Guest Posts

Your Mental Health Mission: Top Tech for Wellbeing

With Mental Health Week approaching (October 9 - 15) I'm featuring some home grown top tech for well being on the blog.

Today I have a guest post from David Bakker who's in his final year of a Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Monash University. David and his colleagues are psychologists - and app developers. Clever huh? Here's David to tell you about MoodMission - an app for improving your mood

How To Rebuild A Relationship

How To Rebuild A Relationship

I don't write about relationships. It's not my thing.  I have written about the importance of our relationships to our well being here and here but when it comes to the nitty gritty of how marriages and intimate relationships do and don't work I tend to shy away.  So today I have a wonderful and important read for you,

My Top Ten Blog posts for 2014

I started Potential Psychology Blog in August of 2014 so, being only four months old it's a little cheeky to do a 'Year in Review' but I was curious about which of the things I've written so far most captured your attention.  And this is the Top Ten...

10. Our move to the country came in at number ten.

9. You were interested in reading a bit about me and my award.

8.  It's all about parents obviously got the parents interested and Jennifer Senior's TED talk is ace.

7.  Sending your hopes and dreams out into the universe was a popular theme with a lot of people.

6.  Friends and how 20 is not the new 30.  TED talks were winners.  This one was Meg Jay talking about taking hold of life in your 20s.  

5.  Some Monday inspiration and a Clever Woman Doing Clever Stuff .  You seem to like reading about clever people doing clever things as much as I do.

4. Last week's post on the Sydney siege, moving house and moving on seemed to resonate and I had some beautiful comments on this one.  Thank you. 

3. The lovely Dayarne's post on anxiety and Post Natal Depression.  I read this over and over and it's still one of my favourites. 

2. Kids, guilt and screen time.  Looks like I'm not alone in my mother's guilt.

1. Mental Health: Their words was my most read post for 2014 and I'm thrilled as I was sharing the thoughts and experience of others and it's a message so worth sharing.

So thank you all for visiting, reading and sharing.   I'd love to hear what you most enjoyed from the blog this year and I'd love it even more if you told me what you'd like to see next year!  

There's one more Christmas post to come tomorrow and then I'm off on holidays for a little while but keep checking back during January for a little summer series on Getting To Know You.

Doing it Wednesday: Your antidote to Hump Day

I've got the first post in a new series for your today PPPs (Potential Psychology Peeps).  It's 'Doing it Wednesday': Your antidote to Hump Day. 

A few weeks ago I talked about how excited I get when I see people getting out there, following their hearts and starting up exciting and innovative projects.  You can read about Kasia Gospos, Leaders in Heels and the Make Your Mark project here  and today I have a new one for you!  

Jay Boolkin is the founder of Promise or Pay.  I discovered Promise or Pay when their Facebook page liked the Potential Psychology Blog Facebook page.  A kind of social media organisational hook up. Anyhoo, I followed the Promise or Pay profile through to their website and just loved what I found.  It was a wonderful synergy of goal setting and self-help combined with social enterprise and a passionate individual getting out there and pursuing his dreams. Everything that pushes my buttons!

I made my promise - here it is -  and I contacted Jay to ask him to share his story so that you, my lovely readers, could also discover the brilliant idea that is Promise or Pay and maybe set your own goal and make a promise?  I know that Jay's passion and innovation will rub off and inspire you just as it has for me.   

I asked Jay a few questions about Promise and Pay, his hopes and his inspiration. Here are his answers.  Read on!

                                                                                                This is Jay.

                                                                                                This is Jay.

What is Promise or Pay?

Promise of Pay is a social motivation platform that encourages you to set and stick to your goals by donating money to your selected charity if you don't follow through, and encouraging others to donate if you succeed.  I discovered that when it comes to achieving goals, research shows that the chance of success increases by 33% if your pledge to achieve the goal is shared by others and this goes up to 72% if money is put on the line.  Promise or Pay combines these two approaches and in doing so ensures a win-win outcome and you are left feeling good.  Promise or Pay also creates a more engaging, personal and empowering way for you to make charitable donations. 

Where did the idea for Promise or Pay come from?

The initial idea behind Promise or Pay came up while I was living and working full-time in Cambodia as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development.  It was born out of my own struggles to achieve my personal goals as well as my experience with the not-for-profit sector and the desperate need for alternatives to hard-sell fundraising.  I was able to build a beta site as a result of winning the Social Startups MPV program, a worldwide competition based on social impact scalability and business model sustainability.  The success of the beta site (considering the limited time and resources at my disposal) inspired me to move back to Sydney to give it a full-time crack.

What has been the greatest challenge along the way?

The biggest challenge I faced initially was simply slowing down - taking a moment to stop and take a breath.  This is a cliché but the truth is that without giving myself some space (away from Promise or Pay) to stay inspired I would probably have burnt out by now.  My experience of starting a social enterprise startup, and I'm sure this is not an uncommon experience, is that it is absolutely engrossing - Promise or Pay is my life.  My passion and commitment to seeing it through to success (or failure) means that all my energy is devoted to it.  For the first few months there were countless nights when I wouldn't sleep and would work  until the sun began to rise.

Promise of Pay is my precious baby and there was a point where my emotional involvement became detrimental to the project.  Very quickly my health, my relationships and my creativity began to suffer.  I ideas that were once flowing through me like a waterfall began to slow, I was taking longer to do simple things and I began to just lose momentum.  I have learnt that while unregulated enthusiasm is a wonderful thing, if you don't get (let) yourself live outside your startup it will eventually begin to work against you.  Now having a break from the work is just as important as actually doing the work.  

Having now moved back to Australia I find that the high cost of living can make it difficult to test out ideas and move fast – especially since there is tech involved – I don’t have the skills myself (or know someone who does and is willing to work for nothing) or the money to pay for them. Finding the right people to bring on board has been tough. I feel that to get to where I am today is a testament to my resilience and passion to see Promise or Pay succeed. Although not specific to the Australian context, being a sole-founder has also been challenge, as I’m not able to delegate work and find it difficult to switch off. 

What has been most rewarding?

Starting Promise or Pay has been an incredibly challenging yet rewarding experience. To know that I can take an idea, a simple thought, and make it a reality is a wonderful and encouraging feeling. If you have an idea that you think is worth pursuing then put your doubts to one side and follow your instinct. I promise it will be one hell of an experience. Think big. Start small. Stay focused. And have fun.

 Where to from here?

I am currently focused on fixing up some of the bugs on the new site, adding additional content pages, and spreading the word with the aim of capitalising on the potential for New Year’s Resolutions to be made on the platform. In twelve months I intend to have validated the platform and be on my way towards achieving Promise or Pay's mission, which is to inspire millions of people around the world to be the best that they can be, and, at the same time, to have encouraged and facilitated millions of dollars in donations to charities.

What inspires and motivates you?

Engaging with like-minded people who seek knowledge and understanding, who dare to dream and who give more to the world than they take. My hunt for genuine connection is perhaps the reason I love stories so much. I love stories because I love people – the flawed, the bizarre, the carefree, the milquetoast. I love stories because they allow me to identify with something outside of my own experience, to communicate more directly, and to connect with what is real. Seeking out things that inspire me is incredibly important. Being inspired allow me to be more effective at driving change, ensure I stay true to myself, and remind me of my commitment towards creating a better world, towards creating my own story - a story with meaning and purpose and value. 

Thanks Jay!  Every time I read this (and I've read it quite a few times now) I am inspired by Jay's passion, his belief, his willingness to take risks and his insight into the importance of not only pursuing our dreams but the need to balance our project-focused energy with all of the other facets of life.  

If you'd like to make a promise, you can right here.  If you'd like to learn more about Promise or Pay, read this.

And if you'd like to leave a thought or comment, please do.  Jay and I would love to hear from you!

An award, 20 questions and a bit about me.

Things have been a little quiet here at Potential Psych Blog with a house move, house fix up (renovation is too strong a word for the paint job and clean up that we're doing), some consulting gigs and general life pre-Christmas chaos absorbing my time but I've got something kind of fun today.  Last month two lovely fellow bloggers, Dayarne at Wordsmith Communications and Jo at You Had Us At Hello BOTH nominated Potential Psychology Blog for the Liebster Blog Award.

What is the Liebster Blog Award? Good question.

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers, by fellow bloggers. As a way of recognising your blog and a way to connect and discover other fabulous blogs out there.

You get ten questions (but I've been nominated twice so I've got 20) I've answered them all below and I've also nominated some more fabulous bloggers to answer my questions. Sharing the love.  You might like to drop in on them and have a read and please drop in on Dayarne and Jo to say hi and read their gorgeous blogs too.

So here goes, starting with Jo's questions....

1. What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

English breakfast tea (brought to me in bed today) and Vegemite toast eaten standing in the kitchen.  Pretty standard.  One day I will have a house with a sunny breakfast nook where I will sit and eat breakfast in a leisurely manner while reading the paper. In about 30 years or so.

2. What's the last album you bought/downloaded?

Sad to say it was almost twelve months ago, on our last Christmas road trip. It was Neil Finn and Paul Kelly's, 'Goin' Your Way' (Live).  Fab.  Also the first album I've downloaded.  How modern am I?

3. Who’s the last charity you recently donated to?

I'm a regular monthly donor to Save The Children and UNHCR and I nominated The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation for this year's funds from family charitable trust that we have.  All great causes.  So many to choose from.

4. Who’s the first blogger you read and followed?

Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim.  She got me in with her Photo-A-Day challenge.

5. What’s you fave tv show you never miss?

It used to be Offspring *sigh* but now that's finished I'm enjoying Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell and the Chaser's Media Circus.  

6. Do you have a favourite mug, if so what’s written on it?

I have a lovely handmade pottery mug commemorating 25 years of Art Workshops at Buxton in Victoria where a little artists' community used to gather for classes and workshops and general fun each summer. My sister and I went annually with Mum when we were kids.  There was a tribe of children, old farm buildings to explore, paddocks to run in and the river for swimming.

7. You’ve just moved to a new school, and you must make friends with a group of girls. Which group would you pick?

a) The Pink Ladies from Grease (70’s)

b) Heathers (80’s)

c) Clueless (90’s)

d) Mean girls (00’s)

I'm an 80s girl so it probably has to be the Heathers, even though they were a nasty lot.

8. You’ve just won the jackpot, $25 million, who’s the first person you tell and the first thing you spend your money on?

I phone my husband and shout, 'Yay! We can pay off the mortgage and build our new house!' and I'll deck it out with all of the gorgeous homewares that I've lusted over for the last ten years but haven't bought because we've never stayed in one place long enough.

9. iphone or smartphone

iphone, for sure. 

10. The power cuts out for the night, how do you keep the family entertained?

Bundle them into bed as soon as possible and then go to bed myself and read by the light of my book light. That's what I'd like to do.  In reality I'd probably be busy tidying the house and doing the dishes and getting school clothes ready while wearing a camping head torch and shouting at the kids to get out of the way.

And now for Dayarne's questions....

1. Favourite movie from childhood?

I have fond memories of the original Muppets movie as Dad took us to see it and has since claimed that it's the best movie he's ever seen. 

2. Sweet or savoury?

I can do both but I tend to crave savoury more.  Give me a packet of Shapes over chocolate any day.

3. Favourite blog post you've written and why? Link to it!

Great question, Dayarne!  I think it might be my first as it was well, my first, and it was well received and gave me the guts to keep going.  It was all about finding the courage to start.  Here it is.

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?

New York!  Never been.  Would so love to go.  Top of my list.

5. Best road-trip song?

Hoodoo Gurus, 'Like Wow, Wipeout'.  Brings back memories of roadtripping with the surfer boyfriend and mates as a teenager, many years ago.

6. Go-to menu when you know you have guests for dinner?

I have inherited a chicken and vegetable filo pie from my mother and grandmother that's always a hit and can be prepared in advance and popped in the oven.  That's my kind of cooking.  Adapts well to seafood too.

7. Summer or Winter?

It's cold and bleak here in winter and winter tends to last from about Easter until November so summer is a lovely respite but... I loves me a pair of boots with jeans, a coat and scarf so it's probably winter for me.

8. Finish this sentence: It makes me sad when ...

I think of anything bad happening to any one of my family.

9. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Eliminate sadness and suffering, whatever its cause.  

10. Favourite Christmas tradition/s?

Putting the tree up on 1 December although that's moving day for us this year so who knows what will happen?  Our Christmases change every year depending which family we're with and who's place we're going to.  My boys are now six and three and I'm looking forward to starting new Christmas traditions with them.

Okay, so now it's my turn to nominate some fab bloggers for this award.  And the award goes to...

My questions for you are:

  1. What is one of your favourite quotes and why?
  2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
  3. If you had 30 minutes of free-time, how would you use it?
  4. Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad but it turned out to be for the best?
  5. What is your first memory of being really excited?
  6. What is something you learned in the last week?
  7. Top three favourite songs?
  8. Best thing about blogging?
  9. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
  10. What are you most looking forward to in the next month?