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A tale of two robots

Posted by Valerie Ling on December 12, 2020 at 5:40 AM

My Sunday morning routine includes going to church...but not before I set the two robot vacuums to go. One upstairs and the other downstairs. They do their thing and are clever enough not to fall off the steps.

Last Sunday, I noticed that I hesitated with setting Robot#2 off. I bought Robot#2 after I was so happy with our first purchase. Robot#2 cost about the same, and had listed even better functionality. When we first got it going, I realised that it was noisier than Robot#1. It also kept getting stuck under the couches, the height was not quite right. So I put it upstairs further away from the family activities and with little chance it would get stuck under couches.

Upstairs, I noticed that Robot#2 sucked up less dirt than Robot #1. The tank was never quite as full. Soon we were picking up the fluff and placing it directly in its path to encourage suction! Then I started to decrease the amount of floor space it needed to work on by closing the room doors.

Last Sunday, I thought perhaps I would just vacuum the upstairs myself.

I had lost trust in the capacity of Robot#2 to do the job at all.

What is my point here? When we do not perform at capacity, efficiency and reduce our productivity, we lose our ability to serve. The people around us lose trust and a sense that you are up to it.

Yes it is the "busy" season (yuck, dislike that word). Yes we are all pushing through. Remember - maintaining capacity, efficiency and productivity requires recharging, reflecting and refocussing. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to pull back, pace slow, and power down.

Option B

Posted by Valerie Ling on October 27, 2020 at 4:00 PM

In her book "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy" Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, tells the heart breaking story of suddenly losing her husband. She reveals openly her struggles and attempts to work through her grief. She tells of the time when her young children were to attend an event that their father would have accompanied them to. Instead someone else stepped in to do this. In the book she recounts how distraught she was, that she wanted her husband and their father to do this, and not have someone else stand in. Her friend firmly tells her, sometimes life deals you Option B and you just have to grab it and run hard with it.

Option B. One of the ways I encourage people I work with to have a flexible mindset when it comes to investing their identity in their work, is to hold that Option A, or in my words the "bull's eye thinking" very, very loosely. We can invest so much of our time, energy, focus and eventually identity in achieving success in one track, that if hard times fall, or life happens and we need to adjust, or simply that Option A does not happen, we lose ourselves as well.

If you listen in, however, to some of the most driven and contributing members of society, they rarely finished, or stayed put in the initial thoughts of what they would do. What they did do was to identify what they derived meaning and purpose from, and found a variety of ways to express that - personally and professionally.

Option B thinking is an exercise I like to encourage. Think of 20 other things you could do to express the loves and service drivers you have. Don't censor it - treat it as a true brainstorming exercise. This helps to see that if not Option A, then Option B, C, D, E .......

What could be your Option B?

#mindset #flexibility #grit

The gift of 15 minutes

Posted by Valerie Ling on October 25, 2020 at 2:50 AM

The gifts of 15 minutes ...

Recently I have been noting the various ways we can bring relief, rest, and resourcing from 15 minutes. Here are some examples ...

Sleep in 15 minutes once in a while

Sleep earlier 15 minutes once in a while

Sit down and have your lunch for 15 minutes

Read 1 chapter of a book in 15 minutes

Put your feet up for 15 minutes

Stretch your body out for 15 minutes

Call a friend for 15 minutes

Listen to a favourite soundtrack for 15 minutes

Gaze at some photographs of warm memories for 15 minutes ...

4 sets of these and you have given yourself back a whole hour! What can you give to 15 minutes that could lead to an expansion of hours?

Zero to Heroes

Posted by Valerie Ling on October 25, 2020 at 2:50 AM

What's my mission?

I used to feel all weird talking about this one. Like who really cares to hear what you are passionate about.

Fast forward to many years of being in business and doing it against all odds and tides of time, and it is no longer a frivolous topic.

My mission is to see a World Without Burnout, so that we go from Zero to Heroes.

Zero: from being tanked out, depleted, on the ground, aimless, faceless, and soul-less to

Heroes: Leading, inspiring, motivating, and contributing

For me, it's not about being in a super-hero costume and looking in the mirror. It's about leaving a legacy behind for our children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren that

Tough times WILL come

Resilience CAN be built

Burnout is OPTIONAL

Dreaming Authentically

Posted by Valerie Ling on October 5, 2020 at 5:15 AM

"Dear 2020

This year we flew the kite and expected lift off without mental drag...." Were the words I wrote to myself in projection of what the end of 2020 would look like.

It's been a long weekend here in Sydney, Australia and I have had the best reset.

Then, I decided to revisit a letter I wrote to myself (as I always do each year). It's something I do each quarter, along with the goals and targets for my personal and professional aspirations for the year.

If I were to be honest, I have been dreading reading the letter this quarter. I am in a bit of a desert trying to find my way towards 2021. Let's face it, 2020 was major - no words ... what would I find as I read my letter to myself

I expected to see targets unmet, projects unfinished, ideas unhatched....basically, I was gearing up to be a let down...

Instead, I realised (not sure why I forgot this!!!) I had written out a letter that was deeply anchored in the values, relationships and strongly held beliefs I had. They included my hopes for spiritual growth, staying loyal and true to friends, investing in the difficult parts of my relationships with my loved ones. They included the dreams and hopes I had for others, which included friends and employees alike.

There were some numbers (I do like the data part of things!!), and it went something along the lines of

Meet up with A monthly

Meet up with K fortnightly

Drink x amount of water daily

Exercise x times a week

Grow the business revenue to x

And grow the strength of the team by x

Funnily enough, having the dreams and goals of your year anchored to values, relationships and priorities is a much lighter way to stay positive and grounded. It puts the hard numbers in perspective, and keeps your goals and ambitions tethered to a service and accountability.

Sometimes I get annoyed when I am misunderstood as being provocative or energetic towards a personal ambition. Full stop.

Let me tell you there are far easier things to do on this planet!!

Instead, I think of the drive as being part of a movement. A collective movement. That movement is greater than the sum of one person's ambitions, and must comprise the authentic expression of meaning into purpose, purpose into values, values into behaviours, and behaviours into relationships.

Have you started dreaming this way?

#why #purpose #legacy #serve

Feeling like a phoney and a fake

Posted by Valerie Ling on September 10, 2020 at 10:10 AM

For a while I was feeling like a second rate Psychologist and Clinical Supervisor. That's hard for me to write down anywhere - let alone in a public sphere like this.

Moving deep into the burnout space meant I was innovating beyond what my peers and the research were able to provide. I felt completely alone and was searching for something that would help me fix that feeling of being a fake.

It was like I was hurtling into deep space without a tether.

One day I sat down and wrote all the things that I believed negatively about my clinical "worth". It did not matter what anybody else said. It did not matter that we were pioneering into some incredibly meaningful space. Nothing would shift those negative thoughts.

That is when I discovered that it was alright to have these fears, lean into them and put a plan into place. That was the birth of the Growth Plan. Every year since then, by paying attention to those self doubts, I invert it into a wild, adventure in my head for the next book, person, course, experience, experiment to embrace that would totally address and stand those doubts down. When those niggling thoughts return (and they do), it's great to know exactly where your fault lines and vulnerabilities are, and know you have a plan. It keeps you patient with yourself.

What does this growth plan look like?

1. List all of the doubts you have about your abilities

2. Rank them from the least bothersome, to the most

3. Identify ways to address and stand down the top 3

4. Choose a variety of ways - and place them in your year to tick off and knock off.

Find out how to supercharge this process for yourself in my upcoming 3 day event. Details in comments

#burnout #resilience #endurance


Posted by Valerie Ling on September 4, 2020 at 5:35 AM

I wonder what assumptions you make about:


The family life of your neighbours

The success of your friends

The social life of your FaceBook connections


Do you find yourself thinking you're living a dull, unfulfilled and chaotic life as compared to them?


Do you come down hard on yourself for not doing more, being more to turn that around?


They are common mental short cuts we take and they bias us to be discontent with what we have, hard on ourselves and seeking to grind away at doing more, trying to give more, be more, push more.


Eventually we find ourselves completely disconnected from people are just like us, being authentic in our lives, and sharing the good and the bad times. We opt out of intimate relationships, supportive conversations and fun connections. There isn't any more time.


Our own mindset issues can trick us into moving deeper into that comparative space and soon it isn't supported by truth or fact!


When we intentionally connect with people we trust, people who genuinely know us and support us, they provide us with reflection of truth. They see us for who we are and affirm our intentions. They provide advice, practical help, companionship and support.


Reconnect is an important "R" and often on of the first things to go when we are in burnout and drown out mode.


#selfcarescience #bounceback #selfcareart

Power Down

Posted by Valerie Ling on September 1, 2020 at 2:10 AM

How do you wind up your day - Sun Set time...Power Down...


So I am sitting here for the last hour just powering down. I had one child who needed some medical attention, as soon as I arrived at work (thanks to his dad who managed to pick up the phone and manage that). That took a bit of deep breathing, and clear-headed thinking to not run straight back into the car and race back to home.


Then a series of meetings in the practice, and much needed brain storming. Followed by some slightly scattered machine gun style work AKA little planning and just getting bits and pieces done.


Then .... comes the time for me to wrap up and go home.


But my mind is RACING. My body is still pumped from the walking, talking, gesturing and ..... yeah ....


Then I know I am straight back into home mode - juggling, attending to the cooking, connecting and (hopefully!) exercising.


So I tell myself - "power down". Decelerate. Slow down to a nice resting pace. Breath slower. Read something nice. Sip that water. Prepare to step into the next transition by closing this space.


Everything that has needed to be done today has been done. Anything that is still needed to be done will be dealt with in time.




Celebrate the wins for today. It's been a good day.






In awe.


TIme to go home.


#selfcarescience #selfcareart #selfcare

15 Minute Rest Challenge

Posted by Valerie Ling on August 31, 2020 at 11:45 PM

The challenge of a 15 minute pit stop


I gave out the challenge to a group of early career psychologists this week to do a 15 minute all stop each day. It was received with a little apprehension!


Why is that? What makes it so difficult for to just stop. Perhaps these buzzing thoughts come to mind


"That's being lazy"

"That's a waste of time"

"That's going to set me back"

"I wouldn't know what to do"

"What if I can't do it...."


Yet, if you take up this experiment you may find that you


�� Breathe slower and deeper

�� Look up and farther - giving your eyes a rest

�� Hear sounds you never noticed before

�� Induce feelings of pleasure, enjoyment and wonder

�� Provide your brain with a well deserved break


What other benefits are you aware of?

Will you take up the challenge this week and have a 15 minute all stop?


#mindfulness #rest #selfcare

Be sticky!

Posted by Valerie Ling on July 29, 2020 at 8:25 AM

I dream in Post-its ... and I refuse to use the fakes


I love the story of how Post-its were invented. A seemingly useless discovery in a lab and a problem with pieces of paper falling out of a hymnal led to one of the most elegant and useful solutions.


Many fakes have come since. But I can tell you, there is nothing more frustrating than having your ideas and sequences fall apart because the fakes don’t stick and they fall off!!


When I create I use Post-its. They’re moveable, quick to jot on and you can colour code. Simple. Elegant. Agile.


Now they come in much BIGGER sizes (got me one of those) and BOLDER colours. So useful, I bet your home has a stack of them.


Here’s the thing. The size of the Post-it is not the issue. The colour of it is not an issue either. But without the sticky factor - it’s just a piece of paper here today gone tomorrow.


Don’t be that piece of paper. If you want to endure, and persevere, and serve others by your ideas and action, you need to remain sticky.


You do this by ensuring your tanks are filled , your bodies are rested and your mind is clear.


Now go stick it!



#grit #resilience #slipstream #flow