Push Your Boundaries

LEAVE your Comfort Zones

I've always believed those who leave their comfort zones will find an unexpected beauty, a new opportunity, a connection that leads them to something greater. A happiness that is found outside the worlds of mediocrity. 

Traveling has always forced me to push the barriers of comfort and interact in a new way with the world. The nooks and crannies I find, strengthen my sense of curiosity and in return, heighten my creativity. 

If you have the chance, explore a new a place. You don't have to go far. 

Push your boundaries of comfort. 

#SpreadYourAwesome

@Claire.Bouvier

 

 

Putting Yourself Out There

 Phnom Penn, Cambodia Claire Bouvier

Phnom Penn, Cambodia
Claire Bouvier

Want to reach more people?
Expand your brand? Your message? 

BUT

Do you find it hard to put yourself out there?
Are you afraid of what others might think?

If you’ve answered yes, well heck, you’re not alone!

On a regular basis I find myself in situations that make me squirm in discomfort. The fear of the unknown is unnerving. And more times than not, this fear has been created within my own mind.

Over the last few years I have been doing cognitive behavioural therapy. I have started to pay closer attention to my thought processes. It’s incredible that with a little self-discipline we can retrain our thoughts to create healthier mindsets in order for positive outcomes.

In order to do this you truly need to see the value that you bring to the world. Whether it’s on a global platform or within the comforts of your hometown friends, you truly need to appreciate who you are and what you will become. Once you have trained your mind to think in this positive wave, you will then be ready to take on the next chapter of growth.

 

 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Lynda Deszpoth

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Lynda Deszpoth

 

A few tips to help you along the way:

1.     Surround yourself with people that you trust, that challenge you and that are kind

2.     Write down a small goal every morning. Check in at night to see how you did. Slowly build your self confidence. An awesome daily notebook to help you: https://goo.gl/WZggiR

3.     Set an hourly notification on your phone. Take 5 seconds and slow your breathing while saying one positive thing to yourself. Refocus your thinking to a healthy place.  Best time is when you’re brushing your teeth in the mirror.

4.     Be authentic. Tell your story. You have a package that no one else can wrap the same way. Celebrate your strengths and share it in a way that works for you.

5.      Have a sense of humour. Come on we are all a little weird, a little messy, a little crazy, etc. Learn to appreciate and laugh at your humanness. Hey, we’re all in this together after all.

And of course, continue to go out and...

 

#SpreadYourAwesome

 

Not Everyone Likes Pineapple on Their Pizza

Pineapple

A late night chat with one of Kingston’s finest, Sean Kelly, reminded me that not everyone is looking for what you have to offer. Not everyone shares your taste. Not everyone wants a slice of your pineapple pizza.

But, there are people that do. And that is what is important.

Understanding this can profoundly change the role you play in this world.

Do we find some days that we are watering down ourselves just to reach a greater audience? If so, you might risk not reaching anyone.

Over the past year, I have had the chance to work with some incredible innovators and game changers in the creative industries. One thing I have learned is that each one of these leaders shares one thing: authenticity.

They have a beautiful ability to be confident - both personally and publicly - in what they have to offer the world. These individuals of impact have accepted and embraced their blemishes and failures. Yet they continue to push, improve, be grateful and share their process with those that are willing to listen.

These are the people that are spreading their awesome. These are the people that are positivity changing our world.

These people are happy.

We all have something beautiful to share with this world. The hardest part is to recognize it but, once you do, your life will change. It will be blooming with opportunities and other pineapple people ☺ !

 

Get out there friends and #SpreadYourAwesome

I Love You

 #BellLetsTalk

#BellLetsTalk

I remember when I was 5, I would cry at the kitchen table before going to bed.  I was scared that I would never wake up and miss out on everything in life.

 

What a sad and silly thing for a five year old to think, right? However, I have realized over time that these worries at a young age are normal but they can easily manifest into bigger things, bigger problems when we get older… UNLESS we learn to admit and embrace these worries, embrace these struggles, embrace who we are at the very core. Let’s be honest, we all have a little mess. We all have our battles. We all have our misfortunes. We all have moments of loneliness. We all have hurts somewhere tucked away.

 

To my family, friends, therapists, counsellors and mentors, you have given me strategies and tools to take life one day at a time. But most importantly, it has been your love that has been the greatest gift of all. Thank you.

 

So, today and everyday, make a special goal to embrace your pains and allow yourself to be open to others’ love in your life. Rejecting suffering will only make your pains stronger. 

Together let’s talk. 

You are never alone.


I love you.


#BellLetsTalk
#SpreadYourAwesome

happy days

 Cambodia

Cambodia

How is that those with so little are so happy?

 

We might not have what we want or what we think we deserve. Let your mind leave those thoughts and choose to focus on the awesomeness of your life. Celebrate in the simple yet beautiful parts of your day. Be grateful for what you DO have and share it with those around you.

Happy Saturday! 

 Thailand

Thailand

#SpreadYourAwesome

Once Upon a Time

 Abandoned Farms  

Abandoned Farms  

There may be days when you feel like this abandoned farm. 

There may be days when you feel alone.

There may be days when everything seems to be falling apart.

 

But remember it is through these struggles that we find our strength to overcome our obstacles and discover solutions. Solutions that will beautifully impact the next chapter of our lives.

Embrace the fallen down farms in your life and continue to find and share your awesome with the people around you this weekend!

Getting Lost in the City

I've left home for a while and am currently working, traveling and soaking up the beauty of Belgium...

Follow my adventures here on INSTAGRAM @claire.bouvier + @clairebouvierphotography

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
— Saint Augustine

Choose to Change

  Photo + Body Art by Tasha Proud Photography

Photo + Body Art by Tasha Proud Photography

Death, heart breaks and others’ misfortunes can take a major toll on our lives. The sadness and disappointment can make it almost impossible to be motivated to celebrate any of the good things. Last week was a particularly hard one for me – despite all the wonderful moments. It’s incredible how easily the sadness and loneliness can creep in and demotivate you. Weaken you. It’s hard not to play victim and think that the world has it out for you.

There will be sad times but we do not have to be sad people.

We have a choice to stay sad. We have a choice do something about it. I have a wonderful mentor in my life that would always say, “Don’t wait until you feel like doing something. Do something to change the way you feel”.

So simple yet so hard.
But oh, so effective.

There will be ups and downs and more ups and then downs. But remember, we are human and we are all in this together. We’re here to help one another. Thank you to all the beautiful souls in my life that continue to remind me of this.

Continue to spread your awesome and know that you are truly awesome! 

 

Traveling on a Budget

It's all about getting outside your comfort zone, jumping in the car and driving down the road. You will discover some of the greatest adventures right in your very own country... AND on a low budget! 

I am so grateful to have spent a weekend with a group of wonderful women as we explored and enjoyed Montreal on a budget. 

Continue to be creative, curious and remember to keep spreading your awesome!

#spreadyourawesome

 

Ask Yourself the Right Questions

 

Do you get nervous before an interview?

 

As I was getting ready today to head to my interview with the local TV station, I started to think about what it is that helps me prep for an interview. Above is a stream of thoughts as I bumbled through my afternoon to get ready.  

Thank you CKWS for spreading so much local love! 

Something on the other Side

Accepting the Here and Now

It's easy to drown in worry about what we think we might not find and yet so hard to let go of what we think we've lost.

Keep moving forward. 
Push through.
There is something on the other side.

Keep careful watch.

There will be magic.

 

After the Darkness

 Child in the Streets of Cambodia

Child in the Streets of Cambodia

The night is quiet. 

The streets are empty. 

But I cannot sleep.

As the rain pit patters on my window, I find myself unsettled in the darkness. My mind is exhausted with thoughts and images of today's tragic attacks. The sadness of Brussels weighs heavily in my safe and quiet loft. 

My heart feels heavy.

Maybe yours does too. 

Social media platforms and news outlets continue to push content and bombard with updates. It becomes overwhelming. You might feel helpless and confused.
I do. 

Questions lead to a place of blame. Blame leads to resentment and then what? 
I don't know.

In the quiet hours though, I have come to learn that despite the destruction and disaster, there needs to be hope. Where there is hope, there is love. If we stop hoping, we kill the light. And then love grows cold. We grow cold.

And more than anything, love needs faith. The foundation of truth. If we have faith that there is good, we will find in ourselves an abundance of hope. 

As you read this, feel the weight of tragedy and embrace its pain. But hold onto your hope. Have faith there is good
and love.

Love.










 

Super Team Secrets

 Secrets to the Super Team

Secrets to the Super Team

The Two Secrets to Create your SUPER Team
both at home and work

 Why is it that Google has been ranked by Fortune as one of America’s top workplaces? What is it that makes a place like Canada’s Shopify so desirable to work at?

Workplaces like google and shopify are considered some of the top places to work because they dedicate a lot of attention, money and time to “people’s analytics”. They are always trying to increase workplace happiness and productivity.

In the last few years, I’ve been particularly interested in learning about the studies conducted for optimal workplace happiness and productivity. Perhaps you’re reading this and feel completely disconnected from the office worlds such as google and shopify and that’s okay! However, the results from these amazing studies can also be applied to your personal life and to your home life.

Imagine if I could tell you right now the two secrets to having the best team, the best family, and the best relationship? Well, heck, here we go…
 

Psychologists over the last ten years have devoted special attention to answering the question, what makes a “SUPER TEAM?”. You might be assuming it would be comprised of superstar individuals but interestingly enough, not at all. According to Duhigg's book Smarter, Faster, Better the super team is essentially composed of average people that work collectively in order to take their individual “averageness” to team “superstar-NESS”.

 To have a super team you need the following:

1) A SHARED VOICE  

2) A SOCIAL SENSITIVITY

 The Claire Closet Camp

The Claire Closet Camp

A Shared Voice

Any team can become a SUPER team when every person has equal speaking time. This is important because each person needs time to be validated and respected. Their speaking time provides individuals to share their thoughts without feeling embarrassed or the fear of being punished. When there is an imbalance of talking time, team members become isolated and others become less respected. However, when each team member has the chance to speak, there is equilibrium and a shared vulnerability that effectively fuels the camaraderie in order for the SUPER TEAM to form.

 Social Sensitivity

The second secret to the SUPER team is when team members share a heightened sense of social sensitivity. This means that you can easily read others’ facial expressions and react appropriately in that moment. Being socially sensitive is a powerful tool. For example, if you can sense someone is feeling left out or confused, those with a heighted social sensitivity would notice and subtly give him or her the attention and encouragement needed for them to feel validated and respected. When you have a team of empathetic individuals there will always be a subtle, yet driving force of needed harmony.

Have you ever heard of The Reading the Mind in the Eyes test? This test developed by Professor Cohen at Cambridge University and has the ability to see if you are able to read the emotions of others. “The ability to read the emotions of others is linked to social intelligence which, in turn, is linked to performance on team-based problem solving tasks.” Take the test and see where you score: http://socialintelligence.labinthewild.org/mite/

 Queens University Soccer Team

Queens University Soccer Team

REMEMBER the most important point is that THE TEAM LEADER must set the example. If the team notices your vulnerability and empathy towards your team members, it will be positively echoed by your teammates.

So, if you want to create your SUPER TEAM.

1.     Give each member EQUAL SPEAKING TIME

2.     Encourage your team to become more AWARE OF OTHERS’ FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

Like anything awesome, it cannot happen overnight. However, start to nurture this newfound ideology in the teams that you are a part of. Overtime, I will guarantee there will be a little more awesome coming your way both in your work and home life.

Let me know how it goes and keep spreading your awesome!

Motivation for a Monday

 Motivation for a Monday

Motivation for a Monday

Are you just waiting to die?

Or

Are you aspiring to become someone better before you die?

Early this morning, I made it to my home gym and sleepily jumped on a bike. Instead of music, I decided to peddle and listen to Charles Duhigg’s new book Smarter, Faster, Better. Both enlightening and inspiring!

If you are feeling like you are just trudgin’ through life with no purpose or motivation, read on. Take hold of this week and bring back the awesome it deserves! 

1.    Do you have any control in your work life?

Your motivation will exponentially increase when you have some control in the work you are doing. The idea of knowing you can make a change will motivate you to be better.

2.    Do you ask yourself WHY before you start a task?

When you need to accomplish a task (big or small), ask yourself why you are doing it. This process will link your small task to larger aspirations. This linkage will motivate and inspire you to do it with light feet and maybe even a smile.

3.    Do you surround yourself with people that inspire you?

When you surround yourself with inspiring people, they will set a higher bar of expectation. They will motivate you to be a better person. Soon enough you will be that person to someone else.

4.    Do you set goals for yourself?

Try and give yourself two minutes on Friday to set goals for the following week. You can do this on your own, with your family, in your relationships etc. Take ownership of your week. Having set goals will give you a focus that will simplify your busy brain and give meaning to your week.

If we don’t know our choices are meaningful then we start to drift off the path. We need to constantly ask ourselves WHY. Questioning the small tasks will give value to our emotional well being and eventually impact the greater world out there. Your self-motivation will continue to flourish.

Take control this week, ask yourself WHY and SPREAD YOUR AWESOME in the small tasks of life. Thanks Mr. Duhigg for the inspiration. 

Here’s a big hug.
Happy Monday,

Claire

Rock the REAL.

chiang mai

 

When we make the conscious decision to accept ourselves just as we are then the awesome of life begins!

So much time is wasted on focusing on our defects, limitations, and fears. Sometimes we might even convince ourselves that we don’t deserve to be loved. All this thinking and worrying is dangerous and will exhaust us. Eventually it could blind us from accomplishing the awesome.

The secret to more energy is accepting ourselves simply as we are.

This might be one of the toughest challenges of your personal life. It is for many. Particularly myself. I couldn’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with my mother, my therapists and dear friends about the importance of truly accepting myself. That includes ALL the blemishes and the beauties. Once we remove this worry, a huge weight is lifted. And this is where we will discover a newfound energy and appreciation for life.

Sometimes we refuse to admit our defects and weaknesses. We hope they might simply disappear or they won’t cause us too much pain. But eventually they do.

If we cannot accept ourselves it will be hard to accept others. And this is a tough and lonely life to live.

Today’s standards of being successful can easily weigh us down when we are constantly trying to keep up in our online and offline worlds. It can be particularly damaging if we pretend to be what we are not.

So, start by thinking differently! Start talking to yourself. The REAL you. This is so important. Keep your good sense of humor, it will be so much more fun.

As I write this here at the Hong Kong airport, I’m still laughing at what happened earlier this morning. I obliviously stepped onto a moving walkway (flat escalator) while it was moving the opposite way! Before I realized what happened, I was thrown backwards (backpack and all) and a whistle was blown to alert me by the security staff (too late!). The busy Hong Kong travelers all stopped and stared. Despite my utter embarrassment, I knew I had to appreciate this moment and at least laugh at how I managed to not see the gigantic sign in front of me…

It’s so important that we learn to accept, love and celebrate our REAL selves. Remember, love is free! Start by loving the awesome you and this will gush into the world around you.   

Today, I’d like to give all the women in my life a big hug. Continue to accept the awesome YOU and spread that to those around you. Remember, we’re all on the same team. Let’s work together. Let’s WIN together!

Happy International Women’s Day from the hustle bustle of Hong Kong!

 

Feel it All


Today, with shaky hands and tears of joy, the Vietnamese woman beside me gave birth on the flight from Saigon to Da Nang, Vietnam. 

