Category Archives: Achieving your Goals

8 ways to make it easier to say YES!

Do you find it hard to accept and take on new challenges in your life? Is it difficult to motivate yourself to make new things happen?

We all know that personal growth is essential if you want health, happiness, ambition and general well being in your life. But many of us find it difficult to progress from thought to action.

You’ll be pleased to know that as human beings we do have amazing potential to accept and conquer new challenges.

There are few things in life that you cannot achieve if you really want to achieve them.

But this is the key – you have to really want something to achieve it. This is because when you want something enough you will automatically motivate yourself to take action.

Many people hamper their own personal growth by refusing to take action. They find any excuse not to make necessary changes in their lives.

Be honest – are you an achiever or a non-achiever?

If you want to avoid becoming a “non-achiever” then you must develop a personal growth mindset. If you do this you will find it easy to actively search out and take on new challenges.

You might think this is difficult. Our minds are very good at making things seem hard and unattainable. Basically we are lazy – we want to go to work, come home and eat, entertain ourselves and sleep!

But this is all about mindset and the good news is you can change your mindset with just a little retraining. All it takes is a small amount of discipline and some regular practice.

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Do you always say “no” before you say “yes” ?

Do you find yourself putting forward objections when you’re asked to try something new or challenging?

I used to be like this. When I was a child I was quite nervous and shy. My mum pushed me to try new things all the time, but I hadn’t developed my self confidence enough and so I was always very worried about what other people thought of my performance.

I found it hard to try new things unless I could do them perfectly. I became a “perfectionist” and this attitude limited both my personal growth and my social skills.

I spent more time worrying about getting approval from my parents and teachers than I did enjoying the new and interesting challenges presented to me.

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How does a personal growth mindset help?

When you develop a personal growth mindset you understand that you can’t be instantly good at everything you try. You have to work at it, persevere and develop your skills over time.

You also have to be prepared to fail and learn from your mistakes. Ironically, the process of failing does also help you to succeed.

Challenge leads to Passion = Enjoyment

But before any of this you have to start trying new things. You have to find out what you enjoy and what you have a passion for in your life.

When I saw how my attitude was holding me back I decided to make a change. Each Christmas I made a short list of 5 things I’d like to try in the upcoming new year.

These things weren’t always huge challenges but at least one of them would involve me stepping outside my comfort zone. For example, my first ever challenge was to skydive on my 18th birthday!

Other things on my very first list included improving my French, going to the opera in London and visiting “Le Mans” the 24 hour motor racing event in France.

The more you challenge yourself by trying new things or visiting new places, the more you will naturally build your self confidence and develop a mindset that improves your personal growth in many different ways.

Try these 8 different ways to develop your personal growth mindset

No. 1 – Start dreaming

Every new adventure or achievement begins with a dream. Allow yourself to dream and this will stimulate your imagination. Dreams originate from the creative part of your brain – they are part of your creative self.

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You may have to work hard to dream if you haven’t allowed yourself to do this much before. But the more you practice the easier it becomes.

If you embrace your dreams, you’ll see new opportunities for growth. When you’ve identified these opportunities don’t be afraid to try them out.

No. 2 – Stop justifying

You don’t need to justify everything you do in life. When you change your behaviour or start a new hobby, your friends and family will probably ask you why you are doing it. They may even give you reasons why you shouldn’t continue to pursue your goal or dream.

Politely listen to their advice but remember you don’t need to give them any justification, except to say ‘I’m doing this because I want to!’

No. 3 – Monitor negativity

Being negative is really a modern day form of defense. We always want to take the easiest and safest route to achieve a result. Often this is simply to say “no – I can’t, won’t or don’t want to do it”.

This is the thing I most have to watch. I can’t count how many times I’ve said no before going on to complete something, and many times without any problems.

Be watchful of saying “no” before actually giving something a try. As they say, it’s better to say yes and fail than never to have tried at all.

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No. 4 – Approval sucks!

You are improving your mindset for “yourself” not for “others”. This is very important to remember. This is your life and if you get it right you will be a happy fulfilled person. This will automatically be good for your family and friends.

What other people say is irrelevant unless it is good, sound practical advice given with you in mind.

If you ask for the opinions of others as a way of getting approval then you’ll end up doing what they want you to do – not what makes you happy.

You are not being selfish. Others may say you are, but honestly, it’s the people that try to control your destiny that are actually behaving selfishly!

No. 5 – Know that you’ll never be perfect

No matter what you do, there will always be opportunities for improvement. You can do your best in any given moment with the skills and tools available, but you’ll always be able to learn from your experiences and do better than before.

This is how mediocre athletes become great athletes.

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No. 6 – People matter!

Spend time with people or groups that you don’t normally hang out with. Subscribe to Meetup.com and attend discussion and networking groups so that you can have new and interesting conversations.

Your own views and opinions may be challenged, but this will stimulate you to come up with new ideas. If you keep an open mind you’ll no doubt learn new things about yourself and the world around you.

You’ll also continue to improve your social skills and find it easy to chat with new people. This might naturally result in new friendships or even romance!

No. 7 – Try something new every week

Commit to trying a new thing every week for a year. These things don’t have to be difficult challenges. You could try new foods, a new route to work, read a different genre of book, paint a picture, learn a language, take a train to somewhere you haven’t yet visited – anything at all – as long as you haven’t done it before!

Start by making a list of all the things you’d like to do or try – whether they are small or large, possible or improbable. No limits. You don’t have to create your list in one day either. See it as a work in progress to come up with 52 things you’d like to achieve.

Set a date to start – 1st January would be good – and get going. Use a diary to record your tasks and post to social media each day that you achieve something new!

If you fail to complete an item on your list, don’t worry – but at least make the effort to try.

Before you know it you’ll find that it’s easy to accept and achieve new challenges in your life. You will have successfully developed a personal growth mindset without too much mental effort!

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No. 8 – Enjoy the experience

We often say “it’s the journey not the destination” that’s important. When traveling, it’s all the little things that happen along the way and the people you meet that make the journey worthwhile.

The same can be said for any new challenge in life. It’s the overall experience that fulfills you, not necessarily just the final result. If you take on this way of thinking you will have much more fun along the way and a lot less stress and pressure to achieve the end result.

Make it easy to say yes!

If you learn to develop your personal growth mindset and accept new challenges then you’ll find it easy to say YES to new opportunities.

If you’re offered a job that stretches your abilities, you’ll be less likely to say no. You’ll think seriously about giving it a try. If you are invited on a travel adventure there’s more of a possibility you’ll actually make it happen.

All of this will lead to you living a happy, positive and fulfilling life in a way that satisfies you first and then the people around you!

Is there a perfect time to start?

Anytime is good to start improving your mindset but now is particularly perfect because it will soon be the start of a new year. This is a time when we generally feel naturally motivated to make positive changes in our lives.

Start putting plans in place now, make your list of challenges and be ready to start on January 1st.

Honestly, if you begin to embrace change and challenge, you’ll discover quickly how confident and happy this makes you feel.

Move forward into 2016 feeling positive, motivated and happy about your life!

 

 

 

 

The Rule of Surf’s Up!

Turning your passion in life into a job is the dream scenario for many, but what about those of us who aren’t lucky enough to do so. How much should we allow work to dictate our lives?

This Australian plumber has a refreshing approach to employee wellbeing.

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I had been living in Australia for less than a year, having made the decision to emigrate from England after another chilly and depressing winter. Things had gone well for us in the land down under, and my wife and I were having a beautiful home built for us in one of Perth’s southern suburbs.

We had bought a block of land and contracted a company to build a house for us, following one of their off-the-shelf plans, with a few minor modifications we had requested. One change we wanted involved the pipework and fixtures in the main bathroom and on the Wednesday morning I was scheduled to meet the plumber to give him ………..

Find out what happened next by reading the full article here on Virgin.com “Disruptors”:

http://www.virgin.com/disruptors/employee-wellbeing-the-rule-of-surfs-up

A week in the wild with Ben Fogle

Our “New Lives in the Wild” Filming with Ben Fogle

Since deciding to stay on in Panama with Ian, we’ve had a fun and busy time together. We spent Ian’s 50th birthday in LA with friends Teresa and Evan where we also attended a course to learn about public speaking. Ian had recently been invited by TEDx Vienna to talk about living “an unlimited life” and if seemed that this might be the beginning of a new career path. It was something he could do as we travelled, if he were able to sell “Usher’s Island”. We had been looking at ways to continue earning money which we obviously needed, to support our unconventional lifestyle.

“Sell the island?” I hear you ask. “But you’ve only just arrived”.

"Usher's Island"
“Usher’s Island”

When I met Ian in London, he had already decided that his time in Panama was coming to a close. He had spent well over two years clearing the island, building a house and developing what was now a viable off-grid property. He was ready for a new challenge.

But, as in any new relationship, we had lots of things to discover about each other. We decided we would be happy to remain living inexpensively on the island while I also waited for my home to sell back in England. We both wanted to travel more and it was fun to explore all the different options – the world was quite literally our oyster – with no strings we could pretty much take off wherever we wanted.

However, there were to be a couple of distractions before we could make any decisions about our future, and one that would certainly take me outside my own comfort zone!

Ian was contacted by Renegade Pictures in London, who film the UK Channel 5 program “New Lives in the Wild”, featuring the presenter, Ben Fogle. Renegade had read about Ian’s story and wanted to know if he’d be interested in appearing on an episode for the second season. On hearing that I had recently given up my life in London to live with him in Panama, the producer was keen to chat, and before I knew it I had agreed to be featured alongside Ian in the hour long TV documentary.

We explained to them that we were trying to sell the island, although it hadn’t yet been placed with any agents. Ian had managed to secure an article with the Daily Mail, but with the market the way it was, we fully expected it could be another year or so before the island sold. The producer had no problem with that, it was a lifestyle that Ian had chosen and had been living for a couple of years. It didn’t necessarily have to be a lifestyle that would continue forever.

Bocas Town Seafront
Bocas Town Seafront

It was a beautifully hot sunny Tuesday morning when Director, Elliot and Producer, Kate arrived in Bocas del Toro. We had arranged to meet up with them in town for lunch and were feeling quite relaxed about the whole affair. We’d already had a couple of Skype conversations with them both in London, but still we were surprised at how laid back and easy going they were. I suppose we expected them to be a little more formal, but we were soon all enjoying our lunch and chatting through ideas for the show.

Ben Fogle, and the crew weren’t arriving until the Sunday, and Elliott and Kate had plenty of preparation and location scouting scheduled for us over the coming days. There was a lot to organise, not least because boat transport was involved in most activities and this was very much weather dependent.

We were both intrigued to discover more about the process behind the filming of a documentary and were keen and willing “helpers”. Ian has produced a fair number of YouTube videos and we both have a love of film, so this was going to be a very interesting experience.

We left Elliot and Kate to settle into their hotel and headed back to the island after braving a flash storm that saw us dangerously close to sinking our neighbour Kent’s borrowed boat, a second time! Kent was fixing our new engine so that we could get our boat back on the water in time for the filming. The crew had arranged to hire a boat and driver to ferry them and their equipment back and forth to the island and filming locations, but we needed our boat for our own use. Thankfully, both boat and new engine were waiting for us on our return.

Part of our weekly routine here on the island is to contribute to the broadcasting of the daily radio station via the VHF radio, quite aptly named the BEN network. This stands for Bocas Emergency Network and both local gringos and boat owners partake in the daily broadcast. Ian acts as Net Controller on Wednesday mornings and I do the weather for “Ladies Day”, on Thursdays.

We thought this would be a great opportunity for Ben Fogle to make contact with the local community. Kate and Elliot were keen to listen to the format of the program and so arrived at 7.30am ready for the start. They were impressed and it was agreed that Ben should partake on the following Wednesday. And so we had our first activity agreed. That was easy! Now we just had to work out an itinerary for the rest of the week. But that couldn’t possibly be considered until we had baked some lovely fresh olive bread and tucked into warm slices with lots of butter and blackberry jam.

After breakfast Elliot and Kate wanted to scout the local environment around Dolphin Bay and to see some of the swimming locations we had suggested. We had hoped that the guys would see dolphins and we weren’t disappointed.

Dolphins in Dolphin Bay
Dolphins in Dolphin Bay

We managed to get some photos of the dolphins surfacing in the bay before motoring on toward the “Secret Lagoon”. We tied the boat up to the mangroves and clambered across the roots into the hidden expanse of water. The locals are very adept at traversing the mangrove roots – we were all a little less nimble!

We took a well earned dip in the lovely deep, clear water around the outside of the lagoon where we put the fear of God into poor Kate, as we told her our shark encounter stories. She was to be the brunt of many shark jokes over the next week but she took all the jesting in great spirits. We had only spent a couple of days with her, but we both really liked her and felt very comfortable in her presence. We were going to “bare our souls” over the coming week so it was important that we felt comfortable and relaxed around the guys. Kate and Elliot reassured us with tips about how to remain natural throughout the filming and assured us that within no time we would forget that the camera and sound were there at all.

We spent the rest of the day talking through ideas and activities that we could film with Ben and were pleased when they confirmed that the building of the Helipad was still on the list. We worked out a preliminary schedule and it was soon clear that Ian was playing a vital part in helping Kate get these projects organised. Kate joked about him being part of her production team as well as “contributor” to the show!

Building the Helipad
Building the Helipad

Over the next couple of days we had to locate sheep, organise catering for the crew, visit the local fiesta at the Indian Village and check out the Chocolate Farm. Finally we would need to visit our Thursday afternoon social at “Valley of the Frogs” and talk to Jean about ordering a new canoe.

By now we had a better understanding as to why Elliot and Kate had arrived so much earlier than the rest of the crew. Elliot also explained that he had to try and formulate the story line for the program ahead of filming. Kate also had to carry out risk assessments and deal with all the local contractual and payment transactions. We were starting to see just how involved the process was.

With Director Elliot at Rana Azul
With Director Elliot at Rana Azul

We had a brief day of rest on the Saturday before the arrival of the crew on the Sunday. Before I knew it Ben and Ian were heading toward the balcony with an entourage of people, including cameraman Geraint, known simply as “G”, Jackson, his young assistant, sound man Grant, and of course Kate and Elliot in tow. Elliot’s head was now buried in his monitor unit where he could see and hear exactly what was being filmed.

The crew in action
The crew in action

 After a short period of nervousness, I quickly became at ease as we went about our daily tasks, me with microphone permanently attached to my cleavage. We shot more than 23 hours of film over six days and so it was quite an intense schedule. The crew stayed in town but Ben remained each evening on the island. He was an easy person to have around – Ian and he are quite similar. They established a great rapport which comes across well in the final program and makes for some very funny moments. Both Ian and I agreed that the overall experience was probably one of the best we had to date. The crew were such great people, and all felt like friends by the time they left.

Ben reading Ian's book "Paradise Delayed"
Ben reading Ian’s book “Paradise Delayed”

The program aired in February 2014 and we were very excited to watch the final edited version. We had been at pains to ensure that our interaction with the community, both Indian and other local ex-pats, was portrayed. We particularly wanted to include our wonderful afternoons at jungle Pizzeria, Rana Azul, where filming had begun on the Sunday. Kate and Elliot seemed to understand how important this was to our lifestyle, having spent time with us. However, the final cut is made by the Executive Producers back in London, and unfortunately they removed all filming that portrayed time spent with our friends.

Oktoberfest at Rana Azul
Oktoberfest at Rana Azul

Overall we were really happy with the portrayal of our lives and had tremendous feedback from viewers. Our disappointment surrounded the fact that they made our lifestyle look much more remote than it actually was. They also got a number of facts and figures relating to the cost and development of the island incorrect. However, Elliot “got” our situation totally, when he had Ben summarise in the narrative at the end of the show:

“but now Ian and Vanessa will be going in search of their own adventure together,  a shared adventure”.

And what an adventure it is turning out to be!

Painting the Helipad
Painting the Helipad

If you would like to know more about what it’s like buying, developing and living on an island, Ian’s book Paradise Delayed” details the trials, tribulations and joy of this adventure. He has recently updated the book to bring our story up-to-date.

Five ways for entrepreneurs to encourage creative thinking

You probably don’t need me to point this out to you, but as entrepreneurs we generally tend to think a little differently to most other people. That’s what makes us entrepreneurs after all, isn’t it?

We think creatively, produce unusual out-of-the-box ideas, see problems as opportunities and come up with unique ideas or solutions. Entrepreneurs push boundaries. They create new ways to solve old problems, develop innovative new products and challenge old ways of thinking about, and doing business.

So why are we now entertaining a suggestion that our entrepreneurs may have lost the will or the ability to innovate?

Perhaps one of the reasons can be found by recognizing that many entrepreneurs will inevitably need to move their focus away from innovation as their business takes shape. Let’s face it. You started out in business because you had a brilliant idea, a creative brainwave. Your entrepreneurial mindset could see the potential ………..

Read the full article on Virgin Entrepreneur here:

http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/five-ways-for-entrepreneurs-to-encourage-creative-thinking