I didn’t get to where I am in life by doing all of the heavy lifting myself. The truth is, almost every significant experience, and I do mean life changing, has come to me through a leg up. I have rarely, if ever had a breakthrough in my professional or personal life getting there on my own. For real.

Sometimes my social conditioning gets the better of me and I can feel embarrassed about it. I too hear things in my head like:

  • If it’s meant to be it’s up to me.

  • Raise the bar.

  • or this ugly one, raise the bar – trim the fat.

  • The cream will rise to the top

  • Your only limit is you

  • I can and I will

  • It never gets easier, you just get better

But my experience has always been this:

  • If it’s meant to be, ask for help

  • Raise your bar by receiving the gifts coming your way

  • Raise the bar of humanity by allowing everybody in

  • Your only limitation is your unwillingness to lift and be lifted

  • I can because we will

  • Community makes things easier


Live Your Best Story

I grew up in rental housing. My dad fell apart after our mom died and when he was laid off in his 50s he never recovered emotionally or financially, leaving the many of us (blended family of 11 – some at home, some not) to get by on my step-mom’s slightly above minimum wage bakery lady pay. The only reason I did, or had anything was because one, I worked for it and two, people helped me and three, I understood what it felt like to be grateful.

I somehow missed the pride gene around this stuff because I didn’t seem to care when someone bought me lunch, I said thank you instead. I wasn’t ashamed to wear my sister’s hand-me-downs. Are you kidding? I was thrilled to wear her grown up stuff!  I learned how to get by on busfare in my pocket, and if I didn’t have that, how to walk and read at the same time (and walk I did!). My practice was: yes please, thank you and what can I do to help?

And I didn’t feel like a charity case either.

Weird right?

Well, not to me.

The first act of kindness I remember learning from was just after my mom passed.  I’m pretty sure it had happened only weeks before and my grade three class was going to Stanley Park. The field trip was really kinda no big deal but the student teacher, Ms. Soleil was. She was the first one to show me what lifting others looks like. After a long day at the beach and hanging with the geese, we were on our way back on the public bus when one of my classmates, Sukvinder was targeted. He was only eight years old, and two young men flipped his melting icecream cup over on his head because of his ethnicity. Our South Vancouver neighbourhood was changing and the once uuber white community was rapidly welcoming an influx of East Indian and Asian families. You know what I remember about my childhood? I didn’t see skin colour. I didn’t notice hair texture. I didn’t register differences. I had friends. That’s it that’s all. So when Sukvinder was picked on by a bunch of teenagers, I couldn’t make sense of it. I was shocked and totally spellbound by Ms. Soleil’s response. She stood up like a super-hero with a furrowed brow and laser eyes, and with fierce, active indignation, she marched those racist boys off the bus so fast they didn’t know what was happening. She was awesome, and her protection of Sukvinder’s self-esteem left a lasting impression on me.

Her action said to me We are all worthy.

She’s also the teacher who sent me home with a photo from that day with a note on the back saying “what a pleasure you are to teach and I’m so sorry about the passing of your mom”.  She was the only teacher who said anything. I remembered that. She wasn’t afraid to acknowledge, or to lift.

Live Your Best Story

Because of this and so many more countless situations where I was the kid, or the grown up who couldn’t figure out how to make it work – and yet was still offered an opportunity to rise up, I’ve never really had an attachment to the belief of CAN or CAN’T.  I won’t say I’m an eternal optimist, because trust me, I’m not. I’m wicked skeptical. I don’t believe in rules though I do recognize them. I don’t follow deadlines, though I’m aware of them. When someone says you’re not allowed, I think, really? We’ll see.

It’s not that I’m cocky (though I can be),

or that I’m irresponsible (though trust me, I can be that too).

It’s not that I’m contrary (though it can look like that),

or that I refuse to follow the rules (I just don’t sometimes).

It’s not that I think I’m above it or that I live in some kind of Steve Jobs reality distortion field (I wish!).

It’s just that my experience has always been LIFE MOVES when WE DO.

Sometimes, there’s a way.

Sometimes, there’s a hand.

Sometimes, you can even when it looks like you can’t.

That’s been my experience.

For this reason, Live Your Best Story, a weekend retreat reconnecting you back to your own voice of timeless wisdom has always been made accessible to anyone who wants to come. The weekend, created and facilitated by Nicolle Nattrass, Carolyn Nesbitt and I, and held at Xenia Retreat Centre on Bowen Island is now starting it’s fifth year.  As such, we’re ready to make our accessible pricing official.

New Pricing for Live Your Best Story

#1 PAY WHAT YOU CAN (with a $100 non refundable deposit)

or #2 PAY IT FORWARD ($695)

and yes… you can pay what you can now and pay it forward later. 


Here is how it works: for as little as a $100 non-refundable deposit or as much as $695, (and anything in between) you can book one of our 36 spots/year (we hold the retreat 3x with 12 participants in each weekend Oct/Feb/May).

I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and here’s what I know about me, neither financial position was a reflection of whether I deserved something or not. Afford it? Maybe, maybe not, but deserve? No.

And I’m going to rattle a few cages here. The whole conversation about ‘if you want it you’ll find the money to make it happen’ – is part of an old paradigm which no longer serves us. While it’s original intention was to EMPOWER people to raise their head, square their shoulders and keep bravely stepping forward, it’s now become a way to price based on perceived worth or even worse, fear of not being worthy. The price points for work meant to help people is beginning to divide us. There are those who can afford personal development, and those who cannot. Or worse, there are those who are empowered enough to attract money into their lives, and those who are not. Yikes… stretch the concept a bit farther and we can get into the whole winner/loser perspective. I’m speaking with broad strokes here of course, but I think you follow me. Here’s a prime example (and I usually like Brian Tracy)

Live Your Best Story


Who wants to be a part of that kind of divisive and disempowering conversation?  The way I see it, we’re the ones throwing ice cream now – only our target is the loser who is choosing not to ‘start’.

Here’s what I see… some people sell stuff at a price more than my mortgage or monthly grocery bill for a family of five. It’s not that their product isn’t WORTH the price – it’s not about worthiness at all. It’s about accessibility, and as someone who values deeply those who have lifted me, I’d like to fan the flames on that kind of practice.

BTW – Accessibility is not about charity, it’s offering a hand.

and it’s not about rescuing either, it’s about creating a space.

Because time and time again I’ve been on the receiving end of such grace and as such, I get it. Now it’s my turn.

On Friday night at Live Your Best Story we always open with “and my wish for you this weekend is…”, and so today, my wish for all of us is to offer more accessibility in our pricing out there. What if we started asking:  How can I help more? How can I serve more? How can I offer what I do in a way that honours as many people as possible AND myself.  

Now that’s abundance:  many, more, all – not just some. There’s no scarcity thinking here.

Imagine if our pricing wasn’t a reflection of ”worth”, but rather of our humanity.

That sounds pretty worthy to me.


Live Your Best Story

Want to check out REGISTRATION DETAILS for Live Your Best Story? We only host the retreat three times per year with a maximum of 12 spots per retreat or 36 spots/year.

You can place your $100 deposit now and choose your dates later!  Click here for more about the weekend, and click here to register. 


TinaO is a Core Story Specialist and a Program Director of PUBLISH with Meribeth Deen for The LEAP Learning Lab. She’s a writer, speaker and the founder of TinaOLife – a hub to Live, Give and Be Your Story, plus the deep listening weekend retreat Live Your Best Story. She’s been in the PR and Marketing world since she could put words together and has been a professional network marketer for over twelve years. She teaches: selling isn’t slimey, marketing isn’t make-believe and writing won’t give you an aneurysm (it’s not hard). You can be yourself in all that you do. In fact, that’s what the world is waiting for. 

Leave a Reply