• “Good Business” is Good for Business

    It seems like every business owner is in pursuit of sustainable growth; it appears that this desire is universal. What isn’t universal is the path toward achieving that growth. In recent years, a new type of entrepreneur has emerged. These new entrepreneurs are looking for ways to differentiate themselves—to innovate, to access better talent and customers, to improve their access to capital…and to grow their businesses by being socially responsible.

    If you are unfamiliar with social enterprise and haven’t yet explored what being a social entrepreneur means, then you’re most likely missing out on many of the advantages that come with this different way of thinking and new model for doing business.

    So let’s delve more deeply into what being socially responsible means, and investigate how becoming more socially aware could benefit your business.

    How can raising your level of social awareness benefit your business?
    Social Awareness within a business can be defined as understanding the impact you have on your staff, customers, community, and environment. Every business makes an impact. The pivotal question for every socially aware entrepreneur is this: How will you increase your business’s positive impact on every level?

    Human emotion drives consumer purchasing decisions. For this reason, your ideal clients are searching for a company they can believe in, relate to and feel emotionally drawn to. In this new age of connectivity, your customers want to establish relationships, find commonalities and feel “a part of something.”

    By raising the level of social awareness in your organisation you will find the following benefits:

    • the attraction and retention of talented staff members who believe in (and who will promote) your brand

    • the opportunity to differentiate your business from the competition

    • more ease in attaining financial support for your business

    • the opportunity to express your corporate values through social interaction—which will attract clients who share those values

    • the chance to get something done that you really believe in, whilst benefiting your business

    • access to more ideal clients, through marketing by social partners

    • an authentic spirit for innovation, cultivated by new personal/corporate connections and new attitudes surrounding collaboration and contribution

    Being socially aware can mean different things to different people. Aligning your company behind a compelling vision and clear values will immediately help to raise your level of social awareness and create greater staff engagement in your organisation. Raising your social awareness can also mean finding areas in your business where you can have a greater impact in your community.

    Whatever you choose to do, no matter how big or small, eg changing some of your procurement to socially responsible companies to donating 100% of your profit to solving a social problem, your efforts must be authentic and consistent. And it doesn’t mean taking on a social cause solely for the purpose of gaining publicity. When Starbucks planted recycling receptacles in their stores for their special “recyclable” cups, and then dumped them in landfills because they weren’t truly recyclable, the public’s perception of Starbucks as an environmentally friendly company was negatively affected. Don’t let this happen to your business.

    Choose socially aware business activities that you can get behind and believe in, wholeheartedly. If you want to have a bigger impact, choose a social problem that your target audience believes in, too. Connect with organisations that specialise in this cause. Market your intentions. Engage your staff in looking for innovative ways to make a greater difference. Let your customers know what you’re up to and give them opportunities to get involved. Publish case studies of the impact you’re having in your community to encourage more support.

    There are many different ways you can become more socially aware in your business and the benefits to your organisation of doing so will be varied, but will ultimately lead to greater staff and customer engagement and better business growth.

    To find out more about how to become a socially aware business and learn practical things you can do in your business now, register for the FREE upcoming event called Access to Impact, to be held at the British Library on the 4th February: 5.30-9pm

    Business + Social Impact = Enterprise Growth

    At the event I will be joining other Social Enterprise experts in teaching growth-focussed business owners how to become successful by being socially responsible businesses. Seats for this event are limited, and are filling fast, so reserve your place now by clicking the link here.

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  • 10 Tips for Success with your New Year Resolutions

    broken-resolutions

     

    broken-resolutionsNew YearIf you are one of 40-45% of people who have made a New Year’s Resolution this year how are you doing so far?

    Did you know by the second week of January 25% of you will have already given up on your resolution and that less than 10% of you will actually achieve your resolution.

    How can you become one of the 10% of people who do succeed in achieving their New Year resolutions?
    We make New Year resolutions because we want to change something. Of course it is possible to change the results in your life but to do so you need to have a different strategy.

    Albert Einstein “Insanity is doing same things over and over again expecting a different result.”

    So if you want to do something different and succeed with your New Year resolutions in 2016, here are 10 tips to help you to avoid the common mistakes when setting resolutions:

    1) Know your why
    The most important thing in making any change is being clear about your reasons for wanting to do this. Making any change involves a real cost to us (e.g. losing weight: cost not able to eat chocolate biscuits/junk food; getting fit: not being able to slouch on the sofa after work: getting more clients: cost: investment in marketing, training etc.).
    If you don’t have a clear, strong reason why you want to make the change you are likely to fail along the way, especially in the middle when the going gets tough.

    2) Change your mind set
    Undoubtedly it is the thoughts in your head that have stopped you in the past from achieving the success you wanted. To achieve your New Year resolutions, or any goal you set, you need to change your mind set.
    Identify the limiting thoughts that are holding you back e.g. I am never going to: be thin/fit/smart: earn enough money etc. and replace them with new positive thoughts that support your desired result.

    3) Set SMART goals
    The issue for most people is their New Year resolutions are too vague e.g. I want to: lose weight/get fit/earn more money etc. To have a much better chance of success in achieving your resolutions turn them into SMART goals:
    S – Specific e.g. I want to lose 5kg, run 10km in under an hour, and earn £100k this year
    M – Measurable – find a way to measure your goal so that you have a target to aim for
    A – Attainable – they should be a stretch to motivate you but not delusional
    R – Relevant – they should be relevant for your life
    T – Time bound – set a deadline to create urgency. Without this we will put things off.

    4) Make your goals compelling
    People give up on resolutions because they aren’t compelling enough. To maintain the discipline and commitment to achieve your goals make sure they are also Inspiring and Empowering for you, (SMARTIE goals) e.g. physically or mentally challenging, intellectually stimulating, emotionally energizing etc.

    5) Write Your Goals Down.
    Too often our resolutions stay as dreams stay in our head. Did you know that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals simply by writing them down? This works because writing down your goals is the first step to translating your intentions into actions.

    6) Track your progress
    You can’t improve what you don’t measure so you must track on a weekly basis how you are doing. Have the courage to face how you are doing. Celebrate the successes and acknowledge the disappointments and move on from them.

    7) Identify the next step
    Sometimes big goals can seem overwhelming and we don’t know where to start. Break down goals into bite sized pieces and focus on the next step.

    8) Take Action
    The biggest obstacle we face is procrastination. If you want to achieve big things, you’ve got to start.

    Zig Ziglar “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” 

    Excessive planning can be detrimental and whilst you might seem busy you aren’t actually taking the actions you need to get results you want. High achievers are action takers.

    9) Keep Your Goals visible
    You know that old saying “Out of sight, out of mind”. One of the biggest mistakes is not keeping your goals visible. Print them out and look at them every morning before you start the day. This will help them to stay conscious in your mind and support your to take the actions you need to achieve them.

    10) Get support
    All successful people have a coach or someone to help them reach their potential. If you really want this year to be different and achieve the goals you strongly desire, then find yourself a friend, coach or someone to support you and hold you accountable.

    Make this year your Best Year Yet!

     

  • How Do You Measure Up?

    How Do You Measure Up?

    I was with a client yesterday talking about how to grow their business. Everything was going well until I asked for some more details about the sales figures and profit margins. I got a slightly sheepish look from the MD and a comment that whilst they could give me monthly and even daily overall sales figs for the business, they couldn’t break that figure down in any more detail.

    Now whilst this may seem surprising, many companies are guilty of having similar number blindness and don’t have a clear idea of the reality of what is going on in their company.  Do you for instance, have a clear idea of how your sales figures are made up? Do you have an idea of what your profit margin is on each of your products or services? Do you know which of your clients are the most profitable?

    Numbers are your friend!
    There are all kinds of reasons for not tracking and measuring these types of numbers: not knowing what data to measure, not knowing how to track the data, not knowing what to do with the data once received etc.

    However whatever the reasons, it is important to realise that the only way to effectively grow your business is to embrace numbers and treat them as your friend. Numbers tell you exactly the way that it is, they can help show what has happened and they can inform you of how things will be in the future. Some people avoid looking too closely at the numbers in their business for fear of what the numbers may reveal. However it is good to remember that although that you cannot change the past, you can use information today to change what you do to improve your performance tomorrow.

    You cannot improve what you do not measure.
    If you want to get better at something you need to know what level you are starting from. If you want to sustainably grow your business you need to know where your business is operating today.

    Tracking the right numbers can help you to keep focused on delivering your strategy for growth and allows you to stay neutral by seeing clearly what is going on without the emotion. Reviewing the numbers regularly and watching how they change provides an opportunity to learn from the actions that you are taking. What are you doing right that you can do more of? What do you need to do less of or stop doing? How can you apply what you have learnt going forward?

    So if you want to track numbers which ones should you monitor to help you to grow your business? There are so many different numbers you could look at there is a danger of being overwhelmed and not tracking any, or tracking too many numbers that aren’t giving you the information that you need.

    What numbers to track?
    There are two different types of numbers that you can track and measure:

    1) Lagging indicators – these are usually output based and tell you how things were in the past e.g. revenue, sales figures, number of customers, etc. They are usually easy to measure but hard to improve or influence.

    2) Leading indicators – these are usually input oriented and help to determine how things will be in the future. They can be harder to measure but much easier to influence and improve. e.g. number of client visits you make, telephone calls you make, emails queries answered in under 2 hours, no cases closed in 48 hours etc.

    To change the lagging indicators (the results) that you are getting in your business, you need to focus on determining and measuring your leading indicators. To determine your business leading indicators you need to identify what are the activities that you must undertake to achieve the desired outcome?
    E.g. in your business you want to grow on line sales.
    Your lagging indicator will be measuring your % of turnover or profits derived from on line sales.
    Your leading indicators could be:
    1) Number of people visiting your web site
    2) Visitor time spent on your web site
    3) Number of email addresses captured
    4) Number of emails sent to a potential customer before buying etc.

    All these leading indicators can be influenced and improved upon once they are being measured.

    Identify your Critical Drivers to improve performance
    Determining and monitoring critical drivers in a business is key to improving performance. Identifying key performance indicators (leading indicators) and measuring them will ALWAYS move you forward as it raises your awareness of where you are and what you need to focus on .

    Another way to look at KPIs is to use the analogy of flying a plane. Pilots watch dials very carefully to guarantee the success of a flight. They are always monitoring their dials, checking to see what is happening so that they can take corrective action to stay on the current course.

    What are the characteristics of KPIs or business dials?
    1) They are carefully selected measures that guarantee success
    2) They give information on what is happening now or what will happen
    3) They have pre-determined levels below which corrective action must be taken to guarantee success

    An example is a vehicle fuel gauge, which is designed to show you when to take corrective action if the level of fuel fall below a certain point.

    Identify your own KPIs or business dials
    Using and measuring KPIs or dials helps to determine if you are going to achieve your business goals, however they take patience to set up and start using. To determine the right numbers that you need to track in your business you need to do the following:

    1) Determine which KPIs/dials need to be created
    2) Determine the level each KPI/dial must reach to achieve success
    3) Create a system to monitor and measure KPIs/dials
    4) Employ the qualities of playing a game
    5) Focus on actions needed to take to get/keep dials at their levels of pre-determined success

    If you do take the time to identify the key performance indicators in your company and regularly monitor and measure them you are GUARANTEED SUCCESS!

    Dare to check how you are doing – as often as possible!

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams

  • Who’s stealing your Time???

    2014-08-04 16.23.38

    Who doesn’t wish that there were an extra two or three hours in the day to just get everything done?  One of the most pressing issues that we face daily is how to manage all the demands placed on us by work, family, friends and others, whilst also maintaining our health, well-being and emotional sanity.

    It is all too easy to become victims of working too hard, playing too little, perhaps drinking too much and sleeping too poorly.  No wonder we end up drawn out and stressed, feeling like we are barely surviving rather than living with passion.  Whilst I am a big supporter of endeavouring to be more, do more, have more, give more, this cannot be to the detriment of our inner alignment and ensuring a fully balanced life.

    How can we stop this vicious cycle of feeling constantly that there is not enough time?

    The first place to start is to ask: “Where is my time going?”

    To Do or Not To Do?

    Do you start your day with a clear achievable plan of what you want in terms of results for your day?  Or are you just blindly following your “To Do” list?  I know that for much of my adult life I have let my To Do list be the dictator in my life.  My To Do list is never satisfied; it is a hard task master and never acknowledges me.

    No matter how hard you work during the day do you end the day feeling a sense of overwhelm with just how many things that there are still on your list?

    So here is some bad news…there will always be too many things on your list to ever get finished.  The good news though is that you can change how you view your To Do list so that you become master of it and use it to serve you in your life to get what you want.

    The first place to start is to use Steven Covey’s time management matrix (from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to assess what is important to you and how you are spending your time.

    So create a table like the one below with 4 boxes labelled as shown in the diagram. Re write all your To Dos in each of these 4 boxes depending on each task’s level of urgency and importance.

    Isabel

    Like most people you will probably find that most of your To Dos are in quadrant 1 whilst those tasks in quadrant 2 (those what will make a positive difference in your life) perhaps keep getting moved from one To Do list to another e.g. update CV, write chapter of my book, create business plan, organise “date night”, go to new yoga class etc.

    One of the key ways to feel a sense of accomplishment every day is to look at your To Dos daily and pick at least one thing from quadrant 2 and make sure that you take one step towards completing the task each day.  This way you know that you are moving forward and step by step making a difference in your life.

    Where Does Time Go?

    How can we ensure that there is enough time to get done some of the things in quadrant 2?

    One important exercise is to start monitoring how you are actually spending your time.  This will help you to raise your awareness to see if you are getting results or simply “being busy”. It is very easy to be the latter so start by splitting your day into 15 minute slots and use the same quadrants you have created previously to note down how you spend your time.

    If you are like me when I did this exercise I was amazed by just how much time was spent in quadrants 3 and 4.  These are areas where time can be regained as To Dos in quadrant 3 and 4 can often be ditched as they are either other people’s agenda, or it is simply wasting time (e.g. filing, cleaning, meetings without purpose etc).  If you want time to do things in quadrant 2 note how you spend your time and start to limit or entirely stop doing these To Dos in quadrants 3&4.

    You can only improve that which you measure.

    Small steps pursued consistently lead to massive change.  Learning how to manage your time is a key skill to master, to help you feel more fulfilled each day and enjoy a sense of well-being and achievement.

    Try these two small steps for the coming week (review your daily To Do’s using the Covery time matrix model and monitor how you spend your time), and see what a difference it makes to you.

    As always awareness brings its own rewards and note what happens this week when you do these exercises.

    My own experience is that by monitoring my time and making sure that every day I do something from quadrant 2, I have found myself becoming more efficient and less distracted by activities in quadrant 3&4. Over time I have learnt to spend less time in fire-fighting mode and more time focused on really moving my life forward and spending it doing what I love.

    Certainly by making and spending time doing things that are important to you, life feels less “busy” and you start generating positive results in your life helping you to feel more fulfilled and stay aligned to your highest purpose.

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams

  • How To Create Extraordinary Results In Your Life In Under 500 Words!

    How To Create Extraordinary Results In Your Life In Under 500 Words!

    Since we are all so busy in life trying to cram in as much as we possibly can, we don’t stop to take the take the time necessary to think and make the behavioral changes required to create different results in our lives.

    I thought that in this blog I would condense down the key elements of making transformational change into 500 words or less – thus by keeping it short leaving you time to actually take the actions necessary to achieve the results you desire!

    Here goes….

    Listed below are the key steps for creating change in your life to help you to achieve the success you want. Follow the practical steps listed below and you will be on the way to creating extraordinary results in your life.

    1) Create a Vision that Compels you and Fulfills your Personal Core Values – this is a blue print for how you want the future to look like

    Practically how to do this:
    a) Take at least one hour to reflect and answer the following questions:
    i) What does success look like to you?
    ii) What does your ideal day(s) would look like?
    iii) If money was no object what would you be doing right now with your life?
    iv) How do you want to be remembered when you are gone?

    b) Write out your inspiring vision for your life touching all areas of your life.

    2) Create Internal Alignment – align yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually

    Practically how to do this:
    a) Review yourself on how well you take care of yourself in terms of your:

    i) Physical well-being, (how well you sleep, eat, exercise, take care of yourself),
    ii) Mental well-being (how well do you focus, get things done, have fun),
    iii) Emotional well-being, (how well you connect with others, take time to experience joy, love, gratitude, appreciation, etc)
    iv) Spiritual well-being (how well you live your values, live life with passion and purpose, enjoy boundless energy, give to others)

    b) Create daily habits and rituals in each of these areas to improve your current score in each area.

    c) Measure each month how you are doing in each of these areas to move towards greater alignment.

    d) Examine your limiting beliefs that don’t serve you any longer and change them for new empowering beliefs.

    3) Relentless Execution – take actions until you have achieved the results that you desire

    Practically how to do this:
    a) Break your vision down into small chunks e.g. different roles and timeframes 3,6,12 months, 3,5 years from now etc

    b) Make a plan.

    c) Set SMART goals for all areas of your plan.

    d) Establish ways of measuring each goal.

    e) Track how you are doing with your plan every month. (You can’t improve what you don’t measure!)

    f) Get support in your life e.g. a network of inspiring friends, a personal coach to create accountability.

    4) Celebrate your Successes

    Practically how to do this:
    a) Spend time at least once a month reviewing your plan and highlighting all the things that have gone really well in your life. Note down what worked so that you can repeat this and do more of the things that work for you.

    b)Take 5 minutes every day to be grateful for the things that you have in your life and then acknowledge yourself for all that you are.

    c) Find someone to share your success with. Failing that, make sure you pat yourself on the back and do something fun to celebrate how amazing you are!

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams

     

  • Alignment is the key to High Performance

    Alignment is the key to High Performance

    The world we live in seems to be moving at warp speed, and one of the biggest challenges facing most of us is to feel a sense of alignment. Our lives are often composed of a demanding array of disconnected components all of which bid for our attention, focus and energy e.g. work, children, partner, health, fitness, friends, home, finance, leisure, spiritual practice to name but a few. With all these different areas of our lives competing for relentless amounts of our time, it is easy to be distracted, flitting from one thing to another, feeling slightly out of control much of the time and leaving us with a disappointing lack of fulfillment. Who has not wondered at some point: “Is this all there is?”

    Whilst the obvious solution to the problem of too many demands and not enough time might be to learn better time management skills, a more fulfilling and sustainable solution to creating a more harmonious, engaged and empowered life starts with looking inside ourselves. We feel dysfunctional as individuals because we are not aligned with our highest values and what is important to us. The key to feeling well, energised, and with a sense of purpose in life, is to create alignment in the four key areas of life: mind, body, heart and spirit.

    Most of us tend to focus intently on one area – often using mental energy at work and perhaps exercising obsessively or to extremes in our spare time. Whilst we are overusing our energy and flat lining in one or two areas, we generally under-use or ignore our needs in the other areas. All four areas need to be aligned for us to feel whole and connected again and to be able to function at higher levels of personal performance.

    Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in alignment.”
    Brian Tracy

    We have become misaligned as a result of a life time of poor habits, shortcuts, staying in our comfort zone, fear of failure and resistance to change. To feel aligned we need to spend time exploring what our values are, what is important to us, how we need to take care of ourselves and how we can return to our core, our true inner self.

    Creating internal alignment takes time in much the same way that re-educating the body through physio and exercise takes time after it has been stressed or injured. It has taken years of misalignment to get to this point so it is important to spend the necessary time and be patient to be able to realign all four areas of life.

    One of the first things we need to start the process of realignment is to shift old ways of thinking. The way that we live in the world has/is/and will continue to change dramatically. Collective ways of thinking are changing and with that new paradigms are being created daily.

    As individuals we need to create new paradigms for the way that we operate in life. The old mindset consists of beliefs such as:

    • We need to manage our time;
    • Reduce our levels of stress;
    • Be disciplined;
    • Work hard all the time;
    • Financial rewards and recognition drive performance.

    However to enjoy a more fulfilled and engaged life these mind sets need to be altered to encourage new paradigms along the lines of:

    • Manage our energy,
    • Enjoy intense but limited levels of stress,
    • Introduce habits and rituals to support us,
    • Take time for recovery,
    • Purpose is the key to high performance.

    The key to high performance is creating alignment in these 4 cornerstones of life:

    Mind – our ability to focus our attention and organise our lives
    Body – our fundamental physical well-being which is the key source of energy in life
    Emotional – our ability to manage our emotions, connect with others, access positive emotions and experience joy, challenge, excitement and inner calm.
    Spiritual – our connection to, and courage to live by, our deepest values and a purpose beyond self-interest.

    I will explore in further blogs what it means to be aligned in each of these areas and things that you can start to do to find greater alignment in your life.

    To be fully engaged in our lives, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.”
      Jim Loehr

    Creating high performance teams starts with creating highly aligned individuals. If you take the analogy of the body again, if you have an ache, pain or injury somewhere, the body will try to compensate for this but in doing so other parts of the body will become misaligned, leading to strains and pain elsewhere. The same is true for machines. If there is a part that is misaligned then the rest of the machine will not function in a coordinated fashion and damage and excessive wear and tear occurs.

    The most empowering condition of all is when the entire organization is aligned with its mission, and people’s passions and purpose are in synch with each other.”

    Bill George Peter Sims

    If you want to create great results in your organisation it is necessary to work with the individuals in the organisation to ensure that they are aligned in themselves and aligned as a team. It is hard to have one without the other. Creating individual and team alignment takes time and can be undoubtedly challenging. The rewards, however, are immense, not only in terms of the business results generated but also in terms of the creation of highly energised, motivated and engaged individuals. Who wouldn’t want to work in a team or organisation made up of people like this?

