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Reflections of the Past Year and the Year Ahead…

 

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On Saturday I had the privilege of hanging out with two of my much younger cousins while their parents attended their annual Christmas Party. It suddenly dawned on me that despite it feeling like only a couple of months ago, it is actually a whole twelve months since I was looking after them for last year’s Christmas party. WOW!!! The last twelve months has flown by and I know this is a familiar cry from most of us, as each year seems to disappear like the sand through an hour glass quicker and quicker as we get older. When we were little and had no real concept of time our entire year was based around three key dates; our Birthday, Easter and Christmas and they took for EVER to roll around. I don’t know about you however even my concept of seasons was based solely on the fact that sometimes I liked a hot shower and other times I preferred a cold shower.

On one hand I feel like I haven’t really accomplished that much this past year and on the other hand I am blown away by what has truly unfolded in my life since this time a year ago. Everything I truly focused on has become my reality in one way or another with a few bonuses along the way. I have launched my own business, left my beloved job after four and half years, have some unbelievable clients, travelled to Sydney  nine times, Melbourne twice, Perth and Adelaide. I have met some of the most beautiful people and new friends that I could have ever hoped to embrace in my life. I launched my speaking career with ease and success; I started and ended a beautiful romance, moved in with my incredible family and have spent more special time with my aging grandfather than I have in the last ten years. I have identified exactly what my life purpose is and feel 100% certain I am indeed on the right path. So with this in mind I have fit quite a bit in and have a lot to be proud of.

I can’t help but think a little deeper about what has really come to pass. After all achieving goals are not our true objective in life; it’s who we become in the process that really counts. We all have good days, weeks, and months and even years, we also all have bad days, weeks, months and years. However, even the most challenging of times forces us to expand on so many levels. Just when we think we can’t possible endure any more pain or drama the season changes and there is again calm and time for deep reflection. These are the times that we have the opportunity to take heed of ourselves and others to make sense of what is really at play in our lives. The lessons we have learnt, the growth we have experienced, the love we have received, the people, beliefs and material possessions we have let go of and those that we have embraced.

As Christmas is drawing near and everyone is busy just trying to ‘get through Christmas’ I find myself feeling pretty blessed. There are still SO many things I wish to invite into my life personally, professionally and spiritually however looking around myself today I can truly say that I am one of the wealthiest people I know. Roger Hamilton always says “Wealth is what a person has left when you take away all of their money” and this is true of my life today. I still have my days of anxiousness and fear about what the future may hold however the days of peace, love and satisfaction far surpass any of these more worrisome thoughts and feelings. The question I often find myself asking is “How did I get here?”

I have always been on this path since I was a small child however I have taken many a detour before finally realising which path is truly destined for me. Although many people before me have walked a similar path, I am now creating my own unique journey which is in total alignment with who I am at the core of my being. This knowledge in itself is extremely comforting. I know that there are many more challenges ahead of me however for the first time in my life I feel completely prepared to tackle them head on with love, compassion and appreciation. Every day is an opportunity to put everything I have learned into practice in the most positive ways.

For even during the darkest storms of our lives, the sun is always shining on the other side of the clouds. If life was easy all of the time then we would never grow, expand our thinking or attract new and inspiring experiences into our lives. It is these dark storms that push us out of our comfort zones and draw out our true strength and resilience. It is during these times that we become more of who we already are. There is no good or bad, right or wrong, everything just is. It is only us that determines those beliefs in our lives, I know for myself the times I have considered ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ have actually brought about some of the greatest blessings in my world. Life is constantly changing, nothing ever stays the same, people and things come and go, each leaving their mark in our hearts and exchanging gifts of knowledge, memories and lessons. Therefore nothing is ever truly lost; we simply silently outgrow each other at different times and for different reasons, forever connected through memory.

Looking ahead into the infinite possibilities which lie ahead of all of us in 2014, I am excited about the opportunities which are waiting with baited breath for my arrival. I believe with all of my heart that anything is possible if you only believe it to be. Success is always found just on the outer edge of our comfort zone, this is where the magic really happens and I fully intend to push myself to these outer edges to find my rewards. We are all truly deserving of all that we desire. Life isn’t a game of luck; it’s a game of preparation meeting opportunity which will bring about your greatest bounties. If you can imagine it, believe in it and feel it in your soul you will surely manifest your desires into your reality. I don’t know about you but I have no intentions of living an ordinary life, I am living an extraordinary life!!!

Anything is possible in 2014… Are you ready for it?

Until next time,

Janie xo

Photograph by the very talented Darren Rooney – You can check out his other photos and follow him here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/51334687@N06/with/5998633941/ and here https://www.facebook.com/PhotographybyDarrenR/photos_stream

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Are you Beautiful Enough???

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I have never been one to spend a lot of money on glossy magazines as I have come to realise over the years that I usually don’t get my value out of them. In many cases it’s not exactly high level journalism more like high level sensationalism and the stories versus adverts claiming they will transform your life if you buy their products are generally way out of balance. I am however guilty of taking an extra five minutes or so to flick through these glossy beauties and check out the pictures, latest headlines and occasionally speed reading an article or two of interest when I do my groceries. Now we all secretly love it when we see these seemingly perfect human beings gracing the pages who never normally have a hair out of place or a pimple in sight displaying normal everyday body issues just like us mere mortals. In actual fact I’ve heard that spreads on Celebs without makeup are some of the highest selling editions.

It is little wonder we have become a society obsessed with how we look and how everyone else looks right alongside of us. Constantly comparing ourselves to the elusive world of beauty and fame, worrying about how our peers perceive us. It reminds me of what my Grandfather would tell me growing up “Janie, if you knew just how little time other people spent thinking about you, you wouldn’t worry in the first place”. Now to a great degree these words ring truer today than any other time in my life however I am still acutely aware of our deep human condition to want to be accepted. With all of these magazines, movies, television and advertising we are all at the mercy of this big money making industry of fashion and beauty.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love to look and feel beautiful. I love wearing beautiful clothes and nice jewellery, hats, bags and quality shoes. I’ve looked after my skin with a daily cleanse and moisturiser routine since I was eleven years old and for the most part I look after myself and take a lot of pride in my appearance. What prompted this article was one of the most recent magazines I happened to pick up which was showcasing high profile celebs and their cellulite. I have to admit, a warm sense of satisfaction swelled within me when I saw that some of the most beautiful women in the world also have this seemingly unattractive issue. Even better was their attitude towards their bodies, defiant and confident. Without someone there to airbrush and photo shop them, they are just like me, just like you.

Most of us are our own worst enemy, avoiding the mirror unless necessary and when we do look in that said mirror our internal dialogue goes to work. “Gee you’re looking old” “Fatty boomba you need to go on a diet!” “Wow, you’re ugly” “Who would be attracted to you?”… Sound familiar? If you had a friend that spoke to you like that every time you met with them would you keep hanging out with them? Then why do we treat ourselves like this?

It’s taken me a long time, however I have worked on it daily until I can now honestly look in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful. I’m certainly not model material however I don’t need to be either. There are still things I’d change if I could. I’d like to have nicer teeth, longer lashes, and tanned skin, a better nose and maybe even be a few inches taller. However then I take check and realise that I can get better teeth and change my nose if I really want to go through that pain. I can also get a spray tan and fake lashes. With all the travel I do these days I realise being vertically challenged has its advantages as I fit quite comfortably in planes and trains and have no issues sleeping.

However, what I do have is so much more important. I have two eyes that see with 20/20 vision, I have two arms, hands, legs and feet that work perfectly. I can run, walk, swim, throw, catch, hold, pick up and hug in a nanosecond of the thought. I have an incredible mind, a healthy body, I rarely ever feel unwell, I get plenty of sleep, I have great hair and I’m a good weight for my height. When I remember all of these things I am beautiful just the way I am. I even embrace my cellulite because this is part of me, it is a natural part of being a woman and to disown this part of myself is telling my body that I am not enough and that is so far from the truth.

My best friend and I have made a pact with each other that when we have children we will never put ourselves down in front of them. I spent my childhood watching my mother complain about how fat, ugly, old or stupid she was and she always seemed to be on some new diet. She was none of these things and yet as an impressionable young girl I bought into this false belief and made it my own. After all, she was my mother and I was part of her so I must also be just like that… right?  Children are so perceptive and are like little sponges as we all know. If we want our children to value and love themselves, believe they are beautiful, perfect and worthy of all that they desire in life than we too must hold this belief about ourselves.

“Even the most unfortunate person has something so truly beautiful about them; maybe it’s their eyes, their smile, their hair or their personality.”

Of course it is important to look after ourselves, have a healthy lifestyle and dress nicely, to feel good within ourselves and not to impress everyone else around us. One thing I have realised is that there is always going to be someone we are looking at wishing we were more like them  however there is always going to be someone looking at us wishing they were more like us. I have heard it said many times that in a room full of people that the most beautiful person in the room is not the best looking; it’s the person with the most confidence and self-belief. When I think back over my life this is so true. The people I’ve found to be the most attractive are not necessarily all that good looking, however they are confident, loving, fun and at peace within themselves.

We were all born perfect so what makes us think we somehow become less perfect? We are all imperfectly perfect and becoming more each and every day. You ARE beautiful enough! 

Until next time,

Janie xo

6

10 Things I Wish my Mum Told me About Boys & Sex

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It never ceases to amaze me how many women I talk to these days that have so many regrets, misunderstandings and emotional turmoil around boys and sex. With almost all of my female clients and girlfriends this is a topic which comes up quite regularly. It’s also something I have given a lot of thought to over the years. I grew up in a very open and loving family, we were also what some people would consider a nudist family. Nudity was never something sexualised and when I was younger I had a very healthy body image as a result of this. I was also fortunate enough to have a very positive introduction into the world of relationships and boys. However, I was totally unprepared for the reality that lay ahead of me thereafter.

Of course, most of the points below could easily be switched around and be equally valid for guys about girls however for the purpose of this slightly cheeky article I’m focusing on boys. (sorry guys :)

Here are my top ten things I wish my Mum had told me about the world of boys and sex…

  1. Boys will tell you almost anything to get you into bed. Never believe everything a boy tells you when he has a hard on. They really can’t think with more than one head at a time, this is neuroscience at its best.
  2. Not all boys will respect you in the morning, sex is not love.
  3. Masturbation is perfectly normal, healthy and nothing to be ashamed of.
  4. If a boy buys you dinner, gifts or does nice things for you, you are not obligated to return the favor with sexual gestures.
  5. You are one of the most special gifts of all; any boy who gets to be with you should feel honored.  Let him chase you until you catch him.
  6. Boys will treat you exactly the same way you treat yourself. If you don’t value yourself then you will attract boys that don’t value you either.
  7. Sex is NOT the way to a boy’s heart. If he won’t put the time into get to know your heart then he isn’t worth your time.
  8. If you can’t be open and honest with the world about your relationship then you shouldn’t be in it.
  9. NEVER play with another girl’s boy, no matter how unhappy he tells you they are. (Refer to #1)
  10. Not all boys are cheats, liars and thieves (The “Bad Boys” which we are all seemingly attracted to). There are a lot of very decent boys who just want to love you right and be loved right in return, be open to meeting these guys and hold onto them when you find them, they are worth keeping.

Bonus – Never make big decisions about your life when you are Horny, Angry or Hungry.

What things do you wish you were told about the world of boys/girls and sex growing up?

Until next time,

Janie xo

2

My School Reunion & Love – Final

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After a few games of pool it was time to go our separate ways again, for the moment at least. I went back and sat with the rest of my old school friends and joined in their renditions of high school memories. I tried my best to stay present with the conversation but my mind was continuously jumping from present to past to future and back to present again. From that point on the night seemed to go a lot faster than I would have liked and before I knew it the clock struck twelve and it was time to go.

Just before we were all set to drive back into town I went to say goodbye to my ex. He was still in complete shock that I was there and trying to find the right words to express himself. I invited him to join my family and me for lunch at the beach the following day and we exchanged numbers. We held each other in a long embrace before finally saying goodbye. At the last minute I had decided to listen to my intuition and opted to drive to the hotel instead of drink, which worked out to be a wise choice. I drove a group of us back into town with the intention to continue the party. I spent all of about twenty minutes at the local night spot, only to realise pretty quickly that being sober and over twenty-five meant it wasn’t really my thing. So I said my goodbyes to my reunion friends and was about to make my way home when I received a call from my ex.

He just really wanted to talk with me and so I drove around to his house where we simply sat on the porch and talked, and talked, and talked some more until the sun rose to greet us. We talked about his partner, the kids, work, family, old friends and us. He expressed his true feelings for me and told me that I was the only woman who ever really loved and accepted him for who he was, and that I was one of the best things that ever happened to him. He apologised for the way he had treated me in the past and for not fighting for me. He also wished he had let me know ten years ago how much he loved me. He also told me that he had never known anyone who had so much love to give. (Let’s face it, he might have been the one in pain but his honesty and sharing was also great for my ego!)

Over the years I have often wondered if anyone I have dated had ever actually been in love with me, on this night I finally got my answer. In actual fact, I discovered answers to a whole range of internal questions I had about myself and found another level of peace and acceptance within.

His pain eased with each passing hour as I listened and gently guided him to think more positive and objective thoughts. Drawing on all of my personal and professional experience I was able to help him heal, accept and breathe more easily again, simply by loving him without judgement. Sometimes all we need is a friend who can give us their time, love and openness when we are hurting and confused.  Although our boat sailed ten years ago, I feel very blessed to have been there for one of the most influential and special people in my life during his time of need. I truly believe, once again, I was sent to him to be his earth angel for a moment and give him some love and guidance to keep him on the right track during one of the most testing times of his life to date. It was a very healing and enlightening experience for both of us.

This whole experience did, however, get me thinking. What if? What if I had spoken up that night ten years ago? Who would I have become? Would we have worked out? Would I have been attending those reunions as a married woman with children? Would I have ever discovered my purpose and be living it? Maybe somewhere in a parallel universe we are living happily ever after together. However, as far as this universe is concerned I have no regrets and I believe everything has happened exactly as it should. I love my life and I am excited about what lies ahead.

One of the greatest things I have come to realise from this experience is that I realise that I do want to share my life with someone special and have a family one day. The difference is that I don’t simply want to get married because I want to have children; I want to have children because I have found and married the love of my life. I am thirty-two, single, childless, and for the first time in a very long time there is no-one in my life that I am emotionally or romantically inclined towards and I am loving every minute of it while it lasts. I have a biological clock and yes it is ticking, though not so loudly these days. I appreciate all that I have in my life right here, right now. After all, the past is the past and the future isn’t guaranteed. All we truly have is this present moment.

There is definitely room in my life for the right person to come in and sweep me off of my feet, but all in good time. What I won’t do, however, is place him on a pedestal where he will inevitably fall into the pit when he fails to support my values like has happened in the past. Nor will I rely on him for my happiness or take responsibility for his.

I now know that I deserve someone who will love, adore and support me for all that I have to offer and vice versa. No one is perfect, but someone out there somewhere is perfectly imperfect for me and one day our paths will cross. Maybe it will be two days from now, two weeks, two months, two years or longer. No matter what, I know that there is nothing wrong with me and that perhaps I have simply outgrown people I have dated in the past quite quickly. I can’t think of one relationship I have had where I wish things were different. What I do know to be true is that the world works in mysterious ways, I am supported and loved unconditionally, and that I am most definitely enough and so are you! 

Until next time,

Janie xo

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My School Reunion & Love – Part Three

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We all warmly embraced each other like old lost friends and were completely comfortable with it, even people who I can’t recall ever having a proper conversation with. The reality is who we all were at high school and who we become are vastly different, and I feel really sad for people who still hold grudges for things people did or said when they were just kids. After high school everyone has different experiences that change, mould and influence them to generally become better people.

I was of course the only single, childless person in the group. I found it absolutely fascinating to listen to these beautiful women and men discuss their children, their education, ideas, hopes and dreams for their families. It was a really lovely reminder that there are still some really great mums and dads out there that actually give a shit. It was also refreshing to hear their very honest account of exactly what it is like to be a parent, something I can only partially relate to.

Listening mostly to the ladies talking, I was most amused at just how much it felt like we were like a bunch of kids playing dress up. I couldn’t believe how it wasn’t that long ago that we were the kids looking up at people our age thinking they were SO old and boring. And here we were, those not SO old people talking about their kids, education, dance lessons, swim lessons and everything else school age kids get up to. Our last reunion was only four years ago as no one thought to do anything for the ten year anniversary and so an eleven year reunion happened instead.

The conversations back then were very different. Then it was all birth canals, potty training and breast feeding. I recall feeling a little left out, disappointed that I wasn’t at that stage in my life; I was honestly feeling a bit insecure about not being married or having started a family yet. I had fully expected that by that time in my life I would have found the love of my life, settled down and had a little family of my own. I also expected that by the time the next reunion rolled around I too would be talking about dirty nappies and sleepless nights. And here we were, four years later, only this time my feelings about being single and childless were and are vastly different.

I had so much admiration for these incredible people around me, each sharing their trials and tribulations of marriage, life and kids. The interesting thing is this time there wasn’t one tiny part of me wishing that was my life. In fact, I was feeling more relief than anything that my time was still ahead of me and that I still had the freedom to run my own life. One thing I have come to realise over the course of my life is that for everything you want to achieve in your life, there is always something you currently value which you need to sacrifice. Right now, that something would have to be my own time; time to sleep, read, travel, and build my business and most importantly time with myself. For the first time in my life I have the healthiest and happiest relationship with myself and I have to admit there is a little bit of fear around loosing that.

Although thoroughly enjoying the conversations about kids and everyone’s journey thus far, my mind was definitely wondering back to my ex and how bizarre it all really was. I couldn’t believe that of all the nights for both of us to be at the hotel… I hadn’t been back for about eight years and he hadn’t been back for at least five. After so much travel and work, the few weeks beforehand, I was seriously contemplating not going. I just couldn’t shake the niggling feeling that I needed to be there, and so trusting and following my intuition I went. I am so glad I listened.

It was our turn for pool and we were playing doubles. It was at this point in the night that if it had been a movie you would have seen my character walk through a warped blue wall and step into the past. I really felt like I was right back to being sixteen years old again and suddenly we were both right back there together. It was so comfortable, familiar and a little bit weird. As we played pool, we talked, laughed and silently remembered our past.

Until the final part,

Janie xo

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My School Reunion & Love – Part Two

First Love

I recently went home for my fifteen year school reunion which just so happened to be at the very venue my first real dating experience began sixteen years ago. Growing up, my family owned a turf farm about fifteen minutes outside of town. The South Kolan Hotel was our local watering hole and where I would spend most of my Friday and Saturday nights from when I was only sixteen until I was about nineteen. Three weeks into year eleven I decided that high school was no longer able to provide me with the kind of education I needed at the time, so I left school to do a Certificate in Hospitality.

When I left school and decided University wasn’t really going to be one of my options, I cashed in my ‘University Fund’ that my parents had saved, all $4,000 of it. They told me that they realised I wasn’t going to go down that path years ago and decided not to bother putting any more money in. I bought my first car and an old caravan, which I gutted, and then had a builder refit it like a big bedroom on wheels. It took pride of place down the back of the big backyard of the family home. I loved the freedom and space this gave me away from my annoying siblings and parents.

Part of the hospitality course included doing work experience and the South Kolan Hotel kindly obliged. It was here that I got together with my very first serious boyfriend. I was just three weeks shy of my seventeenth birthday and he was twenty-three. His mother was my bus driver when I was ten and one of the most beautiful women you could ever hope to meet. We spent many a weekend at the hotel playing pool, drinking with the locals and making many a happy memory. We spent every day together for six months; he was my first real love.

This was a time of innocence and coming of age. I was still so open and naïve, untarnished by the real world. My reality was much simpler back then; there was no internet, mobiles, terrorists or emotional baggage to deal with. Every day after we finished work we would ask each of our folks what was for dinner and then dine with whoever was putting on the best spread. We were youthful and full of hope for our futures. After all, getting older was forever away. Little did I know then just how quickly those years would come to pass! I remember the first night we got together  we had been playing pool and having a great night talking at the pub (I was drinking soft drink and driving) with neither of us wanting the night to end he came back to the van where we continued to talk and kiss all night.  I confessed to him that night that I was still a virgin and I wasn’t going to rush into anything. It could be six months before I was ready. He didn’t care and was just happy to be with me.

I was very lucky to have the privacy and space from the rest of the family at this time of my young adult life. I think from memory I lasted about a week before I declared I was ready. I remember being so impressed with this new found activity that the poor guy could hardly keep up with me after that. Oh to be seventeen again! Now some might wonder why I would share something so intimate with the world. My answer, I have nothing to hide and I am certainly not ashamed of something so beautiful and special. I feel very blessed to have had such a positive and loving first time with such a considerate, gentle and respectful partner. Unlike many of the girls at school, where I heard of so many stories about young inexperienced boys taking advantage of drunken girls at a party and everything just being messy and painful both physically and emotionally.

We had so much fun together, I got on well with all of his friends and despite being at least five years younger than everyone else I was able to hold my own. We parted ways after he read my very first ‘bucket list’ and he decided, or perhaps realised, that he and I were not going to have the happy ending after all. I truly wish I still had that very first list to see just how modest or grand my dreams were as my seventeen year old self. Whatever was on that list, he obviously didn’t see how he would fit in the greater picture. I was devastated, despite knowing in my heart that it was probably the right thing for both of us.

This was most definitely one of the most defining relationships of my life and always will be. During this time I learnt a lot of important life lessons which have continued to support me throughout the years. He was with me the day we discovered the mole on the back of my uncles head, the day the results came back and although no longer together he was there to hold me the day we buried him six months later. That was one of the kinds of life changing events that bond you for life. The day we kissed goodbye at my uncle’s funeral was the last time we saw each other for over four years. He met a girl several weeks later and married her.

Last weekend when I walked into the pub to meet my old school friends from fifteen years ago I happened to run into another old friend, my ex-boyfriends best friend. It turned out it was also my ex’s mother’s sixty-fifth birthday party; I hadn’t seen her for a very long time. And of course my ex was also there. She also informed me that he had recently split from his partner a few weeks earlier. I realised that I hadn’t seen my ex since just after he separated from his wife when I was only twenty-one. Somehow our paths crossed just at that point in time and I was there to help him through his separation as a trusted friend and sounding board. I was kind of seeing someone else at the time, though we did discuss our past and feelings for one another openly and healed a lot during that time.

A few weeks later I was no longer seeing the other guy and was considering the possibility of reconciliation. We met while out one night and I was just about to open up to him about my thoughts when someone else seduced him on the dance floor. In that moment I decided that the universe had spoken and kept my thoughts to myself. It was definitely one of those sliding door moments in life. The new woman he met wasn’t my biggest fan and kept him at a safe distance from me and inevitably we lost touch. He went on to raise her three children from a previous marriage and have a little girl of their own. They never married and always had a tumultuous relationship eventually falling out of love and staying together for the sake of the kids.

Walking inside the hotel the night of the reunion and seeing him at the bar talking with some of the old regulars was quite an interesting experience. It was as though my past was rushing in to greet me in every way. When he saw me he looked like he had seen a ghost and could hardly get his words out. We embraced each other for a long time and still he had no words. He couldn’t believe that I would turn up again at the exact same time I turned up last time when he separated from his wife. At this point I had to leave him and go and be with all of my old school friends. We agreed to have a couple of games of pool later on, just like old times. When I made my way out to the reunion, which was much more of a gathering than a formal event, I was again greeted by the past. There were so many familiar faces I felt as though I still knew them because of Facebook and yet really had no idea who anyone had truly become.


 Until part three,

Janie xo

8

My School Reunion & Love – Part One

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For my entire life I have always believed that I would grow up, fall in love, have a family and live happily ever after. Sound familiar?

Over the years I have dated pretty much every type of guy; the narcissist, the romantic, the psychopath, the damaged one, the mummy’s boy, the workaholic, the bad boy, the womaniser, the spiritualist… I think you get the point. I would fall helplessly in lust with the fantasy of a life together that my Ego and Libido so kindly created for me. I would foolishly believe, despite all the red flags that I could make it work.

Most of my relationships have been fast, heavy, intense and short-lived, leaving me  feeling like I wasn’t enough, that somehow I was the one lacking. A peculiar pattern also seemed to emerge over the past decade; a high percentage of the guys I dated would meet, fall in love and marry the very next girl they dated only weeks or months after we split, (much like the female version of Charlie in the movie ‘Good Luck Chuck’).

This has been my life…

“I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.” 
― 
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Of course this would only add salt to the wound, even if I was only in love with the fantasy of our potential, both as individuals and as a couple. Many a night has been spent crying myself to sleep wondering why didn’t they love me? Why did I continuously fall for the wrong guy? What was wrong with me? Was I doomed to live like this forever?

When I was twenty-nine I reconnected with a guy on Facebook that I had dated briefly four years earlier (one of the aforementioned guys who married the next girl). After a few chats online he opened up and told me about the sad breakdown of his marriage twelve months earlier after his wife met someone else. We instantly picked up where we left off and within no time at all my Ego and Libido had taken full control of our budding relationship, leaving my inner self questioning their every move, but to no avail. Over the course of the next six months every insecurity I ever had about myself and my relationships reared its ugly head.

I have long been a believer that we are made up predominantly of three personalities; the Ego, the Libido and the Observer or Inner Self, also known as our intuition. Despite all the obvious danger signs my Ego and Libido were convinced that this was meant to be, that we were perfect for each other, and that I could heal his broken heart. After six months of a long distance relationship we called it a day and parted as friends the day after my thirtieth birthday when he moved to the Caribbean for work.

Despite knowing this was the right thing for both of us, I couldn’t help but feel absolutely heartbroken, believing he was the first person I truly fell in love with. The fantasy my Ego had sold me was amazing and I struggled to let go of what I believed at the time to be the most incredible man and relationship of my life to date. He was handsome, successful, fun, loving and intelligent, everything I had been looking for. Or so I thought. I had, in all my wisdom, put him on a pedestal and now he had fallen in the pit and it hurt, a lot. Several months followed of us (ok, so mostly me) letting go of the dream and moving on with our lives. It was at this point in my life that everything changed. I decided there had to be a better way. How could one person have that much control over my emotions and mental state? The answer? They don’t, I do!

This was only the start of my journey of self-discovery, and the events that have unfolded since then have been nothing short of incredible. Fast forward a couple of years and my life is a completely different story. I am now coming up to my thirty-third birthday, I am single, childless, have my own business, found my purpose, live with my family and never been happier. For the first time in my life, my focus isn’t on meeting someone and settling down and having a family like many of us have been programed to believe is our entire purpose as a woman. Now don’t get me wrong, this is still a dream I hold dear to my heart; however, I like to think that I will be ok if this isn’t one of the infinite possibilities my future holds in store for me.

For several months I have been questioning this lifelong dream and its validity. I had the good fortune of being a nanny for twelve months when I was only nineteen years of age and it was a rude awakening as to just how much work kids can be. After seeing many friends go before me to do the whole marriage and children gig I can’t help but wonder if it really is all it’s cracked up to be.  I love to sleep. I love spending time on my own and having no one to answer to. I love to cook when I feel like it and suit myself every other night. I love to travel and work in my business. For the first time in my life I finally have balance, focus, self-belief, purpose and momentum.

The question I find myself asking is… do I really want that life?  Absolutely I do, well for the most part at least; however, more than ever before the alternative path looks somewhat appealing as well. Although, I do half joke about spending a life on my terms and simply borrowing other peoples kids and having a lover in every city instead…Hmmm…

 Until part two… of four…
Janie xo
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Property Investment with Tyson Clarke

Tyson Clarke cropAfter placing my order I’ve just taken my seat outside a quaint little French café in Hamilton. It’s a beautiful spring morning and I’m feeling a little excited to be catching up with my good friend whom I haven’t seen for several years. I’ve been following his progress as he has mine on Facebook and I am keen to find out what’s really been happening in his life to date. I look up to see a handsome well-dressed man approaching. A far cry from the guy who turned up to his interview wearing sneakers, board shorts and a t-shirt for an Engineering position many years ago.  Fortunately his cheeky smile, charm and credentials got him across the line on that occasion.

I first met Tyson Clarke who is now one of the directors of Australian Property Panel about six years ago when we worked together at a large engineering firm in Brisbane. I was in HR and he was an Electrical Engineer. I remember he caused quite the stir and not just for his interview fashion. In his first couple of weeks all the girls in the office were swooning over his handsome looks.  We became firm friends after discovering we shared a few common friends and interests with the main one being property and investment. I even left my role at this company to pursue a career in property however quickly discovered this wasn’t my path after all. Fast forward a few years and Tyson on the other hand has turned his passion for property into his full-time career and loving every minute of it.

Tyson has been interested in the world of property for as long as he can remember. Coming from a close knit family, his humble beginnings started in Cairns. Tyson relocated to Mt Isa after completing his degree in Electrical Engineering where he stayed for several years before getting itchy feet. He decided it was time to go and explore the world and that is exactly what he did. Working and backpacking all over the globe from Canada, Asia, South America, Europe and everywhere in between before finally returning home. This brings us back to where our story began with him turning up to his interview in his board shorts. How times have changed. These days you will find Tyson travelling in his business suit helping people all over the countryside to build their property portfolios. With a passion for snowboarding and mountain bike riding it’s little wonder the adrenalin driven Tyson enjoys the sometimes risky, ever challenging and rewarding world of property.

After a few minutes of getting reacquainted it’s like no time has passed and our rather informal interview begins. It’s not hard to see the passion and excitement Tyson has for his new career path. “I just love what I do, helping people build their dreams. Every day I get out of bed with a bounce in my step. It’s an awesome feeling” he exclaims with a beaming smile.

So what is it that you actually do?

I am one of the Directors of the Australian Property Panel and our aim is to work closely with our clients to achieve their goals of owning property. We work with each of our clients to assess and identify what their goals are and where they are currently at in their process of owning property both financially and mentally. Once we have a clear idea of this we then work out a strategic plan to get them on the right track to achieve their goals via a number or different ways. We do a lot of education through mentoring, coaching and workshops as well as connecting our clients with the right experts in our team to get the right advice for their individual needs.

Who are the experts in your team?

I only work with people who have the highest integrity and are more focussed on providing value and getting best results for our clients than filling their back pockets. I have handpicked my team of independent specialists who I have both worked with personally and put through their paces or been highly recommended by trusted sources. These experts are accountants, lawyers, brokers, financial planners and anyone else involved with the various processes when investing in property. I am really particular about who I work with as they need to share the same integrity and commitment for achieving the same results as I do and if they don’t they simply get cut from the team. My clients come first and that’s what my whole business and reputation is built on. This is why I work with individuals and not big corporations and franchises.

What is the Australian Property Panel (APP)?

A few years ago I was being mentored by a fantastic guy called Peter Spencer. I really loved his integrity and vision for helping people to gain their property education and build their portfolio’s. Peter is the founder of the Australian Property Panel which is designed as a business hub for like-minded people with a passion for property and helping others get into the property game. When he approached me to be a part of his vision I jumped at the opportunity. Each state has its own director managing the business with the support and guidance of Peter every step of the way. He is an incredibly inspiring and knowledgeable man and has such a fantastic attitude and I have learnt a lot about property and life in general from working with him.  

We are effectively a team of property investors who are passionate about educating and helping others to do what we have already done.

Why would people go to you instead of just going to their local real estate agent?

We provide what’s known as armchair investing, our clients can get involved as much or as little as they like. The best way to describe my role is a project manager taking care of and overseeing the entire process. It can be a scary experience when you don’t know who you can trust or what to do next so I aim to take away the fear and basically guide my clients through the whole journey. We take the time to ensure our clients fully understand every aspect of their experience as well as ensuring we fully understand everything they need in return. I am also a ‘one point of contact’ so this gives my clients peace of mind that they don’t have to chase everyone up individually and all their bases are covered.

All of my clients are completely unique with different circumstances. I have some clients who are too busy to be involved. They basically just give me a brief and I pretty much don’t hear from them until I have a contract ready for them to sign. I have other clients who I have worked with for over 12 months talking on a weekly basis and holding their hand through every step of the process before they finally make their first purchase. It really just depends on what my client’s needs are.

I guess the biggest difference is that you are not just left to figure it all out on your own; my aim isn’t for you to purchase just one property it’s to assist you in building a portfolio of ten properties or more.

How did you come to be in the property game after being an Engineer for the past decade?

I’ve always worked in the mining industry as an engineer and spent the vast majority of my career working out on site in places like Mt Isa and various locations around the Surat and Bowen Basin area. I remember when I was first starting out I was working in Mt Isa and was interested in investing in property and no one knew anything about it. As the years rolled on I discovered that there were so many people who were moving to the mines to create a better life for themselves and their families only to be caught in the money hamster wheel. In remote areas it’s hard to get ahead without the right education and resources available and so people tend to just end up wasting their money on fast toys and good times.

I was fortunate enough to be based in Brisbane and had all the resources I finally needed to get my portfolio started. Over the years I’ve had many conversations with the guys out on site about what I was doing and they all wanted a slice of the action but didn’t know how or believe it was possible. I realised that there was a real need to provide some kind of avenue for these guys (and women) to really make their money work for them and set their families up for a secure lifestyle long term.

You talk about the “Money Hamster Wheel”, how are you helping people change their focus?

There are a lot of flyby nighters who waltz into town with their fast talk and fancy promises only to really rape and pillage leaving everyone with a bad taste in their mouth and nothing to show for it. I really didn’t want to be like this so I decided to really channel my energies into creating not only a loyal client base but a community of like-minded people. I’m working with people in Mooranbah, Mackay and Townsville with a view to open up into Cairns and Rockhampton in the New Year. I am committed to supporting my clients any way I can and part of this is returning every six weeks to work face to face with them. I love the personal interaction and believe getting together in person is a really important part of creating strong healthy relationships.

This is exactly what I am achieving right now. This weekend for instance I am holding a Christmas Party for my clients and their families out in Moranbah where we have over 80 adults and 60 kids attending. It’s nothing flash, just a bowls day with a BBQ and a jumping castle however we have created a community of people who no matter where they are in their journey are all banding together to support each other in growing their portfolios. It’s really great when you have an apprentice talking with a Mine manager about where they are at in the process and excited about what they are learning.

How did you start your property journey?

I’ve been interested in property for as long as I can remember and like I said earlier there was just no-one around who could provide the guidance I needed to really get started. It wasn’t until I moved to Brisbane that I had a lot more opportunities to learn. I went to lots of seminars and workshops, some good and some terrible. I did a lot of research and asked a LOT of questions. I eventually discovered some really great people in the industry who I was able to learn from and really tap into their knowledge with Peter Spencer being one of them. Once I purchased my first property I had a taste for it and my hunger for all things related has just increased ever since.

I started helping a few mates with their purchases and loved the thrill I got from helping other people and realised just how many dodgy players are in the market place. I guess I wanted to combine my love of property and my desire to help others achieve their dreams without having to go through all the same trials and tribulations I did. I’m living the dream and loving it!

What advice would you give people looking to achieve their property dreams?

The only people who achieve their goals are the ones that take action. Knowledge is only power when you use it properly, so get started!

How can people get started?

We hold regular free education workshops and of course I am happy to talk with anyone who is serious about entering the property market. It doesn’t matter if you are ready to buy now or simply preparing yourself for making your first deal in 18months time, I can help you get on the right track. One of the biggest mistakes people make is holding the belief that they can’t afford it or it’s too hard so they just do nothing. This is complete hogwash; everyone is able to enter the market with the right guidance and plan in place. It’s actually not that scary and can be a lot of fun, best of all it’s free to work with us.

To get in touch with Tyson or to attend one of the upcoming property workshops go to http://auspropertypanel.com.au/ and start your property journey today!

I hope you will be as inspired as I was following my chat with Tyson. He has certainly reignited my passion for property and I will be looking to work more closely with him in the coming months to kick start my portfolio too!

Until next time,

Janie

                                                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Choose the Right Mentor for Change

mentorA few weeks ago I was with one of my clients and he was sharing his excitement over their record sales month. Since commencing with our Leadership Mentoring program back in April their sales have increased month on month. This is fantastic news for any mentor to hear and any business to experience however it got me thinking about measurable outcomes. So often I speak with businesses who know they need to improve their productivity and morale in their organisation yet have nothing in place to actually measure any of their outcomes. 

I can walk into most organisations and inspire their teams to think differently, act differently and be better performers; for a while at least. So many companies go wrong by not putting in place systems, processes and KPI’s to ensure the momentum is maintained and continuously improved upon. How many times in your career have you or your boss employed someone to motivate the team and inspire positive teamwork only to return to work the next day and nothing has changed?

I am passionate about inspiring people to achieve their potential in all areas of life; however transforming a business culture, performance and position in the market place takes a lot more than someone standing in front of them saying “You can do it!” If you want to create long lasting organisational change you need to have several things in place to ensure success.

Sitting down with your leadership team or business mentor and conducting a Needs Analysis is a great start. Following this you will also need to identify and measure what your current outcomes are including staff turnover, sick days, productivity, customer complaints, sales figures, expenditures etc. Once you have your pre-measurements in place the next step is to work out a process in which you can accurately measure your outcomes and bench mark them against your pre-measurements and industry standards.  After all if you are going to be investing good money into creating change you want to know exactly what changes are occurring and if they are in line with your vision and KPI’s.

In many instances businesses need to source external consultants to assist them in achieving their desired outcomes so it is really important to find someone you resonate with. Just like hiring a new employee, you want to ensure they share complimentary personality traits and are easy to talk and work with. I recently hired a new business mentor (even mentors need mentors) and before making a commitment to him I interviewed several potential people. All of the mentors I met with had great personalities, were passionate about what they did and were very successful however they just didn’t “feel” right.

When I met Monty, although he had a rather unorthodox manner in his approach, his values and philosophy were a great match for mine and it just “felt” right. I didn’t ask him about what results he had achieved with previous clients or his education because his knowledge, approach and confidence were in alignment with what I was looking for. I knew enough about myself and my vision to know that he was the person to assist me in taking my business to the next level. He is someone I can learn from, respect and communicate easily with to get best results. These are all really important attributes when looking to employ a consultant or mentor.

Having selected the right person or organisation to keep you focussed and on track to achieve your goals your next step is to create an action plan for identifying, developing and rolling out new initiatives for change. Don’t underestimate your employee’s knowledge, ideas and experiences. My clients always get best results when they take a consultative approach with their staff and engage them throughout the process of change. Simply coming up with a new process, system or change and telling your staff that’s how it is will only create more resistance and indifference and you will find it much more challenging to move forward.

A great way to gauge where your employees and leadership team are at is to interview them either individually or in small group discussions. These sessions need to be held in an environment where people feel safe to openly express their ideas, frustrations and impressions of the leadership team and company. This is not about blame and shame. This is usually best done with an objective outsider who can clearly identify the trivial complaints from the serious issues and deliver them back to the leadership team for consideration.

It is also really important that leadership teams take this feedback with an open mind and leave their egos and armour at the front door. Your people will inevitably have some pretty honest perspectives which aren’t always easy to hear.  You need to understand that the feedback is vital to identify the root cause of your company’s real challenges in order to create positive methods for improvement. Now that you have completed all of the ground work it’s time to appoint someone as the ‘Champion Change Agent’ this person will be responsible for ensuring everyone keeps focused and on task for maintaining momentum and continuous improvement.

So in review:

  1. 1.    Conduct a Needs Analysis
  2. 2.    Identify current outcomes in a measurable manner
  3. 3.    Develop a process for measuring future outcomes against current results
  4. 4.    Hire a good consultant/mentor/organisation that can assist in creating your desired outcomes (This may be your first point of call as they should be able to guide you through all of these processes)
  5. 5.    Develop an action plan for identifying, developing and rolling out new initiatives
  6. 6.    Consult and communicate all employees and leadership teams for honest feedback to ensure everyone is on the right page
  7. 7.    Review all feedback and appoint a Champion Change Agent to ensure momentum is maintained and continuously improved upon.
  8. 8.    Get started!

Most importantly, this whole process should be fun, the more fun we have the more we learn so enjoy the journey and be opened to the endless possibilities.

Until next time,

Janie Hall

2

My Pa’s Special Christmas

 My paI have said it many times and I will continue to say it many more times that I have been blessed with one of the most beautiful families.  On both my mother and father’s side I have experienced nothing less than unconditional love and support from all of my extended family and their partners. I feel particularly appreciative of this when I speak with so many of my clients, friends and participants as they share their stories of loss, betrayal, abuse, rejection and quarrels from their families. I have three wonderful grandparents still living and in my parents’ generation we can boast nil divorces which are a rarity these days.  With five siblings on my father’s side and three on my mother’s that is something I am very proud of. Now they have all experienced their fair share of trials and tribulations through the raising of a family and the everyday challenges that go along with being married however they have worked hard to make it work and work it does.

Today I would like to focus on my dad’s side of the family. They are loud, fun, highly intelligent and a little bit wild. Everyone, once they found their stride in life has been very successful in their own right and everyone revels in getting together as often as possible. One thing the about Hall’s is they are all strong personalities who aren’t afraid to speak their truth, no topic has ever been taboo and even when friction occurs their excellent communication skills always ease the way forward. There is so much love despite such a mixed bag of lollies, each person with their individual strengths and weaknesses all beautifully complimenting the others in almost every way.

Earlier this year the lease on my apartment came up at a time when I was at a bit of a cross roads, to leave Brisbane or to stay? To start my own business or to stay employed? These were my questions. With so much uncertainty around my next chapter my beautiful Aunty Cherrie offered me the opportunity to stay a few weeks with her family until I worked it out. A few weeks have turned into eight months and will most likely be a few more. At first I was hesitant to move in as I felt a certain sense of shame moving back in with family at the ripe old age of 32; after all according to society shouldn’t I be married with a mortgage and 2.5 kids by now? Or have a highflying career jetting all over the world with several holiday homes to boast? Alas, I was neither and so I moved in and it has proved to be the right decision.

This year has been so wonderfully healing and refreshing, spending so much quality time with my family and seeing them through the eyes of an older, wiser adult instead of a know it all, immature teenager. I have had the amazing good fortune of discovering all the pieces of me in all of the pieces of my family and for the first time I have been able to reconcile the two. My appreciation for these amazing people in my life has given me so much peace and allowed me to grow in ways I could never imagine. My Aunty is what you might call the matriarch of the family and her home has always been the family halfway house and being conveniently close to the airport has certainly been a bonus over the years. All of my family have always considered this home the ‘Family Home’, always so much food, love and support to be found not to mention a comfy bed to rest your weary head. Many childhood memories involve this home and the people who were constantly coming and going.  

Just over a year ago, my grandfather also came to call this place home after he was no longer able to care for himself. This has been by far my greatest blessing of living here and quite possibly one of the biggest reasons for staying so long. A truly beautiful and gentle soul, he was widowed at only 50 and recently turned 89. Although his body hasn’t kept up, he is still as sharp as a tack most of the time. He has lived an incredibly interesting life yet ever so humble. He has been a wonderful teacher throughout my life however the lessons I have learned by spending such precious time with him these past months I suspect will continue to influence the rest of my life long after his passing.

His body is weak and requires a lot of rest; however he is mobile with the aid of his walker and finds great delight in the world news and his daily turns of the garden. Every Tuesday he is picked up by the good folk of Anglicare and taken for a social day with his new friends where they have weekly topics to discuss (he always takes a show and tell and just quietly I believe the others all rely on him for their entertainment). His favourite pastimes are going through photos of yesteryear, recounting stories of his life, reading his joke book and listening to the radio or his collection of CD’s (Joni Mitchel being his favourite) whilst keeping a watchful eye on the weather outside his window. Another one of his favourite pastimes is looking up his medical book and speculating on his health’s decline (Hypochondriac comes to mind some days)

He has his little rituals every day with the last one being a glass of milk and a cookie or two just before bed. Quite often I join him at this time to hear about the daily news and stories of his life. His ideal woman is Dawn French and he can’t understand why anyone would believe in God yet he is an avid supporter of Mother Nature. Hugely controversial with some of his beliefs and yet extremely open minded with others. My debating skills have improved greatly since living here. My Uncle Dennis has taken on the role of full-time caregiver and does an amazing job. His patience, attention to detail and never ending love and support for my grandfather is really very special. It is not an easy job and for the most part a thankless job at that with little time out despite its moments of reward; however I suspect he wouldn’t want it any other way. We all try and help out where we can to lighten the load however my Uncle and Aunty are the real heroes.

My Pa reminds us regularly with a sense of humour that his life is nearing its cycle and he will be leaving us sooner rather than later with his general wearing out process seemingly finding its pace. For years we have long speculated about his ‘Last Christmas’ with none of us wishing to accept this as possible however none the less making special arrangements for him to enjoy himself. This year however, the reality is a little closer to home. He has committed himself to reaching his 90th Birthday in June next year but not really overly interested in much more than that. I truly hope he will be with us much longer than this as he has proven himself time and time again to be a fighter. I would like to think he would at least be around to meet my first child for a photo; however that is looking increasingly unlikely considering I am still happily single.

Without any real planning, somehow it just worked out that almost everyone was coming home for Christmas this year and so with a few phone calls to those who weren’t we managed to arrange for our entire family bar a couple to be here for what might be Pa’s last Christmas. This year will be a wonderful testament to the amazing life he has lived and the people he has shared it with. I will always cherish these very special moments I have been so very blessed to spend with him especially these past few months.

Until next time,

Janie