Showing: 1 - 4 of 4 RESULTS

Elevator Spiel

You never know when an opportunity will arise for you to step up and ask for what you want. This worksheet is about preparing for such a moment by creating and practicing your Elevator speech … basically YOU in under 60 seconds. CLICK HERE for the worksheet. Like all things, not every tool will suit every situation. Try and build up your Mental Health and/or Employment Toolbox so you have many options when they’re needed. 



Anxiety was a major player in my life until I began to see it as something I had to work with, rather than something that was working within me. A yarn about the questions to ask when getting to know your frustrations and a worksheet to get you started. 

Many years ago Michelle and I worked in a Northern Queensland Public Service Department supporting people through and out of their unemployment. Michelle shit me. She was everything I wasn’t, and nothing that I wanted to be. She spoke down to me, scoffed at my pink fringe and had an opinion about everybody. She refused to accept responsibility for any problem, would not budge on processes and rolled her eyes whenever I suggested a change. 

Of course, work relationships, particularly toxic ones, do not go unnoticed. Our boss tired quickly of nudging us towards friendship or at least a workable compromise and one day, dragged us in to her office, kicking and screaming. She did not care about our differences, our personal opinions or both of our requests to be moved on to another department. There was work to do and we had to find a way to get it done .. together. 

When pushed for a fix, she said, “I don’t know, pretend you’ve met at a party and get to know each other! What are your hopes and dreams? What do you want to do with your life? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? You know, ask each other all the regular things that break down the walls between two people.”

The method in getting to know a problem, is the same as getting to know a person. Ask questions, lots and lots and lots of questions. When I first started to understand the Anxiety in my life, I treated it like someone I knew, not necessarily someone I like, but someone I needed to get more personal with. 

By thinking of Anxiety as a seperate person, rather than a part of me, I could start asking questions and use the answers to unpack the discomfort, learn about its history and figure out how it was linked to some of my behaviours and assumptions. From this, I gained an understanding of how I and others were recruited into an idea that I was an anxious person .. that I was a problem. 

So how did I interview? research? get to know? Anxiety. By using the same lines that Michelle and I were urged to try all those years ago.  What are your hopes and dreams? What do you want to do with your life? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? Here’s how some it went … 

Me: What makes you happy? 
Anxiety: When you are safe and sound, at home, with no danger or distractions around

Me: What do you mean by distractions?
Anxiety: Oh you know, anything you can't do perfectly, anything new, anything where someone might laugh at you

Me: But I have to learn new things, otherwise what's the point of being?
Anxiety: Look i've been doing this for billions of years. I know what's best for humans. Got to warn you if danger is coming, got to keep you away from the uncomfortable places.

Me: Oh, so really you're just a feeling, a flag, a raised hand trying to grab my attention
Anxiety: Well, yes i'm not pain or fever but i've been doing my job so well, that when you do feel me, you think pain is coming.

The full conversation was very long, over a period a months. It lead to my understanding that Anxiety was actually doing its job, it just had a confused idea about what dangerous was and was not. In a Narrative Practice session, I might take that journey in helping someone find out how they learned what was dangerous and what wasn’t. 

Download the worksheet and have a go. There’s two groups of questions to start off your “conversation” with the current influence in your life. One set is to use with Gaba [something good or something you want to increase in your life] and the other is for Gagil [something not so good or something you would like to reduce in your life]. Of course, you can use any name or label you like. For more information on Narrative Practice or bookings, click the FAQs or send me a message.

What became of Michelle and I? Neither of us tried any of the suggested questions and around three months later, Michelle took on a lower paid role under the guise of ‘more responsibility’ in another department. Her replacement was impossible to work with. Years later, I look back and realise that I saw everyone as impossible to work with. I had limited ability back then to talk about what I could do, couldn’t do and what I needed help with. I would have been impossible to work with too. 



I could be quite successful if I would just stop predicting the future. A yarn about assuming the worst, with a worksheet on expecting the best.

In 2014 my position was made redundant and my boss decided it was far better to invite me to a meeting entitled “Your Next Project” rather than what was actually going to happen. As he sat silent in the meeting room, a HR voice came over the phone speaker and advised that my position was no longer required. Hmmm.

Three months later I accepted a Senior Management position overseas. I moved my family, my house and my ego around four thousand kilometres east, only to be sacked on the spot eight weeks later. My boss then had HR escort me off the premises rather than provide me with much needed feedback. Hmmm.

Fast forward three years, and I am working in the same industry, same discipline, same job and thinking that i’m doing pretty well. I walk passed my boss’s office en-route to the loo and he asks me to drop in on my way back. I panic and demand he tells me there and then what’s on his mind but he fobs me off with a ‘crazy lady’ shake of the head.

I have lost my job. Not in the real world, but through my coal coloured glasses. I lose track of time in the Ladies as I organise a lift home, a way to pay the mortgage during my impending unemployment and a possibly untraceable method of slashing my bosses tyres. I forget the knickers around my knees and almost hit my head on the toilet door as I practice the epic speech I will deliver as I walk off the premises with my head held high. I stumble into his office and he introduces me to the new HR representative [pretty sure I peed a little at that point] and asks that I give them ten minutes because they have some paperwork to finish.

At my desk, I scour items that I would have to take with me immediately. Hmmm what to do with the fish tank? Could I fit the ergonomic chair in the car? Damn, I took the bus today. Mid thought, i’m tapped on the shoulder by our second in charge, nicest man on the planet who asks me if i’ll come in for a word with him and the boss. Shite, they’ve brought in the big guns. Should I ring Hubby? Can I stop myself from doing something embarrassing? I grunt and nod and follow him into the office. He closes the door. Oh my, it’s all over. Bastards. They can stick their job up their arse, the amount of time i’ve given them. Arrggh i’ve got a meeting this afternoon and i’ve just been fitted for new steel caps. This is not fair .. I’m sorry what did you say?

"Jedda we've talked with the senior staff and we would like to invite you to join us on our next project. It will be a more senior position of course.
I’m sorry what?
You do a great job and well we want to be able to snag you before someone else does. You look a bit pale. Do you need some water? Have a think about it and get back to us soon.

I drag myself out to the balcony. I cry and cry and cry. I’m so built up with hate and retaliation and negative expectation, that I feel woozy. I was so fixed on one outcome, that I never imagined there could be a different one. My entire view was through Coal Coloured Glasses .. 

Now you might never have taken it that far, but have you dismissed an opportunity because something similar didn’t work out in the past? Or built up such a negative result that it seems impossible to achieve anything else? Caution can protect us from making the same mistakes again but lets be clear on the mistakes. In the first scenario, over a hundred people in my discipline were made redundant, the outcome was not linked to my performance. In the second scenario, I had broadcast my difficulties regularly and was fed with a constant “you’ll be right”. I needed mentoring to be successful and the project just didn’t have the capacity.

You may very well be right in not going through with an idea based on an educated guess of what has happened in the past, but it is still a guess. So I say, if you’re going to guess the result, why not dream a Chevy instead of a go-cart. It’s your head, you’re in control of the scenery. Download the worksheet and take off those Coal Coloured Glasses. For more information on Narrative Practice or bookings, click the FAQs or send me a message.

I took the job by the way.



So there’s a difference between collecting information and actually building a business. A yarn about the pitfalls of achieving success on adrenalin alone with a worksheet on how a little preparation can make all the difference.

Just after my 30th birthday, I decided I was going to publish a magazine. I had always loved writing, debating and politics and my idea was to combine the three and provide a modern, exciting new platform for Australians to discuss the country and its ills. The mere thought of having my own publication energised me from the moment I woke up, and everyday I couldn’t wait to ‘get at it’ in my dining room slash office. My head overflowed with visions of people submitting their articles and me, the Editor, wielding my power to determine who was printed to page and who wasn’t.

In those first few months, it never entered my mind that my dream would not come to fruition. I was blinded by fervor. I spent full days at the library [no publicly accessible internet back then, just the Dewey Decimal System] researching the components of a magazine, the intricacies of publishing, and floating on the motivational experiences of Nene King, Ita Buttrose and Lisa Wilkinson. When a new ‘action’ presented itself, it was added to my To Do List. Initially an A5 index book with a picture on the front of me superimposed next to Lisa .. which quickly turned into a coloured ringbinder with alphabet and by-the-month inserts. Working part-time as a Cleaner, the hours flew by as my plans evolved in my head.

Looking back now, I was merely collecting information. Generating a guide of how to become a Publisher, rather than carrying out any of its contents. I was at the very bottom of the middle class ladder, unable some weeks to fund my rent let alone the expenses of a printing press. Tasks quickly got out of hand, particularly when I started inviting people to submit articles. The binder had reached plague proportions. Desktop publishing had become the industry tool of choice and I had barely mastered Word Perfect. Some Authors had experienced the true platform of publishing, and I was clearly a rookie with more ego than money.

Three months in, I was accepted into a Psychology degree and it was very easy to convince myself, and everyone around me, that the magazine would just have to be put on hold, for this far more pressing, far more noble and important consumer of my time. ‘Explore Reality’ [yes that was the title] would simply have to wait. And with many ‘good effort’ pats on the back, the dream folded.

Twenty years later, as Counsellor, I wonder if I really wanted to be a Publisher or if I just liked the idea of people thinking I was one. I come across many ‘would be’ Publishers [or Songwriters, or Business Owners or Yachtsmen etc] who have built up a vision of the goal that excludes the boring stuff, the hard stuff, the challenging stuff. Without a true representation of what to expect, they stop the journey when it all seems too much. For those Clients, I take them through what I call the Big Five: Objective – Actions – Tools – Skills – Motivation. Elements that help break down dreams into tangible actions.

I’m not saying that you must stumble to be successful, but when I look at my own experience, maybe if I had analysed the vocation from an objective angle, I would have known what was involved and prepared myself to advance further. Or at the very least, realised earlier that it wasn’t the career for me.

Objective  Actions  Tools  Skills  Motivation

Would the Big Five have made me into a Publisher? Who knows, but I certainly would have been more prepared. Pushing forward is great in theory but action without a direction can only get us so far. Very few of us have ample time, money and resources to support growth, so when we stumble, it is easy to stop. The best we can do is work out the impact of taking on something new and plan ahead for the challenges that may or may not happen. Download the worksheet to make something happen. For more information on Narrative Practice or bookings, click the FAQs or send me a message.