STRONGER TOGETHER: Embracing the Pareto Principle in Relationships

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"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses how the Pareto Principle - the 80/20 rule - can be applied to relationships.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

As I navigate through the ebbs and flows of life, I've come to appreciate the Pareto Principle and its remarkable application in various aspects of our existence. Also known as the 80/20 rule, it suggests that roughly 80% of our results stem from 20% of our efforts. While this principle has long been associated with productivity and business, I've recently pondered its relevance in the realm of relationships.

In my own life, I've noticed that there is only a small handful of people who bring up those genuine feelings of happiness and contentment. These individuals, the cherished 20%, are the ones who leave an indelible mark on my heart. In no way does this mean that every moment with them brings me joy. We can have challenging conversations, arguments, differences of opinions. But there is no holding onto those moments, and instead within each of us is the ability to accept the good intentions of the other person and forgive and let go. We accept each other for who we are, warts and all.

Identifying these vital connections has been an eye-opening exercise. From my supportive husband, my parents and my closest friends, these relationships are my foundation. Unshakable, unwavering, supportive. Even on the worst day, I know that they will be there for me, teaching me the value of quality over quantity and the immeasurable impact a few genuine connections can have on one's life.

Now, as the calendar flips to a new month, I can't help but wonder if there's an opportunity to schedule some dedicated time with these special individuals. Life has a tendency to become hectic and overwhelming, often causing us to overlook those vital few. Perhaps we even take them for granted sometimes, forgetting that every relationship that is important to us must be nurtured.

It could be a date night with my husband, a coffee catch up with a friend or organising a family gathering to celebrate our shared experiences. By consciously carving out time in my schedule and intentionally dedicating it to my 20%, I am reinforcing the foundation of love and support that sustains me.

As I reflect on the Pareto Principle and its application to relationships, I'm reminded of the immense power we hold in our hands.

Who are the 20% of people who give you the most joy in your life? The people who love you unconditionally and do not expect anything in return. Is there an opportunity to schedule some time in with them this month?

By acknowledging and appreciating those select few, we can create a positive ripple effect that extends far beyond our own lives. So, let's seize the opportunity this month to reconnect with our 20%. 

Spend time with those you love. One of these days you will say either ‘I wish I had’ or ‘I’m glad I did.’’ Zig Ziglar

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses her words of inspiration - stay humble, work hard, being kind.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Stay humble, work hard, be kind. Some words of inspiration that I found inscribed on a plaque that I bought in a $2 shop 10 years ago. I still have that plaque sitting on my desk at home, and every day make a commitment to doing each of them.

It’s funny what resonates with you. Sometimes it’s words of inspiration, sometimes it’s a place or an experience. Sometimes it’s the people we meet. On Friday, I interviewed two inspirational athletes, Ali Brigginshaw and Gretel Beuta. Two very different women joined by a united passion for sport and a focus on easing the path for female athletes. The experience was as much about learning about them as it was about learning about myself in that moment.

Ali is a leader in every sense. She has been advocating for female athletes since she was 10 years old and hopes that one day, she’ll get the opportunity to enjoy watching female athletes get paid what they are worth as professional athletes. Her vision is that gender will no longer be a barrier when it comes to negotiating how much an athlete should be paid. She spoke fondly about the influence of several people in her life, including the late Graham Murray who preached the values that Ali still lives by today - ‘Use your please and thank yous, be in uniform and be on time.’

Ali shared how she didn’t resonate with these words initially, however learnt that putting these three simple things into practice creates a positive ripple effect that quickly spreads into other areas of your life. It’s a powerful reminder that words are just words until we start putting them into action and living by them.

Gretel is softly spoken, calm and considered, and whip-smart. Turning her back on a college basketball scholarship in the US to remain close to family, she was passionate about health and nutrition and commenced a Nutrition and Dietetics degree at Griffith University. Now finished her degree and expecting baby number two, Gretel’s focus is on seeing what the future brings. She is loving the idea of finding out where her new degree will take her, and looking forward to spending more time with her husband and son as they await the birth of their next child and prepare to build their new home. Gretel openly welcomes the ebbs and flows of life, ready to confront and deal with the challenges as they come while always making time to celebrate the wins with her family and friends.

So what did I learn from this experience?

Always, always do your homework

Knowing nothing and still going into that interview knowing nothing about these women would have been disrespectful. In the weeks leading up to the interview, I did loads of research to the point where they both felt like old friends. They genuinely valued this, thanking me for taking the time to do my research.

What an easy way this was to immediately build rapport and show respect for another person.

Lesson 1. It doesn’t matter how famous a person is (or isn’t), I must always remain humble by respecting and valuing a person’s time by doing some research on them beforehand.

Achieving flow is possible under stress

I was nervous leading up to this interview and my inner critic went into overdrive reminding me that this type of gig was not my day job, and I had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately, I didn’t listen and instead chose to sit back and immerse myself in the experience. We were only three questions in, and suddenly one of the organisers was giving me the wind-up signal. Wait, I still have another eight questions – where did the time go? I was so engaged in the conversation that what felt like five minutes had been closer to 40! Under what I had perceived as a high level of stress I had been able to successfully achieve a state of flow!

Lesson 2. Has there been times when I have spoken to myself unkindly, and let opportunities pass by because of fear driving my lack of self-belief? 

Fierce competitors know how to relax

I often align competitiveness with type A behavioural types, expecting ambitious, organised and impatient tendencies to emerge at some point during a discussion. Meeting Gretel was a great reminder of how polarising this type casting can be, and how the environment and conditions can play a fundamental role in igniting the competitive flame within.

When mentioning this to Gretel, she simply said, ‘Oh, I get white line fever as soon as I step onto the court.’

For those interested in health and nutrition, you might like to check out the Health + Wellbeing Queensland, A Better Choice Conference and Expo 2023, where Gretel will be one of the conference speakers  https://hw.qld.gov.au/abc-expo/

Lesson 3. Working hard for what you want can be successfully supported by practices that support us not to hold onto things so tightly that we lose our sense of self and purpose.

Stay humble, work hard, be kind.

Before the interview with Ali and Gretel, I thought those words of inspiration were about how my behaviour, the way that I turned up, would impact on others. Thanks to them, I now realise that those words and the ripple effect that’s created when I practice them also has a direct effect on me.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses celebrating mothers and maternal figures every day, not just on Mother's Day.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

The month of May is a beautiful time of year. The weather is starting to cool off, many of us have enjoyed a few mini breaks thanks to the abundance of public holidays throughout April and in the next few weeks some will recognise and celebrate the annual ritual, Mother’s Day.

Even though some may argue that Mother’s Day is just another over commercialised celebration, I would like to honour the importance of mothers and pause to recognise the influence that mothers have within our society.

Mothers are leaders, educators, mentors, and role models. They are essential contributors to our community and society as a whole. A mother’s role is an important one, nurturing and supporting, creating values within young people that will guide and support their future choices.

I have been so fortunate to have a mum who has been a stable, positive influence throughout my life. My experience has been special, and I recognise and acknowledge that it won’t have been the same for others. Mothers come in many different forms, not just biological. Adoptive mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, and other maternal figures all play vital roles in shaping the lives of children. There are also mothers who choose to be childless but still impact society in significant ways through their careers, volunteer work, and advocacy efforts.

Each of these women share a common purpose. Nurturing the qualities in young people that will support them to grow into independent, resilient, participating members of society. Encouraging them to use their voice, advocating for what they believe in and to protect the rights of others.

The ripple effect of a mother's influence in society is vast, therefore when mothers are empowered and supported, they can positively impact their families, communities, and even the world. Mothers who prioritise education, for example, often raise children who value learning and go on to make significant contributions to society. Mothers who advocate for social justice and equality help to create a more just and equitable world for their children and future generations.

As a mother of two, I get how hard it can be. Juggling work, kids, housework, sports and then you are supposed to find time out to take care of yourself. ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first before putting it on your children.’ How does that work when society expects that mothers will always put the needs of their children first?

Some mothers have recognised that bringing up kids requires a village. They know who their villagers are and have worked out how to ask for help from them when they need it. Others will overcommit to the point that they are so exhausted that they have nothing left to give. Collapsing in bed at the end of the day and expected to repeat it all again tomorrow. Others

There is no right formula to this motherhood thing – biology, feelings, maternal instinct, life experience. Nothing prepares you for the responsibility, nothing equips you for when the times get tough. What I know about being a mum is that most of the time we are just doing the best that we can. We make mistakes, we don’t have all the answers and we might even put ourselves first occasionally.

Mothers are human beings who deserve recognition and appreciation every day, not just on a designated holiday. By showing mothers appreciation and support throughout the year, we can help to create a more inclusive and supportive society where mothers can thrive and continue to make significant contributions.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the concept of holding things tightly, holding things lightly.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Have you ever held onto an idea, goal, or belief so tightly that you’ve lost sight of the big picture? Enter the concept of holding things tightly, holding things lightly.

Before we explore this, grab a pen and take a seat. Extend your arm out in front of you, with your palm facing upwards and place the pen in your open palm. Now hold it tightly and notice how you feel. Open your palm and let the pen rest gently in your hand. Notice that you can move it around, watch as it gently moves with the motion of your body. Did you notice any difference in how you were feeling when holding the pen tightly compared to holding it lightly?

This concept is all about bringing awareness to those things or events that you might be consciously or unconsciously holding onto too tightly. Gripping onto it with all that you have, noticing tension build in your hand and your arm. Potentially that tension extends to other parts of your body – maybe your jaw, your neck, your shoulders. It can even manifest physically, causing symptoms such as muscle tightness, headaches and digestive issues. Sometimes we “grip” onto things so tightly that it can become a hindrance to our personal and professional growth. And sometimes, the inability to let things go can adversely impact on our physical and mental wellbeing.

Holding things tightly can create a sense of control, but it can also create feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. When we’re holding onto something tightly, we tend to be more reactive and defensive. We might jump in without taking a step back to assess the situation, and can become rigid in our thinking.

It can also cause a sense of tunnel vision, where we become so focused on one goal or situation that we can no longer see other opportunities around us.

In contrast, holding something lightly means we’re not attached to it. We can let go of our grip and allow things to flow naturally. Holding something lightly also means we are more comfortable with uncertainty and change. We are open to different perspectives and ideas, are less likely to become overwhelmed or reactive and can approach challenges with a more flexible and resilient mindset.

Could you be holding onto some things too tightly? Perhaps you have noticed feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, stress starting to creep in or are experiencing physical symptoms that are impacting your day-to-day life? If so, then it may be time to start loosening your grip and letting go.

Letting go can be challenging, but it’s essential for our personal and professional growth. One way to start letting go is to focus on being in the moment. Start by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath for a few minutes, noticing your thoughts and emotions and then letting them go. You might even like to visualise them floating away from you. This mindful action allows us to be present in the moment without judgement or attachment.

Another way to let go is to shift our perspective. Instead of focusing on what we’re holding onto, we can focus on what we gain by letting go. We can look for new opportunities, experiences and relationships that may not have been possible if we had continued to hold onto the past.

I encourage you to grab a pen whenever you notice that you might be holding onto something too tightly, hold it tight and then release it, reminding yourself what it feels like to hold it lightly. Now write down what you have been holding onto and remind yourself what life will look like once you let it go.  

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses freeing ourselves from the opinions of others.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

As human beings, it’s natural to care about what others think of us. We all want to be liked, accepted and respected, but sometimes we place too much weight on the opinions of others, and it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that other people’s opinions define us.

Of course, the depth of a relationship and potential for impact on our lives and influence how much we value someone’s opinion. But even then, it’s important to recognise that their opinion is just that – an opinion. It’s a perception, filtered through their own experiences, beliefs and expectations, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect the truth of who we are.

Despite knowing this, we often internalise these opinions and let them shape our own self-perception. We can become perfectionists, people pleasers, or hold our tongues to avoid conflict. We may change ourselves in response to criticism or let others make decisions for us.

But here’s the thing: we can’t control what other people think and feel. We can’t change their perceptions. What we can change is our own thoughts, feelings and perspectives. We can build self-esteem, set boundaries and be true to the path we want our lives to take.

It’s helpful to recognise when we care too much about what others think of us. Do you find yourself holding your tongue to avoid conflict, apologising even if you’ve done nothing wrong or struggling to say ‘no’? These are all signs you might be placing too much weight on other people’s opinions.

So, what can we do? We can accept that others will have opinions of us, and that some of those perceptions may be inaccurate. We can practice mindfulness techniques to lessen our worry over poor perceptions. We can consider the source of the opinion, and whether it’s worth placing value on.

Letting go of other people's opinions of us isn’t easy, especially when we’re wired to care about the opinions of others. It’s important to remember that we have the capacity to change our own thoughts and feelings, and while this process requires self-awareness, mindfulness and intentional effort, doing so can help you to live more authentically and confidently, free from the burden of living up to other people’s expectations.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses fostering human connections and a love of learning through board games such as Scrabble.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

I love to learn and find fun ways to connect with family and friends, and where possible try to combine the two. Introduced to card and board games at an early age by my Dad, I have taken this tradition into adult life. While celebrating National Scrabble Day (13 April) may seem a little geeky to some, I think that it is a great excuse to have some fun. I also believe that it is a great chance to pause, reflect and recognise how simple things like the humble Scrabble board can support humans to remain connected.

If you asked any of our IMPACT team what is the best way to support a person to open up and share, they would usually say ‘when we are out for a walk’ or ‘doing an art project’ or ‘driving in the car’. A safe space is created when people don’t feel the pressure to have to talk. Perhaps not even having to look directly into the eyes of the other person. Playing board games or doing arts and crafts are tools that we can use to support people to express themselves and share how they are feeling.

And sometimes, we even learn something along the way. There's something incredibly satisfying and confidence-building when we discover a new word that we can start to use in everyday life. Words like "quixotic" (extremely idealistic, unrealistic and impractical) and "zenith" (the time at which something is most powerful or successful) will score a significant number of points on a Scrabble board and can be easily incorporated into our vocabulary. Alternatively, you might want to take it up a level, and using a word like “oxyphenbutazone" may be more your style (while scoring a whopping 1,778 points along the way!)

Unless you are a diehard Scrabble enthusiast, the words and the points aren’t always the end goal. Sometimes relationships, friendships and support work requires a different approach. In an era where many of us spend a significant amount of time online or interacting through screens, Scrabble and other board games can be a powerful alternative for forming real human connections.

When you gather around a Scrabble board with others, you're engaging in a shared activity that requires focus, strategy, and communication. As you take turns playing tiles and discussing different moves, you're building relationships, establishing trust and encouraging connection and communication. Without even trying, you are learning about others - their personalities, interests, and perspectives, which can deepen your understanding and appreciation of them.

This sense of connection is particularly important in a world where online interactions can often feel impersonal or superficial. While social media and other digital platforms can be great for staying in touch with friends and family, they don't always provide the same level of intimacy and connection as face-to-face interactions. By contrast, playing board games such as Scrabble allows you to connect with others in a way that feels more authentic and meaningful. While also creating that safe space for people to share and process their thoughts and feelings.

The next time you're feeling disconnected from those around you, invite some friends or family members for a game of Scrabble. Please resist the urge to play online, and instead physically grab the board out from the cupboard, dust it off and get your group to gather around the kitchen table. You might be surprised at what you learn and how engaged and connected you start to feel with those around you.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the benefits of keeping the holiday vibe alive in your day-to-day life.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

There is nothing quite like some time away to strip back the layers of stress and recharge our batteries. Recently returned from a two-week holiday in Tasmania, I took the opportunity to bask in my renewed energy and considered the conditions that my holiday vibe created that enabled me to feel an increased sense of calm.

A sense of deeper connection with those around me, having unscheduled time to explore and create, space to sit, relax and just be. Without any expectations of having to be anywhere or doing anything. Without constantly checking the time, emails, or voicemails.

Unfortunately, for many of us, holidays only come around one or two times a year and as a result, the benefits that we generate from this break can be relatively short-lived. Unless of course, we make a conscious decision to introduce that holiday vibe into our everyday life.

What would it take to create the optimal environment to bring those elements of your holiday to life during a regular week?

If you had an hour, could you read some of that book that has been on the coffee table, do a crossword, explore the rock pools at Barolin Rocks, catch up with a friend for a coffee, go for a bike ride from Bargara to Burnett Heads, walk around the Botanical Gardens or eat out at one of our amazing local restaurants?

If you had a spare day, could you visit one of our beautiful beaches, head out on the Lady Musgrave, take a hike up Mount Walsh or go for a swim at Utopia Falls?

While it is nice to get away, my recent holiday reminded me that I don’t need to be away from my home to create a holiday vibe. Nor do I have to spend a lot of money.

We live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia and have access to an amazing environment on our doorstep. Surrounded by beaches, parks and gardens, bike paths, restaurants and cafes, easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and spectacular weather! Each day, we have an opportunity to access parts of our environment for free, a beautiful environment that does not require you to be on a holiday to appreciate it.

Personally, I am a planner, so I remain connected to my holiday vide by ensuring that there are always things in my calendar to look forward to and be grateful for. Things that make me smile or create space to reset and remember the things that are most important to me.

What do you need to do to create your own holiday vibe? Perhaps it is planning regular weekend activities, scheduling time with friends or creating new routines that are aligned to your goals or values. Maybe it is doing some research to find out what is available in your local area.

Whatever it is, I hope that it is something that brings you joy and creates a vibe that consistently instils a sense of calm and gratitude, even when you’re not on holidays!

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses appreciating our differences.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

When someone invites me along to an event or function to speak about IMPACT and the work we do to live our vision of Improving Lives, I always jump at the opportunity. Last Saturday night, the Cessna 182 Association of Australia members arranged a ‘fly in’ to Bundaberg, and they invited me to attend their dinner as guest speaker and, on behalf of IMPACT, accept funds raised on the night. With a limited understanding of what a ‘fly in’ was and armed with a strong belief that people willing to travel in a light aircraft on a regular basis were thrill seeking daredevils (and therefore would have nothing in common with me), I was not sure what to expect.

Now, entering a room filled with people you don’t know is one thing. Entering a room filled with people you don’t know and believing you have nothing in common with them can leave you filled with next level anxiety.

The people in that room all came from different backgrounds, life experiences and beliefs, however they had a shared a common interest in flying that created a reason for them to come together. They had made the trek from different places throughout Australia to attend the event – Biloela, Mackay, Tasmania, Canberra, rural Victoria, Sydney and Adelaide – travelling to Bundaberg and relishing the opportunity to spend five jam packed days together. The Cessna members schedule two ‘fly ins’ each year, making the most of their time by spending it exploring and getting to know the community by visiting local attractions. They seemed kind and generous, were great fun and made me feel welcome and part of their group.

Hang on - I wasn’t a pilot and didn’t share their enthusiasm for flying (and still don’t understand why you would get into one of those planes voluntarily) yet I felt instantly part of the group.

What was going on? Why did I feel so connected?

And then it came to me.

The thing that created the vibe within the room that was bigger than any conversation about flying. The vibe was the people – these passionate, remarkable people living life without fear, leaning into their passion, sharing experiences, and taking a genuine interest in others and a world outside of flying.

As humans, we are usually attracted to people like us, people with things in common who share similar interests, goals, hobbies, experiences, thresholds for adventure. Saturday night reminded me that mixing with people who are different to us removes the filters that we place on the world. It is a powerful, enriching experience that encourages us to explore what else is possible outside of our own experience. It breaks down barriers and pushes us to step outside of our comfort zone, providing an amazing opportunity for us to learn and grow. 

What an absolute joy it was to be part of that ‘fly in’ experience.  I may not have walked away with a goal of becoming a pilot any time soon, yet I did walk away appreciating the value of difference, and the power of feeling included.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses Harmony Week 2023.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

This week, Australia celebrates Harmony Week – a week-long celebration of the wonderful cultural diversity of our country.

Diversity is at the heart of Australia’s identity as a nation, with more than half of all Australians being born overseas or having at least one parent who was born overseas.

Harmony Week is the perfect opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations around diversity and multiculturalism; we’re all united by the Aussie values of respect, freedom, fairness, equal opportunity and democracy. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for all Australians to embrace cultural diversity and celebrate what we have in common.

People from many different cultures make wonderful and valuable contributions to our community every day, and we should be proud of our strong and successful multicultural society.

Last year, IMPACT Community Services was named as one of the 30 most inclusive employers in Australia, and as the Managing Director of this organisation I couldn’t be more proud. It’s not just about talking the talk, it’s about real respect and belonging for all.

It is about sharing details about ourselves, what is unique and important to us. It is about opening ourselves up to listening and learning about the perspectives of others, and not just as a courtesy. Actually putting aside any personal bias, opinion and beliefs and being curious about the differences in others and how this difference can support our own backgrounds, growth and experience. Genuinely appreciating these differences without judgement and considering how others wisdom, worldviews and experiences can complement our own.  

We want IMPACT to be a place where every single employee feels safe, valued and included, and that means continually working on making our workplaces and sites an inclusive environment where everyone is accepted. Sounds easy however the reality is that some days achieving this feels incredibly ambitious. We therefore need to remain focused and committed, never losing sight of its importance and ensuring that each of our team share the same commitment.

Share an aspect of your culture with your friends, family and colleagues. Be open to learning something new about the people in your lives and your communities.

Create space to have meaningful conversations that explore the richness of others perspectives, while celebrating and embracing your own uniqueness.

Together, we can create change that eliminates all forms of racial discrimination.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses building your personal resilience.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

There is no questioning that life is full of ups and downs. But why is it that some of us give into adversity and fall at the first hurdle while others are more easily able to overcome similar challenges and continue to thrive?

The answer lies in personal resilience.

Resilience is having the emotional strength to cope effectively with adversity, hardship and trauma. People who are resilient have the capacity to recovery quickly from or withstand difficulties that life throws at us, like financial stress, health worries, troubled relationships or relationship breakdowns, loss of a loved one or perhaps security and safety concerns. They utilise their resources, strengths and skills to work through setbacks and overcome challenges.

The good news is that personal resilience is something we can build over time. Think of resilience like a muscle – the more we exercise it, the stronger it becomes.

There are some great strategies we can use to help build our personal resilience. Building your personal cheer squad can be a powerful way to build up your resilience. Think of your friends and family, and make yourself a list:

I also encourage you to think about your lifestyle, and to consider what habits and rituals you can create to boost your resilience and wellbeing.  You can break your habits and rituals down into these sections

Finally, you can also zone in on your thoughts. What key attitudes and beliefs do you want to change? Think about what you want to focus on and what skill this will strengthen. For example,  I will focus on  … to strengthen ….

When it comes to building your resilience, don’t give up! In the words of Nelson Mandela, “do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses self-limiting beliefs, and why it's important to challenge them.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Have you ever heard yourself repeating a story about yourself? The story may have started as a belief that was built over time; or maybe it was built on the back of a throwaway comment that was made carelessly by someone close to you, perhaps during childhood. 

Some of us have practiced these stories for years. They’re so well-rehearsed that sometimes we even forget when they started and who started them.

In year 8, I was told by a well-meaning teacher that I shouldn’t continue taking art as a future elective as it would be detrimental to my grades. When an opportunity to be creative and artistic comes up as an adult, I am therefore quick to ‘own’ my lack of talent, fessing up early and declaring that ‘I haven’t got an artistic bone in my body.’

Recently my daughter bought me a ticket to a basic art class. My immediate reaction was to ask her what she was thinking as I am clearly not an artist. “Mum, it will be fun,” she told me.

Feeling unhinged at the prospect of a room full of people getting to witness first-hand my lack of artistic talent, I felt my brush lingering over the blank canvas, knowing that the final product was doomed even before I got started.

Most of us feel that sense of unease when we step outside our comfort zone to do something that goes against the beliefs that we have created, some of which have been built over a lifetime.

It turns out that I am creative, artistic, and more than capable of painting a picture of plants from scratch (thanks to some very specific instructions from the Pinot & Picasso team!).

These ‘truths’ are built over time, by repeating and imprinting the story into our minds until it becomes real. So real that it creates a new belief, drives our thinking, and influences our decisions. And sometimes, it might even help us to distance ourselves from the emotional memory, the pain, the hurt or embarrassment that is connected to it.

How often do you fact check your beliefs? Some people will cruise through life accepting their beliefs and patterns of thinking without question.

One of the most powerful questions I use in my leadership practice is to ask myself ‘When did I start believing this?’.

Be brave enough to lean into the story that drives the belief and be willing to do the work that it takes to debunk it.

Get clear about whether the belief is helping you. If it isn’t, what might happen if you stopped believing it? What might be possible if you believed something different?

Shifting beliefs is hard, and it takes time to change the pattern of thinking that supports it.

But when we start to open ourselves up to what else is possible, that’s when growth happens, and new opportunities start to emerge.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week, in honour of International Women's Day, Tanya discusses raising girls to find self esteem and worth beyond their appearance.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

This Wednesday (8 March) marks International Women’s Day, an annual celebration that recognises the contributions, accomplishments and achievements of women and girls, and those who identify as female, across the planet.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to talk about raising our girls, and the role we play in moulding them into confident and capable women who have the skills to look beyond social media and society’s perceptions to truly embrace diversity in all its forms and to accept themselves as they are.

Our young people are stuck in an epidemic of body hate. As women – mothers, teachers, sisters, aunts – we hold great power when it comes to influencing how our girls and younger women see themselves.

Our world is superficial and full of messages about how we ‘should’ look, and this is affecting our children in greater numbers than ever before. Unrealistic and narrow beauty standards and suggestions that how you look is linked to your worth are incredibly harmful to young people’s self-esteem. We must help them to navigate this, and to find self-worth beyond appearance.

In March 2022, Dove released their report on the Dove Self Esteem Project, and the results were shocking. They found that:

While those statistics are scary, it’s not all doom and gloom! The report also highlighted the fact that 7 in 10 girls felt better for unfollowing idealised beauty content, and 80% of girls would like for their parents to talk to them about idealised beauty content.

Taryn Brumfitt was recently named as this year’s Australian of the Year for her work in the body image space. She says there is so much we can do to positively influence the young people in our lives and how they feel about themselves. She wants parents and those with influence over young people to recognise that kids hear and see everything, and in our homes we need to promote a safe space for them to flourish.

Our children look up to us. It is our job to model positive behaviour when it comes to the relationship we have with our bodies.

I strongly encourage you to think about how you talk about your own body in front of your children or other young people you have influence over. Try shifting your focus to the positive things your body can do and how you feel rather than focusing on how it looks, especially when it comes to your perceived flaws. Do you see exercise as a punishment or is moving your body joyfully your focus? Do you view food as an enemy rather than a way to nourish body? Are you openly critical when referring to certain parts of your body?

Body Image Movement and the Dove Self Esteem Project both have some great resources that can help you to discuss body image with young people, and it’s an important conversation to have.

As Taryn says, we need to be teaching our children to have a values system that is built on who they are and what they do, and that has nothing to do with what they look like. Embrace your uniqueness, embrace the individuality that you bring.


"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses JOMO - The Joy of Missing Out

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Have you heard of FOMO? Since the beginning of time, humans have wanted to feel included. Even though FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – was borne as a direct result of the explosive rise of social media, for some there is a direct link between missing out and an increase in their anxiety levels.  

When we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others (and let’s face it, thanks to social media, it’s hard not to!), it’s not surprising we can sometimes feel stuck in a constant FOMO cycle. There is, however, something we can do about it.

Enter JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out – the vastly underrated counterpart to FOMO.

JOMO is all about stepping away from self-comparison, being content with where you are right now, embracing the integration of life and work and proudly living life in the slow lane. It allows you to unshackle yourself from what you ‘should’ be doing in favour of tuning into what you ‘want’ to do.

But here’s the thing about JOMO – you can’t just flip a switch. To turn FOMO on its head and truly embrace JOMO, you need to intentionally and consistently make a series of changes to your daily habits that will reconnect you to your true self.

Here are some things you can do to have more JOMO in your life:

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses honouring your boundaries and threshold of tolerance in volunteer roles.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do, and there are real benefits for both the volunteer and the recipients. Irrespective of how you refer to volunteering, the evidence is clear. Through ‘giving back’, ‘contributing my experience, time and skills’ or ‘helping others’, we get what is referred to as ‘helpers high’, a physical experience where the body releases endorphins as a result of positive social contact with others. Studies also link volunteering to health benefits such as boosting your self-esteem, improving sleep, lowering blood pressure and increasing overall wellness and life satisfaction. It enables your passions and interests to be ignited, while gaining experience, making new friendships and even creating and extending professional networks.

There are however some drawbacks that we need to be aware of. When it comes to fulfilling our altruistic notion of volunteering, it is vital that we maintain strong personal boundaries and are aware of our personal levels of tolerance. Establishing and adhering to the boundaries that we set for ourselves equips us to maintain our wellbeing, while ensuring that we also preserve our relationships with others.

Personal boundaries define what we are comfortable with and what we are not. They are the limits we set for ourselves, and they help us to stay true to our values and beliefs. When we are clear about our personal boundaries, we are better equipped to communicate our needs and expectations to others, and we are more likely to feel respected and valued.

Tolerance, on the other hand, refers to our ability to accept and respect the differences of others, even if they do not align with our own beliefs and values. When we practice tolerance, we are able to work with others, despite our differences, and we can find common ground to achieve our shared goals.

When engaging in community work, it’s important to keep in mind that we all have different values, beliefs, and ways of operating. This diversity can create friction due to a lack of understanding and insight; it can also bring about conflict and disagreements. It does however have the amazing potential to create a rich and vibrant community. To make the most of this diversity, we must be able to balance our own needs and preferences with the needs of others.

What is your threshold of tolerance, and how do you use this to inform the decisions that you make about how you live your life? It’s important to understand this, and to be able to recognise when we are operating outside of these thresholds and why.

Much of my personal time is spent volunteering. Recently, I stepped down from a volunteering role because I felt that I was no longer operating within my personal boundaries and level of tolerance and was unwilling to compromise.

While it was uncomfortable speaking up, it felt freeing to use my voice, and to be honest (to myself and others) about why I was choosing to step back. Remembering it was less about me and more about how my contribution would need to shift if I was no longer operating in unison with my values, beliefs, and boundaries.

There is great value in volunteering, but it’s okay and important to have the courage to say no, that’s not for me, when it no longer feels right.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the impact the cost of living crisis is having on mental health.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

If you are feeling like conversations about the cost of living crisis are consuming our news and social media feeds at the moment you are not alone. A simple Google search will provide you with 2.860 billion results in less than one second. Let’s sit with that for a minute.

2.860 billion pieces of information related to cost of living available to you within 0.44 of a second. Wow, is it any wonder that we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed by this?

Every day, the news headlines scream about interest rate increases, skyrocketing energy bills, reduced consumer spending and the rising cost of groceries. Last year, Suicide Prevention Australia’s State of the Nation Report found that the state of the economy was the number one driver of distress across Australia.

The report ranked the cost of living and personal debt as the biggest risk to rising suicide rates over the next 12 months by both the public and suicide prevention sector. This is the first time an economic issue has overtaken social issues such as drugs, loneliness and family breakdown, and it’s cause for real concern.

We know that the financial strain is real – every Australian is feeling the pinch on their purse strings, having to either find extra money or go without. And while each one of us is living with the daily burden of this additional financial strain, very few consider the toll that it’s having on their mental wellbeing.

Please take a moment to pause and consider whether your own mental wellbeing, or that of someone close to you, is being adversely affected.  

Mental wellbeing exists on a continuum, ranging from languishing to flourishing. At first, we might not recognise the symptoms associated with languishing. According to psychologist Adam Grant, some people may have trouble concentrating, perhaps feeling somewhat joyless or aimless. For others, they may experience a sense of stagnation or emptiness. The reality is that currently, 80% of the population can be experiencing languishing at any given point in time. This statistic is unacceptable, so what can we do to change this?

The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health are leading the way in this space, suggesting that a focus on mental wealth can shift the dial. Defined as ‘the collective cognitive and emotional resources of citizens, it includes people’s mental capital, their mental health and wellbeing which underpins the ability to work productively, creatively and build and maintain positive relationships.’ They believe that a mental wealth approach which values the wellbeing of its people will take seriously all levels of human distress, addressing it early with the expectation that it will prevent chronic and costly states of languishing.

There is no silver bullet to addressing the level of languishing being experienced in our community. We do, however, have the best opportunity yet to pull together and consider what we can do to support each other through these difficult times, whether that’s supporting local businesses, sharing what we have with our family, friends and neighbours, or being open to new strategies that will start to capitalise on our nation’s mental wealth.  

If you are struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out.

Counselling and Mental Health support

Lifeline: 13 11 44 (24 hours a day)
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 (24 Hours)

Financial Counselling
National debt helpline: 1800 007 007 or www.ndh.org.au
Mob Strong Debt Helpline: 1800 808 488
A free legal advice service about money batters for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from anywhere in Australia.

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