Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Where is Your Focus ? Destination or Direction ? (Living Vision)

(part of the #MasteringMyself series, #livingVision)
Do you focus on heading toward a specific destination or do you use your goal as a direction, ? The difference is profound. Defining your ‘there’ a specific destination or a as a focused direction affects how you get there and I suspect, the speed, quality of experience and chance of success. What are the differences ?

When your ‘there’ is a specific outcome your focus is on one thing and one thing only - there - to the exclusion of anything else. You are invested in this specific outcome and are not willing to change it or evolve it. This investment creates the need to defend your position and why it is right from all challenges and inevitable requires a high level of control so that you can keep things on track. If you need a team to get your there (and you always do), then you are in for a rough ride because most teams like to be a constructive part of the journey - rather than pure, thoughtless minions. Will you get there ? Maybe. It is after all not an uncommon way of managing, but it is not guaranteed and it always comes at a huge price. And if you do get there, you may end up with egg on your face as your specific destination may no longer be so right after all.

When your ‘there’ is a direction your focus is on ‘always making choices and decisions that take you towards’ there. This inherently means that you are focusing on the present, using what you have and where you are and so optimizing every opportunity (if not creating them). It allows you to be open to new ideas and as importantly, new ways of getting there. When you are focused on a direction you do not waste time investing in a specific place or specific way of doing things or even (and this is the important one for me), in any one way of being, all of which means that you are able to let go of limiting thoughts, ideas and activities. When your destination is a direction you allow others to contribute which creates that all elusive buy in and we all know that groups of passionate people achieve success with less energy, more often. The best part of choosing a direction not a destination ? When you do get ‘there’ you often find it is way more awesome than your original concept.

It sounds counter intuitive to focus on a direction not a destination, after all, everyone always tells you that you have to be very, very clear on what you want and where you want to be if you want to create something. But part of the creation journey is learning and part of that learning is increasing clarity of what you want. It evolves as you move forward.

Focusing on a direction is not about losing that destination, after all where you want to be creates your direction. The difference is subtle :

- It is about letting go of ‘there’ but still holding on to ‘there’ as an anchor.

- It is about being present and making where you are now as important as where you want to be

- It is about allowing other people to be a part of the creative process which allows your dream to get bigger and better

- It is about having clarity but keeping flexibility

When I look around me at the people that build the teams I like to work in, they all use their vision as a direction which allows me to be a constructive part of that vision. Teams like that bring out the best in me. I love seeing how to improve a vision, making it even better. There is power to focused direction, so why not let go of control and allow the rest of the universe in ? Why not make a change from destination to focused direction ?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stopping Worrying

What would we all do if we just stopped worrying ? Because if you think about it, what we spend most of our time doing is worry about things that may or may not happen. Let me ask another question, how is that working for you ? Does your worry actually make a difference ? Or do things just seem to happen on their own anyway ?

If you have done any reading around the power of thinking (authors like Dr Wayne Dyer or if you are more scientifically minded, Gary Zukov or my favourite Esther Hicks), you will know that what you think about expands. Which means in effect, you create what you are worrying about..

It is not possible to expect a habit that has been entrenched over a lifetime to just disappear, but there is something you can do about it.

1) Find that balance between being in this present and holding your vision in the present.

Conflict arises when you are in conflict with what is and what you would like it to be. The trick (and it really does seem to be a trick) is to accept where you are without struggle and also keep the energy of where you want to be present.

2) Shift your focus, from what is absent to what it would feel like with ‘it’ present

If you are worrying, you are focusing on something not happening. Shift your focus to the future and really see and feel yourself in that future moment. Stop focusing on it not happening and focus on it happening, how will you feel then. What does that moment look like, how does it unfold ?

3) Accept it not happening

Because it may not! Be comfortable with it not happening by having a strategy in place to manage that situation. Then you can let go of worrying and start creating. Accepting that it may not happen does not mean giving up. It means you need to rethink your strategy. If this approach does not work, move on, and find another strategy but the only way to move on is accept that sometimes things don’t happen exactly as we envisage. You need to be flexible.

4) Be flexible and use what you have

By letting go of HOW something should happen you allow it to happen. Stop worrying about the how and instead, pay attention to what is happening now. Ask yourself how this helps you and start to use the opportunities that are there yet you never see because you are so focused on the how you have in your head.

5) Step into your fear by taking the time to put down ALL the consequences of your choice.

Worry is the fear that something you desperately want won’t happen and the fastest way I know to move past fear is to consciously acknowledge understand every consequence. We are never trained to see consequences because we are told that thinking about what could go wrong makes it happen. Poppycock. Things go wrong and the people who manage those events best are the ones who took the time to think about what would happen if. In deep diving this is often the difference between surviving or dying.

6) If you can’t trust the people around, trust yourself

We control because we don’t trust others. We worry because we think that if we don’t, it won’t happen. But, if you trust yourself (which means you have taken the time to be prepared, have a plan in place for any consequence and have given yourself permission to learn), then you can let go and focus on what is happening. In diving, the moment you submerge is the moment you stop worrying about it, because now it is too late. That is the moment you start living it. When was the last time you stopped obsessively worrying and thinking about your vision and instead lived it!

Letting go of worrying feels uncomfortable. It feels like you are deluding yourselves, but here is how I made peace with it. Would I rather be happy in this moment and not get what I was hoping for, or would I rather be miserable in this moment and still not get what I was hoping for. If you are still not convinced how about this, your thoughts create your reaction to events and by now you should know how you react to something is often the difference between a successful or disastrous outcome. If you are focused on what you want to happen you will not jump to the wrong conclusions, instead you will be firmly linked to the present, working on using what you have to create what you want. It is the most empowering place to be and one that every leader I have met instinctively knows.

PRACTICE ! Take an hour, a day, or even a week and find out what happens when you let go of worrying! You have nothing to lose, after all, you can always go!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mastering Work – Creating High Performing Teams and Individuals (Why Context creates Performance, not Training)

