Book Club, Grounding, Happiness, The Projects

The Great Maternity Leave Book Club: Wayne Dyer’s Being in Balance

Why Read This?  Because starting everyday with beautiful lessons from the greats will set you up for a shift in your perspective.  This is what we need to achieve lasting success.

Reading time:  2 minutes

Think of a balance scale with one side weighted down and the other side up, like a teeter-totter with an obese child on one end and a healthy child on the other. In this case, the heavy end that tips the scale out of balance is the overweight child representing your everyday behaviors: the work you do, the place where you reside, the people with whom you interact, your geographic location, the books you read, the movies you see, and the conversations that fill up your life. It’s not that any of these things are bad in and of themselves. The imbalance exists because they’re unhealthy for your particular life—they simply don’t mesh with what you’ve imagined yourself to be.

This excerpt is from Wayne Dyer’s being in balance and is one of the first things I work on with coaching clients.  You must understand what their story is, where they are coming from, what their perspective is, and what they are surrounded by in their everyday life that has caused them to gain emotional, mental or physical weight, that has put the teeter-totter out of balance.

To begin working toward a better, more fruitful life, you must have a clear image of the child up on the other side.  This is obviously best case scenario and life is never going to be perfect.  To balance out the teeter totter you can work towards the lighter child – and also lose some of the weight from your heavy child.


I liked this analogy; it was simple to understand and apply to my life, and is one of the highlighted sections of this book.

I sat down and had a good hard think about what creates my “heavy child” and who my “light child” is.

Things that create my “heavy child”

-Project / admin oriented duties at my ft job

-Staying up late to get alone time then feeling fatigued the next day

-Overconsumption of coffee

-Overconsumption of “treats”

-Not getting outside enough / lack of exercise

-Social media feeds that have no relevance or benefit to me

-Surface level conversations

-Reading articles about parenting that cause fear, caution or cause me to question my techniques



Things that create my “light child”

-Coaching oriented duties at my ft job

-Early nights and early mornings

-Moderation of coffee & lots of water

-Gluten free eating

-Outdoors trail running and strength work

-Reading books

-Being inspired by bloggers with great outdoor family life activities

-Deeper, interesting and inspiring conversations



Think about your own maternity leave.  What is your heavy child? What is your light child?  Have you read any Wayne Dyer and what, in his works, has stood out to you and impacted your own life?  I’d love to hear in the comments.


Happiness, Physical Wellness, The Projects

The Great Maternity Leave Projects: Workout in a Playground

Why you Should Read This:  Because if you did TEN standing pushups  on a piece of playground equipment or bench, each time you went out with your little one, at the end of the year you will have done ONE THOUSAND PUSHUPS in a year.

Reading time:  Less than 2 minutes


Seriously.  The little pieces add up.

Assuming you go out twice a week for a walk with your stroller, or take your older child to a park:  If you did TEN movements in the playground or on a park bench by the end of the year you would have completed approx. 1000 reps of that movement.  Isn’t that bonkers?

And TEN squats takes less than 10 seconds (!)  You can do it in any clothes, anywhere.


There is SO MUCH Strength and Motivation that Comes from Such a Small Action.

On the Great Maternity Leave I am constantly preaching the SMALL actions that add up over time.  Not only for their cumulative effect, but also because they get you into a success mindset.  The GML is also about breaking out of routine with little, do-able actions that are easy to remember.   Lululemon preaches “going from mediocrity to greatness” – this small, easy add-on to your day falls in line with that mindset.

If you do something like this at a park, what spillover effects may it have in your life ? What extra boosts might you add to your day?

Most parents I see at the playground are one of two kinds:  Playing with their kid on the equipment, or sitting on the bench checking their iPhone.   Let’s add a 3rd category.  

What if we put a dumbell into the base of our stroller even just once.

We’ll always remember that walk, the one where we broke away from an average day – the one where we put in a few shoulder presses at the halfway point.  Those days burn into your memory and boost up your motivation bank.

Did you know there’s an entire range of quick, easy exercises out there you can do?
I like the Nerd Fitness Playground Workout (link posted below) but really, you can do any bodyweight exercise in the playground.  Start with a few squats and standing pushups off of the equipment.  Take a dumbell or resistance band in your stroller.  And share with me when you broke out of your daily routine.  Seriously.  I’d love to hear.


Coming soon, I will post an FB video showing you some movements you can do.


It might seem a bit embarrassing at first, but what is the worst that could happen?  Another mum will come up to you and tell you you are amazing or inspiring.  Try it sometime, I bet someone will come up to you and say that.


The Nerd Fitness Playground Workout


Book Club, Happiness, Life Hacks, Nutrition, Organization, Productivity, The Projects

The Great Maternity Leave Projects:  Never Forget to Take Vitamins – Using Charles Duhigg’s Book The Power of Habit

Yes ,this one is straight from the original GML Project list in my lovely little journal, which I have kept to this day.  It was one of the first tasks I undertook and it really has a soft spot in my heart.

In order to accomplish this, I had to buckle down and study the science behind habit and really dig into psychology.  Little did I know that reading this book would change my morning routines forever.


I was on a plane to London England, and picked up this book at the airport (I believe books choose YOU so I always buy them when I am travelling or randomly in a bookstore.)  I just happened to be thinking about creating a multivitamin “habit” and boom, come across this.  Sometimes the universe is not so subtle.


I highly recommend this book and if you do not have the time to read the whole thing, cover to cover, Charles Duhigg has a very comprehensive website.  You can also use the amazing app Blinkist to read all of the latest releases in 15 minutes or less (what I do!)

What really nails Duhigg’s points home, are the examples.  I started a book club section on the Great Maternity Leave Project, and will be following up with a more detailed big post on this book and what I took from it for maternity leave.

(Most of the books I read involve business examples – but they are easily translatable to maternity leave, so that’s what I do for you! )


So how did I manage to hack my own brain’s habit loops and make the multi-vitamin as automatic as having a coffee in the morning?


Our brains are very intelligent and will make as many routines as possible a habit, so that can dedicate most of its energy to sorting through information and thinking through tasks like decision making and critical analysis.

So when you get up and do routine things, make a coffee or tea, habit.  When you check your phone.  Habit.

Habits get taken over by an older, deeper part of the brain. Did you know that? Me neither.

That is why bad habits are so hard to break. 

That’s why this book was so fascinating.  I liked the smart science and research in it.


But we are talking about forming good habits here.

Pick a habit you already have, a routine which is almost automatic for you – you wind up doing it subconsciously.

For me it’s coffee, for sure.  It’s literally the first thing I do after I put on my housecoat.   It’s automatic. I go to the kitchen, get the grinder going, assemble my aeropress and we’re off to the races (or blogging in my case.)


Duhigg Proposes the Habit Loop.

Cue + Routine/Habit + Reward

So, I decided to

1.) Hack the Loop

2.)  Anchor the habit to another good one I have.


Here’s how I did it.

Cue:  Getting out of bed & feeling tired

Routine/Habit:  Coffee cup on table. Making coffee before anything else

Reward:  Coffee + I love relaxing with my coffee and writing.  Both enjoyable  (I linked those two habits at an earlier stage.)


Remember, the habit I wanted to build was to add multivitamins to my day.


I anchored it by having my multis RIGHT BESIDE my aeropress / coffee maker.  The visual cue could just NOT be ignored.  And I know I will NEVER forget to have coffee.  So by anchoring multivitamins to coffee, I know they will never be forgotten.


I thought about how powerful the coffee habit loop is, that I have above.  So I decided to use the same loop principles.


Cue:  Getting out of bed & feeling tired “I need coffee.”

Routine/Habit:  Coffee cup on table. Making coffee before anything else

Reward:  Coffee + I love relaxing with my coffee and writing.  Both enjoyable  (I linked those two habits at an earlier stage.)


Cue:  Getting out of bed & feeling tired “I need coffee.”  Addition:  I did research on how having healthy micro and phytonutrients helps with energy ,and began to reframe them as another form of “coffee” for my body.  I began to use feeling tired as a cue for good nutritional practices.  I also looked at nutrient depletion in post-partum women to strengthen my resolve to rebuild my body’s stores.  

Routine/Habit:  Coffee cup on table. Making coffee before anything else.  Addition:  I put my multi-vitamins in a cute little le creuset espresso cup, right beside my coffee cup! Taking them happens before anything else, AND I get a nice glass of water in before hitting the coffee.  

Reward:  Coffee + I love relaxing with my coffee and writing.  Both enjoyable  (I linked those two habits at an earlier stage.)   Addition:  Meh.  There’s no intrinsic reward to taking fish oil and glucosamine sulfate and multis…  so this one not so much.  But the other TWO stages were hacked.


And that my friends, is how I NEVER forgot to take a multi-vitamin again.


While you are on the topic, you might enjoy this read on hacking your morning “energy” and mindset – by by shifting your Instagram or Social Media habits.  


Essays, Happiness, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Physical Wellness

The Great Maternity Leave Projects: Take the Lone Wolf Approach to Workouts

Reading time:  4 minutes

Why you should read this:  You will walk away with a newfound appreciation of why you should workout alone + increase your odds of “Getting it done.”


So often we hear about overcoming the isolation of maternity leave by doing things with friends, family, acquaintances, etc. but I am strongly in favour of the lone wolf approach for one thing in particular:  Getting your workout groove back on.

Both maternity leaves I have been known for getting back on the workout groove quickly & easily (nutrition is another thing lol) and it is because I always, always take the lone wolf approach to working out.  Then, workouts or activities with friends are cherries on top.

Today I am going to use super, duper simple math to explain it.

Let’s Create your Equation

Take me. I am “1.”   I want to workout.

Write it down.  1.  You are #1.

Obstacle Assessment.  

In my world I am very aware of the obstacles that get in the way.  Here are common things that top me from going out for out for a run or workout.

1.)  I just ate

2.) Lots of things on my to do list that day

3.)  I “feel” tired

4.)  Too logistically complicated (handing off 2x kids their nap schedules etc.)

What are the big ones for you? How many are there that regularly trip you up?

The Equation

We are going to turn this into a fraction.

Here is me. Let’s call me “1.”

My likelihood of working out can be reduced by “4” common obstacles in my world.

So let’s write that as an equation. 1/4


Where on Earth are you Going With This Carina?!

Stay with me, seriously, it’s EASY math. Nothing overwhelming.

A lot of us rely on friends to boost / motivate / get us up and moving.

This is why this is a really bad strategy on mat leave:

Your friend also has obstacles that come up in her day.  Let’s take a few.

  1.  Younger baby with erratic nap times / moods
  2. She too is pretty exhausted
  3. How body is feeling (C-Section)
  4. Baby feedings schedule

So put hers into a fraction as well.   1/4.

1 person’s likelihood of working out reduced by 4 obstacles that come up.


So… let’s say that you both manage to set up a date and time to workout.  Lingering in the background is your equation, 1/4 and her equation 1/4.  Since both of you are meeting at the same time and place to work out (a feat in itself with babies) there are now eight things that may crop up as an obstacle.

So now, we are looking at the probability of a “friends workout” reduced by eight different obstacles.  Not a good equation for a workout.  You want to do everything in your power to reduce that equation!

As soon as you add people with their own lives + schedules + babies into the picture, your probability of working out dramatically goes down.  It’s too risky a way to get back on the workout train.

You must learn to fall in love with working out on your own, and get your own thing going. Then, when things do workout and your friends join you, it is the absolute cherry on top – an enjoyable boost.  Working out with friends is the best.  So have it as something occasional you look forward to!


Use Instagram as a Personal Trainer

Instagram has some AWESOME accounts set up by fit mums (yes, you will have to see 6 packs 1 year post partum lol) that use home objects + home workouts.

I use it all the time for creative ideas.  You can even do a challenge where you have to do whatever comes up on your instagram feed when you have some downtime.  

You do have to get past the super spammy nature of their accounts because they are all hustling e-books and guides… so just ignore the comments and focus on getting creative ideas from the videos for microworkouts.





I talked before about filtering your social media so that all incoming information is set up to support the goals you have; this is a great way to try out this practice! Set up healthy eating, fitness, motivational quotes, etc. so that all of these motivators are rolling in.

Any searching on google will return you lots of programs, plans, ideas for example Jamie Eason’s Post-Pregnancy 12 week program.  I didn’t buy / download this one but at 6 months post partum I started using a lot of the movements.

So there we go, embrace your inner lone wolf (you kinda feel like one anyways on maternity leave lol) and hit those workouts.

Set up yourself up for a probability of success + create your own workout power.

Don’t wait for others, or rely on others to boost you.

