Category Archives: Personal success

Be the best version of yourself


best version of yourself

How can you be the best version of yourself?

How often have you found yourself asking the following questions? “I can do better, why am I still doing this job?” “I deserve better.” “God, when will this end?” The better questions to ask might be: “Do I know what I want to achieve?Have I done anything to attain this?” “What am I capable of doing on my own?” “How can I be the best version of myself?” “Who can help me accelerate?

I’d like to share some thoughts which I believe will help you unlock your full potential.

Change is inevitable

If we want to obtain different results then we need to change something e.g. our approach, job, car, dress, meal, and so on. To achieve a different result, the first step to take is to prepare for change. We can’t keep doing the same and expect a different result. The fundamental question to ask is: “What exactly needs to be changed?

Find out what you’re good at

To find out what needs changing, it is necessary to find out what we are born to do. It is easier to optimize from good to great as opposed to moving from poor to great. “Everybody is a genius.”, said Albert Einstein, one of the brightest brains history has known. I truly believe we have all been born with potential. Unfortunately, we are not always aware of what we are capable of reaching. There are many models via which we can find out what talents we have. One of them is the Wheel of Life. It is important to find out what we like to do as opposed to what we have to do. When we love what we do, we do it with passion. Remember, willingness and passion bring perseverance, and perseverance brings success.

Set your target

We can’t hit the target we don’t see. Do you agree? I believe we need to have a clear understanding of what we want to achieve. We can’t say, for example, we want to grow. It is not specific enough. What does grow mean? What percentage of market share, and within what period of time? There are many models we can use to set our targets. GROW is a simple, yet very powerful, model many coaches use to help their clients with target setting. Read the short article What’ve you put on the menu for 2016 for a simple set of guidelines about how to set and realize your targets.

Find a role model

Saadi (the wise Persian Poet 1210-1291) said: “To do everything excellently we need to have two lives, one for trial and experience, and the other for accelerating our performance. Having two lives is impossible, the best alternative is copying best experiences of the best performers.” So, what would you like to become? A footballer? Then copy what Messi, Maradona, Cruijff, Pelé and Bekenbauer have done. Would you like to become the best investor? Then copy what Warren Buffet has done. Would you like to become a successful entrepreneur? Then copy what people like Steve Jobs, Marc Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have done. It is possible to become the same as your role model under one condition: doing whatever they have done. Use the Wheel of Life and GROW models to discover your potential and locate possible bottlenecks. A good coach can help you with this step.

Associate with successful people in your chosen field

Steve Siebold says: “We become like the people we associate with, and that’s why winners are attracted to winners.” If you believe you are an eagle, then do not behave like a turkey.  When you believe you have found your favorite field then create a list of who the most admired and successful people are from whom you can learn to move faster and smarter. Find out how you can get invited to their gatherings. Follow their strategies. Listen to their stories: how they made a billion; how they became professors; how they set up their business empire. When you have made your way to the group of the best people from whom you can learn, listen twice more than you talk. Remember, we have two ears and one mouth. Life is giving and taking so find out how you can help these successful people. When you do so, it will be easier to ask for something in return.

Overcome your limiting beliefs

They come to our mind uninvited: “…but you can’t do this in this situation.” “How can you change your job while your wife is pregnant?” “I can’t ask my boss. I need his support. What if he disagrees?” And there are many more examples of limiting beliefs.

I believe the first, and the most important, battle we need to win is the one with our own beliefs.

When we give room to our limiting beliefs, it becomes harder to get back on track. The right coach can help you with overcoming your limiting beliefs. However, by asking yourself a few questions you may reach a certain level on your own. For example: “Why can’t I change my job because my wife is pregnant?” “What would stop me taking care of my pregnant wife?” “What would change exactly?” “Am I going to have more or less free time by changing my job?

Make supporting positive friends

There is a Persian saying: “If you can’t be of any help, don’t create any trouble either.” When you have a grand ambition, some people may laugh at you. Don’t worry, that says more about them than you. “So many people I talked to at that time about Alipay, they said, ‘This is the stupidest idea you’ve ever had.’”, said Jack Ma to Bloomberg. When you decide to chase an ambitious target, you need two types of friends: 1. Positive supporting people who say, for example, “Wow, sounds fantastic.”, or “What an amazing idea.”; and 2. People who can offer you constructive criticism. This second group may be of even more support than the first one. They have the ability to make you think about your challenges, which helps you prepare for and avoid potential disappointments. They might also see deeper layers of your ambition which you might not have discovered on your own.

Many successes have been achieved after many more failures

It’s been said that Thomas Edison tried 1000 ways to invent the first lamp. If he had given up after the first few attempts, he would not have invented his first lamp. Next to the fact he was a genius, he is also a shining example of what you can achieve with perseverance. Failures are a part of the deal. Two top teams meet in the final, one will fail to take home the trophy.

There are no better lessons than the ones we learn from our own failures. The bitterness of failure teaches us how not do it.

Take the amazing story of Jack Ma (Founder of Alibaba), who in November 2014 was the richest man in China (Hong Kong not included), and the 18th richest person in the world. In his interview with Bloomberg he says: “There’s an examination for young people to go to university. I failed it three times. I failed a lot. So I applied to 30 different jobs and got rejected. I went for a job with the police: they said, ‘You’re no good.’ I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy.…”   So, success often comes after failure. Be persistent, consistent and believe in your success.

What would you be prepared to sacrifice?

We’ve all been there. Sometimes we need to make painful choices in our lives to move on. We love our partners, but we have come to the conclusion love alone is not enough.

To achieve something greater we may have to sacrifice some great things.

To hire a brilliant CEO, we need to fire a good one. The lighter our baggage the higher we can climb. Do you agree? Here is the deal. What are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve your dream? Imagine, you’re 19, you’re at the train station, you’re hungry and it’s midnight. You only have €3.75 cash, and the cheapest sandwich costs €3.00. You love ice-cream and you are about to hit the button on the only food machine around to buy yourself your favorite ice-cream costing €2.50. Suddenly a thought whispers in your head: “Hang on buddy, if you buy an ice-cream you will not have enough money left for a sandwich. Are you sure you still want the ice-cream?” Sometimes even the easiest choices may be difficult to make, but we need to make them to achieve our targets.

Find a mentor or coach

Many successful leaders – presidents, top performers and entrepreneurs – have had mentors and coaches. Bill Clinton, Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Richard Branson and Hilary Clinton, are all examples of successful people who have made it far with the help of their coaches. Richard Branson says: “It’s always good to have a helping hand at the start. I wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker.” No matter how bright you are, how successful you already are, how mindful you are, hire the right coach from time-to-time and see the difference in your performance. If it helps, do it often.

Please share your thoughts

I am pleased that I have many connections from whom I learn every day. Please let me learn from your comments too.

Did you like this post? If so, follow me for more insights. You can follow me by going to my LinkedIn page, and clicking on Follow, the 3rd choice in the row.


About the author

Hamid Safaei is the founder of ImOcean Academy. He is a qualified executive coach helping executives and budding entrepreneurs unleash their potential. Hamid has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500 companies.

Follow ImOcean Academy on LinkedIn

What’ve you put on the menu for 2016?



2016 has got started, a brand new year with 365 full days. In terms of time we all are equal. We all have 12 months a year, 7 days a week and 24 hours each day. So, how is your 2016 going to look like? Have you already set your targets? Have you got a plan? The following couple of paragraphs may motivate you think about what you are going to achieve in 2016. Are you ready?


Set SMART targets for 2016

Give it a really good thought. What do you need to achieve in 2016? Imagine, it is now December 24th, 2016 and you are reviewing what you have done and achieved in 2016. What will make you feel smile and satisfied about 2016? What could make you proud of yourself? Give it a name and call it! Are you going to get promoted? Are you going to get selected in the final national formation team of your professional sport? Are you going to finish your study? Are you going to find your dream job? Are you going to set your own business? Are you going to become the CEO of the company you work for?

What is the greatest dream (the game changer) on your wish list? Put it on paper and read it convincingly. Visualize how it will feel, when you realize that one dream in 2016. Examples:

  • By the end of December 2016 I am the CIO of company X.
  • By the end of June 2016 I am a certified Lean Master.


Have a plan

If you don’t have a plan, you’ll become a part of other man’s plan.

And actually you may still be lucky if you belong to any plan, at all. However, if you turn it around and make your own plans, the game will get changed. Others may become a part of your plan. Do you agree? So, think and make a plan to achieve your targets in 2016, put it on paper and or on your mobile device. The plan is about how you are going to achieve your target (i.e. your dream job) in 2016. Imagine, your target is travelling from Amsterdam to Tokyo. How are you going to get there? By air, see, balloon? When? For how long? What resources do you need? Whom should you talk with? How much budget do you have available? And so on.


Set a SMART action list

A plan without an action list looks like a bird without wings.

So, it doesn’t fly. Make your plan fly. Complete your plan with a SMART set of actions. Define what ingredients you need to make your plan work. For example you want to build a house. So think about things like budget, size, type, location, architecture and starting day. Put it on paper and check the feasibility of the actions. When is your architecture plan ready? Who is going to do it? Who is going to build the house and when is the starting date? Do you need to finance the house by a mortgage? Do you have an appointment with your target bank? What is your pitch to get a loan? And so on.


Remain committed

They are not the smartest ones who achieve their goals but mostly those who consistently pursue their targets believing in their missions. Just look around you and you will see how others successfully make their living. If they seem to have a life better than yours, are they really more intelligent than you? I believe, intelligence is a gift, but if the gift is not used properly, no brilliant change may come to the life of the intelligent ones. Do you agree? If you do, then use all the intelligence you have and remain committed to your target. Have respect for the promise you have made to yourself.


Don’t change the target but the plan

Remember, great targets are not achieved overnight. There will be failures, frustrations and down days during your journey to your destination. But the sun will not remain behind the mountains forever. So, remain committed to your target. If the plan does not work, do not change the target but start with questioning the actions you have taken. In some cases, all you need to change is the action, not even the plan. And remember, if you keep doing the same every time, you will get the same every time. You want to get something different, then you need to do something different.


Define and take baby steps

Big steps require big energy and braveness to take big risks. However, when we break huge things into smaller parts we get braver to take smaller portions of risk. Does it make sense? It seems quit challenging if you are going to participate in the New York City Marathon while you hardly can walk 2 KMs. You can’t say, “I don’t know how I can get there, but I wanna give it a try”. But imagine, next to setting the target (I will participate in the New York City Marathon this year.) you plan to train 3 x a week. You also commit to run 500 meters extra every time you train. In this way you will get ready to run the Marathon.

Start with small baby steps, remain consistent, gear up gradually and you will surprisingly celebrate finishing the New York City Marathon.


Ask for support, when you need to

We all can use a little bit of support from time to time. So, if you feel you don’t know how to start, how to move on and how to overcome the bottlenecks, look around and ask for support. Friends, teachers, colleagues, managers, mentors and coaches may help you out. If no one around can successfully help you out, please feel free to reach out to ImOcean Academy. We will be pleased to help you realize your dream.


About the author

Hamid Safaei is the founder of ImOcean Academy. He is a qualified executive coach helping executives and high potentials unleash their potential. Hamid has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500.

follow ImOcean Academy on LinkedIn

Ever heard of Wheel of life?


Where it starts

Wheel of life is a tool I thankfully use to make many of my clients aware of what they ideally like to do vs. what they really do. Better said, what kind of life would you like to live? I have had great discussions with executives and others who are fully confident about how they have lived. However, when we did a deep dive they surprisingly came to new insights, sometimes as confrontation, sometimes as a trusted confirmation for what and how they did. It is amazing to see the happy faces when the Wheel of Life exercise confirms the chosen route. It is also interesting to notice some start thinking deeply when they realize the road-map is not set as it is meant to. A few say, great to realize I am on the right path. Others say, Oh God! How is it possible that I have been doing these things all those years without even noticing what I’ve done? See figure 1 for different dimensions of wheel of life.


Figure 1- different dimension of wheel of life


What does shape your wheel of life?

Imagine you dream to become a CIO but what you do currently, is the road-map of becoming a production manager. Doing the wheel of life exercise will make you aware of what you really like to do or become. That willingness is sometimes hidden under deeper layers of your dreams, values and things to achieve in your life. What does really matter to you? Is it becoming an excellent production manager or a successful CIO? You might even realize none of the two choices would really make you happy. Instead,  you may really dream of running your own B&B business.

The following paragraph may get you closer to the value of wheel of life. I haven’t met many people saying they do not care about their friends and family. When I ask people what is important in their life. They usually (even with a sincere body language) answer: family, friends, career, financial stability, fun, etc. When we go through the wheel of life exercise, the reality turns to be different, sometimes slightly sometimes terribly. I have met many people who have listed family as very important for them in their life. But when we go deeper into details we realize some haven’t talked to their most important family members for years. One hasn’t talked with his only brother for 3 years. The other is ashamed that his daughter is not pleased to see him. Another was saying he wish he could be part of his kids’ lives. I really love them, I think I’ve done whatever they want, how come they hate me? I am such a successful GM, but a terrible dad, one said once. Wheel of life makes you aware of where you stand in your life and why? The exercise is completed when you also know how to get there, if you feel you need to change the setting of your wheel of life.

What would you do if you won lottery?

Painfully, there are many people around us who do something they don’t like to get something else they do like. In some cases there is even no relation between the two. Let me make it more tangible. What would you do if you did not have to work for your costs? How would your day then look like if you won a lottery of €10.000.000? What would be your next immediate step? Would you be going to the same work with the same attitude, energy, standards, norms and values? The majority of people I  asked what they would do if they  won the lottery…, yes you are guessing right. They would stop working for their bosses immediately! In many cases this happens because the wheel of life is not set properly.

Limiting beliefs

Many people do not do what they really want deep in their heart. Many people work for money, chasing the money, to do what they really enjoy. There is nothing wrong with working for money. We all have to live on something. The point is what kind of work do we do? We may get much better results when we chase our dreams and not the money. Make your dream create money for you. As we coaches say, limiting beliefs make us sticking to what and how we do instead of what we really want to. Typical examples: “I do not really enjoy working for this company, but I don’t have any other choice”. “I can’t pursue my dream, because I don’t know how to deal with failure”. “I can’t ask for promotion, what if my boss disagrees?” The more we think we can’t, the more we get stopped by our limiting beliefs, unhappy and far away from our dreams.

Dare to dream

Doing the wheel of life exercise will not cost you more than an hour, but it may change your life and help you live as you dream.

The first- and in some cases the most important barrier- you need to break down to realize your dream, is your limiting belief system.

Wheel of life can be a good start. Dare to dream and design your wheel of life as you wish.



About the author

Hamid Safaei is the founder of ImOcean Academy. He is a qualified executive coach helping executives and high potentials unleash their potential. Hamid has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500.


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