Archive | March, 2014

Problem Solving with Camille Boivin

31 Mar

This week I had my colleague Catherine interview me on problem solving. Why? Because I have a very special relationship with this topic, and want to share a personal experience that really fits into this Logical Smart meets Spirit Smart theme. I’m going to be talking about my experience with breast cancer in this post. This is my experience, please keep that in mind as you read. But also, it’s one I believe others can have when the logical can tap into the spiritual. So, here we go.
Cam, what was one of the most challenging problems you have ever had to solve by tapping into your spirituality?

 Think. Live. Be. The impossible is possibleIn 2007, I was diagnosed with stage 2 Her2+ breast cancer. It was around the month of May and I had a lumpectomy scheduled. But at the same time I needed to have several scans to check whether the cancer had metastasized. They sent me for an ultrasound. I went in and they spotted something vascular during the scan. It was a mass of some kind on my kidney, about 1.4 cm by 1.8 cm . . . the mass was big enough and worrying enough for the technician to call in the doctor for review. So, in comes the doctor and after looking it over they decided to order an MRI.

I had to wait five weeks for that MRI. That’s five hard weeks of not knowing and wondering how bad my situation might actually be. It was a really challenging time in my head.

My logical mind was racing over the possibilities, the chances, the statistics, and as I did that, it all started to feel so incredibly heavy. This new reality was so heavy. So I had to get it out. I went to my mom and told her how I was feeling. She, being a HUGE hockey fan, gave me advice inspired by Mike Fisher. She told me that Mike Fisher said when his problems were too much, he gave them up to God – just passed them right along. “You should give them up, Cam,” she told me.

LOGICAL-MATHEMATICAL (3)Here’s where my mind struggled between the Logical Smart and the Spirit Smart. Part of me was critical, and couldn’t see how it would help. But a bigger part of me was curious. I’d read books by Louise Hay about manifesting illness and New German medicine, and knew that thoughts could create physical states. So my Logic side was able to meet with my Spirit side, and I decided to just do what felt best and pass my problems up to God. They could stay up there, and I could focus on simply healing and feeling as good as possible. I decided to believe that I was being taken care of, and just surrender that fear, give it up. It was so freeing and kept me sane for those five weeks.

Five weeks later, the MRI results came back and there was no spot. My kidney was totally clean. The doctor couldn’t explain it to me. He suggested it might have never been there – but two people had seen it before, and it disappeared. So, that moment basically fused inside of me how when the problem becomes too big, you just give it up to that higher power.

That is an inspiring story. I can see in your entire body how connected you are to that bigger picture of Spirit. How does that connection help your ability to coach others in their problem solving, Cam?

Problem solving is an essential element of emotional intelligence – one of the core competencies. Every day we have 200+ problems to solve. If we can increase our ability to find alternatives or reframe problems, then that can reduce the stress, which is huge. Stress is created by not being able to resolve this tension – it’s a real barrier to solving problems.

What I do is help open the door for others to have expanded awareness so they have increased choice. If you see the choices, you can see the solutions. I read this great saying, “Awareness creates choice.” To be able to problem solve and reduce that stressful situation, you need to loosen up your world and expand your awareness. That’s done by reframing, passing the worries to a bigger source, and asking better questions that relate to the core issue. If you can widen your awareness, you are mastering a fundamental life skill.

So when you are in Spirit – it just gets bigger, you are tapping into a bigger resource. When you are coaching someone and they can tap into that spiritual intelligence (as opposed to the logical/thinking one) they are going to feel that flow. They’re so much more flexible at this point and the solutions bubble up naturally.

Cam, can you tell me about a time when you made a decision that didn’t feel connected to your higher purpose in life?

The only moment that springs to mind is from around 1999. I was commuting from Rockland, Ontario to Ottawa West. And I remember that one day the whole backyard was going haywire. The pool wasn’t working, there was so much to do. A part of me kept saying, “don’t go to work.” But the logical part of my mind kept replying, “I have to go to work.”

On the drive in, I was rear ended. The guy just came up right behind me. And today – so many years later – I’m still realizing my hip alignment problems are largely connected to that moment. The accident was a mess and I was taken away in an ambulance (funny enough, I can remember that I was dreaming of ambulances the night before this happened, and when I met the paramedic, I told him I’d been dreaming about him!). For a while the back pain was so bad, I was crawling around on all fours.

So, that’s a moment where I had ignored my little voice that was urging me to stop and stay at home. If I had listened, I wouldn’t have been on the road. It’s funny, I can clearly remember standing at that pool pump with the strongest feeling not to leave. I didn’t follow that feeling, and ended up in an accident.

You are sharing an infographic with us today which depicts how we interpret an experience and how we use our multiple intelligences which makes us smart in so many ways. Can you share a personal story of how this problem solving and thought process works in the mind?

I’ll break it down with my story of the vascular mass which was found after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The cancer was obviously my External Event. We call that digital/auditory thinking in NLP. I saw the vascular mass on the screen, a report was created, they sent me for more scans. My Logical Smart side dove into that fearful state, which was my Internal Processing.

Mapping Across Multiple Intelligences – well I think it’s easy to say my Logical and Sprit Smarts were pushing back and forth. With the prospect of a five week wait, my mind had nothing to do but think it over! At least, at the beginning, until that became too much. That actually ties into how I Delete,d Distorted & Generalized all the information. But this is when I actually made a decision to shift my focus. Instead of getting fixated on the states and the analytics of cancer, I let go of the need to prove anything during those five weeks of waiting. I just let it all go, and realized I needed some new beliefs – hence my giving up the fear and the belief that our very thoughts can create our realities and even vascular masses in our bodies.

My Outcome was to grow closer to God and my Spirit self. No matter what had happened with those results, I had lived the relief of just giving up those worries. It connected me in a way that was so very empowering.

UntitledAnd just for fun, can you share with us a favourite fictional character, maybe from a book or from the movies, and how it plays as a metaphor in your life?

That’s a hard question! I’ve been making some really hard questions for myself. Well, I used to identify with Jeanne d’Arc very strongly. But at this moment in my life I feel a strong connection to Mother Mary, actually. And in my mind, there’s nothing fictional in this (much like Jeanne). To me, Mary represents the divine female in God. She’s the mother of mothers, and there is that sense of nurturing that I feel to which I am strongly attached. She was really courageous for what she did for women in her time.

That connection for me is really beyond words.

Thanks for being so candid, Cam.

If you would like to join us in this Logical Smart series on SQ and Spirit Smart, you can get in touch via email at
Till next week!

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.

Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!

Leaning In at the WXN Breakfast Circle

24 Mar

Last week, members and guests of the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) in Ottawa met over breakfast at the Rideau Club to talk Leaning In. We gathered to hear a discussion from three impressive women, Debbie Carreau, CEO & Founder of Inspired HR, Tracie Crook, COO of McCarthy Tétrault, (both Lean In circle champions), and Leanne James Sundquist, SVP, Human Capital Development & Administration at the WXN, who was moderator for the conversation.

WXN Lean InThe room was packed at the Rideau Club with women executives as well as up & comers from the Ottawa corporate and government scenes. As we tucked into our breakfast of scrambled eggs with a side serving of fruit and yogurt, Debbie took just a moment to explain Lean In to those in the room who had not read the book (though by the raisings of hands, everyone had at least heard of the concept): “It’s a book, it’s a foundation. It’s also a community to help women lean into their ambitions.”

When Leanne asked Debbie and Tracie what issues currently exist in the workplace that inhibit women from rising up the professional ladder, Tracie gave us three points to consider:

1) Mentoring: Not enough women in leadership to mentor those who are up & coming.

2) Sponsorship: Do women have the right sponsors both internally and/or externally to their profession?  (If you want to go over the difference between mentoring and sponsorship, check out how Clare Beckton explained the concept in a previous Sister Leadership post.)

3) Opportunity: Women having the same opportunities as men.

As described during the breakfast, Lean In circles are opportunities for women to find those needed connections and points of support. The idea is for a group of women to meet up and go over their successes, challenges etc. What ends up developing within that circle is a sort of corporate board of knowledge. Together, the women mentor one another.

And then there’s changing the conversation around women leadership. Have you heard of the Ban Bossy campaign which was created by the Lean In group? Debbie explained the reasoning behind the idea (if you don’t know about this, Lean In recently launched a campaign to ban the word bossy) by  asking the room how many women have been called bossy in their life. Many hands shot up across the room, including my own.  “It’s not the abolition of bossy, but creating a conscious knowledge of our bias,” explained Debbie about this campaign. They don’t want to wipe the word clean from the dictionary, they want us to become aware that we stop girls’ ambitious streaks when we mark them with that label and ask them to quiet down.

But what about real world examples of “leaning in” or “leaning out”? I really enjoyed Tracie’s description of her own Lean In experience. Tracie described a time when she was working within a financial institution, giving a strong contribution towards its success and rising upward. When the CEO of the institution resigned, the group began looking outside of the company to recruit a new CEO. She was essentially furious to have been overlooked. In that moment, she “leaned out” as she describes and decided to leave the company. Thankfully, her mentor gave her a fresh perspective and suggested she go back to the company and tell them she wanted to apply for the position, which is exactly what she did – she “leaned in” and spoke up for her chance. She got that job as CEO.

“Leaning in doesn’t mean working harder. It’s taking a look at yourself before blaming others,” added Debbie.

Following this discussion came a really interesting part of the morning. Each table became its own Lean In group. Ladies were asked to write on a slip of paper what their greatest professional challenge was at that moment. We all wrote our concerns, and passed them to the table monitor. What followed was an interesting conversation around being a woman in the workplace, but not just that – being seen in the workplace, and balancing life and business as well as being ambitious. And most fascinating, we all seemed to have common experiences around the issues raised, like: how do we have the confidence to become leaders; what about work life balance; where do we find role models; and what about biases like age in the workplace?

So, that was cool. What seems clear to me, having attended, is that women – and maybe men too – want a certain connection. Through the WXN, I’m  leading a Wisdom Peer Mentoring Group ( next session starts on May 8 in Ottawa), which is a facilitated peer group to bring those very concerns to and, then, bounce ideas back and forth. It’s empowering to know you aren’t alone, and that we can not only strategize together, but also create change.

That’s a lot of what we’re doing here on Sister Leadership, too.

Were you at the WXN event? What did you think of it? Are you part of a Lean In circle, or peer support circle, what do you think about it? And what about Banning Bossy – what’s your take?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Till next week!


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.

Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!

%d bloggers like this: