‘It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently’ (Anthony Robbins)
This week I was asked to contribute to another blog about a book that inspired me. Whilst biographies about other people’s lives often inspire me, it was a book by the American author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield that inspired me to take action, to explore personal development in more depth and then eventually to start this blog. This book was The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.’
I first read the book in 2015 and made many notes whilst doing the exercises within it including one which helped me to identify my ‘why’, in other words my ‘life purpose.’ This is what I wrote:
‘My purpose in life is to use my knowledge, experiences and positive outlook to guide, teach, advise, inspire and empower others to achieve their goals in a loving and compassionate way.’
Reading this again now, I can recognise that I had already been living my life purpose through my chosen career, but my personal life events had made me question this purpose and prompted me to explore it further. Failure at anything was alien to me. I wasn’t used to any sense of having failed and felt ‘derailed’ in life.
We often feel the need to understand why we are here, why we are experiencing certain events in our lives and how this might feed into our life purpose and ultimately our legacy. I felt this so powerfully as I emerged from a challenging few years and desperately wanted to sense there had been an underlying reason for having to experience them.
What had these negative life experiences actually taught me?
I came to the realisation that this period of adversity had taught me about resilience, brought me new insights, provided additional life skills and gave me an inner strength that I previously had not been in possession of.
As I prepared the short contribution this week about my chosen inspirational book, I reviewed the notes and scribbles I had made in 2015 and at the top of the page I had written and underlined ‘Good Has To Come Out of This!’
Under these words, I had then written the following questions:
‘What is my passion?’
‘Why do I want to do this?’
‘Can I do this?’
‘Is this for me/others?’
The questions, notes, mind maps and random thoughts continue for many pages. I had actually made these particular notes before reading The Success Principles, but the book then helped me to consolidate my thoughts and ultimately know I wanted to use my experiences and apply my new life skills to helping others. I smiled at some notes I made about perhaps starting a fashion blog. Now those who know me well also know I am passionate about clothes, but this idea didn’t hit the ‘sweet spot.’ I do post intermittently on social media about fashion and beauty as that also represents who I am. I believe in feeling good internally and reflecting this externally; I will not apologise for the fact that this brings me both pleasure and confidence.
Having decided I wanted to start my blog, I admittedly procrastinated for an extended period about sharing my thoughts and life so publicly. I have previously written about my fears surrounding this period so this will not be new to you, but at one stage, this was really ‘eating me up.’ I had stopped, started, dabbled, stopped again, but still could not shake the feeling that this was what I should be doing. I then finally set the goal earlier this year to make a success of The Swan Doctor. I had laid the foundations over the last two years but the goal now required me to take consistent action.
‘Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently’ (Marie Forleo)
As a result, you may have noticed that posts from ‘The Swan Doctor’ are appearing more consistently. In fact, on average I am writing one new blog per week. With a full time job, this is actually quite a big commitment. It takes me time to identify the topic which may be inspired by something that happened that week or may be a more high level insight, formulate the post around this idea, write, take and add photos, proof read (I nearly always still find mistakes after I publish) and share/promote via social media.
I’ve had a few people question how on earth I find the time to do this given all the other commitments I have to my job and family. I find the time because I really want to do this; there is a therapy for me in writing and communicating my message and a joy to knowing I have prompted others to stop and take time to question things like their life purpose, their relationships and their goals.
Now don’t think I am finding consistency easy. It is human nature to get distracted and find excuses to not do what we really should even when it is something we really do want. This quote from Aldous Huxley (Philosopher and Author) reflects human nature’s interaction with trying to be consistent and made me knowingly smile when I read it:
‘Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead’ (Aldous Huxley)
So how am I achieving consistency?
- I’ve spent time on identifying my ‘why’ and my life purpose. Everything I do now, and plan to do in the future, is aligned with this.
- Having identified my ‘why’ I have committed to it. Even within this blog post I have now publicly declared my commitment to be consistent so as to achieve the goals I have set.
- I’ve told my family what I want and I have secured their love and support to do it.
- I have scheduled my time commitment to The Swan Doctor and other associated activities into my week. Again I have to commit to the schedule and make it non-negotiable unless I have a family emergency to deal with. Rest is important for me as I also need to manage my health but I am good at reading my body’s reactions to stress and too much work. I have sacrificed the weekend lie-in but it honestly does not feel like I am losing out as the therapy and personal gains from writing, reading and coaching activities more than outweigh an extra couple of hours of unnecessary sleep. I will never be a member of the ‘5am club’. I most certainly don’t have the strength for that, but I ensure I get a consistent time to bed and time to get up, and it is working really well for me now.
- I am mastering my emotions. By this I mean that when my mind starts making excuses, I start to talk myself around them and remind myself of the joy I feel when I achieve my goals for the week.
- I am accountable. Accountability to me is the key to achieving success. You can achieve this informally with a friend or family member checking in on you, or you can achieve this on a formal platform via group or one-to-one coaching. I am a member of an online coaching group and the declaration of my goals together with accountability to my coach and group have most certainly been the key to my more recent mindset breakthroughs, consistent work and output.
Having achieved more consistency with The Swan Doctor, I am more connected with my audience and I am making friends from across the world. The online world has made the Earth an incredibly small place. It is an exciting time with satisfaction and fulfilment filling my days both at work and at home. I am working on more plans which will continue to align with my life purpose and will share these with you too when they come to fruition. Again I’m holding myself accountable, committing to consistency and achieving success.
As you know I often invite you to answer a question:
“what change could you make, however small, in order to achieve consistent action in your life?”
I’m interested to know this or if any of the things I have done and suggested here resonate with you and make you feel more informed about how to take more consistent steps towards your goals and success. As always, I would love you to comment and share. Until next week (;-)…
The Swan Doctor