In the first of two blogs I shall be discussing the nature of, and the need for, inner motivation. In the second piece I shall detail some straightforward things that can be done on a daily basis to help generate and sustain it where it matters – from the core.

As with all change be it in our thinking, our actions, our behaviour, and our habits, it all originates and is sustained from within ourselves – and from nowhere else. The same is true of motivation be it in business or in our private lives.

Motivation begins with a thought, a desire for achievement. Achievement, that is, on any scale: it does not have to be an Olympic gold. Whatever it is, we have to want it badly enough to push ourselves on, to challenge our own boundaries, and to move towards preset goals instead of waiting for our lives to simply ‘happen’. Ultimately there is nowhere to hide – it comes down to how badly we want it so, if it is not already the case, now is the time to take responsibility and to take control.


When reaching out to achieve a goal, we can sometimes find obstacles in our path so there may be times when we ask ourselves, wouldn’t it be easier to compromise our goal? Wouldn’t it be simpler to lower our expectations of ourselves? These are the times when we feel ‘on the anvil’ and it’s right here where our inner motivation really needs to kick in and make the difference.


While the motivation must from within, we can boost it through external inspiration from any number of sources: our loved ones; famous figures; stories of hardships overcome; a novel; the list is endless. Inspiration can help us to fire our motivation, but it cannot be anything more than an occasional boost – it is from far deeper within us that we find the real power to realise our desires.


It is for each one of use to throw down the gauntlet at our own feet. With our goal well set we can rise to our own challenge, remain focused – reinforced in our motivation to finish what we started. In that way, if our path appears blocked by an obstacle, our initial and only reaction is in deciding whether we go around it, under it, over it, or straight through it. Basically, we’re not stopping for anything!

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.

dictionary page - weakness





the state or condition of being weak.
synonyms: frailty, feebleness, enfeeblement, puniness, fragility, delicateness,

a disadvantage or fault.
Synonyms: Fault, flaw, defect, deficiency, weak point/spot, failing, foible,
Shortcoming, imperfection, blemish, chink in one’s armour

When such definitions and synonyms are combined with a western puritan work ethic, there is little wonder why our culture and society views weakness – and in particular admitting we have any – with such negativity. In many areas of our lives weakness it is seen as, quite simply, unacceptable. No where is this more pronounced than in the world of business where accepting weakness is often regarded as kryptonite. Ours is a ‘can do’ society where individuals ‘in control’, or those who make things happen, especially in the teeth of a storm, are greatly admired.
Real life strategies, especially at work, need more than gung-ho attitudes to stay the course

A problem we face is that we pften fear our weaknesses and seek to keep them hidden – sometimes even from ourselves. Such negativity thrives in the dark corners of our consciousness and if left to its own devices it festers and grows. Many believe that if they admit to a weakness they will be judged and criticised by their peers (as if those same peers do not possess weaknesses themselves). The internal corrosion of fear and self-judgment, and the stress and anxiety it creates, is not only damaging to our health, but is also completely unnecessary.

The acceptance of weakness has to be clearly defined. Surely we all accept the fact that we are not going to be good at everything. Our abilities, our thoughts and actions, all have their ups and downs. Weak points are inevitable, but accepting that fact does not mean we are giving in to, or indulging, a flaw – it is a simple matter of reality and the sooner we grasp that fact the sooner we can get on and do something about it.

If we ignore where we’re vulnerable, rest assured our competitors will not

In businesses one so often hears military and sporting metaphors being used, but many ignore an attitude to weakness prevalent in elite sport and the military: they ignore it at their peril. They may wish to conceal any weaknesses from a tactical point of view, but behind the scenes their attitude to weakness is realistic, pragmatic with a very practical and up-beat outlook.

