The Gentle Moon and the Pull of 90 Minutes

Part One

Here is my L’exercise regime per annum…

1 Joined a Gym in January;

2 Fought the Flab in February;

3 Managed more Mindfulness in March;

4 Attitude Adjustment in April;

5 More Mindfulness in May as My Memory… erm;

6 Jogged dutifully in June;

7 Jumped Joyously all July;

8 Added Additional Attitudinal Adjustments in August… from the Beach;

9 Sought Solace in Sacred Silence in September;

10 Ought to do more in October, but didn’t;

11 Not much in November neither;

12 Decided in December to do more again… in January!


I go through “Cycles of Good Intent” – and the cycles continue because I inevitably run out of enthusiasm… or time!
No deep message today save that of, “be gentle with yourself” and “honour the Seasons of Your Soul.”

You see, your body is one amazing set of clocks and cycles.

You work in cycles: daily, monthly and even down to major changes every 90 minutes.
Sometimes we attach our commitment to the wrong cycle.
For example, we might set a goal for the year ahead whereas we would be kinder and more sensible to think a month ahead.
This is the kindness of the Gentle Moon in contrast with the righteous intensity of the Sun.

Even the Sun has Seasons in the Temperate Climates – 90 days is enough to make a change.
So set a goal for Spring;
Another for Summer… it is here!
Like a Fashion House, work on your Autumn/Fall Collection;
And remember Winter has it’s unique charms.

Part Two

If you have s-t-r-e-t—c——-h———-e—————d too far, come back a bit and think,
“Is this a goal for a Season? No? How about a Month? No? How about the Week Ahead? No? How about Just For Today?”

And sometimes, just sometimes, the gravitational pull of the next 90 minutes is quite enough to cope with.

Loving thoughts from Lex!

Jedi Nights

“Jedi Nights”

Yes, I know that’s spelt wrong.

It’s the “Jedi” bit that got me going. I was just about to spend out more money on yet another internet-based offer of information on how to sell effectively… …when the ‘still, small voice’ inside said, “You’ve got plenty of knowledge already; you need to take action!

This then reminded me of JDI – Just Do It!- the Nike trademarked campaign (how can you trademark a phrase like that? Incredible.) So I can’t use that. Then I wondered what “JEDI” could stand for. The answer came quickly, “Just Enthusiastically Do It!”

You see, the moment you take action, everything changes.

Nothing can remain the same because you live in a dynamic system where everything connects to everything else. In fact, everyone connects to everyone else! The flap of a butterfly’s wings in Ushuaia, Argentina can caused a cool breeze to blow in Swanage, England.

This isn’t a Jedi Mind-Game. Physical action makes the difference. You’ve got to say something, touch something, type something, move something.

Peter Thomson says, “Action is the key.”

There are many types of action, but by far my favourite is “enthusiastic action” – doing something as if you are really enjoying it. Sometimes the thought of the end result is enough to help you find the enthusiastic motivation you need to drive your actions forward.

Vanda North shared a story with me years ago. It was about the rich kid who wanted a pony for his birthday. The parents already had stables, and a stall ready for a new pony. On the dawn of his birthday, the lad leapt out of bed, and, still in his pyjamas, ran to the stable. The stable was full of poo – horse poo. With a yelp of delight, he mucked in and started digging into the pile of poo with total enthusiasm. Bemused, his parents joined him and asked him what he was so excited about. He answered with a grin, “Mum, Dad, with all this huge amount of poo, there’s got to be a pony in there!”

So why, “Jedi Nights”?

Well, I think it’s a great idea to never let a day go by without taking enthusiastic action. Like the lad who desired a pony, set your ambition boldly for the day. At the end of the day, when night comes, you may discover you’d really only been sifting and shifting shit all day, but you will have enjoyed the journey because you did it with all your heart. The poo might be the same, just in a different place, but you will be different. Same shit, different day? Not really, because you will have become stronger and more resilient in the process… and nothing will ever be the same again.

Just Enthusiastically Do It!

And here’s an example of Team Jedis

 

Living Goals [POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.8]

So Let It Be Written; So Let It Be Done!

So Let It Be Written; So Let It Be Done!

Living Goals [POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.8]

Well, as I come to the end of my 8-part series on how to create goals you’re likely to achieve, I arrive at my rest with my favourite criterion. This is that our goals need to be “Living”.

At first, this may sound strange but its meaning is simply that goals must come “alive” to us on a daily basis. We are strange creatures. Our awareness of time is strongly focused on today, with a span reaching with some clarity to yesterday and tomorrow but not much further! It is as if a python had swallowed an elephant – there’s a big bulge in the middle of our timeline! The returns diminish as we get further and further away from the central focus that is “today”!

It is almost as if our system really does reboot after every period of significant sleep, bringing a new locus of focus.

