Episode 019: Changing Direction And Building A Fulfilled Life – with Craig Pennell

Craig Pennell discusses how he turned his life around and started living to the full. His fascinating story is that of a 40-year-old man who wakes up one morning and realises he needs to totally change the direction of his life. Craig’s journey is a quest for answers and a bigger life that was going to be more fulfilling and more demanding that he rise to the occasion and make the most of the time he has left on this earth.

The Show Notes

Craig, tell us a bit about where you come from and give us your story…

  • I woke up at the age of forty and realised my life wasn't going in the direction I wanted it to
  • My wife and I moved to Spain eleven years ago. Spain was hit hard by the recession
  • Then I turned forty and realised I was roughly halfway through my life
  • I started asking where things were going and whether this was all there was
  • I had a good lifestyle and was happy in myself but I was living a life that didn't demand anything of me anymore
  • I started a journey that was a quest for answers and a quest for a bigger life so I could rise to the occasion and life the best life possible
  • I was where I was because of the person I was and the attitude I had
  • It had brought me this far, but I knew enough to know that I had to make some changes. I began a journey of personal growth and self-improvement.
  • A lot of the time it wasn't even conscious but what I was doing was improving me
  • I decided I had to take some action
  • I had in my mind the image of a cargo ship that was heading on a set course. I was going to have to take some big action to change the course of this ship
  • There was a lot of experimenting. I started learning new skills and teaching myself web design and blogging.
  • This led on to different things. Once you start moving in one direction things begin to open up. If I hadn't been taking action these things wouldn't have happened
  • I was asked by a friend to do some voiceovers for a kids TV show. I also started a blog about what I was doing I was developing my voice in life. I realised I could learn new skills and push myself. I started building websites and designing plans for my business in the future. This led on to me teaching my skills online. Suddenly I found myself in a place where I was not where I used to be. I had passed a tipping point in my life, and I could see that the life I had had had much less significance in my life than the new things that I had embraced.
  • I could actually see this change over the years and it was a relief to see that it was beginning to take effect.
  • That led to me trying to take self-development much more seriously. I began spreading ideas to see if I could help other people.
  • I reached a stage where I felt others could benefit from what I had been through and I wanted to use my voice to articulate what was going on in my life.
  • This led to me writing a book that I just finished. I realised I had successfully made a change in my life and I could communicate how I had done it to other people.

Q: When it comes to personal development, what is your philosophy about how we grow as people and what is your mission?

  • I want to encourage others to realise how much potential each of us has.
  • We owe it to ourselves to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and discover what we are capable of.
  • We need to understand that we are not here forever and we need to make the most of our lives.
  • Go and find out what you're capable of

Q: You made these changes at 40 years old. What message do you have for those listeners who are 40, 50, 60, 70 or even older?  What would you say to let them know it’s not too late?

  • You can accomplish so much in a day if you’re focused and getting up in the morning with a sense of purpose and you have a vision
  • Even just a short term goal can help you accomplish so much in a day; so much in a week….
  • I used to live in a ‘just get by’ mentality. If we can change our mindset to understand what’s possible in a short space of time we broaden our imaginations and achieve more.

Q: Is Procrastination something that you’ve suffered from? How did you overcome it?

  • I definitely suffered from procrastination and disorganisation.
  • When you don’t have a plan, it becomes really difficult to get out of bed
  • I had a sense of urgency and I knew that I had to make some changes.
  • I forced myself through that procrastination to build a better life.

Q: What does success mean to you and how do you define it?

  • Success is more of a state of mind than a place that you can arrive at.
  • If you're looking at the future you have a vision of what you want so you can measure it,but….
  • If you can live successfully in your life every day then that's really the place to be at.
  • It took Thomas   6000 tries to make the lightbulb… after weeks and weeks of trying, what would his attitude be like when he gets up on a   morning and tries again to build this lightbulb? I imagine he would be living in that success and rising to another day of striving towards his goal.
  • Live in the moment, but for the future.

Q: If you had to describe the worst moment in your life and your lowest point, what was it? How did you overcome it?

  • This was a personal situation where my son was taken into hospital with appendicitis.
  • It was a difficult time for me because I had set my life on this new course and was trying to leave behind my previous life and push into something new
  • It was difficult financially and as a family and my son was in the hospital
  • I realised how fragile life is. You really don’t know how much time you’ve got
  • Having that realisation that if you're not living in the moment and enjoying it now then what can you expect?
  • There were more important things than chasing after some lifestyle,
  • I began to appreciate my family more and realise that each day was a day of opportunity.

Q: If you had to describe the biggest epiphany moment for you, what would that be?

  • I was in Spain with a friend of mine. Absolutely fantastic place to be. He was saying Spain is great but it's hard to make a living here, though it's not about that its more about the quality of life I agreed to a certain extent but….
  • It left me thinking, is it really about the quality of life or is there more to that? If I'm living just to this idea of the quality of life? Living in Spain with the sun shining, you are happy…. One could easily end up drifting through life.
  • I thought: What if I turn it around and instead of the quality of life look for a life of quality.
  • I want to live a life of quality. Something that affects my family and the world around me in a positive way.
  • I want to leave a beneficial deposit when I'm going.
  • Quality of life is important, but it's not the be all and end all… live a life of quality.

Q: Most people just put up with what life gives them…you talk about having a vision. What would your major three or four tips be for building a vision for those who are comfortably coasting but without a vision

  • If I could start this whole process again I wonder what I would do differently, and I think it is so important to know who you are and what you're about. Look inside you and remind yourself what is really important. What are those deep desires of drives that are really important to you?
  • Who are you and what are you about and what are you doing in life? If you have it all written down somewhere, answering is much easier. Most of the time we don’t think about who we want to be more than a week or two ahead. Knowing who you are and what you stand for is going to help you lay this groundwork

The Quickfire Round

Q: What is the best personal development advice you ever got, and from whom?

  • From a friend of mine, at I time that I was clearly trying to do something about my life. She said: you can’t keep on doing the same old thing, and expecting different results. One day I woke up with that thought in my head and it became something that I could actually work with.

Q: Can you give us a personal habit or personality trait that you think most contributes to your success?

  • One of the things I've found, relating to my disorganisation and lack of goals. I try to live by doing one thing every day that would take me closer to my goals. I had to start off with a rough plan and then do one thing every day that was in the right direction. In the early days sometimes that's all you can do but it will build up and make a huge difference.

Q: Why do most people not live their lives to their full potential and what is holding them back?

  • I think many people don’t have a vision for the future; worse than that is a borrowed dream… goals that are not important to you but that you think should be, applying someone else's idea of success to your life.
  • That's never going to motivate you to get out of bed in the morning
  • You need to really desire these dreams deep down in your heart
  • Often people ask the wrong questions. Instead of asking how can I reach my goals? If those goals don't lead to a dream you truly desire you'll never reach those goals

Q: What three things can listeners do to achieve their goals?

  • Firstly, write a personal manifesto. Where you are right now and what you're going to do about those things that are important to you. You'll become much more confident about who you are and what you're doing in life. The more I explore these Ideas the more confident I became in myself.
  • Work on the basics like self-confidence, self-awareness, and appreciating what you have
  • Then just do one thing each day that takes you towards your goals

Q: Where can our listeners find out more about you and what you do?

  • My website which is www.nowlivingforward.com, and my book is on Amazon, called it Turn this ship around. Download my personal manifesto on my website to get an example of what we discussed.

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