Archives for March 2011

What Is A Travel Bucket List?

 

tony-inman-arc-de-triomphe-1994

Tony Inman at the Arc de Triomphe 1994

 

If you haven’t yet seen the movie, The Bucket List, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, then you’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about?

Firstly, I’d highly recommend the movie because it’s a good story and they are two extraordinary actors.

Secondly, it’s a movie that inspires you and makes you think, which I must confess are the kind of films I really enjoy the most.

One of the things that I preach the most when I’m coaching people in creating work/life balance is to look for the things in life that will really get under your skin and motivate you to achieve and be successful, because when a person has purpose, life itself immediately becomes more joyous and meaningful.

So what I’m saying is, “Find something to get excited about!”

Amazingly some people really struggle with that.

So, here’s an idea…

Think about all of the places you’d love to visit in the world and write them down as a list of places to visit before you ‘kick the bucket’ (AKA ‘die’).

If someone told you that you only had a year to live, which places would you really want to go and see?

Now if travel is not your thing and your answer is, “I don’t want to go anywhere, I’m fine staying here”, that’s cool too. I have plenty of alternative ideas for you as well, but we’ll save them for a different article (blog).

Nevertheless, here’s an example from me…

I was brought up in Jersey in the English Channel Islands, which is only a short flight off the French coast, west of Paris. Despite its close proximity, every trip I planned there was unavoidably postponed, owing to fog, sickness, yada yada.

So when I found myself living in Perth, Australia, you could say I was almost as far away from Paris as I could get, with two small children and a mortgage and no spare cash, yet I always yearned to go there.

 

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Tony visiting Napoleon’s tomb

As a teenager, I was fascinated with the exploits of Napoleon and his armies, the way he had led them to incredible victories and the way he had conquered vast amounts of the known world. I had always wanted to go and see his Arc de Triomphe, the French Army Museum and of course the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and all of those amazing tourist icons that the City has to offer.

 

I cut out photos of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower and stuck them on my bedroom mirror, vowing that I would somehow go there and visit them.

On top of that, I repeatedly visualised sitting at a table in one of those little Parisian coffee shops, eating croissants, drinking hot chocolate and looking at the view up the Champs Elysee looking at the Arc de Triomphe.

The dream became so strong I could taste the chocolate!

A few years later I found myself emerging from a trip through the Australian Outback, spontaneously jumping on a flight from Darwin to London to chase after the girl whom I later married, then continuing on to Paris.

I felt like pinching myself when…

…there I was drinking my hot chocolate, eating my croissant and admiring the view I had so often imagined. It was an empowering  moment in my life that I will never forget.

 

So, I’ve personally always found travelling to the places on my bucket list to be a very motivational tool. It’s great to set those goals and to have something specific to which you can look forward and about which you can get excited.

Here’s another thought – don’t wait til you retire to do this stuff. Do it while you are still healthy and active -especially those more physically challenging places.

Plus, if you really want to make it happen, put dates on your list, in order of priority. Don’t stress about how you will afford it – get serious about the goal, visualise it, commit to it and you can turn the dream into a reality.

Machu_Picchu_Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

We’re going scuba diving in Sipadan in a few weeks and in September 2012, we plan to do the Inca trek to Machu Picchu with a couple of good friends, which is definitely one for which we will need to be fit.

So I urge you guys, set aside half an hour, grab a pen and paper and write out your personal bucket list.

Believe me, having a bucket list is exciting, crossing things and places off the list is even more exciting. If you have any good stories to share, I’d love to hear them.

Until next time, make good things happen – for yourself and for those good people around you!

 

 

 

Are You Living A Life Of Fulfillment?

relaxing-in-the-spa

It's OK to dream!

I could have given this particular blogging article the title, “Are You Happy?” but you would have probably cringed, said to yourself, “Of course I am” and clicked away to a more interesting question.

Now don’t panic, I’m not going all religious here either! (That’s definitely not my style!)

Let’s expand on the question at hand a little…

Here are three sub-questions for you to consider…

  1. “Are you the person you want to be?”
  2. “Are you doing the things you really want to do?”
  3. “Do you have the result you wanted?”

Let’s strip away some of the dirt that may be preventing the diamond you know that you are, from sparkling to the full extent that you could be!

  1. What if you had unlimited time?
  2. What if you had ‘enough’ money? (Let’s say that money was no object – indulge me here for a moment!)

The ThinkerAre those easy questions for you to answer? Do the answers immediately leap out of your mouth or are you stuck?

If you did just go blank, then I would really recommend that you create a few minutes of thinking time today in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, grab a pen and paper, throw caution to the wind and write down whatever comes out of your head.

When you were just a child, if someone asked what you would like to ‘be’ when you grow up, you could say whatever you wanted and noone would have laughed. They would have said, “Of course, you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up”.

