It’s been a very interesting week for me. Certainly not the one I expected when I was sitting writing my blog last week. All I knew is that I was feeling more anxiety than normal and was experiencing some physical signs that were concerning me. What I didn’t realise, just a week ago, was that the anxiety and physical symptoms were simply ways my body was trying to tell me that it was time to reset.
I have mentioned before that I have been prone to anxiety in my life. It was something I believe I inherited from my mother when I was a small child as I observed and felt her own anxiety. For me that anxiety had all but disappeared over recent years as I had become more comfortable with who I was, what I was doing and my place in the world. In fact, loving my life was how I would describe my situation. So, this anxiety and these low-level headaches that began, surprised and then started to concern me.
I wasn’t sure where the anxiety was coming from and, as I mentioned, the headaches started to concern me, which then just continued to fuel my anxiety. This is how it works folks, and I can give you this information firsthand. It all came to a head through a couple of very uncomfortable conversations with some very important people in my life about my style of leadership and basic communication characteristics. These conversations, whilst hard to hear, were exactly what I needed, because they immediately shone the light on a business area of my life that I then knew was the source of my anxiety.
As a result, I made a time to talk to my mentors and I realised that, right now, even after many years of experience, I need to reset, and go back to the basics. You see, before this penny-drop moment, I was working hard but spinning my wheels. Up until that time, I was not enjoying what I was doing and feeling like I would never get to where I wanted to be. It was the events of this week that have helped me clean the slate, reset, and start again with a fresh approach, clear vision and a willingness to accept help.
It’s been a tumultuous week in some ways and a transformational one in others. I am happy to say that it has helped me enormously and now I hope I can help you. What I realised is that the achievement of any aspiration is not possible if you are not aware of where you currently are in relevant areas of life. Here is a simple example. What if you had the exact address of a destination you wanted to visit, but had no idea of where you currently were, would you get there? Here is the answer, no way! Not until you can precisely determine where you are, can you move towards where you want to be.
This is so true for me. I was working away at a part of my business, with a goal in mind, but no real concept of my current status. That’s why I needed to gain that awareness and then reset. My question, as always, is does this apply to you in any area of your life? Are you spinning your wheels, treading water or feeling stuck in any way? If so, there is a two-step process here. First, you need to be honest about where you are currently at. Second, you need to simplify, reset and go back to the basics.
Are you getting no traction with your wellness goals? Can you be honest about where you are at, and hit reset? Are you struggling with conflict? Are you willing to take responsibility for your role and then hit reset? Is your career stagnating? Are you ready to discover why, and then hit reset? The truth is this, if you are stagnating, stuck, frustrated or anxious, I would have to say, you are probably not aware of or being honest about where you are currently at. The moment you can reflect and discover your current location, you can move from just surviving to thriving.
In my podcast this week, I invented a new word, ‘thrival.’ The podcast is called, ‘Survival to thrival,’ and I talk with the amazing Tracey Jewel. She found herself at rock bottom in her life, just a few short years ago, and after some time to stop, reflect and then hit reset, she began to thrive in life. It’s a great conversation and one I wholeheartedly encourage you to listen to, particularly if you are feeling stuck in any area of your life. Don’t waste any more time feeling anxious, unwell or stuck. Get real and honest with yourself, hit reset and watch what happens.
We often hear about the comfort-zone, but the reality is that the comfort-zone, for many people, is not comfortable at all. In fact, author and speaker Deborah Stathis, says it this way, “Our comfort-zone usually isn’t even comfortable, it’s just familiar. That which is familiar, isn’t necessarily the best thing for us!” It is so true, what we allow to become familiar, often is not comfortable at all, or the best thing for us. So, are you ready to go from familiar to fabulous?
You may have heard the story of the man sitting on the park bench with his dog sitting next to him. Even though the dog was quietly whimpering away, it didn’t seem to bother the owner. A passer-by who noticed the whimpering dog, stopped and asked the owner, ‘Do you know your dog is whimpering?’ The owner answered, ‘Yes, she’s been doing it all morning.’ The passer-by then asked, ‘What is wrong with her?’ The owner explained, ‘She is sitting on a sharp stone.’ With a confused look, the passer-by then asked, ‘Why doesn’t she get off the stone?’ The owner said, ‘It doesn’t hurt enough!’
The stone was not comfortable for the dog, hence the whimpering, but it became familiar enough to just settle for. Does it sound crazy that, as easy as it would be for the dog to get off the stone, it just sits, stays and whimpers? It does sound ridiculous, doesn’t it? I would, however, ask you to think about something in your life, right now, that may be familiar to you, that you may even complain about, but you have settled in and do nothing to change. Ouch! Are you familiar in a job, that no longer stimulates you, so you whimper about it, when you just need to get up and go find another job? Are you familiar in your financial struggles, often moan about, but don’t get up and look for the myriad of solutions that are out there? Maybe you’re familiar with your lack of energy and ailing health, complain about it, but don’t just get up and start moving towards more energy and better health.
Have I annoyed, agitated or angered you? If so, hopefully to the point of moving you from what is familiarly uncomfortable and starting the process of creating fabulous. In my podcast this week called, ‘An amazing life lies beyond comfort,’ I speak with Australian actor and celebrity, Tim Robards. He has an amazing story of how he transitioned from an Exercise Physiology and Chiropractic career to become a successful actor. He knew the wellness industry intimately and it was familiar to him, but he had a burn inside of him to create a fabulous acting career. He said multiple times in the podcast, he often did things that were unfamiliar, and that terrified him, but every time they led to something great. He never settled for familiar, he wanted fabulous and so he went for it.
Familiar to me was personal training. I had done it for fifteen years and I could do it easily, but it got to the point where it no longer stimulated me, in fact, I began to resent it. I was in my late 30’s and got horrifyingly close to accepting that as my life, just putting up with it yet complaining about it every day. Thank God, I didn’t. I was working too many hours, I was financially unstable and I was always tired, and it was definitely not how I wanted to be living. Whilst it was very familiar, it was also very uncomfortable, So, I asked myself, ‘Andrew, how do you want to live?’ As soon as I asked myself that question, I was clear that I wanted to be healthy, have time and choice, be financially secure, have beautiful relationships, make a difference in the world and be joyfully happy.
Personal training was never going to help me achieve that, so, at that moment in my life, I knew it was time to get off the sharp painful stone. That’s when the most unfamiliar and uncomfortable idea came into my head… to write a book. I had a burning desire to change my life, and I could see an answer, I just had no idea how to do it. So, I got off the stone and started moving, and amazingly, as unfamiliar as it was, the path opened up for me and, I am grateful to say, that I went from familiar to fabulous in a very short period of time. The hardest part was making the decision and taking the first step.
If you are ready to stop whimpering about the stone you are sitting on, then this message is for you. Get a strong vision for the ‘fabulous’ you want to achieve and move it quickly from your head into your heart and then into your gut. Once it’s burning in your gut as a non-negotiable, you are ready to make the decision and take the first step. From that point, moving from familiar to fabulous is a done deal. You deserve fabulous, but it’s not just going to fall in your lap, you will need to get out of the familiar zone and make it happen. You can do it and you will be so glad you did.
Have you ever had a magical moment in your life? I’m sure you have. Would you like to have more of them? I’m sure you would. Would you like to know how to create magical moments on a regular basis? Of course you would! Are you sick of me asking obvious and rhetorical questions? Okay, I’ll stop. The key to creating magical moments is to understand that magic isn’t actually required, but living in the common zone of two simple concepts is the key.
Let me illustrate this with my own personal experience. Over the last twelve months there have been many things happening that are out of our control, and I definitely don’t feel the need to list them here, as I’m sure you know exactly what I am talking about. For me, as a speaker, where a large percentage of my income came through standing in front of groups of teenagers in schools, or adults in workplaces, and sharing my ideas, within a heartbeat, and through no fault of my own, all those bookings and that income were ripped from me. I remember, at the time, sliding down the wall in a state of fear and anxiety and laying on the floor in a foetal position for a short time.
In that helpless moment, I was very firmly focused on what I could not control and what I did not want. After a short period of thumb-sucking, dummy-spitting and tantrum-throwing I got up and shifted my focus. I started to think about what was most important and what most mattered to me, and then I started to think about what I could actually control and then… BOOM! I got clear, I got excited and I got into action. Within a very short period of time, I was delivering multiple online presentations to schools, companies and I had more work than before lockdown began. I was doing more of what I loved, I was living more of my purpose, which is to create a wave of wellness around the world and help people live their best lives.
It all happened in the magic zone. It was there where I started focusing on what mattered to me the most and what I was in control of. The second I found myself in that zone, the magic happened for me. This realisation for me, helped me to understand and believe that no circumstances can ever affect the life I live, only I can do that. Because, whilst there are many circumstances out of our control, there are just as many, if not more things, that are in our control. When these things are applied to what matters to you most, that’s where the magic happens.
So, my question to you again is are you ready for more magic moments in your life? If you answered yes, then I am excited for you. I encourage you to think of a situation or area in your life where you would like to experience that magic. Got one? Okay, great. Now, either think about or, even better, write down what about creating this change matters to you. Why is it important? Now, either think about or write down all the things that you are in control of. As you look at both lists, can you see the things that you can control will contribute to what matters to you most? If so, that is where you want to be, because that is where the magic happens.
In my podcast this week, called, ‘Control the controllables,’ I speak with world class diver Laura Hingston about her journey and aspiration to be selected in the World Cup and Olympic teams in Tokyo this year. She told the story about an outdoor training session when she totally misjudged the dive and landing flat on her back. It was a ‘splat’ as she described it! She hurt her back, her ribs and even ripped her skin open, yet despite pain, fear and suggestions that she should retire for the day, five minutes later she was back on the 10m platform to dive again. Why? It was important to her that she got the dive right, and she was in total control of the choice to get up and go again and do it on that day, or risk fear that would grip her if she left that day with the ‘splat’ vision in her mind. As she climbed back up to the top of the platform, she didn’t feel the pain, because she placed herself in the zone where magic happens. She re-dived and nailed it!
I’m not suggesting you need to do a triple twinky off a 10m platform, but I want to encourage you this week to laser your focus on the intersection of what is most important to you and what you are in control of. That, my friend, is where the magic happens.
I don’t know about you, but I have spent far too much of my time on this planet worrying, uncertain and anxious because I was unsure how things would turn out in my life. What I didn’t realise, at the time, was that I already knew the outcome of each aspiration before it ever happened. I would worry about something and then when it didn’t happen the way I wanted it to, I would often say, ‘I knew that would happen!’ Have you ever said that? It’s because you already knew the outcome, by the beliefs you had and the words you used about it.
I have used this analogy before, and here it is again as it helps give a clear picture of what I’m talking about to set up the rest of this blog. I’m not sure if you like sports or not, but let’s just imagine you are a little fanatical about your team. You have all the merchandise, paint your face in the team colours and generally act a little crazy! You attend every game you can, but there is one instance you are unable to watch your team play live because you have a commitment you can’t get out of, so you set your machine to record it and watch it later. Throughout that whole day, you are able to successfully avoid any chance of hearing the scores, as you want to watch it as if it were live. Just as you are about to get home to watch it, you get a text message from a friend who gives away the fact that your team won the game. As disappointed as you are that you know the outcome, you are excited that your team has won, so you settle in to watch the game.
Let me ask you this, at the start of the game when nerves would normally be high, how are you feeling? Relaxed, right? Why? Because you know the result. What about when your team plays terribly in the first half and are well behind on the scoreboard? Are you stressed, anxious, angry or frustrated? Of course not, because you know the outcome and that your team wins. In fact, during the whole game you are relaxed and able to enjoy every second, because right from the beginning of the game, you knew the outcome.
So, why am I telling you this story? Because, I want you to start looking at aspirations in your life the same way. If you set your mind to an outcome you want, if you affirm and reinforce that focus and if you take the predictable daily action, then you don’t have to be stressed, anxious, angry or frustrated because you already know the outcome. The outcome will be predictable. When I made the decision to write my first book, even despite the fact that I had no time, no experience, no qualifications and no clue how to go about it, I was relaxed and confident. Why? Because, I knew that if I just started writing, and wrote every day and if I continued to do what I needed to do, the outcome would be predictable. Before I even began, I already knew the outcome. It happened!
In my podcast this week called ‘Headstrong – Keep dancing,’ I talk to the amazing Heather Rendulic about her new book, Headstrong, and her journey with a brain lesion called a Carvernous Angioma. This brain lesion led to five bleeds and ultimately a nine-hour brain surgery at the age of 22. Before the surgery doctors stated that there were a few possibly outcomes; she may die, be paralysed, be unable to talk or may even have a different personality. So, you can imagine the fear that Heather must have experienced as she was put under anaesthetic. But, no, in Heather’s mind, she knew already the outcome, and that was that she would yet again be an independent and fully functioning person.
