Month: March 2018

Finding Fulfilment With Angela Percival

We all have challenges at work. For Angela Percival, those challenges sometimes mean life or death. As an outdoor adventure photographer for Arc’teryx, Angela has been scaling mountains, hiking along cliffs, and battling severe weather while capturing the perfect shot for over 13 years, and she loves what she does.

Doing What You Love

Angela moved to Whistler, BC from Australia and loves everything about the outdoors and being in the mountains. Although she went to school for graphic design, working for an outdoor adventure company made it clear that a desk job was not for her. She didn’t want to look at photos of mountain tops on her computer, she wanted to be the one taking them. So, she followed her gut, made the transition to photography, and pursued a career doing something she loved; being in the mountains, working with photography, and going on adventures.


“If you follow what you love to do, you can’t go wrong.”


Finding Fulfilment by Overcoming Challenges

Angela’s job is both physically and mentally demanding. Shooting mountain adventures like skiing, snowboarding, and ice climbing often means battling avalanches and working in freezing temperatures, but surviving is only half the battle.


“It takes inner strength to keep going. It takes mentally being in it and committing to it.”


As the photographer and team leader, there’s a lot in her hands, including the lives of her team. For example, when the weather conditions suddenly change for the worse, it is up to Angela to decide whether they should push forward and continue or turn back. While Angela’s job is incredibly challenging, both mentally and physically, overcoming those challenges is what makes it all worth it.


“If everything was easy, it wouldn’t have the same fulfilment.”


Preparing for Success

Angela shared that she is successful in what she does because of teamwork. “The people are key,” she explained. Surrounding herself with the right people who communicate and work well together makes all the difference. “I work with people I would hang out with anyway and get to go on adventures with them.” Angela also prepares for success by communicating expectations to her team before expeditions. Doing so means everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.


“I try to set us up for success at the beginning.”


Balancing the Intensity 

Angela works incredibly hard, but she also acknowledges the importance of balance. She incorporates mindfulness into her work by taking breaks from the intensity of her job to do enjoyable, light activities like running, biking, and skiing just for fun.


“I need to balance the intensity with something soul nourishing.”


Another way Angela is mindful of what she does is by using visualization. Although she’s big on photographing things in the moment, she also visualizes and plans some of the shots she wants to get beforehand to prepare her and her team. Along with visualization, Angela uses yoga and practices meditation with Headspace. She normally has a million things going on in her head, but slowing down and being quiet helps her begin her day not with a frantic, excitable energy, but a calm, collected sense of mindfulness.


“It doesn’t matter if you’re good at them, what’s important is you’re doing what you need to do for you.”

Angela’s Questions for the KYŌ:

  • Is what I’m doing today how I want to spend my life?
  • Am I spending time with the people that matter most to me?
  • Am I giving enough energy to them?

Learning to Surrender With Lauren Toyota

Lauren Toyota used to define herself by her career, but when she lost her job, she began to question who she was. Through resilience and a new sense of self awareness, what began as a disappointment evolved into an opportunity, transforming her and her life for the better. Lauren decided to take her passion for eating vegan, cooking, and sharing recipes and make a career out of it.


“Now I can define myself by what I do… I’m aligning my career with who I am.”


Lauren creates authentic and engaging creative content on Hot for Food, a brand that focuses on cooking up vegan love by creating and sharing plant-based comfort food recipes. Her YouTube channels, social media platforms, and book “Vegan Comfort Classics” allows her to share the life lessons she’s learned, teach others how to eat and cook vegan, and connect in a meaningful way.


“I am a teacher and I am a giver. I always want to create stuff for others.”


The Power of Surrendering

When we experience things that we don’t like, we often fight it. This is what Lauren experienced when she was let go from her job, and it wasn’t until she fully surrendered to what was happening did she find clarity. In tough situations, Lauren’s immediate reaction is often very emotional and dramatic, but she’s learning how to slow down and recognize that although she can’t control what’s happening, she can control how she reacts.


“That’s what you’re in control of: How you’re going to react.”


When Lauren finally surrendered by letting go of her anger and resentment, she immediately felt better, both mentally and physically. Although it seemed spontaneous, being quiet is what helped that moment occur. “I’m not an expert,” she shared, “But I have moments where it goes quiet and then something amazing happens.”


Awareness of Your Inner World

Lauren finds clarity by maintaining an awareness of what is going on within her and around her. She calls it “having a sense of the inner world” while also “having a sense for how everything is interrelated.”


“Mindfulness is having an awareness of the connection between physical, mental, and emotional.”


Lauren maintains awareness with meditation, therapy, and eating a plant-based diet. She listens to her body and pays attention to what it wants.


The Benefit of Contrast

We can’t have the good times without the bad. For Lauren, contrast is essential for finding clarity and staying mindful. “When you’re angry, you want to feel harmonious. But you wouldn’t know that you want to feel harmonious unless you felt angry.” She explained that we must validate our negative emotions, then use them to recognize what we do want. By recognizing what you want, believing in yourself, and taking small steps towards it, anything is possible.


Lauren’s Questions for KYŌ:

  • How do I feel?
  • How do I want to feel?
  • How can I take small steps towards that feeling?

Setting Boundaries with Davida Kugelmass

Davida Kugelmass spent most of her early life trying to please others. While studying psychology in university, she discovered a passion for healthy eating and exercise, and began to make lifestyle changes that positively affected her physical and mental health. After many people in her life began asking her, “How are you doing it?”, Davida realized she had something to offer the world, and, for the first time ever, did something for herself; begin a blog.


“You have the power to decide what your life looks like.”


About a year later, she decided to leave her job and pursue The Healthy Maven full time, growing her blog into what is now a multi-channel health and wellness platform that helps others “live healthFULLY rather than living for their health.”


Practicing What You Preach

There was a time in Davida’s life where she got too wrapped up in the extreme side of the health world and was not taking care of herself the way she was encouraging others to. “You can get lost in the wellness space,” she explained. “You’re supposed to live your life first, and health practices are supposed to be incorporated into that, not at the center of your universe.” The whole point of working out and eating healthy is to feel good and live a happy life, but if that’s all you’re living for, then you’re missing the point.

The Healthy Maven focuses on encouraging others to live fully, rather than living for their health, so Davida had to make changes. This meant being more mindful and setting boundaries.


Setting Boundaries

Another important element of Davida’s success is being aware of her time and taking breaks. Many people consider blogging to be a lifestyle that’s on-going all the time, but Davida makes a point of working regular, 9-5 hours and reserving evenings and weekends for herself.


“I need that division in order for me to feel like I have a sustainable business.”


Maintaining boundaries allows Davida to separate business and personal life, and make time for herself. “That’s my protected time that I get to do whatever I want with it,” she explained. Whether it’s working out, going for a walk, reading a book, or watching a movie, checking in with yourself and making time to relax is integral to a healthy lifestyle.


“You can be committed to something and also take breaks.”


Really Listening

For Davida, mindfulness is “really listening” to yourself. She often asks herself, “What do I need in this moment?” and gives herself time and space to reflect on what’s happening in her life. Journaling and meditating are a few ways to practice mindfulness, but Davida explained that it looks different depending on what you need in that moment. Sometimes it’s sitting down with her journal to write down her thoughts, sometimes it’s walking her dog or visiting the beach.


“Mindfulness is really taking the time to listen, slow down, and not rush through life.”


Mindful Spaces

City living can make it difficult to be mindful, which is why it’s important to find places where you live, or create spaces at home, that you associate with mindfulness and relaxation. Having rituals like using essential oils or lighting a candle can help create a mindful environment, but it is most important to create a space for relaxation in your mind. “The power of thinking is unbelievable. We can’t control our environment, but we can control the way we perceive things.”


Embracing Change

When we asked Davida what’s next, she shared that she sensed change was on the horizon, but was unsure what it would look like. Rather than fear the unknown, however, she embraces it; something that comes with living a balanced, mindful, healthy life.


I can’t predict what’s next, and I’m okay with that. Good things come from change.”


Davida’s Questions for KYŌ:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • How would you want to spend a Saturday afternoon?
  • What do you need right now?