Over the years I often catch myself in a moment. In that moment I feel nothing short of total harmony and absolute bliss. The best way for me to describe this exhilaration is to call it a state of 'perfect happiness' where everything combines to create a sense of being completely 'at one' as if everything is how it is meant to be.
Of course life is never perfect and I truly believe to get in this zone it doesn't actually need to be so, but in order to experience this natural high more often I've considered just what its various elements are and, in typical coach-like fashion, devised a sneaky way to measure how near or how far we all are from achieving it.
So just what does this feeling consist of? For each of my suggested areas, I will be giving a personal account of its relation and importance to my overall sense of satisfaction in life. After reading please consider your own score out of 10 and add them up for a final mark. Good luck!
You'll be surprised how far removed from reality some of our observations, opinions and ambitions can actually be. The problem with reality is that it doesn't stop moving, something that was very realistic one day can be totally outdated the next. Reality is how things actually are, not how they used to be, or, just as misleading, how you want them to be. You can't alter reality, you can only change how you interact with it, hence the adage 'go with the flow'. Some of us are very much swimming upstream and making hard work of it because we forgot to see that the tide has shifted.
To summarise my own reality, I have just moved house and it has instantly improved our lives; my business is going in a great direction, I'm working less but achieving more due to a rethink on the way i often keep busy for the sake of being busy. I know exactly where i am, where I want to go and the next steps in order to get there so my sense of accuracy in the here and now is good. I also feel a real sense of purpose when I'm helping clients, responding to requests for advice and I feel better for knowing I add value to others' lives.
My score 8/10
2. Saying or doing?
Before I had the coaching intervention three or so years ago I was quite normal in that I was saying I wanted to do so many things yet I wasn't actually doing any of it! To be satisfied in one's self you need to have a good relationship with your ambitions, you need to be setting targets or goals and taking steps to achieving them. Otherwise you are living in a state of 'lack' feeling behind, like there's something you want and you can't be happy until you get it. This is a big problem for many because their expectations are unreasonable and they won't ever have the satisfaction of achieving them or even getting close.
As a coach I'm so well versed in helping others achieve their goals it would be silly for me to not be able to effectively transfer these talents on to myself. I currently work towards a number of targets in my work, relationship and fatherhood spectrum's to give my self a sense of continually moving forward. Which direction do you feel you're travelling in? And at what pace?
My score 8/10
3. Positive Thinking
It's really easy to be negative, there's thousands of reasons to be negative too. It's self inflicted though, a preference. It's easier to be negative because if something bad happens we won't be disappointed. Not the way to live your life. Needless to say a negative thinker is never going to achieve being in 'the zone'.
To be at one with yourself and all around you requires a good degree of positivity, to look forwards, and upwards, to stand up straight and not slumped, to look people in the eye and not to the floor. If you can take responsibility for what goes on in your mind and control the direction of your thoughts then you are on your way to creating a harmonic sense of self.
I'm really positive because I choose to be. When life throws me something that saddens or frustrates me, I find a solution, something I can control instead of focussing my energy negatively on something I can't.
My Score 9/10
4. How limited are you?
Past and current influences will limit you, but nowhere near as much as yourself. For something to be used as an excuse to stop you from being as happy as you wish, you have agreed with that influence in order for it to create the barriers that live within you.
I understand the value of coming out of my comfort zone at every available opportunity, I know that on the other side of my fears lies the progress and, the sweet spot we are trying to describe. When you break through your negative beliefs you feel unlimited, like nothing can stop you hold you back from being and doing what you want.
Limitations are hard to understand, they can be buried deep beneath the surface, but we know they are there. When we stop denying their existence and talk them out we realise that they have influenced our behaviour since they were conceived. It is not just 'who you are'; when we conquer and forgive the effects of people and events past and present, we release the baggage from our shoulders and we move forwards in life on the path that was originally intended for us.
I have personally worked through a lot of things and still have a way to go to be a 10 but the more I understand about myself and my past, the easier it becomes to feel great about my present.
My score 7/10
Coming off the back of identifying limitations, it's really important for us to be able to accept that people may not have treated us well in the past, we may not have acted too honourably in the past either, but that to allow these incidents to echo into our future is punishing ourselves thousands of times for something we could have forgiven a long time ago.
Those that haven't found acceptance can often carry bitterness and resentment for long periods of their life. They can feel, and act, like the world owes them something that they are not willing to earn, they are so set a drift from the rest of us that they may as well give in. Childhood is the part of our existence that dictates the rest of our lives, it's also the part that we have very little control over we are often only as good as those responsible for our upbringing and as a young adult many would feel that they are a number of goals down before they actually started managing their own team.
Accept you didn't have control, nor responsibility, therefore can not justify blame. The game starts when you pick the team which, as an adult, is now!
I accept my past although not completely in its entirety. The fostering, domestic unrest, losing a father i didn't learn about until 13, those are all things I have never been able to control therefore i accept that I was helpless and therefore not to blame. I know what I am yet to accept but I'm working on it!
My Score 7/10
6. Do you drain or maintain the levels of positivity in the atmosphere?
It's important to give; to be generous of your time and finances, to be unselfish and selfless, to have a desire to do good things for no return but for the satisfaction it affords you personally. To do good is to welcome good things to happen to you, it would be deserved. Positive actions always leave the door open for great things to happen back to you.
I personally look for opportunities to spread positivity and kindness. Yesterday I carried a european tourist's suitcase down several flights of stairs on the tube, small gesture but goes a long way. I love it when my children are complimented on their manners, it's important to leave people feeling good about themselves and via our words and actions this is truly our gift to give.
My Score 8/10
7. Challenged or comfortable?
Just think of the elation sportsmen and women experience when they score or win at their respective sport? If they didn't put themselves in a position to fail, the success wouldn't feel so good. In sport it's ok to fail where as in life, it's not so readily accepted. Some people learnt along the way that failing is to be avoided at all costs so they sit in relative comfort where it is 'safe' .
If you challenge yourself and accept that winning, losing and drawing is part of life and that actually making mistakes is where the greatest lessons are learnt, you are far more likely to feel those highs. Losing might hurt but it will only ever be temporary when you realise that you are too focussed on trying again to dwell on the pain for too long.
We should transfer this thought to relationships; it's ok when it fails because the actual success is that we let ourselves commit so freely to the other that we left ourselves open to being hurt in the first place. If it didn't hurt it means you were never really in the relationship in the first place. Oh how easy life is when you see it from a better perspective.
I'm constantly challenged as a dad, my job is so varied as a presenter and my work as a coach requires complete focus, I run a kids football team. My whole life screams challenge but these days they're only the type that I choose. Where are you in between comfort and being challenged?
My Score 9/10
You only get out what you put in right? How can we expect life to change, to improve, if we are doing absolutely nothing to encourage it. Sitting around and waiting for luck and good fortune to fall in your lap is a bad idea for luck is created when you open the door to possibility.
I put a lot of effort into all of my various roles, how else would i expect to get the same results? I have learnt recently that you can put too much effort in sometimes, I would work into the late evenings thinking that was what it requires to run a successful business. Strangely for moving to the seaside, I now work far fewer hours yet achieve as much, if not more. There's a lot to be said for working smarter.
To summarise, effort must be invested wisely and positively with direction and clarity. Effort should be unconditional to negative tendencies. I will not give up if I get a door slammed in one's face nor if i'm told what i'm doing is wrong. Commit to your goals and bring the effort to fuel them.
Effort is in fact just that, the fuel that makes progress and change possible. A lack of effort indicates a lack of direction. Know where you're going and do it for yourself, it doesn't work so well if your motivation is to please others.
My Score 8/10
9. Do you dare to dream?
Dreams are not exclusive to sleep contrary to popular belief. One of my dreams is to see the kids off to university. Firstly, I appreciate they may not want to but i'm not ashamed to desire something that a lot families would take as a given. Neither myself or their mum got anywhere near college. let alone a degree, so that would really be something for us.
Dreams are also goals, they can be smart in that they are achievable, either instantly or in the short to mid term, they define our direction, where our path connects to next and if we are aiming for success and happiness that's where we will find ourselves.
Without goals and ambitions we are accepting that other people control our lives, that we've given up and that life can dish out on us what it pleases because it always has anyway. The most underestimated question we should ask ourselves on a daily basis is 'what do I want?' It's traditionally believed to be self indulgent to ask this, yet indicates that we value our lives, our selves, our choices and our power to have the life we want to live. Nothing selfish there.
I ask myself what I want all the time and when you ask for it and believe you can have it, that's when you realise just how connected you are with the universe. When you believe in yourself and you are achieving what you are asking for, the feeling of total satisfaction is never far away.
My Score 7/10
10. Do you have love in you?
Here's another crap misconception. That it's egotistical to love yourself. I was accused of loving myself at school, far from the sad truth that I had a lot of healing to do before I was to understand what it meant to love myself. Now I realise it's something that people say to others when they are threatened by someone's confidence as it reminds them of what little acceptance they have for themselves.
To love yourself is to accept all you are and all you wish to be, to take responsibility for your actions, to see that you're beautiful, in fact you're amazing! Too many give this right of self appreciation up when someone they love teaches them they are not beautiful or amazing, but worthless and ugly. I come across this all the time in coaching. We have to agree with that person in order to send our self esteem plummeting but so many of us borrow the negativity from others and wear it like a scarf never realising that if we learnt to put it on we can learn to take it off.
I honestly feel like I have love for everyone, whilst this is quite an outlandish comment I certainly don't have hate. I understand people may have had bumpy ride and that it can influence their attitude towards others. I will help anyone, see everyone as equal, love without fear of being hurt and this all comes from seeing myself as being part of the universal community (oh no am I actually going to say this?) which includes animals and plants too! Do you feel a part of the bigger picture?
I see beauty all around me, in people, places, objects and actions. That's love and it's a very powerful thing!
My score 9/10
Overall Score 80/100
Keep those scores to hand - The next blog is about making that figure improve!