What we tell ourselves matters

Greatness within you

Day 30

30th January 2014

You are worthy of love, no matter how imperfect you are. Just because you make mistakes, or don’t get it right, it doesn’t make you wrong, or unworthy of love – we are still loveable. We are messy, crazy, broken human beings – but we are still worthy of love and life.

But what do you do when you have been telling yourself that you don’t deserve anything better? That you are not good enough? And you have been telling yourself this insane story for most of your life? Then it’s time to tell yourself a different story and allow yourself to live a different life.

Most of us tell ourself stories that we live by. Sometimes they’re positive and help us to thrive, (“I’m at my best when my back is up against the wall.”) but most of the time they are negative and stop us from developing or becoming who we are really meant to be. We have running commentaries in our head throughout most of our waking hours.  “I’m not good at technical stuff.” “I’m not a great reader.” “Classrooms and I never mix well.” ” I’m a shocking public speaker.” “I’m not pretty/good/smart/talented enough.” Sound familiar? Perhaps you have a few of your own?

I had a friend who used to tell me all the time that she was as dumb as bat sh*t! This woman was one of the smartest women I know. In many ways she was a professional mentor to me and I respected her knowledge and skill set immensely.

She worked in policy, had completed numerous degrees, including a Masters, and was highly regarded by the majority of the sector that she worked in. In fact, whenever there is a major state wide project being developed you will still usually find this amazing red head invited along as a critical “friend”.  But she didn’t see it. Mainly because she had been told she was dumb as bat sh*t for the first 5 years of her life, and that story had become an unchangeable fact for her. In many ways the story in her head hadn’t stopped her from doing some of the things she strived for, but in lots of ways it did. It became a brick fortress that prevented her from achieving some of her most precious dreams.

Many of us are the same. What we tell ourselves matters. What we tell ourselves changes the world we see around us. It changes our experience. If I think I am from a family that only ever has bad luck, then all I will see is the bad luck around me. And rather than thinking something along the lines of – well yeah, sometimes in life bad things happen – I will be convinced that as a member of this family all I should ever expect is bad luck.”

The weird thing is that the story that we tell ourselves, that we have convinced ourselves is an irrefutable fact, is a story that we were told when we were very young or one that we made up to make sense of the world around us; again when we were most likely as young as five years old.

When I was a little girl my mother heard me singing in the bedroom. She told me I was tone deaf and couldn’t sing a note in tune. Now perhaps my mother was tired that day, or she had a headache and just needed some peace and quiet. Perhaps she really did think I couldn’t sing and was trying to protect me from embarrassing myself. The truth is I actually can sing. I sing very well. However I have rarely sung in front of an audience, because the story in my head is that I am tone deaf. I have lived my life until now, not experiencing something that I actually love doing, because of a story that started in my head when I was six years old.

Think about it.

As an adult, how many behaviours do you still do in exactly the same way as you did when you were very young? Not many, right? Not because the things you did when you were little were necessarily bad. They just suited your age. You played very differently as a five year old, than you would today. You danced differently. You ate differently. You learnt in a different way. You had very different relationships. You probably even walked differently. And so we should! But now we are adults. We have grown up. We have learnt an enormous amount about living, loving, playing, growing, surviving and thriving!

So why are many of us living our lives to the tune of a story that we concocted when we were five years old?

Perhaps today is the day to challenge that story. Is it true? Do they hand out Master degrees to people who are dumb as bat sh*t? Hmmm, probably not. Was my mother a qualified singing teacher, or an ear doctor, that would know without a doubt that I was tone deaf? No, actually she wasn’t. And does bad luck happen to everyone at some stage in their life, or just my family? Hmmm…

Here’s the thing: That story is not a fact. It’s not true. It’s not even close. It just seems that way because you believe that it is true. But you can change what you believe, and you can change the story you tell yourself. You can replace your tired little story with something positive.

A long time ago I was told that I was stubborn. A stubborn little shit. Now I could have made a number of stories in my head about this one, but I really liked it. So the story I told myself was a positive one. I refuse to give up. It’s one of my best traits. I don’t give up on myself and I don’y give up on the people I love. Yes. I am a stubborn little shit and I do what it takes to get where I want to be. Yep, I am stubborn…and it’s fantastic!

