I write a column for the Garland & Rowlett Messenger in Texas, and with the paper coming out last week, I think it’s only fitting to share the column with you all here. If you click the link here, you can see the photo copy I’m all kinds of proud of.
Faced with a seemingly insurmountable goal, nearly every last one of us quits the fight. Then there are the select few that reject the hand-me-down rules of what we are capable of. These individuals change the landscape of human achievement, and they don’t do it for medals, awards, or recognition. They do it because they feel it in their bones as something they can do when the world tells them it’s impossible.
Diana Nyad did the seemingly impossible over Labor Day weekend by swimming, without a shark cage, across the Caribbean Sea from Havana, Cuba to the Florida Keys. 110 miles of open water, hordes of box jellyfish, and the ever-present threat of sharks weren’t enough to deter her from reaching her ultimate goal.
Nyad is no stranger to defeat and the pain of failure, having finally completed the swim 36 years after her first of five attempts. At 64 years old, she swam for 53 hours straight, fueled by unshakable vigor. It begs the question, what drives someone to do such a thing?
In her 2011 TED talk, she explained her commitment and drive, saying, “I want it to be difficult. I want it to take passion. I want it to take an unwavering commitment to be able to get to the other shore.” She spoke volumes when the first few words out of her mouth after finally reaching that shore were, “we should never, ever give up.”
This is a shining example of having a vision and commitment to making it become a reality, regardless of what obstacles come before you. In my workshops and personal coaching programs, I meet countless people with big dreams and big reasons for them, but not enough strength to keep forging ahead when it becomes difficult.
The great Roman philosopher, Lucius Seneca said it perfectly: “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” The journey is almost certainly going to be difficult at times, but you must keep pushing if you wish to shine.
You have within you the power to create an absolutely extraordinary life if you simply give yourself permission to do so. Since we were little, we’ve all had those voices telling us to be more realistic and practical in what we set out to accomplish. For some of us, the voices were those of our family members; others learned to aim lower from their coworkers, friends, teachers, or spouses.
This is the great lie of the human experience. Fear of aiming too high and failing was instilled in us based on the opinions and experiences of others. We carry around other peoples’ assumptions about life as our own. One of my favorite questions to raise is this:
If you never learned failure – if you never learned to be realistic, what would your life look like?
Give yourself permission to throw out all the conclusions you’ve been given about life, and goals you’ve been told you can and cannot reach. The greatest innovators, athletes, leaders, and performers in the world share the same chemical makeup as you – they just don’t believe the same things about life, and it allows them to create extraordinary successes.
If I told you a 64 year old woman was going to swim for 53 hours straight, 110 miles across the Caribbean Sea from Cuba to Key West, you might not believe it. You might think it couldn’t be done. She, however, never learned that lesson.
My invitation to you is to examine your beliefs about what’s possible for you in your life. Take a closer look at where you may have learned those beliefs and give yourself permission to throw out assumptions that no longer serve you. Focus on what you truly want to believe and experience, and notice what begins to happen when you do.
Until next month, stay brilliant.
Nourish What Matters – a monthly column of empowerment, clarity, confidence building, and challenges from inspirational speaker and coach, Blake Alexander Hammerton.
Lately it seems like all I’ve been hearing are assumptions and conclusions on how the world really works. When I pay attention a moment longer, I can hear the blaring battle cry of distorted thinking. Distortion is a cunning and seductive beast. If you don’t give pause to your thoughts, you’ll completely miss her sleight of hand. Here are 15 styles of distorted thinking:
You take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. For example, let’s say you blew a tire on the way to work, but after changing it you were given a free coffee for your troubles at the local coffee shop. You’ll tell the story of the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day – completely forgetting the free coffee and smile.
Things are black or white, good or bad, possible or impossible. You have to be perfect or you’re a failure. There is no middle ground. You cannot compromise…on anything. You find all the options irrelevant because your mind is made up already… about everything.
You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. This happens after broken hearts. “All guys are douchebags. I’m just going to get my heart broken.” People are often quick to jump to conclusions after only one incident.
Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you. This is because you, much like the rest of the human populous, has a Ph.D. from Make Stuff Up University.
You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start throwing out “what-ifs” about it. What if tragedy strikes? What if it happens to you? What if it’s too risky and you die?!?!? Knock it off. Your blood pressure doesn’t ever need to go that high on a what if. And yes, catastrophizing is totally a made-up word.
