MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. NOT.

The majority of that headline originates from an iconic movie. However, there is a totally different type of force lurking in all our lives.

The force to be reckoned with many times /quite often, is that of delaying or postponing a task or tasks. In other words, to procrastinate.  Hands up if you know anyone who has fallen prey to this particular act. 

THE WHAT 

Pinpointing the what is most likely the easy part: it is the process of convincing ourselves that doing something else rather than what we are meant to do, is acceptable. Loosely translated: a lack of self-control

Procrastination is not a 21-century phenomena. It can be traced back all the way to the ancient Greeks. In particular philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle were aware of it. They actually called it Akrasia: acting against your better judgement. 

Whether we want to be Greek or modern about it, at the end of the day it’s the same: “it is a force that prevents us from following through on what we set out to do” to quote James Clear from this article of his which is an eye opener. After reading it I was fascinated even more than before by this occurrence. So I felt the need to put pen to paper (so to speak) and delve deeper into such a situation.

THE WHY

When it comes to why us as humans tend to succumb to this force of delaying, there is much more to it than being described as lazy. In actual fact, our life’s control centre, the brain, has the answer. 

The basics are that 2 parts are involved in the action. One being us in the Present and the other being us in the Future. Think of yourself as the Future You which is the person that creates longterm targets to aim for. Then, visualise yourself as the Present You which is the one that needs to take the action.  And to take action is not a future decision, right? It is something you have to do now - and that’s the moment you automatically start an argument (for want of a better word) with the Future You. 

The here and now requires and enjoys immediate results. No need to wonder about tomorrow. So even though you have set a target to complete a task in the near future, if the end result is not instant, the question arises “why do it now then?” We basically over-ride the good intentions of the Future You. 

THE NEXT MOVE

Now that we have a better understanding of what is going on when we put off what we were supposed to do, we need a solution. Some kind of method is required for us to overcome the stress and worry of not actually get going

Let’s face it, we do really want to complete or achieve the task in hand. After all, it will cause great satisfaction and in general we will feel quite proud of ourselves to reach the goal set out by the Future You. My suggestion is a simple, yet very effective recipe to reap the fruits of our labour.

I would like to share 8 steps that personally works for yours truly. They are neither outrageously difficult nor are they impossible. The crux of the matter is that only manageable steps will do the trick - or so I believe. 

  • Book A Time 

    As we make appointments for business meetings, to see a doctor, to attend an event, etc., do the same for your tasks. Literally mark your diary with a block of time to complete what needs to be done. Even set a reminder to notify you when you need to start. 

  • Time Yourself

    Linking this step to the above, set an alarm to go off when you are almost at the end of the allotted time you set out in your diary. The notification will remind you that your should be close to completing the task. 

  • Do it. Now.

    Many times we remind ourselves via a To Do List that something needs to be sorted out. Such a list, on many occasions, gets as long as an arm - which causes even more stress.  If at all possible, start that reminder now and get it over and done with. See it as one less thing to do tomorrow.

  • One At A Time

    The amount of humans in life that can multitask are few and far in between. If you’re one of the lucky ones, good on you. Most of us struggle with the concept leave alone mastering it. Therefore, focus on one thing at a time. 

  • No Diversions

    Distractions are quite possibly procrastination dressed up as a saint. Get rid of anything that will hinder you and make you loose concentration (i.e. mobile devices, etc.). Even if your environment (like working from a coffee shop) causes problems, change it. 

  • It’s Up To You

    It is a good idea to keep your daily (and long term) goals to yourself. Shouting them from the rooftops will trick your brain into believing you’v already accomplished them - hence reducing your motivation to actually work towards them. 

  • Be Aware Of Thieves

    Watch out for your mind as it will play tricks on you.  Many times it may feel much more attractive to quickly put a washing cycle on, do some hoovering or even allow yourself a 5 min break on your sofa. Don’t Fall Into The Trap!

  • Get Pumped

    Not referring to your muscles at this moment in time, but rather to your mind. Seek and inject your brain with uplifting images, positive people and nourishing, healthy foods. You will need energy for both body and mind to keep going. 

CONCLUSION

Of course, as with so many issues in life, battling procrastination is far easier said than done. However, it is honestly not impossible. Apart from the guidance above (which I hope helped you), the ultimate ingredient for bashing any signs of delaying tasks, is a Positive Mindset

As a human you may think or even believe, you haven’t got much going in life, or, even if you do think you have quite a bit going for, there could be a time when your whole being is not entirely happy about anything - leave alone not finishing some tasks. Such moments require strength and determination. Both these ingredients can be obtained by telling yourself Your Are Enough and You Are Worth it. If you focus on a brighter outlook everyday the better you will become about feeling positive in general.

Once you have a strong positivity going on in your mind, the easier it becomes to achieve whatever you want to achieve. And we can only achieve milestones if we set them up for ourselves and we get going and do whatever it takes to reach our targets.

Take a confident first step. Don’t put off those important tasks, conversations or projects any longer. Give doing them an immediate go. The only way to get there in the end is to put your best foot forward. One. Step. At. A. Time.

And lastly, but very importantly, Forgive Yourself. To procrastinate is a common experience. Most will say it’s unavoidable. So don’t beat yourself up over it. Be kind to yourself especially after you've gotten through a bout of delayed tasks. Trust yourself to learn from the experience and do better next time.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY vs YOUR HEALTH

There is that sound again… the indication of another notification from one of your Social Media platforms. Question is: what do you do?

Are you one of the 60+% of people in the world who immediately and impulsively grab your mobile and check that notification? If so, your dependency on automatically looking what the notification is about, may be an indication that you are suffering from what is called Social Media Addiction.

It is always easy to slap a label onto something, so even though it may seems straight forward, let’s dive deep into the what and why of this human matter.

WHAT IS ADDICTION

To kick start this article, let’s see how dictionary.com explains the word, or symptom (as it is often called): “Addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity”. 

Take note, that the word activity is included in the explanation. After all, attending to your social feeds is an activity - something that are done fairly regular. 

WHAT ARE THE INDICATIONS 

Being spurred on by a post I read on It’s Time To Log Off it is clear that an overwhelming amount of people in the world are suffering from SMA (social media addiction). You may read this and think “oh well, this is not me”, but please take note: if you find it (rather) difficult not to respond to notifications by checking your feeds immediately or constantly recording/typing content for your sites, then it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. It is very possible that you are one of the 60+% in the world.

Let’s look at such a scenario from a different angle: how do you feel when you discover you have no signal to receive incoming alerts on your mobile device? That anxious feeling, together with not being able to post any content, can have a negative effect on your wellbeing. For instance, you may end up feeling down in the dumps, frustrated (to say the least) and/or even get really angry. These emotions, due to the lack of not being able to connect as such, spells danger. 

HOW TO COMBAT YOUR HABIT

There is a possibility one can argue that the existence of social sites are created to get you hooked. Albeit this being a very strong suggestion, take a minute and think clearly about it. One could easily find some truth in that statement. Going back to the explanation of addiction, hooked is exactly how people end up if they can’t leave their devices alone.  

Time, within the technology world, luckily moves at a speed almost as fast as light. Nowadays applications (Apps) are created to help people curb the time they spend on electronic devices. Assisted by those within the medical environments, these helpers are there to do exactly that. The crux lies within ones own decision to turn them on

The mere fact that institutions are making decisions to create electronic help, can be a clear indication that the statement about sites vs deliberate, obsessive behaviour may not be as far fetched as we want to believe. 

Changing the screen time  applications’ settings to on is one way to minimise your activities online. Another very simple, and effective, solution is to take a firm stand and cancel all notification alerts. Of course this can be seen by many as a drastic measure, but let’s keep our eyes on the longterm effects. There are clear indications that your health will improve when one exercise less negative emotions in life. Specially when it comes to the dependency on feedback such as likes from followers. 

Obviously, when one cancels a certain daily ritual, a gap is created and therefore the need to fill it is inevitable. Why not get back to good, ol’ natural remedies such as go outside and breathe in fresh air? Pick up a book, read and turn pages with your fingers (instead of swiping) and better still… talk to someone face to face. Let’s be honest, the possibilities are endless. It is only a matter of looking around and not focussing on a small screen in front of you. 

CONCLUSION

“I am going to take a hiatus from social media” is a line very often used in social media posts. However, are many of those really sticking to their words?

But that is exactly what you want them to do, you may say pointing your finger at me. Yes, that is what I’m on about - however, my questions still remains: Do They Really Do That?

My believe is that many online influencers/activists, etc. are confused by the words taking a break. Time and time again I witness regulars on social sites claiming the proverbial gone fishing scenario only to discover a few minutes/hours later they are in full glory, camera front facing and happily chatting away live to the world. And where do I see this happening? On various social media platforms that offers a stories or live function, where else! 

That  hiatus didn’t last long, right? “No, no, no, Evan, I am taking a break from publishing any work related content. I am away with my family at a beach resort. I am teasing your taste buds with the delicious food we’re eating?” Or the other classic: “I am building my personal brand on social platforms! Presence is what it is all about”.

I am afraid such individuals need to stop kidding themselves. That kind of behaviour is not leaving social media alone for a period of time. Purely because you change your content does not make it less of a habit.  Publishing your absence loud and clear is exactly what it should be. Stick to your guns - most importantly, show your audience you’re a sincere human focussed on many other opportunities than the matter in your hand

Content on platforms are important, don’t get me wrong. However, the content  is not what causes the addiction. The inability to see the wrong doing, is the underlining cause for concern, in my opinion. The bottom line is to first realise the habit and how damaging it is - and only then serious change can take place. 

I will leave you with some honest advice: Take A Well Deserved Break from Social Media and do Your Future Self a favour. Ultimately, enjoy the sunset views… taste the delicious food… have a great, fun time away from normality. It will do you the world of good. 

And finally a cheeky suggestion: share those taking-a-break-memories with us all by creating and publishing a digital album on your return. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

FRIEND OR FOE TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Does our obsession with Social Media messaging mean the end of good writing? Such a great question from Emphasis that I used it to kick start this article. 

Communication is key in life. Not only within our personal relationships, but definitely within a business environment. It is safe to say that the way we communicate with each other has changed drastically over the years. Long, very long gone are the sending a pigeon and following short on its footsteps we can even count writing a letter as something that is beginning to disappear. 

Nowadays, we live in an (mostly) electronic world. Apart from our personal lives being organised via an electronic device, a very big part of our work are conducted electronically via a keyboard. It is this last mentioned task that, in my opinion, is becoming a talking point to take notice of.

TALK THE TALK

So many of people around the world go about their every day duties with an electronic device in their hands - or pockets/bags at least. It is therefore much easier to get or keep in touch with others than ages ago. More so, it can be done almost instantly, as you all know by now.  “What is the issue?” you may ask. Well, it is not that we can respond easily, it is how we respond that is my focus point.

Being regularly on social media platforms it has become obvious to me that many individuals tap or type away without taking much care of how they write. What matters to them is the fact that they do communicate and not how they do it. Time and time again one will stumble across social media posts that harbours incorrect spelling or incorrect grammatical usage. 

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

Digging deep into some research, it has become clear that there are many educating institutions that have already talked of late about the writing element while we are speaking to each other. Teachers and Educators seem to address this issue which means they are questioning the way we are moving forward on an educational level. Amen to that!

At this point, let’s look at some of the outcomes from a study of 800+ teachers released by Dictionary.com:

  • 32% notices students struggle with grammar

  • 64% focusses more on skills like meaning and comprehension 

  • 73% find that social media and texting negatively affects students' grammar and spelling skills

  • 75% are troubled by students using popular slang or text speak in their schoolwork

  • 88% are concerned of students’ improper use of basic words and phrases 

As a strong believer in dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s, it has been more than frustrating on many occasions to see online posts not adhering to the correct usage of words - whether that is in sentences or on-word responses. Along with this kind of behaviour, one also has to put up with grammatical errors. There is an age-old saying: read between the lines, however, struggling to figure out what someone is telling you via the lines is (personally) a waste of time - in particular within the world of social media. After all, social media communication is suppose to be in the KISS form (Keep It Short & Simple), right? 

TOO MUCH TO ASK

Not only is it easy to draw a different conclusion to what the writer intended, it also can easily give the reader the wrong impression of the personality on the other end of the phone. This observation can quickly be pushed aside by saying that we are friends so he/she knows what I mean. Rightly so, but what about those who do read your work and is not at all a friend in real life? 

Furthermore, when it comes to those who are shouting from the rooftops about their milestones, their achievements and mostly (even if it’s indirectly) about what great influencers they are, is it really such an enormous task to make sure your content is grammatically correct when published?

Take for instance an Educator (i.e. a person who provides instruction or education; a teacher - via dictionary.com)... surely this person has a responsibility (at least) towards his/her students. Around 50% of teachers admit they reach out to social media to have a better understanding of their students’ culture.  Has it ever occurred to you as a tutor, that the reverse can happen? If your students take on board your irked grammar behaviour, are you really succeeding as an upstanding pilar of society?

At the end of the day, my question is: as a Leader, how much do you respect the language you are using to communicate with others?

THE FUTURE IS OUT THERE

We all know that once it is published, it’s basically out there forever. We can delete here, there and anywhere we can find, but somehow somewhere someone will find our original post. 

We all have a native tongue. Personally, this language I communicate in 100% of my everyday is not the one I was born with. And there are millions of us around the world in a similar situation. However, living in a society that is becoming more and more global it has become the norm to talk to each other in a universal language. Nothing wrong with that at all, but do we honestly have to walk around showing little respect for the language that is bringing us all together? 

What if the English language is the glue that keeps the world go round? The manner in which the English language is being used over the last few decades, is a true indication of how long it is been here and most probably how long it is going to be around for. 

Far is it for me to be such a stern critic, but if us humans, and in particular those who count themselves as upstanding citizens, cannot adhere to a simple task of delivering their words in mint condition, then where is this all going to end.

CONCLUSION

None of us are perfect. That is a common fact. We are all human and we make mistakes. That said, I personally don’t believe we can use that as an excuse to set a bad example. My point is that it is so easy nowadays to distribute content electronically. All we need to do is take good care of how we put it out there for all to see and read.

The main issue with not taking care of how we communicate with words is about to whom we aim our knowledge / points of view / insights etc. towards. It is quite possible for a big majority of your readers to be of a younger age than yourself. This is great, because we would like to advise and help others by sharing our wisdom with them - especially if one is in an environment of mentoring or coaching and teaching. Not much give more satisfaction than assisting others with reaching their potential

If we feel so strongly about how much value we want to bring to others’ lives, then why not feel strongly about the manner in which way we will give value to them. For those who will end up in a professional working environment one day, it is definitely a sure thing that they will not get away with using inappropriate language when engaging with fellow colleagues and/or clients. No company will put up with the use of slang or abbreviations in emails, incorrect usage of grammar in presentations and definitely not if you have a bad telephone manner. 

Those of us out here that wants to share with the world what we’ve learned so far in life, has a responsibility to do it correctly. After all, a Leader should be someone who Knows the Way, Goes the Way and Shows the Way. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?

It’s upon us. Yes, we’re about to wave ta-ta to 2018. 

As we sleigh (!) towards the end of another year, some very important action should be imposed on oneself. This is the time to take stock of our development during the past 12 months. It is also the time to be brutally honest with oneself when assessing the dos and don’ts of the past year. Well, I’m happy to share with you how I did…

WERE MY GOALS REALISTIC?

Setting goals for the immediate 12 months to come is an exercise I categorically do ever year. It actually is a very exciting activity that happens within the first week of the new year. The start of 2018 was no exception. Now with the end in sight it is time to evaluate those milestones.

The overall conclusion is that the goals set out were realistic and probable. In hindsight, to be honest, the odd one was a bit too conservative. Then again, it cancels out the one here and there that was over ambitious. All in all, the general consensus is that my 12-month vision was pragmatic and reasonable

All in all, many more similar goals with a few spanners thrown for next year. 

WERE MY ACTIONS PLAUSIBLE?

Even though ones goals can easily be realistic, the next step in the process is crucial. This is the next move within your path of reaching a goal.  Manoeuvring forward is, can be and most certainly will be, difficult. 

First, and foremost, the question jumping out is… were the limits pushed out all the way? Did you really put shoulder against the wheel and dig your heels in deep? As with every step of reconsolidating your goals, one has to be brutally honest with oneself.

Personally and to the point, the answer is: Yes, but Could’ve Been Better. The pushing was mostly intense, the dedication was there, but there were moments when dealings with goals were way too conservative. Even though I am in general a very positive person, motivation seemed to drift away from time to time. The desire to get back on track needed an efficient amount of energy to get ones’ mojo back. That time spent could’ve been put much more towards chasing and following up on possibilities. 

Lesson learned that focus on time management should be taken far more seriously in the new year. 

WERE MY PROGRESS ACCEPTABLE?

Step 3 within goal setting is the actual physical part of it all. This is where the action really takes place. Milestones is what it is all about. When you pen your vision for the months to come it is very important to add dates of when a goal should be completed. Yes, it’s tough, but without it a goal is only a dream without a plan. 

Luckily, most important goals were hit at the right time due to my action steps being thoroughly in place. One such a step was to sign up a client from the USA which materialised within the timeframe set out.  Hitting the right target moment is incredible. It causes much happiness and drives ones desire to go forth and be more productive. 

I also believe in the saying… trust the timing of your life. This quote is not to be dismissed as being lazy or show a lacklustre attitude.  Some goals did seem to become out of reach throughout the months. However, just as I thought I may not complete those, they were achieved - albeit at a much later stage as originally set out. Best is they came together fairly out of the blue.  So remember… Magic happens when you do not give up, even if you want to. The Universe always falls in love with a Stubborn Heart. 

Let’s remember that Patience is a Virtue. 

WERE MY OUTCOMES SATISFACTORY?

The last section of your yearly, very important exercise, should be the most exciting part. To get to that level of euphoria you need to have been committed to having a fierce mindset. Your mindset must be driven by your desires at the start of penning your goals. Focus is a crucial part of not only getting things done, but being in command of your thought process. 

My outcomes at this stage of the year are both acceptable and surprising. I am happy that the element of surprise raised its head. It often does, so one must not ignore the possibility of the odd thing coming along without any warning. 

The additional (surprising) achievement came in the way of a request to appear as a guest on a well known podcast. This was most certainly not on the cards - and, honestly, I didn’t even thought of it at the start of the year. However, luckily the forces to be dealt me this amazing card. Best of all is that I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and successfully stepped into a brand new world. The reactions of people via social media and in person were fantastic. It didn’t end there though… I am already booked (for mid January 2019) to record another appearance on a different show.

The end result of some goals that was less satisfactory is not the end of the world. I don’t consider I failed my goals because I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to or didn’t do as many courses as I thought I could. The same is to be said for attending local networking events and adding another tattoo to my collection. Saying that, I did however attend courses, webinars and online discussions efficiently. My travel was sufficient and I have met and connected with a few most incredible people that is now firmly part of my community. For not getting the tattoo… well, the closure of my favourite tattoo parlour in Minorca was totally out of my hands. 

A golden rule is to be Prepared for the moment Opportunity knocks. 

CONCLUSION

Drawing a line under one set of goals is great - and opens up the door to set another lot of possible achievements. Looking back and realising that the outlook for the year gone by was on par with ones’ desires is very motivating. And that is where you want to be at the end of a year. Let your motivation for doing even more and even better next year drive you forwards. Precisely what I will be doing within a few weeks. 

Now is also the right time to get the ball rolling for next year. Don’t wait until you hit January to get your ducks in a row for what your goals are going to be. Start your thought process before you hit the Christmas Season (that way you can enjoy the festivities with family, loved ones and friends guilt free). Bullet point your initial thoughts now. Make a start rather sooner than later. And that is exactly where I am now. 

I am taking the lessons I learned from 2018 and applying them to my outlook for 2019. Since I mentioned the issue with motivation, it is obvious that it will be seriously addressed. Time management is another part that I will look at and be far more bold about. One other aspect that I will need to work on is that of being far, far too hard on myself. A certain amount of toughness is desirable, but going over the top with demands on yourself is not good. 

To be realistic was again a good move this year, so more of that to come. Basically, if I could (for example) achieve building relationships as I did this past year, nothing is stopping me from forming even more ones next year. Adding great people to my list of acquaintances will be inspirational to say the least. I will also keep a much more open mind when it comes to surprises. 

I am looking very much forward to 2019. Kicking off a New Year with a Clean Sheet. My mind is already set to achieve a lot, even though I have no idea what the new year will bring. But that’s the beauty of it all. If we knew what was coming our way, life will be quite boring and easy. And who wants that? Most definitely not me and I’m sure You don’t want it either. 

Here’s wishing you an Incredible Festive Season! Have a Very Merry Christmas and take time out and spend it with all the wonderful people in your life. If your loved ones are unfortunately not near, don’t forget to call, text/SMS or even send a card. 

Most of all… Let’s hit 2019 with roller blades on! See you on the other side of December 31.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

WHAT MAKES ONE A GREAT LEADER?

Do You look at someone known as a Leader and wonder what it is that makes them to lead You to work and/or life satisfaction? Are You intrigued by Leaders? Or maybe You believe you show possibilities to Be a Leader. 

The title Leader or holding a Leadership position very often applied to a person who, as the dictionary explains, is ‘the person who leads or commands a group, organisation, or country’ and is to take ‘the action of leading a group of people or an organisation’. Purely going on what this sounds like, it is obviously a very important role.

This brings me to the question, what are Leadership Qualities? Whilst researching this journal post I came across a tweet from someone who is an integral part of my close-knit community: Cherie Aimée. The video she refers to is a MUST SEE (if you haven’t already done so) for all Leaders or those striving to be one. 

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER

Apart form the fact that Scooter Braun is a fascinating individual, his slant on Leadership is phenomenal in the video. It resonated 100% with me. Not for wanting to piggyback on his explanation, the topic is dear to my heart hence this article.

From the 6 Qualities of Leadership about to be discussed here within, the one Scooter Braun is very upfront about is exactly the same one that yours truly would put right at the top of the list: Integrity.

THE IN-DEPTH UNDERSTANDING

To get to grips with exactly what makes a great Leader, we must pinpoint the precise attributes of such a responsibility. Lets take them one by one… 

  • INTEGRITY

    The ultimate distinction here is that others must be able to identify with you as a Leader. Therefore strong values, strong ethics and strong character traits are required.  

  • VISION

The long and short of it is, having the ability to take something small and turn it into something big. Not forgetting to keep all those involved updated as changes occur. 

  • HUMILITY 

The focus is first and foremost on others - Every. Single. Time. Performance feedback is crucial and should be obtained regularly.   

  • SELF AWARENESS

The principal point here is to manage the emotions of others. One can only be successful within this realm by knowing how to manage ones own.

  • COMMITMENT

Having the confidence to face difficulties is such an awesome personality trait. This can be done successfully when the focus is on the journey rather than the destination. 

  • ASSISTANCE

Lend a hand. Offer help. And most of all, be positive in doing so.

THE IMPLEMENTATION  

Now that we know what it takes to be a Leader, the question is: How do I incorporate these 6 points in leading the way? Without hesitation, please let me invite you into my world. 

Integrity - To lie is not for me. Ages ago I learned it is something utterly uncomfortable to do. Even when I know the truth will not go down well. There is no point I even attempt the disclosure of facts I don’t know/believe/understand/etc.. I’d rather be honest, than 2-faced. 

Vision - Visualisation has always been part of my life and my career. The strong believe is to see what you want in order to achieve it. The best way to create the picture is to spend quality time with your own mind and design your future

Humility - By putting the needs of others first, it honestly creates incredible satisfaction in the long run. Not only for others, but me too. By doing so, the outcome is very positive. And guess what? The return on your investment in others comes back tenfold. Win-win situation all round. 

Self Awareness - Emotion is an integrable & inevitable part of life. Personally, I strive to always remove my emotion from business decisions. That said, being aware of how to deal with emotions is much needed when you lead others. Once you have nailed this issue within yourself,  you can comfortably help others with theirs.  

Commitment - To see the whole picture comes easy to myself. Only then walking the path towards the end goal can be enjoyed. And once you enjoy the journey, the destination is a byproduct of your efforts.

Assistance - If the number 1 trait on this list is a personal favourite, then this final trait is the best one! Nothing beats being thankful and grateful for what others do for you. More specifically, how others support you. Throw in a great dollop of generosity and it becomes not very difficult to inject a huge lot of positivity into others’ lives. And that is what makes the difference - in life and work.

THE CONCLUSION

To be great at Leadership one must ultimately be in possession of the above attributes. It speaks for itself. Leaders are people that don’t Tell You what to do. What they do though is Show You how It Is Done. 

Within my Entrepreneurial Life the strive is constantly to help others move forward in a positive manner. Being in a situation where my experiences can be applied to the need of others, cause tremendous satisfaction. It also, time and time again, injects drive to achieve more personally. So all in all it is winning position. My clients and/or students receive fundamental advice and in return it shows me that I am making good use of my knowledge. 

Mentoring forms a crucial part of my business. When I started out I didn’t really thought that it is an avenue to pursue. However, it took only one mentoring assignment to made me see the light. It has turned out to be one of the most fulfilling parts of my business. Guiding others and showing them how they should proceed in what they want out of business (and life) is great. To stand back and see the great outcome when someone takes on board your advice is beyond thrilling. Pardon me for sounding over excited, but once you have been in a similar situation you will understand where I am coming from.

Leadership is a vital part of not only ones success, but also those of others. Take some inventory of your own knowledge, experiences and work ethics. If you feel that you can relate to the 6 qualities mentioned above, then go forth and be The Leader You are Meant To Be. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS IN BEING AN OCEANHOLIC?

For many of us summer is making way for another season. Have you dipped your toes into the big, blue Water World this year?  In other words, did you have the pleasure of soaking up the sun’s rays at the seaside?

The ocean holds a fascination for me. From an early age growing up in South African I was fortunate to spend many days enjoying life on a beach. As a youngster my hometown wasn’t by the ocean. So, come summer holidays, my parents would pack everything, but the kitchen sink, and we would set off for our annual 6-week caravan camping holiday. 

The be blunt, it was honestly The Best Times Ever.

PASSION FOR THE OCEAN 

I am honestly not exaggerating when I claim that summer breaks were out of this world. The sight and smell of the sea has always been a great love of mine. That feeling of direct contact with sand beneath your feet and the waves against your body, always evokes a feeling of total happiness.

One thing that has always been incredible about the ocean was the vastness that goes most of the time on and on into (almost) infinity. Standing in front of such a huge, open space immediately calls for calmness. Yes, I am aware that she can be dangerous, angry and brutal many a times. However, there are so many times that she is calm, cool and collected. Whatever her mood for the time of day, the energy I absorb is beyond incredible. Is it really somehow abnormal to feel this way?

METHOD IN MADNESS

For many years visiting and spending time at the seaside meant only one reason and that was getting away from school or work and to be on holiday. Nothing in particular wrong with that, but did I ever think more of it? No, not really. 

It wasn’t until I delved deeper into the possibilities that the ocean can provide more than just a superb holiday destination that I realised what really happened to the mind, body and soul during every trip. 

These new-found facts were confirmed when I found a couple of articles that support my findings. Anne Gherini wrote an article in Inc. about the benefits of the beach for our brains. Complimenting Anne’s post I stumbled across another article upon further research in Exploring Your Mind which confirms similar facts. 

All in all, that big, vast open space of water can do wonders for us humans. All we need to do is take on board her free offer of help and reap the benefits. 

NOW IT MAKE SENSE  

After all the years of basking in the hot sun (with protection lotion though!) and inhaling some fresh air, the penny dropped for me. Let’s take a look at the science behind the euphoria of spending time on the beach. 

Waves crushing against rocks or gently washing forwards and back over sandy shores, have an immense effect on our being. This does not only have an impact on our physical bodies, it goes way beyond that. Our mental state is affected more than we can ever imagine. 

To have a balanced existence we have to work at creating it within ourselves first. It is here where the ocean can play a tremendous part to bring a 50/50 state of mind and body. As our physical outer being is enjoying the warmth and soaking up some much-needed vitamin D, our mind is soothed by calming noises without us even taking much notice of it. 

When we then add witnessing the visual of a huge blue space in front of us plus tasting the sea air we are actually taking in the full package on offer by mother nature. Expressing ‘this is exactly what the doctor ordered’ to those around you, we may think we’re being a bit fictitious, although we are nailing the thought 100%. 

DIG YOUR HEELS IN DEEP 

Our time spending on the beach is not only about the sound and smell of the ocean. There are much more to chilling out on a lounger than you can imagine. 

Particles within the sea air and the sand get absorbed into our human system. It may sound very profound, however don’t dismiss the facts in an instance. 

These non-visible bits (aka ions/atoms) are known to elevate our mood tremendously. It is been proved that inhaling sea air and walking barefoot/grounding on the sand can have a very positive effect on your emotions. The possibility exist that you can go from feeling down in the dumps to cheerful and happy purely by spending time on the beach.  

CONCLUSION

When I discovered all these amazing facts about the ocean and it’s remedies it not only caused much happiness within, it also made me understand why I enjoy visiting the sea so much. There I thought it was only to have a break from my usual regime, to experience different cultures, enjoy unusual foods, drink exotic wines, etc... It also makes total sense to me now why one is so much more creative and relaxed on a beach-break. Recalling why I actually get so much out of being by the seaside, it urges me even more to pack a bag and set off to the sandy shores of the Mediterranean asap. 

Waking up refreshed is vital to me. My mindset is a very important part of my life. I constantly work at giving it attention to stay positive and focussed. Therefore, falling asleep to the calming sounds of waves not only set me up for an awesome sleep, it also does wonders for the day ahead when I rouse. 