As she woke from the surgery, her family was around her. Her older sister, who was to be married six months later, was sitting and sobbing for her younger sister. Heather woke from the surgery, paralysed, saw her sister sobbing and, with all sorts of tubes in her brain and half effected by the medication, said, ‘Stop your sobbing, I’ll be dancing at your wedding.’ Amazingly, despite all professional opinions, Heather was dancing at her sister’s wedding. Why? She already knew the outcome. She had decided she would be well and independent, she focussed on it, she affirmed it and she took action every day until it was a reality.
My point is that the outcomes in your life are already known by you. You may not believe me, but they are determined by the words you use and the things you believe. If you believe you can, tell yourself you will, decide to get it done and do what you need to do, there is no need to worry, your outcome is done and the result predictable. If you doubt yourself, tell yourself all the reasons why you can’t achieve something, you won’t even get started and the outcome will be equally as predictable. So, your outcomes in life are known by you because they wrapped up in the words you choose to use.
From today onwards, create the outcomes you want by believing in yourself, affirming success and using the words and statements you want to create. You don’t need a crystal ball, you don’t need a palm reader, you don’t need a clairvoyant, and you don’t need someone telling you the game score. Your results in life are controlled by you, so relax have fun and enjoy an amazing life, as you already know the outcome.
2021 is finally here, but really, what’s changed except the date? I know many people have been saying, ‘I can’t wait until 2020 is over and 2021 rolls around.’ They’ve been talking as if, as soon as midnight strikes on December 31, 2020, everything will automatically and magically change for the better. Well, here we are in the first week of 2021 and the only thing that is going to change, if it hasn’t already, is your attitude about making this day – no matter the date or the circumstances – the one when you stop waiting and start winning.
Many people have described the year 2020 – as if the year has anything to do with it – as; ‘a dumpster fire,’ ‘crappy,’ ‘one to forget’ and many other expletive-laden and negative statements. Can I just say, the year had nothing to do with it? The fires had nothing to do with it, the riots had nothing to with it and COVID had nothing to do with it. We, ourselves, had everything to do with it! Yes, that’s right and as much as I know I am ruffling some feathers, I don’t want anyone to waste 2021 by thinking their success, happiness and wellbeing has anything to do with what’s happening around the world. Instead, it has everything to do with what’s happening between our ears!
I have experienced the same year as everyone, and it has been tough for me, like everyone. However, I have said it before and I will say it again, 2020 for me was the most transformational year I have had in a long time. Going into isolation was tough but what I needed to face my insecurities, then get to know and love myself better. Losing many speaking jobs and significant income was terrifying, but exactly what I needed to transform my business online with a global reach. More time at home being unable to go anywhere was lonely and frustrating at times, but saved me money, helped me focus on what’s most important and allowed me to create new things, like my podcast. I know my experience of 2020 was different to other people, but I do know it was a great year for me because I chose to win, not wait.
Please, don’t think in any way I am diminishing what people have faced or what they have had to suffer through and overcome. But then, that has nothing to do with a virus and everything to with living in a world where challenges happen. There’s no doubt, we are in a season, when fear, anxiety and uncertainty are rife, and it can be tough to navigate at times. In fact, there has been more than one time, over the last 12 months, when I have found myself sobbing and in a fetal position on the floor. I just want to encourage you not to think, just because it’s a new year, that things will magically get better. Let me tell you, things will get better the second you decide to win and not wait.
When I say, ‘win and not wait,’ I mean start today – yes, today – taking action to make your life the best it can be. Forget about what’s happening around the world, forget about the fact that it’s a new year and the pressure is on to make a new year’s resolution, and focus on what’s most important in your life. If it’s your health & wellbeing, which I hope it is, stop waiting for a vaccine, the second you take action, you win. If it’s your relationship(s), stop waiting for someone else to make the first move and act. When you do, you win! If it’s your business, stop waiting for a better economic time and get into action. As soon as you do, you’ll be a winner. Stop waiting for things to go back to normal and start now to create your new and improved normal. The second you do, you are winning.
You see, winning has nothing to do with holding a trophy, getting to the top of the mountain or achieving the goal. Winning happens the moment you take action and start moving in the direction of what you want, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant that movement may be. So, it’s with my greatest encouragement that you stop waiting and start moving today. What stops us all, including myself on a regular basis, is ourselves and our fears, anxieties and insecurities. So, I want to urge you to listen to my podcast this week with Morgan Beard, called ‘Behind the music.’ I guarantee it will help.
2021 can be an awesome year for you. Not because it’s a new year, not because it’s not 2020 and not because things will magically get better. It will be an incredible year the instant you decide to stop waiting, start choosing and start winning. You get to choose how this year will be, so, choose abundance, choose courage, choose action, choose love, choose gratitude, choose health, choose significance, choose legacy, choose fun, choose laughter, choose progress and choose different.
There is a wonderful quote, I am unsure who to credit it to, that says; ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift and that’s why we call it the present.’ I want to unpack it a little in this week’s blog, because I can see the answers to a glorious and happy life residing in those nineteen words, if we pay attention to them and take action. In fact, take a leap of faith.
I will come back to the leap of faith shortly, but let’s look at this quote to start with, because it gives power to the idea of a leap of faith. ‘Yesterday is history!’ What is the one thing we know for sure about history, any history? Well, the one thing I know for sure about history is that it is set, and cannot be changed. As much as I may like it to be. That being the case, why do we spend so much time – me included – thinking about it, dwelling on it, regretting it and beating ourselves up over it? Can I make one simple suggestion? Learn from it, forgive yourself (and/or others) if required and let it go, or you will never move forward in life.
‘Tomorrow is a mystery!’ We often try to predict, control and foresee the future, when it’s not possible. We may go to a clairvoyant, palm-reader or other so-called future predictor to tell us how our future will turn out. We may read our star signs and see what we can glean from that. Please hear me on this, our future cannot be predicted, controlled or manipulated, because there are too many elements, out of our control, that will impact it. Can we control the weather? Of course not. How will that potentially impact our plans for tomorrow? Can we control other people? We wish! How will that affect how our tomorrow will turn out? What I’m saying here is, as important as it is to have goals, dreams and clear purpose for your life, spending all your time in the future will make your head explode.
‘Today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present!’ Why is today a gift? I believe for several reasons, and I will just mention two. The first and most important is the gift of life. If you woke up this morning and are looking down on the grass, then you should celebrate. I have often spoken about the miracle of life, and when we think about the miniscule odds of our existence, we should rejoice in every moment we are alive. The second reason is the gift of choice we are given every moment of every day. What do you think will most impact your future and most glorify your past? It’s the choices we get to make in the present. If you can learn from your past and if you are clear on what you want in the future, then the choices you make in the present moment will most profoundly impact your life.
In this moment you don’t need to have all the answers. In this moment you don’t need to understand the process. In this moment, you don’t even need to know the path forward. All you need to do is have the have the courage and make the choice to take the first step… a leap of faith. It is fear in the moment that most stops people, as it has me. Fear from thinking too much about the failures of the past and how they will affect us moving forward and fear of how we can possibly create the future we desire. This fear paralyses most people, except those with faith.
I talk about faith all the time, because to me it’s the most powerful tool we have in our arsenal to live our best life. If the poor choices, mistakes and failures of yesterday are all history that we cannot change, how do we move forward successfully in life without the faith that things can change? If tomorrow is a mystery, and there is no we can accurately predict how things will go or what will challenge us, how do we negotiate that without faith? It is the leap of faith we take in the present moment, not knowing but trusting, that will get you to where you want to be.
I have spoken ad-nauseam about my journey. As I sit here writing this blog, I am living a life of joy, passion and purpose, that I love every moment of. How I got here only makes sense as I look back over the last 18 years to that one fleeting moment I made the illogical decision to write my first book. The leap of faith I took on that day, opened up the path, and each day in each moment the steps of faith I took led me to exactly where I didn’t even know I wanted to be. I am incredibly grateful.
In this week’s podcast called, ‘Just, the next step,’ I speak with Sean O’Leary, who calls himself the ‘Transformed Man.’ Sean started his journey at 135kg (300lbs), had kidney issues, was verging on diabetes and was experiencing pain in pretty much every part of his body. Within 12 weeks, he had dropped five clothes sizes and transformed into a purpose-driven man who is now lean, energised and healthy. At the lowest point, when he made the decision to transform his life, he had no idea how it would happen, and so he started with a leap of faith. He is very clear in explaining that his success did not come from motivation, ability or knowledge of the process, but from just taking the next step. Often, he didn’t know what that step would be, or where it would lead, but his desire to change his life and willingness to keep stepping out in faith helped him to be living his best life.
Faith is trusting in advance that which only makes sense in reverse, says author Phillip Yancey. So, by definition you are not in control. There is a force with you and around you that will lead you to the destination you are after, but you need to let go of the failures of the past and release the need to have all the answers for your future. Trust in God, believe in the universe and just know that if you take a leap of faith, the path will almost magically appear under your feet and lead you to the most amazing life you could ever possibly imagine. Start leaping with faith today.