About Tony Inman

If you are looking for a coach, mentor or consultant to help you strategise the way you want your life to be and to build your business or develop your career to achieve that vision, then Tony Inman is the man to call.
With over 34 years management experience in numerous companies in Europe and Australia, including many of his own businesses, Tony has coached thousands of staff and hundreds of business owners and executives to set new goals, overcome obstacles or limiting beliefs and create and achieve new dreams.
Today Tony is a published author and presenter on the topics of personal and business growth. He is an incorrigible entrepreneur as well as a business and lifestyle coach, consultant and mentor.

Embrace Change? Does that Notion Scare You?

 

Embrace change? Or are you stuck in the past?

Are you motivated to embrace change?

Embrace change or fear it - which do you prefer?

Embrace Change or Fear it?

 

Some people love to embrace change. The very thought of it drives them on in life and excites them. Others, less so.

Are you a person who doesn’t like change?

If so, have you ever thought about why that might be?

 

The Reality of Change

 

Love it or loathe it, change is inevitable, in all aspects of your life. What’s more, the speed at which things are changing in our modern world is happening faster than ever. It’s not even a new concept.

Here are two quotes from a Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who lived from 0535 to 0475BCE.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

And

“The only thing that is constant is change.”

Heraclitus

Here’s an interesting twist though – the tools and gadgets are changing at a lightning pace. New inventions become obsolete almost before they hit the retail stores, as our consumer-driven world relentlessly demands newer and better. Yet people, are fundamentally the same as they’ve always been.

People still bristle with emotions, just as they did in the days of Heraclitus. Remember the seven deadly sins?

  1. God gave man rules to live by, but did they include embracing change?

    Did ’embracing change’ include eating apples?

    Gluttony

  2. Lust
  3. Greed / avarice
  4. Pride / hubris
  5. Sorrow/despair /despondency
  6. Vanity
  7. Sloth / laziness

Just look at the leaders of the world, such as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un if you want any proof of our lack of advancement.

In that sense we realise that our very being is essentially the same as it’s always been. It’s hard to embrace change when our emotional makeup has been passed down through the centuries.

Another Greek philosopher, Epicurus, who lived from 341 to 270 BCE, gave rise to our motivation being based on avoiding pain and desiring pleasure:

“Pleasure is the first good. It is the beginning of every choice and every aversion. It is the absence of pain in the body and troubles in the soul.”

Epicurus

 

The Myths of Change

 

Embrace change demanded Mahatma Gandhi

“Be the change you want to see in the world” –
Mahatma Gandhi

Many of our embedded notions surrounding change suggest that it is unattainable for humans, e.g.

‘A leopard never changes his spots’.

You may know of some ‘bad people’ whom you believe will always be bad, no matter what you do to help them change. Conversely, some people are thought to be too good to others, often to their own detriment.

Yet, if you go back to Heraclitus’s river quote, you realise that even the bad person is impacted in some way by the changing circumstances or consequences of their actions.

There are many documented cases of ‘bad people’ who have evolved, grown, become more humane, and who have done ‘good’ in the community.

Another great myth is that successful people cannot be happy. Historically, we have a lot of myths around money and wealth, especially those cited by the poor, that rich people are ruthless and unhappy people, as a justification for not doing anything about their own state of poverty.

A common misquote from the bible has been that ‘Money is the root of all evil’, when the correct quote was that ‘The love of money is the root of all evil.’ The shift of meaning between the two is a chasm. The reality is that it is possible to be successful, yet not put money before all else, and to use that money as a force for good, such as building hospitals and schools or feeding the homeless.

 

Embracing change with a quote from Jim Rohn

EASY TO = EASY NOT TO

Fear of Change

 

So, back to why you may fear change… even the thought of it may bring up such foes as fear of failure; fear of success; fear of rejection; fear of being ostracised; fear of embarrassment or even worse, humiliation.

Don’t think that I’m simply giving you a list of excuses here as to why you don’t have to change – far from it.

Change is often about taking small, manageable steps. The problem with that was summed up beautifully by one of my favourite coaches, Jim Rohn, who is sadly no longer with us:

 

 

“The things that are easy to do are also easy not to.”

Jim Rohn

 

The Change Process

 

The first step to success in change is to gain clarity about the gap between your present state and your desired state, i.e. where you are now vs. where you wish to be.

The second is to identify the obstacles to progress, or that which is stopping you.

The third is to develop a strategy to plan the work to move forwards.

The fourth is to take action and work the plan.

 

Embracing change is something we'll all have to get used to!

Are you willing to embrace change and evolve?

How to Embrace Change Effectively

 

It sounds easy doesn’t it? Clearly, it’s not always so easy, which is one of the reasons people hire people like me, coaches, who are trained in helping people to embrace change and achieve it.

One reason they hire me to help them embrace change is that it’s easier for someone who’s not emotionally entangled in the situation, to see things more clearly. Another reason is that I’m trained to observe the complexities and pick up on the unseen blockages and clues as to why progress is not happening.

 

I’m also trained and experienced in how to help people through these problems and develop effective strategies. I bring that extra insight, followed by the level of accountability that you may need for the desired change to occur.

“There can be no hope without fear, and no fear without hope.”

Baruch Spinoza

Embrace change is a message spread by coach Tony Inman

Call me for a chat about embracing change

If you’d like your next year’s goals and the year after’s goals to be different from, and more exciting than, your last year’s goals, why not give me a call for a chat. There’s no obligation and no unexpected fees, but if you’d like to increase your chances of effective change, please contact me via the details below.

Tony Inman – ‘The Change Catalyst’

Mob. 0419 860 382

 

 

Why Weather Reflects Your Attitude

Choose your attitude towards the weather and choose your attitude towards life

‘Attitude can be symbolised by weather conditions’, I pondered this morning.

Yesterday had been a squally, overcast, downer of a day, or so it seemed it could be, first thing in the morning. Our family went to a winery to enjoy a sensational Christmas in July charity lunch, yet my step-son’s first words as he grumbled his way from the front door to the car were, “Looks like a terrible day to be going out anywhere.”

The fact is that he’s not a morning person, so even a bright blue sky would merely have given him one less thing to whinge about. He takes a lot of medication for a rare, genetic epilepsy condition, so having to get out of bed before he feels ready to is always sufficient cause for muttering and griping. That tends to be his default attitude to life in the morning.

We may not be able to choose the weather but we can choose our attitude‘A red sky at night is a shepherd’s delight; a red sky in the morning is a shepherd’s warning’ is one of those little rhymes I remember from childhood and for some people that would shape their attitude towards a day that hadn’t even arrived yet. What I noticed this morning again though is how a beautiful blue sky, void of any clouds at all (and we’re very lucky to enjoy many such days in Perth) has the capacity to lift your spirit instantly and thus affect your attitude in a positive way as a new day begins.

A while ago though, I heard the great Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly espouse the view that, “There is no such thing as ‘bad’ weather – there’s only ‘bad’ choice of clothing”. The inference was that the weather was neither good nor bad; the determining factor was your preparation for either extreme and your attitude towards your environment.

 

Do you have a default setting for your attitude?

a bad attitude will seldom help youTo go back to my step-son, protesting his way to the car yesterday, I responded by quoting Billy Connolly in a bright and chirpy fashion and pointing out that he’d be mostly indoors anyway but would have escaped the darkness of the dungeon (young man’s bedroom) that he inhabits. Have you ever noticed though, how the last thing a person who’s decided to fester away in their grumpy darkness needs, is to be confronted with a cheerful, happy person?

He continued to grumble about the weather and the road conditions as we made our way through a spectacular valley near our home. Even as the rain gave way for a burst of sunshine and the raindrops glistened and sparkled as they ran down the leaves of the picturesque gum trees, and even as we passed by the breathtaking vineyards and saw alpacas munching with delight on the moist, vibrantly green grass, his attitude of grumpiness continued unabated.

We were listening in the car to a CD we’d bought at a show the night before, recorded by a jazz/swing singer, Cathrine Summers, who is blessed with the kind of voice that gives you goose-bumps. My partner and my mother-in-law were enraptured by her dulcet tones and we all found ourselves slightly disappointed as we arrived at our destination that we’d have to stop listening. The two ladies had been singing along in the back of the car. Our very own misanthrope chipped in, almost predictably, with, “Why do you always listen to such depressing music?” I simply smiled.

 

A rainy attitude in an overcast workplace

wherever you go, you take your attitude with youI remember way back when I used to work at ‘Big W’ as a retail manager and I’d walk into my sales office first thing in the morning to be confronted by the daily ritualistic mutterings of two ladies whose demeanour reminded me of Shakespearian witches. Most of their gloomy, pessimistic sentences ended with the words “…this bloody place.” I used to clap my hands loudly as I bounced into the office, muster the biggest, cheeriest smile I could wear and exclaim loudly, “Good morning ladies and how are you this wonderful morning?”

“What the bloody hell’s wrong with you?” they’d snarl, ever more resolute in their mission of misery and discord.

“I was just thinking how wonderful it is to be alive.” Or something equally provocative, would be my typical response. My favourite though was, “If it’s that bad, why don’t you leave and do something else, something that makes you happy?” They insisted that they couldn’t because they had bills to pay – thus their attitude of misery was entrenched.

I found a strange solace in their determination to stay miserable, just as I find a strange solace today in looking at Mother Nature and her choice of ‘clothing’, i.e. the weather, and choosing to see the beauty, no matter the conditions.

 

Attitude can be like the cloud that moves above you or like the sunshine behind it

do you focus on the clouds or the sunshine?You see, some people choose to take ‘their weather’ with them. They see the warm weather as ‘too hot’, the cooler days as ‘too cold’, and the rainy days as ‘shitty’, as if raindrops had been somehow replaced with a downpour of excrement! The weather is simply a metaphor for their attitude towards life.

It is my contention that attitude is a matter of personal choice in any given moment, no matter your location. Two people can look at the same weather conditions and the same vista and one will choose to see beauty and light; the other will choose to see ugliness and darkness. “Can it really be that simplistic?” you ask.

 

Attitude is not controlled by your problems – you can ignore the forecast!

“Ah, but you don’t know what problems I’m dealing with?” insists the pessimist. “If you had my problems, you’d be miserable and overwhelmed too.” It’s possible that I would, of course, but only temporarily.

I’ve had many problems in my life, just as we all do, but I’ve always fostered the belief that no matter what happens to you, no matter what problems you face, maintaining a negative attitude will only disempower you, whereas looking for the positives, even within the depths of a crisis, will help empower you to seek solutions, to find a way of picking yourself back up and to move forwards again with a sense of renewed purpose and an extra layer of resilience.

Just as I wrote these words, I heard from through in the loungeroom, my partner exclaimed, “What a beautiful sunny day!” My mother-in-law responded with her gloomiest Birmingham accent, “Bit misty!” To use the modern vernacular, I LOL’d at the timing.

There’s an old saying that ‘Your attitude will determine your altitude’. I wish for you today, and from this day forwards, that you enjoy a day that is driven by a great attitude and you soar like an eagle. Have an awesome day!

If you’d like any help with defining some strategic solutions to areas in which you feel ‘stuck’, feel free to contact me for a coffee catch-up.

Other blog posts you might like:

 

 

Karma – His Name Was Ned Kelly but He Didn’t Hang About!

A guy named Ned Kelly gave me a helping handDo you believe in karma? You know those days when things happen that make you think and ask yourself what life’s really all about?

Well, the following was a post I wrote recently for my Linked In page and I thought it was worth posting it again here on my website, as I believe it’s a message about karma that’s worth sharing for those who may not have seen it.

Recently, as I was going about my work duties and later on that afternoon, my social networking, I had a few experiences in the same day that reminded me of an important lesson in business and in life.

 

 

Early that morning, I found myself on the way to meet a new coaching prospect who had been referred to me by a previous client – what is known in sales circles as a warm lead. It was a spectacular autumn morning in Perth and we had coffee out in the sunshine overlooking a beautiful lake. The meeting naturally went well – we hit it off and the gentleman concerned became a new client. As soon as I left the meeting, I rang my referrer to thank her and to let her know that it had been a successful match. This business angel was delighted because by taking a moment out of her day, with one introduction she had been able to help him and to help me at the same time. My new client was also keen to offer her son some more work and more career mentorship, so everyone was a winner from that small act of kindness. It was a case of ‘What goes around, comes around’ or as others call it – ‘karma’.

It was a day where one of my businesses needed me to do a job that required some physical labour. That might sound a bit odd when I have a cleaning business, but I set up the enterprise right from the beginning with the notion of practicing what I preach, namely delegating the work that others can do and freeing me to use my expertise on managing and growing my businesses.

The reason I had to do the so-called ‘grunt work’ that day was that it was a task that would have distracted my staff from their normal duties, plus I’m currently the only one who has a vehicle with a tow bar, which I needed to pull a trailer. It’s an extra service that we offer in our cleaning business, whereby we also take discarded bulk rubbish items, such as beds, furniture and white goods to the Council tip for recycling. Many of our strata complexes have transient residents who think nothing of dumping such items on the common areas for ‘someone else’ to deal with.

Club Red Strata Cleaning has a bulk rubbish removal serviceI found myself down a narrow laneway at the back of one of our high-rise apartment blocks, realising that someone had parked and blocked the exit. It would have been a ridiculously long way to reverse a trailer, so I began to undertake what would probably have been about a thirty-point turn, backwards and forwards, carefully avoiding multiple parked cars. Suddenly a young workman appeared from nowhere, giving me directions to help me judge how close or far my trailer was from the vehicles. I laughed to myself as I remembered the scene in the first Austin Powers movie where the bumbling superhero had to turn a golf buggy around in a tight laneway. If you haven’t seen it, check it out – I had tears of laughter. With the help of my ‘Whoa’ and ‘Back a bit further’ angel, I completed this turn-around much more quickly and safely than Austin Powers had.

 

My staff then helped me load the bulk items onto the trailer, including some heavy couches, a fridge, washing machine and a collection of household bits and pieces. Usually it’s easier to unload the items than to load them, so I can manage on my own at the tip. When it came to unloading a four-seater couch and trying to manoeuvre it to where I could lift it over a low wall, I was struggling, particularly as I had only just made it in time before the tip closed, so I was trying to hurry. The couch had to fit between some safety chains that are intended to stop people falling over the wall with a big drop on the other side and it was both heavy and awkward. Suddenly, a young man appeared at my side, asking “Would you like a hand with that mate?”

He had seen me struggling and immediately came over to help. I thought, ‘That’s such an Aussie thing to do.’ I also assumed that he worked there, until he returned to his own truck to start unloading his own stuff. I offered to reciprocate but he said he was fine.

As if that wasn’t enough good deeds received for the day, I had another great experience in the evening. I’d been meaning to check out a local social club, where I hoped to meet more of the locals in my new community. Having bought a house in the Perth hills at Christmas, I’m keen to make new friendships as well as business connections in the area. I entered the clubhouse on my own and approached the bar. The friendly bar maid immediately smiled and asked if I was a member. I smiled back and said, “Not yet, but I’m interested in joining.” I sat at a bar stool mid-way between two sets of two blokes. Before my Guinness had even settled, the one on my left introduced himself as Neil and began to chat. Before I’d taken my first sip, the guy on my right was grabbing me a membership application form and a pen. One sponsored me and the other seconded me.

“Does this make you guys responsible for my behaviour then?” I joked, pointing out that they didn’t yet know me from a bar of soap. They were obviously great judges of character and had sussed out that I was a good guy straight away. We went on to have some interesting conversations and I made some new friends. The greatest irony of my behavioural question was that I had been seconded by none other than a guy known as Ned Kelly!

It's amazing who you can meet in the pubFor the benefit of my overseas friends, the original Ned Kelly was Australia’s most infamous outlaw, who in true Aussie anti-authoritarian fashion was seen by many as a larrikin, hanged by the Victorian legal system, despite a mass protest from over thirty thousand petitioners.  He was a sort of Aussie version of the better-known Robin Hood of England, – well, you must remember that our nation was built by convicts, except that they had mostly been convicted for things like stealing a loaf when they were starving etc. Instead of leaving me hanging with ‘Billy No-Mates’, as even his namesake would not have done, this Ned Kelly had given me the gift of helping to make my day.

So here is the point of my story: in a day that had included a diverse array of challenges, I had enjoyed some positive experiences – a warm referral; being helped without even asking for it when others saw I was struggling; and being welcomed by strangers, who then became friends. There are few worse feelings than the pain of regret that you failed to notice or acknowledge that someone had done you a good deed.

Karma has great power - when you help others, it may come back to you in a different way, but it will come back.It had been a day where good things had happened and I thanked the Universe for those gifts. I also realised though that I had received back to me those same things that I endeavour to frequently give to others. Whenever I can, I try to connect good people. If I can help others who are struggling as I go through my day, I habitually try my best to do what I can; if I can help bring a smile to someone’s face, it’s one of life’s simplest gifts. In fact, the oldest lessons are the simplest – regularly do good things for others and it will not only help them and help you on a spiritual level, but it will also somehow come back to you in unexpected ways. That’s the way karma works – sometimes the returning favour may be so obscure that you don’t connect the effect with the original cause.

In hindsight, it had been a typical day – it’s just that I took the time and the moment of brain-power to notice the karmic lesson. I hope my realisation might make a difference to your life and to those whom you encounter today, both in your business and in your daily life. If it does, I’d love to hear about it. Meanwhile, have a great day!

TIME – The Great Conundrum

Time is the great leveller, or is it?

Why is it that in the same amount of time, some people manage to do so much, while others seem to do so little?

Is it a matter of motivation or is it a learned skill?

If you know what you want the outcome to be, with absolute clarity, and you have the resources – skills, knowledge, money, contacts to achieve it, will you still manage to achieve more than a less-prepared person?

Is time relative, and if so, to what or perhaps a better question, to whom?

Does it really matter what other people achieve in a set period because at the end of the day, the better question is, ‘Were you happy with what you achieved?’

Here’s another post I wrote about whether it’s better to focus on achieving the goal or on imagining that you already have achieved it – click here to read.

If you’d like to make more effective use of your time, call me for a chat and we’ll see if I can help you – that’s leveraging from another person’s experience!

Regret is a Pointless Emotion

Coach Tony Inman talks about the pointlessness of regretWhat are the things you most regret?

In most cases, assuming you do allow yourself to regret anything, and let’s face it, you are a human being, there will be something.

Usually, it’s something you didn’t do – an action you ‘should’ have taken; an opportunity you missed; a moment where you allowed a fear to block you; but sometimes it’s a mistake you made. There is also the fact that the way you perceive a situation can change over time.

No matter what it is, it’s in the past now; it’s done; the moment has gone. Realising that, ask yourself, ‘What did I learn from that?’

There are only a rare few who are disciplined enough to eliminate regrets completely from their lives, aside from psychopaths of course, but what has become clear to me is that we need to develop our trust in our instincts, whilst still overcoming our instinctual fears, to allow us to glimpse the rewards of taking the action.

If you do take the action, trusting and believing that it’s the right and ethical thing to do, then there will be no need for regrets because you did the best you could with what you knew.

In my experience, we mostly tend to regret the things we wish we had done, rather than the things we did do.

The Power of Intention

The strength of your intention determines whether or not you cross the finish lineImagine that feeling you get when a plan you’ve had for a while finally all comes together. Sometimes the rush is so strong that it gives you goose-bumps. So, if it feels that good, why don’t we make it happen more often?

We often say to ourselves that life just got in the way; that there wasn’t enough time; that we didn’t have the resources; that it was just too hard; sometimes the rationalisations border on the embarrassing.

The difference between wishing for a thing though and really wanting it, until it possibly feels like a burning obsession, is that level of desire.

Desire is not necessarily a bad thing, or a lustful or greedy thing – it can be simply a non-negotiable self-determination to see a thing through; to do whatever it takes to make the idea become a reality.

The litmus test is to ask ourselves, “Am I serious about this? Is it merely a wish or a is it a serious desire?” Wishes might come true, but they rarely lead to the same commitment to action, and taking action is what brings about change.

Here’s the icing on the cake – the more you follow through with the little decisions, the more you believe in yourself and the easier it becomes to make your ideas take shape. That’s why winners become adept at keeping on winning.

What do You, Arjen Brandsma and Eleanor Rigby Have in Common?

'Would you like a song named after you?' asks life coach Tony Inman

Would you like a song named after you?

I’m guessing you may have heard of Eleanor Rigby? Her name is the title of a song written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon of the somewhat famous band, ‘The Beatles’. If you haven’t heard of them, please ask your parents!

I’m also guessing that you may not have heard of Arjen Brandsma? Who is or was he and what does he have in common with Eleanor Rigby?

I have to confess that all I know about Arjen is that he was a ‘Friend of Hyde Park’ in North Perth. I discovered that this morning when I decided to sit on a park bench and admire the beautiful scenery, the flowing fountain, the majestic trees, the ducks diving in the lake for food and the proud Black Swan parents shepherding their baby signets, whilst on my morning walk today. There was a small plaque bearing his name on the bench, but alas my efforts to discover anything more about this benefactor have so far drawn a blank.

It got me thinking though. I remembered the famous Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly telling us during his show in Perth that he has a special place overlooking a lake where he would like to have a bench named after him, so that fishermen for years to come could be spiritually joined with him as his ghost looks out at the spectacular vista.

'What purpose do you want to be remembered for?' asks life strategist Tony Inman

What purpose do you want to be remembered for?

The name Eleanor Rigby actually started out as Daisy Hawkins when Paul McCartney began composing a song one day at his piano. The song originally started with “Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church”, whereas the name Eleanor was inspired by actress, Eleanor Bron, who had starred with the Beatles in the movie, ‘Help’. Rigby apparently came from the name of a shop in Bristol. McCartney later conceded that he might have subconsciously stored the name from having seen a tombstone in the graveyard of St. Peter’s Church in Liverpool, where history states that he first met John Lennon at a garden fete in July 1957. The gravestone belonged to a real Eleanor Rigby, whom researchers say, lived a lonely life, just like the lady in the song.

So what does this have to do with you?

Have you ever stopped to think about your legacy?

What will be your gift to the world to denote your very existence?

The obvious answer for most of us parents, is our children and hopefully our grandchildren. For some who achieve fame, their exploits may live on in the history books. Sports stars, musicians, authors, poets, politicians – all hope to make their mark on history’s page. Business moguls build hospitals and schools or perhaps their name adorns a library or is the title of a charitable organisation.

Is fame the most important legacy or just a means to be able to positively influence the world?

Is fame the most important legacy or just a means to be able to positively influence the world?

It’s clearly a human trait to want to feel special; to have a sense of purpose; that our life means something; that we matter now and that later on, when our human form has returned to dust, that we mattered.

I know that might all seem a bit sombre, because it means acknowledging our mortality, but here’s the exciting part of my ponderings today…

Assuming you’re still alive and kicking, you still have time to pull a metaphorical rabbit out of your hat. You see, you are the one who has control of your own thoughts and actions, nobody else – YOU.

So YOU can decide what meaning you wish to ascribe to your life. You can be a criminal and become infamous; you can be a leader or a teacher and become influential; you might be able to be a sports star, a writer or an actor, or follow any of the other pursuits that I mentioned before.

 

 

Proud parents with their legacy

Proud parents

Would you like to leave the world a memory of you?

In memoriam

A view to die for

A view to die for

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all starts with how you think – how you think about the world; what you think of yourself and your capabilities and what it is that inspires you.

You really can make a huge difference with a bunch of small decisions. It could start with something as simple as the decision to go for a walk and admire nature, or the decision to help another human being in need. It could even start with a decision to smile or say something nice to someone and make their day.

If you haven’t yet come up with the grand design, maybe you’d benefit from a chat with a life coach, business coach or strategist like me (of course I had to shamelessly promote myself somewhere!). Until then, however, you can start with the small decisions. Never underestimate the power of small decisions to have a massive ripple effect. Those are the small dots we later connect backwards…’It was only after I decided to (this thing) that (another thing) happened’.

Whatever you’re doing with your life right now, I urge you to be happy and despite all of our human failings and setbacks, to decide to do your best to leave others around you feeling happier for having encountered you.

Even Eleanor Rigby’s sadness later brought joy to others in the form of inspired music. Arjen provided a bench for me to peacefully enjoy nature’s magnificence. What, if anything, will you do differently now?

Feel free to contact me for a chat over a coffee about what you would like to achieve and what strategies you need to help you get there. Telephone: 0419 860 382

Why Rupert Told Reginald He Should Be Grateful His Life Was Crap

Is your life tough? asks coach Tony Inman

“Life? Don’t talk to me about life!”

“My wife just left me, the house burnt down, my dog’s run off and I just got fired!” said Reginald, a miserable looking mouse of a man, his hair unkempt and his clothes crumpled, dejectedly nursing his beer in the darkest corner of the pub. His life sounded like a Country and Western song.

“Never mind mate. You’ve got to look at the positives and feel grateful for what you still have. A lot of people would love to be in your situation! You’ve just got to be more up tempo.” said his friend, Rupert, a man who had been unable to hold down a regular job, and who actually hated his own life, yet who also happened to be a recently qualified ‘success coach’.

Rupert had read ‘The Secret’ and was eagerly awaiting the definitely imminent arrival of his lotto winnings cheque in the mail. He was also a master of ‘positivity’ and spin. He had even had his social media image photo-shopped to make himself appear like a Hollywood star.

You’ve probably heard coaches like Rupert talking about the power of gratitude before, yet if you’re going through a difficult time when you hear that, it’s easy to understand why you might feel somewhat cynical about the well-intentioned advice. You might even tell Rupert to stick his advice where the sun doesn’t shine!

Now to go back to the example – it’s entirely possible that Reginald (a) had drifted apart from his nagging wife and despised her anyway; (b) never really liked his dimly-lit but fully-insured house; (c) never wanted the dog that had originally belonged to his wife and her former lover; and (d) hated that job and his bullying boss and had only just been offered better employment for higher pay, this very week!

bourbon-on-cereal

Are you feeling somewhat challenged by life’s disappointments?

It’s also possible that none of these positive slants existed and that Reginald has every reason to feel like putting bourbon on his corn flakes every day, just to numb the pain.

We never really know what someone else is going through. We can imagine what it might feel like. We can even sympathise with how we think it would feel if we were them, yet we’re not them. We don’t see the world exactly the same way as them and they may not have the same coping mechanisms as us, nor may they have the same strength of character that we believe we possess.

At the risk of sounding a tad ‘Rupert-esque’, it’s fair to say however, that there is always someone, somewhere, whose situation is a damn sight worse than yours. Nevertheless, if your leg is injured and it’s giving you a lot of pain, you can be told that another man’s leg was amputated or that yet another’s was badly burned and you can understand the difference between their plight and your own. You can even accept on a logical level that you should probably feel ‘lucky’. Yet despite this knowledge, it doesn’t stop the fact that your leg still hurts.

Now this is the point in my article where I ask you to indulge me for a moment. You can call me a ‘Rupertian disciple’ if you like, but just for a moment, consider this…

My delightful coach, who is absolutely beautiful both on the inside and the outside, is also a very smart lady. (Yes, even coaches have coaches! We know the value of it more than most.) A while ago, she told me to start a new habit that would have a very positive impact on my life. My coach advised me to get an empty jar and label it my jar of ‘gratitude and happiness’. She instructed me to develop the new habit of writing down each day on little slips of paper at least one, and preferably three, of the things in my life for which I could feel grateful or about which I could feel happy.

My Gratitude Jar

My Gratitude Jar

Knowing that my coach is a smart cookie, and with me being, at least most of the time, an ‘action-taker’, I did it. Now I can openly admit that I wasn’t disciplined enough to remember to do it every day, but whenever I did miss a day, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I just wrote something extra the next day. For example, I wrote things like, “I’m incredibly grateful for having a wonderful girlfriend” or “I’m so blessed to have such amazing children”. It could even be random things like, “It made me happy to give that shop assistant a compliment and to see by her smile that it had made her day.” I even wrote good things down on my crappiest of days. I even smiled at the irony of it sometimes, because yes, it’s true – even a ‘change catalyst’ like me has bad days too!

At the end of the year, I opened the jar and read all my little messages. All I could say was “Wow!” The impact was huge. Not only that, but my girlfriend said she would make it her goal to give me good reason to write even more sweet little messages about her, during the next year, which she actually did.

So, if you think you’re just feeling a bit down or that life’s not so special, give this a try – I promise you it works. If your life is really as bad as Reginald’s in my little story above, then maybe you do need to talk things through with an experienced coach, or a counsellor or a psychologist even. Sometimes life does hand us really tough challenges, it’s true, and sometimes you do need some external help to get you through it. If that’s the case, then let me encourage you to seek help without delay from the appropriate professional. (I fit the first of those descriptions, so feel free to contact me if you’re feeling stuck, or over-whelmed, or you just know that you could really benefit from having a professional sounding-board.)

I’ll finish though with this thought. Actually, it’s more than a thought, it’s commonly accepted as a proven fact by those who have successfully conquered many challenges in their lives… (and I can vouch for it myself).

“When you focus on the things in your life for which you can feel grateful and happy, you will automatically empower yourself to be better, to do more and to have better outcomes.”

~ Tony Inman, ‘The Change Catalyst’

If you don’t believe me, just try it for one month. I now write mine in a journal and that’s another topic for another day, but do whichever works for you. Do please let me know how you go and do remember to have an awesome month, filled with gratitude and happiness.

Overwhelm – Why it Happens and How to Deal with it

Do you find it all goes wrong at once?

Do you find it all goes wrong at once?

“Why me?” you shout loudly inside your own head. “Why am I in this mess and why is everything happening all at once?”

They are good questions, but do you stop your brain from whirring around in circles like a hamster wheel long enough to answer them?

Some people have a great relationship with themselves, while others don’t. Now that might sound really bizarre, but let me elaborate.

Firstly, you may be relieved to know that it’s quite normal to feel overwhelmed, especially with the pace of our modern world and the often unreasonable expectations that we allow society to place on us sometimes.

I find many of my coaching clients start off by engaging my services because they are simply swamped with everything that’s going on in their world. A lot of this is because they are unwittingly lumping all of their problems together as if it was one massive, all-consuming and life-threatening blob. I understand– I’ve been there myself.

Stress head

 

Part of why people struggle to deal with this tsunami of anxiety is that they haven’t learned how to ask themselves better questions. Another factor is that most people simply don’t think, and by that I mean that they don’t step back away from their crazy life and review it as if they had temporarily stepped outside of themselves. That’s one advantage I have straight away as their coach – I’m not them, so I can perceive it differently.

 

So let’s go back to the question of your relationship with yourself. Here are a few key questions:

  • Have you ever taken the time to reflect on who you are?
  • Have you thought about your own strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have you asked yourself ‘What are my core values?’
  • What do you like about yourself?
  • What do you dislike about yourself?

There are many more I could ask you, but that’s enough for now to make the point. The better you know yourself, the more resilient you become. That immediately means that you increase your ability to cope with stress and adversity, including a sense of overwhelm. It’s like putting on a life-jacket and sailing over the top of that tsunami I mentioned.

So part of dealing with overwhelm is realising that you CAN. Recognising your own capacity for having competently handled previous situations builds your confidence for dealing with this latest blob of yukky stuff.

Secondly, I’ll go back to an old tried and trusted question – “How do you eat an elephant?” Don’t worry I’m not actually proposing that you do! The answer though if you were to undertake that task, would be “A mouthful at a time”.

In other words, the reason you are often overwhelmed is that you are looking at ‘everything’ as one monstrous problem, when you’d be better served by breaking it down into bite-sized morsels. If you’re a visual person or a kinaesthetic learner (more attuned to feelings than images), write down your problem on a big piece of paper, then separate it out into smaller problems, even tearing off the separate pieces and moving them around on a table. If you’re a person who learns through audio, speak these problems out loud and ask yourself (and answer) the full range of five ‘W’’s and one ‘H’ question:

Who? What? Why? When? Where? And How?

Now here’s the secret gem that you deserve for having read my post today. Ask yourself this:

“What would be a better question?”

The key here is to separate the ‘problem’ into smaller ‘problems’, then examine them in turn to see what can be done about them.

Here’s another nugget – If they still seem like problems, ask yourself:

‘What lesson or lessons is the Universe trying to teach me here?’ and ‘How could this be seen as an opportunity?’

Going through those processes doesn’t always make the problems disappear, but it certainly helps you to look at them differently and perhaps to seek alternative resources. In the best examples, you can turn them around completely and wonder why you ever felt overwhelmed in the first place.

One family I started working with a while ago were in complete turmoil. They were trying to build their business but it seemed to be going wrong. They felt as if they didn’t really know how to run their business. They had staff who were not really the right people for the job. They were in the middle of renovating their home, whilst living in it, so they had builders and tradies coming and going. They had two very young children – you know how demanding that alone can be. They were battling and feeling chaotically swamped.

Do you see the glass as half-full or completely full?When I started asking them about their aspirations for the business, I continued to ask how that business would fit in the overall context of their lives. I asked them what was on their ‘bucket list?’ They answered with, “We don’t like to think about those things because we know we’ll probably never make them happen!”

Long story short, we separated the issues. We figured out a long-term and exit strategy, re-branded their business, recruited a new team, identified and worked on their skill-sets and rebuilt their self-confidence. Today they are way ahead of that dark day. They now have a swimming pool and play areas in their back yard for their children. They are taking holidays with their family and their business is in far better shape.

It starts with asking yourself better questions, like changing “Why can’t we have that lifestyle?” to “How could we make that happen?”

If you need any help with it, feel free to contact me via this website for a chat or call  0419 860 382. 

 

 

 

To Greet or Not to Greet – ‘Why?’ is the Question!

Jo takes in the magnificent view of Perth

Jo takes in the magnificent view of Perth city

The young, respectable-looking couple bounced cheerfully up the gravel path towards us, chatting happily with each other and breathing in the delightfully fresh morning air of the Zamia Trail at Perth’s Bold Park. Their facial expressions changed however, from a contented beam to a poker face as they realised they were not alone in this urban wilderness.

My partner, Jo and I were out for an invigorating morning stroll in one of the City’s most beautiful walking trails, surrounded by spectacular, natural Australian bushland and we were descending down the path towards the young adults.

I could sense a certain uncertainty from them as to whether or not they would acknowledge our existence.

“Good morning” I said chirpily and smiled at them. I was proud of myself for getting out of bed to go and do a 5.1 kilometres walk.

The relief on their faces was palpable as they turned towards us and smiled radiantly back without breaking stride, in as perfectly synchronised a fashion as a pair of those bizarre swimmers at the Olympics. The only things missing from the display were the nose plugs and the speedo’s! They were very polite and seemed genuinely cheered that a complete stranger had taken a moment to greet them.

“That was interesting “I observed, deriving a smattering of amusement from my little social experiment.

“What do you mean?” asked Jo, somewhat bemused by my comment.

I had been inspired to conduct this exercise when a memory was jogged in me by a middle-aged gentleman (older than me obviously!) I had said good morning to him only minutes before and he had completely blanked us. Jo had theorised “Maybe he didn’t hear you or maybe he didn’t speak English, or maybe he was just a rude bxxxxxxd!”

The beautiful Hyde Park in Perth

The beautiful Hyde Park in Perth

“That reminds me of something I was pondering a while ago at Hyde Park” I replied.

A while back I had got into a routine of going for very early morning walks around Hyde Park in Perth. That’s when I began thinking about a strange phenomenon that I had noticed.

When you encounter people out walking or jogging early in the morning, most of them it seems, give you the kind of greeting normally reserved for old family members you haven’t seen for years, often accompanied by a weather report.

“G’day mate!” they’ll bellow, “Lovely day for it, eh? Think we’re past the worst of the rains now.” They’re always glowing with positivity and energy, as if there’s some kind of secret battery charger hidden in the bushes next to the lake that they plug themselves into, to start the day beaming. Even the joggers wearing earphones will nod and grin as they bounce past.

Then I noticed that when I walked around that same park later in the day, hardly anyone will move their head, nor will their face crack. Very few will acknowledge you or say hello, unless…

You say it first. If you smile and say hello, in Perth at least, most people will as a minimum, nod and possibly smile. Some will even speak to you. That’s because on the whole, Perth is a friendly city.

I’ve also conducted this experiment overseas, and the one that really blew me away was in England. In London, down South, if you speak to someone in public, especially on the Underground, they will assume you are either (a) an unpredictable nutter or (b) about to mug them. Either way, their initial reaction is often very defensive, and that’s in the daytime. In Manchester, up North, you couldn’t shut them up! If you spoke to a random stranger there, they’d tell you their life story. Now I know where my Mother got it from!

The great ocean views make you smile at Bold Park (Rottnest Island in background)

The great ocean views make you smile at Bold Park (Rottnest Island in background)

 

I realise that some of it is down to population size. Those of you who may remember the ‘Crocodile Dundee’ movies would recall that when the hero, Mick Dundee walked down the street in his Aussie Outback town, everyone knew each other’s business and they all said ‘G’day’ to everyone. When he travelled to New York in the movie’s sequel, it was comical when he walked through a massive crowd trying to say ‘G’day’ to everyone he met until he became overwhelmed.

Some of it may also be a cultural thing. Some nationalities have a culture of being chattier and more open than others. I found that very interesting when I owned a backpackers hostel business for fourteen years.

 

 

One thing I have reaffirmed everywhere though is that a smile is universally understood. A nod with the smile is respectful and polite. Combine those two with a genuine greeting and positive body language and you may just make a new friend. Ignore people or put up a defensive or even hostile countenance and they will mostly ignore you. If you DO make the effort though, you may notice an increase in your own energy.

So there you have my quirky ramblings. The question for you is, ‘To greet or not to greet?’ Don’t grin too hard or people may think you a grinning idiot, but smile warmly and authentically, and the world smiles with you  🙂