Friday, December 24, 2010

Why dreamers should celebrate...'ode to the doers'

As a business owner of 5+ years now, I have come to a new appreciation of my parents' who were also business owners. My mother worked alongside my father when they moved to King street in Brockville and opened up their 1st store together. In between all of this, they had 4 girls in 5 years time. They even managed to take us on vacation to their countries', where they grew up; Belgium and Trinidad as well as a trip to Vancouver, Florida and Scandinavia. Wow. I remember when I got older during Christmas they worked up to the last hour - anticipating someone would buy or order something big enough so they could fill our tree with gifts for the next morning. We lived on top of our father's store and so we had access down and up whenever we liked; unless it was Christmas Eve when they would tape the door shut (yes scotch tape) and tell us we were not allowed down there (we always knew they were wrapping gifts). For years as a child I wished my dad didn't work as hard as he did and later on, I wished my mother didn't, but I now know why they did. My dad even told me that they were that close to moving to a larger city because business would be better there, but they didn't want to disrupt our growing up and lifestyle - can you believe? Wow. These sacrifices were not known unfortunately at the time and I really didn't get to appreciate who they were until I grew up much later and now it's changed. In the 1990's, after 3 out of 4 of us moved away to other cities and in my case to another province, their environment changed and they fell into the world of watching TV and poor eating habits, that they used to preach against when we were young; which helped to contribute to their developing chronic illnesses. Dad had a stroke in the early 90's and he later developed Angina for which he was instructed to take a few prescribed pills a day. My mum suffered with hypothyroidism & then later hyperthyroidism, she developed a  brain aneurysm that burst the day after 9/11/2001.  After much struggle for years with my father not dealing well with it, he later died from a heart attack. My mother is now in a special extended-care home and is pretty despondent at times and lonely, but maintains her brilliance and her shine when faced with good energy, like visitors - it's quite fascinating actually. I have called her up for advice and though she is still in a different state, gives me a comprehensive answer that I would only expect from such a grounded person.  Unfortunately, as business owners, they didn't take care of their finances/life insurance and this had a toll on everything afterward.
Years later, I didn't know I would also have my own business, but after working with some of the greatest people and companies that are the 'best of the best', I discovered my own talents and abilities.  Reading about successful people and how they started in business inspired me to dive in! I had the opportunity to travel around the world, visiting and backpacking in over 30 countries world-wide. Being a naturally inquisitive mind, I soaked up culture, history and relished every moment I had writing in my journal(s). I discovered the world of health and wellness outside of North America and was enamored immediately with the lack of dependency that Europeans, Asians and Kiwis had on TV and a medical system. I was especially impressed by the Asian cultures; so down to earth and connected to the common-sensibility we all have and was able to adopt this. I had spent 10 months traveling at that time and impressed with the realm of knowledge locals had about their own natural resources, never discussing illnesses nor noticing any. They also seemed, quite happy at just 'being', at least this was my experience.
When I returned, I found my voice and calling & got into the spa/health industry in Vancouver working behind the scenes for an 'organic' skincare distributor where I learned 'a little too much' about the industry, if you get my drift. I then began consulting on the side; helping business owners with their small spas and wellness clinics, sharing my new found understanding of how the North American market is attracted to marketing and commercialization, teaching them simple solutions of bringing in more traffic, increasing profits and cutting costs. I seemed to have a niche for recognizing good marketing or so I've been told.  I supported spas with consistency and care and it reflected back in my work. After my decision to leave my 'job', I approached my life partner Rod about starting up my own consulting business.  With his approval & support we launched CANSO out of our home office condo in Vancouver. We discovered the world of seaweeds while working on a consulting contract with a company that harvested off the coast of Vancouver Island. What we discovered on our own, was a world of untapped resources that nobody in Canada seemed to know about; iodine and the many forgotten elements that are key to our life and longevity of life. After a year working on my own, with Rod helping out when he could spare the time, he left his job and joined me full-time.  His background is chemistry, physics, massage therapy and the hospitality industry; the science was his draw of course. For me, it was the discovery of all of the health conditions, including my families, that seemed to dominate the news and TV. Together we embarked and discovered many more 'gaps' in the industry that catapulted our knowledge base from 0 to 60 around health, wellness & spa and along with our consulting, started sharing the research Rod uncovered about the components of iodine and the undiscovered resources here in Canada. It was the fall of 2006, when my father passed away and this had a profound affect on me living so far away from my sisters and my mother, so we made the decision to move back to Ontario &  arrived in July of 2007. We sold most of our furniture & possessions and gave away what we could to make our drive across the country to Ontario less expensive and less harrowing. When we got here, we hadn't worked with many spas/health care professionals here yet, so it took us a few years to discover the industry in Ontario was much different from the industry we were used to working with on the west coast. We were not only dealing in the Ontario market, but we were working with all of eastern Canada to the coast of Nfld. We traveled down to the U.S. as well as this was part of some of our contracts. Our life was no different from many small business owners, sacrificing weekends and long hours, giving up any type of social life; it has its ups and downs for sure. Unfortunately, because of my experience growing up and watching my parents struggle as much as they did, it eventually got to me. Keeping up with bills and keeping our credit good; these became the focus and all of a sudden, our love for what we did, seemed to get left behind. We didn't want our dreams to get left behind and soon realized that it wasn't about making ends meet and paying bills and having steady income, it was about what we loved to do. Many of the greats struggled and depending on their upbringing or mindset, all persevered because they had a few things in common; passion & focus.
We have had a wonderful past year, reflecting and growing more and more, both as a couple and individually. I am so appreciative to know what I know today and sticking with it. Our business has evolved as well; we have a strong philosophy on health and wellness training and tying it into the consulting side of things to help others realize their own personal health and business goals. It's both rewarding and delicious knowing we are into this and love what we do. We get up every AM and meditate for at least 20 minutes and have done so for over a year now. We love and support each other every day to reach our own personal goals and assisting others to do the same. This has become a true calling. It took 5 years and more to realize that what some refer to as risks, are simply just stepping stones to your dreams and look forward to sharing many stories to help others achieve theirs also.
My parents were my inspiration, though years ago I wouldn't say so. They taught me invaluable lessons of never giving up, staying focused and dedication. Enjoy every aspect you can of what you, yourself have achieved and the people that work alongside and with you, following your heart. Even if it takes a few times to get there, it's worth it! Happy Holidays everyone!

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