How to dominate your thoughts when you feel incapable

mountain

Photo credit: Kumaravel via Foter.com / CC BY

Hi team growth, welcome back. In today’s post I want to discuss what I do when dealing with something totally new that needs to be done, and not only am I struggling with getting it done but because it’s so new how it makes me feel incapable. I’ll be using an example I facing currently to describe what I am doing to work through it.

Here’s the background. As you know I am working on the startup of this business and writing posts about the businesses startup as I start it up. What a tongue twister! And as I have rapidly discovered there are 101 things that need to be done, and since this is 99% new there are 99.9 things that I have never done before. Some are obvious and okay, others are just weird, and some are totally hard and confusing.

Because I don’t know what to do with every element, and some have needed some heavy researching to get it started, I have felt incapable, lost, bewildered at times. It stops my thinking, I feel slightly sick, and I lose hours and hours drilling through options that I do not know where the alternatives are.

And yet, here’s the kicker, when I sift through the problem looking for alternative options and ways in it and through it and around it I find eventually that I can turn it around. This is certainly a real test on my mindset as I battle with the lack of flow in the most important time of the commencing of this new business of mine.

So, what to do? I know now, since this type of paralysis is not a new thing having been through many ‘self induced early morning sweat fests,’ that for me to get through this I have a plan of attack to not only get through it but to dominate it.

And it is self induced, that’s the point of this post, to know that many issues we face in our life whether new or existing are created and built up by our minds to crazy heights, and because we build them up to mountainous proportions we may give up before we have even begun.

So my job is to realign my thoughts from running in every direction to the direction I want them running. I have to be in charge of my thoughts. That’s my job.

Here’s the way I go about working through such an issue.

Acknowledge there’s a issue

To be in charge of my thoughts I first acknowledge that there is an issue. This may appear to be an easy process, but it is often a real stumbling block. To begin working this out I first have to recognise it is on the radar. That’s the start.

Then once I have got it on the radar I become aware of all the other sneaky thoughts creeping around effecting my feelings, making me feel down. Once it’s put on the radar it helps bring my thoughts back on track. Once I’ve got this far I know it’s only a matter of time before I have solved the riddle.

And it’s interesting because when I recognise this moment half of the battle has been won. I feel calmer knowing I can handle it, I’ve handled issues before and this one will be no different. This is a very important point. Just being in the space of recognition helps slow me down. That’s 50% of being in charge of my thoughts dealt with already.

When you recognise there’s an issue here’s what to do first

  1. Acknowledge that there is an issue. Get it on the radar.
  2. Acknowledge you know you will be able to handle it.
  3. Acknowledge you are already on your way to solving it.
  4. Smile (I like smiling and it lifts my mood. Give it a go, even if you’re feeling crappy about the issue)

Being prepared

OK, so I’ve acknowledged there’s an issue and I am 50% of the way there to getting through it. Good start. The next 50% is all about being prepared.

By being prepared I mean I follow this routine of going through the situation as systematically as possible. To be prepared I follow a specific routine and it works for me. Here are the steps I take.

  1. To be prepared takes a focused mind. To start the process I actually get stuck sometimes and do a little procrastination dance with myself first. I know I have to tackle the situation, but in the early part of the recognition moment I often don’t. It’s like I am avoiding it. It’s a gap in my plan that I am working on. I put it down to a self preservation mechanism kicking in to keep me away from the heavy mind lifting that’s about to start.
  2. “What’s going on here?” Once I have caught up with the moment of procrastination and taken charge of my thoughts, knowing I have to work through the issue, I get focused on the real work. I simply ask myself “What’s going on here?” I need to know why this is effecting me so much, and to do that I will spend time, sometimes minutes and sometimes hours, silently asking this question about the issue. What I’m searching for are the deeper concerns about the issue, even though the issue itself may appear quite simple on the surface. There’s always deeper items that are a few layers underneath that need to be uncovered now. I know I don’t want to leave them behind because I know they will resurface at another time which will slow me down again, adding an unnecessary layer of complexity if left unattended. A mind as clear as possible helps me get where I want to go quicker and more efficiently than one with items dragging it down. It’s hard enough as it is right?
  3. To help me uncover the layers I am searching for I have learnt to not put a time frame on finding them. I accept it will take time. When I do try to put a time frame on the agenda I add additional levels of stress and drama to an issue that is already an issue. Without a time frame I find I can get to the issues quicker. It’s a form of letting go of the outcome. When I let go I get the answers. If I cling to the need to get the answers quickly I bunch up the mental muscles and there is little to no progress. What happens then? Added frustration that’s what!
  4. I accept I have to wait for the flashes of insight to reveal the answers. To do this I work hard at being relaxed and yet alert. This is probably the hardest part of being in this agitated state when I have an issue to work through, and yet I know in order to break through and provide a solution I have to slow down and allow the process to occur. This takes some practise. I’m still practising too!
  5. I accept there will be dead ends as I explore what pops up. Of course this is not an easy fix. The thoughts that pop up will not be 100% focused and tangible solutions. If you think about it for a moment this makes perfect sense. Mixed up with the one thought of the issue are all of the other thoughts you have about your life, others lives you are involved with and your relationships, what to eat…you get the idea. There’s a myriad thoughts streaming away. It’s no wonder there are delays with finding the solution. They are there though, which is why it is imperative to stick to the plan and have faith they will appear. They will. Pay attention to the dead end thoughts as they come and go though, one of them might just be the solution or a new idea that could be the key you want. If it’s not, no worries, there’s another thought coming around the mountain soon enough.
  6. I accept I will not be working on this in the perfect conditions or location. I’ve often been unfair to myself over this one. As much as I want to be in a super quiet space to allow the process to take its natural course, the opposite is often the case. The times when I have a distraction free environment to go to work on an issue are rarely the times I need them, and vice versa. I’ve fallen for the ‘poor me’ mindset when this has happened and it just adds to the drama. I cannot control the moment I need to uncover the solution, control of the universe is out of my hands and so I must accept the moment for what it is and do my best. This is also another space where I let go of what I cannot control. The success rate of achieving this is now quite high which is great, I am making progress.

Using this process yourself is doable immediately. Have a go and see how it works for you. Here’s the snapshot of the whole process so you can come back and remind yourself of the steps.

When you recognise there’s an issue that you want to fix here’s what to do first

  1. Acknowledge that there is an issue. Get it on the radar.
  2. Acknowledge you know you will be able to handle it.
  3. Acknowledge you are already on your way to solving it.
  4. Smile (I like smiling and it lifts my mood, give it a go, even if you’re feeling crappy about the issue)

Be prepared when tackling a problem, here’s how.

  1. To be prepared follow a specific routine. Watch out for the procrastination dance.
  2. Take charge of your thoughts. Ask yourself “What’s going on here?”
  3. Do not to put a time frame on the process.
  4. Wait for the flashes of insight to reveal the answers.
  5. Accept there will be dead ends as you explore what pops up.
  6. There will not be the perfect conditions or location to find the solution, accept it.

I’ve used this technique to help me clarify many situations, and although it has been many years that I have built this approach, I had to build it from scratch rather than working through it already done. Give it a go and see what results you can achieve.

