Alyce is moving – follow me at my new site!

To all my loyal and lovely followers.

Alyce Vayle has now moved!

Please head to my new site: http://alycevayleauthor.com/ 

…and go to the right hand panel and re-enter you email address if you’d like to keep following!

The blog is now in its next phase and is bigger and better than ever – and I still need and want your comments and feedback!

Jump across the pond with me!

All my love-

–Alyce Vayle 

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Change your life in 20 minutes with these 5 simple steps

Don’t let another year pass you by! 2014 is a clean slate and you still have time to set some plans in motion for a total life or career overhaul.

Have you been thinking of changing your life? Do you need a total ‘you’ makeover? Perhaps you have some goals and dreams that have been on the backburner for a while? Could this be the year that you finally make a massive change?

1. Assess regrets from 2013

The first step to changing your life is to assess what went wrong in 2013. Don’t back track further than this. Focus your attention on the recent past. Think back to where you were in January 2013: what did your finances look like? How was your health? Your relationships?

What goals did you want to achieve in 2013? How many of these did you meet? Did you manage to lessen your credit card debt or lose a few kilos? Consider you work or personal goals. No matter who you are, you would have had some successes, as well as ‘failures’.

2. Challenge the entrenched beliefs you have about yourself

Write down the 3 main things you would like to change about yourself in 2014. By keeping the list short, you have a better chance of keeping your focus. Challenge your entrenched beliefs: do you say to yourself, “I can’t lose weight because of my metabolism,” or, “I am too old to study something new,” or even, “I am not worthy of achievement”?

Change is not just for the young. Often when we have reached a certain level of maturity (this could be anywhere from your mid-twenties to your mid-nineties!) change can be easier, as we have the maturity and presence of mind to let go and accept things as they are, not as how we wish they were.

3. Release negative thoughts, make a list

Everyone makes mistakes. Often, we learn more from the things we got wrong, than the things that we were praised for. Learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them. If you really stuffed something up, forgive yourself. You are human and you are not supposed to be perfect. If you dwell too long on your mistakes you will never get anywhere; let go of past mistakes and move on.

Make a list of things you would like to achieve in your career and personal life. A good tactic to us is the 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years tactic. Keep a running list of both short and long term goals to inch yourself steadily towards your future.

4. Spend 20 minutes (right now!) considering a possible next step

Feeling stuck? A great place to start is online.  Start to gather a selection of resources to help you in your quest, whatever that goal may be. Spend just 20 minutes from the time you finish this article pulling together a page of links that relate to your goal.

Your single goal at the end of this 20 minutes (set a timer!) is to have one single, workable and clear action that you will take this week. It could be rewriting your resume or researching five gyms in your area. It could be honing in on the top 5 companies you’d like to work for. Perhaps you could identify a group, class or course that you could do to reach your eventual goal?

5. Decide on a “new attitude”

Take a “first step” towards your goal: today! Make an action plan, set a timeframe and assess your chances of success! As Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

There are many ways to set the wheels in motion for 2014 and beyond. Make this the year that you will finally achieve that goal you have been wanting to achieve. Break your process down into achievable, small goals so that you do not feel overwhelmed.

The steps you will take right now

  1. Asses your regrets from 2013
  2. Challenge your entrenched beliefs about yourself
  3. Make an action list: 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years
  4. Spend 20 minutes researching your “next step”
  5. Set a timeframe, decide on a new attitude

…Achieve you goals!

Are you about to freak out? 8 steps to deal with strong emotions

I am a very sensitive person. Sometimes I feel so emotional about things it is difficult for me to function properly. Last year I went through a very bad breakup. I felt so awful about it that I wrote a blog post thinking that I was actually about to have a heart attack. For days I had barely eaten, barely slept and there was this persistent thump, thump, thump in my chest that made me feel constantly sick, constantly on-edge and very unwell.

I have felt strong emotions like this before. If you have ever nearly fallen (from a height) and righted yourself, you may have noticed that your body reacted. You may have felt a strong surge of energy flood your nervous system, heightening your senses. Some things our bodies do are instinctual and we have no cognitive control over them. Don’t believe me? Well, consider the knee-jerk reaction.

Could I control my body’s reflexes, if I tried really hard? 

This is properly known as the Patellar reflex. Basically (as we all know) if you bang your knee, it jerks up. It doesn’t matter how much you try to control this instinctive reflex, it just happens independently of your conscious intentions.

From Wikipedia: “Striking the patellar ligament with a reflex hammer just below the patella stretches the muscle spindle in the quadriceps muscle. This produces a signal which travels back to the spinal cord and synapses (without interneurons) at the level of L4 in the spinal cord, completely independent of higher centres. From there, an alpha-motor neuron conducts an efferent impulse back to the quadriceps femoris muscle, triggering contraction.”

Yup, so when I whack my knee, my body simply reacts, totally independent of my personal intentions.

My body is flooded with emotion when something goes wrong 

Likewise, when I nearly fall and I right myself. The ‘feelings’ that flood my body feel so real. Even when I know I am in no danger of falling anymore, the feelings persist for a few seconds, after the danger has passed. My body reacts to the world around it, and to the world within it.

When I get very upset, I get feelings of strong emotions. Sometimes I find these very hard to cope with. Over the years I have learnt many techniques to help me deal with strong emotions, but it is not always easy. Sometimes it feels as if my body has a mind of its own. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the strong emotions I feel.

I also find that when I let my emotions get the better of me, the can get worse and worse. If I let myself get too upset, I can stay upset for far longer than I should, and this adds to my distress.

A personal problem is making me emotional

For the last few months, I have had a very annoying problem. It is fairly minor, and yet something that has been driving me crazy. Over the past few days I have become increasingly anxious about this problem, to the point where it is really beginning to affect my work, my happiness and even my relationship. I feel that I am at the point of emotional exhaustion now; every time this problem is even mentioned, I get very, very upset, irrational and emotional.

Just so you don’t think it’s anything too bad, I can reveal that it is over a sum of money I paid to a dodgy, cheap web design company to help with this very blog, and as you can understand, I am highly emotional about something that I spend so much time, love and energy on. I would rather deal with the devil himself that have to speak to anyone associated with this company anymore.

Small problem, yeah? But it doesn’t feel like that to me.

It doesn’t matter what your problem actually is, just how you react to it. Often, I am great in a big crisis, it’s the little things that get me down. After my long and overly personal rant here, I would like to give you some tips I have researched on how to deal with strong emotions.

1. Centre the self

Detach from the problem and see it as separate from yourself. Do not identify with the problem.

2. Deep breaths

If you are feeling anxious, take some deep breaths to calm down.

3. Return to the senses

What can you see, hear, smell, taste? Take you mind of the emotional trigger by focusing on what is really happening to your body.

4. Take time out

Find a quiet space where you can be on your own for a while.

5. Look in the mirror

Connect with your own eyes and remember that you are bigger than this problem.

6. Ask for help

Ask your guardians and guides (or your higher power or god) to assist you in remaining calm and dealing appropriately with your emotions.

7. Distract yourself

Take on a task that is all-consuming so that you have something else to focus on for a little while.

8. Talk it out

Find someone you trust and talk to them. Ask them not to give you advice if you don’t want it. Often we just need a listening ear.

10 killer tricks to land your dream job

Everyone wants to work in a role where they feel fulfilled, motivated and energised to do their best. Finding your dream career is not usually easy. The current job market is tough and it takes dedication and hard work to land a job that you’ll be excited to turn up to, every single day.

The good job roles are out there, it’s just that there are usually many candidates that want them. Landing your dream job when you have little or no experience in an industry (or at all, if you are new to the job market) can be challenging but I’m here to tell you that it is certainly not impossible!

Follow these 10 tips and get your foot in the door of your dream job in 2014!

1. Cold-calling

Believe it or not, the business world has been turning around much longer than email and the internet. So, how did people connect before Facebook? By using the phone! Calling people and speaking to them can help to forge a better, deeper and more personal relationship that the one that can be garnered by connecting via digital means alone. Why? Because it is often easier to fob someone off when you don’t have to speak to them.

Make a list of the top 10 or 20 companies that you would like to work for and hit the phones. There is a skill and an art to effective cold-calling. Do your research, use a script, prep before the call and be persistent. Here is a great article which will give you some handy tips on effective cold-calling.

2. Reach out – send your resume

Another great way to get your foot in the door of your dream job is to send out a personalised copy of your resume, with a cover letter, suggesting roles that you might be suitable for. While this can seem a bold step, it often works, particularly in small industries where there are a limited number of players.

Find out who the boss is, and who heads the department where you would like to find work. Research the company as much as you can. Locate their (professional) social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When sending your resume and cover letter, make it as personal as possible.

3. Find a mentor

By far, one of the best ways to connect with an industry is to find a mentor who has invested in your career to a certain extent. People in positions of power and influence are always busy, but many of the good ones make time in their schedules to talk to and mentor up-and-comers who show dedication, skill and enthusiasm.

Finding a mentor can be challenging, but by far the most important part of the process is finding someone who is a good personality match to you, with shared values and ideals. Here is a great wikihow article on how to identify and find a mentor in your local area.

4. Send something eye catching

Have you heard about the woman who scored her dream job by baking a gruesome cake? Like sending a personalised resume and cover letter, sending something eye-catching to a hard-to-reach contact can be a winner. This is particularly true if you are seeking work in a creative industry, such as graphic design, TV promotions, fashion or hospitality.

Remember, that the worst thing that can happen is that you do not get a job. Be creative! Think outside the square and let your imagination run wild. Make sure you think through your actions and always, always follow up with a call or email.

5. Find 5 contacts at your level and remain in contact

As well as finding a mentor, it is also good to make five contacts within industry that can keep you informed on the sector and what’s happening. These could be friends, former colleagues, friends of your family or even friends of friends.

Look to sites like LinkedIn to make connections, or connect with people via social media. Does the sector you are hoping to work in have any specialist websites where you can post and comment on current issues? These are all great ways to make casual contacts who can aide in your job search, even if they are not in the direct position to get you a role.

6. Volunteer or intern

Previously in Australia, internship was known as work experience and it was something that students often did for a week or two while they were at school, TAFE or university. These days, the popularity of internship is rising in Australia, often with mixed reports about how fair the arrangement is.

For some industries, internship or volunteering is essential to finding work, particularly in very competitive sectors such as design, media, photography and events. If you are looking to work for an environmental cause, here’s a resource on finding work in the green/environmental industries by volunteering.

7. Get involved in sector activities

Whether you’re hoping to work in hairdressing, marketing, window cleaning, painting and decorating or accounting there are industry events and activities happening in Australia. Depending on where you live, it may be easy or difficult to get to these events.

Look for trade shows, open days, conventions and other events that you can attend to meet contacts and see new industry trends. Start your research online and keep in touch with your contacts to see what’s going on. If you can’t attend an event personally, try to connect with someone who may be going and ask if you can call or email them for a review of what happened.

8. Be a good listener

A great tactic in all business, being a good listener is a top skill to have. As Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Learning to listen effectively can be a great tactic to eventually land your dream job.

Keep your ear to the ground and listen carefully to what people have to say. When you make contacts and connections, listening can be a great tactic. Make any contact more ‘about them’ than ‘about you’. Sell yourself and your skills, but listen to what they need, what they are really saying and what information they are trying to impart. Show yourself as a mature and valuable potential future employee.

9. Ask for advice and help

Once you have a mentor or some networking contacts- use them! Ask them questions, listen to their advice and take information onboard. It’s also important to be specific. This great post from Brazen Careerist mentions the one biggest mistake that people often make when asking for advice: being too unspecific.

When you need help, you need to have done some of the work yourself. Nobody is going to take over your job search for you and land you a job. You have to take the initiative to find out as much as you can, so you can ask intelligent, well-planned questions. If you need spoon-feeding, you’ll soon have your mentors and contacts off-side and you may come across as unmotivated and lazy.

10. Research, research, research!

There are now so many ways you can gather information about the industry you are hoping to find work in, the main players in the sector in Australia and the various companies, businesses and people that make up the employment portfolio.

Check out this excellent infographic on research tips to help you land your dream job. It suggests everything from Googling the name of your interviewer to joining the company’s Facebook page. What are some ways you can research without using online resources? Check your local library or community centre to see what else you can find.

What are your tips? Tell me! 

6 different athletes, 6 different breakfasts: what do they eat?

I love breakfast and it’s my favourite meal of the day. Usually, I have a Sausage and Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s which shocks and appals my friends, family and lover. Having said that, I would eat almost anything for breakfast, even sushi. I went for a whole year eating a piece of tofu sushi for breakfast when I was vegan. I had next to no friends and people stared at me on the train. Times were tough.

I have even written a post called The Reason You Can’t Eat Breakfast. It’s one of my most popular and gets read over 50 times a day if you can believe it. So what’s the secret to eating breakfast? Read the post here. Now that I am all loved-up, I feel somewhat ashamed of my many bad habits, including my terrible junk food habit. I would like to emphasise here that I am not a boom-bah; I have a healthy BMI and no health problems, yet.

I have decided to research the different breakfasts that athletes and other body-centric professionals eat. Do swimmers eat the same brekkie as bodybuilders? Do tennis players have the same nutritional needs as ballet dancers? I have flung my net far and wide across the web and here is what I have uncovered.

What bodybuilders eat for breakfast

According to ask.com, the best thing for a bodybuilder to eat is two large whole eggs, six large egg whites, two slices whole-wheat bread, one sliced tomato and a cup orange juice. This gives a total of 476 calories, 47.6 grams carbohydrates, 40.9 grams of protein and 10.7 grams of fat (source).

Female bodybuilders should eat this: (source) ½ cup oatmeal (with cinnamon and sweeteners), 6 egg whites with 1 yolk and half a grapefruit.

What models eat for breakfast

Who better to ask than Vogue? I always thought that the ideal model breakfast was champagne and a cigarette but apparently not. This great Vogue article gives the breakfast deets of several top-notch models. One of my faves Lara Stone (who is married to Little Britain’s David Walliams) says: that she loves to cook. She favours healthy recipes and plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit, but her guilty breakfast pleasure? “Pancakes! Here’s my recipe for four pancakes: in a blender, mix 100g oats, 200g cottage cheese, 4 eggs and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Shape into two or four pancakes and cook in a frying pan, turning after two minutes. Serve with fresh berries.”

I hate to say it, Lara, but I hope that recipe is for 4 people. By my quick calculations, that concoction would have nearly 1000 calories, the same as two Sausage McMuffins and one hash brown. I know which brekkie I would rather eat!

What jockeys eat for breakfast

Small and sassy, jockeys have to focus on keeping their weight low so that they can compete. I found a great article online by Dominic Prince who says: “Breakfast was oats, crushed barley, linseed and raisins soaked overnight.” He also says, “Jockeys do not enjoy the most pleasant diets, but they work. Woe betide the Grand National jockey who turns up on the day a few pounds overweight; he won’t be asked to ride for that trainer again.” Want to read what he eats for lunch and dinner? Follow his diet here.

What gymnasts eat for breakfast

I always admired gymnasts because their sport looks like so much fun! Until, that is, they miss the beam and land on their behinds!  According to NBC News: ‘Gymnastics, unlike swimming or long-distance running, is considered an “anaerobic” sport, one in which short, intense bursts of power are much more important than endurance.” This means that diets are usually quite restricted. “They eat several times a day, all in small quantities: egg whites for breakfast, a small piece of chicken for lunch, small snacks of cheese and vegetables in between meals and maybe some fish and fruit for dinner.”

