Life Takes You to Where it Wants You to Go

Many of us is resist what is. We insist that life goes according to our plan and when it doesn’t, we often use our will to try and make it happen. That’s when life goes out of balance. We often think of balance as time, but living a balanced life is much more than that. It’s about meeting all of our needs, not just the the most obvious ones that are unmet.

My late twenties was a challenging time. I had two young children and lived on the poverty line. My friends were either married with children, or single and looking for love. I didn’t seemed to fit in anywhere. I was lonely, bored and poor. I thought that if I had more money a lot of my problems would go away so my focus was always on how I could make more money, what study could I do to make more money, something external to change my situation.

One day I read an article about a charity for single mothers who were helping each other. I went along to one of their meetings and it was a life changing event that taught me that what we are seeking is not always what we need.

I got involved with the charity, eventually becoming a committee member and I did a lot of fund-raising and discovered that this was something that I was good at. I established a social life with women in the same situation as I was, and some of those friendships lasted for years. I nearly freaked out when I discovered that one of our meetings was being filmed for a TV segment, and another time I was asked to do a radio interview and some talks. That was my first brush with the media which was incredibly scary at the time, but it stood me in good stead for the media work I was to do.

One of the worst times in my life turned into one of the best when I allowed life to guide me in the direction it knew would make me happiest. That time supported me to develop the skills to do the work I was born to do.

Sometimes we get stuck in our logical minds when we try to work out how to achieve our goals but if we do our bit, be responsible, look by all means, but don’t get caught up in ‘the how’, life will take us to where we want to be.

I gained so much from that time in my life. I filled my need for companionship and realised that I needed to go back to work part-time so I could interact with others. My confidence grew. I was stimulated by the challenge of raising money and discovered I was more creative than I realised. I discovered that I feel happiest when I give. And I overcame my greatest fear of speaking in front of others which meant I felt good about myself.

If I had succeeded in my goal to make more money I may have attained that goal but I wouldn’t have learnt about all of those other things, and not surprisingly because I felt happy opportunities started flowing into my life again. My part-time job turned into my first real business venture (apart from typing) as the company I worked for went into liquidation and I took it over.

Here are some simple tips to help you through the tough times:

  • When life is not flowing check to be sure that you are focusing on what you want, not how to get what you want.
  • Look for where your life may be out of balance. Are you focusing on one goal and ignoring your other needs? Look for ways to be happy where you are right now.
  • Look for ways to can make someone else happy.
  • Stay open to opportunities.
  • Trust.

I have always found it helpful to read about successful people like Oprah. You will find that many of them got to where they are without a plan, they took responsibility, did what they could and followed where life took them.

Lessons From an Uber Driver – Always Look For the Good

If you’ve studied self-help books you may have read that to create your dreams you need to change your thoughts, change your beliefs, focus on what you want, feel the emotions, think positive, get clear, release your dream, affirm, visualise and so much more. It’s enough to make your head spin. Manifesting your heart’s desires doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be as simple as looking for the good every day.

Recently I used Uber for the first time and met a man who inspired me. Aman has never read a self-help book or done a personal development course, but he has learnt the secret to being happy and successful is to look for the good.

Looking for the good

Aman came to Australia from Somalia 28 years ago. His father was an uneducated man who lived in a poor village in the bush, so when his mother died and he was only three, his uncle offered to raise him so he could receive an education. Aman said how grateful he was to his uncle for doing this.

When Aman first started working in Western Sydney he was the only black man in the area. I thought he might have encountered some prejudice, but Aman soon told me that it was one of the best things to happen to him as everyone went out of their way to help him. As well as teaching him work skills his first boss taught him to how to drive then lent him the company car to use on weekends.

His boss constantly told him to buy a house but being young and carefree he ignored that advice. It was only when he was married and had five children that he realised that he needed a home of his own. As house prices in Sydney were beyond his means by this time he went to Melbourne to look at new developments. While talking to one of the developers he told him his story and the following day the developer drove him all around Melbourne showing him where to buy and telling him what he needed to do to make money out of property.

Not long after Aman bought a block of land and built a house, total cost was $350,000. Five years later that house has more than doubled in value. He is now moving his family back to Sydney as he will soon have three children at University here. He plans to rent out his Melbourne house and buy another in Sydney, something I have no doubt he will do.

When we got back to the subject of work Aman said he makes so much money as an Uber driver as he never has to wait more than two minutes for his next customer. I expressed concern that he didn’t have another job as we drove down my street and he laughed and said he will just drive around if he has to, but he expected to get one. Lo and behold as we pulled up in front of my house another job came in, just two minutes away.

Aman is someone who makes you feel good just by spending time with him because he is always looking for the good.

When you look for the good your body produces  DHEA, a performance enhancing chemical which inhibits the production of cortisol (a stress hormone), and this feeling of wellbeing can last in the body for hours. The signals travelling from the heart work at optimum levels, this means that we think clearly, our memory improves and we make better decisions. And have you ever noticed that when you feel happy that other people respond to your energy and want to spend time with you? Do business with you? And help you get what you want?

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in doing everything perfectly when all we have to do is relax and look for the good and allow life to unfold.

 

I invite you to participate in our 30 day campaign ‘Looking for the good. You can also join my Be the Difference Movement by joining our Facebook Community.

Finding Joy in Unexpected Places

As we go about our daily lives it’s so easy to let the things that bring joy into our lives slip. If we wait for circumstances to bring us joy we may have to wait a long time, but if we establish the habit of being mindful and doing something every day that brings us pleasure it becomes so much easier to experience joy, and attain our most important goals.

It has been discovered people who suffer from depression have an inability to see things as new, fresh or exciting and this is what makes them depressed. In chronically depressed people the mind creates links between sad moods and feelings of hopelessness or inadequacy. For instance, a person experiencing depression could interpret the fact that they didn’t get a job to mean they are hopeless as a person, or a failure, that they will never get what they want.

Depression has been largely treated by drugs which puts serotonin back into the body, or by cognitive behavior therapy. Both of these work, but when a person goes off drugs they often experience a relapse. There is a third way that can change the way we feel, which has been proven to bring about long-lasting change, and that is by being mindful.

Mindfulness

Scientists have found that the brain can only create new pathways when we pay attention to what we are doing. If you go around saying affirmations by rote without really thinking about what they mean, they won’t have much impact upon your life. Say affirmations consciously, focusing on positive emotions and follow that up with action that makes you feel good and you will get an entirely different outcome. Our brain is constantly remaking itself in response to outside stimuli, our environment and our experiences.

Neuroplasticity occurs when the mind is in a state of focus and attention, this is commonly known as being mindful.

Being mindful, as well as inducing a state of calm, means we can change our emotional response to events that once upset us, and we can change beliefs which prevent us from moving forward.

Mindfulness is the practice of observing yourself. It is observing the way we think and feel without judging.

Drugs for depression work from the bottom up. Cognitive behavior therapy works from the top down. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy keeps the depression circuit from being completed.

No one is happy all of the time, but when we are mindful we notice our emotions and that allows us to take control of them rather than having our emotions run our lives. Attention training changes lives. Rather than just making a decision to be more mindful, which you’ll probably forget within a day, link being mindful to any activity that stresses or challenges you. Or set a specific time each day and put a reminder into your phone to stop and focus on what is happening in the world around you.

By training yourself to be mindful you start to recognise those things that bring you joy. When you add more things that bring you joy into your daily life you feel happier. When you feel happy you have a positive influence on the world around you.

Defining moments

Defining moments are those times in life when a shift occurs that changes the direction of your life, and one of my most memorable defining moments occurred for me on 6 September 1997. That day began under a cloak of sadness. Princess Diana, who was so loved around the world, was to be buried that day, and I learnt that Mother Theresa, had quietly passed from this world to the next.

For me though that day started with the hope that I was finally going to get some direction that would get my life back on track. It ended full of joy after attending my first Wayne Dyer seminar entitled Manifest Your Destiny. I had read a couple of Wayne’s books but up until that day I had never been to a live event. I was fortunate though to attend many of Wayne’s talks after this before his passing.

Up until that time in my life most people would have described me as successful, I had owned a successful business, been a best-selling author, professional speaker and regularly featured in the media but that was in the past. I was stuck in a rough patch. I had lost money in business and I was struggling financially even working part-time as a bookkeeper just to make ends meet, which was a real blow to  my self esteem. I didn’t know who I was. What I believed in. Or, even what I wanted. I had reached an all-time low in my life.

