Slow Down? What it actually looks like and why it works...

Slow down to speed up is one of my all-time favourite miracle-creating distinctions. It is also exactly what I need to hear, even when I don’t want to hear it. It is always the advice I give myself when asking, ‘How could this be even better?’. It is also the answer to almost every time I ask ‘What went wrong?’.

The value of slowing down has been increasingly spouted in a world that seems designed for fast-paced beings. With the right google search, and for the right price, what we desire is one click away. Many of us have several sources of income, because we can or because we feel we have to. And with the prevalence of social media, it is all too tempting to crave and pursue more than our mental bandwidth can handle. We are taught to dream big and to act on those dreams. We are more conscious of our fellow human and environment, and feel compelled to do more. And the sense of urgency is the undercurrent that carries many of us through our days.

So how do we get to where we want to be, faster and more sustainably than ever by actually slowing down? What does it look like to slow down to speed up? It can look like:

Engaging with a deep presence

Wherever you are, be there. Get fascinated. Get obsessed! Find the joy, love, intrigue and wonder in what you are doing. You will do it better than ever and make it an unforgettable learning experience. Oh, and this encompasses the all-powerful concept, ‘One thing at a time!’. There’s a double-whammy for you! That could mean very structured time dedicated to one of your goals. Or it may mean to you only ever having one goal at any given time. Either way, when you have your eye on the prize, allow that to be your only love and pursue it fiercely… and… slowly…

Giving skill building greater priority than the ‘goal’.

Even as you focus on a long-term goal, instead of fixating on a broad achievement, commit to refining the skills and techniques you need to be the person who produces or attains something tangible or ‘memorable’. For a person who is looking to reach a new level in sales, slowing down may look like a month of studying and committing to rapport building. For a martial artist, it may be focusing on precise hip movement for a year in pursuit of a grading or tournament.

Slowing down and paying attention to the details

In peak performance, this means slowing down an action (such as a dance move, a melody, a punch, the pronunciation of a foreign work), physically or through visualisation, to notice every detail that is working to make it work, or not. You can imagine or perhaps relate to that excitement of building a new skill and how tempting it is to ‘skim learn’ it all. Just by slowing down you notice skills that are transferable in that area of expertise. A singer can improve overall breath control by slow-motioning a chorus melody. A gym-goer can be more conscious of which muscles to recruit by trying a move slowly and noticing and misalignments or over-dominant muscles. Slowing down in the literal sense can help you ‘speed up’ your progress.

Making self-care, your non-negotiable priority

If you live a fast-paced life, committed to serving others, personal development and over-achieving, radical self-care may seem like an over-indulgence you can live without. But, when it comes to slowing down in order to speed up it is incredibly important to look after yourself in a way that feels a little over-the-top. That means getting deep rest and down time BEFORE you desperately need it. Committing to preparing healthy meals before the day starts instead of jumping in your car to beat the traffic and then settling for unhealthy take-away later in the day. It means pressing pause on training until an inflamed injury begins to subside. It means scheduling in to see the doctor, naturopath or masseuse before you desperately need it. You will feel, more often, that you can plough forward when you commit to a life of radical self-care that does feel WAY TOO SLOW! And, you’ll be able to achieve more than you ever imagined in a way that is sustainable.

Being consistent

Even though it may not be fun or sexy, playing the long-game involves being consistent. Giving things a bloody good chance to take shape and effect. Slowing down means getting comfortable with consistency. This could mean committing to a rehabilitation program, half an hour of exercise per day, saving X amount of dollars per week and not letting making exceptions become the norm. This will take you from the sense of struggle to one of empowerment, because you are doing what you can, and it WILL have a real pay-off.

Taking time to reflect

Instead of fumbling our way through our days weeks and years, you need time to reflect on and learn from your experiences. Take notes as you have ideas. As for planning, not everything needs a detailed plan, but setting an intention before you begin something can make that time far more meaningful. Spend time considering what you want and how you want it BEFORE you begin building a skill, taking on a project or having an important conversation. It may be a simple as thinking, ‘In this meeting I intend to discover how I can specifically help this person.’ What a powerful guiding point. And after you are done with the meeting, practise or fun day, collate your lessons with an actionable follow-up so that you can make these lessons real for you. There is nothing that feels slower than just sitting and thinking, with or without the pen or paper. But this critical thinking time is where you will come up with those life-changing lessons and ideas that will propel you into something great.

Asking the important questions

Do I need this? Does this align with my goals? What is my body and intuition telling me? How could this be more amazing? Am I being who I need to be? Imagine the progress possible if you afford yourself the slow-down time to do a quick check-in. You could reign yourself in when you slide off the path you envisage for yourself.

Playing the long-game

Underpinning the above it the willingness to wait forever for what you desire. Get comfy. If you knew it would take 20 or 40 years to be there, how would you do it? Slow and steady. With lots of focus, curiosity and love. With attention to detail. It means that you will give yourself more time than you think you need! If you want to achieve a goal in a year, give yourself five. If it’s worth waiting for, it’s important to you. It will mean that you can do it in a way where you can enjoy the process, take care of yourself and build the skills and CHARACTER you need to own it when you get there.

These are a handful of practices that can get you on the path to slowing down. I hope you allow them to change our life forever and for the better.

AND DOWN TO SPECIFICS

Need more specific, real life examples? Here’s how it may work on a day to day basis…

-          Give yourself just one important task or focus per day. Put all your energy, love and focus into it and you will do it well, fully and set the foundation for growth in that area.

-          Write an intention card and take three deep breaths before changing activities.

-          Create an alarm to go off every couple of hours that reminds you who you need to be.

-          Pick one skill to develop per month and go nut- slowly and obsessively. Pro tip: When I feel a little ‘bored’ doing the unsexy stuff, I ask ‘What would I do if I were obsessed?’ It always results in me going deeper than ever, and loving the process even more.

