Why are you running?

Why are you running?

Is it me or do you also feel pressure to be successful or achieve a certain amount of things before you reach a particular age? Sometimes I feel like I am running and I really do not know why.

With social media and the constant comparison bubble that a lot of people live in, it seems that more and more people are running to ‘secure the bag.’ There is nothing wrong with having dreams, goals and aspirations but I think that if we are constantly running instead of striding then the following might happen:

  • We may miss blessings and/or opportunities
  • We may run and stumble in to problems that we did not plan/prepare for
  • We may not understand or even miss important lessons because we did not take time to enjoy the journey

I think that to truly be successful and achieve the goals that you have set for yourself, you need to understand that it will take time and it may not always happen as fast as you want it to. Hard-work, planning and consistency are just some of the main ingredients that are needed. These factors take time to build, develop and nurture. So take time.

If you are running make sure that you are not doing it for the benefit of others. As I wrote last week we are all in individual lanes and should avoid comparison at all costs. Just because your neighbour may be running does not mean that you should join them. Be great, but be great at your own standards.

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(this is how a lot of people live their lives, running to compete against others when they should be focusing on themselves)

As a person who has so many ideas and wants to achieve so much I thought I could do a lot of things all at once. But after long reflection (including speaking to a range of people) I realised that I did not want to be a ‘jack of all trades and a master of none.’ I want to be able to position myself as an expert in one (or maybe two) particular fields. I know that this will take a lot of time, effort, dedication, consistency and much more. But I am ready for the journey. I am no longer prepared to run because I was in a hurry. I don’t want to run into hurdles when I could stride (being prepared) in to them.

I know that we can all stride, take time and still be great.

As I believe and repeat to myself everyday: preparation (+self-belief) + opportunity = success

So this year are you running or are you striding?

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Comparison or Contentment?

Comparison or Contentment?

Theodore Roosevelt once said that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and I really think he hit the nail on the head with this one.

Comparison, according to our dear friend google, is described as ‘a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.’ Essentially meaning to compare how similar or how different you are to others.

One of the problems with the information and social media age that we currently live in is that, it is extremely difficult to avoid comparison. Even if we don’t want to know what others are up to we will somehow find out. It’s always in our face.

So we get stuck in this trap of comparing ourselves to others especially when we see them doing things that we wanted to do or could have done but fear and/or a lack of confidence stopped us.

Over-indulgence in comparison can lead us to create imaginary benchmarks in our heads where we measure our own successes and shortcomings against those around us and even worse those in popular culture. Before you know it you are competing with people you don’t even know!

But do you know how crazy it is to compare yourself to people who most likely had a different starting point to you?

See once you begin comparing yourself to others and letting those thoughts manifest in your mind and heart, you begin to feel frustrated and discontent with life causing yourself unnecessary torment. Comparison robs us of precious time. The same time and energy that you could have invested in yourself and your goals.

Although comparison can be positive especially if it brings on a desire to achieve and further develop yourself. Just as a business analyses the external environment to spot opportunities in the market that aid in development and innovation, you may decide to do the same with your own external environment.

So how do we avoid ‘negative’ comparison? Below are my top 5 tips

  1. Focus on yourself – not as simple as it sounds, I know. But it is so important to focus on your own journey and remember that you are running in your own lane and not competing against others
  2. Remind yourself of your achievements and why you are remarkable (because we all are!). Whether you prefer to speak positive affirmations out loud or stick post-it notes around your bedroom, you have to be your own biggest cheerleader!
  3. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Try a gratitude jar – where you write things you are grateful/thankful for on a small piece of paper and store it away in this jar (on a daily basis)
  4. Find inspiration through comparison e.g. if she/he can do it, then so can I!
  5. Learn to be content with your yourself, your progress, your journey and the unknown

Remember that you are your own worst enemy and the only thing stopping you from being the best version of yourself is yourself.

So will you let comparison steal your joy, your strengths and your success or will you reclaim what’s yours?

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23 things I have learnt in my 23 years

23 things I have learnt in my 23 years

I wanted to share with you all 23 things that I have learnt during my 23 years of life through past and current experiences. Enjoy.

