The New Girl by Carly Casey | www.carlycasey.com

Chats and wine are always divine.

What a magical combination. Seriously, is there anything better than getting together with a group of girlfriends, having something delicious to eat, enjoying a glass of wine (or two), and partaking in some genuine and honest conversation that ranges from downright hysterical to truly moving.

Honesty. What does it mean?

To me it means feeling less alone, sharing stories that mean something, sharing stories that make others laugh, being open and honest and feeling comfortable enough to admit that life isn’t perfect, that sometimes things can be a struggle. Honesty is sharing a part of yourself that can be scary and trusting that the people you are sharing it with will still love and respect you all the same.

This kind of honesty is healing, cathartic, and soul nourishing. I am so lucky to have a number of wonderful women in my life that allow me to not only be honest about my own comings and goings, but also share in both their joys and hardships. In the days of social media where a select few feel the need to present their life as something that it truly isn’t, it is easy to get caught out thinking you are the only one holding the shit end of the stick.

Honesty brings people together. It binds you. It is important. It can be the difference between a friend feeling like they have no one and a friend feeling like they don’t “need” anyone else. This is very powerful.

Friendship and honesty with women that you trust is a different kind of magical to the friendship and honesty you have with a partner, husband or your family. In the words of C.S Lewis, “friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

x L

 

Don't just plan. Live. Leticia Cavallaro

Be in the moment. 

Countless times in the last few months I have told my mother not to stress about an outcome, to worry more about what lies in between the thought of a plan and the actual outcome. Because, so often the plan and the outcome don’t end up being the same thing.

I learnt this the hard way eight years ago. I stressed myself into oblivion about something that I was certain would happen, and then never did. I wasted time planning for the impossible and panicking about what it would all mean. I lost moments, beautiful moments that I can never get back. Simply because I was worried about the outcome, rather than the daily steps that would contribute to choices… that would end up as an actual outcome. Good or bad.

A moment doesn’t have to represent one second, or a minute. It could be a series of hours or weeks that over the course of your lifetime only represent a moment of all that you have been and done. If you aim to do everything in a way that means a little piece of you is lit up by the time spent, you will live an illuminating life. Sometimes this will hurt… but mostly it will be magical.

On so many occasions in the last two weeks I have truly breathed in every moment. Change is coming, and it wasn’t the change I had expected. It will be incredible and incredibly hard. For so many reasons.

Most importantly though, I have lived it. All of it.

Don’t forge to stop. To breathe. To live. To mark moments in time and let them touch you. You will never regret truly living.

Just be.

 

Owl by Leticia Cavallaro

Well, alright then Owl, you will be mine.

I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it is not readily apparent. Sometimes you may never find the answers you search endearingly for. Regardless, life happens and I think it happens for a reason.

I have also never been afraid of change. In fact, I think I long for it. I don’t like to sit still or be bored – mentally or physically. I like to run hard and push for the next big thing.

So, what of all of this? Did you know we all have a ‘power or totem animal’? I didn’t, until mine chose me. This incredible creature came to visit me on my latest trip to America.

I could hardly believe he was there, just chilling on the fence outside my window. I had many animal visitors in the few weeks before, but none asAnd in that moment, I swaer the winds changed. Leticia Cavallaro striking and rare as this. I was three weeks deep into a trip away from my family, testing out a new job on the other side of the world and trying to gain the necessary experience in the role to decide what I should do next.

I posted this picture online and a very dear friend of mine pointed out that “the presence of the owl announces change”. That this was surely a sign my ‘power animal’ had come to find me. And he was truly amazing.

Maybe I make my ‘reason for everything’. Maybe not. Either way, there is such beauty in taking time to look out the window and be open to whatever might come next. To see reason and value in the good, the bad and the ugly.

After all, life is too exciting to sit still!

If the Owl is your spirit animal as well, you may enjoy knowing this as much as I did:

The owl spirit animal is emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge. If you have the owl as totem or power animal, you’re likely to have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most. When the spirit of this animal guides you, you can see the true reality, beyond illusion and deceit. The owl also offers for those who have it a personal totem the inspiration and guidance necessary to deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.

Symbolic meanings for the owl are:

  • Intuition, ability to see what others do not see
  • The presence of the owl announces change
  • Capacity to see beyond deceit and masks
  • Wisdom

Source: http://www.spiritanimal.info/

There Is Beauty In the Uncomfortable - Leticia Cavallaro

Choose the hard way.

As often as possible I try to be productively uncomfortable. It might sound like a ridiculous thing to aim for. Shouldn’t we try to be as comfortable as we possibly can?

