Emotions, hey? They can either work for you in an incredibly positively powerful way, or they can take you down and out and turn potential into pulp. Have you noticed how, when you feel strong emotions of empowerment, excitement and determination you go forth and create wonderful change in your life? Have you also noticed how anger, anxiety, bitterness, fear and resentment can immediately lead to action, or inaction as the case may be, which defeats, discourages and destroys? What if I told you, that you were in control of the direction of your emotions and the path your life takes?
Have you ever worn a pair of sunglasses? When you put them on, what happens to the colour of the world you see? It changes, right? What colour does it change to? Whatever the colour of the lens, right? If the lens is green, the world is green. If the lens is brown, the world brown. If you put on glasses with blue lenses, you don’t see red, right? If you go inside a dark room with the sunglasses on, what do you normally do? You probably take them off I imagine. Then what about when you go back outside on a bright and sunny day? Put them back on? I’m sure you do. So, the concept of sunglasses is a pretty simple one to understand, right?
The point I want to make with this seemingly obvious and inane dialogue around sunglasses is that you get to choose the colour of the lens you look through and you also get to change the lens if you want a different colour, or more or less bright. In the same way, your emotional state is light or dark based on the lens you are looking at a certain situation through, and, you also get to change that lens, if you choose to. Isn’t that amazing news? Well, it’s actually great and tragic news. It’s great because, you get to change the lens, change your emotional state and positively change the outcomes in your life. It’s tragic because, if you buy what I am saying, there’s now no one else to blame for the way you feel or the actions you take as a result. D’oh!
The most powerful example I can think of about the impact of the lens, is when I destroyed my professional football career many years ago. Yes, you read that correctly. I destroyed my professional football career, because of the lens I chose to look through. I won’t go into the whole sad story, but I will say the trigger was when I woke up on a Saturday morning two weeks after the end of the season in 1987 and I read in the newspaper that I have been de-listed from the club. I was the wearing the, it’s-not-fair, victim-minded and it’s-your-fault lens. Through that lens, I saw red and became angry, bitter and resentful. As a result, I proceeded to do and say things that destroyed any future potential as a professional athlete.
Now, had I chosen to wear the, self-responsibility, desire-to-improve and gain-constructive feedback lens, I would have felt very differently and taken some very different actions in response to that event. Had I done that, who knows what may have been the long-term result? So, I want to encourage you, this week, to adjust the lens you are looking through if it’s leading to an emotional state that will lead to a choice that you will later regret. Please don’t ever live with regret, it’s no fun and so easily avoided!
When you don’t get the result you want, put on the I’m-good-enough and I’ll-try-again lens. When someone says or does something that is not nice or fair, put on the I-forgive-you and I-hope-you’re-okay lens. When you make a mistake or a poor choice, put on the I-forgive-me and learn-the-lesson lens. I promise, when you choose the right lens, no matter the situation or circumstance, you will create emotions that will strengthen your physical wellbeing and move you into positive and life enhancing action.
It is our emotional state that has the largest impact on the life we live, so a feeling of emotional intelligence and freedom is one we need to cultivate. This week’s podcast, called ‘Finding emotional freedom’ with Mandi Freger, will help if you are struggling with anxiety, stress or other potentially destructive emotions. My friend, the best thing you can do, when confronted with a challenging situation or circumstance – to insure that you respond, don’t react and build, don’t destroy – is to make sure you choose the right lens to look at it through.
As I write this week’s blog it is Saturday morning. Let me tell you, I am scrambling. Why? Because there is an incredible live-streamed event happening today between 12 noon and 4pm that I know will absolutely bless some people, and I am working to the very last minute to see who I can encourage to join it. I have no idea who may attend in a spur-of-the-moment decision and take the information they receive, apply it and then take action that changes their life. If that happens, I know they, and I, will be singing!
This is going to sound harsh, but we live in a society of quitters. In fact, we are often encouraged to quit if; there is some kind of risk, we are considered not smart or talented enough or if we try to save face from failing in our attempts. I have done my fair share of quitting things, because; they seemed too hard, I believed was not good enough or my efforts didn’t seem to be working. Looking back at those things, I will never know if I could have actually achieved the end results and been singing with joy, because I took myself out of the game prematurely. What about you? What is it you have quit too soon? What have you given up on and then justified to yourself was the right move to make, when deep down you regret not following through? Hard question, I know, but a critical one if you want to be singing with joy, the way you deserve to be.
You and I have been blessed with an incredible capacity that we rarely ever really explore, unless we are forced to. I want to encourage you, this week, to explore that capacity because you can and because you choose to. I was totally inspired by Derrick Kirk, my guest on this week’s podcast called, ‘It’s not over.’ Derrick was forced to explore his capacity as he was orphaned at 6 years old and homeless at 18. As a result of what he was forced to do to survive, he learned to believe and trust in his own capacity, and now chooses to do amazing things and impact the world in a big way. It is definitely a podcast worth listening to.
Winston Churchill, famous English Prime Minister, kept, as he likes to call it, ‘Buggering On.’ During WW2 the vast opinion in the UK at the time, was to give in to the overwhelming forces against them. However, Churchill stuck relentlessly to his decision, even as his sanity was being questioned, to ‘never, ever give up!’ History will show that his attitude that it was not over, and his iron-clad decision to keep going led to singing and dancing in the streets of London and other cities all around the world.
I played my first senior game of professional football when I was 18 years old in August 1983, and I played my second game, 20 months later, in April 1985. So, what happened in those 20 months? I played every game in the reserve grade team, I played well in almost all of them, and I missed selection week after week after week, for 20 months. What really happened in those 20 months? I made a decision to keep showing up, no matter what. Despite the fact there were many times I doubted myself, threw a tantrum and felt like giving up, I just kept going because I knew it was not over, until I was singing! In that time, I got better, stronger, fitter, more resilient, more determined, more mature and more equipped to be a professional footballer, In fact, the best time of my seven year professional football career, was the 20 months I missed selection every single week.
If you give up, you will never know what you can achieve. So, just know that’s it’s not over until you are singing, and, if you keep going with focus and determination, you will be singing, trust me. Keep going and you will be singing as you reach your wellbeing goals. Keep buggering on and you will be harmonising as you restore the relationship that is fractured. Make the decision, it’s not over until you are humming as a result of your business success, your financial achievement or whatever else it is you are aspiring to.
I say it often, and I will say it again, you are good enough to live the most amazing life you can imagine. The difference between those who do and those who don’t, is not luck, intelligence, ability, age, education or circumstances. Success is one hundred percent earned and owned by the people who know, in their heart, that it’s not over until they are singing. I wish for that you do some singing, as a result of the thing you persisted with, in the very near future.
Inspiration comes when you least expect it, as long as you are expecting it, that is! There you go, some wisdom in the first sentence of this week’s blog! For me, wisdom came on Saturday morning as I was jogging on the spot on my porch, as the rain bucketed down all around me. I was looking at the rain and enjoying the sounds, sights and smells, and I smiled as it just reinforced to me that no matter what happens in my life, all outcomes are great!
I am going to tell you a really dumb little story to try and make my point this week, but before I do, I want to just share a little of the conversation I had with Nick Bracks on this week’s Podcast called, You can’t lose. Nick is a man who, like many of us, has had a mental health journey to the point where he had serious issues in his life. Nevertheless, now on the other side and helping many people as a result, his attitude inspires me beyond belief. He said that no matter what outcome you achieve in life, it’s always a win. Now, I know many might disagree with that statement, but then it’s all how we look at things, right? He said, for himself, he will either get a successful outcome, or he will get a lesson that will help him in his life. So, for him, he cannot lose. What about you? That’s something to ponder as you deal with the current circumstances in your life.
So, every Saturday for me is ‘Muscle Up Saturday.’ I get up around 6am, jump on my bike and ride to the outdoor chin-up bar at a local park and do my session. I love it, mostly when it’s over, that is! This Saturday, I woke up to the sound of torrential rain. In my younger years I would have braved the weather anyway with my catch-cry that, ‘I am waterproof!’ I have to admit, with no apologies, in recent years, I have softened a little. Not to the point I would use the rain as an excuse, but certainly to the point I would modify my session. I was however in a dilemma as I had no idea what I would do.
