What is success?

Have you ever stopped to think about what success means to you? It’s an interesting subject to reflect on and one that I think is worthy of discussion. This isn’t meant to be a quick and easy read, so if you like, you might wanna grab a cuppa, pen and paper and make the most of the next 10 minutes or so. Let’s start with:

What do you consider equates to success?
How do you measure success?
What does success look like?
What does it feel like?
How do I acknowledge and celebrate success?

In our private lives we are judged by what we wear, what we drive, what we eat, how we look; how we talk and the list goes on. In our working lives, many people consider the amount of money earned as the measure of success.

In business, we are vicariously reminded that success is: earning six figures +; having a huge online presence; having an incredibly active social network; having a huge network; having an enormous email list; oh and it’s having a dynamic and deeply loving relationship with all your family, friends and loved ones. Right?


Well, most of those measures are wrong for me because they largely don’t match my values. Although the last one does: having a dynamic and deeply loving relationship with all your family, friends and loved ones. Mind you defining dynamic could take me down a rabbit hole……..But outside of that, the rest of those measures make my heart flip and gut churn. Why, you might ask, do I have that physiological response to those measures? Because they leave me feeling the opposite to successful. And I’m so effing tired of trying to squeeze myself into a mould that just doesn’t work for me. I don’t even have an email list! Can you believe that? After all these years in business, I do not have an email list. There! I have made a public announcement denouncing the nonexistence of said email list one must have to be deemed successful!

How about you? Does this resonate with you? Are you caught up in that shit storm that leaves you feeling like you’re chasing your tail trying to do things that don’t give you a return on the investment of your precious time, effort, energy and cash? Let’s face it. Shit storms like this interfere with productivity, creativity, joy and fun, and $$$. Yep that’s right. Getting caught up in the shit storm of measuring our success on someone else’s stick is stupid and it has to stop. Because all that energy that we waste on managing our way through the shit storm could better be rediverted into creating something that aligns with our core values, our goals, and our visions.

So, if you’re up for it, how about you stop it already and shout it out loud:

E N O U G H!

Look I’m guessing, like me, you’ve had your fair share of feeling overwhelmed, underwhelmed, delighted, devastated, euphoric and downright depressed.

Here’s the thing:

And that’s the definition of insanity!!

It’s time to plug that shit up! We know that if we want something to change, then we have to change what we do!

And it’s time to change the way we think about success. We are allowed to quit beating ourselves up and start being kind to ourselves again. How about this. How about we agree to figure out what success means to us and go back and ask these questions and take some different actions:

What do you consider equates to success?
How do you measure success?
What does success look like?
What does it feel like?
How do I acknowledge and celebrate success?

How did you go? Did you come up with some different responses second time around? Seriously, we need to get clear about this stuff. Success matters

Now, repeat after me:

Let’s make a pact to do all we can to love ourselves, be kind to ourselves, nurture ourselves and find fun and funky ways to celebrate success. We deserve it!

Love Bron xx


Decline the invitation

Picture this: Two friends get together, and in response to Judith’s excited announcement of enrolling in full-time study, Aliana says: “Oh I would have loved to have studied when I was younger. But I couldn’t. Not with all the responsibilities I had and with so very little support. You’re so lucky. You can do whatever you want, even at your age. Good for you.”

Aliana’s response smacks of regret and it’s shitty sidekick, resentment. Did you hear any genuine “Congratulations”? No. Did you hear any inquiry as to what type of study? or  When do you start? No. Not even a “What interests you about studying?”. When you pull apart Aliana’s responses, they are all about her own regrets of what she didn’t do. And the sad thing is that life doesn’t have to be like that for her – or for any of us.

Regret is an arse – good for letting go of shit!

But we don’t know what we don’t know right? How many of us are walking around consciously thinking about our regret, resentment and fear? Probably not many. How many of us are walking around pissed off, shitty and frustrated? Probably too many. That shit can trip us up can’t it? I think a lot of us mask our darker side of regret, resentment, and fear with social niceties which in the short term protect us from exploring our feelings and options. But I don’t believe that helps us in the long run. Do you? I know so many people who seem to be stuck in their regrets resentment and fear and don’t even realise it.

What about you? Have you ever been in a situation like ‘Aliana’ when someone responded to your good news with their own sad story? I have, and it’s pretty awful. Without even realising it, they’ve just killed a moment of celebration. Or maybe you are responding to people in your life like ‘Aliana’? Either way, I’m curious to know what have been your responses? Do you just walk away and avoid that person in future? Because whether you’re responding from regret, resentment and fear or reacting to it, no one walks away feeling good, especially if it’s not called out.

How to decline the invitation to join anyone else’s shit show

I’ve certainly walked away from situations where someone wanted to give me their regrets,resentments and fears, wishing I hadn’t said a damn thing. Those kinds of conversations can leave us feeling triggered by the other person’s reaction and sometimes even feeling guilty about our own new choices right? I get it. Like I said, I’ve been there too – before I learned about how to manage own my feelings, thoughts and behaviours. And to decline the invitation to join anyone else’s in their emotional pus party. Sound harsh?

Well, here’s the thing, no one else can actually make us feel anything, unless we let them.

And the sooner we anchor into that universal truth, the sooner we are going to start living lives liberated from regret and fear (they’re close cousins in my books).

So if you’re reading this thinking yeah, but how?

It is as easy and as challenging,

as giving ourselves permission,

to make different choices,

and to act from there.

Imagine for a minute what life would be like if you started doing exactly that. No matter whether your stuck in your own regret, resentment or fear, or tired of someone else’s. Think about it. Could you give yourself permission to make different choices and act from there? What would be different for you if you did? Imagine for a minute what life would be like if you came from the context of love, not fear. What would be different then?

I’m telling you, if you’re up for it, your whole fricking world would change if you did this with heart and soul. Sure, it’s not for the faint hearted, but if you really want to knock back the invite to someone else’s shit show, that’s a sure fire way of doing it.

I’m a solution focused thinker and doer, so nowadays, if someone had the kind of response like ‘Aliana’, to something I announced, I’d like to think I would respond along the lines of: “Hey it sounds like studying might be something you’re still interested in. Have you researched what’s out there and accessible to you? You might be surprised to find that there is a whole world of study options available now. If you like, I could help you work out some starting options?”

Here’s the trick though, if they then came up with a whole host of reasons why they couldn’t or wouldn’t want to do anything different, my response would then be something like: “Oh ok. Feel free to let me know if you change your mind.” End of conversation. Decline the invitation to pick up what they just put down.

Either way, informed responses allow us to walk away not carrying any guilt or feeling triggered by anyone else’s regrets. And best of all? We keep feeling empowered about our choices.`

Your intuition is more than just a hunch, it is your superpower!

Every time new and interesting opportunities knock on ‘Anne’s’ door she sensibly ignores them. Or so she tells herself. A woman her age shouldn’t be acting on gut instinct. She needs to demonstrate solid evidence for why she makes decisions the way she does, not some airy fairy arty farty woowoo superpower nonsense, doesn’t she? Her hard nosed decision making processes have largely worked for her this long she thinks. Until doubt creeps in and she again questions herself. Did I make the right decision? As doubt creeps in, anxiety wraps its arms around her…

For goodness sake she should be able to make decisions quickly and not stuff people around. What on earth is wrong with her? Lately she finds herself second guessing herself to the point of not getting things done. Her resentment toward others who seem to move through life without having to think of anyone else is pervasive. Exacerbated by her sense of ignoring a niggling feeling that she can’t put her finger on, her thoughts spiral. Who does she think she is? Telling her staff to stop procrastinating and get on with it when she can’t do it herself. She tells herself that truth be known, she would have preferred to live a different life. And she would have if she hadn’t of had so many other pressing priorities and responsibilities. But of course that’s been her lot in life she sighs. Ignoring her own instincts and needs and looking after everyone else first. Making sure everyone else is happy and that their needs are put first and foremost above and beyond her own. That’s been her life story. She does all she can to quell that little voice inside, still silently screaming “what about me?” “if only…”

‘Anne’ finds herself questioning her life choices more often than not. Overcome with sadness and feeling like a victim of life’s demands ‘Anne’ ponders why me??

By ignoring her gut feelings and putting herself last, saying yes when she wanted to say no, ‘Anne’ has unconsciously devalued herself. Sadly she probably thought she was doing the right thing – for everyone else that is. But at what cost? Can you imagine how different ‘Anne’s’ life would have been had she of known how to listen to her gut instincts, tune in to her intuitive intelligence and trust herself? Maybe you’ve felt like ‘Anne’?

Rather than feeling like a blindfolded passenger in her own life, had ‘Anne’ known better, she could have enjoyed the liberation of sitting in the drivers seat. By listening to her intuition and acting accordingly, she could have experienced true empowerment and taken responsibility for her life choices versus allowing fear to dictate and determine her life. Poor ‘Anne’ –  I wish she had of coming to see me sooner.

Does this resonate with you? Do you still ignore your own intuition? When we live life on ‘autopilot’ we block out our intuition.The scary thing is, it’s easy to do. Geez I used to! And it got me into all sorts of trouble. I remember getting into a car as a naive 14 year old with my gut instinct screaming at me not to do it. But I ignored it. And why? Well because I was the youngest passenger, and everyone else insisted it was a great idea that would save me having to pay a bus fare for the 4 hour trip home.But guess what happened? We were in a freak accident, whereby the vehicle left the road, rolled down an embankment and I was thrown out of the window. Out of 5 people in the vehicle, I was the only person injured. I suffered spine injuries, a broken leg and ankle, smashed elbow and gravel rash. I missed almost a whole term of school and to this day don’t know how I survived.

The worst part of it was that I allowed fear to overrule my decision. Fear of sounding like an idiot about having a gut feeling. Fear of sounding foolish around my older friends.Forty years later, that accident remains the most powerful example of me ignoring my intuitive intelligence. I do all I can to tune into it now!!!

Look, let’s face it: if fear is a familiar filter, then you will be far more inclined to act from fear than not. Awful thing is, it can be a fear of anything – things not working out, fear of people laughing at or not liking us, fear of judgment and exclusion, the list goes on. All of this fearful thinking is powerful motivation to block out your intuitive intelligence. But here’s the thing, unless it’s a fear for personal safety, do you know what most fear is? It’s this:

Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real

I speak from personal and professional experience when I say the joy of what life can be like when we open up to our intuitive intelligence, far outweighs the fear of false evidence appearing real! And the best part is it’s never to late to learn how to tune in to your intuition.

So if you have turned down the volume on your intuition and fear is riding shotgun, I want to you to take the following 3 steps and reclaim your superpower:

Step 1: Give yourself permission to listen to your intuition. How does it

communicate with you? Is it a gut feeling that’s a bit difficult to describe? Or is it a

tingling in your hands? Listen out for it, as it’s different for everyone. If you don’t

know how your super power is trying to get your attention you might miss it!

Step 2: Pay attention to your intuition and allow it to guide you to take action. And

choosing to not take action, is still of course action. It could be little things like

driving to work and getting a nudge to go in a different direction. What’s the worst

thing that could happen? Who knows you may divert an accident by going a

different way? What I do know is that the more you listen to your intuition, your self

doubt will fade as your trust increases, anxiety will decrease as you believe more i

yourself and you will put a stop to procrastination. By the way,  for more tips see my

TEDxDarwin talk The vaccination for procrastination.

Step 3: Visualise and Imagine what it would be like to flip things around. Imagine

taking the blindfold off and sitting in the driver’s seat of your life. What would that

feel like? Take some time to think about this. Imagine what life could be like if you

were able to feel liberated from how you’re feeling now. What would you do more

of? And what would you do less of? Create a movie in your mind’s eye of what it will

be like to tune into your intuitive intelligence, your superpower! Imagine taking snap

shots of this movie and storing them for future reference.

PS: If you feel like you slip back into F.E.A.R, simply cycle back to Step 1 and Rinse

and Repeat

As I said earlier, the joy of what comes when we open up to our intuitive intelligence far outweighs the fear of what if! And the best part is it’s never to late to learn how to tune in to your intuition. And remember

What do you think about this post? Did it strike a chord within you? What would change if you trusted your intuition more? Comment below and let me know what you think – one way or another

When are you going to stop beating yourself up?

I am so dumb! I’m never going to be promoted.

I am so ugly! No one will ever want to love me.

I am so silly! How could my boss take my ideas seriously?

I are so fat! I’m never going to look good in a bikini on the beach.

Why is everyone else so happy and I’m not?

Is this all life is about? Feeling fat and miserable?

Why me?

Ever had these kind of silent war games going on in your head? Around and around and around they go like a stuck record. Day in day out, the constant whining of your negative self talk can become so ingrained it becomes your normal. I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about otherwise why would you be reading this blog? I’m also guessing that you’re are very interested in knowing if it’s even possible to stop beating yourself up right?

Well it is, and I am going to tell you exactly how to do that. Before we get started, feel free to make yourself comfortable and put your phone on silent.Get ready to take notes while we change the record playing in your head.

When I first started out back in 2009 I used to teach my clients to consider their negative self talk as a radio station and to take notice of whether it was a station worth listening to. This way  they could learn to listen to their negative self talk and make choices what to do about it. Choices such as is it worth listening to? And if not to take action. Action like fine tune it, turn the volume down, or turn the damn thing off. Well dear reader, over the years I’ve tweaked my approach to this.For very good reasons. I still believe negative self talk is worth listening to from a learning perspective and in fact believe the more we can pay attention to it the more we can learn from it. But turning it off without learning the message is a missed opportunity. So I ask you, when was the last time you listened to your negative self talk? Remember the key word here is listened.

When was the last time you questioned this negative self talk?

My old swami used to say “observe and don’t participate in the monkey mind”. Almost 23 years later I realise that there are layers to this lesson. You see listening to your negative self talk requires you to stop joining the conversation with it. And instead have an enquiring mind. Now back to the lessons in the layers. Imagine these layers are stepping stones to help you understand what’s causing you to beat yourself up. Think of this like an emotional fitness workout. Follow these 5 stepping stones to strengthen your muscle memory and stop beating yourself up:

Step Stone One: Give yourself permission to observe your negative self talk. Just do that and in and of itself you have put a protective interruption in place.

Step Stone Two: Observe the tone and timber of the voice of your negative self talk. Is the voice yours or someone else’s? If it’s someone else’s, have you given this person personal power over you?

Stepping Stone Three: Ask yourself: “Is this negative self talk serving, supporting, nurturing and respectfully challenging me?” and “What am I getting out of this?”

Stepping Stone Four:  Give yourself permission to release and let this negative self talk go.

Stepping Stone Five: Take charge and take action! Because the trick is to come up with some new positive phrases to tell yourself. And to practice this as often as you can. Oh and be prepared to be surprised.

Your negative self talk has probably been trying to get your attention for some time. My intention is that you are now able to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow, to help you make better choices and to ultimately be kinder to yourself. It is impossible to fully receive love from another until you have truly loved, forgiven, accepted, trusted and respected yourself. Isn’t it time to stop worrying about what you think other people are thinking about you? Crazy thing is they probably aren’t thinking about you at all. In fact, they are more likely to be thinking about themselves – just like you.

If you’re new to this do what you can to strengthen your muscle memory with this new information. Practice loving yourself and being kind, caring, nurturing and supporting of YOU. For you to achieve long term change you need to work at this. See it as your new emotional fitness regime. And if it all sounds too daunting to do on your own and you want some help check out our Self Care Coaching packages and watch out for our Fast Track Self Care Quest. No matter what choice you make, please give yourself permission to get better at self care. Because that’s the secret sauce to stop beating yourself up.




In 2000, Bronwyn Clee, together with others, pioneered the introduction or Restorative Justice practices into schools and community in the Northern Territory.

It is unique blend of experience … that has allowed Bronwyn to be good at communicating the importance of processes, which treat everyone with respect and dignity, and importantly, are capable of making a difference in the lives of those experiencing difficulties.

Bronwyn is a genuine and compassionate person who possesses considerable moral courage. She is prepared to challenge others in a respectful and constructive way.

Terry O'Connell OAM

How to have tough conversations and not just survive but thrive

Do you struggle to have tough conversations?

Hate having to face problems or challenges head on?

