It’s all about the story.

Controversially, I’m not starting off this year discussing the craft of goal setting or how to be super focused for 2016. Rather I wanted to share some thinking around stories and the important role they play in shaping our reality. If you find yourself asking a rugby sized team for their opinion on a challenge you have or wonder why you keep receiving the same results over and over this may present some enlightening insights into how you can change your story to positively impact your internal and external world.

Personal branding is the latest in a slew of buzz phrases in personal development land. And it’s certainly worth a thought. In marketing we talk about positioning, leverage, engagement and targeting however a large chunk of a product or service’s success is the consistent story which is being told internally and externally. Our personal brand or story is no different.

As we are all very aware our thoughts and actions create our reality. If we’re not happy with the results we’re getting in one area of life, the answer is simple. Change the thoughts and the consequential actions. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog the story you are telling your audience is also the story you are telling yourself – only you are the person hearing multiple times over.

story

When we are ‘high on life’ from the potential of a new relationship, exciting career opportunity or weight loss achievement for example our flurry of positive energy is infectious. The majority of folk are drawn to our stories like bees to a honey pot and as Jon Gordon writes in The Energy Bus, those who are not are quickly dismissed as we float or fly between groups spreading gently or loudly our tales of success feeling confident, enthused and full of momentum.

However as we know life isn’t always like that. There are times when we might miss out on a promotion at work, a family member hurts us with unkind words or despite efforts our health goals are just not happening. We tell one colleague, we share it at home, next we tell a concerned family member and with some friends over brunch. Before we know it, we have a team of experts giving their opinion on our situation and we’ve given this story so much energy it’s has its own TV show.  This wasn’t our intention of course. We were simply after some insights.  But now the aftermath results in multiple phone calls to see if we’ve taken the advice, our instinct is clouded with judgement of others and we are becoming the starring role in our increasingly dramatic story.  It feels heavy, confusing and weighs negatively on our minds.

 

When our stories are having a negative impact we have a choice. We can choose a different script. Rather than buying into the story, we can choose not to give it as much energy.  We can decide to confide in the person who knows us best. Ourselves! Check in and query what is this actually about? If a person displays an attribute we don’t like, is this something we don’t like about ourselves? Are we sabotaging results by playing the lead role and what are we getting out of it?  If we want to air our thoughts and bounce ideas, choose only a couple of key people who aren’t going to turn it into an episode of Home & Away whether that’s a trusted friend, mentor or coach. And a final note own your story. Be wary of becoming a dumper, someone who offloads dramas onto others leaving them in the wake of our problems.

Let me be clear. This isn’t about being inauthentic and fabricating picture perfect stories of our worlds. Nor is it about suffering silently when we feel hurt by a situation and need help dealing with it. It is simply suggesting we become conscious of the daily scripts we are running, own them and be prepared to change course when they are no longer useful.

Some questions for you:

  • What is the main story you are running with right now?
  • How much negativity vs positivity is there?
  • Is it going to move you towards the life you want and make 2016 your best year yet?
  • Do you need to understand your story further and consider how it might need to be tweaked in order to move you forward?  laptop

As Rebecca Campbell wrote in Light is The New Black “She left the old story behind her and stepped into a new once upon a time”.

Learning how to be a yogi at Wanderlust 2015.

My Nan did yoga until well into her 80s and mum has been doing it for over 40 years. My dad claims to have been an avid yogi in the 70s but none of us have seen one pigeon pose. He claims it’s all in his mind. I have an on/off affair with yoga. I did it every day in July but only 3 times since then. Oops. So while I’m super excited to be joining the Wanderlust tribe I have been a little apprehensive as to experiencing yogues full time for 4 days.

Day one. I’m a newbie. My buddy isn’t turning up till Day 3 so I’m lurging looking for new yoga friends – anyone? I used to feel really uncomfortable meeting new people (networking guide blog coming in November) but Ive found the more you do it the easier it gets and luckily for me yoga folk are super friendly especially the Wanderlust team.

I kick off with some meditation under a tee-pi. Clear head. Tick. Done. 5 year old Bec is drawn to the hula-hoop dancing session. And after about half an hour of awkward thrusting,  wiggling & whacking my comrades with my hoop –  I got it! Look, it’s not something I’ll be doing back on Bondi beach but it was fun.

sup
SUP yoga. Awesome workout. Wear sunscreen. Don’t eat Mexican before

Hungry, all I could find in a hurry was Mexican which was NOT a good idea before SUP (stand up paddleboard) yoga. I’d been hanging out to try this for a while. And it was HARD. Good hard but I was the first to schimmy sideways (gracefully) into the water after a very tricky warrior pose gone wrong and let me tell you the Mexican swirling about in my tummy did not help. But I loved it & will definitely do it again. I joined the press conference at the end of the evening with a delightful sunset backdrop over Twin Waters, Novotel. It dawned on me what a massive feat it must be to curate, design and engineer this festival. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Day 2.

First a confession. I am one of those annoying early bird types. I kicked off today at 5am hiking up a steep path to Mt Coolum to discover serene pano views. I slip slid my way back down the hill to join a Surf 101 class.Surfing The sea had more motion in it than my washing machine on a heavy cycle but the crew created an awesome yoga / mindfulness blend with a  surf lesson – my brain even recalled how to stand up on the board and I fell in love with surfing all over again. Full of ‘must get back into this when I get home’ type feelings.

Next up I chose to listen to Lola Berry (a well-known nutrition personality in Australia) talk about keeping an eye out for nasties in your food. The worst one – for those of you who drink ‘diet’ anything was the chemical 951 – it’s absolute poison. Ugh what are we doing putting this stuff in our bodies! Another super interesting point and I know many of you might relate – is getting a little too obsessed with one type of super food, O-ding on it and sometimes even forming an allergy. Guilty! I did this by having kale every day for a year in my green smoothies. It sounds so simple but variety is the spice of life right? Just because bone broth is awesome doesn’t mean we need to have it everyday.

Jam packed @ Wanderlust 'Mothership' Asana class with Duncan Peak from Power Living
Jam packed @ Wanderlust ‘Mothership’ Asana class with Duncan Peak from Power Living

The afternoon was spent in three 90 minute yoga classes back to back. Yes three. No time for any leisurely Mexican today.  If I’m honest, today all I ate was protein bars – hmm not sure what Lola would say about those  nourishment options. I’ve done enough hip opening and ‘attempted’ crows to last me till Christmas. The yogatainment was in full force with how to workshops, bends and mantras giving me the realisation that there is a lot more to yoga than a simple downward dog.

There’s heaps of cool music tonight but I’m exhausted and this early bird needs to be ready for tomorrow’s 630am meditation on the beach. Tweet tweet. Time to press the activewear!

 

Day 3,Meditation

Another perfectly stunning day on the Sunshine Coast. Kicking off the day at 630am with a standout visualisation meditation from Swami G. I know this isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea but if you can handle sitting on a picture perfect beach and taking a few deep breaths in and out you would cope.

AcroyogaNext up was Acroyoga for beginners. Let’s just say I won’t be signing up for Cirque de Soleil  anytime soon. It’s really interesting to observe the ego during challenging new experiences like this where it’s easy to compare yourself to others or ‘wish’ you could be better. I managed a half flying something and while it wasn’t pretty it did feel pretty cool and the best bit is playing like a kid again and not taking everything so seriously!

Sampled a ‘living pizza’ today. Yes all raw, organic, GF, DF etc etc. It tasted delicious. Pity my stomach didn’t really agree so much.

Some cool chats about self-love, managing positive and negative core beliefs and a sneaky nana nap on the beach before a final 90 minute class on setting intentions and rocking a few vinyasa moves to Fat Freddy’s drop (all the classes have DJs most of which are kiwis  – only the best!).

I’m so tight from all the downward dogging and planking I could hardly pop my left hip while listening to the legendary sounds of Donovan Frankenreiter – a free massage tent is probably a good idea for a sponsor next year.

Day 4,

The 'Tentipi'. Photo by Sarah Vercoe Photography
The ‘Tentipi’. Photo by Sarah Vercoe Photography

Wow. That was an awesome experience. Here’s what I learnt after 4 days of Wanderlusting on the Sunshine Coast.

  • I really enjoy yoga and the zen zone it gives me (could’ve been tricky otherwise)
  • Ayurveda translates to the science of life. I loved the thought that everything in life is food – all you take in you absorb. Consider what you are digesting and surrounding yourself with.
  • Totally agreed with the concept taught to students from Duncan Peak of Power Living Confrontation with expectation  is manipulation. Confrontation without compassion is abuse.
  • Keep your eye out for Teff – it’s going to be the new super food.
  • There are three parts to your shoulders – thanks Amy Ippoliti from yogaglo.com. It’s change how I look at posture. Stand proud like a toddler.
  • Noticing my ego during a yoga dance class telling myself I looked like a fruit loop then getting over myself & enjoying the experience so much more.
  • Sharing Wanderlust with a wonderful friend was a real bonus as was having time on my own to process ‘stuff’ and met some really lovely folk.
  • The heart has it’s own version ‘brain’ according to research done by HeartMath is the U.S.  They’ve also found our heart  communicates via electromagnetic field interactions with our brain that can be detected 5 or 6 feet away. Fascinating.  More.
  • There are some really strong, flexible, talented young women out there providing awesome role models for women of all ages.
  • While my pigeon may’ve improved, my crow and headstands are very much still a work in progress and I’m happy to leave acroyogues to the experts.
  • It’d be awesome to see more guys at these events. There are just as many classes which would appeal to blokes who like keeping in shape.
  • Blogging everyday is intense but satisfying.
  • I love the Sunshine Coast. The temperature, the beaches, the vibes. Hello #happyplace.
  • Don’t leave dropping off your hire car till the last minute. My zen momentarily disappeared as I realised I had 5 minutes to drop the rental car off at a closed office, with no where to leave the key a bit down the road from the airport. Sprinting to the departure gate was er… exhilarating.
  • After one of these events you always make big claims about all that yoga, surfing, meditation and Qi Dong you’re going to squeeze in. I’m being realistic as I plan these into the week and having a yoga buddy to hold me accountable will also help when I get a case of excusesology.
Amy Ippoliti and those shoulders. Photo by Sarah Vercoe Photography
Amy Ippoliti and those shoulders. Photo by Sarah Vercoe Photography

The team at Wanderlust produced an incredible festival. If you like yoga, wellness, meditation, cool tunes and want to get out of your routine then definitely consider checking out one of their upcoming festivals. You don’t have to do 4 days – there are day passes but I think at least two day is ideal  to fully soak up the vibe and stretch out your body and mind in a fun, supportive, open, friendly community vibe. I’ll definitely be back.

 

Photo by Ali Kaukas
Photo by Ali Kaukas

The nifty fifty days left of 2014.

50togo

I’m in the midst of ‘goal-storming’ for next year and typically when I’m setting goals I do them in 90 day increments. Hey I’m in personal development, I’m allowed to be a massive goal nerd! However it’s been a hectic month so things have got a lil out of control. It lead me to do a quick count of how many days were left of 2014 to achieve my existing goals. Fifty. WHAT! Fifty. Cripes.

And let’s be honest. We may as well take out Christmas Eve day to New Years Eve day. It’s a write off –  wading from panic pressie buying to last minute ham purchases, Christmas pudding to nana naps on the couch,  sun lounger to outdoor pub, from chillaxing (or taming your sprogs) at the beach to drawn out brunches. So that’s 42. Holy moly.

You’ve no doubt heard of the SMART goal acronym. It’s been around the traps since the ’80s and there are a few versions. As a quick refresh:

  • S = specific. Make sure it’s super clear. Think what, why, who, where, which.
  • M = measurable. You need to be able to measure your success. How will you know when you’re there?
  • A = achievable. Say you’re 45. You’re probably not going to be an All Black. Ensure your goal is do-able within your current lifestyle/stage.
  • R = realistic. Specifically what will you need to do/ give up/ change to make this happen. Are you up for it?
  • T = time based. Set your time frame. You need a date to work towards or else it will be the never ending goal that just keeps on extending into never never land.

With a couple of trips back to the homeland between now and 31 Dec, a multitude of different work opportunities and many reasons to celebrate realistically I’m now thinking I have about 20 days of productive days/ evenings/ spare minutes up my sleeve. Yikes!

New Picture (2)

 

 

 

 

 

Another key rule when writing goals is the 3 P’s. Keep them positive – I’ll weigh vs I hope/ I’ll try/ I wish. Use the present tense – I have a new job vs I’ll be in a new job. And finally make it personal. Keep it motivating, visionary & engaging for you e.g.  On the 31st of December I am proudly standing on the completed shiney new deck I built and enjoying it with my mates.

If you, like me have things you set out to do in 2014 and they are achievable by the 31st of December or even ideas you have for 2015 you can get cracking on now so you’re not on the back foot in January then with 50 days to go now’s the time to get focused.

One final piece to think about from old mate Tony Robbins. Actually achieving these goals will not make you eternally happy. It’s who you become from overcoming all the challenges to get there that gives the real fulfillment factor. He asks “What kind of person will you need to become to achieve all that you want?”. Lofty and big for a Wednesday morning but you get my drift.

So what’s on your ‘to do’ list?

Is it to drop some kgs pre party season, spend more 1-1 time being present with the kids, have ‘me time’ once a week, start researching for a new career, download a meditation app and practice daily, start having green smoothies, stop having so many green smoothies, finishing a home renovation that’s been lingering, start a pilates class, visit a nutritionist to get your health back on track, join bikini boot-camp or the local touch team, limit boozing at agency lunches to prevent early onset of gout (you know who you are!), sign up to learn a new language next year, commit to 4 social media weekend detoxes, spring cleaning the wardrobe & donating the excessive Zara/ ASOS purchases to charity or even finally having ‘that’ chat you’ve been putting off with your manager about promotion possibilities. Whatever it is. Just crack on so on the 31st of December you know you gave the last 50 of twenty fourteen a red hot go.

I’m going to experiment with my 50 day plan. I’ve even (nerd alert) produced a template to get me started and keep me on track. If you’re keen to try a 50 day plan too or have a cheeky squizz shoot me your email and I’ll send my nifty fifty template your way.

Remember. What you focus on is what you get. To the exclusion of everything else.

Happy fifty!