Self-Improvement

Exploring the creativity of the human spirit with just five simple questions. Those questions give us a window to explore the journey and life story of people that look like they have it sorted.

Episodes

November 28, 2022

Shortcast: Being The Observer

On the show we are exploring the process of being the observer, and why it is a useful technique for self-discovery and resilience. There are a couple of techniques that I use to connect with the observer.  But why is it useful? 

Observation, we watch people go by, and we watch for traffic when crossing the road, but what about watching our thoughts?

One of the challenges of being human is that we stick to what we know, what we want or what we have experienced. It is hard to let go of ideas both past and present and see the hear and now.  But when we let go of the pictures, we create space for something new.

It is our ego that demands that we hold the picture or stick to what we know. So how do we let go when it is our desire to hold on? 

One answer is to practice being the observer of our thoughts. It is the foundation of mindfulness practice and one of the tools explored in the Book “ The Power of Letting Go”

See my podcast from Wednesday with John Purkiss.

How to be the Observer

The best place to develop the observer is in mediation, but there are other options. I found running was the best place for me. It’s rhythm and movement, but for me, the location is also important. 

What I noticed from being the Observer both in my running and using it during a repetitive task is that when I get to that place my mind is pretty silent I don’t have the chatter the judgements and things have dropped, it is incredibly peaceful.

The point is developing a practice of mind observation provides a tool that can be used in a stressful situation where it can bring clarity and open the door to fresh thinking. 

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I want to talk to you today about the powerful or powerless. Where do you sit on that line do you feel you have the capacity to control and direct your life or do you feel your life is controlled and directed?

In truth, both are illusions but for the sake of our sanity, it is best to think we have some measure of control.  

In this show, I am talking about Agency which is the ability to take action in the face of opposition. It’s funny because I only discovered the word “ Agency” very recently.  Over the last few weeks, I have been reading a lot about the dynamics of change at the societal level.  

I’ve only ever considered that word as it’s used for a noun as in an agency that provides people or a government agency that coordinates and organises something. I’ve probably heard the word before and never really connected its meaning with empowerment.

With all that is happening in the world, it is easy to buckle under the impact of it all.

Now many will brush it off with I have not got time to worry about that stuff.

What they are really saying is, “I am not ready to let it in so I best ignore it.”

If you are curious there is a simple exercise that will help you find how powerful or powerless you are and give you a score and there are some thoughts on what stops us from owning our power.

When we feel that we own our power and have some direction over our life that is when life feels like it is working. 


 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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November 6, 2022

Shortcast Living Beyond

Are you living beyond? Last week I spoke about how I was limiting myself by dithering over the race this weekend.

I have had a few more thoughts and want to talk to you about living beyond. Because this aspect of limits is a far broader conversation

Limits are everywhere, from society, employers, family and culture. And, of course, reality will give us a quick reminder of our limits far quicker than we can do it for ourselves.

So I encourage you to constantly push the boundaries rather than practice limitations; when we push, it is empowering.

It is about awareness. I know that my life gets smaller when I think smaller and bigger when I think bigger. When we can think outside of physical or mental limits, it is our thinking that moves forward.

With that awareness, we can change how we move forward and start living beyond

Living beyond our limits

In this show, we look at how breathing into a limit makes it a reality and how we might look beyond it and find the resources needed to get through it.

Last week before entering the race, my dithering was that I did not want to prove I am getting older. It was my breathing into being 59 and staring at 60. I left an open question on the podcast: Can I run 10K in under 48 minutes?

Spoiler no, I did not. However, I am ok with that.

In this show, I demonstrate how I used a process to make it possible for me to get through my limiting thoughts around this 10k race. The plan worked, well, sort of. I did not make the 48 minutes. But my race time today was 50 minutes and 1 second. Gutting not to get under 50 minutes.

As I said I am happy with that and it has given me a target to explore in 2023. 