What ballet dancers eat for breakfast

According to Dance.net: “A good balanced breakfast. Whole grains: slice of whole grain toast or bowl of oatmeal or similar, protein: scrambled egg or cup of yogurt, fruit: banana or orange or berries, herbal tea or milk/non-dairy milk or coffee. Breakfast sets up your body for the day. A good snack can be fruit and cheese or hardboiled egg and vegetable strips. Drink water. You want food that will give you energy and will stick with you. Fruit and vegetables will give that instant boost, protein will stay with you and keep you going. “

What cricketers eat for breakfast

The Boyf just loves cricket. Unless you’re from a Commonwealth Nation, you probably have no interest in cricket. Cricket is a game that hypnotizes men across Australia for days on end. In fact – one game can take 5 days! Most Aussie men spend this time, asleep on the couch, usually drooling. Occasionally they will wake from their deep slumber and yell, “What’s the score?” and then drift back into a coma. I am not sure how you win a game of cricket. I think one team simply lulls the other team into a kind of dreamless sleep and claims victory. Then they cuddle.

Anyhoo. There is a cricketer called Peter Siddle. I am including him in this post on The Boyf’s insistence because of reports in the media that he breakfasted with 15 bananas each morning. “Siddle has a well publicised relationship with the banana – he consumes 15 to 20 a day – but he’s also a fan of leafy greens, beans and tofu.”Bananas play a big part in that, bananas have a big impact in muscle recovery straight after performance, so that’s pretty much why I eat so many bananas.” Read the article here about how Siddle has become a vegan and improved his health.

So, there you have it. A selection of breakfasts for you from various people who use their bodies as a profession.

What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast? Tell me!

Have a problem? Check your backyard for the solution

Imagine if you didn’t have to learn things to know things? Imagine if all the information of this planet was stored within the very atoms and energy we see and feel around us. Allow your mind to believe (just for a moment) that if you needed to know something, often that very piece of information could be accessed by you, if only you were more aware?

Yah. I know. As if, right?

When a man falls sick, the plant that is his cure is always close by

Often I read things and forget where I have read them and therefore the source is missing. In ancient Greece, there was a theory that if a man fell ill, the plant that would contain the cure to his disease was often right near where he fell sick. I cannot find the source now, but I hope this principle still holds fast. So…When things are wrong – can it be said that the solution is always at hand, close by?

Learning a new trick by tuning in

I have a Hungarian friend who reads this blog who told me a story of when he was a little boy in Hungary. I forget the details, but it involved an aunty, his mother or some other collection of adult relatives and a runaway chicken. My friend was only a boy of seven and had never had to deal with chickens before. No one knew how to catch the chicken, he told me, but he had an idea.

Somehow, he knew that he could control the chicken by drawing a line on the ground and holding the chicken’s head to the line. The chicken became immobile. (Ok this is really true; everyone from Nietzsche to Al Gore has discussed chicken hypnotism.) He claims that no one ever told him how to do this trick, that the information was just ‘out there’ in the ether, waiting for someone who needed it.

He picks up the chicken, draws the line, the chicken becomes hypnotised and could be killed for dinner. Do you believe this story? I do. But when I first heard it, I did not. I thought, ‘What rubbish.” But throughout the course of my life, I have come to realise that often, things like this seem to happen to me, maybe they happen to you too.

Words pulled from the ether

Have you watched American author Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk? It’s quite famous and in it, she talks about a poetess who would “feel” a poem rolling through the hills, hurdling towards her. She said, as a poet, it was up to her to grab her pen and “catch” the poem, before it found another poet.

Does genius come from heaven?

Gilbert goes on to tell the story, saying, that this poetess would sometimes only catch the tail of the poem, and would reel it back in, and the poem would come out backwards, inside-out. It’s a marvellous concept and one that I can relate to. The talk Gilbert gives relates to the notion of “genius” which she says the ancient Greeks believed was like a genie, who bestowed his gifts upon humans. “Genius”, they said, was not the product of man at all, but a gift bestowed by the Gods.

Connect with your Genius Genie

The good news for all us mere mortals is that (if the ancient Greeks are to be believed) genius could be accessible to us all, we just have to be ready and willing to receive it. It may never come. Gilbert says that with her second book (which wasn’t a flop but certainly failed to capture the world’s attention like Eat, Pray, Love) she committed to sitting down at a certain time each day, waiting for the genius genie. She says she sais to the universe:

“If this book is not successful – I want the records to reflect that ‘I Showed Up For My Part’!”

  1. If you have a problem, check your backyard for a solution.
  2. If you need help, the best person for the job might be right behind you.
  3. If you are searching for a word, it may be written on this very page (or somewhere else close by)
  4. If you are looking to connect with your spirit, don’t feel it is far away. 

Signs it’s time to change your life: NOW

Life: it changes every day but frustratingly, often we feel as though we are doing the same things day in, day out, and getting nowhere. Do you have big dreams and goals? The New Year is a great time to change a few things in your life around and set some great plans in motion for the year.

Here are 5 signs that you are ready to change your life. If you have seen two or more of these signs, that’s a good indication that it’s time to start making some alterations to your life, your career, your goals and your future.

1. Idea

It all starts with a great idea! Have you come up with a concept for a small business? Have you been secretly wanting to advance up the chain of command at work, but can’t find the right course that might get you there? Can you potentially see a better way of doing things in your everyday life?

One of the biggest signs that you are ready to change your life is that you feel inspired by a persistent idea. According to a celebrated Indian philosopher, Vivekananda, you should “take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”

Your idea does not have to be groundbreaking, it could even be something quite simple, such as finding a few extra hours a week to devote to your passion.

2. Identify your goals

Another sign that it’s time to stop thinking and start doing is that you have clearly identified your goals. We all have different goals and our goals shift and change throughout our lives as our priorities move.

What are your goals? Do you have a personal interest you’d like to pursue? Are you looking to start a new career? Are you hoping to gain more skills? Are you wanting to start a small business? If you actually know what you want to achieve, no matter what it is, then half the battle is already won.

Get some advice, research on line, choose a short course to get yourself into a network of people who might be able to inspire you and help you. If you have already identified your goals, then this is a sure sign that you are ready to change your life.

3. You have some time

Just about every adult claims to be “time poor”. There are even studies that show children are overscheduled and feeling stressed and overwhelmed. The truth is, we all have some free time available to us, we just need to make our goals a priority.

Fitness guru and self-proclaimed nerd, Steve Kamb has said, “Your priorities, whether you say so or not, are where you choose to spend those hours.  Make the most of them!  It’s amazing how much time you can find when you minimize the things that aren’t important to make room for the things that are.”

If you have found that you have some extra time in your schedule for whatever reason, then this could be another great indication that it’s time to make some changes in your life.

4. You feel bored with what you are currently doing

Lynn A Robinson, M.Ed., is one of America’s leading experts on the topic of intuition. She has said “Boredom is one of those messages from your intuition that change is needed. It’s a signal that your energy is being drained and that something new needs to happen.”

Are you bored with your current situation? Lynn suggests that you should, “bear in mind that the change that’s required may simply be a shift in attitude or a new way of approaching something. It could also mean it’s time to take action and make an outer, tangible change in your life.”

We all get bored from time to time with our day to day activities and tasks, it’s when this shifts from being a slight annoyance to a persistent feeling of boredom that we should take heed and start to change some things in our lives around.

5. A plan

It doesn’t need to be perfect or set in stone. All you need is the very next step! Not all of us are great planners. In fact, some people are so lousy at planning that they drift through life and never achieve any of the goals that they hope for.

Usually these people lack focus and a plan. They are ‘dreamers’ who fail to see the next step on their journey. Any goal looks huge when viewed from the end point. It’s only when we break up a goal into smaller chunks that we get somewhere.

If you have a plan, even a vague plan, that could be a good indication that it’s time to change your life. Remember, you need to have a clear end goal, but the next step is always the most important one on your life’s journey.