Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

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.

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Who are you?

September 26, 2011

Who are you really?

Do you know who you are?

No longer an impressionable teenager, indeed now on the high side of forty, I’m expected to know exactly who I am, what I want and how to be ‘comfortable in my skin’. But I rarely feel that way. Try as I might I’m continually bombarded with instruction on how I should live my life.

The world has a plan; what we should be doing in our twenties, what thirty looks like, where we should be by forty, and a different set of expectations for when we’re over fifty. Each decade nicely packaged like the days of the week – seven incremental steps to the final curtain call; and a celebration at each transition point, that reluctant stepping stone of birthdays ending in a zero.

Life’s like the days of the week. We start on Monday fresh and new, hoping the next few days hurry on by. Wednesday is mid week and we reflect on what we have done and what’s left to do. Thursday is our most productive day and Friday the most enjoyable, where the work is done and we can relax. Saturday is time off for us and our family and Sunday is a day of rest.

And each decade of our life means something different. As we grow we proudly proclaim ten, finally a big kid, double figures. We rush to twenty wanting the world; thirty is the checkpoint for what we’ve achieved and what’s left to do. By forty we feel the loss of youth and reflect on which of life’s boxes we’ve managed to tick. Fifty is to see if we’ve made it, sixty is time to take our foot off the pedal to reflect and seventy is Sunday, the day of rest. If we’re really lucky it’s a long weekend so we get to enjoy another day off to sleep in; eighty.

When the world dictates how we should live our life, it becomes harder to be true to our authentic selves. How exactly do we align ourselves to what we’re meant to be?

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!

Making the break

August 12, 2011

Relax and enjoy life ...

Aloha from Waikiki beach Hawaii, a truly beautiful place. I’m sitting on the balcony of our hotel room overlooking the beach and feeling totally relaxed and realise this is the first time I’ve felt like this for a very long time.

The tropical paradise setting certainly helps and it’s a very different state to what I’m used to experiencing at home. Of course the week before we left was mayhem; far too many things to get done and can I really leave work in the hands of others for 2 weeks?

By the second day I was relaxed and feeling great, reconnecting with my wife and enjoying the many wonderful activities available. The things I was  concerned about last week have faded into insignificance, at least for the time being. Early morning surfs, relaxing on the beach, reading by the pool and enjoying leisurely meals all adding to the relaxed lifestyle. Quite a contrast to grabbing a sandwich between a seemingly never ending schedule of meetings.

And of course the business keeps running and people are doing what they need to and everything works just fine. For many years when I took a holiday I would constantly be on the phone and email believing this was necessary to keep things going. It’s not. I now leave my phone in the room and spend just a few minutes looking at email in the evening.

Already after 4 days I feel renewed and will return with a fresh attitude, a new perspective and lots of great ideas that come from clearing my mind of the day to day clutter. When was the last time you truly got away from your job or business? Are you willing to let those around you step up and show you what they’re made of? Think of the benefits to your health, life and motivation to allow some down time to recharge?

It’s difficult to make the break but worth it when you do. Last night was a wonderful dinner cruise; today we’re swimming with dolphins, tomorrow a trip to the north shore and a visit to Pearl Harbour. That, and a lot of white space, is all I have in the diary for the week. When will you allow it to be your turn?

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?

Time and white space

July 12, 2011

white time

In an earlier series of posts we explored why time appears to pass quicker with each year. Time seems to fly by and we feel the pressure to accomplish more in less time.

For many of us, time is a commodity. We talk about using time, buying time, saving time, spending time or wasting time. We’re experiencing a time compression effect that makes us think we’ve less time to do the things we want to do. This contributes to more stress and less space for recreational activities. We have no white space in our lives, with every minute accounted for.

We mistakenly try to save time by eliminating the activities that add meaning to our lives: time spent on hobbies, leisure pursuits and even family. No white space for anything meaningful.

The cult of productivity dominates our work culture.  The philosophy of productivity is to do things we don’t enjoy doing as quickly and efficiently as possible, in order to have more time for what we do enjoy. But strangely enough, the upshot is that we actually spend less time enjoying life.

Treating time like a commodity doesn’t create white space, but mindfulness does.

When we’re completely in the now, we have no awareness of time. When you’re doing something, especially something you enjoy, remove the guilt and thoughts of what else you should be doing. Allow yourself this mental time out Be present, with a clear mind and an appreciation of  now, life and the spaces between.

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.