Welcome to the Freedom Fridays Project podcast. I'm Pete Clark, your host, the Whispers Guy. It appears that work expands to the time that we give it and I started to explore how I was investing my time and effort, particularly on Fridays. It's evolved to an exploration and experiment with time, energy, attention and identity. And a mindset shift from I have to, to I choose to. So if you're interested in exploring some changes to the way that you invest your time and energy, if you'd like some tips on the way as you make some changes, perhaps to your identity. If you would like the freedom of I choose to, away from I have to, then this is the podcast for you. So welcome to the Freedom Fridays Project podcast.
Welcome to this week's Freedom Fridays podcast. Now, this is part two, I was chatting to Anna, about some of the changes she was making last week. And we just continued talking. And I felt there was so much value in what she was saying, I thought I split it into part, two parts. So this is part two. Last week was part one, so welcome to Episode 26 of the Freedom Fridays podcast with Pete Clark and Anna Raine. And I am going to make a turn if I may, in your experience. But the bridge I'm going to use is two of those questions that I think are fantastic in helping people consider if they're going to make a big change, right? If we go back to the original intention of Freedom Fridays is making a big change in your life. And what I picked up with what you said, there's two, there's a number of things you should consider two key questions to consider. One, what or who can you count on and two, what soothes your nervous system. And I think giving that some thought and some consideration some pondering, that will then make the leap that someone might make, not necessarily any less scary, but you kind of wearing a little bit of a, you know, a bit of a life vest in if you do fall, you can count on mom and dad's home, if you do fall, if I do get anxious, I can go and take that warm bath with roses. I can just soothe my nervous system. If you've got those kind of go tos when things do go not the way you would like them to go, then that's probably a good thing to consider.
Yeah, and I think the third one would be what's the environment that I find myself in? So yes, it's the support network. But it's also taking care of the physical environment that you're in. So you know, the old and maybe this is not for everyone Pete. So I can't speak for all of mankind as much as I'd like to. But actually taking care of your physical environment, whether it's organising your bookshelf, the way you have colour coded, or whether it's just cleaning out the junk that lives in that drawer that always surprises you, how does it breed in there. But there's something about creating order in the place that you can, that is not detrimental to your health. So working with a couple of girls that have had anorexia, and understanding that their way of creating order or control is controlling what they're eating. And that's not always a positive thing. And so what can I control in a world where if we go back to the VUCA thing, it's like, I've left one shore. And I'm in this churn, and I haven't yet reached the other shore, which I know I'm heading towards. So when I'm in the middle of this turbulent sea, what can I control that is healthy for me? So controlling what I'm eating may not be the right thing, but controlling an appropriate level of exercise. So it's not about doing masses of exercise, because that's like an addiction like any other. But it's like, what can be healthy? And who is my support network? What is the environment that I find myself in that I can control that and make it neat and calm? And so that I can have a beautiful smell in the rooms that I walk into, and that there isn't mess everywhere? Because that is something that I can control in a healthy way, not in an obsessive way, but in a healthy way. So I think it's who's my support team? What's my environment? And what are the elements of that environment can I control and make beautiful to support me? And what are the self soothing things that I can do when it does get bumpy? And also too there's probably a bit of a belief thing too Pete, which is, I mean, it was you that talked to me about that lovely metaphor about the light sensor. When you step outside the light sensor comes on, if you stand where you are, it goes off and you're back in the darkness. And it's only in taking that first little step. You know, what is that one step to better that the light comes back on and helps show you the path. And I often think about that. So it's about what small steps can I take to start the process and recognising that I am just in the middle of this choppy water. As long as I'm clear about what the shore looks like, where I'm heading to, then I just have to ride out this choppy change. And I kind of go, Okay, I'm 18 months into that change. And I know 18 months sounds like a long time, but I'm now sort of landed on the other shore almost going, Right, what's next? How do I build a pipeline of clients in Australia? And how do I look at what the future holds in terms of travel and changing the way I'm wired? Because my identity has always been about travel. And it may no longer be? So how do I start playing with a different identity? And maybe it is about a new identity around cooking?
