Why you need to be ok with venturing out, venturing alone

Striving for balance you can live with

One of the hardest things to figure out when you begin something new – whether it’s a project or a business – is whether it’s going to succeed or fail. Oftentimes, when success comes, it’s easy to look back and see the signs you had not noticed initially. We tend to come to the conclusions we want to make and find the supporting evidence or points where we choose to look.

And when failure hits us, perhaps it is easier to just move on. Who wants to dwell on  the negative?

Anything new…
Anything you have no experience in …
Anything that makes you worried or scared …
is fraught with anxiety.
We are unsure of outcomes, processes and perhaps, even the milestones that may  guide us.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So when a new venture beckons, you’re really striving for a perfect balance as you move ahead.

You don’t want to be over eager and launch before you’ve set your path and laid the foundations for success.
And yet, you also don’t want to think too much and over analyse every move or result in line with the vision you’ve set.

The amount of thinking done needs to be weighed against the amount of action taking place. You’ve got to know when to push it out there – to ship it – and when to hold back for another revision. When what you’re doing is brand new to you and brand new in the space/industry you’re in, then there is no one you can really go to, to get guidance or a helping hand. You’re in this alone and that is typically the case when you’re making your own dreams happen.

Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength –  Napoleon

And you’ve got to be comfortable with that. You’ve got to be internally driven, guided by your expectations and a vision only you truly understand.

It’s scary.
But it’s also helluva exciting.

When pushing through with something new, something different, you’re in it alone but it’s ok.
Others may not get the vision or dream but it’s ok.
You can see the vision but you can’t quite articulate it as well as you’d like to but it’s ok.

Remember that there needs to be as much action as there is thought.
You’re content in the knowledge that you may just need to fumble your way forward.
But it’s ok.

#vision #courage #failure #success

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. 
I run Vertical Distinct, a media and learning organisation supporting both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog here on the entrepreneurial journey. I write for Women of HR and am also Associate Editor at the HR Gazette. Feel free to connect to talk or let me know how I can support you.

If You Could Focus on One Skill To Develop, What Would It Be and Why?

I know I said one but that was just to hook you in. The truth is I think there’s six. They vary in weight but there’s an interesting dynamic between of all them.


Some may call it foolhardy but it takes courage to walk down the road you’ve chosen, one you may not articulate to the ones you love. You may find it hard to justify your goals or actions or maybe, you just don’t see the point in doing so. Whatever it is, at some point, you walk your road alone. And the only thing you have going… is the belief that you’re doing the right thing by yourself and that this is what you’re meant to do.

Courage is not always in the bravado acts, the ones we see and identify with. It takes as much courage, if not more, to do the things we need to do, in the shadows, day in and day out.


They go hand in hand. You don’t need to persist when you are succeeding, do you? You persist when things go wrong, when you are flailing. And God help you because they don’t teach you this in school. You either learn this because your mama or papa took the time to drill this into you or you built this up yourself, one day at a time. One project, one experiment, one experience at a time.


If you don’t have the presence of mind to take a step back every now and again to evaluate what is going on, then you run the risk of blindly moving, racing through life till you come to the bitter end and see the mess you’ve created. Because there is no one to blame for the choices you’ve made, except yourself. Whether you’d care to admit or not. On the outside, you could blame a lot of things – your parents, your upbringing, your culture, your financial problems, insert your lack of whatever – the list is endless if you go down this road.

But while we cannot control all the circumstances we find ourselves in, our greatest joy and success comes from our ability to control how we respond, react and deal with the stuff we face. When we boil it all down, every one of us has a story to tell. A story of hope, a story of desperation. Of loneliness, regret, anger, disappointment and loss. Of ambition, passion and hope. Of losing out and breaking through.


You’ve got to live a live of hope or it simply does not work. If you click out, if you say that your life is mapped out for you, from the choices you’ve made so far, if you let your situation dictate your response, that is not a life of hope.

Hope will take you through your darkest days, it will hold you strong through your weakest moments. And to hold hope strong is to believe that anything is possible.


