Archive for September 2012

A Real Life Redesign Story of Guts, Energy and Surrender

How one woman’s Good Life Crisis is changing lives, including her own!

When Serena Star Leonard quit her day job and redesigned her life, she really didn’t know what lay ahead.  At 26 she left her IT sales career behind to discover how to realise her passion for making a difference.

Johnny and Serena writing and editing en routeJohnny and Serena writing and editing en route

Fast forward 7 years and she’s now a best- selling author (How to Retire in 12 Months), blogger and business coach.  Currently travelling long term with her husband through Latin America, she’s having amazing adventures, filming mini documentaries and sharing stories of people all over the world who are making a difference to their communities.

In a ‘virtual fireside chat’ from Latin America, let’s go behind the scenes of Serena’s great life redesign.

What prompted you to follow your passion?

 

I had a safe, well paying job with a great future ahead of me – the problem was that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I had so much fear around the thought of the unknown that I was stuck. Meanwhile I created a charitable event on the side with some friends and it went ballistic!  A few days later I had the courage to leave my job and go out on my own.

It actually took me a couple of years to figure out what I wanted to do – so that was an intense time! I created lots of small businesses, charities, events and projects, many succeeded and many failed. I was over worked, over committed, flying by the seat of my pants and earning very little. But with all that going on, an amazing sense of freedom started to develop.

After a while I noticed that I loved helping people set up their own projects and businesses – as soon as I decided to be a business coach, everything fell into place. I had figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up!

You’ve helped many people to find and follow their passion.  What do you notice is different about people who make their dream a reality?

 

The difference is courage! The second you state your dream out loud, you risk failing. Everything about making a dream a reality comes with a risk that you might fail, so it takes a huge amount of courage to look possible failure in the face and carry on anyway.

What I love seeing is the moment when someone gets their first little taste of success. It could be the smallest thing, but at that moment they realise that the world is at their feet. You have no idea how big or exciting your journey could get, but you have to have the door open and that takes courage.

What’s a ‘Good Life Crisis’ and why should we all have one?

 

A “Good Life Crisis” happens when you have a minor freak out and realise that unless you take action, your life will end up being more of what it already is.

At that point people start to think about they want from life – and start designing their life rather than following status quo.

“Good Life Crises” seem to happen organically – either we are inspired by other people, or we are unfulfilled and look for change. Either way I think it is important at regular intervals in your life to take a good look at where you are at and decide if that is the direction you will continue to go in.

What three things do all ‘Good Life Crisis’ creators have in common?

 

1. Guts – it takes courage to change the course of your life. You are interrupting the flow that you have taken a lifetime to create, so naturally there will be some resistance in your head as well as in the world around you.

2. Energy – that moment when you choose to change things you also accept responsibility for how your life goes. It’s like the lights turn on! When you chase your dreams you find energy that you never knew you had. Life looks different and everything you do suddenly matters.

3. Surrender – after a while you start to surrender to the process rather than the outcome. You can do everything in your power to make something happen and it may succeed or fail. People who chase their dreams start to realise that the process or journey is what matters, more than the results.

You’re on a quest to find and share the stories of people who are making a real difference in their communities and the world.  What sparked the idea and purpose of Five Point Five and what types of stories are you seeking to share?

 

Well to cut a long story short – we were about to embark on 3 years of travel and adventure and rather than do the tourist thing we wanted to do something that had some meaning.

We saw an incredibly inspiring YouTube video about Narayanan Krishnan who feeds and cares for the destitute in India. In the video he says that “everyone has 5.5 litres of blood, everybody is the same”.

This had a huge impact on me – what if we could collect stories of all the inspiring people who are out there quietly dedicating their lives to making the world a better place?

Since we left in April we have spent time with kids in the slums in Colombia, with sex workers fighting for their basic rights in Nicaragua, with a turtle conservation program in Costa Rica, with women who collect plastic bags off the beaches and sew them into gorgeous bags to reduce pollution. Every week we meet new communities of amazing, inspiring people who are absolute heroes.

This is a total passion project and I get to mix adventurous world travel with intimate experiences with inspiring people and communities.

Johnny plays football with kids from a project in Columbia

 

Johnny plays football with kids fro a project in Columbia

Women sew plastic bags off beaches into beautiful things

 

 

 

 

Women sew plastic bags off beaches into beautiful things

Johnny gets help fixing the road at school

 

 

 

Johnny gets some help fixing the road at school

 

 

 

 

 

Serena in turtle conservation program in Costa Rica

 

 

 

 

How cool is that!

