Clare Desira founder of Top Five Movement has recorded her top five happiest moments from each day for nearly 10 years. She has written down more than 10,000 positive memories about her life. She has consciously trained her brain for gratitude, positivity and happiness instead of negativity, pessimism and entitlement.
Her leap then was to take the lessons of doing her top five, and create a product that encourages everyone to take a moment from their day and be provoked with a positivity prompt, from a beautiful deck of 50 question cards. My favourite cards include ‘What’s your favourite smell from today?’, ‘What moment did you share with a loved one today that made you happy?’ and ‘What is the one thing you can celebrate getting done or making progress on today?’.
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
I really had no idea. I was always envious of the kids that were really clear on what they wanted to do. I think I have always had an entrepreneurial streak though. As a family we would spend time split between Colac and Lorne. My brother and I used to collect golf balls from the scrub at the Lorne golf course and then once we had a couple of buckets full we would set up a card table between the 5th and 6th holes where the golfers had to cross a road. We’d sell them cordial, watermelon and their golf balls back! We had so much fun.
From a work perspective, because I was unclear on what I wanted to do, it is fair to say I was completely in cruise mode with life until 2004 when I attended a personal development program called RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award, which I now direct). I was 21 and I had a major light-bulb moment that set me on this path. At RYLA I learnt that I had the power to do and be anything I wanted. Anything.
Now, this wasn’t one of those wishy-washy realisations that fades the second you leave the workshop, this was one of those ‘aha’ moments where my entire perspective on life tangibly shifted. I realised I could switch gears whenever I wanted. I could step out of my ho-hum, just cruising along existence and decide to rise up and do something meaningful and amazing instead. The program opened my eyes to the world of personal development.
Following this program I had a swag of 100 goals. I put them all up on a vision board in my room. In the centre of the vision board I put pictures of the most positive people in my life. Some of the goals were smaller (owning a pair of boots of all things!), through to traveling goals (swimming with hammerheads in the Galapagos, cycling through Vietnam and walking the Camino in Spain). Another was becoming a public speaker (I now speak regularly to groups of 10 to over 1000 people) and another was finding more meaningful work. Have I achieved them all? Yep! I don’t write this to brag but I really want to share that I am an everyday person and that what you focus on grows. The power of a vision or list of goals can be crazily motivating and life-changing.
Baby step by baby step, tiny tweak by tiny tweak, I started taking responsibility for who I was and what I did, and in the process, began creating the kind of life that I really wanted to live and moving towards that vision.
What did/do you study?
At the end of high school, because I was so unclear on what I wanted to do, I chose to study business at university. I thought it would open doors and keep my options open while I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up! I love solving business and community problems with a mix of creativity and logic.
Even though the learning side of school always came easily to me, I wasn’t particularly interested in anything. Looking back I believe this is because I didn’t have a vision. The one time I got super excited about something, it was a short-lived leap that fell really flat (see story below about the Kosovo refugees).
I now have a clear vision for my life and am collecting handy new skills all the time. I doubt I’ll ever be a master of anything, because I like to allow space to keep collecting new skills rather than sticking with the one thing. A few other study/learning experiences include:
- Completing my coaching accreditation. As a coach I believe we can learn anything and I am always learning new things.
- Over the last few years my role has changed so many times. I have loved this. This curiosity, initiative to learn and also being able to see coaching clients go from zero to hero knowledge with a focus on a particular area is motivating. I find the actual learning easy. It is the decision making, procrastination and fear around making a decision to learn something new or outsource it that takes the most energy.
- Behavioural change, social impact measurement and in person/online facilitation have been enormously helpful things for me to study.
- In 2011, I became a Centre for Sustainability Leadership (CSL) fellow. The premise of this course was growing your impact. CSL was all about getting the people who care into leadership. This course was another turning point for me. It was loaded with leaders from all sectors and gave us skills like speech writing and media training.
As part of CSL, I had to write and deliver a speech to 50 peers, all highly successful in their fields and passionate about sustainability. They were all talking on topics like biodiversity, carbon credits and vegetarianism, while I was lost on what to present. After much wondering and pondering (with no small amount of fear), I built up enough courage to bring my very simple daily habit to the floor.
It was the first time I’d taken the Top Five message beyond my own notebook and daily habit. But as I worked on the speech and reflected on everything I’d learnt over the preceding years writing my lists of positive memories, it all fused into a simple, powerful message: Here was an opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable world. The Top Five Movement was born.
'Leap Stories #60' is written by Kylie Lewis, Author at Of Kin. It was originally posted on 14th August 2016, to view the original article click here.