When I first began to realise the power of goal-setting, I went to town. I had a gorgeous binder full of fantastic images of what I’d like to have, be or do. The problem was that when I shut the cover on the folder, I shut the contents off from my mind. I closed the book.

Far better to re-energise your goals on a daily basis. And to do this, you just need a humble notebook. There is something visceral about jotting down a reminder of your key and core goals – great and small. We know that the memory traces are already in position, we just need to remind our consciousness that these are the destinations we wish to head towards, right here, right now. This strengthens the neural pathway to that dream, and makes it ever more a path of least resistance.

Then, instead of being “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” – the dreams will stay “insight, in-mind” – and you’ll find that this is one way that dreams become reality.

So let it be written (daily), so let it be done (daily). [With a pencil…??? They are so tactile!]

A Summary of Our Journey Towards Realising Our Dreams

Whilst mnemonics may not be everyone’s cup-of-tea, they do help me with this particular checklist-for-transformation. So here is a summary of our POWERFUL journey together over 8 posts.

P was for ‘Positive’ – framing our desires in terms of what we want rather than what we don’t want.

O was for ‘Own-Control’ – choosing goals that we had the power to influence.

W was for the ‘Win-Win’ – making sure there was a big enough ‘win’ to motivate us to persevere.

E was for the ‘Evidence’ – the sensory signs that would let us know we were on or off track.

R was for ‘Resource’ but also for ‘Resourcefulness’ – that ‘Resilience’ that works with the ‘win’ to keep us going.

F was for ‘Faith’ – requiring an occasional jump when a humble step would seem far safer.

U was for ‘Unique’ – keeping our goals simple and single – the KISS principle.

L was for ‘Living’ – breathing life into our goals every day by taking the simple action of (re)writing them down on a humble note-pad.

May all your good dreams come true x

A KISS is Unique (POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.7)

One-Thought-At-A-Time

I am grateful to my three sons for teaching me so much about success. Each one of them is unique. When they were small, they were so cute, engaging and witty – individually! But stick them together and a different chemistry began. To use street language, they “did my head in!”

Balancing the often conflicting needs of three young children in the same time-space was too much for my mind and my attention. Confusion and chaos followed rapidly!

When trying to befriend our brains, the same is true. Sometimes our goals are like three children going in different directions. This makes life confusing and too complex. Your brain will thank you for presenting one idea or demand on its attention at a time. Yes, I know female wired brains can cope with more, but the preference still remains for one-thought-at-a-time.

Some people confuse their dreams and goals by blending two or more ideas together. For example, if your desire is to be fit and healthy, it’s easy to think about those two discrete goals in the same sentence. Like my sons, they are similar and belong to the same ‘family’ of ideas. However, “fit” is not quite the same as “healthy”. Is it possible to be fit but not healthy? Is it possible to be healthy but not fit? I look forward to your comments!

Just imagine expanding those two desired states into the steps it would take to create them. A fitness regime is a lot about exercise. Being healthy includes exercise but it is frequently more about diet. And, yes, I do realise they overlap. My point, however, is that the brain works on each of them far more effectively if they are treated as unique goals.

When they are given their own unique time and attention, they will respond just like my lovely sons did when they were little: they will thrive!

Keep It Short and Simple!

KISS Me Quick!

Faith – the Final Frontier (POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.6)

Daniel_Ilabaca“Daniel Ilabaca” by Jon Lucas. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daniel_Ilabaca.jpg#/media/File:Daniel_Ilabaca.jpg

Faith – The Final Frontier

If you’re going to take a leap of faith, you need to leap boldly. It may be argued that climbing has been transformed by bold people like Sébastien Foucan who is famous for Parkour and Free Running. These disciplines combine as much momentum as possible to get from A to B as efficiently as they can. This may mean seeming to ‘run’ up a cliff-face.

The difference from traditional climbing is stark. Safe climbing demands keeping one foot and one hand in position at any time. You scale whatever challenge you’re facing in a lizard-like movement. Not so with free running. With Parkour and Free Running the momentum and the jumps are key parts of getting you to the summit. Mindset, according to Daniel Ilabaca, another star of the discipline, is also vital. If you think you’ll fall, you’re more likely to fall.

It seems then that this revolution in climbing to the summit requires a leap or two of faith. Faith is a sure and certain expectation to do with the future and the unseen. Like free running, I think it is a tough discipline. It requires a revolutionary kind of commitment – a commitment to propelling oneself towards a future that is just that little bit out of reach.

Fear, on the other hand (and foot) is a sure and certain understanding to do with the present and the seen. It helps us cling safely to where we are. And that’s its purpose – keeping us safe. I’m not down on fear – fear is good when it serves a survival purpose. It keeps us safely in the comfort zone.

But creating an extraordinary future requires change, momentum, a positive mindset and faith. It requires courage and daring, and, dare I say it, a little bit of craziness?

If we keep on doing what we’ve always been doing, we will continue to get what we’ve always been getting. If you and I want something different, something more, something better, we need to do something different. Is it time for a leap of faith?

If it is, you’ll need to fuel your faith. Those who engage in Parkour and Free Running do a lot of practice. Developing faith takes practice too. Faith comes from hearing words and stories of those who have successfully dared to cross a new frontier. If you surround yourself with naysayers – your faith will dissipate. If you surround yourself with accounts of the bold and courageous, you will find your courage and faith rising.

OK, I’m off to play some Van Halen! Might as well…

POWERFUL Goals – The Three Rs in Hope! (POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.5)

Boldness-has-Magic

 The Road from Hope

“Hope” is a magnificent state of mind. It reaches forward into the future and the unseen. Our task, is to trace the route back from the future to our present position and to work out the simple first steps. This can be a long journey, but it is rarely, if ever, a passive journey. We need to take action.

Today, I’d like to think about three “R”s that will most influence the effectiveness of our actions. They are “Resources”, “Resourcefulness” and “Resilience”. Most goal-setting guides talk about the importance of resources. To achieve goals we are likely to need the resources of time, money, people and the right skills. This much is rather obvious. But the key resource is resourcefulness.

I grew up as one of the “Blue Peter” generations. On every programme, there was guidance on how to create amazing gifts with little more than a washing-up liquid bottle, some tubes from toilet rolls and the ubiquitous “sticky back plastic”. Of course, the key ingredient was imagination! The programme encouraged us to take what we had to hand and create something amazing with it. What a great lesson for life.

Rather than focus on what we don’t have, perhaps it is time to look around and become more resourceful with what we do have.

And then there’s resilience. The attitude that keeps us going when we want to quit. Resilience is a fruit of hope and faith. If we have a compelling vision of where we want to get to, we can often find the strength to keep going. If we believe that what we seek is good or meaningful or worthwhile, we can often tap into those inner resources that give use the strength to persevere.

So, as is so often the case, the question is, “where is our focus?” If our focus is on the problems (as I understand it needs to be sometimes), the result after a while is draining. If our focus is on the end result – what we hope for – our brain can often work on the unseen in the unseen! Magic can happen.

Let me close with words often attributed to the great Author, Goethe…

Then indecision brings its own delays,

And days are lost lamenting over lost days.

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;

What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

[Author’s Note.  This is part of a series on how to be the architect of goals that really can be achieved.  The points so far have been: P for Positive, O for under your Own Control, W for Win, E for Evidence, and now, R for Resources, Resourceful and Resilience.]

A POWERFUL Approach to Goal Setting – Evidence ((POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.4)

Harbour Lights

Many safe harbours around the World actually have challenges with accessing them. The channel into the harbour may be ‘safe’ only during certain tides, and the path is rarely straight. That sounds like many of my experiences of life’s ‘potential’! I know there’s good stuff to reach – my safe harbour – but gaining safe access on the journey is a question of wise navigation around the many hazards.

When pursuing the path to my goal (my safe harbour) it’s good to know about the Harbour Lights. Navigators have set up ‘signs’ to guide sailors along the best path. Sometimes this is a question of lining up three guide-lights to get the right bearing.

I have found this very helpful as a metaphor in life. For example, any matter, especially one affecting relationships, should be taken seriously only if three events seem to say the same thing. Otherwise it is too easy to misjudge people based on a single misunderstanding. If you think someone is being rude to you, three experiences of them being rude is a good foundation for this conclusion – one, isn’t.

Achieving one’s dreams also benefits from the support of threes. When you set yourself on a path to something, you need guidance that you’re on the right track. Your most present guides are your five senses. Take the goal of deciding whether something is dangerous? Does it look dangerous? (Like a Tiger and its claws!) Does it sound dangerous? (Like a Tiger and its roar!!) Does it feel dangerous? (Like a Tiger getting too close!!!) If you get, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” it probably is dangerous!

In a more positive way, you can set yourself up for success by asking yourself, “What will I see, hear, feel, smell or taste that will give me evidence I am on the right path?” The more sensory sign-posts you can think of, the more your journey will make sense! Psychologically, just thinking about the signs that will suggest you are getting what you desire ‘sets’ your brain to take more notice of them. You get more of what you pay attention to. Want a new car from a certain brand? I can guarantee you’ll notice them ‘everywhere’!

If your goal is to avoid a downer – the same principles apply. You’ll have signs that you are beginning to progress down that path. Learning to define the signs and then read the signs can help you make better choices at the next junction.

 

Author’s Note.

This is part of a blog series on how to set POWERFUL Goals – one’s that have a high likelihood of being achieved.

The letters so far are:

  • Positive – frame your goal in terms of what you want, not what you don’t want
  • Own Control – set goals that are under your own control rather than those that depend upon others for their success
  • Win-Win – have a HUGE Win associated with the goal so that it becomes motivating
  • Evidence – define the evidence your senses will need to experience to confirm you’re on the right track.