Slaying the Dragon 🐉 -- What You Can Learn About Life and Business From Lego

Have you ever wanted to achieve a huge, huge goal? Something you’ve long dreamed about but never known how to go about achieving?

If so, this blog is for you.

It’s inspired by a story I’m going to share about my son.

Last year we took our family to Legoland in the UK. We had two magical days there where we did all the fun stuff you do at amusement parks, like going on rides and staying in a themed hotel. It was wonderful. My two sons—seven and five years old—had so much fun they made it clear they want to move to Legoland.

They took a bit of their saved-up pocket money, and with a little help from dad they bought some new Legos, in particular, a giant dragon.

My oldest son Rocco was really excited. He said, “Daddy, you're going to build it, right?"

And I said, “Let's have a chat when we get home, okay?”

So we get home and he starts pulling the pieces out of this huge box.

“Can we start building the dragon, Daddy?” he asked.

I said, “Well, no, you're going to build it.”

This was not what he wanted to hear. He tensed up and looked ready to cry.

“No, no, Daddy! This is too much for me! I just want the dragon, but can you build it?”

“Look,” I said. “Let's sit down. Let's get all the pieces out to start with.”

We took everything out and spread it on the floor. I realized it was quite a substantial piece of Lego, especially for a seven-year-old.

There were all these different pieces, some in little bags with numbers on them, and so on. There were also these wonderful little booklets that walk you through step by step, literally sort of baby step, baby step, baby step—every specific action you need to take along the way, each one building on the one before it. Follow that and you’ll eventually get to your goal.

So I said to Rocco: “Let's talk about how you're going to build this!”

He immediately launched into, “I can’t do this! I can’t! It’s too big!”

I said, “Well, you think you can't do it. I think you can do it. So let’s make an agreement. You do your best, okay? You take it step by step using the booklet, and if at any time you get really stuck, call me over and I'll support you. We’ll do the next step together, and then you can keep doing it by yourself again.” 

Of course, he wasn’t sold right away. There was a bit of resistance at first, but then he went for it.

He tentatively snapped a couple of pieces together following the instructions in the book.

And then a few more, and a few more . . . And he kept going, taking his lead from the manuals. First book number one, and then book number two ...

And occasionally—not often, but every once in a while—he did get stuck, and I helped him get past it.

Maybe I’d find some missing pieces and ask him, “Where do you think they go?”

I’d empower him to carry on building. And then I’d leave him alone again.

And in the end, he built an amazing creation. A beautiful, big, green Ninja dragon.

I was absolutely inspired, and I’ll tell you why.

At first, Rocco couldn't begin to imagine how he would ever build that dragon. It looked so complicated, so overwhelming, that he almost froze before he started.

But then he moved into action.

And every time he overcame a specific hurdle, I could see him grow in stature. His eyes got wider and brighter. And he went from a place where he believed he couldn't build this huge piece of Lego . . .  to a place where he knew he could, step by step by step.

He was so motivated and so focused to complete the project that I let him stay up past his bedtime to do it. And when he was done he was so, so inspired. So happy with himself.
And it made me really inspired too.

Rocco had realized that sometimes thoughts get in the way of action.

They keep you in a box where you believe you can’t achieve your goals or get to where you want to in life. But they’re only thoughts. You can move past them. You don’t have to stay in the box.

He wouldn’t have put it this way, of course, being only seven years old. But he now had firsthand experience that it was true.

He started out thinking, “I can’t do this,” and then showed himself he could do it.

The proof was in his hands: a great big Ninja dragon!

The same thing holds true for a lot of people with big dreams, goals and ambitions.

If you're an entrepreneur, for example, you probably know what you want to create—you can see the picture on the side of the box—but you just don't know where to start. It all just seems too big.

My encouragement for you is to consider breaking things down into bite-sized pieces.

Begin by finding out what you need to know to get into action.

Lay out the pieces on the floor, so to speak, and crack open the instruction manual.

If you need to bring in people to help—staff, a team consultant, a coach—do it.

Provide them with simple, easy-to-follow systems—just like the Lego instruction manuals—and create agreements about how you're going to support them if they get stuck.

In the process, you and your staff will discover inner resources that weren’t apparent when you set out on the path to creation.

This whole interaction reminded me that there’s a really big intersection between entrepreneurship and parenthood.

A lot of people miss this, maybe because it seems counterintuitive. We’re used to thinking that the more time we give to business the less time we have for our family, and vice versa.

But what this equation misses is that there’s so much we can learn from children.

I'm seeing this more and more now with my own children, and of course, that’s why I shared this story.

I didn’t just get the joy of seeing Rocco overcome his feeling that he couldn’t do something. I also got to see the power of a particular style of coaching and management. I could have just done the project for him.

I’m no saint, and I also love my son dearly. There were times when I could see he was getting frustrated and I just wanted to leap in there and save the day.

Sometimes that just seems like the easiest thing to do, whether you’re a parent, a manager, or a coach.

Instead, I chose to give him the space and the time and the right kinds of questions so he could empower himself to move forward on his own.

This didn’t just show him he was capable of doing the job himself.

It also helped me see something quite powerful.

I've been told by various teachers at his school that he sometimes he goes off into dreamland, that he lacks focus and concentration. Yet here I watched him spend eight hours over the course of two days, laser-focused on creating something he wanted.

So it was clear: he does have focus. He does have concentration.

What happened in the process of building the Lego dragon was that his focus and concentration became aligned with something he valued. And this gave him the motivation to keep at the task and see it through.

Now this happens a lot in the business context.

When people don’t move forward with a specific goal they’ve been tasked with, it’s usually not because they lack the ability to concentrate. It’s because they can’t see how the goal is linked to their values.

Say you're finding yourself disengaged as a leader. You've got some big goals you want to achieve but you’re finding it difficult to motivate yourself.

If this is the case, it’s time to get real clarity about your own highest values. Because once you link your values to the actual tasks you’re doing, you’ll find the energy and focus to move forward.

The same goes for your team. If you find your team is lacking engagement, focus, concentration—It’s probably because they can't see how what they’re doing links to something they feel is important.

This is often that missing piece that managers and leaders forget. The connection to a vision, to an understanding of how it all links up with our highest values.

Let’s take it even one step further. It’s not just about how we operate at work. It’s about how we live our lives.

When you find yourself feeling stuck, look at your goals and your values.

Are you stuck because you’re feeling overwhelmed—like Rocco was with the thought of building his dragon by himself?

And you just need to get into action, one step at a time?

If so, I invite you to ask yourself: how can I take the very first step with this—right now?

Or are you feeling stuck because you need to look deeper at how your goals and values are linking up?

If you feel this might be the case, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” 

Your answer may surprise you.

It will connect you with your values, with what you crave in life. It will give you a reason to explore everything that’s most important to you.

Love and wellness,

David.

“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
-- Alan Watts


Three 'Game-Changing' Distinctions

Following on from last week’s post ‘3 Useful Distinctions For Your Consideration’ here are some additional ones for you to read … I hope you enjoy them.

Patience Progress vs. Fantasies

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.

Creating a life you love leading and achieving goals you desire can be done with patient values-aligned actions.

It’s common for people to set goals that are actually fantasies and not aligned to their highest values.

Deep inside the people who set these goals know this, but they are too scared to admit it, and blindly move forward. Slowly getting more and more disappointed, and distracted, on the way before blaming some external event or situation as to why they haven’t achieved this year's plan.

Their fantasy turns into a nightmare.

Don’t live in a fantasy. Do the inner work first and get clarity on your values, then create realistic goals that are aligned with these values backed up by a solid plan.

The way of 'The Authentic Entrepreneur' is -- Purpose - Plan - Progress.

You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve in ten years if you slow down.

Information vs. Transformation

The inspiration for this one came from my coach, the wonderful Steve Chandler.

If information was the key to all success and fulfilment then we’d all be billionaires with six packs … why?

Because ALL the information (and more) you desire is on google.

Every single person has access to millions of web pages full of content on personal development, business success, biographies of the famous, ‘how to’ guides, etc -- content is everywhere.

