Your Circle of Influence: What does it tell you about yourself?

A very warm greetings to all my readers,

Hope my article finds you well!

Today’s article we shall cover a subject very close to my heart and it has been brought to my attention from a close friend of mine during one of our recent catch ups…sometimes it is incredible how you can become so absorbed by the noise around you and forget some of the basics which brought you to success!!!  Let me expand…

As I look back upon the hurdles and trials I have endured this past year, I’m able to appreciate what those experiences have taught me, how they’ve allowed me to grow and have influenced my decisions to make some uncomfortable, yet extremely beneficial changes to help me get to where I want to be.

I actually wrote this article initially to myself, based on my thoughts after my meet up with my dear bro and therefore will be very direct and upfront with what my thoughts and insights are on this subject…I do apologise if it comes across a bit strong but sometimes you just need to face what holds us back to move forward…

You must know the saying ‘Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are’ and ‘We become the combined average of the FIVE people we associate with most.’ Jim Rohn

Look at your own life and see how true this statement is.  The five people you associate with most likely reflect your bank account, health, career choices, self-esteem, habits (good and bad), interests, quality of conversation, values and goals.

When you compare yourself to them, are you setting the standard, keeping the status quo or pulling the average down? 

Do you LOVE spending time with the people in your life or simply tolerate the experience? 

Or is it somewhere in between?

When I began to really ponder on those statements and questions, I realised how true it was to my life. I started to identify that many of the limiting beliefs I held on for years and the doubts I had about how successful I could really become, were all influenced by the beliefs of the people I associated with the most.

As human beings, our lives are shaped around and influenced by a myriad of factors and greatly influenced by the relationships we have in our lives. Think about it: How much of your behaviours, values, passions, knowledge, skills, habits are in direct relation to those most closest to you? These are typically learned through association with others such as parents, friends, siblings, co-workers, bosses, authors, speakers, coaches…you get the point.

It wasn’t until I began to spend less time with negative people and influencer’s from my life and started associating myself with positive and uplifting individuals who shared my goals and values that I began to prosper – not only in my personal life, but in my business and finances too.

I have to admit that it was not easy and still it is not and most probably you spot that I did not eliminate negative people from my life. This is where I have a different perspective to most successful people and you could say this is what makes me unique –  I am a strong believer that we don’t have the right to take opportunity away from people especially if they are not at our success level as we don’t know how we can affect their lives.

We have to consider that all of us at least once in our lives were the negative influence in others as we held them back as the ‘weakest link’ in their circle of influence. Thanks to them, their time and compassion, we have improved and also became a positive influence for them.

 Is it only fair to reciprocate the same for other people?

I hope that the majority of you agree with me. At this point, I would like to clarify what I mean with giving other people opportunities to be in our circle of influence. I acknowledge that some people are negative and therefore for our own progress, the path of least resistance is to avoid them.

My approach is a bit different from others as I am a coach, therefore I am always looking for people’s potential because most of the time, they don’t know it themselves. When someone is negative and he/she is in my circle of influence for any given reason, I concentrate to discover what is the persons potentials and talents and how can he/she use it to the full…interesting isn’t it?

We all can turn negative circumstances into positive if we have the right mindset to do so! Although not all people want to be helped in their discovery for whatever reason, when this appears to be the case, I use another positive approach.

I believe that people come into our life for a reason, the negative people usually are there to teach us what we don’t want to become, treat us how we don’t want to be treated and to show us what we don’t deserve. We should embrace these people, let them teach us and then let them go…Just remember don’t be a hero thinking that you can affect every single negative or positive person on this planet…This is unrealistic! You need to have the skills and mindset necessary to balance out the situation…what you don’t want is to be affected by them and end up becoming negative too…You need to consider a few things before acting as a life-saving person…

Ask yourself the following questions:

Who is in “Your Circle of Influence?

What type of person do You like to be around?

Do you only hang around people you work with, people who think like you do, people that keep you “right where you are” ?

Let’s look at your mobile phone…..

Who are the first 5 people on Your speed dial ?

Do they make about the same amount of money per year as you do?

Do they have the same attitudes about the economy, politics, and television?

Do they do different recreational things than you do ?

Who were the influential people who have had the greatest impact on the person you have become?

What was/is it about that person that meant something to you?

Who are the 5 people you spent most of the time with in the last 100 days?

Do you realise your circle of influence can drastically impact the level of excellence you provide in your life?

Have you consciously chosen your greatest ‘circle of influence’?

By honestly answering the questions above, you will become more aware of who are the people who affect your life the most and who had the greatest impact of all.

It’s fun to look back and see that numerous people I admired and respected the most, have indeed become good friends that now consider me their equal. Awareness about your circle of influence is more than a conscious decision to go for ‘friend’ or mentor hunting. Just being present to the impact someone has on your state of being is powerful.

Many people underestimate the value of the people we surround ourselves with. Our circle of influence is one of the most impactful variables determining the magnificent person we are manifesting to become, yet it is often the last area of our lives that we improve.

So, if you already have a ‘Circle of influence’ established, I suggest to have regular monitoring and reviewing of it as it is critical to its ongoing success. The effectiveness of your circle of influence can be compromised when there are changes to the dynamics of your life.

It is time to take stock of your life which includes taking a deep look at your circle of influence!

Are you ready to start your journey to your next level?

In next week’s article we will look at the three different types of people of influence and how we can choose our friends wisely. Watch this space! :-)

To your circle of Influence!

Viv :-)

 

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Strategy: how to recognise the best one to achieve your goals

Good morning readers,

Hope my article finds you well!

Today I would like to expand talking about one of my learning lessons that I have found to be very beneficial for achieving my success: STRATEGIES!

 

The day I learnt to accomplish any achievement in life, there was a more efficient way to achieve it by using a proven strategyas you can imagine it really  opened up a new dimension in my life!  It also confirms one of my strongest beliefs, this is that if you want to be successful you should model a successful person by having them coach and/or mentor you! They have already achieved it and went through the highs and the lows of the process and therefore are in a better position than us to tell what is the most efficient strategy to employ to be successful in that specific area! Is it not want all of us want to avoid the pitfalls and enjoy the ride of success?

 You might ask: How can we recognise what is the best strategy to employ?

Firstly, we need to understand what is a strategy, as mentioned in my previous article, it is your starting point for planning, it’s your plan for action! It enables decisions to be taken, plans to be judged, resources to be allocated and actions to be prioritised. It is what enables people to develop action plans that are consistent with the future that is being sought and acting in the areas where most advantage can be won. This is where one final step is needed – producing your plan! Without it, we will not achieve any results!

Now that we know the importance of implementing a strategy, I would love to share with you some of my research. Below are 8 steps that will help recognise which strategy will be best for achieving your success!

Lets crack on!

 

 Step 1. Understand the Scope of your goal/plan

Goals need to be clear. You need to be motivated to achieve them by having a big WHY to provide you with the drive to “keep going even when the tough get tougher” W. Churchill, it’s hardly possible to identify any strategy to achieve your goals.

To identify and understand the scope of your goal/plan, ask yourself the following questions:

What’s my BIG WHY?

What’s my mission statement?

What are my reasons to get up in the morning?

As in a company, its mission statement guides its overall business practices, your mission statement provides you the guidelines and clarity to choose the best strategy. Before you can dive into the details, you need to envision the scope of your goal/plan considering the advantages, challenges and purpose of it.

Remember, PURPOSE and CLARITY are the most important keys to success when identifying the best strategy for achieving your goals/plans!

Step 2. Perform a SWOT analysis

As previously discussed, the SWOT analysis is essential if you want to identify your current reality, what your strengths and weaknesses are, to ensure that you maximise your talents and overcome your weaknesses! To me, it’s just common sense, I hope most of you agree!

As in business, before investing money, time and resources, you need to have a feasible plan which provides you with a clear picture of what are both the internal and external factors of accomplishing your goal/plan. Remember if people are doing it for business then it is absolutely essential that we do the same for our lives.

How can you identify your strengths and weaknesses?

What are your opportunities and treats?

 

Please see the ‘Ready for your SWOT analysis?’ article to expand on this subject and to complete the SWOT analysis table.

Step 3. Set goals!

Once you have clarity on your purpose and your current reality through your SWOT analysis, then you can start to set your goals to achieve your plan as they give you long-term vision and short term motivation! This is the step when you start to create future possibility!

Setting goals upfront is one of the most vital parts of creating a strategy. Without clear goals, there is a good chance of losing focus therefore it is critical to clearly state what are your goals to keep on track. Whereas your purpose gives you a broad, directional focus to move your life in, goals gives you laser focus on what exactly to spend your time and energy on.

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts, organise time, resources and you will quickly spot the distractions that can lead you astray.

What are the characteristics of effective goals setting?

I am sure that you have already heard of the acronym of SMART goal setting which stands for:

SPECIFIC – SIMPLE

MEASURABLE – MEANINFUL TO YOU

ATTAINABLE – ACTION-ORIENTATED

REALISTIC – REWARDING

TIME BOUND – TRACKABLE

For example, one of your goals could be to learn to drive in the next three months from today.

Can you see how specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and traceable it is?

It is specific in that the goal is to learn to drive in three months from today. Measureable as you can measure how close you are to passing your test. Attainable and realistic as it has been done before. Time bound as you have set exactly three months from today.

How can you set your goals?

First you create your ‘big picture’ of what you want to do (goal/plan) and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve. It gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.

Then you break these down into smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your goal/plan. Start to set a one-year plan then six months plan to one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your original goal/plan. Each of these plans should be based on the previous one. Then create a TO-DO list of things that you should do on a daily basis.