If you are curious about your world, the relationships you make, the wider goings-on, if you have an interest in how things happen and why, that curiosity will fuel you. It will give you ideas, it will open up new vistas, it will bring more into your life than you imagine.

Embrace failure

This is a big life lesson. I will consider my job as a parent more than half done if I can pass this on successfully to my kids. What you want to get to is the development of a mindset where you are not fazed by failure. The highest point would be almost an embrace of it – a kind of egging on. To get to a place where your ego and self worth are unaffected by the results you get, where you don’t question everything you are about and what you do. A place where you can quietly look past the failure and see what is beyond. Where you can look at your failure, right in the eye, to see how and when and why you failed.

I am slowly warming up to the idea that success may lie in still running the race. For success ends the minute you choose to check out.

You’re still here, there’s still the brightness of another shiny new day. You’ve got your head, your heart. You’ve got a dream.
What more do you need?

How do you keep yourself motivated when you’re faced with challenges or failures?

It’s a tough one but only if you do not have a plan or goal.

There’s really no complicated formula for driving yourself forward. You have to be motivated by something bigger than yourself. You need a force guiding, almost propelling you forward. And when you have such direction in your life, the things that happen are merely that. Just stuff happening. You take it in, take it on board, you may react, respond or implode. And then you get on with it… you get back on track.

When you don’t know what you want, when you don’t have a clue where you want to be, that’s when the trouble starts. When you are floating aimlessly along, anything and everything could be good or bad. Everything seems to have some impact on you. And this further immobilises you. After a while, you seem overwhelmed because there’s so much out there, coming at you, at a constant, dizzying speed. And it’s relentless. You don’t know how to make it stop. And oftentimes, the best action you can think of is inaction.

The thing is some of us know what we want to do, or where we want to go, early in life. Which is a good thing. But for those who don’t, it’s not a race. It’s a journey and one that should be enjoyed. Take the time to explore, discover and experience. See with eyes wide open, the kind of experiences and opportunities that are unfolding before you.

One of the best things you can do to keep yourself motivated is to develop a hypersensitivity about your perspective. By this, I mean, don’t just let yourself think whatever you do, whatever pops into your head. It is super hard to develop a critical self awareness, a mindfulness, that you can apply in the moment. You want mindfulness in the moment, not after the fact, the behaviour, the consequences. Drive that awareness, control your thought process, examine your self talk and see how you are reacting to your situation.

Stop yourself in the tracks when you are looping. Looping is when you go through an action repeatedly, usually it’s to bemoan why this happened, and how it’s not fair. Doing this gets you nowhere except further mired in a emotional wasteland. No one can pull you out except yourself.

Take action. That always works for me. When you do nothing, things are happening to you, you feel victimised. But the moment you take yourself out of the situation and figure a way of dealing with it, you feel and become infinitely better. You get out of victim mode, you find solutions to your problem and most importantly, you have taken back your power and sense of control.

Make a decision. The hardest thing for people to accept is that they can make decisions. Sometimes, we like to think that we are forced into a situation, that there really is no choice. It took me a long time to learn this truth but I have finally gotten it – it’s liberating. It’s wonderful to know that while I may not like the choices presented to me, I still have the choice about how to deal with the situation. You are still in charge, even when it seems, at the outset, that you are not.

Take a break. When you are fuelled by passion, desire or a goal, it’s easy to keep going, keep chugging along. But we all need periods of rest and reflection. Rest is as crucial to the fitness regime as exercise is. And so we need to apply this to ourselves as well. Cut ourselves some slack. Allow periods of downtime. Give yourself permission to do nothing and not cross stuff off your checklist.

Consider what you’re not getting. If you find that your life keeps throwing you the same kind of curveball, that the people and dates/times change but the situation doesn’t change much, it’s time to ask yourself, “What am I not getting here and what is the universe trying to tell me?” You may not like what you hear. You may not even want to deal with it. But remember, as long as you refuse or are unaware of the lesson to be learnt, the lessons keep coming back. One way or another.

How do I stay motivated in the face of failure? Easy, it is failure that has helped me to become who I am, not success. It has guided me, shaped me, informed me. It has pointed out my weaknesses, my follies, my negativity, my blind spots and helped me address these. I wouldn’t be who I am now, without it.

14 Tips for Negotiating Successfully – Tip#11 Speak up! Silence could be taken as acquiescence

There’s actually two parts to this point.

First, you should speak up at the right time when in negotiations.

If you don’t hear from the other side, follow up. If you disagree with what they’ve said or if the other party appears to have changed their stance, don’t keep quiet. Acknowledge it and deal with it. When dealing in a negotiation setting or with people you are unfamilar with, it might seem easy and comforting to defer to the other side, to keep quiet or to just let things roll by. Eventually, you hope things might sort themselves out. It’s a possibility, no doubt, but you should certainly not bet on it.

It wasn’t until I read law that I understood the impact of silence. Silence in most situations could be just that and nothing more. However, within a legal context (and any negotiation could potentially result in legalities at some point, if not for conflict resolution, then certainly for solidifying the deal), silence could be taken as acquiescence or compliance. Read in this light, this could have serious consequences depending on the level of formality and complexity involved and what’s been agreed upon.

When is the right time? Usually, at the point it appears to get sticky. When it looks somewhat difficult or challenging, when you have a desire to put it off to another time, that is usually the point at which you need to do that which you are uncomfortable with.

Second, speaking up is also about the power that lies within. In life, you will find that most of your challenges are mental as opposed to physical and in managing through this, you call to the power within. Speaking up calls to that power also.

If you choose :

  • not to speak up, 
  • not to decide,
  • to defer judgement/decision/thought to a later point,

these are instances of you giving your power away. And when you give your power away, then you have no chance to make decisions.

One of the most profound realisations I have come to is to understand that while you do not always get to control the situation or the players, you certainly can control your reaction and your decisions. And it’s true that at times, you may not like the decisions you can make but you can still make decisions.

This is critical.

This simple understanding – that you should speak up, speak up at the right time and claim your power to decide needs to be at the forefront of your mind when negotiating.

When negotiating, you do not expect the other party :

  • to read your mind;
  • to give you what you want without a fight;
  • to pander to your whims and desires;
  • to prioritise your end goal.

These are for you to act on and make clear.

Most importantly, do not limit yourself in terms of how you think the situation presents itself/may present itself. Let it unfold before you. While you do need to think a few steps ahead, do not let the myriad possibilities affect your decision making. Ultimately, your decisions should be based on what’s before you or you risk acting on assumption or supposition.

Next : Tip #12 Failure is part of this journey – embrace it.

14 Tips for Negotiating Successfully – Tip#7 What’s Your Wild Card?

Dictionary.com defines a ‘wild card’ as :

a determining or important person or thing whose qualities are unknown, indeterminate, or unpredictable.

Your wild card is typically some factor you consider as critical to the success or failure of the negotiation at hand. It could be something you know about the person you’re dealing with or some information you know about the deal that you believe, if known to the other party, could change things significantly.

The important thing is that it’s not part of the equation now but it could be your fallback position.

Ultimately, you don’t want to start any negotiation process laying all your cards out on the table. You want to put your play forward but you also want to see how the other party plays the game. You want to consider the emotion he brings to it, the kind of style he employs in negotiating, whether he is amicable, defensive, changes his mind too often or is rigid.

Sometimes, you may not have a wild card and that’s ok. But usually, there’s one – it’s how it’s being defined.

Just as you must consider what your wild card is, you must think about your last line of defence. You need to decide on how far you are willing to go, how hard a game you will play and what you are willing to endure/do to get what you want.

Next : Tip #8 Stand in his shoes

What failure feels like

It may sound odd, given my desire to start and end the year well and with intent, to then write a post on failure.

Someone with intent will surely want to focus on what’s possible, positive and proactive. And failure is anything but. Or is it?

What does failure feel like?

It feels like Groundhog Day, mostly. Sometimes, it feels like an out of body experience as you watch yourself do the things you decided you would not do. It feels like insanity running riot.

