For many of us, the Summer Solstice is the greatest day of the year. It marks the beginning of summer and the longest day of the year, which can be a life-affirming event that brings back childhood memories of beach vacations, camping and more. This year is a ‘rare’ solstice as it coincides with a Full Moon (known at this time as a ‘strawberry moon’) an event that has not occurred since 1948 – so a once in a lifetime event for many of us! In London, the sun will rise at 0443 hours and setting at 2121 hours, at Stonehenge the sun will rise at 0452 hours and set at 2126 hours.
In addition, here are 7 fascinating facts about this special day:
We all face obstacles pursuing our goals, whether they are professional, personal or just generally wanting to be happy in our lives.
We can be energetic and enthusiastic, but sometimes that is not enough and we fall short of achieving. It could be that we are just about to make significant progress when we run out of time, funding or other support means. Tenacious as we may be, we all have our breaking points—that moment when the potential rewards stop justifying the effort we need to keep putting in. Usually, that is the hedge that separates your best shot and your best reality.
Before you throw in the towel and go back to something safe and far less taxing, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Why did you want to pursue this goal to begin with and has anything really changed?
You had a good reason for committing to this plan. Maybe you visualized a financially free future once you started this new business, or you realised you would live longer and healthier if you lost forty pounds. The odds are that you still want those things as much as you did before; you just stopped believing you could have them because your attempts have yet to yield results. Now you have to ask yourself: If you push through the discomfort, will it be worth it in the end?
2. Have you been operating with too much information?
With so much information at our fingertips in this technological age, it is easy to overwhelm yourself with more knowledge than you can practically apply. You read e-books and blogs, participate in teleconferences and coaching sessions and join user forums to talk about getting things done. The danger here is we spend far too much time planning to do something rather than actually doing it! Instead of drowning in all the data, why not narrow it down and start again from a less overwhelming space? Simplicity is often the key to success.
3. What is the worst that will happen if you keep going and do not reach your goal?
Often when I want to turn around, it is because I am afraid of failing—afraid that other people will be disappointed in me or judge me, or afraid I will have wasted my time. In all reality, no one ever judges us like we judge ourselves, and we always grow and learn through the process of striving, regardless of what we attain.
If you do not keep going, you will never know how far you could have gone and you will miss out on being the person you would become through the effort itself. If you do keep going, well, it’s like this quote: “Shoot for the moon, for even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”
4. Are you acting on impulse or emotion instead of thinking things through?
Sometimes our emotions give us hints about what we want and what we should do, but other times they are just responses to stress, and maybe even indications we are on the right track. If you act in that moment of intense emotion—be it anger, fear, or frustration—you may regret it once the wave has passed. So sit back. Take note of what you are feeling. Feel it fully, without judging it or yourself. Then act when you get to the other side. At least then you will know you made your decision in a moment of peace and clarity.
5. Would your life be better if you gave up on this goal?
This may not sound motivational, but sometimes giving up is actually good thing. Perhaps you set a completely unrealistic goal and its pursuit is filling you with a constant set of inadequacy, anxiety and worries. Or maybe the goal is not in yours or your family’s best interest, and it is better to get out before you invest so much time that it becomes nearly impossible to walk away.
Hopefully, having a sharp look at the 5 questions posed above, will allow you to really think about what you are doing and why. The goals in our lives are important, but never that important that we become stressed or unhappy. Sometimes it is important to ‘dig in’ and other times it is much better to walk away – in truth it must be you that makes that decision and you alone.
Today I saw the sad news about the passing of the great legend that is Mohammad Ali at the age of 74. He will always be known as ‘the greatest’ and even though his sport was the brutal one of boxing, the lessons that we can draw from him are long and relevant to so many of us in whatever we do. Here are just 5 lessons that I have drawn from his time with us, all of which materialise from quotes from the great man himself:
Preparation is key
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ”Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
You do not only gain success when your dream is accomplished. Success happens right now on your path to fulfilling your dream. Your daily habits will determine how far you go. It is not about the “lights”, it is all about how you prepare for the “lights.” Are you preparing, practicing and putting in those ‘hard yards’ for when those “lights” shine on you? The price now to live the rest of your life as a champion, starts at the very beginning with hard work – you cannot ‘fast forward’ to success.
Desire, Dream, Visualize
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
Do you have a burning desire to succeed? Desire is about thinking, living and breathing an inner burning passion to do something epic – no matter now big or small. Champions are driven to succeed; they have an inner picture of success and are determined to see that picture come to reality. Visualization is as important to sportspeople as it is to anyone else. Seeing something in your mind is something has a greater chance of becoming real. Champions never stop until their goal is achieved, they cannot stop, they are on a mission every second of their lives.
Remind yourself how great you are
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Nobody can beat, Mohammad Ali!”
Ali said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” So do not waste time waiting for someone to tell you how good you – tell yourself! The more you tell yourself the greater your confidence comes, and the stronger you are when times are difficult. Ali did this all the time, Ali said, “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.” He said, “I’m the greatest of all time.” He also said “It’s hard to be humble, when you are as great as I am.” Try saying that one a few times! I know humility is important, but go ahead and say that last statement a few more times and see how you feel. A strong inner belief is almost as important as the actions you take subsequently.
Embrace Risk and Change
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
For sure, if you are not prepared to take the odd risk every now and then, you will lead a life that will haunt you with “I could of, I should of, and I would of”. Now many times have you said that out loud or silently to yourself? By taking a risk you embrace change because you are entering a situation whereby you are not entirely sure what will happen. One thing for sure, is that you will make progress through the change process. Start now and love changing the way you do those things you do habitually. It will be worth a little something 'extra' every second in your life from now on.
Imagination allows us to fly
“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
A bird that does not use its wings will have a limited life – look at the Dodo. We humans have wings as well, and it is our imagination. We all have the ability to leave the old, staid and mundane behind and soar like the majestic eagle in the sky. Think about soaring into a world of possibilities, a world without limits. I often use this idea in my leadership courses, when I invite teams to design a new game for the family. The rules are easy – they must not copy games that have already have been invented; they have all the materials and unlimited resources that they need. With those factors and some imagination we always succeed in coming up with fantastic ideas. Imagine what you can do if you really put your mind and heart to anything – brilliant results await those with the courage to try.
So the 3 time heavyweight champion of the world has left us with many lessons to ponder on. Above all, he believed in what he said and as a result, captured us with wonder and awe over the past 50 years since he first came to prominence in the 1960’s. The legacy he left will remain with us for many years to come. What legacy will you leave?
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