Wanna Burst With Energy Every Day?

Burst with energy

There was a time in my life when I was so tired, it seemed a challenge to walk up a flight of stairs. I wasn’t sick, at least not in a major way. I was simply so low in energy I couldn’t face the simplest physical tasks.
 

When I started a new job at a company who offered a gym and some pilates classes, I made myself go the first couple times. I really, truly wanted to get in shape. The 50-minutes class was absolute torture! I had to stop almost all of the exercises before I’d done the required number of repetitions.
 

I stopped going. It was just too painful and also, frankly, humiliating in front of colleagues.
 

Fast-forward a mere year, and I was practically incapable of sitting in a chair for more than a few minutes. During work (from home, thankfully), I regularly jumped up to dance to a song I’d put on when I had a small break or lunch, I did yoga and aerobics, and I learned archery and swordfighting.
 

None of this was me being “good” and doing what I “should”. It still isn’t. What I do is pure joy. Now if you’re expecting a tale of pushing myself through the pain and holding on until I got into shape, you’ll be disappointed. What I do want to share is my insights on how physical fitness, joy, and passion are related, and how you can experience them all.
 
 

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The two types of people

 

When it comes to exercise, there seem to be two types of people. First there are the enthusiasts, who tell you: “no pain, no gain”, get up at the crack of dawn to run 10 miles, and post pictures of themselves deadlifting insane weights on social media. And then there’s the couch potatoes, who make half-hearted attempts at best and share social media pictures like “bacon versus exercise – no competition”.
 

Between those two groups, there’s a seemingly unbridgeable divide. However, I’ve always thought that the best approach starts in the middle. There’s a highly effective way, but people overlook it because it sounds too easy. It’s the way of joy.
 
 

Pleasure or pain?

 

The conundrum is that when you get more physically fit, you also get more energy. And the more energy you feel, the more likely you are to exercise. The issue is getting to the stage where moving feels better than sitting still. It’s all about energy levels.
 

Incidentally, this also goes for your passions. Energy is at the root of whether or not you manage to devote time to your passion, on top of working and looking after your family. The answer to all of this is pleasure and joy.
 

Try to think back to a time when you felt very joyful. What was your energy like? Chances are you were basically jumping up and down, bursting with energy. This, this right there, is the state you’re aiming for, and the easiest way to get there is through fitness.
 
 

Which activities give you pleasure?

 

You don’t have to go to the gym. You don’t even have to run, or walk for that matter. If you follow the pleasure principle, you might be surprised what you come up with.
 

I’m not a doctor, so obviously you should take everything I say here as a recommendation only. Always check with your physician first, don’t overdo it, and use your common sense.
 

Generally speaking, you need to do two things in order to get in shape and have your energy levels go through the roof: Endurance (cardiovascular) exercise and strength building. All you need to do is find one thing you really enjoy in each of these categories.
 

Cardio might be dancing, hoola-hoop, trampoline jumping, swimming, swordfighting (yes, really), and lots of other things. Strength is built by resistance, for example yoga, bodyweight exercises and anything that challenges your muscles without getting you out of breath.
 
 

The initial hurdle

 

The most effective way of getting there quickly, is the way most people ignore or roll their eyes at. I’m talking about taking things slowly. There are no drawbacks to this approach, and contrary to popular perception, it leads to fast results.
 

Do five minutes of stretches or “desk yoga” (google it!). Jump around to a song you like. Ask yourself what you like to do, what excites you, and do just a little of it. Soon your body will catch up, and because you love it, you’ll be dying to do more.
 

Let yourself be led by your enthusiasm and you’ll soon discover the joys of physical fitness. Your energy levels will be off the scale! Forget about torturing yourself, try joy instead. You’ll be surprised by just how effective it is.

Surround Yourself With Your Passion

Surround yourself with your passion

After neglecting my health for years and then starting to heal two years ago, I’m still nowhere near where I used to be in terms of fitness levels and energy. Many days, I just can’t face moving my body even to do the things I love most. As a “Passions Priority Coach”, this rankles. There’s a nagging voice inside that tells me I’m a fraud if I’m not always passionate and active.
 

I do know better. It’s about prioritising passion every day, but it’s not about trying to force anything. If rest or self care are on the agenda, then so be it. I’ve learned to listen to my recovering body. There is, however, a difference between having an off day and letting things slip. It’s surprising how easy it is to return to a state of functioning through the tasks of the day and neglecting the things that light me up.
 

If joy is our natural state, as Wayne Dyer puts it, why is it such a challenge to stick with it? Why does it feel like constantly pedalling a bike uphill? I got curious and looked into the reasons behind this, and I also believe I’ve come up with a surprisingly simple technique to counter it: To surround yourself with the thing that lights you up. From talking to friends and clients, I know I’m far from being the only one struggling, so I thought I’d share.
 
 

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“Forgetting” your passion

 

It’s not like you really forget, is it? If anyone asked you what lights you up, you’d reply without having to think about it much.
 

Then why is it so hard to remember in your everyday life? Why are there not just days, but entire weeks and perhaps even longer periods, when you don’t even pick up your paint brush, write a single word, or go for a training session (or whatever it is you’re passionate about)?
 

I believe it’s because modern life doesn’t favour joy or passion. Think about it: A regular person goes to work five out of seven days, spends most of their day there, and in addition looks after a family and a home.
 

Our lives are designed to get chores done and secure our survival, simple as that. Our society doesn’t prioritise joy and passions, and that’s why it’s so challenging to remind ourselves. Besides, depending on how much an individual is caught up in society’s demands, it can be really difficult finding the time to dedicate to passions like art.
 

In other words, it’s time you let yourself off the hook and recognised that circumstances are working against you. You have every reason to be proud of pursuing your passion at all! See, this is why I do the work I do. I can’t think of anything more important than helping people prioritise what really should be at the centre of life: That which lights you up, your passion and your joy, every single day.
 
 

Prioritise passion: surround yourself

 

How, then, can you counteract the pull of a society which keeps whispering in your ear to make a living, get a bigger car or house, and buy your children more expensive toys? How do you unearth that inner voice which tells you to create, to move, to do that thing which makes you feel alive?
 

One surprisingly simple way of keeping your passion on your mind is to literally surround yourself with it. The only problem with simple techniques is that they seem too easy to work, so people often dismiss them. I invite you to keep an open mind about this and put it to the test – it works like a charm!
 

For example, I keep my bow and my practice swords right next to my desk at home. I see them all the time and so I’m reminded to pick them up whenever I’m on a break. I’ve been neglecting my dancing a little recently, because my “dance room” is upstairs and out of sight. This is remedied in the house I’m moving to (more about this in this week’s personal update). There, I’ll once again have a space with wooden floors right in my office.
 

You could write reminders on post-it notes and stick them to every surface in the house. Leave your paint brush and easel in the middle of the room. You could place your sports bag where you practically fall over it on the way out of the house. It seems silly, but it works! Once you surround yourself with your passion, and your mind’s focus will shift.

Couch Vs Joy – Why Motivation Doesn’t Work

Couch vs Joy, Motivation doesn't work

There was a time in my life when I drove to the office in the morning, worked all day, then drove home. In the evening, I sat on my couch in front of the computer or with a book in my hand. Every day was the same, with occasional exceptions at the weekends.
 

I didn’t even notice anything missing from my life. I thought I was happy. Sure, there were things I wanted to do: learn historical swordfighting, take up archery again. But I “didn’t have the time” or the money, and anyway, I told myself that life was good.
 

Just think how many people live like this! Thoreau said that most people “lead lives of quiet desperation”. It might not be quite that bad, but a lot of us have experienced what it’s like to live without the exhileration of doing what lights us up, at least at some point in our lives.
 

Why do we do this to ourselves? I talked about the “excuses list” in last week’s article, but the truth is, it really can be a challenge to get up off our backsides. When we’re overworked and underwhelmed and constantly tired, it’s not so easy to resist the call of the couch, as my own Coach puts it.
 

What to do when even your passion feels like a chore?
 
 

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Why “motivation” doesn’t work

 

“Motivation” is this weird idea that somehow, if you only think the correct thoughts, you’ll do what you previously didn’t want to do. If you stop and think about it, it makes no sense at all! And it gets worse: The more you fail to motivate yourself, the worse you feel and the less likely you are to change.
 

How about you stop beating yourself up and look for the real reasons for your hesitation instead? For example, during my “couch years”, I was permanently exhausted because I never got enough sleep due to a rather night-active neighbour who kept me awake. I also ate foods that make me sluggish.
 

In the following years, I moved to a detached house where I could get the rest I needed. Through trial and error, I found out which types of food send me to sleep. I changed my eating habits, got regular sleep, and within months I was a completely changed person. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to jump up and get dancing and swordfighting!
 

The reasons might be different for you, but trust me, they’re there. You may be overwhelmed with too many chores and responsibilities, or you’ve neglected self care for too long. Check for what’s missing and make the necessary changes (Coaching is great for these kinds of makeovers, by the way!), and soon your passion will beckon you.
 
 

Is your passion still your passion?

 

This is a tricky one. Passions do change sometimes. If you are a multi-passionate, you’ll be used to this: We simply process the world a little differently and so we often change priorities or lose interest in something. If you find yourself no longer motivated to do what used to light you up, take a closer look.
 

The tricky bit is that even the strongest passion can become less appealing for a period of time if you’re stuck or plateauing in your skill. For example, a novelist might experience writer’s block to the point when they hate the sight of their workspace. In my archery, I’ve been through times when I adjusted my technique and for some weeks, didn’t seem to hit anything. I had a lot of resistance to even picking up my bow to practice.
 

As long as you’re tuned into your own emotions, you should be able to tell whether you’re losing interest in something or simply going through a challenging phase. If it’s the former, then let yourself off the hook, re-assess, and find a different passion which lights you up. In the latter case, you’re going to need a mixture of self-forgiveness and discipline to push through the dry spell (this is once again an area where a Coach can be invaluable).
 
 

Go for the emotion

 

Lastly, in order to find your drive, focus on the way you want to feel rather than the activity itself. To build the strength I need for swordfighting, I do some basic strength exercise which isn’t always pleasant. However, I love the feeling of accomplishment after completing the routine, and I definitely love getting better at swordfighting. Remembering the exhileration motivates me to do my training.
 

Find the emotions your passion gives you, and make that your goal. You’ll be up and about in no time at all!

Can You Make Money Doing What You Love?

Crafts - make money doing what you love

Can you make money pursuing your passion? I’ve heard all the objections. In fact, I’ve used quite a few of them myself in my time:
 

“I’m not a pro, I can’t charge for this!”
“I love doing it. I don’t need to make lots of money.”
“Charging for it degrades my work.”
“Who would pay this much?”
 

Why do we resist earning money with our passion(s) so much? It’s almost like we prefer to stay in dead-end jobs and meaningless drudgery – well, I know not all of us live that kind of life, but look around yourself and you’ll see how many still do.
 

I believe it’s because we have been so brainwashed into thinking that paid work has to be something we dislike, or at least something we wouldn’t do voluntarily. We’ve come to believe it’s somehow unethical to charge for something we love doing.
 

I call BS. Doing what lights you up is the reason why you were put on this planet. You are here to radiate joy and love, not to suffer in misery. It follows that it must also be possible to live off whatever you earn with your passion.

[bctt tweet=”We’ve come to believe it’s somehow unethical to charge for something we love doing. I call BS.”]

 

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Why not just give your work away?

 

The marvellous Leonie Dawson once wrote an article in which she told a story of one of her mentors, who taught her about charging for her artwork. The rationale was that there is a balance of energy which needs to be preserved. You create your crafts or art, and provide your services, by using all your heart and love and energy on it. Therefore, when you give it away, there needs to be an equal amount of energy flowing back to you: energy in the shape of money.
 

Next time you think you should give your stuff away because you had fun creating it, remind yourself of the balance of energy. Life just doesn’t work with energy flowing in one direction only. There needs to be an exchange, giving and receiving, in order to preserve the natural balance.
 
 

Charge realistic prices

 

Think what a craftsman or a plumber charges per hour, and ask yourself whether your service, or your art or craft, is worth so much less? Your time is your most valuable commodity.
 

For example, when I determine the prices for my Coaching, I don’t just calculate the actual hours of the Coaching sessions with my client, but the many hours preparing and sending emails and materials, as well as the learning and further study I do in order to stay up to date in my field.
 

If you, for example, create jewellery, think of similar pieces sold in a commercial shop and what they cost. Now consider that those pieces are probably mass produced, whereas your work is likely unique and at the very least, handcrafted – this alone is worth a hefty premium! People expect to pay more for unique pieces, so don’t be afraid to ask for a sum which reflects this.
 
 

The nuts and bolts

 

If you are going to give it a go and try to make money with your passion, be sure to build a strong back end before you give up your daytime job. Most people have zero knowledge of business, and this goes especially for creative types.
 

A small online business isn’t rocket science, but you still need to learn about costs, turnover, and profit, about marketing and advertising, and how to budget. I highly recommend investing in yourself there; people often think they’ll save money, but in the end they waste so much more by trial and error.
 
 

Why?

 

Finally, why do I think this is important? Because it’s my deepest belief that you are on this planet to shine, that you are meant to be joyful and live in bliss. It’s your purpose as a human being. You weren’t born to pay bills or buy a suitably upper-class house or car. You weren’t born to reach life’s “milestones” like marriage, kids, job promotion, and retirement like clockwork if that’s not what lights you up.
 

I’ll say it again: You were meant to shine. To shine, you need to do what lights you up. By the natural order of the universe, doing this will provide you with all you need to live. The only caveat is that you need to learn how to do this – by charging enough money and learning how to run a business – because we aren’t taught these things in our schools.
 

Do the work and claim your joy!

[bctt tweet=”You were meant to shine. To shine, you need to do what lights you up.”]

Gratitude – Yawn!

Gratitude

It was 2001, I’d just turned 31, and I was all fresh to the journey of personal development. I started out by reading the classics, like Napoleon Hill’s Think and grow rich, I joined internet forums (if you’re too young to remember this: it was a thing before Facebook, I swear), and I began some recommended practices for a positive mindset and success.
 

The one thing every single teacher or guru recommended, was gratitude. So I dutifully started my gratitude journal, where I wrote down 5 things I was grateful for every day.
 

Do you want the brutal truth? It was mind-numbingly boring. I went through the motions, came up with 5 items every day, and then quickly moved on to whatever other list I was writing at the time, such as 10 daily successes.
 

It took me a while to figure out why gratitude wasn’t working for me. You see, simply “thinking” (as you do when you write something down) doesn’t quite do the trick. Gratitude is an emotion and a state of mind, and the challenge is to tap into that. Only then can we access the abundance the gurus promise.
 

In the following, I’ve put together three non-sucky ways of incorporating gratitude into your life. Try them out, pick and choose, and keep what suits you. It really is worth it!
 
 

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1. The daydream

 

When you were a child, did you ever sit in a boring lesson at school and found your mind wandering to altogether more pleasant pastures? Heck, never mind school – plenty of us have done the same thing at a less-than-interesting job. I’d like to you keep this effortless daydreaming in mind when you read the following paragraphs.
 

You see, “visualisation” isn’t a terribly accurate term. It implies picturing something, but I suggest doing much more than that. Just like you did in your schooltime daydreams, I want you to get into all five senses as well as the emotional state you’re imagining.
 

What you’re imagining is, of course, whatever it is you’re grateful for. Instead of writing “my husband and kids and our house”, you picture a scene on a mild spring day in the garden with your family, as gratitude for your beautiful life warms you like the sunshine on your skin. In short, you paint a picture of the thing you’re grateful for.
 
 

2. The tribunal

 

If you like to challenge your mind, this one’s for you. Think of what you’re grateful for, and then imagine yourself in court, where a clever attorney is trying to get you to admit you’re not actually grateful.
 

List all the reasons why you are, and don’t forget to describe the way this makes you feel. Emotions are, in fact, the best way of convincing this particular court, so feel free to lay it on thick.
 

This may sound a little weird, but if you look for reasons why you feel gratitude, you also remind yourself of how much reason you really have. It’s so easy to forget otherwise!
 
 

3. The take-a-breath

 

This one’s great when you’re busy or working on something for a long time. First of all, you need to remember to take breaks (trust me, your performance will improve as well. Even and especially if you “don’t have time” for a break). At the very least, stop what you’re doing for ten seconds, look up from your work, and take a deep breath.
 

As you breathe in, think of something that’s good right now. It could be the cup of coffee in front of you. Your colleague who offered help earlier. A hug from your three-year-old this morning. Just think of something, however small it is, and with the deep breath and sighing out-breath, feel your gratitude flood you.
 
 

The magic key

 

Gratitude is like a magic key which opens the doors to abundance, be it in love and relationships, in your interests and passions, or in material abundance. Like everything else, gratitude can become a habit if you practise it daily for at least three weeks, so I suggest you stick with your chosen practice for at least that long.
 

Now, if you’re having trouble even thinking of anything to be grateful for, I suggest your passion or passions. I do hope it plays a major role in your life, because if it doesn’t, then you and I really need to talk! You are on this planet to be joyful, loving, and ecstatic. Claim what’s yours.