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Where Is The Next Post?

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If you are wondering what has happened to the posts on this blog, I will be continuing my posts on the blog on my Coaching web site.  Same style, more stories, there’s even a video in the post I did this week.

Where is it?: 

Check it out soon!

The Art of Winning

goldmedal The Art of WinningI think I have mentioned in the past that Son is a bit of a Wiitard.  Needless to say with the practice he gets he is pretty good at most games and can generally beat me if we play.  There is one game where it is the reverse, Links Crossbow.  This involves shooting targets or things in various scenarios.  This is my pet game and I have always been able to beat him, that was until last week.

I came home and had no sooner got in the door than there was Son dancing in front of me announcing he had beaten one of my scores.  Thankfully I was able to retain some level of self esteem by pointing out that I had accessed all the levels and got a medal in them all and he hadn’t.  So he went back to playing.

The next morning I was sitting on the toilet, quietly doing my business when the door burst open and an excited seven year old boy proceeded to dance around in front of me proclaiming that he had beaten my score again.  Now I believe we should all celebrate our successes or wins, it is important to acknowledge your achievements big or small.  As I sat there trying to concentrate on doing my business I felt that Son needed some lessons in how to celebrate as his current methods weren’t having a very positive effect on me.

At the weekend, He played chequers with Son.  As they started the game they had some light hearted banter about how they were each going to wipe the floor with each other.  Son is improving in his game and you have to concentrate when you play him as he can give you a few surprises if you are not careful.  Having said that he is usually on the losing end and this is what happened at the weekend.  After the end of the game Son leaned over, shook his Dad’s hand and said ‘Congratulations Daddy, you played well’.  He was very touched by the unsolicited show of good gamesmanship.  He didn’t gloat about his win to Son and everything was amicable.

Two examples of winning and losing, one where both parties felt OK or good and one where they didn’t.  As I say it is great to celebrate our wins in life, whether they be in a competitive environment or achieving or doing something that was a challenge for us.  The thing to remember is to celebrate or reward ourselves in a way that makes us and others around us feel good.

Did You Feel The Feeling?

Show Clowns1 Did You Feel The Feeling?On Saturday morning there was much excitement at our place as we were off to the Canberra Show.  We wanted to get there early and do some stuff before the crowds descended.  I can never understand why the kids excitement never seems to translate into them rushing to get dressed, have breakfast and get ready.  We always seem to go through the same routine of reminding them to keep on track as we organise ourselves.  Eventually we were sorted and off to the show.

At the show we had a plan, get the showbags first and do some rides.  That worked quite well in that we managed to spend some time wandering around the showbag hall without too much trouble while the kids decided.  They had a ride on a shark slide where I think the lady running it was just letting the kids have as long as they wanted at that time of day as our two got to keep going down until they decided they wanted to go on something else.  It is great to watch them having such fun.

We got to have a bit of a look at most things, the kids got their faces painted, we stopped for a drink at one point, otherwise we were on the go the whole time.  Oh, I almost forgot, Daughter insisted on watching a fashion show with me so I did get to sit down for a little while during that.

By about 2pm we had done last rides and the decision was whether to face the queues to get food or go home.  The decision was made to head for home.  Once home the excitement of getting to open their showbags was on.  In no time the floor was littered with cardboard, plastic and bits and pieces.  Son had a Whoopi Cushion which he took great delight in using.

I went out to mow the lawn and came in later to discuss with Him what we should do for dinner.  I asked what Son and Daughter had eaten when they got home as they hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast apart from an ice cream.  All they had eaten was a couple of lollies, they had been so excited and caught up in their new toys that they hadn’t had the time or inclination to eat.  I was amazed as generally one or other child will generally remember food around meal times.

To me this was a great example of how you can get a pre conceived idea of how you will be at a certain time.  For instance you look at the clock and decide it is time for a meal so you must be hungry.  Or you have been out all day so you must be tired.  For Son and Daughter no one had told them they could be tired or hungry, they were focussed on fun.  It is a good reminder to check in with feelings instead of your head sometimes to get a gauge on what is really happening for you.  So next time you think you are hungry or tired or similar have a think about what set you off, did you look at the clock or did you really feel the feeling?

Goal Setting and Home Renovation

Stove 176x300 Goal Setting and Home RenovationI’ve decided that goal setting is like home renovation.

Not sure if I have mentioned that I have just finished some home renovation turning an old kitchen into a new office for me.  In theory it was a simple job, moving a door and removing the old kitchen cupboards and stove.  I won’t go into all the details here about how that turned into demolishing and moving walls and having to reconstruct others.  For this post we’ll just concentrate on the little job of swapping stoves.

Our goal was to swap the stove from the old kitchen with the one from the new kitchen, pretty simple and well defined, you just disconnect the stoves, swap them connect them up and away you go.  This is the way your goals should start, with a clear end point, be achievable and so on.

It started well with the old stove moved out to the verandah so He could give it a good clean.  Meanwhile I went to investigate moving the one in the kitchen.  I pulled the stove out as far as the cable would allow.  I swear stoves must be connected by pygmy electricians or at least apprentices.  The number I have come across that don’t give you enough cable length to get in comfortably to clean.

It is at this point I look at where the cable goes through the wall and see a mouse.  On closer inspection I see that it is just the back end of a mouse and it falls to the floor as I move the cable.  You never know what you are going to face on your journey to your goals.  I squeeze down behind the stove, together with the mouse.  While I am there I take a look at the cable and as I twist it I can see a slight glint where it went through the wall.  The dear little mouse had obviously tried a diet of cable so instead of just bits of dead, decaying mouse on the cable it is bits of BBQ’ed mouse – how delightful.  What it means is that the cable needs to replaced.  My five minute goal is turning into a nightmare.

Some time later we have the cable issue sorted, the stoves swapped, the new one is just connected and all that remains is for me to push the newly installed stove back into place.  It is at this point that I discover an interesting fact – not all stoves are the same width!  Yes, you guessed it the new stove is wider that the old one.  I ask Him, ‘did you measure the stoves?’.  Pretty dumb question really as he obviously hadn’t and neither had I.  Oops.

It was at this point that it was time to reassess our goal.  Why were we doing this, well the other stove had an oven door that wasn’t opening fully plus the stove we were replacing it with has a glass top type arrangement so it is easier to clean.  So I look at the door to the oven to see if I can fix it.  After pulling it off and playing with it I don’t have much success so we measure the glass topped stove and the gap.  It will fit between the cupboards on either side, it is just the bench top that overhangs and would need to be cut back.  Do I want to cut the bench to achieve our goal?

This is like any goal you set, it can seem clear at the start, however the journey can throw up all sorts of surprises and challenges along the way.  As we did with our goal, you may need to reassess your goal, check in and still see if it is something you want or need to achieve.  As we journey towards a goal we may find that other opportunities or direction come up that can take us down different paths.  If this is the case then there is no point in struggling to achieve a goal that will no longer mean anything to you.

So back to the stove, after evaluating our goal we decided it was worth cutting the bench so I grabbed the saws and away I went.  After getting sawdust everywhere the moment of truth arrived, it was time to put the stove in position – again.  Yes it fitted!  Success at last.

Are We Perfect?

Lockie Star1 300x225 Are We Perfect?It is common to look at little babies and coo things like ‘aren’t they just perfect?’  And they are.  The questions is do we change, why do we often consider that we are not perfect as adults?

We have always made a point of telling Son and Daughter the we love them, that they are beautiful and so on.  I can remember not so long ago He said to Daughter ‘You are beautiful’ and she turned round and casually said ‘Yes I know’.  She has taken on what has been said and, not being familiar with the concept of modesty, quite happily agrees.

It was during the school holidays that she announced to me at one meal that she wouldn’t have another sandwich as she needed to cut down on her food because she was fat.  She is not fat so I was immediately curious as to where she had got this idea.  After a few questions it appeared that a few girls at school had said she was fat.  This suddenly came back to me on Saturday when I was at a workshop and a guy asked the speaker (Dale Beaumont) how to deal with all the people who try and knock you down or tell you what you should be doing.  Dale’s answer was that your inner voices must be stronger than the outer voices.

I thought of Daughter and how she had taken on a belief, at least for a few days, of what she had been told.  She is not the only one, I am sure most of us can find at least one belief we have about ourselves that has come from something someone has said.  Nothing wrong with that if it is a positive one.  The problem is when our inner voices are weak and we have self doubts, then someone says something or something happens and we take on a negative belief.

As I have mentioned before once you take on a belief the mind is very good at filtering all the information it is exposed to and finding stuff to support that belief and then bringing it to your attention.  Like the age old example of the cars.  If you are going to buy a certain model of car you will suddenly find yourself noticing how many of those cars there are around.  Similarly if you have decided that you are no good at maths then every time you get some maths wrong you will remember it.  The times you get it right will not be remembered with such clarity.

It comes back in part to being confident in yourself, not worrying about what others think.  Living your life according to your values and goals, not someone elses.  I admit this is often easier said than done.  School is a great start to worrying about what others think, as we can see with 5 year old Daughters experience of starting to take on views of others.

There was another thing that Dale Beaumont said in relation to this that I thought was good and might get you thinking.  How much time did you spend yesterday thinking about your best friend?  Assuming that there was no major incident or unusual event then for many of us it was probably not much time, we were probably busy thinking about what we were doing and worrying about daily dramas.  So how much time do you think people who aren’t your friend spend thinking about you each day?  Probably not much!

We can spend our lives worrying about what others will be thinking or think about us.  You could be changing what you do in your life because of what you think people are thinking, for just a few seconds of  someone’s thoughts.  Is that worth changing for or worrying about?

Happiness Just Is

Smily face Happiness Just IsI was at a goal setting workshop the other week and they said we should be seeking satisfaction and fulfilment as opposed to happiness.  Happiness is within all of us, sometimes we forget to let it out.  How many times have you said something along the lines of ‘I will be happy when ….’  Why wait, why not be happy now?

I was reminded of this last Saturday night.  It had been a bit of a testing afternoon, the temperature was in the mid thirties outside and I was painting my new office that I have created.  It wasn’t too bad in the air conditioning, a little bit hot on the ladder at the top of the wall. 

Then the power went out.  It started to become a little hot as time went on and I continued painting.  Dinner, slow cooked silverside, was looking a little doubtful as it was only partly cooked.

Then the power came on, dinner continued to cooked and I got to paint without sweating so much.  We got to the point of having dinner cooked, serving it up and then just as we were taking it to the table the power went off again.  It wasn’t too dark then, a candle helped add some atmosphere to dinner.

After dinner we went outside and as the light disappeared we sat on the verandah in our swinging chairs, me with the kids in my lap, as we listened to Him telling us stories of growing up on a property and lying in the wheat trucks looking up at the stars and so on.  As I swung gently in the chair I thought about how happy I was just sitting there with my children cuddling each other as we listened to Him.  It had nothing to do with money or things, it was just one of those moments and I was remembering to enjoy it.

After we came in and found torches and got the kids to bed, He commented along the same lines, how much he had enjoyed the time on the verandah together.

As they say happiness is there all the time, it is a matter of remembering to enjoy it.  Set goals that will give you satisfaction and fulfillment, just don’t wait till you achieve them before you allow yourself to be happy.  You can always find reasons to be happy for at least a few moments a day, it is unrealistic to expect it to be a constant 24/7 state.  Make a conscious effort this week to see things that make you happy and enjoy it!

Is Seeing Believing?

White Cane1 Is Seeing Believing?Welcome back to 2011.  I’ve had a good break and was almost out of the habit of doing the newsletter when He asked me the other day when the next one was coming out and I remembered it was the end of January and I had better get back to it.

A couple of things in the past week have really got me thinking about sight and the part it plays in our lives.  We went for a family outing to the Australia Day Live concert on the eve of Australia Day, in Canberra.  Part of the evenings events was the announcement of the Australians of the Year.  Professor Ron McCallum AO was announced as Senior Australian of the Year 2011.  After the announcement they played a video where they talked about him, his life and his achievements.  He has achieved incredible things in his life, made more amazing by the fact that he has been blind from birth.  It wasn’t until he said how he had no concept of things like colour or what a smile looked like that I really got thinking.

