The Seasons of Life

harvest fruits

Fall is the time to harvest the fruits of our springtime labour. It also presents us with a major lesson to learn in life, which is to learn how to reap in the fall without apology if you have done well and without complaint if you have not.  

Nothing is more exciting than a bounteous crop, and nothing is more dreadful than a barren field in the fall. We must remember that in all areas of the human existence, what we put into this world, we get back from it. It is nature’s way of evening the score. So regardless of the results, take full responsibility for your crop. One of the highest forms of human maturity is accepting full responsibility for our lives. 

We must remember that life is constantly recycling itself. Much of life is about the balancing of two opposites, like the positive and negative charge on a battery. Life’s balancing of opposites totally surrounds our lives: man/woman, day/night, good/evil, life/death, water/land, summer/winter, recession/expansion, joy/sorrow, etc. 

Yes, I believe we will have major changes, but I also believe we will continue to have just one winter, spring, summer and fall each year. Much of our success will lie in our ability and philosophy to plant in the springtime of opportunity, to weed and cultivate in the testing time of summer, to harvest without apology and/or complaint in the results time of fall and to get stronger, wiser, better in the transition and learning times of winter. 

Remember it is not what happens to you that determines your future; it is what you do about it. 

So here’s to a great and prosperous upcoming year. 

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

Simplify Then Focus

Henry David Thoreau shouted “Simplify. Simplify. Simplify” in his breathtakingly good book “Walden”. Nice point. One of the primary reasons that people and organizations fail to get to greatness is that they try to be too many things to too many people. I’ll use the Confucius quote I often use here: “Man who chases two rabbits catches neither.”

​The most successful human beings are wildly focused. They have a very clear picture of what it is they want to create by the time they reach the end of their lives and then they have the discipline (and courage) to stick to their knitting – saying “no” to everything that is not mission critical.

​So my gentle suggestion to you is to simplify your life. Strip away all that is unimportant – these are the things keeping you from getting to your dreams. And then once you do your clean up, focus, focus, focus. You’ll be surprised how good you will then get at being great.

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

Sea Turtles…and Distractions that Lead Us in the Wrong Direction

sea turtles

As I walked on the beach the other day I noticed that certain areas were closed off by fences and signs that said “Sea Turtle Eggs.”

I remembered reading that female sea turtles swim to shore between May and August to dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs. Months later, the eggs hatch and the baby turtles follow the pure light of the moon back to the surf.

In a perfect world, the pure light of the moon guides every turtle back safely to the ocean. However, as we know, we don’t live in a perfect world.


Sea Turtle hatchlings instinctively crawl toward the brightest light. On an undeveloped beach, the brightest light is the moon. On a developed beach, the brightest light can be an artificial light source emanating from restaurants, homes and condominiums along the coast.


Unfortunately, these powerful artificial sources of light often attract the hatchlings and cause them to move in the wrong direction when they are born.


Rather than follow the pure light of the moon to the ocean the sea turtles follow the wrong light to a disastrous outcome.


It occurred to me that we humans face a similar challenge.


Rather than follow the path we were meant to follow, unfortunately we too often are distracted by things that move us in the wrong direction.


Technology, online games, too much time on Facebook, bad habits, addictions, stress, busyness and meaningless distractions lead us astray.


Instead of following the pure light of perfection we allow bright and shiny artificial things to sabotage our journey.

So, what about you?

Are you following your priorities and pure light to the right destination or are you allowing artificial distractions to lead you in the wrong direction?


Are you following the path you were meant to follow or are you letting meaningless things keep you from being your best?


The great news is that unlike sea turtles we have the ability to think, adapt and change direction when we realize we are following the wrong path.


We can tune out the distractions and focus on our priorities and let the pure light lead us to an ocean of possibilities and a great future!


What does this article mean to you? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or email me click here


Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon

Another 20 Rules to Lead the Field

  1. If you’re not lifting people up you’re bringing people down.
  2. Leadership has less to do with authority and more to do with a mindset.
  3. Where the victim sees a problem a leader sees an opportunity.
  4. Don’t wait until you’re successful to work on your optimism. Work on your optimism and you’ll become a lot more successful.
  5. Be alone a lot. All massively creative people value solitude. It allows them to protect their dreams from the voices of dissent, refuel their creativity and get far more done–free from distraction.
  6. Small daily micro-wins when done continually over time lead to staggering results.
  7. Genius has less to do with natural talent and divinely blessed gifts and more to do with relentless focus (to the point of obsession), extreme practice and uncommon grit.
  8. Disrupt or be disrupted.
  9. Be the most honest person in every room.
  10. Remember that people don’t leave companies. They leave the people they worked for.
  11. Saying you’ll “try” is expressing “I’m not really committed.”
  12. The secret of passion is purpose. As I shared years ago in Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, when you know your why, the hows just start showing up.
  13. If you’re the smartest person you know it’s time to know new people.
  14. Out learning everyone around you is a game-changer. The best love learning. Because once you know more you can achieve more.
  15. To make more money, help more people.
  16. Leaders Without Titles talk about ideas versus people and dreams versus others.
  17. Eat less food, get more done.
  18. The way you begin your day determines how you live it. So put mind over mattress. Win the battle of the bed. And join The 5 am Club (another total game-changer).
  19. Develop an obsessive attention to detail. World-class user experiences are all about winning at the small stuff everyone else doesn’t care about.
  20. Even if you clean toilets, do it with pride and love. This summer I met a man who cleans toilets at the Johannesburg airport. He beamed “welcome to my office” as I entered. The place was flawless. His passion was palpable. That man is my hero. And he reminded me that all work has dignity and honour.
Reproduced with kind permission of Robin Sharma Author of ‘The Leader Who Had No Title’

20 Rules to Lead the Field

logo with the best in the business

These Rules are drawn from my over 18 years of passionate work with the Fortune 500 and from The Leader Who Had No Title.

1. To lead is to serve.

2. At the heart of mastery lives consistency.

3. Take care of the relationship and the money will take care of itself.

4. The seduction of safety is always more dangerous than the illusion of uncertainty.

5. To double your income triple your investment in your professional education and your personal development.

6. The swiftest way to grow your company is to grow your people.

7. If you’re not leaving a trail of leaders behind you you’re not leading–you’re following.

8. An addiction to distraction is the end of creative production.

9. The caliber of your practice determines the quality of your performance.

10. Leaders Without Titles are less about ego and more about getting things done.

11. Don’t worry about the economy when you can be so genius at what you do that you create your very own personal economy.

12. Lead where you are planted. Start where you stand. And remember that much of winning is just beginning.

13. The true measure of our leadership is how we perform in volatile conditions versus in times of ease.

14. To lead is to be yourself in a world of clones.

15. Aim for iconic. Why be in it if you’re not dreaming of being in the history books? But be kind, decent and ethical along the way.

16. The humblest is the greatest.

17. Energy is more valuable than intelligence. Health is more brilliant than gold.

18. The thing you most fear carries your greatest growth.

19. All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.

  1. Criticism is the price brave people pay to arrive at iconic.

LOOK OUT FOR MORE NEXT WEEK!

Reproduced with kind permission of Robin Sharma Author of ‘The Leader Who Had No Title’

Start Reaping the Rewards of a Disciplined Life

reap & sow image

The Law of Sowing and Reaping suggests that we’ll all reap what we’ve sown, but it also suggests that we’ll reap much more. Life is full of laws that both govern and explain behaviors, but this may well be the major law we need to understand: For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards.

Everything of value requires care, attention and discipline. Our thoughts require discipline. We must consistently determine our inner boundaries and our codes of conduct, or our thoughts will be confused. And if our thoughts are confused, we will become hopelessly lost in the maze of life. Confused thoughts produce confused results.

For each discipline, multiple rewards. For each book, new knowledge. For each success, new ambition. For each challenge, new understanding. For each failure, new determination. Life is like that. Even the bad experiences of life provide their own special contribution. But a word of caution here for those who neglect the need for care and attention to life’s disciplines: Everything has its price. Everything affects everything else. Neglect discipline, and there will be a price to pay. All things of value can be taken for granted with the passing of time.

That’s what we call the Law of Familiarity. Without the discipline of paying constant, daily attention, we take things for granted. Be serious. Life’s not a practice session.

If you’re often inclined to toss your clothes onto the chair rather than hanging them in the closet, be careful. It could suggest a lack of discipline. And remember, a lack of discipline in the small areas of life can cost you heavily in the more important areas of life. You cannot clean up your company until you learn the discipline of cleaning your own garage. You cannot be impatient with your children and be patient with your distributors or your employees. You cannot inspire others to sell more when that goal is inconsistent with your own conduct.

Your life, my life, the life of each one of us is going to serve as either a warning or an example. A warning of the consequences of neglect, self-pity, lack of direction and ambition… or an example of talent put to use, of discipline self-imposed and of objectives clearly perceived and intensely pursued.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

15 Ways to Get Inspired

Inspirational

  1. Do work that pushes you to your edges.
  2. Waste zero time on the past.
  3. Focus on being masterful at one thing versus mediocre at many things.
  4. Celebrate how far you’ve come versus the distance still to go.
  5. Accept the project you fear the most.
  6. Leave an inspirational quote on a stranger’s wind-shield.
  7. Wow a customer.
  8. Install a new habit.
  9. Remember that the mother of genius is simplicity.
  10. Know that the thing that is easiest to do is rarely the thing that is best to do.
  11. Speak less and listen better.
  12. Record your ideal day in your journal.
  13. Forgive someone.
  14. Don’t confuse money with meaning nor income with impact.
  15. Spend the first 20 minutes of your day in exercise (it seriously optimizes brain and personal performance).
Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

Moving from Procrastination to Pro-activation

Here are some ideas to help make you a victor over change rather than a victim of change:

procrastination

  1. Memorize and repeat this motto: “Action TNT: Today, not Tomorrow.”
    Handle each piece of incoming mail only once. Answer your e-mail either early in the morning or after working hours. Block out specific times to initiate phone calls, take incoming calls, and to meet people in person. 2. When people tell you their problems, give solution-oriented feedback. Rather than taking on the problem as your own assignment, first, ask what’s the next step they plan to take, or what they would like to see happen.

    3. Finish what you start. Concentrate all your energy and intensity, without distraction, on successfully completing your current major project.

    4. Be constructively helpful instead of unhelpfully critical. Single out someone or something to praise instead of participating in group griping, grudge collecting or pity parties.

    5. Limit your television viewing or Internet surfing to mostly educational or otherwise enlightening programs. Watch no more than one hour of television per day or night, unless there is a special program you have been anticipating. The Internet has also become a great procrastinator’s hideout for tension-relieving instead of goal-achieving activities.

    6. Make a list of five necessary but unpleasant projects you’ve been putting off, with a completion date for each project. Immediate action on unpleasant projects reduces stress and tension. It is very difficult to be active and depressed at the same time.

    7. Seek out and converse with a successful role model and mentor.
    Learning from others’ successes and setbacks will inevitably improve production of any kind. Truly listen; really find out how your role models do it right.

    8. Understand that fear, as an acronym, is False Evidence Appearing Real, and that luck could mean Labouring Under Correct Knowledge. The more information you have on any subject—especially case histories—the less likely you’ll be to put off your decisions.

    9. Accept problems as inevitable offshoots of change and progress. With the ever more rapid pace of change in society and business, you’ll be overwhelmed unless you view change as normal and learn to look for its positive aspects—such as new opportunities and improvements—rather than bemoan the negative.

    Reproduced with the kind permission of Denis Waitley.  Denis has studied and counseled leaders in every field from Apollo astronauts to Fortune 500 top executives, from Olympic gold medalistsAC to Super Bowl champions.

 

Work Life Balance is a Myth

It’s a phrase we hear often. But I don’t think it really exists. At least not in the way most “experts” talk about it.I, like most people, have never been able to balance the scales of work/life on a day-to-day basis. Rather, I’ve come to realize that the dance between work and life is more about rhythm than balance. There is a rhythm to life and there is a season for everything. For me, there is a time to work hard and a time to rest. There is a time to be on the road and a time to be at home with my family. My wife and I look at our year as whole and we plan our schedule according to the seasons of our life knowing I’ll be slammed in August, September and October and slower in December and July.

We plan for when I’ll be working and when I’ll be more engaged with the family.

“ The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which.
He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does,
leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.
To him he is always doing both”.
Zen Buddhist Text
You can do the same.

You may have a different rhythm and your seasons may be shorter or longer than mine but you can look at your life on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis and schedule times to work hard, recharge, renew, play, and engage with your family/friends/significant other.

However, regardless of your rhythm and work schedule I want to encourage you to fully commit to your seasons.

People tell me all the time that they feel guilty that they are not at home with their family when they are at work. And to make matters worse they also feel guilty that they are not working when they are at home.

A double dose of guilt is a recipe for misery.

                          scales

Instead, when you are working hard realize this is your season to do so… and also make plans for time to recharge, renew and spend quality time with the people you love. When you are working, commit fully to your work. When you are home with your family or significant other, commit fully to engaging with them and enjoy your personal time. By understanding your rhythm, planning and committing to the seasons of your life you may not achieve perfect work-life balance but you will create a flow and rhythm that makes you happier, more product and… less guilty.Reproduced with the kind permission of Jon Gordon, author of ‘The Energy Bus’

Essence of Fear and fighting back! Part 1

Essence of Fear and fighting back! Part 1

Fear of Flying.

