I recently sat down with Emma Boudreau to get her perspective on #HerBestDecade and to hear her thoughts on how her journey is going. Here's what she had to say:
Emma, what Impact has #YourBestDecade (YBD) left on your life?
The impact that ‘Your Best Decade’ has left on my life is that it has taught me moving forward that I want to reflect my values in everything I do and all the choices I make - from my personal life to my professional life, and everything in between.
Which chapter most applied to you and why?
The chapter that applied to me the most was Chapter 9: Abandon the Comfort Zone. Growing up in such a small town, I became familiar with my surroundings pretty quickly. I had most of the same teammates across various sports games, I had most of the same classmates from grade primary to grade 12, I lived in the same house for most of my life, I was comfortable, to say the least. When it came to applying to schools for university, I chose the comfortable decision for my undergrad which was to live at home and go to St.F.X. My first ‘uncomfortable’ decision where I was forced to ‘Abandon my Comfort Zone’ wasn’t until I was accepted to various universities in Ontario for my Masters in Occupational Therapy. At this point I was on a waitlist for Dalhousie University (in Nova Scotia), so all three of my options were in Ontario. Making this decision to leave my roots in Nova Scotia and begin a new life in Kingston, ON was a scary thought with no family nor friends in Ontario. However, I am happy to admit that moving here has taught me how to be resilient through the countless Ontario-wide lockdowns, it has taught me how to be independent, it taught me how much I value health and the ability to move my body for both my physical and mental health - I have been able to meet new roommates and classmates, spend time with like-minded people, and join various teams through the Kingston Sport and Social Club (KSSC), and it taught me that no matter how far I am from my family, I will always have their support.
What most excites you about living out YBD?
I look forward to building up my own legacy in Kingston, ON, like I did in my small town of Antigonish over two decades of my life. As things begin to open more with Covid-19 restrictions easing in Ontario this month, I look forward to getting more involved in the community. I hope to get involved in coaching a kids’ sports team, working for SpinCo when they open later this Spring, push myself in some different physical competitions (i.e. road races, mud hero, half marathons), and begin my career in Occupational Therapy in the Fall, all decisions which align with my personal values.
If you could describe this book to someone in three words what would you say?
Just do it. As a female athlete who has always been motivated to chase her dreams, to take chances, and eventually took a big leap moving away
from my small town and towards a bigger city (like Ryan), I found I was able to relate on many levels throughout this book. I enjoyed how easy it was to read, I had a hard time putting it down, and the reflection piece and personal connections he offers for the readers throughout this book are exceptionally rare. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a little extra push, someone who needs some pointers on how to set yourself up for success, and an opportunity to reflect on your personal life and values in ways you may have never done before.
What is one major takeaway you have from the book?
One major takeaway I have from the book was this quote that really stood out to me from Chapter 11: The Hungriest Person in The Room. I actually wrote it down in my ‘Best Decade Journal’ while reading the book. The quote was about being Fully Present, “There is nothing worse than trying to entertain an important conversation with someone who cannot seem to disconnect from their phone”. I find that most people in society these days take ‘in-person’ conversations and time spent with others for granted, especially when most of that time is spent scrolling through various social media platforms, video games, text messaging, and pointless apps. Something I have really been trying to focus on, and encouraging those around me to do is to live in the moment. There was also a quote in this chapter stating this fact “Learn from the past. Plan for the future. Live in the present”. This is a quote I hope to put up on the wall of my future office because I believe wholeheartedly that these are words I want to live by. When I am with others, I want them to have my full attention. When I am talking to my coworkers and/or clients, I want them to know I am listening. When I am with my family, I want them to know that their time and their stories are being respected. I believe these quotes are an extremely important piece of advice, especially for young adults who are at such a critical point of their lives.
When you envision living out YBD, what does it look like?
When I envision living out my best decade, this looks like…
Me pushing myself to new limits and bringing others around me to my level. A specific example of me already putting this into action is that I signed up for my first registered half marathon at Ottawa Race Weekend and I convinced my brother, his girlfriend, and one of my good friends to sign up with me to do it the same day as well - accountability makes a huge difference when it comes to training and I look forward to the day we all cross the finish line together at the end of May.
Being aware of my comfort zones and trying to challenge myself in different areas of my life. For example: Professionally - I would like to work on updating my LinkedIn, Socially - I would like to make plans with friends twice/week, Physically - I would like to get on my bike 4 times per week, run once, and do 1-2 weights workouts each week.
I want to get more involved in the Kingston community and begin making my own legacy in this new town I have called home for the past year and a half. I want to work on making more connections with local organizations, getting involved in teams and activities I am passionate about leaving a positive impact by the end of my Kingston chapter.
I plan to be more purposeful and genuine with the actions and decisions I make. I want to make everything I do meaningful, I want to really get to know those around me and listen to their stories. I want to focus on the small gestures and having genuine conversations with people - and by adding this small amount of significance to personal conversations with those around me, they may add significance to my life in return. A common saying is, ‘What goes around, comes around’.
I want to live my life with intention. I have begun the first step which is writing down my values and how I plan to live by them, now it is just a matter of time and putting them into action.
For everyone out there who hasn't read YBD yet, what would you say to them?
For those who haven’t read ‘Your Best Decade’ yet, I would encourage them to do so. It allowed me to challenge my thinking, to have a better understanding of how I can positively impact the lives of those around me while surrounding myself with people who have a positive impact on me as well. I found the examples and personal connections Ryan made throughout the book to be a powerful tool to keep readers accountable and I thoroughly enjoyed every single page of this book. Since getting my hands on this book, I have already purchased it for a friend who I believed would benefit from the self-reflection and goal-oriented/future-oriented layout of this book!