I Can, Can’t I?

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Hello World!I_Can_Fly_(3287929681)

Well it’s been a while. No excuse really, just what has seemed like a million other distractions getting in the way.

Some of these distractions have confirmed something I have long thought to be true. When you really believe you can do something, more often than not you actually can. The same can be said when you believe you won’t be able to do something. You can be pretty sure you won’t.

Yes there are things that really are out of reach for some of us. For example, given the fact that even my dog tries to hide his ears when I am singing along to my iPod, it is probably not wise to set myself a goal of winning a Grammy Award. I am talking about when there is no logical reason as to why we can’t succeed at something. You put off really trying things that you have every chance of succeeding in, just because you are scared it might not pan out or leave you looking foolish. We get used to identifying ourselves in a certain way and it is scary to think of ourselves differently. We often hide behind what we believe others will think of us, when we are really running away from who we will be if we make changes. It is a fear of putting yourself out there for others to see and, rightly or wrongly, judge us. Feeling uncertain of the outcome makes it sometimes seem easier just not to try. But we have to ask, how much are we missing out on because of these fears and beliefs?

The world’s most successful people often share with us stories of their success. And it usually involves them having a strong belief they can do what it is they have succeeded at. This may not have always been the case and they may have had to work at getting to that point, but in the end they believe they can and so they give it everything they have. This goes across the arts, business, sport and science. Believing that something is possible means you are less likely to give up, even when things get difficult. I love when we hear about someone’s apparent overnight success, only to find out they have been plugging away at whatever it is they had succeeded at for many years. They have taken all sorts of risks and made sacrifices along the way to get where they are.

So how do you change from wishing to doing? Small steps I think. Just do something towards a change. Something a little scary, but not so scary that you won’t actually do it. Once you have taken that first step, more often than not, you will find that it is not so bad and you then think ok, I can do what comes next. I like to keep reminding myself what will I think about this when I am eighty – will I regret not giving it a go more than I am going to regret what the outcome might be?

As the saying goes, if you keep doing what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. I often think back to my first blog post. It was terrifying and took me ages to actually post it. Any vulnerability I may have been feeling was amplified by the thought that what I had written would be out there for the whole world to see. Then I thought about what was the worst that could happen and decided I was just going to put it out there. After all, it was part of my “F@#* it List”! And I am so glad I did. I have gained a new confidence that I would not have had otherwise. I know it is leading me towards things that, had I not taken this step, would not be possible.

How often have you said you wished you could do something then done nothing about it? Maybe it’s time to ask yourself what have you got to lose?

Til next time…

Jo

On Being Gywneth

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Hello World!

I apologise in advance but I, like many others it would seem, have to have a Gwyneth vent.

Gwynnie, Gwynnie, Gwynnie. If ever there was someone who should keep a good supply of duct tape in her handbag to stop herself from saying stupid things, it’s her. While she has been busy living her awesome life and letting us all know that we too should be aiming to live the same way, what she is really doing is sharing how far away from reality she is. You have to wonder, does she purposely try and alienate herself from the world, or does she really just have no idea?

She has always seemed a little out there to me. Even when she managed to land one of the hottest rock stars for a husband, instead of getting cooler she just got weirder, i.e. the naming of a child after a piece of fruit. Then there was the release of the recipe book, followed by the marketing campaign telling us that we should all follow this diet to be healthy like her and her family. Never mind such pesky issues as the fact it would cost you around $300 per day to buy the ingredients, and that it contains names of things that sound more like diseases than healthy and delicious foods. Now she has outdone herself with this ridiculous description of what is simply a sad marriage break up, the ‘conscious uncoupling’. Gwynnie, just so you know, in the real world we just break up.

But people, it seems we must be a little more sympathetic. Apparently, according to Gwyneth, it’s so hard to be a movie star and a mother, much harder than it is for any other working mother. Poor Gwynnie. The rest of us working mothers have had it so easy over the years, you know, not having to worry about what all of our nannies are up to, because our children are in a daycare centre with so many other children that the care givers don’t have time for any shenanigans. All of this is going on far away from our homes because that’s what the average working parent’s budget so generously allows for. Aren’t we so fortunate that we don’t  have to invest in a nanny-cam? Lucky us.

Apfel_05Mmm … no wonder most of the universe thinks she is a nutter.

So where is it that the line is crossed when some people become successful and famous, and follow this with a sudden loss of a sense? Is it that they get so far removed from reality that they start believing their own nonsense, or have they always been a little like this? I guess we only know our own normal, but surely when the majority of the world does not live the way you do, you would notice that it is not the same for all and not use your success as an excuse for making stupid things up. Some famous folk manage to keep relatively normal. I always find refreshing the likes of Hugh Jackman who seem genuinely grateful for all of the good things they have in their lives, but humble enough to not let it separate them from everyone else. Oh and Hugh is way hotter than Gwyneth.

There is a light at the end of all of this and it is one for the ladies. Chris Martin is now available. And he is probably really hungry so you might want to keep an eye out at your local burger place. Yippee for small miracles.

Til next time…

Jo

Getting Clear on the Stuff

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Finding clarity in an ever-changing world is not always easy. There is a constant array of shiny new things to distract us. Our wardrobes bulge with more clothes than we need and things fall out of kitchen cupboards because we have too many gadgets. We often don’t get to do what we really want because we are caught up in less important things. We are overloaded with options about what we do, where we live and what we wear. It really comes down to the fact that we have too much stuff.

I have gone from living in a largish house to a small apartment and I have to say it has been a somewhat liberating experience. A little challenging, but definitely freeing. I can no longer buy new clothes just because something looks pretty as chances are something else will have to get turfed in order to make room for the new item. I tend to make do with less because to add something new means having to work out where to fit it. It has been a pleasant surprise to learn what I can quite happily live without. Having said this, there are some areas still to be ‘cleansed’. The fact that my shoes take up more room than all of the food and cooking items I have in my apartment says I am still a work in progress (although those who know me would agree that given my cooking ability I am probably better off with the shoes…).

Who we choose to spend our time with can do with a clear out every now and then. I once heard it referred to as a ‘friend audit’. Just like a financial audit, you want to sort out the good and bad investments. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in hanging out with the so-called right people and those who just seemed to have attached to you somewhere along the way, when really the time spent with them just leaves you feeling empty or annoyed. Time is precious and should be spent with those who really mean something to you and who’s company you genuinely enjoy. Of course there are exceptions where you have to tolerate and be polite to those you would rather not, but when you do have the choice it’s important to make sure the people in your life are who you really want to have around.

Finding clarity in where we really want and need to be in our careers can take time. For many of us, trying things out is often the only way to find out what you like and what you don’t. I believe an unrealistic amount of pressure is placed on our children to choose their correct path while they are still at high school. At this age only a few really know what they want to do. Most will amble along on the path that is expected of them, often finding years into a degree or career they are doing what they are for other peoples reasons, not their own, and as a result are really unhappy. We need to take action and move away from unsatisfying careers so we can open ourselves up to great new opportunities. 

Getting to know and trust yourself is really the only way you can find clarity in your life. This usually takes time and experience. Don’t be afraid to try new things and, equally, don’t be afraid to walk away from something or someone because it is not right. Keep the way clear for good things to come into your life.

Til next time…

Jo

The Myth Called Balance

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400px-Unbalanced_scalesHello World!

What is this work / life balance myth people speak of? The media love talking about it, job ads try and entice us to work with companies who promise it, but do any of us really believe it? I tend to think this notion of being able to manage everything equally at one time is a bit ridiculous. I am not sure that it’s possible to be doing a fantastic job at work and at home, while keeping in peak health and attending to all family and other obligations all at the same time. If you are able to do this, either you are exceptional or a visit to a ‘centre’ may be not too far away! As more than one wise woman has said, you can have it all, just not at the same time. I agree. 

Often perpetuating the balance myth are the token panels of women on the morning television news shows discussing “serious issues” affecting others, all the while looking and sounding like their lives are perfect . They carry on as if they have reached this utopia of the perfectly balanced life and now know everything about everything (bad me is secretly thinking their husband is probably sharing the goods with the secretary or something – nobody’s life is that perfect!). It’s more than a little patronising to all of us, including them. Striving for and thinking you have achieved perfection can leave you more unbalanced than ever.

Then there is the question, is my version of a balanced life going to be the same as someone else’s? I don’t think so. Sometimes I feel like just knowing I will be getting up in the morning and going to bed at night is about as much balance as I am going to get! Some days will be all work, others will be all family, and the occasional one might be all about me.

I want to strive for a full life so if the balance is out of kilter does it really matter if I am living life the way I want? If you are happy doing what you are doing, when you are doing it, surely that would be considered balance. Does it matter if its a lot of work and not much play, or the other way around if you can manage it? If your focus is on doing what feels right for you, that may be as close as you are going to get to your own sense of balance. And who cares if you get a bit lopsided in the process!

Til next time…

Jo

Try a Little Kindness…

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Hello World!

120px-GoodHeart_Barnstar_HiresHere I go, on about choice again… But this time I’m talking about the choice to help or not.

Watching ‘The Blind Side’ recently got me thinking about why some people can find kindness at no matter what potential cost, while others look the other way and are too scared to do anything. Some, like the mother in this story, can find it in their hearts to help in the most unlikely way.  Leigh Ann Tuohy, the woman portrayed in this movie, saw a need in a boy that overtook any fears for her or her family’s safety. Had she gone with the stereotype of a young black man from the wrong side of town, she may have jumped to the conclusion that this boy would attack and rob her in some way. But instead she chose to offer him a bed for the night, and in doing so she offered him hope and eventually a family. Women like this we imagine to be more likely to hold a some sort of fundraising benefit rather than actually help an individual. They help but from a safe distance. I wish I could say that I would do the same as Ms Tuohy but I don’t think I could bring a stranger into my home the way she did. I do help out in my own way, both with my time and my money, but nothing on this level. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for this lady.

I know some very kind souls who have chosen to earn their living giving to others. They accept lower wages than they may get in the corporate space and do this willingly. The are rewarded by the good that comes out of their often thankless and soul destroying work. The same can be said for those who can find it in their hearts to foster children needing a safe home. I really take my hat off to all of these people as there are not too many of us that are willing or able to do this. 

The good thing here is that we can all help in some way, and that we can choose how we help. It doesn’t need to be as huge as what Ms Touhy did but can still make a difference to someone’s life. Just something that comes from the kindness of your heart. After all, isn’t that what giving is all about? Sharing something because you want to, not just because you can.

So what makes us choose they way we do or don’t help others? Who knows. The point is that we can all probably do a bit more. We all need a hand sometimes and even when we do hopefully we can still in turn find a way to pass that kindness onto someone else. Even if it is just a smile for someone who could really do with one.

Imagine if we all did just a little more to help others, wouldn’t the world be a better place.

Til next time…

Jo