Illuminative Moments by Jo Sainsbury

Jody Sainsbury is a kickass chick.  So much so she even made it her brand!  She is a coal train driver, with a history of working in the industry behind her, and a powerhouse of support for other women in the industries of construction, transport, logistics, trades, and building.  We have hung out a few events together, supporting the presence of women in male-dominated industries and supporting each other! – Bek

Running on Empty – Fuelling up or just Filling Up?

It is so important that we know that we can choose to fuel ourselves into action, create new opportunities, and illuminate ways to accelerate our focus and direction.

Every day you have a choice about whether you FUEL yourself or just FILL yourself.

Where are you investing your energy day-to-day? Is it like everybody else – busy-ness – emails, social media, webinars, zoom meetings, parenting pressures, financial stress – stuck in the throes of WFH (working from home) can drain your internal tank and leave you empty? Are you simply topping up or filling yourself to exist during the Covid-19 crisis? Rather than fuelling yourself to thrive.

You will always have to make choices about how you spend your time. We waste so much of our time filling up with rubbish – “non-essential” data instead of fuelling ourselves with positive and meaningful knowledge and information. Yes, we all have the same number of hours in a day, it’s what we do with them that counts.

You know those times when you’ve been sitting on the lounge just scrolling through your phone and even while you’re doing it, you know it’s emptying your tank, yet you keep searching and scrolling in case you find something that fills you up. Maybe you’re searching for something on Instagram or Facebook, or just mindlessly looking through your phone. So often we look to other people or other things to fill us up or to make us happy, to make things better, to take care of things or to make us feel a certain way. Does this all sound a little familiar; it does, as I know I am guilty of it too. This is exactly how we mindlessly fill up on other people’s feeds and don’t gain drive or benefit out of it for ourselves. This is such a losing game, because we can’t control other people or the things outside ourselves. And so, at some level we will always be fearful, because those things could be taken away – thus literally draining our tank.

Sometimes we fill up our time to procrastinate from working on ourselves or areas of our lives. Is your “filling up” a form of self-sabotage? Or is this a secondary gain – in staying in gear in ‘Park’ – where you are and not refueling yourself?

Dissatisfaction in life- I find that life is going so fast, and has become something so far from nature, and the system pours so many false perceptions and desires into our head, that it’s really difficult to stay connected to ourselves, and be grateful for all that we have.  Our lives are run by time- we need time to work and make money, to buy the things we think we need, to ‘keep up with the Jones’, to be able to go on holiday to lovely places like Spain (ahem…).  Not to mention our lives online these days!  Many have a kind of professional identity that it seems they must maintain to be able to market themselves and keep up with the technological business world.  The effort we make to stay connected is quite immense.  In reality, time is passing fast! and the moments when we are really able to enjoy all that we are working for are few and far between.  It’s a common theme, when you have money, you have no time, when you have time you have no money!  Some years ago, I am sure I was dreaming of having a life like I do now.  And yet, when you are in the present moment there always feels like there could be something more.  Nonetheless, I am completely sure that there is nothing that will give me more than just being able to appreciate what I already have. 

You have probably heard the saying, ‘attitude is everything’. As cliché as it sounds, mastering your mindset is critical to your success and happiness in life. The definition of mindset is the established set of attitudes held by someone. You have a choice in the way you perceive whatever is going on. You have the power to choose whether you think the tank is half full or half empty.

Attitude is the fuel that drives behaviour. It determines the ways in which you think and feel. It sets the tone for your emotions and how you react to what happens at home and in the workplace. It not only affects what you do, but how you do it.

In these days of stress and WFH burnout, attitude and mindset are even more critical. How we approach these stressful periods and situations is an important part of how we thrive, move on and come out the other side of Covid-19. Adopting positive attitudes and mindset has also been identified just as important to health, wellness and resilience.

Adopting a more positive mindset can be challenging because it pushes you out of your comfort zone, but that comfort zone is a dead end. By taking a new attitude towards your personal growth, you open yourself up to greater possibilities. Not to mention, you’ll begin to Fill your tank – reach your full potential – one of the greatest accomplishments anyone can feel in their life and career.

I’ve learned the warning signs that indicate that I’m running on empty. I let small things really upset me and I let others know also! I get a little embarrassed when I get to this point, but I’ve learned to see it as a warning sign that I need to get intentional about refuelling and filling up.

How do you refuel yourself, so you stay running and committed to your goals and intentions in the best possible way? For me, its awareness and identifying what’s been burning my fuel and leaving me idle. You need to get really clear on how you spend your energy. The how, where, why, and when. Is it idling your energy or is it increasing your rpm’s?

Do you need to reroute? Is how you burn your fuel or spend your time and energy aligned with where you want to go in your life? It is like when your stomach’s empty you find something to eat. Sometimes it is a quick snack, sometimes it’s a gourmet meal. But what you don’t do when you’re hungry is sit down and wait for someone else to feed you, you feed yourself. So, we need to fuel up and fill up our attitude and mindset, it may take effort, you may not be able to immediately get to the Full mark. There are an infinite variety of fuels that may fill your tank but here is the key, you must learn how to refuel yourself. You are the one who must proactively choose what fuel to look for and intake whatever fuel your tank needs.

Your tank may need many different types of fuel to fill; it’s unique as the kinds of physical food you like and don’t like. Here’s a couple of ways I like to refuel my tank:

Stillness vs Stimulation – most of us today are overstimulated. We face constant input from television, smartphones, and all of the social media. That kind of data overload drains your internal tank. Going non-digital for an hour, an afternoon, a weekend revolutionises my sense of being.

Inspiring vs Entertaining – most of media capitalises on the sensational, the superficial, or the scandalous. The entertainment value of it may keep you “vegged out” but it won’t fuel and fill your tank. On the other hand, there are certain books, YouTube movies/clips, music, podcasts that can truly lift, fuel, and fill your tank in a big way.

So, ask yourself two (2) questions

  1. How do you know your tank is empty? What are your unique emotional signals? How do you behave differently when your tank is depleted? What tells you you’re running on empty?
  2. What type of fuel performs the most for you? When do you feel most alive, most refreshed, most creative? What people, activities or places fill you up?

Continuing to run on empty will never turn out well. Notice the signals – the lights that indicate you have an empty tank and learn to fuel yourself with the type of fuels you need. Notice what fills you up and find ways to do more of that.

What signals tell you that your tank is running out of fuel or on empty? Can you name one or two things that provide you with fuel for your tank?

Whatever you fill yourself up with will eventually overflow. It will impact the people around you and influence people’s perspective of you and if you get it right, what you fill yourself up you will want to give rather than get and you’ll start to attract others who are doing the same.

Mastering your attitude and mindset is an inside job! It requires time and effort on your part to focus on yourself. When you feel prepared and ready for your day – when your tank is full, you are much better able to be strong and there for yourself.


Find Jo Sainsbury of FACEBOOK here: https://www.facebook.com/KickassWomenAustralia/

Empowering Guest Blogger 2020

Is your work holding you back from being the best version of yourself?

By Amalia Chilianis

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it” Maya Angelou, civil rights activist, poet and storyteller.

Do you feel like this great quote only applies in times of prosperity? That the current environment has forced a reevaluation of multiple aspects of life, a resetting of priorities and a reminder of what’s most important. However, in this time of uncertainty and economic challenges, survival instinct trumps happiness when our primary income is threatened. So, we either feel grateful to have a job even if we hate it or we’ve been forced to change through job loss and we focus on getting a job, any job.

If you can relate, please don’t let that stop you pursuing satisfying and meaningful work, “liking what you do and how you do it”. Because work that enables us to be the best version of ourselves, can provide many benefits including opportunities to learn, to build relationships, enjoyment, sense of achievement, sense of belonging and an ability to contribute to something greater just to name a few. For financial necessity, it might be that you have to take a job as a stop gap, but you can still set a goal and work on a plan to move onto something better and more fulfilling. We spend so much of our valuable time at work, that it is not too much to ask that we enjoy it more often than we don’t, as well as meeting our fundamental need for an income.

We often don’t consciously think about what it takes for us to be ready to act in order to make a change. But maybe you are aware of regularly ruminating about changing careers, or you’re tired of complaining to your partner about your job, or perhaps they are tired of hearing you complain and yet doing nothing about it. Likely, the story you are telling yourself is that now is not the time for a change.

Hope is not lost, there are a few things that can help if underneath it all, you know that you are unhappy with your career or job and you dream of making a change someday.

Needs

As humans we have basic psychological needs when it comes to being motivated to act, to perform at your best and to continue to grow. A need for competence (both capability and confidence in our ability), a personal connection to a goal and some sense of autonomy, personal control. Based on the work of Deci and Ryan (1985), when these are satisfied people are more motivated and have better mental health and when they are impeded lead to diminished motivation and wellbeing. Ask yourself the following, do you;

Feel competent (and confident) to change jobs or careers?

Have a clear goal?

Feel that you have some sense of personal control?

Understandably all of these can be challenging, but breaking each point down and exploring whether you can do one thing to help you with your confidence, to get clear on a goal and to focus even on something small that you can control.

Act

Before anyone makes a decision and takes action, they will contemplate the situation. Maybe you have not fully resolved whether it is time to move on. Or you are stuck between two options that are equally daunting, staying where you are with the status quo or making a change to the unknown. 

A pragmatic and effective way to move from contemplation to preparation to act is through small steps. Trying small safe actions to move forward. Not over thinking it, or “having the answer”, but taking one step at time and getting out of your head into action.

Looking at how able and confident you feel about making a change, you could simply start with updating your resume and capture your recent achievements. To help you clarify a possible goal for what might be next you could safely talk to your trusted networks or find a close friend or colleague who you can help you discuss possible options. Even researching the job market and setting up relevant job alerts, can help to give you some sense of control.

The pursuit for greater satisfaction from work is not for smiley face emoji happiness, but more that the ratio of the work you do, you enjoy more often than not. It is also not about a lack of difficulty, as challenge has been proven as a requirement for job satisfaction.

Want

While keen for you to move from contemplation to action, there is one critical step that you need to get clear on. You need to be able to clearly articulate your wants. People are better able to help you when you know what you want. You will also be more focused with your time and energy looking for something better, rather than more of the same. Reflect and write down what you ideally want from your work. How you want it to look, feel and fit in and enable the rest of your life. Everyone deserves to be and feel valued for the work they do and to gain satisfaction from their time spent contributing to work. Work can provide many benefits outside of the financial necessity. What do you want work to be and do for you? What would close to ideal look like? What conditions would make it excellent? What is most important in the work you want to be doing?

Whether you categorise your work as white-collar, knowledge worker, tradie or creative, as humans we all have needs that are met by our work and being clear on your needs as well as your wants can help you move to act. You can move from a passenger on a boat at the whim of the tides and wind, to steering your own path while navigating them.

Bio

Amalia is a mid-working life senior professional who is determined that the next 20 years of work and life will be different to the last. A courageous leader and an encourager of others who wants to help people create and secure meaningful work for a new future.

Succeeding and enduring more than 20 years in Human Resources in large corporates, such as PwC, IBM, GM Holden, NAB and more, taking on demanding leadership roles but always focused on business savvy, pragmatic and sustainable solutions that help people improve, change and grow.

Hired into GM Holden with the express purpose of designing and leading the support program for the closure of Manufacturing and Engineering. Together with a great team, created the most successful transition program to date with 95% of almost 3000 people participating and 93% securing gainful employment.

Having personally experienced numerous roles being made redundant and with a career spanning recruitment, career development and organisational development she has expertise from multiple perspectives. Currently, coach, speaker and consultant working nationally and internationally helping people and organisations develop and change to achieve a better future.

Links for Sharing

Website. https://amaliachilianis.com

LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amalia-chilianis/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Amalia-Chilianis-Consulting

Instagram amalia_chilianis

Guest Blogger 2020 Uncategorized

Nice girls don’t lead!

Powerful women can be found in the construction industry, and they have been there for some time now.  Because women are not used to showcasing themselves, it can be thought that they don’t exist.  We do.  And here is Marcia, an incredible leader, advocate, and a #GladiatHER in her own right – Bek

When Becky Paroz asked me to write a piece, my first reaction was- What will I write!

Interesting, considering I have had a diverse and let’s say- unusual career journey.

And so, my musing began. Why is it that we instantly degrade our knowledge and worth?

I reflected on my upbringing-Lets blame the parents 😊 I was fortunate to have a loving family and was brought up on a farm in a country region, where my parents expected us all to contribute to the running of the business. In saying that, there were definitely gender specific jobs, and subtle yet definite grooming into particular roles.

My first job was as a hairdresser- because that was one of the few jobs for “a girl” in my hometown. I loved the creativity of this role, and will be forever grateful for the exposure it gave me to a diverse range of people, communication and time management skills honed by a constant stream of clients. I even built my first successful business in this industry.

However- I felt there was more for me, and the pursuit of “my fit” began.

I won’t elaborate too much on the career zigzag- Hairdresser, Small Business owner, Chef, Project Director, Event Manager to name a few.

Unsettled they say, unfocused?? No, just a love of the unknown, a willingness to give anything a go, and an inner strength and belief in myself.

So why am I so resistant to raise my head and say- look at me, look at what I’ve done?

This I believe is a trait many women have, and to our detriment. Be humble, be modest, don’t brag- these are good qualities to an extent- however not always when you are a leader.

I believe my biggest learning was when I discovered I needed to gain respect rather than be liked by my employees. A big change for me as a 19-year-old “green” manager, and one which took great courage and a shift in how I saw myself.

I have worked now in male dominated industries for over 15 years now- and love it. I do still have resistance from some, and to be truthful it gets frustrating at times, however, building respect through actions is my go-to- every time. Demonstrating great leadership through your actions is a no brainer, but a commodity thin in the ground.

Great female leaders harness those inbuilt traits that can be our undoing and turn them into skills for success. So let’s turn those traits around:

Empathy: not a pushover- empathy allows employees feel heard, and is proven to be a catalyst to better performance and innovation

Humility- not to be confused with lack of confidence or weakness, humility can assist to inspire people to follow, allows you to admit and learn from your mistakes, and take responsibility

Nurturing- not mothering, rather guiding people to be the best they can, offer support, and celebrate growth and success.

Removing my need to be liked and replacing it with my desire to be respected changed everything for me. You don’t have to be bossy or outspoken to demonstrate strength and gain respect. Listen and learn from EVERYONE! Some of my biggest insights came from conversations with the people on the ground, the “workers” that often feel invisible or not important. Take risks and learned to accept “failure”. It’s not. Its growth. Be kind and fair and confident to take a seat at the table and share your knowledge- its valuable and worthy. Celebrate your abilities, your successes, and become the leader that every little girl and boy aspires to be.

BIO:

Marcia Kelly is the Director of Wingman Consultants, and a passionate advocate for increasing female participation in industries not traditionally high in women’s representation.

Marcia has a diverse career background, with her first business venture starting at the age of 19. She has owned and managed small and medium sized enterprises for over 25 years and worked across Australia and East Timor.

Marcia works in predominately Civil construction and Mining and has worked on Commonwealth Government and Defense projects. She was the Founder of Women in Resources Northern Territory, was a finalist in Exceptional Women in Resources in 2019, and has qualifications in International Business, Training and Assessment and Workplace Health and Safety, and Project Management.

Marcia is a mother of one, lives in Hervey Bay with her partner, and is passionate in her focus to support and provide innovative solutions to companies and individuals who wish to grow and improve the way they do business.

Empowering Guest Blogger 2020

Writer Questions

~The Words of Bek – Becky Paroz

Did you always want to be a writer or did you kind of fall into it? Tell us the story of how you came to identify yourself as a writer. 

I used to write in school (many years ago) until my Senior English teacher pretty much killed my love of it. I then spent many years in the construction industry undertaking massive amounts of technical writing, but never really thought of that as writing. I was investigating an option for friends who write, and the contact I was talking to challenged me to write something. 12 anthology contributions later, I kind of got the bug to write. I have published my own non-fiction book. I have contributed to over half a dozen magazines around the world, and won some awards for my writing. I have been involved in a best selling anthology most recently this year, which was a wonderful achievement.

At some point in the last five years my view of myself started to include an identity of a writer. I realised that I had been writing for most of my life, including the technical aspects of writing business and project plans, procedures, website copy, and business reports.

I’m still trying to differentiate between the identity of writer and author, but it’s more of an intellectual exercise than a huge part of my psyche. I’m interested in what other people think is the difference between the two labels. I think I am both.

As a writer, are you a reader? What genres do you read and do you read more frequently in the genre you write in, or avoid it completely? 

I was a reading addict way before it was cool and there were memes about it! My mother stopped reading my Charlotte’s Web as a child, before she finished the book. I was so upset, I taught myself to read, and never stopped! I Was reading Dickens, Conan Doyle, and Hugo before I was a teenager, and then I discovered sci-fi (Heinlein and Pratchett being my fave) and fantasy (McCaffrey and Eddings being some of my first). I used to read the side of cereal boxes as I wasn’t allowed to bring a book to the table, and I volunteered in the library for most of my senior schooling years in order to be near and touch my precioussessssss!

I was dragged up in a caravan for most of my childhood, so owning a library of over 3000 books now is one of my childhood dreams come true. And honestly, thank all the gods for libraries because I could never feed my addiction solely on my wages!

Tell us about your first writing experience. How does that compare to where you are now? 

What I call my “first” writing experience is when I wrote creatively for a non-fiction anthology published in the USA called “The Female Leader”. It was so freeing to just write ideas and weave them together to a point, but without any rigid structure, just around a concept. All my technical writing is to a standard and a format and a template, so this was just so relaxing, and interesting. It felt a bit like freedom, which I think is the point I caught the “writer” bug. It was probably why I then contributed to so many anthologies; I could just write to an idea and make it whatever I wanted. I then wanted to practice short form writing, and so began my magazine contributions – trying to write the same concepts but in 800 words, instead of 3500. I am now working on 2 other non-fiction books, and a fiction book. I think I have developed into a much more creative style than when I first started, and I am definitely enjoying even more freedom to create a fiction novel.

I think writing is like anything, a craft you practice, and while I am really good at the technical side, I can see me growing in more skill as I explore writing fiction more. Hopefully this is the start of some great fun!

We all know the ‘just write’ memes if you are following any writers page, so apart from that, what’s the best advice you can give to someone new? 

I think every writer is going to offer the same advice, just write, but to be more specific, try and work out what type of writing works for you. I am a binge writer, a word vomiter as I call myself. I work best when I can be alone with my world and write several thousand words at a time with little to no interruption. I really get into a zone and don’t want to come out of it. I find it hard to just write 1000 words, unless I am writing for one of the magazines I contribute to. Which is the entire article. Another really big thing for me that I am still trying hard to unlearn, is editing as I go. Because of the demanding and deadline drive nature of technical writing, I usually edit and check my work as I go. I think that is really detrimental to creative writing – fiction or non-fiction. I believe it is much better to get it all out, then go back and almost start again once you have the concept poured out. You can be more focused on how it fits the entire story and you will have developed your skills further once you have finished the first draft of a book. You can use those skills to improve the start of a book, which you can’t do when you are first starting out. Start with the end in mind, then get to the end, and start again.

What’s your biggest obstacle to writing and how do you overcome it? Most of us know that it is time, so try and let us know when you are best at your writing, and why that doesn’t work, and what you do to counter or overcome that problem. 

Time is always the issue. For me it is the demands of others. I run several businesses, am a coach, a mentor, and consult to a few clients. So I have random requirements of me at all hours of the day, as I do like to be available to my clients in every area. Really hard as a binge writer to allocate an entire day and not expect someone to need me! I’m also a night owl, and would love nothing better than to write for most of the night when everything else is still and quiet. However I have all these demands during the day, and 2 Ridgeback puppies that are very cuddly and need lots of love. They just turned 18 months old and are still in training. So my ideal writing times are their (and my clients’) sleeping time, which means, that’s my sleeping time too. I am still working on how to make my timetable work around my writing, instead of my writing around my timetable. I try and schedule one or two days a month, unsually a weekend, where I am unavailable and binge write then. In the meantime, I am writing blogs, copy for websites, articles for magazines, and that just get done in between all the others things!

Self-published or traditionally published?  Tell us why that works for you? 

Self Published all the way for me! I am a control freak, so the idea of letting someone else creatively managed my project is just this side of hellish! I am an engineer, risk manager and compliance expert, so I research everything. After several years of researching this industry, not only do I realise how “skewed” it is to privilege, I also see how exclusive it is. If you aren’t somebody, you are nobody. I hope to be a part of that change, along with other authors, who see that it is the value of the words, not the publishing house that makes a book worth reading.

Traditional has its place, but its not for me. I think each author needs to work out what is important. For me, the story is just as important as how it looks to the world, aligned with my vision.

Here is your chance to plug a book. Tell us about it and why we need to read it? 

As its my page, my books are already plugged over a the “in-print” page. I was recently very privileged to be given a #1 best seller status for the anthology ChangeMakers IWD Edition [inert link to purchase] along with 21 other women who were involved in the project.

I think that there is a story, or part of story, in that book that just about everyone could relate to. It is a really powerful collection and I absolutely recommend giving it a go.

I say just read. Read until you find the book that you were looking for, that you needed to read. It could be a fiction, or a non-fiction, but just read. Everything, and anything. If you read the same as everyone else, you think the same as them. Seek out the weirdos and the obscure, the lesser known and the recently published. Support the unknown names, tell your friends, and tell the author especially, that you loved their book. It never gets old to hear that something you wrote was powerful enough to affect another human. The series of interviews to follows will have books mentioned in each one. So this is more about plugging a love of all books – go explore!

Next project? Where are you in your writing journey and where to next for you? 

Like all writers, I have several projects on the go. I am trying to finish my first draft of my fiction novel, and I have 2 non-fictions in various stages of progress. I want at least one of these published in 2020. Depending on how well received my fiction is, I hope to be able to produce a few more and turn it into a series. Plus I have a few magazines that I write for, but I really would like to get paid to write more – as we all would!

What’s your favourite genre? Tell us about one book from that genre that changed your life or outlook in life? 

I think science fiction is my favourite. I keep coming back to it and it’s the sci-fi ones I read the most. The book that opened up my world was Mort by Terry Pratchett. He is funny, clever, smart, smart ass, and has a huge amount of social commentary included in his Discworld series. Mort was the first one I read and I was amazed to find an author that wrote in a way that I could relate to, in a manner that reflected a lot of the ways I viewed society. No one else compares to Sir Terry Pratchett, and his is a great loss to the literary world. He also led me to other authors, such as Neil Gaiman, so I have him to thank for that too.

The most personal question of all, what does writing give you? Why do you do it, what’s the point, and what does it provide in your life that you can’t fulfil by any other means? 

Writing is freedom for me. A way of expressing so many thoughts, ideas, concepts and commentary, in a variety of interesting ways. Writing for a book is a different style to writing for a magazine, which is different again writing technically or for copy on a website. The power of words can change people’s life, I know that because they change mine constantly. The way in which I think, view the world, the way in which I interact with people. That is the power of words, and to wield them with influence and wisdom, is a truly great gift.

Bonus Questions (If you wrote both, feel free to answer both!)

Non fiction writers

What is the hardest thing you had to learn about putting together a factual book? Talk about how you verify facts, or try to display the information, especially if there are a lot of photos or diagrams.  Offer some advice for the audience who might want to try non-fiction. 

Non-fiction is an interesting one. There is as much variety in non-fiction as there is in fiction. I think the things for me way the order in which to present information. My book, The Words of Bek, is a collection of speeches and think pieces, magazine articles and poetry, so there wasn’t a lot of “facts” to present. However, I still wanted it to have some flow and so that was mainly what I struggled with – how to put all these pieces together to make something that kept the readers engaged. I think I could have presented it in a myriad of ways and it still would have worked, and therein lies another lesson – that done is sometimes better than perfect. You can spend so long on getting something that is really important to you just so, but you need to remember that the book is for your readers, and that you at some point want them to read it. So knowing when enough is enough, and letting the book out intot he wild, is another really important part. I think that really applied to non-fiction, because you can keep refining, and adding, and polishing, but at some point, only you, the writer, will find those details relevant. Readers want to read – so give them something to read!

Fiction writers

There is a lot of information about world building, character driven plots, and showing not telling. Discuss briefly how each of the elements of your book came together and which part do you love the most – the world you’ve built, your characters, or the story itself?  I know, it’s like picking a favourite child, but give it a try. 

I’m still working on all of these parts, so I will come back and answer this question amore fully after I’ve published my first fiction! For now, I am definitely in love with my main character, and she is a lot of fun to write.

Writing

6 B’s of Better Mental Health (During Lockdown)

Lisa Westgate is my people.  She is a  rockstar who genuinely cares for people after having been through some serious stuff herself.  She is an expert in her field, and I am so pleased she is in my circle.  Some great advice here for all of us, especially at this time in our history! – Bek

Lisa Westgate

Firstly, we need to acknowledge that these are unique times. Please know that it’s okay to feel angry or upset or unstable or like somebody has just put you in some sort of spinning ride at a theme park and switched it on well before you are ready. However you are feeling at this time is valid, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

We also need to appreciate that Australia has really not had a break since September last year. The bushfires meant many of us did not get a break between 2019 and 2020. Even if we had time off work allocated to ‘Holidays’, many of us did not get a chance for an emotional break. Many of us have been in a heightened emotional crisis response state for over six months. We need to recognize in that context of ongoing crisis, sometimes things start falling apart and our mental health can suffer. It is NOT a sign of weakness it’s a sign of humanity.

My intention with this piece is to give you some simple processes, tools, and ideas to put into action in the coming weeks and months. Use these as a resource that you can come back to on multiple occasions when you need reminders.

Breathe

Here is a simple breathing technique used in many industries including military and law enforcement globally. The cycle is 4-6-8-7. This breathing pattern is a variation of pranayama based yogic breathing championed by Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 and ‘Box’ or ‘Tactical’ breathing which follows a 4-4-4-4 pattern. Begin by exhaling all the air in your lungs then take a deep breath in for the count of four, hold that breath in your lungs for the count of six, exhale that breath for the count of eight and then hold no breath for the count of seven, repeat this cycle four times. The reported effects of this practice twice a day for several months is a lowering of blood pressure, heart rate, and other positive physiological changes. Although, you may notice that even doing that now has helped put you at ease. Now that you have this tool, use it regularly and everything suggested after will be easier to manage.

Balance

This word is thrown around a lot. What does it actually mean and how can you implement that in the real world?

For some, balance can be about scheduling and planning. Having structure and allocating time for all activities creates a sense of control for those that enjoy systems. For others, listening to your gut, tuning into your body is the way to go. Too much structure can create undue pressure. If you are working from home and also have family members home too, just do the best you can. This may mean changing your work hours to suit family activities or temporarily rearranging some furniture to give yourself a workspace. You may not have the room to this and run your business or do your work from the kitchen table. You can’t make time or save time, but you can decide how to use time. Most importantly, in my opinion, is to give yourself points for trying and remember all anyone can ever do it give it their best shot.

Boundaries

Boundaries can get a bad rap. Think about boundaries as an opportunity to keep things in, rather than cast them out. Understand you are only one person; you can only do so much. Healthy boundaries assist in keeping you under your ‘overwhelm threshold’. Overwhelm is a typical feeling in our current situation. A simple way to practice safe boundaries is the simple two-letter word ‘No’. Saying no to added workload, pressures from kids and perhaps expectations of your partner lets people know where your boundaries are. It also, importantly, reaffirms them for yourself. Stay true to your boundaries and avoid burnout.

Budget

Part of setting healthy boundaries is that you create an opportunity for budgeting. Not necessarily in the financial sense, but in the time and energy sense. Acknowledge you have a finite amount of energy allocated for each day, especially under these crisis management conditions. When we are running on amygdala-based drivers like fight, flight or freeze, your capacity is limited. Be sure to budget and utilise your energy in the most ‘bang for your buck’ way. This means being judicious in who and what you give your energy to, be conscious of how much energy you are allocating to a particular person or activity. Save some for your loved ones and for yourself. Use boundaries to enforce your energy budget.

Breaks

Take them. Give yourself one. If you are working from home, in particular, you have the ability to structure your day as you wish. This is a double-edged sword. Many will find it difficult to establish and maintain a routine that facilitates proper breaks, both physical and mental.

There is a concept referred to as ‘active resting’. I learnt this years ago and it profoundly changed my ‘spare’ time. The idea is to develop some deliberate insight into your own ‘happiness strategies’, the activities that add to your energetic fuel tank. For example, spending time in nature, cooking, reading a mind-expanding book, any activity in which you ‘lose time’. These activities do more than just give you a break away from work or home duties, they provide your conscious mind with a distraction, allowing your subconscious mind to process emotions and feelings in the background. Like your computer running a scan in the background while you play solitaire. Write these down and allocate time for them in your energy budget.

Active resting is completely different in outcome and intention to bingeing on Netflix, which also has a place.

Be Kind

The importance of kindness cannot be overemphasised in current times (and always). Kindness, gratitude, and contribution are at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum to fear, anxiety and individualism. To a great extent, they act as somewhat of an antidote to these base emotions. If you find yourself overwhelmed by media, either traditional or social, people in your life that are catastrophizing, and the general state of the world, take note. Breathe, create balance, say No, switch off, step outside, breathe again, be kind to yourself and consider how lucky we are to have connection via modern technology, clean air (getting cleaner) and fresh water and find a way to help someone else. Perhaps share this article with them. Be well and I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

BIO:

Since outgrowing PTSD post a decade long Ambulance career, Lisa Westgate founded Freedom Mindset Training. She shares her expertise in areas of mental health, self-care and Neuro-Linguistic Programming both Live and online.

Lisa is a regular guest presenter and has a successful working relationship with Victoria Police and other organisations particularly related to her passion for frontline mental health care.

Lisa is a contributing author in the Amazon Number 1 Bestseller, ‘Changemakers: IWD edition’. Changemakers and her e-book “3 Keys to Outgrow Trauma: an alternative perspective from lived experience” are available via her website.

Website: www.lisawestgate.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lisawestgateptsd

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lisawestgate

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lisa_westgate_

Email Lisa at lisa@lisawestgate.com

Guest Blogger 2020 resilience

5 Projects To Build Your Community

I met Kirsty after we were both showcased by YMag, and when we finally met in person we just clicked.  As a result of that, she has assisted in the build of a new project I’m working on. She is interested in DIY Marketing and  creating custom digital products and I totally recommend her services. This blog is a timely piece of advice during some very uncertain times. Becky Paroz

Guest Blogger Kirsty Fields

Creating IP in a business is incredibly important to both stand out in your market and will result in making money. But how do you go from having an idea and creating the IP for it, to selling your idea? What’s more, if your market is flooded with similar solutions and there’s lots of sales messaging available what can you do to start a successful pathway? Build a community. This community can exist in different formats, online or offline, be geographically based or not. You build a community from your clients, networking and industry connections, contractors and suppliers, friends, referrers and collaborators. What all these different groups have in common, is that they collectively make up your community. If something happens to one sector of your community, it’s likely you’ll maintain other sectors.

Here’s five small projects to launch to help build your community to be able to formalise and grow a “list” of contacts to formalise a communication strategy. This activity alone is key for you to sell to in the future, but always the way in which you can mass-communicate information, education, support and awareness. And a portion of your marketing mix that is always left unnurtured, and therefore an untapped asset to your business. Each one of these five projects can be implemented using simple technology to capture information from your community if you haven’t done so already.

This will allow you to turn each of the five projects into a new community group to connect with directly as a smaller group, or as part of your wider community. And you could use all five of these projects together for a bigger more impactful outcome offering a variety of styles catering to individual interests.

  1. Create a freebie
  2. Start a pop-up Facebook group
  3. Run a short-term challenge
  4. Host a low-priced ticket masterclass or workshop (online or in person)
  5. Run a private bespoke event offering membership

Create a Freebie

Creating freebies are perhaps the easiest of the lot! Sending your freebie out via a sign-up scenario means you capture an email address as a minimum. Popular freebies include E-Books, webinars, podcasts, tools like calculators, discounts, or mini versions of a service/product like an audit or consult. Save your work in easily accessible formats e.g. PDF files, downloadable Zip folders or links to hidden pages on your website and give access to them only after you collect the private information of each user that allows you to communicate with them in the future.

Start a pop-up Facebook group

Pop up Facebooks are a great idea to contain a small group to WOW new people to your community, service them with some education or access to freebies and a supportive community. It also allows you to entertain them, provide great service from you or your team. It also provides a closed area for you to market directly to them. The key to success with Facebook groups is brand-relevant visually appealing and professionally structured content. Your time and effort needs to go into the group before it’s populated, allowing you to turn up Live instead of the stress of daily content creation. This is never fun!

Don’t delete your Pop Up group once the original purpose has run its course. Reuse the group repetitively, as you’ll find those who valued it the first time (plus those who may not have given their full attention, or needed better timing), won’t leave of their own accord. That allows you to add to your group quarterly or half-yearly with a membership number that impresses the viewer.

Run a short-term challenge

Short-term challenges can be great fun and you can pick up community members with savvy social campaigns when you run them. Think hashtags for engagement, cross-platform participation with Instagram, and entertainment all the way. Just like any other campaign you run, lead-in time is everything! Promote it for at least 6 weeks organically before day 1 to maximise numbers. Your email communication should be short, sharp and clear across the time of the challenge with your own example included each day. Remind participants with scheduled email campaigns that include daily or every second day reminders the week it starts. Selecting daily winners from participants is a great draw card, as is a collaborative challenge. You can also run a short-term challenge in a Facebook group – or create a Pop Up Facebook group for this purpose.

Host a low-priced ticket masterclass or workshop

We run low-priced workshops regularly. Several times a year in fact, and the feedback we receive from clients every time is that they enjoy and appreciate an intimate gathering of like-minded people. It allows for a more personalised approach, but also allows you to maintain a low budget in many areas including choice of venue, catering and print/marketing collateral requirements. To secure the number of guests you need by following an event plan rolling out over a 10-12 week period. This is an ideal time frame to allow you publish a variety of events marketing information from the time you launch, to the date of the event. This allows you to run one per quarter as part of a regular onboarding process. And don’t forget, this event could be a digital event with video conferencing or Live video in a private group setting.

Run a private bespoke event offering membership

If what you have to offer doesn’t support a low-priced anything, then a bespoke private event is more likely to hit your target! Along with a higher price tag, an impressive location, providing experiential program features, bespoke events offering membership as the kicker are a big hit with women in particular. Think retreats – spiritual or corporate in nature – providing elements that may be perceived as difficult to organise in a day to day circumstance, or that may be considered luxurious. Include add-ons, have varied pricing structures to snag guests earlier or provide a higher price tag for a distinct purpose. The activity of community building is a long game and requires patience. However, it’s genuinely one of the most successful marketing activities a company can undertake for longevity.

Though it takes a long time to build a huge list, once you’re in the hang of it and include it in your marketing activities, you will feed into your database with ease. Suggestions above are superficially based on social media activity or events based. These are my own areas of specialty at Social Ocean, which is an events marketing agency. Combining your online social presence with face to face events is a highly successful mix, that will not only assist in building your list but create your raving fans!

KIRSTY FIELDS – BIO

Armed with over 20 years’ experience in the event management business, Kirsty Fields has co-ordinated everything from kids’ events to national sports games. After a successful career in sports, she embraced modern marketing and promotional techniques.

Her passion for training clients in social media, digital marketing and branding has been combined to present her multi-award winning business Social Ocean a bespoke events marketing agency.

Kirsty’s experience in event management and coordination, and the small business space, backed by her passion for marketing, makes her an ideal source for all things related to events, small business, marketing, social media and branding.

LINKS FOR SHARING

Social Links:

Website (relaunching this month): https://www.socialocean.com.au

To follow along with Social Ocean, and for regular tips and tricks, join them on

Facebook: www.facebook.com/socialoceanau

LinkedIn Page: www.linkedin.com/company/social-ocean-au

Instagram Page: www.instagram.com/socialoceanau

Pinterest Page: www.pinterest.com.au/SocialOceanAU

Guest Blogger 2020 resilience Uncategorized

Dress Code: HAPPY

I met Debbie while working in Darwin on some extreme projects.  Debbie immediately struck me as a woman after my own heart, loud, opinionated, informed, passionate and driven.   The kinds who understands the #getyourbootson philosophy and lives it.  Here she offers some raw insight into what goes into the making of strong women and what it takes to get out of your own way… everydayBecky

What if everyday was a celebration of life? What if every meal were a celebration too and we cooked with love, ate what gave us pleasure, and left us feeling satisfied and full? Everyday when we get dressed, we dress in something that makes us feel great and happy and good about our bodies?

And that looks different for every single one of us. We are all unique individuals, and we are all absolutely frigging amazing just as we are. Just imagine what your life would look like if you celebrated that each and every day, and celebrated your body and felt great about it, no matter your size, weight or shape, ability or disability. Happiness is all about embracing ourselves and our lives exactly where we are in the present moment, not waiting until something changes.

Over the past few years, I have been on a journey of understanding my self-worth. Learning that I am enough, in fact not only enough, that I am perfectly imperfect in every possible way. It has been a process of learning to love my body and my life exactly where I am right now, no matter its perceived flaws and imperfections, the shadow parts of me I don’t want to show to the world, my size, my personality, my finances and every other single part of it.

It has been a long slow process of learning to love those parts of me I have been criticized for my whole life and realizing that those things are in fact my superpowers that make me who I am today and are fundamentally part of who I am. My loud voice and getting over-excited because I’m so passionate about things, my weight and size, my storytelling, my love of speaking in public, my love of and ability to do multiple projects at once and always have lots of different things going on, my creativity, my sensitivity and empathy for others. All of these things are actually my best qualities and I have realised that over the years, others have told me to shut up and sit down, not to get so emotional, to focus on one thing, because they were mostly threatened by me or didn’t want to hear what I had to say. I have finally come to a place of love where I am letting myself be seen as my true authentic self, rather than always trying to tone it done, dim my light and try to fit in with what everyone else wants me to be.

I have learned to love myself in the present moment. Not when I’ve lost 20 kgs, not when I go on vacation, sort out my finances and feel financially secure, or buy a new house or a new car, not when I find a new partner, nor a new job. But right here, right now, in the present moment, exactly as I am and where I am.

I have learned to love not knowing what is coming up and where I am going, by simply allowing myself to be open to possibilities and receiving and saying yes to what comes along. By meditating each day and being in the present moment and following my heart and whatever I am called to do, amazing opportunities have opened up in my life. Opportunities that have led me places and allowed me transform in ways I never thought possible. It has been all about learning to live my life at a 10 every single day and letting go of things, jobs, people and places that no longer serve me or are only a 3-4 for me on a scale of 1 -10.

This has all come together in the past two months when we launched The EveryBODY Diet website and Facebook page. Working with my two partners Kim and Jay, we have created a safe space for people to transform their lives, initially through the power of intuitive eating, however, it is so much more than that. It is about learning to let go of the trauma and beliefs that have shaped our lives and given us the illusion of trying to control it through food and staying in our comfort zone.

What has evolved through us has been transformational for those of us participating in the process and it has bought us to the place where every part of our lives becomes a celebration of who we are, what we love and makes us feel happy. Just the simple act of wearing clothes that make us feel good about our bodies, feel happy and energised, comfortable and at ease, is a revolution. Imagine opening your wardrobe and knowing that every single thing in it fits and makes you feel good about your body.

Likewise, with our eating. It is all about starting to love our bodies and feelings and stop punishing them and trying to control them with endless diets or binge eating. Fire the food police and that inner voice that tells you what you can and cannot eat. By listening to our bodies, learning to eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full, eating what we love for pleasure, enjoyment, and satisfaction, our bodies start to regain their innate ability to self-regulate and reach a place where your weight evens out. This will be different for every one of us and changes as we grow older and are at different stages in our lives.

So make every meal a celebration, eat what you love and makes you feel good, live your life with passion and cherish each and every day, wear clothes that make you happy and follow your heart and live your life at a 10 every day.

Debbie Reeves – Bio
Originally from the UK, I live in Darwin, Australia, have two gorgeous
teenage daughters who never cease to amaze me, two horses, a dog,
and 2 cats. I work in high end professional recruitment, and my
passion is people.
For the past 25+ years I have been studying personal transformation. I
was trying to fix myself and thought I was broken. Trying to fit in and
be someone I am not. Craving love and acceptance, yet unable to give
that to myself. One day I realized that no one could ever fix me and all
the answers I needed were already within me. 59 years of hating my
body hadn’t worked, so I tried loving and embracing myself exactly
where I am in the present moment. It has truly transformed my life. My
mission is to light the way so you too can learn to love and embrace
your body, connect to your heart and let go of all your old stories that
have stopped you from loving yourself for so long.

www.facebook.com/everybodydiet or www.everybodydiet.com

Guest Blogger 2020 resilience

Turning my passion project into a career – Sandy Lowres

My intro:

I first found Sandy on her Good Girl Confessional Blog site.  I had just written a chapter for a book about recovering from being a Good Girl, so it was a bit of a perfect match.  We corresponded and clicked straight away, enjoying an online friendship for quite a few years, feeling like we were good friends.  We actually finally met in 2019 when I was a guest speaker for an event in Geelong.  Since then I have been a guest on Sandy’s podcast, and I am really looking forward to this magazine release.  Please make Sandy feel welcome to the guest blogs of 2020.BECKY

Turning my passion project into a career has been a long journey but 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year, where I am set to launch my first magazine, Woman Beyond Forty, or WB40 as I like to call it. If that conjures up images of car lubricant, think of WB40 as lubricant for your mind! Creating this project is hard work and there is stress involved to get it right, but it is absolutely a labour of love. So how did I arrive here? Well, I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Everyone I know has had an annus horribilis. One of those years that is forever etched in your brain as a horrendous time of your life. Mine was 2010, a year where I lost my father, my business, my marriage and my family home. It was a year etched in grief, and sadness. When my marriage ended after almost eighteen years, I sold my boutique retail business and took on a role as Executive Assistant in a company that would allow a steadier income. I took the safer road to create stability for my children. I was broke, feeling defeated and exhausted. Licking my wounds took a long time but as a creative, I needed an outlet and eventually I took myself to a blogging workshop.

I’ve always been a creative writer. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing down lines for future stories, or scribbling poetry on loose bits of paper and napkins which I call poetry scratchings. I studied writing at uni and have a background in communications. Starting my blog, The Good Girl Confessional in 2013 was a cathartic outlet. The name was a tongue in cheek nod to how societal and patriarchal expectations are placed on women to be quiet, obedient, “good girls” who don’t express opinions. I was anything but those things having been raised by a flower power feminist, and a supportive step father who encouraged exchanges of ideas. Writing under a pseudonym allowed me to be raw and honest, talking about the ending of my marriage, my divorce, and of course about my stepping into the world of online dating, sex and relationships as a single woman in a no holds barred way. While I didn’t think anyone would read it, and there is a certain freedom in that, to my surprise Elle Magazine once listed me in the Top 5 Confessional blogs to read, and I was nominated for several blogging awards over the years.

The Good Girl Confessional garnished an organic following and over the years it grew to include gorgeous guest bloggers and went from being a personal blog to including articles on women’s issues. I continued to work fulltime in the corporate world and juggled the blog as a passion project. A lot can change in a decade. In that time, I had been engaged and then single again. The blog allowed a safe place to vet the emotions that poured from that. I’ve had four jobs and my children have grown up. All three are now adults, and I made a conscious decision to start writing under my own name. I’ve also found love again with a fellow creative.

I found myself at a crossroads with my writing. Last year I turned fifty and started a podcast, also called The Good Girl Confessional which allowed me to chat with incredible and diverse women about their lives and their experiences. As a story teller, giving a platform to other women to tell their stories is something I’m passionate about. Over the years I kept flicking through magazines and realised that I couldn’t quite find what I was seeking – the voices and stories of women over forty. Western society would have us believe that once we turn forty we have less to offer, that we are invisible and yet I know so many extraordinary women forty and above who are vibrant, kick ass women. I knew these expectations were bullshit. Something else weighed on me. I had grown up with an incredible group of friends. We are still friends to this day. Having that sense of female community as I was growing up, especially in a dysfunctional family unit, made me the person I am today. I have been so lucky to meet so many amazing female friends along the way who have brought so much to my life. Through the blog community however, I started to realise that some women do not have that feeling of community and belonging. Many told me they didn’t have many female friends but they longed for connection.

So, I decided to create the magazine I couldn’t find. A magazine written by women, for women on the topics that interest us – culture, film, books, world affairs, feminism, the environment. I’m a firm believer that all women have a story. This has become the mantra for Women Beyond Forty. Through this platform, we are growing a community of diverse, vibrant, intelligent women who all have a story. We hope to create an inclusive and safe space for women forty and beyond. I’m so thrilled that the website will launch shortly and the magazine will be released in March 2020.

I have had moments of doubt that I can deliver my dream to fruition but when I put the call out to female friends who are writers, and close friends, all were enthusiastic and so generous with advice. Collaborating with amazing women who are writing for the magazine on a range of topics, and for the website has been such an exciting time. I have always found the generosity and wisdom of women to be amazing and this project has cemented that even further. My niche was always writing about experiences beyond forty, and WB40 is proof that we still have so much to offer. Our time is now and I can’t wait for you all to share it.

Social Links:

To follow along with Women Beyond Forty, and for launch dates, collaboration opportunities or advertising information: https://mailchi.mp/5010c7a28821/wb40 or head to info@wb40.com

Website (coming soon) : https://wb40.com

Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-good-girl-confessional_1

The Good Girl Confessional is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, I Heart Radio, iTunes and where ever good podcasts are found.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GoodGirlConfessional/

WB40: Women Beyond Forty Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenbeyondforty/

Podcast Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thegoodgirl_podcast

Guest Blogger 2020 resilience

How I Became an Author – Denis Murphy

I met Denis through the kind introduction of another author (Jodie Lane – you can check her guest blog out here. Denis and I spent over an hour recording a podcast for his show and discussing all things mindset. You can check that out here . He has kindly started the 2020 year of the guest blog for me with this discussion on how writing can be good for your mental health.  Denis is an incredible and resilient human being and I know you will enjoy his story so much that you will check him out on the socials which are listed at the end with his Bio – Becky

My relationship with writing has been a rather complex one to say the least. In school I was good at English but I wasn’t very connected to my voice as a writer. Technically I was good at English which led me to studying other languages but I had no sense of what writing could become for me. I lost touch with writing and creativity as I matured and developed into an adolescent and a young man. I started to see it as something that would make me stand out and be teased for. I didn’t have a strong enough sense of why I would voluntarily put myself through what looked to me at the time to be torture so I let my insecurities take control of my decision making process. In hindsight the uncomfortable decision to study French at university became the thing that kept me connected to my voice as a writer, although I didn’t know this at the time.


Indeed the French language is what eventually provided the opportunity that would make me deal with my personal demons from the past and fall head first into the world of writing. It wasn’t the introduction I was expecting, in fact it was quite the opposite. Going through a mental breakdown, while I was writing my first ever blog, in a remote part of France made me feel like I had lost my mind for good and there was no coming back from it. I thought I was now doomed to a life of subservience and dependence on other people. This was my initiation into the world of writing. I could either ignore this wakeup call from the universe and self-righteously hold on to my victim mindset or I could choose to grow from the experience no matter how bad things got. As cliché as it sounds, I decided I would grow from it and turn my mess into a message worth sharing.

Psychology became my gateway drug back into the world of writing. In order to move forward with my life I had to study and make sense of my own psychology and why I had a mental breakdown. I knew that if I wanted to make a full recovery then I couldn’t outsource this completely to a doctor or a psychiatrist. As good as I think modern medicine is it can’t take into account the human spirit and why things happen to us on a spiritual level. As I began my journey of self-directed learning I started to learn about my mind and what my insecurities were built from. The next step was to externalise the thoughts and what better way to do this than writing?

Initially writing was an outlet for me to vent and at the same time make sense of the world. It became a form of self-therapy and a form of self-education. I learned that when you take the time to write something new down, there is a higher chance you will retain it. My path to becoming a professional software developer was in part paved from the many blog posts I wrote describing what I was learning in the early days.

As the years passed I realised there was so much I was learning that could be very helpful to people who are struggling just as much as I was. I was an unknown blogger who was beginning to gain a sense of purpose and direction but who also wasn’t very sure of his ideas and had the habit of downplaying his knowledge and life experiences. This cocktail of knowledge and self-doubt is what gave me the idea to start a podcast. I already had access to mentors and I thought that their confidence in their ideas could help me reach more people and help me get over me fear of being seen by others.

I started The Happy Mindset podcast at the end of 2017 with a rather vague premise and an even vaguer title. I knew the idea of happiness was a core concept I wanted to explore as reflecting on this is what has helped me through my darkest and most hopeless moments. I knew that I wanted to explore the wide ranging world of psychology with the goal of helping my listeners learn about how their mind works. I was also hyperaware that most people would put these two words together and conclude I was a guy with his head in the clouds, denying the dark parts of reality before ever listening to understand where this podcast was really born from.

The podcast is what eventually led me to writing my first book – Taking my Life Back and becoming an author. The book outlines the key principles and lessons I learned after my mental breakdown. The purpose of the book is to help people rethink how they think about mental illness and how they think about people who have experienced a mental breakdown. I want to give a voice to the person going through their experience, another perspective to the psychiatrist, therapist, coach or teacher as well as to shine a light on the spiritual lessons that lie on the other side of such a traumatic experience.

The book came about because my publisher, Lisa Caprelli, was doing research for her book on happiness. Initially a podcast title that made me feel really uncomfortable is what led me to the opportunity to write a book. Lisa connected me with her cousin Davey Villalobos who happened to illustrate books. I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that I would work with Davey because I have a vivid memory as a young boy being told by the world that becoming a cartoonist wasn’t a viable career path. I believe that synchronicities will emerge when you have the faith to follow your curiosity, imagination and your heart.

My message is that although life can be extremely tough and frustrating sometimes there is always a light in every dark tunnel. The light I have found has been a journey where I decided to believe in myself again and dedicate my time, energy and attention on cultivating my skills and focusing on what truly matters to me.

Bio

Denis is an author, podcaster and software developer from Ireland. His many interests range from foreign languages to computer programming. He speaks 4 languages including French and he is currently learning Japanese. On his podcast, The Happy Mindset, he explores human psychology, creative writing and what it means to lead a happy and fulfilling life. He discovered his love for creative writing after some mental health issues he experienced in his early 20’s. His first book is called Taking my Life Back.

Social Links

Website: https://thehappymindset.com/

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/thehappymindset

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thehappymindsettribe/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thehappymindset/

Taking my Life Back: https://amzn.to/2rxKOla

Guest Blogger 2020 resilience

Loving Yourself Unconditionally

Intro by Words of Bek: I met Jess at the recent Roar Success Awards, where there was much fun, exchange of details, excitement, and true connection between women. Jess has won a packet of awards for her business, including some on this night.

Jess was one of the most energetic and enthusiastic people there, which is a true testament to how she lives, and her business. Her details are at the end of her guest blog, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to this amazing #GladiatHER

Jess Arroyo – Weigh Less with Jess

One of the most commonly overlooked issues is the need to love yourself… Which is a bona fide crisis, because it’s also possibly the most important need.
Learning to love yourself is a thing much easier said than done. And we’ve already established that most people have tons of other urgent things to handle. But the fact remains that it is unbelievably important and beneficial to every area of your life. So… what if you had some help?
I have struggled for so many years with the simple art of practicing self-love. I thought, that if I was skinny, had lost weight, it would be an instant that I would be happy and love myself. NOT AT ALL!! It has taken many hours of self-help books, conversations with therapists, worksheets/activities and sitting with feelings and emotions to practice self-love.
I’d love to share some ways that you can practice and learn to love yourself that are realistic, practical, grounded and firmly established by research in the fields of psychology and sociology.

#1. Tell yourself what you love about… YOU (Affirmations).
You have to realize how magnificent you are. You are a person in this world. You’re a ship build to sail. You need to be able to see things that you love, both in yourself and in the world around you. Because what we see in the mirror is often a reflection of what we see in the world. Our feelings toward others can affect our feelings about ourselves. Your level of acceptance of others is often reflected in your level of acceptance of yourself. Write down 5 things that you love about yourself. The following day, write another 5 more and so on and so on. They can be as simple as, I love my big toe!

#2. Imperfection is a part of life…
One of the things that people find quite difficult is the idea of accepting your imperfections. One of the greatest and most memorable, liberating milestones in life is giving up on being perfect and beginning the transition of becoming who you truly are. Learning to calmly see and accept things (yourself, situations, relationships, the world) as they truly are can be the doorway to a feeling of indescribable peace.


#3. Stop seeking approval.
Please, for the love of cheese… Realize that you can NOT rely on other people as the source of approval for your actions or validation for your life. No one can fill your validation cup but you! Stand up and be who you are. Speak your mind. Be true to yourself. Remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Know yourself, accept yourself, and be yourself… this requires no permission or approval from anyone except YOU. None of us are getting out of here alive, and your time is fleeting and precious! Whatever it is that you are concerning yourself with today should be something that YOU have decided is important enough to spend a day of your life with.

#4. If it brings you down, move away from it.
When you give your time, effort, and attention to people or situations that don’t honour or respect you, then you are giving away the power and authority to steer your own life. Know your worth. Invest in actually seeking out people who motivate, inspire, and support the true you. Don’t worry about surrounding yourself with any certain number of relationships. Focus on substance and quality instead of quantity. And remember that as you become more fluent in the skills of understanding, accepting, and loving yourself… You’ll also be more likely (also more capable and better equipped) to motivate, inspire, and support those around you. In that way, most of all, learning to love yourself is going to brighten the world for those around you.

#5.Forgive.
“For whatever harm I have caused others, may they forgive me. For whatever harm others have caused me, may I forgive them. For whatever harm I have caused myself, I forgive myself.” – Traditional Buddhist Mantra. This one is SO IMPORTANT. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself how you would or do treat others.
We previously established that you should give yourself (and the world) permission to be imperfect. Confronting the darker parts of yourself and the world around you isn’t a contradiction to that. Setting goals and working to improve is a healthy process, and you should recognize that regardless of where you are in the process, you are still YOU. No matter where you are in the process, you are worthy of love.

#6. Don’t stagnate.
Routine and familiarity can be just as dangerous as a venomous snake. Learn to closely examine thoughts, relationships, behaviors, activities, and situations… and make adjustments. Step outside of routine and do new things. Meet new people. Talk to strangers and try new foods. Just because something made you happy in the past doesn’t mean you should endeavour to keep it exactly that way indefinitely.

#7. Don’t freeze in the headlights.
You’re going to fail. It’s going to happen. Repeatedly. To be successful in the long run, you must sometimes fail. Really step back and look at this. Accept it. Try not to fear it. When you’re presented with a decision in a situation that arises suddenly, don’t let the fear of a wrong decision freeze you into making no decision at all. We often need to make mistakes to learn. How does one grow otherwise?

#8.Be thankful.
Obstacles are in no short supply. The same can be said for pain, suffering, poverty, cruelty, and ignorance. Life is a balance between order and chaos. Learn to be thankful for the positives, no matter what negatives there are. Have gratitude and be grateful. Every day, write down 5 things you are grateful for. They can be the most tiniest things. Today, I am grateful for being able to use 3 ply toilet paper, running water, fresh bed sheets etc….

BIO

Jess has been in business for six years and is about to open her first bricks and mortar store. She is passionate about supporting other people to take charge of their health and wellbeing and is genuine about the inclusiveness of her programs for all persons, no matter their health or ability. She has a presence in over 40 countries and is not stopping anytime soon!

Jess is genuine when she says “My aim is to support people on their journey towards achieving their personal goals of weight loss, increased confidence, self-esteem, improved health; all culminating in encouraging people to fully engage in their precious life to reach their highest potential.”

By Jess Arroyo – Weigh Less with Jess.

WEBSITE: WWW.LESSWITHJESS.COM.AU

FACEBOOK – WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/LESSWITHJESS

INSTAGRAM – @WEIGHLESSWITHJESS

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