Regina Brett: 49 life lessons

Stumbled upon another great little piece of writing the other day and it made me smile… link is here.

49 life lessons
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry because God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone, everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
49. Yield.

(recently updated when Regina turned 50)

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

 

Hurtling towards the finish line…

2010 – what a year. If you had tried to tell me this time in 2009 that I would be where I am right now it would have quite literally gone in one ear and out the other… and as I sit here on my sick bed *cough cough* (yet again! second time this year dammit!) and I have FINALLY had a chance to stop and reflect on these past 12 months 11 months the verdict is: all over the show.

Seriously. I’ve gone from great periods of bursting energy, massive amounts of writing, artistic endeavours, all-singing all-dancing to periods of barely keeping my head above water and barely keeping my (usually extremely high) levels of motivation at a sustainable level. I think if one phrase comes to mind at all about 2010 its: “a complete lack of balance”

Which for anyone is not a good thing – but for someone like me, who takes pride in consistency – it’s been a shocker.

I’ve been counting my blessings – whilst work has completely dominated my life (thus the lack of balance) for the better part of this entire year – I have been extremely lucky to be going through this level of intensity with an equally commited, professional, consistent and reliable team of people. It’s just not so bad when you realise you’re ‘all in it together’.

But as the year draws to it end… as we hurtle towards the finish line for 2010 – it’s a natural time of reflection. And for me it’s about taking the time to analyse what did and did not work for my personally and professionally across the year.

Next year my goals will be around BALANCE. And the pursuit of those things that matter most to me – I won’t feel this insane need (hopefully) to over-acheive at work and prove myself over and over again. And I might just have the opportunity to start utilising a fraction of my skills and talents as the world starts to recover from the GFC and businesses get savvy and creative about their people.

For now: it’s time to actually STOP and concentrate on getting rid of this dreaded lurgy… so I can end 2010 with a BANG.. and start 2011 as I mean to continue… 😉

Appreciating what you have…

I do find it slightly ironic that if you’ve always been able to do something you can’t appreciate how good you are at it.

Take talking, for example.

Up until a few days ago I hadn’t appreciated just how much of a natural talent I had for articulating myself with the spoken word..

Add a bout of chronic laryngitis later and suddenly it’s a whole new ballgame!
I would settle for opening my mouth and having a recognisable sound come out at this point.. but it’s made me start thinking about a favourite phrase of mine:

“Have an attitude of gratitude”

So many people in my life use this phrase regularly and live this phrase every day.. and in my experience it’s those people that are the happiest. They take the time to count their many blessings, and in focussing on that – it grows.

So here’s a little exercise: Take a minute to mentally (or literally) create a list of the blessings you have.. [at the start of the exercise note how you feel] keep going through each of the things that you are greatful for in your life.. and then note how you feel when you are done.

Do this every day for a week. I guarantee that you will feel a shift, emotionally and spiritually – that you can use to move you forward in your life.

[You don’t even need to speak the words to make the change!]

 

Little wisdoms

After catching up with a friend yesterday over breakfast, we got on to the topic of negative self-talk, and how utterly devastating this can be for your self-worth. It also reminded me of a fantastic little book I stumbled upon called ‘fast food for the soul‘ by Barbara Berger.

I’m constantly amazed by what you ‘stumble upon’ when you make a conscious decision to change your life, and in this ‘easily digestible’ little book what I found echoed my personal realisations about self-talk, and reiterated how powerful this message was to share with my coaching clients.

“Your thoughts are the architects of your destiny” – this is one of my favourite quotes and something I believe very strongly. Reading this book of little wisdoms is a great reminder of the power of your thoughts – and your ability to harness them as a tool for change.

Barbara’s website can be found here – and the book can either be purchased on her site or through Amazon. I stumbled across the book at my local library… so really there’s nothing stopping you ‘checking it out’..

Everyday beginnings

Did you ever wake up one day, and realise that while you were busy going about your life – literally MONTHS had passed you by?

Did you catch up with someone you hadn’t seen for a while, and have them ask you what you’ve been doing — only to have a complete mental blank?

Life is what happens when you’re not paying attention… I think I read that somewhere.. so what HAVE you done lately?

– Read an interesting book?
– Learned something new?
– Bought yourself something really special?
– Took someone you love out for a beautiful meal?
– Started a new exercise regeime?
– Found a new band/ new music?

 

What have you done lately that EXCITES you? Lethargy breeds lethargy.. if you’re in a funk.. shake it up! Change your state.. open your mind – do something different!

Winter is fast approaching and if you’re feeling a little low on energy now – how will you feel when it’s cold and grey?

The best time to start anything new is right now

 

How’s your fuel tank today?

Inspiration is ‘LIFE FUEL’. It drives you to make things happen.. rather than sitting back and reacting to whatever crosses your path.

If you could tap into that inspiration and make it work for you – what could you accomplish?

Coaching harnesses your personal life passions and helps you direct that energy to drive change.
Have you ever taken the time to sit down and create a list of the things that inspire you? The things in your life that give you a ‘buzz’ – make you feel warm inside – laugh out loud and smile with wild abandon?

Try it.

Spend ten minutes articulating all the things that bring you happiness. By focussing on these things for just ten minutes – feel what happens inside you… the warmth that occurs – the smile that appears.

Now: how would it feel to have more of that in your life? What would that life look like? Imagine living each day doing the things that inspire you and bring you joy! How much would it mean to you to have a life filled with energy and inspiration? What do you need to do to have that life?

People often make drastic life changes after a major life event – such as an illness, break up, loss of a loved one or accident – but why wait for this? If you spend time identifying your passions and inspiration you can start to achieve the life you want now.

 

Get a wriggle on!

Boost your energy!

As we head back to work after the holidays, many of us notice a dip in energy levels and enthusiasm… it doesn’t have to be that way. Whats the point of taking time out if you fall back into the same patterns that had you hitting the wall in last year?

So why not do some simple things to boost your mood?

FOCUS ON THE GOOD STUFF – we are own harshest critic, so with that in mind why not take some time to focus on what you do like about yourself? Try writing down 10 things you like about yourself and creating some actions around playing up those fabulous features?

For example:

– I have beautiful eyes – Treat yourself to some new eye makeup to highlight that feature

– I am a great writer – create a blog or send some of your work in to get published

Playing up or focussing on your good points leaves less time for negative or unrealistic comparisons to others – and it really puts a spring in your step!

 

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE – take stock of the people you are spending time with, and notice how you feel during and after you see them. If you feel drained or negative from interacting with them make a choice to spend less time with them! When you want to get happy and positive it’s much easier to do so when you surround yourself with like-minded people.

 

TAKE A MINI-BREAK – you deserve it! And it’s not too early to plan this – infact it will give you something to look forward to.

If you live in the country – plan a trip to the city! If you are a city-dweller and can’t remember the last time you sat on a beach or went for a walk in nature then make it happen. It doesn’t have to be expensive at all – in fact with a little planning you may find you can borrow someone’s beach house, or house-sit their apartment in the city for free!

A weekend break from your routine could be just what you need to shake up your energy levels.

 

DO SOMETHING NEW & EXCITING – why not do something you’ve never done before? Grab a positive friend or family member and organise an experience away from your normal routine. It’s up to you – you could try ice skating, or indoor rock climbing, do a wine tasting evening or take a cooking class – the possibilities are endless.

 

LET IT OUT – Negative thoughts and emotions will fester away inside you if you have no outlet. If you have a negative situation that is taking up your thoughts and eating away at your energy – why not deal with that in a positive way?

Talk to a person you may have fallen out with and try to resolve you differences and move on. Or if that’s not an option why not create a journal and write down how you feel? It’s a positive and personal way of releasing your thoughts and emotions. Or why not try your hand at poetry or music? Painting or pottery?

 

You can start to feel better about yourself and happier each day by doing little things for yourself – you have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.. The fact you are even reading this far shows that you are ready to take control of your life.. So go out and make it happen – you deserve it.

