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Willingness – the state of being prepared to do something

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‘Happiness’ – my word for the day or should it be ‘serendipity’?

Serendipity – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Let me explain more…

I posted a photo of some gorgeous yellow lilies I had taken a photo of at Farro Fresh (one of my happy places), on Instagram late Saturday afternoon with my ‘Word for the day’ – ‘Happiness’: on Sunday morning I sat in church and listened to the Pastor speak on….’Happiness’!

How serendipitous 🙂

I can’t give you the whole message but I will share a couple of thoughts that I took away from the morning. It seems only right after the chance occurrence 🙂

“You can’t reach forward if you don’t let go of the past” – talk about hit you hard straight up!

Now letting go can be difficult. Letting go of people, ideas, expectations, desires; letting go of bad habits, false beliefs and unhealthy relationships… the list goes on. Every day, every moment presents an opportunity to create ourselves anew, to shrug off the baggage of the past, open ourselves up to the possibility of the moment and take action to create an incredible future.

Although we can understand this intellectually, knowing it and living it are two very different things. I have and do struggle with this however my self-awareness of this helps me when I get really ‘cranky’!

Here is my Top Ten Action list for letting go to get you going:

1. Pray. Find stillness, breathe. Praying is action. Our mind is much harder to still than our body. Our lives are busy and fast paced, filled with external noise and distractions. Clarity comes from quiet. Praying, even in small amounts, will make room for the next 9 steps.

2. Understand. Take time to reflect on your own history as a third-party looking in without judgment: simply observe. Understand that you are not your past. Understand that the situations and patterns and people in your life created your experiences, they didn’t create you. Knowing and understanding your past and some of your patterns will help you to recognize why you hold on and repeat self-destructive behaviours. Understanding creates awareness; awareness helps you break the cycle.

3. Accept. Accept your history and the people who have been a part of your history; accept your circumstances and remember that none of these define you. Acceptance is the first step to letting go and setting yourself free. Carrying bitterness, anger or animosity burdens no one but you.

4. Empty your cup. Consciously and actively work at letting go of your story; your judgments and ideals, the material things, all your stuff. They have no real value. They do not make you stronger, healthier or more powerful, and belief in them is a delusion. Pour out your expectations of how, who, where and what you should be as they, too, are part of a story that holds you back from simply being. Once you let go of this story and empty your cup, your life purpose will open up and flow.

5. Align. Take a moment (or many moments: you’re worth the time) to write down the following:

i. Your core beliefs/values

ii. Your Life Goals

iii. The actions that you are taking to pursue those goals.

Now take an honest look at your core beliefs/values and determine whether or not they align with your goals and actions. If not, ask yourself: is it time to create new core beliefs, set new goals OR take new action? What actions must you take to align your actions with your beliefs in order to attain your goals. Write down 3 actions that you will take this week to get yourself moving.

6. Be flexible.  Set Goals and work toward them but if you are flexible — that is, willing to let go of the end result — aligning your goals and true purpose with the greater good is righteous action. Be flexible; allow the path to unfold as it will, opening up to opportunities. Flex and flow with the current of life.

7. Contribute. When you find yourself lamenting about your past or angry about your present or brooding about your future, find a way to making someone’s day better. Offering a smile to someone as you pass, opening a door, baking a cake for your neighbour: these simple actions can have lasting impact and help you to put your situation into perspective. Contributing to the well-being of others is the best way to align with your true self.

8. Believe in yourself. Believe in your purpose. Believe that the universe is unfolding as it should and that you have a divine role to play. Believe that holding on does nothing in fact but hold you back from that purpose.

9. Love the process. Have fun. Be playful, cheerful and positive. Love yourself, love others and love this life. It is a gift to unwrap each and every day.

10. Be grateful. Be true. Once you have taken all of these actions, just be.

Your current situation is not your permanent destination so here’s to letting go of the past and embracing the future.

Happy ‘happiness’ xx




No Time Like The Present – so true!

Often times we get bogged down in life with all the pressures of paying bills, stress at our jobs or just life obstacles. We forget to enjoy and embrace the present time and the current stage we’re currently in. During this past holiday season, I’ve heard people say things like “Why am I not happy […]

via No Time Like The Present — Jay Colby


Stop – and Recalibrate Yourself

Stop and Recalibrate Yourself, August 2016
We live in such a fast-paced world where technology allows us to work day and night – my boss told me off gently earlier this week for sending him an email at 8.30pm. To which I replied equally as nicely – “and you answered it at 10.30pm!”
In my defence I was sitting on the sofa in my pyjama’s with my iPad – was I really working?  I certainly didn’t think of it as working.
Either way, pushing myself will not increase my life-span but may just decrease it?  A wise man said the other week to myself and others “You need to stop and recalibrate you!” He could not have spoken a truer word. It made me stop and think about what I could do differently with my 7-days.
Do you remember when the shopping malls were only open late one night a week, and closed all weekend? When you managed to get your shopping done after work, and your bills paid by posting a cheque? There was no fibre broadband, smart phones or iPads.
In our home Saturday’s were often filled with household chores; clean sheets on beds, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, mowing lawns and cleaning cars and those activities after an early morning football game with the our eldest son.
Sunday was reserved for ‘family time’ – perhaps a trip to the beach, or lunch with extended family. It was a day where no chores were done, where teenagers were encouraged to hang out with the whole family, and where busy working Mum’s and Dad’s could do something for themselves without feeling guilty for ‘doing nothing’.
I have fond memories of ‘topping and tailing’ with my oldest son, on his bed, in the sun, both of us with our noses in a book!
Back in 1840 Samuel Duncan Parnell, a carpenter in NZ, refused to work for more than eight hours a day when building a shop for a merchant. He was successful in negotiating this working condition – and New Zealand now has the reputation of being the first country in the world to have adopted the eight-hour working day.
It was reported that Parnell said “There are twenty-four hours per day given to us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which men to do what little things they want for themselves”.
Granted this is a little sexist but you get the point!
We travel 1-2 hours to work (if you live in Auckland that is ‘normal’) work 8-10 hour days, and then drive home the 1-2 hours travel time – for most working parents; there is dinner to cook, sports practice to get kids too, homework to check, washing to do and bills to pay!
When do we stop and recalibrate – or breathe in?
I love the idea of working 6-days and taking the 7th day as a day of rest – or recalibration. Whatever days of the week you work, you can fit in a day for you.
Call it what you like, it is so important to stop and breathe in so you can go again. We won’t survive this life if we don’t.
Here are my Four Fundamentals to help you ‘breathe in’.
1. Design personal replenishment
I had a wonderful opportunity some years ago to have some Life Coaching. I hunted out the material this weekend and read through what I had committed too. It made interesting reading for me and I realised how far I have strayed from that ‘Extreme Self-Care’ that is necessary to keep myself alive;  in body, mind and spirit.
Part of the exercise was to draw a circle and section out your life into the important areas for you – The balanced Whole Life. Here is a pic of that piece of paper and my thoughts at the time.
Take Time for Your Life.png
The writing is small so this is what it says:
Relationships – children, friends, parents, lover, work colleagues, spouse
Spiritual well-being – inner security, sense of peace & centeredness
Emotional & Physical Health – exercise, eating regular meals, quiet time, solitude
Contributions to others – being of service & support to those in need, be that with knowledge or time
Work – my life is not my work?
Fun & Leisure – interestingly I had not made any comments on this section.

I wrote down the key things for me and what I was going to commit to doing or I had already working for me:

Relationships – I spend time with people who make me laugh, and I have relationships with people who stimulate me intellectually
Environment – I listen to my favourite music, and my home neat, & well-organised
Body, Mind & Spirit – I exercise regularly, and eat healthier. I set aside regular time for solitude & silence and find a safe & healthy outlet for my emotional wellbeing

Work – I have a mentor who guide and encourages me, I always take a lunch break, and I have colleagues who inspire and respect me. My ideas and talents are welcome at work.
Some of these things have changed for me, but many are the same.
Listening to my favourite music still feels me with joy, singing out loud makes me feel happy. I have new hobbies now; photography, baking, and cooking…and of course my blog – these things ‘replenish’ me.

Get a piece of paper out and write down what makes you feel good – it is a good exercise.

What the recharges you? Part of your life begins to die if you don’t look after it. Some of us feel guilty if we don’t stop and do something that replenish our soul. We all need to discover what replenishes us and then just do it.

2. Designate a day – pre-plan the day by setting it aside to do what you want for you.
prioritise the day  – the key is to empower the important over the urgent. I work Monday to Friday currently and have resorted back to the familiar – housework on a Saturday and my day on a Sunday!
Choose to spend the day on things that bring you joy – and make decisions for this day on what you want instead of what others want from you.
3. Disengage from work
It was not that long ago that there was no mobile phones, or email…and work survived! Turn that phone off !
4. Develop healthy relationships
Build friendships – talk to people, have conversations. It is imperative to have depth of relationship for you to make it all the way through life.
I hope that you get something out of reading this today – when I heard the words myself a few weeks ago, they really spoke to me. I felt compelled to share what really is a number of life lessons that I had learnt and forgotten.
I took my own advice this afternoon and went for a brisk walk – the dogs were delighted, and I was rewarded with a  beautiful sunset captured through my phone lens above!
Happy recalibrating xx

Discretionary Effort: going the extra mile at work!

