Regaining Self…


The channels of everyday information are rich with news of disaster, pain, tragedy and sorrow. Good news it seems, does not resonate with the masses. We are ‘turned on’ by sensationalism, voyeurism and dread. Bad news is often quickly replaced with celebrity gossip – ‘what the butler saw’ journalism – it is perhaps a thumb print of a society that looks upon other less information rich geographical regions as ‘third’ or developing worlds. Third behind what? Developing into what? Another topic for another day perhaps.

Sleep no longer is a refreshment oasis for the mind and body, it is more often a centre of information decoding, the next day preparation stable – we find it difficult to turn down mind activity even through REM.

It is no wonder that work-life-balance has become a key clause in HR policy among any enterprise identifying the importance of the people who drive and grow their business – ‘balance’ is the active word here.

Such is the influence of external energies, that we may find the recognition of what makes us special and unique being diluted, the confidence in what we are and what we are capable of eroded, and are somehow more sensitive to the opinions and whims of how others may regard us than ever before – this almost semi-paranoia state of mind affects many of our young.

The young may often identify with false images of what looks attractive and may go to great lengths to mimic these supposed standards. Others may gravitate to clusters of groups to find a sense of self, safety and identity, and in some cases with little regard for rules and authority. Is there a real sense of social breakdown here? I am leaving this question for you to contemplate or answer.

Throughout the haze however, is the knowledge that ultimately we can make choices. We can choose to be without a semblance of control; like pollen on the wind. Or stop, take stock and choose a different course of action. The unique key to opening the gate to ‘self’ is the one called change. The first step on the path to self is to find and acknowledge the need for personal change. It is not always easy to do this alone; particularly if self-identity, confidence and self-love is shrouded under the myriad of external nuances.

But doing so cannot be undervalued. I know how difficult it can be to rise up against a barrage of knocks, to continually hurdle over daily obstacles that are hurled into your life path.To deal with insincerity, hypocrisy and injustice – it is physiologically draining! That’s why I place great stock on Change. Change affords us all opportunity.

To break free from the norm; one needs to change the norm.

So take yourself out of what you have come to know – challenge your innate gifts (you have many!) in a different environment, with different people, doing different things. Ignore the strains and noises of trepidation and fear; suggesting that you stay as you are, on the same path, getting the same results.

Start small-scale – we are creatures of habit after all. Identify a habit and choose not to do it just this one time, and see how doing so makes you feel. Take a different route to work, do not watch that upcoming episode of your preferred soap opera, tell your special one that you love them for once, don’t drink alcohol when you go out on the town, and see if you can enjoy yourself just as much. Change the patterns of your life, and you will change the portrait of your future.

‘Self ‘ is when having made a deviation from your norm, you are able to step back and feel spatially good; not only about the decision taken, but also the predicted positive outcome. This experience is addictive, it is the fundamental basis for Self- Empowerment, the more you do the easier it gets!

Don’t waste anymore time, do it today.

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Summer clean your life!


Many of us will make changes to our home, music collection or appearance, yet so very few us take the time to make any real alterations to our actual lives!

If we’’re really honest with ourselves; we take little opportunity to sit back, self-reflect and weigh up exactly what is going on around us. We rarely pause – in order to LIVE!

What is going on around us invisibly effects how we feel about ourselves and others; yet most of us do little or nothing about it. To be fair, our 100 mph society is not helpful in this regard, and neither is the daily routine; that most of us accept more often than not with little relish!

We seek that annual break in the sun, by the beach, away from the 9-5, switching off our mobiles and online access (with difficulty for some of us) for good reason – in short, static-life-overload is NOT good for us.

How many of us keep material, documents, files of useless bumph, connections and ‘friends’ that offer no real value whatsoever?

I too am just as guilty; but I told myself – John, all this useless stuff around you is a source of BLOCKAGE; it’s hindering and diluting your real spirit, your instinct to laugh and be jolly, to explore and be adventurous – your natural born desire for the NEW!

Think about it… How many of us go to sleep after a long day, in our ‘chosen’ place of work, giving thought to how many hours remains until we wake up for more of the same? I tell you this is not being ALIVE, we are merely living until we can’t live anymore.

The fact is, in the same way we need to daily drink up to two litres of water to remove the barrage of toxins within our bodies (most of us don’t), we should be taking the metaphoric broom in our hands and begin sweeping out all the toxins from our lives too!

