I tell jokes, therefore I am

One of my goals this year is to do a lot more keynotes.

So to *ease* myself into it, I signed up for a stand-up comedy class.

In my comedy set, I do a bit – yes I have *bits* now – about how I have a philosophy degree, hence the title of my post today.

(Don’t worry…I have funny material too.)

Anyway, I took the class for two reasons: (1) to challenge myself with something new (it’s out of my comfort zone), and (2) I thought it might help me continue to refine my speaking skills.

So far I’ve eaten my fair share of humble pie.

I’ve got a pretty good sense of humour.  However, being funny on demand is a different beast.  I’ve learned that about 80% of the game is being willing to make a joke and NOT hear laughter.  That’s how you find out what works; by throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks – or at least slides down slowly, leaving gooey skid marks.

There are certain patterns to it, but you can never know 100% what will make an audience laugh.  When they do laugh, you put a check-mark next to that one, and move on.

Top comedians have done a joke dozens of times before it ever airs on their Netflix special.

At the beginner level, everyone trembles when it’s their turn to take the stage.  Not one of us feels secure.  As I watch this unfold each week, I think “isn’t this amazing?  All of us out here, taking RISKS…”

This might be my inner masochist talking, but doing stand-up is a great way to experience failure in strident, painful, and repetitive ways, until you become immune to it.  It’s like a vaccine.  You take in small but concentrated doses of the stuff, and, in response, your immune system releases antibodies that immediately go to work on fear.

(I make it sound VERY appealing, I’m sure.)

There’s no evolution in sameness.

There’s only decay, deterioration, and RUST.  What’s true of all living things is that if we’re not growing, we’re dying.  Uncertainty and insecurity are passes to a virtual Disneyland of personal development.

AND…your opinion on what you can’t do isn’t usually based on facts.

With a bit of coaching, every single person in my stand-up class got funnier.

So risk.  Start today.  It doesn’t have to be stand-up, but put your name in the bucket to learn something new.

Be like the guy who was asked if he can play the piano:

“I don’t know,” he said.

“What do you mean you don’t know?”

“I’ve never tried.”

Happy Risking,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com


Put first things first

When I worked at Extreme Fitness, the company was a world leader in personal training sales.

Part of their sales process was to make you feel physically inadequate, so you’d realize you need a personal trainer.

Here’s an example:

The *consultant* as he or she was called, would ask you to squat while standing on a Bosu ball.  If you were shaky, they’d explain that this meant your stabilizers are weak.  You’re therefore (a) vulnerable to injury and (b) unlikely to progress much in your workouts without first addressing this problem.

Alas…this particular game is RIGGED.  The house always wins.  Everybody shakes.  That’s because it’s got little to do with your stabilizers.  Bosu ball squats are a skill.  Unless you’ve practiced them, you’re not going to be very good at them.

You probably can’t do the trapeze either.

That doesn’t mean you need the $3,000 Cirque Du Soleil package.

I can’t do a back flip.

I’ve lived with this handicap my entire life, and strangely, I don’t feel as though it’s held me back.  It hasn’t cost me any jobs due to discrimination.  I can legally marry.  And somehow, I even managed for many years as an elite strength athlete despite this glaring flaw – go figure.

Where am I going with this?

Your inability to squat on a Bosu probably hasn’t hurt you either.  It’s almost 98% irrelevant to your fitness goals.

Yet it’s human nature to fall for such gimmicks.

That’s IF…we’re not firmly rooted in PRINCIPLES.

Habit #3 of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is *put first things first*.  Bob Proctor says, “The main thing…is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”  In other words, if you want to lose fifty pounds it’s not about, e.g., what are the best kinds of yoghurt to eat.

Instead you should recognize that this change – if it’s going to last – has to begin with massive shifts in both your internal environment (thoughts, beliefs, emotions), and your external environment (which includes everything in your house or workplace, and in between).  These are shifts that need to be harmonized into enduring habits.

It’s about changing your lifestyle.

It’s setting priorities.

It’s committing to working on YOU, the person behind the body armor.

And this has more to do with THINKING and PLANNING than people generally realize.

I know, I know…you don’t want to think.  You’re too busy for that.  You just want someone to tell you what to do.  Or maybe you want me stop at what kind of yoghurt is best to eat.  But getting ever clearer on your intentions is the process of permanent change.

It’s the anatomy of transformation.

Make time for it, and your life will never be the same.

For more help with this, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel:

=>Click here to visit The Conz’ YouTube Channel.

I’ll be posting easily digestible 120-second clips thrice each week.

My latest includes a few examples for how to put to new patterns on auto-pilot.

