We all live in a relatively predictable world. Maybe what’s happening around us is not predictable, but the way we perceive, respond, or even react often is. We make choices that are familiar to us, we take actions that we are comfortable with, and we experience outcomes that we are rarely surprised about. Did you know that there are many possibilities and outcomes available for you in your life? I want to encourage you to explore unexpected outcomes this week.
My most recent podcast with Bruce Molloy, called Flip your journey to freedom, has had a powerful effect on me. Bruce spoke about the most amazing, and unexpected, journey he experienced after deciding to let the flip of a coin guide his life for 12 months. After losing his partner, his job, and his home, he found a twenty-cent piece on the dashboard of his camper van. With nothing to lose, he decided to let that coin determine the direction he would travel and the things he would do for 12 months. He would ask a question about something, and then flip the coin. A ‘head’ would be a yes, and a ‘tail’ would be a no with that option is no longer available. He would continue with this process until he got a ‘head.’
His first decision was which direction to head in his camper van. He asked, should I go south? Toss, tails, no! He then asked, should I go north? Toss, heads, yes! So, off he went. His journey took him to some amazingly unexpected places and doing things he said he would never have done if not for the coin flip. He said, in no uncertain terms, it led him to a feeling of freedom. After I finished the conversation with Bruce, it was dinner time and so I was inspired to use his strategy to decide what I would have for dinner.
Why his flipping strategy is so powerful is because the toss is not to choose between two known options, it potentially creates the need to come up with ideas that may never have been considered. For Bruce’s incredible journey, you will have to listen to the podcast, but I will share my dinner adventure, which led to a gastronomically unexpected outcome. I asked, will I have chicken? Toss, tails, no! I asked, will I have fish? Toss, tails, no! I asked, will I have vegetarian? Toss, heads, yes! I asked, will I make it vegan? Toss, heads, yes! Okay, unexpected, but that’s cool. I then asked, will I have a salad? Toss, tails, no! I asked, will I have a stir-fry? Toss, tails, no! Now, my mind was scrambling for ideas. I asked, will I have a rice dish? Toss, heads, yes!
I ended up making an unexpectedly delicious rice dish with vegetables, cut up vegan sausages, vegan feta and raw nuts. This is a simple and less than spectacular outcome, but a meal I would never have decided to make without the coin flip. I am telling you this story because I want to offer you a challenge this week, to see if you are courageous enough to allow a coin to determine some basic decisions in your life. If you are, I know there will be some wonderfully unexpected outcomes you will experience by letting go and giving control over to a coin. Trust me, it’s an incredibly liberating thing to do.
If you are up for this challenge and you do in fact create an unexpected and exciting outcome for yourself, no matter how simple it may seem, please let me know. I know that Bruce Molloy would also love to hear about it. So, once the outcome is experienced, could you please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy in Bruce at email@example.com? In that email, please let us know the outcome of your coin flipping and how it felt for you though the process. I look forward to hearing from you.
We are often boxed into life by the limitations of our thinking, based on our knowledge, experiences, self-belief and fear. There are experiences and opportunities out there that you may not have ever considered, and the ones that will transform your life. This is the case for Bruce Molloy. Have fun with your coin flipping this week and I look forward to hearing about your unexpected outcomes.
Yes, that is a confusing tongue twister, for sure. However, an immensely powerful one, if you can decipher it. I have had quite an interesting and transformational seven days since my last blog. Last Sunday, the same message, from two different sources, came to me and agitated me to a seven-day focus. I was watching a live streamed event in the afternoon, and that same evening I was reading a self-help book. Both suggested strongly that focusing on what was happening in the present moment was the right thing to do.
I have the annoying habit of spending too much time in my past and then allowing it to determine my chance of succeeding in the future. In other words, when I think about the things I have previously done that were painful, rejected or didn’t work, I erroneously and unconsciously allow those experiences to affect my belief about my ability to achieve greater things in the future. I can tell you, being stuck between the past and the future is a scary, stressful and yucky place to be. I was reminded last Sunday, not once, but twice, to get out of there fast, and focus squarely on the only time and place I have any control over. The present.