I don’t think so.

You learn so much more when you’re not. This is true of everything. You learn the most about yourself, new situations, people, technology, places. If you don’t push yourself to the next big thing, the unknown, then I truly believe you are capping your capacity to grow.

This has to be a mindset, a mantra if you will. The belief that not knowing something is better than knowing everything. That you should be trying to learn as many of the things you don’t know as quickly as possible so that you can be a more rounded, successful and increasingly ambitious and educated person. That you need to put yourself out there to grow at a trajectory that creates real change.

For the last 5 weeks I have been away from my husband and two children. When they dropped me at the airport to leave, I didn’t want to go. I was that woman at the counter checking her bags through tears, being assured that it would all be fine and that I should just enjoy it.

It was very uncomfortable. Not because I was crying, but because I had never been away from my children for so long. I was scared of what I would miss, but also excited about the opportunity ahead of me. I had chosen to be uncomfortable and I had to own it. The start of the 5-week journey was hard.

I had to adjust to a different time zone and settle into a ‘new’ life for that period of time. I knew people where I was going in the U.S. and I had work to do, so I wasn’t completely and uncontrollably uncomfortable, but it was a journey. Five weeks later, I am home again and I can tell you that I have changed, just by the smallest amount, but in a very significant way.

I was put in plenty of situations where I had no idea what to do next. I met plenty of new people, each of which has enriched my life in ways that I am grateful for. I learnt to be on my own after years and years of being convinced I couldn’t do it. I learnt to further appreciate technology and the chance it offered me to see my family every day, from the other side of the world. I was reminded that by having an open heart and an open mind almost anything can happen.

I learnt a lot of things are easier than they once seemed. And that some things were much harder. All of which have changed me, just a little bit. For the better.

If you are not willing to be uncomfortable, strategically and predictably, then there’s a chance you will never awaken so many opportunities and get to the core of who you are.

Next time you let someone else be the driver of your life, or you fall into an old habit because it is easier… choose the hard way. You never know where you will end up.

The image at the top of this post was captured while running on a freezing day in Northern Virginia. The leaves had started to change and the river was a small, hidden vitory that I didn’t know was there. It was uncomfotably cold, but it was beautiful!

Swallow a light bulb. 

There are days when I’m not really into shining brightly. Usually, when I’m sick or I have had no sleep. But I still give it an epic crack.

Why?

Because it’s part of the reason people remember you. Maya Angelou famously said: people won’t remember what you did or said, they will remember how you made them feel. 

This is the truth, people do. We all feed on energy and our demeanour has the opportunity to change not only the interactions we have, but also the opportunities we are given. If you’re a dead fish about it, they’ll remember that instead.

Kids are balls of energy. People love to be around them because it “keeps them young”. I also get the old favourite, “we should bottle that energy and sell it”, when my two boys are running amuck. No need. We all have it – even us tired, old adults. We just have to be willing to share it with everyone, the way kids do.

When you meet someone for the first time there’s a transfer of energy. It is usually positive or negative, and the experience cannot always be controlled by you alone. But the best foot forward is always a warm hug. Not necessarily literally, more in the sense that inner joy will always trump awkward, angry, shy, rude, fake, impersonal, dull.

This is especially true in business.

When you write an email try not to write it like you would rather be doing anything else. Focus on the importance of the message and what it means to the person you are sending it to. Do you know them well? Could anything be misinterpreted? Have you thoughtfully read your note before sending? Energy.

When you look your kids in the eye and listen to their weird stories about dragons and cars, give them a thumbs up and smile excitedly, just as they do, every time. Energy.

When you bump into someone you know, don’t look down and hope they didn’t see you. Genuinely smile from the inside and out, and then simply wave if you don’t have time to talk. People like to be seen and feel recognised. Special. Energy.

When someone you don’t know starts a random conversation, make sure you give something in return… for what if you’re the only person to care enough that day to have a kind heart and listen – and it changes everything for them. I feel this way especially about older people on buses, alone. Energy.

You don’t have to give it all away. Keeping some for yourself is just as important. But truly listening and giving more than a granule of energy to everything you do will be remembered. Because people don’t like dead fish, unless it’s severed up as part of a delicious meal (no offence to the fruitarians, vegetarians and vegans of this world).

Seed your dreams in action. 

It’s hard to wish and wish and wish, only to feel like you are the unluckiest wish maker that walked the earth. Why is it that some people seem to have all the luck?

But is wish making really about luck? Or is it about your ability to crystallise one thing worth wishing for, and then find a way to go after it?

There’s a simple beauty in making a wish. Birthday candles, dandelions and wishing bones. All times that offer pause to pinpoint that twinkle in your eye.

If you look closely though, in the breath of a dandelion you’ll find hundreds of new wishes born and ready to be discovered. By the sheer momentum of action, your wish fragments into millions of tiny little pieces that seed the next steps to be taken.

Some people are naturally lucky. Annoying fact. Most people need to rely less on luck and more on themselves. For in the days spent waiting for your lucky stars to align you have lost time and potential defining moments that you can never get back.

Next time you make a wish you should still absolutely aim for the stars, but be willing to then make a plan that relies only on you working your booty off to get there. Then, and really only then, is the sky the limit.

Nothing remarkable is achieved without a sprinkle of fear and risk. 

Someone close to me recently asked what I would do if I removed fear from the life equation I was struggling with. Fear of failing, fear of disappointing people, fear of making money, fear of doing the wrong thing by my kids and family. Fear, fear, fear. She’s a friend and a very successful businesswoman who I trust greatly as a professional advisor. I found my instantaneous answer clear and enlightening.

I realised in that moment the power fear can hold over you, if you let it. I also realised that all of the things I feared were born out of the pressure I placed on myself to avoid taking too big a risk. If I removed that I was left with excitement, energy and a vision for the opportunities that were right before me.

If you’re weighing up a big decision, ask yourself what you would do if fear didn’t play a role and see where you land. It was amazing to me how quickly I was able to clearly see through the clutter of all the variables.

In the end, to be remarkable at anything I truly believe there needs to be an element of risk and fear. It’s there that you find the kind of greatness most people aren’t willing to be uncomfortable for.

Make it your business to know the person with the least power. Leticia Cavallaro

If you do nothing else, do this!

I have had the good fortune of working with some incredibly gracious, generous and inspiring leaders. They have meant more to my career than I can probably yet predict.

What I can predict is how important their guidance and operational style has been to my understanding of what really makes a good leader.

Time. Everyone is time poor. A good leader understands this and treats everyone’s time with respect, regardless of their position in the company. This includes giving time to those who need you, especially for mentoring or decision-making. There has been nothing more frustrating to me than a leader who demands something for urgent review and then takes a lifetime to review it. Without explanation, that’s just rude. Everyone is busy, including the people below you. It’s also been empowering to watch a select few inspiring people continue to treat those below them with the respect most leaders reserve only for the c-suite. It’s incredibly powerful to see what that means to the people in a business.

There are many facets, but at the core I truly believe one of the most important characteristics of a good leader has to be the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes… especially those beneath you. There you will find a group of ambitious, dedicated and hard working people who are at the forefront of your business and its ability to operate. They have ideas, often big ideas and they can understandably resent not having an avenue to share them. They also see the things that don’t work very quickly, simply because it’s their day-to-day jobs that are often affected by decisions at the top.

Understanding who people really are and what they really do should be mandatory for making good, sound strategic decisions. Without this understanding it is easy to lose touch with what makes the wheel turn and how long tasks really take.

No good leader is born at the top. I’m hugely grateful to all of my mentors for reminding me what matters, their endless graciousness and the time and experiences they have shared with me… even when I was the person with the least power.

Don't miss the art in smart. Leticia Cavallaro

Creativity creates value. 

I have always loved art. Words have been mine, but I’m a huge admirer of all forms, especially painting and music. Both beautiful and cathartic.

In the less literal sense though, you’d be smart to see the value of adding a sprinkle of art to everything that you do. It will make you more creative and more memorable. The artistry of your actions and choices is what makes you unique, what sets you apart.

What do I mean? It could simply be your outlook or the way you respond to things. Both of which have the power to change the situation and set you apart.

At home, parents naturally do it all the time. Counting pegs to keep the kids happy while hanging clothes on the line. Berries in a pancake to make eyes so that they actually eat, or racing to see who can get dressed first when you’re struggling to get out the door.

In the office your art could be reading body language to make better choices, or creatively handing out tasks to keep your team aligned. Even more subtly there is an art to understanding how to make best use of individual strengths to achieve the best results.

In any situation, if you can, be smart and be brave.

Perspective is everything. Leticia Cavallaro

Perspective is everything. 

Sometimes life gets tricky and the last thing you want to do is think about the person making it hard.

Over time though, I have come to appreciate the merit of trying to react to any given situation based on the ‘full’ picture. Taking 5 seconds to ask myself ‘if I were them, what would I have done?’ helps me to frame my thinking in a more balanced and positive way.

Balance and perspective are less regrettable than rage and hurt. As often as you can, walk away with your head held high.