Stress is literally killing us – here are 4 simple ways to reduce it.

Stress – It doesn’t need an introduction.

It is spreading around the world like an epidemic… The chances are you have been affected by it in your life… Almost all of us have.

High levels of stress release a hormone called Serotonin in your body.

This hormone creates the ‘fight or flight’ sensation – It is a part of our biology, so when we are presented with real danger, our bodies and mind are ready to fight off the danger or run away from it. It was only designed to be used infrequently and in moments of life threatening danger.

This hormone, when activated, switches off all none essential functions in your body.

Here are some of the things that get switched off when you feel stressed:

Your immune system
Your creativity
Your digestive system
Your memory retrieval
Your physical growth

As you can clearly see, these elements are critical factors in the long-term ability to be a healthy human being.

When we understand that high stress causes high levels of Serotonin to be pumped through our bodies, all of the time, it’s easy to identify why stress is literally killing us.

“No amount of anxiety can change the future. No amount of regret can change the past.”

Karen Salmansohn

If you, like me, have been affected by stress, here are 4 simple ideas that can help:

Remove yourself from the situation

imagesThe power of physically removing yourself from the situation and going for a walk… in nature if possible…. cannot be underestimated. The act of getting away, even just for half an hour, acts as an emotional and intellectual reset.

Give your brain some air and some space.

The fact of the matter is your brain can answer any question you give it… what you need to do is ensure you are asking the right questions. When you are in the moment, with all the stress factors surrounding you, it is difficult to know what the right questions are… never mind try to answer them.

Go for a walk in nature. Give your mind some time, space and air. Just enjoy the experience. When you return, you will feel less stressed – therefore will have ‘switched on’ those internal systems you need, like creativity.

Here is my challenge to you – if you think this strategy is just wishful thinking or that you don’t have the time – then test it… go for a one hour walk in nature today… what have you got to lose?

If I am right… imagine what you might gain.

Focus on what is REALLY important

Stress, in the main, is caused by lots of little things that all feel very urgent.

We often mistake urgency for importance and therefore are bound to feel stressed, because pretty much everything is urgent these days!

There is a theory that 20% of the tasks you have to do in any given situation, will deliver 80% of the results you desire. So… if you have a ‘To-Do list’ of 10 actions, 2 of these will deliver 80% of the results you want… leaving the other 8 actions with only 20% of the outcome you need.

Do you know what the 20% of important actions are in your life? Because when you do, and once you take action on them, 80% of your stress will be removed.

Take some time out to figure out what is the most important 20% in your life – then start taking action towards these things first.

Take action, even when you don’t feel like it

“There is just so much to do…. I don’t know where to start.”

I hear this so often when working with people under high levels of stress. The bottom line is, this approach is not serving you.

Taking action will serve you.

If you have managed to identify the important 20%, then work on this… but even if you haven’t – start taking action… any action is better than no action at all.

When we are stressed, we don’t see the value in the small steps forward – we want a magic wand to sort it all out. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand and there is rarely a quick fix.

Think of this metaphor… The person is who wants to lose weight and get fit.

If this person goes on the scales after one gym session and a healthy breakfast, they will be disappointed… there won’t be any difference. In fact they probably still won’t notice a difference after a week of gym sessions and healthy eating either.

But those little actions DO make a difference… In fact they make ALL the difference!

Do you think that person will notice a difference after two weeks? A little maybe… how about a month? How about a year?

Of course there will be a massive difference – It is simple, but true.

This is the same with stress.

Take positive action consistently. You might not notice the difference immediately… but over time the transformation will become dramatic!

So, when you don’t know what action to take or don’t feel like taking action is worth it… do it anyway. Keep on taking positive action everyday.

Soon those small actions will build momentum – and momentum will make you unstoppable!

Create and use a support network

You are not alone.

stock-photo-large-group-of-people-seen-from-above-gathered-together-in-the-shape-of-two-hands-reaching-out-each-255266638You are not the only person to have experienced this level of stress.

Don’t face it alone. Today we are more connected than ever before, so we should use this to our advantage! Connect with other people who are facing similar struggles… or even better, connect with those that have overcome them!

Together we are stronger.

Seek out like-minded people who can support you, who can challenge you and who will need you to do the same. There are so many sources of information, inspiration, groups, coaches, networks out there – use them.

The strength of knowing that you are not alone, the power you gain from knowing that it can be overcome is immeasurable. You have access to this at your finger-tips:

Watch inspirational videos
Join discussion groups
Meet with follow professionals in your sector
Get a coach
Get a mentor
The list goes on…. just get some support!

Putting it all together:

Stress stops everything. It stops important internal processes and it stops you making good decisions and taking positive action.

Don’t let it. You can take control… Remove yourself from the situation, get some fresh air and fresh perspective. Work out what 20% of tasks you need to do to remove 80% of the stress levels.

TAKE ACTION and build momentum… And finally don’t forget to get some support – You are better working with others, allow yourself to be the best version of you.

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Like this post? Then you will love my latest book: Emerging Leadership. Click here to check it out.

Beating Depression

It is at this time of year that I tend to reflect on my life more than usual – I think deeply about who I have been, who I am now and why.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was a very different person than I am now – In fact, almost three years to the day I was lost… lost in the fog and mist of depression.

You might know about my story, I have mentioned it in other posts… how I used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day, 50lbs overweight and utterly miserable – these were just the outward signals of the dark disease which was growing inside me.

I cannot accurately describe how I felt during this time… it was as though a cruel, oppressive and hurtful entity had been absorbed in every pore of my body and mind.

It felt separate from the “real” me, yet it was all consuming. I felt like I was drowning. It was scary and there didn’t seem like there was anyway out.

However there was a way out. I did escape, I haven’t fallen back, I never will – and I learnt some important lessons:

  1. Depression is very real and has to be taken very seriously. It is a disease and we should treat anyone caught in the midst of it with the same compassion and care as we would with any other physical disease.
  2. It is possible to recover from this disease.

If you have been caught by depression, please get some professional help – I can offer my advice on how I recovered and hopefully it can help – however, nothing can beat professional support, especially if depression’s claws are in deep.

The way I managed to free myself will sound simple – I decided I had to change and I started taking positive actions everyday.

I realise this will sound over simplistic and unrealistic, but it is true – I was in a desperate situation – I had to change, otherwise the consequences would have been the darkest possible.

When I made the decision it felt impossible. I had no idea what to do or where to start – what possible action could solve something as big as depression?

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The thing is that is what depression wants you to think – depression wants to grow – and the perfect conditions to grow are in a static, absorbed and defeated individual..

On the contrary… I found that depression cannot grow when positive action is consistently taking place.

Success is “consistency”

It is not about one grand action that will rid you of depression forever. That is unrealistic and will make you give up when it doesn’t happen immediately.

Instead it is about momentum – lots and lots of small but positive actions to improve your situation. They can be tiny steps, but when you keep on adding more and more, the momentum becomes unstoppable.

Going for a walk in nature, writing down some goals, making the call, reading the chapter of a book, meeting with friends, seeking professional help and applying for a job… keep taking small actions.

None are the antidote to depression on its own, but together they will slowly remove the conditions for depression to grow.

As the momentum builds, so will you and so will your mind – The fog will start to lift and the oppression will be defeated.

Take positive action – any action, no matter how small… just do it consistently, don’t expect immediate results and you can change your life… I did.

How to believe in people again

Almost everyone has, at some point, been hurt, rejected, dismissed and treated badly. When this happens many of us then find it hard to believe and trust in people again.

If you have ever felt like this, then here are 4 strategies that will allow you to stay positive and get the best out of all of your relationships... Even if it seems as though you are surrounded by people who have hurt you, let you down or broken your heart.

Trust is a biological need

The science is clear… Trust and connection are critical factors in human existence. This is not my opinion, this is proven scientific fact. We are literally biologically forced to connect with others, because we are stronger together.

If you allow a few people to make you lose faith in that, then you are only hurting yourself.

Branding the entire human race as cruel and nasty because of a few people is ridiculous. Think about it… there are 7 billion people on this planet – all of which have a biological need to connect with others. Don’t let a couple of idiots ruin your perception of how many great people there are in the world.

Acknowledge people are just like you

everyoneWe only ever get to see our perspective of life and it is easy to think we are alone in our struggle. The truth is everyone struggles.

Some find it hard just to get through the day, others are frustrated because they can’t chase their dreams, many are worried about how they can support their families, scared of what others think about them. The lists are endless, but the ultimate truth is that everybody is struggling somehow.

It is so important that you understand this. If you ever get to a place where you think your situation is so special and unique that nobody can ever understand you – You are in a bad place and, more importantly, you are wrong. You have more in common with others than you realise.

By saying that nobody could ever understand you, all you are doing is freezing yourself out of relationships.

If you freeze yourself out, then nobody will understand you because you won’t let them, NOT because they can’t. That is your doing… not theirs.

Stop building walls

Once you have been hurt, it is tempting to create emotional barriers and walls to stop you getting hurt again.

Been hurt in love? Create barriers that make it difficult for you to fall in love again… so in theory, you won’t get hurt again.

Hopefully you can see the problem with this tactic. Barriers and walls stop you feeling positive and wonderful emotions. Emotions you need and desire.

Barriers and walls keep the bad guys out, but they also fend off the good guys too.

Walls solve nothing, they just deny you what you want most and they also hurt other people… good people.

The brave thing to do is to brake down your walls and allow yourself to live. I can’t promise you that you will never get hurt again, but by allowing those positive emotions in, it does mean you will experience 10x the love, joy, happiness and trust than you would if you lock everything out.

Most people have walls… break down yours, break down theirs… with love, with joy, with trust and your life will become abundant.

Birds of a feather

141159769539890017_cyh5thwj_cThis last strategy is so simple, but also the most effective – Remove negative people from your life and increase the amount of positive people.

Positive people are supportive, caring and helpful… There are billions of these types of people across the world, literally billions!

They will help you grow, develop and become the best version of you, so seek them out.

Yes there are mean people in the world, but they are not the majority… You don’t have to have them in your life. It is a choice, make one that improves the quality of your life.

Putting it all together

There are mean people and when you get hurt, it is tempting to turn your back on the world and lose trust in people.

Don’t, mean people are in the minority.

You have a biological need to connect with others – If you deny yourself this, you are only hurting yourself.

You are not the only person who is struggling. Understanding this truth will allow you to have more empathy for those around you.

Stop building walls – You deny yourself the emotions you most desire when you create barriers – don’t deny yourself love, joy, happiness and trust.

Choose to build relationships with positive people. There are loads of them out there!

How to CRUSH fear!

No matter who you are FEAR is going to play a part in your life.

How we interpret the fear we feel will determine the action we take… and ultimately the success we achieve in our lives.

In this video I share how we can effectively and powerfully understand what fear is, how to use it to serve you and eventually overcome it!

 

How to Deal with Difficult People

Your success, your career, you life, is dependant on the quality of the relationships you create.

So what happens if a key person in your life is really difficult to build any sort of relationship with?

This video explores what you can do to have a positive impact and build high quality relationships, even with the most challenging people you know!

What to do when you have been let down by someone you trust

I have recently been badly let down…

The person in question was in a situation which was difficult for her, she was highly stressed and appeared to be making herself ill.

So I listened, I supported, I trusted, I guided. I even went above the call of duty and threw myself in the firing line for her.

My action worked – her stressful situation dissipated and, in the moments when I took the heat away, she turned on me – blaming me for it all and informing everyone that would listen, that she was faultless. She quickly distanced myself from her and then she attempted to muscle in on the good work I created for her company!

How would you respond if this was you?

The probability is you will have experienced a similar situation like this in your life. Where someone you trust, fails to reciprocate that trust and lets you down.  When this happens it is understandable that your response would be emotional and negative.

The unfortunate truth is that responding this way rarely helps anyone. Especially you.

The reaction that will serve you best will help you move on and be able to trust again quickly and wholeheartedly. Here is how:

Forgive

“Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.”

Desmond Tutu

Holding resentment inside only hurts one person – you. The last person who needs to be hurt by you is you, so you have to rid yourself of resentment.

Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die. The poison will do nothing to your enemy, but will kill you!

Forgiveness can seem hard… Why should you forgive someone who has hurt you? The reason you should is because forgiveness isn’t just about the antagonist, it’s about allowing yourself to stop hurting… and you deserve that.

Be your best self

20141223140914-give-gift-your-presenceSometimes when we feel we have been let down it is easy to close ourselves off to the world.

Who is this behaviour serving? Nobody, that’s who.

The past is the past. It cannot be changed, you can only learn from it. The one thing that is an absolute certainty in life is that if you want the future to be brighter, you have to bring your best self to the game.

Be bigger, be better and be bolder… be your best self and you will bring the best out of the present and the future.

Expect the best in others

Just because one person has let you down, it doesn’t mean the world is full of evil, untrustworthy people. 99.9% of people have the desire to be nice, kind and helpful individuals. Don’t close down your opportunities to connect deeply with others, just because one person has broken your trust.

If you expect the best from others, your behaviours will adapt accordingly and you will engage with the world in a positive fashion… and guess what? Engaging positively with those around you will, 99.9% of the time, result in positive outcomes!

Surround yourself with positive people

When-you-surround-yourself-with-positive-loving-peopleIt is said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So who do you want to be and who do you want to be surrounded by?

This is a choice – seek out the people who have aspirations and goals like you. The people you admire. The people you can trust.

Don’t get sucked in by people who are self obsessed, negative or selfish… It will drain you. Instead look up at those people who soar… and choose to fly with them.

Putting it all together

The bottom line is that some people will hurt you – NEVER let that stop you being the wonderful and authentic person you are.

Be the best version of you!

GET YOUR FREE PDP THAT WILL HELP YOU BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU – CLICK HERE NOW!!

Why transforming your life is so damn difficult!

Every one of us, at some point in our lives, have wanted to change… To transform our lives and ourselves. Some of us are on that path for a lifetime…

Do you want to change your life right now?

If you desire more in your life, if you deserve more from yourself, then you are on a journey… Along that journey you will face adversity in many forms – Below are a list of the biggest challenges I have faced on my journey… and ones you will most likely face on yours. All can be overcome – if you are prepared for what you will face, you will be ready and able to fight through!

Uncertainty

“It is how we embrace uncertainty in our lives, that leads to the great transformation of our souls.”

Brandon Trean

When you first embark on this journey to transform your life – Those first steps will be frightening as you are moving into the unknown – you will have no idea what will happen.

None of us can control the future and stepping into the unknown is absolutely terrifying, no matter who you are. You can find solace in the fact, we will never be sure of our final destination. But what we can be sure of is the direction we steer ourselves each day. Take action towards your long-term goal and trust yourself… If you get blown off course, then adjust your steering back towards your goal.

Other people

The world has people who will tell you you can’t transform your life. These people will laugh and make fun, they won’t support you and they will think that you are foolish for wanting more.

Always remember these two things about this type of person:

bullying_by_zimsgirl123-d4bn9i51. They are the minority. Most people are kind and supportive. However, it probably won’t feel like it, because the haters in this world tend to be a lot louder than everyone else! That noise they make… it’s just hot air.

2. When people make fun of you for chasing big dreams and working to transform your life, it is because they are hurting. They have already given up on their dreams and the fact that you won’t give up, illuminates their own deficiencies to them… and that hurts, so they lash out.

The bottom line is, nobody can tell you that you can’t.

If you want it desperately enough, there is nothing you can’t achieve. Let the people who have already quit on their lives, say what they want… You determine your life, nobody else.

Vulnerability

Showing vulnerability was, for me personally, one of the most petrifying things I have ever done.

When you share your hopes, dreams and values it will feel nerve-racking and dangerous. This is because things that are most important to you are also heavily protected by you. Putting your authentic self on display takes real bravery – bravery that is necessary if you are to ever get the life you desire.

What I can share with you is that once you pluck up the courage to show vulnerability, the feelings you get back are amazing, joyful and empowering.

It is hard work

do-you-know-the-real-value-of-hard-workReal change means you have to learn and grow.

There is one universal truth about learning and growth – Along the way there will be failures, rejections, personal sacrifice and you will require bucket loads of determination.

Of course transforming your life comes with positive factors… Like living the life of your dreams.

But you already know this – that’s why you push for more – that’s why you read blog posts like this.

When you live your life as the best version of you… life takes on a whole new dimension of success and fulfilment. Living your dream is possible, just be ready for the challenges on the way.

Winners quit fast, quit often and quit without guilt

Is quitting ever the right thing to do?

I hate to say it, but sometimes the answer is ‘yes’.

If you a regular reader of these posts, you will know I consistently preach that we shouldn’t quit… In the recipe for success, taking action everyday, is the most common ingredient. If any of us are going to be successful, then the reality is we have take action towards our goals.

So how does quitting fit in to the recipe of success?

What if you are trapped in a situation that is restricting your progress, limiting your potential or suffocating your dreams.

Is it right to stay and fight in that situation?

Well if your current struggle is a part of the journey towards your personal goals, then YES you should stick it out and keep on taking action to keep on getting better.

Have an honest look at the bigger picture of your life. Is your current reality is just a bump in the road or is it a dead end?

Ask yourself:

‘Have I changed and adapted myself to maximise this current situation?’
‘Have I tried everything? What else could I try?’

If you haven’t changed your approach and your mindset, then you shouldn’t quit! If you want to change ANYTHING in your life, start with yourself first!

However there are those times you should quit.

Ask yourself:

Does my current reality (job, life style, relationships or friends) have a fundamentally negative impact on my life goals?
Have I changed myself in that situation, to try and improve it?

If you have a negative impact in your life, that you cant change by adapting your mindset… then quit… now.

Life is far to short to spend it being miserable.

mood-girl-dress-color-hands-smile-summer-umbrella-umbrella-happiness-freedom-freedom-openness-warmth-plants-nature-field-sun-sky-clouds-background-freedomIf you cannot chase your goals, if you cannot become the best version of you, if you are trapped and being restricted then you have to to something about it.

Think about it, at the end of your life will you regret chasing your goals or would you regret not trying?

The honest truth is, if your situation is suffocating your potential, then you can quit and you will find a better environment.

If you go to work hating every second, without any hope of improvement… Quit… Find another job! The longer you stay, the less confidence and self worth you will have. That is no way to spend your working life!

The same goes for relationships in your life… If there is a relationship that is hurting you, which is having a negative impact on how you live… then quit.. You don’t have to stay in a relationship that hurts!

You can quit and become happy, successful and fulfilled.

Don’t live a trapped life. Live your life to the fullest.

Become the best version of you.

The top ten excuses to give up on your goals

When you have big goals, you will know bringing them to life is hard work. Often it is easier to tell ourselves our goals are not achievable. Often we tell ourselves we should compromise.

If you have a goal you are finding difficult to move forward, here is a list of the best excuses you can use to give up… Of course, I have also added my thoughts to why you should never quit with these excuses.

1. My goals are unrealistic

Good! Being realistic is the fastest way to becoming average! Anybody who ever achieved anything of note was unrealistic… That is how progress is made. Congratulations, you have joined a very special club of people. People who can change the world around them!

2. I am not good enough

This is probably true… You might have some natural talent, but it will only take you so far. The only way ANYONE gets to be ‘good enough’ is hours and hours of practice. If you are not good enough right now, practise harder, longer and more consistently than ever before. Over time you WILL become good enough.

3. Other people will think I am stupid

woman-saying-no1Other people will ridicule you, laugh at you and tell you you can’t (they will even do this when you have achieved your goals!!). At the end of your life, will you measure success based on how bland and average you were or will you measure success on achieving your potential?

If you want to be bland, give up on goals now, don’t do anything worth any attention. If you want your life to be measured on what you contributed… Then you know you can’t quit.

4. I don’t know what to do

If this is your excuse, you are probably accurate. What the most successful people in the world do in this situation is simple. If they don’t know what to do, they find out! There are so many people out in the world who are living out your goals, find out what they did, copy them!

5. I will probably fail

Yep… this will most likely turn out to be correct. The bottom line is, people who achieve massive success have failed more times than you. The difference between success and failure is that the successful learn from failure. They recover from failure. They keep taking action until they they don’t fail, they take action until they win.

Failing is inseparable from success. You just have to choose how you will face failure… If you want to achieve your goals, then embrace failure, learn from it and become better from it.

6. I don’t have the time

“To busy is a myth. People make time for the things that are really important to them.”

Mandy Hale

This is simply not true. If you MUST do something, then you WILL do it. If you don’t have the time, it is because it is not a MUST… instead it is a SHOULD. The difference between must’s and should’s is the fracture between taking the action you need and letting other stuff get in the way.

If you don’t think you have the time ask yourself this “If someone put a gun to my head and told me I had to take action on my goals, would I find the time?”.

When things become a MUST, those things happen.

7. It is not perfect yet

This is just another way of saying “I will probably fail”. There is no perfect time, there is no perfect moment. You have to create the time, you have to create the moment. This will ultimately mean there is a risk of failure involved. Embrace it, learn from it and become better from it.

8. I don’t have the resources

pragmatic-resourceful-educator-life-skillsPlease refer back to excuse number 6, about MUST’s and SHOULD’s. You can generate and manifest more than you can imagine.

Please don’t take offence to the following question: If your closest loved one needed an operation in six months or they would die and it cost half a million dollars/pounds, would you raise the money?

Of course you would, you probably have no idea how, but you wouldn’t stop until you did it. Now take away the horrible situation. You have the capacity to raise half a million in six months! Don’t say you don’t have the resources!

9. I have already tried and it didn’t work

The difference between winners and losers is that winners keep on going until they win. Losers will try, fail and then stop. It is impossible to succeed without failing, winners know this! Losers don’t stick around to find out!

10. I need to earn a living, so can’t chase my goals just yet

Chasing your goals doesn’t mean you have to give up your job, just yet! Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, didn’t quit his place in Harvard until one year after Microsoft had become a world wide success! If chasing your dreams, while keeping your job is good enough for people like Bill Gates, it is good enough for you!

If you practise, practise and practise achieving your goals and keep on learning and getting better, after a few years you will be in the top 2% in the world at what you do.

There is a massive amount of money available for anyone who is in the top 2% in the world at what they do! Do what it takes to master your craft, be relentless and the money worries will dissipate… Then quit your job!

Bringing it all together

It is easy to tell ourselves we can’t achieve… But when you hear that voice in your head telling you that you are not good enough or you feel afraid of failing, tell yourself a different story, tell yourself you can. If you believe it, you can achieve it.

What do great Leaders actually do?

Leadership is one of the most complex and commonly debated topics in the business and management world today. Everyone has an opinion on what makes leadership and everyone will defend these opinions fiercely.

The fact is, leadership is highly desirable. We all know true leadership can change businesses, industries and the world.

The problem is we can’t all agree on what makes a great leader. The best leaders in the world, any leader for that matter, are all different and that is why we find it so hard to formalise what a leader should do.

Formula for SuccessI think the reason we find it so hard to formalise leadership is because it is not about the leader. Instead it is all about followers.

Followers choose to follow… they cannot be told or forced… They choose.

A leader only becomes a leader if they have followers who have chosen to do so. Without followers, you are not a leader. This is why leadership doesn’t have strict rules or a formula.

Different followers will follow different types of leaders, so the only thing you can do, is be the best version of yourself and if followers choose to follow, then you are a leader…

 

What do followers want?

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I can only answer this question from my own point of view and I am keen to learn what YOU think, so please comment below! Here are five attributes that I believe the very best leaders display in abundance:

Purpose

The best leaders I have ever worked with had a clear personal purpose or vision of who they were and what they stood for. They communicated this purpose as often as possible. If the leader had a purpose that linked closely with my values and beliefs, then I would instantly feel a deep connection and follow this leader with my heart and soul.

Enlist

A leader I know and one I am inspired by, is brilliant at recruiting people who shared the same values and beliefs as he did. As a follower this was a fantastic experience. Being a part of a team who all had a common goal, not because they were told to, but because they wanted to created a huge amount of energy, passion and creativity. I can honestly say that a leader who surrounds themselves with the people who believe in their vision, pushed my performance and results higher than I could have imagined at the time.

Walk the talk

Simon Sinek articulated this beautifully when he described ‘The celery test’ in his book ‘Start with why’. Those leaders who walk the talk, who stand up for their values and will never compromise on those values to get a quick result. These are the type of leaders I love working for, I know they are authentic and I know they will have my back. As a follower I feel trusted, so I give all of my trust freely to them.
Trust – The best leaders I have ever followed have always ensured that I had the skills and capability to do the task in hand and then allowed me to complete that task in my own way. In simple terms they trained, coached, supported and allowed autonomy. The power of supporting people when they need skills and capability and getting out of the way of those same people to allow creativity and ownership is significant. As a follower I don’t want to feel out of my depth and unsupported, yet I also don’t want to feel as though I am being dictated to or controlled. The leaders that have found that balance, I have followed most passionately.

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Encourage and Value

A really simple idea. As a follower I like to know that I am adding value, doing a good job and my behaviours are positive. These factors, being rewarded with encouragement and praise, really boost my confidence and drive me to perform even better. However as a follower this needs to be conducted in an authentic and personal way to get the best out of me, so by that I mean it is not about incentives and bonuses… Don’t get me wrong more money and prizes were nice, but they never made me work harder or inspired me like genuine encouragement would.

Those were the five attributes that I believe the very best leaders display in abundance, what do you think should be in this list? Please comment below! 

The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself

Common advice from motivational gurus and experts would normally go along the lines of; “Face your fears and overcome them”.

I think a little differently. I think fear is going to play a part of our lives, no matter what, and we should use it rather than try to remove it.

Fear is a deeply routed emotional state that was created, to help us avoid pain and danger. When fear is in full swing it is a great motivator… it increases heart-rate, boosts energy levels and can improve performance levels. That can be really useful if used in a situation where you need to avoid real and genuine danger!

The common problem we face, is that we attach the feelings of fear to things we have nothing to be fearful of… Things like failure.

If we are fearful of failing, rather than being a helpful feeling, fear can be destructive and debilitating. Fear of failing could easily stop us striving for success. Think about it for a moment – If you strive to be a success, then that means you will have to inevitably take some positive action. The problem is, whatever action you take is not guaranteed to be successful, so therefore taking action produces a risk of failing.

The risk of failing will create fear and as we know, fear will equip and motivate us brilliantly… However, it will be the wrong type of motivation, we will be motivated to not take the action we need to take in order to be successful!

That is not good news for any long-term success strategy.

Fear should not be connected to success or failure – If you currently do, only you can break this pattern.

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What are your rules on failure and success?

Take a moment or two to think about this – It is easy to dismiss this question, but when you give yourself the time and space to genuinely answer you might find some surprises.

What does it take to become a success? What does it take to become a failure?
Are the answers you give to those questions realistic? Are your answers based on fixed criteria (like an amount of money, a certain job or a specific event) or are they based on consistent growth and improvement?

Are the answers you gave, even your answers or are you trying to achieve someone else’s perception of success?

What should our rules be?

The most important aspect to remember is success and failure are both just a feeling… They are not a job, they are not an event and they are not an amount of money either!

You have complete access to your feelings at any given moment. It isn’t an external process, so things don’t have to happen to you in order for you to feel successful. It can be as simple as just deciding and then taking action towards growth.

You are free to decide your own rules on success – my advice? Choose growth and progression. Choose to be fearful of failing to take action rather than fearing the results of those actions.

Choose to feel the fear of failing to take action as much as possible!

How I Stopped Worrying and Started Living

A few years ago I worried… a lot! I worried about work, relationships, meeting new people, meeting important people, development, not having money, about almost everything! I then learnt to control my worries and fears and would like to share them with you.

You will know, from personal experience, that when you are worried it becomes all consuming. When you are worried about something, it touches all parts of your life… It creates stress, it creates anxiety. If it continues, it can have health implications too, such as depression and even physical ailments.

“Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is gonna be alright”

Bob Marley

Where does worry come from?

The bottom line is, we create our own worry… it is an uncomfortable truth that is often avoided. In our lives the meaning we give to external stimulus is what will create our emotions and reactions.

For example, two people in identical jobs, with identical capability, could be asked to complete an identical task in an identically short timeframe.

For the first person, the meaning could be “it’s impossible to do this task that quickly” and for the second person the meaning could be “this is a great opportunity to show what I can do”.

The meaning creates the feeling… the first person is likely to feel stressed, worried and unenthusiastic, based on their meaning. The second person will probably feel enthused, eager and focused because of the meaning they gave… The external stimulus was identical, but the internal feeling can be whatever you decide it to be.

When I found out that all my worry was my creation, I firstly denied it… it was others fault I felt this way, not mine!

Then, as I accepted the reality, I worked hard to change the meaning I gave to challenges… Over the last few years I have got significantly better at eliminating worry from my life. I did it by researching how the most successful people in the world overcame worry… I practised every single day and I started teaching it to other leaders, with great results.

If you do have worry in your life and it is causing stress or anxiety, then I would like to share the four strategies that have helped me and countless others in the battle against worry!

Break it down into smaller chunks and identify what is important

This will be advice you have been told before. It is a simple theory and common knowledge, however common knowledge doesn’t mean common practice. Write down all of the tasks that need to be done in order to solve the worrying issue, therefore breaking the big worry into smaller segments.

Then go through the list of tasks and rate them in order of how much effect they will have towards solving the challenge.

Pretty much every single time you will notice that approximately 20% of the tasks you have written down will solve about 80% of the issues you are worrying about.

Therefore, by writing down the tasks and ranking them for effectiveness, you will instantly feel less worry, as your problem’s will feel significantly smaller and you only have to do 20% of the work and it’s almost completed!

Identify silver linings

If you want to improve the quality of your life, improve the questions you ask yourself… We all have those situations/tasks/people that we dread and worry about encountering. There lies the problem… When we expect to worry or expect to feel dread, then we will look for and identify those aspects more readily.

How about asking ourselves “How can I do this and have fun at the same time?”
or rate your expectation of the event out of 10, then ask “What do I need to do to make this a (2 points higher than you rated it)?”

You are a capable and fantastically creative person… your brain can get the answers to anything, you just have to ask better questions. Try it… It’s amazing how well it works!

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Focus on the next move

We have this myth that success or failure is a single big event, so when we have something worrying us we act like the preverbal rabbit in the headlights and freeze to the spot! In our less-dramatic reality we more often stop making decisions, because we are worried the decision needs to be massive and it needs to be right… otherwise total disaster will await.

The truth is that success and failure come through small actions, consistently done over a period of time… So with that in mind, ANY decision and action is better than none… and it certainly doesn’t have to be life altering action. A small step will do.

Once you have taken some action, learn from it… did it work? If it did carry on moving in that direction, if not make a different choice and take that action. Then repeat the process again and again until the challenge has been beaten.

You will feel less worry because you are taking action and you will know you are making progress… even if that progress is learning you have to do something else!

Gain perspective

Another commonly issued piece of advice that is commonly ignored in equal measures… If something is worrying you, then ask yourself questions that will help create perspective.

Ask “How worried will I be about this problem in 1 year?” If that doesn’t work what about 5 years time? or 10 years from now? How about 30 years from now?

Or to really shock your system “How much would I worry about this, if I had only 6 months to live?”

Ask these questions and honestly answer back… almost every time you will recognise that the big worries are about minor things, which will help you gain more perspective and reduce your worry levels.

Circle of control

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Really simple… Is what you are worrying about in your control?

If it is, start taking action to remedy it.

If it’s not in your control… Then how does worrying help? It doesn’t… in fact nothing will help if it is not in your control. Except this truth and let go of your worry. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen whether you worry or not… Don’t cause yourself added pain, stress and anxiety by worrying!

Don’t let worry, stress or anxiety rule your life… You decide the meaning you give to everything in your life.

Don’t choose to be worried, choose to embrace, enjoy and live an exceptional life!