As an individual striving to succeed in the world of ‘big corporate’ I have become obsessed with finding that ‘x’ factor that differentiates high performing teams and individuals. My natural tendency is to want to perform and perform well (if not better than my peers), which has been very difficult to accomplish in the world large corporate. I could have given up and just blended into the corporate background but that is not in my nature either. It has to be possible to succeed, after all, I have a world record, how hard can success in a corporate really be compared to that ? At this point you would have thought I had learnt my lesson. When I started my world record journey the question that drove me was, yes, you guessed it, how hard could it be ? Then again, I had no experience in creating exceptional success, so this time should be a whole lot easier.
In diving I took a lot of time to understand the environment I was in and then to correlate what people did to service that environment and understand what they were doing and why. In diving it was easy because the environment was almost exclusively physical, at work, well the environment is not that simple. In diving I also never had to worry about other people’s performance or impact on my success, not so in the work place. So what causes a lack of performance in the work place ? As if often the case, a book gave me an answer that really connected for me and that book was ‘How Nasa Builds Teams (Pellerin).
Pellerin refers to another book (that is not on Kindle, I hate it when that happens) by Stolovich and Keeps (2004) - Training ain’t Performance, where the cause of performance in the workplace is linked to environmental rather than individual factors. The context then in which individuals find themselves is therefore the key aspect that defines performance. Their research indicates that 80 % of team performance is associated to environment (context) with individuals’ abilities only contributing about 20% of the time. Which basically means that training ain’t going to fix your problem, managing the context will.
Even more thought provoking was the finding that context/ environment drives behaviour and in fact modifies it, which can turn a high performing individual into a non-performing individual just through consistent exposure to the behaviour norms within an environment. We all know unconsciously that context drives behaviour because we do it all the time. How you behave at a dinner when your in-laws are there, or your boss or your best friend or it is your bachelor/ ette party are all different with the different contexts clearly defining your behaviour. This control of an individual’s behaviour is managed by the participants in the environment, with people who do not ‘conform’ sanctioned until they do.
Malcolm Gladwell makes a compelling argument that our character has more to do with environment/ context than who we are innately. He states that the reason most of us seem to have a consistent character is that most of us are really good at controlling our environment”. Corporates are even better at controlling behavior through a mechanism Pellerin calls normalization of deviance.  This is what happens where bizarre behavior that even the individuals exhibiting it would consider inappropriate outside the workplace, is completely appropriate and propagated within.
Now take all that and apply it to your workplace.  You are either in an environment that supports high performance or you are not! No amount of training will change that as it is the environment and not the skills that are creating the non-performance, and as training is what companies do to create change, you are now stuck in ground hog day… with the people around you exerting enormous pressure for you to behavior just like them, no matter how destructive that may be.
So what do you do ? I fundamentally believe that individuals have the power to create change (even when stuck in a world of instituitionalised disempowerment), which means that I do not believe in sitting back and letting some-one else fix the environment I am in. As an individual I am empowered and I can make a difference through who I am and how I behave. If the problem is create by environment and context, I can start to actively change the environment toward something that would support my vision (in this case, high performance). Focusing on environment is something that is  outside my nexus of control, which leaves me with one last tactic - consciously managing my behavior by choosing a ‘self’ that does not change based on context. By becoming more authentic I become part of an environment that supports high performance instead of becoming part of an environment that creates non-performance. I also am operating within my nexus of control, which means that I am fundamentally more at peace and more confident with who I am and whilst that may not matter to my company, it certainly matters to me.
There is a warning that I must attach to the concept of choosing who you are and so how you will act and behave - especially when you find yourself in an environment where conforming is required – it can create huge conflict if managed incorrectly. Then again, think back to those rare managers who have walked into a team and fundamentally turned it around through a combination of who they are, how they behave and how they manage the context. Sometimes, all it takes is one person with a strong vision of how it could be. Sometimes, that person is you!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Lonely Road - Turning a ‘No!‘ into a YES!

I stumbled on a new TV program last night called, ‘Peter Jones – How we made our millions’. Peter Jones is well known to Dragons’ Den fans and as a permanent fan of people who ‘stand out’, I watched the show with mild interest, only to be stunned at the level of honesty and exposure that was hardly normal in a documentary of that nature. Two quotes popped for me, the first by one of last nights, entrepreneurs, Richard Reed  really encapsulate what explorers do, they turn a world of No’s, into a  ‘Yes’ and the second was observation about what it feels like to walk that road – very lonely which is definitely a feeling I could relate to.
It is indeed lonely being an explorer. You are outside the known limits, outside of the comfort zones of all but a few people which means there is very little external approval or support, both  of which are things that most of us are born to seek. I often found myself ‘seeing’ my journey as a road that stretched out into oblivion with me, the only pilgrim anywhere in sight. Some days I  would wonder if I was even sane ? Was it really worth it ? Maybe I should go back to that well beaten path where I at least would have company ? I would return for a while and surround myself with the constant barrage  of No, No, No until it irritated me so much I would head back out and look for another way to turn that No into a Yes.
Because that is really all that a world record holder or successful entrepreneur does, challenge the reasons why something is not possible and look for a way to turn that resounding  No into a Yes! How do they do that ? With their persistence, their creativity and their ability to let go of who they are and become who they need to be to get to that Yes! Think about it. When you are in a negotiation/ discussion how often do you find yourself letting go of what you want just to be right ? But, if you were really serious about getting what you wanted, would you not let go of being right or start to listen to the person opposite you so that you could understand his position and how you could both  move closer to yours ?
Next time you find yourself stopping dreaming because the prevailing opinion is, “No! That is not possible! “ and you can not find a single person who believes in your dream, relax and remember, lonely is normal. Then start to focus on exactly how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Let go of everything else! Let go of your ego! Challenge your beliefs! Get creative but don’t stop until you have turned that No into a Yes!   

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mastering Emotions with Meditation

I don’t know about you, but the ability to stay calm, cool and collected at work (amongst other places) is quite high on my list of things to perfect. It is even more frustrating to be stuck on this and know that who I am is something that can change – my diving taught that irrevocably. Who I was when I started diving and who I am now are so different I can hardly recognise myself in the girl who was soo scared of the world she took three years to even join the underwater club to learn diving.
If you have tried to change your reactions you will know how hard it is. I guess 30 or so years of unconscious practice can be blamed for that, which begs the question, how do you change your wiring ? Because if you take a stroll down the EQ shelves you will quickly discover that your emotions are chemical reactions and that these are patterned into our brains -the pattern being reinforced every time we experience the trigger and reaction. This in effect means that you can re-pattern you brain and so your reactions, the question is how ?

Meditation seems to be a valid answer and one that even the guru of EQ, Daniel Goleman has explored. Here are some interesting facts and conclusions that I took from his book, The Meditative Mind.
The Basic Premise
  •  One’s thoughts create one’s emotions. To change the way you react you need to be able to manage the unconscious thoughts that then create the emotional hijack that then ruins your day.
  • Meditation works directly with your thoughts and the pattern of your thoughts by retraining your attention, which in turn gives you the mental space to make another choice and practice something else.
  • Meditation fosters concentration. This means instead of the normal random and scattered thought stream you actively work on focusing your thoughts by fixing your mind on a single object (the meditation topic) or by practicing detachment from thoughts (mindfulness meditation).
  • Meditation is different from other ways of relaxing because it trains and improves you capacity to pay attention (as opposed to letting the mind wander as it will).
  • The effects of meditation last beyond the meditation session, making it a highly efficacious method for improving your mental health
Medical Reasons Why you Should Meditate
1) Reduce anxiety and stress
Meditation has been shown to reduce the effects of anxiety and stress (and who doesn’t need that). When you suffer from high anxiety your body fails to stop reacting when the problem is over. This means that you react to ‘normal’ events as if they were crisis.
   Each minor happening increases your tension which in turn magnifies the next ordinary event (a deadline, an interview, a doctor’s appointment), into a threat. Because the anxious person’s body stays permanently mobilized it has a lower threat threshold for the next event.
2) Change the Bodies Physiology
Meditation is also beneficial for heart disease and diabetes, lower cholesterol as well as having a positive effect on asthma sufferers.
3) Improve EQ & Communication
Meditation improves empathy, communication skills, listening and social awareness. This improvement is based in the improvement in attention which means that you are better ability to pick up on subtle perceptual cues in the environment and to pay attention to what is going.
A supporting experiment
Two groups of volunteers came into Goleman’s physiology lab. One group comprised meditation teachers who had been meditating for at least 2 years. The other group who were interested in meditation, but how had never practiced it.
   The volunteers were then split into two groups, one of which was told to relax for 20 minutes, the other to meditate for 20 min. When a non- meditator was in the ‘meditate’ group, they were given instruction on how.
   Ater twenty minutes both groups were shown a short film depicting a series of bloody accidents among workers in a woodworking shop - a standard way of inducing stress for lab studies.
   The study found that the meditators (whether or not they were new or experienced) had a unique pattern of reaction to the film. As they watched the film, their systems prepared for the accidents they were about to witness and then, as soon as the accident was over, they recovered more quickly than those of non-meditators. After the film, they were also more relaxed than the non-meditators who still showed signs of tension.
   From this (and other experiments) it can be concluded that meditators handle stress in a way that breaks the threat-arousal-threat spiral.
How to Meditate
There are numerous ways to meditate, but they can be broken into two primary themes – you are either focusing on something or you are being mindful.
1) Using Focus to meditate
By focusing on a specific object and practicing holding your attention there, returning to that object when focus is lost the meditator makes the habit of repetition stronger than the his other mental habits. This enables him to then use this ability to focus on a specific thing to focus and practice behavior that he chooses and that will support his goals in an interaction.
The focus can be :
  • The breath
  • A chant which can be the repetition of a name. mantra or phrase, spoken. It can be silent verbalisation or mental or out-loud.
  • An object, picture or specific point in space
2) Mindfulness meditation.
In this meditation practice the meditator is not focusing on something, instead he practices adopting a neutral stance toward whatever comes and goes in his stream of awareness, placing an equal value on whatever arises. He is in effect practicing being an observer rather than being ‘in the action’. The meditator’s reaction is simply to register whatever he observes. If any further comment, judgment or reflection arises in the meditators mind, these are themselves made the focus of ‘bare attention. They are neither repudiated nor pursued, but simply dismissed after being noted.
Practically Applying Meditation
There are two parts to a meditation practice, the first is to introduce it regularly into your day (even if it is for only 15 minutes). The second is to practice using meditation to detach yourself you’re your normal reactions in difficult situations. I have found that a simple mantra (I am calm) works really well at work. When I feel myself starting to react I immediately repeat that to myself, remembering what calm feels like and returning to that state. If that does not work I revert to the traditional meditation of noticing the breath. Does it work, yes, if I remember! So I often start my mantra as I walk in, rather than hoping I remember in the heat of the moment.
   Suprisingly, I actually used meditation to overcome my intense fear when diving! Not that I called it meditation. I found that by repeating over and over the Buddhist mantra Ohm Mane Padme Hung, before and during my dive I was able to distract my brain and stay outside of the panic and fear it was experiencing and so get on with the job of diving.
Meditation is not a quick fix, but it is a scientifically proven mechanism that changes the way your brain fires and that affects your emotional response habits. All it takes is 15 minutes a day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Life Lessons from a Record - Turning Hope into Reality

We fall in love with hope, hope that promises us that there is a way out of our lives. There is! But it is not easy or something that can be given to you. It takes courage - the courage to start asking yourself hard questions.
  • Who am I being ?
  • What am I creating ?
  • What am I afraid of ?
  • How would I like it to be ?
  • What do I need to start thinking, saying and doing to start creating THAT INSTEAD!
How many of you are prepared to start finding those answer ?
Yes it is easier to sit and wait for someone else to notice you and create it for you...but having done that for years diving I know from some very bitter experience that the only way to make your life happen is to be your own master!
ONLY YOU CAN MAKE YOUR LIFE HAPPEN! And if you are not taking ownership of it, you are relying on blind luck and the good will of others to create it for you.
That is the lesson behind any accomplishment!
That is the lesson behind my world record!
When will you start ?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When is Enough, Enough ?

We all have a sentence that drives us, for some it is, ‘I am not enough!’ I know it is one of mine, a fear that sits there, eating away inside me. What if everyone finds out ? I could not bear the humiliation, the laughter and of course, the rejection. For a while I spent hours trying to find out where and how I started to believe this. Focusing on why, trying to find someone to blame let me off the hook. I didn’t have to dive into that blackhole and see if it was true. Then one day I just stopped and instead asked myself a different question. I replaced why with when, when will I be enough ? After four decades of trying and improving and giving and sacrificing, when would I be enough ? When would it let go of me ? When could I finally stop, breathe and rest ?
When I got a world record, then I would be enough ? Wait, I have one of those!
When I got married, the I would be enough ? Yes, have that checkboxed checked as well.
When I finally made it in the business world, then I would be enough ?
Or maybe if I climbed Everest, deepest and highest, then I would be enough ?
Or maybe…. Maybe  if I went deeper, maybe the problem was that I had not gone deep enough, I was only the deepest woman, not the deepest ever, the men were 100 meters below me, then I would be enough ?
What will it take for you to stop and rethink how you are living your life and what is driving you ? When will you be enough ?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Making it Hapen - An alternative take on an old recipe for Dream Making

How do you fundamentally change your life ? How do you find a new job or even a new relationship ? What is it you should be doing ? What is it you should not ? If anything is the Holy Grail in life it would be the ability to manifest what you want. Avid readers will have their well thumbed copy of “The Secret” and know all about using vision to create the future, the problem comes in the practice. Somehow, our interpretation and who we are gets in the way and instead of creating something new and exciting what we create is an obsession revolving around the absence of our hearts desire. We have not learnt to let go and let God. We have not learnt to step through our fear, into our souls and so into limitless being. I managed it once, in diving and have been chasing it ever since. Here are some things I have learnt along the way.

It is an uncomfortable feeling to let go and let God. It is even more uncomfortable if you don’t have a relationship with God and can not even acknowledge that word (been there, done that). But whether you call that ultimate force God or the divine or the universe, the ability to let go and trust in something that is outside of yourself is, whether you like it or not, part of the process. We have been taught to put our destiny in our own hands and we have been taught that to do that we need to be doing to be always doing and moving and controlling. Trusting that the universe will present opportunities is not something we have learnt, besides, God helps those who help themselves, which is something the sceptics will be quick to point out.

So what do you do when you have a clear vision of what you want, but it does not seem to be getting closer ? The first thing is challenge that vision.

1) How open is your vision ? If you are looking for a new job, have you decided that the only success scenario is this specific job in this specific company ?

2) What are you focusing on now ? Are you obsessing about doing ? Are you worried about what will happen if things don’t go according to your exact plan ?

Most of us create tightly focused visions with one and only one success scenario and most of us stress ourselves stukkend (for non- South African readers, stress ourselves silly) by focusing on the complete absence of our goal while throwing ourselves into a frenzy of activity. In my experience this predisposes you to failure not to mention the fact that other opportunities float straight by as you single mindedly pursue the one and only one answer.

The trick is in changing the recipe, without changing a thing!

Step 1 : Create a vision, but instead of focusing on exactly what you physical want (this job, in this company, a man who looks like this and works here and drives that), focus on how your new job (or relationship) will make you feel. This allows the universe to present you with things you have not even thought and that are often not even close to what you would have chased.

Step 2 : Bring the Future into the Present. This is probably the hardest part, allowing the universe to create your vision by refusing to focus on the absence of your hearts desire! Simply stop stressing about it! Simpler to say than do, but also a strong choice you need to make for a number of practically reasons outside of manifestation. If you are obsessed about the outcome and desperate then the chances are the way you are engaging with people is not going to be conducive to a successful outcome. Most of us have been in the situation where, when we are looking for a job we just can’t find one and then when we have one, we ace the interviews and get job offers we don’t need (or finally get into a good relationship and find ourselves surrounded by nice, available, interested men when a few weeks back you could not even find one). Consciously spend time just imagining how you will feel when your dream comes true and carry those feelings through into your day, actively and consciously replacing all thoughts that revolve around “what if it all does not pan out”. So what if it doesn’t ! By just doing this one step you will have had fun trying and probably found out a whole lot more about what it is you really want.

Step 3 : When you have done everything, do the one thing you have been avoiding. Yes, you did not want to hear it but you are going to have to actively step out of your comfort zone. When I look back on how I managed to get an impossible world record this is the step that always jumps out for me. I never knew about either of the previous steps, so did it the hard way and trust me when I tell you, it was the hard way. When we are trying to create impossible dreams we tend to do so without wanting it to be hard or uncomfortable - which means what we do is normally within our confident zone. And that is the problem.

Who you are and what is comfortable for you created where you are now. If you want to create a new experience with new possibilities you are going to need new behaviour and that is not going to be comfortable. You are going to need new behaviour, behaviour that is natural your dream. Think about it, if I were born a natural world record holder I would not have ended up stuck for almost 5 years trying to get there. I would have had a more Nuno Gomes experience (the world’s deepest man and scuba diving colleague) just got on with it. Instead, I got very, very stuck trying to hold onto me (think victim, insecure, afraid) but at the same time doing something that naturally required me to be brave, self confident and thick skinned.

You have to do the things that feel awkward, the things that are ‘not you’!! Yes, I use the words ‘have to’ with intent, because of all the steps, the ability to act outside of your comfort zone and do the one thing you are hoping NOT to have to do, is probably going to be the only thing that gets you toward your goal. Mine was letting go of waiting for Nuno to give me the answers and help me get my world record and instead stand alone, all self conscious and do it myself, without proof or permission. I spent two years avoiding that, hoping, no wishing that something would happen and my path to my dream would not be so hard. Guess what, the path to your dream sometimes is hard! And the way I did it was born out of sheer desperation, I discovered Step 1, I started to behave as a world record holder would even though I did not have a record yet.
If you think that you have done everything ask youreself this, If I stop now, will I regret not trying harder ? If the answer is a niggling yes, then there is something you are avoiding and you will avoid it until you no longer have any other option but give up or step through your fear. (by the way, that is the hard way)
Step 4 : Practice relaxing! We are borne to micro manage, thinking somehow that if we stop stressing and obsessing, our dream will never arrive. Which means we try and force it, making it fit it into our schedules and time lines. Well, how is that working for you ? What about practicing relaxing, letting go and letting God. No, that does not mean wishing and not doing. You can’t sit on your couch and expect the universe to dump your dream into your lap. You have to keep doing and trying new options, but in doing so, let go of the outcome, relax. Remember step 2 and practice bringing the future into the present. You can’t make people support you ….all you can do is give as many people as possible the opportunity to do so and keep doing that until you arrive where you want to be. Don’t get stuck trying to convince people - move on! Keep searching for people who want to make your dream happen. They are there, waiting to be found all you have to do is stop trying to drag those who don’t want it along with you.

No-one said being a dream maker would be easy, but the moment you let go of the fact that who you are is set in stone and instead accept that you have a choice and that you can change how you behave and align that to what you really want, is the moment you start to live limitless being.

It is a process, a journey of discovery, so DON’T THROW IN THE TOWEL TOO EARLY!!! Get creative when the easy options fail, experiment with new ways of getting there and being outside of your comfort zone, practice until you get it right and above all, be kind to yourself! No-one every gets ‘there’ without some detours and mishaps – they are all part of the process.

Friday, August 3, 2012

How to Get What You Want! By Giving!

How to Get What You Want! By Giving!
This is still an incomplete thought, the edge of an idea if you will. All along my journey has been this rather oblique statement that to get you have to give. I have never really understood it!
And then I tried to use the power of intention to sell my house. 5 months in and …nothing! I was feeling worne down (which is not the right feeling to allow the universe to fulfil your dreams, it meant I was focusing more on NOT having sold my house then getting the damn thing sold). So I took some time to rethink my intention, trying to find a wording that would get me what I want, but that felt right. All of a sudden I realised I did not want to ‘sell’ my house, I wanted to find someone to ‘give’ my house to (for a stated amount of money of course). Just that shift in thinking from me getting money for my house, to me giving my beloved house to someone else seemed to shift everything and literally within 2 weeks the new owner walked in.
Had I used the power of giving to get what I wanted ? That experience sat with me, niggling as they sometimes do. So I started to think about other areas of my life where I want to receive ‘stuff’ (oh ok, yes money, money, money…who doesn’t need some more to do those extra things with). What if I stopped focusing on what I was going to get and instead focused on what I was giving in the exchange ? Could I create a writing career by changing my focus on what I was giving to my readers rather than focusing on the all too obvious book sales ? Suddenly one of my biggest goals, getting out of the corporate world and into the ‘real’ world where I can be a guide, showing people how to step into their power, came into focus.
So this is my challenge to you, how can you turn around what you want into an exchange where you still get that house or car or job, but where the way you ask is focused on what you are giving ? Try it and see how different it feels when you are no longer just focusing on what you are taking. Trust that the universe has your back and that in your giving you will get everything you need and want.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fear is

Fear is…

   Fear is a coward!

     Fear is a liar!

         Fear is a bad habit!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why do you have to be worse than me for me to be better ?

Why do you have to be worse than me for me to be better ?
Actually I could not work out a title for this one. It seemed that years of lessons suddenly came into sharp focus and all it took was a walk with my dogs and two nieces. Along the way they started their usual ‘picking’ at each other – a bad habit that involves each one telling me what the other one does wrong and is bad at and a habit that evokes a rather immediate mini lecture along the lines of,
“I hear enough about how bad I am at things and how bad everyone else is at work, I don’t need to hear that at home”.
And it is true! I have finally become aware of how continuous and prevalent the negative judgements aimed at me and others is. The most consistent feedback we either receive or give is about what we are bad at and what we are not doing.  It is draining not to mention demoralising and demotivating.
To give my niece her due, she immediately stopped telling me what her sister was bad at and instead started to tell me what she was good at…the problem was the wording.
“She is much better at Afrikaans than I am”. I was immediately struck by the comparison and how she had not really changed her thinking. Before she was making her sister wrong and so making herself right and in the process better than her sister. Now she was making her sister right at the exact same time as she made herself smaller and ‘less than’.
Do we really do that ? Do we really only know how to compliment and encourage people by making ourselves ‘less than’ and smaller ? Do our minds really work in such a black and white way  ? For someone else to be good requires everyone else to be bad ?
Think about how you word your day ? How many times do you compare yourself to other people and come to the conclusion that you are lacking ? How many times do  you do the reverse, make them lacking and congratulate yourself on being better ?
All of a sardine the concept that there is enough for everyone started to come into focus. Why does someone else have to loose for someone to win ? Why do you have to be worse than me for me to be better ?
For this month my focus is going to be on creating a win-win, rather than the standard win - loose. For August I am going to allow myself to be awesome at exactly the same time I allow everyone else to be. I am going to practice changing my thinking so that I am never comparing anyone to anyone or anything.
Imagine how awesome it would be if we lived in a world where your greatness was the focus of the day ? Now imagine how you can create that! And go!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Quick Guide to Escaping Suffering

If you were absolutely honest with yourself, your entire search for a more spiritual existence is driven by the desire to escape suffering. There will come a point in your journey where everything you have read suddenly sinks in and  you will know that suffering is nothing more than an unconscious attachment to a specific outcome. We spend our lives fighting the universe, trying to force the outcome we want. And we suffer when things don’t go our way. You will need to hear this many times on your journey so hear it is again, stop focusing on the outcome. Focus on this moment! Focus on the one thing you can control, the way you are feeling!
If I had to put it into 5 easy steps:
1)      What was the outcome you so wanted ? Get that clear in your mind
2)      How did you expect to feel when you got ‘there ‘ ?
3)      Visualise yourself in that expected outcome and start feeling the moment
4)      In this moment actively and consciously OWN your feelings. Start to do, say and think whatever you need for you to be able to maintain those feeling
5)      Stop obsessing about your outcome, refocus and obsess on the feeling that outcome was going to bring you
So, next time you find yourself stuck in a state of suffering make a stand to own your life. Ask yourself what it was you were hoping for. Get conscious about how you wanted this to turn out.  And then, when you have that outcome clear in your mind, take a new step, ask yourself the big question, “How did I want to feel ? “
Now, take those feelings and bring them into this moment, right here and now! Visualise yourself with the outcome you wanted until it is so clear that you are living those feelings. You can stop there if you want or you can take it that step further and make a conscious decision to create those feelings regardless of the outcome.
Make a list of things you can start doing, stop thinking, start thinking, start saying that will allow that feeling to exist right here and now. And instead of obsessing about that outcome, start obsessing about how you want to feel.
Remember, claiming yourself and mastering your life is a new way of being that uses a whole new set of skills and skills take time to learn. They also take practice. There is also now time like now to start practicing! Why choose a life of suffering when you could choose a life of freedom and mastery ?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Using Resistance to Create True Acceptance !

Perhaps you are one of those lucky few who never learnt resistance. Regrettably, this is not one of my natural habits. Resistance is the enemy in a spiritually advanced soul – the way is flow, acceptance, trust! Then again, it all depends on how you understand those words. What is acceptance ? What is resistance ? What is true ? I started to ask myself what is, ‘is’ ? and aside from being entertained by the pure Zen of the sentence, started to uncover a whole layer of unreal that I had never seen before. Instead of stamping out my natural resistance I am celebrating it.
I have spent my life resisting! My earliest memories have been of me resisting, I refused to accept my Dad’s definition of who I was and what I could do, I refused to accept my schools rules and labels. I rebelled when everyone around me told me that I could not dive deep, and I have a world record as a result. Most of my suffering and struggle comes from my inherent resistance and I have always thought that what I was resisting was what is – a futile task – only what is the true is ? How much of what I think ‘is’, is nothing more than some-one else’s reality being forced onto me ? When I started to ask that question and start to see what really is...I was astounded to realise that my resistance was not to what is, but to what other people insisted was true.
So now I am celebrating my resistance because it is my spirit pointing the way to what really is. Next time I feel the urge to rebel I will know it is because someone is trying to warp what is to suit their own agenda. Resist what is false and search for what really is! Never accept some-one else’s view on the so-called truth because no-one (including you and me) can see the truth clearly, we always see it through our lives, our baggage and our own stories. In the spirit of all good blog articles here are my three stops and starts to step into your power using your own resistance
-          You live and create what you believe to be true - so make sure that vision is of your own making
-          Keep asking what really is ! This is the only way you will  uncover inherited limits & beliefs and it is these more than anything else that are stopping you from using your power to create.
-          Trust your instincts & trust your resistance! The trick is not in resisting ‘resisting’ but using it
-          You can’t resist what is, but there lies the dilemma, you first need to see that clearly.
At the edge of this realisation is another that I will be exploring by living over the next few weeks, that resistance is not about creating a fight or drama, that you can flow and resist at the same time. But that is another blog and right now I am merely revelling in a new aspect of my power, searching for what really ‘is’ through my innate resistance to what is not.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Unpacking that word ' Service' - Why it is sometimes really not about you at all

I hate the word ‘service’. Hardly an enlightened stand, but I have never been able to understand it. It seemed forced on me, as if somehow to qualify as spiritually advanced I needed to be living a life of service. Ugh! Why ? What was it I was supposed to be learning from being in service ? To subjugate my ego ? Perhaps! I get that argument, but it still seemed to be missing something. Instead of easy acceptance, the rebel in me came out and I just flat out refused to play the game just because everyone else was.
Why be in service ? What was the point ? Because so far on my journey everything has had a point and in most cases, it only made sense when I was ready to learn it. That is perhaps the problem these days with the spiritual journey – it is so accessible thanks to the media that we forget that it is a learning journey and what that means. You can only learn what you are ready to learn but because we have so much access we are expised to steps on the journey that are way ahead of where were are now. To become an expert acrobatic pilot you first have to learn how to fly, so become an advanced soul there are essential building blocks you have to first acquire, experiences you have to live. Instead of relaxing into our path we instead buy into the ever popular belief that you can mimic some-one else’s journey. But here is the thing, there is no-one like you. Your journey is unique simply because where you are starting from and what you are starting with is unique. Yes, there are common markers on the way, common lessons that I suspect need to be learnt in sequence but mimicking an advanced lesson will not teach you that lesson. You have to get there the hard way. The further I get on this road the more I think that practice without understanding, practice for practice sake can actually be harmful, trapping you in a place you are not ready for and preventing you from learning what you need to learn to get there.
But back to that word, service. I strongly suspect that this is a rather advanced stop on the journey and that for it to really make sense, for the act of being in service to have the value it was intended, then you need to be ready to learn the lesson. What is the lesson ? What is the point of being in service ? Well, what if there comes a time where the experiences you are living are no longer for you ? What if not every experience or lesson is your lesson ? What if there comes a time where the other person’s lesson is the point of the experience ? To get that, there has to no longer be so much for you to learn, in fact, to get that, the only way left to learn and grow is to assist the other in their lesson.  Without even trying the ego is subjugated simply because, it has not survived the experiences that got you to here, where the only way forward is to be in service.
Just the thoughts…of a soul on her journey… learning to let go and just flow J

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why the Universe can’t Hear a ‘No’ – Becoming a Visionary who Consciously Creates Their Experiences.

Have a problem ? How are you framing it ? In terms of what you don’t want ? Or in terms of what would actually want ? Yes, I know, this is not a new topic for, but stay with me, because this might just help you understand why focusing on what you don’t want only brings you more of that. It talks to whether you are an observer or an active visionary, a conscious creator of your own experience and I don’t know about you, but to be able to consciously create my experience is definitely something I am interested in learning.
To master your life and create your dreams you have to claim yourself and that requires you claim your thoughts!
“When you see something that you would like to experience and you focus upon it, shouting yes to it, you include it in your experience. But when you see something that you would not want to experience, and you focus upon it, shouting no at it, you also include that in your experience. You do not invite it in with your yes and exclude it with your no, because there is no exclusion in this attraction-based Universe. Your focus is the invitation. Your attention is the invitation.
And so, those who are mostly observers thrive in good times but suffer in bad times because what they are observing is already vibrating and as they observe it, they include it in their vibrational countenance and as they include it, the Universe accepts that as their point of attraction – and gives them more of the essence of it. So for an observer, the better it gets, the better it gets or the worse it gets, the worse it gets. HOWEVER, ONE WHO IS A VISIONARY THRIVES IN ALL TIMES”
It is not your judgement or opinion of what you are observing that is important, it is the fact that you are paying attention to it! When you make an observation, you associate it with a belief and with that belief comes a set of feelings. They create a very personal and very real relationship with the events that happen to them.
“Deliberate creation is about deliberately choosing.”
Just because someone else has placed their attention on what they don’t want and created the experience they did not want, does not mean you have to. And it all boils down to whether or not you are an observer, allowing your thoughts and feelings to just run randomly as they always have...or if you are a conscious creator, someone who deliberately chooses how they feel about things and so choose the thoughts that generate those feelings...independently of the events and other people’s opinions there-of. You may be powerless to change what you are observing but you are never powerless when it comes to choosing who you are in that situation and how you will react or act.

“Most people do not deliberately offer thought, but instead they let their thoughts gravitate to whatever is happening around them: Something happens. They observe. They have an emotional feeling response to what they are observing. And since they usually feel powerless in controlling what they are observing, they conclude that they have no control over their emotional response to what they are observing.  
Are you an unconscious observer ? Or are you a conscious creator ? What would change if it really were true...that you can change your feelings by consciously choosing thoughts that create the feelings you want to be experiencing ?

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to find what you want !

What do I want ? Sounds like an easy question to answer right ? Not! I remember about ten years ago watching Oprah and listening to her speakers talk about creating a life that follows my bliss. It sounded like English only I did not know what it meant ? My bliss ? What is that ? What do I want ? I didn't have a clue. All I knew was that I hated the life I was living and could see no way out.
Even more disturbing, no-one had ever asked me that question before, in fact, speaking about what I wanted was a total no-no! You just did not speak about what it was you wanted! Ever! But here is the thing, if you don’t know what it is you want, how are you going to create it ? How do you create a life you want to live ? To move from reaction to creation you have to start living from vision which means you have to start answering that one simple question, what do you want ? Here are some thoughts that may help you get started.

1) List What you don’t want!
This is often an easier place to start because we are so engaged with what we don’t want (and then surprised when all we get is more of what we think about, but that is another blog post entirely). Take your top five things you don’t want and now, ask yourself this question, “If this was not in my life, what would be there ?” Start to reframe those things you don’t want into things you would rather have.

2) Let go of what you want and focus on what you want to FEEL!
Yes, feel, because at the end of the day what we want is to feel differently and how we do that is by creating a list of things we need to have in our lives. What will happen if you stop focusing on what you want and instead start focusing on what you want to feel…and then start doing things to create those feelings ?

3) Get a coach
The point of a good coach is that they allow you to start engaging with yourself and they help you start to answer that one question, what do you want ? I would not be where I am now without my coach and the ability to self coach. Coaching is a conversation where the coach listens and helps you not only focus on what you want to create, but also helps you become aware of the conversations that run your mind and so your actions. Can you do this without one ? I guess it is possible, although I know that I could not!

4) Start practicing and creating now!
Let go of needing a complete vision of the life you want to live and allow yourself instead to focus just on today. What do you want for today ? How do you want to make today different from yesterday ? What could you do today that will bring joy and contentment and pleasure into your experience ? The more you practice feeling good today, the clearer the answer will become.
If you are asking yourself the question, “what do I want?”, you are trying to move from reaction to creation and that is a process. It is possible to create the life you want to live, but first you need to know what it is you want to create! There are no right answers, there are no wrong answers. Every answer you find will help you become more aware and so help you move into your power. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself time. Know also that your answer will change as you grow and learn.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Facing your Fear to find your Courage!

The more I coach and speak to people about their dreams and how they can get there, the more the word fear comes up and the more obvious it became that fear is the one thing that stops people from moving forward. It occurred to me that perhaps we are a little too accepting of fear. There is fear…and then there is Fear yet we lump everything into one without ever really taking a look at what we are afraid of. Some fears can and probably should be ignored, others most definitely should not.
What should NOT be ignored ? Physical fear. Your life is precious and it should be protected, this is what fear is there to do. That is why we are afraid of small narrow ledges on the top of sheer vertical cliffs. It is a warning and attention should be paid to that warning (I know, some of you may read this and go huh ? But isn’t diving deep something that can affect your physical being ? The answer is yes, of course, but that was a fear I managed and dying was a risk I accepted)
What COULD be ignored ? Well the more emotional fears. The fear of failure, the fear of humiliation, the fear of being rejected. These are fears that affect how we see ourselves and how we position ourselves in the world. These fears support who we currently think we are and who we think we are is nothing more than an accident of our experience to date. It can change…if you have the courage to change it.
Yes, it is not quite so cut and dried because you most definitely would not want to give up your day job and become a travelling monk if you have a family to support and financial obligations and all the responsibility that comes with a modern life. Then again, you could take your weekends to start that, slowly building up your dream until it can financially sustain you. Which is where the concept of baby steps comes into play. For ever dream there is a step you can take right now, all you need to do is stop focusing on why not and instead focus on what is possible now with what you have. It should be a step that creates fear in your being…and some doubt because without those two elements all you are doing is repeating what you always have done…and the means living the life you have always lived.
Fear is something you can manage. You have a choice! You can choice something that petrifies or just scares you. Something that creates huge change or something that can be fitted into where you are. Yet somehow we choose all or nothing.
What if facing fear is nothing more than risk analysis ? What if there were only ever two basic questions you need to ask to determine if this is a valid fear or not ?
1) Will this physically affect me (or another) in a negative manner
2) Will this affect my ability to support myself physically (so my income, housing, all that good stuff) ?
If the answer is no to both then why aren’t you going for it ? Courage is not the absence of fear, it is getting on with it even though you are afraid! Courage is also something that is built over time. The more you face your fear the less afraid of facing your fear you become.
So, what step could you take right now that would take you from being comfortable and safe to being slightly uncomfortable and open ? What could you start practicing that would support your dream ? And most importantly, when will you start to practice it ?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Becoming a Dream maker - Lesson 1: Getting Going

One of the hardest things when bringing a dream into reality is getting going. What do I mean ? Well,  all dreams may not be world records, but for the person dreaming of something grand and different, the dream is as impossible and difficult. The whole point of a dream is that it is seemingly impossible and that you don’t think that you are good enough to get there, otherwise it would not be a dream, it would be your reality.

