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Happiness

A Mother's Journey to 'Living Authentically'

A Mother's Journey to 'Living Authentically'

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You know that feeling after you bring a child into the world, that your life will never be the same. At the same time everything prior to that point almost becomes meaningless. You actually start to reassess the world.  

In one sense when my first child was born I became brave. In another I had to redefine who I was. I was not the same 30 something me.

 

What am I doing? Does what I do mean anything? Am I even making a difference in this world? Is it worth it?

 

Suddenly there is something bigger than you, that little person that you are responsible for; you want them to be the best they can be, to live in a world full of potential that is safe and sustainable.   I had these big thoughts of how I could impact my daughter’s future world, and at the same time I was learning to be a mother. In addition to this new role, I continued to be: wife, lover, friend, and work colleague. The new role had an impact on all the others. If I did not take a step back I would lose me!

 

That’s when I transformed, having a child changed me, I knew it was an opportunity to take that energy, that power that you have as a mother and know as you want your children to know ‘I can do anything’.

 

I started to define just what that was to each one of my roles. As a mother being home for dinner and doing plays (not macbeth but magic rabbits, princesses, car races and dragons), and reading each night. To challenging my brain in my doctorate, which helped me to develop technology that automates chores saving mothers time, and research that understands what in people’s childhood makes them successful, and happy! The both aligned to giving me, and other mothers more time with our children, with our future and to have more memories than do administration and chores.

 

I transformed into the best version of me I could be at each of the roles, but realised we cannot do everything. So the key was to align the roles to what I truly loved, what I was passionate about. To stop doing things that detracted from that, and to start and continue the things that aligned to what I loved in this world most.

 

It sounds easy, but it was a journey to break down the mind set for example of ‘guilt’ and to accept help. I started to say ‘yes’ to outsourcing chores and ‘no’ to things that served no purpose or were meaningless.

 

This transformation was broken down over 4 steps, a framework which allowed me to redefine my life, and make sure I was Living Life Authentically. I am now true to who ‘I’ am as a mother, wife, lover, friend and work colleague. I learnt that you can have that authenticity as a mother, where you give to each part of you.

 

You have to be brave enough to take the step back. To admit I am not that same person as I was before kids, and take the opportunity to redefine you.

 

I want to share this framework with other mothers so that can live a life that is authentic to them. To talk them through the framework and provide printable tools, that supports them. There is very little for mothers. This now changes Sign Up for your Living Authentically Webinar and Kit.

 

I am building a community, tools and technology that is there for Mums.

How to Live Life Authentically as a Mum

How to Live Life Authentically as a Mum

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The phrase live authentically is one where you are true to who you are, true to yourself. Men can have a midlife crisis, but a lot of women also face a period where they are conflicted. They have a new role a ‘mother’ and suddenly that has to fit with their other multiple roles:  

  • Lover
  • Friend
  • Employee/Worker
  • Me

 

That pulls into question all the roles. Where those roles are out of sync, for example, “I’m not actually doing what I want to do in life,” “my friends and I don’t actually have the same values” or “I have no time for me” it creates a constant circle of dissatisfaction.

 

In truth the day we become mothers it redefines us. That’s the time to take a step back and ensure we live life authentically.

 

To lead an authentic Life as a mother means happiness, and it can be completed by four simple steps YEAH! On September 14th we will host a free webinar that takes mothers through these 4 simple steps, with printable materials that can be taken away and are there to support all mothers.

 

  1. You Time
    1. Passion
    2. Space
    3. Guilt
    4. Means

 

  1. Energy for You and Others
    1. Focus
    2. Outsource
    3. Sleep

 

  1. Action
    1. Say Yes
    2. Say No

 

  1. Help and Support

 

If you want help and support via a community of busy Mum’s to live an authentic life sign up for the free webinar http://www.whatifihadapa.com/free-webinar-4-simple-steps-authentic-life/ here.

