Purpose

Developing a Growth Strategy

I went into this blog venture with a particular goal in mind (to discover my purpose) with only a hazy idea of how I was going to achieve it. (At least I thought it was something to be ‘achieved’ at the time). I figured that if I invested into something I’m really passionate about, I’d eventually discover my purpose and then I could tick off that box. Well-intentioned, but somewhat naive. It’s funny how 8 months down the line you end up with a totally different mindset. I haven’t really strayed from my main intention, but I’ve certainly ended up with different results and conclusions.

I’m still passionate about feminism and will write about it occasionally, but part of my development to discover my purpose, I’ve been getting more involved in self-improvement books, youtube channels and courses. I’ve been setting goals and challenging myself to work on my flaws and bring out the best in myself and others.

People become better when around those who demand more. In the same way, people become better when they demand more of themselves.

What I have learned though, is that making a statement or goal doesn’t necessarily mean you will achieve it. It’s not about the motivation – it’s about the follow through. We often get excited about a goal to begin with, but quickly lose steam when we realise the arduousness of our commitments. And if you don’t have a plan or set of smaller goals in place, it’s much, much harder to accomplish.

I needed to ask myself what routines I will set in place in order to make sure I am following through on my goals, and how will I reflect on my progress and hold myself accountable? But firstly, I needed to clearly and broadly identify my overall goal. This was it:

“My intention is to become the best version of myself possible. To lead a life worth writing down. To be happy. To be someone who lights up any room she enters and whom people find hard to forget. To be irresistible to everyone I meet because I have something special to give to this world.” s.j.o

Yes it’s cheesy, but it’s honest!

Having concluded that discovering my purpose was less about a final goal and more about the process, I wrote this intention based on how I wanted to perceive myself. I didn’t give a time frame for this. If I had said ‘within a year’, I know that I would relax and put it on the back-burner. If I had said ‘by next week’, I know it wouldn’t have been achievable. Realistically, I would need to develop a growth strategy, and this requires short, achievable time frames and steps. (It’s all about the process…)

The same method can work for you too, regardless of how big or small your goal or goals are.

Starting with an intention is the first step. Make it as open as you like. It helps to imagine the best version of yourself possible: the person you want to become. It doesn’t matter if you want to simply be more positive, or become a famous youtuber, it could even be one around dating and improving your mindset in love. Write it down.

After this, you need to identify steps (mini-goals) that you will need to follow through and change in your short-term routine in order to meet your intention in the long-term. Some of these may be hard to do, some of them maybe even embarrassing to admit (although this can be a totally private venture) – but if you want to become the person you describe in your intention, only you can make that happen through deliberate changes to your daily life. Fate will not revolve things to work your way. You have to make the conscious decision to change.

One of my goals towards my intention is to greet people with a smile and look them in the eye. In addition if I know them: greeting them by their name. This is a simple and easy goal, but it’s one a lot of us don’t actually do. This simple action can build and strengthen relationships between strangers, colleagues and good friends! It shows that you have an interest in that person simply through acknowledgement.

It is important that you do this regularly and make specific – SMART – goals, so that they are achievable. I also encourage you to write down the purpose of each goal to specifically remind you of its benefit.

S – specific, significant

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

For example: Perhaps your intention (in a nutshell) is to reinvent your look. Part of this could be weight loss or toning. So one of your goals could be: “4-5 times a week, I will get up earlier to go for a brisk 40 minute walk.”  Purpose: “This will improve my health and general well-being over the long term and tone my legs and stomach”.

I designed two charts to track how I was meeting my goals weekly and daily, so that I could keep a visual record of progress. I have made these available to download for free. These can be used individually or together! I recommend using the daily growth strategy primarily because focusing on 2-3 goals is proven to be more achievable than aiming for 10+ and spreading yourself too thin. The checklist on the weekly growth strategy should not force you to aim for ALL of your goals EVERY day, but rather give you a range to pick and choose from.

Download them here and here– and try them out!

They also include daily gratitudes and forgiveness lists. These are important in general for our mental well being, and being able of letting go hurts, or comparing our lives with others.

For those people who may be setting goals based on appearances, I strongly suggest taking photos to track development. Not only to feel proud of your achievements when they are met, but change takes time, and it’s often frustrating and easy to give up when the results don’t appear fast enough. So keep a record! You may be surprised.

Happy goal setting!

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Let's Talk

A Fresh Perspective and The Battle of the Sexes

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Recently, I’ve been getting into self-help books like a bag of crisps. For someone who used to avoid them (if not laugh at them), you might be wondering what made me change my tune? As I am always very honest and confiding, I will admit that I was at a point (during a predicament) where I needed guidance beyond what my friends, family and own reasoning or instincts could give. Open mindedness and a willingness to try was simply the only option left.

One book I am reading stressed on the importance of “giving up frustration and anger in lieu of a new possibility” – basically making positive any negative situation. It encouraged the mindset of making your own life good, not waiting for an external source to do it for you. It also suggested that you can speak to the universe – that your choices and mindset shape what comes to you. Those who read too literally into this would see this as ridiculous, but those who are willing to understand can really take away a lot from this perspective.

The message of this particular book, although not one on feminism, reminded me of my struggles within the Women’s Rights Movement and gave me an idea on how to overcome this. One issue I really find hard to deal with is how many people see feminists as bitter, or a bunch of complainers. It’s easy to bring out the claws in defense, but what good does it do but confirm the accusations? And even if we are in the right, this is a person’s honest opinion of feminism. Perhaps we have to acknowledge this? So how do we deal with the continuing struggles of gender equality being of non-importance to many, while considering these statements against feminism, and still go forward towards our collective goals? (We give them a Pepsi of course. But if that fails…)

We change tactics, and we challenge our mindsets. We look at negative situations as opportunity to grow. 

Let’s take a look at the Women’s March on Washington for example. The love and community that came from that day inspired more than the reason for the march. Embracing the best from a negative situation inspires. Focusing on the negative – i.e. the reason women were marching to begin with – sucks. We have to think of ways to make positive every situation within the Women’s Rights Movement, even when we feel our anger is justified. And yes, it begins with acknowledging how far we have come and how many people have contributed to this ever-improving situation for global gender equality, even if we haven’t achieved a 50-50 world yet.

If this seems like a slap in the face of all those who sacrificed so much for the cause (or those who already do acknowledge how far we have come), I assure you, I originally thought this too. It took a while to get my head around this, but we have to understand that this doesn’t mean we ignore the wrongs that have happened, but we rather look at things with a NEW perspective. If we want a more positive approach and welcome more people into the fold of feminism – perhaps we have to further understand why exactly people don’t support this cause, digging beyond the surface level of people’s opinions.

After all, I think the root of our problems has little to do with superficial stereotyping of feminists, and more to do with a cultural habit that has existed for centuries, if not millennia. And this is where I get to the real guts of this blog entry.

Our whole culture – not just in the case of feminism – encourages a battle of the sexes. Since it’s birth, feminism has been mislabeled as a cause for man-hating, and every modern feminist feels like a broken record trying to communicate the true definition of the word (if not having it man-splained back at us). But let’s continue to zoom out: most men and women are in a constant power struggle to outdo one another and try to prove their superiority. In work, in education, in sports and reality TV, magazines and casual sexism in conversation, even down to the expectations parents place on their children. It’s hard to find one example where men and women, boys and girls aren’t compared or pitted against one another, or even simply separated based on biological differences. Despite the social and political advances of women in the last century, this war wages on, and I believe this is the fundamental reason for why feminism is seen in a negative light. People only see it as segregation of the sexes. This is why so many people opt to be called humanists or egalitarians, or denounce feminism when the values they speak are, in fact, feminist. This mindset runs rampant in our community, and until we recognize the nuances of it’s existence,  we unwittingly participate in the war. So this message is for feminists, self-proclaimed non-feminists alike:

If we all truly want gender equality in our lifetime, we have to recognise that the battle of the sexes – and how we stereotype men and women – are fundamental in our viewpoint of feminism. We need to redirect our understanding to be based around social justice (the principal of equality in all definitions, for all people), not solely focusing on the semantics of the name.

I became a feminist because I wanted to prove my value as a woman. The more I invested in the movement, the more I realised that this cause was bigger than my own. Our ideas on feminism are palpable and resonate with others. We need to make them positive and inclusive, if we want positivism and inclusiveness to come back to us. It goes back to that idea of putting out to the universe what we want returned. Basically, we have to acknowledge that most people want equality, and feminism is called feminism because it’s a cause directly associated with women, but that doesn’t mean it’s exclusively for women, or beneficial only to women. Changing the name of feminism simply takes away the special significance of women’s suffrage in the movement.

Call me idealistic, but I think if we actually learned to understand the reasons why people see our values differently, and learn to not take it personally when someone disagrees, we may become closer to Planet 50/50 faster than we think.

“Now you know better, so you do better” – Maya Angelou

This entry skipped and hopped around a bit, much like my thoughts tend to do when excited about an idea. But do you agree? Do you disagree? I want to know your thoughts! Share in the comment section below.

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Purpose

Losing your Purpose in the Pursuit of Love.

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Last year I started up this blog with one goal in mind: to realise my purpose through issues greater than my own.

What I have discovered since then, is that your purpose is not a finish line or a measurable target. It’s an ongoing discovery of self, and the act of gaining happiness through connection with others.

I’ve put this blog on hold because of… well, LIFE – and not making excuses here, but LIFE generally does tend to throw hurdles at you and slows down the reaching of a goal. Buying a new house, moving to a new city, starting a new job is all very overwhelming and time consuming for a young, single woman, and I can forgive myself for that. But the main reason I didn’t write was because I wasn’t being inspired. I like to reduce the pressure I place on myself with this blog by accepting that this is a part of the process of soul-searching and creativity. Producing blog posts (particularly when one is not a writer) is not something you can turn on like a faucet. And even though there has been a LOT going on in Feminism since the Women’s March on Washington (now that it’s such a hot topic), I just haven’t been giving enough time to focus on what’s going on enough to comment on it.

Now, never say I don’t tell all!

Outside of the endeavors of my blog, I recently acquired a book by Katherine Woodward Thomas called ‘Calling in The One’. I stumbled upon it online, and my initial impression was that this was one of those cheesy, money-making scams targeted at the lonely cat-lady community (of which I totally am one). However, reading the reviews changed my mind. Most people seemed to suggest that the title is misleading, that if you were genuinely open minded, this book would serve as a useful tool in discovering the best in yourself, and learning to love everyone around you – not just a potential partner. So I ordered a copy, and so far, I’ve really enjoyed reading each chapter and engaging in the daily practices.

The most recent chapter, “Clarifying your Soul’s Purpose”, brought me back here, onto The 27 Resolve. It inspired me because it clarified what my purpose is on a deeper level. It reminded me of why I started this blog. It came at a particular time in my love life where I really needed to be reminded of what this was.

The chapter begins with explaining that each one of us is born to fulfill a particular destiny. For most of us, this lies beyond our consciousness and teases us with dissatisfaction. Many of us confuse our jobs and our roles in life with our purpose… our purpose is not a thing, place, occupation, title or even talent.

“Our purpose is to be. Our purpose is how we live life, not role we live. Our purpose is found each moment as we make choices to be who we really are.” – Carol Adrienne

WOW.

I’ve never come across a statement that re-defines it so articulately and matter-of-fact.

It’s simple. For me, I am here to learn and grow and discover and connect with others. I am here to help and heal. I am here to radiate kindness, and happiness, or hope. If I am not making choices based on this, I am not aligning with my purpose.

