The way we think and feel moment by moment has a huge influence over the results we experience. Use this simple, easy to remember strategy to keep feeling at your best when you need it most.

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I am very excited to bring you the first in a brand new video series: “The Life Happens Little Lessons”. These are short, snappy personal growth and development tips and insights to keep you firmly on the path of success and happiness.

In today’s video I’ll share with you a simply and easy to apply strategy to get you back into a resourceful frame of mind for those times when life wants to see what you’re made of! We all face daily challenges; its what we do about them that ultimately determines our results.

Warm wishes,

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Do you worry too much? Do you wonder how to stop worrying, or at least worry less? Let’s take a look at the purpose of worry and a useful strategy for feeling more influential over your circumstances.

“Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.” Line from ‘Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)’ by Baz Luhrmann

How to stop worryingOne of the more enlightening ‘a-ha’ moments I’ve had on my adventures into the world of personal growth was having it pointed to me out how much energy I invested into fussing over things I had no control over.

It was back when I was starting out as an over-eager, wet behind the ears, newly qualified NLP practitioner, determined to create an über successful personal development empire (sound familiar, anyone?) But I was broke and had the business savvy of stuffed goat. Despite all my training in state management and ‘resourceful thinking’, I couldn’t help feeling blocked from every angle trying to get a business off the ground.

I sat down with my mentor and described to her the difficulties I was facing:

It was a saturated market. The competition were way more experienced and I was. Advertising was too expensive. People might think I was too young to be taken seriously.

She listened compassionately and patiently waited for me to finish my rant, then asked, “With so many things you can focus on in business, why would you focus on the things you can’t do anything about?”

That hit me like a brick. It was uncomfortable to take at first, but the discomfort quickly dissolved into a huge sense of relief. She was right. The only thing my worrying was enabling me to do was to move further away from the creativity my fledgling business was crying out for.

[pullquote align=”left”]”Worry is just a misguided strategy for feeling safe. When you worry, it is because part of you believes you can worry your way to a helpful insight, but that is rarely the case.”[/pullquote]From there I made a commitment to only focus on that which I could influence. I decided not to spend money I didn’t have on advertising, but instead to have more real conversations with more real people about the ways I could serve them. I gave up waiting for paying clients to whom I could demonstrate my expertise and started sharing it for free via talks, articles and podcasts (which resulted in paying clients).

Progress was slow, but it was 100% more progress than I had experienced prior to that moment of clarity.

Nowadays, I still find myself worrying about things I can’t change, but I’ve gotten a heck of a lot better at spotting when I’m doing it and shifting my focus towards a more useful way of thinking.

We all worry about stuff, it’s part of the human condition. Some of us contain it to trivialities such as the weather, what clothes to wear or what other people think. But some of us could represent our countries in the ‘Worry Olympics'; threating over the dire economy, the state of humanity or the potential for an alien invasion.

Worry is just a misguided strategy for feeling safe. When you worry, it is because part of you believes you can worry your way to a helpful insight, but that is rarely the case. All worry does is feed your imagination with a disaster movie loop that begets more worry. And of course, your imagination is not reality.

However, it is not your job to eradicate worry any more than it’s your job to eradicate the weather. But it is your job to practice wisdom. You don’t always choose the thoughts that pop into your head, but you can always choose what to do with them once they are there.

The saying, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothes’, can easily be translated as, ‘There’s no such thing as bad reality, only unhelpful thinking.’

AN OLYMPIC STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH WORRY

One of the simplest, yet most powerful ways I’ve found to exercise more of my own wisdom in difficult circumstances is to remember a phrase popularised by Charlie Jones, a sportscaster covering the rowing events of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Interviewing the various teams prior to their heats, he’d often ask how they planned to deal with the various challenges they might face; the stiff competition, adverse weather conditions, being placed in an outside lane, breaking an oar, etc. What he was struck by was the frequency with which he got the same response:

“That’s outside my boat.”

The athletes refused to comment on any dynamic of the race that they could not directly control. They only focused on two basic questions:

“Is it inside the boat?” and, “Does it make the boat go faster?”

Recognising what is inside and what is outside your boat is fundamental to getting more of what you want out of life.

The fact that you don’t have more money in your bank account, at this precise moment in time, is outside your boat. So, if having more money is important to you, what is inside your boat that you do have influence over?

If a hundred highly qualified candidates have applied for the same dream job as you, that’s outside your boat. What would be most useful for you to focus on to give yourself the greatest chance of standing out? You might not get it, and that’s also outside your boat, so what’s your back-up?

It is outside your boat that your kids may be exposed to some of the less savoury aspects of the big bad world. What positive, healthy strategies do you have inside your boat to prepare them well and to trust their judgement?

It is also worth knowing that what is outside your boat may just be reflective of how things stand today. If you are willing to be patient and take a longer term view, things can often change in a big way with the help of your consistent, little, inside-the-boat nudges. Even international laws have been changed through the persistent loving actions of lowly individuals.

It’s a cliché, but nothing in your life ever changed just because you worried enough about it. Think about what are you able to physically influence right now, even if it is just how to find a little more peace within yourself.

Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know what you are ready to stop worrying about.

I’ll leave you with a reminder of these classic lines from the ‘Serenity Prayer’.

“Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can,
and wisdom to know the difference.”

With love,

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Welcome to the premier video of the ‘Living With Purpose’ interview series!

mikeWhen exploring what our own unique purpose in the world is we are often inspired by other people’s stories. This series of interviews is intended to showcase the journeys of courageous individuals who have committed themselves to answering their calling and who are now living and working true to their purpose.

Through listening to these conversations my deepest wish is that you will resonate with some the philosophies and principles you hear and be inspired to try them out for yourself.

My first guest is Michael Teape, founder of Teape Training International. Mike is not only a close personal friend of mine, but someone who I have admired and looked up to for many years. His passion and skill for coaching in business is first class and is fuelled by his authentic desire to be of service and make a real positive difference to all he works with.

If you enjoy this conversation, please share the love by liking this page and popping a comment in the box below.

In this episode Paul talks about why it is that we often resist our own success and what we can do to let inspiration be more of a guiding force in our lives. The secret is in the equation F = I – R !!!

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

fear of making bad decisionsMany people have a fear of making bad decisions and overcoming it becomes a lot easier when you redefine what a decision actually is. In this post I’ll share with you a mindset for having the confidence to decide.

How many times in your life have you put off doing something because you couldn’t decide the best course of action to take? I’ve known people plan to go out for a well earned meal with their partner and end up staying at home because they couldn’t make up their mind between Chinese or Italian. Heaven help the person who orders sweet and sour chicken when all along they should have been having lasagna  Can you imagine what it is like for them to choose between staying in their job or taking a gamble on starting that business they always dreamed of?

The fear of making bad decisions prevents people from doing all kinds of things that they might be better off doing. The truth of the matter is there is no way of knowing which direction a particular choice is going to take you. You can spend years ruminating over every possible outcome while in the meantime the world just moves on around you. It doesn’t change the fact that, no matter what you choose to do in the end, it might all turn out right and it might all turn out not so right.

But none of that matters because the secret to making great decisions is falling in love with making mistakes.

A lot of people will not make the distinction between making a mistake and making a bad decision, but there is a world of difference, and realising what that difference is can literally turn your life around and set you on a whole new path.

A mistake is literally doing something in a moment that you think is for the best but later turns out to be not such a good idea for you. A bad decision is doing nothing to correct that mistake and then letting the consequences of it define you for ages afterwards.

Here are a few of examples:

Mistake = Getting into a relationship with the wrong person
Bad Decision = Sticking with them and being miserable for the rest of your life

Mistake = Choosing Bognor Regis rather than Cuba for your annual holiday
Bad Decision = Looking for everything you can find to hate about Bognor just to prove you were right about how you should have gone to Cuba! And then going back to Bognor next year! (Bognor is a wonderful place by the way :o)

Mistake = Going into business without having some sort of a plan
Bad Decision = Injecting more and more of your personal finance, sweat and tears into it just to prove you can make the damn thing work.

Making a good decision is not about knowing the outcome before it has had a chance to happen. It is about committing to ANY course of action you FEEL is for the best and then paying attention to the lessons you are later presented with. It is the skill of interpreting the information generated by what has happened and choosing to either do more of the same or change your approach – even start again in some cases. In the same way that an aeroplane reaches its destination by continually measuring how off track it is from the set flight path and adjusting its course to get back on track, the same is true for good decision making.

Making a decision in any area is not a one time event; it is an ongoing and organic process that must evolve as life unfolds.


Homework

Think about a decision you have been putting off making. What are the possible choices you have?

Just for a moment, let go of analysing which choice you think you should make and just listen to your body; your intuition. If I were to flip a coin and the rules were Heads you choose option A and Tails you go with option B, which side would you secretly hope for, deep down, before knowing the outcome?

Just go with your instinct and do something to start to make that choice happen. Be willing to make a mistake, knowing that the only bad decision you can ever make is to not do something about the things you didn’t want to happen.

If things go wrong be willing to make a mistake in the opposite direction because, who knows, it might turn out to not be a mistake after all, but rather the realisation of your dream!

No matter what your situation you always have choice. Don’t worry about having to choose wisely, that’s overrated.


Take great care. Namaste.

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“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” – Harold Coffin

thumbLiving in London I get to travel on public transport A LOT, and for someone in my line of work that provides a fabulous opportunity to observe the quirkiness of human nature in action. It is never my intention to deliberately earwig on other people’s conversations, but sometimes when you’re on a packed tube (with a stray armpit in your face) it is pretty hard not to!

One such conversation that fascinated me recently was between two female twenty-something office workers who were off-loading their end-of-day grievances to each other. One of them was venting about a guy she works with who had obviously experienced a fortunate end to a tricky situation. This is what she said (and I’ll quote verbatim, so apologies for the language):

“You know it’s so frustrating! No matter what kind of crap he gets himself into he always comes up smelling of roses. He’s so jammy. I hate it!”

While I’ll never know the juicy details of what she was talking about, what really interested me was how her attitude towards her colleague must have been affecting the quality of her own experiences. What was it about this guy’s lucky break that caused her to feel annoyed rather than pleased? How had her annoyance with him influenced the way she had subsequently gone about her own business that day?

Isn’t it intriguing how we can sometimes feel uneasy about other people doing well? But whatever it is that causes us to harbour a bit of ill feeling towards others when they are being successful is also the thing that causes us to block the flow of our own potential to create more of what we want in our own lives. For some people that may be about money, career opportunities, better relationships, nicer stuff, etc… For others it might simply be about having greater peace of mind.

Most of the time we don’t mean to feel negativity towards the success of others and often we don’t even know that we’re doing it. It doesn’t make us bad or undeserving people, it is just what happens when the unconscious mind thinks it is missing out on something important.

By definition, in order to feel threatened, annoyed, frustrated or jealous of what others have, you must also be focusing on what you don’t have. Thinking from within the confines of a ‘lack mentality’ can only ever lead to you seeing (or making up) more and more evidence for why you are not fulfilled. If all you see is lack, then lack is all you get.

I have even had clients tell me that the more they see others prosper the more they get a feeling that there is less prosperity to go around for them. The only reason for thinking like this is if you believe that there is a cap on the amount of abundance the world has to offer. However, even if we bring it back to money there is always more than enough. If we were to split the total amount of money in the world equally amongst the current population, every man, woman and child would be a multi billionaire! So the obvious answer to the question “where is the money going to come from?” is “wherever it is now!”

But of course it is not just money that makes humans feel uneasy when some have it and others don’t. It is also a common trait to resent other people’s luck, their looks, their relationships, their popularity, their status…

So what is the answer? What needs to happen to make a shift away from dwelling on lack and towards the kind of energy that supports you in living your best life?

The answer is to think about that thing that you want for yourself and to want it more for others.

I know that seems a bit odd at first bite, but it is the most powerful way of freeing up your own potential for living out of an ‘abundance mentality’. I call this the ‘Well Wishing’ principle.

Try this out. Take a moment to reflect on the kind of peace of mind you would love to have in your life. How wonderful would it be to spend everyday completely aligned with your most natural peaceful self? When you’ve got a sense of what that must be like, look at the person nearest to you or, if you’re alone, think about someone you saw today, and genuinely wish that same peace of mind for them, only stronger.

Notice what happens to your energy when you do this. Wishing them well begins to open up a path for you to experience that peace that you are looking for. This is a nice demonstration of the notion that what you give away you get to keep. That is the nature of abundance.

 

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HOMEWORK
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Take some time to check in with how you are doing in your life at the moment. Are there areas that are not living up to how you want them to be?

Go through an honest assessment of how you have been feeling towards other people that you have thought to be doing better than you in a particular way. Pay close attention to your emotional responses and be sensitive to any feelings that resemble jealousy, anxiety, frustration, annoyance, injustice, etc. Sometimes these feelings can be very hard to admit to, especially if they are towards your nearest and dearest, but it is important to be as honest as you can be.

Now imagine that aspect of your life exactly as you would love it to be and step into the feeling of it, as if everything is perfect right now. Then, knowing that you live in an abundant universe, wish more of that same feeling and success to those other people.

Examples:

– If a business competitor is doing really well, wish them even more success and prosperity, knowing that there is more than enough for you too.

– If you think one of your friends is more popular than you, genuinely send them wishes for greater, stronger friendships, knowing that that kind of energy coming from you is naturally attractive to others.

– If someone you know is lucky enough to “always come up smelling of roses”, wish them the continued fortune of always being in the right place at the right time (and then notice what starts to happen to your own ‘luck’).

– When you see people with really nice stuff (flashy cars, big houses, luxury holidays, etc.), hope that they are really enjoying themselves and blissed out on deep gratitude for what they have in their lives.

I hope you enjoyed reading this week’s coaching tip even more than I loved writing it.
Take great care. Namaste.