Building your career

In a fiercely competitive environment – what can you do to stand out?

To differentiate yourself from other candidates or employees – it’s important that you develop and drive your ‘Career Brand’.

ASK YOURSELF:

  • What sort of image are you presenting to your co-workers and managers?
  • Do you cultivate effective relationships and networks within your organisation and industry?

Your career brand is as much about your ‘image’ as your attitude in general – so here are a few key things you can address to take control of your personal branding:

 

TREAT YOUR JOB LIKE IT’S YOUR OWN BUSINESS

  • Ask yourself honestly: what would you do differently if your job was your business?

It is vital that you take the work you do seriously, care about the quality of the work you produce and the way you interact with clients and co-workers. Ultimately your career success is up to YOU… so if you want the returns you need to invest the energy every day.

 

FIND A MENTOR – they provide a unique sounding board for ideas, keep you focussed, give great advice, and can create career opportunities through their network of connections and contacts. Your career will go further faster with a mentor.

 

BE AWARE OF YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE – employers and recruiters use the internet too! With the prevalence of social networking sites such as facebook, bebo and myspace, an employer can investigate what you do outside of ‘office hours’ with a few simple clicks of a mouse. Pay attention to the images and language associated with your online presence.

Spend time checking out the content of these sites and what is available for the public to view – Facebook, for example; provides several privacy options that allow you to control what content shows in your profile. You should also ‘google’ yourself to be aware of any ‘dishonourable mentions’ that could pop up.

With a little forethought you can make the internet a powerful and effective branding tool by having a personal site to showcase your resume/ achievements. You can also utilise business networking sites such as ‘linked in’ – which provide a free service allowing you to reconnect with ex-colleagues and bosses.

 

WHAT IMAGE DOES YOUR BEHAVIOUR PAINT? First impressions count -it pays to keep in mind when out and about that you could be meeting a future boss or customer – if you want to be memorable be sure it’s for the right reasons.

 

WHAT DOES YOUR LANGUAGE TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOU? If your communication with others has a negative slant – you could be tarred with that brush. To foster inspiring relationships and have the opportunity to be part of exciting initiatives in your organisation – you must be seen as positive and forward thinking.

Avoid pessimistic conversations and language – positivity can be ‘catching’ in the workplace – so choose your attitude and lead others by your example.

 

USE EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING – effective goals are INSPIRING. They take you further than the ‘KPIs’ set in your role. They should be specific, measurable, ‘stretchy’, and be aligned with your passions and your values. Goals are personal and powerful – make them work for you.

 

WHAT DOES YOUR WARDROBE SAY ABOUT YOU? Think about the details of your physical appearance – ironed shirt? clean (non-scuffed) shoes? tidy hair? Being meticulous in your dress creates a professional image. Even if you don’t quite ‘feel’ the part – you can certainly look the part.

 

MAKE WRITTEN COMMUNICATION WORK FOR YOU

  • Are you professional, upbeat, friendly and to the point in your communication?
  • Do you send email when you could or should be picking up the phone instead?

Think about how your email use portrays you to others. Is your language overly-familiar? Do you use vague abbreviations or ‘text speak’? It’s easy to be misunderstood without the aid of body language or tone/ inflection of voice – so it’s worthwhile taking the time to review your written communication style and making it work for you – not against you!

 

WHAT DO YOU FOCUS ON? If you start each day dreading what’s to come – what sort of day do you think you will have? Be aware of your internal monologue and choose to STOP negative language in your mind. By focussing on the positive and telling yourself how great the day is going to be – you will attract good things to you. Try it – it works.

 

MANAGE YOUR STRESS – Generally speaking, as you move up the career ladder, stress and pressure increases: so learning to manage this now makes sense. Know your triggers, take control of your stress and do what you need to do to manage the pressures in your day. This could be a simple as getting up and walking away from your desk. If it works – do it.

 

USE NETWORKING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE – some organisations and industries require you to get attend breakfast or ‘after 5’ networking events, and this is a great way to build your career brand or profile. You get a chance to learn, promote your organisation, as well as forge important relationships within your industry. This is an opportunity not a chore!

Think about the way you interact with your colleagues at work – the relationships you create with Administrative or support staff are just as important as those with a Manager. Treating everyone with respect will ensure you get assistance when you most need it.

 

To harness opportunities in the workplace you need to be savvy about your ‘Career Brand’. Set your own standards high – and be honest with yourself about the effort you put into both your image and your attitude each day – be consistent.

You drive your success – you have the tools – so choose your direction and go for it!

Why ‘goal setting’ doesn’t work..

This is an interesting title for an article written by a Success Coach! So let me explain what I mean… I have had many goal setting sessions with managers over my years in the corporate world.. and as much as I appreciated that my manager was taking the time to ‘look forward’ with me – it just didn’t work.

Ultimately, the goals we were setting were too much like KPIs to be inspiring, powerful and therefore DESIRABLE to me. If you are a manager who wants to deepen your relationships with your staff – to become a mentor rather than just a ’score-keeper’ then it’s vital you know about powerful, effective goal setting. As Thomas J Leonard wrote in his book – ‘The Portable Coach’: “Competency is no longer some great lofty thing to aspire to; it has become the floor, or even subfloor, of professional success. It’s the starting point, not the goal”.

Whether you are a manager going through performance appraisal time, or an employee planning your next 6-12 months – powerful goal setting will set you on an inspiring and challenging path for the future.

For goal setting to be powerful and effective – it must combine your passions and your values. It’s worthwhile spending time uncovering this because these are the true DRIVERS of our natural behaviour. Goals that don’t fit with this are not nearly as attractive.

Once you understand your personal drivers – you can start thinking BIG about where you want to be. A goal takes you further but it needs to be something you actually WANT to acheive – rather than a prescribed outcome for a specific role – goals are personal.

There are a myriad of resources for managers and employees to use; a simple google search will uncover many sites offering free advice on goal setting. You can wade through that information – or – you can employ the services of a Life Coach to get you underway today.

What you focus on becomes your reality

  • How do you feel right now?
  • What are the thoughts that are running through your head?
  • What’s on your mind in this moment?

If you are thinking about and focussing on situations that are upsetting or annoying to you right now – then they will cloud your emotions and your reactions to your day. You have the power to decide what you spend time thinking about. It doesn’t mean burying the bad or challenging things that might be happening in your life right now – it means accepting them, and when you do think about them to focus instead on what you can do to change the situation.

Decide to think positively.

When I have this conversation I often get the response: “It’s all very well to tell someone to ‘think positively’ but for some people it’s just not that easy!” Well – you can do it – everyone can with a little practice – and when you learn to listen to your thoughts and consciously decide to change them you will notice a difference in the way you act and RE-act every day.

The first step is to be aware of negative thoughts – such as putting yourself or others down or thinking ‘that will never change’ or ‘I can’t do it’ – NOTICE these thoughts and tell yourself “STOP!”. Say it strongly. Mean it. Decide to stop thinking those thoughts. It may feel odd but with practice it really works.

Consider this as ‘training’ for your mind – you are getting back the power to decide the direction of your thoughts. As Barbara Berger tells us in ‘Fast Food for the Soul’ – “there is no one else in your mind” – so you decide what to focus on. If you have a negative monologue 24 hours a day 7 days a week – how do you think the world will look and feel to you with those kinds of filters?!

If you wake up each morning and tell yourself it’s going to be a GREAT day, that you expect good things to happen – you will notice those good things readily because you are open to them, you can see them ….a normally busy and ‘gruff’ colleague smiles at you and says hello, there’s no line when you go the cafe for your morning coffee… You smile at people on your way to work and they smile back… wow that positivity is catching!

You can start today and literally change the way the world looks and feels to you. Imagine how you will feel when you start to realise that you are in control of your world… it’s powerful stuff! You have already started – by choosing to listen to yourself.