Pamela Goldsmith-Jones: Do not accept the status quo


Pam is a mother of three, former Mayor of West Vancouver and has recently completed her third university degree in Aboriginal business and leadership. Yes, she is one of those individuals who can do it all.

She has been in the public eye for 12 years in various adventures including founding her own business, serving several non-profit groups and she is now running for Parliament in the upcoming Federal Election.

Pam shared her overall philosophy of fear and what being fearless means to her.

Do not accept the status quo as the status quo provides a safety net for us and that comfortability keeps us from moving forward.”

1) What does fearless mean to you

I agree with Aristotle's version of not knowing what not to be afraid, so why fear, fear at all. There are very few things to really be afraid of when you actually think about it. I am not a fan of fear based thinking and I do not believe that making a list of fears is a great tool to advance thinking. I believe we need to encourage optimism and think about freedom and the power of choice.

I feel if I treat people with dignity, and provide them choice, then I will be treated that way back. It’s easy to be on a high road (if that’s the road you take) over people’s own behaviours but that keeps them from achieving a higher level of personal self achievement.

Through my careers and through my life lessons I have compiled three lessons to live by, if you will. I have tried to instill 3 guiding rules to support raising my children:

1) are you helping

2) are you free to make your choice

3) do you have good manners

Even if you are in the wrong, everyone has the right to a healthy sense of self. Following those three guidelines can help us move forward through fear.

2) Where do you find strength to keep going when fear holds you back

This might sound a little different but I have an Internal sense of justice. There is a streak in me that rises up and I’ve learned to embrace it rather than thinking of it as a source of anger. I feel as though if work through fear and find a solution, I will also seek out justices and so I always try to find the right way out. People view that as brave or fearless act and in all honesty, I was only trying to do what was right and fair. We have this innate sense of fairness. The Mohawk say “what is right comes into being” and so I keep this always in my mind and in my heart.

Think about that. How is your situation or fear holding you back? What is coming to you then that is right? I take myself out of the equation and focus on the dignity of the people in order to make the best decision I can with the information I have.

3) What is your most fearful moment to date

My most fearful moment is a personal family story, as is like most mothers with a seriously ill or seriously sick child you -- you are afraid. You cannot help it!

Our daughter was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and while we were at the hospital watching her undergo testing she said to me, “I don’t like your scared face!" That was scary because I was not conveying strength. I was instilling fear in an already fearful situation. The fearful part was that there is nothing anyone can do to calm you, and you are alone!

Having children is the biggest personal risk and it never ends and it is sort of out of your control, which is scary all of the time.

4) What advice do you have for females working in male dominated sectors

My advice is “Change the tone and people play up.” What I mean by this is that you can set the mood for your environment! When I was the mayor, 5 years ago, there was a male individual who rolled his eyes at me while I was speaking. I kindly said to him, “I do not roll my eyes at you when you speak and so I would love it if you could control your eyes when I speak". His reaction? He burst out laughing. This is the power you have when you can turn it around by not being critical and not being controlled by anger.

Another piece of advice I have for females is to speak the truth. Do it kindly if you can, but speak it no matter what! My example of this came about when I was the keynote speaker at the rotary club and one of my fathers friends patted me on the bum and casually said “nice to see you”. I told my parents, explained my course of action and they asked me not to follow through as it might ruin our family friendship. However, the opposite happened. When I confronted this gentleman he replied by saying, “I want to thank you for telling me that. I have needed to hear that for 30 years.”

The last piece of advice I have for females is to do your homework. You cannot fail by doing your homework. I feel people respect an individual who is well versed and well prepared. If you do your homework, you succeed and women are exploiting that option more often. Women before us fought hard for equal rights and we need to exercise that. 

Posted by: Nicole Parmar

Photo Credit: Suzanne Rushton Photography