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.

The real reasons I gained weight and the real solution to it.

The real reason I’ve struggled with weight gain

For the last year since my daughter was born, I’ve watched my weight steadily increase. I’ve been disappointed about this and annoyed, but in the cold light of day I cannot be surprised. People often come up with lots of weird and wonderful reasons why their weight has increased and how puzzling it is to them since they hardly eat anything.

I for one am not that naïve. I know exactly why my weight has been creeping up and up. There are two main reasons.

  1. I used to rely on exercise to help keep my weight down and I don’t have the time to exercise for as long anymore.
  2. My diet has been inconsistent.

It really is as simple as that. I have been blissfully unaware of how poor my eating habits had gotten, thinking to myself in a state of grand delusion, that I could just stop and start dropping weight whenever I wanted.  The only problem with this thinking was that it was not true. I was eating so much that I was craving the feeling of being really full. Every time you go for that you have to eat that little bit more.  A twelve inch pizza becomes a 14 inch next time. A 50 gram bag of crisps becomes 100gr and so on.

I was completely in denial as well. I had deliberately not weighed myself thinking that would make things easier to cope with, but the body never lies. I could feel that I was heavier, and my clothes all of a sudden felt like they had been shrunk.

I could have gone blissfully unaware but eventually, I had to face reality. I braced myself and faced the music. The results were not pretty and I underestimated my weight by a few pounds as well, but it was the reality. I felt better knowing exactly where I stood and what would be needed to make improvements to my weight.

One thing I have learnt to do during this time is accept myself for the person that I am. My thinking has shifted from you will be happier when you are a particular weight to be the best you can be on this day at this size. I’ve realised that I will only get to live this day once, so I want to make the best use of it that I can. Stressing over what has been or what may be is a waste of energy that could be put to better use.

Focussing on being the best I can be for that day makes sticking to healthy habits easier. I have found that setting large goals in the past has been difficult because I get daunted by the journey and worry that I might not be able to make it. Instead of that, focussing on the present moment and the day breaks the goal down into small manageable chunks. Setting the goal and working towards it daily feels like a good approach. You need the long term vision to see the overall direction, but then need to become adept at winning each day as it comes.

So what tactics am I going to use in order to get my health back on track?

  1. Consistent diet.
  2. Regular strength training.
  3. Daily movement and general physical activity.
  4. Lots of water
  5. A good dose of micronutrients daily (vitamins and minerals)
  6. When possible, get earlier nights for better sleep and reduction in stress.

I’m sure it will work if I remember to focus on each day as it comes and win enough little victories to create consistent healthy habits that last years.

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.

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.

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 017: As important as goal setting?

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“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” -Sally Berger

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, new years resolutions have frustrated me in the past and been ineffective for me. This year, I thought long and hard in the run up to the new year about how I could set goals differently. I have already spoken about the character goals that I have in an earlier post, but when it came to setting more career and life based goals, focussing on behaviours and actions helped make the process much easier.

I have set myself some ambitious targets this year that really excite me. Now, if I attain the targets bang on time, then I can pat myself on the back and celebrate and I do intend to give it my best shot. However, I am also aware that my life situation has changed dramatically with the arrival of my second child and this will have an impact on my life as well. This has forced me to come away from a overly intense approach when it comes to taking action, and trying to focus more on putting in rituals that will allow me to be consistent.

I have looked at my major goals and asked myself the question: What action can I consistently take that will get me to that target?

Case in point: One of my goals as I already mentioned, is to finish my story in 2014. In order to achieve this, I haven’t cut myself off from my family and friends and abandoned all other endeavours. I have instead decided to focus on writing a minimum of 100 words 3 days a week every week. Now that sounds too easy doesn’t it? This is precisely why it is an excellent system of behaviour for that particular goal. It will train me to become consistent and over time build upon that solid foundation of discipline. The day will come when I will be able to write 500 words 3 days a week with as much ease as I can write 100 now. I will allow momentum to build naturally with these behaviours when I feel capable of taking more on.

Our goals and targets should push us, but not overwhelm us. Overwhelm leads to no action and stressing about goals will lead to poor performance. Better to have some rituals that you can become consistent with and let them lead you to your goals, than overly lofty targets that leads to nothing. In the past I have been guilty of lying to myself about what I can manage in terms of setting goals and striving for them. The key this year is that I have recognised the need for action to happen. Even if the action is slight, that nudge us still progress.

What goals have you set yourself for 2014?

Have you reflected on whether your goals are attainable in the time frame that you have allowed for them?

Answering these questions will help you set up a winning formula for your goals and dreams for this year

I wish you the best.

Shaun.

Post 015: Forget new years resolutions! Do this instead.

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Seven rituals I’m going to maintain for 2014.

I used to make New years resolutions on the 1st of January and inevitably I wouldn’t keep them. I was puzzled as to why they didn’t work. I think now that the behaviour changes that I had proposed were not in alignment with how I viewed myself. Therefore the changes didn’t feel natural. Yet again, the new-year feeling is going to be hitting everyone. This is the only time of the year when most people take stock of how they have been doing and make an attempt to make things better for themselves. I will set some goals, but I am more focussed on developing powerful rituals that will lead to success, balance and happiness in all areas of my life.

1: Become focussed on constant improvement.

When I’m making progress with something, I feel better. I’ve noticed that focussing on becoming better in all areas is what leads to satisfaction. My goal is to think of small improvements that I could make in my health, relationships, family life and career and to start implementing them.

2: Give attention to all aspects of myself.

When I take care of all aspects of myself, I am a better person to be around. Developing my spirit makes me more appreciative of everything I have and my place in the world. Developing my mind gives me more information that helps with my decision making. Developing my heart allows me to see the true path that I should be following. This in turn affects the choices I make and the standards I set for myself. Developing my body gives me vital energy and strength. If I can be faithful to myself during the course of 2014, I will make tremendous progress with my goals.

3: Create the image of the person I want to be and be it now.

Counter intuitive as it sounds, acting as the person I want to be who already has all the things that I want will have a profound effect upon the choices I make and the way that I approach all situations. It sounds strange, but I need to see the world in the way I want it to be for me, which will then allow me to become that person. If I can’t see it first, then it will never become a reality. Seeing myself as a writer led to me starting this blog. Seeing myself as a loving husband and father allows me to focus on balance in my personal life. Seeing myself as financially free has made me start small steps towards that goal already.

4: Become in tune with my feelings.

Antony Robbins believes that all feelings that we have give us messages and clues that we need to take some action of some kind. When I ignored my feelings in the past, they didn’t go away but became gradually stronger. They started as a whisper, then a shout and then a scream that forced everything else out of my head and took all of my attention. I don’t want that happening again, so I now choose to acknowledge my feelings and heed the message that my intuition is giving me.

5: Use my voice.

In the past I have been someone who hasn’t always expressed themselves. I sometimes did this through fear of my ideas being rejected or because I didn’t want to come across as confrontational. When I think of the person I want to become that will lead to having the things I want to have, using my voice is an essential aspect of that person. I have come to accept that not everyone will think the same as me and that’s ok. There will be times when people are going to doubt my view and doubt me. I now realise that other people’s opinions of me is of no concern of mine. When you can let go of caring about what everyone thinks of you, you feel so much lighter and free. In the past I have been so shackled by the opinions of others that it has stopped me taking action. This can happen no more.

6: Being awake and aware.

Everything we need is all around us if we just look. I have sometimes said to some of the children in my class that they are asleep with their eyes open. What I mean by that is that they are not fully engaged with the activity that is happening around them and as a result have limited returns from their learning. I have been guilty of this sometimes in my own life. I have been somewhere physically, but have not engaged fully with the environment or people around me. This tends to be when I am lost in my head over thinking things. I am going to really focus on developing my awareness of what is happening around me and the messages I am being sent. Feedback is only as valuable as what you do with it. The most successful students I have had take on board my ideas for how they can get better and develop rapidly. I want to model that student teacher relationship with experiences in my life. I want to become aware of the possibilities that are available to me, and being more conscious and in control of my state.

7:  Counting my blessings

I live an awesome life. As I write this, I have a beautiful wife, an amazing young son, a baby on the way (any minute now) and I have a career. I know what direction I want to take my life in the future, and I am willing to make the necessary changes to myself in order to get closer to my goals. I must never forget to appreciate my life. My mindset is one of appreciation and gratitude. Money will come and go. There will be good and bad times. Right now, things are awesome but I know the seasons of life always change. Some events will be so bad, that I will want to give up. I know this and accept it and will do everything in my power even within those hard times, to count the blessings that I have at that point and to persist.

I hope that these rituals will help me to manifest everything that I want for myself and my family in 2014 and beyond. When I approach my goals with these rituals in place, then my chances of success are far greater because of the person I will become.

Best wishes for the end of 2013 and the start of 2014. Are there any goals or aspirations that you are aiming for this up and coming year?

Go for them with enthusiasm and intensity.

Here’s to your success.

Post 013: Let’s just be who we are

Inspiration can come from many sources.

I was just marking my class’s P.S.H.E work from last week. (Personal and emotional aspects of learning) The question we had tackled was ‘What makes me special?’ The responses that the children had come up with were fantastic and really made me appreciate just how creative and free thinking children can be when we ask the right questions. However, one response blew me away especially considering the child in question is 8 years old. After listing some things about what makes her special in her opinion, she then said. “I know that in the future I will learn lots of skills, but for now let’s just be who we are.”

Wow! I hope that she can stay true to herself and be who she is for the rest of her life. If she can, it will be one of the greatest blessings she ever has. I was amazed and humbled that someone so young could have such an insightful and beautiful view of the world. My job and the job of all teachers and mentors is to allow her and all children to keep their uniqueness alive.

It is a challenge, because for me I spent so long trying to be all things to all people that I forgot about being myself. Far too often in my job as a class teacher I feel the pressure to do this to the children as well. According to the powers that be, they should all progress at the same rate, get fantastic grades in all areas and basically be clones with different faces. At first, this overwhelming pressure was crushing to me. Then I realised that the problem wasn’t mine but the systems and that made the pressure ease massively.

The best thing I can do for the children I teach and my own children is to develop myself into the best person I am capable of and be an example for self improvement.

The spark that really ignited my passion for personal development was the birth of my son. I need him to know that he has no limits and that he can create whatever reality he wants for himself. In order for that message to be authentic, I have to live it myself and pass it on through example. I now visualise our family experiencing so much of what life has to offer. I imagine taking my family to seminars and talks with exceptional people who have positive messages.  I want to pass on the wisdom and knowledge I have gathered throughout my life to help them to get where they want to be. I want my children around adults who will allow them to ‘Be who they are’ by being in touch with their own unique voice. Surely this is true success. Not money, status, or fame. But satisfaction, development, progress and service.

I wish the girl who wrote this all the happiness in the world. I also hope that she comes to recognise that if she can be who she is and stay true to that, the world is hers for the taking.

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

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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.

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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