To find out more about Serena’s inspiring and interesting story, check out her blog.  If the idea of quitting your 9 – 5 job appeals, she’s also running a course in January to teach people how to build their first blog from scratch. http://www.retireyoung.com.au/the-retire-young-course/

Carpe diem!
Caroline Cameron

 

 

Are you too comfortable?

What happens when you stay bored for too longThe cure for boredom is to step outside your comfort zone

If you’ve ever felt like you’re dying of boredom, you’ll know how mind numbingly frustrating it can be.

The hours tick slowly by as you go through the motions and as time passes, life gets increasingly stale and monotonous.

Maybe you’ve been in the same job or industry for what feels like forever, doing pretty much the same thing, day in and day out.  Perhaps you’re in a stale relationship or you’ve lived in the same house and neighbourhood for years.  Boredom strikes and settles in when nothing changes.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a little boredom. It’s great for chilling out, recharging the batteries and taking the pressure off for a while.  That’s actually relaxation – a vital stress reliever we all need to create balance.

However, when you’re too comfortable for too long you can find yourself climbing the walls and longing for something even remotely exciting to happen. Many a mid-life crisis is triggered by boredom and complacency when we’re simply not aware of what’s really going on.

Prolonged comfort is an insidious trap – the longer you’re in it, the harder it is to break free.  With no sense of urgency and purpose, your motivation, desire and enthusiasm rapidly fall away.

No longer interesting or interested, you’re starving your need for growth and challenge of much needed oxygen.  Friends stop calling, loved ones stop talking and even if an exciting opportunity came your way, you’d probably miss it.

Excuses become reasons not to act as life and all it has to offer pass you by.

It’s time to leap outside your Comfort Zone!

Your comfort zone is a state of being that determines what you will and won’t do. Made up of concentric rings, the mental boundaries that keep you stuck or propel you forward are like a fence around each ring that encircles the stages of your life.  When you’re in it, you’re generally relaxed, which means you’re coasting along nowhere near the perimeter.  Comfortable – yes; challenged – probably not.

Your Comfort Zone

Gradually the tension to jump the fence increases alongside mounting boredom, dissatisfaction or desire.  Eventually the prospect of staying where you are is intolerable and the compulsion to move forward becomes irresistible. That’s when you know you’re ready to let go of the familiar and step into new experiences and challenges.

Pain vs pleasure, risk vs reward, tolerance vs desire

Most of us do far more to avoid pain than we do to move towards pleasure. If you burn your finger on a hot iron, you’ll quickly pull it away from the heat. This action is instinctive and necessary. Yet when offered the opportunity for pleasure, many people resist it thinking they don’t deserve it, can’t do it or haven’t earned it. This very basic instinct keeps our Gen D friends stuck in the life they have, not really happy but also not motivated enough to change it.

If you have a high risk tolerance, you’re more likely to take the leap of faith required to make a significant life change. However, if you’re strongly risk averse, naturally cautious or fearful, you may feel like a base jumper about to leap off a cliff without a parachute. Don’t worry, you’ll be okay! Remember, your comfort zone is all mental conditioning (what you tell yourself) and hence something you can control.

If prolonged boredom has given way to discomfort, that’s a good thing. It creates the motivation, focus and effort you’ll need to create change and redesign whatever part of your life is just not doing it for you. Problems are really opportunities in disguise. Likewise, if the catalyst for change is a positive one, your desire for a better life will motivate you to make the transition.

Making a fundamental change to the way you live will require a gigantic leap outside your comfort zone! However, you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone many times in the past and once you consciously recall how you did it, you’ll be well prepared to do it again, this time with even more experience.

Reclaim your Mojo!

If you suspect you may be just a tad too comfortable, decide now to quit tolerating whatever’s driving your boredom and ambivalence. Use it as the motivator to redesign whatever’s not working in your life and create what you truly want.  The Great Life Redesign includes a simple quiz to help you know for sure whether you’re ready for change.  It also offers some handy Comfort Zone Leaping Techniques to get you on your way.

Deciding to act right NOW rekindles your energy and desire for change! Imagine how much better your life will be when you actually take steps to redesign it.  All it takes is one step at time. Your life redesign will gather momentum and you won’t ever want to go back to boredom.

Watch what happens when you discover what you really want; inject new life into an old relationship or embark on something brand new and exciting.  It’s like opening a window, letting in the breeze and feeling alive all over again.

What are you going to stop tolerating and start doing to reclaim your mojo today?

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

 

 

PS.  Even if you’re not currently in the ‘too comfortable’ space, you may know someone who is.  Send them this post to get them off the couch and into action!