Gail n AC bk openI’ve been pottering along for a number of years as an Author and a Speaker, with real life getting in the way of me establishing a thriving business. A few contracts here and there have been great to pay the bills, but have also left me feeling that I was leading a ‘perforated life.’

What’s that, I hear you ask? Working Monday, Wednesday and Friday on a two year contract left me with Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday to work on my own business and I soon realised that I never felt like I was in flow. No sooner did I start a project and it was time to go back to paid work!

Don’t get me wrong – I was grateful for the income.

Hence, I’ve felt like I was marking time in my business. This year, having completed the contract, I’ve decided to focus, use a whiteboard and a manual index card contact filing system, along with other strategies to reduce the overwhelm of keeping everything in my head and hoping madly that I could recall all the minute details later.

Several years ago I attended a Business Intensive in Perth at which Alex Mandossian explained the WIT Principle. I recently realise that I’ve been using this for some time by doing Whatever ITakes to propel my business forward.

I add a rider to the WIT Principle – it must be honest, ethical and benefit both parties.

I’ve also realised that I need to let go of the Little Red Hen principle – “I’ll do it myself.” As an independent and capable person, I tried to do everything myself, but realised that, amongst other things, I was not gifted at MYOB. That was my first foray into loosening the reins – handing over the finances to a book keeper – and what a relief that was.

Next I found some freelancers who are much more adept at creating promo booklets than I’ll ever be. They’ve saved me blood, sweat and tears! And whilst they’re busily taking care of some of the essentials that are not my forte, I can focus on what I’m best at – creating content for my books, talks and workshops and practising for speaking engagements.

With a little more organisation in my life, I feel like I’m now more in flow and I’ve left the perforations behind, having torn out that overwhelming and messy page!

Chap 4 pic 2Workplace stress seems endemic!

Every morning I meet a LinkedIn email with a headline about workplace stress.

Where did we lose the ability to enjoy our personal life and also find some pleasure in what pays the bills?

When did work become something to be endured, rather than a place where we make a valued contribution and take pride in doing so?

How did the negative comments TGIF and Hump Day come into being?

If you say TGIF to my husband, he’ll ask, ‘Do you know the great thing about Friday?’ People usually make comments like, ‘It’s almost the weekend,’ or some such thing, to which Ron will reply, ‘It’s only three days ’til Monday.’

This is always met with a groan.

What if management and staff alike could develop a work paradigm that embodies fairness, inclusion, pride, realistic goals, gratitude for effort put in along with a positive and fulfilling workplace culture?

Do you think staff might show more interest in their work? Do you think if approached personably they may put in extra effort? Is it possible they may see themselves as part of a team, rather than sensing a them and us mentality?

My favourite and most respected manager was Greg, a dentist in the School Dental Service, who would answer the phone if everyone else was busy. If he’d finished his patient and we were still busily drilling and filling, he’d come and ask if we wanted our usual coffee order. We could then all sit, as part of a team and take a few minutes to chat before our next patients arrived – the dentist having made the coffee!

To Greg, we were a team, with no pecking order, but merely a common objective – to take the best care of our patients by doing exemplary quality work in the kindest and most caring fashion. His humane and caring approach to staff was unsurpassed and they responded accordingly.

Piper in EdinburghA recent trip to Scotland reinforced for me the importance of being specific with our requests, then letting go and not trying to control the how.
I wanted to hear the ‘Highland Cathedral’ being played live, by a bagpiper in Edinburgh. My husband and daughter googled Concerts in Edinburgh and various other search words and nothing appeared. I remained focussed on hearing this magnificent piece, although I couldn’t see how this may happen.

Strolling from the House of Holyrood Palace, along the Royal Mile, towards Edinburgh Castle, I could hear bagpipe music in the distance. Looking up, I spied a lone piper, dressed in his full regalia, busking in the street.

As he finished playing a piece, I approached asking, ‘Do you do requests?’ ‘Certainly. What would you like me to play?’ he asked. ‘Can you play The Highland Cathedral please?’ ‘Sure. I’ll play that for you,’ he said and promptly began to play as I dissolved into a puddle of tears.

Not only did I get to experience the magic of hearing this played live, just a few feet in front of my very eyes, but also the magic of how the Universe / God / Source brought this to me in the most unexpected of ways.

It confirmed my belief that if we are specific with our requests, focus on them with positive energy and take some sort of action to set the wheels in motion (we had booked to stay in Edinburgh for 4 nights), then we can leave the details to a source beyond our limited means.

This, as you might imagine, was a highlight of our travels in the UK.

White Ribbon photo Today I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at a White Ribbon Day event, followed later in the day as the featured emerging speaker at the Adelaide Chapter of Professional Speakers Australia. What a fun day!

My topic for the evening was, ‘You are what you think.’ I told the story of my niggling and very annoying 13 year old inner child who declared that I couldn’t speak in front of more than a small number of people.

This fear began in 1969 when I was in Year 8 in a class with six very clever girls whilst the rest of us were very average students. Not wanting to look foolish if I asked questions, I learned to leave those questions unasked. So began a fear paradigm that followed me for decades.

That all changed when Dad said to me one day, ‘You can get away with a lot when you have silver hair!’ As you can see, I’m completely silver, as was Dad and Grandma from a young age.

I don’t use my hair colour to ‘get away with things,’ however, it made me think. If I have something that I think is worth saying, why should I be afraid? If I make a mistake, will it be life-threatening? Of course the answer is no.

This realisation changed the course of my life! As the author of a new book in 2011, the only way to promote it was to speak about it. My inaugural talk was at a Lutheran Aged Care Home with an audience of around 75 people and rather than being terrified, I found that if I scanned between the few smiling or nodding faces in the audience, I had a connection with people who had a calming influence and it was actually fun … lots of fun.

I’ve now created a series of Power Programs – one for each of my three books, however, my favourite program is ‘You are what you think,’ where we explore the impact of what we allow into our minds and how our self-talk will alter the direction of our lives – negatively or positively.

It’s our choice!

Muzzling that little 13 year old inner child was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

*** I believe Noah St John is the creator of the term ‘head trash.’                                                        He’s worth following if you want to explore more about what the mind can do. ***

 

Chap 4 pic 2

It’s quicker to write a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) than sort out the ensuing mess of not having one.

Recently, a friend who is almost at the end of a long-term contract, inadvertently passed on the contact details of a business professional that had been given freely to him with no instruction on their use, in order to help a person with a serious problem.

An aggressive phone call was made by the recipient of the details to the mobile number of the professional, who was baffled and felt somewhat unsafe until he managed to extract enough information from the aggressor to enable him to track down who gave out his information.

A phone call to the workplace of the informant alerted management to the fact that one of their staff had transgressed, albeit inadvertently.

When the informant became aware of the issue, he immediately phoned the professional to apologise and after some discussion about what had happened, he was assured that there was no further angst felt.

It did alert him to the fact that the company for which he had been working for almost two years, had no SOPs, aside from the two that he had written relating to work that he had done and only he knew the process.

The CEO was on leave for a month when this drama occurred.

Needless to say, after the damage control phone calls had been made to all parties, he proceeded to write a SOP that covered this particular scenario, as it was one that will occur over and over in this industry.

We should never be too busy to write SOPs! They may save an enormous amount of unproductive time, not to mention the emotional stress caused to all parties.

After that piece of ‘light’ reading, I trust your day goes more smoothly than that of my friend about whom you’ve just read.

Gail Ruth Miller

Author / Speaker / Workshop Facilitator

 

9780994643155-Perfect_Gail Miller.indd“Tell me if this sounds familiar. Mum or Dad won’t talk about the next stage of their life and get snappy whenever you broach the subject.”

“And, then, what happens next? You leave after yet another unhappy conversation and go home worrying about what will happen to them if they stay in their own home. Will they be safe? Will they cope? So your sleep suffers, your work suffers and meanwhile you’ve still got to look after your own family. The overwhelm feels like a black cloud descending on you. Am I right?”

“Well, imagine how it would FEEL if I could tell you about professionals who could do all the hard work for you, including a mediation session to help get Mum and Dad onside. Imagine how well you’ll be able to sleep knowing that the paperwork is being done by people who do it everyday, so you don’t have to learn all the government legislation or Centrelink rules to enable you to complete the forms. And imagine how much easier it will be when they do all the hard work of finding the homes that will best suit your folks and you only have to choose from 3. Would that make you feel better? ”

You get any or all of the 5 professionals to do the process for you, so you can do what you’re best at – your job and caring for your family. And you get to sleep well at night knowing that the experts are sorting everything out.

10 Insights

1/ Navigating the Aged Care process alone is like asking a 5 year old to write a thesis on an unknown topic!

2/ Your parents will probably decline whilst you’re still working and possibly still have your own family to care for.

3/ Even easy-going parents can become tricky as they age and become more frail.

4/ Broken hips, strokes and even dementia can create a crisis in the twinkling of an eye.

5/ Parents often think they’re bullet proof and will live forever.

6/ Most people don’t want to plan ahead for aged care because they think there’s no urgency.

7/ Very few of the elderly will discuss their end-of-life wishes.

8/ An advance Care Directive – ACD – (which replaces a Power of Guardianship) can only be made if a person is of sound mind. It’s not possible to sign an ACD even with early stage dementia.

9/ Forward planning will ease the emotional burden when it’s time to go into care.

10/ Prepare now before there’s a crisis.

TIP ~ Remember that your children may be leading you on this path one day! Consider that when dealing with your parents.

Case Study 1 ~

Maud and Fred lived in the same house for over 50 years. Fred was becoming more doddery and more demanding of his wife who had made every meal and every cup of tea for over 60 years!

Maud’s hearing was failing and a dicky ticker caused blood pressure fluctuations that left her feeling faint far too often.

Their only child, Susie, delicately suggested they downsize to a retirement village and was met with stern disapproval.

The idea of sorting through six decades of clutter terrified them. Thus it was that their move happened in their late 80’s, about ten years too late!

Case Study 2 ~

Fiona and Dave had been married for 48 years. Both were successful professionals until Dave was forced into retirement by memory issues. The progress of dementia was slow at first, but gained speed as time went on. All the while, Fiona seemed to be ageing at a more rapid speed, but insisted that they were managing.

As Dave lapsed into his happy little world of oblivion, Fiona began to question her own memory as she could never find the paper on which she wrote her last reminder note. After insisting for a long time that she could manage, Fiona eventually realised that she could no longer keep Dave at home, so she completed the paperwork for Aged Care. Although very wealthy, she wouldn’t pay professionals to help, so she struggled on, close to the point of collapse.

Logic and reason play no part when one is so exhausted.

An unfortunate, but common story!

What’s the solution?

Stop trying to be Wonder Woman or Superman doing it all yourself!

5 professionals can do all the hard work and their fees will hardly dent the bank account.

They will put their experience to work by –

1/ Sorting the clutter

2/ Sorting the Will, ACD and Power of Attorney

3/ Finding the right home and doing all the applications

4/ Assessing the finances and advising on the best strategy for each individual client

5/ Advising on Pre-planning and/or Pre-paying the funeral

And this leaves you to look after Mum or Dad’s emotional needs and maintain your own self-care for the onward journey.

Act now before there’s a crisis.

www.solvingtheagedcarepuzzle.comThe Aged Care Puzzle promo

Dear Gail,

I have just finished reading your book on The Aged Care Puzzle. The information is invaluable to me even at this stage in my life. It will be helpful to those friends and relatives around me as well.

I particularly liked the stories in the second half of the book. I have seen, heard and lived a few stories very similar to these. You got it just right and the humour as well. Gave me quite a few laughs. A great book.  Well done. It is a much-needed book of insightful information for seekers.

Regards and cheers, Sharon R (South Australia)

 

9780994643155-Perfect_Gail Miller.indd

I’m currently reading one of the most powerful self-help books I’ve ever held in my hands ~ The Slight Edge.

 

At the same time I’m authoring my new book 5 Easy Ways to Solve the Aged Care Puzzle and have been powering through the weekend to get the draft finished.

Late last night the formatting of the draft was completed, with a feeling of satisfaction beyond belief!

 

People constantly tell me that I’m amazing to be able to write books. I don’t see myself as amazing at all. I’m a person who likes a challenge and who can hold on like a bull terrier to a mission I believe in.

 

I write for a reason, hence my business name, Books with a Purpose Publishing. For me, writing a book is about interviewing, transcribing, creatively writing, formatting, then having the book professionally typeset and printed. With book in hand, I then have to market, so I speak to audiences about the stories behind why I wrote the books.

 

There’s nothing grandiose about the process, it’s just a step by step process of a whole lot of little things, that one day evolve into a whole book with a professional cover, ready to greet the world.

 

As I read The Slight Edge, I realised that Jeff Olson’s principle of mastering the mundane and doing the small things over and over and over are what add up to having a book published.

 

The Slight Edge works in any and every area of our lives. Worth thinking about …