Pursue Your Purpose

As living beings we have certain characteristics in common with other living things. These separate us from non-living things. Considering the attributes that make us Alive can help us to understand the nature of our existence, and as we pull that apart, we will uncover qualities that lend themselves towards a new way of living.  This new way of living is more free than any other because it comes naturally to us. Living without limits can be as intuitive to us as breathing itself.

Like all living things, we as humans need to grow if we are to continue to be alive. Growth is the permanent, irreversible increase in size and mass of the living organism. It occurs in every living thing. Most living plants continue to increase in size throughout their lifespan, while animals usually grow to maturity and then maintain a constant size. All of the living processes of a single celled organism take place within that one cell, so growth for this form of life simply means the cell gets bigger.

melbourne professional speaker

Our purpose expands our capacity and highlights the way forward

Our Purpose Promotes Growth

In our Infinite Selves growth occurs best when we are in  pursuit of our purpose. To live a life of purpose and conviction is to enjoy a sense of significant, intentional expansion in our day to day lives. With purpose comes the cause that sets our heart on fire and enlarges our capacity. We rise every morning with our eyes firmly set on our grand plan, having a sense of urgency and priority about what we do with our lives. This feeling comes from deep within us, because it originates in the core of our person. It is the drive of our Infinite Self. Knowing that our days will contribute to something of consequence brings us to a place of honour every day. We walk through every season with our shoulders back and our head held high. Who we are is realised in our purpose. This objective not only defines our reason for living, but it defines our very essence. It is in our purpose that we grow into the fullness of our Infinite Self.

Without this sense of purpose we cannot be fully, vibrantly alive. We find it all too easy to crumple like an old aluminium can. As soon as the pressure comes, we have no strength to withstand its destructive effects. When we haven’t decided and committed to our reason for living, we have very little to bring when the going gets tough. It is in these times that we see ourselves compromising on things that we thought were important. We sell out like a wilting flower. We cannot grow because we make no stand, and our living slowly stops.

Without Purpose Life Is Sluggish And Listless

 In these times, we face serious problems of being ineffective and unproductive. We can be working our fingers to the bone, but in the absence of a purposeful aim for our efforts, we risk burning out from the sheer exhaustion that comes from endless striving.  A lack of purpose can look and feel like a lack of power in our lives. It certainly feels like there is no point to doing anything much at all. It is so incredibly frustrating to know that we have a yearning for something worth fighting for. Without this conviction, we become disillusioned and disengaged from living itself.

When this happens, we end up missing out on a fulfilling, custom-made intention that pulls us through listless disillusionment into driving conviction. Our purpose gives us the strong foundation we need to face challenges with tenacity and setbacks with resolve that we will make it through. We have to. Our purpose depends on it. Our lives depend on it.

Purpose Draws Us Through The Crisis

It might seem strange or even morbid to you, but it was my own personal sense of purpose that pulled me through the days, weeks and months after my husband Alec died. It was on the day after I lost him unexpectedly that I sat at my dining table, reading over the reflective notes I had been keeping in my phone for the past few years. I knew instantly that these notes would become my book, and that I would direct everything I had towards building a professional speaking and coaching career. I wanted nothing more than to invest my natural strengths and all of my resources towards the fulfilment of this plan. This specific plan was new, and was conceived that day from the midst of my life-changing circumstances. But the plan came from the purpose that had been with me for as long as I can remember. My mission in life has always been to help people empower themselves to fulfil their greatest potential. In more recent times I have crafted this purpose statement:

The purpose of my life is to enjoy the ongoing rewards of living and loving without limits, to confidently thrive in growth through change, to feel the freedom that comes from personal empowerment, and to help others do the same.

This purpose continues to fuel my efforts at work, home and play every single day.

More often than not, our truest self takes some time to come into its own. Engaging with the journey of possessing the growth available to us in any and every situation. This is vital if we are going to grow to realise our greater Purpose. To clarify your purpose, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my unique strengths and skills?
  • What do I want?
  • What are my lofty goals and crazy ambitions?  
  • What do I want to be known for?
  • What do I want my legacy to be?  
  • What makes me happy?  
  • What are my deal breakers of happiness, the things i simply can’t be happy without?
  • What leaves a glistening residue of fulfillment that lights me up ages after the moment has passed?
  • What am I really good at?  
  • What can I do that leaves a lasting impact on the world?

When we hear the whisper of our purpose in our hearts, it is like music to our ears. To come through the journey of connecting deeply with ourselves, then sharing this rich, deep person with the world, we come to realise that we have a strength that comes from somewhere infinite within us. This gives rise to a sense of power and opens opportunities for rewards we can create and gather to ourselves. This in turn gives us a sense of our unique purpose. This purpose is the thing that only we can offer the world. We comprehend the defining Purpose of our Infinite Self by expanding our awareness of our original, one-of-a-kind inner person. Our Infinite Self thrives when we realise that we exist to pursue a cause that burns bright. When we watch ourselves acting in the power of our Infinite Self in the world, we begin to realise that we each have a unique reason for living that suits us down to the ground.

Knowing these three things about growth will help us press on in pursuit of our purpose.

  1. GROWTH IS CONTINUOUS: On the day we stop growing, we stop living. This growth can be in baby steps, or in leaps and bounds, but without it, we cannot continue. Every day offers us opportunity to grow. Some days our growth is in our character, while others the growth is in our strength, our relationships, our finances, our spirit, our connection with ourselves. There is never a day that comes that is without these chances to grow. Every day we can enlarge the capacity of our Infinite Self.
  2. GROWTH IS DRIVEN BY PURPOSE: Just like plants grow towards the sun, and send their roots deep down into the soil in search of water, your growth will be drawn towards your own unique purpose. This purpose is unlike any other person’s, because you are your own spectacular person. To maximise opportunities for growth everyday is to come to know your superpower. Find the work that energises you and invest in it with everything you have.
  3. GROWTH ALWAYS WANTS MORE: Growth is hungry. It is driving, and it is relentless. It never stops. It is insatiable. Your Infinite Self has an urgent need for growth. This growth doesn’t need to look like gigantic strides, but it simply can’t look like standing still. Pursuing your purpose, even in tiny incremental steps will refresh your Infinite Self like nothing else can. It will be the invigoration you have needed all along.

Living a life of growth in our purpose requires a life-changing commitment. Pledge today to live a life driven by purpose:

I will live a life of Conviction, dedicated to the ongoing task of unearthing my Infinite Self. I will refuse to accept anything in life which allows jaded disillusionment to dim my unique shine. I will give ourselves to the passions of my heart, directing them towards my purpose and guarding them with my integrity. Compromise is out of the question for me. I will rise with determination to the call of my Infinite Self.

Balance

Each year I choose a word that will help me maintain my focus and direction for the entire year. Last year my word was Charge. This worked really well for that season. In December 2015 I sold the business I had previously shared with my late husband. This meant that hitting the ground running in 2016 was vital if I was to build momentum for my new thing. Under the motivating banner of the word Charge, I have worked relentlessly throughout 2016. I have completed my year of professional speaker training, published my first book, had this website built and continued to populate it with loads of content, launched my iTunes podcast called The Happy Widow, taken on my first handful of coaching clients, and presented at even more speaking engagements. I have also started the endless journey of building my social media profiles, and I am amazed at how many new friends I have made throughout the year in those spaces. The internet is the city that never sleeps.

All of this has been wonderful, and I am thoroughly proud of myself. But if you look back through that introductory paragraph, you will see that I worked relentlessly, but not tirelessly. To be completely honest, by December last year, I felt like that last leg was only possible if I was willing to crawl over the line. Launching myself into my new work in 2016 was important for me for a lot of personal, professional, and financial reasons. Even now as I reflect on how I approached last year I can’t see how I could or even would have done things differently. But boy oh boy, I really couldn’t repeat that massive effort.

I see very little point in regret, even if I have made a terrible blunder. Regret steals our confidence, undermines our ability to learn, and prevents us from loving ourselves as we really are. I don’t need to feel the self-loathing emotion of regret to be genuinely sorry if I have made an error. I can choose to change my pathway without getting too hung up over the steps I have previously taken. At best, regret is a waste of energy and headspace, but at worst it is destructive and turns our opportunities for growth as humans into a disastrous trap.

I certainly feel no regret about how I invested my time and energy last year. I am a big believer in the positive effects of a burst of energy and surge of investment. But I know without a doubt that this effort was unsustainable. By the end of the year I worked hard to finish what I started with all sorts of projects. I nearly got there. There are still jobs hanging around that didn’t get done, but I know that I need to change tack if I am going to continue to catch the winds of freedom in my sails.

Melbourne Professional Speaker

Each year I save my word for the year as the home screen on my phone

This year, my word is Balance. If I have learned anything from last year it is to prioritise a wholistic approach. Things can’t remain strong if they are built in a lopsided way. If you’ve ever played Jenga or even pick up sticks you’ll know that when the pieces aren’t supported, they will tumble down. To be unstoppably free from the risk of this collapse, we simply must take a broader approach. We must harmonise all of the needs in our lives, and focus on tending to all of them with diligent consistency, calm confidence, and gentle nurturing. For us to maintain growth in all of the areas of our lives, we must attend to that growth. Make it our focus. Invest in it.

I had a thought about balance last year that has stuck with me. I have a mild scoliosis in my back which throws the mechanics of my body out. When I walk, run, sit, lay down, stand up, my body does things in an ever so slightly twisted way. It was barely noticeable when I was younger, but at 41, my body speaks more freely to me now and lets me know what it needs. Years of operating this crooked body and compensating for the curve in my spine have seen some muscles become super strong while others have been left quite weak. I didn’t notice this until my physio had my doing single leg squats, hops, arm raises and hamstring curls. I was stunned.

I teetered and trembled my way through half of the physio’s tasks. I struggled to stay upright and a few times I toppled and stumbled my way back to standing straight and tall. My right leg wasn’t pulling its weight, and neither was my right shoulder. They made my body crumple like an aluminium can. It seems that my left side has been doing all of the heavy lifting over the years, with the right side taking a free ride. The work of keeping me up and running has largely been done by only one side of my body. To ignore this problem would be to invite injury and pain which will only worsen over the years to come. This is not desirable for anyone, but as an active, highly motivated person, this simply will not do.

My body had no regard for my intentions or my efforts. It could only perform to its capability at that moment. Years of avoiding the use of the weaker side, and unthinkingly finding ways around the scoliosis had created a type of atrophy. It had left me weak in the areas I hadn’t used or attended to. It thrown me out of balance, and left me vulnerable to falling down. Are you getting the picture here? Can you see areas of your life that may have been left unattended just a little to long?

As I say goodbye to 2016 and throw my arms open wide to the year ahead, I will apply what I have learned. This experience paints the perfect picture of what we need to understand to be free:

Balance comes from strength.