But at the same time, it also feels more solid with every failure. It’s almost as if with each step, each failure is a nod to where you want to go. And while you may not be there yet, you are getting there.

At times, it feels like you are very far away. At times, you feel so near you could touch it.

How do you keep going when you keep failing over and over again? I think you focus on where you want to be. That’s all. It is simple – you think about where you are, you wonder about that place you are trying to get at and then, you dream.

And in your dreams, you get there. In your dreams, you’ve made it. And in life, you see your dreams more clearly than your reality and sometimes, that is all you need to move from hour to hour, from day to day.

What does failure feel like?

Hopeful, failure doesn’t hold me back. It shows and confirms for me one more route I should not take. It strengthens, yet again, my resolve. It asks the question and I answer it.

You ask yourself, “How badly do you want it?” or “How much will you give for it?” And if your answer is “Very badly” or “I’d give it my all”, then failure is just a process, a step in the journey. It’s not something to cave in to, its just there to nod at as you continue on your way, more determined than ever before.

The road to greater fulfilment is paved with much distraction

I am finally feeling better. I breathe more easily now. I even feel myself taking a step back and just enjoying the present.

It was not always this way. I got frazzled easily, stressed by the priorities laid upon me instead of the ones I decided to develop myself,  believing that I had no choice, that this was indeed how it was to be. But things have changed.

Reading was key. It opened me up to new ideas and shifts in my mindset. Reading, to me, is my trigger, to getting so much more done, and living more closely to the ideal I have built up for myself. That is why I don’t have time for tv. It’s a great way to relax, to zone out but time is a precious commodity to me. And that is why I say that the road to greater fulfilment is paved with much distraction.

You have a choice in everything you do. Always. Even when it seems that you don’t. You could as easily choose to watch an hour of tv instead of catching up on your reading. I could easily choose to do that instead of writing this post. Distractions abound, wherever you go. The point is to recognise them for what they are. They exist to question and strengthen your resolve.

Choose to see distraction not as a challenge or obstruction. They are tools to help you refine your goal. They help you decide how strongly you want to do something. Because there are times when you are not sure how badly you want something.

I read somewhere that when that happens, you should flip a coin because in the split second that coin is up in the air, it’s the moment in which you know what you want to do. Distractions are like that. Whether it is one thing (like tv) or just any kind of distraction (I didn’t have enough sleep last night, I need to meet Joe for dinner because I already promised him earlier), it does not matter. What matters is whether you let one or many through and if you do, ask yourself whether the goal you set for yourself is really, really what you want.

What has changed for me?

There are three areas of my life that are affected in the categories below.

INWARD FACING – I have many things I want to do.

Unfortunately, I have neither the desire nor the ability to wait for each to be completely consecutively. So, I must tackle them, at some point, on a concurrent basis. 

OUTWARD FACING – I have many demands placed on my time.

These are in relation to the work responsibilities I have, the family I am blessed with and the household I run. As an entrepreneur, there is never a shortage of ideas that require action. Business grows, and there are things to get going. You make the work. You run your business.

As a mother, there is never enough time to complete the things you want to do. There are the low level responsibilities – things that can suck your time like housework and grocery shopping and the high level responsibilities – like figuring out how to teach your child to stand up to a bully.

STAGNATION – This is stuff in both categories above. They refer to things that I am attempting to do – some may be large projects (revamping my personal household budget and changing one habit at a time) and some are small things (getting more reading done). What bothers me is that if I consider them separately and view them as projects (for ease), then most of these projects are stagnating. They are in varying levels of completion and some get tackled so slowly that by the time I come around to it, I :-

  • have lost my drive (I’ve only done this so far- what is the point now? I might as well stop);
  • have lost my focus (What was I doing this for again?); and
  • have not got the quick wins to keep me going.

What held me back?

1. Trying to do too much. I can be pretty crazy like that (I read multiple books at any one time). However, I’ve come to accept that and I now find a way to stay me and still get results.

2. Slow wins. If you don’t have small quick wins, let’s face it, its a hard, long and lonely road.

3. Lack of focus. Your mind is all over the place with a succession of to-do items to tick off. You’ve gone in deep and you are mired in the nitty gritty of it all.

4. Big changes. These things take time, patience and grit. If you try to do this alongside other stuff, be prepared to take longer, to be sorely tested. If you try to do this for more than one big thing at a time, be prepared to fail.

So how have I overcome these various challenges?

1. Organisation

More than ever, I believe that it’s critical that you get organised. Passion will not get you where you need to be if you are not organised. This needs to be a critical skill not just physically but also mentally. We’re not talking about nicely lined tins in a cupboard but if your desk is messy, and your mind is cluttered, and you fail to see that it is a problem, it’s groundhog day and you don’t even know it.

My tools : Google calendar. Trello. Alarms and reminders set on my phone. Notebooks.

The calendar is used to set appointments, carve out time for assignments, projects (personal or work) and as a reminder system for pending issues/meetings/plans. Alarms and reminders on my phone mean I can set it up and it will ping at the right day/time. You simply cannot remember everything and even if you did, you most certainly cannot remember everything at the right time. I have mini notebooks, post it notes and recylcled paper everywhere – in the house, in the car, in my gym bag. When an idea strikes, take it down.

2. Prioritisation aka focus

Trello is my KIV system – things I want to work on (short-term, long-term and mid-term priorities) and the best thing I’ve discovered to now plan my day. Every day.

I want to make sure that the things I do everyday are the very things I want to work on everyday. I don’t want to be at the mercy of what others are pushing out to me –  I want to create/deliver/put out things of my own.

I want to make sure I have time to think. I need to block out that time – if I don’t, it doesnt happen.

3. Action aka execution

You can think about it. You can plan around it. Heck, you can also do a lot of reading about it. But nothing beats execution. Just go get it done. The first step is the hardest. But it gets easier after that, I promise you.

You can’t think your way around the things you want to achieve. You also need to actually work on it and get it done.

4. Developing habits

One key realisation for me : Individually coming up with ideas, making plans, tackling stuff  – these work but in silos, they are so prone to failure without one thing in place : systems or in the case of human beings : habits.

Relying on plans, memory, desire, impetus, passion and flow – they place too great a burden on you, your mental processes and your desire.

You need systems. And you need a goal.

Once you’ve figured out what it is that you want to do, you cant rely on your desire or memory of this to get you through. You must help yourself and you do that by setting yourself up for success. You need to put a framework around you that best supports you. You need to put systems in place to ensure you do what you planned to do.

Framework : you don’t continue stocking cheetos in the cupboard if you’ve decided you want to lose 10lbs. Get rid of it. Keep good wholesome food in the house only. Keep a list of foods you will eat. Keep a list of foods you won’t touch. Refer to it often. Have a goal, articulate it, make it visible. Figure out the milestones and mark them. Articulate where/when you see yourself failing and come up with a Plan B.

Systems : You’ve developed a habit of stopping by the cafe downstairs and grabbing a doughnut when taking the lift down from work. Remedy : take the stairs. Have a mini workout, completely bypass the doughnut and therefore avoid the temptation.

This requires thinking through the steps, the trigger points, the typical responses, the automatic thinking, automatic behaviour and the cues. You don’t need to think of all of it at the one time but you need to be mindful so you see it happening, as it’s happening. Then you can start to shift.

5. Letting go.

Pick one, then two and then three things you want to work on. Let the rest go. Schedule them for phase 2.

6. Accepting failure as part of the journey.

Understand that you will fail, get up and back on. Fail, get up and back on. The mental switch is necessary to undertake this journey. Failure has to be the way in which you will burn a new way, a new approach, a new result.

7. Automation

This is one of two buzz words for me this year. Automation is the key to my success. There’s so much to think about, there’s so much coming at me. I want the stuff that I really want to get done, to be done effortlessly, almost like riding a bicycle or driving home. You don’t think about that, do you? You just do it.