Not surprising then that my fall-asleep alarm at night is set to Ocean Waves. Even though the duration is set for 20 minutes, most of the time I’m off to slumberland way before it ends. In general, I have great sleeps and I am convinced the ocean sounds plays a part in that. It’s common knowledge that sleep is needed for the body and mind to recuperate after our hectic schedules every day. 

It will be great if you can take a leaf out of my book and be a bit more aware of the effects your visits to the seaside have on you. I urge you to head over to the beach whenever you can. Yes, I am aware your first instinct is that you are on a deserving break. That is totally acceptable and of course, correct. But take a second and add to that the good input from mother nature, and savour that moment. I bet you will then enjoy your break even more. And that, ladies and gentlemen, to be honest, will make my day (or beach break!).

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

BECOME A MENTAL NINJA

How would you describe the phrase being successful? So many times, from the top of our heads, we go with having no financial worries or being famous or living in a mansion, etc. etc... Funny thing is, those connotations may not always be exact. What is exact though, is the by-product of success which all successful people have – and that is: a mental toughness. 

TOUGHIN’ UP

The one thing that drives a person to reach a level that refers to be a success, is their minds. At the end of the day, it’s truly about what is going on in their minds that make them reach levels others can only admire from afar.

That said, you may ask… "are you saying I should adjust my mind and then I can reach a level of success?". Great question, and here’s a great answer for you: YES! That is what I, and many others, are saying. Basically, get tough with your mind.

START SWEATING

It’s rather common knowledge that working our bodies is good for our health. Adding to that eating right and we are on our way to build a physique that not only is admired by others but cause great satisfaction to ourselves when we look in the mirror. Hence the reason so many of us take to working up a sweat at home or in the gym.

Guess what? The same goes for your mind. To give your mind a vigorous workout on a regular basis will contribute to you being happy with yourself as a person inside as well. You can become a ninja of your own mental world. The amazing thing about it all is that it’s not at all that difficult to do.

Being an avid believer in the power of the mind, I have been working out my mind for many years. Actually, for far more years than working on my body. I honestly believe I am where I am today because of the attention I constantly give to my thought process every day.

CONQUER FROM WITHIN.001.jpeg

CREATE A ROUTINE

Like many physical trainers will tell you, a routine is of the essence when it comes to working out. The same goes for mental stimulation. Let’s dive into 4 sets of exercises to get you going:

  • BANISH THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER

How often does it not happen that you find yourself in an unpleasant situation which leads to you feeling inferior and beating yourself up about it? The solution is to get body physical as soon as you feel negativity swamping you. 

Do any kind of physical movements. And I do mean, any kind. However, use your favourite exercise. That could be jumping up and down, running on the spot or even push-ups if that’s your thing. As long as you push your mind to focus on something other than the feeling of self-doubt. More to the point… Get Moving! This will break the cycle of negativity and reinforce stability in your mind. 

  • BULK UP YOUR EYESIGHT

Having the ability to see your future is a fascinating attribute. If you currently think you don’t have this, hang in there. You may be able to surprise yourself when you adopt the following exercise which is: put on glasses. Well, not reading glasses, but Success Glasses. 

Part and parcel of wearing your new-found glasses are to look at experiences through a different lens. For instance, take the issue you had which made you feel upset and unhappy. Embrace your emotions by looking at it from a new perspective and start to learn from your experiences. Realise that what you did or how you managed that opportunity wrongly, is a great step forward to having a strong mental attitude. Remember to take notes so as not to repeat your actions. 

Personally, I see setbacks as motivation to move on. So can you. Work on facing a setback with the mental awareness of solving a problem. 

  • PROTECT WHAT YOU'VE GOT

Now it’s time to get really physical. Yes, I am referring to your body. The link between a healthy body and a healthy mind is a statistic we cannot get away from or ignore. The two goes hand in hand.

I am by now means saying that you should become a gym fanatic. If you’re already regularly working out, then that’s great. My point is to take care of your body by what you put into it. Since we are starting to fill our minds with healthy, nutritious thoughts, the same should go for your body. 

Saturate your body with water and steer away from processed foods. Get to sleep as early as possible and stay in that state for at least 6 hours if not more (whatever works for your body clock). It’s common knowledge that lack of sleep has a terrible effect on your cognitive abilities. 

  • COOL DOWN

After physical exercise, it is recommended that you should perform some sort of exercise (like stretching) to get your muscles to relax after you have given them a bashing. The same goes for a mental workout.

Learn the art of meditation. As per the dictionary, it is "a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state". The emphasis is on calm.  Basically, you have to slow down your thinking. After all, you have been working hard in your head to move into a positive state of mind so to speak. 

If meditation is unknown territory for you, seek help to get your head around it (no pun intended!). There are many applications (apps) on your mobile device that can teach you various techniques. Also, ask your family, friends or work colleagues for advice. Mediation takes on various forms. It is important that you find a way that works for you. It may be a trial and error situation at the start but persevere. 

CONCLUSION

I mentioned before that I am a very positive person. I find it much easier to be positive than negative in life. Since I live in the real world, it is obvious that I will come across situations in life that create a negative environment. These are the moments I apply the above exercises to keep moving forward. 

You may say that I make it sound so easy. To put you at ease, it took consistent attempts and a lot of determination to get to the level where I find myself nowadays. Remember that saying… Rome wasn’t built in a day? That is true of my mental workouts. As I had to get used to exercising my body, the same is said for mental workouts. Once you have experienced how pumped your mind feels afterwards, you will begin to get into it in a big way. 

One last note of advice: Keep Practising. Remember why you started – to be a Success. Once your mindset is your boss, the rest will fall into place. The Power of Positive Thinking can and will ultimately be a Force To Be Reckon With. Be patient with yourself and soon You will also find it easy to do. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

PUT YOUR THINKING CAP ON

How often do the words ‘what a bad day!’ comes out of your mouth? It is an exclamation that is often uttered when one slumps on the sofa after another day is done. However, have you ever thought why it’s been so tough? Or far more importantly, why another bad day again?

When you live life like groundhog day the repetitiousness can cause huge frustration. Rightly so too. Having to deal with the same issue/s time and time again will most certainly drive you to a standstill. 

Don’t despair. Or give up hope. All is not lost.

FIGURING IT OUT

There is a simple explanation for having to struggle day in and day out with the same disappointment in ones’ life: little, if any, personal growth.

A recent post by Coaching Positive Performance made it very clear that moving forward in life can be tricky. It is a very valuable article that within a few steps gives the perfect advice how to overcome such an issue.

The short answer is Reflection. One has to sit back and analyse why your day has been so unsuccessful. Also figure out what has made the day so tough and most of all prepare yourself for future incidents like it. 

TAKING STOCK

Kicking back after a hard day is sometimes easier said than done. Specially after a day’s work you then have to deal with family or loved ones. Don’t get me wrong – having a home life is very important. It keeps your feet on the ground and put a lot in perspective. 

However, you may have to deal with even bigger issues when you get home. Whether that is attention to dish out, lending a helping hand or giving someone a shoulder to cry on. All such natural behaviours can cause you to forget about your bad day. It unfortunately also let you forget to reflect about and think what really caused your day to end up so stressful.

It’s here where having some me time is essential. Make time to look back and address the issues surrounding your day - those moments that caused you to end up miserable, irritable and stressed out. 

ONE STEP AT A TIME

To rush the thinking or let us call it the analysing process, could make matters even worse.  In other words, easy does it. 

The article discusses 5 points that can steer you into successfully working on your Growth:

  • MISTAKES

It hopefully won’t be too difficult to recall the moments where it all went pear shaped for you. Cast your mind back to the situation/s that trigger your negative mood. 

The keyword here is judging. Don’t tell yourself off for failing. It is important to look objectively at what went wrong. Only then you can work on how to deal with a similar situation differently next time.

  • IMPROVE

Running the incident through your mind again with the knowledge of what went wrong, you can then establish how to act better and upstand the part you played. 

The outcome not only will be more positive for you, but will enhance the experience for everyone else that was with you. In general, next time you can create a much more pleasant atmosphere all round.   

  • EMPATHY

Showing that you care doesn’t mean you should always bow down and agree with others. In reality it means you should stand your ground. However, how you do that is of essence. 

To grow as a person, it is important to be able to put your hand up and admit your actions were not in the best interest of others. Accepting your behaviour as negative is a very strong attribute to who you are. 

  • SELF ASSURED

Being confident can easily come across as arrogant. There is a very fine line between the two. Self-confidence is essential for personal growth, but definitely without being aggressive. 

Let us remind ourselves that there is nothing worse to step on or look down on others around us. At the end of the day there is a huge possibility that you will need their support & help to accomplish your goals. 

  • HUMAN TOOL

This is the most important part when you undertake this exercise of how to grow into a better human being

It all boils down to this priceless piece of equipment we all have: the ability to REFLECT. Stop, ponder & look back. Listen, Learn & Move On. 

CONCLUSION

Combining all the pointers mentioned above and you are on your way to banish those words in my opening sentence at the top. It is at this point in life where we all need to be.

All of us are human. We all make mistakes and we all feel unhappy about it. It is natural and I myself fall victim to it. Therefore, let us not sink deeper into the hole a so called bad day created. Armed and guarded with the knowledge we now have we can attack not only our days to come, but every situation that life throws at us. 

This can only have a positive outcome to our lives. Let it not be said that we succumbed and accepted the world we live in as we most certainly do not want to be seen as weak – no, we only are tackling life’s little issues and turn them around to benefit ourselves and those around us. 

At the end of the day we will endeavour Personal Growth to the highest standards. By the way… You Can Do It. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?

What do you excel at? No matter the environment you find yourself in, there is a big possibility that you have very strong attributes, but do you have the opportunity to put them to actual good use every day?

From our everyday walk through life, we can most likely name a couple of things that we know we are good at. And vice versa. However, have you ever wondered why you can do certain things better than others?

Perhaps you are one of many who has been going along everyday performing your duties without thinking about it much. Maybe the time is right for you to find out exactly the who and what about yourself.

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR TALENTS

There is a very good chance that you do not get to use your natural talents to its best on a daily basis. Mostly, we use our time and abilities to fix our faults rather than developing that what we are good at.

If you are in position to apply your talents to your best every day, then you are extremely lucky. Most people will state that they don’t have such an opportunity and therefore don’t engage much with their work and life in general.

Those that do focus on their strengths are 6 times more likely to enjoy the work positions they hold at work. They are also 3 times more likely to have a great life.

With those statistics in mind, the most obvious question is: what do I do to figure out what my strengths are? 

WHERE TO FIGURE OUT YOUR STRENGTHS

A few years back, whilst still in permanent employment, I was lucky to be introduced to a system called Strengths Finder 2.0

It is an online assessment programme that was originally created in 1998. Then, in 2004, Tom Rath & Gallup scientists updated their first version (which had the help of Donald O. Clifton PH.D.) hence it being called 2.0 now. 

The programme is not FOC, however for a mere £17 / $20 from Amazon, it will be a tiny price to pay for what you will learn. Your knowledge after the assessment can easily be put to use in some form so that you get back far more than what you forked out originally.

In case you’re thinking that you will have to spend ages completing the evaluation, rest assure – it will only take about 30 minutes of your time. In the end you will find areas where you can develop your strengths.

WHAT IS THERE TO LEARN

The outcome will be 5 Themes where you have the greatest potential to develop your strengths. You will find Ideas for Action and Tips on How To Collaborate with others.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I learned from this exercise. To say it was an eye opener, is an understatement. It clearly defined to me my strong points in being the human I am. Here are my 5 Top Strengths:

  • Achiever

  • Consistency

  • Deliberative

  • Discipline

  • Relator

To give you a better insight, let’s break them down 1 by 1:

As an ACHIEVER there is the constant need for achievement. Every day (all days, not only working days) starts at zero and by the end of the day I must’ve achieved something tangible in order to feel good about myself.

Having balance, to me, in life is vital to living. The believe is that we function best in an environment that is CONSISTENT, i.e. where everyone knows what to expect. I therefore create a place where each person has an even chance to show his or her worth.

Personally, being careful, vigilant and private are daily functions. Living in an unpredictable world, it is important to identify, assess and reduced risks. Planning ahead is everything. I figure out dangers, weight up their relative impact and then place my feet DELIBERATELY firmly on the ground.

A world that is ordered and planned is heaven to me, thus, instinctively I impose structure and set up routines. Via this assessment one learned that not everybody agrees on the front of being DISCIPLINED. Everyone has their own way of getting things done. However, most people (luckily!) realises that I behave in this way only to maintain my progress and productivity.

Even though it is uplifting to meet new people, the greatest pleasure is in being with familiar faces. As a REALTOR one cherishes how people operates in their everyday existence. Relationships to me have value only if it is genuine - even if it means there’s a risk of being taken advantage of. A risk I am willing to accept. 

CONCLUSION

If you feel your life in a work environment or even within relationships are not going as smooth as you would like it, take this assessment. If you don’t really have the money to spend on it, save up or even borrow it. There is a huge possibility that the outcome will have a profound effect on your life. That in itself is surely worth doing it.

It was the best 30 minutes I spend online ever. The fact that so many pieces of the puzzle I call Life slotted in together was amazing. When I mentioned earlier that it was an eye opener, I honestly meant it. So many situations I went through or issues I stumbled across, made perfect sense all of a sudden. I don’t carry any regrets, however, if I have to point out one thing in life that I’m not too happy about is the fact that I didn't take the assessment much earlier on in my life. I am sure it would’ve saved me a lot disappointment, anger and pain.

We are granted only one life. Many times, we get only the one chance at something or someone. We need to grab those moments with both hands and make the most of it. Like I said, I am not a person who favours regrets, hence I suggest instead of one day looking back at what could’ve been, do something now to prevent looking back in disappointment.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

STOP. BEING NEGATIVE IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU.

What are you thinking right now? Is it what this post will be all about or something more personal? Whatever your answer, thinking is what we do. All the time. 

The important factor is not that we think, but how we think. Very often one finds oneself in a more negative state of thinking than a positive one. Self-defeating thoughts can cause havoc in ones life. So, can we do something about it? And if we can, what or better still, how can we be more positive.

DISTORTED THOUGHTS

Ever heard the saying you are what you eat? Well, the same goes for …what you think. That is definitely true. We tend to believe that what goes on in our minds are the truth. In general many of us sway towards the negative issues and not the positive ones. It’s utterly and completely normal. 

However, such thoughts easily can be fake. So, to put it into relevant context, we believe in Fake News. Shocking revelation, if you ask me.  You may right now sit up and think (!) 'what the hell? How dare he says I believe in fake news!' If you focus on your distorted thoughts then you do trust and believe in such news. 

GET INSIDE YOUR OWN HEAD

General distorted thoughts are called cognitive distortions and are categorised into 3 groups:

  • Filtering

  • Polarized Thinking

  • Overgeneralizing

Each of these 3 convinces us that what we are thinking, at a specific moment, is the truth. However, they are inaccurate and reinforce our mind to think in a negative manner spurred on by negative emotions. 

Don’t feel disappointed right now. Trust me, all is not lost - You can Be Your Own Best Friend.

MAKE A START NOW

To achieve having power over our thought process, we need to start deconstruct our mind. We don’t only need to get control back, we need to be in control all the time.

Let’s take each distortion group one by one.

1. Filtering

Firstly, what is filtering? I am sure that within seconds of me giving you a rundown of it, you will recognise it. 

Have you ever been complimented on a handful of things you were great at? Perhaps in work, by your partner or family member? They praised you for being amazing and then this happens: ‘Pity you didn’t master that so well. Maybe you should  take time out and learn more about it’. Boom. All hell breaks loose in your head. Gone are the heap of things you're good at. They vanished in nano seconds. All that’s left is how bad/horrible/etc. you were at the one thing they told you to learn more about. There you have it: you filtered out all the positives and now only focus on the negative. 

To alter this thought process the focus should stay on your strengths - the things you did well. In return, the one thing you didn’t do that well will improve. The more you use words to emphasise your compliments, the more you will build yourself up. As they say, words matter, so use them well. 

2. Polarized Thinking

Secondly, what do we do when we polarize something? We divide it into two halves - i.e. black & white or right & wrong. 

Basically, we tend to focus only on the utmost opposites. There are no middle ground as far as we are concerned. No grey area at all. We believe we either do something fully or don’t do it at all. Let's say you tried your hand at something new, i.e. a craft - it didn’t work out so you immediately believe you failed and you will never be able to do it. 

To be successful we need to focus on progress and gratitude - not perfection. Reminding yourself consistently of your winnings in life and work will have a far better influence over yourself. It will also give you the incentive to continue striving towards your goals. 

3. Overgeneralization

Lastly, what happens when we overgeneralize situations? We apply one negative result to all other similar instances. 

If a certain activity or experiment disappointed us, all others likewise will disappoint too, we believe. Therefore we don’t attempt it ever again.

When this happens we need to zoom in onto the fact that one bad moment doesn’t apply to every other one out there. Note that one bad egg doesn’t spoil the whole dozen. We need to get back on track and try again. There is a big possibility that if you attack something similar by leaving the bad experience behind and progress with a positive attitude, the outcome will be far more rewarding. You will most likely succeed and start to enjoy whatever it is you’re giving a second chance.

CONCLUSION

Watch out for What You Think. The secret is to investigate your thoughts before you make a decision about it. Best way to accomplish this is to: 

  • analyse into which group that thought falls

  • figure out why you are thinking in a certain way

  • then focus on the positive side of the situation

This way of managing our thought process should become part and parcel of our natural thinking behaviour. If you Think Positive, you will Be Positive. And guess what? If you think negative, you will end up being negative. Fact!

Tackle the Fake News in your head and banish it. Now and Forever. Don’t take any BS from yourself from now on.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

SO HERE IT IS – DECEMBER AGAIN

Another Festive Season (for some not all) is upon us which means the End of Another Year. How does that make you feel? Are you happy with the progress you’ve made over the past 12 months? Or are you rather frustrated and disappointed with yourself?

REACHING THE FINISH LINE

When we kick off the race at the beginning of a year, we usually are full of beans and very excited. Our motivation is on high alert and many times we hardly lack any confidence. After all, it is the beginning of something new.

Then time flies by quickly and before we know it, we are staring the finishing line in the face. All of a sudden it is time to Take Stock and Evaluate the 12 months gone by. This situation can cause as much stress as delivering all the food, at the right temperature, to the table for Christmas Lunch.

Like it is in the world of cooking, I believe the proof lies in the eating. Therefore, may I invite you to my 2017-Lunch?

MY 2017 ACHIEVEMENTS

As you may know, I am a great believer in Setting Goals at the start of a new year. Seeing them in black on white is much better than visualising them in one’s mind. Of course, this year has been no exception. Here is a breakdown of my Goals (set within 3 sections) achieved:

  • Entrepreneurship Development
  1. Mentoring Startup Business owners locally proved successful and very satisfying.
  2. Education continued via Online Courses and reading 5+ Inspirational Books.
  3. Landed a Work Opportunity abroad.
  4. Completed my detailed Research successfully for another Business Venture.
  5. Accumulated suppliers via local Business Exhibitions. 

  • Business Development
  1. Social Media sites received a mini Re-brand.
  2. New Updated Logo was implemented.
  3. Branding completed for the new Business Venture.
  4. Social Media activities and engagement increased as set out.
  5. Strategies for Online Reputation was adhered and stuck to.
  • Personal Development
  1. Creativity increased via Design and Photography.
  2. Health and Fitness increased dramatically.
  3. Managing my Thought Process was tough, but I kept it positive 90% of the time.
  4. Building New Relationships took a massive Positive turn.
  5. Even though not all locations on my Travel List were visited, a brand new summer location, El Masnou, was discovered; a repeat weeklong visit to my favourite Balearic Island, Menorca, took place and, of course, Barcelona (a top favourite city) was visited again for a week.
  6. Learning a new foreign language and adding a tattoo to my collection were unfortunately not achieved.