The outcome I wanted was to be able to get to the park and do my muscle ups, the outcome I ended up with was just as great, in fact maybe better, as I was proud of my creativity and willingness to find a solution. This is exciting stuff, isn’t it?? I grabbed my 17.5kg (40lb) dumbbell from the garage and went out onto my 2m by 2m undercover porch just outside my front door and, as the rain was pelting down, I did 10 sets of a full-body dumbbell exercise, squats and jogging on the spot. As I was jogging on the spot at the end of the session, trying to get my steps up to reach my goal, I was looking out over the rain-soaked-landscape and thinking, ‘this is an awesome outcome.’
Boring story, I know, and, it’s really not about me telling you how great I am. I just want to reinforce the message you will hear if you listen to the podcast with Nick Bracks, that no matter what outcome you end up with, it’s always great, if you choose it to be. It’s so wonderfully true, if you believe it and expect it to be. In my professional football career, the initial outcome I wanted was to be successful, the one I ended up with was being sacked. The sacking led me to significant self-reflection and learning, and a very fulfilling fitness industry career. An incredible outcome. When I bought a café, the outcome I wanted was for it to be a successful business. The outcome I ended up with was that I was out of business and in $100,000 debt within two short years. It was at that time, as I questioned my next step, that I decided to write my first book, which has totally transformed my life. An amazing outcome.
I could tell you story after story, but I would rather you reflect on your own experiences where you may not have got the outcome you initially wanted, but instead you got one far more exciting and fulfilling, even though the circumstances at the time looked pretty devastating. I want to encourage you to believe in your heart that all outcomes are great. I want to have peace-of-mind and confidence in knowing that whatever you are experiencing right now, you will look back with perspective and gratitude knowing that it led you to an incredible outcome. With the right attitude and a proper perspective, all outcomes you experience are great!
Are you sick of being stuck, where you are, in certain areas of your life? Are you ready to break free and start to live the life you are destined to live? Are ready for positive change in your life? If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, then I have three simple words for you to help you do it. Those words are; win the day!
I have an amazing mentor, who has a saying that, success doesn’t happen in a day, it happens day-by-day. As you read this, I have a feeling there is something more you want in your life; better relationships, optimal wellbeing, more money, to be a published author, to impact more lives or some other worthy aspiration. Am I right? I also get the feeling that you are feeling stuck, confused, doubtful, unworthy or unable somewhere between where you are now and the realisation of that aspiration. Would I be right again?
Every time I look back upon my journey to this point in my life, I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. I am continually amazed by what I have achieved and the life of joy and purpose I am living now. Amazed, because I know me. I know my insecurities, my flaws, my doubts and my fears. I continually ask myself how I got here, and the answer is always the same… one day at a time. I am proud to have played professional sport for seven years. I am impressed with my fitness industry career. I am excited that I am on the verge of publishing my eighth book. I am delighted that, in my mid-fifties, I am lean, fit and healthy. I am most proud of the fact that I have got here, not through talent, but through creating the right habits.
I have been told how lucky I am now for decades. Lucky for my natural ability to be a footballer. Lucky for my genetics to have the body and fitness I have. Lucky for my high profile to be a published author. Ha! I had very little natural ability as a footballer, instead I worked hard every day for years. Good genetics? I was a chopstick with ears and had to work my brains out and eat well every day to get, and keep, the body I have. As for my high profile, I was a household name in one house, that I know of! Nothing I have achieved happened because of luck or talent, instead because I focussed for a period of time to create unconscious habits that predictably led me to the outcomes I wanted. Here is the best news, you can do the same!
There are just 63 days between where you are now and creating strong neural pathways in the brain and forever unconscious habits that will automatically and predictably lead you to the outcomes you are after. I am talking about habits like breathing or brushing your teeth. These are things you don’t think about, you just do, because they are part of your DNA. That is the type of habit I am talking about. Can you imagine your life, when the things you are struggling with, negotiating on and often forgetting, become part of your DNA? Things like exercise, eating breakfast, writing your gratitude list, drinking water, writing your book, complimenting others or any of the other simple things you struggle with each day.
All you have to do is focus on a handful of things every day for 63 days, and then you will never have to focus on them again. The most successful people don’t rely on talent, focus, will power or intellect, they rely on taking the right daily actions and turning them into unconscious success habits. If you are ready to hack your current status quo and create the life you want, then I am going to give you one simple piece of advice. That is; win the day.