So, what happens when you find yourself talking about where you would like to be (my  dream job is an awesome example) and you find yourself saying, “But that is impossible !” Do you even hear those words or is the fact that you will never get your dream something that is so entrenched in you that you don’t even hear it.

Here is the thing – you can’t get there if you don’t start. You also can’t get there if the road to there requires someone or something else to suddenly notice you, adopt you, accept you, take you on board and miraculously make it happen for you. I know, it would be perfect right if that could happen. I mean breaking a world record would have been soo much easier if only Nuno Gomes (the current world record holder and friend) had just given in and agreed to be part of my team and show me the way. I spent years waiting for that to happen, years jumping through hoops to prove to him that I was worth supporting until I finally ran out of energy and got on with diving on my own. It is one of the things I am most grateful for because, if Nuno had been there, I would never have known who had acquired the record, me or him. This way the record is mine and the value I get out of it just never seems to end.

But back to your dream. When I hear people talking about their ideal job or ideal house or ideal anything, I seem to also hear how they are just waiting, waiting for the lottery so that they can get started. Waiting for Hay House to recognise their book and publish it and I get the waiting bit. It is scary to go out there and stand out from the crowd. Not only that, if you knew how to get there you would already be there, so you also have that whole debate on How, How do you get ‘there’. But that is the fun part of a dream, asking those questions and finding out.

My question to you is how long will you wait for your dream to be given to you ? What is the point of dreaming about something that will never happen ? Why not start to live that dream in this moment right now ? Because most dreams can start in your back yard and then grow into something universal. Most overnight successes took ten years of slog to create. What about using what you have right now to create a mini version of your dream ? What about actively finding new people who fit into and support that vision of yours ? Because if you can’t get into the club that already exists it just seems plain silly to hang around waiting to be noticed. Start creating it for yourself. What is the worst that can happen ? That ‘they’ will start to take notice and next thing you know you are there. That nothing happens (which is seldom the case). That you will fail ? Well, what is failure ? This is a journey, you are an explorer experimenting with ways to get there and learning, all the time learning more about yourself, about your vision and about how to make it a reality.

Stop seeing yourself outside of your dream. Start to visualise you in that dream, Really see it and feel it, especially feel it. Now, what do you need to do to start to bring those feelings into the here and now ? You don’t reach Everest in one step, so what step can you take now ? And trust that as you start moving the next step will become clearer, each building on the last as you slowly get nearer. With each step your ability to manifest your dream becomes stronger, so keep moving, keep dreaming and keep believing. You were borne a dream maker! Believe it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Power of Falling into Myself

When everything falls into place, I fall into myself, into a place that is calm, protected and powerful. It does not matter what happens around me because I exist completely here. The world storms around me, pulls and pushes, demanding I do, I be…everything I am not, yet here I exist as me! I am whole! I am complete!
It is a place that always existed when I dived, especially on those dives where I was totally out of my comfort zone and it is a place I go to now when I need to operate from a place of complete authenticity. It is a place where every action, every thought trusts synchronicity and the divine. It does not matter what happens in that moment, all that matters is that I am in that moment and that the person who is in charge is not my fickle and vulnerable ego, but me, the authentic me, the me that lives forever.
So now I fall into myself and feel the power return. I am safe! I am protected! I am powerful! I am the creator of my dreams and contrary to what you believe, I know how to create my dreams and more importantly the experiences that are life. I am the master of me! Here, in this place, fallen into myself.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Life Lessons from a World Record – How to create a bridge from ‘here’ to ‘there’

Life Lessons from a World Record – How to create a bridge from ‘here’ to ‘there’
What I love most about my world record is the lessons entangled up in the diving. Don’t get me wrong, I could talk for hours about the challenge inherent in diving deeper than mostly everyone. The fun part (and yes, the scary part) is working out how to create a bridge from here to there. The thing about a world record is that it is completely useless until you unlock these lessons because until you do, the only place where you are able to live limitless is diving and let’s face it, what we all want is to be able to live without limits in a life where dreams are ordinary.
Which brings me to the life lessons part. One of my favourites is the ‘how - how do you go about creating an audacious dream ? Because whilst not everyone wants to become the deepest diver in the world, we all have dreams and the thing about dreams is that, to the dreamer, they are always intimidating and require moving from the comfortable familiarly of here to an often vague there with a whole lot of unknown steps in between.
So how do you create a path from here to there ? The first step is knowing where there is. Thanks to copious exposure to goal setting and visualisation most of us are able to define our ‘there’, which is about the time when we get stuck because we cannot see a clear way forward. Somehow we have been led to believe that before you can start you have to know exactly how to get there, and as we have never been there before, we never get started.
I know this because it is a place I spent a lot of time at. It took me forever to get from 75 meters to 121 and then, everything just stopped. I had been isolated from my usual diving crowd so was pretty much on my own, with meant I had no clear access to Nuno Gomes. For those of you who do not dive, Nuno is the deepest man in the world and also the man with the most dives sub 280 meters. He was also the man who taught me diving and the main reason why I ever thought becoming the deepest woman would be possible. It seemed an easy task when I had him on board, after all he had the answers, he had been there before. Without him the journey seemed almost impossible and infinitely dangerous – in deep diving not knowing often means dying and dying was not what I was signing up for.
If you have ever contemplated doing something totally new and different you will be able to relate to the worry that comes with that decision. I was worried that I did not know enough to be able to create dive plans that would get me out of the water. What would happen if something new appeared at 140 meters ? There is not much time to solve problems deep in a cave, would I be able to ? Would I even know what to do ? What if I did not have the skills ? What if I did not have enough equipment ? What was it I did not know ? How could I learn it without actually going there ?  Following exactly what Nuno had done was one strategy but I also knew that would not really work as I wasn’t diving in the same place he did which meant I would have to derive the basic principles out of his dives and then reapply them to my site taking into account its unique features (for the divers reading that would be a 3 minute swim at 110 meters, something every deep diver declares to be impossible). I was also not physically Nuno Gomes which meant I had to change my equipment configuration which then impacted on the dive plan. Everything seemed to be connected to everything else. Could I really dive without the huge cylinders Nuno’s diving declared to be vital ? What would happen if I changed that ? Was being female going to make a difference to the physiology I was using to base my decisions on ? What did I need to know to get the extra 60 meters deeper? How did the depth change what I knew ? What skills did I need to add ? With no-one to copy I finally realised the only way to get my answers was to go diving... and then it took another year or so to find the courage to get in the water and risk everything finding out.
What did I learn ? That there is always something you do not know, the trick is to trust and use what you do know to create a safe way of learning the rest.
I learnt that you seldom know exactly how to reach where you want to be and that is ok! In fact, not knowing how is what it is all about - that is the fun part. Learning is about trying and trying means that sometimes you don’t get the result you were aiming for. The world calls that failure, I call that  finding the essential facts that I need.
I learnt the freedom of letting go of the outcome and just existing in the moment and trusting that I would get there and if not there, trusting that I would get somewhere as good if not better.
Practically, I learnt that getting there is a series of steps and that invariably the only step that is clear and obvious is the next one. I also learnt that sometimes the next step is not that clear and that when faced with options that all look alike, to pick the one that moved me closer, even if closer was sometimes nothing more than a feeling. The thing was to pick one and then use that experience to pick the next one – you don’t get deeper if you sit looking at options wondering.
I learnt to always keep moving and to use my goal to target that movement in the direction I wanted to go. I also learnt that it is ok to adjust my goal based on what I was learning. In fact, the more you learn the easier it to see what is possible which means your goal will grow as you grow, but first you have to get moving. When I look back at my non-diving life I can see this principle in motion. I started off learning biology with the idea of becoming a marine biologist. Varsity introduced me to diving (which opened up the world record door). My honours degree also taught me how to think for myself and solve problems which was exactly what I needed when I started working in IT as a computer programmer. That led to defining requirements and then solutions to those requirement which created a passion for problem solving and analysis and taught me how to write (even if it was corporate speak). My diving gave me something to write about. My career got me interested in how people work and what successful people look like and act like...which got me into consciousness coaching, which took me back to writing...about my diving. No way I could have told you even ten years ago that I would be here in this moment...who knows where I will be in ten years ?
Like I said, I love my diving experience because everything I have ever needed to know about my real life is there, wrapped up in diving. My question to you is this, what is your next step ? Stop thinking about that end goal, just focus on what you would need to do now to get you closer and then keep on  edging ever closer. If you do just that one thing,, then one day your next step is certain to be you own world record moment.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

