Blog Archives - sheIQ Life

Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Insta Reach for Relief | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

Article first published on www.huffingtonpost.com on 20/02/2017 as part of the #lovetakesaction campaign

Stop.

Sit still for just a minute and allow yourself a small slice of silence.

Use the space in this silence to ask yourself this question: ‘Is how I am living my life working for me?’

Are you squirming? Did your intuition tell you ‘No!’ and almost immediately your mind kicked in with all the reasons why it’s OK for your life to be the way it is?

Stop.

Before you let overwhelm take over your thoughts … I want you to know that it is perfectly OK for your intuition to tell you that your life isn’t working for you.

According to Francis P. Cholle, ‘… intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason …’.

Our intuition can tell us a lot of things – if only we stop to listen.

Our lives are so busy now. Technology connects us 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. With this comes an accelerated sense of pressure that is compounded by our lives being visible on a global scale, in real time.

The way we live our lives has also changed as a direct result of our global connection. Barriers to entry in the marketing and advertising space are now almost non-existent, thanks to the power of the technology we carry in our hands. It is now easier, more efficient and more effective to market via social media, email and text messages than through traditional television and print media. It is instantaneous, direct to market and cost efficient.

The sheer speed that we live our lives at – and all the things that we try to squash into each and every day – leaves us feeling exhausted and with our heads spinning. Most of our day is spent on auto-pilot, where we lurch from one ‘crisis’ to the next. Because we communicate through a virtual world, we are surrounded by ‘evidence’ of everyone else’s success. We compare their success with our own life and find ourselves sadly lacking.

Who do you become in this environment?

We do our best to be ‘good people’. We slog our way through every day, desperately – but almost always unconsciously – trying to find our ‘golden nugget’ that will catapult us to success.  When we live this way, in an unconscious state, we are vulnerable to suggestion; we are vulnerable to manipulation.

The immediacy of our lives – and the demands on them – leave us susceptible to thinking on the run. Now add in that overlay of the ‘auto-pilot’ syndrome. When you think about it objectively, it is easy to see how this state of being puts us in a position to be significantly influenced by what we see and hear. We can be fed information in snippets that are designed to elicit a response from us.

Before we know it, our buttons are pushed, we jump in. We become appropriately outraged and we have our say. We contribute to a cause. But whose cause is it – is it actually our cause? We don’t notice that we’re being driven by a mob mentality, ‘herded’, if you will, by a group energy  … because there aren’t people physically around us. We get lost in the virtual ‘movement’ that is propelled by feelings and sentiments and ideals and values that, bluntly, are not necessarily our own.

Stop.

Become conscious of the things that grab your attention.

More importantly, become aware of where your thoughts go first in response to the information you’ve received.  Are your first thoughts negative, critical or harsh? If the answer is yes, then perhaps it’s time to question whether you’re been conditioned – triggered, even – to respond that way.

The more we can consciously make a decision to make love the first filter we use – in every situation – the more we will take back our control over the way we behave in our lives.

Invest your time and energy in empathy rather than hate. Acknowledge the things that create a common bond, rather than becoming a voice of hate for someone else’s crusade.

Stop.

Reach for relief.

Remember who you are.

Loosen the grip of auto-pilot on your life.

Stand true to who you are, whether you are communicating in person or through a virtual conversation.

#LOVETAKESACTION

 

Want more info? You can find free resources and heaps more information at my website www.sheiqlife.com and there are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Print | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

Article first published on www.mywellbeingmagazine.com on 17/02/2017

 

No! is a complete sentence …

Almost all of us are constrained by ‘rules’ that we don’t even know exist – that aren’t actually written down anywhere but were drummed into us as part of our social conditioning as a child. When we were young, we were taught which behaviours were deemed acceptable and which parts of our character were to remain hidden from the world in order for us to be accepted.

In our hearts, we are all born with kind, generous and loving souls. It is only once we are exposed to the world around us that greed, fear and a relentless search for more are introduced to us.

History tells us that it’s the victor who writes the story of what happened during the battle. However, history very rarely documents the rules that were broken to win the battle.

Why? Because if everyday people realised that rules can be broken, then power and control over them would be lost. If only we knew the truth: that every single day, there are millions of rules being broken all over the world.

To some extent rules are needed to assist in keeping people safe. Can you imagine if there were no road rules … and it was fine to drive as fast as you like, weave all over the road with traffic coming at you from all directions, change lanes without indicating, drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and pay no heed to killing anyone?

I think we can all agree that there are some rules in our lives that are necessary for the greater good.

Here’s the thing: most of us are so conditioned to obey the rules that we’ve never stopped to think about whether or not there might be some rules that we need to break free of … for our own greater good.

For example, how many times have you said ‘Yes’ to doing something … when you really didn’t want to do it, and in fact it was detrimental to you to have said ‘Yes’?

Being caught in the mould of being a perfectionist, I found myself trying to be everything to everyone and feeling like I failed every single time. I never, ever put myself first, and I had no concept of how to consider what I needed – for me to be OK. I also didn’t ever stop to consider whether my actions, or whatever I was doing, was detrimental to my own health.

I was caught up in the ‘system’ and felt compelled to continue on … when what I really needed to do was say ‘No’! What I actually needed was to stop and call out the fact that what I was doing wasn’t working for me and then step away to something that matched my values.

Instead, I worked for almost two decades in situations that clashed with my personal values. I told myself stories about why I had to stay there and I had a million reasons why I couldn’t leave. I ran around after everyone else and made sure they had what they needed to be OK. It wasn’t until I was recovering from a breakdown that I realised I did that completely at my own expense.

We often create a version of ourselves that we believe is the most acceptable to those around us. We become chameleons – changing and moulding ourselves for the different situations in our lives.

So, after those aforementioned nearly two decades of saying ‘Yes’ to everyone and everything except myself, I collapsed. I was totally and completely exhausted – mentally and physically – and my body and mind conspired against me to create a situation that I couldn’t get back up from. I had pushed too far, too hard … and for too long.

One of the most liberating moments of my life came not long after I was in pieces on the floor and I couldn’t get back up again. I was given the tools that helped me to realise that I needed to take the time to examine each of those pieces. Then, I could choose whether to pick up a given piece again and make it a part of me. Or, I could conclude that the piece in question no longer served me well and I could thank it for its contribution and let it go.

When you are able to say ‘No’ to a piece of yourself that you no longer need moving forwards, you can say ‘No’ to anything.

We find ourselves in time-poor situations of high stress simply because we said ‘Yes’ when we should have said ‘No’. Can you count how many times you’ve said or thought something like this: ‘I really didn’t feel like I could say no’?

The only person suffering through this situation was me – and it wasn’t until I was on the floor and couldn’t get up again that I realised that I had been miserable for almost my entire life.

Removing guilt and obligation from my play book, and refusing to bow to the ingrained conditioning that says that I must serve everyone else at the exclusion of myself, has allowed me to create a life where I can choose to participate in those things that are kind to me.

One of the greatest pieces of wisdom I can share with you is this: that ‘No’ is a complete sentence. Saying ‘No’ to something is enough. You don’t need to elaborate, or explain, or contextualise … or embellish in any way at all.

Why? Well, because we’ve been programmed to be so helpful to others that it is excruciating when we have to say ‘No’. To ease the pain of this experience, we attempt to explain to others why we have been forced to say ‘No’. We work overtime to make the story as convincing as possible to make sure that our ‘No’ is accepted by the other person.

What I’ve discovered is that roughly 99.9 times out of 100, saying ‘No’ is all that is needed.

Getting comfortable with saying ‘No’ and resisting the urge to tack on an explanation can seem really hard. What I know, is that saying ‘No’ confidently and with easy comes down to practice – the more you say it, the easier it becomes.

Why not give it a try? Create a little experiment for yourself. Make a commitment to say ‘No’ to things at least three times a day. And when you do say ‘No’ … leave the ‘No’ as a complete sentence and see how often someone actually asks you for an explanation. I am willing to bet that there will be very few occasions where you are asked for any further information.

It won’t take long for you to be saying ‘No’ more often than you say yes. Get used to ‘No’ being a complete sentence and watch your world open up!

 

Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a global thought leader who empowers simple connection and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook; Instagram or LinkedIn.

Print 1 | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

Article first published on www.steelheels.com.au on 31/01/2017

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is becoming a driving force in the lives of too many of us.

 

We overload our lives with unnecessary activity because we’re focused on finding the ‘golden nugget’ that is going to catapult us to success and we’re worried that we’ll miss out on the ‘one thing’ that will change our lives.

In our late teenage years we’re expected to seriously assess our future and we’re asked to pick the direction our lives will take. With the changes in the education system, we now face a significant expense to cover the cost of a university degree, or any other form of post schooling education and unless we’re lucky enough to have someone who can afford to pay these education expenses for us, or we win a scholarship, the first step of our ‘career’ is weighed down by the shadow of debt.

Despite bringing fresh energy and excitement to our very first job, we also step out into the workforce feeling pressure to rise in our career – and quickly. Over time this pressure morphs into an underlying fear that we might not amount to much if we haven’t already made it.

Before we know it we’ve adopted a lifestyle that accepts being tired and stressed as normal. In fact, most people now hold a belief that if you’re not these things then you’re not working hard enough.

We find ourselves unable to say ‘No’ to a networking event, professional or personal development session and we’re left with our heads spinning trying to fit everything in. Our sleep is the first thing that goes – we don’t get anywhere near enough and the quality of the sleep depreciates over time.

When asked about the pressures in everyday lives, the number one recurring theme from women is that they are overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted because they’re busy living a life others expect of them.

FOMO is now the major factor driving us as a society to increased stress, ill health and untimely physical and psychological breakdowns.

Safe Work Australia reports that stress, burnout and fatigue impacts an increasing number of Australians each year, with 6% of all workers’ compensation claims for mental health disorders.

Safe Work Australia 2015, Work-Related Mental Disorders Profile Report claims that “Mental stress is the main cause of compensated work-related mental disorders, with 90% of mental disorder claims attributed to mental stress”

The report also found women workers were more likely to suffer and make a claim for compensation with the number of claims per million hours worked 2.3 times higher than those recorded for men.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Our societal belief that we have to wait for a traumatic event in our lives to have permission to change the way we live is one of the biggest furphies of the modern life. Getting ahead and achieving success is not about being busy – it’s about filling our lives with things that give us more energy than it takes to do them.

Each of us is a unique human being, and as such we need different things to support us in our everyday activities.

There are simple and easy things that we can do every day to help us make sure our energy is focused in the most productive way for us as individuals:

• Understand where you get your energy from: Make a list of all the things that give you energy – these are the things that make you happy, make you smile, make you laugh. They can be related to people, places or activities. • Understand how your energy is drained: Make a list of all the things that drain your energy – things that make you tired just thinking about them, people who steal your energy when you see them, work tasks that aren’t challenging or inspiring. • Reduce negativity: Make an effort to stay away from activities or people who drain your energy and replace them with things from the list that gives you energy.

It’s time to buck the trend. It’s time to start thinking and living differently. It’s time to open our eyes to the cost of living our lives in the shadow of stress and exhaustion.

It’s time to put FOMO in it’s place!

Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time! Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicty Expert and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist‘. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker | Headshot

Article first published on www.dynamicbusinesswomen.com.au on 16/01/2016

Make Changes….  It’s Your Choice

We’re taught from a very early age that change is something to be feared.

In fact, over time this message has been reinforced so strongly that we now fear change more than we fear death.

As we grow up we’re conditioned by the people and places around us. We’re shaped and moulded into a version of ourselves that we believe is acceptable and we step obediently into the drive to success – just like everyone else.

We grow up, and leave school and we continue to make sure we have the ‘right’ qualifications, buy the ‘right’ car’, have the ‘right’ friends, have the ‘right’ career’, buy the ‘right house (in the ‘right’ suburb) and create the perfect life.

More shaping, moulding and conditioning.

In an effort to keep up – and hopefully get ahead – we push ourselves beyond our boundaries. We place ourselves under the weight of heavy expectations and we carry the burden of ‘success’ in every decision we make. We ignore the voice in our head that tells us we need to slow down, take some time and care for ourselves …. after all, that’s for people who are less busy than we are – we simply don’t have time.

We punish ourselves until we meet every expectation and demand that is placed on us … until we reach that point where we’re running on empty and we have nothing left to give. And then we find a way to give more.

We take a deep breath and just keep going – everything will be all right if we just keep going. We’re stressed and exhausted but that’s normal, right? Aren’t they the key components of being successful?

The blinkers on our eyes keep us looking straight ahead. They keep us from understanding that we’re actually living a life that someone else has programmed us to live.

While ever we continue to live our lives this way, we are guaranteeing ourselves a one-way all expenses ignored ticket to a traumatic event of our own. 

After all, we believe that traumatic events – such as a breakdown or cancer – are things that only happen to other people … until they don’t.

The human body is an amazing construct that is designed to provide us with warning signals when it needs us to take notice of something that’s not quite right. When we put on the blinkers and shut down the warning voice, we push ourselves harder than we were ever designed to go.

We have a remarkable ability to see the effects of stress and exhaustion in those around us – whilst completely ignoring the fact that we are suffering from the very same symptoms. We have boundless empathy for our friends, family and colleagues – but rarely do we allow ourselves a bit of self-compassion.

We give everyone around us our permission to take a break and give themselves a bit of self-care … but we’ve been programmed to believe that offering the same care to ourselves is just selfish.

So how do we step up and give ourselves permission to make some changes … and still get ahead?

Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of our lifetime is that introducing change is quite simple.  Once you understand that breaking something down into small, simple and manageable steps means that change will never be difficult again, you’ll easily and willingly step away from the life someone else has given you and start living the life that was meant to be yours.

Life will become much easier and will be more likely to be full of the things that you love, and you’ll be less likely to become stuck in the things that drain your energy.

We need to acknowledge that being stressed and exhausted is NOT normal. Bluntly, being stressed and exhausted is slowing killing us.

Everything in life comes down to our choices. In every moment and with every decision, we can choose the path we take. The reality is that making change in simple, small steps is so much easier to handle than trying to climb back up after a total breakdown.

It is only when we choose to stop waiting for permission to change, that our lives can be lived very differently.

About Your Guest Blogger: Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com

Squirm | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

First published on http://blog.sivanaspirit.com on 24/11/2016

Are you one of those people who gives lip service to the benefits of ‘quiet’ practices such as yoga, tai chi and meditation?

Are you known to utter the words “I’ve heard it’s really good for you ….. but I just can’t sit still”? Or maybe you’re someone who does these classes and finds it hard to tone down the voices in your head.

I understand where you’re coming from because I used to be just like you. On the surface I acknowledged that these practices were absolutely beneficial … and then I would add a string of reasons, excuses and thoughts to deflect from the knowledge that I should be doing them.

I was fully enmeshed in ‘being busy’ – a competition that so many of us unconsciously engage with. There wasn’t a second that wasn’t fully scheduled – and in some cases, completely over-booked. Somehow I made it all work and I successfully juggled all the balls I had in the air ….. until I didn’t.

My world imploded in the space of an hour. I went from being a fully-functioning, high-powered, award-winning executive to a wreck on the floor unable to stop crying – within minutes. It took less than 60 minutes for me to no longer be able to exist in the world I had created for myself.

It took almost three years for me to work through all the ‘stuff’ I had in my life and navigate to a place of calm and quiet where I could learn, grow and develop every day. It took almost three years for me to learn that ‘… there’s nothing you need to do, be, have, get, change, practice or learn in order to be happy, loving and whole …’ (Michael Neill).

I was trudging along in my life, operating on auto-pilot and living the life that someone else had programmed me to live through my social conditioning. If questioned, I would have a string of answers as to why I had to live my life that way – there simply was no room for me to think otherwise.

I lived in a state of internal chaos, projecting an outward calm that belied the storm raging underneath the surface. But the problem was, that outward calm I was portraying used up all of my energy reserves. Maintaining that calm façade was constantly draining my energy sources … until there was nothing left.

It was when there was nothing left that I received my ‘wake-up call’, and in a way that was so significant that I had to stop and listen to what I was being told – or die.

What was there to learn from this?

I learned that if I could stop the struggle, take a step back and break all my ‘stuff’ down into small, manageable pieces, then I could slowly and methodically remove that ‘stuff’ from my life.

When I stopped and took the time to sit quietly or to engage in activities that taught me to quieten my mind, I could embrace a whole new aspect of life that was previously closed to me. Western living had taught me that the quiet was dangerous. I was taught to look outside myself for an immediate fix to all my problems. Anything that couldn’t be immediately fixed would be pushed aside and ignored until it no longer ‘existed’.

I learned to sit still and embrace the quiet. By teaching myself to connect to the inner workings of my energy and mind, I reconnected myself with the source of my thoughts. In turn, working with the source of my thoughts gave me the insight I needed to revitalise the way I looked at my life.

So what about now?

Well, now my choices come down to two simple things: I choose to feel better right now, or I choose to feel worse right now. When I base my life on this simple tenet it becomes a lot easier to sit still and listen to the words that the quiet brings.

There are so many ways that the quiet supports me. In particular, the quiet allows me to know that there is nothing to be afraid of in the silence. Silence simply gives me the ability to connect more deeply with who I am – to connect with the real me.

By learning to embrace the quiet, I found the path to my purpose. The quiet allows me to quit the struggle against myself and others … and to acknowledge that my life is fulfilled through the simplicity of living.

Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert and the author of Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook; Instagram or LinkedIn.

choc-hearts-lg | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

First published on www.lifegrid.com.au on 17/11/2016

Imagine the most stressful, complex situation you’ve ever faced … and then multiply it by 1,000. That’s what every second of every day was like for me.

I was a sugar addict and I lived my life fuelled by adrenalin and cortisol. I spent all my time running around after everyone else, making sure everyone was okay and had everything they needed and, like every great perfectionist, I completely trivialised the impact of stress and exhaustion.

Despite my ability to mask it from those around me, my body and my mind were under such significant strain that they had no option but to collapse – dropping me from such a height, and with such force, that I was unable to get back up again. When your world collapses you are thrust into a deep and dark place where confusion is the only constant.

If you can, imagine a situation where you look around yourself … but nothing is familiar. Where you look at yourself in a mirror … and see a stranger. Where you ask your mind to find you a solution … but your intelligence fails to provide you with any answers.

Then you might understand a small portion of what it is like to experience a total breakdown. Perhaps the worst part of this scenario is not being able to communicate what is happening to you, because you don’t understand it yourself.

I can tell you that when you are in a million pieces, on the floor and unable to stop crying, it is very difficult to work out which way to turn and what you need to do to move forward. Time is suddenly suspended – everything you had planned, every project you were undertaking, everything you were doing for someone else is unexpectedly gone. Your whole reason for being drops out from underneath you.

Suddenly, you have nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one depending on you – simply because you can’t process anything or deliver anything to anyone. Every ball you are juggling falls to the ground and you can’t pick any of them up. You can no longer compete in the ‘busy-off’ you were previously engaged in and everything around you looks and feels unfamiliar.

In the blink of an eye, the only things you can cope with are the basic tenets of life – things like simple food, fresh air and lots and lots of space.

If I learned one thing from experiencing a traumatic event, it is this: we do not have to suffer to be successful.

Our lives do not have to be a slog until we retire, and the societal belief that we have to have a traumatic event in our lives before we can change is one of the biggest furphies of modern life.

From personal experience I can tell you that it is a long, hard and painful climb back to a ‘normal’ life after a traumatic event. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.

The bright side? Well, I now know that change can be so easy when we’re taught how.

I am living proof that the most important part of living a stress-free and simple life is learning to take small steps towards things you want. I no longer subscribe to the lifestyle that says that success can only be achieved by living life in overwhelm with adrenalin and cortisol driving every decision. I’m positive that this only ensures a fast track to a guaranteed early death.

Having been forced to rebuild my life from the ground up, I have learned that it is always my choices that determine how I live. I chose to redefine ‘success’ as ensuring my number one focus is on making sure that I have the things in my life that re-energise me every day.

Instead of eating loads of sugar-laden chocolate, I now deliberately and consciously choose to make sure I have chocolate for my soul.

Every day is dedicated to showing people there’s a very different way to live and to sharing my work with the world.

Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy. Follow my social links.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

stress | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

First published on www.huffingtonpost.com on 01/11/2016

Being stressed is simply a fact of everyday life – right?

Everyday living demands that we absorb stress and power on. From a very young age we’re taught that we must be resilient and strong for us to survive – and indeed thrive in the world.

We live in a dog-eats-dog world, where morphing into something we’re not is the safest pathway to success. We become whoever we need to be to get ahead. We compromise on the things that are important to us – often without any conscious understanding that we’re doing so.

We dabble in the parts of the spiritual world that are deemed acceptable and we espouse beliefs such as ‘Karma will look after us – what we give out, we’ll get back’ but we condescend the ‘hippy’ beliefs of those who embrace the spiritual life as a whole.

In reality, we’re stressed, exhausted and totally overwhelmed. We’re lost and we don’t know which way to turn to steer our lives back on the right track. We feel like we’re so far down the path we’ve travelled that it’s too late to turn back now.

We get away with living our lives like this because we’ve become adept at hiding the full impact that stress has on our lives.

But what if the full impact of your stress was visible for everyone to see?

What if those things hidden on the inside where suddenly fully observable by everyone around us? What if the façade that protects the truth of our lives was suddenly see-through and everyone could look inside?

For most of us, the mere thought of this happening has us running to find a dark, hidden space where we can hide. The terror of thinking that others could see the truth about our lives is what drives us to keep the façade in place.

We’re so busy projecting a version of our lives to the outside world that we operate on auto-pilot – making sure we do the ‘right’ things, at the ‘right’ time and for the ‘right’ people.

Very rarely do we stop to consider the impact on us of living this way. Not only are we hiding the truth of our lives from everyone around us, most of us are hiding the truth from ourselves as well.

Stress is a modern day silent killer.

The impact on our bodies ranges from weight gain, to toxicity build up, to long-term mental health issues.  What we don’t realise is that not only are we reducing our quality of life now, but we’re also significantly reducing the quality of our life in later years as well as most likely reducing the longevity of our lives as well.

Popping pills – whether they’re pharmaceutical, prescribed by medical experts or self-medication (of both legal and illegal nature!) – is not the solution it’s cracked up to be. When we’re ill, it is our bodies way of telling us that something is out of balance and we need to stop and rest to recover. Our conditioning however, tells us that when we’re ill it’s time to mask our symptoms and ‘soldier on’.

The increase in stress related illness – whether it be mental or physical health related – tells us that the way we are currently living clearly isn’t working for us.

So instead of reaching for an immediate fix that gives us a false sense of our ability to keep going, maybe we should take the time to consider that if we’re that terrified of what people will think if they see us stop, that it might be time to make some changes that allow us to consciously make better choices about how we live.

There’s only so long that we can continue to live in the way that we do before we’re given a life event that forces us to stop. Despite our social conditioning, living life in a very different way doesn’t have to be any more complicated than learning to think a little bit differently. Isn’t it time you questioned why you continue to allow your stress level to rule your life?

Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert and Professional Speaker, and is the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook; Instagram or LinkedIn.

 

Distance (LG) | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

Article first published on www.lifegrid.com.au on 21/10/2016

‘Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?’ (Danielle LaPorte)

We’re all socially conditioned from the time we’re born.

We’re told the ‘right’ and ‘appropriate’ social patterns with regards to who we are, what we can enjoy doing, who we’re allowed to spend time with, what religion we are, the rule of our family, what we can wear, what we’re allowed to eat, to whom we are allowed to speak, what we are allowed to say, what it is appropriate to buy … and the list goes on.