 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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October 30, 2022

Shortcast Your Limits

Who sets your limits? I was reminded this weekend that I have been setting limits for myself and there really is no need when reality will do that for without my help.

As you know running is a big part of my life and I recently completed a marathon in Inverness not quite in the time that I wanted but very close.

That was nearly a month back and next weekend the running club is organising a 10k and I have been in several minds if I should enter. In truth, I have nothing to lose, outside of a previous personal best that I recorded at this time last year.

So what am I afraid of? My limits, I have trained very differently this year it has all been about endurance. A 10k is all about speed and don’t know what that means for me.

But Saturday was a training session and I was getting some good lap times. So who says I cannot run this race at speed?

That is the point I was limiting myself. What is amazing is that I spoke on this point of limits almost a year ago. So rather than remake the show, I thought to reprise it for you.

As for my 10k the question is can I run faster than 48 minutes, I will let you next week.

In meantime check out the show and consider where you are putting limits on your life.


 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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When did you last experience enchantment or wonder?

In this reflection, we explore how we lose the capacity to be enchanted as we age and how the modern world is designed to dampen our capacity for wonder.

We are born with the capacity to be amazed and inspired by our surroundings as we grow up we see less of the world and spend more time inside and separate from nature. We had less opportunity to see the wonder of the world. But now become inspired but the world that is created for us.

When everything is available nothing is precious.

Back in time music was a source of wonder, pre 1900 entertainment was the music hall the theatre and concerts. Hearing live music was normal, hearing amazing music was truly memorable.

In the modern world, much of our ability to be amazed is lost as we age.  I know I compare a lot of my experience with my father’s. I guess because I had so many conversations with him only now am I beginning to understand.

Over the last few years of his life, he had no interest in modern film and life lost colour as he retreated into watching old TV programmes on repeat. 

So what happened, where does our capacity for wonder go?    

I suspect it started with photography, recorded music, radio, H

high fidelity sound,  TV and finally unlimited everything.

 

How do we re-discover enchantment or wonder,

it starts with looking and seeing. Join me on the quick exploration of what we gain from being in awe.    
As I write this after recording the show I can see that the subject is big enough to encompass a book on the subject.

Now there is a thought for the future.  


 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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October 16, 2022

Shortcast Explore Your Time

In this we shortcast, I am considering time and how we use it. Plus what that tells us about our values and what is important to us? It is an opportunity to explore your time.

Time is a big deal in the business world. Every so often, a post will come up on social media where someone will point out we all have the same 24 hours every day. And that we can all be the next Richard Branson.

While this is sort of true it is not helpful. Yes, we all have the same amount of time but we all have different values and reasons for how we use that time. 

All time is relative to our experience. We have all been in a long boring meeting which seems like it will never end. On the reverse, we have all experienced time passing super quick, while in a flow state or that short holiday that passed in a flash.

Of course, we all think we are invincible. It is common to take each day for granted and as time passes is a fact of life. We are all on the journey until the end.

It is funny this conversation on today’s show was precipitated by a chance meeting with a friend I had not seen in many years. Two midlifers sharing notes on their life journey and the passage of time.

We had both come to the same conclusion It is how you explore your time that is a key factor in how you experience and enjoy life.

In the show, we introduce the idea of the time diary or plan and what it can tell you about your goal and desires.


 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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October 9, 2022

Shortcast : Goals & Plans

Intentions Goals & Plans, last Sunday I completed a goal, I can call myself a Marathon runner.

For me, it was the day I would join a very small club. It used to be that only 1% of humanity would run a marathon, it is possible nearer 2% these days. But still, a very small slice of humanity run that distance.  It was an intention that I had set for this year it is done. 

I often say I don’t do goals but set intentions and I realise that is not strictly true, it is a trick that I use on myself to get me moving in direction of travel. Because sometimes goals just feel too big.  

In this show, we look at my journey and how we can draw from the process

Completing the race was the goal it was more the celebration of 18 weeks of training. During that time I have run 610km, I have got my heart rate down and achieved a level of fitness like never before.