So challenge your stories! Put that story under a spot light and work out if it’s really true! I’m not challenging the event that led up to the development of the story in your head. That’s different. The incident happened. It may have been good or bad. But it’s the story you told yourself from then on that has had the impact on your life. And the most amazing thing is that you can change that impact right now.

Write down the stories now – and challenge their integrity. When you uncover a fraud, then re-write the story that you are going to start telling yourself. “I am a smart, intelligent, wise woman with a wealth of knowledge to offer.” “I take my time learning new technical information, it may take me a bit longer, but I always work it out.”

Once your story changes into one that works for you positively, you will start to see a very different world around you. Because what you tell yourself changes what you see, which in turn changes your experience and the life you live.

Perhaps tonight you can read yourself a better bedtime story!

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A daring adventure

gothic charm school

Day 29

29th January 2014

‘Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.’ Helen Keller.

Sometimes I feel broken. I ache to come home, crawl into bed and stay there for a few years. Just to get up in the morning seems like an insurmountable effort. As if I’m unexpectedly being asked to climb Mount Everest. It’s all too much. Kill me now.

When I’m in the ‘black slump of doom’, it’s hard to imagine a better life, let alone a fantastic, extraordinary life. I’m surrounded by the darkness and I am quick to give into the whispers of destruction and negativity.

Until a slither of light sneaks through.

Because really the doom and gloom stuff gets seriously boring, pretty quickly. You know the feeling you get on a hot summers night when you’re caught up in the bed sheets, and you just can’t get comfortable? That’s the doom and gloom wearing thin. It’s not long before I realise that I’m feeling way too sorry for myself, and that lying in bed under the doona, with my feet caught up in the sheets, really isn’t going to change anything. It won’t fix me. If anything it will probably just make it worse.

I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a time and a place to crash out and feel a bit blah, but staying in that bed for too long is just a waste of your precious time. You are way more worthy than that. And as they say – there is nothing to gain by playing small.

So let’s say you are feeling a little bit broken. How do you get yourself out of the bed of doom? How do you stop playing small and find your inner spirit again?

Here’s a few ideas:

1. Get up

Honestly, nothing can change with you lying on your back, alone, under the doona. Nothing. You will just get more of the same. Doona, darkness, gloom, tissues, fear, doona, darkness, gloom…well you get the picture. Get up and wash your face, or have a shower, brush your teeth and make a drink. Whatever you do, DON’T turn on the television! It’s just full of more doom and gloom, and you don’t need to add it to your little mound of darkness!

2. Sit in the sun

People who know me will be laughing in shock. I’m not really a sun girl and usually tend to avoid it like the plague. But even I know what’s good for me. A little bit of sunshine or a bit of fresh air is good for your soul as well as your vitamin D levels. If it’s good weather in your corner of the world, find a spot to sit in the sun and breathe. Perhaps you have a beautiful garden where you can take off your shoes and sink your feet into the soft wet grass? Or a park you can walk to, that is close by? Maybe you have a balcony or a small courtyard that gives you a view of the street? Close your eyes and listen to the world around you. This is the world that you are very much a part of.

If it’s the middle of winter, perhaps you have a spot you can sit near a window with a view? Try to sit somewhere, where you can see the sky, and remember that there is a whole universe outside of your home. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket or shawl and reconnect with the world.

3. Breathe

Grab a lovely chair or a stool and sit for 15 minutes in the fresh air or near a window, just breathing. Breath in. Then breathe out. Re-connect with your body. Remember our friend Thich Nhat Hanh? Breathe in – now I am breathing in. Breathe out – now I am breathing out. Hey! You’re breathing! Not bad!

4. Tell yourself you are worthy

You may be a little bit broken at the moment, but this time will pass. You may be tired, sad, cross, whatever is happening right now, this time will pass. Because even though you are broken  -you are still good. Even though you are broken – you are still worthy of a daring adventure. You are still worthy of an extraordinary life. You are a majestic, beautiful, broken human being, and you are worthy and still good.

5. Remind yourself about the good stuff in your life and write it down!

Spend a good 15-30 minutes writing down what is good in your life. What are you grateful for? If this is an unexpected challenge, then start small. Perhaps you love the tea cup you drink out of every morning? Or maybe you are grateful for your mum who is always calling you to see how you are? Perhaps snuggling with your cat is the best thing in your life, or sinking into your partner’s hugs…

6. Make a promise to yourself

Once you’ve reminded yourself to be grateful for the good stuff in your life, it’s time to make a promise to yourself. Today you are going to make one promise and stick to it. You could promise yourself that you will accept who you are/ find something good and beautiful about yourself every day/seek the good in people around you/learn to breathe/get out of bed everyday/stand up for yourself/ teach people around you how to love you/write down one thing you love about yourself every day for 100 days… Whatever your promise, dare yourself to take on the adventure!

7. Find a totem

I love this idea. Gala Darling introduced it when she developed The Radical Self Love Project. Basically you want to find a totem that will remind you every moment of every day about your promise to yourself, and what you are trying to achieve for yourself. It can be anything! A necklace, a ring, a photo, a drawing… I have 3 different types of totems depending on what I am doing. If I am focussed on caring and compassion, I wear one of my heart necklaces. Some days it’s about focussing on my promise to follow my dream, so I pull out my butterflies. I have butterflies in my diary, on my notice board at work and around my computers. Most of the time though I wear my angel wings. My wings remind me why I am here on this earth and my promise to myself to live a life that is worthy, a life of integrity, that makes a difference to everyone I meet.  You can make your totem anything that is meaningful to you. Elephants, scarves, skulls, or stars. It can be anything! But make sure your totem is something that you can wear, or put in your wallet, or see all the time, reminding you to behave like the free spirit your were born to be and stay focussed on living your daring adventure!

So I’ll leave you with this today:

Getting Frank

Marco PIcaro

Marco PIcaro

DAY 28

28th January 2014

It’s a little surprising.

And I definitely didn’t consider that this would happen when I started the DBM project.

I thought I may be kinder, perhaps more considerate. I thought I could muster up some compassion. But I didn’t think that my life would start to shift in this way.

I am prepared to fight. I am prepared to fight with all my strength for the people I meet and for the people who are already in my life. I have this weird ‘this girl is on fire’ thing going on. It’s like I am suddenly prepared to fight for the human race, and do what I can to change people’s lives. Surprising.

Before this project I would put my case, or give my opinion but only if asked. And then I would step away. I didn’t think it was my place to say more. I didn’t think I should interfere.

But when you come from a place of wanting the best you can possibly muster for the person before you, then something shifts in both your heart and your head. Add a time limitation, such as hitting the dust before midnight, and the urgency to consolidate all of my energy and skills to change a perceived outcome is overwhelming. If I don’t say it, then who will? If I am not frank and honest, then who else will say the things that I can’t say? If I don’t fight for this human being, then who else will stand up? I will not go quietly into the night…

Now that’s not to say that I have started bossing everyone around and telling them how to live their lives. It’s more about teaching people to stand up for themselves. Identifying what their strengths are and building on these. Challenging their assumptions and the limitations that they have placed on themselves. Being brave and saying what need to be said.

You are what you believe you are, and if you can’t see that you are actually much more majestic that what you believe, then sometimes you need someone else who is brave enough to tell you. To hold up the mirror to your face and show you how to look at your reflection.

So in the past few weeks, my conversations have changed. I’m learning to be much more frank and open in my conversations, because this seems to lead to changes in people’s lives. It also seems to push people to stand up and fight for themselves.

Here’s the thing: To show someone all the compassion and care and kindness you can muster, you have to truly want the best for them. And sometimes that means fighting them…for them! It’s not just about doing something nice. It’s about being the difference for them, so they will in turn believe that they are worthy of a better outcome.

‘Everyone has an angel; a guardian who watches over us. We can’t know what form they’ll take. One day, an old man – the next day , a little girl. But don’t let appearances fool you – they can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet they’re not here to fight our battles, but to whisper from our heart. Reminding that it’s us. It’s every one of us who holds the power over the world we create.'(Sweet Pea, SUCKER PUNCH)

Share it forward Sunday

oops!

I’m a little late because we have had a public holiday here in Melbourne, Australia…complete with fireworks and BBQ’s and plenty of family get togethers and goings on!

