How to Respond Rather Than Judge and Have Harmony

Do you ever feel angry and disappointed by what other people do or say and find yourself in judge mode?

As humans it’s instinctive to judge.  I went to a seminar the other night and the presenter was talking about how quickly we can make a good or bad first impression.  It takes 7 seconds to give someone a quick up and down and form an opinion about them.  If that’s a bad opinion, it takes another 8 positive impressions to get back to neutral.  The point being that all this happens subconsciously – we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
We make judgements subconsciously
It takes 7 seconds to give someone a quick up and down and form an opinion about them.

Consequently, it’s really easy to react to situations where we judge the other person to be in the wrong, stupid, not following the rules or just being a bit of a dick.

The Charlize Theron Incident

Yesterday, I was driving along the freeway.  I drive a little red Mini Cooper and in my mind I am Charlize Theron in the Italian Job.   Luckily, the freeway was relatively quiet, with only a few cars behind me and the right lane was empty. A 4 Wheel Drive Ute in front of me was loaded up with giant rolls of plastic. Suddenly, the giant rolls of plastic got caught in some thermal air pressure situation and bounced out of the back of the ute and flew toward my car.  This is where I really did channel Charlize.  I swerved like a rally driver and managed to avoid all the giant rolls hitting me by mere centimetres.  The cars behind stopped and I can only imagine the barrage of abuse the driver would have received.  This could have had a really bad outcome and luckily nobody was hurt and nothing was damaged.

My road rage gene was triggered and I thought “what an idiot, why didn’t he have them tied on properly?”  then I got to thinking, who knows why he didn’t tie them on.  Maybe his employer loaded them and told him they’d be fine and to get a move on.  Perhaps the driver was really late and would lose a contract if he didn’t deliver and just did not have time to tie them.  Maybe he had received some bad news or some catastrophe had happened and he forgot he even had the rolls on the back.  He could have just been a dick though and thought “she’ll be right”.  Whatever, I caught myself in judge mode by instinct.

 We judge others by their actions but we judge ourselves by our intentions.

judge by actions
We judge others by their actions but we judge ourselves by our intentions

The time I did a runner

I have two sons, they were born 15 months apart when I was in my early 20’s and on complete and utter overwhelm and exhaustion.  My husband was working full time and studying at night.  I had been through a difficult and stressful pregnancy.  I was trying really hard to meet everyone’s expectations and I was ridiculously hard on myself too as I attempted to be the perfect Mother.  One day, I had to do some urgent grocery shopping and supermarkets were always such a daunting proposition with these two little guys.   I put the eldest into the trolley and sat the little one in the toddler seat and proceeded to place my shopping into the trolley around my kid.  Suddenly, he started to choke and then threw up – all over the items in the shopping trolley.
Everyone is a package - don't judge
Mother on overload, a trolley full of kids and groceries

Here I was, a Mother on overload, a trolley full of kids and groceries covered in vomit.  As it started to trickle through the boxes and bags and drip onto the floor, I made an instant decision.  I hoisted one kid onto each hip and did a runner.   What I do know is that my intentions were good.  It was just beyond my capacity in that moment to even consider handling this like a grown up.

I am sure that whoever had to clean up the mess would have been saying some choice things and anybody watching the incident was probably shocked that I bolted.  What they did not know was that I suffered chronic migraines and spent a couple of days each week hardly able to function.  They would also not have known that every single cent was accounted for as we struggled to pay our mortgage, pay the bills and buy food.

We just never know what’s going on in someone else’s life and everyone is a package.

It’s that moment where we choose not to react.  To think about the whole person and what is really  going on.  By choosing to respond and not reacting we leave room for compassion and understanding.  It’s when people feel heard and understood that the humanity is triggered.

Think before we judge
By taking a moment, even a 3 second gap to think before we speak

We live our lives on hyper-speed, feeling that we need to have quick answers, fast opinions and make instant decisions.  By taking a moment, even a 3 second gap to think and to breathe before we speak, most confrontations can be avoided.  If our agenda is harmony, we solve, we think, we respond and that leads to much happier relationships with everyone around us.

Be Happy,
Debra xx

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5 Simple Ways to Beat Procrastination and Live Happily Ever After


Is procrastination driving you crazy?  We all have something that we are especially good at.  Usually, we want that to be an awesome skill, talent or even a special gift.  My special skill is the ability to bring procrastination to new and even greater heights.

Procrastination does not improve my life, it just makes me feel guilty and inefficient.

I have had to develop tricky ways to beat procrastination – hacks, if you will, which enable me to function more efficiently and get stuff done.

Firstly, why do we procrastinate?  Why don’t we just get stuck in and get things out of the way?

The art of procrastinating
I’ll just have a coffee – then I’ll do it.

The Reasons We Procrastinate:

  • Fear.  When a task is outside our comfort zone, fear is the biggest obstacle we face.
  • Urgency.  A task may not need to be done immediately, it may just have to be done by some future date.
  • Mundane.  Boring tasks are easy to put aside.  They are just simply too boring to face.
  • Perfection.  The mindset that unless you can complete a task perfectly you should not start it.
  • Resentment.  The feeling that someone else should be doing the task anyway.
  • Time.  I don’t have enough time to fully complete the task
  • Lazy.  Pretty self explanatory really, just plain too slack
  • Health.  Not feeling well enough, lacking energy.
  • Not my problem.  Trying to offload the responsibility of a task onto someone else.
  • Importance.  My time is valuable, therefore it is not worth my time to do the task.

    Cannot be bothered, somebody else do it.

As I am a procrastination Ninja, I have come up with some unique and imaginative excuses to justify to myself why I cannot do certain tasks.

Examples of Excuses I Make to Procrastinate:

  • I shouldn’t call that person right now, they may be having dinner and will feel annoyed and think it’s an international telemarketer calling.
  • That task can wait because it’s way more important that I water the garden, check the mail or whatever other diversion I can conjure up.
  • Folding the washing is the most boring thing ever so I will just pull everything off the line and throw it in this basket for folding later.
  • The office needs a good sort out but I need to develop a fail proof filing system with cross checking and I need to research filing systems first.
  • What the hell, why should I always be the one who mops this floor anyway?  We all walk on it, it’s somebody else’s turn to mop.
  • Don’t start something unless you are going to finish it.
  • Arghhhh I can’t be bothered going through this boring process one more time.
  • I am just too tired to do this task effectively, I will do it after a nap.
  • If this task is not done it will not impact me at all. Someone else can do this one.
  • I am my own best asset and my time is worth X dollars per hour, therefore I am way too important to do this task.
  • Just need a coffee before I can get started.

5 Simple Strategies to Help Overcome Procrastination

  1.  Set a timer for 15 minutes and scramble to get the task completed.  By having a set time to complete or at least get a task underway you know that the job has a deadline.  It’s amazing how much you can get done in 15 minutes.  A timer makes you work faster and more efficiently, keeps you from being distracted by sub-tasks and gives you a sense of priority and focus.
  2.  Have a designated “Anti Procrastination Day”.  I have Anti Procrastination Wednesday – this means that everything I have been putting off has to be done on Wednesday.
  3.  Just be brave in the moment.  I have created a whole swag of affirmations and mantras which I use to help me to be brave in the moment.  I also use a strategy where I think about the worst thing that could possibly happen and take that to the extreme in ridiculousness and then I can do a reality check on what is really holding me back.  Just suck it up and do it.
  4.  There is  magic in going the extra mile.  It may not be your responsibility to do the task but there is always a payoff when you give unselfishly of your time, effort or heart.  The task may be mundane or relentlessly recurring and it just feels great to make the effort to get it over and done with.
  5.  Pay someone else to do it.  There are times when it is just plain practical to pay an expert to get the job done.  If you don’t have the skill set, or it will take you a long time then it’s probably worth paying a specialist who can do it in a fraction of the time while you get on and do things that you love and enjoy.


I can procrastinate about ironing - yes I can
Housework done imperfectly still blesses my family

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Overcoming Perfectionism:

Perfectionism is probably the most challenging to overcome because it seems so critical to do things “properly”.  I used to beat myself up about housework as I never felt I was on top of everything that I believed needed to be done.  I have now retrained my brain to not value perfectionism as a virtue.  My mantra for overcoming guilt and perfectionism with housework is “Housework done imperfectly still blesses my family”.  I love that so much!  It says that I don’t have to be perfect, my home does not have to be perfect and it’s all about loving my family and enjoying life!

What’s your strategy to beat procrastination?  Do tell!


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How to Participate in Your Own Rescue – The Disruptors Are Coming

Once upon a time, I went to a Tarot Reader.  It was many years ago now but I still remember the lovely words she said.  She told me that my life would be like a Fairy Tale and that I would be surrounded by beautiful flowers.  I took her literally and thought that perhaps she meant that I would have a beautiful garden filled with flowers.  Now, years later, I realize that I am surrounded by beautiful flowers – many beautiful women in my life.  My Mother, my daughters (my daughter and my future daughters-in-law), the women I am in business with, my blogging buddies, my mentors.  All wonderful and powerful examples of disruptors – women who are making the world work their way.  I am surrounded by beautiful flowers – different, all perfectly imperfect.

Disruptors making a difference
All Perfectly Imperfect

These women did not enter my life by accident though.  I have been discerning about who I spend my precious time with.

It is said that we become like who we associate with and that the sum total of who we are as a person is a result of the people we meet and the books we read.

Books about new and Disrupting Industries
The people we meet and the books we read.

If this is true, it means that we really do need to think about who we invest our time with.

As a business woman, it has become very obvious to me that there are many, many women waiting to be saved.  Saved by a man, saved by a windfall, saved by lady luck, saved by anyone or anything but their own efforts.  It’s tragic to see women become bitter or jealous when they see others achieving.  I have seen women make excuses and justify why their life has not gone to plan.  My message –  it’s reward for effort and happiness is a choice.

Right now, there is a lot of talk about entrepreneurship and the need for a “side-hussle”.  The new term “Mompreneur” has emerged amid uncertain times.  For women, security is key, so the need to take charge and get some good energy going around income streams is vital.

No longer do women look at the direct sales industry and turn their noses up as if they are too good for it.  They are finding ways of using technology to turbo charge these old models.  It’s so exciting to see what women are doing with online marketing in the Blogging Industry and how they are becoming change agents in new business models.

Want to read about this new breed of #GirlBoss?  See how Sophia Amoruso changed fashion retailing.

It has also become clear to me that age is no barrier.  As a 50+ entrepreneur, I find that I have much to contribute.  I have experience on my side as I have seen much.  Industries come and go, I have seen economic cycles that have broken people, I have watched people rise and then discovered that there is much to their spirit and I understand why they rose.  Now I see disruptors.

Disruptors are changing businesses and industries at lightning speed.  They arrive with fresh ideas, new business models and streamlined, efficient ways of doing things.  Over the coming decade, I believe that more and more of these disruptors will emerge.  In this lies opportunity.

Women, you can sit and watch, or you can be part of it!  You can choose to make technology too hard or you can embrace it.  You can be part of what’s happening or you can wonder what happened.

Technology - the tool of the Disruptor Industry
You can choose to make technology too hard or you can embrace it.

Opportunities come in strange packages.  Often they are unrecognisable as opportunities.  Have courage, explore, examine but don’t miss them.

Change is here, I implore you be open minded and embrace it.

Love your life!

Have you ever been to a Tarot Reader?

