One Apple A Day #463 – Honest conversations

I began journaling years ago.
It’s one of the morning rituals that help me reconnect with myself.
Over the year I’ve adapted my journaling to my changes, but one thing never changed; I never read what I write. Never.
Once my thoughts and feelings are out of my mind and heart, black ink on white paper, they are gone.
I don’t read what I write in my journal because I soon realized how hard it can be to have an honest conversation with myself.
Every transformation starts with an honest conversation. One in which we acknowledge that we want to change something and we bring it out in the light.
I always knew that these kinds of conversations with others are difficult. There is the fear of the judgment, of the pain that we can feel or cause, of the unknown that can emerge.
But it was only when I started journaling that I realized how hard it can be to have an honest conversation with myself.
I never thought that I could be so good avoiding the truth when talking with myself. I could lie to myself even when I know, obviously, that I am lying.

Yet, no transformation can start without an honest conversation with myself. My never-read-it-again journaling ritual is a safe space where I can have a frank dialogue with me.

Do you have a safe space where you can talk honestly with yourself?

One Apple A Day #462 – Where are you looking

Riding my motorbike I learned that I must always choose wisely where to point my gaze. Due to a well-known effect called “Target Fixation”, if you focus on an obstacle, like a pothole, you are most likely going to hit it no matter how much you want to avoid it.
Your whole body follows your gaze.
And the bike direction is informed by your body.
So, to have a smooth ride one of the most important things is to be constantly aware of where your attention is while you’re riding.

You can even if you don’t have a motorbike. Try to walk straight towards a point while keeping your head turned and looking all the time at another direction. You will struggle to keep a straight line.

I found this principle very useful in every aspect of my life.
My attention drives my actions.
When my attention is not aligned with my goals, I struggle to keep myself on track.
If you’re not getting where you want, maybe your attention is not aligned with what you want.

One Apple A Day #458 – just begin

Sometimes all it takes it’s just to begin.
To do something.
To write a word.
To draw a line.
To say a word.
Whatever as long as you set things in motion.
Sometime our goals may be scary.

When I was leaving in London, I used to go out running early in the morning.
Midway in my usual path, there was this beautiful place called Primrose Hill. As the name suggests, it’s a nice little hill from the top of which you can enjoy a fantastic view of the city.
Little but with a steep slope.
I knew that I wanted to see the dawn from up there but, being midway in my running I was scared by the climb.
For a while, I got there only to take a look and then start my way back.
Then one morning, inspiring by something I read, I decided to go for it.
That day I didn’t look at the top, at my destination.
I knew very well where it was.
Instead, I kept my gaze on my feet.
One step after the other.
A bit worried at the beginning but, in the end, it was just about taking a small step. And another small step.
And then I gained momentum, and before realising it, there were no more steps to take.
I was at the top.
The city before me.

It’s great to have bold and audacious goals, but sometimes those same goals may stop us from acting.
Once the goal is set, stop thinking about it. Find the first small action you can take to go in the direction of your target and put all your attention on that. That step is all you have to worry about.
And once is done, move to the next one.
Keep focusing on your next step until you gained momentum.
And then you are unstoppable.
Ready to conquer your hill.

One Apple A Day #448 – be creative with your weaknesses

I believe in the transformative power of small daily practices.
If I want to learn a new skill, develop a new behavior or become better at anything, I create a daily habit. Something, small that I can integrate seamlessly into my life and in my environment.
I love to experiment and play new practices.
It transforms everything into a playful experience.

For a new practice to stick, it must match my passions, my values, and my strengths. This way I can create the consistency needed to make it a habit.

The other day, however, I was facing a different type of challenge.
I didn’t want to learn something new.
I needed to stop doing something.
I wanted to get rid of a habit that it’s affecting my focus and my productivity.
When I don’t have something planned like a meeting or a session with a client, instead of tackling an item in my to-do list, I end up wandering aimlessly online between useless videos and not-so-interesting articles.
At the crossroad between work and idleness, I just go with the path of less resistance.
Anytime this happens, I feel guilty.

I tried many solutions from better planning to external accountability, but nothing really worked.
I know how to create a habit, but how do you get rid of one?
One that plays on my weaknesses.
In this case laziness.

And then, in a session with my fantastic coach, it hit me.
The answer was in that same weakness.
I just needed to be creative by being more who I am.
In this particular case, I decided to use my passion for stories as a way out of the unwanted habit.
I now keep a novel always at hand. Anytime I feel I’m dragged towards a time-wasting activity, I take out my book, and I start reading.
I’m still not doing the things in my to-do list that I should do.
But at least I don’t feel guilty at the end of the day.

One Apple A Day #442 – rituals

In chapter 21 of “The Little Prince“, the prince meets the fox.
Even if you haven’t read the book for sure, you have heard or read the most famous quote from this chapter, the secret that the fox reveals to the little prince before when they are saying goodbye.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Though, there is another gem in this chapter.

“What is a rite?” asked the little prince.

“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all.”

Rites and rituals are indeed too often neglected.

And I can understand why.

Think about one of your favourite music groups. You probably love the lead singer, and you know very well the lead guitarist. But what about the bass player or the drummer? Most of the time they are not as cool as the others. Yet, they are essential to the sound you love so much. They are the ones setting the rhythm and the groove on which the magic of the other instruments can happen.

In the same way, rite and rituals may look dull. Where’s the excitement and the creativity in doing the same thing every day?

Though, rituals set the groove of our lives.

My daily rituals help me anchor the days to what really matters to me. They make me feel grounded, and they give me the energy to creatively face any challenge that comes in my way.

What are your rituals?

One Apple A Day #441 – being a learner

My coachees are extraordinary.
Every session is a unique opportunity to learn something new.

Like yesterday, when a conversation about practice became an invaluable reminder of the power of having a learner’s mindset.

You see, we admire and respect masters. Those people who dedicated their lives to learn something only to share it with us.

But what really makes them teachers is not their knowledge or their wisdom.

Students make someone a teacher.

You probably remember the famous story of the empty cup.

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s full! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “This is you,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

What makes someone a teacher is our willingness to learn, to empty our cup so we can be filled.

If you nurture a learner’s mindset, then every person that you meet becomes a master.

One Apple A Day #438 – Authentic

According to the dictionary, something authentic is “something of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.”

I feel authentic anytime my words, and my actions originate from who I am.
Even when I make mistakes.
Even when words don’t come out easily.
Because being authentic means being human.
And accept that I am perfect in my imperfection.

One Apple A Day #435 – To be heard, start listening

“The desire to be heard is as deeply seeded as the desire to be loved. For some people, it doesn’t matter who’s on the other end.” ― David Levithan

The longing to be heard and seen is part of our human nature. It is a manifestation of our need to belong, to be loved.

In a world that is more and more crowded, in which we are flooded with data and information, and in which everything moves and changes at ludicrous speed, being heard seems a nearly impossible challenge.

People are desperately trying to be seen.
In this desperate effort to be heard they shout louder and louder.
At the point that we can’t hear anything else than our own voices.

Isn’t it ironic?
The yearning to be heard and seen is making us deaf and blind to others.

What if, the only way to be seen and heard is to stop talking so we can start observing and listening to others?

One Apple A Day #434 – An easy win

Today may be the most important day of your year.

It’s the 2nd day of this new year, but for most of us, it’s the first one of the chase of the new dreams, goals and aspirations we established for ourselves.

Dreaming and setting goals is an exciting exercise. It got us all pumped up. Yesterday our phone was flooded by wishes and inspiring messages.

Then, this morning reality comes knocking at the door, and suddenly those goals seem so big and so far away.

The first doubts pop up in our mind.

Where do we start?

What can we do today?

We have these big dreams, but we don’t know what to do, Today.

My wise friend Karen once told me “If you don’t know what to do, do something“.

The first step is the most important of them all. It’s the one stating to yourself and the universe that you are 200% committed to this journey.

So, doing something and start is more important than what you actually do.

But you need to start Today. You need to set things in motion.

Here’s a simple trick that my mentor Rossella taught me in one of our conversations.

Start with an easy win. Something so small and so easy you can not succeed.

Think about your goal and ask yourself: What is the tiniest and easiest thing that I am sure I can do Today and can take me an iota closer to my goal? 


This post was inspired by the Be The Change card I picked this morning. It says “Step forward, make yourself available. Commit.

One Apple A Day #432 – With a little help from the universe

In his book Do the Work, Steven Pressfield says that “The universe is not indifferent. It is actively hostile.” He called this hostility Resistance but he also explains that we can transform this Resistance into Assistance if we act.

My experience is that the universe is not a positive or negative force in itself. The real resistance is within us.
The universe just follows our action. It doesn’t drive them.

If you sit waiting for things to happen, the universe will sit over you.
It will squash you down with its infinite weight. Like the force of gravity, it creates a resistance making hard for you to stand up and move.
After a while, your muscles will shrink, your energy will fade and you will crumble.

But when you take action and you move, then the universe becomes an amplifier. Like a wind blowing on your tail. Step by step the force of the universe compounds and grows until you get momentum and you become unstoppable.

If you want abundance in your life, don’t sit waiting for the universe to serve it to you. Stand up and begin something. Act toward your dreams and draw the force of the universe on your side.

“Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute:
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage and then the mind grows heated;
Begin and then the work will be completed.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe