UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 9 – EPIC GOALS

 

In this episode, Pricey interviewed Grego about Epic Goals.

There is a difference between normal goals and epic goals. An epic goal normally entails some sort of adventure, journey or challenge that requires a total and all-out commitment of energy, learning and time.

These are things like climbing a mountain, writing a book, recording your first album, going on a Vipassana meditation retreat, running a marathon, walking the Camino trail.

The first time you write down this goal or think about committing to it you should feel a nagging sense of fear or nervousness about whether or not you can achieve it.

HOW TO ACHIEVE EPIC GOALS

Achieving epic goals takes intense physical, mental, spiritual, emotional energy and growth to achieve. Because of this, they aren’t always on the agenda and a rhythm of one every couple of years is generally more reasonable.

One of the greatest benefits of epic goals is that it often means you have to break the shackles of your own personal beliefs and comfort zone to enter a new level of performance and the beauty of that is the new level resets a whole range of limiting parameters in your subconscious mind.

WHAT ARE THE PITFALLS?

The pitfalls abound on epic goals, which makes sense; if they didn’t in some way carry risk, they wouldn’t be epic. One of the biggest mistakes is getting the timing wrong because you have a range of other commitments that already demand all your time and energy. But also at the same time be careful you don’t put it off forever waiting for the perfect time.

It is also important to confirm with dependants and loved ones the time and energy commitment. Explain to them the sacrifice required not just from you but also from them and reset the bar on some expectations. E.g. that you might have to be out training every Saturday for 4 hours.

A lot of people go for epic goals completely on their own and make all sorts of mistakes in their preparation. So get coached if you can by someone who really knows their stuff. And if you can join forces with a mate then you’ll find the commitment is a little easier to stick to.

THE BENEFITS OF EPIC GOALS

A totally new perspective on life

When I returned from the Gobi March my entire perspective on life had changed. Some of the blows life had dealt me pre-race had felt like massive uppercuts. But after the race, after I crossed the finish line, tears streaming down my dust-crusted face the world changed. Everything else in my life seemed easier.

Most of life’s challenges were now minor obstacles to be broken down and worked through. Many of the little things that used to bother me faded away. I didn’t concern myself with petty issues any more. And when big issues become small issues, life and work are set for big improvements.

Boosted confidence and esteem

This first race was the greatest personal triumph of my life because I did it alone. It wasn’t glorious. There weren’t throngs of people there to congratulate me. But the personal pride I felt as I stepped across the line felt electric. I developed a new inner confidence, one that I keep inside today and no one can touch.

Knowledge of the power of total commitment

During the peak of my training, I was running more than 100km a week. On a particular Wednesday, my schedule called for a half-marathon to be run. I didn’t have time after work which meant I needed to run 21.1 km before work. So I woke up at 5 AM and did just that. By 7:30am I was at my desk, eating my breakfast. I felt SO alive. I put in a full day’s work, went to a function that night, and then crashed into bed exhausted at the end of the day.

Doing something epic is like climbing without ropes—you have to go all-in or you perish. You have to continuously push yourself into new territory in order to survive and when that happens, your territory gets bigger. Forever.

A new and inspiring network

In the process of preparing and raising money for charity, I met dozens of really cool people that I still call friends today. And then in the race, it was like a haven for legendary people. Everyone there was a high-quality professional or all-round champion human being and we all sat around the campfire at night telling stories.

I never did this for reputation but it made a massive impact on people’s perception of me in my current network. I immediately had some of my oldest friends and colleagues introducing me as, “the crazy guy that runs across deserts.” Which I sort of didn’t really want but at least it started some conversations on an interesting note.

HOW TO SMASH EPIC GOALS

  1. Pick something big and pay for it immediately and then tell people about it
  2. Get a coach / mentor
  3. Build physical fitness sustainably over time. Manage recovery.
  4. Build technical skill / capability
  5. Plan it – training plan – that tracks results so you have mini-goals that you can tick off along the way
  6. Celebrate!

Most people never attempt big goals because their mind is full of objections like, “I’m not an athlete” or “I don’t have time in my life already so how would I do this?”

The thing about big goals like this is that you find a way to learn something new or get fitter so you can get a little further along the journey. You find something that inspires you—like climbing Kilimanjaro, or completing the Camino trail—and you find a way to get it done.

When you settle on something epic, make it congruent by involving your family in the training, doing it with your partner, or raising money for charity. I raised money for Bravehearts and it kept me going at least once or twice when the chips were down in training or during the run.

The greatest victories are closer than you think…but the window of opportunity for doing them gets smaller every day. Just do it.

Stay legendary

Pricey & Grego

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 8 – DISCIPLINE

 

WHAT IS DISCIPLINE?

Discipline is a set of practices based on core beliefs that keep you on the path to being the best you. It is not about being rigid and thoughtless, instead, it is staying true to a habit/cause/routine over a period of time. It means not taking the easy route and giving up at the first sign of trouble or of easy temptations.

Discipline is a ‘choice beyond feelings/easy desires’ to take the more strenuous path. That path is one that you know is challenging, that you know is littered with your weak points and yet you chose it anyway, because you know it is the path to personal greatness.

When consistently maintained over a long period of time can lead to dramatic results and incredible, almost unshakeable self-belief. When you build a discipline in all the key aspects of your life (Spiritual, Mental, Social and Physical) it grows you into a presence and even a raising of your entire mentality to a new level i.e. you see the world in an entirely different way. Small things don’t bother you, petty behaviour is of no interest. Instead, you’re now calm, clear and purposeful in everything you do. Attaining this is not easy and keeping it doesn’t happen without continuous work. Hence, the challenge.

When you incorporate regular discipline or commitment to a particular activity you’ll start to feel like it’s internal drum-beat keeping you centred and focused. That might be rising early for a workout, a walk, meditation. Every time you keep this commitment it’s like your depositing a little money into your bank account of esteem and self-control.

When done right discipline takes you beyond the ordinary but it’s important we always listen to our other signals. Maintaining a practice that sacrifices too many other important parts of your life isn’t discipline, that’s blindness. In truth, the ultimate discipline is being 100% committed to your values and standards.

As you build more discipline into your life the habit develops and it can become a muscle memory. Of course, the hardest part is building that muscle memory. You’ll fall a few times and find it hard to take see that the ‘obstacle is the way’…or you simply won’t have the energy for it. It’s ok. Don’t punish yourself. Just get back on the horse at the first opportunity.

HOW TO STAY DISCIPLINED

A few practical tools to help you get started and stay on track:

  1. Pick a simple habit/routine that will bring out the best in you and start a practice of doing it every day
  2. Often you’ll find little pains/fears arise in the early stages. Challenge them. Bring energy and courage to the table in barrow loads
  3. Align your new practice with your bigger goals
  4. Sometimes you need to stop all the rubbish and ‘Just do it’
  5. Remember to celebrate if your practice leads to a victory and incorporate into other routines and longer-term goals
  6. If you get stuck add some public accountability by getting your wolfpack involved. E.g. all meet and go for an early morning ride

Discipline puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life and decisions. Instead of little subconscious decisions that change your mind, your rise above all that and take full control of your daily life. It is a powerful and liberating tool that brings superb rewards. Discipline begins with that five second choice for an action aligned with your core beliefs. From that choice will flow life and inner freedom!

Stay legendary

Pricey and Grego

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 7 – SETBACKS

INTRODUCTION TO SETBACKS

There is not one among us who does not regularly have a setback in some aspect of their lives. How many of us have been involved with a sporting team and in the first ten seconds of the game have lost a crucial wicket, had a try scored against us under the posts?

Setbacks are those ‘gone backwards’ time’s; a time of loss, of lost momentum, confusion, loss of energy and focus etc. There has been a momentum forward and then surprisingly we encounter a block, a loss, resistance or an apparent failure. We are thrown back to before where we previously thought we had been.

Setbacks can be financial, relational, health-related, professional/career, spiritual and psychological. It is important not to confuse a setback with the plateauing which is a natural part of growth. As we acquire a new skill or a new level of fitness there is a natural time of ‘pause’ where the body/mind consolidates your growth in preparation for your next level of achievement.

THE IMPACT AND NATURE OF SETBACKS

The setback can demand of us some serious energy from deep in our reserves to recover and regain momentum. The setback can dent our confidence and make us second-guess our own approach to our abilities. Having committed so much personal or professional energy to something to find oneself back on the ground with the ‘life’ kicked out of you can be so demoralising…it can be the ultimate challenge to get back on the horse and re-enter the game.

Setbacks are an integral part of life. They are to be expected, even planned for. Knowing the hit on the footy field is coming more than half prepares you for the reality of it. The setback is a time of potential learning, refocusing, regathering and strengthening to go forward even more effectively. The setback is positive in that it means you are reaching out, you are taking risks (professionally and personally) and deliberately stepping out of your comfort zone. If you are constantly setting your bar of expectation very low you will rarely experience the setback but you will also not be growing and certainly not becoming the best ‘you’ you can possibly be.

The underbelly of the setback is resilience. When you face and work through the setback you grow stronger, wiser and more focussed; more resilient! As for so many aspects of life that we can learn and grow from it is NOT the event in itself that we must focus on but rather what we do with it.

There are some setbacks that we have no control over partially or wholly. The out of the blue traffic accident that leaves you in a moonboot right in the middle of a series of speaking engagements in distant cities is neither wished for nor planned. Some setbacks result from our poor choices and call us to some serious self-reflection. Some setbacks have a message within them that we can learn from. All setbacks can be a growth period with new wisdom for the road ahead. The power of the lesson learned from a setback is that it comes NOT from the world of theory but from your lived experience.

The setback must not define us. In the midst of the setback there can be a small ego voice inviting us into a soft easy role of a victim mentality; the poor me at the side of the road. At this point remember one of the greatest speeches:

The Man in the Arena

The Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

HOW TO DEAL WITH SETBACKS

  1.  The first thing to do when a setback comes your way is to stop, reflect and seek the wisdom that lays within its enforced pain. Even physically stopping, taking a break, having a short holiday or even the small stopping of going for a walk, getting out into the fresh air etc can immediately reframe the situation and help you re-story it from ‘disaster’ to ‘what can I learn here’. Sometimes the stopping cannot take place immediately – but as soon as you can, find the space for reflection upon your experience.
  2. Your period of reflection will lead you to ‘unpack’ what happened and what you can learn from it. What caused the setback and why? What can you learn from this? What were the contributing factors? Some would have been out of your control but some will be very much within your sphere of influence. The physical space (whether in time or actual space) will assist in perspective and balance.
  3. Reach out to your Wolfpack – to the brotherhood, to your mentors and supports. Those who journey with you will know you well and will be able to engage in that needed balance of personal support during a tough time and invitation and challenge to learn from it and to ‘get up again’ with new insight, energy and purpose. As setbacks are a part of daily life you can be 100% sure that each of your Wolfpack (mentors, friends, supports) have faced similar situations.
  4. From your reflections and seeking of advice realign, re-equip, reskill, refocus and plan anew. This may lead you into a period of seeking to develop a new skill, nuancing a skill you already have, looking for new mentors or distancing yourself from people who are actually dragging you down. Sure as part of all of this there will be a period of ‘licking your wounds’ – of being gentle with yourself but here there is that healthy tension between time to regenerate as distinct from hiding away (running away) and wallowing in self-pity
  5. Have the flexibility to change and the courage to implement that change. From the setback, identify your learnings and from these, plan your new short-, medium- and longer-term goals. You are in fact nuancing your game plan in response to the setback; that is called wisdom

SUMMARY STEPS AND A CHALLENGE 

Setbacks are a constant invitation to develop and continually modify your framework for achieving your best self. Five easy to follow steps to follow with setbacks;

  1. Purpose – what is your purpose? The setback is an invitation to re-examine your purpose and to redefine it.
  2. Root cause – go to the places that scare you and ask yourself why? Pause and reflect on your experience and be open to learning from the causal factors.
  3. Wolfpack – gather help and support around you
  4. Outcome – redefine your outcome
  5. Reskill – increase capability

Challenge

On your own or with a few mates, answer the following:

  1. Think of a setback that you feel you never recovered from. Looking back now, what learning was there within it for you?
  2. What is an aspect of your life where you are good at working through setbacks and grow from? What aspect of that can you transfer to other parts of your life?
  3. Who in your Wolfpack can you most trust to share a setback with knowing they will understand and both support and challenge you from?

Stay Legendary

Grego and Pricey

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 6 – WOLFPACK

NTRODUCTION

The wolfpack is those people you spend the most time with and those that have a strong influence on your mindset, the events in your life and how you engage with them. We all have wolfpacks.

But the key questions are whether the pack is enhancing your sense of self? – leading you to become an even better you? OR is your wolfpack a compromising influence within your life – leading to the lowest common denominator?

A negative group think  lessens your true sense of self and, of course, as a member of the wolfpack, this influence is two way. Who are you influencing and how?

The wolfpack maybe two or three highly significant individuals (men and women) whom you trust and can share deeply with or it may be a larger group; those you surround yourself with who share your values and approaches to life.

WHY IS YOUR WOLFPACK SO IMPORTANT?

The wolfpack takes on many roles. Obviously, there is a key personal and professional support role. In the midst of life, it is great to know that we are not alone and that the questions and challenges we face – others share as well. The true wolfpack is those we can reach out to when we need to and know they will, as far as humanly possible, be there for us. They are not just “fair weather friends!”

The wolfpack will call us to be our best selves, to march to our own drum and for that drum to be the beat that only we can play. The wolfpack never becomes a herd of sheep blindly following the other into a meaningless existence. When the wolfpack challenges us we respond because we know that the other has our best interests at heart. These challenges can take many forms from the physical as they workout beside us in the gym encouraging us or having the credibility to ask us the difficult question that we avoid and so inviting us to a level of reflection and introspection from where our wisdom will emerge.

FLOW-ON EFFECTS OF YOUR WOLFPACK

The wolfpack will have a strong influence on who you meet, who you associate with, what you read and the challenges you set for yourself. A positive circle of influence all around you will open quality doors within your life, provide opportunities, influence how you spend your time, what your mindsets and heartsets are as you view the world.

But as we stated previously the wolfpack can be a negative group too and the flip side of each of the elements just named can compromise you and lead you down a path of a negative or victim or blame mentality that will rob you of ever being your best self.

Because your energy will be flowing in this supportive and challenging environment the effect on our physical and mental health is pervasive. The flow on to professional and financial success is obvious. Michael Jordan would often reflect that he would prefer a champion team to a team of champions. The wolfpack is the champion team that enables and ennobles each member to be their own champion individually and collectively.

You will know when you are part of a lifegiving wolfpack. There will be a positive energy around it, there will be a sense of brotherhood, of true welcome and acceptance, of freedom to be yourself and of seeking the highest in every form that it takes. The wolfpack will be drawing the best out of you and you will find yourself growing more and more into who you truly want to be. You do NOT lose yourself in the midst of the pack; rather – in a seemingly contradictory, paradoxical way – you find your best self.

The lone wolf will surround themselves with sheep and ultimately this mindset will lead to a win-lose dynamic (in reality lose-lose), to negative competition and to a focus on external goals and criteria that ultimately undermine true inner growth and courage.

 

BUILDING YOUR WOLFPACK

This topic of the wolfpack invites us to some really healthy but difficult personal reflection. We invite you to explore some of the following questions and suggestions;

  1. Reflect who is your wolfpack – what makes them a wolfpack member for you? Map this and remember the relationship is reciprocal.
  2. Reflect on who (and how) is having a positive and negative effect upon you – leading you to your best self OR leading you to that uneasy sense that you are spending your life marching to someone else’s drum?
  3. The reflection above may lead you to a point where you need to make the difficult decision to ‘move on’ from a relationship in your life, to remove someone from your wolfpack. After a possible initial unease, if this decision has come from deeper reflection you will notice an increased inner freedom and sense of ‘yes’!
  4. You may need to deliberately seek new members for your wolfpack – those whom you know will challenge you, will lead you into good areas of personal and professional risk and growth that no one in your life at present can gift you with. Who is someone you are drawn to from a deep values – professional wisdom point of view? Deliberately seek them out and very likely there will be something in the integrity of your journey that they find appealing to; they will seek to have you in their wolfpack as well.
  5. Perhaps once a year – gift yourself with some time away for personal reflection and reassess the power and influence of your wolfpack

In the wolfpack there are no shoulds. The pack leads us to march to our best drum as we do them. There is something special in the midst of battle to know you are not alone; that someone has your back emotionally, psychologically even physically. There is a true and deep sense of belonging within a Wolfpack; a belonging that leads us individually and collectively to seek our highest.

 

“The Law of the Wolves”

“NOW this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky,

And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back;

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

Wash daily from nose tip to tail tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;

And remember the night is for hunting and forget not the day is for sleep.

The jackal may follow the tiger, but, cub, when thy whiskers are grown,

Remember the wolf is a hunter—go forth and get food of thy own.

 

Keep peace with the lords of the jungle, the tiger, the panther, the bear;

And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the boar in his lair.

When pack meets with pack in the jungle, and neither will go from the trail,

Lie down till the leaders have spoken; it may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a wolf of the pack ye must fight him alone and afar,

Lest others take part in the quarrel and the pack is diminished by war.

 

The lair of the wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home,

Not even the head wolf may enter, not even the council may come.

The lair of the wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain,

The council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.

If ye kill before midnight be silent and wake not the woods with your bay,

Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop and thy brothers go empty away.

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need and ye can;

But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill man.

If ye plunder his kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride,

Pack-right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide.

The kill of the pack is the meat of the pack. Ye must eat where it lies;

And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies.

The kill of the wolf is the meat of the wolf. He may do what he will,

But, till he has given permission, the pack may not eat of that kill.

Lair right is the right of the mother. From all of her years she may claim

One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same.

Cub right is the right of the yearling. From all of his pack he may claim

Full gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.

Cave right is the right of the father, to hunt by himself for his own;

He is freed from all calls to the pack. He is judged by the council alone.

Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,

In all that the law leaveth open the word of the head wolf is law.

Now these are the laws of the jungle, and many and mighty are they;

But the head and the hoof of the law and the haunch and the hump is—Obey!”

– Rudyard Kipling

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 5 – CONFIDENCE

 

Our episode this week explores confidence. It might be you’ve lost the confidence to make key moves at work, you’re nervous catching up with mates or uncertain around people in powerful positions. The truth is it takes a thousand forms and for some reason, you’ve just lost your mojo. And unfortunately, being blokes, we often prefer to suffer in silence without taking precise action that can shift us to a more confident place.

We aren’t talking about clutch moments and kicking the winning goal. We are talking about a nagging feeling that lots of guys get as they get older. They lose that youthful spirit and arrogance and the flow that goes with it. Perhaps they’ve had a few knocks. But in this case, it’s that self-belief that has gone missing.

HOW TO GET YOUR CONFIDENCE BACK

Remember that this impacts EVERYONE. Even the highest performers on the planet go through patches when they lose their flow; it is part of the ebb and flow we call life. So take it easy on yourself big guy. Shit happens, you’re going to get knocks. That’s just what happens.

Here are a few tips to help you get your confidence back:

  • If you’re going into key meetings and performances and just don’t feel the vibe then step back and check the quality of your preparation. This is nearly always a way to boost your outcomes and in fact is the difference between arrogance and justifiable confidence. Arrogance is brittle because you haven’t done the hard work. Justifiable confidence is solid because you’re well prepared and know your shit. So when you’ve got something big on, double-down and cover all bases and potential situations in your preparation. It just might lift your flow.
  • Remember, what’s already in your backpack of resources. You’ve had a big life full of learning and experiences. The thing is sometimes in the heat of the moment we forget just how resourceful we can be when we check in with all our own wisdom and insights. Dig into that bag and see what you find.
  • A monster of a problem that is just about the biggest killer of confidence is lack of skill. If you’re stuck and lacking the kick in your step then a little knowledge will light the way. These days there is no excuse, with online learning and concepts at your fingertips. Do some learning on whatever it is your losing confidence in and see how it changes the dynamic immediately.
  • Linked to lack of skill is not knowing the game plan. Knowing your approach in a certain situation and the steps you’re going to follow drives incredible confidence; it is a lot like muscle memory. If you’ve ever learnt a musical instrument you’ll know what this is like. First time around you can’t always remember the full order of a song but after you’ve been through a few dozen times it seeps in and your confidence grows. You know the steps and that means you can relax and start to express yourself.
  • A lot of blokes overestimate the number of setbacks they’ve had. They get all pessimistic and cynical about the world and then wonder why they don’t feel confident in the moment. Sometimes it can pay to double-check your language and the way you think about things and express them. If you’re looking at something really negatively, like this ‘always’ happens to you then check that at the door and take a more positive approach. At the very least even try and fake it till you make it.
  • Sometimes we feel an imposter syndrome or we put others right up on a pedestal creating all sorts of fantasies about how amazing they are when really they’re just like us. The key here is to just remember we are all equal and to just be the best you that you can be. Focus on yourself and being honest and working hard and that should bring back a little confidence.
  • Just get started! Set yourself realistic short and medium terms goals full of practical, able to be ticked off items, and you will begin to feel the energy flow again – and with it, confidence.
  • In the end, sometimes you’re just taking the wrong approach personally and behaviourally. For some reason, you’re putting up a facade and a bit of a show and other’s bullshit detectors are starting to go off. Drop the veneer and revert to your authentic self. It’s a huge relief and a place of great personal power.

Remember, confidence is contagious and it spreads quickly throughout yourself and those around you. A universal man will often create the space and the clarity for those around them which can be incredibly liberating.

In the tough moments, confidence comes down to choice. There is ALWAYS a way to improve it. Stop, become aware, make a 5 second choice to believe in the power that IS within you! It takes bravery and a thirst for growth to get your confidence back on track. And when you do your own spirit is at its greatest.

BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE CHALLENGE

On your or own or with a few mates, answer the following:

  1. When have I lost my confidence?
    1. What was the main cause?
    2. Is there a pattern in there somewhere – what is it?
  2. What is one thing I wish I had more confidence in?
  3. How could I increase my confidence?

Stay legendary

Pricey & Grego

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 4 – TRADITIONS

 

Traditions are rites, rituals, actions, stories, language, gatherings, symbols that give a community a pathway to deeper meaning, purpose and a sense of belonging. Every family, tribe, sporting club, organization, culture or nation has its traditions. Tradition comes from an inner space that is seeking meaning, deep human connection and understanding. Men long for traditions, they nourish our spirits and when at their best, they ennoble us and those around us.

Good traditions create a sense of belonging and help us name, nurture and celebrate that belonging. We ‘buy-in’ more to the culture of a group when the traditions are real and relevant. They create shared ownership. One of their key purposes is to help give meaning to what is core / central to the life of the community; they give that community soul and depth. They express – beyond words, our common bonds, our core values, our reason for wanting to belong and our shared purpose. So often the best traditions are small and simple but speak straight to the heart of the matter.

There are both good and bad traditions and we have all experienced workplaces or sporting clubs whose culture was toxic. Often this toxicity is linked to bad traditions. When a tradition becomes an end in itself – it becomes hollow, devoid of its original purpose and creates a lack of balance and perspective.

Negative traditions can limit us and wrap the culture of the organisation in labels that suit the out of balance needs of a small few. Forced sculling (skolling) competitions, sexual acts, all forms of bullying and anything that robs a member of the community of their innate dignity are negative traditions and ultimately harm not only the individual but also the group.

On Anzac day in Australia each year we could simply have a public holiday.  But instead in tens of thousands we gather and remember; the dawn service, flags half-mast, the last post, the eternal flame, the tomb of the unknown soldier, poppies, two up and more. Each of these gives us an insight and sacred entry point to the depth and meaning of the Anzac story.

LEADING TRADITIONS

  • If traditions do not enhance and ennoble, then they are dead, get rid of them or change them deliberately and publicly
  • Traditions and story are intimately linked and need to be honoured and enhanced and added to over time.
  • Put time and effort into the maintaining and celebrating of tradition, and if linked to your core values – it will enhance the day to day life of your club, organisation, family etc.
  • One of the roles of the true leader in any community is to be one of the guardians of the traditions – to be the core storytellers and one of the ones who will bring the community back to the core story
  • To be effective the leader needs to find ways to continually tell the story behind the tradition. I always say, “Know the story, tell the story, become the storyteller!” The elders of a community (and the elder is not always the oldest) are those who tell the stories of the core values of the community through rituals and rite, symbol and story.
  • The true leader becomes the chief storyteller and they carry the torch. If the flame flickers – then reignite it, it will demand hard work, but if authentic, the flame will burst into life again.
  • Remember, you can’t impose tradition! The leader, through credibility and authenticity, will lead the group, creating, and organically growing traditions.  And if it ‘feels right’ not only will the group want to be there but over time as ownership deepens it becomes ‘their tradition and our tradition’.

YOUR CHALLENGE TO CREATE TRADITIONS:

On your own or with a few mates, answer the following:

  1. What are your current traditions? When and how did they form?
  2. Are they positive and enhancing the lives of the people involved?
  3. What can you enhance in them to make them more meaningful, positive and noble?
  4. What new traditions might you start?

OK Legends. Go create some lifelong traditions.

Stay legendary

Pricey & Grego

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 3 – STUCK

 

There is not a person on the planet who has not been ‘stuck’ at some point in their lives. Being ‘stuck’ can take many forms. One can feel frozen, like the proverbial deer in the highlights or lethargic, overwhelmed, foggy, bored, trapped. You get the picture.

The common energy in ‘stuck’ is one of non-movement. There is nothing happening – you feel blocked, no way out, lacking the needed personal resources, your legs like lead and your energy either zapped or all over the place. Stuckness can happen in one’s professional life / career, in relationships, life circumstance, physical fitness, inner journey and more.

In this episode we look at this stuck and ‘why’ it may be happening and then suggest ways you can get moving again.

Being stuck is natural, a normal part of the growth and life cycle. You can’t be running on overdrive all of the time. You can’t have the wisdom of a Yoda figure constantly. There are natural times when the psyche needs to withdraw, stand still, go within, go numb – all of which is a kind of self-protection but also a pointer to deeper and greater wisdom. Stuck is an energy – it can be telling us something. It can be asking us something. It can be pointing to a deeper wisdom.

The first step in moving beyond stuck is to admit it. “I’m stuck!” That personal, inner acknowledgment actually will free up some energy in itself. From this admission it is important to unpack what is going on for you. Understanding where your blocked energy is coming from or understanding what is blocking your energy is the key forward.

Every one of us goes about unpacking in our unique way. For some it is ‘brainstorming’, others journal, others talk the block through with a friend or mentor, others find a ‘still point’ and listen to their intuition (gut feeling), others map what is going on (all the players and factors involved) and then identify a simple, doable, short term goal that gets the energy moving again.

WHY AM I STUCK?

It could be any number of reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. Perhaps you are going on the wrong path (personally or professionally). Perhaps what you are putting your energy into is just not ‘your’ thing and your mind is trying to  tell you this. You are paying far too high a price (personally or professionally) for little or no gain. Imagine Glenn McGrath spending hours and hours at the nets attempting to become the opening batsman for the Australian side.
  2. Perhaps this is the right path but you’re not going about it the right way.  This might be something like you’re pushing it too early and the timing is not right, you’re pushing too hard and bringing the wrong energy and behaviour to it and it’s costing too many other parts of your life. And when do this often you can experience self-sabotage or just overload.  For some reason you’re just going about it the wrong way and you end up stuck.
  3. Perhaps you are on the right path, you are approaching things the right way from a congruency perspective but your strategy of execution is wrong – your game plan won’t get you results.

Regardless of why you are stuck there are some simple ways ‘out’ of this space but don’t rush it. Sometimes the energy of stuck is asking you for deeper introspection, deeper reflection and more lateral thinking. By rushing into an action beyond stuck you may not identify the ‘wisdom’ that lays hidden within that space.

HOW TO FREE YOURSELF

But along with this reflection and introspection there are several ways you can free up our energy.

  1. Inject a spike or energy for a short time to shift the whole dynamic by a big amount. This isn’t about doing something small. It’s about going super hard at full sprint for a week or so to change the whole situation. It might be training extra hard, preparing twice as much, learning a whole new system or approach or skill. Just take it to another level of commitment and energy for a short period.
  2. Another version of change focus is to ‘reframe’ or ‘re-narrative or re-story’ what is going on. This often brings in a change of focus and perspective. Often this perspective will come from time alone trusting your inner wisdom and deeply listening to what is going on OR breaking open the block with a trusted mentor.
  3. Shift perspective in the moment. Go for a run, go to the gym, catch up with some mates, get out into nature, do some yoga. Whatever your thing is to get the energy flowing again and takes full attention away from your problem. It may be as simple as leaving the ‘stuck’ document on your computer and going for a walk around the block or having coffee with a friend.
  4. Gather your wolfpack. People with a small, trusted, loyal group of personal or professional advisors around them are rarely stuck for long. Share your stuckness with them; paint the personal or professional picture. It is a kind of group supervision. One of the wolfpack may ask a simple question, make a simple observation or suggest a left field strategy and the energy flows again.
  5. Ensure that your strategies are clear and focussed and that your plans are resourced with time, finances and skills.
  6. Dial up your skills on a key area your stuck in. This will immediately shift your understanding and get things moving again.

Ultimately know that being stuck is a natural part of the personal and professional life journey.

Sometimes, as silly as it may sound, the only way through ‘stuck’ is to do what the Nike motto says, “Just do it!”

Stay legendary

Grego and Pricey

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 2 – LABELS

 

What are labels and how are they limiting me and others?

All of us have reacted to a label someone else has placed upon us. An inner voice says, “Nah, that’s not me!” We have all also done that very same thing to others. We have introduced people, boxed by a label that is our dominant narrative linked to that person and they, in their turn, are inwardly reacting to our introduction.

In this episode, we will explore the various types of labels, where they come from and how to grow into the ‘who’ of our lives and not be boxed by the ‘what’.

Labels are those stereotypes that others impose on us or we even impose on ourselves. Invariably the label will be linked to one small facet of our personal story. Labels can limit us both when we ‘self-label’ and from the others when imposed upon us. You know you have been labelled unfairly when you ‘react’ to what is said. When that small inner voice is screaming “No – that is not me!” or “I am much more than that!” Then you know you have been labelled in a way that is not true to your story.

WHERE DO LABELS COME FROM

In many cases, our labels come from our childhood – from our upbringing. As children, others around us affirmed or rejected certain behaviours and attributes and then those things became part of ‘who’ we saw ourselves to be. This element of labelling can be both good and bad. In a positive sense, these interactions could have produced inner scripts that click in when under stress – scripts such as “I can defeat this!”.

Some of our labelling comes from our culture – from elements in the dominant national culture and all the subsets of this. And so we find ourselves the product of our family’s story and then wrapped in the national culture.

Types of Labels:

There are the labels we carry for ourselves. The words “I’m only!” or “I’m just …!” can typify this type of label at its worst.

When we focus on what others are thinking or saying about us we will be trapped into this type of label. The label quickly becomes a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ and we box ourselves into mediocrity. Our self-talk is very important here and will, along with the presence of true mates, be one of the key ways to move beyond our self-labelling. The more we can focus on our ‘who’, on our essence, rather than on our whats we will in time become free of this form of labelling.

There are the labels we give to others.

The labels we give to others will box their ‘who’ and their potential gift to us. Every one of us is infinitely more than any label we place upon people. Some labelling of others comes from a place of fear, some from prejudice, some from jealousy. This labelling does neither us nor them any favours.

There are the labels others give to us

When we march to everybody’s else’s drum we quickly lose any sense of self. Sure there is room for wise counsel when a true friend identifies a personal strength – “you have the courage of your convictions” – which plays an important role in growth. But more often than not if we are focussed on other’s expectations of us, other’s plans for us or other’s boxed view of us. It can be like Chinese water torture and ultimately the true self will rebel. It is one’s own truth that will set you free.

There are the labels we think others give to us.

So many of us torture ourselves and live lives trapped by what we ‘think’ others think or say about us. It is so important to check the assumptions we make out. So often you will discover that this is not the insurmountable cliff that you thought it was. The battle is often being fought inside our heads – when in reality there is no battle ‘out there’ at all.

In all of this, the challenge and the journey is to find your truest self beyond any label. Our aim is to achieve a congruence between my ‘who’ and my ‘what’. Core to this is to focus on the ‘who’ rather than the ‘what’ of our narrative / our story – then the ‘what’ (our achievements etc) will naturally work themselves out. Much labelling will focus on our what; our accomplishments, our family’s reputation, our natural abilities etc. When our ‘what’ become an end in themselves we are in danger of losing our sense of self for “always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself!” [Desiderata] Our ‘who’ is our essence.

A FEW PRACTICES FOR THE UNIVERSAL MAN

  1. Note how you introduce yourself
  2. Be more aware of how you introduce others
  3. Grow in awareness of what labels you unconsciously hold as regards others. Bring this into conscious awareness
  4. While being proud of your accomplishments be more focused and put more energy into ‘who’ you are and are becoming
  5. Choose to celebrate your success and that of others beyond labels – look beyond the ‘what’ of that success to the person behind it and then the labels will fall away and lose their power.

A CHALLENGE FOR YOU ON LABELS:

  1. List the labels you might use within your head for a range of different people in your life
  2. Identify how carrying that label is affecting your paradigm towards that person and if it is limiting both them and you?
  3. Spend a few minutes describing your essence. “Who” you truly are beneath the ‘what’ that most of the world pays attention to

Stay legendary

Pricey & Grego

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 1 – CROSSROADS

 

A crossroad is a significant juncture in your life where something has to change. This might be a relationship, a job or where you live etc. A crossroad approaches when what has been happening can no longer continue and action must be taken for you to be truly happy. It can often feel like one chapter is closing and another needs to open.

 

SOME THEORY AND PRINCIPLES

If you’re like us then your life has been littered with crossroads. Some are life-defining moments that close a chapter in our lives while others are less significant but can play an equally important role in shaping our lives. What’s undeniably true is that our response to crossroads writes the story of our lives.

We find that there can be three responses to crossroads. Some are blocked by them, are scared by them and hence avoid them – finding a detour around them that ultimately rods you off a vital life lesson. Some are so unaware that they sail through the crossroad not even aware that it exists; their unaware pain, frustration or anger will be projected on to those around you. Others will enter the crossroad ready to listen and learn. These come out the other side wiser and greater men!

Crossroads have much to offer us in wisdom and life lessons but they can be missed if we don’t tap into this. In considering the crossroads in our lives it’s important we quieten our overactive heads and channel our inner strength to rise to the challenge. The first step to nailing crossroad moments is an awareness that you’re at a crossroad and that you’re in the driver’s seat.

One of the big pitfalls at this point is that a lot of blokes will start thinking about a course of action and it scares the hell out of them. The fear spikes and they burrow down and do nothing. We’ve all been there and the same issues come again a little later. And we’ve all seen mates chicken out of a key life decision. Crossroads aren’t easy.

 

STEPS TO FOLLOW IN A CROSSROAD MOMENT

Here are a few steps The Universal Man can follow to help when big things are going down.

  1. AWARENESS: Seek awareness during times of change so you’re present and checked in to the crossroads opportunity – Normally your internal alarm bells will be going off. So stop for a minute. Literally, this may mean having a weekend away, going surfing, build into your day/week some space for ‘nothing’ but sitting and doing some inner listening; but do it YOUR way.
  2. ESSENCE: Once you’ve stopped and checked in the next steps is to do a bit of a deep dive to understand the essence of what’s really going on. A few ways you can do this are:  
    1. Spending some time on your own with a journal and just mapping out the situation. You can do this by writing down your feelings and seeking a deeper understanding of what is driving them. Don’t rush this. The responses you get immediately will often have a deeper wisdom hidden behind them; patiently wait for it.
    2. Connect with a trusted mate: You can go to a trusted mate that brings out the very best in you and ask for their advice. Ask them what they see? Seek their counsel and test their advice against your own internal compass.
    3. Get into nature or the gym and let the mind be free of your problems for a while and the body works hard so you can clear the mind. This might help bring a new perspective to what is going on.
  3. DESIGN: Design a solution that is congruent, reduces risk and is the right path forward. This might be a slight re-direction or something significant. Do not tunnel down and do nothing. Remember, the change doesn’t have to be drastic…it just has to be changed.
  4. COURAGE: Have courage and ensure you’re proud of the way you carry yourself through a crossroad.

 

CROSSROADS CHALLENGE

On your own or with a few mates, answer the following:

  1. What have been the major crossroads in my life? Did I take the right path and am I proud of the way I responded?
  2. What, if anything, is common in my response at a crossroads?
  3. How would you apply and personalise the process for dealing with a crossroad?
  4. Where am I in regards to crossroads in my life at the moment?