Enthusiasm goes a long way


Enthusiasm is highly contagious and extremely powerful force you can use to build relationships and form new connections. It is far more pleasing to interact with individuals that are highly energised and motivated by what they do than spend time with people who seemingly just can’t be bothered. If you suppress your feelings about the things you love to do you run the risk of cultivating an image of apathy. It can result in others forming opinions that fail to do justice to you ability, skill and competence. – make your feelings come alive. Enthusiasm is the manifestation of your passion and it should be delivered with confident communication to those you wish to influence.

Fast track goals achievement by allowing your enthusiasm to rise to the surface, make it very clear to others how much a certain issue, topic or aspect of your vocation or professional life means to you. You do this by:

  • Projecting your voice clearly and articulate concisely your thoughts
  • Use open body language and gestures to show how you feel – be animated
  • Have opinions but don’t be opinionated, avoid being viewed as arrogant
  • Use visual aids and props to make key points come alive and engage with examples

Find the dividing line between enthusiasm and over zealousness as the latter can come across as an annoying. Behaving in this way can alienate others to your views as your zeal can be interpreted as pure rhetoric. Be aware of the audience you are interacting with and mindful of their personalities, if necessary curb the enthusiastic behaviour to suit personal preferences. Your enthusiasm and energy can be highly motivating for others when used carefully, it becomes an effective vehicle for adding value and demonstrating to others the difference you make. The spirit of enthusiasm clearly signals to others your zest for life, this in turn creates a charisma – remember charisma sells ideas, thoughts and plans!

Expectation builds reality


One thing that has come clear from the ambitious high growth entrepreneurs I have been involved with is they tend to think in a very different way to those who experience more modest achievements. The former are able to constantly change the way they think and adapt to new challenges and circumstances. They never lose sight of what they want to achieve and they relentlessly pursue what they want – both personally and professionally. In Jim Collins book on Good to Great – his observations where that great leaders face the brutal facts but never lose faith in what they set out to achieve.

The report of the Polar Bear in yesterday’s news that swam continuously for 9 days (in near freezing waters) in search of stable ice and food reminded me of the endurance that I see in so many driven and successful entrepreneurs – they just keep going. And as in a famous Winston Churchill quote “when you are going through hell, keep going” – this sums up what I am increasingly observing in growth wish entrepreneurs. What I also should add is they know very clearly, just exactly where they are going!

I also see many entrepreneurs just plod on, no ambition and generally a negative attitude to the world. Whilst this is OK (if that’s what someone wants) the resultant effect of this mindset is that their business hits a wall. In contrast to the other entrepreneurs I described, this second group often find that at some point reinvention is vital or the inevitable will take its natural course.

There is a clear pattern in the high growth entrepreneurs mindset – it’s the expectation that they will achieve what they want, ultimately this shapes reality. This was summed up in a wonderful quote from a young lady well on her way to business success – recession, I have decided not to participate!

Fast tracking personal peak performance


I am constantly looking at ways in which individuals can enhance their performance and deliver high impact results faster. Research reveals how important mentors can be in personal development. I would totally agree that a mentor is a vital ingredient to an ambitious persons life plan. Many people have benefitted from the experiences of individuals they admire. With this in mind I came up with the concept of “Role Model Benchmarking” (RMB) some time ago, I have trialed it with a number of small groups – it went down a storm. Benchmarking has been around for years and it is used as an effective tool in enhancing company performance – essentially it’s a methodology where a company will rate itself against best in class, identify shortfall in performance then put a plan of improvement in place.

We can take the principles of this management tool and apply it to personal development – in other words benchmark yourself against individuals who inspire you. This approach will put momentum into change and accelerate you to achieving your goals, whether this is in life, career or business.

Just have a go at this simple exercise:

1. Define those individuals you consider brilliant – as part of your overall career or business strategy, think about those individuals you feel you could learn from – these are your role models, characters (real or fictional). Write down a list of five role models.

2. Clarify specifically what it is you admire – think about their skills, behaviours, strategies and approaches you consider could be beneficial in your own quest for success. Is it their networks, skills, knowledge, personal philosophies, values, attitude to life?  You have to be very, very specific about what their qualities are e.g. great presenter, effective negotiation skills, amazing ability of winning new business, caring attitude, written a book….. List the 20 specific things you consider important.

3. Reflect on your list – Of the 20 very specific qualities, behaviours or strategies listed, you must cut this down to a maximum of ten admirable aspects of your role models “DNA”. These become the additives vital to you achieving your own goals and ambitions.

4. Benchmark yourself against these 10 aspects – rate your own performance against those characteristics you consider important on a scale of 1-10 (if you score 10 on any aspect you are not being honest with yourself). There are different visuals you can use to represent your results; the one I recommend is the wheel of life format.

5. Implementation – take action!

By benchmarking your own personal performance against what you consider great will lead to fast tracking personal development. RMB allows you to pin point very precisely what needs to improve or change. It brings practical focus to your learning and development, more importantly it will define specific areas for improvement. RMB will catalyse personal improvement!


Use your daily journal


I started my career as a chemist. The one thing that gets drummed into you when you study and practice a subject like this is always have your notebook at hand. Well this has stayed with me since 1986. I have made a massive commitment to using a daily journal. I use it to make a note of how I am feeling, what I see and the wisdom of brilliant people I meet.  Little did I know but some amazing people used notebooks as part of their life – Leonardo da Vinci, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, and Einstein. If it worked for them then I am sure it will help me!

I have shared some of my thoughts on note taking with delegates on talks that I have given over the past five years and there are some great examples of how keeping a daily journal has delivered some breakthrough results. People talk about how their goals have been achieved and new ideas and projects have come alive as a result of writing things down. Sounds so simple but the reality is when you put the pen to paper you almost make commitment with yourself to take action. Over time your ideas and diverse thoughts start to coalesce into new propositions and ideas that can be progressed. It takes time and self-discipline to write things down but when you do it some quite amazing things happen. For me I ended up writing my second book and building a high growth company.  Both came as a result of keeping a daily journal – it provides focus on what matters and helps in delivering new possibilities.

Try it  – buy yourself a notebook and make a point of writing down what’s going on around you. What you want to achieve, your goals and ambitions – get it on the page, believe it and see what a difference it makes! It’s quite incredible. I would have never have believed something so simple works!


Focus on the 5 things


You can’t focus on everything – your goals are like panning for gold – find the five things that:

1. Help you make a transformation

2. Move you to the next level

3. Make you get out of bed

4. Help you move towards feeling good about yourself and your life

5. Supports others as well as yourself move on in life

Why do people feel bad after Christmas and New Year? – time for renewal and great stuff !


Time for reflection….then take action


As all the pre-Christmas hype, hustle and bustle starts to clam down and the year draws to a close, maybe you should create some space to consider and reflect on the year and what 2011 holds for you. The year has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for many companies, some have sadly fell foul of the unfortunate market conditions whilst other entrepreneurs have embraced change and used it as a way of forcing new ways of doing things. I am a great believer that the true creative spark is ignited when we are forced into a corner with what seemingly appears to be no way out – this feeling for many drives new behaviours and what I call Critically Important Actions. Many successful people I have researched anticipate take action well before they are caught in this position – however, this is not always possible!

On balance I think the winners of 2011 will be those that drive their markets and customers, they don’t just sit there and wait for crisis to happen – they take control, lead effectively and force new ideas through. With this in mind can I suggest time for reflection – ask yourself:

1.What needs to change?

2. What must I do to change it?

3.What can I learn from 2010?

4.What 3 things should I focus on in Q1 of 2011

5.What does success look like on 24th December 2011?

6. Get on with it….after your well earned break!

Take some time out to rethink and de clutter your mind. Find clarity and then get on with it – but as all those that know me – the mantra is: don’t spend too much time thinking about what you are going to do – get the balance right – 20% thinking, 80% doing.




Get stuck in – mental toughness


Our lives and careers are full of ups and downs. The high’s are fantastic and the feeling of jubilation when we move closer to our goals provides us with a clear sense of accomplishment. For our mind it’s a great place to be as we are motivated and energised by this sense of achievement, this creates the impetus and motivation to keep pushing forward. However the journey towards our vision very rarely proceeds along a smooth path. Invariably, obstacles will be thrown in our way, these force us to create diversions and look for alternative ways of getting to our destination.

Constantly being forced to deal with the need to explore alternative roads to our desired end point can have a wearing effect on our mindset, it can bring us to all time lows in motivation – many individuals will ask themselves what’s the point in doing this? Is it really worth it? Most of us at some point in our lives have internally deliberated these issues. Only you can answer these questions, only you can decide whether to keep going or not. At these critical points, it can be easier to give up than to carry on – from my research into success, winners in all walks of life dig deep, maintain focus and continue with their mission, they accept that setbacks are just part of the game plan. The old adage when the going gets tough the tough get going is one you should reflect on when you experience these feelings (Billy Ocean said this in his famous song). Two vital questions you need to ask yourself if you reach this stage:

How much do I want it?

Can I cope with more setbacks?

Having mental toughness differentiates winners from losers, your sense of purpose ebbs away when you listen to negative self talk, phrases such as why am I doing this? are symptomatic of the condition, in turn it weakens the endurance of the mind  and sprit thereby resulting in I give up. Successful people I have researched have an insatiable desire and internalised motivation to succeed – you have really got to want it!

Slow down to speed up


Not being able to see the wood for the trees is a common feature of life. People regularly talk about being busy and overworked – but just how much of this is self-inflicted. All too often we engage in activity that brings no value to achieving our highest goals and ambitions. Without reflective time, our decision making becomes blurred and it is common to lose sight of what we want. The result is stale thought with patterns of behaviour that fail to deliver our deepest desires. Successful people have the fortunate ability to think clearly, this is helped by finding the time to take well-earned breaks from being “busy”. This cleansing process provides the opportunity to de clutter the mind.

The practice of finding sanctuary helps to remove mental blockages and fosters a sense of balance between work and play. Without regular periods of reflection you will find yourself eventually in a rut – the place you don’t want to be!

You must think of Sanctuary on three levels of “time out”:

Daily sanctuary to help us to prepare for the day ahead – time with family, exercise, meditation, prayer, reading. Starting each day with 10 minutes of deep reflection, provides a kick-start to focused activity and just being aware

Weekly sanctuary that helps divert our energies into non related activities like pursuing a hobby, sport or spending more time with family and relationships. These activities release you from the week that was – puts you in a good frame for the week ahead

Sanctuary includes those activities that most people can only fit in two or three times a year. They would typically involve family holiday’s, short breaks or some form or retreat. This level gives you the opportunity to ask the big questions – what is my life all about? What needs to change? Should I go and do something else?

Dedication to the 3 Levels will open your mind to new possibilities and opportunities. Chasing success can be as destructive as it is constructive – practicing the art of Finding Sanctuary will build perspective into your life and help to differentiate between what is and what is not important, what brings fulfilment and what does not – embed these disciplines into your routine and you will experience a profound improvement in clarity of thought – you will see things more clearly, you will make better decisions and life will feel less hectic.