Embrace The Onion

Embrace The OnionThere have been many moments in my life where I have had an experience or insight that has lead me to feeling jolted awake, as though awakening for the very first time, and wondering how I ever thought I was anything other than asleep prior.

Each time, I smile to myself wryly and laugh at the infinite layers available in the onion of life. The more we grow, the more we realise just how much more room is still left to grow; infinite space in fact.

I’ve been experiencing these moments in particularly high concentration over the last eight weeks while embarking on a new program with Landmark Education, alongside various other experiences. Each more elucidating than the last, yet in such fast succession that I have wondered at times if I am dreaming.

In pursuit of accelerated impact, I have been seeking out uncomfortable situations and conversations. I have become aware of all the times and places my unspoken goal was the polar opposite; to remain comfortable and safe. And with practice, my habitual resistance to anything else is becoming less and less, and stark realisations keep appearing.

Realisations of all of the stories I’ve ever told myself about why I couldn’t do or say something, why I didn’t want to, why it wasn’t safe or ideal to, or what was going on with someone else. All the times I’ve played small, even the ones I’d pushed deep into my subconscious, right from my early years to the present.

Letting go of remaining concerns about being perfect or imperfect, and instead choosing love, compassion and contribution. Making decisions from there, and becoming more and more open to operating way beyond my comfort zone. Knowing comfort is not the goal, and my passion for mass contribution is far more significant than any residual fear. That the path I’ve chosen is not supposed to be one of comfort.

I feel my world expanding with each choice I make to acknowledge and address each and every remaining cobweb in the realm of my consciousness and existence, and that of humanity, rather than speeding past in ignorance. Each choice to consciously and powerfully forge ahead, rather than being at the effect of any inner voice doubting my readiness.

My message is this. The value in acknowledging these subtleties in consciousness and any and all things that haven’t worked in our past or are blocking our future is not to be underestimated. It’s not just ok to do so, I’ve come to realise it’s absolutely essential if you’re to shed everything you’re not and become an unleashed version of who you truly are.

We all have these things: niggly beliefs that were formed long ago, hidden under the surface and not yet corrected; actions we’ve taken in the past that haven’t aligned with our intentions; areas of life or people we’ve neglected without intending to nor realising.

Former blind spots that from a new vantage point we come to see so clearly and wish to and can make good on. The pursuit of expansion isn’t as simple as improving once and BOOM, never having to do any work on ourselves again. It’s a continuum. One of ever increasing awareness.

The goal isn’t never again having misalignments, not noticing them, or pretending they don’t exist. The goal is simply to *not* leave them untouched, gathering dust or snowballing, but instead to bring them into the light. To welcome them and to work with them. To transform them.

These moments of illumination and clarity are rarely comfortable, but they are truly extraordinary. Both inherently and in what they make available to us both as individuals and communities.

Here’s to choosing to turn the light on. Again, and again, and again.

I’d love to know about your reflections on continuous personal development in the comments. Book a consultation with me to find out how I can help you illuminate your blind spots to become even more brilliant.

7 Morning Rituals To Raise Your Game And Achieve Your Goals

We’ve just passed the midway point of the 2017, and it’s an ideal opportunity to assess how you’re doing against your goals for the year. If you’ve already smashed your annual goals way ahead of target, it’s an opportunity to set more or bigger goals. On the other hand, if there are any you haven’t met yet, it’s time to question what you need to do differently in order to make them happen.

One of the big factors (and game changers) I’ve found both with myself and my clients that determines whether our goals become reality or not, is the state of energy we’re in. When we’re in our optimal energy physically and mentally, everything flows more easily. We bounce out of bed more easily, we face challenges more easily, and our well of patience and compassion is fuller.

There are many components to great energy, and one of the most fast acting changes to implement for enhanced energy is optimising how we start our day. Until around 18 months ago, mornings for me were all about waking up at the last possible moment, jumping straight in the shower and running out the door around 7 minutes later, often without breakfast. For some time, I was eating all three meals in the office Monday to Friday.

One day, I was rushing through Grand Central on the way to my office in midtown Manhattan in New York City, and I decided I didn’t want to start my days like this anymore. I didn’t want to start them frantic and rushing. I wanted to make mornings more intentional and relaxed, to have time to gather my thoughts, to connect with what I really wanted, and to start as I meant to go on.

I started experimenting with a more conscious morning routine.

I had started listening to the popular podcast “The School of Greatness” by Lewis Howes, and had picked up some great pearls of wisdom on starting the day the right way. Including, first and foremost, being sure to always make one’s bed, even if you were the only one to see it.

Following are a few of the morning rituals I’ve found work best for me, and that many other successful people rely on. But I encourage you to experiment with different habits and timings to work out what feels right for you; everyone’s different and there’s no shame in that. An important consideration when planning out or experimenting with your morning ritual is to avoid comparison at all costs.

1. Aim to rise at the same time every day

And get up as soon as your first alarm goes off. Get a vibrating alarm clock if you need to, or one that emulates sunrise and birdsong for a more natural experience. Although if you rise at the same time every day, and you’re getting adequate sleep, you may find that you don’t need an alarm at all.

2. Make your bed immediately, no matter what.

This may seem trivial, particularly if you live alone, but beginning your day with intentionality and attention to detail sets off a powerful ripple effect that permeates your entire day. Take it from a Navy Seal Commander: “It’s good to start off with a simple task that moves you forward.”

3. Drink a glass of water with a slice of fresh lemon in.

Lemon water aids with digestion, detoxification, rejuvenates your skin and body, boosts your energy and mood (without the caffeine crash of coffee), and provides a great vitamin and immune boost. Lemons also contain pectin which helps to stave off cravings and help you feel fuller.

4. Meditate for 5-15 minutes.

The benefits of meditation are numerous, in including relief from stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure and increased production of anti-aging hormone DHEA(!!). You might decide sitting in silence works best for you, just tuning into your breath and noticing any thoughts come up and letting them drift away, or you might prefer to use an app like Calm or Headspace. I have found 5-15 minutes to be the sweet spot, much longer and I can find myself feeling a little too relaxed, but if you’re particularly stressed longer can be beneficial, and you may prefer to meditate in the evening either instead or in addition.

5. Go to the gym or for an outdoor workout.

Getting exercise done first thing in the morning means you can avoid potential procrastination later, both because there tend to be less distractions earlier in the day, and because we tend to feel more tired as the day goes on. Personally, I’ve also found my mind is more proactive but less noisy first thing in the morning, so all those rational reasons that come up as to why it can wait until later or tomorrow or why it’s less of a priority than other urgencies are much quieter. If Obama could make time to work outwhile serving as President of the USA, we can all make it work. Bonus points if you listen to an inspiring podcast or classical music while working out.

6. Make a green juice.

Feature fresh leafy greens in your juice and eat some high quality proteinsuch as beans, eggs, fish or white meat. This will replenish your system, assist with muscle repair and give you a great energy boost, without the subsequent crash a carbohydrate heavy breakfast can lead to.

7. Eat some frogs.

Mark Twain famously said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Focusing on your least enjoyable yet high priority tasks first thing in the morning not only makes excellent use of the fresh well discipline you find yourself with at the beginning of a new day, but it can also reap a multiplier effect because the quality of your attention is stronger, and there are fewer distractions trying to pull you in other directions. Decision fatigue also sets in later in the day, so you’re much more likely to find yourself either struggling to make a decision with regards to a challenging task or project, or feeling the urge to delay it until tomorrow.

Developing a consistent and nourishing morning ritual has been a huge game changer for me.

It has amplified my physical and mental wellbeing, productivity, creativity and energy enormously. The key is to be open to experimentation and to paying attention to what works for you TODAY.

If something stops working for you, forget about analyzing why, just stop doing it and try something else. Your routine doesn’t need to be the same forever, and you don’t necessarily need to hit it in the same order or every item every single day, but conscious intentionality is key. Daily consistency also has the added benefit of breeding automatic habits that require less discipline to continue enforcing. Establishing an optimal start to your day is a commitment to yourself, to your productivity, and to those in your life to be your best self.

Other resources that will help you to establish positive habits that work best for you:

The Power Of Habit by Charless Duhigg

Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferris

Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

What does your ideal morning look like? What have you tried, and what are you inspired to try? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Questions Of Consequence

Questions Of Consequence

The art of being engaging is the art of asking compelling questions.

Learning this principle during coaching training changed the dynamic of every single one of my relationships almost instantaneously. I have been further inspired by books such as “A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger, as well as my interactions with friends, mentors and fellow coaches, both during my training and beyond.

Many say that the single most important skill of a coach isn’t telling people what to do, it’s asking them provocative questions that inspire them to dig deep and find the answer within. The same applies far beyond coaching.

Here are some questions to stop asking IMMEDIATELY. It doesn’t matter where you are or who you’re with. One of my visions is to play a role in this being taught in schools.

“So what do you do?”
“Where do you live?”
“Where did you go to school?”
“How do you like London/New York/[insert city you’re in]?”
“What did you have for lunch?”

Every time I hear someone asking one of these questions a small piece of my soul dies, and I redirect the conversation, as politely and quickly as possible to more fertile territory.

We’re not on this earth to have inane conversations, we’re here to inspire each other and to excel.

Here are some better questions, that will inspire far more interesting answers and deeper engagement. Ask any of these questions and you can almost see people’s neurons firing like crazy as they’re actually stimulated to dig deeper into their consciousness for a meaningful answer.

“WHY do you do what you do?”
“What’s exciting for you right now?”
“What’s your biggest lesson in life so far?”
“What did you learn from your trip to Outer Mongolia?”
“What was your favourite thing about bungee jumping off the Auckland Bridge[/insert other awesome activity you find out they’ve done]?”
“What gets you fired up?”
“What would you like to see be different in the world in 5 years?”

Questions like these will not only get your audience AND YOU more fired up, they’ll enjoy talking to you more, and they’ll want to come back for more. If you want to be magnetic in life and business, this is essential.

If you haven’t already, try it right now with someone nearby or on the phone. You’ll quickly get addicted to the results. Like anything, once you start treading the path you’ll find yourself walking it without even consciously thinking about it. But what you’ll always be conscious of is how much bigger and better the view is.

A Bugbear

a bugbear

When people admit they spent years doing something they hated, it grinds my gears. How can you expect your clients to have full confidence in you, to believe you’ve got winner DNA, if you didn’t stand by your convictions and leave a job you hated straight away? Leaving a job you love for something even greater – that’s courage.

What do you think?

Evolution

Do you ever stop and recognize just how much you’ve evolved over the last year? Never mind two years, five years, ten years, but in just one year?

Sometimes it takes a photo captured in time to help us appreciate our own growth. Timehop is a wonderful tool for charting your progress as well as reconnecting with fond memories (either online or via their app).

This time a year and a month ago I was sitting at my desk, doing a job I loved, with people I loved, but noticing a growing desire to help people in more personal, intuitive, creative and ultimately more profound ways. Even though I was incredibly grateful and passionate about my job, I was getting intuitive hits that would manifest physically in recurring hollow, sinking and twisting feelings in my belly when I was in the office but not elsewhere.

This was in part because I was already midway through my life, business and health coaching training (which I had immediately discovered I had an even greater passion for), and was getting incredible insights into the entrepreneurial world through my volunteering with House of Genius. But while I dreamed of it, I still hadn’t quite imagined entrepreneurship to be realistic for me yet. I just quietly noticed the fire in my belly returning every time I was in training or volunteering engaged in coaching or entrepreneurship.

I also noticed that in order to be successful in my job, I had to spend a lot of my time in the hyper-logical, efficiency focused part of my brain, and that this not only felt like more work, but that it was at times challenging to switch it off in my personal life, which meant my relationships were less fulfilling than I knew they could be. In contrast, I could feel that these newer activities were engaging many more parts of my brain on a much more holistic and exhilarating level, as well as my gut and heart. I noticed too that in turn all of my relationships were becoming more and more energised.

Much like during yoga and meditation, I could feel myself losing my sense of separateness between myself and others, and even losing awareness of irrelevant external stimuli as I began to experience flow state with ever increasing frequency. I begun to feel more alive, stimulated and purposeful than ever before. Everything just came more naturally.

I quickly found ways to incorporate my new coaching skills into my corporate position by taking a new approach in all of my meetings and relationships as well as by running wellbeing workshops at lunchtimes to have a greater impact on my colleagues. After just a couple of these, I realised there was a profound need for this work in the world and that I had to make this a full-time venture ASAP. A year later, here I am running my business full-time!

What didn’t seem possible for you this time last year that’s now a reality?

Evolution
Me a year ago

Evolution

Evolution
Me on Sunday. My wardrobe has definitely evolved alongside my visions of what’s possible for me and others!

 

Below are a few of my other “on this day” Timehops. I’d love to see yours!

I’m also curious, if you could go back in time and tell 6 year ago you one thing, what would it be?

I’d tell 6 year ago me, instead of trying so hard to make everything work, to just let go of anything that didn’t feel good and move on. Challenges are amazing and important, but within reason. I firmly believe now if it doesn’t feel good it’s not what you’re meant for!

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2014: My first Winter in New York City. At Panna II Indian restaurant in NYC with my friend Diana. It has Christmas lights covering every inch of it year round! I was still cultivating my network in NYC but every day I woke up tingly with excitement to discover new people and adventures.
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2013: A few months before I moved to New York for my dream job! I’d also lost 40 pounds, bought my first home and started following my “definitely definitely or no” principle.
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2012: I got a LOT done, but I was very stressed and didn’t have a lot of patience…!

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2010: Before I learned the art of taking care of my needs first. And of saying no. I was very overwhelmed and anxious. There was much to be discovered!