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  • What are you feeding your mind? Hacking your brain like it’s the Facebook algorithm

    hack your brain like the fb algorithm

     

    Humans. We’re complex and unpredictable. Yet deep down we all just want a few basic things – to feel seen, heard, understood. Our minds are so incredibly powerful and yet, the base operating system is … well, pretty basic.

    It’s at once humbling and amusing to realise this.

    Your brain basically has a nifty little Facebook-like algorithm powering it

    You can shape, feed, train it to support your goals. I mentioned the reticular activating system in my last post – this is what is always working to show you what you want to focus on, bringing you the best stuff, surfacing new opportunities that you can capitalise on. Helping you get where you want to go.

    If FB can serve you ads for all the things you want to buy and all the content you want to read, your brain can absolutely steer you likewise, bringing your attention to opportunities you want. Maybe that’s finding a new job. Turning your eye toward ways to make more money. Finding the perfect house or partner.

    The flipside of that, of course, is it can reinforce negative patterns. I’ve had to consciously work to let go of a number of deeply ingrained beliefs and replace them with more useful ones.

    I can’t make good money doing what I love >>> I get paid well and have fun doing it

    Oh hey, ex journalist over here with a starving artist mindset and pegged to poverty-level income from the beginning!

    This was a gradual process over years, but the data points added up and eventually, this shift happened for me too. As I truly came to see and believe what was possible, I made damn sure I pursued the money and steeled myself to ask for it.

    • My friend from uni who landed a $60k starting salary (obviously not in journalism…)
    • My colleague who went to a PR agency, constantly got told what a great job she was doing, and given a pay rise every 6 months.
    • My colleague who went on to do social media at a financial institution for $80k
    • Hearing about PR reps and media/comms managers on $130k

    I devoured salary surveys, staring at the numbers until they imprinted in my brain. I did the same with the salary bands on the intranet, burning those figures into my brain. If those people could make that much money, so could I. Why not?

    I shouldn’t spend money on myself >>> I get to have nice things if I want them

    My immigrant parents definitely modeled intense frugality. Honestly, I still have a mental anchor around $20 being what we spent on shoes and gifts. I bought a $25 swimsuit once and lied to them about what it cost. Shopping sprees – buying more than one non-essential item at a time? Get outta here! And on top of that, I had a block around having nice things, knowing they can be taken away (like when my mum gave away my Westlife CD to a friend’s kid, or the multiple times I’ve been burgled, or other people taking/using things of mine).

    I work hard and I deserve nice things. I know this gets some people into trouble, but I am more of the underbuying, self-denying variety 🙂 Little luxuries, like hand cream or nice cheese, elevate daily life SO much. You can’t be what you can’t feel, and pleasures that help me feel like a million bucks actually support my success.

    I’m not an ideas person >>> I know my stuff and I own it

    A particularly formative experience for me involved receiving unexpected, harsh criticism from a parent. That probably fueled my reluctance to put myself out there and to do anything to avoid the discomfort of going through similar pain. But of course, I wound up dating someone who told me, albeit jokingly, “I’m surprised you came up with that by yourself…”

    Until recently, the word “idea” was literally a huge trigger for me. I’d panic if asked for ideas. I’d panic ahead of “brainstorming sessions”.  Spontaneous ideation was not a thing for me, so I worked really hard to overcompensate and overprepare.

    Being asked to prepare presentations on my area of expertise at work was a daunting challenge every time. But each time, I was able to synthesise industry trends and formulate great decks based on my own knowledge, and surprise myself.

    Now, I embrace my subconscious and know that great stuff flows out from there when I relax and let it. I try not to overthink things too much before speaking up. I trust my value and power, because over time people have validated my contributions over and over. The data points added up. I now finally believe them.

    I’m a bad communicator >>> I am an articulate and thoughtful communicator

    My parents were terrible communicators. Not that they realised it. They told me I was, projecting their issues onto me. Everything was my fault. And of course, we gravitate to what we know, and I’ve experienced the same pattern play out with others since then.

    I communicate fantastically through writing. I’m much better at verbal communication than I used to be. I am often complimented on how articulate and thoughtful I am, and recently a colleague literally told me she learns a lot from I work and communicate. My communication style continues to evolve for the better as I heal, become more emotionally mature, and learn more about psychology and human nature.

    Clear your cache, upgrade your brain’s OS

    Where the hell did all that stuff come from, anyway?

    As you can see, it’s mostly shit we’ve taken on from external sources and formative childhood experiences. That noise is like retargeting – stalking you, haunting you, following you around. Whispering (or shouting!) at every chance it gets. 

    When you become aware of it and start to really observe what’s happening, you will realise that your brain is probably telling you mostly unkind thoughts. You’re stuck with it, even though it’s not that helpful. We’re stunted, frozen in time emotionally, playing in adult bodies.

    What if you flipped that around and nurtured your mind with encouraging thoughts instead? What could you do? What could you have? What could you be?

    Clear your cache. Each belief you shake up is like clearing your browser cache, emptying out all the accumulated weight. 

    Upgrade your operating system. Eventually, you’ll notice a dramatic difference. Rewire enough beliefs and it’s like running an entirely new OS. If you’re about my age, you’re probably still running something like Windows XP when now Windows 10 is available. We’re up to a WAY newer version and just haven’t updated.

    There’s a whole new world waiting on the other side. You may not look any different, but you will feel like an entirely new person.

  • Money, mindset, and manifesting: Why I’m now making mindset work a daily practice

    i'm working on my mindset like a full time job

     

    Years ago, I noticed something odd. Little windfalls seemed to come my way just after I gave money to a charitable cause. This happened over and over again.

    That really was the beginning of my journey in relation to manifesting.

    I’ve gone on to manifest lots of things, small and big. But my favourite example has got to be a tailor-made-for-me job (no kidding – a new position at a dream organisation that didn’t previously have a team in this department, let alone an office in my city). I truly believe in the power of setting an intention, then stepping back, and taking actions that flow in the right direction.

    Just recently, I received an email that I’d written to 2021 me, three years ago. No joke: I have everything I outlined in that letter, none of which I had achieved back then, and had no concrete idea as to the HOW – only the WHAT. That’s not to say my life is perfect. Far from it! There are some things I didn’t specify, didn’t touch on at all in that letter – and those are currently the most deficient areas in my life. They are worse than I could have ever imagined, to be honest.

    Now, I’m still not crazy about the word manifest. It’s a little too woo for me and I know it turns a LOT of people off. But the fact is, my experience has shown me that:

    • I can achieve what initially seemed like impossible goals once I DECIDE to go all in
    • The more I give, the more comes back to me

    Barring certain external limitations (physical, societal/systemic/structural factors, etc), what I need to succeed is already within me. And therefore on the flipside, all that’s stopping me is also within me.

    Sometimes you hear something phrased in a way that just clicks for you.

    We are mental health sanitation workers.

    (Courtesy of The Hello Seven podcast)

    It’s not all about money, although a lot of my goals have been financial. And let’s face it, most goals require money.

    In my quest to work my way up to six figures, I have had to do SO MUCH inner work, training my brain to absorb and accept new thoughts, ideas, and patterns. Moulding it to help me. Building those neural pathways. The brain is a muscle, and it has so much power to help or hinder you (as anyone with anxiety, etc knows). Opening my brain up to new possibilities helps it to see more opportunities and then to take advantage of them.  No wonder so many entrepreneurs treat working on their mindset like a full-time job. I’ve tried to adopt that mentality too. It’s what has helped me get through Covid, along with a ton of … other life stuff. I’ve made mindset work a daily practice, and I only wish I’d discovered it earlier.

    Getting my brain on board with change

    What really clicked for me was learning about the Reticular Activating System (RAS), a lovely big bundle of nerves that basically connects the subconscious and conscious part of the brain.  (This is basically the science that serves as the base for anything vaguely Law of Attraction-y.) When you learn a new word then start hearing it everywhere, buy a new car and start seeing the same model everywhere, or instinctively snap to attention when you hear someone call your name – that’s our buddy RAS kicking in. It tunes us in to the things we care about, filtering out all the masses of information that the brain is constantly taking in and processing and honing in on what it thinks we’ll be interested in.

    It’s basically nature’s version of the Facebook algorithm. It’s always looking for data points to back up and validate your beliefs. It shows what it thinks you want to see and what it thinks you care about. But it doesn’t actually know what you really want unless you explicitly tell it. And that’s where all the mindset work comes in – training it to prioritise stuff that will help you achieve your goals and help you become the person you want to be.

    Three things that have helped me a lot in the past year, and that I frequently return to, are:

    • I can choose a new thought any time (and everything that exists once began as a mere thought)
    • A thought just needs to be 51% believable
    • Envy = evidence. Take others’ achievements as proof of what’s possible

    Manifesting brings opportunities your way.

    After that, it’s up to you to do the work. Seize the opportunities, capitalise on them, and see how the results flow.

  • All the things I’ve learned from the single most important relationship in my life

    lessons from the most important relationship

     

    I have a funny relationship with external validation. I crave it more than anything else. It gives me the most delightful warm glow in my belly. But I also feel intensely…uncomfortable receiving it?

    Sometimes you need others to believe in you before you can believe in yourself. You can borrow their convictions and try them on for size until you get comfortable in them.

    I’m now 33 (what a cool number) and only now do I REALLY feel like I’m starting to come into my own. And I’ve been reflecting on the most important relationship in my life. It’s not with my son or his dad or any of my family. It’s not even with another living creature.

    It’s with my work and career

    I’ve gained so much through my work that I can’t possibly begin to quantify or articulate it all.

    Through work, I have had people advocate for me. Observe my contribution when I couldn’t see it. “They’d have been screwed without you.” “You handled that really diplomatically.” (On one occasion, this led to me saying semi-jokingly, “Send all the angry men my way.”)

    I’ve been told I have a really interesting way of thinking. That nobody else in their interviews said what I did. I’ve been told by a leader, “I always value/appreciate our chats.” I’ve been dubbed the “silent assassin”.

    I’ve been a second choice for a job, but been told it turned out for the best 🙂 As a junior on a project, I’ve caught and raised major red flags early on that nobody else spotted.

    Being pushed to create and deliver presentations for teams forced me to reflect on industry shifts, see trends, and synthesise my thoughts. To think critically and originally, drawing my own conclusions.

    Through writing and the power of words I’ve been able to fund my dreams, connect with others, learn about countless industries and topics, heal, and grow. I’ve received an education in coaching and personal development by proxy, just through editing books.

    I learned to trust my instincts and how to approach tough situations with tact. When I became the target of a toxic leader, who picked on me in meetings publicly, I didn’t take it personally.

    Through work I learned how I should and shouldn’t let people in my personal life treat me. I’ve learned so much through the interpersonal aspects of professional life that I now bring into the rest of my life.

    When all else fails, work was an escape and a break. There, I was competent and confident.

    I will have this always. When my son is grown, I will have all the gifts my work has given me, on top of financially supporting my lifestyle, and I know that I will continue to find joy and satisfaction in for years to come.

  • The way you imagined it may not be the way it actually happens

    it might not happen the way you imagine it will

     

    I recently had a client – let’s call her Ana – bail on a project. This was a real blow. It was an expansion on something we’d done together previously – I was so excited! I even posted publicly about it once we agreed to proceed (and maybe that was the problem…) I was paid for the work I did do, but it was only a small part of the total scope.

    I couldn’t help but think back to another client – let’s call him Rich – where something somewhat similar happened. I way overestimated his project – it hardly needed anything from me. (Seriously. When does that ever happen?!) I charged him something like 25% or 33% of my original quote because I barely had to touch most of the draft.

    Both times, I was very attached to that sum of money I had quoted. I needed it for something- it was already earmarked in my mind for a purpose. And neither worked out!

    But Rich went on to refer so many more people my way, which has paid off dozens of times over. And hopefully this instance this will make space too for something else to flow in. Already I’ve had another former client come back wanting help with almost the same thing Ana did…

    Looking back, things have actually happened for me when I least expected them. Usually once I’d given up and let go of all expectation. Not when I was pushing for them, obsessing about them. Only when I finally freed up the space for them to flow.

    At work, I’m always trying to figure out if we are tackling the right problem. What are we trying to solve? It starts with the strategy, or you could be focused on answering the wrong question. There can be many different ways to achieve the same outcome. Define the goal but don’t dictate the solution or even the timeline.

    And I guess it’s the same in life.

  • How I’ve started doing shadow work (and why it matters)

    shadow work for money and life

     

    What is shadow work and why the hell should I care?

    This, along with reparenting, is pretty new to my lexicon.

    It’s all part of healing. Moving forward in life despite your baggage. And it pays off in improvements to your self-esteem, relationships, finances, LIFE.

    You know that feeling that you’re just playing at being an adult? It’s because really most of us are just children running around in adult bodies. We’re reacting and behaving instinctively and not in a particularly conscious way. These deep beliefs and instincts sprung up in childhood and are often based on something that might seem really trivial, once you trace it back to its origin. Often, they actually wind up sabotaging us.

    Until we wake up to this, we go around operating from/focusing on our conscious awareness, and that’s only part of the picture.

    Shadow work: a definition

    We all have flaws. There are parts of ourselves we don’t like. Some we don’t even acknowledge.

    Psychologist Carl Jung conceptualized our disowned parts, our ‘dark side’ and repressed desires as ‘the shadow’.

    Unfortunately, many of us do not know what is in our shadow — and these disowned parts may still be driving the show in creating our reality.

    – Thought Catalog

    Shadow work is about bringing those out into the open. Facing them. Accepting them. Uniting with them. Becoming your full, whole, true self.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a strong sense of self. It’s a product of various things, but the main two in my upbringing were:

    1. my parents and how they held their own perceptions/projections of who I was
    2. moving countries and feeling totally adrift, then trying to desperately fit in

    Facing your demons isn’t for the faint of heart. You may not be ready yet. I know I wasn’t, 10 years ago. Not even 5, or 3.

    Anyway, that’s all really fluffy sounding shit. What, exactly, does this process involve?

    Broadly, it starts with awareness. Then this allows you to start observing yourself in the moment. And eventually you’re able to choose a different path, a different thought, a different action. You’re taking control and acting consciously.

    In bringing in our shadow, we shine light on it and diminish its power over us. We learn to coexist with it and to gain control over it.

    Once you’ve got the awareness, then you can start to take action in the real world with tangible results.

    How I’ve been doing shadow work

    You guessed it. Writing. Journalling about things like:

    • Some of the things I believe
    • Why I have those beliefs
    • What results that’s gotten me
    • What other beliefs I could adopt
    • What emotions I was discouraged from expressing
    • What common excuses I use
    • How I sabotage myself
    • How I judge others

    That’s where the awareness begins. Then it’s about applying awareness in real life situations.

    Practicing awareness

    In a challenging or confronting moment, pause and breathe. What emotions are coming up? I try to walk toward the feelings. Acknowledge them. Name the sensations.

    For example: Spud is screaming in the middle of the night. I’m feeling ragey. I need sleep! Guilt. Was it the ice cream he begged for this afternoon – was that too much dairy for his system? Oh my god, why haven’t I learned? Worry. Can the neighbours hear and what will they think? Empathy. Poor thing. He must be having a horrible time right now. 

    I’m feeling hot, throbby, and having flashbacks to previous nights when he was younger and screamed his way through countless night wakings.

    Another example: Someone’s come to me with an inquiry about a project and I’m not sure how to charge. I’m feeling uncertain. Anxious. How can I scope this out?! It’s gonna take so much time – I’m already so busy! How can I make sure I make it worth my time? Will I scare them away? What’s the right answer here?

    I’m feeling panicky, with all those imposter syndrome vibes rushing up, my old beliefs that I need to work hard for money, that I’m not worthy of charging high rates (anchored in my old career and in early experiences knowing my parents’ hourly rates) and general scarcity mindset.

    Taking action

    Then I decide what to do, from a deliberate and unrushed place.

    There’s not much to be done with a screaming Spud. Hold him if he wants. Lie down with him, if he will. Offer milk, and add a few gas drops to it if he wants some. Refrain from self-blame.

    I think about what I feel is a fair project fee. I might Google to get an idea of what others charge for this kind of work, and what tiers there are. I take the time to thoroughly review the material, if applicable, and might spend a few minutes working up a sample for myself to get a feel for how long it would realistically take.

    I contemplate the true worth of the project. It may not be hugely profitable for the client – but that’s not the goal. The aim of this piece of work is to help them convert more clients as a result, to establish their expertise through valuable content. I think about all the other clients I’ve already helped and how they raved about the end product. I encourage myself to raise that number a bit from my original estimate.

    The result

    I’m a calmer, steadier parent, no longer sending off vibes of panic, guilt, and stress. Better for me, better for Spud.

    I’m quoting from a place of confidence and wholeness, trusting myself as an expert. Showing up with a different energy. I’m okay with hearing no; I’m not desperate for this. I remind myself that I don’t want to wind up resentful for quoting too low. My rate needs to be one that I’m happy to work for. I’m even making more than I ever have before. I’m enjoying it more, and honestly, I think I’m doing better work because of that! What a result.

    For me, the core of it boils down to: respond, don’t react.

    Acknowledge memories it’s brought up. Question the story I’m telling myself. Is this true? Be kinder to myself; start with empathy not shame, and extend the same to others. It’s a new and gentler, more conscious approach to everything in life. I’m liking the results, and the more I do it, the better it gets.

     

  • Lockdown silver linings? In which I try to find some meaning in 2020

    Oh, 2020. What is there to say?

    Were there pros to the pandemic? Silver linings in the lockdowns?

    The one that first comes to mind is work flexibility. The dream! May it last.

    The second is time with Spud, albeit with wayyyy too much screen time.

    And with the dogs.

    The reduced cost/time of commuting is great. On in-office days, it still provides a nice buffer in the morning and evening to myself to switch gears and get into the right mindset.

    How did I ever manage laundry working FT in the city?

    Being able to do more daycare dropoff and pickup – connect with parents and teachers, which I couldn’t really do before.

    Appreciation for my neighbourhood – easily walkable to greenery, cycleways, parks, playgrounds, the local horse farm. Shops, transport, pool and other amenities not far away. Having my own house and yard to quarantine in.

    Being stretched and finding new depths of resilience, patience, and awareness as a parent and a person.

    Not gonna lie, though. It was an effing horrendous year that nearly broke me.

    Going into 2021…

    Upgrade is my word of the year. My mindset, and my results.

    I’ve written a bit about conscious parenting and soon I’ll be delving into intentionality and consciousness around money. Bringing this mindful approach into all areas of life. Woo as it sounds, I now know it’s the key to levelling up and creating a new reality.

  • What I learned from my kid’s disappointment in a crappy Christmas present

    CHRISTMAS GIFT ENVY IN KIDS

     

    As a rule follower, I shouldn’t be surprised by now when other people don’t play by the rules.

    Especially in this case. Gifts for kids are fraught!

    The daycare Christmas party had Santa handing out presents to every child, with each parent responsible for buying a gift for $10 or less for their own offspring.

    I personally didn’t expect whatever I chose for Spud to even make it back home from daycare – even more reason, in my mind, to keep it simple.

    But as it turns out, we had a massive outage at work that morning, and so with nothing to do … I nipped up the road to daycare to attend the Santa visit and witness the gift exchange.

    As some kids unwrapped big, cool trucks and whatnot, others (including Spud) quickly got Christmas gift envy. Longing stares and subtle drifts towards the coveted toys started to converge from all directions. Spud even threw his tiny toy on the floor and declared that he didn’t want it.

    This was a major trigger for me. We didn’t do presents in my household growing up (Not a money thing.) I still have issues around lack, scarcity, comparison and envy of other people’s stuff.

    My first instinct? SCREW IT! NEXT YEAR WE’RE GOING BIG! Forget the budget limit, clearly others totally ignored it!

    But I eventually came to see the real lesson here. A life lesson for my kid.

    Some people will have more than you. Some people will have less.

    It would be silly and futile to bend over backwards to spare him disappointment. That’s not how life works.

    I acknowledged that he wanted those other trucks. That maybe the others would share and they could all play together – but ultimately, that would be up to them.

    It was a lesson for me, too. To let him feel and express those feelings. To be his teacher and to steer him through the ups and downs of being human. If one thing is for sure, it’s that there will be countless more to come.

    Have you ever had to deal with Christmas gift envy?

  • Are regular baby formulas not working for you? Here’s what to try next

    not sure what baby formula to try? Read this

     

    What baby formula should I buy for my infant? It’s a question that probably only keeps getting harder to answer. There’s a huge spectrum of formulas out there – and I’ve spent quite a bit of money trialling different ones.

    If your kid is doing fine on a basic supermarket formula, you’re good to go!

    If you’re struggling with reflux, eczema, colic, etc – then you might be wondering what to try next.

    There are dedicated Reflux formulas or Colic + Constipation formulas on the shelves. Honestly, I haven’t tried these and don’t know anyone who has, though we definitely struggled with all those symptoms. But having narrowed down the cause of Spud’s stomach and skin reactions, we have been through the gamut of practically all other formula types. Turns out we were dealing with a pretty common problem…

    CMPI vs CMPA – intolerance or allergy?

    Our journey was harder than the average. Spud had severe intolerances to multiple foods that took months to identify with trial and error. And the worst of the bunch was dairy.

    I knew nothing about this beforehand, but oh how much I’ve learned since. How dairy lingers in your system for weeks. How most babies are reacting to the proteins in milk, not the sugars (ie, it’s not the lactose that’s the problem). How freaking common of an issue this is. And how dairy is in SO MANY THINGS. Even foods you might not expect.

    I quickly got up to speed with acronyms like CMPI (cow’s milk protein intolerance) and CMPA (cow’s milk protein allergy). Allergy = probably pretty self explanatory.

    Intolerances don’t show up on allergy tests and can sometimes just result in digestive and temperament symptoms. (And that’s if you can convince a doctor to test your baby, as many are reluctant to, and tests aren’t always reliable at a young age.) The only way to figure out if you’re dealing with CMPI is a food diary and elimination diet.

    The formula options

    When it comes to babies who don’t tolerate cow’s milk formula, the options look something like:

    Retail formulas  

    • Soy formula (if over 6 months old)
    • Goat’s milk formula (very similar to cow’s milk in terms of the proteins, and not recommended for that reason BUT Spud was okay on goat’s, and I’ve heard of lots of other babies doing all right on it as well)
    • Aptamil Allerpro formula (hydrolysed – i.e. the proteins have been broken down)

    Prescription formulas

    • Aptamil Pepti Junior (lactose-free and extensively hydrolysed – i.e. the proteins have been broken down)
    • Neocate (elemental formula based on amino acids, i.e free of cow’s milk proteins)

    We mix fed from the beginning. I spent 5 days in hospital where Spud was EBF. When we came home, he started on the odd bottle of goat’s. I was annoyed that T had bought the most expensive type (goat’s milk formula is NOT cheap), but in the end, I was glad for it.

    Because Spud did NOT take well to normal cow based formulas. He was already a spitty baby, but once we switched off goat’s (I was trying to save money, as it was literally twice the price of some of the regular cow’s milk formulas) his reflux hit the next level.

    Over the coming months we experimented with different cow’s milk formulas, then worked our way through the alternatives: Allerpro, Pepti Junior, and eventually Neocate. Allerpro and Pepti Junior did nothing for us; goat’s was still better. Doctors said to avoid goat’s, as per the conventional wisdom – but I had to trust my own eyes and instincts, because the evidence in front of me said otherwise. So we stuck with it, until I was able to nab some Neocate to try.

    And as soon as we were able to get a prescription for Neocate around 7-8 months, I weaned him. Between Spud growing his first (ridiculously sharp) teeth and the ever-growing list of foods I could not consume, it was time.

    Neocate was the game changer. The reflux stopped. The eczema improved. Spud slept through the night every night, no longer waking with tummy pains.

    We recently finished our last tin of Neocate. It was a little bittersweet; the end of an era. T always complained about it. And I can’t argue with him – but, ultimately, who cares how nasty it was, if it was the one formula that actually worked?

    The stuff is gross. It smells foul. It tastes nothing like milk. Lots of kids don’t take to it because of the flavour. But Spud didn’t take much coaxing. He was always a champion feeder. And I like to think that he knew, somehow. That this was the magic formula. The stuff that wouldn’t upset his gut. The stuff that would finally bring him – and me – peace.

  • You can be grateful for what you have … AND strive for more

    gratitude vs ASPIRATION

     

    Let me guess. Everything you’ve heard or read about getting through this goddamn pandemic involves practicing GRATITUDE.

    Gratitude is great

    Yes, there’s a lot to be said about taking the time to consciously feel grateful and appreciate what you have. Especially in these COVID times.

    Even when it feels like it’s setting the bar pretty damn low to be grateful for fresh air and sunshine.

    Sure, I have been taking time to appreciate the small things…

    Sunny days, spring blossoms, being able to hold a conversation with Spud (game changer!) and see horses every day if I want. The pony club is a 5-minute walk away and it’s always a thrill to see the horses calmly grazing … or occasionally, out on the cycleway or on the road! The perks of living close to the countryside!

    To find the silver linings…

    Resources are being slashed, but I still have work, that I can do remotely, with the best team ever.

    I’m under an immense amount of pressure, but I am a warrior.

    These are all helpful actions to ground me and keep me from completely losing the plot.

    AND I am striving for more at the same time

    I have so much and I’m very grateful for it. And I also want more. I know that I deserve more.

    I won’t get into details here, but there’s a huge area marked NEEDS IMPROVEMENT in my life. I get to set standards and I do not have to be satisfied with crumbs. I’m working to change that.

    Gratitude alone won’t sustain us. You don’t have to be content with what you have now. You can still be grateful, and be working towards something better.

    It doesn’t mean that you have to settle. You  don’t have to live with this forever. The status quo does not have to suffice if it is actually not enough.

    You can still strive for more. You get to make that call.

    Gratitude and striving for more are not incompatible.

  • When there’s no substitute for doing the work

    I’m often bemused at what people expect from technology.

    Nothing works perfectly 100% of the time. Yes, I work in digital. No, I don’t know why that email isn’t rendering for this one individual, or why this YouTube view count is stuck right now.

    Why does Word crash sometimes? Why does Excel freeze? These things just happen, and there’s not always a tidy explanation.

    And tools can only do so much and take you so far.

    I think T had some unrealistic expectations about exactly what accounting software could do for him. It’s a programme/platform, not your personal CFO/accountant/banker/debt collector/analyst/money minion! And definitely around the effort involved in setting things up to begin with, in terms of configuring settings for business finances and all that jazz.

    There was a period of time at a previous job where I found myself having to constantly explain to people that [insert tech here] is not their silver bullet. Sure, there’s that lovely long list of dazzling features and benefits that promise to solve all your problems. But how well that can actually be applied to your circumstances and requirements is a different thing altogether.

    Sometimes it’s a manual process, to varying degrees. Sometimes there’s nothing else but to get hands-on and stuck in. Some things you’ve just gotta do things the good old fashioned way.

    Just like there’s only so far that visualisation, mindset and flow can take you, ultimately you’ve got to get yourself over the finish line.