The race was the culmination of a journey in running that started 7 years ago when I first went back to the gym.

A marathon is more than just a run its 26.2 miles, it is a journey of daily running and learning how the body works under extreme conditions. It is as much about nutrition and mindset as it is about running.

Goals & Plans

My marathon went to plan for the first 17 miles up until the big hill, I was ready for it but what I was not expecting was what happened on the other side.

Pain and raw emotion.

Despite the pain and waves of emotion, I committed to run the last 1k and made it over the line in 4.35 to be greeted by friends and family. It was so good to get it done. 

If there was one success factor that made all the difference, it was that I had a tried and tested plan and I followed it every day for 18 weeks. 

 


Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life's big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying interested and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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How do you Envision your future?

A few weeks back, on the reflection podcast Resilient or Hooked, we looked at resilience and some of the steps needed to keep us out of the madness of negative media and news.

The first step on the road to resilience is having a future that inspires you. On our show today, we are looking at the idea of searching for the secret inside using vision.

I was considering this topic yesterday while cooking, and the song “Search for the Hero” by M People turned up on my playlist.  That song holds a lot of meaning for me I love the idea of searching for our hero inside. I have said many times that this life is a journey, a quest to find what is possible.

You can find the full song here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntuqTuc6HxM

That is the point: In order to lead the best life, we have to envision the one we want. But how?  What is the process of searching inside how do you envision your future?

The Marathon Journey

Also, most of the time, the limits to our experience are all self-imposed. A good example is my Marathon journey, I have wanted to make that commitment for years, but there was always a reason not to do it until I stopped making excuses and just booked it.

By this time next week, I will have completed my first Marathon and know what it takes.

In this show, we explore techniques you can use to find your secret and what can come out when you drop the resistance. 

 


Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life's big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying interested and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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Where are you with beginnings and endings? 

 

Early last week, I was thinking about the UK's reaction to the passing of Queen Elizabeth. Why has it affected so many people?

Because It is an ending and the Queen's passing is an opportunity to acknowledge our grief for endings

Life is about beginnings and endings when I spoke to the grief specialist Carole Henderson during our podcast interview. She was saying that we grieve the loss, and we can even grieve the last chocolate in the box as a sense of sadness for an empty box of chocolates.

That loss is momentary, but nether the less, it is real. I saw a post on Facebook recently where a friend mourned the end of a pot of jam. One of the last jars made by his mother before she died. That jam had significance far greater than its contents as its passing triggered a memory.

But endings are beginning new jam will be made a news story begins.

Perhaps the mourning is more poignant when we know what we are losing can never be replaced with more of the same.

The power of these feelings does need to be acknowledged, I was surprised last week to be going through them again. When I delivered my son and his stuff as he began his new life at university

In this show, we are discussing endings and beginnings as part of the journey of life. 

 


Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life's big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying interested and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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September 11, 2022

Shortcast : What is Duty

Do you do your duty? What does that mean to you? 

 

Queen Elizabeth passed this week, and it is the end of an era. The media is full of recognition for her 70 years of service and duty to the role of British Monarch. I wonder given a choice, how many of us would take on a job where there was no leaving or retirement? 

Yes, the job had some perks, but I imagine they wear a bit thin after the first 20 years… 

 

I have a deep appreciation for the Queen and her achievements. She has been a steady hand, and I am sure, a significant influence on leaders worldwide. 

 

Her passing has allowed me to consider the word  duty and how it impacts my life and those around me. 

It is a word that gets thrown around a lot in society; the Oxford English dictionary definition is

DUTY: Something that you feel you have to do because it is your moral or legal responsibility.

Where does duty fit into your life, and do you have expectations of others to be dutiful?

All interesting questions and worth consideration. 

 


 

Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life’s big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying interested and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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How do we avoid getting hooked on the madness that is all around? 

