Archive for Wisdom

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.

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

 

YOU can be ‘The Voice’

using adversity to find your voice

Karise Eden shows how to convert adversity into success4.54 million viewers broke TV ratings records and tuned in on Monday night to watch 19 year old Karise Eden take out the coveted title of Australia’s inaugural ‘The Voice’.  While her amazing voice captured Australia’s attention, it’s her triumph over tragedy story that is truly inspiring.

As a state ward, estranged from her birth family, living in refuges, battling self-harm and agoraphobia she seemed destined to a hard life.  However, she also has a unique and powerful gift – a distinctive singing voice that now ‘discovered’, could set her on a road to what would have been unimaginable success a year ago.

Yes, it’s great television that must have delighted the 9 Network, but they couldn’t have manufactured Karise’s past that preceded The Voice experience, celebrity and fame she’s now enjoying.

Even if she doesn’t realise it yet, there are 3 keys that transformed Karise’s adversity into success:

1. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

While Karise may have felt she had little to lose, her fear during her first live audition was palpable. She had no formal singing training and was up against hundreds of other more experienced hopefuls.  With downcast eyes under the glare of bright lights, a studio audience and in the company of famous celebrities, she gripped the microphone, opened her mouth and started to sing.

Sometimes you just have to take a chance and all it takes is courage!  Even when there are no guarantees of success, allowing a vision of what’s possible to drown out the fear will propel you forward.  Take the first step and ‘go for it’.

2. Convert the Pain into Power

The genuine raw emotion in her voice helped Karise connect with so many people.  Thousands of viewer votes came from those who not only appreciate her unique sound but also connect with and relate to her painful past.

When you’ve been through tough times and are coming out the other side, it’s tempting to ‘put the past behind you’ and ‘move on’.  Whilst useful, it’s far more powerful to harness the pain and use it constructively.  Using pain constructively places the past in context by turning a negative into a positive – something good can come from anything. The bonus this brings is richer talent, greater insight, wisdom and perspective.

What have you learnt from a painful past experience and how can you use it in a positive way to make your unique difference?

3. Find People who Believe in You (even when you don’t believe in yourself)

When the opportunity to audition for The Voice arose, self-doubt and fear of criticism would have been constant for Karise.  It seemed as though everyone could see her talent and potential, except Karise herself.  Her foster Aunty Marian and Uncle Frank accompanied her to the blind auditions and all four celebrity coaches turned their chairs around.  Seal took on the coaching challenge which seemed more about helping her believe in herself and step into her ability than refining her technique.

A dedicated support team will stop you from running the other way when it seems too hard and overwhelming.  They’ll back you against the odds and hold unshakeable faith in your ability until you believe in it yourself.

So, who’s on your support team and who do you need by your side to achieve success?

Every one of the 4 finalists in The Voice overcame the odds to be there and all would have been worthy winners.  Like each of them, you too have an amazing talent and you owe it to the world to step up and share it. 

The Great Life Redesign tells the stories of others who have converted a passion or adversity into an opportunity.  Your dream doesn’t have to include fame and notoriety and may be more about living your passion through being yourself.

If you’re wondering what your talent or purpose may be, your ‘voice’ might just lie in the adversity you’ve overcome. Go on, revisit your past, extract the gems, leave the pain behind and hatch a plan to be heard.

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

 

How to Love the Festive Season, no matter what!

A Thrival Kit – your secret weapon against festive season gremlins

Have you ever noticed how quickly the festive season can turn pear-shaped? In spite of meticulous planning, great expectation and fever pitched excitement, it only takes a poorly chosen gift or misplaced, thoughtless comment for ‘peace on earth’ to be shattered! Before you know it the kids are grumpy, the adults have declared war and what you hoped would be a happy family time has disintegrated into bitter arguments that could last a lifetime.

If this is your worst Christmas nightmare, relax – help is at hand. A well-packed Thrival Kit is the secret to sailing through this time of year with your goodwill to all men, sanity and happiness intact.

The Thrival Kit – this year's 'must have' gift

A Thrival Kit is a small but powerful set of tools that are easy to access and use, whenever you need them. Consisting of keys, questions, symbols and pearls, your Thrival Kit is free of charge and light to carry. Once packed with the right tools, it becomes your constant companion through the good and not-so-good times. Whilst being particularly handy for beating holiday season stress, once you’ve packed one, you’ll want it beside you all year round.

The contents of a Thrival Kit are like multi-vitamins. Taken daily, they become new habits and a new way of being that will ensure you thrive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Let’s take a look inside a typical Thrival Kit, see what these tools are and learn how to use them.

Three essential thrival keys:  your purpose, values and inner resources

Your purpose, values and inner resources are the most powerful keys available to you. They provide direction, the ability to prioritise and achieve whatever you set your mind to and heart on. Even better, you already have them! These are already inherently within you, you just may not be aware of them. Consciously accessing these ‘thrival keys’ will unlock previously shut doors, open up new possibilities and ensure you have everything you need to choose how you want things to be.

Whilst your purpose (reason for being here) and values (core principles, standards and ideals) guide your decisions and actions, it’s your inner resources that will help you thrive, regardless of what’s happening at your place this holidays.

Engage your inner resources

Limitless and super powerful, your resources are inner states of being that you can call on at any time, in any situation. Whether you are feeling sad, happy, doubtful or certain, inner resources reside in everyone. Once identified, you’ll soon master the art of recognising which you need in any situation. From here you can effortlessly call on the best inner resources to achieve your desired outcome.

Your inner resources provide instant light when it is dark and energy to take action. They are the power source for your purpose and values. Engaging them means you never need feel disempowered, angry or stressed ever again. Whether you are confronting a challenge, keeping the peace or determined to make the most of a magical moment, there’s a resource for every situation.

The 12 most powerful inner resources to keep close at hand over the festive season include:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Caring
  3. Calm
  4. Caution
  5. Contentment
  6. Flexibility
  7. Fun
  8. Joy
  9. Maturity
  10. Peace
  11. Perspective
  12. Spontaneity

What else can go in a Thrival Kit?

Basically anything that will help you sail through potentially stressful moments and take on new challenges. Thinkg about adding:

  • Powerful questions to help you make the best decision in the heat of the moment – eg How do I want this to be and what can I do to create it?
  • Strength symbols provide a physical stress reducer – these include special items such as a piece of jewellry that create instant calm when you touch them.
  • Pearls of wisdom – a phrase or saying to adopt as a calming mantra (one of my favourites, accompanied by a deep breath, is 'Keep Calm and Carry On').

Be Prepared for Anything

Holidays are a time when family legends are often written! Events good and bad are remembered and recalled by everyone for years. How you choose to be will determine whether you buckle under the pressure and ‘lose it’ or love every moment, regardless of what happens. A well-packed Thrival Kit will ensure you’re armed and ready for anything.

What else will you be packing and pulling out of your Thrival Kit this festive season?

Carpe diem

 

 

P.S.  To find out how to create more empowering tools for your Thrival Kit, grab a copy of The Great Life Redesign – change how you work, live how you dream and make it happen TODAY!  Available here and in all good bookstores.