25th March 2015 by Rosemary Mac Cabe
Want to achieve happiness and peace of mind? #ProjectHappy, yo: We sat down for a chat with Jim Lawless ahead of his appearance in Dublin for Berocca's Brain Boost Seminar, and got a roadmap for success.
Often we don’t see what’s available to us, because we’re hemmed in by a beast that roars and pushes us back. At least that’s Jim Lawless’ theory – he coined the term “taming tigers,” meaning finally having the freedom to do what we want to achieve our goals. And he’s got the roadmap to get there. We sat down for a chat with Jim ahead of his appearance in Dublin for Berocca‘s Brain Boost Seminar.
The idea of a bold, courageous action is crucial. “Who wants to be a hundred, wondering what would have happened if we’d picked up the phone in 2015?” asks Jim. Thinking of applying for a new job? Send off that CV. Curious about a career change? Call someone who’s done just that – and ask how they did it. The first step is often the toughest.
Our rulebook tells us what we can and can’t do – based on what we perceive. “We often don’t want to do it because we’re scared of trying,” says Jim. We make hundreds of decisions every day based on this set of ‘rules’. We should constantly ask: Is this the only option? “If people knew that there would be rewards, they’d be up for it,” he confirms.
Knowing the goal is key. “If in doubt, look in the rear view mirror at what you’ve achieved so far,” Jim encourages. Remain committed to a goal, knowing every day has meaning – because we’re moving towards that goal. It might mean getting up an hour early to slog it out in the gym (misery, but purpose). Or it might be putting in extra hours in at work, aiming for that big promotion.
We all have a little voice in our head telling us we’re not good enough. But if we allow that voice to make five decisions daily, over the course of our careers, it’ll make about 124,000. Scary, right? “The tiger trains our brain through the voices and through our preconceptions about ourselves,” Jim explains. Well, guess what? If you think you need some extra skill, go on a training course. Make sure that, when you get to where you want to be, you know you have every right to be there.
The rulebook (see above!) has us believing that asking for help is a sign of weakness. “One of the most important things to do is to find a mentor who’ll tell you what you need to do to make things happen, and find the time to do it every single day,” says Jim. Find someone to help and support you to break through this ceiling. Call them up, tell them what you admire and why you think they could help you.
It’s easy to sit in a meeting saying nothing, because so many people will disagree with you. “When we’re not running with the herd, we risk being exposed,” says Jim. “You’re not going to take a risk without having a reason. Most people don’t bother to sit down to think they could have a reason.” Sometimes, doing your best and being your best means putting yourself in the spotlight. In other words: what would Beyoncé do?
“Most of us wouldn’t think we could achieve the things we want to achieve – but we can,” says Jim. If we go through a scary thing, realise we’re still alive at the end of it, and get a good result – we learn the skill of taming our tigers. But bear in mind, advises Jim, “The risk has to be acceptable, and if it goes wrong, you have to have known it could. It’s about using intelligence, not about going out ill-prepared.” So, er, no big rants to your boss on the office floor – especially when a careful, considered presentation could really get his or her attention.
Look at your planner – how can you squeeze all the things you need to do into it? “Change happens in the diary,” says Jim. “Want to get fit? Take ‘sit in front of the TV with a bottle of wine’ out, and put ‘go for a run’ in. It’s all there to be done – but it’s going to take courage.”
There’s a saying that we get rewarded in public for what we practise in private. “Courage, focus and discipline; they’re not sexy words, but they get you to where you want to be,” confirms Jim. How do you decide what your disciplines should be? A discipline is a basic of behaviour we need to create and nurture, and to start with we need to take advice – and learn how to model our behaviour on the people who’ve achieved what we want to achieve.
Think deeply about the promises you make – not to other people, but to yourself. “By having something that’s meaningful, something that we’re striving for, or something that we’ve got the courage to commit to, we can leap hurdles and shift rocks. We find that we’re moving towards something more important. That’s one way of bringing huge happiness,” says Jim. Don’t let yourself off the hook – you deserve it.
Pic credit: Asos
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