Personal Development on a budget #2

Once you understand that whatever your age you should be learning, keeping your mind active becomes even more crucial as we grow older.  Committing to personal development will help you stay young and of course provide you with new skills and awareness.

The second book I recommend everyone should purchase and have in their personal library is the number one classic from the late 30’s.  This book written by Napoleon Hill is the standard go-to resource for most modern business coaches.

Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich

Napolean Hill was commissioned by Scotsman Andrew Carnegie arguably the richest man on the planet at the time, his task, to set about interviewing some of the most successful men in the world.  Through these interviews and subsequent research, he found a common factor which had helped all these people succeed.  This secret appears in every chapter in the book, the trick is for you to find it or maybe, just maybe it will find you.

Again, an extremely affordable book that provides valuable information for all entrepreneurs and people who wish to create wealth.

This is the stuff we should be teaching in our colleges and universities.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

Personal Development on a budget #1

Too many people do not start down the path of investing in their own personal development as they perceive it to be too expense.  Or they feel they know it all or are too old to get into this personal development malarky…

Lesson one – we are never too old and we should always be spending sometime time each week working on the most important person in our lives – us.  With the knowledge we can help those we love, otherwise, we may just be adding to the problem.

Over the next series of blogs, I am going to share some of my coaching secrets and provide you with great tools at low, low cost to help you get started on your personal development journey.  I just ask if you like the blog please share it with your friends and family whether they be close enough to talk with or connected to you on LinkedIn or Facebook.

If you’re on a serious budget, I recommend you start to read, yes read.  If you don’t like reading – get over it.  Just start.  Once you have read a book you really like and you ‘Feel’ (you know deep down in your gut, or in your heart) that there are valuable lessons in it, read it again and right down the lessons learnt or highlight within the book.  Then share it with the ones you love and talk about it.  Teaching is a great way to learn!

#1 My personal go-to resource I use to sort out my clients thinking about money, wealth and debt.  This gem saved my bacon and I personally make sure all my children read this when they start their first part-time jobs as teenagers.  Of course, they need reminding a few hundred times afterwards but at least as a parent, we have done our jobs.

It costs less than $US 10.

The Richest Man in Babylon.

The Richest Man

I promise you, this is the book I recommend to all my clients, friends and family.  I read it once a year and just re-enforce the lessons from within.

You will love it.  Give it a read then visit my website and let me know what you think.

Take Care and ‘Live the life YOU design’

Tony C (Coach)
tonycutting.com

What if I don’t know what I want to do for a career?

Firstly, don’t let yourself stress about this.  In my experience, most people do not actually know what they want as a career. It makes you no better or poorer than those who do.  What’s important is what you want to get out of your life.

There are many coaches who would tell you to keep asking the question of yourself each night just before you go to sleep.  But my approach is a little different.  I never knew what I wanted to do as a career, but I did know what I did not want to do and it all worked out fine.

Where I think you can make a big difference is to allow yourself to dream, and dream BIG, don’t let anyone or anything influence what your dream life could be.  The next step is to get your dreams down on paper.  Notice I said get not write.  You see our minds work with pictures and the best way to activate both your logical and creative brains is to picture what you want.  I use Mind Maps but if you do not like drawing (then a visual board might be your thing).

Look up Mind Mapping it is worth having a play and seeing what you come up with.

Your first drawing/board should be massive, filled with all the dreams and desires you want your life to be.  You then slowly start to prioritise the dreams until you have the amount started to picture what is most important.  Then set about achieving your dreams, whether that be acquiring new skills you need or “Just doing” something every day that gets you closer.  The dreams should be massive, it should feel daunting otherwise, you are not stretching yourself and your living in the “safe” and frankly “boring” zone.

Again, don’t stress if you still have not worked ut what your career is going to be, it may be that your life is bigger than a career, yes you will need money.  But, if you are motivated to achieve your dreams you will take jobs and do things that make money.