-          Having a slow ‘critical thinking’ bath every week. Keep a pen and notepad nearby and write down any ideas that arise.

-          Eat your breakfast without doing anything else. Chew slowly and notice the flavours. I say ‘Mmmmm’ whenever I eat something because it promotes mindfulness, gratitude and pleasure.

-          Don’t go to the gym without factoring a warm up, cool down and stretching into the routine. If you only have a hour allocated, then that’s a half hour of intensive exercise and then rest for warm up and cool down. Remember, we are playing the long game.

-          Following and trusting your intuition, even if it seems to take you off track momentarily. Trust that you know what is best for you and that this ‘slowing down’ will eventually unfold in your favour.

If you're curious about how this has worked in my life, my subscribers received an email with a little more detail about where I have learnt to slow down in all facets of my world. You can always subscribe below to get a more personal perspective of these insights, and receive some cool freebies to transform your life.

If you were going to take slowing down to the next level right now, you may think about jotting down a few ways you can transform your day-to-day by planning to be in it for the long-haul. Do it with a cuppa or schedule a bit of time later today to process this so it can change your life forever. You’ll be healthier and happier.

To snail-pacing it!

Love Becky xx

PS. These ideas are just a tiny drop in the pool of slowing down genius! Can you share some of your own examples in the comments?

Two world titles- two VERY different experiences. A valuable lesson in peak performance.

Two world titles- two VERY different experiences. A valuable lesson in peak performance.

The iconic post on how get that elusive 'confidence' you crave.

The iconic post on how get that elusive 'confidence' you crave.

Stop Living By Default!

Have you ever stayed at an Airbnb? Every so often the house comes with a detailed manual, filled with copious instructions for accessing the internet or using the washing machine. At a little place I stayed in France, this manual was adorned with pictures, handwritten squiggles and even a few puns.

Manuals are rarely this sexy, but I’m in the process of making one of the sexiest manuals I know. And I’d like to invite you to join in on an epic but oh-so-worth it, over-the-top, overachieving, A-type endeavour that is more fun that you could imagine.

Yep. We’ll be writing the manual of how you do life.

I’m getting really clear about the design of my 2018, and while I’m completely open to the unexpected, there are a few certainties I’ve decided upon. And instead of going through the motions, I’ll be creating micro-strategies around these so that they are more fun and lead to more ‘upgrades’ than ever.

Our ‘strategies’ are at play every day, every moment. They reflect the order in which we go about beginning and completing a task. They also encompass the feelings and thoughts that arise in these moments.

For example, when you’re getting into your car and turning on the engine, you may unlock the car, open the garage door, open the car door, slide in (left butt cheek first), throw wallet/handbag and lunch on passenger seat, put the key in ignition, turn the key, press down on the brake, put the car in reverse, ease of the brake and accelerate out of the garage. I’m sure that was enthralling! These are micro strategies in the process of going to work.

But imagine not everything runs so smoothly. You fumble through your bag to find the keys you thought you left there yesterday. You forget your lunch in the fridge. The ‘Refill Petrol’ sign comes on. Suddenly you are mentally preparing yourself to be late for work. These little ‘clunks’ throughout the day are completely normal. But if you really want to fine-tune your life to have more mental bandwidth for what matter most, you need to take care of the nuances of your day.

For the next week, write down two things, as the first step to designing your life.

1.       What you want or what you want more of in your life. It may be something more abstract like love or energy. Or it could be music, family hugs, money and so on. It could be a new skill like salsa dancing, drawing or using a computer program. It could be who you want to be, like organised, focused or emotionally resilient. Anything goes.

2.       Next, write down any ‘clunks’ where you feel like you are chasing your tail, feeling lost, frustrated, unnecessarily awkward, in pain, etc. Write anything in your day to day or weekly experience that seems to draw you further from everything you want.

A short sample could be:

I want to feel spacious, rich, organised, strong and get a better ear for latin music while saving 20% of my income.

The clunks: Going up and down the stairs when doing chores, experiencing knee pain when at the gym, waking up in the middle of the night, savings card declining, getting distracted by phone…

Now it’s time to look at the whole picture and set some rules and structures for yourself. I’ll warn you that these are way better to do zoomed in with utmost attention to detail. But broad rules and strategies still work their magic. The person in our sample could set a few time-oriented, action driven rules to make life easier and more aligned with their desires, especially by eliminating clunks.

RULES

1.       Phone on airplane mode from 9pm til 9am and for one hour during ‘focused work time’.

2.       Listen to a latin music playlist on the way to work every morning.

3.       Always put item in their appropriate ‘home’ once used. Have a downstairs and upstairs basket to avoid excessive trips up and down stairs.

4.       Every Friday evening do a finance review. Transfer 20% of income to savings account and work out weekly budget.

5.       Stick to bedtime routine- no technology, a shower, lavender oil and quiet journaling within an hour of bed.

6.       Take fish oil, silica and joint repair vitamins with breakfast each morning.

See how our person now has some rules and practices that are simple, AND could change their entire experience of the day to day?

Now, as you try this yourself, you may find some other ‘clunks’ come up when following these rules. I don’t know about you, but my partner has a habit of wanting to show me funny videos pretty late at night! Sometimes your family need to know your rules. These structures may also require a bit of set up, like buying vitamins, joining a music streaming site and putting a journal beside the bed. You can take your time as you redesign your life.

Just know that you don’t always have to just respond. You can create!

In NLP we zoom right in on micro-strategies. A couple of years ago, I set up a micro strategy that makes it virtually impossible for me to purchase new clothes. I have to go through a list of about 10 questions and get a yes answer to each before I go ahead and spend my hard-earned money. If you are interested in learning more about this, get in touch and I’ll help you reprogram your natural strategy from anything from eating food to making conversation with a stranger.

When designing the manual of your life, you can assign days of the week for:

·       A sport.

·       Complete alone, relaxation time

·       Learning a new skill

·       Grocery shopping

·       Social media binge

·       Sex

·       A family outing

and so on…

You can also design step by step morning routines that make each day begin seamlessly. It helps when you have a night routine that gets things in order. I have some templates you can use to design the most nourishing practices of your life. You can also do these before and after large chunks of time, like a karate class, business time (like actual business, or maybe this one!) or driving. I find habit stacking another great way to be more conscious of your life, achieving more with less effort than you would expect.

Despite how organised this all seems, you have full permission to get super messy and jut scribble in a note pad til the truth emerges. You can lock in the lessons and clear actionable practices later. I bet you’ll find that you have put up with a lot of fumbling around, torn energies and misalignment for a while.

Never stop refining your life and in the process, pursue your deepest desires and big ‘impossible’ dreams.

You can choose how you do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. In fact, you should!

Lots of love,

Becky

PS. Visit the Resources page to get your copy of the Reinvigorate workbook that will help you create your most seamless life.

What Winner Knickers Look Like

If you read on, you'll see the little gift to myself after winning a World Karate Title. I got them at the airport before flying back to Sydney. After I missed my first flight. But that's another story.

The real ‘Winner Knickers’ were very different to those in the picture.

I remember the Sunday morning I put them on. ‘You can’t win a World Title in these’ was my first thought. It was closely followed by a second, more delicious thought- ‘These will be the undies I wear when I win the 2017 World Championship.’

You see, either through a vigorous washing cycle or the underwear fetish of my little King Charles Cavalier, my ‘winner knickers’ had a massive hole in them. Not to the point of any discomfort. But I would have felt the difference if I stood in a cool breeze.

The ‘winner knickers’ represented everything about me that wasn’t perfect or ‘not deserving’ of winning a world title. In the lead up to the competition I wondered if I should be doing more. I considered swearing off icecream. Wondered if I should be even kinder to be a better representation of a ‘champion’. Sometimes I’d look at the mess in my house and think that surely a champion would have a pristine living space. I’d write dark song lyrics and think maybe I should have pristine thoughts as well...

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How to Get Your Mojo Back

It’s natural to feel the ebbs and flows of life. Sometimes, in a day we can go from energised to flat. Over a month, women can feel like different people. And throughout a year, stress, uncertainty and fear can lead to a losing touch with what makes us US!

Since the beginning of 2017, I have been managing my migraines differently. The experience of ‘getting a migraine’ can be as debilitating as ‘having a migraine’. Knowing it is coming, anticipating its presence, fearing a change in the weather and having to avoid overstimulation can sometimes be like a half-life. Especially when you are a go-getter. If you experience migraines, I can share what I have been doing lately to better manage them- but for today, this post is about something different. I mention the migraines because at the end of almost every work day and Friday, I experience a dip in energy, so much that I need to lay down and preferably nap. Nothing wrong with a power nap.

But every so often, when I completely and consciously remove all self-expectation and perceived pressure, I put myself in the best position to get my mojo back. I become happier, energised and feel safe, free and far more me.

I want the same for you. The following advice is for you if you have been chasing goals, spinning wheels, feeling overworked, tired and perhaps a little lost. I could add so much more to the list, but I promise these will have you sorted out in no time!

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Sorry I'm awesome. So are you!

Sorry, I’m awesome. So are you.

Your success and happiness may come at other people’s inconvenience. You can make peace with this, as I have. From personal experience and from the work I’ve done with other people, here is what I have learnt.

Some people may feel a bit safer when you are not well. They can play a role they love- the comforter, or perhaps it makes them feel reassured that they are not alone in their suffering. When they see you happy, they may be unsure how to interact- how to play out that dynamic.

One client’s mother was completely bummed out, almost shutting down when he, her son, would espouse the beliefs that have made him embrace all of himself. There is a lot going on here. One factor may be that mum just wants to be mum, and without the same worry for her son, she has to re-evaluate the role she plays in his life. You can probably imagine that this guy would find it intuitive to hide his happiness for fear of being brought down. But, no, no. That’s not how we play.

Another story I hear (and know from experience) is when, in a relationship, one person is completely triggered by the other’s achievements or happiness. Whether it’s for a minute or months, that person may seem to sink lower, as though in any one given partnership there must be a perfect balance of misery! You are a reminder of what is possible, and so close, for them. Again, you may be tempted to hide your success. But no, no. That’s not how we play.

What if the people around you are used to the old you that would complain, bitch and moan, and somehow they would feel like they didn’t know you at all if you became positive and loving about yourself and the world around you? Wouldn’t it be tempting to complain, bitch and moan, for old times’ sake. After all, that side of you is kinda endearing. No, no. That’s not how we play.

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Getting Honest about Limiting Beliefs

We all have beliefs or ‘things we hold to be true’. Some of these work for us. Some get in our way. Big time. Today, I would love to share with you one of the beliefs that I have worked on- one that occasionally rears its little head, but that a few years ago I made a non-issue in my life.

My core limiting belief, one that I have worked on and continue to work on is the belief that ‘It is not safe to be successful’. Even as I say that I feel that I am talking about an old belief, but when I come up against ‘blocks’ I can usually trace it to that little voice that wants to look after me. ‘Are you sure that it is safe to be successful and happy?’

I can quickly access a whole montage of moments in my life that may have influenced this perception. While many women of my generation grew up thinking Oprah was awesome, I was told that she was annoying. Same with a bunch of celebrities, some of whom are extremely hardworking and talented actresses and singers. I remember getting bullied as a child, which I attributed to others being ‘jealous’, or so I was told. Before I joined the National Squad, I heard that it was cesspit of corruption, aggression and general nastiness. Growing up, I never heard someone say something nice about an Australian Prime Minister. I even heard teachers, only jokingly, talk disparagingly about ‘nerds’ or kids who thrive in extra-curricula activities.

Even on a mass cultural level, I can’t help but think of Australia, which as you may know, promulgates a culture of ‘tall poppy syndrome’. This is basically when we are conditioned to want to cut down people who stand out, especially those who may be perceived as successful. We can see this syndrome displayed when we bag out our boss or look for character flaws in leaders, or when we see attractive or really competent people targeted in work and even school environments. I feel that this is beginning to shift as people seek out role models and also connect more to our humanity. Or that could just be projecting my own world view onto what is actually happening.

And now I am forced to confront my own thoughts and actions that reinforce to be that it is not safe to be successful. I hate to admit this, but I am so guilty of embodying this belief and when I catch myself out, I give myself a serious talking to. I know I am not aligning with the belief ‘It is safe to be successful’ when I am:

1.       Surprised when someone I look up to is a ‘nice person’. The implication is that I assume they will not be nice or approachable. Therefore, how can I comfortably be a role model if I think people will think I am a bitch?

2.       Commenting on something I don’t like about a person who is otherwise admirable. Sometimes I find myself speaking as though I hold community leaders to a higher standard, which is unfair. How can it be safe to be a community leader if I feel like I will be under scrutiny?

3.       Bummed out, even momentarily, when someone has something I want. Because I would never want to hurt someone, it would be soul-destroying for me to think my success would make someone else feel bad.

Can you see how thinking negative thoughts about someone who is ‘successful’ gets me totally out of alignment with having my definition of success? Because part of me does not really want it. That part of me wants to be safe. It will stop, sabotage or at least make the journey towards my goals more arduous.

Thankfully, since studying NLP and other strands of personal development, I have a whole toolbox I can draw upon to clear this belief. Like I said, it doesn’t feel real for me in the same way anymore.

It is liberating to at least identify some limiting beliefs and where they have come from. And in our rational mind, using logic, we can quickly view our past experiences in a different light. We can collect evidence that tells us something to the contrary, like for me, ‘It is safe to be successful’.

Knowing where these beliefs come from, and bravely acknowledging that we are perpetuating these through our thoughts and actions, will DISEMPOWER our limiting beliefs. It is the first, but potent phase, of a process of ditching what is holding us back and moving towards a new truth that supports our vision of ourselves.

Click to join me at the next live workshop.

Click to join me at the next live workshop.

If you would like to know how to apply my favourite strategies for releasing limiting beliefs you can join me at the live workshop I am running in NSW this April. You can click here to see all details. And if you would still like the tools and materials from the day, you can subscribe below this post to receive resources on how to abolish limiting beliefs so that you can live a life you absolutely adore.

So, in the spirit of sharing to empower others and foster greater connection, let’s share. What limiting beliefs can you now identify? Where did they come from? Are they still valid? And if you have gone through the process of clearing limiting beliefs, which ones do you have to revisit and clear most often?

Looking forward to reading a little bit about YOU!

Lots of love,

Becky

Beyond Visibility: Why I have Embraced Sucking in Public

When talking with more self-deprecating friends, I often describe my life as one awkward encounter after another. This isn’t a fair picture of my life, but it makes me laugh to say it this way. The last few years, especially on social media & camera, has seemed to be a documentation of me being kinda average at most things I have a go at.

At the Year 7 camp in early 2016, there is a video of me trying for what seemed like an eternity to climb to the next rock in rock climbing. It didn’t even end in victory. I just kinda deflated and rolled over like a slug as I did the ‘lower of shame’, or so it appears to watch in person. Failing in front of my students that day is a time I recall proudly. Firstly because, despite us being due for a lunch break, I insisted on everyone watching me struggle for more than most would deal with. Tick for selfishness! And secondly because I helped foster a belief we try to instil- that it is ok to suck. Just have a go.

But for me, sucking in public is more than a pattern in my life. It’s actually one of the best things I can do to empower other people. And often my intentions are so lovely that to avoid the sucking would mean to do a little less good. Here are some times I have failed, sucked or made a mistake publically:

·       Singing in the street of Camden. Not brilliant but had a crack. This lead to someone from a local radio station approaching me about getting my originals on air. Overall, good experience.

·       I made the equivalent of an elaborate birthday card for someone where I used the wrong word, totally out of context and it was seen by a lot of people. D’oh!

Just one of the many awkward positions I got myself into attempting to rock-climb in front of my students!

Just one of the many awkward positions I got myself into attempting to rock-climb in front of my students!

·       Every so often I show songs I’ve written that are far from perfect or polished. I get told frequently that I am nowhere near ready to have my voice heard in public! Haha!

·       There are 2 embarrassing music videos floating around of me not knowing what the hell I’m doing. Cringeworthy, but I leave them online for a reason.

·       Last big karate competition I lost balance in front of people who look up to me. I also got my butt repeatedly kicked in sparring.

·       Literally whenever I share a blog post. Most the insights are what are top of mind. I read them later and am like, ‘Damn, I forgot this part!’ or ‘Damn, I could use some writing lessons!’ or it feels rushed.

·       Did some dancing recently where I was paired with a brilliant dude who, despite his talents in leading, just couldn’t make me look good!  

All the suckiness of this can seem compounded by the fact that most of the time I am in a mentorship role, where people may expect me to be good at anything I put my mind to. That is, afterall what I teach and am invested in- the brilliance of the mind.

And some other real reveals:

·       Most the time I do or share something publicly that isn’t perfect I feel a little sick. Especially if it means a lot to me.

·       Plenty of what I share is soul-baring. Song lyrics, projects I have worked at for months, skills I have tried to master for years. So when it’s not quite right, it has the potential to feel more personal.

·       Sometimes I have to switch off my phone so I don’t get caught up in caring about likes and comments on social media. Only because I still deeply love the reassurance that I am doing something right (even though social media should not be the measure of this).

So why public sucking? Shouldn’t I just suck on my own time?

Ok, so sometimes I am aware of the suckiness, and other times I am not prepared for how subpar a moment may turn out, but here are all the plusses!

·       It encourages other people to step away from total perfectionism at the expense of fun and self-expression. It doesn’t make perfection the pinnacle, but rather puts value on having a go and the potential that holds.

·       Most of the time, if I am sucking publically, it means that I am compelled to do it by some inner yearning or higher force that I just cannot disagree with. It either holds the key to fulfilment or lessons that I will cherish forever.

·       It does keep me accountable for improving and evolving. It’s a nice public measure that I hope serves as a contrast in the future. It also reveals the process of improving to other people by revealing those awkward in between stages. It is ok to not just be good at something.

·       It makes that glorious statement that it is ok for a person to just be themselves.

·       And most of all, if anybody, just one person can learn something or feel empowered or supported or reassured by something I share- even if it isn’t perfect, well then that is what I live for. It would be a travesty to let perfectionism get in the way of helping others.  

Now to you. There is no expectation, even after reading this, that you need to publicly suck at something or upload content that you aren’t happy with. But, if you feel that being unabashedly yourself may inspire someone else to do the same, well doesn’t that seem damn noble?! If you’ve been holding back sharing some of yourself because you, like me, are not perfect, maybe you could have a go at revealing something a little more. Something you are working on. Something sweet you thought of that you wonder if others may think is silly. Something you’ve been holding onto, when it can do far more good out in the world.

Your suckiness, it turns out, is likely not that sucky at all. It is probably something you highly value and want to get right. It’s the kind of thing that makes you YOU and taps into something unique that would make someone else go WOW!

If something came to mind just then, I would love to hear what it is. Do you plan to do something about it? I hope so, if it is right for you.

And moreover, because, even in our suckiness the world resumes, it is another beautiful lesson that it is SAFE to be free and honest and open.

In fellow love and sweet suckiness,

Bec

Xx

The Number One Excuse I Make for Putting Others Before Myself

And other excuses that you can excuse for good.

When I feel something, I assume that there are other people who feel the same. That’s one reason I try to talk about stuff that is real to me, and share insights as they come, hoping that they will help illuminate something for you too.

Most people I am close to describe me using words like angel, godsend, sweetheart, etc. And I definitely love helping people, being kind, empathetic and ever-patient. It is more than part of my persona, but the whole motivation for everything I do. On the flipside, I know that sometimes being everything to everyone can mean that I either spread myself too thin, fall completely out of touch with people I care about, and ultimately neglect what I really want to do. Even though I have had those close to me tell me they often assume I am ‘too busy’. I hate that I give that impression. Yet, I do know, without a doubt that putting others first (read into that how you will- in thoughts, in actions, at the expense of myself) is ultimately no good for me, and no good for them.

This topic has been in my heart a little while because I have to constantly talk to myself to make sure I am doing right by me. The worst thing is that even when I know without a doubt that I need to look after myself, when it comes to catering to the interests of others, I still need to listen to (and talk to!) the excuses that pop into my brain. If you are a bit of a go-getter or have worked on your self-esteem, you may relate to my number one worst culprit of an excuse!

Excuse Number One: I am awesome and can handle anything!

Yep. My inner cheerleader actually turns positive affirmations into excuses for me straining myself to the point of self-neglect or excessive stress. Over the years, I have developed the understanding that I, like everyone, am capable of whatever I put my mind and effort into. I also have accumulated lots of evidence that suggests I can do a lot, manage high intensity periods of time, and still feel fulfilled and happy at the end of the day. What’s something else for someone else?

I don’t just want to handle anything. I would like to be more discriminate than that. So when I am putting someone else’s needs first with the excuse ‘I can handle anything’, I can quickly ask the question ‘Is it best for me to handle this?’

I can’t tell you enough how much this question also destroys many of the other excuses you’ll read about below. It’s also a question with a double meaning, depending on how you read the connotation. Is it ‘best for me’ can mean, ‘Is it good for ME’ or it can be read as ‘Am I the best person to do this?’ Often if there is something you are doing for someone else, it is probably more meaningful for that person to do it themselves, or to find someone who will love every second of it. This could apply to anything, from handling your aunty's social media presence, to cleaning up after a spouse, to meeting a ridiculous deadline at work at the expense of eating well.

If you tell yourself that you are amazing and can therefore can do more for others rather than yourself, then perhaps you could use this little reframe of a question. Please, please let me know in the comments if you are making this excuse, because I’ve never told a soul about this one and have no idea if I am out on a limb here!

Excuse Number Two: It is more important to them than it is to me. (The evil spawn of excuse number one).

It is more important to my husband that I eat the delicious chocolate sundae he made for me than it is for me to say no in this moment and stick to my no-dairy diet. I’m not saying this has happened, but I’m not saying something like this has not happened.

If you are a ‘nice’ girl or guy, you might too find yourself relenting to the will of others, perhaps in the nice-guy/girl justification that if this makes someone happy, and you can live with it, then it is right to put their needs first. You certainly can do things to make others feel good and happy- that is a beautiful thing. This is more for those who use this excuse to mask feeling temporarily underwhelmed, bad, strained, stressed, etc. In the case of the husband making the wife a dairy-rich delight, the wife is eating it only to make him feel good. She will deal with the bit of guilt in that moment, which in the scheme of things may not seem like much, but it is one more promise she didn’t keep for herself because she put someone’s need to feel acknowledged ahead of her own intention.

I daresay that parents may feel this with children. I only can imagine this because of my furbaby and how easy it is for me to say, ‘He needs a walk now’, ‘my stuff can wait because he is too excited’. If you feel responsible for someone else, I know that this is less simple, so the suggestion I would give is that if you feel like you are neglecting what you need, something needs to change. Maybe it is simple after all?

The only way to counter this is hardcore assertiveness in how you talk to yourself and to other people.

I need to do this for me, before I can even think about bending over backwards for someone else.

My needs are always important.

If things continue this way, I wouldn’t feel good. I need to do what is right for me!

Excuse Number Three: This Will Make Me a Bad Person (and therefore less likeable & valuable in this world)

Or less of a good person. After all, isn’t it my mission to help people? If I was ever going to define a ‘bad person’, it would be; bad person (phrase): someone who deliberately relishes in hurting other people. If that isn’t you, then you can drop that excuse. You wouldn’t tell your best friend that he/she is a bad person for putting their needs first.

If you ever consider your value to others, just stay cognisant of the fact there is nothing wrong with catering to the needs of others, being kind, doing favours and giving- as long as you are not neglecting yourself in the process!

If you love helping others, just use this simple question to get you thinking about you! What am I doing for ME today?

Excuse Number Four: But I Love Giving!

'Give to yourself more, girlfriend', says me to me. You know that you are making the most positive impact when you are all taken care of.

Excuse Number Five: But When I Put Others First, Everything Turns Out Amazing for Them (or the evil twin of excuse number one)

Ego needs a smackdown here. If you didn’t get involved in putting that person first, someone else would do what needs to be done- probably better. It also isn’t as sweet as you think, because that person is going to attribute good things to you and not him or herself. I need this one as a reminder when I stay up late checking student drafts. If I back off, (and get the precious sleep I need), they will better learn to cope alone, or hire a tutor!

Excuse Number Six: Who Am I to Ask for More? Who Am I to Put Myself Over Others?

You will never know ‘who you are’ unless you give yourself a chance to grow by nurturing yourself and deeming the times you choose YOU as sacred and utterly necessary. Ask for more.

The Truth of the Matter

It doesn’t always matter what you tell yourself when you put others’ needs over your own. The actions you take will be reinforce in your subconscious mind, so even if you say ‘I’m awesome and can handle this!’ your mind hears one message loud and clear- ‘I don’t put my needs first’ or even worse ‘My needs are not important’.

Go ahead and let me know if any of this resonates with you and what you intend to do about it. You can leave a comment or get in touch if you are on my email list. I hope you get the message that even if you are kind and caring person, you need to literally look after yourself FIRST, before you attend to others. Just like at the scene of an accident you need to check your safety first. Same thing.

So which excuse comes up the most for you if you really think about it? Any that aren’t here? Would love to know.

Lots of love and letting you know that you are number one to you!

Want more of a picture as to how it may look to put yourself first? Click here!

Becky

xx

PS. In case I didn't make it clear, you can be abundantly kind and generous and humble and loving to others as often as your dear heart desires. Just show yourself that love first. It's magic.

 

One Way to Fine-tune Your Day

morning routine

The fastest way to create a new habit or practice is to do it again and again. Painfully simple, right?

The trouble is that occasionally some pesky things get in our way, and we take unnecessary detours, revert back to unwanted behaviours and don’t do what we say we are going to do with ease.

IF you want to get the ball rolling and lock in a new habit or practice, you may need a little prep. I like doing this because to me it is fun. I love writing, visualising, planning and strategising. So if you are in any way the same, you may get a kick out of this too.

Think about habit or practice you would like to have. Make sure it is something you really want to do and feeds into you feeling how you want to feel, being who you need to be, and perhaps ultimately achieving something tangible you have your heart set on.

It may be something like going to the gym every morning. So we will use that as an example. It is also something I have adopted, so I can give you some firsthand insights about the process. It might help you to know that I am not a supermotivated person- at least not in the way I imagine a motivated gym-goer to look. I have to fine tune everything around the process, or else I won’t go. I could get an instant burst of motivation by telling myself that if I don’t keep up this practice I will get so unhealthy and out of shape that I die, but honestly, harsh talk like that kills my morning juju. And it doesn’t always counter the reality that is staring me in the face that day.

Ok, so… gym.

The first thing I do is get clear on why I want to go there. I need to get strong, just for myself. I need to get fit for karate. And I want to keep it tight for my husband. Haha! It’s also the principle of being able to stick with something and do it all alone, although I research personal trainers for hours before beginning this routine.

So now I want to go, I need to imagine it in the context of my morning and do a FULL RUN THROUGH in my head to see how this works. For me, I need to start right at the beginning, when I first wake up. Now if I watch what happens in fast motion, I see me getting up, having breakfast (which I choose not to skip because I am fungry in the morning!), writing a little something in my journal, getting dressed and driving off to the gym.

But, let me tell you, some seriously distracting shit happens along the way. If I slow it right down, almost like a real walk through, this is what really goes on.

I wake up gentle, as always, and contemplate for too long about whether I had enough sleep and whether hitting the gym is truly better than just getting back to sleep. I would normally do some visualisation and breathing here, but it is sullied by the process of resisting bouncing out of bed.

I hear my dog scratching at the door, so get up (either gratefully for the excuse or in a huff cos he won’t let up).

I pee and then walk downstairs to make breakfast. I feed Olly first to get him out of the way. He’ll scratch for more food soon. If something’s cooking I may go upstairs to get dressed in my gym clothes. I throw a handful of dog biscuits outside for him to chase and I shut the door and go back upstairs to eat.

Worried that I will not be able to do the gym and work, I probably eat too fast as I’m writing my gratitude list, describing what would make today amazing and setting an intention. I will leave my tea half finished. Olly scratches at the door again, so I let him back in. He wants to play. He sees me putting my gym shoes on and assumes we are going for a walk, which is heartbreaking. I might pop his harness on and take him for a quick walk around the block.

It’s getting late enough that the thought that it may not be worth going pops into my head. I think about how I could kick start the day with just a bit more… something else.

At this point in the morning, I can’t guarantee anything.

Can you see how messy that is? Especially because I planned none of it. Now, as I do the walk through in my head, I have pen and paper handy and I start taking some kickass notes about what to set up so that the morning flows- even with the dog scratching. There is a side column for stuff I need to set up the night before to ensure I’m not fumbling around.

I’M PRESSING PAUSE FOR A SEC. You could go to the gym every morning, easy peasy, just by doing it and making it a priority. What we are looking at is fine-tuning the stuff around it!

So as you are coming up with your new practice, know exactly what needs to happen before it for it to occur and occur as smoothly as you wish. I now have a really clear physical and mental walkthrough of my mornings that I believe perfectly sets me up for the day. I do need to get up earlier and go to bed earlier, which is exactly what I prefer.

Here as some random notes that came up:

I need a candle snuffer and Windex handy near my office desk.

All my gym clothes need to be in the spare room- with underwear, etc.

The best time to fill up my water bottle is when I make breakfast (not just before the gym)

If I follow what needs to be done, I will only go down the stairs twice. This is problematic because the stairs keep me fit. Lucky I’m going to the gym regularly now!

It was also interesting how my night routine became exactly what I needed to support this one addition to my life.

In order to get this all in place, you need to be able to see yourself doing it and it working. Visualise and you will see where habits need tweaking.

Also, when you run it through in real time as you intend for it to occur, you’ll notice the clunky parts. Make a note of how to eliminate these or smooth them over. Try again the next time you have the opportunity to apply this. Does it work now? Keep refining, visualising it the day before so that eventually it becomes programmed as a routine. Even if you have to consciously think about what is next, it is better than just running around, hoping you get everything just right.

Some succinct steps for creating a new routine/habit:

1.       See what you want

2.       Know what has to come before (and during)

3.       Visualise going through the process until you see it in a way that works for you. Take notes on what you need to refine to make it work.

4.       Give it a real life walk through. You can also visualise again with different circumstances, e.g. going to the gym in summer versus winter, or what would happen if you have an early morning meeting.

5.       Start doing it exactly as you see it.

6.       Keep doing, keep refining.

So can you now think of something you would like to smoothly integrate into your life? Are there blocks of time where you would like to flow easily from one activity to another? Try it with your morning routine. I love this for people who, like me, seem to live in (and be somehow comfortable with) chaos, even though it is probably slowly sucking the life force from us! Haha! Never more.

If you are in NSW, Australia, I am running a series of workshops to help you implement this technique, with a few more advanced strategies for removing unwanted behaviours and installing new ones.

Click here for info on the workshop, including location and pricing.

I believe that everyday can be the start of something special. If you are just looking for the dedicated space to you, I know that this workshop will be the kickstart you need.

Would love you to share what you plan to implement in your life and candidly address how you may smooth over any obstacles or ‘clunks’.

All the best in this endeavour.

We are forever refining.

xx

Relationship Advice to Change Your Life

Best Relationship Advice

Most people can’t believe that I ‘let’ my husband photograph beautiful women without their clothes on. The ‘me’ from 10 years ago would never have believed this either. I remember one day finding a picture of a hot little lady on my boyfriend’s computer and freaking out completely. I instantly felt not good enough. I cried. I’m pretty sure I girl-slapped his arms. I got fixated on all his female friends and obsessed with the idea he was only with me because he couldn’t be with them. I felt lonely all the time, like we were on different planets. I wrote songs about breaking up, and we did, once. I was doing everything wrong. I knew so little about relationships and was living out the same old patterns that saw me break up with my first boyfriend who I had convinced myself was ‘the love of my life’. 10 years later, my husband and I are happier than ever- as individuals and together.

Although we still have more work to do, I really wanted to share some advice that changed the way I saw and experienced my relationship. Try some of these out and you will instantly feel more fulfilled and empowered. These can work in non-romantic relationships too, so please feel free to try these out with a close friend, your child, mother, boss, colleague or anyone really who is a big part of your life. Let me know how these go for you in the comments section, and of course share any of your own beautiful insights and advice. In no particular order...

1. Listen for and Respond to their Values

Aim to notice, acknowledge, act and speak in accordance with what your partner values. Work out what is important to them. Most of the time you can just guess based on what they talk about. For example, if your partner’s favourite topic of conversation is new scientific breakthroughs, you could guess they value science, learning, sharing knowledge or being seen as knowledgeable. If you know this then you can feed that back to them when appropriate. It also makes sense that if you want to gush about feelings or topics your partner is not comfortable with, he or she may either really enjoy the learning, or feel completely uncomfortable not being seen as in-the-know. When you keep your partner’s values in mind, a lot makes sense, and any critical judgment or frustrations quickly melt away.

More important than knowing general values is understanding your partner’s relationship values. A few years back I asked my man, Dan, about what he values in our relationship. We both did our top 5s. As I recall, acceptance, as a value, was right at the top of our lists. Easy peasy. As long as we accept each other, we are aligned with our highest value. Now, I was actually stunned that Dan had that conversation with me. I am gung ho into personal development, but it’s not really his thing in the way I define it (although, damn that boy develops himself!). So I felt privileged to be able to get these straight answers. Again, if your partner would not be into this talk, you can just guess. Communication was on my list, love was on both of ours, loyalty on neither… It was a really interesting exercise. Other values you may consider are sex, time together, openness, mutual growth and fun. You may be wondering whether different values mean conflicting values, but in my experience (my own and working with others), different values are not usually a problem. If they are, values can be shifted and reordered. But simply staying mindful of another’s values really helps me understand behaviour, communicate about the relationship and adjust my actions so my partner feels more fulfilled.

If you just had a brainwave and realised your own or your partner’s values, you can share them in the comments below or just write them down for yourself.

2. Don’t Rely on Your Relationship for Happiness

Relationships make us happy, but don’t make them your only source of joy. It may sound corny, but it’s the holy grail of truths (or up there!) that the happier you are with yourself, the better you feel about other people. The better you can treat people. The less you make one relationship the be-all and end-all. You can bring a real positive energy to the relationship and you will have more clarity about what is going on. It also means that if something feels deeply wrong, you can get out because of your increasing self-value and respect.

Yep. This is but a tame image my hubby shoots. You can imagine that this may make a few girls insecure, but because I've worked on being my best self, this only makes me love my man more. Check out more of his work here if you're interested.

Yep. This is but a tame image my hubby shoots. You can imagine that this may make a few girls insecure, but because I've worked on being my best self, this only makes me love my man more. Check out more of his work here if you're interested.

Like many aspects of our lives, it is easy to see in retrospect how everything fits together. You can see when you are happy exactly what led to that. For me, getting involved in music, seeking and achieving some tangible goals in karate and loving my work meant that I was more fulfilled and that I could easily let go of what might normally having me stewing over my life, including aspects of my relationship. The compound effect of this was that my husband became a kick-arse photographer and the more he felt his value in this arena, the better we could feel about each other. I’m certain of this. We both say and mean that we love each other more than ever. At the same time, I’m pretty sure that I could be just fine without him, but I don’t want to be!

3. Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Now, you may have heard about love languages, so I am gonna explain this with a personal slant. There are different ways to communicate to a person that you love them. And each person has a preference for one or more of these ‘love languages’. Broadly, some people like to be ‘shown’ that they are loved or ‘told’. More specifically, some people like be shown through touch, or gifts, or through time spent together. Even more specifically, we may need to be touched in certain ways to feel especially fulfilled in love. I am particularly into kissing, public and over-the-top displays of affection (like doting Facebook posts) and handwritten notes. I’m also pretty sure that I feel loved when people feed me, only because that is my go-to strategy to show people I love them. You see, the way we want people to show us we love them is usually how we try to show them we love them. The trouble is, they don’t always have the same love strategy. If we feel loved when someone buys us something, chances are we will buy gifts for our love ones assuming that will make them feel loved. What if all they really need is a good conversation with you? What if they really need to have you sitting with them for a couple of hours? The gift may not make them feel loved in the way you would imagine.

If you are feeling unloved in your relationship, try asking your partner how they know that you love them. Here is a paraphrased conversation with my husband that I used to guess his preference.

Me: How do you know that I love you? Like I obviously love you, but how can you tell?

Dan: (says something explicit)

Me: Is that your final answer?

Dan: It’s the affection you show me and the little smiles and hugs and just everything put together that adds up.

So even without mentioning the Love Languages, I can tell that physical touch and signs are more important than the verbal when it comes to my hubby. I could say ‘I love you’ til the cows come home, but it would have the same impact for him as would morning snuggles.

4. Say What You Want

Pretty obvious. Steal some of these starting points if it makes life easier.

  • ‘There’s something important to me that I really want to talk about.’
  • ‘I know you love me- and there is also another way I would like you to show me.’
  • ‘There’s something that makes me feel bad that you probably don’t realise cos I haven’t said anything.’

It doesn’t help to stew on what’s not working or feed all your attention into accommodating your partner without saying what you want. Speak up.

5. Only Judge Your Relationship by Your Relationship

If you look outside your relationship to work out whether you have a good thing going, in my opinion, you are doing it wrong. All sorts of relationships can be healthy, fulfilling and just what we need. Arranged marriages, huge age disparities, high school sweethearts- all valid. Dan and I have pretty much opposite dispositions and approaches to aspects of life, and honestly, this challenges me in a way that makes me GROW. Because growth is so important to me, I see this as a blessing. Dan has taught me patience, to slow down, the value of hard work and the value of down time. Just by being himself. We don’t chat about philosophy or literature, but that’s what I have friends for! Our wedding was the only time we have danced together and I bloody love dancing. Again, I can find people to dance with- no prob. Some couples happily do everything together, and if I thought this was how it is meant to be, I would feel seriously disappointed. But judging by our own relationship, I know I have a good thing going.

6. Know What On-Track Looks Like for You

For me, I feel like my husband and I are on-track when we are resolving issues quickly (we seriously never fight, except I get a bit sooky when I’m hormonal) and when we are happy to see each other and spend time together. I also define my relationship as awesome because I feel FREE- never trapped or over-dependent. You may know you and your partner are on track because you more readily compromise or because the sex is better or because you are talking more. Remember to ask for more of what you want if you are not getting it, and ask in the way your partner needs to hear it.

7. Work it!

When you get two human beings together- two of the most complex creatures, it may not all be effortless. You can have effortless encounters in your life, multiple people who feel like soulmates and past lovers who seemed to fall out of the heavens. But relationships take work. Nurturing. Don’t resist this fact. And, as I choose to believe, work is beautiful.

BONUS BECKY TIPS!

This is our family cuddle time. What little rituals do you have?

This is our family cuddle time. What little rituals do you have?

  • Get cute little rituals going that create intimacy or perpetuate a feeling of love. We do something with our dog called ‘family cuddle time’ where we all get on the bed and cuddle our dog Olly and each other. It’s immediately uplifting and it’s the kind of thing where we just accept it will be done.
  • When the grass seems greener somewhere else, remind yourself why you choose your partner. What is it that they offer you? What do you love about them? Why do you choose him/her everyday? Stay conscious of this to combat any natural doubts that you may have.

Other little sentiments. What do you think of these?

  • Again, choose your partner every day!
  • Don’t stay in a soul-destroying relationship. If someone doesn’t let you shine, get the hell out!
  • Choose commitment over loyalty.
  • Remember that there is more to you than your relationship.
  • One person working on a relationship is better than none!
  • A change in perspective may be all your relationship needs.
  • Don’t even try to own a person! That is just silly. Even if there is a ring on your finger, nobody owns you.

And in the overwhelming spirit of what we do here, trust that when you work on yourself and take responsibility for your life, things absolutely get better. There are plenty of other relationship gems of advice that may be perfect for you, so if there is anything you wish to ask- something specific to your unique situation, get in touch with me. Simply subscribing and replying to any of my emails will get a conversation going.

Do comment with anything that worked for you or any further queries, tips and stories that could help our readers. Relationships are super complex, so speaking openly about them can be really empowering.

Happy lovin’.

Becky x