Saturday, 27 October 2012

Peak Performance Rules

Would you like to know how to achieve peak performance, and be successful in whatever you are trying to achieve in life?  If so, this short video by Bryan Tracy should give you some great ideas:

Brian Tracy offers many book and cd programs on personal development and success.  One very popular and helpful cd course is his "Action Strategies for Personal Achievement", which offers an ideal way for listeners to achieve their personal goals.  Click here and Brian will tell you more about this program.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Listening to Your Inner Voice

Five Pathways to Listening to Your Inner Voice

by Claudette Rowley, Coach, Consultant and Author

Is your life out of sync with your priorities?
Do you feel like you're a hamster running on a wheel?
Have you forgotten who you are?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, read on. Learn to listen to your inner voice - the essence of who you are - by following these five steps:

1.  Check in with your heart.

Social conditioning teaches us to be logical and "use our heads". When you only use your head, your experience of yourself and the world is limited. You miss out on the vital information the rest of your body, heart and soul is giving you.

Benefits: The same neurological tissue found in the brain is found in the heart. The heart is a second "brain" and our emotional center. Listening to your head and your heart is crucial to good decision-making about your life, your business and your relationships.

New Focus: Put your hand over your heart and focus there - what is it telling you?

2.  Connect with your body.

Your body gives you a tremendous amount of useful information that you may not be conscious of. For example, when your mother-in-law visits, does your stomach tie up in knots? When your boss yells at you, do your shoulders turn into stone? When you feel passionate and alive, does your chest feel warm and open? When we ignore the body's message, we lose out on valuable information designed to let us what works for us and what doesn't.

Benefits: For many people, fear manifests as a tightness in their chest. This is valuable information, especially if you aren't aware that you are afraid. Your body alerts you to what makes feels passionate and what doesn't. The body is a fount of wisdom designed to tell you when you're on the right path and when you aren't.

New Focus: Notice the messages your body is giving you right now. Try a self-massage to find areas in your back, neck or shoulders that are tense or knotted. What other areas of your body feel tight? Which ones feel relaxed and loose? Use this information as another key to listening to your inner wisdom.

3.  Listen to your intuition.

Intuition is simply knowing something without knowing exactly how you know it. Connect back to a time that you had a "gut feeling" about something - the job that you knew you shouldn't take, even though it looked good on the surface or the relationship that just felt right for you. That's your intuition talking to you.

Benefits: Gut feelings are a wealth of information. Remember, your intuition is never wrong, although your interpretation of it may be incorrect. When your intuition calls to you, trust it. Practice makes perfect when it comes to using your intuition effectively.

New Focus: The next time you need to make a decision, check in with your intuition. Experiment with trusting it. When you follow your intuition, what happens? When you hear it and disregard it, what's the outcome?

4.  Notice your self-saboteur*.

Each of us has our very own special saboteur. The saboteur is the voice in your head that says, "You are not good enough." "Who do you think you are?" "If you take this new job, everyone will find out what a fraud you are." The saboteur's job is to "protect" you from taking risks and making changes.

Benefits: Learn to distinguish between your voice and the saboteur's mumbo-jumbo. Notice how the inner critic drives the choices and decisions you make.

New Focus: Simply notice the negative voices playing in your head. Notice the times when they crop up. Recognize that the voices aren't you and they aren't true. Learning to separate your own voice from that of the saboteur is a powerful and life changing tool.

5.  Identify limiting beliefs.

We each carry a set of beliefs that we live by. Certain beliefs you hold consciously, while others are mainly unconscious. Beliefs develop out of past experiences and our interpretations of those experiences. Some of the conscious and unconscious beliefs that you develop limit your ability to grow and move forward in your life. For example: One of your goals as a successful entrepreneur is to make a lot of money. You discover that you have a belief - a limiting one - that it's wrong to make a lot of money. Until you begin to alter your beliefs about money, it will be more difficult for you to achieve that financial success you desire.

Benefits: Learning to notice a limiting belief allows you to become conscious of it, and then change it. Releasing a belief that limits you puts you back in the driver's seat of your life. You, rather than an old belief, make the choices that are right for you and allow you to fulfill your potential
Ways to spot a limiting belief:
  • You tell yourself that you only have one or two choices in a situation, or "no choice" at all.
  • Your inner critic expresses his or her opinion. The inner critic's opinion is generally based in a limiting belief.
  • A decision may appear to be black and white to you, or an either/or situation.
  • You have decided that "this is the way the world is."
  • You make a decision based on fear.
  • You feel constricted and notice that you lack clarity about a specific situation.
New Focus: How does a particular belief allow you to attract what you really want in life? How does it prevent you from attaining your goals? When you reach an obstacle in your path, make sure that it's not an old belief in your way.

When important questions like "What do I want?" or "What's the right choice for me to make?" surface in your mind, consult your inner voice. You possess the answers you need to live a life that feels successful and fulfilling. Listening to your inner voice can lead you on a path that feels deeply satisfying. Your business and personal lives will flourish with this new level of trust in yourself.

*Based on the work of Richard Carson in Taming Your Gremlin.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Book Review

Personal Development Book Review

Recently I published an article on the importance of listening to what your life is telling you and following the path that inner voice suggests.  So my book review this month focuses on three books that go into this topic a little more deeply.

Click on the title of any book that particularly interests you and you can buy it right away from Amazon.

For my UK readers, or anyone who wants to pay in pounds sterling or have the booked shipped from the UK, click on the "UK Link" right at the end of each review.

Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy


Sister Joan Chittister

The author of this book is a Catholic nun.  But don't let that put you off if you are not a Christian.  This book is all about finding happiness by doing what your inner voice is telling you to do, whatever that may be.  Sister Joan does not preach her religion here, and even quotes from a Sufi mystic, although she is clearly devout and certainly not ashamed of her love of God.

"While this could easily be called an informal guide to what it takes to be happy, that would be too simple a description for such a wise book. As the popular author and lecturer Chittister notes, most of us seldom have the economic or social freedom to find that something that fulfills us. 'So how can we know what we’re meant to do with our lives?' That is the core question, and Chittister spends the bulk of the book sharing stories from those folk brave enough to change course, sometimes relatively late in their lives, while offering her own insight on the meanings of happiness and purpose. She has her own definition of happiness, of course ('Happiness,' she writes, 'comes from the inside'), as well as what it means to be successful; but the essence of the book concerns itself with the fundamental concept of call, that is, of discovering where we do—and do not—fit in. Essentially, Chittister’s slim volume deals with how to lead a meaningful life at any age (whether early adulthood, middle age, or later on); 'No one else can answer for us,' she observes, since finding our own way is a unique journey. Sure to be a modern classic of its genre."

-    June Sawyers

"Sister Joan provides a framework for charting a life that is deeply lived and deeply invested. By recognizing with gratitude the opportunities that show themselves to us, we can live lives that are incredibly fulfilling and also make a great contribution to the world. But it means taking risks!"

-    James Andrews

"An excellent book to review your life and encourage you to be assured that you are following the right path, and maybe consider areas in your life to improve or completely change."

-    Pat

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life


Thich Nhat Hanh

"This book was written by a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk. But don't let that fool you, this book is for everyone. The author doesn't try to convert you to his religion, the only Buddhist principles in this book go hand in hand with many Christian beliefs. The author shows how easy it is to live a fulfilling life in harmony with yourself and the world around you.

Read this book if you ever feel depressed or if you feel you are getting lost in the modern age. This book will not tell you who you are, but it will help to show you how you can discover what it is you really want and find happiness.

Thich Nan Haht was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by none other than Martin Luther King Jr.

Highly recommended."

-    W Fleming

"Peace is not external, so we do not need to chase it. Peace is already present but we have to get in touch with it. This is attained through mindfulness: living in the present moment, in the here and now. Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen master and spiritual leader teaches mindfulness through conscious breathing and smiling. Connecting the body and mind, to find peace and happiness even in the most unlikely situations. Breathing and smiling! Is that it? You may be as skeptical as I was before practicing this exercise: breathe in, while reciting 'breathing in I calm my body' then breathe out while smiling and reciting 'breathing out I smile' do this three times! This is a very easy yet very effective exercise, do this often enough, in any position at any time (sitting, lying, driving, walking, before you eat, before you wash the dishes, when you hear the phone ring....) and enjoy being calm, relaxed and peaceful.

This book is written clearly and beautifully. Full of inspiring stories and parables, meditations and practices, reflecting the author's wisdom and experience. Terrific and extremely effective, will make you calm and happy just reading it, then breathe, smile and be peaceful!"

-    W. Rashed (Jabriya, KUWAIT)

"I love this book. It's short, easy and delightful to read, and full of practical wisdom. More so than any other Zen Master whose writings I have encountered, Thich Nhat Hanh knows how to teach Westerners in a way that is straightforward, practical for everyday problems, and fun to read (rather than an intellectual puzzle). I cannot recommend this book more highly. A wealth of wisdom presented in a unique and immensely practical way. Thich Nhat Hanh's writing embodies peace and mindfulness at their highest - one could almost learn all he has to teach simply by reading his writings for their style and attitude, without hardly paying attention to the message or content per se.

Please do yourself a favor: buy this book, read it at your leisure, reread it if you feel so compelled, keep it on a shelf or pass it on as a gift. I almost never review books, but when I finished this one I knew I had to recommend it, and I do so with no reservation whatsoever."

-    Marcus Macauley

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead


Brene Brown

"I deeply trust Brené Brown - her research, her intelligence, her integrity, and her personhood. So when she definitively lands on the one most important value we can cultivate for professional success, relationship health, parental joy, and courageous, passionate living...well, I sit up and take notice . . . even when that one most critical value turns out to be the risky act of being vulnerable. She dared greatly to write this book, and you will benefit greatly to read it and to put its razor-sharp wisdom into action in your own life and work."

-    Elizabeth Lesser, Cofounder, Omega Institute, author of Broken Open

"One of the tragic ironies of modern life is that so many people feel isolated from each other by the very feelings they have in common: including a fear of failure and a sense of not being enough. Brené Brown shines a bright light into these dark recesses of human emotion and reveals how these feelings can gnaw at fulfillment in education, at work and in the home. She shows too how they can be transformed to help us live more wholehearted lives of courage, engagement and purpose. Brené Brown writes as she speaks, with wisdom, wit, candor and a deep sense of humanity. If you're a student, teacher, parent, employer, employee or just alive and wanting to live more fully, you should read this book. I double dare you."

-    Sir Ken Robinson

"I am a recovering perfectionist. I have learned, since a child, to receive validation and my worth based on how others perceived me. I've always made excuses for it throughout my life, but Brene Brown slapped me in the face with this book and makes me want to be a more authentic and honest person. She gives you the understanding of how to develop your own self-worth and how important it is in order to live a beautiful life, and have beautiful relationships. She is inspiring because she struggles with the same thing, and that makes me feel understood. My favorite part of this book is how she defines so many of our emotions. This helps me understand mine and helps me walk my children through understanding their emotions. One of the greatest self-help books I've ever read!!!"

-    Holly (Brunswick, OH)

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Listening When Your Life Speaks

Listening When Your Life Speaks



Kate Swoboda

“Your life speaks. You have to learn to listen.” – Iyanla Vanzant

Just 15 years ago, if you had asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you that I would be a professional musician.

This news would shock just about anyone that I know, today – but fifteen years ago, there was nothing in my life that indicated anything otherwise.

My entire life was music. I had gone to a performing arts high school where regular math, science and English classes were supplemented with courses in your major, and I was a music major. I played five instruments and participated in 5 different groups. Each year, I prepared solos or ensembles to take to district and state competitions.

After hours of practice time at school, it was not uncommon to come home and put in an additional 1-2 hours each night, plus a weekly private lesson. To afford a professional model instrument, I worked two jobs, 20-25 hours a week. For college, I had been accepted to a music school in Chicago, and fully intended to major in music and then go on to be a professional musician with freelance gigs, or a conductor, or to teach music.

There’s just this one catch: it didn’t happen.

I ended up not attending the music college that I had worked so hard to get in to. Instead, I attended a smaller college outside of Chicago that had no music program to speak of, telling myself that music would still be in my life because they had a small orchestra.

The orchestra was sub-par, and I dropped out after my first semester.

Yet: I don’t regret a thing.

What Are You Getting?

People can get really hung up on this question of “What am I supposed to do with my life?”

When coaching clients approach me with that question, I ask them to consider one that’s far more interesting: “What do you think you would ‘get’ out of knowing what you want to do with your life?”

Time and again, the answer comes back to “safety,” and when we dig around a bit with “safety,” we find that at the root of that is “control.”

Or at least the illusion of control, because control is always an illusion. Aside from our intention and where we place our attention, we really can’t control life.

If we acknowledge the root issue of trying to control something that is impossible to control, the entire house of cards starts to fall apart.

Whether we know our life path, or whether we don’t, we don’t have any control, either way.

I can say that if I had chosen to go to music school, I would have become a professional musician, but the truth is that there’s no way that I could know that. I could just as easily have ended up a programmer, a sommelier, or what I ended up as–a writer, which was what I said I wanted to be as early as the age of 2 or 3, and which is what I have ended up becoming.

Your Life Speaks

People talk of having a true calling that’s part of an innate nature, something you’re born with, and I can see how that feels true for them.

What I question is the Story that so many tell themselves about needing to know what their life purpose is, as if it’s transcribed somewhere in the world and the job is to try to find it.
I have an alternative view: your life purpose/path/vision is what you say it is. You define your life purpose in every moment, with every action, with every word, with every thought, with every belief.

If there is some purpose out there, awaiting you, and you want to find it, then inhabit your life, fully. If you commit to your life like crazy, the things that are intolerable to your spirit will rise up and make themselves known. Listen to your life when it speaks to you.

When that happens, the question put before you is: Will you practice the courage that it takes to actually take action?

Taking Action

When you start taking action and making choices, the world starts to move with you.

The illusion is that you have to know what you want to do, before you start making choices.

I ask you: had I stuck with being a musician, convinced that I “knew” my path and thus “must” follow it, how would I ever have created space in my life to become a writer?

What I see in hindsight, that beautiful 20/20 vision, are the benefits that came from being “all in” with whatever presented itself in my life. I was “all in” as a musician, until I was “all in” as a double-major in English and Sociology, and then I was “all in” as a writer when I got my Masters degree, and then I was “all in” as a professor of English, and then I was “all in” when I pursued my counseling training.

Perhaps right now you’re a mother of three; or a frustrated engineering student who isn’t sure she wants to continue; or a 48-year-old man who thought his career was set until the economy tanked and he was laid off.

The only time we get jostled by “not being on our life’s path” is when we insist that the reality before us is not part of our life’s path.

Music taught me discipline, majoring in Sociology got me curious about people, writing freed my personal story and continues to keep me fascinated by the stories people tell about their lives, and being a professor of English gave me organization and delegation skills that inform every single aspect of running my business.

Whatever paths you’ve walked have all contributed to being where you are here, right now, in this moment.

Consider the gifts that could lie ahead for you if you dropped the idea of a pre-determined path, entirely.

You don’t know where it will all lead–and this is the most beautiful part of being alive.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Increase your Income by 1000 percent

How would you like to increase your income by 1,000% in 10 years?  Not all at the end of a decade, either, but a steady build up year by year, month by month?

Or how would you like to gain the equivalent knowledge of a PhD in astrophysics every year?  Not actually in astrophysics, of course (unless you particularly want to be an astrophysicist!), but in any subject area whatsoever that appeals to you?  Maybe in subjects that specifically relate to the areas of personal development on which you are working right now?

Watch this short video by Bryan Tracy and you will learn exactly how he does this and how you can too.

Ignore the website address that irritatingly appears at the bottom of the screen though, as it is not related either to the topic or to Bryan Tracy and the site does not appear to exist now anyway!  But it certainly did not prevent me learning some very powerful yet simple secrets when I watched this amazing video clip!

If this presentation by Bryan Tracy has whet your appetite for more gems from Bryan, then take a look at this book by him, "Create Your Own Future", which will show you how to set goals, unlock your inborn creativity, and overcome any obstacle in your path - and so very much more besides!