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How You See Determines What You See

2 MIN READ

If there is one word that we could all relate to lately it is change! Changing social environments, changing global news, changing health concerns, changing lifestyle opportunities. Change has taught me a lot of lessons over the years, but this one is pertinent today:

Your words are your greatest power in defining your outlook, and so your future.

What we say is powerful! I know from experience that William Golding was right in the Lord of the Flies: “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” The truth of this concept is such a foundational part of my life now that its thread is easily identified in everything I do, think and say. I continue to invest in my own empowerment, and the empowerment of those around me, by exploring and clarifying how words can produce the best possible outcome in any and every situation.

“Your words can be powerful, then can hurt or uplift, so think before you speak, as every word you say counts” Leon Brown

How much do you think about the words you use? Like all of us, you think about the things you want, the things you do, the things you have … Do you ever listen to what you’re saying to yourself and those around you? Considering the world you are creating with your words can literally transform your life.

It’s been said that words are thoughts, and without them, humans can’t think.  We have around 50,000 thoughts per day, some say 70,000, but did you know that 95% of those thoughts are simply old ones on repeat? Only 5% of our thoughts are hot off our mental press, meaning that the words filling our mind today are almost identical to the ones that were there yesterday. Our brain is the best autopilot around. However, this repeating cycle does nothing for us when we want to change, or respond to a change that came at us out of the blue.

The good news is that we can choose the words we say to ourselves, so we can actually start to put this mental repetition to work for us. As we start to explore who we are by examining the words we think and say, we enter the inner part of ourselves that can be changed by choosing new words. It’s important to notice the script that is already there, because this will need to be actively discarded and replaced by the new words you choose.

I went through a very humbling journey recently as I listened to the default response I gave when people asked, “How are you?” Without missing a beat I would say I was doing well, only to follow up with how hard I had been working and how many trials I was trying to overcome. This response must have been created at some stage of my working-class background, in a society that wears hardship like a badge of honour. As an adult now, I am powerful to choose my own outlook. This response sounded ugly to me. It was like I heard myself for the first time that day. In a strange combination of shame at what I’d found and excitement of what was to come, I decided to change the way I spoke. I was keen to alter those discouraging, defeated words to make them more positive and uplifting. This would result in me deleting the old words from my identity script, forever. I always want to choose words that create encouragement, success and advancement.

We can all respond by telling people that we are well, then say something wonderful that has happened lately. Then, we can all ask how they are. Typically, you will receive a reply like your own. Your words have set a different pace for the conversation. Everybody wins! There are no excuses for complaining that life is too hard. Even on the toughest days, your friends are kind, the world is genuinely beautiful, and opportunity awaits. The sun is always shining above the darkest storm.

You are the only person in the entire world who can master the power of your thoughts and language. Only you can choose the words that make a positive shift in your life. To use your words with creative power, you need to deliberately, strategically break into who you are to change what you find. You need to unlock the things you think and the things you say to transform how you see the world. Because How you see determines What you see.

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If this article has struck a chord with you, please go right ahead and Contact Me Here. Or you could email kerry@kerryannenelson.com. I would love to hear more about what you do, and how I might be able to help you transform your business into the Freedom Machine you have wanted all along. Let’s establish a proven system in your business to create team certainty and sustainable expansion which open pathways to the lifestyle choices you’ve worked so hard for. No matter where you are, I am only a message away.

Why Your Attention Matters

4 MIN READ

Every day is about creating experiences which make life worth living. If you’re reading this instalment today, I daresay you and I have something incredibly important in common … We want the most out of life!

Many people say their health is their top priority, and of course, no-one could argue this is highly valuable … but for years now I’ve thought that time is my most precious resource. Lately, I’ve been reconsidering this; what if our attention is what matters most to leading a rich, rewarding life?

Don’t get me wrong … I value time highly. Once your time is spent, it can never be gained back. With your time you invest in the things you hold most dear. You spend time with your loved ones, time building your business, and (hopefully) time caring for yourself. If you’re really honest with yourself you can evaluate what is most important to you by examining how you use your time. You might like to think that your well-being is vitally important to you, or your finances, or your family. However, if you haven’t given these things enough time, you will inevitably start to feel the effects. Over time, a lack of investment into those pillars of success will usher in a reality check.

“You become what you give your attention to.”
Epictetus, The Art of Living

These things are all true, but I am not sure they really target the heart of the matter.

In managing rapidly shifting landscapes across multiple fronts, my reflections have lead me to a new perspective. My clients are looking for more straight forward methods of service delivery lately, which has caused me to look at new business models. My family life is moving into different seasons which has brought new approaches into focus. My body is not as young as it used to be, and I’m making the achievement of my goal to run a half marathon a top priority.

You have unique things which consume your thoughts, and your time. You move through shifting seasons constantly learning, adjusting and maneuvering to navigate your days. You make decisions which have the power to change your circumstances and create new outcomes. But all of these don’t “just happen.”

Whether you consider the state of your health, relationships, business, lifestyle, finances, or any other important aspect of life, one thing remains constant. It is your attention which drives your thoughts, behaviours, feelings and results. Take a look at your calendar … your attention drives your schedule! Here are three ways I have found this to be particularly true for business leaders in pursuit of success.

What you see is what you know

You might sit next to your partner on a bright sunshiny day and take in the same view across a grassy parkland. You can both see the same things, but your attention is very different. As a result of that experience, one might come to know that cycling has become increasingly popular of late. They will see cyclists pedalling by, and they will develop a theory about that. Then, as they see more, their theory will be reinforced. It will remind them that they read about this in the news last week. And they will come to know that truth for themselves.

The other will see just how many children are out of schools that have been temporarily closed. They will see children out and about, then they will look for more. They will remember their nephew is homeschooling with their sister, and their evolving knowledge about the effects of closing schools down will be reinforced.

You come to know what you pay attention to. Knowledge can’t be gained any other way.

The only knowledge you will ever possess is that which you have learned. You can only know what you have paid attention to. The internet is full of knowledge that you will never access, and your friends have knowledge you will never share. Your thoughts, beliefs and outlook all stem from what you have been paying attention to.

 

What you see is what you feel

We got stuck in a lift the other day. We needed to get from the Level 2 shops to the Level 1 carpark. Social distancing restrictions meant we couldn’t share the lift with any other shoppers, so we walked our trolley in, pressed the Level 1 button with our knuckle, and watched the doors close. The people on Level 3 had already pressed the button to direct the lift upwards, so we took a ride that way. We awkwardly watched the lift doors open and saw the Level 3 people waiting for access. But all of us knew we couldn’t share the lift, so the doors closed, and we headed downwards. Unfortunately, we only got as far as Level 2 before those lift doors opened again to the people there. They had pressed the button to bring us back. We bounced between Level 2 and Level 3 not once, twice or three times, but FOUR times! Every time the door opened at each level the line of people queueing got longer. And we got more and more embarrassed.

My fiance was good-natured about it as he went into fix-it mode. He saw a social problem that desperately needed solving, and his attention was firmly on doing just that.

My son and I, on the other hand, were in hysterics. We saw how truly absurd the problem was and we were bedside ourselves. I had tears streaming down my face. It was sheer bliss to focus my attention on the hilarity of it all.

Your emotions come from what you pay attention to. Feelings can’t be accessed any other way.

 

What you see is what you get

2019 was a personally challenging year for me. I’d made some poor business decisions which lead to some aspects of my work screaming for closure. My health and fitness goals had been undermined several times by sickness. My tiny apartment increasingly felt like a shrinking shoebox, and I’d worked myself into a tightly wound ball of stress. Every day looked at the mess I had created with hopelessness. I didn’t turn my attention to the resources I did have for business building, the parks I had nearby, or the gym I had just down the road. And I didn’t really savour the loving relationships I enjoyed, the health I had, or my opportunities to create new business outcomes. I was miserable because I paid attention to the lack, rather than my wealth.

Then in December, we moved house. I decided to shift my attention and the results have been truly transformational. I started to focus on my power to change my financial situation. I saw my ability to create a fresh start in business, and I loved taking in the parks and gym nearby. My despair was replaced with hopeful optimism because I started seeing what was there in a new way. This opened new possibilities.

In short, I chose to focus on gratitude and I dedicated myself to progressive improvement. I let go of the gigantic goals that I’d fallen short of in 2019, choosing instead to pay attention to incremental gains. I’m slowly building more success into my business and finances, my health and wellness and my relationships. I’m losing weight, building strength and creating winning business outcomes.

Your outcomes arise from what you pay attention to. New starts and fulfilling results can’t be achieved any other way.

 

The most exciting part about all of this is the power we have to transform our lives by shifting our focus. Do you have goals you are trying to achieve? Knowledge you’d like to acquire? Changes you want to create? Set your sights on paying attention. Be present to seeing the pathway towards those outcomes. Look out for ways to make your attention serve your highest self and lead you to profound fulfilment.

 

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If this article has struck a chord with you, please go right ahead and Contact Me Here. Or you could email kerry@kerryannenelson.com. I would love to hear more about what you do, and how I might be able to help you transform your business into the Freedom Machine you have wanted all along. Let’s establish a proven system in your business to create team certainty and sustainable expansion which open pathways to the lifestyle choices you’ve worked so hard for. No matter where you are, I am only a message away.

Protecting What’s Most Important To You

3 MIN READ

Yesterday began in a most bizarre way. I was lying asleep under my snuggly doona when suddenly, blaring sirens shocked me to alert. At 5am I jumped out of bed to evacuate. I put my dressing gown on, grabbed a few essential things and got down four flights of stairs as quickly as possible. I joined my apartment block neighbours in collective curiosity and confusion on the side of the road. What was going on?

Today is the anniversary of my late husband’s passing. I always dread this day. Yes, the memories of the 14 years I shared with him are a blissful treasure. But on this day, I remember just how gutting it was to find that he had died on our kitchen floor when I was at work. The 28th May will always be a sombre day where the significance of the loss hits me hard.

Leading through loss helps to cope with chaos in crisis

5am Kensington Melbourne. 27th May, 2020.

The experiences of these two days have created a mash-up of me thinking about how we protect the things we hold dearest. I hope my reflections today make you stop and think about how you would fare if the unthinkable actually happened. How well are you set up to deal with unexpected tragedy?

I know it’s a dark question, but every day thousands of people are forced to deal with unpredictable loss. You can’t know what will happen in your life, but you can do some smart things now to minimise the impact of sudden crisis.

Prepare Your Documents

There were easily 50 people who watched the fire engines roar down our street in the early hours of yesterday morning, but I was the only one who had my identification and other documents bundled up in a folder. I’d grabbed that folder, my phone and my wallet on the way out. If our apartment building really had burned down yesterday morning, I don’t know how we would have coped with the loss. But I do know that I would have had my essential documents and ID with me.

FOR YOU: Gather up your papers into one folder and keep it somewhere handy so you can grab it on the way out the door in case of an emergency. Include your original birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate, court order docs, your will, and master password to your password software. Also include certified copies of these so they’re ready if you need them for insurance claims or other post-crisis business.

Work In The Cloud

It would have been handy to have grabbed my computer yesterday morning, but this wasn’t essential because all my work is stored in Google Drive. I do have some things stored for convenience on my desktop, so if I lost my computer I would lose those things. However, everything stored on my desktop is also stored in Drive. If I lost everything to a fire or flood, I could still log in to my cloud storage, or my other online accounts and keep working. I would be devastated by the loss, but important things would still function.

FOR YOU: If you don’t have all your personal and professional matters organised well online, you are long overdue for an overhaul. Create folders for each business department to store all your business resources in logical places. Set up spaces to manage your personal things too: photos, health records, contracts and agreements etc. Keep building out the infrastructure you need to create safe, secure places for the information that will keep you afloat, even when the unexpected happens.

… oh! And secure everything with encrypted password protection. We use 1Password.

Insure Well

I don’t own the building I live in, so I would lose my rental home if it burned to the ground. I would also lose my possessions, but I am insured well so I could set myself up again. It would be hugely painful to lose sentimental things that can never be replaced. That would hurt, a lot. But I could buy another car and furnish another home. If something happened to me (heaven forbid), my children would be financially looked after for many years to come. The plans for my funeral are stored in Drive and shared with my 22-year-old daughter.

FOR YOU: Review your insurance policies to make sure they are up to date and your coverage is adequate. Be certain that you will have what you need to pay for new contents, medical care, or even a funeral if it’s needed. Also confirm that your loved ones will not be left with a financial burden in the unexpected event of your death. If you’re not sure, seek advice.

I cannot emphasise just how deeply wounding the loss of a loved one is. It is a painful tragedy that will always hurt. The last thing you need when you are coming to terms with this type of devastation is administrative roadblocks. Set things up now so that the chaos can at least be managed.

I pray you never see the day that this advice made a difference.

But if it does, I want you to know how to cope best.

P.S. Just so you know, the entire affair turned out to be a false alarm. There’s a faulty sensor in our basement that needs to be fixed. I hope they do it soon. Not keen on repeating this experience any time soon.

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If this article has struck a chord with you, please go right ahead and Contact Me Here. Or you could email kerry@kerryannenelson.com. I would love to hear more about what you do, and how I might be able to help you transform your business into the Freedom Machine you have wanted all along. Let’s establish a proven system in your business to create team certainty and sustainable expansion which open pathways to the lifestyle choices you’ve worked so hard for. No matter where you are, I am only a message away.

business leadership starts with managing your daily habits

5 Sweet Spots Of Explosive High Impact Leadership

3 MIN READ

Business leaders have a high calling to manage themselves well. Their personal integrity, resilience, and perception allow them to step up and lead their staff, clients, community, and even loved ones. Building a company that makes a genuine difference to people starts with the choices you make day by day.

Self Care Nurtures Your Priorities

I’ve been doing a lot of work on my daily habits lately. I’m dedicated to the mastery of my own self-care. I’m intent on creating strong foundations for lasting fulfilment in my life. My close relationships have always been the centre of my “Why”. They’re getting a boost from the work I’ve been doing in my daily routines. I’m more present, more connected, and more authentic now than ever before, because of some little actions I’ve been committed to each day.

No More Rollercoaster

My health and well-being are becoming increasingly important to me. I’ve put them at the top of my to-do list, and I’m seeing some incredible results. The work I’ve been doing is different from the efforts I’ve made at any other time in my life. I’ve done the speed diets, the fitness bursts, and the “get healthy fast” programs. They work when they’re on, but they stop soon after. Can you relate to that roller coaster?

On December 15, 2019, I made a decision to change my approach for good.

I will make time for self-care every single day, for the rest of my life.

No more band-aid solutions. I’m stopping knee-jerk reactions. I’m moving away from reactionary management.

This will be the last time I make the decision to care for myself first.