Strength and lasting motivation come from the inside.

Essays, Free Life Coaching Guides, Happiness, Learning, Personal Development

The Great Maternity Leave Essays: How to Become Deeply Inspired and Motivated

Why you should read this: I share with you an extremely important practice that the most productive, fulfilled and “switched on” people use. I use the analogy of a childrens’ toy you all know and love. This essay will inspire you to curate your social media, filter incoming information and engage in the pursuit of inspiring, motivational growth.

Reading time: 4 minutes.

Sometimes when I create images and typography to use as my featured image, it’s frustrating, because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to convey a lifetime of learning into one picture and a title, so my deepest hope is that somehow, some part of this essay today resonates with you.


Become Your Own Gatekeeper

There are thousands of social media platforms + people + organizations scrabbling for our attention.

If you think about it, you scroll through your Facebook news feed.  You whip down through all of the status updates, photos, sponsored links at a fast speed.  Imagine if we had commercials going at the same speed as we have scrolling on facebook going?  It would be madness. I would probably not be able to handle TV, period.  But when we scroll through social media it’s coming at us hard and fast. BOOM BOOM BOOM.  LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME! (coming at you from all corners.)

I’ll write sometime my thoughts about this fascinating “speed” of incoming information, but what I want to focus on is the volume and sources of information.

I am constantly talking about how precious and valuable your time is on maternity leave, because the structure of your free time has shifted and morphed.

Your time is now worth thousands of dollars an hour.  Advertisers know it.

When you casually sit down, pull out your phone and go on to social media, you hae just given air time to all of those posts, people, things competing for your attention.

Rather than being a passive recipient of information, we should become active curators.

Two months ago I sat down and thought about the messages, information, photos and people who line up with the goals I currently have, and the vision I have for my life.

Then, I spent about 2 hours unfollowing on facebook, instagram and twitter.  Then, I spent an hour specifically curating my feeds so that the only inflow on social media were things that support, inspire or motivate me to achieve my goals and mission.  Unrelated feeds, “distractors” went out of the window.  Any source of information that was unhelpful (or in some cases, even harmful, was gone.  ESPECIALLY those zillions of accounts out there that use fear & warnings to get you to click on their articles.  Parenting magazines, social media accounts know that fear is easy bait for a parent and they can hook you.)

Find Blogs, Podcasts, Pinterest Posts, Quotes, Tweets, Instagrams that inspire you.

Your job is to become a curator of inspiration.

Where many people go wrong, is they do it one or twice, make a pinterest board, save some quotes, and occasionally remember to find things that inspire them.

What the “greats” do is listen, view or read something EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

They also do it first thing in the morning, to set their energy levels for the day.


So Why Do you Have a Childrens’ Toy on Your Featured Image?

Because it’s a constant effort and a constant hunt for inspiration. There are so, so many great voices and accounts out there. And the true reward is in the hunt. Each podcast that you find, website that you enjoy following, influencer that you like will boost you up a little bit more.

But you have to find the right fit for you.

When famed author & motivational speaker // influencer Wayne Dyer passed away, his family & estate made his entire library of works available online for a vastly reduced price. Last year, I downloaded his entire collection of books onto my kindle to read, while I was feeding my baby at night (this is a daily practice for me.)

I had heard about him constantly as I was finishing my professional ontological coach training.  He made wonderful points, but his writing style and language just didn’t land with me.   I was trying to fit a triangle toy into a square hole, just like the image on this post.

So I kept searching. I looked at what other people read on Amazon, read reviews and spent some money “investing in myself.”  I hold the view that for the price of a latte, I may find a book that change my life and the way I think.

A few months later I came across the works of Brian Tracy.  I had first been exposed to him while working at Lululemon as an Educator (one of  but at that time I just wasn’t ready for his philosophies and advice.
Curious, I downloaded his book on Self-Confidence.



The book had a profound impact on me.  Every page, every section I thought “Yes!  Yes!  I agree!  I do this!” – it was incredibly validating and educational.  It nailed home practices that I thought were unimportant and it motivated me even more to make them daily habits.

In my enthusiasm, I raved about Brian Tracy and his book to a few people I knew.  I was very suprised that they weren’t as enthusiastic about Brian Tracy as they were about Wayne Dyer.

I realized I had just fit a square, into my square hole, but they were holding triangles.

We all have different shaped toys & different shaped holes to fit them into.  Keep searching.  Keep reading.  Keep trying out different philosophies and thinkers and inspiring people out.  For every 5 shapes that don’t fit, one is going to fit perfectly and profoundly influence you.

Think about someone or something that shifted the way you see your world.  Shifted the way you act, the way you think.  Remember how powerful that moment was? When it was almost like you could hear an audible “click” as your universe shifted + made sense in a new way?

Imagine having that happen every month while on maternity leave.

Your brain is currently in a gorgeous state of growth & activity.  New neural connections and pathways are being formed every single day.

It is like a sponge, learning and absorbing new information as you learn about this little human being, as you learn about your new role.

Right now, all sorts of new slots are appearing on your little toy box – so go out there and start collecting shapes, and start trying to fit them in the holes.  Soon you will have a beautiful toy, with colourful shapes fitting into each slot.

You know the look on your childs’ face when they finally fit a shape into a hole?  That look of knowledge and accomplishment and excitement?  


That is exactly, EXACTLY what you will experience.


Knowledge & inspiration are amazing “toys” to play with.  They will never wear out.  They will never become boring.  They become a permanent part of you.  You can share those toys – but nobody can ever take them away from you. 

Grounding, Happiness, Life Hacks, The Projects

The Great Maternity Leave Projects: Using Instagram to Boost Happiness

Why you should read this:  Instagram can be an extremely powerful way to boost happiness. I share with you a daily technique that is not discussed anywhere, yet is a daily practice that the most successful people have.  I’ve creeped their instagrams.  And I also share a mindset shift when it comes to setting up good vibes for your day.

Reading time:  Less than 5 minutes



Most articles we see online deal with the evils of social media, and how they can make you feel worse.  I do believe that comparison is the thief of joy and that you should be the gatekeeper of what flows into your iphone or computer screen.  I wrote about the benefits of a digital detox, too.  However, what nobody talks about is how you can actually harness social media and make it work for YOU.

I am going to share a technique today that has made a huge impact on both of my maternity leaves.   It started as a project and is now a daily habit.  So many people talk about starting a gratitude list in a journal but honestly, on mat leave, it has been super tough to do that – even though I journal every single day.  So, I decided to export this practice to instagram.

It is a way to start with a positive mindset and gets you feeling thankful for everything.

The Importance of Energy Flow

I’m not a reiki practitioner, or a yogi but what I do know at 33 years of age, is there are energy flows within us and between people, that our mortal human brains can’t comprehend.  We haven’t even figured out a way to explain them with the scientific method yet.

Most days I wake up bursting with happiness, good energy and excitement. But I’ve also felt the flows of negativity, bad energy and skepticism. One squabble with my husband sets up this weird frustrated energy that gets my mind into a place where I could pick apart everything in my day that has not gone right.  One bad nights sleep and two feisty babies can set me off on the wrong energy path for the day.

Even though we can’t explain energy flows, we can control them.

The 3 Things that Create Good Energy Flows

I’ve studied many people.  Wayne Dyer, Brian Tracy, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Buddhism, Christianity, contemporary philosophers like Jason Silva, masters of business and success.  Lewis Howes from School of Greatness.   Different religions, thinking systems, philosophies.  ALL of them talk about energy flows and how to create them.

Here are the 3 things that create good energy flows.






These Words Ain’t My Thang

Confession:  As soon as I start using words like these, the academic in me rolls her eyes a little.  In my life coaching certification there was hugging and dancing, many estrogenic moments, and a lot of words like these, and I was the one sitting in the corner with a coffee, observing and horribly uncomfortable.  So if you catch yourself moaning, just bear with me, I HEAR YOU.  It’s not my style either.

I’m just picking words from the English language that come close to what I want to convey.  I wish there were less cheesy ones, too.  

So let’s get to the real, practical application of these.  Then in a week’s time you can come back and tell me “Carina, this shit works.”

What you Need to Do Right Now.  Download Two Apps on your Phone.  

Download two.  Yes two.  

Instagram and any “collage” app you can find on the I-Tunes store that doesn’t hammer you with in-app purchases.  Oh wait, they all do if they are free, haha.

This isn’t a project for others.  This is for you. So, go ahead, can keep your instagram private if you like.  But I encourage you to share.  It’s not egotistical to do so.  It’s great. And inspiring.  And your Mama friends will be helped, too.  How nice will it be for them to have YOUR post on their feed, that is inspiring? It will break up all those stupid “get a six pack after having a baby in only THREE months.”  Blah.


Here is What You Do:

Create an instagram image using your camera roll and collage app. Your image is going to:




This simple practice will take maybe 3 minutes, and is pretty fun with the collage apps out there when you get the hang of them.  You don’t have to put these words down if you find them cheesy.  Most of my Instagram posts are “had a blast today doing…”  or “this person/thing/place is awesome.”  or “looking forward to…


Important:  Anchor this Habit with one of the Things You Do First Thing in the Morning

Habits are hard to start.  They say it takes 21 days.  But what they never say is in those 21 days of trying to get started, we forget at least 10 times. lol.  One day of forgetting and you are back at square one.


So do that Instagram post. It puts us into the head space of thinking about what we are excited about, thankful for or proud of.  As soon as we think about any one of those three things, our energy shifts to a nice, feel good, flowy energy. 

Tip:  Think about people in the mornings.  People always have things they must do in the morning.  If they miss their coffee, that’s it, they’re “off” – if they have to rush, that’s it, it’s hard to correct the bad energy from that.   People are hardcore about their morning routines.

They are all trying to set up good energy for the day by “avoiding”  things that trigger bad energy.

What if we set up good energy for the day by “doing” things that trigger good energy?  

Treat this with the same sanctity as your other morning routines.

Setting up a good energy flow and mindset first thing in the morning should be as important as washing your face.  Shit, that’s a terrible example. I’m sitting here with mascara from last night on my face.

Setting up a good energy flow and mindset first thing in the morning should be as important as your morning coffee or tea. Ahhh, yes, that’s better for a mat leaver. 

And if you need some extra listening to boost you, to help nail this home, have a listen to one of my favourite podcasts, the School of Greatness.  Lewis Howes and Michael Hyatt talking about “celebration badges” and how setting up good energy flows is KEY to achieving your goals.  It’s weird, I was plannign this entire article out on a run, listening to the SoG podcast and their conversation turned to EXACTLY what I wanted to write about.  Sometimes the universe slaps you in the face with hints and you must listen to those hint-bombs.  This was mine.

It’s a great conversation and starts with them discussing Lewis Howes dancing on a cruise ship having a ball (cue crush mode.)   Also, it’s a damn nice switch up – listening to two grown guys talk is a nice departure from our daily communication, which can revolve around “what was their poo like” “when did they sleep last” and “how many hours I did NOT sleep last night.”

Haha.  Enjoy, Great Maternity Leaves, enjoy.  And use the hashtag #thegreatmaternityleave in your instagram posts so I can see! I can’t wait!





Building a Business, Free Life Coaching Guides, Grounding, Happiness, Physical Wellness, The Projects

The Great Maternity Leave Project: Building a Business + Managing Technical Overwhelm

Why read this article:  Learn how to manage the overwhelm of starting a new business (especially the technical parts of establishing an online presence) + receive a professional coaching guide to manage the frustration of being a newbie all over again.

Reading time:  3 minutes + 3 minutes for the guide.


Today I’m going to talk about the sheer overwhelm that hits in the early days of building a web presence for your business.

In the hour before my kiddos were up, I tackled several things

-How to change the green social link buttons on my wordpress
-How to delete strange menu items that appeared

Try out a Facebook ad campaign not approved because “shit” was in my typing lol
-Why copy and pasting Facebook html code into my post wasn’t showing up
What SEO means
-A brief look at the google analytics tool and mega confusion over needing to upload an html file to my directory (WTF are either of those?!)

If you are starting a business and are creating a website or a blog, you are quickly introduced to the overwhelm of an industry that has its own language and technical terms.

Reading the help forums can feel like reading an instruction manual in japanese. Before you even get to the resolution stage, you are busy googling what every.single.word.means in the advice you get.

I’m going to show you some screen shots this morning, and my WTF moments.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 8.46.20 AM

No problem.  I’ll click download.


WTF. How do I even upload an html file?

Oh.  The advice forum says I need to add it to my public directory

**Googles what a public directory is.***

-20 minutes.



Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 8.46.08 AM

Oh, sweet, adding an fb button looks easy (laughing out loud.)

-15 minutes to realize all of this shit is automatically built into WordPress for people like me.  Then opened the guide to figure out the “easy sharing feature”

-25 minutes 


OK so at that point I was down one hand because of this little creature smacking at the screen…..

Photo on 2016-02-18 at 8.24 AM

(Yes I’m wearing a housecoat.  Not glam blogger fashion.  I’m on mat leave.  Let’s be honest here.  I shall always blog with my coffee + white Lord & Taylor housecoat.)


So now we are one finger typing.  I’m on coffee #3 and getting aggravated, and my mind is racing.

This is when having professional ontological coach training comes in really handy.  I have to coach myself.  And you know what? I WISH I had someone during my 1st mat leave to write posts like this and talk to me like this.  To say “hey Carina, I’m in the same boat as you!”

That is why I started the Great Maternity Leave.

The reality is that there IS a steep learning curve, there IS lots of frustration, and there IS a TON of overwhelm in building an online business. 

I want you to have this coaching guide to managing the overwhelm.

Keep it + come back to it.  









Learning, Personal Development, Productivity, Technology, The Projects

What I learnt From Watching 30 TED Talks in 30 Days.

Early in the maternity leave days, I found it hard to have the time to read.  This was frustrating for me as a lifelong learner, because I had a deep need to continue learning, growing and exploring topics.  Though I was undergoing a steep parenting learning curve, I wanted to continue to learn about things that had nothing to do with parenting or babies.

So, I decided to start watching TED Talks each morning as I drank coffee.

In the spirit of the Great Maternity Leave, I made it a formal goal.



Here, on this blog today, I present to you the most important lesson I got from this Great Maternity Leave (GML) Project.


I thought I’d walk out of the month with insane knowledge and a different life.  But something interesting happened:

Out of 30 videos I could only remember key points from less than FIVE videos.

I beat myself up over it, thinking if I am so passionate about growth and learning from successful people, why can’t I remember the lessons from a famous TED talk?

Then, I got caught up in a particularly common Maternity Leave discourse “mommy brain.”

At first, I chalked this up to simply being a mom and the message that gets circulated that with everything going on with a new baby, your ability to learn and grow and involve yourself in topics outside of being a mom…well… they all just dry up.

I’m really pleased to report from my current maternity leave deployment that this is horribly, horribly untrue.

Because this is something that even the success stories, the “greats” in their respective fields, experience.

Have I caught your intrigue?



So let’s get to the big issue at hand, the one I beat myself up for:

 Why Can’t I Remember all of These Awesome Lessons from thirty, THIRTY TED TALKS!

Because you bet I was asked this A LOT once I announced my project.

The answer:  A lesson  (In this case, the TED TALK) has to land with you and meet you  And it’s a numbers game.  


Let me explain with an example…


About two years ago, I came across a video of Former Admiral (and Commander of Special Operations Command) William H. McRaven giving a commencement speech at the University of Texas Graduation in 2014.  It was a game changer.  It is one of the few videos that has stuck with me to this day.

(What I love about Mr. McRaven is his accessibility and incredible life advice that transcends the military.)

This video changed the game for me.  I make my bed every single day because of what this man said in his video.

University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address – Admiral William H. McRaven


These are just two of his many points that stuck with me.  Yes, I actually remember this every single day.  

-If you want to change the world, make your bed.

-All you have to do to quit in SEAL training is ring a brass bell in the training area.  With that bell rung, everything is over. All of the hardship, all of the suffering is gone with one ding.    McRaven teaches that if you want to change the world, don’t ever ever ring the bell.


Why was This Video so Profound?

This video hit me to the core, because I watched it while I was in military & strategic studies.  It met me where I was.  And the examples made total sense to me.  They hit home, were explained in a style I like, and how he framed them made sense to me.  I happened to be experiencing some of the challenges he spoke to in the video.  I was also going through a lot of huuuuge challenges in my life where I wanted to “ring the bell” so to speak.  The video met me where I was.   The lessons had direct relevance and application.  


-Which Means You Need to Keep Looking.  Never Stop Searching.

The key message I want to give you in this blog post is to keep exposing yourself to podcasts, videos, blog posts, influential people, ideas, stories.  There are more than 6 billion people on this planet, and an awful lot of them are sharing knowledge, wisdom and lessons. Especially now on this beautiful thing called the internet.

Not all of them will impact you.  Like the handful out of THIRTY Ted Talks.

But do know that you will find one or two gems, that stick with you, that meet you where you are, in your present level of awareness and at Mile 6, or 7, or 8 of your current journey!


Ignore the “Mommy Brain” Messaging.  You are in a Great Place for Growth.  


I was told I was nuts – an acquaintance looked at me with great skepticism in their facial expression and said “good luck with that and a baby, your brain won’t keep up.”

Don’t worry if you keep reading books and watching videos and can’t remember much.

Stop telling yourself it is mommy brain. Stop listening to people that say “mommy brain” shuts down your intelligence and growth.   It isn’t that.

You are not in some sort of holding pattern.  You’re practically doing an accelerated masters degree right now in a totally new domain (parenthood.)  You’re MORE than capable of learning and being exposed to new information and retaining it.

It’s just that you haven’t yet come across a message that is resonating with you.

The more you explore the world and the lessons people want to share, the higher the chance you will find a diamond in the rough.

It’s a numbers game.  For every 10 TED videos, or interesting blog articles that you take the time to read, you WILL find 1 or 2 that forever shift the way you see life.

Successful People Keep Exposing themselves to New Content and New Wisdom

After studying and working with many successful people – moms, business people, entrepreneurs, visionaries, it is crystal clear that all of them are voracious consumers of knowledge.  Just like us, they only remember fragments of what they have read or learnt.

Because they, too, retain only the pieces that fit with their present level of awareness and make sense to their lives at that present moment. For every 10 Podcasts they listen to, only 1 or 2 will precipitate an “ah-hah” learning moment for them, that they take away and retain for months to come.


That is what I took from 30 TED Talks in 30 Days.


Never stop learning.





Happiness, Productivity, The Projects

The Great Maternity Leave Projects: Time Daily Tasks to Shift Your Mindset (Part 2 Results)


Read this post first 🙂

These are the official results of my morning during which I timed tasks that I dread.

As I mentioned in the original post  this one project I added to my list seemed a bit nit-picky (I am an ENTP in the Myers Briggs Types and if you know an ENTP, they are not all about the details lol)  but it profoundly changed my mindset around the “lots of little” chores on mat leave which are a bit of a grind.

The chores themselves did not change (I’ll never love unloading and unfolding a stroller with 3 herniated disks in my back)  – but my mindset completely shifted from one of difficulty to one of confidence and ease.  I get asked a lot how I accomplish so much in my days – I think it really comes down to having a lot of mental energy – and that is because I try to save stress & worry for the bigger things, and for the smaller things, I try to channel the mindset of “ease.”




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Grounding, Happiness, Productivity, The Projects

The Great Maternity Leave Projects: Time Daily Tasks to Shift Your Mindset (Part 2)

Why read this article?  Learn an AMAZING technique that totally shifts your mindset from one of difficulty to one of ease when you do chores or tasks that you hate.  Great productivity hack.

Reading time:  4 minutes


Yesterday, I wrote about how life-changing it was for me to time with a stopwatch the tasks that always seem like a big deal in my head.  You know, the ones that kind of stop you from getting out there and doing cool stuff.   I hate chores.  I’m no domestic goddess.  I abandon a lot of what should be done around the house to get out and have fun with the kids.  So I’m always working on improving a bit in that aspect of things.

This page is all about improvements in mindset, productivity, efficiency – and this one technique is now a part of my coaching practice.  It’s that effective.

Just like going to the gym, I always moan at the thought of loading a 26 month old and an 8 month old into my car + stroller + bits to go along with them.  The sheer physical task and how long it takes always, always seems gargantuan in my mind.

That is, until I actually took out my iPhone stopwatch and spent a day recording how long tasks take.

My response:  “WTF?!”

As promised, I am going to share with you some of the crazy results I got, timing tasks that seem like a big deal in my head.  Guess what?  They are not!

Now that I know how quick these tasks are, they are 1000x less of  a pain in the ass than they used to be.  They are not easier.  I do not complete them faster.  I just shifted my mindset around them from one of difficulty to one of ease.  But I needed evidence to make that shift.

I want you to guess, based on your usual mindset how long the following took.  Jot them down.