Posts Tagged ‘plan’

OK I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear!

We all want to believe that winners get there because they are lucky or naturally talented or they knew the right people or because they knew some magic “secret” that no one else knew. But the truth is that whenever you look closely at anyone who is really succeeding in life you find out that the harder they work the luckier they get.

Real winners know that in order to achieve lasting success sacrifices will have to be made. Real winners know that they will have to work really hard, often when they would rather be doing other things and often when they are really tired, frustrated, sick and broke. Real winners know that stress is part of the deal and that if they want to stay successful they are going to have to find a way to deal with stress rather than collapse with a nervous breakdown and let everyone else take the strain! Real winners know that lasting success takes time and they are prepared to stick with it until the job is done.

The thing is that not everyone has it in them to be a real winner. The sad truth about life is there are winners and losers and the winners generally win because they have put in more time, more energy, more effort, more thought, more passion. And sometimes they put all of that in and still don’t always win because, like it or not, life isn’t always fair.

But winning is not just a one time thing and if you consistently put in the time, the energy, the effort, the thought and the passion, over time you will find yourself so far ahead of what you believed possible you will know that it is always worth it.

You never know when you are going to make that breakthrough. But even when you make it, only your best effort will pull you through to true lasting success. So isn’t it worth making your best effort a habit?



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There’s only 5 days left for me on the WordPress Postaday2011 challenge. Yes, I know there”s only 3 days to the end of 2011 but I didn’t start the challenge until January 3rd so it makes sense to me to keep going until I’ve done a full year.

I’m proud to say I have managed to post every single day in 2011! Its been a great challenge and I’ve learned so much about writing and about commitment. Its been really hard sometimes but often its been surprisingly easy to think of something to write. Life is all around us, all we have to do is observe and something interesting will pop up to write about.

Anyway, WordPress has been amazing in supporting this challenge and they’ve put up 11 questions about Postaday. Here’s my answers:

  1. Why did you start the Post a Day/Week Challenge? – I started because it looked like a fun way to keep me on track. I was already blogging almost once a week so it wasn’t going to be a “challenge” for me to that take up so I decided to go for Postaday and see what happened. I thought I’d do it for a month or so but then I got hooked!
  2. Describe the state of your blog at the time you started the challenge. – It was fairly new and I didn’t have a lot of followers and I was starting to ask myself what’s the point if no one’s reading it.
  3. How did your blog evolve over the course of the challenge? – I’m not sure how it evolved. I found my writing became easier and more relaxed. A couple of themes emerged which I have to take further, like the Energy Vampires series and the Inner Reptile series.
  4. Did you post as often as you had hoped? Why or why not? – I posted every single day! Some days I only posted a music link or a link to a great video but my commitment was to post a day and I did it! OK a couple of days I went just past midnight and one day I had a technical challenge and forgot to press “publish” but the next day I posted the one I meant to the previous night and posted another later in the day!
  5. What type of blogging strategy works best for you? – Keeping my eyes open and look for inspiration in everything.
  6. If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently? – Nothing. This was a huge learning experience for me so everything I did, right or wrong, added to my learning.
  7. What are you most proud of accomplishing this year? – Blogging every single day. And the buzz I get when I bump into people and they say they read my blog and it really helps them.
  8. Name 3 great blogs you discovered through the challenge. – there are so many amazing blogs out there its hard to pick just three. But I’ve met some wonderful people through this like Chris at bridgesburning.wordpress.com and Judith at growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com and some fantastic Dubai bloggers like Sally Prosser at http://mycustardpie.com/ and Sarah at http://www.thehedonista.com and of course my friend and inspiration Author Anne O’Connell at http://anne-writingjustbecause.blogspot.com/
  9. What surprised you about the challenge? – How easy it was once the commitment was made.
  10. What advice would you give to others who want to blog regularly? – Just do it. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, you don’t have to be deep and profound every time and a short couple of lines is better than nothing. But make the commitment and tell people that’s what you’re doing so they keep you on track.
  11. What are your blogging goals for 2012? – Not quite sure yet. I’m feeling slightly bereft that the challenge is almost over and the goal has been achieved. I’m wondering if I have the self discipline to keep posting every day or if I don’t need to do this any more. I will probably keep posting every day or almost every day because I enjoy doing it but I might give myself weekends off. Oh and to comment more on other people’s blogs. I’ve been a bit slack there but I know how much I love getting comments so I need to reciprocate.

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A lot of people ask me why I put so much importance on having a clear purpose and vision underpinning and supporting everything you do, and that this should be in place as far as is possible before you start to take action.

There are so many reasons but I think for me the most important thing is having clarity about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. When things get tough and the Inner Reptile tries to take over, the more clarity you have the more easily you will be able to calm him down and retake control.

When you’re under severe stress you only have access to about 10% of your normal intelligence so its vital that you have a clear and simple plan of action put in place before stress takes hold. Once the Inner Reptile is in charge this is not a good time for making decisions! So if your detailed plan is all there for you, telling you exactly what your next step should be, your chances of making a bad decision under stress are much less.

The problem with the Inner Reptile is he can only ever predict consequences one step ahead. Remember, his job is to save your life in that moment. So dealing with complex decision making is beyond him. Decision making under the Inner Reptile tends to be only about short term survival and often only preserves the status quo. He really only has three possible solutions – fight, flight or freeze. These reactions was developed back before the stone age when the most complex decisions were about eat or be eaten. Its unlikely in a complex stressful situation that any of these decisions are going to be helpful! Can you imagine if the GPS in your car only ever gave you three instructions? You wouldn’t get very far and your stress levels would not be improved! And it wouldn’t do you much good to wait until you were lost to programme it!

Having a definite purpose and a clear vision also means you can keep your eye on the result you want. This means you can stay on track towards your goal, or even if you choose, meander off for a while! Sometimes the direct route is not the most interesting or the most fun, and sometimes life just gets in the way and you have to take a break. Having a clear picture of your destination means you can quickly and easily to get back on track after a detour.

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I was talking with my business coach Phil Bedford today about why it is that even when we learn a new and better way of doing something, when things get challenging we fall back into old habits and go back to the old inefficient way of doing things.

You would think that when things get tough we would be excited to put all our new learning into action. But the reality is, when the going gets tough, the old Inner Reptile takes over and, as we know, he’s not the smartest iguana on the block. And so the easiest thing is to go back to our old familiar ways of operating. They may not be the most efficient but they have served us in the past. What the Inner Reptile is looking for is not innovation, he’s looking for safety. He doesn’t care if this old way of doing things has never got you great results – he’s looking for something predictable. He doesn’t want theory, he wants a sure thing! He doesn’t care about consequences, he just wants to survive the next minute.

Doing something new requires a lot of extra brain power. So if you can, avoid learning new things at stressful times. I can’t count the number of times I’ve decided the evening before some big event that my presentation needs tweaking with some new and complicated effect! And then spent most of the night using words my mother would not approve of trying to make it work! Under pressure and new learning simply do not go together, so if you don’t have to, don’t do it!

If you do have to, and lets face it sometimes we don’t have a choice, then be very aware of what is going on. Most of your braincells have been hijacked by a crazy iguana who has decided you need saving from yourself. If you fight him it will just confirm his belief that you’re a danger and he’ll take over more. Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, unclench your fists and take another deep breath and smile. Take the time to slow everything down and respond rather than react. Reptiles hate that!

The best thing is to take every opportunity to put new learning into practice before you really need to. That way you have started to form new habits and overwrite the old behaviours before you really need to. But if you do get it wrong, forgive yourself, dust yourself down and start again. We all fall back into old habits from time to time. The key is to notice it early and put things right before you get a chance to cause too much damage!

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So tomorrow is the last day of the week (for us in Dubai!) and you are a little over half way through the month. So how are you doing with your goals for this month? Are you where you expected to be or are you falling short? Or are you having a fantastic month and ahead of the game?

Now is a great time to set aside a few minutes to really evaluate where you are. With nearly two whole weeks of the month left you have enough time to up your pace if you need to, or think of some new strategies if you’re really struggling. Its also a great time to check in with your coach or your mastermind group if you have one, while you still have the time to make adjustments to your plan.

But if you’re ahead of the game this is not a good time to slack off!

Just because things are going well doesn’t mean they are going to stay that way! Sorry to sound negative, but there’s a whole load of things that can go wrong before the end of the month and its when you’re feeling complacent that exactly that happens! Do you remember when you where a kid riding a bicycle – the chain always fell off when you were free-wheeling down the hill! Save your celebrations for when your monthly objectives are achieved and if you’re really lucky you might just be able to give yourself a couple of days off at the end of October!

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When I was growing up I often used to hear the phrase “its not what you know, its who you know that will get you results”. And it was generally said in a kind of resentful way, as if there was something negative about it. The thing is, its neither a negative thing nor a positive thing. It just is. Its a universal law. A bit like gravity, its one of those things that we can choose to fight with, but we will always lose. So why not learn to make it work for you?

If you want to be a dancer and all your friends are footballers, what are the chances of you learning to dance? Pretty slim. Likewise, if you want to learn to be a success in your field and you choose to hang out with people who are struggling like you, what are the the chances of you learning something useful that will help to move you forward? Well, they’re not zero – sure you will learn lots of ways not to do things and that can be useful. But its really slow!

The best and fastest way to learn how to succeed is to spend time with people who are already succeeding and watch what they do. You might think that they won’t want to help you, but the reality is that most successful people didn’t start out that way. They were once where you are now and they know what its like. They know the obstacles you’re facing and very often they have the map to get around them. And there’s a good chance that they will share it with you if you ask them nicely!

OK some of them might have forgotten but most people who are really successful acknowledge that they needed help along the way and are willing to give what they were given. The ones that won’t – well they probably won’t be around long enough for you to need to worry about!

At the same time, you are not going to get help from anyone long term unless you show that you are willing to give back. You might wonder how you can be of help to someone who is already successful. But remember, they are only that way because they do the things that make them successful, and what’s more, they keep on doing them! So you can always be of service to your network. Don’t be afraid to ask them what you can do. Its much better to help someone in the way they want to be helped than to help them in the way you want to be helped! Whether you choose to pay it back or pay it forward is up to you. But true success is like a candle – the more you share it the more it grows!

Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. –  George Bernard Shaw

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OK I don’t mean that literally, but its nearly the end of August and time seems to be flowing at an accelerated pace right now. It’ll be Christmas soon!

But given that we have a week to go before the end of the month, how are you doing on your goals for this month?

If you’re anything like me, some of them will already be nailed and some of them will be looking decidedly wobbly right now. The temptation is to look at those ones and decide that its just fine to put them into next month’s goals.

Don’t do it. Its a slippery slope!

While letting a goal or two slip may not make seem to an overall difference to your grand vision, once you’ve allowed one,  its all too easy to let more go! Pretty soon your whole plan has slipped and suddenly you’ve lost momentum and things don’t look quite so achievable any more. Keep going like that and very quickly you will be vulnerable to the energy vampires who told you you’d never achieve anything anyway.

Sure, there will be times when the world conspires against you and you just can’t get things done according to your plan. That’s life. But with a week to go, now is the time to look really closely at your action plan and your goals for this month and start to take some serious action. If you do what most people do and leave it to the last day you will have no chance of success and put yourself under a whole lot of unneccessary stress!

But you’re not most people, are you?

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