This is not just strength in a few select areas. Power doesn’t come from surging forward in growth in our favourite areas, or the ones that come easily to us. We are only truly free from the risk of collapse if we have a well rounded strength across all of the pillars in our life. My physio explained that managing the health of my back and my joints means developing strength in my core. She gave me exercises that work the muscles further inside and around the joint. These movements aren’t like the glamorous Hollywood ones. They don’t only work the superficial muscles that every one else can see. These exercises work the deepest inner muscles that support my frame. The workout is more intense, and more lasting, and has a greater effect than anything I have done before.

This year, let’s make Balance a priority in our lives. Let’s ensure that with every outward stride towards performance, power and achievement, there is a corresponding inner stride towards peace, wholeness and self care. Let’s give some of our precious time as a gift to ourselves, to ensure that we preserve and defend our ability to continue our generosity. This year can be the year that we become stronger at balancing giving with taking, chaos with peace, noise with quiet, fast with slow, spending with saving, talking with listening, searching with finding, inside with outside, outward with inward, work with rest, exhale with inhale.

Reflecting On The Truth We See

If we are to be defined by freedom, we have some cleaning house to do, so that we see a clean, powerful reflection of ourselves when we look into the mirror. Our mindset is everything. If we are to enjoy a freedom that is truly unstoppable, we need to see ourselves as the person who is defined by our passion, and this has to start with how we see ourselves. I say all the time, how we see changes what we see.

When we look in the mirror we need to see someone who is already embracing the new chapter they are in, and who is living up to their best selves, now. For us to be able to do that, and to keep going with that forever, we need to establish some truths that will act as a strong reliable foundation that will then serve as the launchpad of our lives. Let me help you to see what you should be looking for in the mirror.

Melbourne public speaker

We can choose what we see in the mirror

You are Change

Firstly, I want you to know that changing your old mindsets, beliefs and actions is something that actually comes naturally to you, because you are change. You are more than just an observer of change, or the driver of change, and you are certainly NOT the victim of change. You are actually change. Change is a defining aspect of your identity. It is who you are, and who you will continue to become.

Did you know that all of the cells in our body continue to live and function by dying and replacing themselves? There is a myth that our bodies regenerate themselves in seven year cycles, which is not true. Our stomach lining cells die and replace themselves every two days, our skin cells every two weeks, and our red blood cells every four months. Our physical bodies live and function by the very act of changing out old for new. I love that metaphor. When you look back over your life you know that this is what you have done to survive and function throughout it all. Old parts of you have died and new parts have come to replace them. Old thoughts and old views become new. This is how we live. So today, you have everything you need to follow your passion because YOU ARE CHANGE. This makes you Unstoppable.

You are Infinite

The only exception to these patterns of cell regeneration is in our brain cells. The cells in our brain never replace themselves. We are born with as many brain cells as we will ever have, and when they die, they die. So if you have a high impact bump that rattles your brain around inside your skull, the cells that die never come back. Or if you have a big night out on the town, and you drink some of your precious brain cells to death on the best Saturday night you have ever had, you never get those back either.

So Kerry Anne how can you expect me to believe that I am infinite if my brain cells are the only ones that die forever? Well, it’s because the brain cells actually do two remarkable things. Firstly, they continue to live after the body dies, for up to three days according to some studies. Secondly, there are developing theories that suggest our brain cells might be able to live forever. Recently scientists have been conducting experiments on rats where they attempt to transplant brain cells into new hosts. Not only have they been successful with these transplants and the transplanted brain cells have been accepted and function perfectly well in their new home, but the new brain cells can continue to live longer than they would have in their original home. If the transplanted brain cells find a home in a younger, healthier host, they can actually outlive their original owner. In theory, this means that brain cells could transplanted again and again to live forever.

I love this! This means that the cells in our brain, the operations centre of our bodies, reflects the reality that we are Infinite. These cycles of change happening though death and new life in our cells, and permanence happening from our brain, teach us universal truths about the importance of holding on and letting go. Surely then, if we can see in our metaphorical mirror that we ARE Change, and that we ARE Infinite, then that can allow us to believe this third truth:

You are Enough

There is nothing more that you need. You are adequate. You are beautiful. Gifted. Perfectly blessed. You have every asset gifted to you, and you possess now every single thing that you will ever need to be free.

This quest for ourselves is where freedom starts, because if we are successful in our quest, nothing can hold us back from our passions. When we know who we are, and when we are confident about that person, we run at our mission like a bull at a gate.  When we like who we are, and we see ourselves without destructive filters we are free to follow our deepest passions, with abandon.

2017 Freedom Goals

“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” 

Michelangelo

At this time of year we have a sense of being bright eyed and bushy tailed, thankful that last year is over and overflowing with optimism about the promise of the year ahead.

Melbourne Professional Speaker

2017 is the year you taste freedom

In the past we have approached this turn of the new year with resolve. We have surveyed the landscape of our life, and we have taken stock of our work, our relationships, our health, our finances, our lifestyle. This time of year inspires us to reflect, and evaluate, and appraise.

But for some strange reason, some of us have used these things to measure the value of our lives … Indeed, we have drawn on these things to rate our very person. We have judged ourselves against an unforgiving, arbitrary standard. We have quantified the contribution we have made, and the progress we have gained so far. Our view during these times can easily become tainted with comparisons which create feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, deficiency, lack.

This year is different. This is not the time to figure out how you could do more, be more, have more. There is no goal or performance or achievement that will tell you the thing you need to celebrate most at this time of year. Well, what is worth celebrating then?

It is YOU!

In this coming year you will survey your life with eyes that nurture the spectacular person that you are. You will appreciate your loving heart, your generous spirit, your undying dedication, your relentless tenacity. You have come so far! You have done yourself proud. You have given your all. Now is the time to celebrate and pat yourself on the back.

And as you look forward to the wide blue yonder of 2017, do so with care. It’s time to do away with the rod of denial, perfectionism, regret and disapproval that you have made for your own back. Instead, embrace the possibilities of the new year. Search the depths of your pure, perfect centre. You never know what could happen if you muster up courage to release your power.

Oh, imagine the things that could erupt into the life you have today.

With so much to leave behind, and so much to look forward to, let’s take a minute all to ourselves. For just a sparkling moment, life is going to be all about you. This is your time of gratitude, reflection, aspiration, vision.

Close your eyes and open your heart.

Breathe …

Simply inhale a feeling of peaceful hope, contented anticipation, and the certainty of faith. Glimpse into your future. Dare to believe that 2017 is your year to shine.

In this instant you have the chance to set your mind for the year. This is not so much about setting goals, but rather fixing your gaze on the vision of the life you desire, and the magnificent person you will continue to unearth. Let us start this year with a solemn vow. Right now, you can make this pledge:

I declare that 2017 is my year of ______________

I will make it a priority to feel better this year. I will direct my thoughts and experiences to focus on these three feelings most of the time:

  1. ___________________
  2. ___________________
  3. ___________________

How I see determines what I see. In 2017 I will reframe the way I perceive adversity, set backs and failure. I will look for ways to grow in all things, but I will make these three areas my priority:

  1. __________________
  2. __________________
  3. __________________

This year I will be brutally honest with myself, and I will not permit old ways of thinking any longer. Up until now I have believed things that deep down, I know are not true. I used to believe these things, but I will do away with these lies and excuses in 2017:

  1. I am _________________________________
  2. The world is ____________________________
  3. My life is ______________________________

Now I will believe these things:

  1. I am _________________________________
  2. The world is ____________________________
  3. My life is ______________________________

I will not allow destructive mindsets to motivate me any longer. Now that I have done away with these old ways of thinking, I would like to make 2017 the year I have a go at:

_________________________________

I know that when I flow in love, passion and creativity I produce the best results in all areas. This year, I want that deep flow to create:

_________________________________

2017

I welcome you with open arms. You are the year I have been preparing for my whole life. To you, I bring all of my skills, experience, insight, hopes, dreams and determination. I offer you all that I am, and everything that I have, in passionate pursuit of my purpose.

 

 

Why You Should Blow Off The New Year

I wonder how many goals are set at this time of year that should really have been left in the realm of “wishful thinking.” How many people are setting resolutions even now, hoping that this year their dreams really might come true. How many are enjoying the field day of their best intentions, even as I type up this blog? Forbes tells us the shocking fact that only 8% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions actually achieve them. At this time of year we get crazy! We try to conjure up success from nothing. We wistfully dream that this time will be different. This time, the magic wand will work. This is a miserable and defeated way to start the year.

Or is it? What if knowing that the odds are against us could actually work for us? This likelihood of failure could be the permission that we need to take all of that pressure off ourselves. We could start this year without wishing that we could be someone different overnight. We might even be able to let go of the idea that we need something else, something more, something new, something different? Perhaps our ambition for this coming year could be to accept how things are, and work from here? Maybe, knowing that we are unlikely to achieve our New Year’s wishes might be just the tip we needed to let us off the hook this time around.

Kerry Anne Nelson Professional Speaker

Lets celebrate how far we have come this New Years

Please understand. If you have read any of my writing, or spent even ten minutes with me in the flesh, you will know that I am the Queen of big dreams and crazy ambitions. I live to throw all of my eggs into the one basket of my most daring imaginations. I am a picture of drive and the master of motivation. I am a big thinker, a busy doer – I am an ideas woman who puts her money where her mouth is.

But I have solemn convictions. I believe that we should not come at the process of goal setting from a light-hearted, flippant, dare I suggest drunken state of mind. The turn of the New Year does not have a mystical power that makes our wishful thinking suddenly work. The words that you say, and the lofty heights that are set require a serious commitment. I am a believer in the importance of goal setting, but I am mindful of the power of this process. Setting goals is fraught with a couple of specific dangers that must be handled with caution.

  1. Our Self Respect Hinges On Reaching The Goal

You see, to set a goal is to establish a standard, and once it is set, it must be reached. This is vital. Because we draw confidence from the goal. Self-esteem. Self worth. Self respect. Our goals are the pivot point of how we see ourselves. If we fall short of the goal, or if we achieve it but then go back to our old ways, we undermine the pivotal trust we need to have in ourselves. Without this trust, we simply cannot be free. We can’t be truly liberated, powerful, passionate people who throw themselves into life with abandon if we know that we are the ones who gave up, or relapsed.

The first risk that comes with goals is in the effects of failure. Setting the goal is fine, healthy, productive, powerful. And I admit that I do set my own goals regularly and often. But achieving them is essential. Once the goal is set, there is no looking back. I hesitate before I set any goal. If I achieve it and make the success last, it is a powerful, transformational win. But if I don’t, the goal has done more damage than good. Blowing off the New Year’s resolution all together means that we don’t face the threat of losing our self respect. Let’s leave the goal setting for a time that we can give it the honour it deserves.

2. Setting A Goal Asks For More

At this time of year we can all become quite the reflective philosophers. We look around our lives and we consider our progress, significance, worth. We measure the value of our lives, the contribution we have made, and the progress we have gained so far. Our view during these times can easily become tainted with comparisons which create feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, deficiency, lack. This is a dangerous attitude to bring to any season of goal setting.

There is more to you than the shortcomings you see at New Years. You have come so far! You have done yourself proud. You have given your all. Now is the time to celebrate and pat yourself on the back. It is not time to figure out how you could do more, be more, have more. At least, not from a mindset that starts from a sense of personal deficit. There is no goal of performance or achievement that will tell you the thing you need to celebrate most at this time of the year. You! Let’s blow off that thinking this New Year’s. Instead, let’s embrace this:

You are already enough.

You are not your work. You are not your actions. You are not your achievements or your decisions. Who you are cannot be measured by the things you have done or the goals you have reached. You are more than these things. Your substance is richer, fuller, deeper. You are more than the work of your hands or the striving of your goals.

As we welcome the New Year in we bid farewell to the year that has past, and we embrace the year that lies ahead. Let’s do this with care. Let’s set our gaze on the year to come through eyes that embrace our own perfection. Let’s make it our aim to pursue change only from a place of Acceptance. Peace. Security. Wholeness.

If you are to set a goal at all, let it start with this pledge:

2017 I welcome you with open arms. This is the year that I accept I am already enough. I will act on the conviction that everything I need is already within me. With all that I am now, I will dream new dreams, face new challenges, pursue new directions, and follow my deepest passions. I am endlessly empowered and permanently liberated to grow, evolve and change through each new season. I will work hard to bring my best game to the opportunities afforded by each new day. I will be confident that there is nothing more that I need to do, earn or become. Nothing can make me more valuable or worthy than the person I am now.

Three Mirrors

We all dream of living a fulfilling life. Every one wants to be happy and healthy, enjoying success in their work and meaningful relationships with the people closest to them. Coming to know ourselves in fullness and truth is foundational to our ability to be successful in our lives. Understanding our strengths and preferences, our nature, our temperament, and our own unique needs provides the platform we need to launch into our personal significance. It is when we see ourselves as loved, and worthy of success, and connected in belonging to the people we care about, that we are truly free to pursue our deepest passions. Helen Keller put it perfectly:

What I am looking for is not out there. It is in me.

This quest for ourselves is where freedom starts, because if we are successful in this search, nothing can hold us back from our passions. Knowing how to meet our own intrinsic needs allows us to get on with the business of pursuing our purpose with unfettered passion. When we know who we are, and when we are confident about that person, we run at our mission like a bull at a gate. When we like who we are, and we see ourselves without destructive filters we are more free than the American dream.

Melbourne public speaker

How I see myself reflects my capacity for success, influence, and ultimately, love

What Is In The Mirror?

When we look into the mirror, what do we see? Over the course of my life I have had several experiences of reflecting on my self concept. Each one of these times speaks volumes about how I saw myself at the time. In retrospect I can see that how I perceived myself directly affected the opportunities and outcomes of my life.

The first mirror memory I have happened when I was thirteen years old. I’d just had yet another a massive fight with my stressed, working class parents in our over-crowded army home. After standing my ground for ages, I finally stormed off to my bedroom and slammed the door behind me. I don’t remember what the fight was about now, but I do remember catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror that hung to the left of the door, just above my dresser drawers. The anger inside me was a raging torrent of teen hormones, and the tears I had been trying to swallow back in pride were released the moment that door crashed shut. I stopped and looked at my crying self in the mirror, and it was surreal. I saw the resentment I had towards my life, and the defeat in my outlook. I saw someone who felt trapped and disempowered. My tears were those of a victim who could barely see out of them. I sat on my bed, and just cried. My dad opened my door and barked further at me, “What are you doing?”

“I’m crying.”

He didn’t know what to do with my candid response. It silenced the argument. He left. Even though I felt trapped in my family situation, I still stood my ground and owned my feelings and my reaction. I felt trapped in my emotions, but in my response I showed I was free.

The Mirror Showed My Reality In The World

My next significant mirror moment happened two decades later. I was thirty-three years old, and I was just back from a run. I had been slowly developing my fitness, diligently doing the evening jogs that helped me recover after losing my voice. Those runs were brutal. I was desperately overweight and the isolation of the voice strain injury had left me depressed, anxious, and broken. I saw my reflection in the mirror as I opened the glass shower door. How could this be? I had run for a good half an hour, but I was still the same size as before I left. I felt thinner. With all of those endorphins buzzing and my muscles zinging from the work out, I felt like an olympic athlete. Surely I should look like Beyonce by now?

But no. I was still this overweight person whose reality in the world was still pretty far away from the reality I was hoping to create. When I looked in the mirror that evening, I realised that my circumstances provided me with a limited view of the greater picture. The full truth was that I was already healthy and whole in my person, but my circumstances would take time to reflect that. When I looked into the mirror this time, I realised how I see myself on the inside will always become evident on the outside, if I just give it enough time.

The Mirror Reflects My Choices

The last significant mirror moment occurred  a couple of years ago, after my husband died. I was getting ready to go to work at the warehouse I used to share with him, and reached across the mirror to the shelf where my perfume lived, only to find that the bottle was just about empty. Now this might seem an ordinary event to you, but for me, it was pivotal. It might seem absurd, but I had never bought perfume before. As the oldest of five in a poor family, this sort of thing was considered an unobtainable luxury. Then, as Alec’s first lady, perfume was always gifted to me for Christmas and birthdays.

As I looked in the mirror, I had to decide how I saw myself. Would I see the oldest of five and mother of two who always put the needs of others first, and didn’t indulge in luxuries? Would I see the grieving widow whose greatest fear was that she would never be loved again? Or would I see myself as beloved? Worthy? Connected in belonging? And as I looked into the mirror I realised that the only view that suited me now was to believe that I was beautiful, and only I could give myself the gift of self love.

The next time you look in the mirror, take a closer look. Examine behind the reflection. Be transparent with yourself. What do you see? And promise me, that you will keep looking, and keep refining, and keep cleansing, until you see the truth. Because in the mirror is someone who is beautiful on the inside and out, valuable to connect with yourself and others, and worthy of all of the love you can give and receive. You are Infinite. You are everything. And you most certainly are enough.

The First Christmas

This is it! Today is the day! There are no more sleeps left till Santa comes. It is here! This is the day the world counts down for. If you are in Australia, it is the one day of the year where all the shops are closed, and the streets are quiet. Families and loved ones join together to celebrate life and love. Even if you weren’t brought up in church, Christmas is still a sacred day many of us set aside to splash love around with the people we care most about.

Kerry Anne Nelson Professional Speaker

Christmas means gratitude, hope and love to me now

For most of us, Christmas is something to look forward to, but there are some of us today that have been dreading this day since the day that our entire life was turned upside-down. I have heard many people say just how bad 2016 was, and how tough it’s been for them to get through. I have had my own years just like that. I know what it’s like to face Christmas after my world changed completely. To be able to muster up any kind of celebratory feeling after the crisis has hit like a tidal wave is a feat that hardly seems worth the effort at all. There have been three Christmases I have faced that were certainly the toughest ones of all, but they each taught me a profound lesson that I have carried into every Christmas since.

Cash Is Not Wealth

My first tough Christmas was the Christmas after we had come to the very brink of bankruptcy. We had rolled one business over into another and then a third, but the ebb and flow of our start-up cashflow simply couldn’t keep up with the invoices that followed us each step of the way. Those who knew, our accountant and closest friends, thought we were completely mad at the time. We had been advised to call it quits and face the brutal reality that our businesses hadn’t worked. We were told that there was no way out, no other option. But we persisted. We didn’t want the embarrassment of the label, or the shame of leaving our creditors high and dry, or the opportunities of the future to close if we shut up shop. So we kept going. Even though we finally managed to pay all of the debt back over a decade later, we made it. But on that first Christmas, we felt the pinch like a green ant bite. It stung hard. Our Christmas tree hosted a few odd gifts, and the dining table was laid out with some special treats. But more than anything else, this day slapped us hard in the face with the fact that we simply couldn’t afford our usual fanfare. It was a shameful, empty feeling that threatened to swallow our joy and our pride.

But that Christmas taught me to be grateful. We still had our kids and our health and modest celebrations that highlighted just how truly blessed we were, every single day of our life. If you have your back against the financial wall this Christmas, look around. There is so much more in your life than the emptiness of your bank balance. The best things in life really are free.

Silence Is Golden

I celebrated my second tough Christmas for the most part in silence, because it was the year after I lost my voice. This had been another gruelling year, but the challenges this time had bowled me over psychologically. Initial anger and resentment towards the voice strain injury quickly developed into depression and then further into an anxiety sickness called an adjustment disorder. The isolation of the silence, combined with the darkness of the depression, and the panic of the anxiety disorder to create a highly stressful, teary Christmas. It would be another year before I saw my way clear of this awful sickness, so on this Christmas I was up to my neck in mental illness.

But that Christmas taught me to be hopeful. I had started jogging by this time and had cut my drinking back enormously. I wanted the day to be spectacular. The laughter of my children, the delight of them opening their gifts, the indulgence of the food, and the love of my husband filtered through the cloudy state I was in, and I saw glistening sparkles of hope that shone through in flashing moments of beauty. If you are depressed today, have hope. Time passes and things change. It won’t be like this forever.

True Love Lasts Forever

My last horrible Christmas was the one after losing my husband Alec. My usual excitement and child-like anticipation of Christmas was replaced that year with dread. I didn’t want to face the void that had been left in place of Alec, and I wasn’t sure if I could handle any more overwhelming feelings of grief. The emotion I was most imprisoned by though, was guilt. Even on the days I was able to muster up a smile or momentary happiness, this positivity was quickly swallowed up in self-loathing disbelief that I could ever let Alec go.

On that Christmas morning my 19yr old Zac sat beside 17yr old Isabelle in stoney silence. None of us knew how to be or what to say. Yes, there were gifts to open, and breakfast traditions that should have seen us through, but all of it felt wrong. It would never be the same again. Even though we had made it to the lounge room and tried to take up our usual positions, we had hit a road block. Alec had always played the Santa role, distributing gifts and making lame Dad jokes that inspired smiling groans every time. We had no Santa now, and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We just cried.

Eventually I asked Zac if he wanted to hand out the gifts. He reluctantly took up the offer, allowing us all to take our first steps towards redefining what Christmas is to us now, in this new normal. On that Christmas, we blindly pushed through to work out the new pathways through this day. That Christmas two years ago taught me new meanings of love. We all loved each other through the loss, and loved our way towards blending old traditions with new. If this Christmas is the first Christmas you have to face without your loved one, please know that you will make it through with the power of the love in your heart. The sadness and devastation of the loss are markers of the deepest love you have ever known. Although that grief feels insurmountable, there is beauty in it, because it is a flag that waves a signal of that love. To feel this pain of loss is to know that you have loved in purity. This love itself is a stunning wonder. Take the depth of the loss and use it as a reminder of the capacity you have for love. And share this love around with your people. This love is the very meaning of Christmas.

Real Life Steps To Business Recovery

I have been asked a few times lately about how I managed to turn my business around after losing Alec, my best friend, husband and business partner. I spend most of my time these days sharing with people to inspire them towards their own freedom, and helping them work out strategic steps to create their own progress. I can offer this support to others only because of the steps I have taken towards growth in my own life.
In my previous blog I shared how I worked hard to invest in systems to transform our business processes. I also talked about how my success in this major business overhaul relied on me accepting the support of others, who helped to conduct a massive physical clean up of my warehouse. This project took time, money, and above all else, faith in the skills I already had.
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The warehouse restructure required me to direct all of my resources towards this goal that would set me free

Set Up The Equipment You Need
The clean up saw me purchasing new warehouse equipment and resources to implement the locations system and house our stock properly. The new fixtures and fittings cleaned up the craziness that our warehouse had become. We transformed the chaos into clarity with new shelving, hooks, tubs and a labelling machine (my personal favourite). We sorted all of the stock that had been bundled in together into clean and tidy sections of their own: vacuum bags, hoses, filters, wheels and floor tools all enjoyed their own special spot. Eventually, this allowed us to perform our first ever stocktake, which we finally did in October-November.
Clean Up!
This clean up was epic! It often felt like a treasure hunt.  In pulling the mess apart we uncovered piles of stock that I never knew I had because it had been buried in the mess … some of it had never even been listed on our website. The warehouse makeover combined several strategies:
1. We put old/broken stock that was worthless straight to the garbage. Two skips worth of stock that was really just rubbish.
2. We put stock that was already listed and available on my website into new locations that made sense.
3. We made literally hundreds of new listings to sell the unlisted stock we found. This turned into an avenue of cashflow that only cost me the time it took to create the listings. This was not cheap for me personally, and it took its toll on my well-being eventually, but at least it didn’t cost me any money.
Use The Skills You Already Have
I am so grateful for my teaching experience. Training the random team of people that put up their hand to get me through was a task that I had the skills for.  A central part of the restructure was the creation of manuals for every single procedure we used in the business. These manuals documented everything from receiving of stock to order fulfilment to the creation of new listings to the production of photos to the answering of phones to troubleshooting website glitches. There was not one single part of the business that wasn’t written down, and to this day the new owners still use those manuals. It was a mammoth task but it was essential for me to support the training of staff as they came and went, and to turn the business into something that other people could run.
Obstacles Accelerate Growth
With all of my heart I am convinced that every single obstacle in our life can be used to accelerate growth. We can possess a freedom that is truly unstoppable only when we use everything we have to pursue that growth. This means starting every day with an outrageously optimistic outlook that sees the world as providing unique opportunities for us, in all things … in all ways. When we realise that our choices can direct everything we have towards outcomes we define for ourselves, nothing can hold us back.

How To Triumph Over Adversity

I was talking recently with someone who asked me how I turned my business around after I lost Alec. This is a complex question, but one that I love sharing because it shows the practical steps I took to follow my passion. I had been left with a large pile of invoices that simply couldn’t be paid, and faced the very real threat of bankruptcy. These are the first few things I learned about triumphing over adversity in business:

  1. Invest in Systems

They say it takes money to make money, but when you find your cashflow choking on debt, it is difficult to see any expenditure as an investment. I did divert some of the business revenue towards financial recovery, but every cent was put towards the development of infrastructure. My husband was a lover of sales and chaser of transactions, but a systems man, he was not! Our work was a nightmare and life had already been chaotic, even while he was still alive. I had to change everything.

One of the key things that needed to change was the management of our stock levels and order fulfilment processes. We had grown this business literally from scratch in our suburban garage years earlier, and still relied heavily on manual systems in our warehouse. This had always cost us a lot because the way we worked created confusion, and left room for error, and wasted a lot of precious time. Until now, we had always just put up with it. Necessity is the mother of invention. I was desperate to fix the unworkable situation I faced. So I took a deep breath and said goodbye to our old ways. Then I purchased and worked with my developer to install a new warehousing and inventory software.
The software told me how to make better choices about how much stock I ordered from suppliers, and at what time. It also gave us the tool we needed to implement a locations system in our warehouse. With this new technology I bought only the stock I needed, and I didn’t lose track of it when it arrived.
2. Persist Towards Progress
The benefits were great, but the set up was harrowing. Installing this system was a nightmare that started with website crashes and continued with the stress that comes from trying to learn something new. This is always challenging, but this particular learning phase was made even more difficult because the software creators were in France and offered no support whatsoever. The manual for the software was in dodgy broken English and relied on the user being familiar with inventory management concepts in the first place.
It was a terrifying season to endure. When you feel like your ‘strategic steps’ have broken your website, and when you are trying to figure out how to use a warehouse system that actually hides stock and quantities from you because it isn’t working properly, the adversity feels like it is triumphing over you.  With help from my warehouse assistant for the first few weeks, and the support of a couple of different website developers as well, things eventually started to settle down. Now it all runs as clean as a whistle.
Professional speaker melbourne

My son Zac saved the day with his amazing software skills

3. Accept Help From People Who Love You

This phase of my life rebuild would make a great montage scene. After losing Alec, and then my two remaining team members, I was left sorely needing help to get this warehouse up to scratch. My two sisters travelled from interstate to help me, and my son Zac, who was 19 at the time also pitched in. I also managed to recruit the help of other friends, and friends of friends, to get the job done. Their support was largely random and unpredictable, but it was better than nothing. This craziness was like compiling a patchwork quilt, stitching together everything you can find to create something new.
Be Grateful 

I am always grateful for the obstacles that come up because they accelerate my growth. Challenges push me through cycles of development that I need to prepare for the next unexpected twist that life will inevitably throw at me. This is not to say that I look forward to the next hardship. Rather, I am filled with optimism when they come. We learn how to triumph over adversity by triumphing over adversity.

 

I Love To Fly

I love to fly. It is a fun adventure that never gets old for me. To set out on a journey that takes me away from my ordinary every day to somewhere different is one of the things I enjoy most in life. Even now as I type up this blog I am sitting on a plane that is whisking me off to Sydney. I will be catching up with a couple of girlfriends to make a promotional video for a conference we are planning for next year. Every part of this escapade is just wonderful.

Melbourne Based Professional Speaker

Flying Is Exhilarating. There is so much to love.

Flying puts people into a few different categories. Some loathe flying. It makes them scared and anxious. To defy the laws of nature this way creates an uneasy feeling that is best dulled with a glass of red. For others, flying is a chore that is simply time consuming and inconvenient. It is part of a busy, hectic lifestyle that has them jet setting to all manner of places, but this prevents them from the rest and peace they would prefer.

I understand both of these points of view, but I don’t share them. I love to fly and I love to share the experience with others like me. I often ask people who enjoy flying about their favourite part of the experience. Is it the in-flight service, or the joy of scoring the window seat? Is it the anticipation of the trip? Is it taking off? Or is it landing that they love more than any other part? Now, while my research is more anecdotal than scientific, I have found that most people tend to like the take-off best. The rush of the accelerating plane and the surge of adrenalin that comes with the huge craft being thrust into the air gives them a buzz like no other. I can understand the attraction to this part of the flight. It is my second favourite bit.

Landing Is My Favourite

My best bit though, is landing. Even before I leave the terminal to commence the flight, I am looking forward to the plane touching down at the other end. It is fabulous to reach the destination you have been preparing for all of that time, and to be able to stretch your legs then step out into an entirely different part of the world. But it is the experience of landing itself that has me like a kid in a candy shop.

“Cabin crew prepare the cabin for landing.”

When I hear the captain’s announcement that the descent is about to begin I literally feel my heart beat a little harder and a little faster, and my breath quicken in excitement. Sometimes my eyes actually well up with tears. When I hear the grinding mechanics of the wheels being readied for touchdown, and feel that drop as the captain lowers us all down, the butterflies flutter and dance their way through the party they have started in my tummy. As the plane leaves the skies and quickly brings the tarmac closer, I am transfixed.

I am spell bound by every sensational part of the landing. To see the skies part and present the view of the land as it draws near is incredible. To feel my ears pop as they adjust to the rapidly changing air-pressure is a welcome adjustment. As the brakes are applied, surging momentum is introduced to mighty resistance, and I am in awe of the physics of this marvellous phenomenon. To become aware of the speed at which we have been flying is mind-blowing. To have the plane’s momentum lurch my entire body forward in my seat is thrilling. To experience the plane coming to such a sudden, forceful stop is breath-takingly powerful. That stop is so abrupt. So final. So complete. So real.

I feel like this every time. Every. Single. Time.

Change Demands Relentless Force

Landing a plane at the end of your journey is a lot like bringing an undesirable part of your life to a close. By the time you reach the change moment, those unwanted things have gained extraordinary momentum. They have propelled you forward to new places in your life, and they have been hurtling you through time and space with force that seems unstoppable. To stop a plane that has been flying through the air at break-neck speed is one thing. To stop a part of your life that has been propelling you along right up to this very moment is another thing entirely. This stop relies on more than just the operation of mechanics. It doesn’t only depend on the application of natural laws that never change. This stop relies on you persisting in steely focus and determination. This thing ain’t gonna happen straight away.

When the plane’s speed meets the brakes’ resistance it doesn’t stop immediately. It can’t. The force that has been propelling that plane forward needs to be slowed before it can stop completely. Landing the plane requires the pilot to initiate landing procedures that only work in a sequence, over time, with consistent, unfailing force. The power that can be exerted by old ways of thinking and living can be countered, but it should not be underestimated. Like stopping a plane, the influences of the past can be slowed, and will eventually come to a complete stop. But this will only happen if the brakes are applied for the duration.

Get Real and Persevere.

For us to make it through this season of change and rebuilding, we must have realistic expectations and appreciate that this thing can’t be done overnight. In fact, it is unlikely to be finished this week or even this month. As we rise to yet another day of hard labour, remember that it is only when we apply the brakes with powerful, ongoing force that we can slow the plane down and bring it in for a safe landing. This takes time. It takes effort. And it takes a commitment to perseverance, right through exhaustion, distractions, and even failure. We must counter the momentum of well-established life patterns with commitment that is greater, more enduring, longer lasting. To persist against the previously established momentum is the only way to create change that lasts.