In 2014 I had a really significant health scare. As a result I made significant changes to my lifestyle that probably saved my live.

I stopped drinking, started exercising and ate better. I lost 30 kg in eight months. I felt better than I had ever felt before.

Five years later and I still don’t drink.  I still exercise most days, but not as much as I would like to and I am careful about what I eat. I have put on a little bit of weight, don’t feel as fit and I have definitely finished 2018 feeling exhausted and run down.

I know I need to make changes in the way I manage my life in order to feel better.

2018 was a great year. I wrote a book, my business really took off and I wrote a lot of blogs that got a heap of great feedback.  I really felt that I had started to build momentum in 2018. But I was working 80 hour weeks on a regular basis to achieve those results and not really managing the small stuff, the admin very well.

I’m a big picture person. My brain goes 100 miles an hour all day every day. I am intuitive and I like to think that I am quite a good problem solver.

But I am terrible at the small stuff; like managing my money and my time.  Ask my accountant and my bookkeeper.

I say yes to nearly everything for fear of not making enough money and I am constantly thinking everyone knows how to run my business better than I do.  So I don’t trust my gut when it comes to business.

I have changed my behaviour before and I am going to do it again in 2019.

This year I will say no. I will trust my own judgment and go for it. This year I will work with my accountant and bookkeeper instead of hiding from them. This year I will learn to value the benefits of spending time in the detail.

So I am restructuring the way I conduct my business.

I am going to focus my energies on running my leadership program Teams That Thrive. I am going to help more people by creating a community that cares about themselves and others – The Thrive Tribe.

We’re going to work together to create a positive workplace, where people feel: –

  • valued,
  • that the rest of the team has their back,
  • trusted
  • Safe
  • And where people will have those tough conversations(because it’s better to know than not know)

I am ready for change; to look after myself and my family better.

Do you want to join me?  

For more information contact me on kate@theconflictcoach.com.au

Last night I had a dream — one of those really clear dreams that I could remember straight away.

It was about Dad.  I was in a big auditorium with him, and there was this big crowd of adults and children.  We had just found out that we had to present to them and we had an hour. I said to Dad, what will we do? And he said, “don’t worry, I’ve got this”.  And he left.

When Dad came back, he told everyone in the room that the first thing they needed to do was to go out and collect these cards with pictures on them. I went out with everyone else. I went into the gardens and found all of these small square cards with pictures of ordinary things on them. There were pictures of flowers on the cards in the garden beds where there were flowers. And suddenly, I realised the flowers in the garden were so beautiful. There were pictures of dirt and gravel on the ground where there was dirt and gravel. Everything looked so much more important now that there was a picture of it.

Everyone was very excited to be collecting pictures of things that they saw and experienced every day. It’s like they saw what was around them all for the first time. There was a lot of chatter and delight.

Then everyone brought their cards back into the auditorium. There was a lot of excitement.  Everyone was so energised. And there on top of the piano that was on the stage of the auditorium was this big pile of cards of ordinary things that people see every day.

And Dad said to me “Look for the ordinary. It’s all around you”.

And I came out of the dream. I felt overwhelmed with emotion. I felt so happy and so inspired by the message.

We don’t need to complicate things. We don’t need fancy theories or language.

We have everything we need. We don’t need to keep looking.  We need to value what we have and find joy in the simple.

Thanks, Dad.

There is nothing like a road trip. We drive to Melbourne to visit family at least once a year. I really enjoy the drive. I find the drive to be incredibly cathartic. The stress just drops away the further we drive.

My husband and I pretty much always stop at the Giant Koala.  We have seen it in its good years and seen it in its pretty run down sad years.

It is part of the journey. It’s also one of our stranger rituals.

We often go and explore landmarks. We go off the beaten track to see what the fuss is about. It takes a bit more time but for us it’s not just about the destination; it’s about the journey.

There was no way, when I was a kid, that my parents would have checked out any landmarks. The fact that we were going on a holiday was enough excitement for them.  We got to our destination as quickly as possible. Holidays were stressful for us as a family; best to get them over and done with.

But Graham and I like to do things differently. We love to explore; to check out the local history. We often stay in one place much longer than most people would think to do so. We like to get to know the people; to really get to know a place.

In life we make choices.  If we are always all about the destination, chances are that we will miss out on the journey.  The journey teaches us so much. It connects us with people, places and experiences. We can apply that learning to help us make better decisions. Decisions that reflect the value of others and different thinking.

I challenge you to think about the journey. To take the time to visit often ignored landmarks or towns. Go off the beaten track and visit the town centre rather than using the by-pass. The world is a glorious place – check it out!

 

My dad said once, “The threat of violence is usually worse than actual violence”.

Living in fear that there might be violence is terrifying, even if there is no personal violence towards you.

My dad told me this as he apologised for all the threats of violence we had experienced throughout our childhood. My dad never hit me, my siblings or my mother but there were many threats of violence.  Dad could blow up very quickly and we would all hide in our rooms. We all believed that being hit was a possibility.

Dad was a three career type of guy.  He was a cattle farmer who had an epiphany and became an Anglican priest, who had an epiphany and became a psychotherapist.

It was in this final iteration that he realised the pain and distress he had accidentally caused us throughout our childhood. He was deeply and genuinely sorry and we were grateful that he recognised how hard it had been. His apology was part of the healing process.

In response to the threats of violence, I spent my a lot of my childhood being good.  Tidying up, keeping my siblings quiet, cooking dinner, doing dishes – whatever was needed to avoid another threat of violence.  We walked on egg shells for much of our formative years.

 

Dad worked from home for most of my childhood. Priests only go to the “office” on Sundays and for other meetings and special occasions.  For a lot of the time he was great; our go to parent. In fact, he was our main parent. He would make us beef and tomato rolls for lunch during school holidays, he would be the one to take us to and from school or sports events.  He fixed punctures in bike tyres and he was the one we hoped would answer the phone when we needed to be picked up or if we needed an adult to help us out. We needed Dad and most of the time he was there for us.

But he was also the one who lost it big time when he came home from a meeting at night and would find mum out of it again; he was the one who sometimes threw furniture, smashed things or punched holes in cupboard doors.

There were many reasons why we never allowed our friends to visit us at home.  The bruised and battered house that we lived in was one of those reasons.

What I know now is that Dad spent most of my childhood being extremely stressed.  Stressed due to the ill health of my mother; stressed because he didn’t have enough income to pay the household bills, stressed because he had four children living in a shoebox.  Stressed because he had a job that required him to be “on” all the time when he was with parishioners; because he was involved in everyone’s lives and had to deal with all of their pain and their problems. He had a huge amount of responsibility to his tribe. It was a really tough time.

I know that a lot of leaders get very stressed at work. They can keep it together at work but sometimes they joke about going home “and kicking the cat” or drinking a bottle or two of red. The people we love the most often see the worst of us, because that is our safe place. We can let it all hang out at home. We put our relationships at risk and we don’t necessarily present the best role model for our children.

If you are really stressed and finding it hard to keep it together at home or at work; then get some help. Find ways to better manage your stress; reduce the workload. Get out for a short walk every day, eat well, exercise and look for ways to better manage your stress.

And if this blog has touched a nerve; please find someone to talk to. It could be your GP, a counsellor or a psychologist. Don’t destroy your personal relationships because of work. It’s not worth it.

I regularly promote self care as a way of looking after your mental health. I encourage the people I work with to put the tools down, to sing their favourite song loudly, walk around the block or to go on a holiday.

I know that by taking time out we are much better able to manage the stresses of life.

I tell the story of how I ended up in hospital with morbidly high blood pressure and how I now have non-negotiables in my life, like getting up really early and going for a run every day

And then all of a sudden my life got ridiculously busy and I started fitting in work instead of going for a run. There weren’t enough hours in a the day and all of a sudden my non-negotiables became negotiable again.

Then something happened that made me stop and reassess my life – once again.

The fly on my favourite pair of jeans broke.

I hadn’t put on much weight (about 4 kg) but I wasn’t as fit as I was a year ago and suddenly all my muscle turned to jelly and BANG! Jeans don’t fit.

So I’m back to my non-negotiables. I am up and running at stupid o’clock every morning again. I forgot how much I enjoy being by myself at that time of day.  I am running (shuffling) again and I’m starting to feel like my old (good) self again.

I’ve got to walk the walk if I’m going to talk the talk.

This week my family is going to celebrate Christmas in July (in June).  It’s an end of financial year Christmas in July extravaganza.

We do it for the fun, the decorations, the bad jumpers, the scrumptious food and the opportunity to get the family together.

It’s become a ritual.  An important event in our family diary.  It’s got bigger and better every year.

Ritual and celebration are so important. They provide an opportunity to build relationships, to acknowledge the value of those relationships, to enjoy each other’s company, to just have fun.

What are your rituals? How do you enjoy each other’s company? How do you create opportunities for fun?

All work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull person.  You don’t want that.

 

As I have previously admitted – I have to admit that I have been very rude to people who knock on my door trying to sell me energy, food or their brand of religion.

This is particularly so when they knock on the door during a week day.

I do a lot of my work from home. I am often on the phone to clients who are distressed or who are telling me their life story. They need my full attention and I need a quiet environment.

I also have two dogs, Doug and Margaret. They are small dogs (don’t judge).  They get very excited if someone comes to the front door. (Please no emails telling me to train my dogs better – I know, I know).

So from time to time, someone knocks on the door. There is a whirlwind of activity and noise; my phone call and my concentration is disrupted. And I arrive at the front door with a bad attitude and things go downhill from there.

And I am completely to blame for this situation.

One – I have two dogs that get over-excited and I haven’t trained them to not react.

Two – I choose to work from home so I should expect that people are going to knock on the door; and

Three – I have done nothing to stop people knocking on my door.

Once upon a time I did create a sign that said “I am working. Please do not knock on the door unless you are bringing me a delivery of something I ordered online” or words to that effect. I never put that sign up.

But I should put up a sign; I should create that boundary. I should give anybody coming to the house during the day the heads up that I don’t want to be disturbed and that I am not interested in anything you have to sell me. Then I don’t have to be disturbed and they don’t have to waste their time knocking on my door just to be told “no thank you”. 

I cannot complain about people knocking on my door if I am not prepared to do something about it.

Today is Georgie’s birthday. Georgie is my daughter. She is a wonderful young adult in the prime of her life.

Georgie has taught me more about love than anyone else in my life.

Georgie has, over the years, pushed my buttons in ways that no-one else ever has.

I have spent an extraordinary amount of time worrying about her; being frustrated with her and also for her.

We have fought a lot. There have been so many tears. We’ve had to apologize to each other a lot.

We’ve gone in to bat for each other. Celebrated each other’s successes.

We’ve gone on long long walks and barely spoken.

We’ve holidayed together overseas and not seen the same things.

We’ve been disappointed in each other. Not understood each other.

We have joyously climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge together.

We’ve spent hours in doctor’s surgeries and hospital together.

We have sold her art together.

We have lived and loved and cried and experienced a lot of life together.

But what has made it special and sometimes so incredibly challenging is that Georgie has Aspergers (and epilepsy).

She doesn’t see or experience the world the way I do.

She challenges the way I think and experience life all the time. It is such a wonderful gift and I am so grateful to her for helping me and our entire family be so more tolerant of difference.

Thank you George. I love you.