There are millions of amazing books available at the touch of a button on a Kindle or through purchasing online at Amazon.

So, with all this information at our fingertips, why do we still not achieve our potential?

Simply because information is not the answer, transformation is.

Our own situations are due to choices we make that stacked up over time, some consciously, some not.

Without examining deeply why those choices were made and getting underneath the driving story creating those choices transformation won’t occur.

Transformation occurs with better awareness. With better awareness, we make better choices and get better results.

Beginner’s Mind vs. Labelling Mind

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to work on your mindset.

A mind that sits in a place of seeing everything with a clean slate, relating to all events as an opportunity to learn and grow.

A beginner’s mind.

Most people have a labelling mind and use mental sticky notes to label everything that’s ever happened to them, or is happening to them.

Labelling events as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

If you slow down enough to stop labelling events and see everything as an opportunity to learn and grow you’ll be amazed at what you can create.

Asking “what’s the opportunity here?” whenever you find yourself challenged is a very powerful tool, and much more productive than a pad of mental sticky notes.

Get rid of your pad and make friends with your beginner’s mind.

All of the above came from my own personal experiences in life and business, and from working with some amazing teachers. I hope you found value in them.

Today’s question: “What would need to happen in your life that would change everything?”

Love and wellness,

David.

“Real transformation requires real honesty. If you want to move forward – get real with yourself.”

-- Bryant McGill


3 Useful Distinctions for Your Consideration

Using distinctions is a great way to develop and grow -- personally and professionally.

There's something about the contrast of two words, and their descriptions, that makes things 'stick'.

I've picked out three from my coaching philosophy -- 'The Authentic Entrepreneur' -- for you to consider as you head into the end of your week.

I hope you enjoy them.

Authentic vs. Synthetic

Authenticity is a way of being that gives freedom to anyone who chooses to embrace it. By coming from this place with communication to your self first by identifying your true self, values, purpose, and what you desire in life underpins the whole perspective of the Authentic Entrepreneur.

If you are clear and authentic on the inside then you’ll be able to create authenticity on the outside. Being willing, and having the courage, to come from an authentic place all the time takes practice, patience, and the willingness to be messy (not perfect).

What lies on the other side is freedom of heart and mind.

When we have that, anything is possible. (this distinction has been expanded in a former article I where I identify tips on how to live an authentic life, you can read that if you click here)

Everything Is As It Should Be vs. Something’s Missing

What if everything you’ve been through as a person throughout your life was exactly as it should have been to give you the experiences, training, resilience -- everything you needed -- to get you to where you are today?

What if nothing was missing?

Most people spend their lives bemoaning about missed opportunities, relationships not being as they should be, how their childhood wasn’t great, or how hard business is … what they fail to see is that everything that happens in life is a series of events that we attach perceptions (stories) to that become emotionally charged and are often ‘lopsided’.

We either see all the ‘bad’ or all the ‘good’ … whereas everything has two sides in order to create the perfect balance.

How?

Take a look at your own life ... I imagine some of your most challenging situations in life have allowed you to build a set of skills that serve you now and will do in the future.

Nothing is missing, everything is perfect -- depending on how you perceive it.

The Authentic Entrepreneur sees all sides of situations and is grateful for the opportunity to learn, develop and grow -- seeing challenges as 'on the way' not 'in the way'.

Inside Out vs. Outside In

Anything that was ever created by anyone in the history of the universe started with a thought.

That thought led to visualising an outcome and imagining a feeling that would accompany the outcome.

Then, they took action.

Creation always starts from the inside of someone, not the outside. Owning this principle creates a powerful shift inside the mind of the Authentic Entrepreneur and allows them to tap into the unlimited creativity that lies within.

Knowing that everything, including transformation, is an inside out process vs. outside in struggle leads to a deep level of empowerment from which to create a meaningful life you love to lead.

All of the above came from my own personal experiences in life and business, and from working with some amazing teachers.

If you enjoyed the distinctions you may also find value in reading my story of transformation by clicking this link ... I have a sense we are quite similar.

You'll also be able to read more about what an 'Authentic Entrepreneur' looks like and discover information about an upcoming opportunity to create a transformational turning point in your life and business.

Love and wellness,

David.

“Embrace each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation.”

-- Bernie Siegel

 


How To Inspire Others From The Inside Out

Ever wondered how to motivate people?

Your children ... team ... friends ... partner?

Is it actually possible?

What if it wasn't about an 'outside-in' approach ... no carrots or sticks required?

What if there was something else you could create inside a relationship that would inspire the other person to act?

When you identify what someone values and communicate 'through' their values inspiration comes from within.

'Inside-out' inspiration through values communication.

In this video, I share a story about my son and his love of Minecraft (and his relationship to learning at school).

The content is a personal story but the context provides potential for you to learn, develop and grow.

Click the image below to watch ...

I hope you find it valuable.

Love and wellness,

David.

“Communication - the human connection - is the key to personal and career success.”
-- Paul J. Meyer


What is Coaching?

Not too long ago I was asked by three people in the same week what I did for a living. “I’m a coach”, I said.

All three came back with this reply ... and I had an internal reaction.

“Ah, I see, you’re one of those guys that stands up on stage and gets everyone clapping and motivated … right?”.

Wrong.

I have nothing against stages or clapping. I have used a stage several times and, I admit, I have clapped. They both have their uses. But for me, and the work I do, it’s a no.

Part of my mission in life is to guide as many people as possible to empower all areas of their life through coaching and ‘up-level’ the profession.

Why? Because coaching had such a HUGE impact on my life it would be remiss of me to not ‘pass the torch’ on to others who could potentially benefit. (Here’s a small video where I talk about why I became a coach)

That’s why I had a reaction to those three people.

My mind started chattering away saying, “why don’t people understand?”, and, “seriously … you think that’s what coaching is?”.

I don’t believe in ‘accidents’. In other words, everything happens for a reason to give us an opportunity to learn and grow ‘if’ we slow down enough to get really present and look at all sides of an event or situation.

So, when these three people came back with the same response, after my initial reaction, I calmed the judging part of my brain down (the amygdala which is responsible for emotions, survival instincts, and memory -- sometimes called the ‘Lizard Brain’ or ‘Inner Chimp’) and got curious. I help clients to do this and now it was time to walk my talk … to take my own medicine.

I asked myself, “what’s the opportunity here?”.

The answer that came back was to create, not react. I chose to create a project that would help more people understand what ‘coaching’ is vs. let myself stay in a reactive judgement mode (which doesn’t serve anyone).

I called the project ‘Demystifying Coaching’ and asked a few clients if they would be open to having a conversation with me about coaching to support my mission.

Fortunately, the people I asked said ‘yes’ and I had several rich and interesting conversations.

They include entrepreneurs from a range of different industries like property development, IT infrastructure consultancy, inventing, property maintenance, and a fellow coach who also has an education business. (Thank you, guys, I am forever grateful to you for investing your time and energy into this project).

That’s what I’m sharing with you, four videos from four different people talking about their experience of coaching.

And, this is not some marketing ‘tactic’ to get you to take any action, these are authentic videos I feel will serve and educate. They’re around 30-40 minutes long each so be prepared as they will take a little time to watch but (I think) are worth doing so.

I hope you find them useful. If you do, feel free to share them with other people who you think may benefit.

I truly believe if more people opened their hearts and minds to the possibility of coaching it would make a massive positive impact in the world.

Especially entrepreneurs, because us entrepreneurs (yes, I am one, too) have a lot of responsibility if you add up all the people who are dependant on our businesses thriving (ourselves, our families, our staff and their families, our customers, our suppliers … the ‘family tree’ of entrepreneurship is HUGE!).

If you’ve had coaching I’d love to about your experience.

What was it like for you?

What were the most valuable elements?

What worked?

What didn’t work?

This subject really interests me and if you found these videos valuable let me know as I have more in the pipeline -- I’d welcome any suggestions on how to improve them.

Love and wellness,

David.

Here are the videos:

Lucian Ivan -- https://youtu.be/LNBtvmC6DmU

Allen Borovich -- https://youtu.be/yN8rusveCO4

Tim Bretman -- https://youtu.be/SjUMsTy3IoM

Brian Ellwood -- https://youtu.be/hJHwsHyPCzo

Ps. Thanks again to Lucian, Tim, Brian, and Allen for being open to sharing their stories with the world. It took courage, and your willingness to talk could have a direct impact on inspiring someone out there to find a coach to help them create a life they love leading.

“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their full potential.”
-- Bob Nardelli.


Who are You Comparing Yourself Against?

“I wish I had that car … then I’ll be happy.”

“Have you seen their house, must have cost a fortune? If only I could afford one like it ... then I’ll be happy.”

“They’ve gone on holiday again, I wish I could go away as much as they do ... then I’ll be happy.”

Most people live their lives in comparison mode.

I did for many years and it still shows up now and again. I’m getting quicker at catching it but it’s still there. It’s very normal as a human to live a compared life.

It happened to me last week when I was at an event. I was listening to Dr John Demartini talk about his life of travelling, teaching and researching and I imagined a life where I did the same.

“Ho-hum, maybe one day … then I’ll be happy.”

I caught it, slowed down, and asked myself a question:

“Hang on a second … aren’t you happy living a life congruent with your own values and purpose?”

The answer was a resounding ‘YES’ and I immediately dropped the comparison.

We are two completely different people who have two completely different sets of values. A different purpose. A different vision.

Thing is, for a moment, I was comparing the way I perceived his life to my life and seeing where I was falling short of his life and what he has achieved … even though the two of us are completely different.

By comparing myself I created a brilliant system for shame, lack of self-worth, living in some kind of fantasy that has only two results -- depression and inaction.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare you to you. Your own values, purpose and vision and how aligned you are to them. Nothing else.

Some of my values revolve around unlocking potential in myself and others to make a difference, time with my family, writing, coaching, teaching and staying healthy.

I know this because I have invested time and energy in getting really present to the life I want to create. One that inspires me -- my masterpiece. Each day I take consistent teeny, tiny steps towards it and I measure my progress against my desires. Not other people and their lives.

Guess what happens over time? My vision becomes reality!

The sad thing is that most people never realise this and spend their life comparing themselves against others. Injecting other peoples’ values and creating a fantasy revolving around, “when I get that thing they have I’ll be happy.”

And, guess what..?

... ‘getting that’ never fills the void left by lacking clarity around your values, purpose and vision.

You can never have enough of what you don’t need.

If you find yourself in comparison mode today slow down and ask yourself:

“Why am I comparing myself with that person?”

Maybe ...

... You have a perception that you lack meaning and purpose in your life and ‘think’ that by having what someone else has it will miraculously make you ‘happy’.

Or ...

... Underneath your desire lies a clue to what it is you actually want to create for yourself … but you’re not taking the actions to move towards it to empower yourself … so you feel disempowered.

Social media is a great one for driving comparison. It’s where most people show their ‘best’ sides, not the reality of life.

I can’t underestimate the power of slowing down and connecting with what truly drives you to create an inspired values-driven and purposeful vision for your life, backed up with a solid strategy, a plan and healthy accountability guiding you to bring it into reality.

And, remember … only compare yourself against your own values, purpose and vision … your life is between you and you … don’t waste time comparing against others. It’s a recipe for leading an unfulfilled life that will have you chasing meaningless ‘stuff’.

You are more than that. You have the potential to create a life full of meaning and really make a difference. Don’t live a compared life, live an authentic life.

Love and wellness,

David.

Ps. My next program is all about creating an inspired life and business you love leading. Starting in May, eight people hungry for development and transformation will be going on a journey to unlock their potential over the course of seven months to empower all areas of their lives. If you feel inspired to consider doing the same you can arrange a time to talk with me to see if ‘The Authentic Entrepreneur Program’ is the very thing that will guide you to ‘up-level’ your life in all areas (business, finance, health, family, social, mental). Click this link to visit the information page that includes everything you’ll need to know about the program, some useful videos, dates and the investment required.

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobodies are the same but you leave them all over everything you do.”
-- Elvis Presley.