Denis is passionate about life-long learning and self-improvement. He is part-time tutor at Queen’s University Belfast, writing and presenting courses in personal development. These popular courses include: Mindfulness, Assertiveness; Self-Compassion; Confidence and Life Coaching.
His background in Personal and Business Development spans 40 years, helping individuals and organisations grow and achieve their potential. He is a certified Personal and Business Coach with a Post Graduate Diploma in Coaching from the University of Chester. He has held senior training and business development roles with major international companies in the Oil, Brewing and Training Industry.
As a published author and speaker, he has written a wide range of self-help audio and e-books, published by Mindcool Publications (www.mindcool.com), including; Living the Life you Want; Achieving your Goals and Resilience.
Outside of presenting and writing about personal development, Denis enjoys gardening, mindfulness meditation and spoiling many a good walk out on the local golf course.
He can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The power to maximise our potential lies within us. Think of a chestnut. That little seed has great power within. It has the potential to become a mighty, spreading chestnut tree. Yet you can’t see it! Dissect a chestnut and you will find nothing inside that remotely resembles a tree. But you know it is in there when you put it into fertile ground and nurture it, over time. It is the same for us. The potential within us is far beyond what we can imagine. We have greatness within. Our sacred quest is to discover our potential by developing the right skills and the right mind set needed to live our best possible life.
My current project is working on submitting a book proposal about helping readers achieve their best life. All of us have unique gifts and abilities. The more we begin to know and trust the power within, the more we will connect with what we can be and we will create a life truly worth living. In doing so, we contribute to and enrich the lives of others as well as our own. To make a real lasting difference in any area of our working or personal lives we need to have Clarity, Commitment and the ability to keep going until successful Completion. Whether it is to develop as a successful writer, artist or performer the more we work on the “Three Cs of Achievement” – Clarity, Commitment and Completion – then the more successful we will become.
Helping more people maximise their potential and live their best possible life is my goal. Based on 40 years experience in personal and business develop, the proposed “self-help” book aims to provide practical steps that will accommodate busy lives and put the emphasis on the most challenging areas that are commonly the biggest obstacles to success, namely Clarity, Commitment and Completion. Self-improvement is challenging because it is about change and most people if they are honest are only really halfhearted most of the time, when it comes to changing their lives, myself included.
The proposed book will be divided into three sections, with 10 concise chapters on each of the “Three Cs”.
Part I will aim to help readers gain more Clarity around their most important values and unique gifts, with each chapter including exercises on Clarifying their values, needs, deepest desires and life purpose.
While obtaining Clarity is the important first step in the achievement of anything, where the 3Cs intends to differentiate itself from other self-help books is in the way it will support the reader with Commitment.
The 10 chapters in Part II will provide step-by-step exercises using the G.R.O.W.T.H mindset to ensure Commitment to achieving what they have clarified in Part I. The methodologies employed will help readers to “walk the talk” by setting and committing to clear goals; ensuring their commitment level is in line with their expectations; using appropriate incentives and pressures; developing willpower; honouring time commitments; committing to hard work and making sacrifices to achieve their goals and dreams.
Part 3 is about Completion. Once we are Clear about what we want and why; once we have made the Commitment, then how do we keep going until successful completion, especially when things get tough? Bouncing back from rejection is important for all aspiring and established writers. All of us experience rejection and will get weary and feel like giving up on occasions. But the measure of our life often comes down to the measure of our courage in persevering through difficulties and walking on through the flames, until Completion.
In the final part, each chapter will include exercises and actions to encourage readers to keep going when the going gets tough. The motivational techniques for developing a “Completion Mindset” include suggestions on: maintaining self-belief; mastering motivation; overcoming procrastination; creative problem solving; performing under pressure; coping strategies; building resilience; maintaining momentum and finishing strong.
I believe there is a growing need in the Self-Improvement literature for a book that makes a real difference to people’s lives and offers more of a return on the reader’s invested time and money. Many self-development books sell the dream of changing one’s life overnight, with the minimum effort. They play down the fact that self-improvement is about change. And changing behaviour is challenging because it is only possible with Clarity, Commitment and Completion.
Ultimately happiness and achievement is not just about our success, pleasure, wealth, possessions, status, power or image. It is more about the quality of our experiences in choosing to live our best life. To choose to be thankful for the gift of life is a powerful starting point. To nurture a grateful heart and to know we can grow in all situations – whatever happens – is half the battle. To be able to let go into the mystery. To develop our sense of wonder. To develop the courage to rise above the difficulties and to seek transformation in our lives – that is all part of our sacred quest. An overarching theme, in the book, is helping readers to focus on their important values and priorities, rather than being side-lined and distracted by the “stuff” that tends to consume so much of our precious time and energy.
Today, more than ever, we need to enjoy the little things; the quiet joys of life and to discover moments of carefree timelessness with friends and family. I believe our lives are a search for meaning and purpose and when we look back, we will realise that those little things are really the big things.
THE POWER OF WRITING.
Can you imagine a world without writing? Without any writing at all? There would be no paperwork; no forms to fill in and of course no tax returns! But also, no literature, no science, no history, no newspapers, no internet and no social media. It is almost beyond imagining because our modern world is so dependent on the written word.
Of all mankind’s great advances, the development of writing is a giant. It probably has had more impact on the evolution of society than any other discovery. Our ability to write things down is an amazing gift, but when and where did it begin?
Early writing has it’s origins in writing things down to make a list. When the early Cities emerged in the fertile river valleys of places like Mesopotamia, 5,000 years ago, one of the challenges for leaders was how to govern the new societies and collect tax. In order to manage and control large populations they needed to keep records. So, writing evolved out of the practical need to make lists and have accounts. Only later does writing move from bean counting to emotions. The accountants got there before the poets!
“We do not write in order to be understood. We write in order to understand. ” C. Day-Lewis
Writing is essential to many aspects of communication. The majority of routine writing is about communicating with others. But how often do we communicate with ourselves, especially in writing?
Of course, we never stop talking to ourselves through our internal dialogue. But a lot of our self-talk can be rambling and elusive, until we write it down. The most important relationship we will ever have is the one we establish with ourselves. And writing things down in a journal or writing lists are popular ways of communicating with ourselves. Putting thoughts and feelings down on paper is a powerful tool for Self-Care and Self- Development. Thoughts are often fragmented and fleeting and writing them down may feel awkward, to begin with. But writing them down will help you obtain more clarity, more focus and can bring about positive change. Something magical happens when we put our inner thoughts and feelings down on paper.
Writing things down is really the crystallization of thought. Once down on paper, they are no longer vague and nebulous notions rattling around inside our head. The mysterious Law of Attraction loves it when we write things down. What you put out into the Universe will often come back to you. Simply writing it down starts to make things happen in ways that sometimes seem outside our control.
Once upon a time, an enthusiastic teenager made a list of all the things he wanted to achieve with his life.When he had finished, he had a list with 127 items written down. Many were typical of what a 15 year old, adolescent boy, would dream about. But his ambitions also extended to climbing Everest; visiting every country in the world and ridiculously – flying to the moon! But by the time that young boy had reached the age of 47 years of age,
he amazingly had achieved 103 of all the things written down on that list. And it included flying to the moon!
That 15 year old boy was one of the Apollo astronauts. This is just one of countless examples of what can be accomplished when we write things down.
” A verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” Samuel Goldwyn.
POWER OF LISTS
I am a great believer in the Power of Lists – Wish Lists; Gratitude Lists; Bucket Lists; To Do Lists,To Have Lists, To Be Lists and Shopping Lists. Going shopping without a list is like driving a car without a steering wheel – It is a recipe for potential disaster, wasting time and money.
The habit of writing a daily TO DO LIST will keep you organised and improve personal effectiveness. Make your list the night before, for the next day. This enables your subconscious to work on your list of activities, while you sleep. Aim to have no more than 10 activities on your daily TO DO list. Begin by “Brain Dumping” all the things you wish to achieve – it will be long list! Then ruthlessly edit the list to no more than 10 items using the 3 Ds approach. Delegate, Delay or Delete anything that is not that important or urgent.
Strictly prioritize activities that you realistically have the time and resource to do that day. If there are 10 things on your TO DO list, 2 of them (20 %) will account for 80% of the productivity value. The most valuable tasks on your list, will be the most challenging and the most rewarding. So, focus all your time and energy in doing your top 2 priorities first. Always focus on your 2 most important priorities before doing lower-value activities. There is never enough time to do everything. But always make time to do the most important things first and don’t procrastinate!
The 80/20 rule or the “Pareto” principle will help you focus on What’s Important Now. The only person to get all their work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe. Don’t worry about trying to get every thing done. Focus on progressing one top priority at a time. Unexpected things will always pop up that need attention. But don’t let this stop you from making daily TO DO Lists. Simply writing tasks down will give you some structure that helps to calm and dampen anxiety. Very few people can accurately estimate the time something will take. It always takes longer then you think, so build in some “extra time”. Break large tasks down into activities that take about 25 minutes to complete. The secret to becoming good at anything, is to give it focused attention in intervals of 25 minutes. But with 5 minute breaks.
Whether it is exercise, relationships or building a business, the more attention we give anything – the better. And writing things down in a list is one of the best ways to understand what is going on in your life. Writing things down really promotes mindfulness practice. Writing thoughts and feelings down on paper helps discipline a wandering mind. Past regrets and future worries tend to lose their potency when written down in the present moment. Physically writing things down helps de-clutter your mind and relieves stress. The habit of writing things down is a good way to develop self-awareness and self- esteem. It can help us understand our emotions and moods and develops Emotional Intelligence. Writing things down promotes emotional and psychological well-being. Stress and worries will feed on over thinking and the suppression of emotions. Putting our emotions down on paper is like having a safety valve for letting -off steam.
And any time you are feeling low, take a few minutes to write down things you are grateful for – make a gratitude list. Gratitude is a mindfulness practice that opens us to joy, compassion and appreciation of the life that sustains us. At least once a day take some quiet time to give thanks for what you already have. Feel gratitude for what you have, rather than impatience and regret for what is not yet present.
Make a list of all the People, Opportunities, Experiences and Things in your life that you are thankful for.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions you can feel because it creates a state of abundance.
It is the turbocharger for bringing more of what you want into your life. What we focus on increases. The more we express genuine thanks and the more we feel good about all that we have – Then the likelihood that even more good things will show up in our lives increases. The vibrational energy of gratitude attracts more positive things into our lives.
In everything give thanks. Every day we have so many things to be grateful for. But often, we tend to focus on what we don’t yet have and feel regretful or disgruntled. We can easily forget about our blessings and take many things for granted. When we have food in our fridge and eat three times a day, we are more fortunate than the billion people on the planet who are lucky if they eat once a day. Millions of people do not have the luxury of clean water on tap. Millions of people are homeless. Millions don’t own a car, a phone or have computer or internet access. While it is normal for us to grow and better our lives, we should also express gratitude for what we already have, rather than complain about what don’t have.
“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” Anon
Writing can be a powerful meditation practice.
Sit down at a desk, where you will not be disturbed, with a notebook and pen.
Relax into a natural state of calm, comfortably ignoring the outside world.
Set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes.
Bring your awareness to your breathing.
Take a few, slow, deep, breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Slow your mind and breathing. Be still.
Then on the prompt “RIGHT NOW!” – just write without pausing to think.
Don’t stop to read, reflect, edit, to comprehend or to write a “piece.”
Simply let the words flow out from your mind and onto the paper.
Finish each sentence and keep going until the timer goes.
Take a few deep breaths and then read aloud what you have written.
Listen deeply to yourself.
Let the words surprise you.
Notice where your mind goes when you read it back aloud.
Notice any fears, pleasures, expectations and judgments that arise.
Allow them to be just as they are and rest in a spirit of warmth and openness.
Later, you may want to write down your observations.