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Trusting in my self today

21 Jun

Written by Kirri White.  Follow me on twitter or facebook.

You can also contact me by email –  kirri@happymumsathome.com

This post is part of the #trust30 writing initiative, inspired by Ralph Waldo Emersons “Self-reliance” that encourages you to look within and trust yourself.

You can find further details regarding the challenge here.

Writing prompt by Author Jen Louden

We live in a society of advice columns, experts and make-over shows. Without even knowing it, you can begin to believe someone knows better than you how to live your life. Someone might know a particular something better – like how to bake a three-layer molten coconut chocolate cake or how to build a website – but nobody else on the planet knows how to live your life better than you. (Although one or two people may think they do.) For today, trying asking yourself often, especially before you make a choice, “What do I know about this?”

Today is a message of heart-felt thanks to all my readers for your ongoing support, kind words and valuable feedback.

I’m extra grateful for your support during the past couple of weeks where I have been preoccupied with the Ralph Waldo Emerson Trust 3o writing challenge.

After spending half of the night huddled up in bed with Ms. Insomnia and ideas flitting through my head in a mad stream, I decided that today will be my last post for the #trust30 challenge.

Convenient because todays prompt highlights the importance of self-trust and self-knowledge.

Things I have been reminded of as a result of participating in this challenge:

  • Honest self-reflection is vital for personal growth and improving clarity and focus
  • Writing is a fantastic creative outlet that can be used to explore places long forgotten or previously uncovered
  • Commitment to the process of writing is important to me but completing a writing challenge just for the sake of it is not.
  • Creativity begets creativity
  • The importance of not confusing pleasure with happiness and income with impact.
  • Dreams can easily become attainable goals with an action plan, an open mind and a determined spirit

Some positive actions directly related to the undertaking of this project:

  • I have connected with some amazing new people and been inspired by some fierce writers.
  • I have a whole heap of ideas bouncing round which I can’t wait to cultivate.
  • I’ve made a few bold moves of my own that have pushed me that much closer to attaining my personal and business goals for the year (more on this very soon!)

On a final note….I am very excited to announce that I have a new website coming!

My business website and blog will all be located at the one adress  http://happymumsathome.com – within the week.

Keep watching this space and, as always…

Have a happy day!

~Kirri

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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How champagne and a friend like Lucy can lead to kick-ass inspiration!

27 Apr

I had a different blog post ready to go today. One I had painstakingly pored over, edited and re-edited.  Then something major happened.   I spent three hours with my friend Lucy over a lovely champagne brunch and was so inspired that I had to write about it….today.

I’m warning you now that this is a ‘write and hit publish’ piece.  There will be no well-researched ideas and possibly even a few typos or ill-chosen words.  Sometimes you just have to run with it.

A bit of background for you- Lucy and I have been friends for over 10 years.  We met in a particularly classy joint (for the Gold Coast) and I’m pretty sure Lucy was fresh off the school bus!

I remember her as a fun, friendly, naturally gorgeous and unaffected femme with a light-bulb smile and heart to match.  Someone you liked instantly.

We shared in a good six months of epic fun with a large group of mutual friends.  Following that, life took us on separate paths and adventures and for several years we had little contact, other than the usual social media exchanges.

Like many friendships, ours had been one firmly planted in ‘good times’. We actually knew very little about each other – never talked about our dreams, fears and passions or what as a coach, I now refer to as the “real “stuff. Yeah, the bravado of youth had something to do with it but that doesn’t mean those things didn’t exist.  Being vulnerable was a road we either consciously or unconsciously chose not to venture down.

This week, that changed.

Our conversation scratched beneath the surface and in three hours we learnt more about what really mattered than in the ten years prior.  We shared our goals, passions, mind-blocks and secret business ideas. Furthermore, we learnt that not only could we support each other – we had mad skillz that could be used for mutual benefit!

I came away feeling motivated, energized, and inspired.

A real life example of how a few words of encouragement and talking over heart-felt desires can reaffirm and stir that belly-fire.

Freakin’ love that feeling, right?

 

Get real

Made me think though.

How many times do we ask friends how their lives or jobs are going, just because that’s what we do?  Much like a perfunctory kiss – we do it out of habit, devoid of any real intention.

How’s work going?  Still at the same place yeah?  What are you up to this weekend?

Often, it’s one of the first things we learn about one another…a piece of information we quickly process and hand out later, to indicate we know the person by what they ‘do’

He works for a bank.

She takes care of the kids at home……

They’re both travelling round South America, taking pictures of native bird species…or something.

Who really cares right?

Me? Not so much.

I do, however, want to know what you like to do for fun, what instrument you regretfully stopped playing when you were ten and the top five places you want to travel to before you die.

I’m even more intrigued to hear about the exciting possibilities that keep you awake at night….the stuff you have been pondering for the past three years but haven’t had the guts to share with anyone – just in case you don’t end up doing it.

Why do we keep all that brilliant stuff inside anyway?

Are we scared we are going to be judged or laughed at?  Or, are we scared to step out and shine?

Do yourself a favour now.  Stop asking friends, family and even acquaintances about their job and start finding out what their real story is.

Start sharing your real story while you are at it.

We all have a talent, purpose or message to share with the world.  We all want an opportunity to shine.

So get busy sharing that special stuff with those that matter.  You never know where it may lead to.

                                                                        

Surround yourself with positive, passionate people

Much like my champagne soiree with Lucy; sometimes all it takes is the right opportunity and inclination to ‘get deep.’

I’ve written before about how people are wired to desire connection.

The world is run off relationshipsFriends, family and even acquaintances provide a veritable buffet of wisdom, skills and encouragement.  Readily available and often untapped.

You get to choose your network so stick with the peeps that will lift your game, expect the best and deliver the most.

In short:

– Surround yourself with positive, passionate people.  They will help change your reality.

– Be genuine and vulnerable. See the possibility in others and share that belief in one another.

– Success is not mutually exclusive. By helping others with their dreams, we breathe possibility into our own.

– Your success equals my success.

Is it pure chance that I got exactly what I needed at this point and time, delivered right to my door step?

I don’t believe so.

Perhaps it was just our time to really connect.  Maybe the champagne enabled the conversation to flow that bit easier.

All I know for sure is that I am extremely grateful for friends like Lucy…and bubbles.

~ Kirri

Don’t forget to share  your own stories of encouragement and inspiration in the comments and please share the love by hitting the facebook or twitter buttons!

Is it the pursuit of excellence or the journey that matters most?

12 Apr

Written by Kirri White

When I received my first report of straight A’s at the tender age of eight – I recall my dad reacting with pride and jubilance.  In some way, the diminutive column of letters reflected his own achievement and were unanimous proof that I had been listening to all of his routine pep talks:

“Practice makes perfect.”

“The early bird gets the worm.”

“Whatever the mind can conceive, man can achieve.”

“Never give up.  Embrace the positive.  Whatever you resist will persist.”

“No matter what, you are a survivor.”

These are just some of the quotations that my dad used to regularly impart to me and my three siblings from a very young age. Sometimes they would come off the back of something celebratory such as when my older sister won a school cross-country run and dad firmly decided that she was now a professional athlete in the making.  Occasionally, they would also come when one of us had a less than stellar performance and were in need of assurance or a virtual shove to persevere.

Most of the time, I soaked up these references with the typical adulation of a true daddys’ girl.  As a teen, I occasionally resented them.  Whatever the case, I soon had his favourites firmly committed to memory and used to find it extremely amusing to mimic them back in silly voices (in my head only of course!)

From what I could ascertain, my fathers’ sayings seemed to follow a similar vein.

Life was all about striving to do your best, reaching for the stars, and never ever giving up.  I learned early on, at least in the metaphysical sense that I could excel at just about anything through sheer hard work and determination.

The problem lay with my dad being equally fond of referencing quotes that were fixed at the opposite end of the spectrum

“Life is all about the journey.”

“It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.”

“This is your journey and you will carve your own path.  Just don’t forget to notice the signs and rainbows along the way.”

It all got to be a little bemusing after a while.  I felt like he was telling me to strive for excellence but to also ensure my life was one big yoga retreat!

This philosophical puzzle was further compounded by my reading. Some books would have messages about giving life your all, reaching for the stars and striving to be your best and then others would recommend slowing down to smell the roses and living life purely for the moment.

So which one is it?
Is life, in essence, the dogged pursuit of achievement and self-actualised potential?  Or is it about the meandering trail of memories and special moments that we, as individuals are required to pause and suck up?

Robin Sharma, who speaks on success and leadership refers to ‘“ambidextrous leadership” as a way of explaining the need to effectively balance the sometimes opposing roles of a leader.

For example – A great leader is rational and logical, making sound and sometimes difficult decisions. But a champion leader is also a humanitarian – someone who understands and celebrates the heart of people.

Sharma espouses the same approach to life.

The essence of life lies not in the execution but in the balance.

Now, maybe I’m a bit of a slow learner, but this was my ‘Ya-ha’ moment for the week.

Life is all about balance and the complex symmetry of making it happen with letting it happen.

How do we balance work with family?  How do we strive to afford ourselves and our families the material luxuries in life while also living lives with greater connection and meaning?

How do we be the best that we can be while at the same time appreciating each step on our climb?

How do we counter moments of playfulness and frivolity with the seemingly endless and often burdensome responsibilities of being an adult and a parent?

How about the desire to be a decent and dare I say ‘nice’ person, without being taken advantage of or seen as lesser or weaker than?

My message for today and the advice my dad was trying to instill in me all those years is simple –

Make your plans, strive to achieve all your goals but don’t be so busy striving that you miss out on the climb.  Work hard AND play hard.

Always give it your best shot but don’t forget to capture those precious Kodak moments.

Play your best game and have fun doing it.

Be nice but firm.

Be someone your kids want to hang with but also know how to instill boundaries and make some of the less popular decisions.

Look at your life and aim for balance.  I know, it’s not particularly profound but often the beauty really does lie in the simplicity.

My only wish is that I had the opportunity to tell my dad that I finally get it.

He was a legend.

What valuable lessons have you learned from your parents?

How do you practice achieving balance in your life?

~ Kirri

Why thinking and living like a kid can lead to a happier, more successful life.

25 Feb

Last week, I was confronted by the identical challenge I face every time I attempt to make pasta sauce. 

No, not the fact that I would need to bury the empty jar deep in the recycling bin, to avoid the meaningful looks directed my way by cheffy husband – who can never understand why I don’t just whip up my own sauce.  Pfft.It is the dance of trial and tribulation that ensues every time I attempt to take the top off the jar.  Bloody impossible!! 

I twist it both ways, wringing until my hands are as pink as my face. I then use a tea towel in an effort to assist sweaty sore hands, run the jar under cold, then hot water, bang it on the granite bench and as a last resort mutter a few not-so-niceties about the jar making machine having been designed by some puny-female-hating mean man!

As my efforts become more desperate, I notice one of my darling twin daughters silently observing me.  Approaching me quietly, she places a reassuring hand on my leg (being far too mini to reach my shoulder) and speaks to me with knowing calmness –

“It’s ok mummy. You can do it. I know you can. You just have to believe in yourself.”

How cute is she?  The cutest. Of course.              

I couldn’t help but recognise the familiar words of positive persuasion, borrowed from Winx Club.  Winx Club is an animated Italian television series which we discovered in Canada two years ago.  It follows the adventures of a girl Bloom and her fairy friends, on earth and the Magical Dimension.  Our whole family loves it.  We have taken on individual fairy personas (yes even daddy) and like to spout the theme song, regularly –

Close your eyes,
and open your heart.
Believe in yourself,
that’s how it starts.
Dreams will come true,
just wait and see
Cause the Magic’s in you,
and the magic’s in me!

 Anyway, it got me thinking (in addition to the fact that I really must increase my weights in pump class); about the magical way children view the world.  More specifically, the manner in which their behavior is a timely reminder on how to be more relaxed and present in our lives. 

And so, I present you with the following list of tips for successful living that I have garnered from my children.  Yes, although my girls are aged 4 and 6 – they are budding experts in the area of positive psychology.  Just ask them.   

The list is in no particular order but I dare you to live like a child for a day, or a week, and see how things pan out.  If you don’t feel like you are experiencing more fun, passion, learning and connection with the important people and priorities in your life, you are quite welcome to come and kick my ass!  Well, not mine actually, but my girls.  This is their list after all and I am merely the messenger.

  • Believe in yourself.  Children don’t place limits on themselves the way adults do. They live in a world where anything is possible and nothing cannot be conjured up with a little imagination.  They are fearless and like to take risks.  Tell them they can’t do something and you know they will attempt it, just to prove you wrong.  Don’t doubt yourself before you have even started. Just do it! 

 

  •  Children are passionate, curious creatures.  Be hungry for knowledge and learning like your children.  Ask questions and research the answers in books or the internet. Learn something new every day. Even if it’s a new word or an idea you have been pondering for years.  Knowledge is power and just imagine how powerful your brain will be in a year after absorbing 365 new words or ideas.  You then get to share that knowledge with your kids – plus you will feel a whole lot smarter.

 

  •  Be authentic and genuine.  Children generally see the best in you. They love you unconditionally.  The only masks they wear are those adorned by princesses and super-heroes.  Be yourself. Like yourself.  Respect yourself.  Easy to say and sometimes difficult to do but in the long term, you will feel better inside and people warm to what’s real.

 

  •  Children are open to, and great at, forming relationships. Take them to the park and when you leave 30 minutes later, they are frantically waving farewell to their new ‘bestie’.  Be friendly to the people you meet. Chat with the cashier at your local supermarket and mean it when you say “Have a happy day.” Make eye contact with the other parents at school and smile at your neighbours or people you pass on the street.  Yes, some will think you are a bit of a weirdo but so what….Even if they don’t smile back the first time, I guarantee they will have a better day. Smiles are infectious and they feel good for all parties involved.

 

  • Start your day early and with the gusto of a kid!  Exercise and be energetic. You are allowed to have a cup of coffee first but as you do, smile and ponder over something fun you intend to do today and then make sure you do it!         

         

  • Persist!  Kids are persistent and tenacious. They don’t give up easily.  “Mummy can I have this? “Mummy can I have this? Now can I have it?” Yes, it’s annoying sometimes, but also valuable in a world where after a while, we just start accepting “No” and stop asking for what we really want.

 

  • Children like to touch, explore, observe every detail and inspire connection.  Stop seeing things from the same old and tired perspective.  That’s how our work and personal lives get in ruts – we only see what we are accustomed to and ignore the rest. Remember how you took in every aspect of a new building or face the first time you saw it as a child?  Try and do that as much as possible. You will undoubtedly feel more alert and alive. You may even regain appreciation for something or someone you have been taking for granted.

 

  •  Finally – Celebrate your successes no matter how small.  Every step you take towards learning, creating a positive environment, or mastering a task that has been eluding you for months, indicates growth and progress.  “You learnt how to catch a ball today?  That’s freaking fabulous.”  Tomorrow, world domination!

It’s not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.  ~Joyce Maynard

Why 2011 is the year to just do it!

9 Jan

2011 is my year.  No it’s not some psychic, astronomy or astrology thang.

I just feel it in my bones – so whole-heartedly that I wake up most mornings with a self assured spring in my grand jeté and a little surge of adrenaline that is only half-caffeine fueled.  Call it blind faith or the culmination of self belief due to a long period of diligence, discipline and a healthy dose of self-doubt. I’m in the game this year and I’m here to win it.

As a coach and a friend, my ears prick up and my heart sinks a little bit, whenever I listen to the excuses of people who are not living their lives hard out.  As a mother, I take note when my kids whine about something they just can’t do.

“Let’s just see about that honey.”  “Do you want to do it together the first time?  Do you need some help?  Or should I just throw you in the pool to prove that you really are born to swim?”

Confucius says ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with the single step’.  A simple message that is perhaps so simple that many of us do not take heed.  

I say – be bold. Do the research.  Connect with what makes you excited and a little bit scared and then you will know you are on the right track. Take baby steps and you will be amazed at what you learn along your path.  Soon enough, that mountain will be scaled and trodden over with a skip.  You don’t have to do it all today but just start. Set some goals, break them down into bite sized chunks and take a leap of faith!  Share your goals with a friend and ask them to keep you accountable. The confidence that blooms from just doing it today will propel you forward for months to come.

Don’t be one of those “I wish I had of” people. Start shining now.                                                                           

I am.  I’m stepping up and out.  I’m doing it and it would be really nice if you would join me, because, frankly, it’s a little bit scary out here.

Have a happy day!

Living the Dream while Raising a Family

3 Jan

When I became a parent for the first time in 2004, I had little idea as to how much my world would change. You would think that a gestation period of nine months, a relentless desire to consume every leading birth and parenting book published in Australia, and a supportive, loving partner, would keep one in reasonable stead for parenthood.  Think again!

While I was forewarned about the loss of sleep, the re-direction of focus from myself to another human being and the need for a more restrained social life; I had not expected the all-consuming feelings of love, worry, guilt and at times, isolation.  Nor was I prepared for the painful loss of my wonderful father to that ugly disease cancer, just three months prior to having my daughter.  The intense grief was a lonely path that few of my friends had experienced and even fewer wished to acknowledge.  My guess is that it was just too confronting.  While my daily life seemed to be turning into a repetitious existence comparable to Groundhog Day, everyone around me seemed to be travelling at warp speed.  Life after the death of a loved one really does go on (at least for the unaffected around you), and that observation, hit me hard.

My new work environment (home) and the lack of consistent daily contact with friends and colleagues lead me to a lonely and confusing place where my feelings of positive self-identity morphed and eroded.  Now, when I looked in the mirror, I found myself unsteadied by the image of a newer version of me – one that I did not always recognise or feel comfortable with.

It seems that other people also had trouble recalling the old me.  Friendships were neglected or threatened by the fact that I was no longer readily available for late night outings or spontaneous adventures abroad.  I no longer received the Thursday night shout outs to see what was going down on the weekend, nor did I have personal work dramas to commiserate over with my fellow comrades. My invisibility as an individual became glaringly apparent a few years and a set of perfect twins later, when I questioned one of my husband’s friends about how he had fared in a recent job interview.  His response “Oh I think I nailed it! I knew all the answers to the questions they asked me. It would be like someone asking you about being a mum – it’s all you have ever really known so it was pretty easy.”

Ouch!  As I sat there with what I hoped was an encouraging smile on my face, my internal voice screamed something along the lines of like “Excuse me?! I have two degrees, have travelled to at least 10 countries having all sorts of life changing experiences, had considerable professional success in a range of areas, a passion for learning new things and a wardrobe of skinny jeans and high heels and I am not, (repeat NOT) JUST a mummy!”

Fast forward to almost 7 years of being “just” a mummy and I have to admit that it has only been the past three years or so that I have readily embraced the term.  Being a parent does not define all of who I am but it’s definitely my most important role. I have never worked harder at something, learnt so much about human psychology and physiology, or experienced such intense joys.

This blog reflects my personal journey to becoming a ‘happy mum at home’.  It is also a place where I will share valuable resources and information on how I choose daily to “live the dream while raising a family”.  As a parent, success coach and more importantly a human being, I believe I am a lot like you.

I strive to live a life beyond mediocrity, a life of greatness that is measured by the amount I live, love and learn. While I do not profess to have all the answers, I might just have some of them – garnered through a lot of study, research, reading, beta-testing, and numerous moments of frustration and despair!

So, as I welcome you to my blog, I also thank you in advance for your comments and sharing of experience.  I hope you enjoy it and find something of relevance to your life.

You can check out my business services at website  follow me on twitter    like me lots on facebook or email me at kirri@happymumsathome.com.

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