Motivation may be in rare supply of late, but our ability to rise above and keep going is what makes us so special. Discovering ways to boost your positivity in the current climate is always helpful, and today’s interview will guide you in the right direction.
- How do you stay motivated when life presents a challenge?
- Who inspires you to keep moving forward?
- Are there any personal development tools you use to keep you focused on the positives?
I was delighted to hear about A Journal to Happiness, a fabulous hardback book that offers so much more than a place to write your thoughts and feelings. If you want to make valuable changes to your life, then consider taking a look at The Way of the Tortoise website. I was even more delighted when co-founder and author, Klaus White agreed to join me for a motivational interview.
You can also read my product review of A Journal to Happiness HERE.
In the meantime, I am delighted to invite Klaus White to share his story.
Tell us a little about you and your story.
Hi Shelley. Happy to be here. Thank you for the invitation. Well, my name is Klaus and I’m an author, coach and co-founder of thewayofthetortoise.com. I’ve had a varied career, starting off as an English Teacher, and then trying a few things in my time, including a professional actor, composer and most recently as a freelance trainer and coach.
I’ve always loved personal development and have loved helping other people, and in 2018 my world pretty much turned upside down when I found myself a single parent of a four-year old daughter. My life pretty much crumbled overnight, and although having a bookshelf full of personal development books, it was only at my lowest points when the real learning happened. I had to be there for the school run and keep going mentally and emotionally and after a mercifully short time, and great support from close friends and family I started to pick myself up and piece my life back together.
The key to it all was journaling and creating a structure for myself to follow. I focused on doing a single thing at a time, writing a sentence, one push up, one glass of water, a minute of meditation, one affirmation. I then repeated this every day and focused on taking it slow and embracing the moment (my mindfulness reading paying off.). Eventually, the positive habits grew, and the feeling of loss and negativity were replaced with positive thought and action. Then, encouraged by a close friend who had struggled with his own life challenges, we decided to create a version of my journal and set up our website to start selling the journal to offer help to others.
The business is still going, despite lockdown (V2) and we’re delighted to have this opportunity to help so many people struggling with unhappiness caused by stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and depression. The journal offers a guide and a structure that can help them through their own challenging times. It’s called the Way of the Tortoise because it is all about taking the slow and steady approach, and understanding that the secret to long-lasting change is moving slowly and taking things one step at a time.
What’s your biggest dream in life?
If I had to choose one, it would be that my daughter Ava-Mae (age 6 at the time of writing this) has a happy life and achieves all the things that she wants for herself.
If you chose a power word for this year what would it be and why?
For me this is ‘kindness.’ I think that especially this year, with everything that’s going on in the world, if we all to show kindness to one another in every aspect of our lives (and also to ourselves) then the world would be a better place. I am aware I sound like an old hippy, but it’s true.
Who inspires you and why?
There are many, but if I had to choose one, it would be my favourite novelist John Irving. He’s an inspiration to me for a number of reasons. Firstly, his novels are firm favourites of mine; beautifully structured stories, incredible attention to detail, and bizarre situations and memorable three-dimensional characters. Secondly, the fact that he is dyslexic and yet he didn’t let this stop him from achieving his dreams; his love of writing and his desire to be a novelist was so great that despite the difficulties he did made it happen. Thirdly, it’s because his 1989 novel A Prayer for Owen Meany is my favourite novel of all time. It’s the only book I have read three times, and I can’t wait to read it again (if I ever have the time!)
What, in your experience, motivates you best? Can you give an example?
I think this is where my love of connecting with and helping people comes into full force. If I feel I can make a difference to someone else, then I will move heaven and earth to do it. This is why the feedback and the questions I receive daily from customers who have my journal is a constant source of motivation. Whatever has happened to me in my life, if I can redirect the negative energy to create something positive to help others, then it’s all been worthwhile.
What actions/events/environments would adversely affect your motivation? Can you give an example and how you coped?
Lockdown has been tough. It’s an obvious thing to cite but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has found this difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy in my own company, but I get a huge buzz from interacting with, and helping others.
Of course through lockdown #1 my daughter was at home with me, and the homeschooling, (despite being a qualified teacher) took things to another level. We’re doing great though. She’s happy, bright, funny and an inspiration to me every day.
How do you ensure that your personal level of motivation is high on a daily basis?
I find that balance is key to everything. Keeping the balance is tricky sometimes. For me personally, this means things as simple as getting enough sleep, eating the right things (and some of the wrong things too!). Exercising is key, also having enough contact time with people in contrast to time alone.
I have to say that despite the ‘corona-coaster’ I’ve managed to stay productive and motivated. Especially since deciding to create online courses on specific topics covered in the journal. It’s a way to offer additional help and resources for people who would benefit from a one-to-one approach via short daily tutorial videos. I’m covering topics such as gratitude, mindfulness, affirmations and self-esteem, and there will be more to come; all are key topics which are scientifically proven to increase levels of happiness.
One thing that I sometimes forget is the power of music to heal and soothe. If I feel that something is missing in my life, it’s usually that I’ve gone too long without music. So I make sure to listen to some favourite songs, or to play the guitar or piano. It’s incredibly satisfying, almost medicinal. I find it miraculous that certain chords voiced in a certain way can create such an emotional response within me. Perhaps this is something for my next book, the healing power of music? Watch this space!
To find out more about Klaus you can connect with him here:
You can purchase A Journal to Happiness HERE.