Find your true north.

Last week I asked a client who was pondering their next move What is it you actually want? They were stumped. I think often we can all be guilty of being on auto-pilot,  drifting into careers (and other areas of life for that matter) which we feel like we didn’t choose but know deep down we simply  weren’t in tune with what is really meaningful to us. It’s time to turn off the auto-pilot button people!

Next week I’m fortunate enough to be joining the media crew at the Wanderlust Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Wanderlust.com is a mindful living community created in the U.S. based on yoga, meditation and fun times where their brand ethos is ‘Find your true north’. I love this!

So what’s your true north and are you living and breathing it?

In the book “I could  do anything, if I only I knew what it was” author Barbara Sher points out how many of us end up in careers which have been heavily influenced by our parents without us even realising (sneaky!). Just list all the careers your closest elders wanted you to do when you were 12 and you’ll understand why you were so confused at high school and sought advice from the guidance counsellors dodgy ‘career-picking computer system’.Untitled design (3)

All too often we end up in roles where the work/ life balance is unsustainable, we like the job but not the people/ leadership, we just drifted in there, the actual work is disappointing or we ‘make it’ & then feel unfulfilled . But then it’s ok for a bit. And then it isn’t. And it continues until you crack & go walkabouts or straight into another role which looks different from the outset but is just the same with a different wrapper. And while I’m not suggesting their is a perfect job out there which will be 120% ace everyday I can assure you there are people who’ve found their true north and are thriving.

One of the most simple, yet useful guides to finding a career you love is this:

  1. What are your intrinsic drivers ? List everything you LOVE to do but then ask what is it about them you love.  Go back to childhood & right up to now.
  2. What do people close to you give feedback that you’re good at (I even did a survey of friends to find this out about 10 years ago & still missed the clues so pay attention!)
  3. What are people going to pay you to do.  If this is a new career you want to make sure it’s not just a hobby.

If you’re more a ‘realist’ try describing the worst job you could ever imagine and then flip it on it’s head for the opposites.  Or work with a buddy who asks you What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? tri

A key to finding your true north doesn’t have to start with how you make a living – it might be volunteering, joining a new club, contributing to your community or trialing out new activities which excite you. Just start something!

Want more? Check out Larry Smith in a funny, blunt review on why you’ll never reach the career of your dreams.

 

Less chat. More action. And almost an Aussie.

Have you ever noticed how much time you spend in your head, analysing a decision, procrastinating on a potential direction, dithering over a different choice ? You may have a good old chin wag with yourself or share it forever and a day with anyone who will listen but it still goes on and on with no resolution in sight.

Last night I discovered my Nana’s great grandparents from Donegal, Ireland aged 18/19 made the incredibly brave voyage as so many did, to the Antipodes in 1863. They settled & married in Maitland, NSW (Hunter Valley)  – I like to think this was a voluntary move as opposed to them being of the convict persuasion! After five years, in 1868 they moved to Greymouth, New Zealand. First question – did they hook up on the boat & THEN get married?? Secondly I acknowledge if it wasn’t for their decision I wouldn’t be here today but initially I questioned their choice to move to Greymouth  – WHAT were they thinking? I could be an heiress to a vineyard by now though admittedly supporting the Wallabies would be a travesty.  I sat &  pondered how long it would have taken them to make the decision to leave Australia. Would they have struggled internally for months after already having moved so far to uproot again with their 3 kids (9 more were to be born in NZ!) to an unknown land, with unknown prospects and for that matter had anyone ever ‘penned’ to them about West Coast weather? Then I researched Maitland in the 1860s.  Good lord! Robberies, gang warfare, shootings galore – my call is Bernie said to Mary at dinner one night, “Look, we’ve given this a good swing love, but I don’t fancy becoming a bush ranger, or being shot in the back by one so let’s get out of here.” And in those days I’m guessing Mary went “Good decision Bernie, I’ll start packing”. Decision made.

