My 5 Lessons from 2020

My 5 Lessons from 2020

No doubt there will be many posts online about the lessons of 2020.  These are mine, and they are based off authentic personal experiences and learnings over the past 12 months.  I don’t use textbooks, and neither do I Google ideas.  These are all from my head and my heart direct onto this blog.  These lessons were magnified to me during this crazy, yet truly rewarding year, and I know that once they have been learned, they will become immensely valuable to me in the future.

I hope you will find them valuable too.  Here we go…

 

My Top 5 Learnings from 2020

1. No Experience is ever Bad

If you see me in the streets after reading this, avoid the temptation to hit me in the head with your shoe.  I know for some, this might be too soon.  Some of you have lost loved ones, and others have been fighting to put food on the table for their families.  I understand this.  I was probably 2-3 months away from losing a business, something I could never have possibly imagined at the beginning of 2020.  This year has certainly delivered some very testing experiences for all of us.  I still insist though that once you find the learnings and the meaning, you will be a better, stronger person as a result of those experiences.

Human beings like to be in control of everything because when you are in control you feel safe and secure.  What 2020 taught us in spectacular fashion, is that you simply cannot control everything.   When pushed way outside the realms of comfort and security you will label an event as being negative.  The minute you label an event, you attach to it all sorts of negative emotions, and then you live in the pain, fear, hurt, sadness or guilt.  You quite often will be consumed by that emotion for days, weeks, or months.  Eventually though, the cycle ends.  It’s called the Law of Rhythm.  The red mist rises and you look back on the event, without emotion, and you see the event for what it was.  An opportunity to learn.

The sooner you find the learnings or the meaning behind the uncontrollable event, you step outside of the emotions.  2020 has prepared us for the future in a way that no other experience could.  Think about it.  How completely  unprepared were you for COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown?  I bet you if it happened again, you’s handle it so different.  If you’ve found the lessons you will.   If you simply put your head down and did not adjust to the lessons, well guess what?  You’re going to experience the same pain until you learn the lessons you need to learn.

No experience is ever bad.  It’s an opportunity to learn, and grow to a new level in your life.  That is, if you have your eyes open to the learnings.

 

2.  Risk versus Reward

Entrepreneurship is glorified on social media, especially with the youth.  Influencers posting inspirational pics from their private jets online only make it worse.  Most entrepreneurs will never see the inside of a private jet, let alone get the opportunity to fly in one.  They are too busy making ends meet, hustling daily to ensure their business supports their lifestyle, feeds their family, and the families of their employees.  That’s the reality for most.

2020 destroyed many dreams.  It didn’t matter wheter you were a hardened entrepreneur with years of experience, or a start-up still working towards break-even, 2020 taught entrepreneurs the real meaning of risk.  Knowing that you can lose it all at any moment, due to factors completely out of your control, is grounding.  I mentioned that my business was 2-3 months away from disaster.  Towards the end of lockdown I was starting to really feel the stress of some of the decisions I was going to be asked to make.  Fortunately for me, it never got to that, but it was close.  I spoke to friends daily during lockdown who weren’t so fortunate.  Some were forced to do whatever it takes to bring money home to their families, and others were so low, almost as if their entire identity had been ripped away from them.  Many were in tears, or close to it, yet still had to put on a brave face for their staff.

This is the type of risk that makes entreneurship special.  Those who truly have skin in the game and the ability to lose it all know this feeling too well.  It also makes the rewards taste even sweeter.  Entrepreneurship has taught me about risk versus reward.  2020 magnified it.  Even in my personal life, I will risk the pain of getting what I want, if I know the reward is worth it.  I don’t always get what I want, and I do experience pain from time to time, but pain passes eventually.  The rewards though, they can last forever.

Thanks to 2020 I’ve learned to trust my own gut, back myself and my own decisions, and not get too caught up in the opinions of those who don’t have skin in the game.  I’ll also never again be ashamed to make a decent profit.  That’s part of the reward for taking the risk.

