Archive for the 'Personal Development' Category

Aug 17 2009

Making life difficult for yourself?

Where does time go?

Knowing that everyone has the same 24 hours in each day doesn’t comfort when you’re still trying to do more than a day’s work. The thing is, do you then make life more difficult for yourself?

While I’ve documented some of my struggles with time management recently I’d now like to share that it is getting sorted!

I even took time out to play golf this week.

Well, not “proper golf”. There’s a “pitch and putt” course close to home, set up right on the coast so you get a great combination of 18 holes (perhaps par 3) through countryside and woodland while looking out on beautiful seascapes. Fantastic.

Now my golfing skills are minimal but it’s really relaxing walking round this course, it takes a couple of hours, you chat with the other players as you cris-cross the holes and it’s all very leisurely… for most people.

We did come across two guys who were rather more serious about the whole affair. They were carrying numerous clubs with them (not the regulation number 7 club and putter issued by the man in the hut) and were obviously more experienced.

They stood 50 yards behind the tee for each hole in order to tee-off. They could obviously hit the ball further than most of us outright amateurs on the course and wanted to show it. However, while they displayed power in abundance, they lacked skill in direction and without fail spent the next 10 minutes looking for their lost balls.

The power of this metaphor for poor life management was not lost on me. Strong and focussed but without direction – hmm not a good recipe for success.

So how have I been doing?

This week I’ve been more focussed – serial-single-tasking my way through a focussed to do list of action points. Excellent news.

Mind you, I’ve also outsourced two pieces of work – Luisa in Germany is re-writing a leaflet for me and Abhishek in India is creating a website…

Nicola in the Money Gym is a great fan of this. Tim Ferris in the 4 hour Work Week shows you how.

I’m finally getting the message – when you’ve got too much for one person to do, get help.


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Aug 06 2009

Life in the Slow Lane.

Have you ever had one of those “light-bulb” moments?

I’ve recently had my first full week away from delivering workshops. I know I will use my summer to re-write and update my workshop materials, to progress some internet projects that I’ve been tweaking for some time, but there’s also some rest and relaxation scheduled in there too.

However, the weather hasn’t been briliant of late so I found myself in my living room and had a “fly-on-the-wall” experience of looking at myself…

I was reading a recipe book, while watching the Ladies Golf Open on TV, with my computer on my lap downloading files.

And this was my day off… Great, I certainly can choose to do whatever I wish but, was I really enjoying any of the activities I was engaged in?

Einstein said: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.”

In my life, running on a treadmill for 20 minutes seems like an eternity, while 20 minutes walking in the park, something that I love, goes by in a blink of the eye.

Why is it that the older you get, the faster that time goes by?

Why are we so obsessed with saving time or time management?

We have time-saving appliances and even time-saving recipes. We have fast food restaurants and even drive-thru restaurants. We take short cuts down streets, back roads or rat runs to get home quickly.

I have my pda and phone so that I can keep in touch and have my diary instantly at my fingertips.

So I’m pretty good at saving time…

At the same time I know there is and always will be, 24 hours in every day, 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year.

What am I saving all my time for?! Surely it’s for the pleasure of really enjoying something!

Guess it’s time to apply the lessons of serial-single-tasking to my personal life too… Nothing wrong with multi-tasking but there’s more to savour if you give something your full attention, and that’s true at work and at play.

I guess, taken to it’s extreme we can say that it’s like watching life through the lens of your video camera or mobile phone…

Are you really living your life as an intentional being, part of the action, co-creating the future… or are you an observer, moving quickly and efficiently from one scene to the next, recording all but missing the point?

Hmmm. Here’s to a little life in the slow lane!


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Aug 04 2009

A Simple Approach to Decisions

Published by under Personal Development

Everybody makes decisions.

Even the decision not to decide is itself a decision!

It can be a tough place sometimes, particularly when we cannot forsee the consequences of our decisions in the longer term.

Suzy Welch has recently written a book: “10-10-10 a Life Transforming Idea” that helps us to see more clearly the impact of any decisions we make. It’s not so much a book on time management as deciding how to use your life.

10-10-10 is a particular way of approaching decisions that don’t have a simple yes/no answer and asking about the possible consequences of your decision in the next 10 minutes, 10 months or even 10 years. At the heart of your decision are your authentic values — how you want to live, who you want to be, and who you want to spend time with. Putting together your options and your values like this, allows you to make decisions that put you at cause, in control of your life rather than a victim of circumstance.

Suzy explains that she came up with this idea after a particularly bad time management decision “I was on assignment to speak to some insurance executives in Hawaii. I was living in Boston, it was a big long trip, and in a lame attempt to crack the code of work-life balance I brought two of my children. It was an unmitigated disaster. It came to a climax when I warehoused my kids at a hula dance class during my speech and they charged in wearing their hula skirts. I thought to myself, Something has to change. About 24 hours later, this came to me.

If you want to have a look at the book or the audio version:

Maybe you’ve read this already – what do you think? Do let me know!


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Jul 29 2009

Confessions of a Time Management Teacher

OK, I know I should know better…

I’ve gone from knowing exactly where I should be and what I should be doing almost every minute of my day for the last 6 months into a state of “anything goes” as my regime of university training workshops comes to an end. I did a session on Presenting Your Research at Conference at UCL last week – and since then, my time has been my own.

This is a great opportunity and one I welcome as I have so many projects I want to really focus on – and yet focus is the one thing I’m struggling with.

Because I’m so excited about the many opportunites available to me, so keen to get them flying, I’m struggling to focus and make significant progress in any one area. (Judith Morgan, I think I’m experiencing entrepreneur-itis!!)

I talked in a recent blog about the benefits of serial single-tasking – and they are real and effective.

Staying with a single task for a defined length of time (anything from 20 to 50 minutes) is really helpful and gets things done. What I’m struggling with right now is falling off the wagon as something bigger and more shiney crosses my path.

So, add into the serial single-tasking mixture: the big goal of the day!

As most of my distractions seem to srise from “one big desire”, I’ve decided to focus on this one task first. Each day start with a 50 minute session dedicated to “the big one” before coming in with some serial single-tasking to take care of the other important tasks that are also necessary.

Oh yes, and having time to play and a snooze after lunch are definitely included in my daily schedule.

What’s the point of work if you don’t enjoy it?!


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Jul 22 2009

Boost Your Creativity

No matter what your goal in life, work or pleasure, building a business or baking a cake, you probably need to include these two ingredients in some proportion or other:
a) focus on and pay attention to the detail
b) increase your creativity and expand your ideas.

Now much as we often feel that our performance depends upon our mood, how we feel, whether we got out of bed on the right side today… our performance is also influenced by our environment.

Two recently published research papers have shed important light on the matter.

Apparently whether we think big or focus is directly influenced by the height of our ceiling and by the colour of visual clues in our environment.

As you might guess, higher ceilings, more space, encourages us to think big, outside the box, be creative.

Also intuitively, the colour blue will stimulate our creative juices, blue sky thinking and all of that.

In contrast, being in a small space will cramp our creative style and limit our access to a free-thinking state while environemental flashes of the colour red will, with it’s subliminal danger signals, cause us to pay attention, take care and focus on the detail.

On the one hand this seems to be a case of publishing the blindingly obvious.

On the other hand, these people now have measurable evidence to support what we might have guessed.

What it does mean is that we now have a number of tools we can use to modify our environment depending upon whether we need to be detail or big picture focussed.

Even something as small as changing the colour scheme on your computer desktop, choosing a different wallpaper or turning your chair to look at a different coloured poster on the wall could have significant effects on your performance.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a home or work environment where the ceilings are more than 3m high, maybe it is worth spending an hour in a lofty-ceilinged coffee shop to give your thoughts the encouragement to expand.

Blue notebook But don’t forget to take a blue notebook with you!


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Jul 21 2009

Wealth will just happen…

… if you put in the work beforehand!

I was working with a client recently who is in the middle of a 90-day coaching programme.

Six weeks in, that’s half way through the challenge, this client, let’s call her Claire, had reached her goals, and some. These goals concerned making a defined monthly income from passive sources and working towards a defined annual income. The figures – I don’t want to disclose personal details here – but the figures were more than equivalent to the monthly and yearly salaries of a large number of the UK working population.

As we approached our call I imagined Claire being very pleased with herself – and yet, within minutes of our starting to chat it was evident that she was not a happy bunny.

The problem? Well if SHE could reach her goals so quickly they obviously weren’t very good goals, not high enough, not hard enough. After all, this had been so easy!

We discussed this idea… and apparently, in Claire’s world:
SUCCESS = HARD WORK and I fear, HARD WORK = SUCCESS….

We discussed a series of events where, by knowing the right information, being in the right place at the tight time, having the contacts and then the courage to follow up, Claire had pulled off a profitable property deal where all interested parties came out feeling happy and Claire made 20K towards her annual income targets. And in Claire’s world, this was just down to luck, not something she had planned for, not something she had worked at, it was just lucky so it didn’t really count.

We had a long conversation about the role of beliefs in our journey through life and these principles also apply to our wealth creation journey.

“If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” is the well known quotation but the wider application looks like: if you believe life is hard, it will be. If you believe that you can’t be successful without working a 60-hour week, then you won’t be – and you’ll get your 60-hour week and all that comes with that!

I introduced Claire to some new ideas on the Law of Attraction, setting an intention and taking the necessary actions to support it whilst letting go of needing the goal. This is far more than just wishful thinking. I call it committing to the process while letting go of the outcome.

In her work over the last weeks, months and even years, Claire has been putting in the work, learning about proprty, committing to the process. When the opportunity arose she was in a perfect place to respond.

And this is the key.

She needed to take action. In fact, she needed to make a quick decision and was very fearful at the time BUT, her previous work educating herself about property investment had convinced her that this was a sound deal, the sums added up, the risk was entirely appropriate.

She commited to the action and won her prize.

I recommended that for the next stage of her journey Claire might want to learn how to feel comfortable with working towards success without the hard work, without a 60-hour week…. sound good?

Now if Claire was a member of The Money Gym, she would certainly get a good education in this concept. We need to be both working towards our goal and letting it happen effortlessly. Many Money Gym clients can tell you how this has worked for them…

But for Claire, I also recommended some new reading – best authors I could think of were Michael Neill, Tim Ferris and Joe Vitale: what do you think?


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Jul 16 2009

Creating Wealth – our duty and our joy?

I talked recently about wealth being a sea, huge, vast and bountiful. And each of us can come to the sea to share in it’s riches – and we can bring a teaspoon, or a bucket or even fill our own swimming pool with the wealth it contains.

And fun though that metaphor is, it is limited. As I thought about it afterwards I realised it was about taking wealth rather than the more fulfilling role of creating wealth.

In his New Year message on the importance of economic development in creating peace, even the Pope said “The creation of wealth is an inescapable moral duty”.

For me, wealth creation is about adding value, giving back more than we take.

It’s possible to do this in business and as an entrepreneur. In general, people who give more also often make more. In terms of wealth creation this is not limited to capitalistic or entrepreneurial businesses. Within the public or not-for-profit sector, it is still vitally important to give a better service, to increase effectiveness and efficiency… that way “the jam spreads further” and more people can be served.

It’s also about empowering ourselves and empowering others.

In so far as any of us controls anything, having some degree of control of your own income generation is incredibly liberating.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.”

Encouraging people to become skilled in the art and science of wealth creation at all levels of society can only give rise to more “fishermen”.

Yet another challenge for role models and educators!


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Jul 13 2009

An Ocean of Wealth

News releases are interesting. Are we in for that W-shaped recession, is there worse to come, are we bottoming out and ready for a slow recovery?

Wouldn’t we all love to know the answers to these questions?

At one level I’m as keen as anyone to know. At another level, I’m going to carry on doing what I was going to do anyway.

One of the things I’ve learned about the journey of “wealth creation” is that it’s largely about an attitude.

Don’t get me wrong. It needs to be accompanied by actions, targeted, researched, consistent actions, but if you don’t have the right attitude, you’ll not get very far at all.

Deep down, many people have the feeling that they shouldn’t want to be wealthy. That being wealthy, righ is wicked, selfish, bad.

And if one person’s being wealthy caused another person’s poverty, I would have some sympathy with that. But it doesn’t need to be directly linked.

There is more than enough wealth in the world for everybody to have some. In fact, the most wealthy people in the world are often most actively engaged in spreading their wealth around, setting up charitable foundations so that more people can benefit from their money, power and wisdom in many different ways. If you become wealthy, you can choose to share it an any way you please – or not – and most people I know who have financial freedom are incredibly generous givers!

Wealth is like the sea… I’ve heard many people say, that when it comes to our personal wealth, it doesn’t matter whether we come to the sea with a teaspoon or with a bucket. The sea will still be plenty full enough for us all.

So what are your plans? I know that being a part of the Money Gym community has transformed the way I think about money and created or presented me with many different opportunites to learn, to invest and to practically do the business of wealth creation.

There’s a difference between thinking “That’s a good idea” and then waiting for your fairy godmother to appear with a magic wand to grant your wish… and actually doing something about wealth creation.

If you really are at the start of your journey I can highly recommend the Money Gym Book.

A little further in and ready to get started – go for membership of the Money Gym Club – you’re so worth it! Invest in one of the coaching programmes and learn how to build a business or to set yourself up online.

And if you’re well on the way and want to create an internet empire making money online, I can recommend the great resources in MoreMoney365.com – well worth signing up for! There is a huge library of articles, videos, interviews to really learn from. There are PLR materials for members to download… A community to be part of if you choose.

So, are you still waiting???


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Jul 09 2009

Revealing what you already know

One of the greatest pleasures in my work as teacher, trainer or coach is to reveal to people the truths which they already know.

This can happen in any just about arena. When discussing wealth creation, personal development or a presentation skills training session…

You share something and you see, in the other, a light-bulb explodes!

Have you ever had that experience?

Whether as teacher or student, the effect is electric – that biggest ah-ha moment to enjoy, as if something that you’ve always known has taken form and found expression.

It’s not possible to plan such moments as they arise in the moment, the chemistry – it’s as if two souls have touched and sparked.

It’s a real privilege to share such growth…

Do something to feed your soul today!


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Jul 08 2009

The value of education – according to the Mahatma

Gandhi - no god higher than truth

The real difficulty is that people have no idea of what education truly is.

We assess the value of education in the same manner as we assess the value of land or of shares in the stock-exchange market.

We want to provide only such education as would enable the student to earn more.

We hardly give any thought to the improvement of the character of the educated.

The girls, we say, do not have to earn; so why should they be educated?

As long as such ideas persist there is no hope of our ever knowing the true value of education.
(M. K. Gandhi. True Education on the NCTE site)

Speaking as an Academic, what can I add??? Hear, hear!!


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