Archive for Values

Is Your Child a Mini Me?

What your children are really learning from you – it may not be what you think!
What's your child really learning from you?

We all want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy, successful and good people.  Yet, every now and again they do something that surprises us – sometimes delightful, occasionally disappointing.

Have you ever stepped back, shaken your head and wondered, ‘Where did that come from?’

As the mother of a gorgeous, healthy, successful and fun-loving 23 year old (yes, of course I’m biased!), I’m pondering with the wonderful benefit of hindsight.

If I’m really honest, there are some things I’d do differently if I’d realised what my beautiful daughter was actually learning from me as she grew up.

I’m insanely proud of her and like the parent of an Olympic champion, when she achieves something she’s worked hard for, I cheer loudly.  When life deals her a hard blow or she’s really struggling, my heart breaks.

Regardless, much of how she deals with life’s ups and downs comes from a healthy dose of my great and not so great traits!

Children learn far more from watching what we do than hearing what we say

For every positive our children learn from us there’s a potential down side and many of us simply aren’t aware of it while we’re busy raising them.

With positives and negatives, the life lessons parents teach are like flipping a coin with heads and tails.

I’m no parenting expert, simply a mum with many friends who are parents, and here are the flipsides of what I’ve learnt:

On Being Goal Oriented

Heads:  Whether it’s juggling two jobs to pay off your mortgage, working 60+ hours a week to climb a career ladder, running a marathon or keeping your house tidy, your children learn that focus, action and persistence get things done and achieve success.

Tails:  There’s a fine line between achievement and obsession.  It’s easy to lose perspective as you focus on what needs to be done, often to the exclusion of all else. Your children may actually be learning how to over-think, over-prepare and invest far more than is actually required to get the job done.

Anxiety and worry are the constant companions of over achievers.

On Being Popular

Heads:  There’s always someone popping in, the phone’s always ringing and invitations to weekends away, sporting and social events crowd your calendar.  Life is buzzing and it feels great to be validated, needed and connected.

Tails:  Spreading yourself thin across many friends may be teaching your children how to create somewhat superficial relationships.

The reality is that most of us have only a few really close friendships that are truly important and need to be carefully nurtured.

On Being Constantly Busy

Heads:  In today’s fast paced world it’s great to have so much to do!  There’s a wonderful sense of satisfaction when you’ve got lots of ticks on your list and survived another busy day.  Your children are learning to multi-task, be flexible and highly organised and cram as much into their one short life as they possibly can.

Tails:  With precious little down time, your over scheduled children may also be hard wiring high stress and hyperactivity at the cost of learning how to relax, unwind and simply ‘be’.

When the focus is on doing more rather than only doing what’s important, overload and overwhelm are constant.

If you’re reading this thinking it’s a ‘no win’ damned if you do / damned if you don’t conundrum, relax – there is an easy solution.

Simply be aware and consciously choose what you want them to learn

There’s no absolute right or wrong way to raise children and the truth is we all do the best we can with what we’ve got, based on our values, beliefs and own experience of growing up.  Thankfully, as your children grow up they get to choose what to keep, what to modify and what to ditch based on who they want to be.

In the meantime, be an intentional role model.  Use your inner resources of wisdom, hindsight, insight and forsight to do a quick, honest stock-take of your behaviours and actions.

Decide which admirable qualities you do want your children to learn.  Consciously choose what you’d rather they didn’t and give yourself permission to let it go. Then act consistently and intentionally every day.

Writing this blog, I bravely asked the ‘apple of my eye and bain of my life’ for one important thing she’s actually learnt from me.  Here’s what my ‘mini me’ emailed back!

Nothing just gets handed to you.
If you really want it, you have to put in the effort.
At the end of the day the outcome doesn’t even matter, because you’ll be able to say you did the absolute best that you could.

Regardless of how old they are, It’s never too early or late to ask your child/ren, “What’s one important lesson you’ve learnt from me?”  You may be surprised!

Please share – I’d love to know what your child has learnt from you.

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

It’s that time of year again – have you got the Burnout Blues?

Have you got the Burnout Blues?What is it about this time of year that pushes 'busyness' over the top? Artificial deadlines appear for things that must be finished by the end of the year. Then there's the Christmas preparation overhead.  No wonder we feel like we're running on empty.