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Let's Talk

The Women’s March on Washington

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Woke up to the most exciting news about the marches across America and the world. The Women’s March on Washington (specifically the one in DC) is so big, they couldn’t formally march to the White House. The march in LA expected 80k people, but got 750,000. This is so historic. Make sure you understand why these marches are happening before choosing to sneer at it, or stay neutral. When women first started marching 100+ year ago, it lead to (white woman’s) first rights to become CITIZENS so never underestimate the power of an organised peaceful protest.
Images from marches across America. Via: NYTimes.com

I’ve taken a break from my hiatus, otherwise I would have missed the most exciting day for women and minorities in the current state of affairs! Who would have guessed how BIG this was and how far spread it was?  What a day to be alive!

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Women’s Marches across the globe: including Antarctica!

As I began this blog in August last year, I was aware of the unrest and underlying anger of feminists, humanists and civil rights activists and so forth across the world. I had no idea what was to come, but I felt a huge urge to do and SAY something myself. I knew it was time to get on board. Having received so much flack for my views, it’s empowering to know I wasn’t alone in this, and that so many people feel what I feel. It seems the election of Trump was just the ignition needed to blow up the ticking time bomb. I am so incredibly proud to have witnessed humanity rise up – across the world – to say “NO” to the system, the flaunting of ignorance and indecent human behaviour, and people who don’t believe in equality for all.

The fact that the Women’s March on Washington (which is effectively a march for equality, climate change, anti-greed and so on, not just for women) has dominated the news scene and dwarfed the crowd turn out for the Inauguration is so exciting. It says something. Everyone from career activists to celebrities to first time activists and introverts have joined up – oh, how I’d love to have been in the States this day! The Official Women’s March on Washington in DC was SO BIG it couldn’t march to the White House for safety and coordination reasons. The LA crowd was expected to be 80,000 but got an estimated 175,000! There were marches in London, Sydney, Vienna and about 20 other countries, and even in 4 cities in little old New Zealand! All organised in less than 2 months! This sort of outcome is not to be sneezed at. If you haven’t taken thought to why this is happening, I suggest you get informed — after all, I believe this will become a notable piece in the history books, and you’ll want to be able to proudly tell your grandchildren how you played a part.

“Once or twice in every generation a line is crossed so egregiously that where you stood on the issue will forever define you.” – Kara Vallow

Hilarious and clever signs from various marches. Please contact me for crediting!

For those who understand why these marches are happening, I need not explain. For those who don’t understand why these marches are happening, let me explain.

In a nutshell, the last four thousand years have seen women persecuted, cast as secondary human beings, not been seen as capable or intelligent as men, and often having to struggle in abusive conditions and lifestyles across many different cultures and laws. We don’t know a lot about Women’s History because it’s simply never discussed or taught in our schools. Black Civil Rights has been covered a little better – simply because the condition for Black people was so much worse. But for many minority groups, their stories have not been told.

But without delving too much into the history that brought us here, it is important to know that laws for equality that came around only over the last century didn’t happen because white men in power suddenly felt guilty and decided to be nice, they happened because the minorities in every culture stood up and protested. I didn’t get my education and freedom to work as a woman without the activism of the Suffragettes pre-1920. I’m super grateful to these women who had the strength to stand up and risk persecution, job loss, jail time, ridicule and even torture so that my future as a woman wouldn’t have to be a choice between becoming a spinster in a limited career path or the property of a husband. Likewise, those who activated for Black Civil Rights in the 60s and Gay Rights in the 80s-onwards have all risked EVERYTHING in order for the particular minorities to have less social stigma today. Our future children will thank those today who stood up against a corrupt US Government for equality, climate change and reproductive rights for women, among the other rights that are being trampled on by the Trump administration and the extremists of corrupted nations and religions across the world.

Some might think this is a waste of time! But even if today was completely ignored by Trump, the whole world has taken notice. People are getting inspired and jumping on board. People are questioning what they value. Mindsets are being changed. The fight has only just begun.