Jetstar. Row 5, Seat 6C.

I heard the flight attendant nervously request for any medical physicians to immediately come to the front of the plane. Frozen in awe, excitement and nervousness, I watched a doctor and two nurses miraculously emerge from their seats and move quickly up to where I was sitting. Despite the language barrier, they seamlessly took on the roles needed to smoothly deliver a baby as the plane descended. The Vietnamese flight attendants were magical. It was their swiftness and gentle demeanor that calmed the Vietnamese mother and everyone on the plane.  The doctor and two nurses worked like clockwork knowing exactly what needed to be done. The mother was so brave and strong as she gave all her trust to the medical team. I was so proud to be a part of the rawness and beauty of human nature. A true moment of international love to be celebrated.

As the mother bravely went into labor, I kept my eyes dancing in the fluffy white clouds while I ferociously prayed for this little miracle to arrive safely. Within thirty-five minutes, I heard a hard little cry. A beautiful little Vietnamese baby was born on flight #590. The plane erupted in applause. I scanned the plane to see hundreds of beautiful people smiling and embracing one another as we shared this incredible moment of joy. It was then I looked over to the sweet little Vietnamese mother as she cradled her newborn. I caught her eye. Weakly she smiled at me and peacefully bowed her head.  A moment I will cherish forever.

Ironically enough, the book that I was reading just before take off, opened with a quote from the bible: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die.”

Well, today was a time for birth all right. The awesome that erupted on the plane today was a magical moment for everyone. I want to thank those that respected the mother and quietly gave the space needed for the medical team.

A photograph or a video will never be able to truly capture the beauty and rawness of all life’s precious moments. So it is in times like this, I ask you to appreciate the moment for what it is. Quietly celebrate the little miracles.        

And, feel it all.   

Find Your Freedom

 

Solitude can be incredibly therapeutic. Lately I’ve dedicated time to thinking, reading and contemplating on the many mysteries of life. However, sometimes the loneliness creeps in and weighs me down. But it’s been in these lonely moments that have challenged my sense of freedom and has provided me with revelations and comforting perspectives of what it is to be truly free.

We live in a world where we have so many options within our social, political and economic realms. It’s natural to think that the more options you have in your life, the more freer you will be and therefore, happier. If we just have more job options, more vacation options, more house buying options we will be freer. Infinite lifestyle options can be a wonderful thing until we start to become afraid of choosing the wrong option. We are scared to commit. And when we stop choosing to commit, we stop living and growing.

I like what J. Phillips writes in his book on interior freedom. He says, “one cannot become free unless one accepts not always being free”.

There are times in our lives where we are dealt unfavorable situations. We did not have the opportunity to choose. But if we learn to embrace these weights of loneliness, heartbreaks, tragedy, anxiety and so forth, we will open up a new and beautiful part of who we are. Creating this new peaceful space in your interior life will unravel a magic and a wonderful sense of true freedom. This will also allow you to open your heart so you can receive unlimited amounts of awesomeness. 

Give yourself the awesomeness you deserve. 

Find your freedom at the end of this February. Tune into your interior and embrace it this week.

When you can, share this new found awesome with the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fancy a Funny Face?

 Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta

This beautiful man in the photo works incredibly long days working on the Mekong.  Every time I looked back at him, he would respond with a funny face despite how exhausted he was. His cheerfulness was beautifully contagious.

Perhaps the world is pushing and pulling you in different directions.

Life feels topsy turvy. 

Nothing seems to make sense. And you're exhausted.

Take a breath.                 (but actually)       

And make a funny face. Look in the mirror and make a ridiculous face.

Suggestion: Best to warm up to the idea when you're brushing your teeth.

It's so easy to get caught in the present moment. So give yourself a reset. Make a funny face. At the very least, you'll make yourself laugh and loosen the tense muscles in your face.

Give life a little bit of goofy. 

Make that funny face and spread that awesome.