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 email@example.com and copy in Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org? 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.
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.
Are you ready for a bit of a mind-bender this week? Often the decision we make to take action in the pursuit of a goal, or to create some kind of change, is determined after we weigh up best-case versus worst-case scenario. If the best-case scenario far outweighs the worst-case scenario, then we may choose to move forward, and if the opposite is the true we generally abandon our plans. What if, however, the worst-case scenario is actually the best-case, even better than you could have imagined? I told you, mind-bender, right?
I have spoken about my somewhat illogical decision to buy a café back in the year 2000. Why illogical? Well, I was already working eighty-plus hours as the part owner of a personal training business and I had zero experience in the hospitality industry. When I say zero experience, I mean as a business owner. I had lots of experience as a consumer in cafes, restaurants and pubs, which probably didn’t equip me with the business know-how I needed. With my spontaneous and just-give-it-a-go mindset, I only thought about the best-case scenario, which was massive success in helping people, providing healthy food and inspiring people to a better way of living. In my mind, I was going to be a millionaire. I never really considered the worst-case scenario, which was lucky as, if I had, I may never have given it a go in the first place.
If I had actually considered the worst case-scenario, I can tell you with great confidence, it would not have been as bad as my reality, just two years later. In just two short years – although, they didn’t seem short at the time – after working over 100 hours and seven days per week, the café was in almost $100,000 debt. I was broke, I was broken, and I was bewildered. Pretty bad scenario, right? What if I was to tell you, that scenario was the best thing that has ever happened in my life? You would probably suggest that I go and get some help! I say that because, it was in that moment of head-in-my-hands despair, questioning how I could actually fulfil my vision and the purpose I was put on this planet for, I came up with the idea to write my first book. That idea totally transformed my life, and now, as I am on the verge of publishing my eighth book, I could not be happier in my life. That seemingly devastating worst-case scenario was the catalyst for the best-possible-case eventuality.
When author and speaker Deborah Stathis was driving home from work, as a nineteen-year-old, she did not consider the worst-case scenario that eventuated. She wrapped her car around a pole and was left fighting for her life with devastating facial injuries and an acquired brain injury. No one would consider that outcome, choose that circumstance, or even be able look back and be grateful for it. The result of Deb’s accident, rehabilitation and transformation, is that Deb now impacts lives all around the world as she teaches people skills, tools and strategies to turn trauma into opportunity. Her worst-case scenario led to a life of purpose and significance that would never have been possible if she hadn’t wrapped her car around that pole.
Often, we stop ourselves from taking action after considering the worst-case scenario, even if the best-case scenario far outweighs it. In these situations, what we are failing to realise is that the worst-case scenario will most likely lead us to an even better best-case scenario than we could imagine. In other words, there is really no worst-case scenario, there is only a best-case scenario or a better-case scenario, based on the opportunity that lies in the ‘worst-case’ scenario! Have I totally confused you? In simpler terms, every outcome from every aspiration is a win, because you either get the result you planned to get, or you will get a lesson, idea or opportunity from the adversity that may present itself. If you learn the lesson, act on the idea or take the opportunity, I promise you the best possible scenario will appear to you.
I know this has been a pretty mind-bending blog, and I understand it may require reading a couple more times. To help with this, I want to encourage you to listen to my podcast this week with Craig Harper, called, You are already complete, as Craig has some incredible insights into how to find success in any situation. I guess what I really want to do is encourage you take action on your dreams and goals, because you can’t lose. You will either achieve the best-case scenario, or you will discover the best of the worst-case scenario. Go for it this week.
For the last forty years movement has been a massive part of my life. I needed to develop physical strength and stamina, back in the early 1980’s, to reach my dream of playing professional Australian Football. Then, as a personal trainer from the late 1980’s to 2006, movement was important to attain and maintain a physique and level of fitness I was proud of, and to help others do the same. From 2006 to today, movement – and not just the physical variety – has been part of what has helped me create the purposeful life that I love. What I have discovered, over these forty years, is that movement is not a physical thing, it is 100% a mindset.
