My most recent blog post touched on the idea of moving from Force to Flow, from 20th-Century to 21st-Century thinking.

This is incredibly important to me personally as it is totally aligned with my personal purpose, which is:

"To help create a smooth transition from old paradigms to new ways of being in the world."

Which translates to working towards social and organisational change through my writing, speaking and consultancy - helping organisations to make the change and become 21st Century Leaders by choosing empowerment over control.

Reinventing Work

Reinventing Work is about creating self-managing teams, and giving people the power and autonomy to work on their own initiative towards their organisation's goals.  As part of this there's a local initiative I'm involved with called Reinventing Work: Bristol that sprung from a recent series of RSA events.

The concept is actaully nothing new.  It's something I've practiced throughout most of my career, either by making my own decisions on what needed to be done and acting autonomously, or by giving my teams the freedom work in the ways that best suited them.

And as a leader I was always more of inclined to coach than manage.  [In fact, I was recently asked to write a book on management but I declined and told them, "I've never managed anything in my life, not even when I had the word 'manager' in my job title."]

The Rabbit Hole

What's fascinating is to observe it in action and see the tension between intention and actions.  We find it so hard to let go of control and really give our teams the freedom to be able to act in a fully autonomous way.

Self-management is giving people the freedom to do things HOW they choose; but autonomy gives them the freedom to choose WHAT they do.  That's a very different ballgame.

How do we as leaders empower our people to that extent?  How far down the rabbit hole are we prepared to go?

Autonomy: An Essential 21st Century Skill

When I talk about 21st Century Leadership, it is all about building empowered teams.

Technology and markets are changing at an exponential rate and it's becoming increasingly difficult for leaders to keep up.  

If they insist on knowing everything that's going on and making all the decisions they will slow the process, lose competitive advantage and - most importantly - suck all the enrgy and enthusiasm out of their teams.  Leaders simply must entrust their people to make quick decisions, to innovate, and to co-create products and solutions as opportunites emerge.

The alternative is to try to hang on, riding the runaway train of command and control until it crashes off the rails.

It's time to jump!

If you're a visionary leader and want to build an organisation fit for the 21st Century, take the next step.

If you're local to Bristol, you can join our Reinventing Work Meetup group here.

And if you'd like to expolore this with me and the UKLA team, then we can have a chat.  Give me a call on 07834 608878.

 

Finally, let me share the UKLA mission and see if it resonates with you:

"To transform individuals and organisations to achieve their highest future potential, creating humane working environments where people can connect authentically, achieve true synergy in their business and personal lives, and release their full potential for the benefit of themselves and others."

 

 

Why are workplaces so often really stressful for people?  And what can we as leaders do to minimise that stress?

To fully understand that, we need at least a basic apreciation of how stress is generated.

There is only one source of stress

What generates stress for us is simply the difference between how things are and how we want them to be.  Nothing else.

Given that, there are any number of different ways that things are different, and our stress levels are determined by three factors:

  1. How many things are different
  2. How important are those things, and
  3. How big is the gap

So how can we play our part in reducing stress for our teams?

Being Authentic

In my experience, one of the biggest stressors is people feeling they have to behave differently when they get to work.  There is an expectation - often self-generated - that we should 'leave ourselves at the door.'

Trying to second-guess how others want us to behave, and generally trying to intuit what is expected of us can be immensely stressful.

As leaders we can take away a huge amount of this by being authentic oursleves, and giving them permitssion to be themselves too by demonstrating that we value them for who they are.  

But this can be incredibly difficult for us when we're operating in a high pressure results-focussed environment.

Getting Results - A Counter-Inuitive Skill

How much pressure is there evident in the best high performing teams you've worked with or seen?  Probably not much, just a quiet determination to see the job through.  There's an effortlessness about them that can be truly awesome.

In a football match, the winning team often makes it look easy while the losers are working like crazy under immense pressure and their performance simply gets worse.

I have a simple way of looking at this - as I do with most things.

Force v. Flow

Putting pressure on people to perform is all about Force.  It's a bit like shouting at a child, "Relax, dammit!"  It creates tension, and when people are tense they can't perform to their best.

Creating the right environment of positive energy and self-belief, however, produces a very different energy.  People start to achieve incredible things as they get into their Flow.

Flow is where we are comlpletely at one with what we're doing.  There's a total absence of stress.  Stress is about the future and what could go wrong, but when you're in the moment there is no future, only now.

So ask yourself:

"How can I be more authentic and encourage others to be themselves?"

