Category Archives for "Prepping a Magic 2018"

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People: the Everlasting Magic

PEOPLE: The Everlasting magic

Arnaud Mathieu
I'm a music producer turned (happy) office worker. I want to help creators be in the Now and enjoy the magic of people... everything I forgot to do during my Music Biz years.

8 January 2018  |  6 minute read

Sometimes, I feel like I'm immune to Magic.

Crazy, impossible stuff turns reality every day and, if I notice it at all, I just shrug and continue my day as if it's completely normal.

I can learn anything any time without going anywhere for free; I can have any (good) project funded by strangers; there are cars that don't need gas, nor drivers and skateboards that don't need pushing. Hell, I can print OBJECTS OUT OF THIN AIR, isn't it magic enough? Yet it takes me as little as a coffee break to become aware of it, integrate the news, joke about it... and forget that it is indeed Magic.

But you know what never ceases to feel amazingly out of this world? People. Human interaction. Exchange & communication. Every. Time.

The other day, I'm filling the trunk of my car (which needs gas and a driver) when I see a guy walking toward me while talking angrily to himself. My instinct kicks in and I prepare myself for some sort of confrontation. My dog instinct kicks in and he runs toward the stranger... to play with him. That's when I watch the 30-something drunkard turn into a happy little boy who likes dogs. His anger is gone, he's smiling, petting Artika & having a good time. After a moment (I'm still putting Xmas presents in my trunk), he looks at me and tells me "Mate hezkeho pejska!" (Czech for "You have a nice dog"). I thank him and wish Merry Christmas. He says something like 'You too, Bro" and leaves.

Going from battle-mode to brotherhood in such a short time feels amazing, my head is almost spinning and I'm all pumped up... but the REAL magic is that Human interaction still has this effect on me after 33 years. I'm pretty sure that similar stories will warm my heart when I'm 64.

How to prepare a magic 2018? Put people and good human interaction at the core of your year. Here are 3 methods I had good results with and plan to do more of.

I. Shoes swapping

I have this colleague who's a complete douchebag.
He probably stole some company equipment, he's not taking responsibility for his failures, he writes angry e-mails (where he spells 'separate', 'seperate') and he's generally a dick (maybe you have the same in your office).

I can blame him (as I just did), continue with this "he's such a douchebag" story and use it to make myself shine in comparison. Most colleagues would agree with me and we'd bond over our mutual dislike of this guy (let's call him Bob)... Or I can remember Wendy Mass' wise words and put myself in his shoes.

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

- Wendy Mass.  

Bob might have family problems, health issues or past trauma and maybe his way of dealing with this is... well being a douchebag. Actually, I can even remember a few occurrences where he actually did or said something nice. Nobody's a pure monster but we're all people.

Still, he often acts as a douche and it's hard to empathize. 

My technic is therefore to:

  • picture Bob's inner child (a scared little boy in a fat adult body) which helps me feeling sorry for him; 
  • picture my Son, how he does stupid stuff when he's angry and how I can pardon and deal with it calmly thanks to Love;
  • put the 2 pictures next to each other.

Then, it's pretty clear that Bob's douchebagness is a cry for help. Just like my Son's mistakes, it's simply something he's not able to express in another way.

You can use this technic everytime somebody pisses you off, even mildly: see their inner child, bring the memory of someone you love deeply and use the love for the later to deal with the former.

Maybe 2018 will be the year Bob and I become friends or discover common interests. 

Gee, that'd be Magic.

2. Take a break

There are times when I feel lonely and crave for human interaction. 

I'd talk about anything with anyone and it obsesses me until Life put someone directly on my path to actually have a chat. I assume that's a pretty standard feeling, maybe you experienced it sometimes.

But here's the thing: in those moments, I also reject people who'd actually like to interact.

Say the shop assistant is more communicative than usual, or a colleague (not Bob) wants to talk when I'm busy or a friend starts chatting on Facebook as I begin watching Jessica Jones season 1 finale... I'd dodge and avoid the very exchange I crave.

The solution to this "I feel lonely/leave me alone" paradox is to take a break. I believe very few situations prevent us from taking a few minutes to communicate. Being in a shop, at work or on Facebook are not one of those.

Once I went to talk to Bob (apparently the star of this post) and he shut me down, gazing at his computer screen and dropping short answers. I felt unwelcomed, rejected, went away, tried my best to shoe swap and failed ("Bob is such a douche!").

A few weeks later, however, another colleague (Beard) came to chat a bit. I wanted to focus on what I was doing so I didn't elaborate on my answers and kept coming back to my computer screen... until I realized I was being a Bob and needed to take a break.

I put my pc on pause and made eye-contact with Beard. We took a coffee, talked about Queen and I learned that their bassist is named John Deacon, comes from funk (not hard rock like the rest of the band) and actually wrote "Another one bites the dust." 

I felt refreshed and pumped coming back to the workstation 10 minutes later. I would have missed that if I'd just continue the daily grind.

How many other great exchange did I miss cause I wasn't ready to take a break? How many did You?

3. Everybody's cool

I used to think that not everybody was cool. 

I'd feel like I was losing my time if I wasn't talking to the hottest lady, the most door-opening client or the most influential person in the company.

Of course, that's complete bullshit or rather an ineffective self-told story and I'm glad I got rid of it because ditching it brought me the biggest gig I ever had as a video game composer.

In 2013 I launched my first website and became serious about being a freelance music maker. I wasn't sure where to start so I chose the hard path (I'm not proud of it): I spent hours mapping the VG companies in the Czech Republic, cold-contacting them, following-up ad nauseam ... and got to close to no results. 


​During my research, I stumbled upon Kubatko, a fellow VG composer whose work I really enjoyed. I mailed to let him know, he answered, we chit-chat and I forgot about the exchange.

Years later, I was invited by Bohemia Interactive (makers of Arma & Day-Z) to score a new project. It resulted in a 2-year collaboration under very good conditions both creatively and financially.

When I asked why they contacted me they said that they usually work with Kubatko who was busy and recommended me.

58 companies contacted individually and the biggest gig comes from the 1 time I reached out for the sake of human interaction. Isn't it magic?

Everybody's cool. Don't neglect anybody.

The cleaning lady shares your passion for anime, the chatty shop assistant wants you as the drummer of his new post-punk band and your fellow composer will get you bigger gigs than actual clients.

Hell, you're reading this very article because I choose to take some time away from my work to show my music studio to David. I had no business plan in mind, I just wanted to spend some good time with a friend and, sure enough, the Magic happened and I get to write for this awesome magazine!

In 2018...

...I want to learn new skills (Javascript, Russian, maybe something completely different), to get better at parkour, longboard, and piano, to write more articles and put my online presence in order... But more than anything, I want People! 

I want to have a great time with my wife and kids, stay in touch with my family and friends, make new ones and enjoy all the others small interactions that make our life magical ... when we allow it.

Happy new year, everybody and let me know in the comment section, which magical experience you had while investing in People!

About the Author Arnaud Mathieu

I spent about 16 years running after an elusive chimera named “I want to be a Rock Star”. In 2014 I stopped running, started walking I've been enjoying every step ever since. I write and talk about the making and promotion of Music (my primary art), Peace of mind, Creativity and their Love Affair.


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3 Steps to a Magical 2018

3 steps to a Magical 2018

Chris Hardy 
I'm a coach. Let me guide you to creating a magical 2018 in 3 simple steps.
January 2018  |  11 minute read

2018 is going to be magical. I can feel it.

2018 is going to be magical. I can feel it.

In this article I share with you three tools or ideas you can use to create a magical 2018. I then invite you to join me in a webinar planned for 28th January where we’ll dive deeper into you creating your best year ever!

There three ideas are:

  1. Why reviewing the worst bits of 2017 is important if you are to fully embrace the coming year.
  2. How to utilise the wintry inward turn as a moment to plant seeds and soak up the magic at this time of year.
  3. Simplifying and turbo-charging next year by setting a single word as your intention.

In this article I share with you three tools or ideas you can use to create a magical 2018. I then invite you to join me in a webinar planned for 28th January where we’ll dive deeper into you creating your best year ever!


There three ideas are:


  1. Why reviewing the worst bits of 2017 is important if you are to fully embrace the coming year.
  2. How to utilise the wintry inward turn as a moment to plant seeds and soak up the magic at this time of year.
  3. Simplifying and turbo-charging next year by setting a single word as your intention.


And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.. 

- Roald Dahl.  

As the sap falls in the trees around us we’re naturally inclined to turn inwards, to slow down, to nurture ourselves and our roots.

Most of the time we live in a continual ‘ON’ mode. Slowing down, reflecting on the past, re-setting, relaxing, being dark, inward and still - these are totally opposed to the general thrust of our culture.

And yet it’s precisely this energy of reflection and rest that is fundamental to all successful creation. 

If you want 2018 to be your greatest year yet then make sure you are prepared. This means switching off, letting your sap fall, nurturing your roots, reflecting and learning from last year. By being inwardly focused at this time of year and you are setting the foundations for a magical and powerful 2018.

Now is a time for dreaming, for setting intentions and for putting your wishes out there into the universe. A time for praying, for nurturing your roots, a time for personal rituals of letting go of 2017 and for gently visioning and outlining 2018. 

Let me guide you in this process. Feel free to use these ideas in whatever way feels most useful to you.

As the sap falls in the trees around us we’re naturally inclined to turn inwards, to slow down, to nurture ourselves and our roots.


Most of the time we live in a continual ‘ON’ mode. Slowing down, reflecting on the past, re-setting, relaxing, being dark, inward and still - these are totally opposed to the general thrust of our culture.


And yet it’s precisely this energy of reflection and rest that is fundamental to all successful creation. 


If you want 2018 to be your greatest year yet then make sure you are prepared. This means switching off, letting your sap fall, nurturing your roots, reflecting and learning from last year. By being inwardly focused at this time of year and you are setting the foundations for a magical and powerful 2018.


Now is a time for dreaming, for setting intentions and for putting your wishes out there into the universe. A time for praying, for nurturing your roots, a time for personal rituals of letting go of 2017 and for gently visioning and outlining 2018. 


