Personal Development

Like me, you’ve probably read all the positive 2016 new year messages on the Internet about how 2016 is going to be the best year ever, and it’s great to see all the ambition – I thrive on it.

But there are a few posts on Facebook from people I care about that concerned me, and this is for anyone who thinks that 2016 won’t bring them anything new.

You see, it’s not all that difficult to make this next year better than last year, all that’s needed is a few small changes. So if you’re glad to see the back of 2015, or if 2016 is just going to be another ‘shitty year’, or if you’re thinking it’s going to be the ‘same shit, different year’, I hope these notes will help you to change your life for the better.

What I’d really like you to get to grips with is that in order for things to change for you, you have to change. So if you don’t have any plans to change even just one thing about your life, how can you expect your life to change for the better?

You are in control, so take responsibility and own your life.

A change in your attitude will change your life

The only thing that you truly have control of is your attitude, and a change in your attitude will change your life. Trust me on this.

Your attitude is everything. It’s your philosophy, it determines how you react, it’s who you are at your core, it’s how people feel about you.

A change in attitude won’t change your life over night, but it will change the direction you are going in, which in turn will change your life over time.

You’re probably thinking “yeah, right Chris, that’s easy for you to say”, and it is. The hard part is making the changes and making the changes stick.

Which would you rather suffer? The pain of discipline or the pain of regret?

Keep in mind that I’m really no different than you – you have the same opportunity that I do, and also the same resistance that I have to making change. We’re all equal.

If you are looking for help, and you want things to change for you, your family, your life in general, then these notes will certainly help you. How do I know? Because they helped me.

It doesn’t matter if you are in business for yourself, if you are employed by someone else, or if you are unemployed – these notes apply to all.

It’s all about aiming to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.

Guess what? These changes won’t cost you a single penny!

Create ideas

If you want your life to change for you, and you want to succeed, you need to be able to create ideas. With practice, this is something you will get better at.

This practice of idea generation will help you to:

  • develop a creative mind
  • develop a solution based focus
  • increase your value to people
  • create more value in your business and your job
  • be more ambitious
  • achieve more in your life and business

The great thing about creating new ideas is that you can’t make mistakes – you can think big, you can be completely ridiculous, and it doesn’t matter at the idea stage – but, it gets you thinking differently about everything.

Write down 10 ideas a day and watch how you change the way you approach problems in your life.

You can also give your ideas away to other people. Be helpful and expect nothing in return. People will like and value you for it.

Cost to you – £0

Learn something new every single day

Don’t put yourself under too much pressure here. Some examples: Listen to a podcast, read 10 pages from a book, read a few blog articles from your favourite thought leaders – just do anything to feed your mind with new ideas and knowledge. This small daily practice will compound over a long period of time.

Be teachable and open minded to new ideas.

Cost to you – £0

Stop complaining

Stop moaning and bitching. Stop talking about other people. Stop doing it in private, and certainly stop doing it in public, like on Facebook.
Just don’t do it.

Not only will people see you in a different light, but you will feel better too.

Study your own life instead of other peoples’.

In short, don’t be a dick and focus on yourself. 🙂

Cost to you – £0

Write daily

Again, don’t put yourself under too much pressure here. Start with 10 mins a day, just write down your thoughts and ideas from the day.

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go so well?
  3. What’s happening tomorrow?
  4. What one thing do you want to achieve tomorrow?
  5. What are you grateful for today?

Some people call this their daily journal. The benefit is found in reflection, gratitude and keeping track of your life so it doesn’t just simply pass you by.

Cost to you – £0

Get around the right people

I’ve spoken and written a lot about this in the past – it’s so important to get around the right people. Reduce the amount of time you spend with people that aren’t helping you change your life and increase the amount of time you spend around people that are helping you. This is a conscious decision that you have to make.

Find people that you can seek mentorship from – ideally real people that are alive, but you can also seek mentorship in books, videos, seminars, podcast, etc.

Note: be the person that other people want to be around and your life will change. People don’t hang out with miserable and negative people – so be fun and likeable. Enjoy your life.

Cost to you – £0

Think big & set goals

If you don’t have a dream, you’re dead. You need to have ambition in your life – something to work towards, something that you want to achieve.

Take some time out today to think about where you are going, what you want to do in your life, and the person you would like to become.

Think big – why not? You’ve only got one shot at life, so why should it be mediocre?

