MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. NOT.

The majority of that headline originates from an iconic movie. However, there is a totally different type of force lurking in all our lives.

The force to be reckoned with many times /quite often, is that of delaying or postponing a task or tasks. In other words, to procrastinate.  Hands up if you know anyone who has fallen prey to this particular act. 

THE WHAT 

Pinpointing the what is most likely the easy part: it is the process of convincing ourselves that doing something else rather than what we are meant to do, is acceptable. Loosely translated: a lack of self-control

Procrastination is not a 21-century phenomena. It can be traced back all the way to the ancient Greeks. In particular philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle were aware of it. They actually called it Akrasia: acting against your better judgement. 

Whether we want to be Greek or modern about it, at the end of the day it’s the same: “it is a force that prevents us from following through on what we set out to do” to quote James Clear from this article of his which is an eye opener. After reading it I was fascinated even more than before by this occurrence. So I felt the need to put pen to paper (so to speak) and delve deeper into such a situation.

THE WHY

When it comes to why us as humans tend to succumb to this force of delaying, there is much more to it than being described as lazy. In actual fact, our life’s control centre, the brain, has the answer. 

The basics are that 2 parts are involved in the action. One being us in the Present and the other being us in the Future. Think of yourself as the Future You which is the person that creates longterm targets to aim for. Then, visualise yourself as the Present You which is the one that needs to take the action.  And to take action is not a future decision, right? It is something you have to do now - and that’s the moment you automatically start an argument (for want of a better word) with the Future You. 

The here and now requires and enjoys immediate results. No need to wonder about tomorrow. So even though you have set a target to complete a task in the near future, if the end result is not instant, the question arises “why do it now then?” We basically over-ride the good intentions of the Future You. 

THE NEXT MOVE

Now that we have a better understanding of what is going on when we put off what we were supposed to do, we need a solution. Some kind of method is required for us to overcome the stress and worry of not actually get going

Let’s face it, we do really want to complete or achieve the task in hand. After all, it will cause great satisfaction and in general we will feel quite proud of ourselves to reach the goal set out by the Future You. My suggestion is a simple, yet very effective recipe to reap the fruits of our labour.

I would like to share 8 steps that personally works for yours truly. They are neither outrageously difficult nor are they impossible. The crux of the matter is that only manageable steps will do the trick - or so I believe. 

  • Book A Time 

    As we make appointments for business meetings, to see a doctor, to attend an event, etc., do the same for your tasks. Literally mark your diary with a block of time to complete what needs to be done. Even set a reminder to notify you when you need to start. 

  • Time Yourself

    Linking this step to the above, set an alarm to go off when you are almost at the end of the allotted time you set out in your diary. The notification will remind you that your should be close to completing the task. 

  • Do it. Now.

    Many times we remind ourselves via a To Do List that something needs to be sorted out. Such a list, on many occasions, gets as long as an arm - which causes even more stress.  If at all possible, start that reminder now and get it over and done with. See it as one less thing to do tomorrow.

  • One At A Time

    The amount of humans in life that can multitask are few and far in between. If you’re one of the lucky ones, good on you. Most of us struggle with the concept leave alone mastering it. Therefore, focus on one thing at a time. 

  • No Diversions

    Distractions are quite possibly procrastination dressed up as a saint. Get rid of anything that will hinder you and make you loose concentration (i.e. mobile devices, etc.). Even if your environment (like working from a coffee shop) causes problems, change it. 

  • It’s Up To You

    It is a good idea to keep your daily (and long term) goals to yourself. Shouting them from the rooftops will trick your brain into believing you’v already accomplished them - hence reducing your motivation to actually work towards them. 

  • Be Aware Of Thieves

    Watch out for your mind as it will play tricks on you.  Many times it may feel much more attractive to quickly put a washing cycle on, do some hoovering or even allow yourself a 5 min break on your sofa. Don’t Fall Into The Trap!

  • Get Pumped

    Not referring to your muscles at this moment in time, but rather to your mind. Seek and inject your brain with uplifting images, positive people and nourishing, healthy foods. You will need energy for both body and mind to keep going. 

