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

Principle 2: After planting, you need patience.

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

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

Today I wanted to talk about the power of patience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is patience a virtue?

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

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

I wish you the best

Shaun

Natural Success

What I learned from my Garden about success

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

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

Preparing fertile ground is hard.

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

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

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

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

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

I wish you the best

Shaun

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.

I come first!

This will be a short post that addresses one of the main challenges that I have been working with since the birth of my second child.
When Ava was born, I naively thought that I could keep all my routines the same and still have the same amount of free time. I have learned that we can all have our own time if we want it, but you will have to make adjustments down to your unique life situation.
I remember reading an interview with actor Mark Wahlberg years ago when he talked about how he would hit the gym at four A.M before the rest of his family was awake. When I read that it seemed a little bit over the top. Now that I have children, my paradigm has changed and it makes perfect sense.
When I start my day by looking after myself, I feel better equipped to take care of all the other responsibilities I have in my life.
I like to have between 30 minutes and an hour in the morning before anyone is awake to do the following things.
Exercise
Read
Visualisation exercises
Meditation
I start my day in a much better state when I manage to do some or all of these things. Now sometimes, this time does get interrupted. Usually by my younger daughter who is only ten months old. Because I accept this and am prepared for it, it doesn’t upset me. Life cannot be so predictable and rigid and so neither can I. Trying to not see things in absolutes is one of the mental challenges I am working on in order to control my state of mind and level of happiness.
This sense of control then stays with me throughout the day, making me a more effective employee, family man and husband. I am also kinder to myself and catch myself when I fall into the trap of negative self- talk. I don’t let the misery man of the mind get his own way. I challenge him and tell him to shut up when I can feel him taking over and starting to make me worry and stress about the unimportant.
There is real value in looking treating yourself well and taking care of the things that will enhance you.
What habits do you find are your most valuable and cherished?
Are there any habits you would like to develop so that your life is better?
I wish you the best
Shaun

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.

Make a decision

Just decide!

I finished my last report tonight for this academic year. These reports need to be in tomorrow and so I had left it till the last minute. I wasn’t up doing an all-nighter like I have done in the past, and I did start them about a week ago, but why didn’t I do them earlier? The simple reason is because at no point earlier on did I make a commitment to finishing or even starting the reports.

Making a decision makes all the difference and is the catalyst to true change.

When I was younger I was obsessed with a game called football manager. It was a way of life for many teenage boys in the U.K and many men also. When I first met Annemarie, I was still hooked on this game to her utter dismay. She would complain about the hours I spent on it and I knew she was right, but I couldn’t stop playing it. Or so I thought.

One day, I was on there playing at a critical stage in the season when the computer went nuts and totally ruined my game. I had spent hours on this, and within minutes it had all come crashing down around me. In that instant I felt the rage of frustration at what had happened, but also felt the huge a huge sense of silliness at the rage this had sent me in. Surely there is more to life than this I thought and in that moment I made the decision. I’m not playing this game ever again! I uninstalled the game from my computer and have never touched it again.

I don’t believe that these decisions can be forced, but I do believe that if you tap into a strong enough reason why, you can stir up enough emotional energy to make a decision stick. My decision to work-out and look after my body came directly after my dad passed away with a heart attack. After the grief and pain came the realisation that I was on the same road and I made the decision to change path.

The key question is Why?

Why become financially free?

Why do I want to lose weight?

Why do I want to live in that home?

Why do I want to quit my job?

These questions will help you become aware of your deepest motivations. If you have a strong enough reason why, any course of action seems possible.

I wish you the best

Shaun

Ideas for taking B.M.H.S forward.

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Just a short blog post today. I have been thinking about what I could do in order to improve upon what I am already putting out on my blog at the moment. I’ve decided that one change I will make is the sharing of powerful ideas and insights that I have discovered from other people.

For example, I am currently reading “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma. When I have finished with that book, I will share on here the main lessons and insights that I have gained from it. It will be less of a review of the book in terms of a recommendation and more of a sharing of the ideas and principles that resonated with me and I believe have value.

I believe that I should share these ideas that I get from other sources more regularly as it will allow me to post more often, and to give people ideas about where they might want to look for resources that will help them in their lives.

I will also take the time to re-visit some of my favourite books of the last couple of years and do the same thing with them. Books have the unique ability to give us the insights and expertise of experts without us having to meet them directly. The right book at the right time can change the philosophy or direction of a person’s life. It would be wrong of me not to share the great wisdom of these amazing authors.

I plan to do this with any art form that has inspired me in some way with it’s content. Be it music, film, theater, the list is endless.

What inspiration have you found through the masterpieces of others?

Choose success

Shaun.

The power of commitment

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Today I want to reflect upon the power of commitment in my life in order to help you see the value of developing the capacity to stay committed.

Commitment is as important as goal setting when attaining success and fulfilment in life. The areas where I am most committed in my life are to my wife,  my children and myself. Through examining the principle of commitment through these areas, I found really interesting patterns that can be applied to create commitment in other areas.

During our wedding ceremony, my wife and I made a commitment to each other. The vows we spoke to each other, explain the principle of commitment extremely well:

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part

The words are so powerful because they show that commitment means constancy. We made the choice to stay together for the rest of our lives. Good times are easy, and everyone can enjoy those, but it’s those hard times when the commitments we have made have to be at the front of our minds and they call on us to remember what we have promised to each other and ourselves.When I lost my father, my wife was the one person who helped me through it and who I opened up to the most. She supported me when I was broken down and burnt out at work. She has reassured me during times when I doubted my own strength and capabilities. There have been times during the relationship where I have done the same for her. We support each other and make each other stronger. This is the principle of commitment in real life.

I sometimes wake up at crazy times during the night because of my commitment to my children. If Ava needs something at any moment day or night, we take care of it. Every night I put Nathan to bed. We read a story then he lies down and goes to sleep. I stay with him because I’m committed to spending time with him that is just us. That can be hard to do when work starts to pile up and I am only arriving home an hour before his bedtime. But the most important thing is that Nathan and I  have quality time every single day that we can. It is our responsibility to raise our children and we don’t take that lightly at all. This commitment does not waver and does not change. It is a powerful force that transcends mood, energy levels, and at times sanity. We do what we have to do for our children.

I have recently made the same level of commitment to myself in a few key areas of my life. In the past, I have allowed myself to be sidetracked by circumstances or my feelings about what I was trying to achieve. However, my growing understanding of the power of commitment has compelled me to try the things that were unsuccessful in the past. I now appreciate that having a reason why is the essence of true commitment. I have now created reasons why I must achieve those things I am striving for. Although this does not guarantee 100% compliance, it does mean that I am protecting those things that I hold important from my moods and feelings that can be influenced by so many different factors. There is no compromise or excuses to hide behind. I get the job done.

3. In order to get different results, I understand now that different choices need to be made. In order to take my life to a higher level, I must develop as a person. Keeping my word to myself is one of the key ways I can affect personal growth. For example, the lifestyle that I now lead is completely different to one that I used to have. Paradoxically, now that I have two children, I’m finding I actually spend more time on activities that will lead to personal growth. This is down to choices and the importance I see in becoming a role model for my children that they can really learn from. Down went the x box pad, and instead I spend my time listening to audiobooks and reading, writing blog posts, working out, spending time with my family and meeting with my mentor to help with my personal growth. I now see time as a currency to be spent and to be spent wisely. I have made the choice to focus very heavily on some key areas. I’m committed come rain or shine. My devotion will not falter.

What commitments have you made to yourself that are going to help you develop yourself and others around you?

Are you aware of the actions that you take and what this says about your commitments in your life?

Are your behaviours in congruence with your values?

These are the questions I have started to ask myself to make sure that I am on the right path. Being honest with yourself can be challenging, but it is worth it. Make some commitments for your own life that are going to get you to the places you want and need to be for real fulfilment.

Choose success

 

Will you be ready to take your opportunity?

Stand up now and face the sun
Won’t hide my tail or turn and run
It’s time to do what must be done
Be a king when kingdom comes

Aloe Blacc – The Man

I have been very blessed recently with the way that my work has been progressing. It has been pleasing to keep up a wave of successful momentum. The trick for me that has really helped has been my increased awareness of where I need to focus my energies to create personal growth.

My focus has been shifting to my inner world, and I am finally starting to see how I have been holding myself back in certain areas of my life and how that can spill over. Once I had decided to clean up and tidy my desk, that idea then started to effect other areas of my life. My car was brutal and had been for some time. Because I had made the choice to be oblivious in my classroom to the importance of order and tidiness, it was only when I tackled that that my awareness expanded to my car, my home, my kettlebell gym in the cellar, my work bag and the list goes on. I was changed fundamentally by the choice to raise my standards and as a result my perception of tidiness changed.

This has also effected the quality of my workouts and has become a wider mission to de-clutter and remove all things that do not advance my life in some way shape or form. My workouts are ruthlessly efficent, timed to the second and more intense than ever before. I find myself constantly asking, “What use is this ?” Is it going to help me move forward. As a result, there is far less variety in my workouts and I have decided to stick to half a dozen movements that will serve me the best for the next few months.

You may ask what the value in all this activity is and to be honest with you, I have asked myself that question in the past. I think I have finally stumbled on an answer that makes sense to me. I need to raise my standards in certain areas in order to raise my standards in all areas. I realised that the trait that successful happy people have is focus and high standards. My standards in some areas of my life were high, but in others I was more slack. As a result, those slack areas became bottlenecks and I was only as strong as my weakest link.

I am now attacking my organisation skills to get them to the highest level possible because that was one of my major bottlenecks. Disorganisation in my life would lead to making silly mistakes, being stressed about deadlines, procrastination, fear of failure and a whole host of other results that were not congruent with other areas of my life where I would find things easy. If I had not tackled this problem, when the next huge opportunity of a lifetime comes my way, my character would not have been strong enough to handle the responsibility of the position I will eventually find myself. To be as direct as possible, your actions tell people who you are more than your words ever could. Talent or circumstances can sometimes take us to places that our character cannot keep us.

Now I have spent time on strengthening my character, I feel ready to take on more. I have adapted to the phenomenal change of raising two young children, looking after myself and making sure my wife and I have enough time for each other, The change was a like a knockout punch, and I’m only now getting up, but I feel a hell of a lot stronger and more capable. Opportunities are starting to come my way. My contact with Alistair Smith bore fruit and we are going to meet in person and discuss some things. My mentor has been keen for me to start getting involved with the work that he is doing in building a base of mentors for young people across the U.K. I’m excited about the future, and mindful that I need to make sure I’m ready to be the king when my kingdom comes.

Invest the time in yourself to listen to your intuition and discover what your bottlenecks are. Non of us are perfect and I have many areas for development, but by tackling those things that have eluded you in the past head on, you feel more in control of your present situation and the future you can create for yourself.

I wish you the best

Shaun

 

Post 020: Are old habits holding you back? A tactic for spotting them

I made a rookie error a few weeks ago at work. You know what it’s like when you are busy. Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep all the plates spinning and before you know it, some of them fall out of your attention and crash to the floor. I had neglected some of my important actions thinking that I didn’t have the time to focus on them. My meditation time became non-existent, I didn’t keep my classroom tidy like I had promised myself, and I haven’t written a blog post in weeks. Simply put, I had fallen into old habits. Another word for habit is programme and I prefer this because it cuts to the core of what is happening. I was not consciously making choices, I had become a robot following the engrained habits that I had fallen back on in the past.

These choices were not serving me well at all. One wake up call was when my boss called me out on the state of my desk. At first I was defensive and dismissive of the importance of a tidy desk. He didn’t understand how much I had on my plate. He could have cut me a bit of slack. However, driving home that night, I realised the truth. He was right. I was running a programme that allowed me to ignore the mess and pretend it didn’t matter. That desk represented my internal state-a big mess that needed sorting out. 

I try to meditate for 10 minutes when I have put my boy down to sleep for the night. I lay on his floor, the lights are out and he is peacefully sleeping so it’s a great time to reflect on things undisturbed. I asked myself this question: What is that messy desk trying to say to me? Where is this behaviour coming from? I then saw that this pattern was showing up in other areas as well. They all had a common theme of stopping me from taking action on my goals. I would become so engrossed in sorting out the mess in my mind, that I was not able to get clear and get decisive. That was the moment when the importance of the desk became clear. I had lots of  crap that I had to let go of. I was holding onto the mess out of fear.

Another wake up call was a meeting with my mentor. He asked what I had been doing to maintain and improve on my state since the birth of my daughter. I tried to come up with some things that I had half heartedly done, but had to admit in the end, that I had no been looking after myself mentally as well as I should have. This was when it hit me. In times of stress and big change, we need to look after ourselves the most. This is the times in life when all the positive rituals we are trying to develop really pay off. I had allowed my old behaviours to stunt my development because I had been asleep with my eyes open. I had started to procrastinate on my exercise, positive eating habits, writing and career development. I started telling myself that I didn’t have the time to do the things that would have served me so well. This was a lesson well learned. It hurt to realise that I had neglected myself, and in turn, dropped off in my performance in work. However it is empowering to know that just as quickly as you can fall, you can also rise. I have re-committed to all my goals for the year and I am thankful for the feedback I recieved from my boss. It reminded me that I’m in control of my own destiny, and I have to accept 100% responsibility for all results that I get.

Here are some tactics you could employ to ensure that you are not letting old habits run your life for you.

1. Accept 100% responsibility for all results you are currently getting. Good or bad.

Once we accept responsibility, we can see the steps needed to get back on track. If you need help with this, ask someone for honest feedback and act on the useful comments you are given.

2. Make time for the important things in your life.

Don;t kid yourself that you don’t have enough time. We all get the same 24 hours in a day and although we may have different circumstances, our choices are the biggest determinant of the success we will have on any given day. I know that I must make time to meditate, even if it’s for a couple of minutes a day. It is the aspect of my character that needs to develop the most, therefore it is a priority that I give it my full attention.

3. Be aware throughout the day.

Check in with yourself throughout the day and check your state of mind. A nice way to do this is simply to close your eyes for a few minutes and allow your focus to go inwards. Try to become very aware of your breathing and any feelings you have in your body. You will find that with practice, this gives you enough mental space to tap into how you are feeling and break any habit that is running if you so choose.

4. Be wary of history repeating itself.

If there is a behaviour that you have tried to stop that keeps re-surging, then some more internal work needs to be done. History will repeat itself until your sub-conscious and conscious mind are on the same page. There have been times in my life where I have said I want one thing, but then acted in a way completely opposite to what I claimed to have wanted. This is a clear case of a divided mind. You have to go deep to the root of the behaviour and ask yourself, what am I getting from not giving this up? The deeper you go with a response, the more success you will have with changing the behaviour.

Learning from these lessons will inevitably lead to growth and success. I can’t wait to get back to my desk bin bag in hand to finally get rid of all that rubbish and clear my space physically, mentally and emotionally.

I wish you the best.