Totally brilliant. Totally creative. Totally free.

This is the first “Living the Dream Story” which shares stories of ‘ordinary’ people following and living their passion.

I thank Ben Watts for sharing some of his story with me as a tool for inspiring others to live their dream.

Earlier this month I had the privilege to sit in a ‘shed’ in Loxton in South Australia and let life and time fly past.

I was listening and watching, 30 year old Australian musician (guitarist and sound engineer/music producer), Ben Watts, jam with his high school mates.

The ‘shed’ is a sound proof room on a 10 acre block in remote South Australia, built by a proud and supportive dad, for his aspiring son. Eight years earlier Ben was a mechanic living and dreaming of so much more.

For the past five and a half years Ben has been living in America, first to study a dual arts degree – music performance and audio engineering – at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles (where he won most outstanding student for audio engineering) and now as a touring musician.

Ben currently lives in Nashville, USA, working as a recording engineer and backline on tour with one of America’s biggest Country music acts, Lee Brice (http://www.leebrice.com) while also playing guitar for Terra Bella www.terrabellaofficial.com  and Tyler King www.tylerkingmusic.com.

Ben was recently home in Australia for two weeks visiting his family and friends. Ben said, as he looked out over the property, “I look out and I get sentimental”. “I can do what I do because of the love and support of my family”.

I was surprised and amazed how fast time passes listening to the music and watching people in their passion.

Passion I have learned is a commitment and a love. It is not time. When you are living your passion time stops while at the same time passing so quickly. Time doesn’t exist.

I asked Ben 10 questions about his life and journey. I hope you enjoy the story.

When did you first start learning guitar?
In year 7 was when I first played a little. I had a couple lessons and learnt to play “Come as you are” by Nirvana. I didn’t play properly again until I was 19. 

I had played state hockey from 12 to 18. When my body wouldn’t let me play sport anymore, music become an outlet.

What has been the journey for you since finishing school?
I quit high school during year 12 to do a mechanical apprenticeship. At the time I enjoyed sport and cars and I wasn’t passionate about going to uni. 

When I couldn’t play sport anymore and I started guitar lessons all I would do was go to work and come home and practice for 5 hours every night. I had a great teacher. I practiced and jammed with him every night for a couple years before moving to Adelaide (from Loxton) to progress my guitar lessons.

When I was 21 I moved back to Loxton to work in the local music business. I taught guitar for three years, with 60 to 70 students, and played at night in pub rock bands.

When my Aunty passed away, I decided life is short and I needed to chase my dream.

I applied and was accepted into the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.

I left Australia with my girlfriend and two guitars and a suitcase.

When we arrived we hired a U-haul in LA, went to Ikea, and decked out our place.

MI (Musicians Institute) was awesome.

When I finished at MI I then bounced around a few audio engineering studios in LA. I started filling in for Terra Bella which turned into two years of touring up and down the West Coast.

It was really fun. We must have played in every pub and club in California. We supported a lots of acts that came to California. 

We (Terra Bella) then decided to move to Nashville 18 months ago, and through networks I am now touring with Lee Brice.

What have been some of your biggest obstacles?
Visa’s! I have been lucky that family and friends have supported me. That has made it a lot easier.

There was also one point I got really home sick – about two years in. But I stuck it out. I have made such good friends who have supported me a lot. I have moved house 5 times in the past 5 years.

But it’s all worth it.

How did you fund your dream?
Before I started playing guitar seriously, Dad and I bought and completely restored a 1969 XT GT Ford Falcon – it was my pride and joy. When the time came to move to the States, I sold it. 

I get tunnel vision.

Have you ever thought about stopping?
I’ve thought about taking a different path, and where that would lead me. But it doesn’t take me long to re-focus and feel good about where I have been and where I am going. 

What is your biggest goal?
I want to win a Grammy award.

If you don’t set yourself the highest of goals you could possibly reach in the industry you are in, why bother?

If I don’t win a Grammy award – I will have fun trying.

What is the biggest lessons you have learnt on your journey to date?
Overwhelmingly at the end of the day, being a good, reliable, honest working person is valued more than having all the talent in the world. 

The music industry doesn’t baby-sit people. You have to be switched on, look after yourself and be good at your craft. Talent is still talent but it is not the same.

What is a normal week for you now?
I’m doing around three shows working for Lee Brice. 

We take off Wednesday at midnight. Get on the bus and sleep while we travel to the first show.

Get up, work from 9am to 2pm. Have the afternoon off until show time. By the time the show finishes it is usually around 12midnight or 1am.

We sleep and travel by bus to the next show.

Sometimes it’s two shows, sometimes 4 and we get home on a Sunday night.

What is your Big Why? Why do you do what you do?
I love it!

I love playing. I love being on stage (although it’s not the be-all). I would love to spend the rest of my life in the studio making albums. In the studio you are constantly creating.

With everything you always get a little bit better.

What have you enjoyed most about your visit back to Australia?
Spending time with my family.

From what I witnessed from watching the guys in the ‘shed’ and listening to Ben during our chat:

1. Life can be short. Enjoy your life. Live your passion. Live your dream.

2. There is a time for practice. There is a time for perfect practice. And there is a time to be free and to be as creative as you can be and enjoy freedom and fun with your friends.

Love and Light,
Dalice

Perception is Projection

“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.” Deepak Chopra

This is a fantastic Deepak Chopra quote about how your world reflects you. It is powerful to keep in the front of your mind that everything you see in others (both positive and negative) is in you – otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see it.

Fascinating… when you really think about it!

In other words, if it has come into your consciousness it is you. What you recognise outside yourself is what you are inside, otherwise how would you know what it was?

If you are seeing beauty and greatness in another, that is in you. Likewise, if you are placing a judgement or having a strong negative reaction, that is also in you.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”  C.G. Jung 

It is time we got conscious of what’s at the unconscious.

I have witnessed, and at times experienced, a strong reaction to an event or a person which was out of proportion to what really happened/was happening.

When you are having a strong reaction to someone it is important to ask yourself  

– “Is my reaction in proportion to the event?”
– “What do I need to learn here about myself from this event?”
– “What am I not admitting to myself?”
– “What action do I need to take to move forward more positively?”
– “How can I express compassion to myself and others right now?”

I have devised a short activity to assist you in seeing your greatness and the greatness of others.

Step 1: List ten people in your life (family, friends, work colleagues etc) plus your own name in a journal or on a blank piece of paper – leaving about 5 lines between each name.

Step 2:
* Put everything down
* Sit so you are not touching anyone or anything else
* For 5 minutes (set the timer at the start of the 5 minutes) focus on your mindful breathing
* Eyes can be open or closed
* Count each breath in up to 10 (first breath in: 1, second breath in: 2, third breath in: 3 etc.)
* Once you reach ten begin the count again
* If at any time you forget where you are up to begin again at one
* When breathing, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth

Step 3: At the end of the five minutes of mindful breathing. List two positive attributes for each person listed – including yourself.

Tip (this is important): it must be written in the positive i.e. Sally is xxxxxxxx rather than  Sally is not xxxxxxxx

I hope you take the time to experience this exercise and begin to become aware of your thoughts, the judgement you are placing onto others – and what this message is feeding back to you.

Remember, every thought impacts the neural pathways in your brain, therefore it is time we focused on more good than bad, more positive than negative, more happy than sad, more joy than pain.

Love and light,
Dalice

Wisdom. Consciousness. Leadership.

Last year I was asked: What is Wisdom?

I said: Seeing further together

When I think of wisdom I think of our consciousness.

As leaders of our own lives I believe it is our responsibility to raise our level of consciousness to make well informed decisions. Decisions which have considered both sides of the coin and everything and everyone the coin is connected to. Too often we hide behind the ignorance of ‘not knowing’. Maybe it seems easier to follow the crowd and trust that others will make good decisions for you and the world in which we live?

At Dictionary.com, on raising ones consciousness, it says: “to increase one’s awareness and understanding of one’s own needs, behaviour, attitudes, etc., especially as a member of a particular social or political group.” We are all part of a much bigger whole.

We all have the responsibility to increase our awareness and understanding. Our wisdom and seeing further into the future relies on our ability and commitment to increasing our level of consciousness about what matters – our people, our planet, our galaxy.

I am often confused by the choices made in our community from the individual level right through to Government and Big Business. Individuals might become aware and conscious about one social issue but completely ignore another e.g. The desire to buy local food to support local farmers, and therefore visit the Farmers Market each week (awesome) BUT then choose to buy ‘cheap’ fast fashion which keeps a young girl in a developing country as a slave. It just doesn’t make sense!

A few weeks ago I watched the Origins film (http://origins.well.org) and Hungry for Change, and this week I watched Bought (http://boughtmovie.net/free-viewing/ – available free for 5 more days).

One of my favourite quotes from Origins is: “What you are doing today should be sustainable for 7 generations into the future – not just for you and your generation today.”

I don’t recommend watching these films unless you are open to questioning our current reality. If you do decide to watch them, know it is a commitment to watch from start to finish.

Whether you decide to watch any of the above films or not, I do hope you choose to make a commitment to your consciousness, your wisdom and your personal leadership.

Love and Light, Dalice

Be Happier Now

One of the things we are told is we can always choose our attitude, which is 100% true, but sometimes that can feel too hard or overwhelming.

