“I think this is probably the best place I’ve ever worked”, she said.

To be honest, it wasn’t the first time I’d heard that phrase, but it was probably the first time it had such an impact on me.

I asked her why she felt that way.

Her reply… “It’s such a positive place to be… you get just as many problems as the other places I’ve worked. But the response to a challenge here is to roll up your sleeves and solve it rather than sit and moan about it”

She didn’t stop there, “I also love the fact that you believe in the capabilities of the team more than they believe in themselves, and so you provide them opportunities they may not have sought out.”

I was humbled and more than a little embarrassed by her incredibly kind compliments.

Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it first seems

You see, Clare is an accomplished Accountant who has worked in many top firms before setting out on her own entrepreneurial journey and has since worked with hundreds of businesses. Oh, and she’s also a Magistrate, so she keeps me and Darren on our toes!

As the conversation continued, Clare asked if there was a secret to staying positive and being happy.

Embarrassingly, I had to say no. At least, if there was, I wasn’t actually conscious of it…

But it did get me thinking about some of the things I try to consciously do every day… I hope these 10 tips help you, and Clare, in some way.

  1. Carpe Diem – Seize The Day!

This is not a rehearsal my friend! The current life expectancy in the UK is 84 years! Deduct your age from that number and that’s how many Christmas’s you have left on this mortal coil… sobering thought eh?  So, don’t waste this time.

Good, bad or indifferent, don’t dwell on yesterday… instead focus on the opportunities that will present themselves today! We all make mistakes, or more appropriately, we learn how not to do something – forget it and move on! Don’t rest on yesterday’s successes… better to look for the next win… standing still is as bad as going backwards.

  1. Balance Your Mind

A wise man once told me, “Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it first seems”.

In his poem, “If”, Rudyard Kiplin put it slightly differently… “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster… and treat those two impostors just the same…”.

The point is, keep a level head and don’t allow the events of the day to drag your emotions from pillar to post.

  1. The Work Life Balance Myth

You can amass all the wealth you want, but when you retire, if your too knackered to enjoy it, what’s the point?  So, steal whatever time you can and spend it with your spouse, kids, parents, close friends or simply doing something for yourself, and make memories now.

Look, work/life balance is NOT about separating your work and home lives… never taking personal calls in work or work calls at home simply doesn’t work. The skill is ‘allowing’ yourself to deal with those interruptions effectively as and when they occur.

Just remember, wherever you are, be there…

  1. Balance Technology

Most of us are ON and accessible almost 100% of the time. Phones, tablets, laptops, smart watches, televisions, radios… but what if you switched to silent!  Switching all those notifications, ringtones and vibrations off can be incredibly liberating.

Then monitor your phone regularly and respond to the important stuff but ignore the rest! I’d love to tell you to switch off, but that would be hypocritical… and I’m not going to pretend that I truly live up to this advice…  my wife and I spent 11 idyllic days in the Caribbean earlier this year and for the first time EVER, I actually switched off everything… for almost 95% of the time!

  1. Balance Work, Rest & Play

Work hard. Whatever you do, always be the best version of you. I always tell my kids, as long as you can say, “I did my best”, then you can hold your head high and be proud of yourself.

You see, nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Luck is simply preparation meeting opportunity… so make sure you’re continually preparing for the opportunities ahead.

Life is busy, chaotic and stressful and we’re always on-the-go. This often leads to feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and even burn out. So, allow yourself the time and space to get off the treadmill of life for a few minutes every day.

There are two types of rest…  Active, such as writing, painting, colouring, yoga, stretching, walking and massage amongst others. And Gentle, such as sleep, meditation, silence and mindfulness.

I’ve never really been a fan of sleep… dumb maybe, but I’ve always got by on 4/5hrs. But I have to be honest, I’m starting to need a little more as I get older.

Whichever rest works for you – just take it whenever you can.

  1. Self-Belief

Whether you believe you can, or you can’t… you’re probably correct. Henry Ford’s words and I completely agree. I see people every day, talk themselves out of doing something rather than believing they can do it.

Back yourself, go for it and if it doesn’t go according to plan first time, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go again.

  1. Keep Learning

None of us know everything, in fact believing we don’t need to learn new things is a form of arrogance in my humble opinion.

I’m not suggesting that we should aim to know everything, simply that our lives are so much better when we keep learning new things. We stay relevant, we demonstrate our value to our colleagues, customers, friends and family.

I left school at 16yrs old. I simply couldn’t get on with that antiquated method of education. Ever since, I’ve taken every opportunity I get to further my education. Whether it’s a book, audiobook, podcast, video, webinar, magazine or training course… learn something new every day.

  1. Simplify

I read once that we make over 30,000 decisions every day. Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, knew this and found as many ways as he could to reduce the number of decisions he had to make… including buying black clothes in bulk so he didn’t have to deliberate over what to wear.

What can you do to reduce the complexity in your life?

  1. Vision, Timeline and Goals

The Bible says, “Without a vision, the people will perish”. It’s a pretty good description of what can happen in your business too.

Create your Vision and communicate this to everyone… your team, customers, suppliers, the community around you and of course your family and friends.

Set the timeline for your Vision and the Milestones, or Goals, you must reach over that timeline in order to achieve that Vision.

Regularly communicate progress to those mentioned above.

  1. Develop a Culture

They say Culture is what happens when nobody’s looking… is the culture in your business in line with your values? What are your values? If you don’t know, take the Values Exercise in the Renegade Academy Portal.

Show those around you what you expect, set the standards and point out when actions fall short of these standards and/or don’t meet your values.

There’s a great book on the subject of culture by James Kerr, called Legacy…

I wish I could say I live into all of these tips perfectly 100% of the time, but you’d know it would be a lie… reality is, I fall short more often than I’d like. That said, I do my best and our results speak for themselves.

Aristotle put it best: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”