MY 2017 SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

As mentioned, I set out to connect and engaged more with people via Social Media platforms. This has turned out to have an incredible Impact on both my Business and Personal Development.

Reaching out to other likeminded individuals has not only provided me with stimulating Mentoring Advice, but also cause my Confidence to rise quite a few levels. Conversing with people like Ryan Foland, Clinton Senkow, Cherie Aimée, Dennis Brown, Zach McArthur, Harry Petsanis, John Lim, Winnie Sun, Susie Ippolito, Jeremy Slate to mention a few, is proof that Social Media is a great platform if used appropriately. All it takes is to be social – after all, these sites are exactly what it says on the tin.

MY 2017 GRATITUDE

It is with great Happiness and Thanks that I end this year. I am fortunate to have received many audience responses on my sites and blogposts. At the end of the day the proof really lies within the eating. Many Thanks to all of you for your likes and comments. You have made my year!

MY 2018 OUTLOOK

Ending the year on such a high, has already given me energy to start thinking about next year. My thinking cap is on and quite a few Goals are already being set out to tackle another 12 months.

Nothing beats having a structure in life, work and beyond. Once you have set out what you want to achieve, all that is left is to Focus on your Future.

Here’s to another year, another set of Goals and another bunch of Achievements. And to be honest, I cannot wait to tackle 2018 by the horns and Get Going.

Here’s wishing those that celebrate the end of the year with a Festive Season, a Very Merry Christmas

SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE

Here’s a question for you: in society, what is considered the first sign of madness? Don’t think too much about it, just say out loud what first comes to your mind. How I wish I could’ve heard your answer. Actually, the fact that You Answered Out Loud is enough.

Scientists have studied the phenomenon of talking to yourself for ages. In the best parts of our society it is believed that this is the first sign of madness. That in itself shouts negativity. The one who utters such a phrase to someone is immediately suggesting the person spoken to has a mental issue.

Luckily it has been proven over and over again that Talking To Yourself makes You Smarter. Reading a post from Grant Cardone on cnbc.com highlights the smartness of having a conversation with yourself. As a NY Times Best Selling Author, recognized International Sales Training Expert and a motivational Speaker on finance, sales and business, Grant mentions 3 ways how Self Talk can improve You, Your Life and Your Success.

PERSONAL POV

This confirmation from such an Influencer was great news. For many a year (and still going strong) Self Talk has been a part of my life. Within moments of solitude a lot are accomplished - like next steps to a goal or even issues are put right. The thinking process resolves around exactly the 3 points highlighted in the CNBC post:

  • Your Thoughts
  • Your Words
  • Your Actions

ABOLISH NEGATIVITY

To enrich your self-esteem, be more productive and build better relationships, one needs the right approach to life – aka Attitude. You can achieve this by simply focus on Positive Thoughts. It is so easy to get drowned by negative thoughts. However, it is not only much easier but far more satisfying when you concentrate on being Positive.

To actively change your mindset to a more uplifting, positive frame, can take time for some. Perhaps it is not your norm for various reasons. In such a case it is particularly necessary to make a definite change in your thought process. Practise, practise and more practise until you see results. Because at the end of the day, You Will See Results for The Better.

UPGRADE YOUR LANGUAGE

So you are making progress because you have started to change your way of thinking. No stopping now, so let’s proceed to the next step.

For people in general it is easy to speak or talk. Words come and flow easily. In a lot of cases this is where there could be an issue. At the end of the day it depends what you say that will make a massive impact on your Self Talk.

The theme of negativity continues… Verbalising negative words will have an impact on your thoughts. So think about it, if you have just started to overcome thoughts that will not uplift you, then why break that process by speaking with a negative tongue? So, change your vocabulary and use words or phrases that are optimistic.

KEEP BUSY

To complete an exercise of Self Talk, be active. Not much is achieved by slumping and vegetating. Being non-active breeds negativity which in turn leads to low energy levels which produce an unhealthy outcome. If you have been working on the first two steps by now, Don’t Stop Here.

Being active can takes many forms - from physical exercise (in any shape and form) to actually generating tasks. Even completing small, mundane tasks can lift your spirits to another level. I am sure in your life there are things like paying bills, making calls or checking something that you feel is boring or tedious. However, once you completed such tasks you will experience a boost in your attitude. Therefore, tell Yourself to Get Up and Get Going. Better still (a typical saying to myself), lets Tick That Box.

CONCLUSION

Many years ago when I was a young child and whilst playing on my own, an adult asked me: “Why are you talking to yourself? Haven’t you got any friends to play and talk to?” At the time it didn’t make such a bad impression, however over the years thereafter it had an immense influence on me and my self-esteem. Those questions made me to believe that I was crazy. Before I know it, I had a very low estimate of myself. I believed I cannot achieve much as a crazy person. The stigma stuck and caused a lot of anger and pain when it comes to relationships and success. It took time, patience and perseverance to better myself.

Thank god I made the effort to change. I set out to change the way I think and continue to talk to myself. For many years now I am a very positive person. Even within the most awful situations, I can find the positive side. It is also much easier to be positive in life than negative. The outcome is uplifting and encouraging to move on and be better today than yesterday.

If there is one thing in the world I would recommend to anyone then it is to change your attitude towards yourself, your life and your future. It has, it will and it does bring success. No matter what others say about you, they cannot take away your stern believe in You Being You.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to his read. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook

 

HOW TO GET YOUR MOJO BACK

It’s one of those networking events. To my left a conversation is taking place that is obviously going well. Over there a couple of people are positively scribbling drawings furiously on pieces of paper. Behind me is a well-known Entrepreneur complimenting a Start Up company for the excellent work they are doing. And here I am. Standing alone and sticking out like a sore thumb. I can’t think of anything to say to anyone. I am totally useless. Not worth being here. To top it all, it’s only 9 minutes into the event – another hour and 51 minutes to go. 

TYPICAL SCENARIO

I guess the above situation is not unusual for many – actually, all of us (hopefully). Reading an article by Mark Schaefer about Crushing Self-Doubt it swung windows wide open for me. Moments of feeling that you’re going absolutely nowhere, stuck in a rut or even worse, the feeling of giving up, still pops up after all these years.

In today’s social society is it easy to come across many people that stand out as Influencers, Entrepreneurs and Self Made Millionaires. Start reading their blogs or listening to their podcasts it is obvious why they are who they are. They seem to have the know-how. They have the answers. Therefore, they are at the forefront of their niche. You only need to look at any of their social media feeds and the evidence is there – their careers are just perfect.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION

To make it even worse for you, these amazing people follow you back. They sometimes even like and/or comment on your posts. Even if you’re steadily building up a good bunch of followers it could mean being down and out from time to time.

First and foremost, you have to immediately stop comparing yourself to others. At first glance it will come across that these amazing people are breezing through life. They always look amazing in their live social stories. The words come out of their mouths like water of a ducks back. The truth is that they all, yes, each and every one of them had to start at some point – exactly like you. They have been where you are now. Albeit it be quite a few years ago now, but they really were in the same boat as you right now.

IT HAS A NAME

Ann Handley, a super successful author and business leader, has tackled this topic a few times. Imposter Syndrome is the feeling of being worth nothing, not a penny. Of feeling so bad at what you’re doing that perhaps you should just go home and get back into bed – for ages. She said that it doesn’t matter how good you are at whatever, there is a time and place for Self-Doubt. In Mark’s article Ann highlights how to crush that feeling. She points out that the best way to overcome such feelings is to embrace them. 

TACKLE IT HEAD ON

Now, that is what I call taking the bull by the horns and get a good grip. Yes, turn the tables on low self-esteem and negative thoughts. Use such a moment as an opportunity to work through such an issue. In other words, when it strikes don’t let it get to you. As Ann puts it:

  • It’s evidence you’re still developing as a person
  • It’s evidence you’re not full of yourself
  • It’s useful to determine your life path

The difficult part of dealing with inner emotions is usually the unknown. You have no idea what to do about it. So how can someone tell you to do something about it. Well, now it’s a different case, right? You now know two things:

  • It’s not uncommon to have low self esteem
  • It can easily be overcome

WHAT, HOW & WHEN

To progress and proceed on the path of an Entrepreneur or Successful business owner, one must take up exercise in various formats. There are mainly two areas in which you can develop a stronger You: the physical and the mental.

The first is quite obvious. Get yourself out of bed as early as possible every day and work the body. This does not necessarily mean trotting off to a gym and lift weights until you collapse. There are many ways of working out in the comfort of your own home. It also doesn’t mean you need to spend hours on end doing sit-ups or squats. As long as you can perform some exercises regularly it should do the trick. Head over to YouTube or Google and you will find plenty of examples for the level you’re at. Lesson to learn here is that you should do some physical movement regularly. It will not only do your body good, but your energy levels will shoot up drastically.

Secondly, work the mind. To prohibit Self-Doubt knocking on your door regularly get your headspace in order. Daily confirmations to oneself is the place to start and to continue with. Tell yourself: ‘I can do it. I am terrific’. Personally I live by various mantras however the one that stands out is ‘I can. And I will. Watch me.’  There are many of these sayings on offer. One secret though... when you Say It, Mean It.

Also, grab a book from someone like Brendan Burchard (The Motivation Manifesto), Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking) etc. and get reading. There are also many blogs out there that will give you inspiration. Brian D Evans and Leonard Kim to mention a couple of my favourites. Reading is to the Mind what Exercise is to the Body.

CONCLUSION

Most important note is that you do something about bashing those horrible, negative feelings. As said, they will come knocking. They will pop up when you least expect it. Especially when your guard is down – they have a tendency to know that and strike fiercely then.

You are in control of Your Life. No one can do the fighting for you. It’s 100% up to you. And why would you want someone/something to take control of You. Be the Boss. Be Yourself. Live Your Life the way You Want To.

If you can resonate with the above, please feel free to leave a comment and/or share with others. We never know who might right now want some guidance. On the other hand, if it is You that want to reach out for advice, get in touch and let’s talk. 

PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD

To quote writer JK Rowling… ‘A Good First Impression can Work Wonders’. 

That says it all. Have you ever wondered why a networking event wasn’t as successful as you anticipated it will be? Perhaps a meeting didn’t work out as well as you wanted it to? These questions and many more related to the outcome can be directly associated with You presenting Yourself to Your audience. 

As a great believer in the importance of looking after numero uno (You!) in one’s life, the article http://bit.ly/Great1stImpression by Rhydian Fairfax echoes my sentiments exactly. If you do not like and love yourself, how is it possible that others will show you such empathy. The 4 techniques Rhydian highlights on how you can better yourself so your audience can experience the real, authentic you are: 

  • Elevator Pitch
  • Speak for Yourself
  • Treat Everyone like the Gatekeeper to Your Destiny
  • Body Language and Attitude

With these in mind let’s take a closer look and find a way to implement them in your life.

YOUR 30 SECONDS

Make time to sit down and write down who you are and what your business is all about. Once you are happy with the content, edit it to around 30 seconds in total. Not much shorter and most certainly not much longer. This important speech should become your verbal business card - in other words the next step after any initial business introduction. Within this short period of time any new person you meet will be able to get a good understanding of you.  Therefore it is very important to be short, sharp and to the point. No mucking about.

YOUR VOICE

Most introductions to other people in life are via someone else. Thanks heavens for that though. Just take note that it’s not up to that person to tell others about you. Take control immediately and let your own words do the talking. Others may think they know you well, but at the end of the day you are the best megaphone for yourself.  At this point your new acquaintance will be able to sense who is the boss - and it is (and should be) you. 

YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND

Don’t ever brush a new person aside for whatever reason. We never know how they and their minds work. It also isn’t fair on that person if you make assumptions and then decide to walk away without any rhyme or reason. For all you know this person could be exactly what your business needs. Give them the benefit of the doubt. What if they are at that point in time where they need someone like you to propel their business to the next level? Just imagine how disappointing it will be if a few weeks later you hear that they hired a competitor of yours (which they also met at the same event you met each other) only because you never ended up having a proper conversation with them - but your competitor did. A few minutes of conversing won’t kill you. In any case, that’s why you’re there, right?

YOUR IMAGE

You are what you wear. We hear that a lot - and it’s very true. The way you look and feel when you meet people for the first time is utterly important. Of course your environment counts so be sure to do a bit of research if you are going to attend a meeting with clients from a genre you’re not au fait with. Looking your best says a lot about yourself. Taking care of yourself will give you confidence and that in turn will make someone remembers you. Stand, walk and talk with authority. After all you are part of your business so the selling of your business includes yourself. You have put in a lot of hard work to get where you are now so Be Proud Of Yourself

CONCLUSION

I am fully aware it is not always as easy as it sounds. Still, to this day, events like networking is not a preferred favourite of mine. Meeting new people can still be daunting. Luckily I am much better at it now than years ago. My elevator pitch is engraved on my mind. I have always taken care of how I look so that (fortunately) comes natural to me. However, when I started out the points above were tough. It was actually very hard work, but I learned that in the end it pays off. 

However daunting it may sound to you right now, remember that It Is Possible to accomplish this. Many, many people have adopted these rules and are very victorious today. All of us have to start somewhere. So go on, take action and Make That First Impression Lasts

As always, get in touch to share your experiences and/or thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, together we can help someone today. On the other hand, simply just ask if help is what you need right now.  

WHAT IS THE KEY TO BE PRODUCTIVE?

Perhaps you have an idea of what being productive is about - or maybe you are right in the midst of trying to figure it out. Either way, I came across a very informative blogpost that can be of benefit to all. After reading the article by Dan Kennedy on Work Smarter Not Harder my thoughts, believes and attitude were confirmed: it comes down to one word and one word only… Discipline

I strongly recommend reading this post. In it Dan covers the following qualities that will strike a cord with likeminded Entrepreneurs: 

  • Start Early
  • Don’t Multi-task
  • Be Fearless
  • Business means Business
  • Focus on Your Business
  • Delegate
  • Streamline Your Time

A CREATURE OF HABIT

Ever since I made the decision to start doing what I am doing for a living my focus point was to be Productive - and (hopefully) successful in the end. To get to the end of a day and many boxes have been ticked makes for a great feeling of satisfaction. This causes even more drive for the next day, the next task and the next milestone. As I related to this post so much I want to give you an insight into how it works for me. 

THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM

Hitting that snooze button and turning over was my downfall. Even though this could be a temptation at the best of times, I deliberately choose not to fall into this trap anymore. Nothing beats catching the sunrise when the day smells fresh and clean. I can’t bear missing the best part of the day.

ONE STEP AT A TIME

My daily to-do list is as long as my arm hence I tackle them one by one. For me getting the most mundane/tedious tasks out of the way is best. Then the concentration can be implemented to the tough and serious topics on the list.

KEEP THE FAITH

It happens quite often. I planned it all and then boom! the goal posts are moved. I learned a lesson ages ago not to despair and get negative. As a matter of fact when a brick wall faces me it’s best to take time out and walk away (literally) from the issue. After a few minutes I will have a new perspective on the situation. Many times I find the positive within a negative situation. Not much beats the feeling of content when I overturn the moment to my advantage and walk away as the winner.

GET ORGANISED

As incredible as it is to be your own boss there is nothing more frustrating to end up feeling you are working all the hours god send and still not accomplish much due to distractions. It is bound to happen so I plan and manage people’s expectations constantly.  As the saying goes: there is a time and place for everything which I apply to all aspects of work. Once clients (and family/friends) are aware what I do and when I find myself to be far more productive than ever before. 

ME TIME

Every working day I schedule time for myself.  I take time out to tune into webinars, read inspirational books, find images/settings to photograph, etc. or just sit down, have a coffee and contemplate my next move.  I found that if I run around all the time everyone but me gets the attention. Take Note: the most important person in your life is You. Once you have taken care of yourself it is much easier to look after others. 

WATCH OUT

At the startup stage it is inevitable that you end up doing almost everything yourself. Within my environment it was obvious that I will source the best website platform and template, be instrumental in creating the logo, seeking the colours etc. etc. Money is not always in abundance so I got my hands dirty and got on with it - and still do from time to time!

However, I take great caution not to get use to such a regime. Burnout is not an option for me. I don’t want to end up with my face flat on the ground. Wherever I can I seek help with smaller tasks at hand. Then I can concentrate on the bigger picture that will improve the state of my venture.

BE CLEVER

This brings me right back to the title of Dan’s post: Work Smarter not Harder. I constantly take a good look at what needs to be done to create a successful brand. I then zoom into that and tunnel my energy towards it. Only when all the ground work was done and I started to look months ahead, instead of days, I got the taste of what Entrepreneurship is all about.

THE CONCLUSION

I am happy to be content with discipline in my work and life. I know it pays off each and every time. It is a thrill to focus on, be positive about what lies ahead and what needs to be done to get there. It is all too exciting to mess it up.

I am convinced you can experience such excitement too. Best solution is to give it a go, work at it and end up feeling happy. My daily motto is I can. And I will. Watch Me - why not give it a go yourself!

Please share your work ethnics and/or struggles. If any questions are hanging around then let me know. As always, who knows, maybe I have a suggestion that can be of help.

KICK START THE 2017 KICK-OFF

Only 2 weeks into the new year and the festive period feels like many moons ago. If that is not an indication of how quickly time moves then I don’t know what is. So how is this new year shaping up for you? 

THE SET UP

You’ve turned the page. You’re facing a clean, blank space. Now what? Or are you one of the lucky ones that knows exactly what should happen now?

Not everybody is inclined to set goals for the next months ahead. Many people throw a few ideas around in their head and think job done - I am sorted. Personally, that approached is not for me. Tried and tested that to major failure.  To be honest, to write down the goals you’re aiming for is not only a great act of discipline, but also the best way to measure your results. It is a fact that you will accomplish more if you follow this simple, yet effective method. 

A straight-forward Excel sheet / table in Word (Numbers and Pages for us Apple users) will do the trick: 4 columns with headings such as Goal. Action, Time Scale and Result. Add 2 - 3 Row Headings e.g. Business Development and Personal Development. In general that is all it takes. Now your blank sheet has got meaning and gives you a great indication of how to proceed. Done and dusted. Those of us whom are fairly Branded orientated will obviously spend a bit more time on creating this important document (the look&feel has to be on par, right?).

THE ACTIVITY

Hopefully the most exciting part for you starts here with Column 1. It’s all action and go from here. 

Take some time and figure out what you want to accomplish by the end of your 12 month period. Be realistic, yet not outrages. There is no need to write down a list of goals as long as your arm. Besides that, writing down aims that is clearly not achievable are not going to work either. To set yourself over the top benchmarks will leave you eventually disappointed or even let you give up before you started. 

If goal setting is new to you aim for about 3 to 5 goals maximum. Be authentic and most of all, make them specific. After all, this is about you, your business and your future. Once you see them black on white, take time to ponder over them until you are happy with what you’re aiming for. 

THE SEQUENCE

Onto the next column. This section is of utter importance and should be tackled with a clear mind. Now you have to figure out what the time scale is for each goal. How long should it take you to reach this milestone? Again, no point in setting ridiculous end times. If you feel you can master a particular goal within a short amount of time, then good. On the other hand, give yourself ample time rather than set yourself up for disappointment by not fulfilling your goal since you overestimated yourself. 

To reach a goal within a shorter period of time than originally aimed for is very exciting. That feeling of getting there before you’re suppose to is exhilarating beyond believe. It will also give you a great indication that although being cautious you can push the boat out a bit further next time. Rather be safe than sorry the saying goes and it’s true. Don’t get desponded because you have underestimated yourself.  Remember you aimed for something you had no idea if it will work or not. But guess what? It did work and very well indeed. Kudos to yourself in such a situation.