Our New Ebook Memories Over Chores. 60 Tips for the Power Parent

Our New Ebook Memories Over Chores. 60 Tips for the Power Parent

February 29th you had an extra 24 hours.  The revolution starts now. Make more time in your life everyday.  Our ebook Memories Over Chores. 60 Tips for the Power Parent http://ow.ly/YTKiU #Killthatmondaymorningblaaa  #whatifihadapa #disrupttime #memoriesoverchores

All images courtesy of Bigstock and Shutterstock.

4 Reasons why we may not be truly happy with whom we are?

4 Reasons why we may not be truly happy with whom we are?

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1. The Reality is Unreal – we are bombarded with Reality TV, Pics and Snippets via social media that people have actually often staged to look their best. These statuses and glimpses into the made-up reality are just a glimpse of someone’s life that they are happy to share. Do not get caught up in the life that someone else is portraying and sharing. What is truly important for you to experience and focus on that? 2. Comparison of Apples versus Oranges – The comparison of you to a friend, or stranger is a false start. Every person has a different environment in which they live and different circumstances to deal with. The key is to find what works for you personally and not to compare.

3. Gratitude – gratitude for what we have focuses us on the reality of what we have. At the very least we are still breathing. This gratitude can be a way to focus on the things that we have, and that we can affect.

4. The power of intention – this is a powerful tool, however, I have seen it cause behaviour and actions that lead to more negative consequences. Controversially I have to say I have found that there is a balance. The ‘Gita’ talks about how not to focus too much on future desires as it makes us subject to highs and lows, the spiral of excitement and disappointment. This to me indicates that balance is needed. There is a clear intention but there is also realism about what you can affect and change. The question always is what is stopping me? Is it possible to remove barriers? Ultimately other courses of action may have been the right ones to take. Be prepared to listen and understand the situation and be open to the here and now, and adjust what would be the right way to move forward.

Negotiating Your Terms for Balance

As I have gotten older balance becomes more prevalent a need in my life. Earlier on in my profession I remember sitting with my VP in Soho and saying that “I work hard and play hard, so because I love what I do there is no distinction.” He was disagreeing with me, and at the time I didn’t get it because I do what I love.

That said the concept of doing what you love is not a new one, and some of us are blessed in the opportunity to do that. However, then I had fulfilment of esteem, self-actualisation, cognitively, financially, and intellectually but to the cost of the earlier needs without admitting it: sex, health, friendship (constantly travelling), and no partner to share my life with. I also did not have a partner or indeed children.

Now I have those things but that demanded several negotiations in my life, not least with myself. It now means that with each move I make I consider what is important to me and negotiate in that manner:

  • Physiological – Maslow puts things such as breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis and excretion as a basic need and once we meet those needs they can not motivate us. However, one of the realisations as I have gotten older, is how this motivates my decisions more. As a wife and mother of two: time for sleep, and a healthy sex life is important. Negotiating flexible working arrangements that allow me to sleep and have a healthy sex life is a motivator. What times do you want to work? Can you work flexibly? Can you work from home?
  • Safety – security of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health and of property is a second tier need. However, again my health is a predominant feature. I realised if I did not have my health, I would not be able to be there for my children, and my partner. This was not through a health scare but pure self-realisation of what was important. So the terms that I negotiated allow me to practice yoga at least 3 times a week. This is a motivator. Can you work flexibly? Are there facilities that can be accessed in a lunch hour to stay healthy? What’s the salary is it fair for the role i.e. what they would pay a man? Is it enough to live?
  • Love/ Belonging – Friendship, family, sexual intimacy – these now a significant motivators for me as life is precious and I actually consider them on par with self-actualisation. How much do you want to travel? What time will I have for family and friends? Can your spouse be based with you if the assignment is abroad? What support framework is there for your spouse? What are the people like? What social activities are there? What hours do I want to work? What are the expectations? Is it a presence or productivity culture? I am not willing to work excessive hours.
  • Esteem – self-esteem confidence, achievement, respect of others, and respect by others. Strangely enough this became less of a motivator. I no longer needed the recognition of others that was not important. However a respectful workplace is. This may vary for everyone: Are people driven off their job title? Is it hierarchical? Do people respect different people’s views? What is the challenge, and is it challenging enough for me? What future challenges could there be for me? What development is available? What is my manager’s competence and leadership style?
  • Self-Actualisation – Morality, creativity, Spontaneity, Problem Solving, Lack of Prejudice and Acceptance of Facts. An environment where I can fully realise my potential, be creative, get up each morning and think ‘yeah’, be authentic and act with integrity is a predominant motivator and deciding factor. What empowerment is there in the organisation of their employees? Is it a command and control organisation?

Some critiques have added other levels like ‘Transcendence” “Cognitive” and “Aesthetic.” In my experience many people are neglecting the lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy in thirst for the higher motivators. As I have become more self-aware of my needs, the base of the hierarchy: Physiological, Safety and Love can act at the higher levels of motivation.

Pay Attention to the Things that are Critical to your Happiness.

Posted by Temprell on Facebook.  I do not know the original source but it just sums up the whatifihadapa spirit.

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A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles roll
ed into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

 
 
 
 

6 Factors that Determine Happiness

There are a number of determinants of happiness.   WhatIFPA have delved through research to pick out what matters.  We are happy if this helps you to see any areas, which you feel need to be addressed in your life.

1. Spirituality

In some studies religion was noted as key (Vani K. Borooah 2006), but even as a religious person I have seen non-religious people happy.  So in thinking ‘what was is it that makes them happy?’ It was a spirituality and connection to self. A complete self-awareness of who they are, which enabled them to be content, and grow.

2. Decent Standard of Living

There is recognition that happiness is not reliant on a person’s income.  In some cases it can have a negative impact (Powdthavee, N 2008).  That said there is a level of income that gives people a level of security, removes worries and allows people to enjoy life.  Only 64% of people polled by CAFOD and Tearfund put a priority on a high income.

3. A Good Family and Social Life

A good family and social life is easy to say, but 70% of working fathers and working mothers report they don’t have enough time for their children (Family Matters Survey; The National Partnership for Women & Families, 1998).  What we do know is that personal balance is critical to happiness.  The CAFOD and Tearfund poll on what makes people happy showed the top priority for 97% of people was spending time with friends and family.

4. A Good Living Environment

A good environment is about creating the space that you want around you: home, neighbourhood and working environment.  Mourato and MacKerron 2013 showed a link between environment and happiness.  Make and shape your environment.

5. Good Health

There are three factors to health nutrition, mind and body.  The awareness of nutrition and the benefits of what we put into our body, so that we eat to live.  The health of the mind is essential and practices like mediation can support its maintenance.  What research shows is that there can be a misconception in the affect of the quantity of fitness to health.  In is not the quantity but the quality.    Wang and Wong 2011 studied the relationship between leisure satisfaction and well-being and happiness. They found that it was not the quantity but quality of the leisure time, and how it is used has a positive relationship to happiness.

6. Loving What You Do

Those people that work in what they are passionate about, or have enough time to be able to do and fund what they are passionate about are happier.  The CAFOD and Tearfund poll on what makes people happy showed having an interesting job was important for 92% of Britons.

There are number factors that determine happiness, and every person will have their own unique mix.  The important thing is to enrich any areas where there are deficiencies.

Sources:

  • Borooah Vani K, 2006, How much happiness is there in the world?  A cross country study.  In Applied Economics Letters, Vol 13 P.g. 438 – 488
  • CAFOD http://www.cafod.org.uk
  •  Flickr by Camdiluv ♥ at http://flickr.com/photos/33990680@N07/4441155157.
  • Happy Planet Index 2012 http://www.happyplanetindex.org
  • Mourato, Susana and MacKerron, George, 2013, Happiness is greater in natural environment.  In Global Environmental Change
  • Powdathavee, Nattavudh. 2008 “How much does money really matter? Estimating the causal effects of income on happiness. ”Published online.
  • Values Survey Integrated Data File 1999–2002
  • Wang, Miao and Wong Man Chiu Sunny, 2011, Leisure and happiness in the United States: evidence from survey data. Applied Economics Letters, 2011, 18, 1813–1816
  • Wholly Living http://www.prismaweb.org/media/157590/whollyliving.pdf

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