One of my earliest memories is of the book The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” was read many times to me as a young child. From earliest childhood my parents and extended family instilled this value in me that if you believe you can, have a goal, have people who believe in you, and create an actionable plan, then you can.
So many decades later, when I was an engineer, married, with two children, managing complex projects for IBM Canada Ltd. clients for 12 years straight, I had this drowning feeling that I couldn’t keep up between the demands and needs of my family and professional career.
My day job was finding solutions, and with the right methodology, whether project management, Six Thinking Hats, systems thinking, or software development methods; we were always successful in the end.
My “Aha” moment came when I realized that I could solve any problem I had in life provided I utilized the right methodology. This led me down a path of life coaching, psychology, mindfulness meditation, interpersonal biology, neuroscience, and emotional intelligence.
I now feel a sense of calm, peace and enjoyment I didn’t think was possible with the demands of daily life, including raising teenagers. The ability to articulate at any time what I want, to be able to choose my direction or actions mindfully based on what’s unfolding right now in the present moment (vs. being stuck in the past or future), and to access compassion even when I’m angry is the most practical knowledge I’ve gained. I love sharing those tools with others. Amazingly my personal passion for these tools found a place in my day to day work and I became the Mindfulness Leader for IBM Canada in 2017, the first position of its kind in the company. As part of this work I implemented a national weekly practice and helped setup mindfulness rooms in offices across the country. This was a great opportunity to break new ground and support the mental health and well-being of my colleagues.
It still comes back to what I learned when I was just a few years old from “The Little Engine That Could” — that happiness lies not in how you look, what you have, or your status, but in what you think and how you serve others.
The best feedback I get is when my daughters say “we like Zen-Mommy”. I know these tools have changed my life for the better and for that I’m grateful.