get out of bed to run. There were times I skipped the runs and then realized the only person who would suffer was me, as I wouldn’t be ready for the race. I actually called my brother-in-law Trevor the month before to ask if he was backing out of the race so I could have an excuse to cancel too. Thankfully he said “let’s do this thing!” and we crossed the finish line together. It was a lot of fun in the end and I’m so thrilled that I persevered and did it.

Not everyone has to run a marathon or even a half-marathon in their life. There are multiple ways of stretching ourselves past what we think we are capable of. Whatever your goal is, whatever you aspire to do, start with the end in mind and take the first step. Each little step in the direction of your vision will get you closer to what you want to accomplish. Believe me, I have seen it over and over in my own life and in the life of my clients.

I challenge you to take the first step toward your particular goal today.

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