CONCLUSION

Of course, as with so many issues in life, battling procrastination is far easier said than done. However, it is honestly not impossible. Apart from the guidance above (which I hope helped you), the ultimate ingredient for bashing any signs of delaying tasks, is a Positive Mindset

As a human you may think or even believe, you haven’t got much going in life, or, even if you do think you have quite a bit going for, there could be a time when your whole being is not entirely happy about anything - leave alone not finishing some tasks. Such moments require strength and determination. Both these ingredients can be obtained by telling yourself Your Are Enough and You Are Worth it. If you focus on a brighter outlook everyday the better you will become about feeling positive in general.

Once you have a strong positivity going on in your mind, the easier it becomes to achieve whatever you want to achieve. And we can only achieve milestones if we set them up for ourselves and we get going and do whatever it takes to reach our targets.

Take a confident first step. Don’t put off those important tasks, conversations or projects any longer. Give doing them an immediate go. The only way to get there in the end is to put your best foot forward. One. Step. At. A. Time.

And lastly, but very importantly, Forgive Yourself. To procrastinate is a common experience. Most will say it’s unavoidable. So don’t beat yourself up over it. Be kind to yourself especially after you've gotten through a bout of delayed tasks. Trust yourself to learn from the experience and do better next time.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?

It’s upon us. Yes, we’re about to wave ta-ta to 2018. 

As we sleigh (!) towards the end of another year, some very important action should be imposed on oneself. This is the time to take stock of our development during the past 12 months. It is also the time to be brutally honest with oneself when assessing the dos and don’ts of the past year. Well, I’m happy to share with you how I did…

WERE MY GOALS REALISTIC?

Setting goals for the immediate 12 months to come is an exercise I categorically do ever year. It actually is a very exciting activity that happens within the first week of the new year. The start of 2018 was no exception. Now with the end in sight it is time to evaluate those milestones.

The overall conclusion is that the goals set out were realistic and probable. In hindsight, to be honest, the odd one was a bit too conservative. Then again, it cancels out the one here and there that was over ambitious. All in all, the general consensus is that my 12-month vision was pragmatic and reasonable

All in all, many more similar goals with a few spanners thrown for next year. 

WERE MY ACTIONS PLAUSIBLE?

Even though ones goals can easily be realistic, the next step in the process is crucial. This is the next move within your path of reaching a goal.  Manoeuvring forward is, can be and most certainly will be, difficult. 

First, and foremost, the question jumping out is… were the limits pushed out all the way? Did you really put shoulder against the wheel and dig your heels in deep? As with every step of reconsolidating your goals, one has to be brutally honest with oneself.

Personally and to the point, the answer is: Yes, but Could’ve Been Better. The pushing was mostly intense, the dedication was there, but there were moments when dealings with goals were way too conservative. Even though I am in general a very positive person, motivation seemed to drift away from time to time. The desire to get back on track needed an efficient amount of energy to get ones’ mojo back. That time spent could’ve been put much more towards chasing and following up on possibilities. 

Lesson learned that focus on time management should be taken far more seriously in the new year. 

WERE MY PROGRESS ACCEPTABLE?

Step 3 within goal setting is the actual physical part of it all. This is where the action really takes place. Milestones is what it is all about. When you pen your vision for the months to come it is very important to add dates of when a goal should be completed. Yes, it’s tough, but without it a goal is only a dream without a plan. 

Luckily, most important goals were hit at the right time due to my action steps being thoroughly in place. One such a step was to sign up a client from the USA which materialised within the timeframe set out.  Hitting the right target moment is incredible. It causes much happiness and drives ones desire to go forth and be more productive. 

I also believe in the saying… trust the timing of your life. This quote is not to be dismissed as being lazy or show a lacklustre attitude.  Some goals did seem to become out of reach throughout the months. However, just as I thought I may not complete those, they were achieved - albeit at a much later stage as originally set out. Best is they came together fairly out of the blue.  So remember… Magic happens when you do not give up, even if you want to. The Universe always falls in love with a Stubborn Heart. 

Let’s remember that Patience is a Virtue. 

WERE MY OUTCOMES SATISFACTORY?

The last section of your yearly, very important exercise, should be the most exciting part. To get to that level of euphoria you need to have been committed to having a fierce mindset. Your mindset must be driven by your desires at the start of penning your goals. Focus is a crucial part of not only getting things done, but being in command of your thought process. 

My outcomes at this stage of the year are both acceptable and surprising. I am happy that the element of surprise raised its head. It often does, so one must not ignore the possibility of the odd thing coming along without any warning. 

The additional (surprising) achievement came in the way of a request to appear as a guest on a well known podcast. This was most certainly not on the cards - and, honestly, I didn’t even thought of it at the start of the year. However, luckily the forces to be dealt me this amazing card. Best of all is that I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and successfully stepped into a brand new world. The reactions of people via social media and in person were fantastic. It didn’t end there though… I am already booked (for mid January 2019) to record another appearance on a different show.

The end result of some goals that was less satisfactory is not the end of the world. I don’t consider I failed my goals because I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to or didn’t do as many courses as I thought I could. The same is to be said for attending local networking events and adding another tattoo to my collection. Saying that, I did however attend courses, webinars and online discussions efficiently. My travel was sufficient and I have met and connected with a few most incredible people that is now firmly part of my community. For not getting the tattoo… well, the closure of my favourite tattoo parlour in Minorca was totally out of my hands. 

A golden rule is to be Prepared for the moment Opportunity knocks. 

CONCLUSION

Drawing a line under one set of goals is great - and opens up the door to set another lot of possible achievements. Looking back and realising that the outlook for the year gone by was on par with ones’ desires is very motivating. And that is where you want to be at the end of a year. Let your motivation for doing even more and even better next year drive you forwards. Precisely what I will be doing within a few weeks. 

Now is also the right time to get the ball rolling for next year. Don’t wait until you hit January to get your ducks in a row for what your goals are going to be. Start your thought process before you hit the Christmas Season (that way you can enjoy the festivities with family, loved ones and friends guilt free). Bullet point your initial thoughts now. Make a start rather sooner than later. And that is exactly where I am now. 

I am taking the lessons I learned from 2018 and applying them to my outlook for 2019. Since I mentioned the issue with motivation, it is obvious that it will be seriously addressed. Time management is another part that I will look at and be far more bold about. One other aspect that I will need to work on is that of being far, far too hard on myself. A certain amount of toughness is desirable, but going over the top with demands on yourself is not good. 

To be realistic was again a good move this year, so more of that to come. Basically, if I could (for example) achieve building relationships as I did this past year, nothing is stopping me from forming even more ones next year. Adding great people to my list of acquaintances will be inspirational to say the least. I will also keep a much more open mind when it comes to surprises. 

I am looking very much forward to 2019. Kicking off a New Year with a Clean Sheet. My mind is already set to achieve a lot, even though I have no idea what the new year will bring. But that’s the beauty of it all. If we knew what was coming our way, life will be quite boring and easy. And who wants that? Most definitely not me and I’m sure You don’t want it either. 

Here’s wishing you an Incredible Festive Season! Have a Very Merry Christmas and take time out and spend it with all the wonderful people in your life. If your loved ones are unfortunately not near, don’t forget to call, text/SMS or even send a card. 

Most of all… Let’s hit 2019 with roller blades on! See you on the other side of December 31.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

DEVELOP AN EXISTENCE OF GRATITUDE

How has your day been so far? Better still, are you having a great week?

Our lives are so occupied with being here, there and everywhere that we often forget the things that make our lives special. Now many of you may immediately tell me off for assuming you are well since I do not know you personally. So how dare I say your life is special. Well, this is my point: if you just take a few minutes every day to remind yourself of the good & great in your life, Your Life Will Be Special.

This doesn’t mean that life will never be tough, harsh and many times be very frustrating. Not to mention how disappointing it can be on many levels. Life, however, can be much, much better if we let it be.

ORIGIN OF RECOGNITION

Many years ago, when I was still a youngster, a friend’s dad actually mentioned the following to me: ‘I was complaining that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet'. At the time, I did not know it is a very well-known quote from Confucius.

I vaguely remember that I was upset about not having enough money or something hence he uttered those words to me. It stopped me in my tracks (so to speak). To be very honest with you, it had the most profound effect on me. I will not ever forget that moment in time.

RAMIFICATIONS IT CAUSED

To classify myself as a positive person is an understatement. Therefore, in times like the last few days it is vital to stand by the believes I have.

There has been many (truly lost count) of moments in life that it feels everything is going pear-shaped. For example, during my career within full-time occupation quite a few job applications were filled in and interviews attended.  Time after time there either has been no reply or a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ outcome. Such moments caused me to feel unwanted and disillusioned.

However, after the a-ha moment from the Confucius quote, the trend is to flip such emotions on its head and focus on the complete opposite side of the coin. Look properly and you will see the positive within the negative. It’s here where the fundamentals of the Yin Yang theory come into place. There is most certainly a bit of good in every, single part of the bad.

No surprise then that on the inside of my left foot, right underneath my ankle is a tattoo of a Yin Yang. My first tattoo and one I had for over 30 years.

DAILY IMPLEMENTATION REQUIRED

To be clear, let us look at the precise explanation of the Yin Yang Chinese philosophy, Taoism:  Two halves that together complete wholeness. Yin and Yang are also the starting point for change.

There, plain and simple and very effective. The last few words of the second sentence says it all… starting point of change.

Within our daily walk through life we are constantly bombarded with situations that has no pleasant effect on us. Perhaps this is in the form of confrontations with people, the difficulty of tasks, fulfilling requests, completing errands, etc. – the list is endless. Naturally it can cause humans to feel down in the dumps and not very happy at all. We are, after all, only human.

The secret, if you permit me calling it that, is hopefully quite obvious (if you’re still reading this article) by now: Flip. The. Coin. Stop in your tracks (!) and look at the situation as clear as you possibly can and start making a change. Ask yourself: ‘Is this moment in time as tough and hard as I make it for myself?’ At the top of your head you most likely will go ‘Hell yeah, it is!’, but what if you control your emotions just a bit better and re-visit the situation?

The only way to find out is for you to give it a go. Most importantly:

  • do this every, single day

  • keep practising it

  • keep giving it a go

  • don’t lose faith within Yourself

  • don't lose faith within Your abilities

This maybe a cliché, but if this man (me, who else), who started life many years ago in a small, conservative town in a country far away from where I am today, can do it, So Can You.

The bottom line is, there is a reason why obstacles are thrown at us constantly: for us to figure out what it is, look at it from a different perspective and find a solution to solve the issue. Sounds complicated, right? Not if you know what to do and how to handle it.

CONCLUSION

It is here where Gratitude enters my daily life. Easily a million times a day the words ‘thank you’ utters my mouth/are fabricated in my mind. It can be for overcoming a massive brick wall or a tiny hump in the way. It many times are for a small action like remembering to make that call or being able to quickly fixing a loose screw. Practising this form of positivity on a regular basis has developed my strong Attitude of Gratitude. It enhances my self-belief and outlook on life.

All we need to do is look around us, listen to the latest news broadcasts, read the newspaper or surf the web to realise how many people are out there that haven’t got nearly what we have. It honestly doesn’t matter what your current circumstances are. Just take a moment and look around you. There is no need for me to tell you what you will see. What I can tell you is that with the attitude of gratitude, very shortly thereafter you will realise that what you are going through is nothing in comparison to so many others around the world. The only thing I ask you to do is to realise what YOU have. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, but pick the small bit of lightness within the Yin-moment (negative/dark) and focus on that. I am sure it will turn into a much more appreciative feeling than anything else.

One last thing to remember… You. Can. Do. It.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading!

HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE THE BEST OUT OF LIFE

Do you get the feeling (more than often) that there is more, much more, to your life than your current situation? However, the aim always seems to be just about out of reach? It doesn’t matter how hard you try and stretch to reach that goal, it stays the proverbial dangling carrot.

