Archive for March 2012

How to keep going, no matter how big the challenge ….

When the going gets tough, the tough get going…

Resilience - the key to keeping going, no matter what

I turned on the news this morning to hear that two children have been killed in a house fire; the Sunshine Coast has been deluged by floods and the horrific Toulouse siege has ended with a dramatic shoot out.

Not for the first time I wondered, how on earth do those affected by disasters ever recover?

Closer to home, we all face times when we’d love to simply curl up in a ball and give up.  When it all seems too hard, shock, grief and overwhelm threaten to engulf us and it feels like we can’t go on.  Yet go on we must and there’s a lot we can learn from survivors who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and little by little get on with their lives.

Taken from your Thrival Kit, the secret to recovery is Resilience – a quiet, steely inner resource we all possess that moves you forward, one step at a time.  Whether you’re tackling a challenge that feels beyond you, recovering from personal tragedy or heading into unchartered waters, it’s something you’re going to need in bucket loads!

When things don’t go quite to plan, the unexpected happens and your commitment is sorely tested, it’s resilience that will get you out of bed in the morning and keep you going, no matter what.

Grounded in your values and beliefs, resilience is simply a way of being.  While you can’t touch it, you can certainly feel and see it.  Knowing its ingredients makes it easier to call on whenever you need it. Unlike a cake it doesn’t matter what order you mix these in.  There’s also no limit to how much of each you add – the more the better!

7 Simple Ways to Build Resilience

1. Perspective – things are never as bad as they seem.

Draw on past experience; be philosophical and look beyond what’s happening right now to see where this event sits in the bigger scheme of life.

2. Optimism – it will get better! 

The sun will continue to rise, the floodwaters will recede and the mop-up will happen.  Know that you will come through this, stronger and wiser for the experience.

3. Clarity about where you want to go from here

This includes knowledge and certainty about how a better future will be.  Imagine how great it will be when you’ve triumphed over the challenge.

4. Gritty Determination –  the power to stay on track, regardless of what threatens to overwhelm you

Bloody-mindedness, stubbornness and an ironclad belief that this will not get the better of you, determination will keep you firmly focused on the future.

5. Conservation – conserve your physical and emotional energy to keep going

Personal disaster and major change are insidiously draining.  You will feel tired and less energetic than when things are going well and it’s important to conserve your energy.  Consciously invest headspace, time and effort in anything that increases your energy.

6. Support and Friends – give you time-out, replacing loneliness with strength and kinship. 

This isn’t a time to be brave and stoic.  Reach out to those who can help you and lighten the load.  After all, when the tables are turned, you’ll be there for them.

7. Time – perspective’s cousin and resilience’s best friend. 

Think back to tragic events or major life changes you’ve endured and you’ll notice how things do eventually get better, one hour, day, month and year at a time.

But wait, there’s even a set of steak knives with resilience!  It’s cumulative (steadily building over each adverse event you experience) and will always be there to help you through future challenges.

As you set about overcoming a challenge or redesigning your life, keep your resilience topped up. It will get better and there’s nothing you can’t overcome.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron




PS – You actually have even more handy inner resources you can call on when the going gets tough.  To find out more, grab a copy of The Great Life Redesign.

Wouldn’t You Love an Extra Pair of Hands?

Less stress, more timean easy way to lower stress, reclaim your time and do more of what you love

Are you frantically juggling the many things you have to do, often wishing, “If only I had more time…?”  Now there’s a way and all you have to do is pick up the phone to make it happen.

I recently caught up with Abbie Allen, the founder of ifestyle Elements, a personal and corporate concierge service.  Abbie set up her company 8 years ago to provide practical support and relief for busy people juggling the everyday challenges of managing work and life.  With my passion for helping busy people thrive on the 21st century treadmill I wanted to know more.

Imagine having your very own personal assistant for life

A personal concierge can take care of all those tasks on your to-do list so you can focus on what’s most important to you.  For example:

  • Would you rather be at work or having to take a precious annual leave day to wait for the phone company?  A personal concierge will wait for the phone company and arrange all the details for you!
  • Would you rather be taking your kids to the zoo or dragging them to the supermarket? A personal concierge will trawl the supermarket aisles and pop into the baker and fruit & veg shop before delivering and unpacking it all for you!
  • Would you rather spend your lunch break catching up with a friend or researching the purchase of a new fridge? A personal concierge will not only research different fridge options for you and provide you with a detailed report, they can then arrange the purchase, delivery and removal of your old fridge.

