Motivational Monday #39 The first principle of success

Motivational Monday #39 The first principle of success

“The first principle of success is desire – knowing what you want. 

Robert Collier

I have a very popular exercise that I run with delegates on both my recruitment and my sales training courses which has delegates create a vision of themselves, in their role, twelve months on and being successful.

I have them write down in as much detail as possible the situation as they are wanting it to be at that future date including practical aspects such as their financial billings, their desired volume of repeat business and market positioning and penetration.

Universally delegates love this exercise and at the end of it we discuss the power of having a clear picture of where we want to be in the future. We discuss how it gives us a focus and direction for our efforts and how ultimately that long-term goal translates into practical daily actions for us to undertake.

The cumulative result of which being that we get to where we want to be or at the very least closer to it.

We then discuss the alternative i.e. having no direction, no clear end goal and we talk about how hard it is in that situation to reach any consistent worthwhile results. 

Now with delegates on a training course it’s fairly easy for them to come up with an answer to where they want to be in twelve months because the question is specific to their job role and desk. (Although interestingly few delegates have thought much about it prior to me running the exercise and certainly almost none have gone into the detail that I encourage them to go into.)

But what about for the rest of us? 

We aren’t in a training room and no one is standing in front of us asking us to contemplate what future we truly desire in twelve months. And because of that few of us will take the time out to contemplate it.

Yet by not doing so we are missing the opportunity to truly identify our real desires. Those things that we want with a burning intensity. 

Think about this for a second. Everyone of us has, at different times in our lives, worked harder and faster than at other times.

I asked some people recently what they had achieved in their lives with some intensity of effort that, on reflection, seem incredible achievements. The list they came up with was quite diverse:

  • personal life – selling and moving house in six weeks, doing their own loft conversion in four months whilst working full time
  • work life – designing and creating their own company website, successfully finding a new job a week after being made redundant,  successfully building a new business despite being a first time parent with twins

The one unifying factor about all of those examples was that each of these people wanted to achieve their goal. And not in a casual ‘it would be quite nice to do it’ way but in an intense way. They all had a burning desire and a clear goal.

I truly believe that the more clearly you can identify your true desires and translate those into real world goals – be those goals possessions, positions or situations – the more you will be able to reach them.

Your desire will drive your actions and give you the energy to work harder and longer at the tasks necessary to reach your goals. 

So take some time out this week to contemplate what you truly desire and then let your desire drive you forward!

Let me leave you with the rest of the quote from Robert Collier where he describes real desire in his own, inimitable, style

Desire is the planting of your seed. Very few persons, comparatively, know how to desire with sufficient intensity. They do not know what it is to feel and manifest that intense, eager, longing, craving, insistent, demanding, ravenous desire which is akin to the persistent, insistent, ardent, overwhelming desire of the drowning man for a breath of air; of the shipwrecked or desert-lost man for a drink of water; of the famished man for bread and meat.”

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart

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Motivational Monday #38 Time is limited

Motivational Monday #38 Time is limited

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs

Seven years ago my family and I sold our house in Leeds and moved to a beautiful rural village just outside of York. This new location gave us the rural aspect we had been dreaming of for years whilst keeping us close enough to the rest of the country so I could easily travel around and deliver my training and consultancy.

Since being in the house we have experienced many of the clichés of village life – the single shop, the fact that everyone seems to know everything the minute it happens, and that your home comfort is very strongly dependent on having good neighbours.

And in that respect we have been blessed. Our neighbour to our left is particularly friendly. In the seven years of living there I’ve only run into him once and not had a hearty ‘Hello and how are you’ from him.

That one exception happened yesterday.

I was loading stuff into the car when he came out of his house and walked down his drive. He looked grey in the face and seemed to have an air of heaviness about him. He also didn’t call out his usual greeting. I said ‘hello’ and got a forced smile in return and he carried on to his car. Having at the time an armful of stuff that I was trying not to drop I wasn’t in the best place to carry on the conversation even though clearly something wasn’t right.

I was then out in York until later on in the afternoon but when I got back my wife and I were outside talking and our neighbour came walking by. Again he seemed sombre and distracted. This time we got talking and it emerged that his father had died last week and that Saturday had been the funeral.

It’s never an easy conversation to have, especially when you are not expecting to have it, yet our neighbour, being the down to earth, easy-going man he is, had a very calm perspective on it which made the conversation much easier than it could have been.

He took the view that his Dad had been 80 and had a good life; he’d worked a career he loved, had two children who he had stayed close with as they got older, been happily married and enjoyed his elder years  living independently in his own apartment indulging in his own hobbies and interests.

As my neighbour summed things up “He was his own man and he had a good innings.”

I don’t know about you but when I meet someone who has just experienced a bereavement it gets me thinking. On this occasion what struck me the most was that whilst the finality of his father’s passing was still sad that sadness was clearly tempered due to the fact that his father had lived his own life and been happy doing it.

I have for a long time believed in the mantra of the self-development specialists to ‘live your own life’ however believing and knowing are two different things and I find it reassuring to learn that such a lifestyle choice does indeed make a difference in the end. And not just for the person themselves but also for the people around them.

So given our future is created one week, day and indeed moment at a time I wonder what you and I could do this week, day or moment to recognise that our time is limited, to maximise the time we have and above all to live our own life?

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart

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Motivational Monday #37 The Best is Yet to Come

Motivational Monday #37 The Best is Yet to Come

“Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum
You came along and everything’s startin’ to hum
Still, it’s a real good bet, the best is yet to come
Best is yet to come and babe, won’t that be fine?
You think you’ve seen the sun, but you ain’t seen it shine”

James Darren

I’m sitting here humming the tune to myself (off-key I suspect) as I type this blog.

(For those of you who don’t know it it’s a happy little big band song made famous by Frank Sinatra.)

And personally I think that the key refrain of “the best is yet to come” is a beautiful motto to live by.

The main message couldn’t be clearer (the best is yet to come) but what I like hiding under the main message is the idea conveyed in the line

“You think you’ve seen the sun, but you ain’t seen it shine.”

It can be very easy to think that what you’ve achieved in life is as good as it’s going to get. That the experiences you’ve had so far are the heights that you will reach. This is particularly true when you get a little older and doing new things or reaching some of your younger dreams seems that much harder.

What’s powerful is to mentally turn what you’ve already done from final accomplishments into stages on the path to even greater things.

Take J.K. Rowling for example; there’s a woman who could be expected to be sitting back and thinking her achievements are in her past but because she doesn’t think like that she’s just recently released her first book for adults. So not only a new book but a new style of book. She’s used what she’s done before to take a step in a new direction.

So perhaps this week take a moment and re-look at what you have achieved, what you’d like to achieve and ponder that if the best is yet to come – just how good will that be and what might the next great thing for you look like?

And to aid your pondering why don’t you hop over to YouTube and listen to James Darren do justice to this great little song!

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ1MI1zPJvY

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart

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Motivational Monday #36 Patience

Motivational Monday #36 Patience

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” 

Fulton J. Sheen

We live in a world which worships speed. Faster is always better and sooner beats later every time.

At least that’s the modern wisdom.

And speed has it’s place. But patience can be equally powerful and is too often overlooked.

One of the flaws with overlooking patience is that we create a world built on rushing. And whilst rushing is great for short term, immediate, needs it fails in the long run.

It can also create a very stressful environment where we want instant gratification or instant success and we become dissatisfied when things don’t happen instantly.

It also creates a culture that makes ridiculous claims – for example a magazine I bought recently proudly announced on the cover ‘Master 3D art in a day” which is a truly ridiculous headline!

Mastery of any discipline in life is only going to come over a protracted period of time and the more we accept that the happier we can be on the journey towards that mastery.

So to be truly happy, and successful in life we need to cultivate both speed and patience.

And as Archbishop Sheen points out this is not a form of inaction but rather action. Of planning when things will happen and for seizing the right opportunities when they arise.

(In the same way as it pays to get on the right train not just the first one that comes along.)

I don’t know what you want to achieve by the end of the year but by patiently working towards your goals from now, you are more likely to reach them than if you make a rush for the finishing line at the end of the year.

And what of your longer term plans? If you are frustrated because you aren’t in the right job, right house or drive the right car then have some patience, put in place plans to get you to where you want to be, then put those plans into action.

The time for speed will be when your patient, steady, work creates opportunities that you can then grasp with alacrity.

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart

Photo credit - the very talented TJ who’s other stock can be found at http://poorsouls-stock.deviantart.com/
 
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Motivational Monday #35 The Greatest Possession

Motivational Monday #35 The Greatest Possession

“Health is the greatest possession.

Contentment is the greatest treasure.

Confidence is the greatest friend.”

Lao Tzu

Over the weekend I become incapacitated for thirty-six hours with health issues. 

The issues struck on Friday evening when I was driving home. I started to experience a sharp pain in my back every time I took a deep breath which proceeded to grow in intensity. Things then got worse.

After stopping for fuel I found that I couldn’t reach back for my seatbelt when I got back into the car and indeed getting into the car itself was a very painful experience.

Twenty minutes later when I got home I wasn’t able to lift my case out of the car without extreme pain and I struggled to walk up the steps to the house. (I’d like to publically thank my teenage children for helping their ailing dad without prompting!)

My wife is a sports massage therapist so fortunately I was in good hands once I got into the house but even with her help I was totally incapacitated from Friday evening through to mid Sunday and in considerable pain in the meantime.

The weekend plans, both unpleasant, DIY and pleasant, time with the family – were completely put on hold. Bits of Edenchanges work (e.g. blogging) that had also been planned had to be left as well. Fortunately I had no clients at the weekend although I did need to recover enough to get to Manchester on Sunday night for a contract on Monday.

In my more lucid moments, around the muscle spasms, I had the chance to consider how lucky I am normally. My health is generally excellent (in nearly four years of running Edenchanges I’ve only had to postpone one business appearance) and I have no ongoing health issues.

And that prompted my thoughts about today’s Motivational Monday blog and the search for a suitable quote. You see having good health has made me take it for granted. I assume that in the future I will be able to perform the actions I plan to do in the future when that future point arrives.

Which of course means that I can put of until later whatever I want because I rely on an ‘expectation of ability’, i.e. of being able to enact those planned actions.

Now if I changed that perspective. If instead of assuming I can lay out my plans in neat sections over the course of the future days, weeks and months I change my thinking to

“Better do it sooner because you never know what might happen.”

how much more would I get done? 

And that’s the question I want to leave with you today.

If you accept the truth that you can’t know that you will be in the same health or mental condition new week, next month or next year what would you do today (or in the very near future) that you would normally have delayed?

And possibly consider –  is there something that you could do now, tomorrow (and on an ongoing basis) that would help better ensure your future health? 

I leave you to ponder whilst I go and gingerly walk to my next client appointment!

Before I go I realise I have only referenced the first line of Lao Tzu’s quote. I very much like the quote and I will return to the second and third lines of it on future Motivational Monday’s.

Until next time, stay healthy!

Stephen Hart

Sports Therapy - my wife’s details are as follows if anyone in the York or Selby area needs any professional sports therapy or massage treatment
 
 
 
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Motivational Monday #34 Better than Yourself

Motivational Monday #34 Better than Yourself

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” 

William Faulkner

The weather has turned a little colder, the wind a little sharper and the rain a little more present. All in all it’s fair to say that summer has now slipped away and we are in the Autumn of 2012.

With the advent of Autumn it can be easy to think of the year being over and pine for the sunnier days. The colder weather makes it harder to be motivated and stay focused on our goals.

Or at least that’s one way to look at it.

Personally I love the change in the seasons. As the seasons shift one into the next it reminds me that all life is change, all things naturally have a time and that new experiences are always ahead of us.

Whatever we have achieved this year so far is simply the foundation for the rest of the year.

If you have experienced personal, or business challenges, in spring and summer this year then it might be that the culmination of your hard work will be achieved in autumn.

And if not then autumn is the chance to get things back on track. Learn from your challenges, mistakes and errors earlier in the year and then wipe the slate clean and start afresh right now.

William Faulkner sets a powerful challenge for us – “try to be better than yourself”. Given the time of year, I think that prompts the question for all of us:

“In what way can we, in Autumn, out-perform our earlier 2012 achievements?”

Until next time;

Stephen Hart

Photo credits on the picture above:
Model Jason Aaron Baca Website http://jasonaaronbaca.deviantart.com/
Photographer Portia Shao Website http://www.positivevista.com/Welcome.html
Used with thanks.

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Motivational Monday #33 When You Arise

Motivational Monday #33 When You Arise

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive; to think, to enjoy and to love.”
Marcus Aurelius

We all know how precious time is and how privileged we are to have so many choices every day yet, ironically, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. 

It’s one of those invisible facts that floats around in the shadows and only really comes out into the light when something big happens.

Which is exactly what happened to me last week … in the space of twenty four hours, I learnt about one birthday celebration, one suicide, one death and one anniversary.

All that news in such a short time really got me thinking!

And don’t worry I’m not going to get maudlin about the fact that time passes I simply think that we should notice and use it more thoughtfully.

For example all great achievements occur over a long period of time. The recent Olympic wins were, for every single medal winner, the result of years of practice, work and dedication. If you want to be brilliant at something, or achieve something significant then it makes sense to plan for years of activity rather than days.

And that means if you want to achieve that goal at a certain age then you might have to start a lot younger or sooner than you were expecting to.

And let’s take a look at where we are right now in this year – as I write this its mid-September 2012. So nine months into 2012 or to look at it in a different way, three-quarters of the way through 2012.

So are you three-quarters of the way to your goals for 2012?

It’s a potentially very powerful question.

I know, from personal experience, that days flow into weeks which pass smoothly and unconsciously into months and now I’ve started to think about the date and where we are in 2012 I will be taking some time out considering if my plans have kept up with the flow of time!

And if you are joining me in this contemplation then may I suggest we also send our thoughts forward into the week ahead – looking backwards, whilst powerful, should only be the start after all.

As a starter here are three questions that might stir up some interesting questions:

  1. What could you do this week to further your relationships – with family, friends and/or colleagues
  2. What could you do this week to improve your health?
  3. What one change could you make that would make your days more enjoyable and happier?

I’m confident that if you stop a moment and consider where you are at this point in the year and then consider your steps forward from this point you will unlock some powerful answers and truths.

When you have those answers and truths I believe you will be able to go forward more strongly and make your time work more profitably for you.

Until next time;

Stephen Hart

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