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WINTER 2010

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8 If you want something, get it! Georgie Parker is one of Australia’s best loved actresses, with seven Logies to prove it. But, as we found out, she’s much more than the TV characters she has portrayed and the accolades bestowed upon her.

24 The Inconvenient Child From brutal beginnings, courage and a dream helped Sharyn Killens turn her life around and find a loving African-American family after a search spanning two continents and 48 years.

14 Are you stressed? Know the key signs of stress to identify it in yourself and others.

16 What stress does to your body Understand the impact of stress on your overall health and wellbeing.

18 The 8 Rs of alleviating stress Alleviate stress and live a more relaxed and happy life.

20 Question Thinking Find out how the ‘Question Thinking’ model can help you create your world.

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23 Waking from sleep Learn about ‘life energy’ – using it, regenerating it and intensifying it for greater spiritual experiences.

26 Are you neglecting your spouse? Check the level of intimacy in your relationship to see if you need firing up.

28 Get Connected Re-establish the connection with your partner in and out of the bedroom.

30 The truth about male infertility Learn about male infertility and what you can do to increase your chances of conception.

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31 No magic pill Find out why you won’t burn fat while you sleep or drop two dress sizes in ten days.

32 Mind over body Use your imagination and thought processes to combat disease, pain and illness.

34 A very healthy habit Meet Katherine Sampson of food brand Healthy Habits and be inspired by persistence and passion.

36 Powerful presentations Learn the secrets of communicating with poise, power, and persuasion to be a powerful presenter in any environment.

38 It’s not them, it’s you Know why you’re the biggest obstacle in your business and how you can stop sabotaging your own success.

40 A man is not a financial plan Take control of your financial future to never rely on a man again.

41 If you fly, you’ll buy Learn how to avoid one of the most common tricks amongst real estate agents.

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From the desk… Your Say Meet the Experts Acts of Kindness

29 Motivation 22 Great Reads 42 Change Your Life in 15 Minutes

31 38


From the desk... A couple of pieces of news from me this issue. Firstly, we’re changing the frequency of the emPOWER. With all the activity on the emPOWERonline website and the 20 fantastic columnists and bloggers who are now sharing their wisdom with you fortnightly, we’ve decided to take the magazine quarterly. Don’t worry, we’re also increasing the content and bringing back some of your favourite regulars, like the Business success profile. Secondly, emPOWER is proud to team up with Lifeline in this issue to bring you the ‘Stress Special’ in support of Stress Down Day on Friday 23 July. Lifeline has been answering calls from Australians in need of support for the past 47 years. Stress Down Day is a way you can throw Lifeline a lifeline to help raise much needed funds to sustain the Lifeline 13 11 14 Crisis Support Service. To register and support Lifeline visit www.stressdownday.org.au. Now onto the WINTER 2010 issue… On the cover this issue, I had the pleasure of interviewing the muchloved Georgie Parker. If you are like me, you will be impressed by Georgie’s strong sense of self and her general attitude toward life. Georgie shares the highlights and challenges of her career as well as her battle with scoliosis (which she feels is a privilege). Our Stress Special commences with ‘Are you feeling stressed?’ (p14). Learn about stress and how to identify stress in both yourself and others. Then, take a look at ‘What stress does to your body’ (p16). If you’re like me, you’ll be a little surprised at the effects. Once you’re sufficiently stressed about stress, find out the ‘8 Rs to alleviate stress’ (p18) to live a more relaxed and happier life. We’re lucky enough to be joined once again by Marilee Adams in this issue who shares her ‘Question Thinking’ (p20) model, showing how you create your world through the questions that you ask. A particularly interesting and perhaps controversial article is ‘Convert your sexual energy’ (p29). Napoleon Hill discusses it in the classic book Think and Grow Rich and here Rachel Anastasi explains how other areas of your life can benefit from a little lust. Natural Fertility expert Gabriela Rosa joins us once again this issue to discuss The truth about male infertility (p30). A topic of concern for many women, Gabriela provides some practical tips of increasing your chances of conception and your odds of creating a truly healthy baby. As I mentioned, we’ve brought back our Business profile piece in this issue and it’s great to be able to present Katherine Sampson, founder of Healthy Habits as our newest profile in ‘A very healthy habit’ (p34). Katherine’s story of personal and financial sacrifice, to franchise and grow her brand of sandwich shops is sure to inspire and motivate. We are also excited to introduce Rhondalynn Korolak in this issue who shares a ‘no holds barred’ approach to taking control of your business financials and responsibility for it’s success. In her article ‘It’s not them, it’s you’ Rhondalynn shows why you are the biggest obstacle to your own success (ouch!) and what you can do to stop sabotaging yourself in business. So, cuddle up with a hot chocolate at your computer and enjoy the issue!

Helen Rosing, Publisher

Publisher & Editor Helen Rosing helen@empoweronline.com.au Graphic Designer Design Box Cover Photography Courtesy of Katies

Contributors Marilee Adams Ph.D., Rachel Anastasi, Savleen Bajaj, Dean Bassett, Richard Garard, David Hamilton, RhondalynnKorolak, Kim Larochelle, Natalia Mendez,TamraMercieca, Gabriela Rosa, Antonia Ruhl, Steve Taylor, Chris Wagner. Production & Subscriptions admin@empoweronline.com.au P: (02) 9686 4398 Advertising sales@empoweronline.com.au P: (02) 9686 4398

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Advertisers and contributors to emPOWER Magazine acknowledge they are aware of the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 and the Trade Practices Act 1974 in relation to false and misleading advertising or statements under other unfair practices and the penalties for breach of provisions of those Acts. The publisher accepts no responsibility for such breaches. Opinions expressed by contributors are their own and not necessarily endorsed by emPOWER Magazine or the publishers. All material in emPOWER magazine is copyright and may not be produced in whole or in part without express permission of the publishers. ISSN 1835-8705


Thank you for all the wonderful feedback on the magazine and website. Keep your comments and ideas coming. Email us at admin@empoweronline.com.au

favourite letter Thank you for the article ‘Dump the diet’ in the Apr/May issue of emPOWER. I have been an avid yo-yo dieter for 20 years and could absolutely relate to the ‘Monday morning’ scenario and the feeling of failure associated with quitting yet another diet. I have decided to put myself on a healty eating regime and stop trying to find the ‘get-thin-quick’ scheme I have been looking for all my life. -Sally, via email

I am a big fan of Dr John Demartini and it was great to see him contributing an article to emPOWER. As usual, he didn’t disappoint; ‘The value of values’ was enlightening. - Matt, via email

I found Tamra’s story ‘The Upside of Down’, really inspiring. Tamra, thank you for sharing so openly. Having suffered depression on and off for five years, I found it refreshing to hear some ‘alternative’ ideas on how to cope with the illness. The one I found most useful is the concept that depression is a label and that it is up to me to choose whether I want to wear it or not. I’ve never heard that before but I agree with it. I have decided that I would rather wear the label of ‘positive, confident winner’. -Maggie, via email

I love love love Vanessa Amorosi. What an amazing Australian talent and one I think who has not received the credit from Aussie fans that she deserves. I have followed her career since her Olympics performance and greatly admire who she has become. If we want to celebrate someone who has faced challenges and reinvented herself in order to achieve success, I think Vanessa is a great example. - Kate, via email

Since reading your article on ‘How to win friends and influence people’ in the Feb/ Mar issue of emPOWER, I bought and read the book. What a simple, yet highly effective read. Although in every chapter I was nodding my head and thinking ‘yeah, I know that’, I realized that his ideas are so simple that you forget to apply them. A good reminder for me, and one I’d recommend to everyone. - Dianne, via email

The article on ‘Breaking negative beliefs’ in the Apr/May issue was a real eye-opener for me. I have always had problems trusting men and have had many a failed relationships due to my jealousy. Through the exercise in the article, I discovered that I have incredibly negative beliefs around men and relationships that I gained from my best friend. As teenagers, my best friend had no problem with boys and was always in some sort of relationship. Me on the other hand never had a relationship until college and even they were disasters. The boys she attracted though, never treated her well and she was always in tears on my shoulder. Quite surprisingly, while doing the exercise, my best friend’s face kept appearing in my mind and I realized that her failed relationships as teenagers had given me a huge distrust of men. I find this very weird and yet I know it’s true. While I don’t have a perfect cure for my cause right now, I at least know where to start to unravel my beliefs. - Catrina, via email

Submit ‘YOUR SAY’ through the website at www.empoweronline.com.au or email admin@empoweronline.com.au


meet the experts

to all our expert contributors Marilee Adams Ph.D. is an executive coach, corporate consultant, professional speaker and president of the Inquiry Institute. She has been using Question Thinking to lead individuals and organisations to greater success for more than 25 years. Her bestselling book, Change your questions, change your life is a story about an executive coach who helps people transform their lives with Question Thinking.

Dean Bassett is a Financial Advisor with a passion for property and investor education. He is a Director of Destiny Castle Hill and a Co-Director of Wealth Engine. With 25 years personal experience in property and a background in adult education, investment advising and coaching he believes that knowledge and timely advice minimises the chance of investors making expensive mistakes.

After completing his PhD, David Hamilton spent four years working as a scientist with one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, developing drugs for cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Inspired by the placebo effect, where many patients receiving placebos improved as much as those receiving real drugs, he resigned from the industry and began to research the mind-body connection. Now, author of four books published by Hay House, he travels around the world giving talks and offering workshops to help people understand the power of the mind over the body.

Tamra Mercieca is an award winning journalist and newsreader who used her own struggle with depression to pen the book The Upside of Down: A personal journey and toolkit for overcoming depression naturally. She now works as an advanced NLP Success and Wellness Coach, while helping raise awareness of mental health issues on various radio programs, as part of her role as a Lifeline advocate.

Rachel Anastasi is the founder of Free to be Me Life Coaching and www. secretsofasupercoach.com. She is an expert coach, facilitator and speaker, and her passion is to empower others. Having worked with people of all walks of life Rachel has an understanding of human behaviour that assists her clients to create transformational results. Rachel also develops resources just for coaches, including a professional and personal development retreat designed to take your coaching and coaching business to the next level. Sunshine Estivo is a Certified Financial Planner with 10 years experience. She is an active investor and is passionate about empowering women to become more financially savvy. Sunshine co-founded Omniwealth, an independentlyowned financial advisory group, in 2007 with business partner Aaron Greaves. Sunshine has written a book titled ‘Buy property not shoes – a girl’s guide to financial independence’ to be published in July 2010.

Rhondalynn Korolak is a lawyer, chartered accountant, clinical hypnotherapist and Master of NLP and is an expert at business acceleration and the power of influence. She is the author of On The Shoulders of Giants and Financial Foreplay.

Sydney-based natural fertility specialist Gabriel Rosa (BHSc, ND, Post Grad NFM, DBM, Dip Nut, MATMS, MNHAA) is the founder and director of Natural Fertility & Health Solutions clinic and the author of four books, including Eat Your Way to Parenthood: The Diet Secrets of Highly Fertile Couples Revealed. Gabriela is devoted to creating happy families by helping to bring healthy babies into the world and empowering individuals through better health.

Often referred to as ‘The Sex Chick’, Natalia Mendez is passionate about helping marriages get back on fire and making the bedroom, the funroom! She is the founder of Romance Me - a new concept in Australia catering for couples to add some adult fun into their marriage whilst keeping the sleezy porn out! She has a passion for helping couples develop a greater level of intimacy in their relationship.

Savleen Bajaj is an international success coach, psychologist, speaker, author, facilitator and consultant. She has spent almost two decades using cutting-edge technologies to accelerate human growth and enabling individuals to unleash their true potential. With a deep insight into the principles for personal breakthroughs and holistic success, Savleen is passionate about supporting people to live their greatest life by transforming their visions and intentions into results.

Richard Garard is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach specialising in women’s health and fitness. He is founder of She FITNESS, which offers group and individual fitness programs for women of all ages and levels of fitness. Passionate about helping women improve their overall health, Richard believes that fitness coaching should be based on motivation, not intimidation. His fun, challenging and diverse programs are designed to make ‘strong women stronger’.

Steve Taylor is a researcher in transpersonal psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, UK, and the author of three books, The Fall, Making Time and Waking From Sleep (Hay House). Eckhart Tolle has described his work as ‘fascinating and enlightening, as it is imbued at all times with the higher faculty of spiritual awareness.’ He lives in Manchester, UK, with his wife and three young children.

Chris Wagner is the National Media Manager for Lifeline Australia. He has over ten years experience in the media sector and has worked in ministerial offices, government departments and for a number of not for profit organisations. He has a background in matters of criminal and civil justice, national security and emergency management, as well as grassroots community liaison amongst others. He has worked as a journalist and is currently completing a masters in marketing communications.


We can change the world, one act at a time – a little kindness is all it takes.

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t’s quite possible you have changed someone’s day without even knowing it. Perhaps you gave a welcoming smile when they were feeling left out, delivered a compliment, opened a door, offered up your seat on the bus or were generally helpful and pleasant when it was most needed. You can probably also think of moments when someone changed your day in a similar way. What happened in each of those moments is called an Act of Kindness – a small action that can make a big difference. Here’s how some of our readers are getting in on the act. er an easy Going grocery shopping is nev the age of er und task with two active kids getting just , Jess st, four. With my younge even was it y, mp gru y ver over the flu and A long time ago, my son, Rodney, and I were playing on the swings in the local park, we naged to get more stressful. I had just ma noticed some kids being nasty to another boy. Rodney asked me why they were picking waiting for everything on my list, and was on this boy and if we could help. Of course, I felt we needed to assist. When Rodney and I take was that I my turn at the Deli. My mis approached the group, it was obvious that the poor little boy was scared and did not know d the ticket hol allowed Luke (age three) to how to get away from these bullies. We came just in time and they all ran off. Rodney Luke up, e cam and when my number introduced himself and asked the boy if he wanted to join him on the swings. That was 10 rassed bar em ry Ve it. said he didn’t have years ago, and Mick is still Rodney’s best friend. It all started with a small act of kindness, h wit ne sce a ke ma to and not wanting initiated by my son. ssed stre et, tick r the ano for t Luke, I wen Lina – via email end of the at the thought of waiting at the elderly an t queue again. It was then tha e me gav and me raining. gentleman approached job interview, it started a to y that he wa ing say my t, be on n nex D the gh the CB ck for it and his number, which was As I was rushing throu ce I either had to go ba I offi ugh tho the as at ked lla ely loo bre it lov a um left my was in no hurry and . Out of the blue, ed vel he dis d Conundrum - having an t d we goo ieve my ss the be on time but arrive needed to go. I could not bel lla as we waited to cro bre um r he late for my interview or r de I un ht me hindsig by offered to shade fortune and his kindness. In allowed me to cross the lady who was walking was so kind of her and is re. Th mo od nt. go him me d in d ate nke an rst tha e de had on tim wish I road. Grateful is an un to get to the interview Mia – by email undercover. I managed r). lte she r he red street dry, to reach the sha o wh y lad d ail kin em a ll thanks to Annabelle – via spirits (which went we You know how women are stereotyped as the ones who would usually run out of fuel? Well, I have always been very frustrated with this theory, and this act of kindness should prove the opposite. I was driving home from the gym last week and ‘lo and behold’, a man was standing by the side of the road, looking very frustrated. I would normally not stop for a total stranger, but as I slowed down beside his car, I couldn’t help but notice he had a ‘baby onboard’ sticker and a screaming baby in the back. Being a softy, I felt I needed to stop and see if I could help. He had run out of fuel. Leaving him with the baby, I drove off and got him some fuel from a close-by station. Upon filling his car with petrol, he could not thank me enough. I felt good for two reasons: first, I helped a total stranger and second, I proved the myth wrong. Leanne – via email

How silly of me, heading out of the house to get the paper from our local convenience store, and forgetting my purse. I was still a bit hazy from a big night out and by the time I realised I did not have any money on me, I was at the front of the queue. It was only $5, but I was very embarrassed. Just at that moment, a lady standing in line behind me, handed me $5 and offered to pay for my items. She said that I reminded her of her granddaughter, living in the UK and that she hoped someone would be kind to her granddaughter as well. It sounds as though she would also be the kind of girl who has lots of fun and goes to the shop forgetting her money. Anyway, I wanted to mention this as I am very grateful for this little nice thing that a total stranger did for me. Kerry – via emai

Submit your Act of Kindness & Win The reader to send in our favourite and most inspiring act of kindness for the next issue will win a quality Australian gift box from Rosnay. Each pack, valued at $135, contains five selected table and sparkling wines, one jar of olives, one jar of olive paste and one jar of fig jam - all produced and packed at Rosnay. To view the whole range of rosnay wines visit www.rosnay.com.au. Submit your Act of Kindness at empoweronline.com.au or email admin@empoweronline.com.au.


cover story

If you want something,

get it!

Georgie Parker is one of Australia’s best loved actresses, with seven Logies to prove it. But, as Helen Rosing found out, she’s much more than the TV characters she has portrayed and the accolades bestowed upon her. Winter 2010

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cover story

T

o meet Georgie Parker you quickly get her strong sense of self and that nothing will stop her. She started acting when she was eight, in a small school play and has never looked back. Perhaps best known for her roles as nurse Lucy Gardener in A Country Practice and as Sister Terri Sullivan in long-running All Saints, she has also appeared in numerous tele-movies and children’s show Play School. Off-screen, her success is no different, starring in musical theatre productions of The Man from Snowy River: Arena Spectacular and lesser-known Scenes From A Separation and Chapter Two. She’s also featured in a Wiggles DVD and recorded a children’s album. To top it off, most recently, she’s the ambassador for the Vicks Road to Relief campaign and Lifeline’s Stress Down Day. She emanates strength, commitment to her profession and talking to her you know that she seizes every opportunity with both hands. At the same time she is no fuss, takes herself lightly and simply loves life. Not as widely known is that Georgie has fairly severe scoliosis, which she says is a privilege. Her attitude will inspire…

Q.Tell us a bit about yourself –

where did you grow up and how would you describe your childhood?

A. It’s pretty simple, I grew up on the

fairly conservative North Shore in a very expressive family – it was absolutely acceptable to express your opinion and how you felt. I had a very vocal mum and dad. My mum was very influential in my upbringing. I had a very happy childhood.

Q. It is said that you are a free

spirit. What does this mean to you?

Courtesy of Katies

A. It’s not so much something that I

notice but that the people in my life would notice. I have always had a need for absolute freedom of expression and freedom to be who I am. It’s just the way I seem to be wired. I think when I was younger and became aware that women’s opinions were sometimes not

as highly regarded as a man’s opinions, it infuriated me to no end and I refused to be a party in that. That didn’t mean that I didn’t respect a man’s opinion, I just didn’t respect the men who didn’t listen to the women’s opinions.

Q. You have done such a variety of

things in your career, from TV to musical theater to recording a children’s album. What do you love about your career?

A. The variety of work that I have done

is indicative of the kind of person I am, in that I need to be able to explore anything. If you keep doing the same thing over and over you’re really not going to find out anything new about yourself and I think the great thing about acting and the job that I am in is that you cannot rely on the success of your last job. You’ve constantly got to put yourself in the situation where you are doing something new. Acting is also a profession that is constantly criticized. You’ve just got to wear that. I like the fact that I’m given fresh opportunities all the time. I’m extremely lucky to have a job that offers me that.

Q. When did you decide that you

wanted to be an actor? How did you get started?

A. Acting kind of chose me. I wasn’t

an academic child; I didn’t really get turned on by the notion of study. Funnily enough, when I left school I became enamored by it. When I was eight there was a school play being done. It was only a four page play, it was like a little pantomime and I got it and I read it and I learnt it all very quickly. I learnt everybody’s lines. I think it’s the notion of telling a story. I love being told stories and I love telling them. I understood being a part of that process. I seem to understand that without it being explained to me. So that seemed to be where my passion and strength lay and I didn’t really discuss it, I just thought “I’m going to do this then”. I’ve always

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felt comfortable in that environment and I think you either do or your don’t and I did.

Q. I understand that you got turned down by NIDA, did that make you doubt yourself?

A. Oh god no, you can’t take any kind of

rejection to heart. If I had taken one turndown I wouldn’t have had the career I’ve had and I’m a good actor. I wasn’t right for NIDA and they were exactly right to turn me down. But I guess you also have to realise that there are a massive amount of great actors - some of them have gone overseas, some of them are winning awards who were turned down by NIDA and lots of other institutions. Frankly it was a good thing for me in many ways. I’m not suited to an institution. I need to be out there actively doing it in a working environment. That’s how I learn. I don’t learn by constantly talking about something; that frustrates me. I need to do it and by doing it I learn more.

Q. What challenges did you face in the beginning?

A. The same as every actor, rejection.

You have to find a way to learn from that and also to not take it personally. I would say 20 times out of 10 it’s got nothing to do with you. They particularly want a blonde, or someone taller, older, or someone younger. It comes down to preferences and it’s got nothing to do with your ability and you very quickly realise that.

Q. What do you feel have been the highlights of your career?

A. I’ve actually enjoyed every job that I

have done; I don’t have a favourite. I have met some amazing people. I have been very fortunate to have met the people that I have. I loved All Saints. I got married and had my child during that show and Channel 7 was so great to me during that time. My family was growing and I was torn between working and being a mum and they just made it work for me as best as they www.empoweonline.com.au


cover story

could and that’s why I stayed for as long as I did. So, I enjoyed that process probably more for personal reasons for anything. I also really enjoyed the character of Terri. I’ve been lucky to play some really great characters. It all comes down to the person you play and whether the audience feels they want to spend time with that character and I think I’ve been lucky with the characters I’ve been charged with.

Q. Are you anything like your

character Terri Sullivan in All Saints?

A. No, not at all. Terri was very

considered and second-guessed herself all the time, not very expressive. I’m very loud and I swear a lot. We’re very different. Terri had a very low running motor, she had a very conserved energy and she was a constant observer. I’m literally in the middle of it all the time. But I understood her and that’s the key. It’s interesting, when people met me, they were wanting to meet Terri and they met the woman who was the loudest in the room. But I am down to earth like her.

Q. You have won a staggering seven Logie awards. What is it like to win a Logie?

A. You feel like you’ve been singled out. I don’t know, it’s weird because I don’t think acting is a competitive thing but in order to have award ceremonies there is an assumed competitive spirit going on. And really, the room is full of people who are just happy to see each other and can’t believe they are employed. But getting up on stage and having your name read out, it’s enthralling. I always find it quite amusing because before I got my first Logie I had never won anything, so getting up there it was like, somehow, I had managed to trick everyone. I think if you really analyse it, people are really voting for the character. They vote not so much for the person who’s playing it, you just happen to be

Winter 2010

part of the process. They loved Lucy in A Country Practice and they really loved Terri in All Saints and without those characters you really don’t have a ticket. I think, if most actors are honest, they’d agree.

Q. Is there one you the most proud of and why?

A. I’m proud of everything because every step of the way leads you to the next one. I just see it as part of a big long running stream, whether it’s theatre or TV.

Q. What have been the big

challenges of your career?

A. Anytime anything has gone wrong,

whether that’s on stage or TV. When something goes wrong it really brings out the sort of people you’ve got around you and how protective they are of you or how much they look after themselves. Whenever anything goes wrong – some mistakes have been made or someone had an accident – and everyone has to pull together, that’s when I’ve learnt the most. Whilst you’re doing it there’s lots of little lessons along the way.

Q. What else would you like to achieve in your career?

A. Everything. I really don’t think about

it, I’m too busy living my life. I don’t really have any goals. Whenever I’ve got an opportunity I’ll sink my teeth into it and have as much fun as I can.

Q. How did you get into doing the Children’s album you’ve done?

A. When I started doing Play School, which is a pretty dream job, they just asked me and I said yes. You can’t take yourself seriously when you’re standing behind a microphone.

Q. You’re also a National

Ambassador for Lifeline. Why did you get involved with this organisation?

A. I’ve been involved with Lifeline for

three years now. Lifeline just struck

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me as being a really invaluable service and one that needs as much assistance as it can get. These people really make such a huge difference to people’s lives and the fact that they exists is fantastic. So, I just wanted to bring as much attention to the work that they do as I could.

Q. Lifeline has its annual Stress

Down Day coming up on July 23, tell us a bit about this day and why it’s important?

A. Stress Down Day is a way of drawing

attention to Lifeline and the work they do and it’s a more relaxed way of bringing attention to stress as a real hidden demon. Stress can really drag you down and can lead to a lot of complications. One of the major things I learnt is to actually acknowledge when you do have stress. It is best to tackle it from the word go rather than waiting until everything is on top of you and it’s much harder to take action.

Q. What do you do to Stress Down? A. I daydream, I see my friends, I hang out with family, I do normal things.

Q. You’re also involved in the Vicks

Road to Relief with UNICEF. Tell us a little about that.

A. Through Vicks Road to Relief, if

you buy one pack of Vicks, you buy an immunisation against measles for a child in a country where these diseases are prevalent. Vicks are funding UNICEF’s initiative for two million vaccinations for children. It’s a fantastic initiative and these people, in the community in Bangladesh where we went; they take it so seriously and are just so thankful for it. It literally saves their children’s lives. It’s just rewarding to be involved in initiatives like these. It’s a time when your recognition factor in society actually goes towards something that really matters, instead of just you.


cover story

Q. On the subject of health, I

understand that you live with scoliosis after being diagnosed at age 12. How do you feel this has influenced or your life and who you are?

A. It’s really shaped the way I deal

with things in my life. You know, it’s my back and I love my back. It’s a 59-degree curve, it’s a significant curve and I will probably have to have surgical intervention in the future but I was braced when I was young and it was a real privilege to go through it. I think you either deal with it or you don’t. It’s like having diabetes or asthma, it’s just something you have and if you grow up with it as I did, it’s just a part of your life and part of who you are. I’ve never been one to ask ‘Why me?” It doesn’t get you anywhere and it certainly doesn’t help you deal with the problem.

maximizing your quality time with your child. It’s not about being actively face-to-face with your child; it’s about being in proximity, being in the same room and in the same house and just doing stuff together.

can’t control that I have scoliosis but I can control how I deal with it.

Q. You have been married for

sometime to Screenwriter Steve Worland. What have you learned about relationships through your marriage?

Q. Who inspired you growing up?

to the people in your life.

A. I’m inspired by strong women. I’m

A. I’ve learned that you’ve got to be kind

Who inspires you now and why? inspired by anyone who leads a happy life.

Q. How do you balance being a mum to Holly and having a career?

A. You balance being a mother the same way you balance everything else in your life. You have to make time. It’s the same for any parent really. Whether you’re a mum or a dad, the child is a priority, always. The work you do, the life you lead and the social choices you make is balanced around

Q. What is the best piece of advice you have to help other women realise they can reach their full potential?

A. If you want something get it!

Q. Explain what you mean by saying it’s a real privilege.

A. This is a problem that I could deal

with. A lot of people have problems where they really don’t have a choice in how they deal with it. I don’t have a disease. I have a scoliosis. I can choose to be as active as I can and I can have physiotherapy and I manage to deal with it that way. And, if I do get into great pain there is the possibility of surgery to help me deal with it. So I’ve got lots of options.

Q. I get the sense that you are

happy most of the time. How do you maintain this?

A. I am happy, that just seems to be

Fairfax photos

the way I roll and if I’m not happy I tackle it right away. I talk about it and talk about it and figure out a course of action to take and I take it. I’m extremely proactive and I’m definitely a forward moving person. I think the real challenge in life is to figure out what you can control and what you can’t. If you can control it, do and if you can’t control it, you have to accept it. So I control what I can. I

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www.empoweonline.com.au


special | Stress

?

Are you feeling

Stressed

From time-to-time, we are all going to feel stressed. It could be around finances, your relationship with your mother-in-law, or something as simple as organising a partner’s birthday party. However, as Chris Wagner shows it may be something more serious and so understanding what stress is, can mean the difference between coping or not.

S

tress is a normal human reaction to the challenges that life throws at us. In ancient times, when being chased by a lion, the body would go into stress, providing the burst of energy and clarity needed to run faster and hopefully get away. In modern times, stress does the same thing, just perhaps not for the same reasons. These days, that ridiculous deadline your boss sets you, or that panicked rush to the train with wet hair when your alarm doesn’t go off in the morning, are the sorts of things that stress can help us with. This sort of immediate stress can clear the mind and give us the burst of strength needed to get the job done.

Winter 2010

In Australia, nine out of ten of us have experienced stress, according to a poll conducted by Lifeline. The other ten percent of the population are either very relaxed people, or telling a bit of a fib. That’s because stress is a normal human reaction to life’s pressures. However, can you imagine if the lion chased you all day and night, and all the next day? How might you begin to feel after 24 hours of constant running and fear? Similarly, can you imagine how you might feel if your boss gave you the same deadlines every single day, day in day out. For some of you, this may in fact be a reality.

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There is a difference between shortterm stress, assisting us to get the job done, and prolonged or extreme stress; the sort of stress that comes from constant external or internal pressures. The death of a loved one is an example of an event that could result in prolonged or extreme levels of stress; another example would be the loss of employment or a natural disaster. These obvious examples are not an exhaustive list, and many people will experience prolonged stress due to a range of factors. What becomes important is how we manage this stress and what we do to mitigate it. In Australia, two in five people are very stressed or experiencing levels of stress that are unhealthy. Prolonged levels of stress, or


Stress | special

extreme unmanaged stress, can and does have a detrimental affect on our mental and physical well being.

Am I stressed? There are some things you can look for in yourself as well as your friends and family, to help you identify stress. Signs of stress are usually highlighted through physical, mental, emotional or behavioural changes. If your best friend is normally a very motivated person, active and fun to be around, but has lately been lacklustre and moody, dragging their heels and basically down in the dumps, then maybe they are stressed.

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Lifeline is holding Stress Down Day this year on Friday the 23rd of July. Be daring and wear your slippers to work that day or simply dress up or dress down to join in the fun. Go to www.stressdown.org.au for more details or to register.

Other signs that could indicate an unhealthy level of stress could be prolonged irritability or frustration, anxiousness or being just plain stubborn and cross. Keep in mind, this is about actions that are uncharacteristic, so if your mate has always been a big drinker then heavy drinking may not indicate that they are stressed. However, if they have recently taken up the bottle in a big way, then it might have a connection to something that is stressing them out. Also look for signs like the inability to sleep, nervousness or compulsive behaviour and physical affects like unexplained headaches and pain. If you are noticing any of these signs in yourself, have a good hard look at what might be behind the change in character. If you are noticing signs in a friend or

family member, be honest with them and together, consider what the causes may be. Talking is a wonderful way to seek out what might be troubling you or them. Speaking to a loved one, or someone you trust, or to a trusted service like Lifeline on 13 11 14 can make a massive difference.

What does stress do to you? Prolonged stress can affect just about every part of our bodies, from the top of our heads to the bottom of our toes. It can affect your skin, joints and muscles, giving you aches and pains for seemingly no reason. For the ladies it can have extreme affects like stopping your period or increasing PMS related symptoms, even make it hard to reproduce. That’s why it can be so important to manage it properly. Unhealthy stress can lead to both physical and emotional wellbeing issues. It’s sadly ironic that for some couples, the stress they put themselves under to conceive can actually end up reducing their sex drives, lowering the man’s sperm count and reducing the woman’s ability to get pregnant. Stress really can play this much of a role in how our bodies are working day-to-day. Stress can give us irritable bowl, reflux and weight problems, diarrhoea or constipation; it can mess with our skin, take the shine out of our hair and generally make us feel rubbish. In some cases, it can lead to depression, anxiety and even panic attacks. I knew of a 25 year old woman who was having significant digestive issues; she had constipation, irritable bowel and bloating. Some days, she was so bloated her clothes wouldn’t fit. It resulted in fluctuations in weight as well as loss of sleep. She also began to have panic attacks in conjunction with some very strange triggers, including driving in a car when it was windy, or seeing dumped white goods in her neighbour’s front yard. She began to feel like her life was out of control and she was not sure why.

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After much anxiety and investigation, she realised that it was work related stress. She had recently been given a promotion that came with a lot of extra work and without a significant increase in resources. Her boss was also under the impression she had a high level of skill in a particular area that she was actually only a novice in. At first, she managed, and was able to cope with the workload and muddle though despite her lack of confidence in some of the material she was dealing with. However, over a prolonged period, it began to catch up with her and the result was significant physical and psychological issues, mostly resulting from her inability to both recognise and manage her own stress levels. Go to www.lifeline.org.au to download their stress management tool kit. She eventually, with assistance from close friends and a counselling service, was able to negotiate with her boss for the personal development she needed and an appropriate level of resources for her to get the job done. At the end of the day, her boss was happy that the work was being done well, and she was much healthier and happier. Stress can manifest itself in a number of ways. What’s important is taking the time to stop, assess what is happening in our lives and recognise when we are not coping. Help is out there.

Chris Wagner is the National Manager of Media and Government Relations for Lifeline Australia. Chris is a passionate advocate for Lifeline and has significant experience in writing about the issues surrounding mental health and suicide prevention in Australia. Chris can be contacted at chris.wagner@lifeline.org.au.

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special | Stress


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special | Stress

The 8 R’s of alleviating

Stress

Stress is one of the biggest killers in life. So many health problems are attributed to it, and yet we cultivate it in our lives by abusing our bodies, minds and souls. Wellness Coach and Lifeline advocate Tamra Mercieca looks at the eight Rs of alleviating stress.

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ot all stress is bad. We need some stress to survive. The only people completely free of stress are those who are six feet under. A mouse not stressed enough to run from a cat will become an afternoon snack. The trick is to manage the inevitable stress in your life so that it works for you, not against you. Follow the eight R’s for a more relaxed and happier life.

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Rationalise How serious is this stress anyway? Needless to say, some life events are more stressful than others. A close family death is no doubt rated among one of the biggest stressors, while something like preparing for Christmas, sits at the opposite end of the scale. But everyone is unique in the way they deal with various stressors and situations.

Winter 2010

The great news is that no matter your living arrangements, your upbringing or your beliefs, you have the ability to toughen up your stress threshold. The first step is identifying the stressor that triggers the stress response, and look at how serious that situation really is. Ask yourself these questions: - What’s getting in the way? - How can I get around them? - Will life be easier once I have taken control of these things? Mindfulness expert Dr Craig Hassad says “if you saw a hungry tiger, the stress response would activate in order to protect us from that threat. However, if we regularly imagine future stressors or keep going over past ones, then we repeatedly activate the stress response. It is like the tiger is in our imaginations. It is this inappropriate activation of the stress response which is associated with poor health.”

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2

Respond

Whatever the problem, make positive moves to deal with it. Once you have evaluated the stressor, it is time to design a plan to address it. Negative stress arises when something changes. Given that we are constantly evolving, it’s no surprise that we’re going to experience bouts of stress from time to time. That’s why it’s important to develop strong coping strategies. Clinical psychologist at Monash University, Simon Crisp says learning good coping strategies provides protection from stress. “Keeping perspective on the various challenges you juggle, helps encourage good problem solving and a feeling of being in control. I also think, being wise enough to know your limits and humble enough to acknowledge when you’ve reached them is important.” List all the things you can do to systemically eliminate the problem. Take


Stress | special

immediate action to change what you have the power to change, and find ways to work around what you cannot. This is where positively reframing the event of situation can help.

3

Refresh How can I view it differently? When you change the meaning of an event, you are able of rid the body of any negative emotions fueling stress. Look for the opportunity in the event or situation that has triggered the stress and really focus on the positives you can take away from it. Get the lessons so that you can grow from the experience. Crisp says it’s really important if you’re feeling a high level of stress, to focus on the positives in the situation, or regularly “take stock” of all the things that are going well. “When people reframe the thing they are finding stressful as an exciting challenge, or even a game, they feel more optimistic, and be more inclined to focus on solving the problem, rather than avoiding it.”

4

Relax Take ‘time out’ to relax and recharge. These days we tend to have an obsession with being busy, overloading ourselves with things to do and places to be. Make time to relax and re-channel your energy by going to a place with no distractions. That’s right, turn off the computer, the television and the phone. Technology, though great in many ways, has an amazing habit of adding to our stress level by giving us a million opportunities to use our time poorly. Carve out at least 15 minutes a day to read a good book or put on your favourite music and let yourself really zone out. Hassad says being more present is the best way to deal with stress. “This is called being mindful, which helps a person engage more fully in life, while stopping them from needlessly anticipating future stresses and re-enacting past ones.” Often when we become stressed our breathing becomes shallow. The less oxygen that is being pumped into our bodies, the more we open ourselves up to becoming anxious and fatigued. Deep breathing soothes the autonomic nervous system. This is why meditation, which focuses on the breath, is so effective in reducing stress. When you’re starting too feel overwhelmed, slowly inhaling through your nose counting to five in your head. Let the

air out through your mouth, counting to eight in your head. Repeat several times until you feel the stress ease.

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Recreation Time away doing something else is nurturing. Massage is one of the oldest healing techniques used to help us overcome psychological and physical problems. It cuts through stress like a hot knife through butter, relaxing muscles, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, enhancing blood circulation and even boosting immune function. It also causes the body to release all of those feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine and reduces the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin. Massage is a balm for the body, mechanically forcing the muscles to relax, and allowing the brain to relax. Taking a vacation can also be extremely nurturing for the soul.

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Renew Engage in activities that keep you growing. Write out a list of all the things you would love to do but haven’t got around to, and start working through them. It is when we step out of our comfort zone and try something new, that we allow the mind and body to really grow. You could learn a new language or take up a musical instrument. Give yourself permission to be a kid again and get out the play-doh. Stress management expert Leigh Anne JashewayBryant recommends blowing bubbles or hula-hooping in times of stress. “These kinds of activities remind your mind and body that resiliency, and the ability to bounce back is important and easy.” It helps you return to a child-like state, where stress is non-existent. Given that laughter reduces cortisol in the body, it makes sense that it is one of the best medicines for stress. Indian physician Dr Madan Kataria created the Laughter Yoga movement and says a good belly laugh is one of the best muscle relaxants. “Laughter expands blood vessels, and sends more blood to muscles all over the body.”

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Regenerate Stay in shape with sleep, exercise and good nutrition. Eat well and drink plenty of water. Yes, it’s good for your body, which means it’s good for you mental wellbeing as well. If you’re eating good foods, rich in antioxidants, your mind responds in kind.

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Sugary, caffeine-laden foods put you blood sugar on a roller coaster, affecting your mood and keeping you off-kilter. When the body is placed under great demand, physiological changes occur, which over time, can result in reduced immunity. Crisp says as our bodies draw on more energy in response to the stress, diet, health and fitness become critical. “Being in peak condition can mean we endure stress more effectively, but exercise is also known to be highly effective in reducing the muscle tension created by stress.” Keep a pen and notebook next to your bed so you can write down any worries or things that stop you from sleeping. Journaling is like emptying out the days waste, allowing the mind to switch off for the night. Stress is exemplified by a lack of sleep, so ensuring you get quality zeds is a must.

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Realign Review your mission, your goals and your objectives. One of the biggest mistakes people make, is doing things they are not passionate about. This often leads to unwarranted stress. To have absolute success in any area of your life, you must have a passion for doing it. Master coach Matt Catling says living a life on purpose and with passion is the key to great fulfillment and great success. “Passion and purpose will allow you to overcome major challenges that you may encounter in an incredibly resourceful and powerful way. When you ignite that fire inside of yourself you inspire others,” Catling says. Take the time to sit down and write out your life mission. What do you want to achieve? Get clear on your goals and objectives and start taking steps towards turning them into reality. Treat your life as a blank canvas. Choose the colours and design that best suit you, and paint the picture.

Tamra Mercieca is a Lifeline advocate and the author of The Upside of Down: A personal journey and toolkit for overcoming depression naturally. She is also an advanced NLP Success and Wellness coach, trained in time-line therapy and hypnosis. For more information or to line up a complimentary session, visit her at: www.tamramercieca.com

www.empoweonline.com.au


feature

Question

Thinking

We all know how important our thoughts are for creating the lives we want. The Buddha himself said: “With our thoughts we make the world.” Marilee Adams, Ph.D. shares her ‘Question Thinking’ model to help you create your world…

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ne of the most important aspects of our thoughts relates to the questions we ask ourselves. It is my belief that the way we think is driven by questions and so are our experiences and results in life. In fact, if you look closely you’ll discover that most of your thoughts and decisions are actually answers to questions you’ve asked. For example, you asked yourself about where to go to school, what career path to follow, where to live, and what kind of relationships you want. In many ways, you can think of your life as representing answers to the questions you’ve been asking. This realisation is what inspired me to write Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work. It’s a story where the main character uses the tools of Question Thinking (thinking with questions) to transform difficult situations at work and in his marriage. He learned the same thing you can: when things aren’t working out the way you want, you can change your questions and get different results. The key to Question Thinking is learning to notice the questions you ask yourself – I call these internal questions – and then distinguishing between those that promote success and those that get in the way. The Learner/Judger mindset model,

Winter 2010

which you can see illustrated on the Choice Map, provides a simple way to understand the power of this distinction. It shows what happens when we ask Learner questions as distinct from asking Judger ones. Think of the Choice Map as a simple, practical mindfulness tool that can make a huge positive difference in your life. Our mindsets are expressions of our internal questions, and our internal questions are expressions of our mindsets. Everybody has both Learner and Judger mindsets and always will. Since we’re hardwired this way, both mindsets are natural and normal. Asking Learner questions typically leads to moods of optimism, hope, and possibilities as well as a tendency to be thoughtful, accepting, flexible, and open-minded. The way we relate from Learner tends to be win-win and focused on understanding, learning, resolving, and creating. By contrast, asking Judger questions typically leads to moods of pessimism, stress, and limitation as well as a tendency to be judgmental, reactive, inflexible, and close-minded. From Judger mindset, people typically relate in a win-lose way, seeking to prove they’re right and that others are wrong. Upset, anger, and defensiveness are often the result. I developed this mindset model over 25 years ago and still find myself falling into Judger almost every day!

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Developing awareness of which mindset is in charge at a given moment gives us the power to choose. Learning to notice Judger (non-judgmentally) and practice Learner is the liberating key. Notice the Switching Lane on the Choice Map. This is where Question Thinking provides a surprising and empowering key to success. The Switching Lane shows how to ask yourself questions to switch from Judger to Learner. Switching questions are invaluable whether you’re organising your desk, involved in a romance, or starting a new company. It is the location of personal power, choice, and the ability to change. The Switching Lane can become your best friend. The Learner/Judger mindset model is aligned with important principles taught in the growing field of positive psychology. The positive emotions often associated with Learner mindset help us expand our thinking and see more options. By contrast, Judger mindset is often associated with negative emotions, which can narrow thinking and options. You can use the Choice Map at any moment in your life to choose between being: • Reactive or proactive • Critical or creative • Close-minded or open-minded • Past focused or future focused • Problem oriented or solution oriented


feature

• Win-lose focused or win-win focused Here’s an example of how the Choice Map works in real life: Angela was delighted with her new job – except for one problem – a troubling relationship with Vivian, her boss on a special project. Vivian was increasingly critical of Angela’s work. Sometimes Angela got upset and other times she just got angry. The quality of her work was going downhill and she was fearful of a crash landing. Angela’s coach gave her a

why this project is so important to her. So I did and we had a great conversation.”

Applying the Choice Map Everybody has a Learner mindset and a Judger mindset. Both have value, but for different reasons. The Choice Map shows how each of us, moment by moment, has a choice about which mindset to use – and the kinds of experiences and results we

ap™ C ho i c e M by moment What assumptions am I making? What can I learn?

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What happened? What do I want? What are the facts? Whose fault is it?

Choose

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Ask Learner Que stio to Avoid Judger ns Pit

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lee Goldberg, Ph.D. Copyright ©1998 Mari The Art of the Question Sons, Inc. ission of John Wiley & This material is by perm

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, What are they thinking feeling, and wanting? for? What am I responsible

Choice Map and briefly explained how to use it. Though skeptical, Angela was desperate enough to try. After studying it for a few moments, she burst out laughing and exclaimed, “I’m practically drowning in Judger! The two main questions I’ve been asking are: ‘What’s wrong with me?’ and ‘Why is she being so unfair?’” Then she paused and added, “Maybe it’s time for me to take the Switching Lane.” Two days later Angela called her coach and reported, “I asked myself how else I could think about the situation. That made me realise that I hadn’t been open-minded enough to ask Vivian for advice or even

La ne

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LEARNER

• Thoughtful Choices • Solution Focused • Win-Win Relating

Sw re? Why amI such a failu Why arethey so stupid? Why bother?

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What are my choices? ? What’s best to do now What’s possible?

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this time? Was it different—and how? What about your mood and confidence? What new solutions and possibilities can you see when you switch to Learner questions? You really can change your questions and change your life. When you find yourself in Judger and want to be in Learner instead, ask yourself Switching

i tc

What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with them?

h

JUDGER

• Automati c Reactio ns • Blame Fo cused • Win-Lose Relation

JUDGER PIT

can anticipate from each. Do this experiment to become aware of the impact of Judger and Learner mindsets and questions. First, think of a difficult situation in your life. Then, ask yourself Judger questions about it (like the ones on the Judger path) and notice what happens to your mood and self-confidence. Now, take a deep breath, exhale, switch and ask yourself Learner questions (like the ones on the Learner path). What’s your experience

questions to help you “reset” to Learner. Some helpful Switching questions include: Am I in Judger? Is this how I want to feel? Is this what I want to be doing? Where would I rather be? And, how else can I think about this? You can think of the Choice Map as your personal GPS for creating the life you want. It’s simple and it works! No batteries required.

Marilee Adams, Ph.D. is the author of the bestseller, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. Visit her website, www.InquiryInstitute.com, to download a free color copy of the Choice Map or send one to a friend.

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www.empoweonline.com.au


Enjoy some time out for yourself with these new inspiring and motivational books.

The Inconvenient Child

By Sharyn Killens & Lindsay Lewis, Miracle Publishing, $24.95 The Inconvenient Child is a gritty account of Sharyn Killen’s life, beginning as an unwanted child of mixed race, and her struggle to survive in an often hostile white society in post-war Australia, her journey to success as singer Shary Crystal and her remarkable quest to find her African-American father on the other side of the world. This no-holds barred autobiography is set to alarm those who consider us a tolerant society, but above all it’s a testament to the courage, determination an passion of one woman who could easily have faded into oblivion.

Fierce Leadership By Susan Scott, Hachette, $39.95

Financial Foreplay

Fierce Leadership is said to be the fast-acting anti-venom to the business-as-usual mode of high task/low relationship, self-serving agendas, directing and telling and hiring smart people who lack heart. Learn how to recognise and counteract the worst ‘best’ practices of leaders today. Gain the new sustainable, competitive edge – human connectivity. Develop a “squid eye” and spot the “tells” that signal imminent trouble around your conference table, your organisation and your team.

By RhondalynnKorolak, self published (available at empoweronline.com.au), $30.00

Poor financial management is as fatal to your business as a photo of your parents on the bedside table is to your libido! If you want to protect the heart of your business and get it to show you more love, you must understand and learn to prevent the most common causes of small business failure. Financial Foreplay is the antidote to these lethal killers. Here you will learn: How to give your bank balance a dose of Viagra; How to unlock the big ‘O’ in your business; Why STDs are killing your cash flow.

Waking from sleep Steve Taylor, Hay House, $24.95

How your mind can heal your body

Every time we witness a sunset, walk through a rainforest, or take a deep breath after a long workout, we are experiencing a type of heightened awareness that makes us feel alive and alert. These experiences don’t have to be limited. In this book, Steve Taylor suggests that our normal consciousness is really a kind of ‘sleep’ from which we sometimes ‘wake up’, into a more intense and complete reality. Waking from Sleep provides what is perhaps the first ever, clear explanation of higher states of consciousness.

By David Hamilton, Hay House, $24.95

We are all Brain Surgeons! This fascinating book explores the power of visualisation, belief and positive thinking – and their effects on the body. David Hamilton also presents a revolutionary quantum-field healing meditation – through which you can change yourself on an atomic level – and shows how you can use your imagination and thought processes to combat disease, pain and illness. You will see how science and belief systems can merge… so that you can heal yourself more effectively than ever before.

Winter 2010

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Feature | spirituality

Experiencing your

life-energy

Steve Taylor discusses the concept of life-energy – using it, regenerating it and intensifying it to bring about spiritual experiences.

iStockphoto

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n the strictest sense of the term, the term ‘spirit’ refers to life-energy. The word comes originally from the Latin spiritus, which means breath. We could therefore say that ‘Spirit’ refers to the breath of life, the life-energy which we expend as we live our lives, and which regenerates when we rest. And if ‘spirit’ means life-energy, ‘spiritual experiences’ are states when our life-energy becomes more intensified and stilled than normal. Normally, there’s a continual outflow of our life-energy – it’s used up through mental activity (such as cognition, concentration and perception) and through our emotions and instincts. But sometimes, when we’re relaxed, fairly inactive and our minds are quiet, this outflow of energy decreases. We conserve energy that we normally expend, and so life-energy builds up inside us, filling us with a sense of well-being, and fuelling our perceptions, so that we look at the world with a more intense and fresh vision – in other words, bringing about a spiritual experience. This is why meditation often generates spiritual experiences. When we sit down to meditate, we take ourselves off the treadmill of daily tasks and activities for a while, and sit quietly and close our eyes, so that we don’t use up much life-energy through concentration and perception. Our ‘thought-chatter’ slows down too, and we normally become free of emotional activity and sexual desire. As a result, after meditation there is an inner concentration of our life-energy, it’s concentrated and intensified rather than dispersed and dissipated. We can see meditation is a conscious attempt to build up an intensification

of life-energy and so generate spiritual experiences, but there are many situations when this happens spontaneously. This is the reason why nature is such a powerful trigger for the experiences, for example. The beauty of nature may have a similar effect to a mantra in meditation, directing attention away from the chattering of the ego-mind. Cognitive activity may fade away, until life-energy intensifies, bringing a sense of inner peace, wholeness and a heightened awareness of the phenomenal world. Steve Taylor’s new book, Waking From Sleep, is published by Hay House. Eckhart Tolle has described it as ‘one of the best books on spiritual awakening I have come across.’ For more information visit www.stevenmtaylor.com Sports can be a trigger of awakening experiences too. This is particularly true of sports that involve long periods of monotonous rhythmic activity, such as long distance running or swimming. The activity itself serves as a focusing device, and quietens the chattering ego-mind. This may also be part of the reason for connection between sex and spiritual states. The sheer pleasure of sex can shift our attention away from the ego-mind, which may fall silent as a result, bringing

what D.H. Lawrence described as “the strange, soothing flood of peace which goes with true sex.” At the same time, sex may release new energy inside us, energy that is normally dormant but can arise and shoot through us like electricity. This gives us a useful way for judging how spiritual – or unspiritual – different activities are. Activities like meditation, yoga, walking in the countryside, fishing, long-distance running, listening to music, looking at paintings, reading poetry etc. are all ‘spiritual’ activities because they all lend themselves to intensifying and stilling life-energy. And by the same token, activities like shopping, watching television or working in a busy office or restaurant are really ‘non-spiritual’, because they’re much less likely to bring about an intensification of our life-energy. This isn’t completely clear-cut, of course, but we could say that every activity has a certain spiritual potential and that while the spiritual potential of activities like meditation or yoga is high, the spiritual potential of shopping or watching TV is low. In principle, all activities can be spiritual, if we approach them in the right way. In some traditions, spiritual is seen as belonging to a realm outside everyday life, in monasteries and meditation rooms. There’s an opposition between the material and the spiritual, or the ‘profane’ and the ‘sacred.’ But in reality, all our activities can be spiritual if we approach them in the right way. Our spiritual life can pervade every aspect of our everyday life.

Steve Taylor is a researcher in transpersonal psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, UK, and the author of three books, The Fall, Making Time and Waking From Sleep (Hay House).He lives in Manchester, UK, with his wife and three young children. For more information, visit www.stevenmtaylor.com

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www.empoweonline.com.au


inspirational | Profile

The inconvenient

child

From brutal beginnings, courage and a dream helped Sharyn Killens turn her life around and find a loving African-American family after a search spanning two continents and 48 years.

S

Winter 2010

haryn Killens was a secret Australian child. In fact, her family rejected her even before she was born. “Abort it, adopt it, drown it. Just get rid of it”, was her grandmother’s advice to her blue-eyed blonde mother when she discovered she was pregnant to a visiting African-American serviceman in 1948. “In conservative post World War II Australia, it was scandalous to have an illegitimate baby, let alone a black one,” says Sharyn, “so my mother did all she could to distance herself from me, her inconvenient child.” Sharyn Killens is better known as Sharyn Crystal, a successful Australian singer and entertainer. But her life wasn’t always glamorous and her childhood was at times, a living hell. “At 19 months old I was rescued from squalid foster care and taken to live in a house of ill-repute in the red light district of Kings Cross. Interestingly, these were the happiest three years of my childhood,” she says. But then at five, Sharyn was abandoned in a convent-orphanage and so began her years in a series of brutal institutions. For the next seven years Sharyn suffered humiliation and beatings at the hands of a cruel nun because she was a chronic bed wetter. “My elegant and emotionally distant mother may have visited me only

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intermittently but I absolutely worshipped her – she was my princess mummy,” recalls Sharyn. After being expelled for constantly running away from the convent, Sharyn became a troubled and rebellious teenager. Her mother had now married and given birth to a baby son and Sharyn felt an outcast, being the only coloured child in a family of blue-eyed blondes. Her attempts to form a relationship with her aloof mother were often frustrated by the clashes over the secret her mother refused to reveal – the identity of Sharyn’s AfricanAmerican father. “At sixteen, I was arrested in Kings Cross as a runaway street kid,” she recalls. “The Magistrate said I was ‘uncontrollable’ and sentenced me to the notorious juvenile reformatory of Parramatta Girls Home, where I was frequently punished with physical force. I could not conform to the harsh conditions, so I was transported to Hay Girls Institution which was a closed, hard-labour prison for teenage girls.” Here, Sharyn was stripped of all dignity and suffered brutal treatment and debasing inspections by female and male officers. At night she was locked in a bare cell containing an iron bed with scant linen, a can, four small squares of toilet paper and a bible. Remember, she had committed no crime. “I really thought I’d lose my mind in Hay,” says Sharyn. “By the time I was


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Profile | inspirational

extraordinary twists of fate, a surprised and from mentors, Sharyn emotional Sharyn was introduced to her battled her self-esteem I was the lost African-American family on national US demons as she made her Australian daughter way from band singer to television in New York. “In that instance, my whole life rushed at me,” she says. “I theatre restaurant show who had yearned for felt I had come full circle. I was the lost singer and eventually, a loving family all my to headline entertainer Australian daughter who had yearned for life and I was finally a loving family all my life and I was finally Sharyn Crystal, in the found.” night clubs of Sydney Sharyns Mother Grace found. Then Sharyn was introduced to eighty and on luxury cruise ship gospel-singing cousins in North Carolina stages, sailing the Pacific. released I believed I was worthless, useless and discovered the Killens’ family history; “I worked hard to be the best and would never amount to anything. her African-American slavery roots and her singer I could be, and to provide for my I was full of self-loathing and hopelessness.” heritage. children,” she says. In addition to singing Throughout her childhood, Sharyn’s “I am so proud of who I am now, and at night, Sharyn also cleaned houses to comfort was always music. At times of I am proud of my sons. They have grown earn extra money, while her children desperation in the institutions, she would into fine men and have blessed me with were at school. “I had a local support dream of becoming a singer and imagine seven wonderful grandchildren. And my network of parents who helped look after herself on a stage in a glamorous gown, husband of twenty-four years is my greatest my children the nights I was singing and singing to an admiring audience. “But that friend and the love of my life. He saved I looked after theirs during the day on was all it was,” she says, “a dream.” me from a lifetime of bad choices,” says weekends and it worked well.” By now, Sharyn married young and eventually Sharyn. “I loved my mother but I also had Sharyn’s mother lived in Melbourne and found herself alone as a single mother with the right to know who my father was and their relationship was cordial. two small boys to support. Her self esteem why I was the only person of colour in a “I had turned my life around and continued to spiral downward. “I accepted white family, not just for myself but also eventually I met a wonderful man but a job as a stripper in Kings Cross,” she for my children and their children. It is I still didn’t know who I was,” she says. says, “and next came the drugs. I took everyone’s right to know who they are. And “My mother refused to discuss my drugs every day.” now I have my wonderful American family father other than te fact that he was Eventually, on the verge of becoming too.” an American serviceman, his ship had a ‘junkie mum’ and realising she had to sunk and he had change if her children were to have any drowned. “It’s kind of decent life, she walked away from my past and I By the time the lifestyle. “It wasn’t easy but I found a will not discuss I was released I job as a teacher’s aid at a special school it,” was always for children with disabilities and there I her answer, no believed I was discovered what real loving-and-giving matter how much worthless, useless and parenting was,” recalls Sharyn. I cajoled, insisted would never amount or demanded to know my Tha ddeus Killens Sharyns fath to anything The Inconvenient Child by er father’s name.” Sharyn Killens and Lindsay Lewis is Sharyn was forty available in all bookstores across when her mother Australia and New Zealand, Sharyn believes your childhood is what finally said the name ‘Thaddeus Killens’ online at Amazon and makes you the adult you are. “I’ve told but that was all she said. And so began www.TheInconvenientChild.com my story because if it encourages just one Sharyn’s quest to find her father in person to achieve their dreams, then I am America – in a population of 246 million. A physiotherapist at the school happy. Although life was probably harder “It was 1989 and long before the internet convinced Sharyn to go to an audition for me because of my circumstances and or Google so it wasn’t going to be easy for a musical theatre production. To her life’s events, now I have solved the mysteries but I was determined. I had survived my surprise and delight, she was accepted of the past, I look forward to a brilliant childhood and had fought to achieve my and so began her career in the Australian future.” dream of becoming a singer, so I was entertainment industry. sure I could find him.” Over the next thirty-five years, through Eight years later, after a roller-coaster determination and with encouragement ride of disappointments and some

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life| Sex advice

Lacking

intimacy

The sex chick, Natalia Mendez, explains why a lack of intimacy is detrimental to your relationship and shares the signs that you can look for to see if intimacy is lacking in yours.

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k, So here’s the question? Sex feels great, orgasms feel great, being close to your spouse and the feeling of touch feel wonderful, so why do we end up letting so many other things fill our day at the cost of such pleasure? I mean really, any logical person would prioritise their day to make sure that the fun and pleasure of sexual intimacy with their spouse would be on top of their daily list. Even when there are bills to pay, and everything seems overwhelming. Sex with your spouse is free and provides significant pleasure that isn’t available in too many places. But what so often happens in marriages is that the relationship deteriorates quickly into a cold, stale, and lonely existence for one, or both spouses, when the couple loses emotional intimacy in their marriage. Couples are becoming disconnected, which leads to anger, anxiety and often resentfulness. It’s a downward spiral with each person feeling lost, and lonely that can lead to extramarital affairs and potential

Winter 2010

marriage breakdown. So much pain for everyone involved that all started because the couple stopped putting sexual pleasure together as a priority. We are designed to enjoy sexual intimacy with our spouse. Not just sex, not just lust and passion, but INTIMACY. It amazes me how many men and women I speak to who have no idea how detrimental a lack ofintimacy can be to their relationship. Many couples realise there is something wrong in their marriage but haven’t noticed where the real issue lies. In fact, I have found that in most cases it is one spouse that is lacking sexual intimacy while the other spouse feels quite happy and content with their relationship the way it is. I often hear comments such as“I had no idea my spouse felt this way” or “I didn’t see this coming”. Hindsight can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes the answer is staring you right in the face! Once a couple becomes emotionally disconnected, their sex life will quickly feel the ill effects too. It is virtually impossible

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for women to enjoy sex when there is diminished emotional intimacy in the marriage. As the saying goes.“men need sex to feel loved, and women need love to feel like sex”.

Look for these signs that emotional intimacy is suffering in your relationship: 1. Hi and bye!- you have stopped talking and sharing your daily events and happenings. Communication has decreased and silence has developed. 2. It’s a touchy feely kind of thing you notice you no longer want to touch your partner with genuine desire. There is little to no intimate interaction happening between you to keep passion alive. 3. You’ve stopped kissing with intensity - giving your partnera quick peck has taken over kissing with passion, love and feelings. 4. You have developed selective hearing - listening to each other is no longer a priority. Sighs of frustration,


Sex advice | life

depression and body language are becoming obvious. These few signs are evidence of unhappiness and emotionally hurting. 5. You are more like flatmates than lovers – conversations have become about who’s taking the rubbish out and which bills need paying, rather than where you should have sex tonight.

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We are designed to enjoy sexual intimacy with our spouse. Not just sex, lust and passion, but intimacy. 6. You start to feel that your own responsibilities (kids, work, hobbies, fundraising events etc) are greater than your partner’s – you or your partner is left feeling unappreciated. 7. Two cars are better than one – you choose to meet independently to attend the same function instead of taking an extra few minutes to meet in your driveway and ride together as a couple. 8. TV dinners - sitting down together for dinner, as a family unit, has become

a thing of the past. Television has stopped communication. 9. You are harsh with your words - you find yourself being verbally abusive to your partner and thinking they can take it. Words are a two edged sword - they have the ability to build up and to cut down. This list can go on and on and I’m sure some hit a note with you. Given you are still reading, I am going to assume that you aren’t looking to live with a mediocre relationship and you are willing to take the first step to improvement even if you don’t want to. Sexual Intimacytruly feeds off the emotional Intimacy in your relationship. If you start correcting the emotional intimacy side of your relationship, your entire marital relationship will improve including the sex. Now here’s the tough bit. You cannot work on the emotional intimacy for a day or two and expect lasting change. It’s not as simple as a barter transaction. Instead, like most life-improving principles you must work at it each and everyday from this day forward. Why endure a loveless or sexless marriage, when a few changes can ensure you live your life together in happiness and with sexual satisfaction.

Commit to this practical homework to do together: 1. Ask some tough questions. Would you say that the sexual and intimate part of your marriage is healthy and strong? Are you giving your partner the love and attention they deserve? 2. Answer honestly what you can both do to make it better. At work we look for promotion, for enjoyment and satisfaction as a priority. We know the consequences if we don’t give

100% - we get fired. What about at home?Are you at risk of being fired from your role as a lover? 3. What do you think will happen if you don’t “show” loving actions to your spouse? You know how much fun it is to give a really special gift or surprise. Get enjoyment out of planning little moments; little notes in his brief case, a sexy text message, organising the kids to be minded and taking him out to dinner. Don’t look for things in return and simply enjoy giving. A change in attitude will see some beautiful things happen over time.

You cannot work on the emotional intimacy for a day or two and expect lasting change. 4. Write down your own sexual expectations truthfully, ask your spouse do the same and then swap pieces of paper and have a read. Take care not to react and become righteous if you don’t think their expectation is reasonable. Stop and think. Appreciate the fact they are sharing with you. 5. Write down 5 things you can do starting now, to bring intimacy back into your marriage and develop a great sex life. 6. Keep the list going. Create a sexual diary and write down what you did and want to do. Yes, it’s a bit naughty but it will keep you looking forward to the next adventure in the bedroom… or dining room… or laundry or.

Natalia Mendez is the founder of Romance Me - a new concept in Australia catering for couples to add some adult fun into their marriage whilst keeping the sleezy porn out! She has a passion for helping couples develop a greater level of intimacy in their relationship. For more information visit www.romanceme.com.au. You can now also join us on Facebook.

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feature| Life

Couple connection If you’re having trouble maintaining the emotional and physical bond in your relationship, take heart. Here, Dr Antonia Ruhl shows us how a little effort can go a long way in re-establishing the connection.

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e all know that a good relationship doesn’t just happen because we love someone, or have found our soul mate. A successful relationship takes work, and if you’re finding it difficult to connect to your partner, you’re not alone. Despite the fact that it’s everywhere we turn, from our music videos to our billboards, sex seems to be on the decline. In Australia, researchers have found that Australians on average are having sex less than twice a week. One of the biggest barriers to sex these days is the pace of modern life. Everything runs to a schedule, and we’re so busy getting from point A to B, that we’ve forgotten to schedule sex and intimacy into our lives. By the time we do crawl under the sheets at the end of a long day, we barely have the energy for a quick goodnight kiss, let alone sex! Another reason that couples feel a physical and emotional disconnection is simple boredom. Couples can become more like housemates than lovers, and that’s hardly conducive to a steamy sex life! So, to re-establish a connection with your partner, which will result in a greater physical, emotional and sexual relationship, try these simple tips:

Touch

Live in your body, instead of in your head

Yes, an intimate connection is all about getting undressed, but also pay attention to clothing fabrics and how they feel against your body (for example, silk or cotton). Also look at the types of clothes your partner likes you to wear and wear these more often. Encourage your partner to also wear clothing that excites you, for example a suit

Most of us are so focused on work, making money, or the kids, that we completely forget that we are living, human bodies. Take the time to slow down and really savour life and your partner.

Winter 2010

Create opportunities to touch one another more to bring the body connection back. Whether it’s through massage or brushing your partner’s hair, touch each other in simple gestures to get the body tuned in and turned onto one another.

Romance baby Start to create romance at home. Light candles, play seductive music, or prepare massage oil and give one another a massage. Do these things spontaneously to get the body tuned to romance. Even a simple head and shoulder massage not only helps to relieve stress, but the skin-onskin contact stimulates the sex hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin, otherwise known as the hormone of love, is produced in the brain and it’s associated with increased feelings of sexual receptivity and bonding.

Go erotic in the kitchen If you beat your partner home, cook a meal for them using erotic foods. Foods like strawberries, mangoes and pears can activate the body, because they remind us of our intimate body parts, so try feeding your partner a tasty treat like chocolatedipped strawberries.

Get dressed

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or tight jeans. I’ve never known a man to get excited by a woman wearing a tracksuit.

Date one another Schedule an old-fashioned date night once a week, and do things to get the body moving. For example, have a dance lesson, go ice-skating, or hire some bikes and go for a ride. Physical activities such as these help to turn the body on, get the blood pumping, and boost your energy levels. They’re likely to also provide a few belly laughs, which is important for reestablishing a connection with one another.

Think sexy thoughts Your mind is a very powerful tool, so use it to psych yourself up. Imagine some of the details of an impending tryst with your partner. How would you feel and what kind of things would you do to one another to become aroused? Remember, it’s these simple things that will turn the body’s tactile and nervous systems on, resulting in the body’s natural interest in sex and connection. It doesn’t always have to be about sex – it’s about finding small ways to connect to your partner on a daily basis, that will lead to a great emotional connection, and a more fulfilling sexual and physical connection. Antonia Ruhl is a natural health practitioner and author, offering a range of services covering all aspects of human experience: Mind, Body and Spirit. Join Antonia for her ‘An evening with Antonia Ruhl’ event on July 13, which will provide tools for enhancing your relationships. Visit www.naturalstresstherapy.com


Sex advice | life

Convert your

sexual energy Historically, sex has been the driving force of creativity, resourcefulness and evolution itself in both men and women. Sex drives the brain and if you can harness this, you can use this drive to create results in all areas of life.

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S

exual energy or desire is the lust for life in all forms and is the most powerful human emotion. By achieving a state of sexual desire and maintaining it, you keep the mind in a heightened state of arousal and activity. Therefore, when you mix sex and love, you have the perfect mix for drawing on the creative mind. One of the most influential chapters of Napoleon Hill’s “Think& Grow Rich” is “The mystery of sex transmutation”. Behind this alchemistic concept, Hill explains the incredible potential of redirecting the emotions and energy of sex to achieving great results in life.”When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times ”says Hill. “The desire for sexual expression is congenital and natural. It should not be repressed but givenan aperture to release other means of expression”. The desire for sexual expression must be tamed and channeled into action other than that of physical expression.If you get yourself into that heightened state of emotional intensity you are going to be: • More aware • More sensitive to stimuli • Feeling more alive • Exuberant and expressive • More energised and inspired These are all qualities you can draw on to be creative, inspirational, and exceptionally minded. Explore the three easily accessible steps,to use the practice of transmutation

of sex energyto purposely power up your brain and let your creativity juices flow.

Turn On Your Creative Juices! Most of the geniuses, creators, leaders and entrepreneurs of the past and present have very strong sex drives. More often than not, if you are healthy, you are going to have a strong sex drive. Lift your sex drive by noticing and practising sensuality: • Do you relish in the tastes of foods and drink? • Do you take notice of the warm touch of bare skin or the coolness of satin? • Do you allow yourself to experience pleasure in your environment, in the beauty of nature? • Do you fully experience the abundance of pleasure and good feelings that music can bring you? Get passionate, get sensuous and love your body, as it is an instrument that can create and experience pure bliss. You can also increase your sex drivethrough the art of Sexual Chi Kung, which is rapidly emerging in the West as an exceptional health system, having profound effects on the body, mind and spirit.

Store upyour sexual urges! Over indulgence in sex and orgasm, will diminish the feeling of desire and the affect that it has on the mind. Tease your desire and hold it at that level without satisfying it, because arousal will benefit you mentally and spiritually. You can do it with anything you want - it doesn’t have to be sex, though sex is the most effective. When you are hungry, take a piece of fruit into your

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mouth and just “hold” it there ... see how long you can go without actually chewing it, just close your eyes and taste it, feel its texture, savour everything about it.Let your desire and lust build. With your partner perhaps explore the practice of Karezza. Feel each other, cuddle, caress but do not orgasm. Find ways to express your love/lust without actually going the whole way.

Convert those urges into energy, which drives results in other areas of life Keep the feelings as high as possible and from that state of heightened arousal, passion and love you can transmute or turn your desire for sex into a desire for something else. Create, invent, write a poem, sing, dance and express yourself, access heightened spirituality and insights or even work out a business problem. When you are aroused, think of achallenge you may be having at work or in your business, and turn that lust over to finding the solution to this problem. This will require a bit of imagination. In expanded states of consciousness you have access to sources of knowledge that you would not otherwise have when thinking in the normal way we do day to day. Rachel Anastasi is an empowerment coach, speaker, mentor and founder of Free to be Me Life Coaching and www.secretsofasupercoach.com. For more information visit www.freetobemecoaching.com.au

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life | Feature

The Truth About Male

Infertility What is male infertility? Is it treatable? Is there anything you need to know to increase conception chances and the odds of creating a truly healthy baby? Natural fertility expert, Gabriela Rosa answers all your questions

T

he male factor represents approximately 40% of the reason some couples have difficulty conceiving. In many cases and with sufficient time, natural methods of treatment can make a dramatic improvement in the quality of sperm parameters — although at least 120 days of targeted treatment is required before definite improvements can be possible. The key to optimum fertility is to be as healthy as possible prior to a conception attempt. This will not only improve your chances of a natural or assisted conception, but it will significantly improve your chances of having the healthiest possible baby. Research shows that couples who, together, undergo a comprehensive natural fertility program prior a conception attempt are at least 47.1% more likely to conceive through IVF and have approximately 78% chance of naturally overcoming infertility. As far as sperm are concerned — heat, toxic environmental exposure and oxidation are enemies that are best avoided. The key is to be as diligent as possible with leading a healthy lifestyle, whilst implementing effective natural strategies. Here are some tips you can start implementing now:

Be cool Try to avoid overheating the testicles — boxer shorts are better than briefs and stop crossing those legs. Research shows that squashing the testes for long periods can harm nerves and temporarily impede blood flow. This can cause tingling and numbness in the entire reproductive region and lead not only to infertility but also eventually to erectile dysfunction. If your job involves sitting for long periods, be sure to get up and walk around to cool things down a

Winter 2010

little and avoid using heated car seats all together. You will definitely also need to avoid baths, spas and saunas.

Watch where you put that thing The last place you should put your mobile phone is in your pocket. Sperm cells are very sensitive to radiation of any kind and your sperm parameters will negatively suffer from the exposure. In order to optimise your fertility, it is best if you and your partner can avoid and protect yourselves as much as possible from all types of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

Antioxidants +++ Nutrients and herbal medicines can have an amazingly nourishing and restorative effect on the body, which can be used to support healthy sperm production. However, each individual has different requirement and an assessment of your needs, as well as what other supplements or medicines you are currently taking is really important before embarking on any new supplementation. Resolving depletion or deficient states in your body can make a world of difference to optimizing your fertility.

Toxins kill Not only can toxins have a negative impact on general health, they literally kill or damage sperm to a level that renders them unable to effect a healthy

conception, causing infertility and/or being a contributing factor in recurrent miscarriages. The key is to avoid chemicals in every form as much as possible from cleaning products and pest control to paints, building materials, heavy metals and more. The basic rule: do your homework before using any new product or chemical ’solution’ presented to you. And, ensure to use every possible and available protection from chemicals and other toxic hazards in the workplace.

Clean up your diet and lifestyle Cut out the junk food, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and base your meals on fresh, unprocessed, vital foods — everyday! The healthier your diet and lifestyle, the most optimum your fertility — it is that simple. Of course these are not the only factors in naturally boosting fertility; however they are vital pillars in any natural fertility solution program to ensure you do everything possible to take home the healthy baby of your dreams. Making positive changes to optimise your health will also have a remarkably positive impact on your fertility — and the benefits don’t stop there. In ensuring you are doing your best you are also making a decision about your legacy in the form of your offspring. Start making consistently better choices today — your prospective child’s life depends on them.

Natural fertility specialist and leading naturopath Gabriela Rosa (BHSc, ND, Post Grad NFM, DBM, Dip Nut, MATMS, MNHAA) is the author of three books, including ‘Eat Your Way To Parenthood: The Diet Secrets Of Highly Fertile Couples Revealed’. For more information or a FREE subscription to the Natural Fertility Booster please visit www.NaturalFertilityBreakthrough.com or www.FertilityAlignment.com.

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Feature | wellbeing

No

magic pill

Burn fat while you sleep! Drop two dress sizes in ten days! As Richard Garard explains, there is no magic pill for weight loss, so get back to basics with a healthy eating plan, regular exercise and a positive attitude.

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romises of a quick fix for weight loss entice many women who are overweight or looking to lose weight fast to spend money on magic weight loss supplements. Unfortunately though, there is no miracle supplement for weight loss. In fact, many of the diet pills and weight loss supplements available over the counter are, at best ineffective, and at worst, dangerous. Even if the product claims to be “natural,” this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safe.

Are they safe? Weight loss supplements often contain compounds that are designed to sedate, stimulate, or even suppress your appetite. Common derivatives include everything from high dosages of caffeine (sometimes equivalent to the amount in three cups of coffee), to ingredients like guarana, hoodia and bitter

orange. If ingested in their natural state, these ingredients are limited in dose and pure. But once extracted into a concentrated form and placed in a pill or capsule along with a cocktail of other ingredients, they can cause problematic side effects such as heart strain, increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety attacks, severe nausea, headaches, insomnia and diarrhea. If you’re thinking about trying weight loss supplements, it is important that you do your homework and talk with your doctor, especially if you have health problems or take prescription drugs. Most weight loss supplements contain multiple ingredients, such as, herbs, vitamins, caffeine, minerals or laxatives, which may cause side effects that can interfere with medications that you take. Ingredients such as bitter orange, which is a stimulant, have biological activity and can interfere with prescription drugs. Furthermore, it is important to forget about the glossy packaging and advertising claims, and instead to focus on what it is that you are putting into your body.

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Do they work? The multi-billion dollar weight loss supplement industry has saturated the market with the ever-increasing range of products promising quick and effortless results. Advertising on these products is often misleading and filled with unsubstantiated claims that will result in nothing aside from you wasting your money. Contrary to what people think, weight loss pills do not melt away fat. Instead, they work by suppressing your appetite or blocking metabolic pathways. Some products may provide temporary weight loss in the initial stages, however the body develops a tolerance to these supplements after the first few weeks, and weight loss plateaus. After that, if you don’t follow a healthy eating plan and exercise program, the weight will come right back, often with greater weight gains.

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The truth We live in a world of shortcuts. So it is no surprise that everyone wants a quick fix solution that will make you lose weight effortlessly in only a matter of weeks. However, the reality is that when it comes to weight loss, there’s no magic bullet; slow and steady wins the race. The most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is through lifestyle changes. A healthy eating plan, regular exercise and a positive attitude may not provide overnight results, but they develop the essential foundation that is required for anyone who is serious about losing weight and keeping it off long-term. The makers of weight loss supplements would like you to believe that their products will miraculously solve your weight loss problems. But keep in mind that even if you take a weight loss supplement, you still have to eat fewer calories than your body uses in order to lose weight. Furthermore, even if these products help you lose weight initially, you will probably have to keep taking them to keep the weight off, which may not be practical or safe. The main problem is that weight loss supplements aren’t a sustainable solution and they don’t replace the need for changes in your eating habits, activity levels and lifestyle decisions. The simple truth is that weight loss supplements do not promote permanent loss of body fat or weight loss. It is lifestyle changes, and not supplements that take the weight off and keep it off. Although weight loss supplements may sound like the perfect solution to get fast results, if the claims sound to good too be true, they often are.

Richard Garard is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach specialising in women’s health and fitness. He is the founder of She FITNESS, which offers group and individual fitness programs for women of all ages and levels of fitness. For more information visit www. SheFITNESS.com.au.

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wellbeing | Feature

Mind over

body

Few people realise the impact that their mind is having on their body every day. As David Hamilton Ph.D. shows you can use your imagination and thought processes to combat disease, pain and illness.

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hen you have a thought of embarrassment, blood rushes to your face. Here, a thought has triggered the flow of blood.This is something that you can see, but much more goes on in the body that you don’t see. Hormone levels rise and fall in response to the contents of our minds, much as waves rise and fall on the sea. And just as the sea can be calming or destructive, depending upon the nature of the waves, then so can our minds exert a calming influence or a damaging one. It has become popular to discuss stress and the impact of it upon the body. We don’t always focus, however, on where it all starts – in the mind. When our dominant thinking is about what might happen if we don’t get such and such a thing done in time, for instance, we release copious quantities of stress hormones into our bloodstream. While initially they serve a positive purpose, in time the build up can cause collateral damage to the body, increasing the likelihood of stress-related conditions like heart disease or stroke. Just as before, it is our thinking that is responsible for the increases in stress hormone levels, not the situations we face. It is our thoughts about these situations that modulate the rhythms of stress hormones. If we were able to take ourselves off in a little mental fantasy to a beautiful beach on a warm summer’s day during some of these times, we would instead activate the ‘rest and relax’ mode of our nervous system, reducing stress hormone levels. Not that doing so is particularly easy, but it emphasises a point that the health of the body has much more to do with the

Winter 2010

contents of our minds that we have ever previously imagined. Practicing relaxation (or meditation) does, however, make it much easier to meet potentially stressful situations with a much more calm and therefore healthier mind.Regular practice of sitting quietly for 15 minutes a day, perhaps listening to the sound of your breathing, some soft music, sounds of the sea, or a relaxation CD, has a massive impact upon the brain and body. Not only does it reduce stress,butit actually slows the aging process and impacts us at the genetic level. Researchers at Harvard University studied a group of people given 8 weeks training in meditation. They found that the meditation had positively impacted the volunteers at the genetic level – impacting 1,561 genes counteracting much of the cellular damage normally done by stress, which is part of the aging process. Tens of thousands of people around the world now practice meditation for it’s mentally calming effects but new evidence like this is now showing that the benefits translate right down to the genetic level. It is the repetition of the practice that ultimately produces the benefits. A single relaxation session doesn’t make a lasting impression just as going to the gym once hardly makes an Olympic champion. And remarkably there is a growing body of evidence that says that a person can even go to the gym in their mind to strengthen their bodies, a practice that is finding application not only for athletes but also for people who have suffered a stroke or even spinal cord damage. It’s power stems from the fact that when we think the

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same thought repetitively it impacts the actual physical structure of our brains. This was powerfully demonstrated by a Harvard study that asked volunteers to play a simple combination of piano notes going up and down a scale using each of their five fingers. The volunteers did it repetitively for two hours straight on five consecutive days. Analysis of the brain found that the area of the brain connected to some of the finger muscles had grown in size, much as a muscle grows if we exercise it. But in a separate part to the experiment another group of volunteers had no piano and instead had to repetitively play the notes in their minds. But quite incredibly, the same areas of their brains were affected and to the same degree. Just imagining playing the notes had caused actual physical changes in the brain. Could this translate onto an actual increase in muscle strength? That question has been answered several times with an affirmative. In one experiment, conducted at the Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland, USA, volunteers repetitively flexed their little finger for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks. At the end of the term, their finger muscle strength had grown by 53%. A separate group of volunteers were asked to do the finger flexing in their minds and, quite astonishingly, their finger strength grew by 35% after the 12 weeks and they hadn’t, ‘technically’, lifted a finger. This kind of effect has obvious benefits for people with muscle impairments. At the University of Cincinnati College


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Feature | wellbeing

of Medicine, 16 chronic stroke patients were invited to do daily mental practice of moving their impaired arms in addition to physical therapy. Another 16 patients only did the physical therapy. After six weeks, those who did the mental practice had much more improved use of their arms than those who didn’t. Similar studies are now finding their way into medical journals as scientists show that visualisation can be used to tackle a widening array of conditions. In a study at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco, asthma sufferers used ‘Biologically Targeted Imagery’ of reducing bronchospasm and reducing inflammation and found that this visualization substantially reduced symptoms of asthma compared with patients who did not use such visualisation. Sometimes, patients are guided through visualisations by a hypnotherapist or through using a guided imagery CD. In the past, much of the imagery was focused upon helping patients to relax but there are an increasing number of guided imagery studies that invite patients to actually visualise on healing themselves, just as the previous asthma sufferers did. Although not in the medical journals, I have personally collected a database of stories from people around the world who used visualisation to aid their recovery process from illnesses and disease, including a woman who imagined tumours melting like ice, another who imaged that they were edible and imagined a rabbit licking them away to nothing, one who imagined her immune cells swallowing up cancer cells, several who imagine chemotherapy drugs like little pac-men or piranha fish chomping away at tumours until they have been completely swallowed up, numerous people who imagine radiotherapy as bolts of lightning that blow up and evaporate chunks of tumours, and still some who imagine speaking to cancer cells and kindly asking them to leave. I know of people who had arthritis who imagined sanding down their joints and lubricating them, people with heart

disease imagining steam cleaning their arteries; I even heard of a woman who lost a lot of weight through imagining piranha fish eating the fat from various parts of her body. But as she was losing weight she also started to shrink in breast size, which bothered her, so she imagined the fish swimming upwards and depositing what they’d eaten from elsewhere in her body onto her breast. Not only did she continue to lose weight but she also gained a cup size. Of course, these are anecdotal reports, although a number have come with medical reports and names of consultants who treated them, but I believe that they point towards something real that medical science is only beginning to realise, that our minds exert much more influence over our health than we have previously thought. In almost all of the above examples, I must point out that visualization was not the sole strategy used and this is a very important point. Visualisation is something that you do in addition to whatever else you are doing to combat an illness or disease. If it is something serious then it might be in addition to whatever course of treatment your doctor recommends. I like to think of visualisation as directed positive thinking, a way of using our minds highly specifically that gives us

a much greater feeling of control over our health than we would normally feel. The key is to direct your positive thinking repetitively, so long as you don’t stress yourself in the process. If you’re tackling something serious then talk over your plans with your doctor and you might just get some extra support.

After completing his PhD, David Hamilton spent four years working as a scientist, developing drugs for cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Inspired by the placebo effect, he resigned and began to research the mind-body connection. Now, author of four books published by Hay House, he travels the world giving talks and offering workshops to help people understand the power of the mind over the body.www.drdavidhamilton.com

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business | In profile

A very Healthy Habit Single mother of two, Katherine Sampson, is the founder of franchise chain, Healthy Habits. Started five years ago as a humble sandwich bar and through much financial and business stress, Katherine has turned Healthy Habits into a successful and thriving business. She candidly shares her journey with emPOWER. Be inspired…

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o talk to Katherine Sampson, you cannot help but be in awe of her confidence. Knowing her Healthy Habits story and what she has gone through to build the brand into the thriving business it is today, puts you also in awe of her passion, commitment and ‘never give up’ attitude. Putting everything on the line to franchise her sandwich store, she spent four years in financial hell before recently selling 80% of the business to Dymocks. And, all this as a single mum of two children. Q. Tell us about life before healthy Habits. What were you doing? A. Originally I was working as a Paralegal in lawyer’s offices. After having my first child I started a children’s accessories business making tulle teddy bear mobiles and baby headbands (so 80’s!). I then started working at a relative’s sandwich bar. Eight months later, when the business was put on the market, I bought it. Q. Where did the initial idea for Healthy Habits come from? A. I purchased my first business in 1992. After running this successfully for seven years, I decided to open my second store in

Winter 2010

1999. This lead to my third store in 2000 and my fourth store in 2001. Q. What were the early days like in the business? How did you feel? A. With the first four stores, life was great! All the stores were successful, I had a great team of committed long-term staff, our customers loved us and the money was rolling in. I managed the businesses around my two children, and I had the flexibility to choose my own working hours. I went on holidays every year, renovated my house and generally enjoyed life. Q. Once the business started, how did you grow? A.Once I started franchising, life changed rapidly. I always say that if I had known then, what I know now, I would never have started franchising! I don’t have any regrets, it’s just that franchising was 10 times harder than I would ever have imagined. I started working long hours, I often left the office after midnight, I had to employ additional staff to plan for growth, I had to move to bigger offices, buy company cars, upgrade our computer system, buy office furniture, fly interstate on a weekly basis and generally work like a dog. Money started drying up and expenses

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far outweighed the income of the business. I started selling off properties, artwork, shares and anything else that could bring in some funds. At no stage did I ever take on external investors. Q. How did you fund the business? What has been your personal investment? A. The business was funded purely by business cashflow, personal savings, loans and by selling off properties and other assets that I owned. Q. What have been the highlights for Healthy Habits? A. There have been many, many highlights; taking on franchise partners and watching them live their dream, to own their own business; meeting amazing successful entrepreneurs; travelling around Australia and getting to know my own “backyard”; travelling overseas to events and international franchising conferences; being recognised through awards and achievements. Q. What are you most proud of in your achievement to date? A. Success for me isn’t about money. If I lost everything tomorrow, I wouldn’t feel any less successful that if I made 10 million


In profile | business

dollars. Success for me is about making a difference. I am really proud of the business concept and brand I’ve created. I’m proud of what I’m leaving behind in this world. Q. What have you found to be your biggest challenges? A. Just like there have been many highlights, there have also been many lowlights: money and lending; the frustration of learning what I didn’t know; time spent away from my kids over the last few years and missing out on special events with them.

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Katherine’s most valuable lessons in business: • Money doesn’t grow on trees! Banks won’t take risks and money is hard to find when you’re growing and others see you as high risk. • Before starting your own business, save enough money to last you the first year; or source private investors if possible. • There will always be “copy cats” you need to lead the competition to stay No.1. • Always negotiate price before letting work commence. • Keep friendship and business separate when negotiating deals and ALWAYS put it down on paper. It’s been really hard “making it up” as I went along. It’s amazing how much I’ve had to learn and it’s been really hard work. Q. How have you overcome these challenges? A. Employing people who know more than me. I always say they make me look good and teach me what I don’t know! Q. How have you had to grow personally throughout your Healthy Habits journey? A. I have always been highly strung and a perfectionist at work. I have had to learn how to relax, focus and take one step at a time. There have been times where I’ve been totally “freaked out” and have been completely overwhelmed and stressed out. The lessons over the last few years have

taught me to take one day at a time. Q. Have you had moments when you wished you had never set out on the Healthy Habits journey? What kept you going during these times? A. There have been some really tough times. My kids got me through. The need to support them and give them a better life is what drives me everyday. Also, my franchise partners, who have invested in both me and my business, keep me going. They believed in me and I believe in them. Q. If you were starting in business all over again, what would you do differently? A. Stay with four stores, enjoy life and take it easy. Having said that and knowing my personality, which is to succeed and make a difference, I don’t think I would have done anything differently. Q. You’ve now sold 80% of the business to Dymocks. What’s the impact of that sale to you, both personally and for the business? How do you feel? A. It was a really easy decision to make. I was exhausted, I was treading water, I was struggling to keep up with my financial position and I didn’t have the experience to grow the business further. I am still the Managing Director of the business, but I’m surrounded with amazing, smart people, who help me make decisions every day. The business is now debt free, which also takes the pressure off. Q. How will this sale change the business? What are the plans for Healthy Habits now? A. No difference. The business will continue to grow through store openings. The direction of the business hasn’t changed. The CEO and Board agreed with the vision I had, so we are moving ahead as originally planned. Q. What’s next for you personally? A. I will continue as Managing Director of Healthy Habits. I have relocated to Sydney and love living there. Q. What do you feel is the secret of your success with Healthy Habits? A. For me, there is not just one secret.

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Firstly, I have passion for the business. I have had the passion and determination to succeed in growing the Healthy Habits brand. Secondly, I have made a huge commitment to my franchise partners and their success. Thirdly, I have surrounded myself with a fantastic team who I have the utmost respect for. And finally, my personality – to make decisions quickly and change direction fast. Q. What advice do you have for other women starting out in business? A. Just go for it. Take a chance. It’s better to have tried and failed, rather than to have died wondering. Women are amazing at multi tasking and it’s amazing how easily we manage life, a family and a business. Surround yourself with a strong support network, so that if you have children, you have a back up plan when things happen during the day. Don’t ever think it can’t be done. Women always seem to find a way.

Katherine

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career | Feature

Powerful

presentations Rapid changes are being brought about in today’s fast-paced world – and they must be communicated effectively with poise, power, and persuasion. Savleen Bajaj shares her secrets to being a powerful presenter in any environment.

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owerful presentation skills, enable you to eloquently express your thoughts, ideas, and message effectively. The combinative relational strengths, of the skilled presenter and effective presentation skills, are rapidly becoming a greatly admired and appreciated ability. Whether it is a sales presentation to a client, an informative presentation to an audience, or introducing a new product to stakeholders, presenting with confidence, is an essential quality for success. Presentation skills are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, personal environment, academic settings, and social arenas. Regardless of whether you are speaking to prospects, customers, colleagues, family members, friends, or a large audience, your presentation skills can greatly impact your business, career, reputation, relationships, and results. There are a number of benefits of effective presentation skills: • To be able to give presentations with confidence, competence and clarity • To develop and use factual, logical and interesting supporting material • To balance verbal and non-verbals to add power to your presentation • To control nervousness • To communicate with clarity and conviction • To expertly handle questions and situations • To handle yourself with poise and confidence while addressing a group A presentation serves as a vehicle for communicating ideas, solutions, and information to an individual or group.

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As a presenter, your presentation carries your unique personality, and allows for interaction between you and your audience. An effective presentation has: • Content-Relevant and informative information. • Structure-Contains a logical beginning, middle, end and relevant examples or facts. • Preparation-Great presentations require preplanning and adequate preparation. • Authenticity-Contains your own unique style of communication and presentation. Giving a presentation can be an uncomfortable and anxious experience. The following steps will take you through the process of developing an effective presentation, from choice of a topic and organisation of materials, through to the final question and answer period. Tips are shared on how to know your audience, control nervousness, and handle yourself with poise and confidence. Incorporate the steps, to help you gain a greater sense of personal confidence, and security in your ability to present.

Adequate preparation The most essential of presentation skills is preparation. Adequate preparation allows for substance, mental clarity, confidence, and professionalism. Have a clear delineation of purpose, know your subject matter well, and identify the occasion, in order to structure a clear and engaging presentation. Invest sufficient time to develop a sound objective and content, which is relevant to your topic. The goal

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of a presentation is to inform, educate, persuade, ideate, sell, or to develop. When preparing, keep in mind that the process of developing a powerful presentation, must include four main components; the audience, the occasion, the information/ speech, and the presenter.

Know your audience Begin by setting presentation parameters. Create an audience profile. Be mindful of who the audience is and who you are pitching your information to. Collect the necessary logistical and demographic data about your audience. Think about what will be relevant and engaging for them. Ask yourself, “How is my topic going to benefit them?” Structure your information, and distinguish what the audience needs to know about the topic. A clear and tight presentation, will keep the audience interested.

Content development and organization An effective presentation involves the following steps: 1. Distinguish the goal of your presentation i.e.; inform, educate, persuade, ideate, sell, etc 2. Develop a central theme 3. Collect the relevant data to enhance your theme 4. Select the method of material organization 5. Outline your speech 6. Create an introduction to your presentation 7. Create a body of your presentation


Feature | career

8. Develop factual, logical and interesting supporting material 9. Create a conclusion 10. Formulate some Q & A’s that relate to your theme

Balance your message Balance your personal style, content, and visual aids. It is important to incorporate both the verbal and the visual message in your presentation. How you deliver your presentation, is crucial for a successful outcome. Master the fundamentals of visual impact – good eye contact, natural hand gestures, relaxed stance, and a friendly face. Concise visual aids help to reinforce your message, provide cues, and make points with impact. You can also make your content clearer and more memorable, by incorporating relevant examples and quotes in your presentation. Remember, the use of both verbal and non-verbals, add power to your presentation

Polish your delivery

Keep it simple

Prepare yourself as the presenter

Avoid packing your presentation with too much information, jargon, or complicated terminology. The purpose of a presentation is to put across key messages, convince your audience of your competence and generate enthusiasm to take the next step – such as take action on your recommendations, or change behaviour. Remember, simplicity is the key to success. Complex presentations can be counterproductive as they divert focus from the core message of the presentation. Therefore, remember to balance simplicity with your own unique presentation style.

Transform nervousness into confidence

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projects confidence. Therefore, go ahead and visualise success. Envision yourself delivering the presentation, with poise and confidence to a receptive audience. Transform stage fright and nervous energy, into excitement and confidence.

Nervous energy has positive associations, when the energy is channelled into confidence. This can be achieved with some simple relaxation techniques, such as, deep breathing, visualising success, use of humour, and smiling. Visualise your goal. Just as dancers imagine success before pursuing it, you too can trade in your nervousness, for the image of a confident and competent presenter. A confident voice combined with appropriate gestures, open body language and friendly eye contact,

Your delivery should focus on keeping the audience engaged and involved. Seize their attention from the outset, through a powerful opening. This will evoke positive emotions that emphasize the benefits of your presentation. Arrange the content, so that each point creates a desire in the audience to hear more. Whenever possible, use discussion breaks and question-andanswer sessions in your presentation. Summarise key information in your conclusion, and emphasise the information value to the audience. Remember, to practice communicating with clarity and conviction.

As the presenter, be prepared to be the centre of attention. This aspect may be an uncomfortable experience, which leads to symptoms of stress. Harness the stress, and turn it into a feeling of excitement and anticipation. Present yourself professionally. Remember to be approachable, smile, have an open stance, adopt a warm tone of voice, and keep things positive. Strengthen your message with your image. Choose your clothing to enhance your presentation. Wear colours and styles that compliment you and jewellery that is enhancing but inconspicuous.

Make the best use of your voice Take a moment before you start the presentation, to breathe deeply while you

smile at the audience. Whenever you feel nervous sensations, pause and breathe deeply again. Making the best use of your voice is almost as important as visual impact. Include modulation, stress on certain key words, and inflect for gaining attention on relevant data. In this way, you convey enthusiasm, and interest. Make the best use of your voice to bring the audience’s attention level back to peak.

Rehearse and practice Rehearse from start to finish using visual aids. Time your rehearsal, so you can adhere to the time frame. Practice will help you improve how you speak as well as your use of non-verbal communication. It is best to practice in front of a friend or a mirror. Look out for common problems such as words that diminish your presentation’s effectiveness. Listen for ways to improve the volume, pitch, and tone of your voice. Be mindful of any physical movement or gestures, which can contradict your message and diminish your credibility with the audience. Practice makes perfect. Therefore, rehearse well ahead of your presentation –to be on your way to becoming a confident and successful presenter.

Handling questions from the audience Know your subject well, so that there are no impossible questions. If you don’t know the answer, admit it openly and calmly, instead of guessing. Let them know that you will find out the answer, and get back to them. Restate or rephrase each question so the audience can understand it well. Extract the substance of the question and answer briefly, but to the point. Be well prepared, and anticipate questions in advance. Conclude the question and answer period with a closing statement of thanks.

Savleen Bajaj is an internationally respected leadership authority, success coach, professional speaker, psychologist, author, and facilitator. Multi-award winner, for her global contribution to transformational coaching and empowerment, Savleen has dedicated two decades of empowering cutting-edge technologies to accelerate human growth. For more info, call (03) 8802 7983 or email info@savleenbajaj.com. To subscribe to her free newsletter visit www.savleenbajaj.com

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business | Feature

It’s not them,

it’s YOU

Rhondalynn Korolak shows why you’re the biggest obstacle in your business and how you can stop sabotaging your own success

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f you didn’t have any problems or challenges in your business, would you consider yourself successful? Most business owners make the fatal mistake of assuming that just because they have issues or difficulties, it means they must not be successful. Nothing could be further from the truth. The definition of success in business is really very simple. Success is not about the absence of trials or tribulations: Success is simply NOT having the same problems or challenges as the ones you faced last year. It’s about facing obstacles head on and doing whatever it takes to learn, grow and move forward. In my work with hundreds of CEOs and business owners, I have discovered a very important ingredient in the recipe of success. Successful owners and leaders take their challenges in their stride and work to deal with them. The others fall into what I call self-sabotage: subconsciously holding themselves back by allowing the world to dictate terms and then blaming everyone and everything else when nothing goes right. You can tell a lot about a person and their tendency for self-sabotage by the way they spend their time. We all spend our time in various ways. Many business owners tell me that there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. I have a belief that there is always enough time in the day to do all of the things that are WORTH doing. The key is to identify what is worth your while. Sometimes activity can be

Winter 2010

a kind of anesthesia for the pain of not achieving the results you want and deserve. Action is always better than procrastination. However, more activity is not always better than less.

Why do you do what you do? Everyone knows that 99% of what you and I do every single day is purely habit, good or bad. Most of your everyday activities are just deeply ingrained habits - driving your car, brushing your teeth or taking a shower? You wouldn’t dream of not doing them, they are part of your routine and they just seem to happen automatically. In your business you also have habits such as checking your website, opening the mail, grabbing a coffee and glancing at your diary. You do them without conscious “thought” and they fill up hours of your day. But what about all the actions you need to take in order to build a more profitable and efficient business? Like following up with your best customers, asking for referrals, strategic planning and goal setting? When do you do these activities? Do they often get relegated to “tomorrow” or “sometime soon”? If you’ve ever spent your day stuck in back-to-back meetings, responding to emails, doing paperwork or tidying your office – you already know that these are “make busy” activities, and they will keep you trapped where you already are – just maintaining, not growing your business. By filling your days with these tasks,

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you are avoiding the very activities that you know will really move your business forward and produce tangible results. Your habits create the magnificent illusion that you are hard at work, simply because you feel “flat out” and your day is full of tasks. Let’s be honest, you


Feature | business

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would actually rather do anything than face the activities you know would radically accelerate your business success, wouldn’t you? In fact, you often get to the end of the day and say to yourself “It’s OK, I was really busy, I’ll just get to that business plan tomorrow.” If you are waiting for the right or best time to do these critical productive activities in your business, it will simply never come! There will always be other “busy work” to fill all of your available time. You need to find a way to make your productive activities an ingrained habit, if you want to grow your bottom line and live the lifestyle of your dreams.

ways you could be sabotaging your own success 1. Perfectionism – Having to be perfect, immobilises us from making a decision, starting a project and signing off on a piece of important work. Do you deceive yourself by believing that no one else can do the job, so you must do it all yourself? Adopt the 80/20 rule – delegate what you do not have to do and give yourself permission to be human. 2. Refusing to Let Go of The Past – Have you ever heard yourself say “last time I tried that, it didn’t work”? If you catch yourself finding reasons from the past to justify why you are not moving toward your compelling future, stop NOW and take a good hard look at whether you are focusing on reasons or solutions. The quickest way to move forward is to ask yourself a simple question “what can I do differently right now in order to have the result that I want?” 3. Lack of Accountability – it is impossible for you to hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make and the actions you take. Find someone outside your business that can act as a sounding board, follow up with you on your action plan and hold you accountable to your goals. 4. Lack of vision, planning and specificity – if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? If you don’t have a business plan, make this your number one priority today. Goals need to be written down in detail to allow

your mind – which is a goal seeking mechanism – to hone in and hit the targets you have set. 5. Lack of focus – stay focused on the important task you are currently working on and only allow yourself to be diverted by real emergencies. 6. Fear of Financials – you cannot have a truly successful business if you don’t know your numbers (and the implications). Learn the key drivers and indicators in your business and track them daily. 7. No Testing and Measuring – The simple act of testing and measuring everything in your business will save you thousands of dollars this year. Simply put, what gets measured gets done and improved. No matter what IT is, if you haven’t tested and measured IT, you don’t really know if IT works and you could be wasting time and money on IT. About Financial Foreplay Poor financial management is as fatal to your business as a photo of your parents on the bedside table is to your libido! If you want to protect the heart of your business and get it to show you more love, you must understand and learn to prevent the most common causes of small business failure. Financial Foreplay is the antidote to these lethal killers.

How can you STOP sabotaging your own success? Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. Some of the most common forms of self-sabotage are habits because they are deeply ingrained behaviours that take time to establish or eliminate. In the 1960’s Dr.

Maxwell Maltz discovered that it took 21 days for amputees to cease feeling phantom sensations in their amputated limbs. From further observations he established that it takes 21 days to create or eliminate a habit. Brain circuits take engrams (memory traces) and produce neuroconnections and neuropathways only if they are bombarded with information for 21 days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept new data or information for a change of habit unless it is repeated each day for at least 21 days. Changing habits can be done but it takes time and consistent effort on our part. Today is the best time to identify which form(s) of self-sabotage have been holding you back from having the business and lifestyle of your dreams. Make a plan on paper – specific decisions and actions that you can take to move forward in this aspect every single day for the next month. It is imperative to track your progress each day and take at least one step forward toward your goals.

How you can “get out of your own way” If you’ve got a lot of issues and obstacles in your business right now, it’s time to celebrate the amazing opportunity that they present for you and face them head on. Remember, successful owners and leaders encounter challenges and problems every day. The difference is that they choose to confront and overcome them - these people make time to focus on productive habits. They rise above the ‘noise’ of busyness, create ways to focus their brain on the things that really matter right now, and get on with the job. They set specific goals and they monitor and take action based on the financial trends in their business. They don’t try to do “everything”, they focus on the very things that will give them the most leveraged and positive result. They ultimately make doing these important activities an ingrained habit of a very powerful kind. They rarely blame external circumstances when things go wrong, seeing them, rather, as out of their control and therefore not worth expending too much energy on.

Rhondalynn Korolak is a lawyer, chartered accountant, clinical hypnotherapist and Master of NLP and is an expert at business acceleration and the power of influence. She is the author of “On The Shoulders of Giants” and “Financial Foreplay” Contact Rhondalynn via email info@imagineeringunlimited.com or visit www.imagineeringunlimited.com

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finances | Feature

A man

is not a

financial plan Given that women generally earn less than men, will typically have less super on retirement but will outlive their male counterparts, women have very different financial issues than men. Finance expert Sunshine Estivo explains…

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t’s now 40 years on from legislated equal pay and yet women still earn on average 17 per cent less than men. In addition, a woman will on average spend less time in paid work and have less superannuation in retirement than her male counterpart. She will also outlive him by seven years. All this means that women have very different financial issues to consider and need to work smarter with their finances. However, women also have distinct advantages when it comes to financial wellbeing: • Women typically take the time to consider all their options – they discuss the details of possible consequences and gain a really clear understanding of the potential outcomes • Women are more organised – they know what they want and where they see themselves in the future • Women are committed and patient with their investments. What is important for women, is to learn to make money one of their top priorities and consider their own finances in the same way they would look at their business’ finances. If we master our own cashflow, we can build wealth.

So where do I start? The first step in planning your financial future is to be clear on your goals and desired outcomes. You have to know exactly where you want to go.

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Then you need to understand your current financial position. Have a look at your budget to get a good picture of what resources you can tap into. Following this, it’s a matter of having the right strategies in place, managing the risks and reviewing your financial plan regularly to stay on track. Our lives change constantly so it’s important to keep our strategies up-to-date and relevant. It’s very much a step-by-step process. You can’t expect to become independently wealthy overnight. It takes discipline, commitment and patience. I realised when I was in my early 20s that I needed to be responsible for my financial future. I bought my first property when I was 23 and now have a portfolio of investments that includes a number of properties as well as other investments. It’s a question of balance.

A successful example Dr Cate Madill is a 40-year-old university lecturer who runs a private speech pathology practice. Cate realised in her late 30s that she had to become more proactive with her finances. “I was mindful that I had to become financially stable and independent so that I would not have to worry about it later in life. I couldn’t just sit and wait,” Cate explained.

“If we want to be able to do the things we want to do and follow our own path in life, we need to be proactive with our finances. We can’t assume that someone else will be there to look after us.” Cate began working with a financial planner to change her financial future at the beginning of 2009. The biggest benefit she says is the education process and knowing that she can rely on a whole team of experts for support. “What is important when planning my finances is for me to understand the choices I have, with the associated benefits and shortcomings, so I can make better decisions. I can’t predict the future, but I can then at least make an educated guess.I’m in a relatively young position financially as I’m still 25 years away from retirement, so I can take a few risks. It can be a little scary, but with a wellmanaged profile and a clear plan of action, it’s been possible for me to start building wealth.” Cate is in a completely different position financially than she was 18 months ago. “A side effect of having my own financial growth planned is that it has helped me to change my expectations of an intimate relationship which doesn’t have to be based around financial dependence anymore.”

Sunshine Estivo is a Certified Financial Planner with 10 years experience. She is the owner and managing director of financial advisory group Omniwealth. Sunshine is passionate about empowering women to become more financially savvy. For more information on Omniwealth, visit www.omniwealth.com.au or call 02 9112 4300.

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Feature | business

If you fly

you’ll buy It is an old truism amongst real estate agents, seminar providers and so called property clubs that if you can get someone to fly to an area to look at investment property – you can get them to buy it.

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hese days most of us would think we are well prepared to resist this approach. We are well informed and have all seen the TV stories and the costly results. We know we wouldn’t make the same mistake. So why is it that intelligent, responsible people fall into this trap? Well, the reason is simpler than you might think. Well-trained sales people will use techniques to manipulate you. They might stress an obligation to make you feel a bit guilty (fully paid airfares are a classic guilt trip). Or they’ll reinforce our own greed or desire not to “miss out”. They’ll offer a “special” discount or a “rental guarantee” that is only available “today”. It really is the “last one left” or the “pick” of the development. On and on it goes as these welldrilled sales people chip away at your resistance. Often they will ask if you intended to buy a property today. Almost nobody would answer “yes” to that question. Why? Because WE are too smart to buy today - WE only came to look. In doing so we have made a decision to try an avoid buying. An expert sales person will know this – after all they have asked. What they will then do is ask you how you are feeling and then ask your partner and gradually, unless you are ready for it, they’ll ask if you would like to

release yourselves from your commitment to “do nothing” and really do “something that makes sense” for your family – or words that have the same impact.The result is that you can end up travelling back home committed to purchasing an investment property or a time-share apartment – when you really didn’t intend to! It’s also important to remember that the “flying” doesn’t always literally mean air travel interstate. It could be a drive to a seminar you saw in your local paper being held 10 minutes from home. It’s not the travelthat’s dangerous it’s the technique. Increasingly it is becoming popular for developers to sell “non standard” properties like student accommodation, strata titled hotel rooms, serviced apartments and timeshare resorts using the “seminar” approach. Imagine if you were caught in a situation where you had committed to purchase one of these properties. While your bank is likely to lend for homes, land or apartments they simply won’t be interested in these types of property. The reasons why are varied but generally the banks like a stable rental income and these properties are rented on short term leases for days or weeks only. They are usually small in size often being less than 30 square metres when banks prefer dwellings to be at least 50 metres square. So what does this all mean? Simply put all these techniques are really used for one objective - to sell you something. Not necessarily the best, the last or the cheapest.

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Not the one with the best rent return, highest depreciation or best potential for capital gain. Just whichever property is left to sell to whoever is there to be sold to. Now, it’s important to put this into perspective because this approach, while it’s still widely used, doesn’t apply to every investment property. First, be smart – don’t go to suspect seminars and NEVER take up an offer to fly to a property presentation. Secondly get advice BEFORE you start your research. Talk to your accountant or to a financial advisor who understands direct property. Work out how much you want to spend. What is the property going to cost you to own - in other wordswhat is the cash flow? Can you borrow from your lender and if so – how much? Get that amount pre approved and use that as your buying budget. Then do thorough research. Use the internet to find sources of information and research from sources that don’t make money selling property. Ask lots of questions until you are satisfied you’ve have found a property you’re interested in. That way you’ll buy but you won’t have to fly! Dean Bassett is a Financial Advisor and Director of Destiny Financial Solutions Castle Hill. He has 20 years personal experience as a property investor and seven years with Destiny assisting clients with property. For more information or a free book contact Dean on +61 2 8883 1577 or visit www.destiny.net.au

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change your life in 15 minutes

Take

stock

We’ve borrowed a recipe from Alison Nancye’s book Recipes for Everyday Life to help you reflect on your milestones and accomplishments and discover the key ingredients that support you, creating your dreams and goals in the process.

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e can be so busy creating and achieving that we can forget to make time to stop and appreciate where we are in our life journey. One of the most successful ways I find to rejuvenate is to look back over time and acknowledge myself for my accomplishments, milestones, and highlights. No matter what is going on in your life, I urge you to celebrate your personal achievements and make the time to honour yourself for all you have done. As you work through each accomplishment you may notice patterns, such as old habits that aren’t serving you anymore, as well as steps forward that created a positive outcome. It’s not always easy letting go of the old or taking new and courageous steps forward, so you definitely deserve to reward yourself for this. Whether you use this recipe before you go on vacation so you can really kick back and relax, upon completing a job or project, or even in the lead-up to a performance appraisal, you might be surprised how valuable it was to learn about yourself in this way. I urge you to take the time to give this recipe a go at least once this year. I’m sure you will enjoy what you discover as a result. Remember to celebrate your milestones!

Preparation 1. Choose a period of time to reflect on (say 3, 6, or 12 months). 2. On a blank page in your notebook, list all the major categories in your life such as health, relationships, home, career, finances, fitness, recreation, hobbies, self development, etc.

Instructions - How to cook up my accomplishments 1. List your accomplishments (in any order) related to any or all of your listed categories during your chosen period of time. Remember these achievements are relevant to you only. We all know personally what it took to overcome or create something in our life, so please honour yourself now by listing anything that was a milestone for you. Even if it was seemingly small, you created this win so make a note of it. 2. Next, ask yourself three questions: 3. 1) What steps did I take to make this happen?

Cooking Time Take the time to savour and indulge in each milestone

Ingredients • • • •

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Notebook Pen Quiet space Diary (if needed)

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4. What did I let go of? 5. What did I learn about myself in the process? 6. Ask yourself these questions for each new category or accomplishment. 7. When you have finished, take a final moment to read back through your accomplishments. As you read each one, stop and allow your memory to turn back to that moment in your life again. Let yourself feel that sense of accomplishment again. Take as long as you like to reconnect with each milestone. 8. Once you have reflected on all your accomplishments, acknowledge yourself for making those happen. Congratulations on all the steps you have taken to be where you are today! Alison Nancye is a writer, life mentor, mum and author or Recipes for Everyday Life. To find out more about Alison or to buy her book, go to www.recipesforeverydaylife.com


coaching toolkit Coach yourself to success

WINTER 2010


LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE week 1

Set Your Goals

Date:

Welcome to your first coaching session and congratulations for taking the first step to improving your life. In this first session you will be setting two inspiring goals for different areas of your life. Using the coaching models provided, complete the following exercises.

Where are you now?

On the chart, rate yourself on a scale of 0 - 10 in relation to where you feel you are at in each area of your life right now. Then, draw a line around the chart, joining the dots where you have marked your rating in each area.

Use this goal-setting tool over the next three months to achieve your goals and improve your life. Set the dates for your coaching sessions and let’s get started. AREAS OF YOUR LIFE SELF This is your relationship with yourself. Consider how much love, appreciation, acceptance and respect you have for yourself. PARTNER Think about this area in the context of whether you’re single or in a relationship. If you’re in a relationship, it refers to how you feel about your life with your partner. Is your relationship what you want it to be? If you’re single, think about your level of satisfaction with being single. Some people would love a committed relationship and others are content as they are. How do you feel? FAMILY This area refers to how you feel about your relationships with family members. The rating you give this area should be an average for all family relationships. While some will be strong, others may not be so good. SOCIAL Similarly, this area refers to how you feel about your relationships with friends and your satisfaction with your level of social/fun activity. Again, provide an average rating of your relationships and social activity.

A ‘10’ means you consider that area is perfect and a ‘0’ means major improvement is needed.

Where do you want to be? Next, give yourself a rating in relation to where you want to be in each area of your life in the next 1 - 2 months. Again, use a scale of 0 - 10 and draw a line around the chart, joining the dots where you have marked your rating in each area. Don’t be afraid to dream a little but consider what you can realistically achieve in that time. There’s no need to aim for a perfect 10 in any or every area.

WELLBEING This is your overall sense of wellbeing and how you feel about your health & fitness. SPIRITUALITY If you’re a spiritual or religious person, this area refers to your level of connectedness with your beliefs. If you’re not spiritual or religious, think about your level of contentment with life in general. BUSINESS/CAREER This area considers the level of success and/or fulfilment you feel in relation to your business, career or current employment. FINANCES This final area refers to how you feel about your level of financial freedom and/or your progression towards your desired level of financial freedom.

Imagine your life with these results

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Creating your goal Now it’s time to create your goals. To begin with, choose one area of your life that you would like to improve. Say it’s ‘Partner’ and you want to go from a rating of 4 to 8. Using the goal template over the page, create a written goal outlining what that new rating means to you - perhaps it’s about finding a soulmate or re-connecting with your husband.

Every goal that you write should be an emPOWER goal. Think about the emPOWER principles as you go through the process

Wellbeing

It is the 31 and I feel s st of August 2010 of what I h o happy and proud have reachedave achieved. I of 60kgs an my goal weight I am fit, he d I look fantastic. much more althy and have so fit into that energy. Now I can and I feel fasexy black dress bulous.

Write your goal in the present tense, as if you’ve already achieved it. Make it meaningful, including some strong emotions, and make sure your goal is inspiring to you. Use only positive words and be specific – focus on what you do want instead of what you don’t want. Be a little realistic (but not too much) about what you can achieve in the timeframe chosen. Remember, too, your goal needs to be your own, not a goal to change someone else. You can only take responsibility for improving yourself and your life.

Goal 1

Write your goal

Fill in the spaces below to create your first goal. Remember, you’re writing in the present tense and be positive - with the right attitude you’ll get where you want to be much faster.

What you want to achieve

[Date] [Emotion1] [Emotion 2] It is .............................. and I feel so ................................................... and .......................................................

I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... Now I/We........................................................................................................................................................................... and I feel............................................................................................................................................................................. [Emotion3] Why you want to achieve it

Goal 2

Write your goal

Fill in the spaces below to create your first goal. Remember, you’re writing in the present tense and be positive – with the right attitude you’ll get where you want to be much faster. It is .............................. and I feel so ............................................................. and .............................................................. I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... I/We................................................................................................................................................................................... Now I/We........................................................................................................................................................................... and I feel.............................................................................................................................................................................

Required action: Your only action for the next week is to read your goals every day. Read them out loud and, as you read each one, experience how you will feel when you have achieved what you want. This is called visualisation and is an important step in the goalsetting process – visualise your goals as if you have already achieved them.

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week 2

Making it Happen

Date:

Now that you’ve been reading your goals for a week, consider whether you need to change or add anything to your goals to make them even more meaningful and inspiring. In this session, it’s time to start setting (and doing) the actions necessary to achieve each goal.

Required action: 1. If necessary, add to or change your goals. 2. On the action sheet provided, make a list of the actions you need to take in the next two weeks to get closer to your goals. Remember, these are your goals and you’re responsible for the actions, so be as detailed as you can. 3. Choose a motivational book to read or course to attend to expand your learning. 4. Continue to read and visualise your goals everyday.

Goal 1 Action

Completed

................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................................................

Goal 2 Action

Completed

................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................................................

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week 4

Date:

Reflect on your goals and actions. Are you achieving what you’d planned to by this time? If you feel that you’ve lost some motivation for achieving your goals, or that you aren’t getting any closer to achieving them, it’s quite normal for people to experience this at some stage during the coaching process. To give you a reminder, and a shot of motivation, do the first action suggested below. Consider your results from the last two weeks. Have you completed all of your actions? If not, what got in your way? What can you do differently to prevent the same outcome in the next two weeks? If you’ve completed all of your actions, perhaps you can now push yourself a little harder.

Required action: 1. Meet with a friend or partner and share your goals with them. Explain to them all the reasons why you want to achieve each goal and how it inspires you. Ask them to hold you accountable. 2. On a new piece of paper, set some new specific actions for each goal over the next two weeks. Remember to challenge yourself. Anything worth achieving may be a little uncomfortable. 3. Continue to read and visualise your goals every day.

week 6

Date:

Hopefully you are well on your way to achieving your goals. If not, you may need to consider adjusting your goal date a little. This is normal and can happen for numerous reasons. You may have underestimated the time it would take, you may have gotten off track, or perhaps you may need to be more strict with yourself in taking actions. Remember, if nothing changes, nothing changes. It is up to you to achieve your goals.

Required action: 1. Adjust your date if necessary. 2. For each goal, make a list of 20 reasons why you want to achieve the goal. Remind yourself of how good you will feel and how life will be different. 3. On a new piece of paper, make a list of the actions you need to take in the next two weeks to get you closer to your goal. Remember to challenge yourself. 4. Decide on one nice thing you are going to buy or do to celebrate achieving your goal. 5. Continue to read and visualise your goal every day.

week 8

Date:

Well done for making it to Week 8 and congratulations if you have achieved any of your goals. If not, don’t lose hope, things sometimes just take longer than initially expected. Either way, it’s important to celebrate how far you have come.

iStockphoto

Required action: 1. Celebrate your success to date. Do something nice or buy yourself your chosen gift. 2. If you have adjusted your goal date, continue to set actions every two weeks and read your goal every day. 3. If you’ve achieved your goal, get ready to set some more goals and start again at Week 1.

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emPOWER Magazine Winter 2010