To prepare yourself for permanent and positive change, firstly set a goal that is meaningful for you. One that will have a positive impact on your life and the people you care about most. Secondly, decide on just a few small daily actions that you want to run through the 63 day process to transform into DNA type, just-what-you-do, unconscious habits. Thirdly, find an accountability partner to encourage you and keep you on track. Finally, focus on the only day that matters. That day is today. Win the day!
You see, focussing for 63 days is intimidating and overwhelming, right? Even trying to stay focused for 42 days, 21 days or even just 7 days are still too much. Focus on the one and only day you have any control over, that day is today. There is nothing more than today. On this day you have a couple of very basic actions to take, so take them, whether you want to, feel like it or not. Once you have done it, you are a winner, because the goal for the day was achieved. So, tick the box, feel like a winner and celebrate because you are on the path to your best life. When midnight hits, you have a new day to win, so focus on that day, and again; win it, celebrate, feel your confidence grow and simply repeat this, one day at a time, for 63 days.
This week’s podcast with Greg Sellar is a perfect one to listen to if you want to learn how to hack the status quo. You are good enough. You don’t need luck, talent or intelligence to have great things in your life. You just need to know what you want, know what you need to do and win each day until the habits you need to predictably create success are embedded in your DNA and will automatically lead you to the success you want. Trust me, all you have to do is… win the day!
I have to honestly say, I love life; every day, every aspect and every situation. That may sound like I’ve just hit my head, but it’s how I feel. Back in March, I wrote a blog called, ‘Nothing is bad, it’s all content.’ I want to make a minor adjustment to that and add an addendum, and that is; ‘and it’s part of the journey of life that will help you fulfil your purpose to help other people.’
I truly believe, with the right attitude, you can enjoy every aspect of the journey you experience in your life and use it as a way to help and inspire others. Even the ones that may not seem so enjoyable. When you trust and believe that everything happens for a reason, that everything is putting you on the path to fulfill the destiny and purpose you are on this planet for and that everything can be used as a platform to help others, then why not be excited about everything that happens in your life.
In fact, as you may already know, I had an experience this week, which reinforced this to me in a powerful way. I got up at 5:20am on Friday, as I do most mornings, to go and do my training. Friday is leg and box-jump day. If you are not sure what a box-jump is, go to google. I have a special place where go to do my box-jumps, at the local council square on a fixed steel table-tennis table. Amongst other things, I jump up onto the table several times. Well, on Friday, after jumping up, I slipped and, on my way down, hit my shin on the sharp edge of the table. I hit the ground, with a thud, a bruised ego, and a sore shin. As I sat on the ground, looking around to make sure no one was watching (as if anyone would be at 5:45am), I lifted my track pants to survey the damage. I thought there might be a scratch, but what I saw alarmed me.
Without going into the gory details, I limped home, blood streaming down my leg and soaking my sock and questioned myself as to what I should do. I have to be honest here, I actually contemplated just putting a dressing on it and hoping for the best, but then decided to take myself to the emergency department of the closest hospital. For the next three and a half hours, from 6:30am till 10am, I spent time getting examined, x-rayed, stitched and doing lots of waiting.
Now, what I am about to say may sound a little weird, but I loved the whole journey. As crazy as it sounds, I wasn’t upset it happened, didn’t complain about it and really didn’t want to be anywhere else. Yes, there was a little pain involved, but it was a pain I knew I would grow from. I’m not sure if I am explaining this is a way you will understand, but, I knew there was a reason why I was there. Yes, obviously because I fell and needed attending to, but it was more than that.
As I mentioned at the start, one of the things I always say to myself, and others, is that there is nothing bad that happens, it’s all just content. So, I’m writing about it here and now. This mishap allowed me to slow down. I mean, if you’ve ever been in the emergency at a hospital, waiting time is all you have! It gave me time to refocus on what I had to be grateful for, what’s most important in my life and how I can help other people. I was very grateful for the staff at the hospital and the wonderful Dr Anna, who stitched up my gaping wound. As an added extra bonus, in this current time of COVID lockdown, it gave me an exciting reason to get out of the house!
During those three and a half hours I sent messages to everyone I needed to reschedule, I did my social media posting, I wrote more in my current book, I thought, I reflected and I caught up on some sleep in a comfortable bed. Sounds pretty great to me. I know this experience has benefited me, and I hope, by me sharing this, it will help you also. As insane as it may sound, I really enjoyed this journey and I know it happened for a reason. Even a couple of days later, I feel clearer, calmer and more focussed than I have in a long time.
Wow, who would have believed that you could enjoy this type of experience. Well, when you believe that everything happens for you and not to you, then your attitude will be… bring it on! In my most recent podcast ‘Making Lives Better,’ I speak to AFL and St Kilda FC legend, Nathan Burke, about his journey and mission to make other people’s lives better. It is an inspiring conversation with a very successful yet humble man.
It has inspired me, even more, to make sure that, everything I experience on my journey of life, I love and can use to help others as they negotiate the challenges in their own life. When you believe deep down everything that happens – seemingly good or bad – will help you fulfil your destiny and purpose in your life, then you, like me, will love every part of your journey.
You can either prepare the path for yourself or prepare yourself for the path. In other words, you can either try to control things that are out of your control and hope for the best or take charge of the one thing you are in control of, that is you! I think, intellectually, we know which is the best choice, but let’s explore which is currently your preferred strategy, and whether it may be worthwhile considering a change of tactic.
As you read this blog, in August 2020, the path we are on, or the path we may want to be on is not necessarily solid ground. We are living on a rapidly moving landscape, at the moment, and therefore any plans to try to prepare a path may be dashed from under our feet. If you had planned to travel, then your path has eroded. If you planned to open a hospitality business, then your path has crumbled. If your plan included other people getting together, then that path may have disintegrated. Can you see why trying to prepare something that is out of your control may also leave you out of control.
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl narrates his experience as a prisoner in German concentration camps for four years during World War Two. At that time, every pleasure and comfort were taken from the prisoners and replaced with starvation, frostbite, abuse and intense pain. In his book, he explains how the only people who survived, were those who had identified a strong meaning to survive and purpose to live, and those who prepared themselves for the horrendous path.
He spoke about one man, who had convinced himself that the end of the war and his liberty would happen on a certain date. He had not prepared himself for any other eventuality. When that date came and went, and he was still a prisoner, he was dead within twenty-four hours. He was not prepared, his will to live was gone and paid the ultimate price. Now, this is an extreme example, but I want to make a point, and, that point is that right now my advice to me, and you if you’re interested, is to identify your meaning and then start preparing yourself for whatever path may open itself up to you.
In this week’s podcast, Tap into your inner gold, I talk to incredible three time para-Olympic gold medal winner, Carol Cooke. She is the epitome of someone who prepared herself for the path. If she was more focused on the path, she would have given up at 9 years old, but in actuality, she finally realised her dream to win an Olympic gold medal 41 years later. Her dream was Olympic gold, but the path changed for her on a regular basis, so it was lucky she focused every day on preparing herself. Her final achievement, at the age of fifty-one came after, forty-one years, four sports, diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, two countries and many setbacks. It was the strength and determination, she developed in herself, which allowed her to stay on track, to find the path that finally led to Olympic gold.
Right now, we are being told we are living in uncertain times. I disagree. We are only living in uncertain times, if we try to prepare the path for ourselves. If we get clear on what’s most important, what we want and who we want to impact, then, start to prepare ourselves for the many paths that may open to us, we will be feeling very certain about our present and future. At the start of COVID, my path, like many people’s, started crumbling beneath my feet. Within just a few days, I lost multiple speaking gigs, in schools, companies and conferences. After some dummy-spitting, thumb-sucking and tantrum-throwing, I started to prepare myself for whatever path would allow me to do what I wanted to do to get my message out to the world. What has happened, as a result, is that many opportunities have now opened up for me. I am excited about what I am doing and the impact I am able to have on many people all around the world. It happened because I prepared myself for the path, not the path for myself.
As you read this, I want to encourage you that you are good enough to handle whatever life throws at you. In fact, it’s in time of challenge and adversity that, with the right perspective and focus, we learn what we need to learn and become the person we need to become to get to our desired life, whatever path may lead you there. So, get clear on what you want, work to prepare yourself, have faith and watch as the path opens up before you.