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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.

We Make Our Own Inheritance

I believe that unpredictable adversity is one of the only things we can count on in life. Even though we can never know how or when the next trial will come, we can be assured that it will. Instead of avoiding unexpected hardships I value them in all their forms, because they offer unique opportunities for refinement. Our journey is the inheritance we give ourselves.

The finance side of things is something that I rarely speak about. With my working class background, and the divisive nature of the money topic, I tend to steer well clear of these conversations. But recently, someone asked me about how I recovered the business I shared with Alec. In sharing with them I realised just how powerful the story is to illustrate what I have learned about driving all of my resources towards the fulfilment of my passion.
Melbourne Based Professional Speaker

The passion we have for our vision is our greatest asset.

I knew within a day of losing Alec that I would write a book and develop an inspiring message to help people transform changes that leave them gutted. My brand new vision was born fast, and it grew in clarity over the first few months. My passion for this vision was my greatest asset.

When Alec died, he left me in lots of debt. It was so big that he had not been able to clear it for over a decade. For years every overdue account simply rolled into the next, multiplying and gaining momentum as they went, like a gigantic green snowball. It was the story of our lives and it was awful. For years I was unaware of the depths of the dark whole we were in, but in working more closely with Alec since 2013, I came to know exactly how much we owed. I kept the records in my handwritten diary which functioned as my day-to-day budget book. On May 30, 2014, two days after Alec died, I owed $49,474.99 to suppliers and contractors. This was equal to about six week’s worth of supplier invoices.
Picture the proverbial deer in headlights. It was change fast or go bankrupt. I had to accept being widowed, but I refused bankruptcy with everything in me. Luxuries like take away food, clothing, and entertainment were instantly out of the question. I cut my grocery bill back to less than half of what I used to spend. I barely ate for the first few months, and I only wanted simple foods anyway. This was not a hardship for me. I was in mourning and living in shock, and then its afterglow, for months. I didn’t want to feel good.
The problem was in our business accounts, not our personal funds, although if you have ever been in a small business you know that the two go hand in hand. We were certainly not flush with personal cash, but the financial suffocation was coming from overdue work invoices that couldn’t be paid. I got to work immediately. My warehouse power bill was reduced immediately, because I didn’t use the heater once that winter. The money I spent stock was slashed dramatically, because I ran most product lines down to zero. The only exception to this was in our top ten sellers, which I continued to buy in larger quantities to obtain bulk-buy discounts. Even these orders though were for the smallest quantities offered by my suppliers. I simply couldn’t bear to buy stock I wasn’t actually selling.
This resulted in delays with filling customer orders. After a few months, about 85% of our paid orders went onto back order while we waited for stock to come. This brought its own stresses of customer complaints and challenges with managing the receipt of stock and dispatch of orders, but there was no other way if I was going to redirect the cashflow. Receiving supplier deliveries often turned into a dispatch bonanza, where the stock that came in never even touched our warehouse shelves.
I also decided to stop offering international shipping, which reduced my account fees with Australia Post. While this was a choice that saved me some money, this was more about saving time, and ending the headaches that come with trying to serve customers overseas. Supplying orders that were often lost or held up in customs was absurd.
I needed to pay wages of course, but this expense fluctuated as my staffing shifted. My English-born warehouse assistant left about six weeks after Alec passed away because his work Visa expired. My warehouse manager had been Alec’s best friend for about twenty years and he was gutted by the loss. He had an overseas holiday book and paid for in June, so after a couple of weeks without Alec, he took that five week trip. The man who came back from that holiday was empty and in deep despair. It was only a few months later that he too left to embark on the next part of his own journey. The cash I saved on wages was by necessity only. I would have gladly paid staff to help.

In all of it, I worked damned hard to hold things together, because my vision was greater than my circumstance. I worked at least eighty hours every week, encouraging myself daily with the belief that persistence always equals progress. Above all else, I learned to live in the moment. I pursued my vision by fanning the flame of my passion. I reminded myself constantly that there is no one day that I ever arrive, nor any day that I come completely undone. I persisted and I restructured, and on December 1, 2015, I sold the business that I had made into my own inheritance.

Since then, I have used the profit from the business sale to get started in my new business as a speaker, author and coach. I love the synchronicity of this investment. The hardest work I have ever done launched me into the life of my dreams. I made my own inheritance.

Loss Leaders

For all of us who have been in businesses, the loss leader is a valuable part of the retail industry. For those consumers who are stark raving mad for screaming ads that shout the latest super cheap sales that have you storming your local Westfield in droves, the loss leader is every dream come true. A vacuum cleaner for $49? YES! A pair of the latest shoes from your favourite brand for $29? YES PLEASE! The DVD box set of Gilmore Girls for $39 to celebrate their new season release? I AM IN!!

Melbourne based professional speaker

The loss leader only brings benefit when it is transformed into something more profitable.

The loss leader gets us going. It sets our heart racing for the retail thrill, our feet running to the local outlet, and our credit cards tap, tap, tapping our way to instant gratification. The loss leader demands fast attention and instant action. It requires a snap, impulse decision where the time that lapses between the advertisement and the purchase is so lightning fast that it could only be seen in the grainy pixels of the security footage in slow-mo.

If the loss leader does its job properly, we end up buying the advertised product with the speed of a thousand gazelles. But that is not all. On the way to the must-have product we see other items. Then, as we make our way to the retail altar also known as the counter, we see more. And then we see more again as we stand in line behind five other comrades whose mouths are watering just a tiny bit more than ours. Shiny items. New items. Items that are bigger and better and even more desirable than the insane bargain we already have in our hot little hands. And we imagine owning that extra item too. And we picture ourselves picking it up and giving it a home at our home. And we calculate the saving we have made on the loss leader product. And we justify the additional purchase. And with that, the deed is done. The loss leader purchase is extended. It is transformed into an investment that we were simply destined to have. We are convinced in our hearts that the loss leader brought us to the pathway that was always meant to be.

The loss leader only works for the business owner because it transforms the profit lost in that first sale into profit gained from the additional items we buy. if the business was only to sell the loss leader, without turning it into something of worth, the business would not last very long. Sustaining the losses from the sale of the loss leader can only be done for so long. If the loss is not turned into profit, the business would eventually fold.

I hope the metaphor is already emerging for you here. Losses offer no profit or gain in themselves. By definition, they leave us empty handed. They bring us nothing. They only detract from our lives. Losses hurt. They cost us something real, tangible, important. Sometimes that price is high. Losses can be expensive. The price can be exorbitant. Operating only in the loss without finding a way to make it profitable is simply unsustainable.

I like to think of the losses in my life as functioning like a loss leader. On their own they are costly. They make us pay a price in our time, our emotions, our relationships, our career, our health, sometimes even our sanity. In themselves, losses make our life unsustainable. If all we had was the loss, we would not be able to continue. If we stopped the process of our life at the loss leader, we would all have to shut up shop.

But the direct cost of the loss never reflects its greater purpose, and certainly doesn’t highlight its worth. The loss leader works when it is used as the first part of a bigger strategy. It is only when the loss initiates a sequence of attracting profit that its full value is realised. The loss opens opportunities for gain that could not come any other way. Engaging in the loss, feeling its pain, embracing the price tag allows us to accept that it is essential to us. This is the approach we can adopt to maximise the benefits of any loss in our lives.

I have put this outlook to work for me through countless seasons of loss over my life. On the days where I feel the sting of the loss, I remind myself that I will find a way to strategically transform the loss to bring gain. When the price of the loss pinches me hard, I encourage myself that this cost can become an investment into a different outcome. In this way, I reframe my concept of loss and see it as an opportunity to invest into a profitable future that I create. I am convinced that the loss actually gives us the chance to make unique, strategic, deliberate gains. The benefits of the loss come when we see it as the fist step in a bigger, more positive sequence.

And somewhere amidst this process of transforming loss into gain, I have found that the real magic happens … In reframing my perspective on life, I reframe my concept of myself. I see myself as the loss leader, because I am the one who leads the loss with clarity of purpose and precision focus. I am the captain of the ship and the driver of my destiny. I am the one who transforms every adversity into gain. I am the strategic leader of the loss, and my choices turn the price of the loss into an investment into gain.

I am not alone in this. Countless inspirational heroes across cultures and throughout time show us again and again that adversity can lead to triumph. Hardship can give rise to success. The battle can end in victory. So Loss Leaders, onward and upward! The investment will return.

Persist.

When The Blackness Comes

Yes, this actually happened. And it terrified me enough to shock me into action.
img_6363The Tullamarine Freeway in Melbourne, Australia is a busy place at 8:30 on a Wednesday morning, with people just like me beeping and bustling their way through traffic, navigating a lightning fast pathway through cars, trucks and motor bikes, making lane changes that concern only them. Little regard is held for our driving peers, who function merely as inconvenient obstacles to avoid and contend with. My life had been a pressure cooker of late. I had held on tight through a sequence of events that all of the psychology books would say should have burst my stress limits. 18 months ago I moved interstate to begin my new city life with my husband, but only a few weeks after that I lost a close friend to suicide. Later that year I lost my aunty to cancer, and then my best doggie friend to a tiger snake in our back year. Only a few months after that I found my husband dead in our kitchen.
This final, hellish part of the nightmare initiated a domino effect that uprooted every last remnant of my life’s security. The couple of staff who worked in the business I used to share with my husband left after a few months. My English warehouse assistant had an expired work Visa, and my warehouse manager buckled under the pressure of losing his best mate. Closing the doors on this family operation would have forced me into bankruptcy, so to keep the operation running I had to relocate my entire warehouse to a third-party order fulfilment company. After six months of back breaking work and endless obstacles, I made the decision to sell my entire business, which took a full gruelling year of preparation, debt repayment and restructuring.  On top of all that, I had to down-size my personal life to make it something that I could manage, which meant moving house to a home that was easier to maintain than the 6 acre property we had shared,  Overwhelming is not the word for it … But I was fine. Really. I’m fine.
That was what I told myself, even though I barely slept or ate throughout this period, and even though I would wake in panic every morning. I was running on the adrenalin that my body gifted me to survive. I was fine.
And then I wasn’t.
The Tullamarine Freeway is not the place to have a blackout, but I have never been the compliant sort. It was only a few seconds. Of complete shut down. No sights. No sounds. No thoughts. Nothing but silent darkness. Like the sleep that eluded me, and the peace that had vanished, the blackness came.
The first time it happened I shook my head and quickly orientated myself to my location, checking the time, and examining the buildings, and reading street signs to get my head back in the game of driving alongside my peers at 100km/hr. And I thought I would be fine. I committed myself to an early night.
The second time it happened I was worried, but by the third time, I knew I was in trouble. My brain was stealing the rest it needed from me. She refused to comply. She demanded that I pay attention. She had written me a formal warning for the death sentence that was likely to be executed on that freeway if I didn’t yield.
If nothing else, my son and my daughter needed me to take this seriously. I made my first psychologist appointment that very day, and spent my first session crying like a baby. I am convinced that admitting I needed help saved my life. And I am convinced I am not alone in that.
Get the help you need! Your vulnerability is not your weakness, but your greatest strength. It is the seed of your humanity and the core of the the passion that will drive you to serve others with understanding, empathy and compassion. Asking for it might be the bravest thing you do in your life.

Love Letter

I went for a walk today. It was the first walk I have had in a while. Life is busy. I work long and hard through days that sometimes feel like they are getting shorter. I love it all though because I am passionate about my work. I am fuelled by a sense of mission which drives everything I do, and everything I have, towards the fulfilment of my purpose. I do get tired, I admit … but I never grow weary of this mission. It is an honour and privilege that I appreciate every single day. What I do is directly connected to my Infinite Self.

Now I am home from my walk, and I have pulled my laptop out. I am sitting on the small balcony that connects my bedroom to the view of my little street. It is not glamorous, but it does make me feel special. It is a private little space that I use to press the pause button on my life. From my spot here I reflect on life. I think about me, and I think about you too. Right now, I am bursting! For the past hour and a half I have been consumed by thoughts that were ready to explode out of me … here is what I am compelled to share with you today:

You are spectacular. There is no-one like you in the entire world. No-one has ever been like you, nor will there ever be. No one could take your place. You are the only one of your kind. You are more precious than rare. You are a one-off. A singular, never-to-be-seen-again treasure. You are perfectly unique and especially distinctive.

Kerry Anne Nelson Professional Speaker

Your beauty cannot be equalled or surpassed. It is beyond compare.

You are priceless.

You are worthy.

You are enough.

You are everything.

 

You have a heart of gold that is made full as it flows in love to your people. You have a unique compassion, a sharp insight, a profound understanding, an endless investment. You care deeply about those around you, giving selflessly and without question to meet the needs of those you love. You are a bastion of love, a defender of justice, an advocate for those who can’t defend themselves. You have so much to offer. Safety. Acceptance. Warmth. Strength. Hope. Empathy. Encouragement. Support. Courage. Momentum. Promise.

The gifts that you have for the world will leave a lasting impact, and you are the only one who can bring them. Only you can walk the steps of your journey, combining moments of opportunity with your inimitable offering to enhance your world. You make everything better simply by doing your part. You make the most of every opportunity that comes your way, because you exist to make a difference.

Sometimes your involvement feels small, and it seems to dissolve away quickly. Other times the ripples of your influence spread far and wide, creating changes that last. In it all, you have an effect on the world that can only be made by you. Only you are able to steer your course. You make decisions, connect people, resist wrongs, keep trying, win battles, maximise opportunities. In your powerful autonomy you do the big things and the little things that only you can do. 

Champion the cause of the incredible human being you see in the mirror. Care for them with fondness, compassion, grace. Nurture them with tenderness, optimism, hope. Protect them with strength, pride, importance. Nourish them with rest, health, well-being. Expand them with learning, risks, action. That person in the mirror is your greatest asset, your most valuable prize, your most precious resource. They are the victor of your battle and the hero of your story. They make it all happen. They make it all worth it.

And now, I would love you and I to make ourselves a cup of tea. Let’s just linger here and inhale the significance of the moment we have just shared, together …

Don’t Rush Out Of Church

Life is often busy and rushed. Sometimes the rushing comes from deadlines and the pressure to keep up. Other times it comes from anticipation and the excitement of something new. Whatever the reason, rushing can feel stressful and scattered, and it can often result in us neglecting the most important parts of life.

When Alec and I were married we did what everyone does and employed the services of a photographer. Fortunately for us, our photographer ran his business from his home, which was right next door to ours. It was wonderful to share the day with a neighbour and friend. The exceptional service he gave us on the day, and the jaw-dropping quality of the photos he provided after, showed that he deserved his outstanding reputation.

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Kerry Anne Nelson Professional Speaker

It is easy to get caught in the rushing whirlwind of the every day

This was a busy day full of gushing rush and organised chaos. It was a day filled with a whirlwind schedule and emotional moments that swept us off our feet. Alec and I were both the same on that day. Even though we loved every minute, the day was fast and furious and sometimes felt like a blur. It would have been easy to miss the flashes of sparkling moments that showered all around us that day. With so much to do, and so many feelings buzzing around, we could have floated away into our own reality, not noticing everything that made the day so spectacular.

Our photographer was a seasoned professional, having been in the industry for decades. He knew that it was typical of the bride and groom to become caught up in the thrill of the day. He had seen people miss out on the special moments that time would transform into life long memories. To help us connect with our guests straight after the ceremony, he passed on advice that remains with me to this day:

“When the ceremony is over, don’t rush out of the church. You will want to go fast because it is so exciting and new, but if you leave the church too quickly, you will find there is no-body outside. All of your guests will be inside with you, so stay there with them, and share the first moments of your marriage with the people you love.”

I was so grateful for his suggestion, because it was the one tip that made me focus on savouring precious wedding-day moments with my loved ones. These moments would never come around again. Without this advice I suspect I would have rushed out of the church, and missed out on priceless moments of connection with my guests. The words of my photographer expanded the meaning of my wedding day to include the connection and relationship that I share with all of my loved ones.

To this day, those words from my photographer still ring in my ears. I reflect on the wisdom of this advice regularly. As I get older I see more and more clearly that our lives are made full only when we share them with the ones we love. I know what it’s like to feel rushed and pressured. It is a sensation of frenzy and adrenalin that can have us racing right past the life we live today. To be caught in a life that becomes a blur of forward pursuit and anticipation about the future is to overlook the defining importance of the relationships we share with our people. We must come to value the time and attention that it takes to connect with the people who share our journey. This investment provides us with the support, significance and compassion that we need to sustain a life of unstoppable passion.