As we know it’s not just decision making that traps us in our thoughts. We get lost in the stories we’ve made up about ourselves. “That’s just how I am” and “That’s just how it’s always been done”. We use our fears to keep us safe and constantly rationalise doing or not doing something based on evidence from the past. Some of us get so caught up in our mind, ‘busy’ living a life we’ve just ‘fallen into’ haphazardly or one that was expected of us and don’t notice how unhappy we are. While others endlessly wait to have everything ‘just right’ before we try something (god forbid if we ‘get it wrong’) some wait for the universe to deliver an opportunity to them while seated comfortably on their couch.

Humans have had internal chatter scientists believe for over 75,000 years. You’d think by now we’d all  be well practiced at keeping the negative banter at bay & our levels of life satisfaction should be off the charts! But it seems with the overwhelming amount of choice and complexity of our lives today we can be struck with a paralysis of analysis or many a downward spiral when things don’t pan out quite as we’d hoped. It leaves many drifting along almost unconsciously, sitting at the back of the bus with someone else driving (sometimes a 7 year old version of us – not ideal!). Months and even years slip by as we practice some excellent avoidance techniques to not dig a little deeper on where we are at for fear of what challenging actions might need to be faced in order for us to take our life in a direction we actually want.

One way to stop the thought drift is to get clear on your values. I’m betting one of Bernie ‘s was physical safety. One of yours might be connection. Everyone has different values, dependent on upbringing, life experiences and life stage . I’m sure what you wanted to experience every day on a consistent basis was quite different ten years ago compared to what it is today.

Where  it really begins is with you. How do you treat yourself – are you kind and compassionate? Who are you being everyday? What is the story you are telling yourself?  Are you owning the results you are getting in your life? Do you accept yourself completely –  the good and not so good parts?  What really lights you up or drives you crazy? How do you cope when you hit a road block? Bernie and Mary moved to the West Coast, but you might just need to revisit what gives you a little bit of happiness every day.

Hokitika, just down the road from Greymouth in the 1870s. 

I’m running a super fun and informative  half day workshop in Bondi Junction called The Direction Momentum on Sunday, July 12 at 10am. If any of the above rings some bells and you are ready to move forward but need inspiration we’d love you to join us. Numbers strictly limited.

Get motivated. And stay motivated.

If I had a $1 for every time I’ve seen “New year, new you” in the last couple of weeks I’d at least be up $85.  The media however is simply riding off the annual ‘resolution frenzy’ as we recover from our seasonal holidays, reflect on the year just gone and make promises to ourselves and our loved ones about what will happen in 2015.

And now it’s the first week of February. Some of you may already be knee deep in your goals, many may refuse to make any while others made grand resolutions but well, it’s still summer… the beach is calling.

I’ve already written about goal setting and procrastination however what is key at this point is actually motivation. You can write as many goals, make resolutions,  design vision boards and review last year till the cows come home but if you don’t take ‘massive action’ as Tony Robbins discusses – your chances of achieving your goals are slim to none.

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So how do we get motivated and more importantly stay motivated to take action?

Clear the space. Give yourself at least a half day in a clutter and distraction free zone and get those goals down written down. Paper, whiteboard, mobile, diary, laptop – whatever is easily accessible so you can read them daily and review your progress weekly.  When you write them down you are declaring your intention to yourself and putting the wheels in motion.  Ensure they are not just gliding over from one year into another. Get real with yourself about why you didn’t achieve them – were you realistic or are they no longer important to you? Vocabulary is also essential – the words we use around a goal influence how we committed we feel about achieving the goal.

Have a plan. Were your goals conjured up with a massive hangover on New Years Day with not a strategy in sight?  The best way to stay motivated is to have a simple plan breaking your goals into smaller manageable action steps. Keep it simple with five to seven goals at one time. This will prevent you from going into ‘overwhelm and mass abandonment mode’. Robin Sharma suggests a quarterly themed focus for example ‘health and well-being’ to allow you to be solely concentrate on one area of your life. While Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project has monthly resolution to achieve, for example ‘Boost energy’ or ‘Pursue a passion’.

Visualise it. If you spend time every day visualising achieving your goal research has shown you are far more likely to achieve it than if you didn’t. Simply take 5 minutes as you read your goals daily to visualise yourself having achieved the goal and what it will look and feel like. A vision board is a super helpful tool – contact me for some quick tips to get you started.

Be inspired by others. Who else has done what you’re doing? Research, model and ask questions to people who have done what you’re wanting to do. What do they see as the key to achieving their goals? Join a network of people who will stretch you, watch a TED talk to inspire you, attend a motivational workshop or read book that expands your thinking.

Build yourself a support crew. Gone are the days when we have to go it alone. Look to the experts. Whether it’s a nutritionist to get your wellness back on track, a coach to hold you accountable to your plans, a sponsor within your company to accelerate your growth, build a team who are invested and excited for your success. Refrain from sharing your goal with every man and their dog on Facebook – in fact this TED talk reveals why you shouldn’t over share. Get help from those you respect and are on board for your success.

Get physical. Having great physical and mental health is essential to achieving goals. If you’re slothing about in your trackies and ugg boots vs getting your endorphin’s pumping through a top notch workout how differently do you think your approach to making goal progress might be? Your state is a key factor.

Action stations. Once you’ve reviewed, planned and are inspired here’s the crucial element – take massive action within the next 24 hours to leverage your momentum and passion. And when you encounter speed wobbles take a moment to reflect, get to the core of the obstacle and take appropriate action immediately – knowing that overcoming obstacles is actually what will give you the most satisfaction when the goal is complete.

 Celebrate. When you reach any decent milestone reward yourself – I even have a tiered list of rewards (now that is a fun list to create!). Be sure to share your progress with your support crew, give yourself a big tick or strike through on your ‘to do’ list and leverage the momentum of the feeling of achievement to take your next step of action.

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This week I’ve launched ‘The Motivator‘. A short intensive programme for those who know what their goals are but are having problems making progress.

The soulful spin.

I doubt anyone could miss the lycra phenomenon taking over the streets at crazy early hours in the last 10 years specifically all those MAMILS! I have even been drawn in myself (aka ‘All the gear and no idea’).  And I’m sure we’ve all heard of, attempted or are addicted to spin classes – which when you explain it sounds completely absurd.  “Come on lets go biking to nowhere in a sweaty dark room with loud techno beats and an instructor yelling at you. Fun!”

On a recent holiday to the US however I wanted to try out Soul Cycle. You probably think I’m mad exercising on my holiday but I really recommend it. Especially somewhere like the States where they are up for trying a lot of weird and wonderful classes. More ideas here.

From a love of exercise, branding and holistic well-being  I was curious (and nosey) to find out how a brand of spin classes could have developed such a cult following.  Many instructors have become minor celebs – John Mayer even had a fling with ‘Lauren’ from LA according to reports . There’s a clothing range (yes I made a small purchase) and I just missed Jake Gyllenhaal in the NYC West Village class by one day. Gutted!

So what is it that draws people (ok mostly young females in the 20-40 age bracket) to soulfully spin to their hearts content ?

I turn up eagerly early and for a start as with most customer experiences in the US, they are soooo friendly. And this is one country (& potentially the only) where my kiwi accent seems to benefit. “OMG I love your accent”. When you sign up for their introductory offer it’s $20. Sweet. I grab my free towel & spin shoes (imagine that Fitness First & Les Mills!), pick my bike position in the room and sign my life away. I then clamber inn the dark past dozens of the latest spin bikes to find my spot. After fannying about for some time and scoffing at the 2kg handweights hidden at the rear of the bike I hop on, clip in and observe the instructor stage where candles are a blazin’. Next I unsubtley watch the clientele pouring in. All athletic keen bean bubbly young lasses – interestingly very similar in NYC and LA. The assistants leave the room, its darkened even more (can just make out my hands).’, the music get louder and like a musician entering on stage the instructor arrives, the excitement lifts and the mantras begin…

If you’ve done spin before it’s not a massively different except for these key three things.

  1. The instructors don’t scream at you to GET MOVING! Instead they offer positive motivating language, reminding you to be grateful for your body’s abilities and encourage you to step up your energy levels and make it count.
  2. There’s a couple of pretty weird up, down and sideways ‘dancing on ya bike’ type moves which even after years of ballet and modern dance training I could not sync up with. In fact I felt a bit like a turkey with indigestion and I wondered how Jake got on with this move?
  3. The hand weights. Towards the end you do a little routine with hand weights. And while I had dismissed it at first my little arms did actually hurt and hey, I’ll try anything to eliminate bat wings.

Overall it was a really fun, inspiring experience. It was uplifting and I came out feeling puffed, positive and converted to this way of exercising. I’m impressed Soul Cycle and looking forward to a version  reaching the Aussie shores soon.

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The top ten from Tony Robbins. Go on. Unleash.

Now fully committed to the world of self development it felt like a rite of passage to attend  ‘Unleash the Power Within’with Tony Robbins. Coming down from my workshop high here are some of my key take aways on how to lead a fulfilling life according to Tony.

  1. The F word. There are two primary fears all humans share – we fear we’re not good enough and we won’t be loved.  My thought – massive double whammy ouch when someone we love rejects us.
  2. Core without a Swiss ball. We have 6 core needs which drive each of us. The four primal needs are certainty, uncertainty, significance and connection. The two spiritual needs are growth and contribution. The skill lies in finding a sustainable way to fulfill your needs giving you more pleasure than pain. If you have time check out one of his most watched you tubes.
  3. Get your sneaks on.Your physiology is key to change & a Tony seminar means getting over yourself, jumping and dancing like you’re back at a rave circa ‘98. Reason behind it: motion creates emotion. Dancing to 80s & 90s remixes creates positive neural pathways so your clever mind associates positive energy around your new focus.
  4. Who are you? Your identity is formed from a combo of your beliefs and values which we learn from the world around us as we grow up. Beliefs are feelings of absolute certainty. They’re either global beliefs ‘Life is xxx, People are xxx’. Or rules e.g  In order to feel happy I need to have a calorie free gelato every day.  Values are emotional states we believe are important to experience or avoid. E.g. I love snowboarding because it gives me a sense of adventure but if I’m fearing failure you won’t see me attempting a 360 anytime soon.
  5. Yes, I fire walked. And damn, it was cool! Probably the most infamous part of Tony’s seminar is a walk across burning hot coals. Tony fully preps you by changing your state (no not hypnotizing!) so by that the time I saw the coals laying before me  I was so pumped, full of energy from 5000 people cheering & hooting,  I thought I was actually Wonder Woman and stormed across. I’m not gonna lie, you feel pretty empowered afterwards. And the pedicure was still in tact.

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A pity I didn’t have this outfit on hand to walk across the hot coals.

  1. Hold up! We all have awesome useful beliefs and then really dud ones. Your limiting beliefs hold you back from achieving what you really want. Identify those and replace them with resourceful positive beliefs (a coach is very handy here). Why hang onto something that is not helpful? If you want to hear how Tony did it, call me. It was intense but worked.
  2. The past does not equal the future unless you live there. Period.
  3. Find a model. No, not a Victoria Secret model (unless you want to be one). Surrounding yourself with people who already have the results you want rubs off on you, you learn how they are where they are. Replicate it.
  4. Focus = results.I’m a big fan of this. What you focus on is what you feel, receive and deliver so without a clear and compelling vision of what you want and a plan to get you there life will happen at you not for you.
  5. Thank YOU! You can’t be fearful and grateful at the same time.  Taking time each day to be grateful for what you have (as opposed to what is missing) becomes a habit and gratitude is a key connector between humans so it’s a worthwhile investment of time! I’m going to try this for 90 days. I’ll report back.

Ok, so old mate Tony is not for everyone but I don’t think you could go and not get something out of it – I felt it was completely worth my time and money PLUS I have so much content (stand by!). You just have to get over yourself, get outside your comfort zone,  be ready to face some fears and come out on the other side a raver with a new enthusiasm for whats ahead.

“Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in life” Tony Robbins. tony robbins

If you don’t know who Tony Robbins is, here’s quick bio: Motivational speaker – performed over 30,000 hours of speaking/ coaching and worked around the world with over 3 million people. From this exposure he has an incredible insight into human behaviour and his success rate in creating change for people has given him access to some of the worlds most talented. His energy and enthusiasm for life is incredibly infectious and yes, while he is cross selling and up-selling like no tomorrow, I buy his authenticity for wanting to help people lead more fulfilling lives. He’s worth millions but still trooping around the globe. Not bad for 54 years old I say. 

The Art of Procrastination

Ok, I’ll admit it. I have been putting off starting my first blog effort for a good while. Before I started I HAD to clean the bath, cook the latest gluten dairy free cupcakes, do a 90 min yogaglo class, quick pedi, consume a few cocktails to discuss blogging and I definitely needed to polish my silver!

So why do we procrastinate? We claim busyness, laziness or exhaustion but usually I find there’s something more behind it. To start with, you need to be clear on what the outcome is you want and why. Let’s say you have a tropical holiday coming up, you want to lose a few kgs to complete your poolside look but you’d also love it to stay off permanently. You know how to do it but you still consistently sabotage your efforts. “It’s raining or I’m far too tired for the gym, the extra helping of lasagne/ choccie mousse was too good to say no to and as for finding time to make a kale rainbow leafy salad, are you kidding me?”

I believe we come up with our brilliant avoidance strategies because at some level we associate more pain with giving up the opportunity for a sleep in or extra lasagne than the necessity of giving those things up and the eventual pleasure of losing those extra kgs. We’re focused on short term rather than long term gain. That wee voice says “Oh but you’ll probably just put it all back on so may as well wade into a second helping of brownie right now”. And Boom! Back to square one.

Eventually the holiday is one week out and we’re in desperate mode. So we go on a crazy leafy, juice detox and the weight potentially drops off (as our time in the bathroom goes up). Unfortunately the quick fix doesn’t last because we’re still making neuro associations of pain in our brain with giving up our ‘yummy’ food in exchange for watery lettuce drinks. So as soon as the detox is done helloooo hot chips.

The good news is we can condition our minds, bodies and emotions to link pain or pleasure to whatever we choose which will in turn change our behaviours. To really make a long term difference in this case we have to link pain to eating excessive bad food and lack of exercise and replace it with the pleasure of eating food that nourishes us and an exercise routine which gives us the result we want. Or in my case get real on the pain around not starting the blog, the opportunities I might miss out on and associate the pleasure of being able to write this each week and what I will gain from it. Heck even if it’s just mum and I reading it today, I’m happy with that if it gets me to where I want to be.

If you’re procrastinating ask yourself these questions:
Why am I procrastinating about this? What pain have I linked to taking this action in the past? E.g. It’s such hard work. I feel I don’t have time to squeeze in exercise.

What pleasure have I gained from indulging in this choice? E.g Instant gratification of delicious brownies, or staying true to your ‘story’ about having no willpower.

What will it cost me if I don’t change now/ in 6 months/ 5 years/ 10 years? How will it make me feel? What will I tell myself? I will be unhappy with how I look. I will probably have health problems down the track.

Finally make a big list of everything you will gain from taking this action right now. And remember keep it emotionally charged as that’s what motivates us the most. E.g. I’ll gain the feeling of being in control of my health and body. I’ll be able to feel great in my swimmers & maybe even ditch the ‘moo moo’ cover up.