Natural success: What gets measured gets managed

Principle 3 : Monitor progress and make adjustments.

I’m back and talking about my garden again. You can check out part two here: https://sbrowne83.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/natural-success-2-would-you-have-killed-the-goose-that-laid-the-golden-eggs/

and part one here :https://sbrowne83.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/natural-success/

Another principle of success that was made clear to me from looking after my garden was to monitor progress and keep a close eye on results.

Once the plants were established, growth started to happen at different rates. It seemed as though I had everything cracked, and then the slugs came.

One night it rained very heavily. The following morning, I looked out of the window and was devastated to see that the slugs had stripped to of my plants down to stubs. They had also eaten holes in the leaves of my growing blueberry tree.

Obviously, I was livid and disappointed. I had spent so much time doing all of the things needed to get the garden ready, and now it had been damaged. I had been naive to think that mother nature would pass over my back yard. It was time to take a stand and respond. I took action quickly to rectify the damage, and most of my plants recovered within a month. The lesson I learned here was to be aware of the factors that could affect your success. If I had given up at that point, the garden would have been ruined for the year.

If you have a set a goal, be aware of the results you are getting, and the factors that could affect your results. If you are not tracking your progress, you are winging it rather than systematically striving towards success. There will be ups, downs and slugs, but you can recover when you spot the signs early and adjust course.

Things to consider

Are you monitoring your results in the key areas in your life?

I wish you the best

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Natural success 2: Would you have killed the Goose that laid the Golden eggs?

Principle 2: After planting, you need patience.

Hi it’s Shaun here again, and today I wanted to share with you the second principle that I learnt from re-designing and improving my garden.

Last time I shared how I believe that the first thing that needs to be done is to prepare the ground for planting. We can use that principle in our own lives by making sure that we have prepared properly for what we would like to have in our lives. You can read the rest here: https://sbrowne83.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/natural-success/

Today I wanted to talk about the power of patience.

When I first planted my bulbs in the ground, there was nothing to see. Although I had a clear idea in my mind what I wanted to produce, I had no visual proof at that stage that it would manifest itself in reality. What I did know, was that I had to water my bulbs on a regular basis in order to keep the conditions for growth optimal.

After a few weeks we had the first shoots. I was really excited, because I could finally see the beginning of something. Now, some of my plants grew very quickly like my lettuce seed and sunflowers. However, some things did not emerge from the ground until a month or so later. The key to making sure that everything grew as it could was to be patient and provide the right conditions and environment for life.

This principle really hit home, because I realised how lacking it is in today’s modern world. Everything these days is sold on it’s speed. Words like accelerated, instant and rapid are used as promotional tools everywhere I look. When it pertains to success, I have found the following to be true. No patience = no progress.

I see this constantly when people decide to lose weight quickly. The first thing most people (including myself in the past) do is go on an all-out assault to shed the fat as quickly as possible. They hammer the exercise, go on an extreme diet and think they can go to war with their body. The problem is, our bodies are like the bulbs I planted in the garden. They have their own intricate systems and patterns of development and will produce best results when there is a consistent and steady period of optimal conditions.

Apply this to relationships. The phrase moving too fast again nods to the idea of rushing headlong into everything without giving the relationship the time it needs to evolve naturally and develop into a solid and secure relationship.

I have fallen for the trap on a regular basis. I think most people fall foul of this at some point in their lives. I now look for progress as quickly as possible, rather than rapid progress. The distinction is subtle, but profound at the same time. By having the patience to understand that sometimes things will take longer than I anticipated rather than trying to force an unnatural rate of progress, I can accept the results, and focus my energy on consistency and effort rather than stress and worry.

By developing the right work ethic, mental and physical health, network and skills, I can help my business grow as quickly as possible without trying to force growth.  In reality, this would work out far quicker than constantly stopping and starting because of the principle I will share in my next post.

A question to ask yourself: Are there any areas of your life where you are being impatient with yourself or the results that you are getting?

How could you change your approach so that instead of rushing for results, you were getting them as quickly as possible?

Is patience a virtue?

Are you mistaking patience for procrastination? Procrastination is the absence of enough action to generate favourable results.

Think about the questions and see if they help you gain a new insight into how patience could help you in your life today.

I wish you the best

Shaun

Natural Success

What I learned from my Garden about success

For years, I had always pined for a little bit of land to cultivate and grow some flowers in. When I lived in Liverpool, I had no green space to use my green fingers on, but when we moved to Yorkshire, I finally got a small border with our new house. I was so excited and quickly started planning all the things that I wanted to plant in there.

The day came, when it was time to start preparing the ground, and this was when my first lesson from nature was learnt.

Preparing fertile ground is hard.

Creating the conditions for growth is a difficult task. It took hours of physical and mental labour in the hot afternoon sun to get the job done. When I first looked at the patch, all I could see were weeds and dry hard soil. What kept me motivated was the vision of the potential that was in my small plot of land.

Now when we apply this principle to our lives, we see that it holds true. Before success can even arrive, the conditions for success need to be created. Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve, before you can make it happen, you have to make sure that you are becoming the person worthy of attaining the goal. You have to become worthy of the success that you want. Nobody is going to hand you an award winning company, an Olympic medal or a championship just because you wish for it.

Now the obvious question then may be is it worth it? I can’t answer this for you, but every success story I have ever come across talks about the trials and hard effort that was required to bring the goal about. Therefore, if we want to be successful, I do believe that the effort and hard work will always be part of the equation and the price the successful people pay in order to be where they are.

In my own life, I am currently trying to embed some new habits that will allow me to take my personal success to a new level. Trying to establish theses new habits is proving to be hard and a challenge, but I see the value in it as it will lead to me having that fertile ground in my own life. This will lead to opportunities, valuable contacts and eventually the completion of goals that I have set for myself.

This was one of several principles of success that I have observed whilst looking after my garden. I will share my next principle in the next post.

I wish you the best

Shaun

Dad Bod? Really?

I was sent an email by fitness expert Rusty Moore this week. In the article, he mentioned something called the Dad Bod. This relates to an article that went viral earlier this week on social media. The premise behind it is that women are attracted to a particular look where the man’s body is basically overweight. Some of the reasons listed include these men being more cuddly, more relaxed about their eating and fitness pursuits, and someone more likely to skip the gym and sink a few beers with friends.

Now let me preface the rest of this by saying that I have no issue with someone being overweight. I have been overweight in the past and I am not judging. However, the person who wrote the article clearly has insecurity issues because the reason given for finding this particular type of person attractive were very shallow and were more about how someone who had a better physique would make her feel.

From the article: ‘We don’t want a guy that makes us feel insecure about our body. We are insecure enough as it is. We don’t need a perfectly sculpted guy standing next to us to make us feel worse.’

‘we still like being the center of attention. We want to look skinny and the bigger the guy, the smaller we feel and the better we look next to you in a picture.’

There are other nuggets of non-sense in the article that expose the authors immaturity and lack of confidence. Basically, she is saying that she finds the dad bod attractive because of the way that person makes her feel about her own body. I don’t usually talk about relationships on here, but I have been with my wife for near 11 years so in this area I know what I’m talking about. Physical attraction is essential for a healthy relationship to thrive. There is no doubt about it. However, the physical attraction needs to be genuinely about that person. A relationship has next to no chance of surviving if your attraction to others is more about what you can get out of the other (money, confidence or status and the list goes on)

In the case of the author, she clearly is looking to get her sense of confidence from the appearance of her partner. This is a shaky foundation for self-esteem and will not work. What if Mr Dad Bod decides he wants to get into awesome shape? How would that work for the relationship from that point?

I am also slightly puzzled by the phrase dad bod. I think what she is really describing is sedentary bod or can’t be bothered bod. This does not represent the best fathers and what they show the world through their physical pursuits. I know many dads who treat their bodies with the care and respect it deserves because it is the foundation of their good health and energy levels. Great dads serve as role models for their children and pass on worthy virtues including having good health and vitality. I perform some of my strength training in front of my son deliberately so that it sparks his interest and so that he sees working out as a normal part of life.

I don’t intend on saying too much more about this, it worries me how something like this could go viral, when I see so many more worthy articles that deliver far more wisdom that many people never get the chance to read. Obviously, the subject matter touched a nerve with the public. It certainly did with me. Or maybe it just got on my nerves I haven’t quite decided.

Live and let live is what I believe, but sometimes you have to call someone out when you detect the smell of bulls**t in the air. To all the guys out there, being the strongest version of yourself will lead to the relationship and partner that you want. Whatever your body looks like, if we develop our characters and have a positive aura about us you will be attractive to others.

I wish you the best.

Track the journey.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was starting up again with my health and fitness regime after a period of slow but steady weight gain. I have been reading up on success strategies with following through after setting goals because that’s where most of the challenges seem to lie.

Setting goals is easy as we all know deep down what we want and what we feel will improve our lives. Once they are set, everything is exciting because we feel we have made some major progress. However, the reality is that just setting goals is not going to make any difference at all until we start to take action on those goals.

So how do we start to make progress towards our goals? One thing that I have really responded well to is tracking your results and getting some accountability even if you are being accountable just to yourself.

I use a website called irunurun.com. This is site is excellent for this activity. It creates data for you and tracks your progress using a points based system.

This has really helped me to stay on track and to keep streaks of activity going for far longer than usual. I have used it so far to track my eating habits, my physical exercise and writing on a daily basis.

Another big tip is to make the action you want to build into a habit very easy and build up to a higher level over time. Don’t set a daft goal that is setting you up for failure. Keep consistent with an activity until that level feels really easy and then raise your standards with the same target.

I’ve done this with my training to great effect. I have wanted to start the habit of daily cardio for years but could never get myself to do it. I solved this by slashing the time of my cardio down to 10 minutes a day to start with. This felt easy to do, attainable, and something I could turn into a habit and I have. So far I have completed my cardio session for 18 straight days with two planned rest days. I have also raised my cardio up from 10 to 14 mins already. The trick is in the consistency. The 14 minutes feels exactly the same as the 10 minute session did I when I started. I will gradually raise my time up to around 25 minutes and keep up the daily frequency. This would be a huge increase in daily cardio output, but is easily attainable with this approach because the habit would be well and truly formed by then. I try to do my cardio at the same time each day and have dragged myself out even when I haven’t felt like it or I have been very tired.

If you want to form a habit or make a change in your lifestyle, these skills are transferable. Find a way to track and monitor your efforts in some way. You also need to try and set an action that seems easy to start with and focus on consistency. Once the consistency is there, then you can ramp up your output and quickly accelerate your results.

Tracking the journey is a skill and habit of the successful. Adopting this idea might be the missing piece in your habit forming puzzle that allows you to make any action you would like to develop become a permanent one.  I am sure that it will if you execute these ideas properly.

I wish you the best.

Appreciate WHO you have

If you are reading this, you are awesome! You’ve taken the time to write something that I have written and you are going to take it all in and hopefully apply it (aren’t you?)

smiley face

I clearly appreciate you, and I am making the choice to tell you that. Why is that so important? Here is what I think.

When I read people giving advice on gratitude, they always talk about being grateful for what you have. This is hugely important, but it can sometimes make people forget about showing gratitude for WHO they have in their lives.

I heard this morning that Rio Ferdinand, ex Manchester United footballer, had lost his wife to Cancer. He must be absolutely devastated, and no words will fill that hole in his life for a long time. In such times of grief, it is so obvious to see how much people mean to us.

