Breakdown then breakthrough: allowing change to occur

I haven’t written for a while because I’ve been holidaying and business-retreating, (making up verbs now!) and allowing change to wash over me.

It’s been amazing and wonderful and vulnerable and scary and life-and-business-changing all at once. Yet the funny thing is I wasn’t seeking change, I wasn’t running away to ‘find myself’, or do my own version of Eat, Pray Love, or ‘make a change’, … but it found me anyway. The truth is, I obviously was seeking something.

I wasn’t unhappy, in love, life, parenting or business.
I wasn’t annoyed.
I wasn’t anxious.
I wasn’t scared.
I wasn’t even really frustrated.

But….

Something hadn’t felt right for a little while.
Something had shifted.
Something was niggling.

Something was hovering. Just out there in my peripheral vision.

And it turns out I needed to shift again. To evolve. To focus.

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Thanks for nothing winter solstice…or maybe one thing…

Are you feeling like there’s a LOT going on at the moment?
You wouldn’t be alone.

Apparently with the winter solstice comes lots of change. (I have no technical term for this, but it’s a ‘thing’…and not just for woo-woos!)

Believe it or not, the winter solstice may affect a lot of things in your life, including your mood, your sleep schedule, and maybe even your sex drive. But there is one upside…Here’s the lowdown:

1. You might just feel a bit ‘blah’.

Everyone’s heard of the winter blues, but there’s a real science behind why this time of year has you feeling bummed out a lot of the time.  Your brain’s serotonin level (the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that your body produces) are largely affected by the amount of exposure you get to daylight. So when the days start getting significantly shorter, and there’s a limited amount of sunshine, your serotonin levels can drop, causing you to feel a little moody and melancholy. Adding self care practises to your routine — such as deep breathing, meditation, leisurely walks, and yoga — can help boost your serotonin levels, and as a result, your mood and overall well-being.

2. Your sleeping patterns might go cuckoo.

When you’re not getting enough vitamin D — as a result of not being exposed to enough sunlight — your body can feel super exhausted and lethargic. The change in seasons that brings us into the winter solstice can affect your body’s circadian rhythm, which regulates your normal sleep cycles, as well as your ability to produce melatonin, aka your body’s sleep hormone. To put it simply, the lack of sunlight could definitely take a toll on your snooze time. But the dark circles under your eyes don’t need to be your default winter aesthetic. Take a vitamin D supplement or invest in an electric light box to remind your body that there is, indeed, a light at the end of this dark tunnel we call the winter solstice. Or you could just go to Queensland for a few months.

3. Your head may go bang.

Though the research isn’t definitive, there are reports that cases of migraine are on the increase during the winter months. The swift change in temperature can lead to changes in the body that result in tension headaches (you know the ones where it feels like there’s a rubber band around your head?). Try some essential oils, a warm bath, or a big block of chocolate…I hear that helps anything!

4. Apparently your sex drive could take a toll, as well.

Who knew?  Apparently testosterone plummets during winter. Maybe try getting cosy in front of a fire or finding a way to make ugg boots and a dressing gown sexy!

5. Finally, a light at the end of the wintry tunnel.

The winter solstice isn’t bad, guys! It might have you suddenly feeling like Vincent van Gogh (minus the whole cutting off your ear thing, hopefully), and you may just be inspired to tap into your creative side. While this isn’t a concrete finding, an increase in creativity during winter months is basically all about perception. When the chilly temperatures of winter force us to go inside and bundle up with a warm mug of tea and cosy blankets, we’re more likely to connect with others and as a result, inspired to create and to brainstorm new ideas. So…embrace that. It’s a GREAT time to get working on that book you’ve always been meaning to write, that blog you’ve been meaning to start, or that new social media channel you’ve been meaning to tackle.

Have you felt the effects? Positive or negative?
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Is your business persona solid to its core?

So I was watching the Voice last night. I’m a little bit obsessed with it, although I am now at a point when I can actually feel a ‘backstory’ coming on before it happens 😫 (jaded? not yet, not really!)
 
And so last night as I saw Sheldon step on stage, and then the first notes of Alessia Cara’s ‘call-to-arms’ song “Scars to your beautiful” played, I immediately wondered whether he is really living the story he is portraying. He makes no secret that he is battling with accepting who he is (a very flamboyant and theatrical young guy who loves wearing makeup and ‘dressing’). He’s trying to figure out not only what kind of artist he is, but what kind of person he truly is, all whilst doing it in one of the most public forums possible (with harsh critics everywhere). That song, which is all about acceptance of self, seemed to perhaps be more aspirational than a reality for him.
 
I was so interested to hear Delta’s comments afterwards about whether he was fully congruent and genuine. There was definitely something left unsaid. It was an interesting angle for her to raise, but given she sees him off-screen as well as on maybe there was merit?
 
I make no judgments about him at all, because I don’t know him one iota, but what the exchange threw up for me was this whole notion of creating a public persona, then stepping into it, versus uncovering who you really are and wearing that with pride.
 

Then the question arises…are we ever able to truly know who we ‘really’ are?

 
Or are we all just versions of a persona we created yesterday, five years ago, when we started our business, when we got married, when we became a parent, or when we were teenagers…?
 
Too often I see people on social media, whose business personas start to crumble at the slightest hiccup. The slightest nudge in the wrong direction makes them quiver, the first ‘bad client’ sends shockwaves through their bones, the mere hint of criticism serves to knock them sideways. And their bravado falters, and sometimes shudders to a halt.
 
Is your persona, your story, your public face, solid at its core? Is it yours or one you’ve bought or borrowed from someone ‘successful’ in your industry? Are you living it every day, on and off the stage?
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5 things I learnt about business from the circus

You may or may not know that I ran away to the circus last week. I was accompanied by my daughter, who just happens to be an aerial student, but it was really me who ran away….

You see I always fantasised about joining the circus, enjoying the life of a traveller, with the smell of the greasepaint and the buzz-like-no-other of performing to a thrilled audience in raptures. But there was no circus school nearby when I was little, and my parents were middle-class professionals – they weren’t exactly going to seek one out to satisfy my whimsy.  I did ballet and jazz and musical theatre and that was enough. It was wonderful, if a little controlled and contained.

But I always loved the circus. And then I forgot that.

I forgot that incredible thrill that the big top offers…until I saw Cirque du Soleil when I was in my late 20s. I remembered how intensely terrifying it is to watch the tightrope walkers and high flyers on the trapeze, I remembered the squeamish marvelling at the contortionists, I remembered the childish joy of the clowns.  The feelings surfaced again, those feelings of freedom and unadulterated joy that I had when I was so small.  So when Miss 9 was asked to join the performance troupe with her circus school, there was no hesitation. Living vicariously may have to be enough.

The first performance trip with the troupe was to The Lismore Show last week. Three days, nine performances and a whole lot of fun and craziness in between.  Obviously I was there to support the kids but interestingly I learnt some things from the coaches and support crew that I didn’t expect.  Things that can directly be applied to the world of business.

5 things I learnt about business from the circus:

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I want to be a dolphin trainer

Over the years I’ve wanted to be many things: a showjumping champion, a dancer, an actor, a lawyer, a journalist, a food photographer, a dog breeder, a travel writer and tour operator. At one point I even wanted to just be a lady of luxury on a yacht. I’ve often found myself SO inspired by the place I find myself standing, or what I’ve just experienced, or who I’m with, that I seriously have considered big career-altering-life-changing shifts (CALC shifts).  I am able to perfectly envision myself doing that thing daily, and I’m filled with joy and excitement.

My recent trip to SeaWorld – unexpectedly – filled me with that same sense of opportunity and desire.

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From BLISS to BLACKOUT; counting my lucky stars

How life can change in an instant…

Just wanted to say a few quick words about my past 7 days. For those who don’t know, which is probably quite a few, I had a terrible car accident last Monday night. It happened on a local freeway, at high speed, and I sustained a head injury. The good news is, it only knocked some sense into me.

In short, I’m bloody lucky to be alive.

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Festive reflections

 “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

As the year draws to a close, most of us take time to reflect on what was, what could have been and what the hell! And it can surprise us, just how much we’ve achieved, or it can make us squirm uncomfortably as we realise it was just another ho-hum year that dwindled by without a whole lot of positive progress.

Now, it would be completely unrealistic to expect that each year is going to be extraordinary, filled with massive highs, few lows and progression in leaps and bounds. Some years just aren’t meant to be that way. And you know what? Your adrenal glands will thank you! Rarely can every single year be an adrenaline fuelled party where success is all you feel. However, I do think it is important to keep aiming for better each year. Better health, better wealth, better connections, better balance, better fulfilment. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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Making assumptions about your audience is foolish

You probably know by now that I’m overseas on a big long-awaited family holiday. It’s been equally wonderful and exhausting – and we’re only half way through.  Travelling with young children is not easy and tempers have been frayed at times, but we’re all still speaking and noone has been sent home alone…yet…  So whilst I have a spare moment, I want to share some thoughts about the assumptions we make of our people.

We’ve been in the US, camping and meeting bears, renewing our wedding vows in Vegas, chatting with heroes in Disneyland and all along it’s struck me how often we make up stories about places and people before we’ve even met them or experienced them.  Aussies definitely have preconceived ideas about Americans, and the reverse is also true.  As travellers we  make assumptions about how we should be treated and as adults we make assumptions about how our children should behave in certain situations.

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Magic happens when you keep believing

Sorry it’s been some time between messages but I’ve been kinda busy getting ready for a rather large trip. Today, however, I felt it necessary to share a story about magic.

You see, a year ago today I sat my husband down, gave him a glass of champagne and then wheeled in some brand new suitcases. On one of the suitcases was a message from Mickey Mouse. It was inviting him to celebrate his 40th birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth. And now, 365 days later, I am writing to you from a hotel in Anaheim, and Disneyland is a mere 7 minute walk away.

It’s kind of surreal that it’s all actually happened. We’ve had the busiest of years with my business and my book, with the kids, with my dad’s illness, and with Simon’s work, but we stuck to our guns, made a plan and made it happen.

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The entrepreneurial school holiday blues

Four days in and I’ve given up the fight.

The tussle and juggle of solo-business owner versus school holidays was over today. It just had to be. Because I was driving myself mad and the kids too, and that’s just not cool anymore.

This working from home (albeit in an awesome custom-built studio!) combined with kids at home scenario just does not work for me, or them.  And I knew that. I know that.  It happens every term, every year.  I head into school holidays with a sense of trepidation and angst – the complete opposite of my non-business-owning or working friends – as well as a huge bag of mother guilt for feeling that way.  The “can’t you just take some time off? You’re the boss aren’t you?” comments don’t help either….

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