Let me guide you in this process. Feel free to use these ideas in whatever way feels most useful to you.


Tool 1: Review the Worst Bits of 2017

Tool 1: Review the Worst Bits of 2017


What were the worst bits of 2017 for you? 

Why think about that (I hear you ask...)!?

Because it’s through those bad bits that you’ve grown and developed. It’s through the challenges that we face, the struggles and the difficulties, that we become more of our best self, that we become fuller versions of ourselves, more complete, more satisfied and more awesome.

A tree grows stronger the more storms it weathers.

Same with humans.

Recently I had a powerful sense of doubt and insecurity coursing through my body. Everything looked difficult. My relationships, my work, my creative expression, my friendships. It was totally unusual for me and I couldn’t get to the bottom of it for a few weeks.

Through focusing in on this ‘bad bit’, the feelings of fear and doubt and the challenge it was bringing me, I did a number of things: turned to my coaches and support network, wrote a lot in my journal, did ‘The Work’ of Byron Katie to discover hidden and non-useful thoughts.

The challenge led me to do this deep inner personal work. Through that process I uncovered something incredibly important and powerful.

A realisation that I had a story deep inside me that said:

“Being in 100% integrity is not safe.”

Holy crap!! 

When I could see that I took immediate action. Delving into the memories and stories that had created this, getting them out in the light, releasing the fear, embodying my truth and making clear and exciting plans for 2018 that are powerful and authentic and in integrity with my deepest truth.

This was one of my moments of doubt and fear that 2017 bought for me. The resulting goodness of going THROUGH that doubt feels like golden wisdom.

By reflecting on my ‘worst bits’ (of which this was one) I acknowledge the learning and insights developed, the action I took to get there, and the changes I’m committed to making in the coming year.

Reflect on this for a moment for yourself: 

What were the three biggest challenges you faced in 2017 and more importantly: What did you learn by going through those challenges?

And then crystallise out that learning and commit to taking it into 2018 with you.

Share below or with me what your worst bits were. Let’s have them out in the light. And then also share your learning and what you’re committing to taking into 2018. Just the process of writing out those commitments will deepen their potential impact in your life.

Here’s a video giving you a little more nuance and understanding of this:

What were the worst bits of 2017 for you? 


Why think about that (I hear you ask...)!?


Because it’s through those bad bits that you’ve grown and developed. It’s through the challenges that we face, the struggles and the difficulties, that we become more of our best self, that we become fuller versions of ourselves, more complete, more satisfied and more awesome.


A tree grows stronger the more storms it weathers.


Same with humans.


Recently I had a powerful sense of doubt and insecurity coursing through my body. Everything looked difficult. My relationships, my work, my creative expression, my friendships. It was totally unusual for me and I couldn’t get to the bottom of it for a few weeks.


Through focusing in on this ‘bad bit’, the feelings of fear and doubt and the challenge it was bringing me, I did a number of things: turned to my coaches and support network, wrote a lot in my journal, did ‘The Work’ of Byron Katie to discover hidden and non-useful thoughts.


The challenge led me to do this deep inner personal work. Through that process I uncovered something incredibly important and powerful.


A realisation that I had a story deep inside me that said:


“Being in 100% integrity is not safe.”


Holy crap!! 


When I could see that I took immediate action. Delving into the memories and stories that had created this, getting them out in the light, releasing the fear, embodying my truth and making clear and exciting plans for 2018 that are powerful and authentic and in integrity with my deepest truth.


This was one of my moments of doubt and fear that 2017 bought for me. The resulting goodness of going THROUGH that doubt feels like golden wisdom.


By reflecting on my ‘worst bits’ (of which this was one) I acknowledge the learning and insights developed, the action I took to get there, and the changes I’m committed to making in the coming year.


Reflect on this for a moment for yourself: 


What were the three biggest challenges you faced in 2017 and more importantly: What did you learn by going through those challenges?


And then crystallise out that learning and commit to taking it into 2018 with you.


Share below or with me what your worst bits were. Let’s have them out in the light. And then also share your learning and what you’re committing to taking into 2018. Just the process of writing out those commitments will deepen their potential impact in your life.


Here’s a video giving you a little more nuance and understanding of this: https://youtu.be/wu2_Fl7OZAI


Tool 2: Embracing the Inward Turn

Tool 2: Embracing the Inward Turn


Our culture has an incessant always ON-ness about it.

Always connected, always growing, always creating, always willing to socialise, always on social media. It’s relentless, neurotic, harmful, unnatural, unsatisfying and ultimately totally unsustainable.

If you want yourself or your business to grow and develop in 2018 then you have to embrace the inward turn that this time of year offers. In order for powerful creation to take place there needs to be rest, pausing, stillness, darkness, unknown and general ‘OFF-ness’.

In nature that is exactly what is happening at this time of year. Notice around you that the sap in the trees is going down into the roots. Nature is turning inwards. The leaves are falling, growth stops or slows, most flowers are dormant, the grass ceases to grow. Nature goes to sleep as part of the preparation for the awesome growth we look forward to in the spring.

Without this period of sleep, spring would not happen.

It can feel strange for us, life slows down, our business isn’t necessarily taking off, we’re feeling the need to be inward and retreat a little from the world. 

If we’re living out of alignment and are not happy with ourselves on a deeper level then this inward turn can be uncomfortable. Part of the neurotic always ON-ness I spoke of above is because it serves as a distraction from an existential unease that many of us feel.

My suggestion is to embrace these feelings. 

Embrace the inward turn, it is what nature is doing all around you and if we don’t flow with the seasons we’re energetically out of alignment with our surroundings. Not just out of alignment with how things look and feel but out of alignment with our inner seasons, out of alignment with the workings of our spirit, out of alignment with our natural creative flows and seasons of life.

Do things like:

  • Cancel social arrangements and create time and space to be still and at home
  • spend time at home sorting through your papers in the folder of ‘important docs’
  • Get off the screen, particularly in the evening
  • Reflect on the past year by drawing mind maps and writing in your journal
  • Get rid of stuff, go to the dump or the charity shop
  • Minimise your use of social media and fight the need to go out and socialise.
  • Be with your partner at home reflecting on your past year together and making plans for the next.
  • Light a fire and get cosy and crafty in the creation of Christmas presents.

It’s a time of year for turning inward. Embrace it and you’ll be surprised at how good it feels. 

You’re nurturing your roots in preparation for a magical and kick-ass 2018.

More nuance and understanding at this video: 

Our culture has an incessant always ON-ness about it.


Always connected, always growing, always creating, always willing to socialise, always on social media. It’s relentless, neurotic, harmful, unnatural, unsatisfying and ultimately totally unsustainable.


If you want yourself or your business to grow and develop in 2018 then you have to embrace the inward turn that this time of year offers. In order for powerful creation to take place there needs to be rest, pausing, stillness, darkness, unknown and general ‘OFF-ness’.


In nature that is exactly what is happening at this time of year. Notice around you that the sap in the trees is going down into the roots. Nature is turning inwards. The leaves are falling, growth stops or slows, most flowers are dormant, the grass ceases to grow. Nature goes to sleep as part of the preparation for the awesome growth we look forward to in the spring.


Without this period of sleep, spring would not happen.


It can feel strange for us, life slows down, our business isn’t necessarily taking off, we’re feeling the need to be inward and retreat a little from the world. 


If we’re living out of alignment and are not happy with ourselves on a deeper level then this inward turn can be uncomfortable. Part of the neurotic always ON-ness I spoke of above is because it serves as a distraction from an existential unease that many of us feel.


My suggestion is to embrace these feelings. 


Embrace the inward turn, it is what nature is doing all around you and if we don’t flow with the seasons we’re energetically out of alignment with our surroundings. Not just out of alignment with how things look and feel but out of alignment with our inner seasons, out of alignment with the workings of our spirit, out of alignment with our natural creative flows and seasons of life.


Do things like:

  • Cancel social arrangements and create time and space to be still and at home
  • spend time at home sorting through your papers in the folder of ‘important docs’
  • Get off the screen, particularly in the evening
  • Reflect on the past year by drawing mind maps and writing in your journal
  • Get rid of stuff, go to the dump or the charity shop
  • Minimise your use of social media and fight the need to go out and socialise.
  • Be with your partner at home reflecting on your past year together and making plans for the next.
  • Light a fire and get cosy and crafty in the creation of Christmas presents.


It’s a time of year for turning inward. Embrace it and you’ll be surprised at how good it feels. 


You’re nurturing your roots in preparation for a magical and kick-ass 2018.


More nuance and understanding at this video: https://youtu.be/mMXniblKsTE


Tool 3: Setting a ONE word intention for next year.


Tool 3: Setting a ONE word intention for next year.

If you could only have ONE word as your intention for next year what would it be?

Now is a really good time to be putting attention on the next year but to not necessarily be doing anything. More just dreaming, visioning and intention setting. Think of it like planting seeds.

I literally use that language with people I speak to about plans for the coming year. On Sunday I spoke with one of my current creative partners (coaching clients), let’s call him Andrew, about an idea I’ve got to serve and support 100s of doctors with their personal wellbeing.

Our work together is helping Andrew build his own personal welding rituals and practices. He’s noticing how powerfully this is impacting his ability to consult, to be emotionally connected to his patients, to dive more deeply with his addiction patients and to influence the doctor around him not to be prescribing so many drugs and to do more healing interventions. It’s powerful and the results are impressive.

We explored how this could be rolled out to a number of doctors through an initial ‘health check’ 30 minute consultation with me uncovering their personal wellbeing habits. There are obviously ways and ways this could be rolled out; connecting with doctors via regional hubs, speaking to leading partners in Andrew’s practice about offering this out to everybody etc etc.

In conversation though all the ideas felt forced, felt like we were trying to bring on spring immediately, felt like now just wasn’t the right time. We both feel the magic of this time and so I literally said:

“Hey Andrea, you know what. Let’s not do anything right now. Let’s just have this as a seed of intention that we’ve planted in this magical and nutritious soil of our hearts. If action spontaneously arises then follow it, but let’s not force anything.”

One seed you can plant for yourself at this time of year is the seed of a single word intention for 2018.

I love this idea of having a single word which can act as a prism or lens through which you’ll see all of your work, relationship and personal life. 

This year mine has been body. This mean a prioritisation of all things body orientated. Yoga, meditation, music, breathing(!), eating well, running a lot (I did two cross-country half marathons!)

Through this attention to my body my business has taken off, I’ve become more embodied (obviously!) and more powerful. My music and voice have developed so much that I’m not often working as paid musician on weekend retreats.

I’m stronger and more health than I’ve ever been and this comes across immediately when I speak publicly or in person with my creative partners.

What will be your ONE word for 2018?

I’m curious to know. Hit me back with an email.

You could also share with me what you intend to create personally or professionally through focusing on your life through the lens of that single word.

My word for 2018?

S.P.I.R.I.T.

More on how that will influence my personal and professional life in the webinar…

Here’s a video with a little more nuance and understanding on this one word intention idea:

If you could only have ONE word as your intention for next year what would it be?


Now is a really good time to be putting attention on the next year but to not necessarily be doing anythning. More just dreaming, visioning and intention setting. Think of it like planting seeds.


I literally use that language with people I speak to about plans for the coming year. On Sunday I spoke with one of my current creative partners (coaching clients), let’s call him Andrew, about an idea I’ve got to serve and support 100s of doctors with their personal wellbeing.


Our work together is helping Andrew build his own personal welding rituals and practices. He’s noticing how powerfully this is impacting his ability to consult, to be emotionally connected to his patients, to dive more deeply with his addiction patients and to influence the doctor around him not to be prescribing so many drugs and to do more healing interventions. It’s powerful and the results are impressive.


We explored how this could be rolled out to a number of doctors through an initial ‘health check’ 30 minute consultation with me uncovering their personal wellbeing habits. There are obviously ways and ways this could be rolled out; connecting with doctors via regional hubs, speaking to leading partners in Andrew’s practice about offering this out to everybody etc etc.


In conversation though all the ideas felt forced, felt like we were trying to bring on spring immediately, felt like now just wasn’t the right time. We both feel the magic of this time and so I literally said:


“Hey Andrea, you know what. Let’s not do anything right now. Let’s just have this as a seed of intention that we’ve planted in this magical and nutritious soil of our hearts. If action spontaneously arises then follow it, but let’s not force anything.”


One seed you can plant for yourself at this time of year is the seed of a single word intention for 2018.


I love this idea of having a single word which can act as a prism or lens through which you’ll see all of your work, relationship and personal life. 


This year mine has been body. This mean a prioritisation of all things body orientated. Yoga, meditation, music, breathing(!), eating well, running a lot (I did two cross-country half marathons!)


Through this attention to my body my business has taken off, I’ve become more embodied (obviously!) and more powerful. My music and voice have developed so much that I’m not often working as paid musician on weekend retreats.


I’m stronger and more health than I’ve ever been and this comes across immediately when I speak publicly or in person with my creative partners.


What will be your ONE word for 2018?


I’m curious to know. Hit me back with an email.


You could also share with me what you intend to create personally or professionally through focusing on your life through the lens of that single word.


My word for 2018?


S.P.I.R.I.T.


More on how that will influence my personal and professional life in the webinar…


Here’s a video with a little more nuance and understanding on this one word intention idea: https://youtu.be/mV5Pi5nUtkI


Join me for a Webinar to diver Deeper.

On 28th January between 17.30 and 19:00 UK time I’m hosting a webinar diving into powerful personal practices and spiritual tools that will enable you to create a kick-ass 2018.

Booking link is here: https://create-a-magical-2018.eventbrite.co.uk

Here is what we’ll cover:

Why having ONE word as an intention creates a laser sharp focus that I’ve witnessed having astonishing results. 

The year my coach has ‘Money’ as his word and he created $250,000 of income. My word for 2017 is ‘Body’ - I’ve prioritised my yoga and running, my music and voice. I’ve run in two cross-country half marathons and have become fitter, better balanced, more powerful and more strong than I’ve ever been. This has fed into my coaching work and my public speaking. My business has taken off and I’ve created more success this year than ever before.

All done through focusing on my body first which is enabled by my focus being laser sharp through my ONE word intention…

What would your word be that would have the rest of your life bought into focus and clarity THROUGH this single word intention?

There’s ben an opportunity to share your word during our webinar so we can witness your commitment to this for the coming year.

Why making resolutions is bollocks and how making commitments to yourself is a risky and yet totally necessary, powerful and fulfilling step to take.

New Year resolutions are notorious for not lasting. Ok. We all know that. 

What do we do instead? Commitments. 

We’re afraid of this word in our culture and for good reason. Most of us make commitments that we don’t end up keeping and then feel bad about having ever made them. This issue is understood through a concept called ‘Self-Efficacy’. This is your level of belief in yourself to achieve the goals that you set yourself. 

What’s your level of self-efficacy like? Low? 

Well, hop onto this webinar and I’ll tell you how you can build this important ingredient in creating the life that you want. 

Sneak preview: One idea I will share is to make your commitments SMALL - this means that they’re so easy you can’t NOT do them. 

But not only small, the rest I’ll share in the webinar!

Building your level of self-efficacy could be the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR in whether 2018 is the year or your dreams coming true or whether you repeat the 

Why focusing on the bad parts of 2017 will have your learning your lessons properly.

Reviewing your 2017 is important in order to learn the most from your experiences. If you’ve experienced doubt, fear, unknown, insecurity, anger, resentment, selfishness, loneliness and any other challenge this year then GOOD. It’s in these moments when the greatest learning happens. 

Capturing this learning, reflecting on how you’ve grown and on what you’re taking into 2018 is crucial to making the most of the difficulties and in helping you grow in to the best version of yourself.

Personally a recent period of insecurity had me realise that I needed more structure in my business. The insecurity was terrible to experience; I had long days of fear, of discomfort, of doubt, of not knowing and of trouble in many relationships. THROUGH that challenge I’ve created 2018 with simple focus, clear structure and a deep grounded sense of security. 

I’m pumped to share this plan with you and help you create your own.

Why now is a brilliant time to be investing in yourself.

It can never feel like a good time to invest in yourself and yet if we want to make progress as powerful creative people then this is essential. In March 2017 I committed to investing £12,000 in receiving coaching from John Morgan. At the time it was more money than I had access to and so we had to create a payment plan. Within three months I’d created easily this investment and so paid off the plan in advance.

Investing in yourself doesn’t have to mean coaching. This week I spend £130 in a local running shop. That’s investing in myself through buying good kit that is aligned with keeping me fit and healthy. I’m eyeing up a fantastic pair of speakers that will cost £240 but seeing this through the idea of investing in myself and my music career has the purchase make a lot more sense. And, well, it’s Christmas. 

Go crazy and invest now in yourself for 2018.

Even better is to align your investments in yourself with your one word intention for the year. This is a way of literally bringing your intention into physical form and manifesting it in front of you.

What would be your investment in yourself that would represent your intention for the year?

You can probably feel that I’m pumped about sharing this webinar with you. And it’s not only a webinar. I’m inviting everybody who joins to a one to one coaching session booked within one month of the webinar.

Here is how it works:

You invest £75 through Eventbrite at this link:

https://create-a-magical-2018.eventbrite.co.uk

For this investment you will receive:

The 90 minute webinar from 5.30-7pm Wednesday 28th 17.30 January 2018

A 45 minute 1-1 coaching with me within one month of the webinar.

A copy of my ebook ‘Be More Awesome’ which will help you create your personal daily spiritual practice.

Any questions about this please get in touch. 

And if this isn’t for you but you’d like to be kept in the loop about upcoming webinars, events and offers please join my mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/baB065

On 28th January between 17.30 and 19:00 UK time I’m hosting a webinar diving into powerful personal practices and spiritual tools that will enable you to create a kick-ass 2018.


Booking link is here: https://create-a-magical-2018.eventbrite.co.uk


Here is what we’ll cover:


Why having ONE word as an intention creates a laser sharp focus that I’ve witnessed having astonishing results. 


The year my coach has ‘Money’ as his word and he created $250,000 of income. My word for 2017 is ‘Body’ - I’ve prioritised my yoga and running, my music and voice. I’ve run in two cross-country half marathons and have become fitter, better balanced, more powerful and more strong than I’ve ever been. This has fed into my coaching work and my public speaking. My business has taken off and I’ve created more success this year than ever before.


All done through focusing on my body first which is enabled by my focus being laser sharp through my ONE word intention…


What would your word be that would have the rest of your life bought into focus and clarity THROUGH this single word intention?


There’s ben an opportunity to share your word during our webinar so we can witness your commitment to this for the coming year.


Why making resolutions is bollocks and how making commitments to yourself is a risky and yet totally necessary, powerful and fulfilling step to take.


New Year resolutions are notorious for not lasting. Ok. We all know that. 


What do we do instead? Commitments. 


We’re afraid of this word in our culture and for good reason. Most of us make commitments that we don’t end up keeping and then feel bad about having ever made them. This issue is understood through a concept called ‘Self-Efficacy’. This is your level of belief in yourself to achieve the goals that you set yourself. 


What’s your level of self-efficacy like? Low? 


Well, hop onto this webinar and I’ll tell you how you can build this important ingredient in creating the life that you want. 


Sneak preview: One idea I will share is to make your commitments SMALL - this means that they’re so easy you can’t NOT do them. 


But not only small, the rest I’ll share in the webinar!


Building your level of self-efficacy could be the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR in whether 2018 is the year or your dreams coming true or whether you repeat the 


Why focusing on the bad parts of 2017 will have your learning your lessons properly.


Reviewing your 2017 is important in order to learn the most from your experiences. If you’ve experienced doubt, fear, unknown, insecurity, anger, resentment, selfishness, loneliness and any other challenge this year then GOOD. It’s in these moments when the greatest learning happens. 


Capturing this learning, reflecting on how you’ve grown and on what you’re taking into 2018 is crucial to making the most of the difficulties and in helping you grow in to the best version of yourself.


Personally a recent period of insecurity had me realise that I needed more structure in my business. The insecurity was terrible to experience; I had long days of fear, of discomfort, of doubt, of not knowing and of trouble in many relationships. THROUGH that challenge I’ve created 2018 with simple focus, clear structure and a deep grounded sense of security. 


I’m pumped to share this plan with you and help you create your own.


Why now is a brilliant time to be investing in yourself.


It can never feel like a good time to invest in yourself and yet if we want to make progress as powerful creative people then this is essential. In March 2017 I committed to investing £12,000 in receiving coaching from John Morgan. At the time it was more money than I had access to and so we had to create a payment plan. Within three months I’d created easily this investment and so paid off the plan in advance.


Investing in yourself doesn’t have to mean coaching. This week I spend £130 in a local running shop. That’s investing in myself through buying good kit that is aligned with keeping me fit and healthy. I’m eyeing up a fantastic pair of speakers that will cost £240 but seeing this through the idea of investing in myself and my music career has the purchase make a lot more sense. And, well, it’s Christmas. 


Go crazy and invest now in yourself for 2018.


Even better is to align your investments in yourself with your one word intention for the year. This is a way of literally bringing your intention into physical form and manifesting it in front of you.


What would be your investment in yourself that would represent your intention for the year?


+++


You can probably feel that I’m pumped about sharing this webinar with you. And it’s not only a webinar. I’m inviting everybody who joins to a one to one coaching session booked within one month of the webinar.


Here is how it works:


You invest £75 through Eventbrite at this link:


For this investment you will receive:


The 90 minute webinar from 5.30-7pm Wednesday 28th 17.30 January 2018

A 45 minute 1-1 coaching with me within one month of the webinar.

A copy of my ebook ‘Be More Awesome’ which will help you create your personal daily spiritual practice.


Any questions about this please get in touch. 


And if this isn’t for you but you’d like to be kept in the loop about upcoming webinars, events and offers please join my mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/baB065

Now it's your turn. What do you think? Comment below. 

About the Author Chris Hardy

Sharing ideas and actions on building authentic, happy and impactful lives. Nearly everything I write about comes from one to one coaching conversations…


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A Perfectionist’s Guide to Letting Go

A perfectionist's guide to letting go

Gretchen Diehl
Gretchen is a visual artist and mother of 2, who loves to create.
10 January 2018  |  20 minute read

Breathe. You are already perfect.

Each January, I write a list of objectives or goals for the coming year in an effort to motivate myself to be ambitious and/or do the most good in my life for the next 365 days. Over the last decade, these lists have helped me to apply to (and appear in) numerous art exhibitions, complete the illustrations for my tarot deck, read more, write more, donate more to charity, and learn the fundamentals of cooking. Since the birth of my first child a little over 3 years ago, however, that annual list-making tradition has fallen to the wayside.

In 2017 I found myself composing my list in early March, and really not looking at it again until… well, until I was thinking of writing this article to share my so-called wisdom with all of you. This unintentional loosening of the reins has given me a little perspective about perfectionism, ambition, and the counter-intuitive satisfaction of letting go.

The Backstory

Throughout my life, people (teachers, friends… my poor, exhausted mother) have referred to me as a perfectionist. I wanted straight A’s in my classes, I wanted to be the most skilled artist in my school, the most thoughtful friend and daughter, the best dancer in the studio… and I put in the work, for the most part, but I had a ton of interests, and there were only so many hours in the day. I began to equate success not only with proficiency, but with my own notion of best-ness.

Drawing something really well and being pleased with the image I made only felt good until I saw something that someone else had drawn that was better, more beautiful, or more inspiring. It could be someone in my art class, or a painting hanging in the freaking Met. It didn’t matter. If it was better than what I had made, I could enjoy its beauty for about 5 seconds before feeling a nauseating pang of jealously and a sinking disappointment in my own abilities. I drove myself crazy.

And I expected this level of accomplishment in many areas of my life, not just one. I expected to be “gifted” with an ability to create images, move my body, and compile words better than anyone else I knew. On top of that, I expected myself to be the most thoughtful friend with the most interesting stories, who tells them at the right time, never puts her foot in her mouth, and always manages to bring a handmade gift when someone is feeling down.

At this time in my life, whenever I felt exhausted and frustrated and overworked (which was often) I found myself defaulting to the phrase, "I can't work any harder." It was both an excuse and a cry of defeat. It was everything a bad mantra can be; coddling and disempowering. Saying it to myself simply made me more upset, and helped me to remain stuck in the feeling that I was experiencing.

In the years following high school, I found myself moving away from these feelings as they pertained to my professional interests (maturing, I guess), while still putting pressure on my social persona. I was becoming more ok with being mediocre, as I would have described it at the time, but still needed to be “everything to everyone” socially.

I was learning how to be a part of the world instead of my own deity, and the growing pains were real. It felt like letting go of everything because of how far “perfectionism” had pervaded my life. I had to let go of trying to be the best, but each area of my life was a new revelation, so it felt like a new disappointment every few months when I realized I had dropped another ball.

Walking around Barnes & Noble one day in Philly, I came across a weird little book that cracked me up. It was called The Underachiever’s Manifesto, and the text on the cover was hyphenated because “Underachiever’s” didn’t quite fit on the center line. It was cheeky and charming and I bought it for $3 or something. Then it sat on my shelf collecting dust for 5 years.

When I was 26 I started teaching college courses on the topic of Fashion Marketing (mostly retail math as well as how to manage a store or buy for customers) and I immediately loved the atmosphere. I felt like an expert (which I love), and often, students would ask questions that I didn’t know the answers to, and I would have to research and bring that information back the next week. I was surprised at the natural softening of my ego that happened at that time. Looking back at who I was in the past, it seemed like calling out my lack of knowledge would have been a hard hit for me to take, but I quickly took to saying, “you know, I’m not sure, but I will find out and get back to you,” and it was surprisingly empowering.

I befriended another instructor at the college who was known by the student population as a slacker. I didn’t immediately respect her approach, but I was drawn to her. I knew there were different ways that instructors gleaned results from their students, and my approach (motherly and high-energy), combined with this low-energy colleague's approach as well as some of the other Devil-Wears-Prada professors, created a well-rounded education where students gained experience that could be translated into working for a ball-buster or having to direct your own learning to train for a new field.

It wasn't that I couldn't see the value in the instruction that she provided, it's that I didn’t understand how her career could be satisfying to her. I felt like I could finally exhale when I received my “Teaching Excellence Award” in my 12th quarter. I was chosen out of all of the instructors at the school to receive it, and she laughed and told me she had never gotten one in her 25 years of teaching. I wasn’t appalled, but I was super confused.

After sitting in on her final project critiques a few times, we realized we lived in the same part of the city, and she took to offering me a ride because she knew I walked everywhere and didn’t have a car. We would chat during our 20 minute drives together, and I learned a few things about her; she was single and had a lot of free time, she smiled an awful lot, she adopted a lot of pets from a shelter where she did a lot of volunteer work, and she was just as confused by my level of anxiety toward achievement as I was confused by her comfort and complacency… and all of those things together started to look like freedom.

On one of our rides she described herself as an underachiever and laughed. I told her about the book I owned and never read, and she said, “that sounds like something I would have written if I cared to take the time to do it,” and laughed harder. Her calm was infectious.

That same night I dug up the book and read it from cover to cover (it took less than an hour), and felt oddly comforted. Most of the advice would sound obvious to a well-adjusted person:

“if you don’t want to do something, don’t do it”

“if you can’t get to something, don’t worry about it”

While others were a little more tongue-in-cheek:

“why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”

When I was done, I felt the odd sense of comfort that comes from getting to know a part of myself really well. There is a lot that I like about creating checklists to keep myself on task and accomplishing the small parts of larger goals. I have a multifaceted personality that really benefits from that kind of mental organization. If it isn’t in a list, or on my calendar, there is a good chance it will be forgotten in the shuffle of the 43 other things that need to get done by the end of the week. But there has to be a healthy balance.

Because the lists and the goals and the finish lines were such a part of my life for so long, I started to wear blinders for the journey. I wasn’t enjoying the small things, the everyday beauty. I could never have described myself if I had ever tried online dating. I thought of myself as a list of accomplishments instead of a pile of complex and contradictory personality characteristics, even though I would describe my friends otherwise. These expectations were not the same for other people, only myself. I did associate MY achievements with MY worthiness, and every year that passed with a New Years Checklist that was only 50% complete, was a year of opportunities half-lost.

But time is never lost, it is spent in other ways.

I found, in the back of my mind, that horrible little mantra creeping back into my consciousness; "I can't work any harder," but this time I did something new. I laughed at it.

The truth is that I CAN work harder than I currently am, but is that the goal? This terrible mantra did not serve me well in the past and was not going to be helpful now. I needed to come up with a more conscious dialogue. Something that complements the way that my brain works. Its default expressions. I spent time getting to know my own mental habits through journaling. I found that, like most people, I am pretty rude to myself.

I was putting these mental vagaries into concrete terms as I was experiencing my first pregnancy (with my son, who is now 3), which brings its own emotional challenges. I found this to be an empowering time to try to tackle many of my negative self-talk habits, as I didn't want any chemical changes to affect my baby, nor did I want him emulating my self-deprecating humor when he became old enough to repeat everything I say (which is now, as it were).

One of my biggest issues is my expectation of social perfection. The need to be loved and admired by everyone and not make any embarrassing mistakes. My need to be the one that everyone comes to with their problems, and, when that works, my exhaustion from empathizing and absorbing the major and minor decisions and disappointments of all of the people I love.

The first part of addressing this involved identifying the existing narrative, or what I was feeling about this expectation I imposed on myself. It felt like a responsibility. Having been this person to many people in my life for much of my life started to feel like an expectation not only of mine, but of theirs.

Feeling that expectation from other people started to morph into guilt, and then exhausted resentment. So I needed to come up with something to counteract that cycle of expectation-responsibility-guilt, and the mantra that felt the best was, "I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness." Saying it was freeing, and in time, became calming. It is something I am still working to fully believe, but saying it at certain moments 'defuses the bomb,' so to speak.

This past spring, when I started living with my parents (and older brother), I realized that I needed to adjust my mantra... "I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness" was a helpful beginning, but there were times that I felt deflated and defeated by the negative emotions of people around me. The energy that it took to keep 2 very young kids entertained and stimulated left me with a very low tolerance for much of anything else.

I tried very hard to be accommodating in the meals I would cook, the chores I would take on, and the schedule I would keep. I would be the sounding board for everyone individually (which had been my role when I was young, and therefore was difficult to distance myself from when I moved back in to my family home). When I would do things in an effort to please people, MY actions were not exhausting me, but when my actions did not result in someone else's happiness, I felt like a failure. As if time was wasted, or I was just not getting it 'right enough.' Saying "I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness," should have worked, but I had to realize that there was another layer to it. I had to add, "and no one owes me their happiness." I can do all the nice things in the world, but at the end of the day, their happiness is not owed to me, and is no judgment on me. After realizing how self-absorbed that perspective was, it was relatively easy to let go.

I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness.

No one owes me their happiness.

and I am enough for myself...

Perfectionism is only helpful as a motivator until it isn't. Perfectionism sets expectations, creates a list of goals, demands quantity AND quality, and does not accept the fact that I am just plain tired. Perfectionism has helped me to accomplish a lot in the early part of my life, and I appreciate that. It was synonymous with my identity. As my family grows and my role in this world changes, I become more and more aware of the stress that perfectionism caused me, and how upsetting it would be to see my children accomplishing big things, only to feel less-than a few moments later when the high of achieving wears off.

Going forward, it is my aim to treat myself the way that I would want my children to be treated. It's a high bar to set, but worth reaching for. To look at myself with as much objectivity as possible, but also with a crap-ton of love and excitement for what is to come in the future.

Now it's your turn. What do you think? Comment below. 

About the Author Gretchen Diehl

Gretchen Diehl is a visual artist training to be a tattoo artist in the Poconos.  She lives with her husband and their 2 quirky little kids.  Her previous works include an illustrated tarot deck and a variety of wearable and textile goods created under the pseudonym 'BirdQueen.'  Gretchen is passionate about health, fitness, and food, making beautiful images, and living in love, and writes "often" about all of these topics.    


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Why I No Longer Feel Bad When I Don’t Keep My Resolutions

Why I No Longer Feel Bad When I Don’t Keep My Resolutions

Meredith Walters
I love to help people who are still unsure what they’re meant to do in the world find their calling, embrace their challenges, and discover the hero within.
8 January 2018  |  9 minute read 

Every January, the self help world lights up with all kinds of tips and tricks for how to keep your New Year’s Resolutions.

As a personal development coach, I’ve written my fair share of blog posts on the topic, and even delivered a workshop for a local bootcamp on how to create resolutions you can keep.

These days, however, I’m not so interested in achieving goals, and it’s not because I’ve given up on myself, or because I’m too spiritually evolved, or because I don’t think setting objectives or having intentions is helpful. It’s just that I’ve found that they’re rarely helpful in the ways we usually expect them to be.

The Problem With Finding Your Path

Most of us think about our lives in geographic terms. It’s like we’re visualizing ourselves on a map: we’re at point A, what we want is at point B, and our job is to travel the distance between the two, preferably as quickly as possible.

I myself am not immune. As a coach who helps other people identify and move into meaningful work they love, I talk a lot about forging your own path. It’s not a bad metaphor, but it can lead to a fundamental misconception when it comes to understanding challenges.

When something comes up that gets in our way, like procrastination, distraction, lack of follow through, fear, indecisiveness, worry, forgetfulness, or other lifelong habits that slow us down, we see them as obstacles. After all, they’re preventing us from arriving at the place where we’re supposed to be. We think it’s our duty to do what we can to minimize these challenges so we can move towards what we want more efficiently and effectively.

It all sounds so reasonable. But in my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.

What Really Happens When We Reach Our Goals

I’ve set a lot of intentions in my life. Even when I haven’t had the courage to make explicit goals, I’ve longed for lots of things, like to get married, save the world, buy a house, have children, run a successful business, become enlightened, write a popular novel, help lots of people, earn sufficient money doing what I love…the list goes on.

Some of these goals I’ve achieved and others I haven’t (a saved world and enlightenment, for example, have been particularly tricky to accomplish). What I have found consistently is that when I finally find what I’m looking for, it’s never what I thought it was going to be.

For example, ever since I decided to become a coach, I’ve wanted to run a successful business and earn my living helping others while enjoying what I do. I spent the first five years out of coaching school learning about entrepreneurship, trying out different marketing and sales tactics, and generally doing anything and everything I thought would help me grow my enterprise.

It was hard work, and often left me exhausted, but it felt worth it as I crept closer to my goal. I could imagine all the benefits I’d enjoy when I finally had a thriving coaching practice: I’d finally feel capable and proud of myself for the good work I was doing. I’d help others and know that I was making a positive difference in the world. The day-to-day realities of my life would improve as financial constraints were removed and I experienced more frequent joy, serenity, and freedom.

Then one day I signed up my 16th client and my practice was officially full. I had achieved my goal! But instead of being the panacea I’d thought it would be, it simply brought on new problems.

Sure, there was a temporary pride in my accomplishment. But I soon found that 16 clients were far too many for me to serve well; I just didn’t have the energy to show up for so many people consistently. And even though I had a full practice, I was still prone to doubts about how good of a job I was doing. In the end, rather than joy, serenity, and freedom, most days I just ended up feeling drained and uninspired.

The Upside to Failure

My thriving coaching practice didn’t last for long. Clients completed their engagements with me before I could sign up new ones to replace them. Soon my practice was no longer full and I was back to trying desperately to grow my business.

But then the most amazing thing happened.

I’d been talking to my coach, meditation teacher, and various friends and family (basically anyone who would listen) about all my struggles and disappointments.

I talked about the fear and anxiety that kept me from taking bold action towards my goals. I complained about the self doubt that always made me feel like whatever I was doing wasn’t good enough. I shared about how often the heavy burden of responsibility and duty left me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and unable to enjoy even the things in my life that I loved and felt incredibly grateful for.

The amazing thing is that slowly, over time, and with the help of my support network, I began to find new ways of approaching things. I started to discover ways of working with my fear and calming my anxiety. I learned how to trust myself and know that there was no way I could ever not be enough. I finally realized that I’m not responsible for everything and figured out how to prioritize rest, fun, and other energizing activities.

In the process, I rediscovered my love of writing. I started creating short stories for my blog and eventually dared to do what I never thought I would: write a novel.

The result? I began to feel capable and proud of myself for the good work I was doing. I knew that I was helping others and making a positive difference in the world. The day-to-day realities of my life improved as I experienced more frequent joy, serenity, and freedom.

I wasn’t yet making as much money as I wanted to, but I had enough, from various sources, and began to trust that I would be okay and find a way regardless of what happened with my business.

Please Don’t Avoid the Challenges

I began to see that our limitations—no matter how messy or embarrassing or undesirable they may seem—are not the problem. Our challenges are not what get in the way of walking our path.

Our challenges are the path.

Research has shown that humans are terrible at predicting what will make us happy. The problem isn’t just that we don’t pick the right things to want; it’s also that we don’t have the context to understand how to find what we’re truly looking for.

We can’t see what we need until we get there. If you would have asked me twenty years ago when I was in the throes of depression what I needed to be happy, I would have told you I needed far less hopelessness, despair, and other painful feelings. What I didn’t understand until I had worked with a therapist for a few years was that I didn’t need less pain—I just needed to relate to it in an entirely different way.

Happiness is almost never found where we think it will be, and it’s certainly not a straight line away. On a map, the journey to anything worthwhile would look more like a crooked line that zigs and zags, disappears and reappears, and sometimes circles back to where we started.

Fortunately, we don’t have to know where the path to happiness lies. All we have to do is embrace whatever challenge is arising for us in this particular moment. It’s by working with these challenges that we’ll find what we truly want and need, but that we probably don’t yet have the context to understand.

Let the Universe Be Smarter Than You

If this feels vague and esoteric, then let me make it more concrete: to find what you’re longing for, absolutely take steps in that direction that make sense to you. Then when something arises that gets in your way, thank your lucky stars.

Name what’s challenging you. Get curious about it. Study how and when and why it shows up. Reflect on it. Write about it. Treat it like the most fascinating phenomenon in the world, one worthy of your most reverent attention.

Then talk to someone else about it. We all have blind spots, and we all need outside perspectives. So find a coach, therapist, mentor, teacher, or wise friend or family member who can help you find a new way of seeing things.

Ultimately, your desire is sacred, but it’s not what you want that’s important so much as what you learn by trying to find it. The great thing about this is it takes the pressure off; it truly doesn’t matter whether or not you arrive at your imagined destination, because you find what you’re looking for along the way.

Knowing this, knowing that whatever is challenging you is there to help you find your path, knowing that the universe is far smarter than you are, it becomes a lot easier to relax into the process and let go of trying to be perfect.

About the Author Meredith Walters

I love to help people who are still unsure what they’re meant to do in the world find their calling, embrace their challenges, and discover the hero within. Click here to get a free guide with 50 practical ideas, resources, and exercises to help you find your calling without losing your mind (or your shirt).


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All the Courses, Videos, and Books are Holding You Back

All the Courses, videos, and books are holding you back

David Papa
Avid reader, course taker, and video watcher. Spirit nerd. Founder of Love and Profit.
8 January 2018   |  9 minute read 

How much do we need to read?

This year I plan to perfect vegan mac 'n cheese. (I'm pretty close, my year might finish in February). For my food, and your best year too, we can probably help ourselves by learning something new. 

Learning feels good and fulfilling. I'm a fan. And in today's world, it also holds us back. 

There are lots of ways to learn. Most of us sit and do the consuming kind. We learn like we watch tv. Passively absorbing youtube videos, online courses, books. 

This is great in many ways. But does it really change how we choose to behave and live each day? 

Mostly no. It doesn't change our lives. Plus, we are never satisfied that we have enough knowledge to do something. 

This indicates that the way we learn is out of balance. I think this is because many of us have forgotten how to learn. Because of school. 

Has school taught us to learn poorly?

How much do you remember from school growing up?

If I took any of my tests from high school today I would fail them all. Was that learning?

Yet I can literally quote verbatim certain movies I've watched or lines in books I've chosen to read on my own. I can tell you the story of a great experience I had at a workshop. I can stand in front of a room and re-do one of my talks without a minute of practice. Was that learning?

The difference in what I can't remember and what I can comes from two factors: 

  1. Level of learning passivity.
  2. The amount that my feelings get involved. 

These two work together. Let me explain.  

We barely learn anything in traditional school because it's all passive. Learning at my school meant sitting quietly and reading and listening and filling my brain with other people's answers to the point of overload. Then regurgitating that information on a test. As soon as the test was over the information was gone. 

This is pretty much the least effective form of learning. Not to mention the fact that our education system was designed by industrial oligarchs to create obedient and compliant factory workers. But I digress.  

As creative adults, we still use this ineffective method as the default way to learn. It's mostly a waste of time. (But not this post. Oh no. Totally keep reading.) 

This mode of learning is purely logical and intellectual. Our thinking cells, however, are not only in our brain. Our nervous system is distributed throughout the body. We have 1 million neurons in our gut and it makes decisions. We have 40,000 in our heart and it makes decisions. Our memory is distributed in our cells as well. 

There is also great research showing that the most natural physical behavior for learning in humans (and all mammals) is play. It's science. Check out Stuart Brown. Play is a full body activity. Children learn everything through play automatically until adults come in and say you have sit down and read. We didn't evolve to read, our nervous system doesn't care about reading. 

There is so much science that shows adult play accelerates learning in every way and has a host of other positive benefits. Yet most adults don't believe play has a place in a productive successful life, and certainly not when it relates to work. That's a sure set up for feeling crappy and not having any fun learning. 

We also know that our memory is not categorized based on facts or in chronological order. It is tied together with emotion. The biggest impacts to our memory, how we interpret the world, and how we move through it come from experiences that gave us big emotions. 

You can test this in yourself. Next time you feel a strong emotion, ask yourself, "when was the last time in my life I had this same emotional feeling?" Once you find the memory ask again. "And when was the time before that?" 

You'll probably be shocked at how quickly your mind can pull up situations that match the feeling state you are experiencing. You can often follow this emotional memory train all the way into early childhood and easily remember something you haven't thought about in years. 

Look, I read a lot, but I take any idea that I want to remember and move it through multiple levels of my being.

I write it out in my journal to explore my own perspectives and original thoughts about it. I move it through my body to see how it feels, and to find what emotions I have connecting to this idea. I meditate and let it create visions in my mind. I might add something I learn to my morning personal development practice so I can test it in actual real life behavior. I might then share it with someone else so I have to explain it to them out-loud, to see how that feels and what that conversation is like. The more parts of my being I can connect the better I can remember it and absorb it. 

Pretty soon, what I read actually has had an effect of changing my life in some way, moving me more into who I really want to become. This is what we want with our learning. This is what feels good. This happens when we incorporate it our whole energy system. 

My guess is that you do this, or some form of it, all the time. That's why you can remember certain things really well. They are connecting with you at multiple levels, not just your intellectual level. This also explains why certain things seem to escape your memory every time. 

There's a simple "rule" that I have adopted to make this learning process more conscious and repeatable. It's easy and anyone can implement it tomorrow. This works for me. Maybe it will for you. Or maybe it won't. Try it and let me know. 

Learning through more outputs and less inputs.  

Here's the "rule": Take in less. Put out more. Learn by creating things. 

A good experiment is another word for adult play. When we line up with the playful experimental energy of ourselves, we can learn a lot, and get a lot done in the process.  We can get into fantastic feelings of aliveness and see incredible progress. 

Like when we decide to travel somewhere we've never been. We come back so energized, motivated, and re-thinking our lives. 

That's the kind of experiment I'm talking about. We can use that in a much smaller, more regular way. 

Learn by doing a new thing and seeing what happens. 

This sounds obvious, but how much of your life is actually structured this way? How many new things do you try every day, or every week, or even every month?

I bet you prioritize getting that new course to learn something more than you prioritize running an experiment right now. I'm encouraging you to switch that around. 

How conscious is your practice of experimentation? 

Look at Tim Ferris. Whether you like him or not, that dude has had so many different experiences, learned so much, and made amazing life progress through constant experimentation. 

We don't have to live like him to get the benefits. Opportunities for small experiments are everywhere. And big ones as well.

Experiments are Scary. That's Good.

I just took a break from writing this article and checked Instagram. (It's okay, breaks are good). I saw a quote from Tony Robbins that gets to exactly what I am writing about. Synchronicity alone requires me to include it.  

"Life is found in the dance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear." - Tony Robbins

Spot fucking on, Tony.

What is Tony talking about?

When was the last time you were trying something new and really let yourself feel the feeling of not knowing what was going to happen?

It's a beautiful feeling. It's like a mixture of fear, excitement, anticipation, expectation, and the willingness to be surprised. It feels so alive. 

The best learning that can happen, the best experiments that you can do, are the ones that both excite and scare you at the same time. 

That's an emotional wallop that will sink in the learning. But also, what excites us and scares us at the same time is often exactly in line with our soul. 

School has never prepared you for this. You have to take your learning into your own hands. You can experiment with new ways of doing everything in your life. Especially the things you want to learn how to do really well. 

For your health, experiment with your sleeping patterns. Experiment with how you get up in the morning. Experiment with what you do with the first hour of your day. Experiment with how you consume food. Experiment with how you talk to your partner. Experiment with how you express love to your friends. Experiment with different ways of exercise. Experiment with breathing and meditations and what you say to yourself. Experiment with different ways to see your own mind. Experiment with how and when you do you work. Experiment with what you work on. Experiment with your imagination. Experiment with energies. Experiment by writing a new article or drawing a picture. Experiment with your dreams, you do them every night automatically, but do you know what they mean?  

Not all of that will match the scary-excitement criteria, but that's fine. We just want to build the practice of continuous experimentation. Continuous outputs. 

This gets easier to see and easier to do when you try something like starting your own project or venture. Working for myself for the last 4.5 years has been one of the most incredible forces of personal development. Everything I did and still do is an experiment. If I want to grow to a new level, my only choice is to do something something new.  

That is the same for you, if you want a new experience, then your only option is to do something new.  

Experimenting requires your brain, your body, your emotions, and your energy. It also gives you immediate feedback from the real world based on what happened, how your experiment felt to you, what you experienced, and what you would do next differently. That's more powerful than most reading. 

Again, this has to be sounding obvious. But do you make this conscious? Do you ask yourself, what is my experiment today? What is my experiment this week, month, or this quarter? Do you consciously think to yourself, hey where do I think my boundaries are right now, and how can I playfully test that? 

Everything that is going well right now in my business is the result of an experiment. I've read lots of books and have done lots of courses, even an MBA. For me, this has added some thinking frameworks and created incremental progress. That's useful. But all the biggest projects that are happening in my work and all the big jumps in progress have come from me experimenting in a way that made me feel both excited and scared at the same time. Like early in my career, I invited someone I admired to lunch and I just asked him straight up to be his apprentice. The result of that was more valuable than 2 years of business school.  

Look, I love courses too! Just look for courses that have good implementation support. Whenever I teach a course I tell people that 80% of their learning is going to come from themselves. We have specific structures in the course exclusively for participants to do implementation. Unless a course has great implementation support for learners, most people don't complete the course and many never get the benefits. Great implementation, however, can work wonders. Because in the implementation is the real learning and progress. 

So do your own implementation all the time. In the form of experiments and creating things.

You know so much more than you think you do. In fact, you have everything that you need right now to do the next thing you need to do. Thanks, Bashar.  

Okay, here comes the nitty gritty of implementing this. It's simple. 

Purposefully organize your time around separate inputs and outputs. 

Here's my current input vs. output experiment: 

With almost no exceptions, I don't read articles or watch videos during the week. During the week is my output time. That's my creative time, the time when I experiment and do my work that I want to be of service to the world.

If I come across something I want to input, I save it. I save up articles I want to read, videos I want to watch, or courses I want to take, and I look at them on the weekends. That's my input time. 

5 days output. 2 days input. 

I've been doing this for several weeks. And I have learned several things. 

I've learned that I have less stress by removing the pressure of having to read some article that seems really cool and important in the moment. I can get sucked into click-bait headlines just like the next person. But now I don't. If I see an article that intrigues me I just save it, knowing I set aside time on the weekend for inputs. No impact on my to-do list or creative momentum. 

The level of my output has shot up. By removing the distraction of research or trying to find that one article that's going to tell me exactly what I need to know, I found I am capable of producing far more than I thought.

This includes things that the world will never see, like journal entries that have shaped how I go through life. It also includes drafts of blog posts, web pages, ideas for exercises for my clients, conversations with people to tell them what I am thinking and feeling, drawing and mapping my plans, and mega mind insights that I have locked into my life to permanently shift my perspective. 

I've had so many new thought outputs in my journal that I created a new practice - at the end of the week I now summarize all the heavy hits on one new page so I can easily re-read them and find them. That journal page is like a self-made master course unique to me. And it was all already inside my head!

Then, on my input days, I completely relax any pressure I have on myself for creating outputs. I just focus on gobbling up that new juicy info from the articles and videos I saved, or that tempting new course I downloaded. And I enjoy that just as much. 

I've found that having focused, structured time spent with inputs has also increased the quality of my relationship with inputs. Because I am not trying to squeeze some reading or video in between tasks or as a distraction, I find I am remembering far more of what I am inputting automatically. I am more easily seeing how I will then test and experiment with the ideas during the rest of the week.  

Also, a curious thing has happened. When I open my input list, I notice that half of what I've saved is no longer resonating with me. So I just delete it, or skim it in a few seconds. So much time saved. 

If you want to go even deeper into the idea of an input fast, check out Leo Babauta's idea on this for 2018.

Now it's your turn in 2018. 

Happiness happens from alignment with who you really are at your core - in thought, word, and deed.

The way to get into alignment is through constant life experimentation in different ways of living and being, to find what alignment means for you. This means organizing your life around outputs and experiences instead of passive inputs.

You need inputs only enough to give you inspiration for your next output experiment in expressing your true self.

You already have all the inspiration you need. You've been reading and watching videos and taking courses for years. You might have enough in your head to last a lifetime.

When you shift your energy toward outputs, you realize you already know enough exactly where you are right now.

The experiment teaches you the next thing you need to learn.

You don't have to try my 5 days output to 2 days input ratio. Try whatever experiment works for you. It doesn't need to be strict. 

There's always an energetic flow at play. See if you can find it and sit in it for your next experiment. What does your heart-based excitement want you to try? 

Make 2018 the year of experiments and outputs. Take in a little bit less and allow yourself to express from within a little bit more.

I promise you, when you activate what is already inside yourself through a continuous commitment to experimental outputs you will be astounded. You will watch your life change.

I'm going to make an online course about this with all kinds of readings and videos. You should totally join. 

What do you think? 

How do you manage your inputs versus your outputs? 
Do you have a better system? 
Is everything I have written here dirty lies? 

Express yourself in the comments below!

About the Author David Papa

I help people reach into their shadow and pull out their freedom. I help people connect with their Light and use it solve problems. It's fun. I love it. One person I worked with said it saved their life. Someone else said she felt unconditional love in her being for the first time. If this sounds exciting or terrifying to you, you should probably try it. Contact me to learn about organizational, groups or one-to-one work: hello@loveandprofit.com


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goals dead end

Most Goals are Useless. Do This Instead.

Most Goals are useless.
Do This Instead.

David Papa
I teach people how to reach into their shadow and pull out their freedom, find goals with soul, and bake vegan brownies. Founder of Love and Profit.
8 January 2018  |  14 minute read 

This is a long-form post designed to challenge our thinking around goals, because many people really struggle with goals. It goes through my problems with goal setting, what I want to keep about goals, what's missing from goals that will make them better, and a process that puts this all together. Grab a hot drink and settle in because this is a whole framework and I would love your thoughts on this. If you're not interested in the thinking part and just want the concluding process, that's cool, skip to here.

"The Tao is always at ease. It overcomes without competing, answers without speaking a word, arrives without being summoned, accomplishes without a plan." - Lao Tzu

I’ve always had an adversarial relationship with goals.

I’m supposed to have goals. Supposedly without goals I am going nowhere and nothing good can happen to me ever. I will die alone and penniless in a gutter bemoaning my worthless life. But goals will save me. With goals alone I can build my dreams! Right? 

That's a nice story. But I've never liked having goals. Every time I've tried to have them I have felt worse and nothing extra got done. They have always felt constricting in some way. I've never enjoyed creating goals or mapping them out or planning them or thinking about them in any way. They always feel like unnecessary pressure leading no where. I'm already doing plenty of work that I "need" or want to do and things are moving just fine. What do goals add to this whole equation? I never got it.

Now, before you throw all kinds of quotes at me, like, "if you don't know where you want to go, you could end up anywhere", or "someone else will decide for you", let me tell you something. I have worked for myself successfully for 4.5 years without having any traditional goals. 

I am constantly checking in with what feels right for me in the moment. I am constantly evaluating what I want to work on next and asking myself if the next task or project is aligned with my values and my energy and who I want to become. So I always feel like I am working on the right thing based on the best information I have. 

You could maybe make the argument that I would be "farther along" if I had some goals that I was always working and striving and struggling toward. But guess what, I don't believe in "farther along." There is no where to get to. We don't take any of this with us when we die. We have no idea if our legacy is going to mean anything. The point of life is to have fun and find love in our experiences. We can do that no matter what our experiences are. I'm not sure how traditional goals add to that. 

"Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time." - Jon Kabat-Zinn

Here's the other thing: the future is entirely unpredictable and the world is changing faster than ever before. Why the hell would I create goals that will be outdated in a month? 

What if I die? Or someone close to me does? At any second, any unforeseen event could change our lives in an instant, forever. We can't predict our future. It will look so different than we think. What the hell is the point of having goals that are dependent on a future that doesn't even exist? 

In the face of these thoughts, all goals seem like useless mental projections that have nothing to do with reality. I love this saying: 

"No business plan survives first contact with customers." Same with goals. 

We can easily see this play out in ourselves and the people around us. Sometimes we are 100% wrong about our goals. We set a goal for ourselves and then we get there and it feels nothing like we thought. We get there and feel nothing, or unfulfilled, or even totally miserable. 

Think about that new job you were so excited to get only to find it sucks just as much as your old one. Think about all the millionaires who are "totally crushing it" yet are completely stressed, taking pills just to sleep, and feel like they never have enough. They achieved their goals. Ooops. 

Are you done with goals yet? 

Are there good things about goals that help us? 

There are so many people that claim to love goals. Including one of my most influential mentors, who recently released a series of posts about why goals are so useful. He specifically mentions how he hates the anti-goals philosophy. Ooops. I'm willing to consider there might be something good in goals.

You could make the argument, like my mentor does, that achieving goals is not the point of goals. The point is to make a vision and to have focus and direction and work toward something and make progress. Even "falling short" of a goal is a victory because of how far you've gone forward in reaching for it.

Okay, that sounds alright. But how can we know this progress is "right" for our life? How do we avoid the trap of making progress down a road we later realize we desperately don't want to be on? 

Like people who spend 20 years in a career because it's their "goal" and they want to be "successful", then they suddenly wake up to a void of emptiness in their "accomplishments", and they have a life breakdown. I meet these people. I want to find a better system.

Traditional goal setting, and "SMART" goals have no answer. There is no letter in the SMART acronym that speaks to the spiritual expansion, purpose, and fulfillment that we all seek.

However, as my mentor points out, goals do provide some benefits, and any new system we create needs to include those.

As far as I can tell, here are the positives of goals [with caveats]: 

  1. They provide direction and that's nice. We feel like we are on a path. [But we are still pretending to know an unknowable future.]
  2. Moving toward something feels like progress.  [But by having only a "looking ahead" orientation we are constantly noticing how far we still have to go. This brings in the energy of lack which weakens us.]
  3. They provide focus, a channel for our energy, so we can feel less scattered and more directive. [No caveat. I like this.]
  4. With direction and focus we end up creating something new over time. [I like this aspect. But that thing we build might not be what we really want, or it might end up completely differently than our plan, and this means we did not achieve our physical goal. Even if we love what we created we "failed" in traditional goals terms.]
  5. They can build self-efficacy, which is an extremely important skill. Achieving a goal feels good and shows us our capability. This builds belief in ourselves, which leads to more accomplishment. [But the reverse is also true. When we set a big goal that we don't achieve our self-efficacy takes a hit and reduces our belief in all our other endeavors. This is a subconscious process that is very difficult to consciously halt.]. 

Even the positive aspects of goals come with all kinds of caveats in traditional goal setting. But I think we can all agree that if these positives can be accessed, that adds great power to our lives.  

So here's my big question, can we take the powerful parts of these positive aspects, and get them without the caveats? 

I think we can.

The missing piece of powerful goal-driven work.  

"It’s very difficult to focus on what is important with one’s rational mind alone, because what your conscious mind thinks is important may not be what your subconscious mind thinks is important." - Mark Forster

This post has been a long time coming. I've been digging into this idea and experimenting with this for a few years. Here is what traditional goal setting completely misses, and what we need to bring back in to make them work: 

Everything we do in life we are trying to get is because of how we think we will feel when we get it.

Think about it. Why do you want a better job? You think it will feel better than your current job. And you come up with all kinds of rational reasons for what this might look like. Better salary, better boss, whatever. All those are justifications for you just wanting to feel better in your life.

Why do we want a big house? Comfort and status. Those are feelings. Why do we want a fast car? Fun and coolness. Those are feelings.

Why do we argue with people? Because what they say causes discomfort in us and we think it will feel better if we express it or if they change.

Why do we want a relationship? Or why do we want to get our of our current one? Because we imagine a different situation will feel better than right now.  

Truth: feelings are why we do anything. Some part of us wants to feel happier or safer, or some extension of one of those feelings. And that part of us is deep inside tells our brain what to do. Our brain then has thoughts that match this impulse. 95% percent of our thinking is subconscious and directed by our internal impulses just like I describe. This is science. Look it up. Here's a video where I explain this mechanism more.

We are not really chasing physical items or circumstances in our lives. We are chasing feelings that we think are better than our current feelings. That is the internal motivation for everything.

If you don't believe me, try this. Think of some physical goal you have, something you are working toward. Like "a successful business." Whatever it is, get it in your mind. Now answer this question - how will it feel when you get that goal? Let the feelings come. Example: "Accomplishment or Fun or Freedom.' Okay, cool. Now imagine that your life was full of that feeling all the time. Imagine these feelings were just your default state right now and flowing out of you and nothing could change that. Everything you do is just imbued with that great feeling and you just go through life feeling that way. Let the feelings flood your body because this is how you feel all the time. Now ask yourself, if you felt that way, do you still need your physical goal? 

Once we get honest and mindful enough to notice these mechanisms inside ourselves, traditional goals are revealed for what they truly are - mental approximations of what we think our desired feelings will look like in the physical world.

We really want the feelings, but our brain so quickly translates this into a specific physical image, we think the physical image is what we want.

That's not true. Underneath the image is a feeling. That's what we want. We want to feel good. That is our only motivation. That's were we get our energy and our movement, and that's how we actually live a happy life. We don't feel good by getting stuff. That never lasts. We feel good by accessing the good feelings inside us. The physical circumstances that we think we need are just props. 

Here's the key to using this and making goals better - cut out all the unnecessary mental projection that happens when you start with physical goals. Instead, stay with the feelings, that is the energetic source material that creates in our lives. 

Let's see if we can use feelings to get what we want in our lives. 

How to best use feeling states. 

Let's review. Why are we chasing a goal? Because we want to feel better than now. We think that getting a goal will bring us this better feeling in the future. 

Even in accepting this we face another "problem" - we only feel things in the present moment. If we always think now sucks and I need to get a thing to feel better, I can never feel good right now. Do you see the trap I have created for myself?

Even we get the thing we were chasing to feel better, we notice it only feels better for about 5 minutes, until we are already chasing a new thing. This pattern exists because our brains operate on the false assumption that we can never feel good enough right now. 

So when can we feel happy? There is only one answer. We can only feel happiness in the present moment. The only place we can feel anything is in the present moment.

This is not just some trick of words. There is a huge meaning to this: the only way to have a happy life is to have a series of happy present moments.

You don't get a happy life by doing a bunch of crappy stuff that feels horrible and somehow, pop!, you are happy at the end. No, you will look back and think, why the eff did I choose to be so unhappy for so long?

We are trained from birth to believe that everything we want is in the future, and that is why so few of us ever get what we want.  

Happiness only happens in the present. If we want to experience happiness we need to make choices that make us happy right now. 

If I applied this truth to goal setting, what would happen? 

Putting feelings and goals together in a usable, practical, productive system. 

In summary, we need our new process to do several things:

  • Focus on the feeling states we are really looking for and that are truly motivating us
  • Focus on the present moment where our actually feelings happen and our control and power to do something really is
  • At the same time, allow us to work toward the future we really want to create because even though we can't control it, we do expect to be alive in it
  • Preserve the good stuff of goals: direction, focus, building something over time, self-efficacy
  • Bonus: This process needs to be easy to use and fun. So that we actually do it and it helps us live awesomely!  

These items may seem contradictory, but they are not. 

We just need to add in one important idea for all this criteria to come together: the process is more important than the outcome. 

When we use traditional goal setting we acknowledge that there is a process and set of steps to getting our goal. We call this our plan. Most of just see the plan as the way to get from A to B. We'd be willing to take virtually any plan that gets us to B, because we worship the goal. This is a giant mistake. 

Why? Because the process is actually what you experience!

99% of what you experience trying to get somewhere is the process of getting there. The goal is like being at the top of the mountain, and the process is the packing, the planning, getting the team, going on the hike, journeying together. The process is everything. The goals is just an end result of a process that happened. 

We look back and we say, "We did it!" And what did we do? We spent a couple hours at the top of a mountain and six months in the process to get there. 

We have a goal to write a book. Okay! You are going to spend thousands of hours researching and writing. Your experience of creating a book is 99% the process of researching and writing. You better enjoy that, or writing your book is going to suck.

And then you write your book and what happened? You are happy for the rest of your life? No. You might celebrate for a bit and then immediately you are thinking about what is next. Already onto the next thing you "need" to do.

We experience our goals for a blip in time compared to the hours, days, weeks, and months we spend in our process. The process is where we need to focus. 

If we want to enjoy our lives and have great feeling states, they need to happen in our processes, the things we are doing right now. 

If you want to build a business that feels happy, you have to adopt a process for building it that feels happy along the way. If you want to experience financial freedom then you have to do it with a process that makes you feel free along the way. If you don't do this you will be like those rich people who never feel like they have enough, and are in a permanent state of anxiety despite their physical circumstances.  

Here's the other great thing about process. Unlike some distant goal in the unpredictable future that I can't control, the process is completely controllable right now.

The processes is the habits and the daily, weekly, or monthly step by step elements that build up over time. I can choose exactly how I want to interact with the process in my life right now, from where I am, with what I have. That is so much more empowering and gives me so much more agency compared to working with a traditional future-oriented goal. 

Here we go. Let's put this all together. Here is what I propose for a new system of conscious working and life creation: 

Purposeful Progress Mastery in 4 Steps: 

  1. Feeling states. Define your ideal feeling states. This is what you are really after. There are whole books on this process, but you can start by just picking 3 - 5 feeling words that describe your ideal personal experience. [Feeling states, check.] 
  2. Feeling Process. Now we need a daily process that incorporates these feeling states. This could be a morning routine. A set of mini-commitments, or daily or weekly habits.

    In the beginning, these habits don't need to be related to any project or goal. You are just playing with life and feeling states and building the circumstances that match those feelings with daily progress.

    Let's say one of your desired feeling states is joy. Then the next step is adding daily joy to your life, in the form of experiences that resonate with that pure joy feeling. Whatever brings you joy, do them. These don't even have to be attached to anything "productive" in a traditional sense just yet. These activities don't have to be attached to any physical thing you are building. If they add joy to your life they are fulfilling their most important purpose.

    And then, very often, after following joy for some time, all of a sudden an idea appears that lets you use your joy for a traditionally "productive" project. And because you are good at following your joy you have all you need to dive into that opportunity.

    You don't need to know where these habits are going to take you when you start them. Let's say you want peace. A daily process that feels truly peaceful will build more peace in your life, even if you don't know what that will look like at some point in the future. You will start to feel like you have what you really want in your life, right now.

    Do you see why most goals are backward? We think we need to see and latch onto an exact path to take to get somewhere in the future. But really we want feelings and if we follow those, we get much more of what we really want in the short term and in the long term, even if we don't know in advance what it will look like.

    So you can stop here, at step two. But if you want to get more of your envisioning and mental power involved, add step 3.

    [Feeling states, the present moment, and focus using a daily process. Check]
  3. Feeling Vision. If all this following the actions of your feelings is too unstructured, then bring in that mental picture of something in the future you are working toward, sort of like a goal, that's cool. But we are not going to create this picture from our thoughts and fall into the traps we outlined at the beginning of this piece. We are going to paint our vision based on what we really want - our feelings.

    Start with one feeling state and ask, what would it look like for this feeling state to be fully activated in my life? Draw or write out that picture.

    This gives us the direction we wanted from goals. It gives us an idea of something that we want to build over time. As far as you know in this moment. But because you started with feeling states, this vision is actually something you want in your heart and have the energy to create. You can access that energy any time you want by bringing in this feeling. This is a soul goal. 

    Don't let your thinking about what you "should" do or what things "should" look like control this exercise. In fact, think as little as possible. Our thinking is rooted in the past (another problem with traditional goals), but the future has all kinds of possibilities that did not exist in the past. To access this, we let our feelings paint the picture.

    The picture doesn't need to look like anything we have seen before. 
    You will know if you are imagining a real vision that you want to work toward because you will actually start to feel the feeling state you want in your body right now. That's how you know it's right. 

    Once you have a great feeling vision, just take a look at your process, and choose the process that matches those feelings that you believe best walks you into your feel good vision. Now we have created a true-heart centered path for ourselves.

    [Direction and the idea of something we are working toward, check. All while being anchored in the present moment, check.]
  4. Feeling Check-in / Progress. This is the last step. Change is the only constant in life. This includes our feeling states. So every week, you want to check in to see if you are on track, but unlike traditional goal work, we don't check how far we are from the goal, and we don't even need to see how much progress we made, we check to see that our feeling-based process is working how we want.

    Here is how we check in:

    Part I: ​Did we do what we set out to do?
    "Did I complete my process?" Yes! Self-efficacy!

    "Did my process create the feeling states I wanted in my life?" Yes! You have actually more of what you want already. 

    "Did my process take me steps toward my vision?" Yes! It's still a match for your bigger feeling picture.  

    PART II: Double-check our course or correct course:
    "What are my key core ideal feeling states? Would I describe them differently than in the past?" 

    "Does my process still match my ideal feeling states?"

    "Does my vision still match my ideal feeling states?"

    "Is there a way to modify this process to bring in even more of my ideal feeling states?"

    "Is there a way to modify this process so that it even better moves me toward my ideal vision each time I do it?"  

    This check in is about celebrating and focusing on the part of your experience you actually have control over - the process. You have chosen a process that feels good and builds your vision. You don't need to think about the vision much after that. The vision is a result of the process. The process is what you can do now.

    Make the process a match for you and you will be able to do it easily. When you feel stagnant in your process feel free to change it. One day, after focusing on your feeling state process for some time, you will look back and see how much closer your life looks to what you actually want.

    [Focus, check. Self-efficacy, check.]

There it is. That's a system that satisfies all our criteria. Except one: fun and easy. 

You'll have to decide that for yourself. I happen to think this process is far more fun and easy than traditional goal setting. Because this is not about mentally crunching out goals and plans. 

This is about feeling from the heart how we would love to experience life, imagining what that could be in our future and our present, and then running a process experiment to see what happens. This system bakes in energy management, manifesting potential, and constant learning. 

That sounds way more fun! You're welcome.  

bask in the feeling states

What does this look like in practice? 

I use this process every day. 

This blogazine you are reading right now is a result. 

Some time ago I wiped my blog because I was not enjoying it. Then one day I saw this idea for a magazine-like blog. This idea immediately felt playful. Play is one of my core ideal feeling states. So I knew I was onto something. One of my key processes around Play is to always have a collaborator whenever I start a new project. So I immediately started sharing the idea.

This article you are reading right now is in the first issue of this blogazine, next to amazing articles from other great people. I don't have a goal for this. Yet doing this is a match for what I want to feel and who I want to be. Very satisfying no matter what happens. And who knows what positivity will come that I can't even anticipate? 

All my current projects are like this. Even personal ones. 

By focusing on the feelings and process that creates those feelings right now I've made such incredible progress that my life looks and feels completely different than it did even a couple of years ago. What happens in my projects is everything I could have wanted from a traditional goal using a much more direct, aligned, efficient, and empowering route. 

But I'll keep evaluating because the only constant is change. 

Now it's your turn. 

If you read this far, you deserve a medal. I commend you, however, you're only 20% done.

80% of everything we learn comes from actually doing things in the world. 

Take this system or a piece of it, and try it out. No huge commitments needed. Just experiment. See what happens. That's how you will actually see something new happen and learn something new. 

If you don't like it, fine, you've also learned that you don't like it, which brings you closer to something you do like. You can't lose. 

RECOMMENDATION

If you want some further reading or an outside resource on this, I highly recommend Danielle LaPorte. She has a book called the Desire Map, and an associated day planner that helps you build "goals with soul." I love her work and it is the most similar thing out there I have seen to what I am talking about here. 

What do you think about all this? 

Maybe you can think of a better way to say all this in just a few sentences. Brevity has never been my strong suit.

What's your relationship with goals like?
Do you have a better system than this? 
How do you use feeling states to empower you? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below so we can all learn. 

About the Author David Papa

I teach people how to reach into their shadow and pull out their freedom. I teach people how to use their body as a lightning rod for their own spiritual messages and create from the heart. Find your Inner Guru. He, or she, or it, is hilarious.


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