“Excuse me Ma’am… I’m going to need to see your ID”

If, like me, you reside in the 30+ age bracket, you can probably relate to the feeling of satisfaction you get when asked to show proof of age.  The last time it happened to me I produced my drivers license with feigned irritation and a look that said “Ugh, this happens to me alllll the time and it’s so hard having such youthful looks” …. whilst simultaneously trying to hide my excitement at being asked for ID for the first time in 5 years and proudly attributing it to my new skin-care regime.

But the good (or bad!) news is that today I will not be checking up on your eligibility to purchase alcohol or enter strip clubs. No. Today I want to draw your attention to a different kind of ID – Internal Dialogue. Internal dialogue is an interesting one because we all have it.  Another way of referring to it is the “voices in your head”… although internal dialogue does have a much nicer ring to it.  It speaks more to the scientific nature of our thought processes – without conjuring images of asylums or straight jackets…

So how aware are you of your own internal dialogue?

I’ll give you some examples and see if you can recognise yourself in any of these:

  • “I can’t eat that”, “it’s bad for me”, “don’t be so greedy”
  • “Oh Jackie is lucky, things come so easily to her, but I could never do/have that”
  • “I can’t afford it, I have to watch every penny”
  • “Oh maybe I should have offered to do that… now I feel bad”
  • “I’ll just go to the back of the class so that no-one sees me stuff it up!”

When you begin to tune into your inner dialogue, it can be quite a frightening thing for some people! To discover that actually some of these “voices in your head” can be rather mean or judgmental…

The irony that I have seen time and time again in my coaching clients is that they would never allow others to speak to them in the way they speak to themselves on a daily basis.  The perfect cliché example is the woman who gets dressed in her jeans, walks past the mirror before leaving the house and the thought “my butt looks big in this” pops into her mind. Maybe she dismisses it and triumphantly walks out of the house feeling fabulous, singing “aint nothing gonna break my stride”… but more likely she hears it, believes it and then *BOOM* just like that her self-esteem has been gently eroded.  Now picture scenario 2: the same woman gets dressed in her jeans, walks past her boyfriend and he says to her “those jeans make your butt look big”…  SLAAAAAP and *insert expletives here*.  A lot of women would NOT accept that type of comment from their partner.

So why is it then that these harsh, critical, judgemental, even perfectionist thoughts are tolerated and accepted in a way that cruelty from others would never be?

There is a very simple answer to this.  Mostly these internal dialogues and voices have been with you your entire life.  As a result, you become SO used to them occupying your mind and energy that you actually feel they are a part of you and are therefore unable to recognise their very existence (let alone separateness from you).

These negative inner voices can form as a result of a lifetime of observing and absorbing the negative judgments or comments from anyone in our environment. This includes parents, siblings, friends, peers, societal expectations, and even the media! It really just depends on how sensitive and astute you are as to how many you have taken on and what beliefs and decisions you have formed as a result.

Understanding your internal dialogue begins with self-awareness. Take some time to tune in as you go about your daily life.  If you notice any critical or judgmental thoughts pop in then write them down and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who did you first hear say that? (even if the judgment wasn’t directed at you)
  • How did it make you feel?
  • Does some part of you believe it to be true?

For example maybe you witnessed your Mum criticising her body in front of the mirror so your Ego has added that to it’s internal dialogue… Or maybe you saw your teacher at school chastising a fellow student for being lazy.  The point is that often when we overhear or receive these criticisms early on, our Ego can file them away as “things that we don’t want to be” and therefore attempt to shape our behaviour so as to keep us safe from ever being judged to be “that thing that we don’t want to be”.  And how does it do this? You guessed it! Through the voices in our head – working hard to keep us in line 😉

The good news is that if you have suddenly just realised you have this inner critic or sometimes harsh inner dialogue, then GOOD ON YOU! We all have an inner critic that operates at some level – the only difference is that 95% of the general population don’t know that they have it and therefore it has a much greater ability and power to undermine them.

Using the exercise above starts the process of helping you to become more aware of your internal dialogue and being able to identify where these voices first came from (and why).  Remember that most of these voices are just expressions of the Ego’s fears.  And what’s the job of the Ego again? To keep you safe.  The Ego (despite being a massive scaredy-cat) is actually quite smart and takes it role of keeping us safe VERY SERIOUSLY.  But once you can begin to understand the voices in your head and how they have been created to serve you, you are then able to create new dialogues using this higher consciousness and awareness.  I will cover the steps for reprogramming your Inner Dialogue in more detail in a future post.

Let me know how you get on with your new ID awareness!

Amber xx

 

 

#Toughlife – an honest account of the less glamorous side of travel

Having just landed back in Australia after over a year on the road, this week I felt inspired to write about the challenges of life as a Traveller/Nomad.

Now before you start with the “Oh you poor thing, I don’t know how you get through each day!”, trust me when I say this is not a shout for sympathy but rather an open and honest account of life on the road. It may even make you feel better to know that no matter how amazingly green that grass may appear over the other side – it sure isn’t perfect – and there are of course some prickly thorns nestled beneath that green grass.

Anyone that follows me on Facebook will be aware that I have had a lot of travel movements in the past few years. This has all been by choice and I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have enjoyed so many amazing places, people and experiences all over the globe. Whether it’s been for work or leisure, life has dished up some pretty epic moments and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

HOWEVER…..

This has not come without challenges and sacrifices. Let me run you through a few:

1 – FOMO

It’s not just the regular FOMO like “Oh that would be fun & I’m missing out” but it is usually served with a side of “and I’m a shit person for missing that occasion too”. When I go through the list of some of the things I have missed it is a bit frightening:

• Birth of my first Niece
• Brothers 30th
• Dads 60th
• Friends and Family weddings
• Birth and early months of friends’ babies
• Family holidays
• Christmas (just FYI Santa does NOT come to naughty daughters who don’t make it home for Xmas)

… just to name a few. Now I have gotten used to missing certain things – because usually wherever I am I have good reason to be and other exciting things are happening – BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t feel sadness for the milestones missed and letting people down.

2 – IF I ADDED UP THE MONEY SPENT ON PLANE TICKETS, I COULD PROBABLY HAVE RETIRED BY NOW

My Dad recently informed me that after working hard for over 40 years he now has a date set in the future that he plans to retire. I’m so excited and happy for him and when he first mentioned it I said “Dad this is wonderful news! I’ve been retired for years and I gotta tell ya it is GREAT!”. Okay so I’m not exactly retired, but maybe if I spent less on plane tickets I could be. Inter-Europe flights are mostly very reasonable but the trips back to Australia don’t come cheap (especially if it’s even remotely close to Christmas time). It’s also a 24 hour journey home… but I’m not about to list that as a drawback because I happen to be one of those weirdos that LOVES long haul flights. Eat, sleep, movie, repeat… I’m sorry but that is as close to being a baby as it gets and what’s not to love about that?

3 – LIVING OUT OF A SUITCASE

Packing and repacking isn’t fun. The longer the trip and the more you are moving from destination to destination the less fun it becomes. On longer trips I’m not proud to admit that I have at times fallen into the habit of wearing the same rotations of clothes over again. People tend to do this because they are either:

A) packing light like a ninja (not likely in my case – this skill seems to allude me despite having more practise than most); or

B) They’ve packed heavy but are too lazy to dive into the bottom of their case (guilty!).

Living out of a suitcase is annoying because your clothes get crinkled, your toiletries can leak, things can get lost, and the annoyance of needing to find laundry facilities to wash your underwear. On the plus side, I have built some muscles lugging heavy bags around Europe (don’t ask me to prove it, they’ve since vanished obvs).

4 – LACK OF STABILITY

Not having a consistent postal address can get annoying. There can be complications with things like insurance (health insurance and travel insurance), it’s costly paying money to keep your belongings in a storage facility, and having to be on a pay as you go instead of getting a good deal on a mobile plan because you are constantly in different places and needing local SIM cards. These are just little annoyances but they can add up when you become “… of no fixed address”.

5 – LIFE ADMIN THINGS THAT FALL BY THE WAY SIDE

With three years of tax returns I need to lodge, this is just the icing on the cake of my life admin tasks that have backlogged lately. I am also overdue for dentist visits, new glasses, etc. All of this can be maintained if you have permanently  relocated to another country however, but when you are moving around more or working as a digital nomad, it’s very easy to push these chores back to “another day”.

6 – I COULD START MY OWN ADAPTOR SHOP

After three years in the UK half of my appliances are now UK plugs and the other half still Australian. I also managed to somehow acquire UK, European & Australian iPhone chargers. Therefore I have Aus-UK adaptors, Aus-EUR adaptors, UK-EUR adaptors, UK-Aus adaptors, Aus-US adaptors, a rogue UK-South Africa adaptor and my three iPhone chargers. It can get rather confusing. I could also start my own currency trading business with leftover currency from various travels but that’s a whole other story! I recently found 7,000 Malawian Kwacha in my passport case and was thinking I had hit the jackpot and could cash it in as a windfall. Google conversion shattered my dreams pretty quickly by informing me it was actually only worth a paltry £6.70.

Should have spent that at the airport!

7 – THE WORK VS PLAY DILEMMA

One of the obvious benefits of working mostly online is that you can work from literally anywhere in the world.  This means that you can be in an amazing place while also be “working”. This can however, pose very strong temptations and distractions. Who wants to be stuck inside on the laptop when you could be swimming in the sea or exploring a new city? I tend to get a dose of the YOLO’s when I am travelling and it doesn’t take much to twist my arm away from the laptop… however as my business grows this balance will be something I put more focus on.

 

On balance, and despite the compromises, I am still the #1 fan of travel life.  I truly believe that traveling with purpose is one of the most enriching, empowering, amazing things you can gift yourself with. But of course nothing in life is perfect and in order to experience the world, sometimes you have make compromises.
As always though I would love to hear your biggest challenges of travelling so I look forward to reading your experiences too 🙂

Amber xx

WORKING HARD OR HARDLY WORKING? (Both are okay, as long as it’s working for you!)

My last few weeks before leaving London were quite frantic – with everything going on with the book, packing up my belongings, as well as the Summer socials starting to kick off with the glorious London May weather (and no, I’m not being sarcastic – it actually was glorious!!).

I had put up a post about leaving London for a bit and heading to Croatia to which one lovely person commented “enjoy a well-deserved break”. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself with guilt when I read this – ironically I’ve hardly worked a day in the past year! But then I thought about my book and I realised that actually I had put a lot of time and energy into that, so technically that’s “work” (or as close to it as I like to get anyway).

I have confessed in my previous (and only…) blog post to being the former Mayor of Lazy Town. I prefer to work as little as possible.  I used to feel bad about this and saw it as some sort of character flaw.  But then I realised this desire to have more balance and fun in my life has actually motivated me to create a lifestyle that inspires me and shows others that they can do the same.

We’ve all heard that cliché saying “find a job you love and you never work a day in your life”.  Cheesy I know.  But annoyingly despite the added layer of cheese on top, I have found this saying to be very true. Apart from some frustrations with Amazon & hurdles with book cover templates, 99% of The London Hustler felt more like a fun project than “work”.  My previous job working 1:1 with children from challenging backgrounds was so rewarding and inspiring I cried happy tears on many occasions. And the same thing applies to my current coaching work.  To facilitate people shifting, growing and expanding right before your very eyes is an honour – and if you call that work then sign me up.

So what’s the secret to finding a job you love?

1 – Firstly, you need to believe it’s possible. To have a job and a life that inspires you and brings you happiness. If your child asks you to search the house for Santa Claus, you may humour them and do a quick lap of the house, but you won’t bother looking too hard because you know he ain’t real (I hope no kids are reading this!). I’m sure you would have tried harder to find him if you believed him to actually be in the house 😉. Apart from shattering kids dreams, the purpose of this analogy is to remind you that if you don’t truly believe something exists or is possible, then you are not physically or energetically open to creating or receiving it. Work on your subconscious beliefs and surround yourself or draw inspiration from others who are making a living out of doing what they love.  This helps to get your conscious mind on board.

2 – Follow your inspiration and passions.  Forge your own path and allow it to unfold as one of exploration and discovery.  This will allow for evolving of your ideas and pivoting when needed. Be open to starting in one direction and deviating towards something similar or different altogether. Don’t wait until everything is perfect and you know exactly where you are going in order to take action – or you’ll stay stuck on that old “Someday Island” I warned you about in my previous post.

3 – Be practical.  In no way am I an advocate of “YOLO! Quit your job, forget about the mortgage, life is for living!” I mean yes actually that all does sound pretty up my street, but also we gotta keep it real.  Sometimes it takes a bit of time and transitioning to create the life and business that you want  Consider starting to work on your side hustle while still in a stable job.  This also keeps your worrying mind at bay as you are gently edging towards something awesome without the upheaval of total and sudden changes.

So as I sit here on an idyllic beach in my latest “work assignment” … okay its not work… and I can’t even pretend it’s work or write it off to the tax man as so – given that this is actually the first time in 3 weeks of being here that I’ve opened my notebook … can you blame me? Look at this place!

coastline croatia beautiful

Let’s try that again…

So as I sit here on my blatantly self-indulgent and totally unnecessary jaunt along the Croatian coastline, I notice that the inspiration has begun to flow. One of my unique skills is my hustle (or “resourcefulness” for the more Posh amongst us) and ability to discover hidden gems – not just in London, but around the world.  As a result – and with much excitement and inspiration – I have decided my next project will involve organising a small group to join me on an EPIC adventure that I’m calling a Holi-treat (part holiday, part retreat). I have been lucky enough to discover some very beautiful, unique, special (and affordable!) places around the world and it’s time to share them with you.  Because, you know, sharing is caring and all that.  Unless it’s Ben & Jerry’s … and then it’s every man, woman and child for themselves! Stay tuned or sign up to my mailing list to be sure you are one of the first to get find out more about the Holitreat.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with work/life balance too.  Is your work fun? Or perhaps you have fun in other ways! I’d love to know how you bring balance in to your life or where you feel you need help bringing in more balance. And remember it doesn’t matter if you are working hard or hardly working – as long as it’s working for you 😊

 

Shaking off Procrastination… Tips from the former Mayor of Lazy Town

Taking action vs procrastinating is something that comes up time and time again with my clients.

I want to tell you about a holiday I once took. It was a place not all that far away – warm and comfortable with long days spent reclining under the palm trees and sipping coconuts. There was no time urgency and nothing to be done. Sounding pretty good right? Well now is probably a good time to share the name of this glorious place: ‘Some day island’. The sand is soft and warm, the days just blend into one and weeks, months, even years can pass with ease. I spent longer than intended here. I went for a break but it felt so comfortable that I couldn’t get motivated to leave. Before I knew it 5 years had passed and all those beautiful day dreams I had created (before and during) my island sojourn had progressed not one iota.

This analogy may seem a little harsh – I know we all need a break from time to time but how many people (maybe including you) have wonderful visions, dreams, hopes and aspirations that never get actioned? We are souls in a human body. We came here to create and manifest these amazing visions and inspirations into reality. It is just so much easier to park our dreams and ideas in the ‘some day’ category than to start actioning them today.

I wouldn’t call myself lazy… HOWEVER… (so basically I am calling myself lazy) – I am not one of those people that wakes up every morning, bounds out of bed and naturally throws themself into a day of hard work. I like sleep, I like to chill and meditate, do yoga, have chats with friends on the phone, and even watch an episode (/entire season) of the Kardashians from time to time. I like life to be as much fun and enjoyment as possible. As a result, I found it very easy to slide into the comfortable (yet oddly stressful paradox) that is procrastination. I don’t despise hard work. Once I get into my creative flow I can happily go for hours without blinking – but at the same time I like to be efficient – maximum output with minimal input is my motto.

Despite on one hand having an uhhh… “laid back” personality, on the other hand I have also been gifted with a number of dreams, visions, inspiring ideas and passion projects. Having all these amazing ideas and simultaneously feeling overwhelmed by the amount of time and energy that will go into making them a reality, can be quite the conundrum! And not the Countdown-style conundrum that will be solved within 30 seconds and if not then you will be told the solution. No, this is a very real struggle for the time or energy-poor individual. But the good news is that if I can overcome this, then so can you!

There were times when I was writing my eBook ‘The London Hustler’ that I was really in flow and enjoying it. There were other times where I was so over it that I would have given my left leg for a magic lamp and a Genie to grant me the wish of “getting someone else to just finish this for me so I never have to look at it again”. (I would have used my remaining two wishes to ask for a never ending supply of Ben & Jerry’s and my Knight in Shining armour just FYI). But alas a childhood of Disney had not completely eroded my sense of realism and I knew that if I didn’t do it, no one else would.

I have compiled some of my best strategies for saying bye bye to procrastination and taking action towards a more inspired, purposeful future. Don’t delay in actioning them! 😉

Start with the most enjoyable or easiest parts first. If you are writing a book for example, pick the fun chapters that flow and don’t require as much research. Once you get started you build momentum and you start to feel that you are making progress towards your goal. I personally used this momentum gained from the fun parts to motivate myself later on when it was less appealing – it plays on the psychology of “well I’ve already put in a lot of effort so may as well keep going now!”

Outsource the parts that are not your skill set. This may sound like a cop-out and perhaps it is, but really why would you spend a few months trying to learn how to build your own website when you could pay someone to do it in three hours? Obviously this isn’t a blanket rule that applies to every task that challenges you, but knowing what your strengths are and focusing your time and energy there will help a lot. If you can’t afford to pay someone then consider a skill swap. This will stop your project grinding to a halt over a blockage that can be easily cleared with someone else’s expertise.

Indecisiveness is paralysing. We’ve all been there. Not wanting to make a decision in case it’s not the right one. It can stop us taking action as we want to be “really sure it is the right action to take”. You can actually never be 100% sure if it is the right action to take – but there is only one way to find out! Make a decision and start taking action towards that. If it’s not the right decision, you will quickly find out – but you would never have known that if you sat there with just an idea for all those years. The greatest thing about this? We worry SO much about making the right choices and yet really very few decisions in this world are irreversible or at least unpivotable (I may have just invented a word but I’m rolling with it). Think about it. Besides death, how many decisions are truly set in stone never to be altered? Very few. Sure there might be adverse implications so don’t be reckless, but even marriage and tattoos are now reversible… Can’t decide what to name your business? Call it something and then in a few years change it to something else if you feel inspired. We are always free to choose and then choose again.

Be like Santa – making your list and checking it … (once is enough). I had heard this advice from so many sources over the years – to start with your vision/end goal and then break it down into smaller goals and then further into daily tasks. I thought it sounded good in theory – but also sounded like a lot of work and I knew in my head what I wanted to do – so shouldn’t that be enough? How wrong was I! A few months ago I bought myself an actual, non-electronic, dinosaur-era, tangible diary and started making my daily lists and ticking them off. It may just be the inner nerd/scholar in me that gains a disproportionate amount of satisfaction from physically ticking things off but wowee. This one simple thing somehow turned me into a productivity machine. Oh and that whole ‘breaking things down into bite size tasks helps’ thing? That is also true. Before I just knew in my head that I had half an unwritten book and at some point needed to get the other half written. But post-dinosaur-diary, on Monday I would finish editing Chapter 6, Thursday I would research for Chapter 7, Friday I would write Chapter 7 and so on. Everything seems achievable when it is in small bite-size pieces. Oh and the sweet satisfaction of a big fat tick.

Just do it – let go of PERFECT! After already outing myself as a lazy sloth earlier in the piece, I hesitate to admit suffering from Perfectionism too, but I know many of you will be in the same boat and relate (to the perfectionism, not the slothliness!). Not wanting to put anything out there or take action unless you can be sure it’s perfect is equally as paralysing as that old “indecisiveness” chestnut. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get started. The same goes for things you are working on that aren’t public. Just get started. Make a rough draft and then leave it for a few days. It is better to do something than procrastinate because you can’t figure out how to make it perfect. One time I set myself a writing task of finishing the ‘Conclusion’ by the end of the day. I really wasn’t feeling it and could not get in the flow at all. So determined was I to get that big fat tick (and accompanying sense of satisfaction) though, that I pushed through and forced myself like a naughty rebellious child to sit down and write it. I did as all naughty rebellious children do and I did a seriously average job of it. But nonetheless it was done (sort of) and I got my tick. I returned to it a few days later, with a fresh mind and was instantly able to see where improvements could be made. The point being is that it’s easier to tweak and update something than have to start from scratch – so even if it’s not perfect, once you’ve got something written you can easily discern where to change it to make it better – and that seems a far less arduous task.

Make a deadline and then bring it forward. We don’t give ourselves enough credit for how much we can achieve if we really focus our time and energy productively. Having a time pressure does help motivate and keep you on track to smash through your tasks.

Join groups or associate with others in a similar boat. Having the support of others around you can give you the motivation, accountability and focus to help you stay on track with whatever you are creating.

and last but most importantly…

Get to know your Saboteur. We all have that unconscious inner-Saboteur that tries to keep us safe. I have found this to be one of the most common and sneakiest reasons for procrastination. Sneaky because it occurs in the unconscious/ego and usually the person has no conscious awareness of said sneakiness. One of the most common Saboteurs I have come across is the fear of judgment of others. It is easier to keep your ideas and creations to yourself – that way you don’t run the risk of exposing yourself to the criticism, judgment and ultimately rejection, of others. We all have an inner saboteur just trying to keep us safe so don’t judge it – get to know it so that it doesn’t have the power over you and prevent you taking inspired action. A Coach or Energy Healer can help you access and clear this if your Saboteur is a force to be reckoned with.