Monday, August 27, 2007

Sometimes you need to know when to give in!

Apparently it's all Saturn's fault that the last two years have been so pants. I very rarely bother reading horoscopes, but recently Shelley Von Strunckel has intrigued me with her talk of Saturn in Leo causing disruption for the last two years. Take today for example:

Daily stars for today 27 August 2007
It’s been demanding. But when you reflect on the two years that Saturn’s been in your sign, you’ll realise how much you learned, faced and achieved. Now, during its final week in Leo, there may be one or two issues left to confront. Then, next Sunday, you say farewell to it and begin a new cycle.

Well, she is darned right. The last two years have been demanding, disruptive, difficult and although interspersed with some very wonderful moments, there have been a number of times when I have wanted to just go under the duvet and never some out. But dear Shelley is also quite right about the learning and achievements too. I have learned SO MUCH about myself in the last two years and the last six months have been full of the last pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that make the picture suddenly become clear.

One of my biggest learnings, possibly the most painful, but also the most liberating was the realisation that one of my greatest strengths - my tenacity, my determination never to give up - was also my greatest downfall when not carefully managed. My refusal to give up in certain circumstances - men, money and business especially - has clouded my vision and stopped me from seeing clearly the proverbial dead horses I have been flogging. In each case I should have walked away long before I did. This refusal to give in also clouded my vision of my true path. For how long have I been going the wrong way up this street of life, I wonder? How much time and energy have I consumed swimming against my tide? How much money would I have made instead of lost?

What I do know for sure now is that when you have bought yourself lemons, you had better make lemonade. Regardless of what I have 'spent' or lost in time, energy, money or love, I can replace it all and then some, if I allow my tenacity to work for me not against me. I am so looking forward to this new chapter of my life; so looking forward to making time, making money and making love. So looking forward to being who I truly am, to writing and creating beautiful books, speaking beautiful words and inspiring the beautiful 'self' in my readers and audiences.

So new cycle, new chapter, new life (new blog template) - bring it on!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The day my vision became a wall not just a board

There are days in your life when something awesome happens. Sunday 6th August 2007 was an awesome day. It was a day of love, of sharing, of giving and receiving. Four phenomenal speakers gave their all on the stage of The London Palladium, 1500 people loved and received them and an amazing team of loving people made it happen.

Akasha 2007 was a triumph for the organisers and visionaries - Triumphant Events. The day wasn’t without its hitches and glitches, but they paled into insignificance as the momentum of inspiration grew to a crescendo throughout the day. I couldn’t possibly do justice to the day, to the event or to the speakers if I tried to prĂ©cis what they talked about and every one of us will have heard a different presentation based on what we needed to hear. This article is my aha moments from the day.

Bob Proctor, teacher of The Secret and The Science of Getting Rich, spoke first and held the audience for very nearly three hours. No-one could quite believe that this man is 73, and you could feel the mental notes being taken, and fitness goals being set, around the auditorium. He is such a vital man and the living embodiment of his teachings.

The message I needed to hear from Bob Proctor was around quantum leaps and focus. Small steps and changes, trying that bit harder, doing that bit more is certainly better than no action at all, but what if I could make that quantum leap? Looking at those leaps I had made in the past, hadn’t they actually made life simpler and saved much time and energy?

Bob talked about the analogy of the fly at the window, trying and trying and trying again to get through the glass, possibly even dying in the process because it hasn’t seen the open door on the other side of the room which presents its route to freedom. How often have we done that? Kept on throwing ourselves against a problem when all we have to do is take that leap of faith in turning around and seeing the solution elsewhere? I know that my tenacity is one of my greatest strengths but it can also be my greatest downfall when it keeps me bashing away in the same place and still not getting the result I want.

I have made a note to open my mind to my next quantum leap and to embrace it.

Focus. Oh that illusive thing that I chase and can’t catch. Uncle Bob had my answer for that too. He talked of the time he worked with Earl Nightingale, co-founder of Nightingale Conant and the probable instigator of the self-motivation/development industry. He recalled asking Earl Nightingale about how to manage time and got the response that time cannot be managed but activities can. Quite simple: ‘I sit down at night and make a list of the things I want to do, and next day I do ‘em!’ Focus only on the thing you are doing now, forget about the other things on the list while you do it.

Now why hadn’t I got that before? When I’m riding my horses I practise intense focus, I ride in the now, I switch off from everything but me and my horse. I even teach other riders to do it. So how come I couldn’t do it with my To Do list? Dr John De Martini had the answer to that one – which I also knew but needed the reminder.

‘The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing!’ said Bob. I wrote that down with a mental note to print it out and stick it on the wall in my writing room. Simple statement, so much power in it.

One final thought (among so many) from Bob Proctor; how many things do we do that are other people’s habits? That reminded me of a story. A woman always cut the end of a joint off before cooking it. Asked why she did it, she wasn’t sure but her mother had done it, so she did. She phoned her mother to ask why. Her mother wasn’t sure, but her mother always did that, so she did. She phoned her mother to ask why and got the reply: ‘well, my pan wasn’t big enough’. Note to self – challenge my habits.

Dr John DeMartini, creator of the Demartini Method ® and a teacher of The Secret, stands up in front of an audience over 400 times a year. Not bad for someone who was told at age 7 he would never communicate, read or write. Well this guy blew me away. He fired words into the audience like bullets from a Kalashnikov. More than once he was asked to ‘say that again’ so we could capture his wisdom before it was lost in the next barrage.

The messages he had for me were many. The first was about the vastness of my vision – which I thought was pretty huge. But I was only thinking of my lifetime. He challenged us to think bigger – what about my vision and legacy for the next 500 years, the next millennium? Wow… need to think about that one.

What you see in others is a reflection of yourself, he told us. Make a list of all the people you admire and why you admire them. List their traits and their qualities. See those qualities in yourself, own them, live them, be them. (Note to self, do this, re Oprah). Fortunately he told us a story so my steaming pen could have respite.

The story John told was of a young boy in South Africa who heard him speak and said he wanted to be an international speaker. Dr J did the admiration exercise with the group and this boy took on and owned the traits of an international speaker. He stood up and gave the most inspirational, awesome speech. Dr J talked about this in a radio interview the following day and this young man was invited to the radio station and is now giving inspirational talks all over his country. (Second note to self – definitely do this exercise!)

Then came the answer to my focus conundrum: the hierarchy of values. And in a way this was a bit embarrassing, because, for the longest time, I have known about values (what is important to us in any given context) and the fact that our hierarchy of values in each area of our life drives our thoughts, our behaviours, our actions and our destiny. I have written about values, lectured on values, coached values, elicited customer values for market research projects, but I had forgotten to revisit my own values. Ouch! Another note to self.

I didn’t think the day could get much better, but then Roger Hamilton took the stage and took the momentum even higher, giving us the five keys we were meant to bring into this life but left behind somewhere in the birth process. These were our Legacy, Ownership, Value and Emotion culminating in the fifth which is LOVE.

Now I thought there was a fair amount of love hanging around in The Palladium by that point, but then Roger got us to stand up and put our hands on each other’s shoulders. The lights dimmed and ‘Where is the love’ started to play. Very soon 1500 odd people were swaying together as one. I know I’m not the only one that felt the energy and vibration step up a level and the wave of love envelope us, move us and raise us higher than we thought we would ever go. I’ve been to many events where I have come away hyped up, inspired, buzzing, raring to go and woken up the following day feeling rather flat and anti-climactic. But the feeling I had from this event was very different. I wasn’t hyped up, I was raised up, and there is no falling down from that. I am vibrating at a different level, and so I suspect are many others.

Getrude Matsche concluded the day and held us spell-bound with her story. Her African roots resonated strongly for me. I love Africa and feel a strong affinity for the continent, having visited several times. Getrude’s story of leaving Zimbabwe and making a life for her and her family in New Zealand is remarkable but her vision is just amazing.

If Getrude was a typical African woman she would already be dead, probably of Aids. The average life expectancy of women in Africa is just 32. Millions of children are born HIV positive and orphaned through AIDS. In Getrude’s own family, 19 have died of Aids each leaving between 4 and 8 children parentless. Getrude has set up the Africa Alive Foundation as an education fund for HIV orphans in Africa. The Foundation will educate young Africans and help them become entrepreneurs so that they too can make a difference. Getrude speaks all over the world and sells copies of her book Born on The Continent – Ubuntu to raise money for the Foundation. I urge you to buy her book and hear her if you get the chance.

Often when you listen to these incredible speakers, you think WOW, but also think that the gap between where you are and where they are, is so vast; too wide a chasm to cross. You are inspired by them, but feel you will never be one of them. One of the most amazing things that came out of this day for me was the sense of that chasm shrinking. A real sense that in finally being who I am, and doing what I am here to do, I am already standing on that platform with them.

Now please excuse me, I have a vision wall to create.

Getrude Matshe
Bob Proctor:
Dr John Demartini
Roger Hamilton