My Story

Jenny Ward – Know Your Worth

The Change Diaries Podcast explores how to better change, spark change or simply be the change we want to see.

In this episode I talk with Jenny Ward, a career and transition coach with almost two decades of experience in corporate recruitment. Jenny focuses on helping women to value themselves, excel, and enjoy the lives which they deserve. 

Jenny brings infinite wisdom peppered with delightful humour and a strong dose of realism in this conversation. Her honest and refreshing coaching style, will inspire you to abandon a mediocre life and get unstuck. Absorb this conversation with a notepad and an open mind.  

Listen to The Change Diaries with Jenny Ward

Guest Bio

Jenny is a certified career and transition coach helping corporate women finally live by design, not default.   

She spent 15-years in corporate recruitment seamlessly matching people and jobs and now focuses on ensuring that women excel in all areas of their life by moving them out of reaction mode and into the driver’s seat.  

This includes empowering them to tell their personal and professional story to get the job they want and the money they deserve. Jenny offers 2-hour strategy sessions as well as services like interview prep, resume overhaul, LinkedIn blueprints, and cover letter composition.  

She loves holding space for humans to be heard and championed as they transition into the life and career that they only dreamed was possible. 

Find out more about Jenny Ward – have a consultation session or be inspired to shift your life:  

Website: http://www.jennywarrdcoaching.com 

IG: @jennywardcoaching 

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/jennyward/ 

Thanks for listening. Never miss an episode! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts to get new episodes as they become available.

You can also listen on Spotify.

Follow my blog and share with others! I post new content each week.

The Change Diaries Podcast theme music by Ellan Neil  

The Change Diaries Podcast cover design by Aris Amitirigala 

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.  

April Miranda – With Energy and Intention You Can Heal

The Change Diaries Podcast explores how to better embrace change, spark change or simply be the change we want to see.

In this episode I talk with April Miranda, Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, Reiki Master and Yoga Teacher. April uses the ancient wisdom of the Chakra system to help people discover the life they are worthy of living, and sparks a self-awakening process through asking, ‘How is your foundation?’.

April’s calming, holistic coaching style anchors this conversation, giving us greater hope in the possibility of changing our lives for the better. At the end, there is the gift of a complimentary guided meditation. Tune in and enjoy this conversation.

Guest Bio

April Miranda is a Toronto-based executive life coach, NLP practitioner, Reiki Master, and yoga teacher. She has been teaching movement for more than 17 years. April uses different healing modalities to support her clients’ healing from the inside out. Her kinesiology degree, performing arts background, along with other healing modalities, allow her to help her clients feel lighter physically, mentally, emotionally, and energetically.

April was voted in the Top 50 Fitness Expert Entrepreneurs in the Greater Toronto Area with Sweat Equity Magazine. She is currently writing her first book: “MOVE with LOVE – Your Simple Guide to Revolutionize Your Life With Energy and Intention.”

April has also been featured in HOLR magazine and been interviewed on different podcasts such as The High Vibe Show and Sweat & Tonic. She lives downtown Toronto with her husband Chris, their daughter Bella Luna, and their puppy, House.

If you would like to find out more about April Miranda – get tips, Reiki training, and inspiration:

Find April at:

Instagram: @AprilMiranda

Website: AprilMiranda.com – get your free meditation here!

Move with Love – Join Move With Love Mastermind

Never miss an episode! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts to get new episodes as they become available.

You can also listen on Spotify.

Follow my blog and share with others! I post new content each week.

The Change Diaries Podcast theme music by Ellan Neil

The Change Diaries Podcast cover design by Aris Amitirigala

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.   

The Interview: Part II – A short, short story

This week I’ve decided to share a short story instead of my usual blog posts. Yesterday, I posted the first part of this story, so you already know Shauna is hunting for a job. I kept on writing because I was curious to see what would happen during her next interview. Turns out it was a bit more than she expected. Let’s see.

By the way, have you subscribed to The Change Diaries Podcast on Apple podcasts? New episode coming this weekend! Now, about Shauna…

The Interview Part II 

On a normal night, the sound of Roxie barking fiercely at the neighboring dog would have jolted her out of slumber. But in the wee hours of Wednesday morning Shauna was already wide awake. She peered through the window to make sure there was nothing awry and then hissed at the half-breed Doberman to ‘be quiet’ before drawing the curtains closed.  

She had sent resumes each week to private sector companies while holding out hope for the opportunity to host a prime-time radio show. After three interviews at different stations, she still had nothing. Each conversation had been more demoralizing than the next. Everybody wanted experienced talent. Was it that hard to break into radio as a newbie?  

Now Shauna feared she would never know. Under mounting pressure from her parents to get a job she was booked for an interview at the local telecom giant the following day. Her best friend, Tanisha, had put in a word for her with Tariq Morrison, one of the HR managers. He also happened to be Tanisha’s neighbor and had arranged an internship for her there last summer.  

Tanisha had branded it corporate hell. “Full of backstabbers and fake-smilers,” she had reported while gratefully pocketing the generous salary for ten entire weeks.  

Shauna rolled over and reached for the remote to start the ceiling fan. It wasn’t yet summer, but the heat was fierce. She would have preferred to turn on the air conditioning, but she was tired of fighting with her parents about the electricity bill. 

That was another reason why she loved visiting her cousin in Miami – central air conditioning, along with shopping and The Cheesecake Factory. Anyway, there would be no more trips for now – her parents had refused to dole out any more cash. Shauna told herself, ‘Tomorrow I’ll do whatever it takes to win that job’. She started practicing interview responses in her mind and bid the thought of sleep goodbye. 

… 

Cocooned in his office, Shauna was perfectly still while Martin Campbell, Vice President of Regulatory Policy, perused her resume. She used the time to observe him from across the small meeting desk. He was a tiny man, pale and balding. Peering through Tom Ford eyewear, he stroked his greying beard absentmindedly. His office was dotted with awards and a framed law degree from Stanford hung above his head. Shauna tried not to smirk. Islanders loved to show off their foreign degrees…as if the local University wasn’t good enough for them.  

“Miss Templeton. First class honors!” He was beaming when he finally looked up at her. Shauna was convinced she could see all thirty-two teeth. “And you won the Principal’s Award two years running. I am impressed indeed.” 

“Thank you, Mr. Campbell. I worked hard and I am proud of my achievements.” 

“Please call me Martin. We aren’t so formal here.” He grinned again. 

‘That’s weird’ Shauna thought. Tanisha had told her it was a stuffy environment and you had to address senior staff formally. It was already unusual that she had a shoo-in to meet with the VP directly, but that was the power of connections – life on a small island was a closely networked affair. If she played her cards right it would surely mean a job come Monday morning. 

“What do you believe you bring to our company?” 

“I am a hard worker, determined to find solutions, and I get along very well with people. I’m also a natural leader, and I am excellent at public speaking. In fact, I co-hosted a radio program as you can see on my resume.” 

Martin Campbell was intrigued. The questions flowed like rapid-fire, and Shauna was surprised at how confidently and easily she fielded them while asking some of her own. Dressed in her favorite Ann Taylor grey suit and a crisp white button-down from Zara, she was prepared and focused. Plus, he was turning out to be likable. She hadn’t expected to enjoy the conversation and she felt a twinge of guilt at her earlier cynicism.  

“Why don’t we finish this over lunch? It’s already twelve thirty but I’d like to continue the discussion.” 

The suggestion caught Shauna off guard. She hadn’t prepared for this in her script.  

“Ahm, now? Do you have a canteen in this building?”  

Martin laughed at her question and Shauna was suddenly on high alert.

“Oh no. I was thinking of somewhere more deserving of a fine young lady such as yourself,” he said.

Chill, Shauna, just chill. She willed her body to relax as a horse started galloping in her chest.  

“You flatter me Mr. Campbell. I’m actually not hungry.” 

“Trust me, you will have an appetite when the lobster arrives.” He stood up and grabbed his keys and jacket. “Have you ever dined at Morgan’s Park?” 

