Posted by on January 28, 2015 | 0 comments

What Do You Believe?

Have you noticed how people seldom talk about what they believe anymore? It’s like we’ve been so conditioned to be politically correct and to guard against offending anyone that we dare not put a stake in the ground on our values and beliefs. It’s a crowded fence that so many of us are sitting on. I think there’s something very powerful about stating what you are for. It determines the types of people you hang around with, the kinds of conversations you engage in, and the activities you undertake in your life. And it teaches people how to relate to you. It’s scary too. “What if I alienate people? Or pee them off altogether?” Here’s the thing: it’s impossible to please everyone, and no matter how politically correct and inclusive you try to be, someone will always have their two cents to say about it. For quite a while now I’ve wanted to speak and write openly about my beliefs and how I view the world. But I’ve been...

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Posted by on January 22, 2015 | 1 comment

A Cure For Your Inner Perfectionist

I cringe whenever one of my children talks about wanting something to be “perfect”. I’m always on at them about the futility of perfection; instead I try to instill the value of “good enough”. It may sound like I’m training my children to accept mediocrity, but I assure you I’m not. My intention is to spare them the agony of an impossible quest. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “perfect” as: having no mistakes or flaws; completely correct or accurate; having all the qualities you want in that person or situation. How crazy is that?! And more to the point – how unattainable. I once read an article stating that Persian carpet weavers – whose creations fetch high prices all over the world – deliberately weave a flaw into their carpets to ensure that each one – no matter how exquisite it is – is never perfect. Only God is perfect, they believe. I think those carpet weavers are definitely onto something. Perfection is an impossible quest and it stands to...

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Posted by on January 13, 2015 | 1 comment

Fear Avoidance Behaviour

The year is off to a cracking start and I find myself grappling with an all-too-familiar feeling: my breathing is faster and shallower; I feel hot and sweaty a lot of the time, even when I’m in an air-conditioned room; and I’m more aware of my heartbeat than usual. I know this feeling well – it’s called fear. I’ve set some stretch targets for myself and my business for this year, and this fear has come along as part of the package. This is nothing new, of course. Whenever I allow myself to expand the size of my dreams, fear is always the first obstacle I encounter. It’s as if the feeling lurks around behind the scenes, watching and waiting for me to dare. At the first sign of an audacious goal it jumps into my path, threatening me with its arsenal of weaponry: failure, humiliation, destitution, exposure. Over the years I’ve devised clever strategies to try and deal with it. I call it my Fear Avoidance Behaviour (FAB):...

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Posted by on January 6, 2015 | 3 comments

Are You A Stress Addict?

My name is Maria and I’m a recovering stress addict! I’m being serious – I used to thrive on stress. I convinced myself that I could only perform at my best when I was anxious, sleep deprived and on edge. There is a famous graph – the inverted U-shaped Stress Response Curve – which depicts the relationship between stress and performance. Essentially it says that, as the level of stress increases, so the level of performance also increases… to a point. Thereafter increased stress has an adverse effect on performance. I was always aiming to operate at the peak of that inverted U, at the point at which the level of stress results in peak performance. So I devised ways to cultivate that state: I left things to the last minute. I took on more work than I needed to and said yes to too much. I over-promised. I made late nights the norm. I drank copious amounts of coffee to keep me going. Now here’s the problem –...

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