How to Start a Movement & Change Lives with Andy Ramage

Do you want to make a difference in the world? To start a movement that has the power to change people’s lives?

It may seem like a mammoth task for just one person but Andy Ramage, the Co-Founder of OneYearNoBeer, proves that big changes for many almost always start with big changes for one.

OneYearNoBeer is a challenge whereby participants give up alcohol for a year. During this time, they focus on healthy alternatives and find support and encouragement from a vibrant online and offline community.

Andy Ramage is passionate about doing things differently. His background as a professional athlete inspired his interest in the psychology of peak performance. But his life shifted when he started OneYearNoBeer, which involves taking tactical breaks from alcohol.

Andy and I got together for an intriguing conversation about how he started the OneYearNoBeer challenge and the incredible impact it’s had (and continues to have) on people’s lives.

How OneYearNoBeer Got Started

Around six years ago, Andy recalls grumbling those immortal words – “never again”. Sure, it was the 500th time he told himself that, but this time was different. This time, he meant it.

At that time in his life, Andy was three stone overweight, his relationships were strained, and he was living an unhealthy lifestyle. He left his job at a successful broker company and started his own company. It was at this time that he also decided to take a break from alcohol.

It wasn’t easy. Andy admitted that he made every mistake in the alcohol-free book. He found it really difficult. Andy was a middle lane drinker, who is someone who drinks moderately, sometimes not at all, and occasionally heavily. He assumed that he was drinking the normal amount. He was far from being the town’s drunk, but he did enjoy having a few beers from time to time. However, drinking was getting in the way of him reaching his goals.

“I was just drinking like everyone else. But I realised it was stealing my consistency on a consistent basis. My consistency in the way that I was showing up in the office. My consistency in the way that I was showing up in my relationships, the way that I was exercising, the way that I was eating. It was destroying it.”

When Andy realised this, he set out to find out why. He wanted to understand how his brain worked, so he studied and got his Master’s degree. Then, what started as a 28-day break from alcohol turned into a 90-day alcohol-free period.

What followed was a string of successes in all different areas of Andy’s life. His business went through the roof, he got fit and healthy, and his mindset shifted. He knew that he had to share what he discovered and what he learned with someone. So, he teamed up with another broker named Ruari Fairbairns. They wrote an e-book about it and 10,000 downloads later, thousands of people from around the world were resonating with Andy’s story.

Andy’s story had one key lesson:

“There’s nothing to give up and everything to gain by taking a break.”

People realised that by taking a break from alcohol, they performed better. They saved money. they became motivated. They got their energy back and more importantly, they got their time back.

Dealing with professional “peer pressure”

In business, a lot of networking and negotiating is done over a few drinks. It’s the social norm, right? Many people close their best deals with clients after a few drinks and would argue that that’s when real business gets done.

However, that’s nothing but a limiting belief. You do not need alcohol to build relationships with clients and close deals. Andy believed that he would struggle to do business without having a drink. In fact, many people told him he would struggle but what he discovered told a different story.

“I became so much more consistent in the actual job…I became so much better at that part of it that it superseded any of those late-night connections that I may have made.”

You don’t need alcohol to be interesting or professional. There’s no need to feel awkward or embarrassed being the only person at the table who isn’t having a drink. There are plenty of alcohol-free drinks available. Taking a break from alcohol doesn’t mean you have to be excluded from the conversation.

“You gain so much more than you ever potentially lose. That is the secret to this.”

Challenging cultural habits

Drinking is a social norm for many of us. It’s almost a key part of our culture as social beings and challenging cultural habits like this is not easy.

Turning the tap off is difficult, which is why you need to prepare for it. Treat it like a proper challenge. You may feel like you’re doing it alone because nobody else in your peer group is doing it, but when you commit to the OneYearNoBeer challenge, you have an entire community of people to support you through it.

“When you set out on this little alcohol-free adventure, you will probably be the only person on it.”

Yes, it may feel a little lonely at times. But, if you remain focused and remember why you’re doing it, it becomes so much easier. The positives outweigh the negatives by far, so keep focused on the positives and try your best not to stray.

Starting a movement

Whatever business you’re in or whatever movement you want to start, you’ve got to live it yourself every day. You must embody the very movement you want to create.

You must lead from the front and be an example for others. You need to be truly passionate about what you do. Every day you will have to show up and repeat the process over and over again. If you don’t love doing that same thing on repeat, the movement you want to create will have a hard time taking off.

“That was one of the main reasons I stopped drinking because I knew that my business wouldn’t survive unless I was on my A-game.”

Andy reminds us to focus on your ‘why’ to help get started. But it’s your wins that will motivate you to keep going. Sometimes, we get so focused on the big ‘why’ that we forget to acknowledge the good things that we’re doing in the moment.

Failure is a necessary part of success. Don’t be afraid to fail. Andy talked about this idea that failure is an important lesson on your way to success:

“Failure is part of the process. Whether you’re changing your relationship with alcohol, or you’re transforming your business, you are going to fail, parts of your business will go wrong. That is just the way life is set up.”

“All change requires learning from failure to last.”

Don’t wait to start. Start now!

If you want to create a movement and change your life or change other people’s lives, you’ve got to start. Don’t wait until the perfect moment to start because that moment will never arrive. Start now.

There is always going to be something to set you back. You’ve got to start anyway.

If you’d like to embark on the OneYearNoBeer challenge, you can absolutely do that, and I wish you the best of luck with it!

Andy has two incredible books you can read:

28 Day Alcohol Free Challenge

Let’s Do This! How to Use Motivational Psychology to Change Your Habits for Life

To listen to The OYNB Podcast, visit: https://www.oneyearnobeer.com/podcasts/

Show Notes for YouTube / Podcast Host

Do you want to make a difference in the world? To start a movement that has the power to change people’s lives?

It may seem like a mammoth task for just one person but Andy Ramage, the Co-Founder of OneYearNoBeer, proves that big changes for many almost always start with big changes for one.

OneYearNoBeer is a challenge whereby participants give up alcohol for a year. During this time, they focus on healthy alternatives and find support and encouragement from a vibrant online and offline community.

Andy Ramage joins me for an intriguing conversation about how he started the OneYearNoBeer challenge, the incredible impact it’s had (and continues to have) on people’s lives, and how you can start your own movement.

Find out about:

How OneYearNoBeer Got Started visit www.oneyearnobeer.com

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

Listen to the Podcast

How to Overcome Anxiety & Build a Personal Brand with Mark Metry

You can build a personal brand on virtually any social media platform. But, if you want to grow a personal brand as your business, you’ve got to make the most of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is arguably one of the most powerful business networking tools at your disposal. Knowing how to optimize your visibility on the platform and shape your messages around your personal brand plays a key role in building an influential personal brand on LinkedIn.

Many people shy away from LinkedIn because it was once heavily associated with being a very serious platform made up of very serious business people. However, LinkedIn has evolved into so much more than that.

Forbes Featured and TEDx keynote speaker, Mark Metry, suffered from severe social anxiety to the point where he couldn’t make direct eye contact with anyone. Now, he is a socially free person and speaks on stage to thousands of people worldwide.

Mark joined me for an eye-opening and inspiring discussion about how you can build an incredible personal brand on LinkedIn. We also dive into Mark’s experience with severe social anxiety and uncover a few of the key teachings from his book, Screw Being Shy

How to increase visibility on LinkedIn

Before Mark really grasped the concept of LinkedIn, he saw it as nothing more than an online resume. It wasn’t until he started to take it seriously that he learned the fundamentals of what works, and what doesn’t.

Obviously, you want your personal brand to exist and thrive beyond the confines of LinkedIn. Mark has never viewed LinkedIn as a destination. Instead, he sees it as a vehicle, not the end goal.

You can use LinkedIn as a vehicle in the same way you’d use the gym as a vehicle. The gym is a vehicle to test your stresses every day, to test your body every day. It’s a path to get you physically stronger, mentally stronger, or more resilient to stress.”

Your success on LinkedIn (or in general) should not be measured by numbers. It doesn’t matter how many likes, comments, or shares your posts get. One post might get two or three likes while your next post could take off and go viral on the platform. Mark reminds us that things don’t happen overnight. You can’t go to the gym once and leave expecting to have a six-pack or toned abs. It doesn’t work like that. You need to put the work in and keep showing up.

A post might get very few likes or engagement overall compared to a previous post you published that got thousands of likes. But that post with barely any likes could be the one that converts viewers and connections into real customers.

Consistency is key. If you want someone to trust you enough to want to work with you and they want to pay you for your services, they need to know, like, and trust you. This is why consistency is so important. Keep showing up because you never know who might be watching.

Become a student of the platform

To master LinkedIn, you’ve got to be an active member of the platform and you’ve got to keep learning. Understanding the inner workings of the platform and the algorithm is so important. If you look closely, you’ll begin to notice a pattern. Maybe certain posts perform better than others. Perhaps people engage more when you post a video rather than a block of text. Pay attention to the patterns and what seems to be working.

Mark talked about these changing patterns and how every social media platform change constantly. Sometimes it rises, sometimes it goes down. Nothing stays the same for long and you need to be on top of these changes so that you’re ready for anything. You’ve got to be a student of the platform.

If you want to grow your personal brand on LinkedIn, you also need to make sure you don’t get stuck in a bubble. Every industry has its own jargon and people tend to regurgitate the same jargon over and over again. It gets a little dull. While there’s nothing wrong with speaking to your audience in their language, you also need to think about how you can be different than the rest. How can you change the world?

Overcoming anxiety and shyness

Building a personal brand is something that many of us want to accomplish, but there’s something holding us back. For you, it might be a lack of confidence in yourself or your message. Or, if you’re like Mark, you might suffer from intense anxiety and shyness.

There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. But there is a difference between being introverted and being shy. If you’re shy, you likely struggle to make your thoughts and opinions known to others. You’re quiet. You probably prefer to sit at the back of the room, away from glaring eyes and judgemental stares. If this sounds like you, then you’ll love Mark’s book, Screw Being Shy: Learn How to Manage Social Anxiety and Be Yourself in Front of Anyone.

In his book, Mark walks you through a step-by-step guide to help you overcome shyness for good. Mark went from having severe social anxiety, unable to speak to anyone or even make eye contact, to becoming a socially free person and speaking on stage to thousands of people worldwide. It’s quite an achievement and one that is possible for you too.

Social anxiety can be a dangerous path

If you’re shy, it tends to show up as a pattern in every single situation in your life. Your body reacts nervously to social situations and although you’re not consciously aware of it, you’re afraid to talk to people. If you have severe social anxiety, it can lead to other problems and mental health issues that you might not even be aware of.

Social anxiety is often correlated with substance abuse and social isolation. Substance Abuse and social isolation are heavily correlated with suicide.”

When Mark was 18, he fell down a slippery slope and gained a tremendous amount of weight. He began abusing substances and reached a point where he was suicidal. He felt like he was trapped. Identifying the root cause of the issue and developing a holistic, sustainable, and functional plan to help get you out is what Mark teaches in his book.

Your mental health and your gut

There’s a chapter in Mark’s book called, “My Gut Broke,” in which he talks about how he began to abuse food as an emotional coping mechanism. He became obese and gained over 70 pounds.

As humans, we have created a symbiotic relationship with our gut for thousands of years that has made us the number one species on this planet. By that same virtue, if two organisms are cooperating together to be in symbiosis, the dysfunction of that is dysbiosis.”

If you look at the studies, they take people’s gut microbiomes, who are in dysbiosis, and it is correlated to not just social anxiety, but countless other mental health issues and also other chronic illnesses.”

Most people are so focused on having a positive attitude, working harder, and so on, while very few people are addressing the root cause of the issue. Your gut health has a massive role to play in your mental and physical health. There’s no such thing as a universal healthy diet. But there are things you can do to improve your diet, which in turn, will help improve your mental health.

Humans shouldn’t be eating artificial chemicals or preservatives. If you turn a packet of food around and you can barely pronounce any of the words in the long list of ingredients, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

There is a real problem with what is going on today, specifically in terms of people’s emotional health, and how they use food as a drug to cope with that to make them less anxious.”

So many people overlook the relationship between food and mental health. If changing your diet completely is too difficult for you, start small. Introduce a healthy meal in your diet every day and that will be a great start because you’re making at least one positive change in your lifestyle.

If you want to build a personal brand on LinkedIn, or anywhere really, but social anxiety is getting in your way, make sure that you check out Mark’s book, Screw Being Shy: Learn How to Manage Social Anxiety and Be Yourself in Front of Anyone and listen to his podcast,Humans 2.0, a Global Top 100 Show for entrepreneurs about the modern technological context of our world and provides anyone with the full tools they need to develop themselves on a regular basis.

Show Notes for YouTube / Podcast Host

TEDx keynote speaker, Mark Metry, suffered from severe social anxiety to the point where he couldn’t make direct eye contact with anyone. He went from having severe social anxiety, unable to speak to anyone or even make eye contact, to becoming a socially free person and speaking on stage to thousands of people worldwide.

In this episode, Mark joins me for an eye-opening and inspiring discussion about how you can build an incredible personal brand on LinkedIn. We also dive into Mark’s experience with severe social anxiety and uncover a few of the key teachings from his book, Screw Being Shy

Find out about:

  • How to build a personal brand on LinkedIn
  • How to overcome social anxiety and shyness
  • Understanding the relationship between mental health and gut health

For more information and to read the blog post on this topic go to <URL to website or CTA to podcast page/YouTube account>

http://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/scale-without-burnout-with-andrew-sillitoe/id1481633326

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

Listen to the Podcast

Podcast review with Todd Herman – How are men and women CEO’s responding differently to the current crisis?

Working with elite performers across sports and business, Todd Herman is an entrepreneur, business coach, mentor and author and in his book the Alter ego effect, Todd has pushed the narrative of having different personas for different situations, however today, I talked to Todd about something a little different.

Following his report into how men and women CEO’s are responding to the current Covid situation I sat down with Todd to see why he wrote that report, what he found and what he thought we could learn from it. We also got into a few other areas of interest including why someone that was winning on the outside could actually be losing on the inside.

So enjoy, because in this blog you can read the best bits of my talk with Todd Herman.

I started by asking Todd why he put the report together, what his thought process was and what made him do it.

“We’re obviously working through and dealing with some fascinating times right now and while I value research, I value the action that happens on the field of play. I’m more interested in what people are actually doing, not what people are saying that they’re doing because there’s a massive divide, and when you’re working with people from a performance standpoint I like to pay attention to the words that people use because your words that you use create a fantastic window into how you perceive the world, how you perceive yourself.

When the proverbial shit was hitting the fan at the beginning March, at least here in North America, I immediately started reaching out to CEOs, founders and leaders of entrepreneur organizations and started interviewing them on a base set of questions that has evolved into something far larger just to find out what their mindset was and how they’re responding to this.”

Todd then expanded on what he expected to find.

“I was figuring that we’d probably find two specific groups, one that would be leaning towards maybe fear, the other one that was maybe leaning towards opportunity, and the reality is, there’s been three groups.

There’s a fear focussed group, there’s an unfocussed group and there’s a strategy focussed group.”

And how he found that data.

“I’ve been interviewing 91 CEOs. We’ve been tracking data with them every single week. They’ve got to be filling out certain things with me and it’s been bringing out a whole bunch of phenomenal data on who’s winning right now, who’s losing right now. What are the decisions that they’re making? What are their choices? There’s fascinating stuff between how men and women are responding differently right now and the results that they’re getting.”

I asked Todd to elaborate on the differences between an academic study and what he is doing, here’s what he had to say.

“I want to be mapping stuff back to how is it actually changing the behaviour or changing the results that you’re getting? Because there’s a lot of stuff out there that sounds wonderful and it would be lovely if it actually worked out that way, but human beings are massively nuanced and all of the stuff that sits inside of leadership books or personal books or self-help books, it just doesn’t actually bear fruit. “

Todd then provided some practical examples from within his study

“One of the examples right now of the three different groups, there is a large group of the fear focus group who are actually winning and getting some better results than some people who are strategy focussed right now, meaning the numbers inside their company are slightly better and their ability to pivot hasn’t been diminished.

My point is, people automatically make the assumption when I break down those three groups that the strategy focussed people are automatically winning. No, they’re not necessarily. But what they are winning at, better than the fear focus group is they’re actually people who are having a way higher level or way higher quality level of mental health.”

Which then transitioned into the differences between men and women

“So the people that are sitting inside of the fear focus group, men particularly, men leaders, are 4.2 times more likely to be battling moderate to severe levels of depression, so they could still be winning, but mentally, they are not winning. Their quality of sleep has diminished, so they are getting less hours of sleep and that affects almost everything. Decision making goes down when you have lack of sleep, your cortisol levels spike, so now your stress levels are spiking, your emotional regulation starts to plummet and you become all over the place and so, that’s the stuff that’s fascinating and that’s the stuff that doesn’t get talked about very often.”

I asked Todd to talk about that and to talk about the people who may be winning on the outside but struggling on the inside and how they could be more aware of that.

“So I’ve had this checklist that I’ve run through for myself because mental health, when you manage it and when you are aware of it, does it ever massively change the quality of your life.

Because people who deal with procrastination, avoidant behaviour, even sleep issues, levels of self-confidence, all of that stuff can be tracking metrics that can be going back to really you might be dealing with depression right now. So one of the things I do is to be tracking overall levels of mental health. So there’s a checklist you go through. It actually comes out of the book, Feeling Good, by Dr. Burns, called ‘The Burns Depression Checklist’, I’ve modified it a bit, put it into an Excel document that people can use and track and it actually starts to create a graph over time. I encourage people to do it, this is what we’re doing, this is why I’ve got so much data right now on mental health, every single CEO on the study is filling out this checklist weekly.”

After discussing the importance of language I asked Todd what he listens to when communicating with someone, especially in a leadership perspective

“Well, it’s the choices of words that people use to describe a situation, but then also so the word alone isn’t just enough, it’s also the emotional context around it.

So, for example, inside of the study right now, people that are in the fear focus group will use future pacing negative words 13 times more than strategy focussed people. It can also be a present tense thing, hard, difficult, now here’s the interesting thing, strategy focussed people are still using some of those words, but it’s the context around it.

So if a strategy focussed individual is saying, you know what, these are hard times, but, we’ll find the right game plan or i’ve been through hard times before and we’ll make something happen, there’s something good that’s going to come out of this.

Whereas a fear focussed person is going to sit with the actual experience of it being hard and it creates a context of doubt, whereas for the strategy focussed people, it doesn’t create the context of doubt, it creates the context of opportunity or growth, and so that’s what I mean by word choices.”

And how is that impacting on the decisions that each group is making?

“The unfocussed group is taking longer to take action. The fear focussed Group is taking the action, but the driver of the action is out of fear and the strategy focussed group is taking the action, but the driver is out of looking for the opportunity and growth and it’s those two shifts in perspective that is changing how people are experiencing this change.”

I asked Todd to tell me more about the key findings from within the three groups and specifically the differences between men and women.

“Right now women CEOs are 18% more likely to be strategy focussed than men and what’s been fascinating, through the study, what this (data) is showing, is we will actually go and retreat into traditional roles, or traditional archetypes that we live through, so women, as a group have retreated and responded into becoming far more caretakers, so what do I mean by that?

Well, just some stats, women are 351% more likely to have sent care packages to their employees than men, they’re 603% more likely to bring up child care as a personal responsibility than men are and 247% more likely to be caring for an elderly parent, but again, that’s just situational and women are taking 65% longer to make adjustments to their teams, meaning layoffs, furloughs or cutting freelancers, and again, that goes back to the psychology of a caretaker.

What that means is that before this whole thing started, women were 18% more likely to be running a more profitable venture than men were before March 1st, but now, they’re 11% less likely after March 1 and that’s because they were just taking longer to make some of the shifts with the team.

On the men’s side of things, again, like I said, men are 430% more likely to be suffering from moderate to severe depression. 85% more likely to have applied for the financial government programs than women were and men are getting 12% more sleep than women and when you take a look at some of these things it’s just fascinating things.”

What was the thing that really stood out and surprised you the most?

“Men are 225% less likely to be coachable, meaning seeking advice.

Men are seeking advice, but this is the key thing, women are seeking advice with the intent of listening and taking action. More men are battling mental health issues than women are, women have reached out, they’ve actually created more support groups around themselves than men have, and again, it’s the intent. It’s the intent of listening and taking action, which men again, not massively, but it’s still a significant amount, are just not being coachable as much as women are, that’s one thing that’s been really amazing.

The male ego is helping in some ways and hurting in others. It’s helping in optimism as men are actually more optimistic than women are that something good is going to come out of this, but where it’s hurting them is in the identification of if the business is struggling, they take it on, and that’s what’s triggering a lot of the mental health stuff.”

Todd then highlighted that these points were being driven by the data, not his own thoughts

“It’s just the data, like I said the women are just mentioning childcare more than men are. Well, that would be something that a caretaker would say more. They’re concerned about their parents more and again, how do I know they’re concerned about their parents more? Word choice. They’re just bringing it up more and I’m paying attention to what you’re saying and because your word choices are an indication of where your thoughts are leaning towards men aren’t bringing it up as much as women are.”

Final thoughts

After elaborating further on his book, The Alter Ego Effect, and taking a few questions from our listeners my time with Todd was over but it proved to be an informative, fun and fast paced podcast with a very interesting guest and someone that I could listen to all day long.

It was a great interview with some very interesting points regarding how are male and female CEO’s are responding differently to the current crisis and it’s podcast I recommend you go out and listen to immediately. You can hear the rest of the podcast and hear.

about Todd’s book and the idea of having multiple personas by clicking the link.

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

Listen to the Podcast

Seth Godin: How to Scale in Your Niche

Whether you’re a start-up or you’ve been in the game for years, one thing that you must do if you want to reach true success is to embrace your niche. Focusing your efforts on marketing around the smallest viable audience is a key strategy that Seth Godin, author of Seth’s Blog, has advised fellow entrepreneurs to do for quite some time.

But, how can you scale in your niche?

What are some practical ways you can do this effectively without putting your livelihood on the line?

Seth Godin joined me for an incredibly interesting conversation that dives into this topic further. We also explore burnout, which many of you know is a topic very close to my heart, and why playing safe is risky.

What causes burnout?

Burnout is an emotional state whereby you feel so overwhelmed, stressed, and drained, that you are unable to meet the demands being asked of you. It’s a very difficult thing to go through because it can leave you feeling physically and mentally exhausted.

Emotional turmoil due to burnout also tends to emerge as physical symptoms. Some of these include reduced creativity, exhaustion, headaches, stomach aches, and many more. You may also struggle to maintain your original performance level as burnout eats away at your cognitive thinking processes.

As Seth pointed out, “What causes burnout is not effort. What causes burnout is stress.”

Stress is the result of wanting, or feeling like you have to, do two things at the same time. You may not want to do those things, but you feel the pressure that you must. At the same time, your self-confidence dips and you’re not even sure that you can do those things well or on time.

How to navigate your way through burnout

The first step to overcome burnout or evade it completely is to avoid any profession where everyone is burned out. If you’re talking to people a certain profession and all of them mention how they feel tired all the time, stressed out, and down about their jobs, stay clear of that profession. It’s probably not for you.

You will not burn out doing something that you enjoy. Seth has written for his blog every day for years. He has written 7000 posts, which would give many people a headache just thinking about. However, because Seth enjoys it and he’s passionate about what he does, he has never experienced stress because of his blog.

Here’s what Seth has to say about this:

I gave myself permission a long time ago to stop doing it when it’s not what I want to do, and that very permission turns into something I get to do instead of something I have to do.”

What stress looks like for freelancers Vs entrepreneurs

A lot of people who run small businesses misinterpret their stress because they do not understand the distinction between freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Seth clarified the confusion by reinforcing how both sides get paid. Freelancers get paid when they work. They can’t necessarily scale that because it’s solely based on them. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, must do work that causes other people to do the actual thing that’s getting paid for.

The problem comes when you’re a freelancer who wants to scale.

So, you might decide it’s time to become an entrepreneur. Great. There’s just one little thing to take into consideration…cash is tight. When a project comes along, you hire the best person for the job who also happens to be the cheapest. You hire yourself…over and over again.

The cycle continues like this and you’re stressed because you’re struggling to scale, and you’ve become both a freelancer and an entrepreneur at the same time. It’s difficult, it’s not fun, and it’s stressful.

How can a freelancer scale?

If you’re constantly hiring yourself to do every project that comes your way, you will never be able to scale. You only have so many hours in the day and so, you need to move up.

According to Seth, the only way a freelancer can scale is by getting better clients.

If you start trying to hire junior versions of you, you’re going to get stressed out of your mind.”

“Every minute you’re not doing it because you’re managing someone who’s not quite as good, not quite as brave, not quite as hardworking as you, you’re subtracting from your art and your beauty. Stop doing that.”

The solution is to get smaller. Niche down and recruit higher-paid people. People who are just as good as you, just as hardworking, and just as passionate about the job, clients, and scaling the business.

Why playing safe is risky

For whatever reason, the idea of focusing on a niche scares a lot of people. To truly understand the power of niching down, you need to understand why playing safe is so risky.

Seth challenges you to think about who your business or creative heroes are. We’ve all got someone we look up to and aspire to be like in some way or another. Seth argues that those people will fall into one of two categories.

The first category is the lucky ones. Maybe they were in the right place at the right time and somebody happened to “pick” them. But, most of your business and creative heroes are specific. They are not vague or general. They have a niche and you will never be able to follow in their footsteps by being generic. It’s just never going to work.

Playing safe is risky, which is why you need to be specific. You need to stand for something and that something may not matter to everyone, but it will matter to you and the specific audience you are providing value for.

Marketing to your smallest viable market

Scaling within your chosen niche starts by marketing to your smallest viable market. Recruiters, for example, often don’t realize that they are marketers. They are marketing to two groups of people:

Clients need to trust you to recruit the best possible people for the job. This group of people must believe you because they’re the ones who will tell their boss why they hired you in the first place, so you’ve got to bring it.

The second group of people that recruiters need to market to are not the unemployed, but the happily employed. Why? Well, as Seth Godin points out, “those are the people that are most worth recruiting.”

These are marketing choices. Remember that marketing is not advertising. You need to think about things like what are you building? Who are you building it for? And, what change are you hoping to make?

Seth shared some practical tips to help you understand and focus on your smallest viable market.

The first step is to think about 20, 40, or 100 people (by name) that your business is for. If you’re struggling to be specific, you’re in trouble because you’re just going to go back to being a generalist.

If you can say ‘specifically, it’s for people like this’, then you can make something that will overwhelm them with goodness. And then you’ve solved an interesting problem and they will tell others.”

But if you are afraid of the critics, if you are trying to fit in for everybody, if you are hustling, then you won’t do that and you won’t find the confidence to actually do good marketing.”

To do good marketing, you’ve got to make marketing an intentional act.

So, are you ready to scale in your niche? If so, you know what you need to do!

To read Seth Godin’s famous blog, which is packed with thousands of incredible blog posts, head over to: https://seths.blog 

Akimbo is a series of fantastic workshops designed to change your life for the better, no matter your niche or expertise. To find out more, go to: https://akimbo.com  

Show Notes for YouTube / Podcast Host 

Whether you’re a start-up or you’ve been in the game for years, one thing that you must do if you want to reach true success is to embrace your niche.

Focusing your efforts on marketing around the smallest possible viable market is a key strategy that Seth Godin, author of Seth’s Blog, has advised fellow entrepreneurs to do for quite some time.

In this episode, Seth Godin joins me for an incredibly interesting conversation that dives into this topic further. We also explore burnout, which many of you know is a topic very close to my heart, and why playing safe is risky.

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

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The 90-Day Reset—and How It Can Transform Your Life

Whether you have a three-year, 12-month or 20-year vision for your life, you can make great strides by starting with a 90-day game plan.

With this plan, you’ll reflect on the type of person you are: whether you’re someone who is naturally results-driven and tends to jump straight to trying to drive up the bottom line, or someone who is more reflective but who perhaps isn’t always good at getting clear on what needs to be done. You’ll focus on getting results in 90 days but see results at your 30- and 60-day benchmarks. You’ll review your progress weekly during the course of the game plan, to establish what’s working and what needs more work. You’ll assess whether you’re heading in the right direction, staying agile, needing to make some changes, or trying different tactics.

To achieve this, we’ll explore the following questions in each of the four keys—business, body, relationships, and mindset:

1. What is the single biggest challenge you are facing in your business, body, relationships, and mindset?

2. What are your desired outcomes for each key in 90 days?

3. What options and ideas do you have that will help you achieve your desired outcome?

4. How will you turn your ideas into a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART) targets?

Stretch Your Goals

Whether you’re a sports team or a business, the principles for going beyond your comfort zone are the same. In the film Facing Giants, there’s a scene I share in the Get Fit To Win workshop. It’s a little cheesy, although for some, it is very emotive and inspiring. The coach is communicating with his players, and one guy, Brock, has this limiting belief. He doesn’t think they can win their next game.

The coach turns to him and says, ‘Have you written Friday night off as a loss, Brock, already? Have you written the game off?’

Brock responds, ‘Not if I think we can beat them.’

The coach takes the team outside and runs a drill called the Death Crawl. Brock has to carry one of his teammates on his back, crawling with just hands and feet. The coach asks Brock how far he thinks he can get, and Brock says, ‘I think I can get to thirty yards with Jeremy on my back.’

The coach says, ‘No. I think you can get to fifty yards with Jeremy on your back. I’m going to blindfold you because I don’t want you quitting when you think you’ve gone far enough.’

They proceed, with Brock carrying Jeremy, and he gets to a point where he’s in a lot of pain. The rest of the team start laughing, saying, ‘He’s never going to get to fifty.’

The coach shouts encouragement, saying, ‘twenty more yards, five more yards’, and so on.

When Brock takes off his blindfold, he sees that he’s actually gone 100 yards. For Brock, his comfort zone was 30 yards, and his stretch was 50. He was limiting himself with his belief. Once his limits were removed, he had the capacity to attain 100 yards.

I experienced this first-hand as head coach of Team GB Inline Hockey. We were the lowest seed, and the Czechs were the highest, yet I believed we could steal points in the Pool A group against Team Czech and Team Finland. It wasn’t just delusion; I knew with the right tactics we could upset them. But tactics are useless without belief. We had to believe in our tactics, and we had to believe we could win. I remember texting the captain my thoughts. I texted, ‘We have an opportunity to beat the Czechs, who are the highest seed as world championships.’ He thought I had been drinking! In the end, we tied the Czechs and beat the Finns.

Playing Safe Is Risky

As a business leader, you may need to take risks during your 90-Day Reset and embrace the unknown to achieve your vision.

On Team GB, one of our mantras was ‘Playing safe is risky’. Whilst there are times when it is appropriate to play safe, it is also a sign of complacency or avoiding a perceived threat.

You’ll see players turn away from their opponent, failing to execute a play in the hope they won’t make a mistake or get turned over. It is a sign of nerves, the inner voice keeping them safe when really, they need to be on the offence. This is as true in business as it is in sports. Playing it safe can prevent you from moving forward and reaching your full potential, but you can commit to being on the offence and going for the win.

Executing your 90-Day Reset will require the right mindset to deal with your inner voice that will try to derail you. The reset is about going all in, so timing is key. It’s about action that keeps you motivated and driven; you’ll need to keep your purpose at the forefront of your mind as a daily reminder of your why. This keeps you going forward and frees you of any fear and anxiety about the outcomes attached to risk that keep you in your comfort zone. If you play it safe, you’ll never reach your full potential. Commit, be on the offence, and go for the win!

Mastermind Example: 90-Day Reset

Ready to create your plan? Here’s an example of a 90-Day Reset that came from Mark Baker, who is one of my Get Fit To Win Mastermind participants. You’ll see there is a mix of metrics and plenty of non-urgent, big-picture objectives.

1. Business Key:

  • Improve profit per salesperson and increase overall business profitability by 12 per cent
  • Change commission plan to reward overachievers and pay less for those under target

2. Body Key:

  • Lose a stone (6.5KG)
  • Do 3–4 gym sessions a week and 1 × 15-minute HIIT session at home per week
  • Stick to a healthier diet and no alcohol at home during the week

3. Relationship Key:

  • Arrange a date night every week
  • Spend more quality time with my daughters (even though they’re grown up, independent, and busy doing their own thing – I don’t see them enough)

4. Mindset Key:

  • A minimum of ten minutes of meditation per day
  • Take time out for a 15 to 20-minute walk at lunchtime to get out the office and away from the desk every day

By considering how The 4 Keys affect your life and tailoring the 90-Day Reset to fit your needs, you can take the first step toward long-lasting change.

For more advice on career performance, you can find The 4 Keys on Amazon.

Andrew Sillitoe is a business psychologist, author, and speaker. His innovative approach to leadership and work-life balance has earned him invitations to work with a range of global companies, including Pfizer, Nationwide, Virgin, and the BBC. Today Andrew runs the UK’s number-one training company for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to succeed in business, health, relationships, and mindset.

The 4 Keys on Amazon

Your Business—and Life—Need a Firm Foundation

Whatever you’re doing or creating, you need a firm foundation on which to build something that lasts. If you build your house on sand, it’ll be unstable and unsustainable as the sand erodes from beneath it.

Businesses often establish values, but if they don’t reflect the company and its people, they’re merely marketing jargon or words on a wall. When you define your own core values or those of your business, you will need to dig deep and really think about the kind of person you want to be—what you want to stand for. Envision your future self, perhaps a year from today, and where you and your business will be if you begin to live your core values today.

Working with Team GB, I took a clinical, pragmatic approach to values. I introduced a set of core values to the locker room and witnessed a genuine shift in behaviour. Furthermore, there was an obvious connection between the behavioural change and the results we achieved. This dramatic shift made everyone feel safe in the locker room—even guys who fought like cats and dogs every week. Having those values gave them common ground.

Because it worked so well for the team, I began to question my own values as a human being. I realised that sometimes we hold on to values that work against us, often subconsciously. For example, when I was a kid, I’d always look for the easiest route, or I’d not do my work, then try to make up excuses. That subconscious value left over from school of always looking for the easiest way was not helpful. It was destructive and limiting. I had to make a conscious effort to replace it with something that does serve me, such as, ‘Give every task 100 per cent of my effort, and never make excuses.’

My mum was an extremely optimistic person, and she encouraged me to pursue my dreams and play hockey. She instilled many values in me that later enabled me to be more resilient. However, she also let me do almost anything I wanted, and she didn’t pressure me to do things that I didn’t want to do. For example, if I didn’t want to go to school, I had nobody to tell me, ‘It’s not about whether or not you want to go, it’s about resilience, commitment, and long-term gain,’ so I was allowed to be lazy without correction. My dad was also very laid back, and while their relaxed parenting encouraged me to be a free thinker, which I am grateful for, it didn’t teach me the accountability, responsibility, or any other core values that every child needs.

This is another example of how past experiences shape us, and not always for the better. Because of my lack of parental discipline, now I make a concerted effort to instil the right values in my daughter. I help her develop a work ethic by letting her know she has to do the work. I instil in her that it’s not okay to make excuses or lie, and that she must be honest and speak the truth about the way she feels. I don’t just preach at her, however. I make an effort to be a role model for her, practising these values in all aspects of my life so she has a clear example to follow. Legacy isn’t just about what you leave behind financially; legacy is about the values you leave behind for future generations to live by.

The Four Foundations

This clear set of values makes up what I refer to as the Foundations. You can use them to guide your decisions and create sound, meaningful, sustainable change.

1. Do the Work.

2. No Excuses.

3. Always Ready.

4. Speak the Truth.

Simple, right? Implementing these foundations seems easy, but if the stories that shaped you don’t reflect them, you may have to make a conscious effort to instil the foundations into your current everyday behaviour. For some of us, the Foundations are ambitions we aim to live by, even though we may fail from time to time.

Think ahead to your future self and what your life will be like if you applied the foundations starting today: Do the workNo excusesAlways readySpeak the truth. If you lived your life by these, what could you achieve in just three months? In five years? You can likely achieve more than you realize.

For more advice on career performance, you can find The 4 Keys on Amazon.

Andrew Sillitoe is a business psychologist, author, and speaker. His innovative approach to leadership and work-life balance has earned him invitations to work with a range of global companies, including Pfizer, Nationwide, Virgin, and the BBC. Today Andrew runs the UK’s number-one training company for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to succeed in business, health, relationships, and mindset.

The 4 Keys on Amazon

Passion vs. Purpose—Which Drives You?

There’s a difference between passion and purpose, but they both play an important role in your personal and professional lives.

Passion is what we love. For example, I’m passionate about roller hockey. I love it. Passion is what serves us. Purpose, on the other hand, is about serving others. Your purpose becomes your why. How do you, through your purpose, serve others? Your customers? Your team? Your friends and family? From this identification of purpose, your values begin to manifest.

What is your motivation for change? Why is it important to you? Who, besides yourself, will benefit from these changes? Answering these questions encourages you to think outside of yourself. Why did you create your vision? What would future-you say to present-you in a postcard? Who else benefits from that future?

When I spoke to young hockey players, I told them how much I loved the game. I played and practised every day. I always wanted to win. I wanted to be the best. I would get quite upset and frustrated when, particularly at men’s world level, other players would go out drinking at the world championships. They’d say, ‘We’re away for ten days. We’ve got to relax and have fun.’ I would be thinking, We’re away for ten days to play hockey, not to go out and drink. Then they’d turn up for a match the next day hung over, and I’d be so angry. On reflection, this was selfish of me because I was only serving myself by fulfilling my passion. However, if you play with purpose, you’re still playing with intent, but you’re playing with the intent to make the rest of the players better. For me, this is at the very heart of leadership.

Like many other young players, in my early playing days, it was all about proving myself to the coach, Mark Cavallin, and holding on to the puck a bit longer to try and beat more players or pull off a fancy play. I was a selfish player. At one point, I apologised to my coach for not scoring goals, and he told me to stop trying. He told me to instead focus on assisting other players and letting them score the goals. Suddenly, through this selfless play, I started scoring more goals. Mark led the team with purpose. He was more concerned with developing and teaching us as individuals and not just players, and his consistency and sense of purpose made me really trust him.

The same principles of selflessness and serving others can be applied to business. The best way to get out of your own head is to serve other people. Move the puck quicker and give other players more time on the puck. You’re stronger when you’re serving others and when you’re working as part of a unit, so dare to let go and allow others to thrive so they can realise their visions as well.

Align Your Why Across The 4 Keys

It’s easier to find the purpose for your business than for your relationships because the purpose for a business tends to be more pragmatic, although it may border on marketing messages. While they may have value, business whys can distract from the deeper, more meaningful whys that transcend across all four keys.

My why has often been about helping people create an environment in which they can thrive, feel inspired, and reach their full potential. This translates into helping them become fit and healthy with a positive mindset. I did this with Team GB and with businesses and executives.

However, I didn’t think about the environment I was creating at home. I wasn’t present for my wife or children. For example, I’d never look at my phone halfway through a client meeting, but it never occurred to me that looking at texts and email messages during dinner with my family was just as wrong.

Once I took a deeper look at my purpose—I get up in the morning to help others thrive—I realised my why shouldn’t be limited to my professional life. Paying the bills may be an immediate priority, but it meant very little in the long run, especially compared to other priorities, like my children. Tapping into that why and applying it to my relationships was incredibly important. When I could do that, I connected better with my family, and this reflected back across my business by making me a better coach and team leader.

Each of The 4 Keys is linked. Business. Body. Relationships. Mindset. When something impacts one key, the effects are felt across all four, whether the influence is positive or negative. If your business suffers, so do your relationships. If your health improves, so does your mindset. If your mindset improves, so do your relationships.

For more advice on finding your purpose, you can find The 4 Keys on Amazon.

Andrew Sillitoe is a business psychologist, author, and speaker. His innovative approach to leadership and work-life balance has earned him invitations to work with a range of global companies, including Pfizer, Nationwide, Virgin, and the BBC. Today Andrew runs the UK’s number-one training company for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to succeed in business, health, relationships, and mindset.

For more advice on career performance, you can find The 4 Keys on Amazon.

Andrew Sillitoe is a business psychologist, author, and speaker. His innovative approach to leadership and work-life balance has earned him invitations to work with a range of global companies, including Pfizer, Nationwide, Virgin, and the BBC. Today Andrew runs the UK’s number-one training company for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to succeed in business, health, relationships, and mindset.

The 4 Keys on Amazon

Why You Should Write a Postcard to Yourself

To achieve balance across The 4 Keys—business, body, relationships, and mindset—you need to explore your current position in life and identify what it is you’re not happy with. Create a vision of the ideal future you’d like to work toward.

Once you have your vision, the following exercise can help solidify your intentions and put you in the mindset to make your vision a reality.

Take a postcard and write it from the you of the future—the one who has achieved the visions on your vision board—whether they’re three months, six months, or five years in the future.

Write the card to the current you, telling yourself how it feels to be where you are, having achieved your vision. Once you’ve written your postcard, take a step back and think about what you need to do to get to that future point.

What did the future you do to get there? What did it take? What sort of changes did you make across your four keys to achieve that life? This is a simple but illuminating exercise that provokes real thought and insight.

Here’s an example of a postcard from a future self:

1 October 2022. You would so want to be here right now! We have an apartment in Prague, and we decided to head to the Czech mountains. I’m looking out at the mountains right now. I took a walk before breakfast and am feeling fitter and stronger than ever. It’s so wonderful to have everyone here together. Izzie has a great career and is thriving; we went on a hike together yesterday. I spent the afternoon playing ball with Harry and Freya, and tonight is my favourite night of the week – date night with my wife. Lucie’s business has really taken off and is thriving. Oh, and Get Fit To Win has made a difference to over one million business leaders worldwide. We have a Get Fit To Win conference planned next month to celebrate the success. Anyway, wish you were here.

P.S. When are you getting here?

Take the Exercise One Step at a Time

Keep the postcard simple by breaking it down into four easy steps.

Step 1: Set yourself an imaginary future date from which you’ll be writing your postcard.

Step 2: Describe the achievements under the headers on your vision board, such as business growth, your role, weight loss, and so on.

Step 3: Write the postcard from your future self. Make sure you include words that describe what you see, hear, and feel. This is your untold story that hasn’t come to pass yet, so make sure you describe your emotions and your achievements too.

Step 4: From your future point of view, look back at the steps you had to take to get to this point. What were the key events, decisions, and challenges you faced? How did you overcome the hurdles? What type of mindset did you have to adopt to achieve this vision? This is a good time to consider the non-urgent projects and tasks that you seem to put off because you’re busy with whatever needs to be done at the moment. These non-urgent activities are critical to your progress and will make the greatest difference in your future. Write down some of your non-urgent tasks.

The point of this exercise is to get clearer about your purpose and to prompt you to think about how you’re going to connect your current self to your future self. The more you’re able to define and envision your ideal future, the better prepared you’ll be to set events in motion to make it happen.

For more advice on career performance, you can find The 4 Keys on Amazon.

Andrew Sillitoe is a business psychologist, author, and speaker. His innovative approach to leadership and work-life balance has earned him invitations to work with a range of global companies, including Pfizer, Nationwide, Virgin, and the BBC. Today Andrew runs the UK’s number-one training company for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to succeed in business, health, relationships, and mindset.

The 4 Keys on Amazon

How to stay fit when travelling

Making time for exercise when you’re travelling can be difficult.
From subpar gyms, to being out of your routine it can be hard to find time to work out when you’re on the road.

You don’t want to miss your workouts and you don’t want to stall your progress but if you can’t get to the gym what are you supposed to do?

Today I’m going to tell you exactly how to stay fit when travelling and share my top tips for staying in shape even though you’re not at home.

First off its worth saying that if you’re a gym member think about your branch of gym and how many they have situated around the country, if there’s one nearby then it’s simple, plan your day, fit it into your schedule and get to the gym, no excuses.

You’ll be familiar with the equipment, the layout and the general rules so you won’t have any problems working out.

If the gym local to you isn’t one familiar with you can often get a pass, allowing you to become a member for a few days whilst you’re away so it is still possible to work out.

There are plenty of people that do exactly that, travelling the world over the summer and joining local gyms as they move from city to city.

But let’s say you don’t have access to a gym, how are you supposed to stay fit then?

What if you end up somewhere completely foreign and you have no idea of where to go or what to do?

Well, something I keep with me wherever I go is a pair of running shoes, exercise clothes and a pack of resistance bands.

With those 3 things I have the tools I need to keep in shape no matter where I am.

With apps like Strava I can find a running route if I want to head outside and go for a run but with my bands, my body and my surroundings I have a ready-made portable gym that I can take anywhere in the world.

Resistance bands are probably some of the best travel companions you can get and they offer much more resistance than you would think.

Once I’m armed with my equipment I get to it.

I have a range of 5-8 workouts that I can do wherever I’m based and I only use the equipment I have in my bag.

I keep these workouts short and sweet and my goal is always to build up a sweat.

Following a HIIT or Tabata format, I work hard in small intervals, giving myself the chance to get maximum results from minimum effort.

The resistance bands are great for training my muscles and focussing on strength and the Tabata format helps me to work on my cardio.

I can get fit, stay in shape and stay healthy, all inside 30 minutes from wherever I am in the world.

The key thing though, the key to unlocking your potential and achieving your fitness goals, even whilst travelling is your mindset and approach.

You’ve got to want to work out and work hard if you’re truly going to stick to it.

That’s why I make it one of my key goals for each and every day when I’m away, it’s one of the first keys I tick off.

I start my day with 30 minutes of exercise as the first thing I do when I wake up and I get to work.

The easy option when you’re away is to have a lay-in and blame your surroundings for your lack of results, but I don’t believe in that.

For me, my goals and my commitment to success, I can’t and won’t accept those excuses and neither should you.

Think about what type of workouts you enjoy and what equipment you can take with you.

Think about what your day normally looks like and if you have a gym nearby.

And think about your goals and where you want to be then don’t accept anything less than 100>#/p###

By keeping your goals front of mind and making exercise part of your day, no matter where you are, you’ll be able to keep in shape without ever missing a workout session.

How to stay in the zone

Listen to any high profile athlete speak after a big performance and they will almost always talk about being in the zone. Often they don’t even react in the moment because their focus is so dialled in and it can take even longer for them to realise the magnitude of their achievements.

Think of David Beckham and that free-kick against Greece to send England through to the 2002 World Cup.

After several poor set-pieces earlier in the game when it really mattered, when he really had to deliver, Beckham hooked the ball up and over the wall, sending the players, the stadium, and the country into euphoria.

At that moment for Beckham, it was simple, he had one focus and one goal, to put the ball in the net, and he did. He was in the zone.

But how do you transfer that to business and to your wider life in general?

How do you stay focussed and in the zone when you can seem so far away and so far removed from the big picture?

In today’s episode, I am going to tell you how.

Staying in the zone can mean different things to different people.

Actors, musicians and athletes often talk about being in the zone as being in a state of one’s subconscious self.

Everything just seems to go right, everything just flows naturally and it almost seems as though time has slowed down as they feel and sense every movement.

Other people speak about being in the zone when they are intently focussed on one particular task and everything just seems to go right.

It could be a writer sitting down to type or an artist picking up a brush and once again, everything just naturally happens.

Entrepreneurs talk about it in the same way, they’re hitting targets, closing deals and overcoming any obstacle in their way as once again, everything just seems to go right.

The key thing with all of these examples is that there is a goal or an action that the person involved is solely focussed on achieving and for one reason or another it just seems effortless.

No distractions or outside noise can get in their way as they do everything they can to reach that goal.

I’ve experienced this myself when I’ve played Hockey and when I’ve been on stage, presenting and speaking to a room full of people where I’m fully in the zone and in my stride and I found that there were some key features which helped me to get in the zone and stay there.

Get in the zone

Before I go on stage I like to try and get in the zone, I prepare my body and my mind for what I am about to do and I focus my energy on the next couple of hours.

I practice breathing techniques, taking big deep breaths, three at a time, to focus myself and free my mind of whatever else is happening, my sole focus becomes the stage.

For me, I love being on stage and I love talking to people as each and every time I do it’s an opportunity to connect with someone and to make a difference.

There are millions of business owners out there that are overwhelmed, stressed, unhealthy and struggling in their relationships and when I get up on stage I have the chance to spread the 4 keys message and talk about my passion.

That is my focus before I walk out on stage and for those moments, nothing else matters.

I free my mind of everything else, no matter what it is and I focus my energy on something that motivates me, something I enjoy and what I want to achieve during my time on stage.

This helps me to get into the zone and become laser-focused on what happens next, then my goal is to stay there.

Stay in the zone

As I step out on stage I become consumed by an energy and a drive that keeps me focussed and ready to talk.

I never feel overawed at the moment; by preparing my mind beforehand and visualising my talk I always feel ready to get on stage and ready to make my mark.

Once I’m there I have three things that help me to stay in the zone.

  1. Be focused on a goal, on the message I am trying to get across to the audience
  2. Look for feedback from the audience that tells me I am doing the right thing
  3. Keep my mind loose and to not get too caught up in the moment.

All 3 are vitally important and all 3 help me to remain in the zone and stay focused.

By being focussed on my message I know exactly what I am trying to achieve and I understand how I am trying to get there. It keeps me on track with my talk and dialled in with my message and helps me to remain focussed.

If I had a vague outline and wasn’t really sure what I was going to talk about I would be more likely to lose focus and lose track of my message, as I began to ramble or talk about the wrong things.

The feedback I get from the audience is a way of validating my methods.

I know that I am never going to convert everyone in the room but I also know that with the right energy I can see the change on their faces as they go from looking down at their notepads, fidgeting in their seats to looking up at me, smiling, nodding and ready to engage with my message.

If I see bored or confused faces then I know it could mean I’m on the wrong path.

Finally, I keep my mind free and don’t get too caught up in the moment.

It’s something I first heard about when listening to a Basketball player talk about how they stayed in the zone.

They described the process of overthinking and called it being in the Matrix.

They spoke about how once they started to overthink their actions it was very hard to get back on track and get their focus back to the game.

They would start to doubt themselves and doubt their ability and soon after would start to make small mistakes which lead to bigger ones.

Their advice was to free their mind and not to overanalyse every small situation.

If they made a bad pass they would get straight back to it and just accept that it happens at times, instead of hiding away and hiding from the ball.

I do the same.

If I see a face that isn’t reacting to me the way that I want I don’t get upset, I don’t become over critical, I understand that not everyone will like my message and I run through my own internal checklist to make sure I am doing the right thing and spreading my message in the right way.

Whatever your goal is and whatever your objective, getting and staying in the zone can be a hell of a lot easier than you think.

If you’re trying to write content for your business but struggle to get the words down, plan it out beforehand. Free your mind of distractions, focus on your main message and don get too caught up when something goes wrong or doesn’t sound like you planned.

If you’re making sales calls but you’re struggling with the words, go back over your script and dial back into what you’re trying to achieve. Take it one call at a time, becoming unattached to the result and free your mind from being overanalytical.

Each scenario is different and might need a slight tweak of approach but the methods are the same.

By approaching your goal in this way, becoming laser focussed and freeing your mind from negativity and pressure, you can get in the zone and enjoy your time there as you perform better, more often and to a higher standard.