Three words for 2017…

It’s nearly back at work time for me.  I’m both disappointed that the holidays are coming to an end, and somewhat excited to see what the new year might hold.

This morning,   I saw this post from Suze Muse and it got me thinking about what my three words for 2017 (yes…I am totally procrastinating from getting back to real work… just roll with me here)…here’s what I think they might be.

Adventure – 2017 feels like a year to “lean in” for me (unfortunately that phrase seems to have lots of connotations, so I like the idea of adventure instead).  This year I want to try new things, take some risks, throw myself in head first.  What will that mean?  I don’t have any idea just yet.  Does the idea both excite and freak me out? totally! there is still a huge part of me that loves the coziness of my comfort zone.  I think I am happy there…but am I?

Curiosity – I’ve learnt that approaching life with an overarching sense of curiosity can help you feel calm amongst the chaos,  to manage the things that life inevitably throws at you as simply an opportunity to learn and think.   Curious about what parenting strategies are working and which ones are clearly not (yep…I’m not failing, I’m just experimenting).  Curious about why I might feel anxious or frustrated some days.  Curious about the people around me,  the world around me.  Curious to learn and discover more about people and culture that might help me with my work.

Consistency – I could be really boring and have something about exercising more and eating less…or about finally adding meditation of some description in to my daily routine.  Generally speaking though, this ends up creating a peak and trough kind of situation where I’m really “good” for a period of time and then fall off the wagon and I am “bad ” for a while.  Where I really want to get to and what really works,  is starting to be consistent about the things and habits I really want to change.    Movement, relaxation/mediation, writing, eating nourishing foods, reading with the kids… all these things are habits I want to build into my regular routines. It doesn’t need to be hours, it doesn’t need to be all out…I just need to keep turning up….consistently….after all, they say it is what you do most of the time that counts, not what you do sometimes.

What are the three words that will define your 2017?


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What do I stand for at work?

I have a new boss at work, and it occurs to me that they  knows nothing about me…except perhaps the things that other people may have said.

Which has led me to stop and really think about my brand and reputation, because I guess it has been a while since I have had to think about selling myself and what I stand for.

I have been reading Lead like a Woman by Megan Dalla Camina and Michelle McQuaid and there’s a whole chapter about brand and reputation. And I have to confess that I kinda skimmed over that bit a little bit… I mean, I have that nailed…don’t I?

But then, here I am, it’s 1hr before my first meeting with the new manager and I’m thinking…who am I? What are the most important things for them to know about me?

What do I stand for?

And…even scarier…I’m not sure I know the answer.

I mean, I feel like I have done lots of soul searching over the last few years. I’ve deep dived into my work life balance. What it means to manage all the different pieces of my life, how I prioritise the things that are important. I have a fabulous vision board on the wall of my study, with things like “laughter and friends” and “road trips and adventures” …because I know these things are important to me.

And…I have done strengths survey’s and I know what my tops strengths are, like leadership and team work, and that I thrive the more I get to use my strengths.

But…my brand…in a work context….I’m now feeling a little under pressure. This is my chance to start off on the exact foot I want to. To frame the things about me and my history…and what I what I want in the future in the context of the brand and reputation that I really want…express my point of view… I’m not sure that my opening statement should be …I love road trips and adventures?

So, I guess, now I know why there’s a whole chapter in the book (and a whole lot of other books written on this subject). And it seems like now might be a good time to go through some of the worksheets. I’m sure it will all come flooding back because I have thought about this before… and this might just be the timely reminder I need to check in and see where I am at.
Do you know what you stand for? after all, who knows what opportunities might be lurking around the corner…


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Rainbows, rainbows, rainbows…

I absolutely love rainbows,  there is something about the sweeping colour across a bleak sky that just lifts me up and puts me in a better mood.