"And what can I do to take the pressure off and create more Flow?"

 ...then take positive action to develop these skills and de-stress your team.

 

 

 

 

I was so looking forward to getting stuck in to Deloitte's report, The Industry 4.0 Paradox.

But imagine my surprise and horror when I came to the intro paragraph for the section on Strategy and read the following:

"Most leaders understand that digital transformation can aid strategic growth, but, for them, this translates more to operational improvements than revenue growth—potentially leaving money on the table."

There is so much wrong with that sentence, but let's just look at the biggest blunder:

"Potentially leaving money on the table" misses the point completely!  It suggests that leaders are simply missing a trick and could make a few more bucks if they included revenue generating activities in their digital strategy.

The truth is they are committing their organisations to oblivion if they don't embrace the rapidly advancing digital landscape and integrate it completely into their operations.  It is not an add-on, and it is not a nice-to-have.  Your very survival depends on it.

The BIG Misconception

The trouble is, so many in the corporate world are operating under the misguided illusion that all the breakthoughs in technolgy can be used to improve their operations, increase effeciencies and give them market advantage.  All while using the same basic 20th-Century business model.

If leaders fail to grasp that they will have to reinvent their businesses around these emerging technologies they will lose out to other, fleeter upstart organisations.  They will become irrelevant and then simply disappear. 

This is not being sensational or alarmist.  I have been around the forefront of innovation and technology adoption for nearly 40 years, and I have never seen opportunity or challenge on anything like this scale before.

Business as usual with some enabling technology on the side simply won't cut it.

21st Century Leadership

21st Century leaders know all this, and they know how to handle it too.

A top-down grand digital strategy plan won't work.  

That's the big mistake.  Old-style leadership suggests that we have to create the strategy for others to follow.  In fact, that used to be the definition of leadership - it was all about strategy; management was about tactics.

The new commercial landscape that's unfolding will require a different approach.  It will require leaders who can enable their teams to develop the strategy as it unfolds.  It will require them to have courage, trust and a high tolerance of ambiguity - qualities in short supply in most traditional organisations.

Nothing short of a complete cultural overhaul will enable large organisations to transition to the new commercial age and survive the 4th Industrial Revolution.

I find that a really exciting challenge!

 

If you'd like to read their report, here are the links:

Download the Executive Summary

The Strategy Paradox

 

 

How good a leader are you?

Something that can give you a pretty good indication is by answering the question, "Who makes the coffee?"

One of the key roles of leadership is building excellent relationships to engage and motivate others.  And, surprisingly, who makes the coffee can have a remarkable impact on this process.

Possibly the best boss I ever worked with would always, as I entered his office, ask, "Can I pour you a coffee?"  He never got one of his secretaries to make it and bring it in on a tray, instead placing himslef in a position of service.

This ties in with ideas around Servant Leadership, or what Good To Great author Jim Collins calls Level 5 Leadership, marked out by a high degree of personal humilty.

The Power-Distance Principle

As you well know, to engage effectively you first have to be in rapport.  Otherwise you're just 'telling' and then you're into a purely transactional relationship, which always leads to lowest common denominator outcomes.

To truly appreciate the dynamics at play here, you first must understand the concept of the 'Power-Distance' principle.  

As a leader/boss you are already in a position of power, and people will also tend to see you as distant if you place yourslef above them.  To establish rapport and create engagement you therefore have to break down the barriers.

Home Field Advantage

I've written about the 'home field advantage' before, and this is something else you need to be aware of.  When people visit you in your office they are 'playing away' which makes them feel at a disadvantage.

So making your office a welcoming environment is important, and your behaviour plays a critical role in either making people feel at ease or putting them on edge.

This is where making the coffee comes in.  It gives a double benefit.

As well as putting you in a position of service, as we've mentioned, it also gets you out from behind your desk and puts you in the same space, and so creates a much more equal feel to the situation.

Once you've achieved that you can enter into an engaged dialogue where there will be a good chance you'll hear what needs to be heard, rather than what the other person thinks you want to hear.

 

 

We all know and understand the role of the CEO: to drive the organisation forward and deliver results.  But as we race into an uncertain future that role is increasingly under threat.

This is being driven by two things:

Firstly, as the rate of change accelerates in terms of enabling technologies and how people adopt and use those technologies it becomes ever more difficult to predict where things will go next.  If we don't know what's going to happen, how can we know how to respond?

