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  • Do you desire a life where you know and live your inner purpose? That instead of floating through life you know exactly what your true desires are and living to your fullest potential? Do you feel like what you are longing for is just hidden under the surface and once you discover it there will be no holding you back?

    Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of.

Lesley Stefanski, Lifestyle Design, PortoThunderstorms rage on in Porto-02Thunderstorms rage on in Porto-04Thunderstorms rage on in Porto-06Thunderstorms rage on in Porto-07Thunderstorms rage on in Porto-08Thunderstorms rage on in Porto-09Thunderstorms rage on in Porto-11Thunderstorms rage on in Porto-12Every Wednesday our housemaid comes and we find it so luxurious. We leave to enjoy our morning latte and a morning walk and upon our return home our home is cleaned top to bottom, fresh white towels are folded and ready for use, and new linens have been fluffed and our bed remade. Our kitchen is spotless with all the dishes put away and there is a lingering lemon scent throughout the whole home.

On a walk with just Isla and I try on gorgeous lingerie and come home with a black silky piece with gold and black lace around the edges. Later I soak in a warm bath then slip into my feminine and sexy lingerie. He cannot keep his hands off me and I feel unbelievably desired, wanted and sexy.

On a particular Thursday I have an intensive coaching call and it feels so good, so natural to be offering guidance and encouragement. I feel so at ease and energetic while I sit with a latte, my hair curled, and my phone in my hand. We have a follow up the next day and we’re both filled with inspiration and ideas and I walk away with a new way to describe my services. Guidance by Lesley.

The thundershowers and storms continue to rage on and I find so much comfort in them. I draw many baths and soak while reading classic novels. During the day the laundry tumbles and then I set out her tiny white sleepers, little ballet pink socks, and her grey and white onesies. There is something so soft, warming, comforting to see her clothes laying out to dry next to our classically coloured adult clothing.

While ending a luncheon where Isla slept the whole way through he goes to the front of restaurant to pay, and when I look up to see his figure in the distance my breath catches and my heart skips faster. I relish these moments, where I realize that the man who I am so attracted to is my husband with his clean shaven face and stylish hair, the fitted jeans with a knit grey sweater, the dress shoes all paired together with a very stylish navy wool coat with the propped collar.

There are many restful mornings in white sheets followed by buttered toast and cuddles on the couch with Isla. And there are many relaxing evenings after she has gone to bed where him and I sip from wine glasses just enjoying each other’s presence without needing to say a word at all.

Inspiring-Women - Heather-Thorkelson

Heather is one of those women who I truly find inspiring from her location independent business to the life that she lives as a result of it. She is currently on an exhibition to Antarctica! I hope you find something inspiring to take away from her interview.

Name, occupation, blog/website:

Heather Thorkelson, Location Independent Small Business Strategist at

Please tell us a little about you:

I spend my days working with people who want to create unconventional livelihoods, putting the pieces together for a sustainable and profitable online-based business. Between November and March I also spend some time working as an expedition guide on a ship in Antarctica; just to mix things up so I don’t get stale in my business and also because hey – how cool to get paid to go see penguins and whales in Antarctica! I’ve lived long-term in 6 countries outside of my home, Canada, and traveled to 43 more of them. My unofficial title is Architect of Freedom because I love to help people create frameworks within which they can find their own freedom and not give up financial security.

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

Napping, laughing, and Google Calendar. Maybe not as sexy as green juice and some fancy iPhone app, but it’s the truth! At this stage in my business, I’m really committed to enjoyment and that means a good laugh and letting my brain rest when it needs/wants to. Google Calendar is crucial to keep me on top of my client appointments because I’d forget every single one otherwise.

Who are you inspired by, and why?

Bjork - Partially because she’s Icelandic (I’m half Icelandic) and she was able to break onto the international scene, making the rest of the little volcanic island proud. But mostly because she’s a creative genius who creates for creation’s sake. Because she works without the limitations of trying to create something for the popular masses, she’s able to do things (both musical and educational) that other people don’t even dream of.

