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

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.

Unleash your Power!

superman

One of my goals for the new year was to find an outlet for my singing. I was blessed to find a gospel choir in my local area  http://hcgchoir.org/   I have been attending the choir since February, and it has been an amazing source of spiritual energy in my life. What I love about it, is that when we sing songs about God and Jesus, the power of the belief and spirit shines through us all as a collective voice. I feel so inspired to sing my best and really bring through the emotions of the songs we are singing. To me, it feels like my weekly worship. I feel a connection to God when I sing these songs and a deep sense of satisfaction.

I also love the power the choir has when we sing in unison. During the very first week, when we started to sing in harmonies, I realised that it was the perfect place for me. Everybody there is so warm and friendly and I instantly felt at home in the choir’s atmosphere.

Doing this has reminded me that our lives are anything but 1 dimensional and we have to try and honour the parts of us that want to be expressed. If you are an musician at heart, you must find a way to express your musicality. It is part of who you are. Without honouring that part of your life, you will not feel complete. That completeness was missing from my life for years because I wasn’t using one of my gifts.

Sometimes, because something doesn’t pay the bills or is not a source of income, we can dismiss that passion as unimportant and not productive.  This is a mistake. Expressing who you really are is what gives life its true richness. Burying aspects of your character will never make you happy, even if you have all the money in the world. What is the point of chasing just the material form of success? It won’t make up for the joy you would have felt doing whatever it is that lights you up and awakens your power within. This is what inspires people the most and is a way you can give back to the world.  It also puts you in a better place psychologically which can only help when striving for success and building your personal empire!

It’s taken me years to realise that the people I admire the most don’t fit the mould of normal. They are all unique in their own way as everyone in life clearly is. The difference though was their willingness to embrace who they were fully without apology and without concern for popularity. This is still one of the biggest challenges I find in my life. It is challenging to be myself when it is so much easier to just put on a mask and embrace the rat race lifestyle.

I wouldn’t call myself an anti-conformist, as I’m not that extreme about it and this isn’t a black and white issue. I have taken the time to sit down and write what my values are, and I use these to make decisions and work out the path of my life. Without my own values, I would be relying on others to give me values and that is a scary proposition that I do not want to entertain. No government, boss, family member or friend is going to decide my values for me. This is my life, and I need to be responsible for my own decisions and actions. This, I believe, is a true expression of personal power.

Are there any goals, dreams or little actions that you have been holding back from doing?

What gains (financial, spiritual, intellectual, love, happiness, peace, health) could this action bring?

Isn’t it worth trying if it makes your life richer?

I tried just one, and it has made a world of difference.

Show the world who you really are and claim back your power!

I wish you the best

The power of words.

positive talk
Do you ever find yourself beating yourself up internally, telling yourself you can’t do things or stopping yourself from attempting challenges that seem difficult?
This is a daily reality for people with low confidence and can become a real difficulty. I can speak with authority about this because I was one these people for so long. I inherited a very risk wary mind-set when I was younger. This is especially true of my mother. I love her dearly and I had a great childhood, but my mum would be the first to tell you that she was and still is a huge worrier.
Her worrying nature is now a part of me. I hid it well from everyone, but when I was younger, it made me not want to sing. I am a good singer, so the talent was always there, but before performances I would get extremely anxious. I would obsess over one part of the song and worry myself sick about getting it wrong. This catastrophic thinking led to me eventually finding it very difficult to sing when people asked me to.
The problem here was the power of the words I spoke to myself. They massively changed my state of mind. When I reflect on the things I used to say to myself, I realise it was the power of the words that had me literally choked up:
You will look like an idiot in front of everyone if you get this wrong.
What if you lose your voice tomorrow?
Everyone is going to be watching you.
What if you forget the words?
What are the words again?
These sorts of recurring thoughts killed my enthusiasm for singing and I shelved it for a long time. It was a decision that I never thought through, but when I went to University and no-body knew I could sing, I just let that part of me lie dormant. I never spoke about it so it was never really an issue.
What we say to ourselves is massively important. If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, I would have told him that I always have the power to change the words I speak to myself. Therefore I have the power to make myself feel immense:
No-body on Earth can sing quite like you do.
You have the ability to get up on stage and express yourself in front of 100’s of people. That is incredible.
You don’t even have to think about this. It comes as naturally as walking or talking.
Show everyone who you really are.
Be free.

Imagine how I would have felt saying those things to myself as a young man. I don’t think I would have ever stopped singing.
I am learning to change the words that I say to myself because they do have so much influence over what we do. How we talk to ourselves effects how we see the world around us. Of this there is no doubt. I now see the value of my voice as an expression of who I am. I let it lie dormant as I mentioned before, but I don’t regret this. If I had not gone through the process of learning how to manage my own state through the words I say to myself, then I would not be the person I am today. I would not be able to pass this lesson on to my children, and all those who may someday read these words. I’m grateful for the experience of discovering this process because now I can apply it to other areas of my life.
Do I still have a worrying nature? At times yes, and I think that will always be the case. However, it now does not have the power to paralyse me and make me second guess myself.
How do you speak to yourself? Is it positive and encouraging, or is it fixated on fear and loss.
Saturate your mind with positive words, images and thoughts and it will permeate your being and shine out from you. You deserve to have a mind that is working with you to build you up.
I now look forward to singing again with confidence and joy. I have been looking for a way to do this and think I have found one by joining a local gospel choir.

Get Help!

One thing that has become really clear to me this year is just how important other people are in our lives when it comes to anything we want to do. There have been a few things that have happened recently that powerfully demonstrated this to me. One thing that happened was my wife getting sick. She had a urine infection that got pretty serious and it was a really worrying time for us. She is much better now and we are getting back to normal. When I reflect back on that time, the number of people who helped us directly or indirectly was staggering. My mother in law was amazing in supporting us and really helped me support the children and Annemarie as best as I could. My mum did an awesome job as well and came over to help us when we needed it. My boss at work was really helpful and put my mind to rest about being away from work to focus on my family. All the doctors who saw Annemarie did their best to help her recover and get well. The list of people is so long that I was taken aback with the level of support. So it is with great gratitude that I write this post.
It also allowed me to realise even more what an awesome job my wife does in looking after the children and making sure they are getting all they need. Without Annemarie doing that, my life would be utter chaos. I would have no time to pursue work goals effectively or have quality time to do things like writing this post. She is a wonderful woman and she doesn’t understand just how vital what she does is for the children and for me.
When I look on things that have turned out well for me, almost all of them have been the result of getting some help along the way. Now, I’m not discounting my own efforts, but the help of others can accelerate the rate at which you achieve what you want. In the past I have been guilty of seeing getting help as a form of weakness on my part. I now realise that is my ego speaking and I am open and massively grateful to all the opportunities and help that I am lucky enough to receive in life. When you close yourself up to help, you are stopping yourself from growing and developing. If you can relate to the feeling of being reluctant to help, then this could be a huge breakthrough for you. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be resourceful and independent. I now realise that asking, receiving and benefitting from help actually increases your level of independence, because you can solve many more of your own problems and help others to solve their problems as well. Who doesn’t want the ability to solve problems and achieve peace of mind.
When looking at getting into my ideal shape and reaching my health goals and targets (That will NOT involve endless weighing of myself) I am going to recruit a team of bad-ass trainers who’s help I can rely on. There are support groups, forums and sources of help that can make reaching any goals possible because you have surrounded yourself with others who know it’s possible and could also show you the way.
Don’t cut yourself off from the abundance of help there is out there waiting for you. Get other people involved in what you want to do and the value for all involved is immense.
I wish you the best
Shaun.
P.s If any readers would like some help from me in the form of answering questions, doing guest blogs, writing on my blog or anything that you can think of. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would love to start writing blogs in response to people’s questions and concerns rather than just my own. Let me help you get what you need.

My greatest teachers Part 1: Primary school

My greatest teachers (and what made them great) Part 1: Primary school
We can all agree that teachers are very important people in our lives. Some of us had teachers that inspired us to want to become better, and some of us had dire teachers that we couldn’t stand. I think in our lives we do encounter both and you can learn from all experiences. I was lucky to have some amazing teachers in my life in education. They really helped shape my character in different ways. All of these teachers offered something different perspectives and paradigms. All of these people will always be special to me, and I will remember them always. What’s really funny is that looking back, it wasn’t their lessons that really made the most impact on me, but it was the way that they treated me and made me feel that I remember most.
Primary school: Mr Sale
Mr Sale was great because he had high expectations. I remember quaking in my boots the year before entering his class because every now and then you could hear him giving someone a serious ear bashing in the corridor. It always sounded brutal because you could only hear impressions of what was said, and his voice sounded so guttural and deep.
My first day in his class filled me with dread. What was he going to be like? Very quickly I realised that although he was strict, he was also kind and thoughtful. He loved the things that I loved. He was a huge football fan and he loved stories. One of my most memorable experiences was listening to War of the worlds on tape cassette in his class. It scared the life out of me, but it was one of the most exciting story experiences of my life and I spent six months checking the skies at night to make sure the martians weren’t on their way.
He made me the captain of the school football team and had faith in my ability to carry out the role. I was so proud when we beat our local rivals three nil and I smashed in a hat-trick.
He talked to us about our interests, and made us all feel important. He had the same high standards for everyone in the class and did not tolerate excuses.
I know that Mr Sale still works in the school today. He has been there twenty years since he taught me, so he also has immense experience on his side. He has committed himself fully to St Malachy’s primary school and that is really commendable.
Thank you Mr Sale. You had belief in me and had the ability to make all the children in the school feel important and valued. I wonder if he still makes the kids listen to war of the worlds? I will have to go back and ask him.

Reflection time 23.11.2014

Gratitude.
I got the chance to spend all Saturday with my two children alone because my wife started her new job. I had so much fun and really enjoyed my time with them. It was tiring physically, but energising spiritually because they made me feel so young. We had fun, watched movies, ate good food together and Ava had a nice nap as well. Great times.
Annemarie and I got the chance to have a second date night of the month. We had a great time and ate a lot of Mexican food that was really tasty. I wanted to show gratitude to Julie A.K.A Iron fist because she is crazy strong. She is Annemarie’s mum and looks after the children when we are out and about or really busy getting something done. She has also given me many lifts to and from work when I need one.
Big up to the following virtual mentors who have contributed to my understanding this week: Robin Sharma, Eric Thomas, Zig Ziglar, The Hodgetwins, Charlotte Ord and Jon Gabriel.
Health.
I’ve been trying to abandon my ideas of being on a diet and have focused on adding in as much healthy nutrition as possible without depriving myself or having thoughts of deprivation. This has been going quite well, but I am only now realising just how broken my signalling to my body was. My eating is starting to slow down, and I hope my intuition will kick in far more with eating and I will be able to get to the point where my eating is effortless and natural rather than forced and mentally draining.
Achievements
Not mine directly, but one of my athletes qualified for the next round of the cross country championships. She performed really well and I was really proud of her and all the runners from my cross country team.
What memorable things have happened in your week?
I wish you the best
Shaun

Why I’m sick to the back teeth of diets!!!

I’ve followed a few eating protocols down the years with a very similar pattern happening each time. Focus hard and lose weight, then somewhere down the road falling into old habits again and being back at square one. This doesn’t make sense. Why is it that people who put in less effort than me sometimes lose weight really easily whereas I’m there struggling for every pound?
I think the problem has been in the struggle. With all the rules, protocols, meal timings, meal plans and the hate campaigns on whole food groups, I became a little lost and confused. One guru would tell you eat only low carb. Someone else would say the exact opposite. Arguments in fitness and nutrition seem to be an annoying constant.
Inspired by the work of weight loss expert Jon Gabriel, I have decided to abandon any ideas of diet, restriction and regimentation from my eating. It sounds counter-intuitive, and that’s why I like the idea. Do I want to track my calories on my fitness pal or something similar? No. Do I want to weigh myself every day because what gets measured gets managed? No. What get’s measured too emotionally leads to negativity that has always surrounded all my weight loss efforts. This time needs to be a very positive experience where I believe that it is possible to get the exact result that I want.
The brain will always lead you towards pleasure, so I’m going to eat the healthiest foods possible that I find a joy to eat. I’m going to workout in ways that fit my lifestyle. I’m going to use extremely quick and effective workouts that make me feel fantastic each day.
I don’t want to be a fitness model, and I’m not particularly bothered about being overly lean and ripped. I want to be healthy, fit and have a decent physique with the least amount of time spent on requiring it. I don’t want to wear my fitness like some badge of honour over others and certainly have no interest in obsessing over training or eating or anything else of that nature. I’ve proven to myself that forcing things in that way doesn’t work in the long term for me.
To be honest, I’m sick of getting so stressed out about how I look. It is still one of my major challenges that started in my younger days when family members would make negative comments about my weight. They didn’t realise the damage they did to me and that I still struggle with it some days. But those days are over and I have moved on. I don’t give a monkeys what anybody thinks about the way I look anymore. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if I don’t lose a single pound, but I feel healthy and energetic, then I can accept myself as I am today till the end of my days.
I’m going to eat what I want, when I want and as often as I want. Hopefully, this will then allow my body to realise that food is abundant and there is no shortage. I have always been healthiest when taking this approach and it leads to me making healthier choices most of the time because no food is seen as bad or off limits to me.
Rant over
Be awesome.
Shaun

Search for the awesome in your life: 10 reasons my wife is awesome!

Here’s one way you can make yourself feel really good really quickly. I learnt this from the book ‘Living in the Overflow’ by Michael Bernard-Beckwith. He says that learning to look for things in your life that you can be grateful for puts you in a state where you can begin to deeply appreciate all the good that you already have. It has been mentioned time and again, but trying to live in a state of gratitude really does change how you see the world.
In the spirit of gratitude, I would like to share with you ten of the many reasons that make my wife awesome. To all the lovers out there (and we all love someone) showing the special people in your life appreciation for who they are is hugely important. If we do not tell them how we fell, how will they ever know? Don’t wait for a special occasion like an anniversary to tell them how you feel. Let them know it in small ways every day. It might be complimenting them on something, or a part of their character. It may be that you decide to surprise them with a gift, or even something as simple as running them a bath, or looking after the children so they can pursue a hobby or just have some rest time. Little acts often are the best way to show appreciation.
Here are the ten reasons my wife is awesome. As I said earlier, I could write so many, but ten seems a good number.
Since the day we met, she instantly belonged in my life.
This is hard to really put into words, but we just fitted so perfectly into each others lives. The timing was right, there were no obstructions to us being together, and we had instant chemistry that has matured and developed over the years.

We laugh every day.
I can’t remember a day (and we’ve had some really challenging ones) where we have not
had a great laugh together. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we see the fun in life. When one of us is being a little too serious, we can address it and help each other get back on track.

She is super talented but humble.
Annemarie is a great artist and can draw fantastically well. She is also a fantastic maker of cakes and has produced some stunning creations. Despite all these skills and many more, she is unassuming, humble and always ready to learn and grow more.

She helped me to be a more open person
Annemarie really encouraged me to open up and share more of myself and my feelings. If it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have started this blog and would have far more insecurities than I do today.

She makes me feel awesome.
Her awesome-sauce rubs onto me making me feel awesome. Sometimes when I look at her I just feel so happy that she decided to enter a relationship with me.

She is beautiful inside and out.
Enough said.

We like different things.
We are not the same and we don’t see everything the same. This helps me to keep an open mind. We have different interests and want to pursue different things. I think this is very healthy in a relationship. Rather than being carbon copies of each other, we are two individuals who have chosen to be together.

She gave birth to my beautiful children.
I will be eternally grateful to her for carrying my two children Nathan and Ava. They are the biggest blessings in my life and will always be my greatest source of inspiration. Annemarie has contributed hugely to them being the great children that they are.

She always sees the potential in me.
When we met, I had no job, no money and no-where to live. I had just got back from travelling around Europe and didn’t even have a mobile phone. I wrote her number on a napkin and memorised it, then went back to Manchester, ‘borrowed’ my brother’s phone and got in touch.
She has encouraged me when I have wanted to try new things and always believes in me -Even when I have no faith in myself.

She simply makes me happy.
Every day we are together, she makes me happy. I’m sure she would say the same about me. We know how to have a good time and enjoy a simple life without drama. That isn’t to say we don’t have tough times. Just like everyone else, not every day is sunshine and roses. But when it’s time to ride out storms, I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side.

So there are ten reasons why my wife is awesome.
What do you have in your life to be thankful for?
We all deserve to have awesome things in our lives. Search for them today and celebrate them heartily.

Be awesome.
Shaun