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Mud puddles

The boys are riding their bikes after some rain while we are away on a long-weekend holiday. We find a big gravel pad with loads of pot holes filled with water.

“Can we ride here Daddy in the puddles?”

My first reaction is no. It’s muddy and they will get that splat of mud up the middle of their back and then I’ll have to get them clean. Keep them clean, be a good Dad.

But then I remember what it’s like to be a 4 or 6 year old boy. Mud is good. Plus it’s an opportunity to answer that deep question that drives a growing boy – do I have what it takes?

“The deeper they are the more fun they are,” my six year old says.

It’s so easy to lose the spontaneous fun that children effortlessly create.

It’s raining even more now but no sign of wanting to leave.

“This is awesome. I’m getting really good at them now,” says my 4 year old.

I am so fulfilled seeing them adventure. Racing around and conquering the boundaries of what they think they can and cannot do.

Go get some mud splatter on your shirt.

I like to be sensible and want people to think I’m successful and it holds me back from trying things that might appear like I’ve failed. Like I’ve got mud on my shirt and I shouldn’t have.

What are you holding off doing for fear of making a mess. You might not know how it will turn out but one thing is for sure it’s bound to fail if you don’t ever attempt it.

Go make the phone call, enrol in the course, register the business, speak your thoughts in a meeting. Be a better version of the man/woman/leader/employee/parent you are today. But don’t just get muddy. Like my boys and the gleeful smiles, muddy shirts and soaked shoes and socks – have fun doing it.

Start the day right

Do you have a morning routine?

Of course you do. We all have a bunch of habits that move us from bed to first appointment with minimum fuss. I meant to ask – have you designed a morning routine that serves you?!

Sleep is critical, but it’s NOT part of the morning routine.

My morning routine used to consist of the smallest amount of tasks performed in a hurry which allowed me to “get more sleep” by waking only 20 minutes before I needed to leave for work. It was fast but did nothing to prime my mindset or body for my day.

The idea was I would be maximizing my sleep. But I didn’t apply this same efficient logic the night before. Happy to lose an hour or two to important tasks like unwinding watching tv or something else equally blasé.

I have not found a way to wake fresh and tackle the day without going to bed early enough to get a good nights rest! No morning routine will compensate for late nights and lack of sleep.

Start small and keep track.

After being inspired by Stefan James posting his very well structured morning routine videos (start with this one its old school and packed with good stuff here) I started a much simpler routine based on the concepts.

I start with a spreadsheet with a bunch of tick boxes for each day of the week, and 6 rows to fill in your routines. Writing it down makes it real and measuring allows you to manage yourself and see where you are letting yourself down.

Currently my morning 6 include:

  • Get up and about within 10 minutes of my alarm. This is still my most frequent item I fail to achieve!
    Smile. It’s what I do literally the first thing while still laying down. It’s such a small thing but it physiologically leads my mind to start the day grateful and honestly makes a massive difference!
    Drink a glass of water and take supplements. (I currently just take a few vitamins and minerals)
    Three minute meditation. I know it’s sooo short and for most light not even count as meditation but for me for now it has to be. To me settkg a target for a 20 minute meditation session just won’t happen (yet). If I want it to o can make it happen but I’m building it as I go (more about this in the next section). I’ve been using Whim Hof breathing cycles to follow my breathing.
    Move/stretch/push/pull. 10 pushups. A walk. 5 minutes of upper leg lower back stretches. I like to just do something I decide in the moment.
    Read my life plan identity out loud with feeling. This is a few paragraphs of “I am” type statements that I have set as part of my self mastery and the type of man I want to be while achieving the larger goals in life.

If one gets easy it’s time to upgrade.

I used to have “30 second cold shower” on there. After a while I regularly completed it without much fuss so decided to push it to “one minute cold shower”. But after three months the habit was locked and so I dropped it off the list and replaced it with something else. I still take cold showers and they are at least one and a half to two minutes no enjoy them now.

This is the power of keeping this small, simple and agile. Your morning routine shouldn’t feel like an impossible task. But it should t be a list of stuff you do without thinking.

Use it to focus on and level up a few key areas in your life.

Build your credibility

Ed Mylett says building confidence comes from the trust developed in yourself when you keep the promises you make to yourself.

As much as the routine will improve the areas you choose to focus on, just making a commitment and then following through on it ( even when no one is watching) is next level. I have found this to change the way I show up and boost my ability to be productive and present with people moment by moment.

In Summary

Go to bed! Yes I’m a Dad and I have this phrase on high repeat. Tomorrow’s morning routine actually starts tonight.

Keep it simple and keep track.

Level up regularly. Lock away new habits and keep it fresh and challenging with new ones.

Don’t stress too much what the items are if you’re starting out, just grab six and adjust on the fly. Just having a list and reflecting on how you are performing each day will provide its own benefits and you will build unshakable self confidence that “you got this”.

Lastly, I would recommend avoiding your devices. Try not to check email or social media or anything where information comes to you expecting response. Start the day in control with your intention setting the course. Don’t get sucked into reacting your way through the day. Use your intentional morning as a foundation to build an intentional day.

Good posture

Posture ˈpɒstʃə/ noun. A position in which someone stands. A particular approach or attitude.

I like the dual meaning of posture. Lots of visual metaphors to describe our attitudes and approach in physical ways I can identify with. We can immediately define some elements of attitude as soon as we see the way in which someone stands. We call it body language.

But, body language doesn’t just send a message to other people. The position in which you stand speaks language to your own body too.

Slouch, cross your arms, look down at your shoes and twist your face into an angry scowl – now try and think creatively.

Stretch out your arms, lift your head to the ceiling with a smile on your face and take a deep breath – now try and feel anger.

Sure it’s not impossible to force it,  but posture (position) affects your posture (attitude).

How do you get poor posture?

Ideal physical posture is the correct alignment of the body in relation to the activity being performed. So, ideal attitude is the correct alignment of your approach in relation to the activity being performed.

Posture gets out of whack when we form bad habits and we can only correct it by intentional correction to form new habits. Essentially, over time and completely without realising it we get out of whack.

How do you fix your posture?

Body posture is corrected through repeated exercises, stretching specific areas of your body and holding in position to form new habits. So, to keep the metaphors coming, attitude posture needs some intentional repeated exercises to form new habits.

You will also need a mirror, ideally. So what does the ‘mirror’ look like for your attitude posture? Meditation or (conveniently named) reflection time where you assess your emotions, thoughts and actions from the day. You will need to investigate your thoughts.

Consider, you stand in front of the mirror and see your shoulders hunched forward. You first visualise what the correct posture should look like, then you move your body into the position you want it to be.

You have free choice

Choice – To change your physical alignment and your approach to life. If you see the reflection in the mirror and just accept it as fixed, then life happens to you and you are a victim without the ability to think a new thought and change the reflection. Imagine if you stood in front of a TV instead of a mirror, and the image on the screen was you but you didn’t have any control over what the image displayed. This is how we sometimes operate in our attitude posture. Like feelings and emotions are facts we can’t affect.

Thoughts create the future. Everything that you ever did started as an idea; a thought.

Get your posture right. Pull your shoulders back, head up and stretch your body. Consistently.

Get your posture right. Pull your thoughts and emotions under investigation, dream up a future your passionate about and stretch yourself beyond your fears to live a remarkable life. Consistently.

 

Believe Differently

It has been said Albert Einstein exclaimed ‘the definition for insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.’

I surely am a mad man regularly if this is the case. Aren’t we all?! We are a net sum of piles of habits that form the majority of our life. What about if you want something different in your life? When we want to grow and change for the better we always find resistance.

To believe differently is to really become different.

The catalyst we need for real and lasting change is to go for our beliefs. It’s like the source code, or the base program that automatically runs and this base program is what we use to assess the inputs and create the outputs of life.

For example, let’s assume your kids will not settle down well after bedtime and are still defying your will to have them go to sleep (input). Highly theoretical, I’m sure this never happens 🤨. Your base program might interpret the situation to mean your kids are unable to listen to instruction and it’s your fault they haven’t learnt to go to bed better (output). Or, your output might be different. Anger (why won’t they listen!?). Despair (they will never change). Some kind of emotional response will spit out of your base program (your belief).

Belief forms the assumptions and agreements regarding the meaning of inputs, and selects a response.

This all happens subconsciously of course. Many times I think this whole process goes unnoticed and I know for me at least, I just identify with the emotions and carry on into the next input/output loop as defined by my base program.

Now, if indeed we dislike the output we might try to change. Here’s where we apply massive mental energy and effort to manage the response. We make resolutions to do or not do something different next time.

But, what if the base program is faulty? What if the assumptions about the inputs are wrong and are creating unhelpful outputs.

What we do follows what we believe.

It’s natural now to apply effort to change by focusing attention on ‘management of action’. This is not a wasted exercise and much can be gained by management of action but true growth and transformational change lies in assessing and changing beliefs.

To consider the agreements and assumptions requires time, headspace, humility and some form of mentoring/guidance. Because, it gets messy in there!

The fact remains, all humans can profess to believe something which they actually do not believe. Yes, including you and I.

What happens if you stop to look inward at your beliefs? Do you ever stop and let your mind dwell on the beliefs beneath the action? The base program? For me at least, to continue the software analogy it’s like a more complex code I can’t understand or perhaps its encrypted. What I mean to say is, it’s no simple task.

But hey, good things don’t come easy right?! Our beliefs are the compass and map with which we navigate, the rails on which life runs. It would be worth seeing where they are leading us!

Here’s a few ideas from a fellow traveller to pick from:

  • Find people worth following. Mentors will help you calibrate your beliefs. A good way to assess what you truly believe is to hold your beliefs up to the light alongside a trusted advisers beliefs and compare them in real life situations.
  • Set aside time to remove distractions and relax into meditation and prayer.
  • At a foundation level I directly confront any sort of belief that you are a wonderful accident or some unintended result of chance. You are exactly where you were designed to be and your unique contribution is wanted and immensely valuable.
  • Name your beliefs. Write them down. Once you have spotted them and given them name and shape. You will see them more clearly when they appear in the moment. Think “The Matrix” where Neo learns to stop bullets and he can see the actual code itself and realises he has the ability to re-write it! Same-same but different.
  • Read and listen to “Whole Foods” content. YouTube trawling will not provide the mental nutrition to build better beliefs. Mind numbing binge watching is just that – mind numbing. You’ll need to stimulate thought and use that to dive deep into belief.
  • Finish your shower with cold water! A bit random I know but holding your body in the uncomfortable water intentionally will remind you your mind is capable of overcoming the “inputs” and learning new ways of being. It has crazy good physical benefits too (check out Whim-Hoff the ice man!)

I Want to Help

Yep… another Blogger posts his first… So far my gorgeous wife has promised to read my first post. My first follower!

What is it about starting something new that brings up all that inner critic. You know, the ‘sensible’ voice:

  • There are so many blogs what’s the point of you writing your brain farts online.
  • You don’t think anyone is actually going to read this do you?!
  • What’s your plan. Do you know where this goes in five years?
  • You have no qualifications for this; what do you know that could help someone.
  • You don’t even read blogs!

Well it begins. Not because it’s the most logical first step. But, because it’s a part of ‘massive imperfect action’ required to move from where you are towards where you want to be.

I want to be helpful. I see lots of professional mummy blogs that add lots of value to women’s lives. I follow a few influential men online that keep me leaning into the wind that’s blows against progress. But, I’m a young father, and sometimes progress is just sitting down with my wife at 9pm after wrestling three kids (lovingly but patience wearing thin) and eating something before crashing into bed.

Many influencers have their Lamborghini in the background and a hyped and aggressive tone challenging me to man up or just outwork the rest with hustle and grind.

I’m up for it. But I want to become more impactful with my life AND be available for my young family and grow together.

I want people around me that encourage me and challenge me to take the next steps for me that will level up my growth, contribution and fulfillment.

Marching relentlessly towards my best self but present and appreciating everything I already have. The pursuit is not rooted in lack, but in the happiness that comes simply from pursuing.

<pause.. kid carnage. An argument about wanting to watch something “right now” pleeeeeeeaaase! resolved with a snack. Then tears 😭. Then a hug and a diversion 😉>

I’m back. See this is not what’s on my Insta feed. Life with kids is messy and rarely goes to plan. So how does one plan to grow and grow kids?!

I want to help. I want to march forward to the fullest life. I’d also like to share this with like minded people.

Persistent forward motion. Each one of us encouraged and inspired by others to move forward together… One:March.