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

Empowering guest Blogger resilience

2019 – A Trifecta of Triumph

What a year! It’s been filled with trials, tribulations, and triumphs of a seriously epic nature. Even for a life lived in construction, which usually means every day is an adventure.

It started with a drive to Melbourne to collect not one, but two monsters. They look like Rhodesian Ridgebacks but they are monsters. They turned one year old in October, but in January, they were small(ish), and cute, and cuddly. Puppy cuddles are the best thing ever. And while I was dealing with that, it was announced I was awarded one of the Top Ten Women to Watch, for YMag, in 2019.

Baby Monsters

I could say I was consumed with adoration for my new baby puppies, which is still true, but I was also… Uncertain how to deal with this.

I’d won a truckload of awards previously, but always within my industry, my workplace, my comfort zone. This was not. It was public, judged by women, and made me sound… Amazing. Not something I am used to. In my world being amazing was how I operated every day and was expected. It wasn’t celebrated. Maybe applauded on occasion.

So I kind of ignored it. I told people, and I was excited, but that was about it. Next, I was invited to talk in India at an incredible conference and everything was booked. Going to see the Taj Mahal has been a goal for my engineering heart forever…. Yes, I’m nerdy that way. Love a well designed and constructed building. And then… You could see that coming right? Less than a week out from the flight, I was rushed to emergency and has my gall bladder and a few floating stones removed. 7mm in size – I don’t do anything by halves! No wonder it hurt. So that plan got squished and I had 6 weeks to do very little but think and recover. Not great for someone who lives life at full tilt.

I am trying to offer my experience and skills as a mentor and coach to other women, because I really want to show women they don’t have to let circumstances of their life rule their outcomes, and so I took the opportunity to be featured in the next two YMag releases, one of which was as a cover girl (, another very weird episode in this year’s adventures. Again, not something that I fully realised would be so confronting until I saw my face all over social media… Again and again and again…!

I was mentoring a wonderful and successful businesswoman as part of my NAWIC contributions and she also happens to be the VP of the Australian chapter. She felt I should apply for the Qld awards for all my efforts in the Industry, and gave me pause for thought.

What better way to reach the women I want to mentor, to showcase the potential of a career in construction, to lead by example than to be recognised by my peers. I did enter and that led me to be awarded the Crystal Vision trophy against a field of very worthy fellow finalists. I was so proud of this award because I felt I had earned this one many times over in 30 years of service and shit shoveling.

Life was pretty good, and I had another speaking engagement for the YFactor experience and so of course, life punched down. The day before my baby girl, my not-quite-one-year-old doggo nearly died from an allergic reaction. I got her to the vets just in time, and don’t ask me any more details as the speeds were highly illegal and dangerous) but then had to make the decision to leave her brother with her at the vets all weekend for monitoring while I prepared myself to wow women with wondrous words on stage. While experiencing mum guilt for the first time ever in my life. How any women gets past the crippling guilt of leaving their child (and mine was four-legged, not like I’d personally popped this one myself) and doing anything in the world is truly award-worthy!

By now I was getting used to the “social leverage” of this kind of event, so I did make some waves about the Crystal Vision Award and embraced being fabulous just a little more.

And then… Less than a few weeks ago, I won another award. This one was even further outside of my experience again, and the category was one that received the highest amount of nominees, so you imagine my pleasure at being in the top five. You can imagine my surprise when it was my name that was read out as gold, winner. First. Fearless Educator.

And I feel like that truly sums me up. Fearless. Educator. It goes to my brand of #GladiatHER, the warrior women who go after what they want, who live out loud, who make noise, make waves, and take no shit. Who holds out a hand to another woman and lifts them up because they know what it is like to be alone, to be a forerunner, to be a disruptor, to not have support.

So now I am roaring my success and making it all about you next year. I have been told by friends they plan to beat my record in 2020. I hope so. I want them to.

And I will offer my guidance, experience, my multi-award- winning knowledge, to support them in any way. To make sure they exceed my achievement. Because if I can do it, so can they. I believe in them, probably even more than I have believed in me sometimes. And I believe in me pretty strongly. After all, I have a trio of triumph from this year to remind me how seriously amazingly awesome I have become. A trilogy of trophies. A triplet of testimonials. A triumph of tenacity. A true testament to overcoming trials.

And 2020 is going to huge for me. This is just the beginning of me making sure the world knows I am ready to be louder, bigger, brighter, bolder, and even more successful. Because what else is it all for but to inspire you to do your best?

Becky Paroz

Because what else is it all for but to inspire you to do your best?

Fluff Mentoring New Year

YFactor 2019!

This is a recap of my attendance at #YFactor2019 and not paid advertising.

It is a truth, sometimes unacknowledged, that large groups of women are, sometimes, a little scary to other women. The tropes are rife in social media. The backlash is strong when a woman speaks her mind about something unpopular. It is a scary place in the world today to be a woman who speaks her mind.

Not so at the YFactor. Hosted by team who also brings you #YMag, this two day conference bought together entrepreneurial business women from around Australia and allowed them a safe space to share their journeys, their insights and their passion : their ‘Y’.

I have been through the conference circuits many times. I have attended and spoken at industry, professional, educational, and empowerment conferences and been in the audience for many more. I saw Jane Caro speak before she was a household name. I knew Jack Delosa when he was training to be the powerhouse he now is. Yes I am also older than I look!

And I have never attended a conference like this. The stories were powerful, visceral and real. If you are keen to find out more, any copy of YMag will showcase these incredible women and I absolutely recommend you grab the latest copy to hear from the utterly beautiful soul that is Bec McMillan (https://www.facebook.com/luminouscrystalxo/).

Her story had everyone feeling all of the feels. And it was beautiful. I have never seen 60 women all focused on supporting and loving another woman in the way that this room responded. There were breakdowns, breakthrough and breakouts. You will find out about the cage dancing if you join us, because I believe there are plans next year to double down.

Throughout the whole event there was support. There were tissues, pens, and wisdom shared between women from all walks of life and with vastly different experience. What was missing, was judgement.
Just think of how powerful that statement is. To be in a room full of women and no judgement. It is a microcosm of the world we wish we lived in. It was an absolute credit to the team who put it together.

And me? I met new friends and made new connections with women I never would have interacted with in my other lives. I put on he performance of my life in delivering my speech and loved ever minute of that freedom – I love presenting, but the chance to perform…. Well you don’t get that at an engineering conference!

I felt accepted, welcomed, even appreciated in a way that I personally have never experienced from a group of women. I met some #gamechangers #thoughtleaders #innovators and #disrupters
I met women who cared, who loved, who gave, and who are going to rock this world.

And I am one of them.

#GladiatHER
#speaker #presentet #performer

Uncategorized

The Writer versus Pain

must write have to write need to write,  write write write, right? #wordvomit #bingewriting  

It’s hungry and the only way to feed it is to pour the words out, vomit and explode them into the page as fast as you can before the ideas the language the colour the flow, it goes 

It must be captured in that moment because it is beauty it is fleeting it is pure it is perfect   It flows.  

A torrent of picture described in 26 characters and punctuation! A emotional upheaval via ideal twist, a niche observance, and marketing wizardry splitting of the dross of daily writing from the rare jewel like brilliant moments where the intersection of subject matter knowledge intersects with creative/explosive epiphany while keeping in perfect alignmenty goodness with world vision, characters and plot arcs planned… 

It is a sublime and spectacular events that is like a super-blood-redpunkblue-closertotheearththanever before moon it so rarely can happen.  

Except then your gall ball removal uncorks the genie of words and you have them ALL THE TIMES. All of them. All of the times. Like the time you’re sleeping. Muse/bitch wakes you up to tell you that storyline that you just plotted, what if you changed the order?  If you did this and this and this and did it this way…. 

About to hit yes on a phone call, but Muse-y warrior gets all dictator on your ass and demands you write that sentence down, finish that paragraph because if you don’t get it down now…. 

She doesn’t give two shits if it’s your boss. Or client. Or your editor.  

WRITE WRITE WRITE RIGHT NOW 

She is the storm.  

The writer is exhausted because they are but the side effects of the battle between the Muse, so eloquent, so voluble, so verbose, so needy, so won’t shut up, versus the Pain. Sorry THE PAIN… 

The pain of arthritis, that never-ever-ever-ending-friend who won’t ever fucking leave and the pain of the gallstone passed both conspire to keep the Writer down resting and  

ssshhhh….. Now. If arthritis is the nanna who sit y your side knitting and telling you sage avice that is completely useless and unhelpful and you just wish she would fuck right off, then PAIN is her teenage grand-daughter who is overindulged by nanna and can do no wrong.  She is all about expression.  She is a cunt. 

The Writer also conspires by doing dumb shit like interacting with her 2 Ridgebacks puppies, which do as puppies do, and jump and clump and pull and push. The writer keeps thinking that today it won’t hurt. The writer is a genius in every other way but cannot stop doing dumb shit when the body says nooooo.  

The Writer and Arthritis have been in a war /friendszone relationship for over 25 years now. They know battle lines, actions versus reactions and how the other thinks acts and breaths. Besties.  At least the familiar and the known.  

But the new player Ghost of Gall Stone Passed has bought back an old player.   

And old player pushed off the chess board or at least blocked like a rook in a corner… until now.  

PAIN IS BACK BITCHES and she has more piercings than ever. Cranking the apolcayptic-Scottish-death-metal-with-monk-chanting-punk-mixup banshee noise she calls music, PAIN strides in, her docs and oversized safety pins clanking, kicks a chair into place and says  

(look away now children or the easily offended)  

OI CUNT. IM BACK. YOURE A FUCKINGLAMEASSMOTHERFUCKER AINT YA 

POOR PRICK SUX TO BE YOU RIGHT NOW 

I’M NOT HERE TO MAKE IT ANY BETTER…. 

and then she switches tone and get down real low in your ear and you’re lying there as the Writer and you’re starting to sweat and not writhe in pain already given and the anticipation of a fresh batch in any form in any place will be a searing poker stabbed between two ribs stirring something deep within.  

Will it be a twitch that spasms but not at regular intervals so you can’t plan and you can’t win and you can sleep and you cannot be comfortable?  Will be a searing stab inside the lining of your bones?   

As PAIN leans in, her lips practically touching your ear and she stage whispers… 

If you won’t stay still I will fuck you up. I will fuck you up so bad and so many ways you will wish for death. I will do things to you that you can’t describe and then I will make it worse. Do not mess with us.  

The Writer sees the other Evil Bitch in this horror story, knitting needles held ready to defend….who?  the Writer is not sure what, or who, the needles are for and fear overcomes…  

They have formed an alliance, PAIN and Arthritis. The punk teenager with a gift for pain and the old lady who is as deadly with her knitting needles as she is with her tongue and her inability to shut up about my joints; they are now A TEAM. A formidable army of ineptitude, inability and sanctioned violence upon the body of the Writer.  

The Ghost of Gall Stone Passed howls with laughter’s that echoes down tomb like halls and the cold stone hallways to finally reach the heart of the Writer.  The maniacal cackle echoes around hollowly, sounding like lost dreams… lost time… lost words… 

It is suddenly chilly, lonely, deserted, creepy, malignant, eerie, and echo-y. The Writer is alone with the Ghouls suddenly and aware that there needs to be caution… 

The Writer is willing, please no more I will be good I will rest I will remind to myself and I will accept what you are trying to tell me.  

The Writer tries to makes deals with the Devils, or the Angels, never sure which, and pleads that being good will return good favour from them all.  Please? 

The Muse stirs…. 

Fluff Writing

Writer versus Project Management

The framework of project management applied to the practice of writing, the use of a professional tool in your creative works

The Key Principles

Project Management in Australia is based
on the PMBoK (TM) and uses the following
framework to achieve an outcome or
goal:
• Scope
• Cost
• Schedule
• Risk
• Procurement
• HR
• Quality
• Stakeholder Management
• Communications

Scope

What is your book about?
Must be pretty cheap to make a book these days, every is doing it.
I reckon I’ve got a book in me…

Why, for what audience, by when and for how much are you producing this book? How do you determine what is client satisfaction – the project complete?

For your plot, how do you summarise what you need to have happen and the step along the way according to the following considerations:
• Plot
• Length of Story – both in words and in story timeline

Cost

The cost of editing, publishing, marketing, illustrating,
writing, printing, selling, appearing, talking,
promoting, and otherwise begging for anyone to buy
your book now it’s complete…
The cost of writing to your life:
• Time
• Sacrifice
• Imposter Syndrome
• Mental Health
• Motivation

The cost in your plotting, why the conflict occurs and
who it affects most, what is the payoff at the end?

Schedule

When do you find time to write?
Must be nice to have all that time to just sit and write.
I’d love to write a book but I would never have the time. Routine is over rated, but kind of helpful in getting the habit of writing practiced and actually finishing a project. Or a novel.

In your pantsing, how can you keep your writing to the point and focussed on the outcome, not getting sideline by subplots, other ideas that look shiny, new book concepts, marketing, social media, people…

Risk

What could possibly go wrong? Consider things like keeping two copies of your work and saving regularly and backing up your work. Have a agreements in writing with people who are “supporting” you – editors, publishers, book-sellers, cover artist… Try to make sure that when you publish your book, it remains YOUR book. Read the fine print.

When you are plotting and pantsing, this is all of the reasons we write, we love what we do and the bit that makes it worth while to write, when we ask of our characters… What could go wrong?

Procurement

All of the other things you have to write for…
• Website
• Social media
• Hashtag everything
• Speeches, press releases, and readings OH MY!
Plus writers photos and inspo backgrounds and time. Do we know anyone who has stock in time? In order to save money, or spend money, or both. The experts you need to assist in the polish of your writing aren’t taking exposure bucks for payment either. While still writing, what else does your MC need to achieve the scope? What risks will they take to obtain it and how will that affect the timeline of the story?

HR

What team do you need around you and what skills are they offering? What are your weaknesses and can you find someone with a complimentary set to help you meet your scope and schedule and just keep writing? Did you even know the other skills you are supposed to have when you decided to be a writer? Surprise!

Does your MC have the skills to pay the bills? How has their life contributed to the skills set they suddenly need in order to achieve the scope, is that the point of the story or is that subordinate to the plot? Is it the character development they need and who will assist them? How will they procure this help, pay for it, and what will it do to the schedule?

Quality

What you wanted to create versus what you actually created. Where did you go in your journey as a writer and will you use it next time to make you a better writer (continuous improvement) ? How much did you invest (time, money, etc) versus the reward, personally or financially, or both, that you and others received from this experience? Are your readers responding to this?

Are your characters and your plot, your outcomes and your delivery what the scope was originally? How did it change the story and did it make it better? How far from the plan did you go?

Stakeholder Management

Juggling family, career, study, learning, work, expectations, appointments, life, writing, marketing, begging for sales… Rinse, repeat… The writer is also a stakeholder in this mix and sometimes, you just get to pick one or maybe two of the framework categories to focus on today. And let tomorrow take care of itself. At least you have a plan to come back to. Or sort of. Maybe. Lets check the schedule…

As you MC finishes their journey through the maze, the plot twists and the resolves all the risks, who else is changed by this adventure? How will this benefit those around the MC? And will they make it through the editing process?

Communications

The sales pitch. How do we sell ourselves, our products, our wares, our words, when we have spent so much time nurturing them and protecting them from risk. What do we say when asked “what is that book you’re writing about again?”
The very word needed and the bloody thesaurus just won’t work properly enough for you to find it and you’ve just lost 2 hours to time and space vortex or alphabet soup. And did you get that social medial blog post website update new blurb written yet?

When all is over and the arc is resolved, did the MC and cast carry out the vision, the mission and achieve the scope. Did they gain the rewards and complete the project in full? And most of all, did they satisfy the client requirements? Are you happy with what you wrote, and are your readers?

And They All Lived Happily Ever After

Breaks the process of creating a book into manageable portions and separate from the process of writing the book. Help build categories of knowledge for use and re-use as you produce more work. Gives you a different angle to examine writer’s block and other associated writers’ problems. You can discard any category if not relevant to the outcomes at any time, or re-instate it.

Gives you an overall pathway to finalising aspects of your novel and a new way of looking a your writing once complete to see if you have left any key details out of your world building. And your world domination plans.

Provides a reference point to where you wanted your journey to take you, even if you didn’t follow it, you can still see how far you made it.

Mentoring Writing

Film Crew versus Construction Team

It’s a weird one right?  Who would think that working on a film set would have anything to do with construction.  The tie in is via my Project Manager qualification and the cross over into this world from a position of observation. 

I was safety girl for the film set, a local company that was organising and producing a short film for entry in Cannes Film Festival, and through the power of networking, one of my contacts called upon me to support.  It wasn’t a thrilling suggestion, offer my skills for free in return for … what exactly?  If that sounds selfish, you might recall I am a highly paid and qualified construction project manager, coach, mentor, and published award winning author.  I don’t come cheap and I have worked my ass off all my life to earn that high price.
(see journey to cover girl blog)

However, I also enjoy experiencing new ideas and being able to see alternative ways of doing, how other careers work, and I like to learn new things. When I found out there were children involved, I was sold on the idea. To be a safety manager is an important job, one I take seriously. The entire premise is to make sure people are safe and stay safe, and once you add children, and a new learning experience, it was a pretty easy choice. 
Except they forgot to mention the early starts!  The long hours. The disarray that comes from working with a new team should have been something I had thought of based on my own experiences building skilled teams, but nope. Foolish mortal!

I realised early that it really was so similar to project management in the construction industry, that I spent some time thinking about how the various roles matched my experience. It was good fun, and kept me focused on those 14 hour days when I saw both sunrise and sunset. So here goes, a breakdown of the film crew through the eyes of a construction guru…
First you have the Producer. They are the client in my world, the ones who put up the money.  Our producer was also intimately involved in the film behind the scenes organising, dealing with problems and making sure everyone got fed. I can say not most clients in my work would do that, but it was awesome to have a chance to connect with the person who was responsible for making such a project happen. 

Then there is the Director. It is his vision, his script, his concepts the rest of us were tasked to bring to life. So he is similar to the Design Manager on a project. Creating the vision, the layout, the goals, the ideas from scratch and expecting the construction team to bring it to life. Make it so!  
The Assistant Film Director and the Production Coordinator are the next two people who come to mind. They are the project management team, the project leads in my world. Keeping the Director focused, on time and ensuring the here-and-now outcomes, acting the liaison between the rest of the team and the vision, they are integral to the success of leading the team through the creation process. 

The cinematographer is the Construction Manager.  Using a camera instead of a white board, but nonetheless responsible for interpreting the Director’s vision, he uses his lens, carefully selecting the correct one, at the right height, angle and aperture, in order to capture the creation.  In much the same way that the Construction Manager will ensure the right people and activities occur according to the schedule, he alters the concept from idea to reality. 

Then you have the gripping crew. I struggled at first to place them, but they are the highly skilled operators. Working in close conjunction and consultation with the cinematographer, they use their experience,  judgement and precision plant and equipment to create the very effect that the cinematographer needs, the Director desires, in order to make the vision accurate and highlight the beauty of the creation unfolding. Machine operators are not often viewed as being specialists by those in senior management, nor seen as creators. Without them nothing can happen, nothing works quite as it should, and very little can get accomplished. In both worlds. 

The film cast are the project team. It might seem weird that they are seemingly not important to the overall scheme but they are critical. They are the doers, the people who get the job done while the vision unfolds around them. Following the instructions from a multitude of management, they are the people who act out the collective creation from all that have been mentioned before. 

There was an amazing crew of interns who I would call middle management. The support, the help, the organisers and the runners of the film world, just as they are in the construction industry. Our interns were from a local highschool and they have such bright futures ahead of them from the dedication I saw.  Their teacher was also an incredibly helpful support to them and the film crew on the day. You could call him one of the project sponsors. 

And then there is the art department. Procurement in my world, they obtain the things necessary to assist the vision. The art, the backgrounds, the props, the costumes, they are the procurement specialist, without them, you run the risk of getting the wrong pipe. Or the wrong prop to complete the analogy.   They can make old sheds looks like a mystery world, garages looks like a cavern of treasures and planets look like they were plucked from the sky. 

I almost forgot about the sound department!  Which is understandable, because we mostly take the effect of background – bird calls, machinery hum, wind – for granted… Until it is not there. They are the unseen support crew, something like the surveyors in a project team. They are just there, doing the work, checking the measures, and without them something just doesn’t feel right. It was ironic, or perhaps simply poetic, that the sound crew were some of the quietest members of the set. But so important to the overall finish and polish of the creation. Just like the surveyors of the construction world, without the sound team, you risk the final product not being quite right. 

And if anyone is wondering if I struggled with not being in charge, the answer is yes, I did.  After managing multi-million (think $500 Million average) projects and being the overseer, it was a real problem for me to keep out of the way.  But I did.  After all safety works best when noone realises they are doing their job, but everyone gets to go home. 
And that’s a wrap. 

