Archive for the ‘Success through action’ Category

Today is the day

September 4, 2015

 

Finding your personal starting line

Finding your personal starting line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is your starting point.

Yes, now. Today it all begins; right now.

Past failures, indiscretions, mistakes or false starts are not important.

They’re a learning curve, life experience and the foundation that allows you to be better now.

This is not a ‘living in the moment’ speech, it’s reality. If you can’t change the past, then you need to make peace with it. Very few people wake up brilliant, super fit, a business genius and have all the answers day one. I haven’t met any!

The people who do succeed are the ones that try and fail, and try again, each time getting better than the last.

Sometimes you can feel like a monumental failure, the sort of person that you wouldn’t entrust to have any success in a new project. So it’s easy not to start. But you can also think better than that.

Because giving up is no fun. It certainly doesn’t allow you to reach your potential, live the life you want or enjoy the satisfaction of breaking old habits and being successful.

And how sweet would that be?

However, don’t set your bar too high. Do what’s right, today, for you. It doesn’t matter what others think or have achieved, or how long it has taken them. They don’t care; most people are too wrapped up in their own ‘stuff’ to give your experiences a second thought. Or even a first one.

Forget about them, and forget about your own ‘stuff’ (those past failures and indiscretions) too. You have a free pass to the future. You know what you do well, so focus on that.

Give yourself another chance, learn from what has gone before and make a start today.

 

Ready, Set, Start

August 26, 2015
Push past inertia ...

Push past your inertia …

What are you waiting for?

I can tell you.

Permission from others to be who you want to be.

Why should you need that?

You don’t.

Then why haven’t you acted to make the changes you know you need to make?

Whether you admit it or not, you’re probably waiting for approval, encouragement or a helping hand to get you started. It doesn’t come because most people are so concerned with living their own lives.

I was talking to a colleague about his plans for further study and how, once again, he had put it off. He clearly felt bad about it and was, I believe, looking to others to make the decision for him.

The sluggish resistance of inertia is powerful. But you must resist. You can’t wait until you feel like doing it. You can’t wait until others do it. You can’t wait until others do it for you.

There’s something in the human psyche that believes that if something is hard to do, or doesn’t feel comfortable, it’s better not to start it yet. Perhaps it won’t feel so daunting tomorrow, or in the summer, or perhaps next year, or when I have more time.

The point is, many things that will create positive results and change in your life will be hard to do at first. When you do them, they will almost always be worth it – that’s the payoff. As a society we value the ‘self-starters’ and ‘go-getters’ but rarely do we self-start ourselves.

It’s a strange phenomenon that life seems to take a natural drift toward what we don’t want, toward what will actually steal life from us. Easy is easy, but easy is rarely best.

It’s easier to sit on the couch and watch TV than to spend time talking with your family, or to read a book that will stimulate your mind, or to start that project that you beat yourself up for continually putting off.

If you push yourself to do, it’ll feel really good. Accomplishment is a reward in itself. But at first, change won’t be easy. In fact, getting yourself out of your rut may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, even if in theory it should be simple.

Push hard against the inertia holding you back and create the life that you want.

Keeping the faith

June 30, 2015
Find your own way

Find your own way

I love listening to children’s wild ideas about life; what they want to create and what they want to be. Young children are so much fun; they aren’t yet tainted by the naysayers who decry anything beyond the usual as ‘impossible’.

I like a big dose of impossible. We’d be lost without it. Many people say ‘Dare to dream’ but in the next breath tell you why your dream is impossible. We see the results of the out-of-the-box thinkers all the time. We see how they drive the advancements of the world.

So why, as a society, do we expect everyone to conform? My son was telling me how he wanted to make a difference in the world and get rich doing it. He’s a clever boy and I don’t doubt him for a moment.

An older relative who was visiting said ‘That would never work in the real world’ and followed this up with ‘It’s not very nice to say that you want to be rich when there are so many people struggling in the world today’.

Now there’s a massive dose of lack mentality! She didn’t mean to be negative; she was trying to protect him from disappointment by telling him not to set the bar too high. That’s an opinion that’s more common than you think – and one that gives us ‘permission’ not to try.

This ‘real world’ sounds like a depressing place. A place where new ideas, different approaches and enthusiasm are checked at the door. Where real-world inhabitants are filled with negativity and despair. They expect new ideas to fail and change to be rejected. Worse, they want to drag others down with them.

Don’t believe the naysayers. Their world may be real for them, but it doesn’t mean you have to live in it. The real world isn’t a place, it’s an excuse. Don’t go there.

 

Where to find success

February 18, 2015
The zest of success!

The zest of success!

Work in a corporate with more than 100 people and you’ll find such a diversity of people, performance levels and expectations. There are great people, top performers who are well rewarded and provide excellent value for the business. However, there are many who expect to be rewarded at a level far above their effort and results. Their self-perception is mismatched with their performance. Often it’s not ability, but effort and motivation that holds them back.

So where does success meet personal power? Here are some tips:

In order to succeed you need ambition, which means you need to work hard, make sacrifices, and keep going when things aren’t going well. It’s easy to get discouraged or side-tracked; success comes in the last 10% that most people aren’t prepared to do.

Successful people are energetic. They act and talk with passion, bringing people along on the journey. Stamina counts: you have to be willing to work harder and longer than those around you. ‘Wanting’ and ‘doing’ are very different; be your own action hero and people will feed off your energy.

Ambition and energy need to be channelled toward a clear goal. ‘Busy’ and ‘efficient’ are two very different things. There are many choices when focusing on what’s important, so don’t make the mistake of not choosing.

The drive toward success must include ongoing analysis and assessment. Many people think they have 10 years of experience, but they really have one year of experience repeated 10 times. In order for experience to lead to growth, you must review your progress objectively and be prepared to make appropriate changes.

Successful people exude confidence, which increases their influence and power. Confident behavior is often associated with actual power, so you’ll have more influence if you come across as confident and decisive.

Do you have the capacity to tolerate conflict? Most people don’t; they prefer to avoid difficult situations and difficult people. Since change often provokes resistance, standing up for your beliefs can be challenging. Sometimes you need to fight for what you want.

To find success, I’m not suggesting you dedicate your life to your ambition. Balance is important and provides perspective. Use your time wisely and, when working, be present, focused and motivated. Don’t expect others to provide this, it comes from within. Take initiative. Do more than expected. Do this and you’ll stand out in a world where striving for mediocrity is the norm.

New Year: a time of change

January 30, 2015
How do  we achieve meaningful change?

How do we achieve meaningful change?

Often the most important things in our lives remain hidden in plain sight, obscured by the rush of routine or the pull of commitment. Sometimes, the most we can do is simply focus on the next task, whatever is most urgent. In so doing, we slowly become oblivious to what’s most important.

At other times, we succumb to the temptation of believing that progress means change. If you haven’t yet started then you will need to change; however, it’s easy to forget that, in choosing what you have already chosen, you may have chosen well.

Sometimes you choose badly and embrace the wrong set of values or pursue the wrong purposes. When that happens, you need to have the confidence to make other choices.

But we also need to learn the value of staying true, of choosing again what we chose before.

Commitment and success

January 20, 2015
Commitment means taking action

Commitment means taking action

This is my 200th blog post so a very opportune time to talk about commitment.

We all know that some people find it easier to commit than others – taking action to move into a committed, full and happy life – while others find commitment to anyone or anything a struggle.

The usual explanation of the uncommitted is that something ‘better’ might be just around the corner. This can only be part of the equation because it’s not only what you commit to, it’s how you commit that defines your success.

Only the smallest part of committing is the passive process of ‘deciding’ what you have committed to; the main factor that will make the choice successful or not is the work you put into it. ‘I will start a blog, I will start exercising, I will improve my education’ – all count for very little unless you take action.

The key determiner of how you commit (or not) is the script that dictates how you live your life. Often the positive self-talk or initial excitement of the challenge isn’t enough. There’s a difference between what you want to believe (‘I can change’) and what you actually believe (‘It’s no use, I will never change’). Compare this to an internal belief system that supports ‘I always finish what I start’ to ‘It’s no use, I always give up or fail.’

Perhaps the best response is to prove it to yourself. Make small changes and keep at it. Don’t try to change everything all in one go. Set small tasks that you know you can achieve and build on them. Set achievable stepping stones that support your progress and build your belief system.

 

 

The wave of success

June 6, 2014
Surfing is life

Surfing is life

Last week I enjoyed a week’s holiday on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where I spent time in the warm Noosa waters surfing with my son. With a busy work schedule it was a great way to have a break and surfing is my meditation; a time to feel totally free.

Surfing is a challenge and every wave is different. For the best ride, I adapt to the changing conditions, anticipate the best place to take off and commit by paddling hard. Get it right and I’m rewarded with a ride across the wave, effortlessly gliding ahead of the break using the power of the ocean to drive the board forward.

Some days are brilliant and others frustrating. There are so many variables and the challenge makes it interesting every time. I was thinking how much this is like life. To succeed, we must position ourselves as best we can, read the environment, trust our skills, commit and put in the effort up front. Only then might we be rewarded with a great ride.

Not everyone is prepared to paddle; some prefer to sit on their board and allow the wave to pass beneath them. They sit in the line-up all day without ever catching a wave, not prepared to make the commitment or expend the energy to succeed.

If you wait for the ‘perfect’ wave before making the commitment to paddle you’ll surely miss it. Don’t wait. Catch several small waves before tackling a larger one. Often you’ll miss it, sometimes you’ll fall, and that’s all part of the learning. Just paddle back out and commit to the next one.

If nature throws rough water at you it can be best to ride it out. If you fight against it you expend your energy and still go backwards. Sometimes you have to just have to know when to stop pushing and wait for the storm to pass.

When we’re prepared we catch the wave and are rewarded with a long, effortless and flowing ride, at one with the elements and ahead of the break.

We all end up on the beach anyway, but how we get there defines the quality of our lives.

Does desire drive happiness?

April 11, 2014
What is our driver of happiness?

What is our driver of happiness?

Desire is the crucible that forges character because it creates conflict and overcoming that conflict leads to fulfilment and happiness.

If we want nothing, then nothing stands in our way. Desire puts our lives in motion. There may be no more important questions to ask of ourselves than what do we want from life? And have we achieved it? If not, why not? If so, what’s next?

It’s normal for us to desire what we don’t have. But desires need to be focused. If we have too many desires it’s difficult to pursue any one of them with conviction or dedication.

We need to learn to disregard the desire for unnecessary possessions or distracting experiences. This is not always easy. When we focus on only a few desires and work towards them, desires that are worthy of serious commitment, we’ll be happier and feel a sense of achievement.

The process of understanding what really matters will make us more committed and persistent. When confronted with new and overwhelming obstacles, in pursuit of something we can’t live without, we’re forced to change, adapt and look deeper into ourselves for some insight, passion or strength that will give us the resolve to keep going.

The inevitable consequence of this journey is conflict, both internal and external. No matter what change you want to make in your life there will be easier, more comfortable options that offer faster ‘results’. And no matter which direction you’re headed, someone won’t want you going there.

Focus your desires on what matters most, then put yourself in motion. Yes, there will be conflict. But there will be steady progress and enduring satisfaction as well.

Forget New Year’s resolutions

January 8, 2014
Are your new year plans clear?

Are your new year plans clear?

If you’re like many people, then your New Year’s resolutions won’t last the week.

Do you really want to change?

Change is the only real constant in our lives. Yet most of us resist it, or at least actively avoid it. So, it seems reasonable, and possibly inevitable, that our New Year’s resolutions are plans soon forgotten.

Genuine change requires commitment.

New Year’s resolutions often involve losing weight, exercising more, drinking and smoking less or perhaps finding a better job or working less. We begin the New Year with motivation and desire but as the weeks go by it’s easy to return to our earlier behaviour patterns, settle into old habits and let go of our resolutions until the following year.

It turns into one big cliché. Perpetuated by the ‘New Year, New You’ propaganda pedalled by the weight loss companies, fix-it-fast exercise equipment salespeople and magazines promising the next ‘miracle diet’.

It’s mostly wishful thinking. That’s because behaviour, once established, is hard to change.

We would like to weigh less but don’t want to give up our eating habits; we want to be fit but don’t want to get out and exercise. We want the outcome of behaviour change but not the process. We focus on the loss (can’t eat my favourite food) rather than the benefit (I have a healthy body). No one talks about New Year’s resolutions in February.

That’s why realistic goals are better than resolutions.

What belief, desire and energy can you put behind a realistic goal? What action will you take today? What is the benefit you want? What this means in terms of change is not just changing, but working out why we need to change.

The change we want for ourselves is always available to us. If we embrace that change and invest ourselves in its potential, it’s likely to be successful.

The paradox of life

December 9, 2013
What's coming over your horizon?

What’s coming over your horizon?

We’ve created a society that offers so much comfort and security. And an endless variety of things to make us feel good, look good and save time. We should be happy.

But we’re not. Working hours and depression rates are increasing.

As we strive to know more, have more and do more, we become less. In defining our worth through possessions and achievements we neglect to consider who we really are.

Our mind space for soul searching is limited. We fill every moment with stimulus so we can’t hear what’s inside. We keep our minds busy flitting from one task to another, 24/7 electronic access, no down time, no time to think, stand still or take a breath.

There’s always the next thing to strive for.

Few people see the big picture; most only see the next week. The grand plan keeps us busy, heads down; we’re shaped by what’s around us and not by possibility. Fear makes us play safe and stick to the rules of the game; forget your dreams, settle for safety and security.

We’re told to live large, live our best life. To change, to get better, to find out who we really are. Yes, but how? What’s the currency of conversion? Is belief enough?

What are you after? Do you believe life has a greater purpose? What’s your purpose?

And do you want to change?