Different things (events or people) can push our buttons and put us into a ‘funk’ or ‘slump’. And when you are there, the way out doesn’t seem as easy or simple as “choose your attitude”. It can even seem easier (although it in fact takes more energy) to remain in a funk.

A few years ago, very early on in my personal development journey, I did a course called ‘Road to Freedom’ with Connie Diano. One of the very early things we were asked to do – possibly in our first or second session – was to make a list of things that we can easily do which will help us to ‘feel happier now’ – and to act on them during the coming weeks.

I can’t remember exactly what was on my list back then but it most likely included:

  • Go for a walk outside (you already know why this is good for you)
  • Meditate (meditation has so many benefits)
  • Listen to a fun upbeat song (music stimulates and uses the entire brain)
  • Read a few pages of a favourite book
  • Ring someone I love who will make me smile
  • Look at some great holiday photos
  • Give someone a big squeeze (hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger)
  • Watch a fun You Tube clip (laughter is amazingly powerful)

This week I was reminded again about the small choices we can make in a moment to change our state to be more resourceful and positive and to enjoy life more fully. The reminder was thanks to Entrepreneur.com and the blog How to transform your life in 6 minutes a day which was published last year.

Making a choice to choose you attitude may seem challenging at the time, but making a decision to act and take a small step doing something which you enjoy is easy. Imagine the difference in your physiology and mood when you change the sound tracks of your life – start by swapping the sad song for something that gets you up and jumping around (literally!)!

When would now be a good time for you to choose your attitude?

I encourage you to start a list today, start with 5 to 10 things which lift your mood and nurture your soul. They don’t have to be big things, in fact little things are great. I promise, once you start Being Happier Now you will want more of it and adding to your list will be easier.

Love and Light,
Dalice

p.s. always be conscious of what is going into “Your Funnel of Greatness

The pigeon and the hole

Today I am unsubscribing from a stereotype and label which I have let hold me back.

I say “let hold me back” because I believe we all make our choices.

Early last year I was given a “Personality Test” (Myers Briggs) which included the introvert/extrovert preference.  The ‘test’ told me I was very highly introverted.

For 12 months I allowed my result to impact me and to define behaviours.  I became quieter and more reserved which then impacted my confidence.  I agreed to sit in a box for almost 12 months.  Now I am breaking out and saying: No labels. No pigeon holes. No stereotypes.

Labelling behaviours creates miss-conceptions and allows us to make excuses or reasons for certain behaviours. They are also a place to hide.

“I did that because….”
“That was the result because….”

We need to remember as powerful individuals that we always have a choice over our behaviour, our outcomes, our successes and our attitude. On the weekend for a bit of fun I answered the questions again and got the result of an “ambivert” – a mix between introvert and extrovert.

The test I did 12 months ago was part of a leadership course and we stood on different sides of the room – introverts on one side, extroverts on the other.

On that day there happened to be a lot of ‘extroverts’ in the room and the topic continued to be discussed throughout the year.  I am sure there was a lot of dialogue at the time about it only being preferences, but the labels stuck!

I strongly believe “Personality profiles” as they are so often called should simply be called “behaviour profiles based on the answers you gave on that day in the state you were in emotionally and physically”.  I am not convinced we need them at all.

Always remember you are not your behaviour.

See people for who they are – not for their behaviour.  Which means you must see yourself for who you are – not your behaviour.  Be free of the labels and live the life you imagine for you.

You are a magnificent being of light. You are perfect.

Love and light,
Dalice

how you see yourself - Copy

Graduation!

Last month I had a dream realised! For several years I had dreamed of doing coaching training and developing my skills in a field which would not only enhance my life and career but would also support others in achieving their potential. My biggest BUZZ always comes when I work with an individual or a team on a skill or a goal and they achieve it – or exceed it!

For years I researched different coaching courses but was never convinced or confident about which direction to take and which one to choose – there a lot of options in the training marketplace for both professional and personal development. It wasn’t until I received a recommendation from a mentor that I trusted in this area that I finally committed.  And I am so glad I did.

The course I decided to go with was Transformational NLP Practitioner Certification© Training with Dr Vesna Grubacevic and I graduated as a Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Timeline Therapy Practitioner, Hypnotherapy certified and Coaching certified. 

I am already more confident and conscious in meetings and focused on the outcomes, connecting better with others and moving forward on my goals and dreams personally and professionally. I am a big believer and promoter of investing in your own development and being an inspired work in progress, and this course was a great investment.

Over the coming months I am looking forward to sharing some of the techniques here on the Live Your Dream site to assist you in your goals.

If you haven’t already, join us on facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/LiveYourDream8 for daily inspirations to Live Your Dream.

Go forth and live your dream,
Dalice