Wow, imagine the relief of having your concierge take care of those tasks you’re dreading asking your mum, dad or a friend to help out with …  just this once, pleeease!

No job too big, small or unusual – all you have to do is ‘just ask’

Where in the past you may have employed a cleaner, gardener or babysitter, a personal concierge can take care of organising these and many other tasks and services for you.   Whether it’s grocery shopping, laundry pick up & delivery, pet care, home care when you’re away or general errand running, no request is too big, small or bizarre!

To discover the extent of what a personal concierge will do, I asked Abbie about the most ‘unusual request’ she’s received.  “I always find this a challenging question as it’s rare that we are surprised or stumped!” Some of the more unusual requests (all in a day’s work for Lifestyle Elements), include:

  • Arranging the delivery of turf lawn to a client’s children’s primary school
  • Organising a security guard for a 21st birthday party (a common request)
  • Delivering a bunch of flowers at the last minute on a Sunday evening in Adelaide for a client who was in the United States
  • Coordinating emergency carpet cleaning after a client’s garage was flooded
  • Taking a dog to the airport for an interstate flight.

Personal Concierge – a luxury or a necessity?

Far from being a luxury, clients who use Lifestyle Elements services see it as a life saver for managing their busy lives – a service they can’t live without. Abbie’s clients invest in her service because it improves the quality of their life, their family’s life, or their employees’ lives.

Many people actually save or earn more when they employ a personal concierge.  For example, a personal concierge will thoroughly research and shop for products helping their clients get better value and avoid ‘impulse buying’ because they simply don’t have time to shop around. By outsourcing many of the time consuming but necessary tasks to a personal concierge you free up considerable time, become more productive at work and potentially earn more.

More importantly, when you’re doing better things with your time – being with your family and friends, doing something you love, the value is priceless.  Add your hourly rate to the cost of each routine but necessary task you’re currently doing to see what it’s really costing you.

Help for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Not just for the rich and famous, a personal concierge provides a lifeline for just about anyone including executive couples, working families, single parents, business owners, family carers or people who travel a lot for work.  Lifestyle Element’s services are also offered through corporate programs to reduce stress and pressure and make life easier for employees.

Based in Adelaide, Lifestyle Elements work for clients all over the world.  They offer many of their services via phone and internet and are well connected to a global network of concierge providers who provide ‘on the ground’ services. Lifestyle Elements also offer gift vouchers, which is a wonderful way to help out a new mum, someone recovering from an illness or even a welcome birthday gift for a busy friend.

What to look for when you’re engaging a personal concierge.

Although Abbie welcomes enquiries from anyone, anywhere, she’s provided the following tips to find a safe, reliable and professional concierge service in your local area:

  1. Make sure they have relevant security checks, such as a police check.
  2. Ensure they hold relevant insurance such as public liability, professional indemnity and/or relevant motor vehicle insurance if they will be driving your vehicle
  3. Can they provide recommendations from clients?
  4. Are they flexible and willing to meet your needs?
  5. Do you and your family feel comfortable with them? Do they make an effort to get to know you? Do they like animals?
  6. Will you be able to communicate effectively with them to ensure your to-do list gets done?

So how does Abbie think this type of service is likely to change in the future?  “A personal concierge service will be used by households almost as much as a cleaner or gardener – an integral part of our everyday lives. I can’t see that life will slow down or the demands on our time will lessen. However, the way we spend time will greatly improve as more people experience personal concierge services.”

One of the keys to successfully redesigning your life is to build a great support team.  If ‘too busy’ has become a way of being for you, invite a personal concierge to become your extra pair of hands.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron



PS.  I'm not an affiliate of Lifestyle Elements and receive no payment for this endorsement. I approached Abbie for this blog because I think the personal concierge service is a great idea for busy people.

Abbie Allen founded Lifestyle Elements, a personal concierge service, in 2003 when she saw an ever increasing need to provide a practical service to support our busy lives. From errand running and pet care to travel bookings and event management, Lifestyle Elements is a modern response to the dilemma of not having enough time in the day. Abbie also delivers speeches and workshops in the areas of Work Life Balance, Time Management and Women in Business.