I was pondering this topic while observing my new team working.  It’s an interesting concept and one that I need to explore further as I begin the somewhat daunting task of pulling a group of people together, and forming a self-managing, & high performing team.

To give you all a brief overview I am now into week 6 of my new role, leading a team of 15 individuals – aged between 21 and 52. I am the 3rd ‘Head of Department’ in 12 months, and started where my team sit just 6 months ago.

Now I did start from the bottom (so to speak) and some might say have risen to the top of the pile quite quickly – however I did have experience in managing corporate bank branches, and when the outgoing Head departed before lunch one Monday morning, I was asked if I was ready to step back into a management role?

The advantage of having done the ‘base’ role and been relatively successful at it, (enough so that I was promoted into a slightly more senior role after a few months), is that I have an understanding of not only the tasks within the role, but the ‘pain points’ for the team  members.

For instance, that perception of not being appreciated by the wider business;  one of the first team meetings I ran a ‘Traffic Light’ discussion around “with the client at the centre ” what could we/should we ‘Stop’, ‘Start’ & ‘Continue’.  It was an interesting exercise for me to hear what the team was feeling and to start my understanding of ‘their big picture’.

Stop

Traffic Light

Traffic Light – Stop, Continue & Start

  1. Coming in early and staying late to get the job done
  2. Splitting the whole team for team meetings
  3. Being statistics driven

Continue

  1. Training sessions
  2. Reviewing our client calls & giving us feedback
  3. Engaging with the client & understanding what they need
  4. Being supportive of each other

Start

  1. Giving team more credit – we are the backbone of the business
  2. Task rotation
  3. More communication between department teams

These are a few of the ideas that the team came up with that are amongst a whole lot of takeaways for me as the new Head of Department, and certainly more than enough feedback to filter, take onboard and look at what I can realistically impact in the short-term.

But back to my first thoughts on this concept of discretionary effort. What does this actually  mean?

And did I get some clues from this Traffic Light session of how to get this happening?

It is the level of effort people choose to exert in service to their colleagues or clients at work – or not! Employees are paid for the fundamental tasks that he or she has been hired to do – the discretionary effort is the level of effort people could give if they wanted to above and beyond the basic requirements of the job.

This month is known as the busiest period of the financial year for the business I am in – it is the time in which we communicate with every client, either by email or by post. Communication that creates a lot of inbound calls and emails full of questions, requests and more questions!

With volumes so high, the pressure has been on. Some of the team have responded by offering to work a bit later, or come in a bit earlier. I have noticed a couple taking a shorter lunch breaks, and another asking if there was anything else she could do to help out the team.  Some individuals have just got on with the basic tasks, have become less communicative, taken days off ‘sick’ and been generally disengaged.

I read that you can’t pay people enough to remember to go the extra mile but you can produce a work environment in which your employees will choose to go above and beyond themselves.

I wonder how much the age of an employee plays a role with this subject of discretionary effort? – without going into the depths of research right now, it is known that the three generations of X, Y and Boomers are fundamentally different in how they approach the workplace. (Best not get me started on this subject – 3 children all raised in the same house, 10 years apart in age, all with very different work ethics and expectations of what work ‘should’ be like!)

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Opportunity: a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something – a chance for employment or promotion.

Back in January I wrote a blog I named: An Update – Job Hunting.  I want to fill you in on what’s been happening since I secured that job, and actually it is part of the reason I have not been ‘blogging’ so much recently.

Six months ago I secured a role after a tough period of job hunting  – and to be fair – it was a role that I accepted with not enough enthusiasm but with plenty of gratitude. It wasn’t my dream job to be honest it was a starting point.

I found the work interesting initially, however it wasn’t too long before it became repetitive. I persevered and thought if I could just push through until the end of the year I’d look for another job then.  About 3 months after starting an email came around asking if there was anyone interested in an opportunity to step into another role. I immediately put my hand up and began a 4-week trial to test my ability to do this new role.

I tackled this new challenge in the same way as before – I put my head down, and quickly learnt what was expected and set about delivering it. I was offered the role on a permanent basis and after starting in early December I was promoted on the 1st April.

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Dream job? No but opportunity knocked & I answered!