If you’re feeling stressed and time poor, rest assured you’re not alone.  Latest figures from the Race Against Time Report, show that balancing work and family remains a big issue for Australian men and women, with around 40% of women and 30% of men feeling often or always rushed or pressed for time.

The report shows how the sharing of household tasks, longer working longer hours (including more early starts, late finishes and weekends at the office) and more time spent commuting  are all impacting the quality of our lives.  It also seems that the more we earn, the less free time we have, with those in the upper quartile having between 1.5 and 2 hours less per day to play than those in the lower quartile.

Seems like ‘busyness’ is a way of life but it’s not necessarily good for us.  Left unchecked, this state of being can lead to a nasty dose of the Burnout Blues.

What are the Burnout Blues?

The Burnout Blues (BBs) are a side effect of relentless 21st-century living. They feed on society’s expectations, an unhealthy lifestyle of too much work, lack of direction, time and purpose, loneliness, and disempowering beliefs.

Put simply, the BBs create an abiding and ever-increasing sense of despair, discontent, disenchantment, and disconnect. Rarely attributable to one definable cause, they start slowly and gradually pervade every part of a sufferer’s life.

A chronic, insidious condition, the BBs have become a way of being for many people. They feel powerless to control or change anything, yet often invest a lot of energy, time and emotion ineffectively trying to control and change everything. Nothing they do alters the outcome and prolonged sufferers inadvertently become sitting duck victims.

The BBs are a common response to the pressures of juggling work and life, though not a clinically diagnosable mental condition.  However, failure to recognise and address them can lead to prolonged anxiety, exhaustion, physical illness and depression.  So… how are you feeling?  Let’s see if you’re suffering from the Burnout Blues.

Top 5 Burnout Blues Symptoms

While there are over 20 common symptoms of the Burnout Blues, here are five that may be familiar.  If you had to rate how often you’ve experienced these over the last year    (0 = never ? 5 = all the time), what score would you give yourself for these:

Symptoms                                  Beliefs                                               Typical feelings

1. Stress……………..…….  too much to do, too little time  …………………… pressured

2. Demotivated…………..  whatever………………………………………………….. bored

3. Frustration……………..  my best is never good enough………………………. irritated

4. Controlling……..    if it’s going to be right, I have to do it myself…………….. inflexible

5. Guilt………………….   I can’t say no or let people down……………….. compromised

If you scored 3 or above for any of these, don’t despair.  We all inhale the exhaust fumes of life yet it is possible to filter out those which contribute to the Burnout Blues.  By identifying the cracks in your life that need attention, you can take out the polyfiller and repair them.

Top 3 Tips for Beating the Burnout Blues

Simple life repairs and renovations now will prevent major problems further down the track.   Here are some actions you can take right now to stop the rot setting in:

1.  Step back and notice how you respond to events

One of the most common reasons we suffer the Burnout Blues is that we ‘buy in’ to the drama and invest precious emotional energy in it.  Notice how you feel when your work phone rings while you’re having dinner with the family at night.  When work pressure increases, the stress levels of those around you quickly rise.  Before you know it, you’re also time poor, stressed out and struggling to maintain perspective.  This often leads to an instinctive reaction, driven by your fight or flight reflex as you go into an auto-pilot survival mode.

Mentally step back, as if you’re a fly on the wall, and simply notice what’s happening, without reacting.  Take a walk outside and give yourself space before consciously deciding how you will respond to the situation.  Ask yourself, how do I need to be to manage this situation effectively?  By consciously choosing how you’ll respond, you create the ability to conserve your energy, maintain perspective and know that ‘this too will pass’.

2.  Instigate a ‘Be Kind to Me’ Strategy

The busier we get, the more we tend to neglect ourselves.  Believing it to be ‘selfish’ to put ourselves first, we mistakenly focus on helping others while our own energy bucket empties out.  Before you know it, you’ve become tired, unfit and struggling to get everything done.

Although it may seem initially counterintuitive, putting yourself first is vital.  When you carve out time each day to do something that refills your energy reserves, you’re much better placed to help others.  What’s more, when your wellbeing is regularly nurtured, you have more capacity, opportunity and perspective.

What’s one thing you can do every day to take care of you?

3.  Keep what’s working well and ‘ditch’ the rest.

Nothing’s all bad and it’s important to recognise the parts of your career and life that are working well.  What parts are OK or even terrific and what have you done to make them this way?  Having identified your success strategy for these parts of your life, how can you apply them to the other areas?

For example – I’m pretty successful at resolving problems at work by taking time to understand them first, involving and listening to others and agreeing on what ‘fixed’ looks like.  This is a strategy you could also use at home to encourage your partner and children to share more of the household tasks.

Whatever’s not working has to go or change.  Identify the main contributors to your Burnout Blues.  Specifically, what’s the main cause of your anxiety, exhaustion and discontent?  If it’s your job – what’s within your control that you can change?  If the work is no longer fulfilling, interesting and enjoyable, maybe it’s time for a career change.

Consciously reducing tasks that add little value is immediately liberating.  Seriously, if you don’t check your emails every 5 minutes, will it really matter in a hundred years?  Close email and check your messages 3 times a day instead and notice how much more you get done.

The pressures of 21st century living are not going away anytime soon.  However, there’s far more within your control than you may think and living with the Burnout Blues doesn’t need to be inevitable.

So what’s one small thing you can change that will make the biggest difference today?

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 
This blog is an extract from THE GREAT LIFE REDESIGN – change how you work, live how you dream and make it happen TODAY .  Available online and in all good bookstores.

Is your personal brand shooting you in the foot?

How you're perceived can make or break your success

Is your personal brand shooting you in the foot?Whether you’re a senior executive, working mum, public servant, small business owner or large corporation, your personal brand matters.

As Qantas grapples with the daunting task of rebuilding its credibility, it’s a great time to do a reality check on your brand.

When you think of successful, reputable companies such as Google, Apple, Disney, BMW and Lego (Top 5 place holders in the Global RepTrak 2011 consumer study into the reputations of the world's most prominent companies), what comes to mind? Each does what it claims to do consistently, predictably and exceptionally well.

Likewise, Oprah has created a strong brand that is so trustworthy, relatable and credible that when she endorses a book or individual, success is almost guaranteed.

Why your personal brand is so important

What you do and the way that you do it tells clients, employers, colleagues, friends and family everything they need to know about you.  Getting your brand wrong is the quickest way to kill your reputation, credibility, career and relationships. Your brand is what makes people to decide whether they want to work, socialize and spend time with you, or not…

Having a clear and consistent brand:

  • improves your ability to influence and make a positive difference
  • makes it easier and quicker to get things done
  • leads to greater fulfillment and wellbeing as you achieve what’s important to you in a way that feels right.

Define your personal brand

The 3 vital and interconnected keys to your brand are Image, Integrity, and Trust.
The following questions will help you define your brand and identify what you need to change to make it even stronger.

Image

Image is all about aligning your intention with how people perceive you.  It
includes how you look, what you say and how you behave.  Ask yourself:

  • How do I want to be perceived? I want to be perceived as someone who …
  • How am I actually perceived and how do I know this?
  • How do those who are successful in this field project themselves?
  • What do I need to project for people to have confidence in me?

Integrity

Closely linked to honesty, Integrity encapsulates your personal values and how well you ‘walk your talk’.  Those whose actions consistently align with their values and beliefs make a point of always doing what they say they’ll do.  They are highly regarded and always in demand.  Ask yourself:

  • What does integrity mean to me?
  • What do I stand for and what am I 100% committed to?
  • How do I demonstrate integrity in everything I do?
  • Where do I struggle to do what I’ve committed to do every time, without fail?

Trust

Your credibility (how believable you are) is based on the degree to which people trust you.  To trust you people first need to know and then like you.  Not to be confused with
being the ‘same’, we all like people ‘like’ us. This includes the degree to which you demonstrate respect for others.  Ask yourself:

  • What do I share and how do I share it to enable others to get to know me?
  • How do others predict what I am going to say and do?
  • What can I best be relied upon for?
  • How do others know, with absolute certainty, that they can trust me?

If you had to summarise your answers to these questions in a short, pithy, compelling sentence to articulate your personal brand, what would it be?  Weave this into your resume, LinkedIn and other profiles to help others get to know you better.

Your answers to these questions will help you communicate who you are, your strengths, abilities and priorities.  Consciously strengthen your brand based on the responses you get and notice what happens. Opportunities more closely linked to your passions and who you are will increase.  It will also become easier to  synchronise your work and life with your values and beliefs.

If you need help to develop and strengthen your brand to achieve your personal and professional goals, contact Possibility to Reality today.  It’s much easier than you think!

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron