It’s all okay you know ……….. when you just be

It’s a cruel joke you know?

That’s what Matt Fox calls it.

The cruel joke. What is this joke?

We are the only animals on this planet who know we’re going to die.
Pretty sucky, right?All other animals get to live in the moment. No anxiety for the future. No regrets of the past.

We humans fog our ability to enjoy today.

We wake up and live for the future. We fill it full of hopes and dreams, or anxiety for the bad things that might come.

We allow ourselves to be haunted by our past disappointments and mistakes.

We blame others for our situation and how they ’cause’ us to do this or that.

Consider this your reality check for today.

Let it go.

Tomorrow may not come. Don’t live for it. Don’t fear it.

Don’t regret the past. Yesterday can’t be changed.

All you have is now.
Woof woof drool sniff

Ways to loosen up some limiting beliefs

Summary: Article from Andy Smith

It’s often difficult to loosen up limiting beliefs from someone close to you so here are a few options.


NLP with your partnerEven for experienced coaches and therapists, it’s not easy to help a person change when it’s someone close to you, because you’re emotionally involved yourself.

If they’re stuck with a belief system that they know is holding them back, but they just can’t let go of by themselves, there are some things you can say just in conversation that may help them at least loosen up the belief system a bit.

Here are ten suggestions. Naturally it’s up to you to decide which is the right one to say and when to say it, but if you really listen to the person (rather than taking your attention inside to think about what you’re going to say next) you’ll find yourself saying the right thing at the right time.

  1. Avoid asking “Why?” unless you want more justifications, defenses, denial or reasons to go on acting the way they do. “Why?” is not great as a question to change someone’s behaviour because you never know what kind of answer you’re going to get.
  2. There is a case where “Why?” is useful, which is if you are trying to uncover the roots of the belief system. Asking “Why do you believe that?” (probably with appropriate softeners around it) will often uncover a belief that the ‘surface’ belief, the one they are consciously aware of, is built on. Some of the beliefs that limit us are based ultimately on other beliefs installed in early childhood, that we may not be consciously aware of and haven’t tested against evidence for years.
  3. When people do become aware of a limiting belief like that, often it just vanishes as it’s something that their adult self wouldn’t believe. It doesn’t survive contact with the world as they see it now. Fritz Perls said “Awareness is itself curative”.
  4. Agree with them when they tell you why they can’t do whatever it is they want to do, but agree so much that it becomes ridiculous. The aim is to get them to laugh about the problem, which is a sign that they are seeing it in a different perspective.
  5. Get them into a different mood by whatever means necessary before you attempt to get them to change their minds or see things differently. The traditional Anglo-Saxon means of argument or debate is pretty much designed to make people more entrenched in their position rather than changing their mind.
  6. If there’s something that they’re saying they can’t do (e.g. say “no” to having some more work foisted on them) ask them “What would happen if you did?” This might help uncover whatever unstated awful consequences they think might happen, which probably won’t seem so bad once they articulate it.
  7. Ask “If you had a good friend who was in the same position and they said that to you, what would you advise them to do?” – or “What would you suggest to help them?” or similar.
  8. Ask “What is it about <their situation or the problem as they articulate it> that makes it difficult?” The aim is to help them to get more specific about exactly what the problem is for them, to make it less vague and more manageable.
  9. If there is another person involved in creating the problem (e.g. a manager that takes advantage of them), ask them to put themselves in that other person’s shoes. How do they look from that other person’s perspective? What does that other person believe about them? The more they can ‘get into character’ as the other person, the more useful the answers will be to them.
  10. Simplest of all – ask them “What do you want?” or “What do you want to happen?”
    Very often, a solution will be found outside the problem rather than through trying to analyse it. If the problem was simple enough to be solved by constantly ruminating over its causes, they would have solved it themselves by now. Instead, questions like these direct their attention towards possible solutions.

The Optimist Creed

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Declare Yourself

Taken from Matt Fox and his Take on To Kill a Mocking Bird. I like this concept which I feel is easier to agree to than to put into practice. We will see.

You don’t have to defend an innocent man in court to declare yourself.

Stop putting up with half-assed work in your job. From yourself and from others.

Take responsibility for everything that happens to you this week.

Take a stand against deceiving yourself.

It is unpleasant.

We don’t like to do this because it’s always easier to find blame.

It’s easier to be a victim.

Draw a line in the sand for small things. As you reinforce your abilities you increase your power to demand what’s right.

And build your ability to stand, with unwavering conviction, when you need it most.

Eliminate resistance when you take your stand…

A problem shared is a problem halved right?


Adapted from a TEDX talk by Alison Ledgerwood called Getting Stuck in the Negative (and how to get unstuck) 

It is essential to start any description as a glass half full rather than a glass half empty. Even as 60% successful rather than 40% unsuccessful because research shows that it is almost impossible to change a negative perception into a positive one even if we are talking about the same statistics .

We are naturally wired to search for bad stuff and we find it really difficult to get it out of our minds. Remember the stuff about one negative feedback comment requires 5 positive feedback comments to get us back to where we started?

We believe that sharing bad news and our bad experiences will help us in some way get rid of the bad shit. And we forget to talk about the good stuff. Remember also that behaviour breeds behaviour and so if we are grumpy this may affect others along the way for hours, days or even weeks.

And this is where our minds need the most practice. We can work to see the upside by:

  • Writing for a few minutes each day about stuff that you are grateful for can seriously benefit your happiness, your wellbeing and even your health.
  • Rehearse good news and share it with others.
  • As a recipient of a torrent of negative stories from our partners or work colleagues, maybe from their day at work, we can possibly interject and ask “and what happened today that was good?”

The Relationship Triangle – It’s about being an adult PRV

I read this article when considering the relationship between my wife and I and our daughter. I can recognise several scenarios where we as parents adopted the rescuer mode. Most certainly we have often crossed over to the Persecutor mode on several occasions over the years. Our daughter appears to be very comfortable in the Victim modes and has developed many strategies and behaviours to keep us both in the Triangle relationship. In an attempt to break this cycle both my wife and I have now adopted the Adult approach and we are simply waiting for our lovely daughter to joins us, some day, some week or even some year. For now we have made the bold step to cut here out of our lives. We are feeling much better and I trust that she will too.

Here’s the link to the original post in Psychology Today written by Robert Taibbi back in 2011

This is a useful way of looking at relationships, and I use this in all my work with couples both as a way of seeing where they are, but also where they need to go. It is based on the Drama Triangle, also known as the Karpman Triangle, which was developed by psychiatrist Steven Karpman in the in the early 1970’s. What follows in my interpretation and expansion on Karpman’s original ideas.

Begin by imagining or drawing an upside down triangle (Do it now, it will help). At the top are two letter, P on the left had side, R on the right. At the bottom, the tip of the triangle is the letter V.

The triangle represents the relationship between two people. The P, R, and V represent different roles that the people can play; it is not the people themselves, but a role. The roles interlock and there is always someone on top who seems to have more power, and someone on the bottom. The relationship moves about in a circle as follows:

The person is the R position is the rescuer. The person in that role essentially has “nice guy” control. He hooks into the V or victim. The person in that role feels overwhelmed at times. He feels that problems are falling down on his head. The rescuer steps in and says, “I can help you out. Just do what I say, everything will be fine.” Often times couples will begin their relationship in some form of this. They psychologically cut a deal: The rescuer says that I will agree to be big, strong, good and nice; the victim says I will agree to be overwhelmed and unable
to manage. Everyone is happy. The rescuer feels needed, important and in charge. The victim has someone to take care of him.

And it works fine, except every once in a while one of two things happens. Sometimes the rescuer gets tired of doing it all. He feels like he is shouldering all the responsibilities and that the other is not pulling his weight, not giving anything back, not appreciating what the rescuer is doing. The rescuer gets fed up, angry, resentful. Bam! He shifts over to the P, the persecutor role. He suddenly blows up – usually about something minor – laundry, who didn’t take out the trash – or acts out – go out a spends a lot of money, goes on a drinking binge, has an affair. He feels he deserves it, look, after all, he says to himself, at what I’ve been putting up with. The message underneath the behavior and anger that usually does not come out very clearly is: “Why don’t you grow up! Why don’t you take some responsibility! Why do I have to do everything around here! Why don’t you appreciate what I am doing for you! This is unfair!” The feeling of unfair is a strong one.

At that point the victim gets scared and moves up to the R position, tries to make up and calm the waters. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I didn’t realize. I really do appreciate what you do. I’ll do better.” Then the persecutor feels bad about whatever he did or said and goes down to the victim position and gets depressed. Then they both stabilize and go back to their original positions.

The other thing that happens sometimes is the victim gets tired of being the victim. He gets tired of the other one always running the show, always telling him what to do. He gets tired of being looked down on because the rescuer is basically saying, “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t make it.” Everyone once in a while the victim gets fed up and Bam, moves to the persecutor role. Like the rescuer, the victim in this role blows up and gets angry usually about something small, or acts out.

The message underneath that doesn’t get said is Why don’t you get off my back! Leave me alone, stop controlling my life! Back off, I can do things myself! The rescuer hears this and moves to the victim position. He says to himself, “Poor me, every time I try to help, look what I get.” The persecutor then feels bad about whatever he did or said and goes to the rescuer position and says something like, “I was stressed out, off my meds, tired from the kids. I’m sorry.” And then they make up and go back to where they originally were.

While everyone gets to move among all the roles, often one will fit more comfortably in one role more than another. This has to do with personality, upbringing, and learned ways of coping. The rescuer as a child was often an only child, oldest, or grew up in a chaotic family. He usually did not have many buffers between him and his parents, and learned early on that he could avoid getting in trouble and avoid conflict by being good: “If I can stay on my toes and just do what my parents (and teacher) wants me to do all the time, I won’t get in any hot water.”

This type of person learns to be very sensitive to others as a means of survival. He develops good radar and can pick up the nuances of emotions. He is hyperalert, spends all his energy surveying the environment, stays on his toes, ever ready to do what the parents want. Essentially he takes the position of “I’m happy if you’re happy, and I need to make sure you are happy.” He gets rewarded for being good and his head is filled with shoulds.

What works for the child, however, doesn’t necessarily work so well for the adult. Now the world is bigger. Rather than just two or three important people to pay attention to, the rescuer adult has many more – the boss, the IRS, the President of the local Rotary Club or VFW. He now feels pulled in a lot of directions, stretched thin, as he scrambles to accommodate what he thinks others want from him. He easily feels like a martyr, he is always at risk of burnout.

He also has a hard time knowing what he wants. Because he spent so much of his energy as a child looking outward and doing what others wanted, he never had the opportunity to sit back and decide what he wanted. Wanting, unlike following shoulds and rules, is a feeling, and he is often not aware of what he is feeling. As an adult if you ask him “But what do you want?” he hesitates and gets stuck. He worries about making the right decision, about not offending anyone in his life or the critical voice in his head.

He also has a hard time with anger and conflict (which is why he became good in the first place) and tends to stuff anger down until he gets fed up and begins to gag on it. Then he blows up, and because he is so uncomfortable with and it creates so much drama, he feels like his worst dream has come true. He feels guilty, and shoves it all back down again, only to have it build up again.

The victim, in contrast, was as a child was often the youngest in the family, was over-protected as child by parents or had older siblings who stepped in and took over all the time when he was stuck with a problem. What he missed in growing up were opportunities to develop the self confidence that comes from learning to manage problems on your own. Now, as an adult, he easily gets overwhelmed, feels unconfident, anxious. To handle these feelings he looks to the rescuer who takes over and helps him feel better.

The persecutor as a type is the evil twin of the rescuer. Whereas the rescuer controls by being good and nice, and persecutor is angry, critical, and blaming. This is the abuser, and obviously some couples start with this persecutor – victim relationship, playing outchildhood models and roles. The persecutor learned early on that when I get scared I get tough. If I can negatively control everything going on around me, no one can sneak up behind me and get me.

Now imagine or draw two A’s next to each other with a line drawn between them (Go ahead, do it, it will help). The A stands for adult. This person is not in a role, is more complete, proactive rather than reactive, self responsible rather than blaming, and is outside the triangle. Adults are peers; they are on the same level in terms of power. This is where you want to be.

The adult says, “I’m responsible for what I think, do, say. If something bothers me, it is my problem. If you can do something to help me with my problem, I need to tell you, because you can’t read my mind. If you decide not to help me, I’ll need to decide what I’m going to do next to fix my problem. Similarly, if something bothers you, it is your problem. If there is something I can do to help you with your problem, you need to tell me. And if I decide not to help you with your problem, you can work it out. You may not handle it the way I might, but you can do it. I don’t need to take over.”

Two of the problems the rescuer and victim have in their relationship is that they do expect a lot of mindreading – you should know what is going on or how to help without my having to say so – and then feel frustrated or disappointed or angry when the other does not. They also have distorted sense of responsibility: The rescuer tends to be over-responsible – your problems are my problems, I’m happy if you are happy, and it is my job to make sure you are happy. In the attempt to “make” the victim happy, the victim over time begins to feel pressure and control, which sets up the explosion. Similarly, the victim tends to be under-responsible – my problems are your problems – I expect you to fix them, and I either have to wait or manipulate you into doing so.

The adults, in contrast, are clear about who has the problem. This is represented by the vertical line running between them. If you feel it, it’s yours. This is a key concept, one invaluable for couples to understand and incorporate. By being aware of who has the problem, the individuals can avoid the defensiveness, anxiety, control, and manipulation of couples caught in the triangle.

They also can be more intimate. The problem the rescuer and victim face in their relationship is that the roles, which is not the people themselves but only parts of them, keep them stuck. The rescuer cannot let down his guard, or get too vulnerable because he is afraid that the victim will not be able to handle it. Similarly, the victim cannot ever get too strong because the rescuer will feel threatened and out of job. The long line between the victim and rescuer is real. It represents the emotional distance between them.

The adults don’t have this problem. Both can be responsible, strong, and yet honest and vulnerable. They can take risks, are not locked in roles, and hence, can be more open and intimate.

Two people can obviously be in this pattern for a long time – seemingly getting along, suddenly having some acting out or emotional explosion, making up, returning to their roles, and repeating the pattern over and over again. Sometimes, particularly for the rescuer, will continue until he eventually drops from the weight of it all – he gets a heart attack or has some psychological breakdown, and everyone is surprised and afraid. What can also happen over time, and what often brings the couple into therapy, is that one person is either tired of going around the cycle, or begins to outgrow the role he is in. Like any other pattern it takes two to play the game and as soon as one person begins to move towards the adult, the other gets scared and tries to pull him back in to keep it going.

For example, you may have a rescuer who gets tired of mopping up all the time and starts to pull away and better define boundaries and problems. The classic case of this is the codependent of an alcoholic. The wife, for example, begins to attend Alanon meetings and starts to tell her husband, “Jake, I’m not going to call up your boss for you on Monday morning and tell him you are sick. You can call him yourself. I’m not going to pick you up off the front lawn on Saturday night if you get drunk.” The wife is stepping out of the triangle and if Jake got drunk before, he is going to rip-roaring drunk to get try and hook his wife back in. If that doesn’t work, Jake is likely to switch to one of the other roles: He may shift to the persecutor, get angry, and threaten divorce and custody of the kids or cut off money; he may get nice, tell her how he is going to start going to AA meetings to appease her and bring her back.

Similarly, if the victim moves to the adult position, the rescuer feels threatened. This is often seen in empty nest stage of marriage. The husband has been more or less been in charge – making most of the big decisions, financially supporting the family – and the kids begin to leave home. The wife starts to say something like “You know, Bill, I’m thinking of maybe going back to school. I never finished my degree because I stayed home with the kids, and now is a good time to do it. Maybe I’ll go back into full time work. I think I’d like to get my own checking and saving account so I can have my own money and be more independent.”