Wayne Dyer walked on the stage and asked for a minute’s silence to remember Princess Diana and Mother Theresa. I sent up a silent prayer, asking for direction and peace. My prayer was answered.

One of my strongest memories of that day was Wayne standing on stage and asking us to imagine an invisible line. On one side of that line was happiness, love and everything we wanted and on the other side was everything we didn’t want. Throughout the day as he wanted to emphasise a particular point Wayne would step to either side of the line. One story that has stuck with me is when Wayne talked about buying things we thought were ugly. He said, “Imagine walking into a store and seeing an ugly rug and saying ‘that’s the ugliest rug I’ve ever seen’’, I’ll have one’.  He explained that’s what we do over and over again when we choose to dwell on the things we don’t want in our lives.

There is intellectual knowledge and there is heart knowledge. I had read all the books, even taught some of the principles that Wayne taught that day, but it hadn’t seeped through to my heart, the level at which we accept something whole-heartedly as I did that day. Sometimes we just need to get to a low point so that we can really listen and understand the guidance that is all around us.

When we live from the mind we often have one foot in either camp, just in case we are wrong. We may act as if we believe sometimes, then we talk to friends and allow doubt to seep in and we step back over the line. We say we want one thing, but we don’t do anything to make our dreams a reality. Every time we procrastinate, doubt ourselves, complain or talk about our problems we buy the ugly rug.

What I learnt that day is to create a life you love takes 100% commitment. You need to choose who is in charge of your life, is it you or is it the people around you? Are you going to allow someone else’s opinion to be in charge of your life? Are you going to allow fear and doubt to rule? All you have to do is ask yourself where those choices are taking you.

To experience the massive shift that I did that day you need to trust your heart, to step into the unknown knowing that life is always on your side and wants you to have your heart’s desires. You need to act as if you trust even when you don’t know how.

I walked out of that seminar inspired, ordered the audio series and listened to it every single day, acting on everything I learnt from the seminar and implementing some of my own strategies as well. I did the meditation Wayne recommended every day. In the 12 months following that seminar I quadrupled my income without even trying. It started when I received a call from a complete stranger asking me if I would be interested in writing a book for his client. Writing books on money was easy for me so I accepted. When I told my accountant how this opportunity had turned up out of the blue he mentioned a client who was doing something similar and looking for some help, he asked if he could pass my contact details to him. His client called me and I wrote two books for him as well. A couple of months later I was in a local shopping centre when I ran into the publicist who, who had done the publicity for my books when she worked for Random House, following that meeting and unknown to me, she put my name forward and they contacted me about adapting Susie Orman’s books on money for the Australian market.

That work, while enjoyable, wasn’t what I wanted to do long term, tit was a stepping stone that supported me to let go of self-doubt.

Nine months after that seminar I started working as a life coach. A year after that I started my life coach training school. Since that time I’ve discovered a love of writing courses. I feel as if I was born to teach. None of this would have happened if I had continued to listen to my self doubt. I needed to listen to and trust my heart. And the biggest lesson I discovered is that your heart will never lead you astray.

Wayne Dyers’s Meditations for Manifesting was one I listened to daily during this time you can find it on YouTube.

 

Perception controls belief

I promised myself that I would start my day writing my new course. At the start of the day I often feel inspired, that’s when my best ideas just flow into my mind and I know that if I don’t get them down on paper, they often go to the graveyard of great ideas from which there is no return. Then I received a message from my assistant saying she wouldn’t be in, so, I decided I had better check emails first and that’s when inspiration died. Three hours later I had handled most of the urgent matters but it was too late. Inspiration had been pushed aside by the practical mundane details associated with running a business.

This has been the story of my life for the past two years. I wrote my first book before and during pregnancy when my mind was not at its clearest. I have written books with a baby and very young child to look after, so what happened? The difference between then and now is that I allocated a specific time where there would be no interruptions. When I wrote my first book I spent one day a week out of the office that was dedicated to writing. When my daughter was young I only ever attempted writing at times when she was in care, or asleep. It did help that in those days there was no such thing as email.

I know that to achieve my writing goals I need to allocate set  writing hours as I did in the past. So, what’s stopping me? Normally I would say time, but I am starting to question if that is really true. More than likely it my perception of not having enough time that is preventing me from doing something I love.

Most of us get caught in the trap of believing that are thoughts are true. Our perception becomes hardwired into our brains and our perception controls our beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that our perception is accurate. When I looked at times I could write I found several times I could allocate that would not damage my business, but I was so locked into my belief ‘that there is never enough time to do the things I want to do’, I didn’t plan ahead.

Recently in my life coaching class I coached a student who often felt overwhelmed and had trouble getting things done, like many people she had a tendency to procrastinate. She said she was a proficient list maker, but her lists were never ending and she never ticked all of the items off her list. As I asked questions as to what was on her list it became clear to me that it wasn’t the volume of things she had to do that caused her to procrastinate, it was that she didn’t want to do them. As she answered more questions it became evident that she really valued freedom and her perception that she had so much to do was what made her feel overwhelmed.

Most people try to change their life by changing habits, and that can definitely help, but when we get to the root cause of what is holding us back we can break patterns of behaviour permanently. And finding ways to fill our most important needs is sometimes all we need to do to resolves the issue.

To change habits we need to live consciously, that means pausing every now and then and challenging our perception. According to Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, “At best, 5% of the time the conscious mind runs our life”. That means that our subconscious programs are in charge.

My daily motto now is: Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Then where necessary challenge my assumptions. It’s such a simple strategy that can make a big difference to the quality of our lives.

 

 

Living Calm Creates Balance

2017 is my year for creating balance and living calm, not just for the year, but for the rest of my life. Living calm to me means being unflappable, but the reality is that I can barely remember a time when I haven’t felt stressed for one reason or another, and just dealing with the situation that is causing the stress, has only ever brought short term relief because there is always another pressing need to fill, or problem to solve. Living calm is something we need to foster and promote to increase the health and wellbeing of our whole society, especially our children.

Your stress threshold determines how well you manage stress

Our response to stress is set up in the womb, my low stress threshold was passed on to me by my mother and I in turn passed it on to my children. I’ve developed some great skills to manage stress but I’ve reached the stage where I don’t want to have to do this any more, I want to be calm, relaxed and enjoy every single day.

One of the best habits we can all establish is to observe ourselves without judgement. This gives us so much insight into why we do the things we do. I’ve given myself a whole year to observe what causes stress for me, establish new habits and make changes that will be permanent. That’s one of the reasons I’ve written so few blogs this year, my focus has been on simplifying and creating a new normal that supports the me to be the person I want to be and the life I want to live.

Living Calm means living a balanced life

Some of the things that I’ve discovered about myself is that my stress response starts long before I am consciously aware of it. Life gives us little clues that tell us when we are out of balance and if we are mindful on a regular basis we notice these clues,which can show up as minor irritations, before they become a major problem. When we race through life, going from one thing to the next, we often miss these clues and this means that we often keep experiencing the same old patterns, over and over again.

I’ve always known I don’t value myself enough but only recently I discovered how much of an impact that has had on my work. When I had to replace a staff member I became aware that I had a tendency to employ people who needed support, rather than choosing someone to support me.

Feeling unsupported has been one of my major life issues, and this feeling has infiltrated every area of my life because I constantly gave up my own needs to accommodate others.

As I write I am having ducted airconditioning installed in my home and I clearly asked when I got the quote, for the outdoor unit to be placed in a specific location, out of sight. Yesterday, after the tradesmen had left, I discovered that the unit was installed in the wrong place so that’s it’s visible as you walk in my drive. I have plans to convert this area into a relaxing outdoor area. My builder, who isn’t involved with this service, encouraged me to leave it where it is, and normally I would have gone along with this, but I know I’ll never be happy with that choice.

So now whenever I feel tempted to compromise just to make life easier for someone else I pause and reassess if this is something I really want to do and ask, ‘will this choice create more stress for me’. Leaving the unit in its current location might cause short term stress but over the long term it would be a constant irritation.

When we give up our needs on a regular basis we reinforce the belief that we can’t have what we really want, and that belief is behind so much unhappiness that exists today. The more aware we are the easier it becomes to make small and sometimes major adjustments in our daily lives. The discomfort we feel in the short term is minor compared to the long lasting benefits we gain from living a calm life. When we feel calm we are in balance. Our feelings reinforce the belief that we can have what we want. We fill our most important needs and as a result we feel happier. And happy people make the world a better place for everyone.