QUICK TIPS, EASY WAYS – no such thing!


In life development there’s no such thing!

I write a blog relating to issues I come across on a regular basis: decision making; obstacles to clear thinking and focus; self confidence; workplace stress; early depression among executives, and so on. Just recently a coaching website very kindly agreed to published one of my missives with the condition that they could affect minor alterations to fit in with their style and theme. I willingly agreed and thought no more of it until one of my regularly readers brought my attention to the title of the piece which had been edited to begin with the words ‘Five Easy Ways To……’

‘Five Easy Ways’, ‘Ten Quick Tips’, ‘Seven simple steps’, are all anathema to me and unfortunately do my profession, at best, a huge disservice. Before proceeding I should say that the website concerned reacted promptly when I pointed out my feelings and they quickly changed the title to one I could agree with.

Blogging by its nature cannot explore a topic in any depth. It is there to promote interest in a given subject and to provoke the reader to ask questions of themselves and to challenge some of their perspectives. These mini articles of 300-500 words, however, may offer insights and illustrate behavioural triggers that can help people to begin to understand how life management and/or change may be brought about, but that is all. In our social media centric age we seek snippets of information, fast solutions, and ‘drive-thru’ concepts – but in my profession, to offer people anything other than complete reality is, to put it mildly, profoundly misleading.
There is no reason that the universe should be designed for our convenience.

John D Barrow (British cosmologist)

Our social conditioning began when we were small children so we have decades worth of beliefs, of knowledge, of family and social norms – some very good, some we are better off without – to balance. In my experience there is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to addressing how we see and think about our world.

When discussing managing our businesses or our lives, it takes hard work, clarity, focus, planning and time. With these factors in place we can achieve anything we set our minds to. Straightforward it may be – but simple it aint.



In a frenetic, noisy and obsessive world, the ability to disengage from the hurly burly can prove invaluable, most particularly when we are trying to find inspiration to fire our inner motivation or to manage difficult challenges. In my own experience I have found that the ability to be able to step back and observe events in the moment, with a certain detachment from negative emotions, is a potent skill, especially (but not exclusively) in business.

Meditation comes in many forms, from a variety of traditions, and it is not my intention here to discuss techniques or philosophies: there is bountiful information on this subject both online and in print. My aim is to encourage people to simply cast off preconceptions and take a look.

At a bare minimum, meditation can have very notable applications for the busiest of schedules, in fact the busier and more stressful life gets, the more valuable it can be to develop such skills. This fact has been embraced by a number of corporations including Apple, Google, Nike and HBO to name but a few.


We all experience this: the incessant inner dialogue that occupies our minds for much of our day – a constant flow of consciousness tumbling like lottery balls, with no beginning, middle or end. So how can our thought process, so congested, be expected to work effectively for us? Surely, if we are able to quieten the internal chatter there can be greater benefits for us than allowing it to carry on unchecked.
Even a brief period of contemplation, each day, is a good start – it’s just a matter of engaging with the present moment when time is set aside for being alone with ourselves. Like all skills, setting aside all unnecessary thoughts takes practice, but in learning to do so benefits can be felt from the start. Of course the relaxation can be reward enough but there’s far more to gain than that:

With a calm and uncluttered mind comes clarity and with it determination, as we see what needs to be done whether we are beginning to set goals or in need of reinforcing our resolve during a difficult day. When we tame our monkey mind we find, in its place, calm and simplicity – what better state is there for making good decisions?

With the mind thus soothed we will also find it far less likely that we can be knocked off our course by distractions. We are able to refocus on the priorities and goals we set ourselves with greater vigour. We can rediscover those emotions that inspired us when we first decided upon a course of action and so launch ourselves, refreshed, into making a reality of our wishes.

In large measure, we take control of our thoughts because if we do not do it then someone else will try do it for us. We can then find ourselves abdicating our free will, albeit subconsciously, and following the agenda of others. Alternatively we drift on autopilot leaving our most important decisions to our social conditioning, negative emotions, and learned reactions. If our own hands are on the steering wheel, however, we can be sure of our ideas, as our thoughts are stripped back to their bare essentials. There is no waste, just the burning desire to carry through the goals we have set.

Meditation connects us directly to our unadulterated core values, our essence – in other words, the things that really make us tick. Nothing is more important as we cannot be truly happy or feel fulfilment if we are not at one with who we really aspire to be.

And regular meditation can do all this? Not on its own but it is an invaluable element in helping us to do it. Meditation gives us the choices, and in this life, clear choice is a precious resource available to us all, we just have to ‘dig’ a little.

1000 miles journey

Inspirational Quotes


I tend to use quotations in my work, particularly during speaking engagements. They give my tremendous inspriation and focus throughout my owrking week. Here is a selection quotes, many of them well known to all:

This is central to all of my work, and indeed my life:
‘A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.’
Mahatma Gandhi


In personal development it is not the aim to add anything, rather, the challenge is in removing the layers of social conditioning laid down throughout our lives.
‘People do not change, they are merely revealed.’
Anne Enright (Irish author)


Lasting change must come from within. We have to take ownership of the changes we make otherwise they will not stick:
‘Make sure what you do is a product of your own conclusion.’
Jim Rohn


There’s no better template for successful coaching:
‘Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion & knowledge.’

Wonderful words from one of the writers who have inspired modern mindfulness:
‘If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, & endeavours to live the life they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected.’
Henry David Thoreau


And there is nothing that will fritter away our time like wishful thinking:
‘The goal is everything. If we do not have a target, how do we know what to aim at?

A goal without a plan is just a wish.’
Antoine de Saint-Exupery


A client of mine recently mentioned that she could only make changes in baby steps. It’s not the pace that’s important, rather, maintaining forward momentum is the real key. The pace of change must always suit each individual.

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’
Lao Tzu


Living acording to our individual core values is vital if we are to achieve true fulfilment and the happiness that comes with it.
‘Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.’
Ayn Rand, Writer


Our creative capacity, which is within us all in our own individual form, helps to define our humanity:
‘Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.’
Ida Scott Taylor


To rid ourselves of negative judgment is a tremendous step towards positivity

‘Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I will meet you there.’


These following two quotes inspire with their beauty, strength & compassion:
‘The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.’
Helen Keller

‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.’
Martin Luther King

The final two are my favourites. Simple logic combined with gentle &, yet at the same time, relentless determination
‘If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?’

‘First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.’
Mahatma Gandhi

bulling at work


Following on from a recent blog about the benefits of acknowledging weakness , a blind alley that individuals, managers and organisations need to be aware of is when fear is confused for respect.

Actually, such confusion should never arise as they are so completely different, but alas it is all too common. Fear, if unchecked, can create and spread a sense of malaise within a corporate body that can, at best, impede growth and at worst will wreak havoc within the entire structure of an organisation. Pretty soon, management and staff can find themselves operating in the blind: a culture of fear.
In recent times, many companies and organisations, large and small, have found themselves in a position when difficult decisions needed to be taken in order to ensure survival and growth (albeit modest). Such measures impact in a very personal way on the lives of individuals be it restructuring, cost savings, maximising on synergies etc. That is not in question here – a good entrepreneur at some point will have to take decisions that require a strong stomach – they are there to lead, even in the teeth of the storm.

Managing through fearful times is not the same as using that fear as a tool of management. That is a poor substitute for leadership, in fact, it indicates a lack of any leadership at all. If management by fear becomes a de facto policy, we should ask on which planet would a negative, vulnerable and scared workforce operate better than one that is positively motivated, focused and inspired – recession or no?

A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts


When the ethos of excess pressure and fear (aka bullying) exists then this is a sign that troubled times lie ahead – and such a culture will begin to display structural flaws most particularly when an economy begins to emerge from recession:
An organisation’s strongest and most able people will be gone at the earliest opportunity (if it has not already happened) – with predictable results
The chances of enticing high achievers will be jeopardised. How can a business take full advantage of increased opportunities when it’s most able people work for the competition?
Leadership through fear is like ‘one club golf‘ and has no inbuilt flexibility and a very limited life span.
Shaking off the effects of a fear culture takes time and radical change – but since when did the world of business and opportunity proceed at a leisurely pace?
If fear runs through an organisation there is very little that can be done without a radical and imaginative approach from the executive. This has to come from the top and starts with the core values of the boardroom. A good executive can lead it’s people through the toughest times but once opportunities become more plentiful, the whole corporation will come into its own.

In the depth of winter
I finally learned that there was in me
an invincible summer

ALBERT CAMUS, French Nobel Prize winning writer

In the next blog we shall look closely at how individual managers, regardless of the scale of their responsibilities, can maintain awareness of their performance and in doing so ensure that their people are lead and not pushed.