Go! And tell someone you trust!

How to Make a Decision – Part 3

When faced with difficult, overwhelming decisions, the only way I know how to tackle them is one step at a time. It doesn’t matter if you have created the situation yourself or been forced in to it … if you want to move forward, you have to do it one step at a time.

So, I decided to start telling people of my plans to study Spanish. As we all know, saying it out loud keeps us accountable. I started with telling my closest friends and my sister. I guess I was testing it out to see what kind of reaction I would get. For the most part, I got excitement … oh yes, and concern … but mostly excitement. I listened carefully to all of their questions so that I would know what I had to ask myself and come up with answers for!

Next up I began telling a few business contacts … again, treading lightly, before putting all of my weight forward. I’m not sure what I expected people to say … maybe I thought people would tell me I was crazy or that it was a stupid idea. Maybe I was waiting for people to convince me that I shouldn’t go …. regardless of what I was scared of, I was met by an outpouring of encouragement, excitement and ‘you can do it’ responses.

I think the decision was really solidified in my own mind when I told my counsellor. Yes folks, I am admitting on the big ol’ internet that I see a counsellor. GASP! She helps me put my head on straight when it gets twisted around backwards and I can’t wiggle it back around on my own. She’s unbiased, helpful, caring and doesn’t judge! You’d be surprised at how many people you know who see counsellors and life coaches, but its still such a taboo thing to talk about.

I remember going into her office and actually being excited, instead of discouraged and overwhelmed. I told her that I had made a decision to go learn Spanish and she simply said ‘And how do you feel about it now that you’ve decided?’

My response was something along the lines of ‘I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’ve been struggling with being unhappy and overwhelmed and now I feel like a have a place to move forward to.’

That realization was huge for me.

For the last couple of years that I have been seeing a counsellor, her main message to me is to practice mindfulness and to be kind to yourself. She has gently been nudging me toward taking care of myself more and making sure that I make decisions that are best for me, my health and my sanity. Encouraging me to find, and leap a balance and fulfilled life!

Wow, I think the message finally made it through my stubborn armour and it’s pointy arrow made a clean slice right into my heart. Right where I needed it most.

I’ll never forget when my counsellor asked me ‘So, what’s next?’

Then the tears came … Damn it! I thought I was excited. I’m excited aren’t I? I thought I was doing good not crying! What’s up with this?

And once again, I was back into overwhelmed mode. I had made the decision to learn Spanish. I was strong and confidant about wanting to do it, but geeze, what does come next?

The counsellor helped me decide what steps I needed to take to move forward and off I went to think about the where, when and how to make it all happen!

From the Outside Looking In – Part 1

Jumping off the proverbial cliff

After returning from a life changing trip to Peru for the Peru Through the Lens photo tour that I led, I felt different. My thoughts changed. My life changed. There was a mystical clarity in my head that I desperately wanted to hang on to and build on.

Lost City, Found Self.

When I returned from Peru I felt a desire to change, but like many, I quickly fell back into bad habits, old routines and the same old, same old mundane everyday life.

I could feel Nova Scotia’s dreary winter ripping at my heart and soul and all I could think of was travel, freedom and the excitement that I felt when I escaped the ordinary life that I had led myself to.

You simply don’t get to be a successful business owner without having at least a little part of you that is a go-getter. A part of you that craves change, being better, stronger and looking for the next challenge. I guess after nine years in business I had hit my turning point where I felt successful, yet drained. Happy and loving my work, but yearning for something more. Looking for my next big project, my next challenge and searching for inner happiness which combines my work with my life in some sort of elusive balance.

As I wallowed in my thoughts and the crappy weather that made me never want to leave the house, I wallowed myself into actually making some changes. I broke up with my boyfriend of two years … not an easy thing to do, but something that was necessary in order for me to move forward and find myself. I started talking to people about how Peru had changed me … not that they needed me to tell them, most of my close friends could ‘feel’ that I had changed without ever needing to hear the words.

I’m sure at first, as I wallowed, my friends were worried about me … seeing me unhappy and tired. As my thoughts became more clear and I began to make decisions for myself and my life, I think they could see the clarity coming through the fog, just like I did sitting on the edge of a cliff at Machu Picchu.

A few days after I returned from Peru I began a business training program with Tasha at platform. The goal, to help me solidify my ideas for where I want to take my business and learn to make financial planning for my business understandable and easily usable in my business on a regular basis.

Not a bad starting point after my return from a life changing trip and needing to find a way to make change and move forward.

Through my sessions with Tasha, I began talking about my passions … about what I love and how I want to see my business change. This was a great exercise in working on my business instead of in my business.

So, just what do I love? What am I, Shari Tucker, passionate about?

I love it when people tell me stories. Stories of who they are, where they came from, experiences they’ve had and anything else they want to share!
I love photographing people who are in action, in motion, busy doing something or who are in their own element.
I love love love helping others, doing something for a good cause and making a difference in our crazy world.
I love travel, culture and adventure.
I love to write from the heart.

I’ve been wanting to combine travel with my photography business for the past year, but I’ve been stuck on how to make that happen. I think it was Tasha (my business trainer) who said to me (likely more than once) … ‘why not?’, ‘why is it that you think you can’t do this’? I’m sure I had all kinds of excuses for her and didn’t really get over those excuses until our training ended a month later.

When it was all said and done, the reason I was stuck in making this happen was because
I didn’t believe in myself and the ability to make my dreams come true. Somehow along the way I had gotten stuck in doing what makes me money but I had lost a lot of the passion I had started my business with. I was spinning my wheels in one place, always getting things done, but not moving forward. I was tired and didn’t feel like I had the energy to make change happen.

My biggest realization from the trip to Peru and the business training that I was going through was this … hold on to your hats, it’s pretty profound!

I was not living the life I wanted to be living.
I was living to work instead of working to live.

Now, lots of people say that you can’t have everything you want, but that’s simply not good enough for me. We only get one life and I plan to enjoy mine!

I have a successful business. I’m respected and well known in the community for my work, for being a female entrepreneur and for the heart & soul I’ve put in to the Young & Fearless project over the past few years. From the outside looking in, it looks like I am happy, doing well and have a great business. Most of which is true. But, for the last few years I haven’t been living the life I want to live and the only person stopping me is ME!

People in general often think if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Well, my business isn’t broken, but my spirit is … just a little … so, I’ve decided to change it. I’ve decided to step forward off that proverbial cliff and hope for the best! In reality, I’ve done lots of crazy things and always seem to find a way to make them successful, or at least learn great lessons along the way! Why should this change to my business be any different.

And exactly what change am I speaking of? Well, I have decided to change my business … exactly how, that is yet to be figured out. I’ve decided that it is important to me to find myself, to find my passion and to live a life that I am happy with. Sounds pretty normal, but so few of us actually do it!

I hope you will follow along on my adventures this summer from the outside looking in, as I challenge myself to find my passion again.

Lost City, Found Self

Shari at Machu Picchu, Peru

Peru - Lost City, Found Self - ShariTucker

Machu Picchu – Lost City, Found Self
Photography is a unique opportunity to see the world through another person’s eyes.  It gives you the ability to see exactly what the other person saw, through their lens. This often extends further to understanding the photographer’s emotion as they captured a particular moment or scene.

It is no secret that travel inspires me. Getting out of the relatively ordinary routine of my life in Nova Scotia and exploring other cultures, meeting new people and facing challenges head on, fill me with energy and wonderment. When I am surrounded with new people, new places and new energy, I feel alive, free and inspired.

This combination of love for travel and passion for telling stories through photography led me to begin a beautiful journey starting in Peru.

As I embarked on the incredible inaugural journey leading nine photo enthusiasts on a Peruvian adventure, I knew that I would be challenged and inspired. I was excited to see Peru not only from my own perspective, but through the lens of nine others. Imagine my amazement when I truly discovered how beautiful the world is through nine sets of eyes!

I assisted and watched these photographers learn new skills, try new techniques, step out of their ‘automatic’ comfort zone and truly begin to allow creativity and emotion to be part of their photography expression.

One of the main draws for the trip to Peru was our visit to Machu Picchu. Although Machu Picchu was near the end of our trip, it was a profound experience. My image titled “Lost city, Found self” is an expression of the overwhelming clarity I felt while sitting in silence at six am in the beautiful, peaceful and holy city of Machu Picchu.

I can only explain it as an experience of clarity. As I sat in silence amidst one of the seven wonders of the new world, listening to the silence, breathing the fresh mountain air, watching the fog roll in and out around the sacred mountains, my head and my heart cleared. If only for that 30 minutes of silence and reflection, my head was not congested with overwhelming thoughts of what had to be done, what to do next and what others were thinking. It was just a big, free flowing, inspired way of hearing my own thoughts.