I have been fortunate enough to have flown all my life from the tender age of 9 months old. I have never had a bad experience flying in my 24 years on this planet. However, I experienced my worst ever flight coming back from holiday in August last year and now I’m absolutely petrified.

So this year, I decided I would not let my fear hold me back and go on holiday again. This time I armed myself with herbal remedies to calm my nerves. This didn’t work. Even though I had an okay experience it was a bit rocky, I was a nightmare to be around. For those two hours I was on edge and my body was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Coming back to the UK was the worst as we were going through a thunderstorm. Even writing this article about it is making me nervous.

I have tried various different methods on trying to deal with this fear. Fear is such a natural emotion its basic instinct of flight or fight. It does amaze me how it changes in me all the time. In some circumstances where I have had pure fear such as the other week I heard someone downstairs, I grabbed the baseball bat and went down to face my fear. So my natural reaction in that instinct was to fight. Thankfully it was just the cat which knocked something over. Whereas other circumstances I freeze and want to run and hide this made me wonder why?

Fear in Recruitment

In recruitment, I am always dealing with people’s fear of change. As something new is scary. However, would you rather be unhappy for the rest of your life staying in the same place and have never had the guts to try something new? I am always showing people the light at the end of the tunnel. Change is needed to grow and as you grow you develop yourself and drive positivity all around you.

With all the recent depressing news around us what is wrong with grabbing that chance of happiness. Life if too short for be sitting down and wondering what if? Or saying in your 60’s “I should have done that”.

In recruitment I am always been given peoples CV’s, I see them as a path of people’s lives shown before me, like a blueprint or a map. Some make positive moves forwards and others not so much. However, they are always willing to embrace change. Life is full of unopened doors and paths to walk down, may it be dark and dangerous or fun and fulfilling, you will never know until you try.

Every day there is someone trying to face there fear, be it a fear of change, a fear of spiders we all have our own personal nightmares. So how do you overcome them?

Phobia

If you have a phobia, you probably realize that your fear is unreasonable, yet you still can’t control your feelings. Just thinking about the feared object or situation may make you anxious. And when you’re actually exposed to the thing you fear, the terror is automatic and overwhelming.

The experience is so nerve-wracking that you may go to great lengths to avoid it — inconveniencing yourself or even changing your lifestyle. If you have claustrophobia, for example, you might turn down a lucrative job offer if you have to ride the elevator to get to the office. If you have a fear of heights, you might drive an extra twenty miles in order to avoid a tall bridge.

Understanding your phobia is the first step to overcoming it. It’s important to know that phobias are common. Having a phobia doesn’t mean you’re crazy! It also helps to know that phobias are highly treatable. You can overcome your anxiety and fear, no matter how out of control it feels.

What is Fear?

Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response. The stimulus could be a spider, a knife at your throat, an auditorium full of people waiting for you to speak or the sudden thud of your front door against the door frame.

The brain is a profoundly complex organ. More than 100 billion nerve cells comprise an intricate network of communications that is the starting point of everything we sense, think and do. Some of these communications lead to conscious thought and action, while others produce autonomic responses. The fear response is almost entirely autonomic: We don’t consciously trigger it or even know what’s going on until it has run its course.

Top Tips of overcoming fear?

1) Face your fears, one step at a time

It’s only natural to want to avoid the thing or situation you fear. But when it comes to conquering phobias, facing your fears is the key. While avoidance may make you feel better in the short-term, it prevents you from learning that your phobia may not be as frightening or overwhelming as you think. You never get the chance to learn how to cope with your fears and experience control over the situation. As a result, the phobia becomes increasingly scarier and more daunting in your mind.

2) Exposure: Gradually and repeatedly facing your fears

The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to what you fear in a safe and controlled way. During this exposure process, you’ll learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it inevitably passes.

Through repeated experiences facing your fear, you’ll begin to realize that the worst isn’t going to happen; you’re not going to die or “lose it”. With each exposure, you’ll feel more confident and in control. The phobia begins to lose its power. Successfully facing your fears takes planning, practice, and patience. The following tips will help you get the most out of the exposure process.

3) Climbing up the “fear ladder”

Make a list. Make a list of the frightening situations related to your phobia. If you’re afraid of flying, your list (in addition to the obvious, such as taking a flight or getting through take-off) might include booking your ticket, packing your suitcase, driving to the airport, watching planes take off and land, going through security, boarding the plane, and listening to the flight attendant present the safety instructions.

Build your fear ladder. Arrange the items on your list from the least scary to the scariest. The first step should make you slightly anxious, but not so frightened that you’re too intimidated to try it. When creating the ladder, it can be helpful to think about your end goal (for example, to be able to be near dogs without panicking) and then break down the steps needed to reach that goal.

Facing a fear of dogs: A sample fear ladder

Step 1: Look at pictures of dogs.

Step 2: Watch a video with dogs in it.

Step 3: Look at a dog through a window.

Step 4: Stand across the street from a dog on a leash.

Step 5: Stand 10 feet away from a dog on a leash.

Step 6: Stand 5 feet away from a dog on a leash.

Step 7: Stand beside a dog on a leash.

Step 8: Pet a small dog that someone is holding.

Step 9: Pet a larger dog on a leash.

Step 10: Pet a larger dog off leash.

Work your way up the ladder. Start with the first step (in this example, looking at pictures of dogs) and don’t move on until you start to feel more comfortable doing it. If at all possible, stay in the situation long enough for your anxiety to decrease. The longer you expose yourself to the thing you’re afraid of, the more you’ll get used to it and the less anxious you’ll feel when you face it the next time. If the situation itself is short (for example, crossing a bridge), do it over and over again until your anxiety starts to lessen.

Once you’ve done a step on several separate occasions without feeling too much anxiety, you can move on to the next step. If a step is too hard, break it down into smaller steps or go slower.

Practice. It’s important to practice regularly. The more often you practice, the quicker your progress will be. However, don’t rush. Go at a pace that you can manage without feeling overwhelmed. And remember: you will feel uncomfortable and anxious as you face your fears, but the feelings are only temporary. If you stick with it, the anxiety will fade. Your fears won’t hurt you.

Learn relaxation techniques

As you’ll recall, when you’re afraid or anxious, you experience a variety of uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as a racing heart and a suffocating feeling. These physical sensations can be frightening themselves—and a large part of what makes your phobia so distressing. However, by learning and practising your breathing you can become more confident in your ability to tolerate these uncomfortable sensations and calm yourself down quickly.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and muscle relaxation are powerful antidotes to anxiety, panic, and fear. With regular practice, they can improve your ability to control the physical symptoms of anxiety, which will make facing your phobia less intimidating. Relaxation techniques will also help you cope more effectively with other sources of stress and anxiety in your life.

Challenge negative thoughts

When you have a phobia, you tend to overestimate how bad it will be if you’re exposed to the situation you fear. At the same time, you underestimate your ability to cope.

The anxious thoughts that trigger and fuel phobias are usually negative and unrealistic. It can help to put these thoughts to the test. Begin by writing down any negative thoughts you have when confronted with your phobia. Many times, these thoughts fall into the following categories:

  • Fortune telling. For example, “This bridge is going to collapse;” “I’ll make a fool of myself for sure;” “I will definitely lose it when the elevator doors close.”
  • Overgeneralization “I fainted once while getting a shot. I’ll never be able to get a shot again without passing out;” “That pit bull lunged at me. All dogs are dangerous.”
  • Catastrophizing. “The captain said we’re going through turbulence. The plane is going to crash!” “The person next to me coughed. Maybe it’s the swine flu. I’m going to get very sick!”

Once you’ve identified your negative thoughts, evaluate them. Use the following example to get started.

Facing My Fear

There are various different ways in which to deal with fear. I personally tried to face my fear of heights on Sunday at Que Garden’s. I went on the “Treetop tour” which would enable me to see beautiful views. I could see it was very high up and my whole body was saying “NO!”. So I walked up the stairs instead of the see-through lift and got to the top. The floor was made of mesh and I didn’t feel very safe up there and I could see straight to the bottom. So I held onto the side and said to myself “I can do this, I can do this, I will be fine, I will be fine, and I’m 100% ok”.

I must have looked insane but I needed to calm myself. So I started walking and looked around me at the beautiful views the greens of the trees and the great views in the distance. I was less on edge, however there was one point where there was a circular viewing point to each bit I wasn’t prepared for the mesh to dip in quite dramatically, I honestly thought I was going to fall through, I thought I was going to have a major panic attack and start crying. I stopped and controlled my breathing “ I can do this, I can do this, I am 100% ok”. I carried on and was proud of myself and facing my fear, it was a step forward.

Flying

I have tried the steps above to face my fear of flying. I have bought Paul McKenna’s book as well “flying confidence”. I have been listening to it once a day. I will not let this fear control me, I will fight it with everything I have got. I have booked a fight for November for my birthday, I will let you know how it goes.

So what are your fears? How do you deal with them? What works for you?

Abigail Pike