Do we start with a question first and ask Is our culture busted? Or is it a case that management now realises that it needs to be more proactive and forward thinking with an ever-changing and adapting workforce to ensure that they are looking after their number one asset and that is people.
“We complain about the culture, yet we are the ones creating it” Jeremy Golberg – Long Distance Love Bombs
With many generation gaps in one workplace, this can be an interesting and frankly a very hard task to tackle. If we look at a company like Google where the workforce is of a similar generation, management can create a comfortable landscape that suits them. It is placing animals in their natural habitat! We feel at ease when we are not carrying the body armour and mask to protect us where we are not comfortable. In this circumstance this company is aware of what the needs of their staff are and use of landscape as part of its foundations of enhancing their workspace and creating a positive on the type of culture that company is after. It, however, is just one factor and there are so many more that build our culture. We need to look beyond the free coffee in the lunchroom or sleep pods in an office and dive deep into understanding each individual staff member and their needs.
I believe it comes back to basic foundations or what I call pillars. It is the basic human desires for life not just when at work. I need to be the same person at home and work, it is the same needs; I don’t want to tolerate issues because “that is just work”. This is the era for me of removing the mask and actually discuss with my management on personal needs. There will always be people that it is a means to live but my kind of work is that it creates the feeling of being empowered and working on purpose.
On reflection from more than 30 years in the workforce, I can say that this is my list and creates balance for me with work and home. It places me in a space where I want to give more and be more.
I have given so much more to the organisation when these 5 pillars have been catered in my workspace:
• On purpose
It is forward-thinking management that can communicate intelligently to all members across the generations within a workspace that creates these pillars. It is not an easy role, but they are required to mentor, lead and guide all staff members from the support staff to key roles for that particular organisation. All roles within the workspace should feel equal value, a support role or a non-key role for any company should not feel any less valued in the workspace. This is an indication of having the culture right.
Staff for any company with the right leadership team will embrace positive behaviour, they will become what management output is… I refer back to the quote at the beginning. We create this.
Fun is a real factor; I want to enjoy my day as so much of my time is spent at work. Whether it is appropriate social events or the joy and banter within an office. The environment where you are invited to lunch at the nearest café with workmates or everyone in the same area joking and laughing. If inclusion is done correctly there is not that annoyance of spending time with workmates outside of office hours and instead something to look forward to. I have seen many times when companies include and praise staff’s families in such events and also when the team heads out to celebrate the end of the week. When we embrace each other for the individuals that we are, inclusion is the natural progression of that behaviour. Removing the clicks would feel more like inclusion for me.
We all have to look at the take-home pay packet at the end of the day and even if all these pillars are covered but the pay does not cover the base level to live then human survival nature will have us looking for a higher paying job. If I was not being paid extremely well for what I do, and the pay was covering my bills I would stay in a workplace that created these 5 pillars. Recognition of my work whether it is in my pay packet, verbal acknowledgement, promotions, financially rewarded, bonuses, or shares would be a loud message of how I am valued in the organisation. This is a message I need my management to get across loud and clear. I am not talking about the daily pat on the back but real recognition for my contribution, great work and successes.
Understanding the mission of the organisation and what role you play in it gives you real purpose. Communication is so crucial and instead of that ‘need to know basis’ attitude that I have seen within companies but rather a company that can deliver a clear and transparent understanding where the company is heading. An organisation that can deliver this will have many employees becoming an Intrapreneur, wanting to be part of the innovation, to be the dreamer that does and have the hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind. When you speak the same language as the organisation when you see the same vision and you clearly know how you can come in good and make it better you feel you have a purpose. For me it is the trust of being part of the company puts me in this space.
I am human and life does not create an easy smooth ride outside of my workspace, instead, I will encounter many different ups and downs. I want the space to come to discuss what is happening for me so if my time is affected during office hours that I have that support. Taking away that don’t bring your home issues to work having space where all masks are dropped and able to be real, raw and authentic. This is a judgement free zone. In this area, I can share where I am at in my life which has a huge impact on my day to day at work and of course my output.
In my career, I will want to grow personally, be challenged, be in charge of projects or just play as a team player. When my management creates a space that I can come and talk no matter of the situation and it has no impact on how I am seen then I am supported. From this situation, I am no longer a clock watcher, but I am part of the family.
Many companies hire the most intelligent people to make their companies better but then go ahead and micromanage them. The ideal for me is given enough rope to play and have some fudge room for errors so I can grow. I obviously don’t want to cost the company any huge loss, but growth only comes from falling down and space where this is possible. The feeling that the company has my back and will empower me to make decisions but freely discusses if they can see other ways projects can be done. Freedom and strength come from this feeling; I can become more than what I dreamed of and so much more than the company thought I would become.
