Retreat is an active word. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are in-charge of your reactions. It shows you know when to do something differently. To me, the word RETREAT breaks down into the following powerful actions and helps me to move forward in the direction I need to go even if it’s not the direction I originally wanted to.

Return to a safe space

Experience feelings associated with current stress

Take time out

Recover your strength

Experiment with new ideas

Activate a new plan

Test it out

Have you ever found retreating to be a successful strategy to move forward?

Feedback Sandwich

When I think about a sandwich I don’t think about food but a way to deliver difficult feedback. I start by telling the person something they do well. Where possible I try to make it as close to the topic we are discussing. After we have discussed this for a minute or two I then introduce my difficult feedback. Where possible I look at the big picture of the issue discussing how the problem impacts the person and others. If appropriate, I will also give some ideas to help the person to move forward and make the changes required. To complete my feedback I would ask the person if they needed anything from me and remind them of the positives of what they are doing.

Often feedback is very difficult to hear but I find the more open the discussion, the better the outcome. By using the feedback sandwich, the person becomes less defensive because the news has been softened by positive feedback. It is a system that works well and has an overflowing impact of developing respect between the people involved.

A win/win for everyone, the feedback sandwich is:




Coffee Catch-Up #10

If we were having coffee I would tell you how glad I am that it is now July because what a month June turned out to be. On top of everything I spoke about in my last coffee catch-up this month has continued to serve up curve balls to challenge us and make us stronger.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the reason I missed coffee last weekend was because I was in hospital after a major allergic reaction to antibiotics.  I am rarely sick so the fact that I got an infection from an unknown source that wouldn’t go away was frustrating. Then, after a week of not getting better to change antibiotics, get sicker and end up in hospital was an eye opener for me. Initially, I looked very beautiful with my swollen face however with time and treatment my face has returned to normal. Each day I feel better, however I am looking forward to getting all my energy back soon.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I taught myself to use Publisher this week. It has always been on my bucket list of things to do and I have looked at it many times before, but always gone back to Word – for me the simpler option. This time I persevered and once I got a handle on it I liked it. In fact, I liked it so much that I have decided to transfer my book to Publisher when I have finished this last edit to see how different it looks and increase my knowledge base of this tool. I may even use You tube and see what other secrets it can reveal. With a coy smile, I would also ask you if you have any Publisher experience or handy hints to share with me.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that despite everything I am loving the simpler, slower pace of life at the moment. Not having to rush anywhere, use what food we have and shop minimally is turning out for me to be very rewarding. Instead of buying a large amount of food on the weekend to make feeding the family quickly after a busy day commuting and working possible, we have made a daily plan together about what we eat based on what we have and suddenly we have so much more time. Because we aren’t rushing for some bizarre reason it takes us even less time to cook, we spend hardly any money on food and we are more creative with our ideas. Who knew?

If we were having coffee I would tell you how on the last day of June my husband discovered that the cat had a swollen left neck. We are so pleased June has ended as we don’t want any more surprises. Turns out the cat just wanted to be like me so he got himself an infection that needed antibiotics. No problem, a quick visit to Uncle Tom (his vet), a big needle and he was sorted.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how interesting it was for me to write my curriculum vitae this week. I have lost all previous copies so had to start from scratch and remember 30 years of history, experience and knowledge. It took me a day and a half but in the end I was very pleased with how it turned out. I am also grateful because I am moving back to my home town city and working on semi retirement, hopefully I won’t need to fill out another one, but hey never say never. None of us ever knows what the future holds. If I didn’t believe this before the June I’ve had, I certainly know it know.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was to be presented with my Toastmasters Triple Crown Award by the District Director at last weeks changeover meeting. It is a difficult award to achieve as you need to complete 3 educational awards. Last year I decided I was up for the challenge and I set it as my goal during my year as President of one of my club’s. I needed to keep focused and plan well but in the end everybody won and I have a super fancy pin to wear whenever I need an extra boast to be the best I can.Triple Crown Award

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world this last fortnight?


Coffee Catch-Up #9


Rebuilding is a natural occurance in life. It involves improving or making changes to something/someone that already exists or building something/someone again that has been damaged or destroyed. To ensure that the rebuild is the best it can be, both scenarios involve planning. Before creation, the person, building or thing needs stripping down in order to help reinforce the changes. The following list may help if you are considering a rebuild in your life.

  1. What works of the old plan?
  2. Can any of it be incorporated in to the new plan?
  3. Write a dream list of things you would like added to your rebuild.
  4. Prioritise your dream list and incorporate as many as practically possible.
  5. Draw up a new plan then leave it for at least a week. During this time get feedback form others.
  6. Come back to it, review and make any necessary changes.
  7. Start rebuilding — one step at a time.


Understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings or behaviours is part of getting to know them. It is easy to judge based on our own assumptions of what is appropriate, but life is not that simple. It can be hard sometimes to look at a situation through another’s eyes. However, from my experience, the real growth comes as you can learn about your response to the initial trigger. Without this knowledge, you will find yourself in the same situation again and again.

To help me gain understanding I regularly review situations outside of the moment. The stronger my reaction, the more important I find it is to dig deep and be honest to develop the best outcomes for every one. In the following acrostic poem I share my thoughts and experiences reviewing difficult conversations and situations.

Unveiling the uncertainty

Negativity or neglect

Discovering the depth of the drive

Educating myself to encourage and empower

Realising any resentfulness I respond with reassurance and respect 

Secure, sensitive and supportive

Treading lightly, building trust and tolerance

Aware and authentic of my feelings

No longer nervous, nasty or numb

Delighted the situation is different now

Invigorated through involvement

Nurturing and

Getting to know myself as well as you better

Share Your World – 2016 # 6

  1. What is your favorite word? Believe
  2. What is your least favorite word? Why, followed closely by can’t
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Connecting with nature
  4. What turns you off? People blaming me for things that are their responsibility
  5. What is your favorite curse word? I try hard not to curse but when I do it would be the f.. off word — said casual without intent
  6. What sound or noise do you love? I love the sound of silence
  7. What sound or noise do you hate? Clicking of pens, mouth noises and fingernails down chalk boards
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Professional speaker and motivator
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Accountant
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Your efforts were noticed even when you thought they weren’t

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

This last week was full of major random events that should work together next week to move my life forward even though singularly one wouldn’t have thought so. Next week I am looking forward to seeing how this new direction plays out.


Ageing Well

What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?

I believe has two choices when it comes to ageing.

  1. Embrace it
  2. Succumb to it

Personally, I choose to embrace it.  My life has become my own since I turned 50. Suddenly I can do many things off limits before because the families priorities needed to be different. My time and money is my own so now I can:

  • Buy what I like when I like—not that I do but I can
  • Travel overseas
  • Go away for weekends with little notice
  • Eat out for meals without considering the cost
  • Spend hours blogging
  • Spend more hours writing my book
  • Cook when it suits me
  • Start planning my retirement
  • Have an I don’t want to do anything day whenever I need to
  • Control my own sleep

Yes this old body of mine can’t do everything it used to, but my mind can do a lot more. Over my 50+ years I have developed a lot of coping strategies and emotional intelligence that I plan on using to keep my body and mind as young and active as they can be for my next 50 years. As my brain like all of the muscles in my body needs to be used daily to keep it working I will continue to focus on the positive and follow Martha Stewart’s top 10 tips on how to age well.

  1. Eat well
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Be active
  4. Get quality sleep
  5. Wear sunscreen
  6. Collaborate with a good primary care doctor (GP) regularly
  7. Find a passion
  8. Connect with others
  9. Stop complaining
  10. Stay curious

What do you think is important to age well?

One More Time

If you were able to relive one day from the last 12 months, which day would it be — and why?

Given the chance I would relive 25th November 2014. The was the day my husband and I embarked on our 6 week Canadian adventure. We were so excited. However on arrival at Sydney Airport I became suspicious that our tickets were incorrect, so I asked at the check-in counter.

“Are these tickets correct, we are going to St John’s Newfoundland?”

“Yes they are correct they just used the abbreviation” replied the counter attendant.

So I settled and didn’t think about it again.

Then we arrived in Vancouver for some reason I became suspicious again. I checked with the baggage handler only to be given the same response,  so again I settled and we continued on our journey across Canada.

By the time our flight arrived in Toronto, we had been up for more than 24 hours and were exhausted. Being smart travelers we decided to check which gate our connecting flight went from before getting food or drinks. We wandered to the departures board where I discovered our flight number and destination didn’t match. Then I realised my gut instincts had been right.  The travel agent had booked us flights from Sydney to St John, New Brunswick and not our destination—St John’s, Newfoundland. We were devastated. The only good point was that we solved the problem before either our bags or we bordered the flight.

The gentleman at Air Canada’s service desk was excellent.  After about an hour he had made a plan to get us to St John’s as quickly as possible via Halifax arriving 24 hours later than we originally planned. To add humour to this difficult situation he told us this destination was a regular mix up for overseas visitors. The other common problem is people flying into Sydney, Nova Scotia when their destination was Sydney, Australia—a much bigger problem.

The moral of this story is mistakes are easily made and part of the journey.  Trust your gut instincts, triple check your airline tickets early and always pack your sense of humour when traveling.

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google


What is home?

For many people it is where they live, however as this is regularly changing I believe the consistent factor is yourself. For me, home is a place of security and I am the only person who can be responsible for my security. I create my security in me, which is why I agree with the following quote on Twitter. Home is myself.

When I think about the factors that make home myself—I think of my personal values.



Mindful motivation


As home is myself when life gets tough I  take a few moments, recentre myself wherever I am around the world and recharge. I hold the power and can go home, wherever and whenever, I choose. It’s a powerful skill—going home for me doesn’t need to wait for my physical return to my residential address in Australia.