Look, we could probably do a conversation just on that. I'm just going to ask you a question about identity because unfortunately it's been a little bit hijacked in the press. And it's become this sensitive topic, you know, identity politics, identity this, identity that and yet, as you and I would understand, it's how you see yourself. And if somebody wants to make a change, big or small, personal or business, they know, or maybe they don't know, but we know there needs to be identity shift to happen for it to sustain. What comes first I'm not sure, you could stop smoking and then go I'm a non smoker. Or you could believe you're a non smoker, and that causes you to stop smoking, you know, chicken and egg, I don't really know. Any advice for anyone that is looking to shift and change their identity from/to? Anything that you've come across that might help someone do that. So if they went from, you know, working in corporate to becoming an entrepreneur, working in a team to leading the team, if they wanted to go from, you know, whatever the change was, any advice or tips for anyone that wants to, that recognises the importance of an identity shift?
Yeah, I think the first thing that I would say is it's, this has also been in the press, it's identity fluidity. Which sounds much more, there's a lot more sting to that than I mean, but it's like, what stories do I tell myself? So, and what bold choices might I make? So that, for example, you know, I have a lovely friend who said recently, you know, I'm a light sleeper. And I said, You know, are you? Or is that the story you're telling yourself? Because, you know, she records her sleep on her app, and she's like, getting 86 score 86, which is a great score, right? Yes, so she's actually got statistics, she's got evidence, data that says she's great sleeper, but she will still refer to me as a great sleeper. And like, I mean, I always joke, you know, I slept like rock in desert. (And how would she know?) And what is it that she, why does she? Now of course, she's going to, she's just, she's just decorated her bedroom, and she has no curtains. And I said, Well, why don't you move in and she goes, Well, I can't sleep in there because there's no curtains, I'm a light sleeper. So you start to go, Wow, your identity, your story you're telling yourself is preventing you to take action, because she wants to sleep in her nice new room it's just she can't get these curtains delivered because of COVID. So it's like, if I notice my story is stopping me from doing something, then maybe I need to change the story. So the fact that I sleep like a rock in the desert is fantastic. Because it means that I can sleep anywhere in the same way as I have a story that says I'm not really that interested in cooking. I'm not a great cook. Yeah. And if I want to if I want to eat better, which is clearly part of my goals at the moment, then how does that story serve me? And hey, just for fun change the story? If I was a great cook, what would I be doing? And who says I'm not a great cook? I'm just not a great cook right now. (I am a great cook, I just haven't learned how to) I just haven't been exercising that great cookness.
Again, so picking up on that simple thread, you could argue that in certain realms of your life, you are a great friend, daughter, facilitator, creator. So you're a great something. So if you chose to focus your energy and attention on cooking, you could be a great cook. Now, you might not be in comparison to the great cooks of the world ever. But you can be great in terms of your aspiration. So I think that what precedes our identity, the story is the I'm a, or I'm not a. (Yeah, I'm a great sleeper, I'm a poor sleeper). And the irony is, you know, all of us have different hats and identities. You know, I'm a son, I'm a husband, I'm a father, I'm a mate. I run a business. I'm a facilitator, I could reel off all of the I'm a's. And a whole list of I'm nots, and a really simple but profound, and not necessarily easy, but simple trick I've been given is to be one step removed by saying, I'm someone that's having the thought I'm a light sleeper. I'm not had by the thought, I'm a light sleeper. (Yeah, nice. Really nice.) Because when we have when we're had by the thought there's no, there's no observation of it, we're, you know, subject to it. As opposed to I'm having the thought that I'm a light sleeper gives us the opportunity to go, is it serving me or not?
And then building on that you have the confirmation bias, where your antenna is up for examples of where you sleep lightly. You see, I told you, I'm a light sleeper. Now, you know, the other night when she was going to sleep in the bedroom, there was a night where the moon was the biggest full moon. And I sent her a text message later going, did you sleep in the room because it would have been like, I woke up and my room was filled with moon light, which I happen to love, right? And then I roll over and go back to sleep. She, and I was thinking, Oh, my goodness, this is going to be so tough for her. So here's the thing, she can find evidence that proves she's a light sleeper, if that's what she's got her antenna up for. So not only do you have to be responsible for the story you tell yourself, but it's then how do you continue to support that? Now she could also say, I used to be a light sleeper. And in recent times, I have a sleep score of 86. I am now a great sleeper. Yeah, I sleep like a rock in a desert. So I think it's just fascinating. What are you using as evidence and I think that lovely word yet, is really helpful. Like, I'm not a great cook, yet. You know, I can follow a recipe, I'm good at smells. I'm good at creative things that look beautiful. So who says I can't take those skills and apply them to cooking. And I love making things for people. So who's to say that that can't be food. And I can't look at that and go in the same way as I look at my craft, whether it's my facilitation craft, or whether it's my knitting, and go, I can apply those same skills across to cooking. Yeah, so who says?
You've triggered a thought for me that, you know, in our world of facilitation and coaching, some of my favourite opportunities are one word turnarounds. Yet would be one. And would be another. Maybe would be another. Have you got any kind of one word or a couple of phrase turnarounds that can just turn someone's thinking?
I think there's a, they're not necessarily one word turn around. But I think the question bit, so 'imagine if' is a big one for me. So when when someone's locked with I'm a poor sleeper, or I'm a light sleeper. You know, imagine if you weren't what would be possible. So just to kind of let that grip go? Or, wouldn't it be wonderful if, some of those questions. I think it was, I actually think it was Einstein, who said imagination is as important as data. And so for me, there's something about that imagine, so imagine that you were a chef in Stein's restaurant, what would you be doing? So you don't need to say, but I'm not. It's like, Well, imagine if you were, you know, what would you be doing and if you were a marathon runner, what exercise would you be doing to support that? So it doesn't matter whether you are or you're not. But is that unlock going to help you play and experiment? And what if you were? What would you be doing? If you were a novelist, what would you be doing? You'd be doing your morning pages every morning. You'd be writing every single day, even if it was just a couple of paragraphs. But you see, I don't do that because I am somewhat dyslexic. But is that true? Or is that just some story I made up? I can't spell? Well, you know, who says I can't spell yet.
I remember when I was 10. (And you can't sing. You've already said that. Right? That's a story who made that up?) I made that up. And I remember consciously doing this. And I don't know whether this is the climate or circumstance. But I remember at 10 years old out playing with my mates, wherever we lived. And I was a little bit jealous of the attention that those that got hay fever got.
I want what you've got, if you've got broken arm I want that too.
How ridiculous, that I'd want to get. Now, guess what happened a year later, I started to get hay fever. Now, is that because of the grasses and the pollen and my age? I don't know. But it seems a little bit coincidental that I manifested an identity code. I'm now a hay fever suffer?
Yeah and Louise Hay's probably have a lot to say about that. But it just makes sense that if you convince yourself at some sort of unconscious level, I'm sure there's huge power in that. And I think for me, it's just about not being stuck. Just having a little bit of a little bit of looseness around the stories that we tell ourselves. Because maybe they're true. And maybe you can find lots of evidence to support them. And maybe they're, maybe they're just the current situation.
Anna I'm really conscious of time, and we have blethered for a long time, which I'm really grateful for thank you (thank you for editing). I'm probably gonna split this into two, right? Because I've got another couple of questions. And if you wouldn't mind sharing, given how you've described your current environment as in you do live on your own. I'm sure there's a lot of people listening that perhaps have similar circumstances. How do you cope with that?
Ah, I think there's, human contact is first thing, like making sure that because it's really for me, it's super easy to disappear into the cave. And if I'm feeling...
Yeah, on any forum or physical contact, (Any forum, right? ) A text an email a call a wave out the window, hello to a stranger on the street.
Yeah, so staying, so for me that, you know, if I'm feeling a bit wobbly, the easiest thing to do is to retreat. And so being aware of that pattern of behavior, and going oh, I can't let that happen. So my lovely nephew lives quite close. So we'll quite often meet in Rushcutters Bay Park, I go via the wine shop. I buy a bottle of wine. I think it's bribery but hey, who cares. He's in his 20s. I buy two bottles of wine. One thing and one for me. We have a lovely walk. We were walking around Rushcutters Bay the other day, and there was a sea lion there. I mean, go figure. And you go life affirming experience that we shared together. So and we both put our masks on. He looks so funny, because he's got a big bushy beard he looks like at little bit like Ned Kelly. And so the beard pops out in the bottom which is hysterical. But he, and I really respect the fact that he is wearing his mask even outside walking with me. So it's a great thing. But I think it's mainly for me it's going even if I don't want to, maintaining that human contact. I think that's one thing for me. I think another thing for me is having those hobbies, having those things that can actually fill those, you know, you finish work at six or seven or whatever time it is you don't go to bed to whatever time what do you do in that chunk? So do you have different chapters in your day, so I can have a jigsaw chapter. And then I can do something else so that at the end of the day, my day hasn't just been about work. There are different things that I've achieved or enjoyed that are little vignettes that form part of my day. So staying in contact with people having hobbies or different things I can do, even if it's just like I read like, I read a lot anyway, but taking the time to read two chapters of a book. Yeah, I think there's the trap for me is falling into all of those things that are going to make me feel bad. So watching junk television, eating junk food, drinking wine, you know, I tend not to drink during the week, just because it's like, I don't want I don't need anything to feel bad about, right? I don't need more things to feel bad about. And so it's paying attention to things that make me feel good. And give me a sense of achievement beyond work, because I think the temptation is, you know, I can keep working online. (I've definitely fall into that trap sometimes.) Yeah, but it's about leaving that behind and going, Hey, wow, I've just knitted another three squares. My poor mother.
She'll be grateful one day. For years, I've used an analogy around change, partly because there's some of the work we've done, people often see changes, you know, win /lose. And I use the metaphor of moving day, when you move house, you have the day in the diary. And up to that date, you start to pack. And in the packing, you make some choices, usually, of the stuff you're going to keep and the stuff you're going to lose, the stuff you're going to get rid of that goes to the tip or, you know, council clear out the stuff you're going to keep because it's got a perfect place in the new place, which means you're probably not taking 100% your stuff. Therefore 80%, which leaves 20% opportunity for something new when you get there. So this concept of change, being lose/keep/gain, rather than win/lose. (Yeah, lovely.) So when we make changes, we might lose some stuff, some of which we might be glad of or sad of, but we get to keep some stuff. And we also in the new environment in the new place, we get some gain because we can find things anew (yes, beautiful opportunity). I'm interested in your shift from London to here that, you know, hasn't turned into a choice, but it is now, what do you felt you've lost?
Well, let's just cover the packing. So I left my apartment, closed the door and the fridge. And eventually, a couple of months later, a friend went into the apartment when they were out of a period of lockdown, and dealt with the scientific experiment that was happening in the fridge. He also organised the packers to come in and pack my personal belongings which were all my clothes, and all my ornaments and things like that. And apparently somehow 80 boxes of my belonging, which is somewhere in Hemel Hempstead as we speak. So it was an interesting notion of keep, lose, and opportunity. So arriving in Australia for my first winter with no winter clothes was an opportunity to pick up a few little things. But I think, so that's a benign example. But I think there is a sense of really valuing certain things. So for example, my friends in the UK and I find it challenging to stay in contact because, you know, if there's a timezone thing, there's a like, what were you doing last week? You know, in Australia, it's like I'm in lockdown, nothing happened since last week. So but I value those relationships. And I think that's the thing that taking a step away from it, there's a whole lot of clothes in Hemel Hempstead that are currently being eaten by moths. I'm going to pull those out after paying for storage for a period of time and go goodness gracious, why did I keep them? But the things that are important, I think I'm investing time and energy into so what frightens me is losing those friendships. And what can I do to make sure I maintain those, which is not easy? Because there's no sort of face to face contact? Yeah. Does that sort of answer the question? Not really, but...
I was thinking about that we when we make changes like this, we often assume it's either all downside or all upside. And yet, there's a little bit downside, but we get to keep some things. So if we can focus, for example, on retaining our relationships, retaining some of the special mementos, retaining some of the books that you might have cherished over the years, you get to take those into the new world. But like you say, in your circumstance, the opportunity it presented for you was to get some new Aussie winter clothes.
And also the opportunity it presented was to reconnect with the friends that you know, guys that I went to guys and girls that I went to school with. So, you know, some new relationships, you know, I have a richer relationship with my nieces and nephew. So that's the upside. You know, I'm now actively part of their lives. And that's just delicious. And I'm looking after, you know, I'm not looking after my parents are incredibly independent, and they would die if they thought they were being looked after by me. But what is lovely is I'm around. So I can rush up there and fix their technology and do jobs in the garden and stuff like that, which is a long, long way from London to be able to do that. And, and so that's a real upside. So it's paying attention to valuing the things that are important, like the friendships I have in the UK, and also paying attention to what new things or what valuable things I'm gaining by being here. And also too there's something Pete about the win/lose, the notion of binary, so I am living in Australia now. But who says that I'm not going to be able to go and visit when the world opens up, and there's a bit more free travel. So it's just for now.
Anna I'm really grateful for your time. I'm more grateful for your transparency and vulnerability. I'm going to pause our conversation now I'm going to finish with five quick fire questions that you don't know are coming. So the first thing that pops into your head and then we will say our thank yous and goodbyes. The first question is this:
What's your favorite Aussie word?
Beauty! Like as in beauty? As in 'you beauty'.
What's your least favorite Aussie word?
Oh man, Oohhh. It wasn't meant to be that taxing.
No, it wasn't meant to be that taxing. Ok what's the next question I can come back to that.
OK cool. What's a rule you live your life by?
Everyone's on their own path?
What's a rule you like to break?
You have to do this. Anytime someone says you have to I'm going to break that.) Okay.
There's another little one a rule that I live my life by which you know, please cut this out when you're editing, which is I'd rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity. (Oh, I think I'll be nicking that one.) Yeah, but you can delete that. And that's very much applied to me. That's not how I judge others. But I kinda like, you know, I am, I have a perfection bias. But it's only for me. It's not for everyone. And it's like, yeah, so I get enjoyment out of beautiful handwriting. And anyway, moving on. We're supposed to be quick, sorry.
Three questions, three questions. If hell exists and you were sent to hell, what would you hope the devil says to you at the gate?
Don't worry there are dogs in here as well.
Okay, if heaven exists, and God meets you at the gate, what would you hope God says?
There's dogs in here as well. I think um, yeah, the hell thing of hell does exist. Yeah, you'll get time on your own. So I think it's something about dogs right? In this weird time. They are just you look into their eyes. And you go, you guys have been here before?
They've been here before yeah.
Final question. A book that's changed your life?
So many Pete. (I knew you were gonna say that) I was just gonna look at my, oh god so many books changed my life (Or a book that's currently changing your life.) A book that's currently changing my life. Oh my goodness Pete. It's just too hard to answer. Actually, interestingly, Bird by Bird, do you know that one?
No, I don't. That's an interesting recommendation. Yeah it's a very interesting, it's about it's actually about writing. Okay. And that's very interesting. The other one I'd say that just springs to mind is Julia Cameron's Artist's Way. The Artist's Way definitely changed my life.
It's on my list of to be read books that are sitting on my bookshelf.
Yeah. And Bronwyn Oliver's Sculpture. Brownyn Oliver's Sculpture is, it's beautiful as well.
Excellent. Thank you. Anna thank you again, for your time and transparency. It's been a lengthy, Sorry Pete. Stop apologising, stop apologising. It's been a lengthy in flow conversation I was about to say, which the time has just flown by. So thank you very much.
Yeah, do make sure you chop it up because people will definitely struggle to listen to all of that, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yeah, but I gotta tell you, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. So thank you for the playing and having that conversation.