Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mid-way through 90 Days of TED - Interview with Ryk Goddard

You might have read the earlier post with my 90 Days of TED interview with Ryk Goddard. Well he invited me back to 936 ABC Hobart the other week for an update on how things were going at the halfway point of the course.

We had a good chat about fashion, slowing down and how the focus is pushing people out of their comfort zones. And yes, I will be going back for another chat at the end, hopefully with a couple of participants.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Revisiting the Lessons - Activities 3 and 4

Better listening - what I forgot
I don't know why I forgot how much I enjoyed the three minutes of silence from Better Listening, or even listening to mundane sounds - but I did. The participants of the course quickly reminded me of how soothing this activity can be, as they all enjoyed trying to improve their listening.

I hadn't forgotten Julian Treasure's work completely, after all I shared details about one of his more recent talks a few months ago. But I had forgotten that daily process of resetting my listening and improving the quality of sound in my environment.

So, as the participants went through the process, I started to focus on mundane sounds and silence again - and I'm trying to keep it in my day.

The three A's - regaining joy
It is far too easy to get caught up in the first world problems of our lives, forgetting just how incredible our world can be. We all do this, it's safe here you can admit it :-)

Engaging with your world like you are experiencing everything for the first time is a great reminder about how amazing things truly are. I found it refreshing to take this focus on again when the participants were Living the Three A's - it does increase your capacity for joy.

Other distractions
The participants are well over halfway through their 90 days now. I had intended to write these posts revisiting the activities for myself on a more regular basis, but there has been a very interesting shift for me this month.

I've been writing up content for the course, and I've been doing my day job - but I have not been inclined to write anything else. It hasn't been writer's block, it's just that I've been busy creating products for markets in the lead up to Christmas.

For those of you who don't know, part of my business is making. You might have seen the page on the Do-Pad - a notepad for doodlers; I also make jewellery, and a number of other products now as well. I've been geeking out and having a wonderful time creating and making some really fun products. While I feel a little guilty for not writing blog posts (or even sending out a newsletter this month), the time spent making has been fun and rejuvenating, so I make no apologies for it.

I do aim to get back into writing more consistently in November, so expect to see more from me. I'll even share some of the nerdy stuff I've been producing (well I think it's pretty nerdy).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A different way of viewing your Inner Critic (and the external ones)

You know that horrid little voice in your head that confirms all of your doubts about yourself and your abilities - it is your inner critic, and we all have one. I don't know about you, but mine was particularly scathing and nasty. She was my loudest internal voice, and she did not miss a beat when she had a chance to remind me how badly I had messed something up.

I've spent a lot of time, since finally learning the skill of self-compassion during My Year of TED, trying to get to know her better and find a way that we can work together. I think I might have mentioned that I did some shadow work with her a little earlier this year, which was a fantastic process.

The thing is that our inner critic has our best interests at heart! As hard as it is to believe, this voice thinks it is doing something positive for us - it just has a weird way of doing it; or does it?

Randy Pausch's lecture
I was making jewellery today, so I took some time out to listen to some TED Talks, and to re-listen to Randy Pausch's Really achieving your childhood dreams lecture. It's been a number of years since I first listened to this talk, and it still makes me cry - I dare anyone to listen to this talk and not tear up a little bit.

Before I go any further, if you have not watched this talk then please consider putting it on your "things I must watch" list. It is an hour and sixteen minutes long, but you will not regret it. He gives you the back story at the beginning; I won't go into any more details.

Anyway, I've watched this talk two and a half times previously, but for some reason this bit leapt out at me today:
When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody's bothering to tell you anymore, that's a very bad place to be. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care.
It leapt out at me today because I thought about the inner critic - the role mine thought she was playing, which is likely to be the same role that yours is playing. She thought that being critical was the best way to keep me on track, and to make sure that I didn't become too confident (read arrogant).

Sure you have critics in your life that are not being helpful, their commentary comes from a place of envy and fear - but what if you were to shift to consider your critics as people who care enough to speak up?

When you think of it this way, does it alter the way you view your inner critic, and the external critics in your life? When you realise that criticism is how they are showing that they care about you, and that they still think you're worth helping, does it change that relationship at all? Just intrigued to see if this quote speaks to anyone else too.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Revisiting the lessons from My Year of TED - Activities 1 and 2

We're almost a third of the way into 90 Days of TED, and it's been a fascinating process so far. The participants have had all sorts of interesting insights, some much like my own experience and others completely different. I think that this is the beauty of the content and the structure of the course, it allows everyone to take their own journey, since we all have different trigger points and issues.

Writing up all of the content and discussing these talks and activities with participants has reminded me of some of the valuable lessons from the project that I have casually forgotten. I say casually forgotten because it's not like I have forgotten them entirely, but on a day to day basis I do forget them - I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

So, I thought that I would do a bit of a series of posts about those lessons I am revisiting as I guide other people through this process.

Fashion and pushing outside your comfort zone
I was reminded just how traumatising this activity had been for me, watching other people struggle with shifting their fashion mindset. For me this was all about allowing myself to be seen, the first huge step towards increasing my vulnerability.

Looking back, it's not like the outfits were outrageous or controversial, but they were a change from my 'uniform' of blending into the background. My wardrobe has toned down a bit from that experience, but the concept of it has remained. I am more conscious about the clothes I wear, the outfits I create for myself - especially when I am choosing 'hiding' clothes. Now, if I create an outfit that allows me to hide I know that there is something I am uncertain of, something I need to address, and I do that.

Who would have thought that a six minute talk about Wearing nothing new would have had such a profound impact on my understanding of myself and my inner workings? I think Jessi Arrington might have known, hence the reason she took the stage to share that idea. Thank you Jessi.

Thanking and praising others
The group of participants is an interesting mix, quite diverse in their backgrounds and personalities, which is great. Some of them were always going to find this activity quite easy - but they still struggled with having the conversation about how they want to be thanked.

I can't say that I've perfected that skill, although I have had a couple of conversations since this activity about how I want to be thanked, or that I need to be thanked for something. It is a very strange process to ask for thanks, but I have worked out why I don't like to do it - well one of the reasons. Mostly, I get this thought in my head that I'm still not great at thanking and praising others, so if I ask for thanks or praise then they might throw it back at me that I don't do it for them. Admittedly I could counter with "then maybe you need to learn to ask for it as well", but I know that some internal part of me would start beating myself up for being a horrible, selfish person. So, best not to ask really :-)

Overall, I think that this is still one I need to be more mindful of, I need to get back into the giving mindset - the mindset of "how can I make your day a little nicer".

How about you? Do you thank and praise the people in your life enough? Are you someone who is good at asking for thanks and praise?

Next time... Listening skills and the Three As of Awesome.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Do you want to be a better decision maker?

Decisions and choices are part of everyday life. Some are made reflexively, without much effort on our part - others require extensive deliberations of the possible outcomes. Regardless, making decisions is something you will do a lot in your life, so you need to be prepared to take on that challenge in a positive way.

If you have seen the outcome of 30 days of Choice and 30 days of Being Wrong, you will know that one of the significant realisations of those activities was the discovery that I had actively avoided making many decisions in my life. Not the insignificant ones either, big decisions like relationships and career choices.

What I learned from this discovery is that a lot of people are afraid to make big choices in their lives, they are afraid to own the outcome by actively making a decision. It's one of the reasons we stay in jobs we hate and relationships that might not be healthy for us - as the saying goes "better the devil you know". You might remember a recent post on this topic, Confidence, choices and being an active decision maker - well I have just had another post published on the Cracking the Happiness Code website that is an extension of this.

The reason that I'm writing and talking about this is because I think it is incredibly important that we all become more active decision makers in our own lives. Through My Year of TED, I discovered many things that have helped me become a happier and more fulfilled person. After almost two years living the changes and reflecting on the lessons, I think that shifting my mindset around choices has been one of the most important outcomes. I now have greater control over the choices and decisions in my life; a willingness to accept the consequences of my decisions; confidence in my ability to make good decisions; and, most importantly, I know the direction I want my decisions to take me.

That's why I developed the Positive Decisions resource - because these are skills that I want everyone to have in their lives. It's also this is a free resource for subscribers to the dinkylune newsletter, because I want to share it with everyone. If you are interested in learning more then you can sign up on the dinkylune website - and if you think this is as important as I do, consider sharing it with friends.

Are you an active decision maker in your life? Do you have the courage and confidence to make and own all of your big decisions?