The One Thing all Disruptors Do.

Choice. It goes hand in hand with freedom.  Most of us associate having a choice with the ability to say “yes” or “no” or some variation in between.

Choice also refers to how we think.  The freedom to think in ways that serve us or harm us.

The one trait that all disruptors have – people who challenge the status quo – is the that they dare to create original and new content.  They choose not to accept things how they are, and disrupt that status quo with original thought and ideas.  They actively, intentionally choose how to think and filter incoming information accordingly.

The freedom to think and choose is about taking all of the incoming data, inputs, opinions and what else arrives from the external world, sift through it and then use what serves and aligns with our values, and discard that which does not. A disruptor is also someone who dares to step outside of the box and offer a different way of seeing things, which is risky, scary and sometimes dangerous.

I choose to be a maternity leave / early motherhood disruptor.  I choose to take in information, filter it, choose what works, discard what does not, and I work to be aware of alternate ways of thinking.

A great example is one of the most common things that people say to me  I choose to be a bit of a shit disturber and have them think twice about this common phrase.

Someone will ask me how old my children are.

I reply, 3 and 1.5 years.

They shake their head, pity in their eyes.

“Oh wow. That must be soooooo busy.”

Half of the time, I don’t tell them I work full time as well.  I feel like based on that initial reaction, it might be too much! And I’m already not particularly interested in hearing all of the reasons why that is hard / scary / challenging /sucky.  Because I don’t see it that way.

Sometimes I like to be mischievous and go for it, and maybe while I’m at it all drop the bomb that I also write and run a coaching business.

Pity sort of, well…. it usually turns to horror.

“Oh my god. How. Why?!?!” something along those lines.

Here’s where the disruptor bit comes in.I choose not to look at things the same way.

If I focused on how busy and overwhelming life with two under three is, it would create some pretty powerful self-limiting beliefs and barriers.  “I couldn’t possibly focus on anything else right now.” That’s what I would tell myself.  If I worked and focused on childcare costs and the logistics of it all, well, it would be not very… helpful.

“I couldn’t possibly focus on anything else right now. Look at all of these barriers. My lief is busy! hard! maxed out!” That’s what I would tell myself if I listened and bought into external influences.

The thing is though, that doesn’t work for me, my life or my goals.  I’m not saying it is a bad belief or wrong, it just doesn’t serve me. 

I choose to be liberated in my thinking. I choose to see things in different ways because we do have a choice. My days aren’t busy, they are so ridiculously fulfilling and exciting. I’m not dropping half of my paycheque on childcare and rendering my work futile, I’m exposing y kid to exciting things and a social life and activities, and in turn I’m enjoying professional development growth and adult engagement.  It’s a win-win. Not a lose-lose.

As a mother there is a very, very powerful motherhood dialogue out there – in media, advertising, even in mommy groups.  Too busy. Too overwhelmed.  Unable to balance life (can’t keep up with all of the jobs and roles). Struggle (I’m alone in this).  Hardship (isolation, the difficulty of mommyhood). It sucks. (sleep deprivation- how could you possible survive it and work?!)  Fear (not spending enough time with my child because of work, quality time, tv time over play time)  – gosh all of those dialogues are so, so prevalent.

If I listened to all of those, all of the time, and bought into them, my potential would be wasted.  Lost to self-imposed barriers and harmful thinking.

Choose to be an outlier, choose to be someone who sees the positive in everything.  Choose to get away from the average or status quo.  Disrupt.  Know you have a choice in how you think, act and talk.

Then, go and watch this 12 minute video of Shawn Achor at TED talking about the outliers and positive psychology. (he is also incredibly hilarious.)

And go disrupt, mama. March to your own drum.  Listen to that which serves your goals. Think for yourself.  Set an example for other new mothers, mothers like me that look for “things that are great about being a parent” or “why it’s easy to work and have children” – because I know I have googled those, and I wasn’t able to find the voices or the blog posts that told me all of this is possible. I stumbled around, tried it out and discovered it for myself, but there needs to be more voices out there encouraging, inspiring and disrupting.


Building a Business: Embrace the Learning Curve

Why read this article?  I teach you how to become super productive + embrace the steep learning curve by sharing a technique that I use.  It’s all about embracing microtasks. I show you how much you can actually get done in 60 minutes of work, and why you should acknowledge each task.

Reading time:  5 minutes

Today I’m writing about the rich, steep learning curve that occurs in the process of building a business.  I don’t know about you, but even though I grew up with tech entrepreneurs for parents, I was not educated in technology at school.  I FAILED typing in Grade 7.  Which is funny, because now I go at 150 wpm without looking at a keyboard.

This is hilarious to admit, but I learnt HTML basics at the age of 15 – self taught.  I was a Backstreet Boys SUPER FAN, and built a fan website “Carinas BSB” with a chat room.  It wound up being one of the biggest early chat rooms & websites for BSB fans, and had over 150,000 visitors in its first year. Not bad for the mid 90s.  I wish I had monetized it!

It was a short lived hobby – about 3 years, but each day was a new learning curve.  Understanding how to embed a picture on the page.  Understanding how to use Angelfire webpage templates, how to get the coding for that perfect shade of lavender in my fonts.  How to crop Howie D out of photos.  Bahaha. Sorry, Howie fans 😉

Here I am building a business in 2016 and I feel like that Backstreet Boys Webmaster all over again!  Except this time I have Google, and support groups and forums and podcasts.

One of the components of building a business that I don’t often read about in the books, is the microtasks and the intensive learning that happens inside of those tasks.  It’s all about embracing those little pieces one day at a time and giving yourself some cred for them.

Today, I worked on the GML website and social media for about an hour – before my babykins woke up.  In that hour I have googled, and learnt, and consulted, and tested things out.  I normally don’t look back on what I have done in each hour, but today I actually wrote down each thing I did in 10 minute increments.

I’ve never done this before.

 Here is what I accomplished in 60 minutes

-Creation of an Instagram Account, “The Great Maternity Leave” & posted about 10 images with text.  Linked it up with twitter, website, fb. Got followers, followed great accounts, became inspired.

-Downloaded the FB pages manager & ad campaign app and tried out running one of the boost your post functions.

-Listened to a Smart Passive Income podcast in the shower on being true to yourself and unafraid to have an authentic voice.  Included in that podcast was advice on how to get past the fear of being judged (one of the dragons I have to slay, stepping into the “mom world” online.)

-Learnt the coding to put a pinterest like button on my webpage.  Haven’t actually done it yet but I have the coding now!  I think….

-Tried to learn about plugins but failed after struggling to find a link on wordpress (Failures are okay!)  This was a little frustrating.  The language is way beyond me on the advice forums.  But that will be for another day.

-Read an article about SEO and tagging / key words.  Improved my tags on a few of my recent blog posts.  Made a note to go back to older ones and revise them all.

-Double checked that each blog post is linked to its correct category on the main page.

-Created a new document in notes with frequent hashtags, so I can just copy and paste hashtags into my instagram.

-Responded to a coaching inquiry on my Etsy account and took the opportunity to renew some expired items.

-Tested out a new app to create infographics and typography.

-Figured out how to embed an image and set up a featured image in wordpress with some googling and reading of help forums.

Wow.  That’s in 60 minutes. None of these are huge tasks. They are all micro tasks.

I find that it is a productivity boost to focus on thing sthat will get you closer to your goal, but aren’t necessarily huge tasks.  Sometimes I go in with an idea of a few tasks, but more often I just get started with a few things I know I wanted to get done, and once we are rolling, more ideas come.

Remember when I talked about concentration and the state of flow?  Ideas start flowing once you are in that concentration stage.

I’ll either tackle them one at a time, or throw them into my Notes app on my iphone, which sits beside the laptop.  More often I have my trusty journal.

Sometimes it feels like you are just learning, and googling a ton.  Sometimes it feels like you have a million little tasks to do, but that is the fun of it.

Instead of getting wrapped up in all of the stuff there is to do, embrace it and look at how much can happen in only 60 minutes of concentration!  It’s quite satisfying if you sit and take stock of all of the stuff you got done.

If you are building a business, think about all the new things you learnt today in working on it.

And give yourself some credit, look at the learning you are doing and the steps you are making to get closer to your dream.  Things are happening.




How to Have a Great Maternity Leave: Declutter Physically with the Konmari Method

The nuggets of wisdom I have pulled and applied to my maternity leave after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

For two years I had been adamant that I’d never own too much stuff.

As a coach, it is important to always dig deeper and ask wait, but why?  

In October 2013 I was 9 months pregnant and working on wrapping up my Mum’s home & estate (she passed away from cancer when I was 6 months pregnant.)  Possession was just a few days before my due date.

One morning I was sitting in the garage, running a final HUGE garage sale with a bursting belly and looking out upon a lifetime of accumulated items from our family home.

It was incredibly hard to let things go.  I think it is particularly hard when you lose someone, because you want to hold onto everything of theirs tighter. I caught myself lovingly picking up a few items, gazing at them, smelling them to see if I could smell her perfume, then talking my way through which few pieces to keep.  People probably thought I was nuts.

Though it could have been a tragic day of garage sale-ing, that day wound up becoming strangely humorous.  An aggressively pregnant female, equally aggressively hawking everything like the best of street vendors.  All the poor unknowing shoppers having their car loaded up with extra free items by a waddling pregnant lady.

I so clearly remember standing in the middle of the garage, when EVERYTHING was gone, with a coffee, and I yelled up to the sky “HOLY SHIT MUM YOU HAD SO MUCH STUFF!” and then collapsing into my chair laughing and shaking my head.

I spent the rest of the afternoon gathering old papers from her super organized filing cabinet.  SO organized in fact, she had documents perfectly arranged from the mid 1970s onward.  I prepared the fire pit in the back yard and started to go to town on getting rid of the documents.  Funnily enough, that is also the day I just about burnt our family home down before possession.  I learnt that burning large quantities of paper on a gusty day is a terrible idea.  Let’s not tell my firefighter husband about that day, ok?

One thing I want to do with the Great Maternity Leave (GML) is share with you the books that I learn from and show you the unique ways that I incorporate them into my life, by building habit loops from them. I believe this is one of my first “book study” posts.  So here we go!

On my second maternity leave, I picked up  The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way To Banish Clutter Forever by Marie Kondo, whose method is called the “Kon Mari” method. It was part of my project to let things go and in the process, declutter.  It wasn’t even that I had this picture in my mind of a perfectly organized, clean home.  I just hate owning too much stuff.  I get irritable and stressy.

In economics, there is a concept called “the point of diminishing returns.”

As you accumulate more things, you go up the bell curve.  At the top,  the returns neutralize, then begin to decline.  I know exactly how that translates to the home.

You forget you even own items, you can’t find them, you value them less, you don’t remember to use them, etc.

What I was feeling, was some kind of strange psychic clutter – but addressing physical clutter seemed to me the most logical place to start, before I used my own coaching skills on myself and dug deeper. That’s for a later post.

As began to rapidly accumulate boxes of outgrown clothes with two babies, I could feel my irritation building up. Finally, on a luxurious child-free excursion to Chapters, I picked up this book, which called to me with its simple, clean packaging and fonts.  I often let books choose me, and this one sure did.

In the Rock Tumbler Essay, I discussed the fact that we are exposed to so much information – to the point where is hard to remember (or implement) all of the lessons we receive each day.  I believe that you should just stop worrying about your baby brain, all the “Shoulds,” all the information and relax – relax with the confidence that a few of those many river rocks will tumble out as semi-precious gemstones which you will always remember (if you are reading this thinking, WTF, go read the Rock Tumbler Essay!)

I want to share with you the semi-precious gemstones that came out of my brain’s rock tumbler as I read this book.  These are all things I have done since reading the novel.

Everything should have a home.  When an item has a home to return to, after serving its duty, you will remember where it is.  Think about it.  Why do we ALWAYS lose car keys, remotes, sunglasses?  Because they are constantly changing locations.  Create a home base for them. A basket, a designated drawer.  Whatever works and is obvious.

Let me tell you, calling down the hallway “they are in their drawer!” rather than spending 15 minutes helping someone search for car keys *cough* husband *cough* is preferable.

Ask yourself if the item has given you joy lately.  Remember my “Hell yes or no” essay?  Same principle applies here.  If you let a “meh” item go and regret it (unlikely) – guess what, there will always be a thousand stores nearby with even better versions of that original item.  Reassure yourself with the thought you can buy another if you miss it.  Rest assured, I never have.  I honestly didn’t trust Marie Kondo when she told me I wouldn’t regret letting things go.

Since then, I have ruthlessly been letting things go with this mindset and it has been absolutely liberating. My day to day functioning is not affected by a few pieces of wood, metal, glass or plastic.

When I have trouble with items because of some kind of attachment, I line them all up on the bed and choose one, and decide to transfer all of the meaning and memories into that one object.  I take photos of the others, to save.  Then let them go.  For the special items I have been letting them go to people who will be deeply touched. Letting them go to a loving home rather than collecting dust on a shelf is incredibly rewarding.  You’ll love it.

Treat your items with kindness; they have performed a duty for you.  Honestly, this stuck with me, but I’m still working on it.  Last night I put BRIGHT Sparkly blue nail polish in with a white load in the laundry machine.  Yup. I wouldn’t say I’ve nailed it. Please feel free in the comments to help a lady out and let me know if there’s a way to salvage my white laundry.

Employ the Kon Marie folding method.  At first, I thought, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” but I’ll tell you what… first, nothing wrinkles.  Second, it is incredibly easy to pull items out of the drawer without wrecking everything else.  Third, you can see every item right there in one go.  It’s lovely once you get used to it and the time investment is minimal once you get good at the folds.

Tidy by Category instead of location, and do it in bulk.  Lots of little tidying, luckily, never worked for me anyways. It’s pointless with small children.  Instead of working on each room, decide on days for certain things.  When you think about it, our grandparents often did this.  Sunday, laundry day.  Boom. All done for a week or so.  Then you can forget about it. No picking away at it all week.  Remember how I said I started this project to address psychic clutter? I promise you the tidying by category really helps reduce psychic clutter.

And my own piece of advice after working letting a lifetime of objects go:

Work on your mindset.  Think about it, we don’t own anything.  The objects are here on this planet, for much longer than we are.  We are just humans passing through in that object’s life. We are temporary blips.  Temporary caretakers.

All of the meaning we place on an object, we do with our minds.  Just as easily as giving something meaning, we can take it away, or transfer it.

Remember, we are simply temporary caretakers of wood, plastic, metal and glass objects.

The Kon Mari Method is quite revolutionary.  Everybody takes a different piece away from the book.  For me, the book offered a profound opportunity to let items go easily and declutter both physically, and mentally.

Though I’m nowhere near a the minimalist home I envision (I have too many travel trinkets and books for that!)  my entire mindset around tidying up has changed.




How to Have a Great Maternity Leave: Harness the Great World of Apps

From a very young age I’ve been quite comfortable around technology.  In fact, some of my earliest memories were helping my parents package up mid 1980s computer technology.  Floppy disks (yes those strange things you inserted into slots in the computer hard drive) and dongles (no not a sex toy!)

My crazy, risk-taker entrepreneur parents built a business around the cutting edge of technology at the time, their software helping the staff at NASA calculate payloads on the Space Shuttle.

Just talking about the Space Shuttle makes me sad that this new generation, our own kids, will not grow up knowing the SPACE SHUTTLE!  And Michael Jackson… oh I could go on.  Sorry.  Anyways  Back on track. 

There is always a fine line to tread with technology; it truly can be a double edged sword.  As I write this here at 9:30pm, I am well aware that the blue light from my laptop is probably going to interfere with my sleep (generally I try not to get on my computer within an hour of bed.)

It can be addictive downloading apps, and before I get into some of the most useful for maternity leave, I want to emphasize that it isn’t as simple as downloading an app.

For it to be truly useful, and not just take up room on your phone screen, you have to build the app into your daily habits to truly benefit from it.  What use is the Tiny Scan App if you constantly forget to scan your receipts?   What use is Wayze if you keep forgetting to check traffic on it and get stuck on your way to work?  You get where I’m going, right?

I’ve done a whole lot of reading, studying and self-experimenting on the habit creation side of things and have really progressed in looping habits.  I can’t wait to share this with you in a future post.  So stay tuned, I’ll come back and link to it here.

So be an app snob.  Download them.  Try them out.

“If it isn’t a hell yeah, I’d use this every day!” Delete it.

“If it’s a hell yeah!”  Keep it.

Really, you don’t have the time/energy/attention/memory space on your phone to dl apps and not use them.

When it comes to apps, it is better to be a master of some than user of none. 

And work on at least 7 days of using it consistently.  Start creating those habit loops.

Another technique I suggest is to keep new apps outside of folders for the first little while (on the first screen of your phone.)

New additions are easily forgotten when they are stowed away inside app folders.

Since you are focused on building a habit and making it an automatic part of your day, you need the visual reminder.  There’s just far too much stuff for you, maternity leave pro, to remember among the 200 other things to do!

So without further ado, let’s run through some of the “hell yeah!  Every day!” apps that make your life easier. And whoa there tiger, one app at a time, ok?  Remember, master of some, not user of none.   

Trello (replacing “Notes”) for to-do lists.   Free. Satisfying lists, visual board.  It’s almost like a Pinterest board version of a to-do list.  Easy to use & share with your husband. Grocery lists will never be the same again.

Battery Doctor A rather addictive free app that allows you to clean your phone, free up memory and maximize the battery life.  It keeps incredibly fascinating and useful data for the nerds out there who are curious about power, time left, rate of battery decline, and other phone behaviour.  I use this once a day to clear down unnecessary stores of caches, cookies, etc. and consistently free up 200mb of data. Trust me, it’s addictive.  You don’t even have to remind yourself with this one.

Evernote – For the longest time, I didn’t get into Evernote, it seemed like a beast, but it’s actually quite simple & intuitive once you invest an evening checking it out.  What converted me to Evernote from my trusty basic “notes” built in app on the iPhone, is the fact you can easily add web clippings, hyperlinks, photos and other useful things into each note.  Just today I was taking notes at a workshop, and then captured the handouts with the built in camera function.  This is great – when I go back and look at the notes I made this morning after 3 hours of sleep, and think, wtf, I can verify with the formal images.  I wish I had this in university to study with.  Visual techniques + written techniques is an all-round winner for studying and memory retention!

Everalbum – 3 laptops and multiple phones later, I have lost many digital photos.  For the longest time I’d manually add them into Dropbox.  I sort of felt like a magpie, you know… Collecting lots of objects and stashing them in different places.  I am sure I have at least 4 dropbox accounts, and a maxed out iCloud account from baby pictures and videos alone.

So why is Ever Album brilliant? It consolidates EVERYTHING.  It goes hunting for all of your random picture stashes, including Facebook and puts them all in one place, sorts them into albums and even has a backup that will import your iphone photos.  Amazing.

I am not sure if I am proud, or ashamed to admit that after 20 minutes of running the app, it sorted and consolidated more than FOURTEEN THOUSAND photos across various accounts.  I haven’t even begun to dig into its other awesome features but I’m pretty impressed so far.

Overcast – Every day I play a podcast while I am getting ready.  First, it gets my brain going for the day.  Second, I use it as a motivational and mindset tool to put me in the right place mentally.  For the longest time I’d have a little house music dancey dance in my bathroom as I put on some makeup basics for the day – but I alternate between podcasts and music now. I’m finding it hard to find the time to read these days and after years of resisting, have begun to incorporate auditory brain food!

Flipp – A coupon site, because who isn’t a bit more conscious of their budget on mat leave?  Flipp has most of the major stores.  A simple double tap lets you read the details on deals, and a single tap lets you “circle” the coupon and save it.  What I love most is the search function.  Search “diapers” and it will pull all of the deals it can find. The days of trying to wrangle your baby’s fingers from a crumpled coupon flyer are done.  Now you can just work on peeling his / her fingers off your iPhone instead!

Google Map – The traffic function is brilliant, even though I admit I am still building this habit loop in.  I’m still at the stage of remembering only when I am in traffic and am wondering what on earth is going on.  That being said, I am using Google Maps a heck of a lot more these days when I have to get across to the other side of the city and am in a time-sensitive day. Lately, it has been incredibly useful for looking up “gas station” with the search functionality and the route mapping based on “fastest route” has been so accurate so far.  Google Maps is funny in a relationship sort of way. I’m still learning to trust the app’s recommended route.  I’ve decided to override Google Maps a bunch of times thinking my way is quicker, and it’s been right every time, dammit.
This app is a good time to mention that there is a second important piece to seizing technology and really making it work for you.

You must dedicate 20-30 minutes to truly explore the functionality of each app.  Apps are powerful little things that by no means, replace the power of our own minds, but make our days a little easier and more efficient.

When it comes to technology, most of us are actually just “surface level” users, unless we’ve been fortunate enough to have had some instruction.  Once you dig below the surface of apps – or any technology for that matter, there are additional tool sand great features that most of us don’t discover.

It’s like your MacBook.  An hour on the Apple forums looking at Macbook functionality will blow your mind.  There’s finger taps and slides I didn’t even know existed that I’ve now worked on building into my typing. I’m still ridiculous and maximize / minimize windows with the green and red buttons, even though I know well that I can do it quickly with the keyboard (there you go, a habit loop I haven’t built up yet.)

Photo Shop Express – I’m really writing this post with maternity leave people in mind.  My photo habits were excessive when I was just taking photos of meals, my cats, and pints of beer – but I know that now pales in comparison to the photos I have of my babies!

Photoshop Express is an editing app that is free, intuitive and has a great sharing function once the photo is saved.  I use this app to run my Etsy business almost exclusively from my iPhone, and pair it up with the great Typography app Typorama for any kind of graphic needs. It’s also a useful little app when you try to catch a 2 year old on camera.  It’s either blurry, or they have satanic red eyes (which is actually quite ironic, no?)

Tiny Scan is my final recommendation & I have mentioned this app, along with Secure Safe in a previous post.  Again, hard habit to build but once you do, you will never be digging around for a receipt or document again.

Tiny Scan is going to be the foundation of one of my bigger mat leave projects; going completely, yes, completely, paperless in 2016.  No more statements.  No more trying to find random pieces of paper in my filing cabinet with an overly enthusiastic 2 year old helper! I can see the glory of it now!

Alright.  So there you go. Happy app-ing.

Psssst.   Fox and sheep gmbh and their app  goodnight circus – the greatest things you will ever see if you have a 2 year old and ever have to get on a plane.  Ssssh.  My secret.  Thank me later. 



GML Project: Read 1 Book Per Month

There are several reasons I wanted to start reading again.

First, I had come out of a year in which every ounce of my spare time (aside from full time work) was spent assisting others.  I was caring for my Mum who had Stage IV lung cancer, caring for myself with hyperemesis in pregnancy, and helping my husband study for his Fire Department Training Academy Exams (my full time career is showing people how to learn and study – basically academically succeed at the University level.)

It was a time in life where everything was very much focused on the present moment.  There was no mental or emotional space to take in extra information.  When the dust settled and I was settling into life with a baby, some time for reflection and learning opened up.  This went straight onto my project list as one of the first entries.

Though I was extremely reluctant, investing in a kindle was a game changer.  It allowed me to easily read with one hand while feeding a baby, and I was able to do it in low light situations.  I will always have books on a book shelf, but for the purposes of maternity leave reading, this was brilliant.

Reading is incredibly beneficial not only for the mental escape from the intense immersive experience that is life with a baby – but also for getting that brain back on line and going into learning mode.  And no, I don’t mean googling baby stuff and reading zillions of forum posts (which are horribly misinformed anyways!)

On my first maternity leave, I read the following books which were all fantastic reads.  This is a selection from an extremely varied list, but all were topics that I wanted to learn more about:  Other cultures’ styles of parenting, mastering self confidence in a totally new area of my life, time management and balance.

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam

Being In Balance: 9 Principles for Creating Habits to Match Your Desires
by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman

The Power of Self-Confidence: Become Unstoppable, Irresistible, and Unafraid in Every Area of Your Life
Brian Tracy

Please note – though I am genuinely sharing these books I have read, the links to Amazon put a note on my own Amazon account – so if you happen to buy these books on Amazon, I will be paid a very small portion of the proceeds. Which is cool, because I think Amazon is the best place to buy books, period.  Prices are good, shipping is great.  
Though you are supporting Jeff Bezos over at Amazon with your business, he’s a bazillionaire…  and I am not, so don’t you feel good getting Amazon to send some money to me, too? haha.    

The nice part about this reading project was that technology is so integrated these days.  The Kindle App for iPhone is free to download, so I could switch between the Kindle and my iPhone for reading, depending on which battery was dead 🙂

Fast forward a year and I am on second mat leave, and once again hitting the books.  However, I have another tip – this one even more profound.  I have a lot of learning to do on this mat leave, and a rather intense desire to read – but my time is much more limited now.  I recently started using a new German start-up’s app called Blinkist.

Blinkist condenses the latest non fiction books into easy 15 minute reads using a rhyming technique that assists with memory retention. Blinkist can be read or listened to with a brilliant audio button at the start of each “Blink.”

I’m currently testing out the free trial for 7 days, but once the trail ends, it is a relatively affordable $4.83 per month for membership!  Which is much more preferable to me than Audible! I remember signing up once and realized I couldn’t afford $15 a month on leave!

What I am finding on this leave (with a foggier mind than ever,) is I am only able to retain small chunks of information.

I was listening  to a podcast by Derek Sivers talking about the fact that most non fiction books only have a handful of key lessons.  Books are structured by arguing and supporting the key lessons with evidence and examples. (Hey, that sounds like my Masters Thesis!)

For more efficient reading and to pull the information you need, just cut to the chase.  This is exactly what Blinkist does and you know what, it is helping my memory and retention of what I have read.

I’ll never be my Military and Strategic Studies Masters Supervisor who could randomly pull a book off the shelf and tell me to read page XXX and then proceed to quote the page.  Nope.  Not operating at that level on mat leave.

Previously, I’d read an entire novel and if I was lucky, I’d take away and remember a few points vaguely, and then people would ask me about my latest reads and I’d mumble incoherently about one or two main things I remembered. Of course, the ones I remembered were important to me – because I needed to learn them and they resonated with me at the time.

Now, with the limited brain power, time and focus (I am very realistic when I am operating in a sleep deprived state) I can spend that limited energy retaining all of the key points because my reads are much more compressed.  That is exactly why I am a huge fan of this app.

This post got more onto the topic of technology than the benefit of reading in itself!  but I hope my digressions became useful, and that this post assists you in your aspirations to read.  🙂  Let me know what novel you are into at the moment!