And secondly, there are significant changes happening in the workforce with younger people especially wanting to take more control of their work and an increasing number choosing to operate outside of traditional organisation structures as freelance guns for hire.

How can the CEO drive a workforce that doesn't want to be driven to a future that's increasingly unclear?

Somewhere between hard and downright impossible!

Enter the CVO.

The job of the Chief Visionary Officer is to hold a compelling broad-picture vision of where the organisation is heading, and enthuse people to work towards the future as it unfolds.  

This approach gives people the context they need to work purposefully towards fulfilling the organisation's mission while adapting what they're doing depending on what's going on in the real world, in real time.  It also gives them the freedom to take ownership and carry out their work in the way that keeps them most in flow, which is the state where they can contribute most.

This will not be easy for many of us as it's a very different approach to what's taught in business school.

We will need to learn to let go of the 'how' - the small how of the operational detail - while keeping hold of the big 'How' of values and standards.

In short, we will have to re-learn our approach and attitude to our relationships with our teams and adopt more of a supporting and enabling role than ever before.

This is a skill we should aim to master NOW.  If we wait until we need to change it will be too late and we'll be overtaken by others younger and more nimble than ourselves.

Don't let that happen to you.

 

 

The demands of leadership in the 21st Century are changing at warp speed.

Exponential change means that old models of leadership are looking increasingly outdated.

People are now talking of becoming "Agile", but we need to be looking beyond agility.  Agile helps organisations adapt to and even anticipate change.  I believe that this will not be enough and leaders will have to learn to transition their organisations from Force to Flow, co-creating the future as it unfolds.  

This will need an entirely different approach.

If we're "living in disruptive times" as the cliche goes, then as leaders we need to be looking at how we can be doing some of the disrutping.  Otherwise we're merely following.

Of two things we can be certain:

  • The future will be different to what most of us expect; and
  • It will happen much sooner that we think.

 

That's why we're working at the cutting edge of leadership thinking.  We're looking at programmes to equip leaders for the future, not a past that is rapidly receding.

We're not interested in "same old, same old."  We're embracing a future that is exciting, scary and full of opportunities.

 

ACTION POINT

Ask yourself: what can you do to disrupt yourself, disrupt your teams, or disrupt your industry? If you don't step up and do it, someone else will. 

And where will that leave you?  

Of course it's impossible to say because if you're on the receiving end of disruption you won't have a clue what's going on until it's too late!  Leaders of the future will have to disrupt or be disrupted.  

And the future's already here!  

If you're still doing things the same way as you have for years, take stock - it's time to start thinking really radically.  Imagine what crazy things could happen to make your business totally irrelevant.  

Then ask"What can I do to help make that happen?" instead of waiting to become a victim of someone else's mould-breaking idea.

 

 

Here's a story I heard from my friend and mentor Peter Thomson.

It's about a dog lying on a porch, moaning and yelping, yelping and moaning, and generally making a terrible racket.

Lame Dog

Along comes...

...a rooster, strutting his stuff. "Wassup dog?" he asks.

The dog replies in mournful tones, "I'm lying on a nail and it's digging into my side."

The rooster lifts his wing and scratches his head in incomprehension. "Then why don't you get up off it?"

The dog answers wistfully, "It doesn't hurt enough yet!"

How many...

...times do you come across people who complain and complain, and never do anything to change their situation?

But let's not judge.

Remember, if you boil a frog slowly it will stay there and die, but if you put it straight into boiling water it will leap out.

Sometimes we don't notice the build up of pain. It starts as a minor irritation and slowly increases until it becomes almost unbearable.

The trouble is, it's become habituated, and we accept it as the way things are.

We complain, but we don't take action.

Think about your life...

...Are there things you need to change?

How much pain does it take to get you up off that nail?

Listen to yourself.

If you hear complaining and moaning, stop it right now and take action!

  • Set a goal
  • Make a plan
  • Take the first step
  • Review and revise
  • Repeat as required

Life's too short to accept anything but the best.

Don't live in pain - that's just being a victim.

Choose discomfort...

...Choose to step outside your comfort zone and be the brilliant person you were meant to be.

There is no virtue in being anything less.

 

It's amazing how much wisdom there is available from our streets!

There's a new movement called Street Wisdom that promotes the concept of using our urban environments to give us new perspectives, help with getting clarity, or solutions to specific issues.

Every moment...

Frome

...is extraordinary and every street is full of inspiration.  There’s no such thing as an ordinary street, just ordinary thinking.

Few of us give ourselves time or permission to really focus on the signs and signals that we normally ignore, missing out on a rich stimulus that could help us learn something new.

Invented...

...by creative maestro David Pearl in 2013 and developed with the help of business beatnik and fellow author Chris Baréz-Brown, Street Wisdom has rapidly grown into a global movement.

Their mission is ambitious: to make every street in every city a free source of inspiration for everyone, every single day.

If you're...

...tacking a challenge in your workplace, struggling with day-to-day personal stuff, seeking a creative breakthrough, or trying to figure out what's next Street Wisdom can be a real revelation.

And once you've tried it, you can easily use it on a personal basis, or take it into your workplace to inspire teams and colleagues.

Watch this...

...less than one-minute video to find out more.

Then register here for our Frome Street Wisdom on Saturday 25th November.

 

 

Before Christmas I went down to Gran Canaria with my gorgeous partner Sue for a few days away from cold, damp England.

It was a short break and we wanted to do it on a budget, with Christmas coming up.

And it was working out brilliantly - everything booked, and all at low, low rates. We even got a hire car for only £37 (about $50) for the five days - what a bargain!

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Then I got to thinking...

...What does this say about me?

...Do I really see myself as this small person, driving around the island in the cheapest, most basic car I can get?

...Am I worth so little?

So I decided to upgrade!

For an extra £95 ($150) we got to drive a super Mini Cooper Countryman - perfect for all the twisty mountain roads that criss-cross the island.

It transformed the whole holiday experience!

Every time I got into that car it reinforced my self-image as someone of substance and of value.

We can always...

...go for the cheapest option, but it's rarely the best - it reduces every experience down to its basic utility value.

To illustrate:

If you want to make a cup of tea, you can...

a) put a tea bag in a cheap promotional mug, add hot water and pour in some milk direct from the bottle, or

b) make the tea in a beautifully crafted pottery tea-pot, pour it into a lovingly made pottery mug and then add milk from a hand-made jug.

The first option gets you a cup of tea and quenches your thirst vs. the second option brings an enriching experience where you get to connect with all the love, devotion and attention the craftsman has put into creating the objects - an experience that nourishes the soul as well as the body.

And holding a beautiful and substantial mug helps you pay greater attention to the act of drinking, making it a delightful pleasure rather than just something that has to be done.

I always choose option (b).

Another example:

I write with a £300 ($500) Mont Blanc ballpoint. I bought it about 12 years ago, and every time I use it, I get that feeling that what I'm writing is of real value.

And when you spend that kind of money, you never lose it!

The difference in thinking between using a cheap 'dime store' pen, and my beautiful, smooth and substantial Mont Blanc is simply incredible!

What are you doing...

...on a daily basis that either undermines or reinforces your shelf-image and worth?

Are you guilty of "bargain basement" thinking?

Money is energy:

When you spend the least, you'll get the minimum in return.

And, as one of my favourite quotes goes:

"What we acquire too cheaply, we value too lightly."

Use your money wisely: invest in quality.

Value yourself.

Believe in yourself.

I believe in you.

Belief really is everything.

Without it, nothing of any significance happens.  We’d still be living in caves!

Why?

Because, if we don’t believe, we don’t act!  Simple as that.

And that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Think about it: 

  • If you didn’t believe your company was going to pay you, would you go to work in the morning?
  • If you didn’t believe the medicine was going to do you good, would you drink it?
  • If you didn’t believe that gorgeous looking person might go out with you, would you ask them?
  • If you didn’t believe you’d get value from reading this blog, would you bother?

Belief is the starting point of all action.  

Even down to our animal reflexes.  

They’re all based on the belief that if we don’t respond there will be a negative consequence: you pull away form something that’s hot, in the belief that if you don’t you’ll get burnt.

Belief is both wonderful and terrifying...

... because it can change the world!  In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Some people believe in peace and justice and can be an incredible force for good in the world - Lennon, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Gandhi.

Others believe in dominating others - Hitler, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Ceasar. 

The trouble is...

...most people don’t really believe in anything other than what’s right in front of their eyes.  

And right now the media seem intent on telling everyone how dangerous, frightening and evil the world is.  It’s a dog eat dog world and everyone’s out to get you.  You can’t trust anyone, they’re all out for themselves, and unless you look after yourself and screw the rest, you’ll get screwed.

And if you chose to believe that’s what the world’s like, that’s what it will be like!

Which is the key: it is a choice.

You can choose to believe the world is full of wonderful, amazing, kind people, and it will be so.

If you choose this belief, you will attract others with the same energy, and you will create your reality in exactly the way you decide.

But most of all...

...you  must believe in yourself.

We’re constantly ‘corrected’ when we deviate from what is perceived as normal.  

Look at how they tried to correct Galileo.  [It took the Catholic Church until the 1990’s to finally forgive him for the heresy of suggesting the earth moved round the sun - it’s true!]  But he still believed.

If we’re going to...

...prevent ourselves from getting sucked back into what is normal and mediocre, we have to believe in ourselves and the truth of our dreams.

Did Mandela stop believing all those years he was incarcerated?  No way!  HIs belief saw him through to emerge in triumph, against all odds!

How did Viktor Frankl survive the Nazi concentration camps?  He believed totally in the ultimate good of the human spirit - despite all the evidence to the contrary.  He looked on his guards as human beings, with all the insecurities, frailies and fears that permitted them to be duped into committing such atrocities.

If you look for good, you will find it everywhere.

Look for the good in yourself, dream big, believe in your dream and use that dream as a force for good in the world.

Believe that you were put on this planet for a reason.  And that reason was to make a positive difference to the lives of others, to lift people up and make the world a better place.

Believe that you can and will make a difference, and act in that belief!

I believe in you.

Sometimes that’s exactly what we need to get us going!

Of course, as a coach there’s this idea that everything has to come from within and we’re not supposed to be directive.

Well, I think that’s a load of rubbish!

My job is to help people get where they want to go as quickly as possible, with the maximum of learning along the way.  And there are times when that learning is simply about doing the things you might not like.

It’s not rocket science.

I tell my clients:

If you want to get to the top of that mountain, you’re going to have to cross the river to get there.  And if you’re not prepared to do it, is that really where you want to get to?

So often, people set goals based not on what the really want, but on what they think they should do.  This is a recipe for total non-achievement.

When setting your personal outcomes, make sure they’re what you really really want.

And once you’re certain of your desires, if you have any trouble getting started, maybe you need to give yourself a kick in the pants to get going!

That can be looking around at what’s wrong with your current situation and using that to create some impetus for change.

There’s a saying:

Away motivation is the key to action, but only towards motivation leads to the continuation of action.

No amount of kicking in the pants will do you any good if you’re not clear where you want to go once you get moving!

One of the things that keeps us from achieving the life we desire is we’re often not clear enough about what our true desires truly are.

This may seem strange until you start digging beneath the surface.  What we need to understand is that the universe is not a mind reader and it can’t give us what we want if we don’t make it clear.

I know what I desire: I desire to be rich and successful.

Well isn’t that great!

Now imagine you’re the universe and someone tells you that.  How the hell do you know what you’re expected to deliver?  What do you mean by “rich” and what do you mean by “successful”?

If you want to be rich and successful, this is what you have to do:

Write down in detail exactly what you want in words that are so clear even someone with no powers of mind reading can understand it.  Get totally explicit.

And make sure it’s your true goal, not an enabling goal (one which enables you to get something else that is your true desire).

To get there you need to ask yourself, ‘why do I want that?’ again and again until you get to the real root of what you desire.  If you want money, why?  What will that give you? A big house or flash car perhaps?  What will they give you?  And so on, until you can go no further.

You need to know what you desire and why you desire it.  

This creates an alliance between you and the universe: the universe can put opportunities your way, but your desire (which comes from your real deep “Why”) has to be strong enough for you to take action when those opportunities are presented to you.

Desire without action is just hoping.

And action without desire is unsustainable – there’s just not enough motivation to keep you moving.  You need both.

So go ahead and take some time to think about your desires in all their detail, analyse them, cross-examine them, and drill down to the true source so you can get connected.

Then write it down to look at every day and remind yourself why it is you’re doing this – whatever your ‘this’ is.

Once you’ve done that you’ll be unstoppable!

You’ll be so focussed, so alive, so full of energy and drive, nothing will get in your way!

You know what?  It's impossible to move forward in your life or work when you're carring around baggage from the past.

If you're finding it hard to get unstuck from your current situation, maybe there's something - or, more likely, some things - you're holding on to and you really, really need to let go of.

Sometimes we get attached to things that have happened to us.  But they're gone, so why are we allowing them to ruin our lives right here, right now?

The thing is...

...we can't change the past, so it's pointless letting it affect us now.  We can keep on replaying past events all we like, and they'll still be the same.

And every time we replay them, we dig up all the old energy and emotion and bring it back into the present.  We're letting it eat up our lives with remorse and regret.  But for what purpose?  

NONE.  It's totally pointless, it'll never change anything.  Well actually, it will.  It will change our future by poluting our minds and contminating our energy so we never can move out of the dark shadow of history that's keeping us enslaved. 

We can never step into our greatness whilst simultaneously holding on to the detritus of the past.

So what if someone did you wrong when you were six years old?  It's gone.  So what if you did someone a wrong in the past?  That's gone too, and can't be undone.

Forgive them and forgive yourself.  Let go of the emotion, the remorse and regret.

Don't keep re-living the nighmares of yesterday.  Forgive, let go and set yourself free to walk away, to move on and become the person you were meant to be.

If you're...

...like most of us, there are probably many things that have hurt you in the past.  

You may feel you've left them behind and they're not bothering you, but in truth, they're still there in the back of your subconscious, nagging and gnawing away and undermining your efforts to build a better future.

Try this:

Sit down with pen and paper and write a forgiveness letter to everyone who's hurt you in the past.  Just let it flow.  You'll be amazed once you get going at some of the stuff that comes out.

It'll surface all sorts of bitterness and resentment you never knew you were carrying around with you.  Get it all out.

Do expect this to be an emotional turning point.

Then - and this can be the hard part - thank them all for what they did, for the lessons you learnt from them and for making you the person you are today.  Stronger, more resilient, and ready to do incredible things.

And do remember to forgive yourself.  Let go and free yourself to be all you can be.   

You totally deserve it - you're amazing!  Just do it.

A great place to start is knowing where frustration comes from.  Yes, we know it's to do with feelings of powerlessness, but why does it make us get so het up?

It's useful, perhaps, to examine it from a TA (Transaction Analysis) viewpoint.

Frustration is...

...the voice of our inner Child throwing a tantrum because we can't get what we want.   And what we want may be decided by our inner Parent (you should do this) or our inner Adult (I want to do this because...), or by the Parent and the Adult working in collusion.

When things aren't working how we want, our Adult should try to figure out what's not working and put a plan in place to sort it out.  Or, if it's something outside our control - like the computer not doing what it's supposed to - we should just relax and say, "OK, this might take longer than I expected, or I might have to try a different approach."

How often do we actually respond in this resourceful way?

Practically never!

This goes right back to our early formative experiences of helplessness, when we couldn't articulate what we wanted.  The stage in our lives when we started formulating the I'm Not OK, You're OK view - I'm a helpless little baby and you're a powerful, strong big person who feeds me and comforts me.

As grown ups, some of us still operate from the I'm Not OK, Why do I always screw things up? position.  Coming from a place of pessimism, such people don't expect things to work out and may be less prone to frustration, or when it hits, they're expecting it so it might not destabilise them to the same extent.

But what about...

...those of us who have evolved to an I'm OK worldview?  We're relaxed and comfortable about who we are and where we're going.  Then something comes up and shakes us out of our 'reality', making us feel threatened.

This triggers our primal 'fight or flight' instinct and, in neurological terms, our amigdala kicks in and highjacks our brains, making us unable to respond in any way other than to get angry.

So what...

...can we do about it, now we know what's going on?

Well, as I see it, there are two potential strategies.

1.  Avoid Getting Frustrated

We could achieve this in various ways.  If we let go of needing to do things, or doing them within a specific timeframe, when things aren't working out we'll just say, "OK, whatever."

We could plan for some things to go wrong.  By expecting to have to overcome unexpected obstacles, would could percieve them as just being markers along the way to success.  A great example of this is the sales person who expects to get 20 no's before getting a yes.

Or we could put contingency plan in place so we can still use our time constructively and make progress even when things aren't working out.  OK, so this isn't working, I'll go for a run and listen to an audio instead.

2. Handle Frustration Differently

Once we understand what's going on in our minds, we may be able to identify the incipient onset of frustration and head it off at the pass.  We could break state by standing up, taking a few deep breaths and pacing up and down until the feeling begins to subside.  Then re-focus, accepting the source of frustration and realising it's not good or bad, it just is.

Or is there some way we can dissipate our anger at the frustration - a punch bag, stress ball or maybe listening to Nirvana on your headphones very loud!  [Important note: if you do this in a crowded office, be careful not to sing out loud :-)]

And there's...

...a third way.  Just get so stinking rich that nothing matters any more.  Whatever happens, everthing is provided for and when frustrations arise they cease to be a threat to your well being.

In a recent blog I was extolling the virtues of the Power of Intention.

Watch this brief 2 mintute video and then answer the question below.

Are you so committed and focussed you don't even see the massive drops lying in wait if you stray just a few short inches from your path?

You see, once you've set your intention you need to Commit to it.  Totally, whole-heartedly and unwaveringly.

Once you've got that level of armour-clad, steel-willed, titanium-plated resolve, nothing, nothing, will get in your way.  

And even if you make a tiny slip, you'll keep going, flat out, never backing off or easing up, just making the small adjutment you need to get you back on track.

This video is such a powerful metaphor.  You might want to watch it again.

Enjoy the ride!

And I'm not just referring to the video!

In my last blog post I talked about the Power of Intention.

I said it was important to make sure the intention you set is well-formed and compelling for you.

That's because, when you set to work on taking action towards your intention, there will be hundreds and thousands of distractions to derail you along the way.  

You'll get...

...emails, phone calls, pleas for help, social media messages, invitations to get involved in all sorts of activities that will keep you occupied and take your attention away from your big vision.  And if your intention is weak, you'll easily get sucked in by it all.

You must take action, and you must make sure the action you're taking is the right action to get you to your goal in the shortest possible time.

This means taking time out to regularly re-focus on your intention and make sure you keep moving with lazer precision in the right direction.  

Keep re-prioritising and do the most important things first.  

And don't...

...allow yourself to get distracted by perfectionism.  Do things to the right standard, and don't waste your valuable time, effort and energy on things that won't give you a fair return.

That's it, I'm done.  I've got things to do towards my intention :-)

We've all heard of the power of intention, but how often to we really, truly, fully plug into it to experience the transformative effect it has on our actions, behaviours and results?

The real power of intention lies in the total calrity it creates, the certainty it gives us on where we're going and why we're going there.  That certainty generates willful action to overcome all blockages and obstacles, clearing a path to your desired future.

Just imagine what it would be like to be totally focussed on your objective, feeling it inexorably pulling you towards it, tossing aside distractions and diversions as you let go and allow your natural energy and flow to carry you along, floating serenely above the mundane day-to-day trivia.

You are majestic, calm and in complete control.

You are in your flow, in your element, doing the work you were put on this earth to do, receiving rewards in direct proportion to the value you bring to the world.

Sounds great?  But where to start?

What does a powerful intention look like?

The first thing is, it must work for you.  Generally, this means it needs these elements:

  • A compelling result
  • A time limit
  • A compelling reason
  • The value you're going to give to make it happen
  • Personal evolution

A Compelling Result

This is where so many people fall at the first hurdle.  Their desired result is the superficial outcome, not the real underlying desire.

Often an objective might be to earn a certain amount of money.  But money is nothing, it's just a token, so you need to dig down to uncover what that amount of money will give you.

A Time Limit

If we don't set a time limit we have no way of knowing how urgently we need to put in our effort.  We can dawdle along saying, I'll get there one day.  But 'one day' never comes.

You also need to be specific.  If you say,  "In 6 months," your intention will always be 6 moths away.

Settng a deadline is crucial as it creates the sense of urgency you need to take the concerted action required to get you there.

A Compelling Reason

Our reasons must be our own, things that really matter to us.  If you find yourself using language like should, ought, must, it's usually a sign that you're dancing to someone else's tune.

If you're not completely bought into the reason, you'll never feel the compulsion to make it happen.

The Value You'll Give

You can't expect to set your intention, do nothing and then expect for it to magincally happen.  Life rewards those who take action and create value for others.

I believe you should [the 'should' word - beware, that's jsut my view and you need to make up your own mind about what's appropriate] expect to give ten times as much value as you receive.  

If you only give the same value as you receive, people will be satisfied, but no more.  On the other hand, if you give massive value they'll become raving fans and you'll find yourself atracting all sorts of riches flowing back to you.

Personal Evolution

Any intention worth pursuing will stretch you beyond your current capabilities and demand of you new behaviours, skills and strengths.

The question I always as is: "Who do you need to become?"

To Make It Happen

Write down your intention in full every morning so you start each day fully focussed and with your energy in the right place.

Once you've done that, you can think about your 'do' list.  You'll be amazed at how differently you'll look at it when you're viewing it from the point of view of your intention.

Whenever I’m working on a project or problem, I look for three things in any solution.  It must be:

                  Simple, Elegant, Effective

Actually, when I look at it, if it’s simple and elegant it’s usually effective.

Keeping it simple...

...is such an important factor in success.  We can get so caught up in how clever we are that we come up with all sorts of complicated ideas that are brilliant.  For us.  Because we’re experts in oiur chosen fields.  We understand all the clever little details and twists.

But what about the rest humnity?  The people who don't share our level of knowledge, insight and expertise?

OK, if it’s something really technical they don’t need to get involved in, it doesn’t matter.  But if they need to be able to work with it, it must be simple enough for everyone to understand.

A big issue...

...is change for change's sake.  Things start out great, but then version 2.0 kicks in, followed by 3.0, and gradually the original concept has been lost and we’re left with all sorts of bits and pieces added on that don’t really integrate.

But the worst offence of all is taking something that’s good and making it progressively worse, just to prove you’re doing something.

For example, Apple’s Mac OS has deteriorated significantly over the last few years, from what was extremely elegant, to a point where there are things that simply don’t really work any more.  Often the changes look good aesthetically, but are an absolute nightmare to use.  Why have they done away with cover-flow browsing in iTunes?  It was such an intuitive system.  Now we have to search for albums through a grid.  This isn’t the natural way we look for things, guys – if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it!!

OK.  Rant over :-)

Just remember to make things simple and easy for people.  

If you look for elegant simplicity in all you do, you won’t go far wrong.

Have you ever had one of those days when your energy seems determined not to flow?

It feels like there's an impenetrable barrier between you and your goals.  And someone's got an electric whisk and mischievously stuck it in your brain and given it a whirr, so it's all turned to mush.

Sometimes it's a sign for you to be easy on yourself, for you to back off and give yourself a  low-key day to re-charge your batteries, ready to come back, all guns blazing and firing on all cylinders.

Other times...

...you may hear a little voice from the genie standing on your shoulder, urging you to push on through, to not let yourself be overcome by the fatigue that can come uninvited, like an unwelcome intruder, from the always-on demands of modern life.

It's at times like those your strength of purpose will come shining through.  If it's weak, you'll struggle to find a way to be productive and move forwards, instead frittering away your time on distracting activities that have no real benefit or return.

But if your purpose is strong, it will act like a tractor beam, drawing you inexorably towards it.

You'll be able to identify the key tasks you need to accomplish that will make a difference so, by the end of the day, you can look back and know you've achieved something worthwhile, despite the odds being loaded against you.

It's on days like these you need to turn on your laser-beam focus, set aside all the mountain of things calling on your time and say, "Today my energy is only available for the things that will move me positively towards my goals.  All the rest can wait until I have a high energy day when I'll be able to do my usual octopus-like juggling act."

If you struggle...

...to do that, perhaps the most productive thing for you to do with your day would be to sit down and really examine your goals, and make sure they're linked to your purpose and values.

Problems occur when we're not working in full alignment.

Often our goals are based on what we think we should do, rather than what we truly believe in.  Then, when we really need to dig deep to find the motivation to push on through, there's simply nothing there; the well is dry.

You need to...

...have a strategy that will help you fulfil your purpose.  And once you've got that, put in place meaningful goals as your milestones along the way, goals you find compelling enough to pull you through whenever the going gets tough.

Anything less means you're wasting your life on stuff that doesn't really do it for you.

So get real and start living your life on purpose!

This is so important: the old saying, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

I was reminded of this when I saw my daughter's entry in a travel photo competition.  [And please, if you like the picture go here and click like.]

Balinese fishermanThis saying can be applied to so many different situations and contexts, and it highlights the vital importance of learning to our very survival.

We're far too...

...ready to leap in and help people - often creating greater dependency - instead of encouraging them to help themselves.  The key is to build people's capacity and set them free by creating independence, self-esteem and a sense of purpose. 

In my experience, the vast majority of people have the desire and capability to achieve incredible things.  All they lack are the basic skills, tools and knowledge.  Put those in place and you set in motion a flywheel effect that slowly gathers momentum until it becomes unstoppable!

That's the core philosophy at UKLA, to give you the opportunity and provide a platform for you to develop yourself, while at the same time encouraging you and giving you the skills to help others do the same. 

I'm a great believer...

...in empowering others.  All my business life I've built self-motivating, empowered teams that can get on and achieve amazing things with minimal input from me.

I get such a buzz from seeing others develop and grow as I put more and more trust in them, creating massive self-belief and astonishing them as they discover their true power and awesome potential!

To experience that for yourself, book a no-obligation 30-Minute Strategy Session and see how far you can go!