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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Gifts for absent husbands

I was buying a present for my husband for this birthday this morning from one of his favourite stores.  I felt a bit rushed and somewhat perplexed about what to buy him.  Normally I don’t struggle at all but this year it’s a tad different. There was an added element of complexity to the ordinarily joyous process of gift-giving. The gift had to be small and light and not contain anything ‘tricky’, so that it could make its way effectively overseas to where my man is currently living.

I was staring at all the stuff, beautifully displayed, hoping something would jump out at me. The woman working in the store came up gently and said “you look like you need a hand”.

I explained my situation and as a I did she slowly nodded and leaned in with this look of ‘knowing’ on her face.

During the course of her ‘recommendations’, she spoke to me about how her husband spent 30 years travelling overseas for work, how it took time to reconnect when he returned (but that it did get easier), how her children were often wary of their dad and where he fit in to the scheme of things when he got back, how she encouraged immediate bonding with the kids and their dad by disappearing for the weekend with girlfriends, and how she used to cope with it all.  She joked about how she always struggled with gift-giving when he was away, so eventually they simply celebrated when they were next together. She told me how now, in semi-retirement, they travel back and forth to Noosa more often (the place they would take family holidays) and enjoy each other’s company in different surrounds.  She runs her own interior design business and he consults in the city, but they allow themselves breaks after a big project. She spoke of the simple pleasure of the perfect small leather travel bag which she keeps packed with only the essentials, so that she’s ready to join him wherever and whenever their fancy takes them. And the big lesson… she spoke of how she’s come to realise that a marriage is about quality not quantity.

The strategies she imparted were wonderful and her gift ideas were spot on. The way she relayed her experience touched me deeply, as it was emotive, personal, yet helpful, and therefore highly powerful. I bought more than I intended to because I was so intrigued by her story, I just wanted to keep listening. I believed in her and the ideas she proposed, so I chose them all.  I wanted to breathe in her experiences and make them my own. Hell, I want to be her in 15 years time!

Again, the lesson is clear. Be relatable to your prospects.

Tell your story in a way that matters to them. Find some common ground. Help them with their predicament. Make your story interesting, intriguing. And they will ask for your help. They will buy.

Go and be you. Unapologetically you. And tell your stories to those who need to hear them.

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The moments in between

A friend of mine was once upgraded to First Class when flying for work.  She was stoked! To be fair, her company had paid for all the flights that gave her the status credits to be chosen for the upgrade, but that’s cool – she was the one actually travelling!

The cabin crew, of which there were four, only had eight passengers to look after – how’s that for a ratio! There’d be no “umm, excuse me…excuse me….excuse me….can I please have a glass of water? Oh ok, when you’re ready….”

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13 Reasons Why it’s a great story

I have a hangover. A ’13 Reasons Why’ hangover. And it’s a bad one.

If you don’t know what I’m referring to, it’s a TV (Netflix) series, based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. The show revolves around a student who kills herself after a series of negative incidents brought on by school mates.  Running over 13 episodes, the central character, Hannah Baker, narrates the story via tapes she has left as evidence for her suicide.  Each episode ‘outs’ one of the students, outlining their impact on her final decision. It is harrowing and compelling, and has left a lasting impression on me as a parent.

I binge-watched the last 4 episodes last night because I needed to know what happened.  I simply couldn’t think what Clay, the shy boy who loved Hannah who acts as an audience surrogate as he listens to the tapes, could have done to her so I had to watch his episode, tape 11. And then, well, there were only 2 left and I couldn’t sleep not knowing what had compelled this young bright girl to finally take her own life. (In the end, I couldn’t sleep anyway, because the content was so alarming that I kept dreaming about what life-changing horror the suicide of one of my kids would bring.)

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2017: Your voice matters more than ever

2016 was a very interesting for many of us. I know upon reflection, we can pretty well say that every year, but last year the universe really seemed to rock for many people.  I know little about stars and planetary alliance, but apparently that had something to do with it. Or maybe it was just people pissing each other off.

There were many political and cultural challenges (Trump, immigration, gay marriage, legalisation of cannibis and Syria to name but a few), which prompted outrage, annoyance, confusion and hurt.  And there were many amazing artists and icons lost (Bowie, Ali, Fisher, Cohen, Cole, Lee, Rickman…the list goes on). And whilst we didn’t know them, they entertained us, changed us, made their mark on the world. Why? Because they had the courage to use their own voice. Sometimes it was used well, others inappropriately. Regardless, they had the guts to stand up and be counted.

The year was tough and tricky in many ways, but the tides of change have been fuelled.

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I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t believe in regret.

I’m also not sure that people actually change that much. And I certainly know that what’s said in the heat of the intoxicated-midnight-moment is almost definitely never going to come to light in the cold hard reality of January 1.

This scepticism may sound odd, given that essentially my chosen pathway is to support and coach people through change…given that whether I’m working with groups or individuals, I am constantly talking about change, the affects, the stories.

But here’s the thing. I’m not completely without hope that people can morph or rehabilitate or alter their pathway.  It’s just that THIS is what I believe in: Continue reading

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WeetBix and God – a story made in heaven

There was a moment at the breakfast table recently, when my daughter randomly said: “So, who actually IS God?”

“Well…..” I responded, taking a sip of coffee, buying time to find an appropriate and easily digestible answer before her WeetBix got soggy.

“You see…he’s not a HE but she’s not a SHE. God is a feeling, a spirit, a moment in time, an expression, a sensation, a comfort, a joy, a leader, a teacher. God is the creator of all living things… if that’s what you want to believe.”

She mulled it over between mouthfuls and then said: “So does God still exist? Like, wander around and stuff. Didn’t Jesus actually wander around and eat breaky and live on the earth? And isn’t God supposed to be his dad?”

Hmm. Tough one.

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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 awesome power of immersion

Wow. I have seriously only just come down off the high from hosting my third Writer’s Retreat this last weekend. What a rush! It was so relaxing, so joyful, so engaging, so mentally stimulating and challenging – SO rewarding. The ladies who attended did everything planned for and asked of them, plus much, much more. They were gracious and willing and committed.

We worked hard, worked smart, brainstormed, set our intentions, made decisions and created plans. They are now much clearer on what they stand for and where their value is. They know who they can help and how. They also know how to chunk up their knowledge and create marketable products out of it.

And the biggest take away?

That immersion is absolutely the key to getting ahead swiftly in your business.

When I was 4 I knew just what I wanted.

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Why sharing your back story is important to your business

Before you can expect anyone to buy from you, particularly if you are in a service based business, it is essential to build trust. The best way to do that is to let your target audience into your world by peeling back the layers and offering a little bit of yourself at each and every contact.

Whether you’re introducing yourself before a keynote speech, conducting a workshop or meeting someone for the first time at a networking event you need to be clear on what your story is and be able to tell it succinctly.  The same goes for when you’re writing your website About page, a bio for a collaboration, or social media posts – you need to share your story in a way that resonates and demonstrates your expertise.

People buy people. It’s plain, it’s simple, it’s true.

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