In 2014 I had a really significant health scare. As a result I made significant changes to my lifestyle that probably saved my live.
I stopped drinking, started exercising and ate better. I lost 30 kg in eight months. I felt better than I had ever felt before.
Five years later and I still don’t drink. I still exercise most days, but not as much as I would like to and I am careful about what I eat. I have put on a little bit of weight, don’t feel as fit and I have definitely finished 2018 feeling exhausted and run down.
I know I need to make changes in the way I manage my life in order to feel better.
2018 was a great year. I wrote a book, my business really took off and I wrote a lot of blogs that got a heap of great feedback. I really felt that I had started to build momentum in 2018. But I was working 80 hour weeks on a regular basis to achieve those results and not really managing the small stuff, the admin very well.
I’m a big picture...
This might surprise you, but I do not have any memories of Christmas day from my childhood. I have memories of a few events that occurred on those supposedly special days but not much of the day itself.
I know what we used to do and where we used to go but I don’t actually even remember getting up on Christmas morning. I don’t remember opening Christmas presents. I remember being excited before Christmas and full of so much expectation but sadly the days themselves were so stressful that they didn’t stick in my brain.
From what I do remember, I know that Christmas was a day of arguments, vicious ugly arguments. They were black days which usually ended a lot better than they started because on Christmas night we spent time with Mum’s family. Mum’s extended family were funny and generous. Even Dad enjoyed himself at these events and we caught up with our cousins and it was fun.
But the start of the day was usually bad. We grew up...
I was once asked to describe what I do. My answer was that I listen to people complain about each other.
That is really only part of what I do, but it is a significant part of my everyday experiences as a conflict coach.
And people ask me how I deal with all that negativity, all of those problems and all of that complaining.
The answer is simple. It's not my stuff. It’s not about me.
My role is to shine a spotlight on the sore spot and help people work through their issues and understand why they feel so bad. I help the parties to a dispute to understand what triggered the conflict in the first place.
I didn’t cause the dispute and I am not a party to the dispute. I am not batting for anyone in particular. I am just a guide for the parties. Nothing more. I help them to explore what is going on for them personally and to consider what might be going on for the other person.
I am an empathetic ear for everyone involved.
I believe whoever is...
We have possibly the oldest freezer in the country. It’s a small freezer that is the twin of our fridge. They would be about 20 years old, and they perfectly fit into the spot that was designed just for them. There is no way we could find a fridge and freezer to fit into these spaces in our kitchen, so we will need to put in a new kitchen when either the fridge or the freezer dies.
But this is no self-defrosting freezer. It’s so old that we need to defrost it every few months. When I say we, I mean my husband, Graham, defrosts the freezer. Somehow this task has fallen to him, and I am very grateful.
The exciting thing about defrosting the freezer is that we get to go through everything in there and throw out the old stuff and re-organise the items we are keeping. It’s quite cathartic to throw out things that have sat in the freezer for a few months; all placed there with the intention of being eaten at a later date. But we have moved on, and those...
An all too common scenario: two good friends go into business together. They create a company, the split the costs, and they excitedly work out what they are going to sell, how they are going to price their product and who is going to take responsibility for the various tasks — all good.
Until something goes wrong.
In the enthusiasm of starting the business, it feels like nothing could ever go wrong. There is no consideration for the exit strategy; there is no dispute resolution process planned.
So they struggle on because there is no process to deal with problems. But resentment builds and builds. One person feels that the other person has mistreated them; one person thinks that they are contributing more than the other person, that they are being taken advantage of and their friendship wanes, and they start talking about the other person behind their back. They start avoiding the other person.
They are no longer friends. They are business partners; resentful business...
I have recently been involved in assisting two parties who engaged in a physical fight that occurred on the work site during working hours to come together, work through their difference and find a way to be able to work together again.
This is a remarkable situation. Not because the parties engaged in a physical fight at work; which I admit is not a good situation at all. No, what is remarkable about this situation is the manner in which it has been managed by senior management.
It is remarkable that these two staff members were not sacked on the spot. That is what I know would usually happen.
But the employer recognised that these two people need a second chance. They recognise that there were other issues at play in this situation that impacted on what happened in that moment.
I am so grateful to management for taking this approach. I am so grateful that these two good people get an opportunity to right the wrongs and move forward.
Imagine what would have happened...
I constantly hear from leaders and other parents that their staff or teenage children won't tell them anything. (I mention both leaders and parents of teenagers in the same sentence because the way to manage this issue is the same for both groups.)
You know that there is a problem but when you ask that perennial question “what's wrong?” the answer is always an emphatic “nothing”.
So you get agitated by this answer. Of course there is something wrong. It's as plain as the nose on your face.
So you press on. “Come on, I know there is something wrong. Tell me, I might be able to help.” Deafening silence.
You start to feel angry. You might have a bit of a passive aggressive moment where you say “OK, well don’t tell me” and you punish them with the silent treatment. Two can play at this game.
They won’t tell you anything because they don’t think it is safe to tell you. Simple. They may be wrong, but in...
I see it all the time. We just can’t help ourselves.
Someone says something rude or cruel in the heat of the moment and we take the bait and we jump in and take offence and may say something rude and cruel back. And it’s on. The gloves go on and the conflict begins. And sometimes these conflicts can last for days, weeks, months and even years.
And the more stressed we are, the more likely that we are going to be sucked into this scenario.
We take the words and actions of another person about us very personally; and yet so often these words and actions have nothing to do with us.
When a person is stressed and in pain, they go inwards. They worry about themselves. They notice their own hurt, they feel like the world is happening to them, they are reactive. They go into an increasingly victim state. The world of one. The world of me.
And they think it is unfair that they hurt so much. Why should they be the only person to suffer? So they lash...
According to all the health professionals who I need to see on a regular basis just to keep me upright, I have hyper-flexible joints or muscles or... something. I also have lazy glutes and a dodgy back. In fact I was told about 15 years ago that I would need surgery on my back one day because my back looked like it was about 20 years old than me. Impressive. Oh and I have the tightest and possibly sorest calves in the land.
And because I got read the Riot Act by my doctor a few years ago who said I was going to die if I didn’t start looking after myself, I now exercise pretty much every day and put this poor troubled body to work.
In fact I run; very, very slowly. And then when I’m tired I walk. And I love it. Best time of the day.
But I still have this problem of very, very tight and sore calves. I used to try and stretch them out to release the pressure and stop them aching but it didn’t work. Then one day I realised that every time I got a...
I finally got my car serviced. It was overdue for a service by a couple of months and a few thousand clicks.
I kept putting it off. I didn’t have time. I had other more important things to do. It was going to cost a lot of money. I’m not a car person. These things are a low priority for me.
But my car is 10 years old. I knew I was pushing it. I even checked the oil and topped it up once because I knew that it was so overdue for a service. But still, I dilly-dallied.
And then I offered my car to our daughter and her family to use when they were coming to Adelaide for a few days.
Suddenly I urgently needed to get my car serviced. I had to ensure that the car was safe for my children and grandchildren. There was no way I would let them drive my car unless I had had it serviced. I couldn’t bear the thought of something happening to my family due to my negligence.
But sadly I didn’t care enough about my own safety and wellbeing. I wasn’t important enough.