Lean into the hill

Lean into the hill

Many people want to enjoy the prize without paying the price. In fact, I think I would have to say, we all fit into that category to some degree, wouldn’t you? I mean, don’t we want to enjoy the view from the top, without the effort it takes to get there? If you disagree with that statement then let me ask you this; when is the last time you took an elevator to the top of a building, drove your car to the top of a hill or caught the cable car to a nice lookout? Maybe a better question would be – and you may need to stretch your memory – when was the last time you actually walked the stairs, the path, the track or the road to the top?

In 2018, I was on a European cruise, which stopped for a day in Gibraltar. As the ship neared the port, the great Rock of Gibraltar stood out like a beacon. All I could think about, whilst looking at it, was climbing that rock. As I googled, ‘climbing the Rock of Gibraltar’, there were lots of sites promoting the cable car, taxis, tours and other modes of transport to get people to the top, but not much on walking it. This was the case for obvious reasons, most people don’t walk it. In my mind, I was fixated on climbing that hill, and as you may know, when you decide to do something, you will always find a way.

Long story short, I found the track, started walking and not long into it, I discovered why most people take the cable car! But to me, the view was going to look so much better after I had conquered the great rock, so I just leaned into the hill and took one painful step at a time. Honestly, when you focus on the wonderful feeling you’ll experience when you arrive, and, just take one step at a time, then in no time at all you will be there. And, I was. And, I felt amazing. And, the view was awesome! I decided to reward myself with a cable car trip back down to the bottom. Incredibly, the queue to buy tickets to catch the cable car up the rock, was out the door and way up the street. I felt sorry for all of those people, as they missed one of the best feelings of achievement and fulfillment available. That is, leaning into the hill and working their way to the top.

As you may know, I am without a driver’s license for a few months after it was suspended because I accrued too many demerit points. Of the many alternate modes of transport available to me, one that I am using regularly is my bicycle. I am discovering far more hills around where I live than I was ever aware of. When you’re driving a car, you don’t notice. Recently, I was riding home after a walk with some great people, and one of them suggested I take the bike path along the freeway, as it is very scenic and pretty, so, I took her advice.

She was right, it was very scenic. What she hadn’t warned me about were the many ridiculously long and steep hills I would have to negotiate. I am a pretty stubborn and determined person, so as I approached a hill and could see many people walking their bikes up it, I made the decision to ride it, no matter how hard it would be. So, as I got to the hill and raised the gear, I leaned into the hill and with lungs almost bursting and legs about to explode, I inched my way to the top of the hill. I got there, gasping for air, but feeling incredibly proud of myself and very much enjoying the downhill glide that followed. Needless to say, I will be very weary of taking that route home again!

My point is this, we all love; the view from top of the hill or mountain, the joy of great relationships, the feeling of being lean, fit and functioning well, the privilege that money allows and  the feeling of success and achievement, yet we will never experience any of these things without a journey and the struggle of a hill to conquer. So, my advice is this; don’t run from the hill or look for an easier way. Lean into the hill and work your way to the top. Once you have done the work and achieved the outcome, you will be a better person, more confident, and happier in every respect.

In my podcast this week, ‘Warren the rabbit,’ I speak to the wonderful Craig Harper, about non-attachment, and letting go of this comfort-zone that may be holding you back from your best life. Please don’t shy away from the hill or the discomfort that confronts you this week. Embrace the work it takes to build a loving relationship. Welcome the discomfort of going through the daily process to regain or attain optimal wellbeing. Accept and enjoy the work required to create an abundant financial position. Appreciate the inconvenient actions required to write your book, learn something new or create something extraordinary. The reality is, nothing great will come knocking on your door, so, my greatest encouragement for you this week is to… lean into the hill, work hard to get to the top and then enjoy the view!

I am focussing on me!

I am focussing on me!

What makes life so complicated, when it really should be simple, fun and fabulous? Have you ever thought about what causes you the most stress? Let me ask you this, is it something or someone out of your control? Is it the Coronavirus? Is it the weather? Is it your partner, your kids, your friends, your colleagues or your family? I have finally realised that it’s so easy to get stressed and confused trying to negotiate, work out and control things that I have no control over. So, I decided to focus on the only person I can control. That’s me.

I have had a few of these conversations this week, so the content for this week’s blog seems to just flow naturally, and it follows up beautifully from the podcast I did with Natalie E. West, called, ‘The relationship that counts,’ It started with a conversation with a friend, who has a business, and I asked him how he was going with it and life in general. He said, ‘Do you know? Life is really complicated at the moment.’ I asked him why and he said, ‘Things are not going as I want, and, people are unpredictable.’ Right there, in one succinct sentence, he summed up life, when we take the focus off ourselves.

Ironically, I have just got off a zoom call with a great mate who admitted he was feeling overwhelmed with everything he was doing at the moment. He is a devoted family man, has a demanding job that he loves and is one of the most caring and giving people I have ever met. Yet, in this giving, being and doing for others, he has lost focus on the one person who is central to his health, his happiness and his life… himself.

During the week, I was a contributor on an online panel event, with three other wonderful people, talking to parents about their impact and influence on raising healthy people. Ironic, I know, as I don’t have any children, except a fluffy one! Having said that, I was a child myself, and I have been speaking in schools for the last 4 years, so I know a little something about the topic. The things that seem to cause parents the most stress include; how to communicate with their children, what their children will do, how they will behave, how they respond to challenges and how they will turn out in life. These all seem like pretty reasonable things to be concerned about, right? There were many amazing ideas and suggestions made by the other panellists, so I had to try and add something of value.

In my simple mind, and based on many thoughts and conversations I had experienced this week, I suggested that, as much as we wish we could control other people, there is only one person we are in control of, that is ourselves. As a child, where my parents had the most influence and impact on me and my life were not things they told me to do, they were things I observed them doing in the pursuit of being the best they could be. If your children are anything like you were, I am guessing they aren’t really listening to you, even though you are spouting great wisdom and suggesting sensible practices. Am I right? What your children are doing, as you did with your parents, is watching you and following the lead you are setting. The question is; what type of people do you want your children to become? Then, as Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘be the change you want to see.’

This week has so powerfully reinforced to me that the only person I really need to worry about and focus on is me. I know I cannot create change in others that I am not willing to create in myself. I know that I cannot create a wave of wellness around the world, if that world doesn’t start in my own home. I know that I can’t do all the things I want to do, and be the person I want to be for others, if I don’t focus on my own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. This may sound selfish, but it’s the opposite of selfish, it is, in fact, the best thing you can do for the people you care about. Everything you think, say and do will create a ripple effect that will impact many lives. That being the case, stop worrying about how you can control the uncontrollable and focus on the one person you have control over… yourself!

Keep it low-key

Keep it low-key

I was having a mentoring session with Paul during the week, and as we were talking about his struggles to get a writing routine happening, inspiration hit. So, in the middle of the conversation, I interrupted and said, ‘I’ve got my blog topic for the week.’ He laughed and we kept talking about the book that he was writing. What was that inspiration? It was simply, to keep it low-key. So, what does that mean?

One of the issues I find many people have, as they aspire to write a book, build a business, get in shape or improve an area of their life, is to make way too big a deal of it. I speak to many people trying to lose weight or get in shape, and they feel like they have to empty the cupboards, give up everything they enjoy, train seven days per week and turn their lives upside down. Wrong, they just need to keep it low-key. I work with many authors and aspiring authors, and many of them feel like they can’t write their book unless they have hours of spare time, they have cleared the decks and there is silence in the house. Wrong again, they need to keep it low-key!

Think about something you are working towards achieving right now. Are you struggling with it because you think; it takes too long, is too hard, or that you are worried you don’t have what it takes? If that’s you, you are seriously overcomplicating success, in any area. The secret is to keep it low-key. Stop making the achievement of success a bigger deal than it needs to be. It truly is not the end result of sacrifice, sweat, blood, tears, knowledge, talent, hours of time or sleepless nights. It’s about a relaxed and low-key approach.

I said to Paul, as he was struggling to squeeze time into his busy life to write his book; ‘Mate, you are over complicating it. Just sit down for a few moments and just throw some words on the page. Do it each day. No mess, no fuss, no sacrifice. Just keep it low-key.’ Then I said, ‘If you miss a day, no biggie, just get back on track the next day.’ The issues start happening when we build success up into something massive that causes stress, puts pressure on us and starts the negative self-talk cycle. So, stop that stuff and keep it low-key.

The reality is that the world is actually a pretty forgiving place. The problem maybe you are not so forgiving of yourself, because you put so much pressure on yourself to perform. When you miss a day writing, making phone calls or attending to the thing you committed to, the world doesn’t collapse around you. You are way too hard on yourself, right? Be kind to yourself, get over it, keep it low-key and just get up the next day and; focus on what you want, eat breakfast, go for your walk, do some writing, hang with your kids, make those calls or whatever else you need to do. No pressure, no stress, and no biggie… just, low-key!

I had an amazing conversation on my podcast this week with Australian Netballer and Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Bianca Chatfield. Bianca’s main message in the podcast, as she discussed her wonderful success and the things she had overcome, was to, pretty much, keep it low-key. In her words, it was more around being flexible and adaptable. In other words, don’t stress about stuff, just look for alternatives, keep it low-key and keep moving forward. To listen to my conversation with Bianca, click here.

My goal in this blog is for you to feel happy, relaxed and optimistic about anything and everything you are working towards. It is true, you need to have a clear vision of what you want. Sure, you need to do the work, Yes, you need to be consistent. Of course, you will have to be flexible, adaptable and solution-minded. However, just know, it’s the simple things you do on a low-key basis that will add up over time and create the incredible success you will enjoy in your life.

Place your emotion on what you want

Place your emotion on what you want

Our emotional state is the predictor of the things we will do and the life we will live. Does that sound like a big statement? It is big, and it is true. Think about the choices you make and the underlying reason for making them. Have you ever quit something because you felt discouraged? On the other hand, have you ever persisted through seemingly unreasonable challenges to achieve something because of determination? I think, we have all experienced each at some stage of our life. In both cases, the reason for your achievement or lack of achievement was not ability. It was an emotional state that led to the decision to quit or to persevere.

When I think about the things I have quit – and yes, my life is littered with quit jobs, relationships, projects and aspirations – some I’m glad I’ve quit, others I regret. No matter whether happy about my decision to quit, or regretting it, I made the decision based on the negative emotions associated with an uncomfortable and unenjoyable process. I quit a job because I felt anger and resentment towards a boss who continually criticised and put me down. I quit a relationship because I felt anxiety due to continual tension and conflict. I quit on projects and aspirations mainly because of discouragement and frustration due to, perceiving I was not good enough to make it work.

So, when I reflect on the things I’ve quit on, it was because I was so heavily focussed on what I didn’t enjoy about the process of success, and not on an incredible and compelling outcome. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of the things I quit on, I could not foresee an incredible and compelling outcome, and that’s one of the reasons I quit. For example, at the gym I quit from, because of the bullying boss, I could not see fulfilling future. However, there are things I quit on that I would have loved to be successful at. I quit on my guitar lessons at a young age, because I was discouraged and frustrated that I didn’t think I was improving. I would love to be able to play the guitar. Maybe one day!

When I think about the things I have achieved, even though the process was painful, discouraging, uncomfortable and frustrating at times, it was because I very clear on what I wanted and I placed my emotion on the fulfillment of those aspirations. Becoming a professional footballer was gut-busting, muscle-tearing, abuse-receiving and rejection-experiencing pain, yet, I was able to persist through it all for years, because I was determined and excited about achieving the result. Becoming a best-selling author was exhausting, frustrating, confusing and character-building, and, I made it happen, because I visualised my success and placed my positive, passionate and determined emotion on that, not the long hours of writing or the rejections from publishers.

In this week’s podcast, I talk to an amazingly inspiring lady, Lindsay Johnson. She has overcome alcohol addiction, the death of her brother at a young age, COVID-19 crippling her business and two miscarriages in 6 months. How has she been able to get through these devastating circumstances and come out happy, successful and abundant on the other side? Simple, she always focussed on what she wanted and placed her positive emotion on the person she wanted to be and the life she wanted to live. This kept her going, when many would have thrown in the towel. This is a conversation you will definitely want to listen to.

As you move forward in your life this week, you get to choose where you place your emotion. Will you place in on the yucky, uncomfortable and tiresome process, or will you fix it firmly on the successful achievement of your aspirations and outcomes in your life? If you put it on the painful process, you will probably quit. When you focus on your success and best life, you will be inspired to keep going to make it happen. Have an awesome week, with your emotion placed on what you want.

Think and believe it is done, first!

Think and believe it is done, first!

Why is it that so often, when we launch off in pursuit of a goal or dream, we never reach it? Well, there are probably lots of reasons, excuses and justifications we could come up with, but there is really just one. We could possibly blame not having enough time, the Coronavirus, not being good enough or the weather. Maybe, we could get to the point where we justify why we didn’t really want to achieve it in the first place, and just accept where we are and what we have. But, honestly, are any of those the truth?

In my podcast this week, I talk to an incredibly inspiring man, Fernando Parnes, co-founder and CEO of BestBeing, a global wellness app. In our conversation, he describes beautifully the one key factor crucial to the achievement of any goal. In his situation, and he discusses this in great detail with me on the podcast, he found himself, a few short years ago, morbidly obese. When I say morbidly obese, he weighed over 450 lbs, which for the metric-minded people, is around 205 kgs. I won’t discuss how he found himself at that weight, you’ll need to listen to the podcast to find that out, but what I will tell you is, that just a year or so later, he had lost more than 230 lbs (105 kgs).