Thanks, have an awesome day.

Rob

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

 

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Your success depends on achieving the essential items on your calendar per day

 

Success depends on achieving the most important items per day

Success depends on achieving the most important items per day    Photo credit: DafneCholet via Foter.com / CC BY

There is a sense of irony in this post that you will appreciate. I’m going to talk about writing and the current situation I find myself in and dig into the processes. The ironic part of this post is that in my need to manage my time as best as possible in the early days of my startup process, I am missing out on one of the most important elements of why I started this in the first place, writing, and what I am doing about it by adjusting my mindset accordingly.

As I work through the setting up of my business on a daily basis, which is the exact process that needs to be done to start a business, I write less. I write stuff every day, which is good, but often it is not the ‘right’ stuff. When days, even a week, goes by without a detailed purpose to writing something of substance I feel lost, withdrawn, missing out.

And it’s when this occurs I feel buried in the processes. Or as Michael Gerber from E-Myth has stated for many many years, it is best to work on the business and not in the business. And yet I am. I am working on it, that’s the startup. It is a startup conundrum of sorts, and I am sure there are many others that I will discover also along the way.

But for now this is the conundrum to face.

So for starters I have decided I have to work out the most essential items to do on a daily basis, and writing is one of them. If I allow the writing to be missed off the to-do list I am giving away the essence of why being in this business is so important to me.

So, to remedy this melancholy situation I will design a plan identifying the essential elements that must be achieved every day.

The essential elements for me are 1. writing and creating new content, 2. remaining in contact with people to build our relationship and to find and nurture new relationships, and 3. reaching out to help people I don’t know through various online and offline channels.

Of course within each of these three areas there are many sub-components that require their own individual attention, and yet in all reality there are only three things that will generate the results and impact I need to make the most impact and offer the most help. And while I find it harder than some to remain focused on a simple list and stick to it, I am really happy with this list of three.

So why the conundrum if the list is so small? It is because the other items within any particular day can be so varied. Days and days can go by where I am buried in the many facets of setting up the elements of the business that I do not manage myself well enough. I actually hated writing that, but it’s true and I know it.

It is up to me to manage my diary and the set up process, no one else.

If I put this into a perspective for you for a moment, what’s your equivalent to my ‘writing?’ What one thing or three things are you not getting done in your day that are essential to your growth, whether that’s your career growth, growth with your family, growth in your sporting life, or a deeper satisfaction and growth in your creative life, to name a few? Keep your own missing ingredients in mind as you read the next part of the post.

Your success depends on you achieving the essential items on your calendar per day

So what can I do to achieve my essential three items per day?

Firstly I do exactly what I am doing here. I acknowledge that there is a problem and accept I have to go about making changes to generate a different outcome. If I have not tackled this step first, tackling my mindset about getting the most important things done and my mindset around not being good at it ‘yet,’ then this process will not work. This is often the major stumbling block to lasting change. You and your mind. How you ‘set’ your ‘mind’ for the changes you know must make is your first step to achieving the list. Deny the changes and you won’t move forward.

Knowing I am open to make the changes I can go about planning what I can do to introduce these items into my day.

Secondly I can lock in set amounts of time per day to complete a happy level of each of the three key ingredients of the day. I have to work out what the optimum minimum time is per section and diarise it. And I refer to it as happy because it means I take on board the process in a manner that makes me feel good, and to me that’s most important.

Once that’s locked in, then I am in the position to build out the rest of the day and week, ensuring both the essential items and then all of the processes and meetings and interviews and video’s and are moving forward.

Basic? Yes. Have I done it up to now? Nope! Which is why this is being written right now.

I know there are plenty of time management books and apps and audio products and YouTube video’s to visit to get more tips and tricks. And yet, even after learning from many books and others sources, and then teaching my teams the use of the time management processes I’ve picked up on over the years, I still find the best process for me is to break down what I am doing at this moment in time and set up a brand new clean strategy based on what’s needed now.

Is there a one size fits all time management structure?

I don’t believe there’s a one size fits all formula for time managing your own stuff. Just like I am sharing here, to me it’s best to learn time management strategies from a few others, understand the processes they use, then mix it up based on who you are and what you want and need, and that’s because we are all different and work in different ways.

Reminder: Remember, your task is to work out what one thing or three things are you not getting done in your day that are essential to your growth.

I’ve been nibbling at this post for a few days and have put into action these exact ideas and have found at the end of the day I am feeling happier because I have completed essential elements of my day. Give it a go yourself and see how it works out for you too.

Until next time, work hard and be better today than you were tomorrow, it’s the 1%’ers that matter most in the process of growth.

Peace

Rob

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

 

Dreamers wanted

Dreamers Wanted

Dreamers Wanted

Hey thanks for checking out today’s post. I’ve found over the years that ‘most people’ don’t want to give time up to the thought of a dreamer, of being a dreamer, or of even taking the flight of fancy with dreams. Instead they mock the dreamer, they laugh in the face of someone who talks of achieving something that is not normal.

And yet they are obviously not aware of the world they live in, that the world’s systems and products and way of life each began as a dream in someones mind. How extraordinary this thought is. Just pause for a second and consider it if you haven’t already. Look around right where you are. What do you see? What can you touch? It all started in someones mind, all of it.

If you’re a dreamer I say ‘Hi!’

Personally I want to speak to people who have an inkling that it is ok to dream. I want to showcase people who live by their dreams, who live within their dreams, who journey through their day riding on the waves of their dreams. If that’s you then we are in the right place together.

What’s the story of your dreams? Really. What are they? Do you have them bottled up or are they on display? Do you hide in the shadows of life incessantly dreaming where the dreams of awesomeness stay out of sight, or do you wear them boldly emblazoned on your t-shirt?

Whether big or small, the dreams of dreamers make the world spin at a faster rate. 

What about the Dreams and Innovation and Passion of the dreamers of this world? Dreamers raise the bar. Dreamers do their fair share for the happiness of the planet. Dreamers combine and sort and see things others can’t. And they’re good at it. The world fades when it lacks the sustenance of dreams to fuel its flights of fancy, the pursuit of something bigger than ourselves.

I’ve come across people who don’t understand the dreamers, as they turn on their mobile and text someone a quick video to the other side of the world, not realising that the act of doing such a thing started as a really huge dream. Until it was invented and then tested and then practised until perfected and then accepted as main stream, the guy or girl that dreamed of the long distance video text was just dreaming, speculating, imagining, being creative, without any proof it would work out or if anyone else would use it.

The power of Dreaming is in full force every day, but we rarely share it or think about it or celebrate it. Instead we celebrate the standard, the norm, the black and white. When in reality we should be celebrating the grey’s, all 50 shades of them.

Currently the most celebrated dreamers are the tech guys who create apps and software and new devices. But do we celebrate the sales rep who’s thought of a new way to save the company money, or do we celebrate the Mum who came up with a new song to help her little baby go to sleep better? No. Now, its harder to see these in action to share it globally, but as a society we do not encourage the dreamers to come forth to share.

I’m saying YES, SHARE! 

