Contents

Welcome to 365 ways to be your own life coach 1

How to be your own life coach -        an overview                                                          3

The TGROW method                                                                                           3

What is life coaching?                                                                                        11

Self-coaching                                                                                                     13

Eight steps to success                                                                                         21

Step one: clear intentions - choosing your goals                                                          24

Why goals matter                                                                                               24

Benefits of setting goals                                                                                     31

Your mission                                                                                                      34

Setting your goals                                                                                              37

Work-life balance                                                                                              48

Step one: summing up                                                                                        50

Step two: using the awesome power of your mind                                                       51

The Law of Attraction                                                                                        52

The ITIA formula                                                                                               52

The power of thought                                                                                         54

Watch your language                                                                                         65

Ask the right questions                                                                                      68

Beliefs                                                                                                                74

Developing a positive mental attitude                                                                84

Great expectations                                                                                              87

Use your intuition                                                                                              89

Use your imagination                                                                                         99

Getting the most from creative imagery                                                           103

The ‘as if ' principle                                                                                         111

Motivating yourself                                                                                          112

Step two: summing up                                                                                     118

Step three: building desirable personal qualities into yourself                                119

Who do you think you are (and who would you like to be)? 120

The qualities of success                                                                                   126

Three ways to build new qualities into yourself                                              132

Step three: summing up                                                                                   135

Step four: evaluating your current situation                                                              136

Step four: summing up                                                                                     140

Step five: considering your options

141

Step five: summing up

142

Step six: action - what you must do to succeed

143

The Law of Giving

144

Time management

158

Taking good care of yourself

163

Step six: summing up

168

Step seven: monitoring your progress

169

Step seven: summing up

173

Step eight: plugging into the power of persistence

174

Step eight: summing up

176

The art of relating

177

Communication skills

188

Active listening

191

Rapport

204

Conversational skills

206

 

 

Assertiveness

211

Eight ways to become more assertive

214

Happiness: the point of it all

221

Seven keys to happiness

224

Appendix

229

References and further reading

230


Welcome to 365 ways

to be your own life coach

Since you're reading this, I imagine you want to make some changes to your life, but you're not entirely sure how to go about it. You're not alone. That's why there's been such a phenomenal growth in life coaching in Britain and many other countries in the past few years.

The first time I heard the term was in a talk by the inspirational motivational speaker and author, Anthony Robbins, ten years ago. ‘Some people call me a guru,' he said, ‘but that's not true. I'm not a guru, I'm a coach. I coach people to get the best out of themselves.'

Since then, life coaching has become big business. Training, diplomas and certificates are offered not only by a profusion of private schools and ‘institutes' worldwide, but also educational institutes accredited by officially-recognised statutory bodies. For example, in the UK, coaching and its closest cousin, mentoring, form part of the training for teachers, managers and certain health practitioners. In a relatively short time, life coaching has come of age!

Life coaches offer their services to individuals, groups and businesses, often at exorbitant rates. A friend of mine recently paid £375 for three, 55 minute, four-way telephone conversations with a life coach. That's over £9 for every minute of his share of attention from the coach! He claims to have benefited from the sessions, but obviously many of those who need help can't afford to pay that sort of money. Hopefully everyone can afford to invest in this book.

What do life coaches aim to do? Simply to support and encourage their clients in their personal and professional growth by helping them to identify and achieve their goals. They use a variety of conversational and written techniques to help them find the best way forward, strengthen their motivation and take action. Good coaches don't give advice, but help the client to find the answer for themselves.

It occurs to me that I have been a life coach for over 30 years, although I have only recently begun to refer to myself as such. I have unwittingly coached my children, friends, colleagues and students. I have also been a life coach to my clients (I have been a hypnotherapist for nearly 20 years), and often found life coaching to be more useful to them than therapy. That's one of the reasons I developed my internet-based ‘Life Enrichment Programme'.

Some of my ‘coachees' completely turned their lives around and went on to great success in their chosen fields. None paid anything like £9 per minute, and neither need you. If you follow the tried and tested methods offered in this book, you can transform your life with no financial outlay other than the cover price.

I base my methods on three simple ideas. You will become very familiar with these in the weeks ahead:

        The TGROW method.

        Eight Steps to Success.

        The ITIA formula.

I believe the best coach for you is you, and I aim to give free rein to him or her. This book will show you exactly what you need to do to turn yourself into your own life coach. There are 365 priceless ideas, exercises and skills to learn from and apply.

I want you to get more from this book than a warm feeling. I want you to put these principles and techniques into practice so you will reap the rewards. But you won't gain full benefit if you merely read my words. That would be like expecting to get better by gazing at the label on the bottle without actually taking the medicine.

I guarantee: if you read the material carefully and use what you learn, big changes will take place. A year from now you'll look back with amazement on all you've achieved.

So let's get started.

David Lawrence Preston david@davidlawrencepreston.co.uk www.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk

Casella di testo: How To Be Your Own
Casella di testo: Life Coach - An Overview

The TGROW method

The TGROW method is widely used in life coaching sessions. In each session life coaches take their clients through five steps, although not necessarily in sequence.

The letters stand for:

Theme

Goals

Reality
Options

Will

Theme

What's on your mind right now? Where do your priorities lie? Are there any problems in any particular area of your life which you feel need attention? Which features of your life are you most keen to change?

        Health: do you have sufficient energy to carry you through each day, and, if not, what are you going to do about it?

        Career: are there any issues in your working life or business activities which need attending to?

        Money: have you any financial problems that need dealing with?

        Home life: is everything OK with the people you live with, your husband/wife/partner, your children and wider family?

        Social relationships: are you getting pleasure from an active, varied and fulfilling

social life?

        Hobbies: do you have interests and pastimes that provide enjoyment and take your mind off the pressures of life?

        Lifestyle: how do you want to live? What do you want to experience? Do you have the way of life you would ideally choose for yourself? If not, are you clear what would be the perfect lifestyle for you, and what you would like to change?

        Personal development and spiritual life: does your self-esteem need a boost, or are you considering becoming involved with a particular religious group, or taking up a spiritual practice such as prayer or meditation?

        What, if anything, do you no longer want in your life?

In reality, of course, you can't separate out these areas of your life, because they have a significant effect on each other. Your work affects your family life, stress levels, intimate relationships and health, and soaks up energy you may prefer to devote to your hobbies and pastimes. Equally, your home and family life impinges on your effectiveness at work, and so on.

Goals

Are you clear on your goals? Indeed, do you have any goals - long, medium or short­term? If you did have any goals, what would they be, and can you think of anything you can start doing now that would move you closer towards them?

Is there one goal which, if achieved, could make the others fall into place and transform your life? Would, for instance, a career or business goal solve a pressing financial problem and allow you to pursue a cherished hobby or fulfil a longing to travel? If so, is there something you could do within the next two weeks, seven days, or even today to make a start?

We'll take a more detailed look at the goal setting process in the pages ahead, and suggest a useful goal setting pro-forma.

Reality

While it is important to have goals, it's also important to be realistic about your chances of achieving them. Setting yourself challenging goals within impractical deadlines can


be very damaging, because you are almost certain to fail. Make sure you're not asking the impossible of yourself.

Take stock of your present situation. Try to understand all the factors which impact on your goals:

        Where are you now in relation to each goal?

        What resources do you have? What do you need? How will you acquire them?

        Do you have all the knowledge, skills and personal qualities you require?

        What's been holding you back? Are there any obstacles? How significant are they?

        What have you done so far? Did it work? What stopped you going further?

Options

How many options do you have for achieving your goals? List them. Do some research: read widely, surf the net, ask around. Rule nothing out at this stage, no matter how far fetched it seems.

Where there are several feasible options available, look at each in turn. Identify those that seem best and consider how they will achieve your desired outcome. Look back over your options from time to time; reviewing them may spark off new ideas.

Will

Decide on the actions you will take and commit yourself to them. When you work through TGROW systematically, your decisions are based on a clear grasp of the issues. Set tasks, deadlines and timescales, and write them down. As you proceed, monitor the results to make sure your actions are taking you closer to your goals. If not, do something different, that's more likely to take you there.

Simple enough, isn't it? If it seems daunting, don't worry: we'll be clarifying each of these steps in the following pages and offering a plethora of ideas to make them practical, realistic, effective and exciting.

Let's work through the process to gain a better understanding of how it operates. (You can photocopy any of the next few pages and use them as a template if you wish.)

Choose one of your goals. (If you can't think of any, imagine something

you would like to achieve.) Spend some time on the next few pages.

Description of your goal (in present tense):

My goal is ..............................................................................................................

Life area: (e.g. work, family, hobbies, health, etc):

Target date

Benefits when achieved:

Intermediate steps (with dates):

Support/infrastructure required:

How will you know when you've achieved it?

I      confirm that this is a true description of my goal, and that I am committed to achieving it.

Your signature ..................................................  Today's... date .......................

Date for review .....................................................................................................

Where are you now in relation to this goal?

What actions have you taken so far?

What worked? What didn't?

What stopped you going further? Are there any obstacles, major or minor, and what are they?

How much control do you have over them?

What resources do you have?

What do you need, and how will you acquire them?

What new knowledge, skills and personal qualities do you need?

What else is on your mind concerning this goal?

What options do you have for reaching your goal?

List all the alternatives - rule nothing out at this stage

Column (b)

Leave blank for now

Column (c)

Leave blank for now

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

 

4

 

 

5

 

 

6

 

 

7

 

 

8

 

 

 

If you can think of more than eight - great! Use a separate sheet.

Once you have finished your list of options, go through each of them in detail. Examine them carefully, and tick those that seem most likely to achieve the outcome you want in column (b). Alternatively, rank them.

What is your level of commitment to pursuing each option? Write a number between zero and ten in column (c) next to each tick, where ten means totally and irrevocably committed, and zero means no commitment at all. (If you choose zero, ask yourself why did I tick it?)

Write an action plan. Establish your priorities, set deadlines, and commit to them. Jot down anything else that will help.

Action

By

(date)

Notes

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

 

4

 

 

5

 

 

6

 

 

 

If six isn't enough, that's fine, use a separate sheet.

Congratulations - you've just worked through the TGROW method for the first time. You now have some working documents which you can refer to and refine whenever you review your goals and plans, which you should do regularly.

So that's a broad overview of the process. Now - let's step back and examine it in more detail.

What is life coaching?

The essence of life coaching is very simple. It is a guided discussion, or series of discussions, between two people (sometimes more - life coaching can take place in groups), either face to face, on the telephone or via other electronic means. Its purpose is to guide the client to more success, happiness and wellbeing than they are currently experiencing.

The coach supports the client to learn new ways of working, improve their performance and get better results. Sometimes clients have a vague feeling that life could be better or something's wrong, but can't put their finger on it. Often they know what they want, but don't know how to get it. Coaches help them to decide.

Some coaches have themselves achieved at a high level. Eileen Mulligan, for example, author of Life Coaching, built up a £million company in the beauty industry and won awards for enterprise before becoming a successful business consultant and personal coach. Julia McCutcheon, coach to many well known authors, had an impressive track record in the publishing world, and many management coaches can claim substantial achievements in industry and commerce.

However, this is not absolutely necessary. Many outstanding life coaches have little or no experience in the subject areas in which they coach their clients. In similar vein, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, coaches to Britain's most illustrious soccer teams, Manchester United and Arsenal, were not particularly successful as players, but this has not prevented them from guiding their teams to many trophies. Most film directors were not noted as actors, and most of the singing teachers who coach entertainment megastars were never famous themselves, but they don't have to be; they know how to bring the best out of their charges, and that's what matters.

Because the term ‘life coaching' is relatively new, it's important to understand exactly what it is and what it is not.

Life coaching is:

        Concerned with choosing where you want to be and how to get there. It focuses on the here and now and the future.

        Based on the premise that the future doesn't have to equate to the past, the past is relevant only if it is likely to seriously affect the results of the coaching.

        A process which helps you think about your current circumstances and clarify your goals in a balanced way in every area of your life.

        About exploring your thoughts, feelings and experiences to promote learning and constructive action. You can learn to improve your communication skills, be more confident, motivated and proactive, handle stress, cultivate self-discipline, create positive attitudes and change unproductive behaviours.

        A catalyst. Insights and learning are as likely to emerge between coaching sessions as much as during them.

        A useful tool for putting together a plan to realise your aspirations in life.

Life coaching is not:

        Counselling or therapy. It does not seek to resolve psychological and emotional issues (although this can happen). Reputable life coaches who perceive a need for therapy in a client would recommend consulting a therapist even if they were trained therapists themselves (which some are). They know that confusing therapy with coaching is unhelpful.

        Life coaches imposing their views on the client or solving their problems for them. They do not take responsibility away from their clients. They help them find their own way, even if it is not the way the coach would have suggested.

        A short-term measure just to cope with current issues. It takes a long-term view, although it is also concerned with today's actions.

I recently coached an 18-year-old girl. Her father had taken her out of school just before she was due to take her GCSE examinations and relocated to a foreign country where she could not speak the language. On her return to England, she was hampered by her lack of qualifications and work experience and racked with self-doubt. I gently discouraged her from dwelling on the past. I paid no attention to her self-pity, and encouraged her to focus on what she wanted and what she needed to do to make it possible.

We formulated an action plan which involved returning to college part-time to get qualified while working in the evenings and at weekends to support herself. Despite her past misfortunes, she's now well on the way to getting the job in the travel industry that she longs for.

Self-coaching

Self-coaching is being a coach to yourself. Just as life coaches have a duty of care to their clients, as self-coach you must acknowledge your duty of care to yourself. This includes fostering your own wellbeing, being willing to recognise your weaknesses as well as your strengths, enjoying your successes and being honest enough to admit when things aren't going to plan.

Just as life coaches talk things through with their clients and make notes, self-coaches talk things through with themselves, ask constructive questions and then write down the main points in the form of a plan for future reference. As you will see, effective self­coaching boils down to asking the right questions of yourself, other people, published and electronic sources, and then acting on the answers that come from external sources and within.

Life coaches and their clients make time to speak regularly, usually weekly. Similarly, as a self-coach, you must be willing to put aside time for yourself, to read, learn and apply the tools and techniques.

Buy a notebook to use as your Self-Coaching Journal. Alternatively, an A4 size ringbinder would be just as good. Use it to record your goals, plans, actions taken and their results. Write down your thoughts on your progress. Include ideas for self-development, inspirational anecdotes, quotations, memory joggers and so on. Note what's going right, what's not working, what's holding you back, and what you intend to do about it. Use it like a scrap book, pasting journal articles and press cuttings, etc.

Date every entry - then you can trace your development and progress over the months and years ahead. Update it daily if possible; if not, at least once a week.

What kind of person would you expect a life coach to be? What qualities, attitudes and skills would he or she possess? Jot down your thoughts in your Self-Coaching Journal.

Before looking at the questions opposite, consider which of these qualities you need to develop in yourself as a self-coach.

Some qualities of a good life coach

Which did you think of?

Which do you need to develop in yourself?

Excellent listening and communication skills.

 

 

Neither judgmental nor critical of others.

 

 

Respect client confidentiality.

 

 

Patient and flexible, open, honest and friendly.

 

 

Make their clients feel valued and understood.

 

 

Able to enthuse and motivate others, and raise their spirits.

 

 

Insight to perceive and suggest options for the client.

 

 

Believe in their clients 100 per cent.

 

 

Take clients seriously and be totally committed to their success and wellbeing.

 

 

Have a positive attitude to setbacks.

 

 

Know how to hold their clients to account if they fail to live up to their promises or meet their deadlines (without destroying their self­confidence).

 

 

Know how to support their clients to achieve more than they otherwise would.

 

 


 

Here are some of the qualities and skills of a good self-coach. Which do you already have? Which do you need to work on?

Do you/are you:

Yes/no?

Need to work on?

Willing to listen to your inner self?

 

 

A positive thinker?

 

 

Neither judgmental nor critical of yourself?

 

 

Value and understand yourself?

 

 

Believe in yourself and take yourself and your desires seriously?

 

 

Committed to creating your own success and wellbeing?

 

 

Understand that, in self-coaching, there is no such thing as failure, only feedback?

 

 

Able to hold yourself to account if you fail to meet your obligations?

 

 

Know how to support yourself to achieve more than you have so far? (Probably not; why else would you be reading this?)

 

 

 

Don't worry if you can't honestly answer ‘yes' to all of these questions just yet. Keep applying the 365 principles and practices, and before long you will!

Are you ready to self-coach?

 

Yes

No

Do you have your Self-Coaching Journal and are you clear on how you are going to use it?

 

 

Are you willing to set aside time in advance each day to read, do the exercises and carry out the assignments?

 

 

Are you ready to make changes, acquire new skills and eliminate negative habit patterns?

 

 

Do you agree to keep going, even when it seems easier to give up?

 

 

Are you ready to choose a more enthusiastic and optimistic attitude from now on?

 

 

 

Hopefully you have answered ‘yes' to all of these. So let's continue.

Why self-coaching works: Cause and Effect

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by

the seeds you sow.

Eastern proverb

Cause and Effect is one of the fundamental principles underlying the workings of the universe. It applies in the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc) and social sciences (psychology, sociology, economics, etc), and explains not only why life on Earth is as it is, but also why your life is as it is.

The principle states that everything that exists is the result of a cause, some action. Moreover, every human action is preceded by a thought, either conscious or subconscious. Obviously not every thought leads to an action, but equally there can be no action without a preceding thought.

In other words, what you sow you reap, and what you reap, you sow. You get out of life what you put into it, and when you change the causes that shape your life - primarily your thoughts, words and actions - you get different results.

Since your thoughts, words and actions are under your control (you may not yet think so, but they are), evidently you control the circumstances of your life. That's why many individuals brought up in abject poverty, or orphaned, physically handicapped, or emotionally or sexually abused, have been able to put their early disadvantages behind them and enjoy happy and fulfilling lives.

You make the Principle of Cause and Effect work for you by sowing new, improved seeds. As you grow in self-awareness and apply the TGROW method, the Eight Steps (see page 21) and ITIA formula (see page 52), you reap a new, more fulfilling and more abundant harvest.

Obviously not everyone who has turned their life around has consciously applied these techniques, but they have gone through the same progression nevertheless. Here's an example:


Casella di testo: 10

‘Have big dreams, son.'

Who do you think this story is about?

As a boy growing up on one of the toughest estates in Northern England, this young man faced brutality every day of his life. His response was to meet violence with violence. By the age of ten, he was known as the toughest kid on the block. No one around him believed that things could be any different; hardly anyone he knew had made very much of their lives. But he had one big advantage over his contemporaries - his Mum. ‘Have big dreams, son,' she would say, ‘because there's nothing you can't achieve.'

He did have a dream - he loved reading and wanted to be an English teacher, but that ambition all but died when he was rejected by the local grammar school and sent to a rough secondary school. (He discovered years later that he had actually passed the entrance exam, but was excluded because his reputation had preceded him.) He was finally expelled at 15 for vandalism.

Several years of heavy drinking and tedious factory jobs followed, then a spell in prison for beating someone up at a football match. This turned out to be the turning point: during his incarceration he realised that his behaviour was getting him nowhere, and resolved to change. Something inside told him that no matter what had gone before, he could make a new start. So he set himself some goals.

When he came out he started a business buying up run-down houses, doing them up and selling them. Then one day he spotted a newspaper advertisement for actors to take part in a new television drama about a group of unemployed construction workers seeking work in Germany. Impressed by his hard exterior and blunt manner, they offered him the part of Oz, the truculent bricklayer, his first step on the road to fame and fortune. He has since gone on to become an internationally acclaimed entertainer, continually in demand.

Did you recognise this as the story of Jimmy Nail, TV actor, film star, scriptwriter, director, singer, songwriter and musician?

Casella di testo: 11Let's consider Jimmy Nail's example in more detail. How do you account for his transformation? What were the ‘causes' that produced the success, happiness and prosperity that must have been beyond his wildest dreams in his teens and early twenties? Jot down a few notes (before you look at the list below).

Jimmy Nail brought into play the Law of Cause and Effect. He may not have been consciously aware that his thoughts and imagination were prime causes, but even so, his personal transformation started with a change that took place between his ears.

1          He created an intention and set himself some goals.

2          He used the power of his mind to change bad habits, build positive beliefs and visualise a successful future.

3          He acquired new knowledge, learned new skills (first as a builder and businessman, then as an actor/writer/musician, etc) and progressively turned himself into the person he needed to be to realise his ambitions.

4          He candidly evaluated his situation.

5          He considered his options and made a plan.

6          He took action - lots of it.

7          He kept track of the results of his actions and adjusted his strategy. Moreover, when a new opportunity presented itself, he grabbed it with both hands.

8          He kept going, showing patience and persistence, both in setting up his business, then establishing himself as an entertainer.

These are the eight fundamental steps of self-coaching. The ITIA formula and TGROW method are embedded in them.

Jimmy Nail has made an outstanding success of his life. He has demonstrated one of the elementary truths basic to self-coaching - the future does not equal the past. Carry on laying the same ‘causes', and we get the same results; change the ‘causes' and the ‘effects' change too.

Jimmy Nail could have continued with his devil-may-care tough-guy behaviour, but once he realised that more of the same would only bring more of the same, he set out on a new course.

Like Jimmy Nail, you have a past. You could carry on laying down the same ‘causes', or you could set new goals, change how you think, change what you imagine about the future, and change how you conduct yourself. In other words, you can make the Principle of Cause and Effect work for you. That's what self-coaching is all about.

Eight steps to success

1 Set clear goals.

2          Use the power of your mind - think positively, undo negative conditioning, build positive beliefs and use your imagination to help you create the life you want.

3          Acquire the knowledge, qualities and new skills you need; become the person you need to be to realise your ambitions.

4          Evaluate your current situation.

5          Consider your options.

6          Take action - the right action, and lots of it.

7          Monitor your progress and make adjustments if necessary.

8          Keep going. Plug into the power of persistence.


Casella di testo: 12Casella di testo: 13

Self-coaching is all about guiding yourself to happiness and success. What do these terms mean to you? Write your personal definitions of ‘happiness' and ‘success'.

To me, happiness means

To me, success means

In your Self-Coaching Journal list what ‘success' means to you regarding your:

     Health and fitness.

     Career, work and business activities.

     Financial affairs.

     Home life and family relationships.

     Social relationships and friendships.

     Hobbies and pastimes.

     Lifestyle.

     Personal development and spiritual life.

How would you know if you were successful in each of these life areas?

Casella di testo: 14

successful.

 
What do you think has held you back in life so far? Write down six things that have stopped you being as successful as you would like in the grid below.


Step one: clear intentions

- choosing your goals

Anyone who consciously becomes a goal setter, writes

them down, and frequently thinks and talks about them

will notice an immediate and dramatic improvement in

their level of accomplishment, even if they've done very

little with their lives before.

Brian Tracy

Why goals matter

Goals are simply your intentions specified, clarified and written down, with deadlines.

From an early age your accomplishments and your happiness are determined by your intentions, the decisions you make and the extent to which you carry them through.

In the Western world we are faced with an overwhelming number of choices. A modern superstore has over 100,000 lines - compare this to the range available to our grandparents just a few decades ago, or to people in many other parts of the world. Imagine entering a superstore with no idea of what you wanted to buy and no idea of how much you could afford to spend. You'd be in total confusion.

Until you narrow down your choices in a meaningful way, you're like a scattergun, firing shots in all directions, hoping to hit something, but not sure what that may be. Once you decide which choices are most likely to bring you happiness and fulfilment, decisions become very much easier. Gone is the hesitancy, self-doubt and stress. You're
clear on what you want, and ready to go out and get it.

Life coaches help their clients to be clear about what they want. Setting personal goals also lies at the heart of self-coaching. If you're not clear where you want to get to, how can you map out your journey? How do you know if you're heading in the right direction? How do you know when you've arrived?

You need goals on several different levels:

        Major (long-term) goals, which define the overall direction and shape of your life.

        Medium-term goals, the stepping stones that bring the long-term goals into focus.

        Casella di testo: 16Short-term goals, which contribute to your medium-term goals and provide a framework for your day to day actions.

One of the main reasons why some people don't achieve very much or enjoy life to the full is that they're not clear what they want. This is illustrated perfectly by Lewis Carroll in a scene from Alice in Wonderland. Alice, wandering lost in the woods, encounters the Cheshire Cat sitting on a branch, grinning.

‘Cheshire Puss,' Alice began rather timidly, ‘would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?'

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the cat.

‘I don’t much care where..' said Alice.

‘Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the cat.

‘. so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added by way of explanation.

‘Oh you’re sure to do that,’ said the cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.’

What point do you think Lewis Carroll was making when he wrote this scene?

Casella di testo: 17Everyone has goals. For some it is to find the next meal, for others to get through the day. Others set more ambitious goals, like completing an important piece of work or completing a marathon. You set goals all the time, whether you realise it or not. When you wake up, you mentally set yourself the goal of getting washed and dressed and arriving at work on time. Each of these goals comprises many sub-goals, such as having breakfast, starting the car or arriving at the bus stop in time for the bus, and putting your shoes on the correct feet. Sometimes these goals are imposed on you by other people, such as the children, your partner or boss.

Without thinking too hard write down your immediate goals - those that are preoccupying you right now.

Examine your list. How do you feel about what you've written?

Your values

The road to happiness lies in two simple principles:

find what it is that interests you and you can do well,

and when you find it, put your whole soul into it - every

bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you

Casella di testo: 99
Casella di testo: John D. Rockefeller

have.

Goal setting is a vital skill. But before you establish your goals, you must step back and decide what is really important to you in life. These are your values. It's important that your goals reflect your ideals and interests and make full use of your talents.

For your goals to be truly motivating and valuable, they must be:

        Grounded in your deepest values. You must have a clear idea of what's important to you and the kind of person you want to be.

        Balanced. A balanced life is one where each life area is in harmony.

        Consistent and complementary. It's pointless setting goals that contradict each other.

        Physically possible (for you).

Casella di testo: 18Let's consider your values.

Your values are ideas, personal qualities and moral codes to which you are drawn. Only when you express your true values are you being true to yourself, and only then can you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Use the exercises on the next few pages to think long and hard about your values and prioritise them. Start by taking a pen and paper and consider: what do you most want out of life? Write your thoughts in

your Self-Coaching Journal.


Casella di testo: 19Casella di testo: 20

List the six things you most want to happen in the world. What for you would make the world a better place?

How strongly do you feel about them? Write a number between zero and ten in the right hand column, where ten means you feel it strongly in every cell of your body, and zero no strength of feeling at all.

Six things I want to happen in the world.

How strongly I feel about it.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

 

Take a good look at yourself.

     What do you most look forward to?

     What really gets you excited?

   Look at your bookshelves, your CD and video/DVD collection, the pictures on your wall. What do they say about you?

   What TV and radio programmes do you enjoy? Conversely, what do you dislike?

     What turns you off or fills you with disgust?


 


21


What activities give or have given you the greatest feeling of achievement? In which areas of your life have you achieved the most personal fulfilment?


22


The secret of creating a happy life is to do more of what you enjoy:


from that comes happiness, enthusiasm, motivation and energy. So what activities do you enjoy the most? Also, what don't you enjoy? What would you like to clear out (physically and mentally) to make room for something better?


23


What do you stand for? What, if anything, would you defend with your life if necessary? What does this say about you?


24


If your life was perfect in every respect and you were too, what would it look like? Feel like? Sound like? Be like?


25


Supposing you had only six months to live, what would you do with


your remaining time?


26


Think back to important incidents in your life where you felt compelled


to act or speak out, regardless of the consequences, or where you didn't and wish you had. What do they have in common? Is there a pattern? If so, what is it?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Casella di testo: 27Casella di testo: 28

Listen to your inner self. Spend a few minutes each day relaxing in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, slow your breathing and let your muscles relax (there's more about this on page 93, and in the companion book, 365 Steps to Self-Confidence). Ask your inner self, ‘What is important to me?' ‘What do I most value in a job, relationship, hobby, myself, my friends, etc?' Allow yourself to daydream. When you open your eyes, write down anything that comes to mind.

Now look at everything you've written from section 18 to 27 and list your top ten values. Examples could include achievement, compassion, environment, health, honesty, generosity, family, love, enterprise, fun, fairness, security, independence, spirituality, etc.

Rank them, and say what you mean by each of them on the grid below. If ten isn't enough, use a separate sheet.

Your top values

What each value means to you

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

7

 

8

 

9

 

10

 


 

Benefits of setting goals

Success in life could be defined as the continued

expansion of happiness and the progressive realisation

of worthy goals.

Dr Deepak Chopra

Casella di testo: 29Casella di testo: 30Research shows conclusively that people who consciously set themselves goals accomplish far more than their contemporaries.

In a very famous study at Harvard University in 1953, only three per cent of the graduating class was found to have written goals and a plan for achieving them. Twenty years later, these three per cent had accomplished more and accumulated more in financial terms than the other ninety-seven per cent combined! Moreover, they were happier and more fulfilled.

Subsequent studies confirmed these results. Why do you think this is?

Why are goals so important? Your goals are present-day mental images of future events. They keep your mind firmly focused on what you want. Successful people, when not actively doing something about their goals, are thinking about them, visualising them, imagining and feeling them already accomplished.

This makes a major impact on your subconscious mind. The subconscious houses, among other things, a sophisticated automatic guidance system, like an autopilot. Its job is to seek out whatever you consistently focus your attention upon. Setting goals specifies the ‘co­ordinates'. The autopilot then guides you towards your specified target by, for example, alerting you to opportunities and providing the impulse to take action.

If you fail to set clear goals, that is, select a destination, the autopilot
is confused. It doesn't know where exactly you want to go, so it takes you round and round in circles like a missile that has been fired without programming in a target. Eventually, like the missile, you run out of energy, give up, or self-destruct.

It's been said that human beings are like bicycles - as long as we steer and keep pedalling we stay upright, but when we let go of the handlebars or stop pedalling we lose momentum, wobble and fall off.

The subconscious doesn't reason or ask questions, it simply does as it's told. If you let it know, explicitly or implicitly, that you have no direction in mind, fine! As the Cheshire Cat pointed out to Alice, any direction will do.

Do you give your subconscious autopilot clear coordinates?

Casella di testo: 31Casella di testo: 32Another advantage of clear goals is that they turn frenetic action into effective action. Many people are busy, but busy-ness is only the same as effectiveness if actions are goal-directed. A marathon runner heading off in the wrong direction could cover the same distance and burn up as much energy as the other competitors, but wouldn't win the race. Would you go to a booking office and ask for a ticket without saying where you want to go? Of course not!

Do you know where you want to go? Is your destination clear? Have you booked your trip?

When you're clear on your goals, you often find you attract people who can support and help you. People who themselves have a sense of purpose in their lives are drawn to you, and you to them, and the people you mix with have an enormous effect on you.

Do you attract positive, go-ahead people who help and encourage you to make the most of life?

Casella di testo: 33Casella di testo: 34Appropriate, meaningful goals provide powerful motivation, especially when you are clear why you want to accomplish them. A realistic, attainable, challenging and desirable goal creates energy and enthusiasm, and the new skills and personal qualities you develop tap into the vast reserves of creativity, intuition and imagination that lie within you. Your confidence grows, and you begin to feel (perhaps for the first time) that you're in charge of your own future.

Do you feel that you are in charge of your own future? Does this future inspire, energise and motivate you?

An enthusiastic teenager made a list of all the things he wanted to achieve. When he had finished, he had written down 117. Many were typical of a 15 year-old, but his ambitions also extended to climbing Mount Everest, visiting every country in the world and even flying to the moon.

By the time that young man was 47 years old he had ticked off 103 of his goals, including flying to the moon. His name was John Goddard, one of the Apollo astronauts. He is a perfect example of what can be accomplished by a person with challenging, clear-cut goals.

When you were a teenager, what were your major goals? How many of them have you achieved?


Your mission

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is

finished.

If you're alive, it isn't.

Casella di testo: 99
Casella di testo: Richard Bach


 


Casella di testo: 35Casella di testo: 36

There's nothing more important than finding a sense of purpose that gives your life meaning, and inspires and motivates you.

Arianna Huffington makes the point succinctly in her book, The Fourth Instinct:

‘Give a gibbon a mate, a peaceful stretch of jungle and plenty of figs to munch on, and he will most likely live in contentment for the rest of his days. Give a man or woman an environment correspondingly idyllic - say, a successful career, adorable children and all the comforts civilization has to offer - and we feel dissatisfied, restless and vaguely aware that there is something very important missing from our lives.'

As a human being, your life is about much more than munching on figs. You need purpose; you need direction.

In your Self-Coaching Journal write a short paragraph that summarises your feelings about your life's purpose. This is your mission statement. It expresses what you would like your life to be about and how you can find fulfilment in a way which benefits others as well as yourself.

A typical mission statement could be:

   My mission is to play my part in conserving the environment.

   I am an entertainer. My role in life is to bring people happiness.

   My mission is to help combat discrimination wherever I find it.

   My role is to work for young people and fight cruelty to children.

   I love gardening. My mission is to make the world a more beautiful place.

   My mission is to make lots of money so I can plough it into good causes.

   My role is to design and make beautiful clothes that help people feel good about themselves.

   Casella di testo: 37My mission is to spread love, peace and happiness to everyone I meet.

What would you like to see written about yourself in the obituary columns when you die, or alternatively, what you would like your children and grandchildren to tell their children about you?

Casella di testo: 38Record it in your Self-Coaching Journal.

Imagine you are 90 years old, reflecting on your life. What are you most proud of? Have you accomplished everything you wanted so far? If not, what have you not done? On what have you missed out? What would you like to do with your remaining time?

Casella di testo: 39Jot down your thoughts.

Finding your purpose is not an intellectual process - you must get in touch with your inner self. Tonight and for the next few days, ask your intuition to work on your mission statement just before you drop off to sleep.

In the morning write down anything relevant that comes into your mind, or draw a picture, chart or diagram.


 


40


Spend time in nature. The peace and tranquillity will quieten your mental chatter and allow you to focus on what's really important to you. Take a small notebook with you and write down anything that seems relevant, or, if you prefer, use a voice recorder.


41


Ask yourself (and write down the answers):

   If I could achieve anything I wanted with no possibility of failure, what would it be?

   If I won ten million pounds, euros or dollars (or any other currency) in a lottery and I wanted to use them to benefit humankind, how would I spend them?

   If I could have three wishes granted, what would they be?

   If I inherited a fortune, what would I do for a career even if I were not paid to do it?


42


What did you enjoy as a child (children are more closely in touch with their intuition)? If you can't remember, go through old photo albums or scrapbooks, or ask your parents, brothers and sisters for their recollections.

Ask yourself how you build on these things, do more of them or do them more often. Write down your answers.


43


Reflect on the coincidences in your life. Do the same people, events, problems or opportunities keep cropping up? Is there a pattern? Is it possible that your subconscious autopilot has been trying to guide you?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Casella di testo: 44

Having completed the above exercises, reflect on what they reveal about your inner desires and inclinations. Then write your mission statement and record it in your Self-Coaching Journal.

Check: does it state how you intend to benefit others as well as yourself?

Setting your goals


 

 


I      believe you came into the world to accomplish


something, and that the something you came to accomplish is not small or insignificant. That's not worthy of you. You came here to make a major contribution to life on this planet.

Casella di testo: 45Paul Solomon

Find the right vehicle

Setting major goals is about finding the right vehicle for pursuing your mission and bringing your dreams into reality. Minor goals should lead to major goals and provide variety and light relief.

Naturally, individuals with similar missions may pursue them in different ways. One who wishes to help homeless young people, for instance, could train as a social worker and find employment with a local authority; another may volunteer to work in a charity shop or raise money in other ways. Another may work in an information and advice centre, or campaign through a political organisation, or help organise a hostel or soup run. All would say they had the same aim, but express it in different ways.

Similarly, not everyone would feel comfortable running their own business, while others thrive working for themselves. Many do not enjoy working for large organisations, but others make their greatest contribution this way. Some like to lead; others follow. Some prefer to go it alone; others are more comfortable working as part of a team.

Casella di testo: 46Casella di testo: 47Think carefully about your long term aspirations and ask yourself: ‘What is the right vehicle for me?'

The next few pages offer clear guidelines for establishing your goals.

Use the goal setting pro-forma (1, on pages 6-7), together with the suggestions on the next few pages. Photocopy sufficient for your needs; you'll need one copy for each goal. If you are using a ringbinder for your Self-Coaching Journal you can file them there.

State each goal in positive terms - goals are supposed to be what you want from life, not what you don't want. Use simple, straightforward language such as ‘My goal is to...' or ‘I want...' or ‘I have'.

Under ‘life area', choose from:

1      Health.

2      Career.

3      Money.

4      Home/family life.

5      Social life.

6      Hobbies and pastimes.

7      Lifestyle.

8      Personal development/spiritual life.

If you don't like my classifications, by all means choose your own.

Don't worry if you can't think of something in every area. Not every life area is of equal importance at any one time, and your priorities will change; 12 months from now a life area that doesn't seem that important now will probably assume greater importance, and vice versa.

Casella di testo: 48State your goals in the present tense. Express than as if already happening, not as future events. For example, ‘I am the proud winner of an Olympic medal,' not, ‘I will aim to win an Olympic medal.'

Casella di testo: 49Establish the date by which you intend to accomplish each goal. A programme of goals is not a wish list, but a statement of your intentions. Without deadlines they have little motivational power and no urgency.

Make your target dates challenging but realistic; setting ambitious goals within impossible deadlines can be demotivating and damaging. Instead, choose realistic deadlines and work steadily towards them.

Some goals lend themselves to a firm deadline, such as becoming a vegetarian, setting up a business, visiting Moscow, buying a car, decorating the living room, etc. Others (including many personal development goals) don't suddenly come to fruition on a particular day. Building confidence and self-belief, for instance, is an ongoing process. With these goals, write ‘ongoing' (as long as this is not a cop-out and you do intend to work on them).

Casella di testo: 50On your goals pro-formas write down all the benefits that will accrue to you, your loved ones, friends, your community and the world at large when your goal is achieved. The more you can think of, the greater the pulling power of your goal.

Include plenty of benefits to you personally. What would achieving this do for you? How would your life be better? What sort of person would it make you?

On the back of the sheet you may find it helpful to write down all the reasons why it's important that you do not fail, and anything that you want to eliminate from your life which will be gone when you achieve your goal, such as loneliness, financial hardship, boredom, excess weight, etc.

Everyone is motivated to some extent both by moving towards what they want and moving away from what they don't. You mustn't dwell on failure, but a realistic assessment of the consequences of not succeeding can help concentrate the mind.

Casella di testo: 51List the intermediate steps, the stepping stones on the way to your goal, with the dates by which you intend to achieve them. You need long-, medium- and short-term goals. Some of your medium- and short-term goals are like milestones towards your long-term goals; the remainder stand on their own, some important in their own right, some for fun.

Think of achieving your ambitions as climbing a ladder:

   What's at the top?

   What must you do to reach the top?

   What is the first step? Write it down and commit to taking this step right now.

   What's the next step?

   The one after that?

   Where do you want to be five years from today?

   What is your priority for the next 12 months? Three months? Next month?

You need lots of short-term goals so you're able to continually assess your progress towards your longer-term goals.

Casella di testo: 52Identify the support or infrastructure required to achieve your goal. This could include other people whose skills, knowledge and practical assistance you need to access, financial and material resources, organisations you need to tap into, etc.

Many goals require support from other people or organisations. Who might these be? Who will help you achieve your goal? You'll need people to complement your own skills and contacts who can provide information and practical assistance. Can you anticipate your support needs? Where will you look for it?

It may help to assemble support material for your main goals - news articles, books, tapes, videos/DVDs, magazine articles, websites, lists of useful contacts, etc. Review these often.

Casella di testo: 53How will you know when you've achieved your goal? What are the key performance indicators? Are they observable, measurable?

Close your eyes and imagine you have already done it - how is life different? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Sound like? Use the senses to pull it closer. Hold on to this feeling for a few moments. Then open your eyes and write down anything that comes to you.

Visualise your goal as reality every day. Make it real in your imagination, and you will make it real in your life (see pages 103-105).

Casella di testo: 54To strengthen your commitment, sign up for your goal on the dotted line, date it, and set a date for review one to six months hence, depending on the allotted timescale. Write the review date on your wall chart.

Review your short-term goals every week, your medium-term goals monthly and long-term goals at least every six months. Also, check that your short- and medium-term goals are still consistent with your primary goal.

Casella di testo: 55Now write your main goals down on a small card. Keep it in your wallet

or purse and carry it around with you. Read them through first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Read them aloud. Read them frequently to keep them at the forefront of your mind. Not only does this help impress them on your subconscious autopilot, it also reminds you of the actions that you must take to move you closer to their completion.

Goals: some more dos and don'ts

The following tips make your goals more specific, more motivating and more easily achievable.

Casella di testo: 56Casella di testo: 57Casella di testo: 58Start by identifying your primary goal. This goal will define the direction of your life and be closely related to your values and mission. Then write down your subsidiary goals.

Free your imagination - don't worry about the ‘how' part at this stage, just be totally honest about what you want from your life.

Don't make your goals list too long at first. If you try to achieve too many things at once you may diffuse your endeavours and end up accomplishing very little.

You may have to be prepared to specialise if your main goal is an ambitious one, at least for a year or two. Every one of us has the ability to attain excellence or make an outstanding contribution at something, but if you want to be a great musician it's unlikely that you'll also have the time to become a great athlete. It's possible, but improbable.

To do yourself justice you may have to channel most of your energies towards one major goal for a while. If you're studying for some important examinations in six months, it is perfectly reasonable to give it most of your time and attention. But be clear on how long you intend this phase of your life to be.

Set some lesser goals that are relatively easy to accomplish. This reinforces the goal setting habit and gives you encouragement. Not all your goals need to be momentous. Minor goals, like solving a crossword puzzle or finishing a task in time to watch a favourite TV programme, are the stuff of our daily lives, but by themselves are not life-changing. You also need goals that stretch and challenge you. Above all, your goals must excite you. When you examine your list of goals, do you

Casella di testo: 59have a feeling of excitement in your stomach? If so, good! You're on the right lines.

If you find it easier to come up with ‘don't wants' than ‘wants', turn them around. For example, your internal dialogue may go something like this:

‘I need a job, but I don't want to work in an office.'

‘OK, so would you like to work behind a bar?

‘Not likely.'

‘In a shop?'

‘No.'

‘A factory?'

‘Absolutely not.'

‘Would you like to work outdoors?'

‘Not really. But I would like to have a job that involves travel.' ‘What would be your ideal travel job?'

Casella di testo: 60And so on.

Don't try to set goals on other's behalf, for example:

     I want my son to go to university.

     I want my children to be interested in music.

     I want my parents to accept me as I am.

     I want my friends to realise what a special person I am.

     I want my daughter to train as a nurse.

Only the individuals concerned are qualified to set these goals, because only they can make them happen.

Casella di testo: 61Be specific. What exactly do you want? How much of it? Where do you want it, when, in which situations?

Avoid nebulous words and phrases like ‘I want to help people'.

Exactly how do you want to help them? It's no use writing that you want to be happier (or healthier, or richer, or more popular, etc): what does this mean for you in detail? If your goal is to acquire a material object, be precise. What make and model will that new car be? How many rooms will your dream house have, and what about a garage, garden and conservatory? If you want a better job, what specifically does ‘better' mean? More money (if so, how much?), more fun, more freedom, meeting more people, more travel, more time outdoors?

Here are some examples:

   My goal is to earn £x thousand a year by the end of the year 2.

   My aim is to pass my exams this summer with distinction.

   My goal is to win the tennis club championship this year.

   It is 31 July, and I own a new BMW 6 Series.

   My goal is to shed 20lb by 30 June so my weight is no more than

12 stone.

   My goal is to contact 20 organisations in South America and get myself invited on a lecture tour.

Casella di testo: 62Think carefully before you settle on your final list. Are your goals sufficiently challenging? Are there any negative consequences of achieving a goal, and can you live with them? Are you being fair to yourself? Also, remember your goals must include basic personality and lifestyle changes; without them you won't achieve any of your other goals.

Casella di testo: 63Don't try to identify all your goals at once. Keep coming back to them and be willing to update your list. Once you've started the process ideas will keep popping into your head. Spend time in contemplation. Are they really what you want? Do they provide the fulfilment, the excitement and enjoyment you seek? Fine-tune your list to make sure you have only written down things you really desire.

The big test of whether a goal is right for you is to ask yourself, ‘If I could have this right now, would I take it?' If the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes', eureka!

Casella di testo: 64Don't shirk a challenge; pretending you don't want something just because it's difficult to get is self-defeating. Remember the tale of the fox and the grapes? The fox couldn't reach the grapes, so he convinced himself they were sour.

Don't be like the fox. Accept that you want your goals realised and don't have them, but don't decry them. There's a price to be paid for living your dream - the time, effort and, yes, occasionally hardship and inconvenience. How much time and effort are you prepared to commit to getting what you most want from life? If you've identified the right goals, any sacrifices are worth it.

Casella di testo: 65Choose your own goals. This may seem obvious, but many people fall into the trap of doing what is expected of them. They try to live up to their parents' expectations, or match someone else's achievements rather than focusing on what is right for them.

Sir Viv Richards, the West Indian cricketing legend, did not make this mistake. As a youngster he lived and breathed sport. His talent was so obvious, his headmaster turned a blind eye to his neglected schoolwork and allowed him to concentrate on cricket. However, his father saw his son's sporting obsession as a distraction and did everything in his power to steer him into a ‘proper' job.

If Sir Viv had gone along with his father's wishes, would he have been as successful? Unlikely. Would he have been as happy? Not a


 


66


67


68


chance. If you allow someone else to set your goals, the inner drive isn't there. So choose your goals for yourself and commit yourself to them wholeheartedly.


Make your short-term goals demanding but realistic. Short- and medium-term goals are only effective as motivators if they you think they are attainable within your chosen timescale. Short-term goals should be ten to 20 per cent beyond your current state, challenging but within reach. To move each goal along, take a few moments every Sunday evening to think about what you can do in the next seven days.


To stay on track:

   Buy a wall chart/calendar and plot your short- and medium-term goals on the target dates.

   Use a desk-top calendar and set your goals for next month.

   Use a pocket week-at-a-glance type diary to remind yourself of the main activities for the next seven days.


When you have specified a goal, think about the first step you need to take. Write it down.

Commit to taking this first step now. Do something today to get started. Make a call, set up a meeting, think about the resources you need, start investigating the options, talk to someone who can help you, whatever you need to do. After that, take action every day, refusing to hesitate, doubt or give in.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Casella di testo: 69Casella di testo: 70Casella di testo: 71

Update your list on a regular basis. What you wanted five or even two years ago might not be what you want at present. Circumstances change - children grow up, companies reorganise, problems arise and are solved, relationships change.

Critically review your major goals and your plans annually (31 December is a good day - make your New Year's resolutions really count for something). Make any changes that are appropriate. It will become obvious when a goal no longer has any attraction for you, so drop it. Goal setting is not supposed to be so rigid and inflexible that you can't make alterations, but don't change a goal just because it seems too difficult. No one ever built a better life by copping out.

Keep your goals confidential, or, if you must, share them only with like­minded individuals who have goals of their own or people who can help

you.

Many people are quite derisive about anyone who has dreams and ambitions, which can be very disheartening, especially if things aren't going well.

Before you settle on your final list, make sure your goals are reasonably balanced and complementary. Make sure that you are not paying too much attention to, say, your social life at the expense of your career or family. Lopsided goals usually result in problems in the neglected areas.

Also make sure that your goals are, for you, physically possible. For example, if you have not exercised regularly for a while, have yourself

checked out by a doctor before commencing on an exercise programme.

Work-life balance

It's important to get the work-life balance right. Work is an important part of life, but it should never take over completely.

If you love your work and get on well with your colleagues you are indeed fortunate, but what if you don't? For many people work is just a drudge, with no real satisfaction other than the pay. Sadly, only a small percentage of people truly love what they do and gain genuine satisfaction from it.

Casella di testo: 72If you are unhappy with your work-life balance you need to review your working life and decide whether it's time to make changes. Everyone has the potential to earn a living doing something they enjoy - if they go about it the right way.

People work for a variety of reasons:

     For fulfilment.

     Money.

     To meet other people.

     Status.

     Travel opportunities.

     Sense of vocation.

     Prevent boredom.

How about you? Why do you work? Are you sure that's the main reason? At times when you feel frustrated or irritated with an aspect of your work, do you maintain a deep feeling that what you're doing is right for you?

Casella di testo: 73If you are gainfully employed, how do you feel about your work?

     Do you find it easy to go to work most days?

     What do you like about your job? Hate about it?

     How stressed do you feel at work?

     What do you get out of it?

     Do you need to earn more, but don't know how?

Casella di testo: 74 Casella di testo: Imagine your ideal job.

If you are not working, how do you feel about that? Would you like to work? What would you ideally like to do?

What would the work entail?

Do you want to work full-time or part-time? Regular hours or flexible hours?

     How do you feel about working in a team or managing others?

     What level of salary and benefits would you want?

     Would you prefer to be employed or self-employed?

     Would home working suit you?

   What qualifications, experience and personal qualities would you need to do that job?

     Are you prepared to move for work? Are you willing to commute?

   How far would you move for the right opportunity? Would you like to work abroad?

Write down your thoughts.

Casella di testo: 75Imagine you are applying for your ideal job. Prepare a letter of application and a CV. If you were interviewing for this ideal job, would you offer it to yourself? If not, why not? What new skills, character traits, qualifications and experience do you need?

Step one: summing up

Setting challenging yet realistic goals consistent with your talents, values and interests is the starting point of a fulfilling life filled with happiness and success. Long-term goals give you a much needed sense of purpose and direction. Medium-term goals bring them within sight. Short-term goals keep the momentum going and enable you to fill your days with meaningful, useful activity. Very few people are happy to be aimless and unoccupied.

Clear goals keep you focused, allow you to take decisions more easily, make full use of your energy, your talents and proclivities, help you plan your time more effectively and enable you to accomplish far more. They are the means by which you create your future, rather than the future creating you.

I'm often asked whether it is healthy to be obsessed with goals. I answer that choosing goals is not about being obsessed, although you must bear in mind if you want to achieve at a high level, that outstandingly successful individuals are usually passionate about what they are doing. You don't have to be obsessed with goals, rather use them to clarify what you want out of life and progress steadily towards them, enjoying what you're doing and keeping your life in balance.


Step Two: Using The Awe-
some Power Of Your Mind

The vast majority of people are born, grow up, struggle, and go though life in misery and failure, not realising that it would be just as easy to switch over and get exactly what they want out of life, not recognising that the mind attracts the thing it dwells upon.

Dr Napolean Hill 99

Your mind is your greatest asset. There is a magnetic force generated within you which draws you to whatever your mind centres upon. As your mindpower develops, so does this magnetic force, attracting conditions and people towards you that promote success.

One of the main causes of failure is not cultivating the power of the mind, but this won't be a problem for you if you apply the powerful techniques on the next few pages.

Casella di testo: 76The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction states that whatever we focus our attention on and think about most often, we attract into our lives. We create events and circumstances according to our dominant thoughts. Any line of thinking which we believe and on which we constantly dwell takes root in the subconscious and cannot fail to influence us.

When you place your attention on what you can't do, don't have and can't have, and mentally justify why you can't do or have them (which many people do), you act on what you can't do and can't have, and then, according to the Law of Attraction, they materialise in your life. On the other hand, when you fill your mind with happy, constructive and loving thoughts, you become happy, constructive and loving, and attract others of the same disposition and create the best possible circumstances for yourself.

We are each a walking manifestation of our predominant thoughts. For some this is rather frightening, but once you realise that you are the only person who can think your thoughts, and that you are in charge of your thoughts, it becomes exciting. You realise that, no matter what has gone before, you have the power to move in any direction you choose.

From now on, be very careful what you think about!

Casella di testo: 77The ITIA formula

The key to using the full power of your mind is the ITIA formula. ITIA stands for:

Intention

Thought
Imagination
Action

1      Intention

        What do you want out of life?

        What kind of person would you like to be?

        What changes would you like to make?

        What are your goals?

        Are you prepared to commit yourself?

The clearer your goals and the stronger your intentions, the more likely they are to be realised.

2      Change your way of thinking

Step back and observe your self-talk (your thoughts).

        Are they generally positive or negative?

        What questions do you ask yourself?

        Examine your attitudes and beliefs. Where have they brought you so far?

        What are you trying to achieve by thinking that way?

The more positive your thinking, the happier you are and the more likely to succeed.

3      Imagination

        Learn to use your creative imagination and respect your intuition.

        Imagine achieving your goals. What will they look like when brought to fruition? Sound like? Feel like?

        Do this often, especially when you are physically and mentally relaxed.

        Imprint your desires - and the belief that they will come true - on your subconscious mind.

4      Act ‘as if'

        Take small steps.

        Ignore your discomfort - feel the fear and do it anyway.

        Monitor your progress and make adjustments if necessary.

        Keep going until it becomes a habit.

        And don't be put off by others.

Change never feels right, but when you act ‘as if', eventually the uncomfortable feelings fade away.

The ITIA formula takes into account everything known about the mind, how it processes information and brings about change. But you must do all four; otherwise the changes won't be permanent.

The power of thought

«

They can because they think they can.

Virgil

The Principle of Cause and Effect states that every action is a cause and every cause produces an effect. But what governs your actions? The answer is - your thoughts.

Every action begins with a thought. Constructive thoughts lead to constructive actions, foolish thoughts to foolish actions, destructive thoughts to destructive actions. Most human beings are severely limited by their thinking.

When you become aware of the effect your thoughts have on your life, you become very conscious of what you're thinking. You start to take control of your thoughts. Sometimes even small changes make a huge difference - for example, the difference between ‘I can' and ‘I can't' can be massive. Failure always starts with the thought, ‘I
can't'. The antidote for this paralysing ‘can't' consciousness is the affirmation, ‘I can'. Affirm it as often as you can.

Casella di testo: 78Casella di testo: 79Your thoughts are entirely under your control. By choosing to think positively you can choose positive goals, positive words, positive actions and hence create positive conditions in your life.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes and relax.

In your mind's eye, examine the events and circumstances of your life. Don't judge, criticise or condemn.

Consider how your way of thinking has shaped your reality.

How have your beliefs affected your life?

How have your actions and habits created your life?

When we are thinking, we are talking to ourselves. This inner

conversation is the ‘internal dialogue' or self-talk. It is, in effect, the functioning of your conscious mind. The internal dialogue is conditioned by past experience and what we believe about ourselves and the world.

Obviously the most draining, tiresome and morale-destroying conversations we have with ourselves or anyone else are those which focus on our weaknesses, bad luck (real or imagined), failures and deficiencies. From now on, stop criticising yourself, and don't dwell on your ‘faults'. Most of your so-called faults are simply programmed thinking patterns which fall away as you become more aware of yourself.

Make it a motto to never say anything about yourself, either silently or out loud, that you don't want to materialise in your life.

Casella di testo: 80Ask yourself:

    How are my current thoughts, words and actions creating my future?

    Where is my predominant way of thinking leading me?

    Is it where I want to go?

Spend some time on this. It can be very instructive.

Turning your thinking around

Casella di testo: 81Listening to your self-talk, emphasising the positive trains of thought and gently distancing yourself from the negatives is the starting point of turning your thinking around.

Every day you think around 50,000 thoughts. Most of these float up from the subconscious and are heavily conditioned by past experiences. You can't stop them, but you can decide what to do with them. If they are constructive to what you want, carry on thinking those thoughts. If not, let them go.

Fortunately, human beings are not like robots. We can decide what to do with our thoughts, but like any new skill, it takes practice. Once mastered, you'll find that the technique that follows becomes habitual. Within a few weeks, you'll just do it naturally.

The starting point is to accept that you are responsible for your thoughts and the words and actions that result. Then apply the following four steps.

Step one: be mindful

Casella di testo: 82Casella di testo: 83Casella di testo: 84‘Mindfulness' is simply being aware of your thoughts. You become more mindful by listening to your ‘internal dialogue' or ‘self-talk'.

Try this: stop what you are doing for a few moments. Be still and listen to your thoughts. Don't be too analytical or judgmental; simply register what is taking place. If your mind starts to wander, bring it back. Your mind will gradually quieten down and you'll gain a new insight into its workings.

Do this several times a day.

Once you have mastered the above exercise, start to frequently check on your level of positivity. Pause for a few moments every so often and ask yourself:

    Did I just react negatively?

    Have I reacted negatively at all today?

    Am I focusing on solutions, not problems?

    How can I improve?

Keep reminding yourself that positive thinking creates happiness and success.

Warning! As you become more self-aware, you may surprise yourself with just how ingenious you can become in creating excuses for hanging on to old thinking patterns.

Don't fall into the trap of believing that negative thinking is more realistic, or that if you started thinking positively you'd be lying to yourself, or your friends would go off you. None of these are true. Refuse to entertain such thoughts.

Step two: release disempowering thoughts

Casella di testo: 85Casella di testo: 86It's a fact that your conscious mind can only hold one thought at a time. This means that when you are dwelling on disempowering thoughts, you are blocking out empowering thoughts. Therefore the sooner you can let go of disempowering thoughts, the better.

Do this using the thought stopping technique. As soon as you become aware of an unwanted thought, say ‘Stop!', ‘Cancel!' or ‘Go away!' Let it go. If you're on your own, do something physical like clapping your hands or stamping a foot, which immediately breaks the pattern. You can also imagine closing a book, a symbolic gesture that that's the end of it. Practise this until you can use it effortlessly at any time.

If you catch yourself thinking negatively, don't be angry with yourself - this would merely be exchanging one disempowering thought for another. Instead, just drop the thought and pat yourself on the back. Meet your thoughts with understanding; they're not harmful unless you dwell on them and believe them.

Very few individuals have ever been able to completely control their thoughts. Even when you practise this technique, disempowering thoughts will continue to float up from the subconscious, but over time they will become less frequent and have less effect.

A variant of thought stopping is the rubber band technique. This simple method works by increasing your awareness of your thoughts, emotions and behaviours, enabling you to release and replace those you don't want.

Wear a rubber band on your left (or right if you prefer) wrist, just above the watch band. When you become aware of an unwanted thought or habit, twang the rubber band. The slight pain sends a message to the brain and changes the way the thought or habit is wired into your nervous system.

For example:

   To stop smoking, twang the rubber band every time you think about a cigarette.

   To change a destructive emotion, e.g. anger or worry, twang the band every time you feel the emotion arising.

   Use it to change feeble thinking into purposeful thinking and ‘problem thinking' into ‘solution thinking'.

    Casella di testo: 87Use it to pause and think before speaking out.

Worry is destructive thought. It influences what you do and how you do it. It can even affect your health; it is proven that hospital patients who constantly worry about their recovery get better more slowly.

One way to deal with worry is to start a worry box. Write down what's bothering you on a slip of paper, place it in the box, and turn your attention to something else.

On the last day of each month, open the box and examine the contents:

    Discard any that no longer need concern you.

   If you can do something to ease or resolve a worry, do it immediately.

    Place the rest back in the box.

You'll find over the months that 90 per cent of your worries are just foolish thoughts, utterly groundless.

Casella di testo: 88Step three: turn your attention to some positive thoughts

Having released a thought, immediately turn your attention to a more affirmative one. The simplest substitute is its direct opposite, for example:

Change...

Into.

I can't

I can

I won't

I will

I'm stupid

I'm clever

I'm weak

I'm strong

I haven't

I have

I don't

I do

I'm ugly

I'm attractive

 

Casella di testo: 89Don't worry it feels like you're lying to yourself. Your feelings are not reliable indicators when you are attempting any form of personal change. Think of this method as a tool to help you change your way of thinking rather than a literal statement of truth.

Alternatively, use an affirmation. Affirmations are planned self­suggestions which can be used for many purposes. For example:

To change negative attitudes into positives, e.g. ‘I now release with ease all my old negative attitudes,' ‘I think, talk and act positively at all times.'

To develop the qualities you need, e.g. ‘I shall persist until I succeed,' 'I am determined, patient and courageous.'

   To foster self-approval, e.g. ‘I accept, love and approve of myself,' ‘I deserve success. I have confidence in myself.'

   To speed your personal growth, e.g. ‘I am willing to change and to grow, and every day in every way I get better and better.'

Casella di testo: 90Either compose an appropriate affirmation when you need one, or use a favourite ‘off the shelf'.

Choose half a dozen affirmations that appeal to you from this list and

memorise them.

Every day I keep my thoughts positive, because I am the result of what I think.

     I always maintain a perfectly healthy body and mind.

     I'm happy, healthy, wealthy and whole.

     I only think about and visualise what I want to happen.

     I have balance and harmony in my life.

     No matter what has gone before, I now take charge of my life.

     I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.