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How to rekindle your passion on a lazy Sunday afternoon (Part 2)

This is part 2 of my 3-part blog series on how you can rekindle your passion on a Sunday afternoon. In my previous post I challenged you to dream. In this one, the challenge will be to draw out as much detail as possible from your dream and onto some paper.

Have you ever thought about your life dream? The one you deeply want to live, but find yourself not really moving towards it? Maybe you’re bored or not sure if your current actions align with your dream. Even if you and I do have a dream, how do we know if we’re doing the right thing? How do we know what we want?

The best way I’ve experienced this is to ask ourselves some hard questions. We find, and re-connect with, our ‘why’. Reconnecting with why we want our dream enables us to re-evaluate how far we’ve come, and what we still need to do.

So, here’s the thing, on your lazy Sunday afternoon (it doesn’t have to be a Sunday by the way), grab a pen and multiple pieces of paper.

Ask yourself 5 important questions.

  • What is my dream?
  • Why do I want this?
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What can I offer?
  • What can I do?

These aren’t easy questions. It took me quite a bit of time to answer them, as well as a shedload of mental energy. Yet, I highly recommend and encourage you to answer them as best you can – you will reap the rewards later. Answering these forced me to really define what I was thinking, hoping and dreaming.

As you fill out your story behind these questions, an amazing thing happens, you begin to feel the small feeling of butterflies in your abdomen, and excitement build in your chest. Commonalities will begin to emerge between your answers, and ideas begin to flow. Ideas for plans, ideas for business products, ideas on the route you need to take to reach your dream.

Remember, this is your dream, your purpose, where you want to be in your future. This isn’t a goal you want to achieve, and there aren’t any right or wrong answers. Just your dream, in your words.

Let’s go over the questions in a bit more detail.
(To make this more ‘readable’, I’ve focussed only on the two most important questions in this post. The remainder will be covered off in part 3)

What is my dream?

Write a story of a typical day of your future self. For simplicity, put a timeframe on it. I found 3-5 years was far enough in the future to be beyond a goal, but not too far that it became too farfetched.

As you think about your special day, relax…Feel the emotions you think you would feel. Fall into the dream, concentrate on as many details as you can.

Try to immerse yourself as much as you can. Ask yourself important questions such as; Where am I? What am I feeling? What am I doing? What do my surroundings look like?

As an example, I wrote about how my dream was centered around me being at home, working on this blog, preparing for a meeting in one of my businesses, and enjoying the simple pleasures of family time. For you it might revolve around being an author at a book launch, or a photographer in your studio, or even a manager in an executive meeting of some kind.

Write it all down. Don’t worry about how silly it sounds, the format, or even spelling errors. Just write it down.

It’s great to have a dream and something to aspire to, but there is a more important question to answer…

Why do I want this?

While it’s all well and good knowing where you want to go, you will struggle to get there if you don’t know why you want it.

Knowing why you want your dream is crucial in ensuring you can make it real.

Identifying why you want your dream brings real clarity. It defines your overall purpose, and allows you to focus on what you really want. When I defined my ‘why’, it hit me like a freight train. In the time since I did this exercise, I’ve gained more traction on my dream in a few weeks than I did in the last year!

How do you answer this question, you ask? Keep your dream from the previous question in your mind. Focus on that story, immerse yourself in it as much as you can. Now, what are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? What has happened to make you feel this way? Write your anwers down – no editing, no thinking about structure, just your raw emotional thoughts straight onto the paper.

At the end of it, you will have your reasons for your dream. If they are truly your ‘why’, you will begin to feel a sense of purpose deep down. Your mind and heart will be cleared of indecision on where you want to be.

What’s next?

The next few questions will cover further on how you can identify what you need to do to make your dream a reality. Stay tuned for part 3 next week. But don’t go just yet. There is still your challenge for this week.

I challenge you to think and re-think your answers to What is my dream? and Why do I want this?. The more you think about it, the clearer the dream will be, and the stronger your sense of purpose will grow.

If you are not feeling this, you haven’t found your why, and that’s ok. These are difficult questions, and the answers will come with enough thought and emotion.

Answering these questions brought me clarity to why I’m doing what I’m doing – and that is family and flexibility.

What is your why?

Be sure to look out for part 3, where we will figure out how to begin the journey to achieving your life dream.

How to rekindle your passion on a lazy Sunday afternoon (Part 1)

We are all passionate about something in our lives. Some of us love to write, others love to sew, while others love to sell. Whatever it may be, passion is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, where one day ideas are flying and excitement overflowing, then boredom and frustration the next. You have the power to get out of this rut by simply day dreaming.

It was Sunday, the weather was fantastic outside with the sun shining and just a hint of a breeze to cool the heat. I was feeling frustrated with a lack of progress in multiple aspects of my life. Career progression, house maintenance, and financial inflexibility to name a few.

I had thoughts and plans running around my head about what I should be doing, what I wanted to happen, and how great it would be to have a life of freedom. The passion I had before was being replaced with scattered thoughts and random tasks. I could feel I was moving in a general direction, I knew what I wanted to do this year, but what about the next? Or the year after that?

It was time to clear the picture.

So I sat down at my dining room table for a couple of hours and really worked out where I wanted to be in 3-5 years. I really locked the picture in my mind, mapped it all out, and came out at the end with a real sense of long term purpose. I knew what life I wanted, why I wanted it, and how I could get there.

Many of us go through similar situations where we’ve lost the dream of the project we started. We are beavering away at short term goals, gaining traction on some of our ideas, but we just feel something is missing. Something isn’t quite working out, or the picture of the future is just not clear enough.

Clarity is critical

I am completely guilty of being busy without purpose. When an idea sparks in my mind, I tend to jump all in. It’s what happened last year, and I don’t want to get there again.

Having a dream is fantastic. It’s what gets us up in the morning, ready to take on the big project we started. But those dreams tend to be hazy. We have this lovely feeling of excitement and start doing something, but then lose focus again.

There is a step that needs to happen between thinking about your dream and taking action – and it mostly consists of writing it out. Take a couple of hours out of your day to plan for your future (it can be a lazy Sunday afternoon).

Think hard about that dream. Truly immerse yourself in it. Ask yourself as many questions as possible; Can you see yourself sitting in the picture? What are you feeling? If there are windows, what is the weather like outside? What colours are the walls?

Really focus on the details of your dream. The more crystal clear the dream, the more purpose you can gain out of it.

What are you busy with? Are you working to a schedule? How far in the future is the dream? Are you with anybody?

As I did this process with myself, I found a growing sense of excitement about my future. A sense of purpose and a rekindling of passion began to emerge – especially after I followed the next few questions, which you will see over the next few weeks.

In the next part of this series I will explain how you can draw out the details of your dream and align it with your purpose.

I have a challenge for you before the next article. Have a think about your life in the next 5 years. You know which one I am talking about. It’s the one you think of daily – the book you want to publish, the house you want to build, or even the way of life you want to live.

Think deeply about it, gain as much detail as you can, and we’ll put it all together in the next post.

Improve your decisions with one simple mind trick

We make decisions in everything we do. In the way we brush our teeth in the morning, when we decide to buy coffee, or where to sit on the train. Every single one of these decisions impacts our lives in ways we cannot imagine. Each decision moves us towards a destination we may, or may not, have set for ourselves. We need to make our decisions count.

So often, I see myself and others faltering on their decision making. Some folk make rash decisions (I’m guilty of this), while others find it difficult to make a decision on much of anything. We go about our lives rueing the decisions we’ve made – or not made.

So how do we change this? How do we become better decision makers? Well, there isn’t much we can do, really. Yes, there are a plethora of options available, ranging from gut feeling to the Kepner Tregoe Decision Making process, but the trouble is we can’t go about performing a problem analysis for every decision we make – especially if it a subconscious, sub-second one made in the spur of the moment. Neither can we simply go on gut feeling when the decision requires more thought. The trick is to find balance between the two.

One method that has worked for me is to focus only on the object of the decision. For example, I’m trying to make better decisions when I’m thirsty, specifically drinking water instead of Coca-Cola. I focus only on the area I want to change – drink water. I consciously bring that decision to the front of my mind when I’m thirsty, or every time it crosses my mind. I replace the thought with the object, like ‘Water, water, water‘, ‘drink 2 litres of water a day‘, or ‘drink water now before you want something else, you lazy bastard!‘. I find the next time I am thirsty, I choose water instead of Coca-Cola.

This method has worked for me in other things too, such as;
– exercising each morning (saying ‘Drop and give me 20!‘, instead of ‘I’m tired‘),
– focussing on tasks (saying ‘Another one knocked off‘, instead of ‘I have so much to do!‘),
– and even showing my family appreciation (saying ‘These people are my foundation‘, instead of ‘Where is my time going?‘).

Many decisions we make are due to habits we instil in ourselves. We’ve made these habits consistent enough to move to our sub-conscious. Once there, most of the decisions we make are automatic. Because we’ve made similar decisions before, our brains move the mental processing out of the way so that we can make these decisions quicker.

Changing these auto-decisions requires you to fuse new thought patterns and habits into your sub-conscious. No easy feat, but certainly possible. And it is easier than you think. It all starts with a little focus, and some habit forming.

What will you change about your decision making process today?

[Featured image Ashley Batz via unsplash.com]

Decide to make a difference

Do you feel like you can’t make a difference in the world today? The world is so noisy and filled with so many voices that it is near impossible for you to hear or say anything of value. I feel like that sometimes. But the truth is, you can (and you do) make a difference.

I used to be anonymous (I still am to some degree). I had thoughts, dreams, and things I wanted to say. I thought they were only applicable to me and believed no-one would care to support my thoughts, let alone look forward to what I had to say. So I said nothing. I kept my mouth shut, accepted what I received, and didn’t ask for anything more.

As time went on I shared my thoughts and dreams. I began to question the world around me. Is this mediocre life worth it? Is the financial burden worth the daily commute? What do I need to do in order to spend more time with my family? I started a blog to journal the journey I was travelling.

A strange thing began to happen. People responded. Not just friends and colleagues, but strangers from around the world. They were going through similar experiences or seeking guidance, and I was helping them through it. This really took me by surprise. How could I, an average Joe, be helping people around the world? What could I possibly offer to the people around me that they couldn’t get from a self-help book of some kind?

I now truly believe that ‘anybody’ is a ‘somebody’ in someone’s life. For example, Richard Branson can tell you a lot about business, but your entrepreneur friend, Jack, will teach you more. Dr. Phil can tell you a lot about psychology, but your therapist cousin, Francine, will teach you more. Why? Because they’re local, they’re personal, they have a direct link to you. They can directly influence you, your skills, and your experiences through life. So, too, do you make a difference to others around you. You might not see it, but people are being influenced by you all the time. It’s the little things where you can notice it first, like which movie to watch or which book to read.

You are just as important to someone else.
You have knowledge that nobody else has.
You have your own spin on the world that is unique to you.

I struggle with my thoughts and fears every day, thinking that there are so many people saying the same thing as me. I’m constantly thinking that I’ll just be another whisper in the wind. But I then think of my family, the people I’ve helped so far on my short journey. It gives me hope of making this world a better place for all of us. I’ve seen the impact my words have had at home, with friends, as well as colleagues.

You can make your own difference too – you really can. You directly impact your surroundings. You don’t need to rely on the big players out there. You know what’s right for you, no-one else. The best place to start is at home. Share your thoughts, dreams, and message with your family. Mention it to trusted friends. Try it at the office. You may just be surprised where you will end up.

Why not start right here? Leave a message in the comments below.

[Featured image by Paul Proshin via unsplash.com]

How will you make 2015 better?

The trouble with life is that it just gets in the way of your dreams. It sits there and sniggers when you haven’t achieved a goal you’ve set for yourself. It constantly intervenes to hamper your progress towards bigger and better things. Life laughs in your face, especially when you’re down.

The truth is, it’s not life that gets in the way, it’s us. We are the ones that allow distractions in. We are the ones that lose the momentum when the going gets tough (or too easy for that matter). We are the ones that allow our end goals to slip away.

Last year, I experienced just this. The year started off with a bang. I had started my newsletter, my work was being posted on other blogs. I was gaining exposure in the right places. But then I got lazy. I lost focus, and the year just fizzled out into mediocrity. I was extremely disappointed with myself.

I learnt something important during that time. I learnt my limitations and what I need to do to exceed them. I learnt more about myself and what I want to do with my life. I learnt I am not as awesome I as I think I might be. Finally, I learnt humility.

It seemed to be a recurring theme. I needed to find a way out of this habit. Thanks to my beautiful wife, that path may have been found. During Christmas my wife bought Leonie Dawson’s 2015 workbook, and I found Michael Hyatt’s free introductory videos for his best year ever course. Both are about setting goals and achieving them. They offer a system you can use to effectively and confidently achieve your goals. I am intrigued at how similar these methods are, and I believe there is some common sense in them.

My wife and I worked our way through Leonie Dawson’s workbook. It had us thinking long and hard about what we want to achieve in our lives this year. I’m excited about what opportunities will present themselves – if I can stick to my guns. I’m confident that by using the methods learnt through Leonie Dawson and Michael Hyatt, my work life, home life, and life in general will be changed for the better.

What about you? Have you thought about what you want to achieve this year? How are you going to do it? I highly recommend implementing a system for you to achieve all you can.

20 Quotes that will change your life

We all love quotes. Short, quirky sentences that sum up how we’re feeling today. We smile, we share it on social media, and, most of the time, we forget them after a few minutes. There are a few, though, that stick with you for a lifetime. Those few that you remember while you drive your car, eat your dinner, or watch a movie. Those are the quotes that change your life.

Here are a few quotes that have changed my life. There aren’t powerful pictures, or flashy text. When the message is true, it doesn’t matter what medium it comes through.

I ask a favour of you while you read these. Take a moment to ponder each one – and I mean really think about them. Do they appeal to you? Do they strike a chord? Do you aspire to be like that? If you answered yes to any of these questions, what is stopping you from taking action? Nothing. You can change your world by taking the first step.

Here they are:

Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

Mother Teresa


He who laughs, lasts.

Unknown


Be the reason someone smiles today.

Bruce van Horn


Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!

Dr. Seuss


If you haven’t decided to matter, you won’t.

Dan Rockwell


It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.

E.E. Cummings


If you have nothing to say, say nothing.

Mark Twain


Successful people do not complain about the things they have the ability to change, they simply change them.

Unknown


Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Unknown


A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.

Unknown


A beautiful thing is never perfect.

Egyptian proverb


Not trying is the only true failure.

Unknown


You will never win if you never begin.

Helen Rowland


There is nothing impossible to him who will try.

Alexander the Great


You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.

Seth Godin


All glory comes from daring to begin.

Eugene F. Ware


If there is no wind, row.

Proverb


Running away from your problems is a race you will never win.

Unknown


The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care.

Unknown


What quotes have you come across that you live by? I’d love to know.

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