Do You Have a Plan B?

“If you express your intentions, the realization of those intentions will follow. Letting other people know your intentions also often leads to the arrival of required assistance from unexpected sources” (Masaru Emoto, 2001).

This quote from Masaru Emoto describes exactly what has happened to me in the last six months! It’s fascinating to know that my journey from unbelievable loss on June 17th to unbelievable gain after setting an intention isn’t rare at all. Similar situations have happened to people over and over again all throughout history in many contexts. I’m not blazing a new trail so I can sigh a breath of relief and find comfort in knowing that almost any challenging situation in which I’ve found myself, or will find myself, has been experienced by a total stranger who is somehow also a kindred spirit.

I’ve relied on my GRIT more times than I can count since launching Gritty Guru Company a few months ago. Although the path I am travelling is new to me, it is well-marked and defined by my commitment to my Plan A: accompanying others as they take the time to Know, Grow and Show their GRIT. Little did I know that stating my intentions to start my company out loud and sharing my vision with powerful people around me would make this journey a reality. One of my favourite parts of this adventure so far is that, by letting others around me know my intentions, I’ve been embraced by a community of my own Gritty Gurus who have brought valuable insights, hugs and inspiration to my travels.

I know each and every day there are so many decisions that you are likely working through. For the decisions that you’ve been contemplating, both big or small, are there a couple of steps on the path you can finally commit to and unleash the “required assistance from unexpected sources”?

Say your intention out loud, get on the path and let a Gritty Guru join you along the way to your destination. Yay for Plan A; no need for Plan B!



Do You Find Inspiration in ‘The Invitation’?

In a previous blog I shared a list of great publications that put the spotlight on grit. I called it GRIT Lit and one of the two poems is ‘The Invitation’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I thoroughly enjoy this poem because I feel as though it draws attention to the range of grit needed for all manner of situations that life inevitably throws our way. 

I invite you take a few minutes today to find a quiet space and read the poem out loud from beginning to end in one sitting. You may even need to read it more than once; take your time and let the words settle around you as well as within you!  As you’re reading, notice which sentences make you nod your head in agreement or even utter mmm-hmmm. Can you identify a person in your life who embodies these characteristics? Are there any lines that fully align with who you are? Is there a section that you feel doesn’t fit with you at all?  Finally, take notice if there are any verses that cause confusion or heartache!  Are there any sentences that make you shake your head in disagreement? Perhaps there are some parts that seem like a new thought or new way of thinking? 

For me, the last two sentences in the poem speak to my soul. They reliably get my head nodding and my GRIT growing: “I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly enjoy the company you keep in the empty moments.”  

Let the words sit with you and allow yourself to fully embrace the invitation!!!


The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dreamfor the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon… I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day.And if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, Yes.

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get upafter the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation, published by HarperONE, San Francisco, 1999 All rights reserved

To Be or Not to Be… a Guru?

The term guru can mean very different things to people based on their culture, faith or personal history. In spite of the variety, I’ve noticed some common threads throughout the definitions. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a guru is a Sanskrit term for a “teacherguideexpert or master” of certain knowledge or field.[1] In pan-Indian traditionsguru is more than a teacher, in Sanskrit guru means the one who dispels the darkness and takes towards light, traditionally a reverential figure to the student, with the guru serving as a “counselor, who helps mold values, shares experiential knowledge as much as literal knowledge, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source who helps in the spiritual evolution of a student”.[2] A guru is also one’s spiritual guide, who helps one to discover the same potentialities that the guru has already realized.[3]. 

The definitions which resonate most with me are the ones recognizing that a guru’s primary responsibility is drawing out wisdom and insights from within an individual as opposed to imparting external thoughts and ideas. 

During many memorable times in my life, I have inspired and been inspired by my friends, family, and co-workers when we tell each other about difficult aspects of our lives. I’m truly humbled whenever people choose to share what’s in their hearts as well as on their minds! I see marvelousness in people around me but, all too often, I realize as I listen to their stories that they have lost sight of their gifts and their GRIT. In this sense, I believe a Gritty Guru is someone who promotes candid self-reflection and encourages people to consider the opportunities that often come with challenges once they tap into the mountain of resources already residing within them.

In my last blog, I talked about GRIT trading cards as a tiny, keep-close-to-you reminder of the amazing person you are and the unexpected results that are possible when you know your GRIT.  My consulting model is firmly rooted in the value of igniting people’s understanding of the resources they already possess and working together to navigate obstacles with renewed purpose and passion. As a Gritty Guru, I won’t define your GRIT for you, but I’ll do the following throughout our time together:

  • listen to your words, 
  • teach you what I know about grit, 
  • remind you of your unique abilities, 
  • guide you toward implementing the ideas and visions you have about you and 
  • inspire a sense of GRIT that you can keep with you in everything you aim to do. 

Honestly, I was nervous about using the word guru in my company name.  I was nervous that people would assume there was an implied distance or perceive an imbalance of expertise between myself and others. I considered other names such as: (i) Gritty Girls and Guys, (ii) Gritty in the City and (iii) GRIT Group. After much reflection, Gritty Guru Company seemed most accurate in communicating my sincere hope for others to thrive on the opposite side of the obstacles after they’ve taken the time to learn as much as possible about the path ahead and the ways in which fear, doubt, hopes and dreams may impact travels along the way.

So, yes, I am a Gritty Guru!  I can be a Guru and you can be a Guru. In fact, you may already be a Guru!?!

“Can I Carry You Around in My Pocket?”

For as long as I can remember, friends old and new have been asking me this question! I’m honoured each and every time someone asks it while, at the same time, I giggle a little on the inside at the thought of how a “mini me” would actually live and survive inside a pocket all day long 🤔. So, what I really think might be happening here is that my friends would like a pocket-sized souvenir of our conversation or interaction. It would need to be something quick, simple and tangible that reminds them how they feel about themselves and their awesomeness when they need it the most. 

 With this in mind, and with some serious inspiration from Gary Vaynerchuk’s throwback to the popularity of trading sports cards, I came up with an idea for GRIT trading cards! So now anyone can have a portable summary of their marvelousness handy and available whenever they want it.

 The trading card will summarize what you believe to be your G, R, I, and T words and you can use it as your GRIT ‘compass’. I think it would be fantastic (or just a nice change of perspective) to have people articulate to themselves or to others what makes them gritty and makes them great. Knowing, growing and ultimately showing your GRIT to others won’t be difficult when you have your trading card close by.

My hope for these GRIT trading cards is for everyone to have a reminder of what they’ve got going for them. It’s so easy to lose sight of what we bring to a situation but it’s hard to forget when we have a hard copy to reference!

My GRIT trading cards will debut this coming Saturday, November 23rd, at a holiday Health and Wellness event in Aurora called Awaken Your Senses. If you’re able to make it out we can start looking at your GRIT compass and have your trading card ready to take home with you!!!

I’d love to get a picture with you and your GRIT trading card; you can start sharing your GRIT by sending a picture of your trading card to hello@growmygrit.com or you can tag me on Instagram @growmygrit

Thanks to the creative team at By Design Graphics for making the trading cards a reality.

If you had a GRIT trading card, where would you keep it?

Do You Believe in a GRIT Gene?

I realized this morning that I come from a family of entrepreneurs; I’m actually the fifth Schepmyer to start a business! 

My Mom and my Dad (whom I call Big Daddy for future reference) started Schepmyer’s Craft Company almost 40 years ago. Anthony, my older brother, is the CEO at Vaughan Industrial Supply and Andrew, my younger brother, incorporated his Neurology practice a few years ago. We’ve all faced a unique set of obstacles along our journeys, but we’ve all called on our GRIT to realize our business dreams! 

I recall watching Big Daddy and Mom, who is truly the mother-of-all crafters in my books, as they worked so hard to make their small company successful. My Mom does the manual labour of creating art from almost anything! Big Daddy helps with the bigger projects (e.g., driving Mom to shows, framing pictures when she used to make paper tole and helping set-up for various art shows). Was that GRIT I was seeing the whole time and I just didn’t know it? Did we inherit it? 

When I read Angela Duckworth’s book on grit, I learned the word Sisu. According to the website for Finland University, it’s a Finnish term that can be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance and acting rationally in the face of adversity. To the Finnish people, Sisu has a mystical, almost magical meaning. It is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain that courage. It defines the Finnish people and their character. It stands for the philosophy that what must be done will be done, regardless of cost.

You might call it backbone, spunk, stamina, guts or drive and perseverance. Sisu is a measure of integrity that surpasses the hardship and sees through to the end. It is an inherent characteristic of the Finnish people; Sisu is the quality that lets them pick up, move on and learn something from previous failures. It’s the hard-jawed integrity that makes them pay their war debts in full. In short, it’s the indomitable will that sets Finns apart and explains many of the incredible things they do.

Although it’s an untranslatable word, Sisu sounds a whole lot like collective or cultural GRIT to me! 

Starting a business may not be what defines your family’s GRIT, but it’s neat to stop and think about possible GRIT genes running through your family tree. I’m going to connect with my family this week to see if we can agree on our G, R, I and T words. Then, I’ll share our answers and tell you more about each of the businesses in upcoming blogs. 

 So, what do you think GRIT looks like in your family? 

What Constitutes GRIT Lit?

When it comes to making a list of literature that has helped me grow my GRIT recently, I think two fun names are “GRIT Lit” or “GRIT-erature”. I told you I LOVE playing with words!!! I usually use the first title because the second one is surprisingly hard to say. Here is a list of my top six books listed in alphabetical order because I really can’t rank them. It would be like comparing six different types of fruits (not just apples and oranges). I’ll feature each one in an upcoming Blog, but I really wanted to share the titles with you!

There are also some poems that I think of as great GRIT Lit.

My favourite long poem for growing grit is The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I love talking to people about which verse resonates most with them!

My favourite short poem for growing grit is Who Has Seen the Wind by Christina Rossetti. For me, the wind is Nature’s friendly reminder that this too shall pass!

I love reading physical books; I have a serious Chapters-Indigo addiction and I’d gladly live in a library for an extended period of time if I was allowed! I know that at some point in the future, when the print on the paper appears smaller and fuzzier than it used to, I may need to abandon my print copies. I’ll dust off my Kobo, recharge it and place the font on extra large.  Or perhaps when my eyes fail me altogether,  I’ll get a subscription to an audio book club so that others can do the reading for me. One thing for sure is that I will always have a book in my hands, in my bag or on a list ready to read!!  Options, options, options and so glad to have them available to me!

Which books are helping you to know your GRIT, grow your GRIT or show your GRIT?

How Do I Define My GRIT?

An important prequel to the origin story is the answer to the question, “How does haze define her GRIT?”

So I thought it would be helpful for me to describe my own GRIT as an example and as a way for you to get to know more about me! I love to play with words, so I tried to find G, R, I and T words that reflect my default setting when things get tough for me. I want to acknowledge that everyone’s version of tough is different; I understand that the challenges people face will vary in complexity and intensity. I’d say that most of the obstacles and challenges I have faced so far are setbacks, detours or full-out roadblocks that I have chosen to navigate.

Using the example of losing what I thought was the best job ever this past June, here’s how I define my GRIT.

My G is for GRATITUDE because my brain reliably sees how things could be so much worse in the face of bad news, loss or a tough situation. When we got the news about our jobs being cut, my first thoughts were: (i) I’m grateful for three months’ notice because some people get walked out or locked out when they lose their jobs; (ii) I’m grateful that I’m the only person in my organization with my job title because I’m not going to be competing with dozens of friends and colleagues for a new job; (iii) I’m grateful that I’m getting a severance package which recognizes my 14 years of service to the organization and I can work right up until September to finish all of my projects on-the-go.

My R is for RESILIENCE because I tend to keep sight of the surface when the flood waters of change start gushing and rushing. My brain is also quick to come up with explanations for tough situations that allow me not to take things personally. When the news came about the cuts, I realized that I’d be losing what I thought was the best job ever. However, as I was the only person in my role, I wasn’t left wondering why I was losing my job while some of my other colleagues weren’t. I believe in abundance and so I figured that there must be another best job ever out there for me and I’d just have to find it. Little did I know I’d be the one to create my next best job ever! Another thought that crossed my mind was that my brain had been my most important resource on-the-job and it was coming with me, so all would be well in the end.

My I is for IMAGINATION because, whether I like it or not, I imagine scenarios to infinity and beyond. By sifting through those scenarios, I can identify how things might be different and imagine which path will get me closer to where I want to be.

My T is for TIME which I’m very aware is a finite resource. I want to honour all of the feelings that come my way (happy, sad, ecstatic, frustrated, awestruck, disappointed, energized, embarrassed, stoked) but I try to remind myself that any time spent in a negative mindset is cutting into the time I could be spending in a positive place. When things are getting tough for me, I sometimes set myself a time limit. This means I can feel sorry for myself and sulk for two or three more hours and then I’ll focus on the next part of my day.

Feel, heal then deal with what’s real (i.e., what’s happening outside of your mind)!

This is my GRIT, what’s yours?

What’s the Story Behind Gritty Guru Company?

On June 17th, I was one of almost 300 staff at a Children’s Treatment Centre who received notice that our jobs were being eliminated in 12 weeks due to the Provincial government’s funding cuts. It was there in that moment, whether or not I recognized it, that I began to call on my GRIT.  Through many blessings that I will describe I was able to make it here today to share with you the launch of the Gritty Guru Company.

The first of many blessings was my monthly dinner date with my good friend, Joyful Janis, scheduled for June 21st. Through our conversations, laughter and shared love of dreaming out loud,  the tiny seed of starting a business was planted.  The blessings continued and four days later, I was having tea with Amanda Garrett , a wonderful woman who creates my custom dresses. She was sharing with me a good read that she had just finished and suggested I read it too: Jen Sincero’s “You are a Badass at Making Money: Mastering the Mindset of Wealth”. Amanda had no idea what was going on at my work place but had said that it was a great read for aspiring entrepreneurs. I hadn’t heard of the book, but I finished it in just a couple of weeks and then I decided at that moment to start a consulting business based on the lists and letters Jen outlined!

So, what were the next steps? I asked my friends, Lisa and Laura of the Oil Girls Canada to be my mentors and that’s when the cascade of resources, opportunities as well as blessings really began to flow!

Lisa and Laura told me about web.com and strongly encouraged me to develop a persona for my adventures with social media. Through that conversation, the inspiration of Gritty Gurus was developed. Lisa and Laura also introduced me to Rebecca Gamble, the best Bookkeeper ever, who then introduced me to a fantastic legal resource called Legal Shield for small business owners.

On July 24th, I registered the Gritty Guru Company and purchased www.growmygrit.com as well as www.growmygrit.ca because I’m a proud Canadian! I somehow managed to buy the former from web.com and the latter from GoDaddy. As a testament to their business model, I got a call from Amazing Ashley at web.com a few days after I purchased my domain name and that’s when I decided to choose them instead of GoDaddy to design my site for me. Remarkable Russell at web.com has been an incredible Project Manager/Design Lead and his support is invaluable.

In the two months after registering my business, my friend Connected Cathy told me about the seminal book “Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth. Then, my friend from elementary school, Literary Lesley, introduced me to “Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change” by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick. These books gave me many ideas on how to facilitate conversations in a way that will help other people know their GRIT, grow their GRIT and show their GRIT.

On August 19th, things came around full circle when I started talks about a possible consulting contract with the same organization that would be eliminating my job in early September. My last day as a full-time employee there fell on a Friday and my first day as an Independent Contractor there was the following Monday. Who saw any of this coming???

Before I knew it, October arrived!  With the final stages of my plan coming together, I asked my Bestie, Sandra-Jean, about ways to make the vision of my company’s logo a reality. Thanks to her boundless creativity, she designed my outstanding logo.  Last, but certainly not least I hired Catherine (Bruce) Flanigan as my Social Media Manager.

Now it’s October 31st and it’s Launch Day for www.growmygrit.com