Instead of explosive bursts that hit with a big bang then burn out, I’ve started working a more sustainable approach:

HABITS

I’ve found the habits which empower strong business leadership are a little like fairy floss. Let me explain …

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habits are what keeps you going” Jim Rohn

1. Habits Start As Almost Nothing

The starting point of fairy floss is underwhelming. It begins with a few ingredients ready to be mixed and worked into something impressive. I’m reminded of the bible verse: “Do not despise the day of small beginnings”.

Don’t let the insignificance of the early days fool you. The humble beginnings of making new habits stick are exactly why they’re so effective. To develop new habits requires very little time and effort. It’s almost like you’re doing nothing … which is what makes this approach so accessible for busy leaders. There is no excuse for not fitting your habits in. It’s never about time. It’s always about dedication to making the recipe work for you.

2. Habits Feel Like Almost Nothing

It doesn’t matter how much fairy floss you can stuff into your mouth. It dissolves away to almost nothing very quickly. It looks so gigantic and substantial. But it is actually a big ball of sugary nothing. It disappears before you know it.

When you’re doing your habits every day, there’s very little experience of change, especially in the first few weeks. You set the intention to check off each tiny item on the list, then you do that every day. The tiny bit of time that passes is hardly missed, because it’s too short. The effort that you consume is so incidental that it barely exists. The headspace that you use becomes less than nothing, because you quickly find that you’re not even thinking about doing it! Your habits dissolve into your days and almost disappear.

3. Habits Become Comforting & Enjoyable

It’s a treat to have fairy floss, right? There’s something comforting and nostalgic about lining up at the show and watching that big ball of sugary fluff rolling around that stick. There’s a child-like burst of happiness that explodes when that sweet bundle becomes yours.

It doesn’t take too long before your habits become a daily happy place for you to delight in. Managing yourself with short, simple routines each day gives you a burst of pride that carries you through. If it was a larger investment, it might feel like an indulgence. But a few minutes here and there is just so easy to sustain. That indulgent feeling is more about your own self-respect. When you watch yourself being dedicated to your personal growth, health and wellness, it lights you up.

4. Habits Grow Into Something Powerfully Significant

If you looked at the meagre ingredients required to make fairy floss before it was made, you could very easily doubt the grandeur of the final result. The final performance of the fairy floss is a show stopper as it struts its way through to the main stage.

Habits are so utterly powerful because they work around your brain’s natural “defend and protect” mode. It can be overwhelming to think about expanding your team, tripling your revenue, taking your business global, moving your services online. But habits make it simple to avoid the binds of exhausting workload, the old “imposter syndrome”, or the “flight, fight or freeze” response. Focus all your business ambitions into the tiny actions you do each day. Create significant outcomes with small sustainable steps. Build a lasting legacy by laying one small brick at a time.

5. Habits Create Explosive Impact

The final thing about fairy floss that stands out to me is the massive zing you get from all that sugar! Now, I’m not recommending we take this metaphor so far that daily consumption of fairy floss goes onto our habit list. But still, there are lessons to be learned when we think about the powerful effects of habits over time.

You’d never imagine the impact a few well-chosen habits can make when you follow through daily. It’s the sort of difference experienced by inventors of vaccines. Winners of gold medals. Parents of healthy children. Builders of business empires. You can’t possibly achieve a life-changing difference in a short burst. But you can make a powerful impact when you embrace incremental improvement. I won’t bore you with quotes from history-making leaders, but I will ask you to Google “quotes about good habits”. Let the results speak for themselves.

 

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If this article has struck a chord with you, please go right ahead and Contact Me Here. Or you could email kerry@kerryannenelson.com. I would love to hear more about what you do, and how I might be able to help you transform your business into the Freedom Machine you have wanted all along. Let’s establish a proven system in your business to create team certainty and sustainable expansion which open pathways to the lifestyle choices you’ve worked so hard for. No matter where you are, I am only a message away.

Leaders Step To The Side

3 minute read

I went for a walk the other day, keen to stretch my legs and enjoy the wide-open spaces of Footscray Gardens at the Maribyrnong River. It’s been a couple of weeks of the COVID-19 isolation period, so I’m increasingly valuing the wonderful opportunities I have to exercise  … perhaps more now than I ever have before.

It was busy at the river. It seemed lots of people had the same idea as me. Get outside. Go for a walk. Enjoy a jog. Walk your dogs and give your kids a run in the fresh air. This is normally a lovely shared experience. That sense of community is blissful. Enjoying the same experiences at the same time with people you don’t know often inspires a sense of camaraderie in me as I do life alongside my neighbours.

On This Day It Felt Threatening

But when I am dedicated to remaining at least 1.5m away from my peers, that river walk quickly started feeling like I was walking through a field of landmines. It’s not that I have a personal problem with any of the people at the river. I literally don’t know them. It’s that unless they’ve been tested, no-one can guarantee that their lack of symptoms means lack of the dreaded virus. We’re in a privileged spot in the world. Our island country has witnessed what has happened in other places, and we have the power to change outcomes here at home if we would just follow the rules and maintain a safe physical distance.

To be honest, I’m a fit and healthy middle-aged woman. I’m not too concerned about catching the virus and suffering a fatal end myself. But I am very concerned that I could catch it then inadvertently pass it on to others. It’s this concern that prompted my irritation when my fellow river walkers took up the entire path, pausing in the middle of the walkway to tend to their kids or their pets, with little consideration of maintaining that social distance that we all need to stay safe.

I really was annoyed. “How hard is it for that family to step to the side of the path to make way for others if they need to stop?” I thought to myself. To have to walk around those people who didn’t give me a second thought was frustrating. It felt rude and inconsiderate. Which really, when I am honest with myself, made me feel overlooked and unimportant.

Taking An Honest Look In The Mirror

There’s something very powerful that happens when you admit your true motives to yourself. It is humbling, yes. But it’s also hugely liberating and wonderfully empowering. Listening to my own thoughts inside my head made me realise that something as trivial as an awkward footpath moment with a stranger had pressed an ugly button inside me. More than that, I had chosen to give away my power in that moment. Crazy!

This realisation did not happen on the walk, but when I got home. There I am, thinking about those annoying footpath moments as I’m making dinner and taking my makeup off, and it hit me! I could have responded differently. I could have acted like a leader!

“Your rewards in life will be in direct proportion to the value of your service to others.” Brian Tracy

The Makeover Scene

The next time I was out was for my run a few days later. Same river. Same crowded paths. Save physical distancing requirements.

But different attitude.

On this run, I took pride in adopting the mindset of a leader. Today I wanted to share some of the ways I shifted. these are the lessons I continue to learn as a business leader and a difference-maker in my community. I hope they’re encouraging for you at this time:

“Serving others prepares you to lead others.” Jim George

A leader raises others up

It’s a stark contrast in this competitive world where everyone is looking for that “edge” to give them an advantage. But when you lead by putting others first, they are raised along with you. When you make it a priority to champion the success of others, you build a life of success for all. It is so wonderfully rewarding to celebrate victories you helped create.

A leader takes pride in going the extra mile

This is the business owner working up late to prepare for their team to work the next day. It’s the parent rising early to set their families up with the things they need for the day ahead. It’s the scientists working night and day to find a cure to a virus that has treated the world. Breakthroughs come when leaders dedicate to achieving them with everything they’ve got.

A leader sets the pace with integrity

The power of authenticity, morality and honesty cannot be underestimated. When your personal code is strong it inspires trust, rapport and connection. And from this place lives can be touched, differences can be made, and worlds can be changed. This is what people need from their leaders.

A leader invests in self-reflection

The leader knows this one simple fact: who they are in private determines what people see in public. This is a prerequisite of influence often overlooked by many. Honesty has always been the best policy, but this needs to start with you being honest with you. Challenging who you really are, what you really think, and how you really feel is the fastest way to personal growth that leads to increased capacity for change.

The Moral Of The Story

Walking or running around those who have stopped in the middle of the pathway is not a curse but a blessing. Choosing to create that space for others before it is even required is the decision of a leader invested in making the world a better place, one river walk at a time. Maybe my reflections will help you make it through the challenges of the lockdown. Maybe they will help you rise to be an even better you. It’s all about growing together, right?

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If this article has struck a chord with you, please go right ahead and Contact Me Here. Or you could email kerry@kerryannenelson.com. I would love to hear more about what you do, and how I might be able to help you transform your business into the Freedom Machine you have wanted all along. Let’s establish a proven system in your business to create team certainty and sustainable expansion which open pathways to the lifestyle choices you’ve worked so hard for. No matter where you are, I am only a message away.

 

 

 

How To Invest Everything Always

It’s my birthday tomorrow. I’ll be turning 42. That means I have been alive for fifteen THOUSAND, three hundred and forty days so far. How many hours … ? That’s 368 160 hours …  and counting! I have seen the most amazing sights and experienced incredible moments. I have celebrated jubilant highs and faced gut-wrenching lows. In it all I have come to know that there is never one culminating moment that I will ever arrive, nor a catastrophic day that will see me come undone. I experience my life in all its fullness with every fleeting moment that we call NOW.

Our own unique identity is the pathway to connecting deeply with others in a way that doesn’t run out. (Photo: Bruno’s Garden Marysville VIC)

 

Now

The Now moment is spectacular. Each instant of our life is jam-packed full of exquisite human experience. We each perform actions that keep everything moving along, and each of our moments are held within our own experiential narrative. Everything that has happened up to this point has brought us to now, and it is from the narrative that we have already experienced that we move forward into the next part of the story that we construct for ourselves. Here, in Time itself, we access that pivotal moment which has the potential to change everything that has happened into something new.

Now I Am Myself

We have our own understandings of the world, which are nothing like any other person’s. They have a uniquely individual perspective that we will never be able to fully understand or see for ourselves. How very liberating to know that we are free to simply operate as our own independent souls, operating in powerful autonomy. We make choices to act or not to act, to speak or not to speak, to connect or not to connect. To love or to withhold that love. We reach out to others for relationship, and they may or may not respond. They too are operating from their own autonomy, making their choices in thoughts, words, actions and omissions every single day.

Now I Am Relationship

How glorious it is that from this position of individuality and independence we exist as social beings, connected to each other in a myriad of ways. It is truly marvellous that we can share a moment, a story, an aspiration, a dream. It is not a bad thing to embrace the full power of our own singularity. Indeed, it is wonderful, because it is from this knowledge of ourselves that we can extend to others in relationships that bring honour and respect to each person. When all is said and done, this is the only way we can really experience relationships at all. Both the relationship we have with ourselves, and the ones we have with those around us all hinge on our ability to offer ourselves as we really are.

Now I Define Myself

There are few things that are more destructive than to conceive yourself through the lens of another. Although my parents and others along the way had a significant influence on my development, I am not defined by who they think I am, or ought to be. Although my ideas about being a daughter, sister, mother, wife, and even widow have a powerful bearing on how I operate, these ideas do not define my person. They do not constitute my essence. Although the understandings and expectations of my children, family, friends, clients, and even my partner are important to consider when I make choices, how they see me, and how they see the relationship I share with them is not the absolute reality. Their views do not determine who I am in my own unique self.

Now You Define Yourself

This is not only true for me, of course. It is true for all of us, and it is especially true for you. It might seem painfully obvious here and now that you are your own unique person. In the safety of this Now moment, you can clearly see that you are you. You simply operate alongside others and you craft a life story as you go. But, in reality, these truths become easily blurred. It is oh so easy to forget that who we are does not have to yield to the desires of others. We do not have to meet their expectations or adjust our priorities and preferences to theirs. We can if we choose to, but we are not obliged or compelled.

No.

Who we are can stand tall in respectful confidence and powerful autonomy. In each Now moment, our bodies can work, play and move alongside others without yielding to their controlling agenda. Our minds can think, grow and learn in connection to others without relinquishing our intelligence or our insight. Our heart can invest into profoundly intimate relationships with others without yielding our identity. Our spirits can conceive and stretch out to the other souls around us in ways which preserve and defend our vulnerabilities and still keep us safe.

Oh that we would truly see our infinite power, right here and Now. Oh that we would know, in every Now moment of our lives, that it is only from this place that we can invest all that we are with all that we have.

 

Growing Pains

I am facing a struggle at the moment that I would like to get off my chest and be honest about. As many of you might already know, I have been making a concerted effort this year to take my message to more people than ever before. My heart literally cries out to help people to find and follow their passion. I have stepped out in a big, bold way to shine a light on the truths that I have come to know. And it is working. A LOT.
I am finding people … lots of people … and they are finding me …
Kerry Anne Nelson Melbourne Based Professional Speaker

It has always been my policy to bite off my than I can chew and then chew like hell. But THIS is a whole new level

Last year I spent a lot of time in solitude, writing, reflecting, connecting with the love that I have inside. From that season of profound growth I have developed the clarity, motivation and drive that comes from a sense of focus and purpose. Every time I write a Facebook post, or share a photo on Instagram, or write a blog or email, or send a new friend a personalised video … a little drop of my passion is shared out. I am convinced that the connections that I am making with so many people over these past few months have increased simply because I have decided to put it all out there. My heart is on my sleeve the way that a two year old would manage a cold. It is raw and honest and altogether real.
If you know me, you would know that I am the same at home as I am at work, and when I am out and about socialising. I am serious about my work but love to play and muck around too. I take my relationships very much to heart, and I live to make my world better in any way I can.
The challenge for me at the moment is in managing the influx of connections that I have inadvertently created by putting myself out there to this degree. With every new friend comes a new investment for me into that person. For each new friend, the same story is true … I remember your names, your stories, your businesses, your families. I take you all with me wherever I go.
It breaks my heart to miss your notifications, your messages, emails, texts, phone bank messages … but sometimes, I can’t quite get to it because they fill up faster than I can attend to them. Over the past two hours I have literally had over 100 notifications come through on Facebook alone, and I want to get to every single comment, every single like, every single contribution that you have. I want to engage and respond because I have invested in connecting with you.
I am literally sitting here with tears in my eyes because I am not sure what to do to make myself be able to keep up and continue to serve and connect with you. Each one of you is precious, and each response spurs me on … but I am human and I am only one. I will get better at this. I will find ways to get more help with my other work so that I can continue to connect with you. No matter what the nature of my relationship is with you, or the setting of our connection, I want to attend to us. I want to be present and connected and available for the brief time we get to spend on the same page. The thought of missing those moments is heart breaking to me. Those moments that I might hear you, understand you, inspire you, motivate you, or teach you  are everything I live for. Filling my life with those moments is the passion I follow.
So please, hang in there with me. I am learning. I am growing. And I am getting better at all of it

Facebook Official

On this day three years ago, I wrote this post in Facebook:

I’m ready. It’s time.
I have had an overwhelming rush of love and support from dear, dear friends and family, but for those who don’t know, and those who are waiting for my words, I have terrible news. On Wednesday morning my dearest husband Alec step in father of my children Zachery and Isabelle, best friend, love of my life, partner in everything, maker of the finest food and pourer of wine, provider of all good things in my life, sweetest lover, family festival coordinator, chief spoiling officer, master technician and fixer of all buttoned things, fanatical one-man cheer squad of mine, boundary pusher and pathological optimist, ambitious dream maker and sharer, king of emotional adjustment and accommodator of difference, agent of grounding and reality checker, table for two booker, couch companion, avoider of bathroom cleaning but still all round super hero passed away. There are no words which adequately describe this gutting sense of loss, this hideous darkness, this engulfing lonely hole, this terror, this exhaustion. I am devastated beyond expression. My life changed forever when he joined it, and now I face new changes on his departure. I have had a marriage experience many only dream of, built on pure, raw, honest tenacity to push through every valley and dance on every mountain simply because sharing it all together was our deepest passion and life anchoring commitment. His love for me was his defining attribute, unfailing and never ending. To say he will be missed is an absurd understatement, yet better words escape me. I join Zac in feeling lost, I have never been here before, and also join Isabelle in daring to believe “We can do it!”
Please pray for us. Your love and support is our strength for now, and will be a foundation we need to ground the insanity we face. And please remember us in the coming weeks and months as we embark on learning a new life we never dreamed we would have to learn. We are tearfully figuring out how to hold on and let go at the same time. Each moment brings a new wave to deal with
And most importantly, tell your loved ones just how much you love them every single day. You can never express too much love, in words and in actions, because I have been hit like a slap in the face, it’s true, you never know how long you really have. In a blink …
xxx

 

Melbourne based speaker

The view from our old home in Research as the sun set on the first day without Alec

This morning I read that post, and the tears trickled down my face as I relived those few days of shock.

This day three years ago really was a big one. I remember writing that post very clearly. Through copious tears and with my mind racing. It was bizarre to have “memories” of Alec flooding my mind, because he had only been there beside me three days prior. I had to remind myself that he wasn’t there any more. Repeatedly. I had to learn how to have a picture of myself and my life that didn’t have him in it.

I am comforted to this day by the knowledge that love never dies. On reading this now though, I remember the feeling of his absence. Foreign. Strange. Brutal. Aggressive. Terrifying.

I have never known a sadness that washed me so completely, or a grief like this that gutted me to my core. Oh my god it was horrible. Nauseating. Dizzying. Isolating. Deafening.

But as time has passed, I have taught myself a few new ways of seeing things. Some additional layers of perspective. Nothing will stop this loss from being so so sad and horrendously tragic, but there is more. Because I lived. I kept going. The next day, and the next and the next. New seasons. New chapters. I grew.

To have lived through such a shock is the proof I need now that I can make it through anything. I know I am not the only widow in the world, and that other people have gone through more tragic circumstances. But I am not them. Nor are they me. So I don’t compare. I am simply filled with wide eyed amazement and gratitude at the experiences I have had, lessons I have learned, and the way things have turned out.

My life still stuns me to this day. It is all just so completely mind blowing. It has changed me forever to learn that light can be found through darkness. Purpose can be found through loss. Love can be found through heartbreak. And passion can be found through adversity.

And now, today … we live. We love. We bring honour to the things we have learned

 

Don’t Confuse Strength With Bravery

“She is incredible. It’s like every time she cries she gets more power and just keeps going.”

The time after I lost Alec I was truly in a daze. I heard my friend describe me like this to her friend on the phone. It was when she had rushed to come and take care of us at our home in the first couple of days after the loss. I was there in my body, but not really present. For 11 days I was somewhere else … on the inside. The world was a blur around me. I could tell it was loud but the noise was muffled by my grief. I could tell it was fast but I had no connection in space to be able to accurately gauge its speed.

But even from within this isolation and disconnection, I had experienced a realisation that helped me to anchor everything and make sense of it all. You see, on the day after Alec died, I sat reading the reflections I had been keeping in my phone and I realised that everything in my life had brought me to this point. From here, I was to become an author and a speaker. I knew almost straight way that I would write a book and share a message of hope and light. At that time I had aspirations of becoming a “Professional Encourager.” These days I describe myself as The Happy Widow with a message of Unstoppable Freedom. The words almost don’t matter. What I have wanted to do with every part of this chapter is to empower you to realise that you already have everything you need to find and follow your passions.

I have always had this sort of outlook. Positive. Optimistic. Faith-filled. This doesn’t mean that I have not faced darkness … only that I don’t know a time where I have not had a glimmer of hope that it would pass, however faint that glimmer was. You don’t have to read too many of my reflections to know that I have experienced profound loss, terrifying fear, choking anxiety, and the thickest grey sludge of depression. But even amidst those times, I have always managed to pull something special from somewhere deep, to see the season through to change.

“You are so strong!”

“You will get through this. You’re a survivor.”

“You’re an inspiration, Kerry. You’re amazing.”

Given my “ray-of-sunshine” outlook, it is understandable that people would describe me as strong. I get it. I really do. But no, I can’t live up to that, and I would like to go on the record and correct this misunderstanding.

