Hindsight is 2020

Hindsight is 2020

A year seemingly defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, palpable evidence of climate change, escalation of social justice movements, enormous increase in the support for mental health, the urgent need to address diversity, equality and inclusion, the most contentious elections in U.S. history and cold war trade conflicts. 2020 has presented challenges never seen before and put many of us through the wringer.

Despite all this, 2020 has also yielded the creation of unparalleled entertainment events, opportunities for personal growth, invention of new business ideas, pivoting existing ones and forcing us to redefine ourselves outside of our routines to face our futures with a more intense sense of purpose and much-needed hope.

However, frequently lost within the roller coaster that is 2020 is our mental well-being — our sense of personal happiness in relation to a global scourge. As macro-level threats challenge the safety of humanity, it seems almost wrong to dwell on ourselves.

So, as we walk out of 2020, what learnings do we take with us?

Whether you’re looking to reminisce on the year’s bright or brash spots or work out what your hopes for change in the year to come will be, there is much to think about.

I tried to work out one word that would describe this year and I couldn’t. It has been the most indescribable year of our lives. “Crazy” feels like an understatement, so does “irregular”, “volatile” more like it, “unpredictable” defines most of life anyway.

What was different about 2020 compared to other years?

You have witnessed people all around the world become inextricably linked through one shared experience. 2020 is a year when you see, not only your soul, but your emotions and your humanity clearly in others.

As this global connection takes its course, we will all have moments when we feel alone, isolated, misunderstood or torn apart. Then days when we feel there is an army of individuals, organisations and government standing outside our door to provide support.

2020 has made us question our ethics, morals, belief systems, our faith and who and what is important. Major issues can divide us over mental health, climate change, politics, technology. It’s taken us to another level of impacting our emotions and thoughts. It has, in many instances, rearranged or re-evaluated what is important for our own lives or our families.

And unfortunately, these divisions will physically manifest in ways that future generations will read about one day. On the flip side, and a brighter side, you got the chance to use your voice, even when you were apprehensive.

Am I excited to see 2020 behind us? Of course, I am. But there have been so many things to learn that I hope we are all a lot wiser about the way we treat each other, that respect becomes a primary resonating emotional thought process in our speak, our actions, in use of technology and in the way we present ourselves to each other.

I have seen and experienced, recently, actions of disrespect or impatience, not necessarily to me but to people around me. I hope takeaways from this year include truly understanding patience, resilience, kindness, empathy, consideration and compassion.

That we turn our attention to Australian business and expand purchasing locally, even if it does cost an extra dollar or two.

Most of the things that happened this year, were not anticipated and couldn’t have been expected.

And if they were, they won’t be the way you planned it. But as resilient Australians, we ‘pivoted’ and created flexible plans, adapted new ways and adopted new strategies. We varied our behaviours to look at life, changing the perspective and adjusting our vision to fit our day to day.

I think we now have found a greater understanding of empathy. We value hugs and handshakes and when we do get them or give them, they feel warmer and more deliberate. Human touch was one of the major withdrawals we had to contend with this year and even though technology has a significant place amongst the younger generations, their reactions to being locked inside reflected the need for freedom. This should be more important than social media. We can only hope!

2020 has been a year of discovery and reconsideration, a year of contradictions and a year of selective blank slates.

Being locked in a house with a partner or family for long periods of time, created contrary emotions. We saw an increase in domestic violence, increase in drinking, an escalation of anxiety and stress between partners but on the flipside, we learnt to appreciate teachers, nurses, doctors and frontline workers. We have seen individuals go beyond their limits to be compassionate towards another. We may even see a spike in the number of babies being born in the next year.

While these past 12 months have been destructive in their delivery of epiphanies, they delivered nonetheless. All while watching each continent shut its borders and attempt to lock out, or lock in, the impending disarray and chaos whilst at the same time finding the truth about what’s important to us.

2020 has been a year of discovery and reconsideration, a year of contradictions and a year of selective blank slates. And for all of us, who often extoll the catharsis of understanding and defining our feelings, it was a year of finally learning the meaning of words we had previously overused: gratitude, happiness, family, privilege and bittersweet.

The months that we spent at home this year were months of intense, sometimes devastating periods of internal reflection. For the first time in years, you may have asked yourself what you want from life. Who do you want to be? What would make you happy? Do you like the things you are doing and what are the demands that you have from life?

To be honest, the answers may be unimportant compared to the process itself. The act of checking in with yourself was the important part. There was clarity in knowing that our aspirations were not a product of habit. Quarantining at home showed us what our true priorities were and are. There is beauty in reflection and rumination, in spending time with oneself.

Over this year, we’ve learnt to untangle our sense of worth. The inequitable impact of the health crisis showed us that productivity is a luxury that not many can always afford.

Each country held its own class on human happiness and hopefully we have been taught the incredible effect of “awe” on humans. It’s easy to be awed by incredible experiences, fantastic events, life changing moments. But we need to let ourselves be in awe of the seemingly insignificant – a small scientific discovery, a succinct line of code that can evolutionise an idea, the cleansing of the oceans and rivers, the clearing of mountain vistas hidden for years and overall nature had a time out from the human condition.

To finish – a wonderful statement by Anthony Hopkins. The veteran actor also admitted that he had ‘off days’ and ‘little bits of doubts’ as well as a video we have all loved “The Great Realisation.”

“All I say is hang in there. Today is the tomorrow you were so worried about yesterday…people, don’t give up… just keep fighting. Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. That’s what I got to say. A Happy New Year! This is going to be the best year, thank you.” Anthony Hopkins

Change Is Permanent

Change Is Permanent

As a Change-maker I find that change draws on fears within most individuals. Do you realise that it’s the only constant evolving action in your life?

We’ve been hearing about change since the 6th century BC (To quote Heraclitus; “The only thing that is constant is change”) and yet this mantra instills or triggers apprehension.

Each of us is made up of varying traits such as intellect, logic, emotion and intuition but your overall intelligence and wisdom is not weighed up by how much you read, the videos you watch or how many successes you have in life. 

Your wisdom is borne of your failures,  shifts in choices and the flow of life that you experience when change happens.

We all experience “Panta Rhei – the flow of life”. It’s how you utilise the reality of change or reflect on it that makes a difference to how smoothly you progress in life.

As children, we’re open to learning. We have little fear until someone tells us to be afraid. We try anything and everything, making choices and change as freely as the movement of the ocean tide. 

We get older and we’re taught what fear is, embracing change is replaced with anxiety and apprehension. We give up our power to others because we’re not willing to stand by our own truth, to lead by intuitive process and what we know is right for us.

I’ve seen this in clients for many years. Giving up your choice is the same as giving up your power. If you stay with what you know or what you’re used to as opposed to acknowledging that empirically it makes sense to focus on your own truth and intuition, you’ll never accept change.

Life can trigger you to move in a different direction and you don’t always know why.   The art is to not resist it. Have you ever had a thought about doing something but talk yourself out of it or deny it will work? You resist and yet the thought, picture, idea or concept keeps coming up around you.

Or sometimes a negative event or failure occurs and instead of understanding its purpose and why it happened, you regret or deny it?

Ask yourself this question: is it pushing you to try something different, go in an alternate direction, choose a new way of doing or being?

Failure is not meant to be lamented, it’s not meant to harm or impair our choices but can often provide clarity and lucidity to make the right decision and choose the correct approach.

In essence, find your truth to accept change!

In business, it can be as simple as a complaint to shift you to improve on your production, training or presentation.  In a recent case, I actually asked the individual to write a thank you note to the ‘complainer’ as it pushed her to gain supplemental training and experience.

She found this additional training amazing and knew it would only benefit her business in the future. She also acknowledged that she wouldn’t have taken up the training without the complaint and understood why it happened.

Turn around a negative action by simply assessing “why it happened” and then seeking the solution so it never occurs again.

Be driven to succeed but if you don’t watch or listen to the signs of change, you may find yourself stuck and frustrated at why your ‘dream’ isn’t growing into reality.

Accept change as part of life, look forward to it, embrace it and flow into the life you are meant to have.

Tuition or Intuition – or both?

Tuition or Intuition – or both?

Education is important, no doubt about it. There are numerous ways to learn and gather information and it’s important that we respect and recognise that they all play a role in the overall performance of life’s success. Living a worthwhile life and being happy takes more than a degree.

As much as we learn through school, TAFE and Uni, it’s the hands-on performances using innate trust in our own decision making and choices that provide the greatest tools for life. You can mesmerize every book in a library but if you don’t trust your own decision making, you will continue to misjudge, slipup and fail.  Not that failures are all bad.  Some teach us resilience or move us in another direction, where maybe we’re supposed to be.

So how do you teach yourself and perfect intuition?

You may like to try Intuitive Coaching (IC) which teaches you to trust your true self and the inner voice that you may often ignore.

Intuitive Coaching enables you to connect with your authentic self and be more confident in your decision making and creativity.

Knowing who you are helps you transcend where you are now.  IC encourages you to reach your potential through perceptive and insightful decision making.

We have all experienced small acts of intuition but the key is to hone in on those little messages so they become the primary triggers for decision making, not afterthoughts.  We all have experienced ignoring our intuition and telling ourselves: “I should have listened to my gut when it said …” (your first thought or decision).

So now imagine taking your intuition to a level that permeates everything you do, even your work.

Use your super-conscious Google search

Intuition is like being connected to your super-conscious-Google search tool that reacts in a split second to every movement and decision you need to make but instead of giving you a hundred choices on the first page, there’s only one – the right one.

IC starts by focusing on specific areas of your life – fears, apprehensions, anxieties and out of control feelings and emotions.  Repressed thoughts of regret or resentment can also be a great starting point and learning, through intuition, how to let go.

In training your intuitive process, you will learn to comprehend a deeper understanding about your life, access your personal power and advance your connection to self.  Learning to not resist change, how to evolve and nourish your dynamic ideas and creative processes.

A stronger intuitive process takes you from where you presently are to attain a peacefulness within that cultivates and reassures your choices and fosters your intellect to a higher level.

IC helps you attain peace from within and connects with your authentic self, releasing limitations and transcending you to reach your true potential.

As much as you are studying your diploma or degree, or working on new strategies at work, learn to sharpen your intuitive skills and trust the decisions that come to the surface.

The Only Person You Are Competing With – Is Yourself!

When I first moved back to Australia from living in the US for 17 years, someone said to me “You must be very competitive now.” My response was proverbial. Being raised in Oz -“Competition in the US is for survival, it’s the only way people get by.  Whereas here, we compete with ourselves.  It’s a totally different mindset.”  It’s probably the best reason why I survived working in a very competitive environment. I stayed true to myself.

I think this adage is relevant for being raised in one of the most wonderful countries in the world.  To get up in the morning and go one step further. To push yourself past where you were the day before, to achieve more, to try more and to know you can pat yourself on the back every night for your effort, no matter if you failed or succeeded.

I believe: when you’re on the edge of new beginnings, you get behind yourself and push!  You can be guided, mentored, supported, steered, directed, and coxed but no one can push you like you can.

No one can manoeuvre your emotions, decisions and passions with the same effort as you!

There are many comments about today’s Millennials acting entitled. Maybe not willing to do the hard yards to get where they want to go in their careers and personal lives.  They want to be paid $100K plus and ask the strangest questions in interviews like: “why should I work here?” or “what can the company offer me?”

In the long run, attitude is important. Their road may be harder, more challenging and awkward at times.  They will learn that balance in life is not just about money but realised satisfaction comes from within, from hard effort, long hours, mental and physical sweat and exertion.

True skills are only borne from trying, doing and creating – falling flat sometimes knowing you can pick yourself up and you’ll will survive and, eventually, thrive.

If you ever doubt yourself or where you are heading, close your eyes, picture yourself on the edge of a precipice.  See your wonderful future in front of you, touch it with your eyes – then get behind yourself and push!

So, when I look back on my life and look at all the times I failed, I fell and I floundered – the voice in my head from my father rang true over and over again.  It was up to me to pick myself up, assess how to resolve the damage and push myself to new beginnings.  Thanks Dad!

Is Technology the Silent Terrorist!

This was my first thought after seeing the consequences of what occurred in London.  What’s going on?  It takes humans to create the most amazing inventions, to inspire nations but it can take just one man to create chaos and revulsion. How did that man get to the point of wanting to do something so dreadful and awful, as each of these disasters are?

Are we now responsible for creating generations of misplaced, misinformed and maladjusted individuals who don’t know how to be kind, considerate and understanding?  Who don’t understand what empathy is or how to be conciliatory?  Who don’t believe in themselves enough that others can talk him into believing in such a horrifying atrocious cause.  But I don’t just blame these misinformed creatures, I blame technology.

We live in a world led by technology – the growth of AI and everything in the cloud.  We are supposed to be so “connected” and our online lifestyles are supposed to provide us insight and inspiration. Yet why are we so lonely?  Something is wrong –a piece of the puzzle is missing.

It is well known now that suicide rates are up around the world.  The World Health Organisation recently made clear that whilst suicide rates “vary enormously from country to country”, the main elements – “the pressures of life that cause emotional distress” are very similar everywhere.

In the pressures of trying to have lots of friends on Facebook, become an “influencer” on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Blog and the hundreds of other forms of social media, have we forgotten to become a friend to our neighbour, connect intimately with family or friends or become a mentor at work and give our time to help another person?

Why do our younger generations feel so unsure about what lies ahead and older people fear loneliness?  Young people take others’ opinions to be more important than their own, leading to suicide rates of under 20-year-old being the second highest cause of death.  Again, what’s wrong with this picture?

I use social media also but it does not run my life nor tell me who my friends are or how I will find my peace and solace.  I know that love will be found in the eyes and touch of another human being, not that I can have a true relationship with a person on Tinder or FB?

I have been using computers since I was 18 and was the second mainframe operator trained in Australia by Nashua/IBM to work for what was then Gadens Bowen in Double Bay.  That’s over 40 years! So, computers have been a part of my life for a long time but they do not rule my life, nor do I value them over friendships and real relationships.  I don’t wake up and grab my phone to see what the world thinks of me or what’s going on. Yet I am informed of all the things I need to know.  What’s going on is right in front of me, around me and made up of the things I do, not what others do. I am aware of the world but if I want to change it or make it better, it starts with me.

Technology changes the way we think, how we feel and our safety – it creates less physical activity, less relationship building in real time and overall less reality.

I am not a psychologist just a simple counsellor and business manager but common sense would suggest that what’s more important today is the sense of self.   This is the heart of the issue for every person living today.  If you are connected to life, not through your phone, but doing, being and experiencing, and you have purpose, structure and belief, you feel loved and you love who you are, then the risk of you doing anything volatile or negative will be slim if not nought.  If, however, your image of self is negative, you feel unworthy or misplaced in our great society and you feel lost and lacking direction then your overall focus will be on the emotionally unavailable, a life unreal, the substitution of real life for online virtual reality.  A person can become fragile and at risk of negative actions which in turn strengthens social isolation, reinforcing the image of failure, weakening self-belief and confidence and strengthening self-loathing.

It is important to know who we are.  Know Thyself – as Socrates stated – where people make themselves appear ridiculous when they are trying to know obscure things before they know themselves.  Plato also alluded to the fact that understanding ‘thyself,’ would have a greater yielded factor of understanding the nature of a human being.  Basic and true.

So why do we put so much responsibility on technology and not ourselves?  Do we have such little understanding today of who and why we are?  Do we create images, cling to ideological constructs that take us further away from our true nature as humans?

I would love to see a decade long moratorium on violent movies and television, usually filled with killing and unruly language, and see how it would affect a generation.

If you have a young family, or a teenager don’t ignore the need for human contact and connection.  Create the fantasy, amazing memories and moments through tactile interaction and experiences.  Let the intangibles like love, caring, understanding and empathy become more important that the immoral “reality” that is technology.    I am not stating that all technology is evil or unprincipled but there is a place in life for technology, it is, most definitely not to run my life nor dictate my choices, my friendships, my influences.  I can only hope that each individual finds their truth and self-belief in looking in a mirror not in the face of a Smartphone or iPad.

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Always be truthful… especially to yourself.

The scariest thing in life is being truthful.  We either are overt in telling somebody what we feel or think about a particular matter, we give our opinions in meetings and in our work because we know what is best to get the job done, we tell our children what is right and wrong to assure they make the correct decisions but when it comes to telling ourselves the truth, reflecting on our own actions and affecting change when it is needed, we run away, hide it under our skin, put it to the back of our minds and carry on hoping it goes away.

In order to grow, in order to assure change happens naturally and smoothly in life, we need to be truthful to ourselves before all else. (more…)