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  • What are the odds?

    Person hanging upside down from rope at a height. Text overlay: How to make the odds work in your favor

     

     

    The odds that I would achieve a perfect score on the Australian / NZ English competition in intermediate school?

    The odds that I would have basically just the right amount of money to round off my RTW trip by the end of it?

    The odds that Spud would have severe cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI) yet tolerate goat’s milk fairly well? (The numbers for this are supposedly really low… but I wonder, how accurate can these stats really be, and how are they calculated?)

    And if we apply this thinking, we can wield and deploy it either way.

    Believing we can beat the odds. Time the market. Be a little delusional in betting on ourselves.

    Or believing there’s no point even trying. Stopping before we start. Writing it off with a defeatist sigh.

    Look: maybe you WILL be the exception to the rule. What if it’s your destiny? What if the gamble pays off?

    You can do your bit to reduce risk. To mitigate and anticipate headwinds and hurdles. Weigh the pros and cons. Consider the options to improve your odds of success. Try to tip the scales in your favour, weighting them towards triumph.

    But let it be an informed decision. Take the time to discern, to decide just when it’s wise to bet on yourself and when to play it safe. Exactly how much you stand to gain, vs how much might be lost – the potential upside vs downside.

    Consider the value. The net return, against the raw odds – as Annie Duke puts it in Quit, the expected value. What would beating the odds really mean? And truly, what is the likelihood?

    Maybe if there’s a high risk of losing it all, you can design a lower risk bet, an MVP venture, something more experimental and incremental.

    Low risk, high gain – that’s the holy grail.

    But we’re mostly operating in the grey zone, with uncertainty about payoffs.

    Annie Duke points out that you will gain new information as you act. Valuable details. Once you move, more will reveal itself.

    I’ve been experiencing this a lot lately. It’s like opening up your field of vision. Rounding a corner. When you’re stuck in what I call the SWIRL – that swirly place where thoughts are rattling around your head, you can’t quite seem to grab onto any of them, you’re going in circles and treading water – the only way out is to take a concrete, tangible step. Commit to making a real move. You can always walk it back or change course. But you need to dial up the clarity available to you by making a move, and changing your viewpoint and horizon.

    We have to constantly make choices without knowing the full picture. Keep stepping in the direction you want to take, and adapt as you go. That’s how you position yourself to take advantage of the odds.

  • It pays to … do your research and get the facts

    do the research, get the facts - then spend the money

    One memory I’ll always remember from back in school, shortly after moving to NZ.

    Way back when, we were given a maths problem, and we had to insert our own variables. In this case, the price of a hypothetical concert ticket.

    I was so naive. I literally had no idea what something like that cost. The teacher said to pick something realistic, not like $20. But I had no frame of reference myself – maybe movie tickets?! – and although I heard his comment, it just did not compute in my mind. I thought maybe I misheard the number he said.

    Anyway, I obviously chose an unrealistic price and felt so ashamed and silly. And it’s far from the first time I’ve experienced sticker shock in life. But that can go in any direction, positive or negative.

    All that to say: stop waffling, going in circles, and just find out! That thing you’re contemplating? Get some quotes. Check your assumptions. Don’t mull, guess, panic, project, catastrophise.

    My mum asked for ideas on how much it would cost to cut down the massive trees on their property (how TF would I know?) Turned out it was way less than she imagined.

    Maintenance jobs I keep putting off like getting a chimney clean, gutters cleared, even renting a chipper, are often less than I anticipate.

    And some are more – renting a big skip bin, a full car service, etc. Sigh.

    But the only way to know for sure is to get out of your head and find out.

    Get real numbers.

    Price it out

    You’ll often be surprised but either way, information is power.

  • Confessions: some facts about me that might surprise you

    confession time

     

    I am a Cancer. It absolutely sums up my personality.

    I am an ISFJ. Also eerily accurate.

    I am a dragon. Growing into this – I never at all identified with it, but I’m now stepping up into some of these traits. Especially in 2024, the year of the dragon.

    Over the past few years I’ve experienced and become an advocate for many body-based practices, methods, and modalities. I can personally vouch for somatic therapy, EFT tapping, hypnosis, and Emotion Codes.

    When you run up against the limit of what you can achieve working on the mental and cognitive level – just look over the wall (or more accurately, below the neck) and explore what’s stored in your body.

    Get out of your head and into your body.

    I use tapping (which is based around acupressure points) multiple times a week to work through triggers, tough emotions, or just to recentre and calm myself. I also run through energy centre (chakra) breathing most days, and can literally feel the thrum and tingle of energy moving upward as I do.

    Energy matters. I’ve seen this first hand, over and over. Witnessed the difference that acting from clear, strong, high energy makes.

    While I consider myself a bit of a skeptic by nature, I cannot deny what I’ve experienced, and nor do I want to. I’m grounded AND I’m spiritual.

    Where I’m going from here…

    The how, I haven’t quite grasped. Maybe getting my head around it requires getting deeper into physics.

    I believe, I trust, and I know, and yet I’d also love a concrete, tangible explanation for how it all works.

    The idea of actions resulting in equal and opposing reactions – which we see play out everyday in interactions with other people and how we communicate.

    The idea that by taking certain actions, we open up more possibilities and increase the odds of success along those branches, while cutting off other probabilities. (For this one, check out the book Living in Flow.)

    The idea of a straight line not always being the quickest route; see this piece. (The analogy of heavy traffic making a zigzag route faster than a linear makes total sense, at least).

    Why do I even care?

    We’re all made of matter. How matter functions therefore, well, matters.

    In my experience, the universe tends to behave in certain ways, seemingly responding (and yes, there is also much that’s random in life too) to how I think, feel, and act.

    Giving to receive.

    Detaching and surrendering to let in.

    Energy makes a difference. Those invisible dynamics matter.

    Physics, perhaps, can offer an explanation for some of these things.

    Or, maybe I can simply trust in my experience, lean into the invisible, and embrace the practical magic.

  • Screw the shoulds

    screw the shoulds

     

    “You should’ve gone out with him when you had the chance.”

    So said my friend, back when we were awkward pre-teens trying to figure it all out.

    The gentle nerd with the soft eyes, big glasses and floppy hair was suddenly cool (I couldn’t work it out – why?) and she thought I’d missed the boat.

    But, no.

    As lovely as he was, I didn’t want the chance in the first place.

    You can’t fake something you’re not into.

    You can’t be swayed by what others think.

    You can’t go far if your heart’s not truly in it.

    Fuck the shoulds, the noise, the chatter, the buzz.

    Trust your Knowing, as Glennon Doyle says.

    Follow what feels light, bright, and expansive. Move towards it and don’t look back.

  • The 2 vital ingredients for your next breakthrough

    2 STEPS TO A BREAKTHROUGH

     

    A word I’ve been using a lot lately is discernment.

    Honing our sense of judgement is such a crucial life skill. Discerning what we actually want and the best way to go about getting it.

    And going into 2024, I think I can boil that down to two things:

    Awareness – of who the hell you actually are; how you feel and react to people and situations

    Deliberation – and working toward showing up consciously every day of your life and being intentional about your actions

    (Throwback here to 2016 and the 2 things I learned that changed my life)

    When you know what you want, and you’re fully dedicated to making it real, things start to click into place. Next steps reveal themselves. Opportunities unfold. Things start happening, flowing, without too much pushing or forcing.

    You follow a simple framework to manifest it: clarity, conviction, and commitment. Setting the vision, holding firmly onto the purposeful sense of guaranteed success, and channeling it all into consistent, embodied action.

    (More on that full process here.)

    Crucially, you’ve got to believe first.  The steps are be > do > have. It starts inside, within. Expanding who you are, which flows into what you do, and finally, the results.

    It’s so much about how you feel and what you consciously and subconsciously believe. Leaving behind old wounds and patterns. I spent my 20s saying I didn’t care what my parents thought. I didn’t care about their judgement. I wasn’t trying to please them or earn their pride. BUT, that wasn’t entirely  true underneath the surface. That wasn’t fully congruent. I was partly trying to convince myself. Only now in my 30s am I truly starting to release that hold … and it’s just the start.

    This year, it’s your time. Tune out the noise. Discern what your heart truly wants. Then, keep cutting out the shoulds, and keep attuning to what feels like it’s pulling you. Discern your next moves, one aligned decision at a time.

    You don’t need to know it all right now. You don’t need to see the full journey. Who knows where the path may take you? Follow the signs and breadcrumbs. The snippets, slices, slivers of a future vision that come to you unbidden. And trust the tapestry will weave itself together.

  • Protect your energy. Honour your sacred NO

     

    protect your energy, honour your sacred no

    No. Not this. No more.

    Something powerful happens when you reach that point of no return. When you have finally had enough. You aren’t going to bend and accommodate anymore.

    Trust. Your. Gut.

    Your inner knowing and inner voice.

    No one strategy works for everyone. Don’t feel like you need to follow a formula or conform.

    People who insist otherwise may not be safe for you.

    I think of instances when I did trust others over myself, and instances when I reversed that and chose to honour my intuition instead.

    You can probably guess which served me better.

    Not obeying the rigid rules and expectations of family, or playing the games a toxic work leader played.

    Not chasing external metrics (one of the things that really solidified my self trust, hilariously, was the retirement of Facebook’s relevance score for ads. A colleague, and of course Facebook reps, were obsessed with getting this score as high as possible. Sure, it’s a factor – but it’s not the most important. Sometimes people need to see important information, whether they want it or not).

    You don’t owe anyone explanations.

    You can try once. Maybe even a couple of times. Beyond that, I wouldn’t waste your energy. The people who get it are your people. Those who don’t, aren’t.

    Honour yourself even if it means disappointing others. Don’t twist yourself into knots trying to get others to understand you. Some people cannot and will not. Some are actively (though not always consciously) invested in not understanding.

    You think you can help them see the light if only you land on the right combination of words, the magical example, the key that unlocks that breakthrough and aha.

    Being misunderstood is inevitable. Letting others down is inevitable. What matters most is honouring, understanding, and trusting yourself. Being an upholder of what you know.

    Choose yourself. Honour yourself.

    Parenting has changed me in so many ways. I didn’t stand up for myself enough in hospital, but once I left, I started to build my confidence, strength and conviction.

    Before I left, one sleepless night, I wrote a long explainer on the hospital feedback form. I poured it all out. I didn’t sign my name, but I figured they could pretty easily ID me. I was very open about how I felt about their approach to breastfeeding, pumping, and visitors.

    My midwife asked if I would meet with the hospital to discuss what I wrote.

    The old me would have agreed to meet with them. My people pleasing tendencies would have insisted. But that was a turning point. I paused and thought about it. The new me, the exhausted mother, took no shit. And she did not have the energy for that kind of interaction.

    I said what I said. I stood by it. I let it stand alone.

    There is a tendency for women to be written off by much of society as hysterical and emotional. I’ve definitely experienced this a lot since becoming a parent.

    I feel like I would have been gaslit if I went. No, I KNOW I would have been gaslit if I went. Nicely, Logically. It would have all seemed very above board. And it would have done so much damage to me and caused me so much doubt.

    Listen to your sacred NO and don’t dampen it down.

    Protect your energy at all costs.

    Without it, you can’t achieve in any area of life.

    Choose where your energy goes. Be deliberate. Be intentional. Be selective. Instead of fixating on fears and doubts, real as they feel, direct your energy towards your intentions and goals.

    And choose to trust yourself.

  • How to self soothe when you’re dealing with anxiety (financial or otherwise)

    how to manage financial anxiety

     

    I’ve previously written about how I had started thinking about mindset work as my full time job.

    Let me amend that.

    When it comes to money and life, I’ve realised, regulating your nervous system (that’s brain AND body) is what supports you in making sustainable progress and simply easing the regular ups and downs.

    It’s the foundation for feeling relaxed, safer, optimistic, confident day to day.

    Thoughts create feelings; they can and do absolutely influence them. One thought can change it all. One different perspective can open up a whole new dimension. One new lens can instantly shift how you feel.

    As you become more skilled at managing your thoughts and shoring up your mindset, though, you start running into limits. Because working from the neck up inherently limits you. You can only go so far without venturing lower.

    Our massive brains are what set us apart, but we’re still mammals.

    The vagus nerve is a communications and sensory superhighway, connecting the brain and various organs. Like the main control room for our fight/flight response. It sends signals from brain to body, but mostly, vice versa – body to brain.

    It’s not all in your head

    “It’s all in your head” we say, but in fact, it goes so much further than that, deeper than the subconscious even, beyond to cellular level. Your body, physical reactions, the state of your nervous system.

    Imagine you overspent, blew your budget, miscalculated and went totally overboard with brunches and drinks and dinners and takeaways last month. Yikes.

    Maybe your jaw clenches. Shoulders go up. You feel tense and hot, but also a bit disembodied, disconnected, frozen. This immediate, instinctual reaction is automatic. The dysregulation going on there shows up in your body instinctively.

    Anytime you do anything with or even think about money, emotions can trigger you into fight or flight mode. It’s a subconscious response to money anxiety. Obviously you can’t function well or think clearly or act brilliantly in that stressed out mode.

    It all gets easier when…

    You can start being more conscious and compassionate with yourself. Cultivating safety and comfort at every level and every step. That opens up space to go even bigger and beyond. That’s the real key to getting, well, whatever it is you want, ultimately.

    This is the work: being okay where you are right now, so you can then clear the way to take things to the next level from here.

    You can feel scarcity and fear at any level, any point. You can feel guilt and shame at any point. Soothing yourself at every step helps you start expanding past those familiar internal set points you’re so used to.

    9 ways to return to neutral

    Stressed about money or something else in life? Get back to baseline in the moment by doing something for both your brain and body.

    Brain

    • Think about how much you can buy with the money you already have, right now. Or, think about 3 things you can appreciate right now
    • List all the ways you could take action to generate cash today. Or, think about 3 things you can do now that would feel 10% better than what you’re currently doing

    Body

    • Turn your head sideways, 90 degrees to your body, and hold for 30-60 secs. You’ll start to feel your whole body relax subtly, like a reset
    • Stand, focus on your breathing, in and out, and shift your weight from side to side, foot to foot, aligned with your breathing
    • Grab something in your hands (stress balls are great, or anything similar) and move it from hand to hand, side side, across the centre line of your body – think like a pendulum
    • Make your entire body stiff like an uncooked pasta noodle and hold for a minute, then consciously relax
    • Vocalise out loud! Brrrrrrr is a classic, but any sound you feel coming through you is great – do this till you feel some release
    • Shake, move, dance, stomp, rock your body – get very physical and move that energy through
    • Do a round or two of EFT tapping (there’s lots of videos on YouTube)

    Self-soothing when it comes to money

    How often do you handle, interact with, touch money in some way? A lot, right? Add to that, how often are you thinking about money?

    Imagine if all those touchpoints were a little more positive. What a difference that might make.

    How can you bring a little more positivity and safety into them?

    The more goodness you can inject, the bigger the ripple effect… infusing and informing the overall holistic relationship.

    Create stress free spaces for managing money. Low stress money dates where you go over your finances, celebrate progress and momentum, make plans for the future. Pair with delicious snacks and treats.

    Create parameters for safety that you can set and honour. You may chafe at structure and rules generally in life. I know I do. But they can actually be an ally here. Guardrails to guide your experiments or baby steps into the unknown, and ringfence risks or losses. Playing with a business idea? Give yourself permission to try, with a set allowance for experimenting. Making bigger investing moves? You can decide on limits, set stop orders for buying or selling. Have kill criteria for any money moves – a point at which you call time and quit like a pro.

    This goes for more than money

    This doesn’t just apply to financial anxiety. It goes for everything else in life, too. Anything that feels hard, tough, sticky. That isn’t flowing the way you’d like. Where you don’t feel great.

    You can start shifting it from the inside out.

    Pause and get clarity. How do you want to feel instead? Identify your desired feeling, and think back to other instances when you felt this way. Recall exactly how it felt, and the circumstances that led to it.

    With this in mind… How can you get more of that? Kindle that flame? Expand that kernel? What step could you take right now to get closer to that feeling?

    It’s like… preplanning success. Celebrating it now, despite our lifelong indoctrination to ‘not count the chickens till they hatch’. In a practical sense, that is fantastic advice.

    But internally, creating a sense of success in your body – a memory ahead of time – goes a long way toward prepping your nervous system for receiving and accepting it. Like athletes visualise doing the thing, triumphing, ahead of time … you can do the same with anything in your own life, no matter how mundane.

    Because when success feels unfamiliar, parts of you aren’t really open to it, and are even repelling it. Shout, move, dance, pump your fists, whatever you would actually do when the time comes. Practise it. Embody it. Encode it.

    This is how liberation starts

    From within. Cultivating true and lasting financial power is an inside job.

    Then, it’s always with you. Accompanying you wherever you go; it becomes part of you.

  • I’m entering my villain era. Bring it on

     

    Have you ever worked with incredibly reactive people always on the brink of an emergency?

    How painful is that?!

    You just want to shake them and shout “Get a grip! Your failure to plan is not my problem!”

    I’ve been going through life like that. Reacting and panicking, getting caught up in other people’s drama. That was my MO for most of my life.

    Now I refuse to play that game. I operate from intention and intuition.

    Slow down.

    Ask why.

    Does this really need to be done?
    Why now?
    Who does it serve?
    What are the alternatives?
    What are the consequences?
    What are the desired outcomes?
    What are the expected outcomes?
    What will the long term effects be?

    Question everything. (If you’re a parent of a young child, you know how to do this! Channel your toddler. Just keep asking why, over and over again. The 5 Whys principle exists for a reason – that usually does it.)

    Evaluate. Analyse. And do the selfish thing.

    If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that if there is a choice that feels selfish to choose, that is almost certainly the way for me to go. The scales have been so out of whack for so long.

    It’s time to fix that. Redress the balance.

    Less triaging for everybody else. More slowing down and self-honouring. Start rebalancing the scales.

  • Weeding out money demons and financial weak spots at the root

     

    Deconstructing your individual money story, your unique flavour of hangups and hurdles along with triumphs, is something you’re probably going to eventually come up against (if you haven’t already) and is the key to sustaining next-level success.

    Buuuuuut when we really get down to it… what does that mean?

    Let’s make it real, let’s get raw with some tangible examples as I walk you through some of my shit.

    My mistrust of cash

    I love money but actual physical cash? Not so much. I can probably trace this back to what I think might be my earliest money-related memory, in which I was dispatched to the dairy to buy milk but lost the coins along the way (and was never trusted with that errand again).

    My struggle with boundaries

    My tendency to entertain any request, put up with unreasonable demands, give and give and give some more. This shows up financially and in other areas – though I’ve come a long way. Stems from parents who had poor boundaries and unreasonable expectations.

    My problems with spending on myself

    I don’t really have issues with buying experiences (food and travel) but when it comes to buying physical stuff? That’s a whole ‘nother thing.

    We rarely got gifts. I can probably count on one hand how many birthday gifts I remember getting; I think it was partly at the whims of parental moods. Sometimes from extended family too, but rarely. Ditto Christmas; I remember trying to dodge the question “What did you get this year” every year. And there was definitely a weird story around presents being for needs, not wants.

    As an adult, I’m relearning how to embrace the concept of pleasure. This probably also ties in with my difficulty receiving – I’m just not used to it, I feel really uncomfortable being given anything, as being the recipient of generosity is so … foreign.

    Little wonder it’s hard to receive anything. Even now, I receive cash every year for my birthday, and it’s not something I fully feel comfortable about.

    And that definitely links up with the drive to earn (that’s a whole thing of its own!), through hard work and hustle, and prove myself. It’s all connected.

    My problems with having and trusting

    Also – even just having stuff is difficult for me. It could be taken away (like my treasured Westlife CD, uplifted, given to someone who was visiting us, and never replaced despite the promise to do so).

    How does this manifest? Honestly, I often don’t take great care of my stuff. I was also burgled many times in my 20s, further cementing this wound. Feeling I can’t relax and have nice things. Feeling I can’t trust/rely on others financially; pocket money was inconsistent and the whole endeavour probably lasted less than a year.

    Yeah, there’s a recurring pattern here. Things suggested or started and then never heard of or mentioned again.

    My problems with underearning

    I’ve been anchored, pegged to my knowledge of the hourly rate my parents earned way back last century. Internalised that benchmark and operated with that knowledge in the background. Feeling like it’s good enough and I should be grateful to be beating that (despite, you know, inflation and other things…)

    As I mentioned before, it’s been deeply ingrained in me that I need to work hard for money. I need to achieve, to prove my worth. And subconsciously, probably to make up/atone for the brief phase in my teens when I shoplifted makeup. Not my finest hour.

    Soooo…. what are we supposed to do with all this?

    Acknowledge these root experiences and memories. Accept them, difficult as they might be and uncomfortable to admit to.

    Recognise you learned from what was imprinted on you and deeply encoded in your subconscious. It’s empowering to realise you’re not broken, there’s nothing wrong with you.

    And that now you can start to choose differently, day by day, step by steap.

    Start to build new conscious patterns for yourself. Actively. Deliberately.

    Question your instinct and consider whether the alternative might serve you better. Practice trying on new choices and see how they feel.

    Challenge and recalibrate your ideas around your earning potential – financial tools like this W4 calculator can help – and what a financially empowered life might look like. Commit to a journey of broader self-discovery, free from old limitations. Open the door a crack to the possibility of more ease, wealth, flexibility. 

    I think about all the times I HAVE managed money well, upheld boundaries and honoured myself, spent well on myself, relied on others, enjoyed what I have, and grown my income.

    Find evidence to support your success and keep building on it.

    That’s how we start to exorcise these demons.  That’s the work I’ve done over the years to beat them.

    That’s how you stop sabotaging yourself and start finding your money groove.

  • Where are you making do?

    where are you making do in life?

    I used to be great at making do. I didn’t make much, nor did I expect to. I got great at working with those constraints.

    Leaving that world behind, graduating into a new reality, was a slow burn.

    Picturing and projecting into the future. Figuring out where, if nothing much changed, things would be in a year, 2 years, 5 years and beyond.

    Deciding what I wanted to carry on and what I was ready to leave behind. Contemplating how that changed the picture.

    Letting myself dare to dream. Expand my horizons. Stretch the limits.

    Getting ready to shed, getting ready to step up.

    Letting ideas creep in, not dismissing them summarily, discerning why they felt scary and whether I was willing to consider them anyway.

    Honouring my hopes and desires, my feelings, and the stirrings that energised and galvanised me.

    Where you are right now is where you are. And if it’s not where you want to stay, that’s okay too. And if you wind up remaining here longer than you want to, that’s fine, too. Things tend to unfold in their own time.

    But leaving it all behind starts with a spark. Saying no more. I’m done making do. I’m meant for more.

    I desire, deserve, and am destined for more than this.

    The audacity to think about wanting more. And then, daring to start doing things differently.

    Where are you making do, biding time, shrinking and playing small right now, and what’s your end game?