Check it out.

And note to my industry: personal training is POWERFUL.  Own it.  If you’re purposeful about it, you won’t need gimmicks to convince your buyers.

Happy Back-Flipping,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

How To Put New Patterns On Auto-Pilot

Let’s talk a little bit more about context changes…

I’d mentioned how manipulating conditions in your present environment to “handicap” your future self is really key, because it takes willpower out of the equation to a large extent.

So for instance, if you want to lose weight or improve your fitness, you can skip buying your monthly metropass and take up the habit of walking to and from work instead.  You can prepare healthy meals to bring to work with you and limit your choices.  You can STOP keeping foods that you have a hard time being moderate with in your house.

I heard some other great examples recently…

These are from Harley Pasternak.  He’s encouraging people to move more, and said as a busy person, what he’s done is to get rid of his coffee machine at home, so he has to walk four blocks to get his morning coffee.  Also, when meeting with someone, instead of just meeting at his office, he’ll say let’s walk and talk; your mind is in more of a creative state anyway.

I’ve talked about public speaking

One of the best things you can do to get yourself going with that is join a group; something like toastmasters.  You’ll pick up a few tips.  But most importantly it gets you up in front of people each week.   And remember, DOING is the path to BEING.  If you want to be decent, let alone great at anything, you need to do it, and do it often.

So this year, when I decided to get back into the flow of speaking (as I emerge weary-eyed from behind my laptop where I spent the last few months of 2016) one of the things I did was sign up for a stand up comedy class.  Now, I have no ambitions of becoming a comic…

But doing the stand up thing is definitely different from the speaking I’ve done over the years.  It’s a little out of my comfort zone, and that’s the point.  It’s got me thinking about humour, and how to add more of that to my presentations.  Mostly, it keeps me in front of people each week and it’s an opportunity to continue to refine my communication skills.

The other thing I did was commit to a monthly interview on ThatChannel.com.  Same idea, forces me to really button up my content, as well as practice being interviewed.

Finally, doing these videos was the third context change.   Each one is like a mini talk, so it forces me to clarify my ideas, and I’m getting practice at communicating them as well.

That’s really it.  That’s how it’s done.  That’s how I’m doing it.  That’s how you can use my concept of context changes to effectively automate any good behavior you want more of.  As I’ve said before, put some thought into what you want to accomplish.  Be clear on your intention.  Then be ruthless about organizing your life in ways that make it a lot harder for you to NOT do the positive new patterns you’re creating for yourself. 

Edit your daily method of operation, and your environment, so it becomes second nature.

With a just little bit of thought, I’m sure you can find ways to do this.

For a lot more ideas, to help you along the road to being EVEN more, and accomplishing EVEN more, be sure to sign up for my email tips by clicking the graphic in the right column.

Thanks for watching, and happy transforming.

Conor Kelly

Video: Conor explains how people change

“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; make the iron hot by striking.”

There are three ways people change.

Usually the person is experiencing a symptom of some kind (like being overweight), or has a desire to do something like make more money.

The first type, are merely try to change it by willing themselves to.

They say they’re gonna go to the gym more, or start a new business.  But there’s no real plan so they don’t gain very much traction and eventually it’s status quo and the whole idea is history.

This is what happens to most new year’s resolutions, for example.

The second type will have a breakthrough of some kind.

This is usually something external.  They get a stern warning from their doctor about the health consequences of their current lifestyle.  They get fired from their jobs.   And of course you hear stories of people who say when they lost their job, they thought it was the worst thing ever, but it was a blessing in disguise because it forced them to go start the business they’ve always wanted to.

And as a trainer, I’d often get people who had a recent health scare or bad diagnosis.  They’d commit to a program, go through a period of what I call massive re-organization, but they soon find themselves in a “new normal” or plateau.  They’re definitely better off, but they never really take it any further.  They’re the person who needed to 70 pounds, but lost 20 and never really made past there.

Then there’s a third type.  This type might experience the initial breakthrough or not.  But they find a way, at every plateau, to do the reorganization stage so they can keep progressing.  They keep finding new ways of reinventing their lifestyle until they achieve total transformation.  They lose 50, 60, or a hundred pounds.  They go on to build huge businesses from scratch.

So what’s the person in the third category doing that the others are not?

They are in fact orchestrating their own breakthroughs.

change3

They’re reversing the order of breakthrough and organization.  By not waiting for a breakthrough, but instead consistently doing re-organization, they’re taking charge of their own transformational destiny.  They’ve hired a business coach.  They’ve committed the first hour of every day to marketing their services.  They’ve committed to eliminating certain foods from their diet, and don’t keep them in their house.  Ever.  They don’t suffer plateaus for very long.

