The Bad Stuff

What should we tell our kids?

Or even ourselves for that matter, about the Bad Stuff?

One after the other we face terrorist atrocities and tragic loss of life spat at us from a cynical centrifugal force of hatred and violence that liquidizes our normal everyday existence into tumultuous upheaval and emotional fallout. What is this world that we bring our kids into? How do we keep them safe, how do we explain to their enquiring minds that bad things can happen and still try to keep them innocent and out of harm’s way? The hard facts of inhumane acts jangle in their faces, on their screens and on the streets. How can we shield them but not lie to them? How do we give them a way forward?

[READ MORE] in my article in this month’s DAD magazine 

Shark infested waters

For Lou’s daily inspirations follow on twitter @createlab & instagram brave_newgirl or here for more on her CREATIVE WORK

No More Me Me Me

I am always banging on to my clients about learning to love themselves first. I show them how and their self-esteem sky rockets. What you don’t do when you learn to love yourself first is don the bitter cloak of Narcissistic self obsession. When clients first tip toe onto the ice of self-love they are terrified of appearing Narcissistic. Indeed as children we are told not to boast, not to push ourselves forward ahead of others, not to sing our own praises or stand centre stage. Loving yourself first is not about showing off or navel gazing or self-aggrandising. It’s about listening to your needs, protecting yourself with healthy boundaries, not attacking yourself with barbed words, giving yourself plenty of quiet pat on the backs for jobs well done, giving yourself space when you need it and not working yourself into an early grave. It’s about feeding yourself with food that is good for you and being in tune with your body through exercise, rest, breathing and meditation.

build-foundations

To further allay fears of slipping down the slope into Narcissism you need to know what to avoid doing when you are setting out on Project Love You. Non-Narcissism is to cultivate empathy over solipsism (the quality of being self-centred or selfish). Self-compassion over self-absorption. Confidence over inflated Ego. Self-perception over blaming others. It’s about turning “It’s all about Me” into “It’s all about Loving Me first so that I can love you and you can love me in a symbiotic and healthy, balanced way”.

Self-reflection can only happen when the Narcisstic self has its ear to the ground. Only then will it hear and acknowledge the difference between LOVE ME ME ME and I Love Me and therefore I can love Others. The Narcissist cannot take criticism. Getting offended over the slightest imagined whiff of attack in work or relationships is pandering to an Ego that’s grown too big for its boots. Get over yourself by listening carefully, and taking on the fact that there is always room for growth. The Narcissist will quieten and eventually step aside to allow the true you to blossom and bloom.

Here comes Spring! And a Spring Offer of 10% discount on my 4 session coaching package as long as the whole programme is taken up by May 1st. Brighten up your Spring by learning to stress less & love yourself more.

My Solo Soho Show of abstract paintings is on at The Farm Post-Production HQ, William Building, 8 Marshall st, London W1, from 9th March to 30th April

If you don’t have wall space for original paintings but love art you can see my new clothing collection printed with designs from my paintings at SHOP VIDA

Or just fancy a daily inspirational boost? Follow me on Twitter @createlab  or Instagram brave_newgirl

BRAVE – Motivational Monthly Blog

Fear is what you feel, BRAVE is what you do about it. Fear is when a soldier loses her limbs and faces a life of disability. Brave is when she decides to learn how to use prosthetic limbs and compete as a runner. Fear is when bombs rain down on your city threatening your family’s lives. Brave is when you decide to take your family on the treacherous journey across seas to find sanctuary in another land and rebuild life from scratch elsewhere. Fear is when you worry about your child’s safety and well being. Brave is when you stand up for her and help her to make the changes that will make her life better.

explore-greatly

Flipping fear into bravery is a life skill we can all learn, and we don’t have to wait until disaster strikes in order to learn it. It requires unearthing your limiting beliefs, breaking bad habits and building new ones, and it demands the strengthening of your creative muscle by harnessing your imagination for useful not fearful projected thoughts. Brave is a shift in mindset. You can practice it on a daily basis, and the more you do the better you get at it. Then when bad stuff happens, which it inevitably does at some point, you are well-rehearsed in grabbing your bravery first aid kit and preparing to do what it takes to make the situation better for yourself.

throw-fairy-dust-at-dark-forces

 

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”Winnie the Pooh

 

Learning to be brave is not easy, it takes hard work and commitment. It takes the willingness to create a vision for yourself, set the goals to make that vision happen, to take the steps, to build your will power, a positive belief system and a set of healthy habits. Bravery is persistence in the face of adversity, it is patience when there seems to be no end in sight, it is failing over and over again and being able to pick yourself up and keep going.

