Blog posts tagged in Challenges

Nothing would give me more pleasure than telling you that after 11 years as a coach, and studying the ins and outs of happiness, that there’s a golden light at the end of the tunnel where you live happily ever after and life is a long string of joy, love bubbles and blissful moments. However, I don’t deal in bull... dust, I deal in positivity, and quite frankly, there is no pot of gold to find. (Sorry.)

What I have discovered, is that regardless of how positive you are, life still throws you challenges. No matter how mindful, engaged or compassionate you are, bad stuff still happens and weather you’re generally more optimistic or more pessimistic, when disaster strikes, it still sucks! The pain feels the same regardless of your disposition, it’s what comes next that separates us. I think most people believe that the optimist is like an endangered species on a protected list that is simply immune to disaster or negativity, not so my friends. The optimist is the guy working overtime to make sure that when disaster strikes it doesn’t’ take him (or those around him,) down with it.

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For those of you that know me well, you'll recall that my kids have always struggled with separation anxiety. I like to tell myself it's because I'm a much better option than going to school, but in reality I suffered exactly the same debilitating level of anxiety as a child, each time I had to leave my Mum. 

20170120 082815I’ve always admired kids that can skate board, particularly the ones that go to the skate park every day and practice. Determination and bravery become paramount to your improvement. Next time you see a skater think of all the time and energy they’ve invested in learning to skate, perhaps even admire their skill.

My daughter Laura (turning 6) and my son Dylan (4) are now both riding their bikes really well and I need to keep up. Dylan loves going to skate parks and I’ve noticed not only are they bigger kids really kind and patient with him, he’s learning some really positive life lessons too like falling over is part of the process and practice is the only thing that will help you improve.

Starting School... and I'm terrified!

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Benson and Laura sml

On Monday Laura has her first day at big school, and quiet honestly, I'm more nervous than she is! Yes, Yes, I know she's a smart kid, I know she'll make friends and learn lots, and obviously have a wonderful time, I'm just not sure I will!

Despite my somewhat calm and confident persona now, as a child I suffered with separation anxiety and had a pretty tough time fitting in at Primary School. (The fact that I cried every morning for the first 6 months possibly didn't help much! LOL) So now after 5 years of crying and tantrums at preschool drop off 3 days a week, I'm horrified that I'm going to have to put her through exactly the same thing I went through. So here's my plan to survive Monday: 

Jodie Cooper and family 2015Raising children is certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and I’m only 5 years in! It’s consistently challenging, and every time I feel I’m learning and growing they seem to take another step forward and enter a whole new stage.

Within these notes you’ll find a positive way to parent. What I’ve noticed is that most of the time it will help me move both myself and my family in a positive direction, but trust me, it won’t work all the time. There will still be situations and issues with your kids that leave you walking to the letterbox in frustration, just to have a moment (and that’s possibly all you’ll get) of peace before returning to the demands of parenting.

Meet the real Jodie Cooper

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The real Jodie Cooper positive psychology coachI've been working with a Social Media expert to improve my presence and she gave me a challenge. Get real, tell people who you really are and let them actually see the best and worst bits of your life. So.... Melinda's given me 10 quick questions to answer and challenged me to turn it into a blog. Here goes nothing!

1. In a nutshell my job is: 

Every Mum knows the feeling!

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Book reviews by Jodie CooperAfter I picked the kids up from care this afternoon I ducked into the library on the way home. (I Love the Library, but that's for another time.) Laura was having a tantrum on the footpath outside while I had Dylan in one arm and my books and bag in the other. I started walking off (as I do) and she screamed even louder. Apparently she didn't want to go into the library today!

As I approached the doors there was an elderly couple pulling up in the disabled car space. The gentleman got out, got the walker for his wife and helped her up and out. They both noticed Laura immediately, (well, let's be honest, she was pretty hard to miss!) and I could see them look at each other with a knowing look.

Tagged in: Challenges Mindfulness

Wise up to Willpower

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willpower  with Jodie Cooper

Recently I've been reading Roy Baumeister's book 'Will Power' and it's information is critical to anyone that's trying to improve their lives, and I think that's pretty much all of us! I created a workshop around 'wise up to willpower' based on his book and other new info I've come across, here are the key pieces:

Getting out of my own head

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kids 2For those of you that didn’t know, I actually only work three days a week. I’m lucky that Wednesdays and Thursdays I get to play with the kids, cruise parks, hang out at the beach and generally just have fun. Laura is now 2 and a half and Dylan in almost 16 months. Some days are absolutely wonderful; last Wednesday however wasn’t one of them!

It started around 6am when they both woke and were just grumpy and they seemed to really set each other off. From then it was duelling tantrums. Screaming, crying, whinging and essentially just constant negative noise! Dylan had a mini nap which made everything worse so by about 2pm I was ready to book the next flight to Jamaica.... solo!

Ron: A life well lived!

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Rons 70th

Last Saturday night was a special event in our Family. Ron, my father in law turned 70 and to mark the occasion his Sister and daughter organised a big ‘hoe down’ with the Wongawilli bush band out at Wongawilli. (That’s the back of Dapto for those of you who don’t know.)

Tagged in: Challenges Happiness

What I've learnt in 2013

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Jodie Cooper Good friends"Having good friends is much more important than having good things!"

Here's what ive learnt in 2013.pdf. (Click to check it out!)

It's been a pretty amazing year! Laura is almost 3 and Dylan is almost 18 months. Life seems to be getting easier and we've found a lovely rhythm as a little family. This year I've learnt so much about what's important and hopefully, I'm a much better person for the challenges my two little munchkins have thrown at me.

The problem with perfectionism

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Jodie Cooper, dealing with perfectionism Perfectionists aren't so perfect after all! It's been over 7 years now that I've been coaching and time and time again I have clients with, let's be kind, and call them 'perfectionist tendencies'. What I've noticed is that these clients are high achievers; they set big goals for themselves and hold themselves to the highest possible standard. It sounds like a good thing so far, but stay with me. The problem isn't the goals or the high standards; the problem is when they come up short, even ever so slightly short, they tend to beat themselves up unmercifully. When perfectionists don't quiet reach a goal, take too long, or have diverted slightly from the original path to achieving it, they see it as failure. And failure for a perfectionist is like a big red stamp branded on their foreheads for all to see.

So another way to see our goals and our life in general, is to work towards exceptional. When people see themselves as exceptional they are open to doing their absolute best, setting big goals, but also breaking them down into bite sized and very winnable chunks so they can celebrate along the way. If they fall short, take longer than expected or even divert from the original goal the focus is on them being exceptional, and as long as this holds true they get to succeed. People that focus on exceptional, hold their goals lightly, being flexible in their approach and kind with themselves along the way.

Tagged in: Challenges

Mindfulness at the Dentist

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dentistArgh, another trip to the dentist! Sitting in the chair, I thought, this is a great oppurtunity to practice mindfulness. So as the dentist was drilling away I was noticing my breathing and my body. Mindfulness really is about being aware of the present moment.  As the dentist was digging into my mouth I wanted to be mindful of my body, my breath and my reaction to the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing. It was interesting, I found that with each breath I'd breathe out the tension, and by the time I'd breathed in again my body had tensed up in response to the dentists work. My shoulders rose, my stomech clenched, my toes even curled. What I found interesting was that even though I was conscious of all these physical reactions and I could choose to relax, my body kept reacting physically in exactly the same way. 
The best part of mindfulness is that it really isn't about changing your emotions, it's about noticing what's actually going on and making room for it. I think that's the biggest thing I've learned in the last few months, we can't actually control our emotions. We can guide and direct them, we can choose to think and focus on different things, but at the end of the day sometimes we simply feel a certain way. (I think the Dentist thing is probably pretty deeply ingrained in most of us!)
Mindfulness gives us freedom to feel all of those things without judging them as wrong. I've learned that it's not the emotion itself that creates problems it's the way we try to make them go away and control them, we find ourselves doing anything (eating, drinking, gambling, doing drugs) just to make the emotions go away for a while, and it works... in the short term. But in the long term it leads to another mountain of problems and even more emotional dramas.
So rather than judge your emotions this week, I challenge you to notice them, try to name them, (Yep, that's definitely frustration I'm feeling right now) be curious about what you're feeling and allow it to be what it is. Even try to open up to it and make room for it. When you drop the struggle with the negative emtions you take control of your life again and can choose the actions you want to take based on the values you have rather than the emotions that have hold of you. If you feel like you need a little help why not drop me a line. 
Tagged in: Challenges Mindfulness

Sometimes surviving is enough!

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Growth 5There are times in your life where you will be able to grow, challenge yourself and consciously improve your life and times to consolidate and just survive as best you can. It's interesting though so many people get wrapped up in thinking that they should be growing and they should be spending time to make their lives better, but in reality, sometimes in life we really need to think about what's important and sometimes we just need to knuckle down and get by as best we can.

The last 2 1/2 years has really been a consolidation phase for me. Laura is now 2 and a half and Dylan a little over one. Unfortunately I haven't been blessed with the easiest babies in the world, but then show me a mother who has right! LOL. When Laura was really little I was whining to a friend about not being able to grow my business. I remember so clearly what she said "Jodie, your business will be there when the kids are a little older. You can't expect to do everything so let go of growing it and just maintain it the best you can." It was such sound advice and I still often think back to it when I start getting ahead of myself. (Which is quiet often!)

Tagged in: Challenges

Wake up to kindness!

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Family 6I was recently email by a friend a link to 'wake up project' and as I began reading through their site I was astounded at the simplicity of the concept!

The Wake Up Project is a community of people celebrating kindness and wisdom in modern life. They are inspiring random acts of kindness through their kindness cards, which are free when you sign up to their site at The kindness cards are designed to be anonymous acts of kindness.

Tagged in: Challenges Happiness

Dealing with negative thoughts

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Sad 2I've been reading a lot about ACT lately, Acceptance and committment Therapy. I just wanted to share some nuggets of wisdom from Russ Harris. He talks about what to do with unhelpful thoughts and lists a bunch of questions that can support you in making postive decisions about where to focus your attention and how to manage the thoughts that are potentially damaging and negative.

Is this thought in any way useful or helpful?

Tagged in: Challenges Happiness

Ethical shopping, are you thinking about what you buy?

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ethical shoppingI was completly floored recently when I looked at a website and found how few people consider the ethical consequences of their purchases. The site is The question was: When you are buying a product, do you stop and think whether it's ethical or not?

Here were the responses.

Tagged in: Challenges Inspiring

It's OK to judge

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high heels-spikesSometimes I judge people wearing high heals (or stupid looking spikes), and sometimes I judge people with bare feet. Sometimes I judge people who give their kids junk food and sometimes I judge people who refuse thier kids any sweets. I was thinking this morning on how and when we judge and the way it's only ever relevant to that moment and the way we see the world at a particular point in time. I used to judge Mums who lick their finger to clean a grubby kids face, now it's something I do on a regular basis... (I don't like it at all, but yes, I do it!)

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it's nice to think that we can not judge others, but we will always have thoughts that pop up and we can't control. It's not good or bad it's just the way our brain works. So rather than trying not to judge others I try to recognise those judgements for what they are, simple ramblings of an intrested brain, and not get attached to them.

Tagged in: Challenges Mindfulness

Why are we so depressed?

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Jodie Cooper on depressionI've been thinking a lot lately about our societies unhealthy levels of depression. The Black Dog Institute states that one in 5 Australians (aged 16 - 85) experience mental illness in any year. That's a whopping 20% of our adult population that's got mental health issues. One in Seven adults will experience depression in their lifetime. One in five women will experience perinatal depression (depression is diagnosed between their pregnancy and the infants first birthday). Check out this website.

The World Health Organisation estimates that depression will be the number one health concern in both the developed and developing nations by 2030. Why is it so bad and why is it going to get so much worse?

Tagged in: Challenges

Sad 4I've been listening to Tal Ben Sharr's Positive Psychology lectures on YouTube lately and I loved his comments about negative emotions. In the Coaching industry, many people try to get rid of negative emotions and many of us in our daily lives find ways to eliminate or avoid our negative emotions. We eat, drink, watch TV, gamble etc.

His lecture suggests that the only people that don't experience negative emotions are psychopaths (and I'm not even sure that's true) and ... dead people. Yep, so if you're dissapointed, frustrated, angry, upset, scared, insecure, resentful or anything else we can put under the 'negative' umbrella, then congratulations! You're absolutly, perfectly normal!

Tagged in: Challenges Happiness