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams

     

    For more information on how to create personal alignment click here to get your free e-book:

    The Secrets of How to Produce the Results you Want in your Life;

     

     

  • Freedom through Responsibility

    When I was growing up I remember that “being responsible” was something that adults seemed to be all the time and thankfully children didn’t need to worry about.  Over time though I began to realise that if I wanted to make it as an adult, I needed to find out what “being responsible” really meant.

    Interestingly, there are no classes at school on how to be responsible in life.

    IMG_0298

     

    Inevitably, through life experiences we learn to become responsible as adults.  We learn to be dependable and reliable, we learn to take on obligations and positions of responsibility and at some point many of us become responsible for people, children, parents or pets. Very few of us, however, actually learn to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives.

    Understanding what responsiblity means and being personally responsible is a key leadership skill.  Whilst people expect leaders to be in a position of responsibility, the measure of a truly great leader is someone who is willing to be accountable for something within their power, control, or management.

    People often confuse being responsible with being “in power” in some way. In a sense this is correct in that everyone, no matter what their position in life, has the scary but liberating and powerful option of choosing to be personally responsible in life. This means being fully responsible for all your actions, behaviours, thoughts and feelings.  I believe that there is nothing that gives an individual more freedom and power than being willing to be 100% responsible in their life.

    Being responsible to this degree means really knowing that you are the master of your destiny.  Rather than waiting to blame external circumstances or other people for things that happen in your life, it is possible take back your power by choosing to be responsible.  Being responsible gives you the option of how you want to respond to extrinsic events outside your control.  By looking intrinsically it is possible to be responsible for how you feel and the actions you then take.

    What is responsibility in fact?

    Responsibility = the ability to choose how to respond (response – able)

    Interestingly most people choose not to be responsible. It is much easier to avoid responsibility and blame or complain about others and expect others to solve their problems, rather than take responsibility for the way things are and then take actions to change things. Being responsible means asking the question: “How am I the cause in this that has happened?” 

    Of course external events happen that are out of our control.  Being responsible though, means that rather than reacting on auto pilot you have the option at any moment to choose how you want to respond.  Your state of mind is entirely within your control and your responsibility and how you choose to feel and think is not dependent on someone or something else.

    Learning to be in control and responsible for your life is a key life skill we are ill equipped with.  Simply being aware of the thoughts in your head and your emotions are two of the most important ways that you can start to be responsible in life.

    Here are 6 ways in which you can start to be responsible for your life:

    1)    Raise your self-awareness – the root of your life is in your mind, take time to observe it

    2)    Take control – stop complaining and feeling a victim in life and choose to be the one in control

    3)    Act rather than react – notice how you react automatically to situations (emotionally and with actions) and choose how you would prefer to think and act.

    4)    Accept that you are the cause in where you are today – for good or bad.  By accepting that you have created your past and present you can also be cause in your future.

    5)    Be aware of your fear – fear is a parasite and feeds on doubt, judgements, opinions and hates change.

    6)    Believe in yourself – the two most powerful words in the dictionary “I CAN”

    Learning to be responsible for your life will help you to feel more in control.  It is important to remember though that whilst you can learn to be responsible for your own life, and choose how to respond at any moment in time, you cannot be responsible for how others think and behave.  You can only show others how to take reasonability by leading by example.

    If you enjoyed this article then you can find more on being responsible in your life and many more ways to be successful, in my ebook called:

    “The Secrets to Producing The Results You Want In Your Life”

    For your free copy please click here.

  • Joy – What Is It And Why Do I Want It?

    I went out today on a bike ride, cycling through the hilly lanes in the lovely Devon countryside. I have been tired of late dealing with the stresses of building – or in our case not building our house, and whilst a sneaky nap seemed like a nice idea my feet ended up on the pedals and off I went.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I love biking, but due to work commitments, life and all manner of other things that have got in the way, I haven’t been biking outdoors for a long, long while.  Whilst I normally bike in the mountains around Chamonix, today was a more leisurely jaunt, taking in the hills of East Devon and pondering life while I went.

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    Off I set with no goal in mind.  I had posted a thought on twitter earlier in the day about the fact that the measure of our success is not about how much money we have but how much joy we experience in life.  Being alone on my bike with just my thoughts for company I was able to contemplate this concept at leisure and explore what came up.

    I started to reflect on what joy really was and how it differs from happiness. I remembered an interesting conversation with a company earlier this week, who wanted as one of their goals for all their staff to be happy.  At first glance this seems like an admirable goal, however, a) since happiness is an emotion, other people’s happiness is not something anyone of us can control, and b) happiness generally comes from external things and is different for each person.  Thus creating a “happy” workforce could be quite a challenge.

    Whilst it is true that joy is also an emotion, joy is more often derived from a sense of inner peace and calm, feeling grateful and appreciative, and caring for others.   Unlike happiness which can be fleeting in duration, joy tends to last longer and brings more contentment and satisfaction.  Perhaps rather than striving for a having a happy workforce a better goal would be to have a staff who felt joy in what they do.  Creating a culture of appreciation and holistic leadership, where teams look more strategically at how they can work for the good of the organisation rather than in “silos”, would go a long way to creating a contented and fulfilled workforce.

    Whilst thinking about this I started to think about the way I felt when I was feeling the opposite of either joy or happiness.  When I am not happy I am generally feeling unhappy and feel miserable. However, when I am not experiencing joy I am usually in a state of worry or fear.  So if fear, anxiety, or stress is lurking in your organisation then it is unlikely that a sense of joy can prevail.

    This brought home to me a startling realisation – almost causing me to ride into the hedge – that personally when I am in fear about things:  doubts, failure, not being good enough, upsetting someone etc then this would be a good time to search out some joy  in my life.

    But where can I find joy?   Since joy is largely derived internally rather than externally this made me think that I can find joy in any moment I choose to.  Riding my bike I decided to just be in the moment, stop all the head chatter and appreciate what was around me.  Doing this it was if my senses were suddenly turned on and I could see detail in everything: the intense colours of the flowers; the dappled sunlight through the leaves; the expanse of the cloud strewn sky and the endless landscape of gently rolling fields.  I felt my body alive with sensations: the touch of the wind on my skin, the smells of the countryside in my nose and the sound of the nature in my ears.  Really it was quite an incredible experience and all that I did was turn my joy radar on.

    It made me realise that I live mostly in a one dimensional way.  I live in a world with so much sensory input and data being thrust at me all the time that I tend to limit my experience and tune out what I think is unimportant and extraneous. This means for me tuning out the wonderful things around me that I don’t see anymore.   I realised that if I want to experience more joy in my life I need to pay attention to the detail and the small stuff around me.  It is the measure of our capacity to see the detail in life that determines our ability to experience joy.

    So I have set a new challenge for myself.  I have decided that every day I will look for the joy in the day.  No matter how rubbish the external world is behaving I will spend time experiencing the joy that comes from appreciating the simple things in life.  It’s all about the small stuff.

    I invite you to keep an eye on your joy gauge.  When you are feeling fearful, doubtful or stressed take a moment to stop.  Turn off your head and feel with your body.  What do you hear, feel, see and smell?  Turn on your joy radar and look with curiosity at the things around you.  Taking a moment of stillness to appreciate the things around you will be uplifting and will help you to get through the rest of the external stuff that needs to be dealt with.

    I would love to hear and see the small stuff in your lie that fills you with joy.  If you would like to share with me what brings you joy you can post your comments and pictures below.

    If you would like to find out how to create more joy in your life then click on the link below to get access to my free e-book:

    The Secrets to Producing the Results that You Want in Your Life

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 4

    10 Tips To Help You Live A Life Of Passion

    I believe that passion has become rather one dimensional in our lives, with the focus only on sexual desire.  What a shame.  Passion is actually gloriously multi-dimensional, expressing powerful and compelling feelings or emotions and bringing life into vivid Technicolor.

    Living our lives with passion though is not how most of us choose to live.    Most of us go through life wishing we were somewhere else, doing something else or living somehow differently.     When was the last time in your life that you truly felt the blood pumping in your veins, your heart uplifted and experienced being totally in the moment?

    But “passion can be dangerous” you say.  Goodness, who knows where living passionately will lead us! How much easier to play safe and stay in our comfort zone, dulling the emotions and flattening our life experience.

    For the brave who choose to take the path to a passionate life, the journey takes time and is undoubtedly challenging.   If you are up for the adventure the rewards are profound.  Whilst the destination will vary the features are the same: a life lived with passion is one filled with joy, enthusiasm, simplicity, a sense of purpose, energy and feeling of being connected to yourself.

    Choosing to live your life with passion starts with shifting your mind-set.  It requires deciding that living a life with passion is a goal worth pursuing.  Apathy and lassitude are prevailing forces in our culture, so learning to live a passionate life requires discipline and commitment to overcome these tendencies.

    To pledge to a passionate life requires overcoming a lack of belief that is it possible to do so.  It requires giving up closed or negative thinking that can keep us stuck.  It requires focus, responsibility and the requirement to simplify life.  No one can be passionate if they are feeling cluttered, overscheduled and overwhelmed in life.  Being passionate by definition means to experience powerful emotions.  It is not possible to live a passionate life if you are emotionally unhealthy e.g. depressed, anxious, stressed etc.

    Passion in life starts with having a vision, goal or desire that inspires you, helping you to move towards what you want to be, do or have.  As with changing any old ways of thinking and behaving living life with passion takes time and is testing.  Being willing to keep going no matter what is one of the keys to living a life you love.

    How can you live a life with passion?

    1)      Take time – you can’t make changes in life unless you make time to reflect.

    2)      Change how you see yourself – consider who would you have to be to live the life you want?

    3)      Believe in yourself – you are the creator of your life. You are 100% responsible. You can make it happen.

    4)      Speak from the heart – dare to be honest with yourself and then with others.

    5)      BWTEIM (begin with the end in mind) – create a clear vision of what you really want your life to look like and stick your flag in the sand in front of you.  Now you have a destination.

    6)      Face your fear – look it square in the eyes and take the first step anyway.

    7)      Shut out the self-chatter – be an observer and don’t get enrolled in your mental noise.  Keep focused on vision.

    8)      Write it down – get it out of your head and onto paper in words or pictures.  This helps clarify our thinking and makes it real.

    9)      Look for fun – we miss so many amazing things in life by being so busy, keep an eye out for what brings you joy and happiness.

    10)   Keep going – learning and growth happens in your breakdowns. Have courage, be committed be curious.

    One really good coaching question I like to ask clients who may be stuck looking for their purpose and passion is to ask them:

    “What would you be doing if you only had a short time to live and/or money was no object?”

    I ask this to you now.  I would love to hear in the comments below what are you passionate about?

     

  • Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Employees

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Employees

    It is fair to say that the new modern age of social connectivity is changing how we do business.   It is also having a profound effect on how businesses are managed.  Old structures and ways of thinking and behaving are changing.  The typical hierarchical model where employees are viewed as simply cogs in a machine is having to change to adapt to a new paradigm that emphasises connection, collaboration and innovation.

    Companies have to take a serious look at the current culture within their organisation and examine whether it supports an environment of employee engagement.  Employee engagement has become a buzz word but it has very real consequences for the organisation.

    A study by Towers Watson, a professional services firm, interviewed 90,000 employees in 18 countries, and identified that companies with high employee engagement had a 19% increase in operating income compared to a 32% drop in operating income for companies with low levels of engagement.

    How do you create higher employee engagement?  Two simple steps to implement are to clearly define and articulate your organisation vision and your core values.  An inspiring business vision creates purpose for employees beyond their current day to day activities. Defining your core values signals to your current and future employees what is important to your company.  The core values of your business determine your expectations about behaviour in your staff and your partners.  Knowing your core values helps to identify the type of people you want to work in or with the company, and vice versa.

    Longer term employee engagement comes from changing the top down culture of being told what to do to one that encourages personal responsibility and accountability.  Supporting staff to be accountable encourages people to behave outside their current comfort zone and explore their inherent potential.  This allows for personal growth and ultimately generates higher levels of performance. Studies have shown that employees who are offered the opportunity for self direction, the chance to better themselves, and given a greater sense of purpose are much more highly motivated. 

    One of the keys to changing the existing culture, thinking and behaviour in an organisation  is to examine the underlying operating paradigm within it. Uncovering the unspoken beliefs about how the team operates  is not an easy thing to do as they run unconsciously in the background. 

    In the team leadership sessions that I run with clients when we get to the point of identifying the underlying limiting beliefs or paradigm we call this the “moment of Change”.  It is really an “ahhh” moment for the team when they can see the thoughts that have been running them in the background and what has been holding them back.  It is called the moment of change since at this point teams can choose a new paradigm that is more effective and empowering. It is akin to upgrading the operating system of a computer to make it work more effectively.

    Creating a culture of accountability and responsibility takes time to develop.  It is not something that will change overnight but once done the impact is enormous.  Individuals are happier, teams perform better and ultimately the results in the organisation are significantly improved. 

    If you would like to find out more about how one of our team programmes could impact the culture and performance in your organisation please click this link so that we can plan a time to talk together.