• Leadership Starts from Within

    School child with hand raised in the classroom in front of a blackboard with other children concept for teacher's pet, standing out from the crowdand, genius or excelling in education

    What makes a good leader?

    We have a certain stereotype of a leader: typically, this is someone who is in a positon of power, has authority, is charismatic enough to motivate others to do things, oh…. and is usually male.

    We often talk of leaders as though they were somehow different from us and that only a few will achieve this status.  Our mind set is that leaders exist in a hierarchical structure and are chosen or appointed to lead by others in the structure.

    I believe that these views on a real leader are holding us back – as individuals and in the work place.  This stereotype of a leader defines who we see as leaders around us and also whether we see ourselves as potential leaders or not.  In both cases the results are a lack of real leaders in an organisation and individuals operating as less than their personal potential.  Neither good for growing your business.

    So if this is our current distorted view of leadership, what in reality makes a good leader?  We all have our own ideas of what makes a good leader, however the key elements of what makes a good leader are they know the outcomes they want, can get things done and they can motivate others.

    The most effective leaders are those who, rather than leading from a position of power to assert authority over others, lead first by knowing themselves, have the ability to listen, consider the views of others and essentially lead authentically from the heart – arguably more female traits compared to those masculine traits of power and authority.

    To move to a world where we see and experience more effective leaders around us, we need to change our mind set about who we see as leaders, and really importantly shift how we see ourselves as leaders.

    To explain this in more detail there are essentially three levels of leadership:

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    When we think of leadership we tend to think of it as something that is bestowed upon someone, and our attention is focused on high profile leaders in the public, who lead groups of people from tens, to hundreds, thousands, even millions in the case of country leaders.

    But being a leader is something that has to start from within.  We cannot lead others effectively, not even on a private leadership level, (when we lead and motivate someone on a one to one basis), until have a strong level of personal leadership. Self awareness is at the heart of being a great leader.

    If you are a leader in a public position of power and authority, guiding and directing others – or even just one other, then you need to know yourself because when you lead others there is no place to hide, no room for doubt and no time for experimenting.

    Whilst public leadership involves envisioning, planning, executing and evaluating and private leadership involves appraising, building, training, coaching and delegating. Personal leadership on the other hand involves motivating oneself. It requires you having the right level of technical competence; the right attitude towards other people; the ability to connect with others, self-mastery and ultimately the choice to live a life led by purpose and personal values.

    Personal leadership is how you live your life consciously from within – choosing to be responsible (response-able) rather than reacting and responding automatically to external events and circumstances around you. True leaders can be found anywhere, in all walks of life – not just in positions of power.  It is that sense of alignment to self and purpose and the ability to be authentic with others, that demonstrates who will be a good leader.

    Nurturing effective leaders is critical for the future growth and success in your organisation.  It is time to change your mind set on what being a leader involves and ncourage all your staff to lead from within.  No matter what their role or level of responsibility support them to develop their personal leadership skills so that they can be the leaders of your company in the future.

    Do you lead your company from within? Have you encouraged your staff to develop and grow and be leaders at all levels?  If you would like to find out more about how to develop your staff to be effective leaders in your organisation, contact me for a chat about your needs and how to create the people foundations to successfully grow your company.

     

     

     

     

     

  • 10 Tips for Success with your New Year Resolutions

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    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!

     

  • Who’s stealing your Time???

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    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

     

  • 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.

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    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?