The Best You

The headline, in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, moved me to tears. It listed the number of people killed in recent terrorists attacks alongside the body of a child. Now most of us feel sad when we hear of such tragedies. Most people are compassionate. What most people don’t know though is that by being the best you it is possible to be, each one of us has the power to change the world around us.

Scientists at HeartMath discovered that energy from angry, fearful and depressed people can be influenced by positive emotions. Emotions such as care, compassion, love and other positive emotions are transmitted through an individual’s cardioelectromagnetic field and transferred to others in close proximity, and possibly over longer distances. In simple terms that means that the more caring, compassionate, loving and happier you can be every single day, you will exert a positive influence on the people around you.

What takes us all off track is our emotions. We react to what other people say. We make choices based on what other people think, rather than on what we really want. We allow fear to prevent us from doing what makes us happy. We fall into despair sometimes wallow in our misery. All this does is keep the world on the same old treadmill it has always been on.

To change the world, you need to step up and be counted not just as a nice, compassionate person, but by being the best you it is possible to be.

During the late nineties I made a choice that had the most profound influence on my life, I made a commitment to being a loving, kind and generous person. Those values represented the ideal person I wanted to be at that time.

One day while having lunch in a fast food chain, a kid started kicking the back of my chair. When I looked around and noticed a Muslim woman in a hijab I made a judgement, then I caught myself. In my mind I forgave the woman and child, I forgave myself for being so judgmental and I smiled at them as I left. A few days later someone ran into the back of my car while I sat at a traffic light, my first reaction was anger, then I remembered who I wanted to be. I got out of my car and smiled at the other driver, and treated him with respect.

As I continued doing this over the coming weeks I became aware just how negative and judgmental I had become, and how often I allowed my emotions to take me away from the life I wanted to live. As I made small but consistent changes I felt good about myself. I became more optimistic and within a very short space of time I went from being frustrated, angry and confused to feeling the most joyful I have ever felt.

On a practical level those changes flowed over to my work life and I went from working part time as a bookkeeper to ghost writing 3 books within a couple of months, those opportunities came to me completely out of the blue. I had been thinking of becoming a life coach and I took the plunge and started sharing what I had learnt with others, and without any preconceived ideas or expectations this sharing led to the creation of my training school. Within 12 months my income quadrupled and my life completely transformed – all because I chose to be the best me I could be.

Recently I noticed I was feeling irritable a lot of the time. Now the first thing most of us do is try to change what’s irritating us, but I know that only brings short term relief. My daughter reminded me that I wasn’t feeling free, which is my most important need. Once I addressed the cause the irritation left.

When thinking about values that could represent the ideal person you would like to be think about the overall legacy you would like to leave behind, that could be a legacy of joy, acceptance, peace, love, gratitude or compassion. Who I choose to be changes at different stages, but I feel my latest choice to be a loving, joyful, accepting person best represents the way I want to be remembered. This is who I choose to be on a daily basis and these values guide all of my choices. Another way to choose values is to look at what you react to in your daily life and choose values that will help you transcend those reactions.

Filling your needs and living by values, they are such simple yet powerful choices that make you happy and good about yourself. When you become the best you it’s possible to be at this time, your positive emotions will have a profound effect on the world around you. Just try it for one day.

This is how we can change the world. The power of ‘being’ is more powerful than anger, guns and retaliation. If you want a magic potion to change your life, and the world, all you have to do is work daily at being the best you.

 

I would love to hear what you are doing to change your world.

 

 

You Can’t Make it Happen

During the eighties and nineties the concept of designing a life was very popular and I was a great supporter of it. I imagine that may have been where the phrase ‘Make it happen’ began. As time passed and my life didn’t match the ideal life that I had designed for myself, I became increasingly aware that this concept is flawed, and our attempts to make it happen can sometimes make life harder than it needs to be.

A question I am sometimes asked is, “How can we set goals and be responsible, yet remain detached from the outcome?”

So let’s go back to the concept of designing a life. When we set a goal we usually have an expectation of how we will feel when we achieve that goal. We think that when someone loves me I will feel happy, or when I have financial security I’ll feel happy, and while it’s nice to have those things they don’t guarantee happiness.

The life I designed for myself was to be married, have four children and be the woman behind the man, who would own a successful business. I achieved some of my goals but I didn’t get married, I had three children, but as one died at a young age, the reality is I have two children. I became successful in my own right, which is way more fulfilling than my original plan and I became a best selling author. The reality of my life turned out different to what I imagined but I am a better person for the experiences I’ve gone through, and I now know that my original vision would not have fulfilled me.

What I discovered is that we have no control over goals that include other people, so while we can pray, visualise and support others to achieve their goals we cannot manipulate them to do what we want. We cannot force someone to love us, or even when they do, we cannot force them to live the life we believe is right for them, as the life they are living may be perfect for them to achieve their life purpose.

I believe we always take responsibility and do what we can to create the life that is important to us. That means that in some instances we prepare, gain the skills, save, do whatever is necessary. Then we get on with life and trust.

I liken detachment to gardening. When we plant a seedling it is small. We put it in soil that is full of nutrients and in a position that suits the need of the plant. We feed it, water it, maybe even talk to it, that’s the taking responsibility part. When we are not tending the plant we get on with our life and trust that the plant will grow. It’s the same with our dreams, we do what we need to do to turn them into reality, if they die as some seedlings do, we know there is something better for us. We trust that life is guiding us down a pathway that is more suited to us.

Forget trying to make it happen, set up the right conditions, do what you can then allow life to guide you to the life that will make you happiest. The Universe knows what you need, trust it!

 

Struggle Precedes Success

This morning I was struggling to find a way to start this blog, when an email popped up on my screen from one of my graduates and the first words I saw were, “If you’re afraid of dying – innovate; If you want to live – evolve”. Those words, and I don’t know who the source is, so perfectly describe what I want to share with you today and that is any great success in life is usually preceded by struggle.

When life and plans don’t turn out the way we expect it’s very easy to play the blame game, give up and walk away, usually settling for less than we really want. There is a better way and it’s one I have used time and time again, that is to use your setbacks and struggles to be innovative and evolve.

Failure and struggle is how we learn

Trial and error is how we learn. Struggle can motivate us. But when people are so afraid of failing they don’t even try. If you never have any errors, you also don’t have any successes either.

Some success can be a drawback too. When you need to maintain your reputation as an achiever, you may be afraid to make mistakes and hence you stop trying.

Like it or not the world is changing and we have to keep us or suffer the consequences. On a personal level the consequences are that we disconnect from others and the world we live in, on a business level it means death. In the 1920’s the average lifespan for a major company was 67 years, now it is just 15 years.

There is an inspirational poster created by the Wall Street Journal on struggle and success which says:

Don’t be afraid to fail

  • You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.
  • You fell down the first time you tried to walk.
  • You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim.
  • Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.
  • Were you able to skate or jump rope the first time you tried?
  • H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
  • 3M Corporation, one of the most successful companies in the world, was a dismal failure during its first 10 years.
  • English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
  • Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.
  • Don’t worry about failure.
  • Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

It’s impossible to achieve great success without some struggle. Every problem holds within it the seed for greater happiness and success. Every weakness has the potential to become your greatest strength. Embrace your struggles, thank them, and look for the good. And remember, someone else will get your dreams, why not you?