Can Donna reach her big hairy audacious goal? – Donna Thistlethwaite

With most of us back at work now, the holidays may be starting to feel like a distant memory.  I hope that you’re feeling refreshed and prepared for the year ahead.

Recently I was thrilled to hear one of my Chamber of Commerce colleagues say that he took time off as a result of hearing me talk about self-care in a keynote last year. “This is new for me”, he shared “and I’m amazed by how energised I now feel”. Even if we can’t get a break from work, some form of rest and relaxation need to feature in our lives to maintain great mental health.

I was fortunate to have a lengthy break between wanting to spend time with my 10 year old son, a quiet time of year for speaking and training and a desire to prepare for an amazing 2021. In many ways, I feel like I’ve been ‘nesting’ since the turn of the year … putting everything in place for the goals that I plan to actualise this year.

Hopefully, it wasn’t obvious but after Covid hit I set up a temporary office in one of our spare bedrooms where I then worked on a camp table for nine months. It’s not that camp tables are bad per se but this one had a metal ridge where it folded in the middle which caused my laptop to rock from side to side.

What I thought was temporary has now become the new normal. I’m happy to say that I now have a fully functioning office with a decent desk, storage and even a spotty rubbish bin (no more throwing crumpled up pages out to the hallway). I also don’t have any excuses for not achieving my 2021 goals which is a little unnerving.

What about you? Do you have some goals or a vision for 2021? What would your best year look like personally and professionally? I often speak about goal setting in my keynotes because this is one of the practices that helped transform my life. And it’s not just me, many clients and friends have found the same thing … when we think about what we’d like to have, or create, in our lives it has a way of showing up down the track. Whether it’s the micro decisions we make during the year, the clarity that helps us to recognise an opportunity when it arises, the universe co-creating with us or a combination of all these things, I’m convinced that it makes a difference!

I actually have a big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) this year and it feels kinda scary to even put it out there but I’m hoping it’ll inspire you to dream big too. Since my personal story aired on Australian Story in 2017 there’s been talk of me writing a memoir that would include the lessons from my mental health crisis and my resilience strategies which are the true heroes of my story.

To be honest I always thought someone else was going to write the book but years on my white horse riding, ghost writer, still hasn’t shown up. I have recently realised that it’s time for me to “saddle-up” to this somewhat daunting task. I’ve never seen myself as a writer.

For years I have told myself “I can’t write”, that “I have a stuffy writing style”, etc, etc. Interestingly, I was once an anxious and ineffective public speaker yet here I am now a highly regarded professional speaker. It’s amazing how much we can limit ourselves in life. Are there ways that this plays out in your life too?

Now BHAGs can feel pretty overwhelming so I recommend breaking your goals into some mini goals. I’m currently working through a couple of online writing courses, writing blogs and journaling for practice and will soon engage a book coach to guide and support me through the process.

And then there’s accountability, we all a bit of that don’t we? I’m going to publicly commit right now to getting my book out into the world in 2021. It’s time that I stop thinking about myself and focus on the people for whom my story will give hope and those whose lives may be changed by the resilience strategies that have allowed me to THRIVE.

My other goal major goal this year is to equip individuals and organisations to THRIVE through the acquisition of Mental Health First Aid skills and the amazing Resilience at Work (R@W) model and assessment scale. In 2020 I worked with a number of client organisations which introduced networks of Mental Health First Aiders that have been effective in educating staff about mental illness, reducing stigma, creating empathy, and contributing to mentally healthier workplaces.

If you are interested in improving the mental health and wellbeing of your workforce, I would love to chat about how I can support you and your staff. Email or call 0419 120 601.

Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.

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