Be Phenomenal

I believe that life is about reaching for your full potential and becoming the best version of you. You have the power to achieve amazing things, however your choices  determine what you achieve. Choose to be phenomenal!

This is a short video that shares why I know you can reach greatness:

6 Life-hacks to Revolutionise Your Productivity!

“Focus on being productive, instead of busy”

Tim Ferriss

It is a great quote, from the author of the ‘4 hour work week’ and productivity expert, Tim Ferris. The problem is, it is easier said than done! We all live busy lives and the world constantly applies more demands on us than ever before.

How can we possibly become more productive?

This question has saturated my life. I am dedicated to becoming the best and most productive version of myself and if you want more out of yourself and your life, you will know exactly what I mean. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people appear to achieve so much… How do they do that?

I spent years studying this. Studying the highest performers in the world… business leaders, sports coaches, olympic athletes and political leaders and I have found that there are trends and strategies that anyone can follow, which will improve productivity 10 fold.

Focus on just one thing at a time.

Put simply, focus solely on a singular objective until it is completed or you reach a specific milestone, then move onto another task.

What I am saying is that multi-tasking is for losers –  don’t even try! If you do it will make you less proficient and less productive.  

Lots of you won’t believe me, so let’s test it – Get a stopwatch and time how long it takes to do the following: Firstly, multitasking – Do both of these activities at the same time – Count out loud to 100 while writing down the alphabet twice. Secondly, tackle both exercises separately, counting to 100 first, then completing the writing task… Which test produced the better work in the quickest time? 

If you try to multitask you will progress slower and less effectively. Focus on just one thing at a time and you will move quicker and perform better.

Get more done, to a higher standard by focusing on one task at a time.

Scrap to-do lists

There have been many studies on this and overall the resulting statistics tell us that 41% of the average to-do list doesn’t get done. The facts tell us a story, to-do lists are not an effective tool for productivity!

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The highest performing people utilise calendars instead. They attribute all of the days objectives into time blocks. What this does is allow you to stay true to focusing on one objective at a time. You know that you will spend time on everything you need to, so it frees up your mind to the task in hand, rather than worrying about all the different tasks for the day.

 

I have to be honest, when you first start, putting everything into your calendar takes time and it is difficult to maintain the discipline. However I can honestly say that this is the single most effective productivity strategy I have ever used. When it is blocked into your calendar it gets done… it really is amazing!

Never ever sacrifice quality time

This is so important. To be ultra productive you need to be at your very best. This means the quality time in your life is vital because it will re-charge your energy levels and freshen your perspective.

When returning to your tasks after quality time, you will be more energised, quicker-thinking and at you most productive.

Unfortunately most of us will sacrifice quality time because we don’t think we have enough time to deliver on our objectives. So the strategy is: More work and less play.

The problem with this strategy is obvious – The more you deny yourself the quality time you need, the less productive, less energetic and less creative you will be!

Give yourself quality time… You will deliver more, deliver it quicker and at a higher quality.

Only deal with email/social media once per day

Here is a fascinating statistic: People who access their email or social media within the first 40 minutes from waking up, are over 25% less productive that those that don’t.

“Email is nothing but a convenient organising system for other peoples agenda’s.”

Brendon Burchard

Don’t let it! It will be ridiculously rare, impossible even, for an email or social media post to be dealt with instantaneously! If it’s an emergency people don’t normally contact you via email or social media!

Instead of continually spending the day checking your inbox or you phone, block out time on your calendar for email and social media. By doing this, you will literally save hours on your average day!

Have a positive morning routine

The highest performing people in the world… petty much all of them… have a morning routine that pro-actively and consciously sets them up for an ultra productive day.

good-morning-routineYou already have a morning routine. The question is, does yours set up up for a great day? If not, why not?

Morning routines of high performers vary. Some people meditate, others do exercise, many write positive affirmations for the day or a journal.

The routines are different, the desire is the same: create a positive and conscious intention for the day ahead.

When you prepare to have a great day and set positive intentions, the more opportunity you will have of delivering a great day. 

I have tried a number of morning routines and have developed one that works well for me. This has been another powerful addition to my life and I recommend you experiment with this yourself.

Maintain peak physiology

The last strategy I can offer is the most basic and simple advice ever. Everyone knows it… but not everyone follows it.

The more energy you have the more productive you are!

Therefore the highest performers in the world focus on how they treat their bodies. Ensuring they eat healthy, drink lots of water, sleep at least 7 hours per night and take breaks to relax.

It is really simple advice, but it is often ignored. If you are tired, dehydrated, undernourished then you will not be in peak condition… If you want to be at peak productivity then you need to be in peak condition.

High performers know this and utilise this to their advantage.

Putting it Together

These strategies are utilised by some of the most productive people in the world and they have worked for me too! If you want to improve your productivity, try one or two of these tactics… it could revolutionise your life!

When Will You Decide To Become Great?

Everyday we get a little bit older. Everyday we lose another day of our future.

If we carry on doing the same  things as we did yesterday, in five years time we will still be in the same place we are right now.

Or, if you decide to, you can change your life for the better. It starts with making a commitment: “Fulfilment or nothing”.

Once you have made this commitment, you can then start climbing towards a successful and fulfilled life. You can stop taking the path of least resistance. You can stop doing the things that don’t bring you happiness. Instead, you can take the high road. Instead, you can take the road towards your destiny.

When you decide to commit to fulfilment, you will find yourself climbing higher and higher. You will become stronger, you will become the person you want to be, you will become the best version of you.

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence. Regardless of their chosen field of endeavour”

Vince Lombardi

So I urge you… Climb a little higher everyday. Climb just 1% higher and I promise you when you do this, every night before you go to sleep, you will be able to say “I did something great today”.

Please don’t misunderstand me, climbing to fulfilment won’t just be sunshine and rainbows. It will be hard, it will be scary, you will feel fear and on occasion heartache too.

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But if you keep on taking action everyday, you will learn from every hardship, from every disappointment and from every time you felt scared.

These moments will make you stronger. These moments prepare you for your destiny.

These moments are all worth it because when you commit to fulfilment, you will feel abundance, joy and ecstasy that is beyond words. Your life will take on a whole new level of success, happiness and fulfilment, just by climbing each day… even when it’s tough.

You will know the difficulties were worth it. You will know that you are worth it. You will know that you created your fulfilment. That you created your destiny.

You are the only problem you will ever have and you are your only solution.

It’s not your family.
It’s not your friends.
It’s not your job.
It’s not your boss, your circumstances or your luck.

It’s up to you.

Anything is possible when you know it is up to you.

What I learnt about life from 50 heart attack victims

Who are you?

This is such a simple question, but also equally difficult to answer well.

Most of us will be able to muster up a few answers, such as our name or maybe some of the roles in life we play, such as, mother, father, manager, leader…

Does that answer the question properly though? We are all more than a name, a job or a role, aren’t we?

What is the meaning of you? What do you stand for? What is your purpose? What do you give? What makes you magic?

Some people go searching for their life purpose, they will travel the world in an effort to ‘find themselves’. It is more common to find those people who ignore the idea that they have a purpose and just try to get through life as uneventfully as they can.

The truth is you don’t have to travel the world to work out who you are. That understanding is within you always. To fully discover it, you have to be prepared to ask yourself some challenging and deep questions… then be brave enough to answer!

Trying to ignore your purpose is a very dangerous activity. You can spend a lifetime suppressing yourself. You can spend a lifetime surviving rather than thriving, but the brutal truth is that at some point you will realise that failing to strive towards your purpose was the biggest mistake you ever made. This point, in most people’s lives, is when it is to late.

I know this to be true because I have been fortunate enough to learn from people who thought it was too late, who literally thought they were about to die. I interviewed over 50 people who had recently been a victim of a heart attack.

I asked them about life. What they thought about as they felt they were about to die. How did they rate their lives? What was the meaning of their life? 

Three themes kept on reoccurring in their answers that had a profound effect on my life. I would like to share them with you:

Enjoy Life

Enjoying the SilenceThe most commonly described factor was a wish that they had enjoyed life more, enjoyed the present moment more. They wished they had spent less time being distracted by a past they couldn’t do anything about or a future which is undetermined. It was unanimous that being fully present and take pleasure in the everyday moments would have vastly improved the quality of their lives.

One of the interviewees articulated it quite brilliantly “The present moment is all we truly and genuinely have. It is wonderful and glorious, yet I spent my time focused on the intangibles of the past and future. I missed the only thing I ever truly had.”

If you feel you are trapped in the past or future and are failing to truly savour the magic of right now, ask yourself:

  • What am I grateful for right now?
  • What needs to happen for me to enjoy this moment right now?
  • What activity can I do everyday which will actively enable me to give my absolutely focus on the present moment?

Deep Connection

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“I wish I had told (name of loved one) that I loved them more” That is one of the key things you will think in your last moments, according to those who believed they were about to die. 

Our world is not about individualism, it’s not about making sure we are okay and forget everyone else. It’s about connection with those around us.

The research suggests this belief system shouldn’t just be limited to your nearest and dearest either, as data shows us, that those people who pro-actively project love, joy, friendship and happiness to all they meet, have a greater sense of personal purpose and feel more loved, joyful, friendly and happy!

The key message I received from this, is about what we give to others. It is blindingly obvious that we need connection. What is less obvious, is that we shouldn’t be so protective over it! Most people wouldn’t dream of giving love, joy and happiness to everyone and for free. This is most likely because we are afraid of getting hurt. The realisation from these interviews is that it is ultimately more painful if we don’t!

In simple terms, the only way you can feel true, authentic and unlimited love is by giving love, freely and joyfully.

The only way you can feel joy is by giving joy.

The only way you can connect deeply with anyone, is by giving the feelings of deep connection away.

Yes, the cynics are right, there is a downside. The odd person might trample on that love you gave away, but don’t let that one person ruin your purpose lead life! The facts are 99% of people in your world will be grateful for the connection and give back those feelings two fold!

If you want to develop connection in your life, ask yourself:

  • How can I make someone feel valued and special today?
  • What do I need to do to make (loved ones name) feel totally and completely loved?
  • What are the feelings I will gain if I show love, joy and affection to all that I meet today?

Contribution

 

The final theme that came out loud and clear, was that in your last moments you will ask “did I even matter?” or “did I make a difference?”.

Delving deeper, this demonstrates clear links to influencing others’ lives in a positive way.

“The reason for living is giving”

Tony Robbins

We all know inherently that the feeling when helping others is fabulous and fulfilling… The problem my interviewees had was that it’s a tough world out there and we had to look after and protect ourselves. Helping others was always second or third on the agenda.

helping

However it is clear this is not the way to live our lives! Every single person I interviewed wished, in those final moments, that they had contributed more. I think it is safe to say in our last moments we will ask the same, we will wish we had made a difference in others’ lives. If this is true… maybe, just maybe supporting others is looking after ourselves!

Maybe the fact is we all have a purpose to offer this world and those that don’t give the world all they can, regret it.

My advice… don’t have regrets, live to your potential.

Do you feel you could contribute more? Ask yourself:

  • What do I love doing?
  • How can I do this and create benefits to others?
  • What skill or knowledge do I have right now that could improve someones life today?

Putting it all to together

The question I asked at the start of this post was “who are you?” It is a big question and you have some big answers inside. At the end of our lives we will all ask:

Did we really live our lives?

Did we connect deeply with those around us?

Did we make a difference?

Don’t wait until the end of your life to find out how you would answer them. Make sure your answers are the ones you will be proud of!

Your team can perform better than you. No matter how smart you think you are.

I was fortunate to consult with a company recently which, over the last few years, made some bad decisions that had unfortunately produced poor results.

In fact, these decisions resulted in lower sales performances, lower profit conversion, lower team engagement and lower customer service standards than at any point in their history.

Yet, when I reviewed this with the directors of the company, they never challenged the ideas of Managing Director. The whole senior leadership team created a list of blame factors that resulted in underperformance. However, non of these factors implicated the MD’s or their bad decisions.

 

This culture had also spread like a contagious disease through every level of the company. Everyone agreed and complied with their manager, without question or genuine challenge.

Isaac-Cordal-Street-Art-artistFor anyone looking at this company from the outside, it was obvious that generating this culture became a devastating illness. The people within the company lost their voice, therefore lost their engagement, which ultimately resulted in significantly lower performance.

 

 

Not one person is brighter, smarter or more aware, than a team of people who are all working towards the same goal and who are able to challenge for the common good.

“What great individuals cannot accomplish on their own, can be achieved by a high performance team”

Phil Bryson

A “Yes” culture should be avoided at all costs… It will erode your teams performance, sometimes forever. I had the opportunity to share a story, with this MD, about how I had encountered a “Yes” culture in my career, which allowed him to think a little differently.

I would like to share this story with you now, maybe it will make you think differently about your leadership situation.

About fifteen years ago I secured a leadership role in an exciting brand, but the team that I inherited had previously worked in a culture of saying “Yes” to their leader without question or input.

They didn’t think for themselves and they expected to be told what to do, all of the time.

This created a massive problem for me. I was new to the company and I didn’t have the knowledge of the intricate workings of the business.

Therefore I had two options:

A. Learn everything in the business really quickly, then create brilliant ideas on how to perform better and then tell my team what to do… step by step.

B. Assume that my team, on the whole, had the capability and knowledge to perform, (as they had performed well over the previous two years) then trust and empower them.

I decided to go for option B.

Firstly I replaced the ‘To-do’ lists with a team vision. I explained to my team how we would be in the future and what we would achieve in the future. I made it bright, I made it bold and I made it something that I personally believed in.

I then asked my team “How should we achieve this vision?”. Rather than telling my team what to do, step by step, I instead gave an intention on our destination.

Our team vision became to deliver world-class customer service. My team then told me how we would achieve this.

My team changed from a group of people who waited to be told what to do, to a team of people who decided what to do for the best interests of the vision. The ownership of decision making switched to them.

Once my team took the ownership, they started thinking for themselves, they became more engaged, they felt more valued and they became more productive.

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Then the obvious happened…

My team were a group of two hundred capable people, who were focused, connected to each other and acted as decision makers.

The other teams in the company had one leader telling two hundred people what to do and when.

It doesn’t matter how creative, intelligent and smart the other leaders were. My team was two hundred times more creative, motivated, pro-active and intelligent… My team became unstoppable!

My team then out-performed every other team on every measure within the company – We had the best customer experience scores ever, the highest engagement scores and grew year-on-year profit more than any other team in the company. Ever.

The lesson I learnt was that a leader’s job is to move the decision making to where it needs to be… and that is never just with one person while everyone else follows without question.

Leadership is not about commanding and controlling followers – Leadership is about giving control and creating leaders.

What if?

What if you could change your life?

What if you could decide to be happy?

What if you could be the person you want to be?

What if you could choose love instead of fear?

What if you knew you were put on this planet for a reason?

What if giving to others made you feel amazing?

What if trusting others allowed you feel trusted?

What if you helped someone in need today?

What if you are not alone?

What if you could inspire someone?

What if you lived every moment to the fullest?

What if the only thing that is stopping you, is you?

What if your past didn’t effect your future?

What if you have a choice?

What if you deserve more?

What if you can be more?

What if you made more time for yourself?

What if you improved 1% everyday?

What if you focused completely on the things that are important to you?

What if you were capable of truly amazing things?

What if your failures only happened to make you more equipped for your successes?

What if you could live your dreams?

What if all you had to do was decide and then keep taking action until you won?

What if you knew you only had one life – Would you chase your dreams or would you compromise?

Never let a “What if” become a regret… Make them a reality.

Success Without Fulfilment is Failure

Most of us will follow a script of what we think we should do. The problem is, this script probably hasn’t been written by you.

We often find that our script for life has been written by society, well-meaning parents and the constant barrage of marketing, that is stuffed down our throats informing us what a successful life is. (This of course will include purchasing the particular product they are selling!).

This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t follow this script, if this is what you truly want out of life. However if the script you’re living isn’t linked to your passion, values and purpose then you will be more prone to negative outcomes such as stress, depression and a feeling of emptiness.

“Success based on anything but internal fulfilment is bound to be empty”

Dr. Martha Friedman

To prove the point, take a moment to think of your life. Have you ever chased a goal that you thought would make you successful? Then once you achieved that goal and the initial excitement dispersed, you were left feeling empty inside asking ‘is this it?’

That is you chasing something that you have been told is success, rather than following your own script.

We all have the opportunity to work out our own script, if we take some time and space for ourselves and ask the following questions:

‘Where am I in my life today?’

‘Where do I want to go?’

‘What will make my life exceptional, magnificent and completely fulfilled?’

When we give ourselves the time to ask ourselves these simple, but deep questions, we will often see a distinct difference in the goals we have and the goals we want.

Please take a moment to think about the questions above. You will probably discover that the answers describe feelings, beliefs and values.

If there is a secret, then this is it! What we are all seeking is a specific set of feelings, that are as unique and as special as the individual you are.

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The problem with following a life script, that is designed by the media and popular culture, is that it focuses on false success measures. We blindly hope that chasing what we are told to, will bring the feelings of fulfilment, success and joy that we desire so much.

The truth is achievement of a false goal will rarely bring fulfilment. That is what happened to me. I spent a long time believing the script we are told… that I would be happy if I had that next job, if I had a certain amount of money, if I won that award.

I achieved all of those goals and when I did I realised it hadn’t made me happy. In fact it made what was missing in my life even more apparent and obvious.

I implore you not to make the same mistake I did. It is never too late to seek fulfilment, so no matter what is happening in your life right now, no matter how far down a road you have gone… you can change your future. You can live life on your terms and be successful and fulfilled.

Your past does not define your future. Your actions right now do.

I changed my life. What I have found is that this is very personal and feels extremely vulnerable. But it is the most amazing thing that will ever happen when you do it.

Take some time and give some space to you. Take a look inside and ask some deep questions… What is my gift? What is my purpose? What is my destiny? How can I contribute more?

When I asked these questions, I discovered that what lights me up is creating an environment that allows those around me to think differently and the opportunity to reach their potential. I believe that everyone is capable of amazing things. I just want to help anyone who wants support to achieve that.

I now live everyday focused on this goal and I have never been happier or more fulfilled. If I can do it, then you can too. Have faith in you.

The harsh truth is success without fulfilment is failure.

Everyone at some-point discovers this. Take action on your personal fulfilment now, become the person you want to be.

Discover that seeking fulfilment creates success.

Why You Should Change Who You Spend Your Time With

I believe that to reach our full potential we need to surround ourselves with people who raise our standards and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves… Who do you surround yourself with?

This is a YouTube show full of motivation, inspiration and high performance for those who want to develop leadership and make the changes in your life that allow you to live a fulfilled, exceptional life!