Today, I’m speaking with Cindy Sharp. Cindy describes herself as a continuous work in progress. She loves to learn and surrounds herself with new ideas, skills, and ways of thinking that she can apply to her life to become the best version of herself and to share this information with others. She wants the freedom to design her own life and she believes that women should lift each other up and support each other to become our best authentic selves while embracing where we are on our journey. With this in mind, she created B-sharp as a platform to share the best content and ideas that she has curated all in support of women, breaking the mold, becoming their authentic selves and taking control in order to design a life that they love.
She believes that to do this, we need to invest in five life pillars: purpose, health and wellness, career, business and finance, relationships and contribution. Using the B-sharp platform, she shares information and resources related to each of these pillars so that together step-by-step, we can make small incremental changes that compound to create an intentional life that breaks away from the day-to-day hamster wheel and forced expectations to design our own lives.
Additionally, she’s a Canadian woman currently living abroad in Berlin, Germany as an ex-pat, working as a business executive for a large global company. She’s the mother of two amazing boys, an avid book reader, traveler, content guzzler, and fitness enthusiast. She’s always looking for ways to find balance and create time, not find it, create it.
She would love to connect to women who are also looking to find their purpose and add value, to consistently learn and grow and to design a life that they love. You can find her on her blog and on socials using the links that will be in the show notes. In particular, her blog is be-sharp.co.
Listen to this episode for a whole lot of resources and suggestions of a process to help you live life on purpose, with intention. Cindy has lots of great resources on finding your purpose, on filling your life with intention, and for trying to live the life that you want, keeping the different components in balance as much as possible.
If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend. I also invite you to leave me a five star review for this episode or any episode that you listened to. You can do that in whatever podcast app you use. If you are living a life on purpose and with intention and you would like to be a guest, please fill out the form.
You can take small steps in each area over time, and those are going to compound and really create big results over time. – Cindy SharpTweet
Timeline of the Chat
03:11 – The 5 categories explored in Be Sharp
05:08 – Balancing the 5 areas and getting things done
07:27 – Strategies for catching momentum
09:14 – About Be Sharp and Blogging
11:55 – On Purpose versus THE Purpose
15:16 – What Purpose Looks like
16:14 – Purpose in childhood and adulthood
19:26 – Cindy’s helpful daily habits
21:44 – Inspiring speakers and Cindy’s recommendations
27:35 – Challenge/Invitation from Cindy
29:36 – WOOP method for motivating change
If you want something, you have to go and take those actions and have your missteps.Tweet
- Insight Timer app
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams, Deepak Chopra
- The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose, Oprah Winfrey
- The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer
- Impact Theory podcast with Tom Bilyeu
- Marie Forleo
- Chase Jarvis
- Tim Ferriss
- Tony Robbins
- The Science of Wellbeing (Happiness) course by Laurie Santos
- Daniel Pink 2 questions
- WOOP System
Do the small incremental things, chunk those big projects so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed.Tweet
Transcript of the Episode
The 5 categories explored in Be-Sharp [03:11]
Damianne: [03:11] Let’s spend some time talking about Be-sharp. You’ve developed it to explore five different categories of living. How did you identify those five categories?
Cindy: [03:22] Well, I think in order to really have a fulfilled and happy life, you need to have a holistic approach. So I think that each of these categories are something that always has an impact on your life. If you’re not healthy in the first place, you can’t go and chase your purpose or have the energy to do the things that you need to do.
If your close relationships aren’t in a good place, it also impacts the way that you can work in your career or your business. If you don’t have your finances in order, it also impacts. So all of these things have an impact on each other. So that’s how I really identified those five pillars as the whole well-rounded approach to making a life or designing a life that you love.
Damianne: [04:05] And do you think that it’s possible to balance all of those five things or do they sometimes have to be prioritized or managed in some way?
Cindy: [04:17] I think absolute and perfect balance is not really attainable. If it is, please somebody come and tell me how to do it because I would love to. But I do think that you can always improve in each of these areas. And it doesn’t always have to be a complete overhaul, a massive action plan. You can take small steps in each area over time, and those are going to compound and really create a big results over time.
Maybe you’re focusing on your purpose in one area for a little bit of time, and then you say, Oh, you know what, my relationships are a little bit. Lacking and you need to go back and put some more effort towards those. So I think it’s definitely a balancing act and also having some intention in scheduling around it to keep up with each of those areas and to make sure that they’re always, let’s say in your view.
Balancing the 5 areas and getting things done [05:08]
Damianne: [05:08] Do you have a process for managing those buckets?
Cindy: [05:13] Definitely for me, it’s scheduling it in. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not real. And day-to-day, you so easily can lose, focus or get caught in somebody else’s priorities or, you know, the time gets away from you. So you need to schedule it and really make promises and rules to yourself that you’re going to follow through with what you’ve scheduled on there, and just try not to take too big of a bite, you know what I mean?
Do the small incremental things, chunk those big projects so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed. But for me, it’s really scheduling those things in as silly as it sounds. Even with relationships, you know, I’m scheduling in send a note to my friend in Canada, just to let her know I’m thinking of her. These sorts of things, it’s a five minutes thing, but I need to schedule that in and follow through and make sure that I’m keeping those relationships.
Damianne: [06:05] I think that’s such a good point because sometimes it’s easy for us to lose track of how long it’s been since we’ve been in touch with somebody, for example, I have a friend and she is excellent at this. I should ask her if she adds it to her calendar because I don’t know how she could manage to regularly get in touch with me otherwise. Personally, it helps me when I put it on a calendar. I’ll be like, Oh wow, it’s been three months since I’ve talked to X and I, I really enjoy talking to them. But somehow, you know, life happens and it will take all the space you give it with the things that you actually put in place.
Cindy: [06:41] Exactly. And some of these things are really five, 10, 15 minute items that you can just cross off the list and trust me, once you cross off something, you feel so good just about crossing it off, that you’ve accomplished something.
Damianne: [06:53] Yes. I don’t remember who the productivity expert is, but there is a recommendation that if something will only take you five minutes to do, do it right away, and then cross it off your list. Because sometimes those tiny things can take so much headspace when really it would be much quicker for us to just knock them.
Cindy: [07:13] Exactly. And then you gain momentum, right?
Damianne: [07:16] Yes. Speaking about gaining momentum, what strategies work for you in terms of managing and maintaining a momentum?
Strategies for catching momentum [07:27]
Cindy: [07:27] For me, what has really worked for me, and I think, you know, people are different and have to find what works for them. But along the same lines as with the calendar is like I have a habit tracker. So the things that I really want to work on or develop, or I’m focusing on in this next quarter or whatever it is, I have a tracker to say, you know, did you do your workout today? And you fill in the bubble, yes, I completed my workout. So I can see that I’m gaining progress, that I’m really achieving those goals. I can see that I filled up the month and how I feel as a result of that and journal on that and reflect on that.
So this is how I try to track it and also to gain trust in myself, right? Because I’m making promises to myself. I’m saying I’m going to do those things. And when I do accomplish those things, I learned to trust myself more as a person and you really gain confidence and momentum just by keeping the promises you make to yourself.
Damianne: [08:25] Do you use a visual tool of some sort, a digital one or analog?
Cindy: [08:29] For me, I’m very kinesthetic. So I do it actually written in my own journal. So I created, let’s say my own bullet journal, where I’ve also put in a little calendar with each of my habits that I’m working on in that moment. And then I highlight it in with the highlight or actually.
Damianne: [08:46] I have something talking. It’s my reminder to, to get up and move.
Cindy: [08:52] See? In the calendar.
Damianne: [08:54] Yes. Yes. And actually, I do do a lot of things digitally, but when I’m trying to create a streak with an action and I want to do it every day, I do find that putting the calendar on the fridge or somewhere around where I will notice it and check things off is a great motivation personally.
Cindy: [09:13] Yes.
About Be-Sharp and Blogging [09:14]
Damianne: [09:14] How long have you been blogging and writing on Be Sharp?
Cindy: [09:19] I only started it at the beginning of this year, but let’s say the idea has been in my mind for, for really a long time and growing and persisting let’s say. It would not stop until I actually put it up.
Damianne: [09:32] So you mentioned that the idea has been with you for a long time. What was the turning point for you to change it from idea to action?
Cindy: [09:42] You know, it was really the start of the new year. You’re kind of reflecting on your past and these sorts of things. Every year, I set goals and some of them I achieve, some of them I don’t. And then I saw this quote somewhere: how bad do you really want the life you say you want.
I thought about that in all of the years prior that I didn’t do it. And I was saying, you know, if you don’t change anything, nothing changes. And I said, that’s it. I’m going to do it regardless. No matter what happens this year, I’m going to get it out there and keep that promise to myself.
And so that’s where this whole bullet journal started was with this and the daily habits and things like this that I wanted to continue and pursue, and just would not allow myself to break the rule to myself this year and I just took action.
Damianne: [10:37] That’s wonderful because we’re in November so that means that you’ve been doing this for 11 months. So you sustained it through what I imagine might have been some challenging times and you’ve got a baby.
And so what were some of those challenges you faced and how do you deal with them?
Cindy: [10:56] Well I think one of the biggest challenges is what will people think, and all of the little naysayer voices in your head, maybe you’re not a good enough writer, who cares about that topic. Or somebody else has already done this; who do you think you are, a lot of the negative self commentary that I think that we all have to a point. And it’s really just overcoming that and saying, okay, even if all of that is true, I will have learned something on this journey. I will have gained more information. I will have become a better writer.
People that really care about me if they, if they really are going to remove themselves or ridicule me and my life, then they shouldn’t be there anyways. These sorts of things, like really trying to logically look at this negative voice and say, who are you? No, I’m going to do this.
Damianne: [11:45] So it sounds like you’ve got some good strategies for positive self-talk and for overcoming some of those negative voices.
Cindy: [11:54] Yes.
Purpose versus THE Purpose [11:55]
Damianne: [11:55] You acknowledge that the concept of finding your purpose can be stressful. I believe I read that in one of your posts. Last week I interviewed somebody and that episode is coming out before this one so people will have listened to it. Wendy talked about the difference between finding your purpose versus living on purpose, and how often we see purpose as being this point that we’re chasing whereas it may not be a point; it could be shifting at different times, and you talk about that too. Or it could even be that we find purpose in community, or in the narrative we tell ourselves are different times. So how do you think about this idea of purpose and how people can avoid the stress of finding the purpose?
Cindy: [12:47] I think it’s an ongoing journey until the end, to be honest, because if we’re all progressing and growing, we, as human beings, are shifting and changing over time. And so most likely your purpose will too as you grow and evolve and learn more and have more life experiences and things like this. So I don’t think that you’re necessarily always going to find that one thing and it’s over and yeah, you’ve reached the place that now nothing bad happens anymore.
It’s really going to shift and I think it’s just really a lot about self-awareness and just trying to go out and see in the end, how can you add value to yourself and to others. It’s really what does the world need? What can you contribute to that? What are your personal experiences that can really maybe reach or add value to another person? And how can you learn and grow from these experiences?
Damianne: [13:43] So personally, how do you think about aligning with your purpose? Are there times when you felt like you’re living in alignment with purpose and other times when you felt a bit of dissonance.
Cindy: [13:57] I am still a work in progress and I think actually this is where a lot of the idea for the blog came about is me searching for that purpose or to live more on purpose and to live more intentionally where I’m creating my life. For most of my life, I feel like it’s been a lot of on autopilot, right?
The same day after day, you kind of get into the same habits and the daily routines and things that you should do. And really at some point you kind of lose yourself, right? And you wake up one day and you’re like, Whoa, lots of years have passed now. Who, who am I, what do I want? What is it that I really want to contribute, and all of these things.
And so I felt like. Really lost in that way and that I wasn’t living on intention. And so have I found it? No, but this is me on that journey right now, trying to find it to do things that scare me, to learn new things, try new things, and go more into that direction. And since doing so, since January with the blog and trying to find different ways to find my own purpose, I really start to feel like I’m coming closer and more aligned with myself. So we will see, I keep working. That’s the journey that we will go on together, you know?
What Purpose Looks like [15:16]
Damianne: [15:16] Do you think that this sense of purpose has to come through the work we get paid for, the things we do in addition or the things that we do to serve people? Does it take different forms? How do you think about that?
Cindy: [15:33] I think it is absolutely different for everybody. Everybody is unique as they were made to be. And so every person will have another way that their purpose comes through in their life. If you can get paid for it, great. That would be wonderful for sure. But if you’re just, you know, you’re working your job and it’s okay. You like your job, but on the side you’re volunteering or contributing in another way, or you’re an artist making art and it just fills you up. That’s fine as well.
Damianne: [16:04] How old are your children?
Cindy: [16:06] Well, I have a 16 year old and I have a three month old.
Damianne: [16:11] Okay. So…
Cindy: [16:12] I do it one at a time.
Purpose for children [16:14]
Damianne: [16:14] Do you have conversations around the idea of purpose? How do you think about that with your children?
Cindy: [16:20] This is definitely, let me tell you, a struggle with a teenager at the moment and definitely something we’re talking about right now. He’s coming up to the end of high school in the next couple of years. And, you know, he’s frustrated because he really is not quite sure what he wants to do and I understand him. It’s such a young age to decide what you’re going to be when you grow up.
And so right now it’s just about a discovery. And I said, you know, what are the things that you like to do? Or what could you maybe take in school that is the skill that you can learn that helps you do anything else. You take a business course, for example, and that can help you no matter what you’re going to do in the world, because you know, you can learn how to communicate or handle your finances, things like this.
So, you know, maybe in a more abstract way, what skills can you obtain while you figure out what it is you want to do in the world?
Damianne: [17:15] I read this great article and I wish I could remember the reference, but this is one of my, one of the, one of my struggles. And what it talked about is for people at university and around what people might study. Many of us, if we study science, for example, we also take our electives in the sciences. And if we study arts, we also take our electives in the arts.
An alternate way that they presented was think about how we’re building the pillars for our life. So if we only take sciences, we have one pillar. Whatever our major is, we have those compulsory courses. If we took electives that were the polar opposite, so if we’re in science, take art electives, then we’re actually building two pillars, which is much stronger of a foundation than one pillar. And I was like, huh, that resonates with me. That makes sense. And it wasn’t something I ever heard anybody explain this way to me as a student.
Cindy: [18:20] No, me neither. I think when, when we are going to school, it was always you stay in your lane and you do that one thing. You get your gold watch after twenty-five years and you’re done your career. I can’t remember the article I was reading, but they say that most discoveries are based on taking one topic and a complete opposite topic, putting those two complete different ideas together and this creates a new invention, a new way of thinking. And these are where the best discoveries are coming from is where you take two complete polar opposite topics and bring them together. So exactly to what you’re saying, I think it’s important to have more pillars if you can build them.
Damianne: [18:55] Yeah, and especially nowadays where people don’t necessarily stay in the same job for 40 years. And so having different ways of thinking, having different habits of mind, actually help with being able to be adaptable to different environments and fields.
Cindy: [19:13] And having a growth mindset, right, in general, that no matter what, you can learn something new and grow your skillset and these sorts of things. So for sure, my son will not have the same job for 25 years. It’s a different world. Exactly.
Helpful daily habits [19:26]
Damianne: [19:26] What are the practices that you have daily, weekly, besides we’ve already talked about some of them, for example, your tracking habits. Is there anything else that you do on a mostly daily basis or try to do on a daily basis that you think helps you.
Cindy: [19:45] With my baby that I recently have, things are a little bit more up in the air because I’m on his schedule at the moment. But typically, and I still try to fit it in where possible, I try to have a meditation/visualization time in the morning. And I do that with an app called Insight Timer.
I love it. And there’s one meditation in there that is really about visualizing and creating an intentional life and your day ahead and these sorts of things. It’s about 10 minutes and I try to get that in where I can, and then I have actually right here beside me a dream board that I put together that has all of the things that I dream about or I hope to accomplish. And I try to kind of just look at that and experience that as if it’s already happening.
And I definitely, definitely, always tried to have some sort of physical activity in the day, in the morning, if I can, because that’s always best to get things going for me. I find I’m more clear. I’m in a better mood. I feel better about myself and you’ve already accomplished something in the morning when you do it early. So I try to do something like this every morning, and then I usually start it with a tea and off to the races.
Damianne: [20:57] Yeah, it’s interesting because people often ask when is the best time to work out for example, or when is the best time to meditate or any of a number of things. And the answer that I like best is that the best time is whenever you’re going to do it. And so for me, I like to have some sort of movement on most days, but I find that I am actually stronger, like I can lift heavier weights, I have more energy in the afternoon, but I don’t often get my workouts in in the afternoon. However, if I schedule it in the morning, nothing comes in the way. Like nothing, nothing comes up at 6:00 AM that will prevent me from working out at that time. But 5:00 PM, sure, lots of things come up.
Cindy: [21:41] Life gets in the way by then. Yes. Yes.
Inspiring speakers and recommendations [21:44]
Damianne: [21:44] Definitely. Who do you find are the most inspiring speakers or books or media for you or for listeners?
Cindy: [21:54] There’s so many, it’s really so hard to narrow it down. If we’re talking, let’s say purpose or passion, or kind of like your soul journey and that type of thing for the books, I really like, and it’s a very short and easy read. I just want to make sure I’m saying the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra.
It’s one of his older books and it’s really small, really fast read, but I read and reread that one. I find that to be really a good one. The Path Made Clear by Oprah. I really like that one. And it’s, I find that very inspiring to kind of give you permission to go and follow your dreams and go find that thing that you’re meant to do, let’s say and The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.
Yeah. Also really, really a good one. And then in terms of speakers or maybe online resources, there’s so many, and this is why I try to curate it as much as I can in my blog posts.
Damianne: [22:50] I want to mention that you do a great job of that because many of your resources also share media from the web as well so people can go in more depth and they can get another perspective in addition to your perspective on things as well.
Cindy: [23:07] Exactly. You can really go down the rabbit hole with these topics. I’m not saying, like I said, I’m a work in progress. I am not the authority, but I just want to share what I have learned or found interesting or found inspiring so that other people can go on their own journey and start digging into those.
So yeah, I really, really like Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu. He’s really good on growth mindset and he’s kind of more of a kick you in the butt type of guy, if you need that kind of situation. Of course, anything, Oprah or Marie Forleo. She’s also good for women in business. Chase Jarvis for creativity; on that aspect, he’s really good online. Tim Ferris, I’m always liking his life hacking ideas and Tony Robbins. I mean, the list goes on and on you really.
Damianne: [23:55] I think one key idea that we can pull out here is that there are lots of resources available to people. One thing I found interesting in a course I was taking on happiness is by Laurie Santos. And it’s one of the most popular courses on Coursera, but she talks about one of the fallacies is that we think knowing is half the battle, knowing is not half the battle.
In fact, knowing isn’t even part of the battle because the battle requires some actions, some movement. And so knowing is great because if we don’t know what options are available to us, we have less opportunity. But at the same time, once we do know, we need to do something with that knowledge for it to really count. So I think from looking at your posts and from seeing many of the resources that you share, there are lots of opportunities for people to take something away for action as well.
Cindy: [24:58] Yes, this was really important to me. And because I’ve had so many years of just dreaming and inaction myself, right. I just was, you know, nothing changes until you change it. And so if you want something, you have to go and take those actions and have your missteps because you will have them. At the end of the day, it’s deciding. You need to decide that you want X, Y, and Z and then go for it. And when it doesn’t work the first time you pivot. When it doesn’t work, the second time you pivot, but you’re learning the whole way. There’s no failure if you’re learning and growing.
Damianne: [25:30] it sounds very simple, but most people and myself included have struggled with this at different times. What do you think makes the difference between struggle and progress, success?
Cindy: [25:46] I think for me what works and what has helped, let’s say, to get me going is to one, have some dreams that are exciting enough and really every day get yourself excited and get that feeling of what it will be like when you accomplish it. You need to sit in that feeling and be that person you will be when you accomplish it and feel it, really feel it.
And the other side that I found worked for me, as well, is what happens if you don’t do it. Go to the negative side then. So if I don’t look at my health. In the next 10 years, am I going to be here for my three month old baby? You know, am I going to see my grandchildren? Am I going to be able to climb that mountain I wanted to climb; what happens if I don’t do it? And then the other thing is, you know, you have to really understand we all have a limited amount of time and we don’t know when that time will end and so I really have this thought of what will my legacy be?
What would people think of me after I’m gone? What would they say about me? Almost you want to write your own funeral service speech to say, you know, what are people saying about you and your impact that you’ve had on their lives, so the closest ones to you. Or what you’ve done in this world, these sorts of things. So kind of go also to the dark side and take a look and say are you willing to pay that price for inaction, for fast and immediate responses to your cravings or do you really want to invest your time instead of just spend it.
Damianne: [27:21] Daniel Pink has some questions or an exercise related to this as well, writing your eulogy and thinking about what legacy do you want to leave. I’ll see if I can find this and put it in the show notes also.
Challenge/Invitation from Cindy [27:35]
Do you have a challenge on invitation for listeners, something you think that will help them on this journey of living the life that we want, that they want.
Cindy: [27:46] If you head over to the blog I tried to put together, it’s called a practical guide to finding your purpose. If you’re struggling or looking to say what is it that I want to do or what is it that is kind of a purposeful life? And I put together a bunch of practices and exercises that you can do to try to kind of do the self discovery and self awareness and try to figure out what that is. So if you head over there you can try that and download that for free.
And I would also say take a look at your environment. Set yourself up for success. If you have a little bit of time, make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with positivity. If you’re on social media, is your Instagram feed showing you positive things that are uplifting and great, or are you looking at things that give you FOMO or are bringing you down or making you feel not good enough? What are you watching on TV? What are you feeding your mind? Do you have a bunch of chocolate and junk food in your cupboards and that’s all you have that’s easy to get. Set up your environment to set yourself up for success as a fast win.
Damianne: [28:48] Thank you.
As we end our conversation today, do you have any thoughts, anything that you would like listeners to take away?
Cindy: [28:58] Just to go and chase your dreams and design a life that you love, or at least start making steps towards doing that, to be authentic and find out what makes you tick and then just go for it; life is too short.
And please go check out the blog. And I hope that you’ll find resources there that are helpful to you. And I would love to hear feedback from anybody. Socials, email, everything is on the blog. So go check it out and also share your resources with me. I love to hear about new speakers, contacts, content, resources, all of these sorts of things so that I can learn and grow along as well.
WOOP method for motivating change [29:36]
Damianne: [29:36] Yeah, and I will mention one because it came to my mind when you were talking about visualization and thinking about where you want to be in 10 years, and that’s the WOOP method. Are you familiar with it? WOOP.
Cindy: [29:50] no
Damianne: [29:51] Okay. So it’s the wish obstacle outcome plan. That’s what WOOP stands for. And it’s actually a strategy to help follow your dreams, to come up with a plan so that you anticipate what pitfalls you will encounter and you actually make a plan for how you will overcome those things that come up.
I don’t know how to pronounce her last name properly, but the first name of the author of this system is Gabrielle Otten-something is the last name. And she says that what’s most powerful about this system is that if you are really motivated to do something, it works excellently for you. And it actually helps increase your motivation. And if you pick something that you have no motivation for, you’ll find out right away, pretty quickly, and you can decide, okay let’s choose something else that I really am invested in and I’m going to do. So I’ve used this a few times, mostly in a professional setting and with students when I was a teacher and I think the simplicity of the method and the fact that you can apply it anywhere is really helpful for me. And I think it has potential for other people as well.
Cindy: [31:10] I will check that out. Yeah. It reminds me a little bit of the fear setting method with Tim Ferriss. Have you ever seen his Ted talk? It sounds similar to that, but I really liked that idea so I will definitely check that out. Yeah. Thank you very much.
Damianne: [31:22] Great. Thank you. Any last words?
Cindy: [31:27] No. I know the last where it’s just, I want to thank you so much for reaching out to me. And I really enjoyed speaking with you today and I mean, we’re quite close together, so hopefully one day maybe we actually get to bump into each other.
Damianne: [31:39] Yes. With Prague and Berlin being not so far from each other, that’s not inconceivable.
Cindy: [31:44] Exactly.
Damianne: [31:46] Thank you so much for chatting with me today.
Cindy: [31:49] Thank you.
No matter what happens this year, I’m going to get it out there and keep that promise to myself.Tweet
Every day, get yourself excited and get that feeling of what it will be like when you accomplish [your goals].Tweet