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Kirsty writes regularly here

Posts Tagged education

Thats a wrap – what I learnt being a Uni student

Cheers (sounds of glasses clinking), why?

I have survived my first year of University as a mature aged student, I have survived my first year of my husband’s roster taking him away for three months at a time, and I have survived the first year of my daughter moving in to her own home and my eldest son moving back!

What a year it has been.

The impact didn’t hit me until this afternoon as I was driving home from campus after my final exam. I began to shallow breath, my nerves began to twitch, and I thought, “how the hell did I pull that off!” This year, I realised, I had faced every fear I had, I worked harder than I think I ever had, I swallowed my pride on more than one occasion, and I had weeks where I was learning so many new theories I thought my brain might break.

My home suffered, however, thankfully my children didn’t as I vowed, and followed through on, to be there for them whenever they needed me. My wellbeing was pushed to its limits and I had equal moments of feeling like super woman and a puddle!

So, you are getting the picture.

During this year, my husband was absent for ¾’s of it, and a handful of my closest friends had life throw them their own curve balls so they weren’t on call for me at times I thought I needed them most. Even so, I was never alone, I had people step up for me, check in on me and remind me that I was on the right track during the uphill stints – special thanks to Tracey, Anna and Cinty – you know why!

Fears that were faced: am I clever enough, judgement of others, making huge mistakes, can I do it all on my own, being too old, letting my family down, letting me down, saying no to some work opportunities, and have I got what it takes to be extraordinary?

What I now know: I am clever enough, I am a leader, I am strong, I may get it wrong sometimes, I can take critique, I’m okay with not knowing it all, my family is awesome, I am exactly where I need to be, I have grit and determination that even amazes me, I may be ageing but I am doing it with grace and style!

Already, from the expansion and development I am undergoing opportunities are flowing abundantly.  I am on committees, being paid for work at the Uni, I am meeting amazing people, business is booming and I am just beginning work with an organisation called Porn Harms Kids to make change and give our wonderful young people the best start possible. I am also so honoured to be credited with guiding others to study, grow and push themselves out of their comfort zone. That is probably my greatest honour.

Next year, I am sure, will bring more adventures, ups and downs, yet I will be even more prepared, even more inspired and, as always, supported.

Thank you, to those who have cheered me on; thank you, to those who were inspired; and thank you to me – bloody massive effort Kirsty 🙂

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Over being overwhelmed in January?

As you enter the shops and see the isles filled with exercise books, pens and pencils; pass the shoe stores and notice that black and white shoes have taken over much of the floor space – you realise that back to school is fast approaching.

Apart from the cost of purchasing school supplies, there is a sudden realisation that madness is fast approaching – before, during and after school activities, homework expectations, uniforms to be constantly cleaned and pressed, and making sure there is enough food to prepare and pack!

My eldest is 21 years old and my youngest is 9.  I have had many years of getting it wrong, getting it right, and most years it is a bit of both!  Here I share my top 18 tips to support you being better prepared and be more productive this upcoming year.

  1. Plan and prepare to avoid chaos. This includes weekly schedules, lists and weekly meal and shopping plan. Create a flexible routine that works for your family – from waking to bedtime.
  2. Have a central calendar in the house that all family members have access to with events written on it that are coming up.
  3. At least a couple of times a week make double the evening meal and freeze half for those nights when you run out of the time or enthusiasm to cook.
  4. Make time to bake each week.
  5. Make lunches and get uniforms ready the night before. We all think we will get it done in the morning, but sometimes it is just such a rush and adds so much pressure when trying to get you and your children ready and out the door!
  6. Have bags packed and checked ready to go the night before (including the hat).
  7. I think it’s never too early to give children some responsibility –tasks that you know they can complete for their age and abilities.
  8. Give children checklists – good for parents too!
  9. It is the perfect time to have conversations with your children when driving around with your kids in the car. They can’t get out or walk away!
  10. Take weekly time out for you to de-stress and reward yourself.
  11. Get proper sleep so you have the energy each day needs and avoid getting run down and common illnesses.
  12. Eat well to feel good and keep up. Feed your kids well to keep them healthy and calm.
  13. Remember to breathe – sometimes we just need to stop, take a couple of deep breathes and then proceed.
  14. Keep at least one day free on a weekend to relax and have fun with your family.
  15. Be kind to yourself.
  16. Ask for help when you need it!
  17. 30, 30, 30 and 30 every day! 30 minutes for quiet time for you, 30 minutes listening to your children with enthusiastic interest, 30 minutes for your partner and 30 minutes making sure you have cleared your day and are prepared for tomorrow.
  18. Get up each morning with a grateful affirmative attitude and a desire to meet all challenges with a smile.

As parents, we are constantly creating, re-inventing and re-shaping whilst keeping up with all the demands and challenges of each day. Creating routines and being organised will keep everyone on the same page and help you make sure you go to bed each night feeling a sense of peace and achievement – well most days!

What can you do differently this year to make your school and work weeks run smoothly?

Kirsty 🙂

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Life can be hard sometimes…

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Life can be so hard sometimes, can’t it? The day in day out ‘stuff’, like –

  • Meeting all the expectations and demands of others.
  • Trying to look like you are successfully juggling it all.
  • Putting on a happy face when you really just want to say, “no, I’m not okay!”
  • Friends and family letting you down – yet you can’t mention it in case you look insensitive.
  • Pretending your whole family is so happy – like the Brady Bunch.
  • Moments when you think that you need some new goals because life isn’t exciting or purposeful anymore.
  • Life is dishing you up lemons instead of Lamborghini’s.
  • Then to top it all off – you are getting closer to 50 and there are bits that just aren’t doing what they are supposed to!

I am certain this is just not me, actually I know this isn’t just me as most of my friends and clients, at some point, go through all this too.

Is there a special trick to overcoming these moments? Is there a quick fix that works for everyone else? Some would like you to think so, but…

I don’t know about any tricks or quick fixes that actually have a substantial long-term impact – yet I do know that not giving up and being open to other possibilities is a start.

We are now in spring in Australia. It is a time of warming up and getting outside more to enjoy the sunshine, and a time of growth for plants (and people too).

It is the best time to think about and begin to plan new possibilities and watch them grow. It is a time to reflect and put to rest what isn’t working and the things you no longer want to move forward with. It is a time, which I use, to welcome in the energy of nurturing newly planted ideas and doing what it takes for them to grow strong and balanced.

My big announcement this month, after a couple of months of feeling like I had no clear direction, I decided to hit the books again and am going to University – beginning 1st semester next year. I have been offered a place in Bach of Communication. I fell in love with writing last year whilst writing my first book, and I want to get even better at this art. I will be doing this part time so I can work around my business and my family. I am so excited, and feel that inner drive deep in my belly again. I know this is the right thing for me to be doing right now – as yet though I have no idea how I will pull it all off! My nervousness was overcome when my offer came through on the 1st September – 1st day of spring – can’t get a better ‘sign’ than that of being on the right path!

When life is being hard and heavy, I acknowledge it, then get out a piece of paper and begin to write what it is, what I want to be different and what I can do now – even the smallest thing – to begin change. It is amazing what gets written on that paper, just like my decision to study again.

Enjoy the energy and possibilities that spring can bring for you – allow spring to soften the tough bits so that new things can grow.

Kirsty 🙂

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Book Launch – Oh What a Night!

SLIDE 1 WELCOMEThe day had finally arrived – the 10th of March. The day of my first book launch. Separated by Work was about to be officially introduced.

The last thing I remember the night before was looking up at the ceiling and silently asking to wake up refreshed and with enough energy to get through the next day. It had been a huge month and I was already weary.

The first print run had arrived mid February – which led to collecting book reviews, first round of book sales, uploading to e-Book platforms, updating website and social media sites, invites posted, marketing machine set in motion, radio and newspaper interviews and preparations in full swing for the book launch. To top off all the excitement and activity, two nights prior, I was honoured to receive the 2016 International Small Business Women of the Year Award.

I was slowly running out of puff.

I was overwhelmed with tasks and to do lists – yet I was also overawed with the love and support around me. My friends were so supportive of my new publication and me. I had people driving in and flying in just for the book launch to support me. Anna Cairo flew in from Melbourne just for the night – Gail, my best friend, had driven two hours for the award night and then taken 2 days off work to come down again for launch. I had people stepping up to share the information around about the book and create more awareness. I had many asking for jobs to do to help me.

My amazing friend – Louise D’Allura – put on her event organiser and compere hat and created an event that was so professional and so well run that most people in the room commented on what an amazing evening it had been. I even had Kerrin Smith there to professionally film the event and she has gone above and beyond to give me the most amazing photos and show reels from the night.

Speaking_047I stood at the side of the room – speech memorised and timed out to the minute. After Louise’s introduction, I walked to the front, and began to speak. By the second sentence I was having to frequently look at my notes (thank goodness I took them). The love and the support that was being projected to me from the people in the audience (a packed room, well over the 50 planned) nearly bowled me over. I held back the tears, only just, and soldiered on until the end.

I have spent two years creating this book, Separated by Work, and I am so proud of it and me. I know it will do exactly as I intended it to do and more – to support families, workers and company leaders to survive and thrive through FIFO. Yet, this is in large part due to the support of those around me, those that mentored me, those that contributed to the book and those that believed in me, my vision and that I had something important to say.

Most of my life I have done it on my own. Along the way I have had enough support to save me from being cynical of life, yet on the whole have not had complete unconditional support most of the time. Instead of falling into the debilitating trap of feeling life was unfair, I just did my best, learned more, picked myself up and showed up. I just kept helping others, because I knew what it was like to have no one.

I would get frustrated and I did want people to notice me – yet each time it came up I attempted to let those thoughts go and remind myself I did it because it felt right. I am a firm believer that what you put out there will come back; just not in the way you think or expect.

Signing_007I would like to say – it did come back – it came back in an avalanche!

I could not of felt more blessed, appreciated and acknowledged on the evening of my book launch. There was a room full of people that had my book’s best intentions and mine at heart. It wasn’t just ‘fan’ moments – these people wanted to let me know that they knew how much I had given, and continue to give, and this was their chance to give back to me.

I am so grateful that I had the courage and determination to keep going and finish my book, so that I could feel this, so that I could continue to help others, and so that I could step up and create something bigger than me.

Now onto the next stage – speaking to many and getting loads of books out there so that all families and workers have the opportunity to find that being separated by work can be personally and professionally successful and they can be more, do more and have more because of it.

If you want to get your copy, please click here.

Kirsty 🙂

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Separated by Work – ABC Brisbane

IMG_4849I was interviewed recently, 29th Feb 2016, on ABC Brisbane radio to chat about my book Separated by Work.

David Curnow and I spoke about many of the issues FIFO families and workers face, what led to me writing the book and how our family overcomes the unique struggles that this lifestyle can bring.

This interview is a great showcase, touching on many aspects that are presented throughout this essential handbooks 280 pages.

David said, “this is not just a memoir, it is a guide book.  It has bits to fill out and homework to do!”

Click button below to listen in –

Soundcloud

 

 

 

Kirsty 🙂

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Understanding Autism

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I was asked by Exisle Publishing to review Understanding Autism, by Prof Williams and Prof Roberts.  After reviewing this guide, I was so excited, I wanted to share it with you.

Katrina Williams and Jacqueline Roberts have definitely, in my opinion, put together the essential guide for parents. This book is written in a way that is easy to understand, that was not overwhelming. The the mix of case studies, tables, strategies and considerations for parents self care, left me impressed.

I asked a close friend, who is a parent of two Autistic boys, to tell me what she thought. After reading it, she excitedly informed me that it covered everything that you needed to know in raising an Autistic child. She found that this book was very informative on all the areas and issues that parents face, and that the case studies were great as they provided the practical examples of how other parents have dealt with situations and you got the feeling that you are not alone in the issues you deal with on a daily basis. The resources that are provided at the end of each chapter were particularly helpful.

My friend said that this book is the best parents guide to Autism that she had ever read. The authors projected an environment where the parent or caregiver felt supported, confident and reassured that they could help their children.

This book is a must have resource for all parents who have children with Autism, especially for those parents that have just received their diagnoses, as it covers all the main topics –  from toddlers and schooling, right through to mental health issues and leaving high school.

If you have friends or family that would benefit, I highly recommend passing on this information to them.

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Change the Way You Eat

Change the Way You Eat_final cover 150dpiI recently did another book review for Exisle Publishing and wanted to share this new publication with you.

Leanne Cooper hands back to you control over the way you eat and why. This book clearly outlines factors, physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically as well as habit and upbringing, contributing to food choices you make now. What I liked most about this book is the interactive way it is written, calling you to action in each chapter to examine and get task orientated getting you on track to where you would like to be. I have no doubt that readers of this book will change the way they think and feel about food. It really does support you in creating new habits and goals and give you the best opportunity to change the way you eat. I will definitely be recommending this book to many of my clients.  If you are interested in getting your copy now CLICK HERE.

RRP $29.99 or E-Book $9.99

More about book:

Leanne Cooper BA (Psych/Ed), GCertHumNutr

The Sydney Morning Herald feature story on – How To Change Your Bad Eating Habits (16 Oct 2014) is all about Change The Way You Eat

For many people, food is no longer something to ‘enjoy’ as the stuff that nurtures us, keeps us healthy. It’s something to ‘control’, ‘do battle with’, all in a warped quest to ‘be thin’ and live up to society’s photoshopped ideals. Plus there’s the obesity epidemic where we’ve trained our tastebuds to crave the fat, salt and sugar that so much junk food is saturated with.

By examining the pyschological factors that encourage us to eat more than we know we should, as well as the tricks used by marketers to influence what and how much we eat, Change the Way You Eat provides the tools for readers to take ownership of their eating choices so that lifelong change can take place.

Discover how:

• our stage of life, gender, financial resources and values all influence our food choices

• branding, packaging and labelling combine to manipulate our shopping habits

• our inbuilt taste preferences can determine the food we’re drawn to, and how to reprogram them

• our environment — from the type of music playing while we eat to the number of people we eat with — can all affect our eating habits

• our personality and emotions can determine our food choices and habits, and

• we can implement our newfound knowledge to take back control of our plate, become conscious eaters and gain real enjoyment from nourishing ourselves in a way that promotes long-term health and happiness.

Specifications: 234 x 151 mm | paperback | 224 pages

About the author:

Leanne Cooper is an author, educator, nutrition consultant and advisor. A registered nutritionist, she is the founder and director of Cadence Health (Australia, NZ, UK), dedicated to the improvement of community health through the provision of training, resources, books and information. Leanne initially trained to be a childhood psychologist but gradually shifted her focus to health. Change the Way You Eat combines both areas of expertise — psychology and nutrition — as Leanne delivers her message that by understanding the psychology of food we can take back control of our health.

Enjoy, Kirsty 🙂

 

 

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Imagine Me – Holding an Audience Captivated for 40 minutes!

LR_Kirsty_003Kirsty O’Callaghan is now a sought after speaker in the areas of Resilience and Relationships, however it wasn’t always this way. Kirsty explains how this overnight success was anything but, and shares how you can take your business to the next level by developing a great speak and even greater you.

I have been speaking professionally now for nearly a decade. My business growth demanded that this was the next step that had to be taken. I didn’t think it would be that hard, I talk a lot, am good with people and can keep my nerves under control and most importantly know and believe in my topic.

I remember my first ‘gig’. I thought I was ready, had my notes, and had a room full of people, and then it happened. A few minutes before it was time to go on, I started panicking, my heart rate went up, I got a nervous rash on my neck and chest and my throat felt like it was closing over. My thoughts were telling me I wouldn’t remember what to say, who was going to listen to me, and other such defeating thoughts. I went on, basically read my notes and even though no one complained felt I didn’t hit that mark of inspiring my audience. If there was PowerPoint back then, it would of felt like death by PowerPoint!

So I spent the next 5 years learning to become an amazing speaker not just a good one. I attended training, watched lots of inspiring speakers and spent time overcoming any limiting thinking that said I was not good enough.

The 3 most impactful things I learnt was

  • Every speaker gets nervous
  • Plan, prepare and practice for each audience, every time you present as if it is the first time
  • Especially if you are a women, dress to impress

I began to feel more comfortable to tell my story to create connections to my audience and what I was sharing. I began to set intentions to be in service to the audience, to inspire and excite them and stopped making it about whether I was accepted. I also began to realize that it takes a few minutes to create a change for someone and for them to want more or for them to shut down, so how was I going to make the most of those few minutes.

Part of any trade or profession is the time you put into building experience and how much passion and focus you have to push through the small-unpaid ‘gigs’.   Like any great performer will tell you, the perceived overnight success equated to many hours and years of little or no pay, presenting to people that really weren’t listening. However, these hours are never wasted, as they prepare you and nothing is more valuable than exposure and learning what not to do before you hit the big time. The journey of small beginnings teaches you resilience, determination, and gives you space to reinvent and learn.

My biggest piece of advice; aim for excellence when presenting your passion or service to others. Make it about them, not you and always have great shoes.

Kirsty 🙂

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Having a Great Support Network Will Promote a Longer, Happier & Healthier Life.

Fostering close friendships is crucial to increasing longevity and maintaining your health. By creating a social “safety net,” you can protect yourself from depression, anxiety and physical ailments.

