Posts Tagged ‘simplify’

What if …

August 12, 2013


Last week I left the cold of the Australian winter to spend a week in the California sunshine; a business trip with an unaccustomed amount of free time.

With a meeting on Thursday and a conference on Monday we had the rare opportunity of three days off to explore and enjoy ourselves. It’s easy to be captivated by LA, an amazing city, and the diversity, contrast and excitement.

We marvelled in the hurricane colour of Venice beach, Hollywood’s glamour and the excitement of Huntington Pier and the final heats of a world pro surfing tour event. As a child I’d seen footage of surfers navigating the pylons of this pier, surfing through and around in a seemingly death defying display of skill and control.

And now I was right here.

It’s times like these that I wonder why I waste so much of my life locked in an office in an endless busyness that often feels of little value. I want to retire and live the bohemian lifestyle of one who is truly free. A life of fulfilment, financially free, living for the moment and experiencing the joy of life without the constraints of time.

In LA, I walked along the ocean-front apartments daydreaming … picturing myself tanned and lean, relaxed and happy as I returned from a morning surf to breakfast on fresh tropical fruit and roasted coffee before spending a few hours writing … in the early afternoons I’d a stroll down to a cafe for lunch and some banter with the local vendors while enjoying the warm day and the tropical breeze. Time is only defined by light and dark, a beautiful sunset heralding the end of the day …

But then it’s back to reality and the worry that it’s a nice dream but that’s all it ever will be. Then I ask myself: what if … ?


Your place in your personal space

March 27, 2012

Respect the personal space!

Understanding what drives you helps to control your activity and time. It also provides you with a compass. This leads to personal freedom.

The single greatest obstacle to success is time. Mostly this is the time used to do all those things you are ‘supposed’ to do. Life can become a monolithically repetitive chore, which runs on auto pilot with little resistance original thought. Think of your standard day and notice how many things are pre-programmed and how many of these are a waste of time.

Understand what influences you and you will:

  • Learn how to keep focused on your own plans
  • Avoid diversions which drain your resources
  • Focus on the variables you can control.

So, become aware of the internal and external constraints that limit you. Apply knowledge gained from past experiences to present ones. Know yourself: when you are most creative, the people who inspire you, what makes you happy. And then become familiar with the opposite. To be comfortable with situations that are unpleasant provides benefit in equal proportions.

We’re often told to look inward but we must look out as well. We can’t avoid external influences, and many are beyond our control. We must operate in the world so we must balance both. Knowledge is power, which helps us deal with what life presents. The benefit? When we rely on our experience, rather than our autopilot, to deal with new situations we reduce anxiety and increase our flexibility to handle what comes our way.

This is part experience, part confidence but … mostly … responsibility for your own behaviour and outcomes. Freedom comes from knowing your needs, your effect on others and their effect on you. The better you understand, the easier it will be to focus your efforts on achieving success.


Defining your life balance

August 30, 2011

Can you find your balance point?

Having just returned from a holiday I find myself thinking about life balance and how our definition of balance can change depending on our circumstances. For some people life balance simply means personal happiness, for others it will be linked to financial success. For many feeling happy and loved is enough. For most it’s a complex list of factors that shift with experiences and life stages.

Life balance can be expressed in many different ways:

– Work-Life balance

– Personal and emotional fulfilment

– Health and well-being

– Happiness and feeling good about life

– Successful with a certain feeling of achievement

– Contentment and inner peace

– Good relationships with family and friends

– Spiritual peace

How would you define your life balance; what factors are important to you? The dictionary defines balance as both sides being weighted equally, and balance is often discussed in the context of the interplay between a person’s work and home/leisure pursuits. It also applies to the balance between doing things you must do and thinks you like to do, things you do for others and for yourself, and physical and mental equilibrium.

People may feel satisfied with their career and financial status but very unhappy about being overweight, unfit and rarely home. Others may be happy about health and spiritual growth but unhappy about not having regular work or owning a house.

The lucky ones have all the positives and few of the negatives. Equally weighted financial success and health, time with the kids and personal growth. You can have balance too if you know what it is for you, work towards it, and make choices that move you towards your goals.

To start you must understand what you really want. Prepare separate lists of all things you have to do and the ones you want to do. Now prioritise them. Many people do all the ‘have tos’ first and leave no time for the ‘want tos’. Look at how you can mix them: time at work, driving the kids around, time with your partner, time to read and time to work on that project. A decent measure of all the things that are important to you; that’s balance.

Maintaining the mojo, baby!

August 24, 2011

Leaving the everyday behind ...

There’s a dark and frightening place that most self-help gurus won’t tell you about.

It usually creep ups when you’re busy being busy.

It is this: Have you lost your mojo?

It’s when you wake up one morning and realise you really want to do something different but don’t know what. And that your current work feels empty and meaningless. Afterall, you’re not getting any younger and is this all there is?

Sometimes it’s a side effect of success: you’ve strived for years to get to a certain position, you achieve it, and the euphoria wears off. Perhaps you just need a Xanax and a good lie down.

It may be a temporary plateau that needs to be crossed. It may be a signpost to look further and make changes. What was right yesterday may not be right tomorrow.

A good place to start is to examine your life as a whole. Perhaps you have put so much time and effort into work that you’ve let other things slide. It may be time to rekindle friendships, take up that dormant hobby or have a holiday with your family. It can be fun to ‘reboot’ your life!