I saw this video first on upworthy.com (who are awesome so check them out!), but the original was posted by zefrank1. Major props to this dude. The video is really cute, but also makes you think super hard about your the 28,835 days you have to live your life – depending on how old you are right now!

What will you do with that time?

(Okay…it also makes me want to eat some jelly beans!) Hope you love it!

A dark little story of self love

gothic_girl_204085

I’m a bit of a gothic girl at heart. When I was a little younger I used to raid my grandmother’s wardrobe. Thank the goddess that she was a hoarder. She had three bedrooms filled with wardrobes that in turn were filled with pristine dresses, coats and bags from the 1930’s and 40’s. It was a teenage gothic girls mothball heaven.

After watching me play dress ups in her bedroom for months, my grandmother finally relented and allowed me to choose a few of her treasures to keep. It was a defining moment in our relationship. I pretty much worshipped the ground she walked on from then until the day she left this incarnation.

I chose two soft fitted floral dresses, a jet black tailored coat and some accessories, that included gloves and a 1940’s handbag. When I matched them with jet black stockings and black lace up boots my mother thought I was crazy.

It was the middle of an Australian summer and here I was wrapped in tailored black, with a whisper of delicate deep green and blue floral fabric peeking through. My eyes are a deep blue, which back then I surrounded with plenty of black makeup and my hair of course was long, straight and a deep red.

I thought I looked elegant, mysterious and beautiful. My mother was confused. While my sister ran around in the 40+ degree heat in shorts and a t-shirt, I glided through the days like I had just stepped out of a Victorian Winter.

I loved myself back then. I loved how I looked, but most of all I was happy being me. This was who I was and it made me feel strong and confident about myself. It made me feel really good in my own skin. And even though there were very few people who dressed or behaved like I did, I felt incredibly happy to be me.

Over the years of course, I’ve had plenty of moments where this hasn’t stayed true. I have doubted myself, and been my own worst nightmare. There have been moments of despair, and moments where I have been so overwhelmed by my perception of the world that the only way to survive seemed to be to sink into a quiet numbness. But as Ram Dass says, “You can’t build joy on a feeling of self loathing.” You can’t create a life either. And you most definitely can’t live.

You either sink into a sickening depression, or you spend every minute of your life trying to please everyone to prove that you are good enough.

When you accept yourself and feel strong in your own skin; when you can love yourself and believe in your own beauty (not just physical beauty, but your inner beauty) then you not only change your own life, you breathe life into those around you.

Accept yourself. Believe in your heart that you are extraordinary, and as William James says “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

7 ways to love yourself and others

love

DAY TWENTY FIVE

25th January, 2014

My friends are in love. They have been in love for a long time, but they didn’t know it at first. There were many moments that they gravitated to each other, circled around and left. Some days they sat in the same room and got nothing done, because it was all talking and giggles. Other days they told themselves they needed to be serious in this world and both tried very hard, until they breathed the same air and moved a few centimetres closer to the warm energy of each other. One day they realised they were friends, best friends, and for months they stayed like that; two beautiful stars caught in each others orbit, but neither one sure what the next move would be.

It felt like it took a really long time, but now they are together. Now they look at each other and smile. Now they spin a web of contentment around us all, and it’s palpable. We all smile back at them. Excited and a little scared for them. But blissfully happy that they have found each other.

Most of us love a good love story. We get really excited for our family or friends when they find that special someone. Because love connects us. It makes us feel valued and precious. It connects us and gives a place where we belong. Not to mention how sex with someone we love, who loves us back, makes us feel pretty much drunk with pleasure…but lets keep this ‘G’ rated shall we?

It’s true, though, that before we can love someone else, or allow them to love us, we have to learn to love ourselves.

So here are some ideas for learning to love yourself (and others):

  1. Read Louise Hay’s ‘You Can Do It!” and follow the exercise on mirror work. It will help to to start loving who you are.
  2. Write down three things about who you are that you really love. Pop the list up on your wardrobe or bathroom mirror and add one more thing to the list every day for 30 days.
  3. Now go and ask your closest friends or family members to tell you two things they really love about you. Really listen to them, and look them in the eyes when they tell you what they love about you.
  4. Say thank you when people tell you awesome stuff about yourself. Don’t come back with something derogatory or negative like “oh, no, don’t be silly, I’m not beautiful.” Accept the complement and be generous and gracious back. Someone has just gone out on a limb to compliment you. Say thank you. That’s lovely of you to say that. I really appreciate you telling me that. or What a lovely compliment thank you…yep you are pretty gorgeous!
  5. Check yourself out! Yep, that may mean getting naked..or not. But take a look in the mirror for three things about yourself that are pretty awesome/beautiful/stunning! I’m sure that there are way more than three…but lets start there!
  6. Treat yourself and take a long bubble bath. Fill the bathroom with candles, put on some great music, throw in a bath bomb or bubble bath mix into the tub, and love your body! You are a seriously beautiful person. You deserve a bit of luxury and love.
  7. When you feel pretty good about who you are, pay it forward. Tell someone else. It could be a friend, a family member, a colleague, or your love. Tell them what you love about them. Tell them when they look beautiful/hot/sexy/cute. Tell the person that you love to hug and giggle with exactly how they make you feel – and do it with all of the love that you have for yourself and for them.

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
― Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower

Taking some time to live

coupla-quotes-13

DAY 24

Friday 24th January 2014

Taking Some Time To LIve

Today I decided to take some time to live

I left the bed unmade, the dishes in the sink, and the bleach on the bathroom floor

Today I decided to live

To feel the world swirl and dance around me

To look into the eyes of my friends and grin

I held the hand of my love, and kissed his lips

I lay on the floor, sinking into the soft carpet and listened to my favourite songs

Today I decided to remember joy

and I laughed until my stomach hurt and my eyes streamed with tears

I ate fruit fresh from the market and ice cream from the tub

I stood under the shower for a very long time

And let the hot water bless my body and cling to my skin

I breathed in the roses from my neighbours garden, allowed a spray of perfume cling to my skin

I drank cool wine from a teacup and watched the summer rain drench my potted herbs

Today I woke up

and saw the universe playing hide and seek between the sheets

and it took me a while to believe I could join in

Today I decided to choose to live

I danced in the kitchen with the baby and giggled

I remembered to love until my heart ached and i was dizzy with expectation

and I cried

I cried for the days that I had forgotten, for the days I had chosen to exist

But today I chose to live.

Carol Espinoza, 24th January, 2014

Thanking Kevin

thankyou

DAY 23

Thursday 23rd January, 2014

Kevin has been my doctor for over ten years now. When I first met him I had the flu. The real one, not a virus masquerading up the germ hierarchy ladder. This was the bonafide flu, complete with fainting, sweating and basically preparing to die.

Anyway, I stumbled into the clinic where he worked, hoping that they still bulk billed the medical fees and collapsed in his chair trying to stay conscious. Awesome. So far so good. Except when my vision cleared there was this extremely handsome, young (really, he could have been 17 he looked that young) Asian boy who talked a thousand miles an hour. When did high school kids start sitting their medical exams?

One of the things I liked right away was that Doctor Kevin explained everything that was going on in minute detail to me, albeit, very very quickly. I did have to ask him to repeat what he said a few times, not because he wasn’t fluent in English, but because an army of germs had camped out in my brain, and I could barely comprehend what was going on, let alone keep up with what he was saying.

Somehow Kevin understood my fevered rambling answers and gently rescued me with a shot of antibiotics and a script for half the store room contents of my local chemist. I lived and that was the first time Kevin saved my life.

Over the years Kevin became our family doctor, sorting, and treating through a myriad of infections, sore backs, broken bones, sick glands, un-discovered diseases, rashes, and the inevitable girl and boy stuff. As he has started to look a little older and his speech has slowed down, his wisdom and skill with doctoring has grown significantly. The result is that we trust Kevin implicitly and have faith that he will work hard and fight for our health and wellbeing.

Today I had to go in to see him about some annual tests. We had a bit of a giggle about all the free tests I was now eligible for given my age, and elevated risk factor status. Apparently as you get older there’s a higher chance of you dying…um…really?

Anyhoo, we talked about my sons as he printed off the freebie referrals, and booked in my next blood tests, (ah, don’t we all love a good blood test session with a vampire) and then he started to wrap the consultation up.

But I was on another mission.

“Actually Kevin, there’s one more thing.”

“”Oh, really I’m sorry…” He turned back to look at the computer screen to check that he hadn’t missed anything.

“No, you haven’t forgotten anything. I just wanted to say thank you.”

“Oh.” Kevin looked at me in shock. I realised then that perhaps Kevin doesn’t get thanked very often.

“Thank you so much for everything you have done for me and for my family. I know this is your job, but you are an amazing doctor and you have literally saved our lives on numerous occasions, and I just really wanted to say thank you.”

Doctor Kevin looked down at the floor and then looked up at me with an odd look on his face.

“It’s okay. It’s a pleasure.” Then he smiled.

I walked out feeling as if I had been thanked.

I have been thanking people a lot this week. I noticed that there are quite a few beautiful people in my life who support and care for me. So as part of the DBM mission, I added “thanking where possible” to my daily “to do” list. It’s not rocket science to genuinely thank the people in our lives who go out of their way to care for us. It is simple.

And you may be surprised at the bubbles of joy that endlessly pop inside you when you thank someone.

“Try a little harder to be a little better.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

How to make your dreams work!

Little_Gothic_Girl_by_krystal_kun

When I was in grade five I decided that I wanted a job. I was about ten years old and definitely way under the legal age to work. Although, on my side was the fact that it was the 1970’s and there were plenty of kids working in their family business. So I was pretty confident I could get a job if I tried really hard.

One day, after school, I noticed that one of the kids from school was working behind the counter in the local milk bar. This was very good news indeed, because this kid was not Greek, and the family that owned the milk bar was. They were hiring Australians! I was super excited, and after buying a massive bag of mixed lollies (about 10 cents worth) I dragged my little sister home to plan and plot. I was going to get a job in the milk bar as well.

The next morning I got up exceptionally early. I dressed up in my best party clothes and told my parents that I had to get to school early. I’m not sure if they wondered what I was dressed up for, but they did let me leave the house at 7.30 in the morning. I headed for the milk bar which sat opposite the main gate of the local state primary school. On the way I practiced what I would say: “Excuse me mister, can I please work for you?” I thought that sounded pretty convincing and so I quickly moved onto imagining getting the job, serving my friends after school, and the best part, getting free lollies of course!

When I got to the shop I walked in full of confidence and then the owner of the shop, a large Greek man, with black eyes and bushy dark eyebrows, came out into the shop and stood behind the counter smiling down at me. If he was shocked to see a little girl in his shop at 7.45am, dressed up in her finest, he didn’t let on.

“What can I get you sveetheart?”

I’m not sure what happened, but I froze. I opened my mouth to ask my well rehearsed question but it wouldn’t come out. I looked down at my patent leather shoes and frilly white socks and then looked up at the rows of lollies staring back at me through the glass cabinet.

“Um…just looking…” I looked intently at the jelly babies and gobstoppers, then moved down the glass case to stare at the chocolate covered cobbers.

After a few minutes the big friendly man shook his head and went out to the back of the shop. Over the next half an hour he came out to check on me. Was I alright? Did I need help to choose? How much money did I have? (I think that was more about being sure that I wasn’t planning a ten year old heist!) Every now and then his wife would come out to smile at me as well, nodding as if to encourage me to buy something or say something. But the longer I was there, the more I struggled to speak, and the more I struggled, the more I gave myself a hard time. Why did I ever think I could do this?  Why would they want to give me a job anyway, I couldn’t speak with them, how was I going to speak to their customers?

Before long everything about myself was wrong in my head and I was giving myself excuses about why this would never work. I was too busy at school anyway. I had to look after my little sister after school. I had red hair and freckles – I was too ugly to get a job. When a group of school kids bounded into the shop just before the school bell rang, I literally ran out the door. I was bitterly disappointed in myself and couldn’t understand what had gone wrong.

Years later of course, I can see clearly what happened.

I had a dream, an excellent goal. I had the opportunity and I was a fairly mature little girl, and pretty smart. But I was also quite shy and afraid to ask for help. I thought that I had to be able to do everything. I didn’t realise that it was ok to get support from other people. That you don’t need to do everything. I also didn’t break it down. I went from a vision of having a job one afternoon to thinking I could get that job the very next day. A bit like thinking you are going to put on hiking boots and climb Mount Everest without ever having done mountaineering before.