Most of us need support in learning to be Brave. Here’s how I can support you:

Other resources for learning fearlessness, that have happened with me this month

School’s out for Summer

Summer slows everything down, people are away, there’s a sense of school holidays even if you’re not a kid and don’t have kids, the evenings are long and light and when you can you’re lapping up your year’s supply of Vitamin D.

Life is ebb and flow, there’s time for speed and a time to slow down. Think of a garden; you don’t plant a seed and expect to see a tree the next day. The art of patience allows for a natural pace, the need for speed forces artificial pressure on a creative process. Think of Genetically Modified Foods. They grow quick and taste of nothing. In the film industry we use the three pronged model: quick, cheap, good. You can only have two of the three. Quick and cheap, but not good. Quick and good, but not cheap. Cheap and good but not quick.

Have dreams

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Even instant gratification takes too long” Carrie Fisher is quoted as saying. But she has Bipolar Disorder. “I would get really impatient. I was going faster than everything else around me, and it drove me crazy. You feel out of step with the world” She has achieved a lot, being talented and manic. Her 1987 book Postcards from the Edge hit the New York Times bestseller list and won her the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel; and she’s published three bestsellers since. More recently she’s turned her memoir Wishful Drinking into a one-woman play, as well as an HBO special.

But you don’t need to be Manic to achieve a lot. I’m from the School of Plod, you do a little and often and you can incrementally produce a large body of work. The art is in consistent application. It’s like saving money. You put in 3% of your wages and over time you have built up a substantial nest-egg. It’s called Compound Interest. Day one you put in £1, Day 2 you put in another £1 and you’ve already doubled your money. Day 4 you’ve quadrupled your initial deposit. The same with writing a book; two hours a day or 1000 words and in 80 days you’ve got your first draft.

where's your hideaway

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Carl Honore wrote In praise of Slowness, a book on the need to slow down. He speaks of how we have added speed to everything; speed-reading, speed-walking, speed-dating. He even passed a gym in New York offering speed-yoga. We believe ourselves to be time poor, so pack more in, we run faster and we feel like we have even less time than ever. We do nothing properly, we leap frog from one task to another. Marinade, savour, mull, languish, ponder, wander, contemplate, peruse, explore, lie fallow, are words we have ejected from our vocabulary and left to curl and wither under the heat of our soles pounding tarmac.

When you slow down you simply do things better. Eating, sleeping, making love, creating, inventing, designing all become better when slowness is your modus operandi. Understanding this has created the international Slow Movement, which started in Italy but has slowly spread around the world. Slow Food, growing, consuming in an organic sustainable way that celebrates pleasure and health. Slow Cities where people slow down, smell the roses and connect with one another; slowing traffic, putting in places for people to sit, read, take a breather and decompress, green spaces, art works for contemplation, poetry on the underground.

The Scandanavian countries are showing that you don’t need to work at the speed of light in order to have a kick-ass economy. They work reasonable hours and they are now among the top six most competitive nations on earth. They understand that in order to be more productive people need to be able to work fewer hours, to unplug, to sit in a quiet room. In order to be creative we need to switch off and re-charge on a regular basis.

So take timeout over Summer, use it as an opportunity to kick back and let your creative mind take over. Day dream, chill out and enjoy the view. Then in September you can come back to life and hit the ground running.

If the thought of September scares you, if you are wanting to get out of the rat race but don’t know how, I can work with you to find another way. Lou@createlab.co.uk

If you are coach and want to take your practice to the next level join us on our Quantum Coaching Bootcamp workshop. Warning: It’s not for the faint-hearted

Motivational Mondays: Small Wins, Big Progress

Life can be one helluva ride. Cloud nine one minute, wallowing in the annals of knock-backs the next. It feels like the control desk has bust and we are fire-fighting from one crisis to the next. By the end of the day we flop into bed exhausted, stressed but unable to sleep, worrying about what disaster will befall us next.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

How can we make this rollercoaster smoother and more controllable? We need to take a back seat and watch what is happening. With a little distance we can monitor how much is going wrong, and when things are actually going right. It’s all too easy to sweat the everyday bumps and bruises and bypass the mini-victories. But when we give head space to the face-plants and ignore the triumphs we are doing ourselves a great disservice.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

Celebrating success isn’t about ‘bragging’ or showing off or being self-obsessed or narcissistic. It’s not about shouting from the rooftops about how marvellous we are or shoving our trophies in the faces of those around us. It’s not about being loud, or smart-alec or self-promoting. It’s about quietly acknowledging to ourselves every time we have ‘done good’. It’s about patting ourselves on the back and building up our self-esteem. Goodness knows we have many failures, disappointments and set-backs; it is imperative that we counteract them with a healthy approach to our small successes. It makes us self-reliant; free of needing approbation from others.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

In the book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins To Ignite Joy, Engagement And Creativity At Work, by the wife-and-husband team of psychologists Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, they investigate the positive effects of acknowledging all the small wins we make in a day. By collecting diary entries from 238 people at seven companies, the authors generated 12,000 person-days of data on moods and activities at work. The striking conclusion is that a sense of incremental progress is vastly more important to happiness than either a grand mission or financial incentives – though 95% of the bosses didn’t realise it. Small wins “had a surprisingly strong positive effect, and small losses a surprisingly strong negative one.”

In Coaching we always break big goals down into smaller achievable chunks but what is important, is to celebrate each one of those small wins and to try and do that throughout the day. What Amabile and Kramer’s findings emphasise is how disproportionate the relationship is between the size of an achievement and the happiness it delivers. A breakthrough accomplishment that’s a thousand times bigger than a “small win” doesn’t make you feel a thousand times better, or happier for a thousand times longer – and won’t outweigh the effects of countless small setbacks you’ll encounter en route.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

The more we focus on the small wins than the small setbacks, the greater our sense of self-esteem and ability to feel in control of our lives. The mini-triumphs give a regular happiness-hit. You wouldn’t give a dog a whole box of chocolate drops in one go but you make him a happy puppy with the odd one every so often. We humans aren’t so very different. Every drop of achievement gives you a spritz of dopamine, the feel-good chemical linked with motivation. Better still, a series of small wins …guarantees a constant supply of dopamine, which is released during goal orientated behaviour and upon achieving that goal,” says Psychology Today blogger Christopher Bergland.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

So feeling like a champion isn’t just for Olympians and Oscar-winners, each of us can shift our focus to tune in to our daily trophies of accomplishment. David Allen, a coach specializing in productivity, recommends the ‘two minute’ rule in his book “Getting Things Done”. It entails ensuring you crack on with the tiny tasks first thing in the morning or in small windows of space in the day. By nailing these you build up a momentum which energises you to tackle the bigger jobs, and pumps you full of mini-hits of dopamine through the day.

The more we can approach our lives with attention to the tasks at hand, engagement in the bigger picture and an intention to commit to working hard at what we are doing, the more we feel we are progressing. The more positively we approach this, according to Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, the more we broaden our thoughts and actions and the more liberated we are to see the wood for the trees. Our sense that we are moving forward in turn increases our creativity, our productivity, our commitment and our ability to work well with others. Conversely, negative emotions constrain our progress and hold us back, making us less creative and therefore less productive.

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

If we don’t prime ourselves with praise at our micro-progress then what happens is that each day, everyday the negative impact of our tiny failures starts to erode our sense of well-being and bonhomie. In fact, the effect of setbacks is two to three times stronger than any small win. “That’s a common finding in psychology—that negative events and negative things tend to get people’s attention more and tend to have a stronger impact on people’s feelings,” Amabile explains. So we have to make an extra effort to acknowledge the small successes. The best way to stamp those wins on our brains is to perform a physical function in response to the triumph; a high-five with a mate, a punch in the air, or writing it down in your success journal*.

Years of habitual negative acknowledgements have a deep-rooted effect on our happiness and effectiveness. It takes guidance, support and encouragement to change your mindset, to start allowing yourself the pleasure of noticing your daily achievements. It has been proven in Amalie’s study that reviewing and writing down your accomplishments of the day, however small, and reflecting how they made you feel, coupled with a mini-plan for what you would like to achieve the next day, works wonders on building your sense of purpose. There is comfort in knowing that with the right set of tools you can make meaningful progress by helping yourself and others to live more happily,

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

To help break the set-back trap invest in a Creative Thinking Coach and learn to feel happier and more fulfilled. You can also try journaling in a copy of my *“Creating Success in Daily Life” book. Email me to find our more on Lou@createlab.co.uk

Testimonial from a client on making progress: “I remember the first day I went to meet Lou. I think at that point I was feeling as bad as I thought I ever could. I booked a few sessions in the hope that it may relieve some of the pain of what I was going through. From the first session Lou inspired me with her amazing positivity and the journal that she gave me made me seek out positivity in everyday life which helped me from week one. I found it amazing how quickly she managed to change my mindset from constant dwelling on the past to thinking about a future and actually being excited about it. Lou taught me not to beat myself up about having a bad day, and not seeing it as a relapse into old thinking habits, but a dip in a graph that is constantly going up. I honestly don’t know if I would have made it through the year without her. She has been an incredible coach and a friend.Zoe C. Student

CREATING SUCCESS cover for pic post

Motivational Mondays: No to Naysayers

‘Who do you think you are?’ is the name of a TV series getting people to trawl through their family history to unearth new information about their forebears and cast a different light on who they are on the back of it.

road less travelled

It implies you are the sum of generations rolled up and reincarnated into a model of baggage and inherited personas. Think of your hang ups. Do you procrastinate, doubt yourself, live in fear, pray for the end of the week, compare yourself negatively with others, put up with naysayers, people please, put yourself down, etc etc? Wherever all that stuff came from (blame the ancestors if you like) it is certainly not helping you now. Is it possible to cast off the shadow and reinvent a new you?

Head in the clouds

Imagine not feeling those things? Imagine waking up in the morning and saying like President Obama “Yes I can?” With New Year’s Resolutions we promise ourselves a mental make-over, but unfortunately sheer will power usually isn’t man or woman enough for the job. You need to get creative to upscale your mindset. Creative thinking will trick your deeply entrenched resistance into shedding the shackles of years of self-sabotage.

Inspiration is everywhere

How does it work? Well it’s basis is in anti-logic. The usual solutions haven’t done the trick, so you have to get cunning. Resistance thinks ‘can’t’- creative thinking does something out of the blue, beyond the pail, something ridiculous or subverted or upside down. It spins our brain and our patterns of behaviour and our damaging beliefs, out of orbit and into a place where ‘Can’ is actually possible.

Light changes everything

The two words we coaches hear more often than anything (yes to our ears they are swear words! ) are : “Yeah but…” When we hear them we know that person is wallowing in the mudflats of misery and will bat you away with the deftness of a hippopotamus’s tail swatting flies.

“Yeah but I’m not creative, yeah but I’m no good at that, yeah but I’m not qualified, yeah but I’m a woman in a man’s world, yeah but I’m too old, yeah but I’m working class, yeah but I’m not clever enough, yeah but I’m shy, yeah but I’m broke, yeah but…” The yeah-butters are very creative in finding reasons to not change or transform themselves even when they say they want to. The yeah-butters put their energy into the treadmill of resistance. What they are really saying is “I have decided it is not possible”.

Sky high dreams

But there is very little that you can’t get around somehow, if you choose to. Beethoven had gone completely deaf when he wrote his 9th Symphony. The great photorealist painter Chuck Close was paralysed so badly by a blood clot on the spine that he couldn’t even pick up a paint brush. He had his paintbrush strapped to his wrist and he developed a new technique in paintings. His work became even more successful than before.  I bet no one heard either Beethoven or Close say “Yeah but…”

Fling open your doors

And then when you’ve won the battle against yourself, you run headlong into the frontline of Naysayers who hide behind the shields of “we don’t want to see you fail, we’re only thinking of your best interests, we don’t want you to get hurt, we’re only trying to protect you, we don’t want you to humiliate yourself.” The list goes on. If they were people who had become immensely successful and happy on the back of this fearful approach, then by all means it would be ok to listen to their concerns. But they’re not. Do you think Richard Branson took any notice of Naysayers proclaiming that setting up an airline was madness? I imagine the only voices he listened to were the ones saying “why the hell not?” And now he owns an Island in the Carribean. I doubt those Naysayers are his neighbours.

Houston we have lift-off

If those negative voices are your own or someone else’s put up a big STOP sign and work on some creative strategies to turn around the yeah-buts and discard the naysayers:

7 Ways to “Yes!”

  1. For every yeah-but write down 10 reasons it could work out
  2. Write down the consequences of staying the same
  3. Think of the people you admire who have achieved great things, imagine the naysayers they met along the way and what yeah butting things those naysayers would have said. Write them down and then do what your hero did and throw them away.
  4. Research 5 successful people and find out how many rejections they had along the way. Make a colourful collage of all the rejections you’ve received and turn it into a Mandela for never giving up.
  5. Spend the day pretending you are already doing thing you want to do or being the person you want to be.
  6. Put yourself in a different context or with different people. It shifts your perspective.
  7. Focus on what you love doing and are happy to apply yourself to day in and day out. That is the only way to get good at something. Naysayers will have a hard time stopping you from doing what you love.

‘A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do’ Bob Dylan

If you need some help transforming your thinking or you are stuck in a groove, get yourself a Creative Thinking Coach. Email Lou@createlab.co.uk

For my daily photo-quotes & drawings follow me on Twitter @createlab Instagram create_lab Facebook Lou Hamilton

Hideaways gestate ideas

Motivational Mondays: Retreat to Reboot

Hustle and bustle, stress on hyper-drive, modern life is like speeding down the fast lane with no brakes. Early starts, no lunch breaks, working late, always online, in touch, on call. We no longer seem to have a switch off button or a do not disturb sign.

Slowing down

Slowing down

Whirring brains need downtime or they burn out, as so many people will testify, when they lie on someone’s couch recounting the collapse of their life. They find themselves in a cul de sac, a dead end that no amount of self-flagellation to battle on, can save them from. Our bodies have a tendency to tell us when it’s time to stop, although we sometimes we wish they’d brought up the subject earlier.

IMG_6361_2

So, applying the brakes before we pitch off the edge of the cliff clearly seems to be a sensible idea. So what are the options? I experienced a yogic retreat by accident once. I was filming in India and one of our missions was to film in a Yogic Ashram. After 24 hours of travel via trains and a jeep across the most dangerous State in India, we arrived at a set of huge iron gates. They swung open and we entered an oasis of gardens, tropical plants and dreamy looking swami wafting about in bare feet and white robes.

We were greeted warmly but told we wouldn’t be allowed to film after all. We were stumped. We’d filled in the prerequisite forms in Delhi, been granted the correct permissions, and now we were being told it was not possible. No explanation, just no. It was too late to catch a train to Calcutta so we were invited to stay the night which comprised of a wooden bunk, a toilet filled with mosquitoes the size of wasps, a dish of Dahl and no cutlery, a two hour chanting & meditation session and lights out at 8pm. Our companions were yogis, swamis and people who had paid to come here on a retreat to rid themselves of the impurities of modern life and the overstuffed baggage in their minds. It was not a choice I would have readily made.

The next morning we were told we could have an audience with the Chief Swami, to put forward our case to film. It was set for 3pm that afternoon so we had a few hours to kill before we could present ourselves. We wandered round the gardens, sat in the shade of trees, read books and very slowly we started to unwind. There was a sense of a weight lifting, our brains emptying, of peace and tranquility descending. After the razzmatazz of filming and travelling in India this sensation of letting go was gratifying.

Retreat restores

Retreat restores

By the time it was 3 o’clock, along with a trail of villagers bearing gifts, I approached the Chief Swami in a calm and accepting state of mind, on required bended knee and with kissing of his feet. He listened to our reasons for wanting to film there, shook his head and said “God would like you to come back and visit us and then he will allow filming.” Maybe my newly assumed yogic demeanor and aura of calm acceptance wasn’t completely convincing because when he looked at my face he quickly did an about turn “but there are exceptions to every decision and in this case God has changed his mind and has now decided to grant you permission.” We had ten minutes to film a yogi performing his postures by the Ganges as the sun started to set. As we raced to catch the last train and headed back to the chaos of Calcutta, despite the hiccups, I realized that I did feel reinvigorated, as if my brain had had the chance to reboot itself, ready to start again.

Assuming yogic calm

Assuming yogic calm

That’s a fairly extreme way to dip out of the hurry and rush of life but there are easier routes to restoration and respite. I am writing this from an idyllic little holiday cottage in Buckerfields Barn in Wiltshire, set in the picturesque gardens of Sonia Wright’s Plant Nursery. Just an hour and half from London and two nights away and I can already feel a sense of rest and renewal, ready to get back to work on Monday morning.

Change is good as good as a rest so why not find ways to give yourself a break.

  1. Take ten minutes, sit upright in a chair and close your eyes, breathing deeply and slowly. It’s amazing what even ten minutes out of your day will do to calm your mind and restore your spirits
  2. Find a local park and take a book to read in your lunch hour
  3. If you live in the town, head out to the country and if you live in the country head into town, even for a day trip or a night or two.
  4. Let out a room via airbnb or your whole place as occasional holiday/weekend lets, to help fund your own restful excursions. You can do this via One Fine Stay, Holiday Lettings or small boutique agencies like Distance Travelled.
  5. Head off to India to a yogic retreat if you are brave enough!

Feeling an oncoming burn out? Why not have a trial 30 minute consultation with Lou Hamilton to see if a course of life coaching sessions might be just what you need to find ways to improve your life.

Follow my uplifting daily tweets on @createlab or on Instagram create_lab

To find out more about why we had to film the yogi watch the trailer to our film Call of the Maestros or the full documentary here:

Stan the Man- Scoring Success

I spent Sunday morning in bed with Stanley Matthews and his autobiography The Way It Was. If ever there was a pioneer for positive mental attitude it was he. What a man. Stan the Man. Beloved Wizard of Dribble who saw his failings as stepping stones to success, a man who started with nothing but a rubber ball and a will to win and became famed for his performance for Blackpool in their FA Cup Final win in 1953.

victory in success

My partner is shooting a feature documentary about Stanley Matthews and I was intrigued by how much he had captured the hearts of generations. There have been other brilliant football players but arguably none so well loved. What was it about him that made him so successful and so popular? He was certainly single minded, his goal to win as part of his DNA as his studs were to his boots. But he was also generous spirited, understood the importance of teamwork, celebrated the successes of his fellow players and appreciated and learned from those on the opposition who aced him.

He was a respectful, courteous, modest, hard working and optimistic man who protected his family from the limelight. He loved football with a passion and saw it as a microcosm of life itself, reflecting on and sharing how to get the most out of it and the lessons to be learned from it. Eventually he was to tour the world spreading the ‘gospel of football’ as he called it.

His love affair with the game started as a lad but from early on his dad drummed into him to ‘expect  nowt’ and never be disappointed. His dad wasn’t given to outward displays of affection but his few words were wise and put the young Stanley in good stead. He taught him to keep humility in the face of aplomb and applause but to be confident in his ability through hard work and the right mental attitude.

Bend with the blows and bounce back

Bend with the blows and bounce back

He studied the game, he read every football book going, he pioneered good nutrition before science and sports were ever linked and he developed and practised his techniques every day until it was dark. He made it hard for himself, muddied the ground, put weights in his boots, and he raised his own stakes, tricking his brain and his body to think and act quicker, instinctively, intuitively. The tougher he made it for himself the better he got. With no guarantees, as in life, that it would get him where he wanted to be.

When he fudged his second International game as a relative newbie against Germany in 1935 he could have sunk under a barrage of self-criticism that made the surrounding press coverage look kind. “He did nowt against Italy and he did nowt tonight. He’s not good enough, simple as that.” But his dad took him aside and told him, that game’s done, no sense dwelling on it other than to learn from his mistakes and focus on the games to come.

Stanley took his dad’s words to heart and in his next match at Stoke he stormed it. He spotted his dad in the crowd and raised his fist to his head. A silent message of understanding that it was his strong mental attitude that won the day. It was that spirit of hard work and positivity that kept him on his toes throughout his career. It stayed with him to his retirement at 50 and beyond into his global mission and campaigning work to use football to help get kids off the streets and into lives that contained hope. He taught them to know what hope is made of.

None of us knows what is in store for us but hope is having a dream, making it our goal and training and preparing to make it happen. Who knows what the week will bring, but we can prepare for success with hard work and positive mental attitude. We can lay the ground work so when opportunity comes knocking we are pumped and ready, at the top of our game to grasp it with every sinew, pore, bone, nerve and muscle.

5 Top Tips to scoring success

  1. Know your goal. Picture it as clearly as if it’s real in front of you.
  1. Work out what actions you need to take
  1. Do something every day that will take you nearer to achieving your goal
  1. Embrace the things that trip you up. Understand how you can learn from them and use the challenges to make you better at what you do
  1. Practise patience but be prepared to act fast when the opportunity arises. Trust your gut instinct and go for it!

Queen of Dreams

When we’re trudging to work on a Monday morning in drizzle, traffic or overcrowded tube it’s hard not to see the freedom of the weekend slipping away into the fug of oncoming doom and overladen desktop.

Dream Big

Dream Big

Dreams are for the mildly insane we think, or at the very least best kept to the hours of midnight to 6am before reality kicks in with the jangling of the alarm clock. Who has time to fritter away idle precious seconds dreaming of wild adventures, best selling novels, Oscar winning performances, incomes sailing way above outgoings, picking up a Nobel peace prize, winning the Derby with your own steed, building a space rocket to take passengers into space.

Dare to walk on the wild side

Dare to walk on the wild side

We tell ourselves, as we neck back that treble strength expresso and launch into the Monday mayhem of demands, deadlines and office squabbles, such thinking is for the likes of Richard Branson and JK Rowling. The rest of us mere mortals have mortgages to pay, kids to feed and bosses to obey. Our wages barely get us through the month as it is so why would we take any further risk and go it alone into the mine field existence of entrepreneurial endeavour or running off to join a circus?

What new beginnings can you create?

What new beginnings can you create?

However, if you listen to JK Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech you’ll hear the words of a woman who had nothing but the dress on her back and a bunch of dreams that she had the courage to weave into the wild and wonderful adventures of Harry Potter. The rest wasn’t quite history. She tells us her path was paved with failure upon failure and she got used to picking up the pieces of shattered hopes until with perseverance and determination she cracked the code and her dreams took flight.

Her message to embrace failure spoken to young academics unused to failure is on one level amusing- these people will undoubtedly continue to sail the winds of sweet success, marry beautiful people, own big houses and cars and collect a substantial golden package on retirement. But what if they harbour secret dreams that don’t fit with their specified career trajectory, what if they really want to be a stand-up comic or invent the natural organic alternative to Botox or save children in Syria? Well then JK Rowling’s words will awaken the giant within because they will be faced with a choice, relative security of the known or the roller coaster ride of pursuing the dream.

We all dream, we all have choices but will we choose to do what ever it takes to manifest those dreams or will we stuff our dreams away until our knees crumble under the weight of a lifetime tied to a desk we wish we hadn’t chosen?

Avoid regrets in old age by making your dreams happen while you can

Avoid regrets in old age by making your dreams happen while you can

As a coach I help people find their big dream or manifest the dreams they already have. It’s about building confidence, fighting off fears, risk taking, and thinking outside the box.
I am helping my son, still at University, to build his new business SelvageLondon. His dream is to make people feel good through affordable bespoke perfectly fitting jeans. My daughter still in the middle of A Levels has just bought her own domain name RubyMayLondon and I am helping her develop a vlogging business in which she intends to encourage people to use safe homemade organic natural cosmetics (i.e. non-toxic).

I am happy that my kids have big dreams, are willing to take risks, collect their failures along the way and manage their own destinies. Running your own business is not for everybody of course but dreams come in all shapes and sizes and when you find one that niggles away at you, keeps you awake at night, gives you goose bumps and shivers of excitement when you allow yourself to think about it, please consider the option of diving in and making it happen. Life is too short not to.

If you need help making your dreams come true why not do a six or nine session (10th session free) coaching course with me and I’ll help you develop the right mindset to achieve the life you really want.

Believe you can make your dreams come true

Believe you can make your dreams come true

5 Top Tips to Making Dreams Come True

1. Write your dreams down

2. Give yourself a time-frame

3. Break the Dream into small manageable steps

4. Get a dream buddy or coach to keep you accountable

5. Find areas in your life where your dream is already showing up. This might be in a different way to what you imagine. Look hard- I have a belief that often what we search for elsewhere is actually happening in some way right beneath our noses. In this way act AS IF your big dream is already happening.

In the Long Run.

Unbroken is a film directed by Angelina Jolie, based on the  book by Laura HillenbrandUnbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. The film revolves around the life of USA Olympian and athlete Louis “Louie” Zamperini, portrayed by Jack O’Connell. Zamperini was sent to a series of Japanese prisoner of war camps in which he was treated brutally. By the end of the war he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder but his saving was the ability to find forgiveness not revenge. At the end of his life he fulfilled his long-held ambition to run once again the Olympics. This time, as a torchbearer in the Japanese Olympics.

Never give up- life matters

Never give up- life matters

It was Louie’s ability to keep going in the face of supreme deprivation, humiliation and pain that can inspire us in our own lives. Hopefully not under such harrowing circumstances but each of us has our own challenges we must face and work through. We all have to learn the art of resilience against the odds. When you do something that you believe in, it makes it easier to fight on through the tough times. I have been interviewing people who are at the top of their game for my book Passion with Purpose, looking at what keeps people going in order to succeed.

Persevering to be one of life's winners- Gary Hymns

Persevering to be one of life’s winners- Gary Hymns

Recently I interviewed Gary Hymns, a Key Grip in the film industry with Bond, Star Wars, the Golden Compass, Thor, Robin Hood, Captain America, Shackleton, and Into the Woods, under his belt, to name but a few. All this from a 16 year old lad who started out working as a post boy at London Weekend Television. Much as we’d like to make this kind of leap in one bound, of course it is a lifetime of hard work that gets you there.

Gary has a good analogy. He’s a runner still at the age of 58, competing in races for the Serpentine Running Club “I always say to new runners who are exhausted or new people in the job, when they start the first mile and say ‘I can’t do this‘- well, your body works like a gear change in a car, you set off and it’s going ‘what’s this, I was walking down the street and now I’m charging down the road‘. But after about a mile it goes ‘Oh I know what we’re doing, we’re running’ you keep going and it drops down a gear and suddenly it gets easier'”.

His job requires the same resilience and perseverance. Gripping is incredibly physical work, moving the camera like a choreographer, gliding it responsively with the actors, sometimes under supremely tough conditions. Often Gary and his team are standing up for thirteen hours, physically tracking the camera, rehearsing one shot 10 times, doing twenty takes and maybe running with Daniel Craig down the street or on location in 52 degree heat pushing the camera all day.

So what keeps him going? Gary explains his motivation was always “we wanted to save money so we didn’t have such a big mortgage, having two children, we just got our heads down and did the work. But it’s not for everyone, it’s unsociable, you have to have a very understanding partner and you’ve got to be prepared to do the hours really…you’ve just got to continue, you’ve got to keep going. I’ve got eleven guys on my crew. If I my head drops or I think it’s cold, I don’t want to be working like this, you have to keep up your spirits, keep everybody motivated and break it up with humour which we do all the time. Some might call it gallows humour, but it does work.”

And then there’s the passion for his work that makes the physical stress worth it. He loved working with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, both nominated for Oscars, on Notes on a Scandal, “I’m locked into that scene, concentrating on what the actor is doing, timing the moment for the camera move, I don’t know the time of day, where I am or anything when I’m in that moment and I love it.” And with the new Stars Wars “it was a wonderful experience and the director and crew were really at the top of their game, we all knew what we were doing, we were enjoying ourselves and I think we got, hopefully, really good results.” And what about doing Skyfall with director Sam Mendes? “All British Technicians want to do a Bond film and I never knew if I was going to do one but at 56 I got the chance and now I’m doing the next one so that will be the icing on the cake”.

So when you’ve gone the distance, battled through the challenges, and reaped the rewards, is that the time rest on your laurels? Not according to Gary, who has another few big films lined up and then some more personal ambitions to drive him forward. “At the end of those films I’ll be 60 and I want to take the running up seriously and hopefully spend more time with my three grandchildren and my wife Jen, who I’ve been with since we were teenagers, we’ve grown up together.”

An inspiring career and attitude to life and it is people like Gary that can act as a guiding light to us all as we endeavour to carve our own way through the ups and downs of life. As ever perseverance is the name of the game and being surrounded by people who support you, with a dash of humour thrown in.

Find out what puts fire in your soles with Life Coach Lou Hamilton, and enjoy the run! CONTACT

What puts fire in your soles? These shoes belong to Gary.

What puts fire in your soles? These shoes belong to Gary.