Once accepted, a weakness can be more easily quantified, understood and then work can begin to do something about it – a small piece at a time if necessary
There is no longer a hidden fear linked to our most vulnerable points as we begin to rise to the challenge of addressing them
When weaknesses comes to light, be grateful. Knowing they are there is half the battle because whether we like it or not, they’re there
Being more intimately acquainted with the topography of our abilities and character makes us better equipped to face life on our terms. After all, if we know where the ditches are we can avoid driving into them
Enormous motivation and forward momentum comes from tackling a weakness as opposed to ignoring it
Whether weaknesses are neutralised, contained, or even removed altogether, we can then concentrate on the game winner: playing to our strengths.
If we do not manage our weaknesses, we can be certain that,
sooner or later, they WILL manage us.
We hone our strengths and seek to perfect them as they are our vanguard in life. But improving a weakness, even by a few points can raise our whole performance right across the board.

emotional intelligence workshop by Alan Keyse

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE – A Practical Introduction – video


The idea behind this workshop was to introduce, to a mixed audience, the theory of Emotional Intelligence using Daniel Goleman’s model as the basis for discussion.


As you will see, the main themes of the discussion centred around:


The five domains of EI
The five key skills
The personal and group benefits of EI

Group activity: anxiety & negativity triggers
The potency
Identifying the symptoms
Taking action

Filling the void left by negativity
The power of realistic positivity (Positive Truth)
Group activity: The ‘positive truth’ list
I shall be holding another short workshop in central London early on 2014 and will blog the details in due course.

The Positive Truth – Workshop

Sunday 16 June 2013

A day long event on Sunday 16 June 2013 (9am-5pm) Taking place at Loudwater Farm, Loudwater Lane, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 4HG
This is a workshop developing the themes of recognising daily & casual negativity; personal gratitude; the power of positivity & ‘positive truth’. The workshop culminates in the formation of tangible personal affirmations & inspirational goals.

We shall also be looking at the value of mindful awareness on our daily lives, mindful movement, & a ‘beginners guide’ to practical meditation.



Run through the day’s schedule – Introduce those involved in the day’s event.Smaller groups will be organised as we shall be moving between the general gathering and smaller more personal groups all day.

What is meant by positivity
Negativity: It’s nature, effects, and identification. Measures to overcome

What is it?
The practice of mindful awareness.
The benefits


Group Activity:
POSITIVE EVENT from the past week
Group discussion

Halina Rosentrauch of Yoga Tree will introduce and them conduct a session of ‘mindful movement.

12.45 LUNCH
Anna Corless from Anna’s Kitchen will be providing a fork buffet of two main vegetarian courses, rice, & three salads plus refreshments – full details will follow

Steve Carter will be playing his Tibetan (singing) bowls in session that will offer AMAZING relaxation. He will take us through their origins & their use, & will follow with a Q & A session.

What are they and do they have a value part to play in positivity attitudes and change?
Group activity:
An affirmation bath (no water involved!)
Discussions within groups


Explaining positive truths
Group activity:
The 10 positive truths
Read aloud (if desired)
Personal affirmations – the use of personal positive truths as affirmations

Positivity is a marvellous state of mind but it now needs to be harnessed and the best way to do this is in forming personal goals. This will be done in groups.

17.00 FINISH

The cost for the whole day is £68.00 per person which includes all activities, refreshments and lunch.

A £10 deposit is payable to reserve a place with the balance payable 15 days prior to the event.

Concessions are available where appropriate for those on pensions, not in full-time employment, and students – Please do not hesitate to ask.

iceberg floating

Emotional Intelligence


EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE is regarded by successful business leaders as an essential skill to compliment IQ and is defined as:

“The capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”

The five domains improved by enhanced Emotional Intelligence are:

Improved connections to our emotions & their effects on us physically, our thinking & our behaviour. A greater understanding of our emotional strengths and limitations.

To better control our behaviour and reactions. We also become more flexible in challenging circumstances

Strengthens our ability to get inspired, motivated, up-beat, and ensure we stay there consistently

Understanding the emotions, wants and needs of others. Being better attuned to body language and moods, be it in individual or a group dynamic.

Developing relationships & communications. More empathetic & effective management – picking up early warnings signs of potential conflicts.

85% of financial success is due to skills of personality, communication, negotiation
Carnegie Institute of Technology