A lesson in persistence

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t” – NFL legend, Jerry Rice

Persistence is a rare quality in people today.  We want things now.  We want them with little effort.  We want others to do things for us.  When we don’t get what we want, immediately, we give up or we move on try the next easiest thing.

For the past 10 days, I have had a little spider making her home under my verandah outside my front door.  And every morning for the past 10 days, I’ve had to duck under her web to avoid getting a face full of spider netting.  I must admit I have had to break one of her anchor points or two so that I can walk past as it and it has been freaking me out and when it’s caught me off guard.  If you had walked past at the right time, you might have seen me do a little crazy dance or two trying to get the web off my head.

But the longer I’ve left her there, the more incredible her constructions have become.  Each night she meticulously remakes her web, neater and more spectacular than before.  She patiently builds and rebuilds her trap, time and time again, persistent in the extreme for such a tiny creature.  She needs to eat.  In order to eat, she needs to make a web.  In order to make a web that will be successful, she needs to ensure it is constructed perfectly.  That means taking down yesterday’s effort and starting again today.

This is what’s required.  No other spider is going to do it for her.

I’m sure she’s not back in her nest bitching about how the wind has messed up her efforts during the day.  I’m sure she’s not whining to her spider buddies about how the human living in the house just broke one of the anchor points.    I’m sure she’s not sulking in the corner because no-one will help her.  She just gets on with it.  She knows what needs to be done and she does it.  When it’s not right, she re-does it.

She is persistent, day after day, refusing to give up.  And she doesn’t complain.

I think we can all learn a lesson in persistence from my little 8 legged friend.

Versions of you

There are more than a few versions of you.

  •   The private you.
  •   The family you.
  •   The professional you.
  •   The social you.
  •   The insecure you.
  •   The confident you.
  •   The angry you.
  •   The stressed you.
  •   The defeated you.
  •   The determined you.

When you are shooting for a new goal, your best support is going to come from the people who know a number of these versions of you.  During your journey, you are going to be all of these versions of yourself and more and those who know and understand the different versions of you will be one of your best resources.

Must do lists

Poor time management is one of the most common problems I encounter with the people I work with.

“I’m too busy.”
“I’m just not organised.”
“There’s not enough hours in the day.”
“I didn’t have time.”

Sound familiar?

There are no more hours in a day and no more days in the week that I can offer you.  What I can offer you is some advice as to how to manage your time better.

I am a list maker.  I love having a ‘To Do’ list that I can tick off and see that I’ve accomplished what I have set out to do for the day.  But even in my daily list making excitement, I still find I get overwhelmed and underdone and end up having to re-write the list the following day with things that were not ticked off today.

The best advice that I was given recently in regards to time management is, forget the ‘To Do’ lists.  Not altogether, but do away with never ending ‘To Do’ lists containing every task that you would like to get done in the next month.  I know as a list maker I can be a little over zealous in listing down any thought that pops into my head.  What I end up with is a list of things that are not vital for today’s productivity but instead a wish list that never ends up being completed.

The end result of using is a feeling of “there’s not enough time in the day”.

Rather than a ‘To Do’ list, turn your list into a ‘MUST DO’ list.  The ‘Must Do’ list is for today only.  Only the tasks that absolutely have to do be done before you step into bed tonight are allowed on the list.

Give it a try and please let me know how your ‘Must Do’ list improves your productivity and your feelings of accomplishment at the end of a day.

Have you ever felt so passionately about something that you could hardly sit still?

Perhaps you described the feeling as excited, enthused, eager, happy, stimulated, agitated (in a good way), energized, delighted, inspired, thrilled, awakened, amazed.

Do you remember how good that moment felt?

Imagine if your entire life was lived through passion.  Imagine being excited about every moment.  Imagine being so energized that almost everything felt wonderful.  How would your life look?  How would it feel to wake up every morning?

This is what life is like when you find your passion and you design your life around it.  I can tell you first hand, it’s pretty good!  It’s still ok to have bad days and we all have those.  Living through passion doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel pain or disappointment or regret, but when the glass is always half full and you can see the positive, inspiring message in every experience, it’s a very rewarding way to exist.

Try and capture the next moment you feel passion in your life about something.  Write it down.  Reflect on it.  Think about other things you could do that might inspire the same feelings.  Your passion is whatever motivates you and moves you to action. This might just be the starting point for finding your true passion in life.

Who do you hang around?

The people you associate with will have a huge influence on where you want to go in your life.  If you are hoping to find your passion and design your best life, it’s vital that you surround yourself with positive, like-minded people.  Negative people are toxic and they will sap your strength.  Negative attitudes breed negative energy and the number one killer of success is a negative mind.  If your dream is to bring your passion to life, it’s time to eliminate the negative people in your life.

Friends will come and go in your life many times over.  Have a think back to 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even just 1 year ago.  Are all your friends the same people over all those periods in your life?  Of course not.  Some of us are lucky enough to have a few amazing friends who have lasted through many decades of our life.  These friends have most likely served us in a positive way the entire time in some form or another.  Other friends have likely drifted in and out of your life at various phases depending on what they brought to your life at that point in time.

A friendship is like a living thing.  It needs to be fed and nurtured.  If it does not serve to enrich the lives of each party in some way then it will eventually die.  Do all your friends enrich your life in some way?  If not, is it time to distance yourself from the people who are not offering anything positive to you in your life?

“Show me your friends and I will show you your future.”  It’s not quite clear who first quoted this but I think there is a lot to be said for the truth behind the saying.

Whatever the situation, if you are surrounding yourself with people who are continually negative, complaining all the time about their own problems, bitching about everybody else, whining about how bad life is or bringing you down and not supporting your goals, it may be time to do a spring clean of your social circle.  It’s not an easy thing to do and there may be several steps you need to take.  I can’t tell you what the right course of action is but I can tell you, if you allow negative energy to infiltrate your world at a time when you are trying to create change and growth and trying to leap into the scary world of the unknown, you will find yourself dragged down to the bottom of an ugly pit of despair.

Instead, its vital that you focus on the positive, look to the future with hope, determination and desire and only allow those people in who are prepared to come along on the same ride. Surround yourself with positive people.  Distance yourself from any toxic energy.  Seek out leaders and mentors in your field who can help you build your dreams.  Do not be afraid to meet new people who will help to nurture your passion rather than to squash it.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Fear is the biggest saboteur of success.  We often let fear rule our lives and make decisions for us.  In fact sometimes we allow fear to decide things for us that we really want to do.   When we experience fear, it’s normal to react to the emotion rather than the actual potential outcome.  As humans, the natural response to fear is flight or flight.   We either get the hell out of there as quick as possible or we stay and fight for our lives.

When we talk about following a passion or deciding to take on a new venture, the fear we experience can either make it or break it for us.  Unfortunately, for a great number of people, it breaks us and we never realise our dreams.

The next time fear stops you in your tracks, stop for a moment.  Try not to react instinctively to the emotion itself.  Think logically about it.  What’s the worst that could happen?  No seriously, the real life, honest to yourself, worst that can happen.

Could you be told NO?
Could you be rejected by someone?
Could you lose some money?
Could you be a little uncomfortable for short time?
Could it not work out?

Are any of those things really so bad?  Would life still go on?  Would you still be able to function?  Could you still be able to wake up to a new day tomorrow?  Could you perhaps even possibly learn something along the way?

The reality is far less scary than the thought.  The next time you are stopped by fear, ask yourself – What is the worst that can happen?  I am pretty confident that you will find it’s not really as bad as you’ve talked yourself into thinking it is.

One man’s trash

This week it’s hard rubbish collection in my neighbourhood.  I love hard rubbish week.  The fanatical spring cleaner in me enjoys the annual de-cluttering around the house that hard rubbish collection affords.    The sticky beak in me enjoys seeing what others have been collecting in their nest and what junk they have been accumulating over the past 12 months or more.  The scavenger in me is excited at what hidden treasure I might come across.  Perhaps I might come across some wonderfully useful item that I desperately need.  Or perhaps my neighbours will decide to let go of that one thing that will make my life complete.
Unlikely, but you just never know!

My 10 year old who has an imagination to rival Steven Spielberg, with his friends, have found numerous pieces of unwanted junk that they believe will be the thing they need to complete their sci-fi home video creation that’s in the making.  And I’m not kidding when I say I may have a young James Cameron on my hands!

Hard rubbish fascinates me for another reason also.  It’s amazing watching how many scavengers are out searching through the junk.  Searching through rubbish.  Patiently lifting, sorting, sifting through the garbage of another hoping to find an item that they will treasure.  Quite literally, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I think I’ve counted about a dozen foreigners traversing down my street in their cars, trucks and even vans, helping themselves to ‘our’ junk.  They’re not hard to spot.  I live in a court and we pretty much all know each other.   Anyway, I have no problem with that, it’s out on the street to be thrown out so good luck to them I say.  And it’s actually not illegal.  Anyway, I digress.

My point today is that within our lives, so many of us judge ourselves by the material possessions, the values, the opinions and the qualities of others.  We wonder what others have and we want it.  We try to live up to other people’s standards.  We feel inadequate if we don’t have the latest gadget that our friend has.  We want to have the same hairdo as a celebrity.  We want the same body as a movie star.  We want to be like our buddy.

Taking a lesson from hard rubbish collection, one man’s junk is another mans’ treasure and so who are we to compare ourselves to others?  Who are we to judge what is ‘great’ about someone else’s life.  For all we know, that gorgeous dark wavy hair that we covet on our best friend might be her most despised physical characteristic.  What you consider a burden in your life might be the ideal scenario for someone else.

How about we let go of other people’s ‘stuff’ and simply focus on what our ‘treasures’ are because we are all different. Stop comparing and start living.

Love your life, flaws and all.  It’s the only one you have.  If you don’t like it, change it and if you can’t change it, learn to live with it.

Things are not always as they seem

Things are not always as they seem.

This is my 10 year old son.  There was a not so nice incident.  That’s NOT makeup.

I could tell you he had a huge fight with a bully at school and that we spent several hours in emergency at hospital having him assessed as to whether there was any potential eye damage.  I could tell you that he was sent to x-ray to make sure there was no fracture or concussion.  I could tell you that he had to wear a patch over his eye for a week and was miserable having to walk around looking like a pirate.

I could tell you that he’s been in terrible pain and suffering headaches for days as the swelling slowly goes down.  I could tell you that for a while his eye was glued shut with the swelling and pus oozing from the corner of his eye (sorry for the graphic image).

I could tell you all this and based on the picture, you would probably believe me.

In actual fact, this was the result of a little run in with the peak of a friends cap and didn’t cause any pain or problems apart from appearance.  He is fine and has no after effects whatsoever.  Thank goodness.

Things are not always as they seem.

What are the things in your life that you may not be seeing as they really are?  Are you making a drama out of something based purely on how it looks to you?  Is the real story perhaps not as bad as you are seeing it? Are you missing out on something wonderful because your ‘reality’ is something that you’ve actually just created in your mind?

The answer is very likely YES.

Lose yourself

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to go along to a business lunch where the amazing Layne Beachley was giving the keynote speech.  What an amazing woman!

I must admit, I am not a surfer (I had my first lesson at age 39!) and I have never taken that much interest in Layne’s career.  I have certainly missed out on witnessing some amazing achievements – my loss!   Anyway, hearing her describe her career, her ups and downs, her incredibly sad childhood and her struggles with chronic fatigue and depression to go on to win 7 World Championships was fabulous.  She speaks with such passion and enthusiasm, it would be hard not to be inspired by her story.

One of the things that stood out to me was what gave her inspiration.

Eminem.  That’s right, the American rapper.

Eminem’s song ‘Lose yourself’ was what gave Layne her push to go forward and win her 7th World title.  She was tired, she had had enough of the pressure, she was ready to hand the torch to the younger riders and Layne told her story of how she almost gave up prior to going through to her 7th World final and how her favourite song ‘Lose Yourself’ was what snapped her back to reality to give her the edge to go out and win.  I thought it would be a great idea to share those great lyrics.

This also happens to be one of my favourite songs as well.  I’ve taken the liberty of extracting the lyrics I want to highlight.  I hope you take some inspiration from these:

Lose Yourself – Eminem

“Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

“Success is my only option, failure’s not

“So here I go it’s my shot.
Feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got

“You can do anything you set your mind to, man”

Thanks Eminem.   Couldn’t have said it better myself.