3 Affirmations to Cultivate Self Confidence & Self Worth

The one thing the world never seems to teach is confidence in who I am. Finding my own worth and value is a life long journey. So here are three affirmations that I use to claim this for myself :

I am supported! Because it is easier to stand out from the crowd when I know that someone has my back
I am enough ! Because I need to remind myself that even though I am not like you, who I am is enough to create my dreams.
I am deserving! Because I am! Success and reward are not things that are only given when I prove myself! Succes, reward and the life I dream about are my natural inheritance!

What are your three powerful I am’s ? How do you actively and consciously create self worth and confidence ?

Apples & The Meaning of Life

Hardly an obvious connection although I think most people would immediately jump to the Garden of Eden and the story that has haunted us woman for, well , ever. If only Eve had not taken a bit of that apple. In this story the apple is not portrayed in a very good light, in fact, some days I am surprised that people actually still consume apples as a result. But are apples intrinsically bad ? What about an uplifting story of two kids who sell candy apples to earn enough money to buy a bike ? Same fruit, different relationship to the apple. Here the apple is a hero, it does good which means we are able to ‘forgive’ the evil Eden apple.
Our relationship with apples is changed and all it took was a different story. The question is, should one love or hate apples ? Which story is the truth ? The answer ? Well, neither! It seems obvious when we are talking apples so lets talk pears for a moment.
The apple story affected how we felt about apples and how we feel about something either creates attraction or resistance toward it. This is our relationship to that thing. Now, stop thinking apples and start thinking about the stories you tell about your life. How about….your relationship with money ? What is the story you tell about money ? Is it the hero or the villain ? Or men ? How has your history in relationships affected how you feel about relationships and men ? Are they good or bad ? What is the story you keep on telling yourself ?

Can you see how the thing itself, the apple is never changed - an apple is an apple ? The only thing that changed is how you feel about it and that was totally affected by the story. The moment you start to become aware of your stories is the moment you can start to reframe and so change the ‘apple’ from the villain to the hero and in that moment you stop resisting and start attracting! And if you don’t yet believe in the forces of attraction, then how about this. Wouldn’t it be preferable to be thinking good thoughts about your life than subjecting yourself to the suffering that endless pessimism generates ?

What is the story that runs your life ? What can you change to turn your apples into heroes ?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just Who Do You Think You Are ?

I have some very clear memories of my father (amongst others) standing over me and shouting, “Just who do you think you are ?” I knew in that moment that I was nothing ! I was insignificant, barely worthy of breathing and how dare I even think that I could…. (insert here a number of things) -  how dare I think I could have an opinion, how dare I think I could do something extra ordinary, how dare I think I was better than everyone else and so special. Even writing these words brings up feelings I would rather not acknowledge. Intense shame, humiliation, guilt and also bewilderment! What do you mean who do I think I am ? I am me! Why on earth can’t I do what I am good at without it being seen as a direct challenge and insult to you ? Why when I am good at what I do does it mean I am demeaning and humiliating you ?

I was only seven or eight for most of these encounters so barely able to stand up for myself and with no language or reasoning skills to answer such an intrusive question. Even now as an adult, I find that moment encroaches in everything I do and say. It was one of the stumbling blocks on my journey to the label deepest simply because embedded in my psyche was this strong message not to upset the apple cart, not to be bigger than my britches, not to show up anyone else – an impossible task when your goal is a world record.

Just who do I think I am ? Normal, ordinary, just like you…. Oh, and I am the deepest woman in the world which basically means that so could you be. The question is, who do you think are ? Who you could be if you let go of who the world has told you you should be ?  What if you were deserving ?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Becoming Aware – How do you tell the Story of Your Life?

How do you tell the story of your life ? It has taken almost two decades to get to the point where I finally understand how important the words are that we use, especially when we tell the story of our lives. I have spent over 4 decades learning to value other people’s impressions of me and discard my own. No more! I have made the choice to claim my own mind and to do that I need to claim the story of my life! I am not only talking about the past, I am talking about my present as well, about the invisible story I still myself about who I am, especially who I am at work.
How aware are you of the story you are telling about who you are ? How many negatives are in that story ? How many times do you see yourself as the underdog, unable to get mastery ? For today what about retelling that story to yourself and this time make yourself the hero ? For today tell yourself the story of how you are the master of all areas of your life.
What you think about expands! Whilst you can not control the myriad of thoughts that populate your mind you can manage where your attention is and you can actively replace the one’s that are negative with simple statement of who you are. It is not about what you want to be, that implies you are not that right now. It is about bringing the future into this moment, right now. Habits don’t change overnight, so there will be days where you don’t live who you want to be. Those are the days to practice love and forgiveness and strengthen the image you have in your head of who you are!
I am the master of my mind, are you ? Why not ?