So here’s my message… it may be a cliché, but ‘live each day as if it was your last’ (if you can!).

Turn down the volume of useless static, sever the hangers-on, invest in yourself, realise your true worth – and summer clean YOUR life!

the POWER of choice…


I was told many years ago as a boy, that the difference between man and beast, was our power to choose. Yes, free-will ladies and gentlemen!

Leaving out natural phenomena, all else around us and often within us stems from a deep-lying source called choice. Choice is the younger submissive cousin of thought, and choice will not do anything unless thought issues the command to choose. What choice decides on doing, depends on what big cousin was thinking! There is no missing link from thought to choice, it is seamless. For many of us it goes undetected, happens instantly; way too quickly to be discerned.

The difference between those who are ultimately successful in life, and those who are not, is not just being aware of this important link between thought and choice; though life-path critical, but also turning this awareness into a good habit!

Let me play out the importance of this equation to make it profoundly clear!

If big cousin (thought) sets in motion ‘I will step out in front of a fast-moving bus’… little cousin (choice) needs to act one way or another – there is no escape. Little cousin cannot unplug its big cousin, wipe the sweat from its brow, and breathe a deep sigh of relief. It is at the total and relentless mercy of his big cousin’s whim.

It knows something has got to give, and it is now becoming unbearable. Little cousin is now carrying the baton of immeasurable power and responsibility, what it does with this extraordinary power, is literally the difference between life and death for its big cousin’s host!

The host is in fact YOU, and YOU must be aware of your little cousin with the immeasurable power. Choice can deliver mass destruction or mass production. It can enable you to be all you want to be, or someone you will struggle to live with or face up to for the rest of your life.

New book excerpt – ATTITUDE


Chapter One: ATTITUDE

IDENTIFYING

How are you feeling right now? Are you feeling motivated, tired, emotional, bored, amused or perhaps sensual? Are you reading this alone or with company? If in company, look around and focus your attention at the people or person and try to gauge if you can, what he, she or they may be feeling. How often do you make a practice of tuning into the mood, mind-set or energy of a friend, family member or stranger? Do you know through practice of this simple exercise that you can become skilled at being one step ahead in choosing the right action or word to change a relationship outcome?

Attitude is not confined within, on the contrary it is sent through the air like throwing confetti at the bride and groom at a wedding, whilst also landing on anyone and anything within its floating path!

I once held a training session on what was required to become a successful sales professional. I asked my audience to put on the white board all the qualities they felt made up the ingredients of a top ranked sales person. I drew a line down the middle of the board and on one half of the board I put the header Attitude, and on the other half Characteristics. One by one each rose, approached the board and wrote their one word answer. I must tell you that there was an overwhelming column filled with a list of qualities, whilst the other was conspicuous by the lack of ink!

Your turn:

Apply the same model I presented in the training session example and see the results for yourself. Perhaps if you are in a family, classroom or open plan team office environment it may be more interesting or fun, but you can also do so alone; use a board, sheet of paper and observe the outcome. Try and think of as many words as possible and though I used the sales person as a topic, you could simply use what are the qualities for success if you wish. You must decide against each word, whether it represents and attitude or a characteristic. It will open up a channel of thought for you hopefully and in a group, discussion. Use the results, apply them in your life everyday and experience the success you will obtain.

Attitude is crucial. Let’s consider what ultimately this book is attempting to do for you. Through my writing I am using my chosen medium to be the instrument for change. Change is in my opinion everything – the world and everything in it, even the inanimate objects like stone and metal, change over time. Prior to and from the day we arrive in this plane called earth, we’ve been experiencing change. Much of our change happens with us being blissfully unaware. Let me explain what I mean in more detail.

Each micro second of each minute our body and mind are going through rapid and consistent change. It is needed to enable a child to learn to lie in control on its tummy, then to raise its head, then to shuffle around, then to attempt to crawl, then from crawling the incredibly bold step to stand up by grasping hands, sofa seat cushion, chair; anything that will improve and steady its balance. The miracle of change goes further still; powered through a natural acceptance of change and discovery. The child will attempt standing up precariously unaided… then oh my! The incredible delight – the first foot step forward, then backward, then oops and a sudden but joyful tumble to the floor!

But recognising what an amazing accomplishment change can do for a young child is one thing, imagine what recognising and accepting change can do for you!!

The source for change does need some encouragement however, not all of us can hit the ground running. Change for many invokes a sense of fear and trepidation. We all get used to living a certain way, being in a certain place perhaps with a certain person. Let’s face it for many of us, leaving as-is may be truly comforting, and provides a steadying effect. Stability for many is crucial for their way of life (it is for this writer).

If you choose to ignore your birthright that consists of many qualities that through time are diluted and even ignored, you are choosing to regress not progress. Not embracing change is putting it mildly ‘standing still’. No one in entering this earthly plane deserves not to live a life of self discovery and experience, no matter how insignificant it may seem to observers. As babies we embraced the wonderment of life and its many challenges, and somewhere along the line for some of us; it has slowed down and for some, vanished altogether.

To be in a position to sow the seeds of change, you may need first to alter your mind-set; yes one’s ATTITUDE.

Everything we experience and the life we lead stems from a single thought. So with this in mind, it is clear then that the thought needs to be right to help you and others, to deliver a life of fulfilment, love, spiritual enrichment and social acceptance.

Your turn:

Write down 5 key goals that you would like to achieve and while writing them down; for each goal or objective say what it is out loud! Don’t think you are being silly, you are not. Ensure that each goal is attainable, and that a realistic timeline is added to make sure your plan is measurable, plus – this is an author tip; make sure that each goal creates an internal positive mood and passion within you, you must feel strongly about what you hope to achieve and so this emotion will be amplified as you say your goal out loud. Now under each end goal, write what you honestly believe is required to meet that goal. Once again say what that process is out loud and do so several times. Keep your list close at hand, and each day for at least one week read both the goals and the process for achievement out loud at least five times for each goal and process. On the seventh day if you have applied yourself thoroughly (and I must believe you will have), you will be experiencing a discernible change in your mind-set, energy and motivation for goal attainment. As you feel the change within you, throw your energy into realising your aspiration each day – each goal will transpire!

Mid-Life Career Transition


“I am now at a stage of my life where any changes in one’s career can be for some, catastrophic.” Now don’t be alarmed, I am only expressing what one person said to me after being laid off at ‘ZERO’ notice in mid-life.

The ceiling on the world caved in for this long standing successful professional. So where I am going with this?

Career advice; and I am speaking from experience here, is often geared towards the less seasoned members of our community and commercial world. Now there’s nothing at all wrong with this, on the contrary; if you have perhaps left school with below par qualifications, or indeed have just gained that degree of choice from your university, then the next step forward is potentially life changing.

However what if you have already been working for 30 years or more,  you’re still active, still driven and still believe that you have yet to fulfil your career ambitions? What about you!?

A little empathy… You have been laid off work and now unemployed. You still have a mortgage, other credit commitments, teenagers or young adults still at home adding to the domestic overheads and stress, you’re having real emotional and mental difficulty adjusting to this unexpected and unwanted new status, you endure sleep disruption and increased sensitivity to everything.

What to do? Well in my empathetic example above, there’s a series of issues that need examination and understanding. One can clearly find that from the first action, there’s an almost unlimited chain reaction that permeates so many areas of one’s life chart.

Two things come to mind immediately. Safe guard your fiscal commitments as soon as possible! The other is more pertinent to this article; addressing the root cause. So take stock, prepare and let’s get you back to work ASAP!

• NETWORK: At this stage of your career, you should have established a sound network of peers and professional points of reference. If not, don’t waste any time by promoting yourself in the areas of ability that you represent, or wish to be associated with. Internet sites; http://www.linkedIn.comhttp://www.xing.comhttp://www.plaxo.com – get your profile uploaded on http://www.zoominfo.com

• Before you shoot off and register your CV on job boards and with agencies – evaluate it, and research them carefully. Take a very close look at your career document, a real close look. Your CV/resume should be looking forward and NOT backwards. At this stage of your career, it’s not necessarily what you have done that ‘really’ matters, it’s what ‘value add’ you can; and will be perceived to be bringing to the corporate table.