Now I’m not insane. I was just a little girl, and couldn’t have possibly known what I was doing to myself. I did my best. But I do see adults repeating this mistake over and over today.

We set a goal that we are extremely passionate about. We write it down and we put it up on our bedroom mirror and think positive thoughts…and nothing happens. Before long we get despondent. This will never happen. Why do I even think I deserve for this to happen. It’s too hard. I can’t, won’t, shouldn’t. I’m tired. I have other things to do that are way more important. I’ll do it tomorrow…next month…next year…

Sound familiar?

So let’s take a step back.

Definitely write down your living goal. And definitely put it somewhere you will look at it every day. Twice a day if you can. Or better yet, put it somewhere, where you can see it all of the time. If you can surround it with photos or pictures of your dream. Thinking of travelling to Europe? Then surround your goal with pictures of London, Tuscany and the Greek Islands!

Now you are going to do three things:

1.  Find two people who will support you. Tell them what your living goal is and ask them to help you. Also ask them to keep you accountable. Give them permission to ask you questions and not to let you get lazy or put your dream off until next year!

2.  Develop an action plan! Write down all of the steps you need to take and the tasks you need to accomplish to reach your goal. So for example, if you are going to Europe you will need to save money for the airline ticket, accommodation, day trips and spending money. Work out exactly how much you need and divide it up between now and the date you want to leave. Is this realistic? You may need to tweak your plans. Perhaps you can adjust your dates? Or change where you stay? Do this with all of your steps and tasks so you are really clear about what you need to accomplish to reach you goal. Put your Action Plan up next to your living goal, so you can see it every day as well.

3. For the next 30 days do one thing on your Action Plan. After 30 days you will have made some great progress and you will be able to see your dream becoming a reality.  Make sure you give yourself incentives every time you complete a task. Make a star chart on your monthly calendar, or every seven days do something small but special with your two support people. For example you could take a drive to the international airport and have a coffee while watching the planes take off, or you could go to a book shop and look at all of the travel books with your friends. Do something that is part of the theme of your goal, and will continue to inspire you to work hard towards achieving your dream.

And when 30 days is up, start another 30 days! Before you realise it you will be ticking off the last task or step on your Action Plan!

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face….You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Post script: When I was fourteen and nine months old I did eventually get my first job in a local Coles store. I was still a bit shy, so I got a bit of help from my father and my best friend. I worked there for just over a year, and like many of us I learnt so much, and gained a lot of skills and confidence in myself and never looked back.

Ten simple ways to make today the best day ever!

coffeemorning

Sometimes death (or in this instance the thought of death) can bring out the best in you.

When you are faced with your own mortality and the possibility that your time on earth is coming to a screeching halt, you are forced to focus on what really matters. What is really important in your life? You are kicked off the couch that you have been lounging back on for the past 20 years, and woken up with a few slaps across the head.

If you knew that today was your last 24 hours on earth, how would you spend it? In bed eating chocolate? Telling all of your friends what you really think about them? Giving something back to people who are struggling?

Here’s some ideas for that perfect last day:

1. Wake up early!

You have very few hours left…why are you wasting them in bed?

Get up and go for a walk. Take your dog! Greet the new day. How awesome is that morning sky? Breathe in some fresh air. Say hello to all of that cafe owner who is setting up early. Check out your amazing neighbourhood. If walking isn’t safe or just not physically possible, then get up and sit on your balcony or in your back yard. You can still be grateful for the day and take in the beautiful world around you.

2. Drown your cells in goodness!

Eat a damned good breakfast. Feed your body the nutrients that it is craving for. Make an sexy red juice, with carrots, apple, lemon, a fresh beetroot and a slice of fresh ginger! YUM! Or mix up some free range eggs and gluten free toast…layer up some parsley and throw in some fresh baby spinach. Remember to savour every bite.

3. Be grateful!

While you are eating breakfast, write down 5 things in your life that you are grateful for today. Perhaps it’s the home you live in, or your pet cat who wakes you up purring every morning. Maybe you are grateful for your a particular friend who always knows the right thing to say…It can be anything.

When you have finished put the list on your fridge door, or fold it up and pop it in your wallet, so you can look at it throughout the day, and add to the list.

4. Be determined to see the good!

Today you will seek out the goodness in the people and the universe around you. Be on the watch for kindness. Wait for beautiful moments. Hear the gentle and friendly words people say to each other. Notice the way people go out of their way to help and to contribute to the world around them. Believe me, you may be surprised how much good stuff has been bubbling away every day, under your very nose! Remember: We see what we want to see. So today, consciously choose to see the good!

5. Take a risk!

I’m not talking about walking across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope. Just a small risk at first. Really, what do you have to lose? It’s your last day…so go and speak to that person that you have always wanted to say hello to. Dance with your love in the supermarket. Better yet, buy them a big bunch of flowers and kiss them in the street! (Wild right?) Sing some songs for loose change on a city street corner. Give that public speaking gig a go. Join that one day art class, or meditation class, or tap class. Jump on a plane and take a mystery ride to another city. Perhaps you could write that letter to your local MP (Minister of parliament) about the issue that you are most passionate about. Learn how to say hello in Spanish and then test it out at the local Spanish cafe. Write down 5 small actions that you are a little scared of trying…then call up a friend and do them all together, one after the other.

6. Be your own news crew!

Document everything that you do today by filming or photographing yourself. Get other people to take photos of you. At the end of the day, you can look back at what you have achieved.

7. Take a break and eat some more!

This time take yourself somewhere special. It could be your favourite cafe or restaurant. Perhaps you have a friend or a family member who cooks up a storm. Maybe this is the time to have ‘high tea’ at a fancy hotel. You could dress up and invite a friend to take tea with you. Or perhaps its time to buy some really good Italian bread and yummy cheese, and have a picnic on your lounge room floor with a glass of wine and a good book. Remember to love your body and feed yourself well. Savour every bite and think about nourishing the hundreds of tiny cells that make up YOU.

8. Do something good that is out of the box!

This could be a game changer or it could be a small gesture. Go out of your way to make a difference in someone’s life. Instead of thinking that ‘somebody’ should do something to help that person, why don’t you do it? Why can’t you be the hero for the day? Or ‘pay it forward’?

9. Love someone. 

Now you may not have a partner or a love interest. This could be someone who is a friend or a family member. Most of us have someone we love in our lives. What would you want them to know if you only had a hand full of hours left? Tell them that you love them. Hug them. Kiss them. If you can’t physically see them, then pick up the phone or have a Skype session. Perhaps you could write a letter, or and email. Or make a beautiful card and leave them with a message about how much they impact on your life. Make sure that the people in your life know that they mean the world to you and you love them with all of your heart. Remember that they can’t read your mind. People need to be told. Besides its good for your soul as well as theirs.

10. Love yourself!

How odd that this is often one of the most difficult things to do. We are usually very practiced at not liking ourselves much at all. Most of us are very quick to point out what’s wrong. Our nose is too long, our thighs too fat, we have pimples, or frizzy hair, or we’re too skinny. Today do something different. Today take a good long look at yourself in the mirror and instead of focussing on what you hate, only see the good. If you are really struggling, perhaps you can treat it like a bit of a game. Find three things that are cute about your body. Maybe that’s your smile? Now find two things that are strong. Perhaps you have great calf muscles from walking? Now find one lovely thing that not many other people have. Now look at yourself and tell yourself out loud what makes you a beautiful person. How do you contribute in this world. Are you kind? Do you try to help people?  You don’t need to be perfect to be loved. In fact all of us are imperfect by our very nature. But we are still worthy of being loved, particularly by ourselves. Life is way to short to waste time hating ourselves!

At the end of the day…

So when you crawl into your bed at the end of today, think back on all that you have done, created or experienced. Of course it’s not your last day on earth today. You should have another 24 hours tomorrow. But how much more of an extraordinary life will you live if you experience every minute with all of the joy and energy you can muster? With an innate sense of scarcity and urgency. Your life may not be ending, but it’s true that you will never have this moment, or this day again. How wonderful to live a life that invests in every moment and every day knowing that it is a precious, once in a life time opportunity.

Truly then, you will live every day as if it’s the best day ever!

‘Wake at dawn with a winged heart, and give thanks for another day of loving.’ – Khalil Gibran