“Keep your head clear. It doesn’t matter how bright the path is if your head is always cloudy.” ~Unknown
This is an article I wrote for Tiny Buddha last year that was published January 1, 2013. If you’ve not heard of Tiny Buddha, I highly recommend venturing over there and taking in all the goodness.
Have you ever noticed that your biggest “aha” moment comes from someone asking a powerful question? Suddenly everything seems to make a little more sense, and you know what you need to do from that point forward, right?
That’s exactly how it is for me. Someone will ask me a seemingly trivial question and bam! I’m suddenly overflowing with answers, emotions, solutions—I’m practically made of clarity!
I remember a friend of mine asking me over coffee one rainy afternoon a few years ago, “What are you avoiding, Blake?”
“What? Nothing. I mean, I guess I don’t want it to fail.” I eventually replied.
“Yeah, and…” She quips back. “What happens then?”
I came to her because her willingness to face challenges head-on amazes me, and I needed her to facemy challenge and give me that sage advice I knew she could. I wanted to leave corporate America and venture out on my own, and I wanted her to somehow make that sounds less crazy.
I wanted to throw caution to the wind and follow what I most passionately believed in.
I wanted to be my own success story.
I also wanted someone else to tell me it was going to work.
Calculating, weighing, analyzing—these things can only take you so far. I subconsciously needed something to get me out of my head and into some clarity. I needed that push.
We bounced back and forth for what seemed like eternity. When most people have conversations like this, one party inevitably snaps out of the pattern and either says something oddly profound, or simply gets frustrated and tells the other to bugger off.
I was lucky enough to receive the former rather than the latter.
“When do you stop calculating risk and rewards and just do it?” she asked. “Because it feels like you’re building a magnificent ship you’re too much of a baby to ever sail. What are more committed to, dreaming it or doing it?”
Holy cow, I was stunned. She was right. What was I more committed to? What a brilliant question.
As a coach (yes, I made the leap and ventured out on my own), I make my living asking these questions to help clients get out of their own way.
The beauty of these questions is there are no right or wrong answers. They are just meant to get your wheels turning, and maybe help you see the decisions you’ve been making, and the ones you’d like to make from now on.
These are 28 of my favorite questions:
1. We learn from our mistakes, yet we’re always so afraid to make one. Where is this true for you?
2. What risk would you take if you knew you could not fail?
3. What is your greatest strength? Have any of your recent actions demonstrated this strength?
4. What are the top five things you cherish in your life?
5. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
6. When do you stop calculating risk and rewards, and just do it?
7. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
8. What do you most connect with? Why?
9. What one piece of advice would you offer a newborn child?
10. Which is worse—failing or never trying?
11. Why do we do things we dislike and like the things we never seem to do?
12. What are you avoiding?
13. What is the one job/cause/activity that could get you out of bed happily for the rest of your life? Are you doing it now?
14. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
15. What are you most grateful for?
16. What would you say is one thing you’d like to change in the world?
17. Do you find yourself influencing your world, or it influencing you?
18. Are you doing what you believe in or settling for what you’re doing?
19. What are you committed to?
20. Which worries you more – doing things right or doing the right things?
21. If joy became the national currency, what kind of work would make you wealthy?
22. Have you been the kind of friend you’d want as one?
23. Do any of the things that used to upset you a few years ago matter at all today? What’s changed?
24. Would you rather have less work to do or more work you enjoy doing?
25. What permission do you need/want to move forward?
26. Really, what do you have to lose if you go for it?
27. How different would your life be if there weren’t any criticism in the world?
28. We’re always making choices. Are you choosing for your story or for someone else’s?
Powerful questions can change the very fiber of our construction. They give us a chance to challenge our own ideals and perhaps shed some light on what we are and are not committed to.
It’s important to understand that we’re always committed to something. If it’s not success out on our own, it’s staying safe in the comfortable success of someone else. If we’re not committed to creating our opportunities, we’re committed to floating around, hoping, waiting, and wishing for circumstance.
Are you more committed to dreaming it or doing it?
Ask yourself some of these questions when you feel stuck. What comes up just might surprise you!
Peace, love, and a million successes to you, my friends!
Photo by Tobias Mandt
I have recently partnered with Dr. Kristen Bobik of Balance Chiropractic and Wellness in Hoffman Estates, and we creates Whole Health Awakening. Whole Health Awakening is about gaining clarity in a chaotic world, making conscious choices for a better life, and feeding your body and soul with what it needs to prosper. It’s a beautiful meld of our two disciplines. Through it, we have created out first event: Reclaim Your Health in 2013.
If you’re going to be in the Chicagoland area (especially the Northwest suburbs), I highly recommend you attend the event! It’s going to be incredibly enlightening, and we’re going to be giving away a ton of information on what you can do to change your health for the better without breaking your budget on expensive detoxes, diets, therapies, or programs. What have you got to lose, except a few extra pounds, some cholesterol points, and added health risks in the future, that is. Join us!
Here is a break down on the event:
Reset. Regroup. Restart here.
Dr. Kristen Bobik, The Balance Doc, and Blake Alexander Hammerton of Applied Happiness Coaching have teamed up to bring you a health and wellness workshop to Reclaim Your Health in 2013.
Do you find that your new year’s resolutions never stick? You begin the year with the greatest of intentions, but life gets in your way and you don’t make any real changes?
Do you feel like you’re always battling those extra pounds no matter what you do? Are you unmotivated, uninspired, or uninterested in wading through the fad diets and products out there to finally reach your optimal health?
Discover the difference between health care and disease-care, and why everything you’ve been taught has kept you in poor shape. Explore your body’s chemistry and learn how to modify it to sleep better, feel better, and kick your metabolism into gear.
Learn why you have trouble reaching your goals (like everyone else), and what to do about it. Uncover what three words in your language you can change to create real, lasting, permanent results.
Blake will bring his inspirational speaking and coaching to the room and empower you to declare what you want and what you’re ready to do to get it. He’ll share stories and secrets to making remarkable things happen in your life, and inspire you to step up to the challenge of living the extraordinary life you deserve. You’ll walk away with tools, resources, and wonderful anecdotes to help you create real change in 2013.
Dr. Kristen will share her incredible knowledge of acupuncture, Eastern and alternative medicine, and Chiropractic with you. You’ll learn easy-to-implement nutritional strategies for improving your health, without breaking your bank, or your kitchen appliances. She’ll introduce you to your body’s own chemistry so you can create a diet specifically for YOU.
Start 2013 off on the right foot and join us for this incredible day of learning and inspiration!
The Hyatt Place in Hoffman Estates is a beautiful hotel with elegant rooms and a restaurant for lunch. We are honored to have our event there.
9 a.m.–3 p.m. with a lunch break from 12–12:30 p.m. There will also be period breaks throughout the day to stretch our legs and get fresh air. Please bring a pen and note pad – you won’t want to miss any of the information being shared!
Please comment and share this post and help us get the word out!
The real reason you’re not achieving those goals of yours? Short answer – your goals are lame. Sure, they might serve a great purpose in the long run, but you struggle to find the motivation to get them done when they don’t really mean that much to you.
“I want (fill-in the blank), but I can’t seem to find the motivation to make it happen.”
You don’t need motivation. Your goals are impotent. They don’t excite you. They don’t resonate inside you. The impact of achieving them isn’t that important, so doing the work to achieve them isn’t important either.
You only have to do one thing to reach your goals:
Only set goals in which the impact of achieving them thrills you.
It’s really that simple. If you connect to WHY achieving the goal is what you want, you’ll find it inspire you. What about achieving it resonates in you? What’s the ultimate reason you want to achieve this?
“I want to lose 25 pounds because I want to feel sexy when I step out of the shower and my husband can’t take his eyes off me.”
“I want to write my bestseller because I want to impact lives around the world with my words.”
“I want to make more sales because I want to have my dream wedding in Santorini.”
What’s the WHY behind your goals. Tap into that, and I promise you, you’ll reach every goal you put out there.
Leave a comment. Let me know what you think. Is this working for you already? Share it!
Today I’m sharing a little more of myself to you. I know I’ve been posting positive things, adventures, insights, and business-type stuff I’ve been up to, and it feels like a good time to share more of who I am as a human. When I’m not coaching, speaking, or trying to do one of the two more frequently (read: marketing), I’m writing and playing music.
I have been playing since a car accident gifted me with the ability to hear notes differently. Back in 2000, I was in a terrible collision with a school bus that caused my brain to shut off certain pieces. To compensate (as all brains do), other pieces started firing and growing. I suffered a TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury – a contusion that essentially “killed” neurons in my brain from the force. Here’s what happened:
I was very good at math, but musically inept. I could enjoy music, but not play it. I was analytical, impatient, rigid and controlling, and even neurotic.
Then I was hit by a bus.
In my recovery a few things have been discovered. I’m still good at simple math, but everything outside of memorized multiplication tables is a foreign language to me. I’m more laid back, patient, understanding, communicative, and adventurous. The biggest gift, however, is that I can now understand music. I can hear notes, progressions, patterns, and harmonies differently than I ever could. The sounds feel like shapes and colors I can see in my head. Strange as it may sound, that’s the best way I can describe it.
So I play and write and enjoy it. The video above is me showcasing a song I wrote for my friends’ wedding in 2007. They wanted a song to remember, and I wrote what came to me. I’ll try to post more videos and songs to my YouTube channel so you all can come and go as you please. For now, enjoy Delaney’s Song.
Peace, Love, and a million successes to you all.
There are a lot of people working very hard and still not getting anywhere. They’re spinning but not moving. Sound familiar? In this week’s video, I’ll speak to that struggle with three key points:
- Stretching yourself too thin (what it means, and what to do about it)
- Clarity and an exercise to get some of it
- Conviction and what it can do when you trust it.
If you enjoyed this video, have comments or questions, or have a request for next week’s video, please leave a comment below!
Peace, Love, and a million successes to you,
It’s been quite a crazy week! I’ve been sending out newsletters a few times a week since this started, and last week I threw out a challenge that came back to me like a wrecking ball. I invited all of you to revisit an old idea you had – maybe one you threw on the “back burner” quite some time ago. I didn’t challenge you to bring it to fruition that day, but I opened the door Monday, and challenged you to take some steps to see if it could hold water on Friday.
I received a lot of responses, filling my inbox throughout the day, and I cannot express how amazing it is to hear some of your ideas! Some of them felt so strong – like they have been burning the midnight oil inside you for years, and the passion and excitement of bringing it out was incredible to witness!
Monday I thought about the charity/foundation I wanted to start “eventually” – eventually is code for a magical time called “someday.” I opened my intention up for suggestion, and asked for a hint – what some of us call quantum flirts or signs. Well, I got it. There was so much going on in my world that day, that I almost felt like we had missed the reasons why we were living. Then a Trevor Project commercial came on. I immediately heard the voice in my head screaming at me.
We need to Nourish What Matters most in life.
That was it. I knew this was what had been burning inside me. So I did what any other completely neurotic nerd with a good idea does: I got on the computer, registered a domain name, built a quick website, created logos, a mini mission statement, and designed merchandise to get started.
Nourish What Matters
Many of you received the newsletter this morning regarding it, but I’m going to throw in some details here as well. Nourish What Matters is an ideal, a foundation – nay, a movement in the making. It’s about recognizing the value and preciousness of life, and the community and connectedness of humans. We’re all different, but we’re all here for the same thing: to experience whatever greatness we can while we can.
Nourish What Matters is about acknowledging that ideal in everyone, and giving them a place to call home. We will raise monies for various events and charities until we have our own charity to tout. We want to support the Trevor Project, Sing for Hope, and organizations that promote the human spirit and innovation.
You can join the movement, and get the donations started by clicking the image above, or this link, and purchasing a t-shirt or hoodie. You know you want to. They’re wicked-awesome, and so are you… isn’t that a perfect match? I vote yes.
Please purchase a piece of merch, and spread the word!
Together we can do this!
Peace, Love, and a million successes to you all!
P.S. What charities do you want us to donate to? What causes speak most to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Holy Mother of God, it’s actually happening. I’m turning 30 in a little over 30 days. I haven’t burned the city down, and I haven’t been elected Presidente del Mundo. So, what have I done? Is it enough? Have I struck out more than I’ve home-runned? What am I missing?!?!
The past few weeks I’ve been toying with the idea of actually turning 30 – like it wasn’t actually happening to me. Suddenly, I felt the impact of this transition during my morning protein shake:
I am a month from closing my twenties… FOREVER.
When faced with suck a pickle, it can feel overwhelming, and it challenges people to reflect and assess the life they’ve been living up to this point. I am taking it a step further and announcing the 30 Day Challenge. Can you say, “Bucket List Beta Test?” It’s essentially a kick-ass-scavenger-hunt-of-awesome, completed in 30 days. It’ll be a scramble to the very end, and I’m inviting–nay, I’m challenging you to do it with me!
Here are some of the things people want to do before they turn 30:
- Hot air balloon ride
- Backpacking across Europe
- Climb a mountain
- Run a marathon
- Get married
- Get divorced (maybe?)
- Bungee Jump
- Food fight
- Take a road-trip
- Start a business
- Sell that business
- Fall wildly in love
- Heal from a broken heart
- Sing karaoke
- Flowers for no reason (give and receive)
- Buy a car
- Buy a home
- Fly a plane
Look, this list can go on forever. In fact, if you google it, these lists actually do go on forever. I’ve done a LOT of really cool things, and I’m now in the last month of my twenties. It’s time to man the harpoons, because I’m grabbing life by the horns and going for a whale of a good time. How’s that for mixing analogies?
I don’t have the time or money to drop everything and backpack through Europe tomorrow, so that’s out. What I can do is the scary things I’ve thought about, but put off. Well no more!
This challenge is more than just doing things. It’s about experiencing things. Experiencing emotions, thrills, spills, chills, perhaps even ills. It’s all in the name of progress, right? So, readers, I challenge you to follow along. I will send an email reminder every morning to let you know what I’m planning, and invite you to look at how you can do that too. I’ll share my story as I try to knock out all I can in the next 30 days.
There’s a fact of life many of us miss: We’re all going to end up in the record books whether we like it or not. By default, we are recorded as a statistic. If we choose to chase our dreams, stand for what we believe, and push to live deliberately, we can all change how we’re recorded. At the end of your life, are you going to leave a statistic or an impact?
That, my friends, is a damn good question. I am choosing to leave an impression on the world, and right now I’m choosing opportunities that leave a lasting impression on me. Sometimes you have to learn before you teach, right?
What are you choosing?
Leave your comments below!
ONLY A FEW SEATS REMAIN
TIRED OF JAMMING IN THE GARAGE? GET INTO THE REAL MUSIC SCENE.
The Continuing Education department at Harper College in Palatine has a music program designed to give you all the tools, resources, and know-how to take your talent to the next level, and I’m honored to be a part of it. The first in a four-class curriculum is a coaching course I lead – one that’s totally focused on getting you clear on what you want, and what it’s gonna take to make it happen. Let’s not waste anymore time and get down to the details, shall we?
We designed this program for those that want to create something with their music. Do you have a passion for the music industry, but not sure how to get your music heard? Do you get discouraged and/or quit trying before you even get started? Are you tired of the balancing act it is to create music, promote it, get exposure and recognition, and still find time to sleep at night? I know what that’s like.
STOP SPINNING YOUR WHEELS.
This program is designed to answer the hard questions, and get you on the right track to creating success with your talent. As your coach, I’m going to challenge your belief pattern like it’s my job – because it is my job. The course is titled Get Out of Your Own Way, and that’s exactly what I’m going to teach you how to do. You’ll be empowered, challenged, pushed, pulled, and set into motion. It’s been said that we’re out biggest critic, and I’m going to teach you how to change those reviews.
Look, the music business can be tough and frustrating to navigate, which makes it crucial for you to clearly define what you want to achieve and set goals to help you get there. Even more critical is understanding the why behind what you want. This class is designed to help you create your Musician Mission (how your music will impact the world), identify potential obstacles, release negative self-judgment, and create action plans for your success. You will learn how to get out of your own way so opportunities can come to you.
We’ll have a lot of fun exploring your vision, and you’ll get answers to burning questions like:
• What does Justin Beiber have that I don’t? I mean, honestly… (it’s not his hair, by the way)
• I don’t want to be the next Lady Gaga, is there still place for me in the industry?
• I’ll be a success when I get a record deal, right?
• How much does recording a studio album really cost?
• How do I get thousands of people to hear my music and promote FOR me?
We had an amazing introductory panel night on Wednesday, and enrollments are coming into the program, but time is running out! I know this course, and the Marketing & Money, Social Media & Promotions, and Recording courses that follow mine in the program are incredibly valuable. What you’re going to get in the 6 weeks with me is worth over $400 in coaching. If you wanted this opportunity with me privately, that’s exactly what it would cost you. Register for the Harper course, and save yourself $250 instantly.
What do you have to lose? Evening classes begin Thursday the 19th.
Let’s make this the year you make it happen.