Target Reached and Lessons Learned.

25 August 2019.
Actually, that headline probably should be “lessons learned and still being learnt” as I can never stop adapting and assimilating to change. I will list some important ones I have discovered though:

  1. You can get what you want or near enough to it, you just have to recognise that it might not be in the same form as you imagined.

I wanted the financial freedom of a full-time job or at least the ability to be resilient and manage with what I had: I now have this, but it is not in the industry where I was originally looking. Sometimes we do not see what is right in front of us as we are still focused on the original plan, therefore flexibility is key, as is the willingness to forgo endeavours which are not panning out as hoped.

New Life can follow hard times.

2. Gratitude is everything.

Being grateful helps to keep life in perspective when we don’t find exactly what we want or exactly what we think we need. In my work life, I have returned to an industry (Quality, Safety and Environment Administration) in which I studied hard for several years before moving into community service. After two and a half years of trying to find community administration work, and studying hard in that sector also, I had to give up and go back to what I already knew…not for lack of trying, it is just because my financial situation dictated I must accept it.

I am grateful for the new and the old opportunities, grateful for the people I met in community work, grateful for being able to still learn new things in my new job, and grateful for my friends and family and relatively good health.

3. Keeping a light heart and re-finding my sense of humour is so very, very important.

Life can be hard, and as Nanea Hoffman (Sweatpants and Coffee 2015) states: “None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought!”

There is so much good and so many great things and awesome people in life, keep them close or at least keep the feelings within reach in times of trouble and stress. Learn the art of not worrying but being delighted and having a sense of child-like wonder.

4. Being present and living right here and right now can save your sanity!

The past should be for lessons and the future should be for pleasant dreams… not for regrets and nightmares. These are hard lessons and sometimes too easy to slip back to dwelling on what could have been done or worrying about what may never happen (or stressing about insignificant “stuff” that won’t matter in a few days/weeks/months/years).

5. Never think you have learnt enough.

Learning should never end. Being open to change, new truths and possibilities is exciting and prevents a stagnant mindset. Watch the ocean and the earth, everything is in constant motion, with flows and ebbs, even the rocks which are shaped by wind and water are in perpetual change.

5. Life is amazing, we should love it and live it as fully as possible.

Thanks for following my journey. I hope I have shared something which can help others.
Gabe 2019 (GPC)

Work / Life Balance.

Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.” —Art Buchwald, humourist.

13 August 2019. I am almost to the end of the 90-day challenge.  

Most people, including me, want to work hard and do any job they do to the best of their abilities. However, having an occupation is not all about making a living through earning money, it is about job satisfaction and providing a great service or superior product. But, if you do not have that drive for excellence, the job may suffer, the company you work for or that you own may suffer, customers can become unhappy and reputations will go south.

Worker bee enjoying some nectar

So how do you weigh the demands of learning a new job, or having a gruelling work schedule, a lot of travel to work, or any other instance which creates conflicts with personal and family time? How do you make a sane balance between work, hobbies, family, friends, daily living like gardening, washing, shopping, cooking, cleaning, eating, paying the bills, resting, exercise and fun?

You don’t find the time; you must make the time by prioritising elements of life so that recreation is as important as daily living tasks and working. Not an easy task but it is doable with a positive and driven mind-set. This is maybe a new challenge for me, something I am currently struggling with in tying up loose ends from my old job, starting a new job and learning many new processes and procedures and trying to do a great job in as little time as possible. (I am my own worst critic and expect a lot from myself… I get upset if I make mistakes as I really do try hard to be excellent).

In attempting to find a balance, we are truly the lucky generations in that we can find lots of answers easily on the internet with good keyword searches. There are several good sources for mapping your life, learning to juggle priorities, becoming efficient at time management, being an effective leader or team member at work, shortcuts for living such as online shopping, banking, recipes and even inexpensive services to assist with tasks which take up our time outside of work.

There are laundry services, lawn care and gardeners, cleaners, window washers, gutter cleaners, car-detailers, food deliveries, all sorts of help available out there to take away some of the daily grind around the home, if one earns enough to afford it or prioritises their income. Even if you use any of these services just once a month, it will take a little pressure off.  These could be regular “date” times for a family picnic or time with friends or just go have a relaxing beach walk instead of cleaning the car, the windows or the oven.

“Life is too long to be out of balance, and too short to live in mediocrity”. Gabe Peterson Condon

Celebrating a win and staying proactive.

“Complacency and resting on your laurels are the enemy of progress, change and building on success”. G Peterson Condon.

2 August 2019. Week 8.

So, you have a win, a job offer, does one just sit back, relax and do only what is required to keep the job?  I just received an awesome offer, and as I have done with every job I have been mentally and emotionally invested in, I will seek to improve myself and give outstanding service to the role. This is the only way forward in my books; jobs with no change and no room for improvements are stale and stagnant and don’t suit my personality.

Keep moving.

Yes, I do enjoy a good bit of structure, a standard, a benchmark for the way things should be, but inert life is a vacuum; empty, lifeless and sterile. I am pleased to say that I love to learn and continuously improve so that life becomes full and productive. You have to feed success, or it withers and dies. So how do we do this?

Firstly, we make a plan to guide us through the early days of a new job. There are excellent templates and “how to’s” if you Google “30,60,90-day plans” (I appreciate my eldest son for the head’s up for this one). In short, the plan helps you transition from shy newbie to valued employee and awesome team-mate in a quantifiable form.

It can be too easy after a long slog of searching for work, studying hard, desperately trying to improve one’s situation, to want to relax once the goal has been achieved. I believe this is the very time to ramp up the energy and work hard at building a sustainable yet ever-improving position in your new role. Planning helps to give focus to objectives and is a great way to map how far you have come at each goal achieved. It shows areas of strength and areas for improvement and keeps your head in the game. Basically, the 30, 60, 90-day plan sets out the learning stage, the personalisation stage and the adaptation stage.

  • The learning stage of the first 30 days is self-explanatory. You are learning everything you can of the company and how things are done; the company culture, your expected role and your place in the hierarchy. There is lots of contemplation, critical thinking and most importantly, listening. Stay in touch with your manager for how you are progressing and reward yourself for milestones reached such as learning a new software program or finishing a project.
  • The personalisation stage of the next 30 days is where you begin to see where improvements to processes might be needed. Hopefully you will find it is a proactive workplace where suggestions for improvements are embraced and acted upon, but it may still be a bit early for change unless you are approached for opinions or unless it is an important safety issue.  Start conversations to test the waters and get to know your workmates and management.
    Continue to be in active conversation with your manager to ensure you stay on the right track and operate within his or her expectations. Be a little more proactive in seeking ways to improve yourself, or to contribute to the success of the company by showing your particular strengths and being completely honest about your weaknesses. Showing accountability for mistakes and areas for improvement is a highly valued soft skill. If you do not know how to do something, learn it, ask questions, expand your knowledge, even in your own time as it is very rewarding to seek mastery of your craft.
  • The last stage of adaptation is to make the role your own. Stay in touch with your boss to keep within the expected parameters; respectfully let them know you want to contribute within their expectations but that you have more to offer if required. Bring your special skills to the position, use your strengths and ingenuity, streamline processes, continuously improve and stay sharp. Take initiative in seeking ways to assist others if they look like they could use some help if it is within your boss’s expectations and will not negatively affect your timeline.

A new job and being complacent about your contribution will not bring triumph, only stagnation.

Cheers.

Gabe

What freedom looks like.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller.

Week 8, 26 July 2019.

I have not found the elixir for financial freedom as yet, but in my quest for liberation, I have uncovered so many other treasures which I have taken for granted. I am exploring other realms of emancipation beyond material wealth and uncovering forgotten strengths and finding new means for self-determination.

I am an observer of life, of people, nature, the elements. I think and wonder a lot; I love ideas, knowledge, seeing others and myself learning from mistakes, I love opportunity and thinking creatively when something looks like it might fail. I love being resourceful and using whatever is at hand and is within my means and I often test my range for problem solving by stretching my imagination. In my search for freedom, I do not want to lose sight of being grateful for what I already have, to pine for what I have lost, or worry for what I may never have. I want to be open to happiness and to create that happiness for myself by just being content. To me, freedom is more and more shaping up to be as simple as having gratitude.

I know exactly what freedom is not: it is not being angry, frustrated, sorrowful, demanding, impatient, fearful, selfish, self-righteous, narcissistic, or having a victim mentality, these are not traits of someone who has freedom. I am sure we all know someone who may appear to have it all materially; they have a great job, lots of toys, financial freedom to travel and splurge, but they still have some of these destructive and socially isolating behaviours which enslave them to disharmony and makes them difficult to be around. Maybe we are all guilty of feeling any or all of these destructive and pointless attributes at some time, it would be in our best interest to make a change.  These are all just feelings which can mostly be conquered with the right mindset and strength of will, and there are hundreds of avenues to overcome them if one looks hard enough for help.

I am beginning to formulate that to see true mindful liberation and serenity in a person, it will look like this: being calm and good-humoured, contented, light-hearted, accommodating, patient, courageous and accepting, humble, charitable and resilient. Maybe I am on to something.

Cheers, Gabe.

Staying Positive and Getting Through Disappointment.

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”. ‘Desiderata’ Max Ehrmann, 1927.

Beautiful Nature- Honeymoon Bay, Southern New South Wales.

18 July 2019, Week 7.

Although I absolutely love the “Desiderata” and its message of hope, and especially the above passage telling us that we are important and valued, I am unconvinced about karma, that the universe knows what it needs and we have no say in the matter; that “folk story” that what you sow in the world, you will reap. To me personally, it feels a bit like dogma in that it makes excuses for bad behaviour or explains why good happens to bad people sometimes, or vice versa.

Oh dear, mostly I AM a positive thinker, but the old “universe has other plans” jargon is just not my cup of tea as I may be a born-again pragmatist! Although, I am a dreamer, and a creative, and just may have seen examples of ‘karma’ when the narcissistic office bully eventually gets caught out and is fired, or a megalomaniac despot world leader finally gets their just desserts and is toppled from their rule and sentenced for their crimes, don’t you just wish that ‘karma’ was consistent! In my life I have met some interesting people who have also told me that ‘karma’ can follow from one life to the next… so what they are saying is if you were mean and nasty in a past life, you will cop a beating in this life! Well, by this premise, there are some who are destined for some smackdowns in the next life!

Getting by in this life can seem very unfair when you try so hard and cannot seem to make headway, or you get stuck in a situation you just cannot see a way out of. I am beginning to believe that life is completely random, and the only continuity and stable environments are the ones found in nature which have not been influenced by man, and even then, the earth is constantly changing with impacts from moving forces such as weather, subsiding land and tectonic plate movements, animals, water and fire.

My own answer for getting sanely through this life with all its ups and downs is to search for the experiences, feelings and thoughts for which I can be thankful. These are things like my beautiful family and friends, times with my kids and grandchild making fond memories, or my ability to bounce back from adversity and regain optimism, or the quiet moments when I can look out at the ocean and see whales, dolphins and the vast ocean blue, or be in the country and listen to the birds, all the moments of absolute beauty in nature.

I am especially grateful that in my current job role, some of my gorgeous aged clients have shared with me their amazing stories of their childhood, sometimes telling of living through and escaping persecution from fascism, real horror stories of loss and deprivation, and how they learned to thrive again after experiencing war and evil. Or they tell lovely stories of how they met their partner at a local dance and the long-lived love they had, the jobs they did, the art they created, the communities they participated in, the problems they solved, the children they raised.  These are moments for which I am thankful.

I wish I could prove that the “universe is unfolding as it should” but sometimes there is no rhyme nor reason for what happens. Sometimes we need to realise that although we may be a very small part of this world and our actions can and do have an impact, or just maybe, our actions have no impact at all on the outcomes of our own lives. Sometimes we are responsible for our downfall or our uprising, not the universe, but also, sometimes, bad stuff really does happen to good people and good stuff does happen to bad people.

My solution is not to be fooled into false beliefs that it is meant to happen or that karma is out to get me, or reward me, or all those other beliefs outside of my own psyche. My answer is gratitude; learning from the past I have lived, and enjoying the hopes for the future, whether I have suffered disappointment, or experienced elation, I reckon I need to be grateful for right here and right now and know I am one of 7 billion survivors.

Gabe

Imposter Syndrome

“The most important person that needs to believe in you and your capabilities, is you”. GPC 2019.

Week 6, 10 July 2019

Maintaining faith in one’s self can be a hard slog, particularly when the odds seem against finding success. Even gaining small victories can be open to over-interpretation and self-ridicule, particularly when we humans can be our own worst critic if we do not immediately hit the attempted mark. It is perfectly okay not to be perfect.

Imposter Syndrome or metamorphosis?

Every adult who is honest with themselves, has at one time or another asked themselves whether what they are doing or how they are doing it is satisfactory, or if they in fact know what they are doing! We fear being labelled as an imposter, a person who has over-stated their worth or their skills, in comparison to what we deem is the widely accepted and expected value of what we have on offer.

One sure way to overcome imposter syndrome is to take the time to list the successes of our life and the skill-sets we have gained. These skills and attributes have been attained through trial and error, hours of study and practice, and many times, being thrown in the deep end to sink or swim.  We all would see that we have incredible value, have hundreds of lessons learned, gained flexibility and resilience, and these attributes are particularly prevalent in the over 50s aged group. This under-utilised group of employees have lived through what most Human Resources agents in their 20s and 30s may never live through.

We have often raised children on our own whilst a partner was absent or worked away, we had few or no family close-by for assistance, we worked part time and became masters of multi-tasking, home-schooling, teaching our children to read and write with limited digital input, just using dictionaries, encyclopaedias, libraries and in school and community groups. We taught our children to cook, clean, be independent, have trust in themselves, live peacefully in society through being active sports and team players, being members of community groups in fundraising and taking care of our elders and the sick and frail. We have much to offer the workforce if only we could still be seen as valuable by the hiring managers of today.

Yesterday, a team member from Centrelink said to me that there is indeed age and gender bias in the workforce, and this is not the first time I have encountered this cold, hard truth. I have attended many interviews where it is written on the faces of the HR panel that I am “past my use-by date… move over old lady, let the young ones have their turn!” This of course is a ridiculous notion on their part, but one which is proving to be an uphill battle for me and for many women and indeed men of a certain age. With the impending A.I. workforce, people of my generation need to be utilised as mentors; we have the emotional intelligence, humanity skills, grit and fortitude which Artificial Intelligence just cannot master!

Nevertheless, I continue to believe my skills are valuable; my empathy, patience, extreme love of learning, flexibility, resilience, and determination will ensure I win, whether it is in gaining a great full-time job, or in finding acceptance of exactly where I am at and building upon this to add value to my endeavours.  Each day I work part-time with aged and disabled clients to help them maintain their independence in their own homes. These are some of our most vulnerable people who often doubt their own value to society, and I help build them up and find their self-esteem and self-worth. Many of these clients have taught me to listen to my heart, to believe in myself and what I have to give, and what I have already given the communities in which I have lived. That to me is already a win.

 Gabe

Fast Money and other Shady Deals – Side Hustles

“Money is only a measure of your wealth, not a measure of your worth”. GPC 2019.

4 July 2019, Week 5

End of the Rainbow

In searching for practical means to make an income, I have found some very interesting avenues advertised on the internet. A fascinating example like “Drop-shipping” sounds too good to be true… and my gut tells me it probably is, at least for someone like me who is slightly risk-adverse. When you search the term, there are endless tutorials for sale on how to “drop-ship”, how to set up an internet shop and work from home with little or no money up front, apart from paying for the tutorial and ongoing support.

“Drop-shipping” is fundamentally a business model whereby you set up an online store advertising on social media platforms the niche items or general store items of your choice with glossy photos and videos, catchy offers and marketing hooks, secure payment methods like credit card, Paypal or direct debit, and solid policies on delivery times and refunds. Your customer finds something they like, places their order, makes their payment and then you the shop owner, purchases the item from an external source which sends the item directly to your customer, no warehousing necessary, no packaging, no walking the beat advertising your wares, no high rentals on shop fronts, no electricity, rates or public liability insurance… Sounds good right? No, not for me.

Firstly, there are the issues of 3 to 4 weeks delivery time for items, and then refunding for faulty goods that you have never laid eyes on! Secondly, and most importantly for me, the production of many of the items I could find online raise ethical questions. Many are plastic junk bits and pieces such as avocado peelers and slicers, travel mugs, t-shirts, kitchen, bath and bedroom items, and small outdoor, garage and workshop items which are mass-produced in China. Items are available online direct from distributors such as “Aliexpress”, for amounts as little as 70 cents, which calls into question the underpayment and working conditions of the assemblers in China.

Having studied sustainable development and learnt of the exploitation of many workers in poverty-stricken countries, this just goes against my ethical stance of fairness and equity. In fact, in the first hour of one of the online training videos, this issue is raised by the trainer who is quick to negate concerns which have obviously been broached by others before me. Maybe the ones who will get truly rich from this scheme are the ones selling “how-to” programs, or those willing to flog themselves to their friends and family on social media, in emails and through cold calling. No thanks!

The next get-rich-quick scheme I was introduced to by well-meaning people, was taking part in online surveys. All I found was that by registering with several of the companies as recommended by online proponents, is that spam online on social media by advertisers has gone through the roof!  I enrolled with a few companies over the past six weeks and have been invited to partake in surveys several times a week. I have now unsubscribed as each invitation would take me through several pages of questions before stating I was not in their desired demographic (I am in my 50s, female, single and low income). Not once have my details been within the advertisers’ demographic which I can only guess is aimed at high-earners and high-spenders. So, it is a big NO to online surveys for me.

I have also investigated a courier franchise which may well be an option for a viable small business, however, requires several thousand dollars up front. Maybe this is a great side-hustle for retirement or for when I get hold of several thousand dollars.

In total contrast to pursuing these fast money models, I am re-finding my passion for art and expression, being grateful for my individuality and difference from the status quo, nurturing my self-esteem and inner strengths and finding freedom from worry by self-appreciation of my real worth, with or without financial reward.

Money isn’t everything.

Gabe.