THE OUTCOME

Column 4 and now we’re talking bolts and nuts. This section will be visited by the end period of your goal exercise. By the time you reach this part of your year months would’ve passed. Many hours of labour, sweat and who knows, even tears will have been shed. Now is the time for your results.

Allocate enough time in your diary to complete this section. You now have to look back over the months and face facts. More so, you now have to be very honest and brutal with yourself. The time has come to assess you’re goals and the milestones you set out for yourself. 

Take each goal one by one. Cast your mind back and write down exactly what happened about this particular aim you had. If you have accomplished it, then great. Pat yourself on the back and reveal exactly how, when and what you did to make this goal a reality. I can guarantee you there will be a massive smile on your face in such a case. Better still if you can complete this section for each goal with positive remarks and outcomes. Amazing. Just brilliantly amazing. Well done! You did what you envisaged for yourself. You proved you had vision, dreams and passion. You had the right idea all those months ago. You Did It.

THE CONCLUSION

The hope within me is that you will realise it was a great exercise. To not only visualise your future, but to put it down in words were one of the best parts of your year - perhaps even your business too. 

However, what about not reaching goal/s entirely, I hear you ask? Don’t stress. It is not the end of the world, so to speak. More importantly is the fact that you had the vision months ago and you tried. We all have failures in life and business. Learn from them. Look back and figure out where you went wrong whilst trying to accomplish this specific goal. Maybe even add it to your list for the next year. Try again, and who knows, you could quite possibly crush it perhaps even well before the end date. 

One other system that I find works well is to revisit your goals about 3 times (every quarter) per 12 month period. Set a reminder in your diary and spend about an hour or so checking exactly what you proposed for yourself at the beginning of your goal setting exercise. You may find that you can even complete column 4 since the goal/s are done. A revisit will also keep your mind focussed on what needs to be done by when. It will also help with your final appraisal at the end of your 12 months since quite a few facts/figures will already be entered and therefore make the whole process that much easier and smoother.

Reach out and shout if there is anything that you’re not sure about or need help with.  And remember… You Can Do It. The only criteria is that You Take Action.

All the best with setting your milestones for this year. More so, good luck with putting your shoulder to the wheel to make them all come true.

BEING A WINNER

How does one become a winner? What does it take to be successful? Many people see it as being lucky in life. Others put it down to pure hard work. But what really is needed for one to come out on top and walk away with the trophy?

THE OPPORTUNITY

Within the last 24 hours another major sporting event took place in Paris, France. To say that it was nail biting and exhilarating are understatements. Apart from the outcome (which caused much personal happiness) the fascinating part was watching the two men play tennis to a top standard. Since it was the world’s #1 and #2 their tennis skills were of the highest possible. That is obvious if one reach that level in the world ranking. However, there were much more than skills evident during the match. Watching both players walking out on a court at Roland Gross it was clear that both were here to win. Needless to say only one could achieve that. But which one will it be, was on everyone’s mind.  

THE BEGINNING

It started out with one player taking the upper hand and making use of opportunities to claim the first set in his favour. If we as spectators thought he’s onto a winning streak we could not have been more wrong. What happened over the next 2+ hours was incredible - not only as a sporting event, but as a display of human ability par excellence.

THE MIDDLE

Not that there was much of a surprise in the one player taking control, but how he took control. The difference between the two players was phenomenal. It became clear why the world’s #1 player is number one. And to be honest, it wasn’t down to his tennis skills alone.

THE END

Once the #2 player had his serve broken it was downhill from there onwards. His shoulders slumped multiple times after faults. He didn’t control his emotions much. Winning the odd point ended in over the top outbursts of joy. Every time he made an error one could see how it effected him in a negative way. His confidence went out the window in no time. It was actually embarrassing to see him fall apart. He was behaving like a yo-yo. After all he is the world’s #2 player and it became apparent why he is only #2. He has the skills, but doesn’t have the mindset of a winner. He was not determent enough to fight for the title. All in all a shocking performance.

His opponent was in utter contrast. He was consistent across all aspects of his game. There was undeniable evidence of him eliminating emotion throughout. Even if he occasionally showed some frustration the majority of the time he was cool, calm and collected. His body language was on par with that of someone in control of not only of the game, but of himself. The shoulders never slumped - even when he lost a point. His head never fell down when he made a mistake. There was hardly an outburst of the verbal kind. It was clear that this man had a demeanour of a winner. And so he did. No surprise there.

THE LESSON

In business (and also life) there is a great message here.  Even if you have the skills to be great at what you’re doing, you need a lot more than that. Determination is the emotion you need to bring to the table (not schoolboy playground frustration). Show the world (or the client sitting across from you) the confidence and the believe you have in yourself. Lay bare your positivity and outlook. Be consistent in delivering your skills and your message as if you’ve nailed the proposal already (even if it’s only the start of the presentation). Most of all, show you have the mindset of a winner. 

From this tennis final it is clear that success is down to skill and determination plus mindset. These three goes hand in hand.  Step up your game and walk away with the prize. It is possible. 

Live, eat and sleep by... 

OUT WITH THE OLD. TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW.

Does it come around quicker every year, or is it just me? Faster than the speed of lightning or within the blink of an eye, here we are at the start of another year.

I do mean that - I wish you all a truly, blessed new year. May this leap year be the one where you, me and those around us fulfil dreams, make use of great opportunities and most of all find what you’re looking for!

It was, as usual, a bit of a sad evening yesterday as the realisation looms and dawns on one that the festivities of the past 2 weeks are done and dusted. It’s all over for another 11+ months. First up this morning was to remove and carefully pack away all the glitz and shining bits that decorated the home so sparkling during the festive season. Once that yearly task was done, it was back to business - all stops go!

No better way to jump start a new year than to find that folder from last year this time where you put down in words that what you wanted to achieve. Revisiting goals constantly during the year is good and keep your plans in tact - however, looking back at them at the beginning of a new year is so much more fulfilling. To see what the ‘dreams’ were last year this time and then ticking them of one by one is great! Yes, and there is the odd one here and there that didn’t quite make the green tick, but hey, perhaps we all know they were a bit too ambitious. That said, it doesn’t mean they can’t be included again this year - one maybe surprised by what one finds by the time we get to this point next year! 

With a very productive first morning of the new working year it’s time to take matters in hand and really get going. There are some intensive goals put to paper this morning that will take time, effort and dedication. Three things that can be tricky most of the time, but so satisfying once they are firmly a focus point.  Putting down the goal is probably not the difficult part. Working out the action needed to complete and reach the goal can be, and is, time consuming. Then you hit the timescale column and oh boy… time to be careful. 

There has been times when it was disappointing to see that it took longer than originally anticipated to fulfil a certain goal. Over the years it has become clear to fulfil the goal is the important part and not how long it takes. The crucial part here is to keep your eye on the end result even if the road sometimes is rocky and wobbly. 

There obviously are also personal goals that have it’s place. Even though professional and business goals are imperative, let’s not forget we are humans after all. Hence a very important part of this yearly document is the section on personal growth - that what one would love to do this year. It could be something simple like planning a trip to a certain place or on the more serious side, a fitness regime, a change in eating habits, etc. etc. 

All in all, keep it real. Be realistic, yet ambitious. Think and dream big - otherwise you can just as well not bother. Most of all… focus focus focus! And don’t forget to live a lot along the way! 

Best of luck to you all for your plans ahead! 12 months sounds like a long time, but once the clock starts ticking it can be over within a flash. Let’s make the most of this year - after all we have one full day extra in 2016!

TO BE OR NOT TO BE...

Do you like the result of whatever you do to be precise? Is it important what you do to be in a particular way? Guess what… I can relate to that.

Ever since I can remember there has been an urgency to have stuff this way – or that way. As long as it is the right way. Not a millimetre to the left. Or the right. It needs to be… perfect! Many people in the world make fun of OCD. They criticise those to hell and beyond for wanting an object, a drawn line or dot to be exactly there. Not some place else, just… there! This has obviously spilled into my working life and have many times played havoc in my career. There are not many bosses around that has a ‘flare’ for OCD. In fact, according to an article by Jeff Haden Steve Jobs, and Why Perfection Might Be Your Worst Enemy’  ‘… you would never want a perfectionist as your boss…unless you too suffered from the same obsession’.

The read is a great eye opener to those that strive to perfection in every step they take every day. And believe me I know what it is like to only want to take a step if it is perfect. For a very long time doing anything perfect was the only way forward. It was the only way (I thought) I knew. Still to this day not many people will point out that there is no need to ‘make more changes, Evan’ – for whatever reason they keep stum. How wrong of them. Perhaps, in their defence, they don’t know how to handle OCD within people.

I am not saying that I made a 180 degree turn and now do the complete opposite of perfection – not at all. Luckily as time went by (and still does) I am coming to terms with the urgency, the need, the strive and the stress it can cause to create / deliver all and everything perfectly. It doesn’t mean I have given up on aiming very high. It doesn’t mean I deliver work to a standard of only a fraction of before. Definitely not. I actually now work harder than ever before. Apart from wanting to show and deliver to the client a great piece of work I also deal with that demon inside that constantly tells me to ‘do better. do it again. that’s not good enough. start over’…

To reach a state within myself where I am able to control the demands I put on myself is one of life’s best moments. It actually makes me feel more confident than before. It’s a tough lesson to learn, however what a great lesson! I can’t say ‘there is always tomorrow to do it again’ because there may not be a tomorrow. What is true is that I’ve given it my best shot – for now. That, however, is perfection in itself.

What could happen tomorrow or the next day is that there maybe something new that will look and work better than what I did today. For instance, creating a website today will most certainly have the need to be changed in a week, a month or 6 months down the line. So the time will come to improve and perhaps even better what I did before. The world we live in evolve all the time and as long as I keep up with evolution it will work perfectly for me.

All I can say is take time out to address the OCD in your life if you have it. Understand what it is, why it is there and most of all, tackle it head on. I believe the OCD-demon needs to be there to keep me striving for more – however perfection is not the be and end all of life. It only keeps me going.