Positive Habits That Enrich Our Lives

Recently, as I was pulling out of my driveway I looked at my home, my beautiful garden and the beautiful bay that surrounds my home and I was filled with an overwhelming sense of awe, and gratitude, at what I’ve created. None of this would be if I had not adopted positive habits that enriched my life. Before I got into personal development I expected ‘other people’ to make me happy, but all the work that I put into myself, and the positive habits I established paid off.

It took me way longer than I anticipated to get to where I am today, both financially and in terms of how I feel about myself. And a lot of things didn’t turn out the way I expected, but none of that has detracted from the quality of my life. At times I allowed other people’s words to make me doubt myself. I allowed the unhappiness of others to take away my joy. But I’ve always read inspirational books, listened to audios and attended personal development courses and seminars and it’s these simple habits that enabled me to get my life back on track time and time again.

A lot of people, as they get older, give up on dreams but it’s important to have dreams no matter what age you are, and it’s equally important to act as if your dreams will come true, while remaining open that what you want may come in a different way and form to what you imagined.

Tony Robbins once told the story of a man who attended one of his seminars. By just about anyone’s standards, this man was a success. When Tony asked him what had to happen in order for him to feel successful, he replied that he had to earn $3 million a year in annual salary. He was already earning $3.5 million a year but that was made up of salary of $1.5 million plus bonuses. He also had to have eight per cent body fat, he had nine per cent. He had to never get frustrated with his kids. With rules like this I doubt this man could ever be happy.

It would be nice to go through life without rules. Rules make life hard but change your rules and you really can change your life. If I decided everyone had to like me, or my work, I’d be setting myself up for failure.

Life can be so much easier when you change the way you look at life.

Every day I hear people complaining about their situation, yet at the same time all of these people have a roof over their heads and most of them have regular incomes. We live in one of the best countries in the world. We have freedom we have choices, yet we live in a negative world where the majority of people focus on what they don’t have, or what is wrong.

We always have a choice. No-one, let me repeat no-one can tell us how to react to any situation. We can choose to be happy; no matter what happens to us and that is a choice I consciously made and continue to make every day. You can choose be prosperous; even though right now your circumstances may not look so positive. I chose to be prosperous when I couldn’t even afford to feed my family. You can program your mind to look for the good in every situation, and that’s the wonderful thing about habits, after a while you don’t consciously think about it, it becomes an automatic response.

We are all a work in progress and the path to the life we wish to create is not a straight line, we go backwards and forwards and that’s okay as long as we pick ourselves up and start over.

Positive Habits that Enrich Our Lives

The simpler habits are the easier they are to commit to, so I urge you to:

  • Take time to create a daily routine that supports you:
  • Regularly listen to yourself talke and choose to talk positively
  • Ensure that your positive words and actions outweigh your negative ones by 5:1, this is the ratio researchers believe is the key to success.

These simple habits really can enrich your life.

 

 

Understanding Your Why

When I was younger my big dream was to own a home of my own.  I never had any money left over to put towards saving for a home. I wasn’t a high income earner and I already worked more than one job, so I couldn’t take on extra work. I knew the only way I was going to make enough money and have more freedom was to go into business for myself, but I didn’t know the first thing about business, or know anyone in business to ask, but what I had was a good brain and a compelling reason. More than anything in this world I wanted to give my children a great life and to be available for school functions and holidays. Having a compelling reason to create my dream gave me the motivation to look for different ways to attain my goals, and to persist when things didn’t go the way I planned.

In the early 1900s Samuel Pierpont Langley set out to be the first man to fly an airplane. He was highly educated and ambitious and had friends in high places who funded his efforts, so he was able to use only the best materials. He also had a dream team of talent to help him achieve his goal.

Wilbur and Orville Wright’s passion for aeronautics and flying started when their father brought home a model helicopter made of cork, bamboo and paper that was powered by a rubber band. When they started working on their own flying machine they didn’t have any money or funding, and they didn’t have any college degrees. They had people helping them but no-one on their team had any advanced training. Yet, despite the odds against them the Wright Brothers beat Samuel Pierpont Langley to become the first people to fly an airplane. Why?

Langley had a goal, the Wright Brothers had a dream. Goals can be great, but they don’t motivate us as much as a dreams do. Dreams come from our heart and soul, they inspire us to be more, do more. Understanding your why is one of the most important discoveries you can make.

Why do You Want it?

The most important question you can ask yourself is, “Why do I want it?”

I ask this question in coaching often and one of the answers I often hear is, “I want to make a difference”.