Shauna was nonplussed. The horse was thundering about in her mid-section now. 

Morgan’s Park was a swanky dining spot next to the famous Harbor Hotel. It was also a thirty-five-minute drive away from the town center. Even if she was okay with going to lunch, the whole thing would take at least two and a half hours.  

She swallowed over what felt like a guinep seed in her throat, her confidence slipping away while ‘win the job’ floated across her mind in subscript. “Mr. Campbell…” 

“Martin, please. And don’t forget your purse.” He was already opening the door. 

“Mr. Campbell are you married? The question slipped out but Shauna already knew the answer. 

“Why would you ask me that?” He was squinting behind his glasses.  

“Why would you want to take me to lunch thirty-five minutes away?”  

He closed the door and stepped toward her, “Because you should aspire to have the finer things in life.” His voice grew softer, “Don’t you want the best for yourself. Fine dining, a nice apartment, trips overseas, diamond rings?” 

Shauna Templeton contemplated the temptation of a thousand years. It meant driving a nicer car, taking more shopping jaunts. It would come with her own apartment, a steady rise in pay and promotions and a coveted Prada purse. But while she could stomach the privilege of getting a job through her connections, she couldn’t do this…this other thing.  

“I told Mr. Morrison in HR that I would be down before 1:00pm to complete the last page of my application form. Thanks for your time but I need to head back now.” She rose to her feet.  

They faced each other. In her red Aldo heels, Shauna was close to his height, so they were practically eye to eye. They both knew she was lying. She hadn’t completed an application form. She didn’t even know if Tariq was at work.  

Shauna held her breath and waited. The herd of horses was galloping through her entire body.  

Martin Campbell placed a hand on the doorknob to signal that the interview had indeed come to an end. His parting smile looked more like a grimace. 

“I’ll take you across the floor to meet Victoria Jenkins. She runs the Corporate Events unit, and they are looking to take on one or two promising graduates. I think you have the polish and savviness that they would value. It’s a shame you won’t work out for me. Best of luck.”  

That’s it for Shauna. Definitely hope she has better luck next time!

Thank you for stopping by. Do leave a comment to let me know what you thought and don’t forget to follow and share my blog. I post new content each week.  

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.     

The Interview – A short, short story

I didn’t plan to write a short story. I never do. I’d like to be more intentional about it though and get much better at telling the stories of these characters who suddenly take up space in my head when I sit down to write a serious piece or while I’m doing the dishes. Here is Shauna – she inspired a two-parter. I’ll share the second part tomorrow and I’ll see you this weekend for another episode of The Change Diaries Podcast. Have you subscribed yet on Apple? Anyway, let’s meet Shauna…

Shauna strutted into the boardroom of TLC Radio, tossing stray locks over her shoulder as she approached the oval conference table. The natural finish struck her as unusual; normally corporate environments favored a deep cherry stain.

Her mind wandered to the mahogany table sitting regally in her parents’ dining room. A wedding gift from her maternal grandparents, they treated it like an only child. Shauna wished that she still felt like their pride and joy but after graduating with first class honors and failing to nab a job after six months – they were beginning to despair. Anyway, why on earth was she thinking of dining tables and disappointment when she needed to be on top of her game?

‘Stay focused, you are here to win this’, Shauna gave herself a stern mental reminder as she strode towards the outstretched palm of Errol Powell, Managing Director of The Listeners Choice.

“Ah, good morning Miss Templeton. Thanks for coming by.” Mr. Powell grasped her manicured hand in a firm handshake. “Take a seat and make yourself comfortable.” 

“Thank you, Mr. Powell.” Shauna smiled briefly, hoping that a mask of dislike hadn’t flashed across her face. After reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, she had become obsessed with reading faces and searching for hidden messages.

“So, let’s get right to it. Tell me what you have in mind and what kind of future you see for yourself at TLC Radio.” Mr. Powell said as he leaned forward, his skin gleaming with a sheen of sweat thanks to a subpar performance from the struggling air conditioning unit. Life in the tropics was often a sweaty affair but Shauna was cool in a white cotton top and skirt and her lightweight navy blazer. All from Banana Republic in Dolphin Mall, Miami. She hadn’t shopped on the island for years.

“As you know, I’ve been freelancing for the last couple years, doing voiceover work and a few adhoc interviews at the station to fill in for presenters when needed.”

Shauna started her pitch, vaguely conscious of Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana wafting through the intercom system. It was eighties hour at the station with DJ Chris at the controls. She watched Mr. Powell’s eyes drift toward her slender ankles and slowly start to work their way upwards. The image of a snake unfurling assailed her like a bad cliché and she paused, distracted. ‘God damn it’, she thought, ‘Get it together’. 

With a shake of her head, Shauna’s locks tumbled forward. She cleared her throat and her voice inched up a decibel as she continued. “Radio is my favorite communication channel and I have a real passion for it. I like the team here at TLC Radio and I want to make it my home by taking things further, ideally hosting my own show. I’m thinking of initially working with a co-host, doing a mix of current affairs, music, interviews, something that will appeal to…”

“What’s your experience in hosting a live radio program?” Mr. Powell cut her off abruptly. The leather chair squeaked as he shifted his bulky frame.

Shauna observed his curly hair and slanted eyes set on almond colored skin and his broad nose with thick lips. His features were the gift of many nations mingling – master and slave, indentured laborer and plantation owner, indigenous people and colonizer.

‘Enough’. She brought her mind back to the room and took a deep breath. “Well, I’m broadcast trained, by the best in the business. I co-hosted the university radio program ‘On the Beat’ during my final year. I’ve been doing voiceovers here in studio for the last two years Mr. Powell. People know my voice and…”

He interrupted her desperate spiel with an offer, “How about a midnight to 3am slot? We have an opening for a new co-host of Man and Woman Talk. I’m sure our listeners would appreciate a young, smooth female voice to explore sex and love. Don’t you think?” He licked his lips and Shauna tried not to shudder as her mind bounced around desperately. Her face felt hot, and she wondered vaguely if finally, she would be the one to prove that a dark-skinned girl could blush bright red.

Mr. Powell drummed his thick fingers on the heavy oak table while Michael pleaded urgently:

Dirty Diana nah
Dirty Diana no
Dirty Diana nah
Dirty Diana no

In the end her response took a second too long and the door closed as quickly as had it opened. ‘Just as well’, Shauna thought as she headed down the stairs and into the visitors’ parking lot. She didn’t want a graveyard shift and she wasn’t doing a late night no-holds-barred call-in program to talk about what men and women want from each other. She had no plans to be the Howard Stern of the local airwaves.

She was Shauna Templeton. She wanted to bless the world with her voice from the moment they woke up until they were safely at work or back from the school run. She wanted a prime-time slot with news, music, meaningful discussion and inspiring interviews. And prime time was what she would get.

Thanks for stopping by. It’s a two-part story. Tomorrow I’ll share what happened on Shauna’s next Interview! Follow my blog and subscribe.

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.    

Lorraine Copes – You can program your mind

The Change Diaries Podcast explores how to embrace change, spark change, or simply be the change we want to see.

In this episode I talk with Lorraine Copes, Business Coach and Procurement Consultant. Lorraine believes that to handle the inevitable changes that life throws our way, we need to stay present and look ahead. She also shares her thoughts on how to build or rebuild your confidence.

Lorraine brings her powerful and forthright coaching style to this conversation, debunking beliefs around imposter syndrome and challenging us to program our minds for greater success. You don’t want to miss this conversation.

Guest Bio

Lorraine Copes is the founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality, Procurement Consultant and Business Coach. Having spent almost two decades working within the hospitality sector successfully leading procurement teams for brands including Shake Shack, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and Corbin & King, her experience spans new market entry, national and international leadership roles. 

Lorraine is passionate about helping others advance and has been able to do so during her career within Procurement by helping organizations to improve profitability, and as a Business Coach through helping individuals gain clarity, confidence, and courage.

