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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.

JamieDelaine-Inspiring_WomenSeriesImage Credit: Mikaela Ruth

I am so excited to begin the Inspiring Women Series with my dear friend and wedding photographer, Jamie Delaine! From the moment I started reading her blog, what feels like a decade ago, I fell in love with her warmth and her heart. When I first envisioned the Inspiring Women Series she was one of the first people I asked because I couldn’t image it without her. She has been such an inspiration to me from the very beginning. I hope you are inspired by what she shares with you, it is such an honour to have her here.

Name: Jamie Delaine,
Occupation: Photographer & Writer
Website:  Blog:

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

Three of my favourite things to get me through the day are my Bible – inspires everything I do and centres me. Reminds me I’m not the most important element of my day and it’s not all about me. When I take the time, I also love going for long walks alone, it’s refreshing and often provides new ideas. Oh, and probably green tea. Because it keeps me going.

Who are you inspired by, and why?

I’m inspired by creative, outside-the-box thinkers. I love seeing people of any age living life to the full. I love learning from those who have dedicated to their lives to serving others, with their gifts, talents and money. TED talks inspire me. Photographers inspire me. Entrepreneurs inspire me. Missionaries inspire me.


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?

There are so many of those “feel the fear and move through it anyway” moments in life and business. In my writing, I often feel that fear. Can you write authentically if you don’t? I’m learning, no, unfortunately – to write well, you need to write truth. To write truth – you need to be sharing a vulnerable part of yourself. The times where I have dug deep, I have shared something real and honest, the response has always been a beautiful thing.

I feel like quitting a lot, to be honest. Not so much in my photography world, but in my writing world, yes. It’s easier to not share. To not take the time to write, laboriously deciding which words to put down on a page to describe your feelings inside. But I keep 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?

There are some serious pros and some cons to working from home. I’m a “do everything I see right now” kind of woman. If I see laundry, dirty dishes, dust on the coffee table, I will do it then. Or use my will-power to “ignore” it because I’m working. I have to focus on work during the day – even if it’s an hour of dedicated work, then clean for 10 minutes. And repeat. The mind break helps me.

What gets left behind is unfortunately the things that shouldn’t. I work on my business rather than writing. I clean the house rather than writing. I work on my business instead of going to the gym. The older I get, the more I realized there will always be something on your to-do list. So call it quits, transfer the list to tomorrow and do what you need to do.


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

My to-do list is a must-have. I love having the Teux-Deux app handy on my iPhone to jot notes as I think of them. I also use my Google Calendar religiously, marking most hours of my day with tasks. Finally, a moleskin notebook, to write down scribbles of thoughts.

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?

Living intentionally was something in my bones from a young age. I’ve always been Type-A and never been into wasting time. My summers as a teenager were spent writing letters to friends at camp, making scrapbooks, playing with my camera, going for jogs, cleaning the house. I’ve always loved to see things accomplished.

However, there’s a difference between an intentional day and an intentional hour, I’m finding. I can have productive days – but there are moments I wish I spent differently. Less time on social media is a big one. Or in a business world where social media is vital, targeted time on social media. Have a goal, achieve it. Log out.


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

I’d say it’s a continuing journey. It’s neat to have goals and work towards achieving them.

How have family/friends been supportive?

My husband is very like-minded. It’s been an easy thing for us to dream together.

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

Absolutely. My husband and then also my friend Kristen. (


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

Write out your goals! Where do you want to go? How will you get there?

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

Honestly, to my faith. I’m not living an intentional life for myself and my own dreams. I want everything in my life to reflect God. I want to use my time and energy to love people and to make a difference.


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?

Oooh boy. That’s a good question. And as a newlywed, one my husband and I are trying to figure out together as we do life as “one person” now. I recently updated my website and checked that huge goal off the list – but I’d say continuing to develop my blog into a really fun place to visit + stay an hour. As well as write my heart out.

Images from Jamie Delaine.

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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.

  • August 13, 2014 - 8:09 AM

    jamie delaine - thank you lesley! appreciate this so much.ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2014 - 4:03 PM

    Jennifer Wilson - I really enjoyed reading the first of many in the inspiring women’s series. What a wonderful way to celebrate and learn from one another.ReplyCancel

I am so excited to bring this interview series to you. I envisioned the Inspiring Women Series last year while enjoying a cup of tea and scrolling through my Instagram feed. I realized that in one tiny app, and in real life, I had surrounded myself with Inspiring Women and I wanted to know more about them. This past June I started reaching out to these women who inspired me and asked if they’d like to be featured as part of the series, and the response has blown me away.

One of the reasons why I was really motivated to introduce the Inspiring Women Series is because as a life coach and blogger it can be easy to write about life and say things like “if you live life like me, you can find happiness” but I don’t want to be that type of person. I’m passionate about women creating and living an intentional life that authentically reflects them and their dreams.

And because of that desire for women to live in a way that truly reflects them I want the interview series to showcase other women who are living intentional lives, dreaming big, and working hard to achieve their dreams. I want to showcase women from all different walks of life, who are living life the way they feel most lead to live it, and are happy – truly happy living life this way.

I honestly didn’t think that these women would say yes. I assumed their lives were too busy and that I was too little of a business for people to want to participate. I had big dreams in the Inspiring Women Series but didn’t actually believe in myself – that my vision had a purpose. I started small by reaching out to a few women who I knew in person and who I originally approached with the idea last year. The moment I received my first yes is when things started changing for me. I then saw that my mindset of playing small was limiting me and that if I allowed myself to let go of my own fear and restrictive mentality that I could reach further than I ever imagined.

I felt the fear of feeling small and insignificant and moved through it to reach out to inspiring women who had bigger audiences, who own successful businesses, who know what they want and desire, and who live life differently than I do but live it intentionally. I did all of this while thinking of you so that I would bring the best women who would inspire you to live your life in a way that truly reflects you.

I truly believe that there is a group of women who want to collaborate, inspire, and encourage one another. And I’m working to gather them together here for you to learn from and be inspired by the way they live their lives.

As I read through each response I myself am already inspired and implementing certain ways that they live their lives into my every day. Every time I read through the answers I am almost in tears because I am so thankful that each woman has taken the time to answer the questions in such detail so that we can feel supported and encouraged to live our lives intentionally and create the life we WANT to live.

I’m so incredibly excited and thrilled to bring you the Inspiring Women Series, which begins next Wednesday!

To be the first to know when the Inspiring Women Series launches and all subsequent features subscribe to the newsletter.

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.

Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-15
The dream was there. I could envision every flavour, floral, lit candle, the music and the draped fabric before me and it was beautiful. I  knew I wanted to create a beautiful and luxurious event and have it focus on ‘pursuing the truth of who you are to create the life of your dreams’. All my senses were engaged in this dream and I so wanted it to happen, right then and there. I also knew that I didn’t have the skills to actually make it happen.

I’m a dreamer, a visionary. A creator and an artist. I can dream and see visions of smaller and larger scales. I can I work backwards and forwards and I circle around to see the full scale picture. I can see everything come to life.

When I envisioned these beautiful events where women gathered to gain inspiration and make changes in their life, I knew without a doubt that as much as I wanted to host them, I didn’t have it in me to actually make it happen to the full extent that I wanted them to be.

But I felt the fear and decided to do it anyway.

Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-01
Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-05

My first group coaching soiree I did it all. I created the content, I designed and coordinated, I ran all over town to find the perfect flowers and the perfect cake and the perfect cake stand for it to sit upon. The night of the event I laid out all the food, lit all the candles, arranged the flowers just so, and pressed play to start the soft piano music. Before the evening had begun I was already feeling exhausted from pulling everything together. And yet, I wasn’t done giving.

The evening was beautiful and we all fully enjoyed the ambiance as well as the discussion. But I knew I wanted to deliver more, and that meant I needed to concentrate on what I was good at.

Dreaming and delivering engaging and evocative discussions that connect people - that fills me up and leaves me energized.

Coordinating and organizing, while running around town finding the best products (as much as an accomplishment I feel when I finally find it) leaves me drained and dry.

I knew I needed and wanted an event planner to help me pull the events together to allow me to fully step into my desires and live life to the fullest.

Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-07Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-08

It’s amazing how when you open yourself up to living a truly intentional and authentic way how life responds to you. When I first started dreaming of these events I knew I wanted someone to do all the coordination for me, but I didn’t think it would be possible until later in my career – perhaps when I was more established.

My first event a woman came and mentioned that she dreamed of being an event planner. I felt the stars align.

I got her on board to coordinate and design my events for me, and it’s been the best decision ever!

While she coordinated and planned I was able to spend time putting together the content and delivering in ways that I didn’t know was possible. I didn’t have to worry or stress out about last minute details, or worry that the candles weren’t lit. I was able to get ready and prepare myself mentally, emotionally, and physically in a way that allowed me to slow down and catch a breath. I was able to fully release myself into what I’m naturally good at and release myself from what I’m not.

For me, the second Group Coaching Soiree was even better than the first. I was able to be present and aware. I was able to connect and prepare myself for what I needed to bring to the table. I was able to stay filled and energized and be fully give to the women who came to pursue their truth and create the life of their dreams.

Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-10Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-12Vancouver Group Coaching_Lesley Stefanski Coaching-13

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.

  • August 1, 2014 - 10:18 AM

    Nicole Calla - Thank you, Lesley, for giving me the opportunity to work with you. It was such a pleasure to design and coordinate the details of your second group coaching soiree!ReplyCancel

  • August 9, 2014 - 11:01 AM

    Jennifer - Things and persons come to our life for a reason. This story shows to wonderfully that everything is possible and we just have to follow our desires and everything else will be taken care of.ReplyCancel

    • August 12, 2014 - 9:43 AM

      Lesley - Exactly Jennifer!ReplyCancel

While writing emails back and forth with a friend, we were describing our days to one another. Writing the highlights and the lowlights of our journey through motherhood. As I read line after line of her day I felt so envious of her life. Ashamed to be dealing with envy in my friendship with her at first, I then wondered can envy be a positive feeling?

There I was feeling like my life wasn’t good enough, that something was missing. When the truth of the matter was that my life is pretty fabulous and I can’t complain about it. I’m living a life where I’m attracting people and experiences that inspire me. And since I feel like I’m living a positive and intentional life, dealing with envy in friendships can leave me confused. But I still envied her life and started assessing why this was coming up for me.

I wrote to her telling her of my envy and she confessed that she envied my life as well.

How is that even possible? There she was living this gorgeous and beautiful life and envying mine?

It allowed us to both be vulnerable with each other, to say ‘Hey, I think your life sounds perfect, I want it…or elements of it!’.

When I assessed where this feeling of envy was coming from, I realized it was because there was more to life I wanted to live than I already was. There were elements of her life that I wanted to sprinkle into mine. There were experiences and people that I wanted to introduce into my every day.

Dealing with envy in friendship can highlight the desires you want to infuse into your life. It can bring you in alignment to your authentic self in ways you never thought possible.

Moving away from negative energy that is typically associated with envy to a positive one, has allowed me to be open to what I want to create in my life. It has allowed me to feel okay being envious of someone else, because it’s highlighting desires that I didn’t know I wanted.

Having envy pop up for you doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible person or that you should shame yourself for feeling that way. Envy can just be pinpointing you in the direction of your dreams.

Next time you find envy coming up, assess where it’s coming from and why. Welcome it positively and you never know what will come out of it.

Envy might help you create the life you’ve been looking for.

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I walked down the sweeping stairs of a gorgeous modern home with my heart in my throat and a weight being lifted off my shoulders. It felt so right, but I wondered, why did I feel so sad and as if my future has just disappeared right in front of me? I walked into the room where my friends had gathered and I pulled the diamond ring off my left hand to place it on the desk in front of me. “It’s over, we broke up, I am no longer getting married” with no tears at all. They said they were sorry in the most comforting way possible, but what I couldn’t see at the time was how happy they were for me.

I had spent the past year and half dating and being engaged to a boy that I thought was good for me at the time, but a relationship I should have never entered into.

We had known each other for years, having attended the same bible camp as teens and having the same mutual friends, it seemed rather natural that we would start dating. However, we started dating with the intention of getting married and that was the worst way to begin our relationship. Before we had gone on an official date or even decided if we were a good fit together, we had committed ourselves to each other. This of course was a product of the community that we were brought up in and believed we were doing the right thing.

Our first year together went quite well. We laughed a lot, took road trips all over and spent many night talking under moonlit skies before jumping into the car to find a cliff to watch the sun rise from. He supported me emotionally while I attended college and I supported him through the roller coaster of his health. We dreamed together and made plans for our future, and most definitely discussed our wedding.

Almost a year to the day when we had the discussion that we’re in this for life we took a road trip to our favourite beach, and there under a cloudy warm summer day, he got down on his knee and proposed.

I remember the whole world fading away, except for one man just behind us smiling and my then boyfriend eagerly awaiting my response. In a split second my heart and head had a discussion. My heart was screaming “NO! No! No, don’t do this!” My head, however, responded very calmly “Of course you’ll say yes, you said you were starting this relationship to become married, of course it’s yes”.

I said yes and we hugged and kissed, laughing at the wonderfulness of our future together. He drove me home to the house on a hill that I shared with four other girls. I hid the news from from my roommates for days, and I honestly can’t remember when I called my parents. I do remember my parents not being surprised, since he had asked them for permission, but they had asked us to a wait another year before tying the knot. I don’t really remember them being overly happy about the news.

Within days of us getting engaged our relationship started to breakdown.

We fought constantly about our expectations of the other. He made endless comments about how I dressed, suggesting at one time that I dressed like Brittany Spears from the early 2000′s. I couldn’t understand this as I was constantly in jeans and a t-shirt, never wore shorts, and had just purchased my first bikini to wear on the hammock in my back yard – I couldn’t imagine wearing it in public. I was very self conscious of my body.

One evening in the dead of the night, parked in a dark lot at the edge of a beach, we were in the midst of another argument. We yelled, we screamed, we both threw tantrums feeling like the other wasn’t listening. Suddenly he tells me he can’t deal with it anymore, opens the car door and walks toward the beach till I can’t see his silhouette against the light from a beach home. I sit there, with tears streaming down my face wondering what I did to cause him such pain? I began thinking of ways to make him happy in an attempt to fix us. Then suddenly, I realized that he walked away and left me abandoned in his car alone without keys and with no cellphone coverage. I decided I didn’t deserve to be treated this way, and walked away from the car without a note.

I walked down a dark street until I knew I’d have cellphone coverage again and called my roommate who I knew would come get me without asking any questions and without judgement. Little did I know she would ask questions, and once I was home my roommates sat me down and tried ever so gently to tell me how the relationship I was in was toxic.

At the time I didn’t see how damaged I had become or the damage I was causing him by continuing in the relationship. I was depressed, I made excuses for his behaviour, I allowed myself to be emotionally and mentally abused because we had said we were in this relationship forever. To me it was a promise I couldn’t break. The community that I surrounded myself in, I believed that if I broke it off it would be like I was divorcing him and I’d be forever looked at as a sinner.

However, my roommates saw it and knew I couldn’t help myself, so one of them did something behind my back that forever changed the course of my life.

She called my mom.

She told my mom the whole story and everything that she saw going on between us, everything that I couldn’t see and wouldn’t see. She explained how much I had changed and how I was not the person I once was or should be. She told my mom that she needed to come and get me then take me home.

That day my roommate rescued me from a relationship that would have left me miserable and utterly unhappy.

Two months later, when I called to tell him I would be late arriving at his place, he told me to not bother coming. At first I thought he meant that weekend, as if me missing the ferry had upset him. And then he tells me that he doesn’t know who I am anymore and doesn’t believe we should get married. I ask why. I ask what can I do to fix it. I say everything you can imagine to stay together, believing I have to do everything to make him happy again. In the end nothing would do, and I say “okay”.

Surprisingly, there were no tears. Just a complete understanding. The tears, however, came days later when I realized how much of myself I had poured into our relationship, how much of I had given up and given away, how I felt like my future no longer existed because it only existed in him.

As I told my friends that is was over I remember my heart feeling so much joy, but not being able to explain it at the time. I was finally free to begin living a life full of happiness and that day, a broken engagement and leaving an unhealthy relationship, set me on the path to discovering what truly makes me happy.

  • July 18, 2014 - 3:49 PM

    Jenna - Gorgeously written. What a gift he gave you both to truely become who you both were meant to be.ReplyCancel

  • July 18, 2014 - 5:18 PM

    grama - A break up is always sad for the persons involved an engagement is a little harder. We saw what was happening and could do nothing, you would have retaliated and maybe married him. I was so glad when I heard it was over. Sorry for the hurt many of us have been through this and understand.ReplyCancel

  • July 18, 2014 - 6:50 PM

    Jeffrey - In his defence the early 2000′s were super good to BritanyReplyCancel

  • July 25, 2014 - 10:43 AM

    Amy - As you can imagine, I relate to this very well. <3ReplyCancel

    • July 25, 2014 - 12:24 PM

      Lesley - Yes, I can only imagine what your experience was like.ReplyCancel

  • July 31, 2014 - 9:44 AM

    Halley - I get this. I tried dating a dude who was not right and thought if I put 110% into the relationship maybe it could work. Luckily my roommate and friend told me to walk away. Thank god I did.

    Super glad that this worked out in the end for the best!ReplyCancel

    • July 31, 2014 - 10:35 AM

      Lesley - Isn’t it wonderful when our roommates and friends can tell you how it is and know they are doing it out of love?!ReplyCancel