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The Funny Thing About Commitment

The personal development field is rife with promises of the power of commitment, specifically the commitment to change old patterns or the commitment to strive towards new goals. If you’ve ever been to a personal development seminar, you’ve likely been led through an exercise to get clear on what you want, decide on what new actions you’ll take, and finally, commit to taking action. You’re excited, you’re focus, and you’re committed. Sort of. Your heart says you’re committed and your mind knows you want to, but are you really, truly and honestly committed? And this doesn’t just apply to decisions you make at an empowering seminar. How many times have you proclaimed (even if it’s just to yourself) that you are committed to change and yet you somehow don’t follow through to the extent you wanted to nor the depth you “committed” to? The funny thing about commitment is that commitment is not a noun, it is a verb. Commitment is not a statement or a conviction, commitment is ACTION! The old adage of ‘actions speak louder than words’ is no more true than it is with commitment. When you proclaim that you are committed to change, you’re really just saying “I really want to change”. True commitment shows up in continuous action until you get the results you desire. So the next time you say you’re committed, realise that the proof is in the action. Action Points Identify an area of your life where you recently have made a statement of commitment yet are not getting the result you want, and ask yourself: What did I commit to? What actions have I taken that move me closer to my outcome? What additional actions could I take to move me even more close to my [...]

2022-06-08T10:46:33-04:00December 6th, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

How To Improve Your Self-Discipline

As someone who mostly works from home, with infinite freedom to do as I choose, I often find my thoughts going to things I must do, could do, should do to be more disciplined. Being self-disciplined is a life skill for everyone, critical for ambitious people and it’s a life-line for the self-employed. With substandard self-discipline you let time and productivity leak like a bullet-riddled water pipe, you get pulled in a dozen directions before you realise it’s too late in the day to really get started on something, and you never fully experience your full potential. If your to-do list or calendar is the structure to your day, self-discipline is the structure to your mind and decision making. Here’s what I’ve learned about creating strong self-discipline: Forced self-discipline is unsustainable. If you have to ‘get angry’ with yourself and force deadlines or try to draw out superhuman self-discipline to stay on track, you might bursts of productivity but it’s highly unlikely it will last. Strengthening your sense of honour and integrity is better. Rather than using negative emotions (e.g. anger, frustration) as fuel to your day, work on developing your personal sense of honour for living up to your commitments, your integrity for keeping promises and pride in delivering your best work. These are the fundamentals of your reputation making it even more important to develop to a high level. Speaking of commitments, commit to less. Specifically, I mean stop making unnecessary time-bound commitments that paint you into a corner and inevitably set you up to fail on your promises. Save your firm commitments for those things that need it and you’ll have more energy and focus to really get it done when it matters most. Take [...]

2022-06-09T12:20:29-04:00November 29th, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

The Big Impact of Little Baby Steps

It occurred to me recently, that I have spent more than half my life learning about human potential, studying success and gaining insight from the world’s greatest teachers, all to feed my own curiousity about what really matters and what it really takes to create a deeply fulfilling life. A life of your choosing (for the most part), a life on your terms (for the most part), a life filled with more laughter, happiness, health and success. I’ve learned that we – the average, everyday person – are capable of changing our lives in numerous ways, dramatic ways (!) and faster than most might believe. Many people are wanting or hoping to improve their situation in some way: to lose weight, save more money, develop more meaningful relationships, take on more interesting or engaging hobbies, travel more, give back more, and the list goes on. Many just want to feel alive again. So what is stopping us and what can we do about?  In our world today, it is so easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices and distractions that surround us continuously. Information overload is a new problem of the 21st century. The subsequent setback is that overwhelm usually leads to inaction. Our brain gets flooded with ideas, reasons, excuses and worries – clouding our best intentions and completely confusing us on what to do next. This in turn kills our momentum and blocks our progress. Over time, lack of motivation sets in and it’s a slow, steady decline into a less than totally-fulfilled life of ‘same-old, same-old’ mixed in with regrets of what could have been. Before we know it, we have settled for ‘our lot in life’ and forget to imagine anything more for ourselves. This [...]

2022-06-08T10:56:49-04:00November 22nd, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

When the Going Gets Tough, Where Do You Get Going?

In the past three weeks, I have seen a lot of airports. Nine to be precise. Which means I found myself wandering through the arrivals or departures area on 18 different occasions, to fly in and out of the country. That leaves a lot of time to browse the book shops where the business and self-help sections usually get all my attention. My obsessive curiosity to learn from great thinkers and doers continually fuels my mind and deepens my insights on how to master our potential. It’s no surprise that a common theme amongst books today is ‘Leadership in Tough Times’.  It’s an interesting topic, and one that applies to the business world as much as it does to our own personal lives. How do you respond in tough times, when life presents a ‘major problem’? Do you get angry and look to lay blame on others? Do you freeze like a deer in headlights, convincing yourself you don’t know what to do next? Maybe you seek shelter from the storm by running to a friend, the fridge or some other pleasure-seeking distraction? Do you just cover your head and hope it will go away? Or do you behave in a way that empowers you? That enables you to rise to the challenge and accept responsibility for making a change? Have you developed emotional fortitude to confidently face the tough times and strengthen your willpower to overcome the odds? On reflection, I realise I have developed a few core beliefs that help me to keep calm and determined when things get shaky, leaving extra reserves of emotional strength to lead myself and others towards better times. 1. There is no problem I can’t handle I have [...]

2022-06-09T13:51:00-04:00November 15th, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

Four Killers of Consistent Action

It used to be hard to find out HOW to do something (e.g. get fit, find a job, write a book) but in this day and age, information and people who have already done it are easier to find and connect with than any time in our history. Today, learning the steps to success is usually fairly accessible. But what stops us from taking the necessary action, and do that consistently is the real challenge. We know that even the best strategy and best of intentions don’t always lead to success. We also know there are many things we humans do, that are completely within our control, which significantly reduce our chances of achieving what we want. We call these the Four Killers of Consistent Action and most people usually have one dominant or default response to a new challenge or opportunity that slows or prevents their success. 1. Over-eagerness The over-eager one expects and demands themself to produce results NOW! They start with a flurry of excited activity often thinking that going harder and faster will make it happen more quickly. But instead this fuels impatience, inner conflict and usually leads to burnout or frustration when those results don’t come immediately and continuously. They are left disillusioned and disheartened and soon turn to a new project or seek the comfort of distractions and rarely see things to completion. 2. Overwhelmed This type tends to quickly get to a state of overwhelm when faced with a new project or goal. They either don’t know where to start or can feel there is so much that needs to be done it’s like climbing a big mountain and find themselves start questioning if it’s worth the effort. This is [...]

2022-06-09T13:40:28-04:00November 8th, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

The Empowering Paradox of Failure

Earlier this week I spent three days with a group of 20 passionate yet overworked and nearly burned out video game developers. My task: to help them to better understand the impact of the choices they make. Specifically the ones that prevent them from performing at a sustainable high level and keep them from experiencing more consistent happiness and fulfillment. Without exception, every time I’ve had the opportunity to guide people to greater understanding of the forces that shape their behaviour, and help them to identify new behaviours that they WANT to do, KNOW is good for them, and KNOW will serve the greater good, there is one common question that arises. Will it really last? It happens every time. Change is hard. Can I really change? Whether it’s a 25-year old video game coder or a 55-year old global business leader, the self-doubt is the same. After all, they’ve been building up years of well-trodden excuses and reasons not to change, an identity of “I’m a procrastinator” and often rooted beliefs that “I don’t deserve more”. As humans, so much of the intensity of our self-judgement and the volume of our self-belief around our ability to change is determined by our individual perspective of one epic battle: I Want To Change vs. But I Might Fail. For many people (maybe you?), the threat of failure is incredibly scary, daunting and consistently a barrier to taking consistent action. One little stumble sets you reeling backwards. Facing the first hurdle knocks you off track and derails your momentum. Yet for some people, failure is just part of the process and carries no extra weight, baggage or intimidation. If you peered into a dictionary, you would see failure defined [...]

2022-06-08T11:10:30-04:00November 1st, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

What if your problem isn’t the problem?

It’s an inevitable part of being human: facing challenges, resolving issues, dealing with problems. These often unpleasant and uncomfortable parts of our life can attract a lot of our attention. They can absorb a lot of our energy and take us away from other things that are more rewarding, important and fulfilling. Perhaps recently you’ve been spending an extraordinary amount of your time on a problem. How can you tell if it’s just a symptom you’ve been focusing on? But what if the attention you’re giving it is misguided? What if your energy is being wasted? What if the solution you’re after can’t be found where you’re looking. What if the problem you see isn’t the problem after all? One of the great skills of excellent problem solvers is being able to properly identify, and put their focus on, the RIGHT PROBLEM. More specifically, it’s the ability to separate the symptoms from the cause. I’m talking about being skilled at identifying the ROOT PROBLEM (or the root of the problem). When you can identify the root of the issue – the source of all the troublesome symptoms that are showing up – you set yourself up for quicker, easier and more effective solutions. How can you tell if it’s just a symptom you’ve been focusing on? One clue is that symptoms often show up as the behaviour. For example, you do something that you’re not pleased with (….like skipping exercise or eating junk), or a colleague is regularly irritable or late for meetings. What you see is the behaviour yet the root cause of the bad behaviour is usually underlying emotions or thoughts such as fear, anxiety, or habit that’s developed over time to name just a [...]

2022-06-08T11:20:13-04:00October 25th, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

The Greatest Regret You May Ever Have

A little while ago I came across a piece of research on octogenarians – people who have reached their 80’s. The one question that stood out for me provided a simple but profound insight into how I should approach my life now, to prevent me from having the same regret after experiencing more than 80% of my life. The question was this: When you look back on the life that you’ve lived, what is your greatest regret? What do YOU think was the #1 answer across the large survey? I posed this question to a group of business executives I was training this week. After a few days of helping this group to get clearer on their priorities and to reconnect with what they value most, their guesses were perfectly reasonable. “Didn’t spend enough time with the ones they loved?” one suggested. A logical thought from a 21st century executive. “Didn’t do what they were passionate about?” another chimed in. Close but not exactly. “Worked too hard and didn’t stop to enjoy life?” a third pondered. Nope. According to this research, the number 1 regret – the greatest regret – of those who have lived a lot of life was… “Not taking more risks.” That really got me thinking about how I should start living. I trusted the research and I trusted that made a lot of sense. And I didn’t want to have the same answer when I get called by a researcher in 2051. So, what lessons can we take and how can we avoid having the same regret? Here is what I did and what you can do too: 1.    Trust that you can handle it. The risk is rarely in the action but rather [...]

2022-06-08T11:16:30-04:00October 18th, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

Is Your Current Life a Warning or an Example?

It’s been said that there are two ways to live: one as a warning to other people on what not to do, one as an example of how to live and create a life worth living. I’d suggest it’s a good practice to review your ‘current life’ at least twice per year. To stop and check in with yourself. To take an honest look at which parts of your current life are giving you warnings that something isn’t right, yet you’re not heeding those warnings. Some examples could be: Your body is asking for a detox yet you continue to eat everything & anything. Your bank account is smaller but you continue to live larger. You’re feeling detached from your friends and miss them, however, when given the choice you default to more time at the office. You are constantly expressing that you “don’t have the time to…” do what’s important although you always seem to have time to do what’s unimportant or unfulfilling. Of course, the warnings don’t mean you’re doomed to failure. But warnings are warnings and they do serve a purpose. The main purpose is to signal to you that something must change. Something within you or about you must change OR you’ll likely experience even more warnings and deeper pain in the near future. But remember it’s not all bad either. There are ALWAYS parts of your life that are examples of how to do it right. Sometimes you might need to look a little harder—if you’re out of practice—to find inspiring examples that demonstrate your unique strengths, your creative flair or your compassion for others. If you feel like you’ve been running at a million miles per hour recently and [...]

2022-06-09T02:50:09-04:00October 11th, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments

How Much Uncertainty Can YOU Cope With?

I’m not sure if it’s the time of year, bizarre weather patterns or synchrodestiny, but there are many people in my life – including me – that are experiencing a high level of uncertainty right now. Uncertainty in whether their surgery will allow them to walk normally again, uncertainty in where their next pay cheque is coming from, uncertainty on whether their role will be eliminated in the corporate reorganisation. How much uncertainty you can handle has a dramatic impact on the quality of your days, weeks, and life. There are a few powerful distinctions that you need to make to survive times when you don’t know the outcome or how things will get resolved. Myth: Uncertainty causes anxiety Fact: Uncertainty is part of life, how you respond (think, feel) is a choice When we think safety, security and stability are necessary for our happiness, and get anxious and fearful when they aren’t guaranteed in our current situation, we must realise that we can ALWAYS choose how we respond. Some things we can’t control. But what we always control are our attitudes, thoughts and which resources and people we draw on to keep us moving forward and our heads held high. For example, two people get made redundant from the same jobs in the same company. One person freaks out, convinced they will never find anything else in this ‘bad economy’. The other person quickly updates their CV (resume) and starts making contacts in their network, confident in their abilities and looking to gain an even better job. Same ‘job uncertainty’, very different choice of response. Myth: Uncertainty is a bad thing  Fact: Good and bad depends on your perspective and what you choose to focus on If you’re going through [...]

2022-06-08T11:36:57-04:00October 4th, 2016|Daily Spark|0 Comments
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