My favourite online learning resources to squeeze a little more wonder into your brain.

I love live events as an opportunity to learn and grow – but I find it really important to continue to invest in myself and my mindset all year round, every year. This is even more important now that I am self employed and in control of my own learning destiny. Online learning isn’t easy for everyone, but it is a wonderful way to supplement your learning plans this year and squeeze in a little extra wonder into your world.

We live in such an exciting time with limitless possibilities at our fingertips. I remember when Dad told me that he knew they were very fortunate when his Dad bought a whole encyclopedia set. Imagine having that much information available to you at home! Fast forward and we all now have google, youtube, facebook in our smart phones. Gone are the days when education was a luxury and a privilege, these days, the playing field is much more event, the world is your oyster and you can learn anything, anywhere, anytime and a lot of it is free or at least a lot more affordable than ever before!

I’m a learning addict. Nothing brings me more joy than finishing a book or an online course. I loved university but with 2 small children and 5 businesses on the go, online is the best option for me these days and I have been sampling my way through resources for the past 6 years.

What can you learn online? Anything! Almost everything. There are lots of skills and experiences that are more beneficial face to face but as a source to top up your brain, well, there are some truly amazing resources available out there. You can learn anything from neuropsychology to nutrition, NLP to coding, design thinking to leadership and of course all the alternative therapies!

Here are some of my favourite resources for learning on the go on any budget…

Coursera – All the top universities from around the globe offer amazing online learning, anything from small units to entire degrees! Enrol and learn python, data science, leadership, strategic management from Harvard, Oxford, Yale or Brown. Oh and some of them are free!

UDEMY – udemy has over 55,000 online courses, you can learn anything from how to trade crypto currency to project management, entrepreneurship and coding. The courses are all available online and available with pricing to suit any budget!

Centre of Excellence – where learning becomes life changing, you can enrol in neuropsychology, business, healing, even witchcraft. Learn at your own pace and keep an eye out for the sales, there are amazing courses available at super affordable prices.

edX – Religion, conflict and peace, blockchain or computer science – another awesome online platform for courses and programs to help you learn new skills (affordably!).

Microsoft Virtual Academy – great for tech skills!

Forme – I toured with Agapi Stassionopoulos and Joe Hubbard and the THRIVE program last year brought to Australia by Forme, these guys have some awesome online courses available, from the art of influence to the thrive program, definitely worth checking out!

Your next question might be… well where do I start? Let me suggest a few worthwhile courses shall I?

OK now go…Get curious and creative and invest in your brain!! I can’t wait to hear all of your tales as to what you choose to explore! Hope you enjoy.

Sarah xxCopy of how to work from home with kids (5)

8 weird and wonderful things to try in 2018.

You know, I’ve realised that I’m meant to be the weird one. The one that encourages people to step outside of their comfort zone, to try something a little woo-woo that may just create some sustainable change in your life. I’m a hippy in lippy. I’ve always been into crystals and healing and gravitated towards people who are mystical and a little bit magical. My life has unfolded as I curiously say yes to all the things and learn all the new skills along the way. I’m a hypnotherapist, a reiki master, NLP master, crystal healer and tarot reader… yeah I gather some interesting feathers in my cap along the way.

I was thinking about how I could help people start 2018 with a bang. People aren’t very good at New Years resolution thingos, so why not throw something a little weird onto your bucket list this year? These aren’t going to be for everyone… but what have you got to lose?

I’m wired to create and connect; obsessed with wonder, productivity, creativity, innovation and curious about all things, the weirder the better… so here are my favourite weird things for you to try in 2018.

  1. A ‘Life Purpose Channel Reading’ – I recently sat down with Kate Williams – Life purpose channel and she told me that my life purpose was to open people up to wonder, to create a space for people to be themselves, to learn and grow and share my own self development to aid others – it was pretty awesome and I walked away feeling pretty marvellous.
  2. A session with a Psychic Medium – Steph Warburton has become such a good friend of mine. My first session I wasn’t sure what to expect, she has such kind and effervescent energy, our sessions are always really different and I learn something new about myself, my purpose, my energy, what I need to work on. I make a point of seeing her a few times a year!
  3. Accupuncture with the best in the biz – Tory Giles, owner of Shift Natural Medicine is the best accupuncturist on earth, she is so evolved that I feel like she looks into my soul every time she looks at my tongue and diagnoses where I may have Qi blockages. I go to her for tune ups to make sure that my energy stays in flow, this means I can catch stuff before it gets stagnant and also take a little meditation time out with all the needles in, positively life changing.
  4. A Meliae healing at flying souls – I am a reiki master but I had never heard of Meliae, this is one of those “you have to try it” sort of healings, lie on the bed, hold some crystals and let the healer work their magic. I always cry. I always uncover something that I haven’t worked on. I always walk out feeling 17kg lighter and ready to take on the world….!
  5. A float – it doesn’t matter where you go for this, I love Liquid room in Sandringham but they are starting to pop up all over the place. Book in, focus on your breathing, go with the flow (fall asleep if you need to), eventually you’ll get hooked on the theta waves and what they do for your sleep, creativity, productivity and wonder.
  6. Get a tarot deck – yep, actually go and buy yourself some cards. The art of tarot is so wondrous when it comes to encouraging curiosity and wonder in your life. Pick a card, any card, tune in, what does it mean to you? Do you want this to happen? If not, why not? What are you going to do to change your path? This sort of bounce is a super useful took when coaching yourself and learning what you’re really thinking.
  7. Get Hypnotised – all hypnosis is self hypnosis but The hypnotic state allows a person to be more open to discussion and suggestion. It can improve the success of other treatments for many conditions, including: Phobias, fears, and anxiety. Why not get hypnotised to help you hack your state? Like for meditation, for wellbeing, for weight loss, for confidence?
  8. Write yourself a letter – This one is fairly easy to comprehend but when was the last time you actually sat down and addressed yourself, your hopes, your dreams, who you are right now and who you hope you’ll be. Take some time out, get some beautiful paper, an envelope and a beautiful pen and write yourself a really wonderful letter, with all your news, your dreams, your fears. Burn it if you like, or keep it somewhere to look back on.

As I said, these aren’t for everyone but maybe if you give something a little weird and wonderful a go, you might unleash a whole heap of happiness and wonder in your world.

Love your resident weirdo wonderer,

Sarah xx

The subtle art of not giving a f!ck…about your iPhone.

So after going back to the iPhone (when the Sim started wiggling and I realised that my attempt to actually break my addiction from my iPhone was futile), my friend Leah, who incidentally is a 1 on the enneagram and one of the most pragmatic, straight shooting and straight thinking women I have in my tribe saved me with one simple idea. I was telling her about my challenge to try and reclaim my off button and change the way I engage with my iPhone and all the fun apps on it and she says “Babe, turn off all your notifications, trust me, it will totally work”. So I jumped in and turned off my notifications, what I wasn’t expecting was that all those little red numbers in the corner of every single app on my iPhone would swiftly disappear and a good amount of anxiety I had no awareness or understanding of would disappear with them. Who knew? Who knew that the dozens of tiny red numbers were subconsciously causing so much angst and hyper clicky franticness!

The next few hours I was consciously delighted every time I picked up my phone, I’d just put it straight down again, there was nothing to respond to! I hadn’t even realised those little red dots were subtly saying ‘hey, there’s stuff for you to attend to here; and here, and here, and here oh and…here” subconsciously guiding me from one app to another as I get rid of each of the red icons and then eventually put the phone down.

The next 3 days were absolutely sublime, that simple ‘off’ had actually helped me find my self control! Not having those little red icons like little alarm bells going off on my iPhone meant that I didn’t feel compelled to keep clicking, scrolling and clicking in and out of apps absently mindedly on some sort of unconscious quest. I mean check it out (below), bestill my beating heart, isn’t it a vision! Nothing. Not a single thing to deal with or answer to. Well there is, but instead of it blinking and notifying me, I can check in with it on my own clock, consciously.

The other unexpected outcome was my new unwaivering attention span (whoa, instant!). I sat down today and read “the subtle art of not giving a f!ck” in just 4 hours, cover to cover without once breaking to look at my phone or check in on social media.

After reading the book, I had this sudden clarity. As the book explains, it isn’t about not giving a f!ck about anything, it is just paying attention to what you do give a f!ck about and making sure you’re not giving too many f!cks especially to things that don’t matter – like call centre employees who are just trying to do their jobs or parking inspectors or that friend who bought the same top as you. It is about working out where to give your f!cks so that you’re not caught in conditional love cycles or relationships where equal f!cks are not given. It’s about thinking about death and life and making sure in the context, that you give f!cks to the stuff that matters.

It’s about consciousness.

I looked at my iPhone. It’s practically my 3rd child and definitely gets more 1:1 attention than anything or anyone else in my life. It reinforced why I need to continue on this journey, to ensure I am giving my f!cks to the right things at the right time.

So, as 2017 comes to a close, I am thinking about what I gave a f!ck to this year (bit too much technology and work on there) and what I want to give a f!ck to next year.

Here are a few of my tips to help you give less f!cks to your iPhone next year:

  1. Number 1 hot tip from Leah is to turn off ALL notifications on your phone.
  2. Download “Moment” and benchmark your current iPhone useage – incidentally, I am picking up my phone 33% more this week than last week, but spending 25% less time on it, a good start!
  3. Create a folder on your iPhone called “IphoneappsIneveruse”.
  4. Buy a stack of books, have them ready to read so you can pick up a book during the day when you have 10 minutes or of an evening instead of your phone.
  5. Delete all the apps that you never use.
  6. Put apps like “facebook, Instagram etc” on the very last page of your apps (if you have multiple pages).
  7. Keep trying (even if you pick up your phone a lot, try minimising the time on the phone each time as a start, then the number of times you pick it up, celebrate small wins).
  8. Charge your phone overnight in a different room (put it to bed as Arianna Huffington suggests).

Click, scroll, fail.

Wow. This is so much harder than I was expecting. I know I said I was an addict but my ability to sneak in a little techno binge has completely surprised me the last few days – who knew I had so little self control?

I went and bought a Nokia 3310 to seperate out my phone from the mini computer I hold in my hand 24×7. It started bumpy, no contacts when I put the sim in (eep), texting was near impossible, the hands free is too quiet to actually use, then the sim wobbled a little and kept dropping out of range. I had decided if I was using a different tool and leaving my iPhone in the study, I could schedule binge times for social media at appropriate times (ie not all day every day at the expense of real social connection). 

The first few days were novel. The first time I left the house without my iPhone was actually incredibly liberating. I felt light. I enjoyed 3 hours of Christmas shopping without any clicking or scrolling or posting or photography or liking or sharing and it was actually amazing.

I made eye contact with people as I walked past, I watched dozens of people trip over as they walked and typed without looking where they were going. I was smug, look at these people! Don’t they realise this piece of technology is zapping their brain? Hypnotising them? They are walking around in an unconscious trance! Imagine if they knew how alert and amazing they could feel if they weren’t slaves to their little extension of self devices.

That night, I slept without my iPhone in my bedroom and left the little 3310 in the study too. It was all going well until my husband did his back. I was taking the girls out for Christmas Eve carols and the sim wasn’t working in the 3310, so I put it back into the iPhone just in case Sean needed me while I was out with the girls. I needed to be contactable! I would work out the whole sim issue when I got home…

I left it there. I left that happy little sim in my shiny illuminous iPhone, I sent text messages and enjoyed being able to take photos of the girls and check in on friends and family around the globe. It felt nice. I was still consciously not using it too much so felt like I was still on the right track.

Christmas Day is usually a pretty active social media day for me. I have family all over the globe so it feels good to be able to glimpse into their worlds and share ours with them too. So I posted pretty prolifically that day, and the next. Then I realised, woops, I’m totally back to binging all day long!! 

I imagine this is much like any addict really, justifying, slipping, failing. 

But I’m keen to recreate the way I use technology so my next experiment is to try and remove a whole stack of apps from my iPhone… let’s see how this plays out…

Hi my name is Sarah and I’m a technology addict.

It started out with good intentions. Using technology as an enabler of my flexible lifestyle motivated by a desire to be a present parent, but slowly it spiralled into a binge habit and I’m ready to reestablish some ground rules in 2018.

My first phone was a Nokia, with a lime green case. I was 18 and it was one of the few times I was totally fine my parents combined by birthday and Christmas gifts (a no no for most Christmas babies). I unwrapped it and squealed with excitement. Dad installed the sim card and gave me the 101. I was on the family plan, $100 worth of text and calls included (this was pre data days!). I started furiously texting all of my friends, phone for Christmas!!!!! Wooooo!!!! The next few weeks are a dopamine drenched blur of fervent furious excitable 4-13 word text messages “hey how r u?”, “Wat u doin?”, “where we going out?”, “predrinks at mine 6pm”… “ur hot, I like u” a few weeks later my very first mobile bill arrived, by forklift as dad likes to remind me. It was $1200. Whoops! So my plan was cancelled and I was put on prepaid until I started my first real job out of university (I made sure part of my salary negotiation was a mobile plan…).

My first phone with a camera was a bit of fun. Suddenly I could take photos and share them with my sister or mum in Melbourne, quite exciting to receive a 2x2cm glimpse of my favourite humans and what they were up to. MMS charges suddenly surged on my phone, my bill doubled in a matter of days, I was able to justify the costs for the emotion and value I received from the pictures though. Funny the things we can justify when the value exchange is strong.

Fast forward to my first iPhone, I was living in rose bay, Sydney. I downloaded my first game: airport and spent hours on end sequencing planes and passengers, then I found smurfs, farming and of course Facebook and Instagram. Thankfully by this stage there were data plans and for the first time in a long time, my mobile bill was a standard charge each month. 

Regardless of cost, the value exchange, the excitement, the dopamine for every like, click, share, read, upload, download and stream continued to flow.

When you have kids, you’re suddenly thrown into a world of sleep deprived Wonder. Capturing moments is a quest and adventure to look back on how much they change every single day. I think iPhones are a blessing and a curse for parents. There’s nothing quite like scrolling back through the 33,456 photos and videos you’ve captured of your precious little human at 3:21am when you’re wide awake because your body clock is so fragmented after years of bed hopping, night feeds and interrupted sleep. The dopamine hit you get from sharing one of those cute pics of your kid or that hilarious meme that made you snort out loud at 3:51am when you were scrolling through Facebook after you were done with the trip down memory lane in your photo app. 

But when is it really a problem? How many extra 10GB a month at $10 a pop is too many? How many minutes a day on your phone is too much? How much time looking down at the glistening and illustrious screen instead of looking into the glimmering eyes of our loved ones or into the ink of a really soul enriching book are we missing? 

I try really hard to live a conscious and wondrous life. I’m constantly looking for ways to live better, be better, at work and in life. I’m obsessed with hacking my productivity, increasing levels of happiness and excitement and wonder, but in the last few months the lines have started to blur. Working from home and from anywhere has stopped being about freedom and has become working from everywhere and always, I’ve misplaced my off switch.

My name is Sarah and I have worked out that I am a technology addict. I’m spending too much time on technology. I’m not using it to extend my reach or enrich my life, I’m using it in an unconscious and prolific rather than conscious and profound sort of way. So in 2018 I’m going to experiment with some new devices, new ways of working and new ways of hacking my own productivity so I can put down the device more and squeeze more books, more sunsets, more instagrammable food (without the pic) and more Wonder moments into my Wonder life. 

Stay tuned for my tips as I work out how to curb my addiction… I’ll be still online, this isn’t a cold turkey delete Facebook and Instagram sort of thing, it’s just a techaddict trying to work out the best way to manage in this hyper connected world we live in!

Xxxx

Living a meaningful life.

I have this perspective. It’s not for everyone but it’s mine and I’m going to share. I believe every human has a purpose. It’s not necessarily bleedingly obvious because if it was, what would the game of life involve? 

I feel like part of the meaning of life is to discover that purpose.

You see, with purpose comes meaning.

I decided a long time ago that success = living a meaningful life. 

Meaningful is different for everyone, for me it is full of meaning. Don’t you love when you say a word over and over again it suddenly changes shape and takes on new meaning?

Say it:

Meaning 

Meaning 

Meaning

Meaning 

Meaning 

What does it mean?

mean1

miːn/

verb

1. 1. 
intend to convey or refer to (a particular thing); signify.”I don’t know what you mean”

2 synonyms: 3 signify, convey, denote, designate, indicate, connote, show, express, spell out, stand for, represent, symbolize, imply, purport, suggest, allude to, intimate, hint at, insinuate, drive at, refer to; More 4 

2. 
intend (something) to occur or be the case.”they mean no harm”

8 synonyms: 9 intend, aim, plan, design, have in mind, have in view, contemplate, think of, purpose, propose, have plans, set out, aspire, desire, want, wish, expect “she didn’t mean to break it” 10 
I think we can bring meaning to any word, we create feelings, personas, other words that help bring colour, movement and purpose to the letters brought together in this formation.

meaning

ˈmiːnɪŋ/

noun

1. 1. 
what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action.”the meaning of the Hindu word is ‘breakthrough, release’”

2 synonyms: 3 definition, sense, explanation, denotation, connotation, interpretation, elucidation, explication “the word has several different meanings” 

adjective

1. 1. 
intended to communicate something that is not directly expressed.”she gave Gabriel a meaning look”

2 synonyms: 3 meaningful, significant, pointed, eloquent, expressive, pregnant, speaking, telltale, revealing, suggestive “she gave him a meaning look”

So the meaning for the word Meaning for me:

It’s intentioned. It’s full. It’s purposeful. It’s conscious. It’s connected. It’s inclusive. It’s kind. It’s grateful. It’s vivacious. It’s happy. It’s positive. It’s accepting.

What is meaning for you?

What would living a meaningful life mean for you?

There’s that word again! What does it mean?

What context, colour, feeling, purpose do you bring to this question?

Your unique answer is telling you something. In it are little clues to your purpose. 

I want people to look at my life and see how much meaning I have brought to it. 

As a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, a mother, a business partner, a mentor, a stranger. I want them to realise that what I aim to do is bring extra layers of energy to experiences. Extra thought, extra curiosity, extra creativity, extra love, extra laughter, extra awkwardness, extra silliness, extra weirdoness. All this extra energy that I seek to bring is my way of creating meaning. Of adding value. Of sharing my essence with the world to live a meaning-full life. 

Sharing our extra; our energy, our essence is how we bring meaning. It’s how we add value and it’s how we discover our purpose.

I haven’t nailed my purpose yet, I think that’s part of the fun, but I’m living a life of meaning on the road to discovery and that in itself feels very purposeful.

What’s your extra? What’s your energy? What’s your essence? What’s that special something-something that you know you add to every single day that nobody else has?

Find it.

Share it.

You’ll realise that bringing meaning to your life is as simple as that and that maybe, by living with meaning you discover that purpose we all crave. 

I really do believe we must create meaningful lives, we must live on purpose, find our wellbeing and live in wonder. This is success.

My perspective, but maybe it will work for you too?

How to recover from F$!k Ups.


“We all make mistakes, all we can do is try our hardest” – Sienna Roocroft @ 3 years old.

My wise little first born has a way of taking in the world and spitting it back in the wisest and most wondrous little sound bites. One night last year, I apologised to her for making a mistake, I had forgotten to wash her snuggle blanket (she calls it whitey) and so I was trying to tuck her into bed without it… I explained that mummy had made a big mistake, I had been running around like a crazy busy lady and had forgotten to put whitey in the dryer, so he was all wet and I was very very sorry I was hoping at best she might not throw a tantrum about the fact I was trying to tuck her into bed without her beloved whitey… but her understanding and empathy floored me.

We all make mistakes. It doesn’t mean we want to, in fact as they say, the path to hell is paved with good intentions, good intentions are wonderful, good actions are better. What do you do when you fall off the bandwagon and f&%k up?

Having worked in large corporates for most of my career, I witnessed all of the archetypes when it comes to F&%k Ups but I won’t share those, instead I’ll use a few of my own family stories to demonstrate (he he, they will love this #not)…

The Blamer

You know, I was there once. Making mistakes felt like the end of the world, so blaming someone else was easier. I carved my sisters name into our piano when I was 6, she was 3 and the best she could manage was ‘Ki-Ti-Pi’, so when Mum and Dad spotted ‘KATHARINE’ clearly carved into the piano, they immediately assumed it was me (correctly). Without skipping a beat, I was in defence mode “Why would I carve her name into the piano, really! It was her!!”. Blaming feels awful, I felt awful even as I was saying it, little Kat there with her big blue eyes was looking at me with this puzzled expression while I tried to get her in trouble for my mistake.

The Sweep under the carpeter

Perhaps if you pretend like it isn’t even a big deal, then people won’t worry about it? Right? Wrong. I spilt nail polish remover on Mum and Dad’s special table they bought eachother for their anniversary. It was the first piece of ‘posh’ furniture they ever owned and they were so proud of it. I tried to cover it up with a pot plant and then casually brushed it off when they asked me about it. They were not happy. They were super sad actually, worst than just not happy or sad…they were disappointed (ugh, isn’t that the actual worst thing parents can be?).

The Over compensator

You know when you make a little mistake but a big fuss? Man, that can be just as annoying. A few Christmases ago, Mum dropped the turkey as we took it out of the oven and went into meltdown mode (sorry Mum), the thing about my Mum is, she is the most composed and calm and together woman I know. I think I’ve seen her cry maybe 4 times. She is seriously cool, calm and collected and the opposite of high drama, you get the picture… so when she went into meltdown over the dropped turkey , we were all stood there in shock – why was she making such a big deal? It was just a dropped turkey…(which we claimed 10 second rule on and continued to demolish…. and it was delicious). I think that’s where that age old “Don’t make mountains out of mole hills” saying comes from!

The Own it

I should call this the Sienna way. When she was little, she would come in “Mummy, I made a mess, I sorry, I will help clean it up”, such a simple statement that did the job. She took responsibility without too much emotion and put a plan in place. Legend. Imagine if all the adults did this?? Fast forward and Stella does the same “mummy, I broke it, sorry mummy” #proudaspunch – what is the worst that can happen if we simply own it, apologise, understand that we all make mistakes and do our best to learn, try not to make the same mistake again and move on??

Sounds simple but it’s not. Try and notice today how many times you avoid, cover up or assign blame for even simple mistakes… I’m making lots of mistakes as a mother, but one thing I try really hard to do is to be honest about them, recognise them, learn from them and upgrade my thinking along the way. Sharing my mistakes and owning it has role modelled this behaviour for my kids, so while they are still loud, bossy, high energy, crazy little humans who need a lot more practice with their manners, they are capable of owning their mistakes, apologising and learning from their mistakes… bigger picture these are the skills I want them to hold onto for life.

So next time you stuff up, think like Sienna and Stella: Own it, learn from it, play on.

Why your brain loves events.

As a qualified hypnotherapist, I’m fascinated by neuroscience and the brain. I’m capable of getting people to quit smoking, lose weight, and have happy and empowered births and I rather enjoy understanding the ‘how’ so I can continue to refine this wonderful skill. I’ve recently started studying a diploma of neuropsychology and I read New Scientist every week and neuroscience journals daily. Yeah I like the brain.

Have you ever suddenly realised you were in auto pilot? Like when you are driving somewhere, on the train, even at work writing emails. Something happens and you realise that you have not been entirely ‘here’. Brain scans have recently revealed what we have long known in hypnosis to be true, when you are in this auto pilot mode, you’re in a semi trance state and this auto pilot mode is run by a set of brain structures called the DMN (Default Mode Network). Your DMN is super smart, it processes things with more accuracy and faster than you can in a conscious state – from playing chess to driving your car, scientists have been able to show that when we switch from a conscious state to the DMN, everything flows.

Knowing this is important because just because the DMN has control of a process, doesn’t mean that it is processing the best things for us faster and more accurately. Our DMN may swiftly reach for a cigarette, run a red light, consume, consume and consume more things – fast and accurate are by no means the best way to live your most wondrous life.

Scientists have also found that the DMN can be interrupted by lighting up novelty detectors and getting the brain to switch into an ‘on’ state. As predicted, the key is to be surrounded by experiences, people and processes that are unfamiliar – so the brain has to pay attention before switching to auto-pilot. Here is where it gets interesting again. Our brains are obviously super comfortable in the DMN state because they switch there even in unfamiliar environments pretty fast, so the trick to hacking your auto pilot is to consciously stay in a curious and connected state, scanning the environment for new levels of novelty or interest. In a normal work environment, we push much of what we do to auto pilot – now I haven’t worked in a corporate office for nearly 5 years now, but I do remember people reaching for their laptops and phones during meetings, moving through the motions of the day absent mindedly and rarely consciously engaged.

Events and immersive experiences are so good for hacking our brains auto pilot because they take us outside of our comfort zone. We hear from people we haven’t heard from, we are in different settings, we do different things, eat different food. Mixing things up isn’t just exciting and rewarding, it helps us switch our brains on and this actually boosts our auto pilot mode when we do switch back to DMN after the experience.

Events aren’t just fun – think of them as important neurofeedback training that will enhance your auto pilot mode and also get your dopamine firing – not to mention the people you’ll meet and the take aways that could improve the way you live and work.

This is why I love designing events so much. Understanding the human mind. Understanding how we switch into a trance state so easily and accidentally auto process much of what we do fascinates me. Waking people up, pushing them outside of their comfort zone (with a soft place to land) is something that I live and breathe for. Watching people light up, get connected and switch out of DMN and into THE WONDER ZONE is why I do what I do.

I’m collaborating with some amazing businesses in 2018 to bring events to life that are truly magical, meaningful and wondrous. These events are designed with your brain in mind, their are designed to build your network – your brain network and your business network too.

Register your interest for our invite only female business retreat in Fiji November 7011 2018 http://www.nurtureher.com

http://www.wiredforwonder.com is also returning next September – tickets on sale early next year.

The importance of face to face communication…

As a human who has worked from home for the past 5 years, I have become obsessed with communication and productivity. I have experimented with tools, processes, structures to increase my personal productivity and ensure successful communication. There are times when things get lost in translation. Where emails, text messages or conference calls don’t quite nail the message and things fall through the cracks. There are times when it all feels like it isn’t working or it is just too hard. As a working Mum my motivation to hack my productivity is so I can spend more time with my adorable offspring. We know that communication is key but spending hours on the phone or email is not the answer. So productive communication is key. Making it count. Making what you say, how you say it and where you say it the right way at the right time. Making sure we nail what needs to be said to get the right outcomes and build relationships is key.
Recently neuroscientists are having a field day with advances in technology enabling them to peer inside the minds of humans in a non invasive way to satisfy curiosity at the heart of questions around behaviour, communication, relationships and more. A recent study looking at neural synchronisation during face to face communication sought to discover the neural difference between face-to-face communication and other types of communication by simultaneously measuring two brains using a hyperscanning approach. Although the human brain may have evolutionarily adapted to face-to-face communication, other modes of communication, e.g., telephone and e-mail, increasingly dominate our modern daily life… so is face to face communication any better in quality than other forms of communication? They designed an experiment to measure the quality of neural synchronisation (key for successful communication) including face to face communication, face to face monologue (no behavioural synchronisation or interaction), back to back communication and back to back monologue.
The results showed a significant increase in the neural synchronisation in the left inferior frontal cortex during a face-to-face dialog between partners but none during a back-to-back dialog, a face-to-face monologue, or a back-to-back monologue. Moreover, the neural synchronisation between partners during the face-to-face dialog resulted primarily from the direct interactions between the partners, including multimodal sensory information integration and turn-taking behaviour. The communicating behaviour during the face-to-face dialog could be predicted accurately based on the neural synchronisation level. These results suggest that face-to-face communication, particularly dialog, has special neural features that other types of communication do not have and that the neural synchronisation between partners may underlie successful face-to-face communication.*
Basically – when humans get together face to face, take turns, mimic and mirror each others body language, the level of neural synchronisation goes a little bit yay, your brains have a party and successful communication results.\
Ok, so face to face communication is king. So what does this mean for remote workers? Work from home peeps? Interstate teams? The reality is that we need to come together to make magic happen. We all know this. When we take time to rate the quality of our interactions and the quality of work we produce, the best work is produced when we have good neural synchronicity – when we are on the same ‘wave length’ – yep, actual neural oscillations, same brain waves. We can create this sort of harmony by spending time face to face speaking to one another and setting goals and plans. So we know we need to come together, we know we need face to face communication for it to all work well – but how often? Do we need to see each other every day or is there a more productive and harmonious way for us to hack productive communication whilst still enjoying all the perks of working remotely or from home?
Delivering complex work from my home office over the past few years allowed me to experiment with my own personal productive communication and I created a sort of scale for myself to help decide which interactions require what type of communication (how/where/what tools). Here is my rule book:
Project kick offs, milestones and post implementation reviews should happen face to face.

Really, really good news and really bad news should happen face to face – this builds trust.

New relationships benefit from face to face communication upfront. Try and meet new suppliers, partners, colleagues ASAP so you can get your neural synchronisation happening…

Established relationships benefit from face to face communication every 4-8 weeks. Why 4-8 weeks? In modern days we plan, deliver and live month to month, if we can ensure we have a cycle in place for face to face interactions, we seem to hack the synchronitic flow. (synchronitic isn’t a word yet but it totally should be).

Ensure when you do get together you have an agenda that leaves room for turn taking and lots of body language. For me interpretive dance, theatre sports and singing are all a good way to hype this up and create some magical behavioural synchronisation.

Be mindful of not relying too much on email/text/technology – mix it up by trying new forms of communication like short video’s to each other through instagram or a quick FaceTime call to eye-ball team members between face to face catch ups.

When you’re working from home, ensure you still engage in face to face time with others (even if at the coffee shop or at the park with a stranger), engaging in high quality behavioural synchronisation and successful communication even for fun keeps you in a happy and productive state of mind!

Take notes, replay via email or text to ensure things have been captured.

Use face to face as a time to play, build the relationship and get along – follow up with emails to confirm key outputs and deliverables.

The other interesting thing to note here was what happened in the brains of the listener’s who were listening to a monologue (face to face or back to back), it appears that turn taking and body language are key, this is behavioural synchronisation rather than just face to face listening and is vital for successful quality communication, so if you’re planning on getting together, making sure the face to face catch ups are interactive and allow time for turn taking. This has interesting applications for learning, leadership, updates, town halls and more – if we want to ensure all communications are high quality and successful, then we should as a guide ensure the participants have an opportunity to meet face to face, take turns and hack behavioural synchronisation through body language also.
While technology is a wonderful tool to facilitate communication, there is little evidence to suggest that it makes communication more successful. We know that using email and powerpoint and other tools can help us capture, create a sense of shared understanding and a paper trail, but nothing beats a really good 1:1 conversation. I think it is important to leverage technology to enhance communication but I think the key is to remember that face to face is always going to land everyone on the same wave length fastest and we are wired for connection after all.
*Source – Jing Jiang, Bohan Dai, Danling Peng, Chaozhe Zhu, Li Liu and Chunming LuJournal of Neuroscience 7 November 2012, 32 (45) 16064-16069; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2926-12.2012

Why you need a work wife.

A few years ago, I attended the festival of dangerous ideas and got all fired up during a discussion “have we outsourced ourselves?” – Arlie Hochschild author of several books including: We Have Outsourced Ourselves was saying things like “Mothers these days outsource the washing, the ironing, the child minding, the child rearing, the cooking, the cleaning, they have outsourced themselves” – my blood started to boil a little, so clearly I had to stand up and add my 2 cents. I was a new mother, Baby Sienna was 6 months old and I had booked a nanny for the day to be at this event. My husband was playing golf, I was at an event that was stretching my mind and my daughter was at home, asleep for several hours, I was home in time to breastfeed her and I didn’t feel the least bit of mother guilt, not for lack of Arlie’s attempts. I asked her “Would you rather me lie on the floor, looking into my child’s eyes, reading to her, playing blocks with her or would you rather me leave her on the floor alone while I do loads of washing, ironing and cleaning?”, she said “You can do both”, I replied “You are clearly not raising children in this day and age, these days everything is about trade offs and choice, we are overwhelmed, the world has gone mad, so it is all about choice and outsourcing and asking for help! Today I choose to be here while my baby is sleeping at home with a trusted nanny, I choose to get a cleaner in once a week to help keep on top of the housework, I drop my husbands shirts off to be washed and ironed to save us both time and I spend a hell of a lot of time connecting with and nurturing my adorable baby who benefits the most from having a happy and present mother”. I didn’t want to bring age into it, but a 75 (now 77) year old woman telling women how to raise kids today without thinking of the construct, the change, the current environment seemed a little strange. I got a standing ovation, and my inner child did a little happy dance as I took my seat again.

Outsourcing is not a dirty word. We need to learn to identify process blockages at home and work and ask for help. Too often I have seen people limping along trying to manage best they can with little space to think let alone problem solve their capacity issues. This happens in large organisations, in small teams, in start ups and in 1 man bands. It happens at home and it happens at work. Fast forward on, I am a mumpreneur with 2 kids who juggles and works from home. I have a cleaner once a fortnight, get uber eats once a fortnight and drive through McDonalds once a month if the kids (aka hangry monsters) look like they need food stat and I haven’t pre-prepared dinner, yes, kill me now, I feed my kids chicken nuggets and apple slices every now and then to prevent a life culture implosion. Oh yea and I have a work-wife (more on that shortly). Why? because despite being incredibly productive and excited about all of the adventures in my life, I cannot do it all and I cannot do what my heart desires well without assistance. My home is one of equality, my hubby is a living legend, he cooks, he cleans, he gets up for the girls in the night, he is SO much better at keeping the laundry under control than me. We play to our strengths and manage to thrive (most of the time). Since launching our new business www.thewondertribe.co – my challenge to him has been to navigate the tensions of working from home with genuine flexibility and balance. I’ve had nearly 10 years experience experimenting with flexibility and had forgotten how tricky it is to intitially adjust. He found quite quickly that the throws of life beckon when working from home, it is easy to allocate time to housework instead of work-work, it is easy to lie in each day if you haven’t set yourself priorities and it is easy to try and do it all when you’re a small start up. I have encouraged our tribe to make sure we find our happy, for me that means daily coffee breaks, monthly accupuncture, energy healings, a personal trainer once a week, for him that means heading to the driving range and golf outings. Something indeed has got to give for us to be able to enjoy these simple pleasures, so we leverage our work wives to help us http://www.eslifestyle.com.au – Xanthe and Mandi help us carve through our to-do list so that we can still have a little fun, pick up our kids at 4pm and enjoy the benefits of working for ourselves. Last month, Xanthe helped us style the stall for One Fine Baby, the month before she booked all of our travel and accomodation for various work trips, each month it is different but it takes the pressure of us, which means happier humans, better parents, better workers. Oh and they are not offended by being called work wives – wives are universally amazing after all.

So 3 years on, I still 100% believe in outsourcing because all of the science is catching up, if we are overworked and overstressed we will burn out, we model this to our children and they too will burn out, before we know it, the human race will burn out. Take a moment today and wonder – what could you outsource that will create more harmony and flow in your life? If you hate cleaning, invest in a cleaner – you may think you can’t afford it, but the energy you spend doing things you loathe takes away energy from doing things you not only love but bring value to your life culture. Apply the same thinking to work! What do you need to gift to someone else to help boost your productivity? Do you need to hire a contractor or permanent human to help the tribe thrive? (incidentally if you do, we can help with that 🙂 Stop thinking “I need to do everything myself” and start thinking “what can I outsource?” with services like Air tasker, Fiverr and http://www.eslifestyle.com.au – it has never been easier to boost your productivity and restore harmony and balance in your world.