How To Be Successful In Your Life?

Society tells us that we go through childhood, get an education, follow a career, add a family and life is successful… in that order.  NO… this is certainly not true, as life does not fit inside that small perfectly-shaped box.

Everybody is different and has the ability to pave their own path and make their own successful journey.  Tackling life in the correct order… making the correct choices… as to how we live our lives.

“Correct” in who’s eyes?

Sometimes we need to approach life with a different perspective… do things out of the ordinary… as a means of living up to our own standards and not those of everybody else.  Be unique and follow your own purpose in life.

In our early years of childhood, we were unique individuals and free to explore the world around us… without inhibitions or feelings of inferiority.

Then FEAR sets in… with the pressure of our peers and our need to fit in.  We question ourselves and the barriers are formed.  These limiting beliefs are then carried with us into adulthood.

The toughest walls are those we put in front of ourselves.  When we realise this, life can change dramatically.

Rather than stepping outside of your comfort zone… look at expanding your comfort zone.  This thought seems to give me a feeling of not being exposed and being in control of my own choices.  I can take baby steps or a great leap… but I control how far I am willing to expand my comfort zone.

It is never too late… to try something new… and give it go.  Many people are discovering their talents, later in life and that is OK.  We pave our own path and are capable of making our own choices.

I admit… my aspirations at 18, was to get married and have 2 kids… as family was more important to me, than a career.  This did not fit in well with my Careers Advisor at high school.  But I did work in the banking industry, got married at 19, first baby at 20, then another 18 months later.

I did what I wanted to do.  I raised 2 great sons now living independently in their early 20’s.  I have been married for 25 years this year and I wouldn’t change a thing.

My point is that each of us follow our own path and believe in what we do… living with purpose.  But it must be our own purpose.

Now as an empty-nester, I concentrate on the next phase of my life.  I just started a new business, separate from the farming industry.  I offer freelance writing & administration services.  And I also have this blog for conveying my inspirational messages in writing.

I didn’t achieve success in the correct order according to many people… but it was correct for me.  We just have to believe in the choices we make, take the responsibility when things don’t quite work out and then move on.

Inspiration surrounds us every day bringing us great opportunities.  We hear about famous people bringing inspiration into the lives of many.  But you don’t have to be famous, we are just everyday people making a difference in this world.

Look around you… there are people in your circle… family, friends or colleagues… that will inspire you.  Be that person that inspires others… by being true to yourself and showing kindness and compassion to others.

We all bring something special to the table, possibly without even realising it.  We are not famous, just everyday people, inspiring others in an extraordinary way.

We never stop learning and our personalities will evolve through time as we continue to be the better person.  Strive for personal growth and you will see the success reign upon you in many aspects of your lives.

Work hard for what you want, for what makes you happy and what makes you feel whole.  Being true to yourself is where the success starts.  So hold your head up high and walk proud.

Take care, Karen.

“Success is the result of perfection,

hard work, learning from failure,

loyalty, and persistence.”

~ Colin Powell

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Toastmasters Proves To Be Life-Changing

Who cringes at the mere thought of public speaking?  ME for one!  It is Toastmasters International Week.  The week to reflect upon and promote the intense personal improvements that are waiting to be unveiled for all.

Toastmasters is a self-development group of people that are aimed at helping members improve their communication and leadership skills.  Toastmasters was established in 1924 and now operates in 52 countries with more than 200,000 members in over 8,000 clubs.

Only a few months ago, I joined Toastmasters International and ever so quickly… my life has improved, in confidence and my public speaking skills are starting to emerge.  Despite feeling anxious and somewhat overwhelmed at speaking publically, Toastmasters has incredibly helped me overcome my initial fears and is helping me develop some insight into the art of speaking.

I wouldn’t say miracles have happened in this very short time, but my involvement at Toastmasters has certainly improved my confidence levels and ability to not “run away” at the mere thought of speaking to an audience.  I like the structure and opportunities presented at each meeting.  I also like the supportive members that assist and guide with their friendly natures and mutual desire for personal improvement.

Our level of confidence improves with our ability to control our nerves and overcome the fear.  Toastmasters helps you to overcome that fear, control your nerves and increase your confidence.  Leadership skills are the great underlying strength in Toastmasters with their structure, organisation and operation.  Toastmasters can help you improve your ability to think more quickly, learn meeting procedures and have an evening of fun and enjoyment.

For me, I like to speak from the heart and give an emotional authentic style of speech.  My problem is I like to write, so of course, I can prepare an engaging speech of some sort.  But presenting a speech is my struggle.  When I stand up, I lose the words, I don’t know what to say.  This is my challenge to overcome and I have enjoyed the journey to date.

I attended my first meeting to check it out and observe as a guest.  Then I joined up on the spot, despite thinking that “I am way out of my depth here”.  I believed I could never speak in front of people like this, even though it was only a small audience of about 12 people.

But I was on a recent mission to challenge myself and gain personal growth.  Nevertheless, I joined up because I knew that would make me return and I would not give up without even trying.  I am really a scrooge and money is very valuable in farming… so in my mind… if I paid the membership, I would have to return to get my money’s worth.  I know… I am a little eccentric… but it worked for me.

Toastmasters has produced a new program called Pathways that allows members to choose their own unique path, subject to their own aims and desired outcomes.  I find this very personalised and more dedicated to the individual.  I also enjoy the online opportunity of my pathway.

The new program Pathways was introduced in 2010 with 5 core competencies:

  • Public Speaking
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Management
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Confidence

There are 11 different Pathways to choose from, based on your own objectives and to develop those skills as you embark on this new experience and journey.  Through answering questions about my aims and purpose, several Pathways were suggested.  I chose “Innovative Planning” and was guided to the tasks and their purpose.

So I was keen, although nervous, at the next meeting to present my first 5-minute speech the “Ice Breaker” which is all about introducing yourself and learning the basic structure of a public speech.  I would normally have quit before I even started… because I feared public speaking so much that I would even refrain from asking questions for the lack of words.  I have recently managed to shift my mindset, so I was very nervous yet very eager to begin and get it over with.  Surprisingly under the nerves, I actually enjoyed presenting my speech and my passion in life to the small audience.

As part of my new challenge for self-improvement, I elected to take on the assignment of the “Inspiration” segment at the next meeting.  My short speech entailed Christmas and the festive season and an inspiring poem.  I also enjoyed doing this, despite the nervous energy within me.  I am still amazed by how a supportive group of people with a mutual interest in improving speaking skills can encourage me to be so involved.

At following meetings, I have continued to take on an assignment role where needed, in an attempt to make myself step outside my comfort zone.  This has lifted my confidence and improved my ability to speak and find those words somewhere within.  I do feel empowered to explore and enjoy what Toastmasters offers in developing my communication skills.

My next big speech will be in a few weeks, so I have been thinking about where to begin.  The topic can be about anything of my choosing.  I would like to talk about drought in Australia, the mental health of farmers, the empathy of strangers with drought support and the unspoken yet heartfelt gratitude of farmers.  As a farmer, this is quite an emotional topic, so I am not sure how it will come together and be presented.  I would like to try presenting a speech without having it written on paper, word for word.  But I am fearful that my true message will get lost when I forget all the words and I will feel disappointed.  I must talk to some more experienced fellow Toastmasters to get some advice.

Toastmasters really is a supportive and positive learning environment with opportunities for members to develop communication and leadership skills.  This leads to self-confidence and personal growth.

Anyone over the age of 18 can join Toastmasters… male or female… from any career or background.  I encourage you to make enquiries at your local Toastmasters Club as you will be amazed by this incredible life-changing experience that will improve all areas of your life.

Take care, Karen.

“The thing you fear most has no power.

Your fear of it is what has the power.

Facing the truth really will set you free”.

~ Oprah Winfrey

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Overcome The Fear & Embrace New Experiences

Is it that fear and anxiety is over-powering your being?  Are you simply shy or an introvert?  Maybe you could not be bothered or worry about stepping outside your comfort zone.  Connecting with new people awakens new experiences in your life.  We all need to take that small step to seek a wider view and CONNECT with a more diverse array of people.

That is exactly what I did this evening.  On a spur of the moment whim, I was informed of a local social group called CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network.  Women supporting women… providing a social outlet, chatting and listening, having a laugh, enjoying a meal together and listening to inspiring guest speakers… what better way to spend an evening once a month.

A group of dynamic women with an array of business backgrounds and diverse industries… such as education, health, wellbeing, financial, writing and agriculture.  As guest speakers provide an interesting story, an uplifting experience or sharing their personal knowledge… a group of local women are being empowered and inspired.

“The aim of CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network is to provide a creative, respectful and nurturing environment that brings together women of all ages, at all stages of their career, to network and help them grow personally and professionally.” 

This is exactly what I was part of this evening.  I was inspired and empowered once again… all because I took that step to try something new, controlled my anxiety and allowed myself to enjoy some time out.

Sometimes when we think about getting to know new people, anxiety kicks in and tries to overpower our rationality.  But if we overcome this urge and realise that the opportunities are out there and new people are great for our soul.  It allows us to open our mind and our heart… to share our passions, to share inspiration and to share our knowledge.

For over 30 years CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network has been providing an evening of inspiration, empowerment and education for local women in the region.  This group is a not-for-profit organisation, improving the lives of women on a personal level and a professional level.

We enjoyed listening to guest speaker, Published Australian Author Chris Taylor who writes romantic suspense novels.  She also spoke of her heartfelt journey from childhood on a farm in north-west NSW, her passion for reading, her nursing career, her career as a criminal lawyer… to her passion for writing and becoming a published author.  She has published 30 books and sold over 150,000 copies.  She was a very interesting speaker and shared a uniquely inspiring story of her life journey.

Tonight we also enjoyed dinner at the venue Cascada Licensed Restaurant in Tamworth whilst enjoying the evening.  Over dinner, I was able to get to know some more dynamic women and thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and discussions.

Although I usually feel shy, socially awkward and uncomfortable in new groups… I actually felt welcomed and completely comfortable at the first evening event for 2019.  I am so glad that I have joined this new group and eagerly await to attend next month to listen to another interesting guest speaker.  Empowerment is what I strive for and inspiration is a beautiful process.

For more information on CONNECT Tamworth Women’s Network  email connecttamworth@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page.

Take care, Karen.

“When women support each other,

incredible things happen.”

~ Author Unknown

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