Last week, just after I wrote my blog about being ‘brave’, I headed into the city to be on a podcast about being ‘brave’. It was a total coincidence that I had just written about being brave and then went on to speak about that very topic on the same day but perhaps it also explains why I was invited to be on the podcast in the first place. 

The podcast Fearless Conversations is hosted by my friend Jim Antonopoulos and my new friend Damian Karaula. As the title suggests they host open conversations that are not only meaningful but draw upon stories and insights from their expertise in purpose-driven and impactful leadership. After meeting Jim a few times earlier this year, he invited me to come on and have a chat.

To say I was stoked was an understatement. This is the first time anyone has asked me to do something like this and not only did I get to hang out with two awesome, talented people for an hour, they were’ going to be focusing on me! Talk about win-win! Jokes. I was pretty nervous because I tend to talk shit when I’m out of my comfort zone but luckily I had just written about being brave, so I know what to do. All I needed was to give myself the pep talk I’d give my sister if she was doing the same thing.

I needn’t have worried because Jim and Damian are two of the warmest, nicest and softly spoken guys you’ll ever meet. Not only did they make me feel welcome the second I walked in the door, which was wet from the rain and sweating from running across town after my train was delayed, they also said some really nice things about me. Saying nice things about me is a sure fire way to make my VIP list of people I admire and won’t shut up about.

During our easy and meandering exchange we covered many topics. Because it's a conversation rather than a ‘Q and A’ show we naturally flowed from one topic to another. I guess the main reason I was there was that I have accidentally and through no fault of my own become an expert on resilience. It can be very hard to read the label on the jar when you're standing inside it but the willingness and speed at which I answered questions about coping strategies surprised even myself.

During our session Damien noted that it sounds as if I live firmly in the present moment. I had never really framed my actions like that before but all of sudden, it made sense. Ironically, it was in that moment that I realised I’ve gotten good at living in the moment! Unbeknownst to me, I’ve gotten pretty good at being present.

On reflection a present mindset encapsulates a whole lot of things that are really important to me. 

A present mindset is being aware of what is happening right now. I can 100% attribute the control I have over my anxiety to being aware of what is happening around me. I would even go as far to say that giving up booze for the last few years has contributed to the intensity of this awareness. Whenever I start to feel like the floodgates have opened and heavy, stressful thoughts start filling my head, I stop, take a deep breath and examine what I’m actually doing. What is happening around me. 

When you live in the moment you are free from past successes and failures. No doubt they’ve contributed to you as a whole person but they are merely threads in a larger tapestry of the moment you find yourself in. This leaves you with more capacity to be excited about future opportunities. This has never been more obvious than with our work at HUCX. We’re yet to build our first full residential home but yesterday when we had a team from the Ballarat City Council in we were floating potential projects of 10’s to 100’s of houses. We tend to use our ‘dream projects’ as ancours, not where we’ve come from.

One of the most important and rewarding things that happens with a present mindset is having a genuine sense of appreciation for the people in your life. I can not get enough of this benefit because who doesn’t want to feel appreciated? All it takes is the tiniest wink, smile or text to make someone's day. It takes so little energy to receive so many good vibes in return. I love to think of my hairdresser as an example. I love her - we only hang out for 35 minutes every 6 weeks because I get a man's short hair cut but for that 35 minutes we have the best time. We talk about everything and anything, I pay and then walk away. 

I spoke to Damien about imagining that you were doing something for the last time. I’ve written about this before but there will be a last time for everything in our lives. The last time we see an elderly relative. The last time we’ll feel a particular way about a particular person. The last time I’m going to eat half a loaf of that delicious Turkish bread from Bakers Delight. The point is I use this idea as a reminder to live in the moment.  

It’s easy to get caught up in the repetition and monotony of life. So much of life can feel transactional. I’m making your school lunch so you can eat it (and I have to!). I drive you to school because it's too far to walk. I’ll do the work because it's what I'm paid to do… At the end of the day the quality of our life is dictated by the thoughts we have. Living in the moment encourages gratitude which is the only sure fire way to make the most out of all the moments we’re lucky enough to experience.

Video of the week
Best of Favorite Dance Moves
Podcast of the week
Fearless Conversation: Brave
Font of the week
Oobleck: Font of the week by José Solé

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