The secret of confidence and courage (DW #945)

Many of us seek to find the secret to confidence.

"Oh the things that we could do", we tell ourselves, "if only we had the courage and the confidence".

In other words, we wait to take action on what matters to us, till the feelings of confidence arise within us.

Here’s the thing: It is foolish to have confidence in something in which we have no practice!

Remember when we learnt how to drive? Good thing we did not have much confidence before we had lots of practice, right? This fear and caution helped us to prepare, be careful and do our best on the road.

And as we repeated the act of driving scared many many times, the feelings of confidence began to appear . . . until we were no longer scared.

Similarly, in order to gain confidence in anything at all, we first have to do it scared.

Confidence does not precede action, it develops as a result of taking action.  

Emerson once said, "The greater part of courage is having done it before."

He also...

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The anxiety busting question (DW #944)

Anxiety, like overwhelm, can be an immobilizing experience. Our minds get into a convoluted mess and we can start believing that we cannot take action. All our energy is taken up by our mind and little left for our organs.

Of course, our hands and legs are not paralysed. . . . our minds just lead us to think that they are.

When we are stuck, it is time to ask ourselves the all-important anxiety-busting question: What’s my next action?

"I learned I can solve all this worry and decision-making anxiety by taking action. By admiring action. By having action plans, by asking, whenever stuck, WHAT’S MY NEXT ACTION? And then, doing that action NOW. Action. Movement. Decisive energy. Solves most everything!" Steve Chandler in Time Warrior

Feeling stuck? Worrying about the future? Anxious? Feeling immobilized?

Remind yourself that you are not actually immobilized. You can still move your arms and legs (try it now!)

What’s your next action? Go do it now. Thank you....
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The task in front of you (DW #943)

Yesterday, I shared a snippet from Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is. The full passage from the book on dealing with the task ahead of you is really worth repeating:

"What I call "doing the dishes" is the practice of loving the task in front of you. Your inner voice guides you all day long to do simple things such as brush your teeth, drive to work, call your friend, or do the dishes. Even though it’s just another story, it’s a very short story, and when you follow the direction of the voice, the story ends. We are really alive when we live as simply as that—open, waiting, trusting, and loving to do what appears in front of us now…What we need to do unfolds before us, always—doing the dishes, paying the bills, picking up the children’s socks, brushing our teeth. We never receive more than we can handle, and there is always just one thing to do. Whether you have ten dollars or ten million dollars, life never gets more difficult than...

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The antidote to stress and overwhelm (DW #942)

Most of us experience a fair bit of stress and overwhelm in our 21st century lives. There just seems to be so much to do and not enough time to do it.

I love Steve Chandler’s wisdom on dealing with stress and overwhelm by focusing all of our attention on the one task in front of us.

Here is how he puts it in his great book Time Warrior: "In a simple life in which you only do what’s in front of you, there can be no overwhelm, ever. That life is yours to create. And it never arrives, it must be created."

So next time we are feeling overwhelmed, it might be useful to remind ourselves that it may be because we are spending too much attention on thinking about the future and all the things you think you need to get done, instead of actually doing some of them.  

Byron Katie in Loving What Is puts it this way: "We never receive more than we can handle, and there is always just one thing to do."

Just one thing. Pick one thing to do and do it with...

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Keep your eye on the path (DW #941)

Have you heard the old saying: "Keep your eye on the prize"?

That may be good advice when you need to renew your motivation and remember your "WHY" but also consider this piece of wisdom from Russell Simmons:  

"I know some people say ‘Keep your eyes on the prize,’ but I disagree. When your eyes are stuck on the prize, you’re going to keep stumbling and crashing into things. If you really want to get ahead, you’ve got to keep your eyes focused on the path."

This is exactly what we mean when we keep reminding ourselves to

  • focus on the process and on our efforts (which are in our control) instead of exclusively on the outcome (often not in our control) and
  • learn to enjoy the journey

    Here's to not stumbling and crashing into things!
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The path is made by walking (DW #940)

We have been talking about how when we are traveling the path of change, transformation and growth, we simply set our direction and start taking baby steps without necessarily having it all figured out.

Sharing these words today by Antonio Machado which state this idea rather eloquently:

Traveler, there is no path.

The path is made by walking.

Traveller, the path is your tracks

And nothing more.
Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
By walking you make a path
And turning, you look back
At a way you will never tread again
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.

Antonio Machado, Border of a Dream: Selected Poems

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The step that is right in front of you (DW #939)

One of the ways we procrastinate making changes in our lives is that we want to "have it all figured out". We want to have a solid plan in front of us and know for certain where it is going to lead us.

There is a lot of merit in planning. However, the bad news (and often GREAT news) about life is that it doesn’t quite work according to our plans.

So here’s another thing about taking baby steps: You do not know where these steps are going to lead you. You really don’t.

And you really don’t have to know. You just have to set the direction and start traveling.

As Martin Luther King wisely said: "Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."

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The compound effect (DW #938)

Here’s the truth about taking baby steps.

If you are taking baby steps, they will not feel significant. These small steps are so small that you will not see any results immediately. If will not seem like anything is happening at all.

Please don’t let that trip you up.

As Darren Hardy, the publisher of SUCCESS magazine, tells us, the formula for success is simple:

"Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE."

In his great book, The Compound Effect, he writes:

"What’s most interesting about this process to me is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don’t feel significant. Whether you’re using this strategy for improving your health, relationships, finances, or anything else for that matter, the changes are so subtle, they’re almost imperceptible. These small changes offer little or no immediate result, no big win, no obvious I-told-you-so payoff. So why bother?

[It is because]...

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But what if it is not my best effort? (DW #937)

When you keep taking action, even if it is baby steps, the reality is this: some days you will be good and some days, you "will suck."

And when you suck, you will be tempted to skip.


Remember this: "It’s OK to suck. It’s not OK to skip."

This is my new mantra and it has really helped me to keep going. And this is how I am currently encouraging my students and clients to develop new habits and make changes.

  • "It’s OK to suck. It’s not OK to skip."
  • "It’s OK to suck. It’s not OK to skip."
  • "It’s OK to suck. It’s not OK to skip."
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Stop stopping (DW #936)

Once we have gotten ourselves to start taking action. There is an important point to remember.

Keep moving and stop stopping.

According to some athletes, Dean Karnazes is one of the fittest men alive today. He has some pretty amazing accomplishments under his belt: running 350 miles at once, running a marathon to the South Pole in minus 40 degrees, running 50 marathons in all 50 US states in 50 days!!!

He gave this advice to budding athletes in an interview quoting the ancient Chinese proverb: “Be not afraid of going slowly. Be afraid only of stopping.”

Wise words, these, and they can apply to absolutely any area of our lives, whether it’s writing a book, running a marathon, doing a long term project or anything else: KEEP GOING!!!

One of my favourite authors on the creative process, Steve Chandler puts it this way: He says we need to “Stop stopping.”

So, what challenge are you up to right now? What’s your next baby step?

Remember this: Keep moving!! No...

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