The Power of a Day

Today, March 8, 2022, is International Women’s Day. What is the power of a day- of one day celebrating women? I’ve been struggling to put in to words what this day means to me because one day is not enough to support the strong women of the world. It’s not enough to show our girls growing up what they can be in this life. One day is not enough to keep propelling women forward in a world still holding so many of us back.

So, why is this day important to me? It’s not just because I’m a woman. Is it because of all that I have? A university degree, a home owner, and a small business owner? There are parts of the world where that’s not allowed to happen for women, and I can’t even fathom what that’s like; to be denied simply because of the body parts I was born with, or I should say, without. I can’t imagine someone looking at me and saying ‘You can’t’ just because I’m a woman, but thats because I grew up with extreme privilege. I’m a straight white woman born in Canada, who am I to talk about the struggles of women at all.

We all have or have had women in our lives: Mothers. Sisters. Cousins. Friends. Co workers. Mentors. Heroes. Would you ever want to hear or see someone talk badly to any of them? To tell them they can’t, or call them names for asserting themselves? What would your response be? That is what fuels my passion for this day. For those who haven’t been as fortunate as I have, we need International Women’s Day to go beyond a single day.

The world doesn’t need more humble women.

What can we do to keep the momentum from this day going? Maybe it starts within us – with the language we use, or changing behaviours we grew up with that are actually damaging to all of us. I’m just as guilty for it. To be a strong woman does not mean you are: intimidating, bossy, or aggressive. It doesn’t mean you’re a bitch because you know what you want, and you work hard for it. We, as women, have to stop tearing each other down and resorting to using these terms. We need to stop feeling threatened by powerful or successful women. Study them. Learn from them. Don’t tear them down. The world is doing that enough already.

I felt uneasy about posting an article I’d been interviewed for on social media, until someone sent me a video stating: ‘The world doesn’t need more humble women’, and I realized that’s true. It needs them to be loud about what they’re doing – to celebrate their successes publicly. To let other women know they can do it too. Why do we fear sharing our success? Is it because we’re afraid it will look like bragging?

I spent the last half of my 20s and the first half of my 30s thinking I couldn’t have love and success – it just wasn’t possible.

Another article I was asked to be a part of scared the shit out of me just with the title: Power Women: Alicia Simms of Truro Buzz Media and Promotions On How To Successfully Navigate Work, Love and Life As A Powerful Woman. ‘I can’t call myself a powerful woman,’ was my immediate thought. How arrogant would that be? That was followed by ‘Who the hell am I to talk about navigating work, love and life – I’m divorced with a string of failed relationships.’ While my professional life was thriving, my personal life was a raging dumpster fire. I spent the last half of my 20s and the first half of my 30s thinking I couldn’t have love and success – it just wasn’t possible. I either had to make myself smaller to fit in to a relationship, or accept that I would never be able to have love and a successful career.

To me, this day means we have come so far, but we still have a long way to go. Women need to be able to walk down a street at night and not fear for their safety. We need to be able to dress how we want to dress without fear of being told ‘we’re asking for it’. I know women who are afraid to work late in an office alone, and that should just never be.

Maybe I am an aggressive woman. I have a fire inside me; a passion for life that I cannot quantify, and nothing, absolutely NOTHING is going to keep me from going after anything I set my mind too – certainly not my genitals. I will never stop celebrating International Women’s Day, and sharing the words of powerful women everywhere, and doing my part to create a world where we can #BreakTheBias. That’s the power in a day.

6 Transformational Books To Read This Winter

I loved seeing people’s year end posts on social about how many books they read over the year. I like to switch between genres with my reading. Going from an autobiography- learning the twists and turns in a person’s life to get where they are today fascinates me (which is how Life Simmsulated came to be), to a fluffy fictional rom-com or mystery novel. Near and dear to my heart, and library card, are personal and professional development books – I cannot get enough. I’m deep in to reading during the winter months, so I thought I would share a few books that have made an impact on me. For anyone else out there who loves a little PD, here are 6 transformational books to read this winter.

1. The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama XIV & Howard Cutler

I first read this book when I was an angsty teen in high school. I was struggling with so many emotions at the time, and ‘happiness’ seemed to elude me. It was when Chapters stores first came to Canada and, oh, how I loved browsing the aisles of books. I saw this one on an end cap and the idea of happiness being an art form intrigued me.
It was definitely over my head at the time, but I read it, underlined parts, and tried to really understand his words and teachings. The book is made up of a series of interviews Cutler conducted with his Holiness around the idea that happiness doesn’t come from outside or environmental influences. He poses many relatable questions and scenarios. I’ve since read it twice more in the last two decades of my life, and its hit differently each time. It’s written from a philosophical perspective, but the genuine lessons of getting down to what’s important, and training yourself on behaviours that lead to a happy life, are definitely worth taking in. This is a book I will likely reread every decade of my life for continued personal development, and take away something new each time.

2. Good to Great by Jim Collins

I got this book as a Christmas gift a couple of years back, and I’m glad I did. I’m not analytically minded so it was a harder read for me, but the takeaways were priceless. If you’re a person who geeks out on research, you’ll really enjoy this book, but don’t be discouraged if you’re not!
This book is great if you are building, or work with a team. As a small business owner with a small but growing team, I loved the theory around getting the right people on the bus and dissecting the different levels of effective leadership. It was equally great that the book uses examples of what doesn’t work as well. It asked a lot of questions, and I made a lot of notes reading this book. It’s an excellent tool for professional development. Check out Jim Collins site here.

3. The Stoic Challenge by William B. Irvine

My partner Tyson read this book and thought it was something I would enjoy – spoiler alert: he was right! Who isn’t looking for a ‘guide to becoming tougher, calmer and more resilient’? I was hooked by the first chapter entitled ‘A Day at the Airport’. This is something I’m very familiar with, which is rarely without its stresses and anxieties.
This book is quite optimistic in its approach to treat life’s constant borage of unpredictability as a series of tests from a hypothetical Stoic God. It looks at examining our emotional reactions to different scenarios, and learning to reframe events that happen in our lives, from every day stresses to a crisis. This book really made me stop and examine how I react to things. Its a great guide for dealing with the road blocks life is bound to throw at you. Check out more from William B. Irvine here.

4. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

This was the first Brené Brown book I read, and I knew it would not be my last. I had just finished a leadership course where we had talked about this book, and Brené’s research, when a trip to my local book store had this puppy sitting on a table out front. I decided to pick it up and so my love of Brené Brown’s work began (I’ve since read almost all of her books).

Like all her work, she talks about wrestling with vulnerability, shame and empathy, but this book views it through the lense of being a leader and leading. It’s an excellent handbook to anyone looking to be a more empathic leader in their business, team or relationships honestly. Even if you’ve read other titles by Brené, I would highly recommend picking this up to further your professional development. Honestly, its also great personal development, which in turn makes you a better professional! See more from Brené here.

5. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

I borrowed this book from a good friend, and after I finished it, I had to get my own copy. This truly is a workbook, and I did every activity Marie laid out. It was an excellent tool for mapping out what you want for yourself and your business, as well as dealing with the dreaded worst case scenarios. I focused in on dream situations for my business and myself, and drilled down on goals I had but wasn’t fully working toward.

This is an incredibly thought-provoking and actionable book. I would highly recommend to anyone looking to get clearer on their goals and dreams. It also helps to work out a lot of the ‘what if’s that stand in our way. This is personal AND professional development to the max! Check out more from Marie here.

6. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I’ve saved the best for last. If you follow me on social, I’ve talked about this book before, and I’m sure I will again. I think this is the single most transformative book I’ve ever read. This should be taught to kids in high school – maybe even younger. It is FULL of fundamentals on understanding and dealing with shame, and vulnerability that we should be taught all our lives, but we’re not. This book is helpful in regards to working on relationships of every kind: family or romantic relationships, parenting and at work.

You can literally apply it to understanding every area of your life. I would have lived my life so differently had I found this book earlier – that is to say, I feel like I could have weathered the shame storms I found myself in as opposed to lose myself in them. I think of the relationship problems I’ve had, and how so many problems are rooted in shame and vulnerability we may not even realize we’re feeling. Obviously, I highly recommend this book no matter what stage of your life you find yourself in. It truly is the peak of personal development.

I hope this has been informative for you, and some of these books speak to your own reading goals. Perhaps I’ll work on a fiction list! I’m always looking for recommendations so feel free to share your own with me here. May these titles help you on your own personal and professional development paths! Happy reading!