Often, the day or week ahead leaves us feeling unprepared, underwhelmed or mentally exhausted. Before we've even set about tackling the most important tasks on our weekly planner or daily schedule, diary or 'To Do' list, we don't have the motivation to even take that very first step. In front of us, it seems, are nothing but menial, time consuming tasks with the joys of the weekend (or Christmas) somewhere in the distant future.
But you don't have to postpone that joy. You can experience the 'buzz' that gets you going without needing to spend a cent. The power to do this is already there in every one of us. If you are reading this sentence, that includes you. How can you tap into this guaranteed energy source that doesn't require you to drink, swallow, smoke, inject or spend a single thing? Let me share with you…
This procrastination ending, anxiety dissolving method first came to my awareness via the 'Time of your life' 10 part series by Anthony Robbins, which a friend lent to me mid-way through last year. It was a period in time where I hadn't yet established myself in business and was in need of a fresh outlook and motivation. The information I am about to share wasn't the only thing that changed my outlook, but it played a considerable part in transforming the way I looked at my life and the way I envisaged my future. Anthony Robbins refers to it as an 'Emotional Flood' and here is how it works:
To see for yourself, first locate yourself somewhere you are free of distractions. Maybe it's your room, your garden, the bathroom- anywhere it's easy for you to relax. Once you have found this place, blank out everything around you. All those nagging issues that may be in your life- let go of them. Then stand up, confidently and assertively. No slouching. Then focus on your breathing and your posture. Breathe as if you're on top of the world and completely in control. Nothing can get to you. You're too strong. Stand with the same attitude. Now close your eyes and think about something that happened to you and made you excited. Maybe it was embarking on your first overseas trip, or winning the lottery, or lying awake on Christmas Eve as a child, or (as happened to my mother) winning a Highschool modelling contest. Whatever it is, find just one of these "Wow!" moments from your life. Then we can move on…
Next step, with your eyes still closed, is to remember as much as you can about that memory- what you could see, who was there, what you could hear. Focus on that. Now imagine that you really are living that memory- how would you be breathing? Did you smile? Laugh? Don't be afraid to do any of those things- after all, there should be nobody else around while you are doing this. Now take that wonderful memory and make it even bigger, brighter, louder. You see it in your mind and feel it like the moment it all happened. Dwell on how it feels in big, bright, high definition 3D with surround sound. Best of all? It actually happened. And it happened to you.
Then snap back to the present moment, wherever you are. How are you feeling? Are your spirits lifted? Are you buzzing all over now? Is your heart beating a little faster? How do you you feel as opposed to 10 minutes ago? Maybe you even find yourself with a smile you didn't expect to have?
The above is just one example of an emotional flood. You can do this for any mood, any state. If you want, reflect in the same way upon a time in your life where you felt especially happy, relieved, loved, content, thankful, sexy, powerful, full of anticipation, bold, courageous, triumphant, full of accomplishment- the list is endless. Put on some music while you take a couple of minutes to flood your thoughts (and subsequently, your emotions) with these great memories. You can even turn it into a highlights reel of your life- slow motion, multi camera angles, a stirring anthem playing- anything you want, no matter how ridiculous it might seem to indulge in it. Just remember- it happened to you.
"That was really great, but how does this change the stuff I still have to do?" you may be asking. Well here's the trick. Your subconscious mind is unable to discern between reality and your imagination. This, in short, explains why positive people nearly always appear healthier (and luckier) than people who have an endless list of people to blame their life failures upon. All those wonderful memories from your past, you can also do with your future. This is how easy it is to do, and you don't need a flux capacitor for it:
Those emotions you felt during your emotional flood- instead of thinking about great events and experiences from your past, do them now with your future. Close your eyes again, and think about how you want life situations in your near, mid-term and long-term future to look. How fit would you like to be? How would that feel? What would you like your relationships to be like if you could have it any way you wanted? How would that feel? What about your job? Specifically, your working week- if you knocked off all these tasks in front of you, like achieved everything that needs to be done by the end of your day or your week, how would you feel by the end of it? In your mind, bring forward that bold, bright, 3D picture of you, completing all the tasks that stand before you. Imagine all the great feelings you will have as you dwell on those completed tasks and think to yourself "I did it!" Imagine celebrating on Friday or the end of the week, knowin
The feelings you unlock during these exercises are available to you all the time. It's just a matter of tapping into them and channelling your energy into the results and the solutions you want, instead of the problems in between. For best results, I recommend you emotional flood at least once a week. Of course, just thinking about something doesn't make it happen. Great things nearly always require work. But emotional flooding gives you just the boost you need to begin with, the kick that motivates you to get stuck into whatever it is that needs doing.
I'm not going to pretend my life has always been smooth sailing and happiness since I started trying this technique. Everybody has their problems. But I have noticed that I definitely manage problems much better than I used to, and I spend a lot more time thinking about the great things I want instead of the bad things I want to avoid. Your mind can only be attracted towards what you dwell upon, never away from what you dwell upon. Hence why emotional flooding is such a great little tool to set you off on whatever task it is. Try it for yourself and share your results with me- I'd love to hear your feedback!
I like Mondays.
You read that correctly. That is not a typo. When Monday morning rolls around and people across the nation in their millions rub their pasty eyes and grumble about work, I'm waking up with the same eager sense of anticipation an artist feels when they sit down to a blank canvas, brush in hand. If I sound mad, read on...
Now before you accuse me of being naive or insensitive to your distinct work situation, I will tell you that there were plenty of Sunday evenings past where I'd feel that deflating sense of inevitability, similar to that feeling you get on the trip home after a wonderful holiday. No matter what I did or where I went as the sun set, I knew there would be no sleeping in for me because on the other side of the soothing shades of Sunday night, lurked mundane, mind-numbing Monday. Usually, the closest thing to look forward to was another 5 days away- nearly a full week! Even Friday afternoon, often treated as the opening ceremony for the weekend, felt like a long, very boring way away.
Since going into business for myself, however, I've developed a new appreciation for the first day of the working week. I realise that if I wanted, I could stay in bed all day. I could watch TV, ride my bike or do anything else I pleased. I could make every weekend a three-day weekend. But even if I do believe there should be 4 days in the working week and 3 day weekends for the average Australian, doing this myself in the current 5 days on, 2 days off standard would leave me feeling cheated. For me, Monday is a clean slate. It's the start to a week that could change my business, my career, even my whole life for the better. Hopefully you'll understand where I'm coming from (especially if you received that wonderful job offer, met the love of your life or had a child on a day that wasn't Saturday or Sunday!)
For me, Monday begins with breakfast and coffee and writing up my weekly planner, as well as my daily one (I will cover this topic exclusively at a later date.) For me, Monday morning is when I have the place to myself and I dwell on anything that was great about the week just gone. Then I think about what are the biggest things I want to achieve in the week ahead. If Tom Cochrane was right and life is a highway, then Monday morning is my road house. I pull in and refuel, clean my windscreen so my vision is clear, load up on coffee, plot my journey for the next 7 days and then hit the road again. As a side note, how many of you have that Tom Cochrane song playing in your head now?
How differently could Monday- the thought of it, the anticipation of it, living through it- be if you decided that instead of a return to the same old same old, it was the first day providing you with the chance to make this week even better than your last one?
This classic song by Paul Kelly, about the late Vincent Lingiari, is a song I have loved ever since I heard it for the first time when I was about 6 years old. I never really listened to the message of this song, however, until much later. Although the song retells the story of a famous Aboriginal land rights case, in many ways it is also a fable about persistence and commitment to a goal. As Paul sings in the chorus, "From little things, big things grow".
Recently, Scribe reached its' one year anniversary of being a registered business. There was no party, no cake and candles, no fat-o-gram (thank goodness) and no alcohol. But there was a brief appreciation of everything that has happened during the last 12 months. So many new ideas learned, new people met, programs taken part in and relationships established.
As the year progressed, it occurred to me more and more how much starting a business is like planting a tree. You start out with a seed, an idea. As much as you envisage a mighty tree standing in the spot of your choice, the fact is that you need that seed to begin with. Neither can that seed be left alone, because if left unattended, nothing will happen of notice. For that seed to grow even a stem, the soil that seed is planted in needs constant watering and maintenance. Even if you pay constant attention to that seed, it's not going to turn into a tree overnight. In order for that seed to grow into a mighty tree, it takes time. It takes patience. Often, it takes the acquired wisdom of other gardeners to know that what we are doing is right. As it grows, that potential tree may even require some pruning.
Starting your own business, likewise, can cause us to quickly become impatient. We want the results, the reputation and the money and we want it now. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how much you choose to examine it), starting a business from scratch doesn't work that way. Even the biggest corporations mostly took years of growth , careful attention and maintenance before they became the powerhouses they are now. Remember that.
The more people you meet and get to know who are established in business, the clearer it will be whether you are going the right way about taking care of that seed you have growing. Every part of the process involves new skills to learn- be it time-management, financial management, networking strategies or even just good old fashioned patience. If you want to have 20 clients in a week, first learn how to do a top job and be punctual with 2 clients a week. The better you get, the bigger the game gets.
From little things, big things grow.
Ben is the founder of Scribe Copywriting.