Successful Women Think Differently, by Valorie Burton

Buy the book here!

DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:

Happiness comes before success. Adopt mindsets and practices that increase your true happiness, and success will follow.

Although this book is aimed at women, lessons shared can apply to anyone. The book focuses on 9 habits and this book summary is structured differently, highlighting the essential ideas!

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Happiness creates success.
  • An optimistic mindset develops the traits needed for success e.g. bouncebackability.
  • Successful people take their happiness seriously.
  • Successful people seek fulfilment over success.
  • Successful people are satisficers.
  • Successful people send their true selves rather than their fear based, approval seeking facade into the world.
  • Successful people refuse to downsize their dreams, knowing that when you stop hoping you start settling.
  • Successful people say no to good opportunities in favour of purposeful ones.

WHAT IS SUCCESS?

  • Success is living your life’s purpose and embracing joy and resilience and as you do it.

WHAT CREATES SUCCESS?

  • What makes one person succeed while another falls short of similar goals? Essentially – Successful people THINK differently.
  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
  • Successful people recognise it’s their thinking style – it’s the mindsets they adopt FIRST – that inspire their success. The right mindset leads to the right decisions, actions, goals and eventually success.
  • They adopt the following mindsets for success, with the Happiness Mindset being at the heart of these:
Happiness Mindset Impact MindsetInspiration Mindset
Learning MindsetPossibility MindsetResourceful Mindset
Challenge MindsetSolution MindsetDecisive Mindset
Courage MindsetAuthenticity MindsetDiscipline Mindset
Relationship MindsetStrength MindsetResilience Mindset
Preparation Mindset360° Mindset

HAPPINESS MINDSET – Successful people are HAPPY FIRST

  • Research suggests that happiness causes more productivity and higher income. That happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Most people mistakenly think if they had X (mostly something external) they would then finally be happy.
  • Research shows that positive emotion associated with happiness equips people to handle adversity better, bounce back from setbacks, see the bigger picture, and live longer. On average, the effects of unhappiness cut life expectancy by 6 years.
  • Successful people take their happiness seriously – they don’t dwell on the negative and fill life with the positive – positive thoughts, words, people and outlook. They see fun and joy as an essential element of success.
  • Optimists make better leaders, succeed at higher levels and live longer. They explain their failures and successes differently. An optimistic outlook can be learned.
  • Pessimists tend to believe negative events impact their lives forever and are all their fault – they give up more easily. Negative emotion narrows your scope of thinking.
  • True happiness v The Hedonic Treadmill – the latter is the continual chasing of short-term thrills or the next big thing (the bigger house, car, income etc) and the temporary thrill of acquiring them. The thrill of victory, no matter how great, eventually wears off. True happiness is derived from an internal mindset, outlook, activities and relationships, focusing on longer term contentment and joy, and sustained despite external circumstances.
  • Successful people value fulfilment over success. Success is often defined by the external (e.g. money, success, titles, possessions). Fulfilment instead is about living with purpose (being of service to others) using your strengths and tapping into your passions.
  • Focus on the journey more than the end goal – are you being your best in each and every moment? Are you feeling fulfilled moment to moment rather than just at the endpoint? Are you joyful through your journey?
  • Is your success making you a better person? E.g. when you face obstacles are you getting bitter of better?
  • Be content whilst also aiming higher. There is no guilt in wanting more if you are in service to others – you getting more means others get more.
  • Sonja Lyubomirsky: Happiness is 50% your temperament and outside your control (your happiness setpoint, determined genetically – some people naturally have a more positive disposition than others), 40% what you do daily (intentional activity), and 10% circumstances. That means there is a lot more of happiness that can be controlled than most people think.
  • Changing your circumstances e.g. getting a new car only accounts for 10% of happiness and explains why the newness becomes the norm and you revert back to your happiness set point. Too often we wait for a change in circumstances to feel happy, however once the newness of “our new toy” wears off we discover our lack of happiness is a deeper issue. You can instead choose to intentionally engage in activities daily (the 40%) that impact your happiness e.g. exercise, social interaction, enjoyable tasks you enjoy, acknowledging your blessings. Focus on what brings you joy.
  • Further to this, if you change your circumstances (only 10%) think about how it will allow you to act differently – how it will allow you to undertake “happiness generating” intentional activity that makes up 40% of your happiness quotient. E.g. getting a new car – is this to impress and keep up with the Joneses, or will the additional seating allow you to bring your gran on trips with the rest of the family, or transport your neighbour’s children to school (i.e. serving and having positive impact). Changing your boss to a more supportive one, or changing your career may mean on a daily basis you get to do tasks that derive greater happiness to you, as they are aligned with your true purpose. Choose a career that gives you daily activity you look forward to.
  • Money and happiness: Living below your means increases happiness, not how much you make but whether you can pay your bills. Research shows that people are happier spending money on others (and thus impacting others) than on themselves.
  • Look for opportunities to use your money to boost positive emotion (in the long term rather than for temporary thrills).
  • Successful people take the time to measure their success by their own standards, not that of society. Take time to identify your personal definition of happiness.

IMPACT MINDSET – Successful people ask “What is my impact?” and “Who am I serving?”

  • They have a sense of vision and purpose (making a difference in the lives of others). They say no to good opportunities in favour of purposeful ones.
  • “How is someone’s life made better because your path crossed theirs?
  • They are givers, believing in and developing the potential of others on their success journey.
  • Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.

INSPIRATION MINDSET – Successful people use inspiration to set goals 

  • Happy, successful people set inspired goals, knowing that inspired goals and the achievement of them give you life. A goal is inspired if you feel led by it rather than it feeling like a burden. Inspired goals tap into your strengths and fulfil your purpose. Authentic goals are derived from our deepest needs and desires.
  • They choose goals that stretch them beyond their comfort zones.
  • They choose goals that intrigue them – goals that are meaningful.
  • They use the power of why to motivate and inspire them. Why do you want to achieve the goal? What will it give you?
  • They focus on a single goal, and put their all into them – understanding that it takes, passion, laser focus and energy to reach a goal and therefore choose the one that matters most.

LEARNING MINDSET – Successful people do not take failure personally

  • Successful people see failing as learning.
  • In the face of failure or disappointment, they understand that it is your thinking style that gets you through. Instead of blaming seemingly permanent character flaws, they adopt a mindset that moves them forward – believing that failing this time does not mean failing next time.
  • Successful people explain their failures differently. Instead of blaming themselves e.g. “I always mess up…it’s me…it’s going to last” they focus on external factors – “It was just circumstances – nobody spends money in a bad economy”.
  • Akin to a growth mindset, successful people hold the essential belief that any person can change, believing that their natural talents are simply a starting point, and that you can grow substantially through learning and experience.
  • Due to their acceptance of, and ability to learn from failure, they are successful through their willingness to take risks.

POSSIBILITY MINDSET – Successful people believe their dreams are possible

  • Successful people believe that through right thoughts, right actions, right relationships – your dreams are possible.
  • They do not allow belief in their potential to be limited by grades or performance reviews. They decide to expect more.  They refuse to downsize their dreams, knowing that when you stop hoping you start settling.

RESOURCEFUL MINDSET – Successful people are resourceful

  • Successful people are resourceful knowing that creativity is borne from limitation.
  • They ask, “How can I start now despite (limited) resources? They ask, “How can I do less work and receive a higher pay-out?”
  • They ask for and seek opportunities, rather than waiting for them to fall into their lap.

CHALLENGE MINDSET – Successful people welcome and are excited by challenge

  • They choose a mindset that sees problems and challenges as opportunities for growth.

SOLUTION MINDSET – Successful people focus on solutions

  • They choose to focus on solutions over problems, knowing that where your focus goes, your energy flows.

RESILIENCE MINDSET – Successful people believe in their ability to overcome obstacles

  • They expect and plan for challenges to arise on setting out to achieve a goal, realising that sometimes you stumble, sometimes you take 3 steps forward and 2 back, but they never give up.
  • They understand the process is not linear but more of a zig-zag, and that there is more to learn from the failings along the way, and bounce-back from these failures and adversity.
  • When NASA chooses astronauts, they seek people who have more than a track record of success, but who have had significant failures and bounced back.
  • Talented people push back – they don’t accept the status quo, but see room for improvement.

DECISIVE MINDSET – Successful people are decisive satisficers

  • They do not wait for perfect conditions. Once a decision is made they stick with it, this decisiveness frees their energy to focus forward. Decisiveness and follow through conserves energy and creates stability, as opposed to second guessing themselves. Yes, they may have regrets, but they choose to learn from them moving forward.
  • Seizing on the knowledge that something shifts inside of them after making a decision to go for it, and that a decision indicates a belief that it is possible, they follow a decision with action.
  • They understand that too much choice can be bad, leading to analysis paralysis and mean you lose sight of which decisions really matter. They understand their priorities and values and understand that some decisions are far weightier than others and therefore deserve more time and attention.
  • Successful people make conscious decisions. They don’t entertain every option that comes their way. Their values help determine which options although looking good on the surface may not be right for them.
  • Satisficers v Maximisers (Barry Schwarz)Successful people are satisficers. They don’t strive for every choice or task to be perfect. They focus on progress not perfection. Having a clear sense of purpose in everything they do makes it easier to know which to prioritise. Maximisers are those whose aim is for the best conceivable option in every life decision e.g. for a new job as well as for their choice of what to eat in a restaurant. This perfectionist habit robs them of energy, satisfaction and effectiveness. Instead, satisficers set minimum standards that will satisfy them when met, allowing them to shift focus onto other decisions. E.g. when buying a sofa, they set minimum standard criteria (under $X dollars, X length, X colour). Once they find a sofa that matches these criteria, they stop looking. There may indeed be a better option out there, but they choose to spend their energy and time on other important matters. They aim for progress and contentment over perfection.
  • Successful people automate choices for lesser priorities freeing up time, focus and energy for other matters e.g. a fortnightly menu, fortnightly set of work outfits.
  • They own all of their decisions both good and bad. Owning good decisions builds confidence in your ability to make more of them. Owning bad decisions helps you uncover unhealthy patterns, ones that may be sabotaging your success, ones that go against your true desires, and aids you to make a conscious choice to change them.
  • Exercise: What are the 5 best decisions you have ever made in your life and why? What are the lessons gleaned from those choices? Similarly, what are the 5 worst decisions you have made and what are the lessons?

STRENGTH MINDSET – Successful people build on strengths rather than weaknesses

  • They tap into and focus on building and deriving full value from their innate strengths instead of their weaknesses, instead of fixing what’s wrong with them.
  • Instead they acknowledge their weak points (they do not ignore them) and reach out to others to gap fill. This is strength-based personal improvement. Rather than focusing on everything that is wrong in a situation, they pinpoint the steps that would lead to success.
  • “The ageless essence of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make a system’s weaknesses irrelevant” (Peter Drucker)
  • Trying to accomplish goals outside of your purpose and talent drains your energy. Using your strengths, you get results faster and with seemingly less effort. You can do more with less (input). You need to raise your own awareness of your strengths and the conditions under which they flourish. Your strengths are traits you frequently use, are innate to you, you are energised by them and you elevate others when they experience you using them.
  • It’s important to get feedback as we are often blind to our own strengths as they come so naturally. Who are your champions? Who are the people who can see your strengths clearly and reflect them back to you?
  • You don’t have to be strong at everything. Leverage the strengths of others as well as your own.

RELATIONSHIP MINDSET – Successful people nurture relationships that strengthen them.

  • Successful people authentically collaborate, communicate and celebrate each other. They choose relationships intentionally and nurture them consistently.
  • Through a collaborative outlook they realise their relationship with their staff is symbiotic – as well as staff being employed to make their dream a reality, they are also there to help them realise their own dreams.
  • Through communication they share their challenges, realise they are not alone and thus tap into potential solutions they were not aware of alone.
  • They realise that success rarely happens in isolation. Our sense of purpose is filled in relationship with others and our impact on others.
  • They realise (sustained) success is intentional – it doesn’t happen by accident – there are conditions, structures, and actions (e.g. mentors, accountability groups) – combining to form a system that empowers their success and resilience.
  • Successful people have influence:
    • 1) They know what others want. By helping them to get it they are more likely to get help in return to reach their own goals.
    • 2) They choose battles wisely, refusing to waste energy creating enemies and thus diminishing their influence.
    • 3) They focus on solutions over problems, presenting potential solutions to their boss when a problem arises, and thereby presenting themselves as someone who makes a boss’s job easier.
    • 4) They tap into unofficial networks, knowing that influence isn’t just about who has the big title but who people listen to.
    • 5) They build trust by starting small. By getting a decision maker to say yes to small things they make it easier for them to say yes again, building trust and expanding their level of influence along the way.
    • 6) They are strategic – when they want to ask for something they analyse the situation first– e.g. asking if they need to get some others on board first – by planning what they have to do or say to get the other person to feel positive about saying yes.

COURAGE MINDSET – Successful people choose courage over fear

  • Fear can lead you to shrink from your authentic desires, to rationalise yourself out of a great idea, to pretend you don’t really want something.
  • Successful people feel fear but learn to move forward in spite of these fears.

AUTHENTICITY MINDSET – Successful people choose to be their true selves

  • Successful people choose to be authentic – when you fear acceptance you send your “representative” into the world, the one you believe will be approved.
  • Instead, choose to be the best you possible – no more, no less.

DISCIPLINE MINDSET – Successful people know that at the highest levels, discipline trumps talent

  • They practice and master the skill of discipline, knowing that discipline favours success more than natural talent to be leader in their field.
  • They choose consistency – daily action in their vision’s direction.
  • They choose delayed gratification – e.g. doing homework, learning a challenging new skill, persevering through difficult circumstances – exercising patience before seeing the fruits of their labour.

PREPARATION MINDSET – Successful people are prepared

  • They choose to put in the practice necessary and choose to be prepared for when opportunity knocks.

360° MINDSET– Successful people use the power of reflection to develop themselves

  • They choose honest feedback from trusted others to grow. They recognise they have blind-spots and require others to help them see all of themselves (from a 360° view) clearly.
  • They tap into the power of the pen – writing down your goals takes you much further than sitting and thinking about them.
  • They know the power of the written word to act as a witness and observer. Most people who are driven to success have had some major pain at some point in their lives and have still pushed through. They use writing as a tool and powerful strategy to validate their experiences and process events and emotions – helping them to see themselves more objectively, learning from their experiences and developing resilience.
  • Getting things out of your head releases space for more thoughts. It helps you process issues and get unstuck. The words you write become insights, self-coaching, therapy, healing, and possibility.
  • Exercise – To inspire positive emotion and a healthy mindset write about your best possible future self in the present tense.
  • Successful people use writing as a success tool, empowering them to reflect on themselves and thus help them with the challenges and opportunities life presents.

Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One, by Jenny Blake

Buy the book here!

DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:

Stuck in a career rut? Like a basketball player, remaining firmly rooted whilst scanning for their next option with the ultimate aim of scoring a basket, use a Pivot to make a purposeful and tested shift in direction towards your ultimate life vision.

DEFINING A PIVOT

  • A change in strategy without a change in overall vision.
  • Doubling down on what is working to make a purposeful shift in a new, related direction.
  • PIVOT is plan A, not plan B, it is a normal part of our lives.

WHEN TO PIVOT

  • You should be looking to pivot before you are really unhappy, burnt out, or forced to make a change…
  • You can pivot when you are ready for increased challenge and impact.
  • You should be expecting to pivot, and over time you improve how quickly you plan for and spot your next move.
  • Expecting to pivot throughout your career means you stop taking your struggles and searching personally or as a failure in your operating system, and start focusing your valuable attention on moving forward despite the challenges.

4 STAGE PIVOT PROCESS – 1) PLANT, 2) SCAN, 3) PILOT, 4) LAUNCH

  • In basketball, a pivot is when a player keeps one foot firmly planted in place while moving the other foot in any direction, exploring passing options.
  • In a career, a pivot starts by planting your feet and setting a strong foundation of who you already are and what is already working – your strengths – then scanning for opportunities of interest, staying rooted while exploring options. You start testing ideas, gain feedback and eventually launch into a new direction. Scanning alone (e.g. looking for jobs) will not lead to results/score any goals.
  • The 4-stage pivot process is a cycle, not a one off process – some pivots can take a few months, some take years.

1) PLANT

  • Successful pivots start from a strong foundation of who you already are and what is already working – from your values, strengths and interests and your vision for the future. It encompasses how you will define success in the next phase of your life and where you ultimately want to end up.
  • It’s about acknowledging and exploiting your existing assets, rather than starting from scratch.
  • Do not underestimate what you are capable of – really focus on your strengths, stop looking for the Next Big Thing and assess what is working – what am I already doing now? Start to celebrate these. If you were to dig deeper into each of these assets you could reveal 10 more related areas to pursue.
  • Here you can assess your knowns and unknowns in terms of your overall vision. What known skills and strengths do you have? What unknowns are they and who could you reach out to help in the next pivot stage?
  • Example: Brooke wanted to pivot her current successful online photography course business to teach more personal subjects such as work-life balance. Her known strengths were teaching and running online courses. Her unknown variables were how to set up a new business and what to do with her old one. She eventually brought in a partner with complementary skillset and rebranded her website with the tagline “Living and documenting the thriving life”, to suit her new vision.

2) SCAN

  • This is the exploration phase, and involves looking for people, skills and new opportunities to get you to your end vision, all whilst staying firmly planted.
  • While looking for opportunities and gaining feedback you are having a wide variety of conversations and plugging knowledge and skill gaps.
  • You are collecting ideas and becoming “discoverable” to new and interesting opportunities. You identify your desired direction and make it known to others.
  • This phase can be as much about picking up new ideas you would like to pursue as well as eliminating projects you do not like the sound of.
  • Ask not only What can I get? but also, What can I give? Who can I serve? What problems need solving?
  • If someone were to send you a glowing thank you note a year on from now relating to your pivot project, what would you want it to say?

3) PILOT

  • Start running some small low risks experiments to test your new direction.
  • These series of pilots are small extensions of the strengths identified in the plant phase, building on these to branch out into new areas and gather real life feedback, allowing for incremental adjustments along the way rather than a blind leap.
  • Questions include: How can I test my ideas with a small audience? How can I make progress towards my pivot even without my next client or gig lined up?
  • After each pilot, ask yourself:  1. ENJOYMENT Did I enjoy doing it? 2. EXPERTISE Am I good at it? 3. EXPANSION If not am I excited to increase my skills in this area? Is there more opportunity to expand in this market? Can I earn a living doing so?

4) LAUNCH

  • This fourth stage is the tipping point. You can repeat the first 3 stages as many times as is necessary to give you a greater chance of success, but eventually it is time to fully launch into the desired area to complete the pivot and set forth to your ultimate end goal.
  • How to know when to launch? The following criteria can help in making that decision:
    • Money saved – e.g. you have enough money saved to cover living expenses for X months, giving you enough time to build momentum in your new direction.
    • Profitability – e.g. when your side hustle earns enough for you to live on, you could choose to quit your main job and fully launch into your new direction.
    • Set a deadline in advance for the launch.
    • Reaching a project milestone that is critical before the launch can happen e.g. once the website is up and running.
    • X new clients onboarded – indicates new direction is income generating and viable.
    • X new subscribers – indicates the platform has reached a certain size and will lead to more opportunities and connections.
    • Gut instinct – e.g. I need to focus on this now to get out of a worse situation for my health, it feels like the right time.
    • Industry approval – you get a contract, funding or other deal.
  • Other factors to consider:
    • What is your waiting time: how long are you willing to wait to see results you will deem to be successful?
    • What (other) pilots can you run whilst waiting that will also move you towards your overall vision?
    • What is your backup plan? At what point will you “call it a day” and pursue other options?

JUST TAKE THE NEXT STEP

  • When taking pivot, you won’t know the entire pivot path, that’s part of the adventure – just take the next step.
  • Connect the dots looking backward to see how you pivoted to where you are today and use it to connect the dots forward to where you want to be (similar to reverse engineering).
  • Thinking too many steps ahead can lead to panic and anxiety.
  • If your mission makes your heart sing, but the idea of launching tomorrow gives you major anxiety, build incrementally by planting, scanning, piloting and then ultimately reaching the final launch stage.

THE INTRAPRENEUR – PIVOTING WITHIN YOUR CURRENT COMPANY

  • You can choose to pivot to a new role whilst continuing to work in the same company, leveraging the company’s resources to carry out projects of interest whilst receiving a consistent salary to boot.

SUCCESS INDICATORS OF A PIVOT

  • Results are indicators of where you are on a pivot – are you experiencing progress, momentum and fulfilment? If not, analyse the early stages of the pivot to determine what adjustments to make.
  • Our overall aim is to enter the Zone of Genius. Liberating and expressing our natural genius is the ultimate path to success and life satisfaction. You can identify this by assessing the type of challenges you are attracted to and the unique way you tackle them. You can think about the type of impact you want to have in the world and for whom.

IMPACTERS – LEARNING THE ART OF THE PIVOT IS ESSENTIAL

  • Impacters are individuals who are more interested in high growth as opposed to high income but often end up wealthy in  both. They love learning, tackling new projects and solving problems, are generous and cooperative, with a strong desire to make a difference, and a strong need for exploration and challenge, uncovering their callings along the way.
  • For impacters, boredom is a symptom of fulfilment deficiency – of not maximising growth and impact rather than a sign of laziness.
  • Impacters arent asking “What did I earn?” They are asking “What did I learn?” “What did I create?” “What did I contribute?” Their quality of life is measured by challenges, contributions and learning.
  • Though they may get restless more easily, by seeing career setbacks as learning opportunities, they can use them as fuel for growth e.g. ensuring that each step they take involves enough challenge to keep them stimulated.
  • Impacters find ways to thrive in uncertainty – instead of reacting to or becoming paralysed by chaos, they look for opportunities to alchemize what is already working into what comes next. 
  • For impacters, pivoting will be a required and ongoing lifelong process, due to their need for adventure, challenge and exploration.

TO PIVOT, KEEP YOUR ENERGY HIGH

  • One of the keys to being agile in life is knowing how to quickly find your way back to equilibrium. It is difficult, if not impossible, to pivot from a place of anxiety or unhappiness.
  • Your happiness formula is the unique mix of environmental factors and activities that are most likely to invigorate you and reset your energy batteries when they are running low.
  • Pay close attention to what elevates your mood, performance, creativity, and physical and emotional resilience, and what kills them.
  • Peace of mind is the dividend we collect by investing our day with supportive habits.

TO PIVOT, REDUCE DECISION FATIGUE

  • Give yourself enough energy and time during a pivot period, by automating things you can to allow yourself the space to take bigger decisions e.g. when deciding to leave your job you can automate having the same lunch and breakfast each day.
  • Drop the Bucket on unanswered questions. Keep asking and digging and go until your brain can’t take anymore, to the edge of frustration then just stop. Drop the Bucket into the well of your brain and take your mind off the problem. In doing so, the brain switches form conscious to subconscious processing and answers will seem to pop out of nowhere.
  • Meditate to get quiet enough to hear your own inner wisdom.

TO PIVOT, NOTICE WHAT YOU TALK ABOUT

  • Most people—including our closest family and friends—do not ask us the big questions on a regular basis, if ever. Casual conversations most often hover around stories and daily drama: This is what happened to me this week. This is how I felt about it. This is what is bugging me. Although we sometimes share the most exhilarating moments, we lean toward discussing what troubles us because that’s what is top of mind.
  • What if instead we pivoted on the questions we ask and start end-of-day debriefs with: What is working best in your life right now? What are you most excited about? What does smashing success look like one year from now?

VISION AND VALUES

  • If your values are your compass, your vision is your desired destination – you need to pinpoint where you want to end up.
  • Your values create boundaries and benchmarks for big decisions.
  • The more captivating your vision, the more it will recharge you during uncertain times. It is the difference between a vague sweeping statement such as, “I value travel and teaching” to an alluring invitation from your future self like, “One year from now I am living in London, working from a coffee shop as I prepare for a class I am teaching on international business law”.
  • Your career will remain stalled until you examine what positive outcomes will motivate you into action and sustain you through the inevitable and unnerving dips in the Pivot process.
  • Crafting a vision can start with a sweeping exploration, one as broad as how you want to feel one year from now. If you currently feel stuck, stagnant, or stressed, what is the alternative? If you are an impacter, it is likely that you want to feel more engaged, balanced, and healthy, and to know that you are making a positive difference in the world. 
  • Example: Gillian, graduated from law school and took the bar exam, but quickly realized her one-year vision did not include sitting at a desk every day working on legal briefs. Her one-year vision was to be engaged in a flexible work environment that would keep her physically active, surrounded by like-minded people, and provide stepping-stones toward a career that was conducive to starting a family and running a business with her husband.

WHEN YOUR PIVOT IS A SIDE HUSTLE

  • The best side hustles have the 4 following elements:
    • MARKET REACH – it should offer growth potential – there should be a customer base interested in your product. Focus more on your customer’s needs (what is their biggest challenge, what problems do they need solving) rather than how you can scale your business. Saying this, it isn’t always about listening: “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” (Henry Ford).
    • ENJOYMENT – one that makes you excited to work on it.
    • SKILL BUILDING – one that allows you to learn skills that may be needed in your field in years to come.
    • CASH COW – one that provides an income. If not, the side hustle is no more than just a hobby. Test how quickly you can earn revenue before investing lots of money.

PIVOT FAILURE

  • Pivots that are not deemed successful are only so if you fail to extract the lessons contained to turn them into seeds of something new. For example – did you run pilots that were well suited to your strengths? What lessons did you learn during the pivot that you can take forward?
  • You are not a failure as a person – you simply did not hit the mark in terms of your strategy or execution.

COMMON PILOT EXAMPLES

  • Things to consider when thinking about a pilot: How closely it is aligned to current strengths and overall vision? Is this the most cost/energy/time-effective way of conducting the pivot?
  • Pivot examples include:
    • Seeking an advisory board position in companies of interest
    • Hosting friends for a meal around a topic of interest (to research and gain feedback)
    • Holding focus groups and creating a prototype solution based on their needs
    • Volunteering or gaining an internship in area of interest
    • An additional side project at work
    • Setting up an interest group e.g. book club
    • Tweaking the format of your existing services
    • Undertaking study
    • Writing a blog in the area of interest and seeing which topics inspire interest to take further
    • Taking on a new type of client within your existing business.

The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

Buy the book here!

DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:

The journey to mastery is a lengthy one, requiring focused daily practice through seasons of hardship and disappointment. Only a few make it. Become an A-Player – wake early at 5am and maximise the power of your Victory Hour before the world arises, to boost your journey towards mastery and legendary status.

TOP 10 TAKEAWAYS + 1!

  1. GIVE YOUR ALL: Why be alive if you’re not going to be totally alive? Live like a hero, be a main character.Mastery demands all of a person.
  2. GROWTH: Pressure is privilege. You get to grow.
  3. MASTERS ARE MADE: Many of the greats were not the most naturally talented – it was their ability to exploit, capitalise, maximise and actualise whatever strengths they had, through their exceptional dedication, commitment and drive.
  4. SELF-LOVE: Invest in a better self rather than a better pair of shoes. Collect miraculous experiences over material things.
  5. HUNGER: Until your mission becomes your obsession, your gifts will never become your glory.
  6. JOY: Your joy is your GPS. Success without a joyful journey is losing.
  7. COURAGE: It takes courage to feel the terror of our true potential and power – it’s the reason why we embrace diversions and distractions.
  8. GRIT: Mastery is not an event – it takes years of painstaking practice and sacrifice. Everyone dreams of being a legend until it comes time to do the work.
  9. TRAIN HARD: Victories are won before warriors enter the battlefield.
  10. CONSISTENCY really is the DNA of mastery. Anyone can be great for a minute – true legends are genius over a lifetime.
  11. FOCUS: Stop managing your time and start managing your focus.

HOW TO BECOME LEGENDARY

  • The 5 assets of genius: 1) mental focus, 2) physical energy, 3) personal willpower 4) original talent 5) daily time.
  • Many of the greats were not the most naturally talented – it was their ability to exploit, capitalise, maximise and actualise whatever strengths they had, through their exceptional dedication, commitment and drive.
  • If you knew how much work went into it, you would not call it genius. Everyone dreams of being a legend until it comes time to do the work that legends do.
  • There’s a ton of competition at ordinary, but almost none at extraordinary.
  • It takes courage to feel the terror of our true potential and power, that’s why we embrace diversions and distractions to make us feel better even for a minute. To keep persisting when you are frightened is how true legends are made.
  • To become a true master you must devote yourself to a cause with your whole strength and soul. Mastery demands all of a person.
  • The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself … all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
  • Become more valuable to your industry as well as society – we magnetise excellent rewards by raising our value.
  • Invest in a better self rather than a better pair of shoes.
  • Anyone can be great for a minute – true legends are genius over a lifetime.
  • Live like a hero. Be a main character.

LIVE YOUR BRILLIANCE

  • Why be alive if you’re not going to be totally alive?
  • Don’t get stuck living the same week a few thousand times and calling it life.
  • World class begins where your comfort zone ends – don’t let the ordinary, fear and cynicism and apathy betray the magnificence inside of you. Don’t let complacency and an easy life seduce you.
  • Your focus should be on how much of your creative power you can unlock within yourself no matter the hardship along the way, rather than the ego fuel of popular applause.
  • Credit belongs to those who enter the arena, their faces marred by sweat and blood striving valiantly, falling short and erring but continuing again and again – there is no effort without error.
  • Half heartedness does not reach into mastery.

WHEN DID YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO BECOME ORDINARY?

  • When you were younger, you understood how to live – with awe, delight, and wonder – feeling alive chasing butterflies and running in the park. As you grew older, and became more concerned with fitting in, having more than others and being popular, you lost your natural enthusiasm and joy, allowed your hope to fade. You allowed ordinary and conformity to become acceptable. You became a numbed-out grownup, overcome by scarcity, apathy and limitation. You allowed yourself to become the master of compromise.
  • You learned to criticise instead of using your innate power to make things better.
  • It’s because you do not value yourself, you do not know your true worth – so instead you focus on comparing yourself to others, and to externals like the money you earn or what you own, instead of your character, instead of cultivating your true talent and going beyond what has already been done and believing in the impossible.
  • Real leaders never negotiate their standards.
  • When did you stop believing in your true power, stop behaving as a leader, a creative producer, a possibilitarian? When did you start acting as a victim of life, creating excuses, rationalising the betrayal of your dreams and blaming others for why you are where you are?
  • When did you become satisfied with minimising your impact on the world, instead of evolving into more?
  • Study someone playing small – they focus on lack instead of plenty, they disrespect the potency of the word by continuous focus on problems and complaints, they classify success, wealth and vast impact on others as out of their reach. Witness their own theft from their best.
  • If you plan on being anything less that your full potential, you will likely be unhappy all the days of your life.

WHEN DID YOU STOP COMMITTING TO EXCELLENCE?

  • Do the right things excellently not averagely.
  • Your good name is branded on every piece of work you release so do it excellently. The grade of work you offer to the world reflects the strength of respect you have for yourself.
  • The one who sweats most in training bleeds least in war. Victories are won before warriors walk onto the battlefield.
  • Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
  • Those committed to excellence force themselves to stay with the work when they feel bored, scared, alone. They persist in translating their heroic visions into everyday reality when they are misunderstood, ridiculed, even attacked.
  • Those committed to excellence commit this through to the slightest of details, and demonstrate willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve greatness. The space shuttle Challenger disaster was caused by the failure of a single O-ring seal valued at 70 cents.

WHY ARE YOU SCARED OF CHALLENGING TIMES?

  • Challenging events happen to unlock the treasures, talents and powers within you – nothing is an accident.
  • You are not on the wrong path if the road gets tough and obstacles show upall possibility requires hard work, regular reinvention and deep dedication. The greatest are those who embrace suffering in their devotion to go to the fiery edges of their highest limits.
  • Walking into your fear is how you reclaim your forgotten power
  • When you most feel like giving up is when you must find it in you to keep pressing ahead.
  • Pain is our asset – it burns away fakeness, fear and arrogance of the ego – it gets us to our pure essence if we have the courage to go into source of our wounds.
  • Obstacles are merely tests designed to show how much you want something. How willing are you to become the kind of person required to hold that level of success?
  • The closer you get to your genius, the more your fears will arise to sabotage you. You may need to leave the majority, to become different, you may face jealousy from competitors and additional pressure to make your next product better.
  • There’s no growth inside the comfort zone. Your gifts won’t increase staying inside circles of safety.
  • Warriors are born from doing that which is hard but important when it feels most uncomfortable.
  • The best way to build your willpower is to put yourself into conditions of discomfort voluntarily to strengthen you.
  • Positive change and growth can be uncomfortable a lot of the time. All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, gorgeous at the end.

TRUE LEADERSHIP

  • You are repeatedly provided opportunities to show leadership in any situation. It’s about making a difference wherever you are.
  • Leadership is more than a formal title or bank balance – its about committing to mastery in whatever you do, and in who you are. It’s about resisting ordinary.
  • True leaders have a greater sense of self and mission than acquiring titles and trinkets, applause and acclaim, or money and mansions. The substitute power derived from these external things when lost, vanishes in an instant, revealing itself as the illusion it was.
  • True power is an inside job – being inspirational, masterful and fearless are internal and provide true fulfilment compared to external substitutes.
  • Being a legend is being of deep service to the world – it isn’t about you. The hard work it takes is to benefit, uplift and inspire others, not for ego gratification.
  • To lead is to inspire others by the way you live.

POWER OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT

  • Don’t underestimate the power of your surroundings to shape your perceptions, inspiration and impact your productivity – the spaces you inhabit shape the output you produce.
  • Be comfortable with letting people go, even though they may have fit at one stage of your life or business. You want people who continue to learn, invest and make everything they touch better than they found it.
  • Victims love entertainment. Victors adore education. Victims have big TVs. Leaders own libraries. Peak producers are lifetime learners.
  • Life is too valuable to hang with people who don’t get you  – fill your life with exceptional people – enterprising, healthy, positive, ethical, sincerely loving – over time you’ll exemplify those traits.
  • Even one enemy is an enemy too many pass through life peacefully and gracefully – taking the high road in conflict.

POWER OF IMPLEMENTATION

  • The smallest of implementations is always worth more than the grandest of ideas.
  • Ambition without implementation is the grandest of illusions. Potential unexpressed turns to pain. We start to die.
  • Your daily habits dictate far more about your success than your inherited genetics. Small daily improvements done consistently lead to stunning results. Elite performers understand that what you do each day matters far more that what you do once in a while.
  • Don’t wait for perfect conditions – great power is unleashed with a simple start.
  • Consistency really is the DNA of mastery. The way to annihilate the weakest impulses of your lower self that block your best is through ceaseless repetition of the new behaviour.
  • Mastery is not a sudden event – it is years of painstaking practice, sacrifice and suffering.
  • The power of a few small navigational shifts or course corrections done consistently over a long voyage means the difference between ending up in breath-taking Brazil or fantastic Japan.
  • When you feel you can’t continue, progress a litter longer. You will amplify your self-discipline and self-respect.
  • True geniuses all started out as ordinary people, but they practiced building up their strength so much and so often that showing up at world class became automated.
  • Massive productivity in society without an inner sense of joy, abundance or inner peace is not true success, is no different from a hamster on a running wheel.
  • The greatest remain loyal to their noble ideas beyond the joyous weeks of dreaming up an idea, extending into the seasons of parched deserts of implementation and isolated winters of self-doubt, enduring rejection, exhaustion, scepticism and the diversions of attractive opportunities.

POWER OF SINGLE FOCUS

  • The greats – away from the external show of success have committed to astronomical focus on a single pursuit, intensity of sacrifice to one aim, extreme amounts of solid patience, and unusual levels of deep preparation.
  • Stop managing your time and start managing your focus. Work less time with more focus to get more done.
  • Strip away distractions and gadgets, become a purist, simplify. Less is more.
  • Don’t dilute your purpose or gift chasing every shiny diversion and attractive opportunity that comes your way– exercise fierce discipline and focus on only a few things – but at a world class level.
  • Create one piece of work that expresses true genius and provides value for generations to come, rather than lots of average work.
  • Until your mission becomes your obsession, your gifts will never become your glory.

MAXIMISE YOUR TIME

  • Super-producers outsource and then automate all activities except those within their realm of mastery. Delegate tasks that diminish your happiness – restructure life so you are only doing things you are great at and love to do.
  • Tomorrow is a bonus, not a right.
  • Balance living like there is no tomorrow with behaving like you’ll live forever, so when the end does come you know you lived your life to the fullest.
  • Guard your cognitive abilities – stop escaping online for quick pleasure hits of entertainment instead of doing things that matter. Your phone may cost you your fortune.
  • Do not live as if you have 10,000 years left to live. Most of us on our death beds wish we had more time but squander the time we currently have. Stop wasting time on trivial things. Don’t be timid when it comes to your ambitions.
  • Guard your time – it is your most precious commodity. The rich invest in time. The poor invest in money.
  • A person living an average lifetime spends a total of 3+ years commuting. Maximise this time – join the Traffic University and learn on the go – just one idea you discover through reading and online courses could be the source of your fortune.

POWER OF GROWTH

  • Pressure is privilege. You get to grow.
  • With every challenge, you get the gorgeous opportunity to rise to your next level as leader, to your next level as a human being.
  • The soreness of growth is so much better than the devasting cost of regret.
  • Don’t wish for an easy life – there is no growth in your power there. Wish for a life of challenge that brings out the finest in you,
  • When faced with a choice, always choose the one that pushes you the most, increases your growth and promotes unfoldment of your gifts.
  • Just like exercising a muscle through applying stress, you achieve growth through pushing your genius just beyond its usual limit and subsequent period of recovery and regeneration.
  • Mystics wrote that real change involves a series of little deaths.

POWER OF RENEWAL TIME

  • Elite performance without time for quiet vacation results in lasting depletion.
  • Rest and recovery isn’t a luxury for anyone committed to mastery – it’s a necessity.
  • Inspiration gets fed by time away, by isolation.
  • Your natural genius appears when you are most joyful – and this often happens when you are relaxed on vacation.
  • Peak performers don’t work in a linear way – their work cycle is structured, alternating between bursts of deep focus and intense performance and periods of full recovery. Elite accomplishment is like a heartbeat pulse – High Excellence Cycles followed by Deep Refuelling periods.
  • In every walk in nature, one receives far more than he seeks.

POWER OF GIVING

  • Legends are givers, not takers.
  • Do heroic work – stagger your marketplace by the quality, originality and helpfulness of your offer or product.  The true reason to be in the game is to be helpful to society.
  • The teacher learns the most. As you teach, your own understanding of the material will deepen.
  • Optimising oneself is the best way to improve the state of the world.

LIVE ON YOUR OWN TERMS

  • Play and succeed in the game of the world but disconnect from it often so you are never owned by it
  • Use your joy as a GPS. Only perform pursuits that feed your bliss, only be in places that make you feel most alive.
  • Collect miraculous experiences over material things. Own and enjoy things, but don’t let them own you.
  • Never sacrifice your quality of life and well-being for a greater income.
  • Life’s too short not to treat yourself as amazingly as possible.
  • Take daily voyages into awe and regular adventures into wonder.

THE 5AM MIRACLE!

  • Own your morning. Elevate your life. Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will take care of itself.
  • Victory is made in those early hours of the morning in intense training, when no one is watching, when everyone is sleeping. Your primary assets (mental focus, physical energy, personal willpower, original talent, daily time) are highest early in the morning – that’s why you should maximise them towards your desired pursuit during this period and set up your day.
  • Intensely visualise all you want to be and the higher order of life you wish to create. Envisage your ideal performance for the day ahead.
  • Seize this time in your day to live and create a life on your terms rather than blindly following like sheep as you have been trained to become. Concentrate on high-value activities instead of letting your day control you. This time allows you to deliberate and plan, rather than do and react.
  • It’s not about rising at 5am alone – its what you do with the next 60 minutes that makes the difference, that makes it your Victory Hour.
  • Apply the 20/20/20 Formula during this hour. Move/Reflect/Grow.
  • EXERCISE for 20 minutes. Why Exercise? Studies show there is a vital link between physical exercise and cognitive ability. It generates more energy, focus and productivity, and de-stresses.
  • REFLECT for 20 mins by meditating, praying, journalling, or planning which stimulate greater positivity and creativity, and decreased reactivity. 
  • GROW for 20 mins through reading or listening to motivational texts, books on leadership, business or creativity, reviewing goals or studying. This increases inspiration, personal growth and increased mastery of your pursuit.
  • Rituals run deepest when performed as a group. Install the morning routine together. Become a member of the 5am Club!

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer

Buy the book here!

DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:

In setting a large goal, we often face inner resistance and overwhelm, and quit or fail to start. Use the Kaizen approach to accomplish great tasks through a series of small acts.

WHAT IS THE KAIZEN APPROACH?

  • Using very small steps to achieve a larger goal.

6 KAIZEN STRATEGIES

  1. Ask small questions to remove fear and inspire creativity.
  2. Think small thoughts to develop new habits (without even moving a muscle!)
  3. Take small actions towards larger goals so that you cannot fail to start or continue.
  4. Solve small problems even in the midst of an overwhelming crisis.
  5. Grant yourself and others small rewards.
  6. Recognise small moments – they may be small or ordinary but crucial and often ignored by everyone else.

MAKE CHANGE EASY – USE KAIZEN TO ADDRESS FEAR

  • Take such a small seemingly trivial step so you cannot fail to start or achieve it e.g. if you have a goal to lose weight but feel resistance at the thought of doing an hour’s exercise each day as it feels too much, why not start with just 1 minute a day, marching in front of the television – then see where the success of these small steps leads you.
  • Attempts to take large, radical change often fails because it heightens fear.
  • Small seemingly insignificant change helps the human mind circumnavigate the fear that blocks success, creative new ideas and solutions.
  • An alternative to spending years in counselling trying to understand why you are afraid of a particular thing or resistant to achieving a goal, is to use the Kaizen approach to take small easily achievable steps to go around or under these fears.
  • When life gets scary and difficult, we tend to look for easy, familiar or avoidance solutions, rather than in the dark discomfort where real solutions may lie e.g. someone who fears intimacy may constantly change jobs and cities to avoid deep or long lasting relationships, someone in an unsatisfying marriage may focus on a new venture such as moving house or having another child to avoid the real issues in the relationship.
  • Expecting fear to arise and seeing it as a normal part of life and a natural sign of ambition, rather than seeing it as something going wrong in life, helps you to embrace it and continue to achieve your goals rather than resist, self-sabotage, or quit.
  • The more we care about something, the more fear shows up.
  • There is a gift in fear – it alerts us to a challenge. And we can rise to challenges by adopting one or more of the 6 Kaizen strategies below, rather than remaining paralysed or overwhelmed by crisis.

KAIZEN STRATEGY 1: ASK SMALL QUESTIONS

  • “What shapes our lives are the questions we ask…” (Sam Keen).
  • Your brain loves small questions and won’t reject them – if the question is too big it may trigger fear and eliminate fun, creative, playful solutions.
  • A small question is not demanding or scary – it’s fun!
  • Examples of small questions:
  • If health were my first priority, what would I do differently today?
  • (Example answer – to avoid overeating and keep on track to lose weight, order regular meals at a restaurant and ask the waiter to put half of the meal in a doggie bag before serving).
  • What is one way I can remind myself to drink more water?
  • (Example answer – every time I go to the kitchen I will drink a glass of water, keep a bottle of water in the car – even if it’s empty it will remind me to THINK about drinking water more often).
  • How can I incorporate a few more minutes of exercise into my daily routine?
  • (Example answer – I could do 10 press ups on waking and before going to bed).
  • If you are a writer, you don’t need to start with any grand themes in mind, you can start with a single incident e.g. a plane crash, and ask small questions to get you started  e.g. “ Who is the person in the plane? Why are they there? What year is it?”
  • As you ask yourself small questions repeatedly over days or weeks, your brain (specifically the hippocampus which stores information) will have no choice but to address it – you are programming your brain for creativity and it will begin to give you answers, creative breakthroughs and ideas for improvement. It takes time to develop new mental pathways, hence the need to ask yourself the same small question daily.
  • Other good small questions:
  • If you are stuck: Whom could I ask for help or inspiration?
  • If you are unhappy: What is one aspect of my job that I enjoy? How can I expand on this in a small way?
  • If you are trying to reach a goal: What is one small step I could take now towards reaching my goal?
  • Even if things are going well, to avoid complacency in business, health, relationships, career, other area: What one small change I could make to improve X?
  • If you have a conflict with another person: What’s one thing I like about this person?
  • If you feel pessimistic or negative: What is one thing that is special about me/my organisation etc.
  • Asking such small questions changes your focus in the direction of creative ideas, solutions and positive aspects (rather than negative) which you can then capitalise on.

KAIZEN STRATEGY 2: THINK SMALL THOUGHTS

  • Visualising works – studies show that people who solely imagined practicing a piano exercise repeatedly showed similar increase in brain activity as those who actually practiced on a piano for the same period.

KAIZEN STRATEGY 3: TAKE SMALL ACTIONS

  • No matter how much you practice small questions and thoughts, at some point you will need to take action. Starting with trivial actions so small you cannot fail will motivate you to begin on your path to success.
  • Example: to stop overspending, remove just one item from your shopping trolley before heading to the tills, to start learning a foreign language commit to learning one new word a day or week.
  • The ideal solution is always the smallest effective one. E,g. people experiencing the worst consumer experiences state they could easily be turned around by an apology or demonstration of concern. Clinic staff were asked, “How can you improve patient’s experience of delays for free or that will demand only a few seconds of your time?” This led to suggestions such as explaining reasons for delays to patients, offering rescheduling, doctors apologising on seeing patients and saying thank you for choosing the practice etc. The implementation of such small actions led to doubling of the patient satisfaction rate and 60% less defections from the practice.
  • Don’t small steps yield slow results? Small steps and the kaizen approach takes patience – it works because it is targeted at overcoming the mind’s resistance to change by getting you started. The compound effect of consistent small steps and lots of small wins adds up … just think of climbing a mountain!
  • Kaizen as a persuasive technique – studies have shown that asking people to take one initial small action (e.g. wearing a pin for a charity) makes them more likely to take a larger action (e.g. making larger financial donations to the charity).

KAIZEN STRATEGY 4: SOLVE SMALL PROBLEMS

  • Problems often start small and build up. By training yourself to spot and solve small problems you can avoid dealing with larger more painful problems later on.
  • Example: BP ignored 356 “small” oil spills between 2001 and 2007 despite concerns from regulators…until 2010 when the worst oil spill in history happened with 200 million gallons of crude oil pumped into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Pay attention to subtle warning signs e.g. if you misplaced your car keys, ask yourself if you are juggling too much? Are you so distracted that this could eventually lead to a more serious mistake? Look back at past major mistakes – what were the small warning signs along the way? What small actions could you have done to address them instead of ignoring them?
  • Example: Due to the high impact of a tiny error and resulting disaster, US navy ship officers in relation to navy aircraft take-offs and landings on deck, are trained to look for the slightest signal that things are going wrong e.g. walking the ship 8 times a day looking for “foreign objects” – anything that could be sucked into a jet’s engine.
  • Example: People are more willing to break the law in neighbourhoods where small crimes go unnoticed or unpunished.
  • People often have a predilection for large scale solutions and have a blind spot for solutions to small problems that can have a significant impact. Example: One very small problem leads to diarrhea – dirty hands, and most households where diarrhea is present have soap but only 15-20% use it before handling food or babies. It is easier to teach a person to wash their hands leading to a reduction in cases of more than 40% than it is to supply new plumbing across a region at high costs and complexity, or to supply treatment AFTER the illness has taken hold.
  • Try to locate the smaller problems within a larger disaster to prevent overwhelm and start moving towards a solution.
  • “Confront the difficult while it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts” (Tao Te Ching).

KAIZEN STRATEGY 5: GRANT SMALL REWARDS

  • For employees, large rewards encourage focus on big grand ideas, often complex and costly. Small rewards (as simple as a fountain pen) could instead encourage many smaller suggestions that could lead to great results collectively. E.g. at Toyota, of 1.5 million suggestions a year, 95% were implemented.
  • Often a small expression of gratitude can go a long way – when US sailors decide to re-enter private life, their biggest complaint was feeling underappreciated at work.

KAIZEN STRATEGY 6: RECOGNISE SMALL MOMENTS

  • Example – British physician, Edward Jenner’s observation that milkmaids immunity from smallpox had derived from their exposure to cowpox in the natural course of their job led on to him perfecting the technique of vaccination by looking at who did not get the disease.
  • Example – a flight attendant observed that passengers were not eating olives in their salad which were removed leading to a huge saving of 0.5 million dollars a year.
  • Example – if you hate your job but cannot think of another career, recognise one moment each day when you enjoy it, and notice a pattern building which could lead to you identifying a new career e.g. noticing that you enjoy asking people about, and helping them with their problems could lead you to a career as a counsellor.
  • Train yourself to focus on the small positive aspects of your partner instead of on the big flaws – what you focus on grows.

The Illusion of Money by Kyle Cease

Buy the book here!

DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:

You are not your bank balance! Money does not create your value – it’s the result of your connection to your true value – your passion, creativity and contribution to the world.

TOP 5 TAKEAWAYS

  • Money is an illusion because it does not create your value. It can be the external result of how connected you are to your true value. I am not rich because I have $X dollars, I am rich in my connection to my authentic self, my passion and value to the world, and as a result I attract $X dollars.
  • Going directly into our deepest fears and accepting all of ourselves, both light and dark – is the gateway to freedom. 
  • You raise your value by making your time more valuable, by only doing things that expand you beyond today.
  • Being broke is just a mental concept. Yes you may be in debt and need to pay bills, but money is just one part of abundance. The true source of money  – our passion, creativity, connection, and contribution – is the real value we offer the world.
  • People like Oprah are VALUABLE – which is much more than being rich – if they were to lose money they can recreate wealth again and again and again through being who they are.

MONEY

  • Money is one of the biggest excuses we use for not following our highest calling.
  • Life wants you to grow and learn and connect and love and create and play – it doesn’t care about your bank balance.
  • Your relationship to money is just a mirror of your relationship to yourself. In fact, you don’t really have a relationship to money; you only have a relationship to your concepts about money.
  • So if you’re feeling fear around money, what you’re actually feeling is a reflection of the fear and insecurity that is living inside of you; you just happen to be noticing it externally through money. Money isn’t causing or creating your fear; it’s just bringing it to surface.
  • The exact same fear can exist inside of you no matter how much money you have.  You can have fear and stress when in debt and can have fear of losing money when having a million pounds.
  • This is the same reason lottery winners often go broke very quickly—even though the amount of money they have has changed, they still haven’t created an internal sense of abundance and worthiness to match that level of external abundance. So the same internal fear that was keeping them from being able to create money is the same fear that they are trying to cover up by buying private jets once they finally have money in the bank.
  • We often have a belief that money equals security. Money has nothing to do with security. Yes we may have rent to pay, but seeing money as your only source of security is also what is cutting you off from the infinite, creative, inventive being that you are—which would probably make paying rent a lot easier.
  • You will never be able to change your feeling of insecurity by having more money. Money is never the cause of the way you feel; it’s an effect. If you’re broke it’s likely because you have a deeply held belief that you are unsafe that may cause you to feel, think, and act in ways that create circumstances which mirror that belief. 
  • Being broke is just an idea, a mental concept. If you’re not okay with the idea of going broke, you’re at war with something inside your body that you’ve created. When you can fully accept the possibility of going broke, money stops owning you and you can start to make decisions based on inspiration rather than fear.
  • Welcome to the 3 Yous. You all inherit $1 million.
    • You 1 spends on something to distract yourself from your emotions and gain something external to prove your worth providing a quick but unsustainable high e.g. fast food, alcohol, renting luxury apartments and throwing parties to impress.
    • You 2 invests in assets that provide monetary return e.g. stock but doesn’t expand you.
    • You 3 instead invests in long term growth, experiences or things that expand you and take you higher than your current self towards your highest self. 
    • Now which of the Yous would be doing the best if the money system were to collapse and bank accounts were wiped out … You 1 would be screwed, You 2 would be back to square 1, but You 3 would still have something – a new level of confidence, connection and value in yourself – that can continue to generate wealth despite current circumstances.
  • Don’t look for money – look for 10s – experiences that feel exciting and expansive to you.
  • Abundance is living from your heart as you know you have an abundant supply of what you need and naturally want to share it with others e.g. an apple tree isn’t afraid of running out of apples, it creates them and lets them go.
  • Your ability to receive is your ability to give and vice versa but giving just to receive is energetically saying you are in lack and giving should be an answering of a calling that is moving you towards growth.
  • EXERCISE: Belief Relief Write down 20 different beliefs that you’ve had about money in the past. Examples:  “Money equals freedom” or “Money equals stress” or “I’m not good with money.” Notice them as they show up throughout the next few days.