  1. Every individual has a God given purpose and it is up to us to discover our purpose and use all of our resources to fulfil it

2. Embrace your strengths and turn your weaknesses in to lessons

3. It is important to be who you are unapologetically and do not allow others to make you feel that you need to be less of who you are (especially because it suits them)

4. We should never stop learning – as Napoleon Hill said “the person who stops studying merely because he has finished school is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity”

5. Work smart and work hard

6. Failure is nothing more than the lessons that we use to propel ourselves to the next level of growth

7. Fear is false evidence appearing real

8. Use the ammunition of “fear” and “failure” to achieve your dreams

9. Preparation + opportunity = success

10. Have ambitious (not mediocre) goals and smash them

11. Make time for yourself and know that it is ok be selfish with your time when it comes to achieving your goals

12. Have specialised, rather than generalised, knowledge in your field

13. We do not need fair-weather friends

14. Expand your network and surround yourself with likeminded people

15. Give because you can not because you want something in return

16. Be of service to others and provide value

17. Have an understanding of the economical and political climate of the country that you reside in so you can navigate yourself effectively

18. Healthy and prosperous finances are only possible with smart money moves

19. Make better decisions when it comes to your health and fitness – you’ll live longer 🙂

20. Only you can decide to be happy, nobody else controls your happiness

21. There is power in declaring things out loud and truly believing that they will come to pass

22. Prayer is everything

23. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

I hope that sharing this has made you reflect on some of the most important things that you have learnt throughout your life. Remember that every lesson learnt provides an opportunity to be a better person – as Dan Lok said “hell on earth is meeting the man or woman you could have been.” – find the link to his tedx talk here

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It starts in the mind…

It starts in the mind…

At the start of every New Year a lot of people start the year by setting New Year resolutions/goals.

But research has suggested that around 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. Most shockingly a study conducted by Strava (the social network for athletes) identified the second friday in January as “quitters day” suggesting that this was the day where motivation began to diminish.

Psychologists believe that one of the biggest contributors to this is the “internal battle between doing what you want to do and what you should do.” In other words it starts in the mind. Our minds are one of the most powerful tools we have as individuals and I believe how we control it can determine the course of our lives.

Why is our mind such a powerful asset?

Because ultimately how we think dictates our behaviours. I believe that the reason why 80% of resolutions fail is because people have not trained their minds and their thought processes. And because of this they allow a lack of confidence, otherwise known as self-doubt, to prevail in their mind.

If I constantly tell myself I am not capable of doing something, I most likely will not be capable because I no longer have the motivation or right attitude to do it. As Napoleon Hill said, “Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds.”

It starts in the mind.

Once we really understand how powerful our mind and consequently our thoughts are, then we will have the foundation and in due course the capability to reach whatever goal or resolution we have set ourselves. But it isn’t just enough to have confidence, you have to really apply yourself to whatever you want to achieve. And I mean really apply yourself.

When I first started my fitness journey I absolutely hated running and I would tell myself I couldn’t do it before I had even tried, but once I changed my thoughts, the change in my behaviour followed and before I knew it, I loved running.

Only we as individuals have the power to change our thoughts, feelings and attitudes. But how can we do this? I think the answer is in self-awareness. When we truly understand ourselves we can then work to proactively manage our thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

So lets hit the ground running. Whether it takes you 6 weeks or 6 months, lets be the 20% of people that do achieve their yearly goals/resolutions.

2018 is the year of confidence and self belief. Its time to stop being your own worst enemy. Lets be more than just average because as we all know it starts in the mind.

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Are you the best version of yourself?

Are you the best version of yourself?

Are you the best version of yourself?

A tough question, I know. Before I could answer it myself, I had to really consider what it meant to me.  So I am going to rephrase the question for you. “Are you allowing yourself to live up to your full potential, both in the personal (e.g. mentally, physically, spiritually and so on) and professional sense (e.g. career, entrepreneurial and so on)?”

If I had answered this question a couple of months ago, it would have been with a big fat no. Being victim to laziness, procrastination and doubt meant that I wasn’t allowing myself to flourish and I’m probably not the only one.

As I pondered on it, I realised that I could be doing much more. I was not going above and beyond in all that I did, in fact I was doing the bare minimum. I was not able to confidently say that I was putting 110% effort in to my personal and professional life. I was too comfortable and that to me, was a problem.

Now of course the idea of “being the best me” will vary considerably amongst each individual, but as you’re reading this today I challenge you to consider what does that mean to you?

There are many ways to be the best version of yourself but I believe in a 3 step cycle.

1. Firstly learn about yourself; identify your skills, passions and interests, your strengths, your weaknesses, what you like and what you don’t like, how you interact well with others, and how you fail to communicate well with others, how you work – the idea is to really just know yourself

How can you be the best version of yourself if you do not fully understand and know yourself well? Once you are able to understand yourself you can gain a better understanding and sense of direction. Identify your skills, your passions and your interests and then try to use this to discover your purpose.

2. Secondly develop an uncanny confidence in yourself and use this to take action

Once you know yourself and you know what direction/path you want to take in life, it will be much easier to believe in yourself and your abilities. I genuinely believe that we can do whatever we set our minds too. All it takes is self-confidence. If you do not have confidence you will struggle to take action.

Take action. Make a plan. Then execute this plan.           

3. Finally keep growing – learn from your mistakes and your “failures,” increase your knowledge capital, grow your network and just keep shinning 🙂 

So you know yourself, you’ve got confidence and you’ve taken action. What next……?

Continuous learning – Upgrading your skills and increasing your knowledge

Every experience is an opportunity to learn. But you have to go beyond this. You have to seek opportunities to learn. You have to go outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. This is where real growth takes place. Stop comparing yourself to others and use your time and resources to focus on yourself.

The reason I put failure in quotation marks is because I believe Napoleon Hill when he said “Failure brings a climax in which one has the privilege of clearing his mind of fear and making a new start in another direction.” Being the best version of yourself is being able to understand and recognise that “failure” is nothing more than a learning opportunity. And the application of such lessons will push you to be better. To be a better version of yourself.

Nobody said it would be easy but all you can do is try. So how about today you start trying to become the best version of you.

As Judy Garland said “always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”

Thanks for reading and please comment below with any strategies or tools you use that aid you in being the best version of yourself!

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Purpose

Purpose

From a young age I had always felt like my purpose in life was to help others, but I did not really understand what this meant. As I grew older my focus changed and I developed aspirations that had no real purposeful meaning. I knew I wanted to be successful. I knew I wanted to be a professional ‘business woman,’ and I knew I wanted to live in New York City (till this day I still do not know why I loved NY so much).

Why did I want all these things? A question I could not really answer. I most likely wanted these things because of what I allowed myself to be exposed to (e.g. TV programmes). Did I really want it for myself? I believe that the media and society has built this innate nature in us that can sometimes end up with us believing in unrealistic realities. I am not saying that I could not live in New York as a young professional, but the point is I did not understand the time and effort required to achieve this. I believe that many people do not recognise how important it is to understand and take notice of how much time and effort they put into certain things and how easily they can be influenced.

How many of us spend a lot of time watching ‘trashy’ TV programmes for entertainment value but struggle to devote 1 hour of our time a day on building our dreams in to a reality?

Subconsciously we are heavily influenced by what I call the cycle of society. The idea that we go to school, work, start a family and then die. Ask yourself, is this what life is about for me? I believe that everyone has a purpose and there is more to life than what society would like you to believe. What is the point in wanting these things if there is no real purpose behind it?

Purpose is defined as “the reason for which something was created, exists or was done.”

What is your purpose?

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘what is my purpose?’ or ‘why was I put on this earth?’ Nor had I until a couple of years ago. Of course, I had considered the question but I never really felt like I could answer it. I found comfort in the fact that I was still relatively young and still had time to discover myself and my true meaning. But after I graduated from university and started my full time job, I had never felt so lost. The job began to drain me, I honestly felt like it was sucking the life out of me. I resented how repetitive my life had become. I felt like all my creativity was put in a box that I was not allowed to open. To be quite frank I felt like my brain was not being utilised to its full capacity and I hated this feeling. How could I discover my purpose when I felt stuck in a role that was not inspiring me in any way possible?

As the months went on I began to pray for direction, motivation, understanding and the ability to discover my true purpose. Although I prayed extensively, what I really wanted was a ‘quick fix.’ I wanted direction but I did not have the patience for it. But that is not how it works. In search of my purpose I learnt new lessons that changed my view on life as a whole. I went from an ungrateful attitude to a grateful attitude. I was grateful that I even had a job, grateful for other opportunities presented to me from which I could learn and grateful that I went through the experience so that I could share it with others. The biggest thing I learnt was that ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’ Honestly there is no point comparing yourself to others and/or being envious of their situation because everyone is on a different journey. Most importantly I discovered my purpose, ultimately allowing me to make a career changing move.

Lessons Learnt: Every experience is an opportunity to learn, grow and develop. Do not allow negative thoughts to rule over your life or allow fear to stop you from chasing your dreams. The journey is more important than the destination. Although you may not know your purpose trust and believe that you are on the right path to discovering it.

I find such comfort in this scripture and I hope whoever is reading this can find the same: “Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – Mark 5:36

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