I’m sure many people in their teens and early twenties have been excited about what they’re going to do in their lives and start doing those things, such as a sports, extreme sports, try a new hobby, travel or invest in further studies or even a business they are passionate about.
As people age try asking someone what plans they have for the future or when they’re going to do something they promised themselves on their ‘bucket list’ and I bet you’ll usually get ‘I don’t have time, the money, it’s not the right time, I need to get fit first, my cat’s not well’, some other excuse or maybe just a mumbled answer.
Which means they won’t be doing anything. How exciting is that?
What happened to the goals and dreams you once had? Ok, I know not everyone wants to be Richard Branson or start a homeless centre for stray animals but what about learn a new language? learn to salsa, try yoga or take up a healthy sport or do something that will help you improve yourself and interact more with your children or grandchildren?
So many people seem to want life to happen to them or even worse don’t even bother looking to have fun and just accept groundhog day is your life now; getting up, doing the same routine, up at 6 shower, train, go to work, work all day, commute home, dinner sit in front of the tv bed.
Rinse, repeat,, rinse repeat until the weekend, then sitting in front of the tv 'chillin'.
It seems so many people spend their lives being unhappy then get to the age of 45 and accept it!
That’s not living – that’s being a zombie!
This I believe comes down to being conditioned to think that at certain ages certain things and conditions are expected eg we can go crazy, drinking and having parties all the time at college then we have to get serious when we start work.
At 30 we start thinking we’re getting old – at 40 we’re got middle aged spread and past it – at 50 we’re fat, too old to do any sports or play football with the kids and sports and accept illness is a part of life, at 65 retire and sit in the armchair with our slippers (yes I know they have upped the retirement age but I was just showing my old conditioning).
What happened to our minds? We accept that these things will happen and that we cannot be different and get different results, be healthy, not overweight, play sports with the kids or grandkids even, go do different things., such as parachute jump at 60, learn a new language, join a sports club or other club to meet other like-minded people. Anything.
If you think you have a reason why you can’t do some of the things YOU once did and get more out of life for whatever reason then I challenge you to check out others who are in a less able position than you are but manage to achieve so much.
There are plenty of them, and one of them is Nick Vujicic. You just have to take the time to look and I'm sure you'll be amazed at what you find.
Take a look at your life and ask yourself "am I really living……. or am I dead yet?" ....... see what answer you come up with.
ps - If you would like to know how I can help you contact me by clicking here
Over the years I’ve often heard people say ‘I don’t know how to do this’ or ‘I’m not sure about ...........X’
The reality is in this day and age is not that we don’t have enough information, but more a case of having too much information. We have the internet, search engines and even a company’s name now being used as a verb to look for something; we really don’t lack information.
Often, even when we have all the information we still don’t do anything. The biggest gap as it’s called, the gap between knowing and actually doing.
How many people do you know of who have had all the information, resources and time to do something they say they’ve wanted but it never actually happens? ………..Yeah me too!
Several reasons spring to mind but very often they come down to these three.
1) Fear - of what others may say. That they may not reach their goals or targets, the fear of being ridiculed or the fear of failure. This is quite debilitating for many. The thought of what other people may say, even though they probably wouldn’t have the guts to try whatever it is you’re doing themselves, fills them with dread so much that they cannot contemplate going for it.
2) They don’t really want what they said. They say they want something but not really bad enough to put themselves out or do what is required to get the results. More often than not, it’s merely a wish rather than a burning desire to achieve something and all too often the person gives up at the first sign of difficulty or challenge, with the result that they then beat themselves up for being a failure which only adds fuel to the fire of failure.
3) They don’t believe they can actually achieve what they want. Whether that is to build a successful team or business or become a single figure golfer, if the belief is not there, then the person’s actions will be tailored accordingly. Ending in failure.
The biggest gap can sometimes never be bridged unless we look at what we are trying to achieve and decide it is worth going after, believe we can achieve it and face our fears in whatever shape they may appear.
The biggest gap will always be the biggest gap if we don’t actually do something and at least make an attempt to bridge the gap. And like anything, if at first you don’t succeed, try again and again.
I didn’t say it was going to be easy but then again almost everything worthwhile is challenging and certainly not easy.
In the fullness of time you may just surprise yourself that the gap isn’t quite so big after all.
I often hear people say they wish they could have this or wish they could have that and simply do nothing towards actually getting it. They think because they wish for it they can never get it or they think wishing for it, they’ll just have to wait for it to appear.
And guess what? It hardly ever actually appears.
Not really. The idea of wishing for something with the idea that you’ll never get it or achieve it becomes your belief and when you believe something you will act accordingly.
Which simply put, means you won’t do anything to move you in the direction of what you want.
Which brings me to the statement ‘in order to go up you have to give up’, to motivate people to do something.
This can have the exact opposite result of what is desired.. The thought of having to go without doesn’t fill anyone with joy,.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Rebecca wants to go to college to study to be a vet. However she has been told she isn’t smart enough to get the necessary grades to gain entry to the college. Rebecca believes this to be true and does nothing about doing what she loves and following her dream to work with animals.
She has taken on the belief that she isn’t qualified, isn’t smart enough and isn’t good enough to do what she wants……because her grades are not good enough. But that is looking at the result of her present situation and merely accepting it as true.
Rebecca has fallen victim to the unscrupulous trick of the mind of accepting other people’s thoughts and beliefs and taken them on as her own. So she never looks to prove them wrong and never questions the validity of what is being presented in front of her as only being temporary, that it can change. Accepting it is true makes it permanent and therefore has potentially life changing implications.
If Rebecca could only question those beliefs and look instead to prove them wrong, how different could it be? Very. The only way to know is to challenge those beliefs and other people’s thoughts and even the hard evidence of the report card. A report card isn’t cast in stone, it is only written on paper. It can be changed.
First though, is to believe we can change it. How many others have managed to succeed in changing what they thought was real, when in reality was just a belief that held them chained to a life of mediocrity and wishing they could achieve something.
It may take a bit longer than the ‘normal’ route we have been led to believe is the only way to go through life stages. Not everyone these days follows the same well-trodden path of the sheep.
So if Rebecca has to study for an extra year, re-take exams or do whatever is required to get to the next stage, then she must do it. If she really wants what she says she wants.
Asking herself searching questions like ‘what am I doing or where am I spending my time? Or ‘what can I stop doing to help me move toward being a vet?’ are far deeper questions more likely to get better answers.
These questions challenge a) the belief that Rebecca isn’t good enough and b) questions the validity of where her time is being spent. Which is completely different to the question in the heading.
The idea of sacrifice or giving up something brings up thoughts of even more hardship rather than focusing on the outcome of what we want. So instead of sacrifice, think of the gain, the end result, what you want.
This may seem simple and it is, if you challenge the belief. It may just take a little longer than you wanted but won’t it taste all the better!
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Do you ever find yourself with no time to do anything for yourself?.... no time to play a sport, get in shape, learn a new language or even getting that promotion at work?
‘Are you nuts?’ I can hear many of you saying. I don’t have time to brush my hair let alone learn a new language or spend 4 hours playing golf.
At times we all need to take a time out, to re-charge or renew our batteries and take a little time out from this frenetic world we live in today; having the foot on the accelerator full time will only burn the engine out.
I appreciate many of you know that. But being aware is only part of the equation. The other part is doing something about it. The taking action part. Thinking without doing is simply thinking.
So what stops most people from taking this action?
It’s a couple of things. The first one is going to sound rather contradictory to the previous paragraph. It comes down to thinking…… or rather a lack of it. You see most people think they are thinking when in reality they aren’t.
‘Hey James… if we’re not thinking, what are we doing then?’ I hear you shout.
We think we are thinking but in reality, we are acting on BS. No not that….. well yes that, but what I mean is our ‘Beliefs Systems’.
Let me explain. If we say we want to do something, we often have beliefs which are contradictory to what we say we want.
Example. John M. wants to become a director of his firm and has dreamed of such a position for a few years but in his own mind he doesn’t believe he has what the company really wants. He doesn’t feel qualified or doesn’t feel he is good enough. So he does nothing that will make that happen.
His actions are restricted by his BS. His BS are holding him back from what he says he wants. So he isn’t thinking at all. He is re-acting to his beliefs which are simply Keeping him stuck. I’m sure you may appreciate being stuck really isn’t pleasant.
Our belief systems either move us forward or hold us back. Michael Jordan was a great example of using his BS to his advantage rather than letting them hold him back. But to be able to do something about them, we first have to be aware of what our BS are, otherwise we will just keeping getting the same results and stay stuck.
Here is a quick way to see if you’re stuck and to get unstuck.
In John M’s case he knew what he wanted and it was only when he became aware of what his BS was ie ‘I’m not good enough… the company won’t want me’ etc.
Once he started to question those beliefs, he could see that they were not the truth. He accepted his own doubts about his ability as truth, which is what kept him stuck.
Once he realised it was a wrong belief he was able to change them and getting unstuck.
Try it and see what BS you have holding you back.
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Booker T. Washington once wrote ‘character, not circumstance makes the person’. One of the main traits of being a leader is character. How we hold ourselves accountable to not only others but ourselves can be one of life’s great challenges. At times it may prove to be too much of a challenge.
So how do we develop character? There are many ways but like most things it starts with awareness, which I know from personal experience, was usually lacking in the person concerned. Myself included. Lacking in awareness that they had character flaws or lacking in the awareness of how to actually change.
In order to change we have to be intentional not merely wishing things will change. One of the greatest ways I have discovered over the years, is by playing golf. Yes, that crazy game once played by middle aged businessmen in way out clothes and now played by incredibly fit, talented and some supremely wealthy young men.
When I started playing, I had no real clue as to all the rules, even today I am not certain on some, as there are many in the game. But here’s what I learnt as I went along, not only about the rules but what I discovered about the great game that really can help build character and develop leadership skills, whether you are 8 or 68.
Tiger appeared to be of the same character when he was at the same age, but certain character flaws started to appeared in his twenties which developed into a much greater problem as the world saw a few years ago.
You may be like many people today, who often question whether or not they really are in control of their own lives.
For the simple reason they’re not. Often we hear people saying they’re going to end a relationship, get a different job, get healthy, get a better job, or start their own business. However, the reality is that for most, only a few short months or even a year down the line nothing ever changes.
For some though, when something does change, it’s often for the worse.
They feel time is moving on and they still haven’t managed to move forward with what they wanted to do. Frustration and stress start to be their dominant state.
Why is that?
The main reason is the dreaded Fear Factor.
The biggest stumbling block for almost every possibility we face in life comes from our fears. Much of the time this fear comes in the form of fear ridicule, the fear of what others may think about what we want or intend to do.
So whilst we say we want to be, do or have something the reality is that we are not in control of our lives due to our letting fear control us, as opposed to the other way round.
Look at it this way. When we are really young, from birth up to about 7-8 years of age, we are full of energy seeking new possibilities, whether they be good or bad and of course we have no fears. Many times I’ve seen parents, and I was one of them, rushing across the living room to stop the children from getting too close to the plug sockets on the wall, sticking their fingers in and getting zapped.
Of course this is a sensible thing to do. But the same thing happens when we spot a spider on the floor. Children don’t know the dangers of things like that and of course, it’s part of education in life to know about real dangers.
However, unlike the plus socket, a spider in the majority of countries, especially the UK, spiders are not dangerous or a threat.
Many people are frightened of spiders and immediately associate them with being a threat or danger and will rush across the room to save little Johnny or Jenny if they see one. The child will take on our thoughts, behaviours or negative beliefs related to this and will then see all spiders as a danger. Thus the fear of spiders is born.
So in what other ways does this affect us?
The fear of failure and ridicule is stopping people from achieving more of what they say they want out of. The association of failing and what others will think of them can stop even the strongest of people if they allow the ghost of this fear into their heads.
The real problem once it is in there, is controlling it, otherwise it WILL control you.
Being aware of that fear is the first step ie acknowledgement. Once we have acknowledged it then we can make a decision to do something about it. Depending on how deep rooted this fear is, will depend on the time it can take to change our thinking to outwit this devil.
The more we become aware of it then the more we can choose to either accept it or change it. The choice is always ultimately ours.
The game changer is when we discover whether the desire for what we want is in fact greater than the fear.
Have a look at your life and see where your fears may be controlling you. If you're letting fear stop you from moving forward or affecting how you perform and get results.
If any of this resonated with you, contact me to see how I can help you.
I hear so much these days about goal setting, goals and more goals. It sounds a bit like Match of the Day.
How to set goals, big goals, little goals, get goals, go for your goal, target driven goals. I'm all goaled out to be honest.
So many people are driven to achieve their goals but so many actually end up failing and feeling more miserable for months and even years on end. Some spend their entire lives in torture trying to achieve target driven goals that really they have no fun doing or get very little return on their efforts.
In short no contentment or wow factor.
Now I'm not against goals entirely but using goals as the be all and end all I think is not the most productive way to achieve bigger things. To get the bigger picture. To achieve something a bit more than just a monthly sales target.
What I believe is far more beneficial and worthy is to have a vision. A vision of what you want your ideal life to be like.
It doesn't have to be a picture of a luxury yacht in the caribbean, sipping cocktails whilst making millions whilst doing little else but sunbathing. I think that's the painted rosey picture we've been falsely led to believe is eutopia.
But in reality, it can me so much less but so much more than that at the same time.
It's not always about having millions in the bank. For some the idea of being able to spend more quality time with their family rather than killing themselves at a job they hate would bring so much happiness to them.
Or maybe being able to spend time writing a book you've always wanted to. Work with children, teach, give your time to a worthwhile cause or even set up a charity foundation if you did have the necessary funds and support.
There are so many things that can change your world and others that don't have to be driven merely by money but for the quality of life and the purpose for which you feel brings you and others true happiness or contentment.
I've recently finished studying a course given by Dr Richard Boyatzis, wherein he teaches that in order to find improved performance, success and ultimately happiness, a vision is necessary rather merely setting a series of goals.
Goals in themselves are ok to attain a certain level of success but without a vision, a dream, that's big enough to get you really excited, then the mere chasing of targets and small goals doesn't have the same feeling of success, reward or contentment.
Goals set by others, target driven goals especially are at times counter productive, insomuch as we feel obligated or that we ought to be achieving something rather than wanting to. Instead of being ourselves, we are being the 'ought self' ie the person we think we 'ought' to be rather than who we really want to be.
The effect is that we don't really perform to our best when we are operating as the ought self as it conflicts with who we really are. We can't get excited by doing what we think we 'should' be doing, rather than doing something we enjoy our see as a way to get realising our vision or dream.
So whilst goals in themselves are not bad, without the bigger picture, the vision or the dream, they can just be millstones or unrewarding challenges, especially if set by someone else.
Might be a good time to re-think your goals, vision or dreams and if you haven't got any, an even better time to start making some.
ps contact me if you would like to know more about how to go about turning your vision into reality.
I often see business people, owners and entrepreneurs forever searching for new ways to get more clients, more contacts and more business.
The modern business world is so much faster, there is so much more information and there is so much competition compared to years ago. Or maybe that’s my imagination. But the reality is that people feel there is so much more competition and the need to earn more is forever present.
Their business is so important and I understand that. The fear of not hitting targets, losing their business and failure can be overwhelming.
But with all the striving for money, they don’t really look at the most important factor in the whole scheme of things. Which can mean having serious consequences on their health, which sometimes can be too late.
They tend to forget the most important thing in their whole business. Themselves.
I’m sure you’ve never heard of anyone on their deathbed wishing they had worked a bit harder.
I’m also sure you don’t need me asking you how well your business would run without you at the helm?
Chronic stress is now believed to be the biggest cause of sickness, failure and poor performance in the modern world. I’m not referring to just the major stressful events in life but more the relentless barrage of daily stresses we face in life and business that we don’t seem to be able to escape from.
How much could it be costing you?
So here's 5 things you can do to look after yourself.
1. Spend 10-15 minutes writing down the main areas you think you are failing. I would suggest limiting to 5 things. Once you have written them down, start with number 1 and think of what you can do to change things.
For example, if you think you are not getting enough exercise, how about adding 15-20 minutes walking into your daily routine. Walk to the station in the morning or evening and why not go the long way at to get your lunch instead of popping next door or asking the secretary to get it for you.
2. Delegate. If you think you have to do everything then you’re in even more trouble than you think if something does happen to you. Make a list of who can help you take a bit off your plate and make a decision to start implementing these changes.
3. Set parameters. Working 27 hours a day really isn’t going to help you achieve more. In fact the opposite is more likely. Fatigue s not a good companion for work, decisions or performance. Start setting a cut off point for your working day and stick to it (with obvious exceptions). Be aware of when you start to creep into longer working hours.
4. Take several short breaks during the course of the day. Even 5-10 minutes breaks the routine and gives the mind a rest from the constant pressure. Even 2-3 minutes meditating or focusing on a favourite sport or pastime can help break the load of chronic stress.
5. Avoid sugars, caffeine, artificial sweeteners and junk food. These things may seem they are helping you and a life saver at times but the reality is they are short lived. Sugars cause more stress on the body as well as highs and lows. The lows can cause headaches, fatigue and a sever lack of concentration.
Hardly good for your performance or business.
It all starts and ends with you.
Make the decision to improve your performance and business today by looking after you. You’ll thank yourself in the long run and so will your family.
If you would like to know more about how to implement these and other strategies to improve your performance and efficiency, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been asked many times what actually is a performance coach. I’ve been amazed at what some actually think it is but in some instances I’ve understood why they don’t understand. Some think it’s related purely to sport or something to do with an energy drink!
One lady even thought it was something to do with insurance. Though I’m not sure why.
So I thought it would be easier to write a short piece on why I call it performance coaching.
We all strive to attain certain standards. Well most of us I’m sure. But why don’t we actually reach those standards or targets we set and maintain them?
As T.Harv Ecker says ‘How you do anything is how you do everything’.
Your performance will to a huge extent dictate your results. Of course there will sometimes be other factors involved that have a bearing but being responsible for your own results is crucial if you are to really see an improvement.
Take a stunt man or woman who works on major films. They are highly trained individuals who hone their skills over many years to make sure they get the results they want. If not it can have dire consequences.
The same goes for many other professions: fighter pilots, military servicemen and women, fire fighters and sports people. Not to forget the medical profession. How a surgeon performs during an operation can literally mean the difference between life and death.
So performance is critical in certain circumstances but it is also important in our everyday lives. How you perform under pressure in a trading environment, or at work when end of month deadlines are looming or multi-tasking and being expected to deliver high quality services when things seem to be going against you, will ultimately determine your results.
Many factors affect our performance and not always the ones you first think of. Relationships, health, lifestyle, ego, what we eat and environment all have a bearing on how we perform. But the biggest one I have found that affects us more than any other is how we think.
Our thoughts are far more powerful than we can really imagine. Thoughts become things if channelled correctly. If we do don’t learn to control our minds quite simply, our minds control us.
So ask yourself this. Are you happy with your results?
If not, is your thinking hindering your performance and your results?
Have a think about any areas you would like to have had a better result than you did and notice what thoughts come up. Were there any ways you could have improved your results by changing the way you thought about things before you started say a project, an interview, a new work routine or a new health regime. Or even a personal relationship.
You’ll be surprised what you can change or achieve when you become aware of the way you are thinking.
Let me know if you have any questions are want to know more on how you can improve your performance and results by changing the way you think. Contact me on email@example.com
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It’s none of your business………
As a kid I remember hearing that statement quite often. I used to think it was quite rude when kids at school would tell others to ‘mind your own business’ or ‘it’s none of your business’.
I couldn’t figure out why they would want to be so harsh or what appeared to me, downright rude. It seemed kind of sad seeing another 8 year old being chastised when he was only really being inquisitive, rather than trying to hone his detective skills for a career in the police or MI5.
It stuck with me for many years and I cringed whenever I heard someone utter that sentence to another person. The feeling of confrontation, rejection and being chastised filled me with absolute horror and dread.
I would feel complete embarrassment, even when I wasn’t involved in the conversation.
So a few years ago I read that sentence in a book about personal development and a huge wave of unease and anxiety ran over me. My mind immediately went back to the school playground and of fresh faced 8 year olds scowling at each other having just uttered those scary words, probably over something as trivial as a game of conkers or a game of run outs.
I didn’t see it that way for some reason. I saw it as an act of aggression and confrontation.
However, as I read through the chapter in this book, I had an aha moment. I always thought they were rather daft and a figment of people’s imagination.
But how wrong I had been.
It dawned on me that I had been looking at things in totally the wrong way. I had let that sentence or the meaning of that sentence totally affect the way I saw things. Not for the good.
The writer in the book explained that it really is none of my business what other people think or say. If I let what other people say affect the way I think, it will affect the way I do things, act and the results I get.
For years I had let what other people think or say dictate what I would wear, how I would behave or what I would do for a living. It was a fear of what people would think of me. A fear of being judged. Those thoughts kept me in a feeling of having to conform. Conform to other people’s ideas, way of thinking or living.
The sudden reality that it was none of my business suddenly hit me smack in the face and it wasn’t a feeling of anxiety or discomfort as it had always been, but one of relief that I didn’t have to be trapped by a limiting way of thinking any more.
If someone did actually comment on what I was wearing, doing, being then so what. I could choose what to do about it at the time, depending on the nature of the situation and not worry about everything before it had happened.
If they were really a friend then they wouldn’t ridicule me. But if they did, then do I really want to hang around people like that?
I realised I had a choice. I could either carry on with my old way of thinking or decide that it’s none of my business. It was quite a simple choice really.
So, sometimes the simplest of words or things can have such a devastating effect on the way we live our lives but also the simplest of thoughts or actions can also change our lives for the better.
Are there any areas of your life that are being affected by your way of thinking?
If you liked this post and would like to know more about how you can improve your way of thinking and other strategies to help you improve your performance, contact me to set up a complementary strategy session to discuss how I can best help you.