Companies that are good for the planet, and make me happy too!

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Understanding our values is a very important part of self awareness!

If we clearly know what we value then we are able to make choices, decisions and take aligned action and guess what, that makes us feel sensational!! People who consistently live within their values, experience a greater sense of congruence and inner peace than people who don’t.

The reason I share this is because within my top five values lives compassion, in fact it sits at number four.  Because I value compassion so highly, I am interested in supporting companies that have compassion within their value set.  That means no animal testing and behaving in a way that treats the Earth well.

Over the last few months I have had two new companies cross  my path and they are just too good to not share with you all.

The first company is called Ekoworx.

Ekoworx was introduced to me by my friend Juls from Sydney and she was completely singing its praises.  I was whinging that I couldn’t get the limescale off my shower screen and was thinking about buying a new one. The one challenge with wanting to use environmentally friendly cleaning products is that they sometimes aren’t very effective.

Juls swiftly got me in front of the computer and showed me Ekoworx. She told me I had to give this stuff a go, “it’s AHHHHmazing”!! I was still dubious. Juls swore that this Ekoworx stuff was going to change my life! Where do you go after a statement like that is made other than straight to the shopping cart:)

Like me, Juls is a very compassionate woman and her intial attraction to Ekoworx was because  it’s mission is to “help eliminate the use of toxic chemicals used in cleaning products”. Well, that’s a bloody good mission if I have ever seen one! On top of that, it was made by two dads from Bondi, Adam Lindsay and Justin Alexander in collaboration with Chief Scientist Dr Leigh Aldous. It is 100% Australian made and doesn’t animal test EVER! Okay, so at this point, its a win, win, win, but does it work?

Yep, it is the BOMB!

I am totally converted! Ekoworx has been such a God send in my house.  I spray it around as I say “You’re welcome” to the planet and I feel like an amazing good person for so many reasons.  Do yourself  favour and give it a shot!

The next company Ecosia, is just about as feel good as you could get.  My gorgeous nieces introduced me to this little ripper!! And its all about the trees…

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Ecosia is a social business meaning “we measure our success by the positive impact we can have on people and the environment”.  How cool is that!!

So what is it? It is a search engine, like Google but they invest 80% of their profits into reforestation in the places on the planet that need it most like Nicagarua, Brasil, Peru, Indonesia, Morocco, Madagascar, Tanzania and Burkina Faso in West Africa.  Their goal is to have planted a billion trees by 2020.  As I write this now, they are powering towards 28 million trees planted.

The company was started by a German man called Christian Kroll.  Christian went travelling around the planet in 2009 after completing his business studies.

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During his studies, he was disappointed to see that profit was positioned as the most important aspect of business. He felt inspired to take a year off and go get a different view of the world.  On his travels he saw how important trees are  for the survival of the planet so when he came home, he started Ecosia.

When you think about how much Googling people do, I mean “google it” has become a part of our language, imagine what would happen to the planet if we all started “ecosia-ing it”? The thought just makes my heart explode!

Do yourself, and the planet a favour, and pop this site on your phone and home computer to become your “go to” search engine from here on in.

Let me just finish by saying that in no way was I asked to endorse either of these products.  I am just a firm believer that the consumer dollar is what is going to change the world.  That belief makes me feel pretty powerful and very keen to share any product or service that aligns with my core value set.

 

E + R = O, and it’s not algebra!

 

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Well this is a bit of a flash back to year 10 mathematics and to be honest, algebra was never one of my favourite things. In case you feel similarly to me about algebra, I ask that you hang in there.

This equation, when applied well, can change your life!

Yep, dead-set change your life.

I was reminded of this simple equation in a book that I have been reading, The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield.

What it stands for is the EVENT + your RESPONSE will = the OUTCOME. Simple, elegant and oh so true!!

Let me give you an example. You arrive at the shopping centre and the car park is full. You spot someone pulling out of their car space and pop your indicator on, signalling that the space is yours. The person backs their car out and as they straighten their car up to drive away, another car ducks in behind them and grabs YOUR space. This is the Event.

So how do you respond?  You put the park brake on and jump out of your car – this is unacceptable! You march over to the parked vehicle and bang on the window. The driver, who is staring down at their phone, looks up with a start. She opens her window and you go to town: “What the hell are you thinking!! How could you not see that I was sitting there waiting!! You took my spot you idiot, I hope you have a crappy day!”. This is the Response.

You storm back to your car, get in, pacify the children in the back seat and when you look up, there is the other driver, looming over your bonnet. She starts to yell and scream at you “How dare you abuse me, you stupid woman! It’s people like you that make the world so screwed up. I didn’t see you and if you had just spoken to me, maybe I would have been willing to move but not now. I feel sorry for those poor kids in the backseat to have a mother like you, you crazy woman”. This is the Outcome.

So, your kids are now all shaken up having witnessed the whole thing, you have more adrenaline in your system than what is healthy for you, and there is a growing  rage inside you at the injustice of it all.

Here’s the question, if you had responded differently, how different would the outcome be?

E + R = O

Event + Response = Outcome

Sexy isn’t it!!

Let’s revisit the example. The driver steals your spot. You hurrmph, this is quite annoying. You sit there and wait until the driver gets out of her car three minutes later. You wind down your window and stick your head out.

“Excuse me, I was waiting for that spot, did you not see me?” you ask calmly.

“Oh no I didn’t see you, sorry about that. I would move for you but I am flat out and have to just run into the shops and grab some medicine from the pharmacy for my daughter. She is at home on her own waiting for me to get back and I am so stressed”.

“Look, no problem. I hope your daughter feels better soon”.

So, your kids witness a quality example of speaking up for yourself as well as a demonstration of empathy and kindness.

E + R = O

Event + Response = Outcome

We are continually at crossroads in life: do I go this way or that way? The only variable in this beautiful little equation is your response.

The event is what it is. Whether it is a positive or negative event doesn’t actually predict the outcome of the situation. I am sure many of you have had negative events happen yet because of how you have responded the outcome has been positive.

Your response on the other hand, is 100% up to you. Every minute of every day you get to decide how you show up, how you respond and therefore how pleasurable and happy your life is.

When we truly stand in full responsibility for our responses then the outcomes we achieve will reflect that.

And that equals a happier, calmer and more positive life.

 

 

The Tribe has spoken….

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Tribal Rule is alive and well.

I feel confident saying that you would have experienced it in some form or another over the course of the last day, week or month.

Tribes fascinate me and I am always curious to know what tribes people belong to.

“What?” I hear you say, “a tribe? I don’t belong to a tribe, are you kidding me?”.

No, I am not! And yes you are a fully-fledged, card-carrying member of many tribes – even if you don’t know it.

Tribes today come in many forms – families, friendship groups, sporting teams, corporate entities, sex, race, religious and spiritual groups, ethnic groups, professions and so on. Basically, a tribe is any group of people who are connected to each other and have a set of rules and beliefs in how things “should” be.

Without even knowing it, you have been participating in your tribes and adding value to them, as well as enforcing the rules of the group.

The thing about tribes that is particularly interesting is that there has to be some judgement: you’re either in or you are out. You are following the rules the tribe believe in and if you are not, then you are most probably living with some discomfort. The tribe will (eventually) evict you because you aren’t toe-ing the line, making a change or fitting in. If you don’t then it will make life uncomfortable so that you want to leave and find a new tribe anyway.

Here are some examples:

The Vegan Tribe says it’s wrong to eat animal products.

The Environmentalist Tribe say that if we don’t change, the planet will die.

The Catholic Tribe says no sex before marriage.

The Australian Tribe is not very welcoming of refugees.

The American Tribe says they have a right to carry guns regardless of the deaths they cause.

The Apple Tribe believes that their products are superior to any other brand.

The Police Tribe says you must follow the speed limit.

Don’t get me wrong: tribes have many advantages. In fact, the human spirit requires connection and to be a part of something bigger than itself. This is still hardwired into us from our caveman days – we long to belong.

Tribes create social order, promote connection and community, and most importantly, they are good for your health!

A Harvard University study examined the lives of almost 3,000 people and found that those who gather together to go out for dinner, play cards, go on day trips, holiday with friends, go to the movies, attend sporting events, go to church, or engage in other social activities outlive their reclusive and more disconnected peers by an average of two-and-a-half years. Being part of a tribe is not only fun but it can also extend your life.

Plus, how much easier is it to get things done working as a group rather than attempting to do it all alone? I think of the Amish Community building barns together, and the local church down the road from me who holds a yearly busy bee to tidy up the neighbourhood streets. What about Christmas time where each tribe member brings something to the table to share?

Like most things in life, there is a light component and a dark component. We all want to feel included, to belong, to be a part of something, and yes, our tribes give us that. It’s about being with like-minded people who understand you and your language and who support your ideas and beliefs.

Just beware, however, that the tribe will speak when you are not “toe-ing the tribal line”. My dad started a new relationship very quickly after my mum passed away and his friendship tribe was MOST put out! They had a set of rules around how grief should be done and clearly my dad was not doing it the right way.

I had to field a barrage of calls from his social circle, all expressing their unhappiness around his actions. In the end I told them to stop calling. I didn’t care what the Friendship Tribe thought (nor did my dad, mind you), I just cared about what was best for my father and his partner.

In one of my coaching sessions this week my client was telling me about how her new partner (whom she completely adores!) is from a different religious denomination and that her family is extremely unhappy with her. It started as a gentle rumble but has now escalated into a deep roar. They have asked her to make a choice: him or us.

The Tribe has spoken…

 

 

 

 

My Top Five Personal Development Books

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I am an addict!

Yep – a hardcore, long term addict, and my addiction is books. I am one of those people who experiences a dopamine hit when I get home and there is a package from the bookstore on my doorstep with my latest purchase.

I eagerly rip open the parcel and will often sit and scan the first few paragraphs before adding it to my (already large) pile of books to read. Sometimes I end up sitting there for two hours and consuming half the book before I even realise what I’ve done. Books just light me up!

I was asked the other day what my favourite personal development books are, and I must admit I found it to be a hard question. There are just so many!! And within that very broad topic there are so many sub-topics so to narrow it down to five is a very tall order!

Since then I have put some dedicated thought in to the question and have finally managed to cut down my list to five. Here they are:

Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is the man!  He is one of the world’s leading authorities on success and personal achievement, addressing more than 100,000 men and women each year in both public and private seminars. Maximum Achievement is an easy read chocked full of ideas, concepts, and methods used by high-achieving people in every field.

Mr Tracy gives you a powerful and proven system – based on twenty-five years of research and practice – that you can apply immediately to get even better results in every area of your life.

This book is all about unlocking your individual potential for personal greatness.  If you choose to implement the learnings from this book, you will immediately become more positive, persuasive, and powerfully focused in everything you do. Who doesn’t want more of that?

The book lays out a step-by-step blueprint for creating success and achievement and includes proven principles based on psychology, religion, philosophy, business, economics, politics, history, and metaphysics.

I would have bought at least fifty copies of this book over the last few years to give to clients and friends, as well as advising countless others to read it.

If you haven’t read this book, do yourself a favour and get it!

Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani

I am a firm believer in the spiritual plane and I love books that explore that world. This one blew me away!

In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body – overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system – began shutting down. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realised her true worth and why her body had created the illness in the first place.

Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was able to be released from the hospital within weeks – without a trace of cancer in her body! This is what is called a Radical Remission, something that her doctors struggled with.

In the book, Anita shares her story and the journey that she has been on.  She was raised in a traditional Hindu family while growing up in Hong Kong, in a largely British and Chinese community, and therefore experienced a continual pushing and pulling of cultural and religious customs. She talks about the challenges of establishing her career and finding love and the continual pressure she felt while trying to meet everyone else expectations.

What I love about Anita’s story is there is something for everyone.  She shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, love and how each of us is truly magnificent.  As Wayne Dyer, one of the greatest spiritual teachers of the 21st century says, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience”. This book definitely supports that statement.

The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins

I have talked about the awesomeness of The Five Second Rule consistently since I read it about a year ago!

This book makes my list because Mel Robbins has come up with a tool that is so simple, so elegant and yet SO very effective that anyone can create change in their life by using it. I like that!!

So often in life, our fear stops us.  We find an excuse, we baulk at the critical moment or we simply talk ourselves out of taking the action required to help us achieve what we want.  The Five Second Rule is the tool that will help you have the courage and confidence to do the “thing”, whatever your “thing” is.

This tool is what will allow you to push yourself in that critical moment. I use it all the time and I know it works!

Using the science of habits, fascinating stories, and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business, Mel Robbins explains the power of a “push moment”. Then she gives you one simple tool you can use to become your greatest self.

In my experience simple things work best and it takes just five seconds to use this tool. Not only that, it is hugely versatile and can be used for everything from procrastination to managing anxiety.

Mel has spoken all over the world sharing The Five Second Rule with hundreds of thousands of people and more than 8 million people have watched her TEDx Talk. This lady is no nonsense so and she will kick your butt throughout the book!

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

I love a good shortcut and this book is definitely that!

The Success Principles contains 67 timeless and tested principles that feels like a condensing of so many other books that I have read over the years.  Every page has sensational content and I love how the book is a journey, layering each new idea on the last one.

In The Success Principles, the co-creator of the phenomenal best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series Jack Canfield, guides the reader to get from where they are to where they want to be by teaching them how to increase their confidence, to tackle daily challenges, to live with passion and purpose, and to realise all of their ambitions.

Again, it’s incredibly simple to read and apply, if you are willing to take the action!

The book is full of inspiring stories from all walks of life, CEOs, world-class athletes, celebrities, and everyday people, which makes it interesting and relatable.

Taken together and practiced every day, these principles can help you change your life! At the very minimum, it is a refresher course on creating phenomenal success in your world.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I LOVE The Five Love Languages!!

Any person who has ever been in any sort of relationship (yes, that’s all of you!!) and doesn’t understand The Five Love Languages is doing themselves and the people around them a huge disservice! This is the greatest book ever written on communicating love effectively.

Dr Chapman worked with couples for many decades and realised early on that there are five main ways that we communicate love to each other.  Like everything else in life, there is a pattern.

What he discovered is that couples who had challenging relationships often were communicating their love to each other in different “love languages”.  There was a miscommunication going on. What that meant was each party didn’t feel valued, cared for, understood or loved. This was the basis for their problems.

Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr Gary Chapman’s time tested approach to giving and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy and connection with your partner. Not only that, these principles can be applied to any relationship, with your children, your parents and your friends.

The Five Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful and I feel confident that you will get huge value from reading it.

If you have read an amazing books lately, I would love the recommendation!  Pop the book title in the comments and share it with all of us.

Happy reading Folks!

 

 

 

A Sense of Community

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I am in Fiji at the moment attending a Tony Robbins event called Life and Wealth Masterywhich is all about creating more health, vitality, wealth and abundance in your life.

Fiji is a beautiful country! Where we are is picture perfect: groves of coconut trees, the Pacific Ocean lapping at the surrounding reef, a zillion stars in the night sky and these super cute little mongooses running around. Admittedly, the first time one ran in front of me I did almost have a heart attack, though to be fair I think so did the mongoose!

We are having the best week and there have been so many magic moments, but one of best was on the first night when the local villagers came up to the conference centre to do a Meke for us. A Meke is a traditional style of Fijian dance and it was to welcome us to their island.

The conference centre is located between two villages, Naidi and Valali, and both villages take turns in welcoming each new conference group. The group that comes up is normally about 40 people and their ages range from very young right through to the 60s and 70s.  The Fijians wear a sulu which is a colourful piece of fabric (a bit like a sarong) that covers their bottom half and then a shirt or t-shirt to go with it.

The group entered the main room singing and clapping and the energy was beautiful. They all assembled in front of us and finished their song before sitting down in a circle to sing. In Fiji a common instrument is the voice, so the circle was set up to provide the music for the rest of the dancing.

The young men in the group stayed standing and then did a spectacular dance that I am guessing was about hunting based on the way they moved. I LOVED seeing these young men (aged 10 -16) dancing and sharing their traditions so proudly with us. There was no embarrassment or shyness, they just totally owned it. I could see that this was something that brought a sense of position and place to them. This was their dance and it was a demonstration of their masculinity and place in their community.

As I watched the Meke – which was about half an hour long – I had a couple of realisations.

Firstly, every age group was represented here – young children right through to grandparents and I realised that we don’t see a lot of that in Australia where I am from.

This was the perfect demonstration of a united and highly connected community.

It wasn’t just the kids dancing or the middle-aged people, it was everyone together. That means that they must practice together. That also means that the traditions are passed down with the love and respect that they deserve. Teenagers teach the little ones, the adults teach the teenagers and the grandparents teach the adults as each group moves into the next phase of their life. This is high quality, soul-drenching, heart-filling connection!

Something that so many people in my country are longing for.

My second realisation was that a community that sings and dances together experiences more happiness than one that doesn’t. The Fijians are happy people and I feel strongly that this custom along with others which promote community and connection plays a huge role in that. Everyone here belongs.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and seeing the Meke with the little kids surrounded by their friends, peers, parents and extended village family, I could really sense that.

The Meke culminated with the Fijians asking all of the participants to get up and join in. For a moment our Western awkwardness was palpable and I could see terror in several peoples’ eyes! However it only took a few minutes before everyone was up and the floor was full of people from all over the world dancing and laughing together.

Community. It is such a powerful medicine for the heart.

The Departure Gate

 

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I love airports. They are the perfect cross-section of humanity.

Everyone is here. From the FIFO worker on his way home, right through to the family who is going on the much anticipated holiday. Work and pleasure, happiness and sadness, lone travellers and huge packs of them.

I am sitting here at Sydney International Airport about to board a flight to Nadi in Fiji and am taking in the people, the movement and the stories. I am continually intrigued about people; they genuinely fascinate me – and airports are a melting pot of stories, journeys and reasons. I love how so many different things have brought all of us here to this moment in time – where my path crosses other peoples’ paths and I get a glimpse into their world. A glimpse I might never see if I didn’t choose this chair, in this airport, on my way to that place.

The man sitting a few seats down from me in the coffee shop has been telling his neighbour that he is heading home to New Zealand to bury his Mum. He hadn’t spoken to her for several years after a family disagreement and I can hear the regret and pain in his voice.

“I had this feeling that something was wrong but I have been ignoring it for the last few months. Anyway, after much discussion, my wife convinced me to check in with everyone at home. I didn’t want to, but sometimes it’s just easier to let the missus win. So the feeling was right. My Mum had a brain tumour – an aggressive one – and it was killing her fast. Dad asked me to come back and see her – you know, fix things up before she dies. I honestly thought I had more time and I really believed I would make it home in time to hug her and say sorry. I have spent the last few weeks imagining the moment where I say sorry. I was such a prick to her the last time we spoke. I am gutted, just so gutted, that I didn’t get back in time”.

I thought I was going to start crying listening to this!

I wasn’t part of the conversation so it would have been incredibly inappropriate for me to start sobbing just a metre away from him but jeez..!

This is a gut-wrenching reason to be at the airport! Where has that family gone who was laughing about their trip to Disneyland??

It took all of my resolve to just listen and manage my own emotions. The pain emanating from this man was palpable – he oozed sadness and my heart just ached for him. Being the empathetic creature that I am, I had to get up and walk away. I couldn’t be so close to this man anymore because I was barely holding it together. I moved to the departure lounge from where my flight was soon leaving and started to write this. I am not even really sure what my point is other than don’t have regrets!

Life is too short to have regrets, yet life is also funnily enough too long to have regrets.

I love airports. They are the perfect cross-section of humanity.

 

 

Angry does not even come close!!

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It is 4.22 on Monday morning and I am awake. I have slept fitfully all night because of my disturbed mind and have officially given up trying to rest.

Whenever I work with a coaching client who is experiencing disturbed sleep one of the strategies I discuss with them is to write down what is going on and get it out of their head. This normally creates some space for their mind to relax more.

This morning I am taking my own advice.

Last night I was at my girlfriend’s place having dinner. 60 Minutes, an Australian current affair show, came on the television and there was a particular segment on the live trade export industry. It was about the horrific conditions on board the giant livestock carrier, Assawi Express, which is loaded in my fair city of Perth.

Australia has for many years been exporting live sheep to the Middle East. For some reason this has been the preferred way to sell the meat – maybe it’s how the buyers want it over there, maybe it’s about maintaining the quality of the meat instead of transporting it already butchered – I don’t know.

As I watched the 13 minute segment, I was overcome with rage and then a sadness so deep that all I could do was cry. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed to be a part of a species that condones the treatment of another sentient being this way.

How on earth is this possible from a country like ours? How on earth can people be okay knowing that these animals are suffering the worst possible death in such appalling conditions?

The footage last night was nothing short of horrific: animals packed into these ships of death without the ability to move freely. They are packed so tightly that some of them struggle to access the food and water that is provided. A week into the voyage, the sheep are standing in ankle deep excrement which is covering the cargo hold floor.

The regulation states that pregnant sheep are not to be loaded but this is ignored. Often the young lambs are crushed to death being so small and they are then just thrown overboard. Their chance of survival (and let’s be honest, death in these conditions is most probably a gift) is so low for these young little beings.

The look in these animals’ eyes says it all. It was the same look that was in the eyes of the prisoners in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany who were on their way to death. It’s a look of fear; it’s a look of panic; it’s a look that once I had seen it, I could not shake from my mind.

It is hopelessness in huge, stomach-wrenching quantities!

The most devastating thing about these ships is they are HOT. After several weeks of sailing the boat arrives in the sweltering conditions of the Persian Gulf where the cargo hold temperatures rise to life-threatening heights. The sheep are effectively boiling to death in the cargo holds of these ships!

On one voyage when the weather in the Gulf was particularly hot, the Assawi Express ship records confirmed more than 880 sheep died in one day from heat stress. That’s one death every two minutes. The next day, 517 more sheep died. This “death zone” heatwave continued for five days.

The footage of these poor beings panting for air and slowly boiling to death is the horrendous image that has kept me awake throughout the night and continues to trouble me.

In Australia, it is unlawful to leave your dog in a car in hot temperatures that could harm them. I have been in carparks and observed Rangers smashing windows to free pets that have carelessly been left in a vehicle. I have then heard people heckling the owner when they return about what a terrible, cruel person they are.

Now, I don’t necessarily think that they are terrible people: thoughtless – yes, and not very smart – yes, but I am sure they love their animal. Yet people are so very quick to stand up and judge.

Well, judge this! The live export industry needs to be judged! The Australian people in support of the Australian farming community need to step up and demand that our animals no longer get treated this way. I can only imagine how distressed our farmers are knowing that this is how their livestock are being treated.

The man who got the story out is a trainee navigator, Faisal Ullah. He was so disturbed at the conditions these animals were being transported in that he secretly filmed footage on his mobile to expose what is happening. He talked about his heartbreak at being a part of this horror, and knew that if people understood the conditions we allowed these animals to be transported in there would be public outcry.

The man at the top of this tree, Graham Daws (the boss of Perth-based Emanuel Exports which owns the Assawi Express) did not, of course, want to face the music about the cruel conditions he is profiting from. Instead he directed the reporter to Simon Westaway, who is the chief executive of the Australian Live Exporters Council.

Simon Westaway argued Australia has the best live export standards worldwide. Now I was officially ropable!! Angry!! Outraged!! Horrified!! And so deeply, deeply saddened that yet again profit is coming before humanity.

Are we really that shallow?

Have we truly not evolved from the days of slavery and vivisection?

If these are the best standards in the world, how are other animals being treated elsewhere??? More importantly: what can we do for them?

Until we realise that every sentient being is of equal value, companies will continue to harm and abuse animals. I believe that my worth as a human being is no more or less than that of my pet dog or a sheep on a cargo ship.

It is 2018 and even though the consciousness of the planet is definitely improving, we need it to do so with way more urgency. The way that happens is we take a stand, we no longer sit idly by and say “Oh that’s terrible, what a shame for those poor animals”.

We talk about it, we write about it and we use our consumer dollar to send a message to companies to treat their animals humanely or they will not be supported.

Enough is enough.

If you feel as deeply saddened as I do, please take some form of action around this.  Here is an RSPCA link if you would like to join the thousands of others petitioning our politicians to make change to this industry. Alternatively, Stop Live Exports regularly organises protests in support of stopping this practise and has tons of great information on their website.

 

 

 

 

Love your Inner child and your life will change

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There is a photo on my desk that I look at every single time I sit down to work. The photo is of me which most probably sounds pretty arrogant…….

“Jeez, why would she feel the need to look at a photo of herself?” I can hear you saying.

Well, let me clarify, it’s a photo of four year old me and I stole it from my Dad’s house. To be honest I doubt he has even noticed, I mean I didn’t notice the photo for years. Quite the metaphor really!

I wonder how many times I walked past it without even a sideways glance? It has been in a frame, in various positions across several houses for the last 37 years. My Mum was an avid photographer and my childhood was captured in no less than 46 albums, me aged 0 to 18. Looking at the photo I can see why my Mum chose this particular one to elevate to frame status.

This picture absolutely captures me as a happy, carefree child. I have a cheeky grin and I can clearly see my playful nature in my eyes and smile. I am dressed as a good child of the ’70s should be: red, blue and white striped tee shirt under blue overalls – completely fitting of the decade!

When I did finally notice it, it was only because I had started doing consistent and focused work with my Inner Child. As Tony Robbins says “Where focus goes, energy flows”. I was now noticing the little girl not only in myself, but in the environment around me.

Just like the photo, I had not been seeing her at all, and yet she was dying to be understood, nurtured and loved.

I stole this photo because when it finally made its way into my awareness it was the perfect visual I needed of my inner child. I realised that it was this little girl I had been talking with, nurturing and developing a relationship with. I love that I can now look into her eyes through this picture each and every day.

Inner Child work is a vital component of personal growth and development because it reconnects us with the distressed element of ourselves, the little child. This is really about the fact that the majority of what we are contending with in our adult lives comes from our childhood – or more specifically our young childhood below ten years of age.

When we reconnect with these wounded parts of ourselves, we can begin to discover the root of many of our beliefs, fears, insecurities and sabotaging behavioural patterns.

This is where the true healing happens! By giving your inner child the love and connection he or she so desperately wants, you will start to very quickly and powerfully resolve adult problems.

As Raul Lopez Jnr, author, speaker and founder of Live Again Co says: “Heal the boy and the man will appear”. Torn from and then abandoned by his father at age 7, Raul spent the next 17 years on a rollercoaster of drugs, gangs, imprisonment and much more until he decided enough was enough. Reflecting back, he realised that he had work to do with the little boy inside himself who was still struggling to understand why he wasn’t enough.

Raul made poor choice after poor choice in pursuit of healing the ache inside of himself, and nothing was working. After beginning his journey of self-exploration and discovery in his 20s he realised that for things to truly change, he had to heal the little boy inside himself.

We don’t even realise that we are dealing with a wounded little kid most of the time. Yet the more connected we are to our inner child, the more developed and mature we are as adults. There is a powerful and definite relationship between these two parts of ourselves. It can be very surprising what comes up through inner child work – stuff that we did not have conscious awareness of, beliefs that were formed completely out of context, and “gap filling” which is our little child mind making up the story because we don’t understand the bigger picture.

This work is not about dealing with symptoms and using band aids. This is about getting back to the very core of where your beliefs, fears and behavioural patterns started – your childhood.

This is true healing in every sense of the word!

As I sit at my desk each day, I now always take a moment to check in with that little four year old girl. I ask her how she is doing and is there anything that she needs. This is such a simple action but it has produced profound results for me.

If you have never done any inner child work there are tons of resources around. You can work with a coach like me, access tons of information through books and the web, or attend a workshop.

At the very minimum, find a photo of yourself and pop it up somewhere that you will see every day. This act alone will promote the development of one of the most important relationships in your life.

 

 

The Law of Reciprocity

 

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I was in the Sydney CBD a few weeks ago waiting for my friend. It was Friday afternoon and I was meeting him at the Town Hall so we could look at the shops for an hour before heading home.

The streets were busy with a kaleidoscope of humanity – people rushing here and there, students milling around smoking cigarettes, religious people handing out brochures trying to engage the passing crowd.

I sat down under a huge jacaranda tree with my book and watched the masses of people move through the final hours of the working week. Finally, I put my head down and started to read, letting the noise and energy fall away as my book sucked me back in.

After 10 minutes or so, I look up to meet the eye of a monk who was making his way towards me. He was walking with purpose and there was no mistake he was heading for me. He had a sweet face and a sort of solemn smile and I noticed that his robes were a bit dull and lifeless. He stopped right in front of me and reached for my hand.

I gave it to him.

Now this would freak some people out, but I am one of those easy targets who oozes trust and acceptance. On top of that, I have had some of my most powerful and life changing moments through just allowing a conversation or moment to take place with a random stranger, so I am always curious to see where it goes.

The monk placed a bracelet on my wrist, it was one of those beaded bracelets – cheap in nature – but I was moved anyway. I was genuinely touched that he had seen me in the crowd of people and had wanted to give me this gift. I am huge believer in random acts of kindness so I looked deep into his eyes, put my hand on my heart and thanked him for his generosity and thoughtfulness. I told him that he had made my day.

But then it happened.

The book got pulled out and snapped open. Written on the page were three entries. They included a name, an email address and an amount of money. This was not a gift, this was a transaction! What I was most impressed by was the amount of money that all three people had donated in return for the bracelet: $50 – Wow! Clearly Sydney is a very generous town.

So here I found myself at the crossroads of the Law of Reciprocity.

The Law of Reciprocity is a universal law, and it is a powerful one at that.

The Law of Reciprocity acknowledges that there is a universal tendency in human beings to repay or reciprocate when given a gift, whether that gift has come in the form of a material object, a generous act or a kind deed. There is a strong drive in people from all cultures to repay gifts or favours with a gift or favour of their own.

This impulse expresses itself in reciprocating invitations to parties, Christmas cards, presents, or acts of kindness. If you read last week’s blog, this also the law that the Takers so blatantly disregard.

It is a Universal Law that is commonly used by charitable associations. You receive a key-ring or a pack of Christmas cards (or a bracelet on your wrist) in the mail. In return you are asked to make a donation. Depending on how susceptible (or aware) you are to the Law of Reciprocity will depend on how often you run your unconscious programming and fill in the donation slip and send it off.

Learning to trust your judgment when it comes to distinguishing acts of true generosity from actions designed to trigger obligatory giving is a process. That process consists of situations where you give back happily as well as those where you give back begrudgingly.

Normally there are some instances where you are too trusting and end up feeling used because as much as you gave back, it felt like there was a lack of consent.

The serious monk watched me take the bracelet off and hand it back. He wasn’t happy and to be honest, neither was I. I felt silly for confusing a tried and tested donation system for a genuine act of kindness. Even after years of experience as well as an in-depth study of human nature, I am still sucked into the laws that govern us.

Robert Cialdini wrote an amazing book called Influence which discusses the six universal principles that form the basis of any great act of persuasion or influence. The Law of Reciprocity is the first principle that is discussed.

In Chapter 2, Cialdini shares that every culture on the planet subscribes to the Law of Reciprocity.  In fact it’s this “web of indebtedness” which has helped us evolve the way we have as human beings. Before much of the technology of the last century appeared, we had to help each other to simply survive.

Like many things in life, the Law of reciprocity is quite neutral, it is the energy that we bring to it that makes it a force for good or a force for manipulation.

You choose….

 

 

Givers need to know when to stop giving

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We all know that one person.

The person who happily rocks up to the party and doesn’t bring a thing EVER.

The person who will call and offload all their problems to you but is never available in your moment of need.

The person who always wants to be picked up (even expects it) but never does the picking up.

TAKERS!!

Or as I like to call them: The “One Way Street Human Being”.

In my experience, Takers come in three flavours:

The first flavour is that of the Scarcity Taker. The Scarcity Taker simply believes that there isn’t enough to go around. They feel the need to take and hoard whatever they can get their hands on because they believe there is a finite supply on the planet. They will let you buy lunch because then they get to save their money (even if you have bought lunch the last five times). They might need their money for something else so they are not going to offer it or spend it if they don’t have to.

The Scarcity Takers don’t ever view this as unfair or rude – they see it as sensible. They think there isn’t enough to go around so why spend when they don’t have to? You offered to buy the lunch, so they get to squirrel their cash away for another day. This is a win/win situation for them, but not for you.

The second type of Taker is the Entitled Taker. The Entitled Taker genuinely believes that they have the right to take more than others. They will happily go to the pub with a group of people and let everyone else buy the wine for the table. Of course their glass will never be empty! There is wine on the table and they are entitled to drink as much as they want. The Entitled Taker does not even consider that there is anything wrong with this – they are entitled for God sake!

The Entitled Taker often appears cocky and arrogant in their taking. There is no apology for their lack of contribution. They boldly grab at what they want (often without asking) and then will fire back strongly if anyone challenges them.

The third kind of Taker is the Selfish Taker. The Selfish Taker genuinely struggles to think of anyone else’s needs. It is all about them! The Selfish Taker normally has a highly inflated sense of importance (which stems from poor self esteem) and therefore their needs and desires trump everyone else’s. Selfish Takers tend to have the quickest turnover of people in their lives because their overt self-focus gets boring very quickly.

The Selfish Taker wants it their way every time. If it doesn’t go their way, they like to punish whoever was involved. They will fight back when challenged because they cannot see any other point of view and will normally be outraged at the suggestion that they are taking.

The fascinating thing about Takers is they attract Givers. Like night and day, man and woman, black and white, yin and yang – a taker needs a giver.

Givers needs takers too. The Giver gets to feel important and valuable because they are meeting their need for contribution (underneath that they are really meeting their need for love, connection and significance) so for a while this is a symbiotic relationship.

But there ALWAYS comes a point.

The Giver realises that they are being used and the Taker starts to morph into a parasitic being – sucking the Giver dry with an ever growing thirst for more and more.

This is normally where the story gets interesting!

The Giver becomes agitated! Yet often they don’t want to speak up because confrontation is the last thing they want. The Giver has collected hundreds of examples of where they gave and the other person took. They are genuinely baffled at why the Taker cannot see this. The Taker should KNOW what they are doing; they should realise just how much the Giver is giving – it’s obvious isn’t it??

NO, IT IS NOT! You are dealing with a Taker.

It’s time for you to put your big girl (or big boy) undies on and make some decisions! This doesn’t mean ending the friendship, although that is often what happens. It means drawing some lines in the sand, getting clear on your boundaries, and most of all it means finding a voice and speaking up.

Saying “No”.

Saying “It’s your turn”.

Saying “If you want to keep drinking the wine from the table, please go and buy some to add to it – otherwise stop drinking our wine”.

I can hear the collective intake of breath from all the Givers as they read that: “I can’t say that!! That is so rude!”. But so is bagging them to everyone who will listen because you don’t have the courage to speak up! So is not valuing yourself enough to speak your truth!

Every day we are teaching people how to treat us. The statements above are teaching the Taker that what they are doing is not okay. You have now made them accountable. By making them accountable they will think about their actions next time this situation occurs. You might have to call them on it five times, but you are speaking your truth and will feel SO much better for it in the long run.

One of my favourite sayings that beautifully sums this up goes:

“Givers need to know when to stop giving because takers don’t know when to stop taking”.

Never stop giving – it is definitely one of the most beautiful traits in human beings. Just make sure you are giving and not being used.