We are living in an era that requires high Emotional Intelligence from our staff and management. It is having the right staff, the right team – it is the team that can abide by the pillars and accept everyone like family. To create a family, we need to care and be kind, considerate, know each other and understand what our needs are.
“If we have a connection, we have the beginning of culture; then we need brave leaders who are willing to build courageous culture” Brene Brown.
This would be a workplace that I would want to be in.
Have you ever had drinks at your house, and you don’t invite all the circles of your friends? There are your work friends, yoga friends, drinking friends, military friends, husbands friends (well you get my gist) do you wonder if I put them all in the same area they won’t get along or they have nothing in common OR maybe you are a different person to each of these groups?
I always used to say “we can’t cross the streams” ~ yep ghostbusters and they all have the streams to take down Mr Stay Puft… if I think about the streams as my different groups of friends if I crossed them then I might die….. but did I die? NOOOOOOO! The magic happened!
I feel for so long that I have played a different person to each group, basically, I fit in. It is human nature to want to fit in and be liked. So of course, I could adjust to the different audiences and I wouldn’t talk about the bender that I had with my drinking buddies to my yoga buddies nor would I talk about yoga and meditation with my military buddies. I was giving each little group a different part of me and not really truly being JUST ME to any one group.
This also was the case with my partner, he wouldn’t get my crystals or my oils and what the hell are all these journals lying around. I was also hiding my happy from him; but why? I can tell you why I did not want to rock the boat, I wanted to be liked, I wanted friends and I wanted to fit in just like everyone else. I wanted to be loved and not judged at all.
My time in the military I used to die a strip of my hair bright pink and hide it underneath the top layer because that was the crazy me. I have carried crystals in my bra, pockets, handbags, in the car and never really talking about any of it. I was so busy trying to fit in everywhere that I would not talk about it. I kept the parts that excited me, the foundations that got me through the day to day and I pushed it way down and did not share ALL OF ME with any one group.
So, imagine if I put all those groups together (crossed the streams) they might put the puzzle pieces together, they might think I am crazy. My partner surely would leave he did not sign up for a nutcase like me!
What I learnt is that all the parts of me needed to come out, I needed to be all of me all of the time and I needed to talk about my crystals and the need to die my hair pink and I honestly know that all my friends are really different but I love all of them and if I want to have drinks then I am inviting all of them. That anxiety and stressing who likes who and who will talk about me had to go.
So I do dress corporate, wear an army uniform, have hippy pants, love pink hair, wear orange underwear, carry crystals, drink sometimes at lunch, believe sickness comes from the struggles we are dealing with. I don’t know if I am a hippy, just sensitive, or variety rocks my boat. I do know when I let Kylie Michelle out to the world magic happened. I got to be me at home where my partner buys presents of crystals (he doesn’t need to like all I do but he loves me the way I am). I can not cross the streams and worry about what I can't control. Just showing parts of me and not the real me is still a mask and once taken off the feeling of freedom is amazing.
Be who you are! Don’t hide what you love, own that shit!! People will come and go, they may love me and they may not. I have learnt how to let go of friends and how to find ones like me and I will be ok. I have loved and been hurt by love but true love comes from really being who we are and accepting that.
I crossed the streams, I got happy and I am no longer hiding! Fuck Yes… now, this is living!
Do you even bend?
I would love to say I am a chilled-out yogi but this is another one of my foundations that I used to have a love-hate relationship with. I have been doing Yoga on and off for years and still gonna go with I’m a beginner but a conversation with a good mate of mine and his words on Yoga was ‘your future self will love you for it’. OK! Well, what future Kylie will love is what I need to do! So, let’s do the work.
So, this yoga journey has taken me down many paths and I have quitted and started back up again for years. During this time I truly thought it was only about one thing and it was the poses. Could I bend?, could I balance? and do I look like those glamorous pictures on social media whilst doing it? Ummm hell no I do not and I cannot.
Where does one learn about yoga without committing financially to a centre? Well, a couple of yogi books later and I did have the inspiration to take this journey. I needed to try and find the love that others had. Yogis seemed really damn happy, laid back, got their shit together and making themselves a priority – talk about self-care!– I did get a total girl crush on Rachel Brathen aka Yoga Girl, and even one of my soldiers attended one of her events. I did not feel like I fit in that group either though. So where were my people? Yogi wannabes like me?
On my hunt to find my people; I remember one event, it was Palm Creek here in Townsville and I would say a collection of wonderful hippies attended this event. So you camped, listened to music and did free events – one being yoga – these amazing people were so lost in it – Not worried if they were the look of yoga, they breathed, they swayed, they closed their eyes and they truly seemed in love with it. Was this it? Was this what I wanted! Was this my family? Ummm no – I just wanted future Kylie to love me for this Yoga decision. Can’t Yoga be cool without hippy pants, dreadlocks and lots of swaying to the mother earth?