I have now come to terms with the fact that my childhood fantasy career as a professional football player is highly unlikely to come to fruition, although my team did have a spell a few years back when I considered making a phone call to a certain Premier League Manager!

Even had I been of a suitable age and fitness level, however, had I said in my 30’s that I was quitting my job and flying to England to pursue my childhood dream, people would have said I was nuts.

tony at kakaduHad I said anything out of the norm, like “I’m quitting my job to go travelling around Australia”, people would have said I was nuts.

In fact, they did – I was nuts (ish) and I did it anyway, except that half way around, I changed plans and flew to London from Darwin to chase after a girl with whom I had fallen in love.

So what’s even more amazing about that is that I had no money. I created the time of course by quitting the job. The funny thing is that when you ‘go with the flow’ and trust in your own ability to handle whatever comes along, you’ll figure out the small details as you go.

The trouble is of course that it’s a bit addictive. Once you’ve broken the shackles and escaped the rat race, you know that, if you can do it once, you can do it again.

After my second marriage break-up, which was a really low point in my life, and having had no holidays for two years while I slogged away in a 24/7 business, now 44, I followed my staff’s advice to take a break.

I had started dating a lovely 29 year old Swedish girl, named Vicky who was backpacking around the world with her friend. So I volunteered to drive them to Monkey Mia, about 800 kms north of my home in Perth, Australia.

Having finally escaped, I was able to process some of the traumas I had gone through. Nature has fantastic healing properties, so climbing into the Kalbarri gorges, hand feeding a dolphin at Monkey Mia and looking at Dugongs from a catamaran had a big impact on me.

My staff were doing great without me. I decided to continue and continue I did.

vicky-cruising-in-styleI found myself snorkelling with manta rays and a whale shark, riding a camel on a beach at sunset, taking a helicopter ride over the Bungle Bungles, swimming under waterfalls and in thermal springs in the Outback, watching crocodiles jump out of the water. It was all incredible.

I managed to visit an old friend in Darwin, where he recorded me in his studio, playing and singing a song I had written. I drove down the centre and across Australia as we continued on to Townsville and up to Cairns.

I wasn’t being a total slacker though. I was learning a lot about how other people in my Industry did things, networking, interviewing business owners and getting ideas I could adapt for my own enterprise. I could talk with authority to my customers because I had done the things they wanted to do.

Anyway, the reason I’m telling you that is that it was one of the best things I could ever have done for my own soul, which in turn benefited my business and many other people in a sort of butterfly effect kind of way.

Put simply, there will rarely be a ‘perfect’ time to do the stuff you have always wanted to do, but if you keep putting it off until ‘someday’, that could suddenly turn into what we call, ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’, ie the stuff you wished you had done.

My one week to a destination 800kms away became a nine week, 12,000km adventure that I would not trade for the world – the memories are priceless. Vicky and I always knew she would return to Sweden but we will remain friends for life.

Was I irresponsible? Was I unrealistic? Some might say so. As it happened, my staff achieved a record trading month; I picked up loads of ideas and knowledge; and I returned, refreshed, re-energised and buzzing with excitement.

An interesting book I read again recently was ‘Personal Action Planning – How to get where you are going in a hurry’ by R. Henry Migliore.

write-the-future“We owe it to ourselves to bring out the best of who we are, to use our talents for something beautiful and worthy. That requires a staying power that comes only with vision and determination.”

R. Henry Migliore

So, I challenge you to answer those questions I have posed for you today. Write them down. Think about how you would feel and what it would mean to you if you achieved those things (or even just one of them).

Then ask yourself, when you are lying on your death bed one day (hopefully a long way into the future) which things will I regret – the things I did, or the things I will wish I had done?

My Grandfather was always going to take me fishing when I was a kid. Alas, the closest he came to it was to leave me his fishing rod. It wasn’t quite the same without him there to show me what to do.

I’m not saying you have to quit your job, unless it’s making you unhappy. Here are some ideas for you – places to visit; new skills or hobbies to learn; people to meet; learning another language; starting a home business; buying a car, yacht, house etc.

If you don’t have some kind of course to sail, you’re going to drift awhile.

Until next time, live life in pursuit of your passion.

Climb Your Mountain – Turn Defeat Into Victory


Tom Whittaker and Everest

A Footprint On Everest

There’s an old cliche that goes, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.


It’s a phrase often employed by well-meaning friends and family as a ‘pick-you-up’ when they try to help you feel better about something that has gone pear-shaped.

The trouble is that it is often delivered with a smug, omniescent smirk that far from making you feel better, merely makes you want to give your advisor a good slap!

Nevertheless, there is some truth to the maxim.

We often learn more from the things that don’t go to plan than from the ones that do, perhaps one of the biggest lessons being that of persistence in the pursuit of our goals.

Tom Whittaker was a mountaineer whose life could easily have been wrecked in the car accident that crushed his leg, courtesy of a drunk driver in 1979, which led to the amputation of his right foot.

No doubt he must have felt at times like his life was destroyed. His passion was climbing and many thought that had been taken away from him.


Tom Whittaker crosses a glacier

Tom crosses the ladder of death

Yet by 1989 he made his first attempt to climb Mount Everest. His friend, who had managed to complete a climb gave him a stone he had picked up near the summit and challenged Tom to put it back. Defeated twice by the extreme conditions, Tom finally conquered the mountain in an expedition in 1998, despite suffering altitude sickness; despite reaching almost to the summit and having to descend back to basecamp to recover; despite having to wait for bad weather to clear on the final ascent; and despite having one artificial leg.


Tom returned the stone and brought another back for his friend from the ‘roof of the world’.

The documentary, ‘A Footprint on Everest’ was presented on Australian TV by Jim Waley on the ‘Sunday’ programme. With absolutely breathtaking scenery and a heartwarming tale, it won the Teddy Roosevelt Award for Best Adventure Documentary. It has now aired in over 150 countries.

“In today’s world we are all adventurers and we are all dreamers. Climbing to the summit of Mount Everest with an artificial foot is the physical and symbolic manifestation of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve a dream. It is also the supreme act of persistence and courage.”

Jim Rennie

These extracts are courtesy of Tom’s personal blogging website*.

You Can If You Think You Can

You Can If You Think You Can



In the book, ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ the authors talk about the inevitability of adversity.

“You can’t hide from adversity. You can’t hide your children from life’s ups and downs. The ones who achieve do so by conquering obstacles,…even from their childhood days.

Thomas J Stanley & William D Danko (from “The Millionaire Next Door”)

We will all have bad days; we will all stumble and fall; we will all have days when we wonder if it’s all worth it; we will all feel, “Why does this happen to me?”

Knowing that everyone else feels this way doesn’t lessen your own problems or make them disappear. Knowing that there are always millions of other people who have far worse problems with which to contend than you do, may help, but usually doesn’t.

For example, as I sit here writing this, I have a sore heel. Knowing that someone else is lying in hospital with a broken leg might make me realise that things could be worse, and that’s certainly a great thought process to adopt as a coping mechanism, but it doesn’t stop my heel hurting.

We would all like to protect our families from adversity – it’s what we do. Sometimes, however, we might actually be doing them a dis-service.

Stanley and Danko studied the habits of numerous self-made millionaires to see if they had anything extra, a special something, that we lesser mortals missed out on during our creation.

Of course there are at least a book’s worth of traits and habits, which is why it’s well worth reading, however a key ingredient is the way that these successful people view adversity.


Andrew Matthews 'I feel great'

Andrew Matthews 'I Feel Great' cartoon

When things go wrong, they look at the positives as well as the negatives from the apparent disaster.


“What positives?”, you might ask, as you look down at your shattered leg in the hospital bed, for example.

Then six months later as you marry the pretty nurse you met in the hospital, you say “It still hurt like hell but thank goodness I broke my leg or I wouldn’t have met Suzy!”

Ok, it could be destiny or a quirk of fate, but how many times have you thought something was one of the worst things that ever happened to you, like losing a job, suffering a relationship break up etc only to find in due course that this was in fact a turning point that opened the doors to new and better experiences.

Look at Things from a different angle

Look at things from a different angle

A few years ago I attended a course where I learned a way of looking at the world called the ‘Qantum Collapse Process’. To summarise a weekend workshop in a few words, when something ‘bad’ happens, ask yourself what the ‘good’ or ‘potential good’ is in that situation. My teacher continued on to instruct that we should then ask alternately, “What is bad about that?” and “What is good about that?” until we have exhausted all the angles from which to view the apparent adversity.

It’s an interesting technique and it does change the way you perceive apparent failures and adversities.

Maybe that’s how you’ll find your personal pot of gold (or non-monetary equivalent!)

So, next time something seemingly bad happens, ask yourself if a man with one leg can climb the highest mountain in the world, what can you, with all of your skills and determination, do?

*Source information www.tomwhittaker.com” & cartoon by Andrew Matthews in his ‘highly recommended’ book, ‘Being Happy’.

tiger-moth-tony-2010

Tony the Tiger!

Tony says:Throughout this website you’ll find examples of people who have battled the odds and turned defeat and disappointment into victory and triumph. If you’re not where you’d like to be in life, there may be some solutions for you on my site.

Whether your challenge is a personal battle, a business problem or an issue to do with work/life balance, I am blessed to be surrounded by a network of successful business owners and advisers and a team of great friends. Feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to improve your situation.”