Archive for March 2017 | Monthly archive page
First published as a guest blog for www.naturalbeautyexpert.co on 20/03/2017
Simplicity is the key to less stress and avoiding life threatening events.
I think I just blinked and missed it!
Every year seems to fly by faster than the last. In fact, life now moves so quickly and is so jammed full of ‘stuff’ that it can be a struggle to remember what happened just a few days ago.
We’re surrounded by subliminal messaging that continually trains us to just keep going: to buy that thing, to attend that event, to take on more and more and more … and we’re thinking – consciously at times, but more often than not, subconsciously – that surely one of these things will be the golden nugget that sets us free from our life. The thing that will make us happy.
From a very young age we are taught to mould and shape ourselves to meet the expectations of others – instead of focusing on what we really want out of our lives.
We’re intelligent human beings, but we find ourselves running around making sure everyone else is looked after … without stopping to include ourselves and our own needs in our thoughts. Women, in particular, are schooled to be connected to community and dedicated to making sure everyone around them is OK … but that often means we lose ourselves along the way.
Before we know it, we find ourselves in a situation where we’re stressed, exhausted and our heads are spinning as we try to fit more and more into our lives. We ignore ourselves until we find ourselves in the middle of a traumatic event.
I know this because I perfected a life of giving to everyone and everything around me.
I gave and I gave until there was nothing left to give … and then I found a way to give more. I ignored myself to the extent that I suffered a breakdown that took me almost three years to recover from.
What this taught me is that the long-held belief that you have to suffer a traumatic event to make change in your life is a myth. Change is really easy when you know how, but for some reason we’re taught that it is too hard or too overwhelming.
If I had to encapsulate in one sentence my greatest learning through my recovery, I would say it is this:
‘Simplicity is the key to getting ahead; when we remove complexity and stress we significantly increase our quality of life’.
Change can seem overwhelming – because we’re conditioned that it’s hard. I always recommend starting with a few simple steps so that it’s much easier to see the path forward:Slow down. Trying to do everything because you think you ‘have to’ is only adding to your exhaustion. Instead, stop and think about what you want to do. Only say ‘Yes’ to those things that really attract you. Learn to say ‘No’. We often agree to help, even when we know we don’t have the time. We feel obligated to do things even when we’re not expected to. Understand your capacity, and don’t be afraid of saying ‘No’ if you’re feeling stretched. Make sure you re-energise your batteries every day. Set aside a period of time each day to relax and think happy thoughts, instead of agonising over the ‘to do’ list. This one small act each day will make sure your energy is always being recharged. Manage your expectations. Stop setting high expectations of what will be achieved every single day. Understanding that the ‘to-do’ list will always have things on it will allow you to adopt self-compassion in the way you complete the things on it. Become the “Queen of Declutter”. Clear your home and work space of anything that’s not regularly used. Avoid negative friends who make you feel unhappy when you’re around them. We have so much ‘stuff’ in our lives that holds us back … so find the things that boost your mood and make you feel great.
Having experienced a breakdown, I can tell you that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.
I want everyone to know that you don’t have to wait for a breakdown to have permission to change.
The choice is yours. Take small, simple steps now and I’ll bet you’ll be amazed at just how easily and quickly your life moves in another direction.
Want more info on simplifying life and reducing stress? 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 email@example.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!
First published as a guest blog for www.realheidi.com on 13/03/2017
Life can be exhausting.
At a very young age, we transition almost overnight from a world of make believe, fantasy and imagination to one where we are conditioned to join the drive to success, where we take ourselves and our lives seriously and finally, where we begin to blend into everything and everyone around us.
Suddenly we find ourselves having to make decisions about whether the sport we love to play has to go … so that we have enough time to study. We have to make decisions about what subjects we are going to take … to make sure that we can access the ‘right’ career options when we leave school. We have to make decisions about what we are going to be when we grow up.
In fact, we’re so conditioned by our family, friends, school and community that we become robots, responding on auto-pilot to life as it happens around us. We’ve been so successfully moulded into the ‘right’ shape that our decisions are more about keeping everyone around us happy than they are about making sure we do things that are right for us.
We’re connected to everyone around us, yet we’ve never been more alone. Most of us learn from watching the world … but that’s now viewed through the lens of a computer, tablet or smartphone. As human beings, we’re built to experience the world we live in, but now information comes to us from all angles, and constantly, without any down-time. We live in sensory overload. We observe the world around us but we haven’t been taught to overlay what we see with a reality filter that standardises the information.
We use the information we receive as representative of a standard that we need to meet, or exceed. But here’s the thing: for the most part, what we ‘see’ are the best pieces of everyone else’s lives. We see the promotion, the announcement, the celebration, the adventure.
When we make this the ‘gold standard’ of life, and then compare our life against that benchmark, we naturally find ourselves lacking.
We’re connected 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. So, we find ourselves in a pressure cooker that builds in every corner of our lives. The relentless pressure erodes away our self-confidence, and without self-confidence our self-compassion becomes non-existent. It feels like our heads are constantly spinning in our drive to success … but we actually have no idea what success looks like. Before we know it, we find ourselves in a desperate, secret struggle to seek salvation from our own lives, whilst at the same time being resigned to the fact that our lives will most likely be this way forever.
Why do we live like this?
Because we’ve been shaped and moulded to accept this ‘lesson’: that life can only be lived in one way. We’ve been taught that to get ahead in life, stress and exhaustion are normal; in fact, they’re required. The stark truth is that stress and exhaustion are a direct result of adding more and more ‘stuff’ into our lives in an effort to find the pathway to success. It’s almost like we believe that if we keep putting things on our plate – and simply adjust to the ‘new normal’ – that eventually one of those added things will deliver us the break we need. We’ll have found that elusive ‘golden nugget’.
We lurch from mini-break to holiday to mini-break … and thanks to technology, we’re most likely to be continuing to work while we’re ‘away’. We accept as normal that if we can just make it to the next break then everything will be OK.
In the deep dark corners of our mind, we know that we need to do something differently. But we can’t face the thought that we might make some changes, and still be desperately unhappy. We spend a lot of time convincing ourselves that we’ve invested too much and that we’re ‘… too far down the path to turn back now …’.
I know this because I lived this life … to the extreme.
In fact, I perfected living this way … until I was forced to stop through experiencing cancer and a breakdown. Yes, I learned the hard way, but what I’ve learned is this: there is a very different way to live – a way that will accelerate your life and your path to success.
Through my recovery, I learned that we’ve been brainwashed to believe that our lives must be complex and stressful. I want everyone to know that we’ve been conditioned to believe that change is hard. Nothing could be further from the truth. The long-held belief that we have to wait for a traumatic event in our lives before we can change … is just pure hogwash!
People hear my story and they tell me how courageous and strong I am, but my journey has taught me that courage and strength are things that only need to be brought out once in a while. What I know now is that our everyday lives don’t have to be hard. Our normal lives can be just as full of relaxation and adventure as our holidays.
All you need to do is to learn to ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – and that’s no harder than learning to ask yourself a couple of questions and answer them honestly. The great thing is that you get to choose how you live. You can continue to be completely overwhelmed and have no idea how to get to where you want to go. Or, you can find a new pathway by finding the people who will teach you a new way.
The choice is yours … but I want you to know that there will never be a better time than right now to adopt a few simple steps that will empower you to live 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
First published on www.lifegrid.com.au on 09/03/2017
There are days when it can feel like you’re being pulled from pillar to post.
It’s a strange place to be when your life is flowing effortlessly and your work is connecting so strongly with everyone around you that more and more people want what you’re offering. It can seem as though every time you blink there is someone else wanting you to do something else for them and/or their business.
Everyone loves your work so much that they want their clients to have it too. Everyone wants what you can provide! But how do you give everyone what they want while still moving your business forward and making sure you keep the lights on?
Yes, being in demand comes with some challenges … but they’re great challenges to have.
As a Simplicity Expert, I spend a lot of time showing people how they can easily transition through the highs and lows of life. My experience has shown me that there are a few simple but important things to implement in your life that will support you, whether you are experiencing a high or a low.Define and identify your values.
Most of us are never taught to identify our values. Instead, our social conditioning takes over and we end up living a life that we are programmed to live by others.
When we define and identify with our own set of values, it is easier for us to make choices in our lives that are aligned with what is most important to us.
Once we know what our values are we can easily use them to determine what activities support our values. For those times when you are inundated with requests to do things for other people, you can use your values to work out what things you should and shouldn’t be doing.
If you don’t know what your values are, there is a free resource on my website that will help you work them out:
www.sheiqlife.com/free-toolsSet solid boundaries and defend them rigorously.
There’s a well-known saying: “it never rains, it pours.” And if we’re not careful we can find ourselves caught in the trap of trying to be everything to everyone all the time. This is especially true when you’re in high demand.
You can find yourself with your head down, madly trying to meet deadlines that were totally unrealistic, and that you agreed to without any real thought about whether or not you should be participating in the activity in the first place.
So, once you have your values in place, the next step is to work out what your boundaries are.
Your boundaries are the lines you aren’t prepared to cross, no matter what is offered to you. These are the lines that you know will support you in your everyday activities, and that will ensure you remain aligned with who you are, and what you stand for.
For example, you may be passionate about health and wellbeing … so you’re unlikely to want to align with another business whose focus is at odds with this, even if the ‘deal’ sounds great otherwise.
Your boundaries will make it easy for you to remain consistent in your behaviour and your communication. The more consistent you are, the more aligned your clients will be to you.Make sure you re-energise every day.
Work out your non-negotiable activities that must be in every day to ensure you are OK.
I’m a big believer that your energy levels should be the measure of your health. If your energy is low then it is a sign that your body needs you to provide it with nourishment. Nourishment comes in the form of quality food as well as activities that allow you to de-stress and spend time away from demanding situations and people.
Work out what you need to support you every day. For example, I make sure there is meditation and movement of some sort every day. These are non-negotiable items for me. They come first and everything else vies for the remaining time in the day. Other people I know spend time reading a good book, which allows them to escape to another world for a while. Others love to go for a run.
Find out what works for you. Schedule time for it every day, and make it the first priority in your diary.
There will always be demands on us – at different stages and to varying degrees. You can choose how you handle the demands:Option 1: Allow them to get out of control and rule how you act, react, think and behave.
orOption 2: Change the demands into requests, work out which ones align with your values and incorporate the ones that do align into the flow of your life.
My advice to you is this: make sure the choice you make is conscious.
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 email@example.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!
Article first published on www.huffingtonpost.com on 3/03/2017Our lives are busier than ever – they’re so complex when simplicity will do. We’re programed from a young age to relentlessly, often ruthlessly pursue ‘more’. We push ourselves to the extreme to try and reach success. We’re totally unconscious to the fact that we’re slowly and painfully killing ourselves, from the inside out. If we’re lucky, we get to retirement without collapsing – we think we have to make it to retirement before we can relax. By the time we get there we’re often sick and end up spending our time shuffling between doctor’s appointments. What if we could consciously make the decision to make some changes NOW? What if we could stop, smell the roses and enjoy our lives NOW? Here’s 5 tips that will help you ‘Keep It Super Simple’ and navigate the demands of life in a very different way. As Dr Wayne Dyer Said: ‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change’ Tip #1: What if They’re Wrong? We’re all socially conditioned from the time we’re born. Generally this means we’re taught the ‘right’ and ‘appropriate way to behave. What we’re not taught is that social patterns differ vastly depending on the social structure within which we find ourselves. This means that what we are taught depends entirely upon which family, community, state, country, school and so on we happen to be born into and raised within. Our social conditioning usually takes the form of direct and indirect rewards or punishment to move us towards adopting the behaviours and beliefs of our family and community. In essence, most of us are ‘brainwashed’ to go through life on auto-pilot without ever questioning our behaviour. Often the result of this is that we go through our lives trying to squash our beliefs into a format that matches our social conditioning. We tend to spend most of our life being the person we’re ‘supposed to’ be and very rarely get the opportunity to be the person we are. The best way to challenge the auto-pilot is to learn to ask the question ‘What if they’re wrong?’ Asking this question will allow you to step back and get a different perspective on your struggle. Tip # 2: Eliminate Triangles One of the most complicated parts of our lives can be the toxic relationships we have. … either without realising they’re toxic, or because we feel we have no choice but to have them in our lives. Toxic relationships aren’t just with people. They can be with groups, workplaces, organisations, things, substances and habits. Every family and society assigns roles to it’s members and each person plays a part in the whole system. Every influence in your conditioning plays a part in shaping who you become, how you interact and the way in which you move through life. Sometimes we take on roles that are good and beneficial for us, but often we’re just dragged into the drama of life. The drama triangle is a psychological and social model for human interaction first described by Stephen Karpman, M.D. Triangles are situations where there are three people locked in a battle of some sort. Each person takes on a role of either a persecutor, a victim or a rescuer. The victim is always the party who assigns the roles. Triangles can take up a significant proportion of our time. They’re very rarely productive and can often go on and on with no result. Removing yourself from triangles will reduce the stress and complexity in your life exponentially. Take the time to identify and extricate yourself from the triangles in your life and watch how much extra time suddenly appears! Tip # 3: Beat Busy! I’m so busy …. it’s become the pre-requisite for proving that your life is a success. We fill our lives with layer after layer of ‘stuff’ so that we can prove to everyone we’re busy. Every second of every day must give us a story of what we’ve done, where we’ve been and who we were with. If we don’t have this, then what have we got? Our lives have become a competition amongst ourselves as to who is the busiest. We get out of bed in the morning and work really hard to polish our ‘busy badges’ until they shine. We proudly pin our badge to our lapel then go out into the day to see what else we can add to our schedule that will make our badge gleam every brighter. We’re consumed by the busy-off we’re caught in, but most of us aren’t even aware that we’re competing for the title. Sure we’re tired, exhausted and often run down, but we power through so that we can show how resilient and tough we are – stopping is NEVER an option. Busy is a badge that you can put down. Test everything in your life with the question ‘How does this feel?’. If there’s an ounce of struggle associated then you know you need to question what you can do to remove the struggle from your life. Tip # 4: Check your language If you stop to think about it, everything we say has the potential to come to fruition in our life – especially if we repeat it often. ‘There’s always a little truth behind every ‘just kidding’, a little knowledge behind every ‘I don’t know’, a little emotion behind every ‘I don’t care’, and a little pain behind every ‘it’s OK.’ (anonymous) The language we use is very powerful and it’s perhaps the most ignored aspect of our daily lives. When we are running on auto-pilot (as most of us are), we very rarely stop to take stock of what is happening in our lives. We’re conditioned to accept that where we are, what we do and how we do it is exactly where we’re supposed to be. They way you speak to yourself can be one of the most detrimental or the most powerful influences in your life. Take notice of what the ‘mean girl’ in your head is saying to you on a regular basis. Begin to notice the things you use as part of your story every day that aren’t true and perhaps don’t work for you anymore. Try to find another way to tell the story – a way that supports you and the things you want in your life. Cut out the noise and watch your life turn the most amazing corner. Find the simplicity in listening to yourself. Tip # 5: Technology – embrace the good, repel the bad Our lives are enhanced and broadened when we approach situations with an open mind. As humans we’re conditioned to rely on community to survive, but what happens when the way we live creates a fissure in the way that community operates? Technology can be great, and amazing advances are made every day that can save lives, improve communication globally and make our lives easier and more efficient. But technology has also made us busier than ever before and adds a layer of complexity to our lives that serves to disconnect us. We have seen massive changes in the way that communication occurs with the advent of social media, the use of text-messaging, emails and online news, weather and communication channels. This may make our life more efficient in some areas, but it also serves to disconnect us from the human aspect of community. What we’re now seeing is the impact of individuals sitting behind a computer screen and how easy it is to go on the attack with no thought about the impact on the individual you are attacking. It’s almost vital for us to program time without technological connection in our lives. Try to find at least 30 to 60 minutes once a week where you are disconnect from the technology in your life. Without personal connection our society will become totally and emotionally disconnected, and the decisions we make as a community will be disjointed and will serve only a small portion of our interests. The greater good will no longer exist, and if that happens we might as well become machines. Want to access more tips and tricks that can help you think and live differently? You can find loads in ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. You can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop. Want to chat? Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org 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.