How To Bring Back The Magic

We’ve traded magic for convenience.

Have you ever developed photos in a darkroom? It’s pure magic. Well it’s pure chemistry, but no matter how much you understand the chemistry behind it, every time you see a picture developing before your eyes it feels magical.

Last night my 5 year old daughter asked me if she could have some ‘realistic’ pet toy being advertised on the television. I suddenly felt sad and wondered whether she was going to experience magic moments. The magic of anticipation, excitement and joy that comes from real things. You know, like receiving a beautiful hand written letter in the post. As much as I love receiving emails from loved ones, nothing compares to the old days of pen pals and the excitement of opening the letterbox to see a real letter.

The anticipation of waiting for photos to be printed at the lab, or returned in the post. We have traded anticipation, which is part of the magic for convenience.

The smell and feel of real books for the instant digital download. Fast food for real food (even when it’s ‘healthy’)

The ability to listen to an entire cd as it was intended

The connection of real friendship, versus virtual association

Playing in the garden for playing games on digital devices

Taking care of things for disposable everything

Searching through the video store for the quick download. (For me this was before the days of Facebook and I always ran into people I knew on a Friday night at the local video store. It was a great time to catch up and have a laugh. It was such a social event and connection time.)

If you feel like you are missing something in life, slow down and remember the magic that you used to feel. Find ways to connect in real time rather than this virtual world we have created. Write a letter, listen to a record, get outside, find someone with a darkroom, get a real pet or plant, grow some vegetables, cook something from scratch wait for something, let the excitement of anticipation back into your life.

Are you ready to join a community of like-minded individuals moving from resistance to inspired action?

Yes! I’m ready!

Sharing Vulnerability

I’ve wanted to write this post for awhile, but have avoided it because I will need to make myself vulnerable and write about the things that make me feel weak.

Lately I have been contemplating why things aren’t working for people. Why are we becoming unhealthier and more disconnected than ever? We have more access than ever before to information and help but things appear to be getting worse. Never before have we experienced such an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and mental illness.

I believe we are so strongly focused on the ‘how to’ that we are missing the ‘why aren’t we?’ We know what to do, we know what will make us healthier, stronger, happier so why aren’t we doing it? There is always a little voice in the back of our minds that says ‘I shouldn’t eat this…’ or ‘I know walking lifts my mood’ or ‘I should go to bed by 9pm’ At our core, we know what to do. So why aren’t we doing it? It’s easier to focus on the ‘how to’ because focusing on the ‘why aren’t we already doing it?’ is difficult. It will make us vulnerable, it will put a spotlight on our weaknesses.  We will need to deal with shame and unworthiness. It will take work and confronting our fears. We will in fact need to focus on the negative when we are constantly bombarded with affirmations saying we should only focus on the positive.

I am not saying ‘how to’ is a bad thing, we do need advice and guidelines to help.

So on to opening up and making myself feel vulnerable. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It made a whole lot of sense to me. Although  I work very hard to practice the ‘how to live an awesome life with Bipolar Disorder by taking extremely good care of myself” I occasionally, perhaps once or twice a year have an episode like I did last week. I become manic in thought, movement etc and it’s terrifying.  Then I crash and have a low where I can’t function at all and just need to hide under the covers for  a couple of days. It’s intense and the rarer it becomes the more of a surprise it is and the harder it is to deal with. I am sharing this because we must start talking about the things that make us feel vulnerable in order to make progress.

The things that we view as our weaknesses make us feel shame and unworthy. These are the things that are stopping us from doing what we know is right for us. By feeling ashamed of my bipolar disorder I am stopping myself from moving forward. I can feel the energy it takes to keep it inside. I feel shame because I teach a course on how to live with Anxiety, so I have this unrealistic expectation on myself to be perfectly mentally healthy. When I think about it logically though, I know how much I have achieved and if I was learning from somebody I would want them to have experienced what I was going through. I wouldn’t want somebody that doesn’t understand first hand.

As hard as this was for me to share I know good will come from it. I hope I can inspire people to open up in their own lives. I hope people can find a way to share their vulnerabilities instead of hiding them, it will create connection. I hope we can stop searching for the ‘how to’ and focus a little on building our self worth in order to actually implement the ‘how to’. Please share your thoughts and comments below. I love your feedback.

How To Cultivate Courage.

Courage is an essential part of growth and I believe growth to be one of the key requirements for happiness.

We often confuse courage with ‘being a hero’. Courage isn’t a once in a lifetime event like rescuing a family from a fire or some other way of  putting our own lives at risk. Hopefully you will never need to do these things, but does that mean you can’t be courageous?

No. Courage comes from the small decisions and choices we make every day.

Courage is;

Asking for help when you need it

Being able to say ‘I don’t know’

Letting people know how you really feel instead of responding with your usual ‘I’m fine’

Choosing the option that is right for you especially when it is not the popular one

Knowing and accepting that there is nothing at all wrong with being afraid

Saying ‘I love you’,  ‘I miss you’ or ‘I need you’ when you are unsure of the response

Following your heart when your head is telling you otherwise

Putting something out there before you’ve perfected it

Giving up the excuses, complaints and justifications that hold you back

Saying ‘no’ or ‘yes’ and putting your needs first

Following your dreams

Getting out of bed and showing up

Taking a step forward, no matter how small

Saying hello to a stranger on the street or sending a thank you letter

Wearing the outfit you’ve got stuck in the back of the wardrobe because you are never sure whether it’s appropriate

Choosing play before work, rest before housework

Allowing yourself to take the easy option or the difficult option whichever is best in the moment

Owning your space, time and life

Turning off the computer and talking to the person next to you

Crying when you’re sad, laughing out loud and allowing yourself to be angry when something pisses you off

Walking into a room full of strangers and saying hello

 Making the appointments you need, the ones that scare you and showing up

Setting your standards, establishing your boundaries and sticking to then as best you can

It’s having the confidence to accept how your life is and let go of your expectations of what life should look like

Giving up the comfort foods that are making you unwell

Risking being laughed at and being able to laugh along

Ordering a different menu item, trying a different restaurant or visiting a new place

Not knowing the answers but trying something anyway

Trusting that you will find a way, you will solve the problems

We are given hundreds of opportunities a day to practice courage and honestly at times I think rescuing somebody from a fire may be easier than giving up chocolate.  Courage is relative to you, not somebody else’s experience.

Do you believe that you are courageous? What ways do you practice courage, let us know in the comments below.

Are you part of the Weekly Challenge? Please leave your details below to join.

 

6 Steps to increasing your risk tolerance

Throughout my life people have often commented on my risk taking abilities. I have been called brave and tenacious, a high level risk taker. The strange thing is that I don’t feel like a risk taker at all. I often … Continue reading

The Anxiety Solution Program – FAQs

If you have been contemplating enrolling in the Anxiety Solution  Program the following FAQs may be useful.

What do I get?

This course consists of 8 modules. You will receive one module per week. Each module comes with printable worksheets and strategies for overcoming anxiety and building self confidence.

You will also receive personal email support

Is this course only for people with anxiety?

No this course is designed for anyone that wants to take their confidence to the next level, deal with limiting beliefs or wants to overcome resistance.

Will this program cure me of my anxiety/depression/ptsd/low self esteem?

It is one of my beliefs that we are not broken or in need of curing. My goal is to teach you to live a fulfilling and empowered life, while accepting every aspect of yourself.

Are you a doctor?

No, I have lived with various levels of anxiety all of my life. From social anxiety, low self esteem to more severe PTSD and depression. I have found strategies that work for me and want to share them.

Is it ok for me to be taking medication while doing the course?

If medication is helping you along your journey then absolutely. This course is not designed to tell you whether or not you should be taking medication. It is designed to help you realize that taking medication and getting the support you need is a sign of strength not weakness.

Can I do the course at my own pace?

Definitely. The modules and worksheets are designed to be revisited as often as you need. I understand that you can be busy and the course reflects this.

Can I contact you if I have a question?

Please do, I offer personal email support. If you are needing any clarification regarding any aspect of the course please ask. Sometimes it’s nice to have somebody to just chat to that understands and has been through what you are experiencing.

Do you offer refunds?

I have worked very hard on this program, but if you do not feel you are receiving value for money, then yes, money back, no questions.

I’m ready! How much does cost to join the program and how do I pay?

$97. Payments are made through Paypal  here

Please let me know if you have any more questions via the contact form below. I’m always happy to help

Thank you

Nicole

Financial Freedom Friday – The Spaces Between

Photo taken from a holiday in Sweden

Photo taken from a holiday in Sweden

A lesson in Rest and Play

The path to financial freedom usually involves a lot of hard work.

Long hours, difficult decisions, problem solving and taking risks.

It is important to learn that the quality of your work is determined by the quality of the breaks you take.

This quality of your breaks will determine how quickly and smoothly you will travel along your path to financial freedom.

Overworking is easy to do. Just one more hour. Just one more day or week. Then you will take that rest. Something always comes up and the rest and play becomes a last priority, often missed out on altogether.

What can you delegate?

What can you stop doing in order to get some quality rest and play time?

Where can you be more effective in order to create time and space for rest and play?

How do you rest?

What do you do for fun?

What activities take your mind off work completely, even just for a few moments?

Rest and play doesn’t need to take up much time.

Perhaps in between each task you complete you could take five minutes to take a few deep breaths, have a nice cup of tea and enjoy some fresh air.

Without quality breaks, (the type where you aren’t thinking about work and checking your email every 2 minutes) you will never get the time to fully recharge.

As entrepreneurs, business owners or parents it can be so hard to draw a line between work, rest and play.  Whenever I am needing a reminder I think of this poem.

  FIRE ~ Judy Brown

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.

A fire
grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Poem can be found  here

What do you do for fun? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

The Power of Rituals and Routines

Untitled-24

The outcome of our lives is determined by the actions we take. These actions are determined by the habits we create for ourselves, both good and bad.

One way to create good habits is by implementing little rituals and routines into our lives.

I resisted the idea of creating routines in my life for years.  I thought that by following routines life would become boring and restricted.

In fact the complete opposite is true. The more routines I create for myself, the more time I have spare to do fun things. The more I follow my routines the more space and time I create.

Rituals and routines can also be comforting in times of stress. They allow our minds to know what is coming next, creating a sense of calm.

I used to spend an entire day doing housework. These days there is no way I could possibly do that. There just isn’t time. So it is important for me to create lots of little routines and rituals that allow me to keep the house clean and tidy to a standard that works for me. It’s far from perfect, but it works.

For example every time I make a cup of tea I have to work on cleaning the kitchen while the kettle is boiling. As I work from home and drink a lot of tea, the kitchen is always clean and I don’t have to worry about finding time to clean it.

Every night before I go to bed I set the washing machine up to start a load of laundry at 4am, ready for me to put out in the morning. It keeps things moving and the washing never seems to pile up.

These are just two of the many simple routines I have  for keeping the house at a level that is suitable for me. I have had a long habit and practice of decluttering too, so that makes things easier to manage.

Attach routines to any goal you are trying to achieve.

I have a problem with a lack of strength in my shoulder due to breaking my collar bone a few years ago.

Whenever I have finished brushing my teeth I work on doing a handstand against the wall outside of our bathroom! This simple habit takes less than 2 minutes a day but is having a huge impact on my health. It’s a fun little routine that is helping me build strength and work towards something that is a little outside of my comfort zone!

The best way to build a routine and a new habit is to keep it simple and attach it to something that you do on a regular basis.

What is your goal?

What is a small action you can take?

How many times a day would you like to do this?

What is something you already do this many times throughout your day?

How can you attach your new step to your old action?

Don’t forget that this is just a simple way to build a new habit and it can take time and practice. This system isn’t designed to give you a new way to feel disappointed in yourself for not doing it right! The goal is never to be perfect. The goal is to build new skills and find what works for you.

Let me know what actions you add to your routine in the comments below

Don’t forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter for more tips and inspiration to help you take action.

 

 

7 Questions To Ask Yourself Every Sunday

To achieve any goal and move forward in life it is important to monitor and measure your progress. The following seven questions, asked on a regular basis will help to measure and monitor your progress.

1.  What did I learn last week?

If we aren’t learning we aren’t growing and moving forward. List everything you learned. This can be anything from something you learned about yourself to a new skill you picked up. Small things, and big lessons are all essential tools for creating the life of your dreams. Is there anything you feel you failed at last week? Failing is simply a tool to teach us something new.

 2. What were my achievements last week?

Again, big or small list them all. If your biggest achievement of the week was to get out of bed and brush your teeth then list that and feel proud.  It is not the size of the achievement that counts but the fact  you achieved something. If we don’t take  time to acknowledge the things we do achieve  we will never gain a feeling of fulfillment. We will always be focused on judging ourselves for  things we think we should have achieved.

3. What am I most looking forward to this coming week?

I believe the key to a long and happy life is to always have something to look forward to. We often think this needs to be something big like a holiday or buying a new item. The smaller the things you are excited about the easier it is to schedule them throughout your week. Start a list of things that make you really happy for when you need some inspiration. Perhaps reading for 30 uninterrupted, guilt-free minutes with a lovely cup of tea is something you could schedule and look forward to. A trip to the cinema or a café. A walk around a farmers market. Dancing around to some great music.  A visit to a museum or art gallery.  Taking an afternoon nap, or a long soak in the bath while the kids are at school. Take a picnic to the beach or the park with the family.

4. What are 7 little to-do items for this week?

If your ‘To-Do’ list is like mine, it contains a couple of hundred items. Awhile ago I gave up fighting  my ‘To-Do’ list and accepted it wasn’t something to complete. I was racing to get my ‘To-Do’ list finished. Finishing a list creates space and time for more projects and even more tasks to complete.

There are many things I need to get done each day, but there are items that get stuck on my list if I don’t make an effort to get them done.

I choose seven items from my big ‘To-Do’ list to complete each week. One to be  completed each day. These are small items,  ones that are important but usually neglected for more urgent items.  They don’t take longer than an hour and can take just a few minutes. These are usually things like; send thank you cards, make dentist appointments, sort out my desk, buy a new folder, return an item to someone,, fertilise plants, take clothes to charity shop, compare insurance quotes, open a new savings account.

It keeps my list moving forward and frees negative energy from seeing the same things on my list week after week.

5. What would make my coming week easier?

Is there something you can add to your routine to make your week run a little smoother? Is there something you can let go of  to move forward into a new week? Is there somebody you can ask for help or advice? Is there something you feel has been wasting your time and you can cut down a little this week?

6. Did I avoid anything last week?

It is often the things we avoid that we most need to do. These things can  provide the most benefit to our week.  We  avoid these things because they take  us outside our comfort zone. It is outside our comfort zone that we make change. We can make great progress inside our comfort zone, but it is usually change and growth that occurs outside of it. If you find yourself stuck in procrastination mode, read here about how I learned to love procrastination.

7. What made you laugh and smile last week?

It’s important to note these things, so you can do more of them! Laughter is the best medicine and smiling means you are on the right path. Laughter and smiling come from the simplest things too. Rolling around on the floor and playing with your children, watching a funny show, getting into nature.  I believe one of the keys to a great life is having a light and playful attitude whenever possible.

Use these questions on a regular basis, or create a list of your own. I like to complete them on a Sunday night to help me focus on the week ahead. Let me know which question helps you in the comments section below

Don’t forget to sign up below to receive free and inspiring tips to help you take your life and confidence to the next level

Financial Freedom Friday

5743879781

I have always strongly believed that it is not how much you earn it is how you spend it that counts.

No matter how much or little we earn we can often find ourselves buying things we don’t really need or want causing us to sacrifice ever buying the things we truly want and dream about.

Whether it’s a house deposit, travel, a boat, a car, paying off a debt or credit card,  expensive outfit these things can often feel always out of reach.

Here’s a strategy for making those things a reality.

Open a savings account, label it travel account/house deposit account or whatever it is that you would like that seems always out of reach.

Whenever you buy something ask yourself, “do I really want/need this or would I rather put the money in my savings account’

If you decide you do not want to make the purchase, put the money that you would have spent into your savings account. Keep a notebook for all of the decisions you make through the day as they can soon add up.

There are some rules for this strategy –

Never use the money in your dream savings account for bills or anything other than what you intended it for. (if bills are a huge problem, then it might be an idea to focus on your budget before buying things anyway, it can be uncomfortable, but at least the exercise may help you understand where your money is going.)

This strategy is not supposed to leave you feeling deprived – most of the time you will say ‘yes I really do want to buy this thing’ and that is ok. One object of this strategy is to become more conscious of your purchases and where your money goes. There will be many times though that you will think ‘No I would rather buy my dream item”

Do you want the chocolate bar or the holiday?

Do you want to buy the book or read one of the unread books on your bookshelf?

Does your child need that toy or would they be just as happy playing a game with you that you already have?

Do you have anything to sell?

Do you need to buy lunch every day at work or could you take your own on some days?

Do you need to buy peanut butter, or can you buy some peanuts and blend them up at a fraction of the cost? (yes, there are many ways to save money to put towards your dream purchase)

This exercise should be fun and creative – Make sure you do put the money into your savings, you were going to spend it anyway so it won’t be missed.

 

Let me know how it goes for you!