On this show, we discuss the strategy that will hold you firm and moving forward.


It is about vision,  planning, commitment and accountability. But it is also about self-care and that recognition that this life is a journey to be lived.

The point is we can all get distracted and pushed into fear and inaction. The trick is to discover what it takes or what we need to keep us moving forward.

If you need direct help, focus coaching is there for you, the links are below 
.

 


Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life’s big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying inquisitive and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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Is love more than a feeling?   On the shortcast, we're exploring love; it is the last big topic in our series on emotions.

 

So what is love? From my perspective, it really is more Than A Feeling.

Have you ever considered what love means to you?

It can be argued that love is the most misunderstood and misrepresented emotion.  When you consider love songs, they're more like need songs than love songs.  Because the expression is often not about love but of loss or desire?

That is the point love gets mixed up with desire and scratching the hormonal itch.

So join me in this conversation. We will explore how love can change your world. When we get past the passion and the sex, much more is to be discovered.

When we practice love in action, the world around us gets better; included in this episode are a couple of potent love exercises that you can try.
.

 


Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life’s big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying inquisitive and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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How do you deal with the icky stuff? I am talking about Shame, Guild, Embarrassment and Needs.

 

Our conversation is a whistle-stop tour of some of these debilitating feelings. But they have a purpose, which is to keep us safe.

Embarrassment is the glue that holds society together.

Shame and guilt and a bit more complex

Needs are the signal of unexpressed values.

Join me for this shortcast where we uncover the iky stuff and explore how you could be free of it all. 

  


 

Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life's big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying inquisitive and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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Are you feeling the fear? In this show, we touch on the power of media and the fear industry, phobias and the power of stepping through your fear.

FEAR! There is a lot of it in the air. The world is an uncertain place and the media delights in telling us about it. For many fear is the siamese twin of uncertainty. 

Today in this shortcast I am exploring fear. It is another one of the powerful emotions that shape our lives and so much of the world.  I've picked fear because it is another big impactful emotion which can drive and changes lives.  As a force for change, we can choose to step up and overcome our fears and our world expands. 

Reacting to Information

Like all of the emotions we've been talking about fear is an interpretation or reaction to information that we've received.  The problem is those reactions are often about keeping us safe, and not always serving our best interests.

Yes, it is about safety feeling the fear is keeping us small, like everything in life the best bits are on the other side of something scary. 

I have spoken on the subject of fear before and how it is used in the marketing world. When we are in fear we are more suggestive and more willing to take the quick fix solution that is being offered.

Where are you with your fear? 

  


 

Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life's big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying inquisitive and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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Is there something that really gets you mad? Why, and have you ever unpacked it?

This show will cover where anger comes from and offer some simple techniques that you can use to deal with anger in everyday situations.

 

We all get angry from time to time; the modern world expects us to. I get riled by politics and social media and the stuff that life throws at me from time to time.

The media feeds on our anger and seeks to torment us because by feeding our righteous indignation, it creates promotes comments and continues the conversations. That means more opportunity to stoke opinions and show adverts.

But why do we get so angry?

Today's podcast is the first in the series I promised to look at Feelings and emotions last week. We start with a big one, anger, and wow, there is so much of it.


So its simplest form, we get angry because the world around us does not fit the picture we have of it. Or there is an unmet need inside of us. So anger does not come from the outside; it's generated from within you.

The exciting thing about anger is that it presents an opportunity to recognise that change needs to happen and can provide us with the fuel to make that change.

  


 

Life Passion & Business Podcast is about finding answers to life's big questions through weekly interviews with guest speakers. The Shortcast is my ongoing commitment to staying inquisitive and passionate about life with whatever is alive for me each week. Follow the links below to discover what else is on offer

 

 

The Five Questions eBook: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/the-five-questions
Focus Coaching: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/focus-coaching/

Support The Podcast:https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lifeandpassion
Midlife Survey: https://lifepassionandbusiness.com/midlife-challenge/

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