The Women’s March, or the March against Trump, isn’t a march against Democracy. It isn’t even a march against the fundamentally flawed Electoral system that helped seal Trump’s victory. The Russian scandal, his lying and breaking of the constitution on day 1 hasn’t really been mentioned. This March is focused on protesting the values of the Trump Government, which is working to eradicate all that is fair in America. The rights of and opportunities for all citizens, including immigrants and the LBGQT community. The Arts. Science. The fight for the Climate. And bringing in Greed, Religious Fundamentalism, Discrimination and Sexism. Normalizing casual misogyny, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. Working backwards to make America Hate Again. If anyone is comfortable with this sort of value system, they really need to check their heart. This isn’t about standard republican policy, this is about basic human dignity and decency.

If you see only one presentation from the March, I urge you to watch Ashley Judd’s hugely powerful and emotional rally speech here. Also, the NY Times has a rundown of the events that have/are taking place. Stay informed, and get on the right side of history. To those who are following, or taking part, I am SO PROUD of you. Let’s stick together and fight for what is right. If you took part, I want to know! Share your thoughts down below.

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Words from my hero ❤

“Women’s Rights are Human Rights” – HRC

www.womensmarch.com/

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Uncategorised

Love WILL Trump Hate

I was raised to behave with dignity and grace in the face of a loss. I was taught to congratulate the winner, and while it’s ok to be disappointed, under no circumstances should I ever behave like a sore loser.

But this circumstance is different. This circumstance is not okay.

Everyone has the capacity to do good and the capacity to do bad. What matters is which they choose to act upon. This is not a political issue. This is far bigger than that. Remember this day folks. This is the day that people chose hate, bigotry, ignorance, corruption, arrogance, double standards, narcissism, misogyny and discrimination.

Hillary represents the everyday woman who has been held back, told she isn’t good enough, labeled and criticised, unfairly condemned. Despite everything, she has persevered and demonstrated intelligence and calmness and compassion. For this, I respect her more than ever. For her, I am more determined to fight for gender equality. This election has shown how rampant bigotry is.

You may think that I am overreacting, but understand that every value I stand for has been crushed. A hurdle for women and people who are different has become, ironically, a wall.

Putting political affiliations and preferences aside, America has voted (overwhelmingly, despite the popular vote for Clinton) for a man who spews a rhetoric that targets the fear and hatred in the people. He never had the slightest clue about policy for the people, he just made a show and entertained the masses. But let’s get real here.  This isn’t just a man who behaves like a bullying school child. It’s much darker:

  • This is a man who is due in court for child rape charges
  • This is a man who boasts about sexually assaulting women.
  • This is a man endorsed by the KKK.
  • This is a man who scorns veterans, POWs, and Gold Star families.
  • This is a man who mocks the disabled – among so many other groups.
  • This is a man who denies climate change.

But what is the use of speaking the truth? Many people have not listened.

I can’t believe I’m even here writing this. America has failed…The system has failed.  I feel like Harry Potter has died, and Voldemort has won the outcome of the prophecy. In the story books, the good guy always wins. Reality has proven much different.

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Like my American friend, I take this very personally. I campaign and battle for gender equality and the ending of a misogynistic culture. I’m sure many other people have also lost their faith in humanity’s capacity to believe in good.

When did humanity get so unkind? When did people have more faith in a reality TV conman who verbally spews ideas with no substance or value than a woman who has publicly given her life to help others? You don’t have to LIKE the candidate, but the values that underlie their policies should be the key drive in your vote. I’m sick of people comparing them and saying Hillary was just as bad. She wasn’t. She never was. And history is going to tell a whole other story that will make our generation look more appalling than we are proving to be. Don’t also tell me he will have “brains” working for him behind the scenes, to manage his antics. That is what people thought about Hitler! This is a man who has largely worked alone, a demagogue who has insulted a LARGE majority of people, – not just people who oppose his ideology. A man who has torn apart the GOP, never mind the Democrats. This is a man has dictator tendencies. I wish I was exaggerating. His supporters enjoy trolling the opposition, they live off bullying behaviour and ignorance. These people are a disease to prosperity, growth, and basic human decency.

The most horrifying part of this is the idea that Obama has to hand over the keys to a smug-faced man who will wipe out all those achievements he fought so hard, against a corrupt GOP senate and house, to gain. This is a government who still is run by fundamentalist religious values that are backwards and obsolete. It’s like the movie Idiocracy. This is not a world I want to raise my daughters in, let alone all my children. We have to do something.

I just feel so bad for Hillary. She’s a symbol for women right now. Despite her innate ability and potential, the media has crushed her image, man has lied and degraded her. She’s had people ripping into her based on her likability rather than her ability to do the job. Is this women’s lot in life? To face setback after setback for thousands of years to a patriarchy who values money-making machines and sexist entertainment over equality for all?

All over social media, people across the world have been pouring out their shock and sadness in what has happened. This man doesn’t define all Americans. This man is not a symbol or a figurehead for all Americans. To those Americans who voted for progression, we share in your pain. We know there is still some good left in the heart of America.

But while I mourn tonight for those minorities who will take this as a huge loss, I will wake in the morning more determined than ever to fight on. Dark times lie ahead, and it’s important to get involved, not stay passive. I will continue to fight Susan B Anthony’s battle to see the first female President of the United States. I will fight to make sure Obama’s legacy is sealed. And I’m sure many others will continue to fight the ideology that Trump stands for. American or not, we will unite, stronger together, to target this medieval mindset.

For those who need to know how to:

  1. Deal with this massive upset

  2. Educate themselves on what the hell just happened

  3. Find out how to protest and stop Trump’s ideology

Links to help can be found here.

We’ve hit a hurdle. But let’s not give up hope. Love will win. Equality will exist. We need the whole world to stand up against this.

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Let's Talk

Men’s Feelings Are Being Hurt

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Following my last post about the toxicity of social media arguments, I’d like to extend the discussion to a series of particular online debates I found myself in:

 

When Caitlyn Jenner was nominated as Woman of the Year by Glamour Magazine, I didn’t initially care. This was because Glamour Magazine doesn’t hold much esteem on a global stage, but, because of the headlines this was making (likely media sensationalism for publicuty), I started to take part in discussion. Although I don’t consider her a role-model personally, Jenner has made a global impact on the recognition of transgendered people; and even though she was born a man, I was fine with the awarding.

 

But a lot of people weren’t. Some reasons for this were that Jenner hadn’t yet outed herself as a woman for an entire year, and another was that she had come from a notorious reality TV family and this was simply a publicity stunt (a bit extreme to think she’d have a sex change for a bit of publicity, really). The most common argument was that she hadn’t actively done anything more for transgendered people other than claim she is transgendered. All of these seem like valid arguments, until I noticed a lot of the online backlash was coming from the fingertips of furious, non-transgendered men. One man I read about, James Smith, whose deceased wife had won the same award for her heroism in 9/11 actually returned the award on her behalf in protest.

 

One may view this anger-on-behalf-of-women as men finally coming on board to support equality of the sexes, but this to me looked more like thinly veiled trans-bashing and misdirected anger at a system that is progressively moving away from singularly favouring white heterosexual men. Let’s admit it: The contempt against Jenner was not for women!  James Smith behaved more like a man using feminism as an excuse for his anger rather than a man supporting feminism.

 

For so long, women have been looked down upon as the ’emotional’ gender, and this emotional nature is exactly the reason why women weren’t considered good leaders or decision makers. It was completely illogical of course, but who made the rules? Now that this concept is obsolete (or is it), it seems that everyone is using emotion (ie anger) to drive their own voice, rather than regarding the oppressed people in question. The disgust over Jenner’s award was more contempt for transgendered people than in support of women. (You don’t need to read between the lines of this quote by Smith: “Was there no woman in America, or the rest of the world, more deserving than this man?”).

 

Ultimately, Caitlyn Jenner’s awarding didn’t bother me because she identifies with being female. I am not here to question this. But in what became a social media experiment, when I made a similar statement on Facebook saying Bono of U2 didn’t deserve the recognition of Woman of the Year by Glamour Magazine, some men turned on me instead. This is basically what I wrote:

 

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