• I am not going to teach you to suck eggs here, but the presentation of your CV is vital; at this stage and this relates to the above point, it can read like War and Peace if you are not too careful – the design and the content presented needs to be punchy, clear and must immediately resonate with the decision-making reader (no one else really matters), so find out as much about who this person is and make every effort to reflect his or her ‘must-haves’ and or needs. This is critical, and dare I say often overlooked. I will remark by saying that some recruitment and search consultants, have a greater interest in generating fees than whether you will be pulling up trees in your next role over the next 3 – 5 years.

• How you ‘fit in’ will play a large part in the mind of the hiring authority. You are likely to be hired in a position of some authority, so ADAPTATION is important. Research the company and access all areas, from culture, history, market share, internal dynamics, to turnover and people investment. Bank this information!! Find out information on who may report to you and who you will be reporting to. Get it right, being able to convey your understanding of both, and being able to adapt with your audience effectively, can be the choice of your hired or frankly undesired!

• By now you will know that PERSONAL PRESENTATION is another critical tool in your career search bag. Remember you are a senior applicant; depending on what role you are seeking, please look the part! From shoes to watch, from finger nails to body language – first impressions really do count.

From the receptionist to your hiring audience, always say “Hello/good morning/afternoon, how are you?” wait for the surprised look, then the cheerful reply, now introduce your good self. Apply this tool of disarming your audience, then let me and those that matter know if it made a difference.

No credit will be taken for the style you may choose to use, but do try it and see what happens. Ensure good eye to eye contact throughout and be cheerful, bright and emit a can-do attitude. It will be sensed and will go a long way to determining a positive outcome.

• Finally, do not proceed in a haphazard fashion, you really cannot afford to hit and miss now. Gather your researched companies, agencies, consultants, job boards, networking sites and work them like there’s no tomorrow.

Preview success and success will transpire.

Emotionally Handling Unemployment


The current job market is a testing environment for the job seeker, worse still if after being in a highly paid and responsible role for sometime, you now find yourself at your local Job Centre Plus and claiming benefit… for you this whole experience is very difficult to deal with indeed, but dealing with it is essential.

It sometimes feels like good fortune smiles on everyone except you doesn’t it? What may also go with these moments (they are in truth only moments) of what seems like insurmountable obstacles is that they seem to have queued up and waiting for you to come along! Are you with me on this; am I close to describing your own experience?

It is quite easy to wallow in self-pity and repressed anger at it all!

Of course doing so changes little in reality; in fact doing so may often make matters worse… keep it up and it could lead to a form of depression, introversion and anti-social behaviour. In truth it achieves the exact opposite of what you would like to experience and where you want to be. So pull yourself together!!

Of course as we all know our moments of doom and gloom are relative. Someone unknown to you at this precise moment will have just been told that they have just days to live, or lucky you – you could’ve been born in a part of the world where good fortune left decades ago; where there is no work, life borders on death and eternal struggle.

FACT – everything we experience starts with us, NOT with something or someone outside of our control. That’s worth paraphrasing isn’t it?

All we experience begins with our thought, action and the resulting consequence. If you are out of the blue handed a redundancy notification, you will feel like a victim, if you CHOOSE.

There’s no short-cut to good fortune, why? Because good fortune is all around us all the time.

By good fortune I am not talking about winning the lottery (though you first need to buy a ticket to win it, so there’s little luck there right?) or similar, even though such an event may be viewed as what good fortune actually represents; no I mean that if you choose to apply yourself (thought) to make something positive happen it surely will, just as if you choose to apply yourself (thought) to do something negative – it will certainly happen! Now that’s POWER right?

Now when you view the set backs in such light, they’re not really set backs at all, not when you have life’s remote control in your grasp! These events happen if YOU do not have a target or series of targets to go for, or perhaps you do indeed have worthy targets, but alas you are NOT fully committed to them or engaged with them fully. Any resulting poor output from your targets and efforts could be manifested through self-doubt, lack of preparation, weak application and so on…

A well-known statement often repeated in the world of Self Development and Mentoring is this ” if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you will keep on getting what you’ve always got!” and that’s a FACT!

So changing and upping the mindset is without doubt career-success critical if you are to break the current block and the potential for recurring disappointment; doing so is really the order of the ‘moment’, then the need for ‘handling it’ will eventually be rendered null and void.

The EGO has landed – in your workplace.


The EGO has landed… In Your Workplace!

We spend on average a third of our daily lives in our workplace. Many of us have little choice but to work to live, while others more fortunate, work for them is a vocation – their work is their life!

Whatever your position is, the dynamics within the workplace will have a distinct effect on you to a greater or lesser degree, and moreover the fortunes on whether the enterprise is one of long-term success, a constant struggle or failure will rely on the what, where and who rule.

Our choice of work, where we work and with whom we work with, carries with it significant importance.

So what if the third of your 24 hour day is filled with the unabashed power of the EGO. We all have come across this me me me emotion, one that seeks out and demands attention and approval (constantly); seeks to dominate and control, whose self-importance is so very important that all else around it is just a time-lapse blur!

Ego with unbridled power can prove to be business critical for all the wrong reasons, and for its host and for those who are its (your nearest) target, may even pose a health risk. So how do you cope with this impenetrable quality found in some people when you are daily confronted with it?

Ego by itself can prove useful, such as, in a fee generating sales environment, ego drives its host competitively onwards and upwards through sheer force of will and the desire to be first!! Ego in many ways can feed and inspire a winning mentality – sportsmen and women will have it as will most people seeking a life of celebrity. The shrinking violets of our world will not likely venture into the domain held by Mr and Miss Ego, and by the same token may not share much of the rewards as a result. So ego has its merits.

Ego too is a quality that is embodied in many leaders of industry and commerce; it is often what got them there in the first place – even if some lesser mortals were pushed aside along the way up. Ego however will not work so well in the classroom the Emergency Room or a chapel of prayer for example.

I’ve found that someone in possession of an ‘uncontrollable’ ego is a little like a runaway train blindfolded… it will keep on hurtling to wherever; and dare anything or anyone get in its way! The STOP sign simply does not get switched on.

They do not take kindly to being challenged; will unlikely admit defeat (even in defeat) and are prone to impulse. If you can back them (those who play the game wisely will do or at the other end of the scale are simply afraid not to) then you’ve got them onside – well at least until you no longer serve their ego interest. They certainly can be hard work, create emotional tidal waves, affect a positive ambiance and deter you from commuting from the sanity and security of your abode to their lair of command and control.

Ok, allow me to offer a few pointers here… Ego when channelled correctly is often charismatic, gets things done, makes things happen, can be a source of inspiration, is infectious and can be an important quality in successful business Leadership as I have previously outlined for today’s fast moving commercial world – if channelled correctly.

But if not…?

But ego is often a façade for something that may be missing; it may help the host to manage his or her day – by ensuring they are the focus of everyone’s attention may offer some semblance of control, and if you are control, you can better dictate, direct and drive the events and activities around you. Without that sense of being in the driving seat for the host may elicit a deep sense of unease and disquiet. Understanding that ego is very rarely the genuine face of its host must be emphasised.

Once you have this fact in your ‘getting through the working day’ mental tool bag, then you will be able to at least better understand if not tolerate its effects.

So with that in mind, if you have the time and the inclination, try not to firm up any instant conclusions. We, all of us are definitely more than the sum of our presumed and known parts. The key is to know whether your part (self) fits into that oddly shaped space.  Many a mistake is made by many a person in allowing ego to run riot in the work place – the ego continues to land on the shop floor, in the open plan office even in the canteen to dominate the day’s agenda. As highlighted, ego is an external quality that fills an internal void. It is not a zone marked ‘trespassers will be prosecuted’. Ego will feed off its subordinates one by one; don’t become its prey if possible. Remember you spend up to a third of your day in its presence, it is not what nature, commerce or I am sure you intended.

If you can manage the ego because your mental tool bag is well stocked then great, but if it is becoming clear to you that you are actually appeasing the emotion because it may make your life easier, it could be argued that you are undervaluing you own self-importance and worth.

In the work place, open and honest communication is paramount; both up and down the reporting line and across the horizontal. So COMMUNICATE. Too often while the ego is prevalent in the workplace, little is done to disarm it with the required tact and understanding to ease the pressure it can cause. If you are tasked with managing ego, then your relationship skills will be tested.

Whether you are a purveyor of ego (you all know who you are!) or subject to it in the workplace – being aware of it, and its positive and negative effects and why it exists at all can make the difference between a 9-5 of idle gossip, volatility, insecurity, instability, a high staff attrition rate and rapid career transition, or to enjoying a productive, enviable and phenomenal professional career and business growth.

Reflection : Change : Growth : Truth