Learning To say No…and Yes…And No….



(‘I Quit– Episode 3)

So I had quit everyday life, gone home and put up the do not disturb sign.

I had created a space for myself. Phew….

Knock, Knock. Ring, Ring…

It began almost at once and came usually in the form of those irritating and pressure-laden “question-mark words”..why? when? what if….??? followed by helpful (doom-laden) unsolicited advice delivered with just a tiny undertone of judgement to help get me back on track…. Toot!!

I realised I had to learn how to defend my “Telene Space” and to protect myself from everything and everyone “out there” who wanted to pull me back into the collective comfort zone…. (where everyone wears sensible shoes and carries umbrellas for rainy days.)

I could not bring the outside in with me. In essence, I had to create a sanctuary for myself without the pressure, (no matter how well-meaning.)

After all, I could do pressure well enough from the inside, thank you very much.

I had to change both how I thought and the way in which I did things and I couldn’t do that with society’s “shoulds “ raining all over me like lava bombs.


Hmmm. Defend the space. Time to select my weapons of choice…

Rotten tomatoes? (Fun but messy.)

Unleash the killer duck? (Nah, he was too busy loving everyone’s shoes.)

Good old avoidance-and-hope-they’ll-go-away? (I can only hide in here so long and pretend I’m not home..)

I had to step up and to learn to speak up, to find my voice.

(Use your words Telene, use your words..)

Feeling a little bruised and vulnerable (with a fair smattering of “scared shitless” tossed in for good measure), I kept it simple. It became almost a survival strategy for those first few months and I made it a focus.

I practised learning two words: Yes and No.

Generally speaking, the Yes was for me and the No was for othersContinue reading

Sh*t Happens

Oh well!

Oh well!

Sh*t happens.

To me, to you, to the stranger down the road.

Special things break, pipes leak, relationships finish, jobs end and quite often there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. There’s nothing it seems we can do to change things.

But we do have one choice. We can remain a victim of circumstance or we can let it go and get on with life….but that, of course, is much easier said than done…

Being able to practise acceptance and to acknowledge that sometimes things simply are what they are, can be a tough ask.

But, give this a go.

Write up these two simple words and whenever the poo hits the fan and you’re feeling hard done by say them out loud:

“Oh well..” Continue reading

The Story Of Your Story


I am a storyteller…and so are you!

From day to day, from minute to minute we are telling the stories that create our lives- who we “are,” what we “do” what we “stand for.”

Stories describe us, they define us, they label us.

Essentially we simply become a collection of stories- stories written by us for ourselves and those written for us by others that we choose to believe.

The stories we tell have the power to shape our identity, our personality, our ability to cope and thrive or our capacity to find inner peace and happiness.

Our story determines whether we can or we can’t, whether we should or we shouldn’t…

Essentially the entire notion of “I am” is a story.

Mostly we travel through life unaware of our stories or the impact they have on our successes, our personal growth, our relationships with others or on our own self-worth.

We often don’t recognise that stories can be kept….or they can be changed.

Sometimes we become so attached to our stories that we forget the fact that they are simply stories.

Sometimes we mistakenly believe that we are our stories.


Welcome to Thinking Possibility– The Story Of You :)


(Thinking Possibility is making a little change in direction…just because I can! Life has been very busy for the past few months so thanks for your patience while we set a new course…who knows where we may end up! Thanks for accompanying me on the journey. Telene xx)

Listen Up! I’m Busy Telling You What I Most Need To Hear…

The Expert

The Expert


Have you ever taken the time to listen to the words that come out of your own mouth?

The advice you’re always giving others?

The pearls of wisdom that fall from your lips to be eagerly seized and added to someone else’s jewel collection and treasured forever?


How much of it did you actually hear?


I’ve spent years handing out “good” advice to others. (Sincere apologies to those who received some they didn’t actually ask for!)

Shortly after I entered the therapy field I realised something important:

The suggestions I was handing out to others at any given time, were exactly the suggestions I needed to be hearing myself. Continue reading

The Prime Minister Is A Bully













Dear Julia,

I saw you on the news last week announcing your new anti-bullying strategy.

After 30 years of working with young people it is a topic dear to my heart.


You explained some of the figures:

2,500 official suicides in Australia last year with over 80% being linked to bullying…horrific isn’t it?


Who are the bullies?

They are those who are in a position to have power over others – those who have the ability to influence the lives of others in a negative way by what they say and what they do.


Who wields the most power in our society at the highest levels?

Obviously those in authority and those with money – big business, big institutions and politicians.


Julia, I could almost guarantee to you that a disproportionate number of those suicides occurred in rural Australia.

A young man in the country is almost twice as likely to take his own life.


If that young man happens to be gay that figure rises by another 30%….


Why is that do you think?


Because he’s not just bullied in the schoolyard and made invisible by his school.

Not just shunned by his family and rejected by his community.

Not simply ostracized from his church and marginalized by society in general….

It starts at the top Julia, with you and Tony and those we’ve chosen to “lead” us.


This young man is told by the leaders of his country that he has no value. That he is an inferior citizen, deprived of his basic human rights.

This is about much more than simply “same-sex marriage”.
It is the epitome in hypocrisy Julia, to talk about stopping bullying and then to enshrine into law that it’s okay to discriminate against someone based on their sexuality.


You give the ultimate bullies, the haters who hide behind the thin veneer of religion the legal right to bully.

You pour taxpayer funds into “Independent” schools, then anoint them with the right to discriminate as they please – to refuse to employ someone based on their sexuality, the right to sack staff if they’re suspected to be gay.

You grant them permission to destroy the lives of people who don’t fit their narrow-minded world view.


If that’s not bullying then please tell me what is Julia?


It’s about as acceptable as having a rule that people with red hair or “sticky-out ears” can’t be politicians……..


Essentially you condone bullying and hatred at the highest of levels, actually funding bullies to perpetuate hate crimes against good people.

Strangely ,you don’t even seem to notice how out of step this is with the rest of the population and the rest of the world…you don’t seem to remember that we’re living in 2013…


So excuse me Julia (and your mirror twin Tony).

Excuse my cynicism.

Bullying certainly needs to be addressed in this country in a big way.
Stop spouting platitudes and start leading.


If you really want change to happen then you need to start at the top.


Your target market, those most at-risk young people, have inbuilt crap detectors.

They’re distrustful and weary of people talking at them.

For them the real proof comes not in what we say, but in what we do.

If you seriously want them to learn how to stand up to bullies then grow a backbone and do it.


Show them how to find that courage inside…..


I don’t want to go to any more funerals.


Yours Sincerely,


Suck It Up, Buttercup…


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….

know what you want

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….



The noble art of the faux pas.



Recently I was invited to dinner at some friends’ place. It was a special occasion and they reminded me twice.

I turned up a day late. Whoops….

I said I would bring a bottle of wine.

I know nothing about wine so I selected a bottle that I thought looked “them.”

It was very “them.”-It was in fact the same special and expensive bottle that they had specially tracked down and purchased from interstate and given me the last time we caught up for dinner.


Ever had one of those really embarrassing moments where everything just sort of freeze frames and you feel like the proverbial deer in the headlights? Where there is a terrible deafening silence and your brain screams “Nooooooooo?!”

It is in this seemingly infinite cavern of emptiness where you have to decide on whether to:

A) attempt a cover-up (e.g.: “Oh, I liked the wine so much that I imported a whole carton to share-such a stunning drop!)

B) all pretend nothing happened (e.g.: “Oh, cough, cough… So, who painted that gorgeous picture on your wall?”)

Or C) laugh hilariously at your own stupidity (“Seriously, what a clown I am! I am so sorry. It reminds me of the time I…”)

I generally opt for (C), probably because I never seem to be able to pull off the other two (plus I have an encyclopaedic collection of other “stupid mistake” examples from which to entertain  even the most mortally offended.)


It reminded me of one of the most boring dinner parties I had ever been to where our host spent aaaaall night talking ad nauseam about himself and his just-as-boring job in endless, mind-numbingly minute detail.

After years of “hearing children read”(I use the term loosely :) ) I had cultivated the ability to look completely engaged and interested whilst at the same time skipping gaily through the fields of my own imagination. (My friends and family have all cottoned onto this unfortunately…)

Anyway, after hours of verbal diarrhoea Mr Blah finally stopped talking long enough to inhale some dessert and there was a silence that was of sufficient length to wake me up from my four-hour coma. The sudden silence shocked me into the realisation that I had not made any conversational contribution for some time so, without thinking, I piped up brightly “So Mr Blah, tell us what you do for a living?” In the following deathly silence, broken only by a couple of nervous laughs, I suddenly had nine people all looking at me like: a) I was a lunatic, who: b) had obviously not listened to one thing that was said all night.

Both of which were perfectly true of course…

They never did invite me to dinner again. (That was a bit of a shame…. No, I mean it, sort of…)


What happens when we get those “social niceties” all wrong?

I guess we have a couple of choices-we can be mortified and beat ourselves up-

(I’ve met people whose cheeks still flush with shame years afterwards and seriously believe that people still care that they “ruined the entire wedding-(in 1979)- by forgetting to thank the lady who made the cake..”- Yep, I bet that lady still wakes up each morning and thinks “I’ll never forget that wicked, evil bride- I’ll NEVER forgive her…”)

Or, we can have a bloody good laugh at ourselves and look forward to telling yet another “You’ll never guess what I did this time?!” story.

Things happen.

It’s how we choose to look at them that makes all the difference in our worlds…

Sticks And Stones….

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”…

What a load of crap! That old line that our parents and teachers used to roll out and say to us whenever we complained about being teased or bullied, is just plain wrong! Words do hurt-words have the ability to hurt us very much. They can even kill. I have talked with many victims of abuse over the years and have been told many times “I could handle the hitting-it was the words that did the real damage.”

Words hold an enormous power. They are the things that allow us to make meaning from the world around us. They can lift us up or drag us down. They can make us scared or make us laugh out loud. A single word can make us happy or sad. Words hold power.

Words affect how we feel about ourselves and about others-both our own words (our “self talk”) and those that are directed at us by others. We are also affected by words that surround us-e.g. other people’s conversations, in books and in the media.

Words that are positive empower and unify us.

Words that are negative disempower and separate us. They fracture and marginalise us.

Words matter…

Why is it then, that when I woke up and turned the TV on this morning and watched our politicians in action, I felt physically ill? The very people who we have elected and paid to represent us and to supposedly work for the good of our country, using and abusing words like weapons, using them specifically to cause hurt and pain.

I do not have a political preference. I spend my votes on people-the people who I believe best represent me in what is important to me at the time. (And this continues to change as I grow and change.)

But I, like many people I know, have grown increasingly fed up with how our politicians act and how they speak, both to us and to each other.

In the last week or so we have reached new lows. Following on from Alan Jones (The company we keep) today’s episode saw Tony Abbott continue on where Jones left off.

We all have words that have negative associations for us-they are “trigger” words. I’m sure you know what that‘s like-you’re having a pleasant conversation and all of a sudden there is a word that triggers a response for you-that takes you straight into a memory and a feeling that makes you feel bad.

Tony Abbott used this in a disgraceful way on the floor of Parliament yesterday. Alan Jones stated that the Prime Minister’s father had “died of shame.” Tony Abbott hurled these words at the Prime Minister about her “government of shame.” He used the words “…  a government that should have already died of shame.”

He used exactly the same words as his friend Alan Jones, again directed at Julia Gillard.

The “Sunrise” reporter Mark Riley described them as “a poor choice of words.” They were not a “poor choice of words.” They were a disgraceful, shameful and unforgivably cruel choice of words. What’s conveniently overlooked is that they were a choice.

Incredibly, ”Sunrise” then gave Alan Jones airtime! (Why???)He described Abbott’s verbal assault simply as “an unfortunate choice of words” then launched into an attack on the government.

Where is the accountability? Where is the personal responsibility? Where is the cut off point that says “Enough!!”

Politicians’ lives and careers revolve around the use of words- words are their bread and butter- their livelihood- and they need to be held responsible for them. If Tony Abbott worked in a private corporation he would be sacked. If you or I spoke to people like that we would be sacked. He said he was “oblivious” to his choice of words. Crap.

Words can be used for good, or for evil.

We get to choose….