I can't explain it really. I have been feeling a little defiant lately. I think this condition has existed for the past 51 years. I was born with this affliction of thinking for myself. I have trouble with the word no, and I don't like those who would try to control me. Ask my mother who has tried unsuccessfully over my life. Ask my principal who once said I would never be more than a C student.
I believe that defiance is healthy and natural and in fact, I aspire to it. In my office, a sign says, "Be defiant 3 times a day."
And so when I receive this kind of advice, words come to mind that are . . . not nice, but I don't curse on my blog. Let's just say the word, "no" comes to mind immediately.
"On that day, I fell from the sky and began to fade to white."
I have been on a journey that literally rocked my world and changed my life, both personally and professionally. The experience initially stripped me of my voice, my self confidence and my effervescence. It made me feel ashamed and afraid. I made me want to retreat, but not for long. I was determined not to be defined by that experience. However, I was later to learn that this experience has in fact been a significant catalyst in my life.
Before you read on, I want to be clear that my life is better today than it ever has been because I am living in my own true colours. I am grateful for those who stood by me when it would have been easier not to. I am grateful that I was born with a defiant nature.
Being stripped of my voice and being forced into silence was the biggest blow. I am a writer so losing my voice was akin to clipping the wings of a bird and expecting it to survive.
Writing has always been my way of quieting my mind and making sense of the world. Journaling allows me to step back and see the story that continues to tell itself in my thoughts. In the course of learning to fly again, I wrote every single day about what was happening and how it was affecting me.
As I stood back one day, I could see that I was telling the story of that day over and over again. It was the story that would not end. No matter what I did, the anger that I was feeling was colouring the sky in my world and stopping me from living. I had to find a way to make sense of it all and be heard so that the anger would subside and I could live.
When I decide to do something, I usually like to create an airtight plan to make it happen, which includes eliminating opportunities for giving up. For example, when I decided to go back to university to study Journalism, I applied for a student loan, because I knew that when times got tough, I would never quit, because then I would have to pay back a student loan with no degree to show for it.
I made a commitment to write this story and share it with the world, to set it free, as it were. I decided to self-publish with FriesenPress, a 100% Canadian publishing company and subsidiary of Friesens Corporation, an award winning North American book printer that prints 25 million books every year.
I began writing through the pain of the story, realizing that I could not relive those moments so I had to rethink my approach. I resolved to tell this story from a first person perspective (mine) in a constructive and respectful manner.
The audience for Pink Flamingo in a Brown Duck Pond is people, of course. I would invite those aspiring to leadership positions to read this book and take its message to heart. I would also invite falling ducks and flamingos to read this book just to know there is a way back.
In the course of writing this book, I had questions. Who am I to tell this story? Why me? Why didn't I see it coming? I had to do some soul searching to disover my part in this story.
I explored the beliefs that I had acquired over more than 20 years in corporate strategy working with and for respectful and progressive organizations. I learned about leadership, creating constructive cultures and the respectful treatment of people.
I also revisited my own vision as I first wrote it in 1996 in the beginning of my corporate career, as well as my intentions, and guiding principles that carried me through the challenging times and helped me to lead others in change and challenge as well.
From my unique boardroom perspective, I have also witnessed how and why things go awry in the corporate world, and the warning signals of poorly performing corporate cultures and their leaders.
I knew there were problems. The signs were all there. The question is, why did I stay too long. Why didn't I fly when I knew that I should? I blamed myself for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. For standing up rather than ducking.
The truth is, I did what many of us do. I wanted things to work out because that would have been better financially and from a status perspective. The bottom line is I traded my personal safety for my pay cheque and told myself that everything was going to be OK. It was a case of willfull blindness and hope. I believed that people do the right things. That had always been my experience.
I was wrong, and so I had to fight my way to freedom and safety, which I did with a lot of help from a team of professionals. On the "day of emancipation," I thought I would be free to carry on blissfully with my beliefs about the world in tact. I was wrong about that too.
Nothing would ever be the same again. The truth is I changed. My perspective changed. I began again, grateful for this second chance to make a change in my life rather than accepting more of the same.
I created my first company - Lynear Thinking Strategy & Communications Consulting Ltd. - with a focus on private enterprise and small to mid size organizations. I help my clients with strategic planning, communicating strategy and risk management.
In 2013, I created my second company, SKY Publishers Ltd., which publishes SKY Magazine. SKY is dedicated to the those who live in their own vision. I am truly inspired every day by the people who appear on the pages of SKY Magazine. They are my light and the reason that I am proud to publish this magazine.
My yoga practice has helped me to achieve the balance to move forward and live fully each day of my life. I am a fitness instructor and now looking forward to becoming a yoga teacher.
I do what I love now and only what I love. With the publication of this book, my next big adventure is to launch "The Flamingo Project" to inspire a revolution of living in colour so that others can live the most vibrant, healthy life possible.
Some days I wish I could hear the words, "I am sorry" but then I remember that living the best life possible is what makes living life the best.