The “Working Hard” Myth


 

Abstract:
 

People disagree on almost everything, but one thing 90% agree on is that hard work is a good thing. Indeed, when I tell someone that I work with people on prioritising their passion, the reaction I get most frequently is: “But you’ve got to work hard, too.”
 

Where does this come from? Why does hardly anyone question it?
 

Your mission today is to find what you really want in your life, and what the best way is to get it.
 
 

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Task 1: Why we worship working hard

 

People have always worked, that’s true. But I wonder whether historically, work was really that backbreaking. There were certainly exceptions, but mostly people had one focus, a one-track mind.
 

We used to have to work to feed ourselves. Then we became employees and work became abstract. To keep us motivated, the philosophy became that working hard is the only right way of living. We were also told that it’s the way to make money, which most rich people will tell you is nonsense.
 

The concept of focusing on passion, joy, and pleasure runs so contrary to this, it’s no wonder people have trouble even believing that it’s possible!
 

working hard

Photo by lumix2004 at pixabay.com


 

Task 2: What do you really want?

 

This echoes back to last week’s episode – catch it here if you missed it. Why is it so important to find out what you truly want?
 

Because in order to break away from working hard as the answer to all questions, we’re going to have to cut back. Not on carbs, but on demands on ourselves and our time.
 

Once you know what’s truly important to you, you can pick which things you need to prioritise. Make sure it’s something that lights you up! Of course, a bit of balance is great, but trying to do it all is the root of all evil in our day and age.

But I Can’t Afford The Life Of My Dreams!


 

Abstract:
 

90% of the people I talk to, react in a similar way: When I ask them what their dreams are, they will name something that isn’t all that far beyond their current life. If I press them to go completely overboard, they’ll respond with: “But I could never afford to live like that.”
 

What they don’t understand is that the point of goals is not to know how you’ll achieve them. In fact, Bob Proctor said: “If you know what to do to reach your goal, it’s not a big enough goal.”
 

Your mission is to do what Neo needed to do in the Matrix: “Free your mind”.
 
 

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Task 1: Reason is overrated

 

There is a place for reason. A goal isn’t worthless just because you know how to reach it, and yet, I agree that at least some of your goals or dreams should be far outside of what you think possible.
 

Examine what keeps you from dreaming big. Do you feel a little silly? But imagination is limitless, and so is creativity. Do you think it’s impossible? Fact is, lots of people have achieved things far beyond what they thought they could. The evidence is plenty.
 

Thinking creatively, going beyond, even into the realm of silliness, is a skill you can learn. Set yourself a reminder once a week for “dream time”.
 

my dreams

Photo by silviarita on pixabay.com


 

Task 2: Program your mind for your dreams

 

This is an ongoing task and will take some time. Basically, you need to brainwash yourself. Here are a few steps for you to take:
 

  1. Read something positive every day. Include books on finances (try Amanda Steinberg or Jen Sincero). Make time for it.
  2. Follow blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels by personal development experts. You could start with my newsletter and videos!
  3. Surround yourself by positive people. Know anyone who’s into this stuff? Seek them out and spend more time with them.

The 1% Shift


 

Abstract:
 

I’ve always been one for big announcements and radical do-overs. I’ve made so many “from this day forward” type changes in my life, my friends and family hardly bat an eyelid any longer when I announce another one.
 

Unfortunately, it’s incredibly hard to stick with radical changes in the long term. I used to think: “Who’d even get out of bed for a tiny adjustment?”
 

In fact, a 1% shift could be all you need to experience true transformation. I’ll tell you why and how in the following.
 
 

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Why 1% is huge

 

Imagine you were going to write a 200-page book and you haven’t been able to get yourself started. If you wrote the first two pages, wouldn’t that be incredible? It means you’re off, you got going, you’re finding your stride! Whenever you’re trying to get un-stuck or started with something, a 1% shift is all you need to gain momentum.
 

Are you trying to improve yourself or increase your knowledge? 1% at a time can quickly add up. Losing 1% of your body fat is amazing and can make all the difference. If you’re in business and work 1% more effectively every week, your results are going to skyrocket within a paltry few months.
 

celebrate
 

Slow and steady…

 

You know the saying: “Slow and steady wins the race.” That’s what this principle is about, and it’s easy to put into practice.
 

  • Determine what you’d like to change.
  • Improve/add/complete 1%, no more.
  • Whenever it’s appropriate, aim for the next 1%.
  • Keep celebrating and rewarding yourself.
  • Regularly look back and appreciate how far you’ve come.

Lasting change is best achieved in increments. If you do it by 1% shifts, you’ll easily leave behind all those folks who never get started because they can’t do it all at once.

What Your Life Could Look Like

dream life

I’ve always had big dreams. When I was a teenager in Germany, I dreamed of visiting Ireland. As a university student, I spent two years in Ireland and later moved here altogether. From childhood on, I knew I wanted to see other countries, and during my 20s and 30s, I lived and worked in four different countries.
 

When I discovered Coaching and experienced the fastest and most profound personal growth in my life with the help of my first-ever Coach, I knew I’d found my calling. Years later, I became a Coach myself, eventually studying for and gaining a recognised qualification in Personal and Executive Coaching. Then I dreamed of having more time and space for Coaching and my other passions and made that happen in 2015.
 

Now my dreams include growing my business and living a more sustainable life surrounded by people I love. I’m working on it, and I’d say that judging by my track record, I’ll achieve this one, too. It’s a wonderful feeling dreaming up one’s perfect life and then going for it. Nothing quite compares to it!
 

What does this mean for you? I’m going to attempt to paint you a picture and help you give shape to your own dreams, so you’ll be able to look at your life a few years from now and say: “That was when I first dreamt about xyz, and now I’ve achieved it.”
 
 

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There’s nothing wrong with you

 

Before I continue, I’d like to make one thing absolutely clear: I believe in dreams and always having a goal, but I don’t think people are broken or that their lives aren’t perfect the way they are. Too many self-styled “Coaches” try and tell you that your life’s all wrong and needs fixing (usually, followed by an offer to fix it for you – for a substantial amount of cash, of course).
 

I don’t believe in making people feel bad about themselves. Moreover, it’s my belief that everything happens in perfect timing and that we’re always exactly where we need to be in order to learn what we need to learn.
 

What’s even more important is the insight that this is simply the way life works. Everything that lives, grows (a tree that’s stopped growing, simply dies). Sometimes, we’ll find ourselves in situations, jobs, or relationships we don’t like. At other times, we’re on top of the world.
 

Wherever we stand at the time, it’s always a good thing have a dream in order to continue growing. It doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t like where we are. On the contrary, a dream is more powerful if it isn’t created out of desparation but out of a feeling of happiness and gratitude for the present.
 
 

A passion-centered life

 

Whatever your dreams for the future are, they probably include a very happy you. In my experience, human beings are happiest when they live aligned with their purpose, and that purpose is ususally connected to their passion (or multiple passions). In order to create a dream of a happy future, I therefore suggest you paint a picture of you focusing your life on what lights you up.
 

What would your days look like if they revolved around your passion? What would you do? Imagine money wasn’t an object, because believe me, it never is once someone truly puts their passion front and centre. Somehow, a solution always presents itself, even if you can’t see it just now. That’s why I suggest to not concern yourself with this particular detail.
 

Instead, pretend you didn’t have to worry about money or a place to stay at all. See a perfect day in your life, fulfilling your purpose and doing what lights you up. How would you feel first thing in the morning, when you wake up and realise you have only fun things to look forward to? What would you say to your loved ones during the day? What would you think about falling asleep at night?
 

Paint this picture in as much detail as possible. When I say “paint”, I don’t just mean you should imagine it like an actual picture, but to use all your senses. Hear the sounds, smell the scents, feel what you’re touching or holding. Bring the scene to life as much as you can.
 

Finally, it’s time to distill the main cornerstones of your dream and put them down in writing. Out of these, you can craft your next goals and go for them. Keep doing this, because life is too short to spend it without striving for something beautiful which excites you. You’re just like that tree: for as long as you live, you’ll grow and evolve, and you might as well do this consciously, after your own planning, rather than leaving it to chance.

Why You Should Be Selfish

Selfish, passion

“I can’t just go and play the piano in the evenings,” my client said to me. I asked: “Why not?” -“Because there’s so much housework to do and the kids want my attention. I’d feel selfish,” she explained. She was suprised when I told her that practically everyone I’ve ever spoken to, feels the same way.
 

Why is this sentiment so universal? I think it’s because it’s based on a principle that actually makes sense most of the time. It’s a good idea to get things done, to not postpone them indefinitely. The dishes are dirty now, so we wash them and get the job out of the way. If we keep procrastinating, we’ll eventually drown in chores.
 

But here’s the thing: Tasks like housework, or even pleasant things like spending time with your kids, are endless by their very nature. The dishes will be dirty again after the next meal. The kids come back with more questions and want you to play cards with them. If you did all the available work, all the time, you’d do nothing else all day. And indeed, this is what many people – especially women – end up doing.
 

Now when I tell you to be selfish, I obviously don’t mean you should neglect others or hurt them. What I’m getting at is a balance in your life which doesn’t only include your own needs, but actually puts them front and centre.
 

It’s the whole “passions priority” thing. In the following, I’m going to explain why it’s so incredibly important.
 
 

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Selfish is best for you

 

Okay, this one seems obvious. Anyone who puts themselves first, profits, right? I disagree. I think there are harmful ways of putting oneself above others, in the sense that it detaches you from the rest of the world. The difference is easy to spot:
 

If you care for yourself and at the same time don’t give a toss about others, you’re hurting everyone involved, including yourself. Why? Because you rob yourself of the enriching experience of connection with others. It’s a basic human need and many studies have proven that meaningful human relationships are vital for our mental and physical health, longevity, etc.
 

So in a way, being selfish at the cost of others is actually not good for you at all. This is where the “other” kind of putting yourself first comes in, the one I call “selfish” with a bit of a wink and a nudge. It’s the kind of behaviour that truly benefits you. Not surprisingly, it also benefits those around you.
 
 

Passion is best for everyone

 

Am I just stating the obvious here? I mean, everyone can agree that a balance between work and being there for others on the one hand, and self care on the other, is the way forward. Why even write an article about it?
 

I say: It may be obvious, but it’s far from the reality for most people. How many people do you know who spend a significant portion of their waking hours doing what lights them up? That’s why we need concrete steps to achieve this “balance”.
 

I put the word balance in quotes because in my experience, we actually need to prioritise – instead of just balance – what lights us up. This is the kind of selfishness which also benefits those around you. If you’re on fire, you’re quite literally like a torch. Everything and everyone around you is bathed in a warm glow, and if they get close, the flame will spread.
 

We need a world of people who have come alive. Leave the dishes in the sink for now, and grab that paint brush. Dance to that song. Create, perform, research, do whatever sets your heart ablaze. You owe it to the world to be “selfish”; it’s the best thing you can do to help turn around the state of modern society.
 
 

Get support

 

I can’t finish this without urging you to consider Coaching for this. Why?
 

In a world which collectively drills us towards functioning, it takes incredible effort and energy to be alive, joyful, and passionate. If you want to pull this off for more than a few days or weeks at a time, you’re going to need everyone in your corner, just to stem the pull of the societal tide in the opposite direction.
 

People often ask me why they would “need” Coaching. It’s for this exact reason – because feeling alive every day is incredibly rare. Because we’ve been conditioned for so long to make a living and, especially as women, to be there for everyone else, that it feels naughty and neglectful to put ourselves first for even an hour a day.