Living bravely in your own skin.

Living bravely in your own skin.

We each mark a place on a thousand spectra of human difference; our looks, our interests, our abilities, our interests, our values, our biases, our likes, our tastes, our gender, our sexuality. No two of us are alike and that’s a wonderful, fascinating thing.

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?

Scared? Who? Me?

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
— T.S. Eliot Poet

Have you ever really wanted to do something, try something new, make a change, follow your dream or begin anew but just not known where to start? Been too scared? Not felt ready?

Or started, been unhappy with the result or frustrated with your progress and stopped again?  Maybe you have had some success but you couldn't maintain momentum or it didn't feel right or give you the buzz that you were hoping for?

creating courage.png

This is what writing has been like for me.  I've done a bit of this and that.  I've written a few articles for websites, had a little piece published in a daily metro newspaper, even co-authored a book that was published in a couple of different countries and translated into Dutch!  I've called myself a writer and an author (and felt like a fraud) but I've never been able to make it work. I've procrastinated, avoided, decided it was not my destiny (excuses, excuses) and moved on to other things, pushing the dream back to the far reaches of my mind. To the place where we put the things we really want but are too scared to really try.

Peter Bregman, an acclaimed author and expert on 'leading and living' as he puts it, reckons that when we don't take chances, when we procrastinate and dilly dally over our dreams it's because we are afraid of feeling.  We don't want to feel disappointment or sadness or frustration or embarrassment or rejection.  We don't want to hurt.  

Now I don't know what research he has done in this area but intuitively it makes sense to me. Maybe I've never given it my all because I've been afraid it wouldn't be everything that I'd hoped for? That I would write and no-one would read it or worse, they'd read and get bored?  That I would feel disappointment, rejection, sadness and loss. 

At the same time I started reading about courage.  Not the 'save a child from a burning building' type courage, although there's no denying the courage it takes to do that! I was reading about everyday courage. The courage it takes to begin new things, like start a new job, get married, move cities, quit a job or follow your dreams.

Robert Biswas-Diener, a positive psychologist and author of The Courage Quotient has done a lot of research in this area and he says that everyday courage has two parts. The first is about managing the fear. The second is about having the willingness to act.

His tips for managing fear:

  • Get angry! Anger trumps fear every time.  Get angry with the status quo, with the fact that you're not doing what you want to be doing, that you've got this big vision of an exciting future in front of you and you need to do something about making it reality, dammit!
  • Relive success.  Think about the things you've done in the past that required courage - the jumps you've made - and the successes you've had, no matter how small.  Remind yourself of the new job you started or the big house move, or the time you struck up a conversation with a stranger in the hope of getting to know them better.  Think about how good that felt and draw on that feeling.
creating courage

How do increase my willingness to act?

  • Take baby steps.  Remember the quote, 'the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step'? What one very small thing can you do today that will start you on your journey?  Do it.  Then think about what you'll do tomorrow.  When tomorrow comes, do that.  Keep going.   
  • Engage in a little failure. The key word here is little.  So what if one of your baby steps doesn't work out as you'd hoped? You've got more to take tomorrow.  Embrace the mistakes, learn from them and keep going.  The stakes are low when you're taking baby steps and the rewards, even from the failures, can be great. 

Recently I decided it was time to try again. It had been seven years since I put fingers to keyboard, so to speak, and written something for publication. I took one baby step at a time and I worked fast, without giving myself time to second guess, to get anxious, feel fear, to edit and re-edit.  I wrote, read it and hit the send button.  It worked, and I felt happy.