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Child choosing vegetablesMy eldest two daughters, now 15 and 11, always ate vegetables, unless my memory is worse than I think and/or I'm kidding myself.  They certainly enjoy their vegetables very much now.  "Let's just order a pizza or get some fish and chips" I say, exhausted and not in the mood for mess, and they plead for me to cook them vegetables.  I'm not joking, it's really true.  The only issue I have is that one doesn't like zucchini, which is one of my favourites.

But my little ones, 2 and 3 years old, are not great veggie eaters.  What did I do differently?  Where did I go wrong?

They do, however, like to touch, hold, discuss and identify the vegetables.  But my son will not even allow them to touch his plate.  Not even the ever-favourite pumpkin.  He won't even taste it.

As little babies they ate veggies, and lots of them.  Their father would make great batches of home made baby food which we would freeze in little servings.  It would have pumpkin, potato, broccoli, carrots, and all sorts of lovely things good for little babies.  We incorporated beef mince into it too.

But when they get to the age where they want to hold the spoon themselves, and no longer need everything mashed up, it gets tricky.

Woman looking sadI’ve been wanting to start writing on this topic for a while, but a bit scared to.  I think this is because of an awareness that I need to be careful to make it clear that I’m not any kind of expert and have no medical qualifications, and that anyone reading about depression might be depressed themselves. 
 
So, my intention is not to be giving any kind of advice here, other than to seek professional help if you need it.
 
Also, I’m not in a position to answer emails about anyone’s personal situation – I’m busy enough trying to keep a handle on my own stuff.
 
That said, here goes.

It seems these days that every second person you meet is suffering depression or has experienced bouts of it at some stage.  So what is it? 

Without looking up definitions and researching it, my personal experience of it is as follows:

Retro guy with pipe, hair cream, moustache and dinner suitHow we present ourselves can convey a message to anyone who sees us.  I thought I'd start this section off by listing some of those messages.

I'm respectable

I'm rebellious

I'm fashionable

I don't care about fashion

I'm sexy

I'm professional

I'm cool

I'm practical

I love shoes

I'm comfortable

I'm really comfortable, and I don't care how I look

I don't care if it all pinches and pokes, I look great

I'll do anything to conform, please like me

I belong to a certain group

I'm a hippie

I'm rich

I'm artistic

I have excellent taste

I have more cash than taste

Look at me

Don't look at me

I've got work to do

This has been fun - oh I do love lists!

 

Woman getting her hair doneThe way we present ourselves says a lot about who we think we are and the sort of person we are.  We have over time adopted a certain image with the way we tend to dress, do our hair, our personal style.

This can be a useful thing, because if how we look expresses our personality and tastes well, it can be a signal to others with whom we are more likely to relate well, it can tell others things about ourselves that we want them to know, it can be a reflection of how we are feeling.  These are all good and useful things.

Having a personal style of our own and feeling right with our personal appearance is good for our confidence and is a sign of self respect.  Working on the outside can help us with how we feel on the inside.

Our image might be screaming “look at me, notice me”, or it might be screaming the absolute opposite: a strong wish to blend into the background and not draw any attention to ourselves at all.  It will vary, frequently or seldom.  It can change.  It can have effects we didn’t intend or which are not helpful to us.

So, the way I see it, it’s something worth giving some attention and thought to.

The best way of presenting ourselves will be different for all of us, but for me, I absolutely know it to be true, that I feel much more confident, get more done, feel more positive and so on, if I feel I’m dressed well and looking my best.  A lot of days that might just mean I’m really happy with the jeans and t-shirt I’m wearing, but that’s ok.  As long as I have at least two pairs of jeans at all times, any that I don’t feel great in get the boot.

How we look says a lot about how we feel about ourselves, and it can be one of those chicken and egg things, you feel yucky because you look yucky, you look yucky because you feel lucky etc, which means the old ‘fake it til you make it’ rule applies.  Feel bad?  Make yourself look fabulous as a starting point.  Change the thing you can change.  Pretend you feel great.  It certainly can’t hurt.

Woman looks out from behind notebook computerPutting one's writing 'out there' for anyone to see is something that's a bit scary.  It leaves one open to criticism and judgement.  But, it's something anyone who creates anything, in any form, just has to come to terms with.  If we all sat around wondering if we were good enough to express our thoughts publicly, how would anything ever get done?  If we never take any risks, how do we grow and learn?  

Still, it's a scary thing to do.  But in any media, whether it's the internet, print media, TV or radio, there's such a lot of low quality content out there, that it's easy to think "I can do better than that".  And of course, that's the beauty of blogging - there is often no publisher to please, so the quality of the content gets better (well, it can potentially do so).

I was watching a re-run of Parkinson the other night, and was interested in Ben Elton's comments about personal privacy.  He'd written a new novel based on a TV show called the X-factor (I haven't seen it, but I gather is was a talent contest).  He was concerned about the desire for fame at any cost, particularly among young people.  Reference was made of course to Jerry Springer, and to a British politician who apparently damaged his career by expressing his opinions too freely.

Being about to embark on a blog, and feeling a bit nervous about it, this got me thinking about what and how much it is appropriate or wise to reveal about oneself in public.  We're always hearing about people being misquoted or quoted out of context in the media, and seeing people 'stick their foot in it' on TV and so forth, and being careful to avoid any potential future embarrassment would seem like a good idea.

On the other hand, the things people say and write that I find most interesting to hear or read myself, have a strong personal element to them.  Same with biographies - the more personal and revealing they are, the more interesting. 

Filling in FormsHaving told you in great detail about my hyphenated surname, you should know that I get all uppity about titles as well, so let’s get that off my chest.

My preferred title, by the way, is Ms.  Preferred as in chosen.  You don’t get to call me whatever you like, or what you guess I must prefer just because of my age or the fact that I have children.

And by title, I mean honorific, according to Wikipedia.  But my Collins Concise English Dictionary published in 1982 still recognizes the word title as “5. a formal designation such as Mr.”  and the word honorific is an adjective which means showing respect.  Anyway, title is what it says in front of the box every time I am required to fill in a form.

Blank name tagWhy the funny surname?  I have a weird sounding surname.  Actually, it's two weird sounding surnames joined with a hyphen: Langmaid-Buttery.  They're both English surnames, slightly unusual ones, but that's another story.  This is about why I've chosen a hyphenated name (for now at least).

Hyphenated names have had ups and downs in popularity, but have always been a little 'out there' and ostentatious.  This is unfortunate for most of us who choose hyphenated names, as the choice is not usually motivated by any desire to be conspicuous.  My reasons for having a hyphenated name are much more practical, and based on idealistic notions of equality and stuff like that.

It's common in (I assume) most cultures for people to have a surname, last name or family name.  A couple of exceptions that come to mind are Cher and Madonna.  Oh, and the artist now known again as Prince.  Of course I don't know what their accountants put on their tax returns.  There are cultures where the family name comes first rather than last, (like my brother's Chinese name) and other cultures where the names are chosen differently or not used at all.

Surnames or family names are not something people tend to be concerned, worried about or obsessed with, unless like me, they happen to be obsessed with details and things being "right".  Mine's been an issue to me for a long time, and the whole idea of surnames and system of surnames is an issue for me, and something I am obsessed with, and certainly interested in.  I'll tell you why.

It's because I'm a woman (and possibly a bit of a drama queen).

Taking a blood sampleAs some of my readers know, I’d been unwell last year, and was struggling to keep on top of things because of it.  I want to share this with all my women readers in case it might help anyone with the same problem, as I’d apparently been struggling with a health problem for two years and had no idea anything was wrong, other than I was just always tired.

I went to see my doctor complaining of aching pains in my arms and legs.  She ordered a blood test which revealed that my iron was very low.  It seems I had so little iron stored in my liver that it was being leached from my bone marrow, which was causing the funny little pains. 

The gastroenterologist I was referred to said that although my diet was good, and I had taken an iron supplement for a while after the twins were born, it had been insufficient to deal with the demands on my body of two pregnancies close together and breastfeeding three babies in that short time.

Prior to seeing my doctor, I had been experiencing tiredness and lethargy for a long time, so long that I was not aware of any difference between how I was feeling with my youngest children being 2 years old and how I had felt when I was still feeding them during the night and recovering from the birth.

Man with many shopping bags looking at sale sign in shop windowYou might be thinking of getting a head start on next Christmas by planning a January shopping trip during the sales.  I have a lot of my gifts this year already by doing this. 

This doesn't work with consumable gifts of course, and be careful of getting caught with something which your intended recipient may buy themselves during the year.  Also, it's can be very hard to wait a whole year. 

So choose carefully in the sales, and don't even step out the door without a well prepared list. 

Gift wrap, cards and decorations are good things to pick up, and if you can put some money aside for yourself and your family for clothing and household items to spend in the sales, that's great. 

If it's all going on credit though, you're better off doing without unless you can pay it off before it attracts any interest.  Don't be a credit card victim.

Welcome mat at an open front doorHow are you feeling at the moment about your home?  Are you feeling prepared for extra visitors or does the thought of people dropping in stress you out? 

Here's an idea for a quick fix I call the Mother In Law method.  Just imagine your Mother In Law (or subsitute appropriate person, say Vogue Living coming over to do a photo feature) is on her way over and will be here in 20 minutes. 

Tidy up or do what needs doing quickly just for that amount of time. Repeat daily, or twice daily until you are ready for the actual Mother In Law.  If that doesn't work to motivate you, you could try inviting your actual Mother In Law over for real.

Being ready for visitors doesn't mean you need to repaint the house and have the garden landscaped.  Start with what really matters.

Group of friends sharing a casual meal outdoorsIt's that time of year again, when we tend to have an increased number of get togethers as we head towards the end of the year. 

As you catch up with family and friends over the coming weeks, it's a good opportunity to notice little details for future reference.  Things like food, drink, music and reading preferences, so you're able to keep these things in mind for future gift giving. 

It's also just a great opportunity to develop your listening skills and see how much better you can get to know people by paying attention to what they're saying.  Actively listening is a great way to make yourself feel more comfortable and confident in social situations, and to take the focus off yourself. 

Testimonials


"I am grateful to Yvette for the changes that she has facilitated in me. I feel that my learning from Yvette will stay with me for the rest of my life, and has brought me to a brighter, positive more confident and happy place in my family and work life."

Anshula Ohri, Toronto,
Canada

"Before I met Yvette I had many opportunities in front of me but I was feeling overwhelmed and I had no confidence in making the decisions.  I was feeling stuck and confusedd.  My career has progressed in a positive direction and I am now functioning better in physical and emotional health.  Thank you Yvette for your help.  This was one of the best decisions I have ever made."

 

Sarah Grudzien,
Melbourne, Australia

"The coaching with Yvette was very beneficial. In just a few weeks I had achieved so much. I am so thankful. I found Yvette to be very patient, professional and reassuring. I would definately recommend NLP now that I have seen the difference it has made to my life. I have left the past in the past and I am happier within myself."

Gemma,
Western Australia

"Your belief in me gave me the confidence to work out ways of improvement, knowing how important it is that these answers be found by me within me to enable them to be so powerful and successful. I loved the CD you sent as your voice is so easy to listen to and reassuring as it imparts great words of wisdom and strengthens the concepts taught within your life coaching sessions. These life skills are amazing!"

Lynne from Lowood,
Queensland, Australia

"I consider myself very fortunate having chosen Yvette for coaching.  It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I started from a place where I was stuck in procrastination and everything seemed so overwhelming that I didn't really know where to start.  I love the freedom and empowerment I now feel.  Yvette's methods are personalised and very effective.  I have looked forward to every coaching sesssion."

Heather
Melbourne, Australia

"Yvette is a great coach who inspires you to overcome the obstacles that she finds in working with you.  She is highly motivated and has worked hard to increase her knowledge in many areas that in turn help her clients.  Yvette draws on her own real life experience adn studies to help those of us who have to juggle many responsibilities and mangage the conflicts in thinking that come from that.  I am looking forward to working with Yvette again in the near future"

Liz Jarvis, CSI Business Solutions, 
NSW, Australia

"Through my coaching experience with Yvette I was able to shift my awareness onto my value system as opposed to staring at my circumstances each day and feeling pulled in a hole.  It's powerful because I want meaning, I want to live up to my values and what's right and good for me!  So, I truly learned the value of letting go and receiving the abundance of knowledge for every situation that gives life, love and meaning to who I am and what I can do, with this fearless self awareness."

Keri, 
New York, USA

"Yvette.  Many thanks for a wonderful experience... Our sessions were productive, really interesting adn I so looked forward to them each week with anticipation of what I can learn about myself and my behaviours.  Every session seemed to flow right on topic of what was present in my relaity at the time and your effortless guiding of my strategies never ceased to amaze me.  I highly recommend you as a life coach and thank you again for the experience."

M Shears, 
Melbourne, Australia

"I really questioned my future career ambitions and thanks to Yvette I changed direction from something I felt I had to do, to something I know I will love to do.  I was stuck on this topic for quite some time and Yvette really helped me shed light on this.  I changed the MBA I signed up for and feel excited about my careeer and all the opportunities in the future."

Sabine Mascarenhas, 
Wollongong, Australia