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Month April 2014

A Bit on the Side

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You might know it as moonlighting. That work that we do after hours. A side project that fulfils our need to create something for ourselves. Perhaps it’s a hobby. Perhaps it’s a second job. Perhaps it’s building a business. After all, with the technology we have today it’s never been easier.

Time and time again it’s become glaringly apparent to me how important that bit on the side is. The way I see it, the need for multiple streams of income is no longer an option, but a complete necessity. And it’s because everything is changing so rapidly. Whole industries can vanish overnight. And if you’ve got all your eggs in the one basket, you’re gone.

Last weekend we enjoyed the fruits of somebody else’s labour.  After all, those who know me know I’m going vegetarian. Well, in this instance it was fruit actually. Mostly grapes. Without their skins or flesh. Just the juice. Fermented for easy digestion of course. And it came about because four friends, having a beer after work some years ago wondered if they could build a wine business on the side. Didn’t know if it would work. Didn’t know if it would make money. But they decided to give it a go anyway. To build something for themselves beyond their day jobs. Something outside the world of teaching and plumbing.

A decade and a half later and they’re taking out medals. And yes, they sacrificed (a lot of) nights and weekends. And yes, it took blood, sweat and probably many tears. But fifteen years down the track they’ve built something worthwhile for themselves.

Something that reflects their creative energy.

Something to give them more than just a pension in retirement.

Something that has given them that sense of fulfillment we all crave.

I reckon looking back they’d feel pretty good about that decision to give it a go. Because pursuing their passion has paid big dividends.

So what’s your passion?

Where could it take you?

The Butterfly Effect

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Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil, set off a tornado in Texas?

For the uninitiated, this is the question that defines the Butterfly Effect.  How a seemingly insignificant action can influence a large-scale future event.

Pretty incredible thought, huh.

But is it?

After all, back in 1886, the simple curiosity of an Atlanta pharmacist led him to create a new soft drink. Today, Cocoa Cola Amatil is worth hundred’s of millions of dollars.

While some years ago a young lawyer could see a better future for his people. Never giving up on his vision, Nelson Mandela defied the odds and turned a country on its head.

Back here in the office only a month ago, our Angela made the decision to train part-time in an industry she’d only dreamed about. Now she’s working in 5 star hotels and with high-end weddings. And she’s loving it.

Isn’t it incredible how everything starts with a single thought, or step or action. And we never know how far reaching any one of these will be.

So the choice is yours.

You can sit there only dreaming about how you want things to be.

 

And you may not go anywhere.

Or you can take little steps in the direction of your dreams. Little steps that may not seem significant at first. And then one day, looking back, you might just be surprised by the greatness of what you have achieved.

All it takes is one action every day.

That’s a massive 365 actions every year.

And that’s significant, isn’t it.

So how much closer to your dream will you be this time next year?

This is your life. Your future starts now.

What are you going to do with it?

Getting some perspective

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Listening to the news is bittersweet. While I love to stay on top of the latest and greatest, there are the stories that break my heart.

Take this week’s tragedy. Two young boys found wandering on the highway after seeing their dad killed by a train. To know such pain at only 5 and 6 years of age. Who knows how they will process the trauma of that.

What I do know is that they will never be the same again.

And it puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it. You know, those first world problems we all worry about. They pale into insignificance, don’t they. And as painful as it can be to hear these stories, if we stop to process the gravity of what other’s have to deal with, it can help us to be so much more appreciative of all that is right in our lives. Grounding us once again in the now which is the only place to really be. Helping us get clear on what’s really important. Connecting us, one human being to another.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to shape a person’s destiny. I have to trust this is true for these two little boys.

So as you send this family your loving thoughts, take a moment to gain some perspective on the big and small things that may be troubling you and give gratitude once again for all that is good in your life.

Don’t worry, be happy!

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I was talking with my good friend Nicholas de Castella the other day. And we were discussing overwhelm. You know, that feeling when it’s all too much and you’re just about to explode. Or perhaps you’d rather run away. I guess your response all depends on your default coping strategy.

But the thing about overwhelm, and stress in general, is it’s only a reflection of our feelings of being unable to cope. So it’s not really about the overwhelm. Or the things happening outside of us. It’s really all about our reserves within and how we perceive them. It’s all about our mindset.

Most people don’t realise it’s exactly the same for worry.

Because we only worry about things if we don’t think we’ve got the reserves to cope with them. Otherwise they wouldn’t bother us, would they?

The human species is quite amazing in its ability to conjure up worry out of nothing. The monkey mind they call it. Always busy. Makes stuff up just for the hell of it really. And we can create the end of the world right here in our minds, a thousand times a day.

Not really living is it.

And that’s why taking time out to be quiet is so important. Because it helps us to pull back. And gives us the headspace to see what’s really going on. To get things in perspective. And to realize that if we’ve made it this far, then we really do have some reserves in there, don’t we! I’m amazed how often people forget this.

And another thing… have you ever noticed how much easier it is to cope with what life dishes up when you’re feeling happier? Much easier, isn’t it.

So if we focus on creating happiness for ourselves and those around us, even our real worries are that much easier to handle. Makes sense then doesn’t it, to focus on what’s going right in your life, rather than what’s going wrong.

So what’s worrying you?

If you knew you had the reserves to cope with it, could you look at it differently?

And if you took the emotion out of it, what would your next step be?

As the man said… Don’t worry, be happy. It’s a great philosophy.

Learning to move forward one step at a time with emotional intelligence, helps to move us through the worry and back to a state of happiness.