My every day is a holiday

In my coaching practice clients often ask me how they can earn extra income. My job as a coach is not to give advice, I merely lead my clients to a realization that they already had embedded within themselves.

I have heard my clients come up with some wonderful ideas. Time and start up capital are usually the greatest barriers. That and the level of commitment starting a new business takes. My own coach always tells me that to the level that I am committed is the level of success I will realize. So the jury is out.

I am going to see just how hard, or easy (if you believe the internet hype) it is to start and run a successful sideline business, at the same time as continuing coaching.

Starting today, I will explore options, do research, and begin to formulate a strategy that works and that can be duplicated.

Maybe this is just an exercise in futility but I believe that whether the business works or not I will learn a valuable lesson.

Listen to my latest podcast to hear more about this journey that I am about to undertake.

Listen to this episode of my podcast, my everyday is a holiday – Dylan in Port Alfred, My every day is a holiday https://anchor.fm/my-everyday-is-a-holiday-/episodes/My-every-day-is-a-holiday-e2ggr5

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Too many people make this RISKY mistake, don’t let it be you!

https://taniamadams.com/2018/10/29/too-many-people-make-this-risky-mistake-dont-let-it-be-you/

If you considering a life coach read this first.

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Does boredom drive depression?

Today I found myself pondering this very question.

Does boredom drive depression?

What follows is by no means a scientific article or designed to answer the question in any definitive way, I am merely putting my thoughts into words.

How does one find excitement in the mundane? How can I get excited about my future? How is it that I can help other people become energized and take control of their own lives when my life seemed unbearable a year ago? Asking the questions made me think deeply about my life.

The truth is, I am not bored with my life. Since I stopped working almost a year ago, I have not been bored. Sure, at times I might find myself wondering what to do in the moment, but I can assure you that those moments are very brief and extremely few and far between.

How though do people who work normal day jobs that they do not find satisfying, other than for the paycheck at the end of the month manage to bring a level of excitement into their daily lives?

I recall working and my one of my main experiences of work was the constant level of stress. I traded my days of stress for days of excitement. I traded a secure income for the opportunity to live life on my own terms. How could I explain the difference between excitement and stress I wondered?

On a physiological level can our bodies distinguish between stress and excitement? I guess a quick Google search will tell me the answer, but I am not looking for scientific answers, I am looking for answers within. Answers that are possibly unique to my own experience and have no bearing on the cold hard facts put together by the smart people in white lab coats.

Can our bodies distinguish between stress and excitement? If not, then we are stressed are we simply fooling our bodies into thinking we are excited? Stress triggers adrenaline, the same hormone that floods our system when we get excited. The adrenaline hit feels good, it is addictive, like our morning caffeine fix.

It is hard to get excited about following the exact same routine day after day, for years at a time waiting for that elusive retirement day to arrive. Wake up at 05:30 am; shower; get dressed; eat something for breakfast if you up to it; hit the road and sit in the gridlocked traffic or queue up for the bus or train; Get into the office; check your email; small talk; see what is on the schedule for today. Check the clock, 5 minutes have passed. Sneak a quick look at social media; wish you were on holiday like the people on Instagram; focus; there is an insurmountable pile of work that you need to get through today. Today is the day that you will get on top of everything. Where to start; do you finish the work that you could not get to yesterday or should you leave that for when you get a gap later during the day. There is never a gap, you know this. Where does one start? Check the email, see if there is anything urgent. The phones rings, you answer. Of course, right away Sir you hear yourself answering to the voice on the other side. Scribble a note and stick it to your monitor. You wish you had more time in the day to get everything done. You glance back up at the clock, it has barely moved. Damn it, this day is taking forever. Let me get to work, I cannot wait to get home and just relax and leave this work behind me. I need a break. Come on man, focus, there is so much to do, where did I put that note now…..

And so, it goes. Day after day after day. We end up creating stress in our own lives. Sure, work is stressful, but we also contribute to the level and the experience of that stress. This stress gives us our adrenaline spike. Adrenaline feels good. More stress equates to more adrenaline. On top of this, our society has reached a point where most work conversations revolve around who is the busiest, who works the longest hours; who has gone for the longest stretch without taking leave? We wear these labels as a badge of honor.

Adrenaline, by its nature, was designed for short intense kicks. The release thereof triggered by the fight or flight syndrome which is embedded deep within the old reptilian part of our brain. Many of us are so hooked into the system and we run on such high levels of stress that we are permanently calling on our adrenal glands to help us out. When the adrenaline runs out and the kick is no longer sufficient we seek excitement elsewhere. Drinking, Drugs, Promiscuous Sex, we start taking big risks hoping for the kick.

Extreme sports junkies sometimes deal with the same challenges. How do they experience the same rush when they are not participating in their sport?

Where does this lead? What is the end result of living like this?

I guess that there are as many outcomes as there are people who have this type of experience. Some of the extreme outcomes manifest in suicide; heart attacks; strokes; nervous breakdowns; burnout; disease. But what about the people that manage to evade the negative outcomes mentioned above, what happens to them?

I am not sure, my guess is that they get to look back on a life of boredom maybe. A life not fully lived. A life that has largely passed them by and left them with no means of regaining that which was lost.

What can one do about this? How does one create excitement within the parameters of our life routine? Can we keep the boredom at bay?

I am figuring it out for myself. I have not worked for almost a year now. Believe it or not, there have been moments when I was bored, but they were mere moments. Brief ponderings of what to do given my circumstance at the time, not periods of boredom. Those do not exist for me anymore. I have learned to be disciplined in the pursuit of doing that which excites me. It might sound strange that one needs to discipline themselves to do something exciting, but believe me, without the discipline, your mind will conjure up all sorts of tasks that are more important than having fun. Yes, there are certain things that need to be done, but my approach to them now is one of gratitude and purpose rather than boredom and a chore.

If you find yourself feeling bored, stressed and you feel like you are living on adrenaline. STOP!

Pause for a moment and consider if this is how you choose to feel. Is this how you really choose to live? If not, I invite you to choose differently.

Join me on a 12-week transformational journey from the comfort of your own home. Through one on one online coaching, I can assist you in creating the excitement that is missing from your life.

 

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My Journey Towards Personal Growth – Part 3

….

“Last stop, Hampi, Last stop!” This called signaled the end of my overnight bus journey from Bengaluru to the ancient ruins in Hampi. As I sat up in the bed on our sleeper bus I grabbed my phone and quickly checked on Google maps to see exactly where in Hampi they were dropping me. The mapped shown the next town as Hospete, Hampi was still some distance away. I hopped down from the top bunk on the bus and asked the conductor if this stop was Hospete or Hampi.  His reply was simply: “Last stop, Hampi.” Did that mean that the bus continues through to Hampi? Is this the last stop for the bus? How do I get to Hampi if I get off here? “Last stop Hampi.” came the reply to each of these questions. It appeared that was the total of his English vocabulary. The driver spoke even less English. Crisis, it was 3 am, and the bus just pulled up to the side of the road, stopping under one of the few streetlights that were operational. “Hampi, last stop.” I took out my ticket and showed it to the conductor, he looked at it shook he head in a wobble which could have meant, Yes, No, I have no idea what you talking about, or maybe he was listening to music and I did not notice his earphones. “Hampi.” He flashed a smile and hopped off the bus, I got off and the next minute he had unloaded my bag from the back of the bus put it on the sidewalk and got back on the bus. The last thing I felt like doing was spending the next few hours waiting for sunrise on the side of the road in some strange town.

Then it hit me, I am in a completely strange country, let alone a strange town. There are 22 official languages in this country, so why would I expect everyone to speak English. What now, this was not in the plan, well I actually did not have a plan, all I had was a bus ticket to Hampi, the rest would unfold as I went along. This is what I was here for anyway, I was seeking adventure, looking for something that I had lost many years ago. Something inside me that had been buried by the weeks, months and years of living a routine life chasing after the elusive dream, which I was not even sure was my own dream anymore.

“You go to Hampi my friend?” I snapped back to reality. 3 am, who is around at this time of the morning? I looked around, the owner of the voice appeared to be alone. My first thought was that I could probably take him on, he was shorter and more slightly built than me. I could not run with my backpack and I was not about to get robbed again in a foreign country. When I landed in Australia on my first trip abroad, it only took 2 days before someone stole everything I had whilst I was in the shower. Not this time.

“I take you to Hampi, 600 rupees.”

I relaxed, this was not a mugging, this was not South Africa or Australia for that matter. He picked up my backpack which was still lying on the sidewalk where the bus conductor had left it.

“I am Hanuman, I take you to Hampi.”

I was so relieved, I did not have to wait until sunrise and I had also found a way to get to Hampi. Hanuman loaded my bag into the back of his tuk-tuk, ready to go. I hesitated, 600 rupees for a 15 km ride. I had paid that for a 6 ½ hr bus ride of 340 km. This was very expensive.

“No, no, Hanuman.” I protested “600 too much.”

“Jump in, we discuss on the way. Hampi long way, we must go now. Jump in.” said Hanuman as he fired up the tuk-tuk engine.

What the hell I thought, if I have to pay 600 so be it, I was tired from the bus ride and in no mood to sit under a street light waiting for daybreak. I hopped in and we were off, soon the town of Hospete was behind us and we were on a narrow road. The tiny headlight of the tuk-tuk only shone a few meters ahead of us, but Hamuman apparently didn’t need lights or need to keep his eyes on the road. With the throttle twisted as far back as possible, Hanuman, sitting sideways in the front seat was looking backwards at me wanting to know everything about me. Where did I come from, why was I in India? Did I know that he was named after one of the Gods and that there was a temple in Hampi dedicated to this God? I sat watching what little of the road was visible in the headlight on Hanumans behalf. Apparently, work was scarce and there were not many tourists for him to ferry around in his tuk-tuk.

“COW, HANUMAN COW!” I shouted as I saw the beast right appear in the headlights a few feet from the front of our tuk-tuk.

“No worry Sir, lots of cows on this road, no problem.”

How we missed the cow is a mystery. Hanuman was not interested in slowing down or keeping his eyes on the road. It seemed that dying as a result of colliding with a cow did not phase this young man. What was I so scared of? It wasn’t that I was scared, more self-preservation, I told myself. Besides, I had lots to live for and my India trip was only just beginning. The last thing I wanted was to cut it short. I thought back to where I was in my life only a few months earlier. Back then, I was suicidal, and now I am afraid to die. I really was ill, how could I have even considered suicide? Yet at the time I did and can recall those thoughts and how it seemed like the perfectly logical option. I recall how easy it was to think like that, right up to ensuring that I get all my ducks in a row beforehand. Who was that person, capable of thinking like that? It surely was not the real me.

Hanuman and I discussed the fare for the journey and after some negotiation, we settled on a price that was agreeable to both of us. I sat back and tried to enjoy the rest of the trip, but a feeling of guilt started creeping up. This poor guy, desperate for work, staying up the entire night waiting for an unpredictable bus, to hopefully drop off a heap of tourists and all he got was me, who now just beat his price down. I felt guilty.

“Hanuman,” I said, “I will pay you the 600 rupees.”

“No Sir,” came the reply, “we agreed on a price, us people in India, we like to negotiate. I am happy with the price, otherwise, I would not accept, no need to pay 600, but if you need driver then you call Hanuman, I give you my number.”

That was that Hanuman became my inside man for Hampi. He advised me what prices to pay and how hard to negotiate. He offered to find me accommodation, for a really good price and told me what I should expect to pay and that I must negotiate the asking price as it would be inflated. Our 15km journey took us over an hour and in this time we became friends. We got into Hampi in the dark, and Hanuman took me straight to his friends “hotel”, he got a key from behind a pot plant and opened up a room for me and said you can stay here. I was too tired to argue. Hanuman promised to return at 9am and make arrangements with the owner for me to stay and assured me that I have nothing to worry about. Something about Hanuman made me trust him completely. I paid him our agreed price for the trip and gave him a generous tip which he gladly accepted. Tipping was different to a higher rate so his conscience was clear. I needed rest, I had a full day’s exploring ahead of me and I wanted to make the most of it.

At 9 am the little yellow tuk-tuk bounced along the dirt road and came to a stop outside the “hotel”, which was a single story square building with four rooms and a flat roof that one could sit on. By then I was sitting outside waiting to start the day. From where I sat I could see the main temple, Virupaksha. Standing at 50 meters tall and already bustling with worshipers I was eager to go explore it. Hanuman, on the other hand, had different plans. He has appointed himself as my official tour guide for the day, and the first point of order was to negotiate his fee as a tour guide and the fee for the tuk-tuk for the day. He knew of a great restaurant where we could have a cup of chai and negotiate the days undertaking. The restaurant that we went to just so happened to be owned by the same person who owned the accommodation I was staying at. After a brief chat between Hanuman and the owner in one of the 22 official languages, they exchanged smiles and handshakes and made there way over to my table to check me in for the duration of my stay. I had to smile at myself. The system was in full play and I was just a pawn in the game. Hanuman earned a commission for ever person that he brought to the rooms, as well as a commission for bringing people to the restaurant. The owner of the rooms and I quickly agreed on a price for the accommodation, which according to the owner was far lower than standard rates, but for his good friend Hanuman, he would let me stay at the low rates. I thanked him and called to Hanuman to get going. We can negotiate prices on the road whilst we driving, I wanted to go explore.

Hanuman, whose real name was Hanumesh, had grown up in the area, so I asked him to show me the places that he had found interesting. Our first stop was at the Kadalakalu temple, Hanuman would not get out the tuk-tuk though. Turns out that one needs to be an “official” guide if you take tourists around. So I was on my own to explore. Hanuman did, however, have an incredible knowledge of the temples and he knew many of the facts which upon further reading back home were all true. I got to explore area’s that the mainstream tourist does not get to see. Little paths leading to smaller ruins, caves that are hidden behind overgrown thickets, I was shown where I could walk across the main river that separated Old Hampi from the New Hampi, and that meant that I would not have to pay the inflated ferry price. We ate food at his friends’ roadside cart, stopped for refreshing cane and ginger juice at another friend. I was no longer a tourist, Hanuman had taken me on as his friend. I was not unique, befriending foreigners is very common for the local people. Yet this felt different. People would not accept money from me, Hanuman was their friend and any friend of his was a friend of theirs as well.

At the end of the day back in Hampi, Hanuman took me to a different restaurant and got ready to go home. We drank a Coke and reflected on our day, and made plans for a pick up to continue exploring the next day.

That night in bed I reflected on my day. Everything seemed to fall into place for me. I was reminded of the lessons I had been taught as a child. Faith can see you through. As it is written in Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. I stepped had out in faith, I was dropped off short of my destination, I had no transport, no accommodation and no plans for anything. I had simply trusted that everything would work out as I went along and that is exactly what happened. I met good people along the way and here I was at the end of an amazing day, safe and grateful for my life. Everything happens for a reason, and as I lay there drifting off to sleep I was reminded about the principle of Cause and Effect, the 6th Hermetic principle. Everything happens for a reason, what was the reason for my nervous breakdown and what was I been prepared for?

 

To be continued…..

 

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I was fired for being pregnant and it was one of the best things that happened to me — I Am Coach T

People often ask how I got into coaching. The truth is I’ve never really done things the way other people would do them which has often meant that I have taken a longer route to get to my destination. It’s probably a good thing since coaching didn’t even exist when I was studying. When I…

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The 3 things I do to combat low motivation

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, my everyday is a holiday – Dylan in Port Alfred: How I overcome low motivation https://anchor.fm/my-everyday-is-a-holiday-/episodes/How-I-overcome-low-motivation-e2ft9l

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My Struggle with Motivation and how I learned to get things done anyway.

I have depression and as such motivation is not something that shows up abundantly in my life. I do not have amazing willpower and very often I lack self-control when it comes to doing what needs to be done. Procrastination is the name of the game.

The irony is that I work as a life coach. One would think that life coaches are all about motivating people and getting people up and moving. I see my work very differently. I understand the challenges that people living with depression face. Not everyone has the same levels of motivation and that is okay. Anyone can still have the opportunity to live a life of joy, one just needs to figure out what really matters and what tools you need to use to get yourself to choose the joyous experience.

I have recently been asked to give a talk to a group of salespeople specifically to try to motivate them in our declining economy and encourage them to remain motivated and get out there and sell.

I declined, as much as I could do with the money, how could I try to motivate people, when I personally was not driven by high levels of motivation. I was honest with the sales director who approached me and I explained to him that I whilst I could deliver a powerful motivational talk for his team, (after all when one does public speaking you learn to get your message across) I would not be speaking from a place of integrity. I offered to do the work, and drive the same key results, but I would use my own techniques and tools. We landed the project. Job done, my integrity intact.

You might be wondering what exactly is this motivation that everyone likes talking about.

Basically, motivation is the desire a person has to do something. Motivation shows up on a scale from completely unmotivated to do something to the opposite extreme where you would move heaven and earth to fulfill that burning desire within you. When that desire is strong we say that one is highly motivated. But, when you are not motivated then you will find any excuse not to do what is required, or to avoid the task at hand.

For me, my lack of motivation shows up in many ways. For instance, sleeping in; skipping exercise, delaying replying to that email, not doing the dishes on the weekend.

In his book, The Art of War, Steven Pressfield writes: “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.” We have all experienced this. When that little voice finally gets you going and moving because you just can’t avoid it anymore. That deadline which is now so close that you just have to do something even though it is too late because you do not want to face the consequences of not doing it at all.

Motivation can be both internal and external.

External motivation would be pursuing things like the fancy car, the expensive watch or the summer body. You are motivated to achieve a result.

Internal, or intrinsic motivation, is a little different. Here we become motivated by the act of doing something more than the end result of the of the task. For example, I love paddling my sea-kayak, I enjoy being on the water. I am not driven by trying to get fit or lose weight, I enjoy the actual process more than the results or benefits that are a product of paddling.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I personally struggle with motivation, particularly around routine work or routine tasks. As such I have developed some useful tools to enable me to be productive and get things done, regardless of my low levels of motivation.

Number 1

I have a very clear and defined outcome that I work towards.

If something is not moving me closer towards my desired outcome, then I either outsource it or get rid of it completely.

This stops me from distracting myself by doing trivial, non-productive tasks. Every day we spend a lot of time fiddling around with things that actually do not demand our attention. Stop that.

This ensures that I am focussed on completing the task at hand and allows me to use any extra time to do as I please once the “work” is done.

Number 2

I act irrespective of how I feel. As Nike says: “Just Do It.”

Mel Robbins has a brilliant Ted Talk on her system that she discovered. 5–4–3–2–1 go. That is it.

You are able to act regardless of how you feel. We do this all the time anyway. We eventually get out of bed in the morning, we do end up replying to those emails, we do eventually get the job done.

You do not have to wait until you feel like doing something before you do it. If that was the case, most of the things that you do during the day would probably never get done. Who really enjoys taking out the garbage, or sitting in traffic?

To overcome this wonderful procrastination technique (not feeling like doing it) we have created routines in our house. My wife, Tania, plans everything that has to be done in her day, in her daily planner. Yes, even our morning coffee together is in the planner with set time allocated to it. I do things a little differently. I have a set routine that takes me from one task to the next. So I start with our morning coffee, then go straight into my daily meditation, followed by getting dressed and so on right until bedtime. Two different solutions that both have extremely positive and beneficial results in our lives. Tania is phenomenal at planning and documenting, I find creating a diary entry hard work. We both play to our strengths.

Number 3

Partner Up or Pull in a Team.

If you struggling to get fit, find a training partner to train with. Then commit to showing up and doing the work. It becomes easier when someone else is going through the same pain, in fact, you might find that you actually start to enjoy it.

Can’t get through all those emails? Find someone in the office who is in a similar position and partner up with them. Set aside an hour and only work on those emails. After an hour go across to their desk and check in with them to see how they have done.

The key is to find someone who will be your accountability partner. For me, Tania is my accountability partner. Every morning when we have our coffee we check in with each other and discuss our plans for the day listing out the big things that we will achieve during the course of the day. At the end of the day, we then check in again and see how we each did.

The trick here is not to feel forced into anything or to be bullied into getting things done. Rather we create the space that allows us to own the accountability of that which was done or not done. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you actually get done when you commit to doing it.

These three tools have made a big impact on my life.

Before my breakdown life was not much fun.

Now, almost a year later, I am experiencing a breakthrough. I am redesigning the way I approach life and the way I do things.

If I find myself doing something that is not enjoyable then I take a good look at why I am doing it. Is this task moving me closer to my definite chief aim? Will this task make me feel better about myself or more fulfilled with my life? Is this task really important and something that must be done?

These three simple tools have helped me crush procrastination despite having really low levels of motivation.

You see, I have decided that this life is worth living, in fact, it is worth loving, so I am now doing things that give my life meaning.

I choose to be disciplined because I have low motivation. I am disciplined about doing the things that I ENJOY doing as well as being disciplined towards doing the things that bring me closer to my ideal life and goals.

Most importantly for me is to have fun. I have walked a journey of my own design and I did not enjoy large parts of it. This time though I have a renewed focus. I have learned to be gentle with myself. I still make mistakes, I still find myself procrastinating, and sometimes I catch myself being lazy or distracted. When this happens I simply become aware of this and check to see what the trigger was that set me on this path, I choose to get back on track and I forgive myself. I note what the trigger was and in doing so I know that I might spot it earlier next time and maybe I may even be prepared when it shows up.

The greatest joy for me along this journey has been sharing my story with my clients and helping them achieve the same joy and momentum in their lives. When I see my clients shift into a deeper awareness of themselves and getting their feedback on the amazing benefits they manifesting in their own lives, I become even more disciplined and committed to becoming the best version of myself.

Who knows, the act of sharing this with others and coaching them along their own journey might just be the very thing that ends up motivating me.

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