Life Coaching, Motivation

Mind Over Matter

You may be shocked if I said that you create your own reality or you may be not. But one thing is for sure – the power of our thinking is acknowledged more and more as a major influence to our quality of life.

The most familiar example would be stress. When we are stressed we think and act in a certain way, but also we see the world in a certain way. We become more aware of negative things around us, we start to worry about them and somehow “miraculously” they become a reality.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be in control of this reality? To change what we don’t like and remove the stress? What if we could?

The well-established fields of psychology and neuroscience along with new comers such as NLP and quantum physics all point that there is proof that our thoughts create the reality we experience.

Of course, each field has its own way of explaining this. From the molecular level of biology to the energy vibrations level of physics there is proof that our thoughts can materialise physically.

But perhaps a more simple and easy way to understand this is through the lens of psychology & NLP. Through this lens you can view how we create our reality in four steps:

Step 1 – Experience through our senses

We experience the world through our senses and send some of this data to our brain. Our senses are actually very limited – for example we can’t see ultraviolet light. Therefore we don’t really see everything the world has to offer (i.e. not the absolute reality, but a perceived reality).

Step 2 – Meaning making through conditioning

Out of the 400 billion bits of sensory data received every second (yes, every second!) our brains can only process 2,000 bits of data. I guess this deletion is for our own good – imagine feeling the clothes on your skin all of the time! That would drive us insane!

Apart from deleting information, we are also very good at distorting whatever information is left by categorising it into groups of data and then generalising these groups on to future experiences. For example, if we categorise someone we’ve met as “fun”, then we will assume that they are generally fun all of the time and we will act accordingly.

How we distort and generalise information depends on our conditioning – that is our upbringing, memories and personality; our beliefs, values and expectations.

Step 3 – Emotional state through thinking

After deleting, distorting and generalising we are left with thoughts and these thoughts affect the state we are in. Our emotional state affects us physically and mentally. 

For example, when we are angry we can notice that as we think more and more negative thoughts about the person, object or situation that caused the anger our heart rate and breathing speeds up.

“Emotion is the fuel for action.”

Step 4 – Life outcomes through behaviour

Based on what we think and feel we act and our behaviour produces results (both good and bad). It is these results that affect our reality or, if you prefer, our current experience of life. 

Now we have come full circle and can see the logic in how we create our own reality. Of course, the information here is overly simplified and there are many books from different fields that describe the process in a lot more detail.

But if there is one sentence you should take away this is the one:

Our conditioning affects our emotional state which in turn influences our behaviour and the outcome of that behaviour.

Life Coaching, Motivation

Why do People Fail?

In the last post we talked about the philosophy of NLP and the basic principle of focusing on what you do want, rather than on what you don’t want.

So if success was so easy to achieve why do so many people fail? Let’s see…

How many times have we taken advice from the wrong people? And by wrong, I don’t mean bad – just that they themselves haven’t achieved their goals or success. Basically, they advise you on how to achieve something they haven’t achieved themselves! If you want to achieve success, always look for a successful person to use as a role model.

Others want to achieve success from within their comfort zone. They are not willing to change the way they act and think. And yet, how many success stories have we heard where the person in question decided to do something different which led them to their success? Success doesn’t come overnight. It takes long-term, consistent efforts to not only learn but adopt new knowledge and behaviour which produces the new results we want.

And then there are others who won’t even attempt to achieve success until they have a ‘solid’ plan (whatever that means). They keep on planning their route to success, but they never really start the journey because they don’t have all the means or a part of the plan hasn’t been figured out yet. Now, planning is good and can help (trust me, I love planning!), but you will never know if your plan will work until you try.

Don’t be like those people! Set your goals, get advice from the right people and step out of your comfort zone. What’s the worst that could happen?

Life Coaching, Motivation

What is NLP?

You probably already know about my certification and you’re wondering what exactly is NLP?

Well it is good to wonder… because when we ask questions we learn new things. And when we learn new things we grow, which is a good thing, is it not?

Definition of NLP

Back to NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming. What is it?

Well there are various definitions, many going along the lines of “a set of tools or techniques to structure our internal systems and deal with obstacles in order to achieve our desired goals”. 

My personal favourite is the one from Chris Howard, NLP Master trainer & author:

“An owner’s manual for the mind”

It can be described as a set of skills and techniques which would help a person overcome a problem. These techniques work with the mind and cause a change in behaviour.

Basically, NLP uses certain communication strategies to help one achieve greater success in all areas of life.

Philosophy of NLP

When it comes to Neuro Linguistic Programming, the main focus is on the process of our thinking rather than the content of our thoughts. 

Yes, the focus is on the “how”. How we perceive the world. How our conditioned mind affects this perception and our thoughts. How our thoughts affect our behaviour and, in turn, the lives we live. 

The “why” is considered as irrelevant. Ruminating on why we ended up with things or situations that we didn’t want in life isn’t going to help us to achieve what we do want.

It is much better to focus your thoughts on what you want to achieve or something that helps you solve the current problem.To sum it up, a driving principle of NLP is using positive language in our thoughts and directing these thoughts towards our goals. For example, instead of saying “I don’t want to get fat”, say “I want to be fit and healthy.”

Simply, focus on what you want and not what you don’t want. 


Why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions

NYE Post

Happy New Year!

It’s day 2 of 2016 and you have probably already made some resolutions for the rest of the year.

But will you stick to them? And are resolutions really useful?

Personally, I don’t believe NY resolutions really work – they’re more like a tradition which people follow blindly and forget about the minute they return to their daily routine.

However, setting yourself certain  goals and objectives is definitely a must if you want to achieve something, not only this year but in life.

So here’s a better way of doing this: create a 10-year vision. Yes, 10 years is a long time, but as we all know time flies so we need to get crackin’.

A year ago I attended a vision-setting workshop (you can do it online here) by Lululemon Athletica where we learned how setting visions and goals can help you create and seize possibilities.

Possibilities Quote

Here are a few tips to help get you started on your 10-year vision:

  • Write down what you want to achieve on a personal, professional and health level. Then write down what you do NOT want. Don’t feel bad about not reaching all of your goals, just write everything down. Check out Susanne Conrad’s goals here as an example of what the end result of this exercise will look like.
  • When writing those goals don’t be afraid to be audacious – it’s OK to fail 50% of the time (as long as you learn from your mistakes!).
  • Once you are clear on what you do and do not want in your life, start with a 10-year plan. Jot down in a couple of bullet points what you would like to have achieved in 10 years in your career, health and personal life. Here’s a template to guide you:
Lululemon Vision & Goals Worksheet
You can download this template from the Lululemon site here
  • Then, based on these goals, write down what you need to achieve in 5 years’ time and then in 1 year’s time. Breaking your bigger goals into smaller once will help you stay on track.
  • Now for the tough part – writing your vision. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Write your vision as a story – see it, feel it, hear it, smell it. Don’t hold back. Be true to yourself. Be specific.

Writing your vision may take a bit of time – don’t worry. Just close your eyes and imagine where would you be 10 years from now?  Here’s a video from Susanne Conrad, Director of Possibility & renowned leadership and communication advisor:

Good luck!



3 Tips to Help You Stay Consistent and Achieve Success

There are many ingredients in the recipe for success – drive, determination, opportunity, perseverance, creativity, courage, strength, passion and more. However, we often overlook one key characteristic – consistency. Without that no great success has been achieved.

Of course, there are the rare cases of overnight success, but even those stories have had some background work done.

Take for example artists. They are talented people, yet they still need to work on refining their skills. They also need to work on building their name or brand within their industry to achieve recognition and support (which are important parts of success).  Athletes are another example. To succeed in any sport or fitness endeavour you need to put in the necessary hours of hard work consistently. As they say – “practice makes perfect.”

So you may be passionate about what you do and determined to succeed but if you’re not consistent you will not go very far. But why wouldn’t you be consistent if you are passionate and determined? Well because life will be throwing challenges your way and there will be days when all the passion in the world won’t feel like it’s enough to get you out of bed.

Insta Capture

This is where consistency comes in. When you feel down, stuck in a rut or facing a particularly tricky obstacle your will and determination may falter. And that’s OK because everyone has a bad day (or days in some cases 🙂 ). The important thing is how to get through those tough moments.

From my experience, there are 3 things that you need to nail down to remain consistent:

  1. Find a meaningful reason to drive your success and repeat it to yourself often. Why do you want to succeed? What is it about achieving your goal that is important? What will you gain from the experience? These are some of the questions that can help your search for a meaningful reason to fuel or drive. Once you have found your cause, repeat it to yourself during those rough times – write it down, stick it near your bed or on your computer and read it back to yourself. Tip: make sure that reason is long term and is truly important to you.
  2. Make a plan and focus on one thing at a time. Successful people don’t multi-task. In fact, research has proven that multi-tasking slows you down and increases the chances of errors. Pick one goal at a time and figure out how you will achieve it. Break the bigger objective into smaller tasks and set yourself deadlines as to when each step should be completed.
  3. Don’t confuse consistency with burnout. You do need to have a plan and schedule as to how you will achieve your goal and that needs to be followed. But you also need to fit in time for rest and destress – be it within your schedule or on a more flexible basis. Of course, you need to push yourself but you need to know when to take a break as well – there is a difference between being lazy and being exhausted! To help you decide when you need to take a break it may be helpful to create a decision tree like the one below:

Good luck & stay focused!


Life Matters: Why I Always Prep for the Week Ahead

Hello weekend!

Time to catch up on sleep and relax right? But oh there is so much to do! See friends & movies (or both if you like to multitask!), do the house chores, get involved in your favourite hobby and get ready for the week ahead.

Wait, by the time you get to the end of the list is there really any time left to ‘get ready for the week ahead’? And what exactly does this involve?


For some it may be just making a to-do list for the week, for others it may be a much more complex operation. Unfortunately, I fall in the latter category.

For me getting ready for the week ahead means planning all of my meals and my outfits (for work and for the gym) . Sounds simple enough but it can take a good part of the day and leave me drained and unwilling to venture much further than the sofa (after doing all the cleaning and laundry of course).

A lot of people wonder why I do what I do and how I do it. Let me answer those questions for you.

1.Why I spend a good part of every weekend preparing for the week ahead

I work out 5 days a week. I also work, in an office, 5 days a week (ha, no surprise there!). And I am the type of person who needs a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night, plus having sleeping problems does not help.

This means I have to be very organised and make sure that my time during the work week is optimised and used efficiently. Having everything ready on the weekend, means I only need to pull out whatever I need for the next day the evening before. I.e. it saves time and energy. And nothing beats coming home tired after a long day and knowing that you can just relax and have a nice dinner without having to do countless little chores.


But most importantly it helps me to stay consistent on my journey to achieve my goals. Having already decided on my meal plan for the week helps me avoid temptation or simply falling off track because I was too hungry and had nothing to eat. I know what I have put on my plate and I know it is good for me. I also don’t have to faff around thinking what to eat or what to wear – I can just get on with important business. No more wasting time on minor life decisions.

Think of Steve Jobs. Ever wondered why he always wore the same black turtleneck sweater? It was because it saved him time. You see, he didn’t have to think every morning what to wear. He had more important decisions to make. It allowed him to concentrate on the big picture. And he’s not alone – Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein and many other successful people often have a signature ‘uniform’ which helps them pare down decisions.

Now imagine how many times a day we have to make decisions about what we eat? Let’s say the average is 3 to 6 times a day. Add to that all the other minor decisions of the day – what to wear, whether to take the lift or the stairs, when to eat, etc. Now that is a lot of time to spent on thinking about minor details and it can lead to ‘decision fatigue’ – making poor decisions.

2. How I get ready to face the coming week

Screenshot_2014-11-10-08-12-03All you need is a strong will and a bit of discipline. Yes, preparing all those things in advance can take up to half a day, but you (and your mind) are free of petty decisions and tasks for the rest of the week.

Typically, on working days I’m up by 6.30am and leave the house by 7.30am. I don’t return home until around 7.30pm and as I usually struggle to fall asleep I always aim to be in bed by 9.30 – 10pm.

This leaves me with barely a couple of hours before bedtime, and I wouldn’t want to use this precious little time for cooking, making sandwiches or ironing clothes. Oh, no. That time is sacred.

So instead, on one weekend day I plan my meals and make a grocery list, do the shopping and cooking, iron the clothes and put everything in order. That way all I have to do during the week is make a quick salad in the evening and wash my food containers, but no more. The rest of the time is spent unwinding from the day’s stress.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day, but how we choose to spend them is what makes the difference. Nobody said it’s easy, but if you have a dream and a goal you have to find ways to work towards it. Like they say – there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.