Is it time for a reality check?

This is a guest post from Village Hive Member, Corey McCusker.

Is it time for a reality check? 

Do you believe that if you achieve certain things you’ll be happier or if you don’t you’ve failed?

Do you ever assume that you know what others are thinking?

Do you ever automatically judge others or want to change their ways to be more like you?

Do you perceive things a certain way and then find out how different they really are?

When you assume that you know what’s in another person’s head or what is going on with an event you’re making a big mistake. When you think your way is the right way recognize it may not be. Let me explain why.

Each person has their own values and beliefs about the world then judge and make assumptions accordingly. These develop over their lifetime through their experiences and what they have been taught. It’s like an evaluation filter system and encoded in the brain. A person sees the world each day through their eyes, filter the information and create an internal representation of what THEY THINK is going on.  That is their reality, what they believe to be true.

Consider your sense of “reality” is determined every single second by how you choose to filter and process the information presented. You narrow your perspective based on your inner make up which consist of memories, values, attitudes and beliefs. This is why your interpretation may be different than that of your partner, your spouse, your parents, your children, your co-workers, your teammates or coaches, etc. as they all have different realities.

You make the choice on what to notice, see, hear, feel, etc. You can choose to focus on solutions, the good or you can focus on the problems, the defective and get stuck.  Recognize that everything outside of you is simply a reflect-i-on of your inner world. So what you project is based on what you are made up of and if the outcomes you are having don’t jive it’s time for a reality check.

You may be wondering, how do you stop projecting? Well, I’ve got some news for you: you never stop. You now may think, so what’s the point? You need to be aware of what you are projecting and be clear on your reality. Reflect on why you have certain attitude and beliefs.  Why is it important to you for things to be a certain way?  Was that your upbringing or did certain things happen that impacted what you belief? Maybe it’s time to let go of what you hold on to or to clean the slate and create a new reality if you are feeling stuck or held back.

The next time, you find yourself critical of others, judgmental or stuck and confused take a moment and ask yourself these questions:

  • What triggered inside of me to cause me to perceive this aspect or situation this way?
  • Do these beliefs and attitudes help me or hurt me?
  • Is there a part of me that I need to recognize that is being reflected in what I see in others that affects me?
  • What else is possible?
  • How can I look at this as an observer to see it in a different perspective?
  • What can I learn from this that helps me to move forward and release judgment or negativity? ​​​​​​​

If you need an adjustment or a reality check you can make a change. Having the right mindset and a clear perspective takes time if it’s been clouded.

When you realize your perception isn’t always the reality you want you can change it. Awareness is the start so when you are triggered that is your sign to reflect. Determine what it is you want to be clear and focus on that. Recognize your values, beliefs and how they were set. When you feel the urge to change other people’s behavior, then it would seem that the most sensible place would be to focus inward and start changing yourself.

If it’s time for a reality check and you need some guidance in making changes contact Corey, Mental Performance Coach for a complimentary mental mastery session.


Looking for additional support or have questions please contact me corey@coreymccusker.com or call me at 416-508-0018 to discuss how I can help!



Getting Past “It’s Not Me; It’s You”

This is a guest post from Village Hive Member Maricke Emanoidilis

“It’s not me; it’s you.”

I admit, I think this a lot. Hopefully less than I used to, but I still think it. For example, when the lady in the grocery store check-out line decides it’s a good time to chat with the cashier about all things mundane as I tap my foot impatiently, throwing death stares and desperately texting friends hoping to catch someone who can let my kids know I am on my way and haven’t forgotten about them.

At these moments, it seems like all the ding-dings out there in the world are set loose only to irritate and frustrate me to no end.

My rational brain knows that 3:15pm probably isn’t the best time to nip into Longo’s for bananas and almond milk, and that mostly what is irritating to me is that twenty years into adulthood I still plan my time poorly, get defensive when my intelligence is questioned (like most people, I pride myself on almost always being right), and—here’s the doozy—blame others.  You’d think as a life coach I would have this all figured out by now…

Maybe knowing this about me will cause you to hire another life coach. Be my guest. But if they tell you they’ve perfected the art of expressing only appropriate human emotions, I’d suggest they may be the ones in need of coaching (as some famous and certainly wise person once said, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”). I could be wrong (even though I’m pretty sure I’m not—see point made above).

The Blame Game

Kids are the best and purest example of the blame game. My son Owen, at just seven, has gotten into this Parkour phenomenon. (Google Parkour. It’s pretty cool. Even better, google Parkour gone wrong.) The other day as he’s Parkouring through our forest, leaping from tree to tree, scrawny limbs flying, tumbling down muddy hills, he, of course, gets hurt. A big scratch across his stomach from a protruding tree branch (because they tend to protrude). Recently inducted into the Earth Rangers and a vigilant protector of all things earthly he denounces his association and declares “I Hate Nature!” So you see, I come full circle. My irritation at the woman jib jabbing to the cashier at Longo’s.  Owen blaming nature for his own recklessness (but seriously if you watch those videos you’ll see he actually got off pretty easy: I shudder to think how he will react when he sustains a more serious injury).

The best part is that I bet you’re reading this and thinking of this one person you know who does this all the time and how it drives you crazy and that you might even forward them this blog post so they can finally see the error of their ways, ‘cause god knows you’ve been trying to tell them this for years.

That is what is so interesting about this topic: we think only other people behave this way. I’ve actually heard people say “You don’t get it! X is really an ass/doesn’t have a clue/makes my life difficult/wears pink and red at the same time!”

So maybe you’re ready to concede that maybe, just that once, you blamed someone. I know, it sucks to admit that you’re human. But like I suggested in the opening, we all do it. Even me, and I’m a life coach. So I wish it was as easy as Bob Newhart’s advice in the Saturday Night Live skit (spoiler alert) “Stop It.” But it’s not.

So you know that consciousness thing that everyone is on about? I mean embracing…? It is so hot I was even told to change my coaching practice to focus on Conscious Leadership because “that’s all the rage right now.” Anyways, the practice of becoming more conscious and aware is just that. It’s a practice. Meaning we practice it every day and sometimes several times a day, like brushing your teeth or meditating. You can practice consciousness as it relates to anything that is or isn’t working in your life. Like blame (which I would suggest isn’t working for you). Blame is laden with judgement. Judgement usually about what someone is or isn’t doing and as it relates to how you would or wouldn’t do something. Usually, as is the case of the tree’s vicious attack on my son, the tree did it on purpose when Owen was just trying to have fun and not bothering the tree in the least.

So why do we behave this way? We blame others in order to avoid suffering unintended consequences largely brought on by ourselves. We tell ourselves it’s not me; it’s you.

A furiously angry and frustrated woman driving grimaces, leaning out of the wndow an d pointing in a bout of road rage!

Stopping the Blame Game

So, how do we stop?

  1. Create Awareness. First step is admitting you have a problem (yes, it’s not just for AA).  Where blame is concerned this is really hard to do because we’re so good at calling it anything other than blame. In the moment, we feel so justified and self-righteous in our finger pointing.  We blame because it lets us off the hook and allows us to justify our actions. We get to avoid the pain and discomfort that comes when we own up to our less than stellar behaviour and choices. The best suggestion I have is just accept that you do it, probably a lot, and when you find yourself feeling triggered (i.e., frustrated, annoyed, angry and pointing fingers), notice it. Ask yourself “what is really going on here?” If your husband didn’t buy you flowers for your anniversary and never has, and your instinct is to blame him for a loveless marriage, ask yourself, how does blaming him let you off the hook? What are you avoiding by blaming someone else?


  1. Take Responsibility. Stop letting yourself off the hook. Before you write your husband off as clueless, consider what else could be getting in the way of him expressing his love. Maybe he’s stressed at work/doesn’t think you like him much/doesn’t know what you want/is really clueless but is happy to get some guidance. Don’t be so quick to interpret and judge others’ behaviour. Especially if a particular interpretation makes you feel shitty. Choose the one that makes you feel good! I.e., your husband shows his love by getting the oil changed and lifting his legs up so you can maneuver the vacuum underneath the table.


  1. Use Your Words. We hammer this into our kids from the moment they utter their first word but fail at following this simple mantra so profoundly as adults. Using your words doesn’t mean unleashing and spewing your brand of “honesty” every chance you get. It doesn’t mean pointing fingers (more blaming), manipulating, interrogating or intimidating. It means being open and vulnerable to really sharing how you feel and how you are being triggered, and being honest about where you are laying the blame (even though you know by now that blame is really a form of collusion employed by egos everywhere). When blame runs deep, as it often does within our family of origin and between spouses, this is vital to reconciliation.


  1. Be Willing to Be Wrong. This is hard. At least for me. When you feel like you are holding on to blame and just can’t let it go, ask yourself this: what am I holding onto and why? What would I lose if I allowed myself to see what I don’t want to see? And more importantly, what would I gain? Keep in mind that blame is a judgement and judgements are based on our own assumptions and interpretations, and not based in reality for anyone else but you.


Blame is about you and nobody else. Look at where you tend to lay blame and patterns will more than likely emerge. Personally, I tend to blame people who I feel expect too much from me: they’re the ones who think I’d even have the time to do one more thing, so when I don’t get it done, it’s their fault, not mine.

I’d like to throw down the gauntlet and issue a friendly challenge. Think about someone you are blaming. Work through each of the above steps and move towards reconciliation. I promise, you will like yourself and even the offender a little bit more by the end. Because it wasn’t really about them after all. Was it?

About Maricke

I get kids in chairs and food down gullets. I correct behaviour, redirect energy, and orchestrate life. I am a mother.

I’m more than just a mother though, and I know you are too.  I work with mothers who are so busy juggling everyone else’s needs that they struggle with knowing who they are and what they want their own life to be like.  I help them discover a path to a life that supports who they truly are and allows them to experience joy, peace and the personal, familial and career satisfaction they crave.

Somewhere in between having four beautiful children (two sets of twins), I became a coach after time spend working in HR. I studied and received a diploma, but found the hardest part was living the life I had been trained to help others have. It’s a journey I’m still on.  The vow I took was simple: To step up and take responsibility for myself and the impact I have on this world.

This thinking and these words created a sizeable shift for me. In what I believe, how I feel, and the actions I take.

To find out more, visit www.mefirstlifecoach.com.


I am a Certified Professional Coach (CPC), Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) and was professionally trained at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). iPEC has been recognized by the International Coach Federation *ICF) as one of the foremost coach training programs. I am also an active member of the ICF.




Bridge the Gap with Critical Illness Insurance

This is a guest post from Village Hive Member Catherine Nikkel

Could you maintain your present standard of living should you fall ill and require time to recover?

Our health is our most important asset. Would you agree? Why is it, website then, stuff that we focus on insuring our cars, our homes, our property, but we forget about ourselves along the way?

A lot of the time, we live in this realm of “it won’t happen to me”?—?or, I work with a lot of business owners personally, whose response is often “I can work from anywhere”. Yes, you can, unless of course you’re in the hospital, hanging on, so to speak.

healthcare_medicine_cost_finance_dollar_iStock_000019024391MediumRemember, having money is equivalent to having more choices.

Choices such as taking time off work if needed and spending it on yourself or with family so that you can get better and recover. Serious illness can last for months or years and financial backing is critical to protect yourself, your family, and your money. Protecting yourself as a self-employed person, is in turn protecting your business. It affords you the ability to pay for additional help, or at the very least cover bills while you take the time you need.


What does a Critical Illness policy cover?

The number of conditions covered in a critical illness policy can vary from company to company: it’s important to look at how many conditions. Some companies may cover only three conditions, where others cover up to 18 conditions (excluding cancer) and 21 conditions (including cancer). You want to be clear on any pre-existing conditions that a policy may or may not approve—as a smart shopper you want to be mindful of any exemptions included in the policy, and most importantly what type of waiting time or survival period the company requires. These can also range dramatically from 14 – 90 days. Every day unable to work and/or unpaid is crucial to the self-employed person.


Aren’t I already covered in the event of a major illness?

Disability insurance (via the government, providing you qualify of course), in most cases, covers 60% of your income, with a whole list of exemptions and exclusions?—?including returning to work “too soon.” Do yourself a favour, bridge the gap. Let’s consider what happens to that missing 40% (providing of course as entrepreneurs we’re even covered).

We often don’t want to think about what may or may not happen. What we encourage small business owners and entrepreneurs, such as ourselves, to consider instead is prevention, being prepared in the event of an illness that would change the way, even temporarily, that you do business.

Meet Brian [name changed to protect privacy]:

Anyone who is self-employed or may leave their government job or could be let go, should consider getting this…as our health care crumbles it is nice to have cash when you need it…which of course later in life.


Look into Best Doctors

I highly recommend that any insurance policy one looks into includes this feature. Picture this, having access to the best doctor in the field that you require a diagnosis or opinion on. Imagine you had access to them at your fingertips.

“Best Doctors has reviewed tens of thousands of cases and has changed a diagnosis 22% of the time, modified 61% of treatment plans and reduced invasive procedures 67% of the time.”

You may also call Best Doctors if you need help navigating the healthcare system or have questions about your health care. Best Doctors 360° service provides access to resources, ongoing one-on-one support, customized health coaching and a wide range of health related information, whether you have a serious illness or not.


Know the Stats

Some quick Ontario, Canada health care stats for you …

More than 30,000 Ontarians are waiting for a hospital bed, long-term care placement and/or home care.

  • 24,000 Ontarians are on wait lists for long-term care placement.
  • 10,000 Ontarians are on wait lists for home care.
  • At any given time, 592 Ontarians are waiting in emergency departments for hospital beds.

This isn’t a new trend. This isn’t to scare anyone. This is our reality.

A critical illness policy is wonderful as stand-alone coverage, or to complement any existing accident, sickness or life insurance policy.

Be prepared.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me at catherinenikkel@gmail.com

Come Blog with Us

Coworking is all about collaboration and networking for small business owners and entrepreneurs: building on each other’s strengths to work better, learn better, and live better. At The Village Hive, a new wellness-oriented coworking space in Markham, we believe fundamentally in sharing expertise. With that in mind, we will be inviting all of our amazing members to guest blog for us, with topics that showcase their own passion and diverse knowledge while helping others to work, learn and live better.


Look for a new blog post on the first Monday of each month. To start off, let’s talk about benefits and tips for guest blogging.

Benefits of guest blogging

Guest blogging simply refers to writing unique content to post on another individual or organization’s blog. This practice can be an effective, free way for the hosting blog to share expertise beyond their own, for the guest blogger to establish their expertise, and for both increase their readership and web presence, as long as it’s used in an honest, meaningful way.

Best practices for guest blogging

  1. Write with the blog’s audience in mind. In the case of The Village Hive, this would be small business owners, entrepreneurs, and other work-from-home individuals; wellness practitioners and those looking to achieve wellness through work; those considering coworking space in Markham specifically, and operators of other coworking facilities.
  2. Focus on content, never self-promotion. The goal of the post should always be to meet a need for your reader: give them something of real value and they will come back for more.
  3. Include a brief bio that highlights the work you do. End with a call to action that links to your own website. Consider your goals when choosing a landing site for your link back. This may not be your home page, but a more specific page targeted to this niche audience or a newsletter sign up page.
  4. Be authentic. Write in the first person using your own voice. Don’t be afraid to include short, meaningful anecdotes that let the audience know and connect with you as a person as well as a professional.
  5. Include (properly licensed) images that reflect the tone and content of your article. People like pictures.
  6. Edit. Then edit again. If you’re new to blog writer or not confident in your writing skills in general, ask a trusted friend or even a professional editor to read your draft. Everything you submit represents you and should reflect your best work. Readability is more important than a specific length.
  7. Promote the post on your own blog and social media once it’s published. Spreading the word will help promote your own article as well as the host blog.

Have an idea for a blog post? Email us at info@thevillagehive.ca.

Happy Work Happy Life

Happy Work Happy Life

It was less than 4 months ago that I left my previous job to pursue a dream and explore the world of entrepreneurship.  I was at my last workplace for 1 1/2 years and I had not hung a single picture on the white walls of my office. There was no time to or maybe it just didn’t feel right. I had some lovely colleagues but we barely had time to say hello – some days there were no hellos. Just blurry images speeding by my door running hungry to the next meeting with iphone in hand letting someone know they were going to be late. Again. No time for lunch. No time to chat. No time. I was not happy and was working too many hours. I was tired and grumpy when I got home.

Something needed to change.

Present time. I am sitting here in this beautiful heritage school house, in a space that I envisioned and created surrounded by wonderful positive energy, big bright windows, beautiful art by local artists on the walls and amazing people who not only say hello and how are you, but really mean it. We are all busy, super busy, but we have time. We are entrepreneurs, small business owners, writers, dreamers, photographers and innovators. We are a community of coworkers. We are a community of people who love what we do and enjoy sharing knowledge and helping each other grow both professionally and personally. We are happy people because we are doing what we were meant to do. We have time for lunch. We enjoy our lunch.

One of my favourite days so far at my new venture started with a workshop on self-care being led by one of our fantastic life coaches then an amazing meeting of collaboration and opportunities with the Markham library, Coworking members came in to network, chat, drink coffee and of course get some work done. There was an explosion of ideas and synergies at our weekly networking lunch and to top the day off  I ended up with two great opportunities to share my journey with others. One at an upcoming entrepreneur in residence (EIR) speaking event and another as a guest on a local TV show the following week. So much excitement for one day. I’m bursting with joy.

When I go home at the end of the day, I’m happy.

I am riding the entrepreneurial roller coaster. It is at the top of the hill. I know it will go down and things will get scary but then that coaster will pick up speed again to make it to the top of the next hill. It is the ride of a life time and I’m glad I have my family, old friends and new friends riding a long with me.


Charlotte Kirby, Owner & Operator of The Village Hive

Open Houses!

Stop by and warm up with a coffee or tea and learn about how you can become a member of this collaborative work space designed for folks who just need a welcoming place to work for the day, pill  a few days/week or more!


Wednesday, Jan. 20th 10-3

Wednesday, January 27 10-3

Evening open house: Thursday, January 21st 6pm – 8pm

Grand Opening! Thursday, February 11 6:30-8:30