Just be…

I embark on 2018 faced with vastly different life dynamics.

No longer do I embrace a new year with my calendar semi planned out with completing my Masters, with coaching my sons’ basketball and soccer teams and the challenge of juggling it all.

No longer am I constrained by study requirements which limit vocational and employment choices.

No longer am I restricted to the demands of daily living and managing energy levels on my own.

Gone are the days of feeling drained from doing it all on my own, alone. Gone too are the days that carried certainty around vocational calling. It’s a new season of life.

I commence the year settled in a new relationship with my partner & her kids, and of course my boys. So I add to the mix of being a dad a new set of learning as a daily partner (this is big after 10years of independent living) and as a step-parent.

With my Master of Clinical Counselling now complete I embark on building private practice (www.anchoredforlife.com).

But what about me? Who am I now I’m no longer a student, a coach? Am I any different? What will I do? Who will I be?

I was discussing some of this recently with my partner and sharing how I realize my focus is still on being the best dad I can be, supporting my eldest through VCE (Yr 12) and on being a non-anxious and calming presence (hopefully) for those in the household. I have free time and space to simply be. I like it!

Somehow as confirmation I’ve been contacted by several friends wanting input/advice/thoughts about situations they’re confronted with. Ethically I cannot counsel them, but I can share life as a friend. I’m reminded it’s who I am that matters.

Then I came across this; and simply had to share it. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the source, but I can say a big yes to the content! Be happy people. Be!

“Dear Stranger,

You don’t know me but I hear you are going through a tough time, and I would like to help you. I want to be open and honest with you, and let you know that happiness isn’t something just afforded to a special few. It can be yours, if you take the time to let it grow.

It’s OK to be stressed, scared and sad, I certainly have been throughout my life. I’ve confronted my biggest fears time and time again. I’ve cheated death on many adventures, seen loved ones pass away, failed in business, minced my words in front of tough audiences, and had my heart broken.

I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life, and that most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But they haven’t; in fact it’s the reverse. I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.

So many people get caught up in doing what they think will make them happy but, in my opinion, this is where they fail. Happiness is not about doing, it’s about being. In order to be happy, you need to think consciously about it. Don’t forget the to-do list, but remember to write a to-be list too.

Kids are often asked: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The world expects grandiose aspirations: ‘I want to be a writer, a doctor, the prime minister.’ They’re told: go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, and then you’ll be happy. But that’s all about doing, not being – and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness.

Stop and breathe. Be healthy. Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.

If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow. I speak from experience. We’ve built a business empire, joined conversations about the future of our planet, attended many memorable parties and met many unforgettable people. And while these things have brought me great joy, it’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness. Why? Because allowing yourself just to be, puts things into perspective. Try it. Be still. Be present.

For me, it’s watching the flamingos fly across Necker Island at dusk. It’s holding my new grandchild’s tiny hands. It’s looking up at the stars and dreaming of seeing them up close one day. It’s listening to my family’s dinner-time debates. It’s the smile on a stranger’s face, the smell of rain, the ripple of a wave, the wind across the sand. It’s the first snow fall of winter, and the last storm of summer. It’s sunrise and sunset.

There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. As human beings we have the ability to think, move and communicate in a heightened way. We can cooperate, understand, reconcile and love, that’s what sets us apart from most other species.

Don’t waste your human talents by stressing about nominal things, or that which you cannot change. If you take the time simply to be and appreciate the fruits of life, your stresses will begin to dissolve, and you will be happier.

But don’t just seek happiness when you’re down. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. Take the focus off doing, and start being every day. Be loving, be grateful, be helpful, and be a spectator to your own thoughts.

Allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment. Take the focus off everything you think you need to do, and start being – I promise you, happiness will follow.

Happy regards,

Richard Branson

The art of trying…again. 

I’m enjoying a coffee midway into a 50km ride. It got me thinking. I ride to be healthy. I ride to maintain my middle age weight. I ride coz it’s good for me. I ride coz I can. I ride coz it’s free. I ride coz it’s freedom. There are time I don’t feel like riding. I can prepare, fuel my body, ensure my bikes in good order; yet if I don’t get out & ride it counts for nothing. Knowledge alone cannot and will not bring about change.

Academics and industry specific experts would have us believe that science, evidence and data are the essence of improvement, advancement and progression. It’s true that there is merit in monitoring, reviewing and tracking specific indicators that indeed can enhance and explain performance. Yet, motivation, persistence and sheer stubborn determination remain a mystery. The handle of hope after a fall from grace, a failure in business or relationship or the bruising of ego following a demotion or retrenchment can leave an individual questioning confidence, capacity and sense of identity and worth. Therein lies some of the mystery of being human that goes beyond measurement. 

Resilience and overcoming adversity are closely aligned. The more adversity one faces the greater the capacity to overcome and build resilience. Whether it’s a teenager confronted by social exclusion; or worse, bullying; an employee constantly overlooked for promotion or those on the dating merry-go-round going on yet another possibility, there resides an ounce of hope that things will change for the better. 

Mindfulness teaches us to BE HERE NOW. Accepting our circumstances, status, limitations as well as our dreams & hopes provides the platform for change. Denial of our thoughts & feelings simply perpetuates the dynamo of resistance. Acceptance & persistence facilitate change. The art of trying…again. 

Beyond broken…was it worth it?

Anytime we embark on a new venture, whether it be in business, job, sport, hobby, study, relocation or relationship we have times we look back and pose the question “was it worth it?”

Question-asking is important. Questions help explore, unpack, uncover and dig deeper beyond what presents itself as obvious. Questions can be comforting “How are you coping?” Questions can be inquisitive “I was wondering…” Questions can be creative “If there was one thing you’d love to be doing…” Questions can be confronting “What were you thinking?” Questions can give voice to the mysterious “What the hell is going on here?” Questions can be asked of questions “Why is that important?”

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Beyond broken…life lessons from my bar fridge

I hate throwing things away – not that I hoard, but I’d rather reshape, repair or re-purpose than simply go out and replace. It’s why I love restoring old furniture – giving it new life. It’s a core value that I seek to hold true.

My fridge died. My lawn mower died. My dryer died. All within weeks of each other. There were moments of exasperation “You’ve got to be kidding me!”; “You can’t be serious!” and “WTF!?!?!”

Reality is things have a lifespan.   Continue reading

Beyond broken…arising from the ashes Part 1.

2016 commenced with such high hopes, dreams and sense of belonging. At first glance life appeared great but the looming loss lurking below the fragility of the surface was soon broken like a croc lunging from the depths.

What did I learn from a year that nearly destroyed me?

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