Happy Friday! The past few weeks in the UK we have been experiencing the most beautiful weather, and for the first time in years I have (*touch wood*!!) barely suffered from hayfever so I have been outside any chance I can. I have recently been pondering the importance of getting out in nature, and have considered the factors which have prevented me from doing so in the past – hayfever has been a key culprit, as well as working in an office environment, with its artificial lighting, no open windows, temperature controlled air… It can be a blessing or a curse! The few attempts I have made to get outdoors for longer than a few minutes at a time have usually been through running, which I have had an on-off relationship with over the years. Recently, however, I signed up to my first half-marathon in September, so have taken to early morning runs along the River Thames. One particular moment just as the sun was rising was so stunning that I felt compelled to stop and take a photograph, which I have shared above.
I hope you have had a wonderful, inspiring week with plenty of opportunities to grow, develop and find more joy in your lives. Here is what I have been enjoying this week….
Bliss More by Light Watkins
This week I have been listening via Audible to Light Watkin’s book: Bliss More. I discovered Light’s work through the podcast ‘Feel Better, Live More’ by Dr Chatterjee (whose work I also highly recommend, notably his book ‘The Four Pillar Plan’!)
Light teaches what he calls his ‘E-A-S-Y’ approach, based on his belief that meditation should not be a struggle! Rather, it should be enjoyable and fun. If you are sitting up tall with your legs contorted into some kind of lotus position, and all you can do is think about how uncomfortable you are and how much your back aches, meditation will not be beneficial to you. This was echoed by Mark Duplass in a recent interview on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast: “A failed meditation is often a successful nap”. Whilst Light does not advocate lying down to meditate, he does recommend that if you find yourself falling asleep during meditation you should not resist, simply lie down, lean in to the tiredness and enjoy it!
“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”
― Arnold Bennett
What on earth is happening to the year? We’re in the middle of July already? How?! I am convinced that time moves more quickly as we age – the growth rate of the acceleration of our experience of time increases over time. So I particularly adored this quote when it landed in my inbox thanks to Light Watkin’s daily dose of inspiration newsletter! It reminded me that we all have the opportunity to reset, restore and re-balance at any point we choose. We do not need to be defined by what has already happened, or wait for the optimal moment to make a change. At any given moment, our life can be a clean sheet.
Building your personal advisory board (aka Dream Team)
In Episode 661 of The School of Greatness Podcast, Lewis Howes recommends building your own personal advisory board which he defines as:
“a group of people that you build around you to give you wisdom, inspire you, and, most importantly, create accountability.”
I strongly believe that accountability is not a strategy that works for all people, in all circumstances. Intrinsically-motivated individuals may or may not benefit from extrinsic motivation, or in the worst case scenario, may rebel against the expectation entirely. As someone who is intrinsically motivated, I have discovered over the years that telling other people my dreams and goals generally does not make me more likely to succeed, it simply makes me annoyed that I later must explain myself and justify my decisions to other people. However, there are three benefits to this accountability for those who, like me, are intrinsically motivated:
- The process of creating a personal advisory board enables you to consider the skills and experiences of those in your professional network, identify gaps in your own knowledge that may hinder you from achieving your goals, as well as consider what may be the ‘unknown unknowns’
- The personal advisory board offers a benchmark for the behaviour, attitudes and experience you wish to model in your own life and career. This is both ethically and in terms of skills and knowledge.
- The personal advisory board can structure your timings for different milestones in a project, and remind you when you are perhaps drifting away from the path to success. Unlike accountability techniques, which are dependent on triggering guilt and social stigma, offering a sense of direction and structure to your timeline can be a useful measure of success, help to plan time and resource, and set your expectations appropriately.
Karl Meltzer: Made to Be Broken
In awe, stunned, speechless, amazed…. This documentary tells the incredible story of Karl Meltzer’s successful attempt to break the world speed record for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. He covered 2190 miles (3524km) in 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes. As I work toward my first half marathon in September, even a full marathon seems beyond my comprehension as I struggle through a 10km slow jog…. But 75km per day?! Inconceivable! And what’s more, somewhat astoundingly, the previous world record holder Scott Jurek supported him along the way. This win-win mentality is such a rare, wonderful quality in sport and should be celebrated. We should all recognize that Karl Meltzer’s achievement pushed the limits of our capability, which is a win for human kind. Competition can be a fantastic driver of human achievement and is the basis of western capitalism, but like in business and sport, life is not a zero-sum game.
Have a wonderful weekend