Write it all down – document your dreams and ambitions.

Be the best. Be awesome!

Cost to you – £0

Take action

Many people do nothing to improve their lives, and some people do a lot of personal development, but don’t take much action. What’s required is a bit of both. In fact, taking action IS personal development. You can learn far more about yourself from taking action than reading another book.

It’s really about getting the balance right – learn a little everyday, but spend most of your time actually creating stuff – take action, create tangibility. You could read 40 books in the next year, but if you don’t do anything with it then it doesn’t matter.

No one cares what book you’re reading. No one cares how many you’ve read. All that matters is that you are learning and doing something with your knowledge. Knowledge only becomes underst anding when you take action, knowledge only becomes powerful when you take action.

Execute on the ideas you’re passionate about.

There’s no better time than now.

Cost to you – £0

Is it time for a change…?

What’s the point of life if you aren’t trying to improve and get better? 2016 is truly set to be your best year ever, you just have to grab it with both h ands and own it.

No one started off being great at what they do, but in order to be great they did have to make a start.

You’ve got the same opportunity as almost everyone else, it’s up to you to take advantage of it.

We all have same amount of time in the day – how will you use it effectively to build the life you want?

You have to truly believe that you can live the life you want to – spend time with your ambitions and write them down.

Have a dream, have an ambition, be selfish about what YOU want – there’s nothing wrong with living a good life.

… and don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

Since 2013 I have run quite a number of workshops and live/in-person events. When I look back over the past 15 years of my working career I have facilitated probably 100s of training events and workshops.

From 2001-2011 I worked for The University of St Andrews, and they invest heavily in training their staff. As a manager I had to facilitate a lot of training sessions, and they also invested in me. I attend numerous certificated training courses to learn how to be an effective leader, manager and trainer.

This foundational training and experience has become very valuable to me now that I’m running my own business enterprise.

Particularly for running and facilitating The Content Marketing Academy, our annual conference.

Facilitating  and curating a conference is a lot of work, there’s no doubt about that. And to be completely honest, it’s not something that has yet made my company a significant profit, although in time I know that it will.

So, if it’s a lot of work, and there’s not a huge amount of profit to make from it, why bother running your own live event or conference?

That’s a good question, and I’d like to share with you 5 reasons why you should run your own conference.

1. Social proof and credibility

Running a successful conference directly enhances your personal credibility and also your company’s credibility.

One of the big lessons I was taught a few years back was to ‘be seen to be selling’, and you can’t get much better than having all of your customers in one room with each other!

A conference is a great way to increase social proof & credibility.

2. Network Growth

A big part of business is building strong relationships with people. A number of my best business opportunities have come from people I know very well.

A conference is a great way to spend a significant amount of time with the most progressive and influential people in your network.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for you to strengthen your connections, and also introduce the people you know well to other people.

A conference is a perfect and unique opportunity for you to make the most of having a room full of people that you know, like and trust, and who also know, like and trust you.

3. Trust

We already know that the biggest factor in making purchasing decisions is trust. When I teach others about content marketing, essentially what we’re teaching is how to create content that increases trust, so that people will be more likely to buy from you.

A conference gives you the opportunity to deliver a great product and service in front of all your customers. In doing so it’s likely that their trust for you will increase, and with that comes greater opportunities for business.

4. Recognition

As mentioned, curating and facilitating a conference is a lot of work, and that’s a big barrier to entry for most people. Therefore, it’s likely that you can put on a live event that no one else has done before or is currently doing.

I have learned that people are always watching you. Both in a positive light, and negative. Even when you think no one is watching what you are doing, people do see what you are doing. Especially when something goes well.

If you manage to execute a successful event people will talk about it and you will be recognised for your achievements.

Again, business opportunities will come from this.

5. Marketing

In some respects a conference is simply a big (expensive) marketing campaign.

You’ve got a big event on, which means you’ve got something big to talk about. Everything from the pre-conference promotion, to the selling of tickets, the social media, the content, to the delivery of the event on the day and the post conference marketing.

A huge indirect benefit of curating a conference is that your br and and your business is getting out there to many people, from multiple sources.

Your delegates will talk about it, they will share their experiences with others and online, on the day they will tweet and write blog and share photos.

Your and your business will benefit from all of this promotion and awareness, leading to more opportunities in the future.

It’s not (always) all about the money

The main reason I published this on my personal blog and not my company blog was because this is mainly about how you can personally benefit from facilitating a conference. In that a successful conference can positively impact your personal br anding. Although, that obviously directly impacts your business enterprise too.

My objective here is to share with you the indirect benefits of running a conference, and to not just talk about the financial aspects. These 5 benefits may not put money in your bank today, but they certainly will benefit you and your business in the longer term.

DFTBA!

Chris.

It’s Jim Rohn’s birthday in September – he would have been 86 years old on 17th September 2015.

When I need inspiration, or if I’m simply not sure what to listen to, I default to a Jim Rohn audio.

He is absolutely my favourite philosopher. He shares so much wisdom.

I have listened to The Art of Exceptional Living to the point where I can speak it along with him – similar to how you sing along to your favourite song! It’s very much the same thing.

To celebrate my fondness for Jim Rohn I thought I’d put together my favourite Jim Rohn quotes here on my personal blog.

I’m sure you have your own favourites, and if I’ve not included them here please accept my invitation to pop your favourites into the comments section below.

Chris Marr’s top 20 Jim Rohn Quotes

1. “Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom”

2. “If you don’t need much, you won’t become much”

3. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

4. “I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me”

5. “It’s not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination, it’s the set of your sail”

6. “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

7. “It isn’t what the book costs; it’s what it will cost if you don’t read it”

8. “Profits are better than wages. Wages make you a living; profits make you a fortune.”

9. “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”

10. “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

11. “Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the dem ands to perform are high.”

12. “Miss a meal if you have to, but ever miss a book”

13. “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

14. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

15. “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job”

16. “Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.”

17. “If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”

18. “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live”

19. “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

20. “Be a student not a follower”

DFTBA!

Chris.

Have you ever wondered how successful people seem to get more done? Do you ever find it really hard to get started and get things done? Have you ever stared blankly at your computer screen before writing, or done the housework instead of doing something you know is more important? I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there.

In order to be super effective, just like the super successful people, you need to have very strong habits and absolute self-discipline (amongst other things, but these two qualities are high up there) – I know it’s easy to write this… and it’s certainly not that easy to do.

I’d like to share with you a technique that I picked up recently that really works for me, and many other people too. But first of all I want to introduce you to the type of Resistance that we all suffer from. If you are anything like me, you will relate to this in a big way and you will already be well aware of its presence.

“Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance.”

In the book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes about the constant human battle the every single person has with Resistance.

So what is Resistance?

“It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” (p7)

Resistance is basically anything that is stopping you from doing the things you know you need to do.

The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:

  • The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
  • The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profits or otherwise.
  • Any diet or health regime
  • Any program of spiritual advancement
  • Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals
  • Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction
  • Education of every kind
  • Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct ourselves
  • The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavour whose aim is to help others
  • Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to wether a rocky patch in a relationship
  • The taking of any principled st and in the face of adversity.
  • In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification favour of long term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance

(P5-6)

How Does Resistance Manifest Itself?

Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalise. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start it tomorrow.” (P.21)

How many times have you said that to yourself? I don’t even know how many times I’ve said “I’ll do it tomorrow”…I don’t want to know!

Resistance can include things like sex, masturbation, getting into trouble, being sick, and fear. There are many examples in the book, which provide more depth to underst anding how these elements become a form of Resistance.

If you really struggle with Resistance and procrastination I suggest you buy the book. It really gave me a kick in the ass and I know others who felt that it was written just for them.

There is hope…You Can Defeat Resistance!

“Defeating Resistance is like giving birth. It seems impossible until you remember that women have been pulling it off successfully, with support and without, for fifty million years.”

What a great quote, which comes back to my original purpose for writing this article. You see, it is possible to defeat Resistance, as long as you know exactly how it starts and exactly what to do about it. You can put small disciplines in place to make sure you can defeat it everyday. I have one example for you right now…

90 Minute Work Sessions as a discipline

This works for me, and many others, so there is a good chance it will work for you too. This technique was passed to me from Nigel Botterill.

Everyday I put aside 90 minutes of uninterrupted time to get work done. This might not sound like a lot, but how often do you get an hour and a half to spend on your work, with no one interrupting you?

You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule right? – The Pareto Principle. In this case, 80% of your best work is going to get done in 20% of your time. In a normal working week, spending 90 minutes a day fully concentrating on something, is about 20% of your time. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that the 90 minute sessions really do work!

I literally turn off my phone and the Internet (unless I’m working on the Internet). I deliberately stay away from social media and the sorts of things that will distract me.

By putting in this discipline everyday you’re effectively putting something in place to beat Resistance.

Unfortunately, no one is going to do it for you…it’s entirely up to you – you’re the one that has to discipline yourself.

The book had such a big impact upon me that I felt the need to share it with you. I also wanted to share this little discipline tactic with you too.

Do You Have Any Suggestions?

Perhaps you have your own discipline that ensures you get work done? If you do, please share it with everyone by commenting below.

What do you do to make sure you get work done?

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

You May be Graduating, but Your Education is Just Beginning

It’s at this time of year that many of the commencement speeches begin to be published online. I have read and watched a few recently, and over the years. Year-in and year-out we all know there’s one major recurring theme  – your education hasn’t finished, it’s just beginning. 

A good friend of mine, Charlotte, who’s also graduating at the same time as me, asked me to recommend some books that she could read. The reason Charlotte asked for this list is because university life is coming to an end, and now she has time to read for pleasure and further educate herself, which is extremely proactive of her!

Charlotte specifically asked me for three main reasons. Firstly, because I read a lot of non-academic literature, secondly, because of the way I talk about what I read and how it’s inspired me, and thirdly because she knows me well and thinks that what I will recommend will be interesting to read.

These are my top listed books that will give you a head start in your career. They come highly recommended, not just from me, but from many successful business owners across the world. – Chris Marr

A great mentor of mine, and of millions of other people across the globe, once said – “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune” and “In order to have more, you have to become more“. Jim Rohn was a very wise man, and super successful too. I hope that University has given you a thirst for scholarship and that you intend to continue on your path of personal growth.

13 Reasons Why You Should Read These Books

Just in case you are unsure about spending money on books, here are my top reasons for buying, reading, studying and implementing the lessons in these books: –

  1. You will progress quickly in your career
  2. You will become a great employee
  3. You will become a great leader
  4. You will become a great friend and person
  5. You will inspire others to be like you – you will become an inspirational person
  6. You will become more curious
  7. You will gain absolute clarity in your aspirations
  8. You will begin to map out your life plan and what you want to achieve. (It is very important that this is done before you map out your ‘business/work’ plan)
  9. You will begin to dream bigger and have more ideas
  10. You will become more valuable to the market place and thus earn more
  11. You will really get to know yourself and what motivates and drives you to achieve
  12. You will become more – in other words, you will start to dream bigger and want more out of life
  13. You will engage in conscious thought about your life and everything you have done, and what you want to do in the future

10 Foundation Books for Building an Exceptional Life

This list of books is suitable for any graduate looking to continue their personal development. It doesn’t matter if you are going to be an employee in an organisation, or if you are starting your own enterprise, these books will st and you in good stead.

I’ve made it very easy for you to get these. Just click buy and add to your cart/wish-list, this will save you searching for the books individually on Amazon. There is no strict list order here, although I have placed them in the order that I would read them in if I was to go back and do it all over again.

1. The War Of Art – Steven Pressfield

This book should come with a warning. Only read this if you want to come out at the other end with the inability to make any excuses about what you haven’t done today. After you have read this you will underst and exactly why you can’t seem to get things done that you know you should be doing. This book really got into my head, and I’m a better person for it.

Related article – How to beat resistance

2. Living Your Best Year Ever – Darren Hardy

Dig deep in to your goals and aspirations and set you life plan for your future success. This is the most complete goal setting programme you can hold in your h and. You have to start with your goals and plan out what you want. Trust me, this will change your life.

3. Think & Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Written in the 1930s and is a classic study of wealthy and successful people. Think & Grow Rich will give you the desire for a wealthy, successful and productive life and is a great place to start finding out about what it takes to become successful and truly.

Ideally this book should be first on the list because it will give you the full underst anding of what it takes to grow, however, the two books previous are more like ‘qualifying books’; you need to have read them before you do anything.

4. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

This was written in the 1930s and is a timeless book for anyone with the desire to underst and people and how to do as the title says – win friends and influence people. There have been lots of variations by many authors, but the main principles are in this book. Every business is about people, and that’s what makes this book very much worth of study.

5. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

In this book Robert provides clarity about how money really works. Ideally this book should be read before you start earning money so you can underst and what to do with it. This will change how you spend and save money and will help you underst and what it takes to be financially free. Once you’ve read this you can follow up with The Cashflow Quadrant, which is a great framework for underst anding how you can make money work for you, instead of you working for money.

6. Drive – Daniel Pink

This book is absolutely cracking. If you want to be a leader in any organisation you really need to underst and how to motivate people. The truth is surprising. I have given this book to several people and each of them have raved about it. It was gifted to me from a friend and now I’m sign-posting you to it. If you start work and your boss hasn’t read it…do them a favour and buy him/her a copy. Motivation 2.0 = Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose.

7. The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude – Jeffrey Gitomer

A positive attitude is something that we all need to work on every day, it’s a constant battle. This book is very well designed and is full of great exercises to help you underst and how you can become more positive. I revisit this book all the time, especially if I need a jolt of positivity or the need to underst and why I’m feeling less positive than normal. A great book that should be in everyone’s library.

8. The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy

Gain clarity and underst anding of how the actions you take today predict your future. This is a very thought provoking book that will inspire you to change what you do in your life. It will also help you to underst and how the small changes that you make today, have a massive compounding effect on your future. If you were given the choice between taking £3 Million in cash this very instant and a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days, which would you choose?

9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven Covey

Another classic and a must read for any business professional. The lessons in this book have stood the test of time and are still used in business today. Your boss will expect you to have read this. If you are the boss, you should read and implement the lessons in this book and encourage your employees to study this book. There is also a companion book available that helps guide you through the lessons.

10. The Sales Bible – Jeffrey Gitomer

We are now in the 21st century and thus every single person needs to have some foundation knowledge of sales. You need to sell yourself and probably the goods and services of the organisation you decide to join. The title is spot on, it really is a bible. It is full of all the knowledge that you will ever need to become a great sales person, and it’s written by a highly successful salesperson.

Bonus Resources

The Art of Exceptional Living – Jim Rohn

If that’s not enough for you, or if you have already read these books, I highly recommend getting the audio of The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn. It needs absolutely no introduction, just have the curiosity to go get it and listen to it. You can thank me later.

Buying and Using a Journal

If you want to get the most from your books, buy a journal and use it. If you want more tips on how to use a journal, please read this article.

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR JOURNAL

Competition

If you buy all of these books please let me know – email me with a picture or post a picture on my Facebook page. I will enter you into a prize draw and if you win I will send you THE leadership book that will help you become a better leader.

Recommendations

These are my personal recommendations, and are supposed to be set at a ‘foundation’ level, in other words, they are not specialist books – they will give you a valuable grounding of personal development regardless of your profession. If you have any other suggestions or recommendations please post them as a comment below and share with other readers – “when you share, everyone wins” – Jim Rohn

All the best for the upcoming exams and have a great time at graduation and remember to “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

Journal

Jim Rohn’s Journal Available from Knowledge is King

Have you ever wondered why people keep a journal? Have you ever wanted to keep one but couldn’t think what you would write in it? This may inspire you.

One thing that has changed my life in a dramatic way is writing more. The more I write, the more I have to write about. I write down my ideas and suddenly I get even more ideas. I try to write everyday, sometimes it’s a lot of rubbish and sometimes the stuff I write ends up on my blog, or becomes a great business concept or marketing plan…it just depends.

What I want to ask you is, how often do you write down what’s on your mind? Do you think it’s worth considering keeping a journal to take counsel in? Perhaps you don’t have anyone to share your ideas with, or you want to write your ideas down first before you share them? A journal will help you work out your ideas and also help you underst and the way you behave and how you react to things around you.

Let me try and sell the idea to you by using my own examples and some information from Jim Rohn. If you already keep a journal perhaps you could share your story and back me up.

Jim Rohn on Keeping A Journal

Jim Rohn often tells a funny story about when people ask him why he would spend so much money on an empty book, i.e. his journals. His response is that it pushes him to write something valuable in them. So if you do buy a journal, make sure you use it, otherwise it’s a real waste of money!

Here is a quote directly from Jim about why you should consider using a Journal.

A journal is a gathering place for all of our observations and discoveries about life. It’s our own h andwritten transcript that captures our experiences, ideas, desires and conclusions about the people and the events that have touched our lives. The past, when properly documented, is one of the best guides for making good decisions. The very act of writing about our lives helps us think more objectively about our actions. Writing tends to slow down the flow of information and gives us time to analyze and ponder the experience. The intense scrutiny of journal writing can enable us to make refinements in our philosophy that are truly life-changing. Jot down what you learn and be a buyer of empty books. It’s the small disciplines that lead to great accomplishments.  Source (Accessed 9th March 2013) 

Don’t Trust Your Memory!

It’s true that our past experiences helps us to get better, but if you aren’t actively taking note of what’s going on, what is there for you to reflect upon?? We forget and miss a lot of what goes on around us. Mr Rohn is quoted saying – “Don’t trust your memory” and I can totally relate to this. I keep lists of all the things I want to achieve, and I write down my goals. I know that I can go back to these lists and notes at anytime and I don’t have to worry about forgetting things. What do you think you would gain from doing the same thing? It’s worth a go isn’t it?

Examples of what to write in your journal

I keep a Post-It Note in the inside cover of my journal to remind about all the things I should write about, which gives me a little structure. Here are a few examples of things I write about and perhaps you could write about too: –

  • My partner – I’ll write about how she is, what we talked about, if we fell out and why. How did she look today, how is she feeling. That sort of thing. This is a good place to start because it makes me think about Andrea on a daily basis.
  • Gratitude – I think about what I’m grateful for today. Sometimes it’s just basic stuff like having a car that works, being able to learn and read, having a roof over my head. Sometime is more complicated than that and more personal, it just depends. It’s important to express some level of gratitude everyday.
  • Conversations – who have I talked to today and what we discussed.This is a great exercise and it usually reminds me of something I’ve forgotten to follow up on.
  • Ah – Ha moments – Any moments that took place that made me stop and think. An Ah-Ha moment is a moment of clarity. I normally write about behavioural things, for example how I reacted to something or someone, and perhaps how other people react and how I can learn from them.
  • Attitude – I will spend time writing about my own attitude, especially if I happen to be grumpy. It helps me to figure out what’s wrong and how to get better at being more positive.
  • Personal development – what have I read today, what did I learn and what am I going to do with this new knowledge.
  • Ideas – Usually a follow on from the above – what ideas I have come up with and try to work through them.

Important things to remember about your journal

  • Privacy – Protect your journal. It’s a private book for your eyes only, look after it. You have to feel like you can write anything you want in it.
  • Accessibility – Keep your journal h andy so you can write in it when you need to.
  • Regularity – You don’t have to write in your journal everyday, but try and write in it often.

2 Minutes with Jim

Here’s a two minute video from Jim discussing collecting stories in his journal and how you can use these stories to learn from them and get better. You can see how your journal becomes a place to confide in and a place where you can write down what’s on your mind and how you feel.

Where to get one?

You could choose to keep an electronic journal or you could buy an empty book from most stationary stores. The journal featured in the picture is available from Knowledge Is King.

Conclusion

You will have noticed that I have talked a lot about what I do in this article, and the purpose of this is to give you some idea of what keeping a journal can do for you, and also how you can use it. If you have your own story please share it and if you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

Do you ever get the feeling of being overwhelmed by the task(s) in front of you? Like there’s no way you can get through all your work?

I had one of those days recently where everything just seemed to be mounting up in front of me, and for a moment I panicked. Have you ever felt like this? Like there’s no end in sight?

I’m getting a little better everyday at recognising the reasons for why my mood changes, which means I can react quicker and get better at dealing with it. I thought to myself…

“Stop for a moment, breathe and think rationally about how to get these tasks complete”

Become an expert in your own life

I have my journal which I can go to and write down why I feel like I do, and try and work out how I can move forward. The journal is a great tool for studying your own life, I suggest you try it. You can begin to track your behaviour and how you react to situations. Here’s a great tip from a very wise man…

Become an expert in your own life & stop studying other people’s lives

– Jim Rohn.

6 Tips for getting rid of that overwhelming feeling

Here’s a few things you can do to make that overwhelming feeling a little more manageable: –

  1. Write down all the things you’ve got to do;
  2. Figure out what the most important task is, and do that first;
  3. If it will only take 2 minutes to do, do it right now;
  4. You could also just start working on anything. Just starting will make you feel a lot better;
  5. Delegate tasks to other people – recognise that you may not be able to do everything yourself;
  6. Out of all the stuff that’s not vital or important, decide whether you need to do it at all. Sometimes there are tasks that just don’t add value – trash these!

How do you get things done?

It would be great if you could share your own stories and tips for getting things done and making your life more manageable. What works for you? Why?

So, you’ve decided to start a new business (or anything new) and you’re really excited about it. But be careful out there…these ‘Four D’s’ will try to stop you, be aware of them and put things in place to stop them.

Doubt – Make sure self doubt doesn’t get the better of you. Speak to and hang around inspirational people that believe in you.

Disappointment – Things rarely work out first time. Be prepared to try many times.

Distractions – Be ruthless with your time…make sure you spend it on what really matters. Don’t let life’s little issues get in the way.

Dream Stealers – these are the people who, when you tell them what you want to do with your life, try to take your dreams away from you. They don’t want you to be wealthy, successful, or happy. Choose carefully who you share your dreams with.

What could you do to stop these things from demoralising and stopping you from succeeding?

Credit to Paul Greenoch for sharing this with me.

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

I think a lot about things, and about what things mean and how they impact upon my life. The main reason I do this is because I want to be better, wiser, improve and learn from what happens in my life.

Do you underst and what it means to express humility? Is it something that you are aware of everyday? Well, for me, the word ‘humility’ was, until recently, not a word I used in my vocabulary, in fact I didn’t really know when it would be appropriate to use in context…but now I do.

Recently at a workshop I was delivering I received some feedback from a delegate whom mentioned that she would have expected more humility to be expressed in the delivery of our content.

Humility is the ability to have a modest or low view of one’s importance.

I immediately felt as though I had been overly strong in my delivery of the content and perhaps I should have toned it down slightly. My colleague mentioned to me that you can’t always appeal to everyone, and although your presentation may appeal to the vast majority, there is always a small percentage of the audience that you won’t ‘connect’ with. It think that’s a fair assumption and I’m not here to moan or complain about it, this blog is about reflecting and learning and hopefully to try and help you learn from my experiences.

Learning Everyday

LearningEveryday_iconThe thing is, I named my company Learning Everyday, and although humility isn’t a word I have used before, the very foundation of my company is based upon the underst anding that we don’t know everything and that we are willing to learn from other people. Learning everyday is a huge part of my life and I am comfortable knowing, not only that I don’t know everything, but also that others have fantastic ideas, stories, experience and knowledge and that I can learn from everyone in some way.

The following day I watched a video with Sir Ken Robinson and Eckhart Tolle about a slightly unrelated topic (which has now been removed from YouTube!).

However there is a small part of this video that caught my ear and it’s all about having the courage to admit that you don’t know the answer to something, or that you simply just don’t underst and. Eckhart uses an example of the Dalai Lama being publicly asked a question of which he doesn’t know the answer to. Instead of the Dalai Lama fretting over not knowing the answer, because of his importance and the perception that he should know the answer to everything, he happily answers with “I don’t know”.

Are you comfortable not knowing?

dalai-lama
This really got me thinking. Firstly, this has an amazing impact on the audience. Because the Dali Lama admitted not knowing, this immediately gave the audience the permission to also ‘not know’, which is a powerful thing to achieve. Most of us are not comfortable admitting we don’t know things for several reasons, here are my thoughts: –

  • We don’t want to appear stupid on unintelligent
  • We don’t want to appear as if we have some weaknesses
  • We are too proud
  • Our ego’s are too big
  • The fear of being mocked

My second though about this was about how I can make sure humility comes across in my delivery when public speaking or presenting information.

Reflecting back on the comment I received I feel I have learned something. I am always forward in admitting when I don’t know something but perhaps I can improve somehow by being more aware of humility and how others may react to what I’m saying and how I am saying it.

As a consultant I think there is a lesson to be learned, and that is to be aware of humility when not only speaking to an audience, but also when working with people one-to-one.

I spoke to my Dad about this, whom has been a consultant for many years, and he summed it up nicely – “Instead of trying to simply provide solutions, work with people to help find the solutions”, i.e. don’t feel like you need to have all the answers, but work with people to find the solutions by asking the correct questions and facilitating the creativity and thinking processes. Spot on Dad!

After reading this, what are your thoughts?

How do you behave when you don’t know the answer to something? How do you feel when you don’t underst and something? Are you comfortable not knowing? Have you ever experienced the impact of humility or been in a situation where humility was not present? Please feel free to share your story and experiences.

Comments & Feedback

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Take the time to fill in any gaps in what I have written about, or share your feelings or story.

I just completed reading Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki. It’s a book that has been sitting in my library for a while and I was prompted to read it because it’s on my University reading list this year!

Enchantment transforms situations and relationships, turns cynics into believers and changes hearts and minds.

As soon as I started to read it I quickly realised the similarities between Enchantment and How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. You could say that this is the 21st Century version of the same book, although I have to say that I took a lot more from How To Win Friends.

The book is written in a way that makes it easy to dip in and out of, and it’s only a few hundred pages short. Not everything you read in the book will apply directly to your life, although I would suggest reading the book and using it to pick up the things that you think will work for you….there is always something to learn!

 

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki

My Top Three Lessons

There are some great lessons in the book and I’ve reproduced my top three lessons.

Lesson 1 – Improve your decision making (p. 181)

I’m a really big fan of checklists and this list really appeals to me! I’m going to print this off and put it up in my office and every time I need to make a decision I’ll refer to it.

  • If I waited a week, I’d still make the same decision
  • A year from now, this decision would still be a good one
  • I’ve done my home work by reading independent reports and reviews of the product/service/organisation/idea
  • I am fully aware of the total cost of this decision, including installation, support, maintenance, subscriptions, and upgrades
  • This decision will not harm people
  • This decision will not unduly harm the environment
  • This decision isn’t unethical, immoral, or illegal
  • This decisions will not set a bad example for my children
  • If no one could see that I was doing this, I would still do it
  • If everyone could see that I was doing this, I would still do it

Lesson 2 – Become the kind of person others want to follow (p. 29)

These pointers may seem quite obvious, but there are probably one or two things you could do here to invoke more trustworthiness. I think this is a great list of key qualities for anyone who wants to make friends.

  • Always act with honesty
  • Treat people who have wronged you with civility
  • Fulfill your unkept promises from the past
  • Help someone who can be of absolutely no use to you
  • Suspend the blame when something goes wrong and ask, “What can we learn”
  • Hire people who are as smart or smarter than you and give them opportunities for growth
  • Don’t interrupt people; don’t dismiss their concerns offh and; don’t rush to give advice; don’t change the subject. Allow people their moment.
  • Do no harm in anything you undertake
  • Don’t be too quick to shoot down others’ ideas
  • Share your knowledge, expertise, and best practices with others
  • Focus on good will – focus on positive actions that make the world a better place
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt

Lesson 3 – Use Japanese wisdom to help you increase the effectiveness of your use of technology (p.148-9)

This list is a little different, and one of the reasons that I quite like it. Guy has reproduced this list from Garr Reynold’s book, Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations.

Kanso – Eliminating clutter and expressing things in plain and simple ways. Application: Reduce the crap in your presentation, on your website and blog, and in your emails, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates.

Fukinsie – Using asymmetry or irregularity to achieve balance. Application: Use asymmetrical photos on your website and in your presentations. Google the ‘ rule of thirds‘ to learn more about the power of asymmetry in photography

Shibui – Underst anding and not elaborating upon things. Application: Reduce the hard sell approach in every form of communication

Shizen – Depicting naturalness with the absence of pre tense and artificiality. Application: Simplify the user interface of your web properties and remove the flashy intro video on your website.

Yugen – Using subtle and symbolic suggestion rather than obviousness. Application: Create a presentation that moves people’s souls rather than beats them into submission and, more likely, boredom

Datsuzoku – Transcending habit, formula, and conventionality. Application: Break away from the tired text- and-bullet-points method of telling your story by using evocative pictures and cool diagrams. Or, don’t use Powerpoint and Keynote at all.

Seijaku – Achieving a state of tranquility and energised calm. Application: Removing the jarring and intrusive elements from your blog and website

Wa – Embodying harmony and balance and avoiding self-assertion. Application: Meld the needs of your customers, employees, and shareholders into a win-win, pie-baking approach.

Ma – Providing an emptiness, spatial void, or silence to provide a focal point. Application: Remove the glitz from your slides and increase white space in your presentation, website and blog.

Yohaku-no-bi – Appreciating the beauty of what is implied, unstated, and unexpressed. Application: Don’t sell past the close in your enchantment efforts.

Buy Enchantment

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