I realised a very long time ago that being strong is a falsehood, and a bar that is set too high for me to achieve. I can’t believe I’m strong on the days where I haven’t been able to pick up the phone without crying, or go to the shops without experiencing a panic attack. A strong person wouldn’t have black outs on the freeway, and wouldn’t be terrified of being alone and unloved. This is not what I would call a picture of strength. No Sirreeey.

And this is more than OK. In fact. It is perfect.

Kerry Anne Nelson Professional Speaker

We don’t need to be strong. We can make progress through our toughest days when we are bold enough to hope despite the hardship.

I have no intention of being strong. And my aim with this blog is to let you off that unrealistic hook too. Screw being strong. Real life hurts! It is hard. It is scary. It is unpredictable and it is relentless. Real life is brutal.

I permitted myself a long time ago to give up on being strong. I don’t feel strong. I don’t need to look strong, and I sure as hell don’t need to act strong. Especially when I am simply trying to keep up appearances. The pretence is worse than useless. It is damaging. Destructive. It will hold us in a prison of performance, people-pleasing, striving and falsehood. And the worst part of trying to act strong, is that it locks us in a cage that we have, in fact, constructed entirely on our own.

No. Being strong is a recipe for disaster. I chose years ago to replace this ambition with the one I have for bravery.

You see, in bravery, I can admit that I am afraid. I’m hurt. Confused. Angry. Ashamed. Lost. Broken. Terrified. In fact, to experience those feelings of overwhelm is a pre-requisite of bravery, because without them, my response would simply be … living! Bravery does not require strength. It simply requires a step of bold courage from the place of weakness.

It is in the face of fear that I can choose to practice being brave. It is when I confront pain that I can dare to show my broken heart, and somehow take steps forward. It’s in the shame that I can stand tall. In the haze that I can fight my way through to clarity. In bravery my fear becomes hope, my reluctance becomes action, and my exhaustion becomes a new flame of passion.

When I am brave I still get to cry. To shut the world out, just for a little while. To feel it all. Every lat painful bit. These agonising feelings are what make my positive response so damn brave. Being strong says “It’s fine. I’m ok. This doesn’t affect me.” But being brave says, “This hurts like crazy, but I am going to give it my best shot and see what I can make of it.”

You don’t need to be strong in the middle of the mire. But, there is a bravery inside of you that can confront your worst days head on. Let’s give up on being strong, and let’s choose to be bold and brave instead.

Happy Anniversary

I wrote this up on Facebook yesterday. I thought I would share it here where it can be woven into the bigger story of my life that I share here xx

On this day 3 years ago I celebrated my 12th wedding anniversary with Mister Alec. We got up and he had set up a plan to drive to the beach and then stop at a cafe for lunch. But in true Alec style, he hadn’t actually chosen the beach or booked the cafe, because he just expected it would all work out. We didn’t know the area we were driving to. Alec had chosen it simply because there was blue next to green on the map so he figured that this is where the beach would be. Turns out that the three hour drive all around the Point Cook area didn’t quite offer the scenic vistas he had hoped for, but it did give us a chance to listen to The Jezabels in the car and find a little cafe with amazing fish.

Melbourne based professional speaker

I didn’t know this anniversary would be our last

He was right! It did all work out. We did yoga on the beach and just enjoyed the peace and calm of being balanced and in the company of love.
It was a beautiful day, and one that brings a tear to my eye as I think of the horrible loss that I have experienced. The loss wasn’t just mine though. The world was graced with a gift in Alec, and now we must simply remember, and be grateful for the days that we had with him.

I remember on day 6 after his passing I realised that the best outcome from that awful event would simply be acceptance. Nothing was ever going to change the fact that he was gone, but that I had memories to cherish and treasures of love, learning and growth to take with me into the next chapter. I saw a glimpse of the power of that acceptance on that day, but I admit that I resented it deeply and hated the fact that to simply accept such a gut wrenching tragedy was my best option. I was angry and hurting so so much.

Now I have acceptance. My eyes still brim with tears even as I write today, because the loss is sad, and it hurt me deeply. But I am so so grateful for everything that I have experienced, and everything that I continue to experience in this magical life I have now.

What a strange thing it is. To embrace pain is to dissolve its power. By accepting the reality that some things in life will hurt – they will cut us up, changes will be permanent, and situations will be uncertain and scary – But accepting the feelings of fear, hurt, anger, resentment … even powerlessness … all empower us to tackle each day. When we accept that pain will come, and for some it is being felt right now, we can somehow enjoy a confidence that we will not only get through, but that we will be better for the experience.

So in a strange way, I am grateful. Not for the loss, or the hurt, or the feelings of fear, abandonment, loneliness, grief. But for the opportunity that I have had to learn that even amidst deep pain there is beauty, power, grace, and opportunity. From this place of acceptance, I can love more deeply, take greater risks, dream bigger dreams, and extend more of myself to others.

Because I know that pain will come, and I know I can get through that. And I know that this is the pathway to growth.

Thank you Mister Alec. You helped make me free.