8. Outsourcing

Outsource what you can. Outsource the low level items. Outsource the job but not the responsibility. Get the job done but monitor it. Free your time so you can fill it with things that matter.

If it’s got to be done, then do it now.

If there’s something pretty fundamental that I’ve learnt, it is this : If you want to get something done, do it now. If you wait, chances are high it won’t get done.
You can’t wait for it to take place contingent on some occurence – that is very risky and it takes the whole issue out of your hands. Any decision about whether to do something is now resting on some external factor, which you are not able to control.
You can’t wait for a point in time. If you’ve decided that it has to be done, there’s no time like the present. 
Start now. Assuming you’ve taken this long to make your mind up about whether you need to do this, chances are high that the littlest thing will bring about failure.  So starting early will give you time. Time to fail. Time to learn. Time to restart.

Real progress is slow.

I am stuck. I keep making the same mistakes. I keep wanting to make the change but the change is upon me very slowly. So slowly, I can’t help but feel that there is no change. It is precisely at moments like these that I know I need to buckle down anyway, harder than ever before.

The problem? It’ always much harder before it gets easier.

That is what I know – it has to be hard before it gets easy and if it starts out easy, it most probably will get harder towards the end, if that makes sense.

Do it, don’t do it, no one cares.

Whatever you are trying to achieve is something you are trying to achieve, not anyone else. Therefore, whether you do or you don’t is… largely irrelevant to those around you. You must find the impetus to move forward, you must find within, the reason and drive for what you want to achieve or it will not work.

Understand that it takes many, many failures before you see real progress.

When you watch a movie, you see a lifetime go by in a two hour session. We skip the crappy bits, we hone in on the sensational and the good and there is so much that is glossed over. How unreal real ife appears in contrast … with the long periods of toil or worry or progress of time, interspersed with occasional bouts of excitement or adventure. Fiction and entertainment have a way of making what is real seem unappetising.

Real progress is slow. You can feel yourself struggling through each and every moment, wondering if it will last as long as it does, and it does. But like learning to ride a bike, at one point, you will get the hang of it and you will ride. And so it is with failures. You simply must stick it out, hope for the best, concentrate on getting back on the bike and at some point, you will ride. You will turn the corner.

Keep it in front of you.

So long as you are mindful of what you want to achieve, it will be yours for the taking. You need to have this in your mind, on a daily basis. It needs to be central to what you are doing.

Iterative developments.

It is much harder when you have an idea of a grand plan, an ideal situation to gun for. The time frame is much longer and the more time you take, the more will be at stake and the greater the loss you will feel in anticipation. Don’t work towards some grand plan in that regard. Work to make small changes, baby steps you can master over a day or a week. It needs to be real change that you can see quickly.

Sometimes you need to cut loose.

Get it out of your system.

Then get back on the saddle.

Perhaps it matters, perhaps it doesn’t. The decision is yours to make.

Currently, I’m reading a very interesting book, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. Meant to help you distinguish how and why those who are successful beat those who aren’t, Jeff takes what seems an apparently simple idea and lays it out for you to digest.

I believe the book is probably insightful for me, because it is precisely the kind of thing I am looking for, at this point in my life. Being open to something means that you are sometimes searching for the answers in that direction and therefore, more sensitive to what you see presented before you. It also means that sometimes you could see more than what is really in front of you – perhaps, you will see what you want to see.

However, the biggest insight I have had since starting the book (I am about half way now) is that it is really up to you, that you have to decide what you want to do and that you have to trust in yourself.

Please let me clarify. It is a wonderful time in which we live in now, where we have more opportunities and more within our reach than ever before. With the information age upon us fully, the question is now no longer about access to information or knowledge. The trick is in knowing where to look for the information we need, knowing which sources we can trust and rely on and having the ability to make sense of the information that we come upon.

We have before us, now more than ever before, the opportunity to realise ourselves more fully. If we choose that this is what we want to do. That is the reason that the self-improvement industry, inclusive of books, seminars, audio and video products and personal coaching is reputedly a billion dollar a year industry in the US alone.

And so we go out there and take in the word of the experts. We spend countless dollars and hours, devouring the teachings of these experts. But what are they really telling us? Is there anything new to be discovered? Are they telling you anything you don’t already know? In my experience, they are not.

The realisation that has dawned on me is that experts tell us what we know instinctively to be true, yet need the authority and rubber stamping of expertise and powerful branding, to buy into. We have the answers within.

You have lived your life for years now and truly, the best person to make decisions about how you should live your life, how you should move forward and what you need to do to make changes is… yourself.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the experts. In fact, over the years, they have opened my eyes to new perspectives and new ways of thinking. But what has become crystal clear over time, is that there is nothing new that they are telling me. I needed the time and distance of experience, of having lived life to come to this realisation. And I had to do this in my own time. If someone had come to tell me this insight some years back, it would not have hit home at the time. Insight, I have come to discover, is as much about a person’s reception to the message as it is about the contents of the message itself.

So, what can you take away from this?

1. You know what you need to do.

It is imperative that you learn how to trust in yourself, in your instinct, in your own experience. Sometimes, it seems easier and better to rely on others as experts, because they proclaim themselves to be such, because they really are or because you feel more confident relying on them. But you have the ability and the gift of self-direction and it is a waste of this gift to throw it away on the basis of someone else’s opinion or because you are too scared to commit either way.

2. Trust in yourself.

The voice within can be a timid one, at the start. It speaks ever so softly and can be drowned out by others of higher authority or even those with simply, a louder voice. But when you begin to listen to the voice within, you will find that it grows with each successive use, gaining strength and confidence as you move ahead into uncertain territory. And you will find that you will trust in your voice.

3. Engage in new experiences and live.

The only way to find your voice, to make the right choices, is to broaden your experiences which necessarily means that you will undoubtedly make wrong choices too. But accept that as a given. Success is not about avoiding failure – it is about embracing failure as part and parcel of what it takes to move towards success. Failure contains the grains of wisdom, helping you refine your journey, telling you what works and what doesn’t.

4. Allow yourself time to discover, to let insights come and dwell within.

Understand that things take time and you need to let that be. Everything seems to be moving faster and faster in today’s world. We are connected to each other in an infinite variety of ways, and yet, we remain as disconnected to each other as can be seen. We can instantly message someone from thousands of miles away (which is great) yet increasingly, we meet at the family dinner table or meet with our friends for a social outing only to text or play with our phones instead of engaging and spending time with each other. Technology is great but it is not everything.

With everything moving fast, with technological breakthroughs making such huge improvements to our lives, it’s easy to think that it means we need to move as fast in everything that we do. But that is not the case. As in slow cooking, there is a distinctly different flavour to a life that is savoured, that is deliberated upon and that is not subject to reactionary, knee jerk responses.

There is beauty in the passage of time, in the development of insights and in sitting and simply dwelling on things.

5. There is no right, no wrong. There is no one to chase you when you fail or when you win. You simply carry on. Therein lies the rub.

Here is the most revealing insight for me – there is no right or wrong in this regard. If you choose to get up early because you want to get certain goals achieved, then you win. You get what you put into it. If you choose that this is simply too hard for you, for whatever reason, then that is fine too. There is no one really to judge you. So, with little in the way of intervention, in the way of incentive, the decision is really always yours to make. You call the shots, you determine how things fall, you decide what works and what doesn’t. In that way, it doesn’t matter to anyone really, which way you turn. Which makes it hard to sometimes distinguish between what you want to do and what you know you need to do.

6. It is as easy to do it as it is not to do it. Your choice. Your life.

This ties in with the previous point – with nothing and no one to champion things other than yourself, it is as easy to do something as it is not to do something. Of course, there’s always the possibility of external pressures – family, peer pressure, strong relationships you maintain – these too can impact on your decision.

But if you believe that you have choice – and you always do have choice – then the decision is always one for you to make. The only thing really is that sometimes you might not like the array of choices before you but the possibility of choice is still there for you to consider.

And so now, knowing what you know, does that change anything at all, for you?

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