Two amazing things happen when you give yourself the present of being present in the present. The first is that you will gain far more from your present moment experiences. The second is that the present is the only place you can take positive action, which will determine your future, irrespective of your past. Let’s explore…
I have been a reader, a listener and an attender of personal development material and events for a long time. I know when I have had positive changes in my life through this, and when I haven’t. The positive change came after I engaged in the material, in the present moment, and really absorbed it, believed it and acted on it. The reason nothing happened, at times, even while I was reading, listening and attending, was because I was not in the present moment. Have you ever read the same page of a book multiple times, and still not absorbed it? Have you ever listened to an audio or podcast, got to the end and had no idea what was said? Have you ever attended an event and been more focused on the temperature of the room and your hunger? I certainly have, because I was somewhere else, and not in the present moment.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, but been somewhere else? Maybe in the past, or in the future? When this happens, not only do you miss what that person is saying to you, which may be incredibly valuable, but they feel unimportant because people always know when you are not fully attentive to them. As you feel when someone is not listening to you, right? So, step one in being fully present in the present is to engage 100% in everything you do, in the moment. This has been a large part of my focus this week. So, I have switched off notifications, and removed other distractions when listening, reading or engaging with another person. Wow, I have learned some amazing stuff as a result.
My next challenge is to stop my past from determining my future. I have had a fear about a certain part of my business because of previous poor choices and undesirable results from years ago, and I have let them impact my belief about myself and my chance of success in the future. Incredibly, as soon as I start taking positive action, in the present, those fears seem to disappear, and the only time they reappear is when I stop living and acting in the present moment. Interesting! So, whilst it is important to have a vision for the future, it’s even more important to know that future will only ever eventuate by our focus on actions right now in this present moment.
Ironically, this week, I have been inspired by my mentor to set a BHAG. That is a big hairy and audacious goal that, to be honest, scares the hair off me. And there was not a lot of hair to start with! The great news is, that this goal, whilst a seemingly unassailable mountain right now, is a simple process and progression of small daily focused action steps required and taken in the only time I have available to me. That is, this time in this day and this moment.
My podcast this week, with Perry Venakis, called With simplicity, there is so much complexity, has inspired me to simplify my life, my eating and really focus to make sure my well being is optimal. This most effectively allows me to make the most of each moment and each opportunity that presents itself. It’s not easy. Our mind will bombard us with information about our past and predictions about our future based on that past. However, as you move into this upcoming week, I want to encourage you to give yourself a present. That present is a wonderful journey to nowhere except being totally present in the present moment.
I think as humans, one of the biggest challenges we have is surrendering to trust. I also believe that it is the one thing that will most help us live the life of joyful longevity that is available to us all. So, as you read this blog, I hope that you will trust me for a few minutes. I hope, as I discuss trust, you will let go of the fear, the scepticism, the cynicism, the suspicion and just trust that you are good enough. I believe when you trust, the answers will appear as you finally realise everyone and everything is in your life for the higher good.
I don’t know about you, but for much of my life I have had trouble trusting myself and my own judgement, and was often, in fact almost always, suspicious of people trying to help me. Even though that mistrust was happening, I would then get in my car and drive in traffic, not even thinking about it, but just trusting that the drivers coming the other way would stay on the correct side of the road. I would then shop online and, as I entered my credit card details, simply trust that my computer or bank account wouldn’t be compromised. Do you know what I am saying? Have you ever been to the doctor and just trusted what they are saying is right? Have you ever eaten food and trusted that the ‘best before’ date on the packaging is correct?
Think about the things you already blindly trust and then ask yourself this question. If I actually have the capacity to trust, why am I still holding myself back to get up, go out and create the life I truly want to live? When we drive our car, why do we just blindly trust that the other drivers on the road will do the right thing? On the flip side, when we want to create change in our lives, why don’t we trust ourselves and then refuse to even take the first step? It is critical to understand the answers to these two questions because they hold the key to everything you want in life.
Are you ready for the answers? I will talk from my perspective here and see if you relate. When I get in my car, all I am focussed on is where I want to go. I don’t give any brain time to what could potentially happen or what other drivers are doing. When I have an aspiration, or get an opportunity, all of a sudden, I start to think about why I can’t do it, what could potentially go wrong and why it won’t work. Are you with me? When I get into my head, my ability to just trust is switched off, and I go into over analysis. The key to trusting is to get out of your head and into action, with eyes focused on the destination.
In my life I have had trouble trusting myself to write a book, play professional sport, be a successful PT, run a successful business and maintain a successful relationship. In my life, I have also had trouble trusting others who said they wanted to help me or offered me an opportunity. The aspiration or the other person was never the problem. The problem was always my inability to let go of fear, doubt, scepticism and just trust. When, I finally did, incredible things happened. I realised I was good enough to play professional sport, become a bestselling author, run a successful business and enjoy happiness. I found that people are good, and when you trust them, they most often respond by being trustworthy and trusting you.
I hear you potentially asking two questions. What happens if I trust myself and then fail? What happens if I trust someone else and the betray that trust? Are you ready for the answer? Just trust anyway! I will tell you from experience, when you don’t trust and don’t take action, nothing great can ever happen in your life. When you just trust and take action, incredible joy is there waiting for you. If you do fail, you will learn a valuable lesson for your next attempt. If on the chance your trust is not reciprocated by another person, again, you will gain some valuable insights which will help you on the next occasion that you choose to just trust!
In this week’s podcast with Lachlan Winter called Letting go, he discusses how he overcame debilitating Crohn’s disease by just letting go and trusting. I guess what I am saying is that there is far more to gain than to lose if you let go and just trust. I know for a fact I would not be writing this blog or enjoying the wonderful experiences in my life unless I chose to just trust. You are good enough, and people want to be there for you, so all you have do, moving forward from here, is to just trust!
The biggest lie in the world is one that, at some stage, has been told to you, and one you are possibly even telling yourself. That lie is, you are not good enough. I know me just telling you that you are good enough, may not be enough for you to start to believe it. I do, however, want to help you make the shift, if necessary, to start believing deep in your heart, that you are. The ‘good enough’ belief seems to be erroneously connected to talent, intellect, luck or circumstances, when really, they have little to do with it. The key is simple, start doing things!
How many times have you beaten yourself up for not hitting a goal, or being where you want to be in certain areas of your life? That is almost a daily activity for me! Well, not as much anymore, but it certainly has been for much of my life. As you are berating, what do you say to yourself? What is wrong with me? I cannot do it! I am not good enough! I don’t know enough! I am a loser! Or something similar, right?
Well, let me help you here. I would have to say, even not knowing your circumstances or the reason why you are not where you want to be, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with what you do, or don’t do. The reality is, for most people, they just don’t do enough for long enough. When they don’t achieve the goal they want, they mistakenly believe it has something to do with their abilities, when it has almost nothing to do with it. Here is what I want you to read, absorb and embed in your thinking, when you do things, things happen! Talent, intellect, luck or circumstances have nothing to do with it.
Think about something you are frustrated with at the moment, and be honest with yourself. Are you really doing enough? Are you consistent with your actions? Are you doing what you need to be doing, whether you feel like it or not? If you have an uneasy feeling in your gut as you reflect on these three questions, it’s an indication and evidence that your lack of achievement is not about your ability or potential, but about your inactivity. It may not seem like it, but that is great news. Why? Because you don’t need talent, intellect, education, ideal circumstances or luck to take action.
When you take simple action, on a consistent basis, things will happen. You can take that one to the bank. On the other hand, you can have all the ability in the world, learn as much as you like and wait for exactly the right time, but without action, nothing will happen. I have told the story many times, but will tell it again right now. When I decided to write my first book, I had nothing that would indicate it was a smart idea. I didn’t have skill, experience, qualifications, understanding of the process, time or great circumstances. So, the question must be asked, how did I become a best-selling author? The answer is consistent action.
The day I thought about the idea, I got started, and I did a little every day, and guess what happened? A book appeared. It didn’t appear because I was a great writer. It didn’t happen because I had loads of time. I didn’t become a reality because I had any idea of the process. It happened for one reason, and one reason only. I got started, a wrote a few words every single day, and I kept going until it was done. When you do things, things happen!
So, now back to you. Have a think about what you are working towards right now, and be real with yourself and ask, could I be doing more on a consistent basis? If it is a wellness goal, what should you be doing each day that you may not be doing? If it is a financial goal, what could you be doing each day to make things happen there? What could you day each day to strengthen your relationship, build your business, develop a skill or get a desired result? You know this stuff, don’t you? It may just require the courage to get started, even if you are unsure of the entire process. In my podcast this week, with Dr Aneta Kotevski, called Lean into the fear of change, we discuss the incredible benefits that come as a result of having the courage to begin a course of action that will lead to positive change.
My goal this week is to help you understand, once and for all, that your results in life are not dependent on your talents and ability. I want you to know deep in your being that you are already good enough, just the way you are. Finally, I hope to encourage you to believe in your heart that action, taken on a consistent basis, will always predictably lead you to the success you want. Trust me on this, when you do things, things happen.
I have to say this, right from the start of this blog, please don’t go out and make pop-tarts a regular breakfast staple, okay? I have just checked the ingredients list, and there is not much real food in them! Lots of processed sugars, oils and chemicals, just not much food. This blog is not about pop-tarts as a nutritional source, but about what I have identified as, the law of the pop-tart.
I was listening to an audio recently, as I do, and the speaker was talking about the instructions on the pop-tart pack. She listed the four-step process to prepare and consume the product, which included:
- Remove pop-tart from plastic pouch.
- Dispose of plastic pouch responsibly.
- Toast at low heat for 3 minutes.
- Enjoy eating your pop-tart.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have to wonder why the manufacturers felt it necessary to include these ridiculously obvious, and even insulting, instructions on the pop-tart packaging. Maybe because there are actually people out there who put the pop-tart in the toaster without removing the plastic pouch, and they don’t want to be liable for not making it clear. I am sure there are people who do irresponsibly dispose of the plastic refuse. My question is, does suggesting it on the back of the pack actually change someone’s behaviour? Maybe or maybe not, but at least they are being seen as environmentally responsible. I can see why they need to have cooking instructions, in terms of time and temperature, but do we really need to then be reminded to eat what we have just cooked?
It does seem to be a waste of resources and time to put these instructions on the pop-tart packaging, but they are there for a reason, and it is that reason I want to explore with you in this blog. In our life, there are some pretty simple instructions we should follow if we want to be healthy, prosperous and happy. Those instructions just aren’t printed on a package or on a sign on your wall, but maybe they should be. It is my guess that you know the instructions you need to follow if you want to be leaner, fitter and healthier. Do you know them, or should I type them out for you, like the pop-tarts? I believe you also know the simple instructions to have happy and fulfilling relationships. It would surprise me if you didn’t know the instructions to be financially stable. I mean, who wouldn’t be insulted if they were given the following instructions?
- Earn money
- Spend less that you earn
- Each week, deposit extra income in an interest-bearing savings account.
- Enjoy financial choices.
The question I want to ask you is, as I am always asking myself, are you following the obvious and simple instructions to enable you to live your best life? I know you aren’t doing it in every area of life, because none of us are. So, maybe it’s time to apply the law of the pop-tart in the areas that require attention. What do I mean by that? I mean, if you are overspending and putting yourself into debt, then maybe you need to type up some obvious instructions, put them in your face every day and… follow them. If your health is struggling, and it’s affecting every area of your life, why not make an instruction list for yourself and then actually follow it to start the process of regaining optimal wellbeing? No-one wants strained relationships, yet we create them ourselves. So, if that is you, can I recommend an obvious and even insulting instruction list to help you to start the journey of restoration with the most important relationships in your life? The thing that will enhance your life now and forever, is the law of the pop-tart.
You may need help creating your instruction list, so please, for your own sake, reach out for that help. In my podcast this week with the inspiring founder of the PasifikaTOA foundation, Milli Tuhakaraina, called Reach Out, we discuss the power of reaching out to ask for help, and, reaching out to offer help to those who need it. If you need an obvious and simple instruction list, ask for help. If you could help someone create their own list, can I encourage you to do it. The bottom line is this my friend, success, happiness and fulfillment in life is not as hard as you may think, and it is available for you. All you have to do is create your instruction list, follow it and allow the law of the pop-tart to do the rest.
Did you know that all the answers to all the questions you have, problems you are facing or dreams you are aspiring to are right there waiting for you if you just ask for help? If you didn’t know that your life is about to change, if you just ask. If you did know that, and you are still wallowing in the mud and muck of life, why aren’t you just asking for help? This is a question I have asked myself for many years, until I finally slapped myself and said, get over yourself and your ego and ask. So, I did!
You may know I have a beautiful little female Maltese Shih Tzu named Joia. A couple of years ago, I had two of them, but sadly Mr Big passed away at the end of 2018. Whilst they were both the same breed, they were very different dogs. Mr Big was very stoic and good at hiding any discomfort or pain. In fact, he would often walk with a stone or burr in his paw without any fuss. It would often be luck that I would even find the foreign object and wonder how long he had put up with the discomfort, before I made the discovery.
Joia, on the other hand, is very different. In fact, it was just the other day she again demonstrated this difference. We were on our morning walk when, all of a sudden, she stopped, sat, lifted her paw and looked at me with the face of a fluffy angel. Her look said, please help me dad. I knew exactly what it was, because she had done it many times before. I went over to her, removed the burr from her paw, that was causing a mild discomfort, and off she trotted, a happy girl. She had no problem asking me to help her in the very instant she needed the help, Yet Mr Big never asked, he just put up with the discomfort. My question is, what discomfort are you putting up with that could be solved immediately if you just asked for help?
Joia, doesn’t care what I think about her and she doesn’t care if it is inconvenient for me. She wants what she wants, and she will ask for it, no matter the time of the day, or night. Yes, some nights, at 2 or 3am she will ask, in her special squeaky way, to go out for a wee. In my mind, it’s far better to get up and let her out than clean up the doggy mess in the morning. Why is it that we – and by we, I am definitely including myself here – have so much trouble asking for help, when the solution may be as simple as removing a burr or opening a door?
I made a decision a while ago that I don’t want to live a life pretending everything is okay when, actually, I was not at all comfortable. I was not loving what I was doing day to day. I was not comfortable with the financial position I was in. I was not enjoying the stress and anxiety that came with living a life far short of what I believed it could be. I got to the point when I realised that what I knew had gotten me to where I was, and it definitely wasn’t awesome. I also knew that if I wanted a different outcome, I would need to borrow someone else’s brain to help me achieve it. How do you borrow someone else’s brain? You ask them for help, that’s what you do.
Do you know what? When you ask, you will receive. I found people who were happy to help me, and all I had to do was ask. The end result of overcoming my ego and perceived weakness, then admitting I don’t have all the answers and just asking for help, my life changed. It changed quickly! Back in 2004, just after I had published my first book, Eat Chocolate, Drink Alcohol and be Lean & Healthy, I wanted to be retired from my 15 year and 80-hour per week personal training career and be a full-time author. I was in a lot of debt at the time and had no idea of how I could do it. Well, after asking for help, learning some new skills and applying them, in 2006, I retired from personal training and have been a full-time author, speaker, mentor and life-lover ever since. The answer, my friend, just ask for help!
In the most incredible conversation I had with Petrea King on my podcast this week called, Weep the tears, I was so inspired by a lady committed to helping anyone who would simply ask. Her Quest for Life Foundation helps thousands of people every year deal with trauma, if only they are willing to have the courage to ask. Do you have the courage?
What are you struggling with at the moment? What are you trying to change with the same brain that got you to point you knew you needed to change in the first place? Do you want to stay struggling and uncomfortable? Do you want to keep living a life short of what is possible for you? Depending on how you answered those questions, I would have to say the one thing that will change everything for you, if that’s what you want, is to… just ask! Someone else has done what you want to do, is living the life you want to live and is achieving things you want to achieve. The great news is that they would love to help you, or at least point you in the right direction, if you just ask.