After being showed the door, or to put it realistically been made redundant, yours truly got it in his head to tackle the bull by the horns and set out working for himself. Especially since after about 20 years I believed I gave the 9-5 environment a damn good go. This scenario is nothing new within the world we live in nowadays. I am sure quite a few of you will be able to resonate with such a consequence.

The big question is: can You make it work? Can You do it? So many times the reply from individuals is… not sure… don’t really know if I have it in me… I better not try – will just fail miserably... etc..

Stop right there for a second. I personally believe that You Can. It is very possible. One can overcome hurdles and that can change everything in life.

WHERE TO START YOUR JOURNEY

We all have a multiple of ideas in our heads. Those ideas can and are also called dreams. It is one thing to dream the dream and a complete different thing to achieve them. The good news is that it is not just possible it is also achievable.

Grant yourself the time to make sure your ideas are realistic. In other words, take the time to set yourself goals. As mentioned in a previous post (Kick Start the 2017 Kick-Off), goals should be SMART, where the word is an anagram for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. 

HOW TO WALK THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

Planning what you want is however the easiest part of your future. Moving to the next step is when you need to put shoulder to the wheel and do the work.

Whilst recently reading A Better Lemonade Stand I came across their Manifesto – which inspired me to write this post. In this short, but very powerful synopsis they nailed the issues regarding reaching your ultimate goals in life and work.

I stand 110% by the Manifesto so let me share my thoughts with you:

  • Start - as mentioned, don’t just dream, begin by setting out a plan.

  • Move - take a step forward and keep doing it regularly.

  • Work - even if it seems tough, remember you’re doing it for yourself.

  • Setbacks - all of us in life fail over and over. See failure as motivation.

  • Blame - do not do it, be responsible for your own decisions.

  • Give up - don’t even consider it. Learn how to cross barriers.

  • Decisions - go for the tough choices and discover awesomeness.

It’s worth reading the full explanation. Not just once, but treat yourself and give it quite a few good reads. Let it sink in and then read it again. Then Challenge Yourself.  

CONCLUSION

As far as I’m concerned the most important moment should be when you take a stand and decide that you want to chase your dream – in other words, taking the first step forward. This is what is called Taking Action. Influencers all over the world will tell you that sitting back and just thinking about plans are not enough. We all have to get up and get going. A Dream without a Plan is just a Wish.

Don’t give up at the first hurdle. I see setbacks, criticism and fear as motivation to keep going and get better at it than what I was yesterday. Don’t Quit – Do It.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

 

 

BROADENING YOUR SKILLS

How do you feel about gaining new information? Is it an exciting prospect? The ability to extend your knowledge of a subject can be daunting, however if you approach it with the right mindset you can walk away feeling very satisfied. 

For me the words of Vincent van Gogh sums it up beautifully:

Learning, or educating myself, has always given me a great sense of achievement. 

THE URGE TO KNOW

When the decision was made to startup on my own, there were quite a few elements that I knew too little about. One way to obtain that information was to sign up to a course or three and let others be a guide. Nothing wrong with that. However, to seek out the information on your own accord somehow always is so much more fulfilling. Therefore I tackled the proverbial bull by the horns and educated myself in the areas I lacked knowledge in. 

THE LEARNING CURVE

With the worldwide web at our finger tips nowadays it is much easier than years ago to get hold of answers to all our questions. It takes some research, but persevere and one will find what one is looking for. What could, or most likely will happen, is that you will find bits here, there and everywhere. The fun part (to put it mildly) is to then put it together like a puzzle. First, one finds the pieces with a straight edge and/or the corner pieces and before you know it the border (or outline) is all in place. To follow is to fill in the middle section and voila! your picture is complete. All pieces slotted in and you’re sitting back looking at a complete visual. In other words, you have conquered the assignment of learning how to perform a certain task within your business.

THE IMPLEMENTATION

Once the know how is firmly in your head, it is time to put your new found knowledge into action. Best bit of advice at this stage is to get going immediately since the information is still very fresh. Practice, practice and then some more practice. Repetition is known to cement actions within us. Once you leave the new facts and skills at the door the inevitable is sure to happen - when you return to put it all to work, most will be a haze and you will need to start again to remind yourself.  

THE CONCLUSION

To study or learn on your own takes a lot of effort and determination. You need to be proactive and resilient at all times. For me it works. Currently there is a new venture on the cards and instead of signing up to expensive courses how to achieve this I am taking matters in my own hands. Yes, I do attend webinars, seminars and talks to get some guidance, but at the end of the day it’s up to me. Some will call it the hard way. Others won’t understand why the narrow, steep road is more attractive. 

Each to their own I say. It is not a matter of making it unnecessarily difficult for oneself, it is much more about achieving something where there was originally no knowledge of in my head. As a strong believer in one can do whatever you put your mind to, it’s obvious this is the preferred route for me. That moment you reach the end of the rainbow and find your pot of gold is priceless. To sit back and look at the finished task you did with the complete new set of tools in your head, is beyond satisfying. Once you experienced that feeling, I bet you will want it again and again. Believe me the feeling is that wonderful. 

If you felt some affinity towards this topic please comment and share your thoughts. If you’re in need of mentoring about educating yourself get in touch and lets talk.

 

BEING A WINNER

How does one become a winner? What does it take to be successful? Many people see it as being lucky in life. Others put it down to pure hard work. But what really is needed for one to come out on top and walk away with the trophy?

THE OPPORTUNITY

Within the last 24 hours another major sporting event took place in Paris, France. To say that it was nail biting and exhilarating are understatements. Apart from the outcome (which caused much personal happiness) the fascinating part was watching the two men play tennis to a top standard. Since it was the world’s #1 and #2 their tennis skills were of the highest possible. That is obvious if one reach that level in the world ranking. However, there were much more than skills evident during the match. Watching both players walking out on a court at Roland Gross it was clear that both were here to win. Needless to say only one could achieve that. But which one will it be, was on everyone’s mind.  

THE BEGINNING

It started out with one player taking the upper hand and making use of opportunities to claim the first set in his favour. If we as spectators thought he’s onto a winning streak we could not have been more wrong. What happened over the next 2+ hours was incredible - not only as a sporting event, but as a display of human ability par excellence.

THE MIDDLE

Not that there was much of a surprise in the one player taking control, but how he took control. The difference between the two players was phenomenal. It became clear why the world’s #1 player is number one. And to be honest, it wasn’t down to his tennis skills alone.

THE END

Once the #2 player had his serve broken it was downhill from there onwards. His shoulders slumped multiple times after faults. He didn’t control his emotions much. Winning the odd point ended in over the top outbursts of joy. Every time he made an error one could see how it effected him in a negative way. His confidence went out the window in no time. It was actually embarrassing to see him fall apart. He was behaving like a yo-yo. After all he is the world’s #2 player and it became apparent why he is only #2. He has the skills, but doesn’t have the mindset of a winner. He was not determent enough to fight for the title. All in all a shocking performance.

His opponent was in utter contrast. He was consistent across all aspects of his game. There was undeniable evidence of him eliminating emotion throughout. Even if he occasionally showed some frustration the majority of the time he was cool, calm and collected. His body language was on par with that of someone in control of not only of the game, but of himself. The shoulders never slumped - even when he lost a point. His head never fell down when he made a mistake. There was hardly an outburst of the verbal kind. It was clear that this man had a demeanour of a winner. And so he did. No surprise there.

THE LESSON

In business (and also life) there is a great message here.  Even if you have the skills to be great at what you’re doing, you need a lot more than that. Determination is the emotion you need to bring to the table (not schoolboy playground frustration). Show the world (or the client sitting across from you) the confidence and the believe you have in yourself. Lay bare your positivity and outlook. Be consistent in delivering your skills and your message as if you’ve nailed the proposal already (even if it’s only the start of the presentation). Most of all, show you have the mindset of a winner. 

From this tennis final it is clear that success is down to skill and determination plus mindset. These three goes hand in hand.  Step up your game and walk away with the prize. It is possible. 

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