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Why Crossing the Line is the Right Choice

On October 8, 2013, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Cross The Line - Don't Just Stare at it.

I recently had a conversation with a client of mine regarding what he truly wants. He had so many things to say about what he wanted. And, he had even more to say about why it’s too hard or impossible to make happen. There are all these “reasons” for how it just can’t be done, or it’s too scary, or what will happen if it doesn’t work out – and every last one of them is made up.

We’re all dealing with a myriad of lines we’re afraid to cross. Taking the big leap of faith to start your new business venture, or having the courage to make that pretty girl your wife, or investing in yourself after years of investing in everyone else – these are lines we’ve drawn and need help, encouragement, and a good push to cross.

Consider this a little push. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is right now. You will regret every chance you didn’t take when your life comes to a close. If at the end of your life, you met the person you could have been, would you regret not taking more chances?

Of course you would.

It’s better to cross the line and manage the consequences than to stare at the line for the rest of your life.

What are your thoughts? What line do you wish you had the courage to conquer? Share in the comments below.

15 Styles of Distorted Thinking

On July 17, 2013, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Distorted Thinking

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:

Filtering

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.

Polarized Thinking

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.

Overgeneralization

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.

Mind Reading

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.

Catastrophizing

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.

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Reclaim Your Health in 2013

On January 7, 2013, in Events, Speaking, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Whole Health Awakening

 

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.

Agenda:

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!

Change your perspective, Change your life

On October 30, 2012, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

 

Today’s video is about perspective and taking care of the lens through which you view and interact with the world around you. How come we clean our car windshields, camera lenses and glasses when they get dirty or smudged, but the lens through wich we see the world goes untouched? Check out this video on what it means to change your perspective to change your life, and let me know your thoughts.

What do you feel you would see differently if your lens was suddenly clean?

What would a different, potentially more positive perspective give you in your life today?

As always, if you liked this video, please comment and share!

Peace, Love, and a million successes to you all!

Blake

Complimentary New Year Coaching!

On December 28, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

 Welcome 2012 Year - Your Best Ever

 

In a year from now, you’ll wish you started today.

This is one of my most favorite quotes because it keeps me focused on what I’m committing to when I procrastinate. Every time I say no to getting up and getting out there, I’m saying yes to missed opportunities; yes to broken promises to myself; yes to feeling overwhelmed later when I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done; yes to excuses – the list goes on.  When I say yes to those things, I’m also saying no to success; no to opportunity; no to connections; and no to myself.

In a year from now, you bet your ass I will wish I had started today. That’s why I’m starting…. today.

My coaching and hypnosis clients have been breaking down their walls, and giving themselves permission to be active participants in their own lives. They’re waking up, getting clear, and consciously creating like I’ve never seen. It’s A-MAY-ZING. Several of them have mentioned things like, “If people only gave themselves the chance to speak to you for a few minutes, they’d realize how powerful this is.” I’m taking that to heart, and I’m offering a beautiful, wonderful, absolutely free opportunity to do just that – get hardcore, goal-oriented, no-fluff coaching to start 2012 off right.

I’m offering year end completion sessions absolutely free for the next two weeks. This offer is only good until the 11th of January. I know what it’s like to make resolutions for the new year and watch them fall apart by March. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re doing the same thing – same victories, same mistakes – year after year. These completion sessions give you a chance to notice the cycle, break it, and create a new pattern for the year.

It’s too good not to give away.

Look, in a year from now, you’ll wish you started today. And it’s free. And you’ve nothing to lose, right? So, what’s stopping you?

Check out the list of the 15 habits for your best year ever, and  contact me to schedule your free call with me.

You’ve always wanted this to be the year you finally make it happen, right?

It can be. Let’s make it happen.

847-886-9042

Interview: Get Courageous in 2012

On October 10, 2011, in Coaching, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Interview with Kate “Courageous” Swoboda from Blake Hammerton on Vimeo.

What a treat it was to speak with Kate Swoboda in a Skype interview last week!  Kate is the founder and lead coach at Your Courageous Life coaching, and the mastermind behind the Coaching Blueprint – a tool and class to help coaches get their businesses running by helping them get back in touch with what makes them love coaching so much.

If you’ve read anything on her site, you know Kate is a no-nonsense kind of person. She doesn’t sugar coat the issues we are all dealing with – as coaches and as people. She calls out the gremlins we all wrestle with from time to time, and loves playing in that space of uncertainty – that space that many people call fear.

In this interview we talk about what we want for 2012 and beyond, what keeps her inspired to keep inspiring others, and what we, as coaches and human beings, can gain from embracing our fears and discovering what’s within them.  It’s a brilliant 20 minutes, if I do say so myself.

I do have to apologize, however. The audio on my microphone just wasn’t playing nicely the day we did this interview, so I have some echo going on. She sounds like she’s in a room (like a regular person). I sound like I’m in a barrel (like someone about to roll over Niagara Falls for publicity). I give you all my word that I will make quite sure to sound better next time.

What do you want to learn from embracing your fear?

What do you want, as we enter the ending months of 2011, for 2012?

Leave your comments for us!

 

5 Ways to Relax at Work

On August 24, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Zen and relaxation at work

I don’t know about anyone else, but it feels to me like it’s getting harder and harder to relax these days. The stress of life can be pretty overwhelming.  Especially the daily grind of work. Hell, they don’t call it the daily grind for no reason, right? Many of us simply wind up, and come home exhausted, frazzled, and unfocused. Sometimes we come home to a family that we immediately neglect or pick fights with… or they come home and pick fights with us!  Any time you get the chance to relax and get centered at work, take it – it’s time well spent.

I’ve included 5 ways to find a little peace and relaxation at work. These are simple, yet effective, activities you can do without going out of your way and potentially causing you more grief. Check them out, and comment on what works best for you!

Get Up & Get Out!

No, seriously, get up from your desk and walk out for a break. It’s long been said that sometimes you have to walk away from a problem and come back before you can solve it. Many of us get so focused on the minute-to-minute stress of our immediate surroundings, that simply getting away from it for a few minutes can break us free. A brisk walk or some other form of exercise while on that break is even better. Even a few minutes of exercise releases endorphins – helping to elevate your energy and your mood almost instantly!

Tune in to turn on the calm.

Studies have shown music to help with concentration and stress-reduction. Having some of your favorite tunes playing in the background of your days is very powerful in reducing your stress. My own personal advice is to use a service like Pandora or Last.fm for your music, because it offers far fewer ads than standard FM or AM radio, and the musical variety is completely custom tailored to your tastes. Relaxing music like classical is better for your brain (rather than death metal) because it lowers blood pressure and reduces Cortisol – a hormone linked to stress and weight gain.

I often have clients take a break during their day and go out to their car and spend 5 minutes listening to music they can sing to… loudly. Singing and laughing are very similar in the chemical reactions they cause in the brain. If you can find 5 minutes to sing in your car, take them. They’re powerful minutes!

Breathe Deeply.

Buddhist monks have been using mindful breathing techniques in their meditation for centuries. Stop for a minute during your day and practice some simple breathing.  Sit up in your chair, feet flat on the floor, hands resting on your lap, and begin breathing. Notice the sensation of fresh, clean, rejuvenating air entering your body, filling your lungs. With each exhale, feel the sensation of stress, anxiety, and worry leaving your body. Notice your breath – and only your breath. Concentrate on the pattern of life, calm, centered, focus breathing in, and anxiety, worry, stress exhaling and leaving your body. Do this for one minute each hour.

CalmDown for Mac in the App StoreAn additional tool is a Mac App called CalmDown. CalmDown sets up little activities for you to get centered and calm when you need it.  It sits in your upper menu bar and is ready when you are. If you select “Calm Down” your screen will fade to white and encourage you to breathe deeply.  Other options have more elaborate, yet simple, activities to help you relax. It’s only $.99 in the App Store, and while it’s common sense, this little reminder is a pretty valuable deal at only $1.

Phone-a-Friend.

Let’s be honest, we could all use a life-line from time to time. When we’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or wound up, one of the greatest things we can do is vent. The next time you’re feeling those familiar feelings, take a break and phone a friend, coach, parent, therapist – whatever!

A word of caution: This can be treacherous to relationships if both parties are not clear on the rules.  Venting involves just letting everything come out – no need for the other person to “fix” anything – only to listen and offer support.  Both parties should lay out rules so one person doesn’t feel like he or she is being “dumped on” by the other person all the time. Venting is healthy when there’s a time limit and reciprocity.

Example:

“Can I just vent to you for 5 minutes?”

“Sure, but then I could 5 minutes too.”

“Deal.”

Change Your Layout.

I’m a strong believer in  Feng Shui – the art of arranging objects in a space to create harmony and balance in the energy of that space. If you have the luxury of changing your work space colors and arrangement, go for it.  Bright colors and wood tones balance energy and spark creativity. Stay organized by introducing colorful pen holders, stapler, and stationary. If there’s a way to bring in natural light, bring in as much as you can.

Working in a plain cubicle in a nondescript office building can be a hard space to modify, but every little bit counts. To help, I’ve included some beautiful images to help you. Download them and make one a background this week, one a background next week, one a ba– you get the idea. Keep on the lookout for more inspiring images for use on your home, office, or home-office monitor!

Calm water at sunset helps keep you calm.

Click image for full-size!

 

Rocks on Water - Calm Path to Wellness

Click image for full-size!

What do you do to relieve stress or find peace at work?  Share in the comments below!

Who is the Best Version of You?

On August 5, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Best Taco courtesy of Kate Leth (kateordie.tumblr.com)

 

This week I want to talk about the “best version of yourself” you can be. Moreover, I want to talk about the meaning of that famous phrase. It’s touted in self-help books and seminars across the globe, but do you really know what it’s all about?

What the phrase means to instruct is that you identify your greatest qualities and accentuate them as often as possible – embody those qualities so you operate from your most powerful or resourceful place.

I want to give a few tools to help you figure out what that means for you, and what you can do today to start living the best version of yourself.

1 – Listen.

No, really, listen. The greatest version of all of us – individually and collectively – listens at a much better level.  Many people feel their best when they connect with another person through powerful conversation, or simply being a shoulder to cry on. Do you have a friend you can tell anything to? It feels pretty good to confide in someone and have your voice heard, right? Well, return the favor. Listen to the world around you, and let the voices be heard. You’ll grow more than words can say the day you start truly listening.

2 – Have an open mind.

Close mindedness is a sure-fire way to cut off opportunities, relationships, and great experiences.  Open it up… wide!

3 – Ask for what you want.

Truly, one of the most powerful attributes one can possess is the ability to articulate what one wants. When you go to a restaurant you don’t simply stare at the server hoping you get what you want, do you? No, you ask for what you want. Life is no different. Start asking!

4 – Respond instead of React.

This is a big one. Take a moment to pause before reacting to something that you may find upsetting. Instead of jumping into the negativity, discover within yourself whether it matters or not. Many, many people react negatively to situations that don’t matter 30 minutes later. They find themselves all worked up for no reason. When you respond instead of react, you give yourself permission to be in control of your emotions and your circumstances. Try it!

5 – Take on new perspectives.

Try looking at a situation from someone else’s shoes.  This is the sister to the “have an open mind” point.  Sometimes our chosen perspective causes us to assume things that simply don’t apply.  Remember your truth may not be the truth… and not necessarily someone else’s truth.

6 – Ask the future you for advice.

Whenever you feel stuck, ask yourself what the “you” one year from now would say about it. What would 2012 Lauren say to you today?  The same can also be said about what advice you’d give yourself if you could speak to the 2010 version of yourself. What piece of advice would you share with the Steve from last year? You will be amazed what comes out of your mouth when you answer a few questions from each perspective.

7 – Connect with giants.

David Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Mather (arguably the largest advertising firm in the world) sends a care package whenever someone new is appointed to run one of their global offices. Inside this package is a Russian Nesting Doll. Inside the innermost doll is a little rolled-up hand-written note. It reads, “if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

Surround yourself with those that make you feel the greatest. Play in groups of people that are bigger than you – that you can learn from – that encourage you to be the best you can be.

Remember, the best version of yourself has a vision and is driven by purpose. The best version of you knows what he or she is fighting for. If you need help discovering what that might be for you, don’t hesitate to contact me. It’s never too late to discover what makes you happy, and what makes you feel alive!

Blake

P.S.  Be the best taco you can be! 

How do you know you’re living the best version of yourself?  Share in the comments below!

Action for Happiness – Now in America

On July 6, 2011, in Coaching, Events, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Action for Happiness

 

Today I came across Action for Happiness, a UK based non-profit organization that works to create change for the better in the world. They do this by educating and empowering people to discover and harness the power of what makes them happy. Moved by how much this spoke to me and my personal coaching mission, I created the first US based Meetup group. Action for Happiness – Chicagoland is the new home for stateside AFH help.

I have just started my journey with this, but I have BIG, BIG plans to bring this into the spotlight, both in my work, and in the global connections I have. Now I have another reason to get a flight to the UK. I encourage everyone to head to the Action for Happiness UK site, and pledge to be happy. It’s free, and the site is filled with resources and motivations to help you get started.

If you also happen to live in the Chicagoland area, I definitely recommend joining our meetup group HERE. Read more about the project, and get a taste for the incredible things to come!

I hope to see you all at our next meetup!

Peace, Love, and a million successes to you all!

Blake

Yes, There is such a thing as Bad Publicity.

On June 10, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Angry Woman via Jason Ippolito (flickr)

“If you want to end your suffering, stop being the publicist for your problems.
If you treat it like front page news, it will behave like it.”

Contrary to popular belief, there really is something called bad publicity. Moreover, it’s affecting you more than you’re even aware. We spend more time communicating our opinions, beliefs, issues, passions, and shortcomings to other people than we realize. Every day we are our own publicists. Consider how connected we all are nowadays – social media has us plugged in at every moment. When was your last status update on Facebook? How about your last tweet? When was the last time you read through feeds on either site?  It wasn’t more than an hour, was it?

That’s exactly my point. We’re sharing our lives – the good and the bad – with the world all the time, and sometimes it gets the best of us. Have you ever told a story enough times that it makes you feel worse, not better?

I remember working in sales a few years ago, and after busting my ass and working all my tricks, the promotion train came around. I was absolutely sure the new position was mine. I was so sure that I didn’t even entertain the notion that it might not be my turn. When the announcement was made that another representative had been promoted instead of me, I lost my mind. I couldn’t believe that all my hard work was not enough for them. I posted that “I’m the victim of this stupid company and their stupid people and their stupid policies” story on my front page.

This was a poor move.  I vented to friends and family, coworkers in other departments – even people at the grocery store. I felt like absolute crap. As the publicist for my life, I was running page after page of bad news, and it was doing me no good.  My articles were all about how difficult and unfair my life was. And as a direct result, I was treated that way… and my life became difficult and unfair.

Fast forward to 2008.  I had just started my life anew. I was opening my first company, embarking on new relationships with friends and new loves. Life was exciting. My front page read, “AWESOME” across the top. The stories I told reflected the great experiences I had, and those I wished for more of. When unfortunate setbacks came (as the always do), I didn’t put out a personal press release to the world.  Instead, I vented to a select few in my circle, and moved forward.

Why is this important?

I consciously chose what I publicized about myself and my life, and it allowed me to keep my energy on the up-and-up. When energy and confidence are up, life is easy, fruitful, and exciting.  Much better than difficult and unfair, no?

Another example is the “water-cooler-complaint break.”  If you’re always complaining about something to your friends or co-workers, you are publicizing negativity.  We all know someone like that, right? Case in point: Debbie Downer – she’s always negative and finds a way to turn a parade into a prison exercise. She’s got problems, right?

So what’s the lesson here, Blake?

 

If you want to change the world according to you, change the world you put in your news.
How do you like that – it even rhymes!

 

I know this can feel harder than it sounds. It’s easier to follow the media and crowds, and just complain like everyone else. I know that. But this isn’t about easy. It’s about better. We all believe life would be better if we didn’t have all these (insert your problems here), right?  Now it’s about declaring that we’re no longer going to give those problems strength. We’re taking the wind from their sales, and we’re going to stop promoting them. Let’s see how influential they are when they’ve got no more publicity!

I know this is a big step, but I know you can do it. For good measure, though, I invite you to vent it one last time here in the comments below, and let it go.

What are you willing to let go – to no longer publicize?

Become a Goal-Getter!

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