Tools To Make 2017 Exceptional

Leveraging wisdom and inspiration to your advantage is far more effective than goal setting alone. I learned this the hard way. Beginning a new year with enthusiasm and a list of goals, only to drift of course as distractions and old habits displaced my passion and purpose.

Tim Ferriss is a wonderful antidote to disrupting old patterns, experimenting with new things and distilling life to its most efficient. The New York Times best-selling author and iTunes #1 podcaster, gauges success through a multi-mentor prism and applied experience of new philosophies, practises and principles. His chart-topping podcast ‘The Tim Ferriss Show’, presents a long-form interview with leaders in every imaginable field, as a collective their insights inform the adaptive-progressive approach to life that Ferriss is known for.

In Tim’s new book ‘Tools of Titans’, we gain access to his eclectic treasury of teachers, and their unique armoury of tools and tactics. Whilst the 700+ pages may appear a lot to take in, the digestible chapters (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise) and bite-sized biographies (typically 2-5 pages) work exceptionally well as a daily experiment to reset your benchmark in 2017.

In fact one of my primary goals (of which there are only three, for simplicity begets success), is to try something new, challenging, and uncomfortable every day. This book is brilliant for that!

Discover the book at

Checkout CreativeLive for a productivity course from Tools of Titans.

CreativeLive is another great tool to make 2017 exceptional. I use it to RSVP for free lessons, and to reward myself for successfully completing a high-value task by learning a new skill (photography, meditation, business, Acroyoga, it’s a one stop virtual academy for discovering your full potential).

Strategy Coaches are an excellent anchor to ground your goals in daily action and accountability. And I like my Mentors to be Mobile…

Like the above tools, hiring a virtual coach to keep goals at the fore, is a smart way to ensure excuses like: “I don’t have time to travel to a gym.” or “I work odd hours so can’t schedule a regular appointment.” are not part of the equation.

I recently interviewed Laura Moore, a health and performance coach who helps high achieving women assess their priorities in broader context and set authentic goals which more closely align with their true definition of success (am I a good friend, wife, mother, do I make time for family or my health, is my life one big adventure?). When it comes to our careers our vision can become narrow, whether you are climbing the corporate ladder or following the path of an entrepreneur, there is no getting around the time investment required to succeed. But in the words of Winston Churchill… “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

I invited Laura to talk about the passion which drives her and the most common challenges which dominate her practise.

What drew you to NLP?

When I opened the gym I got myself a business coach. I found however that rather than working on business strategy we would spend most of our time working through my personal barriers as that is what was holding the business back more so than a lack of planning. She used a lot of NLP with me and I got an extraordinary amount of value from it, all of which I’m still benefiting from on a daily basis. So this was my introduction to the practice. I realise now that I had actually experienced it a lot throughout my journey of personal development, and indeed throughout my every day life, but I just didn’t know that it was NLP specifically. From the first day of my course I loved it, it taught me things about the world and the way I view it that I had never considered before, but it all made total sense. From that point on I knew it would be a big part of my life and business, as it is an extremely powerful tool to gain insight into peoples’ worlds and help them unlock their full potential.

What inspires me?

My own journey was a massive inspiration because I don’t want people to go through the same things I did. I’m sick of seeing people struggle because they’re misinformed or don’t know there’s another way. My parents were also a massive inspiration for me, because I’ve seen them struggle with their health and weight all my life. It makes me so sad to think how much it can consume peoples’ lives, they spend so much time pre-occupied with what they’re eating or how they’re exercising that they forget to live.

How does health reinforce our goals of success?

Through my own journey I experienced first-hand the effects that a driven mindset and lifestyle can have on the body, and it wasn’t until I realised and respected the fact that it was my mind driving my body that I finally began to restore myself. For me, the road to recovery began with understanding. I was aware that stress could affect your body but I had no idea how or to what extent, so once I gained an insight into this it motivated me to learn more and then explore the changes I needed to make to reduce its impact. I had no idea that it was actually my need to be liked and drive to be the best that had ultimately caused my body to go into meltdown, because the knock-on effect of those beliefs caused me to work much longer and harder than I needed to, set myself unachievable standards and beat myself up if I didn’t achieve them and constantly try to change and shape who I was to fit into the person I thought I ‘should’ be. Consequently my body was under a constant state of stress and eventually it pushed back.

People out there just don’t understand the consequences of living such busy lives, never switching off and trying to be everything to everyone, so I have made it my mission to let them know because I believe this is imperative if we want to instil real change that is intrinsically motivated and that will last. Our health and wellbeing is our foundation, without it we are literally nothing, so I need people to see how the goals they are chasing are directly related to this, and if they truly want to achieve them it must be a priority. I also need them to understand that their mind is actually the foundation of their health and wellbeing, so if they truly want to optimize this then they need to look into their thoughts, beliefs and behaviours rather than simply trying different exercise regimes and diets.

How did this evolve into a entrepreneurial adventure?

That inspiration has been my motivation to start and grow Uppy. I am committed to changing the way people think about their health and wellness, and teaching them a new way to do life and live more. I am lucky that I am able to gain such insight so soon into my entrepreneurial journey, so for that I am grateful that the fire happened and I have had the opportunity to move in a different direction. For me, starting a new business was the only option and nothing else even entered my brain. I knew that this was my chance to make a real difference in peoples’ lives, and that notion keeps me going every single day.
Do you still face challenges?

Pretty much every single day! The difference is I know how to recognise the signs early now and have strategies to hand to manage them. As I always say to people, when we’re talking about real change we have to be patient because it doesn’t happen overnight – I’ve had 34 years to build up a lot of my stories and beliefs, so naturally it’s going to take a little while to make them stick and embed them into my unconscious mind. The key to achieving this is repetition, so I simply continue to employ the strategies every time a challenge comes up and then slowly I notice that I don’t have the same thoughts as often or I respond more intuitively in a different way. I realise that it is extremely important to be patient and kind to myself, and not beat myself up if I revert to an old way of thinking or doing things, rather I deconstruct the situation and see how I can learn from it.

Of course I still get it wrong at times, but that’s all part of the learning and growing process. I find it extremely helpful to let your loved ones in on your journey too, as it can be hard to spot behaviours in yourself at times, so if they know what to look out for they can support you through your change…and celebrate with you as you go too. My most valuable strategy is to stay connected to my core values and my deeper level goals, or my ‘why’. This allows me to stay on track and focus on the things that will take me to where I want to be, I see my values as the road map to my future. I also remind myself daily of the notion of focusing on the things I can control and letting go of the things I can’t – that gets me out of a lot of situations that previously I would have gotten stuck in and would have wasted a lot of time and energy worrying about.

What are the biggest struggles of high-achievers?

Don’t have enough time.

Juggle too many things at once.

Worry about making the right decisions with their life/career.

Don’t prioritise themselves.

Worry/feel guilty about not spending enough quality time with their loved ones.

Worry about their health, body image, energy, clarity often ending up with disease, particularly cancer.
As we did, the first important step to addressing all of this is to identify their values and what’s really important to them, deep in the depths of their being. Once they understand this it helps them to focus and connect to the things that will take them to where they want to be, and delegate or let go of the things that won’t. So having these values constantly present and visual will remind them of this and keep it present in their minds.
Learning to listen to their bodies and minds is also key. Documenting everything (e.g. what they eat and drink, how their energy and mood is throughout the day in relation to what they’re doing, how much sleep they get, how they respond to different situations) to start with will help get them into the habit of observing. From this they will be able to identify patterns and of those which ones are serving them and they’re values, and which ones are not. Then they can start to put strategies in place to catch themselves when they’re responding in an un-resourceful way and change the response to one that will serve them better. For example, if they notice that they’re generally less patient in the afternoon I would recommend they factor in a non-negotiable break around lunch time (with no phone or technology near them) to clear their heads – even if it’s just 10 minutes to go outside for fresh air or to sit quietly and breathe. This will allow them to reset their minds and gather some energy (draw back the arrow if you like), as it’s highly likely they’re impatient because their minds haven’t stopped since they woke up so they feel like they have no space (or time).

In fact that would be one of my biggest pieces of advice actually, particularly on high-stress days, is allow yourself a little time out. It can feel like there just isn’t time to do that, but in fact it’s on those days that you need to do it the most. Even if it’s an extended toilet break between meetings, there can always be an opportunity to step back even just for 5 minutes. And also, it shouldn’t be something that women have to do in secret – saying they’re taking a few minutes out to reset and recharge is a real sign of strength as it shows they know themselves and their bodies and they know how to maximise their own potential. It actually sets a great example for those around them, rather than showing that you have to work yourself into the ground to be ‘successful’. Doing some deep slow belly breathes are a great way to spend this time as it energizes the body from a cellular level, helps quieten the mind and calms down the sympathetic nervous system which is overactive when stressed and causes them to be in fight or flight mode.
Having some little ‘pattern interrupt’ strategies can also be helpful. When they feel themselves slipping down the rabbit hole of stress or overwhelm, or behaving in a way that isn’t in-line with what they believe or progressing them towards their goals, doing something completely different, even just for a few seconds, can be enough to shake them out of that zone. For example, they could play a song that takes them back to a happy time, they could walk up and down the corridor or go to the bathroom, they could have a photo on their phone that reminds them of good times when they look at it or they could go and check in with a colleague and ask how they’re going (giving to others is a great way to make ourselves feel better). When we stay absorbed in a situation we can get sucked further into it, but by taking our minds away for a short while it brings back perspective and changes the body’s physiology.
Talking of physiology – I was at an event last night and had a good reminder about the power of changing our bodies to change the way we feel. Taking on a ‘power position’ rather than being closed in can actually make us feel better. So again, just for 2 minutes sitting back in the office chair with legs on the desk and arms behind the head, or standing with hands on hips and legs apart with the head up and forcing a smile can have a massive impact. Any movement that opens up the body is what we’re looking for here.
Another strategy is to have an ‘accountabilibuddy’ – someone they can talk to and check in with. This is another great way to pattern interrupt and help clear the mind as it gets the thoughts out rather than leaving them in there to fester and grow.

Socialising/mingling is also good as again it takes you away from getting stuck in your thoughts. This doesn’t have to be a full on night out or a three course dinner, but just a chat with colleagues, a quick catch up with friends or even a chat with the waiter at the local café will do!
Top indications that a reset is needed:

Erratic energy – feeling over tired or wired


Feelings of anxiety or a tightness in the chest

Shallow breathing

Clouded thinking

Feeling emotional

Unexplained bloating

For me, the best place that is always guaranteed to reset me and pull me back into line with my values is the ocean. I’m very lucky that I can see it from my desk so I now have a constant reminder, but getting out and sitting on a rock where I can be close to it and hear the waves is my happy place. Even better is to be underneath it in the form of scuba diving, so I try to do that at least every fortnight if not every week, and I can guarantee that I will always feel happier and lighter afterwards. In terms of people – my boyfriend helps to fulfil my value of security as he and our relationship offer me a solid base where I know I can just be me (however daggy that may be at times!)

Another big value of mine however is fun so I have a few friends that I like to catch up with to do exciting/adventurous/stupid things with and just generally bugger about with! My brother is my favourite person to call on if I need to be stupid and bugger about – we talk the biggest amount of crap when we’re together and have the same warped sense of humour, but actually at the same time we can talk about whatever is going on in our minds – so again he serves my security value as I can be completely myself and open up about even the stupid thoughts in my head! Oh, also the harbour bridge is a good one for me – as soon as I see that I feel happy, at peace and proud as it reminds me of the journey I’ve been on and how I moved myself to the other side of the world and started a new life, all by myself!

To learn more about Laura and Uppy coaching visit:

Well folks, those are just a few of the tools I plan on leveraging to make 2017 exceptional. But whatever your goals are, may I offer you this advise:

Make life an experiment in discovering your true potential, purpose, and passion.

Don’t overcomplicate things or limit yourself by creating hard rules around your goals.

And lastly, learn how to succeed through failure—this piece of advise comes from the toughest athlete on earth, Navy Seal, David Goggins. I recently caught David’s interview on the Rich Roll podcast and was inspired by his courage but more importantly by his honesty. Goggins never sugar coats a challenge, instead he uses the ‘cookie jar’ when things get tough—that’s to say, he reminds himself of tougher times when he pulled through despite being uncertain he could. You need to push yourself to do more, and be more than you were yesterday—by doing this, what you learn about yourself, is that you are capable of so much more!

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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