Look within. Wisdom from Kung fu Panda

I have been lucky enough this new year to spend lots of time with my family and friends. One particular morning, my son and I watched Kung-fu Panda. I have never seen it and thought it was a great movie that had some key principles that we could all try to apply to our lives. One which jumped out was the revelation of the secret ingredient.

This scene demonstrates beautifully the idea of belief. If we can generate a belief and hold onto it strongly, it can inspire us to greater things. The external search for that one missing thing to stop procrastination can never compensate for the internal feeling to act generated by belief. The realisation that Po (The Panda) makes is that he is good enough to fulfill his own destiny. He has everything he needs within and he just needs to bring it out.

A new year is a new chance for us all to aim for goals and dreams we have in life armed with the belief that we are good enough to attain it. Yes we will have to learn and make mistakes along the way, but those mistakes help us to grow and develop into the person we want to be.

No amount of hacks and special tricks from ‘gurus’ can compete with what we have within. We are all special and unique. Kung fu panda reminded me that belief in ourselves is an amazing source of power inside all of us.
Go for what you want today and claim your personal power!

Wishing you all the best for 2015

Shaun

Love, crazy work and accepting my body. What a week!

Reflection is so important. It allows us to spot patterns, replay important events and take stock on our life. Reflection allows us to also show gratitude for what we have as well as giving us pointers to reach the goals we want in the future. Each week I am going to quickly reflect on my week in different ways. Gratitude, achievements, health, and life.
good-relationships-quote-love-quotes-pictures-pics-sayings
Gratitude.
My wife and I had our date night this Monday. Every month on the 10th, my wife has organised for us to do something together that I have no idea about. This has been to celebrate the 10th year of our relationship. In that time we have more fantastic memories than I can count. So my main area of gratitude this week to reflect on is the incredible journey my wife and I have been on so far and all the ways that she has helped me to become the person I am today. I love you Annemarie.
Achievements.
I managed to keep on top of my workload in a very intense week at school. I had an observation, a load of paperwork to get in, a book scrutiny, and on top of that, I actually had to do some teaching. Despite the work schedule, I managed to keep on top of my stress levels and had a good week. I also really wanted to keep posting on my blog and I have managed to do that as well.
Health
I’ve been trying to work on my perception of what healthy is. I have written about this quite recently.
https://sbrowne83.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/what-is-health/
Due to this, I have started re-reading the Gabriel method. This is a fantastic health book that takes a much more holistic view of being our best physically. The author Jon Gabriel revolutionised his own health and sorted out his psychology as well as his body.
My perception of my own body has always been slightly warped. I have realised that there have been not many moments in my life when I have satisfied and happy with my weight. So at the minute, fat loss is not important to me. I have to work on self acceptance of my own body at any weight. So my health goal is one I can imagine many can relate to. I want to have a healthy image of my self. I’m going to work on becoming happy with my body. This is so important because it will impact not just on me, but on my children too. If they see daddy constantly unhappy with his body and subtly putting himself down, they will think it is normal to do themselves. I want to address this not just for me but for the sake of my children.
What have been your main take home points from this week?
What are you looking forward to next week?
They are the main things floating around in my head as I prepare for another week to begin. I hope you all have an awesome week.
I wish you the best
Shaun

It’s your time!

I heard an inspirational song this weekend when I was cooking dinner for my family. It’s catchy and the lyrics are motivating. The premise of the song is to really go for what you want. It makes references to God being behind you and on your side. Now whether you believe in God or not, there is something to be said about belief and faith to power you forward. Whenever I have achieved notable things in my life, I’ve had to struggle and fight with fear and laziness, and kick them in the ass. Faith is the way to do it.
Faith is what pushes you forward when there is no evidence around you that things will work out. When watching high level performers, the unifying factor they all have is belief in their abilities.
Do you have faith that you are going to achieve the goals you have set for yourself?
Belief might be the most important factor.
Before I signed up for total warrior this summer, I was undecided about whether I was going to take part. As soon as I made the commitment and signed up, my actions became easier. I trained consistently, got into good aerobic shape and performed really well on the day.
I had faith in my ability to succeed and did not entertain the thought of not competing and giving it my all. Here are my top tips for keeping and strengthening the faith.

Unleash the beast!

Unleash the beast!

1. Take action!!!!!!!!!!! Activate your beast mode.

Before Total warrior, my fitness was not up to par, so I set myself a challenge. Every Monday, I would set myself the challenge of running to the bottom of West Vale, and then turning back and running back uphill all the way to the peak. To put this in context, This hill is constantly uphill for about forty five minutes. At points it’s so steep that I never imagined that I could get to the top. Every Monday I would lace up my trainers and go for it again with the simple mantra of one more step than last week. After two months, I conquered the hill. Not only that, but I started to thrive on the hills and enjoy the feeling of dominating what I once thought was impossible.
I have never felt so powerful from running and this pumped so much belief and faith into me that I couldn’t wait to get to the race day and push myself. Beast mode is a state of feeling but you can’t just tap into it straight away. You have to develop it through persistent consistent effort no matter what the memes say.
2. Have a partner in crime.
Having someone training with you or helping you develop a skill or capacity is extremely powerful. You have that person then who knows what you are going through and can encourage you, as well as keep you accountable to what you agreed to.

3. Visualise yourself succeeding.
I had never really practiced visualisation before until I came across the practice in Tom Venuto’s book ‘Burn the fat feed the muscle.’ It then seemed like every book I read on personal development and health talked about it’s power. I have not yet made this a consistent practice yet and it is something I am incorporating far more these days. However the early benefits warrant the reviews. It gives me clarity and purpose and is a daily reminder of what I want to achieve with my life.

4. Study those who have done what you want to do and learn from them (mentorship)
Nothing is more powerful than a role model. They give you the faith that what you want to achieve is possible because they have done it themselves. If you can speak with some of these people, then you are on the fast track to success because they can share their strategies and ideas with you that might make the difference between struggling alone and really blossoming into your true potential. My mentor has really helped to develop my mind-set and as I grow and develop, I will look to other mentors to learn even more from.

There are four strategies that would go a long way to helping you develop your belief and faith in yourself and the things you want to make happen. Now go get it!
Are there any other strategies that you would include in this list? Do you already use any of these techniques successfully. If so it would be great to hear from you.
I wish you the best
Shaun

Fluid form.

I have been writing a journal now for a few months and it has brought up lots of lessons for me to go away and reflect on to help me lead a happier more effective life. One really damaging trait that I found was just how often I criticised myself. I have been aware of this for some time and I do better at times than at others. But I believe it is a vital aspect of my character that I want to change.

Let me describe what happens. Say for example, I want to stick to a diet to lose some fat. What I found I was doing was attaching my happiness and sense of success to whether I stuck to the diet or not. If something went wrong, which is inevitable because I am not perfect, I would attack myself and beat myself down. This thinking at it’s worst would spiral into a deep analysis of what I was doing wrong and lead to the conclusion that I will never be good enough to attain it. This would mean giving up or starting all over again. So I would get the first part right, because I was setting worthwhile goals for myself and that is important. However, I was emotionally attached to my goals so much that my self-worth was defined by attaining them. I was fixated on a future self and negatively comparing where I am to the future projection. Visualisation of the future is important, but I do not want to keep all my happiness waiting for me in the future as the future doesn’t physically exist. All we have and all we will ever have is the here and now. The present is where our attention should be.

 Letting go is an act of observation without emotional reaction or outburst. This allows you to be objective and see the truth behind your results.

Perception is everything. Should someone really be judged as a failure if they don’t reach a target?

The only person who can create the idea in your mind that you are a failure is you.  It is just an idea. Yet another story that we tell ourselves based on our interpretations of our circumstances. Imagine how empowering it is to go through your life with the belief that you are good enough in this present moment. You are good enough now and will always be. It’s a case of perspective.

I am a Manchester United fan, but I am passionate about all high performers in football. I like to study their philosophy and mentality. One person I studied was Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. On the subject of failure he responded by saying I do not fail. On the surface, this seems to be an arrogant statement, but it is his reality. Therefore to him it is true. Our perceptions create our reality because there is no true ‘reality’. When someone says ‘the reality is’, what they should really say is ‘my reality is.’ Mourinho’s statement is empowering because it allows him to see every setback objectively and learn from it. He doesn’t get attached to it and carry it like a weight on his back. At the same time, this attitude would allow for someone to stay humble when things are going well and not attach their identity to their success or possessions.

Another powerful statement linked to this idea is the famous Bruce Lee quote where he describes the nature of water and the importance of replicating it:

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

My interpretation of this is that water is a close reflection to our true nature in that we are a mixture of things that are transient. Our beings flow and have the ability to transform and evolve. Within any given moment, you can become whatever you want to be. When you let go of the stories you tell yourself in your mind, you can become a shape shifter.

You have the ability to become strong.

You have the ability to become love.

You have the ability to become excited.

You have the ability to be (insert here)

I am by no means an expert in this field as this idea is quite new to me. But I see the value in reducing my attachment to the external parts of my life so that I can have more control over my emotions.

The next time I set a goal, I’m going to set it, create a time frame, and then get to work on the process. I will track my results, but will in no way identify who I am with the results I get. This will help in all areas of my life and should lead to me being in much better control of my state on a day to day basis. If I am to truly be like water, I should have the ability to choose the best way of being to deal with all of life’s challenges.

Don’t be so rigid in life.

Let go and be like water.

I wish you the best.

Self-acceptance is more important than self-improvement?

I have always been very passionate about the role of self-improvement in my life. The name of my blog shows that I believe in a holistic way of life. Self- improvement has served me well in that capacity because I believe I am more effective now than I was in the past.
However, there was always an idea that puzzled me. It was a paradox in my thinking.
If I’m always striving towards new goals, when will I get the feeling of being successful? When will I enjoy the fruits of all the work I’ve done on self-improvement?
The missing piece between success and self-improvement is self-acceptance. I now realise that without self-acceptance, there is the danger that you will never be happy with your success. Success isn’t a tangible thing. It’s a feeling, and that feeling is relative. If you took two people with the exact same circumstances in life, one could be the happiest person alive and the other person the most miserable. The way they perceive what they have and their level of identification with those things, will determine whether they feel successful.
When I have felt successful in life has been when I have cultivated that state internally. It is the journey towards the goals as well as the end point that can create a feeling of success.
I am working on self- acceptance because I realised I was playing a dangerous game where I was losing the ability to be happy in the present moment because I was forever chasing goals. The goals were not the problem, it was my identification with the result of attaining them. In short, because I was obsessing over achievement, I would have been dissatisfied with my level of income, health, relationships or career. I was making the false assumption that those things are who I am. I cannot wait for the ideal of everything before I become happy. That is not true living.
Self-acceptance is the subtle art of knowing yourself internally so that you don’t have to rely on the external things around you for identity. I understand why people chase success symbols like cars, huge houses and other similar things. It is almost a way of measuring your level of success in the world. However, this measurement system is fundamentally flawed because it does not go deeply enough. It also cannot measure the intangible elements that really make us who we are. Here are some of them.
Our core values
Our purpose
Being happy
Having the ability to immerse fully in the present moment
Love.
A connection to a force that is greater than our-selves.
These things are the timeless.
Let go of the idea that your external possessions are who you really are. Become in tune with the concept, that everything you need for life you already have inside of you. Look within. Here is a resource to help with this.
http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-Self-Acceptance-Can-Crack-Open-Your-Life This is a ten day programme of activities that are designed to help you start thinking about self acceptance. I have found some of them useful especially day one. It was really challenging to think that deeply about myself and it did give me some perspective on who I really am. I really liked this paragraph to explain what self-acceptance means:
Self-acceptance is the process of befriending the Unconditioned Self—the part of you that is more than just your name, your history, your story, your failures or your successes. You are more than just your experiences or how other people see you or the clothes you wear.
I wish you the best.

Do what scares you.

 

Image

 

So last weekend my best friend got married in an amazing ceremony. I was so privileged to be there and felt honoured to be his best man also. If you recall in a past post, I mentioned that I would be singing the first dance song for my friend. I also told you that I was scared about doing this due to the feelings that I had attached to singing in public.

As the day drew closer, I felt like I wanted to back out and make excuses and I did have a real opportunity to do so. We couldn’t find an instrumental or backing track anywhere for the song that he wanted. I then had a decision to make. I could have decided to leave it at that and put it down to bad luck. However, when I confronted myself, I knew this was not the truth. I was going to use this as an excuse to not perform. I was trying to run away from it all in my head. I had to remember that what I was doing was in fact not for me but my friend. He had wanted this moment and expected it to happen and so I could not let him down.

I went on to you tube to look for options and stumbled across the website audacity that allows you to edit song tracks. I taught myself how to remove the vocals from a song and created my own instrumental to use. With that done, all excuses were out of the way.

The best lesson I learnt through this experience came two nights before the wedding itself. I practiced in front of my wife and she said that it was good. Ten minutes later whilst I was cooking in the kitchen, she came in and basically said that I could sing the song far better than I was.

“What’s wrong with what I’m doing?” I asked. I was hurt, but also curious.

“You’re not being yourself when you are singing it” she said. “You did it better the other day.”

“Alright then.” I responded defensively and I carried on with my cooking. I didn’t speak for the next ten minutes and was left to stew alone in the kitchen about what my wife had said. I appreciated her feedback because I knew she would tell me the truth. I was now also completely terrified. I felt like I wasn’t ready to do the song and that I would not be very good. All my old conditioning was kicking in. However, within these ten minutes, all the work that I have been putting in to becoming my best self kicked into play. I replayed what Annemarie had said and confronted the truth. She was right. I wasn’t performing the song to the best of my ability and I knew why. I was over-thinking the whole thing and did not allow myself to interpret the song authentically as myself. She had basically called me out for being cowardly when I was singing and this was true.

“I want to do it again for you after dinner” I said to Annemarie. I knew what to do this time. I had to be present when singing the song and stop having an inner monologue going on in my head. I had to connect with the emotion of the song and become vulnerable. I basically had to show myself.

When I performed the song this time, I forgot about where I was, the time and my fears and I threw myself completely into those 4 minutes as if they would be my last. After my last note, I looked to Annemarie and her reaction was written all over her face. She grabbed me in the tightest hug.

“That’s more like it!” she said. I had known in my heart that I had done it this time, because I felt in total alignment. All aspects of who I am came together and I committed my body, mind, heart and spirit to the song. It is this alignment that makes all the difference.

I knew I was prepared to perform at the wedding, and when the moment came, I produced one of the best vocal performances of my life.

My wife and younger brother were all moved to tears as were other members of the wedding party. I received tons of praise from people who wanted to show appreciation for what I had done and I was grateful to everyone for their kind words.

 I connected deeply with the song and was motivated by the opportunity I had to create a wonderful memory for my friend. He told me afterwards that it was one of the greatest moments of his life. Adding that kind of value to someone is one of life’s greatest gifts. I learnt so much from the experience, and it has accelerated my personal growth no end. I also felt the power of doing work that is completely congruent with your character. I could have sung all night and people did ask me to, but I had done what was necessary.  I will now ensure that I have music in my life daily to raise my spirits and revive that part of my personality that I let lie dormant for so long. I am a singer, and should always sing. It was a crime to not let my light shine. I won’t make that mistake in the future.

My fear of singing in public is now cleansed. I’ve realised that my perception of singing from when I was a teenager was a false paradigm that I had carried around until last week. Now I see singing as a way of expressing my true self. I also see it as fun and uplifting.

Do what scares you, and it will no longer have power over you. You can and will find a way to overcome. That was what I learnt.

Let your light shine.

I wish you the best

Shaun

Hang in there!

Back in January, I blogged about the day my boss took me into his office to have a talk about some issues that I was experiencing in school. I won’t go over all of that again, but I will say that the experience was painful and shocking. He brought up many things that he was dissatisfied with and basically said that I was under performing. As someone who takes personal development and improvement very seriously, this meeting cut me to the core. I felt isolated, scrutinised and unhappy. I contemplated many things on the way home that day. Thoughts that people in high pressure jobs have surely had themselves

Maybe I’m not cut out for this work.

Maybe I’m not as good as I thought I was.

I can’t do this.

It’s not worth this.

I need to escape.

As I walked back to my classroom to face my class after the meeting, I found it hard to look anyone in the eye. My confidence was destroyed and I just wanted to get home to my family.

I walked through the door and collapsed into a heap of tears as soon as my wife asked me about my day. Tears were flowing freely and I couldn’t control it. Having to hold all that anxiety and pain inside all day had been to much for me and I was overwhelmed emotionally. My son made his way over and asked if I was ok. I tried to bury my head in the sofa, but being a curious two and a half year old, he started yanking my head up to look into my eyes. When I saw him look at me two things flashed in my mind.

1. I love my boy so much.

2. If you show him this hurt, he will hurt too. Deal with it.

I managed to compose myself and get myself together. Boy I was looking forward to my self therapy session laying by his cot that night while he slept. I already mentioned in a previous blog the ideas that I came up with, but I also made a decision that night that has made a massive impact on my life since.

I made a decision that I needed to stop chasing external validation for the sake of my sanity, and look within for self validation.

I realised that the reason I had experienced all the pain that I did from that meeting was because I was seeking acceptance and validation from my boss. In other words, I had handed all my ability to feel worthy to his opinion. Never again! I learnt an amazing lesson in that meeting that has only become more apparent since I have lived for a good month with this adjusted mindset. I now make the time to consciously validate myself and my worth to myself. I remember to tell myself that I am unique, special, powerful and capable. I remind myself that I am blessed every day with family, friends and have a clean bill of health. I take the time to appreciate my good points and my areas for development without becoming emotionally attached to either, and I disregard what others have to say about me. I realised that what others think of me is irrelevant and should never have the power to change what I believe about myself. I validate myself. I cultivate my own self belief. I understand my own capabilities, and refuse to be cut down or built up by the opinions of others.

Paradoxically, since having this change in attitude, I’ve found my work has improved dramatically in all areas. I’ve stopped second guessing my decisions and wondering what people will think of my choices. I am taking risks again and making adjustments as I go. It has made a big difference to my working performance.

My boss had another meeting with me today. It was like speaking with a different person. The room was the same, the meeting time was the same, but everything else was SO different. He thanked me for everything I had done to improve and said he had noticed a tremendous improvement in my performance and the performance of my class.He waxed lyrical for a while and was clearly very impressed.  I thanked him for his comments and as I left the room, said a quiet well done to myself in my head. I deserved the praise, but refused to be defined by it. Now that I am holding myself to my own higher standards, self satisfaction is far easier to come by.

The message I want to share with this post is the importance of hanging in there when things are tough and not allowing others to define your worth. Create your own inner riches and show your best side. Tough times can bring the best out of us and force us to grow stronger and more resilient.

I wish you the best.

Post 012: Be faithful over a few

 Image

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

I have been really trying to develop my consistency. I have realised that consistently high standards will inevitably lead to the improvements and progress I want to see in my life. I think this principle taps into other things that may not be obvious at first glance.

In the past, I was a sucker for the promises of rapid results. You know what I mean. Claims like: ‘Lose 20 pounds in 30 days’ ‘Get ripped in 3 weeks’ ‘The secrets to riches. Become a millionaire in 3 weeks.’ This stuff is clearly non-sense and the people who make these claims are using the dreams of others to make profits. I don’t trust any quick fix scheme because I know the person behind it is hooking people in with the promise of an easy life in areas where the only thing that actually works and produces results is hard work.

Yes hard work! The one thing that the successful understand and the unsuccessful are in denial about. Since forgetting about looking for the next big thing in fat loss, I’ve started seeing results. As an example, here’s how I decided what to do for my physical training program. I looked at my current life situation (One young toddler, another baby on the way) and used that to decide on the fitness regime that I could be the most consistent with. I then made a commitment of 12 months worth of no questions asked hard work. I then got started .For me it was as simple as that. Just get going.

I’m not constantly looking over my shoulder and thinking that I could be getting faster or better results if I was using different equipment, or training in the gym, or working out at a particular time. I stopped buying fitness magazines and consuming their articles, and obsessing over never ending variables. I discovered that when I was stuck for results and asking questions like this I wasn’t getting to the root of the problem. Consistency, being faithful to an approach will bring results because the dogged persistence must bring some sort of change.

This principle of faith, consistency and persistence can be applied to anything in life and will produce results. The results can be positive or negative. The principle cannot be avoided as it works on us all. If you are unfaithful over your responsibilities, then eventually you will pay the price. If you neglect your health, it declines. If you neglect your family, your spirit, anything you can think of, we can clearly see that growth and progress cannot take place.

Now when I initially made this distinction in my head, I was overwhelmed. It seemed like there were too many things that needed my attention and that I couldn’t cope. How do we juggle all these things and make the steps needed to progress? My results have been improving when I took deliberate steps to maintain and enhance my emotional state. I have had to learn how to get a grip of myself. This has been a very challenging but rewarding experience. I will write a separate blog post to explain what I mean by this further.

I became faithful over a few small disciplines and they are starting to pay off. I exercise most mornings by walking or jogging whilst listening to audiobooks. Before my day gets busy and hectic, I take the time to mediate and connect with my spirit.  I write my goals and dreams daily and try to create a task list in alignment with these few important areas of my life. I take the time to give thanks for the gift of a new day and another chance to get a little bit closer to my goals and aspirations. Will power is now not relevant, because these practices are now a part of who I am. I see the value in them and so make the time needed for them by getting out of bed early in the morning.

If we can try to stay focussed on the things that will bring the most benefit to us in our lives, then we can see how making progress is a process that has to start small and then grow and develop through a series of steps and breakthroughs. This is a law of nature that permeates all things. My mistake was that I was trying to get massive results before I had developed consistency. Now, I am focussed on the consistency, and I have faith that this will eventually translate into the results that I have always wanted.

Choose success!

Shaun

Post 011: 7 Ways a mentor can change your life.

ImageImageImage

Yoda and Gandalf are two of the most well loved characters in modern storytelling. I believe that the reason they are so well loved is because they point to a character that we seek and look for in our own lives. I’m talking about the power of the mentor. Yoda is a phenomenal mentor for Luke Skywalker and teaches him the way of the Jedi. Without Yoda, the story cannot take place because he helps to shape the hero with his wisdom, knowledge and experience. Gandalf plays the same role for many characters in the phenomenal Lord of The Rings series. His ideas, courage and philosophy help the fellowship to win the battle against evil and destroy the one ring.

How empowered could we become if we had our own Yoda or Gandalf. Someone to help us navigate the great adventure that we call life? I think that if you can find people who can play this role in your life it can have a profound influence on you.

I’ve spent the evening tonight listening to the thoughts of the late great Jim Rohn. He has so many amazing insights into the principles and fundamentals of a successful life that I find truly inspirational. His thoughts are simple ones that yield great results when respected and followed.

I consider Jim Rohn to be one of my mentors in that I listen to his ideas and try and apply the things that I believe will take my life in the direction I want it to go. This practice of listening to these people through audio books, you tube and reading books has really began to help me see the world in a completely different way to the view that I took only a few short years ago.

I have others who I appreciate in the same way as Jim Rohn. People like Eric Thomas Steven Covey, Elliot Hulse, Antony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, Tom Venuto, Craig Bannatyne, Maxwell Maltz, Chris Lopez and the list goes on and on. These are successful people whose message has touched me and helped shaped my current paradigm.

However, my progress is accelerating even further since I made the decision to invest in a personal mentor. Someone who I sit down and have sessions with about my goals and ambitions. I can safely say that these experiences and others like it do have the potential to change your life. Here are seven of the top reasons why.

1 Accountability: Mentors allow you to start walking your talk and taking action. In the past I have found myself to be a dreamer and a procrastinator. My mentor does not allow me to stop with the just the vision. I then have to go away and take consistent action towards my goals.

Experience: My mentor has real life experience of the life that I would like to lead. He is involved in the industry I would like to join, and he has a lifestyle that appeals to me and is more in alignment with what I want for myself and my family. Therefore, he can clear up misconceptions that I have and give me real world insight into the challenges and opportunities that will come my way.

3 Inspiration: My mentor inspires me. Simple as that. Not through cheesy over the top pump you up type motivation, but through allowing me to glimpse in my imagination at what might be possible and then validating the fact that I can make this happen. He affirms my belief even when I have none in myself. This is what I sometimes need. Most people around me would be so sceptical if I told them my goals. My mentor hints that my current goals are only scratching the surface of my potential.

4.Personalised advice: Because my mentor knows my life situation, it allows for his advice to be tailor made for me. The sessions are so valuable because he understands me so well. As time has gone on, the sessions have improved in quality because of relationship has developed so much. He knows when to pour on some pressure and when to back away and let me marinate on something. He understands my next step because he has seen the progress I have made and where I still need to develop and grow.

5. Challenging: I still remember our first session together. We had spoken on the phone back and forth a couple of times, but this was our first session where I was asked some really challenging questions. He forced me to think in a way that I had never had to before in a conversation. Some of the questions were so challenging that I had no answer and this was the key for me. I knew then that I was making the right choice for my personal progress. My insight into myself and others is developing at a really quick rate now.

6. Association: They say that you are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with. I realised really quickly that there was no-one within my inner circle who had done what I’m planning to do before. Conversations in my inner circle of the possibility of owning business or self built ventures would not yield positive ideas. I was locked by my fear and lack of understanding.Therefore I subconsciously started searching for someone who could act as my mentor and expose me to another way of living. Just the knowledge that there are so many people out there living life on their own terms acted as a major mindset shift for me. It is helping me to shift from the mindset of an employee, to the mindset of an entrepreneur.

7. Belief: This is a huge factor for me. My mentor gives me the belief that I can accomplish whatever I choose. This is such an empowering experience. When you have someone telling you consistently that you can do it, the message starts to stick. I’ve found that it is now affecting the choices I make in all areas of my life including starting this blog that I’m so proud of.  Every person who likes a post or becomes a follower shows me that I am already living life the way I want to in my own small way. My mentor has shown me the value of embracing and mastering the small steps first in order to take on bigger more ambitious projects in the future. My belief is blossoming, my health has improved, I have more regular contact with my mother and brother. I’m becoming confident, grounded and most importantly happy. I can say without question that finding a great mentor has been one of the great blessings of my life.

My invitation to you would be to think carefully about whether you need a mentor in your life to help you with any life or career goals that you have. It’s so important to find someone who you connect with and feel that you can trust. I believe that as children we all have mentors in some shape or form but we forget that as adults we are just big children who still need advice, encouragement and validation. If it is something that you have been considering but have remained undecided, I would recommend it wholeheartedly. I know that I will have mentors now for the rest of my life.

I wish you the best.

Post 008: F**k Fear

I have an confession to make. I love professional wrestling. Yes it’s silly and at times preposterous, but there’s something about it that takes me back to my inner child and excites me.

When I was a teenager, one man stood out for me and was my favourite wrestler by a clear mile. He still is the wrestler that had the biggest impact on me. His name was Stone Cold Steve Austin. His character played a loud mouth, in your face character that carried such intensity that it was infectious to watch. After one of his matches you felt you could walk a little taller in your own life and he passed his energy to you. He stood up to the ‘Boss’ of the corporation, had an anti-establishment attitude, and even stepped up to Mike Tyson when he was dubbed the ‘Baddest man on the planet.’  His character was of someone who would stand up to anyone or anything whether he thought he could win or not.

He had belief in himself that I found mesmerising. What’s more, he captured the hearts of his fans because they believed in his belief.  You also got a sense that this belief was not manufactured for his character, but was an amplification of the true self belief that the man Steve Austin had in himself at the time.

One t-shirt that he wore had a slogan that summed up his persona and the reason he attracted so many fans. It speaks pretty clearly for itself.

Image

The reason I hold Stone Cold’s simple yet effective philosophy to heart so much now is it sums up the place you have to get to before you can make any successful effort towards the scariest goals that you have. You have to be in a place where you defeat your fear.

Fear holds us back and slows us down. It causes us to make excuses and think we can’t do things. I’ve been personally running the fear programme for the most part of my life. Why?

I don’t really know.

Here’s an example. Last summer I took part in an obstacle race called the Total Warrior. Now I’m reasonably fit, but by no means am I an elite athlete so when I agreed to take part, I had no idea what I was signing myself up for. When I saw the video, fear took over and I doubted myself. The voice in my head was telling me that I wouldn’t be able to do it. What’s worse, I found out that there were river crossings involved that you had to swim. I’m not a confident swimmer at all and this had me really stressed. As the day got closer, the voice grew louder and louder. The night before, I was thinking of excuses for why I couldn’t do it. Niggling injury, I don’t feel 100%, excuse after excuse after excuse. Then I remembered what I was doing it for.

My father passed away three years ago from suffering a heart attack. I had decided to run the race to raise money for the British heart foundation to do my bit for the cause of supporting people who had been through the same as my dad. My wife’s father had a heart attack that same year and luckily he survived. When I thought of these things and the commitment I had put into my training and nutrition, I had enough ammunition to say.

I’m not afraid!!!!

I can’t let fear stop me now, I’ve invested too much into this. Yes it’s going to be physically demanding and yes I will probably suffer during the event but I don’t care.

The funny thing about what happens when we face our fears, is that it forces you grow as a person and realise that you can achieve even more than you thought possible. Putting yourself in a state of discomfort is what forces us to adapt, change and grow stronger.

Next year, I am going to face my biggest fear head on and look for a way to create a new life for myself and my family that will involve stepping away from my career and trying new things. Am I scared? Of course I am. That means I’m on the right path.

I wish you the best.

Shaun