Site Meter Triumph | Blake Alexander Hammerton

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.

Commitment Over Criticism

On September 16, 2013, in Coaching, Everyday Life, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Diana Nyad

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.

What Can a Coach do for Me?

On June 19, 2013, in Coaching, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

I get this question a lot. What exactly do you do? What can you do for me?

There is also an underlying question: What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?

Check out my quick video and leave a comment below. What other questions have you got for me? What would you like a coach to do for you?

Stay brillant,

Blake

28 Powerful Questions for a Happy Life

On June 13, 2013, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Silhouette-of-a-Man

“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.

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

Join The Fight Against Breast Cancer

On October 16, 2012, in Events, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Click and like the page to be counted toward the donation goal!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I have combined my efforts to rebrand and give back to the community. I have had to create a new Facebook page for myself, and am slowly growing the likes and subscribers. To help keep that movement going, and help in the fight against breast cancer, I am donating $.50 for each new like on the page this week.

This could get huge.

Right now it’s a very small donation because there’s a very small amount of likes. You have the power to help change that. The money is coming out of my pocket, and a part of me is worried that should this go viral, I’ll have to write a very, very large check. The truth is, I would love to write that check. Help me do that. Click the image above and like the page.

Please share this post, comment, tweet it – spread the love and help spread the wealth.

Let’s do this!

Peace, Love, and a million successes to you,

Blake

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30-30 Challenge: Thirty Days to Thirty Years on Earth

On February 17, 2012, in Coaching, Events, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

30 days until 30 - Challenge Accepted!

 

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?)
  • Skydive
  • 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!

 

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

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!

Simple Exercise of Choice

On April 17, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Really, it’s that simple.

Before the flood of voices saying, “life isn’t that simple; I can’t do that; Yes, that’s nice, but unrealistic…” come rushing into your mind, take a deep breath and pretend with me.  Imagine a world where your personal happiness was most paramount to your prosperity. Visualize a world in which you are rewarded for waking up happy, helping others, and smiling. Really, let that reality come into your space – we’re pretending, remember?

In this make-believe world, you wouldn’t dare waste your time chasing things that bring you down, would you? Hell no, you’d consciously choose what you want to feel and do because you deserve it, and this life is all about what lights you up. What’s it like to feel that important – that the value of your life is qualified in how good it makes you feel?

Hint: it feels awesome.

Now take a deep breath, and prepare to make a choice. Choose to make this reality your reality from now on. Better yet, make it your reality for the next week. No big deal – it’s just a week, right?  Many of us have been so inundated with the details and negativity of our daily lives, that we’ve lost sight of what it means to make decisions based on what feels good.  I invite you to spend the next 7 days rediscovering the simple formula above.

For the next week, start saying yes to what you want, and no to what you don’t. It’s not as easy as you think… because you think. The trick is to feel what you want to say yes to, and go for it. Each time you feel like saying yes, but you think it will have “too many consequences” you end up saying no to it. What good does that do for you?

Now, I’m not declaring you must all go out and quit your jobs to pursue things that make you happy… but some of you probably should – and hopefully do. See, the simplest answer is usually the correct one. Look above at the formula. Pretty simple, right? Is it correct? Take the next week and try it out – it just might be!

The choice is yours to make, my friends.

Everyday Lessons

On December 7, 2010, in News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Holy Cow, it’s been a crazy week, and it’s only Tuesday! I’m going to try and post more updates and articles this week, but if I fall a little short, please forgive me. I’ve had conference calls with clients, managers for upcoming speaking engagements, and fellow coaches. I love connecting with everyone. Please check out the post below. It’s a great list of 10 hard truths in life. I also posted it to my blog at Applied Happiness . Leave comments and share as much as you like. More to come!

Have a brilliant night,

Blake

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