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Episode 065: Mary-Jo Dionne -- host, Tea with a Titan
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For those of you who listen to the show on a regular basis, it’s not news that I am a huge proponent of perspective shifting. And of gear shifting. Of being adaptable and of having the ability to readjust as needed. As we were planning our recent trip to California, I had a couple leads with amazing LA-based Guest Titans, both of which didn’t end up panning out at the last minute. Because we couldn’t get schedules to align. At first I was a bit disappointed, but that feeling didn’t last long when I reminded myself that it meant I would, instead, get two full days, and not just one, at Disneyland with my 2-year-old and my 4-year-old daughters. Time that, one day, when they have left home to create their own adult lives, I will pine for. And, since this podcast started as a gift to them, so that they will have an inventory of conversations with paradigm-busting perspective-shifters to draw from at various times whenever they feel stuck, I want to tell you now, JouJou and Birdie, that while there is much to be said for achieving and pursuing your big beautiful goals, there is also much to be said for achieving and pursuing big beautiful memories. And our second day together, a day we wouldn’t have had if my two interviews had materialized, saw us instead having breakfast with none other than Princess Ariel, and we were able to squeeze in a live performance of Frozen – two events, two memories, that, seen through the eyes of two special little kids – that were well worth all the delayed goals in the world. I share that story today because I needed the reminder to get out of my own way – to take the headphones off, to back away from the mic, to throw caution to the wind. I needed to, as I heard Elsa belt out on stage… “Let it go!”
Perspective shifts happen when we twist the kaleidoscope on our traditional way of seeing things.
Nearly 20 years ago, when I was a mid-20-something-year-old junior copywriter in Toronto, I was in the throes of ending a 5-year relationship with a person I knew I shouldn’t be with. The relationship had long run its course, but it was familiar. It was what I knew. And leaving, despite the mundane rut and the repeat betrayals, wasn’t easy. I eventually took a job as a copywriter with the same ad agency but in its Vancouver office, figuring that if I couldn’t completely end the relationship, then at the very least, geography would give me a push, as he finished his post-graduate studies in Toronto. However, even in Vancouver, old habits died hard – there were still phone calls and emails and even short visits. I had 9 toes in Vancouver, but still had one toe in Toronto. In those early months, when I was getting my Vancouver bearings, meeting new friends and colleagues -- a client who would go on to become a dear friend and a bestselling author and even, in fact, a Guest Titan years later, recognized the self-sabotaging pattern I was creating and said something that changed it all for me. She gave me that kaleidoscope twist. She told me: “Mary-Jo... you have to lose sight of the shore, before you can discover new lands.”
I had to let go entirely. I had to let go of what I considered a life preserver, despite the fact the relationship was, in actuality, more of an anchor keeping me from the discovery of new lands. I had to sail into the great unknown. And that night, something shifted – my perspective. And I allowed myself, psychically and emotionally, to chart new waters. All I needed was to hear Gina Mollicone-Long (episode 19) remind me that it was time for me to lose sight of the shore. It was time for me to discover new lands.
Of course learning to let go certainly isn’t relegated to unhealthy relationships. It can be a negative relationship with food or addiction. It can be moving on from a stagnant career. It can be the desire to pursue a whole new field, a whole new passion, a whole new hobby. Regardless, we have to lose sight of the shore, before we can discover new land.
I mention this today for two reasons. One, to remind JouJou and Birdie of this, when they might be hanging on to something a little too long, despite wanting so desperately to seek out the freshness, the excitement of a new opportunity. And, secondly, I mention it because I find myself faced yet again with the decision to lose sight of an old shore – an old way of doing things -- in order to discover a new land.
Mark Twain said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”