Category Archives: Life

What I’m Reading: Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss

THIS BOOK HAS ALREADY SAVED ME WHAT IT COST TO BUY AND MORE!

How often do we read books, get all fired up about them, think to ourselves how awesome they are, but then somehow never use the techniques proposed within to radically change our lives, as the claims on the cover would have us believe?  This is one book that will change all that.

If, like me, you have struggled with negotiation and sales in the past then  Never Split the Difference: negotiating as if your life depended on it  by Chris Voss really will change your life.  Voss is an ex cop from Kansas City turned senior FBI hostage negotiator, and now freelance consultant.  The techniques he learned in the course of his career have been distilled into nine principles we can all use when negotiating purchases, pay rises, and relationship issues over the course of our personal and professional lives.  As Voss would have it, life is one big negotiation.  Voss’s techniques are quite different to the traditional Harvard style negotiation, which I’d been taught in a previous life (and which I struggled to apply).  They are far more intuitive and behaviour based – about really getting inside your counterpart’s head and understanding where they are coming from.  There’s a lot of listening involved.

So just how did this book save me money?  I needed to return a purchase and the store were being particularly staunch about their returns policy – unreasonably so, I felt.  After two unsuccessful visits and a bunch of headbanging I remembered I’d bought this book.  I re read it, returned to see the manager, using my “late night DJ voice” and some careful open ended questions until we had a “that’s right” moment and she caved. A refund ensued.  There was only a little bit of high fiving as we got to the car park!

So buy it here – and yes I’m an Amazon associate so I do get a small commission, but I wouldn’t recommend anything I don’t absolutely love.

Live with heart

Robx

 

 

 

Unplugged and offline

broken cable motherboard

The (insert favourite strong swear word here) motherboard has gone on my laptop. Consequently I have been unplugged for the last couple of weeks.  Honestly its driving me bats and I hate hate hate it.  I’d worked up a head of steam posting daily and getting into good  work habits.  Also, I hadn’t realised just how therapeutic writing is. And addictive.  I miss it!

In the meantime there has been the Grand Autumn Garden Clear Up aka hack, slash and deal to the millions of walnuts which fall in our back yard at this time of year, and an extremely tidy house, with a little bit of paid work thrown in for good measure.

Now that the Gods of House and Garden have been suitably propitiated, I will have to resort to using the office desktop which is usually the sole domain of Himself, or go to the library to write.  Whilst Himself has been very generous so far, I can see this situation rapidly wearing thin…

So hellooooooooooo out there in the dim dark recesses of cyberspace to my few followers.  Thank you for your loyalty.  Reception may be intermittent for the next few weeks but normal transmissions will resume eventually:-)

Rob

On Being Authentic

I had what Oprah calls an “aha” moment this morning during meditation.  It concerned the theme of my life.  You know how we all seem to have one overarching issue in our lives which keeps recurring until we deal with it?   For some it’s addiction,  for others it’s maintaining a long term relationship, or dealing with ill health.  Well for me it’s being true to myself.  And the myself that’s been showing up for a large part of my life has not been authentic.  It’s been the 1960’s white middle class female that I was brought up as.

Which would have been fine if it worked for me, but it didn’t.  All that good girl stuff about not being a tomboy, speaking quietly (well THAT didn’t work out!), being “a lady” whatever-the-hell-that-is.  I realized I’ve spent far too long fitting in, shutting up and shutting down.  Being quiet, not owning my feelings, my voice.  The recurring theme of my childhood was a parent saying ” you just have to be different don’t you?”  Ending up in a very conventional step-family didn’t help.  I seemed to be in trouble without even trying, just because I thought differently.  And being shamed for it.  Sadly, the result was that I tried so hard to fit in when I should have been running the other way.  Fast.  I always felt that there was something wrong with me.  I didn’t measure up and was somehow less worthy than everyone else and full of shame because of it.  And then to top it all off I became a librarian, how much more conventional can you get?    It’s getting harder and harder to stay in that box of conventionality where I’ve been all my life – the sides are bulging and the lid’s about to explode off.

After some fast walking and vigorous housework (always therapeutic!) today I decided game over.  End of. Caput. Fini.  The hell with fitting in.  I’ve finally grown up.

I chose my hashtag heart logo for this site because I wanted to live with heart.  All of my best decisions have been the ones where I’ve followed my heart and I’ve been authentic.  Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and actually do it.  Be creative, live life to the full and be the real me,  and on the way encourage others to do the same.  Life’s too short for anything else.

