Saturday, February 19, 2011

Live Your Dreams

Forrest Gump said that life is like a box of chocolates. Shakespeare said life is like theatre. My son said it’s more like a roller coaster ride.

I say life is like climbing a long flight of stairs.

Some twenty years ago, I was at the 100-storey World Trade Centre Twin Towers in New York City. Like any other tourist, I was excited about going up to the viewing deck on the 80th floor. From there we can look down on the whole of New York City below.

Unfortunately, the lift to the viewing deck broke down that day and had to be closed for servicing. Nevertheless, I was undeterred and decided to walk up the daunting 80 floors to the viewing deck.

So I trudged up one step at a time, one floor at a time with this heavy knapsack on my back.

After 20 minutes I reached the lobby on the 20th floor. Here there were many fine restaurants, shops, and there were also public lockers for people to lock their stuff away for a day.

I thought to myself, “Hmm…, I’ve got an idea….” I would lock my knapsack on the 20th floor, and climb up to the 80th floor without the heavy knapsack. After I’ve seen the view from the 80th floor, I would come back down to the 20th floor, and collect my knapsack. That way the climb to the 80th floor would be much easier, and more enjoyable.

“So smart”, I said to myself with a smirk.

Wow… without the heavy knapsack weighing me down, I felt so relieved. So I bounced and sprung up the steps towards the 80th floor cheerfully.

With much effort, I reached the 40th floor. My thighs were numb, my calves were burning, and my feet were crying for mercy. I started to wonder why I’ve decided to climb the stairs. Why couldn’t I just wait a little while for the lift to be serviced or why couldn’t I just go somewhere else, and come back on another day? After all, there was so much to do and see in New York City.

Why? Why? Why?

With these negative thoughts in my mind I trudged up the steps. Agonising all the way, all the time thinking what a fool I was.

I was mentally and physically exhausted when I reached the 60th floor. My head was spinning, my mind blank, and I was completely drained.

At the 60th floor, I told myself, “Look, you have come so far, there’s no point beating yourself up. Why not just enjoy the remaining 20 floors?”

When I finally reached the 80th floor, I was so happy! There it was, in front of me was the entrance to the viewing deck of the tallest building in the world! Even after climbing 80 floors, I still walked with a spring and wore a big smile on my face.

All the aches and pains miraculously disappeared!

As I approached the entrance, a thought slowly crept into my mind. My smile slowly turned into a deep frown… I dug my hands into my pockets, my shirt, my pants, front pocket, back pocket, where is my ticket? I stopped dead in my tracks, and frantically searched my empty pockets for several minutes.

It slowly dawned on me that the ticket was in my knapsack! I had left the ticket in my knapsack which I locked in the locker on the 20th floor!!!

Now at the entrance of the viewing deck, I slowly realised the implication of my folly. Having struggled all the way up the 80 floors to the entrance of the viewing deck, I am going to miss the view because I had left my ticket on the 20th floor!

How sad is that!

Isn’t my stairs journey a lot like life’s journey?

When we were young we carry a knapsack budging with dreams and aspirations.

At age 20, we put our dreams aside, and seek happiness by chasing after money, fame and power.

At age 80, when happiness still eludes us, we look back and it dawns on us that the key to our happiness lies in the dreams that we left behind at age 20. Our dreams are still in the knapsack locked on the 20th floor.

I am sure that you do not want to be like me at the World Trade Centre, leaving your dreams locked away at age 20?

My dear friends open your knapsack, unpack your dreams. Live your dreams. Dreams are the keys to your happiness.

Follow your bliss, and dare to dream. Because only when you live your dreams, will you have no regrets when you are 80!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Own Your Success Story

Hi, I am Tony,

I am Asia’s only life coach helping people achieve success by showing them how to write their success stories.

Psychologists found that even though the life stories of all successful people are unique, they all follow the same pattern. Their live stories pass through the same stages – they have the same road map to success. The pattern is the same whether the success story is in Asia or in the US, in Singapore today, or in ancient China. It is in our DNA.

The reason why most people are unsuccessful is because they are not aware of this story pattern - that we have this in our DNA. Fortunately, because it is already in us, anyone can learn this success pattern in a day, and benefit for a life time.

What I do is to make people aware of this powerful story pattern that is already in our DNA.

Once you have your own life story in your hands, the qualities of successful people like self awareness, proactivity, persistence, and emotional intelligence come to you naturally.

That is why I call myself a Treasure Hunter – I help people uncover their hidden gifts through story writing.

I have half-day, one-day and two-day workshops to show you the basic story pattern, and guide you through crafting your stories like your financial freedom story, personal relationship story, career story, and so on.

I work with small groups, and also on an one-to-one basis.

Clicking on this link will take you to my website which has more information on my unique programme.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Presence, Charisma, and Charm

There are 3 levels of presence.

At level 1 presence, we give out very little energy. Energy flows from others to us. We sap energy from others. We are withdrawn like a tortoise retreated into its shell. When we are at level 1 presence, people find interacting with us draining, and may avoid us or simply leave us alone. Examples of level 1 presence behaviours are:

• Withdrawing from people, feelings, ideas, challenges
• People leave you alone, and you are comfortable with that
• People do not notice you
• You are not attentive to your surroundings
• You are not alert to what is happening around you
• You use cloths to hide from attention – you use cloths like the way a tortoise use its shell
• Your audience find interacting with you draining
• You don’t speak, or rather not speak
• Sometimes you wish you could just disappear.

At level 3 presence, we give out a lot of energy but block energy from others. We broadcast about ourselves to unspecified audiences, but do not listen. We try to perform and impress rather than communicate. At level 3 presence, we are hungry for attention – peacocking behaviour. At level 3, we try to influence the audience through pressure or force. Examples of level 3 presence behaviours are:

• You wear cloths that scream loudly for attention - you use cloths like the way a peacock uses its feathers
• You don't pay attention to your audience - it's all about you
• You dominate discussions even when you have little knowledge of the topic
• You dominate discussions even when you heard only a fragment of the discussion
• Always feel internal pressure to inject life into any party or meeting
• You are afraid that people may leave you alone, hence the urge to “perform”
• Your audience eventually find interacting with you tiresome
• You don’t listen when others speak, you are only waiting for your turn to speak

There is little connection between you and your audience. People may initially be impressed by your performance but they will tire after a while from the lack of connection. The audience tend to eventually withdraw from people with level 3 presence, hence you tend to go searching for new audiences or pontificate to a captive audience.

At level 2 presence, we are connected with the other – we give and receive energy. We energized others and are energized by them at the same time. The energy flow is 2 way. At level 2 presence, the connection is transformational. Your energy influences your audience and your audience’s energy influences you. Your audience find interacting with you uplifting. Examples of level 2 presence behaviours are:

• You are aware of how your verbal and non-verbal communication is affecting your audience
• You notice details in your audience – what their eyes, faces, gestures, breathing are saying
• You are able to sense your audience’s moods, concerns, hot buttons
• You listen actively and is non-judgmental

We are all born with level 2 presence, that’s why babies and toddlers are always so charming and attractive. We later developed preferences for one of the 3 levels of presence. Some of us become habitually at level 1 or level 3 presence, and lose our baby charm and attractiveness.

What’s the point of knowing all these? Because life’s much more meaningful and rewarding for those who “get it” i.e. operate at level 2 presence.

When we are aware of what level of presence we are at, we will know why we are connecting with our audience, or not. If we are at level 1 or 3, we need to shift to level 2.

We can use the set of rapport tools in Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) to help us connect with our audience at level 2.

We are all born with level 2 presence, and so charisma and charm are our birth right.

The first step to recover our level 2 presence is simply by being conscious of what level of presence we are at. From level 1 or 3, we can use NLP rapport tools to move to level 2 presence.

Life’s like that.

Do You Know Where You Are Going To?

Crafting and having our own life story allows us a certain detachment from the noise in our environment. We live life as if we are at a window seat on a train journey. Our life story is the train journey – the route and destination are clear.

As we are on our journey, we will see different landscape and scenery where our train passes. Some of these scenes are pleasant and delightful. Other scenes can be sad, even terrifying.

When we have our story in our minds, we are able to view these scenes with a certain detachment and serenity. We stay on our train and do not get side tracked or confused by the temptations or ordeals we meet along the way.

We will be better able to withstand any trials, and enjoy the journey when we have a clear vision of our destination and journey.