Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Amazing Low-Tech Stress Relief

"Now just lie back on your mats and place the two balls under the very top of your trapezius muscles.  That's right.... Now slowly push up from your feet, lifting your pelvis off the mat..."

It all sounded so easy as Amanda, our Yoga instructor, gave the directions.  Easy until the pain set in!  

"Holy s_ _ _ that hurts!" was all I could think.  Just like having a massage therapist's magic fingers dig right in.  Fortunately, I could use my body to control the level of discomfort.

That's the genius of Yoga Tune-Up technology - using Yoga balls to mimic a great massage up and down your back or pretty well anywhere else you need it.  And it's a lot cheaper than massage therapy, that's for sure!

The yoga balls are basically small rubber balls the size of a tennis ball.  If you squeeze them, there's certainly some "give" to them, but they do have a definite firmness.

I sure found a lot of knots to work out of my muscles - hence the pain factor for me.  Of course, it didn't help that I'd done my weight routine just before Yoga class either - I'm sure that contributed a few knots!  

As the class went on, we gradually moved the balls farther down the back, hitting the rhomboids, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and "the gluts".  At the end, we really did feel very relaxed (and not just because it felt so good to stop!).

The beauty of Yoga balls is also that you don't have to know much at all about traditional Hatha Yoga to benefit from them.  If you need to relieve the physical and psychological tensions built up in your muscles, you can do it right away with just about no training.  

Have a Look at this Excellent Demo:

Here at Global Resilience Solutions, we're always looking for easy-to-use tools to help you improve your health, dissolve your stress and relax you more.  And Yoga Tune-Up's ingenious little balls are a prime example.  No need to wait to see a massage- or phsyio-therapist to get those knots out of your muscles.  You can do it anytime!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 

Monday, 19 September 2011

Top 10 Benefits to Knowing and Living Your Purpose

Brad Swift has kindly provided a second article for us!  In the unlikely event you don't already know of him, he is a foremost expert on personal life purpose and co-founded Life On Purpose Institute in 1996 so people like you could have more fulfilling and satisfying lives through clarifying their life purpose.  NOTE: I will be interviewing Brad for you this Wednesday night, September 21, at 8pm Eastern.

          The Top 10 Benefits to Knowing &  Living Your Purpose
                                        by W. Bradford Swift

As the founder and director of an organization with a name like Life On
Purpose Institute, I guess it's not surprising to hear me say that I feel
that one of the most important matters that anyone can do for themselves and
the world is to become clear what their true purpose in life is and to then
live true to it. So, I'd like to point out some of the many benefits to
knowing and living your life purpose.

These are some of the benefits most commonly shared by the clients of Life
On Purpose Institute as well as ones that I have personally experienced by
clarifying and living my own life on purpose.

1. Focus

When you clearly know your life purpose, it becomes a truing mechanism
allowing you to focus more clearly on what matters most to you. Many people
report that this has been one of the most valuable benefits to going through
the Purpose Process (TM), especially once they begin to use their life
purpose to make their decisions and choices in where and how they are going
to invest their time, energy, money and talents.

2. Passion

For many people clarifying their life purpose becomes the key to unlocking
their passion for life. The passion becomes the fuel that propels them
forward in expressing their life purpose, often in extraordinary ways beyond
anything they would have considered before they clarified their purpose.

3. Being Unstoppable

People living on purpose become unstoppable, particularly the longer they
live true to their purpose and the more they allow their purpose to shape
their life. People without clarity of purpose often finds themselves stopped
or stuck in life, which isn't surprising because they haven‚t tapped into
their passion so they're like a high powered automobile without any fuel in
their tank.

4. Fulfillment

Living a life in which you are regularly expressing your life purpose and
allowing it to shape your decisions, your thoughts, feelings and actions is
simply a whole lot more fulfilling. A life on purpose is filled with
meaning, and people on purpose realize they are making a difference in the
world simply by being in the world.

5. Living a Value-based Life

You will learn as you delve more deeply into the Purpose Process (TM) that
an integral component of a person's life purpose are their "core values" --
those intangibles of life that mean the most to them. Our core values are at
the heart of all the values we've been taught we "should value." Think of it
like 3 concentric circles. The largest circle is composed of our "should
values," the next circle inside that one is our "chosen values"  -- the
should values that we actually choose to hold onto and live from. The last
circle is our "core values" -- those chosen values that truly matter most to
us. Since these core values are an integral part of your life purpose, when
you are living a life on purpose, you are living a "value-based" life,
rather than a "lifestyle" based life.

