Madison MacGregor
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Education

Thankful Thoughts

Taking time to be grateful today.

Thank you for reading my content and for subscribing to this blog! I believe that I can use this platform to show how wonderful life can be when we take time to look and reflect on the moments that make up our lives. Thanksgiving… this weekend…this day, is a big moment. You are alive!

Reflecting today on what I have been given, one thing jumps out. My mom has worked so hard to provide the lifestyle she wanted to live for her children, her family and her own soul.  My mom’s story is below:

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“One of my dear friends sent me a copy of this picture with the quote below, to inspire me while I was still working at my full time job, hustling my side-gig evenings and weekends to gain back TIME FREEDOM in my life!!! “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

I printed a small version of this, with the quote, that I hung in my office beside my computer. I looked at his face and read that quote EVERY SINGLE DAY. I stayed hungry and motivated by the LIFE I was determined to create for myself, my family and as many awesome people as I could support as possible-who were looking to create change too…to “stop wasting their time living someone else’s life!” No coincidence that THE DAY I randomly see this giant sized picture hanging in a hotel on my way to visit a friend – I happen to be wearing the classic Steve Jobs attire – black turtleneck. An inspiration, even after he is gone!!! I meet so many people who want MORE for themselves but they’re so STUCK in their own FEAR! Letting the ‘noise of others’ opinions drown out their own inner voice.’ It actually breaks my heart – because time IS limited and we need more people who have the courage to follow their heart and intuition. So grateful I followed mine-even when it arrived in a very different package than I thought-it has lead me to the life I dreamed of. I am committed to supporting as many people as I possibly can in this lifetime to help live their version of life by design! Because every minute of the hustle and pushing through the fear to live a life of PROGRESS on your terms is BEYOND worth it!!!” – Kim MacGregor

I am grateful for my mother’s example. Thankful for what she has given me and our entire family.

Happy Thanks-Giving!

Thankful for you!

Madison

 

Vulnerability

Every time I try to hide flaws, I fail.

And by fail, I mean learn. Failure is not the end, it is only the beginning of something new…so I’ve learned in 18 years of living my life.

I stopped writing this blog because I was embarrassed. I would read over my comments, from two or so years ago and didn’t want to revisit those posts again.

I have taken up new endeavours since then, started a new project (stay tuned…), finished a second season on Backstage (that is out on US Netflix BTW and Family Channel in Canada this November!!!!), graduated high school (YAY!) and am realizing that running away from vulnerability has brought me right back to where I started. Here. Writing this blog.

In this past year, I have learned that the most important thing is to BE vulnerable. Whatever makes you feel embarrassed, or you feel a resistance towards (which is very different than a gut feeling about what is right or wrong for you) are the very things that make you human and in a way, special. That vulnerability makes others look up and notice you and see you for what you really are.

We connect through vulnerability, it is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves. 

I had always been embarrassed about being myself… I’d tense up in social situations or feel the need to change because I feared what people thought. At the same time, I have always been a very confident person with a strong sense of who I am (and who I am NOT). In moments of vulnerability, I had resisted the urge to step up and be myself…

The very thing that makes you feel embarrassed is the very thing you need to do and face every day.

There’s a saying that goes, “What we resist, persists...” And it is true for being our selves.

Being yourself is brave. 

It is easy to be like everyone else. It is hard to be yourself.

Think about those contestants we see, up on that stage, in talent shows on TV or even in your own school. They are being completely vulnerable up there. Sometimes they succeed (or win), sometimes they fail (or lose). But the most important thing was that they were up there. Being themselves for everyone to see…

being yourself does not guarantee success in the outside world all the time, but you can guarantee it gives you inner success, happiness, with yourself.

Be more of YOU. Who ever and whatever that is. It is not easy, but it is worth it!

I am choosing to be true to myself, even though the outer world doesn’t always reciprocate back to me in a positive way when I make that choice. I am open to learning, but I am not willing to give up who I am for short term outer rewards, that in the long term mean nothing to my self worth.

No matter what….we are ALL faced with challenges. We all fail, and have the potential to learn, grow and be happy with ourselves. But that doesn’t happen before we step into our “embarrassment zone.”

Before I performed my dance routine I would tell myself “There’s no hiding on stage.” Going on stage was just what I needed to step into my “embarrassment zone” and it was where I felt the most alive (the thought of it was much scarier than actually doing it!) We can not only think of an actual stage as the place to be our most vulnerable selves, but can think of life as a stage as well. Providing us the opportunity to step into our own, every moment of everyday.

Push yourself, put in the effort and know that being yourself is the best choice you could ever make!

Step into that vulnerability, use your “voice”, and allow learning, sometimes thought of as failure, to guide the way; it is all a part of living!

Have an awesome Thursday,

Madison

 

SCARY

After a great response on my last blog (link here)I feared the next one. “Will it be good enough? How could I beat that?”

I wanted to hide and make sure nothing else got out that wasn’t at that caliber…..

I was scared and I wanted to play it safe.

Just so you know: playing it safe is what feels natural. It comes from that part of our brain that wants safety and certainty (that part of our brain is called the amygdala – you can learn more about how it works here in Seth Godin’s blog).

Ironically, what I actually need to be doing is work that is unsafe and uncertain, with no guarantee for success. Playing it unsafe is about leaving all possible places to hide and exploring the unfamiliar place of unsafe, uncertain and completely unprotected.

That place feels scary….but we need to be there in order to discover the thrill of doing the stuff we need (and deep down actually want) to be doing. Because there, and only there, will we really know what we are capable of.

Are you feeling the fear and choosing to do it anyway?

I hope you had a great Thursday,

Lots of Love,

Madison

 

Think About It

Teaching myself how to think, not what to think, has been an interesting process thus far.

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Photo by my wonderful friend Zenon Zubyk – you can check out his work here

I am immersed in a different kind of education, where I’m not learning how to “mindlessly” regurgitate information, but instead to process “out-of-the-box” ideas in order to formulate my own way of thinking. To think on purpose. To chose who and how I want to be, and to always make sure that it is in line with my goal of doing work that matters. 

At this age and stage, I’ve realized that what I consume (everything from what I watch to what I read, etc) influences me, but it doesn’t have power over me. I do not aspire to be other people, but I am certainly inspired by other people. I’ve reached a point where I am recognizing the dis-empowering narratives that have played in my head and how they no longer serve me. I am deconstructing them…and re-writing them in a way that is in tune with the truth which is empowering. This is allowing me to move towards my long term vision for the change I want to make in this world.

Letting go of these stories is like flying through the air without landing yet. It’s new, at times it’s scary, but it’s incredibly empowering to be in this learning stage… I know that my destination is worth it.

There is an interesting talk from Jill Bolte Taylor about the Teenage brain, neuroplasticity, and why now, more than ever, at this time in our lives is the time to develop our brains, and ways of thinking, to create a better world, to do work that matters, and to live happily as a result.

Are you choosing how you want to think or are you simply accepting what to think?

Happy Wednesday,

Best,

Madison

(PS My favourite reads and watches right now are from Seth Godin, you can check out his blog here, and one of his many books here.)

Hooked On A Feeling

I have all of these thoughts and ideas in my head and I just need to get them out. When I start writing, I realize how much there needs to be shared. So many ideas and things swirling around in my brain.

As a young person, I am in a phase in my life where I am learning constantly and everyday feels like a new breakthrough – and a new epiphany.

Every day for me feels like “Eureka!”Okay, maybe not everyday but most days – even the most frustrating days have potential for (and usually become) my biggest Eurekas.

Every moment can become a Eureka moment.

Looking at our challenges as opportunities instead of obstacles helps with this.

I believe that in order to have more Eureka moments we need to expose our minds to more Eureka “possibilities.”

Here’s what I mean: reading, watching, interacting with stuff that makes us grow, that disrupts our point of view, stretches our mind, our creativity, that fills our minds with questions, that gives us something to create or channel our energy into or inspires us, and helps us think better.

This could be anything from music, to a place downtown, to walking in nature, to YouTube videos, books, magazines, movies, places (for me it’s Indigo book store at the mall) to expressing ourselves through song, poetry, dance, music, art, sculpting, building things, fashion, sports, writing, leading a group, helping others, giving back to a community/group of people, creating something with others, etc, etc, etc, etc….

Our minds are like empty containers. Do we want to fill them with rotting garbage or do we want to fill them with incredible things? We have the choice.

We all have access to information. Luckily, we also have the freedom to pick what information we want to access.

I’m totally guilty of instagram binges, and going deep down the twitter hole – a meaningless abyss of tweets. I’m just as guilty of listening to an amazing song and feeling totally energized. It just happened to me last night.
In my house, we call it the “witching hour. For some reason, a lot of times, I start to feel kind of “down” past 11:00 pm. I get all down and sad about things, all midnight bluesy. img_8427
Ironically its also a time where I come up with a lot of really great ideas…but that’s beside the point. Anyway, I was talking to my dad about something that had been on my mind and I felt badly about it. After our talk, I didn’t really feel much better – but then I told him about the new Guardians of The Galaxy trailer and how I was so excited to see it and that’s when the trailer song popped into my mind. I asked my dad the song (since it was from a time before I was born #retro ) and he said he didn’t know. Next thing I know, I’m brushing my teeth and “IIIIII’m hooked on a feeling” starts blasting from my dad’s computer and my mood instantly shifts. All of a sudden I could see all the highlights of my life fly by…all the beliefs in my dreams restored. It was very dramatic in the best way possible! I was ready to go. I continued to play that song another 20 times that night, and went to sleep happier than I’d been in a long time.

I filled my mind with a great song. And in turn had great thoughts. Which led to a great night.

Bottom line, listen to what you love – whether it be a song, video, book…whatever.

I love filling my container with great stuff, it makes me feel pretty darn good.

Fill up on good stuff. Its good for you 🙂

I hope this post served you,

Wishing you a great day!

Madison x

Heres the song “Hooked on a Feeling”

Being Brave is…well…Brave

It’s been a while since I have shared anything with you guys. I thought that this is something worth sharing.

Last night I watched a TED Talk about how society conditions boys and girls differently. They pointed out that boys are rewarded for bravery more than girls, where girls are rewarded for perfection more than boys. As a perfectionist myself, I have felt the pressure to be perfect. In school, in my career, in life in general. I think social media plays a big part for my generation. With Instagram, we look at an edited/highlighted reel of each person’s life. We never see the bad days, or the tough times. We don’t see the challenges people are going through, their failures, their near-wins. Geez often we don’t even see the “real” unedited person. With this absent, it’s easy to assume that just about anyone – other than ourselves is perfect – making us feel that something is wrong with us.

Pictured below are two photos of me-my “highlight-reel” and my “real-reel.” The one on the left was on set of a photoshoot. The one to the right is me at home today (post-photoshoot). 

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The TED Talk went on to discuss a specific example about how young girls and boys learn to code. One of the teachers pointed out that when a student was having difficulty with coding, there were two common responses:

  1. I’m having a tough time with this – something must be wrong with this program/computer (usually the “boys” response).
  2. I’m having a tough time with this – something must be wrong with me (usually the “girls” response).

I think this example relates to my own life at times.  When things aren’t going how I’d like them to and I’m having a tough time – I often think something is wrong with me! Other times, I blame it on the other thing – this must not work! I had a dilemma like this recently. I was caught between figuring out if “I” was the problem or “it” was the problem. It kept me up at night and caused me weeks of stress and anxiety.

At the end of the day – it was a bit of both. I had to change my attitude. I also had to recognize that this thing was new to me, and I needed to adapt in order to find a way of doing it that worked for me. Have you ever had that feeling that you have to be PERFECT at something – even when it is NEW and unfamiliar to you?

Once I came to peace with this and embraced the uncertainty of the situation – I had a break through! I had a great attitude, made progress and…. I actually had fun, enjoyed myself and had a good time. I turned a stressful-anxiety-ridden situation, into an amazing experience that felt empowering because I was celebrating my “progress” instead of beating myself up for not being “perfect.”

I just did it! I chose bravery over perfection! And it was exhilarating!

Once I let go of frustration and worry, and stepped into accepting that I didn’t have to be perfect – I actually achieved what I wanted…which was progress, not perfection.

 (and by the way, perfection is UNATTAINABLE.  If something is unattainable, it isn’t worth your time or energy. However, aiming for progress, is VERY ATTAINABLE – which means it’s totally worth your time and energy and it’s good for you!

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I would like to hear your thoughts on times you chose bravery over perfection and what happened?

I hope that this post served you.

Warm regards,

Madison XO??

Also wanted to share a great song for believing in yourself,

Hooked on A Feeling:

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(its from the soundtrack of one of my favorite MARVEL movies – Guardians of The Galaxy – who’s excited for the second movie coming out this spring?! I know I am 🙂

 

 

 

Enjoy the Journey

This is the time when things really change, where I begin to grow up, thus the teen-age.

Us teen agers….

 

We feel the weight of the world on our shoulders, amongst our growing pains – feeling heavy in many ways.

Although I do tread with a heavy heart and cluttered mind at times, I see a huge opportunity before me.

I see it can become better this journey we are on – the people and the planet working together.

It’s not a mountain I must move, but small steps I must take, up the mountain and beyond – together this journey can be really great. United in our belief in a better world – we take this in our stride. And in this process we begin to see each other change. We grow and give more and more each and every day. Now we realize this destination, the top of the mountain we were going for, is much less grand than the journey we’ve had and all we have yet to explore.

Join the journey here.