We become complacent when things are going well. Take stock of your life and see what you’re thankful for: you enjoy your job and the people you work with; you’re paid well and have a certain level of freedom. You’re family life is good and everyone is healthy. There are lots of people that would love that level of ‘normality’.

Now look at what you still would like to achieve both professionally and personally. Set yourself new goals; goals that can benefit you, your family and your business. Be thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved, then go and find out ‘what’s next’. A charity, hobby or helping others may provide the meaning you’re missing and will again provide relevance to your life. There can be great satisfaction in sharing and giving back.

Such activities aren’t a distraction from a productive life, they make a productive life! This is called work-life balance. So go and get your mojo back, baby. Oh yeah!

The structure of success

July 25, 2011

Go hard or go home!

Success is a continuous journey to better ourselves, overcome our limitations and work towards our goals and aspirations.  There are no shortcuts; the journey requires perseverance, patience and constant work to lead the life we really want.

I’m amazed at the number of people who consistently fail to take action over many years and then wake up one morning and expect it all to happen immediately. They run around looking for the secret to success and expecting it to be easy. It doesn’t work that way.

It’s easy to spend time talking about making changes to your life. It’s good to talk and articulate what you should do, but the real test is whether you’re prepared to take action. Sometimes you just have to start. Try, fail, try again, have a small win, build on it; it will take time, usually years, so don’t allow yourself to be discouraged. The good news is that it’s never too late to start.

Success is not something that you can have just when you feel like it. Success requires discipline and regularity. Discipline is the motivation to continue doing the right thing – after a while it becomes a habit, a way of life, and you enjoy the benefits.

Success is exponential. The more you experience it the more you get. The first requirement is a desire for something better. Even if our goals and dreams are very modest, it is vital to have something to aim for. Try writing down a list of five items you would like to improve and give them priority in your life.

What’s luck got to do with it?

July 21, 2011


Good luck or good management?

The choices you make directly influence your results.  Which means success comes down to deciding what you want and then taking focused and consistent action towards it. Luck has very little to with it.

Some people make choices to be CEOs. Others make choices to do what they do. There’s no good or bad luck either way … there’s just living out those choices. Being a CEO or business owner is not for everyone, and that’s fine: people have diverse goals, aspirations and interests.

However, anyone can run into trouble if they set goals they ‘must’ achieve to be successful. The problem is wanting something but not doing anything about it. This is called dreaming, or waiting for success to find you. Often for such people, others’ success must only have been through good luck.

Successful people don’t require luck; they create success through positivity. They do whatever it takes to be in the right place, prepared, at the right time, as often as possible.

Persistence is a key; success doesn’t often present itself on the first try.

But some don’t see all that, they just see the results of others through envious eyes.

Successful people seek out opportunities that align with their goals. Once they find these opportunities they pursue them relentlessly. If opportunities don’t present, successful people create them.  What’s luck got to do with that?

The quest for space

July 4, 2011


The quest for white space

Finding available market space in a sea of complexity and clutter is a difficult skill to acquire. We’re programmed to see what’s there, not what isn’t – unlike, say, artists, who are trained to see and appreciate positive and negative space at the same time.

Business people need to think in the same way when looking at their markets. A new market or ‘white’ space is the key to growing your business. Going head to head with competitors and fighting over the same turf is not, unless you have a killer competitive advantage.

In Blue Ocean Strategy the authors refer to this as uncontested market space – finding a segment of the market that is new or different and tailoring an offer to fill it. Dell did it with direct- to-customer computers and Amazon with books.

What offerings are missing from your market? A good idea is to look at the market and see what people are doing and then design a product or service to help them – so-called needs-based innovation. Most businesses start with a product or idea and then hope to find a market for it. Some ideas are brilliant but never sell.

Instead, find out what your customers want and give it to them.

Space for you

June 30, 2011


Stop buying the unnecessary, doing the non-essential 

Clear distractions, focus on each moment.

Let go of attachment to doing and having.

Cultivate contentment. Enjoy living with less.





What does white space do?

June 28, 2011

white light

White space, like a frame, focuses attention.

If you only have one paragraph to tell a story, every word in that paragraph becomes more significant. The white space distills and concentrates the power of the words.

White space, like silence, allows us to absorb what’s being said.

Without silence, you cannot hear yourself. Given the pace of life, we need time to relax – time for the mind to settle and enter a reflective state. White space provides a meditative silence which allows us to understand our lives fully.

Whitespace helps create rhythm.

Writers know this. They arrange words into sentences and paragraphs very carefully, knowing where they fall on the page affects how the reader interprets their meaning.

Effective use of white space can make images more potent and words more evocative. Finding the white space in life helps us focus on where we are.  And keeps us moving forward to find what’s next.

This is the benefit of finding our personal space. We learn to understand what we want, based on a realistic appraisal of where we’ve been. With more space and awareness, we find new stories to tell, and re imagine our lives in fresh ways.

White space

June 20, 2011

Finding white space

White space is the space in life that isn’t filled with things.

By using white space we create space, balance and provide focus for what’s important. 

Conceptually, achieving white space isn’t difficult: you remove non-essential items from your life, home, work and possessions to leave the essential items with space around them.

In practice it’s more difficult. It requires patience and practice. The process begins with your mind, then to your environment and back again. Select one aspect of your life. Identify what’s important and progressively remove the non-essential to create white space.

You value what’s left: clarity, balance and a little breathing room.