The Birthday Post 2017: 3 Mantras To Live By

birthday-post-2017.jpg

Another year, another million lessons ... when I think back to where I was a year ago at birthday time, I haven’t fundamentally changed (remember this post?) but I have definitely learnt more and more.

Although I check in regularly on the blog, I feel like over the last 12 months I’ve been less into tracking goals and consistently reviewing where I’m at.

Circumstances at work and in my personal life have meant I haven’t had as much time for these activities, so when I came to write this post, I wasn’t sure how easily it would come.

What I did realise though was that I have continued to do a lot of reading and self coaching and from that has stemmed some mantras that I’ve been carrying with me.

I don’t use each of them every single day but they have been immeasurably helpful throughout the last year and, right now, I think they’re definitely keepers for the future too.

I’m going to summarise what each of them have meant to me and I hope you’re able to start thinking about some mantras to carry with you too.

Mantra 1: 

It’s just my brain, it doesn’t mean anything.

Holy what?! Thank you Brooke Castillo. She mentioned this one in her Self Coaching Scholars course and I have drawn on this many, many times in the last year.

If I wake up in the morning feeling unable to face the busy day ahead, if I start to worry about how a client meeting went, if I look in the mirror and am sure I’ve gained a heap of weight, if I’m sure someone is saying something behind my back… I just come back to this mantra. “It’s just my brain, it doesn’t mean anything.”

We are so often sure our thoughts are facts and that how we feel about situations is absolute reality. But really your brain can choose any which way to go.

This has taken the edge off many situations and helped me step out of my head almost immediately.

Mantra 2: 

My purpose is to appreciate being alive.

My purpose?! The meaning of life?? Heavy stuff I know, but questions we’ve all asked ourselves at one stage right?

Again I did some self coaching on this over the last year and was encouraged to come up with a one sentence statement that covered off what I thought my purpose might be and, more importantly, a purpose that felt good to me.

When I looked around at my situation - born where I was, into the family I was, with the education I was given, surrounded by the people who’ve entered my life, the angst over choosing my purpose started to drift away. I already really have everything I need and although there will be pain and hard times, it’s all part of the human experience and even the hardest emotions can be valued.

When in the midst of an existential crisis about major decisions or what the next stage is for me, I remind myself of this mantra and I’m brought back to the moment, knowing I am lucky and that I don't have to take life quite so seriously. 

Mantra 3: 

In the end, we all die. It’s over before we know it.
We will have controlled very little.
None of it will mean much.
So we might as well lay it out.

Not to end on a totally morbid note, but this one is all sorts of amazing. Again, I pulled it from my current guru Brooke Castillo.

I’ve talked about control on the blog before, and I know many of us are grappling with this day to day - controlling our routines, controlling our relationships, it’s pretty exhausting right?

The other aspect to this mantra I appreciate is the underlying reference to the fear we all feel.

We don’t want to launch our business, or post that photo on Instagram, or tell that person how we really feel, because we are afraid of being judged or feeling negatively.

Whenever I feel that fear, I refer back to this mantra and know, in the scheme of things, I’m just a speck on the historical timeline, and the least I can do is experience life fully, including fear, rejection, all of it.

--

Happy birthday to me and remember to lay it all out my amazing readers!

How To Make Your Energy Last All Day

One of the biggest issues for people these days, and something I talk about often with my clients, is finding the energy to do everything we want to do.

Between the mandatory work and family obligations, let alone the plans of exercise, good food and a side business, it seems inevitable that we're going to collapse into bed each night depleted.

And the worst thing is - we still don’t feel like we got to everything we wanted to that day, so are already planning the to do list of tomorrow.

I was vacuuming my house today (yes, exciting) while listening to a podcast (are you guys into the Audible Esther Perel podcast on relationships? So fascinating!) when I felt super thirsty, hot and overall pretty tired. Old Georgie would have told me to suck it up and keep going until the job was finished. Yeah, she was pretty nice.

New Georgie listened to her energy level. She grabbed a glass of water, her Kindle and sat on the balcony for 10 minutes, taking a break before returning to the housework. She sounds much nicer right?

It’s taken me a long time to learn this but ‘pushing through’ is no longer the best way to get my to do list done and is a surefire way to run out of steam. So what can you do instead?

Change your self-talk

As I mentioned in the scenario above, my self-talk didn’t used to be the greatest. I thought I was super motivated and resilient but, really, I was just treating myself like shit to get things done.

Now, I get to the same destination, but treat myself much more nicely along the way.

I’ve also adopted the mantra ‘I have plenty of time’.

When staring down the barrel of a busy day, I remind myself that ‘I have plenty of time’.

I can either stress and huff and puff through every activity, living out of the moment and fretting about what’s next on the list, or I can do one thing at a time in a relaxed way, with the same result...and so much less stress. Try it!

Get into alignment

Hello Jess Lively. She is all about alignment (I think she recently mentioned she takes around 2-3 hours to get into alignment before she starts work). I’m not at that level but I definitely take time to think about this concept before launching into my next activity.

Tonight, I knew I had to make dinner, then jump on the computer to write to you guys.

Instead of ‘pushing through’ again, I cleared up the kitchen, made myself a peppermint tea, lit a candle, got comfy and settled in to write from a much nicer mental space.

I love to write so why make it a ‘have to’ when it’s a ‘want to’?

Check in with yourself regularly

This is probably my favourite tip and so bleedingly obvious, despite all my years of not doing it.

I learnt it as part of my intuitive eating journey with Paige Schmidt, and although it was specifically related to food back then, I now use it for general day-to-day use.

Depending on my schedule, I try and take a short break mid-morning and mid-afternoon, as well as my regular walk at lunch. I step away from my desk, grab a cup of tea or water, and just take a few minutes to reset my brain.

It helps me refocus on my tasks and particularly helps if I’ve been in a perpetual cycle of email/chat/phone for the last hour or so.

It’s no wonder we don’t feel productive if we never check in with ourselves or step away to recalibrate.

Try these tips this week and let me know how your energy levels go. Have a great one!

What I Learnt from Brené Brown

I read this Guardian article recently about people who have aversions to recommendations. I think I often fall into this category (and to confirm, I have never seen any Game of Thrones).

I have managed to resist Brené Brown’s work for years, until about a month ago when I succumbed and watched her TED talk - one of the most popular of all time.

What then followed was a (accepted!) recommendation of her book The Power of Vulnerability. I downloaded the audio book and the 6 hours and 31 minutes were devoured in just four days.

Brené is so personable and her qualitative research on fear, shame and vulnerability is peppered with both heartbreaking and hilarious stories from her subjects, as well as her husband, kids, friends and wider family.

So what did I learn? Apart from the 10 guideposts for wholehearted living which she goes through in the book, these lessons struck me the most:

We all care what others think of us

Brené points out two thoughts we all often come up against when pursuing something new, or even just getting around in our regular everyday life:

  1. ‘I’m not good enough’
  2. ‘Who do I think I am?’

Being crippled by what others think is so common for many people, and I do find some comfort in that commonality.

This blog was a huge undertaking for me and believe me, the above questions have crossed my mind more than once when I press publish on a post…

Be who you are

One of Brené’s mantras is: ‘"Do not shrink. Do not puff up. Stand my sacred ground."  

Once I heard this, I could hear it ringing in my ears during the smallest day-to-day situations. So often in conversations I was playing myself down or changing my style to try and match or dominate another’s - particularly at work.

Thankfully I found this doesn’t happen often with those closest to me, but it’s a huge challenge to just be who you are without pretense or adjustments to suit those around you.

Choose empathy over sympathy

Confession - this section of the book had me welling up a little. So often we jump to sympathise with people when they’re vulnerable with us, but as Brené points out, this doesn’t put us side by side with them - it usually places us above them.

Empathy should be the real focus in these intimate conversations - even if we haven’t gone through the exact same situation as others, we can just say ‘that sounds like it’s really hard/horrible/sad/embarrassing’, rather than ‘oh, you poor thing’.

As Brené beautifully puts it - ‘sit in the dark with them, don’t flick on the lights’.

I could go on with more lessons, but we'll leave it there for today.

I'll finish with a quote about the wholehearted, vulnerable people Brené interviewed - she notes they were also usually the happiest...

“They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor did they really talk about it being excruciating. They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say ‘I love you’ first. The willingness to do something when there are no guarantees. The willingness to invest into a relationship that may or may not work out. They thought this was fundamental.”

...And now to read the rest of her books!