Challenge: Do Three Nice Things For Yourself…Easy Huh?

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How many of you were led to believe that it is selfish to put your own needs above others?

 

That it is wrong to put yourself first?

 

 

One way to tell is to ask yourself a couple of questions:

“Do I feel guilty when I take time for myself?”

“Does it feel okay to spend money on myself or do I do a mental checklist (But Henry’s been asking for a new jacket and Amy really wants a new ipod…) and then talk my way out of it?”

“When was the last time I treated myself to something frivolous or extravagant that was just for me..?”

 

 

Women in particular are really good at believing that focussing on ourselves is selfish.

Often we are brought up to believe that our role is to take care of the people around us – that it is compulsory, a fundamental part of our role in life as nurturers. Continue reading

What Do You Mean You Want To Be A Dancer? Don’t Be So Ridiculous….

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Recently I shared a chat and a drink with a friend who I hadn’t seen  for a while.

 

He was concerned that his son is being pressured at school to choose a career path. At 15 this young man is being told that he has to make a decision and choose his work future.

The presumption was made by the school that his son would choose the academic route, to go to university, study for years and earn a degree.

 

Now this dad is a very successful business owner.

He makes a lot of money and provides jobs for a substantial number of people. He provides a service for a large community and contributes to the local economy.

He never went to university.

“I told him he could do whatever he wants to do,” said the Dad. “To choose something he really wants to do- something he loves. I really don’t mind what. I want him to follow his heart and be happy.”

 

That same day I had talked with a young girl who told me that her dad wants her to become a lawyer.

He’s apparently told her since she was a little girl that she will grow up to study law.

“Are you interested in becoming a lawyer?” I asked.

(Huge eye roll and look of horror.)

“God no! I couldn’t think of anything worse but he keeps going on and on about it, and lining me up work experience and bringing me home all of this stuff to do with law- he just won’t listen!”

 

Today as I was putting out the recycling I happened to notice what was on top. (I’ve been having a bit of a clear out.)

It was one of my Diplomas- whoops!

 

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I love to learn.

I have lots of bits of paper that I get handed at the end of some blocks of formal learning. Qualifications I’ve needed to hold down certain jobs.

Some of them have taken lots of effort, lots of sacrifice, lots of time and buckets of money!

 

But it’s not the bits of paper that I value.

They’re just bits of paper after all.

It’s the knowledge that I’ve gained, the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met, the challenges I’ve faced, the memories I’ve made and the fact that they’ve all been about doing what I love.

They have all had a purpose-to allow me to do the things I’ve been passionate about.

To have “jobs” that I’ve loved to do.

 

 

How many people do you know who hate what they do for a living?

People who stay in a job they detest, waiting only for the day when they can retire…

 

How many of us were directed that way by well-meaning folk around us…or by those who thought they knew what was best for us?

 

We live in a dynamic world where change is the norm.

Where most people will hold around 7-11 different jobs in their lifetimes….

 

How many of us hold onto something that we began years and years ago, based on decisions we made in a different time and place?

How long since we’ve reassessed to see if that decision still fits…

How long since we’ve opened our minds to new possibilities?

Since we’ve tried on something new for size?

 

Since we’ve dared to dream….

 

And how many of us will have the courage to act on that dream?

Metal Man

what you see...

Last week I ventured bravely into “Men’s Territory.”

I found a space in the car park between all of the trucks and tradesmen’s utes and stepped inside.

Not simply a hardware store – no this was hardcore – “Metal World”…galvanized steel, corrugated iron, grinding and cutting as far as the eye could see.

I stood at the lonely counter trying for the umpteenth time to make sense of the long list my builder had so patiently explained- it had to be spot on:

2”x1”x1.6mmx 1.8m of RHS

30x30x2.0mmx.08m of RHS

10x50mm Steel Hexhead Fasteners…..etc…etc…etc…

Blah, blah…um, yeah, whatever…

A giant appeared. He must have been two metres tall and was the size of a small army tank. He wore steel-capped boots, a hard-hat and huge leather gloves. He looked like he was going to use my bones to bake his bread…

“What can I do for you?” he asked.

“Umm….I need some…ummmm…”

I began my faltering, stop/start journey through my page of gibberish.

When I had finally finished I looked up in hopeful expectation.

Metal Man just looked at me.

My mind began to panic and fill in the silent blanks:

“Did I get it wrong?

Is it that apparent that I have no idea what I’m talking about?

Am I in the wrong place? Maybe they don’t even sell OHS or whatever the hell it is here….”

“Have you just had a massage?” the giant suddenly asked.

I looked at him in surprise.

“It’s just that I can smell the green oil. I use it when I do massages….”

“Uh…right…”

My mind was now whizzing all over the place trying to imagine this man mountain’s hands doing gentle massages- he could pick me up with just one of them!

“I notice you’re wearing chakra colours,” he continued, “I do reiki and aromatherapy and ear-candling as well and….” He launched into a knowledgeable spiel about alternative therapies.

Twenty minutes later and I had all of my steel supplies and a business card from my new friend… He shook my hand …..and his were as soft and gentle as a child’s….

It’s funny how we make assumptions, even when we think we’re being mindful.
I love it when my assumptions take a shake-up and I get to remember that things are not necessarily what they appear to be.

It’s a good reminder that what you “see” is not necessarily what you get!

Square Pegs, Round Holes

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I recently received a beautiful bunch of flowers. I was admiring them and said to Mum: “Aren’t they gorgeous! I’ve always loved gerberas…” Mum only gave a little sigh and a slight eye roll before looking at me and saying…”Well, that’s nice…but they’re actually marigolds and sunflowers….”

“Oh, is that sort of close?,” I asked hopefully.

I’m not particularly good at knowing all of the stuff that you’re “supposed” to know.

I can identify native plants in a flash. I can remember the scientific names of all of the members of the kangaroo family, tell a hammer from a chisel and talk for hours on how our minds work. I can remember all the words of 70’s songs and know a good quality ukulele when I hear one.

But….. I have no idea how to select a good wine, know which lipstick doesn’t smudge or how to cook a macaroon. I have no idea who is a “celebrity” and why they’re a celebrity, what colour is in fashion this autumn or the name of the latest “must-have” technology. I don’t recognize sports stars or know the plot of the evening soapie. If these subjects come up at a quiz night and I’m on your team well…..whoops, sorry!!

It’s not that I have anything against these subjects, it’s just that they hold no interest for me and never have. I’m not at all bothered by the fact that others care about these things- go for it! They’re simply not relevant to me or to how I choose to live my life.

What we sometimes forget is, that’s okay! It’s actually okay to be “different”. Media and social norms would have us believe that “everyone” thinks things like the above are important. They have a vested interest in doing so.

I’ve found that there’s a whole world of people who are quite happy to prove that theory wrong. People who are quite comfortable to be square pegs in the world of round holes….

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Climate Change? I Don’t Believe it…

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I’ve been fortunate over the last 6 months or so to have the opportunity to study with Michael Yapko  Ph.D.

Dr. Yapko is arguably the world’s foremost expert on hypnosis. He has made it his life’s work to uncover all there is to know about hypnosis and how it works. He has written the textbooks on teaching hypnosis and authored many other books.

Despite all of this, he is the first to tell you that the more he comes to discover about hypnosis, the more he realises how little he actually knows…It is a journey without an end point. Along the way he has had to constantly change his thinking in light of new evidence and scientific findings.

Hypnosis is an incredibly powerful tool. It allows people to make profound and lasting change. But the truth is, we are still a way off from understanding how hypnosis actually “works.”

It has been a challenging, enlightening and sometimes difficult experience of being thrown headfirst into a course as demanding as Yapko’s, especially when it has meant that a lot of ideas and facts that I held to be “true” have been turned upside down and inside out. (Some days my head feels like someone has taken an egg-beater to my brain!)

Some of my long-held beliefs have had to be tossed in the rubbish. Some things that I had been taught in the past were “100% fact” (and had passed onto others in good faith!) are simply untrue. Other old beliefs had to be mulled over for a period of time before I finally conceded that they too may be wrong…

(Then there are a few points we will agree to disagree on…and that’s okay too!!)

As I was reviewing some notes today and realising how much some of my “truths” have changed, I thought about how important it is to have flexibility in thinking. How important it is to be able to change your thinking in light of new information or new ways of seeing things- and of how so many of us are unable or unwilling to do so.

Sometimes we get so caught up with what we “believe” that it actually begins to become part of our identity, part of who we are. Sometimes our beliefs become so important to us that we cannot tolerate the thought of anyone not agreeing with us, of not “thinking like we do”. People who have views that do not match our own become threatening to us. We become more determined to hold onto our “truths”, to defend them and to keep them close.

It reminded me of a presentation I went to on climate change about 12 months ago. In our small group there were those who believed, those who disbelieved and those who were neutral on whether climate change existed as a phenomenon. Some held very strong views.

The professor who presented did not tell us at any stage what he believed but some had “guessed” and were already either resistant or supportive of him before we began! The professor simply shared information with us- some information took us in one direction, some in the other. We were able to ask questions, to clarify data and to discuss as a group. Each of us weighed up every piece of evidence for and against. One person however offered the same mantra which grew more and more strident and peturbed: “Well, I don’t believe in climate change and I never will!” By the end of the talk this person reminded me of a small child with their hands over their ears shouting “No, no I don’t want to hear that it’s my bedtime!!”

They identified as a “Climate Change Denier” and they were going to hold onto that no matter what. It was important to them.

When our group met a few months later each of us had experienced some sort of personal change in what we thought, what we saw happening and how we acted in relation to climate. We still all held different beliefs, although they were now not so far apart and they were all continually changing as each of us considered new evidence. The exercise had opened our minds. Even though we still had differing beliefs, all were open to the possibility of our viewpoints continuing to change in light of new information. Our “Climate Change Thinking” had become flexible.

All except one who was proud to announce “Well, I don’t believe in climate change and I never will!”

And in that, of course, they are 100% right.. :)

Suck It Up, Buttercup…

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I’ve been uncomfortable lately- very uncomfortable…..

I remember a time when that would have caused me distress- now I am quite comfortable with it-(now there’s a paradox!) It can even give me a bit of an excited buzz.

Can you remember a time when you felt really uncomfortable?

It’s quite likely (if it wasn’t a time when you were wearing a too-tight pair of undies..) that you were probably doing something that pushed you out of your comfort zone. Now that it’s all done and dusted, you can possibly look back at that time and acknowledge something positive or something useful that came from it….no matter how difficult and uncomfortable it seemed at the time. It may have been uncomfortable in a physical sense, in  an emotional situation or a social encounter. It may have been due to an intellectual challenge or something that you felt was outside of your skills and capabilities or your capacity to cope. It felt uncomfortable…

Remember a time when you learned something big, did something challenging, experienced something completely new, put yourself in a new situation, gathered up your courage to try something or did something you hadn’t done before? It is highly likely that it involved some level of discomfort- maybe quite a lot of it.

The truth is that if we stay comfortable we don’t grow.

I’m creating some massive changes at present, on lots of levels and in lots of areas of my life. It’s requiring a fair deal of effort, lots of difficult decisions, heaps of courage and a fair amount of risk.

That doesn’t always feel comfortable….and that’s okay!

I have learned to link discomfort with growth and the expansion of my world. I realise that it is temporary and that in experiencing it I will come out with a new understanding or resource that I didn’t have before- so for me it will be worth it. (Even if the learning is “I won’t do that again!!”)

One of the things that I notice constantly is how unwilling human beings are to experience discomfort of any kind. In fact, people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it at all cost. They build their lives around avoiding it: especially if it involves other people…

To grow and progress we need to be willing to face the uncomfortable questions, the assumptions and judgments of others. We need to be willing to be upfront and honest despite the fact that we may not be liked for doing so. We need to risk conflict instead of running from it. We need to be willing to “have our feelings hurt” or to be told “No!”….

The irony of course is that in running from discomfort we actually create a toxic pool of it that we immerse ourselves in….we never find the courage to step through it and into growth. Sure it may not always be pleasant but that’s okay!

Listen to the people around you- too many seem to have the same encyclopaedia of excuses- “Too hot/ too cold/ too far/ too much effort/ too dirty/ too inconvenient/ too much trouble/ too hard/ may upset someone…….”

They give it labels like “anxiety” or “Insert your own latest trendy word :) disorder” and treat it with drugs and a myriad of therapies.

They complain endlessly about being stuck, overweight, unhealthy, unhappy, bored and miserable.

They whinge, moan and complain endlessly about never reaching their full potential.

They want a “quick fix”, someone to show them how and someone else to do it for them.

They want it all to change but they’re not willing to actually do anything….

In the end, it’s often all the same thing- a plain old unwillingness to experience discomfort.

So ,how uncomfortable are you willing to get?

Just askin’…. :)

How To (Not) Get What You Want….

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That’s NOT what I wanted… So how come I got it anyway??

When we were kids my dad told us often that we were not to get a tattoo-no matter what.

Every time he said it (“You will not get a tattoo!!”) guess what I saw in my head-yep, a tattoo… I used to think about the tattoo I was (not) going to have and where I was (not) going to have it. I thought about what it would (not) be of, what colours it would (not) be and about how it would (not) make me feel. Needless to say, I got a tattoo…

How much of our focus in life is directed upon what we do not want? And how come not wanting it doesn’t seem to make it go away?

It still surprises me that the “anti/not” brigade don’t quite get it yet. (Who is advising our government on this stuff?? Hire me for your advertising campaigns!!):

-Do not speed (Yeehah!!)

-Do not binge drink (Hic!)

-Do not drive fatigued (Snore….The pictures of those big, red tired eyes hits me with a wave of fatigue every time.)

(Any smart parent will tell you how well the “don’t” command works- quite often all it does is fill our little darlings’ heads with exciting new suggestions. Just like “Don’t Touch-Wet Paint” is ALWAYS a winner for me! :) )

I’ve had lots of people who, when I have asked them what they want, answer “I do not want to be fat any more” or “I do not want to eat junk food any more” or “I do not want to smoke any more.” (What pictures are you getting – a fat person with a Maccas in one hand and a fag in the other?)

If your head is full of what you do not want how on earth will you get what you do want? It’s a bit like looking backwards, walking forwards and hoping you actually get somewhere near where you’d like to be (without hitting a brick wall or falling off a cliff in the meantime.)

Focusing on what we do not want generally gets us more of the same-after all that’s what’s in our awareness.

Many people get so obsessed about diets and food  that is all they think about all day long-( imagine what might happen if they thought about a healthy body and fresh air and exercise instead?)

So, start to have a bit of a listen to yourself and to the people around you. Are you using the negative language of what you don’t want or the positive language of what you do?

Do you want to “not smoke” or “not be fat” or do you want to be “fit and healthy?” Which one puts the most effective picture in your mind? Which one feels best??

Do you “Not want to work here anymore” or do you “See myself in a job I love”?

Do you “Not want any more dramas” or do you “Want a harmonious relationship”?

One perspective and focus delivers you more of the same whilst the other opens up possibilities and opportunities for something different and something better.

So, do you “Not want to be stuck anymore” or do you “Want to get moving?”

Isn’t language a most curious thing!

Hello, hello… Is anyone out there?

on the right trackIn my NLP training one of the things I learned to do was to ask specific questions so that I could gain a better understanding of the person I was talking with. Questions that helped me to understand important things about them, like what motivated them, how they made choices and how they “saw” the world. In NLP they are called Meta Program questions-they identify the mental filters that we use to experience the world and they uncover our unconscious preferences – how we process information and how we behave.

A few days ago, when I sat down at my computer and opened up this page, I asked myself one of those questions: “How do I know when I am doing a good job?”

I am a recent blow-in to blogging. (I’ve been too busy building a business and running on the endless treadmill that a lot of us call “living” to be sitting around and doing what I love ie: writing.)

Now I have created space to write. I’m loving what I’m doing. I’m going to be writing a lot more. But… how do I know I’m doing a good job with this article writing?

For me, I have what is known as an internal frame of reference with an external check when it comes to judging how well I am doing. (ie: I write something that I think is kick *rse and I get a great feeling inside-you know, that warm inner glow you get when you just “know” you’ve done a good job? Then I do the external check to make sure that the outside world also perceives it in a positive way-that it’s had the desired effect. (ie: someone actually read it and enjoyed it or found it useful in some way).

In things that are familiar and comfortable for me, quite often the external check is not so important. If it feels all okay I’m happy to go with it, to trust my instincts and simply enjoy the personal satisfaction I get. If I get positive feedback that is a bonus but I’m not reliant on it-a little bit of feedback goes a long way.

But, when you’re starting something new (and maybe something a bit scary) the external feedback becomes a little more important so, when I don’t get feedback of any sort, my fear response kicks in and that sneaky little bastard we know as “Self Doubt” raises its ugly little mug and whispers “Hmmm, no one’s commented on your blog. Obviously it was a pile of crap…”

Then the internal dialogue starts “Maybe I’m off track? Maybe what I’m writing about is not relevant/useful/interesting? What could I do differently?…”

Now, for most of us, this is where the wheels start to fall off our little red wagons and we go traipsing off down the old path we know so well straight into the spooky forest of fear….(insert spooky music here! :) )

We start to make all sorts of assumptions (negative of course), we start to feel all naked and vulnerable and exposed and we begin to personalise it (no one likes my blog… (ie: no one likes me!)… I’m a failure… I’m useless…)

Then we begin to make excuses -to start covering up our perceived failure and to save face. (“I really wasn’t enjoying it anyway/it was taking too much time/I have a new more exciting project that I’m working on…” – all crap of course!)

And then we simply QUIT. We take the easy way out. The way of “Oh well, at least I tried… I gave it a shot…”

As for me, I gave “Self-Doubt” a brief moment of my time then decided “Stuff it-this is fun and I’m doing it anyway!”

Ironically, soon after, the phone rang and someone told me how they’d read that particular post,(Tips For Avoiding Overwhelm) burst into tears and had a life changing moment of awareness.

Later in the day another person explained how she had read the post and finally understood her father after all of these years and how her whole way of interacting with him had shifted as a consequence.

Then yet another call just this moment with someone who said they’d shared this post with six others and they’d had a group discussion about how simple it all was and to say thanks.

So, I just wanted to share that with you and to say thank you to all of those people who are taking time to check in and read my offerings (including my new readers in Bangladesh-how cool is that!?) I hope you’re enjoying reading them as much as I’m enjoying writing them.

And to remind us all that if you’re doing what you love then you’re always on the right track….

Cheers,

Telene

Duhh…

Today I had one of those “Duhh!” moments.

One of those “I’m such a goose-luckily no one will ever find out” moments….

(That’s why I figure it’s so important to share-I’m guessing that you probably have them too… Just guessin’!)

One day, (only about four years ago), I went to a clearing sale and bought an enormous antique workbench. I then had to duck off to work so one of the neighbourhood blokes, Bill, said he would get some mates and they would deliver it to my place. When I got home they had left it in the middle of my backyard. When I went round to thank Bill (carrying a “thank you” carton of beer), he told me it had taken six men to wrestle it into my backyard and that I would need to enlist some real muscle to move it into my shed.

So, there sat the bench waiting for the day when six muscley men just happened to be available to help me shift it into the shed. Obviously that day never came because the bench has sat there, in the exact same spot, for the past four years.

I’ve had to walk around it, climb over it, cover it, uncover it, wheelbarrow things past it and swear at it quite often waiting for six muscley men to help me move it.

Today I needed to shift something out of my backyard. The bench, as usual, was right in the way. So I walked over to it, grabbed one end and I lifted and shifted it- me, all alone, just me, by myself. One tiny, little woman.… Duh!

How often do we believe something just because someone told us it was true?

How many limiting beliefs do we hold that we never even bother testing?

How much of what we hold to be true is actually bullsh*t?

How much of what we believe to be true about the world around us is simply a fiction created by others?

And how often is it simply easy to believe that things are just too hard… and give ourselves the excuse of not even trying…

So, just wanted to let you know that I have the strength of six men :)

(Just in case you need anything shifted!)

Rumble At The Showground….

I’m not sure how it happened but there we were. A staggered formation of Harleys thundering down the highway in an intimidating rumble of black leather and dark glasses and there, bringing up the rear, perched on top of a bright red Honda with Sidecar and clinging on for dear life, was me. I have a nagging suspicion that the speed at which they were travelling had more to do with distancing themselves from me than getting anywhere in a hurry, after all a hot pink shirt, a flowery purple jacket and bright yellow gloves was probably not in harmony with their usual image-I have 1100 cc’s of oomph and it was getting me nowhere!

We were off to “The Agricultural Show” at a small showground in the middle of nowhere. We rumbled down the dusty road and claimed a patch of shade under a gum tree. We then did the dismount routine, which apparently involves rolling a smoke or two, standing with your legs apart and discussing the merits of everyone’s bike. Not having any smokes but wanting to participate I opted instead to chew on a piece of grass (hoping that no one’s dog had been there before me!) The conversation centred around Harleys- tyres for Harleys and belts for Harleys and pipes for Harleys. Big, tall “Hooch” eyed off my rig and offered “A Honda hey, nice people ride Hondas.” Cool, I could live up to that.

We were onto our second smokes by now so I selected a fresh piece of grass. The conversation turned to where the bikes had originated from. “I imported mine from Milwaukee.” “Mine came from Alabama.” “Mine came from Japan?” I offered hopefully. I got a laugh.

Finally it was time to go in. The ticket man braced himself. “$12 each,” he said. “We’re a family,” declared our leader looking him firmly in the eye. “Ah yes, that will be $50 for the family.” “I’m the mother,” I offered. He looked at me and grinned. I barely reached up to big bearded “Hooches” bellybutton. We paid properly and went in.

So, what do big bad bikers do when they are at an agricultural show? Well, first we had a cappuccino and some butterfly cakes and lamingtons. I bought a bag full of colourful geraniums which everyone admired. It was then into the show pavilion where the highlights (and I’m deadly serious here!) were the flower displays and the home produce section. We admired the children’s artworks and the decorated egg competition. We then wandered around the show ring and laughed at the kids having fun on the sideshows.

I left the boys at the car display and lined up to buy a hot dog. They were then nowhere to be seen. I used my amazing powers of deduction and located my leather clad brethren up behind the grog shed. And so, for the next couple of hours we sat on a pile of wood in a glorious sunshine (albeit in a cloud of smoke) and yarned about anything and everything, agreeing and disagreeing in equal measure.

Eventually it was time to move on. The boys decided to take the long way home via a pit stop or two under a front verandah whilst I headed off in the other direction so I could visit a supermarket on the way home. They told me they would call the next time they were doing a ride and that I was most welcome to join them.

On the way home I thought a lot about the assumptions we make, even when we think we’re not. Assumptions that are easy to make when we look from the outside in. Sometimes our assumptions are correct but more often they are not. While I was exploring my assumptions about my comrades, outsiders were making assumptions about me. From the elderly lady who shook her head and declared loudly to her companions “That’s disgraceful” when she saw me getting on my candy apple red bike to the people I knew who pretended they didn’t see me in contrast to an old work colleague who gave me a huge hug and told me how great it was to see me out enjoying myself and let’s catch up for lunch next week.

How many of us get so uncomfortable with anything that is outside of our everyday experience and how often do we actually take time out to challenge ourselves and the assumptions we make…