Have you ever felt like you were sinking? You are so busy with work, running around after the children, worrying about paying the bills, maintaining the family home, volunteering on the P&C that you feel like you are treading water with your head just breaking the surface. Everything seems out of balance and your centre of gravity is off.
Building a ship is like building a great life. If you don’t get the centre of gravity right you will sink like a ship
Getting the centre of gravity right in shipbuilding is paramount to launching a ship that floats. Many a naval architect has got it wrong only to find the ship moving down the slipway into the water and quickly either lists heavily to one side, or worst still sinks to the bottom before it even goes on its maiden voyage.
Shipbuilding provides a great analogy for life.
To build a ship you need a design and design checks, a plan, materials, resources and time to put it all together. Likewise to ensure a life that floats you need the same things. Most people don’t have one or more these elements and much of the time life is pretty hit and miss with people finding themselves in deep water on a leaky boat and in crisis mode where emergency help is required.
There are 5 basic stages to building a ship and your life:
Stage 1 – Design with the Life of Type in mind
In ship design, “Life of Type” means the expected lifespan of the vessel that is being designed and built. The Huon Class Minehunter vessels, for example, built in the late 1990’s in Newcastle were designed with an expected lifespan of 20 years.
Recently I watched an interview with Simon Sinek explaining the millennial paradox and why you might be challenged when working with someone born after 1984. He claimed that there were four factors contributing to a disturbing trend in statistics where this generation is experiencing plummeting self-esteem, increases in addictive behaviour, depression, suicide and death due to drug overdoses:
Now I know plenty of well balanced, happy and responsible young people under 33 so I recognise that being categorised as a millennial in this context may seem like a gross injustice to you. In the same way that as a Gen X (that’s me) being tarred with the same general brush that my generation is typically being perceived to be disaffected and directionless ….. hmmm
But here’s the thing, you are likely to become parents too in the next few years so will your children befall the same increase in statistics as they say your generation is prone to?
The facts are that the statistics are rising which means there a greater proportion of young people experiencing depression and addictive behaviours than there was before (and probably across a broader generational range than we are talking about here).
The days of reading maps and plotting courses with sextants and compasses have largely faded into the past. In the 21st century, technology has made finding our desired destination as easy as the click of a button. If you are in an unfamiliar city you can use a navigational aid to successfully arrive at your meeting or appointment. By searching for “nearest restaurants”, your smart phone will find one for you then proceed to tell you how to get there, and how long it will take depending on your mode of transport. It even does a risk assessment of sorts and produces a number of routes with information about tolls, roadworks or other obstacles along the way. Very little thought from you is required and no resources except you and your device.
A little less automatic and requiring a bunch of collective thought and resources depending on the complexity is a work or business project. Generally a Project Manager is engaged to undertake a project at work or in business using some level of project management plan, or roadmap. There is a project destination in mind (outcome or deliverable), a plan is developed from a whole bunch of inputs, a set of actions are produced , along the way progress is monitored via a set of milestones (smaller goals) and at the end there are a set of measures which determine whether you got to your destination. The course taken on the roadmap has considered resources required (time, people, cash, and infrastructure), the potential risks or roadblocks and strategies to mitigate them, and how the Project Manager will know that the project has met expectations and the project destination has been achieved. When things come up that throw the plan off track, the team can go back to the roadmap and make the appropriate decisions and tweaks required to get back on track.
Earle Nightingale, author of The Strangest Secret audio series said: “All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination”.
So what about your life?
So far there is no technological device in which we can access a satellite to determine where we are now with respect to our life journey. You can’t just type in the destination (the life you want to live) and then .. cool … up pops a road map.
When I was in my 20's I connected buying a house with having to settle down and stop doing the crazy, spontaneous things I loved to do.
I used to think planning meant my life was rigid, everything was known within an inch of my life, no surprises.
NO WAY! NOT ME, THANKS! I LOOOOVE SPONTANEITY!
I loved being able to take advantage of opportunity to do things in the moment. Something amazing comes along to go somewhere or do something and I am there to make the instant choice to make the investment and go off and do it.
WHOAAAAAAA! Back up a little. Light bulb moment!
The very thing that I didn’t want to do (planning) was the thing that was going to support my ability to be spontaneous!!
Think about it. PLANNING IS ACTUALLY POSSIBILITY THINKING! With a little advanced thought and planning around putting some fundamental principles into your understanding you expand and open up your life to many many more possibilities for being spontaneous.
Now being spontaneous and acting without thinking can be great sometimes and can get you into heaps of trouble at other times!
Maybe you are not one of those spontaneous impetuous people. Great!
Would you like to be prepared for those sound opportunities that come along in life?
There are four things that you need to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
There is nothing worse than being presented with an opportunity to have that dream holiday and you look at your schedule for the year and find that you don’t have the time, or worse still you have run out of annual leave because you squandered it doing something else that you really were not that into.
Now, there are plenty of spontaneous things we can do without have to spend a lot of money. Things like deciding to have a picnic dinner by the sea late on a stinking hot day, or hopping on a train to Sydney for the day with the kids to go to the museum. Yes, it is not ALL about the money. These more cost effective things we do can be the most fulfilling and the ones that create the fantastic memories.
They are great and valuable to keep life interesting from day to day but what about when you see your perfect home up for sale, you know the one that you have always dreamed of owning, or you have an opportunity to take advantage of a sound investment deal. Or maybe your brother who lives overseas is getting married and want you to be at the wedding, or your best friend is going overseas and has asked you to go with them.
Do you have a reserve of finances to just go and do these things?
3. Health/Fitness and Personal Development & Learning
Energy for living life comes from looking after you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In order to take advantage of opportunity you need to be physically healthy where your time and money are not directed to poor health and you have the physical energy to go on that adventurous holiday.
Being a student of life allows you to grow emotionally and spiritually, to learn about your personality and why you react the way you do in the world. Development and learning extends also to learning the fundamentals about money, investment, time management and all the skills you may need to take advantage of future possibilities and opportunities.
So on accountability. At the beginning I told you that in my 20’s I gave no thought to the future except that I wanted one and I wanted to be able to spontaneously take advantage of opportunities as they came up.
Well this lasted until I was 34! I had a great time spending everything I had, when I got it, doing all the things that I loved to do. Suddenly I turned around and I had a family and my son wanted a dog. My husband and I were still renting and were not allowed to have one!!
Wake up call and alarm bells where ringing!! I realised that what I really wanted was my own home and that I had no understanding of how to go about achieving this.
Somehow, over the next 2 years we managed to move into our home and get that dog.
Just after that I met someone who was to become my coach and mentor. I realised I needed help if I was going to continue to live life full of possibilities as our family grew and my career put pressure on my time and money.
Most people need help. Finding someone to walk beside me and hold me accountable when I needed it has been the most useful tool to ensuring I plan for and live out my life’s possibilities.
The added benefit was having someone to act as a sounding board for my great plans and ideas. Many a time I have been saved from making poor financial investment choices in my tendency to wanting to act spontaneously.
In summary, sufficient time and money go hand in hand to some extent and are the basic resources you need to be able to live out the life you would like to lead.
Health, fitness and personal development and learning provides the energy and the understanding required to step into the future possibilities when they show up in the moment.
Finally having someone to hold you accountable and act as a sounding board helps you stay on track and avoid disastrous mistakes.
Imagine, no more, “I could have done that if only …….”.
We can all insert some reason in the space at the end of the “if only” sentence.
Maybe it was if only: “I had the time”, “I had enough money”, “I hadn’t been ill”, or “I was more educated about investment”.
There are lots of ways that you can become possibility ready and maybe you just needed someone to point it out for you to get your own act together to plan into YOUR future possibilities.
I didn’t. I needed extra help and now I walk beside others to do the same.
Let’s have a chat if you would like to know more.
You have had a chance to fully or at least partially unwind. It is not until you stopped that you realised that you were a tightly wound spring in December. You had been swept into the pre-Christmas vortex where time speeds up, the pressure is on to get stuff finished at work and at home, and the world gets manic about preparing for Christmas.
Crikey where did 2016 go? … you marvel or lament shaking your head!
You might have a chance to have a think about what it is you want to put back on your list to do and things that you want to take off in 2017. You may have even committed to making some New Year’s resolution.
Good or bad you now have a list that was either flung together on the spur of the moment on New Year’s Eve or maybe you had at least put some thought into it.
Either way you have broadcast it to friends and relatives and maybe even the world through some form of social media!
Bugger! Now you HAVE to put your money where your mouth was and do something!
Putting what you said you would do into practice can be easier said than done. Here are three tips that will help you successfully achieve your goals.
TIP 1 - THINK with your HEART not your HEAD
How many times have you made a resolution based on what your head has told you to do (or the heads of others)? There is some perverse sense of guilt that comes over us because we think we should be doing things and we silently beat ourselves up when we don’t do it.
You have said to yourself "I really:
· Should lose weight"
· Should give up beer"
· Should exercise more"
· Should give up smoking"
· Should meditate daily"
· Should spend more time with the kids"
· Should read more books"
· Should do this and should do that!!
You have listened to the media, medical experts, friends, family and the little voice in your head tell you that if you did all of these things your life would be better.
It sounded easy at the time and it really isn’t resonating now. Your head is telling you it is the “right” thing to do or “I will feel better” after I get going.
So why can’t you start?
Does the thought of doing whatever you had decided to do make you feel excited to get off your backside and make a start?
If not, chances are YOUR HEART really isn’t in it.
You realise that you decided to do these things because other people told you it was a good idea or you “need” to do it. They are someone else’s resolutions and we are so used to comparing ourselves with others that we think they must be best for us as well.
You don’t really believe that by making these changes your life will really improve especially since it sounds like so much sacrifice. Words like LOSING weight and GIVING UP beer sounds too much like you are really missing out.
I mean how much is sweating three times a week at the gym really going to help you anyway?
It sounds like hard work.
Your WHY is not big enough and your why comes from what your HEART really desires not what you head thinks you need.
You are encouraged to revisit your list, feel into your heart and ask yourself WHY you want to make a change in this a part of your life. Look for a WHY that tugs at your heart strings and that will give you a benefit that really feels like it is the best thing for you.
Why do you want to lose weight?
· More energy to run around with the children?
· Want to stay healthy so I don’t miss my child’s graduation, wedding, big birthdays?
Imagine how you would feel if you could possibly miss out on these things. Your motivation to start is much more connected to how you will feel rather how you think.
Now rejig your list.
What stays, what gets crossed off and what new, more meaningful resolutions get added to the list.
If you look at your list and are excited about getting going you off to a great start!
TIP 2 – Take a REALITY check
OK so the end of January is nearly here and life is kicking back in. The kids are back at school soon, you are back at work and you are going up through the gears again as life speeds up to its usual momentum.
You have signed up to the gym, gone a few times and all of a sudden you find yourself running out of time. You realise that your new gym time means you and your partner are like ships passing in the night and you don’t even get to have a chat anymore. The gym membership is more than your budget can deal with at the moment and now you have signed up to a monthly fee and can’t seem to get there which is not making the best use of the money going out. You start to regret ever doing that and resent the fact that you are paying out money and don’t have the time to get there!!
At the end of the year we tend to make New Year’s resolutions without even considering what impact they will have on the other parts of our lives.
Our decisions are quick and made in isolation. Rarely do we sit down and consider how making a change in one area will affect what happens in another.
How will losing weight affect your time, relationships and expenditure?
For each of your list promises take a look at how they will impact the other areas of your life. In the areas of time, relationships, finances, health, and lifestyle what are the pros and cons?
Refer back to TIP 1. If this has a BIG WHY coming from your HEART look at any cons and work out how could you work around them?
This will help you make informed decisions about whether not they are doable this year. It may be that you need to rejig and drop something else less important to fit it in.
NOW you have a list you can work with. Happy days!
So, if you haven’t already ... GET STARTED!
TIP 3 – TRACK your progress
Great you have an awesome list, your heart is in it, it is doable and you have made a start. It’s tough some days when unexpected thing come up that take away your focus. You miss a couple of gym days because of work or you met up with some of your friends and couldn’t resist having a beer or wine with your buddies.
Hey don’t beat yourself up! Let go of the guilty feeling.
There is probably not a person out there who could say that the stay on the wagon 100% of the time. We have all fallen off the wagon before. We start out great and then the wheels fall off and we revert to old habits.
It takes time to embed a change into your life and at least 21 days of consecutive commitment to the change before the change becomes a habit and even then we stray occasionally.
Many people find it hard to stay focussed on the task over time without some sort of accountability. When taking on change I have found it is great to be able to measure my success visually using a tracking chart.
The key to successful change is CONSISTENCY. Often you get so caught up in your daily life that a week goes by and you haven’t done what you had set out to do. A week becomes a month and all of a sudden half the year is over and your New Year’s resolution is in your dim and distant memory.
You swallow your feeling of guilt and you promise yourself you will start next year.
A great way to keep yourself on track is to track your progress.
This becomes a daily visual reminder of where you are up to with your progress and serves two purposes.
My head refers to my HEART which tells reminds me WHY those things are on the list (refer TIP 1).
Then my HEAD gets me moving again to take action.
It’s easy to make up your own monthly tracking chart.
If you would like to save time though, I have done one for you.
You just fill in your New Year’s resolutions and you can add and subtract as your focus changes during the year.
You get the chart for yourself and the opportunity to link in for more tips on creating personal success. It’s as easy as signing up to my newsletter.
Down load your SUCCESS PROGRESS TRACKER and have fun on your way to personal success.
My passions are nature, people, and building cultures of cooperation, harmony, sharing and reverence for life. I enjoy working with people to help them understand themselves and others so they can reach their full potential in life.