Archive for Life Redesign – Page 4

What Are You Waiting For?

Scene from Waiting for GodotHave you ever noticed how many people are waiting for xxxx before they do yyyy?  It almost seems like they’re 'on hold' until their children are older, they have more money, they’ve paid off the mortgage, their health is better….

Whatever the rationale, they’ve invented a perfectly good reason to defer what they truly desire.  Resigned to the belief that they can’t have what they want, they sit back and let life pass by. It’s kind of like Samuel Beckett's famous play Waiting for Godot, where the entire plot centres around Estragon, Pozzo and Vladimir who are waiting for someone who never arrives and something that never happens.

Sure you may need to be patient and bide your time but only for so long.  Success never came to anyone who was merely wishing, waiting and hoping for it to land in their lap.

What’s waiting really costing you?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of instant gratification!  This isn’t about seeing something you want and getting it now.  It is about having a dream and doing whatever you can to make it happen without excuses.  Challenge yourself and be honest.  Maybe the rational reasons you’re deferring your dream are really fear of failure excuses for not stepping up and making it happen.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you have any regrets right now? On the other hand, if you knew you couldn't fail, how different would that be?

Perhaps the true wake-up call comes when those you love tell you that your 'play it safe' risk aversion is dragging them down and holding them back.  Many relationships fail when one partner stays stuck while the other wants to spread their wings.

You do deserve it!

For over 20 years a friend of mine gave his beloved grandmother a beautiful cake of expensive French soap for Christmas.  A gentle and humble person, she opened her gift each year with genuine delight.  Although she knew what the gift was, her eyes lit up and she smiled as she deeply inhaled the soap’s beautiful perfume.  Every Christmas it was as if it was the first time she’d received such a lovely gift.  My friend smugly declared himself the ‘favourite grandson’.

This wonderful woman died peacefully at 82.  When my friend was helping his father pack up her belongings he opened a drawer in her dressing table and was stunned to find 25 cakes of carefully placed, unused French soap.  Slowly and sadly it dawned on him – his grandmother had never felt she deserved the beautiful soap enough to use it.

Many people deny themselves happiness because they feel they don’t deserve it.  So focused on feeling unworthy or where they’ve fallen short, they totally overlook the successes they've achieved and positive differences they’ve made to others along the way.   We all make mistakes and trip up from time to time but that’s no reason to not create a positive future.  Perhaps it's all the greater motivation to make the most of the life you have left.

Defining moments are great catalysts for change

You’ll always remember the moments that shape your life, taking it off on a new course.  For some it may be the birth of their first child; for others it could be divorce, a health scare, the death of a loved one or redundancy.  Whatever it is for you, a defining moment is one where you know without a shadow of doubt, that life from here on will be different.  Everything happens for a reason – you just might not realise what the reason is at the time. 

Zero birthdays (30, 40, 50 etc) are often times when we reflect on what we’ve achieved and try to create a crystal ball to determine what lies ahead. Even if it doesn’t smack you in the face, a gently dawning defining moment could also be the perfect excuse to redesign your life and take action now. 

The Great Life Redesign shares the true story of Steve’s chance meeting with a stranger at a railway station and how it set him off on an adventure that would see him walking the Kokoda Trail and many other exciting adventures. The message behind Steve’s story is that rather than looking for reasons not to do something, find just one reason to do it!

Whatever your defining moment, use it as a springboard to take a giant leap towards how you want life to be.  Your goals don’t need to be ambitious and grandiose – they simply need to be meaningful and compelling.

In the immortal words of Alfred De Souza who believed that happiness is a journey not a destination,

Work like you don't need money

Love like you've never been hurt

And dance like no one's watching.

So, when would now be a good time to stop waiting and step intentionally towards your dreams?  Go on, there's really nothing stopping you.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

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.

Slaying the Fear Dragon – how to stop fear dead in its tracks!

Slaying the Fear DragonFEAR – it’s the #1 blocker that stops us from creating change and achieving our potential. The mere mention of it strikes dread in our heartsand has us running in the opposite direction of our dreams and goals. Common fear feeders such as public speaking, risk taking, festering work conflict, phobias, worries and change we feel is being imposed on us can create terror in the most courageous of us all.

Yesterday I had a call from Jane, a smart, goal-oriented professional and mother of two. She has a high powered, fulfilling yet all-consuming job and is the main bread winner for her family. At 42 Jane wants to start her own home-based business. She’d love be more involved in the daily lives of her children and reduce the stress of constantly juggling work, family and life. She’s dreamt of starting her business for over 5 years and has great ideas about what it could do. With great business experience, commercial acumen, vision and drive there’s really nothing to stop her. Or is there…?

What’s really getting in her way is fear. Fear of failure (not an option for an otherwise successful high achiever), fear of it creating even more stress, fear of the unknown and fear that it wouldn’t bring in enough money quickly enough. I know what it’s like. When I left my safe, secure job with its regular pay cheque to set up my own business, I felt like I’d jumped out of a plane without a parachute! Without the familiar routine, support of work colleagues and no guarantee it would work, I was terrified. For the first few months I was free falling. Yet once my well laid plans kicked in and the business took off, I discovered how to pull the rip-chord which had been there all along.

