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Posts Tagged ‘results’

It doesn’t matter how much of a positive person you are, the reality is that the world out there can be pretty negative at times! That’s why its really important that the first thing you do every day is raise your personal energy and your mindset so that you have the resilience to deal with whatever the world throws at you!

Its so easy to get up and dive straight into your day without ever actually taking the time to ready yourself for the challenges that lie ahead. But the truth is, if you start the day half empty you’re not going to get beyond lunchtime before your resources are depleted and you just don’t have anything left to give. At best you only achieve half of what you intended. At worst, you have to resort to some energy vampire techniques just to get you through the rest of the day!

So how do you start the day up?

There are three areas you want to focus on energising. Mind, Body, Focus. Success expert Jack Canfield says we should devote just ten minutes a day to energising each of these areas and that can make a phenomenal difference to how we experience our lives and our results.

Research has shown time and time again that meditation benefits us in all areas of our lives. It can help us deal with stress, it can make us more focused, and it can even help us deal with physical illness. It can make us calmer, more creative, it can improve our relationships and it can help us learn. In fact its difficult to find any reason why we should not make meditation a regular part of our day. How you choose to meditate is entirely up to you, there are so many different ways so play around until you find one that works for you and that you WILL do every day. Here’s a great one to start you off! Get into the habit of doing just 10 minutes every morning as soon as you wake up and watch your energy levels soar!

Starting your day off with some physical exercise is a great way to remind your body that its alive! Movement is life! And yet we spend so much of our modern lives stuck in front of a computer, in a car, or on a comfy sofa in front of the TV. The fact is we are made to move, and movement is one of the ways our body integrates learning so any movement you do is actually making you more intelligent! Again, what you choose to do is up to you. What’s more important is THAT you do it! Yoga is a great way of starting off your day and it doesn’t need to take long. Here’s a really great sequence to lift your mood.

If you don’t fancy yoga, then even a quick walk round the block will get your blood flowing, and if you have a dog to walk, even better because they will not let you have a day off!

And once you’ve woken up your mind and your body its time to focus on what you want to achieve today. So often we float through a day responding and reacting to other people’s demands of us and the reason for this is we have never taken to time to focus on what WE want from the day. Take just 10 minutes to think about it and make a list of what you intend to do with your day, even if its just relax and have fun. That way you get to live your day on your terms and according to your goals not someone else’s! Staying focused on what you want to achieve means you will use your time wisely and on purpose. Just taking that 10 minutes to plan your day can make all the difference between having an unproductive frustrating day and a wonderful, purposeful and productive one. And even if your day goes completely pear shaped (yes we all have days like that!) having an action plan means that least you will end the day with more energy and focus than you would have done otherwise! But more importantly you will know exactly how far off track you are so you can get back on course easily and quickly.

So tonight go to bed early and set your alarm clock 30 minutes early and start your day UP!

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In this world where positive thinking rules, its a bit depressing how all the positive thinking in the world does not always solve the very real problems we face. It might make us feel better, and that’s a great start, but it doesn’t make the bad stuff go away!

I know, it sounds a bit counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But time and again I come across people who are getting ever more frustrated because they are not getting the results they want, even though they are apparently doing all the right things.

So if its not working for you, does make any sense to do more of what’s not working? Or is it time to try a new strategy?

So here’s an idea: when you’re facing a big problem, or even a small one, first of all lets not dress it up and call it a “challenge” because that doesn’t really make it any easier! In fact often it just makes you feel more stupid because you haven’t been able to overcome it! Lets call it what it is and be honest about it. Now look at this problem square on and make a list of all the reasons you can think of why this problem is unsolvable, the more reasons you can find the better! You don’t want to think about all the reasons why you “should” be able to solve the problem at this stage. That’s just going to stress you out even more and we know that stress makes us stupid! Once you have a comprehensive list, take a good long look at it and see if you can find one reason that you think you might be able to find a solution to, even if its a crazy unlikely one. If you’ve written down enough reasons you can probably find at least one that is solvable. Now make an action plan to resolve that reason. Then go onto the next one. And the next and the next until the problem is solved. Only tackle the easiest reasons first, as you gain in confidence you can tackle the more difficult ones, or you might find that you don’t even need to!

There are very few problems that don’t have a solution but sometimes its easier for our brain to think of reasons why it can’t be done than reasons why it can. Try it and let me know how you get on.

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Yes, OK, I know it’s not sexy but slow and steady really is what it takes to get the job done.

In this era of “Secrets” and American Idols where overnight success with seemingly very little effort is promoted as the norm, and even success coaches are constantly telling you to get out of your comfort zone and subtly implying that if you don’t you’re a wimp, its easy to feel inadequate if you’re not making things happen in a big way and fast.

But the truth is, if you look behind the stories of these “quick change artists” you’ll find a very different story. Almost without exception they have all worked long and hard and been totally focused for years and years and years on achieving their dreams. They’ve tried and failed and got back up again and tried again, and again, and again. And they’ve kept getting back up until they’ve achieved their goal. They’ve decided that failure is not an option and that the only failure is not getting back up.

Success is hard work and it rarely happens in a straight line. But if you can learn to enjoy the journey and treat each failure as a lesson you needed to learn to get to where you want to be, you will not only achieve your dreams but you will have a whole load of great stories to tell along the way. Lets face it, overnight successes are pretty boring people!

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One of the most helpful things you can learn when you are pushing forward with powerful goals is how to recognise where you are in that area between learning and consolidating that we call the comfort zone.

If we can learn to surf that wave, we maximise the speed of our progress and we minimise the levels of stress. So its a good thing to learn if you want results fast!

Firstly lets look at how it feels when we’re in flow. Flow is when your level of expertise perfectly matches the challenge of the task. Its when you do things almost automatically, you don’t have to think too hard about it, your whole system just knows what to do and gets on with it. If you’re an experienced driver you will be in flow much of the time. You don’t have to think about turning the wheel, you just think about where you want to be. When we are in flow time seems to slow down so your reactions become effortless, there’s no rush or panic, just a sense of calm focus.

Now, try to remember when you first started learning to drive. Remember how unfamiliar everything felt. There were so many things to think about. So many lights and levers and buttons and you wondered how you were ever going to master it. Things seemed to happen very quickly and you had to make so many decisions all at once and everything seemed disjointed and clumsy. You had to consciously think where your hands and feet were and what they were doing and panic was never far away! This is the learning zone.

Now imagine that your driving instructor took you out on Sheikh Zayed Road at rush hour. Now you have all the other drivers to think about as well, people are coming at you from all directions, beeping their horns, narrowly missing you, making rude gestures, and on top of that your instructor is shouting at you as well. Suddenly your mind goes blank, your hands start sweating, your heart is beating out of your chest, you have no idea what to do next and you freeze completely. This is the burn out zone.

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Now imagine the next lesson. The instructor takes you round the back roads of a half empty industrial estate on a Friday (weekend) morning. He makes you go round and round and round, practising turning, reversing, stopping, starting, speeding up, slowing down and there’s no other traffic on the road and everything is calm. Suddenly all of those complicated actions start to make sense and the more often you do them the less you have to actually think about them. This is the consolidation zone where you practice what you’ve learned until it becomes a part of you.

Now imagine the instructor tells you to do this day after day and tells you never to go on the busy roads and only to drive when there’s no one else out. You’ve practiced everything a million times and you never seem to be getting anywhere. Suddenly you start to make silly mistakes. You lose concentration. You are bored to tears and you can’t remember why you ever wanted to learn to drive in the first place. You can never go anywhere because you might come across other traffic. All of your learning is now useless and pretty soon you give up. But if anyone suggests you try something a bit more challenging, fear comes up and you remember the burn out zone and stay exactly where you are. This is the rust out zone.

Both the rust out zone and the burn out zone are places you really don’t want to spend much time. If you are pushing ahead fast and really stretching yourself you may want to foray out into the burn out zone, but don’t stay too long and try to go with someone who has been there before so you can hang on to them!  Likewise, if you are tired and stressed you may want to rest for a little while in the rust out zone. But don’t get comfortable there or you’ll be stuck forever!

Learn to recognise the signs that you’re in these zones and you can avoid their perils and achieve incredible things in less time and with less stress than you ever thought possible!

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One of the most over used phrases in coaching today is “get out of your comfort zone”. The thing is, I believe almost no one knows exactly what a comfort zone is and that the idea of getting out of it is actually very dangerous for most people. It’s what kills countless wonderful goals dead in their tracks.

The concept of the comfort zone was first described by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the 1980s in his work on Flow. Flow is the state when your ability to do a task exactly matches the challenge of the task. His definition of the comfort zone is the area around flow where you are either expanding your abilities by stretching just beyond flow, or consolidating your learning by repeating what you have just learned until it becomes natural to you.

Outside the comfort zone are two danger areas – one, where you have gone too far beyond what you know and you are in danger of burning out or of stressing yourself to the point of breaking, either physically or mentally or both. This is called the Burn Out Zone. You can go here, but you can’t stay very long before the stress becomes too much and all learning stops. This is where people have heart attacks or strokes or nervous breakdowns! Why would anyone suggest you want to set your goals out here?

The other zone, which is arguably even more dangerous, is the Rust Out Zone. This is where you don’t take any risks, you don’t stretch beyond what you are absolutely certain of and all you do is repeat the same “safe” behaviour until you die of boredom! This is the zone of drop outs, alcoholics and drug addicts and depression and its often the place where people go after they’ve been hurt in the burn out zone!

So I think what people are really saying when they say get out of your comfort zone is “get out of the rust out zone”! The trouble is that’s not what people hear. So they set themselves tasks that are way out in the burn out zone and then beat themselves up when they don’t achieve them. Do this too often and they fall into the rust out zone where they feel safe but depressed. They feel like failures.

So your ideal state is actually right in the comfort zone! Its where your ability to learn is not compromised by stress or boredom. Surfing the wave between learning and consolidation you are at your most brilliant and most extraordinary!

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I find it really interesting how I can read the same thing again and again and watch the same movie again and again and yet every time I see things that I didn’t see before.

But if you think about it its not strange at all. Its not that the book has changed or the movie has changed. But I have changed. So every time I see it, I’m looking at it from a different perspective and I learn something new.

So if you ever get that feeling that you know it all and you don’t need to hear something again, think about it very carefully. You could be missing a huge insight that your new perspective was just ready to show you. And that insight could give you just what you need to know to take action to get to the next level in your life.

From my experience, people who think they really know it all really don’t!

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One of the things I see time and time again is that people do not distinguish between goals and action plans. The thing is, not doing so can get you stuck just about quicker than anything else. Its fantastic to set big hairy scary goals, in fact its the only way we ever get even close to living our potential. But when it comes to action plans its got to be easy and do-able, otherwise, chances are it won’t get done.

Here’s how I define the difference:

A goal is a result – so for example it might be a book completed, a weight loss target achieved, and income goal met or even a car owned.

The action steps are the things you need to do to achieve that result. Once you have set the goal you need to break it down into action steps and deadlines for those action steps to be completed.

In fact you can make it easier on yourself by breaking your goals down into smaller steps as well – that makes them so much easier to tackle. So for example, say you were to set a goal to lose 100 pounds by this time next year. That’s a big goal and your Inner reptile is going to go on high alert as soon as you set that as a goal so how about breaking it down a bit – how many months are we talking about – 12 of course. So your real goal is just over 8 pounds a month – is that actually do-able? There’s no point in setting a goal that is not ever going to be achievable. Experts tell us a two pounds a week weightless is healthy and sustainable so yes, its do-able. But its still a big scary number so lets break it down further – that works out at 2 pounds a week. Does 2 pounds feel less daunting that 100. Of course it does. So focus on the two pounds and the 100 will take care of itself.

You can do this same thing with income goals – say you want to earn 20k a month (dirhams, dollars, pounds, it doesn’t matter!). Its a big scary number in any currency if you are nowhere close to earning it. So break it down – what’s the most you’ve ever earned in a day? Can you see yourself doing that? You know you can because you already have. Ok now focus on doing that again and again until you have achieved your 20k,. It doesn’t even need to all be in one month to start with. Once you have achieved the number all you have to do now is work on the timescale.

If you focus on achieving it all in the first month you will scare your Inner reptile silly and we all know what the consequences of that are! And here’s the real problem, the more often you fail, the stronger the Inner Reptile’s hold on you will become. It won’t matter how strong your affirmations are, or how powerfully you visualise, your Inner Reptile is stronger and he will make it his mission to keep you safely where you are!

So now you have an easy goal to focus on that, if you do it enough times will take you to your big goal. Now look at the steps you need to take to achieve that goal. Break them down and down until you have really simple steps that you know you can do. This is your action plan. The biggest most unachievable-seeming goal is just a series of simple action steps and the easier you make it on yourself, the faster you will achieve your goals.

Goal achieving doesn’t have to be hard – its just one of those old reptilian tricks that makes us think that way!

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