But why do you want to make a difference?

We rarely get the real answer with just one question. If you asked that question followed by, “And what else?”, and you wrote your answers down each time you would get closer to what your deepest motivation is.

If you want a goal because your mind worked out that this is the best way for you to achieve your dreams, then it won’t motivate you enough. Most people give up easily when they don’t see results but people with a compelling ‘why’ often persist even when the odds are against them.

As my children grew and became independent, I needed a new ‘why’. If you had asked me all those years ago why I pushed myself to overcome my fear of public speaking and putting myself out there with my opinion, I most likely would have said, “I want to help people”. And that would be true, because it’s what I’ve always wanted, but I could have volunteered, or performed acts of kindness without pushing myself through my fears. My real motivation was that I wanted to be heard and I love to share. I didn’t feel heard growing up, I felt my opinions were always rubbished and that may have just been the way I perceived things back then, but it was a powerful motivator for me.

Curiosity is one of my gifts. Learning, researching, exploring, understanding and then sharing is what makes me feel alive. It keeps me young. My why nowadays is still learning and sharing and that’s because this make me happier than anything else I do, it’s that simple.

Imagine someone asking you why they should do business with you, why they should support you, or why they should employ you. When you know your why, you inspire confidence. People trust you. When we have a compelling why, we wake up each day eager to start again. We find the time. We overcome our fears.

When you know your why, create a daily routine that supports you, and take steps at least five days a week to turn your dream into reality, you can forget how it will manifest. The how is less important than the why, as it often takes care of itself.

 

 

Finding Your Passion

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” —Oprah Winfrey

When Charlie Albone left school all he wanted to do was go backpacking in Australia, so he took any work he could get that would help him save towards that goal. During the day he worked for a house painter doing mostly grunt work of scraping and sanding. At night he worked in a bar. On his way home one day Charlie witnessed a car crashing into the stately gates of an English manor house, then drive away. The following day Charlie called in to tell the home owner that he had witnessed the accident and what make the car was. The owner asked Charlie if he knew anything about gardening and offered him a job.

For four months Charlie worked alongside the home owner every weekend in his garden and found it was something he really enjoyed. Then Charlie moved to Australia and fell in love with this country. When he asked around for work he was offered a job with a landscaper and before long knew that working in gardens was his passion. Charlie enrolled in a two year course in horticulture and design at TAFE and was only out of college a couple of years when the opportunity to apply for a presenting role as a landscaper on a new TV show arose. He applied, not really expecting to get it. When he got the role he only expected it to last only one season. Eleven years later Selling Houses Australia still going strong and Charlie is well known to many Australian households.

Since then Charlie has won a silver medal for his first garden at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show, as well as two gold medals for other work he has done. As well as filming Selling Houses Australia he now fulfils his passion for garden design by working all over the world, choosing only jobs that really interest him.

Now some people will always think Charlie was just lucky, but the real reason some people are lucky is because the activate the electromagnetic field of their heart. The heart is a tiny organ, weighing just half a kilo, yet it packs a lot of punch. Not only does it keep us alive it generates an electromagnetic field that is 60 times greater than our brain waves. HeartMath believes that, “electromagnetic signals generated by the heart have the capacity to affect others around us”. Some people are ‘luckier’ than others because people are drawn to their electromagnetic field.

When I was younger I experienced quite a few financial crises, and when I couldn’t do any more, I always took time out and did something I enjoyed, then when I’d come back I always found a solution to that crisis. I didn’t know why it worked back then, I just knew that it did. It took me a while to realise that the key to success and happiness is to follow your passion. Passion starts as liking something, and as you consistently add more things you like doing into your daily life you’ll often find that likes evolve into passions.

So, any time you feel confused, or if life doesn’t flow the way you would like it to, go do something that you love. Working harder, searching for answers and talking about problems only helps so much, whereas feeling happy can turn your life around.

Better still make a point of doing at least three things every day that you genuinely enjoy doing, so that you always have something to look forward to. Holidays and special events come and go, and a big mistake many people make is always looking forward to some future event, but it’s not sustainable. If you include simple things that make you happy every single day, then the bigger events are nice bonuses.

If you don’t enjoy your work look for three things you can do at work that will make you happier, this could be as simple as be kind or considerate to a co-worker. I love helping people and making a difference so when I was working in a job I didn’t enjoy I would give flowers to the receptionist, buy someone a cup of coffee, pay someone’s toll. Every week I looked for different ways to brighten someone’s day and those simple actions made that job so much more enjoyable.

By focusing on doing things that make you happy, your energy field changes and this is what other people respond to. Do this consistently and you’ll find that opportunities just gravitate to you. Best-selling author Nora Roberts says, “I don’t have hobbies, I have passions”, and I must admit I can say the same now. You don’t need to search for your passion, just do what makes you happy and you’ll soon recognise it.

Overcoming Self Doubt

I often say to my life coaching students, ‘Action comes first, feeling follows’. You don’t eradicate self doubt by waiting until you feel confident.  You overcome self doubt by acting as if you feel confident, and over time you will start to feel confident.

Everyone has doubts but confident people don’t dwell on their doubts. When you go through life always seeking reassurance you set up a fertile breeding ground for self doubt, then when the slightest hiccup occurs some people see that as a sign that it’s not meant to be and they change their plans.

When I bought my home I created a lot of unnecessary problems for myself by questioning my solicitor, triple checking everything myself, and looking for problems. A part of me felt that it was too good to be true, and I had a few trust issues. This created setbacks and delays for everyone involved. When we had to delay settlement the seller was uncooperative, and it ended up costing me more money, and took longer than it needed to.

My friends said to me, ‘We don’t think you should buy the house, nothing has flowed’. Fortunately, I didn’t agree and proceeded. The delays resulted from my fears and if I had listened to my friends I would have missed out on living somewhere that I love.

When we are not talking to others, we talk constantly to ourselves.  This is such a natural process that we generally don’t notice the phrases that circulate in our minds.  This self-talk affects the way we feel about ourselves and what we attract into our lives.  Have you ever said to yourself, I’m stupid. I can’t win. It’s too good to be true. I don’t know if I’m making the right decision. Or, You can’t have it all? This behaviour reinforces self doubt and beliefs that take you away from what you want.

If I was interviewing someone for a job and she told me she was stupid I wouldn’t employ her.  You may think you wouldn’t say such a thing in an interview, the problem is that when you become accustomed to talking to yourself in a particular way, put downs slip out without you even noticing them.

Your words impact others as well. I always told my children they could have everything they wanted, then one day I heard myself say, ‘You can’t have everything you want’.  Talk about giving my children mixed messages.

Words are powerful and whether you are talking to yourself or talking to others it’s important that your words always support your choices.

Actions are equally important. Act as if you already are the person you want to be and are living the life you want to live. That doesn’t mean spending money you don’t have, it’s choosing to act with confidence when you feel doubtful. You could do this by distracting yourself, or saying a positive affirmation when doubt creeps in. It’s not talking about what is lacking in your life or even talking about what you want all the time, because sometimes that’s a reminder of what’s missing.

Allowing no doubt means:

Being proactive even when you feel insecure.

Spending your time wisely by doing something that will lift your spirits.

Keeping your dreams to yourself, or only sharing with people who believe in you.

Being aware of where you place your attention on a daily basis.

Not worrying about tomorrow, or what can go wrong, it’s learning to enjoy today.

Some people are naturally confident and some have to work at it, but if you act as if you believe one day you will notice just how many things you’ve been able to manifest.

 

 

 

Why We Need to be Mentally Tough

WHY WE NEED TO BE MENTALLY TOUGH

Mental toughness is the ability to maintain our focus despite difficulties. It typically  manifests as resilience, commitment, determination and an inner strength that enables us to persist when times are tough or, when life knocks us off our feet. It’s not something we are born with, it’s a learned skill which we can develop.

Roger Federer is a great example of someone who is mentally tough. Not just because he ranks as the number 1 tennis player in the world, or because he is older than most tennis players, he demonstrates mental toughness by being gracious under fire, and in the way he maintains his focus. When playing tennis Roger usually appears calm and relaxed but during the 2018 Australian Open grand final, he lost his cool during the fourth set and instead of getting angry as many players do, he did something unprecedented. He ran off the court between sets and changed his clothes. At the time I wondered if changing clothes was a way for him to change his mindset, and whether it was or not, he came back onto the court a different man and cruised on to win his sixth Australian Open.

During the interview following  that win Roger said that during the fourth set he lost control of his thoughts and his mind was all over the place. Once he regained control of his thoughts he went on to win the set and match quite easily.

What makes a person mentally tough?

Researchers who have studied elite athletes concluded that mental toughness results from grit, which is defined as determination and commitment to a goal. And while I don’t dispute that I feel there is more to it than that. To me the level of determination that Roger displayed comes from motivation, from doing something that you love. And it’s a well known fact that Roger Federer loves tennis. So, being motivated or having a compelling reason, is what provides us with the determination to persist when the going gets tough. Motivation is the fuel that drives us, that enables us to turn obstacles into something meaningful.

Rosie Batty, the domestic violence campaigner, became a campaigner for battered women following the death of her son, who was killed by his father. Her motivation, most likely, was a way to survive by making something good come from this tragedy. In doing so she demonstrated immense compassion and mental toughness.

Mental strength is developed by using whatever tools we can to help us move forward. Our ‘why’ is what compels us to persist even during tough times.

Mental toughness always starts with a decision to change yourself

There is a video doing the rounds on Facebook showing Roger Federer, as a young player, chucking tantrums on the court. He says that he realised one day that wasn’t who he wanted to be, and he made the decision to change. Novak Djokovic, another great tennis player, made the same choice.

The ability to be able to change the way we think and act, sometimes within a very short span of time as Roger Federer did, is what separates people who survive and thrive from those who struggle through life.

We need to: make it okay to try and fail; look for the good in difficult situations; act on our strengths rather than criticising or complaining, this way we not only change our own lives, we become positive role models for the people around us.

When our mind is filled with positive thoughts, plans for what we are going to do next, we don’t have the mental space for doubts. Instead of looking at what’s missing in your life, fill your mind with thoughts of things you love. Reflect on what’s good about your life, what you are grateful for and looking forward to. These thoughts are the stepping stones to becoming mentally strong.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.”

 

 

 

When Preparation Meets Opportunity

There is an old saying that ‘luck happens when preparation meets opportunity’. My experience has been that miracles occur when you prepare for what you want. I first read about this principle many years ago in Catherine Ponder’s book, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity. Catherine said and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘You have to create a void so that there is a space for what you want to come into’.

I started reading Catherine’s books in the seventies and I still practice what I learnt then today. The moment I set any goal I start preparing to receive it. It’s a habit that has served me well. When I wanted to find my perfect work I would walk around the city of Sydney in my lunch break and pick out the buildings I wanted to work in. I thought about the type of people I wanted to work with. I decided on the type of clothes I wanted to wear to work and I wrote every choice down. Keeping a list of what I wanted enabled me to focus my attention on what I wanted to create rather than the frustration I experienced working in a office full of office politics where you never knew who to trust. At that stage life coaching didn’t exist as a career choice.

Keeping a list also meant that whenever a job opportunity came along I had a checklist to compare it against. The job I took at that time changed my life and matched every item on my list except one, it wasn’t my own business. However, within six months I was offered the opportunity to carry on that business under a franchise type agreement, so ultimately that choice matched every item on my list.  This job turned out to be my ideal job for a good number of years. It prepared me well,  and provided me with so many opportunities and credibility for the career of training life coaches that was yet to come.

Preparation can take many forms from creating a physical space, making time, studying, creating order, looking after your body, being coached, to acting like the person you want to be. Preparing for what you want is a way of allowing no doubt that you will achieve your dream. However, how you do this is vitally important because I’ve known people who have thrown in their jobs, or packed up their houses in preparation for moving to their perfect home and it hasn’t happened.

Any form of preparation needs to support you to keep your focus on what you want to create. If you gave up your job in order to make way for a job that you would love and you didn’t find that job straight away, it is more than likely your focus would shift away from your goal and onto worrying about money. However, by staying in that job and preparing your resume, making sure you have the clothes to match the position, being very clear on what you want to attract even if you don’t know the job title are activities that will support you.

If you want to achieve a financial goal, save some money specifically for that goal that you use for no other purpose. It is never about the amount of money that you save what is most important, is that you are getting ready for the opportunity to arrive.

If you want more friends, create time to spend with them. Create a space where you can socialise, for most people this is their home. Is your home in such a state that you could invite anyone over at any time? Do you have enough clothes to wear out to social engagements? Are you fit enough to participate in some of the leisure activities you like?

If you want to share your life with someone look at your bedroom, is it full of clutter? Clear out your wardrobe, create a space for the other person’s clothes. Get rid of, or put away, mementos from old loves. Create a space for them to move into.

If you want more harmony in your life look at ways you can create harmony within. Choose values to act upon that make you feel good about yourself. Watch your thoughts, make sure they focus on what you want to create, not the problems surrounding you. Create pockets of harmony throughout your day, this could be in your lunch break or travelling to work, focus on how good it feels to be at peace. Make time to meditate every day even if it’s only for 10 minutes.

Preparation supports you to focus on what you want to create. It enables you to find a way where there appears to be no way. Preparation takes a lot of stress out of life. When preparation meets opportunity, miracles happen.