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Out with the New & In with the Old

arcelikservisiI couldn’t believe how a simple shift in mindset and focus changed the normally stressful time of moving house and brought more fun and happiness into my life than I could have ever imagined…

Just over a year ago I decided to launch my very first business and in the process I had to make some pretty big sacrifices or so I thought. First of all, I had to accept that I was no longer earning a regular full time wage and that in order to make what money I did have go farther I would need to minimise my expenses drastically. Looking at my overheads the obvious first cut was to be my outgoings for rent, food and utilities. Fortunately, my Aunt and Uncle generously offered for me to come and board with them for a couple of months.

At first I felt a little embarrassed about the fact that at the age of 32, here I was moving back in with family with next to no money in my pockets. My feelings of failure were soon over ridden by the incredible gifts of love, support, connection and lessons that now surrounded me and I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be at that time. The biggest blessing of all was spending quality time living and learning from my 89 year old Grandfather, memories that no amount of money or time can replace. What was supposed to be only a couple of months soon stretched out and 14 months later I found myself still living with my family. Fortunately, after many months of working hard, paying off the last of my debts and building my business I was in a position to consider the possibility of getting my own little place again.

In the past, I have set up house on several occasions and each time I have made my way out to the nearest Harvey Norman to purchase all new appliances on interest free loans. Lovely shiny, new and under warranty purchases. Feelings of joy and dread would course through me, knowing that I had increased my debt yet again, but hey I would have shiny new stuff to fill my empty spaces and people would be impressed by my good taste and ability to have such nice new things wouldn’t they? As nice as these things were, they didn’t bring me happiness like I would have imagined and instead of my friends and family being impressed by my nice “stuff” they were more concerned about the extravagance of my choices.

My impulsive nature has seen me not only go out and purchase all new things from time to time but also when the need suits simply selling it all and starting again from nothing. Each time I would have the resolve to do it properly next time and save up for what I wanted, until the next time when I found myself sitting in front of the Sales man signing up with a rapid heartbeat and a smile on my face for the next round of new “stuff” to fill my spaces. After turning 30, something changed and that something had a lot to do with travelling and living in Costa Rica. I LOVED living in the simplest version of a home, everything you needed and nothing shiny and new.

Cabin far kitchen compOne of my favorite places where I stayed for 7 weeks had only one room upstairs, downstairs was an enclosed bathroom and an open air cement slab with an exposed kitchen. This kitchen consisted of only a cement sink, gas cook top and a little bar fridge. There was a rustic old table, some plastic cups and plates, mis-matched cutlery and pots and pans without handles or lids which may have been over 20 years old. My lounge was a hammock and a couple of old wooden chairs. I felt so at peace in this environment. I never bought more than I needed because I had limited storage space and I always managed to make healthy, fresh meals with plenty of flavor. In this environment it is amazing how quickly you become resourceful and accepting of the simplicity of your space. I didn’t miss having a perfectly clean floor, shiny new appliances or matching kitchen ware at all, I even reveled in the fact that I could wash my dishes with only cold water and make cups of tea in a saucepan.

In April, on my Birthday this year I made the request to the universe that by the end of May I would like to be living in my own place. About two weeks later, we had a full house with visitors so I offered up my room and opted to stay a few extra days with my boyfriend. I knew it was time to just make it happen. My work was starting to suffer due to having my office and bedroom in the same room and I was feeling restless. That night I told my boyfriend that I was ready, only this time I was going to do it differently. This time, no new shiny appliances, no going in to debt to set up and no sharing with a house mate either. Within a week of this decision I had found my perfect home. It was the right price and location and best of all it was perfectly imperfect. There are marks on the carpet, cracks in the paint and a kitchen which is possibly older than I am. And yet, much like my little place in Costa Rica it has so much character and potential that you see past its imperfections and see it for its real charm.

kitchenfridgeMoving is supposed to be stressful and although it has been a lot of hard work, I would hardly call it stressful. Fortunately one of my clients lent me their trailer and my boyfriend graciously assisted me in emptying my storage shed and filling up my new home. In fact, we had so much fun together and allowed everything to unfold without too many expectations and it all came together seamlessly. I LOVE my new place, and everything I have that wasn’t in storage is either free, used, up-cycled or borrowed and everything blends together perfectly. My out with the New and in with the Old attitude has really been so much fun and a real blessing. For instance, I have had an Esky for the past three weeks which means I have only been able to buy what I can eat and nothing more (so no guilty wastage). On Saturday a friend gave me their old beer fridge which was in pretty sad disrepair, for $25 and a few hours I managed to transform this fridge into a funky new center piece for my kitchen.

Front roomI have with the help of some friends and family turned this little unit into a home. I feel incredibly blessed to have my own space again and it is made all that much nicer knowing that so much more thought, time and effort has gone into sourcing what I need. Instead of just going to the store and buying it all new, each piece has a story behind it. I have fantastic neighbors, a lovely quiet back unit, and fantastic park around the corner not to mention close to everything. I couldn’t be happier; in fact I think this is my favorite place I’ve lived here in Brisbane.

One thing I have come to really embrace in the past few years is the art of appreciation. I don’t put my feet on the floor in the morning until I have spent at least 5 mins loving my life and appreciating what I have and who I am. I have found this one little ritual in my day completely changes the way I interact with my life and the way my life interacts with me. This way of being is so much more powerful in attracting wonderful people, experiences and abundance. When you want more in your life, the trick is to truly appreciate and value what you already have. If you only focus on what you don’t have how can you expect to receive something new and feel good about it?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – Albert Einstein

Until next time,

Janie xo

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Turning Thirty-Three and What I Have Learnt So Far…

JH Profile 22.03.14Well here we are again… Am I really ready for this???

Next week I will be entering the next year of my life and I will be celebrating my thirty-third Birthday. I remember as a child and even as a teenager looking at the adults in my life who were in their thirties and thinking they were SO old!  And here I am in a blink of an eye and I realise that it is not so old after all.

I had a very blessed childhood growing up with my younger sister and brother within the loving and supportive arms of an incredible family. We never personally experienced or witnessed any abuse, neglect, hunger, deprivation or even divorce. We spent most of our childhood living on a farm in a time where technology was a touch pad home phone and call waiting was a fancy option. We would spend our days exploring and understanding the natural world around us, riding our bikes, swimming in the creeks and catching lobbies. Hiding down in the shrubbery of the creek and building fortresses and smoking rolled up cardboard and cinnamon sticks. Learning to drive at the age of ten and helping out on the farm (bribery was usually required), stealing passion fruit from the neighbors crop and dreaming of the day we would be old enough to live out our dreams in the adult world.

I remember from as young as five or six I was dreaming of a life of fame and riches and drove my parents crazy exploring the infinite possibilities. My reasons were very different to what they are these days. Back then I was in love with the fairy tale depicted on the television and movies of beautiful women living the high life of the 80’s wearing gaudy satin dresses with shoulder pads like footy players, big earrings, bad perms, blue eye shadow, drinking champagne and eating caviar on expensive yachts. As the years passed my desire for fame faded however my desire for money continued to grow as I understood its value more. I had all kinds of entrepreneurial ideas but somehow I came to the conclusion that I simply wasn’t destined to be rich or famous; because I wasn’t damaged enough. It seemed that anyone who had made it really big in the world had overcome some horrendous experiences in life like sexual abuse, poverty, depression, homelessness and drug addiction; none of which I had any to boast of.

Turned out I just needed to be patient. During the decade that was my twenties or the lost years as I sometimes call them I was blessed to experience, witness and overcome addiction in all its forms, mentally, emotionally and verbally abusive relationships, depression, bullying, eating disorders, low self-esteem, self-sabotaging behavior, loss, pain, sadness and loneliness to name just a few. I was constantly chasing the elusive concept of happiness and although I experienced a lot of joy and love during this time it never seemed sustainable. As soon as things started going well in my life I would always manage to find a way to self-sabotage and lose my happiness and would of course blame someone or something external to me for it. I had adopted the common belief that I would be happy when… I got a new job, lost weight, gained weight, had a new relationship, moved house, had more money, had a better car, had nicer friends or whatever it was I believed was the answer to alleviating whatever pain or emptiness I was experiencing at the time. I would feel happiness when these things happened however they were only ever fleeting.

It’s these very experiences which have driven my curiosity to explore and understand who we are, why we are here and ultimately how we can take control of our lives and live a life by design and not by default. The best part of my life has been dedicated to studying some of the greatest minds, leaders and change makers of modern history. I feel like I have lived many lives in these thirty-three years of mine. I have traveled far and wide, worked in multiple industries, roles and companies, met thousands of incredible people and learnt their stories. I have read hundreds of books and articles, watched and listened to hundreds of documentaries, movies, TED talks, audios and pod-casts and have attended countless seminars, events, training’s and programs all in the pursuit of knowledge and happiness.

What I have discovered about myself and the world around us in the process has truly transformed my entire belief system and vision for my future. I have come to accept and appreciate with every fiber of my being that every moment of my life to date, all of the highs, the lows and the in-between have perfectly prepared me for my ultimate purpose and potential in life. When I turned thirty I had a bit of a freak out and realised that time was no longer something I had in ample supply. I needed to make some big changes. Despite all of the knowledge and lessons I had acquired over the years I still had not properly integrated it into my own life and as the saying goes “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got”.

I honestly feel that every situation, person and moment in my life has been designed to give me the knowledge, skills, confidence and ability to fulfill my life’s purpose of helping others to achieve their own personal potential. These past three years since entering my thirties have absolutely been the best years of my life. I have completely transformed the way I live my life. I have not experienced a single day no matter how challenging where I have not felt genuine happiness, appreciation and love for the life I have and the life I am creating each and every day.

I no longer feel ashamed for being so flawed, real and completely vulnerable. Like everyone I have my character faults, weaknesses and war wounds. I have come to love these less desirable pieces of myself as much as I love the pieces that are more appealing because they are all the pieces of me. I have some amazing talents, gifts and knowledge which I love nothing more than sharing with other people, helping others to achieve their personal potential is what I love doing most in life. I have however come to realise that I cannot be everything to everyone, I cannot be liked by everyone and I certainly do not wish to be. After all everyone is judging everyone else based on their own interpretation of truth? I still hurt; I still feel anger and fear. Positive simply cannot exist without negative however I have learnt how to acknowledge and let go of the negative emotions quickly and with love. To come from a place of love and not from fear is possibly the best teachings I have learnt thus far and has aided me in healing and accepting my life greatly.

When I made the conscious decision to truly start living my life for me and to let go of fear and other people’s opinions I had no idea just how much my world would completely transform. I had been studying people, philosophies, principles and the fundamental elements of life for years. I finally started to understand what was different about all of these incredible people who had stepped into their own power, overcome horrendous challenges, achieved some inconceivable feats and in the process changed the world as we know it. They truly understood what it took to achieve their personal potential, to believe in their dream and make it happen. It was not just what they did that made the difference it was how they thought about themselves and others that was the key.

Every day I am still learning, every day I am faced with another challenge, another doubt or another fear to overcome. And every day I am grateful for the opportunity to overcome these because it means I have another day here on earth to achieve my purpose. I now attract into my life the most incredible people, opportunities, relationships and experiences like I never thought possible. Best of all I feel fully equipped to handle anything life has to throw at me without the fear of ever going back to the dark places of the past. We are all worthy and capable of living extraordinary lives and I now have the tools and knowledge to ensure I continue to work towards that each and every day.

I am so ready for what this birthday means for me; it is the next exciting chapter of my life. For the last two years I have been refining my purpose, stepping into my own power and harnessing my personal potential to truly achieve my vision for my future. I have been working tirelessly these past few months on developing a program which would be accessible and affordable to everyone who was serious about making a positive change in their life. The best of everything I have learned, implemented and used personally from over a decade of personal study, observation and research about personal potential and happiness is in this program.

Happiness is most definitely an inside job, happiness is not an external entity; it resides within us and once you can harness this everything else you desire just falls into place. I have always loved working with people and helping them find their path in life. It is such an honour to finally be able to share my knowledge with even more people to become leaders in their own lives. I am super excited to be launching my brand new “Personal Leadership Program” starting next month.

Earlier in this blog I talked about riches and one of the greatest realisations I have had in my thirty-three years is that my riches are not what I have in the bank, but what I have left when you take what’s in the bank away. In this respect I get richer every day and one day that will hopefully also reflect in my actual bank account. However in the mean time I count my blessings daily and my love bank is brimming with them; I am wealthier than I could have ever dreamed of as a child.

“Anything easy won’t be worthwhile and anything worthwhile won’t be easy”

Until next time,
Janie xo

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How to overcome other peoples annoying habits and strengthen your relationships

Do you ever look at your partner or friend and just shake your head as they continue to do the most annoying things despite how many times you have asked them to stop??? It’s almost as though they are doing it purposely to irk you… Maybe there is a way to overcome these negative feelings and improve your relationships at the same time…

Relationships are always going to be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of our lives… They test, shape and inspire us, however not always in the way we would ideally like. Here I talk about how one simple change could potentially make all the difference… Enjoy! <3 Janie

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Seven Billion Realities – Depression (Part Two)

depression

If you only had three months to live how would you choose to live out those days? Who would you spend them with? Where would you spend them? How would you view the world? Would the burdens of today really be that big of an issue? Who would you forgive or reconnect with? What legacy would you leave behind?

I recently came across an article about a young American girl called Amanda who tweeted the last months of her life after she learned she had a terminal brain tumor and only three months to live.  It got me thinking yet again about just how precious life really is and how much of our time is spent focused on things which really are inconsequential to our overall experience. I often refer to my turning point for creating my life by design being just after I turned thirty however upon closer reflection I realise it was a couple of years before that. As I have written about previously I was chosen as someone’s earth angel when my house mate Angus was sent to me in 2010. It was only a few weeks after he moved in that I was convinced he was showing signs of a brain tumor only to have our worst fears confirmed a couple of months later.  (See Blog Series “New Beginnings” for full story)

It was a huge wake up call for both of us when suddenly our own mortality was called into question. Fortunately his tumor was operable and benign however it was still a long and excruciating journey to recovery for Angus and his family. It was these experiences which lead me to really question what my life was really all about, reigniting my passion for learning. I decided that I wanted to start really living my life in such a way that if I were to be given similar news that I would feel proud of whom I had become and what I had achieved. Of course my life long question of “Who am I?” was brought to the forefront yet again and my quest for the truth of my existence continued with renewed vigor.

I started reading and researching everything I possibly could about the human mind and how it affects not only our health but also our external reality. I even went so far as to seriously consider going to university to study neuropsychology. After many months of contemplation and exploration I decided that my time and efforts were better served in other ways.  Instead I have continued to support my love of neuroscience and human behavior with my own personal study and learning. I have looked into the scientific and metaphysical explanations equally for the answers I seek about life. I have traveled wide and far seeking my truth and purpose in life and when I was thirty-one during my three month sabbatical in Costa Rica I finally got my first glimpse of what my purpose was and it has been constantly evolving ever since.

My greatest challenge and gift in my life to date was overcoming the false and limiting beliefs I had accumulated over the years and achieving a healthy and loving relationship with myself. Like any relationship I have to work at this on a daily basis however my commitment to being my own best friend and supporter has paid off in more ways than I could have ever imagined. For my first thirty years I allowed my EGO to be the most dominant force in my life and this caused me endless pain, tears and frustration. When Angus got sick, I made the decision that my life needed to change however I was not prepared for exactly how it would change in the following months.

Despite my best efforts it turned out that I would baseline before I could truly achieve my desired state. Much like a bow and arrow, life dragged me right back before launching me in the right direction. I didn’t realise it at the time however I entered a state of depression for the best part of a year following Angus’s diagnosis. I retreated from the world and spent many hours locked in my bedroom. When I wasn’t sleeping I was reading, listening to audios or writing, desperately trying to understand. I started watching the news every day and was an avid fan of the late night crime shows. Awash with fear and uncertainty about the world and its demise I also found myself fascinated with learning about the psychological personality disorders of Narcissists and Psychopaths.

Needless to say these learnings and exposure brought up every insecurity, fear and feeling of resentment to the surface of my consciousness. My EGO was slowly suffocating my truth and in my quest for answers I was consequently isolating myself with my toxic thinking and conversations both internally and externally. I was convinced every second person was a narcissist and analysed everyone, looking for their dark agenda.  You can imagine I wasn’t exactly a ball of fun to be around during this time and pushed away some really lovely people in my life with the intensity of my obsession. Something I have been known to do at many points during what I sometimes call my “Toxic Twenties”.  Depression wasn’t a new experience to me however in the past I was cleverly able to mask it’s presence with my numerous addictions and the lies my EGO told me or at least that’s what I thought at the time.

I certainly wasn’t aware of my depression and it’s only with hindsight that I can see clearly the destructive path I was treading, I was definitely feeding my dark wolf. When the 2011 floods came to town and the city of Brisbane was inundated with water my faith in humanity was restored as I witnessed the outpouring of love and support for those affected. I stopped watching the news and crime shows, I dropped my obsession with personality disorders like a hot cake and started to focus my energy towards more positive thoughts and activities. A few months later I celebrated my thirtieth birthday and parted ways with my boyfriend of six months. Now this is where the real transformation started to unfold in my life as I commenced what I call “Project Positive”. Systematically I worked tirelessly towards turning every negative in my life into a positive.

Until “Seven Billion Realities – Part Three”,

Janie xo

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Afternoon Nap

dream-img

I hear you calling me with your sweet promise of relief as my eyes start to burn. My mind starts its daily debate with each side coming up with valid points of persuasion but it’s no good, I know you will win. Still so much to do and yet again you convince me to join you and all will be well. I tell you “only for a while” and you smile a cheeky smile “of course” you say. I know you don’t believe me and why would you, I rarely follow through.

I take myself over to the bed where my anticipated respite awaits me. I lay my head on the pillow and make myself comfortable. You are happy now that you have got your way, your convincing argument fading out feelings of guilt. I close my eyes, the stinging subsiding as my mind wrestles with you some more before my thoughts start to jumble and no longer make logical sense. A loud noise in the distance breaks your spell and I am jolted back to the present.

My noisy mind again tries to keep me from your grasp but the struggle is futile. Like a small child on the monkey bars, I haven’t the strength to hold on as you pry each of my fingers free from reality; you catch me as I fall. You place me gently on the ground and we embrace in each other’s presence before you take my hand. This is our playground, the playground of my mind, this is where magic really happens and anything is possible. We walk for a few moments happy to be reunited again, you are all around me now, and I am safe, nothing can hurt me here.

Before you take me deeper we talk and I tell you again that we cannot meet this often for much longer. Our days are numbered and soon it will only be once a day as my body is getting stronger and healthier and I am needed out there as I have important things to achieve. You understand, happy to have had this time with me and me with you. Suddenly I feel myself being pulled deeper and deeper into the ether of my mind, as my awareness fades and my sub-conscious takes over.

Here in this place I have super powers, I can run without ever getting tired, I can fly and leap over rivers and mountains if I try, bullets and falls never mean that I will die. Even in my most vivid and violent scenes I am safe. Over the years I have mastered some control over the outcomes and often visit the same places. Other times I allow it to all unfold, sometimes I am only an observer and other times I am one of the main characters. Here is where I rendezvous with people from the past, present and future. Here there are no boundaries or limits to what can be achieved and experienced. As my mind takes flight my brain struggles to know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined.

I maintain a small sense of consciousness periodically as guilt and reality knock on the door of my mind, you tell them I’m not ready and I reluctantly agree knowing they have a point. I follow you back to the depths of my mind where I continue to explore and play. I know my time is coming to an end as the knock at the door gets louder, so loud I can no longer ignore it. I try to hold onto the images and messages from my time with you before they disperse back into the corners of my mind. We embrace once more and until we meet again in a few hours my friend I must go and live my life as I intend. Thank you for the rest, I feel renewed and fresh. My dreams are still dancing in my head, thank you again my dear friend.

Until next time,

Janie xo

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Seven Billion Realities – Part One

TwowolvesIn the year 1981, I joined four and half billion people in the world, today over seven billion people are sharing this amazing place called earth. Every day we welcome over eight million new lives and farewell just over three million.  In view of these kinds of statistics I think it’s really quite incredible how well we actually all co-exist especially when you take into consideration that there are over seven billion people all experiencing their own unique reality, interpretation and belief systems. When you look at it like this is anything truly right or wrong, true or false? After all, isn’t everything we perceive in the world simply our own interpretation based on the limited facts and information we have been taught, told or experienced? You only have to play a game of Chinese whispers to understand how quickly and easily the so called truth can be misrepresented.

We as humans actually have two realities, the external reality and our internal reality. Each person is on his or her own journey in life and their individual personalities, physiology, experiences, perceptions, beliefs and thinking will greatly define the reality in which they live. Each person arrives here with a purpose, a deep seated desire to do something significant and meaningful for the greater good. Each of us possess special talents and gifts which are ours and ours alone to assist us in achieving our purpose whatever that might be.  Although sadly along the way to achieving such a mission many of us lose our way and become beaten by life’s challenges and we allow life to be our ruler and not the other way around.

There is an old story of a young boy who puzzled by life goes to see the Chief Cherokee for some clarity. “Yes my dear boy, what is it that puzzles you?” asks the Chief. “Well, I was wondering why there is so much hate, anger, and violence in the world and yet there is so much love, joy and abundance?  asked the boy. “You see child within each of us resides two wolves which fight each other, a dark wolf and a light wolf. The dark wolf feeds on fear, anger, resentment, jealousy, greed, inferiority and lies whilst the light wolf feeds on love, joy, peace, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth” answers the Chief. “Well which wolf wins” the young boy inquired. The old chief quietly replies “The wolf you feed”.

I love this story as it is an easy and powerful reminder of how important the relationship between the dark wolf (our EGO) and the light wolf (our INTUITION) actually is. So many of us go about our day oblivious to how often we are feeding our dark wolf either through our internal thoughts or by absorbing the negative fear based thinking of others. Throughout our lives we typically have more experiences, people, events, thoughts and beliefs geared towards feeding our dark wolf until it is big, strong and aggressive. Sadly there are some people in the world who have allowed their dark wolf to all but kill their light wolf and now have what I call a “dark soul”.

We live in a world where food for the dark wolf is in ample supply and available everywhere we look; on the internet, the news, movies, and television. We talk about it, blog about it, Facebook it, tweet it, Instagram it and who knows what else. In turn we end up energetically feeding not only our own dark wolf but also those of the people around us. Just like any well balanced diet for your body I came to realise a few years ago that it was equally if not more important to have a healthy mental diet. By this I mean the information I feed my mind needs to be healthy, balanced and loving towards myself and others. We so often allow these fear based thoughts to consume us and distract us from the very essence of our truth and existence until we have a reason big enough to change.

Let me ask you this…

If you only had three months to live how would you choose to live those days out? Who would you spend them with? Where would you spend them? How would you view the world? Would the burdens of today really be that big of an issue? Who would you forgive or reconnect with? What legacy would you leave behind?

Stay tuned for “Seven Billion Realities – Part Two”,

Janie xo

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I Believe in my Dream…

Einstein-Fish-Climbing-Tree

I BELIEVE in my dream, I BELIEVE in my dream of making a positive difference in the world on a global scale. How will I do this? Well, this is unfolding for me every day, but mostly by sharing my accumulated knowledge and experience with others in one way or another. I’m not attached to any particular “How” only my “Why”. I envision a world where people feel safe and inspired to live their truth, growing themselves the way they bend and not the way someone else tells them they should. A world where people are accepted supported and encouraged to be the best versions of themselves in both the workplace and in life. Where organisations work with their people’s strengths and treat them as individuals with real needs and emotions. Where employees are seen as people and managers no longer exist, instead companies are led by brave and inspiring leaders who put their people above their own selfish needs. Einstein once said that “Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree then the fish will grow up always believing it is stupid”.  This is something I have both witnessed and experienced throughout my life.

I have worked really hard to get where I am in all areas of my life and I am still working towards constant growth and improvement. One area in particular has been my education. I was once a fish judged on my ability to climb a tree and even today I have people in my life committed to judging my potential for success on my inability to climb said tree. I think early on my commitment to my education was driven more by my decision to leave school only three weeks into year eleven. I always knew I wouldn’t be going to University; it just never seemed to align with my personality or my way of learning. I remember telling my mother how disinterested I was in anything school had to teach and that I wanted to get out and really live my life. My mother’s advice has served me well ever since “If I allow you to leave school now, you must promise me you will never stop learning and educating yourself” a promise I have kept.

By the time most of my friends had gotten half way through their University Degree I had already been out in the work force for seven years and had been living in the UK for two of those years. I was fiercely independent and on a mission to discover my purpose. I was like the hungry caterpillar; anything that inspired me would soon become my obsession (this is still true to this day). I would take all kinds of courses and lose myself for days and sometimes even weeks in the wonderful world of books, audio and in more recent years Google and YouTube on a quest to better understand what ever subject was top of mind.  Of course the one thing that stayed true is my fascination with the age old question “Who am I?” So most of my study and learnings have been centred on understanding people and how and why we do what we do in both life and in business.

I often joke that I am a perpetual student of the “University of Life” majoring in human behaviour. My mother has always told the story how as a child I was walking at only nine months and running by ten months, my curiosity constantly at play. Always a bright and happy baby, intuitively knowing how to make people smile I didn’t actually start talking until I was two years old. For those who know me they would certainly tell you I have more than made up for lost time. According to my parents, my first word was “Why?” driving them insane as I was never satisfied with a simple answer. It was because of this nature my parents rarely treated me like a child because I was never satisfied with being my own age. I always got a long better with older children and was more interested in talking with the adults.

Growing up I dreamed of fame and fortune, what kid doesn’t? In my quest to discover what my talent was I ran my mother ragged trying all kinds of things; ballet, gymnastics, tennis, swimming, horse riding, acting, singing and dancing. I always found some reason for giving up; either I didn’t like the shoes, the mosquitoes that were in the room or the teacher. Finally I settled on Ballroom dancing which I loved despite always being one step out of time. It certainly wasn’t going to bring me my fame and fortune however it did bring me much happiness and my lifelong best friend which is worth so much more. In looking back this is very much how I have learned throughout my life, trying everything of interest and learning as much as I could before following the next subject of interest to exertion.

I have always had a burning desire deep within me to do something really extraordinary with my life. However like many of us I have allowed the small thinking of others to squander such grandiose dreams for much of my life. As young as eleven I was listening to motivational cassettes about business and success. From the age of fifteen I was constantly trialling all kinds of ideas for inspiring others at work. I recall one day when I was working on the registers at Big W, I got it in my head one morning to go and buy a couple of packets of Freddo frogs. I placed one Freddo in each till before loading them into the registers with a little note saying, “Smile, it’s a great day! You can eat me after your shift”. Every time the girls opened their register and saw the Freddo beaming his big grin at them they couldn’t help but feel good and in turn share that feeling with their customer.

It was around this time that I decided that one day I would have my own business; I just didn’t quite know what that was. I have spent the last fifteen years preparing for this very moment. In looking back over my professional career I like to think of each of my employers as a subject in my degree at the “University of Life” and I have to be honest I didn’t always pass these subjects with flying colours (Stories for another day). None the less I have learnt more from my epic failures in life than I have from any of my successes.

When I was about nine years old I was in nippers for the Surf Life Savers. Part of being a nipper was achieving certain challenges in order to receive a badge of accomplishment. One of these challenges was to swim two laps of the local swimming pool which was 100m in total. I could only do one and half laps before I gave up from exhaustion. I was SO disappointed that I cried myself to sleep that night. Waking the next morning with new resolve I told my mother that I wanted to try again even though I wouldn’t get a badge for it. I just had to know within myself that I could do it and spent the next week psyching myself up for the challenge. The next weekend my mother took me back to the swimming pool. I was so determined and focused on my goal that I not only swam two laps, I swam eleven laps. I swam and swam until my little body could swim no more. I felt such a sense of achievement that day I thought my heart would burst.

Just like that day at the pool, every so called failure I have experienced in life and in business has only served as more fuel for my fire and intensified my desire to learn and understand the how’s and why’s of the event. Looking at every detail and seeking answers so as to continually increase my level of knowledge and success for future. I believe what sets me apart from a lot of others in my field is my extensive and varied experience in many industries, roles and organisations over the years. I can empathise with people at all levels because at one point or another I have been them and can identify with their struggles and their successes. I’ve always been fascinated by the inner workings of a company and the work flow for product realisation. I love nothing more than learning about how each person’s role fits together in the bigger picture of an organisation and the mindset associated with these roles and responsibilities.

I am passionate about people. I love how we are all individuals and yet we are all the same. Nothing makes my heart sing more than when people are inspired by what they do and love working with the people they work with. When people feel safe, trusted and inspired by their workplace they will go above and beyond to contribute and usually no amount of money will entice them away. Work life balance isn’t about time; it is about feeling safe and happy at both home and at work. I don’t claim to know all the answers, and that is a good thing because if I did I would never be inspired to learn and experience more. Instead of having to know everything myself, I surround myself with incredibly successful and knowledgeable people who are available to offer their guidance and support whenever I am in need either for myself or for my clients. This is exactly how the most successful business people in the world run their businesses and created their wealth. They all understand that it is ok not to know the answers and to hire people who are smarter and more experienced than they are. They play to their strengths and allow their people to play to theirs.

My life completely changed the day I realised that I wasn’t stupid because I couldn’t climb the tree, I am in fact the complete opposite because I can do something so much better; I can swim!!!

Create the space for people to grow like they bend and anything is possible… 

Until next time,

Janie xo