During times of high stress, self-care, friendships and support networks have a tendency to fade into the background, while work and family expectations and obligations take centre stage. This is a mistake and in fact, counterproductive to maintaining your physical, mental and emotional well-being! Recent studies have suggested that

  • 22% of people that have a good support network live longer happier lives
  • the happiest people socialise about seven hours a day,
  • you’re three times more likely to be happy if you are married,
  • each new friend will boost your happiness about 10 percent.

So is there a magic formula to developing those quality relationships personally & professionally that power you forward, that satisfy you, nurture you, allow you to feel safe to express yourself, and get you results?

I don’t know if it is a magic formula, and nothing worthwhile is gained without effort and practise, however with my years of experience in the relationship building industry and after overcoming many personal hurdles I have come up with a method, that I will share with you that will allow you to be on your way to being a more interesting and interested partner, friend, colleague, parent and person. You will be able to gain support, acceptance, approval and co-operation.

I run a very successful business, which thrives because of my belief in me and the service I provide, my ability to communicate my message and build successful business alliances. It wasn’t always like that though. It seems to have been a lifelong search on how to be heard and feel confident enough in my vision and myself to speak up.

My process is a 9 step process that is bundled up in 3 steps – my M.A.G. method©. Not N.A.G, because that is not helpful in excellent relationships, rather MAG for magnificent!

M – Mindfulness & Confidence – Know yourself, your message and your ‘audience’

A – Approach & Attitude – Believe in yourself, your message and your ‘audience’

G – Growth & Follow through – Being Your Best! – Master yourself, your plan and your relationships.

“To Know, To Believe, To Master = Success”

You can find out more about this at any of my workshops or speaking events when I speak on the topic of Relationships.

What is your highest dream for your relationship/s? What could it look like if you were a master of the art of relationships?

The greatest gift in a relationship is the ability to listen with your eyes, ears and heart. People want to tell their ‘story’. There is a marked decrease in today’s society in this area. There is also a marked increase in the breakdown of relationships in our society. When we listen with our ears we hear what is said, when we listen with our eyes we hear what their body gestures are telling us, when we listen with our heart accept the others point of view and how they feel about it. We become interested and interesting. We draw people to us as there is nothing better than someone that allows you to feel valued and important.

Kirsty 🙂

 

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The ADHD Handbook

ADHD_final front cover 600pixBook Review – The ADHD Handbook by Stuart Passmore

I was recently asked to review this book by Exisle Publishing. I must admit from the first page I ‘ate’ it up.

Living with a child who is ‘special’, ‘difficult’, impulsive, hyperactive, anxious, and/or just plain ‘naughty’; can leave many parents feeling judged, distressed, exhausted and overwhelmed. I know, as I have one of these children.

This handbook presents an up to date understanding of current findings, past findings, supporting research and a holistic genuine view you can’t go past. It allows the parent/caregiver/teacher an opportunity to recognise that it is no-ones fault yet there are specific groups of strategies that can alleviate the pain you and the child are experiencing. Stuart has a way of explaining quite complex data and reasoning in a way we can all comprehend no matter what level of understanding you have on medications, alternative therapies or brain research. Whilst reading I felt his compassion for this topic, for the parents, as well as the sufferers of this disorder.

The main points that jumped out to me and I found well described were:-

  • How complex ADHD is
  • Misdiagnosis and why
  • ADHD in adulthood
  • ADHD is not a cause of parenting it is a neurological disorder
  • The neuro-anatomy of ADHD
  • Co-existing conditions with ADHD
  • The positive aspects of a person who has ADHD and how to build on those
  • Parenting/Caregiver support and suggested management techniques

I believe that this book will hearten and inform those caring for or with ADHD, it will also support you before and after you seek professional help. It enlightens you to questions to ask, and especially allows you to make informed choices and confidence to ask ‘those questions’ from your or your child’s health team and specialists.

My advise would be to read as a current guide to the most up to date data, and you will feel encouraged to amalgamate this information with your parenting/caregiver instincts and be more empowered in your chosen next steps. Book is $34.99

About the author: Stuart Passmore is a psychologist in private practice. He has developed an evidenced-based Parent Management Training program for parents of children with behavioural disorders ranging from ADHD to Oppositional Defiance Disorder to Conduct Disorder and children with explosive and non-compliant behaviours. Stuart also conducts professional development training workshops on Parent Management Training for behavioural and anxiety disorders.

Kirsty O’Callaghan 🙂

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