Goal setting is, and always has been, a daunting challenge for me. Some of my friends thrive on to-do lists, five-year and ten-year life goals and life-affirming mantras…that has never been me even though I have admired that personality-type from afar. Sometimes I avoid setting goals because I really, really despise failing and I’ve tasted defeat a few too many times. Sometimes I set goals and do achieve them but not in the time or manner that I intended to achieve them. Sometimes the Universe laughs at my goals, picks me up off my path and sets me down in a whole new world where I have to figure out what my goals should even be.
I know that not all of you will relate to me on this. That’s okay, a few of you will and there is something very important that I want to share with you. Something that not only inspired me in the moment but has stuck with me day after day for this last part of 2016.
Recently, I went to an event hosted by TD for professional women in Calgary. You might think that an event for women who are looking to invest their hard-earned money would be either completely boring or over-the-top in a pinked-out and glittery, Pinterest sort of way. After all, companies often miss the mark when trying to identify with women.
We don’t all like pink, or crafting, and we are also not all power-suit wearing executives–we are as different from each other as the fingerprints on our hands and sometimes even different from our own selves just the day before.
To my pleasant surprise, I arrived at the event to find a good spread of food, some wine and cocktails, and about a hundred and fifty women from all walks of life. Sandy Cimoroni, President of TD Mutual Funds, spoke about the programs intentions to educate women investors and provide them with more holistic financial advisory relationship – one that is based on setting and achieving life goals rather than simply hitting a financial benchmark. Then came the moment we were all waiting for, Sandy introduced the keynote speaker, Amanda Lindhout.
Let me back up a bit. Earlier that week I told my friend that I was going to a TD event to hear Amanda Lindhout speak. Ryan’s eyes got big as he asked if I had read her book, A House In The Sky, and insisted that I read it first. My week was crammed with work and motherhood but late one night when I couldn’t sleep, I bought and read it on my Kindle app. Read the entire book in one night, that is how riveting it was, and then could not stop thinking about Amanda and her story.
In my line of work/hobby, there are many events that I have the honour and privilege of attending. I love a good time and a party but this speaking event tops all the other events I have been at because of how amazing and inspiring Amanda is. I literally couldn’t even speak properly when I asked for a picture with her afterward because it is so hard to look at her and know everything she went through and yet it is beautiful to look at her and see the strength, compassion and dignity that a human is capable of through insanely horrific experiences.
There is no way I could ever do justice to reviewing A House In The Sky or telling Amanda’s story. It is her story and a very personal one at that. I will however, highly recommend that everyone read her book and if possible, go hear her speak. I would like to share the most powerful message that I walked away with.
The overarching theme in Amanda’s talk was one of forgiveness. She speaks of it as a lifestyle and a journey. Once you are familiar with her story, you know that, for her, setting a goal to live a life of forgiveness is equivalent to the most challenging goal that any human could ever set. Injustices and hard times in my life pale in comparison to, scratch that, there is no comparison to what has been done to her. And yet, Amanda managed to connect with everyone in the room. A room full of women who listened in silence, tears in our eyes as this young woman spoke with wisdom and grace about her breaking point and how it was in that painful moment of breaking that she saw her world and those around her in a light that enabled her to have compassion where there should seemingly be no compassion.
The revelation of finding your survival in your breaking moment is still working on me, convicting me, inspiring me but what I really want to share is something she said about her continued journey of forgiveness. Amanda said that she begins every new day by the simple act of making sure her feet are pointed in the right direction, the direction of forgiveness. Whether or not she gets there every day is not the point, or the challenge. It’s the reorientation, the resetting of intentions in the morning that is the challenge and some days she does get there at the end of the day.
That is something any of us can do and the reminder of that is like a deep breath of fresh air for me in the midst of the tight, stressed out breathing that I do so much these days.
Point my feet in the right direction.
Set my direction towards kindness and patience and love.
Set my feet toward the next success in business, toward the next success in motherhood, toward becoming more of the person I want to be.
TD definitely did their homework before launching this program and they didn’t “pink it up” or streamline to a certain type of woman. TD figured out that in spite of our many different desires and approaches to goal setting, we all want to be prepared for personal and financial transitions in life and whether you find that overwhelming or invigorating…just set your feet in the right direction and reset them again the next morning.
This post was sponsored by TD Bank Group and the Your Story, Your Future program but the pleasure was all mine. Thank you, TD, for this opportunity and for what you are bringing to the women in our communities across Canada!