Don’t panic because you are not alone. In fact the amount of time we need to recover from negative emotions can differ as much as 3000% across individuals according to Davidson and Begley 2002.  It’s no wonder most people want to run ten miles away from having tough conversations is it? If we’re brave enough in the first place to tackle a tough convo, with a variable recovery rate that high it certainly won’t leave us feeling strong and confident to tackle the next tough topic will it?But here’s the rub: running away from it doesn’t always resolve it either.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that every workplace dispute is resolvable. People who have chronic mental illness and/or disorders may not have the capacity to reach resolution let alone a shared agreement. So let’s lay down some basic parameters. I am writing from the perspective that we’re discussing two rational human beings needing to resolve a workplace problem. You would think this would be straightforward right? Wrong! Findings of this 18 month research project by Cy Wakeman titled “The No. 1 Source Of Workplace Conflict, And How To Avoid It” states: “Initially, nearly 100% of our respondents reported that other people were the primary cause of conflict at work.” So when it comes to addressing the problem in the first place this finger pointing mindset is not going to serve us well either. The wall of blame goes up and we’re left with a stand off.

Think about it for a moment. How many times have you walked away from a workplace conversation disgruntled, frustrated and/or misunderstood? It’s quite likely the other person in the conversation felt the exact same. Sadly this seems to be at the base of the majority of unresolved conflict and tension. Because of the thoughts and feelings the unresolved conflict and tension raise we then don’t want to address the situation. We secretly hope it will resolve itself and avoid the other person where possible don’t we? I want to share with you some frightening statistics that should alarm you:

  • 35 per cent of Australians report having a significant level of distress in their lives;
  • 26 per cent of Australians report above normal levels of anxiety symptoms;
  • 26 per cent of Australians report having moderate to extremely severe levels of depression symptoms; and
  • In 2015, anxiety symptoms were the highest they have been in the five years of the survey.

Whether at home or in the workplace, we’ve got a whole lot of people feeling stressed and anxious in Australia. And when we feel stressed and anxious it’s almost impossible to stay focused, on track and remain productive. We’re probably more likely to make mistakes, over analyse, second guess and procrastinate.

But guess what? The astonishing findings of Cy Wakeman’s research claimsa lack of clarity is what’s truly to blame.” Well I most certainly believe that to be the case and I am here to tell you there is a way to resolve this!

Through the framework of Fair Process you can manage conflict and tension before things erupts. But what is Fair Process you ask? “Fair process is a concept developed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne that builds execution into strategy by creating people’s buy-in up front. When fair process is exercised in the strategy formulation phase, people trust that a level playing field exists, inspiring voluntary cooperation during the execution phase.”

Essentially most people will accept any outcome if they believe they have been afforded a fair process. The real magic is in applying fair process to all of your communications. Fair Process is a sure way to avoid blowouts and bust ups and all you need to do is follow this 3 step process:

Step 1: Engage- ensure that you are engaging with those you are communicating with. Don’t talk at people – talk with them.

Step 2: Explain – be clear about what it is you are wanting to express and why.

Step 3: Expectation clarity – clarify your expectations and invite input.

Fair Process is straightforward in my opinion and is what’s missing in most dispute claims. Fair Process also supports Cy Wakeman’s research findings that “a lack of clarity is what’s truly to blame”. Fair Process gives us a framework through which we can have healthy and robust conversations. When you share this framework with staff and invite everyone to hold each other accountable the risk of conflict is greatly diminished.

I encourage you to use Fair Process in all of your communications, especially the next time you need to have a tough conversation. Follow this framework step by step and see what happens. Your stress levels will be reduced and you won’t be walking away from conversations feeling disgruntled, frustrated and/or misunderstood.We no longer secretly hope conflict will resolve itself and avoid the other person either. Because the new thoughts and feelings connected to resolving conflict and tension, we are now more motivated to move toward resolution.

The best way to put this into practice is to use this knowledge! Your new mantra is: I Engage, explain and clarify expectations. 

Fair Process

Before you go I want you to commit to taking action! So here are some ideas: print this post and stick it on your desk where you can see it daily; discuss it with your team; invite feedback about how to improve communications. Comment below what you are going to do to practice Fair Process then go do it!


In 2000, Bronwyn Clee, together with others, pioneered the introduction or Restorative Justice practices into schools and community in the Northern Territory.

It is unique blend of experience … that has allowed Bronwyn to be good at communicating the importance of processes, which treat everyone with respect and dignity, and importantly, are capable of making a difference in the lives of those experiencing difficulties.

Bronwyn is a genuine and compassionate person who possesses considerable moral courage. She is prepared to challenge others in a respectful and constructive way.

Terry O'Connell OAM