Over the last seven days, which is the first week of winter here in Australia, I have woken up between 5 and 5:30am each morning to exercise. On three of those mornings the temperature was less than 3ᵒC. For you less than sympathetic people, for Melbournians, that is cold! On each one of those seven mornings, as my alarm went off, I did not want to get up and exercise, I wanted to hit snooze and stay snuggled in my beautiful warm and cosy bed for another couple of hours. However, before I even knew what was going on, the covers were thrown back, my feet were on the floor, I was getting ready and heading out the door to do my scheduled exercise session. In fact, each morning, I was probably about 10 mins into each session before I was really even conscious of what I was doing. Then, within in no time at all, my exercise session was over, I was home and feeling amazing, and so glad I did it.
That sounds a little crazy, I know, and you may be thinking I am some sort of robot or superhuman. I can tell you, with great confidence, I am neither of those things. What I have is a mindset of movement. I am not just talking about exercise either. I am talking movement in my personal life, in my professional life and in my spiritual life. Every morning, in addition to the exercise I do, and again without a lot of conscious thought, I am doing things to move me forward in all areas of my life. I am doing my affirmations, praying, reading and writing out my goals, looking at my vision board, sending connections on LinkedIn, writing my next book, talking to my mentor, making phone calls and walking my dog whilst jogging on the spot to get my steps up and singing worship songs. Oh yes, I do seem like a weirdo, there is no doubt about it, and to be honest, I am proud of that. I do it because I want to live my best life, and I know that it requires forward daily motion, in every area of my life. So, I made the decision years ago, to develop the mindset of movement.
I am guessing, by the fact that you are reading this, you also want to live the best possible life you can live, for as long as possible. Would I be right? Therefore, again I am assuming here, you would also like to develop the mindset of movement. If that is the case, the first thing I would encourage you to do, is to listen to my podcast this week with Dr Irene Tan, called ‘Move with fluency.’ Irene is a living example of someone living her best life and making movement a significant part of that. As a medical doctor, co-owner of a fitness centre and personal trainer, she discusses movement in the physical sense, but you will also get lots of inspiration and ideas about moving through life with ease and passion.
To develop a mindset of movement, there are a few simple things you need to do. Please understand there is a distinction between simple and easy. If success, optimal wellbeing, passion, purpose, achievement, fulfillment and abundance in life were easy to attain, then there would not be the devastating rate of mental, emotional, physical, financial, spiritual and relational challenges we see every day. Having said that, it is possible for everyone who is willing to commit to a process of forward motion, until that movement becomes a mindset, to predictably achieve everything they desire. Therefore, it must start with a clear vision of the life you want, in all areas, and that vison must create and strong emotional desire for its attainment. Without this first step, your focus on movement will lead you to frustration, discomfort and ultimately giving up before movement becomes a mindset. With clarity on what you want, you will have direction and drive.
The second step, as you move towards that vision, is to focus beyond the discomfort. I know for me, when I wake up and think about the discomfort of exercise, I am far more likely to talk myself out of it. On the other hand, when I focus on how amazing I will feel when I have done, I am excited, empowered and I get moving. The third step is to focus on and take it just one day at a time. Looking at the top of the mountain, when you are standing at the bottom is intimidating and overwhelming. You can, however, take the first step, then the second and so on. The mindset of movement will happen one step and one day at a time.
I could go into a lot more detail here, but if you focus on those three simple steps, in one area of your life, and I mean focus on them for a short period of time, the mindset of forward movement will become part of your DNA. When you get to the point when the things you need to do to be healthy, happy and abundant just become part of your mindset, life will never be the same again. Enjoy the journey to creating a mindset of movement.
As you know by now, if you have been reading my blogs and/or listening to my podcasts, it is my greatest desire to help you create permanent positive change and live your best life. You will also know that I want to be as honest as I can to make sure you, or I, don’t waste any of the precious life we have been given. That being the case, and as my disclaimer if I get a bit in your face, stop looking for the easy option or the shortcut. I have found, through personal experience and what I have observed with many others, the shortcut will lengthen the journey and provide you with an ongoing source of frustration, heartache and regret. You don’t want that, do you?
If you answered that last question with a big ‘NO WAY,’ then we are ready to talk. Let me share something about myself. I have been an incredibly impatient driver for much of my adult life. I hated stopping at lights and I hated getting stuck in traffic. These days, as I work from home most of the time and only drive during the day when the traffic is much lighter, I don’t have to deal with the frustrations of driving anywhere near as much. In the days of frequent driving, my goal was always to keep moving. I felt like if I was driving, I was making progress and if I was stopped at lights or in traffic, I was wasting time. I am sure there is some deep psychological issue associated with that behaviour, but we won’t go there right now!
My strategy was always to try and find a detour, and alternative route or a shortcut so that I could keep moving and arrive at my destination on time or earlier than planned. Have a guess as to how many times, over many years of persisting with this approach, that I saved time. If you guessed rarely to never, you would be right. Sometimes, I would take a detour to find a dead end and have to turn around and get back on the path I was already on. Sometimes, I would find an alternate route and, surprise, surprise, find the traffic was even worse than where I was. Almost every time I tried to find a shortcut it took me even longer to get where I wanted to be. So, why did I keep persisting and why did I continually let my impatient and shortcut mindset control my actions?
This is a great question, and one that maybe you should also be asking yourself. Let’s face it, as a human race, we love pleasure and we crave comfort. We don’t enjoy discomfort, effort, mistakes or uncertainty, and we definitely do not like waiting. Hence why the sparkly attraction and temptation of the shortcut or quick-fix is so strong, for most of us. However, please hear me loud and clear, and despite what you may believe or what you may have been sold, there is no shortcut or quick-fix that will ever lead you to permanent positive change or to living a purposeful life of joyful longevity. Sorry, I have to be honest here, to you and also painfully, to myself.
In over thirty years as a passionate advocate for optimal wellbeing, I am still flabbergasted by the amount of people looking for a quick-fix and shortcut answer to their weight, their fitness and their wellbeing, including myself. I remember in my teens, I was very skinny, and I hated it, especially as I had an aspiration to be a professional footballer and to impress girls. The thought of the work and time it would take to get where I wanted to be was a real turn-off, so when an ad came on TV advertising a chest expander that would only take five minutes per day for just a couple of weeks to turn me into a ripped and rock-hard beast, I was sold. I bought it, I got to work for five minutes per day, and in a couple of weeks I think my chest was even smaller than before I started! There are no shortcuts to permanent change.
In my podcast this week with the wonderful Delia McCabe, called ‘The truth about trendy diets,’ we discuss the common diets people use to try and effect fast weight loss, and in the process, compromise their wellbeing. Delia talks about great habits to create that will, over time, lead to optimal wellbeing and will predictably help us achieve the look we want for ourselves, and be able to maintain it forever. There is no shortcut to looking and feeling great. Just as there is no shortcut to wealth, career success and great relationships. The moment we start falling into the quick-fix trap is the moment we start to lengthen the time it will take for us to have what we want. Why? Because, when we finally realise the shortcut will only lead to frustration, loss, heartache and regret, and we ultimately understand that we need to follow the process, we have lost time, money and belief.
Let me go back to what I said that the start of this blog. It is my greatest desire to help you create permanent positive change and live your best life. If that is truly what you want, and if you are reading this part of the blog, I assume it is, then please stop looking for a shortcut and a quick-fix. It will never lead to permanent positive change. The only way to change your life for the better, forever, is to know what you want, be determined to make it happen, decide you will follow the process no matter how long it takes, get into action, and keep going until you are there. Just remember, the longest way home is always the shortcut!