How Are You Going to Reflect on Your 2020 – Negatively or Positively?
As a philosophy, I recommend ‘living in the now’, but as a Business and Life Coach, I also believe in the power of creative visualisation and of constantly seeking to improve and to aim to be a better person than I was yesterday. What will you make of this strange ‘Year of the Global Pandemic’ and how do you think it will appear in your memory one day when you look back?
Was it a year when everything seemed to go wrong, or will it be the year when everything changed for you; when you learned new lessons or moved in an unexpected and different direction in your relationships, your career or your business?
What if that decision was up to you, depending on how you choose to look at it? And what could you do today, living in the now, to influence your destiny?
The title of this blog was a question posed on social media by an inspirational fellow Coach and friend of mine, Martin W. Ball and the following was my answer to him:
Future, Past or Now – Where Do We Live?
I’ve just been reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, ‘The Power of Now’, plus listening to a lot of his Oprah interviews on YouTubes. I’ve also just finished ‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown. My big personal library may not suit everyone, but these books especially have made a big impact on me and supported the lessons I had already begun to discover within. If you’re put off by ‘Woo woo’ then you’re welcome to skip my comments here and keep on scrolling!
I cannot yet say how I will reflect on 2020 because the future is a concept that may not come to fruition. That said I do believe that we CAN manifest our desired future, using creative visualisation. Eckhart appears to be teaching that as we only have the ‘Now’, that’s all we should concern ourselves with, but only in the sense of how we attach ourselves to what is, rather than what has been or what may be.
At the same time Eckhart states that we can learn from the past, but only right now, in the present, and we can prepare for the future, but only right now, in the present.
This is not an easy challenge for us human beings. It takes a commitment to work on our path to ‘enlightenment’. I have taken on that challenge, despite my human frailties, (and believe me I fail every day, but at least I catch myself and reframe things!) because it coincides with the ‘thinking journey’ I have been progressively working through for my 59 years.
It means committing to sucking in more of the joy and gratitude in each conscious moment – to be more present, or rather, simply ‘present’ and ‘awakened’.
What that doesn’t mean for me
I haven’t shaved my head and started wearing orange robes or chanting religious affirmations! Nor will you find me handing out leaflets or knocking on doors spreading the word – not in keeping with social distancing is it? (No disrespect to those who believe that’s the right path for them).
What it does mean for me
Thus far, 2020 has been a surreal experience, but one that has revealed a great deal of the destiny that I believe the ‘Higher Power, or Higher Consciousness’ (substitute your own spiritual word there) has in store for me, and as they said in ‘Mission Impossible’, ‘If I choose to accept it’.
In my regular journaling (usually daily) I have written about the first half of the year that it has been a time for: Introspection; Awakening; Reaffirmation of Values; Transforming and Reconnecting with My Soul (or Spirit); Developing a Renewed Sense of Purpose, Vision and Consciousness.
How the Covid-19 Lockdown Impacted Our Family
The lockdown curtailed our holiday plans to visit USA, Canada and Alaska, plus our regular jaunt to Bali, but things happen for a reason. My wife, Jo and I were able to enjoy a lot more time together – even though I already work from home and we spend a lot of our daily schedule caring for my disabled step-son, which is why I’m up writing this response at past 1am, waiting to administer 2am medications. Jo and I were able to enjoy daily dog walks together in our amazing nature, here in the Perth Hills; we were able to enjoy swimming in our pool together; really talking and growing closer.
Of course, we missed our family – both my daughter and my daughter-in-law created two beautiful new grand-daughters for us in January, and ironically because of the lockdown, we all made more of an effort to connect via video link up, though it’s not the same as cuddling a little bundle of joy.
Of course, we missed our good friends, but again, we kept in touch, and it’s made us appreciate them even more.
In my coaching business, I had to adapt. I had just begun gathering momentum with my new Mastermind Groups at the end of 2019, and suddenly I had to switch to Zoom conferencing, fraught with the challenges of our intermittent internet ‘issues’, like being dropped out of my own meetings sometimes! Yet, the people understood and I was still able to help them experience some ‘Aha moments’, even via cyberspace with a few meteor showers – just put the shields up, repel the Klingons and keep going. (Star Trek reference).
Jo could not risk continuing lecturing at TAFE for fear that my step-son would be in real trouble if he caught the C-19 virus, yet the Government kicked in and helped us both out. We stayed home, which was a challenge for social animals like us, yet our needs were less. Who even really needs toilet rolls? Well, actually life is a little better with them, than without, but you get my point!
My cleaning business had a few losses and a few wins, but largely I continued to run it from home, online – the way I intentionally set it up.
We had more time for study, for discussions, for learning some Spanish words ready for doing some of the Camino Trail post Corona, for playing some guitar, for reading, and therefore for my continuing philosophy of self-development – what the Japanese call ‘Kaizen’ and what Tony Robbins calls ‘CANI, or Constant and Never-ending Improvement’.
Also, never forget the power of keeping your sense of humour and remembering to laugh often, and especially remember not to take life too seriously!
If I’ve sounded a bit ‘wanky’ (it’s a French word – please excuse my French) then I’m not trying to big-note myself. I’m simply trying to explain that we are all dealt different cards and it’s up to us whether we shuffle the pack, stick or twist. We had it bloody good here in our ‘Lucky Country’, as I have always believed since deciding I’d come back here to live when I visited as a child, and since I first migrated here about 35 years ago.
What Gifts Has the Coronavirus Lockdown Presented Us With?
The question is: “Do you step back, take a breath, and really notice?” or “Do you just take it for granted because you’re too busy chasing your tail?”
I know it sounds cliched to ask if you ‘smell the roses’, but that really is a great example. Do you hear the birds tweeting? Do you notice the vibrance of the colours of nature – wild flowers and brightly coloured parrots? Do you hear the waves rolling gently onto our pure white sands and stop to dip your feet in the positive ions of our wonderful ocean? No, I promise I haven’t dropped some acid, but I may be dangerously corroding some old patterns, and there ain’t no going back!
The Pandemic has given us magnificent gifts if we choose to accept them – the gifts of presence and awakening!
Are You Present to These Concepts?
What are your core values? Have you really sat down with a pen and paper, actively thought about it, and written them down? Most people never do. They either never knew about the idea, gave it much thought or couldn’t be bothered.
Have you really thought about your beliefs? How were they formed? Are they still relevant and accurate? The world is changing rapidly, exponentially in fact. Are you reviewing your ‘position’ on issues, or happy to stick with the views and opinions you inherited from your parents or teachers from an earlier era?
Are you happy and fulfilled? Happiness, believe it or not, is a daily choice, actually it’s a moment by moment choice. You can choose to tune into an empowering frequency where mentors and enlightened teachers will drip feed you inspirational mind food to nourish your intellect and your very soul; or you can watch the sensationalist news and inhale a diet of gloom and doom and wonder at the end of the year where that time went and why you’re still feeling stuck and numb with that disturbing thought that you coulda, woulda, shoulda.
What is your vision and your plan for traversing the gap between where you are now (your present state) and where you want to be (your desired state)? Do you have either, both or neither?
Are you living in the now? Or are you feeling guilty, sad or regretful about the past that has already gone and no longer exists; or feeling stressed or anxious about a future that may not even happen?
A Quick Story About Why These Things Matter
I’ll never forget sitting down with a lovely couple, who became my clients that same day – two young kids, nice suburban house, struggling small business with no plan and sketchy strategies, overextended financially, living through a renovation and builder’s chaos. I asked them “What’s on your bucket list? What do you really want this business to do for you? What do you want to achieve here?”
The young Mum, who did all the office work (that she hated, but felt she had to support hubby) while hubby battled out in the Summer heat each day, probably wondering if it was all worth it, thought for a moment with a pained and stressed expression on her face, her eyes fighting back a tear flow with all their might.
She replied, “I don’t really know. I guess we don’t like to think about it, because we know we’ll probably never achieve these things and it just makes us even more depressed to think about that. It’s easier not to have any dreams!”
Don’t worry – we did a lot of good work on mindset, plus of course their business model, branding and marketing. The business stuff is the easy part. It’s the mindset that makes or breaks you as a human being. They changed their philosophies, evoked some creative visualisation, worked purposefully in the present and guess what happened?
Change the way you see the world and the world will change. I think that may have been a Wayne Dyer quote? Anyway, I’m sure some Ancient Greeks said the same thing, except maybe in Greek! There isn’t much that’s truly new and original – it’s just new to us!
Our 2020 So Far (The First Half)
So, how is my 2020 going? I’ve shed 8kgs in the last, nearly three weeks. I’m removing the armour I put on as a shield against the big bad world when some of my businesses were battling in 2009/10 Global Financial Crisis and I almost lost the shirt off my back. I know what stress does to a person. But today, I’m debt-free except for a mortgage; I have a beautiful home in the paradise of ‘Westralia’ with the ‘bestest’ wife (Third time lucky); I have amazing children and grand-children; wonderful friends, my health and lots of fun activities. My world is like Jim Rohn said it would be – ‘Opportunity mixed with setbacks and challenges’, but I’m truly blessed. Jo has found a new career direction that she is really excited about and invested in. I am delivering programs to my Mastermind Groups whilst I develop online courses and I’m following my dream of helping people to achieve their potential, which helps me achieve mine.
It doesn’t all go smoothly – of course it doesn’t, but it’s not like I have to trek 10kms to the well each day to bring home clean water. We all have problems – they prove we’re still alive.
Well, my friend Martin asked a great question and here’s the thing – positive and negative are only labels. They are both part of the wholeness of presence and experience.
How many times have you had something ‘terrible’ happen, but later concluded, ‘Thank goodness that thing happened, or this other good stuff wouldn’t have happened. In other words, the ‘negative’ thing turned out to be the opposite. We just didn’t realise it at the time.
I know Martin’s a smart guy, so I know he was throwing out a bit of a red herring and I of course had to bite. 2020 is like every human experience in a sense. It has elements that can be empowering if you grab the ideas and run with them; or disempowering if you watch them blow on past like good old tumbleweed in a low-budget Western movie.
My Suggestions for the Present (Living in The Now)
Choose presence. Choose to awaken. Choose friendships. Choose humanitarian kindness. Choose joy. Jim Rohn said that ‘trees don’t just grow a certain height and then stop. They grow as high as they can.’ He also said that ‘trees can’t move and you’re not a tree’, so you don’t have to stay stuck in one spot, but you can grow as much as you are able to. The sky’s the limit.
Another of my mates, Glen had replied to Martin that his key learning was that he’d made the decision to come out from the corner and start realising his full potential. So, like my buddy Glen, I’m not staying in the corner. Martin challenged me to write something about my reflections and I know I’ve rambled on a bit, but I’m a writer as well, so it’s my form of catharsis and reflection. I’ll have good days and on other days, they’ll be days with a few setbacks and challenges thrown in too, but 2020 is my best year, because I’m still here. Today is my best day, because it’s the only day that really exists. My world is a reflection of me and yours is a reflection of you.
I believe YOU too can make that reflection friggin’ awesome. If you believe it, YOU can do it.
If I can help you, feel free to reach out. Nobody does it all on their own. That’s another big lesson from 2020 – collaboration is the new orange, or something like that. You know what I mean. Like Nike says, ‘Just Do It!’, and don’t forget to smile. Clench your pearly whites if you must, but put on a smile and it will soon turn into a real one. Make eye contact with people, give them your attention, be kind, spread goodwill and make all lives matter. Then, rest, and drink good quality wine, or whatever it is that you do. Yeh, that advice should reflect well on all of us.
As wifey loves to wish everyone, I’ll leave you with this – “Blessed be!”
I recommend these reference sources: ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle and/or ‘Five Major Pieces of the Life Puzzle’ by Jim Rohn; ‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown; and of course there’s ‘If Life’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well’ by me, Tony Inman.
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