What followed this up was when I met a friend at a course a couple of days later.  She has been blind for 15 years since a motor vehicle accident.  Another friend was introducing her partner and they were discussing his physical appearance like the colour of his hair and eyes and she took her hand and used it to ’show’ my blind friend the stubble on his face.  I spoke to her later and asked her about this and she said how initially when she was blinded she had felt the need and interest to feel things and people to get a ‘picture’ of them.  Nowadays she doesn’t feel that need.

I really value my sight so the idea of being blind is in some way fascinating.  The above events really bought home to me how much we use our sight and can often use it to judge things and people and possibly not go past what our sight shows us.  There is much written about how we judge people in the first milisecond or so by what we see of them, how they are dressed or acting.  Imagine not having that, would we be more open to connecting to people on a different level?  We wouldn’t know if they were tall, short, fat or skinny, black or white.  We wouldn’t be able to prejudge them based on whether they were particularly attractive or ugly to us.  They often say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and I guess that for blind people most of the cover isn’t there.

For me the lesson has been to enjoy the sights that my vision gives me, and, perhaps more importantly, to appreciate the depth of the world and the relationships around us that exists to enjoy with the other senses apart from sight and to take in emotionally.  Something for you to ponder for the week what have you gained from sight and what might you have lost or missed out on because of it!

Is Your Life An Act?

Trampline Net2 300x224 Is Your Life An Act?To add to the Christmas  rush we are trying to get a shed built before Christmas, or at least get a slab laid and get the shed kit here so we can build it.  It is a 6m x 3m shed which will house all the tools and bits and pieces.  It has been a bit of a saga over the past six weeks as we have got quotes and then got closer to getting a slab.  The concreter has made several dates for coming to do the slab only to be delayed by rain.  Then he did turn up only to decide he really needed a bobcat to level the area so that was another delay.  He turned up on Friday to form up (put the wood round where the slab will go) and then decided it was too wet.  He didn’t want to delay the concrete that was promised for Monday so said he would be here on Sunday late afternoon.

Sure enough he did turn up on Sunday, it was more like early evening than afternoon.  With him he had his three sons and his labourer.  His sons ranged in age from 7 to about 12 or 13.  They got on the trampoline.  I wondered how our two (5 and 7) would get on with these guys.  It wasn’t long before they worked out there were other kids around.  Daughter, not being the shy type, was straight on the trampoline with the three boys.  It was getting pretty crowded by then but they accommodated her.

I went back to cleaning up from dinner while the kids played.  A short time later I heard Son giving one of the boys a tour which included the pantry and offering him food.  I ask him what he was doing and got the answer that ‘He is hungry’ as he doled out a couple of muesli bars.

I walk outside in time to hear my daughter over at the trampoline saying ‘It’s OK you can make as many holes as you like, we’re allowed to.’  I look over and realise she is talking about the netting round the trampoline.  It has been suffering from age and had a couple of big holes in it that I had thought of repairing.  Thanks to my daughter that is no longer necessary or possible, it is way past that stage now as you can see from the photo above.

Eventually the concreter was finished and departed with family in tow.  I commented to Him about the kids behaviour and he said he had seen similar.  I guess it is something we all do, act differently when we have different people around us.  For instance in our work lives we might act a certain way which might be totally different to when we are with friends.  It was interesting to see that starting to happen with the children.  In our lives there is nothing wrong with making sure we act in appropriate ways in different situations, the thing to remember is to make sure that we still know who we are underneath and that our whole life does not become an act.

Stop Ringing My Bell!

Bell1 300x224 Stop Ringing My Bell!Have you ever had one of those times when you find that are just not on the same wavelength as someone else?  I had one of those times last week, it was my birthday and I opened Son’s present.

He had taken Son and Daughter shopping to buy me a little present each.  He went to the Reject Shop or something similar and they were each allowed around ten dollars and had to walk round and choose something.  It was a good thing he only did this the day before my birthday as they could hardly stop themselves from giving me clues and talking about what they had bought.

Come the morning of my birthday I open Daughter’s present, it was a beautiful wind chime thing.  As she explained to me it was blue because she knew I liked blue and had stars incorporated into the design.  Then I picked up Son’s present which made a noise, sort of a bell noise but not musical.  “I bet you can guess what it is” he says.  I can’t.  The only clue I know is that Daughter said that Son is giving me something that says ‘I love Mum’ on it.

I open the present and there are two things in it.  The first is a decorative thing, a heart shape with two wings on it  and one heart it says, you guessed it, ‘I love Mum’.  The other thing is indeed a bell, it is one of those bells you see on the counters at shops that you ring when you need assistance.  I am somewhat intrigued by this gift.  Needless to say it lasts about five minutes before it is in a high cupboard out of reach so we can have some peace.

Since then it has moved around the house and been rung by different people, at times to the point of distraction.  I have sat down with Son a couple of times and asked him about what ideas he had on what I would use it for when he bought it for me.  The first answer was that I could ring it when I wanted him and his sister to leave me alone.  When I tried that theory it had the opposite effect, they both thought it was the cue for us all have a go ringing the bell and drive Him (and me) mad.

So the end result is that I have a bell that I am sure will be useful, maybe we can use it call the kids to dinner or if people are sick they could use it to get attention.  I am still somewhat intrigued as to the thought behind the gift, I guess that will remain a mystery.

What it did bring home to me is that we all think differently and it is always worth checking with the people that you are communicating with that you really understand the situation.  A bit like the other week when I was discussing with Him about the garage sale we are going to have.  We spent some time talking about it and how we would lay it out, times and so on before we suddenly realised that I was assuming we would have it at Mum’s place (as we have in the past) and He was thinking we would have it at home.  So check you are on the same wavelength in your communications this week.

Don’t Smother Them

snail Dont Smother ThemSon and Daughter went for a sleepover at a friends house at the weekend.  They have a son and daughter who are within a few weeks of being the same age as our two and the four of them get on well.  I went over to pick them up and as we were leaving one of them, I can’t remember which one now, picks up a snail and wants to take it home as a pet.

Last week they had wanted a frog which I found out you need a licence to keep some frogs so I was able to avoid that one, I don’t think it is the same situation for snails!  Anyway I managed to persuade them that they should leave the snail as we had plenty at home.  It had been raining and I had seen heaps when I got up in the morning.

When we got home I was talking to Him about something while the kids got reacquainted with the toys and Wii.  I heard Daughter outside singing as she moved around.  I didn’t really think about what she was doing until she appeared in the hallway with a bucket heading towards her room.  Now I have learnt from past experience that Daughter heading towards her room with buckets or other containers is worth investigating.  I call to her and she comes in and announces that she has found some snails.  I look in the bucket.  I have never seen so many snails in one place.

Son arrives at this point and is equally impressed.  ‘Why don’t they fall off?’ he asks as he picks one out and lets it crawl along his hand which he then turns upside down to check its grip.  At this point we put the foot down and ban the snails from the house apart from two which are allowed to stay in a cage thing in the laundry.  A short time later I find that Daughter has transferred the outside snails to a box with some food in it.

Daughter’s motives were kind hearted in that she just wanted to look after the snails and keep them happy.  She has a real nurturing side and likes to look after things.  In this case she couldn’t quite understand at first how she was actually smothering the snails, that her actions were not helping them by confining them.  This can be similar to our own relationships and getting the balance between smothering someone and letting them go enough so that they can continue to grow and still feel loved and cared for.  It can be a tough balance to find and it is something that is worth checking in with those you have relationships with to see how they feel – have you got the balance right?

As for the snails well later in the day I persuaded Daughter that she should really let the outside snails go.  While snails are not necessarily my favourite creature, allowing a slow mass death of them in Daughter’s box did not fit with my ideals.  She started to tip them out right at the bottom of the ramp off the verandah.  I suggested moving away from the walkway so they had more chance of survival.  This she agreed to as she stepped back and crushed one.

I thought that was the end of the saga until 5 minutes later when she appeared inside with a plea to keep Lucky.  ‘Who is Lucky?’ I ask as I turn around.  ‘The snail I stepped on.  She doesn’t have her shell anymore but she is still OK’!