LIMITING BELIEFS

  • Most people have no idea how great they really are – they cannot see beyond their limited perspective.
  • Every person has the exact same level of unique brilliance in them, we are just accessing it in different amounts depending on how attached we are to our limited stories. 
  • Living within our limited stories we spend our lives stressing about things that would be completely taken care of if we stepped into the greatness of who we really are.
  • If you stand under a light and close your eyes, that doesn’t mean the light isn’t there. Even if you can’t feel a sense of security inside of yourself right now, that doesn’t mean it’s not there. You can trick yourself into believing it doesn’t exist, but it will never go away. True security is constant—your beliefs are just blocking it.

YOU ARE THE RESULT YOU SEEK

  • You don’t need results – you are the result – you don’t need to do anything to prove yourself. Your job is to stay connected to the inner source of these results, rather then the results themselves.
  • What you are looking for is you.
  • The more you let go of the idea of making money, the faster it comes.
  • Remove everything from your life that doesn’t support and inspire the highest you.
  • Listen to the little callings that tell you to quit your job or move elsewhere to move into alignment and work from a higher paradigm that has an easier path for you.
  • Passively reading the content of this book and making sense intellectually is not enough – you need to put in the work to completely rewire your nervous system and change lifelong habits of chasing external results  and instead experience true abundance from within ourselves.
  • Read in a way that allows you to feel more than you think.
  • Real change won’t happen without consistency.

INNER ACCEPTANCE V EXTERNAL GOALS

  • Stop allowing external circumstances determine your inner state  – discover who you truly are and bring that into the world.
  • When we are chasing some thing, we are chasing the feeling of what that thing will give us. Instead, realise we are the real source of those feelings we are looking for externally. Those things are just a way of giving us permission to experience those feelings already inside of us.
  • Imagining the thing you want happening … how do you feel? e.g. winning the lottery. Without that external thing happening, just through imagining it you experienced excitement, freedom and abundance. Winning the lotto is just your excuse to allow you to access these feelings inside of you all along.
  • So you can feel abundance now even if you are broke, you can feel love right now even if you are not in a relationship.
  • When we think of trying to get something external, what we’re looking for is internal expansion – external goals can give us expansion but only if they take us beyond ourselves.
  • As you understand that you are the source of what you’re looking for – not the external, life will begin to bring the things we used to chase back to us as a by-product. When you move from freedom, you will create a life of freedom. When you move from joy, life becomes joyful.
  • If you’re not connected to yourself first, you’ll have no foundation and will become attached to the external, temporary thing more than to your internal source of actual abundance. A huge business and income can still show up, but that lack of foundation inside yourself will likely cause the external –  your business and finances  – to collapse because your business and income will almost always match what you are feeling inside. 
  • We create actual freedom by finally seeing yourself fully and accepting every single part of you first to create the foundation to sustain the external result you want.  
  • Security is inside not outside – the internal feeling of insecurity can still show up regardless of what the circumstances are. For example, there are many extremely rich people on the planet who, deep down, feel very insecure reflected in the need to have bodyguards and crazy security.
  • Jim Carey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” No one’s pain goes away once they reach that external goal. Achieving high levels of external success with the belief that it will heal your internal wounds is false.
  • Instead of chasing an external goal as a way to create an illusion of safety and ignoring the part of ourselves that is feeling incomplete, let’s stop for a second, take a breath, and learn to give space to the thoughts and beliefs that are telling us that we need something outside of us to feel safe. Allow everything to be there exactly as it is and notice that you are the awareness that it’s all happening in. Become the safe space for yourself to feel everything you are feeling without judgment.
  • Inner intentions lead to growth more than external goals. e.g. if you have a goal to write a book but don’t have an inner intention (e.g. to express your creativity) for why you are doing it then you may become victim  to the need for external results e.g. popularity of the book or X number of sales.
  • The joy you experience from achieving an external goal may only last a few hours however your inner intention (your purpose) can always be practiced. 
  • In any situation that is challenging, connect to your intention instead of the situation, you’ll experience a new level of strength. You are not your external circumstances or results e.g. you are not your bank balance, relationship, achievements. These are the source of our pain when we believe we are those things and the business falls apart of you lose your job. We instead are the intention/purpose beneath this e.g. discovery, freedom, love, joy, peace, courage, patience….
  • Use nature to mirror your intention back to you e.g. if your intention is patience, experience the way trees are embodying patience in every moment.

THE GATEWAY TO FREEDOM

  • True freedom is something that naturally shows up when you stop addictively reaching for things outside of yourself to feel safe
  • This is the gateway to your true freedom and creativity and to the true you. Fully meet your fearful emotions, experience the momentary pain of your illusion dissolving. You’re in the process of moving from what you used to be into what you are about to become. You’re going through labor—birthing an entire new you. Could you imagine if a mother giving birth decided that it was too difficult and went to go watch Netflix instead? That’s what we’re doing when we deny what we’re feeling and try to fix it with something external. We’re stifling our growth and choosing to allow the pain of our past to determine our future.
  • There are so many feelings we have that just need to be seen. Think about all of the ways that you bury your feelings and chase some other type of experience as a distraction. It’s time to let ourselves experience what is really coming up. Getting out of this type of addictive cycle and finding actual security is as simple as sitting and paying attention to what’s going on inside of you. When pain or fear shows up, followed by an impulse to do some addictive or distractive thing, notice that impulse and choose to be with the fear or pain instead.
  • By being with yourself fully and becoming a space of acceptance for all your repressed emotions, regrets, fears, and guilt, you prove to yourself that you are bigger than all of it. You stop being owned by it. You stop needing to chase money or achievement or fame or status in order to overcome your internal sense of insecurity. You become secure in your surrender to your insecurity.
  • Your addictions aren’t you – they are covering up your greatness.
  • It’s your resistance to something that creates your fear – instead accept all parts of you including the parts of you that you believe are afraid of being broke or that you judge and love them until they are able to leave – your circumstances will begin to mirror you as you step into the perfection that you already are,
  • It’s this practice of constant acceptance and emotional release that allows us to move into a new vibrational dimension where higher ideas and collaborative creativity allow us to bring more value into the world and create real abundance.
  • There is a completely different dimension of you that is free of unworthy stories and limitations. There’s a level that your mind might hear this at, but it’s not until you let go of heavy things, release the results, and accept all of yourself that it starts to become real for you. There is literally an experience of seeing a completely different world, where each moment has so many more possibilities than it does problems, where inspired ideas are happening constantly, where abundance is a natural way of being. Money is a part of that abundance, but so is passion, fulfillment, connection, and contribution. 
  • When we’re able to accept and transcend our fears with acceptance and love instead of obsessing over them, we connect to this higher dimension that allows us to access both internal security and external abundance at the same time.
  • Expand past the fear of going broke and open up to higher-level solutions.
  • Your expansion can be scary to others because it forces them to look at how they are not living up to their own potential.
  • Under the deep ocean of difficult emotions of hurt and sadness is love and all the magic that life has to offer.
  • Going directly into our deepest fears is the gateway to freedom.
  • EXERCISE: Think about losing everything you have – your job, savings, home etc. How would you feel? Mentally and emotionally experience it and feel what it would be like to have nothing and be completely homeless with no one to help you? Did you feel intense fear? Panic? Vulnerability? Now,what would it take to feel completely safe in the middle of all of those emotions, and with no external safety? If you were able to have nothing and still experience a feeling of peace and internal security, you would have found what every person is looking for. In that place of freedom and connection you would be able to create on a level never experienced before and receive true inspiration and create external abundance matching your internal state.
  • This is not saying you need to sabotage your current situation and deliberately make your life fall apart to transcend your attention to money. It’s to get you to a state where you would feel free to go beyond your fears of being broke to answer a true calling that is exciting and expansive.

ACCEPTANCE OF NOW

  • Acceptance of where you are now is what creates the internal abundance that will allow you to receive external abundance in a sustainable way.
  • Non-acceptance of now e.g. a concept of not having enough money – creates an internal war which cuts you off from infinite creativity coming through.
  • The universe doesn’t make mistakes – you have the perfect amount of money right now to help you learn whatever lesson you need to learn. You have the perfect relationships to help you discover exactly what you need to discover about yourself.
  • If you have beliefs about yourself that you judge and you truly love them and accept them, they cannot exist.
  • The amount of light you emit is about the amount of darkness you can accept.
  • Acceptance is a skill – imagine spending as much time practicing acceptance as you do engaging in the external circumstances of your life, every problem you think you have would completely dissolve.
  • If you’re in a situation where you think you need more money, first accept and surrender to where you are without judgement and become a space for any painful emotions that may arise. This creates space for your judgement to leave and creates room for a new level of possibility to show up.
  • For anything that is hard for you to accept – say the thing out loud and then say “…and I love that” e.g. “I’m afraid of being broke, and I love that”.
  • You go from trying to control the external world through manipulation and force into first becoming aware of your reactions to the external world.

YOUR TRUE VALUE 

  • Your true value is based on how much access you have to your infinite creativity – to your true calling, to doing things that feel like a “hell yes”.
  • Meditation and sitting in silence with whatever emotions arise is one way to connect to your true self.
  • Money does not create your value – it’s the result of your connection to your true value.
  • People like Oprah are valuable – which is much more than being rich – if they were to lose everything their true value will be able to generate it again. Oprah’s true value is her ability to talk with people, share their stories, connect with herself and others – these are all assets she has created.
  • We can raise our value by seeing ourselves as more valuable and feeling this internally, rather than waiting for external validation.
  • Release yourself from things in your life that lower your internal value, that reinforce your old small vision of a limited self and prevent you from growing – move in a direction that is different and more expansive than yesterday.
  • You raise your value by making your time more valuable – your time is made more valuable by doing only the things that will expand you beyond what you used to be e.g. you decide you are more valuable than watching 3 hours of YouTube videos that don’t expand you and instead start writing a book or even create your own You Tube channel.
  • Your value will skyrocket the more you more you work on yourself, more than you work for other people.
  • Money is not a calling, a job is not a calling. A calling is letting life do the work through you, so what you do becomes effortless and the results show up naturally. You are not what you do or produce, it’s the love of what you do evident through the product that attracts others.
  • When you are so in love with being you, no amount of money could ever convince you to do anything other than your heart’s calling.
  • Yes there have been people who have made money by manipulating and hurting others, but in doing so, they are constantly sacrificing their connection to their soul and joy. They will eventually feel less and less happy doing things out of fear and ego and this often makes the money they’ve earned unsustainable.
  • It’s not about quitting a job or relationship that you feel is lowering you without first examining the fear you are not facing that is causing you to lower your value and stay stuck. Why are you holding on to these things? Quitting without first shining a light on the underlying emotions and limiting beliefs may mean you create a new job with the same circumstances or the fear of not paying bills or finding new income distracts you from the true work of facing and transcending your unworthiness and pain.
  • Leaping from one heavy thing to another without an internal shift and insight into what is truly blocking you is not true transformation.
  • In this space of self-connection, people will want to work with you, they will be drawn to your obvious joy and will trust you because you are not trying to get something from them.
  • Your expansion is your life force – if you are not expanding you are contracting, constricting – you are dying.
  • Sometimes you need to leap into something bigger then yourself – a leap is something that feels scary to your mind but exciting to your soul.
  • EXERCISE: Write down 100 possibilities  of things that could go exceedingly well in the next 24 hours.

EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY

  • You stop holding on to things as much and go for experiences that can expand you and move you into new world, when you realise that everything is temporary. Your car is a tool, your phone is a tool.
  • When we believe we own things e.g. that we own $2000 in your bank account, we become more vulnerable to believing someone wants to take it from us and we become more protective and enforce the belief that the other trillions of dollars in the world are not theirs. It’s similar to wanting to own all of the sand on a beach rather than just enjoying the sand around you. You start shovelling sand in your backpack until it becomes so heavy you can’t even move. Is this the same way you become attached to owning other things, limiting you from growth because you spend more time protecting it than enjoying it? e.g. are you too afraid of having a relationship because you are too afraid of losing it? Only by owning the fact that you can lose something can you enjoy the real freedom and love within it.
  • This can apply to feeling unnecessary ownership of others opinions – how many times have you taken an external opinion in and changed your behaviour based on the opinion or judgement of someone else. If you think it’s your responsibility to change someone else’s opinion of you, you are owned by their opinion which cuts us off from our own expression of ourselves.
  • Yes we may have debt, but debt is not who we are. Yes you need to be responsible for it but you do not have to let the vibration of debt be inside of you – just see it as something temporary passing through you.
  • Real love doesn’t control, hoard, own, judge, fix or argue, A person who truly loves you wants you to be free and experience the best in life even if not with them. True love expands, frees, releases. You don’t need anybody’s love to be fully you.

UnResolution by Tommy Baker


Buy the book here!

DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:

There is zero urgency and focus in a resolution that lasts a year – take small and consistent action now and watch the results compound.

Time is a resource

  • It’s not about how much time we have but how much time we can extract to use towards our true fulfilment.
  • It’s about resourcefulness not resources.
  • Manufacture urgency – why not set a timed goal of 90 days rather than a year? Then see just how much you can achieve when you focus.

Freedom is dependent on discipline and structure

Complexity is the silent killer of our dreams

  • Too many options lead to distraction, procrastination and inaction.

Importance of reflection

  • Most people remain busy to cover up for the unhappiness of their lives.
  • If we really slowed down and looked at our lives, are we truly happy? What would you like to change?
  • Think about the last year and ask yourself:
    • Did I really make progress last year towards my goals?
    • Did anything exciting happen during the year or did I just continue to spin my plates?
    • If today was your last day on earth – would you be doing what you are doing?
  • Build in a weekly reflection e.g. Sundays, to review your successes, challenges and failures and get back on track; by doing this you live a life by intention and design, not by default.
  • Reviewing the lessons learnt from your successes is just as important as from failures – we often do not do this and miss out on compounding upon what IS working in our lives -extract the things that worked and implement them to help you in other areas of our life.
  • Reflection is not the same as judging … judging focuses on where we are compared to where we want to be or how far we still have to go; it keeps us stuck – reflection is forward facing and active; we look at what has gone right and what we need to improve (how we can take the next step to get better) and act on it.
  • What was the biggest win this past week and what lesson can I extract? E.g. my biggest win was running further than I ever have in my life. The lesson I learnt was: e.g. That running in nature enhances my state and spurs me to go further.
  • What was my biggest challenge this week and what is the lesson I learnt?
  • By identifying lessons we do two things:
    • 1) We get the challenge and the emotions that surround them out of our heads and will instantly feel better;
    • 2) We identify steps to resolve them or act differently should a similar situation occur.

Clarity of goals

  • Goals should be set with clarity so that you can say yes it was achieved or no it wasn’t e.g. “I am healthier than last year” is not as clear or easy to answer as “I can run 5km more than last year”.

Constant progress

  • The momentum of wins along the way to your goal no matter how small spurs you on to the larger goal e.g. celebrate running 1km, then 2km, then 5km etc. on your way to your ultimate goal of 10km.
  • What daily successes can you celebrate?
  • Don’t underestimate the compound effect of daily actions and consistent successes, no matter how small.
  • Acknowledge that there will be ebbs and flows and progress will not be linear – this will allow you to keep taking action and not give up when obstacles appear e.g. build in time for illness when training for a marathon, accept your inner laziness by building in rest days.

Fear as a reason to do something

  • “Fear tells us what we have to do… the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it” Steven Pressfield

Resistance and the Power of Environment

  • Expect and overcome resistance – what stands between you and your goals is often resistance which is designed to keep you small and in your comfort zone … resistance is formed of your existing habits, beliefs, behaviours – often unconscious – and the more you are aware and expect this resistance, the more you can overcome it and not let it defeat you.
  • Do not underestimate the power of environment to stop you achieving your aims … even if you are the most focused of people – e.g. negative people, noisy environments can keep you distracted more than anything else.

Examine your habits and beliefs

  • Which habits serve where you want to go and which don’t? e.g. do you watch mindless TV for hours everyday or take 30 minutes to read an inspirational book?
  • Your foundation is key to your success – if there’s only one thing you can do take the time to  check your keystone habits – these are foundational habits that enable other beneficial habits e.g. getting enough sleep can allow you the energy to develop a consistent exercise routine, eat healthier food etc.
  • Foundational habits include good sleep, meditation, exercise, food/nutrition/water.
  • Examine your morning routine – this is so important for setting the tone for the day, for taking care if yourself first so you can truly help others … wake up earlier, take time to meditate, read something inspirational (Warren Buffet credits his voracious reading for his success and reads 500 pages a day non-negotiable; life can throw us curveballs but no-one can take away the gold between our ears which is knowledge and wisdom), exercise, reflect on gratitude, set your emotional state before launching into the world.
  • Similarly, beliefs drive behaviour – what beliefs do you have that help or hinder you? Often these are subconscious – write them down and identify 3 drawbacks and then write a new belief e.g. I believe my past holds me back – drawbacks – I don’t deserve success, there is something fundamentally wrong with me, things never quite work out for me. New belief – I can change my path at anytime.

Creating a vision

  • Make sure when creating a vision that you involve all of the 5 areas as they are interdependent: Health, Wealth, Spirit, Relationship, Experience.
  • Don’t be afraid of setting bold visions just because you do not know “the how” e.g. Wright Brothers aircraft would have seemed crazy and impossible before it was made, Steve Job’s vision of a computer we all walk around with, JFK’s commitment to landing a man on the moon when at the time a human had only spent 15 mins in space.
  • Live and breathe your vision daily … e.g. keep it in your wallet and read it daily, or send yourself a daily reminder … it will keep your vision as a breathing reality and keep you focused and move you to take actions needed to achieve it – achievements of goals is often a series of small (repetitive) steps, not one massive action.
  • Do your goals excite you? Will you be more fulfilled as a person from achieving them?

Flow State

  • Flow states occur when you are doing something that is so energetically connected to your purpose that you forget time, pain, and hang-ups; and you are completely present, on fire, and in the zone.
  • In this state you are usually 5/10 x more productive and everything feels like its working for you – you are tapped into a greater force that permeates mind, body and spirit.
  • Flow usually happens when you have deliberate focus and are being challenged – so ensure your goals stretch you enough.

Importance of accountability

  • We tend to go much further when we are accountable to others … alone we can easily give up and no one will know.
  • Being accountable to and therefore vulnerable before others will help you succeed as they will help you rise above your limiting stories, can see your blind spots, offer a larger perspective and help you believe in yourself.

Finding Your Tribe

  • Who you surround yourself with and your environment are some of the most important factors in your success.
  • You need people who will lift you, challenge you, set new standards and expand the reality of what’s possible for you.
  • You are the average of the 5-10 people you spend most time with – look at the people in your life and answer:
    • Do they inspire you?
    • Do they challenge you?
    • Do they love your big ideas?
    • Remember that you choose to surround yourself by the people you do because there is a benefit to doing so e.g. perhaps you enjoy the gossip. However awareness of what you do is the first step of any transformation.

Your success capacity

  • External successes do not make us happier in the long term … e.g. if we win £1 million pounds we are happier for  the first 6 months and then return to the same state we felt before winning.
  • This is because we all have an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love success and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy … we will often do something to sabotage ourselves causing us to drop back into the familiar zone where we feel more secure.
  • So to raise this inner thermostat setting to allow us to enjoy more success – do more things you love, challenge yourself more and get yourself out of your comfort zone, have more fun, nourish yourself– you are increasing the level of joy you allow for yourself and what you will accept for yourself.

Power of commitment and consistency

  • It is not enough to be interested in change.
  • You need to commit, and you need to act consistently.
  • It’s better to pick one thing and act on this consistently than to choose 10 goals and do these half-heartedly.
  • Make sure your goals excite and challenge you enough to push through the low times.

About Bookful Bites

What if a sentence could change a life?

Well one book did that for us. The 1% Rule by Tommy Baker, provided the inspiration to significant change through a mindset shift, simply taking small incremental daily actions, to start running just 5 minutes a day to a half marathon in a matter of months.

This inspired a journey to capture the ideas that move people to change for the better, sharing these through easy-to-digest book summaries; and providing inspiration to others beyond ourselves.

Bookful Bites provides book summaries on topics linked to the quest to fulfil our human potential through mindset change, self-development and self-mastery.

We believe in the power of books and the ideas they contain to shape hearts and minds. We also know that modern life is busy! Bookful Bites provides the solution – book summaries that capture the essential ideas in digestible bites.

Bookful Bites summaries are like the appetiser in a meal – they whet your appetite and get you ready for more. So start here on our website, read our book summaries and then click on the links to delve in and buy the full books. Enjoy!

Self Confidence by Paul McGee

Buy the book here!

DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:

Confidence comes from taking ACTION, not before! Start now!

What is confidence?

  • It’s the belief in your own abilities and potential.

What confidence can do for you

  • Lead you to attempt new things and discover talents you never knew you had.
  • Say yes to new opportunities.
  • Fulfil your potential and purpose in life.
  • Inspire and help others.
  • Feel comfortable in your own skin and thereby be more enjoyable to be around.
  • Being secure enough to know it’s okay to make mistakes and that you will continue to make mistakes.

Lack of confidence

  • Can mean we turn down opportunities where we could fulfil our potential and inspire others in turn.

When self-doubt is a good thing

  • It stops you from being complacent.
  • It can motivate you to be prepared and improve.
  • “Self-confidence is not the absence of self-doubt. It’s being able to live with your doubt as your companion but not as your master.”

How to become more confident

  • Small changes and improvements can lead to big changes over time (like compound interest), think of molehills rather than mountains – incremental small and achievable steps that lead you to summit that mountain.
  • You must recognise it will take time and effort.
  • Sometimes people grow when you withdraw some (not all) of your support and help them discover their own internal resources to cope and survive.
  • Reward for effort over results.
  • Value people for who they are not simply what they achieve.

What else do you need other than confidence?

  • Confidence without Competence = Delusion You need ability e.g. think of X-Factor contestants who have the confidence to go on national TV without the ability to sing.
  • Competence without Confidence = Unfulfilled Potential.
  • The winning formula: High Competence + High Confidence = You fulfilling your potential and enjoying success.
  • You need to take action – confidence comes after not before an action – stop waiting for the right moment.

We need support of others to grow in confidence – the 4Cs

  • This is about being interdependent rather than independent or dependent, being too proud or thinking that asking for help is weak.
  • 4 types of people you need in your life: Cheerleader, Challenger, Coach, Confidant.
  • Cheerleader – (YOUR POSITIVE ENCOURAGER) Your encourager and believer in your abilities, they support you emotionally to believe in yourself and remind you of your successes. (Downside – they can be too over optimistic and overambitious for you – when you need a reality check, a Cheerleader isn’t useful.)
  • Challenger – (STRATEGY – HOW) Question your motives, plans and dreams, not to discourage you but to clarify your ambitions, they raise questions you’ve never considered and widen your thinking and possibilities. They help you realise that success is not just about positive energy but that there’s also a need for a strategy. If your progress is slow they won’t just encourage you to press on but will find out the reason why. (Downside – their questions may make you feel they are trying to bring you down even if this is not their intention. When you are lacking in confidence, a Challenger may make the situation worse.)
  • Coach – (YOUR TOOLKIT AND TAKING ACTION) Can be part Cheerleader and Challenger but also go further to explore the tools needed to achieve the goal – they are focused on action. They look at your own internal toolkit and external resources and opportunities. They will hold you accountable to your actions. (Downside – you often have to pay to have this provided as a professional service rather than as a friend – to provide the distance and perspective needed to challenge and hold you to account and to also have the knowledge and experience to provide appropriate guidance in a given area. It can be hard to find the skills of a Coach in your circle of friends.)
  • Confidant (LISTENERS) – People who you trust to listen to your problems and provide emotional support and give you the space to articulate frustrations and concerns, helping you to become calmer and clearer about your situation – they won’t question you about plans or actions. (Downside – they are not there for advice or strategy of how to deal with an issue or even to motivate you to change or achieve a goal. When you need a strategy don’t look to a Confidant.)

Confidence is situational

  • We can be very confident socially but not when e.g. changing a tyre or cooking a meal.
  • It can depend on what we are doing, who we are doing it for, our levels of experience and knowledge.
  • Therefore confidence is not fixed.
  • By examining where we are confident we can understand why we may not be in other areas e.g. limiting beliefs, unconscious fears, practice is needed, and take steps to tackle this or get support.

Remembering your successes

  • What work achievement during the last 3-5 years has given you the most satisfaction?
  • What about outside of work?
  • Analyse your answers using the STAR method.
  • E.g.   Situation: I was overweight by 10kg and unconfident in my appearance.
  • Target: I set a target weight of 70kg by the end of 6 weeks.
  • Action: I changed my diet by reducing carbs and increased exercise by walking 3 miles 5 times a week and joined a slimming club.
  • Result:  I achieved my target weight by the date set. I now feel more confident to achieve other successes with the support of others.

Top tips for public speaking to alleviate anxiety

  • Focus on what your audience wants to hear and benefits to them – and take the spotlight off yourself.
  • Less is more – people are overwhelmed with info these days – cover 3 main points and illustrate with examples.
  • Use props to illustrate your talk and make people remember you.
  • Use stories to appeal to audience emotion.
  • Rehearse – don’t get complacent and then freeze on stage.

Development of self first

  • Work hard on your job, but work harder on yourself.

Perspective is key

  • 2 people going through the same event can respond differently – why? It’s the perspective and meaning they attach to it. So why not adopt a perspective that helps you build confidence rather than limit it?
  • Your perception of a situation is not reality e.g. if I’m feeling empowered and positive about my future it’s likely that I view the world as a place of promise, whereas if I feel victimized, unloved and lacking in hope, I may see the world as an unfair and difficult place. The world hasn’t changed, just your perspective.
  • Avoid allowing your emotions to hijack and distort the reality of your situation – feelings aren’t facts.
  • Perspective and problems
    • 1) Problems are not personal – everyone goes through them, life is not conspiring against you personally;
    • 2) Problems are not pervasive – setbacks can happen in one area of your life and not another. However your thinking can enable them to spread if you are feeling so down by the setback that this feeds into other areas of your life, and you fail to notice the positives or opportunities for solutions;
    • 3) Problems are not permanent – things do change, rather than thinking there’s nothing I can do, how about “How can I influence or improve the situations (even if in a small way)?
  • This is about adopting empowering rather than disempowering beliefs and mindsets.
  • Perspective is also about finding the lessons in your mistakes…it makes it less likely to repeat them.

Handling Conflict Confidently

  • When handled constructively conflict can lead to creative solutions & improved results.
  • Unresolved conflict can’t.
  • In a conflict, are you an Avoider, Aggressor or Assertive?
  • Avoider Pros– you make a conscious decision to avoid conflict perhaps because the outcome is not that important to you or you value peace.
  • Avoider Cons – seen as weak/soft touch, people lose respect, avoidance is seen as acceptance and behavior continues, inward anger and resentment develops.
  • Aggressor Pros – can shake others from complacency, and wake them up.
  • Aggressor Cons – damaged relationships, leaves people feeling victimised, leads to explosive situations, leads to a world of winners and losers.
  • Being assertive and handling conflict constructively
    • 1) accept it as part of life (we are all different with differing views),
    • 2) drop the need for everyone to like you which leads to people pleasing and is born out of insecurity not confidence (you have the right to deal with others without being dependent on them for approval),
    • 3) you have the right to say no without feeling guilty or selfish
    • 4) your ideas and views are valid whether or not someone else agrees,
    • 5) you have the right to set boundaries and communicate these clearly (don’t expect people to be mind readers),
    • 6) you have the right to ask for time to think things over,
    • 7) you have the right to decline feeling responsible for other people’s problems.
  • Being assertive involves rights (as above) but also comes with responsibilities
    • 1) to accept other people’s opinions as valid,
    • 2) to communicate so others understand your needs,
    • 3) accept the consequences of your actions and decisions,
    • 4) that others can choose not to get involved in resolving your problem,
    • 5) not to make unreasonable demands of others in order to alleviate your own stress
  • Have difficult conversations with confidence:
    • 1) be prepared – do you know all of the facts? (confidence comes from clarity),
    • 2) state the facts and then how those facts made you feel e.g. When I talk to you about whether you have done your homework you usually say that I’m nagging and do not trust you (facts). I only want the best for you and feel I cannot ask you about your homework without feeling that I’m nagging you (feelings),
    • 3) Do what you can to help the other person save face -people tend to get defensive when they feel criticized e.g. I appreciate when you made that comment that it may not have been your intention to….or it’s a simple mistake we’ve all made… ,
    • 4) be ready to listen and understand the other person – maybe they will reveal something you hadn’t known e.g. they were stressed, intimidated etc.
    • 5) be solution focused (win-win, rather than win-lose) e.g. ask How can we best resolve this or prevent this happening again? Or simply state your view e.g. In the future, I would really appreciate it if …

Being confident helps others

  • Rather than focusing on yourself and being sensitive about how you come across to them, turn the spotlight on others and how you can help them. In the process you also develop yourself.
  • What if Obama or Martin Luther King hadn’t had the self-belief or confidence to do what they did, how many people would have lost out on their inspiration and good deeds?
  • And it’s not about being confident before you start…it’s about taking the first step and then the next towards the vision of helping others, and you build confidence along the way by stretching yourself out of your comfort zone – you may even be surprised at talents you never knew you had.
  • Gaining confidence is not always the main goal – it can be the byproduct of the actions you take along the way.

Dreaming v Doing

  • Its great to have dreams, but you must have a strategy to implement them and bring them to life. This could be having people alongside you working to take the dream to reality – dreams are the sexy stuff, the non-sexy staff – plans, organising, phone calls, printing – are still essential.