Ze Frank - Also a creative genius who manages to weave a stellar sense of humour into almost everything he does. He’s an adult who hasn’t lost the uncorrupted wonder and humility of a child. I love pretty much everything Ze produces.

James Altucher - Honest and vulnerable, James is a freaking phenomenal storyteller and teacher. His consistent and hard-earned message of not wasting your life living by default is so needed and so well delivered on his blog and in his FB posts. I think everyone who wants to live a better life should be reading his stuff regularly.

To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply, quit?

Funny that you ask that because for about a decade before I became an entrepreneur, my personal email account had the tagline at the bottom of every email, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Of course in the first two years of my business, I felt like quitting many times. But I never once truly thought that I would. Even when I was sobbing on the bathroom floor and super stressed about money, the thing that always got me through was the knowledge that there was no Plan B nor did I want there to be. The fact is, I never ever want to work for someone else again (except for when I contract in Antarctica but that’s quite a different thing). And I was willing to tolerate as much mental badminton with myself as it took to move through my own resistance and make my livelihood a reality. I knew what I was capable of and I knew that any negative thoughts or bad days were transient. So I breathed through it and kept on going.

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

I stay on top of my game by only focusing on the things that are truly the most important. I prioritize the must-do’s, delegate the should-do’s to my virtual assistant, and let everything else slide. If I get to them, that’s great. But if I don’t because I’m driving along a fjord in Iceland (as I am right now as I write this) then who cares!? So much gets left behind and it doesn’t really matter as long as my business feels in good shape, my clients are taken care of, and I’m excited about projects I’m working on. I like spending the rest of my time enjoying the scenery rather than thinking about my to-do list.

What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

Gmail and associated apps like Boomerang and the EmailGame
Google Calendar
Magic Jack (for permanent Toronto phone number no matter where I am in the world)

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?

I had a pretty crap upbringing. Our home was not a nice place to be, and after my parents split when I was ten years old, I pretty much had to raise myself. I remember hiding in my closet at night when I was about 11 or 12 years old writing in my journal at a particularly low point. I wrote a letter of encouragement to myself saying that it was imperative that I keep on going and become the woman and leader I was meant to be. I wrote that the only reason life was so bad at that point was because the adults in my life were calling all the shots, but as soon as I was free (i.e.; living away from home) that I would be able to carve my own path and live a beautiful life. I left home at 17 and never looked back. And fortunately, I made younger me quite proud in the long run.

How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

Well, I’ve never felt particularly beholden to anyone or anything. I can honestly say that I’ve felt like the master of my own destiny for most of my adult life, and that’s pretty empowering.

How have family/friends been supportive?

My family are just used to me because it’s been this way since I left home. And my friends are supportive because this is how everyone has always known me. For most of my friends, I’m That Friend – the one who’s out there making things happen and having adventures. They don’t know me any other way and thankfully, love me for who I am even though I forget birthdays and don’t come to visit often enough.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

I have a couple of friends I like to jump on Skype with to give me perspective or a laugh if I’m struggling with something. That always does the trick. That, or a good nap. The key is to never take yourself or your work too seriously.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

Look at where you’ve become complacent. Where have you settled for ‘good enough’? Those are always the areas in which you aren’t being true to yourself and it’s really tough to live intentionally when parts of you have resigned themselves to playing small. Start there and break those habits/alter those relationships to be more aligned with what you want your life to be.

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

I try to always surround myself with only the best people – people who are examples of living well, living with generosity and compassion for themselves and others.

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

In terms of life in general, I feel very much like I’m living the best life I have in me. I really love how I spend my days and months, and the people I spend them with. In terms of business, I’m about to launch a program called the LEAP Guide for people in jobs who want to make the leap into working freelance with their skill set. I’ve never been this excited about anything in my business because of the sheer potential for it to change people’s lives. I’m launching it with a partner and we’re going to build it out over 2015 to become the go-to resource for wanna-be freelancers. Stay tuned!

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Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

Lesley Stefanski Coaching, Lifestyle Design,
As I sway her from left to right, left to right, left to right I feel her body slowly get heavier in my arms. We just finished one of those epic meltdowns that babies and toddlers have when they are fighting sleep and you end up wrestling them in your arms and a head smash was bound to happen.

I am tired and exhausted, and there is a to do list repeating itself in my head reminding me of the things I wanted to do an hour ago. It is hard to turn off the to do list, the things I wanted to do for myself, but I know in the end it is worth it.

In this moment, nothing is as important as swaying her left to right feeling her snuggle into my body the further she slips into sleep.

In this moment there is nothing as important as hearing her breathe deeper and her tiny little hand curled up next to my chest.

In this moment, in this season, nothing is as important as her.

Living in Porto, Lifestyle Design, Guidance by Lesley, Lesley StefanskiEndless walks around Porto-03Endless walks around Porto-04
When I think about our time in Porto, it seems almost a blur. A delightful glorious blur of moments and events that honestly have no particular meaning other than we are doing exactly what we set out to do. We are living our lives, as we would live it in Vancouver, but in a new city.

Over coffee and pastries we talk of how if someone were to ask “what did you see? what is a ‘must do’ in Porto” we almost wouldn’t know what to say to them. Mostly because we are living, and enjoying, and just being in the most natural way that we know how. Of course we have seen sights and tourist attractions, but we don’t view them as attractions mostly because we just fall upon them during our daily walk, hardly ever having a destination in mind except to wander. It is exactly how we want it, and it is beautiful.

Endless walks around the city, sometimes being caught in thundershowers that we run for cover laughing the whole way. But we always find a new cafe or shop to enjoy and explore. We walk side by side, his hand in mine or my arm in his enjoying each other’s company, the thoughts we share, or the moments of silence and just being together.

A delightful glorious blur of moments.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

Intentional living, lifestyle design, guidance by Lesley, Lesley Stefanski
We wandered the streets of Porto with no destination in mind but enjoying each other’s company while she slept peacefully in the pram. We talked of dreams, of the life we have lived and the life we are living. We also discussed our list of “should do/should be/should have”.

We all have them.

I believe there comes a point in everyone’s life where we have to stop and ask ourselves, is it really important. Is our list of ‘should do/should be/should have’ really as important as we say it is or should we just stop and let ourselves be?

Mister and I decided that we didn’t want to let ourselves be, but we also wanted to pay attention to what we were putting on our mental list of ‘should’. It is very easy to say the things we should be doing in life in passing, but I desire to be intentional in my life instead of just saying something and never following through on it.

So while we passed beautiful mosaic tiled buildings I asked both of us “do we want to be saying ‘I should be working out every day’ a year from now? How about when we’re 40?! Do we still want to be saying we should be doing something but never actually following through and the result of that (gaining weight and our muscles not being put to good use) becoming a detriment to our health?”. We both agreed that we didn’t want that result.

We wanted to implement our list of should to continue living intentionally, and also creating a lifestyle that had a positive impact.

Before the thundershowers came we slipped into a beautiful café and there over glasses of Port wine and a delicious lunch we made a list. And committed that if we don’t implement the things on our list, then they truly aren’t important enough for us and we will take them off.

None of this “I should…” we are doing instead.

I thought I would share my list with you, to keep myself accountable and to also let you know how it goes. We gave ourselves 6 months to make a go at it.

  • workout twice a week
  • date night every 2 weeks
  • create a meal schedule once a week with grocery list and links to dishes
  • one Vancouver culinary experience a month with Isla

You are welcome to join us in assessing your “I should…” list and seeing what is truly important to you and what you intentionally start designing into your lifestyle.

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.