The world needs you to dream and give us new ways to live better, to think better, to laugh harder, to appreciate deeper.

The problem kicks in when we block ourselves, when we halt our searching through the layers of living mingled with the layers of dreaming. We get dissuaded. We get lost. We lose faith. We believe others instead of believing ourselves. Here’s a relevant example of this.

The other day I was talking to a mate of mine about work and jobs. Amidst all of the amazing things I am doing (I think they are amazing because they are so far out of my comfort zone half the time), there was very little regard for all of my amazing work. Instead it was a brush aside of my plans and ideas to focus on what is ‘already’ known, more of the same.

I get it, I really do. There is not one shred of proof that my venture, or the app that’s being tested right now in Dublin, or the new teddy bear prototype that’s being tested in Canada, will ever get off the ground, let alone make a substantial profit and change lives.

And yet. And yet it is exactly the lack of excuses and the stubbornness of dreamers that takes ideas out into the world to see if they stick, to see if they have merit, to see if they can change a life. And often they do.

That’s why I am here, to talk to fellow dreamers who want to carve out a slice of life that’s their own. And it all starts with your thoughts. Get your thoughts aligned with your plans and you get your mindset aligned with your plans, then you’ve got a fighting chance to take your wonderful wild plans out into the world with passionate pursuit.

How lucky we are to have dreamers. So dream you dreamers, create your magic and sprinkle it on us all as we sleep. The more dreamers we have the better.

Dreamers wanted!

Peace

Rob

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

 

The importance of individuality for your mindset growth

Individuality

Individuality    Photo credit: CJS*64 A man with a camera / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

In this post I want to discuss the necessity of individuality and the power it can have on the process of self growth, and the cobwebs of self doubt that can be cleared through its realisation. It has been a major shift in my mindset growth.

 

Over the 30 posts written here so far, there are times where I discuss quite openly the discovery of my own voice . In some respects these posts are discussing the topic of individuality. This situation in this post is at a new level and is an exciting development in the process and growth of the new journey.

In order to take this new reality to the next level I have to commit to it by making it a recognised reality and set up a company. The pain I’ve been through when considering the choices to get my new website set up.

I’m very excited to say it is well on its way, and you may even be reading this post in the new site when this post is transferred across.

I have come to embrace my voice and the ebb and flow of various plans, which has helped take ideas out into the world in new and exciting ways, such as commencing recording for a podcast and having great conversations with new people, preparing new ebook options, and letting my mind wander down new paths. When the launch date is set up there will be a big fanfare of excitement and many more details.

Committing to the process of establishing myself as a business entity involves the creation of a company here in Australia. It’s a big deal for me because it means I am committing to the creation of my dreams.

In order to get this established it was necessary to arrange a meeting with our accountant. Normally he’s the guy we see once a year to get the tax return completed at the end of the financial year. Going to see the accountant was normally a frantic rush for me involving bolting out of the office, racing to his office 15 minutes away to go over my receipts and all of the other necessary things, then leaving just as quickly to rush back to the office. Going there over the years I have always turned up in my suit, my armour of importance.

Last week was very different. For starters I was able to easily get to the accountants office earlier than the meeting time, no rushing whatsoever, with time to spare to get a water before hand.

I was ready to set up my own company and embrace the future, and instead of wearing a suit I went as the new me, complete with demin shorts and a space invaders t-shirt, plus my arm bands. You can see me sipping a mango beer here complete with space invaders.

Pretty happy with myself after the accountant meeting

Pretty happy with myself after the accountant meeting

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

I did think about what would be appropriate to wear before leaving the house and dismissed it. And yet the feelings of the past and whether a pair of more ‘important looking slacks’ would have been a better choice lingered in those first few seconds as we shook hands and moved into his board room.

I was expecting to hear all about the things wrong with such a plan, that it was a mistake to be heading down. It could not have been further from the truth. We discussed what had been happening and the purpose of meeting. He welcomed the ideas and encouraged its design, offering sage advice. He’s a guy in his sixties. It was very welcoming, and not an ounce of discouragement.

Internally I smiled, having conquered a very important change, while increasing my self esteem and self validation. I had significantly changed my mindset and accepted that it was okay to be me.

I had accepted that my new individuality was my own statement, my own style, and not blindly following the grey and dreary world of the crowd.

I have to write that again. I had accepted it was okay to be me.

This may seem weird perhaps, and writing it is a bit weird too, and yet this has been a huge barrier for me over the years. And here I was, being me totally and enjoying it, sharing my vision and my dream and it was being well received.

This is such an important realisation to share and a major hurdle that I had to overcome. Having managed to shift my mindset from one of lacking confidence to one of power and strength and personal acceptance the future looks even bigger.

And right now the process of starting my own company is under way. A brand new website is under way. And all of this is through the creation of my ideas. Claiming this means more than you know. I am very proud to share this.

If you have a story that is also sharing please pass it on, perhaps you could write a guest post about it here? Let’s discuss.

Thanks for being here on this amazing journey.

Rob

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come (that’s what on my arm band)

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

 

Great friends are worth their weight in gold

Friends help each other

Friends help each other. This is not me by the way. Great male bonding opportunity.  Photo credit: Orchids love rainwater / Foter / CC BY

I had a coffee and lunch catch up with a very close friend of mine the other day. We’ve been friends for many many years. I was explaining the purpose of my book and how it has been very taxing and he stopped me in mid sentence.

It’s very rare that he would do that, he’s a great listener.

He said “I’m confused. You are so focused on this one book? Why?”

I didn’t know how to respond. Of course I am focused on the book I thought. I said I was focused on it because it has been in and around me for so long and I want it to be great, to have some meaning, to be effective, it is my first book and I also want it to sell copies and develop it into a business.

He just smiled, and in a very casual way exposed an inherent flaw in my thinking that now, a few weeks later, has given my mind wings. Here’s what he said.

“I’m confused because what I see, the person who is sitting across from me, is not a single book, but a writer. This is just your writing, some of it, not all of it, it’s just the beginning. You don’t see me stopping at one drawing do you? No, I have done many drawings and I will keep doing them. Your writing will not end here, it will continue. You just have to get this one out and show it to the world, stop trying to make it perfect. Make it the absolute best you can and let it go.”

Wow.

I smiled and went inwards in my thinking then, gob smacked at his reading of me and the situation. How lucky I am I thought, to have been given this gift.

When I was listening to a Rhianna song today I had another realisation around the theme of me being a writer. The song I was listening to by Rhianna was not the totality of Rhianna, it was merely a part of her, a single strand of her and her art.

And it came to me then that I am the same. We are all the same. All of us have our inherent talents and gifts that have to be shared with the world. But not as one book or as one swing of a club or as one plant being potted. They must be in flow, continual, surprising, elemental, and freed from us often.

If we keep these talents hidden, buried within, we lose who we are and we become frail and weak willed. We doubt. We feel less. We turn aside opportunity.

My writing, these words here right now, they are my craft and I am constantly creating them, making them, rolling them around in my mind, kneading them and flouring them like a master chef makes the perfect pasta.

Sometimes the flow is a trickle, a spit in a bucket, and at other times they are an avalanche.

That’s how it goes.

