There is no good or bad

perception-projection

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

– Shakespeare, Hamlet –

As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts (like Take responsibility for your life), we are in complete and utter control of our lives. What we think, we become and depending on what we choose to focus on, good or bad, will determine what we create in our lives.

For some people this is a little confronting, as they perhaps believe that we are not indeed in control of our own destinies, but I can promise you, that we are.

So, if there is something in your life that you’re not happy with, stop focussing on what you don’t want, and start to focus on what you do want. Stop focussing on what you don’t have, otherwise you will continue to be given more of it, and rather decide what you would like to have. For example, a new more fulfilling job, a happier, loving relationship with your partner, friend or family member, a trip out to the countryside, taking up a new hobby, the list is endless . . . .

Quite simply, every experience in life is neutral, we just decide in every single moment whether we want it to be good or bad, based on the thoughts that we think. And as quickly as we can decide that something is rubbish, perhaps it’s started raining, or you’ve missed your bus. In that same moment, you can choose to see the silver lining and turn the situation into something good. For example, you can choose to throw on some wellies (or gum boots for the Aussies and Kiwis) and jump around in the puddles, or by missing a bus it might mean that you can have a nice conversation with a stranger while you wait for the next one.

One thing that I sometimes do if I am getting overwhelmed by things in my life that seem to be bad, is make a list of them and number each one. And then for every thing that is bothering me, I will find a silver lining or solution to each of them, so I can resolve them or let them go completely. After all, there is no good or bad, only thinking makes it so. All you have to decide is what you want to look for.

Inspiration for this post

Shakespeare’s Hamlet

The Gumboots Song – You Tube video

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Set goals every day

images

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
– Napoleon Hill –

I just wanted to share a habit that I have got into over the last year, since I set up my business.

I set goals at the beginning of every day.

I know we can all write a to do list, a list of stuff that we feel we should cover off by the end of the day, but I try to set an intention from my heart of 3 big things that I would like to achieve every day, and that, when it gets to the end of the day, I can rest my head on my pillow knowing that I have done 3 awesome things (no matter how big or small). It’s in the similar vein to my JFDI post, and it tips its hat to the concept of Eat that frog.

The important thing is that you feel in your heart that you want to achieve these things, that in doing them you will feel good, and you will be doing good for yourself and ideally others too.

It could be something as simple as committing to read for an hour, baking a cake or going for a nice walk. Or ¬†doing something that you’ve been putting off for ages like calling your Accountant or making a dentist’s appointment. Or it could be reaching out and helping someone who you know could do with a hand.

Once you’ve set your three big goals, then you can continue to empty the contents of your head with all of the others things that you need to do in the day, but you will always remain focussed on the three big things you would like to achieve, that act as your guiding light for the day.

So, the question is, what 3 things would you like to achieve today?

Inspiration for this post

Myself ūüôā

What does freedom mean to you?

Respect-yourself-enough

“There are thousands and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation who work long, hard hours, at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”¬†

– Nigel Marsh –

I have just watched the most fantastic TED talk called ‘Sell your crap. Pay your debt. Do what you love‘ by a lovely guy called Adam Baker and I wanted to share it on my blog today.

To be honest, there isn’t that much more to say on the talk, apart from me highly recommending that you watch it, especially if you know that your life is cluttered with too much stuff, or if you’re looking for a bit more clarity.

I also wanted to answer the question that I have posed today, myself. Because this is a question that I asked myself pretty much this time last year. What does freedom mean to you? And the answer was pretty simple. It means being able to do the things I love, be with the people I love, and be where I love.

Bearing in mind that this time last year, I wasn’t in love with my job, I was single, and was living in the city (although living in a country that I love), so there was still some way to go . . . .

I therefore set about making some pretty fundamental changes in my life. I decided to quit my job and set up a business doing what I love (Mentoring, Marketing & Branding for Start Ups and Small Businesses), a month or so after that and after I left my job in the city, I decided to move back to the beach and live where I loved, and a few months after I had done that I decided that I was ready for a relationship, so started online dating to meet someone who I love.

Of course, I’m sure some of you are thinking, ‘Yeah right Kat. Whatevs, life’s not that simple. You can’t just decide that you want to fill your life with all of those wonderful things, and they just happen and fall in your lap!’. And I would say, ‘Yes and no’.

Of course all of those things don’t just land in your lap. You have to take a massive amount of action, you need to be committed, you need to get so clear in your mind of the things that you would like to have in your life, and focus all of your positive energy on achieving them. But I would also say, that yes, it is that simple. Because all you have to do is decide.

A year later I have created the most amazing business that I love, and means that I jump out of bed every morning excited to start each day. I am also doing something else that I love to do, which is writing, and something I have put off for quite some time, because I was too fearful to start. Not only am I writing this blog, but I have also started writing a book, which, when I have finished will be fulfilling another life long dream.

And I also have the most beautiful and amazing boyfriend who I met 8 months ago and who I love very dearly. And we are both living together, in an amazing flat, right by the beach, that I love.

So, all you need to do is decide what freedom means to you, and what you need to empty out of you life that isn’t serving you, so you can fill it with the things that you love and will give you the freedom to be your true self.

One simple question, with one awesome answer. So, what does freedom mean to you?

Inspiration for this blog

Adam Bakers TED talk – Sell your crap. Pay your debt. Do what you love.

What if today was your last day on earth?

i-do-something-different-that-yesterday

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”¬†

– Lao Tzu –

Every day we have the opportunity to change something in our lives, no matter what it is.

Steve Jobs said in his Stanford address that every day he would look in the mirror and ask himself one question, ‘If today were the last day or my life, would I want to do, what I’m about to do today?’ and whenever the answer was no for too many days in a row, he knew he needed to change something. And it’s the same in Groundhog Day. Bill Murray’s character is given the same day over and over until he realises that he needs to make changes.

So, the question is, if today was your last day on earth, would you want to do what you’re about to do?

Would you be spending time with the people you want to spend time with? Would you want to do what you’re about to do? Are you where you would want to be? And if the answer is no, then you need to make a change.

And it doesn’t matter how big or small that change is. It could be starting a hobby that you’ve been meaning to start. It could be going to that yoga session that you’ve been putting off. It could be going for a run. It could be cooking a certain meal, that is your absolute favourite, but for whatever reason you’ve not cooked for ages. It could be picking ¬†the phone up and calling that one person that you’ve meant to call for a while, but haven’t, because you just haven’t got around to it, or you’re worried they might not want to speak to you.¬†It could be going for a walk with a friend. It could be starting to look for a new job, because you know you’re happy with the one you’re in.¬†According to Deloitte’s Shift Index, 80% of people hate their job.

Or it could be something bigger and more profound. It could be handing your notice in. It could be telling someone who you’ve been dating for a while that you love them. It could be asking someone who you’ve been dating for a while if they’ll marry you. It could be deciding to have a family.

It doesn’t matter what the change you make is, the fact of the matter is that every day is a gift. Every day is an opportunity to make a change in your life. So take it.

Inspiration for this post

Steve Jobs’ Stanford Public Address

Groundhog Day

We only get one life, best make the most of it

MD139FollowYourHeartPosters

“You say the more you think you know what’s right¬†
The less you do what you feel inside 
So I won’t pretend that I always know¬†
I just follow my heart wherever it goes 
And I may not always get it right 
But at least I’m living coz I’ve only got this…

One life, one life, one life, I’ve got this one life.”¬†

– James Morrison –

While I was travelling in 2011 I was listening to all sorts of music, which provided the soundtrack to my escapades, and I came across James Morrison’s album The Awakening at some point along the way.

I’m not entirely sure when it was or where I was, but it had a pretty profound effect on me. And three songs¬†in-particular: ‘One Life‘ and ‘The Awakening‘ and ‘The Person I Should Have Been‘.¬†This also came at the time I was listening to Mumford & Sons ‘The Cave‘ a lot, especially during my time travelling around New Zealand.

“Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it’s meant to be”

 I remember sitting on the Kiwi Experience bus as we bombed about the North Island, zipping through luscious green fields, passing by herds of sheep and hay bails with All Blacks signs attached to them in support of their National Rugby Team for the World Cup. And as I sat and stared out the window a-gasp at just how incredibly beautiful a country could be, the soundtrack to my travels filled my head with thoughts and ideas about what I would do when I finished travelling.

I knew I wasn’t going back to the UK, but wasn’t going to share that thought with anyone until I knew what the plan was. What I really wasn’t sure of was where I was going to end up. My initial thought had always been to finish my 9 month trip in California, head straight to Silicon Valley, ditch my backpack at a hotel, buy a nice dress, head straight to the Facebook offices and stay there until someone in their Marketing Dept agreed to meet with me and not leave until they had offered me a job.

However, I hadn’t planned for a $5000 surgery bill in Singapore (of which I only got some, not all back from my insurance company), and 6 weeks worth of hospital trips to treat an abscess wound in my leg. To cut a long story short, I was 6 months into my trip, running out of money and running out of puff.

So, at the end of my one month travelling in New Zealand, I had a decision to make. Either I could carry on travelling and spend two months in South America and a final 5-6 weeks in the USA and Canada and end up back home in pretty bad debt. Or, I could apply for my Working Holiday Visa for Australia and head back to Sydney.

My head said, Kinnie, finish what you started. Keep on travelling, you’ve only got 3 months left, use your credit card if needs be and you can get a job easily when you get back to the UK and pay it off.

My heart said, Kat, you need to go back to Sydney.

Don’t ask me why it said that, or what it meant, as I really don’t know. All I do know is that the overwhelming feeling that I had, was to head straight back to Australia, and to Sydney¬†in particular.

It was the middle of November, and as mentioned I was running out of money and steam for travelling. As awesome a time as I had had, I was really longing for a little bit of normality in my life: a bed that I could call my own, a wardrobe to put a few of my things in, organic food, and even a job! I felt like I wanted to use my brain again. Plus it was getting close to Christmas, and I didn’t fancy spending it with a bunch of strangers. Despite all of the fantastic people I had met along the way and having celebrated one of my best birthdays ever in Wellington with some amazing new friends I had made, I was keen to spend time with the people who I knew in Sydney at Christmas and New Year.

So, what’s the point of this post today?

Very easy. Whenever you are needing to make a tricky decision in life, follow your heart. Always follow your heart, and above all, follow your heart.

Forget your head, forget what the logical or rational thing to do is, throw all of that out of the window and follow your heart. Listen to your intuition. We’re given it for a reason, and it’s never wrong, and even when we think it’s wrong, it has led us down a path, so that we can learn what we need to learn, because everything happens for a reason.

If you get a positive feeling about something, follow it. Just like Alice following the White Rabbit. Imagine that the White Rabbit is your intuition. And if she hadn’t followed the White Rabbit, she wouldn’t have found Wonderland. ūüôā

Goodness knows where I would be and what I’d be doing if I hadn’t followed my heart back to Sydney. I’m sure it would still be awesome, but at the same time, I’m incredibly happy, grateful and appreciative of the incredible life I have created for myself here. The day that I followed my heart, was the day I stopped listening to my head and I cannot recommend this way of making decisions highly enough! It’s how I make all of my decisions on a daily basis now. I do what FEELS right for me, always.

As James Morrison sings ‘I got one life, one life, one life and I’m gonna live it right‘.

And to close this post, I’ll leave you with a fantastic quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

‚ÄúAlice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.‚ÄĚ

Inspiration for this post:

One Life by James Morrison

The Cave by Mumford & Sons

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Out with the old, in with the new

Out with the old In with the new

‚ÄúI have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.‚Ä̬†

– Beryl Markham –

I have spent all day helping my darling boyfriend move out of his place (semi bachelor pad) in Coogee, across to my (now our) place in Manly.

It’s been a fairly drawn out process, as we have been moving bits and pieces, bags and boxes, his TV, washing machine, books, DVDs etc across gradually over the last couple of weeks. However today was Ute day (for anyone in The UK/Europe this is like an open air White Van). And which also meant moving all the ‘big stuff’ like furniture.

Moving for most people is usually a bit of a hassle and most people I know grumble whenever they have to move, and try to avoid doing it too often. Me on the other hand, I really quite like it. Don’t ask me why, and I know it sounds pretty bonkers, but I actually find it quite refreshing.

There is something quite freeing about not only packing all your things up and moving them to somewhere new and exciting, but it’s also a really good opportunity to get rid of lots of stuff that you’ve ended up holding on to and hoarding away, that you really don’t actually need.

In the seven years that I lived in London during my twenties, I moved 8 times throughout the South West. Some people would say that’s a lot, but to be honest I tended to move as soon as I felt like I needed a change of scenery and change of housemates. I lived in some amazing places and with some wonderful people and every time I moved, I was filled with a new sense of excitement about life and a completely new perspective of that part of London. I had a new route to work, a new local corner shop, a new local bar or pub, and a new set of restaurants and eateries to check out. It was awesome and it kept life feeling fresh and interesting.

When it finally came time to leave London, it was quite sudden. I broke up with my boyfriend on my 30th birthday (this is a whole other story so I will save it for¬†subsequent¬†posts or even the book I’m writing), packed my entire life up into boxes and moved everything back home to where my parents live in Frome, Somerset.

I was pretty lost, burnt out and directionless at the time, and over the course of the following 7 months I pretty much spent my life living out of a suitcase. Which, bizarrely enough, I absolutely loved.

As soon as I had moved back home, I filled a backpack and travelled to Peru for a couple of weeks to trek the Inca Trail. I came home and ended up working again for a few months, living up in London in the week and coming home to The West Country at weekends. And then I decided to go backpacking, and travelled for 6 months until I decided to set up shop in Australia for a while.

I lived with friends in Manly for 3 months (out of a suitcase too), then moved to Surry Hills and lived with 3 Aussie guys for 3 months, then moved back to Manly into my own flat for 5 months before having to move out, because I spent all my money on my visa application and couldn’t commit to a rental agreement until I had an answer on my visa (again this is a much longer story that I will save for another day).

I moved out of my flat last Nov and had been living out of a suitcase and staying in friends’ spare rooms (once again – I’m sure you’re noticing a pattern here) for the last 3 months.

And I finally moved back to Manly and into my own 2 bed flat at the beginning of March. Phew! Finally, somewhere to call home! And very excitingly, my beautiful boyfriend has moved in with me just one month later, today.

So, the point of my post? Despite the fact that over the last 3 and a half years, the longest I have stayed in any one place for any length of time is 5 months, I have had a blast. And despite the fact that I have spent just under 2 of those years living out of a suitcase or backpack, I have always had everything that I could possibly need with me.

It has also made me realise just how little I actually need in order to be happy. And also, how much crap I managed to acquire and hoard back in the UK. I also realised how much we hold on to from the past that we don’t actually need in the present. In actual fact, to be perfectly honest, I’ve realised that all I really need is myself in order to be truly happy. And as long as I have my health and a happy & positive mind, life is pretty cool.

Furthermore, change is good. Movement is good. Settling is too (from time to time), but as they say, a change is as good a rest, and I say why¬†necessarily¬†rest when you can make a change in your life. It’s much more fun.

As mentioned in my previous post Let Go, it’s also good to get rid of things from your past that you’re holding on to unnecessarily, to make way for new things and experiences in the present. It’s the same reason why they start prescribed forest fires in Yosemite National Park. I learnt this, when visiting there a couple of years ago and it didn’t make much sense to me initially. But, after being educated that they start them deliberately to burn off any undergrowth that is getting in the way of new seeds falling from the trees and stopping them from¬†seeding¬†and growing and making way for new trees to grow, it made¬†perfect¬†sense.

So to conclude, the good news, I’m very happy to say, that in the last 3 and a half years of moving around, I’ve finally found a place that I’d like to live in and a person I want to live with. I’ve planted my seed here. So it’s out with the old way of constantly moving, and in with the new way of settling . . . . . for now anyway. ūüôā

Inspiration for this post

My beautiful boyfriend Darren

Manly, Australia

Settle by Two Door Cinema Club

Keep Your Head Up

o-matic1

“I’m walkin’ back down this mountain
With the strength of a turnin’ tide
Oh the wind’s so soft on my skin,
The sun so hard upon my side.
Oh lookin’ out at this happiness,
I search for between the sheets.
Oh feelin’ blind and realize,
All I was searchin’ for was me.
Ooh all I was searchin’ for was me.”

I went to see the very fantastic Mr Ben Howard last night at The Metro in Sydney. I love him to bits for a number of reasons, including the fact that he hails from The West Country (like me), coming from Devon. And also, after my beautiful friend Boo introduced me to his debut album last Feb when I was back home in The Shire (Frome, Somerset), it actually helped me through an incredibly traditionary period in my life.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I went back to the UK, while I thought it was a two-week trip to say hello to all of my friends and family (whom I hadn’t seen after being away travelling & working for 9 months), and attend a friend’s wedding, it actually ended up being more of a goodbye.

When I left Sydney, I had no real expectations about my trip, apart from the fact that I knew it would be great to see everyone. What I hadn’t prepared myself for, was that 3 days into my trip, I would be missing Sydney like heck, and referring to Manly as home.

Even more interestingly, I had lived in London for 7 years, and had never referred to it as home. London was the place that I lived and worked in, Frome had always been home. And I guess, as the saying goes, ‘Home is where the heart is’. So the strange realisation for me was that, despite the fact that I was back in my home town, Frome now felt like where I was from, but indeed Sydney, and quite specifically Manly, was where my heart was.

It was in those first few days that I had the realisation, that Australia was where I was meant to be, and that when I came back home, I would do everything in my power to get a more permanent visa so that I could stay.

The tricky thing was that I wasn’t really enjoying my job at the time. My boss was a massive stresshead, every day there seemed to be some big drama that needed sorting, the requirements for the project that we were working on changed on a daily basis and despite the fact that I started each day with the best intentions of staying positive, by the end of the day I felt empty, drained and broken. Enter Ben Howard stage left.

Ben Howard’s album Every Kingdom and quite specifically two songs¬†in particular¬†helped me through the next few months while I worked the end of my 6 month contract (Keep Your Head Up), and plucked up the courage to start my own business (The Fear).

I really wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, but I would listen to ‘Keep Your Head Up‘ every morning as I walked the 10 minute route from my flat in Redfern to our offices in Surry Hills. I set the intention to make the best of every day that I had left in that job, turn every negative into a positive, spend as much time as possible with the people who I loved at work and who inspired me, and go for a lunch at least once a week with my mentor.

As soon as I changed the meaning of a situation that was really quite unhappy and unsatisfactory, into an opportunity to let go of the negatives, my time at work transformed. And when I decided that I was going to set up my own business when I left my job, there was light at the end of the tunnel. I started to have more fun at work, I was still professional in my conduct and still got my work done, but I had decided that I was really going to do the best job I could at enjoying my last few months there. I’m so glad I did.

And I felt the most amazing relief when I walked out of the office building on 8th June 2012, as I left the Corporate World forever. And most importantly, exactly one week later, I registered my business, Thought Cloud, on 15th June 2012. To celebrate I bought a beautiful Triwa watch, so I would always remember the moment, and to remind me that it was time for a change.

The other interesting part of the song for me is this quote:

“I saw a friend of mine the other day,
And he told me that my eyes were gleamin’.
Oh I said I had been away, and he knew,
Oh he knew the depths I was meanin’.
And it felt so good to see his face,
Or the comfort invested in my soul.
Oh to feel the warmth of a smile,
When he said “I’m happy to have you home.
Ooh I’m happy to have you home.”

Which reminds me of my wonderful friend (and incredibly photographer) Mr Graham Binns, who took my photo when I was back in London last year. We had a fantastic day together and I gave him a good strong pep talk about his photography career too. I had the loveliest message from him when I returned to Australia saying that it was great to see me so happy and that it was awesome that I had found my spiritual home. I don’t think he could have summed up how I was feeling any more perfectly.

So, no matter how tough things might get in life and no matter what is happening right now that seems insurmountable, keep your head up, keep your heart strong. 

P.S.

I’ve just read that Ben was on the nominee list for the Mercury Music Award back in the UK last year, and won 2 Brit Awards for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best Male Solo Artist. Go Ben! You’re doing the West Country proud!

Inspiration for this post:

Ben Howards’ Keep Your Head Up

Ben Howards’ The Fear

Image credit