Monday Sparkles: Information Overload vs Action

Information overload, coaching, pursue your passion
A few years back, I went to see Peter Gabriel live (again), and in between two songs he talked about, in his typical insightful way, how these days dictators can no longer get away with “disappearing” people in secret. People will spread the news via the internet to every corner of the earth. He went on to say that ordinary people have never been so powerful, and that we have yet to realise the full extent of that power we hold through modern media.

I’m tickled by the potential, the endless possibilities of this. In a way, I already participate in this with my one-woman freelance business which is conducted through Skype, with people from all over the world, people I never would have connected with if it wasn’t for the internet. Peter Gabriel is right, we have only just scratched the surface of what we can do.

There is, however, a danger inherent in the immediate accessibility of information. That danger is that we will get better and better informed all the time, learn more and more, but fail to actually do anything. And with the constant bombardment from advertising and cute but pointless Social Media stories, we often end up spending a disproportionate amount of time on trivial bits of “news” instead of taking action and living our own lives.
Sign up to receive the full Monday Sparkles with exclusive offers, free gifts, and insider news:

 

Information Overload

Have you ever scrolled through Facebook, commented, reacted, clicked and read articles, and suddenly realised you just spent two full hours doing nothing but stare at your computer (or phone)? It’s scary how these things can eat up your time, even if the articles you’ve been reading were actually useful.

Marie Forleo says: “Clarity comes through engagement, not thought.” We try to figure out our lives and move forward, and to that end we tend to collect and consume more information and learning, hoping that this will give us direction and purpose. In reality, though, only action – moving forward, making mistakes, performing course corrections and gaining ever more experience – will give us the clarity we crave.

 

Striking the balance

Some people reject the internet and especially Social Media altogether, but that’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I don’t think we should forego all the amazing benefits of the internet just because we can’t restrain ourselves and “overdose” on information. In the following, I give you some steps to take towards sanity and a productive balance between information and action.

Be smart with your online time. I used to have my email open in one tab and Facebook in another at all times when I was at the computer. Every time I saw a new notification or email, I’d interrupt what I was working on and check it out compulsively. It scattered my focus and made my work take twice as long.

These days, I check email and my social media accounts three times a day. When I receive newsletters (yes, I too am subscribed to some newsletters, just like you read Monday Sparkles!), I save them in a special folder and read them in the half-hour I have allocated each day for “educational reading”. I quickly scan through offers and promotions, reply to business and personal emails, look through my social media accounts, respond to comments etc, and then I close these tabs again. Done.

To cut it short: I recommend using the internet, but use it on your own terms and in your own time.

Spend “offline” time with people who matter. I have recently ramped up my work on my Coaching business, and whilst this is one of my passions and lights me up, it also means more time spent on my own, working, because I also have a daytime job. To balance this, I make a conscious effort to have fun in between, and most especially to meet friends “in the flesh” regularly. I often don’t feel like I’m missing something and only afterwards realise how good it’s done me to actually hug and talk to people I love.

To cut it short: Your passions are important, but so are the people in your life. Make sure to spend quality time with loved ones regularly.

Take action. Forget waiting for the right time, or until you’re ready. If you want to do something, start! Get Coaching (the shortcut to action!), get a teacher, do whatever it takes to get into action mode. If you just keep reading and learning about it, you might get smarter but you’re no step closer to actually living what you really want.

To cut it short: Stop overthinking and take a first step towards your goal today. You can thank me later!

Is Today The Day?

 

I don’t know about you, but I love stories of people who completely change their lives or turn around a seemingly impossible situation. What I’ve always found fascinating about such success stories is that there’s usually one particular point, one event (usually rock bottom), which triggers the change:

The day when the electricity got disconnected because of unpaid bills, the person in question decided “enough is enough” and took the risk of starting their own business. Or, the morning her size xyz jeans split, the protagonist realised she could go on like this no longer, and so she finally started getting her health and fitness back. And so forth.

 

When will it be my turn?

For many years, these types of stories set me dreaming. Books like Cynthia Kersey’s Unstoppable are full of them. I used to wonder when my own “Day X” would come around. When would there be a drastic event to make the penny drop and have me realise that I need to get up, get going, and make it happen?

The day never came. And really, why would I even wish for a catastrophic event, just so I could get over myself? They say addicts need to hit rock bottom before they can hope to recover, but you and I aren’t addicts. There’s no need for us to find ourselves lying in the gutter in order to make changes.

It’s much less dramatic – not to mention that it’s not nearly as good a story – to get there by sheer effort and willpower, but that’s what it’s like for most of us. It’s also the reason why so many people remain in “if only” mode all their lives. It’s easy to simply take the comfortable, familiar route if nothing pressing forces you to hack your own path through the jungle instead.

The truth is that “Day X” is in your own hands. Nothing keeps you from making “Day X” happen – today!

 

Make it happen

If, upon reading the above, you responded by listing reasons why it can’t be today (that you’re not ready, you don’t have the money, you need to wait for your bonus or your tax refund or your spouse to come home, or a higher power to give you permission), then please know you are making excuses. Yes, they might be actual obstacles, but for everything you list, I promise you there’s at least one person in the world who has overcome just that “good reason” and succeeded anyway.

It’s really up to ourselves. And while this might be inconvenient, it’s really a good thing because it also means that it’s all in our power and we are in control. In the following, I’ve put together a checklist for you to step up and claim the changes you desire in your life.

  • Make a decision right now. Not tomorrow, not next week – today. At the same time, know that it’s not all-or-nothing. You will experience setbacks and maybe even let yourself down occasionally. It’s normal; it’s even happened to those people who had the “rock bottom” moment, the “Day X” I mentioned earlier. Simply cut yourself some slack and keep plugging away at your goal. ​​​​​​​
  • Stop the excuses. No money to get started / get Coaching / sign up for that degree? If this is something you’ve wanted for a while, go for it anyway. You may have to get creative, and it’ll almost certainly scare you, but it’s worth the risk: You will make the money back as long as you commit to sticking with it. This is especially true for getting support such as Coaching or Education. ​​​​​​​
  • Get a solid support network. I already mentioned Coaching (also remember I’m always up for a chat on Skype, and it’s free!); also look for Mastermind groups. Find a mentor – someone who’s already succeeded in what you’re trying to do. This could be a personal trainer at the gym, a successful entrepreneur if you’re starting a business, or an experienced artist in whatever art you’re pursuing.
  • Promise yourself that you’ll work on your goal(s) every single day. If you are busy or don’t feel well, you can at least do a small, seemingly insignificant thing. It’s vital to do something every day in order to create a habit. This also tells your subconscious that you’re serious about what you are trying to achieve.

Finally, remember joy. This is about creating your life purpose. Feel the passion! This is your adventure, and you might as well enjoy the ride.

 

The above is the lead article in this week’s Monday Sparkles. Join the tribe to receive the full newsletter, exclusive offers and insider info (100% spam free), by filling in the short form below. You will get:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”

 

Having A Great Year Is No Accident

The New Year is well on its way, the festive decorations have been packed away, and you are running out of excuses. Time to ‘fess up: Have you closed off 2016 and set your goals for 2017 yet?

If your answer is a resounding: “no”, or a slightly less resounding “not entirely”, don’t worry, it’s not too late. We’re not even ten days into the new year after all. You could of course argue, that a new year is a somewhat random point for the process I’m suggesting, but if you consider that much of our world is organised around the calendar and around years, it does make sense to align yourself with this rhythm.

No matter when you choose to do this, it’s important to occasionally review your life, close off what you’ve left behind, and plan your next steps. It’s what keeps you aware and conscious, “online” as I call it, and engaged in your life. In the following, I’ll give you a process for doing this; it’s a ceremony I do at the end of every year.

 

Closing off 2016

Many people have nothing but complaints about the year we’ve just left behind. I say, there was good as well as bad, and in any case it is important to formally finish what needs to be closed, and draw a clean line, so you can move forward unburdened. I have developed a little ritual for this process. Here are the steps.

  • First, take some time, maybe half an hour, when you’ll be undisturbed and undistracted. Keep some paper or a notebook ready, and a pen.
  • Set the scene: get comfortable, maybe get a cup of coffee or tea, light a candle if you like.
  • Think back over 2016, month by month. If necessary, take out your calendar as reference. On a piece of paper, write down everything that didn’t go so well in the year past. Disappointments, failures, illness, personal heartache (family troubles or a relationship break-up), other hardship, or simply a bad mood, sadness, or lack of motivation.
  • Take your time with this step. Look over your list, and if necessary, experience the emotions associated once more. Cry if you have to, say angry words you feel you need to say. Then when you feel at peace and ready to move on, tear up the list and burn it (don’t set the house on fire, please! The sink is usually a good place to burn a paper safely).
  • Now remember all the good things that happened. Achievements, new projects, love, good times spent with your friends or family, success, happiness, well-being, arts and crafts, your hobbies and passions. Write them all down.
  • Now look over your list and take time to fully experience the emotions associated with each item. Feel yourself flooded with gratitude. If it feels right, say aloud words of thanks to the universe or God or whatever you believe in.
  • Finally, determine which projects or goals you wish to carry forward into 2017. Write these down on a separate piece of paper.
  • Say: “Thank you for all the experiences and lessons. I am now ready to move on into 2017.”

 

Setting yourself up for 2017

Now it’s time to create your joyful, passion-filled 2017! Are you ready? Here are some helpful steps. For a more detailed guide, refer to your One-Year Goals Workbook and the Goals Worksheet (if you need another copy, email me and I’ll send you one).

  • First, determine where your intentions are for this year. Is there any particular area of your life you wish to focus on? You can pick more than one, but I’d recommend limiting the focus to about two areas in any one year. This might be health, business, finances, family, hobbies, passions…
  • Now pull out the paper where you wrote the goals and projects you wish to carry over from the previous year.
  • Add goals for each area of your life, with particular emphasis on the areas you’ve decided to focus on.
  • Determine a first step for each goal. It can be a small step, something seemingly insignificant, like googling art schools if your goal is to do a course, etc.
  • Schedule your first steps for the following three days. It is absolutely vital to actually complete these first steps within three days, as psychologists have found out. After this period, it becomes increasingly unlikely that you’ll take the step at all.

Once you’ve done all this, reward yourself. It could be a night-out or a special Self-Care session, and it doesn’t have to cost money. You have set yourself up for all possible success in 2017; all that’s left is to follow through and revise your goals regularly.

 

The above is the lead article in this week’s Monday Sparkles. Join the tribe to receive the full newsletter, exclusive offers and insider info (100% spam free), by filling in the short form below. You will get:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”

Share this:

3 Steps To Get Into Action Mode

 

Here’s a confession: I’m the uncrowned queen of planning. I make to-do lists and write down visions and goals, I define and outline and determine steps to take. Seriously, if I got paid for my planning skills, I’d be a millionairess several times over.

That’s as it should be, isn’t it? After all, I am a Coach and I’m always going on about the importance of written goals and getting clarity and all that. The issue is that clarity and planning need to be followed by concrete steps in order to be successful, and that’s where I often fall down. It’s all good and well to outline the future, but unless we take action in the present, right now, nothing will ever come of all the planning.

This is what I love most about Coaching: the way it gets people into action mode. An article can never replace this, because by its nature it is a monologue, rather than the exchange between a Coach and a client with its inherent magic and the transformative results it brings. I can, however, outline steps for you to take, and give you techniques to avoid some of the most common pitfalls, and this is what I’ll attempt to do in the following.

 

The “Monday Diet”

Don’t worry, I’m only using weight loss as an analogy for any goal you might wish to achieve. Dieting is simply an example most people have heard about. We all have either been there, or watched someone else struggle with their weight.

One of the most common mistakes people make is that they plan to take action “starting Monday” or “after the holidays” or whatever else is convenient to put the action into the future. This does two things: It gives people a perceived license to eat unhealthy things or two much of everything for the time being, which is counterproductive to their goal, and it puts the desired behaviour into a clearly defined exceptional state, which will always contrast with what’s “normal”.

Other goals work exactly the same way. If you plan for the future, your goal will always be in the future. And if working on your goal will be an exceptional state, it will by definition never become the normal way of doing things.

 

Stop thinking and start doing

Here are the promised steps to take in order to move from theory into practice.

1. Start now. This may seem to run contrary to what I usually suggest about goal planning. Indeed, I don’t recommend dropping the planning, I only recommend a slight change to the order in which you do things. Start by determining your goal, and then before you figure out the details, take action immediately. In other words, if you want to lose weight, start by making healthier choices with the very next meal. If you’d like to start yoga, look up a yoga for beginners video on YouTube and do your first exercises NOW. If you want to start saving money, phone your bank and set up a savings account straight away.

2. Take action every single day. You may be busy, you may be tired, you may be sick. You won’t always be at your best, but to keep up the momentum after getting started, you need to do something every single day. Save your change every single day. Do five minutes of gentle stretching if you are too exhausted for a full workout. The point is to create a habit, and this can only be done by consistent action.

3. Keep planning. This is where my usual suggestions come in: Write down, clarify, review and modify your goal. Determine the next steps to take. All I’m saying that you should do this AFTER the first step(s), when you are already in action mode. Don’t be afraid of modifying goals or throwing some of them out altogether; as long as you are clear on what you want at this particular time, and keep taking action towards that goal, you are good. Change is part of life, and you never “waste” action just because your goal might change. The action you take is doing you good and makes you grow, which is far more important than the goal itself.

Promise yourself that after you finish reading this newsletter, you will get up and take a first step. Anything goes, as long as it is action. You’ve been thinking about it for long enough, it’s time to get up, get going, and get your goal.

 

To receive the rest of the newsletter, sign up for Monday Sparkles 100% spam free! You will receive:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”

Share this: