Frameworks, structures, foundations, boundaries, they all have something in common.
When you’re a baby, there are plenty of things keeping you from getting too far away - the cot, the play pen, the pram, all boundaries.
When you’re building a house, you begin with the foundations, without them the house wouldn’t be stable.
Continuing on with that same theme, the structure above the foundations, holds the house upright and together.
We’ve all heard of the story of the three little pigs. And we all know none of us want the wolf to win “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down,” no thank you very much!
So when it comes to frameworks, are they a must have for living a life you love? For living a created life? For living a life of purpose and meaning? For living a life of intention?
What do I mean?
What I mean is, perhaps our lives are meant to be lived from frameworks. Maybe not many, maybe one. But as we find our way to one, perhaps there are many?
I’m speaking from my own truth. My own life journey. I picked up all the messages that I could. I started with listening to myself wholeheartedly. Because if I wasn’t listening to me, no one else was. That’s the story I was telling myself at the time as a child. But this was my framework back then, which would allow me to trust myself, and give myself access to tools that would shape who I would become.
I asked a question. I looked for the answer. In books, tv, movies, songs. I searched libraries and eventually the internet. I listened to the voice from within when the world was quiet. I kept hearing it grow louder and louder. I wrote. The more I wrote the more wisdom came to me of its own accord.
I assert we all have our own versions of this. Your own frameworks that you have collected over the years. Perhaps knowingly or unknowingly and also perhaps consciously and unconsciously. Why both? Because I believe you will be able to uncover and unearth these when you awaken to the power that’s deep within you.
It’s not an age old mystery that we are here for a very short time. What if there is no map to find the treasure? What if you are both the map and the treasure? This whole time all you ever needed to know, was hidden right underneath your nose?
Just take a moment to observe that each one of us is the representation of life, of living, of living life, of being. If we are living and breathing and having this human being experience then what if there is nothing else to it other than being present to the miracle of life? If you are capable of this, ongoingly, you will have found the access to your map and to your treasure. The power with you.
We all get there by our own means. This means everything that we assume life has thrown us, was a meant to be. Giving us an access to see what we are all truly capable of. We are capable of much more than we know or realise.
I used to always say everything happens for a reason. I heard it once and I believed it. This was one of my frameworks. It helped me to see nothing was an accident. That there was a message for me hidden amongst all of what I experienced. Even though I would carry this framework, every now and then, I would forget, and fall to the ground in a heap like anyone else would, but as I reflect back on my life, I can see that everything happened for a reason.
It’s shaped who I have become today. I am who I am today uniquely because of each one of those good, bad and ugly. Another framework I used - that I would persevere through the good the bad and the ugly. That I recognised there would be a good a bad and an ugly. Soon I learnt, I created the good the bad and the ugly and that it was up to me to create what I wanted.
Living and learning go hand in hand. But how do we stay true to this purpose, that whilst you are here to live and to learn, that your purpose has everything to do with the others around you. How do we all create a penny drop moment together collectively at once?
Thinking about my little family, the day doesn’t start until we all wake up together. Otherwise the night is still the night and we are still asleep.
I believe this is the same for our time here on planet earth. We all wake up together. If we’re not awake, we’re asleep. But what is it that we are waking up to? I believe it’s waking up to our pure selves. Waking up to reality. That we are not who we think we are.
Who am I and what’s the value I bring?
What’s my niche?
Hold on, what’s a niche?
I’m someone who is a seeker. Someone who has always searched for the answers. Whether that was messages in books, tv, movies or songs.
Within some of the biggest challenges I have faced through my life, looking back I can see how they have helped me to become who I am today.
At 12, I had this mad angry rampage, grappling with not having the experience of knowing my paternal grandparents. It’s unfair, I remember saying. They had each passed years before and I really struggled with missing out on time with them.
Back then, I listened to many singers, song writers and musicians who shared how they used their talent and creativity to work cathartically through their emotions. I wasn’t a song writer but I did love to write.
I also read many books, one being Amy Tan’s the Joy Luck Club. I wondered “would it work for me?” So, I began to write about my grandparents but back then I was only young and didn’t know how to keep moving myself forward.
At 27, an overwhelming wave of emotion hit me after attending the first day of my self expression and leadership program (a self/personal development curriculum). I realised my purpose in life was to simply live my life through a new lens - living from deepest depths of gratitude; to live a life of honour and privilege for the sacrifices and struggles my grandparents faced. But also, who am I NOT to be great because of and for them.
At 39, I faced the reality of my own mortality. Weeks of enduring pain and suffering resulted in the discovery of a rare infection needing immediate operation. I faced myself in an unexplainable way, realising I’m the source of my own destiny.
If ever I needed to be reminded not to take my life for granted, these defining moments in my life did exactly that.
Writing after that became my way of unveiling who I really am for myself and the world.
With my reading and listening there was also a deeper level of magnification, seeing and hearing things I’ve not seen or heard before even if it was a book, a song, a movie I had read, heard or seen before.
Through my writing and a continued pursuit of my own personal transformation journey, Ive learnt how being connected with your inner philosophy, unleashes what you’re truly capable of.
When all that isn’t you, melts away. When you find the real you. When you discover what it is to be you, all of you. When you can be yourself wholeheartedly.
You are capable of more than you know.
Now when you ask me, what’s my niche, it’s taken me at least 15 months of solid soul searching to realise my own journey is all I’m qualified to speak about.
A niche is just the thing that differentiates you from the next, you are the only person qualified to share exactly the value you have brought in to navigate your own life.
How did you guide yourself to this place? How did you overcome each obstacle, challenge, issue, barrier? What are the secrets to your success? What are the micro moments where you truly showed up for yourself and shined? What are your milestones of learning?
“I help people to uncover the value they bring in the present moment and guide them to unleash who they are for themselves and the world through an online business.”
If you want to get connected, you can find my Facebook page firstandlastdraft.
There is a reason why we meet a crossroads of challenges in our lives.
You either keep the stories you’ve got, or you find a way to deconstruct your stories.
Those stories you’ve been holding on to for so long are so debilitating and you think they will never go away. But you just need to see a new view, change your perspective just a little. All that happened was you’ve heard the story so often, you have begun to believe those stories are real.
But it’s so far from the truth. Those stories you’ve held on to for so long, are just one version, one cut of a multitude of views.
It’s time to be a director, and edit the movie, so that you become the author of your life. So that you realise you are at the heart of writing your story, re-writing the script, re-shaping the scene.
What stories have you been holding on to and how do you catch them?
You observe. Be a private investigator of your own stories. Watch yourself like a hawk. Listen to what keeps on arising. Write the common words and themes. Don’t make yourself wrong. Just investigate. Investigation is all about collecting the evidence and the facts.
Begin today to really listen to yourself. You’ll have some really beautiful insights. And you’ll begin the unstitching to uncover the real you.
This is why we have parents.
And if you can’t yet grab hold of your parents.
This is why we have grandparents.
You may not want to listen. You may want to discover this world alone and on your own. But if you do, you’ll be doing it the hard way, because your parents and your grandparents have wisdom to share with you.
Imagine they have been where you have been.
There is no stone unturned.
They have seen it all, felt it all, experienced it all.
They have walked, where you have walked.
Let me paint this picture for you.
Every barrier you overcome, your parents are right there. But not for the reasons you think.
See you think something else. You think they are against you? Why do you think this?
Because for so long you have thought you need to prove something to them, or make something of yourself to make them proud of you, in order to love you the way you want to be loved. If only I did x then they’d be off my back and leave me alone and finally realise..... I’m capable.... I’m enough....
Well I’m going to propose that for so long you have got it wrong.
Your parents gave birth to you and you were already perfect, in each and every way. There could be nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with you!
How then would this change over time? You are still absolutely perfect exactly the way you are and the way you aren’t.
What happens is that you forget that you chose your parents and grandparents. You specifically chose them to guide you in this thing called life.
Just imagine with me you had a buffet of choices and you chose. This gives you a whole new perspective because you realise you are not at the effect of life.
You ARE life.
You are a piece of your parents.
You are a piece of your grandparents.
They have the honour and privilege of raising you, of teaching you, of guiding you. Maybe they didn’t do these things the way you wanted them to? But they did and they do, if you could search in your heart, the ways they did and the ways they do.
See the barriers you place before yourself, are your barriers. When you strive to overcome a barrier, your parents or grandparents only want the best for YOU.
So they’ll share everything they know about helping you to overcome that barrier, whether you want to hear it or not.
But when you listen from now on. Listen from a place of acknowledgement. Of wonder at their life.
See your parents and your grandparents as a movie to watch. Don’t see them as the villains but rather as the heroines of their individual movies.
When you take on this perspective, you’ll start to see that they had their own barriers to overcome. You’ll start to see them as YOU.
I am you.
You are me.
You’ll start to see that although their barriers weren’t/aren’t quite the same as yours, they have a story to tell you that is so important for your life journey.
If you’re like me who missed out on hearing their grandparents life journey in person, you have to find a way to fill the gaps. That became the purpose and meaning in my life. To discover the story of my family of shopkeepers.
Remember, what you resist, persists. That means if you’re resisting your parents/grandparents, they will persist.
There is a mirror for you to look through and see. If only you used it the way it was intended - they are your GPS through this thing called life.
Start listening from deep within your heart. Dont interpret or analyse what they say, just take it as it comes. Their only intention in the world after giving birth to you is to be proud of you exactly as you are and exactly as you aren’t.
You are a piece of me.
I am you.
You are me.
If you allow this to sink in, you’ll soon realise that whatever pain you’re going through, they are right there with you. They want to shield you, but they also know that this life will throw you lessons that are meant for you.
I always say I’m privileged to live my life in honour of my grandparents. While they may be gone. I’m still here. I’ll do my best to uphold the life they created for us all. They made so many sacrifices and they went through so much struggle, and now I get to live the life they fought so hard for us all to have.
You chose them. You chose this life.
I’ve been obsessively watching streamed tv shows. The other night, while asleep and dreaming, this one word just popped in to my head - SIDEBAR.
This is the way the creative mind likes to work. It gives me a keyword and says yes this is significant. Now, go figure out why.
In a court of law, a sidebar is an opportunity for a sidebar conversation between the judge and law teams but not to be heard by the jury (decision makers). The jury is out of earshot of what is being said so as not to impact the jury’s thoughts or opinions one way or another.
In life, I see sidebars as opportunities for us to learn from a mentor, a sponsor, a coach, a family member, a friend, a colleague. Sidebars are those moments where it is an intimate conversation about you and your life, that you’re not yet willing to shout to the rooftops yet.
So life is full of sidebars. Notes. Moments. Discoveries. How can we be a world that creates more of these kinds of opportunities? Opportunities for people to have courage and be brave about what they want to do with their lives.
We don’t learn this stuff anywhere. School is not a place where you can philosophise over what you imagine yourself to become or how you want the world to be.
Where are the sidebars at school? I was lucky. I went to high school with lots of opportunities to think differently. But it’s curious isn’t it that if you think differently, in this world, it’s called inclusion and diversity.
At my high school having your own say was ok. You were not ridiculed for having your own thoughts and opinions. I am realising now, that’s how I have become who I have become.
I have a different worldview. I’m constantly challenging the perspectives I have. And I’m never satisfied with I’m right.
Sidebars are also opportunities for you try on something your passionate about. We call them side hustles. They’re only side hustles because we are not yet courageous enough to say THIS IS my gig.
See a state of being or ways of being is not out of reach for us. If I said to you be an author, of course, that feels like a stretch, it’s out of reach. But if I said be connected, be authentic, it’s within reach.
We didn’t grow up learning about this. We can give ourselves the lessons now. Turn your sidebars in to the things that move you and shake you and fill your life with opportunities and possibilities.
In a court of law, sidebars can be powerful and dangerous, a ticking time bomb, no one knows you’re working on this and one day kaboom out you come with your explosive ideas.
Take on the context that life is a game. Since I love my analogies so much, there’s only so much you can do from the sidelines, you have to move on to the court to implement your play. Watch people from the sidelines, they’re itching to get on to the court. But there is also something key about starting at the sidelines, because you can see what's missing from the sidelines, so sometimes starting at the sidelines helps you see the bigger picture.
When will it be your turn to get out on the court?
What is a blind spot?
What do you think?
You can’t see it. So you can’t grab hold of it. It’s not there. It’s the reason why, you’re supposed to check over your shoulder when driving. Multiple times. To check for your “blind spot”.
This morning. I got to see one of mine. Very distinctly. I went out to dinner with my family last night. As we entered the restaurant. There was a check-in process. We are all very familiar with this new way of life over the past year due to COVID-19. We must check-in.
I had a reaction when an attendant said she needed to see the check-in. But we had just arrived at the entrance not two seconds prior.
I’m going to put the next scene in slow motion. Because the only way to see a blind spot, is to slow it all right down so you can observe the moment where “I lost my shit”. So I didn’t lose my shit. But internally, I definitely did.
It’s the moment of feeling powerlessness to the situation. You’re not aware of what’s going on with your thoughts, and feelings. Because you’ve travelled in to a moment from your past without ever realising it.
There is an ugliness to the way of being. It’s not bad or wrong. It’s just not pretty. It’s the moment where you behave a particular way, that doesn’t actually work for you and doesn’t serve you. It’s your blind spot.
In previous times where I may have distinguished it, it seemed a little superficial. But this time I have seen it clear as day. My mind works in peculiar ways. I will go to sleep and ask for insight. The insight arrives the very next day upon waking.
I attribute that to a lot of personal development, learning, self awareness and applying the frameworks I’ve learnt. I also attribute this occasion to my parents being present in the moment. I got to experience what goes on between my parents and with my parents and I.
When you invite yourself to observe and witness, your mind becomes a detective. Looking for the unseen.
So what happened was the attendant said; I need to see the check-in.
I made it mean, “hurry up”, which she didn’t say.
Maybe her way of being was flustered. Maybe she was just doing her job. It’s her job to ensure the customers comply. All of that doesn’t matter because it’s about the moment where YOU” lose your shit” and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does around you - they don’t press your buttons, you press your own buttons.
In that moment, the past was triggered.
I felt pressured by my own interpretation of what happened. I responded in words to her but underneath was the raging bull ready to charge.
Here’s what the bull says, “If she would just give me a second, I’ve just walked in, I’m in the middle of doing it, Cant she see I’m doing it, It doesn’t take two seconds to do, I have to enter seven names, I know what to do, She doesn’t know me, I’m not like other customers, I’m a compliant customer, If only she knew that about me, just consider it’s a lot of chatter in a matter of moments.
Part of that conversation comes up and out loud, and it comes out of my mouth as frustration. Now you might not think there is anything wrong with it. But it’s a powerlessness that is driving how I show up in the world. Not consistent with what or how I said I would show up in the world.
So it’s about me and my own relationship to honouring my word. My own integrity. Which is why I want to observe and witness everything in slow motion.
In seeing this movie clip in slow motion, I’ve also been able to see other movie clips. Your hope is to be able to see the very first movie clip - the one where you make the command. Mine was, “you don’t know me, don’t tell me what to do.”
They are like layers of an onion. The layers show up when you’re open and willing too.
In a split second there are so many statements or commands you are making. When you become aware of them, they can dissipate or disappear. They no longer have to be your triggers.
How can they become just another part of your story to tell?
Often we do things in our lives, without being asked.
There’s a quote right, “You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening and live like it’s heaven on earth.”
Well, I would assert, it’s equally the same for everything you do and the value you bring to what you do. That is, how you act isn’t always observed by you as your greatness. But it is.
You act as though no one is watching. You do what you know to do. You do what you know to do and what would be expected of you to do. You do all of this, on time. It’s second nature to you, like breathing.
It’s also called integrity. Integrity is a big word. For me, it’s everything and nothing. With integrity, you have everything. Without integrity, you have nothing. Why? Because integrity is your word. The only way your word has power, is if you honour your word. And hence integrity is honouring your word.
So when it comes to valuing what you do and what you bring to your work life, to your family life, to your communities and to the world. You have to acknowledge the way you operate in this world.
Over time, as you become more aware, observing and witnessing your greatness, you will become aware of your achievements and accomplishments. This means you see it for yourself, without being acknowledged by others. The achievement and accomplishment comes from within you, then you will begin to notice all the great things you contribute to.
You may even have a tinge of resentment lingering in the background because for so long, you yourself have not recognised the value you bring to each and every thing you do. You’ve shrugged it off as “oh it’s nothing,” but it’s something!
When is a good time to begin SEEING yourself?
Of course, NOW!
Start seeing yourself. In all you do. Start recognising where you show up. Where you shine. No one told you to show up. No one told you to shine. But you did and you do. See it. Recognise it. Feel it. Experience it.
It feels like an aha! moment - that’s when you identify a triumph or a win over the past.
You are just doing it. This thing that you do. It’s your gold. Its your talent. It your unique way of being in the world.
Start small and let your recognition fo your greatness grow. And grow. And grow.
You were not born in to this world to look for your purpose. Your purpose was to be born and be you. All of you. So do that. Be every part of you, every where in your life. Give yourself permission to shine in all your places.
When you see your greatness - bottle it. Label it. Identify it. So that you can recognise it, again and again and again.
You are the most amazing gift to this world. If only you would begin to see this for yourself.
If you can’t say it out loud, write it down.
But it has to be the truth. YOUR truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth.
There’s a message in that.
How can you wander the world not telling the truth?
I’ll tell you how, because you’ve become so accustomed to being all about other people, their thoughts and feelings and not about you and your thoughts and feelings.
You’ve learnt to become numb about yourself. You don’t even know what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling because you’ve become so enmeshed with everyone else’s thoughts and feelings.
If this isn’t all the way you, it might be that you have no problem saying the truth, but it gets you in trouble. You have no filter? You’re a shot gun?
Naming the elephant in the room doesn’t need to be about conflict. But it does need to be about honouring your values, being true to yourself and saying it anyway, no matter what you perceive the reaction will be.
Speaking up and standing up for yourself can be challenging if you’ve never done it before. But the more you do it, the more practiced you become, the easier it will get.
Like anything at first it will be uncomfortable. But eventually you will just be swimming in this water and you will look back and say I did it. I stayed true to myself and my values. If you don’t yet know what these are, it’s time to get insightful!
For those of you who have this other challenge where it’s like you constantly put your foot in your mouth and once the jack is out of the box, that’s it? All you need to do is stop and pause and ask this one little question: how would I feel if someone said this to me?
Most of the time, what is missing for you is empathy. Thinking about other people’s feelings and thoughts requires empathy. Without this, you won’t stop and pause and think and ask this little question.
For you, naming the elephant isn’t hard but it’s the way in which you go about it that requires tailoring. I get that you are staying true to who you are and your values. I get that you’re just being yourself and you don’t want to change yourself or anyone else around you.
It’s about meeting people in the middle. You have a good understanding of yourself. That’s great. Now you need to have a good understanding of others. Because we live in a world full of people, of relationships and of community.
In order to understand others we have to accept that other people are different to us. We are not the model of a human being. There isn’t just one model. There are many models. Hence why inclusion and diversity is so important right now, because we are so busy telling everyone that’s not like us to change?
Well that’s the way of the old anyway.
The new way is to recognise that we are all different and that’s ok.
How do we communicate and connect without making either party wrong? How do we name the elephant in the room without offending anyone?
How do we stay true to ourselves and our values?
You have to name the thing that is in your way of naming the elephant in the room. That’s it.
So what’s in your way? Name it. Call it out. Say it upfront. All of it. All that is there for you.
This is how I feel, I’ve thought about it and I get that what I’m about to say might be met with x y z but I’m going to say it anyway because this is how I feel.
I’ve considered how this might land for you... but it’s important for me to express how I’m feeling so here goes
I don’t normally speak up or stand up for myself but I’ve recognised it doesn’t work for me to be this way so x y z
The other great framework I use is FBI, feeling behaviour and impact.
This is how I feel:
Because of your behaviour:
This is the impact of your behaviour:
When you behave like x, this is the impact, and this is how I feel.
It doesn’t matter which order, but each element is required.
It’s all about communication. Relationships and communication go hand in hand. If you haven’t been expressing how you truly feel, it’s time to do it.
Do you want to know why? Because our days on this planet are numbered. We’re here for such a short time. Why waste your moments? Start being true to yourself and your values.
Watch what arises. There’s only possibilities and opportunities!
Apparently, life is stuck in a loop.
It’s a real life version of the movie, ground hog day.
But how will we recognise there is a hidden lesson in everything that happens in life?
By pressing the repeat button.
So if you’re in a place where lockdown is on repeat.
Use this time to experiment life in a totally new way.
Don’t do things the way you’ve always done.
Don’t do things the way you did last lockdown either.
Your state of being is really all you have control over.
It’s time to get connected with your state of being and get present to how you have absolute control over it.
There is nothing to fix and change about the situation or circumstance. There is nothing you need to do.
Your focus is on how to BE. Who are you being? Each moment that passes, get present. Who am I?
I’m calm and steady?
I’m stressed out and filled with anxiety?
Which is it?
Now just close your eyes and listen to just these words again: There is nothing wrong here. There is nothing wrong here. There is nothing wrong here.
Now imagine living your life from this context. Try it on for now. Then imagine every single day operating from this context.
It’s such a small distinction that makes a massive contribution to your life. You will find yourself dancing with the chaos.
And when things don’t go right or don’t go the way you expected, it won’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
You don’t need convincing or cajoling.
You will BE that there is nothing wrong here.
You’ll think differently.
Your cognitive functioning will be free to roam, be creative, be innovative, be inspired to come up with new ideas and solutions you’ve never considered before.
All because you said there is nothing wrong here.
The world needs more of this. More people demonstrating a state of being the multiplies a sense of calm and steady.
Because there is enough chaos in the world.
There is a point in your life where you meet the mountain so you speak.
Or you reach the fork in the road.
I like analogies if you haven’t already noticed. They help to frame or reframe the events in your life.
For some reason, right here, right now, in this moment I felt I have reached the turning point.
It’s not the end and it’s not the beginning but it is a turning point. You know you’re headed the right direction and you know which way to go.
See in life there are many many times where I have doubted myself. When doubt is present it’s extremely debilitating because not only are you not on the right track, you don’t even know where on the track you are.
This however, is a celebration. Of where you were and where you are about to head.
When you find something you love, you are called forth to do, it’s called finding yourself and your passion.
Helping and serving others is not only serving the people around you. You get a result too.
Little did I realise how much impact one person like me could make.
The thing is, you have to see it to believe it. Which means you have to act on your hopes, wishes, dreams.
You have to let it blossom and see it for yourself. Because you really won’t believe until you are in the moment feeling and experiencing it.
If you’re not quite there yet, that’s ok. Keep moving forward towards your goals. Keep manifesting. Keep visualising. Keep saying yes to the opportunities that lay before you.
Keep honouring yourself and your values. Keep getting closer to the things you want for yourself and your life.
Never ever give up. Keep trying. And trying. And trying.
And recognise when the doors open for you. Actually stop to smell the roses as they say. You have to acknowledge something is happening here that I just didn’t expect but it’s happening.
See if you don’t look yourself in the eye and say wow you did it, no one else is going to. No one else knows or realises just how much it took for you to finally be here.
It was a long bloody road. And the person you see in the mirror now is the real and true you. Nothing added. Nothing faked. Nothing hidden. No act.
Completely and utterly the real and true you. It feels naked, open and vulnerable but you know you have left no page unturned. You will know yourself to be you and you will be proud of exactly who and where you are - perfect or imperfect is perfect.
Here’s the other amazing thing. You have nothing to prove to anyone not even yourself. You are just being you and you realise you have so much to offer the world.
Just being you, you have value to provide. There is no needing to make it. No faking it til you make it anymore because you are authentic, calling a spade a spade. You are talking about the elephant in the room because it doesn’t serve anyone not to.
And now it’s time to recognise what is it.? What is the special quality you want to give away? You can try to give it away but you realise the right person at the right time has to be ready to receive.
I’m looking for leaders in this world. Leaders who are ready to change the world. Leaders who are ready to be coachable. Leaders who are continuously learning and transforming themselves. Leaders who turn themselves inside out every day to become the best version of themselves.
I want a team. Of people just like me who are ready to say yes to the enormity of a world that’s broken.
And it doesn’t mean the task is easy and it doesn’t mean I know where to start but this is what I want.
I’m only one person but I know you’ve been searching for more meaning in your life. It’s not about waiting anymore, it’s about creating, and it’s about saying yes.
There’s a place here where you will find yourself and in finding yourself, anything is possible.
Hi my name is Angela. I have loved writing since I was able to hold a pencil in my hand. I soon learnt I had a gift of connecting with my ancestors through writing before my 30th birthday.