Archive for Success

Oops! My 2012 Epic Failures and why they’re important

Oops! Epic Failures and why they're important

Don’t get me wrong. 2012 has been a terrific year with lots of highlights, successes and good times.  But as I look back, it dawned on me that I’ve learnt far more from the goals that didn’t stick, things that didn’t happen and the stuff that I basically, well… stuffed up!

So here are some of my biggest stuff ups for this year, along with the wisdom I’ve gained to take into 2013 and beyond.

1. Don’t commit to something that conflicts with your values

When The Great Life Redesign was published early this year, I thought it would be kind of cool to make it a best seller.  Not knowing how to do this, I invested countless hours and a lot of money in a coaching program that guaranteed to make my book a best seller on Amazon.

I did all the work and was ready to launch my campaign when I hit a roadblock.  The campaign required me to email thousands of potential sponsors (none of whom I knew) to ask for their support.   Feeling this was somewhat like spam, I uncomfortably realised it directly conflicted with my ethics and integrity.

2. When it doesn’t feel right, remind yourself of your true intent and walk away.

In spite of the considerable time and money already spent, I decided to stop the project and put my flawed aspiration down to experience.  After all, when I wrote the book, I decided that if it helped just one person to change the life they have for the one they want, I’d be happy.

Based on the heart-warming feedback I’ve received and wonderful new clients who’ve found me via the book, I know I’m on my way to fulfilling my true intent.

3. When life deals you an unexpected blow, suck it up and deal with it!

In September I took my mum and daughter on a wonderful holiday to the UK and Europe.  Laura had always wanted to go to Paris but as we went to board the Eurostar at Kings Cross Station in London we were stopped by my sheer carelessness.  Searching for my travel wallet (with passport and Euros) I started to panic as I realised it was gone!

Somehow it had been carefully lifted out of my bag when I wasn’t looking. Though the sight of my suitcase contents strewn all over the crowded platform would have looked hilarious, if you’ve ever been separated from your passport whilst traveling overseas, you’ll know how hard my heart was thumping.

4. Perspective, composure and focus will always save the day

Panic turned to anger and remorse as I realised this was going to ruin our holiday and Laura’s Paris dream. Fortunately her instant calm and rational nature helped me accept what had happened and refocus on the business of replacing the passport.  24 hours and many exasperating conversations with policy bound bureaucrats later, I was issued with a new passport and we were soon on our way.

With the benefit of hindsight, I’ll now be a lot more vigilant and when bad stuff happens, I’ll be quicker to put it into perspective, faster to regain composure and divert my energy into solution focus rather than remorse.

5. Know when to say ‘no’, before you’ve said ‘yes’

2012 took off at break neck speed for me and showed no signs of slowing down. My business was doing well and soon each week was passing in a blur. Every new client or piece of work on its own seemed ‘do-able’ but I failed to recognise and decide just how much I could realistically take on.

Before I knew it I was completely over-committed and my life had taken on one of those scenes in a Greek restaurant where the waiter cleverly spins many plates on long sticks, all at the same time.  My family, friends and non-work priorities all took a back seat as I attempted to keep all my plates in the air!

Ironically, The Great Life Redesign is all about stepping off the 21st century treadmill to enjoy a happier, slower, more fulfilling life.  Yet here I was falling into the very trap I help people escape.

As 2013 rapidly approaches, I’m committing to be kinder to myself with fewer goals and priorities, a wall planner I’ll review before I say ‘yes’,  a slower pace and more care. Oh, and I’ll also deliberately pack intuition, wisdom and perspective in my Thrival Kit to take with me, everywhere I go!

So… now I’m wondering, what ‘epic failures’ did you have in 2012?

What did you learn from them and what will you take with you into the brand new year?

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

The 5 Worst Job Change Bloopers – how not to get a new job!

Plus 5 simple ways to find a job you’ll love.