The rule is the re-organization stage is where most of your energy needs to go.

Don’t wait for life to give you the breakthroughs.

Chip away at life until it’s forced to give itself over to your desires.

Happy Re-Organizing,

Conor Kelly

P.S. Subscribe to my email tips by clicking the “transformation” graphic in the right side bar!

The TRUTH about commitment

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

With REAL commitment, there’s no debate.

There’s no longer equal opportunity for DO or DO NOT.

The decision’s been made.

(The root of the word “decide” is the latin decidere.  It literally means to kill any alternatives.)

All that remains is the steady forward march of implementation.

That’s why commitment is the ultimate ZEN.  It silences the chorus of opposition, and clears the path for unobstructed and pointed action.  It’s like water running downhill; it effortlessly curves to the configuration of the terrain.

I’ve experienced real commitment only a few times.

Not because it’s hard.

Because it’s so easy it scares me.

There’s so much power in it, so much real-ness to our potential that I deign to use it only sparingly.

But I wonder sometimes where my life would be if I wasn’t afraid.

What if every decision was a FINAL decision?

Sure, you could re-evaluate long-term commitments to determine if they still serve…or make short-term commitments, and periodically re-commit…but what if, for the most part, that was that?  What if, in the Viking warrior tradition, you could burn the ships as soon as you land in new and unconquered territory? Could you gaze up the beach and know that beyond it are only two possibilities – victory, or death?

All great *gut check* questions I’ve been asking myself as I hang up my calendar for another year.

As human beings, we’re capable of so much, yet we squander our powers.

For what?

Security?

It’s an illusion…a mere shadow of Mother Nature’s attempt to protect her children from an unpredictable ecosystem.  Safeguards placed into our brains by DNA.

We are no longer children.  We are the part of nature that is coming to know itself, and we stand face to face with the unboundedness of our existence.

We are free…

2017 will be a year of massive reinvention.  Anything is game.  There is NO certainty.  Trust me; you don’t need it anyway.  NOW is the time to find your center and live from that place.  Not fear, but opportunity.  Not what anyone says (much less what the media says), but what inspires you…

The future belongs to those who create it.

Let’s make it good.

Happy Committing,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

The bloodsport of writing

One of the best examples I know of suffering for your art is Virgil’s famous poem, the Aeneid.

He started writing it in 29 B.C., and continued until 19 B.C. – and still wasn’t finished.

That’s an average of a line per day over eleven years.

Some days were good.  Words flowed, and well-formed ideas leapt onto the page.  Other days he sat and stared as doubt and self-condemnation welled up inside him.  He was never happy with the end result, and agonized over every line until his death, upon which he left instructions for the manuscript to be burned.

Bit dramatic for my tastes.

But I am tempted to hurl my laptop from the balcony on occasion.

I emerge from some writing sessions like Jean Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport, with the emotional equivalent of broken ribs and a giant cut that swells my eye shut.  Or like the guy whose face is the slow-motion close-up of a foot entering and permanently disfiguring it.

I’m deliberate about every comma, every break in the text.  Even then, when I finally push ‘send’, my finger hovers reluctantly above the button.  It’s as though my child is leaving the safety of the nest for the first time, “She’s too young!  She’s not ready!!”

Maybe some people feel 100% confident about their writing.

I guess that’s not me.

Anyway, the point is getting fit’s like that too.

It’s non-linear.  I’ve never met anyone who lost exactly two pounds per week for 26 weeks.  Instead, there are fits and starts.  For some people, the engine of transformation comes roaring to life in the first month, only to sputter and fall silent in the next.  For others, nothing visible happens until one day – months later – the fat falls from their flesh as though it were well-cooked steak.

Most folks land somewhere in the middle.

It’s an awkward (and often messy) beginner’s dance between progress and plateau.

All of this offends our aesthetic sense.

But thinking you need to be perfect is a trap.

If I needed to draft elegant prose every time I sat at my desk, you’d never hear from me.  But I write every day.  How?  I embrace ENTROPY.  It’s the principle that everything in the universe tends toward chaos.  Or, in my layman’s interpretation, the energy you put into something becomes a lower, less-organized form, but is never wasted…

Perfect is the enemy of good.

It’s action that counts.

If you’re not having the occasional meltdown, you’re not trying hard enough.

For all his hysterics, Virgil created works that endure two millennia later.

So borrow a page from his parchment, give yourself permission to fail, and be bold enough to take your best shot.

Happy Mess-Making,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com