I closed my eyes, shed a few tears and opened my eyes to the fog that had completely covered the entire Incan city. I was disappointed as I could no longer see the beautiful view that I had traveled so far for. I closed my eyes again, let the tears fall, and when I opened them minutes later, the fog had rolled by and opened up a beautiful view of the lost city and mountains.

It was in that moment that I realized that I needed to let all of the fog in my life, roll on by so that I could get to the magical view of the rest of my life.

Lost city, Found self.

This adventure was an eye opening experience in so many ways, including how to clear the fog and see the beauty in the diversity of our world.

*Edited May 28, 2015

It’s Like Falling in Love for the First Time again

April 17, 2012

Sitting on the bus at the airport waiting to find out where we would be sleeping for the night was boring and long … (Read Fire! to understand the background situation) We spent from approximately 11pm local time until 2am on the bus. Lots of people got out and walked around but most of us just hung out on the bus. Me, I started writing blogs because I was awake and didn’t want to waste my time seeing as it wasn’t like I could get any sun or any particularly restful sleep.

A stranger sat with me on the bus … the bus was full, so there was no sitting alone! As a single traveler I can look at this two ways ….

1. Oh what a pain in the ass, sitting with a stranger … worse a (slightly) drunk male stranger.

OR

2. Oh interesting, I get to meet a new person.

I’ll admit, my first reaction was option A. What a pain in the ass. It was late at night, I’m not much of a drinker, didn’t really feel like being overly social. He spent most of his time outside, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Finally (after more than 2 hours) we got the news that we would be heading to the Arena Blanca Hotel and everyone piled back on the bus to take off.

After getting over my annoyance with the stranger who sat down and took up his own room and part of mine with his legs straddling his carry-on bag, the guy started to have a conversation and tell me that he had only been out of Nova Scotia to go to Ontario and New Brunswick. When I stopped to listen to him … he was in absolute amazement of everything around him. Everything was brand new. He had never seen a palm tree! He kept pointing things out in the dark as we traveled along on the bus that he was amazed at.

He then went on to explain that he thinks he’s addicted to travel already and he hadn’t even seen the place in the daylight!

A few minutes later he told me ‘It’s like falling in love for the first time. I’m all shake-y and excited. I just keep wondering what I’m going to see next. I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle it in the morning when I can see everything.’

This guy was close to my age and I just can’t even imagine that he had never been out of the country. Yet, he summed up my love of travel pretty quickly. “It’s like falling in love for the first time” when you see a new place, a new culture and can’t wait to see what’s just around the corner for you to experience next.

Despite the crappy beginning to this week in Punta Cana, the reminder to have an open mind and enjoy every second was clearly being thrown right at me. Thank goodness I recognized it and let the stress of the Fire! situation just float on by.

Welcome to I Picture The World

Gently close your eyes, relax …
Breathe deeply and clear your mind …
Now picture something … anything at all … what do you see?
Is it a person, place or thing?
Is it in black and white? In color?
Does it give you goose bumps and happy thoughts? (I hope so!)

When I close my eyes and relax, I picture the world. That’s right, the green and blue globe spinning on its axis is what comes to my mind, in full color, three dimensional goodness.

Pause, take a breath …

Then I get excited about all of the places I want to visit and what this big vast world has to offer! And how can I Possibly SIT STILL? THERE’S A WHOLE WORLD OUT THERE WAITING FOR ME TO DISCOVER IT!

Not everyone understands the urge, the NEED to travel, but those who get it, really understand that it is like gravity pulling you in all different directions all of the time. Being in one community, in one country for the rest of your life is just not an option or you’ll be torn to bits.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Canada. I’m happy to call it home and don’t anticipate ever moving from this peaceful land with our medicare system, great education opportunities and all of the freedoms we have. Halifax, NS is where I call home … well along with my parent’s home in Fredericton, NB, I call that home too.

I have a home. A roof over my head. Wonderful family and friends. What more could I want?

Well, for me, I want to see the world. I want to learn Spanish. I want to experience life as other people know it. I don’t want to just hear stories from far-away lands, I want to create stories, etch them in my memory and be a better, more rounded person for sharing in the joys and trials of friends who I have yet to meet in other countries.

I want my life to be overflowing with inspiration and the world inspires me. It inspires me to be better, continue learning, to be thankful and to hear other people’s stories.

I hope you’ll join me on my journey as I share photos, stories and tips for photo enthusiasts who like to travel.

Come on in. Share in my inspiration. See how I Picture the World.