May this be of use to you

Rob

How To: Do The Best You Can With What You Have

ingenuity do what you can with what you have

This image looks like the stuff that gets confiscated at airport security!  The point of this post is that all of us have unused resources and untapped abilities.  We are far deeper and more capable than we ever realize and when we look, really look we have so many more resources at our disposal than we realize.  Loads and loads and loads.

Ask anyone running a social service and I’m sure that the universal response will be that there’s never enough funding to support the level of service that’s required. In an ideal world there are always programmes that should be or could be run to improve outcomes for users.   One of the most meaningful lessons I learned from running a public library was to do the best you can with what you have right now.  It has been one of my most valuable life lessons, and I’ve really taken it to heart.  To quote General Patton:

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week”

In this less than ideal world this is so true, having a little pressure put on us brings out our creativity.  We begin to look at the resources we have at our disposal in a different way and often the simple solution we arrive at is frequently the best one anyway.

Not that there’s anything wrong with money but sometimes spending it is taking the easy way out.    Yes many of us need more of the stuff, but until we increase our level of abundance we’re going to have to use our ingenuity to get where we want to go.

Here’s what I do :

  1.  Be organized.  This is crucial – if you don’t know what you’ve got at your disposal then you’re sunk before you start
  2. Store like with like, not all over the house.  Once you’ve done this you’ll realize just how abundant you really are, and if you ever forget just look at the pile of ballpoint pens you’ve accumulated!
  3. Get rid of the real junk – you’ll know what it is and if you don’t then read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and you’ll get the idea.
  4. Now the fun begins – get creative – what can you sell, upcycle or repurpose? If you’re stuck check out Pinterest and tap into a community of ingenuous people.

Once you get the hang of it this approach becomes addictive.  Living on a tight budget is not all bad, it’s definitely brought out my creative side.  Now if I go to buy something I ask myself a) if I really do need it? and b) is there something at home I could use instead?  Nine times out of ten there is.  Recently I needed something to keep kitchen scraps in until they got put out on the compost heap to avoid making ten trips out there a day – especially in a southern winter.  I eventually found a spare stainless steel casserole dish I was no longer using.  It works perfectly – stores  a day’s worth of scraps and the lid keeps the flies off and better still it cost me nothing.  We ALL have these types of solutions at our fingertips.

May this be of use to you

Robx

 

 

Nailed It!

 

bird-759545_1920

When we first moved into our home nearly 20 years ago, the two goals that I had for this place were to feel as if you were entering into a personal Eden when you walked through the gate and to be able to see and hear the songbirds in the trees close to the windows.  The Eden one has been well and truly achieved for some time, but the songbirds have taken much longer – they’re all around the garden, and occasionally we will see one in a tree close to the house.

As of this morning I’ve nailed both of those goals.  Big Time.  I sat down at the computer to write this post and heard birdsong – I looked up and in the tree outside the window (I’m in a second storey room) was a Tui singing (listen to one here) and looking straight at me.  As he sang two of his friends came and joined him.  I’m sitting here literally crying as I write this.  I’ve done it, I’ve reached my goal and what’s more I’ve blasted right through it.  Oh. My. God.  What is even more incredible, and slightly uncanny was that this morning I was planning on writing a post about reprogramming my life.  It was as if the Universe was telling me.  You’re right Rob – you’ve achieved the stuff you wanted to in the first half, but now it’s time to go for it with the next part.  I’ve got so many ideas about what I want to do with this blog, and other social media accounts that I can’t wait.

I’m off for a celebratory cup of coffee and to plan my next post.  See you tomorrow.

May this be of use to you

Robx

How To Find A Mentor For Free

mentor, online, finances, free, learning, self help,

Two words:  Look online.  Back in the day to find a mentor,  the standard advice was to do your research and find someone in your industry that you respected and whom you thought might be helpful and then write to phone them with a request to mentor you.  I’ve always found this approach cringe worthy.  I really really really dislike the whole attitude of asking someone to be your mentor when you don’t know them because it’s an enormous ask and a significant time commitment for the other person, so why should they bother, what’s in it for them?

We are so fortunate now that we can access the world’s knowledge online.  We don’t need to awkwardly ask a stranger for a favour to be our mentor.   There is knowledge from the world’s greatest in any given sphere of accomplishment online at the drop of an internet connection.  Lucky old us –  we can now learn for free from so many amazing people.  I need repetition for something to stick, so  I can watch You Tube videos or listen to podcasts over and over and over again until I’ve got the point.   Fortunately I don’t need to go to the thousand dollar seminar ten times.   And the wonderful thing is that this is all available to us for zilch, nada, nothing.

Apart from a bad Amazon Kindle habit I hardly ever pay for information online – most of what I need is free and I can try out dozens of different options to see which work best for me and are aligned with my values.   Every day sees another offer for an e-course come into my inbox or Facebook feed, most of which are from people I’ve never heard of and I really do wonder why they think I should buy their courses.   At present I’m happy to ignore the whole lot and do my own research until I’ve developed a little more discretion, and a little more clarity about the exact things I need to learn and who I want to learn them from.

Personal finances and investing are my weak point, so I am investigating sources of information for that right now.  What do I want from a  mentor?  Someone to copy, someone to tell me where I’m going wrong, to point me in the right direction, to kick me in the butt if necessary, to inspire me.  Most definitely to inspire me.

But most of all mentors are people I’d like to curl up with on a comfy sofa in the corner of a room with a good bottle of red wine and have a long and far reaching chat with.  It’s that simple.  Imagine doing that with Tim Ferriss or Oprah or my favourite of the moment – Tony Robbins.  They’re not that special or different from the rest of us, they don’t have superpowers – they’ve just been through tough times and they’ve made it out the other side successfully.  We can learn from them.  The only real difference is that they didn’t give up on their dreams.  These people grind it out, are focused and know exactly where they’re going.

It’s not just the big name celebrities who are worth watching/listening to either- there are loads of videos on You Tube from  ordinary people doing cool stuff and living their dreams.  We just need to watch listen and learn and realize that if anyone has done this before then we can too.  

So check out You Tube, Reddit and Podcast Addict.  Dive down that internet wormhole and see where it leads you.  Listen, learn and most of all TAKE ACTION.  I wish you well my friend.

May this be of use to you

Rob

 

 

I’m A Warrior – What’s Your Archetype?

warrior, military strong goals woman

Can a 55 year old woman with two kids and a husband be a warrior?  Hell yeah.

As much as anything being a warrior is an archetype, a mindset, an attitude to life.

I’ve had a few challenges lately.  I think the Universe has been trying to tell me something about my usual mild mannered ways.  I’m the typical Taurean bull – quiet and peaceful and sucks it up for ages until I’ve had enough and then there’s an explosion that you really don’t want to be around for.   There’s been a number of individuals that I’ve come across recently who have been down right obnoxious and bullying, and I’ve caught the sharp end of their temper.  One of them even chased me into a bar to inform me what a horrible person I was.  My daughter nearly peed herself laughing when I told her about it.  As she put it “Mum was in a bar fight!” Thanks babes.  I’ve a feeling that I really need to grow up and gain a backbone or I’ll suffer this crap for the rest of my life, which is not an appealing prospect.

I’ve always loved hard stuff.  I  don’t mind physical or for that matter mental hardship and I relish a challenge.  So from now on I’m taking on my warrior archetype, until it is no longer useful and there is a tiny ninja turtle figure on my windowsill to remind me to harden up.

So what is an archetype?  According to Dictionary.com they are:

An original model after which other similar things are patterned. In the psychology of Carl Jung, archetypes are the images, patterns, and symbols that rise out of the collective unconscious and appear in dreams, mythology, and fairy tales.

So the Warrior archetype would be a kind of universal symbol of a warrior  of which most of us would agree on the qualities personified.  A warrior should exhibit for example :

  • Strength (both inner and outer)
  • Courage
  • Physical fitness
  • Control
  • Patience
  • Leadership
  • Ability to work alone
  • On a quest
  • Confidence
  • Takes no crap
  • Slightly scary……

Where I am going with this post, is that I believe that at certain points  we need to take on the mantle of another personality to enable us to get on with our lives.  At the moment I really need to be a Warrior, but I could see that perhaps later in life I could take on the mantle of a Sage or a Poet or a Mystic to fulfill my purpose.

Now every morning I meditate on what it is to be a Warrior and feel my inner strength and courage.  Please don’t let it take a “bar fight” for you to discover yours!

May this be of use to you

Rob