I remember when I lost my good friend Ziggy in such tragic circumstances. He was great friend to me in Liverpool for many years, and when he died , I was crushed because of what he meant to me. I was also devastated because when I looked back, although it was so obvious, I don’t think I had ever said to him how much of a friend I had considered him to be.

Each one of us is completely unique and special. No-one will ever be able to replicate who you are and the impact you have on others. All too often we forget that it is the relationships we have in life that make us truly rich.

In a consumer driven nation in a time where consumerism is promoted on a regular basis, I wonder if at times we lose touch with the human connection that really gives life true meaning. I have seen people who are so in love with their new phone that they miss the world around them.  We need to do better. I have been guilty of this myself at times, and used  to play a lot of computer games when I should have been spending that time with my wife. None of us are perfect, but we can all be more aware. I see training programs online that try and appeal to people’s dreams with visions of fancy cars and huge houses. Good things to have, no one would argue, but make sure you have your priorities in order.

Is it worth working to the bone for a family you don’t spend time with and see?

Is it worth getting to the top of the career ladder, if you kicked everyone else off on your way to the top?

I absolutely want success in my life and that does include some selfish consumerist type goals and targets (I’m a victim of my times ) but I also want to have rich and deep relationships with my friends, my family and anyone who works with me in the near future.

When I lost my father, for years I almost denied the impact he had on my life, but looking back at old photos reminded me that we spent lots of time together in my formative years, and spent countless hours when I was older talking in the car, and listening to hours of amazing music that my dad was into. There’s no wonder I am such a lover of music today.  I miss him, and I miss our relationship because I will never be able to replicate it with anyone ever again. That’s how special your connections with others are. Because we are all unique, each pairing or group is unique as well due to the collective of people in that group.

Appreciate who you have in your life and let them know you appreciate them. How will they ever know what they mean to you unless you tell them? I need to take my own advice here because there are people in my life who make my life better and I haven’t really told them that.  It won’t take much, and it doesn’t have to be over the top, but it will be meaningful to them. That, I can guarantee.

Life’s too short to take for granted the important people in our lives. Appreciation is the currency that we as people thrive on because we realise the impact we are having on people is helping them.

You could do this by sending them a message, giving them a call, going to visit them or just telling them every now again if you see them on a regular basis. Be clear about why you appreciate them. Big them up they deserve it.

Thanks for spending some of your time to read this. I appreciate your time and I am so grateful that you read this far in my post. You are helping me achieve my dream of spreading good ideas that help people reach their potential and improve their lives.

I wish you the best.

The happiness menu

The happiness list

Can you name 10 things that would make you happy instantly?

This idea I took from the Chimp Paradox. It is a way of giving yourself options in order to raise your happiness instantly. What small things could you do at any moment to raise your level of happiness?

I chose things such as

*Being outdoors.

*Listening to some of my favourite music.

*Reading a great book.

*Counting my blessings.

*Smiling

Knowing what things can make you happy instantly is powerful because it allows you to be in control of your state and to choose what action you are going to take in order to feel better. We can be far more active in our level of happiness and sometimes feeling happy requires on our part.

Once you have your instant happiness list, you can also create a list of things that you could plan that would raise your happiness. Again, the point is to include simple things that are easy to do and that you will look forward to in the near future. Things like having a meal with friends, date night with your partner, or going out on a trip with your children. Once you have established what those things are that truly make a difference in your life, then plan for at least one of those things to happen.

Taking the time to know what activities will make you happy allows you to plan these things into your life. I see the instant happiness list as a way to boost my mood if I am struggling to stay positive or I am annoyed about something. We all have those moments, so it’s good to have a trick up your sleeve when you need it.

I would suggest going away and really thinking about how much effort you put into making sure that you are happy.

Have you ever considered what the simple pleasures are in your lives that make you happy?

Are you making time for those things?

Remember a good life is a balanced one. Your happiness and state of mind is just as important as a good career and good physical health.

I wish you the best.