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5 Strategies to Stop Comparing Yourself With Everyone

Do you have a competitive spirit?  Do you find yourself comparing with others?

Since childhood I have had an insatiable desire to win at everything.  Constantly comparing myself with others,  I would take on anyone who would compete with me.  Running, jumping, chess, board games, pick up sticks – whatever.  It’s now obvious that this need to compete and compare is based on some underlying self esteem issues.  The need to constantly prove myself stemmed from self doubt and lack of confidence.
competing and comparing
Running, jumping, chess, board games, pick up sticks – whatever.
Competitiveness begins as comparison.  Obviously, we are constantly comparing one thing against another.  That’s how we weigh up the benefit something will offer our lives.  This is good, it helps us to make great decisions and stops us from making mistakes.  Comparison ensures that we are satisfied with the decisions that we make.
Where comparison does not serve us well is when we need to compete and compare ourselves with others.
Comparison ensures that we are satisfied with the decisions that we make.
The number one thing on my list of all things important is to love your life.  By eliminating the need to compare myself with others or compete I have found   a whole lot of peace and a grateful heart.

5 Danger Signs of Comparing:

  • Jealousy – it’s simple logic that there are people in the world who have more or can do things better than me.  Dropping envy and studying people who have great results with an open happy heart allows me appreciate others, their skill sets, their attitude to life and to learn from them.  Having a jealous heart shuts down possibility thinking.  Being genuinely happy for what others have and achieve lifts the lid on my own potential.
  • Putting Others Down – The need to put someone else down stems from feeling “less than” thus the need to elevate yourself .  Whenever I have seen someone achieving results faster and better than me it’s tempting to think that they are taking shortcuts or getting an unfair advantage in some way.  Everyone has their own path, sometimes that path is smooth and sometimes bumpy but everyone faces challenges in life.  It’s easy to judge from the outside without seeing the full picture.  Every life has a story, everyone is a package.
  • Complete not compete – I used to try to compete with my Husband.  He has a Masters Degree in Education, speaks well and is well respected.  I would interrupt him and butt into conversations in an attempt to be valued.  It took me a long time to realize that we are very different and that I too add value – just in a different way.  I joke that I am the light relief but I know he values my input and that I view things from a different perspective to him.
  • Edify Others – this is the opposite of bagging someone.  When you speak well of others you open the doors for all kinds of goodness to come back to you. Finding something good in someone and then speaking it feels great and brings joy.
  • Don’t believe your own press – My husband knows how to edify me.  I hear him saying the nicest things to others about my amazing skills and virtues. I have learned not to totally believe, maybe just enough to feed my self esteem a little but not totally.


When you speak well of others you open the doors for all kinds of goodness to come back to you.
My  top 5 strategies for beating the need for comparing:
  1. Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt.  I surround myself with people who talk about great ideas.  I read books by people who inspire me to think at another level.
  2. I look at others who are achieving and consciously think “a rising tide lifts all ships” and look for ways for everyone to win.
  3. I unfollow or block people on social media who spark negativity in me .  I believe social media can be used for good and I deliberately guard my mind.    I also hide posts in my feed which spark negativity, uneasiness or make me think badly of people.
  4. There are fish.  When I see others getting the results I want, it proves that it can be done.  If someone else has caught a fish, I know there are fish.
  5. Eyes in the boat.   I learned this phrase from a champion rower.  If a rower looks at their competition they steer their own boat off course.  When I am tempted to compare myself with others I tell myself to keep my eyes in the boat.
    If a rower looks at their competition they steer their own boat off course.
Life is so much sweeter when you can enjoy the gains, accomplishment and wins of others with an open, happy heart.
Do you have a competitive spirit?  How do you stay focused on your own path?
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Raising Great Kids Who Love Life and Enjoying the Process

Raising great kids

First up a disclaimer – This information is based on my own experience with raising great kids.  Although not an expert, I do have lots of  experience after raising 3 kids, 2 boys and 1 girl, of my own and learning lots of valuable lessons along the way.

Raising great kids and the lessons of metamorphosis

Imagine that you have just won a multi million dollar lottery. Now, what is the first thing that you think about doing with your prize money?

If you are like me, you may think about a new home or investment properties, maybe travel, new cars and maybe giving some money to a charity you believe in.  Somewhere in the list of all the things, you will probably have thought about giving your children some money.

Perhaps your kids are little and you consider setting up some kind of trust account that they can access when they are older.  Or maybe you’ll pay for their education.  Maybe you’d like to buy them a home or a car.

I believe that none of these things will add value to our kid’s lives. I believe that the best thing a kid can learn is personal responsibility.

As a Mother, I feel compelled to spare my children from pain and anxiety. It’s like I am wired to ensure that my children’s lives are smooth and problem free.

There is a wonderful story about kids learning about Metamorphosis. When they saw the Cocoons moving and heard the creature within scratching to escape, they decided to help the developing butterfly by cutting a little hole in the cocoon and making the process easier. Instead of emerging with beautiful strong wings, the butterfly’s wings were deformed and weak.

In nature, when the butterfly struggles to emerge from the cocoon, it’s the fight that makes their wings strong.

Cocoon cutting starts early, you see your child struggling with something and feel that you need to alleviate the pain and help to solve it for them. But are you really serving them? Is it better for them to go through the solution process despite the difficulties?

When my daughter was 9 years old, there were a couple of girls at school who were basically bullying her. They had a book which they wrote hateful messages in.  My daughter knew she was often the subject matter in their book and it really plagued her.  She would come home from school in tears and tell me the mean things the girls were saying and often spoke about their diabolical book.

Every fibre of my being wanted to go and straighten those girls out.  I wanted to march up to the school and complain to the teacher and question why he was allowing this nonsense to go on in his classroom.  I wanted to phone the parents and tell them about what their daughters were doing to my sweet girl.  But I didn’t.  I taught my daughter a key phrase.  One that she could use only when absolutely necessary.  A phrase so powerful that it would stop those mean girls in their tracks.  A phrase so shocking that she must only say it when the teacher was out of earshot.

That phrase?  It was  “Shut the fuck up”.   Simple, empowering and shocking.

It changed everything for my daughter.  She no longer put up with nasty comments.  She stopped them in their tracks.  When they continued to write in their book – she pinched it.  Yes, she made the book disappear and they never knew what happened to it.

My daughter solved her own problem and became a beautiful butterfly.

The boys were a very different breed of human. My cocoon cutting for them extended to doing things for them that they were quite capable of doing themselves. From helping to finish projects on time, to making their lunch and cleaning their rooms.

But my biggest challenge was when the boys got to driving age.  It was then they I worried about whether they would even survive.  One of my boys continually lost his driving license (thank you Kalamunda Police, I am sure you saved my kid).  I found it incredibly hard to navigate their transition into manhood.

Resources that can help  you are raise great kids.

I have recently come across some youtube clips of Celia Lashlie. Celia was New Zealand’s first female prison officer. She understood adolescent boys and she wonderfully articulated that transition to manhood and how Mothers can help to grow boys into good men. You can watch her here

Celia Lashlie wrote a book called “He’ll Be OK, Developing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men”  You can access her book here

And now….

My kids have all grown into wonderful human beings and I am supremely proud of each of them. They are courageous and compassionate people who I love spending time with.

When they face adversity, as everyone does, I still fight with myself not to clip their wings.   I certainly made lots and lots of mistakes as my kids grew up.  There were times we seemed to be living from crisis to crisis during the teenage years.  But we all survived and we can even laugh about some of the crazy things that went on.

If I could travel back in time, I would read more books, I would learn to detach, I would laugh more and worry less.  And I would certainly savour every precious moment.


Do you have any tips for raising great kids?


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