Forward on my journey, I did Yoga in Afghanistan there was this amazing American soldier yogi who would take classes for us. She was the vision of a perfect example of a well trained physically fit soldier! There were no yoga pants, dreadlocks or anything remotely that way. Her classes were structural, informative, and honestly, I could not stop staring at her muscles… total new girl crush. Was this my people? Ummmm nope – I needed somewhere in between.
The next chapter took me to a studio in Townsville, I am truly lazy and needed accountability and some damn guidance. I liked someone telling me exactly what to do. Well, this was new territory and I fell in love with Yoga. What I learnt was that I needed a yoga instructor that I connected with. Der! Seems like an obvious observation now. My yogi life changed when I signed up with Lighten Up and I met an instructor Michael (he is not aware of this and one day he might read this and smile). His voice, calmness, thoroughness, ease and grace made me fall in love with yoga. The little corners of my mouth turned up and every time I would visit his practice did I feel this. I learnt the lessons of how to breathe, why I was on the mat, what my intention was everytime that I sat down on my mat. Damn you could say I was crushing big time with this wonderful amazing man (again I should point out I never spoke to him about this….lol).
I was blessed, it was not the poses! It was breathing.. making time for me, self-love and care and seriously future Kylie was going to love this. Yes, this was the love chapter in my yoga book. I got lost in each practice and I did not count the minutes until the workout was over. I still wonder if it is a different journey for everyone and does everyone feel this way. The moment my feet touch the mat and it could be 5 minutes or an hour I am happy and something now that is part of my daily ritual.
So this journey took me from the studio to my deck at home, hotel rooms, beaches and honestly where I needed a moment for me. A time to truly feel grounded. I found that the strict schedule did not work and sometimes I needed that flexibility. I once again found a girl crush and love Yoga with Adrienne on youtube channel. She is so my people, I love doing yoga with her each morning. I love my space and my timings but I feel at a loss if I miss it.
I want to get some more time in a studio to build back to that 90 mins yoga sessions. I feel I got a bit lazy with my home practices ranging 5-30 minutes and I have so much more to explore with this journey. I still can't do all the poses and I do not look like any pics on social media but I now love what I do.
I have shared this love with my daughter and selected friends. My goal is to get my man to join me one day! I can see us pulling out our yoga mats as we travel the world trekking!
My second foundation:
Mood writing – journaling/oracle cards
Talk about my go-to for everything for whatever mood I am in. I not only pull an oracle card and journal in the morning but if I need a little break during the day, I pull out a journal and will write to clear my thoughts or more particularly to clear my mood.
In the morning is the perfect time to set my intention for the day, I ask the universe pretty much how to navigate my day choosing an oracle card (I have a few different ones at home but currently using the Moonology ones) I do not know how to read tarot and I am more intuitive than anything else. When purchasing oracle cards, I have gone with recommendations on Instagram or discuss with my circle of friends on what they love. I will pick my card look at its meaning and then write my feelings on it. I also like to journal a few things that I am grateful for, generally reflecting on the day before and it honestly sometimes is I am grateful for my bathtub or it could be I am grateful for a particular person as they may have assisted me that day. That positively helps with keeping the vibe high. (just got to say I love this term and hear it all the time and wanted to throw it into a blog somewhere).
As I said this is not the only time I journal. I journal if I need to have a meeting that is playing on my mind or if I am calling someone that is a bit high maintenance. I use journaling for all my family issues and my partner in crime would probably not like to read all my babble on how I get to clear my thoughts.
I have used mood writing recently going into day surgery as I have a fear of coming out of the anesthetic and sharing parts of my crazy mind so before going under I wrote everything out to ensure that my thoughts were clear.
I have cried tears into my journal pages smudging the writing and making it unreadable. I actually never go back and read any of it. Got to say I am a shit editor anyway. I don't want to try and fix or correct any of those thoughts. They are not right or wrong they just are and it is such a beautiful release to get them out.
This practice is for me, it is purely my journal and it does not have to be pen to paper you might like to type it out but I love my fountain pen and I have some beautiful journals (using art journals from ‘kathypetersenart.com' purely because I love the paper and it works so well with my fountain pen. I honestly have a few journals lying around the house, in bags etc so days are mixed up between them. I am totally ok with it, just like my thoughts my journals do not need to be in the order they are just my release of a lot of random words. Some days my writing is beautiful and other days it is messy as hell. I personally prefer the unlined books as I don't want to abide by the rules of staying on the lines.
I giggle as I talk to you about it, even to myself I feel a bit of a nutter but for me, it is a practice that works.
My Seven ‘make it through the day' foundations
7 is the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of truth. 7 knows that nothing is exactly as it seems, and that reality is often hidden behind illusions.
