As 2018 comes to an end – my second full year as a self-employed consultant, coach and trainer – I want to thank all of the people and organisations I have worked with. It’s been a fascinating journey so far. When I set out in 2016, I was hoping to:
Meet new challenges (tick);
See new countries (tick);
Enjoy the freedom and excitement of running my own business (tick).
My son gave me a map for Christmas where you can scratch off the countries you have visited. Here is the map showing all the fascinating countries I’ve worked in and the projects I’ve done so far.
Looking forward to an equally fun and challenging 2019 and to working with such lovely clients and partners as I did in 2017 and 2018.
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato believed that humans were born with perfect knowledge, but somehow forgot it all at birth. So acquiring knowledge later in life is actually recollecting things we already knew.
I remember thinking this was absurd when I first read it (at school where I appeared to be learning all sorts of things that seemed to be totally new). But, as time goes by, I increasingly think that he has a point.
I am currently working with an Indian media company. In the newsroom I saw a notebook with these words on the outside:
The creative adult is the child who survived.
This got me thinking. The amazing thing about the people who work in that newsroom is how incredibly hard they work. They are a business channel covering the ruckus of the Bombay Stock Exchange in a roller coaster of live output with flashing tickers, graphics and logos. Every moment there is a breaking “flash” as another company releases its results, or a stock price “tanks” or “spikes”. But despite working very long hours and under great pressure, they seem happy – childishly happy – not that they are in any way childish themselves (they are utterly seasoned professionals). They are childishly happy in the way that a child is happy when totally engrossed in his or her play: demonstrating utter concentration and dedication, and a sense of fun and enjoyment. It’s wonderful to see. Continue reading “Childish ways to maximise happiness”
If you like sports and you’re interested in performance and leadership, here are my favourite 5 books.
Matthew Syed shows that no one is born brilliant. We all have the capacity to be the best if we work at it. It will make you think differently about failure: If you have a growth mindset, failure is not something that saps energy and vitality, but provides “an opportunity to learn, develop and adapt.”
Ed Smith’s book is the perfect companion of Bounce. However hard we work, shit happens and we have no control over it. But bad luck can turn to good luck if we adapt to it. “Successful people, by being open to opportunity and exposing themselves to chance, take new directions that prove more fruitful than anyone could have predicted.” For a vidid demonstration of the effect Luck can have on your life, read his beautiful final chapter.
Timothy Gallwey’s revolutionary programme to conquer self-doubt and lack of confidence in sport. It taught me to increase my enjoyment in playing tennis, with the inescapable result that I now play it better: an essential lesson in improving performance.
How do the All Blacks manage to stay so focussed throughout a gruelling rugby match that they are able to win by the narrowest of margins in the final seconds of a game? The answers are all here. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Karen O’Brien for giving me this one.)
If you agree with me that cricket is the perfect metaphor for human life, and you want to know how to be a successful leader in either game, then read this book by the best captain England ever had. How do you motivate mavericks like Ian Botham or Geoffrey Boycott? (Probably only for the real cricket enthusiast!)
We know that smiling into a mirror kicks off chemical reactions that make us feel happy. But listening to happy music is more powerful and much more fun. So in honour of #WorldSmileDay, here are my top 5 tunes to make you happy:
As Bobby McFerrin wisely says, “In every life, we have some trouble. When you worry, you make it double. Don’t Worry. Be Happy!” Whistle along!
Or actually Sing A Song, particularly one with a base line like this one. “Smile, smile, smile and believe. Sing a song. It’ll make your day.”
OK, While My Guitar Gently Weeps may not sound like the happiest song. But the pure genius of Prince (guitar solo at 3’28) sends shivers up my spine and makes me smile with delight. And the way he chucks his guitar away at the very end is hilariously brilliant. Trust me!
Now we need some dancing too and no happy list would be complete without James Brown’s I Feel Good. If you can match his footwork, you’ll be smiling all day. (With a bonus intro from Ed Sullivan.)
Happy World Smile Day. [Sorry Pharrell – you’d make the top 10 for sure!]
When your goal is to achieve confident leadership, so the saying goes, there’s no magic wand. You cannot suddenly become a great leader and remain one forever. It’s a journey not a destination. And even if you do have a magic wand, it’s still a challenge. There are no super spells that Harry Potter and his friends can cast to solve their confidence issues. (The books would be pretty dull and short if they did!) But JK Rowling provides them with useful ways to confont their deepest fears. And they provide us muggles with powerful images: magical ways we can use to maximise our performance.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Remus Lupin introduces his defence against the dark arts class to the Boggart. Here is the scene in the excellent film produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment.