Last week I wrote about fighting for milk, this week it’s about peeling onions, what’s with the food stuff? No, I’m not about to write a cookbook, and for that you should be very grateful! I love stories and I love the analogies that teach lessons and that make success more visual, meaningful and achievable. So, this week I am talking about peeling onions and not because I want you to cry, but because I want you to understand what is truly holding you back from the success you are after, and how to move forward to achieve it.
I am sure that you, like me, want to achieve, improve or receive stuff in your life that, for some reason, you are not pursuing with zest, energy and passion. Why is that? If you were to ask yourself the question, you may, like me, answer with a definite and profound, ‘I have no idea!’ This is often the challenge for most people… they are not chasing what they want, or are continually giving up, and they don’t even know why. If this sounds like you, then my friend, it is time to start peeling the onion.
When I got the idea to become an author for the first time, it was a powerful and exciting vision. I could see the opportunity to help more people, make more money, have more time and enjoy more passion & purpose. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited by that? Despite that exciting and powerful vision, I hesitated and procrastinated getting started. Why? At the time, I didn’t consciously know, so I started to peel the onion.
I asked myself the question, ‘So, what is stopping me from getting started?’ The most obvious answer came to mind, and that was, I had no time. At that period in my life, I was working more than 100 hours per week in two businesses. Then, I realised that if I wanted to be an author, I would have to make time, so I then asked myself, ‘I don’t have lots of spare time, but I have some, so apart from that, what else is stopping me?’ I thought about it and the next thing that came to my mind was that I had no idea of the process. Upon reflection, I knew I could learn the process, so again I asked myself, ‘I can learn the process, so apart from that, what else is stopping me?’ I wanted to write a book about nutrition, and as I didn’t have a nutrition degree, I didn’t believe I was qualified. What I did have however, was years of experience, knowledge and passion, so again I asked myself, ‘I am absolutely qualified, so apart from that, what else is stopping me?’
I kept doing this, ‘peeling the onion,’ until I got to the point when there was nothing else stopping me after the question ‘apart from that, what else stopping me?’ The final thing I said, the real and only issue, was fear of rejection. The bottom line was, I was terrified of going through the whole process of writing a book and not finding a publisher, and even if I did, I was scared that no-one would buy, like or read my book. It had nothing to do with time, understanding the process, being qualified or any of the other excuses I was making as to why I didn’t get started. It was one thing and one thing only I had to deal with. If I hadn’t peeled the onion, and kept peeling, I would never have identified it.
I then only had to handle this one challenge, and when I did, everything else fell into place. Within two years of this epiphany, I was a published author with my first two best-selling books that sold over 100,000 copies between them. That fear of rejection was overcome by the strength of my vision and reasoning that, if I didn’t give it a go, I would never know if I could be a success, or ever live the amazing life I desired. The key to me sitting here, loving my life, fulfilling my purpose and on the verge of publishing my eighth book, was spending the time about 20 years ago, to peel the onion.
I hope my story inspires and encourages you. I hope you are ready now to start peeling your own onion, to find that one simple block that is stopping you from living the most amazing life that is possible for you. I can tell you, the real obstacle is none of 99% of excuses that you are telling yourself, it’s just one thing that lies at the core of the onion. Your job is to keep peeling until you find it. Then, when you do, you can deal with it. It is my strongest desire that you can break through your barrier to achieve anything you want, just start peeling.
To help you in this process to go on to great things, I want to invite you to an online event that is happening this week. I am partnering with the amazing Heather Rendulic to present, ‘Put the spring in your thing.’ This event is on Thursday evening, April 8 (in the USA and Northern Hemisphere) or Friday morning April 9 (in Australia & the Southern Hemisphere). To find out more, you can listen to the podcast I did with Heather last week, and to book for the event, simply click here.
Life is short and you only get one shot at making it the best it can be. I can pretty much guarantee you that there is only one thing you need to negotiate to be able to move forward and live that incredible life. Your job is to peel the onion until you find it, deal with it and then enjoy the amazing experiences that will happen as a result. Don’t put it off any longer, start peeling today.
One of the greatest movies of all time and one of my faves is Grease. I’m about to date myself right now, but in 1978, when it was released, I was 14 years old. So, it was made for me and my generation. Watching it made me feel alive, because although a different culture and a fictional storyline, I related to the struggles of teens and I was empowered by the audacious characters. For me, as I’m sure most, the favourite song was ‘The one that I want.’ It was the song that evoked the most emotion for me, particularly the verse:
If you’re filled
You’re too shy to convey,
Meditate in my direction.
Feel your way.
Obviously, this song and verse are fuelled by sexual tension and emotion, but nevertheless it is a powerful moment in the movie. If you watch the clip, from the movie, you will see John Travolta immediately and powerfully emotionally effected when Olivia sings the line, ‘feel your way!’ This blog is not about Grease, but it is about the power of emotion to move us to great things in life, whether that be romantically, financially, physically, professionally or any other area of your life you are wanting to see happiness and fulfillment. The key, I believe, is to… feel your way!
On my podcast this week, I speak again to the amazing Deborah Stathis. The podcast is called, Harnessing the power of emotion. I urge you to listen to the conversation because Deb describes this far more powerfully than I can. She lived it. After a devastating car accident left her face and brain seriously damaged and disfigured, her future looked bleak. If logical thinking was to prevail, she would not have been at all optimistic about her life ahead. But Deb didn’t act on logic, she felt her way! She looked in the mirror and really studied her face, her damage and her options, and it immediately created fear in her body. Fear of a life well short of what she had planned for herself.
She then used that fear in a constructive way to start thinking about the life she did want, and that vision sparked in her, as she describes it, ‘a relententless pursuit’ of her best life. It was this powerful emotion she felt and harnessed that moved her into action and kept her going until she had overcome every single limiting medical prediction for her life. She is now a gorgeous, fully functioning and inspiring lady making a difference in many lives.
The greatest mistake we make is trying to think our way, when the answer is to feel our way to our best life. If logic ruled, I would never have played professional sport. I was moved by the feeling and excitement of success in that arena. If common sense had prevailed, I would never be an author of eight published books today. It was the desire to change my circumstances and to impact lives that moved me into illogical action that has transformed my life. I am very grateful for the fact that I am a very emotional person and moved far more by feelings and far less that logic.
Here is the one piece of advice I would like to offer you this week; get out of your head quickly, get into your heart and feel your way! When you stay in your head too long, you often talk yourself into and then straight back out of things that if you acted would change your life for the better. Do you know what I mean? When you get an idea, a thought or an impulse, the quicker you can act on the feeling, the quicker you will be in motion. When in motion, things will start to logically unfold, and the path will open itself up to you. I have experienced this time and time again in my life.
Will you make some mistakes? Probably. Will you need to course correct at times? Definitely. Will you end up loving your life? Absolutely. You can’t go wrong if you act on an intuitive impulse. So, right now, as you are reading this, what is it in your life you want to change, achieve, acquire or resolve? Have you got a clear picture of what you want? When you think of being there in that moment, having realised that vision, how does it feel? You may not know exactly how to go about it, but don’t waste that powerful emotion. Get clear, get excited, get moving and… feel your way!
I’m going to make a bold statement right now. In my mind, the reason there are so many unhappy, unhealthy and unfulfilled people in the world is because they were asked the wrong question when they were teenagers, and they keep asking themselves the wrong question. Honestly, how many teenagers have any idea of what they want to do in life? There may be some, but most, like me, have no idea what they want to do. However, I bet they could describe with clarity how they want to live, if they were asked.
As a teenager, I thought I wanted to do one thing and one thing only, to be a famous footballer. My parents didn’t think that’s what I wanted or needed and would continually ask me, ‘Andrew, what do you want to do when you leave school?’ I would tell them, time and time again, ‘I want to be a footballer.’ They loved me and believed I needed an education and were very persistent until I finally relented. I said, ‘Okay, okay, I don’t really care what I do as long as it has something to do with sport.’ I chose to do a Physical Education degree without any concept of where it was leading, because it sounded like ‘sport’ to me.
Well, after my four years of tertiary education, I ended up a teacher.Yikes! That’s not what I wanted to do, and I lasted about four years! I then started asking myself the question, ‘so, what do I want to do now?’ I thought I might want to get into the fitness industry because I liked being fit and healthy, so off I went, and found myself working in a gym which then led me into a personal training career. When I started personal training, I thought I wanted to be a successful personal trainer. Again, I was wrong! I became a successful personal trainer and had no life, as I ended up working from 6am to 9pm as a part owner of a ’successful’ business for 15 years.
Then, as I had learned a lot about and become inspired by nutrition, I thought I wanted to own a café to sell healthy food and educate people. Again, I was horribly wrong. After two years of trying to combine a personal training career with a hospitality business, and working over 100 hours, seven days per week, I found myself with even less of a life and in almost $100,000 debt. At that point I was feeling disillusioned, discouraged and helpless. It was also at that point I finally realised after all these years, at that time I was in my late 30’s, I had been asking myself the wrong question. I had been incorrectly asking myself what I wanted to do, in every case it led me somewhere I didn’t want to be.
So, as I sat with my head-in-my-hands in the debt-ridden café, with no life and with no idea of how to get out of this situation, I asked myself a different question. I asked myself, ‘So Andrew, this is not what you want… how do you actually want to live?’ Immediately, I could see it with clarity. I didn’t have to think about it, research it or postulate over it. I just knew it, because it was in my heart and it was my destiny. I wanted to be making a difference in lives all around the world, I wanted to be financially free. I wanted to be optimally healthy and in a loving relationship. I wanted to be able to travel, speak and inspire. I wanted to be free to choose how I lived my life and spend my time.
By asking that question, my mind opened up to possibility. In fact, it was at that very moment I made what seemed to be the most illogical decision I could make, and I’ve made a few! I decided to write a book. I had no skills, experience, qualifications or time, so why would I make that decision? Because I could see it being the key that unlocks the door for me to be living a life I love. Well, here we are almost 20 years after that crazy decision, I am about to publish my eighth book and I am pretty much living the life of my dreams, the one I visualised when I asked myself that telling question.
This is a long introduction to a pretty simple concept that I hope you will embrace as you reflect on 2020 and launch into 2021. Have you ever asked yourself, how do you want to live? If you did ask yourself this question right now, would you be able to answer it as quickly and clearly as I did when I asked it of myself? If you were able to create clarity about the way you want to live, can you see whether what you are currently doing will lead you there, or not? If not, would it be worth exploring some alternative options, that may not initially seem logical or possible, to help you live a life you love? I truly hope you ask yourself the right question and that you take the action you need to get to be living the way you want to live.
If I have stimulated or agitated something in you as a result of this blog, I would encourage you to listen to my podcast with week with children’s author Adam Wallace, called, ‘Remember death, live forever.’ It’s a wonderful conversation with a man who is living a successful and passionate life and is all about understanding we are only alive for a finite period of time and that a life of passion and purpose is available for us all. We do, however, need to start living, now.
This is my last blog for 2020, a unique year indeed. For me this year, things that I have learned, things I have been forced to change and things that I’ve done have helped me move closer to the life I want to live. 2021 is a blank page for us all, anything is possible, and I wish for you that you make it your best year yet. All I suggest is, before you set any goals or make any news year resolutions, you ask yourself the question, ‘how do I want to live?’
I want to try and shift your paradigm a little this week, if it needs shifting, that is. We live in a society where comparison, public image and wanting acceptance seems to be built into our psyche. Don’t get me wrong, it is awesome to get attention, acknowledgement and recognition from other people for the great things we do. We actually need that. However, I want to encourage you to aim for attention, acknowledgement and recognition from the most important person in your world. Yes, that’s you.
I am one of those people who, for much of my life, couldn’t operate without the attention, validation and acceptance of other people. It was exhausting! When you are constantly chasing people to notice the things you do and achieve, and when you continually require their approval to feel happy, you are in a no-win situation. Thank goodness I have evolved, grown and changed and am now completely happy with myself and can self-validate myself for things I do when no one is watching. In fact, now I get more fulfilment from the things I do that nobody sees than the things I do that gets recognised by other people. Let me tell you that is an awesome place to be.
On Monday mornings, in my neighborhood, we have rubbish collection, so people put their bins out on a Sunday night. Just a few weeks ago, we had some serious wind on a Sunday night that caused some havoc. The next morning, as I was taking Joia for her morning walk at about 6:30am, I observed that many bins had been blown over by the winds from the night before. These fallen bins would not have been emptied because the drivers of the garbage trucks do not take the time to get out, stand each bin up, then use the robotic arm to empty them.
It was only a week or so early when my bin was blown over and not emptied, and it was really annoying because I didn’t haven’t enough room in it for the following weeks rubbish. So on this morning, as I walked Joia, I stopped, stood up bins and replaced rubbish that had fallen out of them. There were probably about 10-15 bins that I picked up and so the walk with Joia took about twice the time. Let me tell you, at that time of the day, no-one was watching, but I felt amazing. In fact, no-one even knew what had happened because when they went out to bring in their emptied bin, they had no idea that the wind had blown it over nor that I had a picked it up again.
Now, I know this does not sound like a very exciting story or big deal, but let me tell you, it is. In my younger years, I would never have done this if people weren’t watching to see what a good person I was. Now, the only person who matters in this equation and needs to see me as a valuable person, is me. The truth is this, the success, happiness, wellbeing and fulfillment you enjoy in your life has much more to do with what you do when no-one is watching than when people are. Honestly, if we wait for people to watch and acknowledge us doing what we need to do to be happy and fulfilled, we will be waiting a long long time! Can I suggest, if you haven’t already, start doing things for only one person’s eyes, yours. Oh, and Gods, if you believe.
I used to live in an untidy house because it was just me and no-one else would see it, now I clean & tidy regularly, for me. I used to train my body and be fit, lean & healthy to be admired by others, now I do it because I love and value myself. I used to crave validation and do things that would feed my fragile ego and now I do things that I believe to be right, whether others are watching, aware or not. I have never been happier, healthier or more fulfilled than I am right now. So, my question, as always, is, what about you? What are you doing to be seen and approved of?
Trust me now as I make some statements. Your health will improve by the things you do when no-one is watching. Your self-esteem will grow when you are able to see the value in yourself, irrespective if anyone is watching. Your financial position will prosper when you start to do little daily things that nobody else sees. Believe it or not, your relationship with a person will flourish more through the things you do when you’re not being observed by them, than when you are. The impact you will have on this world will be a massive ripple effect that starts with the little things you do when no-one is watching.
This week, my friend, try to eliminate the need for approval and validation of others. This week, try to get out of your head and into your heart, as discussed with Sarah Willoughby in this week’s podcast. This week, know in your heart that you are a great person. This week, know that the only person who needs to love, approve and validate you is you. This week, spend your time focusing on doing things that nobody will ever see, but will cause a ripple effect and impact many lives. So, my question is, what are you going to do this week when nobody is watching?
As strange as it may sound, I am so grateful for 2020, and the COVID lockdown period. Why? Because it has forced me to slow down. I’m a striver and an achiever, and for much of my life, I have felt the need to always be busy and rushing to be seen as productive and valuable in my own eyes. What a crock of sh#@t! There have been so many times, running behind as per usual, I have found myself rushing to get out of the house, into my car and on the way. I would have my hands full of books, bags, food and drink for my journey, and then come to the front door to pick up my car keys. Hmm, how am I going to do that? I would try to manoeuvre the stuff in my hands to under my arms, my chin or between my legs so I could pick up my keys but would inevitably drop everything. Then, I realised, maybe If I just let go of everything I was holding, I could easily pick up the keys.
As simple as it sounds, if we are holding on to so much stuff, stopping us achieving what we want and really enjoying our lives, then we need to let some things go. There is a wonderful feeling of freedom, when we let go of the stuff that’s not serving us. In my life, and possibly yours, I know there are three areas I need to let things go. Firstly, I need to let go of things and relationships I’m holding on to that are not serving me or bringing joy and/or purpose into my life. Secondly, I definitely need to let go of limiting thoughts and beliefs that are holding me back. Thirdly, I need to let go of emotions that are damaging me.
I have had a beautiful week just gone, and a highlight was lunch with my dad and his partner Annette. I hadn’t physically seen them for many months, so it was awesome to hug them and spend great time with them. Annette told me that her mother was turning 100-years-old next week. Wow! She had already received messages from the Queen and the Prime Minister and is on the verge of celebrating a momentous occasion. When I asked Annette what she thought the key to her mother’s longevity was, she told me that her mother never really worried about much and was always able to let things go! She could let go of anger, anxiety, fear and resentment and just easily come back to a place of peace and joy. Boom! There you have it my friend. The key to longevity is avoiding damaging emotions by simply, letting it go.
This pandemic has really helped me to let go the need of being productive and busy every second of every day, and it has made such a difference in my life. Normally, when I have lunch with my dad, I think about what I should be doing, who I should be emailing and the next thing I should be creating. Incredibly, I don’t do anymore, instead I enjoy the moment. Then after dad and Annette left, I took Joia for a walk on a beautiful day and, about halfway around the block, we sat in the shade in cool grass together for about 15 minutes and just enjoyed the day and each other. I had let go of the need to be doing stuff and could enjoy the peace and beauty of the moment.
What are you hanging on to that is holding you back from picking up the joy and longevity available in your life at the moment? Are you holding to toxic relationships that are dragging you down? Are you holding onto an outdated way of doing things that are not serving you anymore? Are you holding on the ridiculous belief that you aren’t good enough? Are you holding onto thoughts that are not just creating anxiety, fear, anger and resentment, but are also impacting the choices you are making and holding you back from living your best life? Are you ready for my simple, but profound advice… let it go! Yes, it is that simple and it will change your life in an instant, as it has done for me.
In this week’s podcast, ‘The power of faith,’ with Pastor Matthew Law, we discuss how, with a strong faith, it’s possible to let go of many of the things that may be causing grief, disharmony, frustration and dis-ease. It’s a powerful conversation that I encourage you to listen to.
When you are clear on what you want for yourself and others in your life, and clear on your purpose, it’s easier to let go of the things holding you back. With clarity and purpose, you will become acutely aware of what and who is serving you and what and who is not. When you can trust and have faith that everything is okay, that the answer is there, that things happen for a reason and that you are good enough, you can immediately let go of the flawed thoughts that lead to damaging emotions, and start feeling and acting in a way that will lead to, what I like to call, joyful longevity.
It is absolutely a vision of mine to live joyfully beyond 100 years of age, just like Annette’s mother. There are so many wonderful things I plan to do on this planet before my time is up, and I want to get the most out every second that I can. Call me greedy, but I want quality and quantity of life! Every day I that live and learn, I am more and more convinced of one thing. That is, the key to your best life lies in your willingness to simply let it go!
It’s been well over 30 years in the health and wellbeing industry for me, and I have to say I have pretty much loved every day of it. There have been some challenges, some frustrations, some poor choices, some direction changes and some uncertainty, but I have loved the journey, nevertheless. As I reflect on my time, and what I have learned in the process of helping people reach higher levels of wellbeing, there is one thing I know for sure. That is this; no matter what you put in your mouth, do for exercise or change with your lifestyle, optimal wellbeing is not possible if you don’t love yourself.
After everything I have learned about eating, exercise, and all the other physical elements of getting into shape, and what I have observed about people who are living wonderful lives of optimal wellbeing and those who are not, I now know for a fact that it is an inside job. I have seen far too many people, including yours truly, thinking they could eat and exercise their way to acceptance, validation and self-worth. I was a crazy over-trainer and extreme eater, worried that if I missed a training session, or put even the smallest piece of indulgence-type food into my body, it would show, I would ruin all my hard work and not be admired. I ate super clean, I trained regularly, and you would look at me and say, ‘That guy is super healthy.’ You may think twice, however, if you knew what was happening in my head and consequently in my body.
In my head were doubts about how I looked and concern that I would not be admired. In my body was fear, stress and anxiety that was wreaking havoc on my immune system, my DNA and the other hormones and physiological processes in my body. Let me tell you this, and I want you to hear it loud and clear; no amount of salad, vegetables, steamed fish or chicken can compensate for self-loathing, and, the stress, anxiety, fear and resentment it causes. So, are you ready for my prescription for optimal wellbeing and joyful longevity? Here it is; feed yourself love and actively move towards self-worth.
The way we eat and what we put into our bodies is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. The extreme way I was eating, was a reflection of my insecurity and need to be admired. In my recent podcast conversation, ‘Building a positive relationship with food,’ with Craig Harper, he talks about his young years as ‘a fat kid.’ He describes how, even though he knew he shouldn’t be eating it, he would consume three meat pies, because, and I quote, ‘It would make me feel f#@&ing amazing for 20 minutes of the day.’ He then when on to say, ‘for the other 1420 minutes of that day, I felt ashamed.’ Why did Craig eat the three pies? It was self-loathing. The only way he could get any comfort to ease his turmoil was in that instantaneous moment of gastronomic pleasure.
I would ask you to assess, not the food you eat, but the inner voice that moves you to the choices you make. It is a firm belief of mine that all food is good. Of course, some we should eat more of and some we should eat less of. But, make no mistake about it, the food is not responsible for the results you experience in your life, it’s the feeling that moves you to eat the food that will determine your level of wellbeing and the quality of your life. Three meat pies did not chase Craig down the street, back him into a corner, hold him down and force their way into his mouth. He chose to eat them, to help ease his feelings of self-loathing. Craig is now in a very different place in his life and eats in a wonderfully balanced fashion, which includes some indulgence. He does it naturally and normally, because he has learned to love himself.
I have moved from my extreme way of eating to a far more enjoyable and balanced approach, which definitely includes, chocolate, alcohol and all the good stuff. Why am I in a better place with my eating? Because I love me! It has taken time, it’s been challenging, but I can honestly say, I love and value myself and I am worth looking after.
Right now, as you are reading this, I would ask you to monitor your self-talk. What are you saying to you? When you ask yourself how you feel about yourself, what is your answer to you? This is the place to start if you want to live a life of joy, wellbeing and longevity. Feed yourself positive words, audios, blogs, books and feelings, and, when you do, you will start feeding yourself in a way that will fuel and fortify your body. This is a big topic that I have covered very briefly in this blog, but my message to you is that you are good enough and worthy to be loved. When you start feeling that way, you will love yourself to optimal wellbeing.