Focus on your economy

Focus on your economy

One of the things on many people’s minds, and hearts, and causing some worry, is the economy. Certainly, here in Australia anyway. Interest rates are rising, cost of living is increasing, job security is dissolving, and many people are very concerned about the state of the economy. If this is impacting you, I have some good news. The economy is not the same as your economy, so, simply focus on your economy.

What does that really mean? If we look at statistics, it is understandable why we may be discouraged. I am not just talking about financial right now either. Sure, the financial statistics of debt, unemployment, interest, and inflation rates, and the like, can be enough to make you want to run and hide. What about the statistics of obesity, disease, suicide, and mental health issues? How about the statistics around divorce and domestic violence? Then let’s consider the statistics around creating wealth, owning a successful business, and the very tragic superannuation, which is really not that super! Have I depressed you already?

Fear not, as I have great news. I know I said good news before, but it really is great news. The great news is that the economy, whether that be financial, relational, physical, or any other economy in life, is what it is, but your economy is exactly what you choose it to be. Your financial economy does not need to be consistent with the doom and gloom out there if you focus on it. Your relationship economy does not need to fall prey to the statistics if you focus on it. Your health and wellbeing economy does not need to succumb to the heartbreaking statistics if you focus on it.

Are you getting what I am saying? Your economy is in your hands, under your control, and will be what you determine it to be and work for. Are you excited? You should be, because you can create any outcome you desire, despite what is happening in the world around you. How can a business succeed in a recession when many around are falling by the wayside? The owner focused on the things that would lead to business success, and did them. How does a man, I actually know, live a happy and healthy life when his family history of heart disease would suggest the opposite? Simple, he took control and focused on what he needed to do to be optimally healthy. When you focus on your economy, anything is possible.

This is not necessarily an easy thing to do when everything around you may be screaming doom and gloom. How do we overcome the bad news, the declining economy, and the alarming statistics? Simple, turn off the TV, stop reading the newspaper, avoid negative people, and surround yourself with people and news declaring the great news and possibility of focusing on your economy. That is the best first step I can encourage you to take.

I was deep in debt at one point of my life, and at that stage, my own economy was far worse than the economy. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and so I deliberately found people who were masters of their own economy and asked them for help. They helped me. They helped me find the right information, surround myself with the right people, develop the right mindset, adopt the right behaviors and within 2 years my life was transformed. I was out of debt, retired from an 80-hour per week personal training business that ruled my life, and was free to follow my passion. This is what can happen when you focus on your economy.

No matter which economy of yours is tanking at the moment, it can change in a heartbeat. It is all about focus. There is an incredible quote that says, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. When you change the way you look at your economy, your economy changes. When you change the way you look at your health, your health changes. When you change the way you look at your relationships, your relationships change. When you change the way you look at yourself, then you will change. It is that simple.

In my podcast this week called Doctor, doctor, I speak with Dr Cindy Starke. After a childhood where she was exposed to drugs, alcohol, poverty, and sexual abuse, she spent her later life chasing perfection, achievement, and accumulation to feel loved, only to be left unfulfilled time and time again. As soon as she started focusing on her own self-worth, everything changed. No matter what is happening around you, no matter what is happening with the economy, you are in control. So, focus on your own economy.

The only force that matters

The only force that matters

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘Force’ as, strength or energy exerted or brought to bear: cause of motion or change: active power. Have you ever seen the wind blow a tree over? That is force. Have you ever lifted a weight into the air? You used force. Have you ever put the car into four-wheel-drive to negotiate unstable conditions? That is force. There are forces happening all around us every day, and many are having a damaging impact in and on our lives. Despite this, it is important to know and believe that there is only one force that matters.

The key to staying in forward motion is very simple. You need a force in the direction you want to go that is greater than the force acting in the opposite direction. I don’t want to get too sciencey with you right now, however if you want to lift a weight of 20 kg off the ground, you need a force greater than its weight and gravity to do it. If you want to win an arm-wrestling bout, you have to apply a greater force than the person you are arm wrestling with. The opposite also applies. If the 20 kg weight is applying more force with gravity than you can harness to lift it, the weight will stay on the ground. If your arm-wrestling opponent applies more force, then you will lose. This is all pretty basic, isn’t it?

We live in a world that is applying forces against us every moment to stop us moving forward to being happier, healthier, more joy-filled, and abundant. The force of pollution in our lives is acting on our wellbeing. The force of the economy and inflation is affecting our financial position. The force of processed foods on offer is impacting our longevity and energy. The force of negative news on TV, social media, and in society is acting against our mindset, happiness, and positivity in life. The force of addiction is destroying many lives all around the world. The force of negative opinions of people is eroding our belief in ourselves and our aspirations to be the best we can be. These are just to name a few. Despite all of the forces acting against us, there is one force we have that can overpower all of them. This, my friend, is the only force that matters.

I have an amazing friend, Eva. In her early 20’s, with a successful dancing career and her whole life ahead of her, she was hit by a car as she crossed the road. As you can imagine, the force of that car was far greater than Eva’s ability to absorb the impact. As a result, she was catapulted down the road and sustained significant injuries, leading to long-term coma and an acquired brain injury. As she came out of the coma, she knew she had a mountain of forces acting against her. She had many injuries to recover from. She had to come to terms with a brain that would no longer function as it had. She had the opinions of many people to deal with. In addition to this, in 2009, she had to deal with and overcome another powerful force; advanced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I think it is fair to say, she had a mountain of forces against her. Despite this, with great courage, she harnessed the only force that mattered.

So, what is that force? I couldn’t explain any better than she did on her website (www.byaccident.com.au) where she said, I have applied myself to recovery: physically, mentally, and spiritually with great dedication. Through this very difficult period, I have realised a capability to overcome – to call on my resilience and strengths. That one force she applied was one that could overpower all of the external forces acting against her. That one force she applied was one that no-one else could predict or foresee except her. That one force was inside of her. It was in her heart, and it was the burning desire for her to not be a victim, but a victor of her circumstances. The work she is doing now to advocate for, help and inspire anyone affected by neurological challenges is a testament to that one force she applied back in 1999 after the accident occurred.

The definition of ‘Force’ again is strength or energy exerted or brought to bearcause of motion or changeactive power. Each one of us, like Eva, has the power within which we can exert strength and energy to cause motion and change, no matter what circumstances we may be dealing with. You can exert the force of desire to get up and exercise, which will overcome the temptation to hit snooze. You can create an inner force to make better food choices, even if the world around may be promoting processed options. Whilst the force of stress caused by increased interest rates may be affecting your life, you can make a decision to get out and create another income to offset that. Your inner force to be better will overpower the force of others to sway your choices and keep you stuck. All the bad news in the world can’t affect the person who is harnessing the force of gratitude, love, and positive action. You are in control of any situation because you get to employ the only force that matters, the force within.

In my podcast this week, called Freedom from addiction, Logan Hufford talks openly and honestly about the force of sexual addiction that was on the verge of destroying his life. If not for a decision to harness that unbreakable force within, he would have lost his wife and four children. Now he and his wife are living a life of joy as they positively impact manty lives. That is the power of the only force that matters. Logan has it, Eva has it, and you most definitely have it. Harness the power within today against any other force that is destroying the chance for you to live the best life you can. You are in total control of the only force that matters.

Meaning is the foundation

Meaning is the foundation

I was having an awesome conversation with the General Manager of People of an organisation last week, and we were talking about simplifying the idea of wellness or wellbeing. These are two very hackneyed, overused, and diluted words these days, and it is harder and harder to work out what they really mean, and how to achieve glorious wellbeing. I explained to him that I was a footballer beaten around the head, so I need to keep things simple myself. I said, in my mind, the foundation of all wellbeing is meaning.

Okay, what does that mean? I hear you asking. Before I give you my thoughts on this, I want to share about myself and ask you a couple of questions. There have been times in my life when I have felt quite rudderless and lost. Have you ever been there? There have been times in my life when I was getting up every day, going to work, with no real enthusiasm, or passion. Have you ever experienced that? In those times, when I felt I had no real direction or passion for life, I was often stressed and anxious. Do you relate? I would then make decisions I knew were not the best for my mental, emotional, or physical wellbeing, for the purpose of self-medicating and distracting me from a life I didn’t love. Have you ever done that?

Watching television is a great distraction but will stop you in many ways. Drinking alcohol is a wonderful way to temporarily hide from reality, but it will negatively impact all areas of your life. Making food choices that will give some momentary pleasure may cause long-term harm. We often make choices and do things we know are not good for our wellbeing, yet we do them anyway. Why? Because maybe there is no compelling reason not to do them. In my mind, and in my life, the secret to making better choices lies not in knowing what is right or wrong, because I do. It is in finding meaning in your life. The foundations of all the choices we make is meaning.

When we feel lost, alone, rudderless, and confused, we are far more likely to do things that compromise ourselves, our lives, and the people we care about most. When there is some meaning in life, then automatically we will start to make the choices we know we should always be making. Therefore, the question is, how do we find meaning in life? If you are really interested in digging deeper into this essential area of life, I recommend the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. As I have only a few more paragraphs left in this blog to help you start the journey, if you haven’t already, I will keep it simple.

For me, there was a moment. In that moment, I found my meaning. Up until that time, I thought it was about achievement, ambition, accumulation, admiration, and validation. I was wrong. How do I know I was wrong? I played 7-years of professional sport, developed an impressive physique, owned a successful business, and had written and published a book. Even with all that ‘achievement’ I still felt empty, anxious, and searching for something that was missing. The moment came when I received an email from a man from Perth who I had never met, and still have never met. He had read my book and told me how much it had impacted him, and how he had used the information to change his life.

Wow! I thought at that time, I am changing people’s lives. The feeling of joy immersed my body and from that time, from the moment I get out of bed each day until I lay my head to go to sleep, it is my meaning in life to have a positive impact on others. With every word I speak, write, record, and put out to the world, it is my mission for it to land in the life of someone who needs it. This may just be an interaction with a friend, an acquaintance, or even someone I walk past in the street. It has been a joyful meaning for me for many years. I am not perfect, and still slip up at times, however I have direction in my life. Now here is the point. Because my life means something to me, I want to be healthier. I automatically make better food choices, get up to exercise each day, even when I don’t feel like it, and am very conscious of every decision I make every day. I want to be around as long as I can to impact lives. This meaning in my life is the foundation of my wellbeing, and my joyful existence.

What makes you smile, and I mean really smile? What lights you up? Who and what do you love most? What are the values you believe are most important for you? Who do you love spending time with? What positive impact on other people do you enjoy having? As you ponder those questions, can you think of ways to bring them to life every single day? These things give your life meaning and the more you focus on them and look for ways to experience them, the more meaning you will have. It may just be about being a great parent, or doing your job as well as you can, knowing that it is making someone’s life better. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be true for you.

In my podcast this week called Right now, I speak with Dr Heather Browne about finding joy and meaning in the very moment you are in, right now. I know you want to be happy and feel important. I know you want to feel like life has some meaning. Trust me, it does, and when you identify what it is for you, every other decision you make will move you to be happier, healthier, and more able to keep living a life with meaning. Make no mistake, meaning is the foundation to a happy, healthy, and abundant life.

Not an imposter, just a human

Not an imposter, just a human

I think it would be fair to say that everyone of us is experiencing, has experienced, or will experience what is known as ‘imposter syndrome’. What is it? There are a few definitions, the one I will use suggests that it is, the psychological experience of feeling like a fake or a phony despite any genuine success that you have achieved. My goal this week is, if you ever feel this, to help you understand that you are not an imposter, you are just a human.

So, what does that mean? It means you and I are not perfect. In fact, we are far from perfect, and that is okay. It means we make mistakes, we make poor choices, we miss deadlines, we say things we regret, we procrastinate, we feel fear, we mis-interpret what people say, we react, we have regrets, we talk ourselves out of things we know we should do, and we do things we know we shouldn’t do. If you relate to all or any of those, do you know what it means? It means you are human, and you are alive, so celebrate.

The problem is that we rarely celebrate these things. Instead, we regret and then beat ourselves up over them, relentlessly. How do I know? I am the king of self-abuse. I am a Christian and at times think, do, and say things that are at odds with the values that come with that title. I am a speaker and author talking about things that occasionally I don’t even follow myself. I am a man trying to be the best I can, and often slip up. Intermittently, I find myself doing things I know I shouldn’t be doing, yet do them anyway, only to feel immediate regret. I then start the self-abuse cycle. What is wrong with me? Why am I such an imposter?

The problem with self-abuse is that it will keep reinforcing to you that you are an imposter and not good enough. Therefore, you are more likely to fortify the beliefs and repeat the behaviours you continually beat yourself up over. As I was recently going through a period of Andrew-bashing and imposter thinking, I stopped myself. I am better at that these days. The first thing I did was pray to God for forgiveness. The second thing I did was just close my eyes and focus on the great things I have and do every day. The third thing I did was remind myself that it’s okay to be imperfect because I am human. 

My goal is not to fail, but I do at times, and it’s okay. My intention is not to hurt another person, but I know at times I will. For that, I am sorry. There are times when I will not do what I know I should and do what I know I shouldn’t, and that’s just because I am human. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you go out making poor choices, upsetting people, or giving up on things and justify it by saying, I am just human. What I am saying, as you are living your life and aspiring to be the best you can be, give yourself a break when things don’t go as you would have planned. Life can be messy while you are human and alive.

What are you berating yourself over right now? Is it not doing the exercise you should be? Is it not eating enough of the foods you should eat, or eating foods you know you should eat less of? Is it not spending enough time with important people? Is it something you said that you wished you hadn’t? Is it not doing what you feel you should do? You know what it is for you? In which area do you feel like you are an imposter? As a parent? As a leader? As an influencer? As a student? As an author, speaker, or coach? My question is this, how is that working for you so far? Is feeling less than helping you be more? I am guessing not, so now is the time to give yourself a break.

My podcast this week with Ann Swanson, is called Powerful pauses. It is all about taking the opportunity during the day to pause and be mindful of the things in your life to be grateful for, and the beautiful things all around you. The moment you pause, reflect, and think about what is great in your world, you will see that the negatives in your life fade away in comparison to the positives. When you shift your perspective in those moments, you will see that you are a perfectly flawed human doing the best you can. When that happens, some self-compassion will appear, more optimism will rise in you, and you will automatically start making better choices. Be kind to yourself and remember, you are not an imposter, you are a human.

Bring Sexy Back

Bring Sexy Back

It was Justin Timberlake who released the song Sexy Back in 2006. He was talking about bringing sexy back in a very obvious and literal way. Reading the lyrics for this song, did nothing for me, in any way shape or form. Justin, I believe, has missed the point of sexy. So, why don’t we explore what it really means to be bringing sexy back.

When I searched the definition of ‘sexy’, there were two options:

  1. Arousing or tending to arouse sexual desire or interest.
  2. Highly appealing or interesting; attractive.

Let’s go with option two, shall we? I think we all get the idea of ‘appealing’ and ‘interesting’, which the definition seems to suggest leads to an ‘attractive’ proposition. If we look at a definition of ‘attractive’ I found three perspectives, the one I want to focus on is:

  1. Having the power to attract

So, if we boil it all the way down to the basics, ‘sexy’ simply means, the power to attract. Can you see how this opens the door to many different applications of the word ‘sexy’. I definitely think it is time to start bringing sexy back. Don’t you?

This whole thought and idea came from the podcast I released this week with Martin Silva, coincidentally also called Bringing sexy back. Martin, with a very successful health, fitness, and mindset background, suggested that many of the things people need to do to be lean, healthy, and energized, are not sexy. I said to him, why aren’t they sexy? We need to bring sexy back.

What Martin was referring to were things like getting up in the morning to exercise when you don’t feel like it, eating breakfast when you’re not hungry, choosing the nuts over the donut, drinking water instead of sweet drinks, having tough conversations when you don’t want to, looking for the lessons in adversity, and the many other things we know we should be doing each day but often don’t. We may not think these things are sexy, however, based on our revised definition of ‘sexy’, I would like to argue that they are sexier than you may currently believe.

Remember that our definition of ‘sexy’ is, the power to attract. If you get up to exercise, when you don’t feel like it each day, guess what you will be attracting? A fitter, leaner, and healthier body. That sounds sexy to me. If you eat breakfast each day, you will attract energy, metabolism, fat-loss, and better wellbeing. Again, sounds mighty sexy to me. The same sexiness applies to eating nuts instead of donuts, and drinking water instead of sweet drinks. Having tough conversations will attract increased communication, more trust, and stronger connections. That my friend, is sexy. Finding lessons in adversity and being more in control, is an incredibly sexy way to be.

For me, the thing that has surprised me the most, and attracted more amazingness into my life, is something that I never would consider as sexy. Exposing the real me, warts and all. I have hidden my flaws, insecurities, mistakes, and poor choices, fully believing they were not sexy at all. In fact, I believed that it would create the opposite effect of attracting, and actually be repelling. At that stage in my life, wearing a mask and pretending to be something I was not, was creating misery and emptiness in my life, so I decided to drop the mask and share.

I was terrified, but thought, what is the worst that can happen? As soon as I started sharing the real and imperfect me, I built stronger connections, I empowered other people to do the same, I felt a much greater level of freedom, I started to love myself, and I started attracting great things and people into my life. Wow, talk about sexy. So, it seems to be that the things we avoid the most are the things that are most sexy. The things we may not enjoy doing that we know we need to do will attract the most joy and meaning into our lives. I would love to encourage you right now to work out what that is for you, and get started on bringing sexy back.

The answer is consistency

The answer is consistency

I think I am pretty consistent with my message. In fact, sometimes I feel like I am repetitive. Sorry about that, however, I do believe being consistent about being consistent is very important. We are often asking ourselves questions about how to be better, change things, get a different outcome, or just live a more fulfilling life. We often complicate things as we look for answers, when the answer is simply consistency.

The answer to what? The answer to everything. Have you ever thought the answer was more ability? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more education? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more willpower? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more luck? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more connections? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more than you were capable of? You are definitely capable because, it’s consistency.

On Saturday morning I was walking home after my daily workout. Yes, I said daily. I have been doing it every day consistently for decades. As I was walking, I stopped to chat with Lucas who is a guy I see most mornings with his beautiful dog. We stopped and chatted for a little bit, and I asked him what he was up to for the weekend. He told me, and then he asked me what I was doing. I told him that, amongst other things, I was going to get a new pair of running shoes. He looked at my feet and said, yeah, I can understand, those shoes get a lot of work, don’t they? What did he mean by that? He meant, from what he sees of me, I am consistent with my training.

I have been told by so many people how lucky I am that I have a lean, healthy, and athletic body. They tell me it must be because of good genetics, and they don’t have the same genetics. They are sure I have more discipline and willpower, and that is something they don’t possess. They have convinced themselves it’s all about time, knowledge, and equipment. What a load of rubbish! Luck has nothing to do with it. Genetics have nothing to do with it. Willpower and discipline have nothing to do with it. Time, money, knowledge, and equipment have nothing to do with it. Guess what the answer is? Consistency.

You may have heard of Kobe Bryant, basketball legend. Performance Coach Alan Stein wanted to find out Kobe’s secret to success. At the peak of his career, Kobe invited him to train with him the next day. They had planned to meet at the gym at 4am, and when Alan arrived, Kobe was already in a full sweat in the midst of his very basic and boring training program. When Alan asked him why, Kobe said, Why do you think I am the best player in the world? Because I never get bored with the basics. Wow! That is so simple, yet so powerful. The daily basics are your ticket to freedom. The daily basics are your ticket to growth. The daily basics are your ticket to achievement. The daily basics are your ticket to anything you want. The answer is consistency.

We get so bombarded with rubbish every day on social media, on television, and from many people who really don’t understand the answer. We get told that we can get a quick result without the effort. Or on the flipside we believe that what it takes to create significant change requires more than we have. Both are big fat lies. Firstly, there is no quick fix. Secondly, you already have within you everything you need to create any outcome you want. Thirdly, and most importantly, the answer is consistency.

I was blessed to speak to a wonderful group of people yesterday who are responsible for a significant construction project in Melbourne. Guess what the topic of the talk was? Guess what the topic of any of my talks is? Guess what the answer to any question you have is? You guessed it, consistency. Want better health? Then set a consistent daily rhythm of exercise and good food choices. Want better relationships? Then set a consistent daily rhythm of complimenting, encouragement, and communication. Want a better relationship with God? Then set a consistent daily rhythm of prayer. Want more money? Then set a consistent daily rhythm of saving. It is not hard. It is not out of reach. It does not require pain, discomfort, or willpower. It just requires consistency.

In my podcast this week called, The confidence gap, Jerry Scarlato and I discuss the simple and consistent steps it takes to build confidence and transform your life. When you get that consistency is the answer, you never have to worry about the result again. With the right behaviours applied constantly, you will predictably create wellbeing, abundance, joy, and meaning in your life. Whenever you are looking for the solution to help you in any situation, just know, the answer is consistency.