Category Archives: Inspiration

29Mar/13

What They Didn’t Tell Us About Parenting.

Does it sometimes feel like you are the only person who struggles with the whole parenthood thing?  Why don’t our miraculous ‘bundles of joy’ bring us the happiness we thought they would?  Why don’t other parents talk about how hard it is?

Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman felt the same way.  Below is their funny and honest TED Talk which ‘exposes 4 facts that parents never, ever admit — and why they should.’

I watched this about 18 months ago and after the laughter, let out a huge sigh of relief that someone else was talking about these things that I wanted parents to talk about.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think by commenting below.

Many Thanks,

Thea

http://ted.com/talks/view/id/1036
22Mar/13

The Power of Vulnerability

TED Talk:  The Power of Vulnerability – Brene Brown

http://ted.com/talks/view/id/1042

This was the first TED Talk I watched.  It blew me away.  Not only is it funny and entertaining, Brene’s message is urgent and powerful for all of us.

Please comment below about what you thought and how you reacted to her talk.

Many Thanks,

Thea

15Mar/13

Do You Love New Ideas and Inspiration?

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If so…you need to know about TED.

about_ted

TED is a nonprofit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out, in 1984, as a conference bringing together people from three worlds:  Technology, Entertainment, Design.  Since then its scope has become ever broader, and covers almost any topic imaginable.

The goal of the foundation is to foster the spread of great ideas. It aims to provide a platform for the world’s smartest thinkers, greatest visionaries and most-inspiring teachers, so that millions of people can gain a better understanding of the biggest issues faced by the world, and a desire to help create a better future. Core to this goal is a belief that there is no greater force for changing the world than a powerful idea.

The two annual TED conferences, on the North American West Coast and in Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).  These talks are then shared online at the TED website and watched by millions.

I love watching TED Talks, often when I’m doing housework or cooking dinner.  Some of them are funny, some make me think ‘Wow!’, others are thought provoking, and some really have changed my life.

Every Friday I will select a TED talk that I think will inspire, motivate and educate us all, and post it here.  I hope you enjoy them and share them with your friends if you do.

All the best,

Thea

http:www.ted.com/talks

10Dec/12

Love Me When I Least Deserve It

Recently I have been talking with my kids about the need to show each other more love, not less, when one of us is tired, or grumpy or ‘misbehaving’.  I know this is counter-intuitive because our main instinct is to punish or cold-shoulder someone who is being rude or mean.  But, as we say in our family, when someone is behaving badly, there is a large chance that this is because ‘their heart is feeling bad’.

When our ‘hearts are feeling good’ – i.e. we are happy with ourselves, proud of our actions, feeling loved and a have a powerful sense of belonging and purpose – we find it easy to be kind, loving, happy and competent.  So therefore, even though we might not think that someone ‘deserves’ to be loved when they are acting badly, this is really when they need our love the most.  They need their heart to be repaired, or recharged, or just soothed, so they can recover their equilibrium and be themselves again.

While this all makes perfect sense to me, it is something that I find really difficult to practice.  I am, I have realised, somewhat grudgingly, someone who finds it hard to hide their emotions. I wear my heart on my sleeve, as they say, especially within the safe confines of my family. Therefore, my family knows exactly what mood I am in, at any particular time of the day, and often the reason behind it.  This is better than hiding everything, but I would prefer to reach the middle ground of being able to control some of my negative emotions when it would help those around me if I did.

This personality trait of mine makes it quite difficult for me to control my irritation, anger, frustration and resentment at other family members’ rudeness, anger and tantrums. (I know this is a double standard, but I’m working on it!)  Nearly 11 years of parenting has shown me that shaming, punishment and anger in response to a child’s ‘misbehaviour’ is ineffective not just in the long-term but the short-term too.  It just doesn’t work, not to mention the harm that it can cause. So I have to use this experience and evidence to remind myself to go the other way.  Sometimes (when my heart is feeling good) I can offer real love at those moments when my children need it, even though they often don’t accept it.  At other times (when I’m low on energy and resilience, AKA ‘my heart is feeling bad’) I have to force myself to offer words of forgiveness and love through gritted teeth.  I have been known to cuddle an angry child who is trying to calm down while simultaneously making angry faces that they can’t see just because I can’t control my own anger. I know! It’s really immature of me, but at least I’m going in the right direction.

So when I was Christmas shopping last week in Horsham and saw this (above), I had to buy it as an early present for my family.  It is now up in our kitchen to remind us all that this is what we are aiming for. We won’t ever be able to do this all the time, but by having it as one of the guiding principles of our family life, I am hoping we will learn to tolerate and help each other when we need it the most.

11Apr/11

What’s Golf got to do with it?

Some people would argue that golf is the route to happiness…but that’s not the reason why I’m talking about it today. I want to talk about how people cope with failure. Yesterday, after leading the pack for 3 days, 21 year old Rory McIlroy succumbed to the pressure of potentially winning his first major championship and self-destructed on his final round of the Masters Golf Championship.  He started the day 4 shots ahead of the rest, but finished way down the leaderboard.

I’ve always found it painful to watch when individuals and teams lose so badly, especially when they are expected to win. And I’ve always wondered how they cope with the loss. How do they explain the failure to themselves when they messed up so badly. How do they live with themselves?

At the 1996 Masters Greg Norman gave away a 5 shot lead on the final round and eventually finished 5 behind winner Nick Faldo in what is often cited as the No. 1 all time collapses in sport.    But in the post-tournament press conference Norman said: “I screwed up. I know I screwed up today, but it’s not the end of the world for me. It honestly isn’t. My life is going to continue…’  He has also said since: ‘I’m a better person for it.’

How did a younger McIlroy deal with the pain?   

He said: “I’ll get over it. I’ll have plenty more chances – I know that.”   And later on he tweeted: “Well that wasn’t the plan! Found it tough going today, but you have to lose before you can win. This day will make me stronger in the end.”

21Mar/11

Life is a Gift.

My proud husband with no. 3.

My first nephew, Dylan, was born yesterday morning and I was able to watch a short video of the precious bundle less than 12 hours after his birth, courtesy of Facebook.  And seeing his mother gently stroke his check conveyed so much more than a simple photo would. I could almost feel him and smell him myself, so strongly was I reminded of my own three newborns.  They are truly such miracles of nature, and a reminder in the busyness of daily life to treasure more of the wonders that we live through – but don’t always notice -everyday.

18Mar/11

How do you Recharge?

When you look at everything you do in a day, how much time do you spend doing activities that recharge you as opposed to activities that deplete you?

I’ve only realised in the last year or two that being near the sea really nourishes me.  It has a calming, almost meditative affect and always clears my head and lifts my spirits.  This year I am trying to make time to be near the sea, so today I re-arranged my diary and drove to the coast.

A misty day at Seaford

What do you do to nourish your soul and recharge your body?

08Mar/11

Do You Dare to Fail?

“Success is going from failure to failure without loss in enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill.

What do you think and how do you feel when you fail?

Maybe you complete a piece of work which wasn’t up to your usual standard, or shouted at your children, or forgot an important appointment, or received another rejection letter. How do you interpret your failure?

It is easy to forget that failure is a good thing. Most of us have heard the anecdote about how the inventor of the lightbulb Thomas Edison countered a criticism of his many ‘failures’. He said: ‘I haven’t failed. I just found ten thousand ways it doesn’t work’. We also hear about how successful entrepreneurs only succeed because they pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and keep trying and failing until they get it right, implying that you only really fail when you give up. So why don’t we apply this thinking to our own lives?

We used to. When we learnt to feed ourselves as babies we missed our mouths many times. When we learnt to walk we fell over and risked serious injury all the time.

It seems that as we grow up we lose the security of our faith in ourselves and we start to worry about what other people think. We feel the need to prove we are good enough and worthy of people’s affection, love and respect. And because we don’t want others to see us fail,  we become scared of taking risks and making mistakes.

Below is an exceprt from a speech at  Harvard by J K Rowling in 2008. Hopefully we won’t get to rock bottom, but perhaps we should not be so scared to risk it.

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential…I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life… Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies…The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.”

15Jan/11

Creating Conscious Connections

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more open and endeavour to create conscious connections each day.

So what exactly does that mean?

I love people, and when I am in a situation where I meet new people I usually manage OK and enjoy it. Sometimes I’m more confident than others, but generally I would consider myself a friendly, open person who gets on with people relatively well. I’m not everyone’s best friend immediately, and I’m not naturally chatty all the time and in all situations but I’ve never considered it a problem before.  But recently I’ve begun to think about a side of me that I’ve known about but ignored for a long time because it doesn’t fit in with my ‘I’m a people person’ belief.

I’ve had to admit that in some situations I actively resist talking to people I don’t know. I pretend I haven’t seen something or someone, I’m scared to draw attention to something that I know needs attention or solving.  I don’t get involved with things that are happening right in my life.  And I’ve realised that the reason why is because I don’t know what will happen?  I can’t control the event, I don’t know how someone will react, or I don’t know the possible outcomes of the situation.

I also have an almost pathological urge to avoid embarrassment and social discomfort – my own of course, but mainly other people’s.  I worry about how other people are feeling in a situation, and often act as peacemaker and facilitator  to protect people and to smooth the creases of social interactions. And this is all the more acute if it involves people I don’t know that well.

As a result of all this I shy away from some social situations, especially improptu ones in situations I am not used to, or could cause conflict. (Funnily enough, I can do conflict in some situations. I am happy to ask for music to be turned down in bars, or to complain about things if I feel I am in the right.)  In 2011 I want to be open to every situation. I want to go into them without judgement and worry about who, what, why, when, and just experience the connection, conversation, encounter as it is, without trying to direct it.

My aim is to be consciously open to new experiences and new connections, and to build and strengthen already existing connections to my friends, community, and family.