6. Fun

Let‚s face it, living on purpose is simply a lot more fun than living a life
based in fear and shoulds. People who know their life purpose and are living
it have a renewed zest for life. They can bring purposeful play to almost
any situation and find or create ways to have each day be a reflection of
their true joy and purpose.

7. Integrity

For me, a life on purpose is a life of ultimate integrity. It's a life that
is whole and complete. People who know their purpose and are living it, know
who they are and why they are here. They live true to their core values as
they serve themselves and others through the expression of their life

8. Trust / Faith

As people clarify their life purpose and begin to live true to it,  many of
them report a surprising increase in synchronicity and serendipity in their
lives. It's as though the Universe is rewarding them for the courage to live
true to their purpose. With this comes a deepening in trust and faith for
most of these people, as they realize that indeed there is a greater force
in the Universe than themselves and they are an integral part of that force.

9. Grace

According to the dictionary, grace is "the unmerited divine assistance given
man..." and people living on purpose often report living a grace-filled
life. When you commit to living true to your purpose, something amazing
begins to happen. The Universe lines up with your intention and commitment.
Perhaps this quote says it best:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always
ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creativity there is
one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and
splendid plans:that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then
providence moves too."

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have
occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising ones
favor all manner of assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have
come his way.  I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power
and magic in it." W. H. Murray

10. Flow

And perhaps we can summarize the other 9 benefits under this last one.
People living on purpose live in the flow of the Universal stream of
consciousness. Rather than fighting against the current, they allow the
current of what's wanting to happen to happen. They allow what's wanting to
flow to flow. They know that while they may never completely understand or
comprehend God's divine design and plan for this Universe, they can still be
an integral part in its realization. 

Mark Your Calendar!

I'll be interviewing Brad on Wednesday September 21 at 8pm Eastern :-)
See you there!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Is YOUR Life On Purpose?

This week's guest author is none other than Brad Swift.  In the unlikely event you don't already know of him, he is a foremost expert on personal life purpose and co-founded Life On Purpose Institute in 1996 so people like you could have more fulfilling and satisfying lives through clarifying their life purpose.  NOTE: I will be interviewing Brad for you next Wednesday night, September 21, at 8pm Eastern.

IS YOUR LIFE ON PURPOSE? by W. Bradford Swift

Until thought is linked with purpose, there is no intelligent
accomplishment.  With the majority, the bark of thought is allowed to drift
upon the ocean of life.  A man or woman should conceive of a legitimate
purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it.
James Allen

Is you life on purpose?  Does just the question stop you in your tracks as it
does many people?  Have you been so caught up in the frenetic pace of
today’s consumeristic culture that you’ve not dared wonder if your life is
going in the right direction?

Perhaps you feel a little like Alice in Wonderland when she was taken on a
wild ride through the countryside by the Red Queen?  No matter how fast
Alice ran she couldn’t seem to get anywhere.  Finally, breathless from her
efforts, the Queen allowed her to rest long enough for Alice to comment that
"Everything is just as it was!" to which the Queen replied, "...here, you
see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.  If you
want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

If this sounds like one of your typical days or weeks, or your whole life
for that matter, then it’s times to jump from the not so merry-go-round and
re-evaluate a few of your priorities.  Responding to the following
statements will give you a good starting point.  Grade yourself on a scale
from 1 to 10.

1. I am crystal clear what my life purpose is.

Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Agree

Of course, to live a life on purpose starts with knowing what your purpose
is.  If you aren’t sure, then that’s where to start.  Don’t feel bad if you
aren’t clear.  According to Cynthia Kersey in her book, Unstoppable
(http://www.unstoppable.net), when psychologist, William Marsten, asked
3,000 people the question, “What have you to live for?” 94 percent said they
had no definite purpose for their lives -- 94 percent! That leaves only 6
percent of us who know why we’re here. No wonder we’re not a particularly
happy society.

2. The life I lead is a full expression of my life purpose.

Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Agree

Knowing your purpose is really only the start.  About a quarter of the
people who request my services as a life purpose coach feel they know their
purpose but also realize that their life doesn’t reflect it.  In other
words, they aren’t living true to it.

3. I live a values-based life rather than a materialistic-based life.
Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Agree

Many Americans have sold out their values for the Great American Dream
forced down our throats by Madison Avenue advertising.  Luckily, we’re
starting to realize the dream is actually a nightmare, but with hundreds of
exposures to advertising every week, living a value-based life can make you
feel like a salmon swimming up stream.

4. My life is free of unnecessary clutter and complexities and I seldom feel
overwhelmed, rushed or cluttered.

Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Agree

More people give themselves a lower rating with this statement than anywhere
else.  It appears many of other or choking on our own clutter.  If you don’t
believe it, look around your own neighborhood.  How many new self-storage
businesses have opened up in the last five years.  In the small mountain
community where I live there’s been at least two new ones, and their
businesses are flourishing.

5. I regularly take time to nurture myself in ways that feed my soul.

Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Agree

A big issue for many people.  Some of my clients are so driven that the
concept of taking even 15 minutes for themselves to just sit and do nothing
but breath and relax is almost inconceivable.  Taking an entire evening to
just nurture oneself is beyond comprehension for most.

How did you do on the sample test?  Or did you feel you didn’t have the time
to take it right now because you need to get on to more important stuff.
Wake up Alice!  Nothing is more important than identifying your purpose and
living true to it.  It’s just so easy to drift through life like a cork
thrown by the currents of circumstances, back and forth, living what Thoreau
describes as “lives of quiet desperation.”

The good news is that it’s not too late.  It is possible to start living on
purpose immediately, even before you clearly know your purpose.  Because
even asking the questions, “who am I and what is my life for?” begins to
shape your life into a new direction.  It all starts when you ask the
questions.  “Seek and you will find.  Ask and it will be given unto you.”

Start asking today. For a more in depth, FREE evaluation of how on purpose
your life is, take the Life On Purpose Self Test at
http://www.lifeonpurpose.com and earn a complimentary life purpose coaching

Again, remember to join us Wednesday Sept. 21, 2011 as Brad helps you personally get a handle on your own life purpose and how to live it.  The call-in information will follow shortly.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 

Friday, 9 September 2011

Take Back Control of Your Time EASILY

Time... your top non-renewable resource.  You can always make more money, make new friends and start over in life.  The one thing you can never do is recover lost time.

Has control over your own time (and therefore over your energy) constantly eluded you?  It certainly mystified me for years.  So how do you transition from the "managed chaos" of your life now to:

  • Having full control over how you use your time
  • Being able to accomplish everything that's really important
  • While giving yourself more free time for the things that matter most to you
Let's Talk About the BASICS

If you need to get hold of your time better, you need to SEE your time visually.
  1. Open a new Excel spreadsheet (or use a spreadsheet from Google Docs, as discussed in the previous post).

  2. Across the top, label the columns Sunday to Sunday.  Having the extra day's overlap at the end of the week is something I find visually useful.    Down the side of the spreadsheet, put the time in half hour increments from the time you get up until the time you turn out the lights.
Planning based on a one-week time period is vital for clarity.  Yes, you need to have clarity on your goals for the year, the month, etc.  However, planning concretely on a weekly cycle is the most effective.  

Once you've got your spreadsheet ready, don't start filling it in quite yet.  First you need to jot down the various role you play in your life.  Those could be spouse/parent, technical expert or business owner (or whatever your work is), friend/adviser, volleyball coach, etc.  You should not have more than 7 major roles.

Then decide what your top three objectives will be this week.  Those could be all in one of your roles or spread across two or three.  You should never try to accomplish more than three major objectives per week.  These are the objectives that will give you the greatest satisfaction and contribute the most to your long range plan.  

Here's a screen shot of one of my weekly schedules from June.  I've had to reduce the size to fit it in, so the text is too small to read, but you get the idea.  The color coding refers to my own particular "roles" in life.  

And mine runs Monday to Monday, simply because Kathy, my amazing accountability partner, holds my feet to the fire on Mondays - that's when I have to come clean about my use of time over the previous week! 

The Ironclad Rules of Scheduling and Effectiveness

Yes, the rules.  Following RULES is what separates the super-effective "life-hacker" from the rest of the bumbling masses.  You have a choice - either YOU decide what you will do and when, or other peoples' agendas will take over and smother you.  It's up to you.  And it's a lot easier to preserve your independence and safeguard your time if you follow the rules.

1. Take your top 3 priorities and double the amount of time you "hope" it will take you to get them done.  Then insert them into your schedule, as early on the given day as possible.  

NOTE: Insert them where YOU would like them to go.  If you start saying to yourself, "Oh, I can't put it there because I promised Mable I'd talk to her about the bridge club then," your thinking is plain backwards.  Put your priority into that time slot and reschedule with Mable.  The point is that if you allow other peoples' ideas and expectations to get in the way, you're sunk already.  

2. Next, schedule time for the following, using the order below:

  1. Exercise and fitness
  2. Quality time with friends and family
  3. The 1-3 things you would most like to do this week
  4. Admin and household chores
3. Color code your spreadsheet, if you wish, for greater visual clarity

4. Be sure to leave extra time for transit from one location to another, eating and necessary bodily functions.  In other words, avoid the common trap of scheduling things too closely and underestimating the transition time from one task to another.

5. As for all the "urgent" things that typically come up like weeds and choke the time away from those few really important activities that actually matter, this is where you need some care.  Allocate no more than two times per week where you can batch the seemingly "urgent" tasks together and get them done.  It's vital to keep the "urgent" in its place; otherwise you'll always be reacting to the minutiae of life and never have the time to move forward.

6. Work when you say you will.  Use a timer (such as e.ggtimer.com) to keep you on track and instill a sense of urgency.  When you work, stay focused and don't allow distractions until you get to the end of your allotted time.  Working in blocks of not more than 60 minutes works best.  

7. STOP working when you said you would stop and play when you said you would play!  This prevents the phenomenon called "bleed" where you say, "Oh, I'll work just a little longer on this," or "I'll just stay and chat with Betsy for a few more minutes."  This will trash your schedule for the whole day.

8. Eliminate Distractions.  First, check email not more than three times during your workday and NEVER before completing work on your top priority in the morning or just before bed.

Also, refuse to attend meetings that have no clear purpose or where no decisions will be made.  And learn to politely refuse interruptions from colleagues who just want to chat.  Ask them to send you a calendar invite to coffee next week.  

9. Go over your schedule the night before and begin your day by visualizing how it will go, feeling wonderful about accomplishing everything.

The Bottom Line

Why go through all this planning?  Why live your life by these abstract rules?  Simple... it works!  You see, the whole idea here is to:

  1. Force you to differentiate what's truly important from what's really not.  This will vastly increase your personal effectiveness.
  2. And to give you much more FREE TIME and FREE ENERGY.
  3. Increase your mental clarity
  4. Put you in a position to accomplish your most important objective each day by noon (and often much earlier)!

Follow these simple procedures and you'll find that your life just got a whole lot easier.  If you're not finding that, there are a few probable causes.

First, you may find yourself thinking, "This weekly schedule thing just doesn't fit MY life very well.  Maybe it won't work for me."  Well, nine times out of ten, that kind of thinking is self-delusion.  It comes from a hesitancy to make the "tough" decision to defy the "priorities" other people have already inflicted on you.  Taking back control of your time means thinking differently, doing things differently and quite possibly annoying others who have unrealistic expectations of you.

Second, it looks great on paper but falls apart on implementation.  The most common cause is that you didn't allow enough time per objective or you're trying to do too much at once.  There's also the issue of your mental habits.  If you schedule something and then, when the time comes to do it, you say "I just don't feel like writing those emails right now," you'll never get anywhere.  You've got to do it.  

Building your personal resilience is never easy, and taking back control of your time is no exception.  Yes, the process is simple and if you do it you'll see great results.  Yet it does require a new way of thinking.

So go build your schedule, put it into action and be sure to share your results with everyone on the blog or email me directly.  We'd love to hear about it!

~Dr. Symeon Rodger

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

September's Here and It's Time to Get Yourself ORGANIZED

Labor Day (the holiday Monday that kicks off September here in Canada and in the USA) may not feel a lot like New Years, but under the surface much of the human activity is pretty similar...

People are examining their priorities and making commitments to improving their lives on all levels; the only difference is they're not openly calling these commitments "resolutions", as they will five months from now.  Yet the idea is the same.

