The final move is yours

The final move is yours

Have you ever felt helpless? Have you ever felt like all control was taken from you? Have you ever felt like no matter what you do, nothing will go your way? Have you ever felt like giving up? I think it would be fair to say we have all felt that way at some stage in life. I have some great news for you. No matter where you are at, or what may be happening, the final move is always yours.

I am sure you have played games in your life. I am not a chess player, and don’t know much about it, but what I do know is that, once checkmate is declared and achieved, the game is over. Or is it? I am certain you have been on the receiving end of ‘checkmate’, or any other game where you were not in front at the final siren. We all have. It can seem like you have run out of time to make any more moves, but in fact, the final move is always yours. You may not be able to go back and win that game, but you can definitely make a move to learn from it, improve your skills, and be better prepared for your next competition.

Have you ever been dumped by a partner, left heartbroken and feeling like all control was taken from you? Me too, more times than I would like to disclose. Have you ever been sacked, with no way of going back? Me too, in fact, I was sacked as a professional footballer after reading it in the newspaper. Have you ever been diagnosed with an illness and told that there is no treatment or chance of recovering from it? Thankfully, this one I have not experienced. Have you ever lost money you knew you would never recover? Yep, been there, done that! With each of these scenarios, what is the one conclusion many people would come to? Probably, the final move was made by another person, and the game is over.

Let me tell you this, and I need you to hear me, the game is only over when you decide it to be over, as you get to make the final move. That final move may be to give up, have a tantrum, and spiral into victim-mode, but it is still your move to make. Knowing that you always get to make the final move, all you need to do is think about the move that would help you feel like you have won, help you grow and improve, no matter the circumstance you may be facing. So, what is your next move?

A broken heart is not a joyful experience, and when a relationship is ended, and you have no say in it, you can be left feeling very vulnerable, helpless, angry, and to a degree worthless. I am talking about me here. In the midst of the pain, I understood I got to make the final move. That move for me was to find gratitude in what was great in the relationship, to learn from it, to forgive, to understand and empathise, to focus on my value, strengths, and gifts, and to know I am worthy. An incredible quote, most regularly attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, is, No-one can make you feel inferior, without your consent. You get to make the final move.

Back in 2002, when my café was failing miserably, when I was in $100,000 debt, when I was working seven days per week with no end or answers in sight, and when life was at rock-bottom, things seemed helpless. It felt, for a moment, that I had no moves left. Amazingly I did, and that move changed my life. Out of the depths of despair, discouragement, and debt, I made a very illogical and unlikely decision to write a book. That move has changed my life for the better in so many ways, I find it hard to articulate. It helped me live the life of joy and meaning I currently enjoy. There is power in knowing that the final move is yours.

So, enough about me. In what area of your life do you feel like you are out of moves? Is it your health, is it your relationships, is it your work or career, is it your financial situation, or is it something else? Please know that there are still moves left to make that can help you turn your situation into success, your adversity into adventure, and your catastrophe into celebration. Just ask yourself the very simple question, what is my next move to propel me forward in my life? When you ask the question, answers and ideas will start coming.

In my podcast this week with Jemma O’Hanlon, called Opt in to health, we discuss all the ways you can make moves to help you live a life of optimal wellbeing, no matter where you may be at. As you finish this blog and go out into the world, it is my greatest desire that you would go out knowing that, no matter what is happening in your life or whatever comes your way, the final move is always yours.

Focus on your economy

Focus on your economy

One of the things on many people’s minds, and hearts, and causing some worry, is the economy. Certainly, here in Australia anyway. Interest rates are rising, cost of living is increasing, job security is dissolving, and many people are very concerned about the state of the economy. If this is impacting you, I have some good news. The economy is not the same as your economy, so, simply focus on your economy.

What does that really mean? If we look at statistics, it is understandable why we may be discouraged. I am not just talking about financial right now either. Sure, the financial statistics of debt, unemployment, interest, and inflation rates, and the like, can be enough to make you want to run and hide. What about the statistics of obesity, disease, suicide, and mental health issues? How about the statistics around divorce and domestic violence? Then let’s consider the statistics around creating wealth, owning a successful business, and the very tragic superannuation, which is really not that super! Have I depressed you already?

Fear not, as I have great news. I know I said good news before, but it really is great news. The great news is that the economy, whether that be financial, relational, physical, or any other economy in life, is what it is, but your economy is exactly what you choose it to be. Your financial economy does not need to be consistent with the doom and gloom out there if you focus on it. Your relationship economy does not need to fall prey to the statistics if you focus on it. Your health and wellbeing economy does not need to succumb to the heartbreaking statistics if you focus on it.

Are you getting what I am saying? Your economy is in your hands, under your control, and will be what you determine it to be and work for. Are you excited? You should be, because you can create any outcome you desire, despite what is happening in the world around you. How can a business succeed in a recession when many around are falling by the wayside? The owner focused on the things that would lead to business success, and did them. How does a man, I actually know, live a happy and healthy life when his family history of heart disease would suggest the opposite? Simple, he took control and focused on what he needed to do to be optimally healthy. When you focus on your economy, anything is possible.

This is not necessarily an easy thing to do when everything around you may be screaming doom and gloom. How do we overcome the bad news, the declining economy, and the alarming statistics? Simple, turn off the TV, stop reading the newspaper, avoid negative people, and surround yourself with people and news declaring the great news and possibility of focusing on your economy. That is the best first step I can encourage you to take.

I was deep in debt at one point of my life, and at that stage, my own economy was far worse than the economy. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and so I deliberately found people who were masters of their own economy and asked them for help. They helped me. They helped me find the right information, surround myself with the right people, develop the right mindset, adopt the right behaviors and within 2 years my life was transformed. I was out of debt, retired from an 80-hour per week personal training business that ruled my life, and was free to follow my passion. This is what can happen when you focus on your economy.

No matter which economy of yours is tanking at the moment, it can change in a heartbeat. It is all about focus. There is an incredible quote that says, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. When you change the way you look at your economy, your economy changes. When you change the way you look at your health, your health changes. When you change the way you look at your relationships, your relationships change. When you change the way you look at yourself, then you will change. It is that simple.

In my podcast this week called Doctor, doctor, I speak with Dr Cindy Starke. After a childhood where she was exposed to drugs, alcohol, poverty, and sexual abuse, she spent her later life chasing perfection, achievement, and accumulation to feel loved, only to be left unfulfilled time and time again. As soon as she started focusing on her own self-worth, everything changed. No matter what is happening around you, no matter what is happening with the economy, you are in control. So, focus on your own economy.

The only force that matters

The only force that matters

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘Force’ as, strength or energy exerted or brought to bear: cause of motion or change: active power. Have you ever seen the wind blow a tree over? That is force. Have you ever lifted a weight into the air? You used force. Have you ever put the car into four-wheel-drive to negotiate unstable conditions? That is force. There are forces happening all around us every day, and many are having a damaging impact in and on our lives. Despite this, it is important to know and believe that there is only one force that matters.

The key to staying in forward motion is very simple. You need a force in the direction you want to go that is greater than the force acting in the opposite direction. I don’t want to get too sciencey with you right now, however if you want to lift a weight of 20 kg off the ground, you need a force greater than its weight and gravity to do it. If you want to win an arm-wrestling bout, you have to apply a greater force than the person you are arm wrestling with. The opposite also applies. If the 20 kg weight is applying more force with gravity than you can harness to lift it, the weight will stay on the ground. If your arm-wrestling opponent applies more force, then you will lose. This is all pretty basic, isn’t it?

We live in a world that is applying forces against us every moment to stop us moving forward to being happier, healthier, more joy-filled, and abundant. The force of pollution in our lives is acting on our wellbeing. The force of the economy and inflation is affecting our financial position. The force of processed foods on offer is impacting our longevity and energy. The force of negative news on TV, social media, and in society is acting against our mindset, happiness, and positivity in life. The force of addiction is destroying many lives all around the world. The force of negative opinions of people is eroding our belief in ourselves and our aspirations to be the best we can be. These are just to name a few. Despite all of the forces acting against us, there is one force we have that can overpower all of them. This, my friend, is the only force that matters.

I have an amazing friend, Eva. In her early 20’s, with a successful dancing career and her whole life ahead of her, she was hit by a car as she crossed the road. As you can imagine, the force of that car was far greater than Eva’s ability to absorb the impact. As a result, she was catapulted down the road and sustained significant injuries, leading to long-term coma and an acquired brain injury. As she came out of the coma, she knew she had a mountain of forces acting against her. She had many injuries to recover from. She had to come to terms with a brain that would no longer function as it had. She had the opinions of many people to deal with. In addition to this, in 2009, she had to deal with and overcome another powerful force; advanced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I think it is fair to say, she had a mountain of forces against her. Despite this, with great courage, she harnessed the only force that mattered.

So, what is that force? I couldn’t explain any better than she did on her website (www.byaccident.com.au) where she said, I have applied myself to recovery: physically, mentally, and spiritually with great dedication. Through this very difficult period, I have realised a capability to overcome – to call on my resilience and strengths. That one force she applied was one that could overpower all of the external forces acting against her. That one force she applied was one that no-one else could predict or foresee except her. That one force was inside of her. It was in her heart, and it was the burning desire for her to not be a victim, but a victor of her circumstances. The work she is doing now to advocate for, help and inspire anyone affected by neurological challenges is a testament to that one force she applied back in 1999 after the accident occurred.

The definition of ‘Force’ again is strength or energy exerted or brought to bearcause of motion or changeactive power. Each one of us, like Eva, has the power within which we can exert strength and energy to cause motion and change, no matter what circumstances we may be dealing with. You can exert the force of desire to get up and exercise, which will overcome the temptation to hit snooze. You can create an inner force to make better food choices, even if the world around may be promoting processed options. Whilst the force of stress caused by increased interest rates may be affecting your life, you can make a decision to get out and create another income to offset that. Your inner force to be better will overpower the force of others to sway your choices and keep you stuck. All the bad news in the world can’t affect the person who is harnessing the force of gratitude, love, and positive action. You are in control of any situation because you get to employ the only force that matters, the force within.

In my podcast this week, called Freedom from addiction, Logan Hufford talks openly and honestly about the force of sexual addiction that was on the verge of destroying his life. If not for a decision to harness that unbreakable force within, he would have lost his wife and four children. Now he and his wife are living a life of joy as they positively impact manty lives. That is the power of the only force that matters. Logan has it, Eva has it, and you most definitely have it. Harness the power within today against any other force that is destroying the chance for you to live the best life you can. You are in total control of the only force that matters.

The answer is consistency

The answer is consistency

I think I am pretty consistent with my message. In fact, sometimes I feel like I am repetitive. Sorry about that, however, I do believe being consistent about being consistent is very important. We are often asking ourselves questions about how to be better, change things, get a different outcome, or just live a more fulfilling life. We often complicate things as we look for answers, when the answer is simply consistency.

The answer to what? The answer to everything. Have you ever thought the answer was more ability? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more education? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more willpower? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more luck? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more connections? Nope, it’s consistency. Have you ever thought the answer was more than you were capable of? You are definitely capable because, it’s consistency.

On Saturday morning I was walking home after my daily workout. Yes, I said daily. I have been doing it every day consistently for decades. As I was walking, I stopped to chat with Lucas who is a guy I see most mornings with his beautiful dog. We stopped and chatted for a little bit, and I asked him what he was up to for the weekend. He told me, and then he asked me what I was doing. I told him that, amongst other things, I was going to get a new pair of running shoes. He looked at my feet and said, yeah, I can understand, those shoes get a lot of work, don’t they? What did he mean by that? He meant, from what he sees of me, I am consistent with my training.

I have been told by so many people how lucky I am that I have a lean, healthy, and athletic body. They tell me it must be because of good genetics, and they don’t have the same genetics. They are sure I have more discipline and willpower, and that is something they don’t possess. They have convinced themselves it’s all about time, knowledge, and equipment. What a load of rubbish! Luck has nothing to do with it. Genetics have nothing to do with it. Willpower and discipline have nothing to do with it. Time, money, knowledge, and equipment have nothing to do with it. Guess what the answer is? Consistency.

You may have heard of Kobe Bryant, basketball legend. Performance Coach Alan Stein wanted to find out Kobe’s secret to success. At the peak of his career, Kobe invited him to train with him the next day. They had planned to meet at the gym at 4am, and when Alan arrived, Kobe was already in a full sweat in the midst of his very basic and boring training program. When Alan asked him why, Kobe said, Why do you think I am the best player in the world? Because I never get bored with the basics. Wow! That is so simple, yet so powerful. The daily basics are your ticket to freedom. The daily basics are your ticket to growth. The daily basics are your ticket to achievement. The daily basics are your ticket to anything you want. The answer is consistency.

We get so bombarded with rubbish every day on social media, on television, and from many people who really don’t understand the answer. We get told that we can get a quick result without the effort. Or on the flipside we believe that what it takes to create significant change requires more than we have. Both are big fat lies. Firstly, there is no quick fix. Secondly, you already have within you everything you need to create any outcome you want. Thirdly, and most importantly, the answer is consistency.

