Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Make 2010 a year to remember

Flexibility - Values - Optimism - are the keys.

Well they were at the discussion I facilitated this morning at a 4n networking event on the above and I've like to share the highlights with you.

I do have access to a number of different tools to help set goals for 2010. However a comment at the Transformation game I facilitated at the weekend reminded me that we'll have a year to remember when we get our way of 'being' right!

With that thought in mind I didn't share my 7 step out of the creek process nor the NLP Well Formed Outcome process (although links to both can be found on the RHS of this blog). Instead I used the Frameworks for change Coaching Process (FCP - again see RHS for explanation of the process) and invited my audience to participate and find their own connections with the cards. Which you might like to do before I share mine:

Mentor: Flexibility
Insight: I model my values at work
Setback: "If I'm not winning, I find it hard to celebrate anyone else's success"
Insight: I'm willing to bear the discomfort involved in shifting perspective
Mentor: Optimism

Flexibility: To be open to make changes and think and act differently. What do you need to do to be more flexible?

I model my values at work: Do you really? What would that mean? I got tearful when facilitating today because this is something I feel strongly about and yet it gives me the most challenge. Can I walk my talk as I talked about in my last newsletter? Can I say NO to work because it doesn't align with my values even when the bank balance says YES!! What about you - what are you being asked to do to ensure you model your values at work?

"If I'm not winning - I find it hard to celebrate anyone else's success": We discussed the impact on us of others in communities or organisations saying this? If a business' sole focus is on sales that they're not getting how easy is it within that business to celebrate anything? The setback is the negative impact and spiral down that can have on everyone in the business. In some respects if we're not winning the best thing for morale is to start celebrating others successes. At least that will get everyone in the right mindset.

I'm willing to bear the discomfort involved in shifting perspective: Which is what we have to be able to do if things aren't working out for us. A mindset that allows us to stay positive and be flexible to make the necessary changes - even if it can be uncomfortable.

Optimism: For 2010 to be a year to remember we certainly need to be optimistic about that being a realistic outcome. Without optimism we might was well give up now and I for one know 2010 will be a year to remember -for all the right reasons.

What way of being do you need to embrace to ensure 2010 is a year to remember?

Monday, 7 December 2009

Sometimes you have all you need

Over the weekend I was having visitors. We'd agreed in advance who was bringing what for lunch and refreshments etc. One item on my list was juice. On Friday night I looked in the fridge and realised I only had grapefruit juice and didn't think that offered enough choice. I believed I'd have to go out and buy some more juice early the next morning.

However the next morning my eye caught sight of some apples. It's only then I realised I certainly had all the ingredients for my speciality home made juice: apple, carrot, lime and ginger - mmmmm.

I then wondered how often in life we think we need to look outside ourselves for something when what we have inside is infinitely better.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

What would make you proud to have named after you?

Interesting how things happen. Dr Who names a galaxy Alison. I ask a question in LinkedIn about what would make you the proudest to have named after you (not a person). And the responses provide me with the perfect question for my workshops when discussing step 3 of a process I've developed called Mission! (see link)

The last blog will have given you a sense of the 7 steps I've developed to help you get out of the creek or take action to avoid going down it in the first place. After stopping and putting on your life jacket the third step is about using what you enjoy, are good and have passion for, along with connecting to your values, to identify your mission or purpose for your life. In other words what will get you out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm? (This was discussed in my contribution to How not to be like your parents - again see links on rhs.)

I've tried many different questions to get to the heart of the matter and so have others - what's your legacy, what would your eulogy say, what difference would you most like to make in the world etc etc. The question 'what would make you proudest to have named after you' seemed to hit the mark. The answers have been truly inspiring:

Those things being named included: schools, colours, streets, institutions, libraries, rooms, processes, methods, cures, vaccines, parks, funds, charities, awards, hospitals, ways of living, roses and butterflies.

It was the why these would be named after them that seemed to tap into their mission - the difference they wanted to make in life.

What would make you proudest? and why? and what can you do today to start to make it a reality? You may not get the library named after you but you will have made a difference.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Get out of the creek

I'd like to tell you a story and it's about @upcreek and @paddlefinder. It's a story about how to get out of the creek. It's also a story about the new way to work. It all started with a tweet....

Upcreek: I'm up the creek without a paddle - get me out of here.
PaddleFinder: I can help you.
Upcreek: What do I need to do?
PaddleFinder: Simple - first you've got to stop.
Upcreek: That sounds right.
PaddleFinder: and then put on your life jacket.
Upcreek: You're joking right?
PaddleFinder: and then agree your mission.
Upcreek: Like on star trek and "to boldly go where no man has gone before" you mean?
PaddleFinder: Possibly - and then pick your fellow guides and travellers.
Upcreek: WHAT?
PaddleFinder: and then it's simply Map, Compass and Paddle.
Upcreek: Who are you @PaddleFinder?
PaddleFinder: The person who can help you get out of the creek.

The rest of the tweets can be found by searching twitter for #utc01 followed in turn by #utc02, #utc03 and #utc04 (the original trial using twitter used #rbcm but it seemed easier to split it into chapters). The full transcript is available now - see links on RHS.

The tweets in addition to using extracts from my forthcoming book 'I'm up the creek without a paddle - get me out of here' (see links to extract).

Monday, 16 November 2009

Sometimes not winning means you do

The title may have given it away - I didn't win the SFactor (XFactor for speakers) competition on Friday at the PSA convention. Congratulations and very well done to Simon Bucknall who did. My reaction and subsequent learning however would never have been available if I had won and that was worth much more to me.

At the end of the heat in Scotland in Sept I was really happy with how I'd performed. I knew it could be improved but I was happy I'd done my best. In the final on Friday I knew I hadn't and went into the familiar pattern of beating myself up for not being 'perfect'. Only minutes before I'd been speaking to someone and was in the zone. How did I so quickly lose that feeling when I stood up?

The speech by Alvin Law ( that night helped me understand. I'd made it about me and not my audience.

Whilst practicing I had envisaged sharing what steps to take when you're 'Up the creek without a paddle' with my audience. I'd envisaged the words being of help and service to others and them being able to get out of the creek as a result. On the night that went out the window - or should that be up the creek! I'd even written here inmy blog and in the recent PSA magazine about our energy when we speak. I talked about grounding, connecting and communicating and yet I didn't fully walk my talk. My thoughts weren't on the audience they were on me winning, me beating others, me feeling nervous, me doing a good job, me using it to promote what I do - me me me me me!

Is this a pattern I can fall into when speaking - Yes. Would I have understood that when I heard Alvin speak later if I'd thought for one moment I'd nailed my speech earlier in the evening - No. There's a card in a process I use when coaching clients that says 'Vulnerability is the perfect protection'. I believe that the vulnerability I felt by not doing my best on Friday meant I was able to hear a message that will truly enable me to connect and make a difference in the future.

I didn't win the competition but the learning I got was the real win for me. So next time you think you've lost look for the real win and you might be surprised.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Do you have the XFactor - Part II

My last blog suggested having the XFactor is about the internal movie we're imagining that impacts how confident we feel and our connection with the audience and words we're saying.

There's another factor too and that was clear in this weekend's XFactor show. That's where is your attention when you're speaking? Is it on you, your audience, the words, the applause at the end, the potential contract in a few months time or even on what happened last time you spoke?

So long as you've got the right internal movie to allow you to connect with the audience (see previous blog) then your attention should be on being authentically you. If you're worrying about impressing the audience or what will happen if you fail then you're not in the moment. The audience isn't getting 100% of you. They're getting a lot less and they know it.

One way to turn off the internal dialogue that's not in the moment is to take your attention into your body and feel it - it's certainly hard to think about something else if you're thinking about your feet, legs or arms!

There's a card in the Transformation Game that says 'you forgot you were a radiantly beautiful cosmic miracle and you forgot everyone else was too'. This reminds me I'm perfect as I am and there's no need to try impress and be somone I'm not. When I'm just being me that's when I have the XFactor. What about you?

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Do you have the XFactor when you're on the stage?

If you're speaking to an audience whether that's to 5 people or 1000, or even singing as they did tonight on the XFactor, what as they say in NLP makes the difference that makes the difference? What gives a performer - style, charisma, confidence and the performance - credibility and meaning? For me it's as much about what's going on in the performers mind as their technical skill or words they saying.

If you were imagining standing up on the back of a rocking horse or even a real one for that matter - how balanced would you feel? If you were imagining being a single Lilliputian in front of Gulliver how would that make you feel? If you were imagining a brick wall between you and the audience what would happen? If you were imagining your words were bullets how would the audience react? I doubt they'd think you had the XFactor - and neither would you!

So next time you need the XFactor check: what's going on in your head and what pictures you are painting or soundtracks are you playing to ensure they support not hinder you being: Grounded, Connected and Communicating effectively.

Grounded - This gives you self belief and confidence.
To stay grounded you may imagine: Having roots coming out of your feet or wearing heavy boots or being attached to an anchor secured to the ground. Alternatively what about being a knight in shining armour or imagining being at a celebration in the future (wedding day or child's first day at school etc).

Connected - This provides connection to others
To connect to your audience or other members of your group you may imagine: chains or paths connecting you to the audience or group members, or being one petal of a flower, or a golden shining heart open to the audience or just being with friends or loved ones.

Communicating - This provides understanding
To allow the message to be communicated you may imagine: your words being light or flowing water from you to your audience or gift wrapped presents you offer them or even a butterfly visiting every person in the audience.

You may even want to write to change the story from unhelpful to helpful - see The woman and her castle on RHS for a story I wrote to help someone connect with others.

We'll each find different metaphors work best for us but I can guarantee if you find the one that works for you you really will have found the XFactor.

My lastest newsletter (see links) also touches on this when it explains the NLP techniques used by both Little Miss Sunshine and Mr Happy.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Most personal training sessions include some time with me using boxing gloves and my personal trainer providing the resistance. Apparently my technique has got a lot better. However at least once a week he stops me to refine some aspect of my moves.

Yesterday he felt that I was just swinging my jabs and not going back to my guard in-between. In other words continuous movement, no technique, no accuracy and certainly no force behind the jabs. Or left/right/left/right/left right until I got tired!! So he told me that he would remove the pad and I could only jab when he placed it back in front of me. Left, Right, and I nearly fell over as I automatically moved for another left to find out there was no pad to hit in front of me. Try again - Left, Right....agh I still managed to wobble as I eventually remembered to bring both hands back to guard position. “You need to be patient Alison” he said as he could see my frustration and desire to just get into the left, right, left rhythm. Left, right, (breath) guard. Left, right, guard, left, right, guard.

Slowly I managed to get into the rhythm but something else happened. I realised my reactions were different. Instead of just getting into a rhythm and swinging and hitting the pad because it was there I was waiting until the pad was in front of me and then intentionally hitting it. It was as if the extra time to bring my hands back to guard was enabling me to remember my objective, to centre myself, before taking action again! It certainly gave me a new perspective on patience.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


Cavemen were afraid of things that threatened their physical survival. Afraid in dangerous situations that really did have a potential for death e.g. attacks by wild animals or other humans etc. They saw the animal coming towards them and expected an outcome based on past evidence. In turn this generated the reactions that enabled them to respond most effectively with the danger – fight, flight or freeze. This response was however only short lived and only so long as the danger was present.

In modern times there are real dangers too e.g. we get into cars most days and join others on increasingly busy roads, we take up extreme sports, guns and knives are more common than most of us would like and alcohol and drug abuse can lead to many crimes being committed. So there are still real dangers where fight, flight or freeze are appropriate responses. Again these dangers pass – the speeding car narrowly misses you or you land safely with your parachute.

Today we also have a fear of many things that aren’t dangerous and don’t threaten our survival. Fear of: failure, success, public speaking, vulnerability, of being hurt emotionally and so on. Yet they still generate the same fight, flight or freeze response in us. Unlike with real danger, we often sustain the fear for extended periods and this takes its toll as our body is on standby, often for months, to fight or flee.

So how do we release the impact these fears are having on us? There are a number of techniques that enable us to go back to when we first learnt the fear and release it there in the past. Another suggestion is to remember that in these examples F.E.A.R simply stands for False Expectations Appearing Real.

If I stand up in front of an audience I can expect that I will forget my lines, everyone will laugh at me or I’ll fall over or even pass out but these generally have no basis in reality. So the fear generated is not based on reality and very rarely based on evidence either.

So next time you feel the fear write down your expectations or share them with others will help you understand the expectations you’re reacting to and help you see how unlikely and unrealistic they are.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Who wants to be a tadpole for ever?

I was watching a programme on the TV at the weekend and they shared that frogspawn will not develop if there are insufficient resources in the pond to allow the tadpoles to thrive. They hang back until the conditions are right. They continued to speculate whether frogspawn could survive over winter or if they hadn't taken their chance to emerge before Autumn they would die.

Would you be prepared to take the risk - hang back and hope you survive the frozen winter's ice? Sometimes the conditions might not be perfect, they might not be what we'd wished for but as the presenter said "who wants to be a tadpole for ever?"

Where do you need to just "go for it"?

Friday, 16 October 2009

They just started munching earlier

I've been finishing writing my book this week (I'm up the creek without a paddle - get me out of here) and have had time to reflect on all the learning I've shared in blogs, newsletters, emails and when using the Frameworks for Change process in coaching and with groups.

One of the highlights for me has been a session I facilitated with other business leaders entitled 'Keeping on track in a downturn'. I was reflecting today which of the key actions I still had to embrace to fully keep out of the creek and on track.

  • understand and experience team work

  • connect with our wisdom

  • express kindness

  • don't make commitments without the means to fulfill them

  • have faith

  • take time to offer support to others

  • be flexible

  • don't allow disappointment or resentment to set us back

  • don't get caught in the rat race to the top

  • express authenticity

Faith certainly is one - faith that I'm doing everything I need to do to make things happen. I've set a date to review the plan so faith also not to keep stopping and amending the plan but to keep moving forward with confidence.

The other action is to ensure I don't allow resentment or envy and the disappointment linked to these to creep back in. Disappointment that things haven't happened quicker, envy that others are back in their flow already. Of course faith comes in here. Faith that it will happen all in good time - the caterpillar needs to munch a few leaves before the butterfly can emerge. Others just starting munching earlier than me :-).

What about you - which of the above do you need to be more aware of to ensure you keep on track?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A sense of hopelessness and achievement

When I said I was going to be in a sleeping bag all night for charity people assumed it included a tent but it didn’t. A ground sheet, a mat, survival (or plastic) bag, sleeping bag and lots of layers then me against the elements. The elements sure had a sense of humour in Edinburgh on Friday night – 45+mph winds and rain too. We bedded down at 12 and left at 6. So we were only there for six hours. Four of my team mates shared the same ground sheet, with other teams on other ground sheets within singing distance. I’m not sure an impromptu chorus of “always look on the bright side” was heard but a song about rain was. It was interesting to hear it gather momentum as we all started to sing from within our own sleeping bags at some point in the middle of the night. There were of course others on other ground sheets in 4 other locations around the UK. 700 sleeping bags in total.

At one point I could hear the rain, not dissimilar to what you can hear when you’re in a tent. But this time the rain I could hear was only inches away from my head falling on the survival bag I’d managed to pull over my head by bending my knees. The Byte Night branded wee willie winkie hat, that all 700 of us wore, was pulled down my face. The only part of my face open to the elements being my nose so I could breath. We realised of course when we got up in the morning that the rain we heard had then moved on to the mats and ground sheet and then had nowhere to go. So we woke in pools of water. If we were lucky we were dry although many weren’t and emerged very wet and even colder.

There were some insightful moments I shared on twitter about the connection to nature as I lay there looking up at the moon or that you can hear the wind coming (we had about a minute of hearing it getting nearer and nearer and knowing any moment it would hit us too). But many of the other insights weren’t shared because they came when I was too cold to text and didn’t want to move for fear of the rain or wind then being able to get at me. Insights that some people do this every night L. Imagine not really being able to get comfy enough to fall asleep or the cramps and aches because of how you’d had to sleep to keep dry and out of the wind. What about not getting up to go to the toilet because you know you’d then have to get back into your sleeping bag with all your wet clothes on. Or knowing when you do get up that you’re going to have to dry your clothes and sleeping bag somehow. I had a whole new sense of appreciation for the hand dryer in the toilet the next morning. If there hadn’t been a queue I’d loved to have stayed there longer getting dryer and warmer.

We were there to support Action for Children who support homeless young people. Scotland has a higher percentage than anywhere else in the UK with 15 in 1000 of young people being homeless. We were there for one night. I could get up the next day and throw the wet and soaking sleeping bag, mat and clothes into the survival bag, throw that into the boot of my car, call into Tesco as I drove home, collapse into a nice warm bath and then have a massage from a friend later on. My face that had the brunt of the wind was able to be well moisturised during the day. Similarly my feet that had got wet and stayed wet all night.

Those we were supporting aren’t so lucky. I’m not sure they do get things dry and can’t imagine the physical aches and pain everyday that join the emotional ones of why they’re even there in the first place. So hopelessness in the title because that’s how a night in the rain can make you feel. I certainly understand why people who do this every night can get into a spiral unable to see a way out? I also understand why those who support Action for Children do what they do to help young people out of the spiral.

Achievement because it’s something I wasn’t expecting. As the weekend has progresses the sense of achievement has increased. I didn’t realise I’d feel proud of doing it nor that it would make me realise how much I can do if I set my mind to it. I’d done it to raise money after all ( and as a team am pleased we raised over £1.8k and as a location over £45k and increasing.

So today’s call for action is to do something that really feels like it’s outside your comfort zone and realise how much more you can do. If that doing then helps others that’s even better.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Anchor yourself first and oh boy will it make a difference

I've just come back from Body Combat and it's the first time I've done it since they've changed the floor. What a difference - it just goes to show how feeling anchored and grounded can have an impact on how much effort we put into something?

Previously the floor got very slippy and I really hadn't realised how much I was holding myself back until today. The new floor provided all the support I needed and as a result I was able to really throw myself into it and get into the zone!! My arms are killing as a result mind :-).

It's true elsewhere in life too. It's easy with the current fear that's around the economic situation to do more and more and keep on moving and just as easy to become like a headless chicken too and start going around in circles. My advice from Body Combat is to do what you need to do to feel more supported, anchored and grounded first. Then it will be easier to really throw yourself into doing what needs to be done.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

"I should have done it ages ago"

"Just had the most amazing weekend retreat with Alison. I never imagined that I would find my paddle in a weekend. It has exceeded my expectations. I am so excited that I can’t wait to get home and start.

As a business person applying the model to my work and personal life worked brilliantly and I have come away with a clear plan. It was so constructive, and the walks, talks and sharing the emotion in such a lovely setting with great views made it a weekend I will treasure and should have done ages ago.

Kathleen Findlay
HR Consultant and bereavement councillor"

What should you have done ages ago that could make as much as an impact on your life? My latest newsletter invites us all to shine. So today's call for action is to identify what you've been promising yourself you will do so you can get out there and shine and do it? If you also let me or someone know what it is we can also hold you accountable for taking the action.

I don't want to do it on my own

"I don't want to do it on my own" has been a comment made in many coaching sessions recently. The answer is of course we don't have to. But we often soldier on and think others will either notice and offer help or think they are too busy, wouldn't want to help or provide some other reason for them not helping. Often we just have to ask - they're not mind readers after all.

So what do you need help with today? Who could help? When will you ask them?

And what do I need help with? I'm currently in the final throws of completing my forthcoming ebooklet "Help - I'm up the creek without a paddle - get me out of here". It would help if I could include in the book some statistics on how many people consider themselves up the creek or not. I've put a poll in LinkedIn and would love as many people as possible to respond. Thanks in advance

Thursday, 17 September 2009

What about criteria for success that requires others to not 'like' us?

In order for a personal training session to be effective and meet my health and fitness goals it requires me to be pushed outside my comfort zone. So in order for my personal trainer to do his job well it's likely that there will be times when I tell him I don't like him and certainly don't like what he's asking/telling me to do. He wouldn't be doing his job if he spent the whole session avoiding me having this reaction.

It's the same with my coaching. There are times when words said really hit home. People have different reactions to this and sometimes that might be words directed at me and certainly energy. Energy that isn't always very positive. If I wanted to avoid this happening I'd have to hold back from saying the very words that would help my client achieve their goals and release what's holding them back.

In both instances Gavin and I are not choosing to say what we do because of our ego but out of care for the other. Our intention is to resolve and improve the situation.

Today's call for action is for you to think of those situations where you're holding back for fear of upsetting someone and decide what action to take and take it.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

and sometimes you can do better than your best!

I knew something would come up in my personal training session! I was reminded by Gavin that sometimes what I think is my best and what I am truly able to achieve are not the same. He reminded me of all the times when I surpassed my own self imposed expectations of myself.

mmm one to think about!

I also find targets re time useful too - if I don't know how much longer I need to hold the plank I'll certainly give up loads earlier than if I know I've only got to hold on for another 10 seconds!

"Winning to me means not giving up" Patrick Swayze

I had reason to question what winning or succeeding meant to me this week. I believed I was being asked to see success as other's being satisfied with my performance rather than me having done my best. Having achieved a target in advance of the deadline I was being asked not to up the target for fear of us not achieving the new target and being seen by others to fail. In my eyes having achieved the first target we'd won/succeeded anything else we did was a bonus. So I agree with Patrick's words about not giving up - even if we don't always succeed in the eyes of others.

It reminded me of my trip to Australia a few years ago. I went to see an Aussie rules football game at Melbourne. The first half was fantastic with a lot of movement and a great game to watch. The second half was dire! Why? Because one team started to play to win rather than play good football. They became very defensive, stopped passing the ball and didn't seem to want to try to score just keep the ball away from their opponents. I'm sure playing their best would still have had the same result and made for much better game and they'd have enjoyed it too.

So today's call for action - is to stop worrying about other's opinions, don't give up and do your best. You never know you and they might just be surprised with the result.

Although with personal training coming up I'm a little worried about what I will be required to do to practice rather preach today's call for action? Not 16 sets of stairs pleeesssse. :-)

Friday, 11 September 2009

Time to take your foot off the pedal or push it to the floor?

For the last 6 months it's been one thing after another giving me a reason for not pushing myself aerobically during my regular personal training sessions. Knee and then a twisted ankle etc. Although we have done a lot more weights, stretching and recently more boxing :-).

This week Gavin, my personal trainer, timed me running up and down the stairs for the first time in ages. With 6 months in the abyss I thought I'd have a big job to even get to where I had been a year ago.

Surprise surprise I beat my best time!!!!!!!!!!!

I just stood there and looked at him as the realisation dawned that life is just the same. Sometimes we just need a change of pace, to take the foot off the pedal and to coast a little. When we're ready we can come back even stronger for the rest!

So don't worry if it's time to take your foot off the pedal. Know when the time is right all your current awareness, skills and uniqueness will still be there waiting for you.

Of course for some off us it's now time to rev the engine, push our foot to the floor and see where life takes us. Anyone want a lift?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

You can never be too authentic

I am proud to say I will be representing Scotland in the Professional Speakers Association xfactor :-) in London in November as a result of winning the heat last night. Which I'm very excited about.

Some of the feedback included how uncomfortable some businesses audiences might have been about the level of disclosure in a personal story - ie too much emotion.

Over a celebrationary drink after I realised that by not sharing as much of the story as I could the audience hadn't been as able to identify with it. So many had just felt it was me bearing all with no relevance to them. Had I gone into the story more and shared the impact on my work and life rather than just stay at the emotional level I'd have engaged them completely.

So rather than pull back from sharing with people tell your story deeper so others can really understand how it relates to them.

Monday, 7 September 2009

You, your audience and your message

I've 3 presentations to do this week and I've been working on all of them today.

I'm a business adviser for Young Enterprise at the local school and I've been asked to share presentation tips at a YE masterclass tomorrow. The 2nd presentation is for the Professional Speakers Association X-Factor on Wednesday and is entitled 'when you're up the creek without a paddle'. The 3rd is for a charity Ceilidh we've organised here in Edinburgh on Saturday and is about why we'll be in a sleeping bag for the night in Holyrood Park on 2nd October!

The key message throughout has been about remembering who my audience is and what message I want to convey. When I was practicing for the X-factor I realised, with Amy my coach's input, that I'd forgot about the 3rd factor - me. I'd got caught up in the content and structure of the presentation and had forgotten what makes me light up. If I can't tell the story in a way that connects with my passion it doesn't really matter what message I have nor who my audience is.

So my call for action today is to allow more of you to be seen by others in your communication with them. You never know what will happen!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Make your writing dreams a reality

It seems there are a number of us who have aspirations for writing a book. Not just aspirations but we've even written them or at least 50% complete? There are many reasons why we've not completed them but one recurring reason seems to be "who'd want to read what I've written - it's just a silly dream I have."

Every person who has ever published a book will have gotten over this stage and my call to action today is for us all to get over the excuses and share with the world our unique gifts. Granted not everyone might share in the wonder of the words but just like blogs and newsletters we will be making a difference to someone and that's what counts.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Life on hold?

I often hear people say that they'll be OK when they've released this unhelpful pattern, been on that diet, when they've changed relationship or job or been on this workshop or seen that guru. It's as if there's a gap between where they are and where they want to be and life will be perfect at some point in the future but not now.

I think it's easy for us to use these reasons as excuses to not take the actions we know we want to take in the world. We'll take action once we've reached our ideal. In other words we'll start making a difference in the world in 6 months time. The only problem is that 'in 6 months time' is never now!

We put our life on hold and find pleasant distractions to keep us amused.

My call for action today is to accept your unique skills and realise you are perfect exactly as you are and would continue to be even if you never changed.

From this place of acceptance take personal responsibility for taking action - and yes you may choose to go back to bed and do nothing but you equally might decide to apply for that job. Either way you wont be using those excuses as reasons not to get on with your life.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Advanced Leadership

A discussion on LinkedIn asked whether authentic leadership was a fad. Someone then said leadership was leadership and lets call it that. My response was:

Leadership has been blamed on the world's current crisis so when we talk of leadership I think we're in danger of being tarred with the same brush. I'm not sure authentic leadership is the right term to use but is certainly describes for me what we're looking for from business leaders and politicians. We're being asked to develop a new way of working that has authenticity, Integrity and Trust as its base.

It's a bit like having your driving licence and now being asked to demonstrate you can be an advanced driver. We use a different term to demonstrate mastery of the skills - some drivers don't need to change what they do to move from driver to advanced driver because they already do them - others need to learn skills and change their behaviour. The term advanced driver highlights to drivers they have another step to take if they want to take it to the next level.