And no wonder - the beginning of September is our society's REAL New Year on a fundamental level, more so than the "official" calendar New Year down the road.  By the way, that "official" New Year is quite arbitrary anyway.  In the old Roman Empire, September 1 was the official New Year for centuries.  

Getting Organized

Of all the things the people around you are doing right now so they can "hit the ground running" this week, I think you'll find that taking back control of their time is near the top of the list.  After all, if you can't control your time and use it effectively, it's hard to make progress no matter what direction you're heading in.  

Fortunately, getting organized isn't nearly as hard as it used to be, thanks to a lot of great online tools available today.  In the list below, the tools that have (F) after them are free and the others are so inexpensive they might as well be.  Here are some of my favorites:

EVERNOTE (F): Evernote is a a fabulous tool whose logo is, appropriately, an elephant, because with Evernote you'll never forget anything again.  

My life before Evernote was an endless series of doodles and notes spread across several notebooks and loose pieces of paper... and you can imagine how hard it was to keep track of what information was where - I couldn't.  Enter Evernote and life just got a whole lot easier.  You work online and they securely store your notes so there's no danger of losing your valuable info if your hard drive crashes.  No more sticky notes needed ;-)

Watch a fun intro to Evernote here.

RESCUE TIME (F): How much time do you waste every day?  Wouldn't your life be a lot more painless if you simply worked more efficiently?  Welcome to the world of Rescue Time, a free online tool that monitors how you spend time at your computer and, if you wish, how much time you spend away from it.  The application even sends you a report each week to let you know how much time you've saved.  It's like having an automated supervisor to keep you on track.

E.GG TIMER (F): Whenever you sit down to work on something at your computer, you either allow yourself a specific amount of time or leave it open ended.  Setting a time limit is one of the secrets of personal effectiveness and E.GGTIMER helps you do that by providing an online countdown for you.  Get in the habit of setting a time limit and you'll be FAR more efficient.  

TIME TRADE: Formerly known as Time Driver, TT is an online appointment software that's a real lifesaver to anyone whose life is full of meetings, appointments, etc.  Instead of the endless back-and-forth of using email to agree on a time to meet, Time Trade lets you decide when you could be available and then send the other person a link to your Time Trade calendar displaying those available times.  They simply click the one they prefer and voila!  Lots of time and mental energy saved!

CALENDAR QUICK: Calendar Quick bills itself as your source for printable online calendars.  Face it, most of us need VISUAL calendars to wrap our heads around the coming week or month.  For me, Google Calendar just wasn't good enough at that.  Don't get me wrong; Google Calendar has its advantages, but I found its visual display far too limiting for keeping track of everything in my life.  

Calendar Quick allows me to build calendars for any date range I want and then print them as a pdf or as an Excel spreadsheet.  These printed calendars are a huge organizational help to me just because they give me the visuals I need.  Calendar Quick also has an online monthly schedule you can use - it can import directly from your Google Calendar and then incorporate that data into any calendar you create, download and print.  

MIND42 (F) (think "Mind For Two") is an online application that lets you and a friend work collaboratively to brainstorm and draw a mind map of your ideas.  Or you can use it for just yourself.  For those of us who need mind maps and can't think effectively with just text or bullet points (and that's most people), Mind42 is a great tool.

GOOGLE DOCS (F): Google Docs allows you to create virtually any kind of office document you need - text, spreadsheet, drawing, visual presentation (think "PowerPoint") and then save them online so you can access them from anywhere and share them in real time.  You can also upload your existing documents to give yourself access to them while you're away from your computer, out of the office or just so you have a back-up in case your hard drive crashes or gets fried in the next thunder storm.  

Before this kind of online storage and sharing, my life was an endless effort to make sure to send myself by email all the documents I would need to work with that day (since I'm in several different locations during the week).  Now I don't have to think about that anymore.  Result?  More time and mental energy saved!

You can access videos about Google Docs here.

There's Lots More

The list above is just the tip of the iceberg.  For an excellent list of the best free online tools to help you out with just about everything, go here

Of Course, the Tools Only Help If...

...if you already know how to schedule and control your time effectively.  And that's a true art, yet one that's not too difficult to master.  So next time on the blog we'll discuss exactly how to do that.  Watch for it!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger