Kidding Yourself On The Comfort Zone

When is a Comfort Zone not a Comfort Zone, at all? I know for those of you in NZ and Aussy who are already out of lockdown and back in the workplace it can be a mixed emotional bag – for some of you it has been sweet relief and joy to be back at a job you love. For many others, however – returning to the workplace – has been a real catalyst to confirm, for absolute sure, that it’s a role or an environment that longer serves you.    It’s time for change and – however exciting and freeing that feeling is – when you get the offer of the new role, now job, new training, new industry – as one of my favourite sparklicious clients did below – however right it is for you to make a change – that change is still going to come with a dose of fear or anxiety  – even if it’s TOTALLY for your highest good.    Excuse the typos, that’s my brain going faster than my fingers! This women I adore told me she was considering staying put rather then taking the new role she was excited by in a very cool company and industry, because at least her old role was in her Comfort Zone.   Comfort Zone, eh? That old chestnut!   Here’s the thing:   She had been wrestling with an unrealistically high and sustained super pressured workload, an entirely unsympathetic boss, continual restructures,  working kerazeee hours that involved pretty much most weekends, persistent undermining from colleagues and various… Read more

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4 phrases to use instead of “I’m fine” (when you’re not)

4 phrases to have better relationships in your life, both at home and at work Relationships can be so full of drama, at home, at work, at the school gates, with family and friends. Sometimes relationships can really drift without us knowing or we can be unsure where we really stand. It’s also frighteningly easy for relationships to get stuck in a rut, just ticking along, with a liberal smattering of “I’m fine”, functional exchanges of “Have you unloaded the dishwasher yet” and thinking (but not saying) “I cannot believe I have to ask you to do that again”. By consciously opening up positive lines of communication we can change so much with just a few simple words. Here are 4 simple phrases that you can use at home, and at work, to get some ease and flow back. Think of these as an easy injection of oil in the wheels of the relationship: I really appreciate that you… It can be so easy to always be picking at the negatives: no one is perfect after all. Yes, it would be easier if everyone did everything our way all the time, but that’s not reality! Refocusing ourselves to look for the positive and actually verbalising it can make an enormous difference to how both parties feel. It’s easy for other people to feel they are being taken for granted, but showing what you DO appreciate (rather than what you don’t) you reward that behaviour so you are more likely to see more of it in future. Is there something you’d… Read more

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Relationships: How to get EXACTLY what you want (at work and home)

Not getting what you want? Look at what you are giving. Here’s an interesting thing. We are often not getting what we want. We may not be getting the money we feel we deserve. Or the amount of love and affection we want. Or the recognition we want. Or the help and support we need. Not getting what we want is kinda part of the human condition. What can we do about it? Mostly what we do about it is have a nice big fat moan. Right?! “My boss just doesn’t appreciate me like he should.” “My husband should support me more around the house.” “My mother is never loving towards me.” “My friend is never really interested in what I am doing, she never asks.” Venting feels good. It also keeps us focused on what we are NOT getting. The LACK or absence of the thing that we want. Which doesn’t make much of a difference. If any. The situation will generally just perpetuate. We remain unloved. Disrespected. Undervalued. Unsupported. Whatever. Here’s the thing: We can’t magically change other people to give us what we want. We are not in direct control of that. But, what we ARE in control of is ourselves. And what makes a powerful difference in these situations is to turn the question around. Instead of looking at what we are not getting, look at what we ARE in control of instead – and that is what we are GIVING. Now I know when you feel hard done by the last thing you want to… Read more

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How A Niggle List Can Change Your Life

I bought a new kettle this week. A fancy glass one with 4 preset temperatures. I know, I know, we are living life on the edge here at Thompson Towers. The old kettle was so old and tired the ON switch wouldn’t stay ON. How annoying is that? I had however, developed a cunning little workaround of weighing down the ON switch with the scrubby washing-up brush. Except then of course it doesn’t turn off so I have to remember to go back in the middle of cleaning my teeth or whatever and catch it when it boils. Not until I had my shiny new kettle boiling away like a dream that I realised what a ridiculous time-consuming rigmarole the old situation with the kettle was. It annoyed me every single morning and a couple of cuppa times throughout the day. Every day! For…I am embarrassed to say, about 6 months. And now. Ahhhhhhhh! Nothing. The kettle just boils. Just like that. Easy. Bliss!  My day starts perfectly. Why on earth did I wait so long to replace my sort of working but let’s face broken kettle? It was a drain on my energy and my attention three times a day, every single day! The new kettle hardly broke the bank so it’s not a money thing. And I am a pretty organised person so it’s not a logistics thing. What then? I have decided it’s a “workaround” thing. Because I had a jury-rigged system that was working round the problem I put up with it for 5 months and… Read more

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Anxiety Creeping In? 6 Quick Ways To Deal With It

When life gets frantic and we feel anxiety creeping in, it can paralyse us and make even the simplest decisions really hard. We can procrastinate like crazy and that actually makes us feel more anxious! We can feel this anxiety throughout our body, our shoulders get tense, our breathing shallow and we just want to get this thing SORTED RIGHT NOW GODDAMMIT! Here are my top strategies for instant anxiety reduction for when you are feeling stressed out about making a decision:   Know you always have a choice. There is nothing you HAVE to do other than breathe, everything after that is a choice. They may be hard choices granted but you have choice nevertheless. I try to be grateful that I am living somewhere in the world where as a woman I have complete control and choice in my life, not everyone is so lucky. Hit pause. Breathe. Stop and Breathe. Breath through your nose only, breathe right down to your belly for a count of 4, then out through the nose for a count of 4. Repeat for 6 full breaths and then refocus on the task at hand from a calmer place. Is it a problem or a fact that’s making you anxious? If it’s a problem then there IS a solution, take your time, step back and Figure. It Out. If there is no solution, well, then it’s not a problem that you have, honey, it is a fact. So accept it, however tough it make be, and move on. Focus where you can make… Read more

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Self Belief – Inca Trail Learnings

Trekking to Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime experience, and I am so glad to have been able to do it. Once in a lifetime that is unless you are a Guide or a Porter on the Inca Trail. Our guide had done the Inca Trail 750 times! If you think that’s remarkable listen to this: Each year they have a race, just local porters and guides, across the whole Inca Trail. End to end in one go. This trail is at serious altitude and takes us mere mortals 4 days of hard slog, and it is HARD. Really, really hard. So in what time do you think the locals can do this 4-day strenuous trek? 3 days? 2 days? A day? Nope. The record-holder is a porter who completed the entire Inca Trail in UNDER 4 HOURS. A sub-4-hour time for a 4-day trek. How incredible is that? Yes, they are used to the altitude and yes, they are madly fit, but nevertheless I think the most incredible thing here is the mindset. And the belief of what is possible for the human body to accomplish. The mind has such a powerful influence on the body, more so I think than the hours spent in a gym preparing. If you believe you can accomplish something, that knowledge is far more powerful than the actual prep. What you believe is possible has the greatest influence of all. Consider this, when Roger Bannister broke what was widely considered to be an impossible barrier – the 4-minute mile  – back… Read more

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Why worrying makes bad stuff happen!

Worrying is a pointless activity. Fact! Worrying is focusing on a fear that is not currently present. It’s worrying about a thing that may or may not happen later. Most of the time it doesn’t even happen, but all that mental energy, emotional energy and headspace is gone, you can’t get that back. And here’s another thing. Worrying actually makes the thing you are worrying about more likely to happen. Yep, that’s right. Worrying actually makes the thing you are worrying about more likely to happen. How? Well, firstly, worry makes you filter. Filtering is selective awareness of what’s going on around you. Our brains are built to filter because otherwise we couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of information around us. Here’s an example of filtering. We got a new car a couple of years ago. I wasn’t that fussed about what we got as long as it was small enough so I could park it  (ie. v small) and that it wasn’t another unreliable money eating machine.  We settled on a blue Mazda 3. Never really seen one before but it ticked all the boxes and we got a good deal. Then, when driving about in the shiny new reliable blue Mazda 3 a funny thing happened. They are EVERYWHERE! Blue Mazda 3’s? Every third car is a blue Mazda 3. So many in fact that twice I tried to get into the wrong parked car (der…that’s why we now have a sticker on the back window to stop me doing that).  Blue Mazda 3’s are super common… Read more

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How to know you are living your purpose

I was ill the other week, in bed feeling sorry for myself surrounded by a sea of tissues. It was the day the cleaners come but nevertheless I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed. They will just have to clean around me I sniffed. Jilly, our sweet and spritely South African cleaner, chatted away as she dusted. She had some holidays coming up over the next few weeks and she had to take her leave as she couldn’t carry it over any more. “Are you going somewhere nice?” I mumbled, thinking a bit of Fijian sun was exactly what I needed to get rid of my cold. “Oh no” she said brightly “I shall be at home. My husband is away on business so I am going to have a GOOD SPRING CLEAN without him in the way!” She said it with such utter relish I would have been floored had I not already been lying down. “But Jilly, you’re a cleaner. You clean all day! Every week! You are going to spend your holiday cleaning? Voluntarily?” I was incredulous. “Oh yes” she said with utter conviction and glee, no doubt thinking of the sparkling clutter free cupboards in her spring clean “I love it!” And there you have it. Someone who is living their purpose in the most joyful way. It just goes to show that there is a perfect role out there for us all. And that our perfect role might be someone else’s worst nightmare but there is a place where we can all find our… Read more

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Why being “over it” is actually a good thing…

Call me crazy but I love hearing when clients or friends are “totally over it”. When they can’t look at another “fat picture” or drag themselves into the office for another soul-destroying day. I know that may seem mean because it means they are miserable, but I think of being over it, really, really over it, as a special kind of breakthrough. There are two stages. The early-stage where we just like to just talk about being “over it”. We actually secretly enjoy talking about our awful boss, or our nightmare mother. When people are really, truly over it however, they don’t want to talk about it. They have talked about it to death but that hasn’t made them thinner or their relationship happier or their career more lucrative. When people are truly over it they can actually hear themselves repeating those same old lines and they are sick of hearing themselves. Moaning no longer cuts the mustard. We are actually boring ourselves. Being “over it” feels awful. It can feel like despair, it can feel like we have no real options or choices, it can feel like nothing we might do will make a difference. It can feel lonely. It can feel isolating. But in actual fact when you strip this away rock bottom can be fundamentally liberating. When we are so sick of a situation in our lives the choice has to be change. Changing either how we choose to think about the situation or changing the situation itself. When we start to open the mind to the… Read more

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Your Bedtime Story

What goes on between our ears has the biggest determination over what goes on in our hearts and in our lives. One of the biggest areas where we can trip up is when we get facts confused with stories, or “the truth” confused with fairytales. Have a think about a time when you had yourself absolutely convinced something utterly catastrophic was about to happen. Lying awake turning over the prospect of imminent doom played out in excruciating and panic-inducing detail.  We have all done it. And then…and then…well, nothing happening. NOTHING! The sky totally did not fall in. The fan did not get hit with anything. All that worry, stress, drama and excess cortisol production for nothing. It can be weirdly tempting to play out a worst-case scenario story as a bizarre sort of double-think mental insurance to ward off against disappointment or rejection. If we have already considered the worst then maybe…maybe… it won’t happen. However, it’s a far easier way to live to know that whatever comes up –  if it comes up –  you are smart and capable and you will react and handle it. And so, therefore, you choose to wait until such time that might be necessary and divert your attention to happier thoughts in the meantime. The stories we tell ourselves in our heads have the very real capacity to destroy our peace of mind with far more regularity than any outside event. Look at it this way. What bedtime story do you read your 7-year-old son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter/nephew/niece? Is it a) Charlie And The Chocolate… Read more

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