A little reprieve from the deep, existential conversations we know and love, this week Kelly and Brooke look at their current reading lists.
Both Kel and Brooke are avid readers, never without a book (or three!) on their bedside table. This week they take a look at what they’re currently reading, as well as those books they’ve recently finished which have struck a chord.
Kelly is probably more likely to read a good non-fiction than Brooke, with a good business or self-improvement book often in her list. The ones she’s read recently include Sarah Wilson’s First, we make the beast beautiful, Kate Toon’s Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur and Brooke’s own Destination Simple.
Kel also loves a good fantasy or science fiction read too, and has just finished Hugh Howey’s Beacon novel and Brandon Sanderson’s The Final Empire.
Brooke is an unapologetic fiction lover, who is enamoured with Stephen King’s Dark Tower fantasy series at the moment. She’s up to book four – Wizard and Glass – which is her favourite to date, and Kel is happy to learn that King’s books aren’t all zombie cats and murderous supernatural clowns.
Brooke’s also recently finished Hannah Kent’s The Good People (beautiful and disturbing), Alex Miller’s Journey to the Stone Country and the wonderful, wonderful Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall. Thrown in the mix was also Sarah Wilson’s newest book (which is very very beautiful and raw and smart and wise).
It’s a really fun chat between two massive book nerds, and Kel and Brooke have a great time discovering new titles and discussing the reasons they love the books they do.
In today’s episode, Brooke and Kelly talk about the idea of acceptance, and why it’s not necessarily the same thing as giving up or giving in.
Kelly is a relatively new convert to the idea of acceptance – particularly in the way she views it in terms of control – and shares how learning to live with the idea of acceptance (sometimes, at least!) has helped her to let go a little of worries and future problems.
Brooke also shares her thoughts on the idea of acceptance and why sometimes it’s a positive thing to roll with the punches of life, while other times it can be an easy excuse for not fixing things that could be fixed, and perhaps even should be.
As always, the girls discover it’s a delicate balance that looks different to everyone, and the level of acceptance that works in one part of their own lives won’t be applicable in other areas. It’s also worth exploring what we do and don’t have control over, as this is a good place to begin to understand what we have to accept, and what we’re able to change if we want to.
Change is a topic that comes up a lot on Let It Be, and both Kelly and Brooke are advocates for embracing change, but what happens when it feels like life is constantly in flux?
We can view this as a frustration, that we need to be constantly on the lookout for changes in our attitude, behaviours or circumstances OR we can view it as simply part of life. That is, we change. We evolve. We learn and grow and become different. As a huge fan of change, this is something Brooke feels really positive about and it’s interesting to hear Kel talk about her own experience of growth vs fixed mindset.
Kel and Brooke also talk about the difference between regression, recalibration and falling off the horse, concluding that change is part of life and while there are times that we will slip back into habits we’d prefer to move beyond, it’s OK to recalibrate regularly. In fact, it can lead to amazing things.
Also check out the details for A Simpler Way in Sydney on April 30 over at asimplerway.com.au
Kelly and Brooke could have gone a few different ways with this week’s topic, but they decided to focus on giving up on bad things. Specifically, how to do it and when to know it’s time.
There are a few parts at play in giving up on the negative things in our lives. Firstly, we need to figure out what they actually are. And while some are obvious (bad relationships, unhealthy habits) others are very ingrained into our daily behaviours and may not even seem negative to begin with.
Kelly and Brooke talk about the ways in which they’ve identified negative things in their lives, and the roadblocks we often throw up in our own way in order to stay in the comfort zone (regardless of how uncomfortable it actually is).
They then talk about some of the negative things they’ve given up over the years, if it was difficult (it was) and why they think it’s tough to give up on things we understand to be negative in the first place.
At its core, many of these changes come back to awareness. That is, paying attention to how different elements of our lives are making us feel, and then having enough understanding of ourselves, our motivations and our actions to know how to start moving away from the negative.
Kelly is often credited as being a highly disciplined person, but lately has been wondering – is discipline over-rated?
While it may well be true that Kel is a disciplined person, Brooke has never been accused of the same thing and has spent many years telling herself that it’s just who she is.
But as the girls chat it through, it becomes clear that discipline can mean many different things and while it’s now synonymous with a highly routine, spreadsheet-wielding way of getting through the day, it actually doesn’t need to be such a rigid thing. And once that becomes clear Brooke starts to see she may just be more disciplined than she thought.
This is specifically tied to the idea that a disciplined person makes getting things done look easy, but it’s the getting things done that matters. It’s often still ugly or hard or not a whole heap of fun, but discipline is what causes the gears to turn regardless, and this is a big mindset shift away from the idea of there being ‘disciplined people’ and ‘undisciplined people’.
Of course, it ties very closely to the notion of habits and willpower too, and as a self-confessed habit junkie, Kel talks about the ways discipline can lead to habit building and vice versa.
Such an interesting chat about the systems and beliefs that essentially drive both Kel and Brooke to action every day.
One of the most common ideas Brooke and Kelly talk about on Let It Be is the importance of self-awareness, and why a high level of self-awareness makes the goal of “less doing and more being” a much simpler one to work towards.
What does it actually mean to be self-aware, though? And if one isn’t a self-aware person, how can they possibly work to improve their level of awareness?
Brooke believes that all self-improvement stems from self-awareness and in this episode talks about her own understanding of self. She looks at her experience in mindless living – the years where she was the exact opposite of self-aware. She also shares how she began moving away from this mindlessness, with slow steps towards paying attention, and how the gradual emergence of her own awareness has changed virtually everything in her life in the years since.
Kelly also talks about the importance of self-reflection and why cultivating a network of people who you can rely on for feedback as you begin developing your self-awareness is such an important part of the process.
As is often the case, Brooke and Kel also come back to the idea of being OK with discomfort throughout the process of becoming self-aware. It often brings to light elements of ourselves, our behaviour and our choices that make us uncomfortable. But instead of giving into that discomfort, both Kel and Brooke encourage that we embrace it because on the other side of discomfort is growth.
Links mentioned in today’s episode
- Carol Dweck’s book: Mindset
In this week’s episode Brooke and Kelly tackle the issue of overwhelm – what causes it, how can we combat it, and what can we do to avoid it in the future?
You know that overwhelmed feeling. The one where everything feels too big, too complex, too hard, too much. It’s a feeling that everyone has experienced on the odd occasion and today Kelly and Brooke talk about how they deal with it.
In an ideal world we would head this feeling off before it became a big issue, but so often we find ourselves doing the opposite – avoiding the problem and focusing on busy-work instead. Kelly shares a recent experience of this kind of self-sabotage and Brooke shares how gardening becomes her go-to avoidance technique when she’s feeling overwhelmed.
But instead of giving in to procrastination, how can we avoid or minimize overwhelm in the first place? Brooke and Kelly both have some really practical strategies that will stop that spiraling feeling in its tracks, as well as some encouragement to simply accept that life sometimes happens that way.
They also talk about what causes this overwhelm in the first place – ego, expectations, obligations, a lack of realistic time management – and why it’s so important to begin to recognize those tendencies in ourselves so that we can stop overwhelm from becoming a constant companion.
Be sure to join the Let It Be Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/letitbepod/) and head over to http://www.letitbe.fm to learn more about Kelly and Brooke!
Taking their cue from a listener question this week, Brooke and Kel discuss how to remain positive without becoming a Pollyanna.
Recently, a listener asked a question in the Let It Be Facebook group about how to maintain a positive attitude when faced with relentless negativity:
“I’d like to hear what you’d say about staying positive and zen in the midst of high-strung coworkers and friends. People are constantly complaining about how hard it all is and it’s awkward to not agree with them. What do I talk about if I can’t complain about being too busy? How can I have more positive conversations? How can I talk about what I’m grateful for in my life without seeming like I’m bragging? I’m taking your advice but I feel like I’m in constant battle against the negative tide of all small talk.”
In this episode, Kelly and Brooke discuss their personal experiences in dealing with a resident Debbie Downer, as well as some practical strategies in dealing with negative people. They also talk about the value of therapy, learning to compartmentalise the negativity and also meditation in dealing with this kind of situation.
They also talk about the common problem of maintaining our personal positive outlook, without sounding like a Pollyanna or a braggart. Brooke’s straightforward advice: you don’t need to own their negativity and similarly, you don’t need to own their reaction to your positivity. Be you!
To celebrate the release of Brooke’s new book, today the girls go deep into the ideas of rituals, rhythms and routines.
Brooke and Kelly have very different approaches to how they structure their days – Kelly is a big fan of structured routine while Brooke embraces the more fluid idea of rhythm – but as they discover in today’s conversation, both approaches deliver them to essentially the same outcome.
They discuss the difference between a routine and a rhythm, why they’re helpful in living a more intentional life and whether there is a big difference between them or if routine/rhythm is really the same idea with a different name.
They also talk through some of their personal rituals – from the simple act of noticing nature to waking up with birdsong – and why these tiny moments form the basis of their mindfulness practices, even (or especially) on a busy day.
Links and Resources:
To celebrate the first 50 episodes of Let It Be, Brooke and Kel invited listeners to ask them anything, and there’s some cracking questions!
To celebrate 50 episodes of therapy/sanity, Brooke and Kel answer some wonderful listener questions in this week’s episode, including:
- What’s the thing you’re proudest of about yourselves that isn’t “measurable”?
- If you could have any job, what would it be?
- How do you balance your needs, aspirations and goals with your families (or other significant others?)
- How did you guys define the values and passions you always guide your life towards? What kinds of questions did you ask yourselves?
- Do you practice what you preach?
- My husband only listens to people who aren’t me, so what resources would you recommend to help him keep organised?
- I regularly practice mindfulness and its wonderful BUT I often find myself getting angry and frustrated at other people’s lack of mindfulness. Do you have any suggestions for how I could think about these situations differently?
- Do you have any tips on getting kids to listen to you?
- What is the one dream you hope to achieve this year but fear you may not?
See? A cracking bunch of questions which Kel and Brooke have a lot of fun answering.
Links and Resources: