Tag Archives: life coaching

Being More Efficient

We all want to do more, get more, achieve more….

But if we could allocate more time to X project, we would!

Most of us have already committed 100% of our valuable time to existing tasks at hand, so how do we grow our business, career and even social selves?

Have you ever played one of those slide the pieces puzzle games where you have to shuffle pieces around to get from A to B?

Becoming more efficient is a process just like that, we have to prioritise and schedule tasks in such a way so as to get all our stuff done and free up more time.

The best way to do this is to prioritise things in your life.

It is a given that you have responsibility to your family, friends and work, and would not jeopardise any of those. All we need to do is get the order right!

I like to divide my areas of influence into three categories.

  1. Drop everything and run emergency response

  2. Important to attend to before everything else

  3. Not so important, but needs attention

See if you can categorise all areas of your life into similar categories – for the family area in my life, children are 1, siblings and parents 2, others 3. For work, imminent deadlines 1, next weeks projects 2, yearly goals 3. Even vehicle maintenance can be categorised in this way – a cam-belt replacement would be 1, then a service and tyres 2, then air-conditioner re-gas 3.

We are always going to have to deal with a curve ball or two, but if we can re calibrate ourselves regularly and re focus, we will become more efficient, more pro active, less reactive and more in charge of our lives.

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Speed-bumps and Potholes

Speed-bumps and Potholes

Have you ever been cruising comfortably through life, everything going according to plan when suddenly BAM!

You hit a speed-bump or pothole and your well made plans are lying in tatters at your feet leaving you struggling to cope?

Logically we know that life is carrying on, that we are alive and coping, but things are no longer working out as planned and the feelings of joy, happiness and freedom have gone!

In this type of situation, it is vital to keep our perspective flexible and mobile. We need to be able to quickly and efficiently zoom our perspective into and out of the situation and its results that are being currently experienced. Try this zooming for a moment.

Select a small problem that you are experiencing. Focus on the minute details of it, then imagine yourself zooming out and seeing you problem in relation to your co-workers, your family, your neighbourhood or even further out if you can.

Did you notice how the perceived severity of your problem changes?

This fluidity of perspective allows us to gain different understandings of the situation and there by enables us to make better decisions about what we need to do to regain our comfortable cruising along equilibrium.

Once our perspective begins to shift, we are able to make informed and good decisions and we should usually feel empowered enough to take decisive action to get ourselves back into equilibrium.

Remember to check your spare wheel occasionally…. always be aware of your financial, moral and emotional situation and use your speed-bumps and potholes to slow you down enough to prevent yourself over committing to things that may not be necessary or appropriate for you in you life as it is now.

Speed-bumps and potholes are a wonderful way for us to slow down, take stock of our position, appreciate what we have and move decisively into our future!

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Filed under anger management, depression, helping others, Stress Management and Life Coaching

Helping Others

Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The dynamics of helping people, and in turn allowing ourselves to be helped are intricate and complex. It is not just about giving someone money so they go away.

To truly help someone, one needs to have some kind of understanding of who the other person is, what their needs are, and to also understand their world view.

Helping others involves a considerable amount of courage confidence and compassion. We need to be willing to look outside ourselves, to observe others, to see where we can help, then decide to step up and do that we think needs to be done in a way that empowers those who we are helping. A basic understanding of these deeper aspects of another person are the things that allow us to compare ourselves to others and make critical decisions or observations about ourselves!
By helping others we automatically presume that we are able to help, that we have the necessary skills and expertise to enable us to do what ever it is that we have decided to do to help that person.

In essence, helping others is not just about giving to some one in need. Helping others is a wonderful social way of assessing our selves, our skills, our confidence and self worth. That good feeling that you have as a result of helping others is not necessarily some mysterious spiritual epiphany, but rather a realization of how good we really are.

In helping others you are helping yourself!

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Filed under helping others, Stress Management and Life Coaching

Formulating a Plan

We all want to be successful, get ahead, reach the top of our profession. We all want to thrive in areas that bring us happiness, joy and fulfillment.

It is possible for each and every on of us to attain these lofty heights and not only attain them, but also maintain them.

Success is an ever fluctuating and adapting experience of excellence, like a surfer riding an endless wave, constantly making fine adjustments to stance, weight transfer and balance to maintain forward momentum. Success is not a single thing. There can be many things, both spiritual and physical, and there can be many interconnected layers to your success.

To achieve success, we need to clearly define what it is, and then to have specifically defined points on which to focus so that we don’t get lost along the way.

Consider what success means for you right now. Define what success would be if you were to be living it now.

What details of success hold your attention and why are those details important?

Be greedy for a moment and say I WANT……

Now that you know what it is that you want, you can at least eliminate the behaviours that will hinder your progress towards achieving what you want.

Look at what you need to do with the resources that you have at your disposal to get you to that success. Assess how many small achievements need to be made to get you to where you want to be. This is like reading a road map and listing all the towns that you need to pass through to get to your vacation destination. You will instinctively know where you need to stop and consolidate your gains, and where you need to push through difficulty to get to the next point on your journey.

Trouble shoot your plan, look for weak points and have possible alternatives ready to help you through should things become difficult.

This is your plan!

Draw it our as a flow diagram or a mind map and pin it up somewhere convenient so you can assess you progress and maintain your motivation and determination daily.

Once you have a plan, anything is possible!

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Tidying Up

It was a dreaded morning this morning. I woke up late, feeling groggy from late night work, clients waiting… I’m sure you all know the feeling!

At the last minute my first client, the one I busy rushing around for, calls and cancels their appointment. Great, I’ve got time to do some stuff!

I look around my house and realise that the stuff that needs doing is tidying up!

Where to start, I don’t want to do it, id rather be doing hundreds of other things – you know, all those fun things that don’t actually exist, but are very important to consider when we are busy doing what ever it is that we don’t want to do…

So I started. I needed to vacuum the carpets, but there was stuff all over them, so I started at the top, books here, clothes and there, washing in the machine, ironing in the basket. Dishes washed, dried, sorted and sacked, grocery cupboard ordered, kitchen cleaned etc. You are all well aware of the routine!

Taking a step back I realised that I needed to apply this same principle to my long term goals!

Where did I want to be in 5 years?

Revisit that goal, look at it, feel it. Now imagine that you have achieved that goal. Imagine yourself turning around and looking back at the path that you followed to get to that goal. Look at what you need to do to tidy up in your thinking and your actions to polish and streamline your pathway to that goal.

Start now!

Make a point of doing on thing every day, no matter how small to polish the pathway to your goal. In so doing you will soon see insurmountable obstacles as mere speed bumps on the road and you will be able to apply your unique wisdom and experience to solving your problems and attaining what ever heights you wish to attain!

Start Now!

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Goals for 2015

Where Are You Going?

Don’t you hate being told to get your act together and set goals?

I resisted, to me detriment, the very concept of goal setting for many years and happily floated from this to that having fun, but getting no where fast.

What most of us don’t realize is that we naturally set goals for ourselves and achieve therm every day!

When you are on time for an appointment, or go and see that movie you have been wanting to see, or when you get up early on a weekend and go to gym – all these are “non mainstream” or “non defined” goals that you have achieved.

Try setting some simple goals for the new year. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Rope in family and friends and make it as fun as you can.

These simple steps will help you identify, set and activate your goals.

Step 1

Identify what you want to achieve.

Simply complete this sentence. I WANT ………………………..

Step 2

Link an emotion, any emotion, to the idea of having or achieving what ever it is that you want. Emotions cause us to take things seriously, and the thoughts and ideas that we take seriously are going to naturally dominate our thought process. The more we think something, the more we harmonize with it, the more likely it will be drawn into our experience in life.

Step 3

Condition your subconscious to accept you having what ever it is that you have identified in Step 1.

The easiest way to condition ones subconscious is to repeat an affirmation. An affirmation is a short statement that we repeat between 5 and 50 or more times a day.

To structure an affirmation effectively, the statement needs to be powerful and in the present. It does not have to be immediately believable, that is what the conditioning of the subconscious is for, to make your goal believable.

Try starting your affirmation with I HAVE, I AM, I DRIVE / FLY, I WORK etc

2015 is about taking charge and achieving your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical goals. Follow these simple steps and make it real!

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The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.

Oprah Winfrey

It has been a long year, just as every year from the beginning of time ot now has been a long year. A few weeks to go before we start all over again.

Inspiring thought or not?

What ever our feelings about the year that has passed and the year to come, we still have a few weeks to go. I am always ambivalent about this time of year, all the rush and hype about an obscure commercial message with a bit of religious flavour thrown in. Devotees certainly find their special meaning which is as it should be for any religious celebration, but for others who are on the outer edges of that, we find ourselves randomly swept up in the fervour of the occasion and then feel let down and confused as to what it is all about.

A wonderful thing we can do to ground ourselves in this time and in any similar time is to celebrate. Not ancestrally going out and getting drunk, although for some people that is part of it, but a genuine heart felt celebration within ourselves.

Make a list of at least ten things that you can celebrate, and write two or three reasons why you can celebrate those things or events. This act of thinking and writing about something worthy of celebration will automatically allow us to change the perspective of how we see ourselves in our lives. It will elevate our spirits and allow us to enjoy the “silly season” for what it is, a time to celebrate our varied beliefs, successes and hardships and in so doing we can plan better for our new year.

Go out and have fun!

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Taking Time Off

When last did you take time off?
what did you do with your time off?

Most people that I know do one of two things;
They either try to chemically unwind in a bar as fast as possible, or they get up early and work a second or third job.
Recently a corporate friend took leave from his regular job to spend a week manually chopping, packing and selling braai wood. he was in a spot and did what he had to do to feed his family which is commendable, but is this constant rush to catch up why we are here?
I am embarrassed to look back at my life and see how many braais, coffees, movies and holidays I have willingly missed so that I could work. looking back on my life so far, I realise that I would rather have gone for that coffee and chat with my sister, or spent an hour at a braai with friends who have now immigrated. Those times and those human connections have been lost forever, and in most cases the deal didn’t work out anyway!

We have recently celebrated Heritage Day, a wonderful and unique South African concept that allows us to use our huge cultural diversity to unite as one. How many of us, me included, worked through this holiday as if it was a normal work day?
How many of us allowed ourselves to acknowledge our uniqueness and celebrate our unique heritage?
How many of us have forgotten that we are not automatons in a machine?

Make a point today of taking some time off, even if it is just 15 minutes. Make this time just for you, no family or friends for the moment, just 15 minutes for you!
Look at who you are from a cultural, physical and spiritual perspective, congratulate yourself for your achievements and choose one small thing that you can do or change in your life that will move you closer to your goal.

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“We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.”

Haile Selassie

A wonderful statement form an unusual source – wow!

When last did you look around at your local environment and observe where it is that you spend your time – both at the office and at home?

Who are these people who are in close proximity to you?

How do you feel about being part of that specific community?

I recently met an older gentleman through business. He had bee a soldier during the Korean war in the 1950’s. How he introduced himself astounded me. He said;

“Hi! Im XXXX. Im a Marine.”

Up until that moment, I had not realize how great an impact a community could have on the individual. For many years I had been a member of a specific group of people all subscribing to common values and working towards a common goal. It had been relatively easy to join the group because I already shared common ideals and values. I comfortably coasted along in this communal comfort zone for many years, almost taking it for granted. One day petty ego and politics erupted from within the group. I chose to leave rather than compromise my principle.

Strange things started to happen, first I was acutely aware that I was alone – I felt alone even when surrounded by family and friends. That aloneness caused me to distrust friends that were still in the group causing more isolation. This aloneness and isolation served to toughen me up, but was totally unexpected. The community that I had left was an integral part of who I was, and how I identified myself. Membership of that community had changed how I felt about myself in the world.

Who are these people around you, and who are you to them?

As you observe slowly zoom out and look at how our communities overlap. Start with your neighbours, to your street, to your block, to your suburb, to your town, to your city, to your state, to your country , to your world!

Lets be kinder to strangers, they don’t have a support network. Lets strive to build our communities so we can support each other and enhance our experience of life.



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Time Managemen

“Tiiiiiiiiime is on my side, yes it is!” The Rolling Stones

How often had you thought just that and in the next moment you are struggling to cope?

Have you noticed that some days time is like wild fire, you blink and it has gone totally out of control!

Have you ever said to someone, in the middle of a busy day “time is running away with me!”?

The good part is that you are not alone!

I am sure that every single one of us reading this has at some point in our lives experienced the ever increasing pressure of “running out of time.”

If we analyze this phenomenon more closely, we will see that time is not real at all. Time, as Einstein proved, is relative to the person experiencing it and the person observing it from a separate place from the person experiencing it. Our interaction with time therefor is dependent on how we see ourselves able to cope with what is going on around us in that moment. Those of you who have attended one of my stress management seminars will remember that stress is your ability to cope with that ever is going on around you using the resources that you have in that moment. Time therefor adds another dimension, either positive or negative to our stress response.

Managing time is very easy to do;

In the moment, it is as simple as being aware of yourself in any given moment. This self awareness will allow you to assess your available resources and compare them to the circumstance that you are experiencing and then prompt an appropriate response.

Observe – decide – act

To be even more effective in your time management, you should be able at some level to plan ahead. By planning ahead we solve some problems before they arise, and we allow contingencies in strategic places. This makes us more time!

Observe – plan – decide – act

If you get to that point of feeling out of control, take a few seconds to take a deep breath or two and just for those moments, observe the situation. Suspend your pre-conceived ideas of what you need to do and why, just observe for a moment and you will have far greater clarity about the situation. Then you can make better decisions and move forward.



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Filed under depression, self help, Stress Management and Life Coaching