Are You Getting What You REALLY Want?

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We received a great question from one of our listeners who said,

“I recently had to make a significant life decision to end a long-term relationship and while I see this as a great opportunity to start fresh and REALLY go after what I want and need, I’m at a bit of a loss as to where to start. Any tips on getting clear on my own needs would be wonderful.”

In this podcast, Chris and Paul tackle the subject and provide two simple exercises that any can apply to their own situation.

One looks at identifying what you want more of, and less of. Another gets your mind stimulated by looking at experiences, people, characteristics and relationships that either fuel your energy or drain your energy.

After listening to this podcast, let us know what you want more of or send us a topic/question for a future show.

Perspective & Getting Back On Track

After a few months off from regular podcasting, the ActionPodcast crew are back!

In this show, Chris and Paul discuss the importance of periodically stepping back and taking stock of what is really most important. Sometimes we all need to hit the reset button, take an honest look at our priorities, and put some things on “pause”.

And doing that often requires courage to make decisions to let go of things that are holding you back. In this discussion, Chris references an article from the NY Times on “The Busy Trap” which can be found here.

We also talk about what we’ve been up to and our plans for the future.

We’d love to hear your suggestions for topics and your success stories. Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

How To Put An End To Wasting Time

We think many of our listeners can relate to this scenario — you’ve got lots of things to do and want to get them done but after a few hours of activity, you just don’t feel any productivity. Rather than energised by a sense of achievement, you’re floundering in a swamp of frustration.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how intelligent, driven or committed to the cause you are, there are days (or weeks) where you feel like you’re getting nowhere.

In this podcast, Paul and Chris take on resolving this challenge as posed to us by one of our listeners.

Time management is an ongoing quest for many people and yet it’s always the wrong quest. You can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself.

And specifically, you can manage your state, your focus, your energy and your clarity.

Paul and Chris provide great tips and practical actions to break out of any frustration and turn confusion into victory.

Let us know what you will do differently after listening to this podcast. Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

3 Ways to Identify Your Strengths

Over the last decade there have been many significant advances in our understanding of how to achieve and become our best.

The modern world has evolved beyond the over-simplified advice of positive thinking, have a goal and dream big. While those still are part of the recipe for success, they alone aren’t the missing link between what you have and what you want.

One of the fundamental shifts in performance management – especially as it relates to your career or job success – is the movement away from working hard to overcome your weaknesses and rather, put greater emphasis on amplifying your strengths.

But the challenge within that is knowing your strengths well enough, and knowing which ones to amplify the most for the greatest results.

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In this podcast, Paul and Chris provide three ways (in rising order of complexity) to breakdown what you do, identify your true strengths and decide where you put your time and effort.

One of the most powerful approaches is to use the Challenge vs Skills dimensions popularised by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in his groundbreaking book [amazon_link id=”0061339202″ target=”_blank” ]Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience[/amazon_link]. Below is a graph that identifies the components and can be used as a practical exercise to get you clearer on when, how and why you excel where you do.

Listen to this podcast now and let us know what you’ve discovered are your strengths…and how you plan to use them to achieve even more this year. Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

 

Productivity and the Importance of Focus

Do you know what it takes for you to be really focused on what matters?

Do you know what makes the difference between your ‘good’ days and ‘scattered’ or ‘overwhelmed’ or ‘totally unproductive’ days?

If you don’t know this already, you are missing a massive trick to getting things done.

In this podcast, Chris and Paul discuss why focus is critical but increasingly difficult to maintain.

According to The Energy Project – an organisation that helps individuals, leaders and team to sustain high performance – the greatest drain on our energy in the modern workplace is our mental energy. This is our ability to remain focused on the task at hand while not giving in to instant gratification of switching tasks, checking emails or being drawn into an unnecessary conversation.

[Note: you can check how you do against the global average by taking The Energy Audit right now. It’s free and only takes a few minutes.]

By surrounding yourself with the right environment, tools and mindset to start the day, you can easily feel significant improvement in your focus, productivity and daily fulfillment.

Paul and Chris give practical tips and tools to help you do this more consistently.

Let us know what you do to get, and stay, focused. Leave us a comment below or post on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

Three Keys to Gaining Clarity (Instantly)

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the privilege and honour to deliver training workshops and coach individuals from over 18 countries. Some in person when I travelled to Australia, Russia and Germany; some over Skype to America and Spain.

While everyone has their own challenges and ambitions, what continues to strike me is the absolutely critical importance of CLARITY.

Clarity is at the heart of progress and achievement. When you have clarity, you (for the most part) can confidently march forward towards the result you’re after. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or effortless but it does mean that there is a certain force of energy, focus, conviction or commitment directing your every step.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, it can be painfully obvious when you lack clarity or feel like you have no clue on what you should do. You stop, get stuck and barely make any progress.

But the tougher, more challenging and more dangerous place is somewhere in the middle. You THINK you are clear, you ARE putting in the effort but the results are underwhelming-to-non-existent. It’s kind of like counterfeit money – it looks real, it feels real but using it too much can get you in serious trouble.

“Counterfeit” clarity applies equally to the small things – for example, prioritising your daily to-do list – as well as the big things such as the direction of your life, relationships and career.

You may start out ok but before long your momentum slows and more and more problems, hurdles, delays or distractions get in the way.

Can you relate to any of these?

  • Poor time management, easily distracted, continually chasing new ideas and ‘dabbling’ in a lot of different things
  • Not finishing what you’ve started
  • Waiting for the perfect moment to begin…or continue
  • Telling yourself “Tomorrow will be better to get started on that”
  • Getting caught in circular thinking, continually debating the pros and cons of certain actions
  • Repeatedly set goals and never achieve them
  • Overwhelmed at what needs to get done
  • Indecisive with little things and avoiding the ‘big’ things

A lack of clarity isn’t the result of these behaviours, it’s the CAUSE.

And as it happens to all of us at times, the cure isn’t to just make sure you get clear first, but rather to learn to spot the signals quickly and make a swift change of course.

What do you tend to do when you’re unclear?

For me, the signals I’ve come to know quite well are:

  • Checking emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) way to frequently, especially when I’m not expecting anything of importance or urgency.
  • Starting my day by reviewing emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) before I’ve even exercised or showered or had some food.
  • Telling myself I need to switch to more important things or resolve a bigger problem yet continue to carry on dabbling in minor things.

When I eventually snap out of that trance and back to the things that matter most to me, I am reminded of three keys to getting clear:

1. As soon as you recognise you’re off track and not making the right progress, stop.

2. Immediately ask yourself four questions:
What is my real outcome in this situation? (or in the next ____ minutes/hours/days?)
Therefore, what must I stop doing right now?
What is the first action I can take to build momentum towards my outcome?
How good will I feel when I start to make progress?

3. Take that next step no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Don’t waste time debating whether it’s the right or wrong step. You just need to take action and move forward. You might learn it wasn’t the ‘right’ step but at least now you know and can adjust your approach even further.

Time and time again those three prove to be uber helpful and quickly shift focus, energy and momentum towards getting clear, and ultimately getting what you want.

And if you’re really stuck on HOW to get clear, you owe it to yourself to make ‘getting clear(er)’ your top priority. Ask a coach or mentor, search for a relevant blog or article online, speak to a friend or family member or ask us at ActionPodcast.

So start to recognise your signals more quickly and follow those exact steps.

You’ll be glad you did.

Let us know what your tricks for getting clear are and what you need to get clear on now by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

An Alternative Approach to New Year Resolutions

There are dozens of ways to kick start a new year with greater focus, purpose and enthusiasm for the year ahead. Guru_Mindmap

Spending time to reprioritise, set goals or new year resolutions, plan experiences can – and should – be very liberating and energising. However, our experience shows that the BEST way to make sure your plans become reality, is to aim to build momentum quickly. To kick start in January with consistent action, no matter how small.

In this podcast, Paul and Chris discuss specific ideas and tools to not only allow you to start the year running but also to open up your mind, and get in the right mindset for thinking creatively, clearly and purposefully.

The holiday time is the perfect time to carve out quiet time for some honestly reflection on your previous year and step back from the day-to-day grind, to reboot your inner computer and allow yourself to dream again.

Here are a few tools to get you started…

 

MindMaps

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5 Simple Steps for a Personal Year in Review

If your year didn’t turn out as well as you hoped it would, it’s time for honest reflection and make time for your personal “year in review”.

At this time of year many people end up disappointed and perhaps disillusioned as to where it went wrong.

But rather than looking back with regret you owe it to yourself to look back with curiousity to actively seek the lessons that you can take into your next 12 months.

In this podcast, Paul and Chris give practical steps to make sure you review with the right attitude, mindset and desire to learn, and outline these 5 perspectives to investigate from.

Clarity

Whether you set specific goals at the start of the year or not, the quality of your actions are constantly influenced by the amount of clarity you current have on how to achieve what you want. On reflection, we often discover that we weren’t nearly as clear as we thought we were – or needed to be – in order to get what we hoped for.

Confidence

To what extent did you have the certainty and confidence to take the steps that were needed to achieve your outcomes, or to overcome the barriers in your way? Listen to Paul and Chris discuss the factors that shape your confidence as it relates to Continue reading

Having the Energy to Do It All

With a hint of regret and a look of disappointment, a client recently revealed that she just doesn’t feel like doing much in the evenings after a day of work.

She was too tired to think, too overwhelmed to see clearly and “…just needed some ‘me’ time to unwind”.

Of course, she’s not alone.

It’s a common malaise of today’s “always on” way for many people – demands continue to rise yet our capacity to meet those demands doesn’t naturally rise along with them. This often leaves us in a deficit of time, energy and enthusiasm for what matters to us outside of work (and many important things in work too).

We would never say it’s what we think, but our behaviour often shows that part of us believes that because technology runs at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time, then we should to.

Illogical, but the truth for many of us nonetheless.

Is there an alternative? Is it possible to break this cycle?

Of course there is.

Sometimes we just need to slow down long enough to notice, to think and to reset our perspective on where we want our energy to be directed.

The first thing to understand is that unlike machines and technology that run on one or two sources of energy (e.g. electricity, petrol), we humans run on – and need – four sources of energy.

Physical energy is the foundation. It’s the quantity of energy we have on a daily basis directly influenced by sleep, what we eat and drink, and how we exercise (or not). Without physical energy we are fairly useless to ourselves and others.

Emotional energy is the quality of our energy. We are fuelled by our emotions and how we feel profoundly influences how we perform. What’s more, we have much more control over our emotions than we give ourselves credit for.

Mental energy is where and how we direct our energy. Where does your focus tend to go? On big important things that matter most to you? Or on small, but voluminous details and minor things that keep you busy but don’t move you forward and accelerate your success. When it comes to trying to deal with all the things in our lives, it’s easy to fall into the trap of mistaking activity for productivity.

Spiritual energy is simply about having a sense of purpose and being in alignment to that purpose. That doesn’t just apply to the biggest question of all, “What is the purpose of your life?” but even on a daily basis where it’s easy to lose sight of the purpose of many of the things that requires your energy, attention and time. In the UK and other parts of Europe it’s a common expression that something, or an experience, can be “soul destroying” – a cancelled project, a task you’ve been assigned where you don’t see the point of it all, or being overloaded with demands from your boss who doesn’t see that you’re already struggling to keep your head above water.

Within these four dimensions of your energy lies every solution you need to lead a more rewarding, fulfilling, exciting, happier, healthier and purposeful life.

If you are like the thousands of smart, educated and committed people who tend to fall flat at the end of the day, or week, you need to do something differently.

It’s not the way it should be. You must stop tolerating that and seeing it as acceptable.

You should have enough energy at the end of your work day to fully engage in your personal life, friends, hobbies and activities that you enjoy.

It’s how we humans are designed and it’s what you deserve.

So as a starting point, at the end of your day, give yourself a score of 1-10. 1 is you are completely and utterly drained, 10 is you are fully energised. Score yourself on EACH of the four dimensions of energy.

The more accurately you can diagnose where your deficit currently is, the more precisely you can apply the right solution.

Having more energy isn’t just about getting more sleep or putting your feet up.

As my client began to realise, making small changes and creating new habits to expand her energy across the four dimensions creates an upward, positive and sustainable spiral of renewable energy.

Within a matter of days, she felt more energised, more focused, more engaged and more fulfilled.

And perhaps most importantly of all, she reconnected with her inner strength and capacity to take back control of her choices and her life.

Do you regularly find yourself being drained at the end of the day? What would you love to do that you don’t seem to have the energy to do? Leave a comment below and let us know and we will provide suggestions and strategies in upcoming podcasts and blog posts. Or pop your feedback on our Facebook page.

How to Overcome Your Plateau

Every now and again we seem to get less out of the effort we put in.

It happens with our health and fitness, in relationships and in careers.

Is this natural? Normal? Does it happen more than you like?

In this podcast Paul and Chris discuss how to recognise a plateau, what happens when they show up, plus provide three solid strategies for overcoming plateaus in any context.

1. Refresh

Sometimes just a bit of variety, fun and mixing it up can be enough to challenge your status quo and motivate you to the next level of progress or fulfillment.

2. Re-engage

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut at times and lose sight of why you’re there in the first place. Feelings of overwhelm by the amount of work to be done, burdened by the responsibilities, and perhaps even experiencing hopelessness that things will improve. In this case it can be very helpful to step back and reconnect with what you really want and why you want it. Paul and Chris share exactly how to do this.

3. Re-evaluate

As creatures of habits we will quickly fall into a regular pattern or regular approach to trying to achieve what we want. We hit the same machines at the gym, manage a project in the same process or deal with our partners in the same way. However, those habits may be the exact reason why you’re experiencing the plateau in the first place. Re-evaluating your approach, your process and your usual way of doing things can shed new light on your challenge and give you alternatives you hadn’t thought of before.

Listen to this podcast now and join the conversation with a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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