I weigh 85kg, and for me that is heavy. I find it hard to comprehend, losing ‘me’ plus another 20kg! In our conversation, we discussed a lot of the things he did to bring about this life changing transformation, but the one thing he said, on a repeated basis, was that to be able to lose the weight and be a healthy person, he had to think and believe he was a healthy person, before he even started. Okay, that’s a tough gig I’m thinking. Can you imagine, looking in the mirror to see a 450 lb body, then believing and affirming that the body you are looking at is already lean and healthy? It was hard, but it was the key for Fernando to do what he needed to do.

By truly believing he was already a healthy person, it was easier for him to do the things that a healthy person did, in terms of thinking, eating and movement. It was this mindset, coupled with the actions he took as a result that enabled him to get the extraordinary result he achieved. I don’t know about you, but that inspired me beyond belief. I have a goal right now, and it’s going to take work, focus and inconvenience. After speaking with Fernando, I know that the key to me making it happen is to start today, knowing and believing that I am that person who has already achieved it. This the hardest work associated with any aspiration.

Why is it so hard? Because it possibly flies in the face of what you may deep down believe about yourself, your potential and your ability to achieve the result. The work required is in reprogramming your thinking. This happens through positive affirmation and visualisation, listening to and reading the right stuff, associating with people who encourage, support and stretch you, and, daily action. But honestly, if the vision is clear, the thinking is right, your belief is positive and your desire is strong, the action bit is really just ‘a walk in the park.’

As you’ve been reading this and reflecting on a goal or aspiration you are currently working towards, ask yourself this; do I believe I am the person who has achieved this goal, right now? Unless you think and believe you are that person already, it will be much harder to consistently do the things you need to do to turn your dream into a reality. I am here to tell you that I believe you are good enough. I truly do. But, what I think and believe doesn’t matter, The only thing that matters is that, right now, you start believing you are already the person who has the achieved what it is you are after. You are good enough. Just believe it is done, and then get to work to make it happen.

Now is the perfect time!

Now is the perfect time!

I am a man who is very much living by faith these days. I have spent so much of my life trying to control every body and every outcome and I finally realised, I can’t do it, without going crazy, having no sleep or killing myself in the process. So, now, as author Phillip Yancey so profoundly says, I truly trust in advance, that which only makes sense in reverse. This blog is the product of my faith, trusting that a topic will come to me at the right time, and it did, as I was talking to the wonderful Shay during the week.

Shay is an amazing lady in Arizona, USA, who I am helping write her book. The week was getting towards the end and, to be honest, I hadn’t even thought about what I would write this blog about. There were too many other wonderful things happening; great meetings, incredible opportunities and launching my first ever podcast episode. I was talking to Shay, pictured above, who has a holistic wellness coaching business called Shay the Coach, and, is in the process of writing her book. She had struggled for a while to get into the rhythm of writing, but had somehow found the key that unlocked the door to let the words and inspiration start flowing out of her, and, she had written an incredible amount in a short period of time.

As we were chatting, I asked her what it was that triggered this wonderful cascade of words out of her head, her heart and onto the word document. She explained that, because if the COVID-19 isolation, she had been doubting that now was the best time to write the book. After some reflection, not only did she decide that now was a great time, but that now is exactly the right time to write her book. She knew that people needed to hear her message and her story now. She knew that her insights and expertise would help people get through this time and fortify them for future challenges they would experience in their life.

Just as she was talking, it hit me, this is the topic for this week’s blog. So, thank you Shay, I had faith and you delivered on that faith for me. So, the question I now have for you is, what are you putting off, procrastinating on, thinking that you’ve got lots of time to do, or that now is not the right time for? Let me tell you, now is exactly the time. The part of isolation I have been loving, is the ability and time to do stuff that I had been putting off. I finally launched my podcast this week, which I have been talking about for many months, now it’s done. I have been forced to rethink my business and my strategies and am doing things now that are exciting and energising me.

Thinking about doing stuff is hard work, doing is so much easier. The more I thought about starting my podcast, the more I got stressed about all that had to go into it, so, the more I put it off. The moment, I stopped thinking and started doing, amazingly, things started to happen, and it is now launched. Funny how that works, right? I didn’t ‘think’ it into existence, I ‘actioned’ it into existence! In normal circumstances, and by normal, I mean pandemic-free, I would still be encouraging immediate action, but I feel more strongly than ever that now is the perfect time, For what? For everything!

It’s the perfect time to invest time with your family and significant others to build a strong family unit. If you live alone, as I do, it’s the perfect time to get a stronger relationship with yourself. It’s the perfect time to make your health and wellbeing a priority. It’s the perfect time to learn how to use technology. It’s the perfect time to be incredibly grateful for what you have in life. What you do now, and turn into new wonderful routines in your life, will bless you and benefit you long after the Coronavirus is a distant memory. Look at it, get excited about it and do it, because now is the perfect time.