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  • When What You Do Isn’t Who You Are

    When who what you do conflicts with who you really are, everyone suffers. Especially you.

    This is me. The real me. Introvert. Quiet soul. Happiest living a low key life.

    This is who I am.

    What I do is different. I’m a fire instructor and a writer. I’m also a mom and wife. I’m a body language coach and mental health advocate. I do a lot of things, but none of them define who I am. We live in a world where most people have no idea who they are because they’re so busy living someone else’s dream or doing what they think they have to do, that they never slow down long enough to hear to their own truth, never mind listen to it.

    I like it when people bare their soul

    It’s not that I don’t like people, I very much like them. I love to know who people are at their core. Not the persona that they show the outside world, but who they are in their heart and soul. There’s nothing greater in this world than getting to know someone’s fears, their insecurities, their deepest dreams. I love to share their smiles and laughter too, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that there’s something so brave and courageous and vulnerable about baring your soul to another.

    And that’s why we work so hard to hide it. Because it is incredibly vulnerable and the last thing we want is to show our wounds and have someone make them worse. We fear it might kill us.

    But there’s so much humanity in it, so much truth. So much beauty and authenticity. And sometimes we might only see a glimpse of it once, when they let their guard down. It may also be the only time we’re really able to connect with them.

    Who are you?

    So many of these days define ourselves by what we do – the work, the job, the thing we do day in and day out, the spouse or the parent even. We attach to these labels so strongly that we think we’d shatter if they ever ceased to exist. But that’s not who we ARE. It’s roles we play.

    We may be very good at these roles, successful in our job, happy in our marriage, proud of our children and that’s all well and good – but who are you outside of those descriptors?

    And what happens when what you do isn’t who you are?

    I find that a lot of people open up to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve become somewhat comfortable at baring my soul and talking about the tough stuff like the mental health challenges I’ve experienced or the childhood trauma I lived through. What I’m hearing is that a lot of people, and I mean a lot, aren’t happy in their work.

    I know there may be many of you out there who are thinking, “Ya, well, suck it up. Life is hard. So what?” I don’t mean that they don’t like their boss or aren’t paid enough, (which are valid concerns) but I mean that what they do isn’t who they are. There’s a difference.

    Who you are isn’t what you do

    Who are you? If you take your job, work, marital status, gender orientation and parental role out of it, can you tell me who you are? What’s the first thing that comes up? Got anything? Nada?

    There’s a couple of problems with this. Either you’re so wrapped up in what you do that you have no idea who you really are OR maybe you suspect there’s something more to this game of life you’re immersed in but you can’t see a way out of the game and into your actual life.

    I have a very good friend who is in forestry management. My husband joked one day that she’s a tree hugger and she responded that she’s the exact opposite…at least in her job. In her heart, she is 100% a tree hugger. In her job, she cuts down huge swaths of trees. (She also plans the planting of new tress to replace them, but that’s little consolation to the cognitive dissonance happening on a soul level.)

    Who she is isn’t what she does and what she does isn’t who she is.

    My own soul cried out that day during that conversation when I realize that magnitude of this disconnection for her.

    Here’s the thing

    I’ve found myself in jobs that weren’t me and it never ended well. The worst was being a police dispatcher because not only did I have ptsd that I wasn’t aware of, I am a soft soul and being in a job where I was constantly subjected to the dark side of humanity was killing me. It was like drinking milk everyday when you don’t know you’re allergic to it and wondering why you feel sick. It ended up being the only job I’ve ever been fired from (yes, I was fired. I’d taken time off after my brother died and couldn’t get my head back into work after. It also didn’t help that the dispatcher I was being trained by used to fall asleep on night shifts so I wasn’t learning as much and as fast as they expected-which was their reason for terminating me.)

    I’ve also had jobs that seemed perfect for me at the time, but life (or my insecurities/issues/higher calling that I’ve yet to fully understand) overtook me like a hockey player sneaking up behind an opponent and slamming him/her into the boards and and leaving them in a heap on the ice.

    The one thing I know for sure is that no job will EVER fill that void that you secretly and desperately are trying to fill from within. No job, no relationship, no new clothes or car or house. Not even a child. A child will fulfill you and give you a sense of purpose that you would never had known if you hadn’t become a parent, and they are the single greatest gift in the world. My two daughters are and always will be my best work and my reason for wanting to be a better person. But if they can’t fill that void either.

    Here’s the catch though when it comes to kids – if and when you fill the void, you become a far better parent, person, spouse, partner and human than you even dreamed you could be.

    So maybe the title doesn’t fit the blog

    Does it really matter? I may be the only one that ever reads this and honestly, I’ve had work done on my website and now the blog page looks different and I can’t remember how to resize my picture so there’s a lot that’s not “right” about this blog. Does that mean it’s crap? Maybe. Do I care? Nope. I still said what I had to say, whether people agree with it or not isn’t really the point.

    Writing this for the soul purpose of impressing people would be the equivalent of trying to fill that inner void with external validation, and I think I’ve made my point on that already.

    I don’t care about the SEO or the keyword phrase or sentence structure or any of that. It used to drive me nuts trying to get the little face to go from orange to green in the Yoast plugin on my site. You know what it also did? It killed my love of writing and my creativity and I stopped blogging.

    And yet, here I am. Throwing caution to the wind and writing what could possibly be a piece of crap to others, but it bothers me not for I know who I am and I’m not here to please anyone. If you’re my kind of people, you’ll probably love this, and if you don’t, that’s ok too. And if you’re not my people, then your opinion doesn’t matter anyway.

    I do have a point though

    Make it your mission to find out who you are. Beyond the work, the job, the relationship, the birth order in your family and the size of your clothes. The more you start to uncover the real you, or the old you, or the forgotten you, the better and better it gets. You just can’t find your you in anything you add to your life. You have to start by peeling back the layers and letting go of the extras. You know, the big things and the little things that you do (probably on a daily basis) that aren’t you. The things that you really don’t like doing but you do them anyway out of some misplaced obligation to fulfill some duty that doesn’t even exist that you probably picked up from your childhood.

    Finding yourself, your truth, the real you starts by the undoing of all the things that aren’t you. Don’t tell me you don’t know what they are or how to figure them out. You know them because you can feel them in your soul.

    So remember, who you are is not what you do and what you do is not who you are.

    You are a beautiful, amazing, talented, loving soul and if you don’t feel that and know that about yourself, you’ve got some work to do. Figuring out who you are fills the void once and for all.

    The End

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  • Listening to the Voice Within and the Success it Brought Me

    I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I put out a post looking for a fire department to do free training with. 😲 It’s caused me to pause and reflect on my 18-month entrepreneurial journey thus far. 🙃

    When I left my job at the fire college, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do (coaching and speaking) and a dream in my heart, but no real game plan. Probably not the smartest way to go about something but I’ve always been a “follow your bliss” kinda girl and felt it was time for me to do just that. 🙂

    Jennifer Grigg photo

    👉🏻 I enrolled in a Holistic Wellness Coaching program through IAWP (International Association of Wellness Professionals) because I firmly believe everything in our lives is interrelated – mind, body, spirit and our internal and external lives. (I’m still working to complete that course, btw. 😂 It fell by the wayside but I’m back on track and down to my last couple modules.) 💁‍♀️ Not giving up on it because I still believe in it and it was a solid first investment in myself and in my dream ($1950 US).

    👉🏻 Then I came across a certification course for Body Language Trainers with the inspiring TedTalker and bestselling author, Vanessa Van Edwards, and amazingly managed to find a way to fund the tuition, (which was about $6000 US). As an introvert and people watcher 👀, I’ve always been fascinated by the science and psychology of human behaviour and what makes people tick. This program was a complete game-changer for this chick! 🌟

    👉🏻 While I had both of those going on, I also enrolled in a group mentoring program with a woman named Tara Marino whose company is called Elegant Femme, with several other ladies that I’d never met, which took me to a weekend retreat in Outer Banks, NC. It was an amazing experience and helped me face and overcome things that had held me back much of my life, which was necessary if I was ever going to be in a position to coach others! 😄 That was another $3400 US.

    OBX Sunset

    👉🏻 I also hired someone to design a website for me (that was easily $2500 cad by the time it was all done with website hosting platforms, website theme, registered domain names, email marketing, etc etc). I likely could’ve done this in a more cost-effective and simpler way especially since I was just starting out, but not knowing what I was really doing at the time, it seemed to make sense. 🤓

    👉🏻 I’ve given my ALL to this dream mentally, emotionally, financially and spiritually. I’ve gone through months of no income, I’ve experienced many times when I totally lost faith in my ability to create a business out of thin air (who does something like that and actually succeeds at it?? I’d ask myself). I’ve had highs of making amazing income to lows when I’m in not active in coaching and training and wonder what the hell I’m doing.

    👉🏻 HOWEVER, seeing this post today made me realize how far I’ve really come.

    🌟 I’ve met the most amazing people (mostly firefighters but also municipal staff) through delivering body language training.

    🌟 I traveled to BC (a long-standing dream of mine) to present at the BCAFC (BC Association of Fire Chiefs) conference in June. Best road trip shared with my one and only Earl Grigg and my best presentation ever because I not only overcame the worst anxiety but realized how in my zone I am with sharing body language science).

    Jennifer Grigg

    And perhaps the greatest gift of all,

    🌟 I’ve learned and grown in ways that I NEVER would’ve had I not taken this journey. I’ve learned to do things I had no idea how to do when I started out and I’ve grown into a woman who knows what she wants (most of the time 😂 ) and knows WITHOUT A DOUBT that she can achieve it. A faith in myself that I never would’ve experienced if I’d stayed on the path I was on.

    If you’ve read to the end of this post, I have a message for you…

    You absolutely can and should pursue what sets your soul on fire! 🔥Because that, my friend, is the ONLY thing that will truly fill you up and allow you to bring your best self to this world and to the people in your life.

    No more excuses.
    No more waiting.
    No more what ifs.

    If this anxiety-ridden introvert with no self-confidence can make a go of it and change her life in the process, YOU CAN TOO! 🥰

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  • Smile, it’s contagious!

    A genuine smile not only stimulates your own sense of well-being, it also tells those around you that you are approachable, cooperative, and trustworthy. A genuine smile comes on slowly, crinkles the eyes, lights up the face, and fades away slowly. Most importantly, smiling directly influences how other people respond to you. When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way. Not bad for one small nonverbal change.

    Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an international keynote speaker and leadership presence coach. She’s the author of “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt How You Lead” and creator of LinkedInLearning’s video series: “Body Language for Leaders.” For more information, visit CarolKinseyGoman.compexels-photo-208165.jpeg

     

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  • Waiting

    What are you waiting for right now? Anything?

    Are you waiting for the weekend? Waiting to take a vacation, a trip, a get away?  Waiting for the end of your work day? Waiting until the time is right to, oh I don’t know, live your life?

    I had one of Oprah’s “a-ha moments” about the whole notion of waiting while walking my dogs this morning ( I seem to do my best thinking when I’m otherwise occupied and not intentionally thinking, like when I’m dog walking, brushing my teeth, in the shower, cleaning the house…you get the idea).

    It led me to question why it is that we consider ourselves to be “waiting” for something. In an effort to narrow it down, I surmised that what we’re waiting for is often in the form of news, or information. Whether it’s good news (approved for the loan, offer was accepted on the house, got job we interviewed for) or bad news (the loss of a loved one, or a job, or something didn’t turn out the way we hoped).

    What exactly is happening when we find ourselves waiting for something? What is it about the wait that is so difficult?

    We think that our lives will be more complete in some way when we finally get the news. Yay! We got the loan, we can buy something and our lives will be complete, or yay! we got the house of our dreams, NOW our life is really complete, or maybe it’s that perfect-for-you job that you just got that will finally make you complete.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe wholeheartedly in following your dreams and doing, being and having the wonderful things in life that make your heart smile. However, those things don’t complete you.

     

    If it’s not-so-good news we are waiting for, such as in the case of a loved one being diagnosed with an illness, or a friend that’s had an accident, or some other form of loss, our lives are essentially put on hold. We experience a heaviness as if the weight of the world is resting on our shoulders. We wonder how to even cope in the midst of not knowing, of not having the answers we feel we need. We think we need the answers in order to know what to do next, in order to continue to live our lives. But the truth is, you can only live one moment at a time anyway, and it will always and only ever be the moment that you are in right now.

    In either case, we think that a future moment is going to be better than the moment that we’re in. We’ll have something then that we don’t have now. The problem with that is, you’re missing out on the moment you have right now, and it will never come again.

    The loan either will come through or it won’t, you get the house or you don’t, the job is yours or it isn’t. It’s black and white. It is, or it isn’t. Either way, you can’t do anything about it until it gets to that point. So why worry about it? It’s in the future and you aren’t there yet. Let it go and enjoy where you’re at in this moment. Enjoy all that you already have in your life and all that you’ve been through to get to where you are.

    In the case of facing a loss, here’s my take on that. What I’ve learned is that we oscillate between the devastating thoughts of life without our loved ones, and what that will look like, and trying to come to terms with where things are at right now in the grand scheme of things. Again, we’re devastating ourselves by looking to the future, which hasn’t come yet, and we’re missing out on what could potentially be the last weeks or months with our loved ones.

    The wait does us in.

    So how about this for a change…let’s use the wait to be a catalyst for change. Whenever we find ourselves waiting for something; good news, bad news, the bus, dinner or our kids to clean their rooms (big hahahaha on that one!), let us use that realization to our benefit. When you become aware that you are in fact waiting on something, anything, take note of the beauty that surrounds you. Be thankful for what is already in your life, even if it’s the kids messy rooms (you can be thankful in that moment that you have kids and all of the love that they bring into your life).

    Here’s a suggestion; the next time you find yourself in the “wait” zone, use that time to do something that you’ve been telling yourself you never have time to do. 😉

    The life you have is 100% yours. It can be as beautiful or as difficult as you decide it will be.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • I think I missed Christmas…

    How does one do that, exactly? Miss Christmas? Even Ebenezer Scrooge had his epiphany in time to celebrate Christmas. I, however, seem to have missed it almost entirely. I didn’t have the pre-Christmas warm and fuzzies in the days leading up to Christmas, I found myself unable to get into the spirit of buying gifts, never mind the gift wrapping, and Christmas day itself went by almost without a hint of feeling. It was more of a numb kind of feeling, if you can call it that. Aside from being flooded with emotions while watching the video that my two daughters made for me,  it just seemed like any other day. Except it wasn’t. It was Christmas and I was unsure why I was feeling so blah when I should have been feeling the “beauty of the season”. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that my second oldest brother passed away in June of this year, which is the third member of my family that we’ve lost. Although he lived in Alberta, and I in Ontario, and we hadn’t seen each other since 1997, he was still my brother and it still left a hole in my world. So I suspect that his passing had something to do with the apathy I felt at Christmas this year. As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, Christmas isn’t Christmas when you’re grieving, even if you don’t realize that you are grieving, which I think is what my problem was. He lived so far away, and we hadn’t seen each other in so long, that I don’t think I really knew how to grieve for him, or just how much I would miss him. The truth of the matter is, when you lose someone, you feel it in different ways as you move through the grieving process. Fortunately for me, I stumbled across a show today that I’ve never seen or even heard of before and me being me and believing that everything happens for a reason, I sat and watched it. It was a show called Long Island Medium and it’s about a medium named Theresa that receives messages from those who have passed away, and shares the message with their loved ones. Just watching the show made me feel better than I had felt all through the holidays so far. It made me believe whole heartedly that our loved ones know we miss them, they know we love them, and they want us to know that they are at peace. I believe in spirits, and I believe that those times when we think of them, or seem to “feel” them around us, that theyreally are there. The connection we had with them continues after death, and it’s stronger than ever. I’ve now lost two brothers and my father and today, through some strange twist of fate and a tv show I’ve never seen before, I felt a connection with all three of them. Maybe I didn’t miss Christmas afterall…

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