So you want to make a big change ...

This time last year, I knew that I wanted 2016 to be a year of major personal growth. I didn’t know then how drastic that change would be – a life overhaul in the space of four months – but I knew it was time to start a new chapter. A few doors were closing and I was craving an adventure. And why not?? I haven’t abandoned Toronto, or my loved ones, or my career. I’m just building another side to my career in Vancouver. These days, it really doesn’t matter where you work, right? I can FaceTime anytime and plan to be in both Toronto and Vancouver frequently. 

Many of you have sent me notes asking for advice on how to make your own life change – maybe not as extreme as mine, but change all the same. Here’s how I started:

How well do you know yourself? Strange thought maybe but writing a personal inventory makes you really think about what you’re good at and how realistic your goals are. And actually write it down or type it into your phone – that’s where most of my notes go. That physical act makes it feel real and commits you to the page. Then you can constantly return to that list and edit or update it as necessary. Remember that nothing is cast in stone.

What are your best qualities: are you a creative problem solver? Organizer? Numbers whiz? Planner? Negotiator?

And the honest part, what are your not-so-good (note that I didn’t say worst) qualities: Do you frazzle over business puzzles? Does data analysis bore you? Do meetings make your skin crawl? Do you dread speaking in groups?

What really truly excites you? I love to write and missed the creativity of storytelling. I also enjoy working with people. The business of style has always been my passion and I was anxious to get back into in a more creative way.

Can you turn your passion into a business? For me, I’m returning full circle to the freelance life I enjoyed when I left Vancouver 20 years ago. But now, I’m upping my game by dividing my time between my two favourite cities. I plan to write for a wider group of companies; build this blog and social media platforms; and do public speaking to larger more diverse groups. 

Some of my entrepreneurial friends have left the corporate world to pursue their dreams. I’ll be telling you their stories in future. One is a former mining executive who now runs a successful e-commerce site. Another creates custom floral arrangements. And a creative director imports dish ware and textiles from his new home in Portugal.

Hair by Tony & Jed at the Alcorn Salon. Makeup by Lace Maralit. Photo by Tara West.  


First step: Invest in some business cards. You may not think anyone uses them anymore but I think of them more as a calling card, and something to leave behind that reminds a new client or potential collaborator of my visit. Mine were designed by Monica Smiley of @eightyseventhst 

Spend some time thinking about what makes you happy. And what is realistic. Then, start writing down your plan for change. It may take you a month or 12 months or 2 years. No worry. Just get started! I’m excited for my next chapter. And for those of you who are craving change too, keep in touch. And bon courage in your year of transformation!