I love the New Year and the fresh start. The reset and releasing of the old and making space for the new. It was well over 18 months ago now that I was seeking truths, resetting and finding my way. I talk often, post or hashtag about my daily practices, those foundations that get me through my day something that has taken some time to practice, and hopefully, in time I will master but now I want to take the time to share.
When the shit hit the fan for me, and I was in a dead set meltdown mode I felt the scramble and seeking whatever would help me from the suffering. What could I do or use that was going to get me out of this pain as fast as possible? Purchasing and attending anything that I could get my hands on that was able to assist with the pain. Honestly, if someone told me during this time that they had a jar of air and if I breathed it in daily, I would not have any anxiety I would have probably purchased it. During these real hardships, it is hard to think clearly or even see clearly on what sense is and what is not. I learnt this last year that I did not need to do that. I actually needed to learn and get curious about what was happening to me so I could take important information away from these lessons and move forward with ease. I am not saying those lessons didn't hurt and were not uncomfortable, god they really were but I needed to go through them. Once I was ok with that and truly believed I was enough, only then could I pull tools from my own toolbox and actually feel like I was living instead of the dreadful fear that had me scrambling for any cure, something that could ease my pain instantly or at least numb it. I was always looking for the easy way out.
So, I want to share my foundations and some lessons. I have spent a good 18 months probably wasting a lot of money scrambling, gripping and seeking for those quick fix answers. In between all of that I was lucky enough to forge some truly great practices that have now cemented as my foundations and part of my daily practice.
I do know that they are not for everyone and I believe we create our own toolbox to navigate and deal with our own situations. After many years of military and only being able to look at situations in a singular way, trying to see something from a new light was like trying on a different pair of shades and seeing the world very differently.
These tools worked for me and the amazing people that have shown me these along the way have been a complete utter standout. I felt that they have ripped the rug from under me shook it off, cleaned it up and placed it neatly back down for me to continue. So, for me I did choose Seven wonderful practices, stepping out of a dark phase where choosing Seven deadly sins might have been easier. Please enjoy my Seven loves, my Seven foundations, my Seven joys that are now part of my day today.
My first foundation:
Meditation with Mala beads
When someone would mention meditation to me, I think of people sitting cross-legged and saying the word ‘om' those truly disciplined souls who could sit still for long periods of time. In my mind, they were so Gandhi, so friggin Zen! How the hell could they keep their mind so damn clear and have this amazing experience which I believed how meditation was. I did think that it truly is not for all of us and I was not born to do this, my mind is messy as hell and I can truly say that sitting still is not my forte. There was not a chance in hell that this practice could be for me, no way this was going to become enjoyable.
Every time I would read an article, or a self-help book it would always mention meditation. Every damn article talked about the benefits and how it is the stepping zone to that inner peace and calmness that I was desperately seeking. I knew I had to try this, attempt it, damn practice it.
I have had a love/hate relationship with meditation as for me I lacked the consistency and discipline, so it always felt like I was starting over. I truly was embarrassed if a family member would walk past me whilst attempting this and would always stop immediately if they did. If I did not get up before everyone else, then I would write it off for my day as I couldn't be seen whilst attempting this. Ahhhhh the old perfection card was in play, did not like doing something unless I was perfect at it.
I have attempted many guided meditations which some were ok and some have helped. Honestly, they are so easy to find on the internet but because I knew nothing about meditation finding someone, I connected with was hard and a lot of times I did not make it through the whole session. It was also extremely hard to find guided meditations that were about 5 minutes because I still had it set in my head that I didn't have time and I was such a beginner that was all the time I was going to give this practice. The other thing I found is that I would get halfway through meditation and they had said something that annoyed me in some small tiny insignificant way, and I was turning it off (probably just trying to justify an out).
I think the love came all over a mentor's bracelet, it was wooden beads, bit cool like and I really loved it. I found out they were mala beads; they are a meditation tool and you roll the beads between your finger and thumb and can count mantras. Who knew there was a tool for meditation? Something that was tactile and would help me sit still for some time so I could learn and possibly enjoy meditation.
So, I needed a mantra, I knew nothing about them and was unsure of how it all worked anyway. Got to love Google and in the end, I connected to the mantra 'kleem' for me it was attracting love into my every day. Love for myself, love for others, acting with love, speaking with love and so forth.
My meditation practice then became a ritual of sitting with some mala beads and either chanting in my head, saying out loud or listening to the YouTube clip of 108 chants of ‘kleem'. This really felt like a success, I think for me to do this I was sitting for the 6 minutes meditating away with my mala beads. It then became the first thing in the morning sitting on my deck looking out to my backyard and now it is before I hop in the car and hit the office. I started to love this and really needed it before I was heading out anywhere. I combined this mediation with one of my other foundations and honestly today I might do it a couple of times during the day (especially on holidays) I don't care if the family walk past me and I even manage to focus on a lot fewer noises.
I really feel disciplined doing this and I ensure I make time to meditate even if I am running late. I can tell you I do feel out of whack now when I don't get the chance to meditate. For me, I cannot believe that I would get this far with this practice.
I now focus on 108 breaths (picturing a small light rising and sinking within me whilst I breathe) and sometimes that is not enough, and I flip my beads around and do another 108 if I really feel unstuck and need to get that grounding feeling a bit more. I am proud of me, but it took a cute looking bracelet to get me there. I am enjoying it immensely.
I still love the guided meditation but realised that the chances of finding a great one on google were going to take time to sift through them. I am lucky enough to be in an area that Lead Love Leap with Kylie Bartlett facilitates group guided meditation. Another love for me as it is a power circle and it has grown so much. The women I have also connected with and the love of tea to end an evening! I love that it is run on Monday nights, another great reason I no longer hate Mondays! Who knew this was going to have so many benefits?
I also managed to purchase mala beads in my hometown but found an abundance of them online. I love the really large wooden beads, I am very tactile and love the feel of them between my fingers. I have found a true love for this foundation and for anyone saying they could not possibly do it, I would say to you if I can then you totally can.
I got a chance to catch up with my British mate last month and as usual, talking to him is like light bulbs going off in my head one after another. That is after I have asked him to repeat himself five times due to his damn accent, but I love him anyway. We have been around each other for a number of years now… we have a history together and we have ridden the roller coaster ride of life and supported each other through it. We have not been in each other's pockets but been around when it really counts. He is one of my closest friends and one that I hope that will be around for a long time but that has not been the case with all my friends.
It honestly is a life-changing experience to chat with him, it takes many drinks and wonderful conversation to really sift through our thoughts and emotions. He too is a soldier like me but his experience has been a harder one than mine, after being blown up in Afghanistan he died but the universe knew there was way more for him so ...... back to life, extended coma loads of medical issues and few years on he is living his best life and is damn fucking clear on his boundaries. I know I don't want that kind of brick wall to wake me up, so what makes me live my best life and what will it take to be real and authentic and get damn clear on my boundaries?
I have really changed my whole outlook, how I deal with issues, self-love and with the sabbatical from work last year and the realisation of how much I wasn't living my life or being true to me I put in some serious work to change that and I feel I have grown so much. I am very clear on what I want in life. What I am willing to accept and what I am not.
This, however, has come with some casualties in the friend department. I know we all don't like to change to some degree, but my old friends liked the old Kylie. I was reminded of the circumstance if someone is taking more out of the relationship then you are then they are a parasite and needs to be terminated. This is a harsh reality but a true one. It was so clear that some relationships were built on all that I gave that person and when I started to implement boundaries there was some pushback. This was occurring from my closest of friends – this was painful as hell and really not what I had expected with all my changes. I could not see how the change in me was not positive and not a great influence on others around me.. does not everyone want to grow and change and live happier?
What do I mean by change, I have gotten real, raw and hell authentic. I have removed the mask and really exposed those emotions, faults and inner pieces of me to the world. I have taken an alternative path with learning great practices that help me go through my every day. I have completely changed my friend circle to one that is supportive of my adventure. I honestly feel empowered talking to this group of people! Now, this is the life I want to live.
So talking to my mate on friends, we started with how to declutter and remove those that were not the best interest for our higher good. So we talked about Facebook first and how he sets his group limit to 100 friends on his personal page. How did he decide? So he looked at each friend and said to himself :
1. Do I want to sit down to lunch with that person?
2. Have I spoken to them in the last 18 months?
3. Have I seen them in the last 3 years?
In his mind, if you have not seen them in the last three years was like them not showing up to work, and we know relationships require work. So after facebook, we looked at it the same way with phone contacts, declutter away. Totally different for business pages but your personal page this is a declutter to set boundaries of having the closest of friends, friends you want to see and talk to. I know that some rules apply differently to overseas friends but I truly need to make the effort to be in contact with them if they are to stay in my close 100.
Yesterday I started with Facebook and with his rules in mind, I started with 300 friends and within 10 mins that was cleaned down to 190…Oh, that felt good! The boundary and the feeling were wonderful and something that I honestly had not thought about, but I need to surround myself with people that empower and support each other and I had this mindset of holding on just in case. That holding on feeling like the items in the garage in the boxes. What was the purpose of this? One day I might need them? Why do we box our different types of friendships? Was this my ego or had I never thought of decluttering before... If I don't make room for new people I will always surround myself with old relationships that are no longer working.