Job change bloopers and how to aboid them

Whether it’s a through an epiphany or a gradually dawning realisation, one day you realise you just don’t want to go into work, ever again.  Every job has a ‘use by’ date, when the effort you put in no longer equals the satisfaction you gain from it.

Regardless of how or when you confront the reality that this job is no longer for you, it creates a whole new challenge – how to find a new one you’ll love. In the current economy this may seem somewhat idealistic. But before you take the first thing that comes along that vaguely fits your skills and experience, it’s wise to be aware of the traps and pitfalls of changing jobs.

By simply avoiding these new job search mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to securing something that ticks all your boxes.

1.       Jumping out of the frying pan into the fire

I know, if things are really bad, it’s tempting to quit as quickly as you can.  Anything else would be better, right?  Wrong!  At best you’ll gain temporary relief knowing you’ve got a regular income.  At worst, it could turn out to be even more diabolical than the job you had.

While this may be somewhat melodramatic, I’m often amazed how many people contact me for career coaching within 6 months of starting a new role.  This usually happens when they’ve committed the following job change blooper!

2.       Relying mostly on recruiters, online job sites and a generic CV

In the same way that real estate agents are acting for the vendor, so too are recruiters and online job sites.  Their job is to provide a short-list of the most suitable candidates to the employer and given the volume of applicants for many roles, they do this quickly and ruthlessly.

If your CV is simply a laundry list of past jobs and doesn’t spell out how and why you’re a perfect fit for the role, it will quickly end up on the ‘no’ list.  Your application and CV have only one job – to get you an interview. If you haven’t taken the time to carefully match your experience, skills and achievements to the advertised role, you won’t even get a look in.

3.       Being vague about what you want and can do

This one’s a common trap, particularly if you’ve been in the same role with the same organisation for a long time.  It often seems easier to talk about what you’ve done in the past because it’s familiar but remember, there’s a reason why this type of work has reached its use by date for you!

Lack of clarity about what you’d really like to do and are capable of will create self-doubt that festers and grows. Before you know it, you’ll be six months into your job search but no closer to getting the job you want.

Many of your skills and past experience will be transferable but if you can’t join the dots between what you’ve done and what else you could do, you’re seriously limiting your options.

4.       Wishing, Waiting and Hoping for the dream job to come to you

Reality check – no one cares more about getting you the best possible job than you do.  Firing off 50+ applications and sitting back waiting for the phone to ring is a sure-fire way to go nuts! While I’m sure you wouldn’t do that, let’s save a lot of time and angst by ruling this strategy out now.

If your options, strategy and job search net aren’t wide enough, chances are you’ll be stuck in your dead end job or unemployed for a very long time.

5.       Losing heart, patience and confidence

Once you lose belief in yourself, so too will everyone else you approach for a new job.  I once interviewed a candidate for a role who looked fine on paper.  Within 5 minutes of starting the interview it was obvious that he had no faith in himself to do the job.

Sadly, he was unsuccessful because while he’d prepared for the technical parts of the interview, he froze and then stumbled when asked how he’d take on responsibilities for which he had no prior experience.  What he didn’t realise was that I wasn’t looking for an expert, rather someone who was prepared to learn.  “I don’t know…” just doesn’t cut it as a response to an interview question!

Likewise, getting the job you want isn’t likely to happen overnight.  These days it can realistically take months and sometimes years and it’s important to do whatever you need to do to stay focused and confident.

5 Simple Job Change Success Strategies

1. Take time out to step back, gain perspective and consider all your options.

Ask others what they see that you can’t.

 

2. Make a list of everyone you know who could help.

Reconnect, schedule a catch-up and discover who they know who could use your skills.

 

3. Get crystal clear about what you do best and want to do next.

Review your career highlights and identify what it was about them you most enjoyed.

 

4. Identify your transferable skills.

Research all the possible ways you could use your favourite skills more often and be prepared to be flexible.  Create an action plan to target preferred organisations and industries.

 

5.Become your own best advocate! 

Take accountability for your career and do everything you can to make yourself irresistible to your dream employer.  This could include volunteering to gain more experience, asking for professional help or teeing up a buddy who’ll keep you focused on doing whatever it takes.

Fortunately, the most common mistakes job hunters make are all avoidable. With commitment, a positive attitude and a strong support team, you’ll soon be doing your best work and loving it.

For more tips and ideas on how to discover what job you’d love to do and how to get it, check out The Great Life Redesign – change how you work, live how you dream and make it happen today.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

If Only I’d Known That Back Then…

Top 12 Life Lessons to replace struggle with ease

Life Lessons_If Only I'd Known THAT Back When...

Ahhh, hindsight – it’s a beautiful thing!  One of the best parts of growing older is the wisdom that comes with life experience. Like many wide-eyed 18 year olds, I launched into my adult life full of expectation, enthusiasm, energy and more than a little naivety.

10 major career and countless life changes later, only the naivety has gone and curiously, I learn much more quickly these days!

Whenever I gain a blinding new insight or learn a new skill, I find myself thinking, ‘if only I’d known that back when I was …[insert life struggle]’.

So here are my Top 12 Life Lessons shared to make your life easier:

  1. Every question has an answer and every problem a solution

Once you believe this, you’ll never be stuck again!  Even ‘do nothing’ or ‘do it later’ are solutions.  If you don’t know, someone else will – it’s just a matter of reaching out and asking.

  1. You can’t hang your star of happiness on someone else’s tree

In the same way we hang decorations on a Christmas Tree, we often abdicate the responsibility for our happiness to someone else. If you’re waiting for someone else to make you happy, you could be waiting a long time.  Be happy with and for people, not because of them.

  1. The best lessons come from the toughest stuff

While I’d not have chosen some of the challenges life has sent my way, I am grateful for what I learnt from them.  We never really know what we’re capable of until we’re tested.  Remember, when you’re going through a rough patch, you’re quietly building courage, resilience and confidence – inner resources you can call on anytime.

  1. This too will pass

The best thing about tough times is that they don’t last forever.  When the clouds part to let the sunshine in, leave the pain behind and take the lessons with you.  The greatest of times are often momentary too so embrace them for all they give you and cherish the memories.

  1. You always have a choice

Wow!  This is so simple and yet I only figured it out a few years back.  Once you adopt this one, you can wipe out self doubt.  We may not be able to control the events in our lives but we always have a choice about what meaning to put on them.

  1. Other people aren’t right or wrong – they’re just different

When someone annoys or disappoints us, chances are they’re pressing one of our core value buttons. Even though they may claim to hold the same values as you (eg integrity, respect, loyalty or achievement), their actions and words may appear to be incongruent. All that’s happening is they’re putting a different meaning on that value.  Neither right or wrong, it just is.

Respecting others beliefs and values doesn’t mean you have to compromise your own so there’s nothing to fear or protect.

  1. Everyone’s doing the best they can with what they’ve got – save judgement for something that needs it

No one sets out to do the wrong thing intentionally. The action or words may not be right by your personal principles but judgement won’t change them.  It merely leaves you frustrated, angry, drained and helpless.

Focusing on the behaviour rather than the person (play the ball, rather than the man) fosters acceptance, maintains perspective and keeps your emotional energy and powder dry for something that really does matter.

  1. Do something good for someone else every day, expecting nothing in return

The world and everyone in it owe you nothing!  Doing something selfless feels great because you know you’ve made a difference without expecting it to be reciprocated.  Being generous in all you say and do costs very little and has the potential to be profound.

It costs nothing to smile, appreciate and deliver a random act of kindness. Life is karmic and one day someone will do something incredibly generous for you.

  1. History never repeats and the past is never the future

Thank goodness!  Historical scars and baggage can hold us back from trying something new.  Circumstances and you have changed.  As you attempt something you’ve failed at in the past, remember you are now wiser and better prepared.

  1. Regret, guilt and self-doubt are futile

Seriously, if I had a dollar for all the time, head space and energy I’ve invested in negative emotions in the past, I’d be rich!  There is nothing to be gained for anyone, least of all you, by rehashing the past and beating yourself up.

Accept that you did the best you could under the circumstances and let it go.

  1. Every day is a brand new sheet of paper – write on it whatever you like!

No matter how bad yesterday was or how uncertain tomorrow looks, today is a brand new one. Only take with you that which is useful and decide how you want to live this one day.

Isn’t it great that we get to start over every 24 hours?

  1. Be the best version of yourself you can be, always.

Trying to be someone you’re not to live up to others’ expectations, is exhausting! Living your best life means being you to the best of your ability. You know when you’re being truly authentic when there’s no internal conflict going on, no matter what.  Rather than wrestling your demons, make peace with them and accept yourself for who you are.

After all, there’s only one amazing, talented, beautiful, wonderful you!

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

PS. The Great Life Redesign has more Pearls of Wisdom to help you replace struggle with ease.

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!

The Workstation Warrior’s Guide to Freedom

Had a bad day at the office?

The Workstation Warrior's Guide to FreedomAs a child, when someone asked you “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, it’s unlikely you would have said, “Oh, I’d love to spend my days in a small, beige laminate 3 x 3 space with my very own lockable cabinet.”

Yet many of us do and regardless of whether you’re doing a job you enjoy or not, your work space has the power to suck the very life out of you! Arriving early, you boot up your computer and wander round to the kitchen to let your sandwich hang out in the fridge with mouldy lunches long forgotten.

By the time you’ve trawled through the sea of red emails crowding your inbox (that appeared seemingly out of nowhere overnight), it’s time for a heart starter coffee.

Grabbing your regular coffee buddy you make your way to the usual cafe. While your skinny latte’s making its way into a polystyrene cup, you shoot the breeze with the other workstation warriors you see most mornings.

Back at your cubicle, you try to get your head into that report you’ve been writing for days. Just as you’re starting to make progress, it’s time for an important meeting. (Oh joy, another hour of your life to be wasted in a windowless meeting room, listening to endless discussions about who knows what.) You look interested whilst pondering how to make it across the road to your next back to back meeting on time.

After downing your lunch at your beloved workstation and catching up on the latest online news or Facebook goss, it’s time to do battle with those now even more out of control emails. (Doesn’t anyone pick up the phone or get off their bottom and come round to talk anymore?) By 2pm it feels like you’ve spent more time looking for things than getting them done.

An urgent request to prepare slides for your boss’ presentation to the board tomorrow suddenly shoves everything else onto the backburner. Yes, it was scheduled 3 weeks ago, but for some reason it slipped his mind and now it’s up to you to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. And if he could have the preso by 5pm so he’s got time to read it over, that would be great thanks.

By the time you head out the door to battle the peak hour traffic, you’re exhausted.  You’re racing to pick up the children and you’ve no idea what’s for dinner! Somehow none of this was part of the plan when you started your career and surely there’s more to life…

Sound familiar? Read on!

These Workplace Warrior Survival Tips will make life bearable while you hatch your freedom plan.

#1. Take Control of Your Space

Make time to clean up your workstation and ruthlessly biff anything you no longer need. Keeping your physical space uncluttered goes a long way to regaining your overall sense of control and freedom.  Within the boundaries of your work place, personalise your workstation or desktop with images that inspire, amuse and motivate you.

#2. Schedule Self Appointments for the Important Stuff

Given how much our workdays are dictated by electronic calendar invites, I’m constantly surprised how few people book an appointment with themselves to get the real work done.  Block out Real Work Time, get your head down and instantly feel more fulfilled by what you are able to get done.  If you need to work uninterrupted, book a meeting room or work from home, disappear and focus on the task at hand.

#3. Decide what Meetings You Really Must Attend

The ‘need to be needed’ and ‘in the know’ drives many people to attend meetings they can neither learn from nor contribute anything meaningful to.  If the meeting invite doesn’t state a clear purpose nor included an outcome oriented agenda, politely decline and reclaim productive hours back into your week.  If the outcome of the meeting you declined is important, you’ll find out about it one way or another.