Recently I’ve seen so many rainbows and I love this visual reminder of such an important metaphor, because, you can’t have the rainbows without the rain.   And yes,  I have been complaining a lot about the rain too recently.   It is supposed to be Spring time where I am, and whilst it is usually all about sunshine and flowers at this time of year for us,  this year…Winter seems to want to hang around a little bit longer.  Quite frankly,  outstaying its welcome.   Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a little bit of winter …snuggling up in front of the fireplace,  drinking hot drinks and eating comfort food.  But there comes a point towards the end of the short days and long cold nights that I start to get over it.  I’m feeling grumpy and fedup,  I’ve put on extra weight due to the winter hibernation and I’m really hanging for the sun to come out and just make me toasty warm.

Yet,  to no avail this year, as the rain and cloud have continued long into Spring (and, mind you, all through my recent vacation).

And then, out of the blue, I look up and a beautiful bright rainbow is shining through the clouds and my complaining immediately stops.


Of course, this applies to so many other facets of my life.  It is easy to get caught up trying to eliminate all the “bad” parts of the things I have/need to do,  in the hope of having days jam packed 100% full of joy (Surely this is not too much to ask?).   But, the reality is that you can’t experience real joy unless sometimes you experience the sadness.   It reminds me of Inside Out, the kids movie where the feelings are all represented by characters in the  child’s head.   They try to ignore sadness and make it just go away,  but it doesn’t work,  they ultimately realise they need to let the sadness out to fully experience the other feelings …clever clever

So,  thank you rainbows, for shaking me out of my winter blues and reminding me that every cloud has a silver lining or at least, a big shiny rainbow with a pot of gold.



Whatever you do…don’t mess with my sleep…

All the articles I have read of late are touting the importance of sleep.  Apparantly on average we need about 7-8 hours of sleep a night , Arianna Huffington is such a big advocate in her book Thrive .

I have figured out that I am someone who needs about 9.   I love my sleep.  I don’t sleep in, but I take great pleasure in going to bed in the evenings.  Jumping into that bed and snuggling down for the day is one of my favourite moments of my day.

And then I had kids…

Anyone who has kids will tell you that they are sleep killers.   I remember the first few weeks of my first child, wandering around like a zombie and then realising I hadn’t slept for longer than two hours in a row for nearly two months.   Don’t even ask me about my second!!    And the thing is,  after a while, you get so used to being tired,  that you don’t even realise that you are half the time.  Back at work full time after 6mths and running around like a maniac…I found myself at the doctor saying “I don’t understand what is wrong with me, I am just so fatigued all the time”…gee…I wonder?

But…the kids are a bit older now (sending a little bit of hope to all you mothers with young kids out there)… and I have moved back into the wonderous space of having a whole nights sleep consistently for days in a row.   The kids can get up on their own at the weekends and watch TV.  Leaving me to wake on my own and perhaps even spend a little time reading before I get out of bed.

Except,  now, I have become a bit of a sleep monster.  I am no longer in any way tolerant if my sleep is disturbed.  Don’t mess with Mum’s sleep. You will live to regret it.

You see…every now and again the kids still get up in the night.  “I’ve had a nightmare” they say…or “ I have growing pains” or my personal favourite “I can’t sleep”.   That tap on the shoulder I get in the middle of the night (like I didn’t hear them banging around and turning the lights all on, on their way in here, I’m just pretending to still be a sleep in the hope they will go away) and the whispered “Mum”  .

Then I turn, like a crazed devil woman…”WHAT? ” I hiss… I march them back to their rooms with zero sympathy for whatever plight has drawn them to my room.   I turn all the lights back off, I ignore their little pleas and I go marching back into my own room.   And then I lie looking at the ceiling.  Feeling soooo annoyed that my precious sleep has been broken.  Thinking about all the things I have to do the next day and trying not to let the rising panic of not being able to get back to sleep and the fear of being tired all day engulf me.

Then I feel bad… things must have been bad for them to wake the beast from her slumber.

So then I find myself slipping back out…tip toeing back to their rooms and just double checking they are OK.  Giving a little cuddle.  Reminding them.  “Remember…mummy REALLY needs her sleep…it’s important”.   And go back to bed feeling a little calmer.

I finally get back to sleep.  I’m not proud of my behaviour but I think at least I am teaching the kids that it’s not a good idea to disturb mum’s sleep unless it really is an emergency…so they will learn not to do it anymore (please see  Admitting your Mistakes…see..I am good at it!) .

Except then… it’s 6am and I feel a tap on the shoulder…  “Mum….my ipad won’t connect to the internet…will you fix it?”… I think my eyes might have just flashed red and that may have actually just been a growl that came out of my mouth.

Yes people…don’t forget…sleep is important…but if you have kids…good luck to you…


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Admitting your mistakes

I’m really quite fascinated by the idea of “failure” and how we perceive it in our lives.   I’ve talked before about my own avoidance of failure…god forbid… and the impact that fear can have on the way you approach things in your life.

Which is why I liked this article I read recently about Etsy Engineers sending company wide emails confessing mistakes they made.

I love this idea of being more open and transparent about the mistakes that we make.  Not only does it help other people to learn but it changes the way that mistakes are perceived and thus, makes people less fearful and more willing to break the mould and do new things.   You’d think admitting your mistakes would make you look weaker, but actually, mostly it makes people look smarter.

So why do we have so much trouble doing it?

I guess this is part of the reason that I started writing things in my blog about my own failures…in an effort to try to crank open that door and force myself onto the platform.  But, I’ll admit,  it is really hard.  You have to be willing to be vulnerable and, quite frankly,  that can feel a little crap.  So many “what if’s” go through your mind and I can see why the far easier option is to sweep these things under the carpet and move on.

I know the kids are told at school that if they are not making mistakes, they are not learning.  Which I really like (considering school is often the place where we learn that there is only right and wrong, where our mistakes mean we don’t get the grades, where we are teased for our mistakes).   Hopefully they will keep that mantra as they grow up.

I guess that Trust is also key.   Will the people around me, accept my mistakes?

I’m trying to implement an open policy at work, which is tricky, especially when it feels like you are the only one admitting mistakes and learnings while everyone is looking perfect and polished…(story of my life)… but I’m hoping that, given time, my team and colleagues will start to come to me with their mistakes, knowing that I make them too and we can figure out solutions together.

At home, it can actually be harder.  I try really hard to admit when I have made a mistake to my kids, because I know that it is a good learning experience for them as well if I can role model it.  BUT gosh sometimes it is hard to spit those words out.

The more I do it though, the less I am afraid of it, and I think that is a much better place to be and makes me far braver to try new things.  Because if I fail,  well, at least I might have an interesting story to tell!


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Getting back on the horse…the writing horse…

It’s been a while since I have written in this blog.  I was so proud of myself for upholding my weekly manifesto, for over two years with only a few delays.

Yet…here I am… with months going passed and only a few words published.

I like to blame work.  Of course it is their fault.  I’m back working full time and there just are not enough hours in the day.

Which is semi-true.  Sure. I feel like I have less hours.  But there are also plenty of days when I have the whole evening free but I decide to lounge in front of the TV instead of getting out my writing.  Or the weekends that pass by with plenty of free moments, but I choose to cram them with chores or a sneaky read of my book.   My brain is so fried I don’t have anything left to give.

But I know there is more to it than time…because I know that I’ve stopped writing because I’ve started to overthink it.

I have started to worry that I have nothing more of value to say.  That I’m not funny any more (because seriously, I was being SOOOOO hilarious before, my writing was amazeballs).   I feel like I have nothing new to share, there are no more stories to tell.  That you…the reader…are getting bored with me and my rantings.  I am scared what the people from my work will think.  Whether this will change their opinion of me.

I have…infact…written a few blog posts over the last months but none of them have made it out the starting gate.

Is this perfectionism creeping back into my world?    Hell…I know I’m not perfect… but that desire to wait until the flash of inspiration and the thunderbolt of amazing words come tumbling easily onto the page… is stopping me getting even a single word onto the page.

I have to remind myself that I started writing this blog, just as a practice for myself.  And I know, deep down inside…somewhere real deep… that I just have to get back on the horse.  I have listened to so many writers who say that sometimes it is a real struggle for them to write, even though they love it,  they have to force themselves to do it.

I have to get back to writing each week as a discipline, regardless if I “feel like it” or not.  And some weeks,  it might not be great, there might be some crappy stories or average words.  But amongst all of that maybe…just maybe…one person will read my musings and think “yeah, I feel like that sometimes too”.  And if I can make that one person feel better about themselves because they know that there are other crazy random fools just like them out in the world… then that day will be a great day.

So…peeps…it is time to get back on the horse.   If, for no other reason than to practice my writing.  And get random things off my chest.   And if it is not great…well…I’m sorry in advance… but hopefully it’ll inspire you anyway,  to get back doing something that you love…even if you feel like sometimes you are pretty average at it.



Always curious…lessons from Dad

My Dad has always lived his life in a constant state of curiosity.  I am sure it is one of the single most important reasons why he has lived his life with a sense of calm and patience…something I seem to have failed to inherit.

I am not sure that I appreciated Dad’s curiosity when I was younger.  His persistent desire to figure out how things work,  to check out the dirt path …just to see where it went,  to read my text book so he could help me properly with my homework and to think about everything in great detail…really drove me insane.  I just wanted to get to where I was going faster,  just get the answer to my homework not figure it all out properly and I didn’t care how things work as long as they were working…my impatience head butting with his never ending patience.

It is only recently I have come to realise how amazing it is to live your live in a constant state of curiosity.   To explore everything with a sense of wonder,  and even when “bad” things happen, to consider it as an interesting challenge, rather than a dire state of affairs.

I remember going camping last year and being stuck in a storm.  The rain was pouring and my husband was anxiously fretting about whether the tent would hold up.  He was incessantly checking his mobile to get the latest weather forecast, trying to determine if we were better to simply pack up and go, or to stick it out.   Pacing back and forth, not able to sit down and relax with us to play our card game.  He was remembering a disaster camping trip we had been on before, where a storm blew down the tent and we had a flood going through all our things.  We had had to pack up all our stuff with rain beating down,  which in hindsight was a pretty funny experience, but at the time…not so much.   And so…not surprisingly, on this occasion,  it wasn’t long before little drops of water started to seep into the tent and slide down the poles.   Which, of course, set my husband into whirl.   Was a wet weather disaster going to happen all over again?

As I sat watching and pondering the dilemma (Ok..perhaps I was being a tad unhelpful), it made me think of Dad.  I imagined he would not be disturbed by the storm,  infact, he might even be a little bit excited.  He wouldn’t be checking the weather to see what would happen next.  He would be exploring all the crevasses of the tent and considering our structure.  As the water started to slide down the poles,  he would be fascinated about why it was happening and thus, maybe what we could construct to stop it.   All the while feeling calm and intrigued rather than anxious and worried.

I wish I could be more like that…

Today I was listening to my audio version of Elizabeth Gilberts, Big Magic  book on my way into work. Some of the things in it are a little bit “woo woo” for me…but there are definitely lots of little spots of wisdom for anyone thinking about their creativity (for the record, I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person…in the slightest whatsoever…so it has been a little bit enlighting to realise maybe there in some in me…but that’s a story for another day).

The chapter I was listening to today was about curiosity.   She talks about the importance of living your life with a sense of curiosity and following all the little things that spark your interest.   I love the concept she talks about that finding ideas is like a scavenger hunt.  That if you follow your curiosity like clues in a hunt,  not knowing where they are all leading you but following each one as it pops up.  I love this idea.  I can see how thinking about the things in your life this way, makes it all less stressful and frantic.  Because there is no need to go places in a hurry.  You can be patient, because the important piece is the exploring and following.

This is what Dad seems to do so naturally.  And, maybe,  it is not something I simply inherit, but that I can learn.  Maybe if I practice a bit more, I can learn to be more calm and curious too…

And, for the record,  our little foray into the storm… well,  on that particular occasion it simply passed.  The next day we had blue skies, sunshine and even a rainbow.   My husband patched up some holes we found near the poles which were to blame for the leak…and we spent the next few days continuing our blissful holiday.

How could you live your life more curiously?



