The Decade I Broke the Code: My FORTIES

My fourth decade began in 1994. If you read my previous blog; The Decade I Balanced in Three Inch Heels:  My THIRTIES, you know that I became an accidental entrepreneur in 1989.

Without forethought, experience, or any specific plan, I started a chemical business from my dining room table, with the belief that it was just a temporary thing to support my family.

Fast forward, five years passed and those were tough, grueling years which forced me to grow by leaps and bounds, in skills, confidence, resilience and stick-to-itiveness.

What was I thinking? I chose a business in an industry dominated by a closed club of men, tenured career professionals and science types. They were a hard drinking, tough talking, deal making on the golf course clique.

The initial years were like drinking from the proverbial firehose. Often, I simply got soaked, knocked down and left dripping on the outside of their fire circle.

I stuck out like a manicured thumb with glitter polish.

Fortunately, I came...

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Expat Life in the Middle East with Amanda Sheldon - Part 3

 

Introducing the Number 3 in a series of interviews and true stories:

Womanhood Wonderland – Feminine Explorers and Trailblazers!

Canadian Amanda Sheldon joined the less than 1% club of young female expats and shared her experiences of living in the Middle East for ten years.

An expat’s life is an adventure and adapting to change is a required superpower!

As you can imagine, there are many differences between living and working in another part of the world versus Home Sweet Home.

However, some universal themes are constant, no matter where you roam.

In this interview with Amanda, we talk about how shopping malls maximize the use of real estate and are community hubs with up-levelled parking, multi-tasking, socializing, skiing, and sky diving built-in!

We discuss the pros and cons of vacation time and a six-day workweek and why TGIF has more significance.

Hospitality, customer service, and customer engagement are core behaviours and fundamental to recruiting, hiring, and...

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Expat Life in the Middle East with Amanda Sheldon - Part 2

 

Introducing the second in a series of interviews and true stories:

Womanhood Wonderland – Feminine Explorers and Trailblazers!

For the past ten years, Canadian Amanda Sheldon, has lived and worked in the Middle East. 

We accompany Amanda on her journey to uncover misconceptions and misinformation, and how she learned firsthand about life in the Middle East, its people, and cultural practices. This informative and upbeat conversation will give you a peek inside the world of expat life, and perhaps, will inspire you to learn more about the diversity of opportunities around the world.

From the mundane to the mysterious, and peppered with questions only a mother might ask, listen in to this interview as we discussed the reality of safety, driving, dining, potholes and more.

Unfiltered and fresh, this a perspective on living, working and travelling in and around the many, unique and distinct countries and cultures with the Persian Gulf Region.

Hear first-hand how Amanda...

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Expat Life in the Middle East with Amanda Sheldon - Part 1

 

Introducing the first in a series of interviews and true stories:

Womanhood Wonderland – Feminine Explorers and Trailblazers!

 

My guest today is undeniably a Feminine Explorer and Trailblazer!

For the past ten years, Canadian Amanda Sheldon has lived and worked in the Middle East.

As mother and daughter, via Zoom video, we talk candidly about expat life and living overseas.

In 2010, Amanda Sheldon joined five other Brand Ambassadors for Williams-Sonoma Inc. to expand this iconic retailer’s footprint to the Middle East.

Based in Kuwait, Amanda’s role was to hire staff, establish brand practices, and open locations across the region.

The initial contract was for two years and required Amanda to pack up her life in Canada and move to a new and unfamiliar region without the comfort of friends or family.

Traveling more than 10,000 kilometres as a single female, Amanda challenged herself to embrace a quantum learning curve.

After the two-year term was complete,...

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Work Life Balance – truth or fiction?

 

When I hear the phrase ‘work life balance’, I chuckle and get a mental picture of a teeter-totter. You know, like the ones from our childhood where you and a friend or, possibly a rival, sat on opposing sides of that board balanced on a fulcrum.

When two friends played together, we used our energy to push off and create a joyful flight for our companion, hair flying and falling in the air, and giggles and squeals rippling out into space. We reciprocated to give each other a fun ride, taking turns initiating lift off.

However, if your playground nemesis shanghaied the other end of the totter, they could easily manipulate your experience by keeping you dangling high in the air, and then without warning, maliciously jumping off the teeter totter causing you to plummet fast to bone jarring impact with the ground.

As a woman who raised a family and a business at the same time, my life often felt like a merry-go-round and teeter-totter circus. I juggled children,...

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Do you need a machete to be a trailblazer?

Do you need a machete to be a trailblazer?

Trailblazer:
Noun,
a person who blazes a trail for others to follow through an unsettled country or wilderness; pathfinder.
 
Can you visualize a trailblazer hacking their way through thick vines and dense undergrowth, seeking a way out of a confusing and often frightening place?
 
Navigating my way through Womanhood Wonderland these last two decades has many parallels with jungle expeditions. I’ve often felt like that adventurer trying to hack a path to a clearing where I could stop and look around and really know where I am and who I am at the present age and stage of my life.
 
Unlike Jane in the Tarzan movies, I don’t have a figure-hugging leopard skin wardrobe to wear as I trapeze through life, but many times, I felt like I was barely holding on as I pendulumed between stages of my Baby Boomerness, career, relationships, hormonal, health and physical changes.
 
As women today, we face so many...

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Getting Lost, a journey of self-dicsovery

I went for a drive in the country this morning. I got lost, purposely lost.

I’m staying with friends in Canada that live in a beautiful rural area away from Toronto. I’ve come here to spend time with people that I love and miss and to begin writing for my new project, The Encore Catalyst. After the family left for their work day, I got in my car and decided to explore the area and find a good old fashioned country breakfast.

The trees and fields are incredibly lush and green after the generous rains of spring and early summer. The roads are narrow and quiet and in many spots branches overhung the roadway like arms ready to embrace. Sometimes, I could not see what was around the next corner.

I kept the radio off and was smugly happy that my mobile network coverage was spotty to none. I wanted to disengage from the busy me, to quiet my brain and just drink in the beauty and abundance around me. No music, no news, no chatter, just the soothing...

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