Mentoring resilience Uncategorized

The Labyrinth of self worth – A Journey from Hardship to Covergirl!

The year of Cyclone Tracey in Darwin, and a year that Brisbane experienced extreme floods, I was born in Perth, Australia. For a long time in my life it seemed that axis of bad luck overshadowed me. This week I am the cover girl for the second anniversary release of a women’s empowerment magazine, “the thinking woman’s”, magazine as it markets itself. YMag. It’s been a process.

I never had much belief that other people would see me in this way. I had a long journey through self-worth, confidence and I required a massive amount of resilience to overcome the circumstances of my early childhood to gracing a front page of anything!

I’ve worked in the construction industry for about 30 years now and that is a tough gig. Not because I am a woman, although that provides a few challenges to some of the men, but because it is a harsh industry. Extreme conditions, tight deadlines, limited budget and long hours. I feel like I’ve worked three jobs for my whole life – it is usually 13 hour days, it can be 7 days a week, and it is relentless. Buildings, roads, rail, your water supply – these things don’t happen by magic, they happen because of the sweat, the effort, and the talents of many people. I am one of those people.

It took me years to see that my ability to solve problems, manage and encourage people, understand legislation and interpret technical data are incredible talents. It took me forever to acknowledge to myself that I was not just good at what I do, I’m great at it. You don’t get positive feedback in the construction industry. Or, as one boss put it when I was seeking some form of input as to my capabilities, if you are still working, if you are employed and not told to “get out” you are doing your job well enough. And that’s the extent of the positive feedback.

Times are changing, slowly and somewhat reluctantly, but that idea that if you still have a job you are doing okay, still pervades the industry. It is why I am a respected project manager, because I re!ember all the things I struggled with, and I make sure my team doesn’t. I communicate, engage and provide positive feedback. Because I never had it and I would have been even more motivated to work harder. If that was possible, because I am an all-or- nothing kind of person already.

There is no fence-sitting for me. I make decisions decisively, which is an attribute that has flowed over into my personal life. In fact I project manage my own life just as much, if not better, than I manage my construction projects. The skills I fought so hard to learn in my career have been invaluable in my personal life and have caused me to be determined, to never give up, to just make it work, and to not waste time on regret, chagrin, beating myself up over errors or waste emotions on things I cannot change.

It has caused me to win awards, to be recognised as delivering quality, to be known as something who just gets things done. I never let anyone see how alone, how solitary and how disconnected I was from the view of others. That imposter syndrome that no matter what feedback I did get, it was highly unlikely to me that it was true.

It is only since taking on mentoring females in the industry about 15 years ago now, seeing this support and knowledge I can provide to them, their reliance on my input and relief that there is someone who gets it, who has been there, who can reassure them that they “got this” that I realise that I didn’t have that. There was no one, as I developed my career, who could provide that for me, because there were no other women around who had been there and done what I had. There were so few of us in the industry at my level, that we didn’t even know of each other, let alone support each other. It is dark and lonely in the oubliette. This relates to trades as well an engineer’s and project managers.

It is changing now and so many more women are making their mark in such brilliant ways, but not 30 years ago. It is why I do what I do, because I experienced what it took to make it through that journey. The Labyrinth of self respect, self regard and self worth. But it wasn’t until I had this experience reflected back at me through coaching and me tiring others, that I understood just how tough, how remarkable, how resilient, how confident I had to be in order to get to where I did. So it was time to own it. To stop seeking validation externally and start providing it internally. I never knew how confident I actually was until I started showing someone else how to be confident.

So when the chance to really showcase myself was presented, I took it. I didn’t doubt, or worry about what others would think, about whether I was the right type of person, or even if anyone else would get it. I just did it. Like I have my entire career, I just backed myself and leapt. I held onto my self-worth and my self-belief and said to my imposter syndrome – you have no power over me. I said yes. Yes to showing the world that I have come from a land so distant to me now it’s just a fairy tale of my childhood, through hardships untold and dangers unnumbered, I have powered my way to this cover girl, to take my place on the cover of this powerful magazine. For my will is as strong as it ever was, and my abilities greater than I could ever see while I was developing them.

It is another milestone, another achievement, one that I am very proud of, but I won’t be stopping any time soon. There are more adventures to be had. Join me if you dare to realise your greatness too.

resilience