When you are ready and you have the things you want to really achieve in your life, then find help.  A coach, mentor (not necessarily a family member or friend, they tend to have their own ideas for you).  Ideally, a trained personal coach who can guide you when you need guidance.

Love your life and design the life you will love.  If you don’t everyone else will do it for you.

Take care and have a great day.

Your biggest battle…

Are you winning the most important battle you need to win, the first stage is to start understanding you are already on the battlefield?

Most of you reading this possibly already know where I am going with this subject. However, it is one thing to realise our biggest battle will always be with ourselves, and another thing to do something about it. When we are young most of us have parents to guide us, and if we listen we start to learn good habits that help us get the most out of our lives.

As we grow older we now depend on our own judgement, for those of us who do not continue educating ourselves and understanding how to get the best out of the tools we have been blessed with we can start to struggle.

In terms of my personal life, I was very much a teenager up until I hit 27 years old. Single, and very independent I really lived life to the max and it took a serious health scare to jolt me into thinking more about the future and the responsibility I had to look after myself, and in my case, that meant spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. I was fortunate enough to take some good advice and visit a wonderful naturopath/osteopath Derek Pratt who really helped me start to understand what looking after your body and soul meant. At this time I was introduced to meditation and started to experience a difference in how to look after yourself.

Then throughout my thirties, life changed dramatically for me, now married and a father I battled with the change this meant and it took another serious intervention (in this case a broken ankle) for me to realise I had to change some of the old habits that were preventing me being a great father and husband. Six weeks at home I started to realise how much work being a parent was for my lovely wife. Plenty of challenges but loads of wonderful memories as we built our family and I started my journey into building a business.

Into my Forties and now with a full family (four beautiful children) and a flourishing business. I think, I really had responsibility nailed, in fact when my business hired the thirtieth staff member. Then my old foe arrived and hit me again … I started to worry “Feeling responsible for thirty families, making sure we continued to win more business and looked after everyone became a burden on me” I still had some growing to do.

In my early Fifties and I am finally realising how powerful our minds are. I am now starting to understand more how the mind works and realising that we can control our thoughts and focus positively. It really is our choice, you see the mind has a job to do but it tends to run riot if we let it. We can train our minds using tools like meditation, visualisation and will, while also understanding the truth is not in your head, be aware your mind is processing thousands of thoughts every day and it does not differentiate between good and bad thoughts, happy or sad, what’s right for you and what’s wrong with you – it just processes everything your senses take in i.e. Garbage in = garbage out.

If you want to find answers to what you should be doing, those live inside your heart. Eat well, exercise each day, meditate or take time for yourself alone, look after your body, soul and spirit and they will help you win the battle with your mind.

Live the life you would love to live. Be positive, be grateful and have fun and don’t let your mind run around your head like an untrained monkey (as the monks call it).

Have a great day

The future of recruitment – update Feb 2017

The Problem with today…

HR Managers try to stay up to date with the latest HR trends but seem to struggle to find ways to sell and create truly diverse teams within their organisation.  Yet they are the very people who have put in place the very systems and processes which make this even harder.

The majority of recruitment teams in New Zealand (And likely around the world) have taken a massive step backwards and we have lost many of the countries truly skilled recruiters due to the ridiculous processes, so-called solutions like the governments ‘AOG’ preventing any new solution from being looked at for long periods of time (Not a smart move in a world where technology and the re-engineering of processes are moving at breakneck speed).

Ironically recruitment in the 1980’s and early 1990’s was more efficient and effective than what is being used by most organisations today.  You see back then advertising was run by large newspapers who had staff with decades of knowledge, understanding the importance of branding and positioning – not a simple on-line job board that you post your current job to, then sit and wait for great talent to call.

Newspapers albeit too expensive pushed branding campaigns, stories and positioned your adverts so as to reach an audience who was actively seeking work as well as entice passive readers to consider working for your brand.  Their reach was phenomenal and they dominated the marketing landscape with loads of content that attracted a diverse range of people to pick up a paper and read.  Jobs for accountants were featured in the financial sections, IT jobs in the Infotech weekly section all filled with content that pulled in the right eyes and target community.

Today our employers seem to think we will just look them up on the web.  They may invest heavily in branding on their own website that really only reaches the people who care about these pages – themselves.  They spend little on pushing out the brand to the communities they want to attract. “But we put our job on Seek”

This is where I apologise to the small number of organisations who actually proactively brand their organisation and push out solid employment branding campaigns.  The challenge for them is finding the right media to be effective, there is just no one community like the old newspaper that does this job anymore.

Simply throwing and expensive video on each advert you place on Seek just does not cut it – sorry, you are still only pushing out to the desperate and dateless who need a job. What about the passive person, you know the one that would really help your organisation improve its diversity add that value you were really looking for?

The future – in my eyes

So what would be the best solution? One that combines the marketing power of the old newspapers (which gave you a  lot more than just news, the content appealed to a wide variety of people, solid branding campaigns, human interest stories, humour and sport, local events – great stuff).  I think on-line community “newspapers” will start to appear and take advantage of the proactive marketing principles those wise old newspaper people of the 1980’s knew all about, creating marketplaces that appeal to all facets of the community.  I have been playing with this idea with my projects kapitnow.co.nz and wellingtontoday.co.nz and the initial results have been outstanding.  However, it is not perfect – yet.

These will be helpful but will not for organisations who need skills and talent beyond the reach of these marketplaces.  This leads to where the future really lies for Recruitment and its been happening for awhile and we would already be there if the so-called ‘Strategic’ HR people had not slowed its progress through some pretty poor decision making (apologies to all my ‘Strategic’ HR friends).

You see for me the future is proactive recruitment.  Do not wait for the people you want to apply for jobs, find them, get to know them and hire them.  This immediately solves the diversity issue as you can target whatever person you want with this approach. Forget about “We must advertise to make it fair for everyone” a chef just is not right to develop your system’s code and these days unless you advertise on every site available, then you are just not being fair. Not everyone looks at Seek and the real talent certainly is not searching for a job, they are going to get tapped by someone like me searching a database.

LinkedIn has been leading the way in terms of real future based solutions that enable smart proactive recruitment, it just has some major financial flaws (It’s too expensive for most hiring managers to use).  About.me is also heading in the right direction but it does not appear to capture the data needed to allow for solid searches.  However, About.me will help those recruiters who become very familiar with advanced Google searches to find talent affordably.

So for me the ultimate future based recruitment system is one that allows you to market to the communities you want to find talent (branding, employment branding, organisational success stories) as well as uses simplified smart queries on all the ‘People’ databases being created around the world as well as the personal websites which will no doubt prolificate as people realise the advantage of having your very own website gives you for future employment, contracting and consulting.

Unfortunately, this will not apply to my system jobcafe.co.nz as our firewalls are effective enough to prevent these types of searches – but this may not be a good thing long term.

So the future is a smarter search engine that can interrogate all ‘talent pools’ on the web and the web itself,  the realisation we all should have great personal websites will become more obvious to people, so will joining communities that enhance their search ranking.  Smart employers will brand, and market themselves in marketplaces like our site

Smart employers will brand, and market themselves in marketplaces like our site kumaravine.co.nz celebrating Maori and Pasifika success or our other project possibility.net.nz targeting and promoting people with disabilities.  These are real communities that bring a significant diversity of thought to an organisation.however, this content will change, it may include job opportunities but is also likely to be more about brand activity, organisational success, culture and ‘why’ when the recruiter or hiring manager comes proactively calling you should connect with them.

Government Agencies may still be placing job adverts but most other organisations will realise this is a waste of money.  And the great news, real recruitment skills will return and processes will become sensible. Find, attract, engage,

Find, attract, engage, nurture and leverage your talent.

By the way, unless you own the business you’ll probably be a contractor or consultant.

Becoming World Class – 10,000 Hours?

The Christmas / New Year period is a great time to relax and reflect especially here in New Zealand where most of the country (other than the hospitality, farming and retail industries) take a well-earned collective rest.  It is also the time I recharge my batteries and really think about my personal plan and what activity I will be focusing on during the next year.

As a Coach, I have always been interested in what it takes to be “World Class” and I have decided that in 2017 I am going to dig deeper and try to qualify my own thinking.

I invite you, if you are interested in this subject to reach out and contact me with your own thoughts, I am more than happy to have others contribute to this research, or maybe you are just happy taking part in exploring what the magic formula really is.

I do have some very good connections to a number of real-life world class sports people, but my interest extends far beyond sports to all places people dream to achieve.

Malcolm Gladwell (author – The Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw, David and Goliath etc) came to the conclusion based on his research that it takes 10,000 hours to become ‘world class’ in your field of choice.

Anders Ericsson (Professor of Psychology, Florida State University) concluded that “many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years”.

This is what I believe as of today.
As a Coach, I feel that there is much merit in championing the 10,000 hours theory as a part of the formula, especially for youth.  However, I would also add that without the right motivation on behalf of the actual person striving to become world class reaching 10,000 hours may not be achievable.  My stomach tells me it may take adults longer, as they also have to battle patterns of thought and habits that they need to change.

NB: I have been in the Recruitment and Talent Management industry for over 25 years and Motivation is well known globally for being the key to employing the right people for a job.

Before you go anywhere I think you need to have an ounce of talent to work from, it maybe only small but this combined with the right motivation in place I believe is your starting point.

Also, simply just practising a thing will not necessarily make you world class. I fully believe each and every one of us needs a guide or Coach with the skills to take you the next level.  You will also need to upgrade or change your Coach as you reach the full potential with that individual Coach, and continue to develop your own self-management and coaching skills throughout this journey.   Great Coaches are also developing themselves constantly but from my own humble experience in sports, and a career in talent management that extends well beyond the 10,000 hours, believe that as a Coach it is likely a change will be needed when growth slows and or progress is not being made.

So, not only does the individual need to have an ounce of talent, a burning motivation and the determination to work hard to become world class, so does the people supporting and nurturing that talent.

I also believe in the phrase used by our World champion team here in New Zealand “Better people, make Better All Blacks – Sir Graeme Henry” who in the past fifteen years had spent most of this time ranked at number one in the world for their sport.  However, until Sir Graeme took the helm we “choked” at the final stages in world cups for a period of twenty years.

Possibly also upgrade this phrase to “Great people, make great champions”  Richie McCaw arguably New Zealand’s greatest All Black Captain never wanted to be an All Black, from an early age he wanted to be a “Great All Black” and he achieved that dream.

This has brought me to the thinking that to be truly world-class do you also need to develop as a great all round person?  I think for longevity sake this would not be a bad course to set your thinking on.

Taking Richie’s thoughts into account it also adds a major factor “It has to be the person’s dream” not Mum or Dads dream.  If Mum or Dad introduce one of their kids to something they then fall in love with and the kid dreams of becoming world class then you have the precious flicker take can be developed into something further.  Nurtured well, given the right positive coaching and hard work across all facets of the person’s being and well-being (life / work balance) a willingness to work a minimum of 10,000 hours of quality training (not just doing time) then, just then, you may have the formula to become a World Champion at whatever it is you love to do.

Please feel free to comment or email me with your thoughts.  This article is just the beginning I am keen to hear your views. 

Have a wonderful 2017

As we launch into a New Year, I genuinely wish everyone to have a happy and healthy 2017.  I wonder if we all actually felt this way what the world would look like?

My year starts as it has for the last few years with my review of my personal plan.  I am actually well down the track as I am so excited about making 2017 absolutely wonderful I started my review early in December. The reality is we have a choice, we can either make it a great New Year or we can choose to “See what happens” and take that great big risk.

I like many Coaches in the world have chosen to a great year, so how do we do it?

In the wise words of Mary Morrissey, “the world is happening through us, not to us”

My interpretation of this is we all have the power to control what we do, who we choose to be with and what we plan to do.  Given just these simple facts we have all we need to design, plan and implement a wonderful New Year.

Mine starts with that personal long term plan based on what I want my life to look like, well not just want, more like desire, love and dream to have.  Then I simply go through the processes I have learnt over the past 53 years on this planet and start mind mapping my plan.  I then break this plan down into the areas I need to work on and will use this plan every morning to design my day, knowing that if I work my plan every day, not only am I already living the life I would love to live but I am also making it happen.

That is the basic framework.  Only you can fill in the details and if you need someone to help you move on I suggest you consider finding a Coach that you can work with.  I am extremely lucky as I work with a mastermind group of Coaches here in New Zealand, as well as work with my own Coach.

Every person needs a Coach, someone to guide them and keep them on their desired track.  You can try and “go it alone” but ask this question of yourself, how quickly can I achieve my goals alone?  Would I get there faster with someone who is dedicated to helping me?

Happy New Year everyone – choose to make this year a great one!

 

Dreaming – Goal Setting (Stage One)

What is Goal Setting?

Goal setting is a subject that alters people’s lives forever. Once you master the skill of goal setting you can achieve almost anything you want to. The following information and exercise/s will help you on the path to understanding what goal setting is and how to use it to successfully achieve your dreams.

After this exercise, you will have the basic skills to design your own future.

“A life best lived is a life by design” – Jim Rohn
“ Live a Life you would LOVE to live” – Mary Morrissey

We start the process by getting you to use your imagination. What is the life you dream to live?

Tapping this resource of imagination is focused on your future, thinking about the rest of your day, tomorrow and what your life will look like when the time comes for reflection on what you have achieved.

Dreams
Dreams are like magnets – they pull. The stronger your dreams are, the more purposeful they are, the bigger they are the stronger they pull.

They pull you to take the actions necessary to achieve these dreams.

Dreams written down are called “Goals”.

Powerful Goals
Powerful Goals have three main components;

1. They must be inspiring
2. They must be believable
3. They must be goals you can act on

NB: You do not have to know how you will get there. Part of the adventure of life is the journey, the discovery and learning. If you already know how to get there, then your dream maybe too small, dream big!

Getting Started -Your Future ‘Mindmap’

To get started I want you to paint the picture of what your life would look like when you come to your final days.  You want no regrets and you want to live the life you designed.  This is the starting point for your personal goal setting.

Below is an example of my very own mind map.  Yours may look very different and that is cool with me.

tc-mind-map

This top level map describes what I want to achieve in my life.  It starts with the centre of my universe – my family (whanau).  For me, at age 53 this is my major driving force.  However, it also includes the things I want to personally achieve.

At this level, it lacks detail but does provide the guide for me to follow as I dive deeper into each of these top level goals.  It also is the starting point for me to consider the things I really want to achieve in life.

I find it very powerful to see my plan on one piece of paper like this it helps me focus while I work on the individual goals and action steps I need to take to achieve my dreams.


 

Exercise 1 – Build your own Mindmap

Step 1. It starts with you evaluating and reflecting on where you are right now and where you want to be in the future. In the case of this Mindmap we want you to take that future right to the end of your life. Spend some time (alone) reflecting on what you would like your friends and family to be saying about you during your first day on earth. What is it you achieved with your life? How satisfied will you be? What is it that made your life what you wanted it to be? What were you about?

Then start putting pen to paper or if you would rather find magazines or print images from google to create your own personal image board.

At this stage, we are working at a very high level not too worried about the how but definitely thinking about the WHY.

You are more likely going to need to set aside time on a regular basis the work on this top level map and over time it will become clearer on what you really want it to look like. All this means is the initial map may change as you further reflect and evaluate what you want. It is important to get started and let momentum help the process evolve.

Step 2. What are your dreams and goals (future only) What do you want to achieve? What values do you want to live by? What sort of person do you want to be known as? What do you want – not what someone else wants you to be. These should come from your heart and soul. They are unique to you and come from who you were created to be and gifted to become.


Exercise 2 – SMART GOALS

Once we have drafted our mind map we want to start applying the rules of goal setting to help us succeed. The next stage is to evaluate each goal using the SMART system. Take each goal and create a heading on a new piece of paper. You should have separate sheets for each goal.

We are now going to start working on defining each goal.

SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time- Sensitive.

Specific – Don’t be vague. Exactly what do you want?

Measurable – Quantify your goal. How will you know if you’ve achieved it or not?

Attainable – Be honest with yourself about what you can reasonably accomplish at this point in your life while taking into consideration your current situation.  This is the stage where you might set a task to learn more about how you are going to attain this goal e.g. “signup with a personal trainer, to learn more about getting fit” may lead to you setting new goals after you have learned from this trainer.

Realistic – It’s got to be achievable, real and practical.

Live a Healthy and Happy Life (TC Short Example)
I will retain my weight at 80kgs, each healthy food’s each day by planning out my meals and shopping on a regular basis to ensure I have healthy food to eat. I will weigh myself each week to ensure I maintain this weight or take necessary actions. (Weekly Action – plan out my meals and buy food for the week). (Weigh in Day – Friday)

I will walk a minimum of 30 minutes every day and during this time I will smile and be thankful for all I have in my life, including my wonderful family and friends. (Record distance and time in Journal).

I spend 20 minutes every day by myself meditating. I will go to sleep before 10 pm each night and get 6-8 hours’ sleep before I start the next day.

In the Summer of 2017/18, I will start to Surf again.

I will get regular health checks and continual learn new ways of being happy and healthy.  (further Action – set appts in my diary).

I will subscribe to and read about how to improve my health and start to help others around me so we live a healthy life together.  (Further Action, research books to read).

COMPLETE THIS EXERCISE FOR ALL OF YOUR GOALS.

NB: Part of your journey might be discovering the answers, so you may not be able to fill in all the blanks yet, you may create new blanks to fill in as you discover, learn and grow. Is this not what life is all about?

Once you have these Goals written down then you hold yourself accountable.  You check them weekly, monthly, and annually.  Each day you action your daily plan by writing down your goals for the day, starting the planning session by asking yourself this simple question.

“What am I doing today, to move me closer to my dream?”

 

 

 

Setting up a fabulous 2017

As Christmas, fast approaches, and then we celebrate the start of a new year I am preparing myself for my annual ritual of reviewing my lifelong dreams and goals and setting the course for a successful 2017.

For me, this process has already started and my reviewed personal plan and the new annual plan will not be complete until the end of January, giving me plenty of time to dream and feed my mind with positive energy.

I love this time, not the commercial Christmas which causes so many people, so much stress. I do enjoy boxing day a chance just to relax and soak in the great things about this time of year, and spend time with family without the hustle and bustle of Xmas day.  New Year’s Eve can be special as we catch up with those we enjoy bringing in the new year.

My most favourite time is the hours I will spend over January reviewing and building my personal plan.  This is a time where I like a lot of personal time (alone) dreaming and visualising what my life is going to look like.  I also look at how I can build a better me, and how I can help those people I love as well as those people who cross my path.

It is also a time of new stationary in the form of new Daytimer pages and a new Journal – why does stationery bring me such joy?

Happiness is always on the agenda and I will remind myself that being grateful every day is the key to unlocking a happy and healthy life.  I will also remind myself that I can control how I feel every minute of the day and I can choose to be happy regardless of any situation I find myself in.  Life is for living and learning, having great experiences and spending time with people that help each other be the best they can be.

I will spend much time thinking about the people I love, focusing my mind on a positive future, being grateful for who they are and learning to enjoy every moment, this is the journey I am on.

It’s a time of forgiveness and letting go, I work on this daily now and found it is such a wonderful skill to help you get the most from your life.  Dwelling negatively on people or circumstances, worrying about what might happen, holding grudges is not for me.  I want my mind to be positive and focus on enjoying life and helping others to do the same. Simply trying to not think about those who have wronged you is not enough, forgiveness works – try it.

My plan will be comprehensive and setup the rest of my year and drive me down a life path I would love to live, one that I personally have designed, one that is great for me, great for the ones I love and great for those people I spend time with.  I will control the things I can control, I will prepare and remind myself that there will be challenging thoughts that enter my head, but will also remind myself that they are simply thoughts and that is their nature, I am guided by my heart and this is what I will remind myself to listen to.

This ensures I will have a very Merry Christmas and an awesome New Year.  I wish you all the same.

Arohanui

 

May all your problems be little ones this Christmas and may you love watching them unwrap their presents.

Be happy, learn to say ‘NO’.

Now some people may be horrified when they read the title of this article but the reality is most of us struggle to say ‘No’ and the cost is usually our time or money and our ability to achieve what we want to in life. Let’s face it we were all given the gift of life and if there is a plan for us surely it is the one we should be designing for ourselves. Yet we compromise that plan because we struggle to say that little word.

It could be that we believe that saying no is uncaring, even selfish, and we may have a fear of letting other people down. On top of this may be a fear of being disliked, criticised, or risking a friendship. The reality is, it is impossible to please everyone, so we should prioritise and understand who are the most important people in our lives (and especially include ourselves in those plans).

Now here’s an completely normal example. We are all allowed to be happy every day and the only thing that stops us being happy is the choices we make. One of those choices is what we are going to be doing with our time. If we assume we are going to give eight hours to our career (whether that be your business or employer) in exchange for the cash we need to live our lives, and we should be using at least eight hours for rest, we put aside 30-60 minutes for exercise, an hour in the morning preparing ourselves for work (having breakfast), 30-60 minutes for lunch (where we make catch up with friends or squeeze our exercise in) that leaves us with around five of six hours a day doing the things we want to do. This means during the normal working week we have around five to six hours to concentrate on the activities for our own benefit. These maybe further education, entertainment or doing the activities that we enjoy.

If you have children (and I have four) most of this time will be spent with them, and it should be. There is nothing wrong with that. In the weekend, time can quickly be filled up with laundry, kid’s sports, house and garden maintenance and simply recharging the battery (sleeping in etc.) helping friends out or visiting relatives.

Suddenly when you look back at the week at all these “activities” you have only a few hours per week or less for yourself? Unless of course you start saying no.

Saying no actually starts with you deciding to design the life you would love and then ensuring you prioritise time for yourself. When it comes to designing, I mean making a real plan written down, with actions and everything a plan designed for a life you love to live that will make you happy every day. Now if it ends up looking like the life example described above and that truly makes you happy all well and good, however in most cases once we do this our plan looks very different.

Another reality is you are most likely going to get more respect when you say no.
No doubt, you will need to compromise but a rule I live by these days is every day I am doing something that helps me achieve the life I love to have. Every day my plan is to be happy and no one gets to take the time I have put aside for that. This may only be an hour per day but even then, it means I have had to learn to say no.

What would you achieve if you gave yourself seven hours’ personal time per week?

My goal over the next few years is to increase my personal time, increase my ‘no’s and to teach my children to do the same. Although funny enough they are pretty good at this already – maybe a lesson right there.

If I truly want them to be successful and have the life they would love to have is this not the right approach?

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