I started setting myself monthly challenges since January last year.
There is so much freedom when you choose your own challenges, your own curriculum.
I decided to start this year and January with focus on reading and writing.
In order to be a better writer and coach, a better leader and person, you have to read more. The reader is a leader and every leader should be a reader, too.
That was my main motivation for the challenge. Along with my role model Brendon Burchard. He says that if you want to reignite your life, you have to set yourself challenges, including reading a book per week and that's what he has been doing for more than 20 years...
Last year, I read a book per week and I wanted to repeat that challenge again. But…the point is what I learned in the end. Looking back at the last year and the four books I read for one month – a book per week, I discovered that there wasn’t much benefit for me. I can't say anything about the content of these books now. However, that was a very useful experience for my language skills. I started speaking more fluently in Russian, the words came easier to me. That’s why, I think to repeat that challenge again for developing my fluency in Russian language. But in terms of personal development – learning and implementing the knowledge, I need more time, more time to take notes, to reflect… As well as that, I'm aware of the fact that when I read a book per week, my focus is on finishing the book on time, not so much on the content.
Focus is power. But the most important thing is, why am I doing this? What is the purpose? Your WHY is what matters! Everything Starts with Why!
Like a friend of mine said: "Let us imagine that you wish to explore all 50 states in the USA. Would you jump in your car and drive 144 km/h (90 mph) racing through each state and then, in a year time, proclaim that you know each state? If your goal is just to say you've read a bunch of books, then by all means, set lofty goals, but if your goal is to be transported, immersed, and enlightened, embrace and savor your journeys. As a writer, I would rather people walk through my book, not drive 144 km/h." (Terry Fields)
I understand now that everyone's approach to reading is different.
I think the way you read a book represents your character. It reveals something about your character. Particularly for me, some weaknesses. Challenging myself to improve my reading, I believe I can improve my character, too.
So this time, I decided not to set a deadline – a book per week, but to focus on what I’m reading. I still set a deadline, though – 3 books per month (I’m happy to say I read more). But my focus was on the content and trying to learn as much as possible + taking action, i.e. implementing the knowledge. For me, this approach works much better. Because some books are longer, others are shorter. Some require more time, some less. One of the books, The Alchemist I read for 3 hours in one snowy afternoon.
Below are some of my accomplishments in January – Focus on Reading and Writing. Like always, I’m sharing them with you in the hope to inspire you to reach a new level of success and to be more determined, patient and persistent. Be a Hero!
January - Month of Reading and Writing – Accomplishments
First and foremost, I’m very happy to say that I didn’t miss my Morning Ritual – my hour of power and joy. If you don’t know what morning ritual is, please, read my experience with it
1. Read + took notes – Millionaire Success Habits by Dean Graziosi
2. Read The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho + wrote an article: My Lessons from The Alchemist – part 1
3. Read The Alchemist for the second time. This time took notes. A lot of lessons from this book – I’m planning to write the part 2 to My Lessons from The Alchemist. The interesting thing is that I needed 3 hours to finish the book both times.
4. Read + took notes – The Leadership Guide by Brendon Burchard – 36% finished in January. I’m continuing reading this book in February, too.
5. Read Духовният живот на православния християнин – an Orthodox book by the Bulgarian monk – arch. Seraphim Aleksiev (My faith is of very big importance to me. That’s why I’ve decided to read at least one Orthodox book per month)
6. Read twice – The Power of Habit by Brian Tracy (the first time – aloud, the second time – took notes)
1. Wrote 10 new stories for my blog and for my book – English with Inspirational Stories – Personal Stories by Dimi – part 1
2. Prepared 3 new books
as a free gift to my students (Collected poems + wrote “How to Use Calendar to Grow”) You can download my books for FREE here
3. Created a new music card “Be a Hero” for 123greetings.com
4. Translated a new poem by arch. Seraphim – Spring has Arrived
1. Watch many inspirational videos by Brendon Burchard + took notes - Plan an EXTRAORDINARY 2017! Here's how, The Year of High Performance. Will this be a courageous year for you? (some of the best ones for me)
2. Got inspired by Marie Forleo and her videos – one of them - ONTRApalooza 2012: Marie Forleo!
3. Discovered the work of Jim Rohn and I love it! – watched many of his videos + took notes
4. Started a notebook – My Lessons – each day at the end of it, I write in my notebook what I have learned
5. Journaling – Each day – my accomplishments + what went well and what didn’t go well + Beauty Witness Exercise by Brendon Burchard
**************************Only two things can change our lives: either something new comes into our lives, or something new comes from WITHIN. - Brendon Burchard.
It is spring :-)
Retell the story using the words in bold letters
Every day, the 4-year-old boy went with his father to his work and watched him how he fixed different devices. His father was a technician. One day, when the father wasn’t at home, the boy decided to surprise him for his birthday and show what he learned. He saw the new radio and was very curious what is inside of it. He found his father’s toolbox and from the first time, he managed to unscrew the screws with the Phillips screwdriver and to open the radio. The boy was so happy from his success that decided to take apart the whole radio. When the father came home, he gasped in disbelief. His son cried:
– Dad, look at what I’ve done - a present for your birthday. I’m a technician like you. I took apart the new radio. I can use the screwdriver.
At first, the father went mad since it was the new radio and his son took his toolbox without asking him. Then he thought to himself – There is no point in shouting at the kid or worse, beating him.
Instead of that, he hugged him and said:
– You are going to become a big technician, but true technicians not only take apart, true technicians should be able to reassemble, too.
– Dad, you’re right. But I have other surprise for you, too. Show me an instrument from your toolbox and I’ll tell you its name.
The father smiled:
– Well, let’s see.
2. Phillips screwdriver
8. wood screw
9. machine screw
11. monkey wrench
and the boy guessed all of them right. The father couldn’t believe it. He was over the moon, extremely pleased and happy. That was a great present for his birthday, indeed.
– Now, let’s resemble the radio, son. Will you help me?
– You bet!
What would you do if you were in the place of the father? What would you say to your son?
Lessons from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – part 1
After I finished the book, I was curious to see what other people think of it. I have to admit I was struck to find out many negative reviews. All of those reviews had a valid point, though. I noticed all of these negative things, too. I just didn’t pay attention to them. My focus was on taking the positive and learning something from the book. I didn’t pay attention to its shortcomings. All that reminds me of focus. And you find what you look for.
I remember now the fairy tale of the king who ordered his servants to bring him stinky grass. They came back with a whole sack of it. When the king asked them if they saw sweet-smelling grass, they said they didn’t because they were busy finding stinky grass, so they didn’t pay attention to the other one. You find what you look for.
We can find a similar story in The Alchemist, too about the drops of oil in the spoon. Focus matters!
Personally for me, for instance, when I go to the market with the intention to buy grapes, my focus is on the grapes. I see the other things, but at that moment, they are not important to me and I ignore them. My focus is on finding the best grapes for me. After I finish with that task, then I may look at the other things in details.
Also, when you focus on something, it grows. If you focus on the negative, it becomes double negative. But if you focus on the positive, you guess, it becomes double positive. Beware of where your focus is!
FOCUS – that’s the biggest lesson for me – a great reminder, especially nowadays when we have so many digital distractions.
In the connection with focus, I’d love to add - Successful people are focused, they are not distracted.
2. “LIFE IS 10% WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU AND 90% HOW YOU REACT TO IT.”
When the main hero was robbed in a foreign country, first he cried, but then he decided to change his perspective and from victim to look at himself and the situation like a new adventure. That helped him tremendously. He found a job and later became very successful, simply by changing his perspective.
“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.” Charles R. Swindoll
What did I learn last year?
For me, personally, to transform myself from mouse into lioness, means to start doing physical exercises on a regular basis. If you read My Transformational Story, you already know that this transformation was successful. However, I still haven’t reached that top shape and that state to be fit as a fiddle. That’s my main goal for this year. Last year, I did my exercises only for 2 months. Then something happened and I stopped. Now, I’m fully aware of the reason why that happened and I’m determined to change.
Sending you lots of joy and success for the New Year and always!
Celebration of the Accomplishments 2016