But no matter what, the flow must go on.

My friend has done me such a service it amazes me. Without his comments I may have spent the next two to three years looking for the secret missing ingredient, while all along it’s been right here.

There it is. Just Me.

This piece of advice will always keep me focussed on who I am.

Thank you my friend.

Please, please, please, stay true to your best self and share it with the world. You deserve it. We deserve it.

What will you share with the world? Start by sharing it here?

In honour of your commitment to yourself, peace.

Rob

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

 

Four ways to build greater Mindset Attention into your life

Device attention can be relationship threatening

Device attention can be relationship threatening    Photo credit: frankieleon / Foter / CC BY

I want to start off with a reference of attention from a story I have just come across. It’s in the beginning chapters of the book The Ultra Mindset by Travis Macy. I have literally just sat down at The Fig to write this post after riding here slowly on my mountain bike. It’s not an ultra marathon ride that’s for sure, twenty minutes up a 1 degree incline at its max, and yet listening to the beginning of the book has inspired me to reflect on the importance of attention in my own life and how it impacts my mindset, good or bad.

When Bono, leader of the phenomenal band U2, raises his voice and sings the prophetic words, ‘It’s a beautiful day’ from the song of the same name, it’s motivating. There’s a promise of sweet exhilaration in the air today which is why I have written today’s post about attention, to remind us all of the amazing world we live in, which is why Bono came to mind.

In the opening story Travis Macy talks about his nano-spikes falling out of his pack near the end of a long 40 mile ultra event, up and down snow covered mountains in the Alps. As if that wasn’t hard enough he decided to head back to get them with only 5 miles to the finish line, concerned for not having all of his gear at the end of the race. The move cost him to lose three places to end sixth.

I was climbing off my bike when I was listening to this part of the book. The concept caught my attention, and how our attention or lack of attention can affect our mindset. Travis’s minor slip up of simply not doing up his pack properly, and then deciding to go back to get the gear knowing it would cost him valuable time and significant place losses, shows a mindset locked into doing the right thing and accepting personal responsibility.

But it also shows how important attention can be, especially in the smaller moments, and that there are unknown consequences from a minor slip of attention. In Travis’s case he could see the impact before his decision, but how many things do we do on a daily basis with little attention causing major impact on our lives after the consequences have been revealed. Not to mention the impact on others around us?

Often a lack of attention may be insignificant in isolation, but is not so insignificant when replicated day after day. One slip in attention could affect the rest of your life, and affect those around you in similar ways.

Here’s a big one that some of may be familiar with?

THE DEVICE

When we are busy and have numerous items on our agenda that involve people who we work for, or the people we are doing work for like clients, it is often easy to assume the ones we love will understand when we pay them less attention because we are ‘busy.’

When I started this sentence I was going to write about the slip ups we make with paying more attention to our devices than we do to our family, but its bigger than that. It’s not just the pull of the device that drags away moments of our attention and where we ignore others, but it’s our minds constantly swimming in the thoughts of what we think we have to do elsewhere that leaves our attention failing in the moment.

The impact?

Tiny memory slivers of lack get imbedded in our families and friends mindsets. Tiny slivers of being let down when they wanted to be with you in a simple, unaltered space. They may simply have just wanted to be there with you, where both of you share the same sights, or to tell you a simple story, only to find you are not there again because you were ’busy’ or you said ‘sorry, my mind was elswhere, what were you saying?’ only to see a sad disappointed look. I find it very easy to notice when other people do this, not necessarily myself though.

The memories of lack of attention slice deeper and deeper when this continues without awareness. And as the slices build the separation builds, unnoticeable at first, until one day the words “You don’t care” comes out in a heated conversation.

You flail, hurt, unsure where it has come from. After all you’ve been busy working, thinking, doing the right thing for the family. And it never occurs to you that when you are at home, in the car, even on holiday, you are never where your body is because your mind is somewhere else, whether you are looking at your device or not.

I used to be like this. I thought I was good at putting the device down, out of sight. I even thought my comments to my wife to be aware of this herself put me in a superior position. And yet in reality I was so far off the scale I can see where she came from as she reminded me of what I was doing on an hourly basis. I couldn’t see it.

My mind was mentally and permanently blue-toothed to the device, worrying about what was coming through next, working out new ideas because of emails that I had already read, devising strategies for ideas I had to present, or thinking through issues I had to deal with. My mind was working over time on everything except being where I was, and I thought, no, I totally convinced myself, it was a good thing and I was good at turning off.

And how was my mindset? It was chaotic, frazzled, overly concerned, overly judgemental, often self absorbed, impatient, over eager, relentless, demanding, and very very tired. I continually operated on idea-caffeine, a junky to the stress and lifestyle associated with staff and issues and demands and budgets and continual sales figure spreadsheets. Oh dear.

I see just how tethered I was to the work and how untethered I was to the most important people in my life. Only now can I see the missed opportunities to connect at the simplest of levels, and there are many slivers of lack of attention that I am working on filling in.

I don’t think that it is essential to radically change the life you lead like I have done to be aware and fix the attention issue if you have one. It’s an awesome opportunity to get to know your family again though. So good, just so good.

The upside of making the changes, and knowing they have been made, has meant that many areas of my life have also expanded into new frontiers, much like Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise, although I can’t say I have gone where no man has gone before. Joe Vitale and his self awareness training has certainly helped me discover new ways of unlocking my attention for external growth and personal development, even though I have had years of inner self awareness under my belt. The Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale is a fantastic start.

Out of these ideas let me distill four ways to build greater attention into your life, that you can apply straight away, no matter where you are or what your current work or life circumstances may be. Be aware though, you will have to work at this. I cannot wave a magic wand for you. I was going to write that I cannot prescribe a magic pill for you, but after watching many princess movies with my little princess, the wand metaphor just turned my mind pumpkin focused.

Mindset Attention Management

1. Making any change starts with asking yourself if you spend too much time on your device or thinking of work that can be found on the device. Do you lack attention elsewhere? If you don’t know, and I get it if you don’t, you might have to ask someone who knows you well. It could be illuminating. Take the comments on board with calmness.

2. Why do you want to know. Do you want to know so that you can plan to make adjustments? Who is important to you in this equation if you want to change? Think of this as your Why, the meaning behind the change, it is the Bigger picture.

3. If you take on the challenge of adapting to this change, you will have to consider how to manage your time so that you can fit this new regime into your day. With a simple time management plan you can allocate specific time to the device, and thinking about the device. Then when you put it down, you put it down physically and mentally.

4. As you make the changes you will slip up. That’s part of change. Being aware of the slip is your responsibility. There can be no blame elsewhere. Being aware of the slips by catching yourself is called Mindfulness and is a necessity of slowing down to increase your attention elsewhere.

This is by no means a guaranteed way to make these changes stick, but it is a way to start, and often a start is all it takes. If this is something that resonates with you give it a go. I have benefited massively from the new attention created in whatever I am doing, and have started to repair the slivers of attention that have been lost over the years with my family.

What’s your biggest challenge with this? Let me know, let’s shoot the breeze on the topic and see what others have to say to help out too.

Peace, enjoy your day.

Rob

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

 

Preparation is key

Writing this blog post with my Mac on my lap,a real laptop experience

Writing this blog post with my Mac on my lap, a real laptop experience

Hey welcome to today’s post. The bulk of the words today are from notes that I wrote many months ago detailing my previous thinking well before I knew my redundancy was going ahead. It is about the planning I initiated based on what I wanted to see happen, without knowing how I could get it.

Firstly I want to point out that I am writing this post in two locations. The first is while my son and his friend are playing nerf wars at their school, it’s their holiday’s. I am sitting on one of the benches in the shade of a tree typing this on my Mac.

The real laptop experience

The real laptop experience

The second place I am at is Beaches Cafe in Cottesloe, one of my most favourite places to sit and contemplate the world, and write.

Loving this experience, writing this post at Cottesloe on a Thursday morning

Loving this experience, writing this post at Cottesloe on a Thursday morning

I’m breaking down the ideas into relevant headings that will make the post easily useable if you are in a position where you are looking for change in your life. Pre-planning is essential to get your head in the right space before the changes happen. Getting to your pre-planning as early as possible is essential for smooth transitions because you will have thought about and planned for as many contingencies as possibles. A lack of surprises is what you are aiming for. I’d be surprised if you could get that 100% successful since life has a way of throwing up challenges, however it is worth a go right?

What’s in my Mind Map

I looked into better planning ideas and I relearnt about mind mapping. I’d used it for work but not as much on myself. A mind map is a simple creative tool, that’s free, to effectively give your brain the chance to identify many items that relate to a single topic. A mind map should take you an hour maximum. Start with the one topic you want to explore. Write it on a blank sheet of paper in the centre of a page and then as you think of ideas that relate to the topic you write them down, linking to the central idea. The mind map above is one I did up to show you how it could look. Using colours or different pens is also a cool idea, it helps with getting new ideas out.

To get focused on where I wanted to go I mind mapped these elements of “Who am I? I did a mind map for each point below.

  • What are my strengths. I didn’t look at my weaknesses. Use of strengths will get me places, a focus on weaknesses will slow me down.
  • What I would ideally like to do
  • What I love doing
  • What I want to have in my life
  • What I value the most
  • What I want more of
  • What I want less of
  • What I want to be and do
  • Where I want to do it

I took it seriously knowing that no one else was going to help with this. No one. No one will come to your rescue here. Even if you are really happy doing what you are doing and staying in the same career is your thing, go for it and work on a mind map like this one. Knowing who you are what you want on any level will give you an immediate sense of what’s important and what you can do next to raise the bar and get to the next level, whatever your next level is.

Buy a ream of 500 sheets of paper to capture your mind maps on. I like writing ideas that pop into my head onto blank pieces of paper. A blank piece of paper is like a dream, it’s open and fresh and does not have any preconceived concepts or boundaries attached. A blank piece of paper can be filled with whatever you want it to be. A ream will cost only $5 with 500 sheets, so there’s plenty of room to get all of those crazy ideas out of your head and onto sheets of eco-friendly recycled blank paper. It’s good to keep all of your early ideas, no matter what you think of them, some of them will be perfect for what you want at a later time when you look back at them.

To keep my ideas together I bought a file that at $1.80 has been a good investment. Yes I consider a file an investment. Like I said above, a million dollar idea just might be waiting for me to join the dots.

Take personal responsibility

Possibly more important to those looking for new ways to live, if you want to really take yourself on a new career path then you have to seriously look deeper and assume the responsibility for the future of your life. And you have to be prepared to spend some time on it now, right now, and let the ideas flow.

Without a plan of who you are and what things mean you will be lost as you move forward because you will not have a reference point to go back to. Get your reference point, do the mind maps and make your future your own, not owned by someone else.

Ideas

I bought a small whiteboard. This has been my most prized thought idea generator. From a former work perspective I created my most meaningful strategies and plans on whiteboards, and took photos of the ideas and scribbles and lines before rubbing off everything and starting again with the next blank board. I used it as a teaching and guiding and vision setting tool to get the ideas through to the teams too.

My whiteboard is not mounted on the wall nor is it 1.8 metres wide, but that has not stopped me from success from the use of it in my home office. I have used it to map out ideas, get out new concepts and and to lay out a flow and look at it from afar. Looking at a whiteboard with awesome ideas from afar is a happy experience for me. Dots join when they are on the whiteboard.

Get set up early, the earlier the better

I knew that I could not leave it all to the last minute if I were to take the plunge, and if I needed to get things I didn’t want to be stuck for money, so I set up a purchasing plan which involved listing all of the items I thought I’d like to get or need to get and started looking out for those items that I could get cheaper.

I saved up and bought a new desktop computer for home. Not a huge one but enough for what I thought I may need if I was to work from home. I started looking for a new laptop too, but that was a big decision and it wasn’t until only four months ago that I got this Mac. That’s about six months later. Geez the battery life is good. Up until this point I had been working on my older Toshiba laptop which is about 3 years old and slow and a bit clunky. But it worked all the time, it kept me writing and growing my ideas one sentence at a time. That’s been retired now, but it did the job.

I started getting office equipment like a desk that was on sale and arranged a printer. I had previously sat at the kitchen table when I brought work home, especially around budgeting time, and it was not ideal. The desk is small and wedged into the corner of one of our rooms, but it works and it is my new space. You can see it in my first posts. I have a window view which counts right? I could climb the ladder for ten years before getting the window office, at home I just had to spend $79 on the desk! Ha!

Business Plans 

I laid out a business plan. If you’ve done these before you’ll know that you can go to town on the plan and map out the world, or you can work on a three to four page version and be satisfied you’ve got the guts down on paper. I’ve tried to do single page plans but find that I prefer to extend the ideas in longer thoughts, so a four pager works better for me. In Chris Guillebeau’s book The $100 Startup he offers a one page basic plan you can use. Plus the book is awesome, so grab the book and get the plan locked in for starters. Or there are a bazillion places to go for free tips on business planning if you want to see how others do it, go hunting on Google.

In the business plan I laid out all of my wants and desires, everything that I listed above in the mind mapping, and then applied that thinking to the reality of how this idea could generate a business and a structure that is sustainable and scaleable.

Learn about yourself

I then went about re-learning all about life planning and belief in yourself as I worked on my book. My book has a life of its own, and I have detailed my writing in a five part post series titled “How to write a book while working full time.” I have the links at the bottom this post.

The post I referred to above about self awareness also details the process I went through and a bunch of very cool resources that I have spent many years reading and applying to my life. Get a jump on those years I have spent and check some out. My faith in my plans was reinforced as I went in search of other material to have faith in myself, an essential element of the strength of mindset, and uncovered from my boxes of books amazing books I had read years ago like Think and Grow Rich. If you’ve never read or listened to it get a copy now. I re-read this book and also bought it on audio.

Audio books

Have you been listening to audio books? This is a no brainer for the person, like you, who’s a cut above the rest and wants to achieve more than most. To increase the amount of new, highly valuable information on topics that you are interested in, audiobooks are a must have. Every now and then you could toss in a novel, but that’s not the point I making here. Audiobooks have given me three educations while driving. Listen to them in the car, when exercising, when moving. I signed up at the library and borrow audio books for free too. Again, the post above details many options of great audio books and authors that will move you to new places.

All of this research and understanding helped me balance, understand life, understand change, and understand the need for this change to happen for me. The books reinforced my mindset for thinking, patience, allowing, mindfulness, growth and to be me. Mostly it reminded me to be me. And it’s me who is here right now.

The quieting of my mind, and not freaking out worrying about an unknown future, gave me clarity and from clarity came answers. I decided what I wanted to do through the business planning. I wanted to work for myself, whether that is from home or a laptop or a shared office space. But it’s on my terms. I want to be an author. I want to be a coach. I want to run a successful website based on my books and coaching. I want to run this in synchronicity with a successful podcast too.

Podcasts

I started avidly consuming podcasts and learning about podcasting. I knew that others were very successfully doing it and knew that if its possible for one person it is achievable for anyone else. Thanks to Pat Flynn for his awesome ideas on income streams and thanks to Cliff Ravenscraft and John Le Dumas for their inspiration on podcasting and the world of online business, I look forward to meeting Pat and John and Cliff and having beers with them soon.

I started getting podcast gear. I bought a portable professional recorder, and a desktop mic, and started playing with the free software on the pc. I have recorded a few ideas from the early days and weeks of getting into this new space and I will get up a few of those when the podcast is live. When I am closer to this I will detail podcasting in greater detail.

 

I wanted all of these things because I knew, and know, that ideas are everything, and I have ideas that pop out of my head all day long. And through my very dedicated hard working processes that I built into my role at work I know that I have the stamina and guts to make this rock.

All of the dreams were as unknown to me as walking on the moon when I wrote this, and yet here we are, you and me, and you are reading this. The dream has started. And it exists because I went about thinking about and planning for a potential change in my life which happened. If that can happen then the rest is not only possible but plausible or better.

And even after all of this I know that there are other things around the corner that will help me contribute to the growth of millions of peoples lives. I may veer here or veer there but I know that my purpose is set, that my desire is established, and that my passion is strong enough to sustain me through the times when I need a burst of extra faith. So all of the veering in the world will not take me off the main course of my life.

That’s what I mean by planning and being open with yourself to give yourself every chance to set yourself up for success properly.

So what about you? Are you willing to go the extra mile and make this a reality for yourself? You can, you just have to start. Start now. What’s your start?

Thanks for being here. I am honoured you would take the time out to read these ideas. I hope you got a few good takeaways from it.

Rob

Il meglio deve ancora venire… The best is yet to come

 

Believe in yourself with a growth mindset to achieve long term dreams

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Super happy about being on my Mac in the Tuscan hills while having an authentic Italian espresso

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G’day, welcome to the blog that discusses my mindset of an entrepreneur, but not any entrepreneur, a Pencil Case Entrepreneur. In today’s post I am drawing on writing I wrote a few months back as I achieved a long term dream which identifies the lesson of believing in yourself with a growth mindset to keep the dream alive. I will write a number of posts on the theme of making dreams a reality and believing in yourself as I discover and uncover the joys of our long term getaway experiment, all the while with you at my side.

Here are my words as I passionately express how pumped up I was at achieving a 9 year dream.

From the moment I made the pact with myself that I would come back to Tuscany and write, that moment that began from the bus stop in Florence as we travelled with our two year old boy on the bus to Sienna one fine summers day 9 years ago, I had dreamed of writing on a laptop on a small table in the Tuscan hills, complete with the wash of orange yellow sun and rolling hills. Apart from the impracticality of writing in the direct sunlight and finding a small table, what has happened is in fact a better option.

I am in the shade at a small Italian table with an espresso by my right hand side, an official Italian Tuscan espresso, in the small village of Bivigliano.

The small shop that I am buying it from, from where I am sitting in the shade on the small terracotta tiled deck, is quant and simple, on the skinny road here in Tuscany. If you blinked you’d miss the entrance. The locals are turning up two at a time every few minutes. There are two Italian men talking near me, vigorous with their words, expressive, alive. Even the dog goes into the shop. The shop with its plastic straps in the entrance door to keep the flies and mosquitos out is small and totally jam packed. How can they all fit in, the shop is only about 4 metres deep and 4 metres wide!

The telephone was ringing as I ordered my first espresso. The phone is loud. It has to be, everyone talks loud.

The loud rotary phone on the Italian cafe

The loud rotary dial phone on the Italian cafe wall looked like this one  Photo credit: Joybot / Foter / CC BY-SA

I laugh because the phone is one of those original telephones where you dial the numbers with your fingers in a circle and I have no idea what it’s called (I will Google that when I am in wifi range… and the answer is a Rotary dial), there are is grappa and many wonderful local wine choices on the walls, the smell of fresh bread permeates the room along with the array of Prosciutto and a few dozen other choices of local meats, plus of course the half wall of cigarettes for sale, all of which sets the scene for an amazing experience of living in the local way, which is exactly what I wanted to achieve. The shop is wonderful, jam packed with Tuscany.

I am here! So amazing.

The plastic chair I am on would be inconsequential if I were at home on this, in fact I might even consider getting rid of it, but not here. Here it is amazing!

Blink and you miss it

Blink and you miss it. The non-assuming frontage of the Tuscan cafe with its plastic chairs.

The soft breeze carries the call of a rooster to my ears. I am not plugged into music, it would distract me, take me away. I am here in the moment. I feel at deep ease with this moment. I feel alert at the newness of everything and very relaxed. It is like my dreams and plans have coalesced into a perfect moment and it is a direct representation of what I wanted to have happen. Just better.

I realise as I sit here and type into my new Mac that this is what I really enjoy doing. I really enjoy this process of being in outdoor places, experiencing the moment of what is surrounding me, and embracing it with all of heart as I write and share. I think the only thing that I feel is lacking is my lack of words that can explain what it is that I see and hear.

I hear Italian. I hear “Ciao Ciao” as the lady in the shop hangs up the phone, loudly. I see the old man in front of me strike up another cigarette, he’s sitting at the only other small table on this small tiled area, while another man and his dog walk off. “Arrivederci” is called out as they leave. It means ’till we meet again.’ He looks at me as he turns. I say “Ciao Ciao” too, like the lady in the shop, and I mean it.

I love this place and its simplicity. If I could I would stay here by myself for a week or two, making my daily trek to this cafe, sitting in this spot and taking in the magic of Tuscany, the magic of this life, the magic of my life here. But then it would fade in comparison to the joy of the kids and the cuddles and the love, and so I write in this moment, in this time, and enjoy it as if it were a month. It will last a lifetime, a lifetime.

Another man arrives calling out “Bonjourno.” The lady in the shop is more expressive in her ‘Bonjourno’ response, dragging out the ‘journo’ and they greet like old friends, fast talking, loud, enjoyable to listen to. The roosters and chickens that are hidden from view are competing in the volume game, as the people talk the chickens talk, and now the phone is ringing again, a basic ring, lovely, simple, loud, as it is answered with a “Pronto, si, ciao Francesca.” Beautiful. Bella Bella.

Laptop and an espresso: The Entrepreneurs toolkit

Laptop, pencil case and paper, and an Italian espresso: The Pencil Case Entrepreneurs toolkit

My espresso, the second one now, is in my belly and I must leave. It is a shame, I could soak up this amazing space for hours, days, weeks. I know that this is now not the last time I will experience such beauty. This is my life now, possibilities are this and not a dream, and I have found a slice of a new reality.

I live for this. I want to make this a system of teaching others about living in their own spaces, their own dreams, their own moments. The ideas and book drafts I have in the pipeline is the beginning of such newness. I will research the books content and ideas, testing and gauging based on the interests of the people around the world, and we will live as a family like this always.

Unlike other times when I have written about my dreams, this time I am doing it, I am in action mode, it is working, I am working, on this as a full time brilliant life. As Joe Vitale would say, I have manifested the dream into reality.

I believe in me!!!

Welcome to the hills of Tuscany. I will walk back along the road and be in awe some more.

On the local road in Tuscany, so beautiful

On the local road in Tuscany, so beautiful

Thanks for being in this very special space, and thanks for taking the time to be part of my dream process. If you are new here I have written a number of posts that define the mindset I am working on building to get myself up and running as an entrepreneur. The links are below.

If you like this please let me know, I’d love to know.

Be great, be real, be yourself and love it.

Rob

Il meglio deve ancora venire! The Best is yet to come!

 

Faith in the future even when there’s a gaping void

 

On the journey of faith you have belief

On the journey of faith you have belief    Photo credit: Vincepal / Foter / CC BY

Hi. Thanks for being here. What does faith mean in the context of a life of our own as we step forwards to a future we do not know what will bring? That’s the topic I want to share today by putting the meaning of working on and maintaining faith into the context of this new position of mine as I step along the new path of being a writer, blogger and online business entrepreneur. Warning, I am quite honest here in this post, and it may be too honest for the faint hearted, so wade in if you dare!

What does it mean to want to keep going when there is absolutely no proof that there will be a return? It means courage. It means an honesty of the self that is unparalleled without equal. That is the faith of someone who loves themselves, who in the darkness looks forward not backwards, who looks to the light and sees victory. It is the faith that keeps the candle burning late into the night and where you wipe off the early morning dew from your glasses as you peer into the morning dark.

It is this faith that keeps me looking forward, keeps me looking out for new ideas and concepts as I look deep into myself and discover the heart of my creation. I know that there are no guarantees, that there is a chance that things will not work out, but I do not and will not give in. This is the life I want this life on the laptop, this life of the thoughts burning within me. This is the life of the mental freedom and when this has delivered to my faith, to the plans and dreams and more, I will look back on this note and appreciate the honesty and faith with which I looked upon the future.

I wrote these words and the ones below on the 1st June 2015 and I want to share them today. It is important for you to see the whole picture of what’s going on and how I look forward by using the good things in my life as a key to turn to get where I want to go.

“I have just completed a tennis tournament with my son in Kalgoorlie, and we have been away together for four days, travelling on the train to his first regional tournament. It has been a blast, and on it we have learnt a lot about each other. It has given me a chance to get to know him, to eat with him each night by ourselves, to share laughs and losses and wins and tears, and together here we are on the train going back to the world we inhabit.

Our trip has given me more pause for thought and appreciation for what we have, and appreciation for what we can have. We are so lucky and I am so grateful for this time together. Here I am on a train with my boy and we have loved this time together. I will never get this exact chance again, and I have been able to not only take it, but actively appreciate it.

Kalgoorlie tennis tournament getaway

On the train coming back from a tennis tournament getaway in Kalgoorlie in the Aussie outback

 

The trip away has also given me the faith I needed, the extra faith I needed, to continue to pursue my dreams and goals with the book, with the launch of this blog, with the faith it requires to be real and open.

I want to share this because I know that it can be of help to others while it helps me. If life is hard right now and you are looking for ideas and examples of people getting out of the mire then here I am to help if I can. If you are having a hard time and you are not in a space of appreciation like this just yet, have faith, that’s the message. You need to be in your own space until you are ready to move out of it layer by layer, then one day the sun will be out and you will be in your own place of faith and happiness. Believe.

Some may call it luck, some may say that I am unrealistic, but I have always felt like this, always had the faith in the future holding brilliance, and you know what? It has always worked out. Sometimes you just have to wade in the s%^$ for a while until you get to the other side. And while you’re in the shit try saying to yourself “This too shall pass.”

The book I am writing, which has multiple titles right now, is all about mindset and being in control of thoughts through the use of laughter, and I want it to be a best seller in many areas of peoples lives as it expands and grows around the world as I expand and grow my impact on peoples lives all around the world.

I have faith that I’m heading in the right direction, this is my purpose and calling and ever since I have stepped out of the office I have been banging on the keys, banging on the ideas, refining them, making my words count, making my words tell their story in the best way they can. And I know that this is only the beginning of this awesome new journey, and I will get better at the words, and the tightness of my message, at the presentation of the message, at the look of the work, at the faith in the work, at the contact of the work with the world.”

The raw words and the deep meaning within the words above are exactly how I felt then and what has built up to the space I am in now. It’s been four and half months since I was in the corporate world of 8-6 where I couldn’t let go of the continual concerns of work each night and throughout the weekend. And yet here I am, living with the faith that I am in the right place at the right time.

My faith rests in laughter, in love, in happiness, in life, in my firm belief in an open ended beautiful future, in my family and in myself.

As I write this post I am sitting in one of my favourite cafes, The Wild Fig, on the beach at Scarborough. It’s 9.52am.

Awesome views from The Wild Fig Cafe in Scarborough

Awesome views from The Wild Fig Cafe in Scarborough, and that’s my bike

In my old mindset this time would have shocked me that this could be possible, to be here at this time of day, but not any more. I know that anything is possible now and I am working daily, hourly, on strengthening my resolve and building on the ideas one layer at a time.

Place that belief in yourself, find your own level of faith deep inside and let it shine, carry your strengths with you wherever you go and the future will always be bright.

What type of journey are you on that needs sharing? If you aren’t sharing it, why not?

Thanks for being here with me on this journey.

Rob

 

The Top Five Ways to Spark Ideas that Matter and Destroy the Blank Page Gremlins

What the hell it's Cowboy Day

What the hell it’s Cowboy Day    Photo credit: micadew / Foter / CC BY-SA

Howdy, it’s cowboy day!

Not really. I just wanted to start off with something a bit weird!

Spark those ideas yourself through the Top Five Ways to Spark Ideas that Matter

Spark those ideas yourself through the Top Five Ways to Spark Ideas that Matter    Photo credit: gerrybuckel / Foter / CC BY-ND

Welcome to my blog that defines the mindset transition I am going on as I travel the path of former corporate executive to The Pencil Case Entrepreneur in the making. Today’s post is a beauty. I love this topic. Ideas. Ideas mean a lot, they define not just who we are but who we can continually become as we expand and grow to reveal the better of us. Here’s my top five ways to spark those very important ideas, daily, to keep the wheels of innovative ideas turning for my business.

You know what it’s like. You have a report due, or a post to write, or a paper to start, or a talk to give, and your mind goes totally blank as you stare hopelessly at the blank screen in front of you. Or if you’re like me you are staring at the blank sheet of paper, the pencil hovering above the page, just waiting for the inspiration to flow. At this point you are starting to feel decidedly tense, stressed and upset.

“What do I write?” and “How do I start?” and “I am no good at this!” burst through your mind like a ball smashing through glass and you stop, paralysed by the process.

What happened? The words you are telling yourself stop you before you have even begun. The hair pulling and headaches and tears of frustration that come after the paralysing seconds of blankness are often the aftershocks of the realisation that your ideas are mud. You might as well just pack up and head home, throw in the towel, wave the white flag and pass over the baton to someone more qualified and better than you are, right?

No way!

There are ways, easy ways, to spark those ideas onto the page without quitting your job or quitting the writing or quitting the business you desperately want to start. Here’s what I did, very successfully, for nearly 10 years in senior management roles that created consistent new ideas that triggered new business opportunities and growth, and it is these very same techniques that I utilise now as I expand and grow my online business.

But sometimes the page stays blank, and that’s the dilemma we are looking at here.

The blank page.

The blank page is the killer of the mind and not only impacts what’s not going onto the page, but it can start to dig its tentacles into the thoughts about your life and your values and your abilities. It can start to invade your thoughts about your relationships and your future. The bank page is a big deal. And you want to stop that before it begins, you’re too precious and special to let it get to you so deeply.

Here’s what works for me, and it might work for you too, so give it a go. And the funny thing is that these ideas are easy and fun, but often we forget the easy stuff while looking around for the hard ways to do things.

Top Five Ways to Spark Ideas that Matter and Destroy the Blank Page Gremlins

1. Stop doing

This is possibly the hardest option and yet it is the most effective to clear some head space that gives me a clearer mindset. In simple terms it means to move your chair away from the desk, to put down all devices and leave them on silent, it means to turn off all other electronic distractions like TV’s or radio’s and it means to simply and without fuss or tears or tantrums ‘be there’ by yourself. Yes that’s right, be there.

How? you may ask. You don’t have to close your eyes. If you are in an office you can simply move away from the desk on your chair and gaze blankly at the wall or out the window. If you are at home just stand up, look away from the desk or table or kitchen bench and gaze through the window. About 15 – 30 seconds should be sufficient and if you are a ninja of ‘being there’ have a go at a minute or more.

When you are gazing, which may make you giggle or laugh for taking time off in such a non-usual way, notice how your body is reacting. Go on, give it a crack right now, it’s simple. For non-Aussies, ‘giving it a crack’ means ‘having a go.’ You will discover an amazing thing. You have started to unwind, to feel less tense, to calm the body and the mind.

This is great because it gives you distraction free time to let the ideas and problems and crazy ass things going on in your brain to float freely through your mind, and in such a small period of time. Let them float. If this were a mindfulness post I’d go down the road of discussing ‘letting go’ and deep breathing, but I won’t, I’m saving those ones for another time. Instead ‘be there’ as you sit or stand and let those ideas shoot around the place. As your body and mind slow, the ideas that matter bubble to the top, and you have the beginnings of your ideas you are chasing.

2. Go for a nude walk

Going for a walk is good. Going for a nude walk is even better. Oh, by nude I mean without headphones or music or any device. It’s like this is an extended version of the stop doing idea above, but better. Of course if you can walk nude, without clothes, you should try it. I haven’t done this so I am jealous.

I find that when I am in the process of needing to get the ideas out it is best to remain open to the ideas and not have music or a book distract my thoughts as it is plugged into my ears. Lyrics in songs, or the words in an audio book, will cloud your ideas and push out the ones you are so desperate to find.

I start the walk with a happy memory for about 30 seconds, then remind myself of it a few times within the walk. I do this to give myself a positive boost. I’d rather be feeling good while hunting for the new ideas than start the walk off while feeling bad. When I forget the good thought step I am plagued with other bad things going on, 90% imagined, and often never find the solution I am looking for.

I find that a walk of 5 minutes to 15 minutes is fine for the purpose of breaking the thought drought, depending on the time of day. While walking I stare a tree for a minute too, I like trees and their bark and leaves, but that’s just me.

3. Bring an audio recorder with you to capture those golden ideas

Depending on the depth of the idea I am searching for I will bring along an audio recorder like my iPhone or my portable recording device which I use for podcast recordings called a Zoom H4. More on my Zoom later on in other posts down the track as I expand this blog into the process of the creation of my podcast.

Getting the ideas saved when walking is awesome. How often have you thought of a brilliant idea but had no way to get all the details listed down, only to be side tracked straight away and the idea is gone. Yes! I hate that too.

Use a simple audio recorder to capture those ideas. Don’t be scared or weirded out if you hear your own voice. The idea capturing is more important than your own voice sounding weird as you start to judge yourself. Get the idea recorded, you’ll love it.

I’ve caught ideas while walking on purpose, while walking in between meetings, while watching the kids play, while driving in the car, and sometimes I recklessly capture an awesome idea on my mobile phone while I am riding my bike. Ha. But the recording is often crap as the wind is too strong on the microphone, even though I try to cover it as best I can, while riding no hands. If the idea is good I try to get it saved! I haven’t fallen off doing this, yet. I have hit a pole though, but that’s another story, oh dear!

4. Go for a drive in the car, or ride a bike, or have a shower

Get out of the space you are in and go for a drive and crank that music up. Jump on the bike and let the fresh air wash those ideas out. Have a shower and feel the water flow over your body, soothing those ideas out of you. Enough said here.

5. Start talking out loud with no agenda

Warning. This idea may freak some of you out. I start talking into the Zoom or my phone, without knowing what I am planning to say at all, and before I know it the words and ideas are shaken loose from their slumber. Yes this really works, and it is often one of my most favourite ways for idea generating. I also get a kick out of how it works so well.

I’m not one of those people who talk incessantly, so this is weird for me too, but I have found over the past few years as I have used this idea a lot that the ideas really do flow when I talk. And not just what I was hoping to get either. The ideas that flow out are often even better than what I could have hoped.

An alternative to this is to sit with someone that is a good listener and ask them if you can describe your situation to them. Ask them to be patient as you share your dilemma. The same process of self discovery will happen. Be careful with this one though. It will not work if you are trying this with someone who will put in their own ideas and agenda.

The ending

That’s the five top ideas I use to get those crazy ideas loose. When I sit down and go back to writing the plan or whatever I was stuck on I find the words are there waiting, almost as if they were there all the time just gently waiting to be shaken free from their cage. The blank page gremlin has gone!

Then there’s the stubborn days of course. Some days it is a no show. The fun park is closed, the lights are off and no one is home. On those days, rare as they may be, I’m OK with that. I take the idea planning off the agenda and move onto other things more menial that require less creative input. Be OK with those days too.

I have really enjoyed writing this post, I hope you enjoyed it too. Let me know which of the five ideas you find sparks the best results when you are next stuck in the idea process.

Until next time, be yourself and share your voice, it counts.

Rob