When your heart breaks… every fourteen days

This morning I heard the sound I dread every fortnight – the sound of suitcase wheels turning over and over on the hallway tiles, making its way to my front door, ready to break my heart all over again. 

It’s fly-out day here today – the day that comes only once every two weeks, but the day that rips your heart out and somehow, at the same time makes your family a little stronger.

Life as a FIFO family is fairly new to us – and I will tell you this much – it’s fucking hard.

Its sad, it’s lonely, it puts a whole lot of pressure on the shoulders of the parent who stays home – the kids, the cooking, the cleaning and an empty bed, becomes their every day whilst the other one flys out (the airport is no longer a glorified place to boast about being) to a tin shed for an airport with the most amazing views of nothing but a red tinged dirt. They work massive days feeling empty whilst their loved ones are at home, getting taller, making sentences and getting ‘used’ to life without mum/dad. They then go home (a metal box) to a single bed with nothingness and too much time to think.

Before you climb that horse to your perch high up there behind your keyboard – yes I know.

We chose this lifestyle. We chose to feel lonely. We chose to put the pressure on our family. We chose to live together – seperately.

But just know this – the money is not MASSIVE for most FIFO workers, sometimes its the only place people with certain qualifications can get work and no, for many, the work is not stable.

SO… Why do we do it? We do it because the little bit of extra money is worth it for us, we have a family goal and we are able to fast track our way to reaching that goal. When it came to choosing between a local job and this one – we went with the FIFO role as it gave Paul a whole new skill set, qualifications and opportunity. Brisbane didn’t have anything that could offer this. Career progression is important and for however long we need to do this, we will.

The hardest thing for me has been juggling the business, the housework, the crucial need to feed the child and I, and generally doing life 😀

However it has made me a little stronger – though I believe Ill be grey alot quicker. I get to fall in love again every two weeks. Liam and I are closer, and I have learnt to ask for help (big deal for me).

Last week after cleaning up spew because we all got sick, to a massive proposal for the business, I had a little emotional moment on the floor of our kitchen where my 2.5 year old came over and hugged me and said ‘Don’t be sad mummy’… It was clear I needed some help.

Tomorrow that help comes in the form of someone to help me at home – and I cannot freaking wait!

PS Happy Fathers Day Paul! Im glad we got to see you, even if for a small amount of the day xoxo that roof is going to be worth it xoxo

What are you known for?

I was reading a book recently microDOMINATION by Trevor Young and it got me thinking:

What am I known for?

I decided to put it out there on Facebook to find out what I was known for, and some of the comments were:

“Never sitting still” – Tracey Mathers

“Being indefinable” – Liz Gibbins

“Driven, entrepreneurial and focussed” – Lauren Sweeney

and most others were along the same lines as BUSY!!

 

What I realised is that as much as I don’t really feel busy, to the world it looks like I never stop, I’m always on the go, and am bored easily.

I still get at least 8 hours of sleep a night (quality has declined since having a child) but I still get sufficient rest.

I have me time. I go to the movies, I get a massage once a month, I go to the hairdresser etc… But asking this question publicly has me thinking – I don’t really ever stop – well I don’t do nothing. I’m always doing something.

I also went on a mission to do nothing one day – and it’s really boring! What is the point of not living life to the fullest? Why not fill it with beautiful opportunities to do the things you love.  I watch Neighbours and Home and Away, I play with Liam and his animals, we eat together and I am there most nights he goes to sleep.  Doing nothing is a waste of time.

After asking the question publicly I then wrote my own list – some of the items were similar – Always on the move (my Grade 5 teacher used to call me BP – on the move), it is obviously a trait that isn’t going to change anytime soon, creative, busy, passionate, motivated, and messy (YES PAUL I KNOW I AM).

I also did my annual SWOT analysis on myself (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) and have realised that 2013 I finally turned one of my weaknesses into a strength, but had added another weakness into that box instead.

My strengths are:

DRIVE | CREATIVE MIND | ABILITY TO PROBLEM SOLVE | PEOPLE

My weaknesses are:

DOESN’T FINISH THINGS | EASILY DISTRACTED | MESSY

My opportunities:

SPEND TIME WITH LIAM | LEARN | MAKE MONEY | CHOICE AND FLEXIBILITY IN LIFE

My threats:

FINANCIAL | BURNOUT | TIRED | MISS LIAM GROWING UP

 

By consistently evaluating where I am with my life, and adjusting things to keep my life balanced, it means that my definition of HAPPY is simple to achieve. It is when I get too BUSY that the balance is gone and something has to change.