Building a Business – Slaying the Dragons


In Step 1 of the Conquer Kit (I am using this book by Natalie MacNeil to build my business from the ground up) there is a section on “Slaying your Dragons.”

Natalie is referring to the internal messaging that is not helpful to your goals, or your business.  These internal messages are extremely limiting.

It’s quite scary and intimidating to open up in this post.  It’s a deep one.  In fact, it’s a dragon that needs slaying.  So here we go, I’m going to open right up here and talk to you about mine.  The moments of self-doubt that I have.

I present to you, my dragons – my inner, limiting beliefs:

Holy shit there is just SO MUCH INFORMATION.  How do I build the website? How do I start a sole proprietorship!  I need more coaching material! I need to learn ads and facebook marketing.

I’m too far out of my training, maybe my coaching is getting rusty, I need to re-learn it all before I get started! I have to be an expert right off the bat.  

I have a Facebook page / group / community called the Great Maternity Leave because I want to disrupt maternity leave and encourage women to retain their identity an work toward personal growth and self-fulfilment while on maternity leave.  But the online community of mothers can be a nasty place, with a lot of hate for those who step outside of the mould.  I am scared to be hurt in the moments where I totally open up and let myself be vulnerable- It frightens me that I am going to be the woman who adds a different voice that says “maternity leave totally doesn’t have to be negative, scary, challenging.”  I know there are going to be haters.   I’m going to disrupt many things that are accepted.  

And here is my BIG dragon.  It lives in a deep, dark cave. It is an insidious, dangerous dragon that doesn’t come out of its cave often, but I know it is always there, lurking in the background.

“You don’t deserve to be coaching people.  Who are you to stand on a pedestal.  You are so full of yourself!  People don’t like brags. People will get so sick of you, so quickly. Only people with massive egos build a facebook page and website about themselves!”  

That’s a nasty little dragon, isn’t it?  It doesn’t even make sense to me. I am confident, and happy and never really that mean to myself.  That dragon doesn’t come out often, but I know it is lurking there.

The Conquer Kit gives some guidance into slaying those dragons by exploring deeply where they came from.

I sat down and did some deep thinking about this, in the corner of a coffee shop.  This dragon stays well hidden in his dark cave but he’s still there.  So I need to address him.

I pulled out my coaching skills and powerful questions, and applied them to myself (yes, the Coach is coaching the Coach!)

How long have you been around, when do I first remember hearing your voice? How do you make me feel?

When do you come out of your cave?   How do you affect me? 

And if you were to come out of your cave fully, how would that impact my business and goals in 2016?

This dragon that I have – he comes from time far in my past.  He comes from my childhood.   I was raised by one parent who was an unbelievable kick-ass human being but also for the first part of my life, a parent (no longer involved in my life) who was a narcissist.

My time with this parent was a strange combination of being put on a pedestal and shown off to others, and pushed had to achieve, but seemingly just as quickly, cut down to size and being told I was not intelligent and not worth being heard and that my thoughts and opinions were a waste of other peoples’ time.  Especially if I was successful at something.

It feels pretty dark getting down into that cave and talking with the dragon.

So how does one go about slaying a dragon?  

I am a very visual person and make a lot of use of visual examples, so bear me out.  I think of starving this dragon in his cave, neglecting him but also rolling rocks across the entrance.  I’m great at neglect; I simply disregard these thoughts as ridiculous. But some active work needs to be done to shore up the entrance.

Both the Conquer Kit and many other coaches advise that you begin to destroy a limiting belief by adopting the opposite belief repeatedly.

Each time you repeat the opposite belief, you are rolling one giant rock across the cave entrance.

“You SO deserve to be coaching people.  You are humble and just want to give back to people through service and being of use.  You have incredible and in many instances, unusual life experiences and creative ways of thinking that will help people.  Your information and ideas are refreshing – if you are just yourself,  people will like you for who you are and what you have to offer!” 

There we go.  That is one GIANT rock I just rolled across the dragon’s cave.