23 March 2009

It might sound easier to say than actually live by this philosophy, but its true, “there is no place for stress in any form in business life.”

Stress is not only bad for your health it is also bad for your business. It is a major distraction and the main reason why people do not achieve their full potential.

So how can you achieve zero stress in a fast paced and potentially stressful environment?

Before I launch into telling you how easy it is, I think it important for me to own up and tell you that in my first businesses I was always stressed by something. I would find myself being distracted from time to time on tax affairs, disputes over non payments and all the usual problems you get running and growing a small business. In my home life I was no better and I had resigned myself this was just a personality trait that I’d just have to live with.

I don’t think I could have mismanaged my time more effectively!

A turning point came after my accountant gave me a frank talking to and asked me “when was the last time you took a holiday Lawrence?”

I proudly said “9 years ago!” He looked at me shaking his head and said, “well you need to take a break and go and see how the other half are living!”

When I realised how stupid I’d been I was able to see that he was right of course. We all need space from time to time, space to breathe and recover. Time to ourselves is a must. I often talk of passion, but all the passion in the world misplaced without common sense is wasted energy. It’s funny how you become wiser with age!

But it is not the ‘time out’ itself that is the real key. We all know you can take time out from work yet be consumed by all the negative thoughts that follow you home.

There is a secret to it. This technique is so effective, it saved my life when I was trapped helpless underground dying and I have spent the rest of my life since trying to understand the phenomenon, develop it and share with others.

I later found a chap called Tony Robbins who used and taught a similar technique to hundreds of thousands of people. He is a life coach, someone who helps get you back on track or working to your full potential.

Ordinarily I am not a person interested in a listening to someone preaching about a new way of living your life. However when you hear the list of people Tony Robbins has helped lift to the highest level, you cannot help but be impressed. Ever heard of Andre Agassi, Michael Jordan? Or politicians such as Clinton or Gorbochov? The list is a modern day who’s who of living legends.

What I liked about Robbins, is that he openly admits not coming up with these ideas. Robbins is a brilliant orator and motivator. He has studied what makes people function to the best of their abilities in every walk of life. He has traced the originators back through time as far as he can and translates the methods into easily digestible chunks we can all understand.

For example, he wanted to find who was the fastest or fittest person on the planet. Eventually all the roads pointed to a tribe of Indians who run for fun 60 miles in the hot sun. During his study, he found that these Indians used a form of meditation and unusual breathing patterns before they exercise that almost leaves you trance like seeing clearer and completely focused. The first time I used this particular technique, I was on a cycling machine in a gym in Spain. The gym was empty and I put a towel over my head to help me concentrate. I listened for an hour with Tony Robbins in my earphones whist I cycled like a maniac. The only thing was, I had not cycled properly since I was a kid, and I certainly wasn’t exercising enough at this time in my life. When I stopped, after the hour long CD had finished, I lifted the towel from my head to find 3 people peering at me from down a corridor. They looked perplexed. I was suddenly embarrassed; my cycling machine was on the other side of the room pressed against a wall. Apart from the 30 km or so I had cycled, I’d also rocked the machine 50 feet across the gym.

As I got off the machine and proudly walked down the corridor, I bid the 3 people good afternoon and left. They were probably thinking how did that guy carrying all that extra weight do that? I know I was! The strangest thing the next day I wasn’t even stiff.The point of this particular part of the story is that all the techniques involving ultimate performance in some way or other use the mind.


I learned many things from Robbins and his CD’s, books, and I even went on to meet him in person. Most importantly I learned true success is already in you waiting to burst out. He simply uses a series of techniques that help you discover harness and help you find yourself. You can use these techniques in a variety of places; sport, competition, teaching, getting over phobias, breaking negative trends and associations.

The most effective and easiest of techniques that Robbins teaches and that I realised I used the day I almost died, is best described as an “Emotions trick”.

The simple fact is we can only feel one emotion at a time.

Happy, sad, exhilarated, stressed, grateful.Try it. Think about it, you can only feel one at a time. You can’t be happy and sad. You can’t be sad and amused, or stressed and happy.

So here is the trick. If you are stressed, afraid or want to stop feeling negative in any way, simply choose another emotion.


Now I can imagine you are already challenging me thinking if I am feeling desperately unhappy how do I suddenly condition myself to feel happy. “If I could do that” I hear you say, “there would be no problem!” You are right, but there is one emotion you can muster from anywhere, and that is feeling of being “grateful”.

This is one emotion we can all summon on tap. No matter how bad things become, there is always a worse place or someone less fortunate. This is a source of being grateful. If you replace whatever anxiety or suffering with “thank you God for this opportunity” or “for the air I breath.” This is one I use after being in an avalanche. Believe me no matter how bad things get I only have to think of this or moments I share with my kids and I replace the negativity in a flash.


Try it and practice it. The power of the mind is awesome. The more I discover the more I realise just how amazing our brains really are. I am confident if you use this technique your life will improve, as you will spend less time in a negative place and therefore more time being positive.

Buried under 10 ft of snow, cemented in with no air to breath I realised this was the end. Instead of getting stressed, I said “thank you”.I said thank you for a wonderful varied life, thank you for the experiences, but most of all I said thank you to everyone I had been lucky enough to share time with and learn from.


This simple act of being grateful, I am confident, saved my life. Above ground one of my friends, a doctor, luckily enough, who actually resuscitated me, was actually consoling a life long friend. He said to Dan, “he wont survive this length of time.”

I not only defied the laws of nature after they brought me back to life I stood up, (with help) and walked with a friend on either shoulder to the rescue helicopter. I remember seeing Stefan, our guide and lead rescuer, lighting cigarette, taking in a drag and saying in his unmistakable French accent, “there goes one tough son of a gun.”

But it wasn’t toughness, it was strength of mind. It was a second chance given to me for not squandering the last 8 minutes of my life in panic, even if I was entombed in a dark and lonely place. I wasn’t going to be carried to the helicopter, I was going to savor every step no matter how hard.

So when things get harder now, I go back to that dark place where I listed my friends and family, and I say “thank you.”I am on this earth to make a difference and no one is going to stress me out.


After surviving an event like that. I started asking lots of questions, “why?” was a reoccurring question: A little like my two a half year old who asks this question over and over again!

I wanted to find out who else used positive thinking to overcome difficult situations, and in the true spirit of positive thinking, I started bumping in to other positive people. I not only found and met Tony Robbins I ended up befriending one of his close colleagues and fellow workers, Suzie Mitchell who now is on our board of directors.It’s a funny old world.


So if you want to accelerate your success and avoid getting stressed, try this simple technique. You will be amazed at the outcome. You will be amazed at what you can achieve when you spend your life being positive, being grateful.

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