 

3. Actions over Words

Big lesson for me this year – People will always do what they want.  Their words might tell you what they want you to hear or think, but if you watch them carefully, their actions will always reveal what they are really too afraid to tell you.  This is true in business as well as in your personal life.  Very few people in this world are authentic enough to tell you the straight honest truth, no matter how hard it may be for them to say, or for you to hear.  It’s part of human nature.  You cannot control the will of another, therefore, if you’re ever in doubt, watch their actions.  That’s how they speak their truth.

It’s the same for you too.  You tell yourself all sorts of rubbish to justify your lack of actions.  You’re placing your words above action all the time.  Your words though, will never bring you the success or happiness you are looking for.  Your actions bring results.  In fact, I can go as far as saying that your entire life experience to date is a direct result of not only the actions you have taken, but also the result of the actions you did not take.

Your self-talk is often proven to be wrong once you take action.  Remember that all negative emotions are a derivative of fear, and most of your fears are self-made beliefs based off past experiences that you have hung onto as a form of self-preservation.  These fears are preventing you from moving forward because you use them as an excuse to avoid taking action.  Well, if you never try, then you’ll never know.  Rather take action and prove your own thoughts to be false.

Actions over words.  Always.

 

4. The Future does not exist.

The future does not exist?  It took me a while to comprehend this after reading ‘The Power Of Now’, by Eckhardt Tolle.  Of course the future exists, but your future is completely dependent on what you focus on in the present moment.  If 2020 taught us all one thing, its that the future will never exist in any shape or form that you might imagine it to be.  There are so many variables that are out of your control, including global pandemics, world stock market crashes, decisions made by governments, and of course, the actions of other people.

You and I spend a ridiculous amount of time planning for the perfect future.  Its great to have your goals and dreams, and of course its important to plan for the future, but if you spend your entire life waiting for your perfect future to unfold, then how many magic moments are you missing in the present?  If you become too attached to any specific outcome, then you’re never going to see those amazing opportunities that are spontaneously floating through your life on a daily basis.

Focus on the present moment.  This got me through lockdown in 2020.  The future was uncertain, and every single goal I had been working for, some of which had been 3 years in the making, were suddenly placed on hold.  I’m sure for you it was the same.  If you had any temptation to hang onto your plans for sentimental reasons while the world rapidly changed around you, then you will probably find that you’re feeling a little stuck right now.  The world shifted and moved off in a different direction.  You cannot control that.  Your future may not end up in reality as it does in your dreams.  Open your eyes to the present moment and make good decisions based on what’s in front of you right now.

 

5. Be Who you Want to Attract

Gosh, this is a tough one.  When all seems lost or the universe seems to be taking you on a detour that you did not expect, maintaining the true essence of who you are, and who you are meant to be can be difficult.  Of all the lessons 2020 delivered, this has been by far the hardest for me on a personal level.  I probably have yet to master this, but I know it’s one I have to persist with.

I read once somewhere that if you want to receive love, you have to give love first.  If you want to receive kindness, you have to give kindness first.  If you want respect, you have to give respect first.  Nothing is received unless you give first.

There will be times when you will know that you are giving to the wrong person.  There will be times when you will question whether or not you will ever receive the recognition, praise, kindness, gratitude or love that you will give out, and you will often be tempted to recoil back into your shell.  That won’t do you any good though.  You have to persist.

Givers attract takers unfortunately.  Your defence will be boundaries.  2020 has delivered a massive lesson on how to set boundaries and maintain them for your own self care.  You cannot control the actions of those who simply want to take what you give in abundance.  You get to control how you set and enforce your boundaries with them.  You also get to choose to be the person you want to attract.  Persist with the giving.  Eventually you will get what you deserve.

5 Tips To Help Build Your Resilience

5 Tips To Help Build Your Resilience

A lack of Resilience is a massive factor that holds you back from achieving the success you desire.

Think of the last time you gave up on a diet, a fitness regime, or a really important prospecting plan in your business. Unfortunately, when you don’t see immediate results, or when the going gets a little tough, you tend to give up too soon.

If you feel you need to develop your mental strength, so that you can push through quitting points and develop good habits, here are 5 tips for you to implement this week:

1. Spend Time Daily in Self Reflection : Successful people all have a daily routine that includes time for reflection. Sitting in silence at the beginning of each day allows you to set your intentions for the day, and focus your mind on what you want to achieve in terms of your goals and aspirations. Remove the noise and distraction and see how the clarity assists you in becoming more intentional in your day.

Action : Schedule this time into your day, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and start with 10 min of calmness. Use an App if it helps.

2. Introduce Exercise into Your Week : Regular exercise is proven to combat stress, improve memory , helps you sleep better and boosts your overall mood. You don’t need to set goals to lose weight or gain muscle, rather, aim to improve your overall fitness. A healthy body leads to a healthier, stronger mind.

Action: Find a suitable place to go for a 30-minute walk, preferably in nature. Start by doing this two to three times a week, and if you do it with an accountability partner, you’ll find it even easier.

3. Do Something That Challenges You : What is the toughest thing you have to face this week? What is that one thing that you know you need to do, but you don’t want to do? Make this week, the week you take it on head first. This is the only way you will break out of your comfort zone. The longer you avoid this, the more you will feed your self-limiting beliefs. Take action, and watch how quickly your fears disappear.

Action : Write down your biggest challenge for this week as well as the reward you will give yourself when you accomplish this. Treat yourself for being so brave! Make sure its done by Friday so you can celebrate.

4. Start a Gratitude Journal : When you focus too much on what you want, you so easily forget about the things that you already have. When you shift your focus from expectation to gratitude, you will start to see the world through different eyes, and you will attract into your life exactly what you deserve. Practicing Gratitude also leads to reduced stress and better sleep!

Action : Spend 10 minutes per day writing in your gratitude journal. You can either do this first thing in the morning, or just before bed. In the beginning it might be difficult, but as you train your mind to think in this way, your pen will flow when you begin to appreciate all that you have in your life.

5. Celebrate Small Wins : A series of small successful steps will eventually lead to massive success. But only if you keep taking the small steps. Once you give up, the journey is over. In order to keep good motivation levels, celebrate the small wins. Avoid the temptation to be overly-critical of yourself, and rather feed your inner voice with positive messages about what wins you achieved, no matter how small.

Action : Write down 3 wins that you can celebrate daily. By congratulating yourself for even the smallest win, you are practicing positive self-talk and reminding yourself of the value you added to others, and yourself, during the day,.

Taking control of your mind and building your resilience will not only help you remain focused on your goals, but will also make you a nicer, more positive person to be around.

When this happens, watch what you attract into your life.

Always Challenge Your Thinking

Always Challenge Your Thinking

Over the past few years I have been fortunate to have traveled to many parts of the world for business, and pleasure. Travel has always offered me amazing perspective of where I live and the opportunities I have in the country I choose to live. As a result I always tell people that I believe it is really important to remove yourself from your environment from time to time.

Travel and time away always brings perspective.

If you want to truly observe anything, you cannot do so from within its transactional existence. You need to step away. You need distance. You need to remove yourself from your own bubble. This is true for your business, your relationships and importantly, your life.

When you forge ahead without giving yourself time for reflection and observation, you cannot see the blind spots, or areas in your life where you can improve. You’re too focused on the doing. From time to time it’s good to step off the treadmill in order to see if you’re running in the right direction.

Affording yourself this opportunity for self-reflection is so important in ensuring that you live your life at your own maximum level of potential.

After all, true success is only relative when measured against your potential.

Life has a funny way of giving you exactly what you need, and so often, at the exact time you need it. If your head is face- down all the time, you’re going to miss something spectacular. Opportunities are all around you. Sometimes they’re sitting right in front of you, and yet you just don’t see.

You live your life according to your own set of beliefs and thought processes. You choose what you want to see, and you choose how you experience this life on every single level. What you believe to be true either works out for you, or it doesn’t. Yet you just don’t see.

You must always be willing to truly consider evidence that contradicts your beliefs and admit, from time to time, that it is possible that you may be wrong. Particularly if life is not working out the way you planned. What if everything you believed to be true, turned out to be fundamentally wrong for this modern world that you are living in?

Intelligence isn’t knowing everything. It’s the ability to challenge everything you know.

Challenge yourself. Step outside the bubble that protects you.

Travel is one way to step outside of your own bubble. Most times I have traveled I have returned with new lessons, new learnings, new experiences, and new relationships with strong people who aren’t afraid to challenge me in the way I think.

If travel is not possible, find another way to take yourself outside of your day-to-day routine. This could be a one hour walk in solitude, 20 minutes of meditation, or a Sunday morning spent reflecting. Meet new people, and build new relationships with those who offer you new perspectives.

No human being is perfect. Just when you think you have everything together, the universe sends you a reminder that your time here is going to be a never-ending journey of self-improvement, learning and growth.

You can never stop learning.

The alternative is stagnation, complacency, or even worse, exhaustion, as you push yourself harder and harder on that treadmill.

This week, make some time to jump off.

My 5 Lessons from 2020

The Law Of Rythm

If you’ve learned one thing from 2020, its that life has a sneaky way of throwing surprises at you.   Whether its an unexpected bump in the road, or being blind-sided by the impact of a global pandemic, these events are sent to test you and ultimately, they do make you stronger.

If you’ve started your planning for 2021, you have to factor in the unexpected.

Life is way more disruptive today, than it ever has been in the past.  Technology is causing us to shift constantly, the psyche of consumer behaviour is shifting constantly, and if you aren’t finding ways to shift your own thinking then you’re going to be left behind.

Finding your own way to remain calm in the chaos is so important because those who remain calm, are generally the ones who react the fastest to the change, and ultimately reap the most reward.

Here are 2 things to consider when planning for your next 12 months:

1. Understand the Law of Rythm –  it’s a Universal Law that states that everything works in cycles.  What goes up must go down, and every summer will eventually turn into winter.

Understand that you will have times where everything is going well, and when you’re in the ‘summer’ of your life, make sure that you reap as much as you can, whilst ensuring that you are also planning for the next winter.

Likewise, when you are living through a ‘winter’ phase of your life, understand that while it may be difficult to reap your rewards right now, your summer time is around the corner, and any seeds you plant and water now, will be ready for you to harvest when your seasons change.

If you go into hibernation during winter, building up momentum takes you a lot longer when the sun eventually comes out.

2.  Magnify the Learnings – COVID-19 plunged you into an unexpected winter, the type of winter you could not have prepared for, but the lessons you would have learned during this time will prove to be invaluable when winter returns.

If you knew you were going to go through that type of winter again (ie a Lockdown situation), how would you prepare differently during the summer?

So often your focus is on building massive momentum in the summer time, and because everything seems to be going so well, the thought of a winter season does not even enter your mind.  Something as simple as putting cash reserves away for a rainy day is forgotten during good times, and you spend as much as you earn.

COVID-19 wasn’t a rainy day.  It was a monsoon.  It wasn’t expected, but who’s to say that you don’t experience something similar again in the future?  Ensure the lessons you learned don’t go to waste.

Finally, this mail has focused on the unexpected events that can rock your business world, but as you know, a change in seasons can happen to you in your personal life as well.  Life is not all roses and caviar.

People in your life will hurt you, disappoint you, leave you, let you down and go back on their word, and like the changing of the seasons, there is actually nothing you can do to control the actions of another.

All you can control is what you choose focus on, as well as how you react to unexpected reactions, situations and events.

Remember to focus on what you want, and not on what you don’t want.  Life will always throw you a curve-ball or two, but to be honest, if life was all about roses and caviar, you’d probably find it a little boring after a while.

Have a great week.