I was blessed to speak to a wonderful group of people yesterday who are responsible for a significant construction project in Melbourne. Guess what the topic of the talk was? Guess what the topic of any of my talks is? Guess what the answer to any question you have is? You guessed it, consistency. Want better health? Then set a consistent daily rhythm of exercise and good food choices. Want better relationships? Then set a consistent daily rhythm of complimenting, encouragement, and communication. Want a better relationship with God? Then set a consistent daily rhythm of prayer. Want more money? Then set a consistent daily rhythm of saving. It is not hard. It is not out of reach. It does not require pain, discomfort, or willpower. It just requires consistency.

In my podcast this week called, The confidence gap, Jerry Scarlato and I discuss the simple and consistent steps it takes to build confidence and transform your life. When you get that consistency is the answer, you never have to worry about the result again. With the right behaviours applied constantly, you will predictably create wellbeing, abundance, joy, and meaning in your life. Whenever you are looking for the solution to help you in any situation, just know, the answer is consistency.

Why you do what you do

Why you do what you do

The question that has plagued me for much of my life is, why do I do what I do? Have you ever asked yourself that question? I don’t know about you, but stuff comes out of my mouth, and I often ask, why did I say that? Regularly after I have done something, I ask, why did I do that? Even as I am doing things, or not doing things as the case may be, I am asking myself, why am I doing this, and why don’t I stop (or start)? Do you know what I am talking about? Well, I finally have the answer to that age-old question, why do I do what I do? I hope you are ready.

Everyday for me is another day to become a better human being, and I know this will be a lifelong journey. I read, I listen, I ask, I observe, I try things, and I fail often. I am very grateful to my church, as the leaders gave each of the members a copy of a book called, The Power to Change, by Craig Groeschel. Within just a few pages, I knew this was going to be a transformational read, and it has been already. It was in the first chapter that the key statement was presented to explain why we do what we do. You want to know what that is, don’t you? If I give you the answer now, you may not keep reading, so I am going to keep you guessing for a short while. Sorry, hehe.

What I will do is describe scenarios that have played out in my life, for both destruction and betterment. As you may know, I call myself an unlikely athlete and an accidental author. I lost my professional footballing career, and became a best-selling author for the same reason, just different application in each case. I aspired to be a professional footballer from a young age, and my entire motivation was to prove to myself and the world that I was good enough. Clearly, that is not how I felt about myself at the time. Whilst I worked hard, and I made it to the top level of the sport, I never really felt good enough. I never felt like I was a professional athlete, in fact, I felt like an imposter. I was just waiting to be found out, and guess what? I was. Just two weeks after playing in a grand final for the club, I read in the paper that I had been de-listed. In plain terms, that means I was sacked. My career was over. Why? Hold that thought.

When I made the decision to write my first book, the odds were seemingly stacked against me. No time, no skills, no background, no qualifications, and no idea what it would take to become a best-selling author. Again, I had a burning desire, but it was different to the one that drove me to be a professional athlete. It was a desire to impact lives, mine included. So, as I negotiated the doubts in my mind as to whether I could write a book, because I had not done any writing, or even ever wanted to, I came to a conclusion about myself. I recognized I was a communicator. I was a personal trainer, I was a speaker, and every day I communicated with people about how to live a better life. With that in mind, I started the process and, against the odds, wrote a best-selling book. Today, twenty years after that was published, my life transformed, I am still writing books and still loving it. How did that happen? Get ready for the answer.

In both cases, I clearly had the ability to be a professional athlete and a best-selling author. So, why did one crash and one flourish? Why did I do what I did in both cases? As an athlete, I sabotaged myself, and as an author I created and nurtured myself. Why the difference? It all comes back to the same question, why do you and I do what we do? As an athlete, I never really felt I was good enough or worthy of being there. As an author, I knew I was a great communicator and knew I could change lives. Are you ready? Here it comes. The moment you have been waiting for. Why you do what you do.

You do what you do, because of what you think of you!

Should I say that again? You do what you do, because of what you think of you. The actions you take will only move you to the life you want based on the beliefs you have about yourself. You can never outwork low self-worth. You can never beat yourself up and achieve success. I tried for so much of my life and always found myself lost, broke, alone, or sacked. You can start a course of actions because you want a result, but if you don’t believe you are the person worthy of that result, or the person who would achieve that result, it will not happen.

That just means you may have to change what you think of you. The moment you start believing you are a healthy person and worthy of it, you will be more consistent with your exercise regime and eating plan. The instant you start to believe you add value to the world, and are deserving of abundance, you will start doing the things that will bring abundance to you. The second you believe you are capable of loving and worthy to be loved, you will find a new partner, or improve your current relationship. The minute you believe you are a caring, giving, and friendly person, you will start to build sustaining and fulfilling connections with people. Are you getting my drift?

It matters less what you do, and more about what you think of you. In my podcast this week called, Do the inner work, Andrew Stevens and I discuss this exact topic. I know you want more in some areas of your life. What I would ask you to do is reflect on what you think about you in that particular area. What do you say about you? Is it loving, encouraging, and empowering? Or, is it the opposite? If you need to change it, do the inner work now. Always remember, you do what you do because of what you think of you.

Measure your heart

Measure your heart

We live in a world that is largely driven and controlled by numbers and measurements. How much we weigh, how much we earn, the score we get at school, the numbers of steps we do each day, the number of sales we get, our IQ, and all of the other numbers that put us in a box and for many, limit their lives. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a place for numbers and measurements. However, the most crucial metric for joy and success in life is one that cannot be quantified. That measure is your heart.

Let me give you an example of how dangerous blindly following measures can be. We have all heard of BMI. If not, it stands for Body Mass Index. This index is calculated by comparing height and weight and standardizing it as a score that then categorises a person as ‘Underweight’, ‘Normal’, ‘Overweight’, or ‘Obese’. Let me ask you this question, if your BMI rated you as overweight or obese, what would you think and what would you do? You would possibly think less about yourself and may even start doing extreme things to lose weight. Right? Without wanting to come across as arrogant, I am very lean and healthy. However, when I put my weight and height into the formula which calculates BMI, I am categorised as significantly overweight. If I didn’t know better, I might start doing very unhealthy things to get into the ‘normal’ range. People do this all the time. BMI is a very dangerous measure to adhere to. As are many others I won’t mention right now.

I do want to discuss an inspiring story I recently heard that I hope will help you focus on the one measure that counts most. You may have heard of Bo Eason, who was a professional NFL player in the USA. After being injured and unable to continue his playing career, he became an actor, and wrote and acted in a play called, Runt of the Litter. As a schoolboy, Bo decided he was going to be a famous athlete. He drew a stick figure, representing himself, and underneath it wrote, ‘Best Safety in the NFL’. If you are not sure what ‘Safety’ is, it’s a position in American Football. That was his dream and vision, and he spoke about it with everyone he knew, even his high school football coach.

At the time, he measured 5 feet tall, and about 60kg in weight. If you are not sure, that is small and light, and makes it challenging to play football at the highest level. His coach felt it his duty to point out these measurement deficiencies to Bo, and that the chance of him playing at the highest level was effectively non-existent. He went home deflated and told his father what his coach had said to him. I hope we can all be like Bo’s father when we are talking to anyone about their potential. Bo’s dad asked him, ‘they measured your height and weight. Did they measure your heart?’ What a powerful and encouraging question that filled Bo with hope. His father, a ranch owner and farmer, went on to tell Bo a story.

He explained that the most valued and important worker on the farm was the dog. The cattle dog did a power of work herding the animals and keeping things functioning efficiently. When there was a new litter of pups, they tied a ribbon around the neck of the runt of the litter, and then when the pups were a little older, they sold all of them, except the runt. Why? The runt worked harder, achieved more, and was the most valuable dog in the litter. Bo’s father went on to say, you just remember that as you are working towards your dream and when others may doubt your ability. The bottom line of what Bo’s dad was telling him was that the other measures don’t matter, what matters most is what is in your heart.

It is so easy for us to compare ourselves to other people or the standards that education or society places on what defines success. When we do, we can often start to feel less than enough and that there is no way, based on those metrics, that we measure up. But the only measure that counts is your heart. Do you have enough courage to work harder than others to achieve what you want, even if it is against the odds? Do you have enough perspective to find joy and happiness in things that do not rely on external achievement? Do you have enough love in your heart to overcome the situations you may face that will chip away at your self-worth? Do you have enough faith and patience to trust that everything is okay? Do you have enough inner strength to know that you are good enough just as you are?

All the answers you need to live a life of meaning, significance, and joy, do not reside in your head, or in the measures that we may believe categorise and rate us in terms of our value. The answers are waiting in your heart for you to listen to, harness, and use to create the amazing life that is there waiting for you. In my podcast this week called Joy is free, Em Chadbourne and I talk about the joy that is waiting for you, when you just turn off your brain and open your heart. As a human being, you have a heart with the capacity to move you to do, have, or become whatever you desire. So, moving forward from this moment, remember to pay less attention to the other metrics and always measure your heart.