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  • Writer's pictureStand Sure In Life

Make Your Bed

A YouTube video came to my attention and changed my life! In 2014 an Admiral McRaven gave the commencement address for the University of Austin, Texas. In it he gave accounts from his time in the U.S. Navy and made it relevant to those listening. The fact that as of 2020 the video has been viewed over 12Million times is a testament to its impact. In this blog I’m taking his key points and saying how they inspire me.


Start The Day With A Task Completed

Admiral McRaven uses the idea of making your bed. It’s a small task that can set your mind to achieving. This is so true. It’s the very first thing I do when I get out of bed. I shake the duvet and fold it back. Then I plump the pillows. By doing this my bed is ready and nicely aired by the time it’s time to get in it again. Now I’ve done that I can spend some time doing other little rituals. However, I have struggled with this kind of thing in the past. As an insomniac, I prefer to get up when I wake up rather than set an alarm (unless I have to). That way I know I’m giving my body and mind the chance to rest and recover. So there are days I don’t do my stretches. There are days I neglect my tarot cards. There are days that I don’t do my EFT. However, by making my bed and giving myself the feel good factor, I feel inspired to then get on with other stuff. My day usually ends up being quite productive.

Start the day with a task completed
Make your bed

You Can’t Change The World Alone

You Need Someone To Help You

To me this is true but I believe it must start with me. By inspiring people to take action to help themselves, or indeed giving people something to think about, I am changing the world. The maxim, be the change you wish to see in the world (often attributed to Ghandi, but not actually said by him), is one we could all follow. I’ve always felt that I’m here to make a difference and there was a time that I got quite upset by this. How the hell was I going to make a difference! I knew that on an esoteric level I make a difference just by being on this planet. But that wasn’t enough. Sure I make a difference with clients and students, but I used to feel that wasn’t enough. Then I realised that I could well be producing a ripple effect. By sharing my thoughts with people on a weekly basis through this blog I am changing the world. The people that are interested in my blogs will have a similar way of thinking to me, or will like having their thoughts challenged. This in itself will change the world because maybe I’ve inspired just one person to look at things differently. In doing that they react differently to things and thus produce a different result. So while I may be changing the world I’m not doing it alone - I’m doing it with those I inspire. As time goes on of course I want to inspire more and more people. But then the apathy of social media where no one actually shares anything to help a business grow is an ongoing issue!

You can't change the world alone, you need someone to help you
The ripple effect

Nothing Matters But Your Will To Succeed

I’m a firm believer in the attitude that anything is possible. The only thing getting in the way of success or failure is the attitude. The perception you put on something. If I find something a struggle I will not give up. I’m bloody minded like that. I want to succeed, no matter what. However, it’s not about winning or losing. I’m quite happy to lose at a game of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. Why? It encourages me to do better. It encourages me to learn more words, store more facts. But rather than just being a walking encyclopaedia I want to actually be able to maintain and develop my ability to think outside the box and look for different solutions. I love helping others find their way out of a situation in a way they’d never thought about.

A client lives in a house share situation with about six other people. They are a recent graduate so having their own place is not viable at the moment. They also struggle with an eating disorder. One day their mum was coming to visit them and was bringing a load of cupcakes she’d made. My client has never discussed the eating disorder with their family. A panicked call came through and a distraught “My mum’s bringing loads of cupcakes for me and I can’t cope and don’t know what to do” ensued. I allayed the immediate issue by saying, it’s a good job you live with so many people then! They hadn’t thought of it like that. Straight away there was no problem as they could share all these cakes with the house mates!

Of course there are people in positions of power who have got there because of their will to succeed. Some of them win graciously, some are just arrogant. Some lose with an air of disappointment (of course) but concede, accepting defeat and wishing the winner well. Others are sore losers and blame their loss on absolutely everything but themselves. Success is an ongoing process. I will always strive to be successful. Sometimes it comes easily but the times it’s been a bit of struggle are even more rewarding!

Nothing matters but your will to succeed

Step Up When Things Get Tough

Life is a veritable rollercoaster. You have good times and bad. Happy times and sad. Easy times and tougher times. This statement follows on from the previous point! There have been times when it would have been too easy for me to just give up when things got tough. But grim determination prevented me from doing so! When things got tough I doubled, tripled and quadrupled my efforts! This is much easier if you’ve got a support network or group to help you through. The times I’ve been ‘on my own’ I’ve called upon a higher power to help me through. I’ve tapped into the power of the Universe. I’ve never been let down.

Step up when things get tough

One Person Can Change The World By Giving Hope

This follows on from point number two for me. By giving someone true hope and something to hold on to I am changing their world. By changing their world the ripple effect works its magic and other’s worlds change as well. If more people were able to be a beacon, or even a glimmer, of hope in someone’s world the impact could be incredible.

One person can change the world by giving hope

Never Give Up

Give up giving up. Don’t let a setback put you off striving for what you want. There are so many inspirational stories out there that emphasise the power of not giving up. But often the story is not that relatable to you personally. Admiral McRaven talks about a drill they do in the Navy…my dad was in the Merchant Navy but that’s as far as it goes for me. So my never give up story is ironically about giving something up!

I used to smoke and after five years or so of doing it, I wanted to stop. The first time I tried my dad said he’d pay me so much a month if I stopped. I lasted 2 weeks. I then tried various other methods and nothing worked. I simply couldn’t kick the habit. Something always got in the way. Something would start me off again. On attempt number 5 I can remember I’d been smoke free for three weeks and I was shopping with some friends. Throughout the whole day I was being teased and asked if I wanted a cigarette. Three weeks in, being asked that question is very cruel. I kept saying no, but my temper was getting shorter. We popped into a fast food chain and got a takeout meal. Sat in the car I got asked if I’d like a cigarette to go with my meal. That was the last straw, I said If it’ll shut you up then yes! I finally managed to kick the habit when my grandma, who meant the world to me, was diagnosed with lung cancer.

She’d stopped smoking several years previously (though did sometimes sneak down to the bottom of the garden to have a crafty fag in the greenhouse!). It was then that I made the decision to stop smoking once and for all. I would have felt like a right ass smoking in front of her or grandad. In fact it was a visit to the hospital with grandad that tipped it. I was sitting in the cafeteria and rolling a cigarette to go and smoke outside. Grandad had a word with me, along the lines of, given your grandma’s diagnosis I know you smoke, but don’t draw attention to it like that. That day I got home and threw out all my cigarettes, tobacco, papers and ashtrays. I haven’t smoked since which as of 2020 is 15 years. Grandma lived long enough to know I’d quit and grandad was pleased that I’d managed to stop and said so six months later just before he died.

Never Give Up
Keep moving

Lift Up The Downtrodden

I was bullied at school for several reasons. I was gay. I didn’t like sport. I played music. I read a lot. And any other (pathetic) reasons you’d like to throw at it. This went on for years and years and years. It actually started to affect my school work and while I was never a top set student, I certainly should have been in the middle set for things, not the bottom. But being bullied for being intelligent made me fearful of success. I realise how sad this is now, but back then I was too scared to do anything. Now 25-30 years later and I’m back to learning and loving it. I still get comments about being too intelligent from people who feel threatened by it but I’m now strong enough to ignore the comments. However, my experiences from earlier years, and indeed recent years of bullying, have made me support those who need support.

Encourage those who keep being knocked down. I try to lift up anyone who is feeling low because of mental health. I try to lift up those that are struggling in life. I try to lift up students who have been knocked down by a teacher. While I would like all my students to pass an exam, I am always reminding them of where they’ve come from to get to where they are now. So while the examiner may make a negative comment about something I’ll always remind the student of what they’ve conquered.

For example, a student of mine came to me for some singing lessons. They could sing there was no doubt about that, but they had a thick West Country accent that came through. While I’m all for encouraging individual personality, the exam calls for decent annunciation and diction. So we worked hard on this. They did the exam and passed but the examiner made the comment “The words were very syllabic”. I knew what he meant but I reminded the student that this should actually be taken as a complement. I told my student the examiner isn’t aware of what you’ve done to get to this stage, so I’m very pleased he’s picked up on that. We now spend this next exam refining the voice and softening the edges.

Lift up the downtrodden
Support each other

Face Down The Bullies

I call people out if their behaviour is unacceptable. If they are bullying someone I will stand up for the person being bullied. I’m still not very good at dealing with my own bullies (I‘m a life coach, not perfect) apart from just walking away - which is actually a very effective way of dealing with them. But I will always call people out where necessary. Can you say the same? Will you support a victim of bullying and tell people bullying them that they are out of order? Or will you stay quiet and not get involved. Social Media is rife with bullies, because they can hide behind their computer or phone! But the more people that tell them it’s unacceptable the better. It’s the only way we can eradicate bullying once and for all. One word of caution though...when you do call them out on it, be prepared for them to throw it back in your face and accuse you of things too!

Face down the bullies
Giving a presentation

The video is well worth watching and a link to the edited version is here. A quick YouTube search will help you find the full version.

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