So my 89 year old mother placed her first ever bet on the cup yesterday. And you guessed it. She backed the winner. With odds of close to 100-1 it was a huge return for a very small investment on Prince of Penzance. She’s figuring now on giving up share trading for horse racing.
And for Michelle Payne, it was another couple of firsts. Her first cup win, not to mention the first female to win the Melbourne cup ever. Needless to say the champagne was flowing.
Life is full of firsts.
The thing is when we first achieve something either for ourselves or as part of the human race, it opens the floodgates of possibility. Because if one person can do it, they make it possible for others to see they can too. Of course you need to prepare, take action, train relentlessly and sacrifice a whole shitload of other things you might love to be doing. But once you see that someone else has achieved ‘the impossible’ it makes it so much easier doesn’t it.
Like running the 4 minute mile.
Like building the first car.
Like landing on the moon.
But firsts don’t need to be public to make an impact. Maybe your first is simply to be the first one in your family to break the mould of poor financial decisions or bad relationships. Just think of the impact for the generations that follow.
It doesn’t matter what you want to achieve. There’s always a first. So start with the end in mind and it may well be you.
Have you ever realised that goals are meaningless when compared to who you have to become to achieve them? That’s the thing. It’s great to set goals, but really it’s all about what you achieve on the way to reaching them.
Because to reach a goal you’ve never achieved before you have to do something different. You have to break out of the habits that have been getting in the way. The things holding you back. The old beliefs. The old ways of thinking. The old ways of responding. You have to become someone different. You have to reinvent yourself in some way becoming a new and greater version of yourself.
Because to create something new in your life you first need to create something new within yourself.
That’s the great thing about having goals. Not only do they give your life meaning (which creates greater health and happiness), goals create the opportunity for personal growth. Because in striving for that goal we have to let our limitations go.
As Sir Edmund Hillary said, ‘We don’t conquer the mountain, it’s us we need to beat’.
Goals give us the chance to realise how really incredible we are. And that means you will ‘get’ a lot more than the goal – but only along the way.
When Denzel Washington was a younger man an intuitive woman told him that one day he would travel the world and speak to millions of people. Of course, we know that’s exactly what he does… through his movies.
Mary and I learned a really important lesson very early on. We had a goal to give our children a country childhood and we spent a lot of time working on the ‘how’ of making it happen. How we could escape the city and live our dream. The ‘how’ for us was to save like crazy. Saving to purchase our 200 acres, then saving again to build our dream home while we lived in a caravan and washed in a dam.
Being new arrivals in a country town we got ourselves involved in the local country ball held on what is now Dick Smith’s property. You can imagine just what a place this is. It was quite a shindig. And Mary ended up dancing with the gardener. He was living rent free with a small wage to boot and cared for the massive garden in return for his board. It’s amazing how candid people can be. And the truth is he was living the same dream we had only he hadn’t mortgaged himself to the eyeballs to make it happen. It was a huge wake up.
As I’ve heard Mary say so often many people have goals, but give them up because we can’t see ‘how’ to make them happen. But life can be very creative. And it seems life has a way of delivering exactly what we want when we’re really focussed. After all, there are many ways to make something happen. Often the ‘how’ takes care of itself. And often it’s in a way we haven’t even thought of.
There was a collective sigh in Canberra yesterday. The relief of parents with their kids finally back to school. Even if it meant getting up extra early to deal with the morning chaos. The happy dance as you give them a kiss and drop them at the front gate and head back into the traffic that reflects the return to school. The peace that descends as you can finally take a moment for yourself and release that sigh.
I remember those days. A chance to be able to gather yourself again and pick up where you left off last year before all the fun of Christmas and kids at home for the long haul that is the great Australian summer school holidays. And it dawned on me that for all these parents TODAY is really the first day of their new year. A fresh start to rediscover who they are and the little voice of wisdom inside that we have to go quiet to really hear clearly. So Happy New Year! I wonder if you’ve realised that this is your opportunity to take stock, get clear and refocus without the distractions that necessarily come with the pitter patter of tiny feet. As welcome as they are most of the time.
So if you think the new year has started and you’ve already blown the chance to set some goals, think again. After all, every day is a new beginning. And the beginning of this school term may well be the very best time you will ever have to refocus and dream about where you want to be this time next year.
So where will you be this time next year?
What will you look back and see that you have achieved?
A civil war is never a good thing. A country divided will always lose. But that’s exactly what’s happening when we’re fighting against ourselves. Those hidden beliefs that keep us locked into patterns we no longer want in our lives. Picking the wrong partners, jobs, investments. Unable to break through those unwanted feelings. Continually missing those goals we strive so hard to achieve.
As I said at a recent workshop, when you go up against something self-generated it will nail you.
And that’s why we need to get our subconscious minds on the same page as what we want consciously. Because otherwise all those early learned beliefs and experiences, that are probably not even relevant anymore, could be the very things that are keeping us from what we want. Holding us back when we are striving so hard to move forward.
Fact is, no matter how hard we try to achieve those things (conscious level effort), if we’re working against our own deeply held beliefs (subconscious processes) we’re just never going to get there. It’s a mind divided.
And while it may seem that your subconscious is out to get you, it’s not. That part of you is just doing its best to protect you. But doing its best may well be based on out dated information you no longer need that’s just getting in the way.
So as you set your new year goals, it’s essential to ensure that you get your subconscious on the job too. Because when you change what’s going on at that deeper subconscious level, life has no choice. It must change around you.
You get out of it what you put into it. Remember that old adage? It’s a recipe for life, isn’t it. If you want to be fit, you’ve got to put aside the time for training. If you want to be a success in business, you’ve got to invest in developing a solid strategy. If you want to have great relationships… well you’ve got to turn up.
But what if you invest too much? Or in the wrong direction?
Could you be barking up the wrong tree?
I’ve seen people frustrated with what they’ve achieved or failed to achieve despite all the hard work they’ve put in. Have you ever reached a goal only to realise it’s not actually what you wanted to achieve? While intention and action are important, even more so is the course of your action. Because you need to check if the effort you are putting in is in line with your values.
Could you actually be overdoing it with too much effort?
Is that even possible?
It is if you’re headed in the wrong direction.
Take a successful business exec for instance. A massive income with recognised success but at what cost if working a 100 hour week is not what he values. Yes, he’s putting massive effort in, but is it directed toward getting what he values most? Maybe not if all he wants is to be around to see his kids grow up. Or the business owner investing lots of energy into developing the next ‘great idea’ only to find out later it’s already out of date. And then there’s the frustration of putting heaps of time and effort into loving the people around you, but if you’re not speaking their love language, you might miss the mark completely despite your best intentions.
While results are often proportional to the investment, massive effort on its own is certainly not a promise of success. Because you need to check that you’re actually on course. That your actions and efforts are aligned with your values and the very best strategy for achieving your goals.
Just like with sailors who have a destination in mind, we often need to adjust our sails to get there. Repeatedly.
Perhaps it’s time to take a look at what you’ve achieved. Is it where you want to be? If it is, congratulations! If it’s not, maybe this is a great opportunity to check on what you’ve been doing and tweak things a little to help you get to where you actually want to be.
Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil, set off a tornado in Texas?
For the uninitiated, this is the question that defines the Butterfly Effect. How a seemingly insignificant action can influence a large-scale future event.
Pretty incredible thought, huh.
But is it?
After all, back in 1886, the simple curiosity of an Atlanta pharmacist led him to create a new soft drink. Today, Cocoa Cola Amatil is worth hundred’s of millions of dollars.
While some years ago a young lawyer could see a better future for his people. Never giving up on his vision, Nelson Mandela defied the odds and turned a country on its head.
Back here in the office only a month ago, our Angela made the decision to train part-time in an industry she’d only dreamed about. Now she’s working in 5 star hotels and with high-end weddings. And she’s loving it.
Isn’t it incredible how everything starts with a single thought, or step or action. And we never know how far reaching any one of these will be.
So the choice is yours.
You can sit there only dreaming about how you want things to be.
And you may not go anywhere.
Or you can take little steps in the direction of your dreams. Little steps that may not seem significant at first. And then one day, looking back, you might just be surprised by the greatness of what you have achieved.
All it takes is one action every day.
That’s a massive 365 actions every year.
And that’s significant, isn’t it.
So how much closer to your dream will you be this time next year?
How crazy would it be to walk into a deli and tell them what you don’t want. After all, they’d think you were nuts if you walked in and spent half an hour telling them you didn’t want the salami, and you didn’t want the Roquefort, and you didn’t want the caviar and you didn’t want the pickles or the olives or the pastrami or the swiss. In fact they might be showing you the door. A sale in the ‘too hard he’s a nutter’ category.
But in my line of work that’s what I constantly see people do.
Worrying over all the things they don’t want…rather than getting clear on what it is they do want.
After all, the deli is just a microcosm of real life, isn’t it. Because everything that happens in the deli happens on a larger scale in life. Relationships, choices, transactions, fulfillment, disappointment. And the really great thing is when we realise we attract what we put our focus on we can do something about it.
Because if we spend our lives focusing on what we don’t want, is it any wonder it keeps turning up?
But on the other hand, life has a wonderful way of bringing to us the things we get really clear about. It just requires clarity and patience and trust.
Most people don’t realise life’s a smorgasboard. And there’s so much to enjoy.
So what do you really want out of life? And what do you need to get clear about today?
Ever wondered why the goal setting process you are using isn’t working for you? Could it be that you’ve missed one of these two crucial steps . . .
If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding.
Many of my clients, past and present, have done everything they’ve been instructed to do:-
• They set motivating goals and they know WHY it’s valuable and important for them to achieve it.
• They use the SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic and Time framed)
• They commit them to paper and write them into their goal book – they add visually stimulating images to each and maybe even vision board them.
BUT the one thing they often neglect to do is –
Make an Action Plan
An Action Plan is a list of tasks that you need to do to complete a simple project or objective.
To draw up an Action Plan, simply list the tasks that you need to complete to deliver your project or objective, in the order that you need to complete them.
To do this, first brainstorm every step you’ll need to take to follow your task to completion.
This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realise that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term.
Action Plans are useful, because they give you a framework for thinking about how you’ll complete a project efficiently. They help you finish activities in a sensible order, and they help you ensure that you don’t miss any key steps. Also, because you can see each task laid out, you can quickly decide which tasks you’ll delegate or outsource, and which tasks you may be able to ignore.
Once you’ve completed your Action Plan, keep it by you as you carry out the work, and update it with additional activities if required.
Learning from Your Action Plan
If you think you’ll be trying to achieve a similar goal again, revise your Action Plan after the work is complete, by making a note of anything that you could have done better.
For instance, perhaps you could have avoided a last-minute panic if you’d alerted a supplier in advance about the size of order you’d be placing. Or maybe you didn’t allow enough time to do certain tasks.
This way, you’ll be creating your own systemised way of achieving your desired outcome every time!
Your perceptions coupled with your mindset determine whether or not you achieve your goals. That is why it is in your interest to clear any hindrances that are not obvious especially the ones that lurk beneath your conscious mind; one such insidious game spoiler is The Story.
The Story is the wellworn narrative you tell yourself (and anyone who cares to listen) about why it is not possible for you to achieve your financial or health goals. Or why you will never find the partner of your dreams because you are convinced by the dreaded story about the lack of loving, dependable potential mates out there in the big bad world.
If left unchecked it morphs into The Burning Martyr Syndrome that looks to serve up the charred remains of what otherwise could have been a magnificent life of wealth, health and happiness.
How The Story got constructed may have been via some unpleasant/frightening experience where you felt threatened, vulnerable, diminished and certainly disempowered. It’s the feeling of helplessness, of not having the right of reply or being able to defend yourself that is likely to be at the root of The Never Ending Story.
I am not for a moment making light of past events where physical or emotional abuse, bullying or intimidation was inflicted upon you usually by an authority figure. Nor am I condoning the behavior of the person against whom you felt powerless.
But, running The Story is choosing to be the victim (still)
Essentially you are saying that unless the perpetrator apologizes, makes amends, shows remorse, acknowledges their mistake or is punished and now behaves in a manner that meets your approval, you cannot move on or be happy.
You are saying your sense of happiness is dependent on another person. Since when has another person been responsible for your happiness and fulfillment?
What if that person is dead? What then are your chances of getting closure?
You have no control over that event; however, what you do have absolute control over is how you choose to think, behave and act from that point in time.
So why are we loathe to let go of the story?
1) Because it justifies our reluctance to move on, (moving on takes effort). It allows us to take the high moral ground and feel self righteous. All the while each precious second that otherwise could have been dedicated to achieving what we want is frittered away.
2) Because of the time, emotional energy already vested in keeping it alive. The Story thrives on this emotional charge it receives with each retelling and reliving and takes on a life of its own. In fact there is scientific evidence to suggest that neural pathways associated with the memory and feelings are strengthened with each repeating of the event.
When will you give up on telling The Story?
When you have a big enough reason to; it will happen when you decide that it’s time to let go. For me it was simple as making a choice after I attended Illuminations Bootcamp. I recall Paul saying that until we sort out our relationships with father, mother, self and Source it will be a case of one step forwards two steps back, snakes and ladders and any other metaphor that illustrates the self sabotage and treachery your story supports.
I let go when I decided I had bigger fish to fry i.e., I identified huge personal and social goals I wanted to accomplish. It was when I got clear about why I am here and what I am to do until the day I am laid to rest.
Besides, the axe grinding was starting to lose its lustre and frankly it was beginning to be tiresome replaying the same event over and over again.
Funnily enough I had thought that I could never let it go because of all the anger, pain, angst that I had nursed through decades. Nah, that’s over rated; it’s perpetuated by people who have yet to discover their raison d’etre, that’s all.
The ball is in your court. What choice will you make today?
So you’ve got those great plans bubbling around inside. A vision for your life and how you want it to be. But sometimes it can seem a long way from where you are now to where you want to be. And for this reason many people don’t even start. Too overwhelming. And the procrastination takes over.
And we can often make the mistake of seeing other people’s achievements as overnight success. We don’t see the hard yards, or the sacrifice that has got them to where they are, one small step at a time.
The important thing with any great vision is to chunk it down. Bite size pieces.
And to ask yourself some great questions.
What one thing could I do today to move me toward my goals?
And then to do it!
Just one small thing each day and in a year you’ve done 365 new things. By that stage you may well be past that goal and on to the next one! And looking back, it might surprise to realise just how easy it was.
So how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.