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Posts Tagged ‘life’

I’m on a mission… to park the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). Why don’t I have time to write? Because I don’t make it a priority.

In fact, I don’t make anything about me a priority. Writing, eating well, exercising, downtime, time with people I love, FUN. Oh yes, I do all that, in between the other bits. Jammed in between.

But mostly I’m tearing down life’s highway, sirens blaring, to fix a real or imagined emergency. I don’t actually stop to question if it is an emergency, I just jump right in the ERV and go…

Which leaves me existing in the future – the “one day” when life will be calm and rational, and I’ll have the time to do all those things I’ve been putting off (or stuffing, half finished, in the bottom drawer).

So the brakes are on. I’ve already started encouraging my kids to start solving their own problems – or at least, not make mama the first call before they’ve put their own brains in gear.

And I’m taking lunch breaks. Yes, in this mad crazy year, when I’m grateful to be so busy in my business, I still need to breath – and eat – and occasionally do yoga.

I’m also stopping the multi-tasking. Being present and focused is actually working – and it’s reducing my anxiety levels. So is not always being connected.

The secret is to check in with yourself regularly – or so I’ve discovered. Who would’ve thought you’d have to remind yourself to breath, or walk, or listen, or think.

Or to remind yourself of something so obvious: who’s going to make your life happen – and when – if you don’t?

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Start. Do anything. Do something. Act.

If you can do one small thing today, you are one step closer to your goal.

Do you have a goal?

Perhaps today is the day you work out what your goal is. Because that is enough to take you one step ahead and how to make progress. (Well don’t just sit there. Get a piece of paper and do it now.)

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When you look back at the year that’s just flown past, what do you remember?

The birth of a child or a grandchild, getting a new job, going to a rock concert or a festival, buying a house or car, getting married – or divorced, losing someone you love, getting a new dog or cat, losing weight, getting published…

Big moments and big changes might get all the attention, but it’s those trillions of little moments that really make up your year — and your life. So as Christmas approaches and everything’s a little bit manic, stop and breathe. And be in every moment.

This second. This place. This body. This… is your life.

And we’ll leave you with this: Rob Thomas – Little Wonders. Have a wonderful silly season… talk to you soon.

Louise & Sandra x

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It took me years to say “I’m a writer”. Now that I finally do it, I find it’s more of a liability… especially when you put it down as your occupation on a form. 

And not just because bank managers don’t feel comfortable lending you large quantities of money (unless you’re in the Rich & Famous Writerly Category, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this – or asking your bank manager for money).

No, I’m talking about those medical forms where you have to remember every major operation and minor hiccup since you were a toddler. Which gets harder every year. I used to write ‘Business Communicator’ because that’s what I do. Now I’m too lazy and just put ‘writer’, because that’s also what I do.

Big mistake. Last week I went to a doctor for a particular examination. There I sat, on the examination table, half naked, and he waltzes in and says (as he’s examining me), “So, you’re a writer”.

Not, oh I see you had a caesarian, a knee reconstruction, and…hmmmm, yes, you sold one of your kidneys on e-bay (because the bank manager doesn’t lend money to writers).

No. “So, you’re a writer. What do you write?”

Okay, I admit I squeaked – because writers hate that question anyway, and because every time I say I write Women’s Fiction they think I mean chick-lit or…

“Write for Mills & Boon then?”

“No,” I say. I’ve only got one nerve left today, and you’re getting on it. “They rejected me when I was twenty – because my characters were too cliched.”

He didn’t hear me. His question had merely been an opening so he could regale me with his own literary successes (and I use the term loosely), all while performing a perfunctory examination on me. When I didn’t ask him to recite his apparently very (very) good haiku, the last skerrick of professionalism left the building.

His parting words, as he tossed a sheet of instructions at me, were “you should be able to understand that. I wrote it in monosyllables”.

Then there was the doctor who also wanted to know what I wrote – then spent half the consultation telling me her life story and the other half trying to sell me cosmetic procedures (do you want fries with that?).

When we finally got to the pap smear, she popped her head around my leg and said, “I even went on RSVP – what do you think of that?” There I am with a piece of chilled metal between my legs and the consult reaching triple digits – I’m not thinking, okay?

I guess I’ve been spoilt with the really amazing doctors I’ve had, so the freaky ones just do my head in.

Anyway, I’m changing my ‘occupation’ on forms now. I’m going to put “counsellor”. No, wait… that would be a red rag to a bull!

