Leap of Faith

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When I started my coaching journey back in 2011, it was the first time in a long time, I had started anything so completely new.  I hadn’t done any study for a long time and I hadn’t put myself in a new community to such a great extent in years.  This was a large leap, way beyond the edge of my comfort zone.

I remember before I flew to Sydney to start the course that I felt quite nervous.  I was unsure what to expect and I hoped that there would be some people that I really connected with.  I didn’t know the area where the course was being run and I didn’t know a single other person who had been associated with the coaching school I had selected.

All of that being said, I felt excited.  I was so ready for something new and being a natural adventurer, I had enough certainty in myself that I knew all would work out well.  It feel good to be moving outside my comfort zone.

I was looking out the window as we landed into Sydney and I remember thinking “This is the beginning.  The beginning of what, well I don’t really know, but I can’t wait to find out”.

It was an exciting thought and I was so ready.

My coaching course was two years long and it started with this three day weekend in Sydney.  It was a spectacular weekend!  I had an amazing teacher called Joe Pane, who to this day, is one of the best speakers that I have ever had the privilege of being taught by.  I made a beautiful friend called Juls who will be in my life forever and was the recipient of my very first coaching session during that training (which was diabolical!)

The reason I share this story is because it was a great reminder for me that a leap of faith is good for the soul.  In fact I believe its necessary for the soul.

As much as security, safe and comfort are all emotional states that make us feel good, being scared, stretched or uncomfortable make us feel alive and that is really what our very being yearns for, that sense of aliveness.

Some people find that feeling closing business deals, some find it by climbing mountains or jumping out of planes, some people find it by joining new groups and clubs.  It doesn’t matter how you personally get your fix, its just important that you get it.

Prior to taking this particular leap of faith, I spent several years experiencing mild discontent with my working life, a bit of boredom, a bit of apathy and a general loss of interest in my work.  Yet, I wasn’t prepared to throw caution to the wind and take any risks. Really, the pain hadn’t become great enough for me to move.

That is until the Universe kicked me up the bum through my Mum becoming unwell.  My Mum’s illness prompted me to reevaluate what I really wanted to be doing with my time.  If my life was going to be cut short, would I have done all the things that I wanted to do?

The answer was a resounding no and I was finally knocked into action to take the leap of faith that my soul had been nudging me towards for the last few years.

And I learnt a valuable lesson…..

Take those leaps of faith, regularly and often. They are as important to us as water and food and air.  Like those things nourish our physical body, the leaps of faith nourish our spirit and grow our soul.

 

 

Water, Consciousness and Intent

 

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Dr Maseru Emoto is the bestselling author of the books Messages from Water, The Hidden Messages in Water and The True Power of Water.  He has spent many decades studying water and how it is linked to our individual and collective consciousness.

One of his more famous studies focused on what happens to water molecules when they are exposed to different phenomena – things such as positive words, beautiful music, names of murderers and swear words. He observed how the water molecule responded to these things. He also observed how a water molecule is shaped differently depending on where it has come from – like in a city sewer as opposed to a mountain stream.

This study is truly fascinating, particularly because the human body is made up of over 60% water, as is our planet.  If water molecules can be so radically impacted by the energy of music, pollution, essential oils, harsh language and so on, what does that mean for us as human beings and for Mother Earth?

Dr. Emoto has been visually documenting the molecular changes in water by photographing them microscopically. He freezes droplets of water and then examines them under a dark field microscope which has photographic capabilities.

Some observations from his works include:

  1. Water from clear mountain springs and streams had beautifully formed crystalline structures, while the crystals of polluted or stagnant water were deformed and distorted;
  2. Distilled water exposed to classical music took delicate, symmetrical crystalline shapes;
  3. When the words “thank you” were taped to a bottle of distilled water, the frozen crystals had a similar shape to the crystals formed by water that had been exposed to Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” – music composed out of gratitude to the man it was named for;
  4. When water samples were bombarded with heavy metal music or labeled with negative words (such as Adolph Hitler), or when negative thoughts and emotions were focused intentionally upon the samples – the water did not form crystals at all and displayed chaotic, fragmented structures; and
  5. When water was treated with aromatic floral oils the water crystals tended to mimic the shape of the original flower.

This is a truly spectacular discovery!

From this study we can safely assume that even though we don’t often see immediate results from our prayers, affirmations or incantations, the water in our body is still being impacted by our positive words and thoughts.

When we love our body through our words and actions, it responds.  We when we love Mother Earth with all of her water, she too responds.

Perhaps having seen the evidence of this through Dr Emoto’s study we can begin to truly understand the awesome power that we possess.  Through choosing our thoughts, words and intentions we are able to heal both ourselves and the earth. If only we believe.

Whether you participate in global meditations, or simply do this inner work in the quiet of your own loving mind and heart, what we have been shown is that we can heal our earth and recreate a clear, pristine world to hand down to our children.

Beyond that, by having a daily practice of self-love though positive thoughts, affirmations, incantations, meditation, yoga, being in nature, nourishing our body with energy-rich food, and simply looking at ourselves in a mirror whilst thinking loving thoughts we are able to influence every molecule of water in our body.

Powerful huh!

 

 

Expectation versus Appreciation

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Expectation versus appreciation is a very simple concept, yet it is one that I find many people struggle with (me included!).  It seems that we tend to wander through life with a set of expectations that more often than not trip us up and cause us pain. We have these ideas of how things should be, how people should behave, and sometimes even what the weather should be doing.

Why do we do that? That is the million dollar question!

An expectation is a strong belief that something should go a certain way or be a certain way. This presupposes that we must have some level of control over what is happening outside of us for there to even be that belief in the first place.

Yet we know (normally from past experience) that that is simply not true.  In fact, as we get older, most of us realise that we have very limited control over anything that is outside of ourselves.

We can only control how we show up, how we respond, how we communicate and so on. Basically, we can only control us and nothing else. Yet we still have this very lengthy list of expectations tucked into our back pocket that we pull out at every possible moment – usually to our own detriment.

I feel confident enough to say that there would be a direct correlation between the amount of expectations one has and the amount of let down or pain one feels.

Appreciation, on the other hand, is the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.  Appreciation is all about what is in front of us right now.  It requires presence and utilises a totally different focus.

Appreciation is underwritten by gratitude, and gratitude is an exceptionally powerful emotional state.  Gratitude has been proven to improve things like our sleeping patterns, physical health, self-esteem and so much more.

Spending more time coming from this place has to make sense: appreciation clearly looks like WAY more fun than expectation!

The premise of this tool (which I learnt from Tony Robbins) is that when we can trade expectation for appreciation we enjoy life so much more. We are in the moment and are focusing from a higher vibrational place: from love as opposed to fear.

If, in that moment when you experience frustration because your partner hasn’t cleaned the house while you were out (an expectation), you were instead able to appreciate that they welcomed you home with open arms and a cup of tea, how different would the conversation be?

What if, when you experienced unfairness and annoyance because you didn’t get the promotion you honestly thought you had in the bag (expectation), you were instead able to trade it for appreciation at the excellent feedback you got on how you could improve next time?

Now I am not saying this is an easy path to walk, I know that I have certainly been challenged living by this at times.

What I do know though, is that it is certainly the happier path – the path of more joy, acceptance and gratitude.

And who doesn’t want more of that in their life?

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

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A Course in Miracles is an amazing text written in the 1970s by Helen Schucman and William Thetford, two professors of medical psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Neither of them were particularly spiritual people and the book was certainly not an account of how to live according to their lives.  They didn’t get on particularly well and the office where they worked was often stress-filled and tense.

It was through sheer frustration that Thetford announced one day “There has to be a better way” – to which Schucman responded “I agree Bill – and I will help you find it”.

And so the Course in Miracles was born.

I have been a student of the Course in Miracles for over two years. It is a monster of a text and requires me to be totally present when I am reading.  It found its way into my life in one of those very synchronistic kind of ways.

It just kept popping up on to my radar – everywhere I turned there seemed to be a reference to it.  Every new teacher whose message deeply resonated with me referred to A Course in Miracles as a profound text that had significantly impacted their journey.  After this had happened five or six times I finally said to the Universe “Yes, you now have my attention and I will go and buy this book”.

Teachers such as Van Tharp (one of the best super traders on the planet), Oprah Winfrey, Marianne Williamson, Neal Diamond Walsh, Gabby Berstien and so many others credit A Course in Miracles as a pivotal text on their journeys and I now understand why.

It is a complex read but the messages are pure, enlightened and all about love.  One of the most predominant messages throughout the book is that there are only two emotions – love and fear – and we as humans tend to get very stuck in fear and ego. Unfortunately this is where all the pain resides.

The following passage was written by Marianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles. I think it beautifully sums up the message of the text and it truly lights up my soul:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

If you get a chance to be a student of A Course in Miracles, take it.  As much as it is a challenging read, the love, wisdom and grace in this book are sure to light up something in you that is truly magical, for you too are a child of God.

 

 

The Quiet Whisper of Intuition

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During the week I watched an excellent four minute clip by a man called Kerwin Rae.  He is a businessman, entrepreneur, investor, international speaker and a very dynamic man.

In 2009, Kerwin suffered a stroke and was lucky to survive.  After the stroke, his short term memory was reduced to 15 seconds which meant he stopped paying attention to what people were saying because he couldn’t retain the information anyway. Instead, he started to “feel” them to work out whether he wanted them to be near him or not.  Through this process he honed his intuition and became very skilled at feeling energy and intention.

In this clip Kerwin talks about the energy that people have and how, when we develop our own intuition, we are able to accurately feel the intention of the people around us. He says that intention is the energy that is being sent out by another that we then intuitively pick up on.

Have you ever walked into a room and met a person and they have just felt wrong or bad?  They may not have even spoken yet, but energetically, your intuition is picking up on them and their intention. Alternatively, have you ever met someone who you connected with instantly and felt a lot of energetic attraction to even if a single word had not yet been said?

I am a huge believer in the philosophy of energy and intuition.  We are energetic beings living in an energetic world, so it makes perfect sense that we can pick up on someone else’s energy/intention even if we are not aware that we are doing it.

The points that really captured my attention in this short clip were Kerwin’s views on how we respond to our intuition – our innate knowing that often cannot be explained by logic or reason.

He said that normally two things happen: Firstly, we simply don’t hear our intuition because of the amount of noise that is in our internal or external environment. We are so over-stimulated with noise, colour, technology and life that we struggle to hear the quiet whisper that is our intuition (and often it is just a whisper).

Secondly, Kerwin said that when we do hear our intuition, we follow it and if things appear to go wrong we tend to blame it and vow that we will not listen to it again: “Damn! I am not listening to my gut again – that turned into a disaster!”. We give up on it so quickly when we don’t enjoy the outcome.

The defining point that I love about this is that it is unfolding exactly as it should.  He said our intuition is connected to infinite intelligence, and it is playing a far bigger game than what we can ever conceive.

So we follow our intuition, something goes “wrong” and we stop following it, when we should instead trust that whatever happened is a part of the process to get us to where we need to be. We need to trust that we are getting the learning that will prepare us for the journey we are on – that in actual fact this event is the prerequisite for the amazing event that will unfold in two, three, or four years time.

Kerwin’s main point of the clip is that when we hone our intuition we become so much better at business and life in general.  Intuition is not about everything feeling great, it’s about connecting to a game plan that is far greater than what our minds can appreciate and therefore living our most abundant life.

 

Extreme Ownership

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Have you ever been in a situation where things go wrong – really wrong – and nobody is prepared to step up and take total ownership of the situation?  Sometimes the leader will deflect on to their subordinates, blame the equipment or the systems, or even just deny that they have had any part in the situation because they weren’t there on the day.

Sometimes the people involved in the situation blame the leader for inadequate training, unclear instructions or improper supervision.  It comes down to everyone passing the buck and a whole lot of finger pointing.

The concept of Extreme Ownership was developed by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin in their book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win.

Willink and Babin were both officers in Navy SEAL Task Unit Bruiser. These guys fought through the worst days of the battle of Ramadi in Iraq. The knowledge they acquired on the ground has now become part of the training for incoming SEALs.

Willink starts the book with a powerful, yet bleak story – an incident that went disastrously wrong. When it was all over, a SEAL was injured, an Iraqi ally was dead, and many others were placed in serious danger.

The thing about this story is the whole thing could have been avoided.

Multiple breakdowns in systems and protocols added up to one big disaster. In aviation we call that the “Swiss Cheese Effect”. It’s when all the holes line up which allows the accident or incident to happen.

Straight after the event the Navy wanted an investigation. Willink, who was in charge, collected all the relevant information. He found mistakes at all levels, but he didn’t feel right about submitting the list without adding one crucial detail.

“I had to take complete ownership of what went wrong”, says Willink. “That’s what a leader does, even if it means getting fired”.

This is what Willink and Babin call Extreme Ownership.

Regardless of whether Willink had a part in each of the breakdowns along the way, he was the leader and was therefore prepared to allow the buck to stop with him.

It was not only the right thing to do, it also paid off. By taking the blame, Willink kept the trust of his team and was able to identify ways of improving operations. A different level of communication was possible because of his leadership.

It also preserved trust with his commanders. He says “Looking back, it’s clear that despite what happened, the full ownership I took of the situation actually increased the trust my commanding officer and master chief had in me.”

If he had thrown someone under the bus he would have lost the trust of his team, making it impossible to lead them. He also would have told his commanders that he couldn’t manage his team. That is a lose-lose situation.

So how come most of us don’t follow the principle of Extreme Ownership?

It seems like such a positive way forward: it builds trust, promotes open communication, and creates the space for very powerful learnings.  Step up, own it, be the leader, and set the example.

When I thought about why we don’t embrace Extreme Ownership I came to the conclusion that people don’t like having arrows shot at them and unfortunately our society has gravitated towards a “blame someone else” culture.

We are more litigious than ever with the number of lawsuits skyrocketing this century.  I have noticed common language patterns around shifting blame and deflecting ownership. Taking responsibility for whatever is under our care now seems to have options.

True leaders own everything that happens on their watch and the results of that are phenomenal.

 

 

 

Shake that booty!!

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One of my most favourite things to do in the world is dance, or more specifically, to dance with my young nieces.

There is something about dancing with children that gives me the space to really let loose, not care how I look, and get in touch with my inner rockstar!  There was a long period in my life where the only time I danced was when I was out with friends late at night and quite a few (let’s be honest – many!) champagnes down.

When my nieces arrived on the planet I felt like I had been reintroduced to my inner child. I think I had totally forgotten her and disconnected from her. A big part of that was how I moved my body. I hadn’t played on swings for years, hadn’t bombied in the pool like a hooligan, and I certainly hadn’t danced around the living room sober with total abandonment.  I realised that by being a full-time adult, I was moving my body so differently and in such a limited way.

Over the last ten years as I have spent more time with my inner child, I have found that I have so much more pleasure in my life. Being with her makes me feel so free and filled with joy. On reflection I realise that I had forgotten how to be playful in pursuit of being an adult. And I had gotten very good at being an adult!  One of the greatest gifts that my nieces have given me is to show me how to be a kid again and access that state very easily.

As simple as it sounds, dancing, playing “Apple On A Stick” (a hand clapping game that you play with another person), exploring the beach for shells, climbing trees, having handstand competitions in the pool, riding irresponsibly fast down a hill on our bikes, chasing each other around the garden, and shooting goals on the netball court is where my inner child likes to play.

Every single part of who we are is worthy of love and attention: our Inner Child, Queen, Teacher, Warrior Princess, Caregiver, Rebel, and all the other parts, both light and dark.

Honour them all by finding your ‘thing’: the thing that connects you powerfully to the other parts of yourself simultaneously.

For me, that is dancing with my nieces.

 

 

 

The Desiderata

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Last week I posted a single line from the Desiderata on Instagram, a prose poem written by Max Hermann in 1927. It is a magnificent piece of writing, a simple and thoughtful take on how to live a life of contentment, happiness and fulfilment.

The post prompted several conversations about what sort of person Max Hermann must of been to have had such an insightful and simple take on life. He was clearly  a man who understood the world, and even though this poem suggests that he had his struggles, he was loyal to the belief of choosing happy.

It is the simplicity of this poem that makes its so attractive to me, and the wisdom too.  If we  all lived by these words, I think the world would be a happier place.  I just had to share it again.

Enjoy Max’s beautiful work…..

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Help me!

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I was talking with my friend the other day and she was sharing a situation she was having in her workplace with me.  She had gotten in way over her head and was confused about how to resolve the situation.  I wanted to know: “Have you asked for help?”.

Often, by the time we consider asking for help, we have reached a category five, code red situation and the problem or challenge has gotten so much bigger than if we had asked for assistance earlier.  How come it is only when we are at crisis point that we believe it is appropriate (or we have become desperate enough) to ask for a hand?

My experience of western society today is that we are all so much more independent (especially us women) than what our ancestors were.  Back in the day, we had to ask for help with so many things in life because we needed the manpower: plowing the fields, hunting and gathering or trading services in the village. It makes me think of the Amish community all coming together to build a neighbour’s barn in a day – and that is still happening now.

I do love the fact that I am an independent woman yet that same independence has been one of my downfalls on occasion. Any strength that is over-utilised will become a weakness – including independence.

I mean, I can take care of it, get it done and make it happen yet there have been many occasions where I think that if I had asked for some help/guidance/advice/support a little earlier things could have worked out so much more gracefully.

I also appreciate that in relationships, us fiercely independent women can leave little space for our men (or women) to take care of us.  This is not a positive thing as everyone wants to be needed – in fact masculine energy thrives on being needed.  This is often why, when we share a problem with the men in our life, they want to give us solutions as opposed to just listening.

My friend with the work situation was very reluctant to ask for help yet it was very apparent that if she did, this situation would find a resolution so much quicker.  It is impossible to solve a problem with the same mind that created it, and if we have not yet moved into a new place our ability to solve the problem may not yet be there.  It’s why collaboration is such a powerful platform for true innovation.

As I explored my friend’s resistance to asking for help, so much of what she said resonated with me. She believed that she should be able to solve this on her own, she believed she would appear weak if she asked her boss to step in, she believed that if she just focussed on something else it would no longer be such a big deal, and she believed that she should just accept the status quo and get over it.

I completely disagreed with all of her beliefs, yet I did question: “If I was in her situation would I be offering some of the same responses?” I realised, with loving humour, that I would be 🙂

As we talked through her options, I was internally reminding myself to take some of my own advice next time I am in a similar situation.

I believe that asking for help is a sign of courage as well as strength.  Why struggle when we have an entire world of people around us who may have just the thing we need to solve our problem?

So, a note to self (and others): Be truly courageous and ask for help when it’s needed.

 

What makes you happy?

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I was recently asked a question by a person I had just met, “So Kate, what makes you happy?”.

As I responded, I got to truly show who I was:  my values, the things I love, how I spend my time and so much more. Answering a question like that is a glimpse into another person’s soul so much more than the usual “What do you do?” or “Where do you live?”.

His question indicated that he was genuinely interested in understanding who I am as opposed to knowing the external factors or vehicles in my life. Often in our society we allow those external things to define us, but they are not who we really are.

I found this question totally refreshing and got immense enjoyment out of listing all the things that make my heart sing. I spoke about:

My family. Especially my nieces (and especially dancing with my nieces whilst pretending to be rockstars!).

My friends. Especially my “mantlepiece” friends (best friends). Especially breaking bread with my mantlepiece friends, and especially laughing whilst breaking bread with my mantlepiece friends!

Nature. Especially being amongst the trees. Especially being amongst the trees whilst enjoying their energy, and especially being amongst the trees whilst enjoying their energy when there are no other people around!

Coaching. Especially serving my clients. Especially serving my clients whilst they are creating amazing breakthroughs, and especially serving my clients whilst they are creating amazing breakthroughs and changing the lives of the people they love in the process.

This conversation went on for quite a while and my list was very extensive, he had to stop me at number 74! It was such a pleasure to share all of these nuggets of joy with someone and I realised I hadn’t actually thought long and hard about all the things that make me happy in quite a while.

As I verbalised each of them, I got to visit the moment again and by the time I had finished answering his question, I felt amazingly happy and deeply blessed.

I asked the same question of him because I wanted to give him the chance to enjoy a walk down happiness lane too. Plus, it is just an outstanding question to ask!

Can you imagine a world where instead of asking about what we own, or do, or where we live, we asked about what makes a person truly happy? How much more connected would we all be? How much easier would it be to contribute to another person’s joy in life? How much more interesting would the conversation be?

So I am curious, what is it that makes you happy?