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

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