If fear is the only thing standing between you and embracing a workplace change or pursuing a long-held dream (life redesign), relax and read on.

5 simple steps to slay the fear dragon, live your dream and sleep well at night.

#1. Name your fear

Fear is your body’s alert system that tells you something’s not right. However, it’s not fear itself that’s the problem. Identify what it is you’re scared of or worried about and give it a name. Better still, create a funny picture in your mind that represents your fear. You can even give it a silly voice (eg Donald Duck)! This helps you acknowledge the fear without engaging it.

#2. Cut your fear down to size

Pull out your sword and put it into perspective. In the same way that nightmares seem more scary in the dead of night, repressed fears have a tendency to multiply and expand to disastrous and catastrophic proportions. What’s the worst thing that will happen if this fear were to come true? Maybe it’s not as bad as you’ve been dreading.

#3. Plan B – your secret weapon

What would you do if the ‘worse’ thing were to happen? Committing to the action you would take is like taking out an insurance policy or applying a 5 star safety rating. It won’t make it happen but will ensure you’re well prepared if it did. Chapter 13 of The Great Life Redesign shares simple ways to create a Plan B.

#4 Outsmart the fear

Ask yourself a better question – if this fear wasn’t there what would be possible? What if it does work out just fine? The grass is always greener on the optimistic side. Shifting your focus to fearless possibilities will set you up divert your focus, thoughts, energy and action into making them real instead of indulging in fear.

#5 Be vigilant

You may have slayed the fear dragon this time but it can and will come back! Recognise it early and take action quickly. Ask yourself, ‘what’s this fear trying to tell me and what can I do to tame it right now?’ Remember you are always bigger than your fears and slaying them is within your power. Keep these Fear Dragon Slaying Steps in your Thrival Kit, call on your inner resources (courage, perspective, calm and foresight) to help out and you’ll never face a fear you can’t overcome. What fears have you overcome and how did you do it?

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

How to Make Redundancy the Best Thing Ever!

how to turn redundancy into your best opportunity yet

How to make redundancy the best thing that ever happened to you

“You’re kidding,” I hear you say. You’d seen it coming for months, it was only a matter of time. When you’re sitting in front of your boss hearing the words, “I’m sorry, we have to let you go,” the reality is you’ve been sacked and lost your job.

Everything familiar has just evaporated – security, certainty, self confidence, your work, your work friends and the regular pay packet have all evaporated.

Before you sink into the depths of despair, fear and self-doubt, press pause….

As you move past the shock and potential anger, you’re actually at a crossroads with two choices:

  • Be a Victim – allow your self-confidence to nose-dive; hang onto anger and fear and wait for your next job to find you. Often at the mercy of outplacement or recruitment agencies, you wait for the phone to ring and eventually can’t even be bothered getting out of bed in the morning.

or ….

  • Reinvent Yourself!  What if this was the best thing that ever happened to you? Rather than being the end of the world, maybe this is the start of your real life, where you are the master of your own destiny.  How about standing out from the crowd and using it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be who you really are and do what you’ve always dreamt of doing?

Redundancy provides space to take stock of what’s important, identify how you want to live and work and go for it! Even if your redundancy package was less than generous, there are many ways to redesign your life,  do what you want, where you want and love it.

Still not sure?  Before you put a tentative toe in the life redesign water, consider the realities:

Redundancy Realities

1. You are now competing for a shrinking number of jobs against many others who have also been made redundant.

2. Even if you are lucky enough to get another job quickly, there are no guarantees of job security in the current economic climate – you could be made redundant again.

3. To get more work quickly, many fear driven people take the first job that comes along, without considering it carefully.  While it may provide a regular pay packet, the new job could be worse than the one you’ve just left and you’re trapped. Better to have a lousy job than no job at all, right? Wrong!

Once the first 6 weeks of a new job have passed, you’re often left with that sinking feeling that you’ve jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Now you’re really stuck doing something you simply don’t enjoy.

4. Redundancy no longer has a negative stigma.  It happens to the best people in many professions and is often outside your control.  If it isn’t a problem for you, it won’t be for potential future employers.  In fact many of my clients have successfully negotiated a redundancy to create the financial means and time required for a complete career change.

How to Get Back on Track and Find a Job You Love

Before you join the ever-increasing queue frantically updating your CV, shooting off hundreds of futile emails to recruiters, networking old contacts or surfing Seek and CareerOne, take a few moments to ask yourself:

1. What am I passionate about – what’s important and what do I truly care about?

2. If money wasn’t an issue and I had no fear, what would I really love to do?

3. What would that give me that I don’t have today?

4. What skills, talents and knowledge do I have that I could use and develop?

5. What skills, experience and knowledge would I need for my ideal career?

6. Given the choice of where and how would I like to live, what would I choose?

7. What would it take to turn the possibility into a reality?

The prospect of redesigning your career and life may feel concurrently exciting and daunting.  If so, feel the fear, take a deep breath and grab that pink slip!

Life’s too short to be stuck in a rut and there’s never been a better time to take the plunge into doing something you’ll love.

If you’ve been made redundant and converted it into the best thing that ever happened to you, I’d love to hear your experience.  Please share your story and tips in a comment below.

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron