Do you know, I’m pretty fond of my life right now. I work with people who are keen to make change in their lives, who are motivated and to really want to let go of the stuff that holds them back to make room for more of the things that give them joy pleasure and purpose.
But quite often, if people hear about my life, my working arrangements, and how I use my time, they say things like “oh you’re lucky, I couldn’t do that.” Or “I wish I could do that”. When they heard about me running a retreat in Bali, they said things like “Lucky you! I can do that.”
My reply is “you can, but you just haven’t chosen to yet.”
Some of the people who say things like thess have dealt with enormous adversity in their lives and have made amazing changes to start to move away from that and let go of the impact of such difficult events. But somewhere deep down, they haven’t quite gotten to the point of believing that they are able to let go, and truly create a life they love. There are lots of reasons for this:
Whilst all of these points are valid factors to take into account when planning a change in your life, they are not reasons to stop you from working towards a life you want. My own experience tells me that. Many years ago I went through a difficult and traumatic divorce, and as a result suffered severe depression and had to seek help in being able to keep my own children. But with some expert help, I rebuilt my life, returned to my career and found joy again in being a good mother to my children.
I recognised that in order to do the parenting thing the best I could as a single parent, I needed more flexibility and autonomy in my working life. So took a big deep breath, and left paid employment to start my own business. 17 years later here I am, working for myself and loving it, long after my children have left home and are creating their own lives.
As well is making my own changes, in my past counselling practice, I assisted many people to envisage and then take the steps to create new and vibrant lives that bring them joy, purpose and passion in everyday life.
The challenges can be overcome or reinvented when creating a life you love. When you are ready to decide that’s what you go to do, you will really want to do it and will be prepared to take the steps to get there, even when the going gets tough. And I can be there to help you do that.
Want to know more? Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org for a complementary 30 minute discovery session and we can chat about that may be possible for you.
Do you celebrate special birthdays? I recently had a round number birthday, and for the first time in 20 years, I decided to have a proper party. You know the kind – invitations, food, music, and entertainment at a place other than home where I would do all the work.
One of the most wonderful parts of my birthday was reading the cards I received and the messages they conveyed. I received a card from a relative I don’t see very often who lives far away and is a member of my former husband’s family. Despite all that, we get on well.
She wrote a beautiful card outlining why she valued our friendship and I will treasure it always. It also included this wonderful quote and I sought her permission to share it with you.
It is from a book from James Kavanaugh called, “There are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves”.
I included the quote here:
“Some people do not have to search, they find their niche early in life and rest there, seemingly contented and resigned. They do not seem to ask much of life, sometimes they do not seem to take it seriously. At times I envy them, but I usually do not understand them. Seldom do they understand me.
I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand.
We like to walk long the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mastery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well.
Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter.
We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we want to love and be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wanderings, not prevent our search, not lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or to compete for love.
We are wanderers, dreamers and lovers, we are lonely men and women who dare ask of life everything good and beautiful. We are too gentle to live among wolves.”
As I read this quote, I realised she had recognised me. It describes ME.
For me, it is essential to keep searching, not from a restless never satisfied kind of way, but from an always wanting to learn and better myself motivation.
Who are you? A searcher, or content with how you are right now? I suspect if you have read this far, you are a searcher. Be proud of your search, because life is an adventure to be explored and discovered. You can only grow from the experience.
Looking through some old files, I found this blog post that I wrote last year – but didn’t post.
However, the message is still relevant.
My 22-year old daughter is a student, and has just returned last year from overseas where she studied on exchange in Amsterdam. Those of you who know Amsterdam recognise that it is the capital of bicycles transport. She used a bike as her primary means of transport for several months.
On arrival, my daughter returned to using bicycle transport. Sadly, she got involved in an accident with a car a week after arriving. Fortunately, she only suffered minor injuries and was okay, but badly shaken.
After a week, my daughter made the decision to get back on her bike, because she doesn’t want to become scared of riding her bike. She is facing her fear and moving forward!
Do you have fears that keep you immobilised? Are there things that happened to you that keep you from being able to do all you want, in the ways you want?
Fear is an emotion that can rob you of choice, freedom and autonomy.
IF YOU LET IT.
Often the fear is firmly entrenched in your mind, enlarged by the stories and meanings you attach to it, stemming from the past, and not always based in the current reality. Over time, it can grow in your mind, and move away from the thing that actually set up the fear in the first place. Yet, it can be very powerful, and can leave you feeling powerless and unable to move.
When you are stuck in fear, anxiety increases and this in turn compounds the feeling of being unable to move or take action.
Marianne Williamson said in her book, A Return to Love (and was quoted by Nelson Mandela),
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
If you have a fear or belief that stops you from living the life you want, then the way forward is to face the fear, and overcome the things that immobilise you. Recognising that most often, the fear is a story you have created for yourself means that you can rewrite the message or story for yourself, and allow space and freedom to move forward.
Life is for living, not hiding behind the fear of what MIGHT happen. Most often, you can choose what happens, and by facing your fears, you can take small steps to gain confidence and rebuild your skills and abilities.
My daughter got back on her bike, and chose a bike path away from the cars. It was a good safe choice, which built her confidence. Your choice can be a small step towards the outcome you want. Make it so small, that you actually can’t NOT do it.
What can you do to face and liberate your fears and get back on your bike?
Do you ever find that a past negative experience can make you fearful of ever trying that same thing again? Maybe it’s time to get back on your bike.
It is an unusual day when I don’t think about the things I have on my bucket list or how I could ramp things up in my life to do them better, more easily or with greater satisfaction. Only this morning, I have been thinking about how to get my knee working better to enable me to travel more easily to explore the world. After all, travel is my passion.
Quite often, we dismiss this thinking as day dreaming; but should we be so quick to dismiss these things that could bring joy and meaning to our lives?
Change is a constant in my life and rather than shy away from it, I try to embrace it.
Many times I have encouraged clients to reflect, dream and embrace the possibility of change and reinvention. Not for the sake of change, but to enhance their lives through fulfilment and participation.
Do you dream of travelling to New York or Brazil (or wherever is on YOUR bucket list)? Have you toyed with idea of walking away from that job you hate and writing a book? Maybe you’ve always wanted to paint, but someone laughed at your efforts twenty years ago and have denied yourself this pleasure ever since. You may even feel desperate to get out of a negative relationship that’s been holding you back for far too long.
Midlife; that time in your forties and fifties (or even beyond) is a time of change and transition. We so often hear about the “midlife crisis” which seems to herald loss and decline, but for many women it is not so much a crisis as a time of transition where roles and relationships change. There can be grief at the loss of what was and trepidation as to what will be.
This realization may be a gradual awakening that life could be more than what it currently is or it can be the result of a particular event, such as a separation, children leaving the family home or caring for an aging parent.
I reframe this transition phase as an opportunity for Midlife Reinvention, and I’ve been actively engaged in the process for almost 20 years! For me it was prompted by the unexpected and shattering end of my marriage – while painful, the process has been ultimately very positive and empowering. I would not be the woman I am today if I was still in that marriage.
Yes, transition and reinvention can be daunting, but also, ultimately, empowering and incredibly liberating. It can be much harder on your own, so if possible, having a support team around you cushions the ride and can spur you on to greater things. You don’t need to resign from your job, move to France or leave your marriage to reinvent yourself, but some action is required.
If you would like to embrace midlife with a group of like-minded women, then consider joining me from 5-10 June when I will be hosting a retreat in beautiful Bali which I have titled “Relax, Restore, Renew and Reinvent”.
In this serene, natural environment, there will be opportunities to re-evaluate your life choices, identify your passions, embrace your dreams and emerge with a new vision filled with excitement and possibility.
If you have been asking yourself, is this all there is, my answer is a resounding “NO!”
Find meaning in your life, and unlock the doors of possibility.
More information here: www.andreafisher.com.au/bali
In this serene, natural environment, there will be opportunities to re-evaluate your life choices, identify your passions and embrace your dreams.
I am delighted you have to join to take a day out of your busy life just for you. We will spend the day in beautiful surroundings, with great company, delicious food and nourish not only our bodies, but our hearts and minds.
Cost for the day is as follows:
1 person - $97
2 people, who pay at the same time - $150
Wow, what a great reason to bring a deserving friend or relative.
Welcome to 2017!
It’s great to know we all transitioned safely into the New Year, either with a bang, or slithering quietly, in a manner with a little less fanfare. No matter how you entered 2017, we are now fully into the year and possibly back into our responsibilities and routines.
So, are you doing anything different this year? Did you set resolutions? Lots of people say to me that they don’t set resolutions because they are a waste of time. By 5 January they have had another cigarette, stopped going to the gym (if they even started), or eat that food they swore never to pass their lips again!
I agree! Resolutions are a waste of breath. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t determine to do things differently. After all most of us want to become better versions of ourselves, but the challenge is knowing how to do it successfully. There are lots of theories: Danielle La Porte talks about setting goals in alignment with how you want to feel. Others mention SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time linked) while still others including me prioritise the 3 most important things for the day.
If you want to make change, and often associate big change with the New Year, then there are a few key steps:
1. Recognise that you want change because you are not satisfied with how things are now and that you can be a better version of yourself.
2. Identify your big WHY. Why do you want to make change? Do you want to give up smoking so that you will be around to enjoy your grandchildren? Lose 10 kilos so you have more energy to complete that bushwalk you have always wanted to do? Change for change’s sake rarely lasts. Link it to an important reason and you are less likely to fall by the wayside as you have a strong motivator.
3. How do you want to feel? Identify the feeling you want to achieve and link your goal to that. Achieving your goal becomes the means of creating the feeling. (Danielle La Porte)
4. Make sure your goals are in alignment with your values. If somethings is not in line with what you values, or is in contradiction with your values – you are guaranteed to sabotage it!
5. Make a plan. Work out HOW you will go about making the change. Thinking you will do it and taking the steps are 2 very different things. Baby steps are usually more successful – regular consistent action, just like the hare and the tortoise story normally gets you to where you want to be.
6. Enlist a buddy. Mutual support works wonders! Accountability is fantastic! Doing things alone is always harder than with the support and encouragement of another person.
7. If you have a backwards slip, don’t give up! Up and downward slides are part of the deal and totally normal. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going. When you have made some progress, look back and see how far you have come – and congratulate yourself. Positive reinforcement is vital.
If you want to make change, then try these steps today to move closer to meaningful change that is likely to last.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Join my One Day Retreat on 5 February about How to Create Soul Goals that will give your Purpose and Meaning for 2017. More information click here:
Are you sitting on the fence?
When looking at new information or committing to new activities, it’s easy to sit back and watch a while before you decide. Hence the saying, “I’m sitting on the fence”. This is used in the context that you are watching until you gather enough information to decide, choose or follow-up on an opportunity. While that can be good and may avoid hasty decisions and mistakes, some people get stuck on the fence despite a plethora of information and simply can’t decide.
Are you sitting on the fence?
Fence sitters sit back and watch.
Fence sitters wait for definitive information to decide.
Fence sitters sometimes expect other people to provide all they need to act.
Fence sitters can fear making a mistake.
Fence sitters like everything to be perfect and have all their ducks lined up before they move.
There are lots disadvantages of staying on the fence. What if your ducks never line up? You may never decide and your procrastination usually leads to increased anxiety and a sense of a lack of achievement. There is little reward in getting nowhere. The fear of getting things wrong can mean you never start and if you never start, you can never finish or achieve. Oh, and finally, sitting on the fence can become very uncomfortable!
It is important to take action and even to get it wrong occasionally. That’s how YOU learn and gain experience. If you have led a sheltered life and never made a mistake, how do you learn what to do in a new situation? Making mistakes is incredibly valuable because you can understand more clearly what doesn’t work in a particular situation, adjust your response and do it better next time. Coming back from mistakes and trying again builds resilience and resilience keeps you going when the going gets tough.
If you’re scared about making mistakes here are a few clues on how to decide and be satisfied with it:
1. Be aware of what your priorities are and how they fit with your values. If you don’t make a decision that is in alignment with what you values then you will never feel satisfied with the choice you make.
2. Know what you want. What outcome are you expecting or hoping for? Does your choice take you closer to your desired outcome or further away? If it takes you closer say yes, if not decline gracefully.
3. Get specific about your options. Write down exactly what your choices are and remember there are always more choices than you think, so be creative.
4. Stop “shoulding” yourself! Deciding on the basis of “I should do XYZ” is never a good idea. Choose what is right for you and not what someone else says you should do.
5. Decide which option lines up best with your priorities and values. Make a conscious choice rather than a default choice.
6. Checking with yourself and ask, “if I’d make this choice and act on it how will I feel? How will I feel about not doing the other?”
7. Decide, then act! In the words of that famous book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!
8. Afterwards, evaluate your decision and congratulate yourself for getting off the fence!