#4 . Get Out at Lunchtime

The work will always be there and heroically downing your sandwich with one hand whilst answering emails with the other, won’t get it done any quicker. Research shows that those who clear their heads with a brisk walk or go for a run during their lunch break, are significantly more productive in the afternoon. Use the headspace time to regroup or decide what you’re going to cook for dinner!

#5. Plan Your Great Escape

If your current job isn’t remotely linked to what you really want to do, it’s time for a change. Decide what your dream work looks, sounds and feels like.  Find out what it involves and research the options. Create a plan to bridge the gap between now and your ideal future. (The Great Life Redesign provides a simple blueprint to make this easy).

#6. Change How You Look at Things

Once your Great Life Redesign vision and plan are crystal clear, the work you’re doing now becomes your ticket to freedom! Having clearly decided your future, your current role becomes a necessary, temporary transition job, rather than your life’s work. When each day is deliberately bringing you a step closer to your dream, today’s job takes on a whole new meaning.

Better still, when you’ve packed your Thrival Kit with resilience, perspective, courage and success, each day becomes noticeably easier.

Life’s too short to be chained to a workstation merely marking time to pay the bills.  Focus on what you really want, play to your strengths by doing more of what you love and do well.

Plan your escape and enjoy each day as it comes.

Do you have a favourite workplace survival tip that gives you more freedom?  If so, please share, I’d love to hear it.

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

Defining Moments – How to Jumpstart Your Next Big Thing

Sometimes we need a darn good excuse to create necessary changes in our lives! 

Have you ever tried to start a car with a completely flat battery?  No matter how often you turn the key and pump the accelerator, nothing happens.  With sheer frustration you know you’ll have to do something different to get it going.  You take out the jumper leads, attach one end to the dead battery, the other to a healthy car battery and try again.  Miraculously the engine splutters to life and with a few good revs you’re away.

Defining Moments - the key to jumpstarting life redesigns

This is exactly how it is when you’re bogged down and can’t see a way out. We all have dreams and aspirations of things we’d like to achieve if only….  Yet for all sorts of reasons we procrastinate and put it off, waiting for a better time to do what it takes.

Maybe you’re waiting until you’ve got more time, more money or the children have left home.  Perhaps your job or partner provide convenient excuses that let you off the hook so you don’t feel compelled to even start your next big thing.  What’s more, if you don’t even start, you can’t fail and we often go to great lengths to avoid failure. 

Yet, if you wait until everything in your life is ‘just right’, you may have missed the window of opportunity.  Putting off until tomorrow that which can be started today will only prolong your frustration, dissatisfaction and discontent. Regret becomes an inevitable outcome.

If this sounds like you, then look no further.  What you need is a ‘defining moment’ – something that converts your dream into a goal – one that you’re so compelled to achieve nothing can stand in your way.  What your dream needs is a ‘defining moment jumpstart’.

What’s a Defining Moment?

Defining moments are life redesign triggers.  They are catalysts that create change, breathing life into your idea and energy into your motivation.

Defining moments can be profound events that simply happen.  Remember that moment when you locked eyes across a crowded room with that one person you knew would change your life?   Serendipity, karma and pure chance create these encounters, often when you need them most.

Defining moments can be good or bad – either way you know that life will never be the same from this moment on. These include life milestones such as finishing school. Life unavoidably changes following the birth of a child, the death of a loved one or the argument that ended a toxic relationship.  These all mark the end of a chapter of your life and start of a new one.  When these events are seemingly bad, we reject them with every ounce of our being until we can no longer ignore the reality that they happened.

Defining moments often happen instantaneously.  Receiving the news that you’ve been successful in a job interview for that role you really want provides a moment in time where you look forward to the future with excitement. Although your fingers were crossed and you desperately hoped you’d get the job, there were no guarantees and you didn’t want to get your hopes up.  Often triggered by contrived serendipity, the law of attraction often creates these defining moments.

Defining moments can take on a ‘slow burn’.  When the seed of an idea is planted by a seemingly inconsequential event, it grows and grows until it can no longer be ignored.  This is what happened to Steve after a chance encounter with an elderly stranger on a railway station lead to numerous adventure travels. (You can read Steve’s story in The Great Life Redesign).

How to Recognize and Use Defining Moments to Get Going

  1. Look back on your life and make a list of all the major changes that have occurred along the way.  Notice what the particular defining moment was for each event and why that was the catalyst that set a string of future events in motion.
  1. Once you’ve got a long list, take stock of your life right now.  What needs to change?  What would you like to change, if only you could?
  1. Identify recent events that may provide the ideal reason to create your desired change.
  1. Where something else needs to happen to clear the way for your dream, work out what three steps you need to take and take the first one.
  1. Tell people!  Once you’ve got your perfectly good reason lined up, use it to explain why you’re making this change. 
  1. Now you’ve jumpstarted you’re next big thing, don’t look back.  Focus on the future, keep your foot on the accelerator and do whatever it takes to redesign your life, knowing it all started with that one defining moment.

Have you ever had a ‘defining moment’ – something that changed your life forever?  Share it here on our Great Life Redesign Facebook page or in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it and who knows, you may inspire someone else to take that first step.

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

The Easy Way to Beat Procrastination, Banish Excuses and Live Your Dream

A simple, no cost way to ‘bite the bullet’

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single stepHave you ever noticed how easy it is to err on the side of caution?  Major life redesigns often come weighed down with endless research, heavy decisions and bucket loads of fear.  Before long, you’re over-thinking your idea, losing sleep and worrying about everything that could go wrong.

While caution is admirable and keeps us from making rash decisions, it’s often fuelled by procrastination and excuses.  We quickly come up with a thousand reasons not to make the change rather than focusing on the one really good reason to do it!

Here’s what I often hear from those contemplating changing jobs, finishing a long relationship, beginning a new one, moving to a new location, traveling the world or simply starting a project that will realize a dream:

  • I can’t afford it…
  • We have to wait until…
  • What if something terrible happens…
  • What if it fails…
  • I don’t have time…
  • I don’t know how…
  • I’m too old/not old enough…
  • I’d feel guilty if I …

If any of these strike a chord, don’t despair!  You can get moving right now and feel the freedom and fulfillment of achieving your goal.  Here’s the quick fix:

7 Simple Steps to Stop Procrastinating and Get Moving

  1. Take the first step

Overwhelm is often the very thing that stops change dead in its tracks.  Acknowledge that ‘eating the whole elephant in a single bite’ is a sure-fire way to fail and simply take one step.  What’s the one thing you can do right now that will bring you closer to your goal?

  1. Pick up the phone

Lack of knowledge, information and resources will halt progress on the smallest of goals.  It’s so easy to crawl around the internet for hours and still be none the wiser.  Decide what you need to know and pick up the phone to someone who can help you.  If they can’t, they’ll probably know someone who can.

  1. Choose what not to do

Whilst ‘fluffing’ (filling your days with lots of insignificant tasks) creates an air of importance and busyness, it also provides a smokescreen of avoidance.  Major life changes require time to think, as well as create and do.  What could you stop doing right now to free up your time and headspace?

  1. Set a procrastination time limit

This tip came from a friend who noticed my occasional writer’s block frustration whilst writing The Great Life Redesign.  In spite of the publisher’s looming manuscript completion deadline, whenever I got ‘stuck’ on a particular chapter, I distracted myself by doing other seemingly important things.

“Oh,” she said, “that’s easy! Set yourself a procrastination time limit.”  Sure enough, I set the microwave timer, revelled in the delicious, guilt free bliss of doing nothing and as soon as the buzzer went off, got straight back to work.

  1. Engage a buddy

It’s too easy to back away from a big dream or important goal when you haven’t told anyone about it.  Amongst your friends and family, who’s the one person who will support you best – encouraging you through the challenges and celebrating your achievements?

Tell them what you’re doing and ask them to help you hold yourself accountable by checking in regularly.  Offer to help them achieve an important goal and double the success as you both get the important things done more quickly and easily.

  1. Dump the guilt and regret

Guilt and regret are the most wasted and futile of emotions that serve little purpose beyond making you feel bad.  Both are often driven by something you did or didn’t do in the past.  Given that the past is gone and you can’t change it, let them go.  Honor the reasons they existed by learning from them and do things differently moving forward.

  1. Call on your secret weapons – Courage, Commitment and Faith

Free of regret and guilt, you now have space to fill with the powerful inner resources that make good things happen. Think of a time they’ve come to your aid in the past and call on them again.

Access Courage to face your fears; draw on unshakeable Commitment to do whatever it takes and have Faith that it will all work out exactly as it’s meant to.  (The Great Life Redesign explains ‘inner resources’and other essential tools to pack in your Thrival Kit).

Tthere are plenty of other great ways to get moving and it’s often the smallest changes that make the biggest difference. What are your best tips for beating procrastination?

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

Calling all Mothers… do you know how to fly a kite?

Why Mothering is like Kite FlyingMy mother is a wise woman who has taught me many things.  As Mother’s Day approaches I’ve been thinking about her most valuable ‘pearls of wisdom’. The one that stands out most is that mothering has a lot in common with the art, skill and joy of flying a kite.

Like many, when I became a mother I was overwhelmed by the responsibility.  In spite of all the experiences and advice readily shared those who had been there before me, I was bewildered.  There was no definitive guidebook and besides, like all children, my daughter was unique. The book on how to raise her had yet to be written and I was floundering.

After patiently listening to my anguished account of one particularly gruelling day, my Mum shared this insight and suddenly it all made sense.

Mothering is like flying a kite.

To prepare we ensure the kite is sound; the string is firmly attached; the handle is strong and our feet are planted firmly on the ground.

When our babies take their first steps, we let the string out a little. As it whips and turns we hold on tight and keep it close.  Invariably in those early days, it comes crashing to the ground whilst occasionally floating for a few precious minutes.

As our children grow and set out to explore the world, the kite becomes more confident.  The string tenses and we let it out a little further.  Magically, it stays afloat a little longer – catching the breeze, sometimes dipping and turning before it returns safely to us.

Through the teenage years the kite seeks to fly higher and the string tightens, straining to be free.  Cautiously, we let the string out a little further.  Sometimes it becomes tangled in the trees and we carefully climb up to retrieve it.  Winding it back in a little, we firm our grip until it feels safe and secure again.

Some days the kite won’t want to go out flying, preferring to curl up on the couch in its PJs, safe and secure in the comfort of home.  Brought in for running repairs, all the kite needs is a bowl of hot soup and a cuddle.  It doesn’t need a mother to tell it how to fly, it simply needs a mother to stay attached on the other end of the string.

Over time we become more adept and the kite stretches further into the sky as our children soar towards independence and freedom.  While it reaches great heights, swooping and arcing until it becomes a dot in the distance, it’s always attached.  With pride we watch it achieve great things, catching the currents of life and weathering occasional strong winds.

The art of mothering is all about knowing when to let the string out; when to reel it back in and when to simply leave it be.

Now my daughter is a young adult, we’ve learnt how to fly the kite together.  These days we venture out to fly alongside each other, sharing flights and experiences whenever we can.  More often we fly solo, always knowing that the string is attached.  I know that when the time comes, I'll be there gently guiding my daughter as she learns how to fly rather than be the kite.

Thank you to my mother for teaching this valuable lesson, to my daughter for allowing me to make mistakes and to both of them for helping me master the art of kite flying.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those Mums out there who are learning how to let their children soar. 

What 'pearl of wisdom' has your mother shared that's made your role as a mother that bit easier?

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

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