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Step outside your comfort zone every day

By Personal DevelopmentNo Comments

Our comfort zone, it keeps us safe, warm, comfortable and snuggly. It also keeps us stagnant, scared and weak.

Our comfort zone is brilliant at keeping us safe and protected, it’s like a fluffy blanket that’s been wrapped around us and we never want it to be removed. We all love it, we all love that feeling of safety, but behind all of the fluffy warmth lurks a dark secret.

Our lovely warm, fluffy comfort zone covered in unicorns actually contains evil monsters called procrastination, weakness and stagnation. These are monsters that we really don’t want in our lives and the only way to escape from them is to step out of our warm comfort zone.

Stepping out of the zone doesn’t mean you’re stepping into the unknown, the darkness or the pit of doom, quite the opposite in fact. Stepping out of your comfort zone actually means stepping into a world full of sunshine, beautiful fields and actual Unicorns. A world I call the Growth Zone.

It’s called the Growth Zone because it’s the place where you grow. Your confidence grows, your skills grow and you grow as a person. There’s no secret path to this place of growth but it DOES take effort to make that step out of your comfort zone.

Stepping into the growth zone, even if it’s just dipping your toe into it each day, can make huge differences to you, to your life, your career and your business.

It DOES require effort from you but the very act of doing something each day that makes you think “oh crap!” can change you in so many wonderful ways.

Make connections, go to the cinema on your own, say hi to a stranger, anything like this that makes you feel uncomfortable will help you grow your comfort zone so what was once scary, then becomes natural.

Every time you enter that growth zone, your comfort zone expands to incorporate that new growth. Look at the people who do a skydive, initially they are SO scared but most, when they get back on the ground, would happily do it all again. Their comfort zone has expanded and embraced what they’ve just done. This applies to everything we do in life.

So get out there, escape that comfort zone and enjoy your time in the growth zone.

What I learned from being a British archery champion

By Personal DevelopmentNo Comments

I’m sure if you know me or being following me for a while you’ll know I used to be British archery champion, an archery coach and held 9 national records.

That’s great n lovely, but what can be learned from that and how can YOU learn from it?

Let me go back in time to when I decided I wanted to go from being an average archer who enjoyed practising with friends on Friday evenings and Sundays, to being a much better archer.

I used to go to my local club on Friday evenings with friends, shoot a few arrows, have a few laughs then into the bar afterwards. Same went for Sundays, drive to a nice outdoor course, shoot round the course for a few hours, have a few laughs then back home. If I wanted to start winning things, this had to change!

So, I started practising seriously on Thursday and Friday evenings then drive 25 miles each way to spend all day Saturday and Sunday practising and practising and practising.

Within 10 months I went from nowhere to 2nd in the country and then the following year I won my first British Championship. Not wanting to sound braggy but when I say I won, nobody was even near me in the points, I’d become that good!

Yeah yeah Darren that’s all great but what can be learned from it?

It shows how much we can accomplish when we dedicate time and energy to something. We can go from being in the shadows to being in the spotlight. There is literally nothing to stop us from achieving great things!

Look back at your own life, look really hard and I will guarantee there will be times when you achieved things that made you think “Oh wow, I really CAN do it!”. It may be passing your exams at school, college or university, it may be a sporting achievement, it may be starting a family and being an amazing parent. There WILL be something to show you what you can accomplish when you push yourself.

So if you can do it then, is there REALLY anything stopping you doing it now? And I mean REALLY, no BS excuses allowed here!

We are ALL capable of incredible things, much greater than we give ourselves credit for… until you actually do them of course.

Have dreams you want to achieve? Then go out there and achieve them!


We can always figure things out

By Personal DevelopmentNo Comments

Remember the movie “The Italian Job” with Michael Caine? Oh I love that movie! I think of the end when the coach is hanging halfway over a cliff, the guys are at one end of the coach and the gold is at the other and threatening to slide out of the back doors.

Michael Caine is determined to get the gold and when he tries to reach it, it slides further out of his reach.

He rolls over, looks at the other guys in the coach and utters the immortal phrase “Hold on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea”.

You see, whenever we come up against obstacles in our life, some of us see them as something they can’t get around, but some see them as something they can figure out how to push past.


There’s a scene at the end of “The Martian” movie where Matt Damon is saying to the prospective astronauts…

“This is space, it does not cooperate,  at some point everything is going to go south on you, everything is going to go south and you’re gonna say this is it this is how I end. Now you can either except that or you can get to work, that’s all it is, you just begin.  You do the math, you solve one problem and you solve the next one and then the next and if you solve enough problems you get to come home.”

And this is what we do in life, we solve a problem then move forward, solve another, and another, until you get to your goals.

But not everyone is willing to solve problems, instead, they put more time and energy into complaining about their obstacles.

In reality, if they put that time and energy into their problem solving, just imagine where they would be in their life instead of being stuck where they currently are.

So do you want to be the Michael Caine and Matt Damon characters? Or do you want to focus your time and energy into moaning and complaining?

The choice is 100% yours to make.

Be Wile E Coyote

By Personal DevelopmentNo Comments

Remember the Road Runner cartoons? You have Wile E Coyote who is always chasing the Road Runner and coming up with the most insane ideas to try and catch him, usually using things mail-ordered from Acme.

From dropping boulders onto the Road Runner to strapping himself to a giant Acme slingshot. We all know he’s going to fail in the most comedic ways but it doesn’t stop him from trying again…. and again…. and again.

This is a lesson we can all learn and apply it to our lives and well as our businesses.

Do you see the coyote taking his mistakes personally, breaking out the ice cream, chocolate and wine, then sitting in front of the TV feeling sorry for himself? Of course not!

So what does he do? He dusts himself off and tried again.

How do you deal with failures? Do you grab the Ben and Jerrys? Or do you say screw that and keep going?

We can’t avoid failures and obstacles but we can change how we deal with things.

When I was training in archery to compete at a national level, I had SO many failures from missing targets completely and losing arrows to hitting things I shouldn’t to falling down (and getting stuck) in mud on a tournament to shooting in Wales with the heavy rain dripping off my nose.

Did I give up? Fuck no! I figured out what went wrong, dusted myself off (or dried myself off in some cases) and kept going no matter what. That how I became British Champion.

And you know what else? I did it with a smile on my face! In fact, I was laughing my ass off most of the time! Sliding down a mudding hillside on an archery tournament, not worrying about myself but holding my bow in the air and when eventually came to a stop, pissing myself laughing and saying “It’s ok, my bow’s ok”… was funny!

You HAVE to enjoy what you’re doing, otherwise, why are you doing it?

3 Tips to better confidence

By Personal DevelopmentNo Comments

Confidence, or lack of, can create internal blocks that can hold us back in all areas of our life, from career to relationships to business.

One of these areas is as an entrepreneur. We NEED that confidence to push ourselves out there, to increase our visibility and to get those sales.

So, if our confidence levels aren’t where we would like them to be, what can we do to improve them?

Here are 3 ways you can boost your self-confidence…

1) Affirmations

In the personal development field, affirmations are the bread and butter tool and rightly so. Affirmations, done over time, can not only hack our sub-conscious to believe those affirmations, they also help to re-wire the neural pathways in our brain through something called neuroplasticity.

Affirmations are phrases that are very positive. You say them to yourself each day, morning and night (and through the day too) to begin changing our sub-conscious mind. You see, our subconscious can’t differentiate between what’s real and what isn’t, that’s why we have such huge reactions when we totally get into a movie, our rational conscious mind is bypassed.

One trick when you’re creating your affirmations is to say them in a process style rather than an ‘as it is’ style. For example, instead of saying “I am confident”, use “I am becoming more each day”. This helps bypass the part of your brain that questions. If you use “I am confident” your mind could reply to itself saying “Really???”, but the process way of wording the affirmations can help stop that and become much more effective.

2) Visualisations

Once you start using affirmations you will begin noticing a difference in your confidence level but when you add visualisation to your toolbox it’ll be like your growth is on steroids!

Visualisation is used a lot in professional sports where the athletes visualise themselves performing amazingly. You’ll see this if you have ever seen the movie ‘Cool Running’. Remember the story about the Jamaican bobsled team? There’s one scene in the movie where the lead guy is sitting in the bath, eyes closed, visualising going down the bobsled track. He did this many many times so when he actually went down the track, in reality, all his movements would be automatic like having muscle-memory.

Visualisation with your confidence levels works exactly the same way. Imagine you are scared of having that first sales call, the very thought of it fills you with dread, just like it did for me. Now, imagine that you’ve done that call many many times until it becomes second-nature, how much of a confidence boost would that be! This is what visualisation can do for you.
So using the scenario of the sales call. Close your eyes and imagine how that call would go if your confidence levels were high, you knew what to do and how to do it, and you felt amazing. Now, run through that process in your mind, over and over, each time, visualising you actually doing it, talking to the other person like you’ve known them for a while, everything goes well. Imagine how you will be feeling while the call was happening, imagine how confident you are feeling.

The more times you visualise these scenarios, the more confident you will become because you will be SO used to doing them.

3) Small steps

Steps 1 and 2 will boost your confidence levels SO much but you have to remember that it won’t be an overnight change, you have to take small steps.

When trying to take huge steps on your road to success, things can become overwhelming and our defence mechanisms kick in to protect us. These take the shape of fear, self-talk telling yourself how bad this is and not to do it, and procrastination.

But, when you take small steps towards your goal of increased self-confidence, those defence mechanisms hold back and don’t appear.

Remember, every journey begins with that first small step, and all of those small steps become a huge and amazing journey.