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In over my head…

It’s Saturday night (at least I think it is), and I find myself sitting in a corner at Los Angeles airport with tears streaming down my cheeks.  My jeans are ripped and my clothes smell…and I’m hungry…in short, I’m feeling incredibly sorry for myself.

How did I get here?

Well, it all started a few weeks back when I get a phone call from my boss asking if I was available to go to a workshop in New York.  Hmm…let me think about this, check my diary… HELLL YES PLEASE, I want to go!   Getting to New York has been a not so secret dream of mine for some time now.  It’s on the vision board for goodness sake…I was beginning to wonder when it would finally manifest itself after several close encounters over the last year that fizzled and died.

I don’t know why New York had suddenly become so important in my world but there was something about the opportunity to not only connect and work with some of the most respected people in my discipline, but to do so in such an iconic city (where, last time I visited was when I backpacked with my husband and we stayed at a hostel… which I figured out was 18years ago…ouch).

Of course, the timing wasn’t great.  I would need to fly out on the weekend, directly after my Sister arrived from overseas to visit our family.  Plus, my husband also had some work travel scheduled.  But after some creative juggling and yet again help from the parents (thank you!)…I was on my way.

New York was exactly as I imagined it might be.  I didn’t feel jetlag because I think I was flying on adrenalin for at least the first four days.   I felt like I belonged.  I felt like I had found “my people” at work and I spent joyously long days rabbiting about the things that confound me at work and getting their opinions on everything that we do.   I was amazed at the differences and the significant similarities between issues from country to country.  I even made time for some sightseeing and wander down the streets of New York pretending I was indeed, part of Sex in the City.

And then it was time to come home.  A tropical summer storm (in New York…yes…really) saw my plane to Dallas delayed and that is when things started going horribly wrong.   Suddenly I was waiting in a long queue for customer service in the airport, after I missed my connecting flight to Australia.   Around me, airport shops were shutting and they were rolling out rows of stretches with blankets in the corridors.   The service assistant (after 1 1/2hrs in the queue and well after midnight), tells me that there no more flights back to Australia until the next night, and I would have to fly to LA to get them.   She offered up a stretcher for me to have some rest.

As I sat contemplating my fate on the stretcher, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps work did not expect for me to sleep on the floor at the airport and I promptly found myself a hotel.  After a decent sleep at the hotel,  I was feeling a little more positive.  I could do this.  I had called my husband to tell him I was delayed by 24hrs,  which turned out to be rather a major problem because he had to fly out for another job himself, but he organised to ship the children to my sister in-law (thank you!) and we were back on track.

I decide that perhaps I should do some Yoga stretches in my hotel room, to help calm myself for the rest of my journey and after a few lovely vinyasa’s, I hear and feel a big rip as the inside thigh of my jeans rips across my leg.   Of course, I had no bags, as my bags were being held hostage at the airport…so I had no choice but to continue on as if nothing had happened and complete my trip with ripped trousers.  After all, surely I would be able to find something at the airport to buy (turns out not…actually).

After being on standby for several hours,  I somehow snatch a last minute pass onto a plane and I am finally on my way to LA.  And after some serious navigation issues,  also manage to find my way to the right gate at the international airport.   When I sit down with a thump and look up to the screen and realise with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach… that my plane was….DELAYED.

This time, I broke.   Oh my goodness, it felt like I was never going to get home.  I had been wearing the same clothes for days, literally. My pants were ripped.  I was oh so tired.  I missed home.  I missed the kids.

What the hell was I thinking when I agreed to go overseas?  Why did I not realise that it would be too much.  That it would be the straw that broke the camels back.  The juggling work and home is so hard at the best of times.  Now this was just a cruel way for the universe to tell me that I was pushing my luck.  That I didn’t need to do this.  I could have been safe and comfortable at home, all this time. It isn’t worth it.

I finally boarded the plane and started to relax as I realised that I would…eventually…make it home.  And I was reading through some of the notes I had made on the trip and I found this quote.

“Get in over your head as often and as joyfully as possible” – Alexander Isley

It was written on the wall of one of our offices, and I had written it down because I think we have become very negative about trying to “have it all” that perhaps we’ve swung the pendulum the other way and now everyone is stressed that they are trying to do too much.

So it made me think.  Even though the end of my trip was a little bit of disaster(ok..a lot of a disaster)… wasn’t it worth it for all the experiences that I had?  We forget that maybe sometimes,  throwing yourself into life…ALL IN… can at least make life interesting.

And I’ve learnt something new…next time… take an extra pair of trousers in your check in baggage.   I have never been so happy as I when I saw my bag slide onto the baggage carousel at the other end, at least the airline got that bit right.

When was the last time that you got yourself in over your head?


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Decluttering my brain…

My life feels like it has gotten a little out of control recently… it wasn’t one big thing that happened…  but little bit by little bit,  chip chip chip chip…until I find myself in a whirlwind of chaos.


Nothing has actually gone terribly wrong (yet) and I still seem to be getting through each day…by the skin of my chinny chin chin.

But I hate this frazzled, disorganised feeling.

There is a part of me that thinks the answer is about letting go of having things “perfect”.  To make peace  with school notes going in on or after deadlines,  with less priority work emails going unanswered,  with the increasing pile of “to action” documents on my study table and catching the sight of the kids bathroom from the corner of my eye and wondering “hmm…when was the last time we washed those towels”.

I simply need to let go.  To accept that I can’t do it all.

Except that I can’t.  I feel like this black cloud is lurking around over my head.  I hate being disorganised.  The sight of the piles of crap on my study table makes my stomach lurch when I walk into the room.  When my husband asks me a question about money, a shot of adrenalin shoots through my chest, as I am reminded that I haven’t looked at our bank accounts in months and I am just hoping everything is OK.   My mind is distracted at work when I’m trying to focus but can’t find my pen under the piles of stuff on  my study desk.

For me,  I don’t think it is about seeking perfection…it is about having some order and structure to streamline my days, to control the chaos.  It is about making active choices about what I will and won’t be doing..not just forgetting things.

Shannah Kennedy talks about this in her book “The Life Plan”.   “Simplicity brings clarity” she says,  and she talks about having a life full of clutter (internally and externally) becoming a drainer in your life.  The more drainers you have the more they weigh you down and make your feel more stressed.

“Many people are surprised to realise how much satisfaction they can drive from doing small, seemingly inconsequential task, such as putting all their gadgets chargers in one place, booking a check-up with the dentist or filing documents in their correct folders”…

Oh soo true…I get a LOT of satisfaction from these kinds of things and they become really impactful in your day to day life.  For example,  the Tupperware cupboard in our house is currently overflowing with an assortment of mismatched tops and bottoms.  When we unpack the dishwasher,  the current method is to open the door, chuck the Tupperware in and then shut the door as fast as you can before it all comes toppling out.   Of course, this makes school lunch packing time a very frustrating experience.   I spend a good 15min every morning trying to dig out the right size containers, with corresponding lid, then piling everything back into the cupboard that has fallen all over the floor.  I know if I just spent 30min one night pulling everything out and sorting it into piles, I’d cut my lunch making time in half every morning. (anyone got a tried and tested method for storage, I’d love to hear it!?)

OK,  so it is time for action.  I’ve made a list, yippee! School holidays are coming up soon, and I’m going to do me a bit of spring (winter) sorting.  I’m going to tackle all those every day areas which are contributing to the daily feeling of chaos.  The Tupperware cupboard, the key/cord/money/everything-else-we-haven’t-put-away box in the kitchen, my wardrobe (with the clothes scrunched up in balls) and my beautiful home office space.

Just making the list made me feel better.   Ironically,  just before I wrote this post, I was trying to find my notebook and the list I made, so I could remember and write about it for you… but I couldn’t find it.  I spent a good 10min pacing the house, looking under piles, under my bed, in the dogs cage…  I was about to start crying when I found it in an old supermarket bag on the floor in the corner…how?..why?

Anyway, I think the universe just gave me a hint that it really is time to take action.   OK,  I’m on it.  I’ll let you know how I go.