In 2019, Lorraine felt compelled to form Be Inclusive Hospitality due to the consistent lack of representation of people from Black, Asian and Minority backgrounds in positions of influence, or often being invisible even if they do occupy the space. This social enterprise will now hold the prime position of accelerating racial equality and levelling the playing field for those from underrepresented backgrounds within hospitality, food and drink sectors.

Based in London, you can find Lorraine at:

LinkedIn: Lorraine Copes

Instagram: @lorrainelifecoach

Website: https://lorrainelifecoach.com/

Never miss an episode! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts to get new episodes as they become available.

You can also listen on Spotify.

Thank you for listening! Follow my blog and share. I post new content each week.

The Change Diaries Podcast theme music by Ellan Neil

The Change Diaries Podcast cover design by Aris Amitirigala

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.   

5 things you can #choosetochallenge for gender equality

On Monday we celebrated International Women’s Day. Each year I come across one or two provocative people who ask the question – do we still need this day? 

The answer is yes. We must continue to spark conversation and recommitment to action, not only on March 8, but every single day, because there is much more to be done on a global scale to achieve gender equality. 

Only 20% of tech jobs in the US are held by women; in 2020 there were still only five women CEOs on the FTSE 100 in the UK; globally, women continue to shoulder the domestic burden. Added to that, we still have not achieved pay equity on a global scale. Women earn 77 cents for every dollar that men earn for work of equal value. Let that sink in before you say, ‘done and dusted’ and move on.  

International Women’s Day is about recognizing our progress while being honest about where we are and reaching for more.

I love this years’ theme #choosetochallenge. Challenge brings change and we certainly need to make many shifts in removing the barriers that prevent women from enjoying fulfilling lives, free from bias and deprivation.  

Here are a five things we can #choosetochallenge for change. 

#Choosetochallenge gender-coded norms

I still remember the day we went shopping as a family. My husband and my son wandered off together while Lauren stuck with me. She was about eight at the time. My eyes landed on a stack of boxes with shiny drone helicopters and I almost squealed. 

“Lauren, don’t you think this would be perfect for your brother?” I wasn’t really asking so I didn’t expect her to answer. 

She hesitated before responding, “Yes Mommy, but I want toys like these too, and no one ever buys them for me.” 

Busted.  

I bought two drone helicopters (one for each child) and went home feeling sick with guilt.  

As women, we like to think that we are at the forefront of the struggle for equality, but the truth is that we exist within a web of oppressive structures. We play into them and perpetuate them without even thinking.  

Look at the clothing, toys and books that you buy for your children. How do these reinforce gender-coded norms? Listen to the language that you use daily in your interactions. Where are you perpetuating stereotypes? Examine where and how you are reinforcing biased ways of thinking that don’t serve the journey towards progress.   

#Choosetochallenge men to share the domestic burden

Women don’t make better cleaners and carers. It’s a myth that we created. It’s time for us to change it. 

One morning I could not make it to my son’s school for a meeting with his teacher. She was holding an orientation session to introduce parents to the curriculum and answer questions. My husband said not to worry, he would attend before heading into office.  

Afterwards, he told me that he was the only man in a room of 30 people and the teacher was quite apologetic to him. She said that she could have sent the information home, he need not have come. 

I don’t believe she said that to any of the women present. I don’t think she would have said that to me. Is a man’s time more important than a woman’s?   

Why are women working fulltime jobs and still almost exclusively responsible for parenting, caring for aging parents, and managing domestic chores? With Covid they have also become de facto teachers and short-order cooks working round the clock to prepare meals and clean up.  

Can we just say STOP! 

Men – we need you to step up and support. You can’t say you are our biggest cheerleaders if you aren’t also doing your fair share at home. Please, relieve women of this tremendous burden so that they can lead more fulfilling lives.  

#Choosetochallenge negative behaviors towards women in the workplace

Often, in corporate environments, when a woman leans in and asks tough questions she is branded as aggressive, hostile, intense, angry. Unfortunately, it’s happened to me and to many other women I know. We need a concerted effort to end this practice of shaming women into being silent.  

Start by listening and observing what’s going on in your environment.  

  • Did someone mansplain when your female colleague made her point?  
  • Did someone ignore her point and then repeat it as if it were their original idea?  
  • Did someone say she was aggressive and emotional, so she isn’t ready for a promotion?  
  • When presenting, was she given less time on the floor and frequently interrupted? 
  • Is the salary you are about to offer her equal to or more than what you paid the last man who was in the role?  

You can break these negative patterns by interrupting bias. Speak up and challenge it when you see it in action.  

#Choosetochallenge by sponsoring women

My first job after graduating from University was at JAMPRO in Jamaica. All the way up the chain of command I worked with strong women – my colleague in the adjoining cubicle, my manager, the assistant vice president, and the president. All exceptionally talented women who guided me, coached me, mentored me, and sponsored me.  

In its 2018 report entitled Women in business and management: Gaining momentum in the Caribbean, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that Jamaica had the highest proportion of women managers in the world at 59 per cent. This is an impressive track record.  

I can tell you that the impact of being surrounded by strong female leaders is phenomenal. It is hard to be what we cannot see. Looking back on my early career, the stage was set for me to believe that no doors would be closed to me because I was a woman. But I also had the benefit of great sponsors, both male and female. 

I firmly believe that women are over-mentored and under sponsored. Mentoring is great but women also need coaching and active sponsors to nominate them for bigger roles.  

Where can you sponsor a woman today so that she can stretch into new opportunities? Is it in the workplace, or in the sporting arena, or in an extra-curricular activity? Become more intentional about using your power to make a difference.  

#Choosetochallenge yourself to think differently and uncover new dimensions

By stereotyping women, we also stereotype men. Be honest – when you think of a nursery schoolteacher does the image of a man come to mind? I bet there are men who wanted to pursue that career but were discouraged or ridiculed. 

When you think of someone staying home to take care of their baby, you think of the mother. Why not the father? Why aren’t more companies offering paternity leave so that fathers can lean in and share the bonding experience instead of sleeping in a separate room so they can be fresh for work in the morning? 

In shifting the paradigm that has existed for many years, men might temporarily feel displaced, but they can choose to think and operate in new ways which benefit everyone.  

I believe that if we work together, we can open the door to create greater balance in many professions – rebalancing where there are too few men and rebalancing where we don’t see women. It’s an exciting opportunity to build a society that works for all.  

What will you #choosetochallenge today?  

Leave a comment below. Let’s talk about it together and make change happen. 

Thank you for stopping by. Listen to my new podcast now available on Apple: The Change Diaries Podcast. And don’t forget to follow and share my blog. I post new content each week.  

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.     

Abbi Buszard – Making space for people to think for themselves

The Change Diaries Podcast explores how to better embrace change, spark change, or simply be the change we want to see.

In this episode I talk with Abbi Buszard, Life Coach and former Commercial Director. She believes that the solutions to your biggest challenges are never quite as good unless they are yours and that change means growth.

Abbi brings her insightful style to this conversation, sharing advice on how to find the right coach for you, affordable options, and examples of successful transformation. It’s a practical conversation with great advice.

Guest Bio

Abbi Buszard is the founder of Grow Your Own Organic Learning. She is a qualified coach and former Commercial Director with a love of creative problem solving. She is also known as ‘mum, stepmum and wife/reluctant cycling buddy’. 

With extensive experience in all aspects of helping people to grow and develop, by challenging, supporting, managing, leading and mentoring, Abbi works with large organisations and ambitious individuals alike. With a postgraduate certificate in coaching from Henley Business School, Abbi believes making space for growth is both the hardest and most important thing for everyone to do to succeed. 

Before starting Grow Your Own, she spent fifteen years at Cadbury, Kraft and Diageo, working across sales, customer marketing and transformation and change. These days, Abbi works with a network of partners across a variety of specialisms, who enable Grow Your Own to deliver programmes to any scale, from large corporates to boutique brands. Grow Your Own has a social enterprise heart- every commercial programme is matched with pro-bono work for a charity partner.

Abbi considers her nosiness a superpower that can be used on self or others. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram and you can join in the reflection by following her daily questions and learning to change your world by building a growth habit in just 2 minutes a day!

Find her at:

LinkedIn: Abbi Buszard

Instagram: @AbbiBuszard

Website: www.growyourownlearning.com

Never miss an episode. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts to get new episodes as they become available.

You can also listen on Spotify.

Follow my blog and share with others! I post new content each week.

The Change Diaries Podcast theme music by Ellan Neil

The Change Diaries Podcast cover design by Aris Amitirigala

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.    

Get up and dance!

Birthday Celebrations 2021. An original DruBaileyArt

“And if you get the choice to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance…”

A bestie of mine signs off all her emails with that quote from Lee Ann Womack.

Apart from breaking into a smile every time I read it, I am urged to live courageously and fully in every single moment. I barely need a reminder though as I have always lived with a sense of my own mortality. Call it a side effect of losing my parents as a child.

Each time I celebrate my birthday, as I did this past Sunday, I am acutely aware of how many years I have outlived them both and I think of how they left this earth so young. My father drowned at the beach in his early twenties. Compromised in childhood, my mother’s heart gave way before she turned thirty.

My reflections on mortality are not with a sense of foreboding, or sadness, or mourning; they are accompanied by an indescribable joy. The fact that I am still here, that I am alive and that I am surrounded by love is cause enough for celebration on my part.

How can I talk about celebrating at a time like this when we are grieving over lives and livelihoods lost in this lingering pandemic?

Honestly, I’d be the last person to tell you that life isn’t often gritty. You won’t find me donning rose-colored glasses or burying my head in the sand. No, I’ve been in the trenches, hung out in valleys, felt hot tears of despair on my cheeks.

But I also know there is always light in the darkness, even if it’s just a glimmer as we stumble through long tunnels purely by faith.

I recognize that living life fully means that there are times when we will be disappointed. Sometimes things do not go the way we want them to. There may be heartbreak and loss. Or a devastating failure. But each time we gather the strength to find our feet or get a trusted guide to help us rise again.

I think of it like dancing, one of my favorite things to do – at times our steps may falter until we catch the rhythm and hit our stride. Gradually we improve our technique, gain confidence, and continue mastering new routines.  

Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote, “When you dance your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”

What I have decided is that whether the music is fast or slow I’ll just move to the beat, song after song. No matter what, as long as I have breath, I plan on dancing.

Today, if you are sitting it out, why not find your space on the floor? Life is too short to not get up and dance.

Thank you for stopping by. Please share your comments below and visit again soon. Check out The Change Diaries Podcast here. And don’t forget to follow and share. I post new content each week.

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.    

Dr. Michael Mendribil: I am never who I think I am

The Change Diaries Podcast explores how to better embrace change, spark change or simply be the change we want to see.  

Listen

Introduction 

In this episode I talk with Dr. Michael Mendribil, Transformative Life Coach. Dr. M. brings a warm and personal touch as he shares important insights on the challenges that men face in today’s world and how he discovered the gift of meditation. He also gives us a peek into the coaching world, offers advice on how we can better cope with the changes that this challenging time has brought and two great book recommendations for your reading list.   

Guest Bio 

Michael is the founder, chief guide and coach of Bonfire Society, a coaching community for men. He also leads Mendribil Wellness, where for over 30 years he has been helping people optimize their metabolism, fortify their health and master their mindset so that they can have everything they want in life.  

He is a Transformative Life Coach, a practicing Naturopathic Physician, a Functional Medicine Practitioner, and ongoing student and teacher of life. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and daughter.  

You can find him at:  

BonfireSociety.com 

MendribilWellness.com 

Instagram: BonfireSocietyNOW  

Thank you for listening. Let me know your thoughts, comments, and what other topics you would like to explore during this first season as I chat with various coaches. What are some of the questions on your mind as you navigate change? What question would you like the coaches to answer?

Never miss an episode! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts to get new episodes as they become available.

You can also listen on Spotify.

Follow my blog and share with others! I post new content each week.

Acknowledgements:

The Change Diaries Podcast theme music by Ellan Neil  

The Change Diaries Podcast cover design by Aris Amitirigala 

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.     

The new superpowers that you need right now

What’s your superpower? Perhaps you have more than one. Maybe you have a long list of them.

But somewhere in the mix there are a couple must-haves. If you don’t know what they are, I’ll give you a hint: speaking well is not one of them.

I listened to a conversation this Monday between Van Jones, CNN political commentator and veritable change-maker and Wes Hall, entrepreneur, and founder of Canada’s Black North Initiative.

Van Jones was on fire. He shared political insights, his views on race relations and dispensed advice on the new, necessary superpowers that will not only change the way you lead but improve your life.

Apparently, being able to speak well or present well is the old superpower. No panic if you are a super orator, it’s still useful, but it’s just not a superpower.

What’s the new one? The one that unlocks the door to great partnerships, innovation, mega-deals, marketing campaigns and more?

Being Able to Listen Well.

According to Van Jones, given the diversity around us with different voices, cultures and perspectives, any leader who wants to grow their business must be able to listen well to all. If they don’t, they may be missing out and leaving money on the table.

We especially need to listen to the voices that have been stifled or unheard. Also, listening is a skill that needs to trickle all the way throughout and be part of the culture. Show me any breakdown in any system or relationship and we can trace it back to the point where someone stopped listening.

That system or relationship could be in the home, the classroom, or the boardroom. Listening is an act of love – see my blog post on this subject.

But he said that listening is not enough. You also need the new superpower mindset:

Empathy.

Empathy is essential to building more inclusive communities and workplaces. Especially in this pandemic, it is perhaps the most important leadership skill to hone. To understand different people and collaborate successfully with them, you must be able to see things from their perspective. Read here for more on what empathy does for you and how to cultivate it.

For good measure, here’s a bonus superpower:

Knowing when to ask for help.

My son Aris drops nuggets of wisdom on me all the time. Last week he said, “Mom, it’s great to be independent but sometimes you should be dependent and let others help you.” Good for him. He’s helping with the laundry today. Maybe he will cook dinner too.

On a serious note. Asking for help is a valuable skill. Playing hero isn’t smart. It’s lonely, and you either get less done or you burn yourself out. Letting others help you is key to being able to do more and do it better.

Early in my career while was I working in Jamaica, I landed a new role where I was assigned to lead a project. My manager asked me to include a risk assessment. I wasn’t sure which template to use but I hesitated to ask. I mean, isn’t this why they hired me? Because I know stuff?

So, I pulled something together. When I sat in the room with the Exec going through the presentation, they drew a blank when they looked at the slide with my risk assessment. Clearly it wasn’t what they had expected.

My manager asked me right there, “Who helped you with this?”

“No-one,” I said.

“But why didn’t you ask for help? I would never have expected you to tackle this on your own.”

I called the lead Risk manager. He popped into the session and led a comprehensive risk assessment.

Boy, did I ever learn a lot.

I had pressured myself to have all the answers and do everything on my own to make an impression in my new role – pull together a kick-ass plan with all the research and a comprehensive risk assessment too. How ridiculous was that!

No-one expects you to know everything. But they do expect you to know when to ask for help. People aren’t waiting to trip you up and you won’t be ‘found out’ as lacking. That’s your imposter syndrome having a party with your inner critic. Disinvite yourself.

Instead, believe that help is always out there ready and waiting for you if you simply ask.

Is it time to step back and check your superpowers to ensure these are on your list?

  1. Listen well
  2. Have empathy
  3. Know when to ask for help

No sweat if you are missing any; start building that muscle today.

Thank you for stopping by. Leave a comment and let me know what’s your superpower! Visit again soon, subscribe and share. I post new content each week. © Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.