While Bill knows what to do when his wife is in the one-down position, he doesn’t know what to do when she shifts. Generally the first thing Bill will instinctively do is be nice but try and talk his wife out of the changes: “Why do you want to go back to school now? You’re 45 years old. What are you going to be able to do with a degree? It will cost us 30 grand for tuition, for what? You don’t need to get a full time job. This is a time to take it easy. We don’t need another checking account. It cost $10 a month in fees that we don’t need to spend.” Stay put is the message. If that doesn’t work, Bill may shift to the persecutor role and get angry – “If you want to go to school, you find a way to pay for it. We’re not taking it out of our retirement.” Or Bill will move to the victim position, get depressed so his wife needs to stay home and take care of him.

Finally, you easily see this dynamic is abusive relationships. If the victim of a persecutor-victim relationship decides to move out of the triangle or out of the relationship and not be a punching bag anymore, the first thing the persecutor will do is more of the same. If he was angry, he is now going to get explosive. He will stalk her, hunt her down, emotionally abuse her or beat her up. If that doesn’t work, he may get nice. He will be calling you up for anger management and ask if you could call up his wife or girlfriend and tell her that he called about therapy, then not follow through. If that doesn’t work, he may get depressed, even threaten to kill himself so she will come back into the relationship.

If all the jockeying around doesn’t work, the person left behind has one of two choices. He may end the relationship and find someone else to play the corresponding role, someone else to control, someone else to take care of them. Of the person left behind can move towards the adult position too.

The challenges of both partners moving to the adult position are several. The natural feeling of the one left behind is that if you care, you’ll stay in the triangle. If they both move, the partners need to develop new ways of showing that they care for each other. There will be a period of transition while these new ways are being created, and the new ways will not, at least for awhile, feel as good as the old ways. There are also the challenges of learning new skills, especially for the one feeling left behind.

The reason the triangle is so strong and works is because the roles are complementary. Each sees in the other what he is unable to see in himself. The rescuer, for example, is not as nice or strong as he thinks, but sees his vulnerability and anger in the victim and persecutor. The victim is not as weak as he thinks, but projects his strength and anger onto the rescuer and persecutor. The persecutor is not as tough as he thinks but only sees his weakness and goodness in the victim and rescuer.

To be successful the each must learn to recognize and incorporate what has been left out. The rescuer needs to learn to recognize his wants, and take the risk of not being good and overresponsible. He needs to learn how to recognize his anger and then use it as for information about what he wants. He needs to experiment with letting go of control, and resist the impulse to fix his own anxiety by taking over when the other is struggling. He needs to learn how to let down his guard, so he can learn to trust and be vulnerable, and nurture in a genuine caring way, rather than out of fear and the need for control.

Similarly, the victim needs to build up his self confidence – by taking risks and doing things on his own, by using the rescuer not as a rescuer but a support. He needs to learn how to partialize problems so he doesn’t feel so overwhelmed. Like the rescuer he needs to tap into his anger and use it to better define his boundaries and wants.

Finally, the abuser needs to recognize that his anger is a defense. He has to look for the softer emotions that he sees in the victim – the hurt, the sadness, the regret – in himself and beneath the cover of his anger. He also needs to shift his strength to one that is more generous, needs to find ways of being nurturing and allow himself to be nurtured by the other.

The relationship triangle gives you a way of conceptualizing the dynamics of a relationship.

See where you fit.

The Power of Attention

Jeff Klein The Power of Attention

Summary: Real attention leads to connection and the converse is true.

This is a summary of a Youtube video by Jeff who died fairly shortly after recording this TED talk. I guess this simply sums up the NLP notion of Rapport and the greatest gift that you can bestow on others is to pay complete attention to them. And indeed to any task you are attending to right now. This does not happen very often in life and relationships. See my other post about how we listen to ourselves and others. What is our outcome when listening? is it simply to wait for a gap to insert our already known knowledge and to impress?

“If you want me to move you have to connect with me first” – Jeff’s Daughter

An instant lesson in the power of attention to foster the power of connection.

Are you paying attention? Connection will only follow if you are. Of course this may be paying attention to yourself as well as to others.


Attention is powerful.

The acronym RAIN has its origins in Mindfulness and is often associated with dealing with strong emotions. Here we have a version relating to nicotine addiction.

Recognise the craving

Accept it and let it be Okay

Investigate the cravings

Notice how these cravings change

Before a meeting perhaps ask “What has your attention at this moment?”

How to open a closed door – even a little bit

“What a shame!” I thought. She has limited her life in so many ways, simply by making up her mind about what is possible and not possible for her. It’s like walking down a corridor and deliberately closing many of the doors, locking them and throwing away the key.” This quote is from Shelle Rose Charvet on her blog.

Perhaps you are dealing with someone who is stuck and you feel they will never change?

So if it’s Okay with you I’d like to summarise her post and give you a slightly different view on the subject? This could be a simple approach that is easy to weave into a conversation and will give them the opportunity to offer their opinion on the suggestion. What do you think about that?

So what do you do when you notice that you or someone else have closed a bunch of doors?

Firstget permission. There is little point talking to a closed door.
“Could I give you a slightly different perspective on that?” may open the door a crack.

Check again to pry it open a little wider: “I had an idea about this and I’d like to find out what you think.”

If the person expresses or shows some curiosity, now they are peeking out to see what else might be out there. Good start!

Second: State your door opening idea as a possibility or a suggestion and then give the benefit of the suggestion and the problem it solves.


“I was just thinking what if you broke down this desire into some steps and put them in your calendar as “to do’s” each week (suggestion)? Then it would be clearer, what you needed to do and you could follow your plan (benefit). That way you wouldn’t be stuck in the same place any longer. (problem solved – moving away from the problem).”

Lastly, after they have thought about it or discussed it, help them take a first step through the door. “If X were possible, I’m wondering what the first step might be.”

Example: “If you were to think about making this desire happen, what might be the first step?”

To really help someone open and pass through a door that they had closed, it is important toend on a concrete step, a procedure.

If you end a conversation on all the options, they may still be stuck, because they first have to choose which option to take.

The next time I catch myself deciding something is too difficult, not within my capabilities or not likely to happen, I will:

  1. Ask myself if I would like to consider another possibility (permission).
  2. Ask if it were possible/desirable, what would be the point (benefit) and what issue would it solve for me (problem solved and moved away from)
  3. What would be the first step?

How much fun are you having today?

How much fun are you having today?

An article by Matt Fox which is a story aiming to influence the reader to buy his latest product.

I joke that if Disneyland is the “happiest place on earth” then any Walmart is the “most miserable place on earth.”

Walmart is the butt of many jokes.

I had to stop in one the other day (don’t judge, it happens).

As I was putting items on the belt to checkout I noticed the man had the typical “I can’t believe how miserable this job is” look across his face.

I wonder if it’s a requirement to work there.

The lady in front of me separated her basket of items into three different purchases.

His scowl was extra scowly after this.

As the lady put the last bag in her cart, she ignored the man. She didn’t say anything. She turned away and started yelling at her kid to stop running around.

I walked up and looked at the man, I matched his expression as he stared at the lady leaving. I took a breath. And took the opportunity to put that lady’s situation behind us. I put a grin on my face and asked him:

“How much fun are YOU having today?”

He chuckled and said, “Well, I’m at work but it’s not that bad.”

I replied, “Yeah, it seems busy today. That’s nice. It makes the time go by quickly so you can have more fun later, no?”

He agreed and started ringing up my items. As he put the first items into a bag I started to grab the bag to put it into my cart.

He stopped me and said, “No wait. I’ll do that for you.” He came around the counter, took my cart to his side, then bagged and put the items in the cart.

I’ve NEVER had someone at Walmart be that helpful (Okay, I admit I’ve been to Walmart more than once).

He didn’t do it for the lady before me. He didn’t do it for the people behind me either. I looked back as I was leaving the store.

It was a very brief interaction but it’s what counts. These small moments can have a huge impact.

When you take the time to shed a little light into someone’s dark world, they’ll go out of their way to help you.

Most people live their life being swept from one emotion to another with no real control. You have the ability to plant seeds of growth and make someone feel good for absolutely no reason. Why not do it often?

It costs you nothing to make someone feel good.

And it usually only takes a few minutes to do. The quickest way is to start with something that’s unexpected.

I didn’t ask, “How are you?” That’s what everyone says. You wouldn’t really think about your answer and would spit out, “Good,” or, “Not too bad.”

I love to ask, “How much fun are YOU having today?” and watch their expression.

The reactions will vary drastically. Some people will roll their eyes and look at you like you’re crazy. Others will chuckle or tell you they’re having a lot of fun. Most will be somewhere between the two extremes.

If you’re going to use your influence skills, do it every day and in every situation.

Practice making people feel good.

It doesn’t cost you anything.

And, as Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Want to quickly make people feel good?


A great START to the New Year


Probably heard of SMART goals – well this is smarter!

Sources: Phil Chambers



The New Year is a time for setting targets, making resolutions and beginning anew. You can increase the likelihood of achieving your goals in 2015 if you have a system in place. START as you mean to go on. Follow the acronym below…

State your goals clearly

It is very important to define what you want to achieve (see quote of the month above). If you have an ill-defined question or goal, this can have several detrimental effects: By devoting time and effort to solving a side issue you are not making good use of your resources. If you believe you have solved the problem but have not tackled the root cause it may well escalate while you attention is elsewhere. If you solve the wrong problem you may exacerbate the situation.

You have probably heard of SMART goals, an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. The trouble with goals that are ‘Achievable’ and ‘Realistic’ is that they are limited and uninspiring. If you’re not inspired and passionate about your goals you are far less likely to achieve them. By setting small ‘achievable’ goals we are actually setting ourselves up to fail. Bad experiences and fear of failure lead you to set goals that are even smaller or worse, just give up. You find yourself on a downward spiral to mediocrity. American pastor and motivational speaker Robert H Schuller said, “What would you do if you knew you could not  fail?” I agree with this sentiment – set massive audacious goals and then break them down into achievable and realistic steps.

Write your goals down and share them with a friend so that you have someone to hold you to account. It is often quoted that Yale (or Harvard Business School) conducted a study on the efficacy of clear written goals. This is actually an urban myth but some empirical research verifying this has been conducted by a group at Dominican University, Illinois.

Even better, create a Mind Map of your goals with plenty of vivid images. Don’t worry if you are not confident of your artistic abilities. You can use software such as iMindMap and import clip art or images from the internet. If drawing by hand you can scan into the computer and add images or even paste appropriate images onto your paper Mind Map.

Take action – Test

Having broken your goals down into manageable steps take action to achieve these. There will be instances when the action is not successful but it should be seen as a scientific experiment.
Regardless of the outcome you will get valuable data. Sir Humphry Davy, one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century – perhaps ever, said, “I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes.”

Analyse the results you got

Having conducted your test look at the results. Did you get the outcome you expected? If not, can you see why this may have been the case? What can you learn from your mistakes? Are there other factors you need to take into account? Were you working with false assumptions? You can once again use a Mind Map to draw together the results and possibly gain new  insights.

Refine the approach

Having analysed what happened, decide what you need to do differently. Small refinements make a big difference overall. This is the basis of Japanese principle of ‘Kaizen’. At Toyota they organize regular “Kaizen events,” where a team spends a day working to come up with
improvements, and then implement them. Employees are encouraged look for improvement opportunities, so they can have something to suggest to the team at the next event. This forms a culture of continuous improvement made up of many small steps.

Try again

Armed with your new insights and refinements to the original test, try again. The key to success is to take an iterative approach. Keep trying and improving, never giving up. In the words of Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

START the year with these principles but remember that the same approach can be used to for any new project.