If we declutter our wardrobes, spare rooms, study, garage, kids' toys for all things new then why am I not doing this with a friend list? I have learned recently that it is hard to let go, you want people to grow with you and be on your bus but there is so much in that past that stops that. For some of those friends, we need a funeral for closure, this is a serious critical step for our goodbyes otherwise we live in relentless mourning for what was only our perceived favourite outcome. Then make the decision of cutting that away and opening up space for new friendships. That old age saying for a season or for a reason! I truly believe in this. I held on to so much guilt separating myself from toxic friendships. There is sadness but when that space becomes clear and you feel good about your boundaries for me it has enabled to let new people in.
So, I joked with my mate on how easy it was to hit unfriend on Facebook, we talked about making plans to see each other annually! I giggled and said "well I know what happens when we hit 18 months" his response was you better not be thinking of getting rid of me. Our journeys are similar, we have shared the pain, we have supported and helped each other grow. We love and accept new changes in each other, this is a friend I want in my life.
I have decluttered, and I have some vacancies for friends opened up right now. I move through life knowing not everything is guaranteed and friendships can be quick, love and grow with what you have, be ok to say goodbye! I have clear boundaries, I know I am enough, I know I am loved, and I truly know I can move on!
My friend advertisement – Seeking people on my bus, must be real, raw and authentic! Be able to give just as much as receive. Be ok with alternatives, turn up to work on the friendship and not be afraid to call BS when needed. Be able to create a space for us to talk and actually listen to each other. To let each other learn without being an expert or trying to solve issues for each other. Only serious applicants need to apply.
Every time there is an issue there is one of my mates that loves the drama, wants to fix, loves the misery and the world is falling apart and they can look after me. Oh, how wonderful this feels when I hit that issue, I don’t have to fight this as my enabler has got this! The one that tells you “let’s sort this out”, “Stand back and I will protect you!”, “You poor darling”. That can feel like my own personal hero, the one that is always there! I wipe my tears and a can give a weak smile knowing how protected I am with this mate.
You must be thinking this does not sound so bad. Is this not support? Is this not love? Well the enabler is thinking that they are very supportive and loving. They actually jump at the opportunity, they love that feeling of being needed. I know it is done with no ill intent but more of their own fears of possibly not being abandoned if they are always needed.
But every time there is an issue, I run straight to them! I don’t even pause I dial them straight away, or message and I ask them what I should do before I even think about it myself, before I even have sat with loosely with it. I run to them before I have even exhaled. They will know what to do! A sense of relief when they answer the phone straight away.
I want to share with you what I have learnt from this and how not letting me fail and not letting me find a way out of my own black hole has done nothing but hinder me.
What I realised that every time that a mate jumped in and saved the day, that habit of calling them first became my habit, my ritual. When they were not available I would then panic, and scramble like hell for their help. It could only be them because they knew EXACTLY what to do in this crisis. I had learnt not to think about what I could do, I did not know how to deal with it myself. I had learnt to react not respond! This left me in a constant fight-flight mode. This is unhealthy, what had I become! I felt that I had become that victim mentality.
I recognised that I needed that change that I needed to deal with the issues, I needed to PAUSE, take a breath, look at my situation, sift through emotions and facts and work out what I wanted to do from my heart. I had to create my own boundaries, not those of what my mate thought I needed. I had to respond instead of reacting, I had to reflect and learn. Oh man oh man did I grow once I did this. THIS was not doing it alone, I changed my support group to people that just gave me the space to talk through it all, come to my own conclusions. They would keep me accountable, redirect back to my path.
Well I have changed A LOT! I now hear those words from my old mate… “How can I fix it?” or anything that represents that enabler of my damsel in distress and it is like nails running down a chalk board. I want and need the space to sift through this, to work it out myself, to ask advice, to someone who is supportive and will question me or challenge me. A place that I can let go of emotions if I need. This way of working through it in a supported space has fixed my mindset; how strong I am when a situation occurs… NO MORE panic mode as I know that I can handle this myself. I felt supported and empowered in making my own choices, dealing with my own crises, working through and learning from my own failures.
The biggest lesson was that I have all the tools in my tool box to deal with any situation. I gave myself permission to stop pause and respond, to create my own boundaries, to work through my own capacity levels. I gave myself permission to not be perfect but to look at any situation with interest and work out what I was feeling and what was occurring with me. How liberating, how interesting and refreshing when you don’t have that funnel of information coming in from well-intended mates that clouds all your thoughts.
It has changed my whole outlook, I really do get curious when a situation occurs. I love working through it, having less fear and the happiness in my day knowing how strong I actually am.
Once I got to here, it then made me think where in my life was I an enabler to someone’s damsel in distress mode.
It really isn’t you, it’s me. I have been falling out of love with people for the last year and let me tell you why.
I worked out MY boundaries, what I was willing to take and what I no longer could take. It started with my work space and my work relationships. Once I set those boundaries it was a huge change, yes not all were ready for my honesty and there was carnage! This is something that our family does discuss and yep there has been emotions and tears.
But what blew me away was on how much I let friendships cross my boundaries. Why do I let this happen? Do I think I won’t be liked if I shared my boundaries in my friendships? Will I have no friends if I say what I really think? Well instead of the old Facebook friend clear out….. I called it “We need to talk”. I am now so super duper clear, it’s not just about being on the same bus (spiritual journey about loving ourselves) but if you are not about empowering each other. If you are not about making the most out of your life. If you don’t come from a place of love, then I need to say it is shaky ground and let’s unfriend.
Before you start thinking this blog is about you, I am dragging around my own bag of emotional issues that is over 40 years old. So honestly, get over yourself, THIS IS ABOUT ME!
I need to be real here, friendship is a relationship, so we will have ups and downs and it is a rollercoaster ride. Deal with it! There is no such thing as perfection.
I want you to come over when my hair is shit, my house isn’t perfect and I am in fat clothes and you don’t judge me… instead you ask if I need a hand. I will do the same for you. Please just walk around my kitchen like you own it. Make tea, eat from my fridge – when you are comfortable, I am comfortable.
I don’t want to bitch about other people, I don’t like it. Of course we can vent when we are pissed off.. but the general bitching is a no-go zone. Stop doing it. Women need to stick together – do any of really know each other’s journeys.
I communicate, I want you to do the same. I don’t have a crystal ball – if something is going please let me know.
Ring me because you want to, you want to hear my voice and you want to chat. Don’t ring me because you feel like you have to
I am a mum, a soldier, friend, lover, mentor and writer – I have shit going on. If I haven’t communicated in a bit – IT IS NOT YOU! It is me! I am dealing with some stuff… I miss you too! Don’t guilt me – it is the worst.
If you need me just call – don’t make me guess from messages! I suck at reading between the lines.
Your priorities might not be my priorities – let's respect our differences.
Be real, I don’t do fake.
Be positive, be you – let's work out how to deal with shit and move forward. I can cry with you, I can give you space to talk. I won’t judge, and I need you to do the same.
If I want to drink wine on Monday night, I am drinking wine!
When I am angry I need a little space to calm down, I am a fiery little thing. If I am wrong, I will apologise – do the same. Magic happens in the space- give things time!
I already know I am crazy, but I love my type of crazy.. in the words of Siskin River “you got to go through hell to burn like me”
I take responsibility for ME! So, these are my boundaries, if I am not being any of this… Call me on it! I need and respect your honesty!
So, this is my unfriend, this is the moment I lay it on the line! I strive every single damn day to be a better person, to love myself more. To empower others to do the same.
To the women of my tribe, I LOVE THE HELL OUT OF YOU! Let’s do this thing called LIFE together, it is such a wonderful ride.
I know last year for me, I was in a place of total despair. Going to work disabled me and I was dealing with such emotion and pain on a daily basis. The inner critic in my head was pretty much saying that I need to leave this job! Actually, she was shouting it from the roof top, with a whole heap of words stating how useless I was. I was taking my distraught self-home and all my emotions were unintentionally taken out on my family! I was in pure survival mode! I could not separate any emotions and felt that life was hell and the only fix would be to leave my current job. I did not want to deal with the day to day challenges of my own emotions and feeling stripped bare and being in a constant state of suffering at work and then at home. Even when I thought I had my shit together it only took a couple of days and I would be back to having that glass wine every night or zero energy to deal or desire to do anything.
So, what did I do… Well I was lucky, I had some Long Service Leave and took 6 months at half pay so I could take a break. I got some help and I discussed every issue I was having and cried a lot of it out. We have all heard the stories of women having a meltdown, or maybe a break down… Or there are the women who are currently sitting in the pre-meltdown area and just living in that suffering on a day to day. I had a meltdown. I even had a total Jerry Maguire moment where I told a high-ranking officer what was wrong with the work place.
Should I divorce my job, it was like a marriage. it had the honeymoon phase, then the reality phase and instead of working on it or discussing it. I got to the I want out phase “I hate you, we are through!” I was in pain and did not see any light at the end of the tunnel and I had forgotten why I got into relationship in the first place.
So, knowing my history and knowing that I didn’t do well at relationships, when it got hard I don’t want to deal with the bad shit, so I put up the wall and ensure I self-sabotage the relationship. It is what I have always done, I play victim. I have a master’s in it! Then I met David and he called me on my bullshit, when I needed to not talk about what was going on. I would just disappear for an hour or two or a weekend if I needed but I was not going to be real, raw and authentic with him. I was so damn busy with my suitcase of the past and all my hurt and pain that I did not want to sit with that shit again. He called me on it, he said to me “I have to stop taking off when it is hard and actually talk”. Oh, I self-justified this. I said to myself that I am calming down, I am not getting into an argument, I am not offloading my history onto him. I now call my own shit. What if I talked to him and was real, vulnerable and shook off all of my shit and just lived in the now. What if? David gave me the space to feel safe and secure to do this, I could be me. I was loved.
When I looked at my relationship with David it made me look at my relationship with my work. I remembered my honeymoon phase and how in love I was! I remembered all the great things that I first adored when I first started working there. Just like my relationship I did not want to deal with the hard stuff. I felt over and over that I should just leave, there are plenty of fish in the sea! I can find another job.
The same in my relationships, only when I felt secure and safe to actually dive deep and deal with my demons could I actually blossom. Is my work the same way, what if I was real, raw and authentic? What if I sat in the hard shit as well?
I had to do a lot of work on me to feel secure in my relationship with David. I would love to blame every ex that I have had and trust me they had faults but HEY so did I. I had to do the work, create practices, love myself, believe I am worthy. I had to sit with it and do the hard yards to let David in.
We have choices and just like some relationships that are abusive, and you need to walk away from so are some work places. BUT, what if I worked on me in my work environment what if I created my own security and safe space. I have to believe my story first before I can share it with others. I need to deal with own emotions, so I can listen and not be reactive. I decide on what I let in and I don’t. I am powerful.
Imagine if I did not need that sea change, imagine if I did the hard yards in my work place and I blossom, I grow, and I get through the downs of a relationship. What would it look like? Would I love it?
It wasn’t the work place that had to change for me, it was me. all my demons, all my luggage, I learnt why I was reacting and being triggered and then I dealt with that issue.
I love my work and I am grateful in my moment of emotion that I did not chuck it all in. We don’t think logically when we are emotional.
I had to grow but working through the tough shit. I realise now that I AM ENOUGH. I AM SAFE. I AM LOVED. I AM WORTHY.
I will endeavour to take the ups and downs with my work just like my relationship and only leave when it is for my upmost good, for my higher self.
Thankyou mentors and psychologists for paving the way. I am always a student, but I am discovering mastery.
We love things in order, I know with my family and the different personalities we thrive with order around us, it helps set foundations for the day. Maybe it is the comfort that order brings or being organised around us which then enables us to attack the rest of the day or any plans.
I used to live in that world and constantly strive to live a perfect life. Only problem was I would beat myself up when felt I had failed. That damn inner critic would tell me how bad I was and hopeless and I would not amount to anything successful. All because I did not get something done, I was lazy, and I did not have everything in order.
I love a tidy house, mess creates confusion and creates an inability to stop and pause and work on the important things, like writing, meditation, being me and being ok with that. I was always “I will get to me time once I have everything in order”. Order, order, order… what made me strive for crazy perfection and never allowing myself the time and space to do things that were truly needed as I was so damn busy putting it all in order?
So not only order, but I needed to do it - MYSELF. Well I know how to do it right, others would get it wrong and could I trust them to do it properly? So, I was busy, rush rush rush… do all the jobs myself, get it in order, create perfection… time for me can wait until everything is sorted. I can be a mum, wife, best friend, soldier, and writer but only to perfection.
THEN… my marriage ended! It was for a lot of reasons, but it was the wakeup call I needed. I had to lay flat and cry, be loving to myself, be kind, let go of perfection, let go of order. I had to make me the priority! I did this because I had a beautiful daughter and I wanted to be someone she looked up to… not a mum who tried to kill herself living a perfect life but someone that can deal with knocks of life, not need perfection and made myself a priority.
This is not easy, it’s years of habits and knowing that you have to let go of the little things that are taking up time and space that is needed for YOU.
How to let some things go…. so, if my family hangs washing on the line, it is everywhere and pegs where they should not be. I know my Mum and my Grandmother are doing backflips in their grave as I learnt this from them (don’t get me started on the mother wound) the pegs are all different types and colours and they are in no order.
Some of you might get this and others might be thinking..umm Kylie has lost the plot and is talking about pegs. It was one thing I could let go of and if I could do that with one perfection rule then I can do it with others. Letting go of the need for perfection and the control that having everything in order means. Then it was the dishwasher, and then the linen cupboard and then the wardrobe, and magically time for me was created.
Don’t worry my house is tidy and all those things I needed in order you probably would not notice, I make time and space for me and acknowledge that I AM ENOUGH. I work the scales in my favour, creating time – pockets of time for self-care and nurturing and writing. So, I don’t get everything done, I don’t need to! I have time, it will be ok, the world won’t end.
And now I can breathe, practice stillness, and honestly just let go.
I want you to be happy in your career; with my workshops we can tackle any issues that stop you from reaching that. You won't need a sea change but love who you are and what you do.