Maybe I’ll try MYOB. I wonder if they would?

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I’ve had a list of ten things pinned on my fridge for so long that the paper is crispy feeling and I no longer remember where the hell I got it from.
But I look at it all the time and try to do the things it says.
I was going to list five, seeing as this is five for Friday. But then I thought you might want to print it out and stick it on your fridge too – as a gentle prod to get you doing things differently sometimes.
1. Accept personal responsibility for change, no matter how small.
2. Reflect on your own behaviour.
3. Identify what you have got to give.
4. Act in your own context.
5. Collaborate.
6. Join. Network. Lobby. Advocate.
7. Treat everyone with respect.
8. Be inclusive.
9. Maintain your rage, your hope and your optimism.
10. Celebrate your successes.

See? Who doesn’t need and get inspired by that list?

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One of my friends recently gave me a nudge. She said I didn’t take compliments well at all. She’s right…

“That’s a great dress. The colour really suits you.”

The reply? “Yes, it hides my flabby belly” or “Thanks, but I just got it on sale”.

“You look so fit and strong.”

“Looks are deceiving. I blow like an old horse when I run.”

“You look radiant.”

“…it’s the makeup. I had to trowel it on to hide the bags.”

“Thanks, but…”  Why the disclaimers? It’s almost like I’m channelling my inner-critic – the narky little voice in my head that tells me I’m not really good enough. I’m a fake and someone will find out sooner or later – so I may as well admit it all upfront.

I’m not alone. Accepting compliments is difficult for many of us (especially women!), and it’s an art we need to practice. It’s very simple to do. All we need to do is smile and say ‘thank you’ and leave it at that.

I’ve been very conscious of it lately and it really does make you feel better. I admit, I have bite marks on my tongue, but it seems to be working! The funny thing is that I’m noticing how many women just can’t take a compliment without adding a disclaimer.

But a compliment is a gift we can accept graciously. It will lift you up, if you let it. Just think about those days when someone says, “you look tired today”. How do you feel? Suddenly tired (or more tired). A compliment has the opposite effect .

Thank you. Smile. Thank you. Smile. If it takes 14 days to form a habit, I reckon I’m almost there…

So instead of admitting you got your fabulous dress in a closing down sale, or pointing out one of your flaws to counteract that great attribute someone just pointed out…smile and say thank you. It could just make your day…

cheers

Lou

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I can’t remember a time when I felt I was okay just as I am. I’m guessing I’m not alone in thinking like that. We are who we are, but most of us aren’t particularly satisfied with that – and we let it hold us back.

We think we’ll be okay once we lose weight, or get a better job, find a partner, have a baby, get published, get famous, win lotto… The problem is, like getting cosmetic surgery, we’ll still wake up and be looking at the world through the same eyes. And we’ll be looking for our next feel-good fix.

But what if we took a different approach? What if we said – hey, this is what I am. Now how can I work with that? And I’m talking about working with our flaws, instead of against them.

Because if all we focus on is the bad stuff – the things we’re not – the less we’re going to get out and give things a go. The less we’re going to put ourselves out there… until we’re all fixed and perfect.

Think about a civil engineering team who have the task of building a road from A to B. Except between those two points are a mountain, a river and a floodplain… and lots of other hard stuff to contend with.

What do they do? Do they say… oh, there’s a mountain there, and that floodplain isn’t great. Let’s not bother. No, they sit down and identify all the issues – the realities. Then they find a way to work within those parameters, and figure out what they can do differently or better so they get that road built.

And when it comes to who we are, I reckon we have to do the same thing. Work in our strengths. Work on our weaknesses. Not throw up our hands and say I’m just not good enough, or pretty enough, or funny enough, or fit / wealthy / intelligent / creative / tall / young enougj0435251h…

So face your life like you’d face a project. Work out exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are. Then ask: how can I work with what I am to get where I want to go? And when you’re on the way, and your confidence is building, start working on your weaknesses.

Because if you wait until you’re ‘just right’, life will have whooshed past you – faster than you’ve ever imagined.

Okay, I’d love to hang around chatting all day. But I’ve got project work to do!

🙂 lou

P.S. Take a look at incredible paralympians like Chinese amputee He Junquan , cyclist Barbara Buchan, and so many others. And when you think you can’t do something, think about a man with no arms who became an elite swimmer… now that’s inspiring.

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