To me the key to happiness is knowing who you are, where you are at in your own life, what you want and remaining agile. It is about setting up your life the way you want so you can be flexible to change when you want to/need to without permission.

What are your strengths?

Working out what you want to do with your life

With this year’s bunch of seniors finishing school this week, and a conversation I have had with someone at a recent event, I decided to write a bit about how I think you can work out what you want to do with your life.

I understand that there are many people out there who are in their 30’s, 40’s even 50’s who have spent their lives doing things they don’t actually want to be doing let alone even liking it.

When I ask the questions ‘what do you want to do with your life?’ or ‘Do you love what you do?’ the answer to this is usually ‘no idea’ or ‘no definitely not, I hate my ______’. My first thought is ‘why the f&#* are you doing it then? Do you not know how short life is? Why are you wasting time?”. Then it occured to me… some people have never actually asked themselves the question ‘What do I want to do with my life?’. They have literally ‘gone with flow’ and simply ended up where they are.

When was the last time you asked yourself what you are doing with your life?

I dislike people complaining about Mondays immensely… Mondays is just another day to live the shit out of… to embrace with both hands and give it everything you’ve got.  It isn’t a day to mourn the loss of your ‘extremely short’ weekend, it should be a time to wake up refreshed, renewed and motivated to go out and do stuff, stuff you LOVE doing.

Don’t get me wrong, every job has a level of boring to it, there is general stuff that has to be done that you may not like to do, but by doing it you are ultimately achieving the stuff you LOVE doing (for me, the boring is data entry and admin). Ultimately, for the past 18 months, I haven’t felt like I have really ‘worked’. I haven’t really hated having to get up and go and do something. I mean, sure I’ve had days when I’d rather do nothing, and on those days, you know what, I can do nothing because that’s the life I have created.

I choose to work for myself, I choose to do all the things that I do and on a daily basis I am generally happy with my life.  I know I am extremely content with being self-employed.

I’m always hungry to keep achieving or starting new ventures, chasing new ideas, but I am also realistic when it comes to change, being able to adapt and having flexibility within your routine. You need to be in this day and age.

On occasion I have helped a few people realise their dreams by figuring out what it is they want to be doing and living their days doing it. So I thought I would share a few of the questions I ask and exercises I get them to do.

First I get them to get a pen and paper. I ask them to spend two minutes writing down absolutely everything they can that makes them happy, that they smile when doing, that comes to mind, that they wish they had done, places they want to visit, how many kids they have/want to have, what they think of their friends family etc/ anything they find as positive in their life and what they would like in their life. Single words, sentences doesn’t really matter as long as they don’t stop writing.

I then get them to spend two minutes writing down the things the hate doing, don’t like, food they don’t enjoy, people in their life that make them sad, jobs they hate doing, chores they deliberately skip doing, so on and so forth.

We then have a look at the lists and put into dot points the Good and the bad of their thoughts. We look at the things they like to do, that they get excited about, and then look at the things they don’t like doing and work out solutions as to how they can eliminate some of these bad things and surround them with more good stuff.

We look at their life overall – job, relationships, home, health, financial state and try to categorise their ‘brain dump’ under some of these headers.

From this we then look at where big changes can be made (i.e- change of job, change in diet, moving out of current home) which will turn negatives into positives.  We prioritise based on their needs at that time and put together a plan of action to take one thing at a time.

Most of the time I find when you turn what you think is a life full of negatives, and add a little positive the snowball effect carries over until your frame of mind changes where you have a lot more positives then negatives going for you and when a negative comes up you can find a solution, or have learnt to let it go because you know what it is you love to do…and you are DOING it!

Stop complaining, whining and whinging, shut up and do something about it… You are the only one who can make the changes so that you spend your time doing things you love, than things you hate. Its pretty simple, in my opinion.

 

You need a problem you want to solve – STEVE JOBS

I just finished watching the movie ‘Jobs’. The one that sort of came and went quietly from the cinemas… Some reviews were positive, most negative. To me, the movie was great. It was as if they wrote the script straight from the book, there wasn’t really anything new to learn about Jobs, however it still did what I expected it to do. It motivated me, it made me smile, it made me realise I’m still one of the crazy ones, and I cherish that.

The line that stuck with me as the credits played was the ‘You need a problem you want to solve’.  It was just so simple. Everything around us was created as a solution to a problem.  The reason we are still creating, and why there is always chance for innovation is because there will always be problems that need solving.

You need to be the crazy one, the one who hates rules, you need to think outside the box, fall in love with the different, and be the one who invents the next big thing in whatever it is you are doing.

You don’t have to do just one thing. You can do whatever it is you want to do. You can solve as many problems as you like, but the solution will come if you have passion, if you absolutely wholeheartedly believe in what you are doing.

If you do it just for money, it will more than likely fail.

So I put my businesses/life etc up against this line and sure enough – all of them are solutions to problems that were out there, and it’s not just my problem, it is others as well (meaning I have a market for these products/services).

If you are solving only your problem you don’t have a business.  You need to find a problem many people are having, so that your solution can help many people who will be willing to pay for it.

So my problem solving mission at the moment – to get my office sorted and organised! Bring on tomorrow with a day of entertaining a toddler whilst sorting through filing cabinets! I shall sleep now to create a solution!

Why fixing it now is easier than later…

I’m currently staying at my husband’s parents house, as the rental property we have been living in has been declared non-livable due to a hole in the bathroom ceiling and a leaking roof.  This is just the latest of many problems we have had in this home and it is definitely the last for our little family.

Through these housing problems the one thing I really learnt and was hit home by numerous contractors who have visited is that it is easier to fix something as soon as it comes up rather than wait til its completely broken and you have no choice but to correct it.

The roofer who came out to check the problem had quoted over twelve months to correct the problem, however the owners chose not to do anything about it. Now they have no choice but to fix it as the outside is coming in, and not in a good way.

What I took from it was that you could take the easy way out when an issue pops up and just avoid finding a solution for as long as possible until you have NO choice but to find one, OR you could nail it on the head as soon as it comes to your attention and avoid having to fill a bigger  hole later.

I found when thinking about this (which by the way I have heard this lesson a million times, but never really followed it myself) it applies to more than just my house situation.

It is easier to lose weight when you first realise you have started putting some on, it is easier to correct a child’s behaviour when you first notice it, it is easier to pay off debt when it is small before it spirals out of control with interest payments.

It is easier to fix a friendship straight after a fight than years later, it is easier to clean your house if you do it regularly rather than monthly.  It is even easier to clean the dishes before you eat than it is to do them tomorrow (the food comes off easier before it goes hard).

Still I find myself pushing things on until tomorrow, or later, and just not getting around to it until its too late, when it can no longer be something to do tomorrow but HAS to be fixed right now.

Well since learning this I realise it is easier to do things differently.  If I work in a different quadrant and stop dealing with crises when they appear and start working/living proactively, life will be a hell of a lot calmer, easier and way more enjoyable.

So here’s to getting the car serviced when its due, not once it’s broken down…

The moment when you are all on your own, and you have to make a decision…

I started RCG Creative a while ago, but put the agency into action properly in June last year and boy has it been a ride.  I went from full time work, to part time work, and the agency grew and grew where I am now full time on RCG and about to hire staff.

There comes a time when you stop in your tracks, get short of breath and start panicking remembering that you are all alone. That the responsibility of earning your own money, relies solely on you.  Its daunting, scary in fact.  But it’s the step you take after this feeling that determines where you end up.

Before last year, I at times, let fear stop me from doing some of the things I wanted to do.  And I regretted it.  I’d keep thinking of that missed opportunity, the chance I had that I didn’t take.  All because of fear. Fear that I would fail or get hurt or lose something.

Then I had an experience with an employer that made me realise. You never really have anything to lose. Apart from an opportunity.

The stuff you think you have to lose, is simply stuff.  I realised we place too much emphasis and influence on the stuff we have.  It ends up stopping us making decisions about things we want to do.  We almost eliminate anything with risk because we are scared.  But if you ask yourself – are you really happy today?  do you love what you do? If you answered no to any of these, what are you going to do about it?

You are the only one who is going to make something happen, or hold yourself back. It has nothing to do with anyone else.  Its all in your head.

So anyway, last year I decided to work through the fear, pushed it aside and started working towards my ultimate dream – owning a business doing something I love which provides me with the opportunity to pull people in to live the same dream.  Its very rare you get to use both sides of your brain at once, but with RCG I get to do exactly that.

I’m pretty passionate about what I do, and I believe in small business having the chance to make something of themselves (hence why we are priced to be affordable).

With a kid on the hip, happy hubby,  a laptop, and soon to be awesome team member… living the dream is way better than living a nightmare. Its simply a choice I made.

A week… without swearing!

Sh*$ this was a hard week… I didnt realise how much I swore.  Im not a heavy swearer, but I use the S word more than I need to, because there is actually NO need for bad language, EVER!

But you know what, sometimes there is no other word to replace them when you need it most, like when you hurt yourself playing sport and you are rolling around on the floor screaming, you arent going to be saying “Whoopsie daisy, oh my silly leg, oh the pain is really hurting”.  Or when you are in labor and having a contraction.  Im sorry but no amount of nice words were going to be said in this lovely experience.

I do believe there is a time and a place, and I think Im pretty good usually.  What this challenge has taught me is that I am more aware of when I am speaking, and thinking about what I am about to say… BORING CHALLENGE Oh and I swore so I FAILED 😀

A week of…cleaning!

Yes, I put myself in a mindset of being crazy cleanfreak who couldnt sleep with any mess around. (For those who know me, this is a nonexistent problem for me).

I always joke about Paul and his OCD with cleaning so I decided to see how it felt to have a clean house for a week.

Verdict:  Its actually really relaxing, but HARD WORK!  It is not easy to keep a house completely clean, especially with a baby and full time work.

What I took out of this week: It would be awesome to have a cleaner, but there are a few tips that Ive found make a BIG difference, and most of these lessons I learnt from Paul or through Time Management articles Ive read through the week.

1/. Cleaning as you go in the kitchen, makes the meal more enjoyable.  Cleaning dishes and pots etc means that once the meal is ready, you can sit down enjoy the meal and breathe because there is no ‘work’ that needs to be done after. However, its not the end of the world to have dirty dishes in the sink if you are too busy/tired or any other reason.

2/.  Doing a quick ‘whip around’ before bed to pick stuff up etc is AWESOME.  Probably my most fav lesson of the week was doing a quick tidy etc makes a massive difference in the appearance of the house, organisation in the morning, and just eliminating the thought from your mind when you go to sleep makes sleeping all the more relaxing.  Yes, The Project inspired my naming of this task.

3/. I still have more decluttering to do.  I definitely do not need all the things I have.  Less stuff means less mess means less stress means MORE smiles!

Interesting but tiring week (plus I have muscly arms from pushing the vaccuum way more than I ever have).

 

A week of…. decluttering

This week excited me…. I couldnt wait to get stuck into decluttering the house. There were many ways I could have approached this challenge, but I decided to do it in a pretty unstructured way. 

Firstly, I decided to take photos of all the things I could sell that I no longer wanted/needed. I then uploaded some things onto eBay and then the rest onto Facebook. I figured whilst the stuff was selling online for a few days I would then go through and declutter each room.  I started with my wardrobe.  This was super fun!  Getting rid of things that no longer fit, things that I didnt like and so on and so on. The way it ended up meant that my husband now has more clothes than I do.

This challenge was inspired by a show I watched on Foxtel called Consumed!  It was about hoarders and people who couldnt throw things out and just kept bringing ‘stuff’ into their homes.  I felt caustraphobic just from watching the show.  I was driven to stop requiring stuff! It was almost an automatic adjustment to my way of thinking.  Less is more, and it can feel freeing and amazing.

I was never a person who really got attached to ‘stuff’, but I do find that I go through stages of buying things I dont need.  I dont know why or what brings these little splurges on, but I guess Im lucky they arent big expensive shopping sprees.  I like second hand stuff, and cheap clothes.

I dont really buy much for Liam, well at least as much as I thought I would.  We were lucky to be given soo many hand me downs that we havent needed to, and after learning how fast they grow, I am hesitant to buy anything he doesnt NEED.

After a week of decluttering, I feel lighter and less stressed.  However one thing I have learned is that decluttering or ‘editing’ as I like to call it, is a continual task, and when thinking of bringing something home I have to think, do I need it? Do we have a use for it at home? Do I want it just because I like it? etc etc.

Its been a mental shift which Im liking, and I look forward to continuing the editing journey… Have a go, its super life changing.