We are pushed and shoved and squashed until we resemble a format that is acceptable to those around us, and then we spend our lives trying to live up to the expectations that the format has placed on us.

I spent decades of my life in a state of hidden chaos whilst trying to live the life I thought matched the conditioning I had received. I was driven by perfectionism – spending every moment engaged in presenting a front to everyone around me that oozed strength, control and success.

One of the biggest turning points in my life came when I heard someone ask the question ‘What if they’re wrong?’

This simple question opened the flood gates for me and allowed me to take a step back and get a different perspective on the struggle that my life had become. Hearing these four words in such a simple statement made me realise that I had spent my life feeling that I was ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ because the things I had been socially conditioned to believe didn’t fit with who I really was.

Inadvertently, by trying to be the person I was ‘supposed’ to be instead of just being who I am, I had added multiple layers of complexity to my life. By trying to squash my beliefs into a format I had received whilst growing up, I added layers of stress to an already stressful existence.

‘What if they’re wrong?’ now plays a prominent role in my everyday life. Adding this simple question into my thought and decision making process allows me to consciously question how I go about every day. This question has opened up doors for me and I have moved from being a stress bunny in the corporate world to running my own business in an industry and an environment that I love.

Every day is set up to include the activities that support me in my life. I know the things I need to have in every day to make sure I remain healthy and energised. I know the foods that support my lifestyle, and those that my body doesn’t process so well. I am tuned in to the things that drain my energy and those that provide me with instant energy boosts.

Throughout the course of my career in the corporate world, I was constantly asked what my 5-year plan was. I used to squirm when this question came around. I knew what I was supposed to say, but I could never find the words that sounded convincing. It’s like I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be doing what I was doing – but didn’t know how to say it.

We know when our world isn’t right – our bodies tell us with our energy, stress and health levels. I was exhausted and had nothing left to give – so I gave some more. I was a master at pushing through when the ‘right’ thing for me was to stop and regroup.

Like almost everyone around me – sitting still was an enemy, because sitting still came with time for the voice of disquiet to come in. The voice that tells you things you don’t want to hear. The voice that says ‘you were made for more – there is a different path for you.’

I know what it’s like to feel like you’re so far down a pathway that it’s too late to turn around. I also know that ‘turning around’ isn’t your only option.

Taking a step in a different direction is no more difficult than learning to ask the question ‘What if they’re wrong?’ and in the words of T.S. Eliot …‘Only those that risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go’.

 

sheep | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

First published on www.huffingtonpost.com on 29/09/2016

What is it about someone that makes us want to follow them?

We’ve all had people in our lives that have caught our attention for some reason – whether it be because of a song they’ve sung, a picture they’re in, places they’ve been, clothes they are wearing, the job that they do, something we’ve read about them, the things that they say to us.

We become obsessed with them, hang on their every word, and use them as a role model to shape who we should become and the things we should be doing.

We hanker for every last scrap of information about them so we can mimic our lives on theirs.

Whole industries are built around us reacting in this manner. There are international conglomerates whose existence relies on us following the lead of an ‘icon’.

We then take the lead we’ve been given and filter it into our local community.

In schools, sports teams, workplaces, families and friendship groups there are individuals who seem to naturally rise to the top of the pack as the ‘leader’.

Our social conditioning from a very young age teaches us to rely on the community around us to survive.

This means that we are always looking for the answers to our questions outside us.

We want to fit in – we want our community to accept us – and we don’t want to do anything that the people around us might deem inappropriate.

We’re conditioned to seek approval – to be accepted – to be praised. The same conditioning means we settle into a life of auto-pilot responses that ensure we don’t upset anyone around us.

Our lives settle into a black and white pattern with an occasional, tiny splash of colour that comes from us glimpsing something new and exciting in someone else’s life.

We wait with baited breath to see whether the colour is accepted by society and if it is then we bring it into our own lives and it filters down into the lives of those who follow us.

When do we stop to ask whether the person we are following is a leader?

When do we stop to ask whether the leaders we’ve chosen are actually leading or simply walking at the head of the pack?

What are you following? Are you following someone simply because you think they have a better life than you? Do they have the answers you need – or can you find the answers within yourself?

When is it time to step away from the noise in your life and give credence to the answers you have for your questions?

As long as we rely on everyone around us to provide us with our answers we will always be following from the front.

If you want to be a true leader you must learn to find your answers from within; you must learn that it is OK to walk on your own whether others follow you or not; you must learn that you are the most important part of the equation of your life.

Being a true leader is as simple as thinking a bit differently.

Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicty Expert and Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook; Instagram  or LinkedIn

 

 

Print 3 | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

First published on www.lifegrid.com.au on 29/09/2016

One of the greatest ‘ah-ha’ moments you can have in your life is realising that you do the same things every day but secretly hope that things will change.

Most of us are so enmeshed in our comfort zones that we operate completely on auto-pilot and don’t even think about what we’re doing – or why.

It’s often only after a traumatic event that we take the time to stop and have a look at how we’re living – and usually only then because we are forced to stop.

I was one of these people. I pushed myself too hard for too long and my mind and body collaborated to force me to stop. I was dropped with such a force and from such a height that I could not get up. I went from a fully functioning, high-powered, award-winning executive to being on the floor, shattered into a million pieces and unable to stop crying in the space of an hour.

For me, everything ground to a halt in the blink of an eye. For the first time in my life I had nothing I had to do, nowhere I had to be, and no one relying on me for anything. I couldn’t function in everyday life. I couldn’t communicate with people around me.  Suddenly, I was in the unfamiliar territory of having nothing else to do but things for myself.

I was used to being busy. I was doing everything for everyone else until I had nothing left to give – and then I kept going. My life was passing me by and I had no idea. I was well and truly in my ‘comfort zone’.

But then I started questioning all the different things in my life. And I was left wondering whether it was actually a ‘comfort zone’ or whether I was actually in a massive ‘rut’.

When I looked at what was in my comfort zone I realised that it was full of ‘stuff’ that wasn’t really all that comfortable. I was exhausted trying to run around making sure everyone else was okay. I was tired, stressed and miserable.

So why did I stay in the same day-to-day choices, living the same day-to-day life without making any changes? I pondered this question a lot during my recovery and the only answer I came up with was this: because I was afraid of failing.

Being forced to stop gave me the opportunity to step away from all of the expectations in my life. I dropped every ball I was juggling and was unable to pick any of them up.

What I realised during my recovery was that my comfort zone was something that I had imposed on myself.

I could come up with a thousand reasons why I had to do all the things I was doing, but at the end of the day everything in my life was of my own creation. I was exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed and it was a direct result of the way I had chosen to live my life.

Realising this taught me to start asking questions about how I could do things differently. A lot of people will tell you that change is too hard and that to get out of your comfort zone you have to make uncomfortable choices. I like to view this differently, because in my opinion doing something uncomfortable sounds like introducing more stress and exhaustion into my life.

I prefer to look at life like an adventure. Every day is an opportunity to explore and find new ways of doing, seeing and thinking about things. Using this thought process I made the choice to try life without a comfort zone.

To do this, I removed the words ‘success’ and ‘failure’ from my dictionary and decided that for everything I did I would view it as an adventure. So, when I try something new – whether for business or for personal reasons – I do it with a view of exploring to see where it goes. If it doesn’t work I can step back and look at it from different angles to see whether it needs a simple tweak or a total overhaul.

The focus of every day is now about having fun and seeing where my imagination can take me. I approach everything with a mindset of ‘…if it works, then great, the adventure continues; if it doesn’t work, then also great, the adventure continues albeit in a different way’.

My life is much simpler now that it doesn’t have a comfort zone. Every day I get to go to new places, find new information, engage in new and different conversations. And the best bit? I get to do it in a way that supports the life I want to live and the person I want to be.

Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’. Want to chat? Follow my social links below.

SheiqLife Logo | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker
X