Do you feel lost or as if something is missing in your life? Maybe you want to make a bigger difference in the world than you feel you are, but you aren’t sure how. So many of us walk through life, feeling numb and desperate for a deeper connection, but aren’t sure how to get it. We can help you change that. Tell us what you need today and we’ll help you do what you love.
Today we’re excited to bring you a fascinating interview with Dale Thomas Vaughn, a champion of self-discovery and authentic healthy masculinity. Having written four Amazon best-selling books, run with the bulls in Pamplona, walked the 500 mile pilgrimage that is the Camino del Santiago, and tried, and failed, in the world of business, Dale knows a thing or two about passion and purpose. He reached the top of his game when he began coaching men on how to authentically be healthy men; men who find other healthy positive guys to be in a pack with. Today, through his work with The EmpowerMentorship Institute, Dale helps guys discover what they want from their lives and then empowers them to make a plan to go and do it. He is also Editor of Leadership & Business at The Good Men Project, a site about men that regularly reaches unique traffic levels that rival Oprah.com and Politico.com and his award-winning work with men and at-risk boys has led to the foundation of the Global Center for Healthy Masculinities.
1. How are you ‘doing what you love’?
I love my life. I get to see guys at their best. I get to mentor good men to step into their greater purpose and pursue their passions. I’ve helped school teachers influence their toughest students with positivity and compassion. I’ve helped people change their culture at work by being more present and team-oriented. I’ve watched men transform from poverty to six-figure salaries while simultaneously pursuing life goals they thought were impossible… there’s nothing better than building hope. Every time I get to help a single person I feel honored, I know I’m at my best, and I see the difference I’m making in the world. And although I’ve been at this for a decade or more, I feel like I’m just getting warmed up. Life is a creative pursuit. We make what we want… often unconsciously or passively. I try to be active each day to make my world around me. Buckminster Fuller summed it up when he said, “I seem to be a verb.”
Snacking is a normal part of 21st century life and, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’s estimated that by 2015 the world snack foods market is expected to reach almost $335 billion. So why is the industry growing so fast and why are we snacking more now than we ever have before? It seems that longer work weeks, busier schedules, irregular meal times, and stress are all key triggers, and that we also snack for comfort or to give ourselves a pick-me-up if we’re feeling low, tired, lonely or bored.
Snacking isn’t necessarily bad; it can even be healthy. But it depends on the food you choose. When a snack attack strikes, instead of heading for the vending machine, opt for foods that are high in fibre or protein and low in sugar which will stop your hunger pangs and keep you going until your next meal.
Here are some simple healthy snack ideas for busy people on the go…
This is a guest post by Lara Tabatznik who talks more about building 42 Acres – a dream retreat in Somerset, UK. You can find out more about Lara here, read our interview with her here and read her last blog post here.
I found that the most daunting part of building this dream was making the decision to actually do it. It is always scary when you’ve never done something before and so much is unknown; it takes courage and conviction to take that blind leap of faith and go for it.
After that the most difficult bit was actually getting started. I really have just been putting one foot in front of the other, making mistakes, learning from them, and fully trusting the process. I recognised early on that I needed to seek advice from people I trust and ask for help, something I don’t do often, but I allowed my intuition to lead the way. I believe with a strong foundation for being, the doing is much easier. When we are open to receiving the wisdom of each moment as it unfolds, we invite synchronistic magic into our daily lives.
Me on site at 42 Acres – project managing my dream
This is a guest post by adventurer, author and motivational speaker Alastair Humphreys. You can find out more about Alastair here.
About this time of year, a couple of years’ back, I was training for an expedition to the South Pole. We’d been working towards it for five years – preparing, planning, training, dreaming. I was stronger than I had ever been in my life. It was going to be a hell of an adventure. Exciting times!
And then our funding deadline came and went. We had failed to secure enough sponsorship. The expedition was off. We had failed.
I spent the next week in the pub feeling sorry for myself. We had all put so much into this, put our lives and ambitions on hold in pursuit of this one dream. It felt so unfair. Why wouldn’t someone give me £1,000,000 of their hard-earned money to go on a chilly camping holiday to the South Pole? And what the hell was I going to do now, my diary stretching empty for months off into the distance?
How well do you look after yourself? When we get busy it can be easy to neglect ourselves; we eat badly, put off exercise, don’t get enough sleep, and spend too long in front of the computer screen. Taking a few minutes of ‘me time’ each day is not a treat, it’s vital for your physical health and your mental and emotional wellbeing. It really does make you happier, more focussed and more productive. In a series of weekly posts throughout March we will share some simple tools and techniques which we hope will inspire you to take better care of yourself.
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” ~ Max Ehrmann
5 simple yoga poses for busy people
Relaxation, weight loss, greater flexibility, glowing skin, a calm mind, improved health and a more positive outlook… yoga can give you all this and much more besides.
If you’ve never tried it before, you might just assume that you need to be ‘good’ at folding, twisting, standing on your head or bending like a pretzel but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yoga is an art of personal discovery and growth. It combines mind (focus, concentration and meditation), energy (life-force cultivation through breathing practices) and body (physical movement and postures) to create complete wellbeing – not just physical but mental, and spiritual as well. This results in a powerful all-round practice that restores health, mental balance and vitality.
When you lead a hectic life finding time to nurture your mind, body and soul can be a challenge. But the great news is that you don’t have to take a 90-minute class to start feeling the amazing benefits of yoga. When your energy levels are waning it’s incredible how a little deep breathing and muscle movement can completely re-invent your mood. These simple techniques and poses are suitable for all ages and levels of fitness and you can do them as a series, or mix them one by one into your hectic schedule to help you feel relaxed, refreshed and re-invigorated.
This is a guest post by Louise Armstrong. You can read more about Louise here.
In my last two posts I looked at how we can embrace our ever-changing world and evolve the way we live by adopting some simple techniques to help us survive and thrive in the future. Today, in my final post, I wanted to share with you the most powerful technique of all: it’s one that will help you to unlock your own potential and inspire you to make the most of the human experience. It’s the power of imagination.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”– Albert Einstein
We all know what it’s like to dream, even if we can’t remember what we actually dream about, and scientists have now proved that dreaming plays a central role in our emotional health, our memory, our learning and as a way to help us find creative solutions to our problems. They’ve also discovered that over half of our waking thoughts are daydreams and that this is when we ‘unthinkingly’ do our best thinking.
In fact some of the biggest inventions of our time came about through daydreams – the Internet, robots, rocketry, test tube babies, the list goes on. All these things were dreamed up by imaginative people; people who went beyond facts and thought globally and synthetically, made serendipitous associations and came up with surprising and novel solutions.
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem
Imagination really can change the world because new ideas can change the world and it takes imagination to have a new idea. Imagination fosters empathy – the ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” – and it also enables us to find creative, innovative solutions to problems. By unlocking the power of imagination for ourselves we pave the way to a life of awareness, fulfilment, freedom and personal power. Imagination is not the product of a gene pool lottery; it’s inherent within us all.
Here are my top tips for developing your imagination:
1. Create space for your imaginationto roam free
“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.” ― Philip José Farmer
Allowing yourself to dream is like making a statement of intent: you are giving yourself permission to explore the possibilities and opportunities that open up when you free your mind. In our hectic daily lives, we don’t always give ourselves the time or the freedom to dream and yet it’s one of the most valuable gifts we can give ourselves.
I make time to dream in the morning when I first wake up and I write my thoughts in a notebook – it’s fascinating to see what emerges. Sometimes I daydream while I’m cycling to work. It’s amazing what thoughts pop into my head and very often I’ll come up with the perfect solution to a problem I’ve been having.
When do you give yourself time and space to unlock your imagination and dream?
2. Share your future truths
We all have dreams – big and small – but all too we keep them to ourselves. When you put yourself out there and start to share you find that amazing things can happen. Often you realise that other people are dreaming the same thing too! Unlocking the collective imagination goes a long way to counter all the negativity and angst we face in the media.
This happened for me recently as a result of a little project that I started in my own community. The Peckham Coal Line began as a seed of an idea we had to turn a bit of disused railway into a park. The dream was shared on Facebook and then we built a simple website to raise awareness. Before we knew it 50 people in the local community had emailed me to show their support and offer up their time to help. It is still early days but the project is gathering momentum and this is allowing us to talk to the local stakeholders and ride out the collective imagination of the local community. It’s so exciting to see the dream come to life.
A forgotten space: view of the west part of the coal line route from the Bussey Building with the city skyline behind
What’s your dream? Where are you going to share it? It might be a conversation with someone you know, a stranger, or a post on social media – start small and be open to where it takes you.
3. Create a prototype: make your dream a reality one layer at a time
Have you ever noticed that the ‘hi-tech’ communication devices you used to see in Star Trek look just like the early Motorola phones? It’s a commonly held idea that fiction informs reality and film props add that element of believability by making ideas a little bit more tangible.
The idea of developing and prototyping future concepts is widely accepted in design circles – so why can’t we apply this same idea to our own lives by adding layers of reality to your dreams? By experimenting with our dreams and taking small steps to bring them to life, we stop feeling stuck or overwhelmed and instead start feeling excited and that we’re making progress.
One project I worked on this way is IoTA – a space to help non-techy people make use of the ‘internet of things’ technology that is set to grow massively in the future.
The first thing we did was to draw out the idea. Then we described it. And then we made a film about it. We didn’t think much would come of it but when we shared it on social media people loved it. Before we knew it we were running a session with teenagers at a school in Manchester to put the ideas into reality. Being open to possibilities has meant that the project has now won some funding to enable us to develop the ideas further and we’ve created a new company as a consequence. It sounds grand but in retrospect all we’ve done is kept adding more layers of reality to grow our idea.
What can you do to add a layer of reality to your dreams? Maybe you can draw it, paint it, or make a little model. Maybe you can act it out, or do something productive towards making it happen.
4. Be your future, today
We think about the future being far away, and so it’s easy to put things off and tell ourselves that we have all the time in the world to realize our dreams. The fact is the future will be here before we know it so we may as well start living it today!
“The future is radically open, and it is shaped by who we choose to be in the present” – Maureen O’Hara, Dancing on the Edge
You owe it to yourself and to the world to make your dreams come true and sometimes you have to think outside the box and be imaginative in order to help bring your dream to life.
For instance my dream for my future is to feel aligned in my mind and body. To get there, I know I need a better work/life balance. So today I decided to experiment with my work day. I worked in flow with my natural energy patterns and decided to go for a swim at noon, which boosted my creativity, motivation and productivity in the afternoon. Ok, I’m not making huge life changes, but starting small makes it manageable and when my goals are manageable I know I’ll stay committed. I’ll keep experimenting until I find what works best for me, and this will take me another step closer to the big dream of living more holistically.
The big question is: what will you do to unlock your imagination and realise your dreams today?
If I have learnt anything over these past few years, it’s that it takes a village to build anything worthwhile. And by that I don’t just mean having a team with you, or an active community around you, but I mean having people ahead of you, guiding you.
As a business owner, or a professional in any industry, one of the smartest decisions you can make is to find yourself a mentor. By ‘mentor’ I don’t necessarily mean someone you meet with regularly to discuss challenges and ideas, although that is incredibly valuable. I also mean people whose leadership you admire, whose values you share, and whose behaviour you want to model (without copying WHAT they actually do!)
Today I want to introduce a few of the key people who have played a mentoring role in my life, in the hope that it will inspire you to find mentors of your own.
The Oscar-Winning Film Producer
During the years I spent at UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) I worked very closely with film producer Lord David Puttnam, who was Chairman of UNICEF UK at the time.
David is an impressive man on so many levels – he spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006. He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries. In 1998 he founded the National Teaching Awards, and he is now the Republic of Ireland’s Digital Champion. He also has more honorary degrees than I can keep track of.
But the thing that made him such a shining light for me wasn’t actually any of that. It was his deep-rooted commitment to furthering human potential. We worked together on one huge project which brought sporting opportunities to over 12 million children across the world. Together with David Bull, the inspirational Chief Executive of UNICEF UK, we pitched it to the government and a host of sporting bigwigs. We then spent several years building a complex partnership to make it happen, and its legacy lives on. Time and again in the process we came up against brick walls, but instead of banging his head against them, Lord Puttnam always kept the end in mind, and found a way round or over, or reconstructed the wall completely.
What I have learnt from this mentor: Keep your eye on the prize. Fight for what you believe in. Don’t let bureaucracy stand in the way of big, brilliant ideas.