As Russell Ackoff quoted:  ‘The thing to do with the future is not to forecast it but to create it. The objective of planning is to design your desirable future and invent ways to bring it about.’ so remember that the best thinking unfortunately gives you zero results, in order to get any kind of tangible results at all, you must act on an idea, communicate it, build it, implement it and make it real!

Step 4. Set deadlines!

Goals focus on what you want to achieve and how are you going to achieve them. As such it often fails to generate a sense of urgency. Day to day routine and demands usually take precedence and somehow, our planning gets put on the back burner.

Consequently, effective strategic planning requires deadlines. Put the deadline dates on your calendar to ensure that you remain focused and on track to achieving your goals. Usually, once the deadlines are set, the adrenaline starts to flow and you will pull together to set aside short-term demands and focus on the future.

 

Step 5. Establish measures of Success!

Plans and goals are useless without clearly understood, quantifiable measures of success!

Understanding how success will be measured is one of the keys to achieving it!  As part of your strategy, decide what metrics you hope to impact. Determine what metrics you’ll monitor and set your reporting plan early in the process of laying out your strategy. That way, you will be clear on the expectations from the outset.

Lay out an implementation calendar, with specific milestones for each step, i.e. monthly or weekly targets. Assign clear accountability for each action, while making sure the needed resources are in place. Ensure that you know what action you need to take to make it happen, measure assiduously and take action quickly if milestones are not met.

Step 6. Develop a strategy Map! Make it visual!

It is time to put it all together and have a clear and organised plan. I am sure that now you have more clarity on your purpose, weaknesses, strengths, opportunities, treats, long term goal, monthly SMART goals, TO-DO list based on your short term goals and your metrics to measure your success!

Now that you have put it all together and you have found out what is your best strategy to employ to achieve your goal/plan!

For better and faster results, don’t forget to make it visual, it will serve you even better for your clarity and statistically your brain will retain more information!

 

Step 7. Monitor your performance/results!

This is a very vital important aspect to ensure that your strategy is working and producing results! Obviously, you need to put efforts and time into it as it is essential that you have clear metrics to measure your results!

Remember to celebrate wins along the way, whether big or small, it helps to boost your confidence level and it helps to drive your motivation up to achieve your goal/plan.

 

Step 8. Review your strategy and Implement it!

This is the most important aspect to make your strategy the most effective and efficient way possible! A good strategy guides your goals/plans and encourages new opportunities for growth.

Too often strategic thinking boils down to merely validating the current strategy or making go/no go decisions on the course of action. A much better approach is to spend creative time up front to identify several alternatives.

You might ask yourself:

What can be increased, decreased, reversed, separated or bundled?

What would I do if I had to reach the ‘finishing line’ in half the time?

After employing the strategy, analyse the results to verify its efficiency and through revision get rid of what doesn’t work and continue to implement it.

Crafting a few different but realistic alternatives and evaluating them using clear criteria will yield a true strategic plan that creates a vision for the future, rather than a reflection for the past! Don’t keep changing it at all times! Just remember to give enough time for the strategy to prove its worthiness or failure by monitoring its results!

Decide on key action steps, accountability and timing but also agree on how to monitor the environment for changes that might warrant modifications to the plan.

You need to be prepared to exploit the unexpected as it is key to success. This means agreeing explicitly on what constitutes what it means to be prepared and how to recognise new opportunities.

What are the benefits of employing the best strategy available?

We all need to have a strategy in place if we want to achieve our success to keep us focused and on track! If we don’t have a direction and a scope before we initiate any plan, it will be very difficult to succeed! Business speaking, owning a business isn’t about work, it’s about the strategy.

As already mentioned, there are two things which separate a successful business from an un-successful one. Firstly, the everlasting drive and desire to achieve one’s goals, and secondly, the ability to make decisions always keeping one’s goals in mind.

In effect, there are people who act strategically and then there is everyone else. Remember that anyone can act strategically if they desire. All you need is the knowledge, the confidence and the support to do so.

What are your strategies to achieve your goals/plans?

How do you measure and monitor the success of your strategy?

How can you improve them to be more effective and efficient?

By answering the questions above, you will have more clarity on what strategy you need to employ to be more successful in your life!

Just remember that strategy is determining where you are now, where you want to go, and then how to get there, it’s your roadmap! It’s the art of developing and implementing specific actions and decisions that will enable you to achieve goals and objectives as set out by yourself.

The strategy which you employ leads to success in any aspect of life!

To your strategy discovery which leads to your Success!

Viv :-)

4 steps to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone

Good morning readers,

I would like to start todays article with a big well done to those of you that stretched yourselves out of your comfort zone and responded to last weeks challenge. For those of you that have just tuned in this week, lasts weeks article was about self-reflecting and identifying your learning lessons from the start of the year. I very much enjoyed reading your emails! Isn’t it amazing to see how much we are actually learning every day? As you will have experienced, pausing for reflection is a must, as it ensures we continue to take in the best lessons that help us live life to the fullest.

‘If you are not growing, you are dying.’ As human beings we are on a constant journey called life, no one is born with an instruction manual for it. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and books, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can. We quite often get things wrong, although making mistakes is not actually a big deal, and believe it or not if you try to avoid them, you’ll miss out on most of the opportunity in your life. Most people are bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to become. On this quest of life, many have become stuck in a rut they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid mistakes and taking risks. ‘Those that never make mistakes never try anything new,’ they are afraid to step outside of their comfort zone to experience new growth. Are you one of them? Most of us will respond positively as more than once in life we have experience this feeling.

Wait, what exactly is our comfort zone?

It is our set of limits, habits and our thought processes that day after day we stick to because it is comfortable. We feel no stress, we do activities the same way, day after day like a routine without much emotional involvement. It is our unconscious competent state. If you are too often in this steady state, you won’t grow, will feel bored, unchallenged and find yourself loosing enthusiasm, and end up well below the potential you could actually be attaining. If you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

Honestly speaking, change is a subject most people don’t like to talk about as it makes us feel uncomfortable and it is often viewed as a threat. Our comfort zone is dictated by change. The harder we fight change and resist its force, the more difficult it is to break through our comfort zone and move forward.

Have you ever experienced butterflies in your stomach, your palms are sweaty and you start to panic at the thought of doing something new i.e. a public speech?

These are the feelings we experienced when we have to step out from our comfort zone, I am sure you are familiar with them as I am! It is clear that stepping outside of our comfort zone is not exactly comfortable!

Why should we then?

The answer is simple: our greatest growth in life comes from pushing through our present comfort zone. Personal growth occurs when we move out of our area of comfort into the unknown and challenge new and fresh experiences. Just remember that before any significant growth in our life, we experience a stage of discomfort and sometimes risk. For each of us there comes a point where we hold back and resist, after all is it not easier to remain in a comfortable situation? It will be easier but unless we embrace changes, let go of fear and expand our comfort zone there will be little growth. If you want to move forward on the journey towards where you want to be, you have to confront your fears, and certainly don’t allow them to stop you from achieving your goals. Remember that everyone experiences fear but it is part of the journey and pushing out your comfort zone is hard work but once we have done it we are in a new place in life and we experience growth!

Here are some reasons why you should love stretching your comfort zone:

YOU GROW : as already mentioned in the previous paragraph. ‘Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions’ Oliver Wendell Holmes.

YOU FEEL MORE CONFIDENT : once you face your fears and get past your limits, or prove that you are able to accomplish and become good at new things you will find a great boost to your confidence!

YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW : even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them after their benefit has gone. This is why it is important to continually stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, in doing so you will find you will constantly be learning something new. For example finding out something about yourself and how you act in certain situations will help you prepare for similar experiences in the future.

YOU MOVE FASTER TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS : you will stretch your mind and body to new areas you have never thought about before and cross your finishing line earlier than expected.

YOU ARE DOING THE THINGS MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT : to be more successful in life you need to do something different from the others. James Caan said “Observe the mass and do the opposite”. You will be different from your competitors and do things that they are not willing to do.

YOU GET NEW OPPORTUNITIES : if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, there is a greater chance for something good and unexpected to happen and new opportunities start to show up.

So now that you know the benefits how exactly can we stretch ourselves from our comfort zone?

There are four simple steps I personally use, are you ready to get started?

Lets start then…

Step 1 : FACE YOUR FEARS

When facing your fears do this in one small step at the time. It makes them easier to overcome as you will not be overwhelmed. So, you need to identify your fears and make a plan with some smaller steps you can take gradually to lessen your discomfort.

What are the precautions you take every day to circumvent ‘negative’ circumstances?

Are these circumstances really worth stepping around?

Just think: It’s good to be proactive but it is not positive to let a significant portion of your life be devoted to averting things that will never happen! If fear is holding you back, then it’s time to face your fears head-on. I strongly recommend you to share your fears openly and honestly with a family member, a mentor or a friend you genuinely respect. Most of the time talking will help unlock your fears. Please don’t become immobilised, it will hold you back from stretching and moving forward in your life! We all know you can’t win a game of football unless you are on the field playing!

So join me on this motto:  ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’

Step 2: DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT PEOPLE THINK!

This is one of the biggest things that hold us back – what other people think of us! It’s easy to assume that you have to fit in to get on in the world, that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Given that most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they deep down aren’t!  ‘Why shall I fit in when I was born to stand out?’ Dr Seuss. Obviously, we don’t want others to think that we are weird, annoying, etc.

Who are the most lovable and magnetic people you have come across in your life?

Were they not the craziest and most charming people you know?

If you think about the people who blurted out silly things, made huge mistakes or who were over the top most of the time you will notice that they were generally forgiven for being less than perfect and in fact, we liked them for it. So stop your concern for what people think of you. You are unique – everyone is – I don’t suggest that we’re better than others or deserve more than they do but that we need to be our authentic self! 

‘History shows us that people who end up changing the world are always nuts, until they are right, and then they are geniuses’ John Elliot.

Don’t worry about getting laughed at and learn to laugh at yourself with others!

Step 3: BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH TAKING RISKS!

You are comfortable because you know what to expect. The outcome of taking risks has great uncertainty and thus many of us will agree that it is uncomfortable to do so. To overcome this you will need to show no attachment to a certain outcome, instead focus on the joy of doing whatever you are doing. If you get what you wanted then that is icing on the cake! You also need to accept that things don’t always go our way and we need to remember that the world is a dynamic place where things can go right and wrong. That’s just the way it is!

How can you take risks and feel comfortable?

What steps will you take to assist you with taking risks?

Just remember that you should always know the risks you are taking and decide to go through with the decision anyway, ready and willing to accept the consequences if things don’t work out! This reminds me of trading psychology J!

Step 4: ENJOY THE UNKNOWN!

Bring back into your life the feeling of not knowing what is going to happen next.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Don’t you miss the mixture of anticipation and anxiety that makes your heart flutter and stomach turn at the same time?

When was the last time you had these feelings?

Your Stretch Zone is the exciting zone, where the butterflies in your stomach tell you that this new activity would be good for you, it’ll be a challenge but one you can deal with and enjoy. It’s also the learning and development zone, where you’re able to take yourself to the next level, to stretch your boundaries and become more fulfilled with the way you’re living your life. Once you step into this zone, you’ll be learning new things and taking part in new activities, which at first won’t be easy. After repeating them a few times they will get easier and eventually, your Comfort Zone will expand to include them.

What are you going to do to move out of your comfort zone?

What steps will you take to move closer to your target and expand your Comfort Zone?

Write it down and commit to them and let me know what you’re planning to do. I’d certainly love to hear and be part of it!

Don’t spend another day in your comfort zone! – there is no excuse for remaining in your present rut. To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit or because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

Set yourself a new challenge to energise you and give you the courage to continue growing! Start incrementally, then build up as you develop a stronger foundation.

We only have one life to live and you do not want to waste another day, don’t waste your potential!

Go stretch yourself outside your comfort zone and you will beat all your fears!

Just remember, whatever you decide to do, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!

To stretching yourself out of your comfort zone and achieving your success!

Viv :-)

What are your learning curves from the past months?

A very good morning to all my readers,

I want to open my article with a BIG thank you to all of you and for your wonderful feedback, emails and texts received!

As promised from my last week article, I will share with you what I have personally learnt since the beginning of the year, I have learnt most of these lessons from mainly two of my passions in life, from dealing with difficult situations and negative events which occurred to me in the past months and last but not least thank to the experiences by dealing with a close friend of mine who I consider to be my bro!

During this period, I came across to this quote and it opened a new perspective in my life: “Be thankful for the bad things in life. For they open your eyes to the good things you were not paying attention to before.”  That is so true! If we take the time to think about to what happen in our life with a positive mindset and we analyse and concentrate on what we need to do to get better results, we can monitor our actions against the events presented and as a result, we will become more self-aware about who I am and how to use anything that comes our way to our advantage. Yep, this is what you read…it’s possible believe me! For me having the right mindset makes you open yourself to positive and new experiences, new opportunities and to a new dimension of life!!! And this is the secret of life – there is never a bad day in life only growing days and they are very welcome !!!

Before reading my lessons, last week I have asked you to take a pause for reflection too to analyse your previous months results and compare it with your beginning of the year plan…Have you been diligent and gather your lessons?…if you do, than you are in a privileged position to answer the important questions below, if not, it is still not too late…Take your time to answer the questions below and please don’t rush…this is one of the most important time you can dedicate to achieve your success! And for fun once you have discovered your lessons, please feel free to compare it with mine…let me know how many lessons we had learnt in common

Ready to answer these questions:

What have you learnt from your past months?

What lessons did you gather?

How did you benefit from it?

What could you have improved for better performance and results?

Now that you got your lessons, please read what I have learnt…Don’t forget to compare it and let me know how many we have in common… and with what different prospective too!

You’ll notice that I have written in bold and highlighted some questions after every learning lesson, obviously these questions are for you to answer and be honest with yourself if you want to achieve personal growth and become a better you!

Here my learning points:

Simplicity : this is the main key to your success! If you can have a simple approach to whatever you are aiming for, you are a step ahead of many and in the top 3% of successful people. I have attended numerous courses on a variety of subjects and the commonality of all of them is to keep things simple and to have a simple plan! Incredible, some of you might think! But, it’s so simple to be simple!

What are the reasons of having a simplistic approach?

You’ll agree with me that we’re continually rushing and striving for more at all times. The simple truth is that we frequently make it harder than it needs to be and many things that cause our hurt and pain are created by …US! The main reason to have a simplistic approach is that it yields positive results as you have clarity on where you are, where you want to go and therefore you are getting faster results. Also as human being, we can become masters of a few simple things rather than a jack of many. I am sure you guys will agree with me on this one!  And the result of this approach is that you become better and better as you keep repeating the same thing over and over again that you will become a master at it! And this is not what we all want! It does not meant that you are a simple person and that you don’t have to learn anything new in your life, as you know I am a big fan of self-development but I am ensure that everything I learn goes towards enhancing and simplify my plan and my skills and not to complicate and deviate from my original plan! Is it not what we all want to get the best out of thing with the minimum time and minimum resources?

Ask yourself what you’re really doing with your life. You’re on the go and busy, barely stopping to take a breath. But what are you really accomplishing?

Ask yourself the following questions:

What’s  my goal?

How will I know when I’ve achieved it?

How am I measuring my progress?

How well is my current approach working?

Just remember to keep things simple as life really can be simple!

Here are 5 ways to help for living a simple, yet deeper and more authentic life:

1. Decide exactly what you want in each area of your life and be specific. It’s not compelling to say I want to lose weight, you need to decide how much weight you want to lose i.e. 1 stone

2. Chunk down your goal: Anything is doable when you break it down into tiny steps. Try not to overwhelm yourself by looking too far ahead. You don’t need to do everything right now. Do one thing at the time!

3. Prioritise your items on your list into a plan by placing them in an ordered sequence of priority. Eliminate things that overwhelm and drain you! Remember less is more!

4. Write a To-Do list to keep on tract.

5. KISS. Keep it splendidly simple. Stick to your plan & review it periodically to ensure you are still on track!

Understand who we are and what we really want and go out and get it! You need to have clarity on who you are and what you stand for. Only then you can go in one direction in your life and you know what it is…only forward! This is one of the most important lesson learnt this year, I took myself for granted and I never ponder over what made me successful in life because I knew only one way…but now that I spend more time talking to people, I realised that there are different ways to get to the same point and only when you know what is your success formula which agrees with your values and beliefs than you travel fast forward without hesitation and with full confidence not doubting yourself and making wise decisions…and the most important thing is that you can repeat your success formula in every aspect of your life…it’s a nice place to be in life but it’s never too late to work towards it…

What are your values?

What are you standing for?

What are the reasons of reacting consistently to events in specific ways but cannot explain the reasons behind it?

Are you making a conscious decision or an unconscious reaction?

Just remember that your happiness and success in life flow from becoming clear about who you are and establishing your authentic identity. It’s up to you to grasp your real you as it’s a inner process available only to you! As you become aware of who you are and feel more comfortable in your own skin, other people will be drawn to you and bring you greater opportunity!

Read my article on “What is your Success Formula?” & “Ready to find your Light Bulb Moment?” to find out some of the answers!

Consistency and Discipline!  I think these are the magic words for success! If you want to be successful you need to be consistent by being discipline in your approach both in business and in life! Is it not true that if you do one thing over and over again you get master of it and get consistent results?  I am sure that you know this quote:

“It’s not what you do once in a while; it’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference”.

To be consistent is to be reliable and if you aren’t reliable, no one will be able to trust you. It also equals credibility and credibility is what you need to succeed. You need to live by your word, because if you don’t, no one will trust you and you will lose current clients, potential clients or even potential business deals. Being consistent also means that you don’t give up if a problem or bump in the road comes up. Stay focused on your goal. Find ways around the problem or hurdle and keep in mind that if you really want to achieve something, it’s attainable with perseverance. Make it a point to never lose your credibility!

Consistency is important because keeps you on track! By following a consistent approach and by being discipline by sticking to your plan, you are in the best position to monitor your performance and to evaluate your goals/results against the ones set originally! Now, it does not matter what standards you set, it’s your life and your own business, you can set any you like but when you set them being disciplined and stick to it!

How can you show more consistency?

What can you improve to be more consistent and more disciplined?

How do you monitor and review your consistency and discipline?

Do what you say you will do! This is the secret of success! Take actions to get nearer to your goals, apply discipline to stick to your plan and you will achieve them with little efforts as this is the secret of consistency!

Choices – Grab the opportunity as fast as you can otherwise someone else will…that’s so true! I was reflecting on how I got where I am today and one of the reasons is that I am very decisive person – I spot opportunities immediately as they present, I set my mind and go for it and most important I take actions to find the way to make it works…it’s a magical process and it works over and over again! A great quote I live by is: “I choose to live by choice, not by chance: to make changes, not excuses; to be motivated, not manipulated; to be useful, not used; to excel, not compete. I choose self-esteem, not self-pity. I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinion of others.”

We have to choose in life – any decision we make even when we don’t take any is a choice and it will affect our future!

What are the reasons of making the choices that you make?

What are the important choices that I am making in my life?

What is the motive that drives each and every one of these choices?

I have just read a quote which relate to this lesson:

“You are surrounded today by the results of yesterday’s choices. Make your choices today with tomorrow in mind”

Read ” The 3 Cs in Success” to expand this subject..Just a reminder of it is two sentences made with those words: “You must make a Choice to take a chance or your life will never Change!” and one of my readers came up with another inspirational one: “Life gives you chances to make those choices that could change your life forever!”.

Expand outside your comfort zone!  Set up your bar high. I am glad I did stretch myself more and more because even if I am failing behind my plans at the moment, I open doors that were not even there…you know what I mean…some opportunities present in front of me and I just grabbed it…At the moment I am in a very interested project that it never went through my mind…I am still try to track it where it came about…it looks like magic, everyone I talked to and approach me for business are talking about the same project…incredible!!!

You need to stretch yourself, to feel the fear and do it anyway, feel uncomfortable to grow and above all you need to test yourself, your mental metal, your confidence level, your skills and abilities to acquire self-awareness of where you are now to be able to enhance them! “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it but that it is too low and we reach it” – Michelangelo

Just remember that the reasons to challenge yourself is to obtain personal growth, because if you don’t stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, you don’t growth and you don’t stand for something, you’ll never be an achiever!

Have you raised your bar high for this year goals?

So far what have you “stood for and against” this year?

Have you decided in advance what you will tolerate and what you will fight against?

Are you ready to challenge the impossible and stretch yourself out of your comfort zone?

For more details, please read my article on “Ready to challenge the impossible?” & “What are your goals for 2012?”

Strengths! Use them to your advantage! We spend most of our time working on overcoming our weaknesses and we forget to use our strengths to build our success! Obviously, both are important but we need to identify our strengths and work on it. For example, how the manager of a football team choose the players position during a match? Is it not by the player strengths to ensure that they have a better edge to win the match? We need to use the same concept if we want to be successful in any aspect of our life. Knowing our strengths will make us more self-awareness of ourselves and our qualities which make up who we are! It will be easier to see what actions we could take to maximise on our strengths making us a stronger person overall! It also boost our confidence to overcome obstacles that will present in our way! Please don’t undermine your strengths! I coach a lot of people and for my surprise, when I ask what are their strengths, they find difficult to list them which obviously shows that these are not clear to them!

How are you going to use your strengths if you don’t know what they are?

Believe me, these are the bones of your success! These are the skills and abilities to built your success on! Identifying your strengths is a huge asset to your success! It’s up to you to fully grasp your identity and to use it to your advantage to succeed and to become a better you and look for opportunities to make you the person you want to be!

Just remember that becoming the best you takes action, courage and honesty from your part!

What are my strengths?

What positive action do I need to take to use it to the fullest?

How does my strength affect my decision making?

Read ” Ready for your SWOT analysis?” to expand this subject..

Strategies! Your plan for action! Without it, we will not take achieve any results! Strategy is determining where you are now, where you want to go, and then how to get there. It’s the art of developing and implementing specific actions and decisions that will enable the business to achieve goals and objectives as set out by its owners. We all need to have a strategy in place if we want to achieve our success to keep us focus and on track! If we don’t have a direction and a scope before we initiate any plan, it will be very difficult to succeed! Business speaking, owing a business isn’t about work, it’s about the strategy. There are two things which separate a successful business from an un-successfully one. Firstly, the everlasting drive and desire to achieve one’s goals, and secondly, the ability to make decisions always keeping one’s goals in mind. In effect, there are people who act strategically and then there is everyone else. And remember that anyone can act strategically if they desire. All you need is the knowledge, the confidence and the support to do so.

What are your strategies to achieve your goals/plans?

How do you measure and monitor the success of your strategy?

How can you improve them to be more effective and efficient?

These are the main lessons that I have learnt as you can notice it has been a quite rollercoaster of emotions and a lot of events took place in the past months and without having clear goals and being motivated to achieve it by having a big WHY to give you the drive to “keep going even when the though get tougher” but the most important thing is that we have learnt vital lessons that will affect our life forever! This is the beauty of life, it always leaves something to learn from to enhance and enrich our future!

So, have you compare your learning lessons with mine? How many do we have in common?

Please let me know as I would love to share yours and learn from your learning lessons. It will be very interesting and amazing to see your different perspectives of life!

Did you notice what is the acronym of my learning lessons? Let me know if you do!

And now, I am sure that to get the best out of your life and approach it with a positive mindset, at every event, circumstance, emotions, etc which will occur in your life, you will ask the magical and powerful question:

What have a learnt from it?

And don’t forget to take notes and put it in practice as every third of the year, I will write my learning lessons and you will have them ready to compare it with mine and most importantly to give more meaning to your experiences and to live to your life to the full!

To your learning lessons which lead to your success!

Viv :-)

Thank you! … A Pause to your Reflection!

A very warm greetings to all my readers’,

Hope my article finds you well!

Reflecting back on the year so far, I have to admit I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions…You might recall some of the ones I have included in my articles…It is moments like these that make us realise life moves at rapid speed. As a result I decided to take some time to pause and take stock of the events that occurred in the first third of the year. Also to look at my own personal life and how I am doing against plan/goals set in January.

Incredibly, I had discovered how I make decisions and what I stand for…not that I wasn’t aware of it before, but now I know exactly how I function…of course these will be too personal for me to share. This discovery has helped me create a guideline for beliefs and most importantly given me CLARITY…yep, the enchanting word…I really feel release and above all I learnt some important life lessons that I would like to share and hope you find useful!

Firstly, I want to thank all of you as I would not be in this privileged position without your kind words, emails, texts, feedback, etc. They meant a lot to me, especially in the last few months which I have to say haven’t been the easiest in my life. I would also like to thank those of you that took inspiration from my words and analysed your life. Self-reflecting on where you are at the moment and where you want to be by having clarity of who you are and what you stand for. I send thanks because if I ask you to be honest with yourself, I have to lead by example. It has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and actively changed my life. In this sense it is a reciprocity approach.

Honesty is something I highly value, and I can tell you opening up my feelings, emotions and beliefs is not something I am used to or rather enjoy doing. Looking at it, it sounds strange being a girl, isn’t expressing emotions what we are known for after all? Well I guess I’m just a tiny bit different. Not that I don’t have feelings I actually experience very strong ones. However I don’t like talking about them (they are the only things I keep to myself and few fortunate or unfortunate ones such as my dear bro!)…I know that people that know me in person will fully agree with this statement…my mindset is mainly for business and as such you need to make quick decisions without involving you own feelings …Now that I have opened up some of my history, I hope you are ready to read what my heart is going to say, to show my appreciation to all of you as “It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life…that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Let’s start…

As mentioned in my “About”, I have always despised writing even now… I have to admit that there are many benefits. The main one is that I approach each event and circumstance that occur to me day in and day out with a positive mindset, I always ask myself “How can I and my readers’ benefit from this? As a result my days are always filled to the brim with enriching life lessonsThank you! The downside is that I keep procrastinating to write my articles until the last minute. As a result I am never up to speed with my thoughts and experiences I can share with you…so it is one of my struggles but I see it as a positive as it stretches me out of my comfort zone…and I know that I will get better and better thanks to all your feedback and your support…This is my first Thank you! I promise that you will know later the full meaning of it! Just be patient…

I would like to take this opportunity to say a very special thank you from the bottom of my heart to mainly four people who have been the closest and learnt the most during this difficult period…I won’t mention their names with the exception of Les who you already know. From the beginning of the year she has helped me to refine my coaching skills as my coachee. As many of you will know she has also co-written some of the blog’s articles. I must say your first-hand experience has been invaluable to me and my readers’! Thank you very much!

The second big thank you is for a person who trusted and supported me to make this blog happen! He has dedicated a lot of his time to make my articles better on a weekly basis and provided me with great ideas to implement! Thank you very much -I know you know who you are!

Another person I want to thank is someone who has fully trusted and assisted me during my exam period – it was a very touching and great learning experience! She has also refined my coaching skills and kept me motivated with my goals. As a result I have designed a new coaching program. Thank you very much for trusting in me so much!

The last special thank you is for the person who inspired me to write most of my articles and made me experience very strong emotions that most of the time I can’t even put into words! (I have to admit not always positive but always useful as I had to stretch myself out to find the benefits to move forward)! Thank you very much – you’ll never know the extent of my gratitude to you for enriching my life and for allowing me to make changes to be able to achieve my goals and every challenge and experience with you has been worth the effort ten times over as you have contributed to my achievement to-date! I must send thanks to you, even though I know you are still not familiar with my articles. I feel compelled to write this as for me you are like my real bro! – as you never know one day you will come across this in a way or another!

Next week I will share with you what specific lessons I have learnt from the past months…so watch this space and in the meantime I wish you a great week ahead!

Wait a minute…you need to do some homework for next week…yes, you did read it correctly…HOMEWORK!!! Let’s call it REVISION TIME – if you recall this is what one of my coaches considers as the most important aspect for moving forward to achieve own goals as it allows you to pause, compare results with what we projected at the beginning of the year and take action to improve our results for the next period.

Here is the Homework for the week:

I would love you to take the same pause of breath as me to reflect about your personal life and how you are doing against your plan/goals set last January…

Additionally please ask yourself this question:

What did you learn along the way whilst working towards your goals and targets?

This is the challenge that I throw at you…will you be ready with your learning lessons for next week? If you are then you prove to yourself that you will do what it takes to become successful even if you will not feel comfortable doing this exercise…and this is how success is done when you stretch yourself out of your comfort zone you will see your results grow.

And my last thought for this article is:

Thank you for all your supportit meant a lot to me! It has been a very difficult year and a half and I certainly appreciate the support that you have given me even if most of the times you were not aware of it, sometimes even a smile from some of you truly lift up my spirit, so keep smiling you never know what positivity can bring to people’s lives – you might even make their day as you made mine!thanks for being part of my journey too!!

To your pause of reflection which leads to your success!

Viv :-)