There’s an old saying that says “when life gives you lemons make lemonade”. It sounds positive and makes you feel like you have some control over what happened to you. Yet when life does get us lemons, through things not going the way we wanted them to, the first reaction is usually to complain about how hard life is.

The events of the past can leave you feeling that things will never work out for you. Your present circumstances confirm that you are not where you want to be. The future is a prediction based on your past and your present circumstances.

Failure is disappointing. Repeated failure is soul-destroying. When we say we have failed, what we mean is we have not achieved a goal that we decided on. The goals that we fail to achieve, could actually be the goals of someone else and not our own at all.

Core relationship needs are needs in a relationship, which are not negotiable. It is essential to know what they are because unfulfilled needs can become deal-breakers. If your partner cannot fulfil these core relationship needs, then it is likely that your relationship won’t last or at the very best will be a shadow of what it could be.

Overcoming anxiety is never easy. It takes a great deal of dedication and focus to overcome the condition. Sufferers of social anxiety must learn how to recognize the symptoms and develop an effective strategy for overcoming it.

Often having too much to do and not enough time to do it leads to feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelm impacts us mentally, physically, and emotionally and in turn, impacts those around us. When we are in this situation, it’s tough to see how we can change anything. Here are five tips for reducing overwhelm and increasing the amount you get done.


Take the time to sit still and breathe for a moment

When we feel stressed and overwhelmed the first thing to suffer is our breathing. We tend to shallow breathe. Taking time to stand still and do a breathing exercise will help get more oxygen into your body, correcting or shallow breathing and will have a calming effect on your physical body and your mind.

Square breathing is one good way to do this

  • Begin by slowly exhaling all of your air out
  • Then, gently inhale through your nose to a slow count of 4
  • Hold your breath in for a count of 4
  • Then gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath out for the count of 4
  • Repeat as many times as you need to calm down

Have a look at what you have to do and get a few of the quick ones out of the way first

By doing a few of the simple, quick tasks, this will shorten your list for the day and give you a sense that you are making some progress.

Be realistic as to how you are going with what you’re trying to handle

We are so quick to beat ourselves up when overwhelm makes us feel that we are inadequate and failing because we can’t get everything done.

Overwhelm starts with us believing that we can handle anything no matter how big. It is reinforced by the idea that not being able to do so is a failure.



If you are feeling overwhelmed don’t try to multitask

Actually, there is no such thing as multitasking. What you are quickly doing is shifting focus from one task to the other very rapidly. Doing that can be very tiring, particularly when you’re feeling low on energy.

It’s best to focus on one task at a time so that it can have your full attention. When you do this, you will realise how quickly you can get things done. Doing so will require much less energy than trying to focus on several things.

Change your energy level

Continually pushing ourselves to try to complete everything in the same location can make us feel like we’re trapped in a rut. It doesn’t matter where that location is it starts to feel a bit like a prison. Change your location, and you can change how you feel. Get outside in some fresh air. Go for a short walk in an area where there are plants as nature revitalises you. Try going for a quick run. Go outside and call someone on the phone. Have a little bit of a chat to get a change from what you are doing.

Time spent doing this may seem like we’re procrastinating. To ensure that you don’t set a timer so that you don’t overextend this time out. When we are overwhelmed, we tend to waste time stressing out about things. Using that time to get a break is much more productive.

Startpoint Counsellors are experts in reducing the stress of overwhelm and increasing happiness in life.

Call us for a free 15-minute session with one of our counsellors to discuss how we can help you to change your situation. 07 3458 1725

Failure to succeed







Often failure in life is blamed on a lack of willpower. There is, however, increasing evidence that what you “see” happening is what is holding you back.

Albert Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

How often have you heard people say “I can’t imagine……… happening “

Most people struggle to imagine themselves as healthy or fit or anything else that they want. They apply willpower to achieve what they want but end up failing because they cannot achieve things that they cannot imagine themselves achieving. However, instead of realising what is happening, they blame a lack of willpower.

The problem is if you imagine something as impossible then it is impossible.

Emile Coue, (French psychologist ) said, ”when the imagination and the willpower are in conflict, it is always the imagination that wins, without exception.”

In other words, if you cannot imagine yourself as being successful, then willpower will not make you successful.

Emile Coue also said, “when the imagination and the willpower are harmoniously pulling in the same direction, irresistible force is the result.”

Willpower is defined as the ability to control your own thoughts and the way in which you behave:(Cambridge Dictionary)

Willpower is beneficial in the short term for resisting short-term temptations or desires to achieve long-term results.

Kelly McGonigal a health psychologist, a lecturer at Stanford University and the author of “The Willpower Instinct” sees willpower as being comprised of

  • I won’t
  • I will power.
  • I want power (remembering what you want).

There is an increasing amount of research showing that resisting temptations depletes us mentally and as a result decreases our willpower.

How much willpower you have in a day is a finite amount, and that amount is dependent on a multitude of factors. For example, if you’re not feeling very well, tired or stressed you’ll have less than if you’re feeling rested and refreshed.


Imagination is defined as: the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the creative ability to form images, ideas, and sensations in the mind without any immediate input of the senses (such as seeing or hearing). (Wikipedia)

Let us look at imagination and willpower in the world of a smoker.  Logic says that smoking is detrimental and as a result, a person may be trying to stop smoking using willpower. However, during certain times of the day, something calls to them to smoke, and that call is coming from their imagination, and they submit. Subconsciously they are following the images embedded in their mind which are images of them smoking.

A person who has a weight issue will apply willpower to eat the right things but if they have an image of themselves as an overweight person that image will win and they will not lose weight.

If I have a metal plank that is 60 cm wide and 4 meters long and I place it on the floor and ask you to walk along it, you should not have a problem in doing that. If I then raise that plank to a height of 4 meters and asked you to repeat the action, you may be able to do it, but there may also be some hesitation as you start to imagine what would happen if you fell off. Now I raise it to a height of 10 meters. How do you feel about walking across it? More than likely your imagination about falling is way stronger than your willpower to walk across it.

Willpower is important but is given too much credit as being the total answer. Initially, the decision to make any change requires willpower. Once the movement towards change initiates, visualisation and imagination are the next two important components. Vividly imaged images draw us forward to the realisation of that which we imagine.

Visualisation is not about dreaming or hoping something will change. It is, however, a well-developed method of improving performance which is supported by scientific evidence and used by successful people such as athletes.

Neuroscience tells us that the brain can change based on what we often do. If we do something over and over again, it strengthens the neural connections relating to that behaviour meaning that it is more likely that it will continue to occur without a lot of effort. We know this as a habit.

To create a new neural pathway in the brain requires 21 to 30 days. That is 21 to 30 days of imagination and visualisation plus focusing on learning new information and exposing ourselves to new situations.

When we first learnt to drive a car, it was a series of steps that needed to be coordinated to achieve the goal. At first, these steps required focus and the sequence became imaged in our minds. With the application of imagination and experience, the brain over time created the neural pathway that now automates those steps. Now you can now get into a car and drive without thinking in detail about what you are doing.

The interesting thing is that imagination built through visualisation works because the neurons in our brains (building blocks of neural pathways) see imagery as equivalent to action that occurs in reality.

The following Universal Laws help us understand how the mind processes suggestions into a belief system.

These were formulated by a Physician Emile Coue in the 19th century.

The Law of Concentrated Attention

When you repeatedly concentrate on an idea, it tends to become true for you.

The Law of Reversed Effect

The more you think about not doing something the more you imagine yourself doing it and imagination will win.

The Law of Dominant Effect

Focusing on something is more effective when combined with strong emotion.

Human beings process information and retain information in combination with our five senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling). The more that we associate sensual information with the thing that we imagine the stronger it becomes.

The brain cannot distinguish between imagined and real.

The building of neural pathways can be triggered, simply by imagining it happening.

Exercise to build a Vivid image in your imagination

  • Decided what you want to accomplish and write it down.
  • Close your eyes and imagine what it will look like (see) when you achieve it. Write it down.
  • Write down what you are hearing
  • Write down what you are feeling
  • Write down what you are smelling
  • Write down what you are tasting
  • If you cannot list all five senses that is ok
  • Refer back to what you have written several times a day and reimagine it
  • Repeat for at least 30 days

The image needs to become very vivid in every detail. The image overtime will draw you towards the goal. The how just comes. It is not your job to work out how. It is your job to do and trust the process. Take whatever steps you are prompted to take.

As Albert Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

The knowledge is what we are trying to grasp at when we focus on “how”. Focus on the imagination and follow the mental/intuitive prompts that follow.

(c) StartPoint Counselling 2018

It is common to hear people complain that they work so hard, try everything that they know but can never seem to get ahead. Asked if they deserve to succeed, they say of course they do. But if that is true why don’t they have what they want?

We can be convinced logically that we deserve good things in our life but on a deeper level we don’t believe it. The result is us not experiencing the very things that we logically believe we should have.

Fortunately, there is a way to overcome this situation, but effort is required.


Admit it

  • Most people say that they deserve the best of everything but in fact don’t believe that

  • Deep down there something that says no you don’t

  • We need to be honest about that, and that’s difficult

  • Try looking in the mirror looking yourself in the eyes and say you are a worthwhile and deserving person. What comes up for you? Do you feel comfortable saying that? Be honest; you have to be open to see the truth.

  • If you are missing out constantly in your life, at some point, you have developed the belief that you don’t deserve to have things.

What makes you think that you are undeserving?

  • What qualities or characteristics make you believe that you are undeserving?

  • Write them down

Find out where your belief originated

  • Look at your list

  • How long have you had these beliefs?

  • Can you think of a time when you first were told what you believe by someone outside of yourself?

  • Most of these things are rooted in the past

Past regrets need letting go

  • The past is a period of time which is fixed in stone. You cannot change it.

  • Mistakes that you have made opportunities that you have missed cannot be changed.

  • The main purpose of the past is for us to look at it and learn from what we have done and what’s happened to us.  Armed with that information, we can make changes in the present moment and stop those things from happening again in our future.

  • Every decision that we make, and the actions that we take based on those decisions, occur because you are trying to do the best that you can with what you have at the time and what you know at the time.

  • Certainly looking back from where we are in the present moment we can be critical of things that we have done or believed in the past.

  • Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but hindsight is based on our current knowledge and wisdom.

  • You are a different person in a different place than where you were a couple of years ago. Please don’t judge your past shelf harshly; you did not have the benefit of what you have now.

  • Certainly, if it’s possible to make amends for what you’ve done in the past then do so, but mostly you can’t do anything.



Look around yourself

  • Looking internally and feeling that somehow there is something about you that makes you undeserving is fairly deflating and it is easy to want to give up.

  • Have a look externally.

  • Pick out some people who have what you are desiring and ask yourself are they more deserving than you?

  • In fact, there are people in the world who are successful regarding material assets, but they are also known as thieves or con men.

  • These people can hardly be classified as deserving based on who they are, but that doesn’t stop them from having things. Obviously, they see things differently to you.

View yourself from somebody’s else’s perspective

  • We are way harder on ourselves than we are on someone else. We are the worst critic possible when it comes to ourselves. We are harsher than anyone else will ever be.

  • We need to step outside of ourselves and see if we can view ourselves as someone that we are supporting through whatever it is we are experiencing.

  • Would you be as critical as you are with yourself with them?

  • Think of the things that you would say to them to encourage them and then say them to yourself.

Stop making comparisons

  • Comparing yourself to other people is one of the most dangerous things that you can do because quite simply it is discouraging and causes us to overlook the things that are worthwhile in ourselves.

  • Every single person on this planet has a set of skills and a purpose in life. Most people never work this out.

  • Our combination of talents is unique to ourselves.

  • How can we possibly compare ourselves to someone else?

  • By looking at what somebody else does and saying I wish I could do that to will blind you to your talents.

  • The only person that you can compare yourself to truly is yourself.

  • Look at your life day by day and ask yourself “Am I better than I was yesterday?”

  • Then ask yourself “Am I better than I was a week ago?” and so on.

  • The great secret here is less instead of looking how far you have to go and feeling like you’re falling short, you are looking back to where we came from and realising how far you have come.

  • Looking how far you have to go, can be discouraging. Realising how far you have come is encouraging.

Separate reality from fiction

  • The expectations that you have of yourself have largely been implanted in you by other people.

  • Your parents may have had ideas of what you should achieve in your life, your schoolteachers would have had ideas of what you’re capable of achieving in their opinion, and there are other authority figures that put expectations upon us, and we accept those as well.

  • Are your expectations realistic? If there’s one thing that unrealistic expectations do it is cause you to believe that you are a failure. Striving to achieve expectations that cannot be achieved leaves you feeling a sense of shame and shame is very toxic.

  • It’s only when you understand your unique combination of talents and what you’re meant to be doing with those, can you really get a sense of your self-worth.

  • Nobody else knows what it is you really should be doing with your life, only you do. You need to set your own standards and let go of those standards which have been set by other people.

Stop feeling selfish

  • Feeling selfish when it comes to having things that you deserve steals from you the things that are rightfully yours.

  • Just because you deserve something doesn’t mean that somebody else doesn’t also deserve it. It’s not like if you get it, no one else can have it.

  • We need to honour our own needs and desires first. If we look after ourselves first, if we emphasise ourselves first then we are in a far better place to help others. Having resources allows us to be less selfish towards other people

Need some help with this process? Please contact me on 07 34581725.

Next post part 2 – Moving Forward (changing your deserving level)

(c) Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2017

07 3458 1725 / 0409 272 115

Time consists of three stages

* The past
* The present
* The future

The past is a collection of life experiences. They are unchangeable, set in stone. We can, however, focus on them, lament the fact that they happened and think about how life could be different if those things hadn’t been part of our past.

The future currently does not exist. Certainly, we can have a look at what’s happened in our past and predict that our future will look similar. But that, in fact, does not lock in the future. By making the right changes, you can create a better future.

For instance, you could walk into my office and sit down on the lounge. You could then suddenly realise that you didn’t want to be in the room. Since walking into the room was an action which occurred in the past you can’t change the fact that you walked into the room. You could then lament your stupidity, beat up on yourself and then forecast the future by saying that you will be stuck it in this room. The future won’t look that bright. There’s no food in this room. It would appear that you’re trapped, doomed to spend the rest of your life in this room. Now you’re probably thinking by now how stupid. All you have to do is get up and walk out of the room. And that is so true. Unfortunately, in life, we don’t take action to change our situation because we’re so focused on how bad the past was and as a result, how bad the future will be.

Change can only occur in what’s called the present moment. The present is the moment of time that we refer to as now. The present moment continues to change and what was the present moment a minute ago is now the past. If you do not like your past, then you can learn from it, even if it’s only learning what you don’t want. Based on what you learn, determine what action you need to take in the present moment to influence your future. In my illustration of walking into the room and then walking back out, your action of making that decision and acting on it means that you have affected your future. You are no longer trapped forever in the room.

Many people say that they feel so powerless when it comes to making changes in their life. They may desire to make changes but find it so hard to take the next step. Taking action requires you to not only be ready but to be willing (Why it takes more than being ready)

I will give you an illustration which will explain why you are feeling so powerless when it comes to making a change. Let’s just assume for illustration purposes that you get 100 units of energy to use in your life. People who lament the past, who constantly revisit the past, get upset over what happened, get upset over their actions and other people’s actions, are focusing a large amount of energy on the past. Let’s just say out of 100 units of power we devote 70 units to the past. Based on the past we then believe that we can’t make changes and so our future will be as bad as our past. So we then take another 20 units of power, and we devote that to worrying about the future which incidentally has not yet occurred yet. So 20 and 70 add up to 90 units, so I now have only ten units left to do anything in the present moment.

I said that you couldn’t change the past. I said the future does not exist yet so I can’t do something in the future to change the future. The only point in time where you have the ability to make changes is in the present moment. That is the only point where you have any power over what’s happening. In my illustration, you’ve only have ten units of power left which is why you feel powerless.

Much is said about not dwelling on the past, and there’s a reason for that. If you dwell on the past, you put your energy into the past, and you’re emotionally bound to the past. You are expending a great deal of energy over something you cannot change. The past is simply a learning experience for us because that’s all we can take from it.

Focusing on the future and placing energy into the future, and worrying about what’s going to happen and where I’m going to be, is the basis of anxiety. Anxiety is stressing about future events which have not occurred yet.

If I choose to focus on the present moment and ask myself what can I do at this point which will make things better for me, then I have a chance of getting the answers which will make that definitive change in my life. An improved future is now possible.
Applying changes in the present moment is a deliberate action because you have to make a decision to do it, you have to be willing to do it, and you have to be willing to follow through on it. A large percentage of the population take default action. The default action is something that you’ve always done. It is the default setting for your life, and you stay doing the same things over and over again. The default setting is so consistent that you can start to predict your future. And if you don’t like that future then you start to be anxious about it. The choice is yours. Deliberate action holds the promise of an improved future while default action will produce a future similar to your past.

Working with people to define what actions they can take in the present to produce the future that they are looking for is exciting. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking at a better future for an individual, couple or a family, change is possible.

If you need assistance with this process, then  decide to take deliberate action and call me. Your future can be different.


(c) Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2017

07 3458 1725 / 0409 272 115

You are so ready to succeed, so ready to be who you are, and so ready to stop struggling. Next year can’t come soon enough. You are so ready for it to be your year.

But if you are so ready for it to happen why does it never happen? Is there a mysterious force working against you or is it something that you are doing? The answer lies in two words ready and willing.

From – Ready has the meaning of being completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use while Willing has the meaning of disposed or consenting; inclined: willing to go along

So ready means that you are prepared for things to change but without being willing for things to change nothing will change. Being willing is not as easy as it sounds. Willingness involves overcoming certain fears that will hold you back.

One thing  I know about change is that there is a price involved.  However, in addition to that price that you pay, there is also a reward to be gained.   While we want the reward, we are fixated on what we will lose.

Our fear is that of loss and can be summed up in the following questions

  1. What will I have to change?
  2. How much effort will I have to put into this?
  3. What will I have to give up for this?
  4. Who in my life will I lose because I have taken this direction?

These are very real questions. Change means we have to leave some things behind to achieve what we want. To make change consistent effort is required. The very nature of change means that we will lose the approval of some people in our lives and as a result, we risk losing our relationship with them.

As a consequence of these challenges and the subsequent fear, we never seem to move past the state of being ready into the state of willingness. This step requires that we commit to the change despite what it is going to take because our eye on the reward and not on what we have to give up.

Fear of loss is what holds us back from doing so many things in life. This fear can be addressed by firstly defining what we’re afraid off and then secondly questioning how powerful that really is. Fear looked at objectively reveals its true nature and allows us to have power over it.

There is no magic to this process. Many people see the approaching end of the year as some magic point where they will make the resolutions for next year and their life will change. There is no magic on December 31 or 1 January. They are simply a measurement of time based on the calendar that we use. Many New Year’s resolutions fail because we are ready but not willing.

If you want to move from being ready to being ready and willing make an appointment to see me, and I can help you with this transition. Call me now (07) 3458-1725.

LieOne of the greatest lies ever told is that we are ordinary or average. We are never ordinary or average. Each one of us has talents and skills to use to follow a path which will then enrich our lives and those around us.

Society, in general, would like us to believe external acquisitions are the way to measure success. As a result, we constantly compare ourselves to those around us who we see as successful and feel like we are a failure or just cannot achieve the heights that we believe we should. Eventually, we just stop believing.

We are taught to evaluate ourselves based on what we see externally. Do you have the right house, car, appliances and the right amount of money in the bank? If not, you’re deemed to be a failure.

The basis of advertising is to convince you that if you buy whatever they are advertising, then you will look and feel successful. And we buy into this idea and purchase the product.

I suggest that the truth is very different. I believe that success is measured by how much we find out about who we are, what are our gifts and talents are and what we should be doing with them. Only by doing this will you find meanIng in your life.

But this truth is rejected, because you can’t use it to sell things and you can’t use it to label people. It lacks the tangibility that people need to make comparisons and make judgements.

To find out who we are, we need to check inside not outside. This task is difficult because there has been so much pressure over an extended period to assess yourself based on external achievements. The tragedy is if we do not change our focus we can never reach our full potential.

Finding the truth about yourself is essential to finding your place in life and achieving success. A healthy relationship with yourself is the basis of all relationships in your life.

The first stage of this process is to look at what skills you have. Many people make the mistake of believing that a skill is something like being able to fly a jet fighter. In fact, skills can be things that we regard to be very simple such as being able to organise things, good at cooking or good at sport. Sometimes your skill is that you like talking with people and can understand and help them.

People have a tendency to look at these types of skills and ask “can’t everyone do that?” Your skill is not as common as you think. Once you work out what your skills are you need to realise that the combination of skills you have is unique to you and combined with our personality is exercised in a unique way. You are not an ordinary person; you have those skills for a reason, and there is a place for you to use those skills to benefit yourself and others.

The second step involves finding out how those skills can be utilised to express yourself as well as make an income. At this point, most people struggle and fail because they have so much self-doubt about themselves and because they don’t believe that they have the ability to utilise their skills.

I would strongly suggest that you engage professional support in this process. Other people can see what you cannot, and assist you to achieve your potential.

At StartPoint Counselling I have helped many clients to discover their potential. If you would like to work with me and learn who you are, what your talents are and how to live a life that reaches your potential, call me on 07 3458 1725.


(C) StartPoint Counselling 2016